Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 50.djvu/105

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have declared that ‘triennial elections destroy all family interest and subject our excellent constitution to the caprice of the multitude’ (Parl. Hist. vii. 297). In July 1717 he was informed by Lord Sunderland that the king had no further occasion for his services (Hist. MSS. Comm. 9th Rep. App. iii. 8).

He was created Duke of Dorset on 17 June 1720, and took his seat at the upper end of the earls' bench on 8 Oct. following (Journals of the House of Lords, xxi. 370). On 30 May 1725 he was appointed lord steward of the household. He acted as lord high steward of England at the coronation of George II on 11 Oct. 1727, and was the bearer of St. Edward's crown on that occasion. On 4 Jan. 1728 he was reappointed constable of Dover Castle and lord warden of the Cinque ports. On resigning his post of lord steward of the household, Dorset was appointed lord-lieutenant of Ireland (19 June 1730). During his viceroyalty he paid three visits to Ireland, where he resided during the parliamentary sessions of 1731–2, 1733–4, and 1735–6. In 1731 the court party was defeated by a majority of one on a financial question (Lecky, Hist. of England, 1878, ii. 428); but with this exception the political history of Ireland during Dorset's tenure of office was uneventful. In 1735 Sir Robert Walpole appears to have obtained the queen's consent to Dorset's removal, and to have secretly offered the post to Lord Scarbrough. To Walpole's great surprise, Scarbrough refused the offer, and ‘Dorset went to Ireland again, as satisfied with his own security as if he had owed it to his own strength’ (Lord Hervey, Memoirs of the Reign of George II, 1884, ii. 163–4). He was succeeded as lord-lieutenant of Ireland by William, third duke of Devonshire, in March 1737, and was thereupon reappointed lord steward of the household. Dorset continued to hold this office until 3 Jan. 1745, when he became lord president of the council. He was reappointed lord-lieutenant of Ireland on 6 Dec. 1750, being succeeded by Granville as president of the council in June 1751. During his former viceroyalty Dorset had performed the duties of his office to the entire satisfaction of the court party. He had ‘then acted for himself,’ but now ‘he was in the hands of two men most unlike himself,’ his youngest son, Lord George Sackville, who acted as his first or principal secretary, and George Stone, the primate of Ireland (Walpole, Memoirs of the Reign of George II, 1847, i. 279; see also Letters and Works of the Earl of Chesterfield, 1845–1853, ii. 366, iv. 101). In consequence of their policy, a serious parliamentary opposition was for the first time organised in Ireland; while an injudicious attempt on the part of Lord George Sackville to oust Henry Boyle, the parliamentary leader of the whig party in Ireland, from the speakership led to his temporary union with the patriot party. The most important of the many altercations which arose between the court party and the patriots concerned the surplus revenue. This the House of Commons wished to apply in liquidation of the national debt. Though the government agreed to the mode of application, they contended that the surplus could not be disposed of without the consent of the crown. In his speech at the opening of the session, in October 1751, Dorset signified the royal consent to the appropriation of part of the surplus to the liquidation of the national debt. The bill for carrying this into effect was passed, but the house took care to omit taking any notice of the king's consent. Upon the return of the bill from England, with an alteration in the preamble signifying that the royal consent had been given, the house gave way, and the bill was passed in its altered form (Lecky, Hist. of England, ii. 432). In 1753 the Earl of Kildare presented a memorial to the king against the administration of the Duke of Dorset and the ascendency of the primate; but this remonstrance was disregarded (Walpole, Reign of George II, i. 354). In the session of 1753 the contest between the court and the patriots was renewed. Dorset again announced the king's consent to the appropriation of the fresh surplus. The bill again omitted any notice of the sovereign's consent. It was returned with the same alteration as before, but this time was rejected by a majority of five. Dorset thereupon adjourned parliament, and dismissed all the servants of the crown who had voted with the majority, while a portion of the surplus was by royal authority applied to the payment of the debt (Lecky, Hist. of England, ii. 432; see Walpole, Reign of George II, i. 368–9).

Another exciting struggle was fought over the inquiry into the peculations of Arthur Jones Nevill, the surveyor-general, who was ultimately expelled from the House of Commons on 23 Nov. 1753 (Journals of the Irish House of Commons, v. 196). A curious indication of the feeling against Dorset's administration was shown at the Dublin Theatre on 2 March 1754. The audience called for the repetition of some lines which appeared to reflect upon those in office. West Digges [q. v.], by the order of Sheridan