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3rd earl of Sunderland, Charles Spencer


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Whig politician. Son of the 2nd earl, he entered Parliament in 1695 and shone as a gifted Whig spokesman. His marriage in 1700 to a daughter of the Marlboroughs enhanced his political connections, and it was to the duchess and Lord Treasurer Godolphin that he owed his appointment as secretary of state (southern department) in 1706. Much to his mortification he was given only token office at George I's accession, and intrigued against the effective leaders Walpole and Townshend until in 1717 he replaced the latter as secretary of state (northern). In 1718 he became 1st lord of the Treasury and shared the lead with Stanhope. His scheme for reducing the national debt led to the South Sea bubble in 1720, the fall‐out from which forced him to surrender the premiership to Walpole in 1721. Nevertheless he retained personal influence with the king, dying suddenly in 1722.

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