Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Frederick North Collection, 1775-1783

Finding aid created by
Shannon Wait, May 2010

Summary Information
Title: Frederick North collection
Creator: William L. Clements Library
Inclusive dates: 1775-1783
Extent: 5 items
The Frederick North collection contains four letters written by North between 1775 and 1783 and a financial record for extraordinary military services and provisions incurred by and paid for by North and George Cooke as Paymasters of Forces, 1766-1767.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1934, 1957, 1962. M-234; M-1038; M-1223.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.

Preferred Citation:

Frederick North Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The Frederick North collection is arranged chronologically.


Frederick North, second earl Guilford, was born April 13, 1732, the eldest son of Francis North, first earl of Guilford, and Lady Lucy Montagu, who died in 1734. The father remarried in 1736, and Frederick became the stepbrother and lifelong friend of William Legge, second earl of Dartmouth. North studied at Eton and Trinity College, Oxford, and in 1754, became a Member of Parliament for Banbury. In 1756, he married Anne Speke, with whom he had seven children. The Duke of Newcastle appointed North to the office of Lord of the Treasury in 1759, which he held until 1765. In 1766, he became Joint Paymaster of the Forces in Pitt's ministry, and the next year, succeeded Charles Townshend as the Chancellor of the Exchequer. North became the unofficial leader of the House of Commons in January 1768, a position made official later that year. In February 1770, he became Prime Minister, retaining the office until his resignation in March 1782. He died on August 5, 1792.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Frederick North collection contains 4 letters from North to various recipients, 1775-1783 and one 1766-1767 record of payment for services. In the first letter (April 17, 1775), written to an unknown recipient, North mentioned transferring a "Dr. Tatten" to Westminster, which he considered "more profitable" than other institutions. He also expressed regret that John Burgoyne did not attend a meeting at which Lord Dartmouth gave "explicit & proper" instructions. In his letter of August 22, 1782, also to an unknown recipient, North referred to a month-long "Tour of visits," which prevented him from writing sooner. He pledged his assistance in recruiting men for the 40th Regiment of Foot, recently renamed the 2nd Somersetshire after Somerset County, but opined that he could "do but little" because of his residence outside the area. In the next piece of correspondence, dated January 19, 1783, North congratulated William Eden on the birth of a son, accepted the role of godfather, and noted that their friendship was a "principal happiness" in his life. North wrote the final letter to the Duke of Portland, September 23, 1783, informing him of the material needs of emigrants from East Florida to the Bahamas, and inquiring if the army's extra provisions could be sent to the Bahamas for the settlers.

Also included in the collection is a 7-page "Account of Extraory Services incurred & Paid by the right honble Lord North & Geo. Cooke," covering 1766-1767, when North and Cooke served as Paymasters of the Forces. This document contains sums paid to various military officials for services and supplies in Germany and colonies such as Grenada, East Florida, and Jamaica. Also provided in the document is a list of names of the compensated and dates of warrant.

Subject Terms

    • Bahamas--History.
    • Cavendish-Bentinck, William Henry, Duke of Portland, 1738-1809.
    • East Florida.
    • Eden, William, Baron Auckland, 1744-1814.
    • Great Britain. Army.
    • Great Britain. Army--Appropriations and expenditures.
    • Great Britain--History--18th century.
    • Logistics--History.
    • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783.
    • North, Frederick, Lord, 1732-1792.
    Genre Terms:
    • Correspondence.
    • Financial records.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   40, Small Collections Folder   29
    Frederick North collection,  April 17, 1775-September 23, 1783 [series]    [Note: the 1766-1767 financial record is located in Oversize Manuscripts.]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The Clements Library Graphics Division holds a selection of satirical prints depicting Lord North.

    The extensive Revolutionary War material at the Clements includes items relating to Lord North in several contemporary collections. These include the Lord North Army reports, Great Britain Army papers, Henry Clinton papers, George Germain papers, and Shelburne papers.