George Digby 2d earl of Bristol

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Digby, George, 2nd earl of Bristol (1612–77). Digby was a leading opponent of Strafford but changed sides during his impeachment. He fought at Edgehill and was appointed secretary of state by the king in 1643. He was a hard-liner, insisting on a dictated peace. Clarendon thought him ingratiating, but part of his appeal to Charles I was an unquenchable optimism: even after Marston Moor in 1644 he wrote that ‘His Majesty's affairs are in the best posture that they have been at any time since these unhappy wars.’ He took over command in the north from Rupert in 1645, too late to demonstrate whether he had real military talent. Clarendon disliked him and described him as handsome, vain, and unstable: Digby reciprocated the dislike and spent much time after the Restoration in pursuing a vendetta against Clarendon.

J. A. Cannon

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George Digby Bristol, 2d earl of, 1612–77, English courtier; son of John Digby, 1st earl of Bristol. At first a member of the parliamentary opposition to Charles I, he later fought for the king in the English civil war. Afterward he served Louis XIV of France. On his return to England after the Restoration (1660), he was ineligible for office because he had been converted to Roman Catholicism. Having served Charles II in exile as secretary of state, he exerted some influence at court until his attempt to impeach the earl of Clarendon for treason failed in 1663.