Sophia. A few days later he wrote again deprecating delay (ib. pp. 475, &c., 481–7). On 12 Aug. he reproached Bothmar for having refused to supply the whigs with money for the coming elections (ib. pp. 499, 500). Throughout the year he continued to urge the sending of the electoral prince and to press for money. Meanwhile he opposed in parliament the commercial treaty with France. In the course of a debate in May ‘there were some reparties’ between him and Bolingbroke (Wentworth Papers, p. 332). On 9 April, when Peterborough said there had been a design to make a captain-general for life, Sunderland hotly called upon him to prove it (ib. p. 328). In April 1714 Sunderland proposed the insertion in an address of thanks to the queen of words to the effect that ‘feares and jealousies’ had been ‘justly’ spread about with reference to the security of the protestant succession (ib. p. 369). Meanwhile he was busy with Argyll in reconciling the whigs and the Hanoverian tories; and Bothmar, soon after his arrival in London, testified that Sunderland's attachment to the king (George I) exceeded that of any other (Macpherson, ii. 640). Nevertheless, when, on the death of Anne, the commission of regency was made public, his name and that of Marlborough were left out. ‘He look'd very pale’ when the names of the lords justices were read (Wentworth Papers, p. 409). The all-powerful Bothmar recommended Sunderland's rival, Townshend, for the post of secretary of state in succession to Bolingbroke (Macpherson, ii. 650); and Sunderland had to be content with the lord-lieutenancy of Ireland, then considered a kind of honourable retirement. Sunderland never crossed the Channel, alleging the state of his health, but he was afterwards accused of bestowing both civil and ecclesiastical patronage on natives of the country. On 28 Aug. 1715 he exchanged his viceroyalty for the office of lord privy seal with a seat in the cabinet. He had been made a privy councillor on 1 Oct. 1714, and in July 1716 obtained the sinecure of vice-treasurer of Ireland for life. But he had no real authority, and made use of his position only to foment dissensions in the ministry. He courted the tories and gathered round him the discontented whigs (Coxe, Walpole, i. 139). Yet he joined Townshend in hostility to the Prince of Wales and his favourite, Argyll, and admitted his hostility to the princess herself (Lady Cowper's Diary, 26 June, 10 and 16 July 1716). In the autumn of 1716 he obtained leave to go to Aix-la-Chapelle for his health. His real object was to gain the ear of George I, who was in Hanover, and to induce him to replace Walpole and Townshend by ‘the Duke of Marlborough's friends’ (ib. 16 July). At Gohre, near Hanover, he obtained access to the king, and immediately began to intrigue against his rivals. He persuaded the king that Townshend and Walpole were endeavouring to delay the conclusion of the treaty with France, and were caballing with the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Argyll, and he gained over their own colleague Stanhope, though the latter had been warned of his probable designs. In November he thought his position so secure that he wrote to Townshend a peremptory letter. The latter reproached Stanhope with treachery, and wrote to the king indignantly denying Sunderland's charges. Townshend afterwards aroused the alarm of the king by asking for further powers for the Prince of Wales during his absence from England, thus seeming to confirm Sunderland's charge that the object of the ministry was to keep the king at Hanover (Coxe, Walpole; cf. Stanhope, Hist. of Engl.) Horace Walpole the elder temporarily pacified George I by taking the blame for delay in the negotiation of the French treaty on himself; and Sunderland, on his return to England, acknowledged that his accusations were unfounded. He and Stanhope threw the blame of the king's displeasure on the Hanoverian favourites.
Nevertheless Townshend was dismissed, and on 15 April 1717 Sunderland succeeded him as secretary for the northern department, with Addison as under-secretary. Walpole followed his brother-in-law out of office, and combined with the Jacobite tories to oppose the ministry, who were sometimes defeated in the commons on important questions. On 16 March 1718 Sunderland became lord president of the council. Four days later he was named first lord of the treasury, Stanhope taking over the post of secretary of state. Sunderland zealously supported his colleague's foreign policy, giving his own chief attention to home affairs. He opposed the repeal of the Test Act as impracticable, and induced Stanhope to lay aside his scheme; but bills were carried repealing the Schism Act and the Occasional Conformity Act. The measure which Sunderland had most at heart was the Peerage Bill, limiting the prerogative of the sovereign to create peers. It is not clear whether the proposal originated with Sunderland or Stanhope; they were probably jointly responsible for it, and it is certain that the former was the more active in his support of the measure. It was favoured by Townshend and many other independent whigs who remembered how