Document ReferencePw F
TitlePapers of William Henry C. Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland (1738-1809), statesman, in the Portland (Welbeck) Collection
Extent58 boxes, 10,876 items
AbstractPrincipal document types present include; correspondence, estate papers
Access ConditionsAccessible to all readers.
Admin HistoryWilliam Henry Cavendish Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland (1738-1809) was a leading politician and statesman throughout the second half of the 18th century, whose life was entirely dominated by his political career. He was elected M.P. for Weobly, Herefordshire in 1761, but took his seat in the House of Lords when he inherited the title from his father in 1762. From then until his resignation as Prime Minister in 1809 he held enormous political influence. He was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1783, Home Secretary, 1794-1801 and served twice as Prime Minister.
Custodial HistoryThese papers form a sub-group of the Portland (Welbeck) Collection (Pw) and were part of the first deposit received from Welbeck Abbey in 1949 from the 7th Duke of Portland.
DescriptionThe correspondence with leading political figures touches on all the major issues of his time, including the American War of Independence and the Irish Act of Union. Many relatives, friends and even strangers sought his support and patronage and their letters help to demonstrate the network of influence he controlled. Correspondence with political figures reflects his Whig connections and there is much concerning his acrimonious dispute with Sir James Lowther in Cumberland.

There is a considerable quantity of correspondence relating to the running of the various estates owned by the duke and his mother, Margaret, the 2nd Duchess. It reflects their difficult financial situation, and developments in agricultural and horticultural practices. He maintained a close relationship with family members including his mother and father, sisters (Elizabeth Thynne, Marchioness of Bath, and Henrietta Grey, Countess of Stamford), his younger brother (Lord Edward Bentinck), his wife (Lady Dorothy Cavendish) and various members of the Dutch Bentinck family. Correspondence with friends, notably George Byng (4th Viscount Torrington), Sir Richard Kaye and Baron Beaumont Hotham, is also present.

The miscellaneous papers include some correspondence and estate papers. Election matters are well represented, especially the Cumberland dispute with Sir James Lowther. There are also papers relating to the affairs of the East India Company and letters on foreign intelligence. Included in the miscellaneous section is the large collection of letters in French from Countess Charlotte Sophie Bentinck (1715-1800) to her grand-daughter, Lady Sophie Hawkins Whitshed, which cover both Bentinck family matters and the political and diplomatic developments in Europe in the years leading up to and during the French Revolution.
MgtGroupFamily and estate collections
Political and diplomatic papers
ArrangementThe letters are arranged alphabetically by correspondent, in chronological sequence. Unless stated otherwise, all letters are to the 3rd Duke. Other miscellaneous papers are to be found at the end, arranged in the order in which they were removed from Welbeck.
TermGreat Britain - Politics and government - 18th century
Great Britain - Politics and government - 19th century
Agriculture - Great Britain
Great Britain - Armed forces
Ireland - Politics and government - 18th century
Patronage, Political - Great Britain
Administration of estates - Great Britain
Europe - History, Military
United States - History - Revolution, 1775-1799
France - History - Revolution, 1789-1799
Family - Great Britain
Riots - Great Britain
Netherlands - Politics and government - 1714-1795
Netherlands - Politics and government - 1795-1815
India - Politics and government - 18th century
Elections - England
FindingAidsCopyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham. In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus: Typescript catalogue, 341 pp At the National Register of Archives, The National Archives, Kew: Typescript catalogue, 341 pp Online: Catalogue accessible from the website for Manuscripts and Special Collections, Manuscripts Online Catalogue. The old typescript catalogue has now been considerably upgraded and the Manuscripts Online Catalogue should be consulted for the full version.
ReprodnNoteReprographic copies can be supplied for educational and private study purposes only, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.
Related MaterialSee the fonds record for the Portland (Welbeck) Collection as a whole (Pw); and also the separate records for each of the other constituent subfonds (Pw 1, Pw 2 Hy, Pw B, Pw C, Pw G, Pw H, Pw J, Pw K, Pw L, Pw M, Pw N, Pw V). Further correspondence between the Duke and Duchess of Portland is in Pw G.
Further political and family correspondence of the 3rd Duke of Portland was held in the offices of the Dukes of Portland's London solicitors, and is now part of the Portland (London) Collection (Pl C)
Material in The National Archives and The British Library. Other collections listed through the TNA Discovery catalogue.
Related RecordPwH
Publication NoteMrs Aubrey Le Blond Charlotte Sophie, 'Countess Bentinck, her Life and Times', 2 vols (Hutchinson; 1912)

Click the links below to view related name indexes

CodePersonNameDates of existence
NA95Bentinck; Charlotte S. (1715-1800); Countess Bentinck; dau. of Anton II Count of Aldenburg; m. 1733 William 1st Count Bentinck1715-1800
NA1080Bentinck; Dorothy (1750-1794); Duchess of Portland; née Cavendish; dau. of 4th Duke of Devonshire; m 3rd Duke of Portland 17661750-1794
NA1095Bentinck; Edward C. Cavendish (1744-1819); Lord; 2nd son of 2nd Duke of Portland1744-1819
NA98Bentinck; John A. (1737-1775); Count Bentinck; captain; grandson of 1st Earl of Portland; son of William 1st Count Bentinck1737-1775
NA1079Bentinck; Margaret Cavendish (1715-1785); Duchess of Portland; née Cavendish-Harley; dau. of 2nd Earl of Oxford; m 2nd Duke of Portland 17341715-1785
NA102Bentinck; William (1704-1774); 1st Count Bentinck; son of 1st Earl of Portland by his second wife; Lord of Rhoon and Pendrecht, Netherlands, and Terrington St Clements, Norfolk1704-1774
NA1046Bentinck; William (1709-1762); 2nd Duke of Portland1709-1762
NA905Bentinck; William H.C. Cavendish- (1738-1809); 3rd Duke of Portland; succ. 17621738-1809
NA1094Byng; George (1740-1812); 4th Viscount Torrington1740-1812
NA75927Cavendish-Bentinck; family; of Welbeck, Nottinghamshire; Dukes of Portland
NA968Clinton; Henry F.C. Pelham- (1720-1794); 2nd Duke of Newcastle under Lyne; also styled 9th Earl of Lincoln from 1730; born Clinton, but assumed Pelham-Clinton in 1768 as 2nd Duke of Newcastle under Lyne1720-1794
NA1091East India Company
NA1092Hotham; Beaumont (1737-1814); 2nd Baron Hotham; Baron of the Exchequer 1775-18051737-1814
NA1097Kaye; Richard (1736-1809); 6th Baronet; chaplain to the King 1766; dean of Lincoln; rector of Kirkby Nottinghamshire; prebend of York Southwell and Durham1736-1809
NA1050Lowther; James (1736-1802); Earl of Lonsdale1736-1802
NA1096Wentworth; Charles Watson- (1730-1782); 2nd Marquess of Rockingham1730-1782
NA1093Whitshed; Sophia H. Hawkins- (1765-1852); Lady Hawkins-Whitshed; née Countess Bentinck, dau of Captain John Albert Bentinck; m 1791 Admiral Sir James Hawkins Whitshed1765-1852
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