Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/John Sheffield, Duke of Buckinghamshire

From volume IV of the work.
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BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, John Sheffield, Duke of (1649–1721), was the son of Edmund, second earl of Mulgrave, and succeeded to that title on his father's death in 1658. At the age of seventeen he joined the fleet in the war against the Dutch, but was not in any engagement. In 1672, however, on the renewal of hostilities, he distinguished himself by his bravery, and was appointed to the command of a ship. He afterwards served with the land forces, and for a short time joined Turenne, in order to study the art of war. On the accession of James he received a seat in the privy council, and was made lord-chamberlain. He was not among the lords who invited over the Prince of Orange, but he acquiesced in the Revolution, and was ultimately received into the cabinet council of William. In 1694 he was made marquis of Normanby. In 1702, on the accession of Anne, with whom he was a personal favourite, he became lord privy seal and lord-lieutenant of the North Riding of Yorkshire. In the following year he was made duke of Normanby, and duke of Buckinghamshire. Under the administration of Marlborough and Godolphin, he threw in his lot with the high Tory party, and in 1705 was deprived of the seal. Two years later he was dismissed from the privy council. In 1710, when the Tories recovered power, Buckingham became lord steward; and in 1711 he was raised to the dignity of lord president. After the death of Anne he held no state appointment. He died 24th February 1721. His works consist of two tragedies, a few small poems of little value, and of the rhymed Essay on Poetry. His Essay on Satire is said to have been revised by Dryden; and is sometimes printed among the latter's works. The Essay on Poetry was highly praised by Addison, Pope, and other critics of the time, but the praise must have been due to the rank and not to the abilities of the poet. His works were published in 1723.