Henry Pelham
Henry Pelham was a British
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

British Whig Party
The Whigs were a party in the Parliament of England, Parliament of Great Britain, and Parliament of the United Kingdom, who contested power with the rival Tories from the 1680s to the 1850s. The Whigs' origin lay in constitutional monarchism and opposition to absolute rule...

A statesman is usually a politician or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career in politics or government at the national and international level. As a term of respect, it is usually left to supporters or commentators to use the term...

, who served as Prime Minister of Great Britain
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 from 27 August 1743 until his death in 1754. He was the younger brother of the politician the Duke of Newcastle
Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and 1st Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne, KG, PC was a British Whig statesman, whose official life extended throughout the Whig supremacy of the 18th century. He is commonly known as the Duke of Newcastle.A protégé of Sir Robert Walpole, he served...

 who succeeded him as Prime Minister.


For the first year of his premiership, real power was held by the Secretary of State for the Northern Department
Secretary of State for the Northern Department
The Secretary of State for the Northern Department was a position in the Cabinet of the government of Great Britain up to 1782. Before the Act of Union, 1707, the Secretary of State's responsibilities were in relation to the English government, not the British. Even after the Union, there was...

, Lord Carteret, who headed the Carteret Ministry
Carteret Ministry
-The Ministry:*Henry Pelham, who had been Paymaster of the Forces, became First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1743; he would continue to exercise those offices well into the next decade, as head of the First and Second Pelham Ministry....

 (Pelham was First Lord of the Treasury
First Lord of the Treasury
The First Lord of the Treasury is the head of the commission exercising the ancient office of Lord High Treasurer in the United Kingdom, and is now always also the Prime Minister...

, Chancellor of the Exchequer
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

 and Leader of the House of Commons
Leader of the House of Commons
The Leader of the House of Commons is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom who is responsible for arranging government business in the House of Commons...

). Thereafter, he shared power with his brother, the Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and 1st Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne, KG, PC was a British Whig statesman, whose official life extended throughout the Whig supremacy of the 18th century. He is commonly known as the Duke of Newcastle.A protégé of Sir Robert Walpole, he served...

. This period was relatively uneventful in terms of domestic affairs (Great Britain fought in several wars, however). Upon his death, his brother took full control of the ministry.

Early life

Pelham, Newcastle's younger brother, was a younger son of the 1st Baron Pelham of Laughton and his wife, the former Lady Grace Holles, daughter of Gilbert Holles, 3rd Earl of Clare
Earl of Clare
Earl of Clare was a title of English nobility created three times: once each in the peerages of England, Great Britain, and Ireland. The title derives from Clare, Suffolk, where a prominent Anglo-Norman family was seated since the Norman Conquest, and from which their English surname sprang from...

 and Grace Pierrepont. He was educated at Westminster School
Westminster School
The Royal College of St. Peter in Westminster, almost always known as Westminster School, is one of Britain's leading independent schools, with the highest Oxford and Cambridge acceptance rate of any secondary school or college in Britain...

 and Hart Hall, Oxford. Hertford College Oxford, the present-day incarnation of Hart Hall, still honours him in the title of its most prestigious drinking club, the Sir Henry Pelham Gentlemen's Sporting Society. As a volunteer he served in Dormer's regiment at the Battle of Preston
Battle of Preston (1715)
The Battle of Preston , also referred to as the Preston Fight, was fought during the Jacobite Rising of 1715 ....

 in 1715, spent some time on the Continent, and in 1717 entered Parliament for Seaford
Seaford, East Sussex
Seaford is a coastal town in the county of East Sussex, on the south coast of England. Lying east of Newhaven and Brighton and west of Eastbourne, it is the largest town in Lewes district, with a population of about 23,000....

 in Sussex
Sussex , from the Old English Sūþsēaxe , is an historic county in South East England corresponding roughly in area to the ancient Kingdom of Sussex. It is bounded on the north by Surrey, east by Kent, south by the English Channel, and west by Hampshire, and is divided for local government into West...

 which he represented until 1722.


Through strong family influence and the recommendation of Robert Walpole
Robert Walpole
Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, KG, KB, PC , known before 1742 as Sir Robert Walpole, was a British statesman who is generally regarded as having been the first Prime Minister of Great Britain....

 he was chosen in 1721 as Lord of the Treasury
Lord of the Treasury
In the United Kingdom, there are at least six Lords of the Treasury who serve concurrently. Traditionally, this board consists of the First Lord of the Treasury, the Second Lord of the Treasury, and four or more junior lords .Strictly they are commissioners for exercising the office of Lord...

. The following year he was returned for Sussex county. In 1724 he entered the ministry as Secretary at War
Secretary at War
The Secretary at War was a political position in the English and later British government, with some responsibility over the administration and organization of the Army, but not over military policy. The Secretary at War ran the War Office. It was occasionally a cabinet level position, although...

, but this office he exchanged in 1730 for the more lucrative one of Paymaster of the Forces
Paymaster of the Forces
The Paymaster of the Forces was a position in the British government. The office, which was established 1661 after the Restoration, was responsible for part of the financing of the British Army. The first to hold the office was Sir Stephen Fox. Before his time it had been the custom to appoint...

. He made himself conspicuous by his support of Walpole on the question of the excise. He, Newcastle and the Prime Minister would often meet at Houghton Hall
Houghton Hall
Houghton Hall is a country house in Norfolk, England. It was built for the de facto first British Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, and it is a key building in the history of Palladian architecture in England...

 in Norfolk where they would draw up much of the country's policy. These meetings became known as the Norfolk Congress. With Walpole, he served as a founding governor of the popular charity the Foundling Hospital
Foundling Hospital
The Foundling Hospital in London, England was founded in 1741 by the philanthropic sea captain Thomas Coram. It was a children's home established for the "education and maintenance of exposed and deserted young children." The word "hospital" was used in a more general sense than it is today, simply...

 when it opened its doors in 1739.

Prime minister

In 1742 a union of parties resulted in the formation of an administration in which Pelham became Prime Minister the following year, with the additional offices of First Lord of the Treasury, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Leader of the House of Commons. The following year Carteret was forced out of the ministry and Pelham was regarded as the leading figure, but rank and influence made his brother very powerful in the Cabinet, and, in spite of a genuine attachment, there were occasional disputes between them, which led to difficulties.

Being strongly in favour of peace, Pelham carried on the War of the Austrian Succession
War of the Austrian Succession
The War of the Austrian Succession  – including King George's War in North America, the Anglo-Spanish War of Jenkins' Ear, and two of the three Silesian wars – involved most of the powers of Europe over the question of Maria Theresa's succession to the realms of the House of Habsburg.The...

 with languor and indifferent success, but the country, wearied of the interminable struggle, was disposed to acquiesce in his foreign policy almost without a murmur. King George II
George II of Great Britain
George II was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Archtreasurer and Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 until his death.George was the last British monarch born outside Great Britain. He was born and brought up in Northern Germany...

, thwarted in his own favourite schemes, made overtures in 1746 to Lord Bath
William Pulteney, 1st Earl of Bath
William Pulteney, 1st Earl of Bath, PC was an English politician, a Whig, created the first Earl of Bath in 1742 by King George II; he is sometimes stated to have been Prime Minister, for the shortest term ever , though most modern sources reckon that he cannot be considered to have held the...

, but his purpose was upset by the resignation of the two Pelhams (Henry and Newcastle), who, after a two-day hiatus in which Bath and Carteret (now earl Granville) proved unable to form a ministry, resumed office at the king's request.
In 1749, the Consolidation Act
Consolidation Act
The Consolidation Act was an act of the parliament of Great Britain passed in 1749 to reorganize the Royal Navy....

 was passed, reorganising the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

. On 20 March 1751, the British calendar was reorganised as well (New Year's Day became 1 January); Britain would adopt the Gregorian calendar
Gregorian calendar
The Gregorian calendar, also known as the Western calendar, or Christian calendar, is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582, a papal bull known by its opening words Inter...

 one year later. Two of Pelham's final acts were the Jew Act of 1753, which allowed Jews to become naturalized by application to Parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

, and the Marriage Act of 1753, which enumerated the minimum age of consent for marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

. Upon his death, his brother (the aforementioned Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne) took over government.


His very defects were among the chief elements of Pelham's success, for one with a strong personality, moderate self-respect, or high conceptions of statesmanship could not have restrained the discordant elements of the cabinet for any length of time. Moreover, he possessed tact and a thorough acquaintance with the forms of the House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

. Whatever quarrels or insubordination might exist within the cabinet, they never broke out into open revolt. Nor can a high degree of praise be denied to his financial policy, especially his plans for the reduction of the national debt and the simplification and consolidation of its different branches.

Personal life

Pelham had married Lady Catherine Manners, daughter of the 2nd Duke of Rutland
John Manners, 2nd Duke of Rutland
John Manners, 2nd Duke of Rutland KG was the son of John Manners, 1st Duke of Rutland and his third wife Catherine Wriothesley Noel, daughter of Baptist Noel, 3rd Viscount Campden...

, in 1726. They had four daughters:
  • Catherine (1727–1760), married 1744 Henry Clinton, 9th Earl Clinton
    Henry Pelham-Clinton, 2nd Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne
    thumb|right|"The Return From Shooting" by [[Francis Wheatley |Sir Francis Wheatley]] depicting The Duke of Newcastle, his friend Colonel Litchfield and the Duke's gamekeeper, Mansell along with four Clumber Spaniels....

    , who by this marriage subsequently became the 2nd Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne
    Duke of Newcastle
    Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne is a title which has been created three times in British history while the title of Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne has been created once. The title was created for the first time in the Peerage of England in 1664 when William Cavendish, 1st Marquess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne...

  • Frances (1728–1824), died unmarried
  • Grace (1735–1777), married 1752 the Hon. Lewis Watson, who in 1760 was created Baron Sondes
    Earl Sondes
    Earl Sondes, of Lees Court in the County of Kent, was a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1880 for the former Conservative Member of Parliament for East Kent, George Milles, 5th Baron Sondes. He was made Viscount Throwley, of the County of Kent, at the same time, which...

  • Mary (1739–1???), died unmarried

Pelham's personal papers were inherited by his son-in-law and now form part of the Newcastle (Clumber) Collection held at the department of Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham
Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham
Manuscripts and Special Collections is part of Information Services at the University of Nottingham. It is based at King's Meadow Campus in Nottingham in England...


Titles from birth to death

  • Mr. Henry Pelham (1694–1706)
  • The Hon. Henry Pelham (1706–1717)
  • The Hon. Henry Pelham, MP (1717–1725)
  • The Rt. Hon. Henry Pelham, MP (1725–1754)

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.