The Marquis of Rockingham had become leader of the Whigs at an early age, and led them from his seat in the Lords. His first term as prime minister was short and little praised yet not without its successes. His government was responsible for the repeal of the controversial Stamp Act in February, 1766, due to sustained protests in the colonies against the imposition of duties on all official papers used in the colonies. However, King George III was not impressed with this show of weakness and sacked him in favour of Pitt the Elder.
Sixteen years later Rockingham formed a second administration. He opened peace negotiations with the Americans, championed independence for the Irish parliament and was beginning a process of political reform when he died suddenly from influenza in 1782.