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Henry Pelham (c.1695-1754; Prime Minister)

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Pelham's rise to power was steady and sure, no doubt helped significantly by his brother's power and influence. In 1724 he became Secretary at War and in 1730, Paymaster General. During the 1730s Pelham's political influnce developed, though largely outside the public eye. By 1742 he had become Leader of the House of Commons, and in 1743 he was made First Lord of the Treasury (Prime Minister) and Chancellor of the Exchequer.

With his brother in the House of Lords, the two brothers controlled a vast web of political influence and patronage and were the dominant forces in British politics during much of the reign of George II.

During his time in power, Pelham was faced with major national and international events, including the Jacobite Rising in 1745 and the War of the Austrian Succession and subsequent Treat of Aix la Chapelle. His main political legacy, however, is considered to be the work he carried out in restructuring the National Debt, which assisted British victory in the Seven Years' War and which enabled a period of stable government after the upheaval of the 1740s.

 

 

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