The Age of George III

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Rockingham's second ministry (March-July 1782)

When Lord North resigned in March 1782, the king appointed Charles Watson-Wentworth, second Marquis of Rockingham as the new PM. Rockingham led the largest group in parliament and was opposed to the war against America. His reputation had been enhanced by the victory of the Americans - Rockingham had "got it right". George III was obliged to accept that Rockingham was the only man capable of managing parliament. The ministry was made up of staunch Rockingham supporters although Pitt the Younger refused to accept "minor office" in the administration. Pitt was new to parliament but decided that he was intended for greater things.

Before Rockingham kissed hands he demanded that the king should promise to accept all Rockingham's nominations for office. Rockingham insisted also that the king would agree in advance to approve of all the ministry's proposed legislation: Rockingham already had a policy ready for implementation. Consequently George III had to accept men he disliked in order to maintain his government: Rockingham himself, Shelburne as Home Secretary and Fox as Foreign Secretary.

All Rockingham's measures were passed. His achievements included

On 1 July 1782 Rockingham died, suddenly and unexpectedly, at the age of 52.

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Last modified 12 January, 2016

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