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Title: Farmer George, Volume 1
Author: Melville, Lewis, 1874-1932
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Farmer George, Volume 1" ***

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[Illustration: _From a print_ (_circa 1812_) _in the British Museum_




  _Author of_ "_The First Gentleman of Europe_,"
  "_The Life of William Makepeace Thackeray_,"
  _&c., &c._



  VOL. I








  _To whom the Author is indebted for
  many valuable suggestions_



  CHAP.                                            PAGE

  INTRODUCTION                                       ix

     I. FREDERICK, PRINCE OF WALES                    1

    II. BOYHOOD OF GEORGE III                        33

   III. THE PRINCE COMES OF AGE                      62

    IV. THE NEW KING                                 71

     V. "THE FAIR QUAKER"                            86


   VII. THE ROYAL MARRIAGE                          120


    IX. THE COURT OF GEORGE III                     167


    XI. "NO. XLV"                                   235

   XII. THE KING UNDER GRENVILLE                    269




  GEORGE III                           _frontispiece_

  FREDERICK, PRINCE OF WALES                 _facing_ 5

  AND HER SON                                      " 11

  CAROLINE, CONSORT OF GEORGE II                   " 15

  GEORGE II                                        " 15

    WALES, AND DR. AYSCOUGH                        " 35


  LEICESTER HOUSE                                  " 45

  GEORGE, PRINCE OF WALES                          " 55

  GEORGE III                                       " 62


  "THE BUTTON MAKER"                               " 75

  MISS AXFORD (HANNAH LIGHTFOOT)                   " 86


  QUEEN CHARLOTTE                                 " 120

  JOHN, EARL OF BUTE                              " 136

  WINDSOR CASTLE                                  " 167

  "THE KITCHEN METAMORPHOZ'D"                     " 178


    GAOL                                          " 196


  BUCKINGHAM HOUSE                                " 202

  "THE CONSTANT COUPLE"                           " 220

  KEW PALACE                                      " 223

  JOHN WILKES                                     " 235

  "THE BRUISER" (CHARLES CHURCHILL)               " 243

  THE KING'S LIFE ATTEMPTED                       " 258

  "THE RECONCILIATION"                            " 268

  THE RIGHT HON. GEORGE GRENVILLE                 " 270


Vol. I


This work is an attempt to portray the character of George III and to
present him alike in his private life and in his Court. It is,
therefore, not essential to the scheme of this book to treat of the
political history of the reign, but it is impossible entirely to ignore
it, since the King was so frequently instrumental in moulding it.[1]
Only those events in which he took a leading part have been introduced,
and consequently these volumes contain no account of Irish and Indian
affairs, in which, apart from the Catholic Emancipation and East India
Bills, the King did not actively interest himself.

  [1] "So closely is the domestic history of George the Third connected
  with the political events of his reign, as to render it almost
  impossible to disassociate the one from the other. Fortunately, however,
  in the war of party and in the animated struggle for ascendency which he
  so long carried on with the great Whig aristocracy, there is ample and
  stirring interest."--J. H. Jesse.

This difficulty was not met with by the author when writing a book on
the life and times of George IV,[2] because that Prince had little to do
with politics. It is true that he threw his influence into the scale of
the Opposition as soon as, or even before, he came of age, but this was
for strictly personal reasons. Fox and Sheridan were the intimates of
the later years of his minority, and his association with them gave him
the pleasure of angering his father: it was his protest against George
III for refusing him the income to which he considered himself, as
Prince of Wales, entitled. He had, however, no interest in politics, as
such, either before or after he ascended the throne; and, indeed, as
King, the only measure that interested him was the Bill for the
emancipation of the Catholics, which he opposed because resistance to it
had made his father and his brother Frederick popular.

  [2] _The First Gentleman of Europe._ 2 vols. 1906.

With George III the case was very different. He came to the throne in
his twenty-third year, with his mother's advice, "Be King, George,"
ringing in his ears, and, fully determined to carry out this instruction
to the best of his ability, he was not content to reign without making
strenuous efforts to rule. "Farmer George," the nickname that has clung
to him ever since it was bestowed satirically in the early days of his
reign, has come, except by those well versed in the history of the
times, to be accepted as a tribute to his simple-mindedness and his
homely mode of living. To these it will come as a shock to learn that
"Farmer George" was a politician of duplicity so amazing that, were he
other than a sovereign, it might well be written down as
unscrupulousness. Loyalty, indeed, seems to have been foreign to his
nature: he was a born schemer. When the Duke of Newcastle was in power,
George plotted for the removal of Pitt, knowing that the resignation of
the "Great Commoner" must eventually bring about the retirement of the
Duke, and so leave Bute in possession of supreme authority. When within
a year "The Favourite" was compelled to withdraw, George, unperturbed,
appointed George Grenville Prime Minister, but finding him
unsubservient, intrigued against him, was found out, compelled to
promise to abstain from further interference against his own ministers,
broke his word again and again, and finally brought about the downfall
of Grenville, who was succeeded by the Marquis of Rockingham. Again
George employed the most unworthy means to get rid of Rockingham, and
during the debates on the repeal of the Stamp Act encouraged his
Household to vote against the Government, assuring them they should not
lose their places, indeed would rise higher in his favour, because of
their treachery to the head of the Administration of the Crown; and all
the while he was writing encouraging notes to Rockingham assuring him of
his support! This strange record of underhand intrigues has been traced
in the following pages.

George had not even the excuse of success for his treachery. It is true
that he contrived to compel the resignation of various ministers, but
his incursions into the political arena were fraught with disaster. He
forced Bute on the nation, and Bute could not venture to enter the City
except with a band of prize-fighters around his carriage to protect him!
He took an active part against Wilkes, and Wilkes became a popular hero!
He encouraged the imposition of the Stamp Act in America, and in the end
America was lost to England! Having no knowledge of men and being
ignorant of the world, he was guided at first by secret advisers, and
subsequently by his own likes and dislikes, coupled with a regard for
his dignity, that did not, however, prevent him from personally
canvassing Windsor in favour of the Court candidate when Keppel was
standing for the parliamentary representation of the town.

George III was, according to his lights, a good man--

    "I grant his household abstinence; I grant
     His neutral virtues, which most monarchs want;"

a kind master; a well-meaning, though unwise father; a faithful husband,

        "that household virtue, most uncommon,
    Of constancy to a bad, ugly woman,"

which was the more creditable as his nature was vastly susceptible. He
was pious, anxious to do his duty, and deeply attached to his country,
but believing himself always in the right, was frequently led by his
feelings into courses such as justified Byron's magnificent onslaught:--

    "In the first year of Freedom's second dawn
       Died George the Third; although no tyrant, one
     Who shielded tyrants, till each sense withdrawn
       Left him nor mental nor external sun;
     A better farmer ne'er brushed dew from lawn,
       A worse king never left a realm undone.
     He died--but left his subjects still behind,
       One half as mad, and t'other no less blind."[3]

  [3] _The Vision of Judgment._

Yet, notwithstanding all the mistakes George III made, and all the
mischief he did, his reign ended in a blaze of glory. England had
survived the French Revolution without disastrous effects; and had taken
a leading part in the subjugation of Napoleon. Nelson and Wellington,
Wordsworth and Keats, Fox and Pitt, reflected their glory and the
splendour of their actions upon the country of their birth. Yet--such is
the irony of fate at its bitterest--while the world acknowledged the
supremacy of England on land, at sea, and in commerce, while a whole
people, delighted with magnificent achievements, acclaimed their ruler,
crying lustily "God save the King," George, in whose name these great
deeds were done, was but "a crazy old blind man in Windsor Tower."

    "Give me a royal niche--it is my due,
     The virtuousest king the realm ever knew.

     I, through a decent reputable life,
     Was constant to plain food and a plain wife.

     Ireland I risked, and lost America;
     But dined on legs of mutton every day.

     My brain, perhaps, might be a feeble part;
     But yet I think I had an English heart.

     When all the Kings were prostrate, I alone
     Stood face to face against Napoleon;

     Nor ever could the ruthless Frenchman forge
     A fetter for old England and old George.

     I let loose flaming Nelson on his fleets;
     I met his troops with Wellesley's bayonets.

     Triumphant waved my flag on land and sea:
     Where was the King in Europe like to me?

     Monarchs exiled found shelter on my shores;
     My bounty rescued Kings and Emperors.

     But what boots victory by land and sea,
     What boots that Kings found refuge at my knee?

     I was a conqueror, but yet not proud;
     And careless, even when Napoleon bow'd.

     The rescued Kings came kiss my garments' hem:
     The rescued Kings I never heeded them.

     My guns roared triumph, but I never heard:
     All England thrilled with joy, I never stirred.

     What care had I of pomp, of fame, or power--
     A crazy old blind man in Windsor Tower?"[4]

  [4] Thackeray: _The Georges_.



Historians have found something to praise in George I, and the bravery
of George II on the field of battle has prejudiced many in favour of
that monarch. George III has been extolled for his domestic virtues, and
his successor held up to admiration for his courtly manners, while
William IV found favour in the eyes of many for his homely air. Of all
the Hanoverian princes in the direct line of succession to the English
throne, alone Frederick Louis, Prince of Wales, lacks a solitary admirer
among modern writers.

Frederick was born at Hanover on January 6, 1707, was there educated;
and there, after the accession of George II to the English throne,
remained, a mere lad, away from parental control, compelled to hold a
daily Drawing-room, at which he received the adulation of unscrupulous
and self-seeking courtiers in a dull, vulgar, and immoral Court. George
II, remembering his behaviour to his father, was in no hurry to summon
his son to England; and Frederick might have remained the ornament of
the Hanoverian capital until his death, but that the English thought it
advisable their future king should not be allowed to grow up in
ignorance of the manners and customs of the land over which in the
ordinary course of nature he would reign. Neither the King nor the Queen
had any affection for the young man; and they were so reluctant to bring
him into prominence, or even into frequent intercourse with themselves,
that they disregarded the murmur of the people, and were inclined even
to ignore the advice of the Privy Council--when news from Hanover caused
them hurriedly to send for him.

Queen Sophia Dorothea of Prussia had years earlier said to Princess
Caroline, afterwards Queen of England, "You, Caroline, Cousin dear, have
a little Prince, Fritz, or let us call him _Fred_, since he is to be
English; little Fred, who will one day, if all go right, be King of
England. He is two years older than my little Wilhelmina, why should
they not wed, and the two chief Protestant Houses, and Nations, thereby
be united?" There was nothing to be said against this proposal, and much
in its favour. "Princess Caroline was very willing; so was Electress
Sophie, the Great-Grandmother of both the parties; so were the Georges,
Father and Grandfather of Fred: little Fred himself was highly charmed,
when told, of it; even little Wilhelmina, with her dolls, looked
pleasantly demure on the occasion. So it remained settled in fact,
though not in form; and little Fred (a florid milk-faced foolish kind of
Boy, I guess), made presents to his little Prussian Cousin, wrote bits
of love-letters to her and all along afterwards fancied himself, and at
length ardently enough became, her little lover and intended--always
rather a little fellow:--to which sentiments Wilhelmina signifies that
she responded with the due maidenly indifference, but not in an
offensive manner."[5] Then Prussian Fritz or Fred was born, and it was
further agreed that Amelia, George II's second daughter, should marry
him. George I sanctioned the arrangement, but the treaty in which it was
incorporated was never signed; and on his accession, George II, for many
reasons, was no longer desirous to carry out the marriage. Only Queen
Sophia held to her project, and Frederick, the intended husband. The
latter, doubtless incited by his father's opposition to imagine himself
in love with Wilhelmina, caused it to be intimated to Queen Sophia that,
if she would consent, he would travel secretly to Prussia and marry his
cousin. The Queen was delighted, and summoned her husband to be present
at the nuptials, but, anxious to share her joy, must needs select as a
confidant the English ambassador Dubourgay, who, of course, could not
treat such a communication as a confidence, and, to the Queen's horror,
told her he must dispatch the news to his sovereign. In vain Sophia
Dorothea pleaded for silence: it would spell ruin for it to be said that
the envoy had known of the secret and had not informed his master. The
only chance for the successful issue of the scheme was that Frederick
should arrive before his father could interfere, but this was not to be.
Colonel Launay came from England charged to return with the
heir-apparent; and so the marriage was, at least, postponed. Frederick
arrived in England on December 4, 1728, and early in the following year
Sir Charles Hotham went as minister plenipotentiary to the King of
Prussia to propose the carrying out of the double-marriage project, but
while the latter was willing to consent to the marriage of his daughter
with the Prince, he would not accept for his son the hand of Princess
Amelia, declaring that he ought to espouse the Princess Royal. Neither
party would give way, and the dislike of the potentates for each other
resulted in 1730 in a definite rupture of the negotiations.

  [5] Carlyle: _History of Frederick the Great_.

  In Books V, VI and VII of this work is a full account of "The Double
  Marriage Project."


_Photo by Emery Walker_

_From a painting by B. Dandridge_


On his arrival in England Frederick[6] was received with acclamation by
the populace, but his relations with his parents were strained from the
start. The original cause of quarrel is unknown to the present
generation, and even at the time few were acquainted with it, though Sir
Robert Walpole knew it, and Lord Hervey,[7] who wrote it down, only for
his memorandum to be destroyed by his son, the Earl of Bristol.[8] It
may be assumed, however, that his father's conduct in the negotiations
for the marriage with the Princess of Prussia widened the breach. The
Prince of Wales was certainly not an agreeable person. In Hanover he had
indulged to excess in "_Wein, Weib, und Gesang_," and he was the
unfortunate possessor of a mean, paltry, despicable nature that revolted
those with whom he was brought into contact. His mother hated him--"He
is such an ass that one cannot tell what he thinks"; his sister Amelia
loathed him and wished he were dead--"He is the greatest liar that ever
spoke, and will put one arm round anybody's neck to kiss them, and then
stab them with the other if he can"; and his father detested him. "My
dear first born is the greatest ass, the greatest liar, the greatest
_canaille_ and the greatest beast in the whole world, and I heartily
wish he was out of it," so said George II, and it must be conceded that
in the main he was right.

  [6] Created Duke of Gloucester, 1717; Duke of Edinburgh, 1727; Prince of
  Wales, January 9, 1729.

  [7] John Hervey, younger son of John Hervey, first Earl of Bristol,
  styled after the death of his elder brother, Baron Hervey of Ickworth

  [8] George William Hervey, second Earl of Bristol (1721-1775).

Of course, the faults were not all on the side of the Prince of Wales:
indeed, they were fairly evenly distributed between father and son. From
the first he was publicly ignored by George II. "Whenever the Prince was
in the room with the King it put one in mind of stories that one has
heard of ghosts that appear to part of the company, and were invisible
to the rest; and in this manner wherever the Prince stood, though the
King passed him ever so often, or ever so near, it always seems as if
the King thought the Prince filled a void of space."[9] The father took
advantage of his position to keep the son short of money; and the son,
after the manner of Hanoverian heirs-apparent, retorted by throwing
himself into the arms of the Opposition. The Prince of Wales's great
grievance was that he received an allowance only of £50,000 and that _at
the King's pleasure_: and he contended that as George II, when Prince of
Wales, had received £100,000 a year from George I's Civil List of
£700,000, it was manifestly unfair that as the Civil List had been
increased to £800,000, the Prince of Wales's income should be reduced by
half and that dependent on the sovereign's humour.

  [9] Hervey: _Memoirs of the Court of George II_.

Frederick, who had left Hanover in debt, had been further embarrassed in
London, and, to free himself from financial trouble discussed with
Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, a marriage between himself and her
granddaughter, Lady Diana Spencer,[10] conditional on the dowry being
£100,000. The ambitious old lady was favourable to the scheme--it has
been said, and perhaps with truth, that it was her proposal--and
arrangements were made for the ceremony to take place privately at the
Lodge in Windsor Great Park; but Sir Robert Walpole heard of it--that
wily statesman learnt most secrets--and told the King, who forbade the

  [10] Afterwards married John, fourth Duke of Bedford.

The Prince did not at first commit any serious offence against the King,
but he contrived, with or without intention, to irritate or affront him
almost daily. He wrote, or inspired, the "History of Prince Titi," in
which the King and Queen were caricatured; and, with the guidance of
Bubb Dodington,[11] formed a Court that became a _rendezvous_ of the
Opposition and the disaffected generally. It became his object in life
to outshine his father in popularity, and as George II was not a
favourite, and as Frederick could be agreeable when he wanted to make a
good impression, and, besides, had the invaluable asset of a reasonable
grievance, he did to a large extent succeed in his quest. "The Prince's
character at his first coming over, though little more respectable,
seemed much more amiable than, upon his opening himself further and
being better known, it turned out to be; for, though there appeared
nothing in him to be admired, yet there seemed nothing in him to be
hated--neither anything great nor anything vicious. His behaviour was
something that gained one's good wishes while it gave one no esteem for
him, for his best qualities, whilst they prepossessed one the most in
his favour, always gave one a degree of contempt for him at the same

  [11] George Bubb Dodington, afterwards Baron Melcombe of Melcombe Regis

  [12] Hervey: _Memoirs of the Court of George II_.

If George II was jealous of the Prince of Wales, the latter in turn was
jealous of his sister, the Princess Royal, and he regarded it as a
personal affront when in 1734 she was united to the Prince of Orange;
thus, in spite of his two endeavours, marrying before him, and securing
a settled income. A quarrel ensued, and the rivalry between the two
convulsed the operatic world into which, being in itself _opera bouffe_,
it was suitably carried. The Princess Royal was a friend and patron of
Handel at the Haymarket Theatre: and therefore must her brother and his
companions support the rival Buononcini at Lincoln's Inn Fields. The
King and Queen sided with their daughter, and, says Hervey, "The affair
grew as serious as that of the Greens and Blues under Justinian at
Constantinople; and an anti-Handelist was looked upon as an
anti-courtier, and voting against the Court in Parliament was hardly a
less remissible or more venial sin than speaking against Handel or going
to the Lincoln's Inn Fields Opera."[13] The victory in this
Tweedledum-Tweedledee controversy fell to the Prince, though the
sovereigns would not for a long time admit defeat, which gave
Chesterfield[14] the opening for a _môt_: he told the Prince he had been
that evening to the Haymarket Theatre, "but there being no one there but
the King and Queen, and as I thought they might be talking business, I
came away."

  [13] _Memoirs of the Court of George II._

  [14] Philip Dormer Stanhope, fourth Earl of Chesterfield (1694-1773).

When the Princess Royal was married, the Prince of Wales presented
himself before the King, and made three demands--permission to serve in
the Rhine campaign, a settled and increased income, and a suitable
marriage. George II gave an immediate and decided refusal to the first,
but consented to consider the other proposals. As a result of
negotiations arising from this conversation, the Prince of Wales married
on April 26, 1736, Augusta, daughter of Frederick, Duke of Saxe-Gotha.
There were great national rejoicings, and "I believe," said Horace
Walpole, "the Princess will have more beauties bestowed on her by all
the occasional poets than ever a painter would afford her. They will
cook up a new Pandora, and in the bottom of the box enclose Hope that
all they have said is true." Indeed, a salvo of eulogistic addresses in
rhyme greeted the nuptial pair, headed by William Whitehead, the
Laureate, who, on such occasions, could always be relied upon to write
ridiculously fulsome lines.

    "Such was the age, so calm the earth's repose,
     When Maro sung, and a new Pollio rose.
     Oh! from such omens may again succeed
     Some glorious youth to grace the nuptial bed;
     Some future Scipio, good as well as great;
     Some young Marcellus with a better fate;
     Some infant Frederick, or some George to grace
     The rising records of the Brunswick race."


_April 25th, 1736_]

The new Princess of Wales was a mere girl, straight from her
mother's country house, and ignorant of courts, but not lacking
self-possession nor good sense. "The Princess is neither handsome nor
ugly, tall nor short, but has a lively, pretty countenance enough,"[15]
and she found favour in the eyes of her husband, who, though attracted
by her, was not content to be faithful. "The chief passion of the Prince
was women," says Horace Walpole; "but, like the rest of his race, beauty
was not a necessary ingredient." Soon after he came to England he had an
intrigue with Anne Vane, the eldest daughter of Gilbert, Baron Barnard,
and one of the Queen's maids of honour. "Beautiful Vanelia" was not
immaculate, and she gave birth to a child in her apartments in St.
James's Palace; the first Lord Hartington and Lord Hervey both believed
themselves to be the father, but she, to make the most of her
opportunity, wisely accredited the paternity to the Prince of Wales, who
thus earned the undying hatred of Hervey.[16] The proud father then
turned his attention to Lady Archibald Hamilton (wife of the Duke of
Hamilton's brother), who had ten children, was neither young nor
beautiful, but clever enough to let her husband believe she was
faithful, although the intimacy between her and her royal lover was
patent to all the world besides.

  [15] Wraxall: _Historical Memoirs of My Own Times_.

  [16] The boy was christened Cornwell Fitz-Frederick, and was buried in
  Westminster Abbey, February 26, 1736.

Realising the advisability to be off with the old love before he was on
with the new, Frederick sent Lord Baltimore to Miss Vane, commanding her
to live abroad for a period, on pain of forfeiting the allowance of
£1,600 that he had made her since her dismissal from court--"if she
would not live abroad, she might starve for him in England." Miss Vane
sent for Hervey, who recommended her to refuse obedience--a step that
infuriated the Prince with the adviser; but eventually she reminded her
erstwhile lover of all she had sacrificed for the love she bore him, and
this so tickled his vanity that not only did he permit her to retain her
son and the income, and to remain in England, but gave her a house in
Grosvenor Street wherein to live.

Following the example of George II, who had appointed his mistress, Mrs.
Howard, to be woman of the bedchamber to his wife, Frederick made Lady
Archibald Hamilton a lady-in-waiting to the Princess of Wales. Lady
Archibald, however, was soon replaced in his favour by Lady Middlesex,
who, although not good-looking, was the possessor of many
accomplishments; but she had to be content to share his affections with
Miss Granville and various opera dancers and singers.

The Prince, being unable to secure an increased income from his father,
resorted to the usual princely device of borrowing money wherever he
could get it. "They have found a way in the city to borrow £30,000 for
the Prince at ten per cent. interest, to pay his crying debts to
tradespeople; but I doubt that sum will not go very far," wrote the
Duchess of Marlborough. "The salaries in the Prince's family are £25,000
a year, besides a good deal of expense at Cliefden in building and
furniture; and the Prince and Princess's allowance for their clothes is
£6,000 a year each. I am sorry there is such an increase in expense more
than in former times, when there was more money a great deal: and I
really think it would have been more for the Prince's interest if his
counsellors had advised him to live only as a great man, and to give the
reasons for it; and in doing so he would have made a better figure, and
been safer, for nobody that does not get by it themselves can possibly
think the contrary method a right one." The debts accumulated so
rapidly, that there was really some show of reason for Lord Hervey
(always on the look-out to revenge himself for the defection of his
mistress) saying to the Queen that there actually "was danger of the
King's days being shortened by the profligate usurers who lent the
Prince of Wales money on condition of being paid at his Majesty's
death, and who, he thought, would want nothing but a fair opportunity to
hasten the day of payment; and the King's manner of exposing himself
would make it easy for the usurers to accomplish such a design."[17]

  [17] Hervey: _Memoirs of the Court of George II_.

Hitherto in his quarrels with his parents Frederick had not always been
in the wrong, but in 1737 he committed an unpardonable offence in
connexion with the birth of his first legitimate child, Augusta,
afterwards Duchess of Brunswick, and the mother of Caroline, the unhappy
consort of George IV. Though he had known for many months that the
Princess of Wales was with child he did not inform his parents of the
approaching event until July 5. But that was the least part of his
transgression. Twice in that month he took the Princess secretly from
Hampton Court to St. James's Palace, and on the second occasion, with
only Lady Archibald Campbell in attendance, arrived in London but a few
hours before the _accouchement_.


_Photo by Emery Walker_

_From a portrait by Enoch Seaman_



_Photo by Emery Walker_

_From a portrait by T. Worlidge_


The Queen had determined to be present at the birth.--"She [the Princess
of Wales] cannot be brought to bed as quick as one can blow one's nose,"
she had told the King, "and I will be sure it is her child." Both were
furious at being circumvented, and the King expressed his anger in no
measured terms. "See now, with all your wisdom, how they have outwitted
you," the King addressed his wife. "This is all your fault. There is a
false child will be put upon you, and how will you answer it to all your
children? This has been fine care and fine management for your son
William: he is much indebted to you." The Queen drove to St. James's
without delay, saw the child, and abandoned her suspicions. "God bless
you, poor little creature," she said as she kissed it, "you have come
into a disagreeable world." Had it been a big, healthy boy, instead of a
girl, she said, she might not so readily have accepted the paternity
claimed for it.

"The King has commanded me," Lord Essex[18] wrote from Hampton Court to
the Prince of Wales on August 3, "to acquaint your Royal Highness that
his Majesty most heartily rejoices at the safe delivery of the Princess;
but that your carrying away of her Royal Highness from Hampton Court,
the then residence of the King, the Queen, and the Royal Family, under
the pains and certain indication of immediate labour, to the imminent
danger and hazard both of the Princess and her child, and after
sufficient warnings for a week before, to have made the necessary
preparations for this happy event, without acquainting his Majesty, or
the Queen, with the circumstances the Princess was in, or giving them
the least notice of your departure, is looked upon by the King to be
such a deliberate indignity offered to himself and to the Queen, that he
resents it to the highest degree."[19]

  [18] William Capel, third Earl of Essex.

  [19] _Letters ... between the King, Queen, Prince and Princess of Wales,
  on the occasion of the birth of the young Princess, 1737._

A lengthy correspondence ensued, wherein, on the one hand, the Prince
excused himself on the ground that the Princess was seized with the
pains of labour earlier than was expected, and that at Hampton Court he
was without a midwife or any assistance; and, on the other, the King
declined to accept these reasons as true, refused to receive his son,
and ordered him to leave St. James's as soon as possible, summing up the
situation in a final letter, dated September 10.

     "GEORGE R.

     "The professions you have lately made in your letters, of your
     peculiar regards to me, are so contradictory to all your actions,
     that I cannot suffer myself to be imposed upon by them. You know
     very well you did not give the least intimation to me or to the
     Queen that the Princess was with child or breeding, until within
     less than a month of the birth of the young Princess: you removed
     the Princess twice in the week immediately preceding the day of her
     delivery from the place of my residence, in expectation, as you
     have voluntarily declared, of her labour; and both times upon your
     return, you industriously concealed from the knowledge of me and
     the Queen every circumstance relating to this important affair: and
     you, at last, without giving any notice to me, or to the Queen,
     precipitately hurried the Princess from Hampton Court, in a
     condition not to be named. After having thus, in execution of your
     own determined measures, exposed both the Princess and her child to
     the greatest perils, you now plead surprise and tenderness for the
     Princess, as the only motives that occasioned these repeated
     indignities offered to me and to the Queen your mother.

     "This extravagant and undutiful behaviour in so essential a point
     as the birth of an heir to my crown, is such evidence to your
     premeditated defiance of me, and such a contempt of my authority
     and of the natural right belonging to your parents, as cannot be
     excused by the pretended innocence of your intentions, nor
     palliated or disguised by specious words only.

     "But the whole tenour of your conduct for a considerable time has
     been so entirely void of all real duty to me, that I have long had
     reason to be highly offended with you. And until you withdraw your
     regard and confidence from those by whose instigation and advice
     you are directed and encouraged in your unwarrantable behaviour to
     me and your Queen, and until your return to your duty, you shall
     not reside in my palace: which I will not suffer to be made the
     resort of them who, under the appearance of an attachment to you,
     foment the division which you have made in my family, and thereby
     weaken the common interest of the whole.

     "In the meantime, it is my pleasure that you leave St. James's with
     all your family, when it can be done without prejudice or
     inconvenience to the Princess. I shall for the present leave to the
     Princess the care of my granddaughter, until a proper time calls
     upon me to consider of her education.

     "(signed) G. R."[20]

  [20] _Letters ... between the King, Queen, Prince and Princess of Wales,
  on the occasion of the birth of the young Princess, 1737._

The Prince, through Lord Baltimore, expressed a desire to make a
personal explanation to the Queen, who, through Lord Grantham, declined
to receive it; and later the Princess, doubtless prompted by her
husband, wrote to the King and Queen to express a desire for
reconciliation, but in vain, for, in the sovereign's eyes, their son's
offence was rank. Indeed, the King went so far as to print the
correspondence between himself and the Prince of Wales, to which the
latter made the effectual reply of publishing the not dissimilar letters
of his father, when Prince of Wales, to George I. This reduced the King
to impotent fury: he declared he did not believe Frederick could be his
son, and insisted that he must be "what in German we call a
_Wechselbalch_--I do not know if you have a word for it in English--it
is not what you call a foundling, but a child put in a cradle instead of

What induced Frederick to risk the life of his wife and his unborn
child, and to put to hazard the succession was a mystery at the time,
and must for ever remain without satisfactory explanation. That it was
done solely to annoy his parents seems insufficient reason, though it is
all that offers, and Hervey suggests the hasty nocturnal removal was
effected to prevent the presence of the Queen at the birth. This
certainly seems insufficient to account for the unwarrantable
proceeding, but no other solution offers itself.

The Prince of Wales had in 1730 taken a lease from the Capel family of
Kew House (the fee of which was many years after purchased by George
III from the Dowager Countess of Essex), and there he and his wife
repaired for a while after being evicted from St. James's Palace; but
soon they came back to London, and held their court, first at Norfolk
House, St. James's Square, placed at their disposal by the Duke of
Norfolk, and later at Leicester House, Leicester Square. The King
expressed a wish that no one should visit his son, and actually caused
it to be intimated to foreign ambassadors that to call on the Prince of
Wales was objectionable to him; but this injunction was so generally
disregarded that he took the extraordinary step of issuing, through his
Chamberlain, a threat.

     "His Majesty, having been informed that due regard has not been
     paid to his order of September 11, 1737, has thought fit to declare
     that no person whatsoever, who shall go to pay their court to their
     Royal Highnesses, the Prince and Princess of Wales, shall be
     admitted into his Majesty's presence, at any of his royal palaces.

     "(signed) Grafton."

Even this measure failed of its effect, for while those who sought the
King's favour had not been to Leicester House, the Opposition, knowing
they had nothing to lose, were not affected by this command. Indeed, the
Opposition, delighted to have so influential a chief, flocked around
Frederick; and Bolingbroke,[21] Chesterfield, Pulteney,[22] Dodington,
Carteret,[23] Wyndham,[24] Townshend[25] and Cobham,[26] were soon
numbered among his regular visitors; while Huish has compiled a long
list of peers[27] who frequently attended his _levées_.

  [21] Henry St. John, first Viscount Bolingbroke (1678-1751).

  [22] Sir William Pulteney, afterwards Earl of Bath (1684-1764).

  [23] John Carteret, afterwards Earl Granville (1690-1763).

  [24] Sir Charles Wyndham, afterwards second Earl of Egremont

  [25] Sir William Townshend, second son of Charles, second Viscount
  Townshend (1702?-1738).

  [26] Richard Temple, Viscount Cobham (1669?-1749).

  [27] Dukes of Beaufort, Bedford, Argyle, Bridgwater and Roxburghe;
  Marquis of Carnarvon; and Earls of Derby, Denbigh, Westmoreland,
  Winchelsea, Thanet, Sandwich, Carlisle, Aylesbury, Litchfield,
  Scarborough, Coventry, Oxford, Aylesford, Halifax, Macclesfield,
  Darnley, Barrymore, Inclagreen and Gronard.

The Prince made a very determined bid for popularity among all classes.
He put himself at the head of "The Patriots," and in 1739 recorded his
first vote as a peer of Parliament against the Address and in favour of
the war policy; subsequently, when war was declared, taking part with
the Opposition in the public celebrations. He encouraged British
manufactures, and neither he nor the Princess wore, or encouraged the
wearing of, foreign materials. He gave entertainments to the nobility at
his seat at Cliefden in Buckinghamshire, and visiting Bath in 1738,
cleared the prison of all debtors and made a present of £1,000 towards
the general hospital. Nor did he neglect letters and art, for which he
had some slight regard. He patronised Thomson and Vertue the engraver,
employed Dr. Freeman to write a "History of the English Tongue" as a
text-book for Prince George and the younger princes;[28] sent two of his
court to Cave, the publisher, to inquire the name of the author of the
first issue of "The Rambler"; and exchanged badinage with Pope, whom he
visited at Twickenham. Pope received him with great courtesy and
expressions of attachment. "'Tis well," said Frederick, "but how shall
we reconcile your love to a prince with your professed indisposition to
kings, since princes will be kings in time?" "Sir," said the poet, "I
consider Royalty under that noble and authorized type of the lion: while
he is young and before his nails are grown, he may be approached and
caressed with safety and pleasure."[29]

  [28] Besides Augusta, Frederick by his wife had issue: George III;
  Edward Augustus, Duke of York and Albany (1739-1767); William Henry,
  Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh (1743-1805), Henry Frederick, Duke of
  Cumberland (1745-1790); Frederick William (1750-1765); Caroline Matilda
  (1751-1775); who married Christian VII, King of Denmark; and Louisa Anne

  [29] Galt: _George III, his Court, and Family_.

Frederick became very popular. "The truth is," Mr. McCarthy has said
unkindly but with undoubted truth, "that the people in general, knowing
little about the Prince, and knowing a great deal about the King,
naturally leaned to the side of the man who might at least turn out to
be better than his father."[30]

  [30] Justin McCarthy: _History of the Four Georges_.

There was a general impression that he had been ill-treated, and there
was a disposition among the lower classes to make amends for such a
slight as having to live as a private gentleman at Norfolk House,
without even the usual appanage of a sentry.

    "Some I have heard who speak this with rebuke,
     Guards should attend as well the prince as duke.
     Guards should protect from insult Britain's heir,
     Who greatly merits all the nation's care.
     Pleas'd with the honest zeal, they thus express,
     I tell them what each statesman must confess;
     No guard so strong, so noble, e'er can prove,
     As that which Frederick has--_a people's love_."

"My God, popularity makes me sick; but Fritz's popularity makes me
vomit," exclaimed the Queen, perhaps after hearing that when Frederick
assisted to extinguish a fire, the mob cried, "Crown him! crown him!" "I
hear that yesterday, on his side of the House, they talked of the King's
being cast aside with the same _sang froid_ as one would talk of a coach
being overturned; and that my good son strutted about as if he had been
already King. Did you mind the air with which he came into my
Drawing-room in the morning, though he does not think fit to honour me
with his presence or _ennui_ me with that of his wife's of a night. I
swear his behaviour shocked me so prodigiously that I could hardly bring
myself to speak to him when he was with me afterwards; I felt something
here in my throat that swelled and half choked me." The King was as
bitter, and refused to admit Frederick to the Queen's deathbed. "His
poor mother is not in a condition to see him act his false, whining,
cringing tricks now," while the Queen declared that she was sure he
wanted to see her only to have the delight of knowing she was dead a
little sooner than if he had to await the tidings at home.

An attempt in 1742 to bring to an end the crying scandal of the open
enmity between the King and the heir-apparent was made by Walpole, who
thought, by detaching the Prince from the Opposition, to strengthen his
steadily decreasing majority. The Bishop of Oxford[31] was sent to
Norfolk House to intimate that if the Prince would make his peace with
his father through the medium of a submissive letter, ministers would
prevail upon the King to increase his income by £50,000, pay his debts
to the tune of £200,000 and find places for his friends. The terms were
tempting, but the Prince, knowing that Walpole's position was
precarious, declined them, stating that he knew the offer came, not from
the King, but from the minister, and that, while he would gladly be
reconciled to his father, he could do so without setting a price upon
it. "Walpole," he declared, "was a bar between the King and his people,
between the King and foreign powers; between the King and himself." The
refusal was politic, for Walpole was most unpopular. "I have _added_ to
the debt of the nation," so ran the inscription on a scroll issuing from
the mouth of an effigy of Walpole, sitting between the King and the
Prince; "I have _subtracted_ from its glory; I have _multiplied_ its
embarrassments; and I have _divided_ its Royal Family." The Prince's
refusal to entertain the overture was a blow to the minister, who
contended against a majority in the House of Commons, until February 2,
1742, when he declared he would regard the question of the Chippenham
election as a vote of confidence, and, if defeated upon it, would never
again enter that House. He was beaten by sixteen, and on the 18th inst.
took his seat "in another place" as the Earl of Orford.

  [31] Thomas Secker, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury.

  "The Bishop, who had been bred a Presbyterian and man-midwife, which
  sect and profession he had dropped for a season, while he was president
  of a very free-thinking club, has been converted by Bishop Talbot, whose
  relation he married, and had his faith settled in a prebend of
  Durham."--Horace Walpole.

Immediately after Walpole's downfall, messages were exchanged between
Norfolk House and St. James's, and on February 17 father and son met and
embraced at the palace. The Prince's friends came into office, and so
happy was the Prince that he testified to his joy by liberating
four-and-twenty prisoners from his father's Bench--the amount of their
debts being added to his own. He was indeed so overcome with delight at
his virtue in being reconciled to his father that he ventured upon a
joke when Mr. Vane, who was notoriously in the court interest,
congratulated him on his reappearance at St. James's. "A vane," quoth he
to the courtier, "is a weathercock, which turns with every gust of the
wind, and therefore I dislike a vane." Witty, generous Prince!

The reconciliation was shortlived, and thereafter, for the rest of his
life, Frederick was again in opposition to the court; but of these later
years there is little or nothing to record, save that he solicited in
vain the command of the royal army in the rebellion of '45. In March,
1751, he caught cold, and on the 20th inst., while, by his bedside,
Desnoyers was playing the violin to amuse him, crying, "_Je sens la
mort_," he expired suddenly--it is said from the bursting of an abscess
which had been formed by a blow from a tennis ball. The King received
the news at the whist table, and, showing neither surprise nor emotion,
he crossed the room to where the Countess of Yarmouth sat at another
table, and, after saying simply, "_Il est mort_," retired to his
apartments. "I lost my eldest son," he remarked subsequently, "but I am
glad of it."

The writers of the day were fulsome in their praise of the deceased
Prince. Robert Southy says, Frederick died "to the unspeakable
affliction of his royal consort, and the unfeigned sorrow of all who
knew him;" and he sums him up as "a tender and obliging husband, a fond
parent, a kind master, liberal, candid and humane, a munificent patron
of the arts, an unwearied friend to merit, well-disposed to assert the
rights of mankind, in general, and warmly attached to the interests of
Great Britain."[32] In fact, Sir Galahad and the Admirable Crichton in
one! Southy was not alone in his outspoken admiration, for Mr. McCarthy
reminds us of a volume issued by Oxford University, "_Epicedia
Oxoniensia in obitum celsissimi et desideratissimi Frederici Principis
Walliæ_. Here all the learned languages, and not the learned languages
alone, contributed the syllables of simulated despair. Many scholastic
gentlemen mourned in Greek; James Stillingfleet found vent in Hebrew;
Mr. Betts concealed his tears under the cloak of the Syriac speech;
George Costard sorrowed in Arabic that might have amazed Abu l'Atahiyeh;
Mr. Swinton's learned sock stirred him to Phoenician and Etruscan; and
Mr. Evans, full of national fire and the traditions of the bards,
delivered himself, and at great length, too, in Welsh."[33] Amusing,
too, was a sermon preached at Mayfair Chapel, in the course of which the
preacher, lamenting the demise of the royal personage, declared that his
Royal Highness "had no great parts, but he had great virtues; indeed,
they degenerated into vices; he was very generous, but I hear his
generosity has ruined a great many people; and then his condescension
was such that he kept very bad company."

  [32] Robert Southy: _Authentic Memoirs of George the Third_.

  [33] Justin McCarthy: _History of the Four Georges_.

Very differently spoke those who knew the Prince. "He was indeed as
false as his capacity would allow him to be, and was more capable in
that walk than in any other, never having the least hesitation, from
principle or fear of future detection, in telling any lie that served
his future purpose. He had a much weaker understanding, and, if
possible, a more obstinate temper than his father; that is, more
tenacious of opinions he had once formed, though less capable of ever
forming right ones. Had he had one grain of merit at the bottom of his
heart, one should have had compassion for him in the situation to which
his miserable poor head soon reduced him, a mother that despised him,
sisters that betrayed him, a brother set up against him, and a set of
servants that neglected him, and were neither of use nor capable of
being of use to him, or desirous of being so."[34] So said Lord Hervey,
and, though his known enmity to Frederick makes one reluctant to accept
his estimate, yet it must be admitted that his remarks are borne out by
others well qualified to judge. "A poor, weak, irresolute, false, lying,
dishonest, contemptible wretch, that nobody loves, that nobody
believes, that nobody will trust, and that will trust everybody by
turns, and that everybody by turns will impose upon, betray, mislead,
and plunder." Thus Sir Robert Walpole, who, during the Prince's
lifetime, thought that, if the King should die, the Queen and her
unmarried children would be in a bad way. "I do not know any people in
the world so much to be pitied," he said to Hervey, "as that gay young
company with which you and I stand every day in the drawing-room at that
door from which we this moment came, bred up in state, in affluence,
caressed and courted, and to go at once from that into dependence upon a
brother who loves them not, and whose extravagance and covetousness will
make him grudge every guinea they spend, as it must come out of a purse
not sufficient to defray the expenses of his own vices."

  [34] Hervey: _Memoirs of the Court of George II_.

A later generation has not been more kind. "If," said Leigh Hunt,
"George the First was a commonplace man of the quiet order, and George
the Second of the bustling, Frederick was of an effeminate sort,
pretending to taste and gallantry, and possessed of neither. He affected
to patronise literature in order to court popularity, and because his
father and grandfather had neglected it; but he took no real interest in
the _literati_, and would meanly stop their pensions when he got out of
humour. He passed his time in intriguing against his father, and
hastening the ruin of a feeble constitution by sorry amours." "His best
quality was generosity," Horace Walpole has recorded; "his worst
insincerity and indifference to truth, which appeared so early that Earl
Stanhope wrote to Lord Sunderland, 'He has his father's head, and his
mother's heart.'"[35]

  [35] Horace Walpole: _Memoirs of the Reign of George II_.

What is to be said in his favour? That through his intercession Flora
Macdonald, imprisoned for harbouring the Chevalier, received her
liberty: that when Richard Glover, the author of "Leonidas," fell upon
evil days he sent him five hundred pounds; that he was a plausible
speaker,[36] fond of music, the author of two songs, and had sufficient
sense of humour to institute an occasional practical joke. On the other
hand, he was a gambler and a spendthrift without a notion of common
honesty; he was unstable and untruthful, a feeble enemy and a lukewarm
friend; and is, indeed, best disposed of in the well-known verse:

     "Here lies Fred,
    Who was alive, and is dead.
      Had it been his father,
      I had much rather.
      Had it been his brother,
      Still better than another.
      Had it been his sister,
      No one would have missed her.
      Had it been the whole generation,
      Still better for the nation.
      But since 'tis only Fred,
    Who was alive, and is dead,
      There's no more to be said."

  [36] "As a friend to liberty in general, and to toleration in
  particular, I wish you may meet with all proper favour; but for myself I
  never give my vote in Parliament; and to influence my friends or direct
  my servants in theirs does not become my station. To leave them entirely
  to their own conscience and understanding is a rule I have hitherto
  prescribed to myself, and it is my purpose to adhere to it through the
  whole of my life." This was Frederick's reply to the Quaker who asked
  him to use his influence in favour of the bill concerning his sect; and,
  as Huish remarks, "could anything be more agreeable to the spirit of the
  British constitution?"



George William Frederick, afterwards George III, was born on June 4,
1738. His advent into the world was so little expected at that time that
on the previous day his mother had walked in St. James's Park, had
scarcely returned from that exercise when she was taken ill, and between
seven and eight o'clock the following morning gave birth to a
seven-months' child. Frederick, therefore, could not be held responsible
because again no preparation for an _accouchement_ had been made, nor
could he be blamed because the King had only a few hours' notice of the

The baby was so weak that it was thought it would not live, and at
eleven o'clock at night it was baptized by the Bishop of Oxford,[37] and
though it survived, its health was so delicate that it was thought
advisable, and indeed imperative, to abandon the strict court etiquette
dictating that a royal infant must be reared by a lady of good family,
and instead "the fine, healthy, fresh-coloured wife of a gardener" was
chosen. The woman was proud of her charge, but inclined to independence,
and when told that, in accordance with tradition, the baby could not
sleep with her, "Not sleep with me!" she exclaimed. "Then you may nurse
the boy yourselves!" As she remained firm on this point, tradition was
wisely cast to the winds, with the fortunate result that the young
Prince throve lustily and soon acquired a sound and vigorous frame of

  [37] The baptism was repeated publicly on July 3, by the Bishop of
  Oxford (as Rector of St. James's parish) at Norfolk House, when the
  infant Prince was given the names of George William Frederick. The
  sponsors, the King of Sweden, the Duke of Saxe-Gotha, and the Queen of
  Prussia, were represented respectively by Lord Baltimore, the Marquis of
  Carnarvon, and Lady Charlotte Edwin.

  [38] Gait: _George III, His Court and His Family_.

It would be to throw away an opportunity for mirth to omit the lines
with which Whitehead greeted the birth of a son of the Prince of Wales.
These were enthusiastically acclaimed by a contemporary as "a beautiful,
prophetic compliment to the future monarch," but the present generation
may conceivably find another epithet.

    "Thanks, Nature! thanks! the finish'd piece we own,
     And worthy Frederick's love, and Britain's throne.
     Th' impatient Goddess first had sketch'd the plan,
     Yet ere she durst complete the wond'rous man,
     To try her power, a gentler task design'd,
     And formed a pattern of the softer kind.[39]
     But now, bright boy, thy more exalted ray
     Streams o'er the dawn, and pours a fuller day:
     Nor shall, displeased, to thee her realms resign,
     The earlier promise of the rising line.
     And see! what signs his future worth proclaim,
     See! our _Ascanius_ boast a nobler flame!
     On the fair form let vulgar fancies trace
     Some fond presage in ev'ry dawning grace;
     More unconfined, poetic transport roves,
     Sees all the soul, and all the soul approves:
     Sees regal pride but reach the exterior part,
     And big with virtues beat the little heart;
     Whilst from his eyes soft beams of mercy flow,
     And liberty supreme smiles on his infant brow.
     Now, in herself secure, shall Albion rise,
     And the vain frowns of future fate despise;
     See willing worlds beneath her sceptre bend,
     And to the verge of Time her fame extend."

  [39] A poetic allusion to the Princess Royal.


_Photo by Emery Walker_

_From a painting by Richard Wilson_


A prince's education begins early, and George was not more than six
years of age when he was put into harness. The first tutor selected for
him was Dr. Francis Ayscough,[40] whose principal claim to distinction
was as brother-in-law to "good Lord Lyttelton," for at best he has been
described as a well-meaning but uninspired pedagogue, and at worst, by
Walpole, as "an insolent man, unwelcome to the clergy on suspicion of
heterodoxy, and of no fair reputation for integrity."[41] Ayscough, as a
courtier, was not unsuccessful, for, introduced by Lyttelton[42] and
Pitt to Frederick, Prince of Wales, he contrived to ingratiate himself
with that invertebrate royal personage; but as an instructor of youth he
was not the right man in the right place. He was ignorant of the course
to pursue in laying the foundation of a lad's education, and when George
was eleven years old, the Princess of Wales found to her dismay her son
could not read English, although (so Ayscough assured her) he could make
Latin verses. This latter accomplishment could not be accepted as of
sufficient importance to excuse ignorance of more practical subjects,
and a new preceptor, George Scott, was introduced on the recommendation
of Lord Bolingbroke, who, Walpole states significantly, "had lately seen
the Prince two or three times in private." This appointment marks the
beginning of the intrigues that centred round the young Prince.

  [40] Francis Ayscough, afterwards Dean of Bristol (1700-1766). Clerk of
  the Closet to Frederick, Prince of Wales, 1740.

  [41] Walpole: _Memoirs of George II_.

  [42] George Lyttelton (1709-1773), created Baron Lyttelton 1756.

Tempted by the promise of an earldom, in October, 1750, Lord North[43]
became Governor--"an amiable, worthy man," says Walpole, "of no great
genius, unless compared with his successor;" but this arrangement did
not long endure, for the Pelhams, finding themselves in power, thought
it behoved them to endeavour to retain it perpetually by surrounding the
future king with their creatures. Lord North retired in April, 1751,
and, when the post had been offered to and declined by Lord Hartington,
he was replaced by Lord Harcourt,[44] a Lord of the Bedchamber to the
King, a "civil and stupid" person who, though unfitted for the post by
his ignorance of most things save hunting and drinking, was thought
unlikely to interfere with the ministers' plans. The real agent of the
Pelhams was the sub-governor, Andrew Stone,[45] the Duke of Newcastle's
private secretary, "a dark, proud man, very able and very mercenary," in
high favour with George II. Scott remained as Sub-Preceptor, and with
him as Preceptor was now put Dr. Hayter, Bishop of Norwich,[46] a
sensible man of the world. Lord Sussex, Lord Robert Bertie, and Lord
Downe were appointed Lords, and Peachy, Digby and Schulze, Grooms of the
Bedchamber to the young Prince; while his Treasurer was Colonel John
Selwyn, who, dying in December, was succeeded by Cresset, the holder of
the same position in the Household of the Princess, now Dowager Princess
of Wales.

  [43] Francis, third Baron North (1704-1790), created Earl of Guilford,

  [44] Simon, first Earl Harcourt (1714-1777).

  [45] Andrew Stone (1703-1773), sometime Under-Secretary of State.

  [46] Thomas Hayter (1702-1762), Bishop of Norwich, 1749; Bishop of
  London, 1761.

For a while there was peace in the tutors' camp, but soon dissension
broke out, and it became an open secret that Harcourt and Hayter were in
opposition to Stone and Scott. The quarrel began when Hayter found in
the Prince of Wales's hands a copy of Father d'Orleans's "_Revolution
d'Angleterre_," a work written at the instigation of James II of England
to justify his measures. Stone was taxed with having introduced it into
the royal apartments, when he denied ever having seen it in thirty
years, and expressed his willingness to stand or fall by the truth or
falseness of the accusation; but when Hayter showed a desire to take him
at his word, it was admitted that the Prince had the book, and the
defence set up was that Prince Edward had borrowed it of his sister
Augusta. Then other works not suitable for use in the training of a
constitutional monarch were, it is said, discovered to be in the
possession of the Prince; and though Stone and Scott aped humility and
regret, they contrived notwithstanding to irritate their superior
officers, until one day Hayter lost his temper, and removed Scott from
the royal chamber "by an imposition of hands, that had at least as much
of the flesh as the spirit in the force of the action."[47] When
matters came to this pass, Cresset took a hand in the quarrel, and
finally Murray[48] added fuel to the flame by telling the Bishop that
Stone should be shown more consideration. Hayter replied, "He believed
that Mr. Stone found all proper regard, but that Lord Harcourt, the
chief of the trust, was generally present;" to which Murray retorted,
"Lord Harcourt, pho! he is a cypher, and must be a cypher, and was put
in to be a cypher." That was the last straw. There are men who are
cyphers without knowing it, and men who know they are cyphers and do not
resent their unimportance, but there are few who can with impunity be
told that they are cyphers, and of these Harcourt was not one, for, with
all his faults, he was not the man to acquiesce in the use of himself as
a cat's-paw.

  [47] Walpole: _Memoirs of George II_.

  [48] William Murray, afterwards first Earl of Mansfield (1705-1763).

When the King returned in November, 1752, from Hanover, Harcourt
complained that dangerous and arbitrary principles were being instilled
into the Prince, and stated it was useless for him to remain as Governor
unless those who were misleading the lad were removed from their
official positions about his person. A few days after this protest was
registered, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Chancellor sent
word that by the King's command they would wait on Lord Harcourt for
further particulars of his grievance, but the latter declined to receive
them on the ground that, "His complaints were not proper to be told but
to the King himself." At a private interview with George II on December
6, Harcourt tendered his resignation, which was accepted; but a similar
concession was not granted to the Bishop of Norwich, whose resignation
the King preferred to receive through the medium of the Archbishop of

  [49] Shortly after, Dr. Hayter's portrait was published, with these
  lines beneath it:

      "Not gentler virtues glow'd in Cambray's breast;
       Not more his young Telemachus was bless'd,
       Till envy, faction, and ambitious rage,
       Drove from the Court the pious sage;
       Back to his flock with transport he withdrew,
       And but one sigh--an honest one--he knew,
       'O guard my royal pupil, Heaven,' he said,
       'Let not his youth be like my age betray'd;
       I would have formed his footsteps in Thy way,
       But vice prevails, and impious men have sway."

[Illustration: _From an old print_


The position of the Governor and Preceptor had gradually become
untenable, for they were exposed to the cross-influences of the Princess
Dowager of Wales and the ministers, and, in their efforts to secure for
themselves the favour of their charge, they took no trouble to win
the good graces of the Princess or to live at peace with their
subordinates. "The Bishop, thinking himself already minister to the
future King, expected dependence from, never once thought of depending
upon, the inferior governors. In the education of the two Princes, he
was sincerely honest and zealous; and soon grew to thwart the Princess
whenever, as an indulgent, or perhaps a little as an ambitious mother
(and this happened but too frequently), she was willing to relax the
application of her sons. Lord Harcourt was minute and strict in trifles;
and thinking that he discharged his trust conscientiously if on no
account he neglected to make the Prince turn out his toes, he gave
himself little trouble to respect the Princess, or to condescend to the
Sub-governor."[50] To this testimony must be added that of Bubb
Dodington, who declared that Lord Harcourt not only behaved ill to the
Princess Dowager and spoke to the children of their dead father in a
manner most disrespectful, but also did all in his power to alienate
them from their mother. "George," he says, "had mentioned it once since
Lord Harcourt's departure, that he was afraid he had not behaved as well
to her sometimes as he ought, and wondered how he could be so
misled."[51] The Princess was therefore overjoyed to be rid of Lord
Harcourt, not only for these reasons, but for another that will
presently be discussed.

  [50] Walpole: _Memoirs of George II_.

  [51] Bubb Dodington: _Diary_.

Stone and Scott retained their posts, but it was not found easy to
replace the men who had resigned. Ministers desired to appoint as
Preceptor Dr. Johnson,[52] the new Bishop of Gloucester, but the Whigs
were so bitterly opposed to the nomination, and had the support of the
Archbishop's objections, that eventually Dr. Thomas[53] was given the
office. "It was still more difficult to accommodate themselves with a
Governor," Walpole has recorded. "The post was at once too exalted, and
they had declared it too unsubstantial, to leave it easy to find a man
who could fill the honour, and digest the dishonour of it."[54]
Overtures were made in several quarters but without success, until at
last, at the request of the King, Lord Waldegrave[55] consented to
accept the responsibility. This he did only after "repeated assurances
of the submission and tractability of Stone," and then with great
reluctance, for he was a man of pleasure rather than of affairs, and
reluctant to be embroiled in intrigue. "If I dared," he said to a
friend, "I would make this excuse to the King, 'Sir, I am too young to
govern, and too old to be governed.'" Even this appointment was censured
by the Whigs, for, though Waldegrave was a man of great common sense and
undoubted honour, it was objected that "his grandmother was a daughter
of King James; his family were all Papists, and his father had been but
the first convert"!

  [52] James Johnson (1705-1774), Bishop of Gloucester, 1752; Bishop of
  Worcester, 1759.

  [53] John Thomas (1696-1781), successively Bishop of Peterborough
  (1747), Salisbury (1757) and Winchester (1761).

  [54] Walpole: _Memoirs of King George II_.

  [55] James, second Earl Waldegrave (1715-1763), married Maria Walpole, a
  natural daughter of Sir Edward Walpole by Mrs. Clement, a milliner. After
  the death of her first husband the Countess secretly married on
  September 6, 1766, William Henry, Duke of Gloucester, and the union was
  publicly announced when the Royal Marriage Act was introduced into

The refusal of Lord Harcourt to discuss his complaints with any one but
the King was doubtless due to the fact that he traced the objectionable
doctrines taught to his pupil to Lord Bute.[56] In his earlier years
Bute had taken no part nor, indeed, shown any interest in politics. In
1723, at the age of twenty, he had succeeded to the earldom on the death
of his father; had married Mary, only daughter of Lady Mary Wortley
Montagu, and so came into possession of the Wortley estates; and, though
in 1737 elected representative peer of Scotland, had spent most of his
time on his estates, occupying himself with the theoretical and
practical study of agriculture and architecture.

  [56] John Stuart, third Earl of Bute (1715-1792).

A great change in Bute's life was made in 1747 through a chance meeting
with Frederick, Prince of Wales. The Earl was then staying at Richmond,
and one day his neighbour, an apothecary, drove him over to Moulsey
Hurst to see a cricket match that had been organized by the Prince. It
came on to rain, the game had to be stopped, and Frederick retired to
his tent, proposing a rubber of whist to while away the time until the
weather should clear. Only two other players could be found, but some
one espied Bute in the carriage and, learning that he could play,
invited him to make up the table. The Prince, who had never before met
him, was charmed with his manners, and invited him to Kew. "How often do
great events arise from trifling causes," exclaims the worthy but
sententious Seward. "An apothecary keeping his carriage may have
occasioned the Peace of Paris, the American War, and the National
Assembly in France." Without going so far as that chronicler, it may be
said that the game of whist had far-reaching effects.

[Illustration: _From a print published 1754 for "Stowe's Survey"_


Bute became a member of his patron's court,[57] where his influence
became a factor that could not be ignored. Nor did his power at
Leicester House wane after the death of the Prince, for he was high in
the Princess's favour, which latter good fortune was attributed not so
much to his intellectual attainments as to his personal qualities.
Scandal was busy coupling his name with that of the lady he served:
indeed, for years there was no caricature so popular with the public as
that of the Boot and the Petticoat, the symbols of the Peer and the
Princess. What truth there was in this charge, if, indeed, there was any
truth at all, is not, and probably never will be, known; but at the time
the intimacy was almost universally assumed. "It had already been
whispered that the assiduities of Lord Bute at Leicester House, and his
still more frequent attendance in the gardens at Kew and Carlton House,
were less addressed to the Prince of Wales than to his mother," says
Walpole. "The eagerness of the pages of the back-stairs to let her know
whenever Lord Bute arrived (and some other symptoms) contributed to
dispel the ideas that had been conceived of the rigour of her widowhood.
On the other hand, the favoured personage, naturally ostentatious of
his person, and of haughty carriage, seemed by no means desirous of
concealing his conquest. His bows grew more theatric; his graces
contracted some meaning; and the beauty of his leg was constantly
displayed in the eye of the poor captivated Princess.... When the late
Prince of Wales affected to retire into gloomy _allées_ with Lady
Middleton, he used to bid the Princess walk with Lord Bute. As soon as
the Prince was dead, they walked more and more, in honour of his
memory."[58] The same authority was on another occasion even more
explicit. "I am as much convinced of the amorous connexion between Bute
and the Princess Dowager as if I had seen them together," he said;[59]
and what he said was thought by the more reticent.

  [57] He was appointed Lord of the Bedchamber to the Prince of Wales in
  September, 1750.

  [58] Walpole: _Memoirs of George II_.

  [59] _Walpoliana._

Whether there was "amorous connexion" or not, Bute was the most detested
man of his day, and the more prominently he came before the public the
more violent was the abuse heaped upon him. "Bute was hated with a rage
of which there have been few examples in English history. He was the
butt for everybody's abuse; for Wilkes's devilish mischief; for
Churchill's slashing satire; for the hooting of the mob that roasted the
boot, his emblem, in a thousand bonfires; that hated him because he was
a favourite and a Scotchman, calling him 'Mortimer,' 'Lothario,' I know
not what names, and accusing his royal mistress of all sorts of
crimes--the grave, lean, demure, elderly woman, who, I daresay, was
quite as good as her neighbours."[60]

  [60] Thackeray: _The Four Georges_.

In those days to be a Scotchman was alone enough to secure the cordial
ill-will of the English, for national rivalries had not then been even
partially eliminated; and it was said that Bute used his power to
promote his countrymen, which, though to-day it does not seem a very
heinous crime, was then regarded as a sin unequalled in horror by any
enumerated in the decalogue. An amusing defence of Bute against this
charge is made by Huish who, however, was certainly unconscious of the
humour of the passage. "The truth of this charge rests upon no solid
foundation. That Bute brought forward his countrymen is true enough, but
it was by extending to them the patronage of office, not, except in some
few instances, by directly introducing them to the personal favour of
the King."[61] One of these exceptions was Charles Jenkinson,[62] Bute's
private secretary, who, when his master had, ostensibly, at least,
retired from the direction of affairs, was the go between the King and
the ex-minister.

  [61] Huish: _The Public and Private Life of George the Third_.

  [62] Charles Jenkinson, afterwards first Earl of Liverpool (1727-1808),
  the father of Robert, Lord Liverpool, some time Prime Minister.

"Lord Bute was my schoolfellow," says Walpole. "He was a man of taste
and science, and I do believe his intentions were good. He wished to
blend and unite all parties. The Tories were willing to come in for a
_share_ of power, after having been so long excluded--but the Whigs were
not willing to grant that share. Power is an intoxicating draught; the
more a man has, the more he desires."[63] The effects of power upon Bute
will soon appear. It was not, however, this man's power or his use or
abuse of it, but his qualities, that earned for him the hatred of his
equals. Lord Chesterfield wrote him down as "dry, unconciliatory, and
sullen, with a great mixture of pride. He never looked at those he spoke
to, or who spoke to him, a great fault in a minister, as in the general
opinion of mankind it implies conscious guilt; besides that it hinders
him from penetrating others.... He was too proud to be respectable or
respected; too cold and silent to be amiable; too cunning to have great
abilities; and his inexperience made him too precipitately what it
disabled him from executing."[64] Further, he showed little _savoir
faire_, for he chose as his subordinates, men who were incapable, or
those who, disgusted by him, were undesirous to help him, and, giving no
man his confidence, found himself severely handicapped consequently by
receiving none. Indeed, his arrogance on occasion angered even the
Prince of Wales, who quarrelled with him before the death of George II,
and on his accession employed him only after the severest pressure of
the Princess Dowager.[65] However, Bute soon regained his ascendency
over the young King.

  [63] _Walpoliana._

  [64] _The Letters of Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield._

  [65] _Walpoliana._

One result of the intimacy between the Princess Dowager and Bute was
that the actual superintendence, and, indeed, control of the education
of the Prince of Wales was indirectly exercised by him. This was
particularly unfortunate because Bute was a disciple of Bolingbroke's
doctrine of absolute monarchy, and his "high prerogative prejudice and
Tory predilections," similar to those that caused the Revolution of
1688, were specially dangerous at a time when the new dynasty had not
long been firmly established; and it seemed that while at worst they
might lead to a conflict between the Crown and the people, at best they
would, when the Prince of Wales became King, make Bute a dictator. Even
so early as 1752 Waldegrave "found his Royal Highness full of princely
prejudices, contracted in the nursing, and improved by the society of
bed-chamber women, and the pages of the back-stairs,"[66] and he records
the endeavours to make him resign his Governorship so that the place
might be open for Bute.

  [66] Waldegrave: _Memoirs_.

"A notion has prevailed," says Nicholls, "that the Earl of Bute had
suggested political opinions to the Princess Dowager, but this was
certainly a mistake. In understanding, the Princess Dowager was far
superior to the Earl of Bute; in whatever degree of favour he stood with
her, he did not suggest, but he received, her opinions and her
directions."[67] As a matter of fact, the Princess Dowager was a woman
of very sound understanding up to a certain point, but her training at
the Court of Saxe-Gotha, where the Duke was practically a despot,
unfitted her for the task of bringing up a future King of England.
Constitutional monarchy was beyond the range of her experience, and she
could never accept the doctrine in force in this country that, while a
sovereign may choose his ministers, having chosen them he should either
be guided by their advice or change them. "Be a King, George," she
preached to the heir-apparent; and in her eyes to be a king was to be

  [67] Nicholls: _Recollections and Reflections_.

Though well-meaning and shrewd enough, the Princess Dowager's outlook on
life was narrow; she had many prejudices, and in the light of these
planned the education of her children so far as it lay in her power. She
was so afraid lest George should be influenced by the vulgarity and
immorality of the Court, that she tied him to her apron-strings. "The
Prince of Wales lived shut up with his mother and Lord Bute; and must
have thrown them into some difficulties: their connexion was not easily
reconcilable to the devotion which they had infused into the Prince; the
Princess could not wish him always present, and yet dreaded him being
out of her sight. His brother Edward, who received a thousand
mortifications, was seldom suffered to be with him; and Lady Augusta,
now a woman, was, to facilitate some privacy for the Princess, dismissed
from supping with her mother, and sent back to cheese-cakes, with her
little sister Elizabeth, on pretence that meat at night would fatten her
too much."[68] The result of this treatment was not only that the
children were miserable, but that they were all too well aware of their
state of mind. When the Princess Dowager, struck one day by the silence
of one of her sons, asked if he were sulking, "I was thinking," the lad
replied, "what I should feel if I had a son as unhappy as you make me."

  [68] Walpole: _Memoirs of George II_.

There were not wanting those who declared that in secluding the Prince
of Wales, and in keeping from him all knowledge of the world--that
knowledge, valuable to all, but essential to the making of a useful
King--the Princess Dowager had formed the project herself to exercise
the regal power that would one day be his; and that her policy was
approved by Lord Bute, who, also with an eye to the future, saw that his
influence over an ignorant monarch was likely to be much greater than
over one well acquainted with men and matters. "The plan of tutelage and
future dominion over the heir-apparent, laid many years ago at Carlton
House, between the Princess Dowager and her favourite, the Earl of Bute,
was as gross and palpable as that which was concerted between Anne of
Austria and Cardinal Mazarin, to govern Lewis the Fourteenth, and in
effect to prolong his minority until the end of their lives. That Prince
had strong natural parts, and used frequently to blush for his own
ignorance and want of education, which had been wilfully neglected by
his mother and her minion. A little experience, however, soon showed him
how shamefully he had been treated, and for what infamous purposes he
had been kept in ignorance. Our great Edward, too, at an early period,
had sense enough to understand the nature of the connexion between his
abandoned mother and the detested Mortimer. But since that time human
nature, we may observe, is greatly altered for the better. Dowagers may
be chaste, and minions may be honest. When it was proposed to settle the
present King's household as Prince of Wales, it is well known that the
Earl of Bute was forced into it in direct contradiction to the late
King's inclination. _That_ was the salient point from which all the
mischiefs and disgraces of the present reign took life and motion. From
that moment Lord Bute never suffered the Prince of Wales to be an
instant out of his sight. We need not look farther."[69]

  [69] Junius: _Address to the King_.

But while the Princess Dowager and Lord Bute agreed apparently as to the
advantage of keeping the heir-apparent in a backward state, each
desiring the mastery, they differed on other points. "The Princess began
to perceive an alteration in the ardour of Lord Bute, which grew less
assiduous about her, and increased towards her son," Walpole noted in
1758. "The Earl had attained such an ascendency over the Prince, that he
became more remiss to the mother; and no doubt it was an easier
function to lead the understanding of a youth than to keep up to the
spirit required by an experienced woman. The Prince even dropped hints
against women interfering in politics. These clouds, however, did not
burst; and the creatures of the Princess vindicated her from any breach
with Lord Bute with as much earnestness as if their union had been to
her honour."[70]

  [70] Walpole: _Memoirs of the Reign of George II_.

The Princess did not deny that the seclusion of her son had its
drawbacks. "She was highly sensible how necessary it was that the Prince
should keep company with men: she well knew that women could not inform
him, but if it was in her power absolutely, to whom could she entrust
him? What company could she wish him to keep? What friendships desire he
should contract? Such was the universal profligacy, such the character
and conduct of the young people of distinction, that she was really
afraid to have them near her children." However, the Princess Dowager
made little or no effort to provide suitable companions for George, and
the only youth with whom he was allowed to have even a restricted
intercourse was his brother, Edward.

[Illustration: _From a painting by H. Kysing_


Frederick, Prince of Wales, had not set his wife a good example by
showing much interest in his son, though when he was on his deathbed
he sent for the child. "Come, George," he said, "let us be good friends
while we may." Occasionally, however, he had gone with him to a concert
at the Foundling Hospital, or to see various processes of manufactures;
and now and then had taken him for a walk in the city at night--which
latter proceeding gave rise to a lampoon when in 1749 the little boy was
installed a Knight of the Garter,--the Earl of Inchiquin appearing as
his proxy.

    "Now Frederick's a knight and George is a knight,
        With stalls in Windsor Chapel,
     We'll hope they'll prowl no more by night,
     To look at garters black and white,
        On legs of female rabble."

On the death of his father, George succeeded to the title of Electoral
Prince of Brunswick-Lünenburg, Duke of Edinburgh, Marquis of the Isle of
Ely, Earl of Eltham, Viscount of Launceston and Baron of Snowdon; and
the "Gazette" of April 11, 1751, announced that, "His Majesty had been
pleased to order Letters Patent to pass under the Great Seal of Great
Britain for creating his Royal Highness George William Frederick ...
Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester." George II at this time began to
show a personal interest in his successor, inviting him to St. James's,
taking him to Kew, even for a while removing him from Leicester House
and lodging him at Kensington. The King did not approve of his
daughter-in-law's method of bringing up her son, and, when visiting her
unexpectedly one day, heard she had taken the Princes to visit a
tapestry factory in which she was interested. "D----n dat tapestry," he
cried, "I shall have de Princes made women of." Calling again at
Leicester House the next day, he inquired: "Gone to de tapestry again?"
and, on being told the Princes were at home, commanded that they should
be sent to Hyde Park where he had "oder things to show dem dan needles
and dreads." The "oder things" was a review, and, Princess Augusta being
dressed to go out, her grandfather took her with him. "This circumstance
gave rise to some unpleasant altercation between the King and the
Princess Dowager of Wales; for, on the latter being informed of the
expressions which his Majesty had used regarding her visit to the
tapestry manufactory, she retorted upon his Majesty by declaring if he
thought the view of a manufactory was beneath the attentions of her
sons, she considered the sight of a review to be attended with no
benefit to her daughter."[71]

  [71] Huish: _Public and Private Life of George III_.

The Princess Dowager's retort to the King in this case was typical of
her character, for she was a strong-minded, fearless woman, and not
lightly to be brow-beaten or opposed.[72] On the whole, however, George
II and his daughter-in-law were not on unfriendly terms since, after the
death of her husband, she had thrown herself upon his protection. "The
King and she both took their parts at once," Walpole noted; "she of
flinging herself entirely into his hands and studying nothing but his
pleasure, but with wondering what interest she got with him to the
advantage of her son and the Prince's friends; the King of acting the
tender grandfather, which he, who had never acted the tender father,
grew so pleased with representing, that he soon became it in earnest."
This was made clear when the question arose of appointing a regent in
case of the sovereign's death before his successor was of age, for the
King advocated her right to be selected for that exalted position in a
Royal Message to the Houses of Parliament:

"That nothing could conduce so much to the preservation of the
Protestant succession in his royal family as proper provision for the
tuition of the person of his successor, and for the regular
administration of the government, in case the successor should be of
tender years: his Majesty, therefore, earnestly recommended this weighty
affair to the deliberation of Parliament and proposed that when the
imperial crown of these realms should descend to any of the late
Prince's sons, being under the age of eighteen years, his mother, the
Princess Dowager of Wales, should be guardian of his person, and Regent
of these kingdoms, until he should attain the age of majority; with such
powers and limitations as should appear necessary and expedient for
these purposes."

  [72] "The Princess Dowager was a woman of strong mind. When she was very
  ill, she would order her carriage, and drive about the streets, to show
  she was alive. The King and Queen used to go and see her every evening
  at eight o'clock; but when she got worse they went at seven, pretending
  they mistook the hour. The night before her death they were with her
  from seven to nine. She kept up the conversation as usual, went to bed,
  and was found dead in the morning. She died [on February 8, 1772] of the
  evil, which quite consumed her."--_Walpoliana._

A Bill embodying these recommendations was accordingly introduced by the
Duke of Newcastle into the House of Lords, when the King sent a second
Message proposing that such a council to assist the Regent as
the Bill advised should consist of the Duke of Cumberland, then
Commander-in-Chief, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Chancellor,
the Lord High Treasurer, or First Lord Commissioner of the Treasury, the
President of the Council, the Lord Privy Seal, the Lord High Admiral of
Great Britain, or First Commissioner of the Admiralty, the two principal
Secretaries of State, and the Lord Chief Justice of the King's
Bench--all those great officers except, of course, the Duke of
Cumberland, for the time being.

This aroused the bitterest opposition, and many members dwelt on the
danger of leaving in command of a large standing army a prince of the
blood, who was the only permanent member of the Council as well as the
uncle of the minor, and the names of all the wicked uncles in history,
John Lackland, Humphrey of Gloucester, and the rest were freely
introduced into the discussion. William Augustus Duke of Cumberland, was
indeed a deeply hated man, and the astonishing popularity of his elder
brother, Frederick, was perhaps due more to the fact that he stood
between William and the throne than to any other reason. Indeed, when
Frederick died, in many cases the lament was phrased "Would that it had
been his brother!" "Would that it had been 'the butcher!'" and Walpole
is careful to mention that the nickname was not given in the sense it
was formerly: "_Le boucher étoit anciennement un surnom glorieux qu'on
donnoit à un general àpres une victoire, en reconnoissance du carnage
qu'il avoit fait de trente ou quarante mille hommes._"[73] Yet, "there
never was a prince so popular, so winning in his ways, as William of
Cumberland during his minority," says Dr. Doran, who adds that "_the_
Duke," as he was called, was "gentlemanlike without affectations,
accomplished without being vain of his accomplishments."[74] He had
courage in plenty, and distinguished himself at Dettingen and Culloden,
but his severities after the latter battle secured him the undesirable
nickname that clung to him for life--in his defence it may be offered
that this same harshness might well have earned for him the gratitude of
those who hated civil war, for it scotched further rebellion and made
his father's throne secure. He had hoped to be appointed regent,
although Walpole tells us "the consternation that spread on the
apprehensions that the Duke would be regent on the King's death, and
have the sole power in the meantime, was near as strong as what was
occasioned by the notice of the rebels being at Derby."[75] None the
less, when the Lord Chancellor was sent to inform him that his hope
would not be realized, the Duke bore the blow well, and said, "I return
my duty and thanks to the King for the communication of the plan of
regency; while, for the post allotted to me, I would submit to it,
because he commands it, be that regency what it will." He felt
resentful, however, wished "the name of William could be blotted out of
the English annals," and declared he now felt his insignificance, "when
even Mr. Pelham would dare to use him thus." The opposition to the
inclusion of his name even on the council to assist the regent gave him
pain; but he was much more deeply wounded when, the young Prince of
Wales calling upon him, to amuse his visitor he took down a sword and
drew it, and noticed that the lad turned pale and trembled. "What must
they have told him about me," he wondered, and in no measured terms
complained to the Princess of Wales of the impression that had been
instilled into his nephew.

  [73] De Saintfoix: _Essais Histor. sur Paris_.

  [74] Doran: _History of the Queens of England of the House of Hanover_.

  [75] _Memoirs of George III_.



"The boy is good for nothing but to read the Bible to his mother,"
George II said one day of his grandson; and he sought for measures that
should emancipate the young man and tend to enlarge his knowledge of the
world. His first attempt in this direction, made in 1755 when he was in
Hanover, fluttered the dovecots of Leicester House, for the rumour flew
that the King was about to propose a marriage between the Prince of
Wales and a princess of the House of Brunswick. "Surely the King would
not marry my son without acquainting me with it, so much as by letter,"
said the Princess Dowager. "If the King should settle the match without
acquainting me, I should let him know how ill I take it, and I shall not
fail to tell him fairly and plainly it is full early." The report proved
to be not unfounded. At a German watering-place, George II had met the
Duchess of Brunswick with her two daughters, and had been so charmed
with the elder, Sophia,[76] that he declared if he had been twenty
years younger he would have married her himself.

  [76] Princess Sophia Caroline Maria, elder daughter of the Duke of
  Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, who married the Margrave of Bayreuth in 1759.

[Illustration: _From a portrait by T. Frye_


When the King's wish became known to the Princess Dowager, she
determined by every means in her power to thwart it, and as a first step
told her son that his grandfather's only motive in proposing the
marriage was to advance the interest of Hanover. "The suddenness of the
measure, and the little time left for preventing it, at once unhinged
all the circumspection and prudence of the Princess. From the death of
the Prince, her object had been the government of her son; and her
attention had answered. She had taught him great devotion, and she had
taken care he should be taught nothing else. There was no reason to
apprehend from his own genius that he would escape her, but bigoted, and
young, and chaste, what empire might not a youthful bride (and the
Princess of Brunswick was reckoned artful) assume over him? The Princess
thought that prudence now would be most imprudent. She immediately
instilled into her son the greatest aversion to the match: he protested
against it."[77] Every artifice was employed by the Princess Dowager and
Bute to prejudice the Prince of Wales against Princess Sophia, her
personal attractions were depreciated, and she was represented as the
last person in the world likely to render the married state acceptable,
while on the other hand, "the charms, the mental qualifications, the
superior endowments, and the fascinating manners of a princess of a
house of Saxe-Gotha were the constant theme of panegyric, the diamond
could not surpass her eye in brilliancy, nor the snow the whiteness of
her skin." These descriptions fired even the Prince, who refused the
King's nominee, and made formal demands for a portrait of the Saxe-Gotha
beauty--a request that in royal circles is usually the first step
towards an alliance. Of course his grandson's action became known to the
King, who would not entertain the idea of his successor's union with a
princess of the Saxe-Gotha blood, which was notorious for a
constitutional malady. "I know enough of that family already," he said,
and no arguments could move him.

  [77] Walpole: _Memoirs of George II_.

This, of course, put an end to the negotiations, but the Prince of
Wales, incensed, it was said, by the affront to his mother's family,
replied by refusing even to discuss any other alliance. "In vain his
Majesty importuned him; in vain the most serious and plausible
representations were made to him of the necessity of his marriage as an
act of state policy; in vain were all the arguments adduced which had
been so satisfactorily employed in the discussion of the Regency Bill,
concerning the danger which impends over the country, when the monarch
or the heir-apparent to the throne marries at a late period of his life,
thereby giving rise to the probability of a long minority: in vain the
character of the patriot prince was exposed to him, who ought to
sacrifice his private feelings to the welfare of the state. To all these
powerful and cogent reasons he granted a willing and respectful ear, and
an hour's private conversation with his mother effaced every impression
which they had made."[78]

  [78] Huish: _The Public and Private Life of George III_.

When the King's project for the marriage of his successor fell through,
the ministers made an effort on their own account to withdraw the Prince
of Wales from the maternal influence, being thereto incited by the fact
that a bid for the young man's sympathies were being made by the
Opposition and that at his informal _levées_ Pitt, Lord Temple,[79] and
the Grenvilles[80] were frequently in attendance. The Duke of
Newcastle[81] and Lord Hardwicke[82], who also desired the favour of the
future sovereign, took alarm, and endeavoured, with a single diplomatic
stroke, to checkmate Pitt and his friends and separate mother and son.
Lord Waldegrave was sent by the King, at the instance of the ministers,
to state that now the Prince of Wales had attained the year of royal
majority, his Majesty would allow him £40,000 a year, and had given
orders to prepare for him Frederick's apartments at Kensington and those
of the late Queen at Kew. Upon receipt of this message a secret conclave
was held at Leicester House, and, as a result, the Prince sent a reply,
probably drawn up by Legge, that he would gratefully accept the
allowance, but preferred not to leave his mother.

  [79] Richard Temple Grenville, afterwards Grenville-Temple (1711-1799)
  on the death of his mother in 1752 succeeded to the earldom of Temple.

  [80] Lord Temple's younger brothers, George Grenville (1712-1770),
  sometime Prime Minister; James Grenville (died 1783). Their sister,
  Hester, married William Pitt, afterwards first Earl of Chatham.

  [81] Thomas Pelham-Holles, first Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne

  [82] Philip Yorke (1690-1764), created Baron Hardwicke 1773; Lord
  Chancellor 1737; created Earl of Hardwicke 1754.

As the latter proposal had not been made a condition of the grant,
ministers were non-plussed. "Was the gift to be revoked, because the
Prince had natural affection? Was the whole message to be carried into
execution, and a young man, of age by Act of Parliament, to be taken by
force, and detained a prisoner in the palace? What law would justify
such violence? Who would be the agents of such violence? His Majesty
himself and the late Prince of Wales had furnished the Prince with
precedents of mutinying against the crown with impunity. How little the
ministers, who had planned the first step, knew what to advise for the
second, was plain, from their giving no further advice for about a
month, and from the advice which they did give then, and from the
perplexity in which they remained for two months more, and from the
ignominious result of the whole transaction, both to the King and to
themselves at last."[83]

  [83] Walpole: _Memoirs of George II_.

The King's offer had been made at the end of May or the beginning of
June, 1756, and the Prince of Wales, acting under his mother's
instructions, had followed up his second victory by carrying the war
into the enemy's camp, and expressing a desire that Lord Bute should be
appointed his Groom of the Stole. In July a second message in the King's
name was sent to the heir-apparent to inquire if he still adhered to his
desire to remain with his mother and to the demand for the appointment
of Lord Bute. This, intended as a warning or threat, failed of its
intended effect, for the Prince replied: "That since the King did him
the honour to ask him the question, he did hope to have leave to
continue with his mother, as her happiness so much depended on it--for
the other point, he had _never directly_ asked it--yet, since
encouraged, he would explain himself; and from the long knowledge and
good opinion he had of Lord Bute, he did desire to have him about his

After this, there was nothing for it but surrender on the part of the
ministers, who could not but admit to themselves that they had played
the game and lost it. Lord Waldegrave was relieved from the post of
Governor, much to his pleasure, for he had found his servitude
uncongenial; and to the delight of the Princess Dowager, who had
unreasonably regarded him as a spy, and also of the Prince of Wales, who
had no liking for him, and subsequently denounced him as "a depraved,
worthless man, well-intentioned, but wholly unfit for the situation in
which he was placed." The King accepted Lord Waldegrave's resignation
with regret; and consented to bestow the gold key on Lord Bute only with
great reluctance--indeed, so strong was his feeling in the matter that
he refused to give the insignia of office himself as was usual, and sent
it by the Duke of Grafton, who slipped it into the pocket of the
recipient, and advised him to show no offence.

Bute kissed hands as Groom of the Stole in October, at the same time as
the other members of the Prince of Wales's new establishment, in which
Lord Huntingdon was Master of the Horse, Lord Euston, Lord Pembroke, and
Lord Digby, Lords of the Bedchamber; Lord Bathurst, treasurer; Hon. S.
Masham, Auditor; and Hon. James Brudenel, Master of the Robes. Andrew
Stone was appointed Secretary, and his first duty was to carry out his
master's wish that George Scott should not be retained in the Household.
"The reason given for his exclusion was, his having talked with contempt
of the Prince's understanding, and with freedom of the Princess's
conduct. The truth was, Scott was a frank man, of no courtly depth, and
had indiscreetly disputed with Lord Bute, who affected a character of
learning."[84] This prejudice was unfortunate, for, according to Rose,
Scott, though no courtier, was the sort of man who should have been kept
by George about his person. "I never knew a man more entirely blameless
in all the relations of life; amiable, honourable, temperate, and one of
the sweetest dispositions I ever knew."[85] But he was too clear-sighted
to be a welcome person in court circles and his lack of deference to
the fetish set up by the Princess Dowager was in her eyes unpardonable.

  [84] Walpole: _Memoirs of George II_.

  [85] Rose: _Diary_. Scott was subsequently appointed a Commissioner of

From the appointment of his Household in 1856 so uneventful was the life
of the Prince of Wales that there is nothing to record of the years
intervening until he ascended the throne, to which he was called
suddenly. On October 25, 1760, George II rose at the usual hour,
seemingly in good health; but, as the page left the room after
breakfast, he heard a noise, and found the King had fallen from his
chair to the floor. "Call Amelia," said the monarch; and instantly


_Photo by Emery Walker_

_Portrait by Allan Ramsay_




The King is dead! Long live the King!

George II has given place to George III, and those who had prostrated
themselves before the former were now anxious to pay court to his
successor. Yet those who had at heart the welfare of their country
trembled at the thought that the throne, with all the influence
appertaining thereto, had passed to an ignorant, narrow-minded lad; and
reviewing the young king's training, and his mediocre gifts, it must be
admitted that the fear was not unreasonable.

The Princess Dowager's plan of isolating the Prince of Wales from
companions of his own age, while it had kept him from evil counsellors,
had resulted only too obviously in making him a very dull young man. His
mother admitted he was "shy and backward; not a wild dissipated boy, but
good-natured and cheerful, with a serious cast upon the whole;"[86] and
unfortunately the mode of life imposed upon him during his minority
tended to develop that serious cast at the expense of other qualities.
Bubb Dodington, a keen observer, noticed this trait so early as 1752,
and asked the Princess Dowager what she thought the real disposition of
the Prince to be. "She said that I knew him almost as well as she did;
that he was very honest, but she wished that he was a little more
forward, and less childish at his age: that she hoped his preceptors
would improve him. I begged to know what methods they took; what they
read to him, or made him read; and whether he showed any particular
inclination to any of the people about him. She said she did not well
know what they taught him; but, to speak freely, she was afraid not
much: that they were in the country and followed their diversions, and
not much else that she could discover: that we must hope it would be
better when we came to town. I said that I did not much regard books,
that what I the most wished was that his Royal Highness should begin to
learn the usages and knowledge of the world; be informed of the general
frame and nature of this government and constitution, and of the general
course and manner of business, without descending into minutias."[87]

  [86] Bubb Dodington: _Diary_.

  [87] Bubb Dodington: _Diary_.

The young Prince of Wales's amusements had been few. He was sometimes
permitted to play a round card game, called Comet, with his mother and
brothers and sisters; and the Princess Dowager showed more liberality of
mind than was usual with her by declaring that "she liked the Prince
should now and then amuse himself at small play, but that princes should
never play deep, both for the example and because it did not become them
to win great sums."[88] A greater delight of the Prince was to take part
in amateur theatricals, an indulgence sometimes granted as the practice
might accustom him to the public speaking that must later fall to his
lot. This was of great value to him for, while in conversation his
utterance was rapid, on public occasions he spoke so distinctly and with
such dignity that Quin, hearing his first Speech from the throne,
exclaimed delightedly: "Ay! 'twas I that taught the boy to speak!" But
George was not fond of delivering or listening to orations. "I am sure
that the rage for public speaking, and the extravagant length to which
some of our more popular orators carry their harangues in Parliament, is
very detrimental to the national business," he expressed his opinion
after he ascended the throne, "and I wish that it may not, in the end,
prove injurious to the public peace."[89]

  [88] Bubb Dodington: _Diary_.

  [89] Galt: _George III, his Court and Family_.

In spite of these occasional relaxations, the family circle at Leicester
House was far from bright, and Dodington has recorded how in November,
1753, he was summoned to wait upon the Princess Dowager, and how,
instead of the small party and a little music he expected, he found no
one but her Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, Prince Edward and
Princess Augusta, all in undress. They sat round the fire, and Dodington
and the Princess talked of familiar occurrences "with the ease and
unreservedness and unconstraint, as if one had dropped into a sister's
house that had a family, to pass the evening," but agreeable as it was
to Dodington, he could not refrain from wishing, "that the Princess
conversed familiarly with more people of a certain knowledge of the
world."[90] But even Dodington seldom saw the Prince of Wales, and,
though George II showed no disposition to keep his successor in the
background, the latter spent much of his time in, perhaps not entirely
voluntary, retirement at Kew, where his mother was making "a collection
of exotic plants, the precursor of the present Royal Botanical Gardens,
on a scale of liberal munificence, besides continuing to erect, under
the superintendence of Sir William Chambers, the various ornamental
gardens, originally planned by the deceased Prince."[91] Horticulture
had little charm for the Prince of Wales, who was, however, attracted by
agricultural science, and took an active interest in the farming of his
land, tastes which subsequently he endeavoured in vain to inculcate in
his sons, and secured for him the nickname that still clings to him.[92]

  [90] Bubb Dodington: _Diary_.

  [91] Galt: _George III, his Court and Family_.

  [92] According to John Galt, George III wrote several letters signed
  Ralph Robinson and dated from Windsor, to Arthur Young for the latter's
  _Annals of Agriculture_.

[Illustration: _From the Oxford Magazine_


George found some pleasure in trifling mechanical occupations, and had a
watch made from his own designs by Arnold, of which a description is
extant. "It was rather less than a silver twopence, yet contained one
hundred and twenty different parts: the whole weighed between five and
six pennyweights." Later in life he amused himself in turning on the
lathe, and it was declared by the satirists that the royal ingenuity
eventually went so far as to construct a button. Certainly for a long
time he figured in caricature as "the royal button-maker"; and it was in
this capacity an anonymous versifier congratulated him upon the success
of his army in America.

    "Then shall my lofty numbers tell
     Who taught the royal babes to spell
       And sovereign art pursue
     To mend a watch, or set a clock,
     New pattern shape for Hervey's frock,
     Or buttons made at Kew."[93]

  [93] _The New Foundling Hospital for Wit._

George III as Prince of Wales saw nothing of the outside world, and even
when in 1759 he was allowed to make an excursion beyond the limits
usually imposed upon him, it took the form of a private trip through
Scotland, when, preserving the strictest _incognito_, he paid visits to
Edinburgh, Glasgow, the Isle of Bute and a few other places, accompanied
only by Lord Bute and two servants.

It may here be remarked that no English king travelled less than George
III, who during the whole of his long life rarely visited any part of
his dominions.

    "Our sons some slave of greatness may behold,
     Cast in the genuine Asiatic mould,
     Who of three realms shall condescend to know
     No more than he can spy from Windsor's brow."[94]

  [94] _Heroic Epistle to Sir William Chambers._

He never went to Hanover or Scotland or Ireland or Wales, and in England
his longest journeys were to Cheltenham, Weymouth, and Portsmouth,
which latter town he visited twice, but solely to make an official
inspection of a battleship.

    "There shall he see, as other folks have seen,
     That ships have anchors, and that seas are green;
     Shall count the tackling trim, the streamers fine,
     With Bradshaw prattle, and with Sandwich dine;
     And then row back, amidst the cannon's roar,
     As safe, as sage, as when he left the shore."[95]

  [95] _Heroic Epistle to Sir William Chambers._

"To tell you the honest truth," Ernest, King of Hanover, said in 1845;
"the impression on my mind has ever been that it was a very unfortunate
circumstance for my father that he was kept as it were, aloof, not only
from his brothers, but almost from all young men of his own age; and
this I saw evident marks of almost daily."[96] Indeed, the unhappy
relations of George III with his sons must in great part be attributed
to the isolation of the King's early years: never having been permitted
to indulge in the pleasures of youth, he could in later years make no
allowance for such follies in others. It comes as a relief to find that
George III when Prince of Wales did commit one stupid, boyish prank:
when a tutor reproved him and told him he must stick closer to his work,
he put pitch on the tutor's chair, thus making the pedagogue stick
closer to his seat.

  [96] "Secluded from the world, attached from his infancy to one set of
  persons and one set of ideas, he can neither open his heart to new
  connexions, nor his mind to better information. A character of this sort
  is the soil fittest to produce that obstinate bigotry in politics and
  religion which begins with a meritorious sacrifice of the understanding,
  and finally conducts the monarch and the martyr to the block."--Junius,
  May 28, 1770.

Some lads who, from one cause or another, see little society, derive
knowledge of the world from books, but George was not one of these. He
did not learn easily, and he had not been helped by an extensive or
thorough education. His knowledge of Latin or Greek was negligible, and
Huish's statement that at an early age the Prince "correctly understood
the history of modern times and the just relations of England with the
other states" makes too great a strain upon our credulity. It is true
that in support of his view Huish prints a list of titles of plays that
the Prince is said to have selected to show the condition of various
states and persons; but though, as a matter of fact this has little to
recommend it as an intellectual exercise, it is unlikely the youth
performed even this task without assistance.[97] It may be conceded,
however, that he read with more or less understanding the history of
England, France and Germany; and that he could speak the language of
these countries with fluency. He wrote English with little show of
acquaintance with grammar and never could spell correctly, while his
general knowledge was lamentably slight, and in spite of fulsome
biographers, books never had any attraction for him. "He never delighted
in study, nor ever passed much of his time in sedentary occupations,
calculated to improve his mind, after his accession to the crown,"
Wraxall admits frankly. "A newspaper which he commonly took up after
dinner, and over which, however interesting its contents might be, he
usually fell asleep in less than half-an-hour, constituted the ordinary
extent of his application."[98] He was in truth a dull lad, and
Thackeray was probably right in his belief that "the cleverest tutors in
the world could have done little probably to expand that small
intellect, though they might have improved his taste and taught his
perceptions some generosity."[99]

  [97] Russia, _The Maiden Queen_; Germany, _The Rivals_; Genoa, _All's
  Well that Ends Well_; Spain, _The Ambitious Stepmother_; Prussia, _The
  Inconstant, or, The Way to Win Him_; France, _The Busy-Body, Rather the
  Way of the World_; Sweden, _She Would if She Could_; Denmark, _As You
  Like It_; The Dutch, _The Medley; or, Nature Will Prevail_; Flanders,
  _How Happy Could She Be With Either_; King of Sardinia, _The Spartan
  Hero_; Stanislaus, _An Old Man Taught Wisdom_; Don Philip, _Much Ado
  About Nothing_; The Young Pretender, _A Midsummer Night's Dream_.

  [98] _Recollections and Reflections._

  [99] _The Four Georges._

Yet those who expected the worst from the new King were pleasurably
disappointed, for, though he never became a great monarch, he developed
unsuspected good qualities. In earlier days his indolence had brought
upon him a severe reproof from George Scott, who, when his Royal
Highness excused his own want of application on the score of idleness,
said, cruelly perhaps, but certainly with truth: "Sir, _yours_ is not
idleness; your brother Edward is _idle_, but you must not call being
asleep all day being idle." On his accession to the throne, George III
became suddenly industrious, at once endeavoured to understand public
business, and showed himself willing to learn. Indeed, he had always
been desirous to improve his mind, and it has been told how when he and
Prince Edward once went by water to Woolwich he did not make a _gala_
day of it, as his brother did, and as most other boys would have, "but
paid a marked attention to everything useful and curious, taking a view
of the several works in the dockyard, seeing the manner of forging an
anchor, or making sails, etc."[100]

  [100] Galt: _George III, his Court and Family_.

More remarkable than his devotion to business was the aptitude the young
man, ignorant of affairs, soon showed for King-craft, and all were
astonished to find that, after he had become accustomed to his position,
he not only made efforts to induce ministers to carry out his views, but
actually found means usually to compel them to do so. Unfortunately he
started in life with the rooted idea that those who agreed with him were
right, and those who differed wrong. "He will seldom do wrong, except
when he mistakes wrong for right," prophesied Lord Waldegrave; "but as
often as this shall happen, it will be difficult to undeceive him,
because he has strong prejudices."[101] How true this was will presently
appear. It was a misfortune, too, that what intelligence he possessed,
not sufficient to enable him to see two sides to a question, made him
suspicious of all who rose above mediocrity. Fox, father and son, he
hated, and he declared once that Sheridan ought to be hanged, while he
could rarely find a good word for Chatham, Burke, and the other men of
commanding talent with whom perforce he was brought into contact. It was
his liking for nonentities that Peter Pindar[102] pilloried, in words
attributed to Sir Joseph Banks:[103]

    "To circles of pure ignorance conduct me;
     I hate the company that can _instruct_ me;
     I wish to imitate my King, so _nice_,
     Great prince, who ne'er was known to take advice!
     Who keeps no company (delightful plan!)
     That dares be wiser than himself, good man!"[104]

  [101] Waldegrave: _Memoirs_.

  [102] John Wolcot, satirist and poet (1738-1819), wrote under the
  pseudonym of "Peter Pindar."

  [103] Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), president of the Royal Society,

  [104] _Peter's Prophecy._

Whatever forebodings may have been entertained by those behind the
scenes, George III was at his succession very popular, and whenever he
showed himself in public was heartily greeted by his loyal subjects.
"The new reign dates with great propriety and decency, the civilest
letter to Princess Emily; the greatest kindness to the Duke; the utmost
respect to the dead body," Walpole wrote. "No changes to be made but
those absolutely necessary, as the household, etc.--and, what some will
think the most unnecessary, in the representative of power. There is
great dignity and grace in the King's manner. I don't say this like my
dear Madame de Sévigné, because he was civil to _me_, but the part is
well acted. The young King has all the appearance of being amiable.
There is great grace to temper much dignity and good nature which
breaks out on all occasions." Nicholls expressed his opinion that the
monarch was "of a good person, sober, temperate, of domestic habits,
addicted to no vice, swayed by no passion";[105] while Mary Lepel, Lady
Hervey, was outspoken in his favour. "Every one, I think, seems to be
pleased with the whole behaviour of our young King; and indeed so much
unaffected good nature and propriety appears in all he does or says,
that it cannot but endear him to all; but whether anything can long
endear a King or an angel in this strange factious country, I can't
tell. I have the best opinion imaginable of him, not from anything he
does or says just now, but because I have a moral certainty that he was
in his nursery the honestest, true, good-natured child that ever lived,
and you know my old maxim that qualities never change; what the child
was, the man most certainly is, in spite of temporary appearances."[106]
Whitehead, of course, salvoed his joy in rhyme.

    "And who is he, of regal mien,
       Reclined on Albion's golden fleece,
     Whose polished brow, and eye serene,
       Proclaim him elder-born of peace?
     Another George! ye winds convey
       Th' auspicious name from pole to pole:
     Thames, catch the sound and tell the subject sea
       Beneath whose sway its waters roll,
       The heavy monarch of the deep
     Who soothe's its murmurs with a father's care,
       Doth now eternal Sabbath keep,
     And leaves his trident to his blooming heir,
     O, if the Muse, aright divine,
       Fair Peace shall bless his opening reign,
     And through the splendid progress shine
       With every art to grace her train,
     The wreaths, so late by glory won,
     Shall weave their foliage round his throne,
       'Till Kings abashed shall tremble to be foes,
     And Albion's dreaded strength secure the world's repose."

  [105] Nicholls: _Recollections and Reflections_.

  [106] _Letters of Mary Lepel, Lady Hervey._

Yet there were other observers who could see the reverse side of the
shield. Old Samuel Johnson thought the pleasure manifested at the
accession of George III, "of whom we are so much inclined to hope great
things that most of them begin already to believe them," was due in
great part to the fact that "we were so weary of our old King." He was,
moreover, not very enthusiastic at the prospect. "The young man is
hitherto blameless, but it would be unreasonable to expect much from the
immaturity of juvenile years and the ignorance of princely education. He
has long been in the hands of the Scots, and has already favoured them
more than the English will contentedly endure. But, perhaps, he
scarcely knows whom he has distinguished, or whom he has disgusted."
Lord Chesterfield declared that the King, "like a new Sultan, was lugged
out of the seraglio by the Princess and Lord Bute, and placed upon the
throne";[107] Mr. Attorney General Pratt,[108] within four months of the
accession, could "see already that this will be a weak and inglorious
reign"; while Charles Townshend, asked what was the young King's
character, summed it up, "He is very obstinate."[109]

  [107] _Letters of Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield._

  [108] Sir Charles Pratt, first Earl Camden (1714-1794).

  [109] Nicholls: _Recollections and Reflections_.



Stolid, unimaginative, and slow of thought, that Prince of Wales, who
was afterwards George III, is one of the last persons in the world to be
suspected of a love intrigue. Yet, by some strange irony, he has been
generally accepted as the hero of an _affaire-de-coeur_ in his youthful
days, and this is not the less remarkable because, so far as is known,
belief has been induced only by persistent rumour. No direct evidence,
personal or documentary, has ever been brought forward in support of the
story; and there is no mention of it in the memoirs of George's
contemporaries: even Horace Walpole, who referred to George as "chaste,"
never mentioned it, and it is inconceivable that that arrant
scandal-monger could have been acquainted with such a tit-bit of court
gossip and have refrained from retailing it. None the less there is a
marked reluctance to dismiss as baseless the alleged connexion between
George and Hannah Lightfoot, for, on the principle that there is no
smoke without fire, it seems extremely unlikely that the story can
have become so generally accepted unless it had at least some foundation
of truth.


_By permission of Messrs. Henry Graves & Co., Ltd._

_From the portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds_


(_supposed to be a portrait of Hannah Lightfoot_)]

Mr. Thoms, who many years ago made an exhaustive study of the
subject[110], states that the first mention of it in print was to be
found in a letter to the editor of "The Monthly Magazine, or British
Register" for April, 1821, that is, after the death of George III; and
this, coupled with the absence of any reference to the story in the
memoirs of the day, threw very grave doubt on the authenticity of the
alleged romance. Since the appearance of Mr. Thom's _brôchure_, however,
this particular reason for scepticism has been removed, for earlier
allusions have been discovered. "The Citizen" for Saturday, February 24,
1776, contains the following advertisement:--"_Court Fragments_. Which
will be published by 'The Citizen' for the Use, Instruction and
Amusement of Royal Infants and young promising Noblemen. 1. The history
and adventures of Miss L-hf--t, the Fair Quaker; wherein will be
faithfully portrayed some striking pictures of female constancy and
princely gratitude, which terminated in the untimely death of that lady,
and the sudden death of a disconsolate mother." The next recorded
reference is in the "Royal Register" for 1779, when the matter is
referred to as one familiar to most persons. "It is not believed even at
this time, by many people who live in the world, that he [King George]
had a mistress previous to his marriage. Such a circumstance was
reported by many, believed by some, disputed by others, but proved by
none; and with such a suitable caution was this intrigue conducted that
if the body of the people called Quakers, of which this young lady in
question was a member, had not divulged the fact by the public
proceedings of their meeting concerning it, it would in all probability
have remained a matter of doubt to this day."

  [110] William J. Thoms: _Hannah Lightfoot, Queen Charlotte and the
  Chevalier D'Eon. Dr. Wilmot's Polish Princess. Reprinted with some
  additions, from "Notes and Queries," 1867._

Robert Huish, who wrote a life of George III, that, published in 1821,
must have been in part, at least, written during the monarch's life, was
also acquainted with the legend, for, though he does not mention the
girl's name, he makes a very obvious allusion to Hannah Lightfoot. He
states that after the Prince of Wales, at his mother's express desire,
declined to entertain George II's proposal for him to marry Princess
Sophia of Brunswick and stated he would wed only a Princess of the House
of Saxe-Gotha, his thoughts turned to love. "The Prince, though
surrounded with all the emblems of royalty, and invested with sovereign
authority, was nevertheless but a man, subject to all the frailties of
his nature, impelled by the powerful tide of passion," writes Huish in
his grandiloquent fashion; and, after some extravagantly phrased remarks
on the temptations that surround an heir-apparent, continues, "His
affections became enchained; he looked no more to Saxe-Gotha nor to
Brunswick for an object on which to lavish his love; he found one in the
secret recesses of Hampton, whither he often repaired, concealed by the
protecting shades of night, and there he experienced, what seldom falls
to the lot of princes, the bliss of the purest love. The object of his
affections became a mother, and strengthened the bond between them."

The reference to the affair in the letter of a correspondent "B" to "The
Monthly Magazine" has, at least, the merit of being more explicit than
that of the historian. "All the world is acquainted with the attachment
of the late King to a beautiful Quakeress of the name of Wheeler. The
lady disappeared on the royal marriage, in a way that has always been
interesting, because unexplained and mysterious. I have been told she is
still alive, or was lately. As connected with the life of the late
sovereign, the subject is curious; and any information through your
pages would doubtless be agreeable to many of your readers." It appears
that the writer of this letter attributed too much knowledge to "all the
world," for, as will now be shown, it is remarkable how little was
known. The subject once started, however, there were plenty of people
ready to carry on the discussion.

In the July number of the same periodical "A Warminster Correspondent"
states that the name of the girl was not Wheeler but Hannah Lightfoot,
that Hannah had lived at the corner of St. James's Market, with her
mother and father, who kept a shop ("I believe a linen-draper's"), that
the Prince of Wales saw her, fell in love, and persuaded Elizabeth
Chudleigh, one of his mother's maids of honour,[111] to act on his
behalf. "The royal lover's relations took alarm, and sent to inquire for
a young man to marry her," he continues. "Isaac Axford was a shopman to
Barton the grocer, on Ludgate Hill, and used to chat with her when she
came to the shop to buy groceries. Perryn, of Knightsbridge, it was
said, furnished a place of meeting for the royal lover. An agent of Miss
Chudleigh called on Axford, and proposed that on his marrying Hannah he
should have a considerable sum of money. Hannah stayed a short time with
her husband, when she was taken off in a carriage, and Isaac never saw
her more. Axford learned that she was gone with Miss Chudleigh. Isaac
was a poorheaded fellow, or, by making a bustle about it, he might have
secured to himself a good provision. He told me, when I last saw him,
that he presented a petition at St. James's, which was not attended to;
also that he had received some money from Perryn's assignees on account
of his wife." Isaac, it seems, set up as a grocer at Warminster, his
native place, but retired from business before his death, which took
place about 1816 in the eighty-sixth year of his age; having long
before, believing his wife to be dead, married a Miss Bartlett, of
Keevil, North Wilts. "Hannah was fair and pure as far as I ever heard,"
the Warminster correspondent concludes, "but 'not the purest of all
pures' in respect of the house of Mr. Perryn, who left her an annuity of
£40 a year. She was, indeed, considered as one of the most beautiful
women of her time, disposed to _en bon point_."

  [111] Elizabeth Chudleigh (1720-1788), married, first, Augustus Hervey
  (afterwards third Earl of Bristol), and, second, Evelyn Duke of

The editor of "The Monthly Magazine" now became interested in the
matter, and himself took some trouble to elucidate the facts. "On
inquiry of the Axford family, who still are respectable grocers on
Ludgate Hill, we traced a son of the person alluded to in the letter, by
his second wife, Miss Bartlett, and ascertained that the information of
our correspondent is substantially correct. From him we learn that the
lady lived six weeks with her husband, who was fondly attached to her,
but one evening when he happened to be from home, a coach and four came
to the door, when she was conveyed into it and carried off at a gallop,
no one knew whither. It appears the husband was inconsolable at first,
and at different times applied for satisfaction about his wife at
Weymouth and other places, but died after sixty years in total ignorance
of her fate. It has, however, been reported that she had three sons by
her lover, since high in the Army; that she was buried in Islington
under another name--and even that she is still living."[112]

  [112] _The Monthly Magazine_, July, 1821.

  "A retreat was provided for Hannah in one of those large houses,
  surrounded with a high wall and garden, in the district of
  Cat-and-Mutton Fields, on the East side of Hackney Road, leading from
  Mile End Road, where she lived, and, it is said, died."--_Notes and
  Queries_, 1st series, vol. 8, p. 87.

The research of the editor of "The Monthly Magazine" bears out in the
main his correspondent's statements, and if in one account it is said
that Axford was shopman to Barton the grocer on Ludgate Hill, and in the
other that he was the son of a grocer on Ludgate Hill, these may be
reconciled by the acceptance of the theory that the man was not serving
his apprenticeship in his father's business. It is far more unlikely
that Hannah should go from St. James's Market to Ludgate Hill to
purchase her groceries. It is agreed that Hannah stayed with her husband
for a while after marriage, and it is not unnatural that the Axford
family should suppress the mention of money paid to their forbear and of
the circumstances that induced the payment. A more serious discrepancy,
however, comes to light. "A Warminster Correspondent" remarks that
Axford knew Hannah was with Miss Chudleigh; the family declares he was
ignorant of what happened to her, but say at the same time he "applied
about his wife at Weymouth." Why Weymouth, where George III sometimes
went, if he did not know what had happened to her? Why not Barnstaple,
or Leeds, or Edinburgh?

But now contradictions come fast and furious. "Isaac Axford never
co-habited with his wife. She was taken away from the church door the
same day they were married, and he never heard of her afterwards" states
a contributor to the September number of "The Monthly Magazine"; adding
that Hannah was frequently seen at the door of the St. James's Market
shop by the Prince of Wales as he drove by in going to and from
Parliament and that Axford (who was shopman to Bolton the grocer in
Ludgate Hill) subsequently presented a petition to the King about her in
the park, but obtained little address. The same writer clears Hannah's
reputation so far as Perryn is concerned, by stating that they were
relatives, and thus furnishing an innocent motive for the legacy.

As confusion became worse confounded, some level-headed man asked a
series of questions,[113] of which the most pertinent were: "When and
where did the marriage take place of Hannah Lightfoot, a Quaker, to I.
Axford? Where is the evidence that she was the same Quaker who lived at
the corner of St. James's Market, and was admired by Prince George?"
Facts, however, were just what were not forthcoming, though "Inquirer"
(who claimed to be a member of the Lightfoot family), in a letter to the
October issue of the magazine actually gives a date.

  [113] _The Monthly Magazine_, September, 1821.

"Hannah Lightfoot, when residing with her father and mother, was
frequently seen by the King when he drove to and from Parliament House,"
"Inquirer" says. "She eloped in 1754, and was married to Isaac Axford at
Keith's Chapel, which my father discovered about three weeks after, and
none of her family have seen her since, though her mother had a letter
or two from her--but at last died of grief. There were many fabulous
stories about her, but my aunt (the mother of Hannah Lightfoot) could
never trace any to be true." "Inquirer" states that "the general belief
of her friends was that she was taken into keeping by Prince George
directly after her marriage with Axford, but never lived with him," and
adds, "I have lately seen a half-pay cavalry officer from India, who
knew a gentleman of the name of Dalton, who married a daughter of Hannah
Lightfoot by the King, but who is dead."[114]

  [114] "With respect to the son born of this marriage, and said to be
  still living at the Cape of Good Hope, I think ... there must be some
  mistake. I was at the Cape of Good Hope in 1830, and spent some time at
  Mr. George Rex's hospitable residence at the Knysna. I understood from
  him that he had been about thirty-four years in the colony, and I should
  suppose he was about sixty-eight years of age, of a strong, robust
  appearance, and the exact resemblance in features to George III. This
  would bring him to about the time, as stated in Dr. Doran's work, when
  George III married Hannah Lightfoot. On Mr. Rex's first arrival at the
  colony, he occupied a high situation in the Colonial Government, and
  received an extensive grant of land at the Knysna. He retired there, and
  made most extensive improvements. His eldest son named John--at the time
  I was there, lived with his father, and will now most probably be the
  representative of George Rex."--William Harrison: _Notes and Queries_,
  February 9, 1861.

The statement contradicted by Mr. Harrison had appeared in _Notes and
Queries_, October 24, 1868: "When the Duke of Edinburgh went sporting in
Cape Colony he was attended by George Rex and family, according to _The
Times_ account."

So far, then, Hannah Lightfoot (or Wheeler, or, as another writer says,
Whitefoot) was seen by the Prince of Wales on his visits to Parliament
(or, as it is otherwise stated by one who declared that the Prince would
not have passed by St. James's Market on his way to Parliament, or on
his way to the Opera), who fell in love with her, and secured the aid of
Miss Chudleigh to persuade her to leave her home, but his family, being
alarmed, paid Isaac Axford, shopman to Barton (or Bolton) to marry her,
and then she was at once (or after six weeks) taken into keeping by the
Prince. This is not very plain sailing, but the incident took place more
than sixty years before the discussion arose, and the discrepancies are
not unnatural after that lapse of time; but at least there has been
given the place and date of the marriage of Hannah with Isaac--Keith's
Chapel, 1754. Alexander Keith was a clergyman who married parties daily
between the hours of ten and four for the fee of one guinea, inclusive
of the licence, at the Mayfair Chapel to which he gave his name. These
marriages were irregular or "Fleet" marriages, and Keith's carelessness
in conducting them subjected him in October, 1742, to public
excommunication, when, in return, he as publicly excommunicated the
bishop of the diocese, and Dr. Trebeck, the rector of the neighbouring
St. George's, Hanover Square, on being told a stop would be put to his
marrying. "Then," said he, "I'll buy two or three acres of ground, and,
by God, I'll _underbury_ them all!" However, the Marriage Act of 1753
put a stop to his trade.

As a matter of fact, according to the Register of Marriages at St.
George's Chapel, Mayfair, published in 1889 by the Harleian Society,
Hannah Lightfoot married Isaac Axford, of St. Martin's, Ludgate, at
Keith's Chapel on December 11, 1753. Therefore, her intrigue with George
must have taken place when he was fifteen years of age!

So far as "The Monthly Magazine" is concerned the discussion ceased in
1822, but a new point was raised two years later in "An Historical
Fragment relative to her late Majesty Queen Caroline," for, according to
this work, Hannah Lightfoot had married not Axford, but the Prince of
Wales. "The Queen (Caroline) at this time, laboured under a very curious
and, to me unaccountable, species of delusion. She fancied herself in
reality neither a queen nor a wife. She believed his present Majesty to
have been actually married to Mrs. Fitzherbert; and she as fully
believed that his late Majesty George the Third was married to Miss
Hannah Lightfoot, the beautiful Quakeress, previous to his marriage with
Queen Charlotte; and as that lady did not die until after the birth of
the present King and his Royal Highness the Duke of York, her Majesty
really considered the Duke of Clarence the true heir to the throne."

The marriage of Hannah Lightfoot and the Prince of Wales is insisted
upon in the scurrilous "Authentic Records of the Court of England for
the last Seventy Years" (which includes in its list of contents such
items as "The Bigamy of George the Third" and "The Infamous and
cold-blooded MURDERS of the Princess Charlotte, and of Caroline, Queen
of England") and in "The Secret History of the Court of England." "The
unhappy sovereign while Prince of Wales was in the daily habit of
passing through St. James's Street and its immediate vicinity," so runs
a passage in the "Secret History." "In one of his favourite rides
through that part of the town he saw a very engaging young lady, who
appeared by her dress to be a member of the Society of Friends. The
Prince was much struck by the delicacy and lovely appearance of this
female, and for several succeeding days was observed to walk out alone.
At length the passion of his Royal Highness arrived at such a point that
he felt his happiness depended upon receiving the lady in marriage.
Every individual in his immediate circle or in the list of the Privy
Council was very narrowly questioned by the Prince, though in an
indirect manner, to ascertain who was most to be trusted, that he might
secure, honourably, the possession of the object of his ardent wishes.
His Royal Highness, at last, confided his views to his next brother,
Edward, Duke of York, and another person, who were the only witnesses to
the _legal_ marriage of the Prince of Wales to the before-mentioned
lady, Hannah Lightfoot, which took place at Curzon Street Chapel,
Mayfair, in the year 1759. This marriage was productive of _issue_."

Later in the same book it is stated that George III, after his marriage
with Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, reproached himself with
cowardice because he had not avowed the earlier and secret union. "At
this period of increased anxiety to His Majesty, Miss Lightfoot was
disposed of during a temporary absence of his brother Edward, and from
that time no _satisfactory_ tidings ever reached those most interested
in her welfare. The only information that could be obtained was that a
young gentleman, named Axford, was offered a large amount, to be paid on
the consummation of his marriage with Miss Lightfoot, which offer he
willingly accepted. The King was greatly distressed to ascertain the
fate of his much-beloved and legally-married wife, the Quakeress, and
entrusted Lord Chatham to go in disguise and endeavour to trace her
abode; but the search proved fruitless." The "Secret History" contains
other references to this story, and it is narrated how the King, during
his madness in 1765 frequently demanded the presence of "the wife of his
choice," and showed the utmost disgust when the Queen was brought to
him; and how, on another occasion he is declared to have implored not to
be disturbed with "retrospection of past irreparable injury." Many years
later, Dr. Doran gives credence to the report that when Queen Charlotte
sent for her eldest son on hearing of his marriage with Mrs.
Fitzherbert, he said, "My father would have been a happier man if he had
remained true to his marriage with Hannah Lightfoot."

In "The Appeal for Royalty" (1858) there are given copies of two
marriage certificates; the first dated Kew Chapel, April 17, 1759,
signed "George P., Hannah"; the second "at this residence at Peckham,"
May 27, 1759, signed "George Guelph, Hannah Lightfoot;" the officiating
clergyman being J. Wilmot, and the witnesses William Pitt and Anna
Taylor. The same book contains also a copy of Hannah's will.

     "Hampstead, July 7, 1763.

     "Provided I depart this life, I recommend my two sons and my
     daughter to the kind protection of their Royal Father, my husband
     his Majesty George III, bequeathing whatever property I may die
     possessed of to such dear offspring of my ill-fated marriage. In
     case of the death of each of my children, I give and bequeath to
     Olive Wilmot, the daughter of my best friend, Dr. Wilmot, whatever
     property I am entitled to, or possessed of at the time of my death.

     "(signed) HANNAH Regina.

     "Witnesses J. DUNNING.
               "WILLIAM PITT."

These documents in "The Appeal for Royalty" have, however, been proved
in a court of law to be "gross and rank forgeries," and, indeed, their
authenticity can never, for a moment, have been accepted. Nor do the
statements in the "Historical Fragment" concerning Queen Charlotte carry
conviction, even though Bradlaugh, in his "House of Hanover," remarks
that "Hannah Lightfoot died in the winter of 1764," and "in the early
part of the year 1765, the King being then scarcely sane, a second
ceremony of marriage with the Queen was then privately performed by the
Rev. A. Wilmot at Kew Palace."

Still, there remains the fact that the statements in the "Authentic
Records" and in "The Secret History" corroborate each other; but it
would be strange if this were not so, for there is little doubt that,
though the first was issued anonymously and the second bears upon the
title-page Lady Anne Hamilton, the real author of both was Mrs. Olivia
Serres. When it is added that in all probability Mrs. Serres also wrote
the "Historical Fragment" and that her daughter, Mrs. Ryves, was
responsible for "The Appeal for Royalty," it is seen that in all
probability the marriage of Hannah to the heir-apparent was made (and,
most likely, invented) by one person only.[115]

  [115] The arguments as to the authorship of the various works to which
  reference is made are set forth in the Appendix to Mr. Thoms's

Mrs. Olivia Serres (1772-1834) was the daughter of James Wilmot, who, as
stated above, claimed to have married Hannah Lightfoot and the Prince of
Wales. She married in 1791 the marine painter, John Thomas Serres. She
claimed in 1817 to be a natural daughter of Henry Frederick, Duke of
Cumberland, and three years later declared herself the Duke's legitimate
daughter, when she assumed the title of Princess Olive of Cumberland.
Her daughter, Lavinia Janetta Horton de Serres, afterwards Mrs. Ryves,
called herself Princess Lavinia of Cumberland and Duchess of Lancaster,
and published "The Appeal for Royalty" and other writings relating to
her claim to the title.

That George III may have married Hannah Lightfoot is not in itself
unthinkable, for royalty has before and since allied itself to maids of
low degree. George III's brother, Henry, Duke of Cumberland, married
Mrs. Horton, while William, Duke of Gloucester, chose for his wife the
Dowager Countess of Waldegrave, and even after the passing of the Royal
Marriage Act the prince who was afterwards George IV went through the
ceremony of marriage with a lady belonging to the Roman Catholic Church,
thus defying the provisions of that Bill and of the Act of Settlement.
If George III married Hannah Lightfoot, then, as there was then no Royal
Marriage Act, Hannah Lightfoot was Queen of England. There is, however,
no evidence to establish even a justifiable suspicion of a marriage
between the Prince of Wales and Hannah Lightfoot. It is incredible that
the Great Commoner should have been a witness, and it is not to be
believed that in disguise he sought for the girl. Still, Pitt may not
have been a witness and neither with or without disguise may he have
sought for Hannah, and yet the story may not be without some
foundation. It must be admitted, however, that even the many statements
as to an intrigue between the couple have been based upon hearsay: no
one who knew Hannah during the time it is alleged she was the Prince's
mistress has spoken, and the nearest approach to direct testimony has
been obtained from one who knew Axford or others who knew members of the
Lightfoot or Axford families. Yet Jesse, Justin McCarthy, and other
writers on George III, accept the theory of the intrigue, and without
reserve, though it is in contradiction to all that is known of the young
man's character at that time. Indeed, George Scott, his tutor, told Mrs.
Calderwood that while the Prince of Wales "has the greatest temptation
to gallant with the ladies, who lay themselves out in the most shameful
manner to draw him in," their efforts did not attract the Prince, for he
realized that "if he were not what he was they would not mind him"; and,
at the period of the supposed romance Scott declared that his erstwhile
pupil "has no tendency to vice, and has as yet very virtuous
principles;" while further contradiction of the rumour may be found in a
letter written in 1731 by George III to Lord North about his son's
entanglement with "Perdita" Robinson, "I am happy at being able to say
that I never was personally engaged in such a transaction."


_Photo by Emery Walker_

_From the painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds_




It is certain that the intrigue between the Prince of Wales and Hannah
Lightfoot could not have been of long duration, for even before he
ascended the throne it was patent to all beholders that he was deeply
infatuated with Lady Sarah Lennox, the youngest daughter of Charles,
second Duke of Richmond, and a great-granddaughter of the Merry Monarch.

  [116] The author desires to acknowledge his indebtedness to "The Life
  and Letters of Lady Sarah Lennox. Edited by the Countess of Ilchester
  and Lord Stavordale (Murray, 1901)," and to express his thanks to Lord
  Ilchester, the owner of the copyright, for permission to insert several
  extracts from that work.

Lady Sarah had attracted the attention of George II one day when walking
in Kensington Gardens by breaking away from her nurse or governess--she
was but five years old--and addressing him without ceremony: "_Comment
vous portez vous, Monsieur le roi? Vous avez une grande et belle maison
ici, n'est pas?_" Her audacity pleased the sovereign, and he saw her
frequently until 1751, when she was sent to Ireland to her aunt, Lady
Kildare, with whom she remained until she was thirteen. Then she was
placed in the care of Lady Caroline Fox[117] and not long afterwards the
King, in spite of her youth, invited his favourite to court, where,
however, he played and joked with her as if she was still a little
child. The unexpected treatment embarrassed her; she could find nothing
to say, and shyly kept her eyes on the ground, whereupon the King turned
from her, saying, "Pooh! she's quite stupid." The young Prince of Wales
was "struck with admiration and pity" at this sight of beauty in
distress, and then and there, we are told, fell in love--thus showing an
appreciation of good looks that was not common with the Georges.

  [117] Afterwards the wife of Henry Fox, first Baron Holland.

Lady Sarah, who was not fifteen when she went to Court in November,
1759, was indeed, alike according to her portraits and to all
contemporary chroniclers, a most lovely girl. "Her beauty is not easily
described otherwise than by saying she had the finest complexion, most
beautiful hair, and prettiest person that ever was seen, with a
sprightly and fine air, a pretty mouth, and remarkably fine teeth, and
excess of bloom in her cheeks, little eyes," said her uncle, Henry Fox.
"This is not describing her, for her great beauty was a peculiarity of
countenance that made her at the same time different from and prettier
than any other girl I ever saw."[118] Walpole is quite as enthusiastic
about her charms in a letter to George Montagu, written in January,
1761. "There was a play at Holland House, acted by children; not all
children, for Lady Sarah Lennox and Lady Susan Strangways played the
women. It was 'Jane Shore.' Charles Fox was Hastings. The two girls were
delightful and acted with so much nature, that they appeared the very
things they represented. Lady Sarah was more beautiful than you can
conceive; her very awkwardness gave an air of truth to the sham of the
part, and the antiquity of the time, kept up by the dress, which was
taken out of Montfaucon. Lady Susan was dressed from Jane Seymour. I was
more struck with the last scene between the two women than ever I was
when I have seen it on the stage. When Lady Sarah was in white, with her
hair about her ears, and on the ground, no Magdalen of Correggio was
half so lovely and expressive."

  [118] _Lord Holland's Memoir_ in _The Life and Letters of Lady Sarah

After the death of his grandfather, George III made no effort to hide
the state of his feelings. Of course, the Princess Dowager came to know
of her son's attachment to Lady Sarah, and she and Lord Bute were aghast
at the notion of the King marrying the girl, for such an alliance would
be even more fatal to their influence on the young monarch than the
frustrated union with a princess of the House of Brunswick, since in
this case they would have to contend, not only against the power of a
fascinating bride, but also against the intrigues of such an astute
politician as Henry Fox, who had everything to gain by excluding them
from the King's councils. On the other hand, Fox, his hand strengthened
by the fact that the laws of England do not forbid the sovereign to mate
with a subject, did all he could to promote the union that must benefit
him. So while the principals in that love affair played their parts,
behind them was a bitter fight that was not the less severe because it
could not come to open warfare.

Fox was careful that his niece, Lady Sarah, should stay at Holland House
so long as the King was in town, but discreetly himself went from time
to time to his house at Kingsgate in the Isle of Thanet, very wisely
realizing that the strongest card in his hand was the charm of the young
girl. "Though Fox went himself to bathe in the sea, and possibly even to
disguise his intrigues," Walpole wrote in 1761, "he left Lady Sarah at
Holland House, where she appeared in a field close to the great road
(where the King passed on horseback) in a fancy habit making hay."

The course of true love ran smoothly enough for a while. The King was
young and handsome, and Lady Sarah, not averse to be a queen, received
his overtures graciously. So far, indeed, had the affair progressed
early in 1761, that the King confided his passion to Lady Sarah's
friend, Lady Susan Fox Strangways,[119] with whom he had the following
guarded conversation:

"You are going into Somersetshire; when do you return?"

"Not before winter, sir, or I don't know how soon in winter."

"Is there nothing will bring you back to town before winter?"

"I don't know of anything."

"Would you not like to see a Coronation?"

"Yes, sir. I hope I should come to see that."

"I hear it's very popular my having put it off.... Won't it be a much
finer sight when there is a Queen?"

"To be sure, sir."

"I have had a great many applications from abroad, but I don't like
them. I have had none at home: I should like that better.... What do you
think of your friend? You know who I mean; don't you think her fittest?"

"Think, sir?"

"I think none so fit."[120]

  [119] Eldest daughter of Stephen, first Earl of Ilchester, the eldest
  brother of Henry Fox. Lady Susan eloped in 1764 with William O'Brien,
  the actor.

  [120] Lord Holland's _Memoir_ in _The Life and Letters of Lady Sarah

According to Thomas Pitt, Lady Susan was much embarrassed when the King
said, "I have had no applications at home: I should like that better,"
as, for an instant, she thought he meant her, but her agitation was
dissipated when he continued, "I mean your friend, Lady Sarah Lennox.
Tell her so, and let me have her answer the next Drawing-room day."[121]
Fox, however, makes no allusion to this, and merely records that the
King crossed over to Lady Sarah, and told her to ask her friend what he
had been saying.

  [121] _Grenville Papers._

A week later the King asked Lady Sarah if she had heard what he had
said, and upon her replying in the affirmative, put the question, "Do
you approve?" to which he received as answer only a cross look,
whereupon, in high dudgeon, he left the room. This brusque repulse is
explained by the fact that Lady Sarah was piqued by her lover, Lord
Newbattle,[122] and sought solace by avenging his offence upon her royal
suitor. Fox remarked the coolness of the King, and commented, "He has
undoubtedly heard of Lord Newbattle and more than is true;" but soon the
sovereign's love conquered his dignity, and perhaps a reconciliation was
hastened by the news of an accident in the hunting field to Lady Sarah.
Lord Newbattle when told she had fractured a leg had said, "It will do
no great harm, for her legs were ugly enough before," and this
statement, repeated to Lady Sarah, cured her of her attachment to the
speaker, and made her more ready, on her recovery, to accede to the
King's request to reconsider his proposal.

  [122] John William, Lord Newbattle, afterwards fifth Marquis of Lothian.
  "Lord Newbattle (Lord Ancram's son), a vain, insignificant puppy,
  lively, and not ugly, made love to all the girls, but was much in love
  with Lady Caroline Russell, the Duke of Bedford's daughter. Lady Sarah
  tried to get him away from her, and was so pleased with her success that
  she grew too much pleased with his Lordship. It was really a commerce of
  vanity, not of love, on each side."--_Henry Fox_, 1761.

But this marriage was not to be. "They talk very strongly of a white
Princess of Brunswick about fifteen, to be our new Queen, and so
strongly that one can hardly help believing it, though with no good and
particular authority," Fox wrote on April 7, 1761; though a week later
he recorded: "On Sunday I heard from good authority that the report of
his Majesty's intended marriage with a Princess of Brunswick was
entirely without foundation, and that he was totally free and
unengaged." That Fox was incredulous as to the King's marriage with a
princess was not unnatural, considering the monarch's conduct. "At the
court ball on his Majesty's birthday, June 4, 1761, Lady Sarah's place
was, of course, at the head of the dancers' bench, nearest his seat: the
royal chair, heavy as it was, was moved nearer and nearer to the left,
and he edged further and further the same way, and the conversation went
on till all dancing was over and everybody sat in suspense; and it
approached one in the morning ere he recollected himself and rose to
dismiss the assembly."[123] On June 18 the King said to Lady Sarah: "For
God's sake remember what I said to Lady Susan before you went to the
country, and believe that I have the strongest attachment." Yet within a
fortnight of explicit declaration, which was well received by the girl,
a Council was summoned for July 8, though even on the 6th Fox could
obtain no hint from Lord Bute as to the business to be transacted. At
the meeting of the Council the King announced his forthcoming marriage
with Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz!

  [123] Percy Fitzgerald: _The Good Queen Charlotte_.

Lady Susan Fox Strangways was more aggrieved than the person chiefly
concerned, for, as she remarked humorously, "I almost thought myself
Prime Minister"; but Fox was furious, as much at the deception as at the
disappointment. "My mother (Lady Sarah) would probably have been vexed,"
said Henry Napier, "but her favourite squirrel happened to die at the
same time, and his loss was more felt than that of a crown."[124] Lady
Sarah was not in love with the King, and the shock fell not on her heart
but on her vanity. "I did not cry, I assure you, which I believe you
will, as I know you were set upon it that I was," she wrote on July 7,
1761, to Lady Susan. "The thing I am most angry at is looking so like a
fool, as I shall for having gone so often for nothing, but I don't much
care; if he was to change his mind again (which can't be though), and
not give me a _very_ good reason for his conduct, I would not have him,
for if he is so weak as to be governed by everybody, I shall have but a
bad time of it." She certainly had reason to complain of the King's
conduct, and, after referring to his "mighty kind speeches and looks,"
this she did to the same correspondent. "Even last Thursday, the day
after the orders [for the Council] were come out," she wrote, "the
hypocrite had the face to come up and speak to me with all the good
humour in the world, and seemed to want to speak to me but was
afraid.... He must have sent to this woman [Princess Charlotte] before
you went out of town, then what business had he to begin again? In
short, his behaviour is that of a man who has neither sense, good
nature, nor honesty."[125]

  [124] Mr. Napier's _Memoir_ in _The Life and Letters of Lady Sarah

  [125] _Life and Letters of Lady Sarah Lennox._

The King's conduct at this juncture has never been satisfactorily
explained. "It is well known," Wraxall wrote, "that before his marriage
the King distinguished by his partiality Lady Sarah Lennox, then one of
the most beautiful young women of high rank in the kingdom. Edward IV,
or Henry VIII, in his situation, would have married and placed her on
the throne. Charles II, more licentious, would have endeavoured to
seduce her. But the King, though he admired her, neither desired to make
her his wife nor his mistress, subdued his passion by the strength of
his reason, his principles, and his sense of public duty."[126]

  [126] _Historical Memoirs of My Own Times._

This statement is certainly inaccurate, at least in so far as the
remark that the King did not desire to make Lady Sarah his wife, for all
the evidence--which was not available in Wraxall's day--tends to prove
that for a while this was his wish. There is more truth in the
supposition that his sense of public duty intervened in favour of a lady
of royal birth, though this furnishes no reason for keeping his
intention secret from Lady Sarah. Doubtless he was persuaded by his
mother and Lord Bute that it was his duty to espouse a princess, and,
once convinced of this, he sighed and sighed, and rode away.

Fox knew he was beaten, but he showed a philosophic calm. "Well, Sal,"
he said to his niece, "you are the first virgin in England, and you
shall take your place in spite of them all as chief bridesmaid, and the
King shall behold your pretty face and repent." But the twain met again
so early as July 16 when Lady Sarah went to Court. "I went this morning
for the first time," she wrote to her friend. "He looked frightened when
he saw me, but notwithstanding came up with what countenance I don't
know for I was not so gracious as ever to look at him: when he spoke our
conversation was short. Here it is. 'I see riding is begun again, it's
glorious weather for it now.' Answer. 'Yes, it is very fine,'--and add
to that a very cross and angry look of my side and his turning away
immediately, and you know the whole."[127]

  [127] _Life and Letters of Lady Sarah Lennox._

Lady Sarah, as her uncle had promised, was duly appointed chief
bridesmaid, and perhaps she felt herself avenged, for, according to
Princess Amelia, "Upon my word my nephew has most wonderful assurance;
during the ceremony he never took his eyes from Lady Sarah, or cast them
once upon his bride."[128] It was remarked that the King moved uneasily
when the Archbishop of Canterbury read the lines of the marriage
service: "And as Thou didst send Thy blessing upon Abraham and Sarah to
their great comfort, so vouchsafe to send Thy blessing upon these Thy
servants"; but it has not been recorded how the King felt when, at the
Drawing-room held on the next day, the old Earl of Westmoreland mistook
Lady Sarah for the Queen and was only prevented just in time from
kneeling and kissing her hand.[129]

  [128] Lord Carlisle: _Reminiscences_.

  [129] Walpole: _Memoirs of George III_.

  Lord Westmoreland was an adherent of the Stuarts, and Selwyn said that
  "the lady in waiting must have told him Lady Sarah was the Pretender."

That the King never forgot Lady Sarah Lennox is certain. When at the
theatre he saw Mrs. Pope, who much resembled Lady Sarah, he fell into a
reverie, and, forgetful of the Queen and other persons in his box,
mused: "She is like Lady Sarah still"; while Princess Elizabeth told
Lady Louisa Stuart, "Do you know papa says she (Princess Mary) will be
like Lady Sarah Bunbury, who was the prettiest woman he ever saw in his
life." Lady Sarah was well content with her lot, and, as is well known,
made in 1762 "a match of her own choice" with the sporting baronet, Sir
Thomas Charles Bunbury, and, when this union was dissolved in 1781,
married the Hon. George Napier,[130] and became the mother of eight
children, two of whom, William and Charles, attained distinction as,
respectively, the historian of the Peninsular War and the conqueror of
Scinde.[131] But we have no concern here with the later years of Lady
Sarah, save to remark that she never regretted the loss of the brilliant
position to which she so nearly attained. "I declare that I have for
years reverenced the Queen's name, and admired the judgment of
Providence in placing so exalted a character in a station where my
miserable one would have been a disgrace!" she wrote in 1789 to Lady
Susan O'Brien. "And now I still affirm the judgment of Providence is
always right, but I see she was chosen to punish the poor King's faults
by her ambitions and conduct instead of _me_ by my faults, and I _still_
rejoice I was never Queen, and so I shall to my life's end; for, at the
various events in it, I have regularly catechised myself upon that very
point, and I always preferred my own situation, sometimes happy,
sometimes miserable, to what it would have been had that event ever
taken place." One other quotation from a letter from Lady Sarah to the
same correspondent may perhaps be allowed. "I am one who will keep the
King's marriage-day with unfeigned joy and gratitude to Heaven that I am
not in her Majesty's place! It was the happiest day for me, in as much
[as] I like to attend my dear sick husband better than a King. I like my
sons better than I like the royal sons, thinking them better animals,
and more likely to give me comfort in my old age; and I like better to
be a subject, than subject to the terrors of royalty in these days of
trouble. It's pleasant to have lived to be satisfied of the great
advantages of a lot which in those days I might have deemed unlucky.
Ideas of fifteen and sixty one cannot well assimilate; but mine began
at fourteen, for if you remember I was not near fifteen when my poor
head began to be turned by adulation, in consequence of my supposed
favour. In the year 1759, on the late Princess of Wales's birthday,
November 30, I ought to have been in my nursery, and I shall ever think
it was unfair to bring me into the world while a child. _Au reste_, I am
delighted to hear the King is so well, for I am excessively partial to
him. I always consider him as an old friend that has been in the wrong;
but does one love one's friend less for being in the wrong even towards
oneself? I don't, and I would not value the friendship of those who
measure friendship by my deservings. God help me if all my friends
thought thus."[132]

  [130] Second son of Francis, fifth Baron Napier.

  [131] It has been said that Sir Charles announced the capture of Scinde
  in the briefest despatch on record--"Peccavi." Only such a brilliant
  exploit can be accepted as excuse for such an execrable joke.

  [132] _Life and Letters of Lady Sarah Lennox._



The rumour that the King would espouse a Princess of Brunswick had
arisen from a proposal to that effect made by the Princess Dowager, but
for many reasons this suggestion was not acted upon. Subsequently a
princess of the house of Hesse was thought of, but her levity of conduct
was such that, when it came to the point, it was found that "nobody
would take it upon them to recommend her." Eventually Lord Bute
instructed a Colonel Graeme or Graham to visit the German courts to find
a princess who should be "perfect in her form, of pure blood and healthy
constitution, possessed of elegant accomplishments, particularly music,
to which the King was much attached, and of a mild and obliging
disposition." The appointment of Graeme for this responsible errand
caused much surprise, for the selected envoy had been notorious as a
Jacobite; which provoked Hume to the remark that Graeme had exchanged
the dangerous office of making a king for the more lucrative one of
making a king's marriage. However, the envoy was conscientious, and "in
the character of a private gentleman, played lotto with the ladies of
one court, and drank the aperient waters with the antiquated dames of
another, merely to hear the tittle-tattle of the day, respecting the
positive or negative virtues, the absence or excellence of personal
charms, which at that time distinguished the marriageable princesses of
the numerous royal, ducal, or princely families of Protestant
Germany."[133] Graeme carried out his task to the best of his ability.
He had been commanded to seek a peerless Dulcinda: he found Princess
Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz,[134] who subsequently rewarded him
for his share in her promotion by the bestowal of one of the richest
places in the gift of the Queen of England, the Mastership of St.
Catherine's Hospital.

  [133] Huish: _The Public and Private Life of George III_.

  [134] Princess Charlotte Sophia, younger daughter of Charles Louis, Duke
  of Miroir, the second son of the Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The
  Princess was born on May 16, 1744; her father died in 1751.

[Illustration: _From a drawing by T. McArdell_


There is, however, another account of the selection of Princess
Charlotte as consort of George III. The King of Prussia's army had
devastated the Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and the young Princess
protested in a letter to the monarch....

"May it please your Majesty, I am at a loss whether I should
congratulate or condole with you on your late victory over Marshall
Daun, November 3, 1760 since the same success which has covered you with
laurels, has overspread the country of Mecklenburg with desolation. I
know, Sire, that it seems unbecoming my sex, in this age of vicious
refinement, to feel for one's country, to lament the horrors of war, or
wish for the return of peace. I know you may think it more properly my
province to study the arts of pleasing, or to inspect subjects of a more
domestic nature; but, however unbecoming it may be in me, I cannot
resist the desire of interceding for this unhappy people. It was but a
very few years ago that this territory wore the most pleasing
appearance; the country was cultivated, the peasants looked cheerful,
and the towns abounded with riches and festivity. What an alteration at
present from such a charming scene! I am not expert at description, nor
can my fancy add any horrors to the picture; but surely even conquerors
would weep at the hideous prospects now before me. The whole country, my
dear country, lies one frightful waste, presenting only objects to
excite terror, pity, and despair. The business of the husbandman and
shepherd are discontinued. The husbandman and the shepherd are become
soldiers themselves, and help to ravage the soil they formerly
cultivated. The towns are inhabited only by old men, old women, and
children; perhaps here and there a warrior, by wounds or loss of limbs,
rendered unfit for service, left at his door; his little children hang
round him, ask an history of every wound, and grow themselves soldiers,
before they find strength for the field. But this were nothing, did we
not feel the alternate insolence of either army as it happens to advance
or retreat, in pursuing the operations of the campaign. It is impossible
to express the confusion, even those who call themselves our friends
create; even those from whom we might expect redress oppress with new
calamities. From your justice, therefore, it is we hope relief. To you
even women and children may complain, whose humanity stoops to the
meanest petition, and whose power is capable of repressing the greatest

A copy of this document, so the story goes, found its way, either by
accident or design, to George III, who, not pausing to consider that it
was unlikely to have been composed by a sixteen-year-old princess,
exclaimed to Lord Hertford: "This is the lady whom I shall select for my
consort--here are lasting beauties--the man who has any mind may feast
and not be satisfied. If the disposition of the Princess but equals her
refined sense, I shall be the happiest man, as I hope, with my people's
concurrence, to be the greatest monarch in Europe." If in a wife George
desired such qualities as a knowledge of the elements of Lutheran
divinity, natural history, and mineralogy, with some French, a trifle of
Italian, and a style of drawing that even a courtier could describe only
as "above that of the ordinary amateur," they were, for the asking, to
be had in this Princess. Apparently these accomplishments sufficed, for
_pourparlers_ were exchanged, and the King's intention to marry Princess
Charlotte was on July 8, 1761, notified by himself to the Privy Council.

"Having nothing so much at heart as to procure the welfare and happiness
of my people, and to render the same stable and permanent to posterity,"
he said, "I have, ever since my accession to the throne, turned my
thoughts towards the choice of a Princess for my consort; and I now,
with great satisfaction acquaint you, that after the fullest information
and maturest deliberation, I am come to a resolution to demand in
marriage the Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, a princess
distinguished by every eminent virtue and amiable endowment, whose
illustrious line has constantly shown the firmest zeal for the
Protestant religion, and a particular attachment to my family. I have
judged proper to communicate to you these my intentions, in order that
you may be fully apprised of a matter so highly important to me and to
my kingdom, and which I persuade myself will be most acceptable to all
my loving subjects."

To this meeting of the Privy Council was summoned Lord Harcourt, who,
after the King's speech, was to his great surprise informed by Lord Bute
that he had been appointed Master of the Horse, and was to go to
Strelitz to make formal application for the hand of the Princess. "After
what happened to me some years ago, it was beneath me to become a
solicitor for favours," he said. "This honour I expected about as much
as I did the bishopric of London, then vacant." He accepted the mission,
and on August 8 set sail for Strelitz--"if he can find it," Walpole said
satirically, in allusion to the size of the Duchy, the dimensions of
which were one hundred and twenty miles long by thirty miles broad.

"They say the little Princess who had written the fine letter about the
horrors of war--a beautiful letter without a single blot, for which she
was to be rewarded, like the heroine of the old spelling book story--was
at play one day with some of her young companions in the gardens of
Strelitz, and that the young lady's conversation was, strange to say,
about husbands," Thackeray has written. "'Who will take such a poor
little princess as me?' Charlotte said to her friend, Ida von Bülow, and
at that very moment the postman's horn sounded, and Ida said, 'Princess!
there is the sweetheart.' As she said, so it actually turned out. The
postman brought letters from the splendid young King of all England, who
said, 'Princess! because you have written such a beautiful letter, which
does credit to your head and heart, come and be Queen of Great Britain,
France, and Ireland, and the true wife of your most obedient servant,
George.' So she jumped for joy; and went upstairs and packed all her
little trunks; and set off straightway for her kingdom in a beautiful
yacht, with a harpsichord on board for her to play upon, and around her
a beautiful fleet, all covered with flags and streamers."[135]

  [135] Thackeray: _The Four Georges_.

This playful account is not, perhaps, historically correct, but, if the
story is to be believed, it conveys the true spirit of the offer and its
acceptance. The Princess was just seventeen years of age, and had led
the quietest life imaginable, studying under Madame de Grabow, the
"German Sappho," cultivating medicinal herbs and fruit for the poor, and
employing her leisure with embroidery and needlework. Six days a week
she had worn the simplest attire; on the seventh only, when she attended
church in state, had been granted the privilege of full dress and the
delight of a drive in a coach and six. Indeed, she had never dined at
the ducal table until, on the arrival of Lord Harcourt, her brother
Adolphus Frederick, the reigning Duke, told her she was expected to be
present. "Mind what you say," he added, and "don't behave like a child";
and of course the warning produced a fit of shyness, the discomfort of
which more than counterbalanced the pleasure of her first dinner party.
Later in the evening, or (some authorities say) the next morning, the
Duke, again cautioning her, "_Allons, ne faites pas l'enfant, tu vas
être reine d'Angleterre_," led her into a drawing-room, where, after
Lord Harcourt had presented some jewels from his master, the marriage
ceremony was performed, with Drummond, the resident English minister at
the ducal court, as the King's proxy.[136]

  [136] This alliance interfered with another marriage. The Duke of
  Roxburgh had fallen in love with Princess Christina, Charlotte's elder
  sister, and would probably have married her, but this plan perforce fell
  through when George III selected Princess Charlotte for his consort, for
  it was one of the conditions of the contract that no member of the
  Mecklenburg-Strelitz family should wed an English subject. Neither
  Princess Christina nor her suitor ever married.

The treaty of marriage was signed on August 15, 1761, and although,
suddenly nervous at the prospective plunge into the unknown world, the
new Queen would willingly have postponed her departure for a few days
longer, yet, as the coronation of her husband and herself was already
fixed for September 22, she was compelled to leave Strelitz two days
after the ceremony. At Stade she was met by the Duchess of Hamilton and
the Duchess of Ancaster, who had come to escort the bride to her adopted
country. "I hope friendship may take the place of ceremony in our
relations," she greeted them, having apparently at once caught the tone
of regal graciousness; and she completed the conquest of the noble dames
when, after gazing at them, she said wonderingly and a little fearful:
"Are all English women as beautiful as you?" Queen Charlotte was very
humble in those early days, and her childish delight in the salutes with
which cannons and bells greeted her was tempered with meek astonishment:
"Am I worthy of all these honours?"

The royal party embarked at Cuxhaven on August 22, but did not reach
Harwich until Sunday, September 6. The delay, which was occasioned by
exceptionally rough weather, caused some anxiety as to the safety of the
Queen, especially in London, where the news of her arrival was not
known until Monday. "Last night at ten o'clock it was neither certain
where she landed, nor when she would be in town," Horace Walpole wrote
on Tuesday, September 8, "I forgive history for knowing nothing when so
public an event as the arrival of a new queen is a mystery even at this
very moment at St. James's. The messenger that brought the letter
yesterday morning said she _arrived_ at half-an-hour after four at
Harwich; this was immediately translated into _landing_, and notified in
these words to the ministers. Six hours afterwards it proved no such
thing, and, that she was only in Harwich Road; and they recollected that
half-an-hour after four happens twice in twenty-four hours, and the
letter did not specify which of the twices it was. Well, the bridesmaids
whipt on their virginity; the New Road and the Parks were thronged; the
guns were choking with impatience to go off; and Sir James Lowther, who
was to pledge his Majesty, was actually married to Lady Mary Stuart.
Five, six, seven, eight o'clock came, and no queen."

The Queen had remained on board until three o'clock on Monday afternoon,
so as to allow time for the preparations incidental to her reception.
She then drove to Colchester, which was reached at five o'clock, and
from there went on to Witham, where she stayed overnight at Lord
Abercorn's.[137] Leaving Witham early in the morning, the Queen arrived
at noon at Romford, where she was met by the King's coaches and
servants. She entered one of the royal carriages, dressed in "a fly-cap
with rich lace lappets, a stomacher ornamented with diamonds, and a gold
brocade suit of clothes with a white ground." Her companions desired her
to curl her _toupée_ but this she declined to do on the ground that it
looked as well as that of any of the ladies sent to fetch her, adding
that if the King wished her to wear a periwig she would do so, but
otherwise would remain as she was.

  [137] James, eighth Earl of Abercorn (1712-1789), carried his
  independence to a disconcerting bluntness. When he presented himself at
  St. James's, the King thanked him for his courtesy to the Queen, and
  said he feared his visit must have given him a good deal of trouble. "A
  good deal indeed," replied the Earl.

From Romford the Queen and her attendants, watched by immense crowds,
proceeded to "Stratford-le-bow and Mile-end turnpike, where they turned
up Dog-row, and prosecuted their journey to Hackney turnpike, then by
Shoreditch Church, and up Old Street to the City-road, across Islington,
along the New-road into Hyde Park, down Constitutional-hill into St.
James's Park." At the sight of the Palace, the Queen turned pale, and,
noticing that the Duchess of Hamilton smiled, "My dear Duchess," she
said, "you may laugh; you have been married twice, but it is no joke to
me." At twenty minutes past three in the afternoon she arrived at St.
James's, and Walpole remarked that the "noise of the coaches, chaises,
horsemen, mob, that have been to see her pass through the parks is so
prodigious that I cannot distinguish the guns."

The King received his bride at the entrance to the palace, and, though
he had chosen her for her "lasting beauties", was so surprised by the
homeliness of her features that, says Galt, "an involuntary expression
of the King's countenance revealed what was passing within." Lady Anne
Hamilton goes so far as to say that, "At the first sight of the German
Princess, the King actually shrank from her gaze, for her countenance
was of that cast that too plainly told of the nature of the spirit
working within,"[138] but this is almost certainly exaggeration, and may
be dismissed with the following statement by the same author: "In the
meantime the Earl of Abercorn informed the Princess of the previous
marriage of the King and of the existence of his Majesty's wife; and
Lord Harcourt advised the Princess to well inform herself of the policy
of the kingdom, as a measure for preventing much future disturbance in
the country, as well as securing an uninterrupted possession of the
throne to her issue. Presuming therefore that the German Princess had
hitherto been an open and ingenuous character, such expositions,
intimations, and dark mysteries, were ill-calculated to nourish
honourable feelings, but would rather operate as a check to their
further existence. To the public eye the newly married pair were
contented with each other; alas! it was because each feared an exposure
to the nation. The King reproached himself that he had not fearlessly
avowed the only wife of his affections; the Queen because she feared an
explanation that the King was guilty of bigamy, and thereby her claim,
as also that of her progeny (if she should have any), would be known to
be illegitimate. It appears as if the result of those reflections formed
a basis for the misery of millions, and added to that number millions
yet unborn."[139]

  [138] _Secret History of the Court of England._

  [139] Lady Anne Hamilton: _Secret History_.

Lord Harcourt wrote from Strelitz of the bride as "no regular beauty",
but credited her with a charming complexion, very pretty eyes, and a
good figure, summing her up as a very fine girl, and Mrs. Papendiek, who
came over with her, has placed on record a not dissimilar picture, "She
was certainly not a beauty, but her countenance was expressive and
intelligent. She was not tall, but of a slight, rather pretty figure;
her eyes bright and sparkling with good humour and vivacity, her mouth
large, but filled with white and even teeth, and her hair really
beautiful." Walpole has said that within half-an-hour of her arrival in
the metropolis one heard of nothing but proclamations of her beauty, but
his first description of her was not flattering, and his second denies
her all claim to good looks. "Her person was small and very lean, not
well made; her face pale and homely, her nose somewhat flat and mouth
very large. Her hair, however, was of a fine brown, and her countenance
pleasing," he wrote on her arrival; but later remarked: "She had always
been, if not ugly, at least ordinary, but in her later years her want of
personal charms became, of course, less observable, and it used to be
said that she was grown better-looking. I said one day something to this
effect to Colonel Desbrowe, her Chamberlain. 'Yes,' he replied, 'I do
think the _bloom_ of her ugliness is going off!'"

Immediately upon her arrival the King introduced to his bride the
members of his family, and soon after the royal party sat down to
dinner. Later the bridesmaids[140] and the Court were introduced, and
in such numbers that she exclaimed as the long procession passed before
her, "_Mon Dieu, il y en a tout, il y en a tout._" She bore herself with
dignity, but was civil and good-humoured, showed pleasure when she was
told she should kiss the peeresses, and betrayed a pretty reluctance to
give her hand to be kissed by the humbler folk. At ten o'clock all
repaired to the chapel where the marriage ceremony was repeated. The
Queen was, of course, in bridal costume, and Walpole thought she looked
very sensible, cheerful, and remarkably genteel. "Her tiara of diamonds
was very pretty, her stomacher was sumptuous," he commented: "her
violet-velvet mantle so heavy that the spectators know as much of her
upper half as the King himself." This was a trying ordeal after a long
journey, but the Queen forgot or disguised her fatigue, and when the
party returned to the drawing-room, was quite cheerful, played the
spinet and sang while the company was waiting for supper, talked French
with some guests and German with her attentive husband. "It does not
promise," said Walpole, "as if they would be the two most unhappy people
in England."

  [140] The bridesmaids, dressed in white lustring with silver trimmings
  ornamented with pearls and diamonds, were chosen from the unmarried
  daughters of dukes and earls, and were ten in number: Lady Sarah Lennox,
  Lady Caroline Russell, Lady Anne Hamilton, Lady Elizabeth Kerr, Lady
  Harriet Bentinck, Lady Caroline Montague, Lady Elizabeth Keppel, Lady
  Louisa Greville, Lady Elizabeth Harcourt, and Lady Susan Fox



The great question that agitated English political society at the
accession of George III was, as a lady summed it up in a _bon-mot_,
"whether the new King would burn in his chamber _Scotch_ coal,
_Newcastle_ coal, or _Pitt_ coal." The curious were not long kept in a
state of suspense, for George showed at once that he was determined so
far as possible to be independent of ministers not of his own choosing;
and when, after his arrival in London, Pitt waited on him and presented
a paper on which were written a few sentences that the Great Commoner
thought the monarch should deliver at his first Council, the King, after
thanking Pitt for his consideration, said he had already prepared his
speech for that occasion.[141] This, as a matter of fact, he had done in
conjunction with Lord Bute, and at the meeting of the Council, although
at first somewhat embarrassed, he soon recovered his self-possession,
and delivered himself of the address.

  [141] Galt: _George III, His Family and Court_.

[Illustration: _From an engraving after the painting by Allan Ramsay_


"The just concern which I have felt in my own breast on the sudden death
of the late King, my royal grandfather, makes me not doubt, but that
all have been deeply affected with so severe a loss. The present
critical and difficult conjuncture has made this loss the more sensible,
as he was the great support of that system by which alone the liberties
of Europe, and the weight and influence of these kingdoms can be
preserved, and give life to measures conducive to those important ends.

"I need not tell you the addition of weight which immediately falls upon
me, in being called to the government of this free and powerful country
at such a time, and under such circumstances. My consolation is in the
uprightness of my own intentions, your faithful and united assistance,
and the blessing of Heaven upon our joint endeavours, which I devoutly

"Born and educated in this country, I glory in the name of Briton; and
the peculiar happiness of my life will ever consist in promoting the
welfare of a people whose loyalty and warm affection to me I consider as
the greatest and most permanent security of my throne, and I doubt not
but this steadiness in those principles will equal the firmness of my
invariable resolution to adhere to, and strengthen this excellent
constitution in church and state, and to maintain the toleration
inviolable. The civil and religious rights of my loving subjects are
equally dear to me with the most valuable prerogatives of my crown; and
as the surest foundation of the whole, and the best means to draw down
the divine favour on my reign, it is my fixed purpose to countenance and
encourage the practice of true religion and virtue."[142]

  [142] _London Gazette_, October 21, 1760.

The King's speech was well received throughout the country, although
there were many who agreed with ex-Lord Chancellor Hardwicke that the
since historic sentence, "Born and educated in this country, I glory in
the name of Briton," was, if not an insult, at least discourteous to his
last two predecessors, and the annoyance felt by some was not allayed
when it became known that Bute, so as to include Scotland, had altered
the "Englishman" of the first draft to "Briton" in the revised copy. To
this nine years later, Junius made reference in his address to the King.
"When you affectedly renounced the name of Englishman, believe me, Sir,
you were persuaded to pay a very ill-judged compliment to one part of
your subjects at the expense of another. While the natives of Scotland
are not in actual rebellion, they are undoubtedly entitled to
protection, nor do I mean to condemn the policy of giving some
encouragement to the novelty of their affections for the house of
Hanover. I am ready to hope for everything from their new-born zeal, and
from the future steadiness of their allegiance. But hitherto they have
no claim on your favour. To honour them with a determined predilection
and confidence, in exclusion of your English subjects who placed your
family, and, in spite of treachery and rebellion have supported it, upon
the throne, is a mistake too gross even for the unsuspecting generosity
of youth. In your error we see a capital violation of the most obvious
rules of policy and prudence. We trace it, however, to an original bias
in your education, and are ready to allow for your inexperience."

On the whole, however, the nation extended a hearty welcome to the young
King and on his accession he was undoubtedly popular. At least, English
was his native tongue, and this was the more agreeable because George II
had spoken it with a very broad German accent, Frederick, Prince of
Wales, on his arrival in England, knew but a few words of the language,
and George I had not understood it at all. "My father 'brushed up his
old Latin!' to use a phrase of Queen Elizabeth, in order to converse
with the first Hanoverian sovereign," Horace Walpole has told us, "and
ruled both kings in spite of their mistresses." Now, for the first time
for six and forty years, England boasted a sovereign whose interests
were not centred in Hanover, a young man, not a middle-aged reprobate
surrounded with women of sullied reputations: further, the dynasty was
more firmly established, and the Jacobite faction had dwindled in power
from a serious menace to an empty threat. George I had been confronted
with the Old Pretender, his successor had had to contend against the
Young Pretender; but George III, who had nothing to fear from the
Stuarts and their adherents, could increase his popularity by showing
some favour to the Tories, who during the previous reigns, owing to the
suspicions that they were attached to the Stuart interest, had been

So little fear, indeed, had the reigning dynasty for the representative
of that which preceded it, that though it was known Charles Edward was
in London at the time of the coronation, the government made no attempt
to secure his person. It is even recorded how that Prince, in answer to
an inquiry how he dared venture to show himself in London, stated that
he was very safe; and, indeed, this was the case, for his day had
passed, the Hanoverian dynasty had firmly established itself, and the
once magic name of Stuart now made no impression upon the nation. "Let
sleeping dogs lie," was in this case apparently the rule by which the
King and his advisers guided their conduct.[143]

  [143] Nicholls: _Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century_; and
  other works.

  It is generally believed that the Stuart Prince was present at the
  coronation either incognito as Mr. Brown among the spectators on the
  floor of the hall, or disguised in woman's attire in the gallery.
  Indeed, more than one person claims to have seen him, and Lord Marshal
  told David Hume how a friend of his, recognizing the Pretender, spoke to
  him: "Your Royal Highness is the last of all mortals I should have
  expected to see here." "It was curiosity that led me," replied the
  visitor, who had come from Flanders to see the coronation; "but I assure
  you that the person who is the object of all this pomp and magnificence
  is the man I envy the least."

One of the first official acts of the King was to give his assent in
person to an act imposing an additional duty on heavy ales and beer, but
what anger this Bill evoked was directed against Bute, while the chorus
of praise that greeted the King's next move was given to him alone,
though it also was inspired by the favourite. After the Revolution,
judges held their offices for the reign of the sovereign who appointed
them, but at Bute's instigation a bill was introduced to secure their
posts to them for life. This was regarded as a most gracious and
constitutional measure, though according to Nicholls it was nothing of
the sort. "The courtiers of George III have trumpeted this conduct as a
singular mark of George III's disposition to diminish his power; but in
fact George III increased his power by this measure: having no dislike
to those whom he found in office, he had renewed their commissions. By
the statute which he thus procured to be enacted, he rendered those
judges whom he might appoint, irremovable by his successor; and thus,
instead of diminishing his power he increased it."[144] Indeed, even as
regards the graciousness of the act, a different complexion is placed
upon it by the same authority, who said it was devised "by those who had
most influence over the King" and desired to throw reproach on George
II, who on his accession had not granted commissions to those judges who
had offended him during his father's lifetime when he was in
opposition.[145] Johnson thought it a most impolitic measure. "There is
no reason," he said, "why a judge should hold his office for life more
than any other person in public trust. A judge may be partial otherwise
than to the Crown: we have seen judges partial to the populace. A judge
may be corrupt, and yet there may be no legal evidence against him. A
judge may become froward in age. A judge may grow unfit for his office
in many ways. It was desirable that there should be a possibility of
being delivered from him by a new king."[146] As a matter of fact, there
is no doubt that the measure was devised for popularity, and in this it
certainly succeeded.

  [144] Nicholls: _Recollections and Reflections_.

  [145] _Ibid._

  [146] Boswell: _Life of Samuel Johnson_.

The favour the King thus won in the eyes of his subjects was later
increased by his surrendering, on Bute's advice, £700,000, the money
from the prizes taken before the declaration of war, which, by the Peace
of Paris, became the King's property; £200,000, the value of lands in
the ceded islands; and by his acceptance of the fixed income of
£800,000, to be paid out of the aggregate fund in lieu of the uncertain
funds which then made up the Civil List.[147] Yet another thing
contributed to the King's popularity, for, when, as the law then stood,
Parliament dissolved six months after the royal demise, it became known
that George III had instructed his ministry that no money should be
spent in endeavours to secure the election of members favourable to the
Court, saying "I will be tried by my country"--a sentence that was
commemorated by an obscure rhymester.

    "Tried by your country! To your people's love,
       Amiable prince, so soon appeal;
     Stay till the tender sentiments improve,
       Ripening to gratitude from zeal.
     Years hence (yet, ah! too soon) shall Britain see
       The trial of thy virtue past;
     Who could believe that your first wish would be
       What all believe will be your last."[148]

  [147] "The hereditary revenues, being put under the same management as
  the other branches of the public patrimony, will produce more and be
  better collected than heretofore; and the public is a gainer of upwards
  of £100,000 per annum by this disinterested bounty of his
  Majesty."--Blackstone's _Commentaries_.

  [148] _The New Foundling Hospital for Wit._

A rift in the lute showed itself very soon, for almost immediately after
the accession of George III, the ascendancy of Lord Bute was displayed
in so many ways that it became obvious to all observers. There was some
surprise when the name of the Duke of Cumberland was struck out of the
liturgy, and a great deal of indignation when the favourite was made
Ranger of Richmond Park in the place of Princess Amelia, who, Huish
says, "was literally turned out;" but the indignation of the latter was
certainly misplaced, for the Princess resigned the post as the result of
a quarrel about a right of way with the townsfolk of Richmond. From the
beginning of the new reign the City of London was suspicious of Lord
Bute, and that powerful corporation was at no pains to disguise its
feelings. "The City have a mind to be out of humour; a paper has been
fixed in the Royal Exchange with these words--'No Government! No Scotch
Minister! No Lord George Sackville'[149]--two hints totally unfounded,
and the other scarce true. No petticoat ever governed less; it is left
at Leicester House--for the King himself, he seems all good nature, and
wishing to satisfy everybody; all his speeches are obliging. I saw him
on the throne, where he's all graceful and genteel; sits with dignity,
and reads his answers to addresses well."[150] So Horace Walpole wrote
early in November, 1760; but it must be admitted that that usually keen
observer did not display his usual prescience, for the "Scotch Minister"
might have been sighted on the political horizon.

  [149] George Sackville Germaine (1716-1785), son of the seventh Earl and
  first Duke of Dorset, was known from 1720 to 1770 as Lord George
  Sackville, and from then as Lord George Germaine, until 1782, when he
  was raised to the peerage as Viscount Sackville.

  [150] Walpole: _Memoirs of George II_.

Indeed, almost at once negotiations were set on foot to place Bute at
the head of affairs. "Lord Bute came to me by appointment, and stayed a
great while," Dodington records so early in the new reign as November
29, 1760. "I pressed him much to take the Secretary's office, and
provide otherwise for Lord Holdernesse; he hesitated for some time, and
then said, if that was the only difficulty, it would be easily removed,
for Lord Holdernesse was ready at his desire to quarrel with his
fellow-ministers (on account of the slights and ill-usage which he had
daily experienced), and go to the King, and throw up in seeming anger,
and then he (Bute) might come in without seeming to displace
anybody."[151] Bute required little persuasion to accept office, for his
desire was to displace the Prime Minister and reign in his stead, and
his object was so little disguised that when some time before he had
been congratulated upon his appointment as Groom of the Stole to the
then Prince of Wales, he had replied, he could feel no pleasure while
the Duke of Newcastle was Minister.

  [151] Bubb Dodington: _Diary_.

The King threw the full weight of his influence into the scale in Bute's
favour, and at the end of January, 1761, the Duke of Newcastle told the
Marquis of Rockingham, "We have received a message from the King, of
great importance; he wishes that the Earl of Holdernesse may resign the
place of Secretary of State for the Northern Department, and receive in
lieu of it the Wardenship of the Cinque Ports, and that the Earl of Bute
may be appointed Secretary of State for the Northern Department, in
place of the Earl of Holdernesse."[152] An animated discussion followed
the royal message. Lord Hardwicke was in favour of carrying out the
King's wish, on the ground that this was the first instance in which the
King had interfered in the nomination of ministers, and that resistance
might excite ill-will towards the present holders of office; but the
Marquis of Rockingham, who realized it was the King's ultimate intention
to dismiss the existing Cabinet, urged his colleagues to consider how,
if they admitted in February, 1761, that the Earl of Bute was fit to be
a Secretary of State, they could say in the following year he was not
fit to be Prime Minister.[153] In the end, however, Lord Holdernesse
retired in favour of Lord Bute.

  [152] Nicholls: _Recollections and Reflections_.

  [153] Nicholls: _Recollections and Reflections_.

This, as Lord Rockingham had foreseen, was regarded by the King as a
first step only: he was not content with having placed Bute in the
Ministry, he desired to make him Prime Minister. To achieve this object,
however, it was necessary to get rid of Pitt, and in this the King had
the assistance of the Duke of Newcastle, who scarcely felt himself the
chief of the administration that bore his name so long as Pitt, with his
great talents and reputation, was in the Ministry. An opportunity soon
presented itself. When Pitt, hearing of the "Family Compact" between
France and Spain in August, 1761, desired to withdraw the British
Ambassador from Madrid, his proposal, supported by Lord Temple and
James Grenville, was overruled by Henry Fox, George Grenville, Lord
Hardwicke, the Duke of Bedford,[154] and Lord Bute. Finding his
influence declining, he threatened to resign, a course that was
represented to the King as dangerous to the common weal, "I am
determined not to be the only slave in a country," the monarch declared,
"where it is my wish to see all the people free." When Pitt found his
colleagues had formed a cabal with the object to compel him to retire
and that he was powerless to overcome their opposition, he and Lord
Temple tendered their resignation on October 5 to the King. The King
received Pitt graciously, courteously expressed his regrets at the loss
of so able a minister (whom he had assisted to drive from office),
expressed approval of the views of his remaining ministers, and in
conclusion offered the bestowal of any rewards in the power of the
Crown. "I confess, Sire," it is recorded that Pitt replied, overcome by
the monarch's kindness, "I had but too much reason to expect your
Majesty's displeasure. I did not come prepared for this exceeding
goodness; pardon me, Sire, it overpowers, oppresses me." Then, the
chroniclers agree, the Great Commoner burst into tears, but before he
left the royal presence he had accepted a peerage for his wife and a
pension for two lives of £3,000 a year. "It is difficult to say,"
Walpole remarked, "which exulted most on the occasion, France, Spain, or
Lord Bute, for Mr. Pitt was the common enemy of all three."

  [154] John Russell, fourth Duke of Bedford (1710-1771).

The behaviour of Pitt's colleagues was resented by the public, and the
Corporation of London passed a vote of thanks to the ex-minister, while
many who had seen an evil omen in the falling of a large jewel from the
crown during the coronation, now declared that their fear had been

    "When first, portentous, it was known,
     Great George had jostled from his crown
       The brightest diamond there;
     The omen-mongers, one and all,
     Foretold some mischief must befall,
       Some loss beyond compare.

     Some fear this gem is Hanover,
     Whilst others wish to God it were;
       Each strives the nail to hit
     One guesses that, another this,
     All mighty wise, yet all amiss;
       For, ah! who thought of Pitt?"[155]

  [155] Another verse, with a similar allusion, is given in _The New
  Foundling Hospital for Wit_.

      "Ne'er yet in vain did Heaven its omen send;
       Some dreadful ills unusual signs portend!
       When Pitt resign'd, a nation's tears will own,
       'Then fell the brightest jewel in the crown.'"

On the other hand, caricaturists and pamphleteers in the pay of Bute
exulted in cartoon and verse at the downfall of the Great Commoner, and
poured scorn on him for accepting favours at the King's hands.

    "Three thousand a year's no contemptible thing
     To accept from the hands of a patriot king,
     (With thanks, to the bargain, for service and merit),
     Which he, wife and son, all three shall inherit
     With limited honours to _her_ and _her heirs_.
     So farewell to old England. _Adieu to all cares._"[156]

  [156] Besides the lampooners attached to each side there were various
  unscrupulous journalistic free-lances, whose object was only to make
  money, which they extorted by a method since imitated by certain editors
  of low-class society and financial papers. Thus a writer went with a
  column of panegyric and a column of condemnation of the character of
  Alderman Beckford, and attempted to levy blackmail for the destruction
  of the objectionable article. Only too often in such cases, both
  appreciation and attack were sold and duly appeared in antagonistic

So persistent were the attacks made upon Pitt by Bute's henchmen, who
distorted almost out of recognition the story of his resignation, that
the ex-minister thought it advisable to meet the misrepresentation by
stating the facts in a letter to one of his supporters:--

"Finding, to my great surprise, that the cause and manner of my
resigning the seals is grossly misrepresented in the city, as well as
that the most gracious and spontaneous remarks of his Majesty's
approbation of my services, which marks followed my resignation, have
been infamously traduced as a bargain for my forsaking the public, I am
under the necessity of declaring the truth of both those facts, in a
manner which, I am sure, no gentleman will contradict. A difference of
opinion with regard to measures to be taken against Spain, of the
highest importance to the honour of the Crown, and to the most essential
national interests (and this, founded on what Spain has already done,
not on what that court may further intend to do) was the cause of my
resigning the seals. Lord Temple and I submitted, in writing, and signed
by us, our most humble sentiments to his Majesty; which being overruled
by the united opinion of all the rest of the King's servants, I resigned
the seals on the 5th of this month, in order not to remain responsible
for measures which I was no longer able to guide. Most gracious public
marks of his Majesty's approbation followed my resignation. They are
unmerited and unsolicited, and I shall ever be proud to have received
them from the best of sovereigns."

Pitt's popularity was shown on the Lord Mayor's Day following his
resignation when the King, who had been married only two months, went
with his Consort in state to the City to dine at the Guildhall. "Men's
hopes and fears are strongly agitated at this critical juncture,"
Alderman Beckford[157] wrote to Pitt; "but all agree universally that
you ought to make your appearance at Guildhall on Monday next with Lord
Temple; and, upon the maturest reflection, I am clear you ought not to
refuse this favour by those who are so sincerely your friends."[158] To
this solicitation, backed by the advice of Lord Temple, Pitt yielded,
though, as he afterwards admitted, against his better judgment.[159] The
King and Queen were received indifferently, Bute was saved from violence
only by his guard of prize-fighters, ministers were greeted with cries
of "No Newcastle salmon!" but Pitt was welcomed with the greatest
enthusiasm, and the mob, a contemporary noted, "clung about every part
of the vehicle, hung upon the wheels, hugged his footmen, and even
kissed his horses." Though this occurred so early in the reign, it
showed a marked difference to the feeling aroused by the King's
accession,[160] and it is not to be wondered at that the sovereign, when
he referred to this visit to the City, spoke of "the abominable conduct
of Mr. Pitt" in joining the procession.

  [157] William Beckford (1709-1770), Lord Mayor of London 1762 and 1769.

  [158] _Chatham Correspondence._

  [159] "My old friend was once a skilful courtier; but, since he himself
  has attained a kind of royalty, he seems more attentive to support his
  own majesty than to pay the necessary regard to that of his
  sovereign."--Lord Lyttelton.

  [160] "The day the King went to the House [of Lords] I was three
  quarters of an hour getting through Whitehall. There were subjects
  enough to set up half-a-dozen petty kings; the Pretender would be proud
  to reign over the footmen alone, and indeed, unless he acquires some of
  them, he will have no subjects left; all their masters flock to St.
  James's."--Horace Walpole.

Lord Egremont took Pitt's place, and the Duke of Newcastle made no
secret of his delight and relief at having ridded his Cabinet of so
overshadowing a subordinate; but the Duke's joy was at least premature,
since, as he might have foreseen, the loss of Pitt so greatly weakened
the Ministry that within a few months the King was able to remove from
the direction of affairs that nobleman of whom George II had said, "He
loses an hour every morning, and is running after it the rest of the
day," and whom George III now treated with scarcely veiled contempt.
"For myself I am the greatest cipher that ever walked at Court. The
young King is hardly civil to me, talks to me of nothing, scarcely
answers me upon my own Treasury affairs," the Prime Minister wrote on
November 7, 1760: and about the same time he complained that, with one
exception, he could not remember a single recommendation of his which
had taken place since the accession.[161]

  [161] _Hardwicke Papers, Bedford Correspondence._

Bute, however, gave the minister the _coup de grâce_ when the latter
strongly advocated the appointment of a certain clergyman to the
Archbishopric of York. "If your Grace has so high an opinion of him,"
said he, "why did you not promote him _when you had the power_?" This
was the last straw, and the Duke of Newcastle resigned on May 26, 1762,
when Lord Bute became First Lord of the Treasury, with Lord Egremont and
George Grenville as Secretaries of State, the incapable and worthless
Sir Francis Dashwood,[162] as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Henry Fox
as Leader of the House of Commons. The Admiralty, after the death of
Lord Anson, was offered to Lord Halifax[163] who, aspiring to be a
Secretary of State, declined the office, and persisted in his refusal
until Lord Bute assured him that next to the Treasury it was the most
_lucrative_ post on the Administration. A humorous description of this
incident is given in the "Fables for Grown Gentlemen."

    "Close by a kitchen fire, a dog and a cat,
     Each a famous politician,
     Were meditating as they sat,
     Plans and projects of ambition.
     By the same fire were set to warm
     Fragments of their master's dinner;
       Temptations to alarm
       The frailty of a sinner.
     Clear prurient water streamed from Pompey's jaws,
     And Tabby looked demure, and lick'd her paws;
         And as two Plenipo's
         For fear of a surprise,
       When both have something to propose
       Examine one another's eyes;
     Or like two maids, though smit by different swains,
     In jealous conference o'er a dish of tea,
     Pompey and Tabby both cudgelled their brains
     Studying each other's physiognomy.
         Pompey endow'd with finer sense,
       Discovered in a cast of Tabby's face,
         A symptom of concupiscence
       Which made it a clear case
     When straight applying to the dawning passion,
       Pompey addressed her in this fashion:
     'Both you and I, with vigilance and zeal,
     Becoming faithful dogs, and pious cats,
     Have guarded day and night this commonweal
         From robbery and rats.
       All that we get for this, heaven knows,
         Is a few bones and many blows;
         Let us no longer fawn and whine,
         Since we have talents and are able,
         Let us impose an equitable fine
           Upon our master's table;
             And, to be brief,
         Let us each choose a single dish,
     I'll be contented with roast beef,
         Take you that turbot--you love fish.'
         Thus every dog and cat agrees,
         When they can settle their own fees.
         Thus two contending chiefs are seen
         To agree at last in every measure:
       One takes the management of the marine,
         The other of the nation's treasure."

  [162] Sir Francis Dashwood, afterwards fifteenth Baron le Despencer

  Dashwood was under no misapprehension as to his unsuitability for the
  post. "People will point at me in the streets and cry, 'There goes the
  worst Chancellor of the Exchequer that ever appeared,'" he said; and he
  wrote to Sir Andrew Mitchell on March 23, 1761: "The same strange
  fortune which made me Secretary-at-war five years and a half ago, has
  made me Chancellor of the Exchequer. It may, perhaps, at last make me
  Pope. I think I am equally fit to be the head of the Church as of the

  [163] George Montague Dunk, second Earl of Halifax (1716-1771).

"The new Administration begins tempestuously," Horace Walpole remarked.
"My father was not more abused after twenty years than Bute after twenty
days. Weekly papers swarm and, like other insects, sting." The feeling
against Lord Bute was indeed so great that Dr. Dempster became a popular
hero for preaching on December 21, 1760, before the King from Esther
_v._: "Yet all this availeth nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew
sitting at the King's gate"; and caricatures of "Mordecai at the King's
gate" were immediately after to be seen in all the print-shops
throughout the country; but now Bute was Prime Minister his unpopularity
reached its zenith. He was hooted, and sometimes pelted, by the mob: at
times even there can be no doubt his life was endangered by the fury of
the populace. All England was amused by the story of Miss Chudleigh's
retort to her royal mistress, the Princess Dowager, who had administered
a rebuke to the maid of honour after the latter had appeared very
undressed as Iphigenia at a masked ball at Somerset House: "_Votre
Altesse Royale sait que chacune à son_--BUT."[164] Numerous cartoons
circulated showing the Princess Dowager and Lord Bute, the latter always
wearing a red petticoat, supposed to have been found under very
suspicious circumstances; while lampoons were issued in considerable
numbers and one enjoyed exceptional popularity: "A letter to her Royal
Highness the Princess Dowager of Wales with a word or two concerning
Lord Bute and the Talk of the World," with the motto:

    "Hence have the talkers of this populous city
     A shameful tale to tell for public sport."

Although this scandal was in full cry, it was not that which set every
man's hand against the minister, but his inordinate craving for power he
was ill-qualified to wield. "Bute made himself immediately Secretary of
State, Knight of the Garter,[165] and Privy Purse: he gave an English
peerage to his wife; and the reversion of a very lucrative employment
for life to his eldest son," Chesterfield complained. "He placed and
displaced whom he pleased; gave peerages without number, and pensions
without bounds; by those means he proposed to make his ground secure for
the permanency of his power."[166] Bute, however, did not sit down
quietly under the many attacks of which he was the subject, but
responded to his enemies through his band of hired literary bravos. "I
am beset with a host of scribblers, and I must acknowledge that I can
discern great talent in some of their productions," he wrote in
February, 1761. "The fire must not be allowed to spread too far, or I
know not where its devastations will end. I am at a loss at present how
to stem the tide of popularity which sets in at present so strongly
against the court party. The King is much disposed at times to break out
very violently in his objections to certain measures, but I hope I shall
succeed eventually.... Pitt got the better of me in the [debate on the]
Speech which his Majesty delivered from the throne, in which, as you
will have read, he is made to declare that he is determined to carry on
the war with vigour. We have it now in agitation to make him say quite
the contrary, for we are resolved to have a peace.... I am informed of a
work which is now in the press, entitled _Le Montagnard Parvenu_, of
which I contrive to obtain the sheets as they are printed. The author
knows more than I wish him to know; he must have been oftener behind the
curtain than I suspected; it must be met by corresponding talent; the
King must not see it.... I am, however, by no means without literary
talent on my side; most of _our_ best authors are wholly devoted to me,
and I have laid the foundation for gaining Robertson,[167] by employing
him for the King, in writing the history of England; he must be

  [164] "Miss Chudleigh's dress or rather undress was remarkable. She was
  Iphigenia for the sacrifice, but so naked the high priest might easily
  inspect the entrails of the victim. The maids of honour, not of maids
  the strictest, were so offended that they would not speak to her."--Mrs.
  Montague's _Letters_.


      "O Bute! If, instead of contempt, and of odium,
       You wish to obtain universal eulogium,
       From your breast to your gullet transfer the blue string,
       Our hearts are all yours at the very first swing."

       _The New Foundling Hospital for Wit._

  [166] _Letters of Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield._

  [167] William Robertson, historian (1721-1793).

  [168] Huish: _Public and Private Life of George the Third_.

Some credit is due to Bute for his patronage of literature. He pensioned
Robertson, and John Home, the author of the play, "Douglas," which is
now remembered only by the passage beginning "My name is Norval," and
Mallet,[169] Murphy,[170] Macpherson,[171] Tobias Smollett and Dr.
Johnson, to the last of whom it was stated specifically that the award
was made, "not for anything you are to do, but for what you have
done."[172] But if in some cases a pension was bestowed for merit, and
for merit alone, these were the exception, for bribery was as much
employed by Bute as it had been by Walpole, and once again the
Paymaster's office was the _rendezvous_ for those Members of Parliament
whose votes were for sale.[173]

  [169] David Mallet (1705?-1765), the author of some poems and tragedies,
  was for some time assistant-secretary to Frederick, Prince of Wales.

  [170] Arthur Murphy (1727-1805), the biographer of Garrick, and the
  editor of the works of Fielding and Johnson.

  [171] James Macpherson (1736-1796), the alleged translator of Ossianic

  [172] "I have taken care to have it in my power to refute these
  malicious stories, from the most authentic information. Lord Bute told
  me that Mr. Wedderburn, afterwards Lord Loughborough, was the person who
  first mentioned this subject to him. Lord Loughborough told me that the
  pension was granted to Johnson solely as the reward of his literary
  merit, without any stipulation whatever, or even tacit understanding,
  that he should write for the Administration. His Lordship added that he
  was confident the political tracts which Johnson afterwards did write,
  as they were entirely consonant with his own opinions, would have been
  written by him though no pension had been granted to him."--Boswell:
  _Life of Samuel Johnson_.

  [173] The records contain the following entries: October, 1760, to
  October, 1761, to John, Earl of Bute, for his Majesty's Privy Purse,
  £48,000; for Secret Service during the same period, £95,000. October,
  1761, to October, 1762, to John, Earl of Bute, for his Majesty's Privy
  Purse, £48,000; for Secret Service during the same period, £72,000.
  This, however, is but a tithe of what was spent when Bute was in power,
  and the additional expenditure was distributed under different headings
  in the accounts of the various departments of state.

Bute came into power determined to bring about a peace, but he found it
impossible forthwith to achieve his object, and, indeed, as Pitt had
prophesied, he was compelled to declare war against Spain. He was much
chagrined at having to act in direct violation of his wishes, but the
war, which was as popular as it was successful, might in some degree
have consoled him, had not the country given the credit to Pitt, who,
before leaving office, had made preparations for the campaign. On
December 22, 1762, the preliminaries of peace were discussed in the
House of Commons, when Pitt, though suffering agonies from gout,
appeared, his leg swathed in flannel, to protest against the treaty, the
terms of which aroused general dissatisfaction, and it was declared
that the Duke of Bedford, the English negotiator, had sold his country,
and that the Princess Dowager and the Prime Minister had shared in the
spoil. "Your patrons wanted an Ambassador who would submit to make
concessions without daring to insist upon any honourable condition for
his sovereign," said Junius. "Their business required a man who had as
little feeling for his own dignity as for the welfare of his country;
and they found him in the first rank of the nobility. Belleisle, Goree,
Guadaloupe, St. Louis, Martinique, the Fishery, and Havana are glorious
monuments of your Grace's talents for negotiation. My Lord, we are too
well acquainted with your pecuniary character to think it possible that
so many public sacrifices should be made without some private
compensation. Your conduct carries with it an internal evidence beyond
all the legal proofs of a court of justice."[174] The House of Commons,
however, signified its approval of the treaty by 319 to 65 votes;
whereupon the Princess Dowager exclaimed in triumph: "Now my son _is_
King of England."[175] The King was delighted, the Queen gave a ball in
honour of the victory of the Court, and Bute declared that he wished for
no other epitaph than one in which he should be described as the
adviser of this peace--which prompted an unkind epigram:

    "Say, when will England be from faction freed?
       When will domestic quarrels cease?
     Ne'er till that wished-for epitaph we read,
       'Here lies the man that made the peace.'"

  [174] Letter to the Duke of Bedford, Sept. 19, 1769.

  [175] Walpole: _Memoirs of George III_.

The cyder tax, which Bute forced through Parliament to defray the heavy
expenses of the negotiations for peace, threw even his previous
unpopularity into insignificance, and his endeavours to persuade the
City of London not to present a petition against the tax, by promising
to repeal it the next year, was met with the reply, "My Lord, we know
not that you will be minister next year." To the general surprise,
Bute's resignation was announced on April 3, 1763, when with him retired
Fox, who entered the Upper House as Baron Holland, and Dashwood, who
succeeded his uncle as Baron le Despencer.

Bute's resignation was said by his friends to be the natural sequence of
his policy, and to have been determined before he accepted the seals of
office. The noble patriot, so his henchmen insisted, had seen his
country wasted by a pernicious, unnecessary war, and he had secured the
office of prime minister in order to, and solely in order to, achieve
peace. This done, they continued, his self-imposed task was complete,
and he withdrew from public affairs, "without place or pension,
disdaining to touch those tempting spoils which lay at his feet."[176]
These reasons for the surrender of office cannot, in the light of
present knowledge, be accepted. Bute retired owing to dissension in his
Cabinet. Indeed, for this there is his own admission. "Single in a
cabinet of my own forming; no aid in the House of Lords to support me,
except two peers [Lords Denbigh and Pomfret]; both the Secretaries of
State silent; and the Lord Chief Justice, whom I myself brought into
office, voting for me, yet speaking against me; the ground I tread upon
is so hollow, that I am afraid, not only of falling myself, but of
involving my Royal Master in my ruin. It is time for me to retire."[177]

  [176] _Letter from a Gentleman in Town to his Friend in the Country,
  occasioned by a late resignation._

  [177] Adolphus: _History of England_.

The failings of Lord Bute have already been discussed, and in taking
leave of him some mention must be made of his good qualities. It has
been said that his besetting fault was a lust of power, his great
weakness inability to use the power which his intrigues secured him; but
he was a good husband, a kind father, and, what more concerns the
public, a brave man, for he faced exceptional unpopularity without
flinching, and, according to his lights, honest. It would be
objectionable to say to-day of a living English statesman that he was
honest in financial matters, for it is inconceivable that any other
would be tolerated; but it must not be forgotten that the tone of
political men was then very different. In Bute's day gross immorality
was no bar to employment in the highest offices of state, nor was overt
dishonesty a disqualification. We have seen how Lord Halifax was
persuaded to accept the Admiralty because of the opportunities to
acquire wealth, and it is notorious that the great and able Henry Fox
accumulated a vast fortune during his tenure of office of
Paymaster-General. Dashwood, who, according to Walpole, was a vulgar
fool, who "with the familiarity and phrase of a fishwife, introduced the
humours of Wapping behind the veil of the Treasury," was a thoroughly
vicious scoundrel; Rigby, whose accusers have exhausted the terms of
vituperation, was also a Paymaster-General, and left half-a-million of
money; Grafton, a great-grandson of Charles II by the Duchess of
Cleveland, was a notorious profligate. The list might be continued until
it embraced a large proportion of the politicians on both sides. No
reproach of this sort clings to Bute, who did not for himself
appropriate public monies, and if the cynic contends that this was
because he had no temptation to be dishonest, having married a wife who
brought him £25,000 a year and nearly a quarter of a million in the
funds, the fact must not be ignored that many of those who plunged their
hands into the country's purse were possessed of greater wealth.

[Illustration: _From a drawing by Jno. Smith_




Even before he ascended the throne George III had determined that his
Court should be very different from that of his grandfather, and when he
came into his kingdom he began at once a very drastic process of
purification. He was a religious man, somewhat narrow in his views, and
he held sacred things in great respect. At the coronation, after he had
been anointed and crowned, when the Archbishop of Canterbury came to
hand him down from the throne to receive the Sacrament, he told them he
would not go to the Lord's Supper and partake of that ordinance with the
crown on his head. The Archbishop of Canterbury did not know if it might
be removed, and, after consulting the Bishop of Rochester, told the King
neither could say if there was any order in the service for receiving
communion with or without the crown. "Then there ought to be," said the
monarch, and himself laid aside the crown.[178] Indeed he held very
strong views as to the Sacrament, and when in 1805 Lord
Chesterfield[179] prior to an Installation asked if the new Knights of
the Garter would be required to take it, "No, My Lord," he replied
severely, "the Holy Sacrament is not to be profaned by our Gothic
institutions. Even at my coronation I was very unwilling to take it, but
they told me it was indispensable. As it was, I took off the bauble from
my head before I approached the Altar."[180]

  [178] "The coronation is over, 'tis even a more gorgeous sight than I
  imagined," Horace Walpole told the Hon. Henry Seymour Conway. "I saw the
  procession and the hall; but the return was in the dark. In the morning
  they had forgot the sword of state, the chairs for the King and Queen,
  and their canopies. They used the Lord Mayor's sword for the first, and
  made the last in the hall; so they did not set forth till noon; and
  then, by a childish compliment to the King, reserved the illumination of
  the hall till his entry, by which means they arrived like a funeral,
  nothing being discernible but the plumes of the Knights of the Bath,
  which seemed the hearse." Indeed, the whole was a comedy of errors,
  crowned by the historic apology of the Earl Marshal, Lord Effingham, in
  reply to the King's complaints: "It is true, sir, there has been some
  neglect, but I have taken care that the next coronation shall be
  regulated in the exactest manner possible."

  [179] Philip Stanhope, fifth Earl of Chesterfield (1755-1815).

  [180] Wraxall: _Historical Memoirs of My Own Times_.

George had this deep feeling for religion from his childhood, and before
he was six years old had without direction learnt by heart several pages
of Doddridge's "Principles of the Christian Religion"; while, from the
time he grew up to the end of his life, he devoted one hour in the
early morning to reading the Scriptures and to meditation. He was well
acquainted with the works of Andrews, Sanderson and Sherlock, and asked
a fashionable preacher of the day if he, too, were acquainted with them.
"No, please your Majesty, my reading is all modern. The writers of whom
you speak are now obsolete, though I doubt not they might have been very
well at the time." The King looked at him, thinking of the man's own
sermons, and replied: "There were giants on earth in those days."[181]
One day George missed an under-gardener, and inquired as to the reason
of his absence. "Please your Majesty, he is of late so very troublesome
with his religion and he is always talking about it." "Is he dishonest?
Does he neglect his work?" "No, your Majesty, he is very honest. I have
nothing to say against him for that." "Then send for him again. Why
should he be turned off? Call me Defender of the Faith!" he thundered.
"_Defender of the Faith!_--and turn away a man for his religion!"

  [181] _Genesis vi_, 4.

George III was not so bigoted but that he would visit a Quaker, and he
and his consort witnessed the Lord Mayor's Show in 1761 from the house
of Robert Barclay, one of the sect; and he could speak kindly of
Nonconformists. On one occasion at Windsor he saw a maid-servant in
tears and learnt that her distress was occasioned by the refusal of a
superior to allow her to attend a dissenting meeting, whereupon he sent
for the housekeeper and admonished her severely: "I will suffer no
persecution during my reign!" "The Methodists are a quiet good kind of
people and will disturb nobody; and if I can learn that any persons in
my employment disturb them, they shall be immediately dismissed," he
said when an attempt was made to interrupt the service at a Methodist
chapel; and when a Bible Society was formed at Windsor, and the name of
the Independent minister omitted, he desired that the name of "that good
man" should without delay be added. But though George III could tolerate
Nonconformists, on the other hand nothing could induce him to abate his
prejudice against the Roman Catholics, and when urged to make
concessions to them: "Tell me who took the coronation oath, did you or
I? Dundas, let me have no more of your Scotch sophistry. I took the
oath, and I must keep it."

After George's accession Dr. Thomas Wilson, Prebendary of Westminster,
thought, by flattering him in a sermon delivered in the Chapel Royal, to
ingratiate himself with the new King, only to be summoned to receive,
to his great surprise, a stern rebuke: those who preached before him,
the monarch warned Dr. Wilson, must remember "I go to church to hear God
praised and not myself." George had, indeed, a high ideal for those in
clerical orders, and this he enforced on all classes. "I could not help
giving you the notification of the grief and concern with which my
breast was affected at receiving an authentic information that routs
have made their way into your palace," he wrote to Archbishop
Cornwallis, when in 1772 he was informed by the Countess of Huntingdon
that the prelate's wife had given a ball. "At the same time I must
signify to you my sentiments on this subject, which hold these levities
and vain dissipations as utterly inexpedient, if not unlawful, to pass
in a residence for many centuries devoted to Divine studies, religious
retirement, and the extensive exercise of charity and benevolence--I
add, in a place where so many of your predecessors have led their lives
in such sanctity as has thrown lustre upon the pure religion they
professed and adorned. From the dissatisfaction with which you must
perceive I behold these improprieties, not to speak in harsher terms,
and still more pious principles, I trust you will suppress them
immediately; so that I may not have occasion to show any further marks
of displeasure, or to interpose in a different manner. May God take your
Grace into His Almighty protection."

"I wish that every poor child in my dominion shall be able to read his
Bible,"[182] he said rightly enough; but sometimes his fervour led him
into excesses, such as the striking out in his copy of the Prayer-Book
in the prayer for the Royal Family the words "our most Gracious King and
Governor," and substituting an "unworthy sinner." It was this and
similar examples of misdirected fervour that prompted Byron to write:

    "All I saw further, in the last confusion,
       Was, that King George slipped into Heaven for one;
     And when the tumult dwindled to a calm,
       I left him practising the hundredth psalm."[183]

  [182] Southy: _Memoirs of George III_.

  [183] Byron: _The Vision of Judgment_.

The King in later years would sometimes visit the book-shop of Charles
Knight at Windsor, and there was accustomed to sit on a high stool at
the counter to glance at the latest publications. One day he saw there
Bishop Watson's "Apology for the Bible," the title of which
volume excited him. "What!--what!--what!--Apologize for the
Bible!--what--what--what!" On another occasion he was startled to find
among the latest acquisitions a copy of Paine's "Age of Reason." He
sharply rebuked Knight, and quitted the shop, never again to enter it.

One of the first acts of the King was to issue a proclamation for the
"encouragement of piety and virtue, and for preventing and punishing of
vice, profaneness, and immorality," which was especially commended to
the notice of "judges, mayors, sheriffs, justices of the peace, and all
other our officers and ministers, both ecclesiastical and civil."


"We most seriously and religiously considering that it is an
indispensable duty on us to be careful above all things to preserve and
advance the honour and service of Almighty God, and to discourage and
suppress all vice, profaneness, debauchery, and immorality, which are so
highly displeasing to God, so great a reproach to our religion and
government, and (by means of the frequent ill examples of the practices
thereof) have so fatal a tendency to the corruption of many of our
loving subjects, otherwise religiously and virtuously disposed, and
which (if not timely remedied) may justly draw down the Divine vengeance
on us and our kingdoms: we also humbly acknowledging that we cannot
expect the blessing and goodness of Almighty God (by Whom Kings reign
and on which we entirely rely) to make our reign happy and prosperous to
ourself and to our people, without a religious observance of God's holy
laws: to the intent thereof that religion, piety, and good manners may
(according to our most hearty desire) flourish and increase under our
administration and government, we have thought fit, by the advice of our
Privy Council, to issue this our royal proclamation, and do hereby
declare our royal purpose and resolution to discountenance and punish
all manner of vice, profaneness, and immorality, in all persons of
whatsoever degree or quality, within this our realm, and particularly in
such as are employed near our royal person; and that for the
encouragement of religion and morality, we will, upon all occasions,
distinguish persons of piety and virtue, by marks of our royal favour.
And we do expect and require that all persons of honour, or in place of
authority, will give good example of their own virtue and piety, and to
their utmost contribute to the discountenancing persons of dissolute and
debauched lives, that they, being reduced by that means to shame and
contempt for their loose and evil actions and behaviour, may be
therefore also enforced the sooner to reform their ill habits and
practices, and that the visible displeasure of good men towards them may
(as far as it is possible) supply what the laws (probably) cannot
altogether prevent. And we do hereby enjoin and prohibit all our loving
subjects, of what degree or quality soever, from playing on the Lord's
day at dice, cards, or any other game whatsoever; and we do hereby
require and command them, and every one of them, decently and reverently
to attend the worship of God on every Lord's-day, on pain of our highest
displeasure, and being proceeded against with the utmost rigour that may
be by law...."

Practical measures followed this proclamation, and first, as was to be
expected from so regular a church-goer, George announced that the
Sabbath Day must not be profaned even by so harmless an entertainment as
a reception, and abolished the Sunday Drawing-rooms. This was followed
by the discouragement of gambling at Court. When George discovered that
at the Twelfth Night celebrations at St. James's Palace hazard was
played for heavy stakes, he was horrified. First, he restricted the
number of tables, later limited the hours of play, and subsequently
refused to permit this amusement in his palaces. Then cards were
instituted, only in turn to be forbidden, and it was announced that no
game for money would be permitted among officials, under penalty of
forfeiting their situations.[184]

  [184] "Their Majesties not being accustomed to play at hazard, ordered a
  handsome gratuity to the Groom Porter: and orders were given that, for
  the future, there be no card playing amongst the servants."--_Annual
  Register_, Jan. 6, 1772.

It is an axiom that people cannot be made virtuous by proclamation, yet
it is conceivable that those persons who were not moved to laughter by
the exhortation to be good might appreciate it as an earnest of the
King's intention to exact a standard of conduct higher than had been
previously attained; and some acceptable result might have followed had
the Court been popular, for, if the courtiers obeyed their master's
behest, it is probable that those in lower ranks might follow the
exalted example. Things began well. "For the King himself, he seems all
good-nature, and wishing to satisfy everybody," Walpole wrote at the
beginning of the reign. "All his speeches are obliging--I saw him
yesterday, and was surprised to find that the _levée_ room had lost so
entirely the air of the lion's den. This sovereign does not stand in one
spot, with his eyes royally fixed on the ground, and dropping bits of
German news; he walked about and spoke to everybody; I saw him
afterwards on the throne, where he is graceful and genteel, sits with
dignity, and reads his answers well."

After the royal marriage, however, the good start was not followed up:
the Court became the dullest and dreariest place conceivable and was
soon attended only by those whose duties compelled them to attend. "The
Court, independent of politics, makes the strangest figure," Walpole
wrote to Lord Hertford not very long after the accession. "The
Drawing-rooms are abandoned. Lady Buckingham was the only woman there on
Sunday se'nnight. In short, one hears of nothing but dissatisfaction,
which, in the city, rises almost to treason." Lord Holland, too, noted
the prevalent feeling. "A young, civil, virtuous, good-natured King
might naturally be expected to have such a degree of popularity as
should for years defend the most exceptionable Favourite," he wrote in
September, 1762. "But, which I can't account for, his Majesty from the
very beginning was not popular. And now, because Lord Talbot[185] has
prevented him from being cheated to the shameful degree that has been
usual in his kitchen, they make prints treating his Majesty as they
would a notorious old miser."[186]

  [185] William, second Baron Talbot, created Earl Talbot in 1762.

  [186] Lord Holland's _Memoir_ in _The Life and Letters of Lady Sarah

Lord Talbot was Lord Steward of the Household and his appointment was
not popular. "As neither gravity, rank, abilities, nor morals could be
adduced to counterbalance such exaltation, no wonder it caused very
unfavourable comments," was Walpole's opinion. "As the Court knew that
the measures it had in contemplation could only be carried by money,
every stratagem was invented to curtail the common expenses of the
palace. As these fell into the province of the Lord Steward, nothing was
heard of but cooks cashiered and kitchens shut up. Even the Maids of
Honour, who did not expect rigours from a great officer of Lord Talbot's
complexion, were reduced to complain of the abridgment of their
allowance for breakfast."[187] The drastic changes in Lord Talbot's
department brought down upon the nobleman a diatribe from Wilkes. "I
much admire many of his Lordship's new regulations, especially those for
the royal kitchen. I approve of the discharge of so many turnspits and
cooks, who were grown of little use. It was high time to put an end to
that too great indulgence in eating and drinking, which went by the name
of Old English Hospitality, when the House of Commons had granted a poor
niggardly Civil List of only £800,000."[188]

  [187] _Memoirs of George III._

  [188] _The North Briton_, No. 12.

[Illustration: _From a print dated 1762_


The fact of the matter was the King was not possessed of those qualities
that make for popularity. At times he showed a certain graciousness, as
when at some watering-place where he went with the Queen, "We must walk
about for two or three days to please these good people," he said,
alluding to the crowds that assembled to see him, "and then _we may walk
about to please ourselves_." Indeed, on the afternoons of Sundays and
royal birthdays when the Court was at Windsor and the weather was fine,
the King and Queen with their family walked on the Terrace, which was
usually crowded with people of rank and fashion, and made so pretty a
picture that many came from London to see the sight. In the country
George was affable, especially with humble folk. At Weymouth he passed a
field where, although it was harvest time, only one woman was at work,
and, surprised by this neglect of work, he asked where were the other
labourers. The woman said they had gone to see the King, and added: "I
would not give a pin to see him. Besides, the fools will lose a day's
work by it, and that is more than I can afford to do. I have five
children to work for." "Well, then," said his Majesty, putting some
money in her hands, "you may tell your companions who are gone to see
the King, that the _King came to see you_."[189] Occasionally he would
pay a compliment, as on one occasion at a review at Winchester when
David Garrick, having dismounted and lost his horse, which, alarmed by
the noise, had broken away, exclaimed, "A horse! a horse! my kingdom
for a horse," the King turned round, "I thought I could not be mistaken,
Mr. Garrick," he said, "your delivery of Shakespeare can never pass
unnoticed."[190] More frequently, however, his remarks were tactless, as
in his conversation with a Yorkshireman at a _levée_, "I suppose you are
going back to Yorkshire, Mr. Stanhope? A very ugly county, Yorkshire!"
"Oh, sir!" said Stanhope, outraged in his tenderest feelings, "we always
consider Yorkshire a very picturesque county." "What, what, what!" cried
the King, who evidently had not sought the soft answer that turns away
anger. "A coal-pit a picturesque object! What, what, what! Yorkshire
coalpits, picturesque! Yorkshire a picturesque county!"[191]

  [189] _Percy Anecdotes._

  [190] _Georgiana._

  [191] _Memoirs of A. M. W. Pickering._

Yet, though George neither as lad nor man possessed wit, at times he
gave proofs of an unexpected vein of humour. Thus, when he inquired who
was the owner of a newly erected palatial house, and was told it had
been built by his Majesty's card-maker, "Indeed," quoth he, "then this
man's cards have all turned up trumps." On another occasion when he had
purchased a horse, the dealer handed him a large piece of parchment with
the remark, "The animal's pedigree, Sire." "No, no," said the monarch,
handing it back. "Keep it, my good man, 'twill do as well for the next
horse you sell," which shows more knowledge of the world than is usually
accredited to the speaker. One day Colonel Manners, who was in high
favour at Court, sought an interview. "Let him in," the King replied,
"he is not only Manners, but good manners." When at the end of March,
1781, Lord Bateman waited on him to ask at what hour his Majesty would
have the stag-hounds turned out, "My Lord, I cannot exactly answer
that," he replied, having just bestowed the Mastership on the Marquis of
Carnarvon,[192] "but I can inform you that your Lordship was turned out
an hour ago." More amusing is the message he sent to a Jacobite who
would not take the oath of allegiance or acknowledge him as King of
England--"Carry my compliments to him--but--what--stop--no--he may
perhaps not receive my compliments as King of England. Give him the
Elector of Hanover's compliments, and tell him that he respects the
steadiness of his principles."

  [192] Afterwards fifth Duke of Leeds.

When Lord Chief Baron Macdonald, a great snuff-taker, and Mr. Baron
Graham, an inveterate talker, were sitting in the Westminster court,
"The Court of Exchequer," remarked the King, "has a snuffbox at one end
and a chatterbox at the other."[193] To Lord Kenyon, a very
violent-tempered man, he said: "My Lord, I hear that since you have been
in the King's Bench, you have _lost your temper_. You know my great
regard for you, and I may therefore venture to tell you I am glad to
hear it."[194] Humorous, too, was his remark, _à propos_ of George
Selwyn's love of horrors. Selwyn was present at a _levée_, and withdrew
after George had spoken to him, although it was known the monarch was to
confer the honour of knighthood upon a country squire who had come to
Court to present an Address. "The King afterwards, in the closet,
expressed his astonishment to the Groom-in-Waiting," wrote Storer to
Lord Auckland, "that Mr. Selwyn should not wish to see the ceremony of
making a new knight, observing that it looked so like an _execution_
that he took it for granted Mr. Selwyn would have stayed to see

  [193] Twiss: _Life of Eldon_.

  [194] _Ibid._

  [195] "In the distribution of honours the King never forgot his own
  personal feelings, tho' he sometimes granted to political solicitation
  what was by no means agreeable to himself. The late Dr. Elliott had
  never been a favourite, and when Lord George Germaine requested his
  Majesty to confer a baronetcy on that physician, the King manifested
  much unwillingness, saying at length, 'But, if I do, he shall not be my
  physician!' 'No, sir, he shall be your Majesty's baronet and my
  physician.'"--Galt: _George III, his Court and Family_.

An amusing incident has also been related by Colonel Landmann when
George III was at Weymouth. "The King had taken off one of his military
white gloves, and in dropping the ends of his sash, he also at the same
time dropped the glove, upon which, not only General Garth, but several
others nearest to the King, scrambled for the glove on the ground, in
order to mark their zeal and attention to his Majesty; but the King,
desirous of recovering his fallen glove without having to thank any one
for it, or perhaps wishing to display his activity, also attempted to
seize it, in which he succeeded. On rising, the King's cane slipped from
his hold, and again the King was the successful candidate for the prize.
Now the sensation which the scrambling for the glove and then for the
stick had created amongst the vast concourse of spectators was increased
to an uncontrollable degree by the falling off of the King's hat, for
the capture of which an increased number of competitors presented
themselves, whose ambition to serve his Majesty greatly retarded its

"Colonel Campbell, at length, had the good fortune to rescue this from
the hands of two members of the King's household, who were struggling
with each other for victory; whilst the King, holding out his hands for
his property, his face, in consequence of his stooping, as red as his
coat, exclaimed: 'Never mind about the honour of the thing, never mind,
never mind; give me my hat, give me my hat; there,' as the King received
his hat, 'thank you--thank you all alike--you all picked it up--yes,
yes,--all, all, all--you all picked it up.'

"The King, during the latter part of this contest, laughed most
heartily, in which the whole of the _cortège_ surrounding his Majesty
immediately joined, throwing off all restraint."[196]

  [196] Percy Fitzgerald: _The Family of George III_.

One of the best stories concerning George III has since been told in
many forms of other persons. The King and his eldest son assisted a
countryman whose cart had stuck in a rut near Windsor, and, after
literally putting their shoulders to the wheel, they gave him
respectively half-a-guinea and a guinea. The driver was puzzled to
receive a larger coin from the Prince of Wales than from the monarch,
who heard of the man's perplexity, and, meeting him again some time
after, explained the matter: "Friend, I find you cannot account for my
son being more generous than I; but you should consider I have a large
family to provide for; he is but a single man, and has nobody to provide
for but himself."

Even better than this was his remark after his recovery in 1789, when
he heard that "Old Q." had gone over to the Opposition: "For once the
old jockey has run on the wrong side of the post." This occasional sense
of humour was rarely carried into the domain of affairs of state, but
one instance when humour and justice combined has been preserved.
Picking a pocket was not a capital felony, but in those days taking
anything privily from the person, of the value of one shilling, was
punishable with death. George abolished for all practical purposes this
absurd distinction, for when the warrant for the execution of a
pickpocket was brought for his signature, he refused to sign it,
declaring there was no difference between the offences. "I had always
understood," said he, "that the very essence of picking a pocket was,
that it should be done as much as possible without the knowledge of the

  [197] _Percy Anecdotes._

The King had a great sense of regal dignity, and, when outraged, could
administer a rebuke with an air that rendered it crushing. When Lord
Kingsale, in the exercise of the privilege bestowed by King John to wear
his hat in the royal presence, remained covered, not for an instant, but
throughout a Court, in the presence of the King and Queen, "My Lord
Kingsale," said the monarch, "you are entitled to remain covered in the
presence of your sovereign, but not in the presence of a lady." Again,
when Addington quarrelled with Pitt, he went to surrender the key of the
Council box that he held as Lord President of the Council, but the King
declined angrily to receive it: "You must not give it to me, but to Lord
Hawkesbury"; and when the retiring minister begged to be excused on the
ground that Lord Hawkesbury and he were not on speaking terms, "that,"
said George, "was no concern of his."

George III took himself with the greatest seriousness, not only in
matters of importance, but also in the most trivial details of ceremony,
and when any change in etiquette was mooted, met the suggestion with the
stereotyped reply, "I will have no innovations in my time." He could not
bring himself ever to unbend even with ministers who were brought into
daily contact with him, and during the interview, however long it might
be, he would stand, and so prevent the minister from taking a seat.
Indeed, on one occasion when Pitt was suffering from gout, George kept
him standing for two hours, though well aware of the statesman's
infirmity, for two days later he said to him he hoped he had not
suffered by standing so long on Monday. And Pitt was overcome by this
gracious inquiry and told his friends, "His Majesty is the greatest
courtier in the country".[198]

  [198] The humble manner and language that Lord Chatham always adopted in
  the closet formed a fertile source of ridicule to his contemporaries.
  Chase Price said, "that at the _levée_ he used to bow so low, you could
  see the tip of his hooked nose between his legs."--Albemarle: _Memoirs
  of Rockingham_.

It was not only ministers, however, who suffered in this way, for on one
occasion Mrs. Siddons, who was summoned to read a play before their
Majesties, was kept on her feet until she nearly fell from fatigue.

    "Ready to drop to earth, she must have sunk,
     But for a child that at the hardship shrunk--
     A little _prince_, who marked her situation,
     Thus, pitying, pour'd a tender exclamation:
     'La! Mrs. Siddons is quite faint indeed,
     How pale! I'm sure she cannot read:
     She somewhat wants, her spirits to repair,
     And would, I'm sure, be happy in a _chair_.'
     What follow'd? Why, the r-y-l pair arose
     Surly enough, one fairly may suppose!
     And to a room adjoining made retreat,
     To let her, for one moment, _steal_ a seat."[199]

  [199] Peter Pindar: "_Ode upon Ode; or, A Peep at St. James's_."

When George III "put on the King," Beckford said, "he was the
personification of dignity," and "no man could stand before him";[200]
while the impression he made on Johnson is well known. "Sir, they may
talk of the King as they will, but he is the finest gentleman I have
ever seen," the doctor said to Barnard, the librarian; and supplemented
this to Langton: "Sir, his manners are those of as fine a gentleman as
we may suppose Louis the Fourteenth or Charles the Second."[201] This
regal dignity was, however, not always sustained in private. "The
oscillations of his body, the precipitations of his questions, none of
which, it was said, would wait for an answer, and the hurry of his
articulation"[202] were so many faults; and the famous "What? what?"
with which he concluded his sentences were irritating to a degree. "His
Majesty is multifarious in his questions," said Johnson, "but thank God
he answers them all himself." The King was no fool, however, and, as
Wraxall was at pains to point out, "his understanding, solid and sedate,
qualified him admirably for business," though it was neither of a
brilliant nor imposing description; but he had in him a great vein of

  [200] _Conversations with Mr. Beckford._

  [201] Boswell: _Life of Samuel Johnson_.

  [202] Wraxall: _Historical Memoirs of My Own Times_.

Now, the dignity of a foolish man usually furnishes fit subject for
mirth, and the King's reputation for stupidity, which originated in his
early years, grew confirmed as time went on. No story, however seemingly
absurd, was rejected as untrue by his loyal subjects, who, perhaps,
found their greatest pleasure in this direction, in the well-known
anecdote of the King and the apple dumpling.

     "Once upon a time, a monarch, tired with whooping,
                  Whipping and spurring,
                  Happy in worrying
          A poor defenceless, harmless buck
          (The horse and rider wet as muck),
      From his high consequence and wisdom stooping,
          Enter'd, through curiosity, a cot.
          Where sat a poor old woman and her pot.

     "The wrinkled, blear-ey'd, good, old granny,
      In this same cot, illum'd by many a cranny,
          Had finish'd apple dumplings for her pot:
        In tempting row the naked dumplings lay,
        When, lo! the monarch, in his usual way,
    Like lightning spoke, 'What's this? what's this? what? what?'

      "Then taking up a dumpling in his hand,
       His eyes with admiration did expand--
           And oft did Majesty the dumpling grapple:
           ''Tis monstrous, monstrous hard, indeed,' he cried:
       'What makes it, pray, so hard?'--The dame reply'd,
           Low curtseying, 'Please, your Majesty, the apple.'

      "'Very astonishing, indeed! strange thing!'
       (Turning the dumpling round, rejoin'd the King).
           ''Tis most extraordinary then, all this is,
           It beats Piretti's conjuring all to pieces,
       Strange I should never of a dumpling dream,
       But, goody, tell me where, where, where's the seam?'
    "'Sir, there's no seam,' quoth she, 'I never knew
         That folks did apple dumplings _sew_'--
         'No,' cry'd the staring monarch with a grin,
         'How, how the devil got the apple in?'

    "On which the dame the curious scheme revealed
     By which the apple lay so sly concealed;
         Which made the Solomon of Britain start:
     Who to the Palace with full steam repaired,
     And Queen and Princesses so beauteous scared,
         All with the wonders of the Dumpling Art.

    "There did he labour one whole week, to show
         The wisdom of an Apple-Dumpling maker:
     And, lo! so deep was Majesty in dough,
         The Palace seemed the lodging of a Baker."[203]

  [203] Peter Pindar: _Ode upon Ode; or, A Peep at St. James's_.

The King's folly was most clearly seen in his pronouncements upon
scientific questions. He had some liking for mechanics, and, it is said,
directed the construction of some interesting clocks; but certainly,
apart from mechanics, he was wofully ignorant, and as obstinate as he
was ignorant. "Well, I suppose all your chickens are dead," he said to
Beckford, alluding to the fact that his house was roofed with copper, an
experiment which the King had declared must infallibly kill everything
under the roof with verdigris.[204] George took an active part in the
question which arose about 1778, whether lightning conductors, which at
this time were ordered to be placed near all the powder magazines,
should have blunted or pointed ends. A great dispute was raging: Sir
John Pringle, President of the Royal Society, Dr. Franklin, and many men
of light and leading advocating points, a view controverted by Sir
Joseph Banks and some others. It was obviously a question for scientific
experts, but the King, as a wit put it, "being rather _partial_ to blunt
conductors," thought to put an end to the matter by giving his
peremptory decision, and announcing to the world the superiority of
nobs. Not content with carrying out his theory in the lightning
conductors at Buckingham House, he desired Sir John Pringle to publish
his belief as the opinion of the Royal Society! Of course to this
amazing demand, there could be but one answer, and Sir John regretted
"it was not in his power to reverse the order of nature."

  [204] _Conversations with the late Mr. Beckford._

[Illustration: _Caricature by R. Newton_


For art George had some liking, thus forming an agreeable contrast to
his two predecessors who detested "bainting and boetry," but
unfortunately his taste was quite uninformed and his critical faculties
negligible: he preferred Benjamin West to Reynolds, and Peter Pindar
"wept over the hard fate of Prince Octavius and Prince Augustus,
children of our Most Glorious Sovereign," whose portraits had, by royal
command, been painted by West.

    "Ghost of Octavius! tell the bard,
         And thou, Augustus, us'd so _hard_,
     Why West hath murdered you, my tender lambs?
         You bring to mind vile Richard's deed,
         Who bid your royal cousins bleed,
     For which the world the tyrant's mem'ry damns.

         "West, I must own thou dost inherit
         Some portion of the painting spirit;
     But trust me--not extraordinary things--
         _Some_ merit thou must surely own
         By getting up so near the throne,
     And gaining whispers from the best of Kings."[205]

  [205] _Lyric Odes to Royal Academicians._

The King also delighted in Beattie, who was his and his consort's
favourite poet.

    "... Sweet Poesy exalts her voice,
     MacOssian sings, and Homer's halls rejoice,
     One lazy tenor Beattie's bag-pipe keeps,
     And tragic Home most lamentably weeps.
     The Monarch's favourites, and the Muses' too!
     'Whawr, Bratons, whawr's yore _Woolly Shockspare noo_!'"[206]

  [206] _An Heroic Epistle to an Unfortunate Monarch._

  "Peregrine the Elder," the author of the _Heroic Epistle_, assures his
  readers that the question asked in the last line was asked by a
  Scotchman at the first performance of Home's "Douglas."

However, to the best of his ability, George admired, and if when shown
some of Blake's drawings he cried, "What--what--what! Take them away,
take them away!" and if he thought Shakespeare "sad stuff," on the other
hand it is to his credit that he took much interest in the foundation of
the Royal Academy, and, though he did not desire that Reynolds should be
President, yet he sanctioned the appointment and knighted the painter.
In his respect for letters he conceived the idea to establish an Order
of Minerva for eminent writers and scientists. "The knights were to take
rank after the Knights of the Bath, and to sport a straw-coloured ribbon
and a star of sixteen points. But there was such a row among the
_literati_ as to the persons who should be appointed, that the plan was
given up, and Minerva and her star never came down amongst us."[207] He
accumulated a fine library that George IV, when he found he might not
sell it, gave to the British Museum; but he was probably entirely
ignorant of his acquisitions, though he had a fondness for the exterior
of books, and it is to his credit that he instructed his librarian
"never to bid a farthing against a scholar, or professor, or against any
person of moderate means, desiring a particular volume for his own

  [207] Thackeray: _The Four Georges_.

  George III created one order of Knighthood, that of St. Patrick in 1783,
  in the hope to conciliate the Irish, who, however, treated it with

      "George sends his stars and garters to our land,
       We send him ropes to hang his pensioned band,
       And, having made the crew disgorge their pelf,
       He then may, if he pleases, hang himself."

  [208] _Georgiana._

George liked to think himself a patron of art and artists, but it is
hinted he was not always inspired by the right motive, as when he found
a place for Gibbon as a Lord of Trade:

    "King George in a fright,
     Lest Gibbon should write
     The Hist'ry of England's disgrace,
       Thought no way so sure
       His pen to secure
     As to give the historian a place."

The royal patronage was certainly not exercised on the heroic scale.
Thus, Richard Paton was commanded to bring to Kew for their Majesties'
inspection naval pictures intended for St. Petersburg, and he obeyed the
summons, at a cost of fifty pounds for carriage, for which he was repaid
only with thanks; and it was the payment by the King of twenty-five
pounds for a picture, the market price of which was four times that
amount, painted by a friend of Dr. Wolcot, that brought down upon the
monarch the many vigorous onslaughts by that keen though coarse

  [209] Papendiek: _Journals_.

On another occasion the Queen was persuaded to sit to young Thomas
Lawrence. "The poor young fellow was naturally inexperienced in the ways
of a Court, and the manner in which her Majesty treated him was not with
her usual kind consideration. She declined to give him a last sitting
for the ornaments, as it was too much trouble, but eventually was
prevailed upon to allow Mrs. Papendiek to act as her deputy. No money
was paid. The King told him to remove it to town, and have it engraved.
When that was done, the portrait was to be sent to Hanover, and then the
King proposed to pay. But Lawrence had no money, and could not risk the
engraving at his own expense."[210] The picture, therefore, remained in
his studio, and was sold with others after his death.

  [210] _Ibid._

Even royalty itself was not able to induce the King to put aside his
dislike of spending money, for when the Empress of Russia asked for a
portrait of himself by Reynolds, the monarch, with "laudable royal
economy," as the satirist put it, went, not to Reynolds, but to an
inexpensive portrait-painter.

    "I'm told, and I believe the story,
       That a fam'd Queen of Northern brutes,
     A gentlewoman of _prodigious_ glory,
       Whom every sort of epithet _well suits_;
     Whose husband _dear_, just happening to _provoke_ her,
     Was shov'd to heaven upon a _red-hot poker_!
       Sent to a _certain_ King, not King of _France_,
       Desiring by Sir Joshua's hand his phiz,
                 What did the royal quiz?
     Why, _damned genteelly_, sat to Mr. Dance."[211]

  [211] Peter Pindar: _Lyric Odes to the Royal Academicians_.

Certainly on no occasion made public did George III ever show a royal
generosity. He saved his old master, Goupy, from a debtor's prison, and
appointed his fencing master Redman, who had fallen upon evil days, a
Poor Knight of Windsor; he released a man who had been imprisoned twelve
years in Dorchester Jail for a debt of £100 by paying that amount; and
one day, having taken shelter in a cottage where a joint was suspended
before the fire by a string, he left two guineas behind him to "buy a

"I never considered the King as munificent," Lord Carlisle remarked;
"when he gave the kettledrums costing £1,500 to the Blues, he was
deranged. Before his illness he stopped all the hunt to give an old man
something for opening a gate at Bray Wick: after a long search for his
purse he produced from it a penny and bestowed it on the man. He gave a
_fête_ in the Castle to all the Eton school boys. It consisted of a
very long concert of sacred music with nothing to eat or drink."[212]

  [212] Lord Carlisle: _Reminiscences_.

[Illustration: _From an old print_


It was not so much that George III was not good-natured, but that he
lacked the imagination that might have assisted him to a more worthy
generosity. He could never divest himself of a care for trifling sums of
money, and while he would authorize, nay encourage, the spending of
millions to further some matter upon which he had set his heart, he
would sit at home and work out the cost of his son's household to a
halfpenny,[213] and take great care that his agricultural hobby should
show a balance on the right side, which last consideration aroused again
and again the ire of Peter Pindar.

  [213] "I take this opportunity of enclosing to you a list of the
  servants that I find absolutely necessary to place about my third and
  fourth sons; now I put two preceptors to attend them. I have very
  carefully brought the expense as low as the nature of the thing would

    Preceptors {Mr. de Budé                                 350
               {Rev. Mr. Hooke                              300

    Page of the Back Stairs {Mannorlay,} each, salary £80}  200
                            {Meller,   } for mourning £20}
    Housekeeper                                              50
    For keeping three housemaids, each £20                   60
    Porter                                                   30
    Watchman                                                 25
    Writing Master                                          100

  "The King to Lord North, August 22, 1772."

  Another example of what Lord Brougham called the King's "very minute
  economy" is given in the present writer's _The First Gentleman of
  Europe_, vol. I, p. 105.

    "The modern bard, quoth Tom, sublimely sings
       Of sharp and prudent economic kings,
     Who rams, and ewes, and lambs, and bullocks feed.
       And pigs of every sort of breed:

    "Of Kings who pride themselves on fruitful sows;
       Who sell skim milk, and keep a guard so stout
       To drive the geese, the thievish rascals, out,
     That ev'ry morning us'd to suck the cows;

         "Of Kings who cabbages and carrots plant
         For such as wholesome vegetables want;
       Who feed, too, poultry for the people's sake,
       Then send it through the villages in carts,
     To cheer (how wondrous kind!) the hungry hearts
         Of such as _only pay_ for what they take."[214]

  [214] _Ode upon Ode; or, A Peep at St. James's._

[Illustration: _From a drawing by Isaac Cruikshank, 1791_


The reason for the unpopularity of the Court may be traced, not to the
King's lack of appreciation of what was best in art and letters, not
even to his stupidity, but to the lack of wisdom in the sovereigns who,
in their zeal for reform, carried their love of decorum to excess
(although the Queen's Puritanism was not so deep but that she could for
her own ends aid and abet such a frail, designing baggage as Lady
Jersey[215]), and to a parsimony unpardonable when exercised in
conjunction with a large Civil List.[216] Their miserly tendencies
were noted and commented upon with disgust at the Queen's first party,
given on November 26, 1762, a "gingerbread affair," which, including the
ladies-and-gentlemen-in-waiting, did not consist of more than a baker's
dozen of couples. On this occasion, though dancing began before seven
o'clock and went on uninterrupted till long after midnight, there was no
supper, an omission that furnished Lord Chesterfield with the
opportunity for a _bon-mot_ in a subsequent conversation as to possible
additions to the peerage on the King's next birthday. "I suppose," said
some one, "there will be no dukes made." "Oh, yes," said Lord
Chesterfield, "there is to be _one_. Lord Talbot is to be created Duke
Humphrey, and there is to be no table kept at Court but his!" Those who
attended the royal functions fully appreciated this reference to "dining
with Duke Humphrey"; and Peter Pindar voiced the public feeling in his
"Odes to Kien Long":

    "The pocket is a very serious matter,
    _Small beer_ allayeth thirst--nay, _simple water_.
     The splendour of a chase, or feast, or ball,
     Though strong, are passing momentary rays--
     The lustre of a little hour; that's all--
     While _guineas_ with _eternal_ splendour blaze."

  [215] The "beautiful Miss Twysden" who married in 1770 George Bussy,
  fourth Earl of Jersey, and was subsequently a mistress of the Prince of

  [216] It was said that the Queen's economy was due partly to the fact
  that she came from a Court where money was scarce and expenditure
  consequently strictly regulated, and partly because she felt it her
  duty, as it was her pleasure, to give financial assistance to the
  members of her family. The King helped her in this matter; the Duke of
  Mecklenburg-Strelitz was given a pension on the Irish establishment, her
  brother Charles was appointed Governor of Zell, and Prince George was
  given a lucrative command in the Hanoverian army.

  The Queen's pin-money was settled by Parliament at £40,000 a year, and,
  in the event of her surviving her husband, she was to receive £100,000 a
  year and the use of Richmond Old Park and Somerset House.

The lack of hospitality shown to those who attended at Court was
combined with an equal penury in connexion with those who were summoned
to amuse the royal circle, and of some disgraceful examples of this
unroyal miserliness Peter Pindar again is the historian.

    "For, not long since, I heard a forward dame
     Thus, in a tone of impudence, exclaim,
     Good God! how kings and queens a song adore!
     With what delight they order an _encore_!
     When that same song, _encor'd_, for _nothing_ flows!
     This Madam Mara to her sorrow knows!
     To Windsor oft, and eke to Kew,
     The r-y-l mandate Mara drew.
     No cheering drop the dame was asked to sip--
     No bread was offer'd to her quivering lip:
     Though faint, she was not suffer'd to sit down--
     Such was the _goodness_--grandeur of the crown.
     Now tell me, will it ever be believ'd,
     How much for song and chaise-hire she receiv'd?
     How much pray, think ye? Fifty guineas. 'No.'
     Most surely forty. 'No, no.' Thirty. 'Poh!
     Pray, guess in reason, come again!'--
     Alas! you jeer us!--twenty at the least;
     No man could ever be so great a b--st
     As not to give her twenty for her pain.--
     'To keep you, then, no longer in suspense,
     For Mara's chaise-hire and unrivall'd note,
     Out of their _wonderful_ benevolence,
     Their bounteous M----ies gave--not a groat.'"[217]

  [217] _Ode upon Ode; or, A Peep at St. James's._

The pecuniary treatment accorded to Madame Mara was meted out also to
Mrs. Siddons, who, appointed preceptress in English reading to the
Princesses, but without salary,[218] was summoned frequently to read or
recite at Court, and came out of the palace "as rich as she went in."

  [218] Mrs. Delany: _Autobiography and Correspondence_.

    "Such are the stories twain! Why, grant the fact,
     Are _princes_, pray, like _common folks_ to act?
     Should Mara call it cruelty, and blame
       Such r-y-l conduct, I'd cry, Fie upon her!
     To Mrs. Siddons freely say the same,
       Sufficient for _such people_ is the _honour_."[219]

  [219] _Ode upon Ode; or, A Peep at St. James's._



Shortly after his marriage the King sought a residence where he and his
consort should live more free from the ceremony and restraint of court
life than was possible at St. James's. Kensington Palace he thought too
near the metropolis, and he disliked the "stately, unvaried flatness" of
Hampton Court. He did, indeed, invite "Capability" Brown to reorganise
the artificial grounds of the latter palace, but that despotic gardener
declined, "out of respect for himself and his profession," to do
anything more than advise that the trees should be allowed to grow in
their natural way.[220] George determined to purchase a mansion and with
the Queen inspected Wanstead House, which delighted him. "It is well,
Charlotte, you did not stop here on your way to the palace," he said,
"for that would have been thought a mean residence after seeing this
elegant mansion." However, the many charms of the Essex house were found
to be more than counterbalanced by the distance from town and the
necessity to pass through the City to reach it; and eventually the King
purchased Buckingham House from Sir John Sheffield for £21,000, and
subsequently contrived to persuade Parliament to settle this on the
Queen in exchange for Somerset House.[221]

  [220] Launcelot Brown (1715-1783), the reviver of the natural style of
  landscape-gardening, earned his nickname by the frequent use of the
  words, "This spot has great capabilities." He was very independent, and
  would never accept a commission unless it was likely to reflect credit
  on him. "My lord, there is nothing to be done here," he said to a sad
  possessor of dreary grounds, "unless you plant one-half of your estate
  and lay the other half under water." Brown was high in the confidence of
  the King, who sometimes employed him on confidential political errands;
  yet an amusing story is told that as soon as George heard of his death
  he went over to Richmond Gardens and, in a tone of great relief, said to
  the under-gardener, "Brown is dead. _Now_, Millicant, you and I can do
  what we please."

  [221] "His Majesty, desirous that better and more suitable accommodation
  should be made for the residence of the Queen, in case she should
  survive him, and being willing that the palace in which his Majesty now
  resides, called the Queen's House, may be settled for that purpose,
  recommends (to both Houses of Parliament) to take the same into
  consideration, and to make provision for settling the said palace upon
  her Majesty, and for appropriating Somerset House to such uses as shall
  be found most beneficial to the public."--_The King's Message to
  Parliament, April 12, 1775._

[Illustration: _From an engraving by W. Knight after a drawing by E.


Preparations were made at once to equip the building for its royal
occupiers, and Walpole in 1762 noted that, "The King and Queen are
stripping the other palaces to furnish it. In short, they have already
fetched pictures from Hampton Court, which indicates their never living
there; consequently Strawberry Hill will remain in possession of its own
tranquillity, and not become a cheese-cake house to the palace. All I
ask of princes is not to live within five miles of me." In June, 1762,
the sovereigns took up their residence at the "Queen's House," as it was
called henceforth, and on the 6th inst. gave a house warming, "for which
a most elegant entertainment was planned--a concert, a ball, the gardens
to be illuminated, suppers, bands of music, the whole of a magnificent
description, under the direction, principally, of Mr. Kuffe, a German,
and general invitations to the nobility were to be issued."[222] There,
when in London, the King and Queen lived in the strictest privacy, and
never went to St. James's but to hold _levées_ and drawing-rooms.

  [222] Papendiek: _Journals_.

The King's love of rural scenery made him spend as much time as possible
in the country, and he migrated to Richmond Lodge regularly in the
middle of May, returning for the week in which his birthday fell. There
he made many improvements, and when the Lodge was found too small to
accommodate the increasing family, he discussed plans for a new palace,
to be erected close by, with Sir William Chambers.

    "Sir William, cover'd with Chinese renown,
     Whose Houses are no sooner _up_ than _down_,
     Don't heed the discontented Nation's cry:
         _Thine_ are _religious_ Houses, very _humble_
         Upon their _faces_ inclin'd to tumble;
     So _meek_ they cannot keep their head on _high_."[223]

  [223] _Ode written after the great Crashes and Falls at Somerset House._

A model of the proposed design was made and operations begun, only to be
suspended, while the ground floor was yet in course of erection, by the
refusal of the authorities of the town to sell a small piece of ground
essential to the scheme. Thereupon the King determined to remove to Kew,
where he had spent large sums on the improvement of the gardens under
the direction of Sir William Chambers, who had erected all sorts of
buildings, Roman, Greek, Moresque, and Chinese.

    "Be these the rural pastimes that attend
     Great Brunswick's leisure: these shall best unbend
     His royal mind, whene'er from state withdrawn,
     He treads the velvet of his Richmond lawn;
     These shall prolong his Asiatic dream,
     Tho' Europe's balance trembles on its beam."[224]

  [224] _An Heroic Epistle to Sir William Chambers._

Subsequently when alterations on an extensive scale were made at Windsor
Castle,[225] the people of Richmond, realizing they were in danger of
losing their royal residents altogether, offered the land they had
before refused; but it was too late, and the enclosure round the
abandoned palace was given over to farming.

  [225] "George III restored the battlements and the windows of a
  considerable part to their appropriate forms, built a new porch, and
  constructed a Gothic staircase of great beauty and magnificence. He
  dismantled the old painted St. George's Hall, and intended to substitute
  for it a Gothic hall worthy of the proudest periods of the Plantagenets
  and Tudor. But the progress of improvement flagged, and his lamented
  illness stopped it. Before this his Majesty had been very attentive to
  the beautiful restorations in St. George's Chapel; his last work at
  Windsor was the formation of the Royal Mausoleum, which ultimately
  received his mortal remains."--Huish: _Public and Private Life of George

       *       *       *       *       *

"Soon after [the marriage] Buckingham House was purchased, and bestowed
on her Majesty, St. James's not seeming a prison strict enough," Horace
Walpole has written; and in this sentence may be read the key to the
first years of Queen Charlotte in England, for during that period she
was, indeed, little better than a prisoner, with a gaoler in the form of
her duenna (who was also supposed to be a spy of the Princess Dowager)
Katherine Dashwood,[226] the "Delia" of James Hammond, who had not been
to Court for twenty-five years, when she was a Woman of the Bedchamber
to George II's consort. "Except the Ladies of the Bedchamber[227] for
half-an-hour a week in a funereal circle, or a ceremonious drawing-room,
she [the Queen] never had a soul to speak to but the King," Mrs.
Harcourt has recorded in her Diary. "This continued till her first
child, the Prince of Wales, was born; then the nurse and governess, Lady
Charlotte Finch, coming into the room was a little treat; but they had
still for years no other society, till by degrees the Ladies of the
Bedchamber came far more frequently, and latterly the society, for
various reasons--the children growing up, the journeys, etc.--was much
increased. Expecting to be Queen of a gay Court, finding herself
confined in a convent, and hardly allowed to think without the leave of
her husband, checked her spirits, made her fearful and cautious to an
extreme, and when the time came that amusements were allowed, her mind
was formed to a different manner of life." Seclusion in a dreary Court
at the age of seventeen was not the way to bring out that which is best
in a woman's character, and doubtless this had its effect in producing a
certain bitterness and hardness that subsequently showed themselves,
although some fifty years later the Queen expressed her belief that the
course followed had been advisable. "I am most truly sensible of the
dear King's great strictness, at my arrival in England, to prevent my
making many acquaintances; for he was always used to say that, in this
country, it was difficult to know how to draw a line on account of the
politics of the country and that there never could be kept up a society
without party, which was always dangerous for any woman to take part in,
but particularly so for the royal family; and with truth do I assure you
that I am not only sensible that he was right, but I feel thankful for
it from the bottom of my heart."

  [226] "It is comical to see Kitty Dashwood, the famous old beauty of the
  Oxfordshire Jacobites, living in the Palace as duenna to the Queen. She
  and Miss Broughton, Lord Lyttelton's ancient Delia, are revived again in
  a young court that never heard of them."--Walpole.

  [227] The principal members of the Queen's Household were: Chamberlain,
  Duke of Manchester; Vice-Chamberlain, Lord Cantalupe; Mistress of the
  Robes, Duchess of Ancaster; Ladies of the Bedchamber, Duchess of
  Hamilton, Countess of Effingham, Countess of Northumberland, Countess of
  Egremont, Viscountess Weymouth, Viscountess Bolingbroke; Treasurer,
  Andrew Stone; and Master of the Horse, Earl Harcourt.

Charlotte had hoped to bring with her some of her countrywomen, but she
was allowed only to carry with her two dressers, Mrs. Haggerdorn and
Mademoiselle Schwellenberg, the latter a shrewd ambitious woman who, not
content to play the subordinate part imposed upon her by her office, set
herself up as a mentor to the Queen, and no one was to be admitted to
her Majesty's presence without having first been introduced to
"Mademoiselle."[228] It would doubtless have been a surprise to
"Mademoiselle" to learn that she was to achieve immortality, and her
astonishment would scarcely have been pleasurable could she have read
the passages in Miss Burney's Diary that have procured her that
distinction. It would, however, probably have surprised her still more
to know that, within a century, for one reader of the annals of the
reign of George III there would be scores who eagerly turned over the
pages of the journal of the little lady she treated so cavalierly. "I
found [silence] equally necessary to keep off the foul fiends of
Jealousy and Rivalry of my colleague," wrote Miss Burney,[229] "who,
apparently, never wishes to hear my voice but when we are _tête-à-tête_
and then never in good humour when it is at rest."

  [228] _Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay._

  [229] _Ibid._

In vain an adulatory biographer of Queen Charlotte[230] has drawn a
pleasant portrait of Mademoiselle Schwellenberg, in vain he states she
was "a well-educated and highly accomplished woman, extremely courteous
in her manner, much respected by all the domestics of the royal
household, and devotedly attached to the illustrious family with whom
she lived, who, in their turn, entertained for her the sincerest
affection. Mademoiselle Schwellenberg had been, however, most cruelly
and wantonly held up to public ridicule by a profligate wit, whose
delight lay in ribaldry, as a woman of sordid disposition, than which
nothing could be more opposite to her real character, for she was ever
ready to oblige all who applied to her for assistance; and though, like
her royal mistress, she chose to do good by stealth, her charities were
very extensive." She lives for all time as Miss Burney's harsh,
unsympathetic taskmaster, a stern unbending woman whose overpowering
ways eventually caused the King to desire her dismissal, a fate from
which she was saved only by the request of the Queen, who was very
attached to her,[231] and upon her subscribing to his Majesty's
conditions, that she should not resent his commands, nor influence the
Queen's mind upon any subject, that she should share the labours with
her companion, and infringe upon no regulation unconnected with her
immediate appointment.

  [230] John Watkins.


      "This Nymph a Mantua-maker was, I ween,
       And prized for cheapness by our saving Queen,
       Who (where's the mighty harm of loving money?)
       Brought her to this fair land of Milk and Honey;
       And placed her in a most important sphere,
       Inspectress General of the Royal Gear."

       _The Lousiad._

These instructions the dresser accepted, and, as was only to be expected
in a woman of her character, soon ignored, thereby earning the dislike
of Mrs. Papendiek, of Frederick Albert, of Fanny Burney, and, of course,
of "Peter Pindar," who salvoed a farewell verse when she left the
country on a visit to Germany in 1789.

    "With great _respect_ I here assure you, Ma'am,
     Your name our common people loudly damn;
       _Genteeler_ folk attack with _silent_ curses."

Still, the Schwellenberg's devotion to her mistress was undeniable, and
her reverence for Majesty so intense that she could not even faintly
understand why, when she announced, "Miss Bernar, the Queen will give
you a gown," that lady was not overcome with gratitude for the high
honour. Perhaps Miss Burney depicted her with a pen dipped too deeply in
gall, and certainly she let her anger get the better of her humour,
though no excuse for this need be sought, since association with the
illiterate old scold day and night for years might well have embittered
a more chastened person than the authoress of "Cecilia"; but why she
should have borne with the woman's tyranny and capriciousness, and not
in return, at least, have chaffed her, as did Colonel Manners and
Colonel Grenville, is past understanding.

Why the King and Queen invited Miss Burney to accept the part of dresser
on the resignation of Mrs. Haggerdorn in 1786 is a problem only to be
solved by the acceptance of Macaulay's belief that it was thought to be
an act of kindness. "But their kindness was the kindness of persons
raised high above the mass of mankind, accustomed to be addressed with
profound deference, accustomed to see all who approached them mortified
by their coldness and elated by their smiles. They fancied that to be
noticed by them, to serve them, was in itself a kind of happiness; and
that Frances Burney ought to be full of gratitude for being permitted to
purchase, by the surrender of health, wealth, freedom, domestic
affections and literary fame, the privilege of standing behind a royal
chair and holding a pair of royal gloves."[232]

  [232] _Essay on Madame D'Arblay._

It would be as easy as it would be unprofitable to moralize upon the
vanity of princes: it is more interesting to inquire why Miss Burney
accepted a menial position at Court. She has told us of her
consternation when Mr. Smelt brought the unwelcome offer and informed
her, "Her Majesty proposed giving me apartments in the palace; making
me belong to the table of Mrs. Schwellenberg with whom all her own
visitors--bishops, lords, or commons--always dine; keeping me a footman,
and settling on me £200 a year." Miss Burney's first impulse was to
refuse, but Mr. Smelt's astonishment that she should hesitate, the
surprise of Mrs. Delany at her reluctance, and the persuasion of her
father undermined her decision, and, swayed perhaps by the fascination
that great personages had for her, she accepted the offer, and on July
11 attended the Court in an official capacity. Much pity has been
expended upon the famous novelist, and Macaulay has made an attack on
Dr. Burney for his share in inducing her to accept; which attack is,
perhaps, more brilliant than fair, for Miss Burney was more than thirty
years of age, had innumerable unprejudiced friends eager to advise, and
was not constrained to accept by poverty, from the grinding pressure of
which her pen at this time could save her. Her awe of royalty doubtless
had something to do with her going to Court, and it says much for the
respect in which the Court was held that she who was well acquainted
with many of the most notable persons in England, should lose her
self-possession when the King addressed her. "I believe there is no
constraint to be put upon real genius; nothing but inclination can set
it to work," George said once in her presence, "Miss Burney, however,
knows best." Then, hastily returning to her, he cried, "What? what?"
"'No, Sir, I--I--believe not certainly,' quoth I, very awkwardly, for I
knew not how to put him off as I would another person."[233]

  [233] _Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay._

Miss Burney does not seem to have been unhappy at first, although, of
course, the uncongenial surroundings and employment soon wearied her.
Indeed, she found much amusement in the etiquette of the Court, which
alone disqualified her for the post, for the woman who was tickled by
the quaintness of her walk backwards in the presence of royalty instead
of treating it as a serious matter should have had no place in a royal
retinue. Her humour was sufficiently robust in the early days of her
employment to draw up for her mother's edification a quaint list of
"directions for coughing, sneezing, or moving before the King or Queen."

"In the first place you must not cough. If you find a tickling in your
throat, you must arrest it from making any sound; if you find yourself
choking with the forbearance, you must choke--but not cough. In the
second place, you must not sneeze. If you have a vehement cold, you must
take no notice of it; if your nose-membranes feel a great irritation,
you must hold your breath; if a sneeze still insists upon making its way
you must oppose it by keeping your teeth grinding together; if the
violence of the repulse breaks some blood-vessel, you must break the
blood-vessel, but not sneeze. In the third place, you must not, upon any
account, stir either hand or foot. If, by chance, a black pin runs into
your head, you must not take it out. If the pain is very great, you must
be sure to bear it without wincing; if it brings the tears into your
eyes, you must not wipe them off; if they give you a tingling by running
down your cheeks, you must look as if nothing was the matter. If your
blood should gush from your head by means of the black pin, you must let
it gush; if you are uneasy to think of making such a blurred appearance,
you must be uneasy, but you must say nothing about it. If, however, the
agony is very great, you may, privately, bite the inside of your cheek,
or of your lips, for a little relief; taking care, meanwhile, to do it
as cautiously as to make no apparent dent outwardly. And with that
precaution, if you even gnaw a piece out, it will not be minded, only be
sure either to swallow it, or commit it to a corner of the inside of
your mouth till they are gone--for you must not spit."[234]

  [234] _Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay, December 17, 1786._

The irritating complacency of royalty for not blaming her when, for
instance, she had been out of doors when wanted within, after a time
seemed to Miss Burney but natural; and it is doubtful if she could
summon up a smile even for the delightful equerry, Colonel Manners, who
once announced, "I think it right to be civil to the King." The iron
slowly entered into her soul, and she became as imbued with flunkeyism
as the meanest scullion in the royal kitchen. Let those who doubt read
her remarks on the trial of Warren Hastings.

The private life of the sovereigns was almost inconceivably dull, and
the tedium of the monotonous existence not unnaturally affected them
adversely: Charlotte was far from happy, and a marked change came over
George. "His [the King's] formerly excellent spirits had evidently
forsaken him. Instead of that easy, good-natured, ingratiating
familiarity, which had hitherto distinguished him in his intercourse
with others, his manner had become distant and cold, and his countenance
expressive of melancholy. It was evident to all who approached him that
his mind was ill at ease."[235] George endeavoured to find amusement in
poking about Windsor, asking questions of all he met in his rambles.
"Well, lad, what do you want?" he asked a stable-boy. "What do they pay
you?" "I help on the stables," the youngster grumbled, "but I have
nothing but victuals and clothes." "Be content," said the monarch,
philosophically, "I have no more." Sometimes his inquisitiveness enabled
him to redress a grievance, and then he was happy for, according to his
lights, he was a just man. Soon after his accession several of the lower
servants were dismissed without his knowledge, and one day, entering a
cottage near the Castle he saw an old woman engaged in housework, who,
assuming that the visitor was one of the royal housemaids, whom she
expected, complained, "I have seen better days in the old King's time,
but the young King has turned everything topsy-turvy," adding, "I
suppose you'll be turned out, too." It is pleasant to learn she was

  [235] Jesse: _Memoirs of George III_.

George, indeed, took an active interest in the domestic economy of the
palaces, and little that was trivial failed to attract his attention.
The system of vails-giving had become a serious tax on the pocket of
visitors. It has been told how Sir Timothy Waldo dined with the Duke of
Newcastle, and on his departure found the servants lined up awaiting
tribute. He paid right and left, and when he came to the cook, put a
crown in his hand. "Sir, I don't take _silver_," said the man,
returning the coin. "Don't you, indeed?" said the baronet courteously,
as he replaced it in his pocket. "Well, I don't give _gold_!" Indeed,
the abuse had come to such a pass that many a man could not afford to
dine with a friend. Jonas Hanway has amusingly narrated one of his
after-dinner experiences, "Sir, your great-coat," said one, upon which
he paid a shilling. "Your hat," said another--a shilling--"Your
stick"--a shilling--"Sir, your gloves." "Why, friend, you may keep the
gloves," said Hanway, "they are not worth a shilling." After this Hanway
wrote his "Eight Letters to the Duke of Newcastle on the custom of
Vails-giving in England," which pamphlet was shown by the Duke to the
King, who at once summoned the servants of his household, and addressed
them: "You come into my service at a stipulated salary; that salary is
regularly paid to you; your services are paid by me, nor will I
henceforth be subject to the meanness of having my servants paid by the
contribution of others. I will not have a single vail taken in my
household, and the first who is guilty of the offence shall that instant
receive his dismissal. This order applies to you all; therefore as far
as my example can extend, the practice of vails-giving shall be
abolished."[236] The immediate sequel to this address was an assembly
of the royal servants at Drury Lane Theatre on the occasion of the
King's visit on March 7, 1761, when the monarch was received with shouts
of execration.

  [236] Huish: _Public and Private Life of George the Third_.

A quaint light on the internal economy of the palace is thrown by a
letter from the Queen to Lord Harcourt in 1803, that shows that the
parody, "The King commands the first Lord-in-waiting to desire the
second Lord to intimate to the gentleman Usher to request the page of
the Antechamber to entreat the Groom of the Stairs to implore John to
ask the Captain of the Buttons to desire the maid of the Still Room to
beg the Housekeeper to give out a few more lumps of sugar, as His
Majesty has none for his coffee, which is probably getting cold during
the negotiations," had a sound basis of fact. "My Lord, I want you to
exert your authority in dismissing my footman, Oby, the service as soon
as possible, as his unquenchable thirst is now becoming so overpowering,
that neither our absence nor our presence can subdue it any more," the
Queen wrote. "Some messages of consequence being sent by him to the
apothecary's, was found in his pockets when laying dead drunk in the
street a few days ago, luckily enough by the Duke of Cumberland, who
knowing they were for the family, sent them to Brand; I do not want him
to starve, but I will not have him do any more duty. This I hope will be
an example to the others; but as I write a Tipling-letter, I think it
not amiss to mention that Stephenson has appeared twice a little
_Bouzy_, the consequence of which was a fall from his horse yesterday,
by which he was very much bruised; and the surgeon who came to bleed him
at the Duke of Cambridge's House, who very humanely took him in,
declared him to have been at least over dry, if not drunk. A reprimand
to him will be necessary; for should it happen again he must go."

[Illustration: _From a caricature published in 1786_


Nothing could exceed the simplicity of the private life of George and
Charlotte, the regularity of which was broken only by the frequent
confinements of the Queen and the King's illnesses. During the first
years of her married life Charlotte every morning read English with Dr.
Majendie, a task at which George sometimes assisted. She scarcely knew a
word of the language of her adopted country on her arrival, which gave
Lady Townshend the opportunity to remark, on hearing that Lady
Northumberland had been made a Lady of the Bedchamber, that "it was a
very proper appointment, for, as the Queen knew no English, that lady
would teach her the vulgar tongue." The first use to which her
Majesty put her newly-acquired knowledge was to address poetical
effusions to her husband. "I send you verses, _said_ to be the Queen's
upon the King, it seems impossible that she should write them so soon,
but I fancy she wrote in French," Lady Sarah Bunbury wrote to Lady Susan
O'Brien in 1764. "Whitehead or somebody translated them; whoever did,
they are bad enough."[237] In spite of their lack of merit, one set of
verses may perhaps be given as a curiosity:--

    "Genteel is my Damon, engaging his air,
     His face like the morn is both ruddy and fair,
     Soft love sits enthroned in the beam of his eyes,
     He's manly, yet tender, he's fond, and yet wise.

    "He's ever good-humour'd, he's generous and gay,
     His presence can always drive sorrow away,
     No vanity sways him, no folly is seen,
     But open his temper, and noble his mien.

    "By virtue illumin'd his actions appear,
     His passions are calm and his reason is clear,
     An affable sweetness attends on his speech,
     He's willing to learn, though he's able to teach.

    "He has promised to love me--his words I'll believe,
     For his heart is too honest to let him deceive;
     Then blame me, ye fair ones, if justly you can,
     Since the picture I've drawn is exactly the man."

  [237] _Life and Letters of Lady Sarah Lennox._

After her English lesson, the Queen devoted an hour or two to
needlework, and then walked or rode with the King till dinner. In the
evening, if there was no company she would sing to her own accompaniment
on the spinet, and play cards with her ladies, while the King amused
himself at backgammon, a game to which he was devoted. Nothing could be
more genteel and more dull. "The recluse life led here at
Richmond--which is carried to such an excess of privacy and economy,
that the Queen's _friseur_ waits on them at dinner, and four pounds only
of beef are allowed for their soup--disgusts all sorts of persons,"
Walpole wrote to Lord Hertford; but while this is probably an
exaggeration, the statement is valuable as showing the spirit in which
the Court was regarded. Occasionally, of course, there was a little mild
gaiety, which usually took the form of an informal dance, for her
Majesty was as fond of dancing as of cards, housekeeping and the
theatre. "I prefer plays to all other amusements," declared the Queen,
who "really looked almost concerned" to learn that Miss Burney had never
seen Mrs. Pope, Miss Betterton, or Mr. Murray.[238] When she was at the
Queen's House, she went to a theatre once a week, but was careful always
to select the piece to be performed, which, as the choice was made
presumably after hearing the plot, must have robbed her of much of
her enjoyment. This precaution was taken after a visit to see "The
Mysterious Husband," when George was so overcome that he turned to his
consort, "Charlotte, don't look, it's too much to bear," and commanded
it should not be repeated. He, too, was fond of the theatre, liking
comedy better than tragedy, and while the Queen's favourites were John
Quick and Mrs. Siddons, he preferred Quin and Elliston to all other
actors. Both delighted in music, frequently attended the Opera, and gave
concerts at St. James's, when the King's band played, when Stanley was
organist, Crosdill 'cellist, and Miss Linley sang, until after her
marriage, when her place was taken by Madame Bach (_neé_ Galli), and
Miss Cantilo. As a rule, however, to the great disgust of the majority
of the _suite_, only the works of Handel were performed.

  [238] _Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay._

[Illustration: _From an engraving by W. Woollett_


"The Kew life, you will perceive, is different from the Windsor. As
there are no early prayers, the Queen rises later; and as there is no
form or ceremony here of any sort, her dress is plain, and the hour for
the second toilette extremely uncertain," Miss Burney wrote. "The royal
family are here always in so very retired a way, that they live as the
simplest country gentlefolks. The King has not even an equerry with him,
nor the Queen any lady to attend her when she goes her airings."[239]
At Windsor a certain degree of ceremony was observed, and many old
customs preserved. "I find it has always belonged to Mrs. Schwellenberg
and Mrs. Haggerdorn to receive at tea whatever company the King and
Queen invite to the Lodge," Miss Burney noted, "as it is only a very
select few that can eat with their Majesties, and those few are only
ladies; no man, of what rank soever, being permitted to sit in the
Queen's presence."[240] The King, who was an early riser, worked at
affairs of state from six until eight o'clock, when a procession for
chapel was formed, headed by the King and Queen, the Princesses
following in pairs, and after them the ladies and gentlemen in waiting,
who usually attended in full strength, for though it was not obligatory
on the members of the suite, their absence was resented by the Queen.
"The King rose every morning at six, and had two hours to himself. He
thought it effeminate to have a carpet in his bedroom. Shortly before
eight, the Queen and the royal family were always ready for him, and
they proceeded to the King's chapel in the castle. There were no fires
in the passages; the chapel was scarcely alight; Princesses,
governesses, equerries grumbled and caught cold; but cold or hot, it was
their duty to go; and, wet or dry, light or dark, the stout old George
was always in his place to say amen to the chaplain."[241]

  [239] _Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay, June 28, 1786._

  [240] When in 1788 the Royal Family went to Cheltenham for the benefit
  of the King's health, this rule was temporarily abrogated, partly owing
  to the small space at the disposal of the Court. "The Queen will dine
  with her equerries, though at first coming into this country German
  etiquette prevented her from sitting at her table with much greater
  personages than either Dr. Digby or Mr. Gwynn."--Anthony Storer to the
  Earl of Auckland.

  [241] Thackeray: _The Four Georges_.

After breakfast, the King would either return to his study, or go riding
or hunting, two forms of exercise to which he was very partial. Until
his illness prevented him, he never missed going with the whole of his
family to the races at Ascot Heath, at which place he gave a plate of a
hundred guineas, to be run for on the first day by such horses as had
hunted regularly with his own hounds the preceding winter.

While the King had the business of state and hunting with which to
occupy himself, his consort was less fortunate, for her husband never
mentioned public affairs in her presence, and let her understand from
the first that this would always be so. Five years after the Royal
marriage, Chesterfield remarked, "The King loves her as a woman, but I
verily believe has not yet spoken one word to her about business"; and
long after Lord Carlisle stated, "The King never placed any confidence
whatever in the Queen as to public affairs, nor had she any power either
to injure or serve any one. In this respect he treated her with great
severity." However, as time passed and children came to her, she found
some occupation--as well as much anxiety. "The Queen would have two
physicians always on the spot to watch the constitutions of the royal
children to eradicate, if possible, or at least to keep under, the
dreadful disease, scrofula, inherited from the King," Mrs. Papendiek,
assistant-keeper of the Wardrobe and Reader to her Majesty, has told us.
"She herself saw them bathed at six every morning, attended the
schoolroom of her daughters, was present at their dinner, and directed
their attire, whenever these plans did not interfere with public duties,
or any plans or wishes of the King, whom she neither contradicted nor
kept waiting a moment under any circumstances."[242] As the children
grew up, the elder were sometimes allowed to breakfast with their
parents, who once a week went with the entire family to Richmond
Gardens; but the intercourse was strictly regulated, and the little boys
and girls were never allowed to forget that their mother and father were
the King and Queen of England. Charlotte tried to find pleasure in her
trinkets, and she told Miss Burney how much she liked the jewels at
first. "But how soon that was over!" she sighed. "Believe me, Miss
Burney, it is the pleasure of a week--a fortnight at most, and to return
no more. I thought at first I should always choose to wear them; but the
fatigue and trouble of putting them on, and the care they required, and
the fear of losing them, believe me, ma'am, in a fortnight's time I
longed again for my earlier dress."[243] The poor woman had not even the
satisfaction of being popular with her subjects, for the public, which
did not love minor German royalties, had not at the first shown any
great enthusiasm for the Queen, and such favour as she had found in
their eyes very soon declined.

  [242] _Journals._

  [243] _Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay._

Indeed, it was not long before there was a very marked feeling against
her, and this became obvious to all the world when, within a month of
her first _accouchement_, she attended a public installation of the
Garter.[244] This early reappearance was thought indelicate, and an
ill-advised plea put forward by her friends--that her German training
must be taken into consideration--only added fuel to the fire, for
foreign customs even to-day find little toleration at the hands of this
nation whose creed is liberty.

  [244] Even before this, the Queen had made a semi-public appearance,
  for, on the day of baptism, her bed "magnificently upholstered in
  crimson velvet," was removed to the great drawing-room. "Though she is
  not yet to see company in form," Walpole records, "yet it looks as if
  people should have been there, as all who presented themselves were
  admitted, which were very few, for it had not been notified--I suppose
  to prevent too great a crowd. All I have heard of, besides those in
  waiting, were the Duchess of Queensberry, Lady Dalkeith, Mrs. Grenville,
  and about four more ladies."

"You seem not to know the character of the Queen: here it is--she is a
good woman, a good wife, a tender mother, and an unmeddling queen," Lord
Chesterfield wrote to his son in 1765; and a loyal rhymester set forth
the same view in a "Birthday Ode," in which he played at satire.

                    "The Queen, they say,
    Attends her nurs'ry every day;
    And, like a common mother, shares
    In all her infant's little cares.
    What vulgar unamusing scene,
    For George's wife and Britain's queen!
    'Tis whispered also at the palace,
    (I hope 'tis but the voice of malice)
    That (tell it not in foreign lands)
    She works with her own royal hands;
    And that our sovereign's sometimes seen,
    In vest embroidered by his queen.
    This might a courtly fashion be
    In days of old Andromache;
    But modern ladies, trust my words,
    Seldom sew tunics for their lords.
    What secret next must I unfold?
    She hates, I'm confidently told,
    She hates the manners of the times
    And all our fashionable crimes,
    And fondly wishes to restore
    The golden age and days of yore;
    When silly simple women thought
    A breach of chastity a fault,
    Esteem'd those modest things, divorces,
    The very worst of human curses;
    And deem'd assemblies, cards and dice,
    The springs of every sort of vice.
    Romantic notions! All the fair
    At such absurdities must stare;
    And, spite of all her pains, will still
    Love routs, adultery, and quadrille."

In a Birthday Ode indiscriminate eulogy is expected, and due allowance
made for the enthusiasm of the poet, but from a man with the
perspicacity of Lord Chesterfield a more critical estimate of the
Queen's character might have been anticipated. Leigh Hunt said Charlotte
was a "plain, penurious, soft-spoken, decorous, bigoted, shrewd,
overweening personage,"[245] and the truth of his description cannot be
seriously impugned. That she was not fair to look upon was a misfortune
more severe to herself than to others, but her domineering spirit was a
sore trial to those who came into contact with her, as readers of Fanny
Burney's Diary know. She was very jealous of her influence with the
King, clinging to such power as it gave her with remarkable tenacity,
and suspicious of those who were dear to him. Thus, when in 1772 the
King's sister, the Duchess of Brunswick, visited England at the
suggestion of the Princess Dowager, her mother, the Queen did not offer
the Duchess the hospitality of a royal palace, but took for her "a
miserable little house" in Pall Mall, and contrived that she should not
see the King alone. This strange behaviour became generally known and as
generally disapproved, with the result that when at this time the King
and Queen visited a theatre they were received in chilling silence, but,
to mark its feeling, the house vociferously cheered the Duchess of
Brunswick on her entry.

  [245] _The Town._

Charlotte's faults, however, were probably mostly due to environment.
"Bred up in the rigid formality of a petty German court, her manners
were cold and punctilious: her understanding was dull, her temper
jealous and petulant."[246] She seems to have had affection for the
husband to whom, with all her faults, she made a good wife, although she
but rarely gave any overt sign of her feeling for him. "The Queen had
nobody but myself with her one morning, when the King hastily entered
the room with some letters in his hand, and addressing her in German,
which he spoke very fast, and with much apparent interest in what he
said, he brought the letters up to her and put them into her hand. She
received them with much agitation, but evidently of a much pleased sort,
and endeavoured to kiss his hand as he held them. He would not let her,
but made an effort, with a countenance of the highest satisfaction, to
kiss her. I saw instantly in her eyes a forgetfulness at the moment that
any one was present, while drawing away her hand, she presented him her
cheek. He accepted her kindness with the same frank affection that she
offered it; and the next moment they both spoke English, and talked upon
common and general subjects. What they said I am far enough from
knowing; but the whole was too rapid to give me time to quit the room;
and I could not but see with pleasure that the Queen had received some
favour with which she was sensibly delighted, and that the King, in her
acknowledgments, was happily and amply paid."[247]

  [246] Massey: _History of England_.

  [247] _Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay._

Charlotte, however, had no endearing qualities, or, if she had in her
youth, they soon became atrophied by the spirit that forced her to put
her dignity before all else. A certain Duchess begged the Queen to
receive her niece, about whom an unfounded scandal had been circulated.
Her request was refused, and, on leaving the royal presence, she made a
further appeal, "Oh, Madam! what shall I say to my poor niece?" "Say,"
replied Charlotte, "say you did not dare make such a request to the
Queen." The Duchess at once resigned the post she held at Court, and the
Queen made half a score of bitter enemies. She was a hard woman, and had
no consideration for her _entourage_. Lady Townshend, who was with
child, became greatly fatigued at a royal function at which it was, of
course, _de rigeur_ to stand, and the Princess of Wales, noticing this,
turned to her mother-in-law, and asked, "Will your Majesty command Lady
Townshend to sit down?" "She may stand," said Charlotte, petulantly,
"she may stand." This was, however, only to be expected in a mother who
seldom permitted her offspring to sit in her presence: it is related
that when she was playing whist one of her sons fell asleep standing
behind her chair. The Duchess of Ancaster suffered by this severe
etiquette, but she was a woman of resource, and when in her official
capacity she accompanied her royal mistress on a state visit to Oxford,
becoming very tired, she drew a small body of troops before her, and,
thus sheltered, rested on a convenient bench.

A more favourable picture of Queen Charlotte is drawn by Miss Burney,
who thought very highly of her. "For the excellence of her mind I was
fully prepared; the testimony of the nation at large could not be
unfaithful; but the depth and soundness of her understanding surprised
me: good sense I expected; to that alone she could owe the even tenour
of her conduct, universally approved, though examined and judged by the
watchful eye of multitudes. But I had not imagined that, shut up within
the confined limits of a court, she could have acquired any but the most
superficial knowledge of the world, and the most partial insight into
character. But I find now, I have only done justice to her disposition,
not to her parts, which are truly of that superior order that makes
sagacity intuitively supply the place of experience. In the course of
this month I spent much time alone with her, and never once quitted her
presence without fresh admiration of her talents."[248] That Charlotte
had common sense combined with strong will may be admitted, nor can it
be denied that she could be kind on occasion. She purchased a house in
Bedfordshire as a home for poor gentlewomen, and she became the
patroness of the Magdalen Hospital; she was gracious to the Harcourts,
and was perhaps seen at her best in her intercourse with Mrs. Delany,
to whom, after the death of Margaret, Duchess of Portland, the King
presented a furnished house at Windsor and an annuity of £300 out of the
Privy Purse, the half-yearly payments of which were taken to her by the
Queen in a pocket-book, in order that it might not be docked by the
tax-collector. The sovereigns met Mrs. Delany for the first time at
Bulstrode Park, when George offered a chair to the old lady, who was
much confused by his condescension. "Mrs. Delany, sit, down, sit down,"
said Charlotte, smiling, to set her at her ease, "it is not everybody
that has a chair brought her by a King."

  [248] _Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay, 1786._

[Illustration: _Caricature by Wm. Hogarth_



"No. XLV"

Lord Bute, to support his policy, had founded two newspapers, "The
Auditor," and, under the editorship of Smollett, "The Briton," and these
inspired John Wilkes, member of Parliament for Aylesbury, to set up, as
a weapon for the Opposition, "The North Briton," the onslaughts in which
were so ferocious that "The Auditor" on February 8, 1763, and "The
Briton", four days later, died of sheer fright. Wilkes and Charles
Churchill,[249] the most valuable contributor to "The North Briton," did
indeed fight with the buttons off the foils, and, while other papers
still retained the custom of referring to persons by their initials,
they disdained this foolish method, and gave their enemies the poor
comfort of seeing their names in the full glory of print.

  [249] Charles Churchill (1731-1764), author of "The Rosciad" and other

When Bute resigned, No. xliv of "The North Briton" had appeared, and the
next issue was in preparation. Wilkes, on hearing this important
intelligence, delayed the publication to see if George Grenville,[250]
the new Prime Minister, would offer a new policy, or follow in the
footsteps of his late leader. Pitt and Lord Temple showed Wilkes an
early copy of the King's Speech, and, learning from this that no change
would take place, the latter proceeded with the composition of the since
historic No. xlv. The King's Speech was read on April 19, 1763, and on
April 23 appeared the famous sheet, wherein the terms of the peace, the
Cyder tax, and other acts of the Ministry were attacked, and the Address
was stigmatised as "the most abandoned instance of ministerial
effrontery ever attempted to be imposed upon mankind." In the paper it
was stated very clearly that the King's Speech was always regarded, not
as the personal address of the sovereign, but as the utterance of
ministers. "Every friend of his country," said "The North Briton,"
"must lament that a prince of so many great and amiable qualities, whom
England truly reveres, can be brought to give the sanction of his sacred
name to the most odious measures and to the most unjustifiable
declarations from a throne ever renowned for truth, honour and unsullied

  [250] Grenville, speaking in the House of Commons, on the Cyder Tax,
  explained that the bill was brought in because funds must be found, and
  turned to Pitt who had been speaking against the measure. "I call upon
  the honourable gentleman opposite to me to say _where_ they would wish
  to have a tax laid? I say, Sir, let them tell me _where_! I repeat it,
  Sir! I am entitled to say to them--_tell me where?_" Thereupon Pitt,
  mimicking the monotonous tones of the speaker, murmured audibly in the
  words of the then popular ballad: "Gentle Shepherd, tell me where." The
  House roared with laughter, and the nickname "Gentle Shepherd" clung to
  Grenville for life.

This attack on ministers was not more violent than others that had
appeared in earlier issues of the same paper, but the adherents of Bute,
whom Wilkes had taken an active part in ousting from the Ministry, now
saw an opportunity to avenge their fallen leader. The severe criticism
of his speech made the King furious, and on the principle of "_L'étât,
c'est moi_," he disregarded the distinction that Wilkes had so carefully
drawn between the utterances of the monarch and the utterances of
ministers in the monarch's name, and encouraged, if, indeed, he did not
instigate, a prosecution. The Secretary of State, Lord Halifax, issued a
general warrant, that is, a warrant which specified neither the name nor
names nor described the person nor persons of the offender or offenders,
but only gave instructions "to make a strict and diligent search for the
authors, printers and publishers of a seditious and treasonable paper
entitled 'The North Briton,' No. xlv, Saturday, April 23, 1763, printed
for G. Kearsley, in Ludgate Street, London, and them, or any of them,
having found, to apprehend and seize, together with their papers, etc."

The printer and publisher were at once arrested, and, when brought
before Halifax and Egremont, gave the names of the authors as John
Wilkes and Charles Churchill. The warrant was shown to Wilkes at his
house in Great George Street on the night of April 29, but he declined
then to comply with it, stating his objection to a general warrant as
such, pointing out that his name was not mentioned, that he was a Member
of Parliament, and concluded by threatening the first who should offer
violence to him in his own house at that hour of the night; but when the
officers returned in the morning he offered no further opposition. Just
after he was arrested and before he had been removed from his house,
Churchill walked into the room, where were Wilkes and his captors.
Wilkes knew the messengers wanted also to arrest Churchill, and
observing they did not know the poet by sight, before the latter could
speak, with great presence of mind, said, "Good morning, Mr. Thomson.
How is Mrs. Thomson to-day? _Does she dine in the country?_" Churchhill
took the hint, said Mrs. Thomson was waiting for him, left the room, and
fled from the metropolis.

Wilkes's papers were seized, and he was taken before the Secretaries of
State, and by them, after he had asserted his privileges as a Member of
Parliament and had refused to answer any questions, was committed a
prisoner to the Tower. Such were the preliminaries of the great battle
that made Wilkes a great and popular figure in the struggle for the
liberty of the subject and the liberty of the press in England.

Wilkes's friends moved at once for a writ of _habeas corpus_, and after
some delay, on May 6, the prisoner was produced before Chief-Justice
Pratt[251] in the Court of King's Bench, when counsel applied for his
discharge on the ground that the commitment was not valid. The Judge
gave his decision in favour of Wilkes, declaring that general warrants
were illegal, and that, anyhow, the charge against the accused was not
sufficient to destroy his privileges as a Member of Parliament.

  [251] Sir Charles Pratt, afterwards first Earl Camden, 1714-1794.

Wilkes was no sooner at liberty than he showed he was not a man who
could be maltreated with impunity. He republished the numbers of "The
North Briton" in a volume with notes, reasserting that the King's Speech
could only be regarded as a ministerial pronouncement. He addressed to
Lord Halifax and Lord Egremont an open letter, of which many thousand
copies were distributed throughout the country, complaining that his
home had been robbed, and that he was informed that "the stolen goods
are in possession of one or both of your Lordships." His papers were not
returned, and he brought an action against Robert Wood, the
Under-Secretary of State, against whom he received a verdict giving
£1,000 damages, and another action against Lord Halifax for unlawful
seizure, from whom also, after many years' delay, he recovered heavy
damages. In the meantime Lord Egremont had written to Lord Temple that
the King desired the latter, as Lord-Lieutenant of the county, to inform
Wilkes that he was dismissed from the Colonelcy of the Buckinghamshire
Militia, which task Temple duly discharged, saying, "I cannot, at the
same time, help expressing the concern I feel in the loss of an officer,
by his deportment in command, endeared to the whole corps." As a
punishment for this expression of sympathy, the King removed Lord Temple
from the Lord-Lieutenancy, and with his own hand struck his name out of
the Council books.

    "To honour virtue in the Lord of Stowe,
     The pow'r of courtiers can no further go;
     Forbid him Court, from Council blot his name,
     E'en these distinctions cannot rase his fame.

     Friend to the liberties of England's state,
     'Tis not to Courts he looks to make him great;
     He to his much lov'd country trusts his cause,
     And dares assert the honour of her laws."[252]

  [252] _The New Foundling Hospital for Wit._

The ministers in this struggle had found a powerful ally in Hogarth,
who, though he had been friendly with Wilkes and Churchill, had been
high in Bute's favour, even before the accession of George III, and now
saw an opportunity to repay his patron. The quarrel between the painter
and the agitator had begun with Hogarth's political cartoon, "The
Times," in which Wilkes was ignominiously portrayed; and Wilkes, who let
no man attack him with impunity, had replied in "The North Briton" with
a violent onslaught upon the caricaturist. When Wilkes appeared in the
Court of King's Bench, Hogarth, it is said, from behind a screen made a
sketch for a caricature of the accused, in which the latter's squint was
most malignantly exaggerated. Wilkes took this in good part, and,
indeed, in later days said jocularly that he found himself every day
growing more and more like the unflattering portrait; but Churchill, who
was devoted to his friend, replied in "An Epistle to William Hogarth,"
in which--after the model furnished by Pope in his immortal reprimand to
Addison--while praising Hogarth's genius, he poured vitriolic scorn
upon his vanity and other weaknesses, concluding with a tremendous
indictment of the painter's supposed dotage.

    "Sure, 'tis a curse which angry fates impose,
     To mortify man's arrogance, that those
     Who're fashioned of some better sort of clay,
     Much sooner than the common herd decay.
     What bitter pangs must humbl'd Genius feel
     In their last hours to view a Swift and Steele!
     How must ill-boding horrors fill her breast,
     When she beholds men mark'd above the rest
     For qualities most dear, plunged from that height,
     And sunk, deep sunk, in second-childhood's night!
     Are men, indeed, such things? and are the best
     More subject to this evil than the rest?
     To drivel out whole years of idiot breath,
     And set the monuments of living death?
     Oh, galling circumstance to human pride!
     Abasing thought, but not to be denied!
     With curious art the brain, too finely wrought,
     Preys on herself, and is destroyed by thought.
     Constant attention wears the active mind,
     Blots out her powers, and leaves a blank behind.
     But let not youth, to insolence allied,
     In heat of blood, in full career of pride,
     Possess'd of genius, with unhallow'd rage
     Mock the infirmities of reverend age;
     The greatest genius to this fate may bow;
     Reynolds, in time, may be like Hogarth now."

Hogarth replied to the "Epistle" by a savage caricature of Churchill,
entitled, "The Bruiser, C. Churchill (once the Reverend!) in the
character of a Russian Hercules, regaling himself after having killed
the monster _Caricatura_, that so sorely-galled his _virtuous_ friend,
the Heaven-born Wilkes." The poet is portrayed as a bear, with torn
clerical bands and ruffles, seated upon Massinger's "A New Way to Pay
Old Debts," and "A List of the Subscribers to 'The North Briton,'" etc.,
one arm holding a quart pot, and the other round a massive club, on
which the knots are inscribed "Lye 1," "Lye 3," "Lye 5," "Lye 8,"
"Fallacy," etc.

[Illustration: _A caricature of C. Churchill by Wm. Hogarth_


Ministers, having been defeated on a point of law, were now determined
to ruin Wilkes,[253] and proceeded, so far as lay in their power, to
damn his reputation for all time, although, as will be seen, the method
adopted did not have the desired effect.

  [253] "The destruction of one man has been for many years the sole
  object of your government."--Junius, December 19, 1769.

That Wilkes was a man of high moral character, as some few of his
eulogists have endeavoured to sustain, is a theory incapable of
acceptance, though perhaps his lack of principle in early days has been
more severely castigated than it deserved, considering that morality is,
after all, comparative, and that a dragon of virtue in the days that
were earlier would now be looked upon as a monster of iniquity. The son
of a rich merchant, Wilkes was educated in England and at Leyden, and on
his return to England at the age of two-and-twenty, had been persuaded
by his father to espouse a wealthy woman ten years his senior. Not
unnaturally the marriage was unhappy, and, indeed, Wilkes never even
professed to regard it except as a convenience, but notwithstanding this
circumstance his behaviour to his wife leaves the deepest stain on his
character. He squandered her money in debauchery, and, after they had
separated, endeavoured to deprive her of an annuity of £200 a year, all
she had kept of her estates. He was initiated by Sir Francis Dashwood
into the brotherhood of Medmenham Abbey, where he fraternised with Lord
Sandwich,[254] Thomas Potter,[255] and other men of fashion, and with
them proceeded to outrage all canons of decency.[256] In connexion with
the brotherhood Potter and Wilkes in collaboration composed an obscene
parody of Pope's "Essay on Man" called "An Essay on Woman," which, in
imitation of the original poem, was furnished with notes under the name
of Bishop Warburton; and to the burlesque was attached a blasphemous
paraphrase of _Veni Creator_.

  [254] John Montagu, fourth Earl of Sandwich (1718-1792).

  [255] Thomas Potter (1718-1759), son of John Potter, Archbishop of

  [256] It is said that demon worship and mock celebrations of the rites
  peculiar to monastic orders were the most reputable of the ceremonies.
  Over the principal entrance to the Abbey Sir Francis Dashwood had placed
  the motto from Rabelais' Abbey of Theleme, "_Fay ce que voudras_."

      "Dashwood shall pour from a Communion cup
       Libations to the Goddess without eyes,
       And hob and nob in cyder and excise."

       Churchill: _The Candidate_.

Without setting up any defence of these compositions, it may in
extenuation be said that the circulation was limited to twelve or
thirteen copies, which were distributed among members of the club, that
it was printed at Wilkes's house, and that the latter took the greatest
care to prevent the workmen from carrying away any sheets. Disgraceful
as the amusement was, at least it could be pleaded it had no evil effect
upon the circle of vicious men who inspired it; but it gave the
Government a handle against their uncompromising foe of which they were
not slow to take advantage.

In spite of all precautions, one of the printers had stolen some sheets
of the "Essay on Woman" and this fact, which came to the knowledge of
John Kidgell, then chaplain to the Earl of March, was by him imparted to
a minister, who incited the clergyman to publish a pamphlet giving an
account of Potter and Wilkes's _jeu d'esprit_. This in itself was an
unworthy proceeding, but a greater folly threw this into the shade,
for, when it was decided to bring to the notice of Parliament the stolen
copy of the "Essay," the person chosen to raise the matter in the House
of Lords was Lord Sandwich, than whom, Mr. Justin McCarthy has rightly
said, "no meaner, more malignant, or more repulsive figure darkens the
record of the last century."[257] This was a bad blunder, for Sandwich,
as a member of the Franciscan brotherhood at Medmenham, had received a
copy of the production, had read it with amusement, and had expressed
his approval; and, even apart from this, was notorious for profligacy
even among his immoral associates--rumour has it he was expelled for
blasphemy from the Beefsteak Society, and Horace Walpole has stated that
"very lately, at a club with Mr. Wilkes, held at the top of the
play-house in Drury Lane, Lord Sandwich talked so profanely that he
drove two harlequins out of the company."[258]

    "Hear him but talk, and you would swear
     Obscenity itself were there,
     And that Profaneness had made choice,
     By way of trump, to use his voice;
     That, in all mean and low things great,
     He had been bred at Billingsgate;
     And that, ascending to the earth
     Before the season of his birth,
     Blasphemy, making way and room,
     Had mark'd him in his mother's womb."[259]

  [257] _History of the Four Georges._

  [258] Walpole: _Memoirs of George III_.

  [259] Churchill: _The Duellist_.

At the moment, to make bad worse, it was known that Sandwich had some
personal animus against Wilkes, arising out of a quarrel at an orgy at
which Sandwich when very drunk had invoked the devil, and Wilkes had
thereupon let loose a monkey and nearly scared his fellow reprobate out
of his wits. What the public thought of the part Sandwich took in this
affair was not long afterwards made manifest at a performance at Covent
Garden Theatre of "The Beggar's Opera," when, in the third act, Macheath
exclaims, "That Jemmy Twitcher should peach me I own surprised me. 'Tis
a proof that the world is all alike, and that even our gang can no more
trust each other than other people," there were cries from all parts of
the house of "Jemmy Twitcher! Jemmy Twitcher!" and for the rest of his
life by that sobriquet was Sandwich known, even, as Horace Walpole says,
to the disuse of his own name.

    "Extremes in nature prove the same,
     The profligate is dead to shame,
       No conscious pangs ensue;
     Satire can't wound the virtuous heart,
     Nor _Savile_ fell her venom'd dart,
       No more, my lord, than you.

    "To peach the accomplice of one's crimes,
     A gracious pardon gains sometimes,
       When treachery recommends;
     For you, my lord, is clearly seen,
     For close the sacred tie between
       King's evidence and friends."[260]

  [260] _Lines addressed to the Earl of Sandwich._

Parliament met on November 15, 1763; and Lord Sandwich, before the
Address was taken into consideration, placed on the table the "Essay on
Woman," and denounced it as a "most blasphemous, obscene, and abominable
libel," in a speech which drew from Lord le Despencer the remark that
never before had he heard the devil preach. Bishop Warburton's language
on this occasion was, perhaps, such as no divine has ever before or
since employed in public--"the blackest fiends in Hell would not keep
company with Wilkes," he declared, and then apologised to Satan for
comparing them. This intemperance of attack coupled with the underhand
methods employed by the Ministry, brought forth a remonstrance from
Pitt; while later Churchill avenged Wilkes by some lines of terrible
ferocity on the Bishop:

    "He drank with drunkards, lived with sinners,
     Herded with infidels for dinners;
     With such an emphasis and grace
     Blasphemed, that Potter kept not pace:
     He, in the highest reign of noon,
     Bawled bawdy songs to a Psalm tune;
     Lived with men infamous and vile,
     Truck'd his salvation for a smile;
     To catch their humour caught their plan,
     And laughed at God to laugh with man;
     Praised them, when living, in each breath,
     And damn'd their memories after death."[261]

  [261] _The Duellist._

The House of Lords voted the "Essay" a breach of privilege, a
"scandalous, obscene and impious libel," and presented an address to the
King demanding the prosecution of the author for blasphemy; while at the
same time the House of Commons declared No. xlv of "The North Briton" to
be a "false, scandalous, and seditious libel," and ordered the paper to
be burnt by the common hangman. In the debate in the lower house, Samuel
Martin, an ex-Secretary of the Treasury, who had been denounced in "The
North Briton" as a "low fellow and a dirty tool of power," took the
opportunity to denounce Wilkes as a cowardly, scandalous, and malignant
scoundrel, and immediately afterwards challenged him to a duel, in which
the latter was severely wounded. Wilkes, although the challenged person,
had generously allowed his assailant the choice of weapons, and Martin
selected pistols. Subsequently, however, it became known that, since
the insult appeared in "The North Briton" eight months earlier, he had
regularly practised shooting at a target, whereupon Churchill took the
not unnatural view that Martin was, to all intents and purposes, a
would-be assassin.

    "But should some villain, in support
     And zeal for a despairing Court,
     Placing in craft his confidence,
     And making honour a pretence
     To do a deed of deepest shame,
     Whilst filthy lucre is his aim;
     Should such a wretch, with sword or knife,
     Contrive to practise 'gainst the life
     Of one who, honour'd through the land,
     For Freedom made a glorious stand;
     Whose chief, perhaps his only crime,
     Is (if plain Truth at such a Time
     May dare her sentiments to tell)
     That he his country loves too well;
     May he--but words are all too weak
     The feelings of my heart to speak--
     May he--oh, for a noble curse,
     Which might his very marrow pierce!--
     The general contempt engage,
     And be the Martin of his age!"[262]

  [262] _The Duellist._

Though Wilkes was confined to his house by his wound, ministers, in
spite of his petition that no further steps should be taken before his
recovery, pressed forward their measures against him. During the
Christmas recess Wilkes became convalescent and went to France, from
whence, when Parliament reassembled, he sent a medical certificate
stating he was unable to travel without endangering his health; but his
enemies declared, and perhaps some of his friends secretly believed,
that this was a subterfuge, and that in reality the reason for his
continued absence was because he dared not face the trials for libel and
blasphemy. On January 19, 1764, Wilkes was expelled from the House of
Commons for having written a scandalous and seditious libel; and on
February 21 the Court of King's Bench found him guilty of having
reprinted "No. XLV" and of printing the "Essay on Woman," and, as he did
not appear to receive sentence, outlawed him for contumacy.

Ministers now congratulated themselves upon having got rid of their
dangerous opponent, but, as a matter of fact, they had only driven him
away, which was a very different thing, for in his absence he, standing
as the persecuted champion of liberty, was a very potent factor in
affairs. Lord Temple paid the greater part of Wilkes's law expenses,
and, subsequently, the Rockingham Whigs made the outlaw an allowance of
£1,000 a year. Wilkes's popularity was, indeed, immense. When on
December 3, "No. XLV" was to be burnt at the Royal Exchange, a great mob
collected, and showed so threatening a spirit that Harley, one of the
sheriffs, went to consult the Lord Mayor as to what steps should be
taken to avert danger, and the hangman followed in his wake. The
partly-burnt copy of "The North Briton" was rescued by the crowd,
carried off in triumph, and displayed in the evening at Temple Bar,
where a bonfire was made into the midst of which, amidst great cheering,
a huge jack-boot was thrown. Chief Justice Pratt was rewarded for his
impartial judgment with the freedom of the cities of London and Dublin;
and all adherents of Wilkes became popular personages. Astute tradesmen
disposed easily of inferior goods by marking them "45," and the turmoil
created by this affair penetrated even the recesses of the Court, with
the result that some years later the young Prince of Wales, when he had
been punished, avenged himself by crying in his father's presence
"Wilkes and No. XLV for ever!"

Kearsley, the publisher of "The North Briton" was discharged by the
Court on his own recognizances; but in 1765 Williams, who had re-issued
"No. XLV" was fined £100, ordered to stand in the pillory in Old Palace
Yard for an hour on March 1, and to give security in the sum of £1,000
for his good behaviour for seven years. This was an opportunity that
gave Wilkes's supporters a chance to display their feelings. Williams
was taken in a triumphant procession in a hackney-coach numbered
forty-five and brought back in the same way; while he stood in the
pillory a collection was made, and £200 subscribed for him; and close by
were erected four ladders, with cords running from each other, on which
were displayed a jack-boot, an axe, and a Scotch bonnet, to testify to
the prevalent belief that the moving spirit of the prosecution was Lord


    "Ye sons of Wilkes and Liberty,
         Who hate despotic sway,
     The glorious forty-five now crowns
       This remarkable day.
         And to New Palace Yard let us go, let us go.

    "An injured martyr to her cause
         Undaunted meets his doom:
     Ah! who like me don't wish to see
       Some great ones in his room?
         Then to New Palace Yard let us go, let us go.

    "Behold the laurel, fresh and green,
         Attract all loyal eyes;
     The haughty thistle droops his head,
       Is blasted, stinks, and dies.
         Then to New Palace Yard let us go, let us go.

    "High mounted on the gibbet view
         The _Boot_ and _Bonnet's_ fate;
     But where's the _Petticoat_, my lads?
       The _Boot_ should have its mate.
         Then to New Palace Yard let us go, let us go.

           *       *       *       *       *

    "In vain the galling _Scottish yoke_
        Shall strive to make us bend;
    _Our_ monarch is a Briton born,
       And will our rights defend.
         Then to New Palace Yard let us go, let us go.

    "For ages still might England stand,
         In spite of Stuart arts,
     Would Heaven send us men to rule
       With better heads and hearts.
         Then to New Palace Yard let us go, let us go."

For a while, engaged in an amorous adventure, Wilkes remained at Paris,
but in 1767 he issued a pamphlet explaining his position, and just
before the general election of March, 1768, he reappeared in London[263]
and offered himself as a candidate for the parliamentary representation
of the City, thus presenting the very strange spectacle, as Lecky puts
it, "of a penniless adventurer of notoriously infamous character, and
lying at this very time under a sentence of outlawry, and under a
condemnation for blasphemy and libel, standing against a popular
alderman in the metropolis of England."[264] In spite of his late
appearance upon the scene, Wilkes polled 1,200 votes; and, thus
encouraged, and supported by Lord Temple, who furnished the necessary
freehold qualification, the Duke of Portland, and Horne Tooke, he stood
for the county of Middlesex, and was elected by 1,290 votes against 827
of the Tory George Cooke and 807 of the Whig, Sir William Procter.

  [263] It has been said that Wilkes had to leave Paris hastily, a _letter
  de cachet_ having been signed to lodge him in the Bastille, probably as
  the supposed author of "The Origin of Despotism." This supposition is,
  however, a direct contradiction of a statement in _Walpoliana_
  attributed to Horace Walpole. "Depend upon it that Wilkes was in the pay
  of France, during the Wilkes and Liberty days. Calling one day on the
  French minister, I observed a book on his table, with Wilkes's name in
  the first page. This led to a conversation, which convinced me. Other
  circumstances, too long and minute to be repeated, strengthened, if
  necessary, that conviction. I am as sure of it, as of any fact I know.
  Wilkes at first cringed to Lord Bute. The embassy to Constantinople was
  the object of his ambition. It was refused, and you know what followed."

  [264] _History of England in the Eighteenth Century._

As Wilkes had received no reply to his petition for a pardon addressed
to the King, he, according to the undertaking he had given, surrendered
himself on the first day of term, April 20, before Lord Mansfield in the
Court of King's Bench. The proceedings dragged on until June 8, when,
his outlawry having been annulled, he was sentenced for republication of
"No. XLV" to a fine of £500 and ten months' imprisonment, and for the
printing of the "Essay on Woman" to another fine of £500 and a further
twelve months' imprisonment. The populace, delighted to have their hero
again among them, escorted him to prison, illuminated their houses, and
broke the windows of those who took no part in the rejoicings, with the
result that there ensued a riot in which six people met their death.

The election of Wilkes to the House of Commons perplexed ministers, who
at first sought refuge in inaction, but eventually, after much
provocation from the new member[265] moved to expel him from Parliament
and carried their resolution by 219 to 137 votes. This, however, led
only to further trouble, for when a new writ for Middlesex was issued,
Wilkes was re-elected on February 16. Again, on the following day, he
was expelled, and a resolution passed that he was incapable of sitting
in the existing Parliament. This was clearly illegal, and the people
avenged this attempted infringement of their rights by returning Wilkes
for the third time on March 16. On the 17th he was once more expelled;
and, when returned once more, a few days later, the House of Commons by
197 to 143 votes declared the defeated candidate, Colonel Luttrell,[266]
duly elected.

  [265] "In the public press, on the platform, on the stage, his influence
  was enormous. His good pleasure sent politicians to Parliament; his good
  pleasure made London sheriffs, made provincial mayors."--Justin
  McCarthy: _History of the Four Georges_.

  [266] Henry Lawes Luttrell (1743-1821), succeeded his father as second
  Earl of Carhampton, 1787.

The popularity of Wilkes was gall and wormwood to the King, whose
authority and wishes were openly set at defiance, and who was openly
threatened by the mob. It was known he had taken an active part in the
prosecution of the popular demagogue, and this was deeply resented. "If
you do not keep the laws, the laws will not keep you," so ran the
lettering of a placard thrown at this time into the royal carriage.
"Kings have lost their heads for their disobedience to the laws." George
III's courage was undeniable, and no threat could make him connive at
any action likely to lessen the royal prerogative. "My spirits, I thank
heaven, want no rousing," he wrote to Lord Chatham in May, 1767. "My
love to my country, as well as what I owe to my own character and to my
family, prompt me not to yield to faction. Though none of my ministers
stand by me, I cannot truckle."[267] Lord North, too, was well
acquainted with the royal firmness and intrepidity: "The King," he said,
"would live on bread and water to preserve the constitution of his
country. He would sacrifice his life to maintain it inviolate."

  [267] _Chatham Correspondence._

The courage George III displayed in politics was not lacking in moments
of personal danger. Though, unlike George I and George II, he could not
prove his valour on the field of battle, the several attacks upon his
life gave him sufficient opportunity to show his fearlessness. It was,
indeed, at these times he appeared at his best, not only in dignity, but
in kind-heartedness and in tender consideration for his consort. The
first murderous attack upon him was made August 2, 1786, as he alighted
from his coach at the garden entrance of St. James's Palace. A woman,
Margaret Nicholson, held out to him a paper, which, assuming it to be a
petition, he took from her; but as he did so she struck at him with a
knife, and the attempt to kill him only failed from the knife being so
thin about the middle of the blade that, instead of entering the body,
it bent with the pressure of his waistcoat.[268] The would-be assassin
was at once seized, and seeing she was roughly handled, "The poor
creature is mad," cried the King; "do not hurt her. She has not hurt
me." He held the _levée_, and then drove hastily to Windsor to let the
Queen know he was unhurt. "I am sure you must be sensible how thankful I
am to Providence for the late wonderful escape of his Majesty from the
stroke of an assassin," Mrs. Delany wrote to Miss Hamilton. "The King
would not suffer any one to inform the Queen of that event till he could
show himself in person to her. He returned to Windsor as soon as the
Council was over. When his Majesty entered the Queen's dressing-room he
found her with the two eldest Princesses; and entering in an animated
manner, he said, "Here I am, safe and well!" The Queen suspected from
this saying that some accident had happened, on which he informed her of
the whole affair. The Queen stood struck and motionless for some time,
till the Princesses burst into tears, on which she immediately found

  [268] Subsequently George asked: "Has she cut my waistcoat? for I have
  had no time to examine. Nothing could have been done easier, for there
  was nothing for her to go through but a thin linen and fat."

  [269] Mrs. Delany: _Autobiography and Correspondence_.

[Illustration: _From an old print_


Thirteen years later, on October 29, 1795, on his way to open
Parliament, he was surrounded by a violent mob, who threw stones into
the carriage, and demanded peace and the dismissal of Pitt. Lord Onslow,
who was with the King, has left an account of the distressing incident.
"Before I sleep let me bless God for the miraculous escape which my
King, my country, and myself, have had this day. Soon after two o'clock,
his Majesty, attended by the Earl of Westmoreland and myself, set out
for St. James's in his state coach, to open the session of Parliament.
The multitude of people in the park was prodigious. A sullen silence, I
observed to myself, prevailed through the whole, very few individuals
excepted. No hats, or at least very few, pulled off; little or no
huzzaing, and frequently a cry of 'give us bread': 'no war': and once or
twice, 'no King'! with hissing and groaning. My grandson Cranley, who
was on the King's guard, had told me, just before we set out from St.
James's that the park was full of people who seemed discontented and
tumultuous, and that he apprehended insult would be offered to the King.
Nothing material, however, happened, till we got down to the narrowest
part of the street called St. Margaret's, between the two palace yards,
when, the moment we had passed the Office of Ordnance, and were just
opposite the parlour window of the house adjoining it, a small ball,
either of lead or marble, passed through the window glass on the King's
right hand and perforating it, leaving a small hole, the bigness of the
top of my little finger (which I instantly put through to mark the
size), and passed through the coach out of the other door, the glass of
which was down. We all instantly exclaimed, 'This is a shot!' The King
showed, and I am persuaded, felt no alarm; much less did he fear, to
which indeed he is insensible. We proceeded to the House of Lords, when,
on getting out of the coach, I first, and the King immediately after,
said to the Lord Chancellor, who was at the bottom of the stairs to
receive the King, 'My Lord, we have been shot at.' The King ascended the
stairs, robed, and then perfectly free from the smallest agitation, read
his speech with peculiar correctness, and even less hesitation than
usual. At his unrobing afterwards, when the event got more known (I
having told it to the Duke of York's ear as I passed under the throne,
and to the others who stood near us), it was, as might be supposed, the
only topic of conversation, in which the King joined with much less
agitation than anybody else. And afterwards, in getting into the coach,
the first words he said were, 'Well, my Lords, one person is _proposing_
this, and another is _supposing_ that, forgetting that there is One
above us all who _disposes_ of everything, and on whom alone we depend.'
The magnanimity, piety, and good sense of this, struck me most forcibly,
and I shall never forget the words.

"On our return home to St. James's, the mob was increased in Parliament
Street and Whitehall, and when we came into the park, it was still
greater. It was said that not less than 100,000 people were there, all
of the worst and lowest sort. The scene opened, and the insulting abuse
offered to his Majesty was what I can never think of but with horror, or
ever forget what I felt, when they proceeded to throw stones into the
coach, several of which hit the King, which he bore with signal
patience, but not without sensible marks of indignation and resentment
at the indignities offered to his person and office. The glasses were
all broken to pieces, and in this situation we were during our passage
through the park. The King took one of the stones out of the cuff of his
coat, where it had lodged, and gave it to me, saying, 'I make you a
present of this, as a mark of the civilities we have met with on our
journey to-day.'"[270]


      "Talk no more of the lucky escape of the _head_,
           From a flint so unluckily thrown,
       I think very diff'rent, with thousands indeed,
           'Twas a lucky escape for the _stone_."

      _Epitaph on a Stone thrown at A Very
      Great Man, but which missed him._

In connexion with this episode an accusation of ingratitude was brought
against the King. "Now the tradition is," wrote Lady Jerningham, "that
at a certain critical moment, when the guards had actually been pushed
back or disorganized for a while by a rush of the rabble, a gentleman
sprang forward in front of the carriage door, drew on the assailants,
threatening to kill forthwith any one who approached nearer, and thus
kept the mob at bay sufficiently long to allow the guards to rally round
the coach, and prevent further assault. The King inquired about 'the
name of his rescuer,' and was informed that it was Mr. Bedingfeld."[271]
According to Lady Jerningham, "no further notice was taken," but this
was not so, although there was some delay, owing to Mr. Bedingfeld's
sense of humour offending a minister. The King instructed Dundas to give
his preserver an appointment of some profit, and Dundas asked Bedingfeld
what could be done for him, to which question came the witty but
unfortunate reply: "The best thing, sir, you can do for me is to _make
me a Scotchman_." Dundas angrily dismissed the humorist, but George,
after making frequent inquiries as to what had been done, and each time
receiving the reply that no suitable position was vacant, at last said
very tartly: "Then, sir, you must _make_ a situation for him," and a new
office with a salary of £650 a year was created for Mr. Bedingfeld.

  [271] _The Jerningham Letters._

Twice more and on the same day, May 31, 1800, was the King's life in
danger. In the morning he was present at a review of the Grenadier
Guards in Hyde Park, and during one of the volleys of, presumedly, blank
cartridge, a bullet struck Mr. Ongley, a clerk in the Admiralty, who was
standing only a few paces from his Majesty. It was never discovered,
however, whether this accident was deliberate or unintentional. George
visited Drury Lane Theatre the same evening, and the moment he appeared
in his box, a man in the pit near the orchestra discharged a pistol at
him. "It's only a squib, a squib; they are firing squibs," he reassured
the Queen as she entered the box; and, when the man was removed, "We
will not stir," he added, "but stay the entertainment out." "No man ever
showed so much courage as our good King's disregard of his person, and
confidence in the overshadowing Providence on the pistol being fired,"
Lady Jerningham wrote. "He went back one step and whispered to Lord
Salisbury: it is now known that it was to endeavour to stop the Queen,
for that it was likely another shot would be fired, he himself remaining
at his post. The Queen, however, arrived a moment after, and he then
said they had fired a squib."[272] When Sheridan said to the King that
after the shot he should have left the box lest the man fired again, "I
should have despised myself for ever, had I but stirred a single inch. A
man on such an occasion should need no prompting but immediately see
what is his duty," the latter rejoined; and indeed he had his nerves so
well under control that "he took his accustomed doze of three or four
minutes between the conclusion of the play and the commencement of the
farce, precisely as he would have done on any other night."[273] "I am
going to bed with a confidence that I shall sleep soundly," he said
later in the evening, "and my prayer is that the poor unhappy person,
who aimed at my life, may rest as quietly as I shall." It was _à propos_
of this attempt that Sheridan at once composed an additional verse for
the Royal Anthem, which was sung at the conclusion of the performance.

    "From every latent foe,
     From the assassin's blow,
         God save the King!
     O'er him Thine arm extend;
     For Britain's sake defend
     Our father, Prince, and friend;
                 God save the King!"

  [272] _The Jerningham Letters._

  [273] Wraxall: _Historical Memoirs of My Own Times_.

In spite of these attacks, which had no political significance, for the
perpetrators, Margaret Nicholson and James Hatfield, were mad, the King
would have no guards except on state occasions, and when remonstrated
with by a member of his Court, "I very well know that any man who
chooses to sacrifice his own life may, whenever he pleases take away
mine, riding out, as I do continually, with a single equerry or
footman," he said calmly. "I only hope that whoever may attempt it will
not do it in a barbarous or brutal manner."[274]

  [274] Wraxall: _Historical Memoirs of My Own Times_.

A king who could face death without a tremor was not to be frightened by
any demagogue.

"Though entirely confiding in your attachment to my person, as well as
in your hatred of every lawless proceeding," he wrote to Lord North on
April 25, "yet I think it highly proper to apprise you that the
exclusion of Mr. Wilkes appears to be very essential, and must be

  [275] _Correspondence of George III with Lord North._

The King's anger greatly handicapped ministers. "The ministers are
embarrassed to the last degree how to act with regard to Wilkes," the
Bishop of Carlisle wrote to Grenville. "It seems they are afraid to
press the King for his pardon as that is a subject his Majesty will not
easily hear the least mention of; and they are apprehensive, if he has
it not, that the mob of London will rise in his favour."[276] When the
City of London presented an address, complaining of the arbitrary
conduct of the House of Commons, the King burst out laughing and turned
his back on the Lord Mayor. A second deputation was treated in much the
same way, when the Lord Mayor, William Beckford, replied to the King's
abrupt reply with an impromptu speech, that was subsequently inscribed
on a monument erected in his honour in the Guildhall. "Permit me, Sire,
further to observe that whosoever has already dared, or shall hereafter
endeavour, by false insinuations, and suggestions, to alienate your
Majesty's affections from your loyal subjects in general, and from the
City of London in particular, is an enemy to your Majesty's person and
family, a violator of the public peace, and a betrayer of our happy
constitution as it was established at the glorious and necessary

  [276] _Grenville Papers._

While Wilkes was in prison his admirers paid his debts, it is said, to
the amount of £17,000, and on his release on April 17, 1770, he was
greeted with as much enthusiasm as a king on his coronation. "It
seemed," as Heron remarked, "as if the population of London and
Middlesex were the _plebs_ of ancient Rome, and Wilkes a tribune." The
Common Council of the City elected him, in quick succession, Alderman
and Sheriff, and, after the Court of Aldermen had twice selected another
candidate, he became Lord Mayor in 1774, the year that witnessed his
return for the fifth time as Member of Parliament for Middlesex, "Thus,"
said Walpole, summing up the career of this indomitable man, "after so
much persecution by the Court, after so many attempts upon his life,
after a long imprisonment in gaol, after all his own crimes and
indiscretions, did this extraordinary man, of more extraordinary
fortune, attain the highest office in so grave and important a city as
the capital of England, always reviving the more opposed and oppressed,
and unable to shock Fortune, and make her laugh at _him_ who laughed at
everybody and everything."

In the end, however, Wilkes made his peace with the King, was received
at Court, and became somewhat of a courtier, declaring that himself had
never been a Wilkite. The strange spectacle of the monarch and the
demagogue engaged in amicable conversation delighted Byron, who could
not miss so excellent an opportunity for humour.

          "Since old scores are past
      Must I turn evidence? In faith not I.
    Besides, I beat him hollow at the last,
      With all his Lords and Commons: in the sky.
    I don't like ripping up old stories, since
    His conduct was but natural in a prince.
    Foolish, no doubt, and wicked, to oppress

      A poor unlucky devil without a shilling;
    But then I blame the man himself much less
      Than Bute and Grafton, and shall be unwilling
    To see him punished here for their excess,
      Since they were both damn'd long ago, and still in
    Their place below: for me, I have forgiven,
    And vote his _habeas corpus_ into Heaven."[277]

  [277] _The Vision of Judgment._

[Illustration: THE NEW COALITION.



    O rare Forty five!
    O dear Prerogative!

The Wolf shall dwell with the Lamb, & the Leopard shall lie down with
the Kid; & the Calf & the young Lion & the Fatling together: & a
_little Child_[A] shall lead them.

  [A] _Vide, Pitt._

Isaiah. Chap. xi.V.v




The King accepted Lord Bute's resignation without regret, and indeed
made so little secret of his pleasure that, according to Lord Hardwicke,
he appeared "like a person just emancipated," for, in spite of his
personal feeling for his old friend, he thought that as a minister Bute
had shown a deplorable lack of political firmness. Bute's day as a
public official had passed for ever, and not the most subtle intrigue of
the Princess Dowager could induce her son even to discuss the question
of the ex-minister's return to power, although for some time to come he
was, as we shall see, a power in the closet, and, indeed, with one
exception, it is said, chose the members of the Cabinet of his

"I do not believe that the King ever wished to reinstate the Earl of
Bute," Nicholl wrote subsequently. "He saw the earl's want of courage;
probably he saw his incapacity, and his unfitness to serve his views:
but it is possible that the Princess Dowager of Wales might still retain
a wish that the Earl of Bute should be replaced in the office of Prime

When Grenville first came into office the King's regard for the new
Prime Minister was so great as to lead him to declare that "he never
could have anybody else at the head of his Treasury who would fill that
office so much to his satisfaction."[278] Grenville was in many ways
acceptable to George. "His official connexion with Bute, his separation
from the great Whig families, his unblemished private character, his
eminent business faculties, his industry, his methodical habits, his
economy, his freedom alike from the fire and the vagaries of genius, his
dogged obstinacy, his contempt for popularity, were all points of

  [278] _Grenville Papers._

  [279] Lecky: _History of England in the Eighteenth Century_.

Grenville came into office to protect the King from the Whigs, and,
indeed, was appointed on condition that none of the Newcastle and Pitt
ministry were to be included in the new administration, although he was
assured favour might be shown to those Whigs who would support the
Government. It soon became obvious, however that the King had only
exchanged one set of rulers for another. He had thought to have found in
Grenville a pliant tool: he discovered too late he had placed himself in
the hands of a harsh task-master. The qualities that George and
Grenville had in common, while uniting them at first, very shortly
came between them. Both were fond of power, both yielded only under
compulsion, both were untactful and ignorant of the soft answer that
turneth away wrath. The Minister made no attempt to ingratiate himself
with the King, and his attitude reduced the latter to a state of fury,
not the less violent because at the moment he was impotent.[280]
Grenville's overbearing manner drew from George the complaint, "When I
have anything proposed to me, it is no longer as counsel, but what I am
to obey;" while his tedious prolixity was a further trial. "When he has
wearied me for two hours," George complained to Lord Bute, "he looks at
his watch to see if he may not tire me for an hour more."[281]

  [280] "We entered into the King's service to hinder the law from being
  indecently and unconstitutionally given to him."--_Grenville Papers._

  [281] Walpole: _Memoirs of George III_.

[Illustration: _From a painting by Wm. Hoare_


Indeed, Grenville possessed most of the qualities unsuitable for the
First Minister of the Crown. He had the advantage of courage and
ability, but was a near-sighted politician, an ungracious colleague, and
a bad speaker; and, while he had a keen eye for the main chance so far
as himself was concerned, was unwisely penurious for the revenue. He
made an implacable enemy of the King, when the latter took in a portion
of the Green Park to form a new garden for Buckingham House, by
declining to purchase for the Crown at the cost of £20,000 a plot of
ground, now known as Grosvenor Place, on which houses were to be built
that would overlook the royal family in their private walks.[282]

  [282] Walpole: _Memoirs of George III_.

The King, finding his head in a noose, made strenuous efforts to
extricate himself. In April, 1763, Grenville had become Prime Minister:
in July George sought the advice of Bute how to rid himself of his _bête
noir_, and then and there made overtures to Hardwicke and Newcastle,
who, however, declined to accept office without their party. After the
death of Lord Egremont early in August, Bute suggested a coalition, and
sent Sir Harry Erskine to Alderman Beckford to arrange a meeting between
himself and Pitt. Pitt received Bute at his house in Jermyn Street, and,
presumably, the conversation was not unsatisfactory, for on the 23rd
inst. the King sent for him and asked him to state his views. Pitt
inveighed against the ignominious peace, and complained of the
compulsory retirement of the Whigs, who, if he accepted office, must be
restored to power. As a matter of fact, the Whigs were not inspired with
any kindly feeling towards George, who, in pursuance of his policy that
he must be ruler of the realm, had inflicted on their leaders several
petty slights. When the Duke of Devonshire,[283] "the Prince of the
Whigs," who had declined to take part in the discussion about the peace,
had called at St. James's in October, 1762, George, to mark his
displeasure, had sent a message by a page, "Tell the Duke I will not see
him." The Duke at once resigned his post as Lord Chamberlain, and his
brother, Lord George Cavendish, retiring from the Household, was
received with marked discourtesy, as was also Lord Rockingham,[284] who,
remonstrating with the King for his incivility, surrendered his office
in the Bedchamber. Not content with these signs of his annoyance, George
struck out the Duke's name from the list of Privy Councillors,[285]
deprived the Duke of Newcastle, the Duke of Grafton,[286] and Lord
Rockingham, of the Lord-Lieutenancies of their respective counties, and
dismissed the great majority of Whigs who held minor offices not usually
vacated at a change of ministry. Even military men who voted against the
Government on the question of general warrants were deprived of their
commands, which was going even farther than Rigby approved[287], though
the King declared, "Firmness and resolution must be shown and no one
saved who dared to fly off."[288]

  [283] William Cavendish, fourth Duke of Devonshire (1720-1764).

  [284] Charles Watson Wentworth, second Marquis of Rockingham

  [285] "A severity of which there had been no precedent in the last
  reign, but in the cases of Lord Bath and Lord George Sackville; the
  first, in open and virulent opposition; the second on his ignominious
  sentence after the Battle of Minden."--Walpole: _Memoirs of George III_.

  [286] Augustus Henry Fitzroy, third Duke of Grafton (1735-1811).

  [287] "I have reason to believe that there will be a general _déroute_
  from the Duke of Grafton's Lieutenancy of the county of Suffolk to the
  underlings of the Custom House," Rigby wrote at the time, "and I think,
  if military men are excepted, as I trust they will be, the measure
  entirely right."--_Bedford Correspondence._

  [288] _Grenville Papers._

The King was in a quandary. He was anxious to dismiss Grenville, but at
least as desirous to avoid a Whig administration which, after the
indignities inflicted on the leaders, would scarcely be friendly: still,
in his conversation with Pitt, he went so far as to offer to accept Lord
Temple at the Treasury, and, declaring "his honour must be consulted,"
gave Pitt an appointment for an interview two days later. Pitt thought
the matter was settled, and communicated with his friends, who were
consequently elated. "Atlas has left the globe to turn on its own axis,"
said Charles Townshend, referring to Grenville's absence from town
during these negotiations. "Surely he should be prompt when public
credit labours, and he either mistakes the subject or slights the
difficulty. This man has crept into a situation he cannot fill. He has
assumed a personage his limbs cannot carry. He has jumped into a wheel
he cannot turn. The summer dream is passing away. Cold winter is coming
on; and I will add to you that the storm must be stood, for there will
be no shelter from coalition, nor any escape by compromise. There has
been too much insolence in the use of power; too much injustice to
others; too much calumny at every turn." The hopes of the Opposition
were, however, dashed to the ground, for when it came to the point,
George could not bring himself to accept the Whigs _en bloc_, and, on
the 25th inst., after Pitt had reiterated his terms, dismissed him,
saying, "Well, Mr. Pitt, I see this will not do. My honour is concerned,
and I must support it."

There was now no other course open to the King than to ask Grenville to
remain in office, to which request the minister assented, but only after
delivering to the King a lecture on the duty of a sovereign to be loyal
to his recognized advisers, and extracting from him a promise that Lord
Bute should never again interfere in affairs of state. Yet, in spite of
this undertaking, it became known to the Prime Minister that, a few days
later, Bute attempted to reopen negotiations with Pitt. Thereupon,
Grenville, justly indignant, reproached the King, who promised that
nothing of the sort should happen again, to which the minister replied
drily that he hoped not, and forthwith set about insuring himself
against further interference by insisting on Bute's retirement from
London, and refusing to allow the office of Keeper of the Privy Purse,
which Bute vacated, to be given to one of the latter's friends. "Good
God! Mr. Grenville," exclaimed the King, "am I to be suspected after all
I have done?"

The King, who made a "skilful but most dishonourable use of the
incautious frankness of Pitt in the closet,"[289] contrived to sow
dissension among the Whig leaders, and by these unworthy devices
contrived to excite the anger of the Duke of Bedford, whom, through the
instrumentality of Lord Sandwich, he, in September, 1763, persuaded to
accept the post of President of the Council. About the same time Lord
Shelburne,[290] who had been intriguing against Grenville, resigned the
Presidency of the Board of Trade, partly because he thought he was not
sufficiently considered in the ministerial councils, and partly because
he very heartily hated his colleagues. It is said further that he
doubted the legality of the proceedings against Wilkes, though his
enemies scoffed at the idea of his having any motive so disinterested.
He resigned office on September 3, and afterwards voted with
Fitzmaurice, Calcraft and Barré against the Government, for which
offence the King removed his name from the list of _aides-de-camp_, and
deprived Barré of his posts of Adjutant-General of the Forces and
Governor of Stirling Castle.

  [289] Lecky: _History of England in the Eighteenth Century_.

  [290] Sir William Petty, second Earl of Shelburne (1737-1805), created
  Marquis of Lansdowne, 1784.

In spite of the unpopularity of the Duke of Bedford, which arose out of
his share in the negotiations for the peace, the changes strengthened
the administration, and for a while George, somewhat mollified by
Grenville's attitude towards Wilkes, and being in full agreement with
the ministerial policy towards America, lived in comparative harmony
with his advisers. This agreeable state of affairs was soon, however, to
be rudely disturbed.

The King was taken ill on January 12, 1765, and on the following day Sir
William Duncan informed the Prime Minister that his Majesty had a
violent cold, had passed a restless night, complained of stitches in
his breast, and was bled fourteen ounces. On the 15th inst. Grenville
went to the King, and "found him perfectly cheerful and good-humoured,
and full of conversation," after which date no one saw the King, not
even his brothers, and it was not until March that Lord Bute, who in the
interval had pressed to see him, was admitted for the first time to his
presence.[291] The King was suffering from mental derangement, but such
were the precautions taken, that this was not known beyond the
Palace:[292] the illness was declared to be the outcome of cold and
fever, and this announcement, when the confinement threatened to be
lengthy, was supplemented by the statement that a humour, which should
have appeared in his face, had by unskilful treatment been allowed to
settle on his chest. The public anxiety was not assuaged by these
bulletins, and, convinced that something was being withheld, jumped to
the conclusion that the King was in a consumption. So well was the
secret kept that Nicholls wrote in 1819, "I know it has been said that
his illness was a mental derangement, but I do not believe it";[293] and
Wraxall about the same time remarked, "George the Third was attacked by
a disorder that confined him for several weeks; relative to the nature
and seal of which malady, though many conjectures and assertions have
been hazarded, in conversation, and even in print, no satisfactory
information has ever been given to the world."[294] Even George
Grenville was in ignorance of the nature of the disorder. At the
beginning of March there was a marked improvement in George's condition,
and when Grenville saw him on the 18th inst. he noted "the King's
countenance and manner a good deal estranged, but he was civil and
talked upon several different subjects;" and a week later, when he was
again admitted to the royal presence, he "found his Majesty well to all
appearance."[295] On April 5, completely recovered, the King held a

  [291] _Grenville Papers._

  [292] An example of the care taken not to let the truth be known is
  given by Adolphus in his _History of England_ (_new edition_, 1840).
  "The malady with which his Majesty was afflicted exhibited similar
  symptoms to those which, in 1788, and during the last years of his life,
  gave so much unhappiness to the nation. I did not mention the fact in
  former editions of this work, because I knew that the King, and all who
  loved him, were desirous that it should not be drawn into notice; so
  anxious were they on this point, that Smollett, having intimated it in
  his 'Complete History of England,' the text was revised in the general
  impression; a very few copies in the original form were disposed of, and
  they are now rare."

  [293] John Nicholls: _Recollections and Reflections_.

  [294] Wraxall: _Historical Memoirs of My Own Times_.

  [295] _Grenville Papers._

It has been hinted that the first traces of mental derangement had shown
themselves in June, 1762, when Lord Hardwicke informed Lord Royston, "I
fear his Majesty was very ill, for physicians do not deal so roughly
with such patients without necessity." "It is amazing and very lucky
that his Majesty's illness gave no more alarm, considering that the
Queen is with child, and the law of England has made no provision for
government when no king or a minor king exists," Henry Fox noted. "He
goes out now, but he coughs still; and, which no subject of his would be
refused or refuse himself, he cannot or will not go to lie in the
country air; though if there was ever anything malignant in that of
London since I was born, it is at this time."[296] Walpole, too, heard
of the trouble, though he, like the rest, was in ignorance of the nature
of the malady, but he was perturbed by the lack of any measure for
carrying on the government in the event of the King's illness or demise.
"Have you not felt a pang in your royal capacity?" he wrote on June 20,
1762. "Seriously, it has been dreadful, but the danger is over. The King
had one of the last of those strange and universally epidemic colds,
which, however, have seldom been fatal. He had a violent cough and
oppression on his breast which he concealed, just as I had; but my life
was of no consequence, and having no physicians-in-ordinary, I was cured
in four nights by James's powders, without bleeding. The King was
blooded seven times and had three blisters. Thank God, he is safe, and
we have escaped a confusion beyond what was ever known, but on the
accession of the Queen of Scots."

  [296] Lord Holland's _Memoir_ in _The Life and Letters of Lady Sarah

Though nothing was done in 1762, on his recovery in March, 1765, the
King realized it was imperative to make provision for a regency in case
of his incapacity or death, and suggested he should be empowered to name
a person in his will, while, to "prevent faction," keeping the
nomination secret.[297] This, of course, could not be permitted; but it
was decided that a Bill should be introduced by ministers, and a
reference to it was made in the King's Speech on April 24: "My late
indisposition, though not attended with danger, has led me to consider
the situation in which my kingdoms and my family might be left, if it
should please God to put a period to my life while my successor is of
tender years."

  [297] _Grenville Papers._

A Bill was brought in, limiting the King's choice of a regent to the
Queen or any other person of the royal family, and a question arose
whether the Princess Dowager was a member of the royal family. When this
was decided in the affirmative, the Duke of Bedford, who was anxious to
prevent Bute from the exercise of even indirect control of affairs,
persuaded Lord Halifax and Lord Sandwich to tell the King that, if the
Princess Dowager's name were included, the House of Commons would reject
it. The King, desirous to avoid the chance of such an insult to his
mother, yielded to the ministers' representations, and the Princess
Dowager was pointedly excluded. That is one version of the story, but
Lord Hardwicke gives another. After stating that the Duke of Cumberland
was much hurt that the princes of the blood were not to be named in the
Council of Regency, he relates, "While the Regency Bill was in the House
of Lords, the clause naming the King's brothers was concerted, with the
Duke of Cumberland, unknown to the ministry till the King sent it to
them. They, to return the compliment, framed the clause for omitting the
Princess Dowager, and procured the King's consent to it. This raised a
storm in the interior of the palaces; and the result of it, after many
intrigues and jarrings, was the overthrow of that administration."[298]
Walpole, on the other hand, thought that ministers conceived that the
omission of the Princess would be universally approved. "They flattered
themselves with acquiring such popularity by that act, that the King
would not dare to remove them."[299] Whether the motive was desire of
popularity or revenge, the move was a great mistake. George soon learnt
that the danger was purely fictitious, and thereupon, with tears in his
eyes, he begged Grenville to reinsert the name of the Princess Dowager;
but the Prime Minister, though he had been no party to the manoeuvre
practised by the secretaries of state, declined to abandon his
colleagues, and would undertake to give way only if the House of Commons
pressed the point. In the Lords the Duke of Richmond had moved that the
regency should consist of the Queen, the Princess Dowager and all the
descendants of the late King usually in England, and Lord Halifax
accepted the Duke's words with the single omission of the Princess
Dowager, to which amendment the House agreed. "The astonishment of the
world is not to be described," Walpole wrote to Lord Hertford, "Lord
Bute's friends are thunderstruck; the Duke of Bedford almost danced
about the House for joy." The surprise of the friends of the Princess
Dowager, however, soon gave way to indignation, and, during the second
reading of the Bill in the House of Commons, Morton, the member for
Abingdon and Chief Justice of Chester, well known to be in the excluded
lady's confidence, moved, with the King's approval and at the suggestion
of Lord Northington, the insertion of her Royal Highness's name, which,
as the Government could not vote in full strength against their master's
mother, was carried by 167 to 17 in the Commons and without a
dissentient in the Lords.[300]

  [298] Lord Hardwicke: _Memorial_.

  [299] Walpole: _Memoirs of George III_.

  [300] Albemarle: _Memoirs of Rockingham_.

George believed he had been deliberately deceived by Lord Halifax and
Lord Sandwich, and furious at the unnecessary insult to his mother in
which he had been led to participate, on May 6, through the medium of
Lord Northumberland, asked his uncle, the Duke of Cumberland, to
undertake the charge of negotiations that might lead to the return to
office of Pitt, Lord Temple, and the great Whig families.[301] This
seems a strange proceeding to Englishmen to-day, when a minister who has
a majority in the House of Commons is practically immovable; but then
the King, who could appoint a minister, could on his own initiative
dismiss him, the only difficulty being to secure a successor. The power
of appointment and dismissal of a government is, of course, still the
prerogative of the sovereign, but it is impossible to say what would
happen were any attempt made to exercise the nominal privilege. In this
particular case there was some reason for the King's action, for the
weakness of the existing administration was notorious. "The Regency Bill
has shown such a want of concert and want of capacity in the ministers,
such an inattention to the honour of the Crown, if not such a design
against it; such imposition and surprise upon the King; and such a
misrepresentation of the disposition of the parliament to the sovereign
that there is no doubt that there is a fixed resolution to get rid of
them all (except perhaps of Grenville), but principally the Duke of
Bedford," Burke wrote to Henry Flood. "Nothing but an intractable temper
in your friend Pitt can prevent a most admirable and lasting system from
being put together, and this crisis will show whether pride or
patriotism be predominant in his character; for you may be assured he
has it in his power to come into service of his country, upon any plan
of politics he may choose to dictate, with great and honourable terms to
himself and to every friend he has in the world, and with such a
stretch of power as will be equal to everything but absolute despotism
over the King and kingdom. A few days will show whether he will take
this part, or that of continuing on his back at Hayes, talking fustian,
excluded from all ministerial, and incapable of all parliamentary,
service. For his gout is worse than ever; but his pride may disable him
more than his gout."[302]

  [301] "There is no animal on the face of the earth that the Duke has a
  more thorough contempt for, or a greater aversion to, than
  Grenville."--Stuart Mackenzie.

  [302] Prior: _Life of Burke_.

Burke had gauged the situation to a nicety. Pitt was the only man who
could form a strong and lasting administration, and he showed no
alacrity to accept the invitation. In the meantime the King's impatience
got the better of him, and when on May 18 Grenville waited on him with
the draft of the speech with which his Majesty should close the session,
the following conversation took place. "There is no hurry," said the
King; "I will have Parliament adjourned, not prorogued." "Has your
Majesty any thought of making a change in your Administration?"
"Certainly," was the reply. "I cannot bear it as it is." "I hope your
Majesty will not order me to cut my own throat?" "Then," said the King,
"who must adjourn the Parliament?" "Whoever your Majesty shall appoint
my successor," replied the minister; and thereupon intimated that in a
few days he and his colleagues would tender their resignations. Again
the King had dismissed his ministers without having made arrangements
for their successors, and again he was faced with the problem how the
government was to be carried on in the interval. "This is neither
administration nor government," Walpole wrote to Lord Hertford. "The
King is out of town; and this is the crisis in which Mr. Pitt, who could
stop every evil, chooses to be more unreasonable than ever."

Pitt, who at this time was living in retirement, had in October, 1764,
told the Duke of Newcastle he intended to remain unconnected, but, when
now approached, he was not unwilling to accept office, if he might
restore officers and others who had been removed for opposition to the
Court, if he might declare general warrants illegal and amend the
notoriously unpopular Cyder Act, if "ample justice and favour" might be
shown to Chief-Justice Pratt (who was in disgrace at Court owing to his
judgment in the Wilkes case), and if he was at liberty to enter into an
alliance with continental powers against the Bourbons.[303] When it
appeared likely that these points would be conceded, Lord Temple would
not undertake to join a ministry formed to displace his brother,[304]
and, as Pitt would not take office without his brother-in-law, to whom
he was deeply attached and greatly indebted for much kindness, the
negotiations fell through. Unable to find relief for his nephew in this
quarter, the Duke of Cumberland made ineffectual overtures first to Lord
Lyttelton[305] and, subsequently, to Charles Townshend, after which he
felt bound to advise George to recall Grenville.

  [303] The Duke of Cumberland's _Statement_ in _The Memoirs of

  [304] "The reconciliation between Lord Temple and George Grenville took
  place on May 22 at Lord Temple's house in Pall Mall. In the course of
  the following month we find Grenville happily domesticated at Stow; nor
  was the renewed good understanding between the two brothers ever
  afterwards interrupted."--_Grenville Papers._

  [305] George, first Baron Lyttelton (1703-1773).

  "No man so propense to art was less artful; no man staked his honesty to
  less purpose, for he was so awkward that honesty was the only quality
  that seemed natural to him. His cunning was so often in default that he
  was a kind of beacon that warned men not to approach the shallows on
  which he founded his attachments always at the wrong season." Thus was
  Lyttelton's character depicted by Walpole, who described his person:
  "With the figure of a spectre, and the gesticulations of a puppet, he
  talked heroics through his nose."

The King had an interview with Grenville on May 22, and on the following
day the ex-ministers met to decide the terms on which they would return
to office. "The King is reduced to the mortification--and it is
extreme--of taking his old ministers again," Walpole wrote to Lord
Hertford. "They are insolent enough, you may believe. Grenville has
treated his master in the most impertinent manner, and they are now
actually discussing the terms that they mean to impose on their

Ministers demanded that Lord Bute should not interfere directly or
indirectly in the affairs of Government and that his brother, Stuart
Mackenzie,[306] should be dismissed from the office of Keeper of the
Privy Seal of Scotland; that Lord Holland should be deprived of the
Pay-mastership of the Forces, which should in future be held by a member
of the House of Commons; that the Marquis of Granby should be head of
the army, and that the government of Ireland should be left to the
discretionary arrangement of the ministry.[307] The King was furious
and, but that he was impotent at the moment, would have unhesitatingly
refused even to discuss most of these conditions. The only concession he
could obtain was from Lord Granby, who waived his claim to be
Captain-General during the life of the Duke of Cumberland. Lord Holland
had to go, although the King, who was bound to him by ties of gratitude,
would gladly have retained him; and ministers were united as to the
dismissal of Mackenzie, and would not even allow the King's plea that he
had promised Mackenzie the post for life and that he would disgrace
himself by breaking his word, to weigh with them in the least. Even
George's tears made no impression on Grenville and his colleagues,
though his embarrassment affected Mackenzie himself, who in spite of the
fact that he had accepted his present position at the King's request in
exchange for another and more lucrative office, which was desired for
some one else, surrendered the Privy Seal without demur. "His Majesty
sent for me to his closet, where I was a considerable time with him, and
if it were possible to love my excellent Prince now better than I did
before, I should certainly do it, for I have every reason that can
induce a generous or a grateful mind to feel his goodness to me,"
Mackenzie wrote to Sir Andrew Mitchell. "But such was his Majesty's
situation at that time, that had he absolutely rejected my dismissal, he
would have put me in the most disagreeable position in the world, and,
what was of much higher consequence, he would have greatly distressed
his affairs."[308]

  [306] The Honourable James Archibald Stuart, Lord Bute's brother, took
  the name of Mackenzie on succeeding to the estate of his
  great-grandfather, Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh.

  [307] Adolphus: _History of England_.

  [308] Ellis: _Original Letters_.

Grenville without delay appointed Lord Frederick Campbell Privy Seal,
Charles Townshend Paymaster, and Lord Weymouth Lord Lieutenant of
Ireland. The humiliation of the King could go no deeper, nor was it
appreciably mitigated by his refusal to appoint Lord Waldegrave Master
of the Horse to the Queen--her Majesty said no minister should interfere
in _her_ family--and appointed the Duke of Ancaster; by his bestowal of
the command of the first regiment that fell vacant on Lord Albemarle's
brother, General Keppel; or by the paying of marked attention to the
young Duke of Devonshire.[309] Indeed, these signs of defiance were met
by the minister with a remonstrance which took an hour to read,
regretting that the King's authority and the King's favour did not go
together. "If I had not broken out into the most profuse sweat," said
the unhappy monarch, "I should have been suffocated with

  [309] The fifth Duke, who succeeded to the title in 1764.

  [310] Albemarle: _Memoirs of Rockingham_; Walpole: _Memoirs of George

"Upon the strength of Mr. Pitt's refusing the King, the Duke of Bedford,
Lord Sandwich, and G. Grenville have insulted the King," Lady Sarah
Bunbury wrote to Lady Susan O'Brien, on June 22, 1765. "They told him
that as he could get no others he must take them, but they would not
come in positively without such and such conditions, one of which was
turning out Mr. Mackenzie. The poor man has been obliged to swallow the
pill, but his anger is turned to sulkiness, and he never says a word
more than is necessary to them, and sees Mr. Pitt and the Duke of
Cumberland constantly. I think he ought to have been violent and steady
at first, but since he once submitted he had better not behave like a
child now. Everybody must allow they are great _fools_ for behaving so
to him; they will repent it."[311] Lady Sarah's view of the situation
was right: the ministers had over-reached themselves, and their attempts
to reduce the King to a cypher forced him in self-defence to make a
further desperate effort to shake off the galling yoke. The time was
propitious: the members of the administration were quarrelling among
themselves, and their handling of the "Weaver's Riots" gave proof to the
country of their incapacity. Yet Grenville apparently never dreamt that
his position was assailable. "The excessive self-conceit of Grenville,
that could make his writers call him--if he did not write it
himself--the greatest minister this country ever saw, as well as his
pride and obstinacy, established him," Lord Holland wrote to George
Selwyn on August 4. "It did not hurt him that he had a better opinion of
himself than he, or perhaps anybody else ever deserved. On the contrary,
it helped him. But when the fool said upon that--'the King cannot do
without me,' _hoc nocuit_."

  [311] _Life and Letters of Lady Sarah Lennox._

The Duke of Cumberland again undertook the charge of the negotiations,
and renewed the overtures to Pitt, who this time came to town, and on
June 19 was with the King for two hours, a fact that became known to
Lord Sandwich. Grenville, the Duke of Bedford, and Lord Halifax were in
the country, and Sandwich, alarmed, pressed Grenville to return to town,
which, however, the Prime Minister declined to do. "When I took leave of
the King I asked his permission to stay in the country till Thursday
next, which he granted to me," he wrote. "My return to town before that
time, uncalled for, will have the appearance of a desire to embarrass
the arrangement which he is now endeavouring to form, and which I need
not tell you will come on, or go off, just the same whether I am there
or not; as the King would not in the present situation communicate it to
me, and, without that, I certainly should not trouble him on the

  [312] _Grenville Papers._

On the 22nd inst. Pitt was closeted with the King for three hours, and
it seemed as if he would take office, as, indeed, he might have done if
left to himself. "Now Mr. Pitt and the King, and the Duke and the King
have long conferences every day. What they will do no mortal can tell,
but it's _supposed_ that George Grenville and Mr. Pitt are very well
together, as Lord Temple has made it up with him, and therefore that
they won't come in to turn out Mr. Grenville and the present
administration."[313] Lord Temple, however, who cherished a desire that
"the brothers"[314] should form a government of their own, would not
accept office, whereupon Pitt informed the King he was not prepared to
form a cabinet. This he did reluctantly, and it is said, remarked sadly
to Lord Temple:

     "_Exstinxti me, teque, soror, populumque patremque Sidonios,
     urbemque tuam._"[315]

  [313] Lady Sarah Bunbury to Lady Susan O'Brien, June 22, 1765.

  [314] Pitt, Lord Temple, and George Grenville.

  [315] Virgil: _Æneid, IV_, 682. It is rendered in Pitt's translation:

      "You, by this fatal stroke, and I, and all
       Your senate, people, and your country, fall."

"All is now over as to me, and by a fatality I did not expect," Pitt
wrote to Lady Stanhope on July 20. "I mean Lord Temple's refusing to
take his share with me in the undertaking. We set out to-morrow morning
for my seat at Burton Pynsent in Somersetshire, where I propose, if I
find the place tolerable, to pass not a little of the rest of my
days."[316] In the meantime, however, and as a last resource, the Duke
of Cumberland turned to the Rockingham Whigs, and, after much
negotiation, on July 10, Lord Rockingham accepted office.

  [316] _Chatham Correspondence._


_Printed by Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons Ltd. Bath._


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