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GEORGE THE THIRD, AND HIS CONSORT SOPHIA
CHARLOTTE. George, the first son of Frederick, beating, and colours flying, marched Prince of Wales, and the Princess up to the drawing-room, where the Augusta, was born on the 24th of May, were received by their elected colonel, 1738. He was a seven months' child, the baby prince, and had the honour and, in consequence of his weakness, was of kissing his hand. privately baptized on the day of his birth. On the 20th of January, 1741, he Doubts were entertained as to the pos was first publicly prayed for: a reconsibility of rearing him; and, contrary ciliation (externally at least) having to court etiquette, a nurse was selected taken place between his father and the for bim from a very humble class of king, and the royal child appears to the community. Under the manage have been admitted familiarly into the ment of this woman, who appears to presence of his grandfather. One day have been the wife of a gardener, he his majesty and the little prince being rapidly gained strength; and the alarm in the library together, the latter was of his parents, that he would be in so noisy that the king threatened to capable of surviving even the minor put him out of the window into the diseases of infancy, was soon entirely garden; and finding his threat of no dissipated. Although the delicate child avail, carried it into execution.
The had been confided to the care of this sovereign continued at his business lowly, but robust individual, contrary without thinking any more of his to precedent, yet, in obedience to the grandson; until, being about to retire, custom of the court, it was absurdly Dalton, the librarian, reminded him intimated to the woman, that the royal that the young prince was a prisoner baby could not be permitted to sleep in the garden. “God bless me!" exwith her. “ Not sleep with me!" she claimed the king, “I had forgotten exclaimed, bluntly and indignantly; the child;" and opening the window, " then you may nurse the boy your he set the future monarch at liberty. selves."' No arguments could induce In 1744, Prince George, being nearly her to waive her objection on this point ; six years old, was taken from the nurand the parties concerned, at length sery and placed under the care of Dr. condescended to permit the nursling Francis Ayscough, who is thus spoken to be her bedfellow. Many years after, of by Walpole :-" Mr. Pelham said, I either from misfortune, or her hus know nothing of Dr. Ayscough.-Oh! band's extravagance, she was frequently yes, I recollect I was told by a very in great distress for money : on such worthy man, two years ago, that he occasions, she invariably applied to the was a great rogue.
“ The princess," prince; who, if he had not the means says the same author, “ found that of relieving her, would actually weep Prince George, at eleven years of age, at his inability.
could not read English, though AysHe was publicly baptized on the 22nd cough, to make amends, assured her of June, by the name of George Wil he could make Latin verses." liam Frederick : the King of Prussia In 1748, George the Second directed and the Duke of Saxe Gotha were his Baron Steinberg to ascertain what progod-fathers by proxy, and the Queen gress the royal children had made in of Prussia was his godmother, also their education. The baron having by proxy.
accordingly examined them, told Prince On the first anniversary of his birth-George that he should report his great day, a Lilliputian military band, con proficiency in Latin to the king; sisting of about sixty lads, all under - but," added he, “I wish you were twelve years of age, sons of wealthy a little more perfect in your German citizens, formed into close column be- grammar.” “Ġerman grammar!" exfore Norfolk-house; and, with drums claimed the boy, squinting at the baron,
“why, any dull child can learn that." the Princesses Augusta and Elizabeth, Shorily atter, it was determined that Marcia and Lucia. The instruction of he should receive the garter, and he the young performers, on this occasion, was taken to his grandfather for that was confided to the celebrated Quin; purpose. On being led into the royal who, many years after, on hearing of closet, he began a set speech, which the graceful mode in which George the had been taught him, by some of the Third had delivered the first speech Carlton-house court; but the king inter- from the throne, exclaimed, exultingly, rupted him, by crying No, no!" In Ay, 'twas I that taught the boy to a few moments, the boy attempted to speak!" proceed with his address; but those On the 12th of July, 1750, Prince tremendous sounds, which had before George, represented by the Earl of stopped him, being again attered in a Inchequin, was installed a knight of louder tone, the little orator's lips were
The death of his father closed with fear.
took place in the spring of the followGoupy, the artist, who was the young ing year: and it is related by Walpole, prince's drawing master, one day found that the young prince, on hearing of his pupil standing a prisoner behind his the event, “cried extremely ;" although father's chair. * Sit down, Goupy," it has been affirmed, that he was hated said the Prince of Wales, " and finish by the Prince of Wales, who lavished your design.” But the artist represent- his paternal regard on his second son, ing that it was impossible for him to Eaward. For the father to detest his use his pencil with any spirit while heir had been the fashion of the family his little friend was in disgrace, the during two or three generations past; young prince was forth with relieved. and Prince Frederick, apparently exA number of years afterward-, his royal pecting that the custom would still be pupil, who had long before ascended kept up, sent for his eldest son, early ihe throne, met poor Goupy, then in 1751, and, embracing him tenderly, eighty-four years of age, and in deep said, “Come, George, let us be good distress, tottering from Kensington friends while we are suffered to be so." wards London, with bailiffs at his heels. Soon after the death of Prince FredThe king, who was in his carriage, erick, an act of parliament was passed, directed the servants to stop, and thus vesting the regency and guardianship hailed his old preceptor :- How now, of the heir-apparent in the princess Goupy! How now!-What's the mat- dowager, assisted by a council, in case ter?” The aged artist replied, that his of the king's demise during the mipersonal freedom was in imminent nority of his grandson; who, on the jeopardy; but, added he, “as I once 20th of April in this year (1751), was took your majesty out of confinement, created Prince of Wales and Earl of I trust you will not suffer me to be Chester. placed in it." “ Oho, Goupy!" said Lord Harcourt now became governor, ihe king; “ Bailiffs, eh? I can't stop in the room of Lord North; and Hayter, the law, you know: let it take its Bishop of Norwich, and Andrew Sione,
But,-d'ye hear, Goupy? preceptors to the heir-apparent. The Ramus shall settle this business, and new governor, according to Walpole, I'll take care to secure you from such thought he discharged his trust condangers in future."
scientiously, if on no account he negIn 1749, Lord North, father of the lected to make the prince turn out his future premier, who is described by toes; Stone was proud, very able, and Walpole, as having been an amiable, very mercenary; and the bishop a senworthy man, of no great genius, unless sible, well-bred, honest, and zealous compared with his successor, was ap man, the natural son of Blackbourn, pointed governor to the young prince. the jolly old Archbishop of York, who About this period, the tragedy of Cato had all ihe manners of a man of quality, was performed, at Leicester.house, by though he had been a bucaneer, and the royal children, assisted by some of was a clergyman. the young nobility and gentry. Prince Differences soon occurred between George, who spoke the prologue, played the parties to whom the education of Portius ; Prince Edward, Juba; and the young prince was intrusted. The
particulars of their quarrels are neither young people of quality were so vicious interesting nor clearly related. It will that they frightened her. On another be sufficient to state a few of the cir- occasion, when Lord Melcombe told cumstances, and the result of the whole. her, “it was to be wished that he could The bishop appears to have blamed have more company, she seemed averse Stone for permitting his pupil to read to the young people, from the excessive “ The Revolutions of the House of bad education they had, and from the Stuart," and other improper books; and, bad examples they gave." in return, was accused of having ejected In 1754, the prince began to attend Scott, a sub-preceptor, one morning, his mother's evening assemblies. At from the prince's chamber, by an im this period, it has been asserted, that position of hands, that had at least as he not only displayed a taste for genemuch of the flesh as the spirit in the ral literature, but evinced so singular a force of the action. In the course of predilection for controversial writings, the disputes, Murray, afterwards Lord that he purchased and gave away an Mansfield, said, in reply to some state hundred pounds' worth of Leland's ment made by the bishop relative to polemic writings against the Deists. Lord Harcourt, “ Pho! he's a cypher, In the following year, 1755, George and must be a cypher, and was put in the Second contemplated a match beto be a cypher." On the 6th of De tween the prince and one of the nieces cember, 1752, the governor resigned; of the King of Prussia. "The sudden. and, in a few days after, Bishop Hayter ness of the measure, and the little time followed his lordship's example. left for preventing it," says Walpole, "at
Lord Waldegrave, at the earnest re once unhinged all the prudence of the quest of the king, and after repeated princess. From the death of the prince, assurances of the submission and trac her object had been the government of tability of Stone, accepted the vacant her son. She had taught him great offiee of governor; and Dr. Thomas, devotion, and she had taken care that Bishop of Peterborough, a man of fair he should be taught nothing else. She character, became the chief preceptor. saw no reason to apprehend, from his Lord Bute, although he held no office own genius, that he would escape her; about the prince, now began to take a but bigotted, and young, and chaste, share in his education; and about, or what empire might not a youthful bride probably before, this period, laid the (and the princess was reckoned artful) foundation of his future influence over assume over him! The princess thought the heir-apparent's mind.
that prudence, now, would be most When the prince was in his four- | imprudent. She instilled into her son teenth year, the princess dowager, in the greatest aversion to the match ; and a conversation with Lord Melcombe, he protested against it!" In the folstated that he was very honest, but she lowing year, the princess proposed an wished he was a little more forward, union between the heir-apparent, and and less childish, for his age. She said a female of the house of Saxe Gotha; that she really did not well know what but it was instantly reprobated by the his preceptors taught him; but to speak king, who, after expressing himself in freely, she was afraid not much :-that terms of asperity, said, "he knew they were in the country, and followed enough of that family already." their diversions, and not much else When the prince attained the age of that she could discover. She observed, royal majority (eighteen) in 1756, the that when Stone talked to the prince of ministry persuaded the king to offer the fraine and nature of government, him a handsome allowance out of the he seemed to give a proper attention ; civil list, with a suite of apartments at but she did not think the bishop at all St. James's, and another at Kensingtonfitted to convey knowledge to children, palace: his royal highness accepted the for she did not well understand him allowance, but, refused to quit his moherself, his thoughts seeming to be too ther. Meetings of the opposition now many for his words. The prince, she took place, almost daily, at Leicesteradded, was not particularly partial to house, to the great alarm of the Duke any one about him, but his brother of Newcastle and his colleagues in office, Edward; and she was glad of it, for the who endeavoured, but in vain, “ to get
possession of the prince.” His estab- several new bills. He appeared in lishment was at length arranged; but public on some other occasions, but the in such a manner as to suit the views principal part of his time was passed in of his mother and Lord Bute. The lat- retirement, and he was still remarkably ter became groom of the stole, and timid and retiring. Andrew Stone w appointed secretary. On the 25th of October, in this year, The prince was graciously permitted, by (1760,) the decease of George the Sethose who ruled him, to negative the cond took place; and, on the following appointment of his sub-preceptor Scott, morning, his grandson, now George to any employment about his royal per- the Third, accompanied by Lord Buie, son; because, as it appears, Scott had who, it was expected, would soon reap once said to him, in the presence of the harvest of his attentions to his Lord Waldegrave, on the prince's hav- royal pupil, proceeded from Kew to ing pleading idleness as an excuse for St. James's palace. On his arrival, his inapplication, “Sir, yours is not idle- the young monarch was presented by ness : your brother Edward is idle ; but Mr. Pitt, secretary of state and head of you must not call being asleep all day the administration, with a paper, on being idle."
which were written a few sentences, During the years 1757-8, the in- which, the minister hinted, might form fluence of Lord' Bute with the prince the basis of the king's speech to the appears to have been unbounded.'Wal- privy-council. The young sovereign pole even insinuates, that, by various ihanked Mr. Pitt, and added, that he misrepresentations, he induced him to himself had already adjusted the subneglect his mother; finding it easier to stance of his intended speech. The govern a raw youth than an experi- council met at Carlton-house, and the enced woman. His countryman, Home, king, although much embarrassed and the author of Douglas, having produced agitated at first by the novelty of his the indifferent play of Agis, Lord Bute situation, soon acquired confidence, and compelled his pupil to attend the per- addressed them with unexpected digformance on three successive Saturday nity and grace. nights. It was also attributed to his Before the death of George the Selordship's influence, that the prince, at cond, the people had entertained but this period, patronized various political a humble opinion of their future moauthors whose writings were obnoxious narch, whose education had been noto government. Among these were toriously defective, and of whom bis Smollett, who had been imprisoned for grandfather was known to have said, libel; and Shebbeare, who had stood " The boy is good for nothing but to in the pillory for abusing George the
read the Bible to his mother." On his First.
accession, however, to the great delight About this time, the prince, accom- and surprise of his subjects, he dispanied by Lord Bute, took a trip to played so many popular qualities, that Scotland. While changing horses at not to be exceedingly loyal was to be Edinburgh, they were recognized by a obnoxiously singular. “Every thing," cavalry officer, who, anxious to know says Walpole, speaking of the comwhat important business had brought mencement of the reign, “ goes on the heir-apparent and Lord Bute to with great propriety and decency; the North Britain, immediately took horse, civilest letter to Princess Emily; the and actually dogged them from Edin. greatest kindness to the duke; ihe utburgh to Glasgow, thence to the West most respect to the dead body. There of Scotland and the Isle of Bute, and is great dignity and grace in the afterwards, by another route, back to king's manner. I don't say this, like the inn at Edinburgh where he had first my dear Madame Sevigné, because he discovered them.
was civil to me, but the part is well The prince did not take his seat in acted. He has all the appearances of parliament, as Duke of Cornwall, until being amiable: there is great grace to 1759. On the 4th of February, in the temper much dignity, and good nature following year, he went down to the which breaks out on all occasions." house as one of the royal commis- It is difficult to reconcile the state. sioners, and gave the king's assent to ment of our amusing author, that the
greatest respect was shewn to “ the throne; and I doubt not but their dead body," with the fact, that, three steadiness in those principles will equal days after his royal grandfather's de the firmness of my invariable resolution mise, the young king caused a notice to adhere to and strengthen this exto be issued by the lord chamberlain, cellent constitution in church and state, intimating that drawing rooms would and to maintain toleration inviolable.” thenceforth be held two days in each Although, in common conversation, week, namely, on Wednesdays, and the king spoke with a rapidity which after divine service on Sundays. The often made him unintelligible, in public Sabbath drawing-rooms were, however, he declaimed with as much true modulasoon discontinued as being irreverent. tion as almost any man in his dominions.
During the two last reigns, the royal Yet he had but a mean opinion of oramistresses had formed a settled ap- tory, for he once said, “ I am sure that pendage to the household; the con the rage for public speaking, and the tinence of the new monarch, therefore, extravagant length to which some of our was greatly admired. He has, how most popular orators carry their haever, been suspected of having engaged, rangues in parliament, is very detrisoon after his accession, in an amour mental to the national business; and I with a fair quakeress; and it is certain wish it may not, in the end, prove inthat he was deeply attached to the jurious to the public peace.” beautiful Lady Sarah Lenox; (married very early period of his reign, he afterwards to a baronet, and divorced ;) laudably endeavoured to divest pulpit but he did not attempt to seduce her, eloquence of its usual laudatory personnor would he violate his ideas of royal alities to royalty. Wilson, the predignity by raising her to the throne. bendary of Westminster, having been This lady has been described in glow- guilty of some fulsome adulation to the ing terms by Walpole. “ There was a young monarch, in his chapel, he replay," he says, "" at Holland-house, ceived an admonitory message from his acted by children; not all children, for majesty, who stated that he went to Lady Sarah Lenox and Lady Susan church to hear God praised, and not Strangeways played the women. It was himself. Some time afterwards he Jane Shore: Charles Fox was Hastings. issued an order, prohibiting those The two girls were delightful, and acted clergymen who should preach before with so much nature, that they ap him from paying him any compliment peared the very things they repre in their discourses. sented. Lady Sarah was more beauti The king added considerably to his ful than you can conceive, and her very popularity by recommending parliaawkwardness gave an air of truth to ment to enact, and it was accordingly the sham of the part, and the antiquity enacted, that the commissions of the of the time, which was kept up by her judges, which, since a short time after dress, taken out of Montfaucon. Lady the Revolution, had been determinable Susan was dressed from Jane Seymour. on the death of the sovereign by whom I was more struck with the last scene they were signed, should remain in full between the two women, than ever I force, not withstanding the royal demise. was when I have seen it on the stage. On this important occasion the king When Lady Sarah was in white, with said, “ That he looked upon the indeher hair about her ears, and on the pendence and uprightness of the judges ground, no Magdalen of Corregio was as essential to the impartial administrahalf so lovely and expressive.”
tion of justice; as one of the best secuIn his speech, on the opening of rities of the rights and liberties of his parliament, in November, the king subjects; and as most conducive to the said, with considerable feeling, “ Born honour of the crown.” and educated in this country, I glory Parliament was dissolved on the 19th in the name of Briton ; and the pecu- of March, 1761, after having settled liar happiness of my life will ever con the civil list at £800,000 per annum, sist in promoting the welfare of a which it was provided should be paid people whose loyalty and warm affec out of the aggregate fund. On the writs tion for me I consider as the greatest for the new elections being issued, the and most permanent security of my king declared, that no money should