William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth

British statesman

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The Earl of Dartmouth

The Earl of Dartmouth, by Nathaniel Hone
First Lord of Trade
In office
20 July 1765 – 16 August 1766
Monarch George III
Prime Minister The Marquess of Rockingham
Preceded by The Earl of Hillsborough
Succeeded by The Earl of Hillsborough
Secretary of State for the Colonies and First Lord of Trade
In office
27 August 1772 – 10 November 1775
Monarch George III
Prime Minister Lord North
Preceded by The Earl of Hillsborough
Succeeded by Lord George Germain
Personal details
Born 20 June 1731 (1731-06-20)
Died 15 July 1801 (1801-07-16) (aged 70)
Nationality British
Spouse Frances Nicoll (d. 1805)
Signature

William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth, PC, FRS (20 June 1731 – 15 July 1801), styled as Viscount Lewisham from 1732 to 1750, was a British statesman who is the namesake of Dartmouth College and for serving as Secretary of State for the Colonies during the contentious years leading up to the American Revolution.

Early Years[edit]

Dartmouth was the son of George Legge, Viscount Lewisham, who died when Dartmouth was one year old. His mother was Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Arthur Kaye, 3rd Baronet.[1] He entered Trinity College, Oxford, in 1748,[2] and succeeded his grandfather in the earldom in 1750.

Portrait of William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth, by Pompeo Batoni, 1752–56, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire

It was Lord Dartmouth who, in 1764, at the suggestion of Thomas Haweis, recommended John Newton, the former slave trader and author of “Amazing Grace“, to Edmund Keene, the Bishop of Chester. He was instrumental in Newton’s acceptance for the Anglican ministry.

Political career[edit]

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Lord Dartmouth’s political career began with the presidency of the Board of Trade and Foreign Plantations from 1765-1766.[3]

Secretary for the Colonies[edit]

Lord Dartmouth was Secretary of State for the Colonies from 1772 to 1775. He was in this role during the Boston Tea Party. He supported the Intolerable Acts and the Quebec Act[4]

In 1772, in correspondence with Sir William Johnson, the Superintendent of Northern Indian Affairs in America, he suggested that there was no reasonable way the British Government could support new trade regulations with the Indians. He sympathised with Johnson’s arguments but stated the Colonies did not seem inclined to concur with any new regulations.

He received many letters from North Carolina royal governor Josiah Martin in the summer of 1775 communicating preparations the Loyalist government was making against Patriot militia units and events of the revolution.[5]

He served as Lord Privy Seal from 1775-1782.[3]

Lord Dartmouth’s arrival in the Colonies was celebrated by Phillis Wheatley‘s famous poem, “To the Right Honourable William, Earl of Dartmouth.”

Philanthropy[edit]

Lord Dartmouth was a large donor to and the leading trustee for the English trust that would finance the establishment of the Moor’s Charity School, in Lebanon, Connecticut, by Eleazar Wheelock to educate and convert the Indians.

Wheelock subsequently founded Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, naming the school in Lord Dartmouth’s honour, in hopes of getting his financial support. Lord Dartmouth refused. In London, Lord Dartmouth supported the new Foundling Hospital, a charitable institution for the care and maintenance of London’s abandoned children. He served as a vice-president of the organisation from 1755 until his death. The famous painter Sir Joshua Reynolds painted the Earl’s portrait and donated it to the hospital.

The portrait is still in the Foundling Hospital Collection and can be seen at the Foundling Museum in London. He was admitted a Fellow of the Royal Society on 7 November 1754.[6]

Marriage and children[edit]

Lord Dartmouth married Frances Catherine Nicholl, daughter of Sir Charles Gounter Nicoll, on 11 January 1755. They had nine children together:

Death[edit]

Dartmouth died at Blackheath, Kent, on 15 July 1801, aged 70. He was buried in Trinity Church in the Minories on 3 August 1801.[15]

He was succeeded by his eldest son, George. Lady Dartmouth died in July 1805. The family lived at Sandwell Hall (since demolished) in Sandwell Valley.

References[edit]

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  1. ^ Sykes, Daniel Frederick Edward “The History of Huddersfield and Its Vicinity” pg. 131
  2. ^ .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit;word-wrap:break-word}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation:target{background-color:rgba(0,127,255,0.133)}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-free.id-lock-free a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/65/Lock-green.svg”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited.id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration.id-lock-registration a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription.id-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg”)right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#2C882D;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit}html.skin-theme-clientpref-night .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F}html.skin-theme-clientpref-night .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error,html.skin-theme-clientpref-night .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397}@media(prefers-color-scheme:dark){html.skin-theme-clientpref-os .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error,html.skin-theme-clientpref-os .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397}html.skin-theme-clientpref-os .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F}}Hopkins, Clare (2005), Trinity: 450 years of an Oxford college community (2007 reprint ed.), Oxford, ISBN 978-0-19-951896-8{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  3. ^ a b “Catalog Description – PAPERS OF THE LEGGE FAMILY, EARLS OF DARTMOUTH”. Retrieved 29 February 2024.
  4. ^ “William Legge, 2nd earl of Dartmouth”. Britannica. 26 February 2024. Retrieved 29 February 2024.
  5. ^ Fonvielle Jr., Chris E. (April 2017). “With Such Great Alacrity’: The Destruction of Fort Johnston and the Coming of the American Revolution in North Carolina”. The North Carolina Historical Review. 94 (2): 150–201. Retrieved 29 February 2024.
  6. ^ “Lists of Royal Society Fellows”. Archived from the original on 10 December 2004. Retrieved 15 December 2006.
  7. ^ The Register of Births and Baptisms in the Parish of St James within the Liberty of Westminster. 1741-1760. 21 February 1757.
  8. ^ The Register of Births and Baptisms in the Parish of St James within the Liberty of Westminster. 1741-1760. 1 June 1759.
  9. ^ The Register of Births and Baptisms in the Parish of St James within the Liberty of Westminster. 1761-1786. 27 May 1761.
  10. ^ The Register of Births and Baptisms in the Parish of St James within the Liberty of Westminster. 1761-1786. 18 February 1765.
  11. ^ The Register of Births and Baptisms in the Parish of St James within the Liberty of Westminster. 1761-1786. 17 November 1766.
  12. ^ The Register of Births and Baptisms in the Parish of St James within the Liberty of Westminster. 1761-1786. 9 January 1768.
  13. ^ The Register of Births and Baptisms in the Parish of St James within the Liberty of Westminster. 1761-1786. 21 May 1773.
  14. ^ The Register of Births and Baptisms in the Parish of St James within the Liberty of Westminster. 1761-1786. 8 November 1774.
  15. ^ Barker 1892.
Attribution

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainBarker, George Fisher Russell (1892). “Legge, William (1731-1801)“. In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 32. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by

First Lord of Trade
1765–1766
Succeeded by

Preceded by

Colonial Secretary
1772–1775
Succeeded by

First Lord of Trade
1772–1775
Preceded by

Lord Privy Seal
1775–1782
Succeeded by

Preceded by

Lord Steward
1783
Succeeded by

Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by

Earl of Dartmouth
1750–1801
Succeeded by

Baron Dartmouth
(descended by acceleration)

1750–1801