1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Grafton, Dukes of

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GRAFTON, DUKES OF. The English dukes of Grafton are descended from Henry Fitzroy (1663–1690), the natural son of Charles II. by Barbara Villiers (countess of Castlemaine and duchess of Cleveland). In 1672 he was married to the daughter and heiress of the earl of Arlington and created earl of Euston; in 1675 he was created duke of Grafton. He was brought up as a sailor, and saw military service at the siege of Luxemburg in 1684. At James II.’s coronation he was lord high constable. In the rebellion of the duke of Monmouth he commanded the royal troops in Somersetshire; but later he acted with Churchill (duke of Marlborough), and joined William of Orange against the king. He died of a wound received at the storming of Cork, while leading William’s forces, being succeeded as 2nd duke by his son Charles (1682–1757).

Augustus Henry Fitzroy, 3rd duke of Grafton (1735–1811), one of the leading politicians of his time, was the grandson of the 2nd duke, and was educated at Westminster and Cambridge. He first became known in politics as an opponent of Lord Bute; in 1765 he was secretary of state under the marquis of Rockingham; but he retired next year, and Pitt (becoming earl of Chatham) formed a ministry in which Grafton was first lord of the treasury (1766) but only nominally prime minister. Chatham’s illness at the end of 1767 resulted in Grafton becoming the effective leader, but political differences and the attacks of “Junius” led to his resignation in January 1770. He became lord privy seal in Lord North’s ministry (1771) but resigned in 1775, being in favour of conciliatory action towards the American colonists. In the Rockingham ministry of 1782 he was again lord privy seal. In later years he was a prominent Unitarian.

Besides his successor, the 4th duke (1760–1844), and numerous other children, he was the father of General Lord Charles Fitzroy (1764–1829), whose sons Sir Charles Fitzroy (1798–1858), governor of New South Wales, and Robert Fitzroy (q.v.), the hydrographer, were notable men. The 4th duke’s son, who succeeded as 5th duke, was father of the 6th and 7th dukes.

The 3rd duke left in manuscript a Memoir of his public career, of which extracts have been printed in Stanhope’s History, Walpole’s Memories of George III. (Appendix, vol. iv.), and Campbell’s Lives of the Chancellors.