Lord John Cavendish

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The Right Honourable
Lord John Cavendish
Lord John Cavendish after Sir Joshua Reynolds.jpg
Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
27 March 1782 – 10 July 1782
Monarch George III
Prime Minister The Marquess of Rockingham
Preceded by Lord North
Succeeded by Rt. Hon. William Pitt the Younger
In office
2 April 1783 – 19 December 1783
Monarch George III
Prime Minister The Duke of Portland
Preceded by Rt. Hon. William Pitt the Younger
Succeeded by Rt. Hon. William Pitt the Younger
Personal details
Born (1732-10-22)22 October 1732
Died 18 December 1796(1796-12-18) (aged 64)
Nationality British
Political party Whig

Lord John Cavendish PC (22 October 1732 – 18 December 1796) was a British politician.

Background[edit]

Cavendish was the youngest son of William Cavendish, 3rd Duke of Devonshire, and his wife Catherine, daughter of John Hoskins. Prime Minister William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire, Lord George Cavendish and Field Marshal Lord Frederick Cavendish were his elder brothers. He was educated in Hackney and at Peterhouse, Cambridge.[1]

Political career[edit]

He served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1782 and 1783, and was sworn of the Privy Council in 1782. He was a supporter of Lord Rockingham, and subsequently of the Fox-North Coalition that brought the Duke of Portland to power. He lost his seat in the election of 1784, when the coalition fell, and did not return to the House of Commons until 1794, in the family seat of Derbyshire.

Family[edit]

Cavendish died in December 1796, aged 64.

Legacy[edit]

Cavendish's friend Edmund Burke penned several eulogies of him after his death: "The world never produced a more upright and honourable mind; with very considerable talents, and a still more considerable improvement of them".[2]

There is lost to the world, in every thing but the example of his life the fairest mind that perhaos ever infor'd a human body. A mind totally free from every Vice, and fill'd with Virtues of all kinds, and in each kind of no common rank or form; benevolent, friendly, generous, disinterested, unambitious almost to a fault; Tho' cold in his exterior, he was inwardly quick and full of feeling, and tho' reserv'd from modesty, from dignity, from family temperament and not from design, he was an entire stranger to every thing false and counterfeit: so great an Enemy to all dissimulation active or passive, and indeed even to a fair and just ostentation, that some of his Virtues, obscur'd by his other Virtues, wanted something of that burnish and lustre which those who know how to assay the solidity and fineness of the metal wish'd them to have. It were to be wish'd that he had had more of that Vanity of which we who acted on the same stage had enough and to spare. I have known very few men of better natural Parts, and none more perfected by every species of elegant and usefull erudition. He served the publick often out of Office, sometimes in it, with Fidelity, and diligence, and when the occasion call'd for it, with a manly resolution. At length when he was overborne by the Torrent, he retir'd from a world that certainly was not worthy of him. He was of a character that seems as if it were peculiar to this Country. He was exactly what we conceive an English Nobleman of the old Stamp, and one born in better times.[3]

Sir Nathaniel Wraxall in his Memoirs sketched Cavendish's character:

Lord John Cavendish was listened to, whenever he rose, with...deference or predilection. His near alliance to the Duke of Devonshire; his very name, connected with the Revolution of 1688, which secured the liberties of Great Britain; his unblemished reputation, and his talents, though very moderate;—all these qualities combined to impress with esteem, even those who differed most from him in political opinion. Nature had in the most legible characters stamped honesty on his countenance.[4]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Cavendish, Lord John (CVNS749LJ)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  2. ^ R. B. McDowell and John A. Woods (eds.), The Correspondence of Edmund Burke. Volume IX: Part One. May 1796-July 1797. Part Two. Additional and Undated Letters (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970), p. 202.
  3. ^ McDowell and Woods, pp. 213-214.
  4. ^ Sir Nathaniel William Wraxall, Historical Memoirs of My Own Time. Part the First, from 1772 to 1780. Part the Second, from 1781 to 1784 (London: Kegan Paul, 1904), pp. 364-365.

References[edit]

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Welbore Ellis
George Dodington
Edward Hungate Beaghan
Lord George Augustus Cavendish
Member of Parliament for Weymouth and Melcombe Regis
1754–1761
with Welbore Ellis
George Bubb Dodington
John Tucker
Succeeded by
John Tucker
Sir Francis Dashwood, Bt
John Olmius
Richard Glover
Preceded by
Sir Henry Slingsby, Bt
Hon. Robert Walsingham
Member of Parliament for Knaresborough
1761–1768
with Sir Henry Slingsby, Bt 1761–1763
Sir Anthony Abdy, Bt 1763–1768
Succeeded by
Sir Anthony Abdy, Bt
Hon. Robert Walsingham
Preceded by
Sir George Armytage
Robert Lane
Member of Parliament for York
1768–1784
with Charles Turner 1768–1783
The Viscount Galway 1783–1784
Succeeded by
Richard Slater Milnes
The Viscount Galway
Preceded by
Lord George Augustus Cavendish
Edward Miller Mundy
Member of Parliament for Derbyshire
1794–1796
with Edward Miller Mundy
Succeeded by
Edward Miller Mundy
Lord George Cavendish
Political offices
Preceded by
Lord North
Chancellor of the Exchequer
1782
Succeeded by
William Pitt
Preceded by
William Pitt
Chancellor of the Exchequer
1783
Succeeded by
William Pitt