Charles Spencer 3d earl of Sunderland

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Sunderland, Charles Spencer, 3rd earl of (1674–1722). 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, becoming the first Junto leader to attain office under Queen Anne. Impetuous and temperamental, his determination to see Sacheverell impeached cost him the queen's favour in 1710. 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 leadership of the administration 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. He nevertheless retained personal influence with the king, dying suddenly in the midst of the election in 1722.

Andrew Hanham

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