Charles Sunderland
English Earl
Charles Sunderland
Sir Charles Spencer, 3rd Earl of Sunderland KG PC, known as Lord Spencer from 1688 to 1702, was an English statesman. He served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1714–1717), Lord Privy Seal (1715–1716), Lord President of the Council (1717–1719) and First Lord of the Treasury (1718–1721).
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  • 1722
    Age 46
    In 1722 Sunderland was implicated in what became known as the Atterbury Plot, to restore the House of Stuart, and his death was one of the factors which brought the Plot to light.
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  • 1721
    Age 45
    In April 1721, he resigned his offices, but he retained his influence with George I until his death on 19 April 1722.
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  • 1720
    Age 44
    The bursting of the South Sea Bubble led to his political ruin. He had taken some part in launching the scheme of 1720, therefore public opinion was roused against him and it was only through the efforts of Walpole that he was acquitted by the House of Commons, when the matter was investigated.
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  • 1719
    Age 43
    In 1719 he was one of the main subscribers in the Royal Academy of Music (1719), a corporation that produced baroque opera on stage.
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  • 1718
    Age 42
    The town of Sunderland, Massachusetts, was named in his honor in November of 1718, just after he became Lord President of the Council.
    More Details Hide Details His first wife was Lady Arabella Cavendish (19 August 16734 June 1698), daughter of Henry Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Newcastle. They had one daughter: His second wife was Lady Anne Churchill (27 February 168315 April 1716). They had six children: His third wife was Judith Tichborne (17 May 1749). They had three children:
    This he retained until March 1718, when he became First Lord of the Treasury, holding also the post of Lord President of the Council.
    More Details Hide Details He was now effectively the prime minister. Sunderland was especially interested in the proposed peerage bill, a measure designed to limit the number of members of the House of Lords, but this was defeated owing partly to the opposition of Sir Robert Walpole.
  • 1717
    Age 41
    In 1717, he married an Irish lady of fortune, Judith Tichborne (d. 1749), daughter of Sir Benjamin Tichborne (younger brother of Sir Henry Tichborne, 1st Baron Ferrard, Irish cr. 1715) and Elizabeth Gibbs.
    More Details Hide Details She later married Sir Robert Sutton.
    After a visit to George I in Hanover, he secured in April 1717 the position of Secretary of State for the Northern Department.
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  • 1715
    Age 39
    In August 1715, he joined the cabinet as Lord Privy Seal.
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  • 1706
    Age 30
    Sunderland continued to take part in public life, and was active in communicating with the court of Hanover about the steps to be taken in view of the approaching death of the queen. He made the acquaintance of George I in 1706, but when the elector became king, Sunderland only secured the comparatively unimportant position of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
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    Although he was tinged with republican ideas and had made himself obnoxious to Queen Anne by opposing the grant to her husband, Prince George, through the influence of Marlborough he was foisted into the ministry as Secretary of State for the Southern Department, taking office in December 1706.
    More Details Hide Details From 1708 to 1710, he was one of the five Whigs collectively called the Junto, who dominated the government, but he had many enemies, the Queen still disliked him, and in June 1710, he was dismissed. Anne offered him a pension of £3000 a year, but this he refused, saying "if he could not have the honour to serve his country he would not plunder it." When Marlborough protested about the dismissal, the Queen inquired sarcastically whether "the Peace of Europe must depend on it?" She added that Sunderland was universally unpopular, which was indeed the case.
  • 1702
    Age 26
    Having succeeded to the peerage in 1702, Sunderland was one of the commissioners for the union between England and Scotland, and in 1705, he was sent to Vienna as envoy extraordinary.
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  • 1698
    Age 22
    In 1698 he plunged his family into scandal when his brother-in-law Donogh MacCarthy, 4th Earl of Clancarty, who had been imprisoned in the Tower of London for his support for James II and later escaped, was reconciled with his long-estranged wife, Charles' sister Elizabeth, and at long last consummated the marriage.
    More Details Hide Details Charles, alerted by his servants, had Clancarty arrested while he was actually in bed with Elizabeth. The result was a public uproar which gravely embarrassed their parents. William III treated the matter as a trifle, wondering why everyone teased him about "that little spark Clancarty", and gave the couple permission to settle in Altona, Hamburg. Elizabeth, who died in Hamburg in 1704, never saw her parents or brother again. His father's biographer comments that the affair did not show Charles in a good light either as man or brother.
  • 1695
    Age 19
    Called by John Evelyn "a youth of extraordinary hopes," he completed his education at Utrecht, and in 1695 entered the House of Commons as member for Tiverton.
    More Details Hide Details In the same year, he married Arabella, daughter of Henry Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Newcastle; she died in 1698 and in 1700, he married Anne Churchill, daughter of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough and Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough. This was an important alliance for Sunderland and for his descendants; through it he was introduced to political life and later the dukedom of Marlborough came to the Spencers.
  • 1688
    Age 12
    On the death of his elder brother Robert in Paris in September 1688, he became heir to the peerage.
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  • 1675
    Born on April 23, 1675.
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