George II of Great Britain

British monarch from 1727 to 1760

George II (November 10 1683October 25 1760) was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) and a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 (O.S.) until his death in 1760.

I hate painting, and poetry too!

As king, George exercised little control over British domestic policy, which was largely controlled by the Parliament of Great Britain. As elector, he spent twelve summers in Hanover, where he had more direct control over government policy. He had a difficult relationship with his eldest son, Frederick, who supported the parliamentary opposition. During the War of the Austrian Succession, George participated at the Battle of Dettingen in 1743, and thus became the last British monarch to lead an army in battle.

Quotes edit

  • Non, j'aurai des maîtresses.
    • No, I'll have mistresses.
    • William M. White Emmanuel Swedenborg ([1856] 1867) vol. 2, p. 308.
    • Tearfully answering his wife, Queen Caroline, who as she lay dying had urged him to marry again.
  • I hate painting, and poetry too! Neither the one nor the other ever did any good.
    • John Ireland Hogarth Illustrated (1791); cited from John Ireland and John Nichols Hogarth's Works (1883) p. 122.
    • Later sources usually quote this as "I hate all bainters and boets!", or as "Damn the bainters and the boets too!" The saying is often misattributed to George I.
  • There are kings enough in England. I am nothing there. I am old and want rest and should only go to be plagued and teased there about that Damned House of Commons.
    • Statement made in Hanover (1755), quoted in Isaac Kramnick, Bolingbroke and His Circle: The Politics of Nostalgia in the Age of Walpole (Cornell University Press, 2018), pp. 113–114
  • If he is mad, so much the better; and if he is mad, I hope to God he’ll bite some of my generals.
    • The New-York Magazine (November 1791) p. 662.
    • On being warned by the Duke of Newcastle, in 1758, against promoting James Wolfe. Often quoted as "Mad, is he? Then I hope he will bite some of my other generals."

Attributed edit

  • Who is this Pope that I hear so much about? I cannot discover what is his merit. Why will not my subjects write in prose?

Quotes about George II edit

  • Every thing in his composition was little, and he had all the weaknesses of a little mind, without any of the virtues or even the vices of a great one. He loved to act a King, but mistook the part, and the Regal dignity shrunk into the Electoral pride... Avarice, the meanest of all passions was his ruling one, and I never knew him deviate into any one generous action. His first natural movements were always on the side of Justice and truth, but they were often warped by Ministerial influence, or the secret twitches of Avarice.
    • Lord Chesterfield, 'The Character of King George ye Second', quoted in Colin Franklin, Lord Chesterfield: His Character and 'Characters' (1993), p. 98
  • He was generally reckoned illnatured, which indeed he was not. He had rather an unfeeling, than a bad heart; but I never observed any settled Malevolence in him, though his sudden passions, which were frequent, made him say things, which in cooller moments he would not have executed. His heart always seemed to me to be in a state of perfect Neutrality, between hardness and tenderness.
    • Lord Chesterfield, 'The Character of King George ye Second', quoted in Colin Franklin, Lord Chesterfield: His Character and 'Characters' (1993), p. 98
  • He had a very small degree of acquired knowledge; he sometimes read History, and as he had a very good memory, was exceedingly correct in facts, and dates. He spoke French and Italian well, and English very properly, but with something of a foreign accent: He had a contempt for the belles lettres which he called trifling. He troubled himself little about Religion... Upon the whole he was rather a weak than a bad Man or King. His Government was mild as to Prerogative, but burthensome as to taxes, which he raised when, and what degree he pleased, by corrupting the honesty, and not by invading the privileges of Parliaments.
    • Lord Chesterfield, 'The Character of King George ye Second', quoted in Colin Franklin, Lord Chesterfield: His Character and 'Characters' (1993), pp. 99-100
  • 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 management of parties; and the gross gallantry of his father, without his goodnature or his honesty:– he might, perhaps, have been honest, if he had never hated his father, or had ever loved his son.
    • Horace Walpole Memoirs of the Reign of King George the Second (1847) vol. 1, p. 180

External links edit

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