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The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 899 pages of information about The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford Volume 1.
but had hoped, by intimidating, to extort money from him.  Yet if no real attempt was made on his life, it was not from want of suggestions to it:  one of the weekly journals pointed out Sir Robert’s frequent passing a Putney bridge late at night, attended but by one or two servants, on his way to New Park, as a proper place; and after Sir Robert’s death, the second Earl of Egmont told me, that he was once at a consultation of the Opposition, in which it was proposed to have Sir Robert murdered by a mob, of which the earl had declared his abhorrence.  Such an attempt was actually made in 1733, at the time of the famous excise bill.  As the minister descended the stairs of the House of commons on the night he carried the bill, he was guarded on one side by his second son Edward, and on the other by General Charles Churchill; but the crowd behind endeavoured to throw him down, as he was a bulky man, and trample him to death; and that not succeeding, they tried to strangle him by pulling his red cloak tight-but fortunately the strings broke by the violence of the tug.

(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.

CHAPTER V.

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

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