George Germain, 1st Viscount
George Sackville was the third son of Lionel Sackville, 1st Duke of Dorset, and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Lieutenant-General Walter Philip Colyear. George was educated at Westminster School in London and graduated from Trinity College in Dublin in 1737. He joined the army a few years later and had a progressive military career rising to the rank of Lieutenant General. At the Battle of Minden in 1759 George refused to order an attack at a crucial point in the battle. He was later Court Marshalled and his army career terminated.
In parallel with his army career George had been a Member of Parliament from 1742 and so from 1760 onwards he started to pursue his political career more actively. In 1769, Lady Elizabeth Germain died without natural heirs, and left her estates to him. In addition to giving him a useful fortune this also gave him the opportunity to change his name and so from 1770 he was known as Lord George Germain.
In 1775 George was appointed Secretary of State
for the American Department replacing Lord Dartmouth in the
post. At that time Lord North's
cabinet had three Secretaries of State:
Lord George Germain is mentioned in the diary of George Marsh, Commissioner of the Navy, (page 139, Feb 1776) with reference to a meeting with the Prime Minister Lord North where they were discussing how to obtain more shipping to transport troops to fight in America.
The war in America did not progress well for the British and after the
loss of Yorktown in 1781 the credibility of Lord North's government went
into rapid decline. George resigned in early 1782 and the government
fell shortly afterwards. George moved to the Lords becoming a
Viscount. His political career never recovered and he died a few
years later in 1785.
Portrait of George Germain 1st
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