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He has a good understanding, though not of the first class; and has a clear insight into men and things, within a certain compass.
He is accused by his ministers of being hasty and passionate when any measure is proposed which he does not approve of; though, within the compass of my own observation, I have known few persons of high rank who could bear contradiction better, provided the intention was apparently good, and the manner decent.
When any thing disagreeable passes in the closet, when any of his ministers happen to displease him, it cannot long remain a secret; for his countenance can never dissemble: but to those servants who attend his person, and do not disturb him with frequent solicitations, he is ever gracious and affable.
Even in the early part of his life he was fond of business; at present it is become almost his only amusement.
He has more knowledge of foreign affairs than most of his ministers, and as good general notions of the constitution, strength, and interest of this country: but being past thirty when the Hanover succession took place, and having since experienced the violence of party, the injustice of popular clamour, the corruption of parliaments, and the selfish motives of pretended patriots, it is not surprising that he should have contracted some prejudices in favour of those governments where the royal authority is under less restraint.
Yet prudence has so far prevailed over those prejudices, that they have never influenced his conduct; on the contrary, many laws have been enacted in favour of public liberty; and in the course of a long reign, there has not been a single attempt to extend the prerogative of the crown beyond its proper limits.
He has as much personal bravery as any man, though his political courage seems somewhat problematical: however, it is a fault on the right side; for had he always been as firm and undaunted in the closet as he showed himself at Oudenarde and Dettingen, he might not have proved quite so good in this limited monarchy.
In the drawing-room he is gracious and polite to the ladies, and remarkably cheerful and familiar with those who are handsome, or with the few of his old acquaintance who were beauties in his younger days.
His conversation is very proper for a tete-atete: he then talks freely on most subjects, and very much to the purpose; but he cannot discourse with the same ease, nor has he the faculty of laying aside the king in a larger company, not even in those parties of pleasure which are composed of his most intimate acquaintance.
His servants are never disturbed with any unnecessary waiting; for he is regular in all his motions to the greatest exactness, except on particular occasions; when he outruns his own orders, and expects those who are to attend him before the time of his appointment. This may easily be accounted for: he has a restless mind, which requires constant exercise; his affairs are not sufficient to fill up the day; his amusements are without variety, and have lost their relish; he becomes fretful and uneasy, merely for want of employment, and presses forward to meet the succeeding hour before it arrives.
Too great attention to money seems to be his capital failing: however, he is always just, and sometimes charitable, though seldom generous; but when we consider how rarely the liberality of princes is directed to the proper object, being usually bestowed on a rapacious mistress or an unworthy favourite, want of generosity, though it still continues a blot, ceases at least to be a vice of the first magnitude.
Upon the whole, he has some qualities of a great prince, many of a good one, none which are essentially bad; and I am thoroughly convinced, that hereafter, when time shall have worn away those specks and blemishes which sully the brightest characters, and from which no man is totally exempt, he will be numbered among those patriot kings, under whose government the people have enjoyed the greatest happiness. Earl Of Waldegrave.
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The king had fewer sensations of revenge, or, at least, knew how to hoard them better than any man who ever sat upon the throne. The insults he experienced from his own, and those obliged servants, never provoked him enough to make him venture the repose of his people, or his own. If any object of his hate fell in his way, he did not pique himself upon heroic forgiveness, but would indulge it at the expense of his integrity, though not of his safety. He was reckoned strictly honest; but the burning his father's will
must be an indelible blot upon his memory; as a much later instance of his refusing to pardon a young man who had been condemned at Oxford for a most trifling forgery, contrary to all example when recommended to mercy by the judge— merely because Willes, who was attached to the Prince of Wales, had tried him, and assured him his pardon—will stamp his name with cruelty; though in general his disposition was merciful, if the offence was not murder. His avarice was much less equivocal than his courage: he had distinguished the latter early; it grew more doubtful afterwards; the former he distinguished very near as soon, and never deviated from it. His understanding was not near so defective as it was imagined; but though his character changed extremely in the world, it was without foundation; for whether he deserved to be so much ridiculed as he had been in the former part of his reign, or so respected as in the latter, he was consistent in himself, and uniformly meritorious or absurd. His other passions were Germany, the army, and women. Both the latter had a mixture of parade in them: he treated my Lady Suffolk, and afterwards Lady Yarmouth, as his mistresses, while he admired only the queen; and never described what he thought was a handsome woman, but he drew her picture. Lady Suffolk was sensible, artful, and agreeable, but had neither sense nor art enough to make him think her so agreeable as his wife. When she had left him, tired of acting the mistress, while she had in reality all the slights of a wife, and no interest with him, the opposition
affected to cry up her virtue; and the obligations the king had to her for consenting to seem his mistress, while in reality she had confined him to mere friendship—a ridiculous pretence, as he was the last man in the world to have taste for talking sentiments, and that with a woman who was deaf. Lady Yarmouth was inoffensive, and attentive only to pleasing him, and to selling peerages whenever she had an opportunity. The queen had been admired and happy for governing him by address; and it was not then known how easily he was to be governed by fear. Indeed there were few arts by which he was not governed at some time or other of his life; for not to mention the Duke of Argyle, who grew a favourite by imposing himself upon him for brave; nor Lord Wilmington, who imposed himself upon him for the Lord knows what: the queen governed him by dissimulation, by affected tenderness and deference; Sir Robert Walpole by abilities and influence in the House of Commons; Lord Granville by flattering him in his German politics; the duke of Newcastle by teasing and betraying him; Mr. Pelham by bullying him,— the only man by whom Mr. Pelham was not bullied himself. Who, indeed, had not sometimes weight with the king, except his children and his mistresses 1 With them he maintained all the reserve and majesty of his rank. He had the haughtiness of Henry the Eighth, without his spirit; the avarice of Henry the Seventh, without his exactions; the indignities of Charles the First, without his bigotry for his prerogative; the vexations of King William, with as little skill in the