SPENCER, Charles (1675-1722)

SPENCER, Charles (1675–1722)

styled 1688-1702 Ld. Spencer; suc. fa. 28 Sept. 1702 as 3rd earl of SUNDERLAND

First sat 23 Oct. 1702; last sat 7 Mar. 1722

MP Tiverton 1695-1702

b. 23 Apr. 1675, 3rd but 1st surv. s. of Robert Spencer, 2nd earl of Sunderland, and Lady Anne Digby (d.1715).1 educ. travelled abroad 1689-90 (Holland, Univ. of Utrecht);2 LLD Camb. 1705. m. (1) 12 Jan. 1695 (with £25,000),3 Lady Arabella Cavendish (d.1698), da. of Henry Cavendish, 2nd duke of Newcastle, 1da.; (2) 2 Jan. 1700 (with ?£20,000), Lady Anne Churchill (d.1716), 2nd da. of John Churchill, earl, later duke, of Marlborough, 4s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da.; (3) 5 Dec. 1717 Judith (d.1749), da. and coh. of Benjamin Tichborne of Tichborne, Hants, 2s. (?1 d.v.p.) 1da. d.v.p. KG 21 Nov. 1719. d. 19 Apr. 1722; will 15 Aug. 1720, pr. 8 Jan. 1723.4

Sec. of state (S) 1706-10, (N) 1717-18; commr. for union with Scotland 1706; PC 3 Dec. 1706; ld. lt. Ireland 1714-15; ld. privy seal Aug. 1715-Dec. 1716; jt. v.-treas. [I] Mar.-July 1716, sole treas. July 1716-May 1717; first ld. of the treasury 1718-21; ld. justice 1719, 1720; groom of the stole 1719-d.

Envoy extraordinary Vienna 1705.

Recorder Coventry 1710-11;5 gov. Charterhouse 1716-d.6

FRS 1698.

Associated with: Althorp, Northants.; Portugal Street, Westminster;7 St James’s Sq., Westminster;8 and Piccadilly, Westminster.9

Likenesses: oil on canvas by Sir G. Kneller, Blenheim;10 line engraving by J.S. Muller, after Kneller, NPG D8043.

Early Life

Spencer’s expectations were transformed by the death of his older brother, Robert, who died in Paris in 1688 as a result of injuries sustained in a duel. As heir to the earldom, Spencer followed his father into exile in 1689 but he was fortunate in being too young to be much associated with the 2nd earl’s policies as James II’s premier minister. A student of the Calvinist Pierre Flournois and heavily influenced by the low churchman, Charles Trimnell, later bishop of Norwich, Spencer did not share his father’s erastian attitude to religion, though he proved to be both a genuinely committed Anglican and a friend to dissent.

After his return to England, Spencer was initially associated with the country Whigs but by the end of the 1690s he had come to be identified with the Junto. Although he was undoubtedly a spirited party man, described by one commentator as ‘a violent Whig, very violent in the House of Commons during his father’s life time, and continued so in the House of Lords after his death’, claims of Spencer’s republicanism have been overstated, probably the result of a combination of deliberate malicious misinformation on the part of Tory propagandists (especially Jonathan Swift) and of a failure on the part of foreign observers to distinguish between Whiggery and the Dutch Commonwealth party.11 Moreover, while Spencer was undoubtedly possessed of a decidedly hot temper and demonstrated a level of zeal for the causes in which he believed that was sufficient to alarm more staid observers, his natural abilities ensured that he was rarely neglected. During the course of his career he held almost all of the highest offices in the land as well as dominating the House as an active committee-man and talented debater. He was also an obsessive record keeper and enthusiastic bibliophile, his collection rivalled only by that of his bête noir, Robert Harley, later earl of Oxford.12

His father Sunderland’s return to favour in the early 1690s was no doubt behind the rumour put about in the spring of 1694 that Spencer was to marry a daughter of William III’s favourite, Hans Willem Bentinck, earl of Portland, but, shortly after, the Bentinck match was laid aside in favour of a more lucrative alliance with Lady Arabella Cavendish. Unlike his older brother, who had been rash and given to excess, Spencer commended himself to Lady Arabella’s mother, the duchess of Newcastle, as ‘having the character of sobriety and good humour, which is rare to find’.13 Although it proved a struggle for Spencer’s father to raise suitable funds to satisfy the other party, the financial obstacles were eventually overcome and the resulting marriage, though brought to a premature conclusion by Lady Arabella’s death in the summer of 1698, proved to be strikingly happy.14 But with her daughter-in-law barely cold in the grave, Lady Sunderland demonstrated a distasteful lack of propriety by almost immediately setting about brokering a new match for her son. Within weeks she was in talks with the countess of Marlborough for the hand of her daughter, Lady Anne Churchill. Insisting that Spencer was ‘very good natured and strictly honest’, she confessed her ambition that, ‘as soon as Lady Arabella died it was the first wish I made that my son might be thought worthy of Lady Anne’.15 Marlborough proved at first unwilling to cast his daughter away on a newly widowed young man. He also appears to have harboured concerns about Spencer’s increasingly close relations with the Junto.16 Assurances from Sunderland that the match was ‘the thing of the world we do wish the most earnestly and my Lord Spencer not only so, but as passionately as he ought’, coupled with Lady Sunderland’s perseverance eventually paid off.17 Premature reports that Spencer and Lady Anne were ‘suddenly to be married’ circulated in September 1699, but after further negotiations, Spencer married for the second time early in 1700, benefiting from a reputed £20,000 portion in part provided by the queen.18

The Churchill match reinforced Spencer’s claims to a high-profile political career. Set up for election in Northamptonshire by his father in 1695, he had been forced to withdraw when the opposition proved too vigorous, but having carried both Hedon and Tiverton, he opted to sit for the latter, which he continued to represent until his accession to the peerage. By the beginning of the new century the relationship between Spencer and his father had cooled.19 This was in part the result of Spencer’s growing connection with the Junto, but he appears to have patched up his differences with his father shortly before the earl’s death and the family seat of Althorp was employed as the venue for a meeting between Sunderland and members of the Junto in August 1702 in anticipation of a new alliance in the forthcoming session. Sunderland’s death later that year negated such overtures but left his heir (now 3rd earl of Sunderland) free to take his place among the acknowledged leadership of the Junto, who were no doubt eager to exploit his connection with the Churchill family and his interest in Northamptonshire and Warwickshire.20 For the remainder of this period, Sunderland’s loyalties remained divided between the Junto and his Churchill in-laws, so much so that when he was forced from power in June 1710 it was possible for Robert Harley to argue plausibly that Sunderland’s dismissal was part of a move against the Churchill connection rather than against the Junto.21

House of Lords

Sunderland took his seat in the House three days into the new Parliament on 23 Oct. 1702 after which he was present on 84 per cent of all sittings. On 11 Nov. he was added to the sub-committee for the Journal and he was added to the same committee again two days later, probably a clerical error. On 19 Nov. he was named to the committee for drawing up an address and on 9 Dec. he was prominent in the debate that erupted after the House had sent the amended occasional conformity bill back down to the Commons, his warning that the lower House intended to tack the measure onto a money bill spurring the House into drawing up an order against tacking. His interest in the measure was reflected in his subsequent nomination as one of the managers of the conference for the occasional conformity bill and the same day (17 Dec.) he acted as one of the tellers for the division over whether to proceed with the conference report, which was carried by 52 votes to 47. The following day Sunderland was named to the committee to draw up reasons for the Lords’ insistence on their amendments to the bill and on 23 Dec. he was one of six lords present at a committee convened at the Parliament office to discover precedents for bills with penalties that had originated in the upper chamber. When William Cavendish, duke of Devonshire, made his report to the House on 8 Jan. 1703 of the reasons for the Lords insisting on their amendments, Sunderland moved that they should be entered into the Journal.22

At the beginning of the year Sunderland had been estimated by Daniel Finch, 2nd earl of Nottingham, as being opposed to the occasional conformity bill and on 16 Jan. Sunderland indeed voted in favour of adhering to the Lords’ amendment to the penalty clause. A few days prior to this, on 11 Jan., he acted as one of the tellers in the division on whether to adjourn the debate on the rights of peers under the act of settlement, which was lost on a tied vote. On a related matter, on 19 Jan. he was one of a number of peers to subscribe a protest at the decision to include a clause in the bill settling a revenue on Prince George, duke of Cumberland, which specifically confirmed his capacity to serve as a member of the Privy Council and to sit in the Lords if the queen should pre-decease him. Sunderland’s position on the bill incurred the queen’s displeasure. It also contrasted starkly with his father-in-law Marlborough’s support for the measure and precipitated increasingly fractious relations with his mother-in-law.23 His countess attempted to justify her husband’s behaviour to her mother, insisting that he ‘has too many good qualities to do anything as this is represented, besides I am sure, next to his country, he is heartily for everything that is for the queen’s interest’, but it required a personal intervention on Sunderland’s part to repair the damage caused to his relations with the duchess.24

Present during a session of the committee for the bill for appointing commissioners for examining the public accounts on 2 Feb. 1703, Sunderland moved for a clause to be added to the bill stating that the commissioners should be barred from holding office under the crown for the duration of the commission. His motion was adopted accordingly.25 On 9 Feb. he was named to the committee for drawing up an address of thanks to the queen for her ‘great care’ in not issuing further licences for people coming from France. Three days later he was teller in the division over whether to reverse the judgment in Wharton v. Squire, which was again carried in the negative following a tied vote. On 19 Feb. he also told on the question whether to report the case of the Attorney General v. the mayor of Coventry, something in which he perhaps had a personal interest on account of his influence in the borough. The motion to report was defeated by a margin of two votes.

The summer of 1703 found Sunderland active in attempting to employ his interest on behalf of several supplicants. His efforts to procure a prebend’s stall in Westminster for his former chaplain, Trimnell, were thwarted when he was unable to secure the support of John Sharp, archbishop of York, whose interest was already pre-assigned to Dr George Stanhope, although in the event neither cleric landed that desirable place.26 He also failed to secure the governorship of Guernsey for the Junto lieutenant, Harry Mordaunt, but he had greater success in securing places in the army for two other petitioners through his father-in-law’s interposition.27

One of several prominent Whig peers to mark the late king’s birthday with bonfires and public celebrations on 4 Nov., Sunderland took his seat in the new session on 9 Nov. 1703 and the following day he was named to the committee to draw an address on the queen’s speech.28 Present on 77 per cent of all sittings, Sunderland was at pains to develop his management of the chamber during the session: on 4 Dec. Charles Bennet, 2nd Baron Ossulston (later earl of Tankerville), noted that he had been sent a proxy ‘to be signed at the desire of’ Sunderland, Charles Montagu, Baron (later earl of) Halifax and Thomas Wharton, 5th Baron (later marquess of) Wharton.29 At some point before 26 Nov. he drew up a list of the Lords’ expected voting intentions for the occasional conformity bill (noting himself as an opponent of the measure), which had been re-introduced into the Commons by William Bromley on 25 November. The bill passed the Commons on 7 Dec. and Sunderland then undertook a second survey, again noting himself among the bill’s opponents, in advance of it arriving in the Lords on 14 December. The measure was read for the first time that day and in a division the motion to read the bill a second time was defeated by 71 votes to 59. Sunderland’s forecasts proved remarkably accurate: his prediction correctly reflected the numbers voting with the Whigs (71) though he slightly overestimated the level of support for the measure, crediting the other side with 66 likely supporters. Three days later he hosted a gathering of at least 17 Whig peers, probably in preparation for the imminent debates on the ‘Scotch Plot’.30 On 18 Dec. Sunderland was one of seven peers elected by ballot to undertake the examination of Sir John Maclean, James Boucher, and several others who had been taken up in the wake of the plot.31 He was also one of the peers nominated to the committee to examine the voting glass, amidst claims of sharp practice and that more ballots had been lodged than there were peers present. An expunged entry in the manuscript minutes suggests that Sunderland and several other peers all asked to be excused from acting on the committee examining Maclean and the other prisoners.32 Sunderland’s reason is not given but may have related to unease at being involved in a case that aroused concerns that the Lords were infringing on the crown’s rights to examine the suspects. In any case, none of the peers were excused their service and over the ensuing few days they convened several times to examine the prisoners.33 Any doubts over the legitimacy of the Lords’ actions notwithstanding, Sunderland took his role in the investigation of the plot with supreme seriousness, not least because he and his colleagues hoped to uncover evidence that might discredit Nottingham, whom they hoped to displace as secretary.34

Sunderland returned to the House following the Christmas recess on 4 Jan. 1704 and ten days later he served as one of the tellers on the question whether to adjourn the debates over the dispute Ashby v. White. On 26 Jan. he was named to the committee to consider the allegations in the preamble to the bill for enabling the mayor of London and other trustees to pay charities stipulated in Sir Thomas Gresham’s will and on 5 and 6 Feb. he was active in the sub-committee for the Journal. On the evening of 13 Feb. he hosted another extensive gathering of Whig peers, where ‘tea [was] drunk’ and the Scotch Plot discussed. On the 17th he attended a somewhat smaller dinner in Parliament, again to discuss the Plot.35 As a consequence of these discussions, on 19 Feb. he was one of eight peers (the seven elected in December, plus Secretary Nottingham) ordered to examine William Keith and three days later the same committee (minus Nottingham) was appointed to examine further into the Scotch Plot. On 21 Mar. he subscribed the dissent at the resolution not to read for a second time the rider requiring recruits for the army and marines to have the consent of the churchwardens and overseers of the poor in the parishes where they were raised. That evening he again hosted a meeting of Whig lords at his London home, and two days later he was present at a further gathering hosted by Charles Seymour, 6th duke of Somerset, both possibly related to the Scotch Plot. Certainly, on 24 Mar. he subscribed the protest at the resolution not to put the question whether the information contained in the examination of Sir John Maclean, another of those associated with the Scottish conspiracy, was imperfect.36 Three days later, Sunderland was one of the peers nominated a manager of the conference for the public accounts bill and on 3 Apr. he reported from the committee for the same business. Two months later he was one of the members of the sub-committee for the Journal to sign off the account of that day’s proceedings.

The close of the session coincided with rumours that the duumvirs, Marlborough and Sidney Godolphin, Baron, later earl of, Godolphin, had fallen out with their Tory allies and towards the end of April 1704 it was speculated that, as part of their anticipated rapprochement with the Junto, Sunderland was to replace Nottingham as secretary of state.37 Although nothing came of this, the rumour persisted into May.38 It was to prove the beginning of a concerted campaign by the Junto to manoeuvre Sunderland into the ministry, for although he was still young and relatively inexperienced, he was also recognized as being uniquely qualified to unite Junto and duumvir interests. Later that autumn, with the Junto still unsatisfied, one correspondent remarked to Sunderland’s mother-in-law that, ‘I can’t forbear to wish Lord Sunderland was remembered, and wonder why it is thought a wise conduct to gain men who have been enemies to the government all along, and neglect to gain others of ten times their sense and honesty.’39

Sunderland suffered from poor health during the early weeks of the summer (another recurrent theme in his career), but he was said to be ‘much mended’ by the close of May 1704.40 The same month he stood godfather to the second son of Godolphin’s heir, Francis Godolphin, the future 2nd earl of Godolphin.41 Towards the end of June he was present in court along with a number of other peers to witness a trial between Portland and the queen for the recovery of a debt, from which Portland emerged triumphant.42 Sunderland was one of a party present at Chippenham in Cambridgeshire, seat of his Junto colleague, Edward Russell, earl of Orford, in mid-August 1704, from whence he wrote to Marlborough congratulating him on his recent victory at Blenheim and assuring his father-in-law that ‘the company I have met here, I can assure you, take a very great part in this good news’. From Chippenham Sunderland returned to his own estate at Althorp for the remainder of the month before returning to town for the beginning of the new session.43

Present for the prorogation of 19 Oct. 1704, Sunderland took his place in the House on 24 October. Two days later, he received the proxy of John Holles, duke of Newcastle, which was vacated on 6 Dec., as well as that of the prominent Junto lieutenant, Charles Powlett, 2nd duke of Bolton. Bolton’s proxy was vacated when the duke returned to his place on 16 November. On the same day that Newcastle resumed his seat Sunderland was entrusted with the proxy of his kinsman, Philip Sydney, 5th earl of Leicester. Two days later (8 Dec.) he also received that of Paulet St John, 3rd earl of Bolingbroke, with whose heir presumptive, Sir St Andrew St John, Sunderland was said to be ‘very great friends’.44 Leicester’s proxy was vacated on 11 Dec. while Bolingbroke’s was vacated by the close of the session. Besides his clear importance as a holder of key proxies in the session, perhaps in part the result of his high attendance level this session (94 per cent of all sittings), Sunderland also dominated a number of crucial committees, not least the committee of the whole House considering the state of the nation, from which he reported on 29 October. On 7 Nov. he was one of several peers to second Godolphin’s motion for more care to be taken in preventing confusion in the House on those occasions when the queen was present. Three days later, when John Thompson, Baron Haversham, moved that the Lords be summoned to hear his attack on the ministry, he proposed that the House should instead be called over the following Thursday, and then submitted a motion for a humble address to be presented to the queen representing the travails of Protestant refugees incarcerated in foreign galleys.45 Soon after this the House defeated the third occasional conformity bill, with Sunderland almost certainly among the majority who united to vote the measure down.46 On 29 November, as a result of Haversham’s intervention, the House resumed discussion of the state of the nation in a committee of the whole with Sunderland once more in the chair. He proceeded to chair further such committees on 6, 11 and 16 December. Three days later (19 Dec.) he presided over a subsequent committee of the whole for the Union bill and on 21 Dec. he reported from the committee nominated to draft an address about the state of Scotland, which was read and ordered to be presented the following day.47

Sunderland’s prominence in the House’s debates at the close of 1704 no doubt gave renewed impetus to rumours that he was soon to be appointed secretary of state, though William Nicolson, bishop of Carlisle, was unconvinced, noting in this diary merely, ‘time will show.’48 The new year also found Sunderland active in early preparations for the forthcoming elections. In January 1705 he coordinated meetings of the Northamptonshire gentry in London and the following month he was approached by Captain George Lucy seeking his backing in Warwickshire.49 On 2 Feb. 1705 he was one of 15 peers named to a committee to consider the method of passing bills between the Lords and Commons and three days later he reported from the committee of the whole House the bill conveying the manor of Woodstock to his father-in-law, which was approved without any further amendment. Sunderland took a prominent role over the following few weeks in debates resulting from the divisions between Lords and Commons over the Aylesbury men. On 28 Feb. he reported from the committee appointed to draw up the heads of a conference with the Commons to discuss the dispute. He then reported the effect of the conference the same day as well as reporting from a subsequent conference on the same business on 7 Mar., when he was also nominated one of the managers of the conference concerning the bill for preventing traitorous correspondence. On 9 Mar. he was again named one of the managers of a third conference about the Aylesbury men and on 12 Mar. he reported from the committee considering the Carolina address. Sunderland received the proxy of John Hervey, Baron Hervey (later earl of Bristol), on 13 Mar. 1705 (which was vacated by the close) and the same day he was nominated a manager of another conference with the Commons over the bill for naturalizing Jacob Pechels and others.

Towards the end of March 1705 fresh rumours emerged of expected alterations in the ministry. Wharton, it was thought, was to be lord lieutenant of Ireland and James Butler, 2nd duke of Ormond, master of the horse, while Sunderland was again expected to succeed as secretary of state.50 The rumours continued to circulate in April amid growing Whig demands for Sunderland to replace Harley. For the while Harley retained sufficient support to resist, but the issue was still to the fore when Sunderland joined a party of Whig notables in attendance on the queen during her progress to Cambridge later that month.51 An assessment of the same period noted Sunderland, unsurprisingly, as a supporter of the Hanoverian succession. In the elections of May, however, his interest faltered. Lucy, who had struggled to attract much support and for whose cause Sunderland was probably at best lukewarm, was frustrated in his ambitions in Warwickshire. More importantly, neither of Sunderland’s candidates for the county seats in Northamptonshire was successful either, in spite of Sunderland leading a ‘grand party’ of supporters through the streets of Daventry in the hopes of attracting additional votes.52 Notwithstanding these disappointments, overall Junto success added weight to the continuing calls for Sunderland to be preferred. In mid-May it was suggested that his appointment as envoy to Vienna might prove a useful preparation for him taking on the secretaryship in due course.53 Although Sunderland himself seems to have been less than eager to take on the role, his mother-in-law insisted that ‘my Lord Sunderland will have as much deference to the opinion of his friends as my lord treasurer will have to them.’54 Junto pressure on the young man paid off. He took his leave late the following month, arriving at Vienna towards the end of August. Within a few days, Sunderland was complaining of his dislike of the charge, protesting that he would ‘rather be buried alive than be left in this place’, but he was compelled to remain at his post for the ensuing three months.55 Absence from England did not make Sunderland any the less interested in Whig electoral success. He expressed himself ‘mighty glad’ that his mother-in-law had prevailed upon Scroop Egerton, 4th earl of Bridgwater, to ‘set up Harry Mordaunt’ in Buckinghamshire, confident that it would bring about a union between Bridgwater and Wharton, ‘which will make things hereafter easy in that county.’56

The Parliament of 1705

Sunderland was excused at a call of the House on 12 Nov. 1705. The following month he secured permission to leave Vienna.57 On 30 Dec. he arrived back in England in company with his father-in-law, Marlborough, and the former Junto patron, Charles Talbot, duke of Shrewsbury, who was returning from his five-year sojourn in Italy.58 Sunderland’s return to England coincided with feverish anticipation of alterations in the ministry. One indication of the changed nature of affairs at court was Godolphin’s determination put an end to the domination of church preferments by Archbishop Sharp and the Tories. Consequently, on the death of William Beaw, bishop of Llandaff, in January 1706, Sunderland advised Thomas Tenison, archbishop of Canterbury confidently that ‘his grace might name whom he pleased for a successor’ and it was the firmly Whiggish John Tyler, then dean of Hereford, who was ultimately appointed to the vacant see later that summer.59 A dinner on 6 Jan. 1706, attended by Sunderland as well as a number of prominent members of the ministry, was thought to be an attempt to reconcile Somers and Halifax with Harley.60 Shrewsbury’s return had precipitated speculation that he might be prevailed on to forge a new alliance with his former Junto partners and that the Whigs might prefer to see him appointed one of the secretaries with Sunderland taking the other place.61 Sunderland’s own attitude towards Harley, however (irrespective of their rivalry for the same place), appears to have been bitter and uncompromising. This was hinted at in a letter from Harley to his rival later that summer, in which Harley referred to the bad blood between them and dismissed unnamed accusations made by Sunderland the previous day as being without foundation.62

Sunderland took his place in the House two days after the dinner on 8 Jan. 1706 and he was thereafter present on 51 days in the session (53 per cent of the whole). On 26 Jan. a number of private bills were considered by the Lords and, according to Bishop Nicolson, Sunderland ‘took notice of the suspicious contents of one of these.’63 It is not clear which bill Nicolson referred to, but it may have been that for naturalizing Vincent de Laymerie and others, given Sunderland’s previous support for limiting the number of licences awarded to Frenchmen settling in England. Sunderland attended a dinner at the Kit Cat Club in the middle of February (for which his accounts noted he paid £10. 17s. 6d.).64 Later the same month, on 20 Feb., he joined with Gilbert Burnet, bishop of Salisbury, and Thomas Grey, 2nd earl of Stamford, in ‘severe’ questioning of Dean Bincks of Lichfield during a session of the committee for the bill for better regulation of Lichfield cathedral. Bincks had been a notably ‘high-flying’ prolocutor of the lower house of Convocation.65 On 22 Feb. he was nominated a manager of the conference for Cary and Hatley’s bill and on 4 Mar. he received Ossulston’s proxy. On 7 Mar. Sunderland subscribed £2,500 to the quarter of a million pound loan to the Emperor and a few days later was approached by William Lloyd, bishop of Worcester, who sought his interest on behalf of one Skinner, a grandson of Robert Skinner, formerly bishop of Oxford and Worcester.66 Sunderland was nominated one of the managers of the conference on 9 Mar. concerning Sir Rowland Gwynne’s Letter to Stamford and three days later he reported from the committee for the address concerning oppressions in Carolina. The following day he acted as one of the managers of the conference for the militia bill and on 19 Mar. he was one of a committee of 14 named to draw an address about manning the fleet. Two days later he was one of the sub-committee for the Journal to sign off the record of proceedings for 4 Dec. the previous year, a day when Sunderland had been out of the country.

Sunderland’s increasing stature in the leadership of the Junto was reflected in his appointment as one of the commissioners nominated to undertake the Union negotiations in April 1706, but Junto efforts to secure him the secretaryship were forestalled again towards the close of that month when Newcastle chose to continue his support for Harley.67 Further efforts that summer on Sunderland’s behalf by Marlborough and Godolphin received an equally firm denial by the queen, though Sunderland professed himself pleasantly surprised at the manner of her refusal. As he commented to his mother-in-law, he found the queen’s response was ‘a great deal more favourable than I expected, having been represented to her, I suppose, as having cloven feet.’ The relatively cordial denial appears to have encouraged Sunderland to propose that the duchess should take the opportunity of recommending Wharton to the queen for preferment as chief justice in eyre. This he considered would be ‘a mighty right compliment to make him… for little things done with a good air, do often please more than greater.’68 In August he was also able to bring his interest to bear in favour of Thomas Fairfax, 5th Lord Fairfax [S], who Sunderland hoped would contest the seat recently made vacant by the death of Sir John Kaye.69 Fairfax was returned accordingly at the by-election early in the following year.

Despite such successes and a steady campaign by the Junto and the Marlboroughs to wear down the queen’s objections, Sunderland’s own pretensions continued to be denied. The queen remained insistent on her reluctance to install ‘a party man’ like Sunderland as secretary ‘when there are so many of their friends in employment of all kinds already.’ In addition, she feared his personality and explained that her reluctance to give way ‘proceeds from what I have heard of his temper. I am afraid he and I would not agree long together’.70 Increasingly suspicious that he was being treated shabbily, Sunderland complained to Newcastle at the close of August 1706 how he had been unable to wait on Lord Treasurer Godolphin who was suffering with ‘a swelled face’ though ‘whether real or pretended I am not very sure.’71 Godolphin’s sickness, diplomatic or otherwise, may well have been occasioned in part by his inability to bring about a resolution to the question of the secretaryship, which he claimed was making him ‘almost distracted’.72 The affair also threatened to drive a wedge between the members of the Junto and their Churchill allies. In September Sunderland and Halifax postponed a visit to the duchess of Marlborough at Woodstock, fearing that it would look as if they were caballing.73 At the close of the month the queen reluctantly offered the Junto an olive branch in the form of a place in cabinet for Sunderland, without portfolio, but the gesture was rejected.74 Sunderland’s attention was taken up with Union negotiations over the following two months, in which he, Somers and Halifax were said to be taking ‘a great deal of pains’.75 At the beginning of December 1706, however, the queen finally conceded defeat and appointed Sunderland to the post of secretary of state for the southern department in the place of Sir Charles Hedges.76 Harley remained in post at the northern department for the time being, but to emphasize the Junto’s achievement Sunderland’s appointment coincided with a number of promotions in the peerage for Whig colleagues.77

Secretary of State

Sunderland resumed his seat in the House for the new session on 3 Dec. 1706, after which he was present on 71 per cent of all sittings. He attended cabinet for the first time in his new capacity later the same day.78 On 4 Dec. he reported from the committee for drawing the address in response to the queen’s speech and on 30 Dec. he introduced Wharton in his new dignity as earl of Wharton and John Poulett, as Earl Poulett. At the turn of the year Sunderland found his attention divided between the ongoing negotiations around the Union, continuing disputes over management of ecclesiastical affairs and difficulties in the prosecution of the war in Spain and Portugal. The last centred about the vexed relations between the allied commanders Charles Mordaunt, 3rd earl of Peterborough, Henri de Massue de Ruvigny, earl of Galway [I], and General James Stanhope, the future Earl Stanhope, and their contrasting views of how the war might best be prosecuted. Sunderland backed Galway and Stanhope, but his enthusiastic support of offensive operations, which he pressed upon the commanders in the field over the ensuing months, led ultimately to him being singled out for particular censure following the allied defeat at Almanza in the spring of 1707.79

Efforts to settle management of church affairs, potentially no less hazardous, led to a meeting hosted by Sunderland on 29 Jan. 1707 attended by the duumvirs, Wharton, Halifax, Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend, William Wake, bishop of Lincoln and John Moore, bishop of Norwich, at which a draft of the ‘act for the security of the Church of England’ was approved, to accompany the legislation on the Union.80 Sunderland was then prominent among those who supported passing the act without amendment after it was considered in committee of the whole House on 3 February.81 On 28 Jan. Sunderland placed before the House the minutes of the commissioners for Union and the Scottish ratification of the Act of Union. On 6 Mar. he was nominated to the committee to draft an address concerning the Union. Concentration on this business was interrupted briefly on 11 Mar. when he acted as one of the tellers on the question of whether to read the game bill a second time. On 15 Mar. his attention returned to the Union when he proposed that Bishop Burnet take the chair in the committee of the whole when the House once again took the matter into consideration.

The week-long prorogation in the second week of April irritated Sunderland, who saw the hand of Harley behind the manoeuvre, as he complained to Marlborough:

I believe you will be surprised at this short prorogation. It is entirely occasioned by him who is the author of all the tricks played here. I need not name him, having done it in my last letter to you. I will only say no man in the service of a government did act such a part. I wish those to whom he has acted it were ever capable of thinking him in the wrong, for I fear it may be some time or other too late.82

Sunderland returned to his place on 14 Apr. after which he attended eight days of the brief session that sat for the remainder of the month. Annoyance at Harley’s ‘tricks’ was exacerbated by infighting once more within the Junto and in particular concern at the behaviour of Halifax, who was still to secure a suitable post in the administration. News of the allied defeat at Almanza no doubt added to Sunderland’s sense of ‘uneasiness’.83 By the second week of May 1707, he was able to inform Marlborough of some resolution of the disputes between Halifax and his colleagues, while admitting the strain it had placed upon him as well:

I can assure you nothing has given me so much uneasiness a great while as that whole matter, but, I am sure, the only reason that hindered him (Halifax) from writing was that he thought the best way to have all that was past forgotten was to say no more of it, and he is now as easy with lord treasurer, and all this, and your friends, as he ever was.84

Both Sunderland and his countess appear to have suffered from poor health over the following few months. Lady Sunderland was said to be suffering from a ‘kind of quinzy’ at the close of April, while Sunderland himself was sick for much of May, towards the close of which he retreated to the country to recover. By 3 June he was at Hampton Court, convalescing having been ‘very ill, with a fever upon my spirits, which has hung upon me, more or less, above three weeks, but thank God I am much better now.’ Five days later Sunderland was again present at cabinet, though on 10 June he was still complaining of discomfort caused by an eye infection.85 Towards the end of the month he was approached by Henry Howard, earl of Bindon (later 6th earl of Suffolk), for his assistance in procuring a suitable reward for one Dr Dent in return for his services in the elections in Essex.86

Meanwhile, vacancies in the episcopate were raising the tension between the Junto and the duumvirs, as the queen stubbornly refused to break her promise to two Tory divines, Offspring Blackall, the future bishop of Exeter, and William Dawes, bishop of Chester, to appoint them to those sees, rather than the Whig clerics favoured by the Junto. While this struggle continued, the promotion of Bishop Moore from Norwich to Ely raised the prospect of Sunderland’s client, Charles Trimnell, being appointed as his replacement at Norwich. The final compromise that was reached did indeed see all three, Trimnell, Blackall and Dawes, raised to the episcopal bench. But as the impasse continued Sunderland’s friends voiced their deep disquiet, wondering ‘a little at so sudden a nomination of two on the other side, and that his [Trimnell’s] cause runs so heavy, against whom we see no objection but his principle.’87 Godolphin even became worried that Sunderland would refuse to introduce Jonathan Trelawny, bishop of Exeter to the queen when he was presented to her as the new bishop of Winchester.88

Sunderland was more successful in obtaining a vacant prebend’s stall at Gloucester for one Robert Cooke, the uncle of the local Member, William Cooke. He had originally slated Cooke to be dean the previous year, only to come up against Marlborough’s previous commitments. Early in August 1707 Sunderland approached William Cowper, Baron (later Earl) Cowper, claiming the support of both the borough’s Members and the ‘honest gentlemen’ in the area. With Marlborough also on board, the appointment went through in November.89

It was with a general sense of foreboding that Sunderland retreated to Althorp at the beginning of August 1707. At the close of the month he hosted a Junto conclave there attended by Somers, Halifax and Orford, ‘to fix measures for the approaching Parliament.’90 The new session, Sunderland warned Marlborough, was likely to be troublesome: ‘there are so many uneasy things preparing by the common enemy against next sessions and by the management of the court so little confidence between them and the only people that either will or can support them, that I own I have terrible apprehensions of the consequence.’91 The summer, which had seen the beginning of the allied operation against Toulon following hard on the Almanza debacle, promised no reduction in the pressures on the ministry but Junto discontent was caused primarily by the queen’s continuing reluctance to give way over the vacant bishoprics. Sunderland appears at last to have shaken off his various maladies by the end of August when it was predicted that he would be back in his office the following week.92 In early September he joined with Thomas Coningsby, Baron Coningsby [I] (later earl of Coningsby), in supporting the clause in the Irish bill against popery voiding all settlements made by Catholics in the previous year, an addition which caused ‘great contests in council’.93

Sunderland waited on the queen at Newmarket at the beginning of October 1707.94 With much of his attention taken up with attempting to defuse a diplomatic crisis with the Muscovite ambassador over the publication of a piece in the Review critical of the Czar, Sunderland took his seat in the new Parliament three weeks later on 23 Oct., after which he was present on almost 88 per cent of all sittings.95 The session witnessed determined efforts on the part of the Junto to force Harley from office (a course of action settled on at their August deliberations), coupled with their growing criticism of the management of the admiralty under Prince George and George Churchill.96 On 9 Dec. Sunderland provided the House with extracts of intelligence letters concerning French naval preparations and, the following day, copies of Harley’s letters to the prince’s council with advice concerning French shipping. On 31 Dec. Sunderland was one of the privy councillors to interview the suspected Jacobite informant and Harley’s under-secretary, William Greg, at Harley’s office.97 Disappointingly for the Junto, Greg declined to implicate Harley in his activities.

The Junto’s campaign against Harley was no doubt the cause of their renewed efforts to woo other members of the House and is presumably the explanation for Sunderland, Somers and Halifax offering Bishop Nicolson ‘special encouragements’ in his cause with Hugh Todd, a canon at Carlisle whom Nicolson had excommunicated.98 Present at cabinet meetings at Kensington and the Cockpit on 5 Jan. 1708, Sunderland resumed his seat in the House following the Christmas recess two days later.99 On 13 Jan. he presented the House with further information concerning the conduct of the war in Spain, which was referred to the committee of the whole House, and later the same month he gave evidence against Greg at the Middlesex sessions.100 In February, in the face of court efforts to delay it, the Junto, in temporary alliance with a handful of Tory peers, was successful in securing the abolition of the Scottish Privy Council as a way of marginalizing the court’s principal Scots minister, James Douglas, 2nd duke of Queensberry [S], and later duke of Dover.101 Sunderland’s contribution to the debate was noteworthy, he being the only member of the ministry to come out openly in favour of doing away with the council.102 The same month the Junto finally had their way in achieving the resignation of Harley and a number of his allies from the ministry. Harley’s removal was followed by a purge of the commission of the peace in several counties as the Junto attempted to drive home their advantage.103

On 25 Feb. 1708 Sunderland introduced a bill into the House for reversing the attainder of Sir Henry Bond, bt. and the same day he presented the petition of William Ferdinand Carey, 8th Baron Hunsdon, to be summoned under that title. Three days later he received the directors of the Royal African Company at his office.104 The following month his attention was taken up with countering the Jacobite invasion threat and on 4 Mar. he presented the House with intelligence received by the queen concerning the French invasion plans. One correspondent commented (perhaps somewhat cynically) to Edward Harley on the feverish activity of the secretaries, describing how Secretary Henry Boyle, the future Baron Carleton, ‘is so intent upon the affairs of the nation that he hardly takes time to eat, and my Lord Sunderland sits up whole nights, and what may we not expect from such great men and of such assiduity.’105

Sunderland remained in London following the dissolution at the beginning of April, among other things apparently acquiring a new town residence: advertisements in the Post Man for the sale or letting of his house in St James’s Square followed the news that he had purchased Sir Walter Clarges’s house in Piccadilly.106 One of only four privy councillors in town at the beginning of the month, on 19 and 21 Apr. he interviewed the prisoners who had been taken aboard the Salisbury, among them the disgraced former peer, Edward Griffin, Baron Griffin.107 Aside from dealing with the aftermath of the botched Jacobite invasion, Sunderland was also preparing for the elections for the new Parliament. Confident of success, he surmised that ‘by the nicest calculation that can be made they will be very considerably better than in this Parliament’, though later that month his early optimism appeared misplaced and Wharton wrote to him asking that the writ for Wiltshire be delayed, as he feared that they would otherwise lose a borough in that county.108 Unsurprisingly, Sunderland was included among the Whigs in a printed list of party affiliations of May 1708. Shortly before this he had written confidently to Marlborough to inform him that ‘our home campaign begun this day by the election of Southwark which has gone as one could wish, and without being sanguine one may venture to prophecy a better Parliament by much yet than the last.’ Hopeful too of being able to secure the return of a number of sympathetic Scots peers, Sunderland aimed to bring pressure to bear on the numerous Scottish lords who had been brought to London for investigation into their Jacobite activities during the invasion scare. Among them was his former brother-in-law, James Hamilton, 4th duke of Hamilton [S]. Hamilton was subsequently released on bail and having been wooed vigorously by all sides to employ his interest on their behalf, he entered into a temporary pact with the Junto to co-operate with their Squadrone allies. By 7 May Sunderland was able to report to Marlborough that ‘our elections go hitherto very prosperously, and there is no reason to doubt but we shall have a very good Parliament’, though he also complained that ‘if the court go on in the way they are, it will be much alike whatever Parliament is chosen’.109 The following day he received a report from Hamilton from Wakefield, noting his progress in bringing over as many as he could ‘into our interest’, while underlining the difficulties he was encountering. George Hamilton, earl of Orkney [S], was similarly pessimistic. He appealed to Sunderland that unless ‘there be something done to show some countenance towards us, I do assure you I am afraid we shall make but a very bad figure.’110

Newcastle wrote to Sunderland at the end of May inviting him and a number of northern peers to join him at Welbeck over the summer of 1708 for a meeting preparatory to the new session. ‘Though at all times that company is extremely pleasing to me’, he wrote, he thought that it might be especially valuable before the meeting of the new Parliament.111 The English and Welsh elections bore out Sunderland’s optimistic appraisal and he abandoned his careful tally of gains and losses with a number of seats still to be declared: as one modern historian has suggested, he may have been satisfied with the 31 net gains that he had already recorded, giving the Whigs the most comfortable working majority he would have been able to remember.112 The results of the elections for Scottish representative peers seemed much less certain but although both James Graham, duke of Montrose [S], and Hamilton complained to him about the difficulties they faced, the latter grumbling that ‘we would do better if we had more help from above’, Hamilton was encouraged by Sunderland’s estimate that the Whigs stood to gain 70 seats in the new House of Commons, and assured that he was ‘far from despondency. On the contrary… we have given a good deal of uneasiness to our opposers already’.113

For all his endeavours, Sunderland’s efforts to secure the return of Scots members sympathetic to the Junto met with mixed success, though he assured one of those for whose return he had canvassed, William Johnston, marquess of Annandale [S], that ‘though your lordship is not returned one of the 16, I don’t doubt but upon the protestations we shall do you right by bringing you into the House.’ He encouraged Annandale and others of his ilk to hasten to town so that they could set about investigating ‘the irregularities committed by the subaltern ministry there and their dependents.’114 Sunderland’s employment of his interest for candidates not on the government list placed a further strain on relations between the court and Junto. Although the queen forbore to demand Sunderland’s resignation directly, she took the opportunity to remind Marlborough ‘of the promise you made to me when I first took this person into my service, which was that if ever he did anything I did not like, or something to that purpose, you would bring him to… take his leave.’115 As temperatures rose once again between the Junto and the rest of the ministry, Sunderland for once appears to have been counselling moderation. Arthur Maynwaring’s report to the duchess of Marlborough certainly suggested as much: ‘I must do Lord S justice, that in the conversation I had with him going from your grace’s lodgings, he spoke very reasonably and said if the ministers would make the least step, he would answer that his friends should make two.’116 Marlborough’s relations with the Junto remained awkward, though, as he asked the duchess to assure them on his behalf that he would ‘always be in the interest of the Whigs’.117

Sunderland’s interest remained strong. During the summer of 1708 he received petitions from various Scots notables seeking preferment, and Marlborough’s latest victory that summer appeared to promise a continuance of Sunderland’s authority.118 The success was hailed by Hamilton as an event ‘of the greatest advantage to the Whigs’, that would compel Godolphin to ‘mind what [Sunderland] says more than ever’.119 Nevertheless, Sunderland continued to preach accommodation with the duumvirs, insisting to the duchess of Marlborough later that summer that he was ‘of the same mind as Mr Freeman [Marlborough] and Mr Montgomery [Godolphin]. I would go through any difficulties to bring about a good agreement between them and my other friends, but I fear it is not very easy, because they don’t mean the same thing.’120 Sunderland retreated to Althorp at the close of July 1708, having obtained the queen’s permission to be out of town for a month.121 He was forced to excuse himself from joining Newcastle’s party at Welbeck in August, having sprained his foot, for which misfortune he professed himself, ‘extremely concerned at this disappointment for … it would have been of use to have talked together of the present posture of our affairs, which though they are very fortunately and unexpectedly mended abroad … yet seem to grow worse and worse every day at home.’ The question of the new Commons Speaker threatened to create further dissension. Although Sunderland told the duchess of Marlborough that he considered Peter King, (later Baron King), ‘much the fittest man in the House’ he warned that if King should be set up by the court ‘and not in concert with the whole Whig party, we should think ourselves obliged to oppose it.’122 It was with matters thus precariously balanced that the Junto leadership gathered at Althorp later that month. Although Godolphin joined their deliberations no progress was made in the Junto’s demand that their members be admitted to more offices in the administration.123

Sunderland returned to town briefly in mid-August 1708 in time to attend the celebrations for Marlborough’s victory at the battle of Oudenarde and on 5 Sept. he was at Windsor for a meeting of the cabinet.124 In mid-September he appears to have taken the opportunity of a few days of racing at Newmarket, where Henry Boyle wished him ‘good sport’, but by the end of the month he was again at cabinet at Kensington.125 A series of party meetings were held to make preparations for the forthcoming Parliament which had been appointed to meet on 16 November. Early in the second week of October Sunderland joined Coningsby and ‘their city friends’ at Pontacks, while the middle of the month saw another Junto conclave, which was also attended by Godolphin, held at Orford’s retreat at Chippenham.126 Again the Junto demanded places in return for their continued support: Wharton to be lord lieutenant of Ireland and Somers to be lord president. Frustrated at their inability to make any progress, the Junto turned again to their champion, the duchess of Marlborough, appealing that she would come up to town to plead their case for them.127 On 18 Oct. Maynwaring voiced the same appeal, emphasizing Sunderland’s tribulations, ‘who you know is made to catch all the heat that is stirring, which nobody but you can in the least moderate.’ The following day Maynwaring reported how Sunderland, in ‘a very ill temper’, ‘believed there was a management even in the struggle with Mr Harley’ and that he was convinced that the ministers ‘were all alike and that his grace [Somerset] was no better than a dupe of theirs’. Sunderland’s reflections upon Somerset infuriated the ‘Proud Duke’, but he was able to explain his meaning satisfactorily ‘to prevent any danger of murder ensuing’.128

The Parliament of 1708

Conciliatory moves by the queen went some way towards healing these latest divisions.129 The death of her consort, Prince George, towards the end of October 1708 further altered the complexion of affairs. With the queen prostrate with grief, the cabinet ordered the clerks of the council to search into precedents for opening the new Parliament by commission.130 The queen’s loss proved the Junto’s gain when, the following month, Wharton and Somers were finally successful in securing places in the ministry. Sunderland took his seat at the opening of the new Parliament on 16 Nov. after which he was present on almost three quarters of all days in the session. Two days later he was named to the committee for drafting the Address and the following day (19 Nov.) he sent to the lord advocate an order from the House for the clerks of the session to attend the Lords ‘with what papers they have relating to the election of the lords that were chosen to represent the peerage of North Britain’.131 Surprised that the duchess of Marlborough chose this moment to go out of town, Sunderland wrote towards the close of the month to assure her that he had ‘set all engines on work’ and that ‘so much never was owing to anybody as is to you.’132

A meeting of Junto peers and several of their Scots allies convened on 14 Dec. to discuss the mismanagement of the affairs of Scotland, but some of the Scots attending believed that Junto interest was beginning to wane.133 By March 1709 another commentator reported ‘I fear their power is gone and they dare not own it.’134 Sunderland once more complained of poor health, being ‘extremely out of order’ towards the end of 1708.135 The year 1709 began with more disharmony both between individual members of the Junto and between the Junto and their duumvir allies. Unwell and discontented, Sunderland seems to have been at the heart of the unrest. Marlborough commented to his duchess that their son-in-law ‘must be distracted if he can have a thought of hurting or disobliging Lady M[arlborough] and M[arlborough] for the satisfaction of Halifax’, while Godolphin complained that so much of Sunderland’s time was devoted ‘to caballing and Parliament meetings’ that he was unable to get to see him. On another occasion, Marlborough again complained of his son-in-law’s behaviour and how between them Sunderland and Halifax were responsible for swaying Somers’ opinion, ‘for parties are governed much more by passion and violence than by reason.’136

Sunderland resumed his seat after the Christmas recess on 10 Jan. 1709. In advance of the session he was approached by Charles Knollys, self-styled 4th earl of Banbury, who sought Sunderland’s interest with the duke and duchess of Marlborough both to further his claim to a writ of summons to Parliament as earl and to secure him a position in the army.137 It seems unlikely that Sunderland made any great effort on Banbury’s behalf, as Banbury failed to submit his petition to the House for a further three years. Much more of Sunderland’s attention was taken up with consideration of the intelligence concerning the abortive Jacobite invasion of the previous year, which was due to be reported to the House early in the session.138 On 21 Jan. he voted with the majority in opposing the motion to permit Scottish peers in possession of British titles to vote in the election of representative peers, a move directed against Queensberry, who had previously been granted the British dukedom of Dover. He was less successful in his efforts to challenge the return of a number of the recently elected Scots peers on petition, with only William Ker, marquess of Lothian [S], being unseated and replaced with Annandale, whose candidacy Sunderland had previously endorsed. Sunderland laid the papers relating to the Scots invasion before the House at the opening of February.139 On 10 Feb. he presented the bill to reverse the 1691 attainder of Christopher Fleming (formerly 17th Lord Slane [I]), the passage of which had created uproar in the Irish Parliament, and on 7 Mar. he presented a bill for the reversal of Eleanor Bagot’s outlawry.140 He delivered further papers relating to Scotland on 11 Mar. and on 25 Mar. he was among the minority to vote against resuming the House from a committee of the whole considering the Scottish treason bill. According to Bishop Nicolson, Sunderland’s old mentor, Trimnell, since promoted to the episcopate as bishop of Norwich, expressed his exasperation at the outcome of the division, and ‘his lord’s’ (i.e. Sunderland’s) ‘disappointment’.141 On 30 Mar. Sunderland reported from the committee of the whole House concerning the Middlesex register bill, for which he sought a further day’s consideration, and on 2 Apr. he reported the ambassadors’ bill from the committee of the whole.

The death of Ralph Montagu, duke of Montagu, in 1709 resulted in Sunderland becoming involved in settling the affairs both of the lunatic dowager duchess (sister to Sunderland’s first wife), in right of his daughter, Lady Frances Spencer, and of Montagu’s heir, John Montagu, 2nd duke of Montagu, the husband of Lady Mary Churchill, another of Marlborough’s daughters.142 By the beginning of April difficulties had emerged about arrangements for the care of the dowager duchess between Sunderland and his co-guardians, Newcastle and Thomas Tufton, 6th earl of Thanet. The matter was settled for the time being when a draft commission of lunacy of 21 Apr. 1709 conveyed the duchess, then said to be in Montagu’s ‘power’, to the joint keeping of the three trustees.143

The Junto’s determination to secure more places in the administration for its members continued unabated over the prorogation. Maurice Wheeler, writing to Bishop Wake at the end of April of the pretensions of Dean Chetwood of Gloucester for a bishopric, noted that his promotion might be obtained by Sunderland’s means, ‘if the present interest (which is too violently pursued long to hold) should continue’.144 Sunderland and his colleagues turned their attention to procuring a place at the head of the admiralty for Orford, one of only two members of the Junto now lacking a substantial office. His appointment was resisted fiercely by the queen. But relations within the Junto, particularly Sunderland, Somers and Wharton, were becoming increasingly strained. Godolphin reported to Marlborough that Wharton ‘seems to apply himself more to making his court in that country [Ireland] than to please his old friends in this’ and that Sunderland and Somers were consequently ‘not at all shy of showing their dissatisfaction at his conduct.’145 Wharton explained to Sunderland that Godolphin was behind the mischief, the lord treasurer having some informants in Ireland ‘who make it their business to represent my poor endeavours in the worst light they can.’146

Present at cabinet meetings at Windsor and in Whitehall throughout June and July 1709, at the close of the month Sunderland retreated once more to Althorp, where he remained for the whole of August and early September.147 Over the summer the machinations of Harley, Shrewsbury and Richard Savage, 4th Earl Rivers, the last two said to be joined ‘entirely in open dislike of Somers and Sunderland and Wharton’, were presenting an increasing threat to the Junto, prompting renewed efforts to put aside their differences.148 Sunderland’s efforts to mend his fences with Wharton appear to have borne fruit that month, reflected in one of Wharton’s letters in which he said he was ‘sensible of the truth of the proposition your lordship lays down, that we can’t expect to have any reasonable good treatment from others if we don’t stick a little better together than we have done.’149 It was rumoured early in the autumn that both Sunderland and Wharton were to be created Garter knights.150

Sunderland had returned to town from Althorp by 9 September.151 Two days later he was present again at cabinet at Windsor.152 Over the following two months business was dominated by efforts to settle the question of the admiralty and by preparations for the new session.153 Marlborough was encouraged by the prospect of Somers and Sunderland being able to call on Somerset’s followers in Parliament, noting to the duchess that if the two Junto peers ‘can have the power with him to make his mob as you call them to act with their friends, it would very much help the carrying everything in [the House].’ Rumours of Sunderland and Somerset’s developing alliance circulated from the beginning of November and Godolphin remarked how ‘there is nothing new but whispering whenever they meet.’154 The Junto’s efforts to secure Orford the admiralty proved less easy to resolve and generated several weeks of earnest, ill-tempered negotiation. Sunderland confessed to the duchess of Marlborough that the issue ‘does really give me so much uneasiness, that I did hardly sleep a wink last night for thinking of it.’ A few days later he complained to her again of Godolphin’s apparent refusal to rouse himself on Orford’s behalf.155

News that Marlborough was soon to return to England towards the end of October encouraged Sunderland, confident that with the duke on the scene ‘it will not be in the power of the most malicious to give any uneasiness.’156 His renewed optimism appeared to be well founded and at the close of the month the Junto was at last successful in reconciling the queen to the appointment of Orford as head of the admiralty, and Orford to his role as it was prescribed by the ministry.157 But within days the settlement appeared once again to be in jeopardy as Orford refused to give way over the appointment of two members to the admiralty commission. Godolphin reported to the duchess how the efforts of Somers and Sunderland to make Orford ‘yield a little’ had been ‘without the least effect’.158 Sunderland was convinced that Godolphin was the true cause of this latest obstacle and that the objections to the appointment of admirals Sir George Byng, the future Viscount Torrington, and Sir John Jennings proceeded more from the lord treasurer’s ‘pique’ than any sentiment of the queen, a view that was shared by Maynwaring.159 Sunderland introduced his colleague to the queen on 2 Nov. 1709 but wrangling continued for several days more over the appointments to the commission.160 Turning once more to his mother-in-law for her mediation, Sunderland appealed to the duchess to come to London to put pressure on Godolphin to resolve the impasse.161 The result was a compromise. One of Orford’s nominees was admitted grudgingly to the commission, while the other remained in the cold.

It was with this far from satisfactory state of affairs that Sunderland took his seat in the new session on 15 November. Present on over 70 per cent of all sittings, Sunderland again juggled his attendance in the House with responsibilities as secretary. By the end of the year it was plain that he was tired out with the continual struggles between his Junto allies and the court. When Maynwaring on 15 Dec. reported Sunderland’s reaction to a conference between Marlborough, Godolphin and Halifax, he noted that ‘nothing he said was near so bad as it used to be. But to be jealous and distrustful is the first principle of all great politicians.’162 Sunderland resumed his seat following the Christmas recess on 9 Jan. 1710 and six days later he attended the cabinet meeting at St James’s. When the crisis erupted in mid-January 1710 over the queen’s decision to appoint to several military commands against Marlborough’s advice, Sunderland attempted to use Marlborough’s annoyance (he retired to Windsor) to force the queen’s favourite, Abigail Masham, from court. Several conferences involving Sunderland took place at the home of William Cavendish, 2nd duke of Devonshire. On 23 Jan. Maynwaring suggested that Marlborough should sound opinion in both Houses to ‘judge whether 6 [Sunderland] is the only man that is for pushing this matter.’163 Despite Marlborough’s unwillingness to force the issue, Sunderland seems to have remained confident, as he wrote in February, that ‘notwithstanding all difficulties, and disagreeable things, have happened of late, we shall get the better of them all, if we can but entirely cement together Lord Marlborough and the Whigs, which is so necessary and so plain, that it can’t fail.’164

Suffering from a cold at the close of the first week of February 1710, Sunderland’s attention was taken up again with attendance at cabinet over the ensuing few days.165 On 20 Feb. he communicated to William Carstares the recent debates in the House over the arrest of the Scottish Episcopalian, James Greenshields, hoping that the magistrates in Edinburgh would keep him in custody, ‘even though he should continue obstinate in refusing them that satisfaction which they think they may in justice demand.’166 The following day, Sunderland once more gave way to doubt and frustration at the state of the Junto-duumvir alliance. He bemoaned the duke and duchess of Marlborough’s absence from town, complained of Godolphin’s ‘slowness and coldness’ and worried that ‘none of our heads are safe if we can’t get the better of what I am convinced Mrs Morley [the queen] designs’, though he comforted himself that if Godolphin could ‘but be persuaded to act like a man, I am sure our union and strength is too great to be hurt.’167

Sunderland had expressed concern about the inflammatory sermon preached by Dr Henry Sacheverell soon after the address was delivered in November 1709. He and Wharton united to drive through Sacheverell’s impeachment, overruling the doubts of some of their colleagues and casting the Greenshields case firmly into the shade. Sacheverell’s trial before the Lords, which opened on 27 Feb. 1710, created pandemonium in London, coming to a head on the night of 1 Mar. with widespread rioting in the streets, when, for once, Sunderland dithered before being cajoled into action by the queen, who issued the order for her personal bodyguard to be mobilized in spite of Sunderland’s reluctance for them to be deployed. When the senior duty officer, an infantry captain, objected to acting without written orders, Sunderland was forced to satisfy him with his word of honour that written orders would be forthcoming.168 With peace restored to London, the Commons resumed the presentation of the case against Sacheverell and from 10 Mar. the Lords deliberated on the evidence before them. Sunderland spoke in favour of the impeachment during the long debates of 16 Mar., though he does not appear to have distinguished himself by his contribution. Four days later, naturally, he found Sacheverell guilty of high crimes and misdemeanours.169 The following month he continued to wage his campaign against troublesome clerics by writing to William Fleetwood, bishop of St Asaph and Humphrey Humphries, bishop of Hereford, requiring them to prosecute one Mr Cornwall, a Herefordshire clergyman, accused of preaching a ‘very virulent and seditious’ sermon at the assizes at Welshpool.170

Having kept their rivals at court at bay for the previous two years, in April 1710 the Junto leaders found themselves outmanoeuvred with the imposition of Shrewsbury on the ministry as lord chamberlain in place of the ineffectual ‘Bug’, Henry Grey, marquess of Kent, who was compensated with promotion to a dukedom. Although Sunderland expressed himself to be satisfied that Godolphin had had no hand in the alteration he admitted to the duchess of Marlborough that he ‘should have been much better pleased if he had known of it, for as it is, it seems striking at everything’. Nevertheless, he agreed with the lord treasurer’s appraisal of the situation that ‘we must endeavour to weather it as well as we can.’171 Sunderland was then closely involved with the ministry’s efforts to woo Somerset to keep him from drifting into the Shrewsbury-Harley grouping.172 At the end of the month Sunderland wrote to his mother-in-law once again, seeking her assistance in the face of Shrewsbury’s growing influence and hoping that she would rally to the side of her allies to assist in stopping ‘the mouths and the insolent pushing of your enemies against you and all your friends.’ Although he appears to have enjoyed relatively amicable relations with Shrewsbury and was confident that the duke professed no ill intentions towards his colleagues, Sunderland believed that such apparent lack of ambition proceeded ‘from his fearful temper more than his heart.’173

Sunderland was quite correct to be fearful for his own position: had Harley had his way Sunderland would have been put out as early as May 1710. As it was, over the course of the next few weeks Harley worked hard to ingratiate himself with Halifax and Newcastle in order to drive a wedge between them and the other members of the Junto. Although Shrewsbury appears to have suggested that he could ‘live much better’ with Sunderland than with some of his other colleagues and Godolphin attributed Sunderland’s continuance in office to Shrewsbury’s intervention, by the second half of the month talk was rife of Sunderland’s imminent dismissal.174 The pressure seems reflected in Sunderland’s proposal that Orkney, a man he considered weak but essentially well-meaning, might be made a general of foot, ‘which he believed might make the duke of Argyll [John Campbell, 2nd duke of Argyll [S]] shoot himself through the head.’175 Desperation also appears to have induced some of the Junto (Sunderland among them) to attempt, belatedly, to accommodate Harley.176 But if Harley was happy to receive the Whigs’ approaches, it made no difference to his determination to see Sunderland out. At the beginning of June the duchess of Marlborough wrote that ‘the persecution against Sunderland is renewed again, with more violence than ever’, while Sunderland lamented that ‘if either your friends or ours had done their part with spirit, things had not come to this pass.’177 In a draft letter of 5 June 1710 Harley reported inaccurately that Boyle had been sent to Sunderland to take the seals of office from him the previous day. As it was, Harley was not much ahead of himself.178 A desperate last ditch campaign waged by the Marlboroughs on their son-in-law’s behalf failed to deter the queen from proceeding with her plan to put Sunderland out. On 14 June he was dismissed from his place and replaced with William Legge, 2nd Baron (later earl of) Dartmouth. The Post Boy reported disingenuously that he had resigned.179

Opposition and the Parliament of 1710

Sunderland’s dismissal prompted a series of protests. Predictions of the ‘dismal consequences’ that would ensue had been communicated to Devonshire and Newcastle prior to Sunderland’s dismissal by a city deputation headed by Sir Gilbert Heathcote who, after it had happened, waited on the queen to request her not to change her ministry further.180 A missive signed by Godolphin, Somers and six other Whigs on the day of Sunderland’s dismissal asked Marlborough to remain at his post, despite the ‘great mortification this must give you,’ and the ‘ill consequences that must attend such a step both at home and abroad.’181 The duchess of Marlborough, meanwhile, complained to the queen of her mendacity in claiming that this was the only change she intended to make: ‘it is in vain to say that you mean only to remove Lord Sunderland. The rest cannot stay in long after him.’182 While his supporters infuriated the queen with their demands, Sunderland proved more magnanimous in defeat. He was said to have rejected the offer of a pension of £3,000, insisting to the queen that ‘if he was not capable of serving her, he did not deserve such a pension, therefore would not rob the government of so much.’183

Although it was rumoured in mid-July 1710 that Harley had arrived at an accommodation with the remaining Whig ministers, the following month the ministry received a further blow with Godolphin’s removal, an event which, as Sunderland reported to his father-in-law, ‘has perfectly stunned everybody’. He anticipated that in spite of Whig efforts to prevent it, a dissolution would soon follow. By the end of August, though, Sunderland had recovered his nerve and assured Marlborough that ‘if Godolphin and the Whigs do act cordially and vigorously together, without suspicion of one another, which I am sure there is no reason for, it is impossible but everything must come right again.’184 His hopes now rested on a good showing at the polls. Sir Michael Warton informed Harley of twice-weekly meetings being held at Putney bowling green and of evening meetings convened at Sunderland’s and Orford’s residences as the Junto strove to rally their supporters.185 Sunderland was in no doubt of the importance of the contest in hand. Early in September, while recommending Ambrose Pudsey to Newcastle for one of the seats at Clitheroe, Sunderland insisted to the duke that, ‘everybody that wishes well to England ought to exert themselves at this time, for upon the next elections depend the revolution and Protestant succession.’186 Later that month he wrote in similar vein to Cowper: ‘as things now stand I think one had nothing to do but be intent upon elections and upon getting our friends to town early’. He remained confident that ‘as far as one can judge yet by what we hear from all parts, there is no reason to doubt but we shall have a good Parliament and if so, that and our success abroad will save us.’187 A few days before he had hosted a ‘great cabal’ at Althorp at which it was decided to set up Nicholas Breton and Sir Erasmus Norwich, 3rd bt., for the county seats in Northamptonshire. At the beginning of the month, Sunderland had been approached by Wriothesley Russell, 2nd duke of Bedford, to promote among the gentry of the county a navigation scheme for the River Nene.188

In spite of all Sunderland’s preparations, the elections proved a lamentable disappointment for the Whigs. Early optimism for Breton and Norwich rapidly dissipated and in the event the county was carried once more by the sitting members without a contest. In Northampton one newsletter reported how a rich shoemaker had been bound over to appear at the next assizes at the end of September for speaking treasonable language against the queen, among his utterances being an insistence that she should be called to account for turning Sunderland out of office.189 His offence hinted at a spirited election campaign in the town but the result was the usual return of one Whig and one Tory. Warwickshire, where the local Tory gentry had feted Sacheverell on his triumphal progress that summer, proved just as disappointing to the Junto’s hopes with both county seats being carried by Tories.190 The boroughs appeared to offer better prospects. Sunderland was elected recorder of Coventry by the Whig corporation during the summer but when he visited the city in person to offer his backing to Sir Orlando Bridgeman and Edward Hopkins he was met with such a ‘rough and unmannerly’ reception from the Tories there that he was forced to make a rather undignified exit, unprepared to put up with ‘the rude treatment and vile language (not fit to be repeated) of near 800 that pursued his lordship in the streets.’191 The city then followed up the snub by returning two Tories in preference to Sunderland’s candidates in spite of the efforts made by the Whig sheriffs to influence the result.192 More damaging still was the contest at Devizes, where Sunderland and Wharton combined to promote the returns of Paul Methuen and Josiah Diston. The result was a double return, carried on petition for the Tory candidates. A significant factor in their success was the accusation that Sunderland had employed £700 of treasury funds to finance the Whig campaign.193

All these reverses notwithstanding, in advance of the meeting of the new Parliament the duchess of Marlborough passed on a message from Sunderland to Godolphin insisting that everyone turn out for what he still hoped would be a ‘tolerable’ session. Both the duchess and Lady Sunderland thought that he was being overly optimistic, but in the weeks leading up to the opening of Parliament Sunderland was active in attempting to shore up the Whigs’ support base.194 Predictably included by Harley in a list of 3 Oct. 1710 of those expected to oppose the new ministry, Sunderland joined Somers in waiting on Cowper in Lincoln’s Inn Fields on 26 Oct., presumably to concert measures for the session.195 On 6 Nov. he sent to Somers to inform him that Archbishop Tenison desired to see both of them, ‘having something to tell us which he can’t so well write and his lameness not suffering him to come over the water yet.’196

Sunderland took his seat in the new Parliament on 25 Nov. 1710, after which he was present on 88 per cent of all sittings. The session did not prove ‘tolerable’ as he had hoped but was dominated by the new ministry’s investigations into the conduct of the war in the Iberian Peninsula, or, as one commentator put it, ‘the Spanish Inquisition’.197 On 6 Jan. 1711 Montagu Venables Bertie, 2nd earl of Abingdon, reported from the committee investigating the war, requesting that correspondence between Sunderland and Stanhope might be laid before the House. Over the ensuing month, Sunderland’s conduct was the subject of close scrutiny as various items of his official correspondence were pored over and the actions of the allied commanders, Galway, Stanhope and Charles O’Hara, Baron Tyrawley [I] probed.198 On 11 Jan. Sunderland subscribed the protests at the resolutions to reject Galway and Tyrawley’s petitions and that the defeat at Almanza had been the result of their advice. The following day, one of Sunderland’s letters to Galway was read in the House, in response to which Nicholas Leke, 4th earl of Scarsdale, suggested that the idea of an offensive war appeared to have emanated from the cabinet council in spite of advice to the contrary and that this intervention was at the heart of the reversals of the Spanish campaign.199 The House then adjourned into a committee of the whole, during which Henry Somerset, 2nd duke of Beaufort, queried how anyone would approve an offensive war at that juncture, pointedly indicating Sunderland. Sunderland returned that ‘he gave his opinion for an offensive war, because to the best of his understanding, it was the best council that could be followed’, a view that was supported by Marlborough. Sunderland naturally joined in subscribing the protest at the subsequent resolution to censure the ministers for approving the strategy.

Sunderland’s discomfiture continued over the ensuing weeks as Nottingham encouraged Dartmouth to search through the records of the secretary’s office in the hopes of finding evidence with which to prosecute the former incumbent. On 3 Feb. Sunderland subscribed two further protests, first at the resolution to agree with the committee that the ministers’ failure to supply the deficiencies of men voted by Parliament for the war amounted to a neglect of the service and second at the resolution that the two regiments on the Spanish establishment at the time of Almanza were not properly supplied.200 Over the ensuing days, Sunderland continued to struggle against the criticisms heaped upon his management. He signed two more dissents of 8 Feb., one against the decision to retain the phrase ‘and the profusion of vast sums of money given by Parliament’ in the representation to the queen concerning the war in Spain and the other at the representation itself. The following day he acted as one of the tellers on the question of whether to expunge part of the reason for the protest on the state of the war, which was carried by 52 votes to 33. Although Sunderland was the first teller listed he must have been teller for those voting against expunging the text of the protest to which he had subscribed on 3 February.

The virulence of the criticism he faced may help to explain Sunderland’s decision to speak in favour of the House giving a second reading to the place bill at the beginning of February. The bill proposed to bar all but about 50 crown officials from sitting in the Commons and it must have afforded Sunderland some amusement to tease Harley with the prospect of losing a significant cadre of his followers:

The Commons have of late years sent up this bill for form-sake, and only to throw the odium of its being lost on the House of Peers; and therefore your lordships ought at least to give it a second reading, to let the Commons know that if they should send it up once more, the Lords will take them at their word, and pass it.201

In spite of his intervention, the bill was once again thrown out of the Lords without further consideration. At the beginning of March it was rumoured that the Commons were on the point of drawing up impeachment proceedings against Sunderland, Godolphin and Wharton.202 The following month, the Commons, marshalled by members of the October Club, passed a resolution particularly directed at Sunderland, declaring that the men responsible for bringing over the poor Palatines were enemies to Church and State. The session had already experienced ‘great heats’ over the subject and in response the Whig members demanded that a crime of such an order should be the subject of impeachment proceedings. Their brinkmanship paid off and the matter was allowed to drop.203

The political pressure they were under may explain why, towards the end of March 1711, Sunderland, Wharton and Somers were overheard discussing an imminent journey to Scotland, but if this was indeed mooted nothing more was done about it.204 For the ensuing three months, until the second week of June, Sunderland attended the House without interruption. Without the burdens of office to distract him, he supplied the deficiency with activity within the House. On 27 Mar. he received the proxy of Charles Cornwallis, 4th Baron Cornwallis, and on 2 Apr. that of Charles Howard, 3rd earl of Carlisle. Carlisle’s proxy was vacated a fortnight later on 16 Apr. and Cornwallis’s on 7 May. Sunderland received Hervey’s proxy again on 19 Apr. (vacated on 3 May). On 9 May he was nominated one of the managers of the conference for the Bedford highway bill. Three days later he was appointed to manage the conference on the game bill. On 15 May he received Orford’s proxy, which was vacated by the close of the session. He was named to manage two further conferences on the game bill on 17 and 31 May, and also took a prominent role in supporting the passage of the Scots linen bill. The measure, which had been amended in favour of the Irish linen industry by permitting the export of flax and yarn from Scotland to Ireland and the exportation of Irish linen to the plantations for 11 years, was greeted with anger by the Scots. George Baillie suggested to his wife that the support of Sunderland and other Whig peers for the bill indicated that they were ‘weary of the Union’ and both he and John Elphinstone, Lord Balmerinoch [S], made much of Sunderland’s remark in the debate ‘that he would as soon prefer the interest of Ireland to that of any one county in England.’205

Alongside his activities in the House, towards the end of May 1711 Sunderland was also drawn into a dispute provoked by the efforts of John Robinson, bishop of Bristol (later of London), to transfer the presentation of the living of Cleasby in Yorkshire (Robinson’s birthplace) away from its patron and into the hands of the dean and chapter of Ripon. John Gellibrand, who brought the matter to Sunderland’s attention, asked him to get the patron a hearing with Devonshire, lord of the manor and principal landowner in the town, to head off the bishop’s manoeuvrings.206 His efforts appear to have been in vain.207

The prospect of rejecting the ministry’s peace proposals and inflicting a defeat on Oxford (as Harley had since become) led to fevered preparation for the opening of the new session in December 1711. With every vote at stake, Sunderland ensured that he was in possession of the proxies of Lewis Watson, 3rd Baron (later earl of) Rockingham, and Thomas Fane, 6th earl of Westmorland, though in the event Rockingham’s was vacated when he took his seat at the opening on 7 Dec. and Westmorland’s was voided when he resumed his seat three days later. Sunderland also took his seat in the House at the opening of the new session (after which he was present on half of all sittings) and the same day he acted as one of the tellers in a division on whether to put the question on amending the address to include advice that no peace was safe or honourable while Spain remained in Bourbon hands. The division was carried by a single vote. The following day, Sunderland was, predictably enough, assessed as likely to oppose the court in the abortive division initiated by supporters of the ministry in an attempt to overturn the ‘No Peace without Spain’ resolution of the day before. When Arthur Annesley, 5th earl of Anglesey, refused to act as one of the tellers in the proposed division, Sunderland told him that if Anglesey ‘did not do his duty he would do his, and tell without him.’ Proceedings degenerated into farce when, after Abingdon had agreed to tell with Sunderland, ‘they that would not be told hopped and skipped about’ in an effort to confuse the vote. The division was eventually abandoned amid general chaos.208

The remainder of the session proved less comical, but equally passionate and Sunderland continued to take a prominent role as one of the Junto managers. On 13 Dec. he received the proxy of John Colepeper, 3rd Baron Colepeper (which was vacated by the close), and on 19 Dec. he was forecast as being likely to oppose Hamilton’s admission to the House by virtue of his British dukedom of Brandon. Speaking in the House the following day in the debate concerning Hamilton’s patent, he objected to Abingdon’s contention that Queensberry had effectively set a precedent by sitting as duke of Dover, replying that that ‘was a case never decided only connived at for a time.’ He then joined with Wharton in opposing the ministry’s calls for the judges’ opinions to be sought and insisted that the case was a matter of privilege.209 He was then listed as voting in favour of preventing Scots peers with post-Union British titles from sitting in the House.

After a brief recess, the House met again on 2 Jan. 1712 for the introduction of 12 new ministerial peers; the ministry then sought to adjourn the House for another week, until the date to which the House of Commons was adjourned. Peter Wentworth recorded the furious reaction of the Whig peers, including Somers, and Sunderland, who:

rise up in a passion and said he was amazed lords should so call out for the question and not give themselves time to look into their books; nobody likewise had more respect for the queen than he, but anything that was done irregular could never be imputed to the crown but the ministry, and it was of dangerous consequence to let such advice pass without any examination; for who kn[e]w what designs a ministry had to carry on; If this was suffered to pass into a precedent, whenever they found a majority in one house but not in t’other, ’twas but for them to advise to have a command to have that house adjourn’d for a week, a month or for the time that would serve their turn.210

Sunderland’s efforts failed to sway the House. At the close of January 1712 his wife resigned her place as one of the ladies of the queen’s bedchamber.211 Sunderland was said to have opposed the move, ‘having occasion for her salary’, though this objection was overcome by Marlborough undertaking to make up the shortfall.212 The steady erosion of his standing at court made no immediate impact on Sunderland’s continuing prominence in the House. On 25 Jan. 1712 he contributed to the debate in committee of the whole concerning the queen’s message about the Scots peers, recommending that the Scots ‘would do well to propose some remedy for themselves and if it were reasonable he hoped the Parliament would go into it.’ He also suggested that in place of the election of representative peers, the queen should create 16 Scots peers as full members of the House. Two years previously he had floated the idea that the Scots peers should be returned in rotation. His new proposal, an early foreshadowing of the 1719 peerage bill, met with as little support as that was to do and ‘was rejected with scorn’.213 He then acted as one of the tellers on the question whether to resume the House from the committee of the whole, which was rejected by eight votes. Three days later, Sunderland received the proxy of Henry Herbert, 2nd Baron Herbert of Chirbury, which was vacated on 5 April. Acting again as one of the tellers on the question whether to agree to the resolution concerning the duke of Hamilton’s privilege on 8 Feb. (which was carried by 40 votes to 36), on 29 Feb. he was again teller on the motion whether to agree to the amendment to the place bill (which was carried by five votes).

Sunderland registered his own proxy with Montagu on 1 Apr. 1712 after which he was absent from the House for the whole month, according to Townshend, on account of his growing frustration at the futility of the Whigs’ opposition to Oxford. He resumed his seat (thereby vacating the proxy) on 5 May, but attended for just four days before registering his proxy again on 13 May, this time with Bridgwater. Two days later he hosted a meeting attended by several bishops as well as Somers, Townshend and Halifax.214 He resumed his seat on 17 May, but then registered his proxy with Orford the following day and he was thereafter absent once more for the remainder of the session. On 9 June the proxy was transferred to Devonshire (presumably on account of Orford also being absent from the session).

Following the death of Godolphin in August 1712, Sunderland defended Marlborough’s decision to quit the country, but seems to have decided that the best policy for the Whigs for the present was one of studied resignation. Writing to Nottingham in September, he opined that:

as to the present posture of our affairs, they seem to be such that the quieter we are at present the better, for these people have by corruption and one way or other got such a majority in both Houses that till the nation open their eyes, which will never be till the peace is actually made, and proclaimed, and then they will see the villainy and ruin of it though they are at present intoxicated with the expectation of it, till that is, it seems to be running our heads against a wall.

By November, though, he was more hopeful and believed that there were again signs of ‘a great alteration in the minds of the people.’215 With such optimism came renewed activity: at the end of January 1713, he was present at a meeting at Pontacks club along with Somers, Halifax and Orford.216

After a period of enforced inactivity, Sunderland appears to have decided once more to confront Oxford. At the forefront of those intent on ensuring the security of the Hanoverian succession, he aimed to test the ministry with his proposition that Prince George, duke of Cambridge (the future George II) should come over to England even without a parliamentary writ or royal invitation. In the event, the suggestion was rejected by the elector himself, who was unwilling to risk offending the queen.217 In March 1713 Sunderland pointedly refused to attend a dinner hosted by Halifax for members of the previous administration because Oxford had also been invited.218 Having attended the half-dozen prorogations between 13 Jan. and 17 Mar. Sunderland took his seat at the beginning of the new session on 9 Apr. 1713, after which he attended on two-thirds of all sittings. Sunderland was prominent among those unwilling to vote an address of thanks to the queen for the signing of the peace treaty before the House had had an opportunity to peruse the document. Following a long debate, he had to respond to Peterborough’s attack on Marlborough that ‘it was known by everybody that there had been an endeavour to make a captain general for life’. Sunderland attended a further Whig conclave at Lord Somers’ residence on 15 Apr. and the following month he indulged in some ‘repartees’ with Henry St John, Viscount Bolingbroke, over the progress of the peace negotiations. When Bolingbroke suggested that ‘a malicious faction had stirred up every thing to hinder the peace, and when it was made, to run it down’, Sunderland teased him about the clear divisions within the Oxford administration. He pointed out that ‘there might be a faction in a ministry with as much more danger as they had more power in their hands.’219

Sunderland’s apparent willingness to co-operate with the disgruntled Scots peers seeking the dissolution of the Union may simply have been in order to harass the Oxford ministry. The catalyst for the attempt was the Scots’ opposition to the extension of the malt tax, which they considered an unfair imposition on their country and a technical breach of the terms of the treaty. Although Sunderland disappointed some of his Scots allies by joining with Nottingham and Halifax in calling for an adjournment in the debates of 1 June so that the matter of dissolving the Union could be more fully considered, rather than calling immediately for a motion on dissolution, he was hailed by Balmerinoch, with whom he co-operated closely on the issue, as ‘the only honest Whig which I know’, the only one of the Whigs to show clear support for overturning the treaty.220 The resulting division (in which Sunderland acted as one of the tellers) was carried for the government by the narrowest of margins, but the passage of the malt tax still remained in the balance. On 4 June Sunderland waited on Balmerinoch to discuss tactics. He assured Balmerinoch that his friends, ‘would all to a man join us if I would move to delay committing of the bill till Monday 8 [June]’. Although Balmerinoch doubted the wisdom of Sunderland’s plan of campaign, he concurred with it, and on 5 June the motion to commit the bill was delayed for a further three days. When the House resumed consideration of the matter on the 8th, Sunderland engaged in a heated argument with Oxford when the treasurer hinted that the malt tax, once passed, might be remitted. This, Sunderland claimed, suggested that Oxford intended to revive an arbitrary dispensing power. Oxford responded by casting aspersions on Sunderland’s father. Sunderland then riposted that in the days when his father had held sway, Oxford’s family was barely known.221

A general unhappiness in the House at the terms of the peace treaty negotiated by Oxford’s administration offered Sunderland and the Junto their best opportunity for inflicting a series of reverses on the government. Consequently, in June 1713, an alliance of Whigs and Tories in the Commons voted down the bill confirming the eighth and ninth articles of the French commercial treaty and on 30 June Sunderland seconded a motion put forward by Wharton for an address to be presented to the queen requesting that she petition the duke of Lorraine to bar the Pretender from his territories. On 3 July Sunderland moved a subsequent address, expressing surprise that the queen had not been able to do more to limit his freedom of movement.222 Despite the Whigs’ success in the 1713 session, the subsequent elections failed to overturn Oxford’s majority, though Sunderland was able to congratulate Nottingham on the outcome of the contest in Rutland. He told him that ‘upon the whole there are a good many alterations for the better, which one may hope, with the misled ones, who come to their senses at last, will yet save this nation, for nothing but the extravagant majority the court had most part of last Parliament, can possibly support such an administration.’223

The Parliament of 1713 and the Hanoverian succession

Sunderland seems to have taken charge of the 2nd earl of Godolphin’s proxy after both men had taken the oaths on the opening day of the new Parliament on 16 Feb. 1714 (the proxy was vacated 4 March). Sunderland was thereafter present on 78 per cent of all sittings. A few days later, he also received the proxy of Richard Lumley, earl of Scarbrough, which was vacated a little under a month later on 17 March. The proxy of John Sydney, 6th earl of Leicester, which was registered with Sunderland on 8 Mar., was vacated by the close. Sunderland subscribed the dissent at the resolution not to amend the address requesting a proclamation for the discovery of the author of The Public Spirit of the Whigs on 11 March. Six days later he joined with Wharton, Nottingham, Cowper and Halifax in moving that the Protestant succession remained in danger should the Pretender be permitted to remain in Lorraine and on 2 Apr. he again united with Wharton, Cowper and Halifax in demanding that British assurances to the Catalans ought to be honoured.224 Sunderland received Townshend’s proxy on 12 Apr., and appears to have left his own proxy with Nottingham the following day. However, he was listed as present on that day, when he was also recorded as suggesting that an address to the queen implying that fears of the dangers of Jacobitism had been ‘industriously’ spread about the kingdom should be amended to make clear that it had been done ‘not without reason’.225 On 17 Apr. he also received the proxy of Richard Newport, 2nd earl of Bradford (which was vacated on 1 May). Sunderland received Bradford’s proxy again on 3 May (vacated on 2 June). On 27 May he acted as teller on the question whether to commit the malt bill, which was carried by 22 votes to 17. At the end of May or beginning of June he was forecast by Nottingham as being opposed to the schism bill.

Sunderland’s activity in the House was interrupted at the close of May 1714 when his wife, who had previously complained that the Lords kept Sunderland too busy, fell dangerously sick with smallpox.226 He registered his proxy with Orford on 1 June but, presumably satisfied that his wife was out of danger, seems to have returned to the House by 9 June when he supported Halifax’s motion for Dissenters to be allowed their own schools, although he was omitted from the presence list that day.227 The motion was rejected. He registered his proxy again on 10 June with Wharton, which was vacated by his resumption of his seat the following day when he acted as one of the tellers in the division held in committee of the whole on the motion that the committee should be empowered to receive a clause relating to the schism bill. The motion was carried by a margin of one. The same day Sunderland was sent a bill by Samuel Gellibrand: it was expected to be sent up to the Lords on 12 June or shortly afterwards and for which he understood the Scots were to offer amendments, but it is not clear to which bill Gellibrand’s letter referred.228 Three days later (15 June) Sunderland subscribed the protest at the resolution to pass the schism act.

Sunderland was absent again on 24 June but he ensured once more that his proxy was registered, this time with Talbot Yelverton, 2nd Viscount Longueville (later earl of Sussex). He resumed his seat the following day, thereby vacating the proxy. Questioning of the administration over the Spanish commercial treaty led to the queen communicating a message to the House shielding Bolingbroke, a move that provoked Sunderland to remark, ‘if the House was to receive such answers from the crown they were of no use and might walk out and never come in again.’229 Absent once more on 4 July, Sunderland again ensured that his proxy was registered to cover his absence, this time with Godolphin. Having sat for the last time that session on 6 July, he registered the proxy with Godolphin again the following day. It was vacated by the session being brought to a close two days later.

Eager to shore up his relations with the regime-in-waiting, Sunderland was at Baron Bothmer’s house on 30 July 1714 while the queen lay dying. From there he wrote to Nottingham urging him to come up and to persuade all their friends to do likewise.230 The queen’s death on 1 Aug. marked the end of the Junto’s period in the wilderness. Nevertheless its members were initially hampered by the manner in which the succession had been organized. William Berkeley, 4th Baron Berkeley of Stratton, commented how when the names of the lords justices were read out, Sunderland (one of those omitted) blanched to hear who was and who was not included.231 Having attended the House on 1 Aug., Sunderland sat for just three more days of the brief 15-day session. On 2 Aug. he was entrusted with the proxy of William Henry Bentinck, 2nd earl (later duke) of Portland, and on 5 Aug. he reported from the committee appointed to draw up an address to be sent to the king. Absent for the remainder of the session, on 9 Aug. he registered his own proxy with Orford, thereby vacating that of Portland, who resumed his place in the House on 13 August.

Despite his careful cultivation of the new king and his advisers, Sunderland’s unquestioned zeal for the Hanoverian succession proved initially something of a hindrance to his preferment. George was uneasy at Sunderland’s uncompromising attitude but he recognized the need to reward those who had laboured to secure his succession. In September he appointed Sunderland to the lieutenancy of Ireland, though both Oxford and Berkeley of Stratton surmised that Sunderland would have preferred to have been restored to his former office as secretary.232 Although the new king initially appears to have intended to devise a balanced administration, the Jacobite rebellion of 1715 convinced him of the necessity of placing his trust in the Whigs. By that time Sunderland had overcome his new master’s early doubts and over the ensuing five years he came to dominate affairs, holding practically all the great offices of state in that period. Details of this final section of his career, his period in office and apparent consorting with Jacobites at the close of his life, will be examined in full in the second part of this work.233

Sunderland died of pleurisy at his house in Piccadilly on 19 Apr. 1722. His final months had been marked with sorrow. Once more out of office, he had lost first a daughter and then, a few days before his own death, his youngest son, Hon. William Spencer. All three were conveyed to Althorp together for burial. Sunderland was succeeded as 4th earl of Sunderland by his second son by his second marriage, Robert Spencer, Lord Spencer, who at the time of his succession was on tour in Italy.234


  • 1 This biography draws heavily on G.M. Townend, ‘The political career of Charles Spencer, 3rd earl of Sunderland 1695-1722’ (Edinburgh Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1984) and H.L. Snyder, ‘Charles Spencer, 3rd earl of Sunderland, as Secretary of State, 1706-1710’ (Univ. of California Ph.D. thesis, 1963).
  • 2 Kenyon, Sunderland, 239, 241.
  • 3 Kenyon, Sunderland, 267; Add. 75363, Sunderland to Newcastle, 23 Aug. 1694.
  • 4 TNA, PROB 11/592.
  • 5 HMC Portland, iv. 614; Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 634.
  • 6 G.S. Davies, Charterhouse in London, 354-5.
  • 7 Add. 61655, f. 119.
  • 8 Eg. 2721, f. 393; Dasent, History of St James's Square, app. A.
  • 9 Add. 75348.
  • 10 Kenyon, Sunderland, frontispiece, pp. 164-5.
  • 11 Wentworth Pprs. 135.
  • 12 Nicolson London Diaries, 199.
  • 13 HMC Portland, ii. 168.
  • 14 UNL, Portland mss, Pw2 183.
  • 15 Add. 61442, ff. 129-30.
  • 16 Kenyon, Sunderland, 308-9.
  • 17 Add. 61126, f. 9; 61442, ff. 137, 139.
  • 18 Bodl. Carte 228, f. 323.
  • 19 Townend, 18.
  • 20 Add. 61442, f. 3.
  • 21 Holmes, ‘Great Ministry’, 38.
  • 22 Nicolson, London Diaries, 141, 150, 160.
  • 23 Townend, 31; Snyder, 9-10.
  • 24 Add. 61442, ff. 5-6.
  • 25 Nicolson, London Diaries, 194.
  • 26 Add. 61612, f. 47.
  • 27 Add. 61655, ff. 33-34; 61494, ff. 67-68.
  • 28 HMC Rutland, ii. 177.
  • 29 TNA, C104/116, pt. 1.
  • 30 C. Jones, ‘The Parliamentary Organisation of the Whig Junto’, PH, x. 170.
  • 31 Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 371.
  • 32 HMC Lords, n.s. v. 300-1.
  • 33 Add. 70075, newsletter, 21 Dec. 1703.
  • 34 Townend, 36-7.
  • 35 PH, x. 171.
  • 36 PH, x. 172.
  • 37 Add. 70140, R. Harley to E. Harley, 22 Apr. 1704; Bodl. Ballard 6, ff. 93-4; Add. 70075, newsletter, 22 Apr. 1704; Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 416.
  • 38 Add. 61657, ff. 18-19.
  • 39 Add. 61458, ff. 22-3.
  • 40 Add. 61442, f. 14.
  • 41 Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 428.
  • 42 Add. 70075, newsletter, 27 June 1704.
  • 43 Add. 61126, ff. 18-19.
  • 44 Add. 61294, f. 117.
  • 45 Nicolson, London Diaries, 221, 223.
  • 46 Townend, 40.
  • 47 Nicolson, London Diaries, 238, 257.
  • 48 Nicolson, London Diaries, 248.
  • 49 Add. 61496, ff. 82, 85; Speck, Tory and Whig, 7.
  • 50 BL, Verney ms mic. M636/52, Sir T. Cave to R. Verney, 25 Mar. 1705.
  • 51 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 519; Beinecke Lib. OSB mss 1, box 3, folder 162, newsletter, 20 Apr. 1705.
  • 52 HP Commons, 1690-1715, ii. 430-1, 622.
  • 53 Add. 61458, f. 163.
  • 54 Northants. RO, Montagu letterbk. ii. f. 36.
  • 55 Add. 70290, R. Harley to Marlborough, 26 June 1705; Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 566; Add. 28056, ff. 311-14, 321-2.
  • 56 Add. 61443, ff. 5-6.
  • 57 Post Man, 1 Dec. 1705.
  • 58 London Gazette, 31 Dec. 1705; Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 1.
  • 59 Nicolson, London Diaries, 364; G.V. Bennett, ‘Harley, the Godolphin Ministry, and the Bishoprics Crisis’, EHR, lxxxii. 731-2.
  • 60 Cowper Diary, 33.
  • 61 NLS, ms 1032, f. 38.
  • 62 UNL, Portland mss, Pw2 Hy 661.
  • 63 Nicolson, London Diaries, 362.
  • 64 Add. 75348.
  • 65 Nicolson, London Diaries, 381.
  • 66 Add. 61602, ff. 3-4; Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 24; Add. 61589, f. 65.
  • 67 CSP Dom. 1705-6, p. 110; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 519-20.
  • 68 Add. 61101, f. 96; 61443, ff. 9-11.
  • 69 HMC Portland, ii. 195-6.
  • 70 Add. 61118, ff. 6-7.
  • 71 HMC Portland, ii. 196.
  • 72 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 683.
  • 73 Add. 61443, ff. 13-15.
  • 74 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 675.
  • 75 HMC Mar and Kellie, 332-3.
  • 76 Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 112.
  • 77 Snyder, 71; Verney ms mic. M636/53, Sir T. Cave to Visct. Fermanagh, 3 Dec. 1706.
  • 78 Add. 61498, f. 1.
  • 79 Snyder, 135-6.
  • 80 EHR, lxxxii. 736.
  • 81 Nicolson, London Diaries, 415.
  • 82 Add. 61126, ff. 37-38.
  • 83 Snyder, 135.
  • 84 Add. 61126, ff. 68-69.
  • 85 Add. 61126, ff. 39-40, 70, 72; 61596, f. 32; Add. 70277, Harley to Harcourt, 16 May 1707; LPL, ms. 1770, f. 39; Add. 70327, Harley to Mr Chetwynd, 27 May 1707.
  • 86 Add. 61496, f. 90.
  • 87 Add. 61496, f. 94.
  • 88 EHR, lxxxii. 738; HMC Bath, i. 173.
  • 89 Herts. ALS, DE/P/F56, Sunderland to Cowper, 5 Aug. 1707; Add. 61135, f. 7; Add. 61388, f. 137; Add. 61126, ff. 87-88; Add. 61494, ff. 91-92.
  • 90 Add. 61126, ff. 76-78; Christ Church, Oxf. Wake mss 17, f. 174.
  • 91 Add. 61126, ff. 76-78.
  • 92 Addison Letters, 76.
  • 93 HMC Portland, iv. 452-3.
  • 94 Add. 61514, f. 110.
  • 95 Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 225.
  • 96 EHR, lxxxii.740.
  • 97 Add. 61498, ff. 102-3.
  • 98 Nicolson, London Diaries, 46, 439.
  • 99 Add. 70333, minutes, 5 Jan. 1708; Add. 61498, f. 110.
  • 100 Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 255.
  • 101 Nicolson, London Diaries, 448; Beinecke Lib. OSB MSS fc 37, vol. 13, no. xviii, Edwin to Manchester, 6 Feb. 1708.
  • 102 Snyder, 169-70.
  • 103 Add. 61652, ff. 49, 53.
  • 104 Add. 61653, f. 130.
  • 105 HMC Portland, iv. 480-1.
  • 106 Post Man, 1 May 1708; NAS, GD406/1/5482.
  • 107 Add. 61128, f. 9; Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 293-4.
  • 108 Add. 61443, ff. 16-17; Add. 61634, f. 1.
  • 109 Add. 61126, ff. 98, 106.
  • 110 Add. 61628, ff. 80-85, 154-6.
  • 111 Add. 61596, f. 39.
  • 112 Pols. in Age of Anne, 18.
  • 113 Add. 61628, ff. 91-92, 135-7.
  • 114 HMC Johnstone, 123.
  • 115 Add. 61101, ff. 121-2.
  • 116 Add. 61459, ff. 66-67.
  • 117 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1048-9.
  • 118 Add. 61631, ff. 71-72, 75, 77.
  • 119 Add. 61628, ff. 132-4.
  • 120 Add. 61443, ff. 20-21.
  • 121 Add. 61128, ff. 103-5; Add. 61126, ff. 130-1.
  • 122 Add. 61443, ff. 20-21, 155-6.
  • 123 Add. 61128, ff. 140-1.
  • 124 Add. 61596, f. 40; Add. 61499, f. 46.
  • 125 Add. 61608, f. 48; Add. 61499, f. 55.
  • 126 HMC Portland, iv. 508; Add. 61128, ff. 162-3.
  • 127 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1132.
  • 128 Add. 61459, f. 118-23.
  • 129 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1137-8.
  • 130 Add. 61499, f. 63.
  • 131 Add. 61652, f. 101.
  • 132 Add. 61443, f. 23.
  • 133 NLS, mss 14415, ff. 168-9.
  • 134 NAS, GD205/36/6, G. Neville to W. Bennet, 19 Mar. 1709.
  • 135 Add. 61127, f. 32.
  • 136 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1208, 1211, 1217-18.
  • 137 Add. 61589, ff. 167-8.
  • 138 Add. 61129, ff. 3-4.
  • 139 Add. 61129, ff. 24-25.
  • 140 Add. 61624, f. 110; 61634, ff. 73-74.
  • 141 Nicolson, London Diaries, 489.
  • 142 HMC Dartmouth, iii. 147; Add. 61619, ff. 45-46.
  • 143 UNL, Pw2 638.
  • 144 Wake mss 23/194.
  • 145 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1264, 1294-5.
  • 146 Add. 61634, f. 96.
  • 147 Add. 61500, ff. 18-52; 61129, ff. 148, 152; Add. 61653, f. 173.
  • 148 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1327-8.
  • 149 Add. 61634, ff. 157-9.
  • 150 Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 497-8.
  • 151 Add. 61129, f. 187.
  • 152 Add. 61500, f. 54.
  • 153 Add. 61460, ff. 73-78.
  • 154 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1396, 1404.
  • 155 Add. 61443, ff. 27-28, 30-31.
  • 156 Add. 61127, f. 93.
  • 157 Add. 61443, f. 32.
  • 158 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1404.
  • 159 Add. 61460, ff. 101-4.
  • 160 Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 46, f. 157.
  • 161 Add. 61443, ff. 34-37; Add. 61460, f. 101.
  • 162 Add. 61460, ff. 128-9.
  • 163 Ibid. ff. 154-7, 178-81.
  • 164 Add. 61443, f. 40.
  • 165 Ibid. f. 42; Add. 61500, ff. 99-105.
  • 166 Add. 61632, ff. 90-91.
  • 167 Add. 61127, ff. 99-100.
  • 168 Holmes, Trial of Dr Sacheverell, 84, 88-9, 170-1.
  • 169 Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 558; Holmes, Trial of Dr Sacheverell, 216; Add. 15574, ff. 65-68; State Trial of Dr Henry Sacheverell ed. B. Cowan, 72-73, 75, 140, 203.
  • 170 Add. 61610, f. 69; Add. 61652, f. 213.
  • 171 Add. 61443, ff. 46-47.
  • 172 Add. 61461, ff. 3-6.
  • 173 Ibid. ff. 52-53; Add. 61443, ff. 50-51.
  • 174 NLS, ms 7021, f. 215.
  • 175 Add. 61461, ff. 50-51.
  • 176 NLS, ms 1032, ff. 88-89; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1493-4, 1509-10, 1512.
  • 177 Add. 61461, ff. 58-59; Add. 61443, ff. 48-49.
  • 178 Add. 70295, Harley to ?Henry Aldrich, 5 June 1710.
  • 179 Eg. 1705, ff. 111-12; Post Boy, 13 June 1710.
  • 180 HMC Portland, iv. 545; NAS, Eglinton mss, GD3/5/873.
  • 181 Add. 61134, ff. 202-3.
  • 182 Add. 61418, ff. 124-8.
  • 183 Wentworth Pprs. 118.
  • 184 Add. 61127, ff. 109-13.
  • 185 HMC Portland, iv. 590.
  • 186 UNL, Pw2, 228/1.
  • 187 Herts. ALS, DE/P/F56, Sunderland to Cowper, 30 Sept. 1710.
  • 188 Add. 61655, f. 114; HP Commons, 1690-1715, ii. 432.
  • 189 Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 47, ff. 45-46.
  • 190 HP Commons, 1690-1715, ii. 442, 622-3.
  • 191 Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 634; Post Boy, 20 Oct. 1711; Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 47, ff. 53-54.
  • 192 HP Commons, 1690-1715, ii. 630; HMC Portland, iv. 614.
  • 193 Nicolson, London Diaries, 522; HP Commons, 1690-1715, ii. 664.
  • 194 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1649.
  • 195 Cowper Diary, 49.
  • 196 Surr. Hist. Cent., 371/14/E/32.
  • 197 Add. 72495, ff. 41-42.
  • 198 NLI, Inchiquin pprs. ms 45, 306/1.
  • 199 Timberland, ii. 316-29; Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 47, ff. 127-8; Add. 72495, ff. 41-42.
  • 200 Bodl. Clarendon 90, ff. 158-9.
  • 201 Holmes, Pol. Relig. and Soc. 50; Boyer, Anne Hist. 488.
  • 202 NLS, Wodrow pprs. Advocates’ mss, Letters Quarto V, ff. 140-2.
  • 203 NLS, ms 1032, ff. 161-2; Wodrow pprs. Letters Quarto V, f. 189.
  • 204 Add. 72495, ff. 53-4.
  • 205 Haddington mss at Mellerstain, Letters 4, Baillie to his wife, 2 June 1711; Scot Hist. Soc. Misc. XII, p. 136.
  • 206 Add. 61612, f. 173.
  • 207 VCH N. Yorks. i. 158-60.
  • 208 Wentworth Pprs. 222-3; C. Jones, ‘The Division that never was’, PH, ii. 191-202.
  • 209 Wentworth Pprs. 227-8.
  • 210 Wentworth Pprs. 237-41.
  • 211 Add. 22220, ff. 7-8; Evening Post, 29 Jan. 1712.
  • 212 Add. 61432, ff. 84-85.
  • 213 Add. 61460, f. 98; Wodrow pprs. Letters Quarto VI, f. 94; A Pillar of the Constitution ed. C. Jones, 83-86.
  • 214 LPL, ms 1770, f. 120.
  • 215 Leics. RO, Finch mss (DG 7) box 4950, bdle 24, Sunderland to Nottingham, 26 Sept., 12 Nov. 1712.
  • 216 Add. 70213, Dr W. Bramston to Oxford, 26 Jan. 1713.
  • 217 Townend, 177.
  • 218 Verney ms mic. M636/55, R. Palmer to Visct. Fermanagh, 24 Mar. 1713.
  • 219 Add. 22220, ff. 62-3, 67-9; Wentworth Pprs. 328-32.
  • 220 Scot Hist. Soc. Misc. XII, pp. 155-7; NAS, GD 45/14/352/19; Holmes, Pol. Relig. and Soc. 122.
  • 221 Scot Hist. Soc. Misc. XII, pp. 161-2; Timberland, ii. 398.
  • 222 Timberland, ii. 401.
  • 223 Leics. RO, Finch mss (DG7), box 4950, bdle 24, Sunderland to Nottingham, 14 Sept. 1713.
  • 224 Timberland, ii. 408, 411.
  • 225 Wentworth Pprs. 369.
  • 226 Add. 61442, ff. 58-59; Verney ms mic. M636/55, W. Viccars toVisct. Fermanagh, 27 May 1714.
  • 227 Timberland, ii. 427.
  • 228 Add. 61495, f. 77.
  • 229 Townend, 190.
  • 230 Townend, 191.
  • 231 Add. 22220, ff. 119-20; Wentworth Pprs. 409-10.
  • 232 HMC Portland, v. 495; Wentworth Pprs. 421.
  • 233 Beinecke Lib. OSB mss 24, box 1, folder 7, no. 20.
  • 234 Daily Journal, 23, 28 Apr. 1722.