George Montague-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax

George Montague-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax (6 October 1716 - 8 June 1771) was a British statesman of the Georgian era.

The son of George Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax (of the second creation), he became Earl of Halifax on his father's death in 1739. Educated at Eton College and at Trinity College, Cambridge, he was married in 1741 to Anne Richards (died 1753), who had inherited a great fortune from Sir Thomas Dunk, whose name Halifax took. After having been an official in the household of Frederick, Prince of Wales, the earl was made master of the buckhounds, and in 1748 he became President of the Board of Trade. While filling this position he helped to found Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, which was named after him, and he helped foster trade, especially with North America. About this time he attempted, unsuccessfully, to became a secretary of state, but was only allowed to enter the cabinet in 1757. In March 1761 Halifax was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and during part of the time which he held this office he was also First Lord of the Admiralty. He became Secretary of State for the Northern Department under the Earl of Bute in October 1762, switching to the Southern Department in 1763 and was one of the three ministers to whom George III entrusted the direction of affairs during the premiership of George Grenville. He signed the general warrant under which John Wilkes was arrested in 1763, for which action he was made to pay damages by the courts of law in 1769, and he was mainly responsible for the exclusion of the name of the king's mother, Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, from the Regency Bill of 1765. Together with his colleagues, the Earl left office in July 1765, returning to the cabinet as Lord Privy Seal under his nephew, Lord North, in January 1770. He had just been restored to his former position of secretary of state when he died. Halifax, who was lord-lieutenant of Northamptonshire and a lieutenant-general in the army, was very extravagant. He left no children, and his titles became extinct on his death. Horace Walpole speaks slightingly of the earl, and says he and his mistress, Mary Anne Faulkner, had sold every employment in his gift.

Text originally from 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica


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