First Whig Junto

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The First Whig Junto controlled the government of England from 1694 to 1699 and was the first part of the Whig Junto, a cabal of people who controlled the most important political decisions.[n 1] The Junto was reappointed twice following the elections of 1695 and 1698.


The Whig elite rose to government ascendancy while Lord Danby held office through three shortly-spaced changes of Sovereign (dating to the Royal-dominated ministries of Charles II). The Junto established its dominance in 1694 with the appointment of Sir Charles Montagu as Chancellor of the Exchequer on 10 May.[1] Danby, who had been created Duke of Leeds on 4 May, remained in office, under a diminished role while still Lord President of the Council, but the Junto controlled the government of England from 1694 to 1699.

It was led by six prominent members: Montagu[n 2], Somers, Wharton, Romney, Orford, and Shrewsbury. Supporting these peers were two unofficial whips in the House of Lords: the Earls of Sunderland and Portland. Only one of these held at the time an office, albeit less senior, as Lord Chamberlain. The Whig Party held a majority in the House of Commons after the election in 1695, although not all Whig MPs were unswervingly loyal to the Junto.

The Junto oversaw the creation of the Bank of England in 1694, but by 1699 the Junto's power had declined in the face of opposition by Robert Harley and the Tories.[1] Many members of the Junto would return to government from 1706 to 1710 as part of the Godolphin-Marlborough ministry.


The government was led by the six most prominent members of the Junto.

Office Name Term
Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Charles Montagu 1694–1699
First Lord of the Treasury 1697–1699
Lord Keeper The Lord Somers 1694–1697
Lord Chancellor 1697–1699
Comptroller of the Household The Lord Wharton 1694–1699
Master-General of the Ordnance The Earl of Romney 1694–1699
Lord High Admiral The Earl of Orford 1694–1699
Northern Secretary The Duke of Shrewsbury 1694–1695
Southern Secretary 1695–1698

Other members of the ministry had less power.

Office Name Term
Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Tenison 1694–1699
First Lord of the Treasury The Lord Godolphin of Rialton (Tory) 1694–1697
Lord President of the Council The Duke of Leeds 1694–1699
Lord Privy Seal The Earl of Pembroke 1694–1699
Lord Steward The Duke of Devonshire 1694–1699
Lord Chamberlain The Earl of Sunderland 1695–1699
Southern Secretary Sir John Trenchard 1694–1695
James Vernon 1698–1699
Northern Secretary Sir William Trumbull 1695–1697
James Vernon 1697–1699

James Vernon was appointed Secretary of State in 1697, with responsibility for the Northern Department. The following year, after the Duke of Shrewsbury left the government, he took responsibility for the Southern Department as well.


  1. ^ Compare junta which has fallen into use only for military junta
  2. ^ Lord Montagu became overall leader in 1697, the same year that the last Tory, Godolphin, was removed from office


  1. ^ a b Handley, Stuart. "The Politics of the House". History of Parliament Online. The History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
Preceded by Government of England
Succeeded by