1774 British general election
The 1774 British general election returned members to serve in the House of Commons of the 14th Parliament of Great Britain to be held, after the merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland in 1707. Lord North's government was returned with a large majority; the opposition consisted of factions supporting the Marquess of Rockingham and the Earl of Chatham, both of whom referred to themselves as Whigs. North's opponents referred to his supporters as Tories, but no Tory party existed at the time and his supporters rejected the label. See 1796 British general election for details; the constituencies used were the same throughout the existence of the Parliament of Great Britain. The general election was held between 5 October 1774 and 10 November 1774. At this period elections did not take place at the same time in every constituency; the returning officer in each county or parliamentary borough fixed the precise date. List of parliaments of Great Britain List of MPs elected in the 1774 British general election British Electoral Facts 1832–1999, compiled and edited by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher..
Namier, L. B. & Brooke, J.. The House of Commons, 1754–1790. New York, Published for the History of Parliament Trust by Oxford University Press
The Bedford Whigs were an 18th-century British political faction, led by John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford. Other than Bedford himself, notable members included 4th Earl of Sandwich. Bedford opposed the ministry, dominated by the Old Corps Whigs led by Prime Minister Henry Pelham and his brother the Duke of Newcastle. Following Pelham's death in 1754, Bedford aligned himself with Henry Fox, after Fox became Secretary of State in late 1755, some of Bedford's followers accepted jobs in the new administration; when the Devonshire-Pitt ministry was formed in November 1756, Bedford gave it his blessing by accepting the post of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, continued in that office in the Newcastle-Pitt ministry which followed. Over the course of the Seven Years' War, Bedford came into considerable disagreement with Pitt on the conduct of the war. In 1760–1761, despite his doubts about the constitutionality of the influence the new king George III's favorite, the Earl of Bute, Bedford allied himself to Bute in Cabinet in order to advocate for peace.
Bedford played a significant role in bringing about Pitt's fall, himself served as the principal peace negotiator for Britain at the Paris Peace Conference of 1762–1763. After Bute's resignation in April 1763, Bedford and his supporters, who now felt that accommodation with the Old Corps Whigs was the best way forward, refused to support the new government of George Grenville, but following the death of the Earl of Egremont in September 1763, he changed his mind, Bedford and his followers obtained many of the key ministerial posts in the Grenville government – Bedford himself was Lord President, Marlborough was Lord Privy Seal, Sandwich was Secretary of State, Gower was Lord Chamberlain, Weymouth was Master of the Horse; the King's increasing distaste for Bedford, in particular, helped bring about the fall of the Grenville ministry in July 1765, when a new ministry led by Lord Rockingham and dominated by the remnants of the Old Corps Whigs came to power and his followers went into opposition.
The Bedfordites supported a hard-line policy in North America, thus opposed the Rockingham ministry's repeal of the Stamp Act in 1766. When Rockingham's ministry fell in 1766, Bedford hoped to make an alliance with the new Chatham ministry, while his lieutenant Richard Rigby wished to stay in opposition along with the Grenvillites. In the end, the King's opposition to the Bedfordites meant that they stayed out, thus the Chatham ministry was opposed by three distinct parliamentary factions – the Grenvillites, the Rockinghamites, the Bedfordites. Notably, the Rockinghamites opposed the ministry as pursuing too hard-line a policy on North America, while Bedford and his followers felt the opposite; the two factions came close to agreeing to form a coalition before disagreements about who the Leader of the Commons should be. The strength of the opposition forces convinced the Duke of Grafton, who had succeeded Chatham as effective Prime Minister, that some effort must be made to bring the Bedfords into the government.
This was accomplished in December 1767, when Gower became Lord President and, shortly thereafter, Weymouth was made Secretary of State. Bedford himself, in ill-health, did not take office, withdrew from public life until his death in 1771, but the faction survived him, now led by Gower, they continued to support a hard-line policy towards the Americas, which led to the American Revolutionary War in 1775. Gower and many of the other Bedfordites resigned from the North government in late 1779 due to what they saw as North's ineffectual leadership of the war effort, but others, including Sandwich and Thurlow, stayed on. Gower continued to lead the main body of the Bedford faction, which entered the government in December 1783 as supporters of Pitt the Younger. After this, the Bedfordites ceased to be a distinguishable political faction. On the whole, neither contemporaries nor historians have looked on the Bedford faction with great favor – they have traditionally been seen as rapacious job-seekers, willing to sell themselves to the highest bidder in exchange for positions.
More recent scholarship has been less negative. In his article about Bedford for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Martyn Powell contends that accusations of opportunism are unfair, that flexibility was necessary for a small party like the Bedford Whigs. Powell instead views the Bedfords as, along with the Rockingham Whigs, an early example of an organized political party thanks to Rigby's management of Bedford's followers in the Commons, noting that the Bedfords' position on North America was both consistent and held. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
First Lord of the Treasury
The First Lord of the Treasury is the head of the commission exercising the ancient office of Lord High Treasurer in the United Kingdom, is by convention the Prime Minister. This office is not equivalent to the usual position of the "Treasurer" in other governments; as of the beginning of the 17th century, the running of the Treasury was entrusted to a commission, rather than to a single individual. Since 1714, it has permanently been in commission; the commissioners have always since that date been referred to as Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, adopted ordinal numbers to describe their seniority. In the middle of the same century, the First Lord of the Treasury came to be seen as the natural head of the overall ministry running the country, and, as of the time of Robert Walpole, began to be known, unofficially, as the Prime Minister; the term Prime Minister was but decreasingly, used as a term of derogation. William Pitt the Younger said the Prime Minister "ought to be the person at the head of the finances"—though Pitt served as Chancellor of the Exchequer for the entirety of his time as Prime Minister, so his linkage of the finance portfolio to the premiership was wider than proposing the occupation of the First Lordship by the Prime Minister.
Prior to 1841 the First Lord of the Treasury held the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer unless he was a peer and thus barred from that office. As of 1841, the Chancellor has always been Second Lord of the Treasury when he was not Prime Minister. By convention, the other Lords Commissioners of the Treasury are Government Whips in the House of Commons. 10 Downing Street is the official residence of the First Lord of the Treasury, not the office of Prime Minister. Chequers, a country house in Buckinghamshire, is the official country residence of the Prime Minister, used as a weekend and holiday home, although the residence has been used by other senior members of government. Much of this list overlaps with the list of Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom, but there are some notable differences, principally concerning the Marquess of Salisbury, Prime Minister but not First Lord in 1885–86, 1887–92 and 1895–1902; those First Lords who were Prime Minister are indicated in bold. Thereafter the posts of First Lord of the Treasury and Prime Minister have continually been held by the same person.
Chief Baron of the Exchequer List of Lords Commissioners of the Treasury Minister for the Civil Service, by convention the Prime Minister Secretary to the Treasury
Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Marquess of Hertford
Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Marquess of Hertford, KG, PC, PC was a British courtier and politician. Hertford was born in Chelsea, the son of Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Baron Conway, Charlotte Shorter, daughter of John Shorter of Bybrook, he was a descendant of 1st Duke of Somerset. He succeeded to the barony on the death of his father in 1732; the first few years after his father's death were spent in Paris. On his return to England he took his seat, as 2nd Baron Conway, among the Peers in November 1739. Henry Seymour Conway and soldier, was his younger brother. In August 1750 he was created Viscount Beauchamp and Earl of Hertford, both of which titles had earlier been created for and forfeited by his ancestor Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, Lord Protector of England, following his attainder and execution in 1552; the Seymour family had inherited a moiety of the feudal barony of Hatch Beauchamp, in Somerset, by marriage to the heiress Cicely Beauchamp. In 1755, according to Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford, "The Earl of Hertford, a man of unblemished morals, but rather too gentle and cautious to combat so presumptuous a court, was named Ambassador to Paris."
He appointed David Hume as his Secretary, who wrote of him, "I do not believe there is in the World a man of more probity & Humanity, endowd with a good Understanding, adornd with elegant Manners & Behaviour". However, due to the demands of the French, the journey to Paris was suspended. From 1751 to 1766 he was Lord of the Bedchamber to George II and George III. In 1756 he was made a Knight of the Garter and, in 1757, Lord-Lieutenant and Guardian of the Rolls of the County of Warwick and City of Coventry. In 1763 he became Privy Councillor and, from October 1763 to June 1765, was a successful ambassador in Paris, he witnessed the sad last months of Madame de Pompadour, whom he admired, wrote a kindly epitaph for her. In the autumn of 1765 he became Viceroy of Ireland where, as an honest and religious man, he was well liked. An anonymous satirist in 1777 described him as "the worst man in His Majesty's dominions", emphasised Hertford's greed and selfishness, adding "I cannot find any term for him but avaricious."
However, this anonymous attack does not seem to be justified. In 1782, when she was only fifty-six, his wife died after having nursed their grandson at Forde's Farm, Thames Ditton, where she caught a violent cold. According to Walpole, "Lord Hertford's loss is beyond measure, she was not only the most affectionate wife, but the most useful one, the only person I saw that never neglected or put off or forgot anything, to be done. She was always proper, either in the highest life or in the most domestic." Within two years of the tragedy, Lord Hertford had sold Forde's Farm to Mrs Charlotte Boyle Walsingham, a further two years she had re-developed the estate, building a new mansion which she called Boyle Farm, a name still in use today. In July 1793 he was created Marquess of Hertford, with the subsidiary title of Earl of Yarmouth, he enjoyed this elevation for a year until his death at the age of seventy-six, on 14 June 1794, at the house of his daughter, the Countess of Lincoln. He died as the result of an infection following a minor injury.
He was buried in Warwickshire. Lord Hertford married Lady Isabella Fitzroy, daughter of Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Grafton, on 29 May 1741, her grandfather was Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton, an illegitimate son of King Charles II. By his wife he had thirteen children: Francis Seymour-Conway, 2nd Marquess of Hertford Lady Anne Seymour-Conway, married Charles Moore, 1st Marquess of Drogheda. Lord Henry Seymour-Conway Lady Sarah Frances Seymour-Conway, married Robert Stewart, 1st Marquess of Londonderry. Lord Robert Seymour-Conway Lady Gertrude Seymour-Conway, married George Mason-Villiers, 2nd Earl Grandison. Lady Frances Seymour-Conway, married Henry Fiennes Pelham-Clinton, Earl of Lincoln, a son of Henry Fiennes Pelham-Clinton, 2nd Duke of Newcastle. Rev. Hon. Edward Seymour-Conway, canon of Christ Church, unmarried Lady Elizabeth Seymour-Conway died unmarried Lady Isabella Rachel Seymour-Conway, married George Hatton, a member of parliament. Admiral Lord Hugh Seymour, married Lady Anne Horatia Waldegrave, a daughter of James Waldegrave, 2nd Earl Waldegrave Lord William Seymour-Conway Lord George Seymour-Conway.
He married Isabella Hamilton, granddaughter of James Hamilton, 7th Earl of Abercorn, was the father of Sir George Hamilton Seymour, a British diplomatist. He is not known to have suffered himself from any mental abnormality, but a noted strain of eccentricity madness, appeared among his descendants: the debauched behaviour of his grandson, the 3rd Marquess, the suicide of another grandson, Viscount Castlereagh, were both attributed to a strain of madness supposed to be hereditary in the Seymour Conway family. Lord Hertford died in Surrey, England
Wills Hill, 1st Marquess of Downshire
Wills Hill, 1st Marquess of Downshire, known as the Viscount Hillsborough from 1742 to 1751 and as the Earl of Hillsborough from 1751 to 1789, was a British politician of the Georgian era. Best known in North America as the Earl of Hillsborough, he served as Secretary of State for the Colonies from 1768 to 1772, a critical period leading toward the American War of Independence. Born at Fairford, Wills Hill was the son of Trevor Hill, 1st Viscount Hillsborough and Mary, daughter of Anthony Rowe. Hill, known retrospectively as Downshire, was returned to Parliament for Warwick in 1741, a seat he held until 1756, he succeeded his father as second Viscount Hillsborough in 1742. He was the same year appointed Custos Rotulorum of County Down. In 1751 he was created Earl of Hillsborough in the Peerage of Ireland. In 1754 he was made Comptroller of the Household, a post he held until 1756, appointed a Privy Counsellor. In 1756 he was created Baron Harwich, of Harwich in the County of Essex, in the Peerage of Great Britain, which entitled him to a seat in the House of Lords.
For nearly two years, between 1763 and 1765, he was President of the Board of Trade and Plantations under George Grenville, after a brief period of retirement he filled the same position in 1766, that of joint Postmaster-General, under the Earl of Chatham. From 1768 to 1772 Hillsborough was Secretary of State for the Colonies and President of the Board of Trade. Both in and out of office, Hillsborough opposed all concessions to the American colonists, but he favoured the project for a union between England and the Kingdom of Ireland. On his retirement in 1772 he was created Earl of Hillsborough in the Peerage of Great Britain. In 1779 he served as Secretary of State for the Southern Department, remaining until 1782, he was the last person to serve in this position. In 1789, he was made Marquess of Downshire in the Irish peerage. Lord Downshire married firstly Lady Margaretta, daughter of Robert FitzGerald, 19th Earl of Kildare, in 1747. After her death in 1766 he married secondly Mary Bilson-Legge, 1st Baroness Stawell, daughter of Edward Stawell, 4th Baron Stawell and widow of Henry Bilson-Legge, in 1768.
She died in 1780. Lord Downshire died on 7 October 1793, aged 75, was succeeded by his son from his first marriage, Arthur, his second daughter and last child by his first marriage was Lady Charlotte Hill, wife of John Chetwynd-Talbot, 1st Earl Talbot. In the United States, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, Hillsborough Township, New Jersey, the town of Hillsborough, New Hampshire, within the county, the town of Hillsborough, North Carolina, Hillsborough County, were named after the Marquess. In Canada, Hillsborough Bay, on Prince Edward Island, the village of Hillsborough, New Brunswick, were named in Downshire's honour. "Hills, Wills". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900
Secretary of State for the Southern Department
The Secretary of State for the Southern Department was a position in the cabinet of the government of Kingdom of Great Britain up to 1782, when the Southern Department became the Foreign Office. Before 1782, the responsibilities of the two British Secretaries of State for the Northern and the Southern departments were divided not based on the principles of modern ministerial divisions, but geographically; the Secretary of State for the Southern Department, the more senior, was responsible for Southern England, Ireland, the American colonies, relations with the Roman Catholic and Muslim states of Europe. The Secretary of State for the Northern Department, the more junior, was responsible for Northern England and relations with the Protestant states of northern Europe. In 1782, the two Secretaries of State were reformed as the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Secretary of State
Sir Nathaniel Dance-Holland, 1st Baronet was a notable English portrait painter and a politician. The third son of architect George Dance the Elder, Dance studied art under Francis Hayman, like many contemporaries studied in Italy. There he met Angelica Kauffman, painted several historic and classical paintings. On his return to England, he became a successful portrait painter. With Hayman and his architect brother George Dance the Younger, he was one of the founder members of the Royal Academy in 1768, he was commissioned to paint King George III and his queen, plus Captain James Cook and actor David Garrick. His group portrait The Pybus Family is in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia. In 1790, he gave up his artistic career and became Member of Parliament for East Grinstead in Sussex, he served this seat until 1802 when he moved to Great Bedwyn in Wiltshire, serving until 1806. In 1807 he returned to East Grinstead, serving until his death in 1811, he was made a baronet in 1800.
He was married to Harriet, the daughter of Sir Cecil Bishopp, 6th Baronet and the widow of Thomas Dummer, for whom his brother had designed the house at Cranbury Park, near Winchester. They lived at Little Wittenham Manor in Berkshire, his wife survived him until 1825. His nephew, Sir Nathaniel Dance, was a well-known commander of British East India Company ships. Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs Leigh Rayment's list of baronets 75 paintings by or after Nathaniel Dance-Holland at the Art UK site Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Nathaniel Dance-Holland