Took seat in House of Lords (1754). President of the Board of Trade (1765-66, 1772-75). Secretary of State for the American Colonies (1772-75). Lord Privy Seal (1775-82).
One of the Whitehall ministers involved in the secret negotiations carried out by Fothergill and Barclay with Franklin in the winter of 1774-75.
Married in 1755 to Frances Catherine Nicholl; eight sons, one daughter.