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1764. PRIVATE WIRTUES OF THE KING. 57.
marred and dimmed that popularity which the upright and worthy character of George the Third so well deserved. In every transaction, great or small, public or private, there was found in him the same unostentatious desire to judge wisely and do right. Franklin, no flatterer surely, no courtier at any period of his life, writes in 1769 as follows to a private friend: “I can scarcely conceive a King of better “dispositions, of more exemplary virtues, or more truly “desirous of promoting the welfare of his subjects.”” But besides this general character from a most competent witness, let me be allowed to cite one single instance of the conduct of George the Third in contrast to his grandfather's. When George the Second had to receive the Holy Eucharist, his main anxiety seems to have been that the sermon on that day might be a short one, since otherwise he was, to use his own words, “in danger of falling asleep and catching “cold.”** On the contrary how devout appears the demeanour of George the Third partaking of that most solemn rite on a most solemn occasion, — on the very day when he was crowned. —When the young King approached the Communion Table for that object, he inquired of the Archbishop whether he should not lay aside his Crown? The Archbishop asked the Bishop of Rochester, but neither of them knew or could say what had been the usual form. Thus they left the point to His Majesty's own judgment: “Humility,” thus he immediately determined, “best becomes such an “act of devotion;” and taking off his Crown laid it aside during his reverent reception of the holy rite.*** His Majesty's mother, the Princess Dowager, was at this time leading a wholly secluded life, and afforded little scope for the imputations still levelled against her. — But the most * Franklin's Correspondence, vol. vii. p. 440. ed. 1840. ** Bishop Newton's Memoirs. (Works, vol. i. p. 76. ed. 1787.) The caution as to brevity was addressed to Newton himself when Sub-Almoner, and he adds: “The Doctor (himself) had before taken care in his sermons, “at Court to come within the compass of twenty minutes; but after this, “ especially on the great festivals, he never exceeded fifteen, so that the
“King sometimes said to the Clerk of the Closet, “A short good sermon'." *** Bishop Newton's Memoirs. (Works, vol. i. p. 84.)
important member of the Royal Family, next to the King himself, was his uncle William, Duke of Cumberland. He too had been living for several years in retirement, and that retirement, as often happens to the great, had gone far to retrieve his previous unpopularity. Besides, one main cause of the disfavour under which he had suffered was his cruelty to the Scots after Culloden; and the change of feeling in England as regarded the Scots produced of course a corresponding change as regarded himself. All the countrymen of Lord Bute had most unjustly and most unhappily become included in the widely-spread aversion to that Minister. There was not one of his kinsfolk or retainers, – not a highTory Elliot from the Lowlands*, - not a Jacobite Macpherson from the Spey, - appointed to a place, but provoked a bitter national sneer. Thus it gradually grew to be thought that His Royal Highness of Cumberland had in 1746 exercised only a needful severity, and had not dealt with our northern countrymen (though our countrymen at that time they were seldom called!) more harshly than he ought. It was certainly felt, even by those who could least excuse the barbarities which followed Culloden, that the Duke — “the Butcher,” as he had been not unaptly termed—on that occasion deserved nevertheless the fullest praise of courage, honour, and sincerity. His hard stern sense of political duty, founded as it was on military discipline, though seldom winning affection, at last inspired confidence. Even the King, though trained up by the Princess Dowager to view him as a personal enemy, came ere long, as we shall find, to trust and to employ him. At this time, however, he was closely leagued with the Opposition. He had been much disappointed at the failure of the negotiation with Mr. Pitt in * Sir Gilbert Elliot, Member for the county of Selkirk, and father of the first Earl of Minto, stood high in the confidence and favour of Lord Bute, who in 1762 made him Treasurer of the Chamber. He was an able politician, and no contemptible poet; the author of “that beautiful pastoral “song,” as Sir Walter Scott calls it, “My sheep I neglected, I broke my sheep-hook,
And all the gay haunts of my youth I forsook,” &c. &c. See Note xix. to Canto I. of the Lay of the Last Minstrel.
1764. THE MANILLA FANSOM. 59
August 1763, and had ever since professed openly his admiration of that great statesman, though not apparently receiving any confidence in return. But his weight in the scale of politics was lessened by the ill state of his health. During the year 1764 his face was distorted by a stroke of apoplexy; while other painful maladies, and still more painful incisions to relieve them, racked his frame without ever depressing his courage. To the last, undaunted and sereme, he was as little appalled by the scalpel of the surgeon as he had been by the sword of the enemy. Another Member of the Royal Family, the Princess Augusta, one of the King's sisters, contracted in this year a marriage with the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick. For her portion she received the sum of 80,000l., which was cheerfully voted by the House of Commons. The Hereditary Prince, who was the favourite nephew and pupil of Frederick the Second, gave some offence at St. James's during his stay in this country by the veneration which he expressed for Mr. Pitt and a visit which he paid at Hayes. – As Duke of Brunswick in after life he commanded the Prussian armies against the French without any of the success of his Royal teacher, and died in 1806 from a wound received at the battle of Jena. The Duchess, his wife, who never ceased to be an Englishwoman in her feelings and habits *, was always highly esteemed for her private virtues. One of their daughters to her own and others' misfortune became Queen Caroline of England. The profound peace which happily prevailed at this period rendered of slight concern to us the transactions of other Powers. But we found ourselves baffled by Spain in our demands for the Manilla ransom. It has been already related that when that city surrendered, the Archbishop Governor purchased an exemption from plunder by two mil* Mirabeau writes of her in 1786: “A la verité elle est toute Anglaise, “par les goûts, par les principes, et par les manières; au point que son “independence presque cynique fait avec l’etiquette des Cours Allemandes
“le contraste le plus singulier que je connaisse.” (Histoire Secrète de la Cour de Berlin, vol. i. p. 240.)
lions of dollars in money and two more in bills upon the Spanish treasury.* When, however, these Bills came to be presented the Spanish Ministers were loud and angry in rejecting them. “As well,” cried Grimaldi, “might the “Archbishop have drawn on the King for the province of “Granada, or agreed to deliver up the city of Madrid. I “myself will rather be cut in pieces than lay so disgraceful a “proposal before the King my master.” Squilaci, another of their Ministers, assumed a tone of irony: “Give us the “two millions of dollars which you have already received, “and in return we will yield you Manilla and all its dependencies!”— The objections of these gentlemen when calmly stated and reduced to writing resolved themselves to two; first, that the capitulation had been extorted by force, and, secondly, that Colonel Draper had broken it by permitting the city to be plundered. Of these grounds the second was false, and the first wholly frivolous, for, as Sir William Draper argues: “The objection and pretence of force and “violence may be made use of to evade any military agree“ments whatsoever, where the two parties do not treat upon “an equality; for who in war will submit to an inconvenient “and prejudicial compact unless from force? But have the “Spaniards forgot their own histories? Or will they not re“member the just indignation expressed against Francis the “First, who pleaded the like subterfuge of force and violence “to evade the treaty made after the battle of Pavia and his “captivity?”** Plain, however, as our right appears, and frequently as it was urged at the Court of Madrid, it was always either rejected or eluded. In this case, as in many others, was felt the loss of Pitt's high reputation with foreign Powers. Grenville, though a most accurate and ready reckoner in finance, had little skill, little weight, in diplomacy. This view of his character was some years afterwards expressed by a great
* History, vol. iv. p. 279. ** The memorial of Sir William Draper is printed in the Annual Register, 1764, part. i. p. 138. For the negotiations at Madrid, see Coxe's History of the Bourbon Kings of Spain, vol. iv. p. 830,
1764. DEATH OF THE EARL OF HARDWICKE. 61
writer with much wit. In the pamphlet on the Falkland Islands in 1771. Dr. Johnson had in his first edition inserted, though he afterwards expunged, these words: “Let not Mr. “George Grenville be depreciated in his grave. He had “powers not universally possessed; could he have enforced “payment of the Manilla ransom he could have counted it!” In the autumn of this year the high price of provisions throughout England caused many complaints and some tumults. In Derbyshire especially the colliers, finding wheat one day in the market at eight shillings and fourpence the bushel, used violence, and insisted on purchasing the whole quantity at five shillings the bushel, which, they said, was the London price. In York the chief gentlemen associated to raise a fund for the importation of corn from other counties, so that the poor might be supplied at a reasonable rate. In London the principal merchants presented a petition to Lord Halifax as chief of the Board of Trade, which led forthwith to the calling of a Council, the examination of evidence, and finally the issue of a Royal proclamation allowing the free import of salt beef, salt pork, and butter from Ireland, and promising a reward of 100l. for discovering any unlawful combinations in the sale of provisions of any kind.** The hand of Death fell heavy this year on the chiefs of Opposition in England. In March expired that great magistrate the Earl of Hardwicke. In the summer he was followed by Henry Legge, who as Chancellor of the Exchequer had been the able colleague of Pitt, and who still adhered to Pitt in politics, though not bound to him in friendship. He was a practical useful man of business, and, as Sir Robert Walpole said of him, had “very little rubbish in his head,” but lowered himself in some degree by his excessive addiction to puns andjests. Even on the very day before he died, when an old friend came in to see him, Legge could not forbear exclaiming: “Brother sportsman, I used to laugh at “your being too heavy for a chase, but now you are come in * Boswell's Life of Johnson, vol. iii. p. 152. ed. 1835. ** Annual Register, 1764, part i. p. 103.