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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 21.djvu/240

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Germain
Germain
234

according to the rules of war,’ and that ‘the court is further of opinion that he is, and he is hereby adjudged to be, unfit to serve his majesty in any military capacity whatever.’ George II confirmed the sentence, and directed that it be recorded in the order-book of every regiment with the following remarks: ‘It is his majesty's pleasure that the above sentence be given out in public orders, not only in Britain, but in America, and every quarter of the globe where British troops happen to be, that officers, being convinced that neither high birth nor great employments can shelter offences of such a nature, and that, seeing they are subject to censures worse than death to a man who has any sense of honour, they may avoid the fatal consequences arising from disobedience of orders.’ To complete Sackville's disgrace, the king called for the privy council books and erased his name therefrom. These last two acts were announced in the ‘London Gazette,’ 26 April 1760.

Sackville, who had retained his seat for Dover, was returned at the general election of 1761 for East Grinstead, Sussex, and Hythe, Kent, and elected to sit for the latter. The harshness with which the court-martial sentence had been carried out had not escaped public notice, and in the new reign there came the inevitable reaction. In 1762 Sackville spoke in the house for the first time since his disgrace (Parl. Hist. xv. 1222), and in April 1763, not eighteen months after the coronation of George III, we find Lord Bute writing to Sir Harry Erskine that the king admits and condemns the harsh usage of Sackville, ‘but is prevented by state reasons from affording him the redress intended’ (Hist. MSS. Comm. 9th Rep. (iii.) 11 b). Sackville's name was soon after restored to the list of privy councillors, and he was received at court. In 1765, in which year he succeeded to the Knole Park estates on the death of his father, he was appointed joint vice-treasurer of Ireland, a post from which he was dismissed the year after. At the general election of 1768 he was returned for East Grinstead, which borough he represented in succeeding parliaments until his elevation to the peerage. Sackville was now a recognised follower of Lord North. From July to October 1769 were published the famous ‘Letters of Junius,’ with the authorship of which Sackville was early and very generally accredited. Sir William Draper was confident that the authorship lay between Sackville and Burke. The evidence in favour of Sackville's authorship, collected by J. Jaques, will be found among the Woodfall letters in the British Museum (Addit. MS. 27783), but the opinion has never been accepted by writers of authority. In 1770 Sackville was empowered by act of parliament to assume the name of Germain, in accordance with the provisions of the will of Lady Betty Germain [q. v.] In December of the same year Germain (Sackville) was greatly rehabilitated in public estimation by his duel with Captain George Johnstone, late governor of Pensacola, and then M.P. for Cockermouth. ‘Governor’ Johnstone, as he was called, a noisy politician, had expressed his surprise that Germain, on some particular occasion, should be so concerned about his country's honour when he cared so little for his own. Germain demanded an apology, which was refused. A meeting took place in Hyde Park. At the second exchange of shots Johnstone's bullet struck the barrel of Germain's pistol. ‘Mr. Johnstone, your ball struck the barrel of my pistol,’ said Germain. ‘I am glad, my lord, it was not yourself,’ rejoined Johnstone, who afterwards declared that in all the affairs in which he had any hand, he never knew a man behave better than Germain (Scots Mag. xxxii. 724). ‘Lord George Germain is a hero, whatever Lord George Sackville may have been,’ was Horace Walpole's characteristic comment (Letters, v. 269–70). In 1775 Germain, who continued to take an active part in politics, was appointed by Lord North a lord commissioner of trade and plantations, a post he held until 1779, and likewise secretary of state for the colonies, which he held until the resignation of the North cabinet in 1782. Germain zealously supported all the rigorous measures directed against the colonists, and acquired much influence with the king. He was the object of some virulent party attacks (see Russell, Life of Fox, note at p. 157; also Parl. Hist. 1776–81; and Walpole, Letters, vii. 11, 72). On the resignation of the North ministry, the king desired to confer some mark of favour on Germain, who asked for a peerage. He is said also to have asked to be made a viscount, as otherwise he would be junior to his own secretary, Lord Walsingham, to Loughborough, who was his lawyer, and to Amherst, who had been his father's page. On 11 Feb. 1782 he was created Viscount Sackville of Drayton Manor, Northamptonshire, and Baron Bolebroke of Sussex, in the peerage of the United Kingdom (copy of patent, Addit. MS. 19818, f. 271). A motion in the House of Lords by the Marquis of Carmarthen that Germain, being still under sentence of court-martial, was an unfit person for a peerage, was rejected, as was a similar motion on the day he took his seat. Sackville's last years were spent chiefly in retirement on his