North, Francis (1704-1790) (DNB00)

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NORTH, FRANCIS, first Earl of Guilford (1704–1790), born on 13 April 1704, was eldest son of Francis, second baron Guilford, by his second wife, Alice, second daughter and coheiress of Sir John Brownlow, bart. of Belton, Lincolnshire, and grandson of Francis North, first baron Guilford [q. v.] He matriculated at Trinity College, Oxford, on 25 March 1721, but does not appear to have taken any degree. At the general election in August 1727 he was returned to the House of Commons for Banbury. He succeeded his father as third Baron Guilford on 17 Oct. 1729, and took his seat in the House of Lords on 13 Jan. 1730 (Journals of the House of Lords, xxiii. 450). On 17 Oct. 1730 he was appointed a gentleman of the bedchamber to Frederick, prince of Wales, and on 31 Oct. 1734 succeeded his kinsman, William, baron North and Grey [q. v.], as seventh Baron North of Kirtling in Cambridgeshire. On 30 Sept. 1750 he became governor to Prince George and Prince Edward, but was superseded on the Prince of Wales's death by Earl Harcourt, a nominee of the Pelhams, who wished to control the education of the young princes (Walpole, Memoirs of George II, 1847, i. 86). He was created Earl of Guilford on 8 April 1752. In September 1763 Grenville's proposal that Guilford should succeed Bute as keeper of the privy purse was negatived by the king, who considered that ‘it was not of sufficient rank for him’ (Grenville Papers, 1852, ii. 208–9). He was appointed treasurer to Queen Charlotte on 29 Dec. 1773, at the age of sixty-nine. ‘The town laughs,’ writes Horace Walpole, and says ‘that the reversion of that place is promised to Lord Bathurst,’ who was then in his ninetieth year (Letters, vi. 37).

Walpole describes Guilford as an ‘amiable, worthy man, of no great genius’ (Memoirs of George II, i. 86). He was an intimate personal friend of George III and Queen Charlotte (Mes. Delany, Autobiography, 2nd ser. iii. 292), and sympathised with the king's dislike of the coalition (Walpole, Last Journals, 1859, ii. 597; Lord E. Fitzmaurice, Life of Shelburne, 1876, iii. 372; Lord John Russell, Memorials of Fox, 1853, ii. 41). Though a wealthy man, and on affectionate terms with his son, he would never make Lord North an adequate allowance (Hist. MSS. Comm. 10th Rep. App. vi. p. 18). Guilford died in Henrietta Street, Cavendish Square, on 4 Aug. 1790, and was buried at Wroxton, Oxfordshire.

He married, first, on 16 June 1728, Lady Lucy, daughter of George Montagu, second earl of Halifax, by whom he had an only son, Frederick, who succeeded him as second Earl of Guilford [q. v.], and one daughter, who died in infancy. His first wife died on 7 May 1734. He married, secondly, on 17 Jan. 1736, Elizabeth, only daughter of Sir Arthur Kaye, bart., and widow of George, viscount Lewisham. By her he had two sons, Brownlow, bishop of Winchester [q. v.], and Augustus, who died an infant on 24 June 1745, and three daughters. His second wife died on 21 April 1745, and on 13 June 1751 he married, thirdly, Catherine, second daughter of Sir Robert Furnese, bart., and widow of Lewis, second earl of Rockingham. This last marriage, and the size of the bride, caused much amusement at the time, and George Selwyn said that the weather being hot, she was kept in ice for three days before the wedding (Walpole, Letters, ii. 257). Guilford had no issue by his third wife, who died on 17 Dec. 1766. No record of any of his speeches is to be found in the ‘Parliamentary History.’ His correspondence with the Duke of Newcastle, 1734–62, is preserved among the Additional MSS. in the British Museum (32696–933 passim).

[Mrs. Delany's Autobiography, 1861–2, 1st and 2nd ser., containing several of Guilford's letters; Walpole's Letters, 1857–9, ii. 33, 163, 232, 244, 250, 347, 350, viii. 350; Walpole's Journal of the Reign of George III, 1859, i. 276–7; Auckland's Journal and Correspondence, 1861, ii. 369–70; Letters of the First Earl of Malmesbury, 1870, i. 311; Chatham Correspondence, 1840, iv. 334; Hasted's Hist. of Kent, 1799, iv. 190–1; Doyle's Official Baronage, 1886, ii. 87; Collins's Peerage of England, 1812, iv. 479–81; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1888, p. 1028; Historical Register, vol. xv. Chron. Diary, p. 64; Gent. Mag. 1766 p. 600, 1790 pt. ii. pp. 768, 789; Official Return of Lists of Members of Parliament, pt. ii. p. 65.]

G. F. R. B.