1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Halifax, George Montagu Dunk, 2nd Earl of
HALIFAX, GEORGE MONTAGU DUNK, 2nd Earl of (1716–1771), son of George Montagu, 1st earl of Halifax (of the second creation), was born on the 5th or 6th of October 1716, becoming earl of Halifax on his father’s death in 1739. Educated at Eton and at Trinity College, Cambridge, he was married in 1741 to Anne Richards (d. 1753), a lady who had inherited a great fortune from Sir Thomas Dunk, whose name was taken by Halifax. After having been an official in the household of Frederick, prince of Wales, the earl was made master of the buckhounds, and in 1748 he became president of the Board of Trade. While filling this position he helped to found Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, which was named after him, and in several ways he rendered good service to trade, especially with North America. About this time he sought to a secretary of state, but in vain, although he was allowed to enter the cabinet in 1757. In March 1761 Halifax was appointed lord-lieutenant of Ireland, and during part of the time which he held this office he was also first lord of the admiralty. He became secretary of state for the northern department under the earl of Bute in October 1762, retaining this post under George Grenville and being one of the three ministers to whom George III. entrusted the direction of affairs. He signed the general warrant under which Wilkes was arrested in 1763, for which action he was mulcted in damages by the courts of law in 1769, and he was mainly responsible for the exclusion of the name of the king’s mother, Augusta, princess of Wales, from the Regency Bill of 1765. With his colleagues the earl left office in July 1765, returning to the cabinet as lord privy seal under his nephew, Lord North, in January 1770. He had just been transferred to his former position of secretary of state when he died on the 8th of June 1771. Halifax, who was lord-lieutenant of Northamptonshire and a lieutenant-general in the army, showed some disinterestedness in money matters, but was very extravagant. He left no children, and his titles became extinct on his death. Horace Walpole speaks slightingly of the earl, and says he and his mistress, Mary Anne Faulkner, “had sold every employment in his gift.”
See the Memoirs of his secretary, Richard Cumberland (1807).