Walpole and the Whig Supremacy

By H. T. Dickinson | Go to book overview

10 The Last Years (1742-5)

After twenty-one years of power Walpole was at last forced to admit defeat, but he had the satisfaction of denying his enemies a complete triumph. His fall did not signal the collapse of his whole administration, still less of his political system. His old colleagues, Newcastle, Hardwicke, and Henry Pelham, retained the King's favour, remained in office, and continued to command the loyalty of the pro-Government Whigs, the Old Corps. With the political initiative firmly in their hands, they were able to follow Walpole's advice on how to divide the Opposition. They seduced some of the Opposition's leading spokesmen by offering them places in a reconstituted administration, thus encouraging divisions and mutual distrust among the various Opposition groups. Walpole urged them not to trust the Tones, and they themselves feared the political aims of some of the young Patriots, so they concentrated on winning over the Opposition Whigs led by Pulteney and Carteret. It was obvious that these two politicians had no other aim but to gain office. The concessions offered to them, however, were not substantial. Neither of them was to replace Walpole at the head of the Treasury. This important post went to a political nonentity, Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington. Carteret had to be content with one of the secretaryships of state, whereas Pulteney's only reward was a peerage. Walpole had advised the King to create his old enemy Earl of Bath in order to reduce his capacity for making trouble for the ministry in the Commons. Not only were Carteret and Pulteney in no position to dominate the new ministry, they were also accused of betraying the principles of the Opposition. Their defection shattered the precarious unity of the anti-Walpole

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Walpole and the Whig Supremacy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Introduction to the Series 5
  • Contents 7
  • Plates 8
  • Preface 9
  • I - Walpole and the Whigs 11
  • 2 - A Whig Apprenticeship (1701-14) 20
  • 3 - The Hanoverian Succession 40
  • 4 - Walpole Consolidates His Power 56
  • 5 - Political Management 66
  • 6 - Financial and Commercial Policies 93
  • 7 - Foreign Policy 113
  • 8 - Walpole and His Critics 140
  • 9 - Walpole in Power (1721-42) 160
  • 10 - The Last Years (1742-5) 188
  • Bibliography 193
  • Index 197
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