DODINGTON (formerly BUBB), George (?1691-1762), of Eastbury, Dorset
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Family and Education
b. ?1691, 1st s. of Jeremiah Bubb of Foy, Herefs. by Mary, da. of John Dodington of Dodington, Som. educ. Winchester 1703; Exeter, Oxf. 10 July 1707 aged 16; L. Inn 1711; Grand Tour. m. secretly c. 1725, Katherine Behan, s.p. Took name of Dodington 1717, and suc. uncle George Dodington, M.P., 1720; cr. Baron Melcombe 6 Apr. 1761.
Envoy to Spain 1715-17; clerk of the pells [I] 1720- d.; ld. lt. Som. 1721-44; ld. of Treasury 1724-40; treasurer of the navy 1744-9; P.C. 3 Jan. 1745; treasurer of the chamber to the Prince of Wales 1749-51; treasurer of the navy Dec. 1755-Nov. 1756.
Dodington was first given office by Walpole, whom he deserted shortly before his fall. He next served under Pelham, whom he deserted for Frederick, Prince of Wales. After the Prince’s death he opened negotiations with Pelham for his return to Administration.
Dodington’s parliamentary patronage extended to one seat at Bridgwater and, in association with John Tucker, four at Weymouth and Melcombe Regis. At the general election of 1754 he was defeated at Bridgwater but had insured himself at Weymouth, where he also placed two seats at the disposal of Administration.
On 21 Mar., after Henry Pelham’s death, negotiations for Dodington’s return to office re-opened with Newcastle. Dodington asked for his old place of treasurer of the navy, and Newcastle was all goodwill and friendship. ‘He took me in his arms’, wrote Dodington, ‘and kissed me twice, with strong assurances of affection and service.’1 But on 27 Mar. he learnt that, ‘notwithstanding the fine conversation of last Thursday, all the employments were given away’. On 26 Apr. Dodington repeated to Newcastle ‘my earnest desires to pass the rest of my life in his Grace’s friendship and protection’, and Newcastle made ‘great professions of good wishes, goodwill, best endeavours, etc. ... which’, wrote Dodington, ‘weigh with me as much as the breath they were composed of’. So the comedy went on.
In May 1755 Dodington professed to be convinced of the ‘insufficiency, falseness, and meanness of the Duke of Newcastle’s Administration’.2 Opposed to the subsidy treaties with Russia and Hesse, he began to listen to overtures from Pitt. Then, in October 1755, Lord Halifax brought Dodington and Newcastle together again, and the bargain was quickly concluded: Dodington obtained office for himself and his friend, Henry Furnese, with ‘full liberty to oppose the subsidies, honestly and fairly’.3 What Newcastle got from the bargain is not easy to say.
Dodington was turned out by the Pitt-Devonshire Administration, and never held office again. For a brief period, in April 1757, it seemed that he might return, but Fox was unable to form a ministry and the advent of the Pitt-Newcastle Coalition finally extinguished his hopes. He now turned to Bute and the Prince of Wales, and waited for the King’s death. When that came Dodington was too old to take part in the game. But, standing on the touch-line, he encouraged Bute; offered him the nomination to two seats at Weymouth; and accepted a peerage. ‘His coronet seems only calculated to adorn his tomb’, wrote Horace Mann to Walpole on 25 Apr. 1761.
Dodington died 28 July 1762.