The Duke of Portland resigns as Prime Minister ending his second administration

Whilst still professing to be a Whig, Portland’s second spell as Prime Minister was as a figurehead to an administration comprised of supporters of William Pitt. Portland old and infirm provided little direction to the government, rarely attending cabinet and only visiting the Lords on 15 occasions and never speaking there. Portland’s health had been failing and in August 1809 he suffered a seizure from which he never fully recovered. The following month the simmering rivalry between Castlereagh and Canning, the two leading members of the government, exploded and led to the two men fighting a duel and resigning from the cabinet. Faced with this blow to the government Portland resigned and was succeeded by Spencer Perceval. He died less than a month later.