Biography of GRAFTON, 3rd duke of - Archontology
GRAFTON, 3rd duke of

Augustus Henry Fitzroy

b. 28 Sep 1735
d. 14 Mar 1811, Euston Hall, Suffolk

Ministerial offices: Secretary of State, Northern Department (11 Jul 1765 - 23 May 1766) [1]
Lord Commissioner of the Treasury (2 Aug 1766 - 28 Jan 1770) [2]
Leader of the House of Lords (Aug 1766 - 28 Jan 1770)
Lord Privy Seal (12 Jun 1771 - 9 Nov 1775, 27 Mar 1782 - 2 Apr 1783)
Names/titles: styled Earl of Euston [1747-1757]; 3rd Duke of Grafton [from 6 May 1757]

Augustus Henry Fitzroy's ancestor was one of the three illegitimate sons of King Charles II. Fitzroy studied at Peterhouse, Cambridge, and received his MA degree. He was elected to Parliament in 1756, but took his seat in the House of Lords after he inherited the ducal title from his grandfather in 1757. Grafton's first ministerial post was in Rockingham's Government in 1765, from which he resigned the following year over the refusal of Rockingham to bring William Pitt into his ministry. He became First Lord of the Treasury when Pitt became prime minister in July 1766, and somewhat reluctantly had to take control of the Government at the age of 31 because of the ill-health of Pitt (now in the Lords as the Earl of Chatham). Much of 1767 was spent in efforts to reconstruct Chatham's failing Government, and in October of the following year Grafton became prime minister when Chatham finally resigned. His short period of office was taken up with the American colonial situation, concerning which he believed that all duties on the colonies should be removed — except that on tea. His administration also had to deal with the repeated attempts of John Wilkes, who had been convicted of seditious libel, to take his seat in Parliament. Grafton's ministry broke up in January 1770, although he agreed to serve as Lord Privy Seal under Lord North in 1771, a post he gave up in 1775 following disagreement over North's American policy. Biography sources: [5, pp. 52-57]

[1] Dates in office are given according to the warrants relating to money paid to the Duke of Grafton as Secretary of State found in the Public Record Office (T 53/50, p. 13) [3].
[2] Appointment date is given according to a reference to the Public Records Office, Patent Rolls, C 66/3707 [4]. "Annual Register" (1766, 165) reads: "August 2. Duke of Grafton, Right Hon. Charles Townshend, Thomas Townshend, George Onslow, and Pryse Campbell, Esqrs. Lords of the Treasury.—Charles Townshend, Chancellor of the Exchequer." The date of appointment of Duke of Grafton as First Lord of the Treasury may be close to 2 Aug 1766. (cf. "Facts About the British Prime Ministers" indicates July 1766 as the time of appointment [5, p. 54]).
[3] "Officials of the Secretaries of State, 1660-1782", compiled by J. C. Sainty (University of London, Institute of Historical Research, 1973).
[4] "Treasury officials, 1660-1870", compiled by J. C. Sainty (London, Athlone Press [for] University of London, Institute of Historical Research, 1972)
[5] Englefield, Dermot; Seaton, Janet; White, Isobel (eds.) Facts About the British Prime Ministers: A Compilation of Biographical and Historical Information. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1995. online
Image: engraving of the Duke of Grafton by E. Bocquet after an original painting by John Hoppner.