Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford
(1732-1792)
Known as Lord North from 1752 until 1790

Frederick became a Member of Parliament in 1754 for the constituency of Banbury, at the age of 22.  He served as an MP from 1754 to 1790 and first joined the government as a junior Lord of the Treasury in 1759 during the Newcastle-Pitt coalition.  In December 1767, he succeeded Charles Townshend as Chancellor of the Exchequer.  With the resignation of the Secretary of State Henry Seymour Conway in early 1768, Frederick became Leader of the Commons and when the Duke of Grafton resigned in 1770 Frederick became Prime Minister.

Most of his government was focused first on the growing problems with the American colonies and later on conducting the American War of Independence which broke out in 1775.  He deferred overall strategy of the war to his key subordinates Lord George Germain and the Earl of Sandwich .

In his diary (Page139, February 1776) George Marsh (Commissioner of the Navy), notes a meeting with the Prime Minister regarding the need to hire foreign ships to move troops and supplies to America. 

18 February 1776
Mr Suckling [Captain Maurice Suckling, 1726-1778, Controller of the Navy] and myself attended a Council held at the Admiralty in Lord Sandwich's room from 6 to 11 o'clock this evening respecting the taking up foreign ships for transports, to carry foreign troops to America, as none were to be now got in England there being at this time upwards of one hundred and thirty eight thousand tons of English ships employed as such.
Present:
Lord North [Prime Minister, Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford 1732-1792],
Sir Hugh Paliser [Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser, 1st Baronet 1723-1796 ],
Lord Gore
Mr Robinson, Secretary of the Treasury [John Robinson 1727-1802],
Lord Weymouth [Thomas Thynne, 1st Marquess of Bath, 3rd Viscount Weymouth, 1734-1796],
Mr Suckling  [Controller of the Navy, Captain Maurice Suckling, 1726-1778 ],
Lord Dartmouth [William Legge 2nd Earl of Dartmouth ],
Sir Jn Williams [Surveyor of the Navy, Sir John Williams],
Lord George Germain [1st Viscount Sackville 1716-1785 ],
Mr Marsh [George Marsh the writer of the diary],
Lord Sandwich [First Lord of the Admiralty, John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, 1718-1792].

As a result George made an interesting trip to Hamburgh to hire ships and he recorded his experiences in a separate notebook.  He was very pleased with the result and saw it very much as a personal achievement but later on he became rather dismayed that he had never received any recognition for his efforts.

Despite a series of victories and the capture of New York and Philadelphia the British were unable to secure a decisive victory in America.  In 1782 Frederick resigned as Prime Minister after a motion of no confidence following the British defeat at Yorktown the year before.

Frederick continued in politics for a number of years but left his seat in Parliament when he went blind in 1790.  He succeeded his father as Earl of Guilford and spent his final years in the House of Lords.  He died in London and was buried at All Saints' Church, Wroxton (Oxfordshire) near his family home of Wroxton Abbey.

Portrait of Frederick North 2nd Earl of Guilford Painted by the artist Nathaniel Dance

Portrait of Frederick North 2nd Earl of Guilford
Painted by the artist Nathaniel Dance

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