Townshend, Charles Townshend, 2d Viscount
Townshend, Charles Townshend,
2d Viscount toun´zĕnd [key], 1674–1738, English statesman. A leading Whig in the reign of Queen Anne, he served as a commissioner to negotiate the union (1707) with Scotland and as ambassador (1708–11) to the Netherlands. He strongly supported the Hanoverian succession, and when George I became king (1714) Townshend was appointed a secretary of state. He was somewhat overshadowed by his colleague James Stanhope (later 1st Earl Stanhope), and in 1716 Stanhope and the 3d earl of Sunderland undermined his influence with the king and secured his dismissal. With his brother-in-law Robert Walpole, who left office with him, Townshend formed an opposition group, led nominally by the prince of Wales (later George II). He returned to office in 1720, and after the fall of Sunderland and the death of Stanhope, he became (1721) secretary of state again, sharing leadership of the ministry with Walpole. He negotiated the Treaty of Hanover (1725) with Prussia and France to counter the alliance between Spain and Austria and, after a brief war in which the Spanish besieged Gibraltar, concluded the Treaty of Seville (1729) with Spain. Foreign policy disagreements with Walpole led to Townshend's resignation in 1730. He retired to the country, where, as an experimental farmer, he became known as Turnip Townshend.
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