William Wellesley-Pole

Master of the Mint (in the Cabinet), 1814-23

May 20, 1763 - February 22, 1845

William Wellesley-Pole (1763-1845) First Lord Maryborough from 1821. Third Earl of Mornington from 1842. Master of the Mint (in the Cabinet), 1814-23. Second son of the first Earl of Mornington, hence younger brother to Wellesley and elder brother to Wellington. Educated at Eton, then served in Royal Navy during the American War. He was successively Irish and British MP in the Pittite interest from 1783, although out of politics from 1795-1801. After service as a junior minister, he became Chief Secretary for Ireland under Perceval, having been recommended by Liverpool, and gained a reputation for competent reforming administration.

After refusing the War Office in 1812 because of his support for Wellesley and new-found support for Catholic Emancipation (he had opposed it under Perceval), he was admitted to the Cabinet as Master of the Mint in 1814 at Wellington’s ‘most earnest desire’. There he was responsible for the operational details of the Great Recoinage of 1816-17. By 1820 he was becoming disillusioned with both the government and the House of Commons but, when Liverpool offered him a peerage in return for giving up his Cabinet post in 1821, he refused indignantly. He caused Liverpool to consider resigning in 1821 by relating to him the details of a three-hour rant by George IV. He was finally eased out in 1823 with the peerage and the Royal Household office of Master of the Buckhounds.

© 2020 Martin Hutchinson