“From wickedness or from weakness”: the beginning of the end for Sir Robert Walpole

The History of Parliament

During July we welcomed year 12 student Thomas O’Donoghue to the History of Parliament office, to carry out a work experience placement with our research and outreach teams. During his time, Thomas worked with Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 project, to explore an attempt in 1741 to topple Sir Robert Walpole from power.Here Thomas writes about the impact of two key speeches given in the Houseduring this year…

On 13 February 1741, Sir Robert Walpole’s enemies made their most daring assault on the man who had dominated British politics for two decades: they proposed a motion in the House of Lords calling for a “Humble Address” to King George II. This address suggested that Walpole should be removed “from His Majesty’s Presence and Councils for ever.” While this motion was ultimately handily defeated – sources agree it was by at least 40 votes – it…

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