The Earl of Halifax
2ndEarlofHalifaxByJoshuaReynoldsNSArtGallery.jpg
The 2nd Earl of Halifax by Joshua Reynolds (1764)
Lord Privy Seal
In office
26 February 1770 – 22 January 1771
MonarchGeorge III
Prime MinisterLord North
Preceded byThe Earl of Bristol
Succeeded byThe Earl of Suffolk
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
In office
3 April 1761 – 27 April 1763
MonarchGeorge III
Preceded byThe Duke of Bedford
Succeeded byThe Earl of Northumberland
President of the Board of Trade
In office
1 November 1748 – 21 March 1761
MonarchGeorge II
Preceded byThe Lord Monson
Succeeded byThe Lord Sandys
Personal details
Born(1716-10-06)6 October 1716
Died8 June 1771(1771-06-08) (aged 54)
NationalityBritish
Political partyTory
Alma materTrinity College, Cambridge

George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax, KG, PC (6 October 1716 – 8 June 1771), was a British statesman of the Georgian era. Due to his success in extending American commerce he became known as "father of the colonies".[1] President of the Board of Trade from 1748 to 1761, he aided the foundation of Nova Scotia, 1749, the capital Halifax being named after him. When Canada was ceded to the King of Great Britain by the king of France, following the Treaty of Paris of 1763, he restricted its boundaries and renamed it "Province of Quebec".[2]

Early life

The son of the 1st Earl of Halifax, he was styled Viscount Sunbury until succeeding his father as Earl of Halifax in 1739 (thus also styled in common usage Lord Halifax). Educated at Eton College and at Trinity College, Cambridge,[3] he was married in 1741 to Anne Richards (died 1753), who had inherited a great fortune from Sir Thomas Dunk, whose name Halifax took.

Career

The Earl of Halifax and his secretaries
The Earl of Halifax and his secretaries

After having been an official in the household of Frederick, Prince of Wales, Halifax was made Master of the Buckhounds, and in 1748 he became President of the Board of Trade. While filling this position he helped to found Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, which was named after him, and he helped foster trade, especially with North America.

About this time he attempted, unsuccessfully, to become a Secretary of State, but was only allowed to enter the Cabinet in 1757. In March 1761, Halifax was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and during part of the time which he held this office he was also First Lord of the Admiralty.

He became Secretary of State for the Northern Department under Lord Bute in October 1762, switching to the Southern Department in 1763 and was one of the three ministers to whom King George III entrusted the direction of affairs during the premiership of George Grenville. In 1762, in search of evidence of sedition, he authorised a raid on the home of John Entick, declared unlawful in the case of Entick v. Carrington.

In 1763, he signed the general warrant for the "authors, printers and publishers" of The North Briton number 45, under which John Wilkes and 48 others were arrested, and for which, six years later, the courts of law made Halifax pay damages. He was also mainly responsible for the exclusion of the name of the King's mother, Augusta, Princess of Wales, from the Regency Bill of 1765.

Together with his colleagues, Halifax left office in July 1765, returning to the Cabinet as Lord Privy Seal under his nephew, Lord North, in January 1770. He had just been restored to his former position of Secretary of State when he died.

Cricket

Like his friends John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford, and John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, Halifax was keen on cricket. The earliest surviving record of his involvement in the sport comes from 1741 when he led Northamptonshire in a match against Buckinghamshire at Cow Meadow in Northampton. In the same season, Sandwich and Halifax formed the Northamptonshire & Huntingdonshire team which twice defeated Bedfordshire, first at Woburn Park and then at Cow Meadow.[4][5]

Legacy

Social, moral and cultural impact

Halifax, who was Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire and a Lieutenant General, was very extravagant.[6] During the House of Commons election for Northampton in 1768, he spent £150,000 bribing voters to support his candidate, George Brydges Rodney, and was financially ruined by the effort.[7]

He was a political patron of playwright and civil servant Richard Cumberland. He left no legitimate male children, and his titles became extinct on his death. Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford, spoke slightingly of him and his mistress, Anna Maria Faulkner, including alleging that Halifax had "sold every employment in his gift".[8] His mistress had kept a low profile while he was in Ireland, but she was understood to have sold positions.[6]

Memorials

Halifax was buried in the parish church of Horton, Northamptonshire; an effigy bust and plaque features in the north transept of Westminster Abbey. An obelisk is erected at Chicksands Wood in the parish of Haynes, Bedfordshire, inscribed to his memory.

Related locations

The municipality of Halifax and Halifax County, Nova Scotia, are named in his honour, as are the Halifax River in Central Florida; the town of Halifax and Halifax County, North Carolina; Halifax, Virginia, in the United States; and Dunk Island in Queensland and Montague Island in New South Wales.

Footnotes

  1. ^ "George Montagu Dunk, Second Earl of Halifax". Au cœur de l'Acadie: Archives concernant la Déportation et le Grand dérangement, 1714-1768. Nova Scotia Archives. Archived from the original on 4 December 2006. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  2. ^ Halifax to the Lords of Trade, september 19,1763. In: Shortt, Adam and Doughty, Arthur-G, Documents relating to the constitutional history of Canada (Sessional Papers no. 18), Ottawa, Dawson, King's Printer, 1907, p. 112.
  3. ^ "Sunbury, George (Lord) (SNBY733G)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  4. ^ Maun, pp. 106–107.
  5. ^ Waghorn, Cricket Scores, p. 27.
  6. ^ a b "Falkner [Faulkner; married names Donaldson, Lumm], Anna Maria (d. 1796/7), singer". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/64335. ISBN 978-0-19-861412-8. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  7. ^ Joseph Grego (1886). A History of Parliamentary Elections and Electioneering in the Old Days . Archived from the original on 15 January 2021. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  8. ^ "Lord Lucan and others at Hampton Court House" Archived 24 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine Watford Observer English History article.
Attribution

Bibliography

Further reading

Political offices Preceded byRalph Jenison Master of the Buckhounds 1744–1746 Succeeded byRalph Jenison Preceded byThe Lord Monson First Lord of Trade 1748–1761 Succeeded byThe Lord Sandys Preceded byThe Duke of Bedford Lord Lieutenant of Ireland 1761–1763 Succeeded byThe Earl of Northumberland Preceded byThe Lord Anson First Lord of the Admiralty 1762 Succeeded byGeorge Grenville Preceded byGeorge Grenville Secretary of State for the Northern Department 1762–1763 Succeeded byThe Earl of Sandwich Preceded byThe Earl of Egremont Secretary of State for the Southern Department 1763–1765 Succeeded byHenry Seymour Conway Preceded byThe Earl of Egremont Leader of the House of Lords 1763–1765 Succeeded byThe Marquess of Rockingham Preceded byThe Earl of Bristol Lord Privy Seal 1770–1771 Succeeded byThe Earl of Suffolk and Berkshire Preceded byThe Earl of Sandwich Northern Secretary 1771 Legal offices Preceded byThe Earl of Jersey Justice in Eyresouth of the Trent 1746–1748 Succeeded byThe Duke of Leeds Honorary titles Preceded byThe Duke of Montagu Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire 1749–1771 Succeeded byThe Earl of Northampton Peerage of Great Britain Preceded byGeorge Montagu Earl of Halifax 1739–1771 Extinct