The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.III. - From George III. to Victoria
by E. Farr and E. H. Nolan
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Volume III.



London: James S. Virtue, City Road and Ivy Lane New York: 26 John Street 1860

In Three Volumes:

VOLUME ONE: The History Of England From The Invasion Of Julius Caesar To The End Of The Reign Of James The Second............ By David Hume, Esq.

VOLUME TWO: Continued from the Reign of William and Mary to the Death of George II........................................... by Tobias Smollett.

VOLUME THREE: From the Accession of George III. to the Twenty-Third Year of the Reign of Queen Victoria............... by E. Farr and E.H. Nolan.





By E. Farr and E. H. Nolan

{GEORGE III. 1760-1765}



Accession of George III...... Meeting of Parliament, &c...... Judges made independent of the Crown..... Changes in the Cabinet..... The Operations of the War..... The Resignation of Mr. Pitt..... The Marriage of the King..... Coronation of their Majesties..... Meeting of Parliament..... Disturbances in Ireland..... War with Spain..... France and Spain declare War against Portugal..... Dissensions in the Cabinet..... Events in Germany, &c..... Negociations for Peace..... The Meeting of Parliament, and the Conclusion of Peace..... The Resignation of Bute..... The Character and Impeachment of Wilkes..... Changes in the Cabinet..... Meeting of Parliament, and further proceedings against Wilkes..... Proposition to tax the American Colonies..... Opposition of the Americans..... War with the North American Indians..... Domestic Occurrences



Few monarchs ever ascended a throne under more auspicious circumstances than George III. The sources of national wealth and prosperity were daily becoming developed, and the British arms were everywhere victorious. So extensive were their conquests, indeed, that it may be said, the sun rose and set, at this date, within the limits of the British dominions.

Prince George, who was the eldest son of the late Frederick, Prince of Wales, was riding on horseback in the neighbourhood of Kew palace, with his groom of the stole, Lord Bute, when news was brought him that his grandfather was dead. This intelligence was confirmed soon after by the arrival of Mr. Pitt, the head of the government, and they repaired together to Kew. On the next morning George went up to St. James's, where Pitt waited upon him, and presented the sketch of an address to be pronounced at the meeting of the privy council. Pitt, however, was doomed to find a rival where he thought to have found a friend. He was told by his majesty, that an address had already been prepared, which convinced him that Bute, on whose favour he had reckoned, would not be contented with a subordinate place in the new government, but would aspire to the highest offices in the state. In the course of the day, October 26th, George was proclaimed king with the usual solemnities.

The accession of George, notwithstanding, did not involve any immediate change in the existing administration. The Earl of Bute, together with Prince Edward, Duke of York, were admitted into the privy council, but it was given out that his majesty was satisfied, and even charmed, with the existing cabinet, and that he would make no changes, with the exception of a few in the household and in the minor offices. One of the first acts of George III., was a proclamation "for the encouragement of piety and virtue, and for preventing and punishing of vice, profaneness, and immorality." This was naturally looked upon as a token of his majesty's virtue and devotion, which view was borne out by his after character; for although the proclamation may be considered in the light of a dead letter as regards actual operation, it was enforced, or recommended, by his example; and example hath a louder tongue either than precept, proclamations, or laws. From the beginning to the close of his long reign, George III. manifested a decent, moral, and religious life, which doubtless had very beneficial effects upon society at large.

On the accession of the new king, parliament was prorogued, first to the thirteenth, and afterwards to the eighteenth, of November. In the meantime, public attention was engaged by the equipment of a large squadron of men-of-war and transports at Portsmouth, and speculations were rife as to the policy of the monarch—whether it would be favourable to war or to peace. All classes of society, however, agreed in anticipating the happiest results from his rule, since he had been born and bred among them, and was well acquainted with the language, manners, laws, and institutions of the people over whom he presided. Loyal and dutiful addresses, expressing such sentiments, were presented to the young monarch by the city of London, the two universities, and from various bodies of people, to all which he returned sententious but suitable replies, declaring his fixed resolve to respect their rights and conciliate their esteem. A letter was addressed to him by the venerable Bishop of London, Dr. Sherlock, as a parting benediction, in which he gave him the following wise council:—"You, sir," he writes, "are the person whom the people ardently desire; which affection of theirs is happily returned by your majesty's declared concern for their prosperity: and let nothing disturb this mutual consent; let there be but one contest, whether the king loves the people best, or the people him; and may it be a long, a very long, contest; may it never be decided, but let it remain doubtful; and may the paternal affection on the one side, and the filial obedience on the other, he had in perpetual remembrance."


The new king met parliament for the first time on the eighteenth of November. He opened the session with a speech, announcing not only the state of public and domestic affairs, but also the general principles by which he intended to rule. One clause in his speech was very gratifying to the people: "Born and educated in this country," he observed, "I glory in the name of Briton." Having uttered this memorable sentence, he said it would be the happiness of his life to promote the happiness and interests of his loyal and affectionate people; and that their civil and religious rights were equally as dear to him as the valuable prerogatives of his crown. He then declared, that on his accession to the throne of his ancestors he found the kingdom in a flourishing and glorious state; victorious and happy; although engaged in a necessary war, which, in the language of the late reign, he designated, "a war for the Protestant interest." In this speech he neither spoke of peace nor negociation, but asked the assistance of parliament to prosecute this war with vigour. Finally, addressing the Commons on the subject of supplies, he concluded his speech thus:—"The eyes of all Europe are on you; from your resolutions the Protestant interest hopes for protection, as well as all our friends for the preservation of their independency; and our enemies fear the final disappointment of their ambitious and destructive views: let these hopes and fears be confirmed and augmented, by the vigour, unanimity, and despatch of our proceedings. In this expectation I am the more encouraged, by a pleasing circumstance, which I consider one of the most auspicious omens of my reign—that happy extinction of divisions, and that union and good harmony, which continue to prevail amongst my subjects, afford me the most agreeable prospects; the natural disposition and wish of my heart are to cement and promote them; and I promise myself, that nothing will arise on your part to interrupt or disturb a situation so essential to the true and lasting felicity of this great people." This speech was warmly responded to by addresses from both houses of parliament; and the supplies for the ensuing year, amounting to L19,616,119, were cheerfully voted, while the civil list was fixed at L809,000; the king, on his part, consenting to such a disposition of the hereditary revenues of the crown, as might best promote the interests of the nation.

War, therefore, was to be continued, and Mr. Pitt and his colleagues seemed to be confirmed in office: yet at this very moment the train was laying for their expulsion. Earl Bute was anxious to become secretary of state, and he was busily engaged in a correspondence with the noted intriguer, Bubb Doddington. A few days after the meeting of parliament his lordship declared to Doddington, that Lord Holderness "was ready at his desire to quarrel with his fellow ministers, and go to the king and throw up with seeming-anger, and then he (Bute) might come in without seeming to displace anybody." This expedient, however, did not please Doddington, and Bute paid deference to his opinion. Still the two friends took counsel together on this important affair. In a letter from Doddington to Bute, which was written in December, he advises "that nothing be done that can be justly imputed to precipitation; nothing delayed that can be imputed to fear." He adds: "Remember, my noble and generous friend, that to recover monarchy from the inveterate usurpation of oligarchy, is a point too arduous and important to be achieved without much difficulty, and some degree of danger; though none but what attentive moderation and unalterable firmness will certainly surmount."

In his career of ambition, Bute, who was "better fitted to perform Lothario on the stage," than to act as secretary of state, paid small regard to danger, but kept his eye fixed steadily on the point he had in view. In January, he told Doddington that "Mr. Pitt meditated a retreat;" and in the same month Doddington writes to him—"If the intelligence they bring me be true, Mr. Pitt goes down fast in the city, and faster at this end of the town: they add, you rise daily. This may not be true; but if he sinks, you will observe that his system sinks with him, and that there is nothing to replace it but recalling the troops and leaving Hanover in deposit." Again, on the 6th of February, Lord Bute declared, that it was easy to make the Duke of Newcastle resign, but at the same time he expressed a doubt as to the expediency of beginning in that quarter. Doddington replied, that he saw no objection to this step; and that if Bute thought there was, he might put it into hands that would resign it to him when he thought proper to take it. But Bute was not disposed to try the duke too much, nor to risk too bold a leap at once: so all ill humours were concealed under a fair surface.

Had Earl Bute taken any decisive step thus early in the reign of the new king, it would probably have exposed him to public derision and scorn. At this time the old system seemed to please everybody; and among the supplies voted by the House of Commons, none were more freely granted than the continental subsidies, and especially that of L670,000 to the King of Prussia. His victory at Torgau, which subjected all Saxony—Dresden excepted—to his power, was made known in England just before the meeting of parliament, and it had the effect of raising him high in the public favour of the people of England. Nor was it less advantageous to him on the Continent. His victory, with its results, indeed, were a full compensation to him for the previous losses he had sustained during the campaign. Laudohn raised the siege of Cosel, and evacuated Silesia; the Russians raised that of Colburg, and retreated into Poland; and the Swedes were driven out of Western Pomerania. In the same spirit of gratitude, the parliament granted L200,000 to our colonies in America, for the expenses they had incurred, and the efforts they had made in the present war—a war which laid some of the groundworks of the independence which a few years later was claimed by those colonies.


By an act passed in the year 1701, under the reign of William III., the commissions of the judges were continued quamdiu bene se gesserint; or the power of displacing them was taken from the crown, and their continuance in office was made solely dependent on the faithful discharge of their duties, so that it might be lawful to remove them on the address of both houses to the king. Still, at the demise of the crown, their offices were vacated, and George II. had even refused to renew the commission of a judge who had given him personal offence. Towards the close of this session, his present majesty, in a speech from the throne, recommended an important improvement in this matter, which greatly increased his popularity. He declared his wish to render the bench still more independent of the crown, and the administration of justice still more impartial; and he recommended that provisions should be made for the continuance of their commissions and salaries, without any reference to the death of one king, or the accession of his successor. In compliance with this expressed wish, a bill was framed for rendering the judges thus independent, which was carried through both houses. It received the royal assent on the 19th of March, on which day his majesty put an end to the session.


Before this event took place, a certain party in the state began to think that circumstances would authorise them to commence a gradual change of ministers, and of the policy of the nation. In this his majesty seems to have coincided, for on the same day that he closed the session, Mr. Legge, who was co-partner with Mr. Pitt in popularity, was unceremoniously dismissed from the office of chancellor of the exchequer, and Sir Francis Dashwood nominated his successor. On the same day, also, Lord Holderness having secured a pecuniary indemnification, with the reversion of the wardenship of the cinque ports, resigned the office of secretary of state in favour of Lord Bute. It was said that the king "was tired of having two secretaries, of which one (Pitt) would do nothing, and the other (Holderness) could do nothing; and that he would have a secretary who both could and would act." At the same time, Lord Halifax was advanced from the board of trade to be Lord-lieutenant of Ireland, and was replaced by Lord Barrington; and the Duke of Richmond, displeased by a military promotion injurious to his brother, resigned his post as lord of the bed-chamber. Other changes, of minor importance, took place—such as the introduction of several Tories into the offices of the court, and there was a considerable addition made to the peerage. These changes were, doubtless, unpalatable to Mr. Pitt; but Horace Walpole says that he was somewhat softened by the offer of the place of cofferer for his brother-in-law, James Grenville. At all events Mr. Pitt continued in office, and Earl Bute consented to leave the management of foreign affairs in his hands; but at the same time, both Bute and his majesty gave him to understand that an end must be put to the war.


Since the accession of George III., the events of the war had been various. Although Frederick the Great had driven the Russians and Austrians from his capital, they were still within his own territory; while the French were on the side of the Rhine, and the Swedes continued to threaten invasions. Such was his situation when he heard that George II, was dead; that his successor was desirous of peace; that some of his advisers were projecting a separate treaty with France; and that it was probable that the English subsidies would soon be discontinued. This intelligence in some degree was confirmed by the tardiness with which the subsidy, so readily granted by the parliament in December, was paid into his treasury. Nothing daunted, however, Frederick planned fresh campaigns, and remonstrated with England; and, as an effect of the bold front he put upon his affairs, he had the satisfaction of learning, before he went into winter-quarters, that the Russians had retired beyond the Vistula, and that the Austrians and Swedes had departed out of Brandenburg, Silesia, and Pomerania. Still his situation was a critical one. His losses in men had been great, his coffers were empty, and his recruiting was therefore difficult: he looked forward to the campaign of 1761 with doubt and anxiety.

Contrary to the general rules of war, this campaign opened in the very depth of the winter. Contrasting the strong constitutions of his troops with the less hardy character of his opponents, Prince Ferdinand resolved to take them thus by surprise. Accordingly, early in February, by a sudden attack, he drove the French out of their quarters near Cassel, and they were only saved from utter destruction, by the defiles, and other difficulties of the country, which favoured their retreat. Almost simultaneously with this achievement, the Prussian general, Sybourg, effected a junction with the Hanoverian general, Sporken, and took three thousand French prisoners. Subsequently, these generals defeated the troops of the empire under General Clefeld; and Prince Ferdinand followed up these advantages by laying siege to Cassel, Marbourg, and Ziegenhayn. He was ably seconded in his operations by the Marquis of Granby, but he failed in capturing these places, and was compelled to retire into the electorate of Hanover. The retreat of Ferdinand took place in April, and in the same month the hereditary Prince of Brunswick was defeated by the French under Broglie, near Frankfort.

At this time, Frederick had certain information that the English were negociating with the French. This information appears to have paralysed his efforts, for preparations were not recommenced before June. On their part the French, also, were inactive till that time, when Broglie, being joined by the Prince of Soubise with large reinforcements, endeavoured to drive Prince Ferdinand and the combined army of English and Hanoverians from their entrenchments at Hohenower. On two several days Broglie made a fierce attack upon his posts, chiefly directing his murderous fire against that commanded by Lord Granby; but on the second day the French gave way, and made a precipitate retreat, leaving behind them several pieces of cannon, with five thousand of their comrades sleeping the sleep of death. Their non-success produced mutual recriminations between Broglie and Soubise, who had never perfectly agreed, and they resolved to separate: Broglie crossed the Weser, and threatened to fall upon Hanover, while Soubise crossed the Lippe, as if with the intention of laying siege to Munster.

The division of the French army caused a corresponding division in that of Prince Ferdinand; for whilst he marched with one half to watch the operations of Broglie, the hereditary Prince of Brunswick marched with the other half to check the career of Soubise. The skill and vigour of Ferdinand prevented Broglie from making any important conquests, though he could not protect the country from his ravages. Perceiving, indeed, that he could not check the onward march of his enemy, Ferdinand turned aside into Hesse, and cut off all the communications of the French in that country, destroying their magazines and menacing their forts, which, as he foresaw, had the effect of alarming Broglie, and causing him to retreat out of Hanover. In the meantime, the hereditary Prince of Brunswick had checked the career of Soubise, and destroyed many of his magazines; and soon after the French went into winter quarters—Soubise on the Lower Rhine, and Broglie at Cassel.

Frederick had taken the field in the month of April, and had marched into Silesia, where the fortress of Schweidnitz was threatened by the Austrian general, Laudon. On his approach, Laudon retreated into Bohemia, where he was joined by fresh columns of Russians under Marshal Butterlin. At the same time another Russian horde, under Romanzow, re-occupied Pomerania. The Austrian and Russian generals conceived that they could hem in Frederick, and prevent his escape; but aware of his danger, the skilful monarch threw himself into his fortified camp of Buntzelwitz, from behind the strong ramparts of which he laughed his enemies to scorn. A blockade was attempted, but the country, wasted by long wars, had become like a wilderness, and afforded no food either for man or horse; while their provision-waggons, 5000 in number, had all been taken by a flying column of Prussians, under General Platen, who had also destroyed three of the largest magazines which the Russians had established on the confines of Poland. Famine stared them in the face, and breaking up their blockade, Butterlin marched into Pomerania, and Laudon to an entrenched camp, near Fribourg. Thus relieved, Frederick marched towards Upper Silesia, which proved to be an unfortunate movement; for Laudon, taking advantage of it, rushed from his entrenched camp, made an assault by night upon Schweidnitz, which lie took by storm, and then took up his winter-quarters in Silesia. About the same time the Russians, assisted by the Swedes, took Colberg, which enabled them to winter in Pomerania and Brandenburg.

In the meantime the arms of the English had, for the most part, been successfully employed. Pondicherry, the capital settlement of the French in, the East Indies, and their last stronghold in that country, surrendered at discretion to Colonel Coote, after the garrison and inhabitants had been reduced to the necessity of feeding on the flesh of camels and elephants, and even upon dogs and vermin. In the West Indies, also, Lord Rollo and Sir James Douglas reduced the island of Dominica, which, contrary to treaty, had been fortified by the French. A less important conquest was made on the coast of Brittany. A secret expedition, which had been for some time in preparation, suddenly sailed from Spithead, and under the command of Commodore Kepple, with troops on board under General Hodgson, took its course across the Channel. Great things were expected as the result of this expedition, but it only enacted the old story of "The mountain in labour." The point against which this force was directed was the sterile rock of Bellisle, which, at the expense of two thousand lives, was captured. Thus disappointed, the people complained of the obstinacy of Pitt, and asked, sarcastically, what could be done with it? Nevertheless, if it was no use to England, it was a place of importance to France, as commanding a large extent of coast, and affording a convenient receptacle to privateers, whence it was insisted on as a valuable article of exchange, when peace was concluded between the two nations.


At this time France was rapidly sinking under the efforts made to sustain war. Many of her colonies were conquered, her navy was ruined, and her finances exhausted, while the people were impoverished and discontented. Under these circumstances the king wished for repose and peace, and in this wish, Sweden, Poland, and even Russia were ready to join. Austria alone, whose empress-queen was bent on the recovery of Silesia, and the overthrow of its conqueror Frederick, was desirous of prolonging hostilities.

This wish of the king of France—which was also the wish of his people—seemed to be favoured by circumstances in England. The influence of Pitt was daily growing weaker, and Bute was fast gaining paramount ascendancy. The French ministers, therefore, flattered themselves that there would be no great difficulty in negociating; especially as they were ready and willing to make some sacrifices, in order to obtain peace. Accordingly an interchange of memorials was commenced, and in the month of July Mr. Stanley was dispatched to Paris, while the Count de Bussy came over to London, for the purpose of negociating. Preliminaries were mutually proposed and examined. On their part the French offered to cede Canada; to restore Minorca in exchange for Guadaloupe and Marigalante; to give up Senegal and Goree for Anamaboo and Acra; to renounce all claim to Cape Breton, on which no fortification was to be erected; and to consent that Dunkirk should be demolished. But one demand made by the French was fatal to the success of the negociations. They demanded the restitution of all the captures made at sea by the English before the declaration of war, on the ground that such captures were contrary to all international law, which restitution was sternly and absolutely refused, the English ministers arguing, that the right of all hostile operations results not from a formal declaration of war, but from the original hostilities of the aggressor. Another obstacle in the way of peace, was the refusal of the French to restore Cassel, Gueldres, and other places which they had taken from his Prussian majesty, although they were ready to evacuate what they occupied in Hanover. And as if these obstacles were not sufficient, the French preliminaries were accompanied by a private memorial, demanding from England the satisfaction of certain claims advanced by Spain, a country with which, though differences existed, England was at peace. The French ambassador was given to understand on this point, that the king of England would never suffer his disputes with Spain to be thus mixed up with the negociations carrying on with his country, and the cabinet called upon the Spanish ambassador to disavow all participation in such a procedure, and to state that his court was neither cognizant of it, nor wished to blend its trifling differences with the weighty quarrels of France. But this demand produced an unlooked-for budget, The Spanish ambassador at first returned an evasive reply, but he was soon authorized by the court of Spain to declare, that the proceedings of the French envoy had the entire sanction of his Catholic majesty; and that, while his master was anxious for peace, he was united as much by mutual interest as by the ties of blood with the king of France. The fact is, Charles III., who now occupied the throne of Spain, had privately agreed, before this date, with the King of France, to consider every power as their common enemy who might become the enemy of either, and to afford mutual succours by sea and land. It had been also stipulated between them, that no proposal of peace to their common enemies was to be made except by common consent; that the two monarchs were to act as if they formed one and the same power; that they should maintain for each other all the possessions which they might possess at the conclusion of peace; and finally, that the King of Naples might be allowed to participate in their treaty, though no other family, except a prince of the house of Bourbon, was to be admitted into this family compact.

Negociations for peace, therefore, proved abortive. Even Bute considered many of the proposals of the French if not insulting to the majesty of the British nation, at least inadmissible. Yet these negociations resulted in the downfall of Pitt. At the council-table, that great minister represented that Spain was only waiting for the arrival of her annual plate-fleet from America, and then she would declare war. He proposed, therefore, that her declaration should be anticipated by England: that war should be forthwith proclaimed against Spain, and a fleet sent out to intercept her ships and treasures from the western world. He likewise proposed an immediate attack upon her colonies; recommending the capture of the Havannah and the occupation of the Isthmus of Panama, from whence an expedition might be sent against Manilla and the Philippine Isles, to intercept the communication between the continent of South America and the rich regions of the East. It suited the purpose of Bute, however, to raise the laugh of incredulity as to the declaration of war by Spain, questioning, at the same time, the real meaning of the treaty entered into between the two Bourbons. The other members of the cabinet also—Lord Temple excepted—pronounced the measures proposed by Pitt too precipitate, and he had no alternative but to resign; especially as he found, also, that the king was adverse to his schemes. Accordingly, on the 6th of October, Pitt delivered up his seals to the king, which his majesty received with ease and firmness, but without requesting him to resume them. The monarch, notwithstanding, lamented to him the loss of so valuable a servant, while he declared that even if his cabinet had been unanimous for war with Spain, he should have found great difficulty in consenting to such a measure. Pitt was affected by the kind, yet dignified, behaviour of the young king. "I confess, sire," said he, with emotion, "I had but too much reason to expect your majesty's displeasure: I did not come prepared for this exceeding goodness: pardon me, sir; it overpowers,—it oppresses me."

Pitt retired with a pension of L3,000 per annum, which was to be continued for three lives. The peerage was offered him, but he declined it personally, accepting it only for his wife and her issue. He was succeeded in office by Lord Egremont, son of the great Tory, Sir William Wyndam. At the same time Lord Temple retired from office, and the privy seal was given to the Duke of Bedford. The resignation of Mr. Pitt, with his honours and rewards, were published in the Gazette on the following day, and in the same paper a letter was published from the English ambassador at Madrid, which was replete with assurances of the pacific intentions of Spain. On this circumstance, combined with the resignation of Mr. Pitt, Burke remarks:—"It must be owned that this manouvre was very skilfully executed: for it at once gave the people to understand the true motive to the resignation, the insufficiency of that motive, and the gracious-ness of the king, notwithstanding the abrupt departure of his minister. If after this the late minister should choose to enter into opposition, he must go into it loaded and oppressed with the imputation of the blackest ingratitude; if, on the other hand, he should retire from business, or should concur in support of that administration which he had left, because he disapproved its measures, his acquiescence would be attributed by the multitude to a bargain for his forsaking the public, and that the title and his pension were the considerations. These were the barriers that opposed against that torrent of popular rage which it was apprehended would proceed from this resignation. And the truth is, they answered their end perfectly."

This reasoning of Mr. Burke was strictly correct. The friends and partisans of Mr. Pitt raised violent clamours against Bute, for displacing a man who had raised the nation from its once abject state to the pinnacle of glory; and addresses, resolutions, and condolences were set on foot in London and the greater corporations, with a view of exciting the smaller cities and boroughs in England to follow the example. The press, also, was active in vilifying Bute for the part he had taken in this affair. But Bute had his friends as well as his enemies, and Pitt had his enemies as well as his friends. The press worked on both sides of the question; while it vilified Bute, it animadverted on Pitt's pensions and honours. At the same time the people were only partially in the favour of the ex-minister. The progress of addresses, resolutions, and condolences was languid, and in some instances the people were disposed to cast odium upon, and to blacken the character of, the retired secretary. The popularity of Pitt was, in truth, obscured with mists and clouds for a time, and it was not till after he had raised a few thunder-storms of opposition, that his political atmosphere once again became radiant with the sunshine of prosperity. For the mind of Pitt was not to be long borne down by its heavy weight of gratitude to royalty, or by public accusations: he soon shook off the one, and resolutely braved the other.


On the 8th of July the young king having called an extraordinary council, made the following declaration to its members:—"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, 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 mature deliberation, I am come to a resolution to demand in marriage the Princess Charlotte of Mecklenberg 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 it 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 kingdoms, and which I persuade myself will be most acceptable to my loving subjects."

The preliminary negociations concerning this union had been conducted with great secresy, whence this announcement occasioned some surprise to most of the members of the extraordinary council. It met, however, with the warmest approbation of them all, and the treaty was concluded on the 15th of August. The Earl of Harcourt, with the Duchesses of Ancaster and Hamilton, were selected to escort the young bride to England, and Lord Anson was the commander of the fleet destined to convoy the royal yacht. Princess Charlotte arrived in England on the 7th of September, and on the following day she was escorted to St. James's, where she was met by his majesty.

Before the arrival of the future Queen of England, in a letter to one of his correspondents, Lord Harcourt had given this description of her:—"Our queen, that is to be, has seen very little of the world; but her very good sense, vivacity, and cheerfulness, I dare say will recommend her to the king, and make her the darling of the British nation. She is no regular beauty; but she is of a pretty size, has a charming complexion, with very pretty eyes, and is finely made." Lord Harcourt was right in his conjectures concerning the views which the king would take of his young bride. It is said, that in the first interview, although he saluted her tenderly, the king was disappointed in not finding in the princess those personal charms which he had expected. But this was only a momentary feeling. The king soon became interested in her artlessness, cheerful manners, and obliging disposition, while the whole court was loud in their praises of her affability, and even of her beauty. "In half an hour," says Horace Walpole, "one heard of nothing but proclamations of her beauty: everybody was content; everybody was pleased." So the marriage took place in the midst of good-humour and rejoicings: the nuptial benediction was given by Dr. Seeker, Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Duke of Cumberland gave away the bride.


Extraordinary preparations were made for the coronation of their majesties. It took place on the 22nd of September, and though described as solemn and magnificent, it did not materially differ from preceding coronations. The crown was placed on the head of the monarch by Archbishop Seeker, and before his majesty partook of the holy sacrament, he exhibited a very pleasing instance of piety before the assembled court. As he approached the altar, he asked if he might lay aside his crown; and when the archbishop, after consulting with Bishop Pearce, replied, that no order existed on the subject in the service, he rejoined, "Then it ought to be done;" at the same time taking the diadem from his head, he placed it, reverentially, on the altar. His majesty wished the queen to manifest the same reverence to the Almighty, but being informed that her crown was fastened to her hair, he did not press the subject. On the return of the procession, an incident occurred, which, had it happened among the nations of antiquity, would have been considered an omen of evil portent, which could only have been averted by a whole hecatomb of sacrifices. The most valuable diamond in his majesty's diadem fell from it, and was for some time lost, but it was afterwards found, and restored to his crown. The coronation of George III. could boast of one very extraordinary spectator among the many thousands present. This was Charles Edward Stuart, the young Pretender, who had come over in disguise, and who obtained admission into the abbey, and witnessed all the ceremonies consecrating a king on that throne which he considered legitimately belonged to his father or himself! It is said that George knew that he was in London, and that he would not allow him to be molested; feeling, no doubt, secure in the affections of a loyal people. And that he was secure, the eclat with which the great festival of his coronation passed off, fully manifested. All combined to testify that their majesties were very popular, and that they had good reasons for anticipating a happy and prosperous reign.


The new parliament met on the 3rd of November, when Sir John Cust was elected speaker of the commons. He was presented to his majesty on the 6th, on which day the king, having first approved of the choice, thus addressed both houses:—"At the opening of the first parliament summoned and elected under my authority, I with pleasure notice an event which has made me completely happy, and given universal joy to my loving subjects. My marriage with a princess, eminently distinguished by every virtue and amiable endowment, while it affords me all possible domestic comfort, cannot but highly contribute to the happiness of my kingdoms, which has been, and always shall be, the first object in every action of my life.

"It has been my earnest wish that this first period of my reign might be marked with another felicity; the restoring of the blessings of peace to my people, and putting an end to the calamities of war, under which so great a part of Europe suffers: but though overtures were made to me, and my good brother and ally, the King of Prussia, by the several belligerent powers, in order to a general pacification, for which purpose a congress was appointed, and propositions were made to me by France for a particular peace with that crown, which were followed by an actual negociation; yet that congress has not hitherto taken place, and the negociation with France is entirely broken off.

"The sincerity of my disposition to effectuate this good work has been manifested in the progress of it: and I have the consolation to reflect, that the continuance of the war, and the further effusion of Christian blood, to which it was the desire of my heart to put a stop, cannot, with justice, be imputed to me.

"Our military operations have been in no degree suspended or delayed; and it has pleased God to grant us further important success, by the conquest of the islands of Belleisle and Dominica: and by the reduction of Pondicherry, which has in a manner annihilated the French power in the East Indies. In other parts, where the enemy's numbers were greatly superior, their principal designs and projects have been generally disappointed, by a conduct which does the highest honour to the distinguished capacity of my general, Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, and by the valour of my troops. The magnanimity and ability of the King of Prussia have eminently appeared in resisting such numerous armies, and surmounting so great difficulties.

"In this situation I am glad to have an opportunity of receiving the truest information of the sense of my people by a new choice of their representatives: I am fully persuaded you will agree with me in opinion, that the steady exertion of our most vigorous efforts, in every part where the enemy may still be attacked with advantage, is the only means that can be productive of such a peace as may with reason be expected from our successes. It is therefore my fixed resolution, with your concurrence and support, to carry on the war in the most effectual manner, for the interest and advantage of my kingdoms; and to maintain to the utmost of my power the good faith and honour of my crown, by adhering firmly to the engagements entered into with my allies. In this I will persevere until my enemies, moved by their own losses and distresses, and touched with the miseries of so many nations, shall yield to the equitable conditions of an honourable peace: in which case, as well as in the prosecution of the war, I do assure you, no consideration whatever shall make me depart from the true interests of these my kingdoms, and the honour and dignity of my crown."

His majesty concluded his speech by calling upon the commons for adequate supplies to enable him to prosecute the war with vigour, and by asking for a provision for the queen in case she should survive him. The commons, besides the usual address, sent a message of congratulation to the queen, and they proved the sincerity of their professions by making her a grant of L100,000 per annum, with Somerset House and the Lodge in Richmond Park annexed: a patent also passed the privy seal, granting her majesty the yearly sum of L40,000 for the support of her dignity. On the subject of the supplies for the ensuing year, however, a long and stormy debate took place; and a month elapsed before they were finally adjusted. Opposition to them chiefly arose from the circumstance that the sentiments of the people, and likewise of the court, were beginning to change respecting the German war. But Lord Egremont found himself compelled to walk in the very steps which Pitt had marked out, at least for some time, and the large demands made were pressed upon the parliament, and finally received its sanction. Seventy thousand seamen were voted, and it was agreed to maintain 67,676 effective men, beside the militia of England, two regiments of fencibles in Scotland, the provincial troops in America, and 67,167 German auxiliaries. Some new taxes, also, were imposed, including an additional one on windows, and an increased duty on spirituous liquors, in order to pay the interest of L12,000,000, which it was found necessary to borrow, to make good the deficiences of last session. In the whole the supplies for the year 1762, voted by the parliament, amounted to more than L18,000,000: two millions of which were required for the defence of Portugal.

{GEORGE III. 1760-1765}


In the month of October, Lord Halifax, the new Lord-lieutenant of Ireland met his Majesty's first parliament in that country. The Irish parliament responded to the sentiments of the English parliament respecting the accession of the young monarch. Addresses replete with loyalty were voted by both houses; and the greatest confidence was expressed in the rule of Lord Halifax, auguring the happiest results from his administration, and promising cordial co-operation. That ill-fated country, however, was restless as the waves of the ocean. During the viceroyalty of the Duke of Bedford, it had been totally under the dominion of the lord's justices, and they had recently made an attempt to gain popularity, by expressing doubts in the privy council concerning the propriety of sending over a money bill, lest the rejection of it should occasion the dissolution of the new parliament, and thereby endanger the peace of the country. They were opposed in their views by Lord Chancellor Bowes and his party, and party violence was inflamed to the highest pitch. The popular coalition prevailed so far as to alter the established custom, by sending a bill not for the actual supplies, but relating to a vote of credit for Ireland, whence all ferment on this subject subsided. In such a contest it is not likely that the people would have joined, but they had grievances of their own, which endangered the public tranquillity. In his speech to the new parliament, Lord Halifax had recommended that the linen trade, which had been confined to the southern parts of the kingdom, should be extended throughout the country, inasmuch as there was a large demand for it, and it might thereby be made a source of wealth to the whole country. True patriots would have observed the wisdom of, and have acquiesced in, this measure; but self-interest in Ireland, as in all countries under the face of the sun, prevailed over the feelings of patriotism. The people in the southern parts of the kingdom murmured at such a project, as it would affect their personal interests, and their discontents were increased by the conversion of considerable quantities of land from a state of tillage to that of pasturage, for the purpose of feeding more cattle. By this measure, great numbers of the peasantry were deprived at once, not only of employment, but of their cottages. Many small farms were indeed still let to some cottagers at rack-rent, which cottages had the right of commonage, guaranteed to them in their leases; but afterwards the commons were enclosed, and no recompense was made to the tenants by the landlords. Thus provoked, and being joined by the idle and dissolute, these unhappy people sought to redress their own wrongs by acts of violence. Fences were destroyed, horses and arms were seized, cattle were maltreated, and obnoxious persons, especially tithe-proctors, were exposed to their vengeance. Many were stripped naked, and made to ride on horses with saddles formed of the skins of hedgehogs, or buried up to their chins in holes lined with thorns that were trodden down closely to their bodies. From their outrageous violence these people obtained the name of "Levellers," but afterwards, from the circumstance of their wearing white shirts over their clothes for the purpose of disguise, they were termed "White Boys." Their outrages demanded the strong arm of the law, and the royal troops were employed in their suppression. Many suffered the extreme penalty of the law, though many more were permitted to escape through the lenity of the judges, whence the disorders long prevailed. As the rioters were all Romanists, a popish plot was suspected, and the Romish clergy were charged with promoting their outrages. A motion was made in parliament to investigate this matter, but there not being sufficient evidence to inculpate any parties, it was dropped, and no efficient remedy was therefore applied to heal the disorder.


The year had not closed before the ministers found that a rupture with Spain was inevitable. The first intimation of it was detected in the menacing conduct of the court of Versailles; and Lord Bristol, the English ambassador at Madrid, was instructed to demand the real intentions of Charles III., and the real purport of the family compact. General Wall, the Spanish minister replied more insolently than before; but an open rupture was avoided till the plate-ships had arrived at Cadiz with all the wealth expected from Spanish America. Then it was seen that the political vision of Pitt could penetrate much deeper than that of Bute and his colleagues. Complaining of the haughty spirit and the discord which prevailed in the British cabinet, and of the insults offered to his sovereign, Wall informed Bristol that he might leave Spain as soon as he pleased, and at the same time issued orders to detain all English ships then in the ports of Spain. Lord Bristol returned; the Count of Fuentes, the Spanish ambassador, quitted London, and war was mutually declared by both countries.

The declaration of war was made on the 4th of January, and on the 19th parliament met after its adjournment, when the king informed both houses of the measures he had been compelled to adopt. The members of both houses were unanimous in their approbation of his majesty's conduct, and in assurances of vigorous support. The consideration of the intelligence, notwithstanding, caused a stormy debate, but as no regular opposition was organized, and government was supported by Pitt, clamour died away, and the war met with general approbation. In the house of lords, a motion was made reprobating the expense of the German campaigns, and recommending a recall of the British troops for the security of our own dominions; but it was strongly opposed, and the previous question was carried by a large majority. Preparations were therefore made for war with Spain, without diminishing the expenses of the war in Germany; and while fresh troops were enlisted, some wise alterations were made by parliament in the militia laws, by which a line was drawn between those persons liable to serve, and such as were exempt.

Operations were commenced in the Havannah. On the 5th of March, an expedition sailed under the command of General Lord Albemarle and Admiral Pococke, in order to strike a severe blow against the commerce of Spain in that quarter. This expedition was joined in the West Indies by a strong squadron commanded by Sir James Douglas, and sailing through the Straits of Bahama, it arrived before the Havannah on the 5th of June. A landing was easily effected and siege was laid to the Moro, a strong fort which defended the harbour, and which was considered impregnable. The difficulties in making the approaches on a hard rocky soil were great, and the troops suffered from sickness, fatigue, and the fire of the enemy; but being joined by fresh reinforcements from New York and our West Indian Islands, the fort was isolated from the town, and it was then stormed through a narrow and perilous breach, and carried at the point of the bayonet. The city of Havannah maintained the siege a fortnight longer; but it was compelled to capitulate, and it was yielded up with 180 miles of country westward, or all the best part of the island of Cuba. Nine Spanish ships of the line and three frigates were taken in the harbour, and three ships of the line and a galleon were destroyed, while the booty that fell into the hands of the victors amounted to L3,000,000 sterling. But the ultimate advantages of this victory promised to be greater than its immediate results. By the possession of the Havannah, indeed, England obtained the absolute command of the passage pursued by the plate-fleets of Spain, and seemed to lay the wealth of that country at her feet.

It was not in the western hemisphere alone, that the dominions of the King of Spain were attacked. When the news of the war reached the East Indies an armament was fitted out at Madras, under the command of Admiral Cornish and Sir William Draper, which suddenly appeared off Manilla, the capital of Luconia, and the surrounding isles. Draper landed his forces and took possession of the suburbs of Manilla, before the inhabitants were well aware of the war between Spain and England. Manilla was governed by the archbishop, who proved by his conduct, that like the ecclesiastics of the middle ages, he could both fight and say mass. The archbishop excited the natives to assault the assailants in the rear, while at the head of about eight hundred Spainards he opposed them in front. The Indians fought with almost incredible ferocity; but they were cut to pieces by the sword, or died gnawing with their teeth the bayonets by which they were transfixed. The works of Manilla were carried by storm, and Draper's forces, which were chiefly composed of Sepoys and Lascars, began to plunder and destroy the city. The inner citadel, however, remained uncaptured, and the archbishop with the magistrates, and some of the garrison threw themselves into it for safety. A capitulation ensued, by which the city and port of Manilla, with several ships and the military stores, were surrendered to England, while a ransom was given for all private property, amounting to 4,000,000 dollars. The fruits of this important conquest did not terminate here. Two ships were despatched from the British squadron to intercept the rich galleon Phillippina, and though they missed this prize, they captured the Santa Trinidad, a great Manilla and Acapulco galleon, with a cargo valued at 3,000,000 dollars. The whole group of islands then submitted to the English flag.

The English arms were equally successful in a series of attacks on the remaining French West India Islands. Martinique, Grenada, the Grenadines, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and Tobago, were all captured by an army under general Moncton and a squadron under Admiral Rodney, so that England obtained possession of the entire chain of the Caribbees. It was in vain that the French in that part of the world sought to stem the onward progress of the British arms: they were overpowering, and being hopeless of succour from their mother-country, the French everywhere submitted to the conquerors.


Before the news of the loss of Havannah and Manilla reached the court of Spain, that court had commenced a land campaign on the continent. A close alliance had long subsisted between England and Portugal, whence France and Spain at this period chose to consider the king of Portugal as the creature of the King of England. These two powers therefore determined on a rupture with Portugal, unless the Portuguese should renounce their English alliance. Preparations were accordingly made for an invasion of Portugal by France as well as by Spain, while in the meantime a joint memorial was presented by the two powers, inviting the king of that country to join the alliance of the Bourbons against Great Britain, which they were pleased to designate "the common enemy of all maritime nations." At the same time they insisted that he should expel all English merchants and English sojourners from his kingdom, and close his ports to English shipping. It was added that ii he acceeded to these proposals, his fortresses and sea-ports should be garrisoned by French and Spanish troops to protect him from England's vengeance, but that if he refused—and the answer was to be given within four days—he must take the consequences of such a line of policy.

There were circumstances existing which ought to have disarmed all hostility on the part of France and Spain towards Portugal, even if that hostility had been founded in justice. The Portuguese had not yet recovered from the effects of the earthquake which, in 1756, had reduced a third part of Lisbon to a ruinous heap. Then again, the Portuguese power was acknowledged to be weak; but, above all, the King of Portugal was the near relation of the King of Spain. The weakness of the Portuguese government, however, was rather a temptation than a barrier to the view of the Spanish monarch, and as for the claims of kindred, they were absorbed in his views of ambition. Portugal was incorporated geographically, and he longed to incorporate it politically with Spain, whence the claims of misfortune and kindred were overlooked by him. Conscience, moreover, was not allowed to assert its sway over his actions, for he had armed himself against its lawful power by leaving the decision of peace or war to his Portuguese majesty. If he joined the Bourbon alliance, well and good, for the forces of France and Spain would obtain possession of Portugal at an easy rate; but if not, if he still adhered to his old alliance with England, then it would be manifest to all the world, if he lost the kingdom, it would be his own fault: in such cheap estimation does ambition hold morality.

At this period, Portugal had not an army exceeding 20,000 men, and her fleet was reduced to six ships of the line and a few frigates, while her fortresses were in ruins. In such a desperate condition, therefore, it might have been expected that, however repugnant to his inclinations, the heir of the house of Braganza would have broken his alliance with England, and have joined the Family Compact. Prudence would seem to have dictated such a step, but he acted otherwise. He had spirit enough to declare that he would never submit to such conditions; and the French and Spanish ambassadors quitted Lisbon, while their armies on the frontiers put themselves in motion towards his capital. Ruin seemed to await the monarch of Portugal. Braganza, Miranda, and Torre de Moncorvo were captured by the Marquis of Saria, who commanded the Spanish army north of the Douro, while another body of Spanish troops penetrated south of the Douro into Beira, and occupied a post near Almeida. But the Spaniards were doomed to receive a check. The militia and the brave peasantry of Portugal, assisted and directed by some British officers, maintained a destructive war of posts on the forces of Saria, and thus stemmed his onward progress till relief came from England.

On the 11th of May, George III. ordered the following message to be laid before the house of commons:—"His majesty, relying on the known zeal and affection of his faithful commons, and considering that in this conjuncture emergencies may arise, which may be of the utmost importance, and be attended with the most pernicious consequences, if proper means should not be immediately applied to prevent or defeat them; and his majesty also taking into his most serious consideration the imminent danger with which the kingdom of Portugal, an ancient and natural ally of his crown, is threatened by the powers now in open war with his majesty, and of what importance the preservation of that kingdom is to the commercial interests of this country, is desirous that the house would enable him to defray any extraordinary expenses of the war incurred, or to be incurred for the service of the year 1762; and to take all such measures as may be necessary to disappoint or defeat any enterprises or designs of his enemies against his majesty or his allies."

This message was favourably received; Pitt advocated the cause of our ancient ally with fervour and eloquence, and the house of commons voted L1,000,000 sterling for the purposes therein specified. And this vote was followed by prompt and effective measures to arrest the arms of France and Spain. Eight thousand British troops under the command of Lord Tyrawley, the Earl of Loudon, General Townshend, Lord George Lennox, and Brigadiers Crawford and Burgoyne, landed in Portugal, and immediately commenced operations. At the same time the native Portuguese army consented to submit to the command of the Count de la Lippe, an active and experienced German officer, who had commanded the British artillery in Germany. The events of this campaign were complicated and various. Lippe concentrated the principal part of the Portuguese forces at Puente de Marcello, to prevent the progress of the Spanish arms northward, while Brigadier Burgoyne was detached to fall upon Valencia d'Alcantara, on the frontiers of Spain, southward. Burgoyne carried Valencia d'Alcantara by a coup-de-main, capturing a Spanish general with all his staff, and all the magazines which Spain had there collected for the purpose of an invasion along the Tagus, and then retraced his steps to Pnente de Marcello. At the same time Almeida was taken by the Spanish general, Count d'Aranda, and having garrisoned this place, and Ciudad Rodrigo, he marched towards the Tagus, designing to pass into the Alemtejo. When, however, he arrived at Villa Velha, on the Tagus, he found that the passage of the river would be disputed. Lippe, aware of his designs, had marched to Abrantes, the key of Portugal on the Tagus, and had posted detachments under Burgoyne and the Count de St. Jago at the adjacent passes of Alvite and at Niza. The Spanish general obtained possession of the castle of Villa Velha, and drove the Count de St. Jago from the pass of Alvite; but while some of the Spaniards were pursuing the routed Portuguese forces, Burgoyne threw a detachment across the Tagus upon Villa Velha, and while the Count d'Abrantes was amused in front by a feigned attack from Niza, this detachment, commanded by Colonel Lee, entered their quarters in the rear, and began a terrible fire of musquetry. It was under cover of the night that Lee entered the quarters of the Spanish commander, and thus surprised, the Spaniards were routed with terrible slaughter, while their magazines were destroyed and their guns spiked. This was a blow from which the Spaniards could not recover; and the French invading forces having failed in their co-operation, his provisions beginning to fail, the autumnal rains to descend in torrents, and the peasantry to block up the roads, the Count d'Aranda dismantled the few fortresses he had taken, and returned to Spain. To all these losses and defeats was added the capture of the Spanish ship, Hermione, off Cape St. Vincent, by the English, having treasure on board that amounted to nearly L1,000,000 sterling. The only expedition of the English which failed during this year was that against Buenos Ayres, which was as ill conceived as it was paltry. But this gave Spain no hope for the future. Taught experience by reverses, the war with England became, indeed, unpopular with the Spanish people, and their universal cry was, at the close of this campaign, "Peace with England, and war with all the world!"


Early in January of this year died the Czarina Elizabeth, one of the most bitter and inveterate enemies of our ally, the King of Prussia. She was succeeded in her empire by Peter III., who, by the month of March, had concluded a close alliance with Frederick, placing an army of 20,000 men, which had hitherto fought against him, entirely at his disposal to fight against Austria. This had no sooner become known to the English cabinet, than Bute and his party proposed that no further subsidies should be paid to Frederick; at the same time, they reminded his Prussian majesty, that he had himself declared that if he were once secured by the neutrality of Russia, he should have little need of further assistance from England. But the old Duke of Newcastle would not admit the validity of this reasoning of his colleagues. He waited on Bute, and declared his intention to resign, unless a subsidy of L2,000,000 was paid, and the continental war continued. Bute answered drily, "that if the money were granted, peace might be retarded;" but he never requested him to continue in office, nor said a civil word to the aged politician. Accordingly, the Duke repaired from the minister to his master, and resigned his office, refusing a pension which was offered as a reward for his services, and for the large sacrifices which he had made since he had been minister, out of his private fortunes. "If he could no longer be permitted to serve his country," he said, "he was at least determined not to be a burden on it: that if his private fortune had suffered by his loyalty, it was his pleasure, his glory, and his pride; and that he desired no reward but his majesty's approbation." Horace Walpole says, that he retired from the royal presence comparatively a poor man, to find how solitary and deserted could be the mansion of an ex-minister. Newcastle had been more than forty-five years in the cabinet, and this utter disregard to money-making exhibits his patriotism in a strong light: few would have served their country so long without well replenishing their coffers, especially at that age, when the virtues of disinterestedness and self-abnegation were exotic rather than indigenous to the human heart.

Bute had his reasons for answering the Duke of Newcastle coldly, and the result answered his expectations. He succeeded the ex-minister at the head of the treasury, "taking the reins of government with almost as little experience as Phaeton, and meeting with a fall almost as soon." Mr. George Grenville was appointed secretary of state; but he afterwards exchanged posts with Lord Halifax, who had recently been appointed head of the admiralty. Lord Barrington was removed from the Exchequer in which office he was succeeded by Sir Francis Dashwood, and he was appointed treasurer of the navy. Soon after the Duke of Devonshire resigned his post of lord high chamberlain, and the Earl of Hardwicke retired from public life altogether. Many of the friends of the duke retained their places or accepted others; but several noblemen and commoners of distinction before the end of the year ranged themselves in the ranks of opposition. Amongst these was the Duke of Newcastle, who, although during the summer he had abstained from opposing the government, at length formed a political connexion with the Duke of Cumberland, whom he had before invariably opposed.


Frederick of Prussia had not only entered into an alliance with Russia, but towards the end of May he had concluded a peace with Sweden. Backed by these two powers he boasted that he was in possession of more advantages than he could have derived from gaining three pitched battles, and without waiting for the English subsidy he took the field. He began operations in Silesia, and directed his attention to the recovery of Schweidnitz. He was aided in his designs by his brother, Prince Henry, who had gained an important battle near Freyburg, and thus changed the aspect of affairs in Saxony; but while he was intent on his plans, he was threatened with a sudden reverse of fortune. This was the death of his new ally, the Czar Peter.

After making peace with Frederick, and sending 20,000 of his troops to serve under him, Peter, from a spirit of admiration of the Prussian monarch, and of enthusiasm in his cause, insisted upon introducing the Prussian discipline, and even the Prussian uniform into his army. He set the example by appearing in the dress of a Prussian general, and he often observed that, if he had remained Duke of Holstein, he would have commanded a regiment in the Prussian service, and have become personally acquainted with Frederick. This naturally offended the national prejudices; but he took a more fatal step for his own welfare, by building or dedicating Protestant chapels, by ordering the removal of painted images of saints from the churches, and by checking the entrances of novices into convents. By these measures he therefore gained himself many enemies both among the military and the priesthood. Every third man he admitted into his councils or his presence, it has been said, was a traitor. His fall, however, might have been far distant but for the wife of his bosom. Catherine, Princess of Anhalt Zerbst, charmed the Russians as much as Peter disgusted them, and she was, moreover, induced to believe that he had discovered her guilty connexion with Count Gregory Orloff, and entertained a design of divorcing her and casting her into prison, that he might raise his own favourite mistress, Elizabeth Countess of Woronzow, to the throne. Hence—and being also inflamed with ambition—Catherine lent a willing ear to the complaints of the army, clergy, and nobility, and, aided by them, she effected another revolution in Russia. Habited in the garb of a man, and surrounded by some of the military and nobility, she proceeded to the church of the Virgin Mary of Casan, where a vast concourse of the clergy, the nobles, and the soldiery hailed her on her arrival as their deliverer. She was crowned sole empress by the Archbishop of Novogorod, and all present took the oath of allegiance to her. From the church, Catherine proceeded to the senate, which at once acknowledged her right, and swore fidelity to her cause. All the adherents of her husband were then arrested, and Peter himself was thrown into prison, where, after a few days, he died, as some say by disease, but more probably as others assert, by assassination.

No one was more interested in these proceedings than Frederick of Prussia. He conceived that he might find an enemy as implacable in Catherine as he had found in her predecessor, Elizabeth. His forebodings were not fully realized, for while the empress recalled the Russian troops serving under him, she restored the Prussian territories which had been occupied by Elizabeth, and promised to observe a strict neutrality. Thus set free from his fears, Frederick proceeded in his campaign with his accustomed vigour. Schweidnitz and Silesia were recovered, and the Austrians were driven into Bohemia, one part of the Prussian army advancing to the very gates of Prague. At the same time, the allied armies, under Prince Ferdinand and the Marquis of Granby, reduced Cassel, expelled the French from Hesse, and effected the salvation of Hanover—events which created alarm and despondency in the French cabinet.


Notwithstanding the uninterrupted success of the British arms, Lord Bute was still anxious for peace. And his views at this time were seconded by the voice of the people, who loudly complained of the increased taxation and the expenses and burdens consequent upon this protracted war. Accordingly, having indirectly sounded some of the French cabinet, Bute engaged the neutral King of Sardinia to propose that it should resume negociations for peace. Both France and Spain, taught experience by their reverses, were eager for such a consummation; and Louis XV. had no sooner received the hint, than he acted upon it with all his heart and soul. Notes were interchanged, and it was agreed that a minister should be appointed on either side forthwith. In compliance with this agreement, the Duke of Bedford went as plenipotentiary and ambassador extraordinary to Paris, and the Duke de Nivernois came over to London in the same capacity. Preliminaries for peace were signed at Fontainbleau, on the third of November, by the ministers of Great Britain, France, Spain, and Portugal; and the sanction of the British parliament only was wanting to carry them into effect.

The terms of the preliminaries signed at Fontainbleau were as follow:—France consented to restore Minorca; to evacuate Hanover, Cleves, Wesel, Gueldres, the territories of the Landgrave of Hesse, the Duke of Brunswick, and the Count de la Lippe Bucke-burg, and every place taken from his Prussian majesty. France, also, renounced all pretensions to Nova Scotia, and ceded the islands of Cape Breton and St. John, with the entire province of Canada, including the islands in the Gulf and River of St. Lawrence; that part of Louisiana which is situate east of the Mississippi, and the tract between the Ohio and St. Lawrence, on which French forts had been erected, and which had been the proximate cause of the war. On her part Spain resigned East and West Florida, with all pretensions to fish on the coast of Newfoundland; and conceded the full right of cutting logwood in the Bay of Honduras. France and Spain promised full restitution to Portugal, and the fortifications of Dunkirk were to be demolished, according to the tenor of previous treaties. For these advantages, England agreed to restore Pondicherry, in the East Indies, Goree, in Africa, and Martinique, Guadaloupe, Mari-galante, Desirade, and St. Lucie, in the West Indies, to France, together with Belleisle, in Europe. To Spain she was to give up the Havannah, with all other conquests in Cuba, The conquests England retained, beside those specified in the preliminaries, were Senegal, in Africa, and St. Vincent, Dominique, Tobago, Grenada, and the Grenadines, in the West Indies. On the whole, England would evidently become a great gainer; but the terms gave rise to great contention, and a struggle of party on the meeting of Parliament.


Although the great body of the people of England desired peace, yet there was a section of the community equally desirous for the continuance of the war. The citizens of London had largely profited by it; and during the negociations of last year they had instructed their representatives to oppose any peace which did not reserve to England all, or the greater part, of their conquests. This feeling was heightened by the successes of the last campaign, and while the whole glory of the war was assigned by them to Pitt, the very name of peace was considered as a sacrifice of the national honour. Encouraged by these feelings, Pitt organised a party in opposition to the cabinet, and he was aided in this by many of the Whigs, who, irritated by the removal of so many of their adherents from office, looked with jealousy upon the actions of the favourite minister, Bute. The premier, likewise, was very unpopular with the people, for although his views of peace coincided with their own, yet he lacked the genius which could alone command their admiration; and his cold, formal manners, and known lust of power, subjected him to their scorn and contempt.

Parliament met on the 25th of November, and the preliminaries of peace were then laid before both houses for their decision. In his opening speech, his majesty remarked upon this subject:—"It was impossible to execute what this nation has so gloriously performed in all parts of the world, without the loss of great numbers of men. When you consider this loss, whether on the principles of policy or humanity, you will see one of the many reasons which induced me to enter early into negociation, so as to make considerable progress in it before the fate of many operations was determined; and now, to hasten the conclusion of it, to prevent the necessity of making preparations for another campaign. As by this peace my territories are greatly augmented, and new sources opened for trades and manufactures, it is my earnest desire that you would consider of such methods, in the settlements of our new acquisitions, as shall most effectually tend to the security of those countries, and to the improvement of the commerce and navigation of Great Britain. I cannot mention our acquisitions without earnestly recommending to your care and attention my gallant subjects, by whose valour they were made. We could never have carried on this extensive war without the greatest union at home. You will find the same union peculiarly necessary in order to make the best use of the great advantages acquired by the peace, and to lay the foundation of that economy which we owe to ourselves and to our posterity, and which can alone relieve this nation from the heavy burdens brought on it by the necessities of this long and expensive war."

There were points in this pacific speech of his majesty which were perfectly unanswerable. Humanity, and the burdens of the country demanded that the sword should be sheathed, and the demand was eloquently seconded by the great advantages which England would secure by the peace. Notwithstanding, opposition was not disarmed, and a fierce war of words ensued. The motion for an address in the house of commons, approving of the terms of the treaty, was moved by Mr. Fox, Pitt's ancient rival, who still retained the lucrative place of paymaster of the forces. Pitt followed on the opposite side. He came to the house, suffering from gout and wrapped up in flannel; but, nevertheless, supported by two members, in an elaborate argument of more than three hours, he advanced every objection that could be urged against the negociations. The whole tenor of the treaty was denounced by him as unsound and impolitic, and as derogatory to the honour of England. He came, he said, at the hazard of his life to the house that day, to lift up his voice, his hand, and his arm against the preliminary articles of a treaty which obscured all the glories of the war, surrendered up the interests of the nation, and sacrificed the public faith by the abandonment of long-tried and faithful allies. Fox, supported by George Grenville, replied in a less eloquent; tone, but with more cogent arguments, and the ministers obtained a large majority. In the house of lords, Bute undertook the defence of the measure, and in his speech, the clauses of which fell from his lips like so many minute-guns, he detailed the rise and progress of the negociations at large, and set forth the advantages which England would derive from the treaty in the best manner his talents for oratory—which were very mean—would permit. He concluded his speech with declaring, that he desired no other epitaph to be inscribed on his tomb, than that he was the adviser of such a peace. He was opposed by Lord Temple, and supported by the Earl of Halifax; and notwithstanding all the arguments of the opposing peers, the address was carried by a large majority. The treaty was therefore signed, and commercial communications, which had been stopped during the war, were reopened with France.

Pitt had declared in his speech, that the desertion of the King of Prussia, England's most magnanimous ally, was insidious, base, and treacherous. A glance at the preliminaries will suffice to prove that Frederick's interests were not forgotten. Frederick, moreover, was now in a condition to defend himself. At this very time, in fact, he had induced all the princes and states in Germany to sign a declaration of neutrality, which led first to a truce between Austria and Prussia, then to a congress, and finally, in that congress, to a treaty of peace between Austria, Prussia, Saxony, and Poland. This treaty was not signed till the 15th of February, 1763, but its terms were agreed upon before the close of the present year. Frederick retained Silesia, and all the territories that belonged to him before the war, and the other powers were compelled to rest satisfied with their legitimate possessions, without the slightest reparation for the damages they had endured, and the sums they had spent, during this dream of their ambition. Thus ended this Seven Years' War—a war which had cost millions of lives, and in which a large portion of Europe was devastated, and carnage was earned into every quarter of the globe. England was a gainer by it, but her acquisitions cost so much blood, and treasures, that it may fairly be questioned whether her advantages were commensurate with the price she paid for them.


Notwithstanding the large majority ministers had obtained in both houses of parliament on the subject of the newly-signed treaty, causes were at work which soon effected their overthrow. Pitt was resolutely bent on driving Bute from office; his stern opposition being ostensibly founded on an assertion that he had thrown away the best advantages in the treaty of peace. He was joined in his opposition by the old Duke of Newcastle, whose halls again became the resort of politicians. Meetings were held at his residence, in which nobles and commons alike concerted together the means of making the peace unpopular, and bringing Bute into still greater contempt with the public. Pens, dipped in gall, were set to work to demonstrate to the people that Martinique, Guadaloupe, St. Lucie, Pondicherry, and the Havannah ought to have been retained in the treaty of Fontainebleau; that compensation in money ought to have been obtained from both France and Spain; that, by demolishing the forts in Honduras, English subjects were deprived of the log-wood trade, and subjected to the jealous rage of the Spaniards; and that an opportunity of humbling the house of Bourbon had been completely thrown away. In maintaining these propositions, dark insinuations were thrown out, reflecting upon the characters of Bute, the king's mother, and the Duke of Bedford. They had all, it was said, touched French gold. Epigrams, scandals, and stories, also, concerning Bute and the princess dowager, rang from one end of the country to the other. And the conduct of the princess and Bute seemed to justify the scandal, although it does not appear to have rested on sure grounds. Thus they precluded, as much as possible, all access to the king, except to Bute's relatives connexions, and dependents; and when Bute visited the princess it was generally in the evening, and then in a sedan-chair belonging to a lady of the household of the princess, and with close-drawn curtains. His enemies did not fail to take advantage of his imprudent conduct, and they soon succeeded in making him the most unpopular man in the three kingdoms. This soon became manifest to the royal favourite; for addresses on occasion of this peace were refused by the counties of York and Surrey, and they came in slowly and ill-supported from other quarters. Bute, however, was too proud and unconciliating to make any attempt to set himself right in public opinion, and he suffered his enemies to work on, till his character became unredeemable, and his downfall was effected.

Still Bute might possibly have enjoyed his high station for some time longer had there not existed at this time a necessity for an increase of taxation, and for a loan of three millions and a half, to enable government to pay debts contracted during the war. This necessity could not be fairly imputed to Bute, but he was unfortunate in his plan of raising the loan, and in his choice of new taxes. Instead of throwing the loan open to competition, he disposed of the shares privately, and they immediately rose to eleven per cent, premium; whence he was charged with gratifying himself or his dependents with L350,000 at the public expense. His new tax was produced in the shape of ten shillings duty per hogshead on cider and perry, which was to be paid by the first purchaser, while an additional duty of eight pounds per ton was proposed to be laid on French wines, and half that sum on other wines. The tax on cider raised such a storm of opposition from the country members generally, without reference to party, that Bute was induced to alter both the sum and the mode of levying it—four shillings per hogshead was to be paid, and it was to be levied upon the grower, through the medium of the exciseman. This was not an unreasonable tax, for ale and porter were already taxed both directly and indirectly, and no argument could show that while a liquor produced from malt contributed to the public exigencies, a liquor produced from apples should be exempt. Englishmen, however, were always averse to the visits of the excisemen; and the city of London, the cities of Exeter and Worcester, and the counties of Devonshire and Herefordshire, the interests of which were concerned in the matter more nearly than the citizens of London, petitioned the commons, the lords, and the throne, against the bill. A general threat was made, that the apples should rot upon the ground rather than be made into a beverage subject to such a duty and such annoyances. In the house of commons, also, Pitt spoke long and eloquently against the bill; inveighing bitterly against the intrusion of officers into the private dwellings of Englishmen; quoting the well-known maxim that in England "every man's house is his castle." Stern opposition was, moreover, made in the house of lords; and, had Bute been wise, he would have bowed deferentially to the public feeling, and have adopted some other mode of raising the money less repugnant to the temper and disposition of the people. Bute, however, to use a figurative expression, proudly bared his head to the tempest which was playing around him. He was determined that the bill should pass, and he carried his point despite the fierce opposition of the whole country. The bill passed into a law, and although there were four different kinds of cider, varying in price from five to fifty shillings per hogshead, they were all taxed alike.

Yet Bute was not made of such stern material that he could defy the people with impunity. He had gained this victory over them, but he evidently felt that their voice was omnipotent, and that if he longer resisted it, he might possibly one day, and that soon, be doomed to suffer disgrace by defeat. Under these circumstances, almost as soon as the bill passed into a law, he surprised his friends and his enemies alike, by suddenly tendering his resignation. Opinions varied as to his motives for taking such a step. Some of his enemies said that he had retired from the rising storm of national indignation, and that Pitt had politically killed him; others that the king and queen, whose strict morality of conduct was well known, had at length taken umbrage at his intimacy with the queen dowager; while others asserted that he abandoned his post from a consciousness of guilt, and a dread of impeachment for certain acts not yet made known to the public. On the other hand, his friends asserted that his retirement arose from his hatred of the intrigues of a public life, and represented him as panting in the midst of the toils of his office for literary and rural retirement. His own reason, as expressed to a friend, was, that he found himself powerless in his own cabinet. "Single in a cabinet of my own forming," he observed, "no aid in the house of lords to support me, except two peers, [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." Bute retired as proudly as he had exercised his office, for he neither asked for pension nor sinecure, and his retirement was followed by that of Sir Francis Dashwood, chancellor of the exchequer, and of Fox, who were elevated to the peerage: the former as Baron le Despencer, and the latter as Baron Holland. Mr. George Grenville succeeded to the premiership, and also to the place which had been occupied by Dashwood, uniting in himself the offices of chancellor of the exchequer and first lord of the treasury. But Bute still acted behind the scenes. He pulled the strings, and Grenville and the rest of the cabinet answered his motions, as mechanically as though they had been so many puppets. Grenville, indeed, seems to have been chosen by the king and Bute, as a willing instrument for carrying their plans into ready execution.


One of the most sturdy opponents of Bute and his administration had been the celebrated John Wilkes, member of parliament for Aylesbury, and a lieutenant-colonel in the Buckinghamshire militia. On first entering into office, Bute, by the advice of Bubb Doddington, had established a newspaper, styled "The Briton," the ostensible object of which was, to advocate the measures of Bute's administration. Many writers were employed to write for this paper; and while they exalted the premier, they did not fail to vilify his opponents. To oppose this organ of the ministers, another paper was set on foot, and conducted by Wilkes, under the the title of "The North Briton." Wilkes was a man of ruined fortune and of dissolute habits; but he was active, enterprising, and daring, and possessed a considerable fund of wit and repartee. In the beginning of this reign, he had solicited a lucrative post under government, but had been disappointed. His failure was attributed by him to the influence which Bute held over the monarch, and he began to vent his spleen against the minister and his coadjutors in scandalizing and calumniating their actions and private characters. Both in conversation and in the "North Briton," they were ever made the butts of his ready wit. He even reviled, stigmatized, and heaped curses upon Bute's country and countrymen. According to his showing, the river Tweed was the line of demarcation between all that was honourable and noble, and all that was dishonourable and servile—south of that river, honour, virtue, and patriotism flourished; north of it, malice, meanness, and slavery prevailed. Every Scotchman was painted by him as a hungry beggar, time-server, and traitor. Wilkes was, perhaps, not singular in his antipathies at this time against the Scotch, for wiser men than him exhibited them in their writings and in their conversation, arising in a great measure from the circumstance of the introduction of large numbers of them into the offices of government. But in this, Bute acted as any other man would have done under similar circumstances, as every one possesses by nature a predilection for their own country and countrymen. This conduct, therefore, of Wilkes was as unwise as it was unjust and impolitic. Still no danger would have occurred to himself from the display of such bitter feelings, had he confined his malevolence to the subjects of Great Britain. Grown bold by impunity, however, Wilkes at length pointed his pen at the royal family, and even at the monarch himself; and, by so doing, he raised a persecution against himself, which has rendered him a prominent object in the annals of his country. On the 19th of April his majesty prorogued parliament, and in the next number of the "North Briton," the celebrated 45th, Wilkes accused the monarch of uttering a direct falsehood in his speech on that occasion. Whether Grenville was more sensitive than his predecessor had shown himself, or whether Bute instigated him to take notice of this attack, in order to revenge himself upon Wilkes, is not clear, but it is certain that on the 26th a general warrant was issued from the secretary of state's office, signed and sealed by Lord Halifax, for the arrest of the authors, printers, and publishers of the seditious paper, and for the seizure of their papers. No names were specified in this warrant, and within three days, no less than forty-nine persons were taken upon mere suspicion. These were innocent, but on the 29th, Kearsley, the avowed publisher, and Balfe, the printer, were taken into custody, who confessed that Wilkes was the author of the paper. Accordingly, the crown lawyers having been consulted, the messengers were directed to seize Wilkes, and bring him forthwith before the secretary of state. It was in vain that the offender asserted that they were acting upon an illegal warrant: his papers were seized, and he was carried before Lord Halifax. At the request of Wilkes, his friend, Lord Temple, applied to the court of common pleas for a writ of habeas corpus, and the motion was granted; but before it could be prepared, he was committed to the Tower in close custody, and his friends, his counsel, and his solicitor were denied access to him. The confinement of Wilkes, however, was of short duration, for on the 3rd of May, a writ of habeas corpus was directed to the constable of the Tower, by which he was brought before the court in Westminster Hall. In that court he made a virulent speech against the existing administration, broadly asserting that there was a plot among its members for destroying the liberties of the nation, and that he was selected as their victim, because they could not corrupt him with their gold. The court took time to consider the matter, and on the 6th, Lord Chief Justice Pratt proceeded to deliver the joint opinion of the judges. This opinion was, that though the commitment of Wilkes and the general warrant were not in themselves illegal, as they were justified by numerous precedents, yet he was entitled to his discharge by virtue of his privilege as a member of parliament; that privilege being only forfeited by members who were guilty either of treason, felony, or a breach of the peace. Wilkes was therefore discharged, but the attorney-general immediately instituted a prosecution against him for the libel in question, and the king deprived him of his commission as colonel in the Buckinghamshire militia, and dismissed his friend Lord Temple from the lord-lieutenancy of Buckinghamshire, and struck his name out of the roll of privy councillors. The liberation of Wilkes was followed by a long inky war. Upon regaining the use of his pen, he wrote a letter to the secretaries of state, in which he complained of the treatment he had received, and accused them of holding in their hands, goods of which his house had been robbed by their messengers. This letter, to which government replied, was printed and distributed by thousands, and considerable numbers of the opposition in parliament rallied round the author of the "North Briton," while the populace began to hail him throughout the country, as the noblest patriot England had known since the days of Algernon Sidney and Hampden. Taking advantage of his popularity, when he found publishers averse to the hazard of publishing his works, he established a printing-press in his own house, where he struck off copies of the proceedings against him, which were sold at one guinea each; a blasphemous and obscene poem entitled, "An Essay on Woman," with annotations; and the forty-five first numbers of the "North Briton," with notes and emendations. His pen was seconded by hundreds of newspaper writers and pamphleteers who wrote on his behalf, and John Wilkes thereby became one of the most popular men in all England. Men, even of talents and probity, though they detested his immoralities, associated his name with the idea of liberty, and the proceedings against him were designated as the tyrannical efforts of arbitrary power.

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