Spencer, George John Spencer, 2d Earl, 1758–1834, British public official. He was elected to the House of Commons in 1780 but in 1783 inherited the earldom. In 1794, William Pitt appointed him first lord of the admiralty. In his term of office the navy achieved the victories of St. Vincent and Camperdown, and Spencer was responsible for the selection of Horatio Nelson to command the fleet that won the famous battle of Aboukir (1798). He left office in 1801 but later served (1806–7) as home secretary. Afterward he devoted himself to literary and scientific pursuits. His son John Charles Spencer, 3d Earl Spencer, 1782–1845, better known as Viscount Althorp, was chancellor of the exchequer and leader of the House of Commons under the 2d Earl Grey. With Lord John Russell, he piloted the Reform Bill of 1832 through the Commons. He retired from politics when he succeeded (1834) to the earldom.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.