Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 60.djvu/55

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fourth Duke of Devonshire] in resigning his place in the bedchamber (3 Nov. 1762). He was thereupon dismissed from his lieutenancies (December) and the office of vice-admiral of Yorkshire (29 Jan. 1763). A hesitant speaker, he made no brilliant parliamentary début, and meddled little with politics until, in March 1765, he was induced by Lord John Cavendish to accompany him to Hayes to solicit Pitt's counsel and aid in organising opposition to the arbitrary measures taken by the Grenville-Bedford administration against the supporters of Wilkes. From this mission Rockingham returned very dissatisfied with Pitt. He in consequence drew closer to Newcastle [see Pelham-Holles, Thomas, Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne], by whom he was consulted during the prolonged struggle on the regency bill. During the crisis which resulted Rockingham received through Cumberland separate overtures, concurrent with those made to Pitt, for the formation of a coalition administration, and, on Pitt's definitive refusal of office, accepted the treasury, was sworn of the privy council (10 July), and reappointed lord lieutenant of the west and north ridings of Yorkshire (7 Aug.) The great seal was retained by Northington and the first lordship of the admiralty by Egmont, but Keppel was made a junior lord [see Henley, Robert, first Earl of Northington; Perceval, John, second Earl of Egmont; and Keppel, Augustus, Viscount Keppel]. Grafton and Conway were made secretaries of state for the northern and southern departments respectively [see Fitzroy, Augustus Henry, third Duke of Grafton; and Conway, Henry Seymour]. William Dowdeswell (1721–1775) [q. v.] took the seals of the exchequer and Newcastle the privy seal, Daniel Finch, seventh earl of Winchilsea, became president of the council, and William Legge, second earl of Dartmouth [q. v.], president of the board of trade. Lord John Cavendish [q. v.], Thomas Townshend (afterwards Viscount Sydney) [q. v.], and George (afterwards Lord) Onslow [q. v.] were provided with seats at the treasury board. Barrington [see Barrington, William Wildman, second Viscount Barrington] was made secretary at war, and Charles Townshend [q. v.] paymaster of the forces. Chief-justice Pratt was created Baron Camden [see Pratt, Charles, first Earl Camden]. In the lower house the government was strengthened by the return of Rockingham's private secretary, Edmund Burke [q. v.], for the borough of Wendover.

On the American question ministers (except Northington, Barrington, and Townshend) were inclined to be accommodating. Nevertheless they hesitated, and it was not until the spring of 1766, and then only under pressure from Pitt and Camden, that they proposed the repeal of the Stamp Act. The measure was carried in the teeth of the determined opposition of the Grenville-Bedford faction, reinforced in some degree by the king's friends. The king himself was known to prefer the modification of the measure to its repeal. The repeal was facilitated by a concurrent statutory declaration of the absolute supremacy of parliament over the colonies, to which practical effect was given by a new Mutiny Act, under which the provincial assemblies were required to appropriate funds for the quartering and maintenance of the troops. The colonies were granted a more favourable tariff, the evasion of the navigation laws by the Spanish bullion ships was sanctioned, and the laws themselves were slightly relaxed in regard to the West Indies. To the chagrin which the repeal of the Stamp Act caused the king, ministers added the further mortification of refusing an allowance to his brothers and carrying (22, 25 April) resolutions condemnatory of general warrants. On 14 May Grafton resigned, and, though his successor was found in Richmond [see Lennox, Charles, third Duke of Richmond], a negotiation which had long been pending between Pitt and the court ended in Rockingham's dismissal and Pitt's return to power at the close of the following July [see Henley, Robert, Earl of Northington]. Immediately after the prorogation of 2 July 1767 Rockingham was commissioned by Grafton to form an administration upon an extensive plan; but, after prolonged discussion, the irreconcilable divisions of the whigs caused the abandonment of the project. Rockingham was disheartened by the subsequent fusion of the Bedford faction with the king's friends, and except to join in the protest against the limitation of the East India Company's dividend on 8 Feb. 1768, and to move in March 1769 for detailed accounts preliminary to the discharge of the debt on the civil list, he took little part in public affairs until Chatham's return to St. Stephen's.

A call of the House of Lords moved by Rockingham in consequence of the removal of Camden was defeated by an adjournment, against which he entered his protest in the journal (15 Jan. 1770). He moved for (22 Jan.), and with Chatham's aid obtained (2 Feb.), a committee of the whole house on the state of the nation; in which he was