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Lyttelton, George, first Baron Lyttelton

First Name: 
George
Last Name: 
Lyttelton
Sex: 
Male
Birth: 
1709
Death: 
1773
Nationality: 
English
Religion: 
devout Christian by 1747
Education: 
Eton College
Christ Church, Oxford, matriculated 1726; did not take a degree
Profession or Occupation: 
politician--opposition MP
writer
returned for the Pitt family borough, Okehampton in Devon, in the by-election 1735
appointed Frederick Prince of Wales's equerry 1735
appointed Frederick Prince of Wales's secretary 1737
Lyttelton unsuccessfully challenged his tory rival Edmund Lechmere for a seat in the general election of 1741
appointed a lord of the Treasury in the new broad-bottom administration in December 1744 and was subsequently dismissed from Frederick's household
succeeded to the baronetcy upon the death of his father in 1751 and took over the running of Hagley Hall
On Henry Pelham's death in March 1754 Lyttelton resigned his seat on the Treasury board
accepted the post of cofferer in the duke of Newcastle's administration 1754
Chancellor of the Exchequer in the room of Legge 1755
When Newcastle resigned in November 1756 in the face of popular opposition, Lyttelton retired from office
created Baron Lyttelton of Frankley 1756
married Lucy Fortescue (1717/18–1747) 1742-47 (early death)
married Elizabeth (1716–1795), the daughter of Sir Robert Rich, fourth baronet (1685–1768) 1749; unhappy marriage, they separated 1759
undertook an ambitious gardening programme which would make Hagley Park one of the most admired landscape gardens of the eighteenth century 1751
literary patron
accession to the House of Lords in November 1756
during the years of political controversy and instability which marked the eight successive ministries between 1757 and 1770 he declined to take office when offered to him
refused the offer of the Treasury made by the duke of Cumberland 1765
refused Cumberland's offer of a cabinet seat in the new Rockingham administration
Politics: 
patriot opposition to Walpole and Whigs by 1735; became a "staunch ministerialist" by 1747
Milieux: 
Whig satire/political writing
Coteries: 
Cobham's Cubs/the Boy Patriots: Lyttelton, Thomas Pitt, William Pitt, and Richard Grenville and George Grenville (‘the cousinhood’), as well as Viscount Cornbury and William Murray
Frederick, prince of Wales
Edward Moore
Gilbert West
alexander pope
James Thomson
Henry Fielding
Richard Glover
David Mallet
James Hammond
William Shenstone
Edward Moore
Voltaire
Elizabeth Montagu
Publication(s): 
Periodicals & Misc Contributed To: 
recommendation of Glover's patriot epic Leonidas published in the opposition journal Common Sense
contributed to one of the most important opposition journals, Common Sense, or, The Englishman's Journal, started in February 1737
Summing Up: 

Lyttelton was a prominent politician for the whig opposition and the group the Cobham circle. Though he began his published career as a poet, as a writer himself Lyttelton also contributed substantially to the opposition campaign. Lyttelton was close to Frederick Prince of Wales, and Lyttelton was widely perceived as the ‘Maecenas’ who brought deserving poets to his royal notice. In practice only a handful of poets—Richard Glover, James Thomson, and David Mallet—received financial reward, but Lyttelton undoubtedly helped use Frederick's influence to inspire and mobilize a campaign of patriot writing in the late 1730s. He had a complex relationship with Pope. He was also a literary patron himself, though he received some ridicule and Lyttelton was accused of using his wealth to gratify his vanity and unfairly sway literary opinion. Towards the end of his life he eschewed politics in favor of writing.

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