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The Duke of Portland

Politics and Party in the Age of George III

The Duke of Portland by David Wilkinson
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This is the first full-length biography of the Duke of Portland (1738-1809), who was twice Prime Minister (1793 and 1807-9) and Home Secretary (1738-1801). He began his career as an opposition Whig, counting Rockingham, Fox and Burke among his closest allies. Yet, by the end of his life, his allegiances had shifted dramatically. Why did Portland, once the staunchest of Whig grandees, chose to link up with so-called Tories like Canning and Castlereagh?

David Wilkinson's impressive analysis carefully dismantles many popular misconceptions about political life in this period, and breaks new ground in examining Portland's career after 1794, when he joined forces with his old enemy Pitt. The Duke was responsible for public order during serious wartime shortages, and for the repression of radicalism. Portland's policies towards Ireland are also reassessed, not only in the well-known controversies over the Catholic question in 1795 and 1807, but also in the light of dramatic new evidence that reveals how the British government used illegal means to smooth the passage to the Union of 1800.
Palgrave Macmillan; December 2002
216 pages; ISBN 9780230595958
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Title: The Duke of Portland
Author: David Wilkinson
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