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John Cavendish Edit Profile

politician , statesman

Lord John Cavendish was an outsanding British politician.


John Cavendish—fourth son of the third Duke of Devonshire and brother of William Cavendish, the fourth Duke of Devonshire and prime minister—was born on 22 October 1732 .


He was educated at Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he obtained an M.A. degree in 1753.


In April 1754 he was elected to the House of Commons for the parliamentary seat of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis, which he continued to represent until 1761, when he was elected for Knaresborough. He was appointed one of the lords of the Treasury in 1765, in the ministry of the Marquess of Rockingham, but left office with his leader in little more than a year.

From 1763 to 1784, Cavendish represented the city of York. Following Rockingham’s return to office, he was appointed chancellor of the exchequer on 27 March 1782, the same day as he was sworn in as a member of the Privy Council. When Rockingham died on 1 July 1782, Cavendish refused to serve under the Earl of Shelburne and resigned jointly with Charles James Fox and other members of Rockingham’s party. He returned briefly to the chancellorship under the Duke of Portland, between April and December 1783, after which the coalition col¬lapsed and William Pitt, the Younger, took power. Cavendish lost his parliamentary seat in 1790 and was out of politics for four years; but he returned as M.P. for Derbyshire in 1794 and again in 1796.

He died at his brother’s house at Twickenham on 18 December 1796.


He had been a thoroughly honorable and upright man with a taste for the literary and for country pursuits, both of which outweighed his parliamentary ambitions.