William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland
The Duke of Portland
|Prime Minister of the United Kingdom|
31 March 1807 – 4 October 1809
|Preceded by||The Lord Grenville|
|Succeeded by||Spencer Perceval|
2 April 1783 – 18 December 1783
|Preceded by||The Earl of Shelburne|
|Succeeded by||William Pitt the Younger|
|Lord President of the Council|
30 July 1801 – 14 January 1805
|Prime Minister||Henry Addington|
William Pitt the Younger
|Preceded by||The Earl of Chatham|
|Succeeded by||Viscount Sidmouth|
11 July 1794 – 30 July 1801
|Prime Minister||William Pitt the Younger|
|Preceded by||Henry Dundas|
|Succeeded by||Lord Pelham|
|Born||14 April 1738|
|Died||30 October 1809 (aged 71)|
Burlington House, Westminster, England
|Resting place||St Marylebone Parish Church|
(m. 1766; died 1794)
|Children||6, including William, 4th Duke; Lord William and Lord Charles|
|Alma mater||Christ Church, Oxford|
William Henry Cavendish Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland, Whig and then a Tory politician during the late Georgian era. He served as Chancellor of the University of Oxford (1792–1809) and twice as the Prime Minister of Great Britain (1783) and then of the United Kingdom (1807–1809). The 24 years between his two terms as Prime Minister is the longest gap between terms of office of any British Prime Minister.(14 April 1738 – 30 October 1809) was a British
Portland was known before 1762 by the courtesy title Marquess of Titchfield. He held a title of every degree of British nobility: duke, marquess, earl, viscount and baron. He is also a great-great-great-grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II through her maternal grandmother, Cecilia Bowes-Lyon, Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne.
Early life and education
Lord Titchfield was the eldest son of William Bentinck, 2nd Duke of Portland and Margaret Cavendish-Harley and inherited many lands from his mother and his maternal grandmother, who was the widow of John Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle. He was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, where he graduated MA in 1757.
Marriage and children
- William Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland (24 June 1768 – 27 March 1854).
- Lord William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck (14 September 1774 – 17 June 1839).
- Lady Charlotte Cavendish-Bentinck (2 October 1775 – 28 July 1862). Married Charles Greville, and they had three sons: Charles Cavendish Fulke Greville, Algernon Greville, and Henry William Greville (1801–1872), and a daughter, Harriet (1803–1870) m. Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere.
- Lady Mary Cavendish-Bentinck (13 March 1779 – 6 November 1843).
- Lord Charles Bentinck (20 May 1780 – 28 April 1826). Paternal grandfather of Cecilia Bowes-Lyon, Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne, grandmother to Queen Elizabeth II; ancestor of the 6th and 7th dukes of Portland, and of Lady Ottoline Morrell.
- Lord Frederick Cavendish-Bentinck (2 November 1781 – 11 February 1828) married Lady Mary Lowther (died 1863), daughter of William Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale, 16 September 1820; had issue: George Cavendish-Bentinck, ancestor of the 8th and 9th dukes of Portland.
- A stillborn baby, birthed at Burlington House on 20 October 1786.
Political and public offices
Portland was elected to sit in the Parliament of Great Britain for Weobley in 1761 before he entered the House of Lords after he succeeded his father as Duke of Portland the next year. He was associated with the aristocratic Whig Party of Lord Rockingham and served as Lord Chamberlain of the Household in Rockingham's first government (1765–1766).
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
Portland served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in Rockingham's second ministry (April–August 1782). He faced strong demands for conciliatory measures following years of coercion and taxation brought about by the British government's engagement in the American Revolutionary War. Portland resolved to make concessions and, overcoming the resistance of Lord Shelburne, the Home Secretary to whom he reported, convinced Parliament to repeal the Declaratory Act and to modify Poynings' Law. Following Rockingham's death, Portland resigned from Lord Shelburne's ministry along with other supporters of Charles James Fox.
In April 1783, Portland was selected as the titular head of a coalition government as Prime Minister, whose real leaders were Charles James Fox and Lord North. He served as First Lord of the Treasury in the ministry until its fall in December that same year. During his tenure, the Treaty of Paris was signed, which formally ended the American Revolutionary War. The government was brought down after it had lost a vote in the House of Lords on its proposed reform of the East India Company after George III had let it be known that any peer voting for the measure would be considered his personal enemy.
In 1789, Portland became one of several vice presidents of London's Foundling Hospital. The charity had become one of the most fashionable of the time, with several notables serving on its board. At its creation, 50 years earlier, Portland's father, William Bentinck, 2nd Duke of Portland, had been one of the founding governors, as listed on the charity's royal charter granted by George II. The hospital had a mission to care for the abandoned children in London, and it achieved rapid fame through its poignant mission, its art collection donated from supporting artists and the popular benefit concerts by George Frideric Handel. In 1793, Portland took over the presidency of the charity from Lord North.
Along with many other conservative Whigs such as Edmund Burke, Portland was deeply uncomfortable with the French Revolution; he broke with Fox over that issue and joined Pitt's government as Secretary of State for the Home Department in 1794. In that role he oversaw the administration of patronage and financial inducements, which were often secret, to secure the passage of the Act of Union 1800. He continued to serve in the cabinet until Pitt's death in 1806, from 1801 to 1805 as Lord President of the Council and then as a Minister without Portfolio.
In March 1807, after the collapse of the Ministry of all the Talents, Pitt's supporters returned to power, and Portland was once again an acceptable figurehead for a fractious group of ministers that included George Canning, Lord Castlereagh, Lord Hawkesbury and Spencer Perceval.
Portland's second government saw the United Kingdom's complete isolation on the continent but also the beginning of its recovery with the start of the Peninsular War. In late 1809, with Portland's health poor and the ministry rocked by the scandalous duel between Canning and Castlereagh, Portland resigned and died shortly thereafter.
He was Recorder of Nottingham until his death.
Death and burial
He had lived expensively: with an income of £17,000 a year (worth £577,000 in 2005), he had debts at his death computed at £52,000 (£1.76 million in 2005), which were paid off by his succeeding son by selling off some property, including Bulstrode.
Along with Sir Robert Peel, Lord Aberdeen, Benjamin Disraeli, William Ewart Gladstone, Marquess of Salisbury, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, Bonar Law and Neville Chamberlain, he was the first of nine British prime ministers to die while his direct successor was in office.
The Portland Vase of Roman glass was given its name because it was owned by Portland at his family residence at Bulstrode Park.
Portland Parish, in Jamaica, was named after him. The Titchfield School, founded in 1786, is in the parish and is also named in his honour. The school's crest is derived from the his personal crest.
North Bentinck Arm and South Bentinck Arm were named for the Bentinck family by George Vancouver in 1793, along with other names on the British Columbia Coast, such as Portland Canal and Portland Channel.
The department of Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham holds a number of papers relating to the him. His personal and political papers (Pw F) are part of the Portland (Welbeck) Collection, and the Portland (London) Collection (Pl) contains his correspondence and official papers, especially in series Pl C.
The Portland Estate Papers held at Nottinghamshire Archives also contain items relating to the 3rd Duke's properties.
The Portland Collection of fine and decorative art includes pieces owned and commissioned by him, including paintings by George Stubbs.
Cabinets as Prime Minister
First Ministry, April – December 1783
- The Duke of Portland—First Lord of the Treasury
- Lord Stormont—Lord President of the Council
- Lord Carlisle—Lord Privy Seal
- Lord North—Secretary of State for the Home Department
- Charles James Fox—Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
- The Viscount Keppel—First Lord of the Admiralty
- Lord John Cavendish—Chancellor of the Exchequer
- The Viscount Townshend—Master-General of the Ordnance
- Lord Northington—Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland
- The Great Seal is in Commission
Second Ministry, March 1807 – October 1809
- The Duke of Portland—First Lord of the Treasury
- Lord Eldon—Lord Chancellor
- Lord Camden—Lord President of the Council
- Lord Westmorland—Lord Privy Seal
- Lord Hawkesbury, after 1808, Lord Liverpool – Secretary of State for the Home Department
- George Canning—Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
- Lord Castlereagh—Secretary of State for War and the Colonies
- Lord Mulgrave—First Lord of the Admiralty
- Spencer Perceval—Chancellor of the Exchequer and of the Duchy of Lancaster
- Lord Chatham—Master-General of the Ordnance
- Lord Bathurst—President of the Board of Trade
- July 1809—Lord Harrowby, the President of the Board of Control, and Lord Granville Leveson-Gower, the Secretary at War, enter the Cabinet
|Ancestors of William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland|
- "Line of descent of the Earls and Dukes of Portland" (PDF). University of Nottingham. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
- Settlements, mortgages, litigation, Acts of Parliament etc. relating to the 'maternal' estates of the Dukes of Portland; 1583–1790 Archived 6 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine, University of Nottingham, UK.
- Series of manorial papers in the Newcastle (Clumber) Collection (1st Deposit); 1357–1867 Archived 6 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine, The University of Nottingham, UK.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica. 22 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 119. .
- "William Henry Cavendish Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland (1738-1809)". www.historyhome.co.uk. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
- The Register of Births and Baptisms in the Parish of St James within the Liberty of Westminster. 1761-1786. 30 October 1775.
- "Harriet Catherine Greville".
- The Register of Births and Baptisms in the Parish of St James within the Liberty of Westminster. 1761-1786. 13 April 1778.
- The Register of Births and Baptisms in the Parish of St James within the Liberty of Westminster. 1761-1786. 17 June 1780.
- Caledonian Mercury, 28 October 1786, p. 2
- Wilkinson, David (2003). The Duke of Portland – Politics and Party in the Age of George III. Basingstoke, UK / New York City: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 35–38. ISBN 978-0333963852.
- Wilkinson pp 38–41
- Stephens, Henry Morse (1885). Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 4. London: Smith, Elder & Co. . In
- Wilkinson p 56
- Wilkinson p150-7
- "The Edinburgh Annual Register for 1809". John Ballantyne and Company. 1811 – via Google Books.
-  National Archives currency converter.
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 5. Oxford University Press. 2004. pp. 268–269. ISBN 978-0-19-861355-8.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland.|
- William Bentinck, Duke of Portland profile on the 10 Downing Street website
- Biography of the 3rd Duke, with links to online catalogues, from Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham
- Portraits of William Henry Cavendish Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland at the National Portrait Gallery, London
- "Archival material relating to William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland". UK National Archives.