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William Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Devonshire
Timeline: Cromwell the Great

William Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Devonshire
Portrait of William Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Devonshire

Member of the House of Commons
1692 – 1718

County Commissioner of Derbyshire
1707 to 1710 – 1714 to 1718

Member of the Commonwealth State Council
1703 to 1709 – 1712 to 1718

4th Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland
July 1718 – June 1729

Predecessor James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth
Successor Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend
Born 1672
Hardwick, Derbyshire, England
Died 4 June 1729 (aged 57)
London, England
Spouse Rachel Russell (née Lady Rachel Wriothesley 1674–1725, married 21 June 1688)
Political Party Whig -> Whig Junto
Religion Church of England
Profession Politician

William Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Devonshire (1672 – 4 June 1729) was a British nobleman and politician and 4th Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland (1718-1729, 69th to 80th Year of the Commonwealth).

Life and Politics

He was the eldest son of William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Devonshire and Lady Mary Butler. Married The Hon. Rachel Russell (1674–1725), daughter of William Russell, Lord Russell on 21 June 1688.

William Cavendish was Prominent Whig and later member of the Whig Junto. He was member of the House of Commons (1692 to 1718), County Commissioner of Derbyshire (1707-1710 and 1714-1718) and Member of the Commonwealth State Council (1703 to 1709 and 1712 to 1718).

Lord Protectorship

Under his Lord Protector the British Commonwealth enjoyed a short rapprochement with the Kingdom of France after the death of Louis XIV. Most of Cavendish's foreign affairs efforts were absorbed in arbitrating the territorial disputes between the Dutch Republic and Duchy of Flanders. He also cultivated an alliance with the Grand-Duchess of Flanders Maria Elisabeth of Austria.

As a member of the Whig Junto he started the trend of some Lord Protectors to restricted their office to the functions of foreign affairs, armed forces and patronage leaving most of the home and financial affairs in the Lord President and Council of State.

As a counterbalance to the ways of the previous Lord Protector Scott, Cavendish named the State Council with members of the majority in the House of Commons and assured a limited number and offices to the main opposition party. However after tumultuous council leadership of Penn the Younger the Dissident Whigs were excluded from the Council and of most of the government Boards and departments.

Lords Presidents of the Council of State under William Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Devonshire

Lords Presidents of the Commonwealth State Council under William Cavendish. All named by the Lord Protector.

Name Mandate
(Start-End)
Political
affinity/faction/party
Commonwealth Parliament
Legislature
Charles Talbot, 1st Duke of Shrewsbury
(1660 - 1730)
1712-1722 Whig Junto 16th (1712-1717), 17th (1717-1722)
Sir William Wyndham, 3rd Baronet
(1688–1740)
1722-1724 Tory 18th (1722-1727)
James Butler, 2nd Duke of Ormonde
(1665–1745)
1724-1730 Irish Whig 18th (1722-1727), 19th (1727-1732)
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