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This Sceptred Isle

Frederick, Lord North, Earl of Guildford
Frederick, Lord North, Earl of Guildford
Lord North
In 1770 Frederick North became First Lord of the Treasury and Prime Minister. He was a Tory. During his 12 years as Prime Minister Britain would lose the War of American Independence. In 1770 there was a move to reform Parliament - The Bill of Rights Society was formed which said that Parliament should sit every year, that placemen (those in Parliament to maintain the government's majority) should be abolished and that MPs should have mandates from the electorate. Debates in the House were still, officially, secret affairs.

In Lord North, George III finally found a leader who would be the King's most loyal subject. George III held Parliament, Cabinet and policy in his hand.


  • Eighth Baron North, Earl of Guildford
  • Whig MP and Prime Minister 1770-1782
  • Son of a courtier
  • Elected MP for Banbury in 1754 - his family's pocket borough
  • Paymaster of the forces under Pitt the Elder
  • Chancellor of the Exchequer and Leader in the Commons in 1767
  • Became Prime Minister in 1770
  • Resigned in 1782 over the loss of America
  • Too often given in to George III, his judgement over the ways to forestall the war was impaired
  • Briefly retained power with Fox
  • Resigned over the India Bill

did you know?
William Pitt the Elder was first MP for Old Sarum in Wiltshire, then for Seaford in Sussex, Aldborough in Yorkshire and Okehampton in Devon all of which were Pocket Boroughs. Finally he became member for Bath elected by the City fathers.


  • Northey saw clearly, but it was for a little way.
  • Lord Strange was the most absurd man that ever existed.
  • Nugent's assertions would have made everybody angry, if they had not made everybody laugh.
  • Lord Granville was novelty itself.
  • Doctor Hay seldom said anything new; his speeches were fair editions of the thoughts of other men.
  • Doddington was always searching for wit; and what was surprising, generally found it.
  • Lord Dulphin aimed at nothing but understanding business and explaining it.
  • George Grenville and Hume Campbell were tragic speakers of very different kinds; the latter far superior.
  • Charles Townshend neither caring whether himself or others were in the right, only spoke to show how well he could adorn a bad cause, or demolish a good one. It was frequent with him, as soon as he had done speaking, to run to the opposite side of the House, and laugh with those he had attacked, at those who had defended.
  • Townshend had such openness in all his behaviour, that he seemed to think duplicity the simplest conduct.
Select historical period

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1760George II dies
George III becomes king
Wolfe dies at Quebec
1761 Pitt the Elder falls from power
1762 Newcastle resigns
Bute becomes Prime Minister
1763Bute resigns
Grenville becomes Prime Minister
1765 Rockingham becomes Prime Minister
Hargreaves invents the spinning jenny
1766 Grafton becomes nominal Prime Minister
1768 Royal Academy of Arts founded
1769Captain Cook lands at Tahiti
1770 Lord North becomes Prime Minister
1773 Boston Tea Party
1775 American Revolution begins
1776 American Declaration of Independence
1778 Death of Pitt the Elder
France joins America against Britain
1782 North resigns
Rockingham becomes Prime Minister
Rockingham dies
Shelburne becomes Prime Minister

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