CAVENDISH, William, Mq. of Hartington (1672-1729).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1695 - Nov. 1701
2 Feb. 1702 - July 1702
1702 - 18 Aug. 1707

Family and Education

b. 1672, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of William Cavendish†, 1st Duke of Devonshire; bro. of Ld. Henry* and Ld. James Cavendish*.  educ. privately; travelled abroad (Austria, Germany, Low Countries, Italy) 1690–1; Padua Univ. 1691.  m. 21 June 1688 (with £25,000), Rachel (d. 1725), da. of William, Ld. Russell†, 4s. 3da.  Styled Ld. Cavendish 1684–94, Mq. of Hartington 1694–1707; suc. fa. as 2nd Duke 18 Aug. 1707; KG 22 Mar. 1710.1

Offices Held

Col. 10 Horse 1688–90; capt. yeomen of gd. Jan. 1702–7; commr. union with Scotland 1706; ld. steward 1707–Sept. 1710, Sept. 1714–July 1716; PC 8 Sept. 1707–d.; ld. justice 1714, 1720–5, 1727; ld. pres. July 1716–17, 1725–d.

Freeman, Beverley 1703, Winchester by 1701; custos rot. Derbys. 1707–?; ld. lt. 1707–Sept. 1710, ?Aug. 1714–d.; c.j. in eyre, north of Trent 1707–?Sept. 1710; steward, honor of Tutbury 1707–d., High Peak 1708–d., Derby by 1712.2

Gov. Charterhouse 1727–d.


Hartington’s father had sat in all of Charles II’s Parliaments before succeeding to the earldom of Devonshire in 1684. By 1688 he had become sufficiently disenchanted with James II’s rule to sign the invitation to William of Orange to intervene in English affairs. As the eldest son, Cavendish was given command of the regiment raised by his father to support the Dutch invasion of that year. He does not appear to have been an active colonel and was relieved of the command in April 1690, by which time he was travelling in Europe with his brother Henry. He had returned to England by October 1691 in readiness to contest a by-election at Westminster, but stood down because his father was unwilling for him to risk defeat ‘at his first entrance into the world’. By May 1692 he had returned to the Continent to serve as a volunteer in Flanders.3

In the election of October 1695 the strength of the Cavendish interest ensured that Lord Hartington was returned unopposed for Derbyshire. He was not very active during his first session in the Commons, being granted leave of absence on 8 Feb. and not returning to London until after 25 Feb. 1696. Nevertheless, he was sufficiently motivated to attend and vote on most important occasions, as is indicated by his presence on the extant parliamentary lists for this session: he was forecast as likely to support the Court in the division of 31 Jan. 1696 over the proposed council of trade, and in February he signed the Association, which his father had presented in the Lords. The following month he voted to fix the price of guineas at 22s. He appears to have been inactive for much of the 1696–7 session, and hence missed the vote on the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†, while both his father and brother voted against it. He showed his tendency towards opposition on 26 Jan. 1697 when he voted against ‘tacking’ a parliamentary qualifications clause to the capitation bill. At the start of the 1697–8 session, he again demonstrated his propensity towards independence from the Court by voting with the majority on 11 Dec. not to recommit a resolution from the committee of the whole House that all troops raised since 1680 be disbanded. Later in the session he took a leading role in the pursuit of Charles Duncombe*, Knight and Burton for falsely endorsing Exchequer bills. On 7 Feb. 1698 he presented three separate bills to punish the offenders; and on 18 Feb. chaired the committee of the whole on Duncombe’s bill, reporting it three days later. Completion of the Commons stages did not signal the end of his involvement in Duncombe’s case, as the Lords were dissatisfied with the proofs and on 7 Mar. Hartington was appointed to lead the managers for the Lower House at a conference on the bill. He reported that the Lords wished to have the case laid out more fully so that they could proceed. On 9 Mar. a committee was appointed to state the matters of fact, from which Hartington reported the following day. He was then deputed to manage the conference at which reasons were delivered to the Lords. The Upper Chamber remained dissatisfied and rejected the bill on 15 Mar., ordering Duncombe to be released. This raised the spectre of the Lords challenging the rights of the Commons, so on the following day Hartington was appointed to a committee to inspect the Lords’ Journals to discover their proceedings on the bill. On 18 Mar. he reported that Duncombe had been released by order of the Lords, and he was immediately appointed to another committee to search for precedents of the Commons asserting its rights in like cases. On 22 Mar. he reported from this committee: it was resolved that no person committed into custody by the House could be discharged by another authority, and Duncombe was ordered to be taken into custody again. Finally, on 31 Mar., Hartington moved that Duncombe be transferred from the custody of the serjeant-at-arms to the Tower. During this episode Hartington showed himself to be both a tenacious defender of the rights of the House and an implacable foe of those Tories who had originally revealed the fraud in the hope of implicating Charles Montagu*. Hartington also chaired the committee on the bills to punish Knight and Burton which were also rejected by the Lords in favour of an address to the King to prosecute all three offenders through the law courts.4

Hartington was again returned for Derbyshire without a contest in the 1698 election, when his prospective opponent, John Curzon*, declined to force a contest. A comparative analysis of the old and new Parliaments classified him as a supporter of the Court, but a subsequent calculation left him as a query. On the opening day of the session he appeared to confirm the original forecast by proposing Sir Thomas Littleton, 3rd Bt., for Speaker, a candidate sponsored by the Junto and acceptable to the King. However, his subsequent actions were sometimes in contradiction, none more obviously than his opposition to a standing army. The Commons originally voted on 17 Dec. to reduce the army to 7,000 men and ordered a disbanding bill to be brought in. In response to the King’s wishes, ministers attempted on 4 Jan. 1699 to instruct the committee on the bill to reconsider the number in the hope of increasing it to 10,000. Hartington was one of several influential Whigs who firmly opposed this manoeuvre, preventing the Court from even venturing a decision. Three days later he further demonstrated his support for disbandment by proposing that a supply be granted to the King to enable the troops to be paid off. A final effort by the Court to defeat the bill was lost on 18 Jan., by 67 votes, with Hartington again a prominent speaker on the Country side. Indeed, the King reproached Hartington’s father over William’s conduct (and that of his brother) concerning the army, only to be told that ‘they had advanced nothing but what was reasonable, nothing but what he would have said himself if he had been in their place’. However, Hartington was not drawn exclusively to controversial measures to the neglect of more mundane legislation, since between January and March 1699 he managed through the House the naturalization bill of Philip Chenevix and others. Indeed, his stature had risen sufficiently for Lord Orford (Edward Russell*), his wife’s great-uncle, to press him upon the King as a possible successor in the treasurership of the navy. William’s preference for Littleton in this office was one of the reasons behind Orford’s precipitate resignation in May 1699. Hartington’s relative independence did not go unnoticed, for at the beginning of 1700 a list purporting to assign MPs to various interests could only mark him with a query.5

Hartington began the 1699–1700 session quietly, but eventually became embroiled in the legislation over Irish forfeitures. On 18 Jan. 1700, in the second-reading debate, Hartington proposed a motion to instruct the committee of the whole on the bill to receive a clause saving the lands granted to Sir Thomas Prendergast, an Irish Jacobite who had changed sides, and then provided information concerning the Assassination Plot of 1696, for which he had been rewarded with an Irish estate. There was opposition, on the grounds that the Commons ‘would admit of no saving in this bill’, and when the House agreed to reward Prendergast in another way Hartington withdrew the motion. He was then probably away from the House for a short time, being granted leave for a fortnight on 3 Feb. Hartington returned to the Commons to support those Whig ministers, especially Lord Chancellor Somers (Sir John*), who had been attacked over their role in the procurement of royal grants. On 13 Feb. he intervened twice in the debate on the state of the nation, opposing the systematic campaign to destroy the ministry on the issue of royal grants, asking who would be appointed in their stead; ‘he hoped none of the ministry of K[ing] C[harles], none that were for the regency, none that had refused the Association, none behind the curtain’. In March Hartington chaired a meeting of 40–50 Whigs at which it was decided to exclude MPs from the Irish forfeitures commission. When the Irish forfeitures bill was reported on the 20th Hartington again applied to have Prendergast exempted from the resumption bill, his success reportedly opening the flood-gates to many other similar applications. When the ballot for forfeited estates commissioners took place on the 28 Mar. it was believed that Hartington and John Grobham Howe had ‘concerted their lists’ in favour of the four existing commissioners. This bill was then tacked to the land tax bill and burdened with several controversial amendments, including a clause excluding excise officers from the House. The Lords returned the bill to the Commons heavily amended, despite the fact that it was a money bill, thus provoking a constitutional conflict. Hartington was sent on 8 Apr. to desire a conference on the Lords’ amendments. Before the end of the session he was again in the forefront of the Whigs defending Somers. On 10 Apr. a direct attack was made on the lord chancellor for accepting grants from the crown. A motion to address for his removal from the royal presence and councils forever was defeated, with Hartington prominent in the debate. According to James Vernon I* a Court-inspired adjournment motion was then lost, because ‘some of our people had a mind to have a fling at the foreigners’. Hartington led this attack with a motion that all foreigners (except Prince George) be removed from the King’s Councils in England and Ireland, and placing the blame for the conflict between the Houses over the Irish resumption bill firmly on the King’s foreign favourites who had grants to protect. After the end of the session the Court tried to draw Hartington more securely into the ministerial fold. He was earmarked for a post in the bedchamber on the initiative of Lord Sunderland, who was anxious to put the Whigs in a better temper. However, the man appointed to make the initial approach reported that, although there was a time when Hartington would have been glad of an appointment, at present ‘he was so much a friend of my Lord Somers that he would not now be obliged’, presumably because he felt that Somers had been abandoned by the Court. Indeed, when Somers had taken leave of the King at Hampton Court, Hartington had been one of the ‘cortege’, along with Charles Montagu and Orford.6

In January 1701 Hartington was again returned for Derbyshire, this time on a joint interest with Lord Roos, although Thomas Coke*, his partner in the previous Parliament, forced a contest. On the opening day of the new session, Hartington proposed Sir Richard Onslow, 3rd Bt., an ally in the previous debates on the standing army, for Speaker in opposition to Robert Harley*, noting that Littleton had been commanded by the King not to attend (in order to clear the way for Harley) and that this represented an infringement on the rights of the House. The continuing rise in Hartington’s stature in the House was confirmed by his role in the two key issues facing the Commons during the session: the deteriorating situation in Europe and the succession question. On the delicate international situation he was one of a number of Whigs who brushed aside Tory objections on 20 Feb. 1701 to ensure an address was adopted, asking the King to enter into negotiations with the States General to secure their mutual safety and the peace of Europe. On 26 Feb. he moved that a committee of the whole consider the problem of the succession, thus setting in train the proceedings which led to the Act of Settlement. Similarly, on 2 Apr. he seconded an amendment made by Lord Cutts (John) to another address, adding the observation that the Treaty of Ryswick did not offer either England or the States a sufficient guarantee of security; a position which was interpreted as making the address significantly more hostile to France and thus abandoned for the sake of unanimity.7

Hartington was also deeply involved in the other partisan clashes which marked the session. As before, he was concerned to protect the Whig members of William’s last administration. On 11 Apr. during the questioning of James Vernon over papers relating to the Partition Treaties, Hartington accused Sir Christopher Musgrave, 4th Bt., of being disaffected to the state and summoned him outside, an action widely interpreted as a challenge despite Musgrave’s advanced age. The intervention of the Speaker prevented the quarrel from proceeding any further. This inquiry into the Partition Treaties led to another attack on Somers. The attack reached its height on 14 Apr. when, in a preconcerted move to disarm Somers’ enemies, Hartington informed the House that the former lord chancellor was outside the chamber ready to answer any charges. Despite the success of this plan to gain a hearing, Somers was impeached later in the day. On 16 Apr. Hartington proposed an amendment to the address requesting the removal of the four impeached peers from the King’s councils, referring to the ill consequences for the peace of Europe of the union of crowns between France and Spain. This was defeated by 208 votes to 120 on a procedural motion. Hartington was also involved in an abortive counter-attack against the Tories: on 16 May he seconded Maurice Thompson’s motion to impeach Lord Jersey, a signatory to the Partition Treaty, but this was blocked by the Speaker who ruled it out of order. On 19 May Hartington and Thompson again attempted to carry the attack to their opponents, this time charging Sir Edward Seymour, 4th Bt., with corrupt proceedings in the Totnes election. To support their allegations they produced some letters written by Seymour and his fellow Member, Thomas Coulson, to one James Buckley and arranged for the recipient to be in attendance to prove them. Seymour and Coulson, however, satisfied the Commons as to their probity and instead Buckley was ordered into custody for breach of privilege. Hartington continued the fight against the impending impeachments. On 27 May he moved successfully to send to the Lords the Commons’ reply to Orford’s answer to the articles laid against him, thus enabling the trial to begin earlier, and reflecting the Junto’s confidence that they could ensure an acquittal. Then on 20 June he told against a motion which blamed the ill consequence attendant upon the delay in supply on those who had engineered a breach between the Houses as a means of blocking the impeachments.8

Another of Hartington’s interests during this session was finance, particularly the effects of the innovations forced on Parliament and the Treasury by the exigencies of war. When on 17 May the Old East India Company offered to take over the £2 million loan advanced by the New Company, at 5 per cent instead of the current 8 per cent, Hartington argued that although it was prudent to reduce the interest, this particular plan was unjust to the New Company, a speech which helped to shelve the project. He also spoke in committee on 21 May when the Court managers attempted to circumvent an earlier decision of the House to reduce the civil list by £100,000, with an ingenious scheme to take £3,000 each week from the civil list, mortgage it for three or four years and thereby raise the money to restore the cut. Hartington was among those who successfully moved a blocking amendment, that the public should be entitled to any surplus of the receipts over £6,000. He also intervened to defend the practice of issuing Exchequer bills, in a debate on 6 May over the ill usage of seamen. After ‘Jack’ Howe had attacked the bills as bringing ruin on future ministries, Hartington replied that when they had been introduced they ‘were of great use and service to pay off the fleet and army when there was no money’. Although nominated to many of the most important inquiry committees during this session, Hartington’s legislative activity was limited to three drafting committees in the earlier part of the session. In July he demonstrated his continuing Whig partisanship by attending a feast in the City in honour of the Kentish petitioners. On the dissolution of Parliament in November 1701, Hartington faced a difficult contest in Derbyshire. The outcome of a hard-fought campaign was defeat for Hartington, who petitioned against the return of his opponents. By February 1702, he had found refuge at a by-election at Castle Rising, on the interest of Lady Diana Howard, after Lord Ranelagh (Richard Jones) had opted to sit for West Looe. He then withdrew his petition and never stood for Derbyshire again.9

Hartington’s prominence in the Lower House had led to speculation that he would replace Sir Charles Hedges* as secretary of state. However, in January 1702 he was appointed captain of the yeomen of the guard, a ceremonial post worth £1,000 p.a. At the time he re-entered Parliament the Commons were still debating the events of the previous session. On the subject of petitioning, renewed disturbances from Kent led to an order for a committee of the whole to consider the rights, liberties and privileges of the Commons, as a prelude to some resolutions criticizing the Whigs’ tactics of the previous year. On 24 Feb. Hartington led a Whig counter-attack, successfully moving that the committee also consider the rights and liberties of the commons of England. When the committee met, two days later, a Tory motion that the Commons had not had right done by them in the late impeachments was defeated, whereupon Hartington took advantage of the situation to move that it was the undoubted right of the people of England to petition or address the King for the calling, sitting or dissolving of Parliaments. On 5 Mar. he presented to the House a bill for the relief of the Countess of Tyrconnel, concerning the Irish forfeited estates. On 11 Mar. Hartington moved that the statute of mortmain be repealed to ‘enable persons to endow poor vicarages’, but the matter dropped. The new reign altered Hartington’s perception of politics, so that when Sir Richard Cocks, 2nd Bt.*, approached him in March to support a cut in the civil list he replied by noting the changed situation, especially the Queen’s attitude, and said ‘that we were represented as enemies and that this would make her believe so’; therefore, ‘if anybody began the debate he would come into it but would not begin’. At the same time his own position must have improved at Court, where his wife became a lady of the bedchamber. On 2 May, Hartington gave a demonstration of his Whig loyalties by opposing a Tory motion that no person should be an officer in the new regiments unless they had been born in the Queen’s dominions, had English parents, or were already on the half-pay list. He spoke particularly ‘in behalf of the French refugees, alleging what a reflection it would be on England to abandon people, who upon so many occasions had ventured their lives for its safety and defence’. On 5 May, he illustrated his zeal for the Protestant succession by moving an address to thank the Queen for ordering that the Electress Sophia be prayed for in church services.10

In the 1702 election Hartington accepted an invitation to stand for Yorkshire, despite persistent rumours that he would put up again in his home county. After much manoeuvring, Hartington was returned unopposed with Sir John Kaye, 2nd Bt. On 26 Oct. 1702 he moved an amendment to the Address which sought to describe the success of the Earl of Marlborough (John Churchill†) as ‘maintaining’ rather than ‘retrieving’ England’s honour. He was involved in several legislative projects during the session, presenting on 9 Dec. a bill to encourage and improve the production of sailcloth in England and reporting a bill to confirm the division of some lands in Burton Dasset, Warwickshire. He was also appointed on 23 Dec. to the committee to prepare a place bill. On 10 Dec. he was named to the committee to re-amend a Lords’ amendment on the occasional conformity bill, and on 13 Feb. voted for the Lords’ amendments to the bill enlarging the time for taking the abjuration oath.11

In the following session Hartington was early in the field, helping to organize Whig ranks for the forthcoming parliamentary battles. On 28 Oct. 1703 James Stanhope* wrote to Robert Walpole II* urging him to attend the House as early as possible, and specifically naming Hartington in a list of leading Whigs who joined in his request. His position on the main question of the session was made abundantly clear on 30 Nov., when he acted as a teller against the committal of the occasional conformity bill. As a knight for Yorkshire, he took full charge of piloting through the Lower House a bill for the public registration of all conveyances, mortgages and other securities in the West Riding, which passed the Commons on 20 Jan. 1704. He was also firmly engaged on the Whig side in the Ashby v. White case (see AYLESBURY, Bucks.). When, on 25 Jan., the Commons considered the Lords’ verdict, Hartington spoke against the notion that bringing a lawsuit over the franchise would constitute a breach of privilege, arguing that ‘the liberty of the cobbler ought to be as much regarded as of anyone else’ and adding that an aggrieved voter had no other recourse but to the law which, ‘if giving judgment upon it be contrary to the privileges of this House, then it is pretty plain that our privileges do interfere with the rights of the people that elected us’. Despite his intervention a series of hostile resolutions was ordered to be reported to the House the following day, when Hartington spoke again to stress the constitutional dangers contained in the resolutions:

I think it will be very dangerous to the very being of this House: if this maxim had been allowed formerly, I think there would have been no need of taking away of charters, and of quo warrantos; by the influence of officers they might have filled this House with what members they had pleased, and then they could have voted themselves duly elected.

The Commons accordingly confirmed the committee’s resolutions. After this debate, Hartington does not appear to have been very active in the Commons, possibly due to the imminent birth of a child (a son) on 18 Mar. 1704.12

After a sojourn in Yorkshire during the summer of 1704, possibly with an eye to the next election, due in 1705, Hartington returned to London to help whip in Whig Members for the forthcoming session. On 12 Oct. he was reported to be ill of the gout, and consequently an appeal was sent to Robert Walpole II to come up to London for the start of the session so that the Whigs in the Lower House would not be left entirely without a leader. Hartington was not inactive, however, as on 14 Oct., he sent directions to the north urging Members to come up in case Harley should resign the Speakership and cause a trial of strength early in the session. His absence from the committee on the Address is probably evidence that ill-health prevented his attendance at the beginning of the session, especially as there is no proof of his presence until 14 Nov., when he spoke against giving leave to introduce the occasional conformity bill. His attitude on the issue was sufficiently well known that in a forecast in October he was classed as a likely opponent of the Tack. He did indeed vote against it on 30 Nov., even being used by the Court to lobby his colleague Kaye. In December Doncaster ‘entrusted’ him with a bill to make the Don navigable, which he presented on the 7th, and on the 9th he presented a bill to encourage inventions to improve the manufacture of clocks, watches and other engines. As befitted one of his social and political standing he was one of those MPs deputed to attend Marlborough with the thanks of the House on 14 Dec. After the Christmas recess, he was able to monitor, if not direct, a private estate bill designed to break the settlement on the Cavendishes’ Suffolk estates to vest them in trustees for the payment of debts. His final task of importance in this session related to the case of Ashby v. White, which had revived when one of the Aylesbury voters had returned to the law courts. On 28 Feb. Hartington helped to manage a conference with the Lords, to help maintain a good correspondence between the two Houses, at which the Lords proffered some resolutions relating to the ancient, fundamental liberties of the kingdom. The issue rapidly developed into a party battle, with the Tory majority defending the rights of the Commons, which precluded Whigs from being delegated to represent the Lower House.13

As early as November 1703 there were rumours that Hartington was working to undermine Coke’s interest in Derbyshire in preparation for the 1705 election. However, he decided to stand again for Yorkshire on a joint interest with Hon. Thomas Watson Wentworth* against Kaye. Despite some optimism among Derbyshire Tories that he might be defeated, he was returned with Kaye when Wentworth gave up the poll. On two lists compiled around this time Hartington was noted as, respectively, a placeman and a Low Churchman. On the opening day of the session, 25 Oct. 1705, he spoke in support of John Smith I* in the contest for Speaker, taking ‘occasion to reflect upon the universities, calling ’em the trumpeters of rebellion’, and was duly recorded as voting for the Court’s candidate in the division. On 3 Nov. he reported from the committee on the Address. Much of his activity during this session centred on the succession question. On 4 Dec., in response to the Tories’ ‘Hanover motion’, offered in committee of the whole, which left Whigs the choice of offending either the present or future monarch, by respectively supporting or opposing an invitation to the heir presumptive to reside in England, Hartington supported a successful proposal that the chairman leave the chair without putting the question, thus avoiding the issue. Four days later he was again involved in party exchanges when the Commons considered a resolution from the Lords that the Church was in a flourishing condition and that whoever suggested otherwise was ‘an enemy to the Queen, the church and the kingdom’. In the ensuing debate, in which the Tories attempted to delete this partisan observation, Hartington spoke twice: first to oppose the motion that the resolution be considered in committee of the whole, on the grounds that there was no precedent for such a move; and later to dispute the view that occasional conformity posed a danger to the Church, suggesting that, on the contrary, bills to penalize the practice would ruin the Church by dividing it. He then assisted in managing the conference with the Lords to inform them of the Commons’ agreement to their resolution. On 19 Dec. he moved the committal of the regency bill, ‘to provide in case of the Queen’s death for people to get in possession by law and not struggle against law’. He then intervened in the debate on the remarks made by Charles Caesar reflecting on the lord treasurer, to support those MPs who wished to make an example of such conduct. On 19 Jan. 1706 he returned to the debate on the regency bill to back a proposal that the interim council be composed of the seven great officers of state at the Queen’s death plus an unlimited number nominated by the Hanoverian heir. He was also active on 21 Jan., when the ‘place clause’ in the bill was debated, warning diehard Country Whigs not to press their cause too strongly for fear of causing the bill’s defeat. Hartington reaffirmed this attitude on 18 Feb. when, although he acted as a teller to add the word ‘secretary’ to a Lords’ amendment, thus excluding more officers in the Prize Office from the Commons, he nevertheless voted against the so-called ‘whimsical’ clause. The following day he managed the conference at which the bill was returned to the Lords with amendments. His last recorded intervention of the session again related to the succession, when he joined in the general condemnation of Sir Rowland Gwynne’s* published letter to the Earl of Stamford, which had suggested that the Electress Sophia had countenanced the ‘Hanover motion’. Hartington’s concentration on national matters did not mean that he ignored more parochial concerns, James Lowther* reporting on 12 Jan. 1706 that he was among the MPs supporting the Parton Harbour bill.14

Hartington’s reward for staunchly supporting both Whig and ministerial causes was a place on the commission to negotiate the Union with Scotland in April 1706. However, not all Yorkshire Whigs were pleased with his conduct during the previous session. In the debate on the ‘whimsical’ clause he had clashed with John Aislabie, and a rumour began circulating in April 1706 that some of Hartington’s most enthusiastic supporters had decided to set up Aislabie against him at the next election. Such manoeuvres were overtaken by the death of his fellow knight of the shire, Sir John Kaye, although the long-term threat to his interest remained. As sole Member for Yorkshire he presented an address from the county to the Queen in August 1706, after which Sunderland wrote to him to suggest that a journey into Yorkshire was advisable in order to influence the choice of Kaye’s successor. At the opening of the 1706–7 session, Hartington was appointed to the committee on the Address, which he reported to the House on 4 Dec. On 20 Dec. he presented a bill to add the enrolment of bargains and sales within the West Riding to the register set up by the Act of 1704. On 11 Feb. he was appointed to prepare the bill to enact the treaty of Union, an obvious choice as he had been a commissioner. His efforts during this session seem to have been appreciated, for on 25 Mar. 1707 he could write, ‘I am very well pleased to find I have got new friends, since my desire is to be as serviceable as I can to every part of the county, as well as to represent it in general.’ On a list of the post-Union Parliament he was classed as a Whig.15

On 18 Aug. 1707 Hartington succeeded his father as 2nd Duke of Devonshire. His political status in the Commons was such that Hon. James Brydges* could write, ‘we lose by his removal to the House of Peers a very considerable member of the House of Commons, and whose loss will not easily be repaired’. Two days after his father’s death he was admitted into the Privy Council and three weeks later appointed lord steward of the Household. Thus he embarked upon a long career in the Upper House. He died on 4 June 1729 and was buried in All Saints church, Derby.16

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Stuart Handley


  • 1. IGI, London; CSP Dom. 1689–90, p. 559; Devonshire mss at Chatsworth House, Berand to Devonshire, 6 Aug. 1690; Beds. RO, Lucas mss L30/8/14/2, Cavendish to Ld. Grey, 23 Dec. 1691; Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 13; HMC Rutland, ii. 118.
  • 2. Beverley Bor. Recs. (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. lxxxiv), 192; Hants RO, Winchester bor. recs. ordnance bk. 7, f. 166; Somerville, Duchy of Lancaster Official Lists, 162, 170.
  • 3. Devonshire mss, Berand to Devonshire, 6 Aug. 1690; Rachel, Lady Russell to Thomas Owen*, 23 Oct. 1691; Luttrell, 462; J. Grove, Lives of Dukes of Devonshire, 1.
  • 4. Devonshire mss, Hartington to his wife, [25 Feb. 1696]; Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss 46/59, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 26 Jan. 1697; CSP Dom. 1697, p. 513; 1698, p. 170.
  • 5. Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 226, 246, 286, 288, 290; HLRO, HC Lib. 12, Salwey Winnington’s notes, f. 101; Centre Kentish Stud. Stanhope mss U1590/O59/7, Robert Yard* to Alexander Stanhope, 10 Jan. 1698[–9]; CSP Dom. 1699–1700, pp. 5–6, 28; Bodl. Carte 228, f. 261; Luttrell, iv. 470; Grimblot, Letters, ii. 321.
  • 6. Suff. RO (Ipswich), Gurdon mss mic. M.142(1), John to Thornagh Gurdon, 18 Jan. 1699[–1700]; J. G. Simms, Williamite Confiscation in Ire. 90–91, 115; Cocks Diary, 55–56; Som. RO, Sanford mss DD/SF 4107(a), notes on debate, 13 Feb. 1700; Montagu (Boughton) mss 48/48, 51, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 21, 28 Mar. 1699[–1700]; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 22–23, 82, 94; Shrewsbury Corresp. 608, 610–11; New York Pub. Lib. Hardwicke mss 33, p. 41.
  • 7. NMM, Sergison pprs. Ser/103, ff. 63–65; Cocks Diary, 62–63, 83; Add. 70272, ‘large acct. Revolution and succession’; 17677 WW, f. 177.
  • 8. D. Rubini, Court and Country, 226–7; Cocks Diary, 91, 130, 136n, 152; PRO 31/1/188, f. 24v; Add. 17677 WW, f. 217.
  • 9. Cocks Diary, 113, 130, 132, 140; HMC Cowper, ii. 431; Add. 57861, f. 69; Norf. RO, Howard (Castle Rising) mss, Walpole to Lady Diana Howard, 11 Jan. 1701[–2].
  • 10. SRO, Leven and Melville mss GD26/13/120, [–] to Ld. Leven, 1 Jan. 1702; Luttrell, v. 124; Add. 17677 WW, f. 181; 70075–6, newsletter 30 Dec. 1701; 40803, ff. 25–26; CSP Dom. 1700–2, p. 492; Cocks Diary, 222–3, 226–7, 246, 283; Epistolary Curiosities ed. Warner, ii. 16; Lambeth Palace Lib. ms 2564, p. 407; Boyer, Anne Annals, i. 29; Cal. Treas. Bks. xvii. 254.
  • 11. Devonshire mss, Whildon pprs. William Grosvenor to James Whildon, 21 July 1702, Robert Revell to same, 3 Apr. 1702; Stanhope mss U1590 C9/31, Sir John Cropley, 2nd Bt.*, to James Stanhope*, 2 Apr. 1706; BL, Lothian mss, William Bromley II* to Coke, 23 July 1702; Rutland mss at Belvoir Castle, no.38, Rachel, Lady Russell to Lady Rutland, 30 June 1702, same to Earl of Rutland (John Manners†), 7 July 1702; Add. 61119, f. 81.
  • 12. Coxe, Walpole, ii. 4; Boyer, ii. 226; Howell, State Trials, xiv. 732–3, 777; Top. and Gen. iii. 149.
  • 13. HMC Var. viii. 232; Camb. Univ. Lib. Cholmondeley (Houghton) mss, Hon. Spencer Compton* to Robert Walpole II, 12, 14 Oct. 1704; Bull. IHR, xli. 179; Sheffield Archs. Copley mss, CD503/14, memo. on Don navigation n.d.; Party and Management ed. C. Jones, 97–99.
  • 14. HMC Cowper, ii. 27; Lothian mss, John Beresford to Coke, 14 Dec. 1703, Michael Burton to same, 19 May 1705; HMC Portland, iv. 183; Cobbett, Parlty. Hist. vi. 450; BL, Trumbull Alphab. mss 53, John Bridges to Sir William Trumbull*, 26 Oct. 1705; Cam. Misc. xxiii. 43, 45, 49, 54, 72, 80–81; Stanhope mss U1590 C9/31, Cropley to Stanhope, 26 Mar. 1706; C707/5, Walpole to Horatio Walpole II, 13 May 1706; Cumbria RO (Carlisle) Lonsdale mss D/Lons/W2/1/39, James Lowther to William Gilpin, 12 Jan. 1705[–6].
  • 15. Cam. Misc. xxiii. 81; Stanhope mss U1590 C9/31, Cropley to Stanhope, 2 Apr. 1706; Rutland mss no.64, Lady Russell to Rutland, 18 Aug. 1706; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Mellish mss 157–96/23, Hartington to [?Robert Mellish], 25 Mar. 1707.
  • 16. Huntington Lib. Stowe mss 57(1), p. 255; Boyer, vi. 238–9.