nents. On 27 Oct. 1702 Spencer took his seat in the upper house as successor to his father (Luttrell, Brief Hist. Rel. v. 320). One of his first acts as a peer was to oppose the proposal for Prince George's annuity. By so doing he gave great offence to Lady Marlborough (Coxe, Marlborough, i. 104; Wyon, Hist. of Reign of Anne, i. 146).
On 9 Dec. 1704 Sunderland read before the lords a report of the committee with reference to the relations between England and Scotland, recommending legislation with a view to the prevention of a recurrence of the situation which had arisen out of recent Scottish legislation (Luttrell, v. 495). Two years later he was one of the commissioners for the union, and acted as a leading ‘manager’ of the debates in the lords (Burnet). During 1705 he took a prominent part in the business of the House of Lords (Luttrell, v. 524, 529). On 16 April of that year he was created LL.D. by Cambridge University. On 17 June he was appointed envoy extraordinary to Vienna on the accession of Joseph I, his chief duty being to arrange the difference between the emperor and the Hungarians (Boyer, Annals of Queen Anne, iv. 94). On 26 June he embarked at Greenwich, ‘being first to goe to our camp to confer with the Duke of Marlborough’ (ib. p. 566). The latter assured the Dutch envoy that his son-in-law would act under his advice (Marlborough's Letters and Despatches, ii. 167). Sunderland soon tired of Vienna. Owing to the machinations of the ‘whig junto,’ which included, besides himself, Lords Somers, Halifax, Wharton, and Orford, the coming triumph of his party at home was evident. On 11 Oct. 1705 the joint exertions of the Duchess of Marlborough and Sunderland procured the appointment of Cowper to the lord-keepership (see his letter to the Duchess of Marlborough in her Private Corresp. 1838, i. 10, 11). Sunderland desired to share the anticipated good fortune of his political friends, and he reached London on 1 Jan. 1705–6.
During the ensuing year Sunderland was in constant correspondence with the Duchess of Marlborough, who was trying to overcome the reluctance of the queen and also of her husband to admit him to office. Marlborough at length yielded to the advice of Godolphin, who felt the need of whig support (Coxe, Marlborough; Private Corresp. Duchess of Marlb.) On 3 Dec. 1706 Sunderland was named secretary of state for the southern department (Boyer, Annals of Anne, v. 481). He appointed Addison one of his under-secretaries (Luttrell, vi. 112).
Sunderland is described by Cunningham at this time as ‘a man bold in his designs, quick in his conceptions, and born for any hardy enterprise.’ Though the youngest of the whig junto of five, he was the first of them to attain office under Queen Anne. He had been refused the comptrollership of the household in 1704, and it was only the combined influence of the Duchess of Marlborough and Godolphin which now overcame the rooted antipathy of Anne and the distrust of Marlborough. In spite of his ability, Sunderland's rashness and temper made him a thorn in the side of his own party. Lord Somers, the only man to whom he would listen, was (according to Cunningham) ‘in constant fear of his bringing all things into confusion by his boldness and inexperience. Sunderland soon began to discredit the old whigs and to form new ones, and endeavoured to raise contention among the nobility, to dictate to the queen, to impose upon the parliament and people, and to ensnare Mr. Harley.’ During 1708 his indiscreet interference in the Scottish elections gave great uneasiness to Marlborough and Godolphin, and even caused the duchess to remonstrate. He was thought to be influenced by Halifax and ‘some underlings of his party,’ but he had also on this occasion the support of Somers (Private Corresp. Duchess of Marlborough, i. 149–50; Burnet, Hist. of his Own Time, v. 389). He, on his part, suspected Marlborough and Godolphin of not being steady whigs, and did not hesitate in parliament to differ from them openly.
Harley and St. John, who had been retained in office by Anne and Marlborough in order to balance the whig junto, were got rid of in February 1708, and the influence of Sunderland and his ally the duchess was necessarily strengthened by the large whig majority that was returned in the following November. Somers, Halifax, and Orford were successively admitted to the cabinet, and the ministry was thus (greatly in opposition to the wishes of the queen, who disliked government by one party) composed exclusively of whig partisans.
Meanwhile the whig position was being seriously undermined by the intrigues of Mrs. Masham and Harley. Early in 1710 Sunderland supported his father-in-law in urging an address to Anne for Mrs. Masham's removal, but Somers opposed this course as without precedent, and was upheld by Godolphin and the other whig leaders. Sunderland also differed from his more prudent colleagues (of whose lukewarmness he complained bitterly to the duchess) in urging on the proceedings against Sacheverell. He