Whig Junto

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John Somers, Baron Somers by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt lowres color.jpg
1stEarlOfHalifax.jpg
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Three members of the Junto: from left to right, Lords:
Somers, Montagu/Halifax and Orford

The Whig Junto is the name given to a group of leading Whigs who were seen to direct the management of the Whig Party and often the government, during the reigns of William III and Anne. [1] The Whig Junto proper consisted of John Somers, later Baron Somers; Charles Montagu, later Earl of Halifax; Thomas Wharton, later Marquess of Wharton, and Edward Russell, later Earl of Orford. [2] They came to prominence due to the favour of Robert Spencer, 2nd Earl of Sunderland [3] and during the reign of Queen Anne, Sunderland's son, the 3rd Earl succeeded his father. Opponents gave them the nickname "the five tyrannising lords". Other figures prominent around the edges of the Junto include Sir John Trenchard and Thomas Tollemache.

The Whigs were a political faction and then a political party in the parliaments of England, Scotland, Great Britain, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Between the 1680s and 1850s, they contested power with their rivals, the Tories. The Whigs' origin lay in constitutional monarchism and opposition to absolute monarchy. The Whigs played a central role in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and were the standing enemies of the Stuart kings and pretenders, who were Roman Catholic. The Whigs took full control of the government in 1715 and remained totally dominant until King George III, coming to the throne in 1760, allowed Tories back in. The Whig Supremacy (1715–1760) was enabled by the Hanoverian succession of George I in 1714 and the failed Jacobite rising of 1715 by Tory rebels. The Whigs thoroughly purged the Tories from all major positions in government, the army, the Church of England, the legal profession and local offices. The Party's hold on power was so strong and durable, historians call the period from roughly 1714 to 1783 the age of the Whig Oligarchy. The first great leader of the Whigs was Robert Walpole, who maintained control of the government through the period 1721–1742 and whose protégé Henry Pelham led from 1743 to 1754.

William III of England 17th-century Stadtholder, Prince of Orange and King of England, Scotland and Ireland

William III, also widely known as William of Orange, was sovereign Prince of Orange from birth, Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Overijssel in the Dutch Republic from 1672 and King of England, Ireland and Scotland from 1689 until his death in 1702. As King of Scotland, he is known as William II. He is sometimes informally known in Northern Ireland and Scotland as "King Billy".

Anne, Queen of Great Britain Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland (1702–07); queen of Great Britain and Ireland (1707–14)

Anne was the Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland between 8 March 1702 and 1 May 1707. On 1 May 1707, under the Acts of Union, two of her realms, the kingdoms of England and Scotland, united as a single sovereign state known as Great Britain. She continued to reign as Queen of Great Britain and Ireland until her death in 1714.

Contents

Somers, Wharton, Russell and Montagu were elected to the House of Commons in 1689 [4] and were granted minor office. Their effectiveness in the Commons brought them Sunderland's attention. The Junto began to dominate the ministry from the time of the resignation of the Tory Secretary of State Lord Nottingham in 1693, [5] communicating to the King and Sunderland through the Whig Secretary of State, the Duke of Shrewsbury. As the members of the Junto entered the Lords — Somers was made Lord Keeper in 1693 [6] and was promoted to a barony four years later, [7] Wharton succeeded his father as Baron Wharton in 1696, [8] Russell was created Earl of Orford in 1697 [9] and Montagu(e) [n 1] was created Baron Halifax in 1700 — their hold on the Commons weakened and by 1700 the Junto was largely out of power. [10] In 1701 Somers, Orford and Halifax were impeached but survived the attack [11] and late in the year the Junto seemed set to return to power in order to help the king rally support for the War of the Spanish Succession. However, King William's death in March 1702 delayed their return: Queen Anne detested them and refused to include them in the ministry, which was instead dominated by High Tories, with whom her sympathies lay. [12] With the elder Sunderland dead, the Junto's connection to his son — who was the son-in-law of the Queen's favourite couple, the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough — proved useful, as did the Junto's support of the war, which contrasted with Tory ambivalence to it.

Daniel Finch, 2nd Earl of Nottingham English politician and noble

Daniel Finch, 2nd Earl of Nottingham, 7th Earl of Winchilsea PC, was an English Tory statesman during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

Charles Talbot, 1st Duke of Shrewsbury British diplomat

Sir Charles Talbot, 1st Duke of Shrewsbury, 12th Earl of Shrewsbury, 12th Earl of Waterford, KG, PC was an English politician who was part of the Immortal Seven group that invited William III, Prince of Orange to depose James II of England as monarch during the Glorious Revolution. He was appointed to several minor roles before the revolution, but came to prominence as a member of William's government. Born to Roman Catholic parents, he remained in that faith until 1679 when—during the time of the Popish Plot and following the advice of the divine John Tillotson—he converted to the Church of England. Shrewsbury took his seat in the House of Lords in 1680 and three years later was appointed Gentleman-Extraordinary of the Bedchamber, suggesting he was in favour at the court of Charles II.

Lord Keeper of the Great Seal former officer of the English Crown charged with physical custody of the Great Seal of England

The Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of England, and later of Great Britain, was formerly an officer of the English Crown charged with physical custody of the Great Seal of England. This position evolved into one of the Great Officers of State.

In 1705 Somers's protégé Lord Cowper was made Lord Keeper [13] and in 1706 Sunderland became a Secretary of State. [14] After the resignation of Harley in 1708, Marlborough and his ally the Lord Treasurer Godolphin became more and more dependent on the Junto, who returned to office with Somers as Lord President, Wharton as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and Orford as First Lord of the Admiralty. [15]

William Cowper, 1st Earl Cowper 17th/18-century English politician and first Lord Chancellor of Great Britain

William Cowper, 1st Earl Cowper, was an English politician who became the first Lord Chancellor of Great Britain. Cowper was the son of Sir William Cowper, 2nd Baronet, of Ratling Court, Kent, a Whig member of parliament of some mark in the two last Stuart reigns.

Sidney Godolphin, 1st Earl of Godolphin British politician

Sidney Godolphin, 1st Earl of Godolphin, was a leading British politician of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. He was a Privy Councillor and Secretary of State for the Northern Department before attaining real power as First Lord of the Treasury. He was instrumental in negotiating and passing the Acts of Union 1707 with Scotland, which created the Kingdom of Great Britain.

The ministry's increasing dependence on the Junto Whigs caused the Queen's relationship with the Marlboroughs and Godolphin to sour. In 1710 Godolphin and the Junto Whigs were forced from power. [16] The Junto led opposition to the new ministry's peace policy from the House of Lords, leading to the creation of new peers to prevent this opposition from voting down the peace treaty. [17]

House of Lords upper house in the Parliament of the United Kingdom

The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers, is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is granted by appointment or else by heredity or official function. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Officially, the full name of the house is the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.

The term "Junto" is derived from "Junta", a Hispano-Portuguese term for a civil deliberative or administrative council, which in 18th-century English had not yet gained its present association with the governments of a military dictatorship.

Junta is a Spanish and Portuguese term for a civil deliberative or administrative council. In English, it predominantly refers to the government of an authoritarian state run by high ranking officers of a military. Military juntas can refer to either a government in which a coalition of military officers rules in conjunction or to a military dictatorship in which a leader's government and administration is staffed primarily by military officers. Juntas, like military dictatorships, are often the result of military coups. "Junta" literally means "union" and often refers to the army, navy and air force commanders taking over the power of the president, prime minister, king or other non-military leader.

Spanish language Romance language

Spanish or Castilian is a Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.

Portuguese language Romance language that originated in Portugal

Portuguese is a Western Romance language originating in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the sole official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, and São Tomé and Príncipe. It also has co-official language status in East Timor, Equatorial Guinea and Macau in China. As the result of expansion during colonial times, a cultural presence of Portuguese and Portuguese creole speakers are also found in Goa, Daman and Diu in India; in Batticaloa on the east coast of Sri Lanka; in the Indonesian island of Flores; in the Malacca state of Malaysia; and the ABC islands in the Caribbean where Papiamento is spoken, while Cape Verdean Creole is the most widely spoken Portuguese-based Creole. Reintegrationists maintain that Galician is not a separate language, but a dialect of Portuguese. A Portuguese-speaking person or nation is referred to as "Lusophone" (Lusófono).

First (Main) Whig Junto

OFFICENAMETERM
Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Charles Montagu 16941699
First Lord of the Treasury 16971699
Lord Keeper The Lord Somers 16941697
Lord Chancellor 16971699
Comptroller of the Household The Lord Wharton 16941699
Master-General of the Ordnance The Earl of Romney 16941699
Lord High Admiral The Earl of Orford 16941699
Northern Secretary The Duke of Shrewsbury 16941695
Southern Secretary 16951698
Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Tenison 16941699
First Lord of the Treasury The Lord Godolphin of Rialton (T)16941697
Lord President of the Council The Duke of Leeds 16941699
Lord Privy Seal The Earl of Pembroke 16941699
Lord Steward The Duke of Devonshire 16941699
Lord Chamberlain The Earl of Sunderland 16951699
Southern Secretary Sir John Trenchard 16941695
James Vernon [n 2] 16981699
Northern Secretary Sir William Trumbull 16951697
James Vernon 16971699

Later Whig Junto and the Whig Governments

The Junto came back to power within a year of the accession as King of George I, the Elector of Hanover, in 1714 but most of the members died early in the new reign: Wharton and Halifax in 1715, Somers the next year, while Orford and Sunderland soon fell out with each other, with Orford not holding office after 1717.

George I of Great Britain King of Great Britain, Elector of Hanover

George I was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1 August 1714 and ruler of the Duchy and Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) in the Holy Roman Empire from 1698 until his death in 1727.

Whigs however took full control of the government in 1715, and remained totally dominant, reaching new heights with the creation of the first recognised Prime Minister, Robert Walpole. This was however until King George III, coming to the throne in 1760, ensured creation of more peerages for Tories they sought to dispel a naturally resultant economic favouritism based on politics, caused by this long renewed period of ascendancy and promised greater royal concessions. [18]

Notes and references

Notes
  1. The spelling in this generation of his family still varied.
  2. James Vernon was appointed Secretary of State in 1697, with responsibility for the Northern Department. The following year, after the Duke of Shrewsbury left the government, he took responsibility for the Southern Department as well.
References
  1. Macaulay, Vol. IV, p.357
  2. Macaulay, Vol. IV, pp.357-368
  3. Macaulay, Vol. IV, pp.355-356
  4. Macaulay, Vol. II, pp.484-486 (for Somers, Wharton, and Montagu)
  5. Macaulay, Vol. IV, p.376
  6. Macaulay, Vol. IV, p.299
  7. Macaulay, Vol. IV, p.619
  8. Macaulay, Vol. IV, p.545
  9. Macaulay, Vol. IV, p.619
  10. Macaulay, Vol. V., pp.115-130
  11. Macaulay, Vol. V., pp.194-200, 218-219; Clark, p. 195
  12. Hopkinson, p.178
  13. Hopkinson, p.239
  14. Hopkinson, p.249
  15. Clark, p.225
  16. Clark, p.227
  17. Clark, p.233; Hopkinson, p.339
  18. H. T. Dickinson; Walpole and the Whig Supremacy. (1973) online edition

Sources

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