William Cavendish
4th Duke of Devonshire

William was a reluctant PM. He came from a Whig family that had done a great deal to make the Hanover family welcome in Britain. George II had to persuade this reluctant politician to come to power in 1756, although actually he was little more than a front man for his Secretary of State Pitt the Elder. The start of the Seven Years War was to be the seminal event of his tenure. Two events from this war in particular would be his chief concerns namely the court martialling of navy admiral Byng for his failure to relieve Minorca, and a dispute with the Duke of Cumberland over the defence of Hanover. Devonshire resigned after a lacklustre seven months. In 1764 he died in Germany, at a younger age than any other British PM at just 44 years old.


Prime Ministers | William Cavendish


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by Stephen Luscombe