III. The Second Whig Opposition, 1722-42

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer

When the news of the reconstruction of the ministry on a Townshend-Walpole-Sunderland basis was released in February 1721, it was

said with great confidence that though Sunderland is forced to submit to these things, yet he will have his party in the ministry, which he is now endeavouring to set up, by making, if he can prevail upon him to accept, Carleton president, and to make another secretary of state in whom he can confide. But the other party say he has no power.1

Sunderland’s superior interest at court, which had so far enabled him to ‘remove from one office to another, still retaining the character and influence of prime minister’,2 was sufficient to procure the appointment of his supporters, Lords Carleton and Carteret, to the posts of lord president and secretary of state, vacated by Townshend’s promotion and Craggs’s death a few days later. But it did not save him from mortifying defeats in matters relating to Walpole’s province, the House of Commons,3 or prevent Walpole, as head of the Treasury, from using government money and patronage to bring his own supporters into Parliament when a new one was called on 13 Mar. 1722.4

On 31 Mar., when the returns of all the English boroughs, except those in Cornwall, were in, the Duke of Newcastle reported to Sunderland that

all the elections, where I have any concern, both in north and south, except those for the counties of Sussex and Nottingham, are now over ... All our boroughs in Nottinghamshire have gone as we wished, though the contest at Nottingham was stronger than I could have imagined ... Of the twenty-eight Members for the county of Sussex, we have but three we can properly call Tories.

Asking Sunderland ‘to acquaint the King with the success of our endeavours for his service’, he hoped in a week or ten days to wait upon ‘you at your country seat in Piccadilly’.5 Less than three weeks later Sunderland’s death from pleurisy on 19 Apr. left Townshend and Walpole masters of the field.

The returns of the counties, Wales, Cornwall, and Scotland, most of which came in during April, did not materially change the size of the majority already obtained by the Whigs in the English boroughs. In the counties the Tories gained three seats; in Wales there was no change; in the venal Cornish boroughs the Whigs won 37 out of 44 seats, a gain of five; another six were gained in Scotland, where the contest was not between Whigs and Tories but between two rival Whig factions, one headed by the Duke of Argyll and his brother, Lord Ilay, the other, known as the Squadrone, headed by the Duke of Roxburghe. A Jacobite thus describes the conduct of the elections in Scotland:

Very few of the King’s [i.e. the Pretender’s] friends would stand candidates amongst the Commons, and the truth on’t is we thought it of no great importance, knowing well that few or none of them would be returned, though elected by ever so great a majority. And it happened that the sheriffs made what returns they pleased, even of the Whigs. Such as were in the Crown’s nomination returned those the ministry recommended, and those that were hereditary, as they stood severally affected to the Argyll or Squadrone faction; so that in a manner the sheriffs and not the barons or burgesses made choice of the greatest part of the Scots Members that went to the House of Commons,

whom he elsewhere refers to as ‘a parcel of people of low fortunes, that could not subsist without their board wages (which at ten guineas a week during each session was duly paid them) or mere tools and dependents’.6 The Squadrone were defeated by the Duke of Argyll, who secured

very near the whole Scots in the House of Commons, and all of them in the House of Lords, except Montrose, Roxburghe, Tweeddale, and Rothes ... Those of the Scots in the House of Commons that are not Argyll’s men act as individuals, and but a very few by Roxburghe’s interest.7

The general election resulted in the return of 379 Whigs to 178 Tories, a Whig gain of 38 over the results of the 1715 election. 154 contests, 35 more than in 1715, produced the record number of 99 petitions, only 24 of which were heard, resulting in the replacement of nine Tories by Whigs, who gained one more on a double return. Thus after petitions the new House of Commons consisted of 389 Whigs and 169 Tories, a government majority of 220.

The first session of the new Parliament opened on 9 Oct. 1722, three months earlier than the usual time under Walpole, owing to the discovery of the Atterbury plot, on information supplied by the Duke of Orleans, the Regent of France. Onslow, who took part in the parliamentary prosecutions of the conspirators, describes the handling of this affair:

When this intimation was given from the Regent (who it was said did it on condition that no one should die for it) the difficulty of getting to the bottom and fixing the evidence of it still remained, but when that was effected, in a great measure by Mr. Walpole’s dexterity, who had the chief part in unravelling this dark mystery, the prosecution was as difficult to manage as the other, from the want in most of the cases of legal proofs to convict the criminals at law, and from the necessity not to let them go without some degree of punishment that might be a security to the Government against the like attempts for the future, and worthy of the notice the Government had taken of this. This he also undertook and carried through in Parliament with great skill and clearness and made it serve another purpose too he always aimed at, the uniting of the Whigs against the Tories as Jacobites, which all of them gave too much handle for on this and many other occasions, and making therefore combinations between them and any body of Whigs to be impracticable; and it had that effect for some time.

Onslow adds that ‘the Whigs almost universally fell in with the prosecutions and made the greatest disproportion in the numbers upon the divisions in the House of Commons I ever knew there’.8 The bills of pains and penalties against Atterbury and his agents were carried by an average of 264 to 102.

After the end of this session, George Baillie, the only member of Sunderland’s Treasury board who had kept his place under Walpole, wrote, 10 July 1723:

Walpole doubtless has secret enemies, who envy him and would be ready on occasion to join with others against him, but besides his parts he carries the bag, has provided for all that went out with him last, has the recommending to the most valuable posts, as well as to a multitude of small ones that all depend upon the revenue. These make his interest so strong that he has nothing to apprehend, unless it be from the too great majority of Whigs in Parliament, for it is impossible to satisfy them all, and the discontented may join with the Tories who are pretty numerous in the House of Commons.9

This forecast was borne out in April 1725, when William Pulteney, having been passed over for the office of secretary of state, ‘set himself at the head of the opposition to the Court, and meditated nothing but the ruin of Sir Robert Walpole, to whose account he placed the irremissible sin of putting the Duke of Newcastle into that employment he had pretended to’.10

An occasion for opposition was presented to Pulteney in September 1725, when Europe was brought to the brink of a general war by the treaty of Hanover, an Anglo-French alliance, negotiated by Townshend, to preserve the balance of power against an Austro-Spanish alliance concluded earlier that year. On 29 Nov. 1725 Walpole reported to Townshend in Hanover that ‘the Pulteneys’, that is William and his cousin, Daniel, who had accompanied him into opposition,

build great hopes upon the difficulties they promise themselves will arise from the foreign affairs, and especially from the Hanover treaty. I had a curiosity to open some of their letters and find them full of this language. The last foreign mail brought a letter from Count Stahremberg [the Emperor’s ambassador at London] to William Pulteney giving him great expectations of the materials he should furnish him with, when it might be done with safety, and very strong in general terms upon what is transacting with you. Daniel fills all his inland correspondence with reflections of the same kind, and gives all their fools great hopes of doing wonders; their only two topics are the civil list and the Hanover treaty; but I cannot learn they have gained a man but righteous Sir Joseph [Jekyll].11

On the Address at the opening of the next session, 20 Jan. 1726, Pulteney spoke ‘not to oppose it, only to show in what a sad condition we were in to go to war, for though peace had been so long, yet not one shilling of the debt was paid, that we owed 50 million’.12 He followed this up with a motion by Daniel Pulteney, 9 Feb., for an inquiry into the national debt, which was rejected by 262 to 89, the Tories being ‘generally with the minority ... but not many Whigs’.13 In a debate on the treaty, 17 Feb., ‘the anti-courtiers’, as they called themselves, took the line that ‘it was not prudent to break with the Emperor and Spain in in order to aggrandize France and that it would draw us into a war to support his Majesty’s foreign dominions, which was against the Act of Succession’, but a motion assuring the King that the House would stand by him if Hanover were attacked was carried by 285 to 107. In a debate on a vote of credit, 25 Mar., to enable the King to engage additional seamen and promote such alliances as he thought fit, which was carried by 270 to 89, it was insinuated that Pulteney

by correspondence had assured the Germans that the treaty of Hanover with France and Prussia would never go down with the House of Commons, which was one reason the Emperor gave us the trouble of this day’s debate, and that the minister that made it would be fallen upon as well as another minister [Walpole], as he was called, for embezzling the public money.

At the opening of the next session, 17 Jan. 1727, Pulteney and the Tory leaders moved for the omission from the Address of words desiring the King ‘to put the kingdom in a posture of defence’ against the threat of an invasion to restore the house of Stuart.

They all owned their zeal and readiness to keep out the Pretender but doubted the fact of the invasion and thought it [a] gloss of the ministers in the Speech to draw people into a greater expense, and that those words justified the conduct of the ministers and tended to a vote of credit ... The whole debate on one side [i.e. the government] ran of the ingratitude of the Emperor and the danger of quarrelling with Spain and the taking away our India trade [by the Ostend Company], on the other side [the opposition] the uncertainty of the friendship of France.

The Address was carried by 251 to 85, Sir Edward Knatchbull, though still a Tory, voting in the majority, ‘being fully convinced of the danger we were in, and if we receded we were outdone, though we were but in a very bad condition to go on’. On 25 Jan. a motion for increasing the army from 16,000 to 26,000 men was carried by 250 to 85.

The argument against it was that we were in a sufficient posture of defence, that we had increased the seamen 10,000, and that an increase of land forces was unnecessary, especially since it was owned by Sir Robert Walpole in the debate the first day that the design of sending the Pretender here was known long before the Hanover treaty, and that was but last year, when the King, not the ministry, demanded no more troops than were the year before, and since the addition was thought unnecessary even then, when the design was known, it was unnecessary now, and might be made use of to the oppression of our country and danger of our liberties.

Two days later the committee of ways and means agreed by 190 to 81 to double the land tax, causing Knatchbull to observe ‘so we have a standing army and four shillings in the pound’. On 6 and 7 Feb. opposition Whig motions for papers relating to the restitution of Gibraltar and the sending of a squadron to the Baltic were defeated by 204 to 97 and 196 to 99. A motion by Pulteney, 21 Feb., repeating a demand, which had already been refused, for a detailed account of a sum of £125,000 spent on secret service under last year’s vote of credit, was rejected by 235 to 110, Knatchbull going out before the division,

not knowing which way to vote, for as a further inquiry would have been of ill consequence and must have been a sort of remonstrance to the Crown at that ticklish juncture, so I thought the not having an account of that money would be so bad a precedent that any ministry hereafter might by a vote of credit get a larger sum in their power to dispose of without account and might be applied to any purpose whatsoever if no account was to be rendered of it.

A vote of censure on Walpole moved by one of Pulteney’s followers, Sir John Rushout, 7 Mar., was disposed of by putting the question for the orders of the day, which was carried by 248 to 124, Knatchbull and several other Tories voting with the majority, seeing ‘plainly there was nothing warranted by the evidence to justify the personal question’. On 13 Mar., an address condemning a memorial attacking the Government, published by the imperial minister in London, was carried nem. con., after the House had shown itself against a Tory proposal, supported by Pulteney, that the King should be asked to supply facts showing the allegations of the memorial to be false. The only other important divisions of this session, on another vote of credit, 12 Apr., and on a proposal to balance the budget from the sinking fund, 26 Apr., were carried by 229 to 109 and 207 to 89. After the rising of Parliament, 15 May, Walpole’s brother, Horace, thus summed up the proceedings of the late session:

All questions were carried by a great majority, and with a good will on the part of the Whigs, who have been in a manner unanimous, excepting some few, but very few, not amounting to ten at most, who followed Mr. Pulteney, who has had no success in his opposition and got no other reputation than that of endeavouring to sacrifice the public good to his own private resentment.14

The death of George I brought little comfort to Pulteney, who emerged from the ensuing general election with a following of only 15, including himself and Daniel Pulteney, in a House consisting of 424 Whigs and 130 Tories, four seats being vacant owing to double returns, which were decided in favour of three Whigs and a Tory. 114 contests, 40 less than in 1722, produced 61 petitions, 24 of which were heard, resulting in a Whig gain of three seats, so that the new House of Commons consisted of 415 ministerial supporters, 15 opposition Whigs, and 128 Tories, a government majority of 272, the largest since George I’s accession.

By the end of the first session of the new Parliament, during which the opposition vote averaged only 87, the Emperor and Spain had agreed to the preliminaries of a general peace treaty, leaving all outstanding questions to be settled by a congress at Soissons. But at the opening of the next session, 21 Jan. 1729, the King’s Speech stated that, as no reply had so far been received from Vienna and Madrid to proposals for a provisional treaty, the fate of Europe was still in suspense. Nevertheless, an address promising continued support for the Government’s foreign policy was carried by 249 to 87, only Tories voting against it;15 on 31 Jan. estimates for the same number of troops as before were carried without a division, after a debate showing that ‘the opposers were disunited’; on 5 Feb. an opposition motion casting doubt on the fidelity of France as an ally was rejected by 235 to 80, a majority so considerable that the chiefs of the Tories, Sir William Wyndham and Sir John Hynde Cotton, went out of town, and it was thought that the session would be short, since all opposition was ineffectual. Outside Parliament, however, the economic consequences of the treaty of Hanover had given rise to

a prodigious clamour against Sir Robert, particularly in the City. Trade, they say, was never known at so low an ebb; the exchange against us everywhere, 6 or 7 per cent, except to Portugal; and ’tis computed by some eminent merchants that we every week send fifty thousand pounds in specie out of the kingdom. As a proof of this, the payment of the Hessian troops comes to £11,000 more this year than it did the last by the difference of the exchange; and if something is not done in a very short time our credit, they say, will be gone, and the nation drained of money.

In spite of the increased cost, the re-engagement of the 12,000 Hessians was carried on 7 Feb. by 298 to 91. On 14 Feb. a proposal to balance the budget by taking £1,200,000 out of the sinking fund was approved by 257 to 90, but a week later, 21 Feb., on a merchants’ petition asking for redress against the depredations committed on them by the Spaniards in the West Indies, the Opposition gained 38 votes, including that of Sir George Savile, one of the Whig knights of the shire for Yorkshire.

The division was upon a complaint the merchants have made to the House upon account of the loss of their ships; and the question was whether it should be heard by a committee of the whole House or a private [i.e. a select] committee.16

The object of the ministry was to prevent the House from ordering reprisals, which would have prejudiced the prospects of making peace. In this they were successful, at the cost of seeing the opposition vote rise from its previous highest level of 91 to 129, 133, and 145 in successive divisions, in the last of which the government majority fell to 35 (180 to 145). The sudden deterioration of the parliamentary situation is reflected in a message sent by Townshend, with the approval of the King, to Cardinal Fleury, the head of the French Government, on 21 Feb., the date on which the merchants’ petition was presented, warning him that it had become ‘evident to us all here that this nation will not long bear the present uncertain state of things’. The Cardinal, Townshend’s message ran, would be

mistaken if he thinks that the Parliament is influenced by money to be thus unanimous in the supporting his Majesty in all he has done. This zeal proceeds from the chief men in both Houses being convinced that the measures his Majesty has hitherto taken are right; but these persons, though they have heartily concurred in what has been done hitherto, are under the greatest anxiety at the uncertain state of our affairs; and will not be kept much longer in suspense.
We shall raise £3,500,000 this year, which is about £1,500,000 more than our ordinary expenses in time of peace; and if we are not able to give assurances, at least privately, to the Members of weight and interest in both Houses before they are prorogued, that matters are agreed and concerted between his Majesty and France, in such a manner that they may depend upon either seeing an honourable end soon put to our present disturbances by negotiation, or that the allies of Hanover have taken measures to do themselves justice by force of arms, the King’s credit and influence in this Parliament will be entirely lost, which is an extremity the King must never suffer himself to be drove to. The confusions and misfortunes that attended the reigns of King Charles the first, and the second, and King James in differing with their Parliaments, are too recent and too notorious to be forgot. If therefore his Eminence is not to be prevailed upon to open himself confidently to his Majesty, and to lay down such methods as appear proper for bringing the allies of Hanover out of this state of uncertainty (which is the only circumstance that makes the Parliament uneasy under the present burdens), the King must determine in that case, by lessening his expenses abroad, to ease the nation of the greatest part of the additional taxes they now bear.17

Towards the end of this session Walpole’s parliamentary difficulties were increased by an application to Parliament for £115,000 to make good a deficiency of the civil list funds, which he had opposed ‘so long and so strenuously that the King had intimated to him if he could not or would not do it, his Majesty would find those who were both able and willing’. The application was carried by 241 to 115, 69 Whigs voting against it.18

During the recess the opposition leaders entertained

such a sanguine and certain persuasion that it would be impossible to have a peace with Spain, and consequently that the British commerce would have still continued in an uncertain and precarious state, without satisfaction or revenge, that they had concerted their measures to call the ministers to an account for their indolence and neglect in suffering so patiently the insults of the Spaniards; and as this was a very popular point to a nation jealous of their honour, as well as of their privileges of trade, it had created a great ferment among all sorts of people, gentlemen as well as merchants.19

When this concert or coalition of the two opposition parties was effected, the ministry, as George II subsequently observed, ‘were divided and torn by contention among themselves; that was at a time when Townshend was in place, and was giving Walpole all the trouble he could, both in the Parliament and in my closet’. The arguments used by the opposition chiefs to win over supporters from the Government are shown by Hervey’s account of an attempt by Pulteney during the recess to induce him ‘to quit the Administration, which he assured him could not possibly subsist six weeks longer’.

Their affairs abroad, said he, go so ill that the ministers know not which way to turn themselves. They are afraid to make war and unable to make peace. Then the quarrel between Lord Townshend and Sir Robert Walpole has so shattered their strength at home by the subdivision of the before divided Whig party that their mutual endeavours to ruin each other must end in the ruin of both. The Queen is hated, the King despised, their son both the one and the other, and such a spirit of disaffection to the family and general discontent with the present Government is spread all over the kingdom that it is absolutely impossible for things to go on in the track they are now in.

Pulteney went on to outline the opposition plans for the forthcoming session:

Twenty or thirty gentlemen of the first consideration will get up one after another and declare the Act of Settlement broken by the continuation of the Hessian troops in the English pay for the defence of Hanover.

Other items in the Opposition’s indictment of the ministry would be

the monstrous expense at which we have annually been of late neither to make war nor secure peace; the unpopularity of our standing army at home, besides that abroad; the state of Dunkirk and Gibraltar, the melancholy decay of domestic trade, the losses sustained by our merchants in the Indies, the insults offered there to them by the Spaniards, the cruelties exercised upon them, and the injuries they sustained unrevenged, the loss of our fleet and so many brave seamen before Porto Bello under Admiral Hosier, who was sent thither with his hands tied up and was forced to suffer the galleons to pass under his nose unmolested ... together with the ridicules of our vast chargeable pacific useless ridiculous fleet at Spithead.

Before the opening of the next session, 13 Jan. 1730, Walpole had succeeded in concluding the treaty of Seville with Spain, which by enabling him to reduce the armed forces

extremely facilitated the business of the Court this year in Parliament, strengthened the power and credit of Sir Robert, both in the one and the other, and revived the spirit of all his friends, followers and adherents.20

In the division on the Hessians, 4 Feb. 1730, which was carried by 248 to 169, compared with 298 to 91 in the previous session, 83 Whigs voted in the minority, a gain of 14 on the number voting against the Government on the civil list arrears in 1729.21 On 10 Feb. the Opposition sprang a surprise by producing evidence that Dunkirk harbour had been repaired, contrary to the provisions of the treaty of Utrecht, on which ‘the whole House was in a flame and the ministry stronger pushed than they had ever been on any occasion before’. By procuring a fortnight’s adjournment of the debate the ministry gained time to obtain from the French Government an order for the demolition of any such works, with the result that when the matter came again before the House, 27 Feb., a motion thanking the King for securing this undertaking from France was carried by 27 to 149. On this the ‘Dunkirk storm, that was very near shipwrecking the Administration, entirely blew over’,22 terminating Walpole’s parliamentary difficulties for the rest of the session, at the end of which his troubles at court were also ended by Townshend’s resignation, leaving him undisputed prime minister.

Walpole’s premiership inaugurated a new type of prime minister, seated in the House of Commons, as first lord of the Treasury and chancellor of the Exchequer, with the dual function of ‘minister with the King in the House of Commons’, and ‘minister for the House of Commons in the Closet’. At this time the King was still the effective head of the Government; ministers regarded and referred to him as their ‘Master’ and themselves as his ‘servants’; the ‘Closet’, where the most important of them worked with him, was a higher political level than the Cabinet; the Government of the day and their supporters were known as the ‘Court’; and the symbol and sign of real ministerial power was ‘habitual, frequent, familiar access’ to the King. By creating a minister who, in Pitt’s words, ‘went directly’ between the King and the House of Commons, Walpole supplied a link, hitherto missing, between the two centres of political power.23

Walpole introduced this innovation by electing to remain in the House of Commons when, in 1721, he entered on his long period of office as head of the Treasury. Hitherto all first class ministers had been peers, or if, like Harley, St. John, and Stanhope, they had risen to the highest political offices while in the House of Commons, they had taken the first opportunity of transferring themselves to the House of Lords. Thus ministerial representation in the House of Commons had been confined to underlings, who could not speak with authority, or, as in Addison’s case, could not speak at all. As a result the relations of the legislature with the executive had been characterized by chronic friction, the House of Commons became periodically unworkable, and the political system generally displayed the familiar symptoms associated with the divorce of power from responsibility.

Walpole’s decision to remain in the House of Commons, for most of the time as the only cabinet minister there, had important effects on his functions and status. At first he confined himself to his own province, domestic affairs and the House of Commons, leaving foreign affairs to Townshend. Hervey describes how the treaty of Hanover in 1725 showed that this position was untenable:

When Sir Robert found the clamour against this treaty so great at home, and the difficulties so many in which it entangled us abroad, he began to think it necessary to take some cognisance of what gave him immediately more trouble than all his own affairs put together. For though Lord Townshend only was the transactor of these peace and war negotiations, yet the labouring oar in their consequences always fell on Sir Robert; it was he was forced to stand the attacks of parliamentary inquiry into the prudence of making these treaties; it was he was to provide the means necessary to support them; on him only fell the censure of entering into them, and on him lay all the difficulty of getting out of them.24

In contrast to ministers like Godolphin, Townshend, and Sunderland, whose primacy was solely derived from their personal credit with the sovereign, Walpole’s arose from the situation in which he was placed. Their status rested on the precarious foundation of royal favour; his was firmly rooted in his parliamentary duties. The weakness of their position is illustrated by the complaint of the Duke of Newcastle, whose appointment in 1754 represented an attempt to revert to the pre-Walpole type of prime minister, that George II had told him to confine himself to the Treasury, saying ‘you know there is no such thing as first minister in England, and therefore you should not seem to be so’. It would have been impossible for George II, nor would he have wished, to have taken this line with Walpole, whose claim to interfere outside his own department rested on his being required to defend in the House of Commons all the actions of the Government.

The association of the position of prime minister with the Treasury did not arise from any special importance attached to public finance. The explanation, as Hardwicke told George II after Newcastle’s expostulation, was that

the head of the Treasury was indeed an employment of great business, very extensive, which always went beyond the bare management of the revenue; that it extended through both Houses of Parliament, the Members of which were naturally to look thither; that there must be some principal person to receive applications, and to hear the wants and the wishes and the requests of mankind, with the reasons of them, in order to lay them before H..M. for his determination; that it was impossible for the King to be troubled with all this himself.25

In addition to the control of public patronage, which was distributed to Members of Parliament and through them to their constituents, the Treasury carried with it a further source of political power, the secret service money, which was used to supplement places and other open favours and as an election fund. In short, the Treasury played the part of a modern party machine, a function still vestigially surviving in the practice of appointing the government whips to be lords of the Treasury.

In eighteenth-century terminology, ‘the power of the Treasury, the secret service, and the House of Commons’ went to make up ‘the plenitude of power’26 enjoyed by Walpole and after him by Pelham, Grenville, North, and the younger Pitt. In modern terms, he combined the positions of prime minister, leader of the House of Commons, and party manager. His success in curing the disorders which afflicted the body politic when he entered Parliament lay in his dual role of ‘minister with the King in the House of Commons’ and ‘minister for the House of Commons in the Closet’ his influence in each place being strengthened by his influence in the other, combining the two indispensable requisites for orderly and stable government under eighteenth-century conditions, namely that the ministry should be acceptable to both the great centres of political power, the Crown and the House of Commons.

The causes and consequences of Walpole’s taking over control of foreign policy from Townshend are shown by the army and navy figures, which, after rising from 18,000 and 10,000 respectively in 1725, the year of the Hanover treaty, to 26,000 and 29,000 in 1727, were brought back to their pre-Hanover level in 1730, the year of Townshend’s resignation. The 12,000 Hessians were retained till Townshend’s policy had been finally liquidated by the treaty of Vienna with the Emperor, negotiated by Walpole in 1731, when they were carried for the last time by a majority of 85 (249 to 164), compared with one of 79 (248 to 169) in 1730. In the same session the army estimates for 18,000 troops were carried by a majority of 104 (240 to 136). Next year, when the King’s Speech announced that the general tranquillity of Europe had been restored, but no further reductions were made in the army, the government majority fell to 70 (241 to 171) on the army estimates, 77 Whigs voting in the minority, including the Speaker. Thenceforth an opposition motion for a reduction of the army to 12,000 men became a hardy annual.

A further consequence of the restoration of peace was the reduction of the land tax from four shillings to two shillings in 1730. In 1732 Walpole reduced it to one shilling, its lowest level since the Revolution, proposing next year to make good the loss of revenue by transferring the collection of duties on wines and tobacco from the customs to the excise, thereby securing an additional revenue of £500,000, the equivalent of a shilling on land, by the diminution of smuggling. But, in Adam Smith’s words, ‘faction, combined with the interest of smuggling merchants, raised so violent, though unjust a clamour against that bill’, which was depicted as the beginning of a general excise on all the necessaries of life, that Walpole decided to withdraw it after his majority had fallen in successive divisions from 61 (265 to 204)27 on 14 Mar. 1733, to 17 on 10 Apr., when a petition from the city of London, the centre of the agitation, praying to be heard by counsel against it, was rejected by 214 to 197. On the withdrawal of the bill, his majority promptly recovered to 100. Next year the land tax returned to two shillings.

At the dissolution the House of Commons consisted of 342 ministerial supporters, 86 opposition Whigs,28 and 130 Tories, a government majority of 126. Thus during this Parliament Pulteney’s party had increased by 71. Of these, 48 had gone into opposition on the Hanover treaty in 1729-30. The remaining 23 included two Powletts, three Stanhopes, and three Dalrymples, who had followed the heads of their families, the Duke of Bolton, Lord Chesterfield, and Lord Stair, when these three peers were dismissed in 1733 for opposing the excise bill.

The general election of 1734 resulted in the return of 326 ministerial Whigs, 83 opposition Whigs,29 and 149 Tories.

Notwithstanding the severe Act passed in the year 1729 to prevent bribery and corruption in elections, yet money, though it had been formerly more openly given, was never more plentifully issued than in these. Every election that went against the Court the King imputed to the fault of those who lost it, and much too frequently, and too publicly, accused the Whigs of negligence; saying, at the same time, that if the Tories had had a quarter of the support from the Government that the Whigs had received from it for twenty years together, they would never have suffered the Crown to be pushed and the Court to be distressed in the manner it now was; and generally added to these declarations, that he could not help saying, for the honour of the Tories, that they were always much firmer united, and much more industrious and circumspect, than the Whigs.
Sir Robert Walpole was now in Norfolk, pushing the county election there, which the Whigs lost by six or seven voices, to the great triumph of the Opposition ... whilst his enemies were working against him at Richmond, and persuading the King and Queen that the majority of the new Parliament would infallibly be chosen against the Court.
Many who lost their elections, and particularly the Duke of Dorset (whose eldest son was thrown out in Kent), imputed every miscarriage of the court candidates to the excise scheme. But as soon as Sir Robert came back he set everything right, resumed his power, and effaced every impression that had been made either in the mind of the King or Queen to his disadvantage, or in distrust of the new Parliament.

On election petitions the Government made a net gain of four seats at the expense of the Tories, in the process

losing several questions on these points that were most industriously solicited, warmly debated, and strenuously pushed. That which made the defeat of the Court and the triumph of the Opposition more remarkable on these occasions was that most of these disgraces happened at the bar of the House, and on debates that lasted not only several days, but till nine, ten, and eleven o’clock at night.30

Thus the new House of Commons consisted of 330 ministerial supporters, 83 opposition Whigs, and 145 Tories, a government majority of 102 compared with 272 at the same stage of the previous Parliament.

Apart from election petitions, the chief business of the first session of the new Parliament was to vote the supplies requested in the King’s Speech for the augmentation of the forces necessitated by the outbreak of the war of the Polish succession. The Address, promising the necessary supplies, was carried, 29 Jan. 1735, by 265 to 185, which was regarded as ‘a vast minority, considering the question. In the beginning of the last Parliament they used to divide near 100 less. If this minority increases in the same proportion ’twill soon be very formidable.’ On 7 Feb. a motion for increasing the number of seamen to 30,000 was carried after an opposition motion for keeping the number at 20,000 had been rejected by 256 to 183, the first division for many years on this matter.31 A week later an increase of the army to 25,000 men was carried by 261 to 208. Finally, a subsidy of £80,000, in consideration of which Denmark undertook to furnish 6,000 troops to the King if he entered the war, was voted by 270 to 178 after a debate in which the ‘old story of the Hessians was revived ... and the beaten topic of lavish treaty-making ministers again displayed and laboured’. Next year the conclusion of peace in Europe, which enabled Walpole to reduce the forces,

made the opposition to the measures of the Court this session very languid ... Mr. Pulteney, partly from a very ill state of health, and partly, as some people thought, from being weary of the opposing part he had so long unsuccessfully acted, withdrew himself the greatest part of the session from all attendance in the House of Commons.32

In 1737 the only question on which Walpole was seriously pressed was Pulteney’s motion for an increase of the Prince’s allowance from £50,000 to £100,000, which was rejected by 234 to 204, 35 ministerial supporters voting against the Government, who were saved from defeat by the abstention of 45 Tories.33 When Parliament reassembled, 24 Jan. 1738, the elder Horace Walpole wrote:

As far as I can see at present it has the appearance of a short and quiet sessions. What is most certain is that the affair of the Prince will scarce be stirred. The opponents being a body composed of men of different principles and different views, are much disjointed ... and we imagine that the Prince’s servants that are Whigs will vote with the Court that used to do so.

On 14 Feb. he reported:

Our business ... goes on so fast and glib that we go to dinner every day at 3 o’clock, and indeed I foresee nothing at present that should prevent our rising by the end of April.34

On 3 Mar. this tranquillity was dispelled by another merchants’ petition for redress against Spanish depredations, which gave rise to an agitation for action to protect British interests, even at the cost of a war with Spain. As in 1729 and 1733 this agitation was taken up by the city of London, who hated Walpole because, according to his opponents, ‘he never did anything for the trading part of it, nor aimed at any interest there but a corrupt influence over the directors and governors of the great moneyed companies’.35 After the merchants had given evidence, Pulteney moved resolutions asserting British rights in terms so specific that, as Walpole pointed out, ‘it would put ministers who should treat with Spain under the greatest difficulties, since they would not dare to recede from the resolves of that House in any point, and would make the King of Spain more obstinate to see himself so prescribed to’. The motion was rejected by 256 to 209, in favour of a modified version moved by Walpole, which was carried on report by 224 to 163.36

When Parliament reassembled, 1 Feb. 1739, the King’s Speech announced the conclusion of an Anglo-Spanish convention which would be laid before the House in due course, providing for the payment of compensation to the merchants by Spain, other matters in dispute being left to be settled by plenipotentiaries. On a motion of thanks, which was carried by 230 to 141, Pulteney

began the debates in a most flaming manner, entered into the particulars of a thing that he did not know ... and intimated that the first question should be to censure instead of to approve ... The servants of the Prince were the most earnest on this occasion and the Opposition concerted at his house.

Thereupon the Prince and the Duke of Argyll went into opposition carrying with them respectively eight and four ministerial members.37 The publication of the convention produced a fresh crop of petitions against it, one from the city of London, complaining of the failure to secure a renunciation of the Spanish claim to search English ships on the high seas. After evidence from the petitioners had been heard the convention was approved by 260 to 232, ‘the fullest House and the longest sitting’ for many years, 100 Whigs voting against it.38

During the recess the city of London, at a meeting in common hall, thanked their Members for their conduct in Parliament, particularly in opposing the convention, also instructing them to make the passing of a bill to reduce the number of placemen in the House of Commons a previous step to the passing of any money bills. Commenting on this and other anti-ministerial demonstrations in the same quarter, Walpole said, 6 Oct. 1739, ‘that if the city of London showed their inclinations against him in this public manner there was no standing against it, and he should think himself bound to yield’,39 referring to the impending declaration of war on Spain. At the opening of the new session, 15 Nov. 1739, Pulteney, by ‘professing his zeal for the King and royal family, and his resolution to support even the ministers in this war ... visibly gave great uneasiness to his Tory confederates’.40 On 29 Jan. 1740 an opposition motion for the introduction of a bill for reducing the number of placemen in the House of Commons was rejected by 222 to 206, 88 Whigs voting for it.41 On 21 Feb. Pulteney moved for all papers relating to the convention to be laid before the House.

In his opening of this motion he acquainted the House that his intention was to follow the precedent in 1715 made by Sir R. Walpole, when he [Pulteney] joined with him [Walpole] in impeaching Queen Anne’s ministry, and therefore if he succeeded in his question of having those papers laid before the House, should afterwards move for a secret committee of 21 to whom these papers might be referred.

This gave rise to ‘a very long and warm debate’, in which Walpole is reported by a Tory Member to have

applied it personally to himself, called upon those who were his friends to stand by him, said he was now upon his trial, and desired either acquittal or judgment; that in his ludicrous hours he had drawn articles against himself, and could not find any but what there was some resolution or vote of Parliament for; that the only use of this question was to see who should be uppermost. By this personal harangue he kept his mercenaries together.42

The motion was defeated by 247 to 196.

By the opening of the next and last session, Dodington had gone into opposition, carrying with him five Members, four of whom he had brought in for Weymouth and Winchelsea by his interest in the Treasury.43 On 10 Dec. 1740 he made ‘a long laboured discourse’ against an increase of the army, which was carried by 252 to 197.44 On 13 Feb. 1741 an opposition Whig motion for an address to the King to remove Walpole from his presence and councils for ever was negatived by 290 to 106, nearly a hundred Members, ‘partly Tories and partly Whigs in the Opposition’, going out before the division or voting in the majority, ‘as disapproving of such an attack’.45

The last action of this Parliament was to approve a motion, 8 Apr. 1741, for a vote of credit to enable the King to fulfil his obligations to the house of Austria, and to assure him of their resolution to support him against any attacks that might be made on his foreign dominions. Pulteney said that

he approved the address in almost every part of it, and doubted only of the propriety of assuring his Majesty they will support his foreign dominions, considering the Act of Settlement, which required the King should not enter into a war for the sake of any foreign dominions not belonging to the crown of Great Britain. Though this he said he thought reasonable to be done, yet no occasion to do it so early. However he would not object to this if insisted on. But he mentioned that he had always thought it the first principle with us to support the Austrian family as the only means of securing the liberty of Europe. But not many years ago in 1725 we seemed to think otherwise by the Hanover treaty formed on purpose to depress the house of Austria and raise France.
This made Sir R. Walpole and Horace Walpole both stand up, and both averred that it was most certain truth that at that time the Emperor had been misled into a disgust with the English nation, and had by separate and private articles actually engaged with Spain to set the Pretender on our throne, give Gibraltar to Spain, and establish the Ostend India trade. This was so formidable that the Dutch and other allies thought the Hanover treaty necessary, which was only defensive, not offensive.
On the whole the motion was carried without any person speaking against it.46

When Parliament was dissolved, 27 Apr. 1741, the House of Commons consisted of 300 ministerial supporters, 115 opposition Whigs,47 and 143 Tories.

The general election of 1741 produced only 94 contests, less than at any other since George I’s accession. 286 ministerial supporters, 131 opposition Whigs, and 136 Tories were elected, five seats being unfilled owing to double returns. The reduction of Walpole’s majority from 42 at the end of the last Parliament to 19 in the new House of Commons was caused by defeats in Cornwall and Scotland, partly offset by gains in the rest of the country. In Cornwall he lost ten seats which he had held at the dissolution, seven to the Prince’s election manager, Thomas Pitt, and three to the 2nd Lord Falmouth, the son of Walpole’s former Cornish election manager. In Scotland, where he held only 19 seats compared with 30 at the dissolution, his defeat was attributed to his election manager, Lord Ilay, who was said to have allowed the Opposition, headed by his brother, the Duke of Argyll, to gain at least ten seats, covering his tracks so successfully that Walpole could not accuse him.48 Another blow was that the coalition of the opposition parties which had not been expected to survive the behaviour of the Tories on the motion for Walpole’s removal, was revived by a letter from the Pretender to his supporters ordering them to vote against Walpole.49

Walpole’s position was further weakened by the disloyalty of two of his colleagues, Lord Wilmington, who, as Spencer Compton, had expected to succeed him at George II’s accession, and the Duke of Dorset, to whom he had administered the following rebuke in 1737:

Those who wish me well are perpetually reproaching me with the lenity I show towards those who are known not to do so, and add that it is an encouragement to all who only interestedly adhere to me to act the same double underhand part that my Lord Wilmington, Dodington, and yourself have done for some years past. Nor do those whom you may fancy wish you well scruple to join with those whom you doubt not wish you ill in saying that though in open opposition there is something bold, honourable, and manly, yet in the game you are thought to play there is nothing but meanness, timidity, and dishonour. If therefore I take your characters from my friends, I must look upon you as men who betray me whilst you act with me, and if from your own as men who wish me ill but dare set no step to do me harm. I could have described these two opinions in a much shorter way, but the two words made use of on this occasion are too coarse to repeat; and for my Lord Wilmington, I assure you ‘old woman’ is the most honourable title I have heard is given him by those who are most my enemies.

The Duke of Dorset

took all this very patiently, but denied the justice of the charge, thanked Sir Robert for not laying him aside, and made all sorts of professions of gratitude, attachment, and the etcetera compliments that are continually chimed in the ears of those who have power by those who are bending the knee to its altars,50

which did not prevent him and Wilmington from continuing to wish Walpole ill, without daring to go into open opposition.51

When Parliament met, 1 Dec. 1741, 23 seats were vacant by deaths, double elections, and double returns,52 reducing the House of Commons for the next three weeks to 535 Members, 276 of whom were government supporters, 124 opposition Whigs, and 135 Tories. Thus Walpole’s effective majority was only 16, allowing for the Speaker, who did not vote when in the chair. With parties so evenly balanced, the Opposition had instituted a club to look after election petitions, on which, as Dodington observed, ‘the whole depends. ... Therefore all earliest endeavours must be used to ... make it infamous to desert an election’.53 In previous Parliaments Walpole had been able to prevent opposition petitions from being heard by having them referred to the committee of privileges and elections, whose chairman, a government nominee, saw to it that most of them were shelved. On this occasion the Opposition decided to open their campaign by putting up an inoffensive Whig lawyer, Dr. George Lee, against Walpole’s candidate, Giles Earle, the late chairman, whose caustic tongue had made him many enemies, ‘especially among the Scotch’. Another opposition object was to secure that their more important petitions should be heard at the bar of the House on fixed dates, particularly one from Westminster, where the high bailiff, as the returning officer, had called in the Guards to protect him while declaring two ministers to have been duly elected, after preventing many of their opponents from voting by closing the poll. A petition against the return of two ministerial supporters for Pulteney’s borough of Hedon was also expected to be ‘an ugly affair for the Court’, for Pulteney had engaged the Sackville family, ‘but the King was so hot with his Grace [the Duke of Dorset] about his sons [Lord Middlesex, Lord George and Lord John Sackville], that I believe they will not venture to follow their inclinations ... to vote for Pulteney.’54

Before these matters came up a trial of strength took place on a petition from the mayor of Bossiney, complaining that, though he was the returning officer, the sheriff, appointed not by the King but by the Prince as Duke of Cornwall, had sent the precept for the election to the late mayor, whose return of two opposition candidates he had accepted, rejecting that of the present mayor in favour of two ministerial candidates. On 9 Dec. a ministerial motion that the clerk of the Crown should attend the House on 11 Dec. with the return, in order that it should be taken off the file and that of the present mayor filed in its place, was carried by a majority of only seven (222 to 215), five opposition Members voting for it. On 11 Dec. the ministerial candidates were awarded the seats, after a debate prolonged till two in the morning by successive divisions, in the first of which the ministry had a majority of only six (224 to 218). Between the debates pressure was brought to bear on the opposition defectors to reverse their votes, but only one complied.55 Thenceforth, however, there were no more opposition defections.

This pyrrhic victory, as it was regarded, since 20 and 19 more of Walpole’s supporters than of his opponents had not voted in the two decisive divisions, so that but for the opposition defectors he would have been in a minority, was followed by two defeats: one on 14 Dec., when an opposition motion fixing a date for hearing a petition against the ministerial Member for Denbighshire at the bar of the House was carried by 202 to 193, after which Walpole gave up attempting to prevent opposition petitions from being heard; the other on 16 Dec., when Lee defeated Earle for the chairmanship of the elections committee, thus ensuring that opposition petitions would be given priority by the committee. In this division six ministerial Members voted against the Government, 12 more of whose supporters than their opponents abstained. Among the ministerialists not recorded as voting were two of Dorset’s sons, Lord Middlesex and Lord John Sackville.56

On 18 Dec. Walpole secured majorities ranging from 10 to 24 for amending opposition motions demanding papers relating to current negotiations with foreign powers; but four days later he met with a series of defeats in a debate lasting till half past four in the morning on the Westminster petition, the House resolving by 220 to 216 that the election was void; by 217 to 215 that the high bailiff had acted illegally, for which he was ordered into custody; and by 206 to 200 that it was illegal to call in troops during an election.57

During the Christmas recess Walpole attempted to win over the Prince by persuading the King to offer him the additional £50,000 a year for which he had gone into opposition. The Prince refused to come to terms until his father dismissed Walpole, who told his attorney-general, Sir Dudley Ryder, on 8 Jan. that

this was putting an end to all treaty; that he was sure the King would never upon any terms by such force remove him. And as for himself, for him to remove himself would be sneaking and look like guilt. Besides, to remove into the House of Peers and leave himself to be baited in the House of Commons without being there to defend himself would not be very safe, though he had had intimations within these two days that if he would go there he should be quiet and have no attempt made against him. That he was determined to stand it out to the last. That lord chancellor was acting a part to save himself, and had been promised not to be removed, but he was sure that if he himself was to be out, as the Prince would be then master of the King, the present chancellor could not hold it and Murray would have the seals.
He said he had made a very exact computation of the numbers on each side in the House of Commons, and was satisfied that setting aside all doubtful votes he had now a clear majority of 19, excepting one who would at most only keep out of the way. That he had lately brought over several and by new elections before the sitting again, he should have as many more as would make a majority of 34.
That however he was satisfied people would not be so mad as to come into schemes to distress the Government. That the first attempt by the Opposition would be to get a secret committee appointed for inquiring into the state of the nation. That the next would be to postpone the consideration of the army bill till the state of the nation was gone through.58

Next day, however, his son Edward estimated that when Parliament reassembled on 18 Jan. the government majority would be only 15 or 16, adding, ‘Mr. Dodington will lay £1,000 he himself has got over seven of our friends. I believe he does the Duke of Dorset great wrong’.59 On 21 Jan. an opposition motion for a secret committee was defeated by a majority of only three (253 to 250), though on paper Walpole had a majority of 17.60 The same day a ministerial candidate was returned by a majority of nearly a thousand at a by-election for Yorkshire, the largest constituency in the country, where the Opposition had won both seats at the general election. But on election petitions in the House of Commons Walpole met with nothing but reverses, beginning with a double return for Berwickshire, on which, Horace Walpole writes, the Opposition ‘gained so many of our votes that at ten at night we were forced to give it up without dividing’, whereupon they ‘moved to punish the sheriff and as we dared not divide, they ordered him into custody’.61 After losing two more double returns and two election petitions without venturing to divide, Walpole made a stand on a ministerial petition against the return of two opposition Members for Chippenham, which was heard on 28 Jan., when, in the words of one of his staunchest supporters, Lord Hartington, writing on 30 Jan.,

we debated a point in relation to the disqualifying of voters till twelve o’clock, when we lost it by one [236 to 235], though there never was a clearer case in the world. Lord Doneraile voted against us, and unless our affairs change much for the better, I don’t imagine we shall often have him again. However, we may, for all this, carry the election. But we have a parcel of such shabby fellows that will not attend. To speak plainly, I am afraid we have only a majority of about 14; and as a great many of our people will not attend elections, and that others make a point of it, they will I really think get the better of us by determining all the elections in their own favour.

On 2 Feb. Hartington reported that Walpole had

hitherto kept up his spirits tolerably well, but I think I can perceive that he is now uneasy; and indeed I am afraid he has very good reason to be so; for I really believe, and so do most of his friends, that the other party in three weeks time must get a majority by the alterations in elections; for we have a great many people that have declared they will not attend them any more. Lord Middlesex for one; and Lord John [Sackville] has hardly attended any yet ... As for Sir Thomas Lowther, I cannot say much for him, he seems to be a great deal biased by Sir James.62

By this time Walpole had decided to resign, communicating his decision to a few Members in the House after losing the final division on the Chippenham petition by sixteen (241 to 225). One of these Members, Sir Dudley Ryder, has left the following record of his interview with Walpole on this occasion:

Sir Robert called me to him into Speaker’s Chamber and told me the King would tomorrow send message to the House to adjourn. That he himself was to be made Earl of Orford. That a compromise was made with the Lord Carteret and Pulteney that Sir Robert was to go out of the Treasury and lord president [Wilmington] to come into it, and the adjournment was to be in order to adjust the new Administration.
He said that all the Cabinet Council had told the King his affairs could not go on as long as Sir Robert continued in post, and that it would be most advisable for himself and the King that he should quit. The King had told them all he would never part with him till he himself desired it.
That he himself, finding the clamours raised and the difficulty of carrying matters in the House of Commons, and those friends of his, particularly lord chancellor [Hardwicke] and Duke of Newcastle, not standing by him, he has agreed to quit, and the Prince has been informed of it, and is well pleased and promises for all his servants to assist in carrying on the business of Parliament.
He complained of lord chancellor and Duke of Newcastle, especially the former, whose obligations to him he said were very great. However, they have assured him he should be safe, and proposed likewise an Act of Indemnity at the end of the session.
He told lord president of it, that he was to be at the Treasury, which he received with all joy imaginable; desired Sir Robert would assist him, and he would do whatever Sir Robert pleased. He said the King expressed great kindness to him, and when he kissed hands in the closet on his promise of this dignity, the King would not let him kneel but took him about the neck and said he had no other man in England that he could talk his mind to so freely.
He said he believed they would not long hold together and would in a short time make great havoc among his present friends, which he was very sorry for. He spoke as if he pretty much resented the usage his friends of the Cabinet had given him, and that lord chancellor and the Duke of Newcastle had made up the matter with Lord Carteret quarter of a year ago.
He then told me he was much concerned about his natural daughter; her being called only Miss Walpole would be carrying the name of bastard on her face. He was therefore desirous of having a patent of precedence granted to her that she might be called and take the same rank as if legitimate. And desired to know my sentiments as to the legality of it. I told him that there could be no doubt of the legality of it, and the prudence of it he alone could judge of.
He told me likewise that the King had offered him a pension of £4,000 a year during his life, which was accordingly to be granted.
He said he was sure the lord chancellor would not hold the seals very long.63

Thus, as Horace Walpole wrote some twelve years later, ‘the Parliament which overthrew Sir R. W. was carried against him by his losing the majority of the Scotch and Cornish boroughs’. Previously he had laid the blame on Newcastle and Hardwicke, alleging that ‘by a confederacy with the chiefs of the Opposition, they overturned Sir Robert Walpole’.64 In fact, as has been seen, the immediate cause of Walpole’s fall was his losing a majority in the House of Commons owing to the refusal of a few ministerial Members to attend election petitions. There is no evidence that any of these men were attached to Newcastle, whose correspondence shows that he would not have countenanced such behaviour;65 whereat as least two of the Duke of Dorset’s three sons deliberately did not attend, a course consistent with ‘the double underhand part’ acted for many years by their father, in conjunction with Wilmington. Newcastle and Hardwicke were indeed concerned to save themselves from becoming involved in Walpole’s ruin, but not, as Dorset and Wilmington were, to bring it about.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick

End Notes

  • 1. HMC Portland, v. 616.
  • 2. Yorke, Hardwicke, ii. 96.
  • 3. See BRODRICK, St. John, and STANHOPE, Charles.
  • 4. See THOMPSON, William (Scarborough).
  • 5. Sunderland (Blenheim) mss.
  • 6. Lockhart Pprs. ii. 82, 139.
  • 7. HMC Polwarth, iii. 285; see appendix IX.
  • 8. HMC 14th Rep. IX, 462, 513.
  • 9. HMC Polwarth, iii. 285.
  • 10. Hervey, Mems. 6.
  • 11. Coxe, Walpole, ii. 492-3.
  • 12. Knatchbull Diary, on which this account of the sessions of 1726-30 is based, except where otherwise indicated.
  • 13. Coxe, Walpole, ii. 495-6.
  • 14. Coxe, Walpole, ii. 515; see note X, p. 86.
  • 15. HMC Egmont Diary, iii. 330.
  • 16. Carlisle, 57-58; see also p. 7.
  • 17. Coxe, Walpole, ii. 638-41.
  • 18. Hervey, Mems. 94-95, 100-1; see also notes XI, XII, and XIII, pp. 86-87.
  • 19. Coxe, Walpole, ii. 671-2; see also p. 38.
  • 20. Hervey, Mems. 105-7, 110, 151.
  • 21. See notes XII and XIII, pp. 86-87.
  • 22. Hervey, Mems. 115-17.
  • 23. Yorke, Hardwicke, ii. 238, 245; Newcastle to William Murray, 28 Sept. 1754, Add. 32736, f. 594; Dodington Diary, 371.
  • 24. Hervey, Mems. 83.
  • 25. Yorke, Hardwicke, ii. 223-6.
  • 26. Ibid. ii. 206-8.
  • 27. See notes XII and XIII, pp. 86-87.
  • 28. See note XIV, p. 87-88.
  • 29. See note XV, p. 88.
  • 30. Hervey, Mems. 291-5, 417-20.
  • 31. HMC Carlisle, 147-51.
  • 32. Hervey, Mems. 416, 529.
  • 33. Dodington Diary, 469.
  • 34. HMC 14th Rep. IX, 10-12; see note XVI, pp. 88-89
  • 35. Hervey, Mems. 178.
  • 36. HMC Carlisle, 57-59, where the letters of 7 and 14 Mar. are misdated 1729, the date of the previous merchants’ petition on the same matter; HMC 14th Rep. IX, 239-40.
  • 37. HMC 14th Rep. IX, 25-26, 46; see note XX, p. 91, and WALPOLE, Robert.
  • 38. Harley Diary, 8 Mar. 1739; See also notes XVII and XVIII, pp. 89-90.
  • 39. Sir Dudley Ryder’s diary, 6 Oct. 1739, Harrowby mss; see note XIX, pp. 90-91.
  • 40. Henry Pelham to Duke of Devonshire, 17 Nov. 1739, Devonshire mss.
  • 41. See notes XVII and XVIII, pp. 89-90.
  • 42. Harley Diary, 21 Feb. 1740.
  • 43. See under BUBB, George, and note XX, p. 91.
  • 44. Harrowby mss 10 (L. Inn), 10 Dec. 1740.
  • 45. See note XXI, pp. 91-95.
  • 46. Harrowby mss 10 (L. Inn), 8 Apr. 1741.
  • 47. See note XX, p. 91.
  • 48. See MUNRO, Robert; Walpole, Mems. Geo. II, i. 276.
  • 49. See p. 71.
  • 50. Hervey, Mems. 653-4.
  • 51. See note XXII, pp. 95-96.
  • 52. See note XXIII, p. 96.
  • 53. Coxe, Walpole, iii. 573, 582.
  • 54. Walpole to Mann, 3 Dec. 1741.
  • 55. See note XXIV, pp. 96-97.
  • 56. See note XXV, pp. 97-99.
  • 57. See note XXVI, p.99.
  • 58. Harrowby mss 10 (L. Inn), 8 Jan. 1742.
  • 59. Coxe, Walpole, iii. 586; see also note XXVII, pp. 99-101.
  • 60. See note XXVIII, pp. 101-2.
  • 61. To Mann, 22 Jan. 1742.
  • 62. Coxe, Walpole, iii. 590-1; see also notes XXIX and XXX, pp. 102-3.
  • 63. Harrowby mss 10 (L. Inn), 2 Feb. 1742.
  • 64. Walpole to Mann, 25 Feb. 1742; II, i. 160, 166-7.
  • 65. See WHITE, John.