William Eden Auckland, 1st Baron

(1744—1814) penal reformer and diplomatist

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Politician and diplomat. Eden trained as a lawyer after leaving Oxford. He entered Parliament in 1774 for Woodstock and quickly established himself as a useful man, with a particular interest in economic matters and in penal reform. He was employed by Lord North in the abortive negotiations in 1778 with the American rebels, served as chief secretary in Ireland from 1780 until 1782, and stayed with North during the coalition. But soon afterwards, he accepted an invitation from Pitt to negotiate a commercial treaty with France and was pilloried in the Rolliad as chief rat. He was raised to the Irish peerage in 1789 and to the British in 1793. From 1798 until 1804 he served as joint postmaster‐general, and during the Ministry of All the Talents was president of the Board of Trade.

Subjects: British History.

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