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Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, (26 August 1676 – 18 March 1745; known between 1725 and 1742 as Sir Robert Walpole) was a British statesman and Whig politician who, as
First Lord of the Treasury The first lord of the Treasury is the head of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury exercising the ancient office of Lord High Treasurer in the United Kingdom, and is by convention also the prime minister. This office is not equivalent to t ...
,
Chancellor of the Exchequer The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to chancellor, is a senior minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and head of HM Treasury, His Majesty's Treasury. As one of the four Great Offices of State, the Ch ...
, and Leader of the House of Commons, is generally regarded as the ''
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, whether or not they are officially recognized by laws or other formal norms. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with '' de jure'' ("by l ...
'' first
Prime Minister of Great Britain The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government of the United Kingdom. The prime minister Advice (constitutional law), advises the Monarchy of the United Kingdom, sovereign on the exercise of much of the Royal prerogative ...
. Although the exact dates of Walpole's dominance, dubbed the "Robinocracy", are a matter of scholarly debate, the period 1721–1742 is often used. He dominated the Walpole–Townshend ministry, as well as the subsequent Walpole ministry, and holds the record as the longest-serving British prime minister. W. A. Speck wrote that Walpole's uninterrupted run of 20 years as prime minister "is rightly regarded as one of the major feats of British political history. Explanations are usually offered in terms of his expert handling of the political system after 1720, ndhis unique blending of the surviving powers of the crown with the increasing influence of the Commons". Walpole was a Whig from the
gentry Gentry (from Old French ''genterie'', from ''gentil'', "high-born, noble") are "well-born, genteel and well-bred people" of high social class, especially in the past. Word similar to gentle imple and decentfamilies ''Gentry'', in its widest ...
class who was first elected to Parliament in 1701 and held many senior positions. He was a country squire and looked to country gentlemen for his political base. Historian Frank O'Gorman says his leadership in Parliament reflected his "reasonable and persuasive oratory, his ability to move both the emotions as well as the minds of men, and, above all, his extraordinary self-confidence". Hoppit says Walpole's policies sought moderation, he worked for peace, lower taxes and growing exports and allowed a little more tolerance for Protestant Dissenters. He mostly avoided controversy and high-intensity disputes as his middle way attracted moderates from both the Whig and Tory camps, but his appointment to
Chancellor of the Exchequer The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to chancellor, is a senior minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and head of HM Treasury, His Majesty's Treasury. As one of the four Great Offices of State, the Ch ...
after the South Sea Bubble stock-market crisis drew attention to perceived protection of political allies by Walpole. H. T. Dickinson sums up his historical role by saying that "Walpole was one of the greatest politicians in British history. He played a significant role in sustaining the Whig party, safeguarding the Hanoverian succession, and defending the principles of the
Glorious Revolution The Glorious Revolution; gd, Rèabhlaid Ghlòrmhor; cy, Chwyldro Gogoneddus , also known as the ''Glorieuze Overtocht'' or ''Glorious Crossing'' in the Netherlands, is the sequence of events leading to the deposition of King James II and ...
(1688). He established stable political supremacy for the Whig party and taught succeeding ministers how best to establish an effective working relationship between Crown and Parliament". Some scholars rank him highly among British prime ministers.


Early life

Walpole was born in Houghton, Norfolk, in 1676. One of 19 children, he was the third son and fifth child of
Robert Walpole Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, (26 August 1676 – 18 March 1745; known between 1725 and 1742 as Sir Robert Walpole) was a Kingdom of Great Britain, British statesman and Whigs (British political party), Whig politician who, as First Lor ...
, a member of the local gentry and a Whig politician who represented the borough of Castle Rising in the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In both of these countries, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. T ...
, and his wife Mary Burwell, the daughter and heiress of Sir Geoffrey Burwell of Rougham, Suffolk.
Horatio Walpole, 1st Baron Walpole Horatio Walpole, 1st Baron Walpole "of Wolterton", (8 December 16785 February 1757), English diplomacy, diplomatist, was a younger son of Col. Robert Walpole (1650–1700), Robert Walpole (1650–1700) of Houghton Hall in Norfolk, and was a yo ...
was his younger brother. As a child, Walpole attended a private school at Massingham, Norfolk. Walpole entered
Eton College Eton College () is a Public school (United Kingdom), public school in Eton, Berkshire, England. It was founded in 1440 by Henry VI of England, Henry VI under the name ''Kynge's College of Our Ladye of Eton besyde Windesore'',Nevill, p. 3 ff. i ...
in 1690 where he was a
King's Scholar A King's Scholar is a foundation scholar (elected on the basis of good academic performance and usually qualifying for reduced fees) of one of certain Public school (United Kingdom), public schools. These include Eton College; The King's School ...
. He left Eton on 2 April 1696 and matriculated at
King's College, Cambridge King's College is a List of colleges of the University of Cambridge, constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Formally The King's College of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas in Cambridge, the college lies beside the River Cam and faces ...
on the same day. On 25 May 1698, he left Cambridge after the death of his only remaining elder brother, Edward, so that he could help his father administer the family estate to which he had become the heir. Walpole had planned to become a clergyman but as he was now the eldest surviving son in the family, he abandoned the idea. In November 1700 his father died, and Robert succeeded to inherit the Walpole estate. A paper in his father's handwriting, dated 9 June 1700, shows the family estate in Norfolk and Suffolk to have been nine manors in Norfolk and one in Suffolk.


Early career


Business success

As a young man, Walpole had bought
shares In finance, financial markets, a share is a unit of Equity (finance), equity ownership in the capital stock of a corporation, and can refer to units of mutual funds, limited partnerships, and real estate investment trusts. Share capital refers t ...
in the
South Sea Company The South Sea Company (officially The Governor and Company of the merchants of Great Britain, trading to the South Seas and other parts of America, and for the encouragement of the Fishery) was a British joint-stock company founded in Ja ...
, which monopolised trade with Spain, the Caribbean and South America. The speculative market for slaves, rum and mahogany spawned a frenzy that had ramifications throughout Europe when it collapsed. However, Walpole had bought at the bottom and sold at the top, adding greatly to his inherited wealth and allowing him to create Houghton Hall as seen today.


Political career

Walpole's political career began in January 1701 when he won a seat in the English general election at Castle Rising in Norfolk. He left Castle Rising in 1702 so that he could represent the neighbouring borough of
King's Lynn King's Lynn, known until 1537 as Bishop's Lynn and colloquially as Lynn, is a port and market town in the borough of King's Lynn and West Norfolk in the county of Norfolk, England. It is located north of London, north-east of Peterborough, nor ...
, a
pocket borough A rotten or pocket borough, also known as a nomination borough or proprietorial borough, was a parliamentary borough or Electoral district, constituency in Kingdom of England, England, Kingdom of Great Britain, Great Britain, or the United King ...
that would re-elect him for the remainder of his political career. Voters and politicians nicknamed him "Robin". Like his father, Robert Walpole was a member of the Whig Party. In 1705, Walpole was appointed by Queen Anne to be a member of the council for her husband,
Prince George of Denmark Prince George of Denmark ( da, Jørgen; 2 April 165328 October 1708) was the husband of Anne, Queen of Great Britain. He was the consort of the British monarch from Anne's accession on 8 March 1702 until his death in 1708. The marriage of Georg ...
, Lord High Admiral. After having been singled out in a struggle between the Whigs and the government, Walpole became the intermediary for reconciling the government to the Whig leaders. His abilities were recognised by Lord Godolphin (the Lord High Treasurer and leader of the Cabinet) and he was subsequently appointed to the position of
Secretary at War The Secretary at War was a political position in the Kingdom of England, English and later British government, with some responsibility over the administration and organization of the Army, but not over military policy. The Secretary at War ran ...
in 1708; for a short period of time in 1710 he also simultaneously held the post of Treasurer of the Navy. Despite his personal clout, however, Walpole could not stop Lord Godolphin and the Whigs from pressing for the prosecution of Henry Sacheverell, a minister who preached anti-Whig sermons. The trial was extremely unpopular with much of the country, causing the
Sacheverell riots The Sacheverell riots were a series of outbreaks of public disorder, which spread across England during the spring, summer and autumn of 1710 in which supporters of the Tories (British political party), Tories attacked the homes and meeting-house ...
, and was followed by the downfall of the Duke of Marlborough and the Whig Party in the general election of 1710. The new ministry, under the leadership of the Tory Robert Harley, removed Walpole from his office of Secretary at War but he remained Treasurer of the Navy until 2 January 1711. Harley had first attempted to entice him and then threatened him to join the Tories, but Walpole rejected the offers, instead becoming one of the most outspoken members of the Whig Opposition. He effectively defended Lord Godolphin against Tory attacks in parliamentary debate, as well as in the press. In 1712, Walpole was accused of venality and corruption in the matter of two forage contracts for Scotland. Although it was proven that he had retained none of the money, Walpole was pronounced "guilty of a high breach of trust and notorious corruption". He was impeached by the House of Commons and found guilty by the
House of Lords The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers, is the Bicameralism, upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is by Life peer, appointment, Hereditary peer, heredity or Lords Spiritual, official function. Like the ...
; he was then imprisoned in the
Tower of London The Tower of London, officially His Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, which is separa ...
for six months and expelled from Parliament. While in the Tower he was regarded as a political martyr, and visited by all the Whig leaders. After he was released, Walpole wrote and published anonymous pamphlets attacking the Harley ministry and assisted Sir
Richard Steele Sir Richard Steele (bap. 12 March 1672 – 1 September 1729) was an Anglo-Irish writer, playwright, and politician, remembered as co-founder, with his friend Joseph Addison, of the magazine ''The Spectator (1711), The Spectator''. Early life ...
in crafting political pamphlets. Walpole was re-elected for King's Lynn in 1713.


Stanhope–Sunderland ministry

Queen Anne died in 1714. Under the
Act of Settlement 1701 The Act of Settlement is an Acts of the Parliament of England, Act of the Parliament of England that settled the order of succession, succession to the English Monarchs, English and List of Irish monarchs, Irish crowns to only Protestants, whic ...
, which excluded Roman Catholics from the line of succession, Anne was succeeded by her second cousin, the
Elector of Hanover The Electorate of Hanover (german: Kurfürstentum Hannover or simply ''Kurhannover'') was an Prince-elector, electorate of the Holy Roman Empire, located in northwestern Germany and taking its name from the capital city of Hanover. It was fo ...
, George I. George I distrusted the Tories, who he believed opposed his right to succeed to the Throne. The year of George's accession, 1714, marked the ascendancy of the Whigs who would remain in power for the next fifty years. Robert Walpole became a Privy Councillor and rose to the position of Paymaster of the Forces in a Cabinet nominally led by Lord Halifax, but actually dominated by Lord Townshend (Walpole's brother-in-law) and James Stanhope. Walpole was also appointed chairman of a secret committee formed to investigate the actions of the previous Tory ministry in 1715. Lord Oxford was impeached, and
Lord Bolingbroke Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke (; 16 September 1678 – 12 December 1751) was an English politician, government official and political philosopher. He was a leader of the Tories A Tory () is a person who holds a political phil ...
suffered from an act of attainder. Lord Halifax, the titular head of the administration, died in 1715 and by 1716 Walpole was appointed to the posts of First Commissioner (Lord) of the Treasury and
Chancellor of the Exchequer The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to chancellor, is a senior minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and head of HM Treasury, His Majesty's Treasury. As one of the four Great Offices of State, the Ch ...
. He was a member of the ''Board of General Officers'' established in 1717 to investigate the abuse of pay. Walpole's fellow members, appointed by the
Prince of Wales Prince of Wales ( cy, Tywysog Cymru, ; la, Princeps Cambriae/Walliae) is a title traditionally given to the heir apparent An heir apparent, often shortened to heir, is a person who is first in an order of succession and cannot be displaced ...
, included
William Pulteney, 1st Earl of Bath William Pulteney, 1st Earl of Bath, (22 March 16847 July 1764) was a British Whig politician who sat in the House of Commons of Great Britain, House of Commons from 1707 to 1742, when he was created the first Earl of Bath by George II of Great ...
– Secretary at War, General Lumley, General Erle and Sir Philip Meadowes – Controller of the Army and Knight Marshal of the King's Palace, whose daughter, Mary Meadows, was maid-of-honour to Walpole's friend, Queen Caroline. A keen huntsman, Walpole built for himself Great Lodge (Old Lodge) in
Richmond Park Richmond Park, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, is the largest of Royal Parks of London, London's Royal Parks, and is of national and international importance for wildlife conservation. It was created by Charles I of England, C ...
. Philip Medows, the deputy ranger of the park and son of Walpole's political ally, Sir Philip Meadowes, lived at Great Lodge after Walpole had vacated it. In his new political positions, and encouraged by his advisers, Walpole introduced the
sinking fund A sinking fund is a fund established by an economic entity by setting aside revenue over a period of time to fund a future capital expense, or repayment of a long-term debt. In North America and elsewhere where it is common for public and privat ...
, a device to reduce the national debt. The Cabinet of which he was a member was often divided over most important issues. Normally, Walpole and Lord Townshend were on one side, with Stanhope and Lord Sunderland on the other. Foreign policy was the primary issue of contention; George I was thought to be conducting foreign affairs with the interests of his German territories, rather than those of Great Britain, at heart. The Stanhope–Sunderland faction, however, had the King's support. In 1716 Townshend had been removed from the important post of Northern Secretary and put in the lesser office of
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (), or more formally Lieutenant General and General Governor of Ireland, was the title of the chief governor of Ireland from the Williamite Wars of 1690 in Ireland, 1690 until the Partition of Ireland in 1922. This sp ...
. Even this change did not appease Stanhope and Sunderland, who secured the dismissal of Townshend from the Lord-Lieutenancy in April 1717. On the next day, Walpole resigned from the Cabinet to join the Opposition "because I could not connive at some things that were carrying on", and by joining the opposition he did not intend "to make the king uneasy or to embarrass his affairs." This began the Whig Split, dividing the dominant party for three years. In the new Cabinet, Sunderland and Stanhope (who was created an Earl) were the effective heads. Walpole reversed his earlier support for the Impeachment of Robert Harley, the former first minister, and joined with the Tory opposition in securing an acquittal in July 1717. Soon after Walpole's resignation, a bitter family quarrel between the King and the
Prince of Wales Prince of Wales ( cy, Tywysog Cymru, ; la, Princeps Cambriae/Walliae) is a title traditionally given to the heir apparent An heir apparent, often shortened to heir, is a person who is first in an order of succession and cannot be displaced ...
split the Royal Family. Walpole and others who opposed the Government often congregated at Leicester House, the home of the Prince of Wales, to form political plans. Walpole also became an adviser and close friend of the Prince of Wales's wife, Caroline. In 1720 he improved his position by bringing about a reconciliation between the Prince of Wales and the King. Walpole continued to be an influential figure in the House of Commons. He was especially active in opposing one of the Government's more significant proposals, the Peerage Bill, which would have limited the power of the monarch to create new
peerage A peerage is a legal system historically comprising various hereditary titles (and sometimes Life peer, non-hereditary titles) in a number of countries, and composed of assorted Imperial, royal and noble ranks, noble ranks. Peerages include: Aus ...
s. Walpole brought about a temporary abandonment of the bill in 1719 and the outright rejection of the bill by the House of Commons. This defeat led Lord Stanhope and Lord Sunderland to reconcile with their opponents; Walpole returned as Paymaster of the Forces and Townshend was appointed Lord President of the Council. By accepting the position of Paymaster, however, Walpole lost the favour of the Prince of Wales (the future King George II), who still harboured disdain for his father's Government.


Rise to power and decline

Soon after Walpole returned to the Cabinet, Britain was swept by a wave of over-enthusiastic speculation which led to the
South Sea Bubble South is one of the cardinal directions or Points of the compass, compass points. The direction is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to both east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earlier Pro ...
. The Government had established a plan whereby the South Sea Company would assume the national debt of Great Britain in exchange for lucrative bonds. It was widely believed that the company would eventually reap an enormous profit through international trade in cloth, agricultural goods, and
slaves Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave—someone forbidden to quit one's service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as property. Slavery typically involves slaves being made to perf ...
. Many in the country, including Walpole himself (who sold at the top of the market and made 1,000 per cent profit), frenziedly invested in the company. By the latter part of 1720, however, the company had begun to collapse as the price of its shares plunged. In 1721 a committee investigated the scandal, finding that there was corruption on the part of many in the Cabinet. Among those implicated were
John Aislabie John Aislabie or Aslabie (; 4 December 167018 June 1742), of Studley Royal, near Ripon, Yorkshire, was a British politician who sat in the English House of Commons, English and House of Commons of Great Britain, British House of Commons from 169 ...
(the Chancellor of the Exchequer), James Craggs the Elder (the
Postmaster General A Postmaster General, in Anglosphere countries, is the chief executive officer of the postal service of that country, a Ministry (government department), ministerial office responsible for overseeing all other postmasters. The practice of having ...
), James Craggs the Younger (the Southern Secretary), and even Lords Stanhope and Sunderland (the heads of the Ministry). Both Craggs the Elder and Craggs the Younger died in disgrace; the remainder were impeached for their corruption. Aislabie was found guilty and imprisoned, but the personal influence of Walpole saved both Stanhope and Sunderland. For his role in preventing these individuals and others from being punished, Walpole gained the nickname of "The Screen", or "Screenmaster-General". The resignation of Sunderland and the death of Stanhope in 1721 left Walpole as the most important figure in the administration. On 3 April 1721 he was appointed First Lord of the Treasury, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Leader of the House of Commons. Walpole's ''de facto'' tenure as "prime minister" is often dated to his appointment as First Lord of the Treasury in 1721, though he himself rejected that title (it was originally a term of abuse), stating in 1741: "I unequivocally deny that I am sole and prime minister." His brother-in-law Lord Townshend served as Secretary of State for the Northern Department and controlled the nation's foreign affairs. The two also had to contend with the Secretary of State for the Southern Department,
Lord Carteret John Carteret, 2nd Earl Granville, 7th Seigneur of Sark, (; 22 April 16902 January 1763), commonly known by his earlier title Lord Carteret, was a Kingdom of Great Britain, British statesman and Lord President of the Council from 1751 to 1763; ...
. Townshend and Walpole were thus restored to power and "annihilated the opposing faction".


Premiership under George I

Under the guidance of Walpole,
Parliament In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, electorate, making laws, and overseeing ...
attempted to deal with the financial crisis brought on by the
South Sea Bubble South is one of the cardinal directions or Points of the compass, compass points. The direction is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to both east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earlier Pro ...
. The estates of the directors of the
South Sea Company The South Sea Company (officially The Governor and Company of the merchants of Great Britain, trading to the South Seas and other parts of America, and for the encouragement of the Fishery) was a British joint-stock company founded in Ja ...
were used to relieve the suffering of the victims, and the stock of the company was divided between the
Bank of England The Bank of England is the central bank of the United Kingdom and the model on which most modern central banks have been based. Established in 1694 to act as the Kingdom of England, English Government's banker, and still one of the bankers fo ...
and
East India Company The East India Company (EIC) was an English, and later British, joint-stock company founded in 1600 and dissolved in 1874. It was formed to Indian Ocean trade, trade in the Indian Ocean region, initially with the East Indies (the Indian subco ...
. The crisis had gravely damaged the credibility of the King and of the Whig Party, but Walpole defended both with skilful oratory in the House of Commons. Walpole's first year as prime minister was also marked by the discovery of a plot formed by Francis Atterbury, the
bishop of Rochester The Bishop of Rochester is the Ordinary (officer), ordinary of the Church of England's Diocese of Rochester in the Province of Canterbury. The town of Rochester, Kent, Rochester has the bishop's seat, at the Rochester Cathedral, Cathedral Chur ...
. The exposure of the scheme crushed the hopes of the Jacobites whose previous attempts at rebellion (most notably the risings of 1715 and 1719) had also failed. The Tory Party was equally unfortunate even though Lord Bolingbroke, a Tory leader who fled to France to avoid punishment for his Jacobite sympathies, was permitted to return to Britain in 1723. During the remainder of George I's reign, Walpole's ascendancy continued; the political power of the monarch was gradually diminishing and that of his ministers gradually increasing. In 1724 the primary political rival of Walpole and Townshend in the Cabinet, Lord Carteret, was dismissed from the post of Southern Secretary and once again appointed to the lesser office of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. In Ireland, Lord Carteret used his power to secretly aid in the controversy over Wood's Halfpence and support '' Drapier's Letters'' behind the scenes and cause harm to Walpole's power. Walpole was able to recover from these events by removing the patent. However, Irish sentiment was situated against the English control. Townshend, working with the king, helped keep Great Britain at peace, especially by negotiating a treaty with France and
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian: ''Prūsa'' or ''Prūsija'' was a Germans, German state on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. It formed the German Empire under Prussian rule when it united the German states in 1871. It was ''de facto'' dissolved ...
in 1725. Walpole was not consulted and stated that Townshend was "too precipitate" in his actions. Great Britain, free from Jacobite threats, from war, and from financial crises, grew prosperous, and Robert Walpole acquired the favour of George I. In 1725 he persuaded the king to revive the Knighthood of the Bath and was himself invested with the order, and in 1726 was made a
Knight of the Garter The Most Noble Order of the Garter is an order of chivalry founded by Edward III of England Edward III (13 November 1312 – 21 June 1377), also known as Edward of Windsor before his accession, was King of England and Lord of Ireland ...
, earning him the nickname "Sir Bluestring". His eldest son was granted a barony.


Premiership under George II

Walpole's position was threatened in 1727 when George I died and was succeeded by George II. For a few days it seemed that Walpole would be dismissed but, on the advice of Queen Caroline, the King agreed to keep him in office. Although the King disliked Townshend, he retained him as well. Over the next years Walpole continued to share power with Townshend but the two clashed over British foreign affairs, especially over policy regarding
Austria The Republic of Austria, commonly just Austria, , bar, Östareich is a country in the southern part of Central Europe, lying in the Eastern Alps. It is a federation of nine States of Austria, states, one of which is the capital, Vienna, ...
. Gradually Walpole became the clearly dominant partner in government. His colleague retired on 15 May 1730 and this date is sometimes given as the beginning of Walpole's unofficial tenure as prime minister. Townshend's departure enabled Walpole to conclude the Treaty of Vienna, creating the Anglo-Austrian alliance.


Opposition

Walpole, a polarising figure, had many opponents, the most important of whom were in the Country Party, such as Lord Bolingbroke (who had been his political enemy since the days of Queen Anne) and William Pulteney (a capable Whig statesman who felt snubbed when Walpole failed to include him in the Cabinet). Bolingbroke and Pulteney ran a periodical called ''The Craftsman'' in which they incessantly denounced the Prime Minister's policies. Walpole was also satirised and parodied extensively; he was often compared to the criminal Jonathan Wild as, for example,
John Gay John Gay (30 June 1685 – 4 December 1732) was an English poet and dramatist and member of the Scriblerus Club. He is best remembered for ''The Beggar's Opera'' (1728), a ballad opera. The characters, including Captain Macheath and Polly Peach ...
did in his farcical '' Beggar's Opera''. Walpole's other enemies included
Jonathan Swift Jonathan Swift (30 November 1667 – 19 October 1745) was an Anglo-Irish Satire, satirist, author, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for the Whig (British political party), Whigs, then for the Tories (British political party), Tories), poe ...
,
Alexander Pope Alexander Pope (21 May 1688 Old Style and New Style dates, O.S. – 30 May 1744) was an English poet, translator, and satirist of the Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment era who is considered one of the most prominent English poets of the earl ...
,
Henry Fielding Henry Fielding (22 April 1707 – 8 October 1754) was an English novelist, irony writer, and dramatist known for earthy humour and satire. His comic novel ''The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, Tom Jones'' is still widely appreciated. He and ...
, and
Samuel Johnson Samuel Johnson (18 September 1709  – 13 December 1784), often called Dr Johnson, was an English writer who made lasting contributions as a poet, playwright, essayist, moralist, literary criticism, critic, biographer, editor and lexicogra ...
.


Support

Walpole secured the support of the people and of the House of Commons with a policy of avoiding war. He used his influence to prevent George II from entering the
War of the Polish Succession The War of the Polish Succession ( pl, Wojna o sukcesję polską; 1733–35) was a major European conflict sparked by a Polish civil war over the succession to Augustus II of Poland, which the other regional power, European powers widened in p ...
in 1733, because it was a dispute between the Bourbons and the Habsburgs. He boasted, "There are 50,000 men slain in Europe this year, and not one Englishman." By avoiding wars, Walpole could lower taxes. He reduced the national debt with a sinking fund, and by negotiating lower interest rates. He reduced the land tax from four shillings in 1721, to 3s in 1728, 2s in 1731 and finally to only 1s in 1732. His long-term goal was to replace the land tax, which was paid by the local gentry, with excise and customs taxes, which were paid by merchants and ultimately by consumers. Walpole joked that the landed gentry resembled hogs, which squealed loudly whenever anyone laid hands on him. By contrast, he said, merchants were like sheep, and yielded their wool without complaint. The joke backfired in 1733 when he was defeated in a major battle to impose
excise taxes file:Lincoln Beer Stamp 1871.JPG, upright=1.2, 1871 U.S. Revenue stamp for 1/6 barrel of beer. Brewers would receive the stamp sheets, cut them into individual stamps, cancel them, and paste them over the Bunghole, bung of the beer barrel so when ...
on wine and tobacco. To reduce the threat of smuggling, the tax was to be collected not at ports but at warehouses. This new proposal, however, was extremely unpopular and aroused the opposition of the nation's merchants. Walpole agreed to withdraw the bill before Parliament voted on it, but he dismissed the politicians who had dared to oppose it in the first place. Thus, Walpole lost a considerable element of his Whig Party to the Opposition. After the general elections of 1734, Walpole's supporters still formed a majority in the House of Commons although they were less numerous than before. He maintained both his parliamentary supremacy and his popularity in
Norfolk Norfolk () is a ceremonial county, ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in East Anglia in England. It borders Lincolnshire to the north-west, Cambridgeshire to the west and south-west, and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern bounda ...
, his home county. In May 1734, he presented a new silver mace "weighing 168 ounces, gilt and finely exchased, to the city of Norwich – on the cup part of it are Sir Robert's arms, and the arms of the city; it was first carried before Mayor Philip Meadows Esq. on the 29th of May". However, despite these great occasions, Walpole's broader popularity had begun to wane. In 1736 an increase in the tax on gin inspired riots in London. The even more serious Porteous riots broke out in Edinburgh after the King pardoned a captain of the guard (John Porteous) who had commanded his troops to shoot a group of protesters. Though these events diminished Walpole's popularity, they failed to shake his majority in Parliament. Walpole's domination over the House of Commons was highlighted by the ease with which he secured the rejection of Sir John Barnard's plan to reduce the interest on the national debt. Walpole was also able to persuade Parliament to pass the Licensing Act of 1737 under which London theatres were regulated. The Act revealed a disdain for Swift, Pope, Fielding, and other literary figures who had attacked his government in their works. While the " country party" attacked Walpole relentlessly, he subsidised writers and lesser-known journalists such as William Arnall and Bishop Benjamin Hoadly as well as two men he named to the role of
poet laureate A poet laureate (plural: poets laureate) is a poet officially appointed by a government or conferring institution, typically expected to compose poems for special events and occasions. Albertino Mussato of Padua and Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) ...
, Laurence Eusden and
Colley Cibber Colley Cibber (6 November 1671 – 11 December 1757) was an English actor-manager, playwright and Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, Poet Laureate. His colourful memoir ''Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber'' (1740) describes his life in a p ...
. They defended Walpole from the charge of evil political corruption by arguing that corruption is the universal human condition. Furthermore, they argued, political divisiveness was also universal and inevitable because of selfish passions that were integral to human nature. Arnall argued that government must be strong enough to control conflict, and in that regard, Walpole was quite successful. This style of "court" political rhetoric continued through the 18th century.


Decline

The year 1737 saw the death of Walpole's close friend Queen Caroline. Though her death did not end his personal influence with George II, who had grown loyal to the Prime Minister during the preceding years, Walpole's domination of government continued to decline. His opponents acquired a vocal leader in the
Prince of Wales Prince of Wales ( cy, Tywysog Cymru, ; la, Princeps Cambriae/Walliae) is a title traditionally given to the heir apparent An heir apparent, often shortened to heir, is a person who is first in an order of succession and cannot be displaced ...
who was estranged from his father, the King. Several young politicians including
William Pitt the Elder William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, (15 November 170811 May 1778) was a British statesman of the British Whig Party, Whig group who served as Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1766 to 1768. Historians call him Chatham or William Pitt the El ...
and George Grenville formed a faction known as the " Patriot Boys" and joined the Prince of Wales in opposition. Walpole's failure to maintain a policy of avoiding military conflict eventually led to his fall from power. Under the Treaty of Seville (1729), Great Britain agreed not to trade with the Spanish colonies in North America. Spain claimed the right to board and search British vessels to ensure compliance with this provision. Disputes, however, broke out over trade with the
West Indies The West Indies is a Subregion#North America, subregion of North America, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea that includes 13 independent island country, island countries and 18 dependent territory, ...
. Walpole attempted to prevent war but was opposed by the King, the House of Commons, and by a faction in his own Cabinet. In 1739 Walpole abandoned all efforts to stop the conflict and commenced the
War of Jenkins' Ear The War of Jenkins' Ear, or , was a conflict lasting from 1739 to 1748 between Kingdom of Great Britain, Britain and the Spanish Empire. The majority of the fighting took place in Viceroyalty of New Granada, New Granada and the Caribbean Sea, w ...
(so called because Robert Jenkins, a Welsh mariner, claimed that a Spaniard inspecting his vessel had severed his ear). Walpole's influence continued to dramatically decline even after the war began. In the 1741 general election his supporters secured an increase in votes in constituencies that were decided by mass electorates but failed to win in many pocket boroughs (constituencies subject to the informal but strong influence of patrons). In general, the government made gains in England and
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the ...
but this was not enough to overturn the reverses of the 1734 election and further losses in
Cornwall Cornwall (; kw, Kernow ) is a Historic counties of England, historic county and Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county in South West England. It is recognised as one of the Celtic nations, and is the homeland of the Cornish people ...
where many constituencies were obedient to the will of the Prince of Wales (who was also
Duke of Cornwall Duke of Cornwall is a title in the Peerage of England, traditionally held by the eldest son of the reigning Monarchy of the United Kingdom, British monarch, previously the English monarch. The duchy of Cornwall was the first duchy created in Engla ...
). These constituencies returned members of parliament hostile to the Prime Minister. Similarly, the influence of the Duke of Argyll secured the election of members opposed to Walpole in some parts of Scotland. Walpole's new majority was difficult to determine because of the uncertain loyalties of many new members, but contemporaries and historians estimated it as low as fourteen to eighteen. In the new Parliament, many Whigs thought the ageing Prime Minister incapable of leading the military campaign. Moreover, his majority was not as strong as it had formerly been, his detractors—such as William Pulteney, earl of Bath, and Lord Perceval—being approximately as numerous as his supporters. Behind these political enemies were opposition Whigs, Tories and Jacobites. Walpole was alleged to have presided over an immense increase in corruption and to have enriched himself enormously whilst in office. Parliamentary committees were formed to investigate these charges. In 1742 when the House of Commons was prepared to determine the validity of a by-election in
Chippenham Chippenham is a market town in northwest Wiltshire, England. It lies northeast of Bath, Somerset, Bath, west of London, and is near the Cotswolds Area of Natural Beauty. The town was established on a crossing of the River Avon, Bristol, River ...
, Walpole and others agreed to treat the issue as a
motion of no confidence A motion of no confidence, also variously called a vote of no confidence, no-confidence motion, motion of confidence, or vote of confidence, is a statement or vote about whether a person in a position of responsibility like in government or mana ...
. As Walpole was defeated on the vote, he agreed to resign from the Government. The news of the naval disaster against Spain in the
Battle of Cartagena de Indias The Battle of Cartagena de Indias ( es, Sitio de Cartagena de Indias, lit=Siege of Cartagena de Indias) took place during the 1739 to 1748 War of Jenkins' Ear between Spanish Empire, Spain and Kingdom of Great Britain, Britain. The result of lo ...
also prompted the end of his political career. King George II wept on his resignation and begged to see him frequently. As part of his resignation the King agreed to elevate him to the House of Lords as the Earl of Orford, Viscount Walpole and
Baron Walpole Baron Walpole of Walpole in the County of Norfolk, is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. Since 1797 holders also hold the title of Baron Walpole of Wolterton. Past holders have also held the titles Baron Walpole of Houghton in the Count ...
of Houghton in the County of Norfolk, this occurred on 6 February 1742. Five days later he formally relinquished the seals of office. Although no longer First Lord of the Treasury, Walpole remained politically involved as an advisor. His former colleagues were still pleased to see him, perhaps in part because he retained the king's favour. After his resignation, his main political roles were to support the government by means of advice, to dole out some patronage and to speak on the ministry's behalf in the Lords.


Later life

Lord Orford was succeeded as prime minister by
Lord Wilmington Spencer Compton, 1st Earl of Wilmington, (2 July 1743) was a British Whig statesman who served continuously in government from 1715 until his death. He sat in the House of Commons of England, English and British House of Commons between 1698 a ...
in an administration whose true head was
Lord Carteret John Carteret, 2nd Earl Granville, 7th Seigneur of Sark, (; 22 April 16902 January 1763), commonly known by his earlier title Lord Carteret, was a Kingdom of Great Britain, British statesman and Lord President of the Council from 1751 to 1763; ...
. A committee was created to inquire into Walpole's ministry but no substantial evidence of wrongdoing or corruption was discovered. Though no longer a member of the Cabinet, Orford continued to maintain personal influence with George II and was often dubbed the "Minister behind the Curtain" for this advice and influence. In 1744 he managed to secure the dismissal of Carteret and the appointment of
Henry Pelham Henry Pelham (25 September 1694 – 6 March 1754) was a British Whig statesman who served as 3rd Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1743 until his death in 1754. He was the younger brother of Thomas Pelh ...
whom he regarded as a political protégé. He advised Pelham to make use of his seat in the Commons to serve as a bridge between the King and Parliament, just as Walpole had done. During this time, Walpole also made two interventions in the Lords. The first was in January 1744 in the debate on Hanoverian troops being kept in British pay. Walpole prevented them from losing the troops. In his second intervention, Walpole, with fear of a Jacobite-inspired invasion in February 1744, made a speech on the situation. Frederick, Prince of Wales, usually hostile to Walpole, warmly received him at his court the next day, most likely because his father's throne, and the future of the whole Hanoverian dynasty, was at risk from the Stuart Pretender. Along with his political interests in his last years, Walpole enjoyed the pleasures of the hunt. Back at his recently rebuilt country seat in Houghton, Norfolk, such pastimes were denied him due to "dismal weather". He also enjoyed the beauties of the countryside. His art collection gave him particular pleasure. He had spent much money in the 1720s and 1730s in building up a collection of Old Masters from all over Europe. Walpole also concerned himself with estate matters. His health, never good, deteriorated rapidly toward the end of 1744. Walpole died in London on 18 March 1745 from a bladder stone, aged 68 years, and was buried at the Church of St Martin at Tours on the Haughton estate. His earldom passed to his eldest son Robert who was in turn succeeded by his only son George. Upon the death of the third Earl, the earldom was inherited by the first Earl's younger son
Horace Walpole Horatio Walpole (), 4th Earl of Orford (24 September 1717 – 2 March 1797), better known as Horace Walpole, was an English writer, art historian, man of letters, antiquarian, and Whigs (British political party), Whig politician. He had Strawb ...
, who is now remembered for his many thousands of insightful letters, published in 48 volumes by
Yale University Press Yale University Press is the university press of Yale University. It was founded in 1908 by George Parmly Day, and became an official Academic department, department of Yale University in 1961, but it remains financially and operationally autonomo ...
. The title died with him in 1797.


Legacy

Walpole exercised a tremendous influence on the politics of his day. The Tories became a minor insignificant faction, and the Whigs became a dominant and largely unopposed party. His influence on the development of the uncodified constitution of Great Britain was less momentous even though he is regarded as Great Britain's first prime minister. He relied primarily on the favour of the King, rather than the support of the House of Commons. His power stemmed from his personal influence instead of the influence of his office. Most of his immediate successors were, comparatively speaking, extremely weak. It would take several decades more for the premiership to develop into the most powerful and most important office in the country. Walpole's strategy of keeping Great Britain at peace contributed greatly to the country's prosperity. Walpole also managed to secure the position of the Hanoverian Dynasty, and effectively countervailed Jacobitism. The Jacobite threat ended, soon after Walpole's term ended, with the defeat of the rebellion of 1745. Later in the century, the Whig MP
Edmund Burke Edmund Burke (; 12 January ew Style, NS1729 – 9 July 1797) was an Anglo-Irish people, Anglo-Irish Politician, statesman, economist, and philosopher. Born in Dublin, Burke served as a member of Parliament (MP) between 1766 and 1794 in the ...
"admitted him into the whig pantheon". Burke wrote: Lord Chesterfield expressed scepticism as to whether "an impartial Character of Sr Robert Walpole, will or can be transmitted to Posterity, for he governed this Kingdom so long that the various passions of Mankind mingled, and in a manner incorporated themselves, with every thing that was said or writt concerning him. Never was Man more flattered nor more abused, and his long power, was probably the chief cause of both". Chesterfield claimed he was "much acquainted with him both in his publick and his private life":
10 Downing Street 10 Downing Street in London, also known colloquially in the United Kingdom as Number 10, is the official residence and executive office of the First Lord of the Treasury, first lord of the treasury, usually, by convention, the Prime Minister of ...
represents another part of Walpole's legacy. George II offered this home to Walpole as a personal gift in 1732, but Walpole accepted it only as the official residence of the First Lord of the Treasury, taking up his residence there on 22 September 1735. His immediate successors did not always reside in Number 10 (preferring their larger private residences) but the home has nevertheless become established as the official residence of the prime minister (in his or her capacity as First Lord of the Treasury). Walpole has attracted attention from heterodox economists as a pioneer of protectionist policies, in the form of tariffs and subsidies to woollen manufacturers. As a result, the industry became Britain's primary export, enabling the country to import the raw materials and food that fueled the industrial revolution. Walpole is immortalised in St Stephen's Hall, where he and other notable Parliamentarians look on at visitors to Parliament. Walpole built Houghton Hall in Norfolk as his country seat. He also left behind a collection of art which he had assembled during his career. His grandson, the 3rd Earl of Orford, sold many of the works in this collection to the Russian Empress
Catherine II Catherine II (born Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst; 2 May 172917 November 1796), most commonly known as Catherine the Great, was the reigning empress of Russia from 1762 to 1796. She came to power following the overthrow of her husband, Peter III of Rus ...
in 1779. This collection—then regarded as one of the finest in Europe—now lies in the State Hermitage Museum in
Saint Petersburg Saint Petersburg ( rus, links=no, Санкт-Петербург, a=Ru-Sankt Peterburg Leningrad Petrograd Piter.ogg, r=Sankt-Peterburg, p=ˈsankt pʲɪtʲɪrˈburk), formerly known as Petrograd (1914–1924) and later Leningrad (1924–1991), i ...
, Russia. In 2013 the Hermitage loaned the collection to Houghton for display following the original William Kent hanging plan, recently discovered at Houghton. The nursery rhyme " Who Killed Cock Robin?" may allude to the fall of Walpole, who carried the popular nickname "Cock Robin". (Contemporaries satirized the Walpole regime as the "Robinocracy" or as the "Robinarchy"). Various locations are named after Walpole including: Walpole Street in
Wolverhampton Wolverhampton () is a city A city is a human settlement of notable size.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition ...
, England; and the towns of Walpole, Massachusetts (founded in 1724), and Orford, New Hampshire (incorporated in 1761) in the United States.


Marriages and issue


Catherine Shorter

On 30 July 1700, Walpole married Catherine Shorter (1682-1737), the eldest daughter and co-heiress of John Shorter of Bybrook in
Ashford, Kent Ashford is a town in the county of Kent, England. It lies on the River Stour, Kent, River Great Stour at the southern or Escarpment, scarp edge of the North Downs, about southeast of central London and northwest of Folkestone by road. In the ...
(the son of Sir John Shorter (1625–1688), Lord Mayor of London) by his wife Elizabeth Philipps (born c. 1664), a daughter of Sir Erasmus Philipps, 3rd Baronet. She was described as "a woman of exquisite beauty and accomplished manners". Her £20,000 dowry was, according to Walpole's brother Horatio Walpole, spent on the wedding, christenings and jewels. Her sister and co-heiress Charlotte Shorter married (as his third wife) Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Baron Conway (1679-1731/2), by whom she was the mother of
Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Marquess of Hertford Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Marquess of Hertford, Order of the Garter, KG, Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, PC, Privy Council of Ireland, PC (Ire) (5 July 1718 – 14 June 1794) of Ragley Hall, Arrow, Warwickshire, Arrow, in Warwic ...
(1718–1794). Sir John Shorter (c.1625-1688), Lord Mayor of London, married Isabel Birkhead, a sister of Edward Birkhead (d.1662) of Richmond House, Twickenham, Serjeant-at-Arms in the House of Commons in 1648, a Quaker Magistrate and the principal landowner in the parish of Twickenham. Catherine's youngest son Horace later built Strawberry Hill House on land purchased by him at Twickenham. Catherine Shorter died on 20 August 1737 and was buried at Houghton, with a monument in the south aisle of the King Henry VII Chapel,
Westminster Abbey Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, is an historic, mainly Gothic architecture, Gothic Church (building), church in the City of Westminster, London, England, just to the west of the Palace of ...
, erected by her son Horatio, in the form of a life-size white marble statue, a copy by Filippo della Valle of a Roman statue of
Livia Livia Drusilla (30 January 59 BC – 28 September AD 29) was a Roman empress from 27 BC to AD 14 as the wife of Roman emperor, Emperor Augustus Caesar. She was known as Julia Augusta after her formal Adoption in ancient Rome, adoption into the J ...
(or '' Pudicitia'') in the Villa Mattei in Rome. On the plinth sculpted by John Michael Rysbrack is the following inscription written by Horace:
:To the memory of Catherine Lady Walpole, eldest daughter of John Shorter, Esqr. of Bybrook in Kent and first wife of Sir Robert Walpole, afterwards Earl of Orford, Horace her youngest son consecrates this monument. She had beauty and wit without vice or vanity, and cultivated the Arts without affectation. She was devout, tho' without bigotry to any sect, and was without prejudice to any party tho' the wife of a minister, whose power she esteemed but when she could employ it to benefit the miserable or to reward the meritorious. She loved a private life, tho' born to shine in public; and was an ornament to courts, untainted by them. She died Aug. 20 1737.
By Catherine Shorter he had two daughters and three sons: * Robert Walpole, 2nd Earl of Orford, eldest son and heir, who in 1724 married Margaret Rolle (17 January 1709 – 13 January 1781), later ''
suo jure ''Suo jure'' is a Latin phrase, used in English to mean 'in his own right' or 'in her own right'. In most nobility-related contexts, it means 'in her own right', since in those situations the phrase is normally used of women; in practice, especi ...
'' 15th Baroness Clinton. They had one son George Walpole, 3rd Earl of Orford and 16th Baron Clinton (1730–1791), who left no legitimate children and died insane. *Katherine Walpole, who died unmarried and without issue; *Mary Walpole, who on 14 September 1723 married George Cholmondeley, 3rd Earl of Cholmondeley. They had sons and daughters and the Houghton Estate eventually became the inheritance of the Cholmondeley family. She died at
Aix-en-Provence Aix-en-Provence (, , ; oc, label= Provençal, Ais de Provença in classical norm, or in Mistralian norm, ; la, Aquae Sextiae), or simply Aix ( medieval Occitan: ''Aics''), is a city A city is a human settlement of notable size.Goodall, B ...
in 1731, and was buried at Malpas, Cheshire. * Edward Walpole, who died unmarried but had four illegitimate children by his mistress Dorothy Clement: **Edward, born in 1737, died in 1771 without issue; **Laura, the eldest daughter, who married Bishop Frederick Keppel; ** Maria Walpole (d. 1807) (Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh), the second daughter, who married firstly James Waldegrave, 2nd Earl Waldegrave and secondly Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh the brother of King
King George III George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 173829 January 1820) was King of Great Britain and of Monarchy of Ireland, Ireland from 25 October 1760 until Acts of Union 1800, the union of the two kingdoms on 1 January 1801, after which he was ...
. **Charlotte, the youngest daughter, who married
Lionel Tollemache, 5th Earl of Dysart Lionel Tollemache, 5th Earl of Dysart (6 August 1734 – 20 February 1799) was a Scottish nobleman, styled Lord Huntingtower from birth until his succession to the Dysart earldom in 1770. Lord Huntingtower received no settlement from his father ...
. * Horatio Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford (24 September 1717 – 2 March 1797), of Strawberry Hill House, Twickenham, youngest son, the diarist known to history as "Horace Walpole". He became the 4th and last Earl of Orford on his nephew's death in 1791, and died unmarried and without issue.


Maria Skerritt

Prior to the death of his first wife Walpole took on a mistress, Maria Skerittt (d.1738), a fashionable socialite of wit and beauty, with an independent fortune of £30,000, the daughter and sole heiress of Thomas Skerittt (d.1738) (''aliter'' Skerret, Skeritt, etc), a wealthy Irish merchant living in Dover Street, Mayfair, London. They had been living together openly in
Richmond Park Richmond Park, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, is the largest of Royal Parks of London, London's Royal Parks, and is of national and international importance for wildlife conservation. It was created by Charles I of England, C ...
and Houghton Hall since before 1728, and married at some time before March 1738. She died on 4 June 1739 following a miscarriage. Walpole considered her "indispensable to his happiness", and her loss plunged him into a "deplorable and comfortless condition", which led to a severe illness. By Maria Skerritt he had one daughter, born before the marriage, but subsequently legitimated: *Maria Walpole, who after her legitimation acquired the style of the daughter of an earl, as Lady Maria Walpole. In 1746 she married Colonel Charles Churchill (1720–1812) of Chalfont, an illegitimate son of General Charles Churchill, and became the king's housekeeper at
Windsor Castle Windsor Castle is a List of British royal residences, royal residence at Windsor, Berkshire, Windsor in the English county of Berkshire. It is strongly associated with the Kingdom of England, English and succeeding British royal family, and ...
. By Charles Churchill she had daughters including: **Sophia Churchill, who married her relative Horatio Walpole, 2nd Earl of Orford (1752-1822), of the second creation of that earldom, the son of
Horatio Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford Horatio Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford (12 June 1723 – 24 February 1809)L. G. Pine, The New Extinct Peerage 1884-1971: Containing Extinct, Abeyant, Dormant and Suspended Peerages With Genealogies and Arms (London, U.K.: Heraldry Today, 1972), page ...
, son of Horatio Walpole, 1st Baron Walpole of Wolterton, 9th brother of Prime Minister Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford. **Mary Churchill, who on 10 May 1777 became the second wife of Charles Cadogan, 1st Earl Cadogan (1728-1807), and had issue, before being divorced in 1796 by her husband for "criminal conversation" with Rev. Mr. Cooper.Cokayne, G. E. & Gibbs, Vicary, eds. (1912). The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, extant, extinct or dormant (Bass to Canning). 2 (2nd ed.). London: The St. Catherine Press, p.462, "Earl Cadogan", note (b)


See also

* Baron Delamere *
List of prime ministers of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the principal minister of the crown of His Majesty's Government, and the head of the British Cabinet. There is no specific date for when the office of prime minister first appeared, as the role was no ...
*
Marquess of Cholmondeley Marquess of Cholmondeley ( ) is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1815 for George Cholmondeley, 1st Marquess of Cholmondeley, George Cholmondeley, 4th Earl of Cholmondeley. History The Cholmondeley family desce ...


Notes


References


Sources

* * *. * * Hoppit, Julian. ''A Land of Liberty? England 1689–1727'' (2000) * cover "Robin's Reign". * Leadam, Isaac Saunders. ''Sir Robert Walpole – A Short Biography'' (1899) 60p
online
* * O'Gorman, Frank. ''The Long Eighteenth Century: British Political and Social History 1688–1832'' (1997) * Speck, W.A. '' Stability and Strife: England 1714–1760'' (1977) * *


Further reading

* * Blick, Andrew, and George Jones. ''At Power's Elbow: Aides to the Prime Minister from Robert Walpole to David Cameron'' (Biteback Publishing, 2013) * Dickinson, Harry T. (1972) "Walpole and his critics," ''History Today'' (3 June 1972), Vol. 22 Issue 6, pp 410–419 online. * * * Hartop, Christopher (2014), ''Sir Robert Walpole's Silver'', London: Silver Society, * * Holmes, Geoffrey, and Daniel Szechi. ''The age of oligarchy: pre-industrial Britain 1722-1783'' (1993
excerpt
"The Age of Walpole" pp 3–88 * Marshall, Dorothy. ''Eighteenth Century England, 1714–1784'' (2nd ed. 1974), pp 101–191, political narrative * * Plumb, J. H. "Sir Robert Walpole" ''History Today'' (Oct 1951) 1#10 pp 9–16 *; the standard scholarly biography; vol. 1: ''Sir Robert Walpole: The Making of a Statesman'' (1956) to 1722; vol 2: ''Sir Robert Walpole, The King's Minister'' (1960) ends in 1734; vol 3 was never finished; 1972 reprint combined vol 1 and vol 2 as ''Sir Robert Walpole'' * * * Williams, Basil. ''The Whig Supremacy 1714–1760'' (1939; 2nd ed. 1962
online edition
pp 180–212; covers his ministry 1721–42 * Williams, Basil. "The Foreign Policy of England under Walpole" ''English Historical Review'' 15#58 (Apr. 1900), pp. 251–27
in JSTOR
**"The Foreign Policy of England under Walpole (Continued)" ''English Historical Review'' 15#59 (July 1900), pp. 479–49
in JSTOR
** "The Foreign Policy of England under Walpole (Continued)" ''English Historical Review'' 59#60 (Oct. 1900), pp. 665–69
in JSTOR
** "The Foreign Policy of England under Walpole" ''English Historical Review'' 16#61 (Jan. 1901), pp. 67–8
in JSTOR
** "The Foreign Policy of England under Walpole (Continued)" ''English Historical Review'' 16#62 (Apr. 1901), pp. 308–32
in JSTOR
** "The Foreign Policy of England under Walpole (Continued)" ''English Historical Review'' 16#53 (July 1901), pp. 439–45
in JSTOR


Primary sources

* Coxe, William. ''Memoirs of the Life and Administration of Sir Robert Walpole, Earl of Orford'' (3 vol 1800
online


External links


Robert Walpole's biography on the UK history of government blog

Houghton Hall

Cholmondeley Castle

Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford
at the National Portrait Gallery, London
Ancestors of Robert Walpole
{{DEFAULTSORT:Walpole, Robert 1676 births 1745 deaths 18th-century heads of government Alumni of King's College, Cambridge British and English royal favourites British MPs 1707–1708 British MPs 1708–1710 British MPs 1710–1713 British MPs 1713–1715 British MPs 1715–1722 British MPs 1722–1727 British MPs 1727–1734 British MPs 1734–1741 British MPs 1741–1747 Chancellors of the Exchequer of Great Britain Orford, Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of English art collectors English MPs 1701 English MPs 1701–1702 English MPs 1702–1705 English MPs 1705–1707 English politicians convicted of crimes Expelled members of the Parliament of Great Britain Freemasons of the Premier Grand Lodge of England Knights Companion of the Order of the Bath Knights of the Garter Leaders of the House of Commons of Great Britain Members of the Kit-Kat Club Members of the Parliament of Great Britain for English constituencies Members of the Privy Council of Great Britain MPs for rotten boroughs Paymasters of the Forces Peers of Great Britain created by George II People educated at Eton College People from Castle Rising People from Houghton, Norfolk Prime Ministers of Great Britain Prisoners in the Tower of London Residents of Thatched House Lodge Residents of White Lodge, Richmond Park Richmond Park
Robert The name Robert is an ancient Germanic given name, from Proto-Germanic Proto-Germanic (abbreviated PGmc; also called Common Germanic) is the linguistic reconstruction, reconstructed proto-language of the Germanic languages, Germanic ...
War Office Whig (British political party) MPs Lords of the Admiralty Earls of Orford