Birth of the Marquess of Rockingham, Whig Prime Minister 1765-66 and 1782

Charles Watson Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham was arguably the first leader of a political party, when in 1762 a group of young Whigs formed an opposition club in reaction to the actions of King George III and his favourite the Earl of Bute. In 1765 Rockingham employed Edmund Burke as his secretary. Burke proved an excellent propagandist for the Rockingham Whigs. Rockingham’s two periods as Prime Minister were short but eventful. He worked hard to avoid conflict with America, including repeal of the unpopular Stamp Act. During his second ministry Rockingham attempted to improve Anglo-Irish relations with the repeal of the Irish Declaratory Act and Poyning’s Law, giving the Irish Parliament more freedom than it had had for over 300 years.