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Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Overview
Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and 1st Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne, KG
Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England. The order is dedicated to the image and arms of St...

, PC (21 July 1693 – 17 November 1768) was a British
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 Whig
British Whig Party
The Whigs were a party in the Parliament of England, Parliament of Great Britain, and Parliament of the United Kingdom, who contested power with the rival Tories from the 1680s to the 1850s. The Whigs' origin lay in constitutional monarchism and opposition to absolute rule...

 statesman
Statesman
A statesman is usually a politician or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career in politics or government at the national and international level. As a term of respect, it is usually left to supporters or commentators to use the term...

, whose official life extended throughout the Whig supremacy of the 18th century. He is commonly known as the Duke of Newcastle.

A protégé of Sir Robert Walpole, he served under him for more than twenty years until 1742.
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Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and 1st Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne, KG
Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England. The order is dedicated to the image and arms of St...

, PC (21 July 1693 – 17 November 1768) was a British
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 Whig
British Whig Party
The Whigs were a party in the Parliament of England, Parliament of Great Britain, and Parliament of the United Kingdom, who contested power with the rival Tories from the 1680s to the 1850s. The Whigs' origin lay in constitutional monarchism and opposition to absolute rule...

 statesman
Statesman
A statesman is usually a politician or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career in politics or government at the national and international level. As a term of respect, it is usually left to supporters or commentators to use the term...

, whose official life extended throughout the Whig supremacy of the 18th century. He is commonly known as the Duke of Newcastle.

A protégé of Sir Robert Walpole, he served under him for more than twenty years until 1742. He held power with his brother, Henry Pelham
Henry Pelham
Henry Pelham was a British Whig statesman, who served as Prime Minister of Great Britain from 27 August 1743 until his death in 1754...

 (the Prime Minister of Great Britain
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

), until 1754. He had at this point served as a Secretary of State
Secretary of State
Secretary of State or State Secretary is a commonly used title for a senior or mid-level post in governments around the world. The role varies between countries, and in some cases there are multiple Secretaries of State in the Government....

 continuously for thirty years—dominating British foreign policy.

After Henry's death, the Duke would hold his late brother's position for six years (in two separate periods). While his first premiership was not particularly notable, Newcastle precipitated the Seven Years War, which would cause his resignation from his high position. After his second term as Prime Minister, he served for a short while in Lord Rockingham
Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham
Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham, KG, PC , styled The Hon. Charles Watson-Wentworth before 1733, Viscount Higham between 1733 and 1746, Earl of Malton between 1746 and 1750 and The Earl Malton in 1750, was a British Whig statesman, most notable for his two terms as Prime...

's ministry, before retiring from government.

Early life


Thomas Pelham was born in London on 21 July 1693 the eldest son of Thomas Pelham, 1st Baron Pelham
Thomas Pelham, 1st Baron Pelham
Thomas Pelham, 1st Baron Pelham of Laughton Bt was a moderate English Whig politician and Member of Parliament for several constituencies. He is best remembered as father of two British prime ministers who, between them, served for 18 years as first minister...

, by his second wife, the former Lady Grace Holles, younger sister of the John Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He studied at Westminster School
Westminster School
The Royal College of St. Peter in Westminster, almost always known as Westminster School, is one of Britain's leading independent schools, with the highest Oxford and Cambridge acceptance rate of any secondary school or college in Britain...

 and was admitted a fellow-commoner at Clare College, Cambridge
Clare College, Cambridge
Clare College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England.The college was founded in 1326, making it the second-oldest surviving college of the University after Peterhouse. Clare is famous for its chapel choir and for its gardens on "the Backs"...

 in 1710. His uncle died in 1711, and his father the next year, both leaving their large estates to him. When he came of age in 1714, Lord Pelham was one of the greatest landowners in the kingdom, enjoying enormous patronage in the county of Sussex
Sussex
Sussex , from the Old English Sūþsēaxe , is an historic county in South East England corresponding roughly in area to the ancient Kingdom of Sussex. It is bounded on the north by Surrey, east by Kent, south by the English Channel, and west by Hampshire, and is divided for local government into West...

. One stipulation of his uncle in his inheritance, was that he add Holles to his name, which he faithfully did—thereafter styling himself as Thomas Pelham-Holles. A long-standing legal dispute over the estate with his Aunt was finally settled in 1714.

He increasingly identified with Whig politics, like his father and uncle—but whereas they had been moderate in their views, he grew increasingly more partisan and militant in his views. Britain at the time was very divided between Whigs who favoured the succession of George of Hanover
George I of Great Britain
George I was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1 August 1714 until his death, and ruler of the Duchy and Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg in the Holy Roman Empire from 1698....

 after Queen Anne
Anne of Great Britain
Anne ascended the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland on 8 March 1702. On 1 May 1707, under the Act of Union, two of her realms, England and Scotland, were united as a single sovereign state, the Kingdom of Great Britain.Anne's Catholic father, James II and VII, was deposed during the...

's death and Tories who supported the return of the Jacobite James Stuart
James Francis Edward Stuart
James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales was the son of the deposed James II of England...

, known later as the 'old pretender'. This issue dominated British politics during the last few years of Queen Anne's reign, leading up to her death in 1714—and had a profound impact on the future career of the young Duke of Newcastle. He joined the Hannover Club
Hannover Club
The Hannover Club or Hanover Club was a political society in the Kingdom of Great Britain active during the early 18th century. They were committed to the succession of King George of Hannover to the British throne, rather than the rival claimant James III known as the 'Old Pretender'...

 and the Kit Kat Club, both leading centres of Whig thinking and organisation. Newcastle House
Newcastle House
Newcastle House is a mansion in Lincoln's Inn Fields in central London, England. It was one of the two largest houses built in London's largest square during its development in the 17th century, the other being Lindsey House. It is the northernmost house on the western side of the square.The house...

 in London became his premier residence.

Early political career


Newcastle vigorously sustained the Whigs at Queen Anne's
Anne of Great Britain
Anne ascended the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland on 8 March 1702. On 1 May 1707, under the Act of Union, two of her realms, England and Scotland, were united as a single sovereign state, the Kingdom of Great Britain.Anne's Catholic father, James II and VII, was deposed during the...

 death, and had much influence in making the Londoners accept King George I
George I of Great Britain
George I was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1 August 1714 until his death, and ruler of the Duchy and Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg in the Holy Roman Empire from 1698....

, even organising so-called 'Newcastle mobs' to fight with rival Jacobites
Jacobitism
Jacobitism was the political movement in Britain dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, later the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Ireland...

 in the street.

His services were too great to be neglected by the new Hanoverian King, and in 1714 he was created Earl of Clare, and in 1715 Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He also became Lord-Lieutenant of the Counties of Middlesex
Middlesex
Middlesex is one of the historic counties of England and the second smallest by area. The low-lying county contained the wealthy and politically independent City of London on its southern boundary and was dominated by it from a very early time...

 and Nottingham
Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire
This is a list of people who have served as Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire. Since 1694, all Lords Lieutenant have also been Custos Rotulorum of Nottinghamshire.*Henry Manners, 2nd Earl of Rutland 1552–1563?*Edward Manners, 3rd Earl of Rutland 1574–1587?...

 and a Knight of the Garter
Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England. The order is dedicated to the image and arms of St...

. In his new position he was in charge of suppressing Jacobitism in the counties under his control. In Middlesex he arrested and questioned eight hundred people, and then drew up a Voluntary Defence Association to defend the county. During 1715 he became involved in a riot that ended with two men being killed, and Newcastle fleeing along rooftops. The succession of George I
George I of Great Britain
George I was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1 August 1714 until his death, and ruler of the Duchy and Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg in the Holy Roman Empire from 1698....

 was secured in late 1715 by the defeat of a Jacobite army at the Battle of Preston
Battle of Preston (1715)
The Battle of Preston , also referred to as the Preston Fight, was fought during the Jacobite Rising of 1715 ....

 and the subsequent flight of the Old Pretender.

The victory of the Hanoverians over the Jacobites, marked the beginning of the Whig Ascendancy which lasted for much of the 18th century. Because the Tory opposition had been tainted, in the eyes of George I, by their support of the Jacobite pretenders, he did not trust them, and drew all his ministers and officials from the Whig faction. Following their victory, the Whigs split with one group forming the government for George I, while the other dissident Whigs became the effective opposition in Parliament. After a period of political manoeuvring, during which time he was for a while associated with a Whig faction led by James Stanhope
James Stanhope, 1st Earl Stanhope
James Stanhope, 1st Earl Stanhope PC was a British statesman and soldier who effectively served as Chief Minister between 1717 and 1721. He is probably best remembered for his service during War of the Spanish Succession...

, from 1720 Newcastle began to identify strongly with the Government Whigs—who had quickly come to be dominated by Sir Robert Walpole.

Walpole gladly welcomed the young Newcastle into his coterie, because he believed he could easily control him—and it would strengthen his hand against the rival Whig factions. Newcastle joined with Walpole because he, correctly, believed that he was going to dominate British politics for a generation. From 1721 Walpole began to serve as Britain's first official Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

, a position he would hold for the next twenty one years. He was related to Walpole's leading ally Charles Townshend
Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend
Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend Bt, KG, PC was a British Whig statesman. He served for a decade as Secretary of State, directing British foreign policy...

, strengthening his bond with the leader of the new administration.

On 2 April 1717 he increased his Whig connections by marrying Lady Henrietta Godolphin
Henrietta Pelham-Holles, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Harriet Pelham-Holles, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne was the wife of the British statesman and Prime Minister Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. She was the granddaughter of Sir Sidney Godolphin, 1st Earl of Godolphin and the granddaughter of John Churchill, 1st Duke of...

 the granddaughter of the Duke of Marlborough
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, Prince of Mindelheim, KG, PC , was an English soldier and statesman whose career spanned the reigns of five monarchs through the late 17th and early 18th centuries...

, a national hero following his victories in the recent European war
War of the Spanish Succession
The War of the Spanish Succession was fought among several European powers, including a divided Spain, over the possible unification of the Kingdoms of Spain and France under one Bourbon monarch. As France and Spain were among the most powerful states of Europe, such a unification would have...

 and considered a Whig icon.

Lord Chamberlain



In 1717, at the age of twenty three, Newcastle first attained high political office as Lord Chamberlain
Lord Chamberlain
The Lord Chamberlain or Lord Chamberlain of the Household is one of the chief officers of the Royal Household in the United Kingdom and is to be distinguished from the Lord Great Chamberlain, one of the Great Officers of State....

 of the Household, and was given the responsibility of overseeing theatres. Plays at the time were often extremely political, and Newcastle was tasked with suppressing any plays or playwrights believed to be too critical of the Hanoverian succession or the Whig government. During this time Newcastle clashed repeatedly with a leading playwright Sir Richard Steele. In 1719 he was one of the three main investors in George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel was a German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Handel was born in 1685, in a family indifferent to music...

's new opera company, the Royal Academy of Music (1719). The Duke ordered Handel in May 1719 to go to the continent and contract singers for as long as possible.

He held the post for seven years, and performed well enough to be considered for further promotion. Despite his youth, he had demonstrated his strength in several general elections when he had been able to get as many as twenty MPs elected to seats he controlled through his family's wealth and political patronage. He survived in the office during the turmoil in the Whig party between 1717 and 1721 and his switch of allegiance to Walpole secured his position thereafter. Walpole had overseen a brief end to the rift between the Whig factions, following the collapse of the South Sea Company which had left thousands ruined. Newcastle himself had lost £4,000 he had invested when the South Sea Bubble was at its height. Following this Walpole was seen as the only man to steady both the country and the Whig Party, and was granted unprecedented powers, effectively making him the first Prime Minister of Great Britain.

During his time in the office, Newcastle and his wife had become famous for throwing lavish parties, which were attended by much of London society including many of his political opponents. He was also prodigiously fond of hunting
Fox hunting
Fox hunting is an activity involving the tracking, chase, and sometimes killing of a fox, traditionally a red fox, by trained foxhounds or other scent hounds, and a group of followers led by a master of foxhounds, who follow the hounds on foot or on horseback.Fox hunting originated in its current...

 and often went down to Bishopstone
Bishopstone, East Sussex
Bishopstone is a hamlet with a population of about 200 people, located along a dead-end road west of Seaford, East Sussex. Bishopstone was an episcopal manor: hence its name meaning "dwelling place of the bishop". The church, dedicated to Saint Andrew, is thought to date from the 8th century, and...

, one of his Sussex properties, expressly for this purpose. During his time as Lord Chamberlain he oversaw a major overhaul of public buildings, many of which had fallen into very poor repair.

Appointment


In 1724 Newcastle was chosen by Sir Robert Walpole
Robert Walpole
Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, KG, KB, PC , known before 1742 as Sir Robert Walpole, was a British statesman who is generally regarded as having been the first Prime Minister of Great Britain....

 to be Secretary of State for the Southern Department
Secretary of State for the Southern Department
The Secretary of State for the Southern Department was a position in the cabinet of the government of Kingdom of Great Britain up to 1782.Before 1782, the responsibilities of the two British Secretaries of State were divided not based on the principles of modern ministerial divisions, but...

 in place of Lord Carteret
John Carteret, 2nd Earl Granville
John Carteret, 2nd Earl Granville, 7th Seigneur of Sark, KG, PC , commonly known by his earlier title as Lord Carteret, was a British statesman and Lord President of the Council from 1751 to 1763.-Family:...

, a move largely engineered by Townshend. He had been for some time considered the third most important man in the government behind Walpole and Townshend, and his new position confirmed this. Newcastle had for several years been growing increasingly interested in Foreign Affairs, and had been educating himself on the subtle ins-and-outs of diplomacy
Diplomacy
Diplomacy is the art and practice of conducting negotiations between representatives of groups or states...

 and the European State System. In spite of this, for the first few years in this office he deferred control of British foreign policy to the other Secretary of State, Townshend, and effectively served as his deputy. Walpole too was generally happy to allow Townshend to control foreign affairs, as he agreed with him on most issues.

The French Alliance



Since the Treaty of Utrecht
Treaty of Utrecht
The Treaty of Utrecht, which established the Peace of Utrecht, comprises a series of individual peace treaties, rather than a single document, signed by the belligerents in the War of Spanish Succession, in the Dutch city of Utrecht in March and April 1713...

 which had ended the last major European war
War of the Spanish Succession
The War of the Spanish Succession was fought among several European powers, including a divided Spain, over the possible unification of the Kingdoms of Spain and France under one Bourbon monarch. As France and Spain were among the most powerful states of Europe, such a unification would have...

, Britain had been an ally of France—a strong reversal in policy, as France had previously been considered the premier enemy of Britain. The reasons for the alliance were complex, and many had doubted the détente could last long, but by the time Newcastle became Secretary of State they had been allies for nearly a decade. By 1719 they had become part of a wider Quadruple Alliance, which was overwhelmingly the most powerful force in European politics. This had been demonstrated during the War of the Quadruple Alliance
War of the Quadruple Alliance
The War of the Quadruple Alliance was a result of the ambitions of King Philip V of Spain, his wife, Elisabeth Farnese, and his chief minister Giulio Alberoni to retake territories in Italy and to claim the French throne. It saw the defeat of Spain by an alliance of Britain, France, Austria , and...

, a largely naval war in the Mediterranean by which the powers had defeated a Spanish attempt to reclaim lost territory in Italy. The alliance was unpopular, however, with many in parliament and in the country who continued to consider France Britain's natural enemy.

Newcastle had been joined in government by his young brother Henry Pelham
Henry Pelham
Henry Pelham was a British Whig statesman, who served as Prime Minister of Great Britain from 27 August 1743 until his death in 1754...

. The two brothers got on well, although they were prone to have intractable disputes. One constant source of tension between them was Newcastle's poor handling of the family fortune, which was being constantly depleted through his out of control spending. Pelham was also considered by many to be the abler of the two brothers, but it was the Duke who had got initially further in politics. In spite of their differences, they remained firm political allies.

Domestic crisis


The Administration faced a crisis in 1727 when George I died unexpectedly and his son George II
George II of Great Britain
George II was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Archtreasurer and Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 until his death.George was the last British monarch born outside Great Britain. He was born and brought up in Northern Germany...

 succeeded to the throne. The new King had previously had exceptionally bad relations with Walpole and Newcastle and during one altercation between them George's poor English had made Newcastle think he had challenged him to a duel. Their relationship had not improved in recent years, and many anticipated the imminent replacement of the government. Instead Walpole made himself extremely useful to George II, who soon became convinced of his competence and retained him in his post. The thawing of relations was helped by the friendship between Newcastle and George's daughter Amelia leading many to speculate, without substantive evidence, that they were having an affair. By November 1727 Walpole and Newcastle's positions were both safe once more, boosted by an election victory which saw them gain 430 seats to the opposition's 128 in the House of Commons
House of Commons of Great Britain
The House of Commons of Great Britain was the lower house of the Parliament of Great Britain between 1707 and 1801. In 1707, as a result of the Acts of Union of that year, it replaced the House of Commons of England and the third estate of the Parliament of Scotland, as one of the most significant...

.

In 1729 a rift broke out in the government over the direction of Britain's foreign policy. Townshend was convinced that Britain's principal enemy was now Austria. Walpole and Newcastle saw Spain as the main threat to British power, because of their large navy and colonial interests. Eventually Walpole had his way, forcing Townshend from office, and replacing him with Lord Harrington
William Stanhope, 1st Earl of Harrington
William Stanhope, 1st Earl of Harrington, PC was a British statesman and diplomat.He was a younger son of John Stanhope of Elvaston, Derbyshire, and a brother of Charles Stanhope , an active politician during the reign of George I. His ancestor, Sir John Stanhope , was a half-brother of Philip...

. From then on Newcastle served as the senior Secretary of State, and largely controlled British foreign policy himself. Newcastle was saddened by the demise of his relative and former patron, although their partnership had become increasingly strained and the new situation offered enormous possibilities to him personally.

Peace policy


Together Newcastle and Walpole managed to drive a wedge between Spain and Austria, making an ally of the latter, and directing their future efforts against Spain. Subsequently, however, it turned out that Britain's long-term major rival was neither of the two but France, which had been considered a close ally up to that point. The increasingly confrontational actions of the French Prime Minister Cardinal Fleury soon convinced them that they had been wrong. This misjudgement was later used by the Patriot Whigs
Patriot Whigs
The Patriot Whigs and, later Patriot Party, was a group within the Whig party in Great Britain from 1725 to 1803. The group was formed in opposition to the ministry of Robert Walpole in the House of Commons in 1725, when William Pulteney and seventeen other Whigs joined with the Tory party in...

 to castigate the Ministry for their lack of preparation against the French threat.

In general, Newcastle shared Walpole's abhorrence of war, and wished to prevent Britain getting dragged in to major wars on the continent. Notably Britain did not become embroiled in the War of the Polish Succession
War of the Polish Succession
The War of the Polish Succession was a major European war for princes' possessions sparked by a Polish civil war over the succession to Augustus II, King of Poland that other European powers widened in pursuit of their own national interests...

, and indeed tried to prevent it from breaking out. Newcastle attempted to throw both the French and Austrians off-guard by being cagey about Britain's response should any war break out, but this did not stop the conflict. Once the war had started, George II tried to push for Britain to honour its commitment to assist Austria, but he was blocked by Walpole who insisted Britain should not join the war. Newcastle broadly supported the same position as the King, but he accepted the decision.

By this stage Newcastle's brother Henry Pelham
Henry Pelham
Henry Pelham was a British Whig statesman, who served as Prime Minister of Great Britain from 27 August 1743 until his death in 1754...

 had attained the lucrative position of Paymaster General, and had effectively replaced Townshend as the third man of the government. The three men continued what had become dubbed as the Norfolk Congress by meeting regularly at Houghton Hall
Houghton Hall
Houghton Hall is a country house in Norfolk, England. It was built for the de facto first British Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, and it is a key building in the history of Palladian architecture in England...

, Sir Robert Walpole's country house in Norfolk
Norfolk
Norfolk is a low-lying county in the East of England. It has borders with Lincolnshire to the west, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea coast and to the north-west the county is bordered by The Wash. The county...

. The three men would hold private meetings, draw up wide-ranging policies on foreign and domestic issues, and then present them to parliament for their seal of approval, which their vast majority allowed them to do. Slowly, however, Newcastle and his brother were moving out of the shadow of Walpole, and being more assertive. Newcastle was particularly annoyed by what he saw as the abandonment of Austria, and by the suggestion that Walpole no longer trusted him.

By 1735 Newcastle had largely assumed control of colonial affairs, further increasing the amount of patronage he controlled. A devout Anglican, he was also given control over ecclesiastical matters. His growing independence from Walpole, was helped by the support of his brother and his best friend, Hardwicke, who had become Lord Chancellor. During the latter half of the decade his job was increasingly dominated by managing relations with Spain, which included trade disputes and objections to the controversial founding of the British colony of Georgia in 1733. Because of this the long-standing peace policy was beginning to look extremely fragile. He also acted as a mediator in the War of the Polish Succession
War of the Polish Succession
The War of the Polish Succession was a major European war for princes' possessions sparked by a Polish civil war over the succession to Augustus II, King of Poland that other European powers widened in pursuit of their own national interests...

, helping to bring the conflict to an end in 1738.

Jenkin's Ear and Spanish America



The growing tension between Britain and Spain came to a head in 1731 during an incident known as Jenkin's Ear, when a British merchant captain was captured for illegal trading off the coast of Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 by a Spanish privateer, and in punishment for his alleged breach of the strict laws forbidding foreign commerce with Spanish colonies, he had an ear cut off. The incident shocked Britain, not so much because of its brutality, but because many saw it as an outrage that Spain should have the temerity to harm a British subject simply for trading—which many held to be a legitimate occupation.

In 1738 Jenkins appeared in parliament to testify about his treatment. Other merchants sent petitions, and the powerful South Sea Company mobilised popular opinion. To many the Spanish Empire
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 was crumbling, and its South American possessions were ripe for the picking. A vociferous group in parliament demanded war with Spain. Walpole was adamantly opposed to such a policy, and became a target for unprecedented attacks. Newcastle too came under intense pressure, though he initially considered the demands that Britain declare war with Spain a dangerous step and in spite of his increasingly bellicose statements, he still considered the idea of an Anglo-Spanish alliance as late as 1739. He tried to negotiate a solution to the crisis with the Convention of Pardo
Convention of Pardo
The Convention of Pardo was a 1739 treaty between Great Britain and Spain designed to find a solution to the issues of smuggling, the Asiento and freedom of the seas that had strained relations between the two states for the past few decades, and was agreed to try to prevent war breaking out...

, which agreed a sum of compensation to be paid to British merchants but British public opinion had shifted and Walpole felt that there was no option but to declare war in December 1739.

The British opened the war with a victory, capturing Porto Bello
Battle of Porto Bello
The Battle of Porto Bello, or the Battle of Portobello, was a 1739 battle between a British naval force aiming to capture the settlement of Portobello in Panama, and its Spanish defenders. It took place during the War of the Austrian Succession, in the early stages of the war sometimes known as the...

 in Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

. This led to an outbreak of patriotic fervour, and further increased the pressure on Walpole and Newcastle for their perceived unwilling prosecution of the war. Newcastle tried to combat this by cultivating a reputation as the leading "patriot" of the cabinet. He took on additional military responsibilities and, for the first two years of war, served as a de facto Minister of War. One of his most notable suggestions during the period was the recruitment of large numbers of troops drawn from the American colonies
British America
For American people of British descent, see British American.British America is the anachronistic term used to refer to the territories under the control of the Crown or Parliament in present day North America , Central America, the Caribbean, and Guyana...

, whose growing manpower had previously gone largely untapped.

In 1741 the main British campaign against Spain was a combined amphibious attack on the South American city of Cartagena
Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena de Indias , is a large Caribbean beach resort city on the northern coast of Colombia in the Caribbean Coast Region and capital of Bolívar Department...

, which had experienced considerable delays. Command was awarded to Admiral Edward Vernon, the victor of Porto Bello, who was given a force of 31,000 soldiers and sailors to take the city. The siege
Battle of Cartagena de Indias
The Battle of Cartagena de Indias was an amphibious military engagement between the forces of Britain under Vice-Admiral Edward Vernon and those of Spain under Admiral Blas de Lezo. It took place at the city of Cartagena de Indias in March 1741, in present-day Colombia...

 proved to be a total disaster for the British, who lost thousands of men before being forced to withdraw. Although Newcastle had issued the orders, and had overseen the organisation of the expedition, much of the blame for the disaster fell on the shoulders of the ailing Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole.

Fall of Walpole



In the wake of the Cartagena disaster, Britain held a general election. The result reduced Walpole's former dominance of the House to a now unworkable majority. Within months he had been forced out of office, and succeeded by Lord Wilmington. Though he stayed with Walpole to the end, Newcastle was later accused by many of Walpole's supporters of undermining him. Horace Walpole, his son, continued to attack his behaviour for years to come.

Newcastle continued in office after Walpole's fall and became more powerful on his younger brother Henry Pelham
Henry Pelham
Henry Pelham was a British Whig statesman, who served as Prime Minister of Great Britain from 27 August 1743 until his death in 1754...

 becoming Prime Minister in 1743. Together the two brothers and their supporters known as the 'Old Whigs' made a coalition with the 'New Whigs', previous opponents of the Walpole government. In spite of this there remained a strident opposition, led vocally by men like William Pitt and Lord Sandwich
John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich
John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, PC, FRS was a British statesman who succeeded his grandfather, Edward Montagu, 3rd Earl of Sandwich, as the Earl of Sandwich in 1729, at the age of ten...

.

War of the Austrian Succession


In 1740 a short while after the declaration of war with Spain, a separate war had broken out simultaneously in Europe, into which the War of Jenkins' Ear
War of Jenkins' Ear
The War of Jenkins' Ear was a conflict between Great Britain and Spain that lasted from 1739 to 1748, with major operations largely ended by 1742. Its unusual name, coined by Thomas Carlyle in 1858, relates to Robert Jenkins, captain of a British merchant ship, who exhibited his severed ear in...

 soon became submerged. In a dispute over the throne of the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

, France and Prussia had invaded Austria, planning to remove Empress Maria Theresa and replace her with their own claimant. Austria's long-standing alliance with Britain required them to declare war. It was also considered by many that a French victory would leave them too strong in Europe. Because of this, Britain soon found itself dragged into this wider war despite the reluctance of the government.

Initially Britain's involvement was limited to financial subsidies and diplomacy in support of Austria, By 1742 it was apparent that a more substantial commitment would be needed, if the alliance wasn't to end in defeat. The same year 16,000 British troops were sent to the continent. Newcastle was a staunch Austrophile
Austrophile
An Austrophile is somebody who is fond of Austrian culture, and Austria in general though they themselves were not born in the country. Historically it could be applied to the wider Austrian Empire, but since 1918 it has applied to the more limited boundaries of the modern nation-state of Austria...

 and strongly supported aid to the Austrians. He had long conceived the only way Britain could defeat France was in alliance with Austria, a view sharply at odds with many other leading thinkers of the era, including Walpole and Pitt.

Newcastle's position had briefly been threatened by Carteret
John Carteret, 2nd Earl Granville
John Carteret, 2nd Earl Granville, 7th Seigneur of Sark, KG, PC , commonly known by his earlier title as Lord Carteret, was a British statesman and Lord President of the Council from 1751 to 1763.-Family:...

, a royal favourite, but by 1743 he and his brother were firmly in control of British policy—a position that would last until 1756. He now set about drawing up a fresh scheme to enhance British power on the continent. This included an attempt to persuade the Dutch Republic
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

 into the anti-French alliance, and mediating the dispute between Austria and Prussia that led to the Treaty of Dresden
Treaty of Dresden
The Treaty of Dresden was signed on 25 December 1745 at the Saxon capital of Dresden between Austria, Saxony and Prussia, ending the Second Silesian War....

 in 1745. He also approved plans for a colonial raid against Louisbourg in 1745
Siege of Louisbourg (1745)
The Siege of Louisbourg took place in 1745 when a New England colonial force aided by a British fleet captured Louisbourg, the capital of the French province of Île-Royale during the War of the Austrian Succession, known as King George's War in the British colonies.Although the Fortress of...

, which was successful. Along with the defeat of a Spanish Invasion of Georgia in 1742, this strengthened the British position in North America.

Jacobite Rising



In 1745 the Jacobite Rising broke out in Scotland, and had soon spread to northern England
Northern England
Northern England, also known as the North of England, the North or the North Country, is a cultural region of England. It is not an official government region, but rather an informal amalgamation of counties. The southern extent of the region is roughly the River Trent, while the North is bordered...

. Newcastle feared both an attack from the north by Bonnie Prince Charlie who had gathered 5,000 men in Derby
Derby
Derby , is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands region of England. It lies upon the banks of the River Derwent and is located in the south of the ceremonial county of Derbyshire. In the 2001 census, the population of the city was 233,700, whilst that of the Derby Urban Area was 229,407...

 and a French invasion of southern England. In the panic a number of false rumours circulated around London, including news that Newcastle had fled to the continent fearing all was lost. He was forced to show himself to a crowd that had gathered outside Newcastle House
Newcastle House
Newcastle House is a mansion in Lincoln's Inn Fields in central London, England. It was one of the two largest houses built in London's largest square during its development in the 17th century, the other being Lindsey House. It is the northernmost house on the western side of the square.The house...

, to prove he was still there. Nonetheless his position was threatened, if the Jacobites were triumphant his estates would likely have been confiscated and he would have been forced into exile.

Newcastle awoke to the threat posed by the Jacobites, much faster than George II or many of his colleagues who dismissed the rebellion as a farce, and organised a response. By late 1745 he had rallied all the southern militias and regular forces, and the Jacobites withdrew to northern Scotland where they were defeat at Culloden
Battle of Culloden
The Battle of Culloden was the final confrontation of the 1745 Jacobite Rising. Taking place on 16 April 1746, the battle pitted the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart against an army commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, loyal to the British government...

 in 1746.

Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle



On the Continent
Continental Europe
Continental Europe, also referred to as mainland Europe or simply the Continent, is the continent of Europe, explicitly excluding European islands....

 the British continued the war effort, but they were now under pressure from the Dutch Republic
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

 to make peace with the French. The Dutch feared that the French were about launch a devastating onslaught to overrun their country. Newcastle considered that any peace that would be made at that time would be extremely disadvantageous to Britain, and he tried to keep the anti-French coalition strong through constant diplomacy and offers of financial subsidies
Golden Cavalry of St George
The Golden Cavalry of St George was the colloquial name of subsidies paid out by the British government to other European states in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, through particularly during the Napoleonic Wars...

.

Talks for a peace settlement were convened in the city of Breda
Breda
Breda is a municipality and a city in the southern part of the Netherlands. The name Breda derived from brede Aa and refers to the confluence of the rivers Mark and Aa. As a fortified city, the city was of strategic military and political significance...

 in 1746. Newcastle was instrumental in securing the appointment of Lord Sandwich as the British representative at the talks, as his views were very close to his own. Sandwich's instructions were principally to delay the talks, until a significant British victory allowed them to negotiate from a position of strength. The Congress of Breda
Congress of Breda
The Congress of Breda often also known as the Breda peace talks were a series of negotiations between representatives of Great Britain and France in the Dutch city of Breda that took place between 1746 and 1748. They were designed to bring an end to the Austrian War of Succession and laid the...

 did not progress well initially, because the participants were not yet fully committed to peace. The Allies continued to do badly, suffering severe defeats at Bergen op Zoom
Siege of Bergen op Zoom (1747)
The Siege of Bergen op Zoom took place during the Austrian War of Succession, when a French army, under the command of Lowendal and the overall direction of Marshal Maurice de Saxe, laid siege and captured the strategic Dutch border fortress of Bergen op Zoom on the border of Brabant and Zealand...

 and Lauffeld
Battle of Lauffeld
The Battle of Lauffeld, also known as the Battle of Lafelt or Battle of Maastricht, also Battle of Val, took place on 2 July 1747, during the French invasion of the Netherlands. It was part of the War of the Austrian Succession...

. Newcastle's brother, Henry, was now strongly advocating peace, but Newcastle firmly rejected this—still convinced a major Allied victory was imminent.

In 1747 Newcastle was involved in organising a coup to put the Prince of Orange
William IV, Prince of Orange
William IV, Prince of Orange-Nassau , born Willem Karel Hendrik Friso, was the first hereditary stadtholder of the Netherlands.-Early life:...

 in power in the Netherlands. Orange was more hard-line and wanted to continue the war with the French. However, he soon had to apply to the British for a massive loan, and Newcastle became aware how close the Dutch were to collapsing altogether. He reluctantly turned towards seeking a peace accommodation with France. He berated himself for his "ignorance, obstinacy and credulity" and half expected his misjudgement in putting so much faith in the Dutch to result in his dismissal, but both the King and the rest of the cabinet retained their faith in him.

To better oversee the peace settlement, Newcastle switched across to the position of Northern Secretary. He secured Sandwich's promotion to the Admiralty although he had wanted him to succeed him as Southern Secretary. During the summer of 1748 Newcastle made his first ever trip outside Britain when he visited Hanover
Hanover
Hanover or Hannover, on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony , Germany and was once by personal union the family seat of the Hanoverian Kings of Great Britain, under their title as the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg...

, and was received with a rapturous reception wherever he went. When the talks got under way they went far more smoothly and in October 1748 the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle
Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748)
The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle of 1748 ended the War of the Austrian Succession following a congress assembled at the Imperial Free City of Aachen—Aix-la-Chapelle in French—in the west of the Holy Roman Empire, on 24 April 1748...

 was formally concluded. Britain would give back Louisbourg to France in exchange for the return of Madras and a full French withdrawal from the Low Countries. The issue of free trade for which Britain had gone to war with Spain in 1739 was not mentioned at all.

Newcastle was immediately attacked by his opponents for giving up Louisbourg, but many of them failed to realise just how weak the British position on the Continent had become. Austria was also deeply unhappy as they felt the British had abandoned them, and hadn't pushed hard enough for Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

 to be returned to them. Nonetheless Newcastle was happy with the terms that had been gained, and observers on the continent were full of praise about the way he had overturned so apparently a disadvantageous situation.

Newcastle's System



Following the peace, Newcastle began to put in practice a policy he had been developing for a very long time. He believed that the stately quadrille
Stately quadrille
The stately quadrille is a term popularly used to describe the constantly shifting alliances between the Great Powers of Europe during the 18th century. The ultimate objective was to maintain the balance of power in Europe, and to stop any one alliance or country becoming too strong...

, which had seen states continually shifting alliances, had been unstable and led to repeated wars. He instead wanted to use vigorous diplomacy to create a lasting peace, built around a strong and stable British alliance with Austria. Like many Whigs he saw maintaining the European Balance of Power
European balance of power
The Balance of Power in Europe is an international relations concept that applies historically and currently to the nations of Europe...

 as essential. He described this process as 'restoring the Old System', but it was popularly known as the Newcastle System.

He came under continuous attack from Pitt and the Patriot Whigs
Patriot Whigs
The Patriot Whigs and, later Patriot Party, was a group within the Whig party in Great Britain from 1725 to 1803. The group was formed in opposition to the ministry of Robert Walpole in the House of Commons in 1725, when William Pulteney and seventeen other Whigs joined with the Tory party in...

 who despised his European policy, pointing to their belief that the previous war had shown that increasingly North America was the most important theatre of war. They mocked Newcastle for his perceived lack of vision, ignoring the complex nature of European politics and Britain's relationship with Hanover and the fact that as early as 1740 Newcastle had been aware of the expanding power of the American colonies
British America
For American people of British descent, see British American.British America is the anachronistic term used to refer to the territories under the control of the Crown or Parliament in present day North America , Central America, the Caribbean, and Guyana...

.

Newcastle remained extremely attentive to the Austrian Alliance. He spent several years trying to secure the election of Maria Theresa's
Maria Theresa of Austria
Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg. She was the sovereign of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Mantua, Milan, Lodomeria and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands and Parma...

 son, the future Emperor Joseph II
Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor
Joseph II was Holy Roman Emperor from 1765 to 1790 and ruler of the Habsburg lands from 1780 to 1790. He was the eldest son of Empress Maria Theresa and her husband, Francis I...

, as King of the Romans
King of the Romans
King of the Romans was the title used by the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire following his election to the office by the princes of the Kingdom of Germany...

, a title of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 that carried enormous prestige but little real power—only to see this scheme fail because of Austrian indifference. During these years there were a number of warning signs that all was not well with the alliance, but Newcastle ignored most of them—convinced that neither Austria or Britain had any other serious potential allies to turn to. Referring to the election, Newcastle believed that if his scheme failed "France and Prussia will dictate to all the world". He managed to broker a comrpromise at a Congress of Hanover
Congress of Hanover
The Congress of Hanover took place in the Electorate of Hanover in 1752. It was convened by the British government who wished to agree up a schedule for the election of the next Holy Roman Emperor. All of the eight voting German electors were invited to attend, as was a representative of France...

 whereby he had secured the election of Joseph. His triumph at the Congress were soon undermined by his failure to secure Austrian backing.

During these years he managed to successfully outmanoeuvre the Duke of Bedford
John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford
John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford KG, PC, FRS was an 18th century British statesman. He was the fourth son of Wriothesley Russell, 2nd Duke of Bedford, by his wife, Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of John Howland of Streatham, Surrey...

, engineering his resignation and the dismissal of Lord Sandwich who Newcastle had now begun to consider a dangerously ambitious rival. The ease with which he did this demonstrated his total control of British politics, as Bedford led a strong faction. He had, however, made a significant enemy who would later try to undermine Newcastle.

In 1752 he made a rare trip abroad, accompanying George II on his annual trip to Hanover
Hanover
Hanover or Hannover, on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony , Germany and was once by personal union the family seat of the Hanoverian Kings of Great Britain, under their title as the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg...

. During the visit, Newcastle made an attempt to cultivate Lord North, a future Prime Minister, as an ally into his political faction. He was unsuccessful although the two became good friends, and North later spoke out in defence of Newcastle.

On Henry Pelham's death in 6 March 1754, Newcastle succeeded him as Prime Minister. He had initially hoped to stay in his role as Northern Secretary as he much preferred foreign affairs, but he was persuaded there was no other serious candidate and accepted the seals of office from the King in March.

Prime Minister – first term



Newcastle's first task was to select someone to represent the government in the Commons
Leader of the House of Commons
The Leader of the House of Commons is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom who is responsible for arranging government business in the House of Commons...

. To great surprise he rejected the favourites William Pitt
William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham
William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham PC was a British Whig statesman who led Britain during the Seven Years' War...

 and Henry Fox
Henry Fox
Henry Fox may refer to:* Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland , British politician of the eighteenth century* Henry Edward Fox , British Army general* Henry Vassall-Fox, 3rd Baron Holland...

, and chose Sir Thomas Robinson—who had barely even been considered a candidate by most. Newcastle was largely instrumental in appointing men considered slightly weaker, so that he could dominate them. Both Pitt and Fox bore a grudge over this perceived slight, and stepped up their attacks on the Ministry.

During 1754 Newcastle oversaw a general election, largely adopting the electoral strategy drawn up by his brother, and winning a large majority. His own personal ability to have MPs elected on his slate reached new heights. He now felt emboldened enough to try and push through some financial reforms. He proposed measures to reduce the amount of interest paid to the Bank of England
Bank of England
The Bank of England is the central bank of the United Kingdom and the model on which most modern central banks have been based. Established in 1694, it is the second oldest central bank in the world...

 on the National Debt. His decision to do so may partly have been to deflect criticism that he was not sufficiently qualified on financial matters to control the Treasury. At the same time he was still largely directing foreign policy and that was where his main emphasis was.

America



The rivalry between Britain and France in North America had been growing for some time. Both coveted the Ohio Country
Ohio Country
The Ohio Country was the name used in the 18th century for the regions of North America west of the Appalachian Mountains and in the region of the upper Ohio River south of Lake Erie...

 which offered enormous potential for a new wealthy colony to be founded. Both nations sent military forces to occupy the territory. While the British set up the first initial post, they were driven out by a French expedition in 1754. Many wealthy Americans agitated for military action, but the preparations of the individual colonies for conflict were poor. There was pressure in London too from Patriot Whigs
Patriot Whigs
The Patriot Whigs and, later Patriot Party, was a group within the Whig party in Great Britain from 1725 to 1803. The group was formed in opposition to the ministry of Robert Walpole in the House of Commons in 1725, when William Pulteney and seventeen other Whigs joined with the Tory party in...

 who felt the time was ripe for British America
British America
For American people of British descent, see British American.British America is the anachronistic term used to refer to the territories under the control of the Crown or Parliament in present day North America , Central America, the Caribbean, and Guyana...

 to expand into the interior.

For 1755 a major expedition
Braddock expedition
The Braddock expedition, also called Braddock's campaign or, more commonly, Braddock's Defeat, was a failed British military expedition which attempted to capture the French Fort Duquesne in the summer of 1755 during the French and Indian War. It was defeated at the Battle of the Monongahela on...

 was planned against the French in America. A force of British regulars would be sent to seize Ohio, while another of New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 provincials would take control of Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

. A new Commander in Chief Edward Braddock
Edward Braddock
General Edward Braddock was a British soldier and commander-in-chief for the 13 colonies during the actions at the start of the French and Indian War...

 would be appointed to oversee this, taking over from the fractious efforts of the colonial assemblies. The architect of this scheme was the Duke of Cumberland, who held enormous political sway at the time. Braddock was a favourite of his, though Newcastle had his doubts about both Braddock and the plans. Newcastle had temporary made an alliance with Henry Fox
Henry Fox
Henry Fox may refer to:* Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland , British politician of the eighteenth century* Henry Edward Fox , British Army general* Henry Vassall-Fox, 3rd Baron Holland...

, who he also disliked. Fox was a strong supporter of the campaign, forcing Newcastle's hand.

A few months after arriving in America, Braddock's force were engulfed by disaster. Attacked by a mixed force of French and American Natives in the wilderness, more than half were killed, including Braddock. The remainder retreated back to Philadelphia, leaving the French in full control of the interior. The Nova Scotia scheme had been more successful, but the Great Expulsion that had followed in its wake had created a large amount of problem for Newcastle.

All these events had taken place without war being formally declared. With the decline in the American situation, Newcastle was forced to abandon his plans for financial reform, as the money would instead need to be spent on military forces.

Loss of Minorca



While Newcastle had been paying attention to the American campaign, more pressing events in Europe demanded his attention.
Austria had been growing increasingly wary, feeding into a long-standing belief that the British would abandon them when it came to crucial moments. Newcastle's worst fears were confirmed in 1756 when Austria concluded an alliance with France, suddenly throwing the whole balance of power in Europe askew
Diplomatic Revolution
The Diplomatic Revolution of 1756 is a term applied to the reversal of longstanding diplomatic alliances which were upheld until the War of the Austrian Succession and then reversed in the Seven Years' War; the shift has also been known as "the great change of partners"...

.

Newcastle had hoped to prevent the outbreak of a major war in Europe by encircling France with hostile powers. He believed this would both deter them from attacking their neighbours and from sending reinforcements to North America. He thought that the only way war could happen now was if Frederick the Great unilaterally attacked Austria which, given the clear disparity in numbers, he would be a "madman" to do. Newcastle hoped he had managed to avert war in Europe, but in 1756 Frederick invaded Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

 triggering the major European war Newcastle had feared and failed to prevent. What had begun as a limited war in the Ohio country
Ohio Country
The Ohio Country was the name used in the 18th century for the regions of North America west of the Appalachian Mountains and in the region of the upper Ohio River south of Lake Erie...

 between Britain and France now took on global proportions.

Newcastle was widely blamed for Britain's poor start to the Seven Years War and in November 1756 he was replaced by the Duke of Devonshire
William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire
William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire, KG, PC , styled Lord Cavendish before 1729 and Marquess of Hartington between 1729 and 1755, was a British Whig statesman who was briefly nominal Prime Minister of Great Britain...

. Some had even called for his execution following the loss of Minorca in 1756. Instead the commander of the British fleet John Byng
John Byng
Admiral John Byng was a Royal Navy officer. After joining the navy at the age of thirteen he participated at the Battle of Cape Passaro in 1718. Over the next thirty years he built up a reputation as a solid naval officer and received promotion to Vice-Admiral in 1747...

 was shot after a court-martial, which many considered a smokescreen to protect Newcastle.

For his long services he was created Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne, with remainder to the 9th Earl of Lincoln
Henry Pelham-Clinton, 2nd Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne
thumb|right|"The Return From Shooting" by [[Francis Wheatley |Sir Francis Wheatley]] depicting The Duke of Newcastle, his friend Colonel Litchfield and the Duke's gamekeeper, Mansell along with four Clumber Spaniels....

, who had married his niece Catherine Pelham.

Prime Minister – second term



Return


In July 1757 he again became Prime Minister — as Pitt
William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham
William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham PC was a British Whig statesman who led Britain during the Seven Years' War...

 could not control enough support in parliament. It is often incorrectly stated that Pitt was Prime Minister during the war, when in fact it was Newcastle who held the office. Their relationship grew into a fruitful partnership, and provided a determined leadership that some felt had been lacking for some time.

On paper it was an implausible alliance. Pitt had been a strident critic of Newcastle for years, and they had separate, conflicting visions of strategy. Newcastle's saw Britain's best chance of victory by directing resources to the war on the continent, while Pitt wanted a wholesale shift in policy to concentrate British forces in North America, West Africa and Asia where the French were most vulnerable. In spite of this they shared some views, were both ardent Whigs, and had once before tried to create a political alliance. Newcastle had previously tried to have Pitt appointed Secretary of War in 1745, but George II had vetoed the appointment.

Seven Years War


Ultimately British policies were formed of a mixture of these two views. Newcastle insisted on British involvement on the continent, to tie down French troops while at the same time authorising a number of expeditions against French colonies. As they were successful the expeditions began to grow in number and size. Pitt largely took over control of directing them, while Newcastle signed off on them and made sure that parliament
Parliament of Great Britain
The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by both the Parliament of England and Parliament of Scotland...

 was kept on side by mobilising his control of MPs. However Pitt and Newcastle would discuss strategy along with a small number of other figures such as Hardwicke
Philip Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke
Philip Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke PC was an English lawyer and politician who served as Lord Chancellor. He was a close confidant of the Duke of Newcastle, Prime Minister between 1754 and 1756 and 1757 until 1762....

, Anson
George Anson, 1st Baron Anson
Admiral of the Fleet George Anson, 1st Baron Anson PC, FRS, RN was a British admiral and a wealthy aristocrat, noted for his circumnavigation of the globe and his role overseeing the Royal Navy during the Seven Years' War...

 and Ligonier
Edward Ligonier, 1st Earl Ligonier
Lieutenant General Edward Ligonier, 1st Earl Ligonier KB was a British soldier and courtier. He was the illegitimate son of Col. Francis Augustus Ligonier, the brother of John Ligonier, 1st Earl Ligonier....

.

Newcastle had been deeply concerned by Britain's poor start to the war, particularly by the loss of Minorca
Minorca
Min Orca or Menorca is one of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea belonging to Spain. It takes its name from being smaller than the nearby island of Majorca....

 and the French occupation of key ports in the Austrian Netherlands. To try and boost Britain's position in the Meditarannean he pushed for an invasion of Corsica
Corsica
Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of Italy, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the island of Sardinia....

, then controlled by neutral Genoa
Republic of Genoa
The Most Serene Republic of Genoa |Ligurian]]: Repúbrica de Zêna) was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, as well as Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean....

, to use as a naval base or for a British attack on Ostend
Ostend
Ostend  is a Belgian city and municipality located in the Flemish province of West Flanders. It comprises the boroughs of Mariakerke , Stene and Zandvoorde, and the city of Ostend proper – the largest on the Belgian coast....

 to drive the French out. Pitt was alarmed that either of these prospects would lead Britain into conflict with Austria or Genoa who they were not at war with. Instead, to placate Newcastle and George II, Pitt agreed to send a British contingent to fight in Germany in 1758.

Success



From 1758 Pitt began despatching expeditions around the world to seize French colonies. In 1758 they captured Senegal
Senegal
Senegal , officially the Republic of Senegal , is a country in western Africa. It owes its name to the Sénégal River that borders it to the east and north...

 and Gambia in West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

 and Louisbourg in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

. He planned to intesify this the following year by despatching large expeditions to the West Indies and Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. In order to do this Pitt stripped the British Isles
British Isles
The British Isles are a group of islands off the northwest coast of continental Europe that include the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and over six thousand smaller isles. There are two sovereign states located on the islands: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and...

 of troops and ships which caused Newcastle to worry that they were ill-defended. His fears increased when the British received intelligence of French plans to launch an invasion of the Britain
Planned French Invasion of Britain (1759)
A French invasion of Great Britain was planned to take place in 1759 during the Seven Years' War, but due to various factors including naval defeats at the Battle of Lagos and the Battle of Quiberon Bay was never launched. The French planned to land 100,000 French soldiers in Britain to end British...

. Pitt was determined to press ahead with that year's plans, but agreed to lessen the scale of colonial expeditions for 1760, as he expected that 1759 would provide a knock-out blow to the French war effort.

Newcastle had retained his previous belief that Britain needed to create as broad a coalition as possible, and that events in Europe rather than the Americas would be decisive, and to this end he attempted to persuade a number of different states to join the anti-French alliance. He was largely unsuccessful, as the Dutch, Danes, Portuguese remained neutral while Sweden and Russia joined the French and Austrians in attacking Prussia. In the absence of this, he authorised large sums to be paid as subsidies to the Prussians, who were fighting two countries whose land forces dwarfed their own.

One of his greatest personal achievements in the years was his use of diplomacy to keep Spain out of the war until 1762, by which time it was too late to severely alter the balance of the war. In 1759 he and Pitt organised Britain's defences against a planned French invasion which failed because of British naval victories at Lagos
Battle of Lagos
The naval Battle of Lagos between Britain and France took place on August 19, 1759 during the Seven Years' War off the coasts of Spain and Portugal, and is named after Lagos, Portugal. For the British, it was part of the Annus Mirabilis of 1759.-Origins:...

 and Quiberon
Battle of Quiberon Bay
The naval Battle of Quiberon Bay took place on 20 November 1759 during the Seven Years' War in Quiberon Bay, off the coast of France near St. Nazaire...

.

Dismissal


Under this "Broad bottom government
Broad bottom government
In 18th century British politics, the broad bottom government is a government with cross-party appeal, according to John Stuart Shaw, "The Political History of Eighteenth-century Scotland", 1999, when he describes the time of the Seven Years' War.When William Pitt and the Duke of Newcastle joined...

", Britain became famous abroad, but it gradually fell before the affection of the new King, George III
George III of the United Kingdom
George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death...

 — for Lord Bute
John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute
John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute KG, PC , styled Lord Mount Stuart before 1723, was a Scottish nobleman who served as Prime Minister of Great Britain under George III, and was arguably the last important favourite in British politics...

, who, after supplanting Pitt, became Prime Minister in place of Newcastle in May 1762. George III had described Pitt as a "snake in the grass" and Newcastle as a "Knave". Despite the undeniably competent prosecution of the war, the new King did not trust either man with the future of Britain and cast them both into opposition. It marked arguably the last occasion on which a British monarch was able to remove a Prime Minister purely because of personal animosity, a privilege that would in future be entirely ceded to parliament. As Bute was a Tory, it marked the end of the Whig monopoly on government which had lasted since the Hanoverian Succession in 1714.

Later years



Opposition



The Duke went into strong opposition, and lost his two Lord-Lieutenancies for opposing the peace of 1763. Along with Pitt he felt the terms of peace were overly generous to France and Spain, considering the position of strength the British held. A number of the territories captured during the war were handed back, through the French presence had been effectively destroyed for good in Canada and India.

He spent much of his time at his house at Claremont
Claremont (country house)
Claremont, also known historically as 'Clermont', is an 18th-century Palladian mansion situated less than a mile south of Esher in Surrey, England...

, which he considered one of his finest achievements. Newcastle had been in government for almost forty five continuous years, and he initially enjoyed the new freedom that opposition gave him.

Final return


In 1765 he became Lord Privy Seal
Lord Privy Seal
The Lord Privy Seal is the fifth of the Great Officers of State in the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord President of the Council and above the Lord Great Chamberlain. The office is one of the traditional sinecure offices of state...

 in the government of Lord Rockingham
Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham
Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham, KG, PC , styled The Hon. Charles Watson-Wentworth before 1733, Viscount Higham between 1733 and 1746, Earl of Malton between 1746 and 1750 and The Earl Malton in 1750, was a British Whig statesman, most notable for his two terms as Prime...

. Rockingham shared many similarities with Newcastle, and the two men were both wealthy Whig grandees. Newcastle was at one point offered the position of Southern Secretary by the King, but turned it down. He lasted in this post for a few months before the government collapsed, to be replaced by that of the Duke of Grafton
Duke of Grafton
Duke of Grafton is a title in the Peerage of England. It was created in 1675 by Charles II of England for his 2nd illegitimate son by the Duchess of Cleveland, Henry FitzRoy...

.

Retirement


He remained in active opposition, although he accepted he would not hold office again. He continued to wield enormous patronage and influence, but his health was fast giving way, and he died in November 1768. In his final few months he had counselled against the coercive acts on British America
British America
For American people of British descent, see British American.British America is the anachronistic term used to refer to the territories under the control of the Crown or Parliament in present day North America , Central America, the Caribbean, and Guyana...

. After his death Claremont was sold to Robert Clive who had made his name in the Seven Years War.

The Duke was industrious and energetic, and to his credit be it said that the statesman who almost monopolised the patronage of office for half a century twice refused a pension, and finally left office £300,000 poorer than he entered it.

Legacy and popular culture


Newcastle was widely caricatured, often being portrayed as a muddle-headed buffoon who struggled to understand the business of government. He was one of the most ridiculed politicians of the 18th century. A common and widely circulated example of his cluelessness is his reported response to being told that Annapolis
Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia
Annapolis Royal is a town located in the western part of Annapolis County, Nova Scotia. Known as Port Royal until the Conquest of Acadia in 1710 by Britain, the town is the oldest continuous European settlement in North America, north of St...

 needed to be defended, to which Newcastle allegedly replied "Annapolis! Oh yes, Annapolis must be defended, to be sure. Annapolis must be defended—where is Annapolis?".

Historical opinion has generally been divided, with some historians drawing the conclusion that he was unfit for his office, while others regard him as a shrewd political operator, who subtly navigated the complex European State System of the 18th century. He is both praised and criticised as being perhaps the greatest "machine politics" operator of the 18th century, who commanded immense voting strength in parliament. He could often organise majorities in the House of Commons for seemingly perplexing, unpopular and absurd policies of the government.

Generally praise for Britain's victory in the Seven Years War has gone to Pitt rather than Newcastle, despite the fact it was he who officially headed the government. Traditionally accounts of the war have portrayed Pitt as a visionary who won the war by reversing Newcastle's previous unwise policy of focusing on European affairs. Others have defended Newcastle by contrasting his 'continental policy' with the failure of Lord North to gather European allies during the American War of Independence which led to Britain's eventual defeat.

He was portrayed in the novel Humphrey Clinker by Tomias Smellet as a bungling fool, ignorant of all geography, who is convinced that Cape Breton
Cape Breton Island
Cape Breton Island is an island on the Atlantic coast of North America. It likely corresponds to the word Breton, the French demonym for Brittany....

 is not an island. Newcastle was played in the 1948 film Bonnie Prince Charlie by G.H. Mulcaster
G.H. Mulcaster
G.H. Mulcaster was a British actor. He was the father of the actor Michael Mulcaster.-Selected filmography:* Mist in the Valley * The Squire of Long Hadley * A Girl of London * The Wonderful Wooing...

. He also features in the British television series City of Vice
City of Vice
City of Vice is a British historical crime drama television series set in Georgian London and was first screened on 14 January 2008 on Channel 4. It is produced by Touchpaper Television part of the RDF Media Group. The series mixes fiction with fact following the fortunes of the famous novelist...

which covers the early years of the Bow Street Runners
Bow Street Runners
The Bow Street Runners have been called London's first professional police force. The force was founded in 1749 by the author Henry Fielding and originally numbered just six. Bow Street runners was the public's nickname for these officers, "although the officers never referred to themselves as...

.

Family


In 1718 the Duke married Lady Harriet Godolphin, daughter of the 2nd Earl of Godolphin
Francis Godolphin, 2nd Earl of Godolphin
Francis Godolphin, 2nd Earl of Godolphin, PC was a British politician, styled Viscount Rialton between 1706 and 1712.-Biography:...

 and granddaughter of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, Prince of Mindelheim, KG, PC , was an English soldier and statesman whose career spanned the reigns of five monarchs through the late 17th and early 18th centuries...

. The Duchess suffered from poor health and the couple had no children.

In 1731, at Houghton Hall
Houghton Hall
Houghton Hall is a country house in Norfolk, England. It was built for the de facto first British Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, and it is a key building in the history of Palladian architecture in England...

, Sir Robert Walpole's country house in Norfolk
Norfolk
Norfolk is a low-lying county in the East of England. It has borders with Lincolnshire to the west, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea coast and to the north-west the county is bordered by The Wash. The county...

, the Duke, with the Duke of Lorraine
Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
Francis I was Holy Roman Emperor and Grand Duke of Tuscany, though his wife effectively executed the real power of those positions. With his wife, Maria Theresa, he was the founder of the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty...

 (later the Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

), was made a Master Mason by the Grand Master, Lord Lovell, at an Occasional Lodge. In 1739, at the creation of London's Foundling Hospital
Foundling Hospital
The Foundling Hospital in London, England was founded in 1741 by the philanthropic sea captain Thomas Coram. It was a children's home established for the "education and maintenance of exposed and deserted young children." The word "hospital" was used in a more general sense than it is today, simply...

, he acted as one of the charity's founding governors.

Succession


With the prospect that the dukedom of Newcastle upon Tyne would become extinct once again, King George II
George II of Great Britain
George II was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Archtreasurer and Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 until his death.George was the last British monarch born outside Great Britain. He was born and brought up in Northern Germany...

 also created the Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne in 1756, with a special remainder for inheritance through his nephew, the 9th Earl of Lincoln
Henry Pelham-Clinton, 2nd Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne
thumb|right|"The Return From Shooting" by [[Francis Wheatley |Sir Francis Wheatley]] depicting The Duke of Newcastle, his friend Colonel Litchfield and the Duke's gamekeeper, Mansell along with four Clumber Spaniels....

.

In addition, in 1762 he was also created Baron Pelham of Stanmer, with inheritance to his cousin and male heir, Thomas Pelham
Thomas Pelham, 1st Earl of Chichester
Thomas Pelham, 1st Earl of Chichester PC , known as the Lord Pelham of Stanmer from 1768 to 1801, was a British Whig politician.Pelham was the son of Thomas Pelham and his wife Annetta, daughter of Thomas Bridges...

.

On his death in 1768, the title Baron Pelham of Stanmer, together with the bulk of the Pelham estates in Sussex and the Duke's private papers, were left to Thomas, who was later created Earl of Chichester
Earl of Chichester
Earl of Chichester is a title that has been created three times in British history. It was created for the first time in the Peerage of England in 1644 when Francis Leigh, 1st Baron Dunsmore, was made Earl of Chichester, in the County of Sussex, with remainder to his son-in-law Thomas Wriothesley,...

.

The Holles/Clare estates, meanwhile, together with his Newcastle dukedom, were inherited by Lord Lincoln, from whom the Duke had by then become estranged.

Titles from birth to death

  • Mr. Thomas Pelham (1693–1706)
  • The Hon. Thomas Pelham (1706–1712)
  • The Rt. Hon. The Lord Pelham (1712–1714)
  • The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Clare (1714–1715)
  • His Grace The Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (1715–1717)
  • His Grace The Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, PC (1717–1718)
  • His Grace The Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, KG, PC (1718–1768)

External links



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