William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland

William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland

Hans William, Baron Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland, KG, PC (20 July 1649-23 November 1709) was a Dutch and English nobleman who became in an early stage the favourite of stadtholder William Henry, Prince of Orange. He was steady, sensible, modest and usually moderate. [Japikse, N. (1927) Correspondentie van Willem III en Hans Willem Bentinck, Eersten graaf van Portland, Deel I, Het archief van Welbeck Abbey, p. XXI.] The friendship and cooperation stopped in 1699.


Hans Willem was the son of Bernard, Baron Bentinck of Diepenheim and descended from an ancient and noble family of Guelders and Overijssel. He was appointed first page of honour and chamberlain. When, in 1675, the prince was attacked by smallpox, Bentinck nursed him assiduously, and this devotion secured for him the special and enduring friendship of William. From that point on, Bentinck had the Prince's confidence and in their correspondence William is very open.

In 1677 he was sent to England to solicit for the prince of Orange the hand of Mary, daughter of James, Duke of York, afterwards James II. He was again in England on William's behalf in 1683 and in 1685. When, in 1688, William was preparing for his invasion, Bentinck went to some of the German princes to secure their support, or at least their neutrality, and he had also been since 1687 a medium of communication between his master and his English friends. He superintended the arrangements for the expedition, including raising money, hiring an enormous transport fleet, organising a propaganda offensive and preparing the possible landing sites and sailed to England with the Prince.

The revolution accomplished, Bentinck was made Groom of the Stole, first gentleman of the bedchamber, and a Privy Counsellor. In April 1689 he was created Baron Cirencester, Viscount Woodstock and, in its second creation, Earl of Portland. (The first creation of the earldom had been made for Richard Weston in 1633, but it became extinct in 1688.) He commanded some cavalry at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, and was present at the Battle of Landen, where he was wounded, and at the Siege of Namur. But Bentinck's main work was of a diplomatic nature. In 1690 he was sent to The Hague and solve the problem between the burgomasters of Amsterdam and William III of Orange. Having thwarted the Jacobite plot to murder the King in 1696, he helped to arrange the peace of Ryswick in 1697; in 1698 he was ambassador to Paris for six months. There he opened negotiations with Louis XIV for a partition of the Spanish monarchy, and as William's representative, he signed the two partition treaties.

William Bentinck had, however, become very jealous of the rising influence of another Dutchman, Arnold van Keppel, and, in 1699, he resigned all his offices in the royal household. He did not forfeit the esteem of the King, who continued to trust and employ him. Portland had been loaded with gifts, and this, together with the jealousy felt for him as a foreigner, made him very unpopular in England. He received 135,000 acres (546 km²) of land in Ireland, and only the strong opposition of a united House of Commons prevented him obtaining a large gift of crown lands in North Wales. For his share in drawing up the partition treaties he was impeached in 1701, but the case against him did not proceed. He was occasionally employed on public business under Queen Anne until his death at his residence, Bulstrode Park in Buckinghamshire. Portland's eldest son Henry succeeded him as earl. He was created Marquess of Titchfield and Duke of Portland in 1716.

Codex Bentingiana

While living in Holland, Bentinck maintained a garden boasting many botanical rarities. Illustrations of these plants were collected under the name "Codex Bentingiana". This work has since disappeared from the botanical scene. [ [http://igitur-archive.library.uu.nl/dissertations/2005-0117-122221/full.pdf The Anglo-Dutch Favourite] - The career of Hans Willem Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland (1649-1709)]


Lord Portland was married twice. His first wife was Anne Villiers (before 1633-30 November 1688), whom he married on 1 February 1678. They had five children:
*Lady Mary Bentinck (c. 1679-20 August 1726), who married, firstly, the 2nd Earl of Essex on 28 February 1698 and had one son. She married, secondly, Sir Conyers D'Arcy (died 1 December 1758), circa August 1714 and had no issue.
*Henry Bentinck, 1st Duke of Portland
*Lady Anna Margaretha Bentinck (c. 1683-3 May 1763), who married Arent van Wassenaar, Baron van Wassenaar circa 1701 and had at least one daughter.
*Lady Frances Wilhelmina Bentinck (18 February 1684-31 March 1712), who married the 4th Baron Byron (4 January 1670-8 August 1736) on 19 December 1706 and had four children.
*Lady Isabella Bentinck (4 May 1688-23 February 1728), who married the 1st Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull on 2 August 1714 but had no issue.

His second wife was Jane Martha Temple (1672-26 May 1751), the widow of the 3rd Baron Berkeley of Stratton, whom he married on 12 May 1700. They had the following children:
*Lady Sophia Bentinck (died 5 June 1741), who married the 1st Duke of Kent on 24 March 1729 and had issue.
*Lady Elizabeth Adriana Bentinck (died 1765), who married Rev. The Hon. Henry Egerton (died 1 April 1746) on 18 December 1720 and had issue.
*Lady Barbara Bentinck (died 1 April 1736), who married the 2nd Baron Godolphin (1707-25 May 1785) on 18 February 1734; no issue.
*The Hon. William Bentinck, 1st Graf Bentinck (6 November 1704-13 October 1774), who married Charlotte Sophie Gräfin von Aldenburg (4 August 1715-5 February 1800) on 1 June 1733 and had two sons.
*The Hon. Charles John Bentinck, Graf Bentinck (2 June 1708-18 March 1779), who married Lady Margaret Cadogan on 11 January 1738.
*Lady Harriet Bentinck (bef. 1709-10 June 1792), who married the 1st Earl of Clanbrassill (bef. 1697-17 March 1758) on 15 October 1728 and had two children.

tyles from birth to death

*Mr. William Bentinck (1649-1689)
*The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Portland, PC (1689-1697)
*The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Portland, KG, PC (1697-1709)



External links

* N. Japikse, ed.," [http://www.inghist.nl/Onderzoek/Projecten/WillemIII | Correspondentie van Willem III en van Hans Willem Bentinck, eersten graaf van Portland] ".
* [http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/mss/collections/family-estate/collections/portland/1st_earl_portland.phtml Biography of the 1st Earl, with links to online catalogues, from Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham]
* [http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/mss/learning/conflict/theme1/ The Invasion of England in 1688: an e-learning resource based on the 1st Earl's papers, developed by Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham]

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