Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Robert Walpole Sr (1st Earl of Orford) - married Catherine and had
Robert Jr (2nd Earl of O) and Horace (4th Earl of O)
and then married Maria Skerritt and had
Robert and Maria were commemorated as Macheath and Polly in Gay's Beggar's Opera.

Sr was minister for a while, then impeached and sent away. As a whig he came back with George I who did not trust the Tories. He got in trouble over the south sea bubble but survived and helped protect some others. Then he resigned to be in opposition with Townsend. He was on the side of the Prince of Wales and helped fix a reconciliation in 1720. When George II took the throne in 1727 Walpole's power reached its zenith. He reigned for a long time, partly with the help of Queen Caroline, his friend.

The year 1737 was also marked by the death of Walpole's close friend, Queen Caroline . Though her death did not end his personal influence with George II, who had grown loyal to the Prime Minister during the preceding years, Walpole's domination of government continued to decline. His opponents acquired a vocal leader in the Prince of Wales, who was estranged from his father, the King. Several young politicians, including William Pitt the Elder and George Grenville , formed a faction known as the "Patriot Boys" and joined the Prince of Wales in opposition.
Walpole's failure to maintain a policy of avoiding military conflict eventually led to his fall from power.
Walpole attempted to prevent war, but was opposed by the King, the House of Commons, and by a faction in his own Cabinet. In 1739, Walpole abandoned all efforts to stop the conflict, and commenced the War of Jenkins' Ear (so called because Robert Jenkins, an English mariner, claimed that a Spaniard inspecting his vessel had severed his ear).
In 1742 he was made Lord Orford and resigned to take his place in the house of lords.
Lord Hervey sided with Robert Sr.

Horace - lived at Strawberry Hill, wrote the Castle of Otranto, wrote lots of letters (to the Berry sisters among others). May have been gay. Very ambivalent toward MWM ...

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