Sir William Yonge, 4th Baronet
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He was the son and heir of Sir Walter Yonge, 3rd Baronet, and a great-great-grandson of Walter Yonge (1579–1649), a lawyer, merchant and notable diarist, whose diaries (1604–45) are valuable material for the contemporary history of Great Britain.
In 1722 he was elected to Parliament as member for his family's Rotten Borough of Honiton, in Devon. He succeeded his father, the 3rd Baronet, in 1731. In the House of Commons he attached himself to the Whigs, and making himself useful to Sir Robert Walpole, was rewarded with a commissionership of the Treasury in 1724. King George II, who conceived a strong antipathy to Sir William, spoke of him as "Stinking Yonge"; but Yonge obtained a commissionership of the Admiralty in 1728, was restored to the Treasury in 1730, and in 1735 became Secretary at War. He distinguished himself especially in his defence of the Government against a hostile motion by Pulteney in 1742. Making friends with the Pelhams, he was appointed Vice-Treasurer of Ireland in 1746. Acting on the committee of management for the impeachment of Lord Lovat in 1747, he won the applause of Horace Walpole by moving that prisoners impeached for high treason should be allowed the assistance of counsel. In 1748 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. He was a founding Governor of the Foundling Hospital, which worked to alleviate the scourge of child abandonment.
He enjoyed some reputation as a versifier, some of his lines being even mistaken for the work of Pope, greatly to the disgust of the latter. He wrote the lyrics incorporated in a comic opera, adapted from Richard Brome's The Jovial Crew, which was produced at the Drury Lane Theatre in 1730 and had a considerable success.
Marriages & progeny
By his second wife, Anne Howard, a daughter and coheiress of Thomas Howard, 6th Baron Howard of Effingham, he had two sons and six daughters.
He died at his seat of Escot, near Honiton, on 10 August 1755.
- Yonge family genealogy site
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Yonge, Sir William". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Sir William Yonge at the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive (ECPA)
- "Yonge, William". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
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