A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.


William Legge, Lord Dartmouth

20 June 1731 - 15 July 1801

William Legge, Lord Dartmouth, was born the younger son of Viscount Lewisham, and in 1750 succeeded his grandfather as Second Earl of Dartmouth. In 1754 he took up his seat in the House of Lords and was appointed President of the Board of Trade and Foreign Plantations in July 1765 under Prime Minister Rockingham. Dartmouth resigned under the Duke of Grafton's ministry, but in August 1772, with his stepbrother Lord North succeeding as Prime Minister, Dartmouth returned to his post as President of the Board of Trade and succeeded Lord Hillsborough as Secretary of State for the colonies. Although Dartmouth argued against the Stamp Act in 1765, by 1776 he opposed any proposal for reconciliation and called for the use of force to suppress the colonial rebellion. Perhaps his most standing legacy in America comes from his evangelical efforts in helping to establish a school for the education of Native Americans which later came to be known as Dartmouth College.