Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 04.djvu/296

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Bentinck
Bentinck
292

expected back in the company of the envoys of Denmark and Genoa (ib. v. 443, vi. 364). His sympathies were of course consistently with the policy of war; and in March 1706 he was among the subscribers to the loan to the emperor of 250,000l., negotiated at 8 per cent. upon the security of the province of Silesia (ib. vi. 24). He was not an old man when he was in November 1709 seized by an attack of pleurisy at his seat of Bulstrode (near Beaconsfield, in Buckinghamshire), and died there on the 23rd of the month. His domestic life had probably continued to be a happy one, as it had been in the days when his great friend had taken so warm an interest in the children of his family. They were numerous, and settled partly in England, partly in his native land. He had been thrice married; his second wife was a sister of the Earl of Jersey and of Lady Elizabeth Villiers, afterwards Lady Orkney, at one time the mistress of William III.

Portland is hardly to be reckoned among royal favourites; for patriotism as well as friendship and loyalty was prominent among the motives which prompted his services. He was wholly unskilled in flattery, and, according to Burnet, seemed to have the art of creating many enemies to himself, and not one friend. That, however, there was anything repulsive in his manner seems contradicted by his general success in diplomatic business, by his easy personal intercourse alike with Germans and Frenchmen, with Auersperg and with Boufflers, and more especially by the very favourable impression which he made in France. He was, moreover, a brave officer and a faithful companion; but he would not or could not acquire the kind of obsequiousness which the Prince of Orange had never demanded, but which the King of England learned to find agreeable when it showed itself in combination with the gayer and more cheerful manners of Keppel. William III's nature was cast in too generous a mould for him to dismiss an old friend in favour of a new; and when Portland showed himself not proof to the trial of jealousy, the king continued to trust in the loyalty which was certain to survive it. On the whole, allowing for human weakness on both sides, there was something worthy of both men, and characteristic of their nationality, in the relation between them. In England Portland was, during the whole of William's reign, probably the most unpopular man in the country. This was not only due to his being the Dutchman whom of all Dutchmen the king long best liked to honour and reward. Portland's love of money was strong, but not odious; ‘he took,’ says Macaulay, ‘without scruple whatever he thought he could honestly take, but he was incapable of stooping to an act of baseness.’ He was hated because he was the chief living illustration of the truth that in some of the most important affairs of state the king trusted nobody but his compatriots, and because so many English politicians had good reason for knowing that the king's mistrust of them was justified. The foreign policy of William III was his own; and while his foremost Dutch friend was its principal agent, no Englishman was admitted to more than a nominal share in its secret counsels. In requital of the unpopularity to which he was exposed, Portland's name will always be remembered as inseparable from the history of the most important political transactions of William III's reign.

[Burnet's History of his own Time, vols. ii.-iv.; Macaulay's and Ranke's Histories of England; Parliamentary History, vol. v.; Collins's Peerage, i. 432-6; Lexington Papers; C. van Noorden's Europäische Geschichte im 18. Jahrhundert, vol. i.; Droysen's Geschichte der preussischen Politik, vol. iv. part i.; and especially Onno Klopp, Der Fall des Hauses Stuart, vols. v.-viii., with his references to the despatches of Count Auersperg and others, and to the Correspondences published by Grimblot and Hippeau. Letters written by William III to Portland are preserved by his descendants: see Calendar of Portland MSS. in Hist. MSS. Comm. Rep. xiii, xiv. xv. Hist. MSS. Comm. Rep. i, notices letters in the Earl of Macclesfield's papers between the king and Portland, and between the latter and Secretary Vernon, of 1698. Hist. MSS. Comm. Rep. iii notices letters from Portland to Prior among the Marquis of Bath's manuscripts at Longleat.]

A. W. W.


BENTINCK, Lord WILLIAM CAVENDISH (1774–1839), governor-general of India, was the second son of William Henry, third Duke of Portland [q. v.] He was born on 14 Sept. 1774. He entered the army in 1791 as an ensign in the Coldstream guards, and having been promoted in the following year to a captaincy in the 2nd light dragorms, on 20 March 1704 was gazetted lieutenant-colonel of the 24th light dragoons. In the same year he served on the staff of the Duke of York in the Netherlands. In May 1799 he was attached to the headquarters of Marshal Suwarrof's army in the north of Italy, and remained in that country throughout the campaign of 1799, and subsequently until 1801 with the Austrian forces, being present at the battles of the Trebbia, Novi, Savigliano, and Marengo, the passages of the Mincio and the Adige, the sieges of