Dartmouth, William Legge, Earl of, 1731-1801

Alternative names
Birth 1731-06-20
Death 1801-07-15

Biographical notes:

This volume contains a list of offices and office holders in the North American and West Indian colonies created by the British Secretary of State of the colonies in 1775. The item was created by or for William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth, who was Secretary of State from 1772 through November of 1775, when he resigned and was replaced by Lord Germain, 1st Viscount Sackville. The official title for this cabinet level office was "Colonial Secretary," a position created in 1768 to help manage the unruly American colonies.

From the guide to the Great Britain. Secretary of State. A List of Offices in the North American and West Indian Colonies, 1775, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)

British Statesman.

From the description of William Legge Dartmouth papers, 1766-1775 (Detroit Public Library). WorldCat record id: 316855532

Earl of Dartmouth, Secretary of State for the American Colonies (1772-1775).

From the description of Papers, 1766-1782. (University of Florida). WorldCat record id: 50750678

British philanthropist and statesman.

William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth, was born on June 20, 1731, and died on July 15, 1801 in Blackheath Kent. He played a significant role in the events leading to the American War of Independence. In May 1754, he took his seat in the House of Lords, and became the First Lord of Trade in the administration of the Marquess of Rockingham. He became a member of the Privy Council in July 1765. In 1772, he became Secretary of State for the Colonies.

In the ministry of his half-brother, Lord North. Faced with hostility in the Colonies, he recognised Benjamin Franklin as colonial agent, and adopted a policy of delay to allow tensions to abate. When it failed he sought moderate measures to secure colonial dependence on Britain, but rejected proposals of the Continental Congress. Unwilling to declare war on the colonies, he resigned his offices in November 1775, but remained Lord Privy Seal until the fall of Lord North's administration in 1782.

From the description of Papers, 1766-1782. (University of Florida). WorldCat record id: 49668552


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  • Colonies--Administration
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