Imatges de pÓgina
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tunate issue. There was always room charge of his enemies is that of raslı for this; because, as a curtain con- and imprudent zeal to effect this obstantly hides the process by which of- ject; and we never heard it once alficial measures are formed, the re- leged that it was a system forced upspective shares of the King and Mi- on him, and into which he reluctantnisters are a subject open to whispers ly entered. Mr Addington, (Lord and conjectures, and are usually Sidinouth,) well known to be a favourmoulded by each party according to ite minister of the King, came in on a their views and prepossessions. He peace-making basis, and made peace. is openly charged with a passion for It has been said, that the King exwar. This accusation really appears pressed surprise when he heard of the to us somewhat too bold. What are signature of the peace of Amiens ; the facts ? George III. came to the but it is admitted, that he immediate throne in the midst of the most splen- ly expressed his wish that it might be did and glorious war ever waged by Jasting. With regard to the renewal of Britain. He came at the

age

when the war in 1803, no interference of the mankind are most liable to be smitten King was ever heard of; and the arwith the love of military glory. How rogant demands of Buonaparte-the did he act? From the moment of ac- conflict between the periodical presses cession, all his aims were pacific. He of France and England and the fersacrificed his minister, in hopes of ment it excited in the nation, are avoiding an extension of the theatre quite sufficient to render any further of hostilities; and he finally made an solution superfluous. entire sacrifice of his popularity, by George III. was much and long concluding peace sooner, and on charged with favouritism. The guides worse terms, than the nation fondly of his political judgment were said to expected. What proof could be more be, not bis ostensible ministers, but decisive of a peculiar reluctance to private individuals, whose opinions he engage in war? After this, supposing preferred. The cry of “ an influence him to have favoured the American behind the throne, greater than the contest, (which we shall speak to pre- throne itself,” was re-echoed from

sently,) can any one suppose him to Burke to Belsham, and continued to ! bave driven so valuable a part of his be a standing topic of declamation.

empire into rebellion, and hazarded its We need not assemble facts relative loss, rather than not have war in some to this charge, since it is entirely shape or other? With regard to the re- given up, even by the severest critics, volutionary conflict, supposing it true who now universally admit, that he that it was promoted by the King's per- never had any such private adviser. sonal influence, it was surely a cause The charge at present is, that he never which interested, too strongly, all the paid due regard to any advice, pubfeelings of royalty, to render it neces- lic or private ; that his object, from sary to infer any abstract love of war. the first, was to be his own minister, But, in fact,wefind nothing but bare as- and to have his own will in every sertion as to any peculiar interference thing. We are told, that the first lesof the King upon this occasion. Mr son instilled into him by his mother, Pitt, assuredly, was never suspected the Dowager Princess of Wales, was, of any want of zeal in keeping down “ George, be King ;” and that this the growth of F:

power, and ef

precept was never forgotten. We are fecting its humiliation. The standing not disinclined to admit, that, under some exaggeration, there may be tions, equally odious to King and peosome truth in this statement; and that ple, has obtained a majority in Parthe King really had somewhat of a de- liament, it can scarcely be called an termined will. It is already admitted, unconstitutional stretch of power to that the machine of a limited monar- make an appeal to the electors, by chyworks more conveniently when the the dissolution of that assembly. InKing quietly leaves the chief direction deed we cannot help, by the way, reof affairs to his responsible advisers. marking, that the long adherence of But however convenient this may be, the King to a minister of such a lofty, would it tend to exalt our opinion of uncompromising, and almost imperithe individual so acting? Would there ous character as Pitt, seems incomnot be something ignavum in one who patible with that violent and headcontentedly suffered himself to be strong determination, of which so kept as a state pageant, like the in- much has been said. It is understood fant Lama of Thibet, mechanically to that they had quarrels; but on these perform a round of outward ceremo- critical occasions, the King, if we nies; and who should willingly view, mistake not, was usually obliged to as an unconcerned spectator, the yield. The only measure which was manner in which his kingdom was ad- certainly and avowedly his own, and ministered. That a King, by forming in support of which he shewed his deplans, and seeking their accomplish- termination to brave every consement, should act somewhat as a dis- quence, was one to which he consiturbing force in the revolutions of the dered himself bound by a religious political wheel, is an evil which hu- obligation. Even on this point, howman nature obliges us to expect, in ever, he had to contend with his Micounterpoise of the benefits derived nisters only, and not with Parliament, from the regal branch of the consti- Nay, the opinion, enlightened or not, tution. But it would be difficult to of a majority of the nation, was here adduce instances in which this natu- in his favour. ral desire to exercise his own will re- We have now to consider George fused to bend to the constitutional III. in his private capacity; and here barriers which rose against it. No it is allowed, on all hands, that he former King of the Hanover dynasty, shone conspicuous. From those vices or since the Revolution, was ever con- which are almost inseparable from, trolled, on so many occasions, by the and by the world considered venial in, interference of Parliament; yet though the possessors of exalted rank and sometimes touched in the very tender- unbounded wealth, he was so wholly est part, he yielded on almost every oc. exempt, that it would be difficult to casion, with a tolerable grace. There find a course of domestic life equally is, indeed, the striking exception of meritorious in the most private indi. Mr Pitt's first accession to the Minis- vidual. All the efforts of the royal try. He certainly was maintained pair were directed to the support of there, for a short time, against a Par. religious and moral principle throughliamentary majority ; but the circum- out the wide sphere of their influence. stances were so peculiar, that even The effect of this disposition was likeMr Nichols, a zealous whig, and se- ly to be the greater, since it was not vere critic on the King, applauds his accompanied with any recluse or forconduct on the occasion. In the pe- bidding austerity. It was peculiarly culiar case, where a coalition of fac- important in periods such as we have witnessed, when manners, among the marginal notes, marked by reflection higher ranks, tended towards general and strong sense. Those who were in dissoloteness, that every thing within the habit of conversing with him on the precincts of the court should be business, declared, that his manner kept thus perfectly pure. The King's then bore no marks of that frivolity dutiful affection for a partner possess- which sometimes prevailed in his ored rather of solid than engaging qua- dinary discourse. He spoke with dig. lities, and his strict attention to the nity and fluency; and shewed himself education of a numerous progeny, completely master of every subject were equally exemplary. Ai eight in which came under consideration. the morning he regularly attended di- George III. has not been distin vine service in the royal chapel, when tinguished either as literary, or a pathe solemnity of his deportment, and tron of literature. In letters from his the fervour of his responses, were par- mother, the Princess Dowager, preticularly observed. Yet amid these served in the Diary of Bubb Doddingstrong impressions of religion, joined ton, he is said to be an honest boy, to particular attachment to the Church but not apparently to learn much of England, he was always a friend to from his tutors. He grew up, actoleration. He cordially concurred cordingly, with little knowledge of in the numerous mitigations which Latin, and less of Greek; though he took place during his reign of the spoke with fluency several modern penal statutes against dissenters,with- languages. Notwithstanding the disout excepting Roman Catholics. He tinguished exceptions of Johnson and extended a full pardon to a priest of Beattie, the eminent authors who ilthis persuasion who had been con- lustrated his reign, depended chiefly demned, on an obsolete law, for the for patronage on public favour. Yet saying of mass. His ultimate resist- there were several important respects ance to the full extension of political in which the King shewed his value privileges of this body, is allowed on for knowledge. He collected, singly, all hands to have been founded on the most extensive library that perthe most conscientious scruple. · haps ever was accumulated by any

The King's understanding has been one individual. Several gentlemen a subject of doubt and criticism. It were continually employed, both at is now generally allowed to have been home and abroad, in procuring for respectable. He thoroughly under- him the most valuable works. One stood public business, and paid con- of these informed the present writer, stant and unremitting attention to it. that he had instructions to procure At Windsor, his usual residence, pa- only useful books, and editions of sterpers and communications relative to ling value, to the exclusion of those matters of state, were transmitted to which had only rarity to recommend him by Ministers early in the morn- them. The King's favourite studies ing. He rose at six, and usually dis- were theology, history, and voyages patched the greater part of them be- and travels. These accordingly were fore breakfast. When any thing oc- the branches in which the library was curred in the course of the day, an richest. The collection of maps and express was sent out, to which he paid charts was also particularly extensive. immediate attention. Nothing sub- We have been assured, on the above mitted to him was passed over in a authority, that there was not a better hasty or indifferent manner. Every geographer in his dominions than the paper examined by him contained King himself. He is said, however,

of the poor.

amusements.

to have been fond of learning the con- an improving farmer in his neightents of books rather by the informa- bourhood, and are written in a plain," tion of persons employed to read them perspicuous, not very inelegant style. for the purpose, than by reading them Such an example could not but go far himself. A still more useful zeal was in effacing the ignoble ideas which displayed in promoting the diffusion half a century ago were barbarously of knowledge among the lowest class attached to this most useful pursuit ; of his subjects. The speech is re- and in rendering the taste, as it has corded of him, that he hoped the day since become, general among great might come, in which every poor child proprietors.—Another useful pursuit in his dominions might be able to read was still more effectively promoted its Bible. He took under his imme- by royal influence. The voyages of diate patronage the plan of facilita- discovery, particularly those of Cook, ting instruction invented by Lancas- which gave a lustre to the reign of ter; and it is remarkable, that he al- his Majesty, originated chiefly in the ways continued this patronage, even personal interest taken by himself in after the Church of England had these spirited undertakings. transferred theirs exclusively to the It has already been observed, that system of Bell. The liberal patron- the King's strict principle, and his age of their Majesties was also extend- aversion to dissolute pleasures, were ed to the establishment of Sunday not attended with any forbidding auSchools, for the religious education sterity. He possessed even a lively

taste for most liberal and elegant Among the useful objects to which

He took particular the attention of the King was ear- pleasure in music; and occasionally nestly directed, agriculture was pro- performed himself on the piano-forte. minent. Indeed the occupations of Handel was his favourite composer; a practical farmer were pursued by and German music was generally prehim as a favourite amusement, with

ferred to the Italian. The sister art out any regard to the ridicule at. of painting was largely indebted to tempted to be thrown by certain wits his patronage for the flourishing state on this humble recreation. Anxious to which it has now reached. Reyto instil the same taste into his off- nolds and West, its two greatest orspring, he assigned to each of the naments, both experienced his fayoung princes a spot of ground, your; and it was to the ample emwhich they sowed and reaped with ployment afforded to the latter in the their own hands. His Majesty just- royal palaces, that he was enabled to ly understood the functions of a royal rise to the highest place in his art. farmer, in endeavouring, by exam- Their Majesties were also fond of ple and experiment, to improve the dramatic 'entertainments, and freprocesses by which the art was con- quently honoured the two national ducted. He prided himself particu- theatres with their presence. larly on his stock, and in improving The King, in several particulars, the quality of British wool by the im- displayed a magnanimity which seems portation of the finest Merino breeds. to belong only to a great mind. His There are preserved three letters, personal courage was fully proved on sent by the King to the Annals of occasion of two frantic attempts made Agriculture, under the signature of upon his life. The first was by MarRalph Robinson. They relate to the garet Nicholson, who attempted to methods employed by Mr Duckett, stab him as he alighted from his car

riage at St James's; the other by tently read on; and the bookseller reHatfield, who fired a pistol at his mained in agony, till his visitor, cohead from the pit of Drury-Lane ming to a pause, laid down the book, Theatre. The composure displayed and began to enter into conversation on this last occasion was very remark- with his accustomed good humour ; able. He not only witnessed the re- nor were the bookseller's fears of any presentation with perfect tranquillity, future visitation in consequence, ever but took his accustomed doze of a realized. few minutes between the play and the · George III. was in his youth acfarce. In the outrageous attack made counted handsome. He was in stature by the mob on his way to Parliament above the middle size-his countein 1795, the King appeared the most nance florid-his

eyes

blue-his hair anmoved of all his train; and he de- so light as to approach the colour livered his opening speech with, if of white_his manner, frank, open,

possible, more than usual distinctness and gracious, pleased the English, i and correctness. Striking magnani- who had been accustomed to German

mity was also displayed in his feel- reserve and stateliness in his two imlings and conduct towards the rem- mediate predecessors. With those

Dants of the unfortunate house of who surrounded or were introduced Stuart. The particulars are too well to him, he entered readily into famiknown to need repetition. No mo. liar conversation. He had even the narch was ever exposed, in an equal art of persuading them, that they degree, to the shafts of personal sa- were the exclusive objects of his attire. The invective of Wilkes, and tention. At the same time, his manthe ridicule of Wolcot, continued for ners are represented as somewhat deyears unremittingly directed against ficient in grace and dignity. He

To all these attacks spoke hurriedly, putting numerous the King remained proof a de- questions, often twice or thrice regree which reflects uncommon cre- peated, and without always waiting dit upon him. He could even despise for an answer. In his hours of rethe last, though the most trying of laxation, he delighted in a species of all to the usual frailty of human na- broad humour, and indulged in boisture. His Majesty prohibited all pro- terous laughter at his own jokes, secution of Wolcot, although the in- which were not always marked by the decorous nature of many of his sal. most poignant wit. Hence was derilies would have afforded probably a ved to superficial spectators an unfasuccessful ground for it.

vourable impression of his underIt is recorded, in one of his morning standing; the injustice of which was walks through Windsor, he happened perceived by those who saw him in to enter a bookseller's shop, and be- his serious moments, and his hours of gan to read. The master, who was business. A great exaggeration, hownot so early, hastened in, and was in ever, was probably made on both no small dismay when he found his Ma- sides, when he was described as hajesty employed upon Paine's Rights ving the ablest mind and the awki of Man; and, particularly, that he wardest manner in the British domi

had opened the book at the place nions. On the whole, we may confiwhere he himself was described as un- dently pronounce, that the British fiz to perform the office of a parish sceptre has been swayed by only a constable. The King, however, in- few greater Kings; by none more dis

his person.

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