Henry Pelham-Clinton, 4th Duke of Newcastle
Henry Pelham Fiennes Pelham-Clinton, 4th Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne KG (31 January 1785 – 12 January 1851) was a British nobleman and politician who played a leading part in British politics in the late 1820s and early 1830s. He was styled Lord Clinton from birth until 1794 and Earl of Lincoln between 1794 and 1795.
Pelham-Clinton was the eldest son of Thomas Pelham-Clinton, 3rd Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne, and his wife Lady Anna Maria (née Stanhope), and was educated at Eton College. His father died when he was ten years old. In 1803, encouraged by the Peace of Amiens which provided a break in hostilities with France, his mother and stepfather took him on a European Tour. Unfortunately, war broke out once again, and the young duke was detained at Tours in 1803, where he remained until 1806.
Opposition to Catholic Emancipation
On 22 March 1821 Newcastle published a pamphlet in the form of a letter to Lord Liverpool, protesting against a Bill for Catholic Emancipation. Newcastle argued that if his government supported Emancipation they would be doing the country an injustice for two main reasons. Firstly, the attention of the nation was preoccupied with domestic problems and little interested in the question, so to pass Emancipation now would be a betrayal. Secondly, the government could not be neutral on this question because if the Bill passed Parliament, the King would have to refuse Royal Assent as it would be in breach of his promise, made in the Coronation Oath, to uphold the Protestant constitution. If the King were to do this without the advice of his ministers then it would be unconstitutional since the King could only act on the advice of his ministers. Thereby the government should adopt a position on the question, and this position should of necessity be opposed to Emancipation.
He did not hold any national office but he was extremely active in politics. From about 1826 he became one of the leaders of the so-called "Ultra-Tory" faction, staunchly supporting the traditional establishment of Church, Country and State. He rejected the label of Tory, however.
On 13 March 1827 Newcastle told Lord Colchester that he wanted to form a group to support the King in forming a government opposed to Emancipation with the aid of Lords Mansfield, Salisbury and Falmouth, and that he could win the support of about 60 peers. On 24 March Newcastle had an audience with the King, George IV, on the question of Emancipation. However early in the conversation the King interrupted Newcastle, "it was only occasionally that I could edge in my remarks & opinions". Newcastle said himself and other peers wishes for an administration "formed on anti Rom. Cath. principles & that if it would be H.M.'s pleasure to form such an administration it would be certain of support & success". The King, however, said a Prime Minister could not be appointed until it was certain that Lord Liverpool would not recover from his stroke.
Nerwcastle responded by saying this delay could only help the pro-Emancipation politicians and that himself and other peers would help the King in his choice if he would choose Protestants, "not doubtful Protestants but such as are staunch and unequivocal in their opinions". The King replied: "That you may safely rely upon". When Newcastle was going to suggest Lord Eldon as Prime Minister, the King stopped him by saying Eldon was persona non grata and suggested Wellington instead. Newcastle was opposed to this choice and wanted the King to make a stronger declaration in favour of a government opposed to Emancipation. The King was annoyed at this and asked, "What more can I do?" Newcastle said nothing could be better than his declaration and that if he had the permission to make the King's declaration publicly known. The King would not allow this, however.
Newcastle wrote to Lord Colchester on 15 January 1828 that he wanted "a sound, plain-dealing Protestant administration, devoid of all quackery and mysterious nonsense". The Duke of Wellington sought Newcastle's support for his new government, and when he learnt that it did not possess Newcastle's confidence (and not receiving a reply to his first letter) he wrote again to him on 31 January, saying: "Nothing can be more unpleasant to me than that the friendly Relations between your Grace and the Govt. should be suspended". Newcastle finally replied on 4 February, saying his government did not possess his confidence.
On 18 September 1828 Newcastle condemned the government for "neutrality, conciliation, and modern liberality". Wellington "may be the victim of a monstrous error" but he had supported relieving the Dissenters and his first parliamentary session was "by far the most disastrous of any in the memory of man". Newcastle advised that those opposed to Emancipation "must unite in Protestant associations from one end of the country to the other, and as Parliament is not sitting, they should address their Protestant King". Failure to do this might provoke punishment from God.
When in October 1829 Newcastle was criticised for evicting tenants who had voted against his candidates, he famously wrote: "Is it presumed then that I am not to do what I will with my own?". He repeated this in the Lords on 3 December 1830. In response to further evictions, The Times rebuked Newcastle for acting like the recently-deposed Charles X of France in abusing his power and claimed that his actions were the best argument in favour of reform.
Opposition to Reform
He was a vehement opponent of electoral reform. This stance led to attacks on his property during the Reform Bill Riots of 1831. Nottingham Castle was burnt to the ground and his residences at Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire and Portman Square, London also had to be fortified against the mob.
In 1839 Newcastle objected to the appointment to the magistracy of two gentlemen nominated by the government, but of whose political and religious principles he disapproved (being Dissenters). He wrote a very offensive letter to Lord Chancellor Cottenham, and on his refusing to withdraw it he received a letter on 4 May from Russell informing him that the Queen had no further occasion for his services as Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire. Charles Greville wrote in his diary on 2 May: "I met the Duke of Wellington at the Ancient Concert, and asked him the reason, which he told me in these words: "Oh, there never was such a fool, as he is; the Government have done quite right, quite right, they could not do otherwise"."
Pelham-Clinton married Georgiana Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Edward Miller Mundy, in 1807. They had eight sons and six daughters:
- Lady Anna Maria Pelham-Clinton (1808–1822)
- Lady Georgiana Pelham-Clinton (1810–1874)
- Henry Pelham-Clinton, 5th Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne (1811–1864)
- Lady Charlotte Pelham-Clinton (1812–1886)
- Lord Charles Pelham Pelham-Clinton (1813–1894), married Elizabeth Grant in 1848 and had issue
- Lord Thomas Charles Pelham-Clinton (1813–1882), married Marianne Gritton in 1843, separated in 1865
- Lord William Pelham-Clinton (1815–1850), died unmarried
- Lt. Lord Edward Pelham-Clinton (1816–1842), died of illness aboard HMS Harlequin during the First Opium War
- Lord John Pelham-Clinton (1817)
- Lady Caroline Augusta Pelham-Clinton (1818–1898), married Sir Cornwallis Ricketts, 2nd Baronet in 1852 and had issue
- Lady Henrietta Pelham-Clinton (1819–1890), married Admiral Edwin Clayton D'Eyncourt in 1859 and had issue
- Lord Robert Renebald Pelham-Clinton (1820–1867), died unmarried
- a stillborn daughter (1822), twin to
- Lord George Pelham Clinton (1822), died 13 days after birth
The Duchess of Newcastle-under-Lyne died in 1822 in childbirth. Pelham-Clinton never remarried and died in January 1851, aged 65. He was succeeded by his eldest son Henry, who was a prominent politician.
The papers of the 4th Duke, including his very detailed personal diaries for the period 1822–1851, are now held by Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham.
- Letter of the Duke of Newcastle to Lord Kenyon on the Catholic Emancipation Question (1828).
- An Address to all classes and conditions of Englishmen (1832).
- Thoughts in times past tested by subsequent events (1837).
- G. I. T. Machin, The Catholic Question in English Politics. 1820 to 1830 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1964), pp. 29-30.
- Charles, Lord Colchester (ed.), The Diary and Correspondence of Charles Abbot, Lord Colchester. Volume III (London: John Murray, 1861), p. 542.
- Colchester, p. 466.
- Machin, pp. 96-97.
- Machin, pp. 97-98.
- Colchester, p. 537-538.
- Machin, p. 111.
- Machin, pp. 134-135.
- Michael Brock, The Great Reform Act (London: Hutchinson, 1973), p. 57.
- Brock, p. 63.
- Complaint by the Duke of Newcastle. HL Deb 3 December 1830 vol 1 cc750-63
- The Times (29 September 1830), p. 2.
- Philip Whitwell Wilson (ed.), The Greville Diary. Volume I (New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1927), p. 423.
- Michael Brock, The Great Reform Act (London: Hutchinson, 1973).
- Charles Kidd and David Williamson (eds.), Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990,[page needed]
- G. I. T. Machin, The Catholic Question in English Politics. 1820 to 1830 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1964).
- H. C. G. Matthew, ‘Clinton, Henry Pelham Fiennes Pelham-, fourth duke of Newcastle under Lyme (1785–1851)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 19 Sept 2011.
- Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages [self-published source][better source needed]
- Lundy, Darryl. "FAQ". The Peerage.[unreliable source]
- John Fletcher (ed.), Where Truth Abides: Diaries of the 4th Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyme 1822-1850 (Country Books, 2001).
- Richard A. Gaunt (ed.), Unrepentant Tory: Political Selections from the Diaries of the Fourth Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne, 1827-38 (Boydell Press, 2006).
- Richard A. Gaunt (ed.), Unhappy Reactionary: The Diaries of The Fourth Duke of Newcastle-Under-Lyne 1822-1850 (The Thornton Society of Nottinghamshire, 2003).
- J. Golby, ‘A Great Electioneer and his Motives: The Fourth Duke of Newcastle’, Historical Journal, viii (1965), pp. 201–218.
- M. I. Thomis, Politics and society in Nottingham, 1785–1835 (1969).
- J. Wolffe, The Protestant Crusade in Great Britain, 1829–1860 (1991).
- Biography of the 4th Duke, with links to online catalogues, from Manuscripts and Special Collections at The University of Nottingham
- 'Politics of the 4th Duke of Newcastle' e-learning resource from Manuscripts and Special Collections at The University of Nottingham
- Archival material relating to Henry Pelham-Clinton, 4th Duke of Newcastle listed at the UK National Archives
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