John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby

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For other people named 1st Duke of Buckingham, see 1st Duke of Buckingham (disambiguation).
His Grace
The Duke of Buckingham and Normanby
KG PC
JohnSheffield.jpg
Personal details
Born 8 September 1647
Died 24 February 1721 (aged 73)
Nationality English
Occupation poet, politician

John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby, KG, PC (7 April 1648 – 24 February 1721), was an English poet and notable Tory politician of the late Stuart period, who served as Lord Privy Seal and Lord President of the Council.

Career[edit]

John Sheffield was the only son of Edmund Sheffield, 2nd Earl of Mulgrave, and succeeded his father as 3rd Earl and 5th Baron Sheffield in 1658. At the age of eighteen he joined the fleet, to serve in the Second Anglo-Dutch War; on the renewal of hostilities in 1672 he was present at the Battle of Sole Bay, and in the next year received the command of a ship. He was also made a colonel of infantry, and served for some time under Turenne. He was made a Knight of the Garter in 1674. In 1680 he was put in charge of an expedition sent to relieve the town of Tangier. It was said that he was provided with a rotten ship in the hope that he would not return, but the reason of this abortive plot, if plot there was, is not exactly ascertained. At court he took the side of the Duke of York, and helped to bring about Monmouth's disgrace.

In 1682 he was dismissed from the court, apparently for putting himself forward as a suitor for the Princess Anne, but on the accession of King James II, he received a seat in the Privy Council, and was made Lord Chamberlain. (He later married Catherine, the daughter of the king's mistress, Catherine Sedley). He supported James in his most unpopular measures, and stayed with him in London during the time of his flight. He also protected the Spanish ambassador from the dangerous anger of the mob. He acquiesced, however, in the "Glorious Revolution", and in 1694 was made Marquess of Normanby. In 1696 he refused in company with other Tory peers to sign an agreement to support William as their "rightful and lawful king" against Jacobite attempts, and was consequently dismissed from the privy council. On the accession of Queen Anne, of whom he was a personal favourite, he was appointed Lord Privy Seal and Lord Lieutenant of the North Riding of Yorkshire, and in 1703 was created Duke of Buckingham and Normanby.

During the predominance of the Whigs between 1705 and 1710, Buckingham was deprived of his office as Lord Privy Seal, but in 1710 he was made Lord Steward, and in 1711 Lord President of the Council. After Queen Anne's death he was not reappointed. He died on 24 February 1721 at his house in St. James's Park, on the site of the present Buckingham Palace. Buckingham was succeeded by his son, Edmund (1716–1735), on whose death the titles became extinct.

Poetry[edit]

Buckingham, who is better known by his inherited titles as Lord Mulgrave, was the author of An Account of the Revolution and some other essays, and of numerous poems, among them the Essay on Poetry and the Essay on Satire. It is probable that the Essay on Satire, which attacked many notable persons, "sauntering Charles" amongst others, was circulated in MS. It was often attributed at the time to Dryden, who accordingly suffered a thrashing at the hands of Rochester's bravoes for the reflections it contained upon the earl. Mulgrave was a patron of Dryden, who may possibly have revised it, but was certainly not responsible, although it is commonly printed with his works. Mulgrave adapted Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, breaking it up into two plays, Julius Caesar and Marcus Brutus. He introduced choruses between the acts, two of these being written by Pope, and an incongruous love scene between Brutus and Portia. He was a constant friend and patron of Pope, who expressed a flattering opinion of his Essay on Poetry. This, although smoothly enough written, deals chiefly with commonplaces.

In 1721 Edmund Curl published a pirated edition of his works, and was brought before the bar of the House of Lords for breach of privilege accordingly. An authorized edition under the superintendence of Pope appeared in 1723, but the authorities cut out the Account of the Revolution and The Feast of the Gods on account of their alleged Jacobite tendencies. These were printed at the Hague in 1727. Pope disingenuously repudiated any knowledge of the contents. Other editions reappeared in 1723, 1726, 1729, 1740 and 1753. His Poems were included in Johnson's and other editions of the British poets.

Marriage and children[edit]

  • He married, firstly, Ursula Stawell (d. 13 August 1697), daughter of George Stawell and Ursula Austen, on 18 March 1685 in Littlecote Chapel, Ramsbury, Wiltshire, England.
  • He had an illegitimate daughter:
  1. Mary Sheffield (bef. 1692 – 26 October 1729), married as his second wife Arthur Annesley, 4th Baron Altham 1706; parents of James Annesley.
  • He had two illegitimate children with his mistress Frances Stewart, wife of Oliver Lambart:
  1. Sir Charles Herbert Sheffield, 1st Baronet (1704–1774) founder of the Sheffield baronets
  2. Katharine Sophia Sheffield (1705–13 January 1780)
  1. John Sheffield, Marquess of Normanby (26 September 1710 – 16 December 1710)
  2. Robert Sheffield, Marquess of Normanby (11 December 1711 – 1 February 1714)
  3. Edmund Sheffield, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and Normanby (11 January 1716 – 30 October 1735)

References[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Ailesbury
Lord Chamberlain
1685–1689
Succeeded by
The Earl of Dorset
Preceded by
In Commission
Lord Privy Seal
1702–1705
Succeeded by
The Duke of Newcastle
Preceded by
The Duke of Devonshire
Lord Steward
1710–1711
Succeeded by
The Earl Poulett
Preceded by
The Earl of Rochester
Lord President of the Council
1711–1714
Succeeded by
The Earl of Nottingham
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Walter Vane
Colonel of The Holland Regiment
1673–1682
Succeeded by
The Earl of Chesterfield
Preceded by
The Duke of Monmouth
Governor of Kingston-upon-Hull
1679–1682
Succeeded by
The Earl of Plymouth
Preceded by
The Earl of Chesterfield
Colonel of The Holland Regiment
1684–1685
Succeeded by
Theophilus Oglethorpe
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Duke of Monmouth
Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire
1679–1682
Succeeded by
The Duke of Somerset
Preceded by
Sir John Hotham, Bt
Custos Rotulorum of the East Riding of Yorkshire
1680–1682
Preceded by
The Duke of Somerset
Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire
1687–1688
Succeeded by
The 2nd Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Custos Rotulorum of the East Riding of Yorkshire
1687–1689
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Carmarthen
Vacant
Title last held by
The Earl of Mulgrave
Vice-Admiral of Yorkshire
1659
Vacant
Vacant Vice-Admiral of Yorkshire
1669–1692
Succeeded by
The Viscount of Irvine
Vacant
Title last held by
The Earl of Carlisle
Vice-Admiral of Durham
1687–1689
Succeeded by
The Viscount Lumley
Vice-Admiral of Northumberland
1687–1689
Preceded by
The Viscount of Irvine
Lord Lieutenant of the North Riding of Yorkshire
1702–1705
Succeeded by
The 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Preceded by
The 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Lord Lieutenant of the North Riding of Yorkshire
1711–1714
Succeeded by
The Earl of Holderness
Preceded by
The Duke of Bedford
Lord Lieutenant of Middlesex
1711–1714
Succeeded by
The Earl of Clare
Custos Rotulorum of Middlesex
1711–1714
Peerage of England
New creation Duke of Buckingham and Normanby
1703–1721
Succeeded by
Edmund Sheffield
Marquess of Normanby
1694–1721
Preceded by
Edmund Sheffield
Earl of Mulgrave
1658–1721