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Jenkinson, Charles (1727-1808) (DNB00)

JENKINSON, CHARLES, first Earl of Liverpool (1727–1808), born on 26 April 1727 at Winchester, was eldest son of Charles Jenkinson (d. 1750) of Burford Lawn Lodge, in the forest of Whichwood, Oxfordshire, colonel of the royal horse guards blue at Dettingen, by his wife Amarantha, daughter of Wolfran Cornewall, a captain in the royal navy. Charles's father was third son of Sir Robert Jenkinson of Walcot, Oxfordshire, and Hawkesbury, Gloucestershire, second baronet. His grandfather, Robert (d. 1677), was created a baronet in 1661. The Jenkinsons descended from Anthony Jenkinson [q. v.], and had been long settled in Oxfordshire, the first four baronets being successively M.P.'s for the county. Charles was educated at Charterhouse and at University College, Oxford, where, after a distinguished career, he graduated M.A. in 1752. He published ‘Verses on the Death of Frederick, Prince of Wales;’ in 1756 a ‘Dissertation on the Establishment of a Natural and Constitutional Force in England independent of a Standing Army;’ and in 1758 a ‘Discourse on the Conduct of Government respecting Neutral Nations;’ and he is also said to have contributed to the magazines. He took an active share in promoting the return of Sir Edward Turner for Oxfordshire in 1760, especially by writing a clever election song. He thus was brought under the notice of Lord Bute, and became his private secretary.

In March 1761 he was appointed an under-secretary of state, and a seat in the House of Commons was found for him at Cockermouth, which he held till 1767; he afterwards represented Appleby, 1767–72; Harwich, 1772–4; Hastings, 1774–80; Saltash, 1780–6. As he rose in favour, not only with Lord Bute but with the king, he was promoted in 1763 to the confidential office of joint secretary to the treasury, and when Lord Bute retired he became leader of the ‘king's friends’ in the House of Commons. Upon the formation of the Rockingham administration in 1765 he resigned, but became auditor of the accounts of the Princess-dowager of Wales. He held this post until her death in 1772. On the suggestion of Lord Chatham he was included in the Grafton administration as a lord of the admiralty, and in September 1767 was made a lord of the treasury; and when, in 1772, it was desired to find room in the ministry for Charles James Fox, he was promoted to be a vice-treasurer of Ireland and a privy councillor. In 1775 he purchased from Fox the valuable patent place of clerk of the pells in Ireland, and succeeded Lord Cadogan as master of the mint. In 1778 he became secretary at war under Lord North, and at the close of the American war had to carry the army estimates through the House of Commons. For a long time he was supposed to possess immense secret influence at court, and, although he and Lord North always denied it, to have largely controlled Lord North's relations with the throne. This reputation secured him at once considerable authority and unrivalled odium. During the American war, when his office made him little more than the chief official of a department obliged to carry out his colleagues' orders without responsibility or concurrence, this credit for indefinable influence was at its highest (see Doran, Walpole's Last Journals, ii. 322, 516, 606). After a few years it passed away, and his undeniable talents and experience secured him a better-founded reputation in the House of Commons. The younger Pitt would tolerate no intervention between himself and the king; but Jenkinson was his sincere admirer and a useful assistant in matters requiring practical knowledge. He took a principal part in framing the commercial treaty between Great Britain and the United States of America, and largely assisted in the establishment of the South Sea fishery; but after 1783 he spoke little in parliament, except upon commercial questions. Accordingly, in 1786, when the council for trade and the plantations was reconstituted, he became its president; by the king's desire he was also appointed chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, and was raised to the peerage as Baron Hawkesbury of Hawkesbury in Gloucestershire.

In July 1789, on the death of his cousin Sir Banks Jenkinson, sixth baronet, he succeeded to the title and estates and also secured for himself Sir Banks's patent place of collector of customs inwards. In May 1796 he was created Earl of Liverpool. In the same year he had a grant of an augmentation to his coat of arms, viz., the arms of Liverpool in chief, at the special request of the municipality of Liverpool. He now practically retired from public life, only serving later on two parliamentary committees on the currency. His last speech was on the question of the union, 30 April 1800, and from that year to 1805 he suffered from a debility in the knees which rendered him unable to stand and made him a confirmed invalid. He resigned the chancellorship of the duchy of Lancaster in 1802, died at his house in Hertford Street, Mayfair, London, on 17 Dec. 1808, and was buried at Hawkesbury, Gloucestershire. There is a portrait of Liverpool by Romney in the possession of Mr. C. C. Cotes, which has been engraved. Mr. C. G. S. Foljambe has a drawing by Edridge (1802).

Liverpool married, first, at St. Marylebone, February 1769, Amelia, daughter of William Watts, formerly governor of Fort William, Bengal, by whom he had one son, Robert Banks Jenkinson [q. v.], afterwards second earl; and secondly, 22 June 1782, Catherine, fifth daughter of Sir Cecil Bisshopp of Parham, Sussex, sixth bart., and widow of Sir Charles Cope, second bart., of Brewerne, Oxfordshire, and Orton Longueville, Huntingdonshire, by whom he had a son, Charles Cecil Cope Jenkinson [q. v.], afterwards third earl, and a daughter, Charlotte, who married James Walter, lord Forrester of Corstorphine, afterwards earl of Verulam.

Liverpool published in 1785 his well-known ‘Collection of Treaties between Great Britain and the Powers from 1648 to 1783,’ and in 1805 a work on ‘The Coins of the Realm,’ in the form of a letter to the king, which was reprinted by the Bank of England in 1880.

[Memoirs of the second Earl of Liverpool (anon.), 1827; Sir N. Wraxall's Posthumous Memoirs; C. D. Yonge's Life of Lord Liverpool; Lord Auckland's Journal; Fitzmaurice's Life of Lord Shelburne; Lord Colchester's Diary; Horace Walpole's Letters, vols. i. and ii.; Donne's Letters of George III to Lord North; Russell's Memorials of Fox, vol. ii.; Stanhope's Life of Pitt; Grenville Corresp.]

J. A. H.