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Sir William Henry Clinton was the elder son of General Sir Henry Clinton (1730-1795) and spent his early life being educated at Eton before joining the 7th Light Dragoons. Swift military promotion followed.
In 1794 he followed the Clinton family tradition and became a Tory M.P. for the East Retford constituency in Nottinghamshire. He held the seat until 1796, but was hardly an active politician, speaking in the House of Commons only once.
Sir William’s military career continued to advance, and he undertook many foreign missions. He forged a close relationship with the Duke of York and served him in several different capacities, including as aide-de-camp and military secretary.
In 1806 he re-entered parliament in the Boroughbridge constituency of his relative, the Duke of Newcastle under Lyne. He continued to hold this seat until 1818 when Newcastle, as his patron, transferred him to the seat for Newark, where he sat as M.P. until his resignation from the Commons in 1829.
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