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It is to one of these individuals that Pope alJudes in his “ Essay on Women.”
“ From peer or bishop 'tis no easy thing,
To draw the man who loves his God or King;
Altogether, the rapacity of the German adventurers; the ridiculous airs which they gave themselves; and their unwarrantable interference in state affairs, excited the just indignation of the English. The King, on his part, so far from attempting to check the scandalous venality of his countrymen, appears to have encouraged them in their iniquitous robberies. On one occasion, a favourite cook having requested his permission to return to Hanover; and giving, as his reason for desiring his discharge, the profligate expenditure of all articles of food in the royal kitchen, so different from the frugal economy which he had been accustomed to see practised in the Hanoverian palaces ;—“Never mind," said the King, “my present revenues will bear the expense : do you steal like the rest:” and he added, with a hearty laugh,—“ be sure you take enough.”
The King, indeed, appears to have utterly discredited the existence of such a virtue as honesty. Ridiculing the creditable scruples of the more conscientious of his servants, he seems to have been impressed with the conviction that venality was equally the foible of his first minister, and
of the humblest denizen of his kitchen. When Sir Robert Walpole remonstrated with him on the rapaciousness of his German dependants, and their practice of disposing of places and honours at a high price, the King merely replied with a smile,—“ I suppose you also are paid for your recommendations.”
George the First appears to have been as averse to England and the English, as he was prejudiced in favour of Hanover and his own countrymen. Count Broglio writes to the King of France on the 6th of July, 1724,—“The King has no predilection for the English nation, and never receives in private any English of either sex; none even of his principal officers are admitted to his chamber of a morning to dress him, nor in the evening to undress him. These offices are performed by the Turks, who are his valets-de-chambre, and who give him everything he wants in private. He rather considers England as a temporary possession, to be made the most of while it lasts, than as a perpetual inheritance to himself and family. He will have no disputes with the Parliament, but commits the entire transaction of that business to Walpole; choosing rather that the responsibility should fall on his minister's head than on his own." The interests of this great country were almost entirely lost sight of in his attachment to his native dominions. Whenever he signed a treaty, or declared war, it was the aggrandizement of Hanover, and not of England, the English had the mortification of seeing that the treasures which were lavished, and the blood which was spilt, were expended in gratifying the vanity of an ungrateful foreigner, and adding to the consequence of his paltry Electorate. . It has already been remarked, that George the First was entirely ignorant of the English language; and as his prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole, knew as little of the French, there remained no other means of communicating with each other except in Latin. “George the First," says Horace Walpole, “ did not understand English : my father brushed up his old Latin, to use a phrase of Queen Elizabeth, in order to converse with the first Hanoverian sovereign, and ruled him in spite even of his mistresses.” A biting sarcasm, uttered by William Shippen, the celebrated Tory leader in the reign of George the First, gave great offence to the Court; and as he refused to soften the expression, it led to his being sent to the Tower. “It was the only infelicity,” he said, “ of his Majesty's reign, that he was unacquainted with the English language and the English constitution.”
As a proof of the justice of one of Count Broglio's remarks, – that the King merely regarded England as a temporary possession, “ to be made the most of while it lasts,”-it may be observed that though George the First had carefully husbanded the revenues of the Electorate, in England he launched forth into the most profligate excesses. According to a conteinporary
writer, Toland, he had been accustomed, when in Hanover, to defray his household expenses every Saturday night. The case, however, was now altered ; and the nation was equally amazed and exasperated, when, in 1725, the Parliament was called upon to defray the debts of the civil list, amounting to the enormous sum of £500,000.
Attachment of the University of Oxford to the House of
Stuart.-Whig principles of the University of Cambridge.Dr. Trapp's epigram on the occasion.—Sir W. Browne's retort.-James Shepherd's attempt to assassinate the King.His execution.—Lord Chesterfield's remark on the subject.The King's good-humour, and love of music.-His aversion to pomp. — Anecdote of his humour. — Anecdotes of the Duchess of Bolton and of Dean Lockier. — The King's liberality of feeling towards the House of Stuart.—Extract from Horace Walpole. — The King's generosity towards prisoners for debt.—Horace Walpole presented to him, when a mere child.—His account of the presentation.—The King's liaison with Anne Brett, daughter of the repudiated Countess of Macclesfield, by her second husband.—Her insolence and ambition. — Anecdote of her related by Horace Walpole.The King's superstitious feelings.—He orders his wife's will to be burned.--His hatred of her and his son, George the Second.—His departure from England in 1727 for his Electorate.- Archdeacon Coxe's details of his last illness.—Extract from the Marchmont Papers. - Romantic anecdote related by Lockhart.—The King's death in 1727.-His character as a man, and as a King.–His indifferent education. - Anecdote of him.—His daughter Sophia Dorothea married in 1706 to Frederick William, King of Prussia. — Her beauty and intelligence.—Her husband's brutal treatment of her. -Her death in 1757.
The suppression of the unfortunate rebellion of 1715, though it imparted an accession of vigour to the existing government, added little to the