8 of 18 portraits of William Congreve
by Michael Vandergucht, after Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt
line engraving, published 1718 (1709)
5 5/8 in. x 4 1/4 in. (144 mm x 107 mm) paper size
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Current affairsCharles Spencer, 3rd Earl of Sunderland becomes first Lord of the Treasury, the most influential political post in Britain at this time. Transportation Act creates the punishment of penal transportation as an alternative to the death penalty.Marrow Controversy; an ecclesiastical dispute breaks out in Scotland over the doctrine of atonement.
Art and scienceProper motion of the stars is discovered by Astronomer Royal Edmond Halley.Inventor James Puckle patents an early form of machine gun known as the Puckle Gun.
InternationalCharles XII of Sweden dies in mysterious circumstances and is succeeded by his sister Ulrika Eleonora. Quadruple Alliance formed as the Holy Roman Empire joins the Triple Alliance to prevent the Spanish changing the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht. War of the Quadruple Alliance begins against Spain until 1720. George Byng, 1st Viscount Torrington is made Admiral of the Fleet and thwarts Spanish attempts to take Sicily at the Battle of Cape Passaro.