Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/660

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SPENCER, 5TH EARL—SPENER

weeks of incessant toil, which the physique of Lord John Russell could not sustain any longer, the whole resppnsibility was cast on Lord Althorp. To combat the objections of three such pertinacious opponents as Croker, Sugden and Wetherell required both skill and courage, and in Lord Althorp these qualities were found. On one evening' he made as marly AS twenty Speeches. The Reform Bill was carried at last, and popular instinct was right in assigning to the leader of the house a credit only second to that earned by Lord John Russell. After the dissolution of 1833 the Whigs returned to; power with augmented numbers; but differences soon showed themselves among both leaders and followers, and their majority crumbled away. Their position was strengthened for a time by triumphantly carrying a new poor law bill; and even their keenest critics would not allow that, had the Whig propositions on tithes and church rates been carried into effect, many years of passionate controversy would have been spared. The ministry of Lord Grey was shattered to pieces by difficulties over an Irish coercion bill. Although Lord Melbourne became premier (July 14, 1834), the fortunes of the the ministry rested on Lord Althorp's presence in the House of Commons.

The death of the 2nd Earl Spencer in November 1834, called his son to the upper house, and William IV. took advantage of this event to summon a Tory cabinet to his side. The new Lord Spencer abandoned the cares of office and returned to country life with unalloyed delight. Henceforth agriculture, not politics, was his principal interest. He was the first president of the Royal Agricultural Society (founded 1838), and a notable cattle-breeder. Often as he was urged by his political friends to come to their assistance, he rarely quitted the peaceful pleasures which he loved. He died at Wiseton on the 1st of October 1845, being succeeded as 4th Earl, in default of issue, by his brother Frederick (d. 1857). He had held, as a statesman, a remarkable position. The Whigs required, to carry the Reform Bill, a leader of unstained character, one to whom party spirit could not attach the suspicion of greed of office, and against Lord Althorp malevolence was powerless. No stronger proof of his pre-eminence could be given than the oft-quoted saying of Lord Hardinge that one of Croker's ablest speeches was demolished by the simple statement of Lord Althorp that he had collected some figures which entirely refuted it, but had lost them. The trust which the house put in him then was never wanting.


SPENCER, JOHN POYNTZ SPENCER, 5th Earl (1835-1010), English statesman, was the son of the 4th Earl and his first wife, a daughter of William Stephen Poyntz, of Cowdray Park, Sussex. Born on the 27th of October 1835, and educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge, he was a member of parliament for a few months before he succeeded to the earldom in December 1857. His long career as a Liberal politician dates from his acceptance of the office of lord-lieutenant of Ireland under Gladstone in 1868, a post which he retained until 1874. When the Liberals returned to power in 1880 he was appointed lord president of the council, but in 1882 he eittered upon a second term of office as lord-lieutenant of Ireland. The three years during which Earl Spencer now filled this position was a period of exceptional disorder in Ireland, marked by a long series of outrages and conspiracies associated with the "Invincibles," but the courage and firmness which he. then displayed won the admiration of all, and made his adoption of the policy of Home Rule in 1885 an event of considerable interest. In the short Liberal administration of 1886 he was lord-president of the council, and from 1892 to 1895 he was a very capable first lord of the admiralty; it is on record that Gladstone, on retiring in 1904, would have recommended the Queen, if she had consulted him, to summon Lord Spencer to the premiership. From 1002 to 1905 he was the Liberal leader in the House of Lords, and early in 1905, when a change of government was seen to be probable, it was thought in some quarters that he would be the most suitable Liberal prime minister. But his health broke down just at this time, and he took no further part in political life, although he survived until the 13th of August 1910, when he died at Althorp. For forty-five years the earl was a Knight of the Garter; he was lord-lieutenant of Northamptonshire for upwards of thirty years, and he had a reputation as a keen and daring rider to hounds. The fine library, collected at Althorp by the 2nd earl, was sold by him for £250,000 to Mrs Rylands, the widow of a Manchester merchant, and was by her presented to the city of Manchester.

Earl Spencer had no children, and his successor was his half-brother, Charles Robert Spencer (b. 1857), who became the 6th earl. As the Hon. Charles R. Spencer he was one of the parliamentary representatives for Northamptonshire from 1880 to 1895 and again from 1900 to 1905, and was vice-chamberlain of the royal household from 1892 to 1895. In 1905 he was appointed lord chamberlain, and in the same year he was raised to the peerage as Viscount Althorp.


SPENCER, WILLIAM ROBERT (1769-1834), English poet and wit, was the son of Lord Charles Spencer, second son of Charles Spencer, 3rd duke of Marlborough and 5th earl of Sunderland. He was educated at Harrow and Christ Church, Oxford, but left the university without taking a degree. Spencer's wit made him a popular member of society, but he took no part in public life although he numbered among his friends leading statesmen like Pitt, Fox and Sheridan. He was an accomplished writer of "occasional" verse, which was warmly praised by Scott, by Christopher North and by Byron, who placed him in the same rank as Moore, Rogers and Campbell. In 1796 he published an English version of Burger's Leonore, and in 1802 he burlesqued German romance in his Urania, which was produced on the stage at Drury Lane. Among his best-known pieces, which were published in a collection of his poems in 1811, were "Beth Gelert" and "Too Late I Stayed." He died in poverty in Paris in 1834. In 1791 he married Susan, daughter of Count Jenison-Walworth, chamberlain to the elector palatine, by whom he had five sons and two daughters. One son, Aubrey George Spencer (1795-1872), became first bishop of Newfoundland in 1839, being afterwards translated to the See of Jamaica. Another son, George Trevor Spencer (1799*1866), was mi 83 7 consecrated second bishop of Madras. He published several books relating to missionary work in India; on his return to England in 1849 he was appointed assistant to the bishop of Bath and Wells, and in 1860 became chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral. He married, in 1823, Harriet, daughter of Sir Benjamin Hobhouse and sister of Lord Brought on.

See W. R. Spencer, Poems (London, 1835), containing. a biographical memoir; The Annual Register (1834); Alumni Oxonienses 1715-1886., annotated by J. Foster (4 vols., Oxford, 1891).


SPENCER, a township of Worcester county, Massachusetts, U.S.A., about 11 m. W. of Worcester. Pop. (1890), 8747; (1900), 7627, of whom 1614 were foreign-born; (1910, U.S. census), 6740. Area, about 34.1 sq. m. The township is served by the Boston & Albany railway and by inter-urban electric lines. The Richard Sugden Public Library, founded in 1889, had 12,000 volumes in 1908. Bemis Memorial Park and the Samuel Bemis Monument were dedicated in 1901 in honour of the first settler of Spencer. There are three other public parks. Among the township's manufactures are boots and shoes, woollens, muslin underwear, wire, and wooden and paper boxes. Spencer was a part of the Leicester grant; was first settled in 1721; was the “West Parish of Leicester” in 1744-1753; and in 1753 was incorporated as a township, under its present name. In one house in Spencer were born Elias Howe, jun., the inventor of the sewing-machine, and his uncles, William Howe, inventor of the “Howe truss” bridge (see Bridges), and Tyler Howe (1800-1880), inventor (in 1855) of the spring bed; in 1909 a memorial was dedicated to these three inventors.

See Henry M. Tower, Historical Sketches Relating to Spencer, Mass. (4 vols., Spencer, 1901-1909).


SPENER, PHILIPP JAKOB (1635-1705), German theologian, was born on the 13th of January 1635, at Rappoltsweiler in Upper Alsace. After a brief stay in the grammar school of Colmar he went to Strassburg in 1651, where he devoted himself