Sir Robert Walpole, 1st earl of Orford (1676-1745)
British statesman considered to be the first Prime Minister. Under Queen Anne he was the leader in the commons of the Whig 'junto' that ruled from 1708-10, serving as war secretary from 1708-10 and treasurer of the navy from 1710-11. He temporarily fell from power in 1712, but returned to favour under George I. From April 1721 he was first lord of the treasury (a post still held by the Prime Minister), and was P.M. in all but name. He retained his power under George II, but started to loss his grip on the Commons during the 1730's. He was not keen on war, disliking the expense, but was forced to take Britain into the War of Jenkin's Ear against Spain, which soon merged with the War of the Austrian Succession. In February 1742 he resigned, having lost the support of the Commons, although he retained his influence over George II until his death.
How to cite this article:
Rickard, J. (18 November 2000), Sir Robert Walpole, 1st earl of Orford (1676-1745), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_walpole.html