William Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland

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About William Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland

William Henry Cavendish Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland PC (24 June 1768 – 27 March 1854) was a British politician who served in various positions in the governments of George Canning and Lord Goderich.

He was the eldest son of William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland and Dorothy Cavendish. His maternal grandparents were William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire and Charlotte Boyle.

On 4 August 1795 in London, the 4th Duke married Henrietta Scott, daughter of General John Scott and his wife Margaret, née Dundas, and obtained Royal Licence took the name "Scott" in addition to that of Bentinck. They were parents of nine children


Portland was the eldest son of Prime Minister William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland and Lady Dorothy, daughter of William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire and Charlotte Boyle, Baroness Clifford. He was the elder brother of Lord William Bentinck and Lord Charles Bentinck. He was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford.[1] Political career[edit]

Portland was Member of Parliament for Petersfield between 1790 and 1791[1][2] and for Buckinghamshire between 1791 and 1809.[1][3] and served under his father as a Lord of the Treasury between March and September 1807.[1] He remained out of office until April 1827 when he was appointed Lord Privy Seal by his brother-in-law George Canning.[4] He was sworn of the Privy Council the same year.[4] When Lord Goderich became Prime Minister in August 1827, Portland became Lord President of the Council,[5] an office he retained until the government fell in January 1828.[1] Portland also held the honorary post of Lord Lieutenant of Middlesex between 1794 and 1841.[1] Family[edit]

Portland married Henrietta, daughter of General John Scott and his wife Margaret (née Dundas), in London on 4 August 1795. At the time of his marriage he obtained Royal Licence to take the name "Scott" in addition to that of Bentinck. They were parents of nine children: William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, Marquess of Titchfield (21 August 1796 – 4 March 1824). His birth was commemorated by his paternal grandfather's commissioning of the Portland Font.[6] Lady Margaret Harriet (21 April 1798 – 9 April 1882) Lady Caroline (6 July 1799 – 23 January 1828) William John Cavendish, Marquess of Titchfield, later 5th Duke of Portland (12 September 1800 – 6 December 1879). Lord (William) George Frederick (27 February 1802 – 21 September 1848). Lord Henry William Bentinck (9 June 1804 – 31 December 1870). Lady Charlotte (14 Jan 1806 – 30 September 1889). Married John Evelyn Denison, 1st Viscount Ossington. Lady Lucy Joan (27 August 1807 – 29 July 1899) Married Charles Ellis, 6th Baron Howard de Walden. Lady Mary (8 July 1809 – 20 July 1874). Married Sir William Topham. The Duchess of Portland died in April 1844. Portland survived her by ten years and died in March 1854, aged 85. He was succeeded in the dukedom by his second but eldest surviving son, William.[1] The department of Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham holds a number of papers relating to Portland: His personal and political papers (Pw H) are part of the Portland (Welbeck) Collection while the Portland (London) Collection (Pl) contains papers relating to his estate business. The Portland Estate Papers held at Nottinghamshire Archives also contain items relating to Portland's properties. Titles[edit]

Bentinck was the second son of Prime Minister William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland, and Lady Dorothy, daughter of William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire.[1] Career until 1827[edit]

After service in the Peninsular War, Bentinck was appointed commander of British troops in Sicily. A Whig, Bentinck used this position to meddle in internal Sicilian affairs, effecting the withdrawal from government of Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies in favour of his son, Francis I of the Two Sicilies, the reactionary Queen's disgrace, and an attempt to devise a constitutional government for the troubled island, all of which ultimately ended in failure. In 1814, Bentinck landed with British and Sicilian troops at Genoa, and commenced to make liberal proclamations of a new order in Italy which embarrassed the British government (which intended to give much of Italy to Austria), and led, once again, to his recall in 1815. Bentinck in Sicily[edit] As conditions in Sicily began to deteriorate at the beginning of the 19th century, England began worrying about its interests in the Mediterranean. Internal dissensions in the Sicilian government and an ever increasing suspicion that Queen Maria Carolina was in correspondence with the French Occupation of Sicily as its object led to the appointment of Bentinck as British representative to the Court of Palermo in July 1811.[2] At the beginning of his time at the head of Sicilian affairs, politicians in London opposed the Bourbon rule and appealed for Sicilian annexation. Bentinck was sympathetic to the cause and plight of the Sicilians and "was quickly convinced of the need for Britain to intervene in Sicilian affairs, not so much for Britain’s sake as for the well-being of the Sicilians.” [3] He was also one of the first of the dreamers to see a vision of a unified Italy.[2] The English, however, were content to support the Bourbons if they were willing to give the Sicilians more governmental control and a greater respect of their rights. Bentinck saw this as the perfect opportunity to insert his ideas of a Sicilian constitution. Opposition to the establishment of a constitution continued to surface, Maria Carolina proving to be one of the toughest. Her relationship with Bentinck can be summed up in the nickname that she gave him: "La bestia feroce" or the ferocious beast.[3] Bentinck, however, was determined to see the establishment of a Sicilian Constitution and shortly thereafter exiled Maria Carolina from Palermo. On 18 June 1812 the Parliament assembled in Palermo and, about a month later, on 20 July 1812 the constitution was accepted and written on the basis of 15 articles. With the establishment of the constitution the Sicilians had now gained an autonomy they had never experienced before. The constitution set up the separation of the legislative and executive powers and abolished the feudalistic practices that had been established and recognized for the past 700 years.[2] Bentinck's success in establishing a Sicilian constitution lasted only a few years. On 8 December 1816, a year after Ferdinand IV returned to the throne of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, the constitution was abolished and Sicily was reunited with Naples. The constitutional experiment was deemed a failure although it cannot be said to be his alone.[2] The Sicilian nobles were inexperienced and in the face of the difficulties of 1814 and 1815 could not sustain a constitution without British support, which was withdrawn in the wake of the end of the Napoleonic wars. The British no longer had an invested interest in the internal affairs of Sicily now that the threat of French invasion had been removed. The establishment of a Sicilian constitution that was facilitated by Bentinck was not to be soon forgotten. The ideas found therein and the small taste of freedom lingered in the memories of the Sicilians and had an influence on the desire for autonomy that was at the base of the Sicilian revolutions of 1820 and 1848.[3] Governor-General of India[edit]

On his return to England, Bentinck served in the House of Commons for some years before being appointed Governor-General of Bengal in 1828. His principal concern was to turn around the loss-making Honourable East India Company, in order to ensure that its charter would be renewed by the British government. Bentinck engaged in an extensive range of cost-cutting measures, earning the lasting enmity of many military men whose wages were cut. Although his financial management of India was quite impressive,[according to whom?] his modernizing projects also included a policy of westernization, influenced by the Utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham and James Mill, which was more controversial. Reforming the court system, he made English, rather than Persian, the language of the higher courts and encouraged western-style education for Indians in order to provide more educated Indians for service in the British bureaucracy. Bentinck also took steps to suppress suttee, the death of a widow on her husband's funeral pyre, and other cruel social customs prevalent in the society during that time, with the help of Raja Ram Mohan Roy who was not only a social reformer but also known as "Maker of Modern India" or "Father of Modern India".[4] The "superstitious practices" Rammohan Roy objected included suttee' caste rigidity, polygamy and child marriages and Lord Bentinck helped him to enforce the law.[5] Although his reforms met little resistance among native Indians at the time, it has been argued[citation needed] that they brought on dissatisfaction which ultimately led to the great mutiny of 1857. His reputation for ruthless financial efficiency and disregard for Indian culture led to the much-repeated story that he had once planned to demolish the Taj Mahal and sell off the marble. According to Bentinck's biographer John Rosselli, the story arose from Bentinck's fund-raising sale of discarded marble from Agra Fort and of the metal from the Great Agra Gun, the largest cannon ever cast, a historical artifact which dated to the reign of Akbar the Great.[6][7] Bentinck returned to the UK in 1835, refusing a peerage, and again entered the House of Commons as a Member for Glasgow. Personal life[edit]

Lady William Cavendish-Bentinck (c 1783-1843) (Ellen Sharples) Bentinck married Lady Mary, daughter of Arthur Acheson, 1st Earl of Gosford, in 1803. The marriage was childless. He died in Paris on 17 June 1839, aged 64. Mary died in May 1843.[1] The department of Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham holds the personal papers and correspondence of Lord William Bentinck (Pw J), as part of the Portland (Welbeck) Collection. The Charter Act of 1833[edit]

The Charter Act of 1833 was passed during the time of Lord William Bentinck. Accordingly monopoly of the company was abolished. Governor-General in Bengal became the governor-general of India. This Act added a law member to the executive council of the governor-general.The Bishops of Bombay.Madras and Calcutta were to be appointed for the benefit of the Christians in India.

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William Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland's Timeline

June 24, 1768
London, England
August 21, 1796
Age 28
April 21, 1798
Age 29
July 6, 1799
Age 31
September 12, 1800
Age 32
February 27, 1802
Age 33
June 9, 1804
Age 35
January 14, 1806
Age 37
August 27, 1807
Age 39