(98) Wriothesly, Duke of Bedford, had married Lady Anne Egerton, only daughter of Scroop, Duke of Bridgewater, by Lady Elizabeth Churchill, daughter of John, Duke of Marlborough. See vol. I. 8.
Accession of George the Second-Sir Spencer Compton-Expected Change in Administration-Continuation of Lord Townshend-and Sir Robert Walpole by the Intervention of Queen Caroline-Mrs. Howard, afterwards Countess of Suffolk-Her character by Swift-and by Lord Chesterfield.
The unexpected death of George I. on his road to Hanover was instantly notified by Lord Townshend, secretary of state, who attended his Majesty, to his brother Sir Robert Walpole, who as expeditiously was the first to carry the news to the successor and hail him King. The next step was, to ask who his Majesty would please should draw his speech to the Council. “Sir Spencer Compton,” replied the new monarch. The answer was decisive, and implied Sir Robert’s dismission. Sir Spencer Compton was Speaker of the House of Commons, and treasurer, I think, at that time, to his Royal Highness, who by that first command, implied his intention of making Sir Spencer his prime-minister. He was a worthy man, of exceedingly grave formality, but of no parts, as his conduct immediately proved. The poor gentleman was so little qualified to accommodate himself to the grandeur of the moment, and to conceive how a new sovereign should address himself to his ministers, and he had also been so far from meditating to supplant the premier,(99) that, in his distress, it was to Sir Robert himself that he had recourse, and whom he besought to make the draught of the Kin(,’s speech for him. The new Queen, a better judge than her husband of the capacities of the two candidates, and who had silently watched for a moment proper for overturning the new designations, did not lose a moment