Statues and Memorials in London: William Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck

Posted: June 10, 2015 in History, London, Post medieval history, UK
Tags: ,

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William (also known as George) Bentinck (1802-1848) was the second son of the 4th Duke of Portland. After he had completed his education, he joined the army but left in 1822 after brief service in the Hussars.

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He became the private secretary to his uncle, George Canning, then Foreign secretary for the British Parliament. In 1828 William inherited his father’s seat in parliament. He appears to have played little active part in politics preferring to concentrate on his racing stable. However in 1846 he suddenly found a cause. Robert Peel the conservative Prime Minister was seeking to repeal the Corn Laws, which banned imported grain and thus kept the prices high. In this Peel was supported by the opposition and opposed by most of his own party. The leaders of the anti-reformers were Benjamin Disrali and William Bentinck. It is said that when he got up to speak on the subject it was the first words he had spoken in the chamber for 18 years. Their campaign was unsuccessful and the repeal act was passed although it cost Peel his political career. Bentinck resigned from parliament the year afterwards and died of a heart attack in 1848 at the age of 46.

This statue stands in Cavendish Square and was errected in his memory in 1851.

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