CHURCHILL, Charles (c.1679-1745).
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Family and Education
b. c.1679, illegit. s. of Gen. Charles Churchill, M.P., bro. of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. unm., 1s.
Ensign 3 Ft. 1688, capt. 1697; capt. and lt.-col. 2 Ft. Gds. 1704; a.-d.-c. to his fa. at Blenheim; maj. 3 Ft. 1706; brevet-col. 1707; col. regt. of Ft. (aft. Marines) 1709-14; col. regt. of Drags. 1715-17; col. 10 Drags. 1723-d.; brig.-gen. 1727; maj.-gen. 1735; lt.-gen. 1739.
Groom of the bedchamber to George II as Prince of Wales and King 1718-d.; gov. Chelsea Hospital 1720-2; gov. Plymouth 1722-d.; dep. ranger, St. James’s Park, 1739-d.
‘A worthy and good-natured, friendly and honourable man, who had lived Sir Robert Walpole’s intimate friend for many years, and through all the different stages of his power and retirement, prosperity and disgrace’, Churchill was returned by Walpole for Castle Rising in 1715, followed him into opposition in 1717, stood by him when he was expected to fall in 1727, and was one of the bodyguard of friends who escorted him through the anti-excise mob in 1733.1 He voted consistently with the Walpole and Pelham Administrations till his death, 14 May 1745.
According to Horace Walpole, Churchill
professed never having read a whole book through in his life, and his letters were so ill wrote and so ill spelled that Sir Robert Walpole used to keep them unread till he saw him, and then he often could not read them himself.2
Nevertheless he had a great reputation as a wit.
Last session on some great question Churchill came to vote, though lame on crutches. The Prince of Wales met him - ‘So, Mr. Churchill, I see even the lame and the blind come to vote’ - ‘Yes, Sir, the lame of our side, and the blind of theirs.’3
Hanbury Williams sums up his life:
None led through youth a gayer life than he, Cheerful in converse, smart in repartee. Sweet was his night, and joyful was his day, He dined with Walpole, and with Oldfield lay; But with old age its vices came along, And in narration he’s extremely long; Exact in circumstance, and nice in dates, On every subject he his tale relates.4