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A History of the Four Georges and of William IV, V

And if he was Elector of Hanover

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For six and forty years England had been ruled by German princes. One Elector of Hanover named George had been succeeded by another Elector of Hanover named George, and George the First and George the Second, George the father and George the son, resembled each other in being by nature German rather than English, and by inclination Electors of Hanover rather than Kings of England. Against each of them a Stuart prince had raised a standard and an army. George the First had his James Francis Edward, who called himself James the Third, and whom his opponents called the Pretender, by a translation which gave an injurious signification to the French word "pretendant." George the Second had his Charles Edward, the Young Pretender who a generation later led an invading army well into England before he had to turn and fly for his life. A very different condition of things awaited the successor of George the Second. George the Second's grandson was an English prince and an Englishman. He was born in England; his father was born in England; his native tongue was the English tongue; and if he was Elector of Hanover, that seemed an accident.


title was as unimportant and trivial to the King of {2} England as his title of King of France was unreal and theatrical. The remnant of the Jacobites could not with truth call the heir to the throne a foreigner, and they could not in reason hope to make such a demonstration in arms against him as they had made against his grandfather and his great-grandfather. The young King came to a much safer throne under much more favorable auspices than either of the two monarchs, his kinsmen and his namesakes, who had gone before him.

[Sidenote: 1760--Accession of George the Third]

The young King heard the first formal news of his accession to the throne from the lips of no less stately a personage than the Great Commoner himself--the foremost Englishman then alive. George the Third, as he then actually was, had received at Kew Palace some messages which told him that his grandfather was sinking fast, that he was dying, that he was dead. George resolved to start for London. On his way, and not far from Kew, he was met by a coach and six, which, from the blue and silver liveries, he knew to be that of Mr. Pitt. George received the congratulations of his great minister--the great Minister whom, as it was soon to appear, he understood so little and esteemed so poorly. Then Pitt, turning his horses' heads, followed his sovereign into London. Never perhaps in English history was a young king welcomed on his accession by so great a minister. Among the many auspicious conditions which surrounded the early days of George the Third's reign not the least auspicious was the presence of such a bulwark to the throne and to the realm. For the name of Pitt was now feared and honored in every civilized country in the world. It had become synonymous with the triumphs and the greatness of England. Pitt was the greatest War Minister England had yet known. He was the first English statesman who illustrated in his own person the difference between a War Minister and a Minister of War.

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