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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Charles Spencer Sunderland, 3d earl of, 1674–1722, English statesman; son of the 2d earl. His marriage (1700) to a daughter of the 1st duke of Marlborough brought him a secretaryship of state (1706), and he was powerful in the Whig junto that controlled affairs from 1708 to 1710. He fell with the Whigs in 1710. After the accession (1714) of George I, he was at first given minor offices, but through intrigue he secured the dismissal of Viscount Townshend and Robert Walpole and became a secretary of state (1717) and first lord of the treasury (1718), sharing leadership with the 1st Earl Stanhope. He was so involved with the development of the South Sea Bubble that its collapse forced him out of office in 1721. He was an important collector of books and manuscripts.