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

One of the King's prime favorites was Sir William Knighton


One

of the King's prime favorites was Sir William Knighton, who had begun by being a physician, had made his way into Court circles, and become the private and confidential adviser of the King. Sir William Knighton had been appointed to the office of Keeper of the Royal Purse, and in that capacity he had rendered much service to George by endeavoring with skill and pertinacity to keep income and expenditure on something more nearly approaching to a balance than had been the way in former days. Knighton's was not exactly a State office and it gave him no position among ministers, but the King constantly used him as a go-between when he desired to have private dealings with any of his recognized advisers, and Knighton was the recipient of his most confidential communications. From the letters and memoranda which belong to this time we are enabled to learn much of the real feelings of King George towards some of his ministers, and to {48} understand the difficulties with which Canning had to deal while endeavoring to make his enlightened policy the accepted and recognized policy of England.

[Sidenote: 1822-27--The war of Greek independence]

The condition of Greece began to be a serious trouble to the statesmen of Europe. Greece was under the sway of the Sultan of Turkey, and its people may fairly be described as in a state of chronic insurrection. The Greeks, even in their lowest degree of national decadence, were

far too intelligent, too ready-witted, and too persevering ever to become the mere slaves of an Ottoman ruler. There was something inextinguishable in the national life of the country, and it seemed as if no pressure of tyranny, no amount of humiliation, could make the Greeks forget the history of their glorious days and the deeds of their ancestry, or compel them to stifle, even for a season, their hopes of national independence. A great struggle broke out against the Ottoman rule, and it roused the passionate sympathy of the lovers of freedom all over the world. Byron threw his whole soul into the cause, and stirred the hearts of his countrymen by his appeals on behalf of the Greek struggle for independence. Numbers of brave Englishmen gladly risked their lives to help the Greeks. Lord Cochrane, who was afterwards described as the last of the English sea-kings, rushed over to Greece to give his genius and his daring to the help of the Greeks in their struggle against overwhelming odds. A speech of Lord John Russell's which he delivered in the House of Commons within the hearing of living men described with admirable effect the enthusiasm which was aroused in England for the cause of Greece and the efforts which were openly made even by members of the ruling class to raise money and to send out soldiers and sailors to enable the Greeks to hold their own against the Ottoman enemy. Many Englishmen bearing historic names joined with Byron and Cochrane in giving their personal help to the struggling Greeks, and indeed from every civilized country in the world such volunteers poured in to stand by Bozzaris and Kanaris in their desperate fight for the rescue of Greece. The odds, however, were heavily against the Greeks. Their {49} supply of arms, ammunition, and general commissariat for the field was poor and inadequate, and they were sadly wanting in drill and organization. Splendid feats of bravery were displayed on land and on sea, but it seemed only too certain that if the Greeks were left to their own resources, or even if they were not sustained by the open support of some great foreign State, the Ottoman Power must triumph before long.

The best part of the war on the side of Turkey was carried on by Ibrahim Pasha, the adopted son of Mehemet Ali, who ruled


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