Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington becomes Prime Minister

Although nominally head of the ministry, Wilmington was 69 and increasingly infirm and the de facto head of the government was Lord Cartaret the Secretary of State for the Northern Department. Foreign policy dominated the agenda with Britain’s continuing participation in the War of Austrian Succession and the administration’s domestic achievements were meagre but included the Place Act of 1742 which attempted to reduce corruption by excluding MPs from holding a range of public offices and the Spirituous Liquors Act of 1743 which increased the duties on spirits in an attempt to combat public drunkenness. Wilmington’s health deteriorated rapidly in June 1743 and he died in office on 2nd July.