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Yonge, Sir William, Bart

YONGE, SIR WILLIAM, BART. (c. 1693-1755), English politician, was the son of Sir Walter Yonge of Colyton, Devonshire, and great-great-grandson of Walter Yonge of Colyton (?1581-1649), whose diaries (1604-45), more especially four volumes now in the British Museum (Add. MSS. 18777-18780), are valuable material for history. In 1722 he was elected to parliament as member for Honiton; and he succeeded his father, the third baronet, in 1731. In the House of Commons he attached himself to the Whigs, and making himself useful to Sir Robert Walpole, was rewarded with a commissionership of the treasury in 1724. George II., who conceived a strong antipathy to Sir William, spoke of him as "Stinking Yonge"; but Yonge conducted himself so obsequiously that he obtained a commissionership of the admiralty in 1728, was restored to the treasury in 1730, and in 1735 became secretary of state for war. He especially distinguished himself in his defence of the government against a hostile motion by Pulteney in 1742. Making friends with the Pelhams, he was appointed vice- treasurer of Ireland in 1746; and, acting on the committee of management for the impeachment of Lord Lovat in 1747, he won the applause of Horace Walpole by moving that prisoners impeached for high treason should be allowed the assistance of counsel. In 1748 he was elected F.R.S. He died at Escott, near Honiton, on the loth of August 1755. By his second wife, Anne, daughter and coheiress of Thomas, Lord Howard of Effingham, he had two sons and six daughters. He enjoyed some reputation as a versifier, some of his lines being even mistaken for the work of Pope, greatly to the disgust of the latter; and he wrote the lyrics incorporated in a comic opera, adapted from Richard Brome's The Jovial Crew, which was produced at Drury Lan'e in 1730 and had a considerable vogue.

His eldest son, SIR GEORGE YONGE (1731-1812), was member of parliament for Honiton continuously from 1754 to 1794, and held a number of different government appointments, becoming a lord of the admiralty (1766-70), vice-treasurer for Ireland (1782), secretary of state for war (1782-94, with an interval from April to December 1783), master of the mint (1794-99). In 1799 he was appointed governor of the Cape of Good Hope. Serious charges being brought against his administration, which was marked by great lack of judgment, he was recalled in 1801. He died on the 25th of September 1812. The baronetcy became extinct at his death.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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