PELHAM, HENRY prime minister of Eng land, younger brother of Thomas Holles Pelham, duke of New castle, was born in 1696. He was a younger son of Thomas, st Baron Pelham of Laughton (1650-1712; cr. 1706) and of Lady Grace Holles, daughter of the 3rd earl of Clare. He was educated by a private tutor and at Christ Church, Oxford, which he entered in July 1710. In 1717 he entered parliament for Sea ford, Sussex. Through strong family influence and the recom mendation of Walpole he was chosen in 1721 a lord of the treasury. The following year he was returned for Sussex county. In 1724 he became secretary for war, exchanging this office in 1730 for the more lucrative one of paymaster of the forces. He supported Walpole on the question of the excise, and in 1743 a union of parties resulted in the formation of an administra tion in which Pelham was prime minister, with the office of chan cellor of the exchequer ; his brother, the duke of Newcastle, was very powerful in the cabinet, and there were occasional disputes between them. Being strongly in favour of peace, Pelham car
ried on the war with indifferent success. The king, thwarted in his favourite schemes, made overtures in 1746 to Lord Bath, but his purpose was upset by the resignation of the two Pelhams (Henry and Newcastle), who, however, at the king's request, re sumed office. Pelham remained prime minister till his death on March 6, 1754, when his brother succeeded him. His very defects were among the chief elements of Pelham's success, for one with a strong personality, moderate self-respect, or high conceptions of statesmanship could not have restrained the discordant ele ments of the cabinet for any length of time.
See W. Coxe, Memoirs of the Life of Henry Pelham, (2 vols., 1829).