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Indeed, we can illustrate this, by an anecdote, on good authority, that, very soon after the Dukes of York and Clarence went abroad, His Majesty was talking jocosely with a Scottish lady, about her native country. On a sudden she observed that he became absorbed in thought; and supposing him reflecting upon something that had been said in conversation, remarked, “ Your Majesty, I presume, is thinking of my country.” He paused for a few moments ; and dropping a tear, said, “I was intreating God to protect and bless my dear boys."
The close attention of the King to business, and his strict temperance, were at this period extremely remarkable. In all things he was indefatigable ; and he has rode on horseback to town to a levee or a council under the heaviest rain ; and, alighting at Buckingham House, gone to St. James's in a chair previous to changing his dress. There has he spoken to every individual in a crowded circle, and afterwards spent the entire day, until five or six o'clock, in presiding at a privy council, or in private audiences, abstaining from all refreshment, except, perhaps, a dish of tea, and a slice of bread and butter, which he has eaten, walking up and down the apartment, in waiting for his travelling carriage, to return to his family and domestic circle.
His very domesticated manners, at this period, are well delineated by the late amiable Mrs. Delany, who describes him as mixing in the most friendly and familiar way with the individuals honoured by invitations to the Queen's tea parties and concerts. On one of these occasions, when the Princess Mary, copying the affability of her royal parents, took Mrs. Delany, on her arrival, by the left hand, the Princess Sophia and Prince Octavius doing the same with her right, the King nodded and smiled upon her infant conductors, bidding them lead her up to the Queen, who stood in the middle of the
During the concert, His Majesty dropped the king, took a chair, in the easiest manner, by his venerable guest, talking familiarly about Handel's music, and ordered the pieces which she expressed a preference to
The King's cool manner upon the most important political occasions was most particularly manifested on the nineteenth of March, 1782, when Lord North, apprehensive of an unfavourable division in the House of Commons, actually sent a messenger to Windsor with a note inclosing his resignation. The King received this important communication just as he was mounting his horse for a hunting party. He read the note, put it calmly into his pocket, and mounted his hunter, but stopped, on a page running after him to say that the premier's courier waited for an answer. His Majesty, without hurry, or the slightest agitation, replied—“Tell him that I shall be in town to-morrow morning, and will then give Lord North an answer;" then, turning to the Duke of Dorset and Lord Hinchinbrook, he calmly said, “Lord North has sent me in his resignation, but I shall not accept it.”
An interview did take place the ensuing day, which lasted an hour and a half; after which, the minister went down to the house and declared his resignation. It is needless to detail the personal trouble which His Majesty had in forming a new ministry, particularly when Lord Shelburne actually refused power, unless the Marquis of Rockingham were prime minister, to whom he sent the next day. The Marquis accepted the office, but refused to allow Lord Stormont to remain in power, though he consented to Lord Thurlow's retaining the chancellorship; two points on which the King had been particularly anxious. Fox also came in as secretary of state-a measure by no means palatable; and the whole ministry, indeed, made such a heterogeneous mixture of parties, that it could have but little chance of holding long together.
All this was personally distressing to His Majesty, particularly as Burke's bill, of reform in the royal household, deprived the monarch of many persons of very high rank, to whom he had long been babituated about his court. Indeed, that famous bill never performed one-tenth part of its parent's promises, though it produced much inconvenience, particularly in the suppression of the Jewel Office; so that when His Majesty went to the House of Peers to prorogue parliament, on the eleventh of July, there being no master of the jewels, and the lord steward and lord chamberlain having no authority, it became necessary for the home secretary of state to issue an order, by which the crown and other regalia were actually removed from the Tower in a hackney-coach, under the care of the police.
It was observed of the King's birth-day this year, that there was a novelty in its appearance which gave it a singular character. Not a face was to be seen in the circle which had ever been seen there before. The new ministers brought together a new company; and as that administration comprehended almost all the young and splendid part of the nobility, the drawing-room was infinitely more superb than it had been for many years before. There was more beauty and lustre in the circle, though perhaps not much more happiness in the royal bosom, as we may readily suppose, after such political turmoil as he must have gone through in the repeated changes of administration, until the death of the Marquis of Rockingham, on the second of July, brought in Lord Shelburne as first lord of the treasury, and Mr. Pitt as chancellor of the exchequer—an arrangement followed up soon after by a general pacification.
Yet, amidst these busy scenes, His Majesty was not neglectful of science; for it was during this
year that he took under his immediate protection the celebrated Herschel, appointing him his own private astronomer, with a house at Slough, and a pension. It must not be forgotten that the penetrating telescope of Dr. Herschel owes its powers and its completion to the munificence of the King: and whatever we know of the Georgium Sidus, of the lesser satellites of Saturn, of the celestial nebulæ, and of other astronomical phenomena, must be attributed to the avowed zeal for the advancement of science, that honoured, while it gratified, the monarch who entertained it. Herschel in the preceding year had discovered the Georgium Sidus to be a planet; and, though some foreigners chose to adopt another name, we must not omit the very handsome compliment paid to His Majesty on this subject by a French astronomer.
Mr. Bude, of Berlin, not approving of the name Georgium Sidus, thought proper to give the appellation of Uranus to the new planet; but La Lande, astronomer-royal at Paris, even in a time of warfare, acted a more noble part, observing in one of his works" the giving the name of Uranus to the planet of M. Herschel is an act of ingratitude to the author of that noble discovery, and an affront to that august and munificent patron of astronomy, the King of Great Britain ; whose name ought to be preferred to every other, if that of the author