Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 21.djvu/175

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George II
George II

subject of animated debate in both houses. Henry Fox [q. v.] was induced to defend them and take Robinson's place (14 Nov.) Pitt, then paymaster of the forces, was dismissed. The treaties were approved (15 Dec.), and virtually abrogated a month later by the conclusion of a treaty with the king of Prussia for a mutual guarantee of the integrity of Germany against all the world (17 Jan. 1756). This was followed (1 May) by an alliance between France and Austria. Pitt now attached himself to the Prince of Wales. The king had proposed that the prince should marry a princess of the house of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. The prince, however, shortly before coming of age (1756) manifested extreme repugnance to the match. He also, at the instigation of his mother, requested that the Earl of Bute might be appointed his groom of the stole. The king, desiring to separate him from his mother, offered him a yearly allowance of 40,000l. and a residence at Kensington. The prince accepted the allowance, but begged to be allowed to remain with his mother. The king reluctantly acquiesced. He also conceded the point as to Lord Bute, but refused to admit him to an audience, even to receive the gold key which was the badge of his office. The elevation of Murray to the lord chief justiceship (November 1756) left the ministry without a single speaker of high capacity, except Fox, in the House of Commons. The loss of Minorca and the outbreak of the seven years' war threw the country into a fever of excitement, in the height of which Fox resigned. The king at first refused to apply to Pitt. 'Pitt will not do my business,' he said to Granville. 'You know,' said Granville to Fox, 'what my business meant—Hanover.' Nevertheless overtures were eventually made to Pitt. He refused, however, to enter the cabinet until Newcastle resigned (27 Oct.), when Pitt formed his administration with the Duke of Devonshire (Waldegrave, 31-4, 52, 64, 68, 86; Jenkinson, iii. 30 et seq., 47 et seq.; Bubb Dodington, 188, 201, 358 et seq.; Walpole, Memoirs, i. 244, 278, 289, 370,378, 381, 388, 406-10, ii. 35, 62, 139, 152, 223, 258 et seq.)

The new ministry was extremely distasteful to the king. He was disgusted with the recommendation of a national militia in the speech from the throne. He read with satisfaction a libel on the speech, and said he hoped the author would be leniently dealt with, as it was much better than the original. Pitt, he averred, made him long speeches in the closet which were quite beyond his comprehension, and Temple was pert and insolent. He was irritated with both for interceding on behalf of Admiral Byng. He desired to send the Duke of Cumberland to defend Hanover against the French, and that a vote of 100,000l. should be obtained towards the same purpose. This Pitt refused. The king commissioned Lord Waldegrave to negotiate for the return of Newcastle, and dismissed (5 April 1757) Lord Temple and, a few days later, Pitt. Newcastle did not dare to return without Pitt. The king in despair offered the treasury to Lord Waldegrave, who accepted it, but failed to form an administration. At last the king was compelled to acquiesce in the return of Pitt, who thereupon formed his great administration in alliance with Newcastle. The new ministry kissed hands on 29 June (Coxe, Lord Walpole, p. 260 et seq.; Waldegrave, 89-98, 107-113, 134-5; Walpole, Memoirs, ii. 310-11, 326, 376-9, iii. 1 et seq., 25-30). Meanwhile affairs went badly in Hanover. The Duke of Cumberland was beaten at Hastenbeck (28 June), evacuated Hanover, and the king had to apply for the mediation of his son-in-law, the king of Denmark, to obtain the humiliating convention of Kloster Zeven (8 Sept.) When the duke presented himself at Kensington, the king exclaimed, 'Here is my son, who has ruined me and disgraced himself.' The duke thereupon resigned all his offices and commands. A more capable general was found in Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, who in February 1758 drove the French out of the duchies of Bremen and Verden, in April out of Hanover, in May across the Rhine, defeated them at Crefeld (23 June), and, though compelled in the following summer to retreat into Germany, made good the line of the Weser, and by the signal victory of Minden (1 Aug.) compelled them to retreat upon the Rhine, only the negligence of Lord George Sackville saving them from total rout [see Germain, George Sackville]. The king was extremely incensed with Sackville, and declared the sentence of the court-martial which pronounced him unfit for military service to be worse than death. Meanwhile success followed success in every part of the world. Clive, who had already destroyed the power of the French in Bengal, shattered that of the Dutch in October 1758 by sinking their fleet in the Hooghly. Lally gave ground in the Carnatic before Brereton and Eyre Coote. The settlements of the French in Senegal and Goree were reduced the same year by Keppel. Guadeloupe was taken early in 1759. The recovery of Cape Breton by Boscawen (June 1758), followed by the conquest of Ticonderoga, Niagara, and Quebec (July-September 1759), of Montreal (September 1760), termi-