Sir William Yonge, 4th Baronet

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Arms of Yonge: Ermine, on a bend cotised sable three griffin's heads erased or

Sir William Yonge, 4th Baronet (c. 1693 – 10 August 1755), KCB FRS PC, of Escot House in the parish of Talaton in Devon, was an English politician.

Origins[edit]

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.

Career[edit]

In 1722 he was elected to Parliament as member for his family's Rotten Borough of Honiton, in Devon. 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. He was created KB in 1725.

Escot House, Devon

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 succeeded his father, the 3rd Baronet, in 1731, taking possession of Escot House near Ottery St Mary, Devon, which had been built by his father.

Literary career[edit]

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[edit]

He married in 1716, Mary, the daughter of Samuel Heathcote of Hackney, from whom he was divorced in 1724. At this point they had lived for some time apart and Yonge had a number of extramarital affairs. But when he found out his wife had a lover, too, he took the opportunity to sue his wife's lover for damages, and then as the result of the divorce proceedings he got his wife's dowry and a greater part of her fortune. The case was the inspiration for Lady Mary Montagu to write a poem "Epistle from Mrs Yonge to Her Husband", protesting against the sexual double standard of her era. [1]

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.

Death[edit]

He died at his seat of Escot, near Honiton, on 10 August 1755. he was succeeded in his title and estates by his eldest son Sir George Yonge, 5th Baronet.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lipking, Lawrence. Abandoned Women and Poetic Tradition, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1988, p. 10. Google Books

External links[edit]

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Sir William Drake
James Sheppard
Member of Parliament for Honiton
1715–1754
With: Sir William Courtenay 1715–1716
Sir William Pole, Bt 1716–1727, 1731–1734
James Sheppard 1727–1731
William Courtenay 1734–1741
Henry Reginald Courtenay 1741–1747
John Duke 1747–1754
Succeeded by
Henry Reginald Courtenay
George Yonge
Preceded by
Arthur Arscott
George Deane
Member of Parliament for Tiverton
1727–1728
With: Arthur Arscott
Succeeded by
Arthur Arscott
James Nelthorpe
Preceded by
Arthur Arscott
Sir Dudley Ryder
Member of Parliament for Tiverton
1747
With: Sir Dudley Ryder
Succeeded by
Sir Dudley Ryder
Henry Conyngham
Preceded by
Sir Dudley Ryder
Henry Conyngham
Member of Parliament for Tiverton
1754–1755
With: Henry Pelham
Succeeded by
Henry Pelham
Thomas Ryder
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir William Strickland
Secretary at War
1735–1741
Succeeded by
Thomas Winnington
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven
Custos Rotulorum of Caernarvonshire
1739–1755
Succeeded by
Sir John Wynn, Bt
Baronetage of England
Preceded by
Walter Yonge
Baronet
(of Culliton)
1731–1755
Succeeded by
George Yonge