The grandson of the 2nd Duke, he was educated at Westminster School and at the University of Cambridge. He first became known in politics as an opponent of John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, a favourite of King George III. In 1765, Grafton was secretary of state under the Marquess of Rockingham; but he retired next year, and the Earl of Chatham formed a ministry in which Grafton was First Lord of the Treasury (1766) but not Prime Minister.
Chatham's illness at the end of 1767 resulted in Grafton becoming the government's effective leader, but political differences and the attacks of "Junius" led to his resignation in January 1770. He became Lord Privy Seal in Lord North’s ministry (1771) but resigned in 1775, being in favour of conciliatory action towards the American colonists. In the Rockingham ministry of 1782 he was again lord privy seal. In later years he was a prominent Unitarian.
Besides his successor, the 4th Duke (1760-1844), and numerous other children, Grafton was the father of General Lord Charles Fitzroy (1764-1829), whose sons Sir Charles Fitzroy (1798—1858), governor of New South Wales, and Robert Fitzroy, the hydrographer, were notable for their achievements.
|Duke of Grafton||Followed by:|
George Henry Fitzroy
Text originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.