George II: “never mind the crash, send me a billion” (Snippets 45)

Windows into History

South Sea Bubble Edward Matthew Ward’s interpretation of the “South Sea Bubble”, painted in the style of Hogarth more than a century after the events depicted.

In 1746, William Pulteney, Earl of Bath, became Prime Minister.  He held the post for a grand total of two days.  Admittedly, this is debatable as strictly speaking there was no official office of Prime Minister at the time, but there is no doubt that he occupies a very unusual place in history.

During the early 1730s, Pulteney had served as a Whig minister, in strong opposition to Robert Walpole.  Although Walpole was also a Whig, Pulteney and his fellow “Patriot Whigs” considered Walpole to be a corrupt prime minister during his extraordinary two decades in power.

In 1734, Pulteney wrote An Enquiry into the Conduct of our Domestick Affairs, from the Year 1721, to the Present Time,  in which he quoted from a financial request…

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