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Cavendish, William (1591?-1628) (DNB00)


CAVENDISH, WILLIAM, second Earl of Devonshire (1591?–1628), second son of William, first earl [q. v.], by his first wife Anne Keighley, was educated by Thomas Hobbes, the philosopher, who resided at Chatsworth as his private tutor for many years and accompanied him in a tour through France and Italy before his coming of age. Hobbes states that he was his pupil's friend for twenty years, and eulogises his learning in the dedication of his translation of Thucydides. Cavendish was knighted at Whitehall in 1609, married, about 1612, Christiana, daughter of Edward, lord Bruce of Kinloss, and was afterwards a leader of court society, and an intimate friend of James I. He was M.P. for Derby in 1621, 1624, 1625, and 1626; lord-lieutenant of Derbyshire in 1619 and in 1625-6; and high bailiff of Tutbury in 1626. In April 1622 he introduced to audiences with the king Schwarzenburg, ambassador from the Emperor Ferdinand, Valerssio from Venice, and d'Arsennes and Joachimi from the United Provinces. In 1625 he was present at Charles I's marriage with Henrietta Maria. Early in 1626 the death of his father gave him a seat in the House of Lords, and he showed some independence in resisting Buckingham's high-handed attempt to foist a treasonable meaning on a speech of Sir Dudley Digges (13 May 1626). His lavish hospitality strained his ample resources in his last years, and he procured a private act of parliament to enable him to sell some of the entailed estates in discharge of his debts (1628). His London house was in Bishopsgate, on the site afterwards occupied by Devonshire Square. He died there (from excessive indulgence in good living, it is said) on 20 June 1628, and was buried in Allhallows Church, Derby. His wife Christiana is separately noticed. By her he had three sons: William, third earl [q. v.], Charles [q. v.], and Henry who died in youth. His daughter Anne, a well-known patroness of literature, married Robert, lord Rich, heir of the Earl of Warwick. A drawing of the second earl is in the Sutherland collection at the Bodleian Library.

[Kennet's Memoirs of the Cavendish Family (1737), pp. 10-11; Biog. Brit. (Kippis); Doyle's Baronage; Hobbes's Life (1681); Lords' Journal, iii. 698 et seq.; Cal. State Papers (Dom.), 1600-1628.]

S. L. L.