Definitions for walpole, sir robert

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  1. Walpole, Sir Robert

    Earl of Orford, Whig statesman, born at Houghton, Norfolk, educated at Eton and Cambridge; entered Parliament in 1701, and became member for King's Lynn in 1702; was favoured by the Whig leaders, and promoted to office in the Cabinet; was accused of corruption by the opposite party when in power, and committed to the Tower; on his release after acquittal was re-elected for King's Lynn; in 1715 became First Lord of the Treasury, and in 1721 became Prime Minister, which he continued to be for twenty-one years, but not without opposition on account of his pacific policy; on being driven against his will into a war with Spain, which proved unsuccessful, he retired into private life; he stood high in repute for his financial policy; it was he who established the first Sinking Fund, and who succeeded as a financier in restoring confidence after the bursting of the South Sea Bubble (q. v.); it is to his policy in defeating the plans of the Jacobites that the Hanoverian dynasty in great part owe their permanent occupancy of the British throne; it was a favourite maxim of his. "Every man has his price," and he was mortified to find that Pitt could not be bought by any bribe of his (1677-1745).

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