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The fourth surviving son of the 4th Duke of Portland, Lord Henry was educated at Oxford but devoted the early part of his life to the pursuit of fox hunting - riding out as much as six days a week. Such was his obsession that he produced a treatise outlining his favoured method of hunting - 'Foxhounds and their Handling in the Field'. He was master of the fox hounds for the Rufford Hunt between 1834 and 1836 and master of the Burton Hunt from 1842-1862.
Despite an initial reluctance, he was drawn into politics in 1846 when his brother, Lord George Bentinck, was leading the Protectionist opposition to Sir Robert Peel. At Lord George's request, he stood for, and won, the seat for North Nottinghamshire at the by-election in 1846, a seat which he held until his retirement from politics in 1857.
Following his brother's death in 1848 he campaigned vigorously on behalf of Disraeli, though he was not especially committed to the political life.
After his retirement in 1857, occasioned by a quarrel with his elder brother, the Marquess of Titchfield (later 5th Duke of Portland), he devoted himself to sport once again, including playing world class whist at the Portland Club.
Lord Henry never married.
Published Works by Lord Henry Bentinck
- Bentinck, W. Henry Cavendish-, Foxhounds and their Handling Foxhounds and their Handling Foxhounds and their Handling in the Field (William Goodall's Method), Viscount Chaplin (ed.) (London, 1922)
- Bentinck, Charles Cavendish-, Lord Henry Bentinck's Foxhounds (London, 1930)