LEVESON GOWER, Granville, Visct. Trentham (1721-1803).
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Family and Education
b. 4 Aug. 1721, 1st surv. s. of John Leveson Gower, 1st Earl Gower, by Lady Evelyn Pierrepont, da. of Evelyn, 1st Duke of Kingston; bro. of Hon. Richard Leveson Gower. educ. Westminster 1731-40; Ch. Ch. Oxf. 1740. m. (1) 23 Dec. 1744, Elizabeth (d. 19 May 1746), da. and h. of Nicholas Fazakerley of Prescot, Lancs., 1s. d.v.p.; (2) 28 Mar. 1748, Lady Louisa Egerton (d. 14 Mar. 1761), da. of Scroop, 1st Duke of Bridgwater, 1s. (George Granville, 1st Duke of Sutherland), 3da., (3) 25 May 1768, Lady Susanna Stewart, da. of Alexander, 6th Earl of Galloway [S], 1s. (Granville, 1st Earl Granville), 3da. suc. fa. as 2nd Earl Gower 25 Dec. 1754. K.G. 11 Feb. 1771; cr. Mq. of Stafford, 1 Mar. 1786.
Ld. of Admiralty 1749-51; P.C. 22 Dec. 1755; ld. privy seal 1755-7; master of the horse 1757-60; master of the wardrobe 1760-3; ld. chamberlain 1763-5; ld. pres. of the Council 1767-79, 1783-4; ld. privy seal 1784-94.
Ld. lt. Staffs. 1755-1800; high steward, Stafford 1769.
Lord Trentham entered Parliament for Bishop’s Castle at a by-election in December 1744, when his father went over to the Administration. In 1747 he was returned for Westminster, in spite of stiff opposition from the Jacobite dominated Association of Independent Electors, on the interest of his brother-in-law, the Duke of Bedford. On his appointment as a lord of the Admiralty in 1749 he was re-elected after scenes of unprecedented violence. He made his maiden speech on 28 Jan. 1751, when George Cooke presented a petition from several of the electors of Westminster against his election, alleging partiality on the part of the high bailiff and demanding a scrutiny. According to Horace Walpole he
replied with great manliness and sense, and spirit, reflecting on the rancour shown to him and his family, and asserting that the opposition to him had been supported by perjury and by subscriptions, so much condemned and discountenanced by the Opposition, when raised to maintain the King on the throne during the last rebellion. In answer to the censure on the high bailiff, he produced and read a letter from Mr. Cooke to the high bailiff, while he was believed in their interest, couched in the strongest terms of approbation of his conduct and integrity. This was received with a loud and continued shout.1
In June 1751, after Lord Sandwich’s dismissal and the Duke of Bedford’s ensuing resignation, when Lord Gower refused to resign with Bedford, Trentham wrote to Pelham, 14 June 1751:
I am informed that it is properly to you that I should address myself to desire leave to quit H.M. service; I am very sorry as you may well imagine to find myself under the necessity to act thus, as it is seemingly deviating from that filial duty, which till now I have made the rule by which I have steered my conduct in life, and which nothing but an absolute conviction that my honour is concerned should make me in appearance even depart from. I would have it understood, that my resignation does not arise from Lord Sandwich’s dismissal from the King’s service, but from a sense of injuries done to me, and to those with whom I am more intimately connected. The serving H.M. and his royal family as a private man shall be my future ambition, no usage, or ill-treatment shall make me depart from that.
Pelham replied, 14 June:
I don’t know who has informed your Lordship that I am the proper person to address yourself to for leave to quit H.M. service: but whoever they are, they are ignorant of all forms, for I have nothing to do in your department. I know not of any injuries done to your Lordship, and I only know, I have myself acted a different part towards you ever since I knew you. I am very sorry for what you are doing.2
In 1752 he absented himself from the division on the subsidy treaty with Saxony and voted against the bill for resettling the Highlands, both of which were attacked by Bedford in the Lords.3 His political standing may be inferred from the French ambassador’s description of him as ‘jeune homme et sans aucune sorte de considération’, who would prove no great source of strength to Bedford,4 and his tastes from Richard Rigby’s remark to the Duke of Bedford that ‘politics have been at a stand ever since you last came out of the House of Lords; and gaming ever since Trentham went to Newmarket’.5 Soon after succeeding his father he went over to the Administration, thenceforth holding high court and political offices almost continuously till his death, 26 Oct. 1803.