Document ReferencePw L
TitlePapers of Lord William George Frederick Cavendish-Bentinck (1802-1848), soldier and politician, in the Portland (Welbeck) Collection
Extent428 items
AbstractPrincipal document types present include; correspondence, personal papers
Access ConditionsAccessible to all readers.
Admin HistoryLord William George Frederick Cavendish-Bentinck (1802-1848), son of William Henry Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland, initially embarked upon a military career, but after a dispute with his superior officer, Captain Ker, changed direction. He became private secretary to his uncle, George Canning, when Canning was Foreign Secretary and leader of the House of Commons. Lord George later entered politics himself and was M.P. for Lynn from 1828 until his death.

Initially a Whig, he joined the Conservative opposition during the 1830's. He was twice offered governmental office and on each occasion refused. In 1845, however, he took on a more public role when he became an active Protectionist. This led him into a close alliance with Disraeli, who advised Lord George on matters of party tactics. In 1846 Lord George was a central figure in organising the Protectionists as a third political party, and he ultimately, if reluctantly, came to lead the party. His leadership was influential, but in 1847 he announced his resignation, owing to several differences with the party on religious matters. Despite this, he remained a prominent upholder of the Protectionist cause.

Politics aside, the main passion in Lord George Bentinck's life was for the turf. He had inherited a taste for horse racing and appeared several times as a jockey, right up until 1845. He ran a successful stud. In 1844 he had 40 horses running in public, and around 100 in total. He was a heavy, though seemingly successful, gambler and experienced considerable success with his horses. He also worked hard to improve horse racing practices.

Lord George did not marry, and died young in 1848, apparently from a heart attack suffered while out walking from Welbeck Abbey.
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 reflects Lord George's political life, his military career and keen interest in horse racing. Letters concerning the dispute with Captain Ker feature strongly in the collection. On the political side, there are many papers arising from Lord George's interest in Protectionism, particularly series of correspondence with merchants and businessmen, as well as papers reflecting more general political issues of the day.
MgtGroupPolitical and diplomatic papers
Family and estate collections
ArrangementThe letters are arranged alphabetically by correspondent, in chronological sequence. Unless stated otherwise, all letters are to Lord George. The miscellaneous papers are to be found at the end, arranged in the order in which they were removed from Welbeck.
TermHorse-racing - Great Britain
Elections - England
Great Britain - Politics and government - 19th century
FindingAidsCopyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham. In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus: Typescript Catalogue, 23 pp At the National Register of Archives, The National Archives, Kew: Typescript Catalogue, 23 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.
ReprodnNotePhotocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.
Related MaterialLetters to his father William, 4th Duke of Portland: Reference Pw H 89-227
British Library
The National Archives
Bodleian Library, Oxford
Other collections listed through The National Archives Discovery catalogue.
Related RecordPwH
Publication NoteM. Seth-Smith, 'Lord Paramount of the Turf: Lord George Bentinck 1802-1848' (London, 1971)
B. Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, 'Lord George Bentinck: A Political Biography' (London, 1858)

Click the links below to view related name indexes

CodePersonNameDates of existence
NA1081Bentinck; W. George F. Cavendish- (1802-1848); Lord; Lord George Bentinck M.P.; son of 4th Duke of Portland1802-1848
NA1081Bentinck; W. George F. Cavendish- (1802-1848); Lord; Lord George Bentinck M.P.; son of 4th Duke of Portland1802-1848
NA1101Canning; George (1770-1827); Mr; statesman; Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer 18271770-1827
NA314Disraeli; Benjamin (1804-1881); 1st Earl of Beaconsfield; statesman; created Earl of Beaconsfield 18761804-1881
NA75927Cavendish-Bentinck; family; of Welbeck, Nottinghamshire; Dukes of Portland
NA37423Ker; J. (fl 1811-1821); Captain; captain in the 9th Lancers involved in dispute over discipline with Cornet Lord George Bentinck in 1821fl 1811-1821
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