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Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle

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The Duke of Newcastle
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ThomasPelham-Holles.jpg
Thomas Pelham-Holles

Periods in Office: 16 March 175416 November 1756
2 July 175726 May 1762
Predecessors: Henry Pelham
The Duke of Devonshire
Successors: The Duke of Devonshire
The Earl of Bute
Date of Birth: 21 July 1693
Place of Birth: London
Date of Death: 17 November 1768
Place of Death: Lincoln's Inn Fields, London
Political Party: n/a (Whig)
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Arms of Thomas Pelham-Holles

Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and 1st Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyme (July 21, 1693 - November 17, 1768) was a British Whig statesman, whose official life extended throughout the Whig supremacy of the 18th century. He held power with his brother, Henry Pelham (the Prime Minister of Great Britain), for about ten years; after Henry's death, Thomas would hold his late brother's position for six years (in two separate periods). While his premiership was not particularly notable, Newcastle precipitated the French and Indian War, which would cause his resignation from his high position. After his second term as Prime Minister, he served for a short while in Lord Rockingham's government, before retiring from government.

Thomas Pelham was the eldest son of Thomas Pelham, 1st Baron Pelham, by his second wife Lady Grace Holles, younger sister of John Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. His uncle died in 1711, and his father the next year, both leaving their large estates to him. When he came of age in 1714 Lord Pelham was one of the greatest landowners in the kingdom. He studied at Westminster and Clare College, Cambridge.

Pelham vigorously sustained the Whigs at Queen Anne's death, and had much influence in making the Londoners accept King George I. His services were too great to be neglected, and in 1714 he was created Earl of Clare, and in 1715 Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He also became lord-lieutenant of the counties of Middlesex and Nottingham and a Knight of the Garter in 1718, in which year he increased his Whig connection by marrying Lady Henrietta Godolphin, granddaughter of the great Duke of Marlborough.

In 1717 he first held political office as Lord Chamberlain of the Household, and in 1724 was chosen by Sir Robert Walpole to be Secretary of State for the Southern Department in place of Lord Carteret. This office he held continuously for thirty years (1724-1754), and only exchanged it for the premiership on his brother's death. His long tenure of office has been attributed to his great Whig connections and his wealth, but some praise must be given to his inexhaustible activity and great powers of debate. He was a peculiarly muddle-headed man, and unhappy if he had not more to do than he could possibly manage, but at the same time he was a consummate master of parliamentary tactics, and knew how to manage the Houses of Lords and Commons alike.

Lord Hervey (Memoirs) compares him with Walpole in 1735, and says, "We have one minister that does everything with the same seeming ease and tranquillity as if he were doing nothing[;] we have another that does nothing in the same hurry and agitation as if he did everything." He continued in office on Walpole's fall in 1742, and became more powerful on his younger brother becoming Prime Minister in 1743. On Henry Pelham's death in March 1754, Newcastle succeeded him as Prime Minister. However, he was blamed for Great Britain's poor efforts in the French and Indian War (fought in the North American colonies), and in November 1756 he gave place to the Duke of Devonshire. For his long services he was created Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyme, with remainder to Henry Fiennes Clinton, 9th Earl of Lincoln, who had married his niece Catherine Pelham.

In July 1757 he again became Prime Minister—for Pitt, though a great statesman, was a poor leader of the Whig faction—on the understanding, according to Horace Walpole that "Mr. Pitt does everything, the Duke gives everything." Under this ministry Britain became famous abroad, but it gradually fell before the affection of the new King, George III—for Lord Bute, who, after supplanting Pitt, became Prime Minister in place of Newcastle in May 1762. The duke went into strong opposition, and lost his two lord-lieutenancies for opposing the ease of 1763. In 1765 he became Lord Privy Seal for a few months in the government of Lord Rockingham, but his health was fast giving way, and he died in November 1768.

The duke was certainly not a great man, but he was industrious and energetic, and to his credit be it said that the statesman who almost monopolized the patronage of office for half a century twice refused a pension, and finally left office 300,000 poorer than he entered it.


Preceded by:
The Duke of Bolton
Lord Chamberlain
1717–1724
Succeeded by:
The Duke of Grafton
Preceded by:
The Lord Carteret
Secretary of State for the Southern Department
1724–1746
Succeeded by:
The Lord Carteret
Preceded by:
The Lord Carteret
Leader of the House of Lords
1744–1756
Succeeded by:
The Duke of Devonshire
Preceded by:
The Lord Carteret
Secretary of State for the Southern Department
1746–1748
Succeeded by:
The Duke of Bedford
Preceded by:
The Earl of Chesterfield
Secretary of State for the Northern Department
1748–1754
Succeeded by:
The Earl of Holdernesse
Preceded by:
Henry Pelham
Prime Minister
1754–1756
Succeeded by:
The Duke of Devonshire

Template:Succession box two to two

Preceded by:
The Duke of Marlborough
Lord Privy Seal
1765–1766
Succeeded by:
William Pitt the Elder

Template:End box


Preceded by:
New Creation
Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Succeeded by:
Extinct
Preceded by:
New Creation
Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyme
Succeeded by:
Henry Pelham-Clinton

Template:End boxde:Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1. Duke of Newcastle io:Duko di Newcastle

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