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Henry Pelham

Henry PelhamBorn: 1696
Died: 6-Mar-1754
Location of death: London, England
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Anglican/Episcopalian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Head of State

Nationality: England
Executive summary: UK Prime Minister, 1743-54

Henry Pelham, Prime minister of the United Kingdom, younger brother of Thomas Holles Pelham, Duke of Newcastle, was born in 1696. He was a younger son of Thomas, 1st Baron Pelham of Laughton and of Lady Grace Holles, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Clare. He was educated by a private tutor and at Christ Church, Oxford, which he entered in July 1710. As a volunteer he served in Dormer's regiment at the battle of Preston in 1715, spent some time on the Continent, and in 1717 entered parliament for Seaford, Sussex. Through strong family influence and the recommendation of Robert Walpole he was chosen in 1721 a lord of the Treasury. The following year he was returned for Sussex county. In 1724 he entered the ministry as secretary of war, but this office he exchanged in 1730 for the more lucrative one of paymaster of the forces. He made himself conspicuous by his support of Walpole on the question of the excise, and in 1743 a union of parties resulted in the formation of an administration in which Pelham was prime minister, with the office of chancellor of the exchequer; but rank and influence made his brother, the Duke of Newcastle, 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 favor of peace, Pelham carried on the War of Austrian Succession 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, thwarted in his favorite schemes, made overtures in 1746 to Lord Bath, but his purpose was upset by the resignation of the two Pelhams (Henry and Newcastle), who, however, at the king's request, resumed office. Pelham remained prime minister until his death on the 6th of March 1754, when his brother succeeded him. 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. 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. He had married in 1726 Lady Catherine Manners, daughter of the 2nd Duke of Rutland; and one of his daughters married Henry Fiennes Clinton, 2nd Duke of Newcastle.

Father: Thomas, 1st Baron Pelham of Laughton (b. 1650, d. 1712)
Mother: Lady Grace Holles
Brother: Thomas Holles Pelham, Duke of Newcastle
Wife: Lady Catherine Manners (m. 1726)

    University: Christ Church, Oxford University

    UK Prime Minister (1743-54)
    Chancellor of the Exchequer (1743-54)
    UK Leader of the House of Commons (1743-54)
    UK Minister Secretary of War (1724-30)
    UK Member of Parliament


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