George III of the United Kingdom

King of Great Britain and King of Ireland (1738-1820)
(Redirected from King George III)

George III (George William Frederick) (June 4, 1738January 29, 1820) was King of the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of the two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death. He was concurrently Duke and prince-elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg ("Hanover") in the Holy Roman Empire until his promotion to King of Hanover on 12 October 1814. He is known for serving as King during in the American Revolutionary War, and later during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

By God... I will see you righted!

QuotesEdit

1750sEdit

 
The pride, the glory of Britain, and the direct end of its constitution, is political liberty.
  • A good Prince ought to make his passions subservient to the interest of his country, for all things are either good or bad for him as they regard his people; but Francis had been bred up with different sentiments from these, flattery the bane of all princes had poisoned his mind; he instead of regarding the affairs of his country, totally gave himself to pleasure, which was the reason all his military operations met with such frequent delays.
    • Essay on Francis I of France written under the tutorship of the Earl of Bute (late 1750s), quoted in John Brooke, King George III (1972; 1974), p. 108
  • The pride, the glory of Britain, and the direct end of its constitution, is political liberty.
    • Essay (late 1750s), quoted in John Brooke, King George III (1972; 1974), p. 108
  • [Freedom of speech] is not only the natural privilege of liberty but also its support and preservation, every man therefore here is allowed to declare his sentiments openly, to speak or write whatever is not prohibited by the laws.
    • Essay (late 1750s), quoted in John Brooke, King George III (1972; 1974), p. 108
  • Thus we have created the noblest constitution the human mind is capable of framing, where the executive power is in the prince, the legislative in the nobility and the representatives of the people, and the judicial in the people and in some cases in the nobility, to whom there lies a final appeal from all other courts of judicature, where every man's life, liberty, and possessions are secure, where one part of the legislative body checks the other by the privilege of rejecting, both checked by the executive, as that is again by the legislative; all parts moving, and however they may follow the particular interest of their body, yet all uniting at the last for the public good.
    • Essay (late 1750s), quoted in John Brooke, King George III (1972; 1974), p. 109
  • We may therefore infer from this long reign that this people will never refuse anything to a sovereign who they know will be the defender of their liberties.
  • [Charles I] had too high a notion of the regal power and thought that every opposition to it was rebellion.
    • Essay on Charles I of England (late 1750s), quoted in John Brooke, King George III (1972; 1974), p. 110
 
If vice and faction can be got the better of, this nation will again appear in her ancient lustre.
  • The unhappy party divisions must ever give an honest man a most unfavourable opinion of these times, when the honour and dignity, the safety and tranquility, of the nation, were continually neglected for the little interested views of party; but however this Convention with all its blemishes saved the nation from the iron rod of arbitrary power. Let that palliate all defects, and though the constitution was not so well established as it might have been at this time, though sufficient care was not taken to keep the advantages of our insular situation, nor effectual bars put to Continental influence, let us still remember we stand in debt for our liberty and religion to the success of 1688.
    • Essay (late 1750s), quoted in John Brooke, King George III (1972; 1974), pp. 110-111
  • [The military policy of Great Britain should be based on a navy] equal if not superior to those of all other powers together, which must preserve it from invasion.
    • Essay (late 1750s), quoted in John Brooke, King George III (1972; 1974), p. 111
  • If vice and faction can be got the better of, this nation will again appear in her ancient lustre.
    • Letter (11 August 1758), quoted in John Brooke, King George III (1972; 1974), p. 121
  • Attempting with vigour to restore religion and virtue when I mount the throne, this great country will probably regain her ancient state of lustre.
    • Letter (after 11 August 1758), quoted in John Brooke, King George III (1972; 1974), p. 121
  • Let the day once come in which the banner of virtue, honour and liberty shall be displayed, that noble actions and generous sentiments shall lead to the royal favour, and prostitution of principle, venality and corruption meet their just reward, the honest citizen, the zealous patriot, will lift up their heads, all good men will unite in support of a government built on the firm foundations of liberty and virtue, and even the degenerate mercenary sons of slavery will suppress their thoughts, and worship outwardly the generous maxims of a prince, while they in secret detest his maxims and tremble at his virtues. Power, wealth, and honours still remain the favourite object, but let the royal fiat change, the road revive, the long untrodden path, and crowds of all denominations will soon frequent it, and a generous reformation will ensure.... The prince once possessed of the nation's confidence, the people's love, will be feared and respected abroad, adored at home by mixing private economy with public magnificence. He will silence every clamour, be able to apply proper remedies to the heavy taxes that oppress the people, and lay a sure foundation for diminishing the enormous debt that weights this country down and preys upon its vitals.
    • Essay on the British political system (late 1750s), quoted in John Brooke, King George III (1972; 1974), pp. 121-122

1760sEdit

 
Born and educated in this country, I glory in the name of Britain.
  • Born and educated in this country, I glory in the name of Britain.
    • Speech to Parliament (18 November 1760), quoted in P. D. G. Thomas, George III: King and Politicians, 1760–1770 (2002), p. 33
  • I am happy enough to think I have the present the real love of my subjects, and lay it down for certain that if I do not show them that I will not permit Ministers to trample on me, that my subjects will in time come to esteem me unworthy of the Crown I wear.
    • Letter to the Earl of Bute (November 1760), quoted in Letters from George III to Lord Bute, 1756–1766, ed. Romney Sedgwick (1939), p. 50
  • Nothing can astonish me more than that any one should accuse me of all people of loving foreign fashions, whom I owne rather incline too much to the John Bull, and am apt to despise what I am not accustom'd to.
    • Letter to the Earl of Bute (c. 1761–1762), quoted in Letters from George III to Lord Bute, 1756–1766, ed. Romney Sedgwick (1939), p. 77
  • Though I have subjects who will suffer immensely [i.e. in Hanover] whenever this Kingdom withdraws its protection from thence, yet so superior is my love to this my native country over any private interest of my own that I cannot think help wishing that an end was put to that enormous expence by ordering our troops home.
    • Letter to the Earl of Bute (6 January 1762), quoted in John Brooke, King George III (1972; 1974), pp. 162-163
  • You can name me no Whig families that shall not have my Countenance; but where Tories come to me on Whig principles, let us take them.
    • Remarks to William Pitt (19 June 1765), quoted in Ronald Walter Harris, Political Ideas, 1760–1792 (1963), p. 33 and John Brooke, King George III (1972; 1974), p. 206
  • I do not pretend to any superior abilitys, but will give place to no one in meaning to preserve the freedom, happiness and glory of my dominions, and all their inhabitants, and to fulfill the duty to my God and my neighbour in the most extended sense. That I have erred is undoubted, otherwise I should not be human, but I flatter myself all unprejudiced persons will be convinced that whenever I have failed it has been from the head not the heart.
    • Apologia for his political conduct (c. 1766), quoted in John Brooke, King George III (1972; 1974), p. 158
  • The ministry continued and consequently the war, alliances, and home affairs bore the same face; the only difference of conduct I adopted was to put an end to those unhappy distinctions of party called Whigs and Tories, by declaring that I would countenance every man that supported my Administration and concurred in that form of government which had been so wisely established by the Revolution.
    • Apologia for his political conduct (c. 1766), quoted in John Brooke, King George III (1972; 1974), p. 159

1770sEdit

 
By God, Harrison, I will see you righted!
  • By God, Harrison, I will see you righted!
    • Said ca. 1772, speaking to John Harrison's son William. Quoted in Dava Sobel, "Longitude" (1995, Fourth Estate Limited. London. Printed 1998. ISBN 1-85702-571-7), p. 147
  • I am glad to find Mr. Montague's motion has been rejected, as it will keep many worthy men in good humour; besides, the abolition of the day would not be very delicate.
    • Letter to Lord North on Frederick Montagu's Bill to repeal the annual observance of the execution of Charles I (2 March 1772), quoted in The Correspondence of King George the Third with Lord North, From 1768 to 1783, Vol. I, ed. W. Bodham Donne (1867), p. 94
  • As I understand the Petition of the Dissenters is to be presented to-morrow... I think you ought to oppose it personally through every stage, which will gain you the applause of the Established Church and every real friend of the Constitution. If you should be beat, it will be in doing your duty, and the House of Lords will prevent any evil; indeed it is the duty of Ministers as much as possible to prevent any alterations in so essential a part of the Constitution as everything that relates to religion, and there is no shadow for this Petition, as the Crown regularly grants a noli prosequi if any over-nice Justice of Peace encourages prosecutions.
    • Letter to Lord North on the Feathers Tavern Petition, which sought relief from the obligation to subscribe to the Thirty Nine Articles of the Church of England, required upon nomination to a benefice, or upon matriculation at the University of Oxford, or upon graduation at the University of Cambridge (2 April 1772), quoted in The Correspondence of King George the Third with Lord North, From 1768 to 1783, Vol. I, ed. W. Bodham Donne (1867), p. 101
  • I have seen Lieutenant-General Gage, who came to express his readiness, though so lately come from America, to return at a day's notice, if the conduct of the Colonies should induce the directing coercive measures. His language was very consonant to his character of an honest determined man. He says they will be lyons, whilst we are lambs; but, if we take the resolute part, they will undoubtedly prove very meek.
    • Letter to Lord North (4 February 1774), quoted in The Correspondence of King George the Third with Lord North, From 1768 to 1783, Vol. I, ed. W. Bodham Donne (1867), p. 164
  • [A]ll men seem now to feel that the fatal compliance in 1766 has encouraged the Americans annually to encrease in their pretensions to that thorough independency which one state has of another, but which is quite subversive of the obedience which a colony owes to its mother country.
    • Letter to Lord North (4 February 1774), quoted in The Correspondence of King George the Third with Lord North, From 1768 to 1783, Vol. I, ed. W. Bodham Donne (1867), p. 164
  • The letter from the Quakers of Pensilvania to some of [the] chiefs of that persuasion in London shews they retain that coolness which is a very strong characteristick of that body of people; but I was in hopes it would have contained some declaration of their submission to the mother-country; whilst by the whole tenour they seem to wish for England giving in some degree way to the opinions of North America; the dye [sic] is now cast, the Colonies must either submit or triumph. I do not wish to come to severer measures, but we must not retreat; by coolness and an unremitted pursuit of the measures that have been adopted I trust they will come to submit; I have no objection afterwards to their seeing that there is no inclination for the present to lay fresh taxes on them, but I am clear there must always be one tax to keep up the right, and as such I approve of the Tea Duty.
    • Letter to Lord North (11 September 1774), quoted in The Correspondence of King George the Third with Lord North, From 1768 to 1783, Vol. I, ed. W. Bodham Donne (1867), p. 202
  • I am not sorry that the line of conduct seems now chalked out, which the enclosed dispatches thoroughly justify; the New England Governments are in a state of rebellion, blows must decide whether they are to be subject to this country or independent.
    • Letter to Lord North (18 November 1774), quoted in The Correspondence of King George the Third with Lord North, From 1768 to 1783, Vol. I, ed. W. Bodham Donne (1867), p. 215
  • [W]here violence is with resolution repelled it commonly yields, and I owne, though a thorough friend to holding out the olive-branch, I have not the smallest doubt that, if it does not succeed, that when once vigorous measures appear to be the only means left of bringing the Americans to a due submission to the mother country, that the Colonies will submit.
    • Letter to Lord North (15 February 1775), quoted in The Correspondence of King George the Third with Lord North, From 1768 to 1783, Vol. I, ed. W. Bodham Donne (1867), p. 229
  • I am clear as to one point, that we must persist and not be dismayed by any difficulties that may arise on either side of the Atlantick. I know I am doing my duty, and therefore can never wish to retract. The resolution proposed by the House of Commons is the utmost that can be come into; and, if people will have patience, this must in the end be obtained.
    • Letter to Lord North (26 July 1775), quoted in The Correspondence of King George the Third with Lord North, From 1768 to 1783, Vol. I, ed. W. Bodham Donne (1867), p. 255
  • Major-Gen. Haldimand is arrived, and seems thoroughly acquainted with the sentiments of the Americans. I desire you will, if possible, see him. He says nothing but force can bring them to reason, and ownes that, till they have suffered for their conduct, that it would be dangerous to give ear to any propositions they might transmit; but, if I am rightly informed, they do not seem inclined to put on even the appearance of wishing in the least to recede from doctrines, that it would be better totally to abandon them than to admit a single shaddow [sic] of them to be admitted.
    • Letter to Lord North (18 August 1775), quoted in The Correspondence of King George the Third with Lord North, From 1768 to 1783, Vol. I, ed. W. Bodham Donne (1867), p. 264
  • Whereas many of our subjects...in North-America, misled by dangerous and ill-designing men, and forgetting the allegiance which they owe to the power that has protected and sustained them... have at length proceeded to an open and avowed Rebellion... we do accordingly strictly charge and command all our officers, as well as civil and military, and all other our obedient and loyal subjects, to use their utmost endeavours to withstand and suppress such Rebellion, and to disclose and make known all treasons and traitorous conspiracies which they shall know to be against us, our Crown and dignity.
  • If the Opposition is powerfull next session it will much surprize me, for I am fighting the battle of the legislature, therefore have a right to expect an almost unanimous support. If there should arise difficulties they will not dismay me, for I know the uprightness of my intentions, and therefore am ready to stand every attack of ever so dangerous a kind with the firmness that honesty and an attachment to the constitution will support.
    • Letter to Lord North (10 September 1775), quoted in The Correspondence of King George the Third with Lord North, From 1768 to 1783, Vol. I, ed. W. Bodham Donne (1867), pp. 267-268
  • When the unhappy and deluded multitude, against whom this force will be directed, shall become sensible of their error, I shall be ready to receive the misled with tenderness and mercy!
  • [W]hen such acts of vigour are shewn by the Rebellious Americans, we must shew that the English Lion when rouzed has not only his wonted resolution but has added the swiftness of the Race Horse.
    • Letter to Lord Sandwich (11 January 1776), quoted in The Correspondence of King George the Third from 1760 to December 1783, Volume III: July 1773–December 1777, ed. Sir John William Forstecue (1927), p. 331
  • Perhaps the time may come when it will be wise to abandon all North America but Canada, Nova Scotia, and the Floridas, but then the generality of the nation must see it first in that light, but to treat with Independence can never be possible... A sea war is the only wise plan.
    • Letter to Lord North (13 January 1778), quoted in The Correspondence of King George the Third with Lord North, From 1768 to 1783, Vol. II, ed. W. Bodham Donne (1867), pp. 118-119
  • [E]very letter from France adds to the appearance of a speedy declaration of war; should that event happen, it might perhaps be wise to strengthen the forces in Canada, the Floridas, and Nova Scotia; withdraw the rest from North America, and without loss of time employ them in attacking New Orleans, and the French and Spanish West India possessions. Success in those parts would repay us the great expences incurred: we must at the same time continue destroying the trade and ports of the rebellious colonies, and thus soon bring both contests to a conclusion.
    • Letter to Lord North (31 January 1778), quoted in The Correspondence of King George the Third with Lord North, From 1768 to 1783, Vol. II, ed. W. Bodham Donne (1867), p. 126
  • [S]hould a French war be our fate, I trust you will concurr with me in the only means of making it successful, the withdrawing the greatest part of them [the troops] from America, and employing them against the French and Spanish settlements; but if we are to be carrying on a land-war against the rebels and against those two powers, it must be feeble in all parts and consequently unsuccessful.
    • Letter to Lord North (9 February 1778), quoted in The Correspondence of King George the Third with Lord North, From 1768 to 1783, Vol. II, ed. W. Bodham Donne (1867), pp. 153-154
  • [N]o consideration in life shall make me stoop to Opposition. I am still ready to accept any part of them that will come to the assistance of my present efficient Ministers; but whilst any ten men in the kingdom will stand by me, I will not give myself up into bondage. My dear Lord, I will rather risk my crown than do what I think personally disgraceful; and whilst I have no wish but for the good and prosperity of my country, it is impossible that the nation shall not stand by me; if they will not, they shall have another king, for I will never put my hand to what would make me miserable to the last hour of my life.
    • Letter to Lord North (17 March 1778), quoted in The Correspondence of King George the Third with Lord North, From 1768 to 1783, Vol. II, ed. W. Bodham Donne (1867), p. 133
  • It has been a certain position with me that firmness is the characteristick of an Englishman, that consequently when a Minister will shew a resolution boldly to advance that he will meet with support... the times require vigour, or the state will be ruined.
    • Letter to Lord North (14 November 1778), quoted in The Correspondence of King George the Third with Lord North, From 1768 to 1783, Vol. II, ed. W. Bodham Donne (1867), pp. 214, 216
  • I should think it the greatest instance among the many I have met with of ingratitude and injustice, if it could be supposed that any man in my dominions more ardently desired the restoration of peace and solid happiness in every part of this empire than I do; there is no personal sacrifice I could not readily yield for so desirable an object; but at the same time no inclination to get out of the present difficulties, which certainly keep my mind very far from a state of ease, can incline me to enter into what I look upon as the destruction of the empire. I have heard Lord North frequently drop that the advantages to be gained by this contest could never repay the expence; I owne that, let any war be ever so successful, if persons will sit down and weigh the expences, they will find, as in the last, that it has impoverished the state, enriched individuals, and perhaps raised the name only of the conquerors; but this is only weighing such events in the scale of a tradesman behind his counter; it is necessary for those in the station it has pleased Divine Providence to place me to weigh whether expences, though very great, are not sometimes necessary to prevent what might be more ruinous to a country than the loss of money.
    • Letter to Lord North (11 June 1778), quoted in The Correspondence of King George the Third with Lord North, From 1768 to 1783, Vol. II, ed. W. Bodham Donne (1867), p. 253
  • The present contest with America I cannot help seeing as the most serious in which any country was ever engaged: it contains such a train of consequences that they must be examined to feel its real weight. Whether the laying a tax was deserving all the evils that have arisen from it, I should suppose no man could alledge [sic] that without being thought more fit for Bedlam than a seat in the Senate; but step by step the demands of America have risen: independence is their object; that certainly is one which every man not willing to sacrifice every object to a momentary and inglorious peace must concurr with me in thinking that this country can never submit to: should America succeed in that, the West Indies must follow them, not independence, but must for its own interest be dependent on North America. Ireland would soon follow the same plan and be a seperate state; then this island would be reduced to itself, and soon would be a poor island indeed, for, reduced in her trade, merchants would retire with their wealth to climates more to their advantage, and shoals of manufacturers would leave this country for the new empire. These self-evident consequences are not worse than what can arise should the Almighty permit every event to turn out to our disadvantage; consequently this country has but one sensible, one great line to follow, the being ever ready to make peace when to be obtained without submitting to terms that in their consequence must annihilate this empire, and with firmness to make every effort to deserve success.
    • Letter to Lord North (11 June 1778), quoted in The Correspondence of King George the Third with Lord North, From 1768 to 1783, Vol. II, ed. W. Bodham Donne (1867), pp. 253-254
  • It is highly necessary for every rational being never to lose sight of the certainty that every thought as well as action is known to the All-wise Disposer of the Universe; and that no solid comfort ever in this world can exist without a firm reliance on His protection, and on His power to shield from us misfortunes: but these reflections are still more necessary to be foremost in the minds of those at sea who naturally are exposed to perils peculiar to that element; therefore I strongly recommend the habitual reading of the Holy Scriptures and your more and more placing that reliance on the Divine Creator which is the only real means of obtaining that peace of mind that alone can fit a man for arduous undertakings.
    • Letter to Prince William (13 June 1779), quoted in The Later Correspondence of George III, Volume V: January 1808 to December 1810, ed. Arthur Aspinall (1970), p. 657
  • Though when at home a Prince, on board of the Prince George you are only a boy learning the naval profession; but the Prince so far accompanies you, that what other boys might do you must not; it must never be out of your thoughts that more obedience is necessary from you to your superiours in the Navy, more politeness to your equals, and more good nature to your inferiours, than from those who have not been told that these are essential for a gentleman.
    • Letter to Prince William (13 June 1779), quoted in The Later Correspondence of George III, Volume V: January 1808 to December 1810, ed. Arthur Aspinall (1970), p. 657
  • I own I expect great efforts from this force, and shall not be satisfied if persons count what number of ships are brought against us. It was the vigour of mind shown by Queen Elizabeth and her subjects, added to the assistance of Divine Providence, that saved this island when attacked by the Spaniards. It is necessary to be active on the present occasion, and to bring the enemy as soon as possible to decisive action.
    • Letter to Lord Sandwich after Spain declared war on Britain (June 1779), quoted in The Private Papers of John, Earl Of Sandwich, First Lord of the Admiralty, 1771–1782, Volume III: May 1779–December 1780 (1936), p. 20
  • [I]t is by bold and manly efforts Nations have been preserved not pursueing alone the line of home defence.
    • Letter to Lord Sandwich (5 September 1779), quoted in The Correspondence of King George the Third from 1760 to December 1783, Volume IV: 1778–1779, ed. Sir John William Forstecue (1927), p. 435

1780sEdit

 
I was the last to consent to the separation; but the separation having been made and having become inevitable, I have always said, as I say now, that I would be the first to meet the friendship of the United States as an independent power.
  • I trust Parliament will take such measures as the necessities of the time require. This tumult must be got the better of, or it will encourage designing men to use it as a precedent for assembling the people on other occasions; if possible, we must get to the bottom of it, and examples must be made. If anything occurrs to Lord North wherein I can give any farther assistance, I shall be ready to forward it, for my attachment is to the laws and security of my country, and to the protection of the lives and properties of all my subjects.
    • Letter to Lord North on the Gordon Riots (5 June 1780), quoted in The Correspondence of King George the Third with Lord North, From 1768 to 1783, Vol. II, ed. W. Bodham Donne (1867), p. 323
  • I feel the justness of our cause; I put the greatest confidence in [the] valour of both navy and army, and, above all, in the assistance of Divine Providence. The moment is certainly anxious; the dye is now cast whether this shall [continue?] a great empire or the least dignified of the European States. The object is certainly worth struggling for, and I trust the nation is equally determined with myself to meet the conclusion with firmness.
    • Letter to Lord North (3 November 1781), quoted in The Correspondence of King George the Third with Lord North, From 1768 to 1783, Vol. II, ed. W. Bodham Donne (1867), p. 387
  • I shall only add that on one material point I shall ever coincide with Ld. G. Germain, that is, against a separation from America, and that I shall never lose an opportunity of declaring that no consideration shall ever make me in the smallest degree an instrument in a measure that I am confident would anihilate [sic] the rank in which this British empire stands among the European States, and would render my situation in this country below continuing an object to me.
    • Letter to Lord North (21 January 1782), quoted in The Correspondence of King George the Third with Lord North, From 1768 to 1783, Vol. II, ed. W. Bodham Donne (1867), pp. 403-404
  • I was the last to consent to the separation; but the separation having been made and having become inevitable, I have always said, as I say now, that I would be the first to meet the friendship of the United States as an independent power.
    • To John Adams, as quoted in Adams, C.F. (editor) (1850–56), The works of John Adams, second president of the United States, vol. VIII, pp. 255–257, quoted in Ayling, p. 323 and Hibbert, p. 165
  • Whereas we cannot but observe, with inexpressible concern, the rapid progress of impiety and licentiousness, and that deluge of profaneness, immorality, and every kind of vice, which, to the scandal of our holy religion, and to the evil example of our loving subjects, hath broken in upon this nation: we, therefore, esteeming it our indispensable duty to exert the authority committed to us for the suppression of these spreading evils, fearing lest that they should provoke God's wrath and indignation against us, and humbly acknowledging that we cannot expect the blessing and goodness of Almighty God (by whom kings reign, and on which we entirely rely) to make our reign happy and prosperous to ourself and our people, without a religious observance of God's holy laws, to the intent that religion, piety, and good manners may (according to our most hearty desire) flourish and increase under our administration and government, have thought fit, by the advice of our Privy Council, to issue this our Royal Proclamation, and do hereby declare our royal purpose and resolution to discountenance and punish all manner of vice, profaneness, and immorality, in all persons of whatsoever degree or quality, within this our realm.

1790sEdit

  • I have signed the Messages to the two Houses of Parliament respecting the Province of Quebec, and shall be happy if the alterations proposed prove agreable to the different classes of subjects in that Province, but must ever think those who have the strongest claim on the attention of this country are the old inhabitants, whose rights and usages ought by no means to be disturbed.
    • Letter on the Constitutional Act 1791 (24 February 1791), quoted in The Later Correspondence of George III, Volume I: December 1783 to January 1793, ed. Arthur Aspinall (1962), p. 519
  • I am rejoiced at Mr. Secretary Dundas's information of the taking of the Island of Tobago, which I trust will at a proper time be followed by that of other valuable islands. Now is the hour to humble France, for nothing but her being disabled from disturbing other countries, whatever Government may be established there, will keep her quiet.
    • Letter to Henry Dundas, the Home Secretary (1 June 1793), quoted in The Later Correspondence of George III, Volume II: February 1793 to December 1797, ed. Arthur Aspinall (1963), p. 46
  • [I]t seems highly necessary after the conduct of the King of Prussia and of the tame Dutch that a language becoming the character of this country should be held, namely, a language of resolution to prosecute a war that every type of religion, morality and society not only authorizes but demands. I am certain this cannot be done too forcibly... [I]t seems to me to be advisable to meet Opposition with firmness rather than leave them to make the attack.
    • Letter to William Pitt on the King's Speech to Parliament (23 December 1794), quoted in The Later Correspondence of George III, Volume II: February 1793 to December 1797, ed. Arthur Aspinall (1963), pp. 284-285
  • Unless the French are thoroughly reduced, no solid peace can be obtained, and no attempt ought to be encouraged of opening a negotiation, which even has the effect of destroying all energy in those who ought to look forward to the continuance of war.
    • Letter to Lord Grenville (25 October 1795), quoted in The Manuscripts of J. B. Fortescue, Esq, Volume III (1899), p. 143

1800sEdit

 
We are here in daily expectation that Bonaparte will attempt his threatened invasion; the chances against his success seem so many that it is wonderful he persists in it... Should his troops effect a landing, I shall certainly put myself at the head of my troops and my other armed subjects to repel them.
  • George: I hope I am not pledged to any thing further in favor of the Romanists?
    Henry Dundas: Your majesty is not absolutely pledged to any thing further; but certainly the Irish catholics do hope, from your majesty's goodness, for a further relaxation of the restraining laws yet in force; and your majesty's servants will think it right, humbly to recommend to your majesty liberal and indulgent attention to their united and dutiful petitions.
    George: But how can I grant these claims, consistently with my coronation-oath?
    Dundas: The coronation-oath was taken by your majesty in your executive, not your legislative capacity; and could only be meant to bind your majesty to act conformably to the laws actually subsisting, and so long only as they should continue to subsist; for the legislature, of which your majesty is an essential part, cannot by any act limit its own power.
    George (angrily): None of your Scotch metaphysics, Mr. Dundas!
    • Conversation about Catholic emancipation (1801), quoted in William Belsham, History of Great Britain, from the Revolution of 1688, to the Conclusion of the Treaty of Amiens, 1802, Vol. XII (1804), pp. 162-163
  • We are here in daily expectation that Bonaparte will attempt his threatened invasion; the chances against his success seem so many that it is wonderful he persists in it. I own I place that thorough dependence on Divine Providence that I cannot help thinking the usurper is encouraged to make the trial that the ill-success may put an end to his wicked purposes. Should his troops effect a landing, I shall certainly put myself at the head of my troops and my other armed subjects to repel them.
    • Letter to Richard Hurd (30 November 1803), quoted in H. F. B. Wheeler and A. M. Broadley, Napoleon and the Invasion of England: The Story of the Great Terror, Vol. I (1908), p. xiii
  • Little did I think that I should ever live to regret Mr. Fox's death.
    • Remark to Lord Sidmouth (c. September 1806), quoted in George Pellew, The Life and Correspondence of the Right Honourable Henry Addington, First Viscount Sidmouth, Vol. II (1847), p. 435


MisattributedEdit

  • Nothing important happened today.
    • It is widely believed that George III wrote this in his diary on July 4, 1776, the day America declared independence from Great Britain. In fact, this was made up by the scriptwriters of the series The X Files, as George III did not write a diary.

Quotes about George IIIEdit

  • At the period of Mr. Fox's return to power [in 1806], the King, then in full possession of his faculties, showed for several days considerable uneasiness of mind: a cloud seemed to overhang his spirits. On his return one day from London the cloud was evidently removed, and his Majesty, on entering the room where the Queen and Princess Augusta were, said, he had news to tell them. I have taken Mr. Fox for my minister, and on the whole am satisfied with the arrangement. When Mr. Fox came into the closet for the first time, his Majesty told them, he purposely made a short pause, and then said, Mr. Fox, I little thought you and I should ever meet again in this place. But I have no desire to look back upon old grievances: and you may rest assured I never shall remind you of them. Mr. Fox replied, My deeds, and not my words, shall commend me to your Majesty.
    • Princess Augusta Sophia, memorandum, quoted in 'George III. and Charles James Fox.', The Quarterly Review, Vol. 105 (January & April 1859), p. 482
  • [I]t will be our especial duty, as good subjects and good Englishmen, to reverence the crown, and yet guard against corrupt and servile influence from those who are intrusted with it's authority; to be loyal, yet free; obedient, and yet independent: and, above every thing, to hope that we may long, very long, continue to be governed by a sovereign, who, in all those public acts that have personally proceeded from himself, hath manifested the highest veneration for the free constitution of Britain; hath already in more than one instance remarkably strengthened it's outworks; and will therefore never harbour a thought, or adopt a persuasion, in any the remotest degree detrimental to public liberty.
  • [A] Prince, who has, at once, displayed a most ardent and steady attachment to the Constitution, and exhibited a most exemplary pattern of Religious and moral excellence—a Prince whose piety, and whose virtues, combined with a manly firmness and consistency of character, have been for years the grand bulwark, not only of this country, but of the whole civilized world. If at such a time the British Throne had been deficient in any one of the qualities by which it has been so eminently distinguished, it is more than probable that every Religious and social establishment would, ere now, have been laid in the dust, and that an atheistical band of sanguinary anarchists, would, at this moment, have been triumphing upon the ruins of civil Society.
    • John Bowles, Reflections on the Political and Moral State of Society, at the Close of the Eighteenth Century (1801), p. 54
  • The monarchy had little to fear from pseudo-Jacobins plotting a revolution on the French model. So long as it could command the confidence of the propertied classes it was in no danger. To do this it must conform to their ideals in politics and in morals. This King George understood well. The Crown must pay its way; it must be conservative, but not opposed to change when change was the will of the nation; and it must set an example of duty and religious observance. These precepts were forgotten during the reigns of the King's two successors when the prestige of the Crown reached its nadir... By reverting to the precepts of King George III Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort restored the prestige of the Crown. If we would wish to know what King George would have been like had he lived in the days of Peel and Palmerston, we have but to study the conduct of the Prince Consort. There is the same devotion to duty, frugality, concern for religion and morality, interest in the arts and science, which won for the Crown the confidence of the middle class. In ideals and precepts, though not in character, the Prince Consort might have been a reincarnation of the King. King George III was the first of the Victorians.
  • His popularity is very great, for the mass of people look up to his good moral character, and to his age, and to a comparison with his sons.
    • Lord Bulkeley to Lord Auckland (3 October 1809), quoted in the Bishop of Bath and Wells, The Journal and Correspondence of William, Lord Auckland, Vol. IV (1862), p. 328
  • I have only to assure you, from accurate observation, that the personal popularity of the King is as great as it possibly can be; and if anything had been wanting to add to that popularity, the circumstance of his owing his present malady to his parental feelings for his daughter, has given the people a still greater veneration and affection for him than they had before.
    • Lord Bulkeley to Lord Auckland (7 November 1810), quoted in the Bishop of Bath and Wells, The Journal and Correspondence of William, Lord Auckland, Vol. IV (1862), pp. 354-355
  • The fault of his constitution, he said, was a tendency to excessive fat, which he kept, however, in order, by the most vigorous exercise, and the strictest attention to a simple diet. When Mrs. Delany was beginning to praise his forbearance, he stopped her. "No, no," he cried, "’tis no virtue; I only prefer eating plain and little, to growing diseased and infirm."
    • Fanny Burney, diary entry (16 December 1785), quoted in Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay, Author of Evelina, Cecilia, &c. Vol. II 1781 to 1786 (1842), p. 373
  • George III alienated the people of his American colonies by his tyrannical behavior, provoking them to take up arms to win their independence. The first of the Hanoverian kings to be born in England, George III was generally slow-witted: he certainly exhibited extraordinarily bad judgment when it came to picking prime ministers.
    • Nigel Cawthorne, Tyrants: History's 100 Most Evil Despots & Dictators, New York : Barnes & Noble, (2006) ISBN 0760775672, p. 90
  • The temper of the new ruler was adverse. George III had very clear ideas of what he wanted and where he was going. He meant to be King, such a King as all his countrymen would follow and revere. Under the long Whig regime the House of Commons had become an irresponsible autocracy. Would not the liberties of the country be safer in the hands of a monarch, young, honourable, virtuous, and appearing thoroughly English, than a faction governing the land through a packed and corrupt House of Commons? Let him make an end of government by families, choose his own ministers and stand by them, and end once and for all the corruption of political life. But in such a monarchy what was the place for a man like Pitt, who owed nothing to corruption, nothing to the Crown, and everything to the people and to his personal domination of the House of Commons? So long as he was in power he would divide the kingdom with Caesar. He could not help it. His profound reverence for the person and office of George III could not conceal from either of them the fact that Pitt was a very great man and the King a very limited man.
    • Winston Churchill, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Volume Three: The Age of Revolution, "The First World War", p. 158-159
  • The personality of George III was now exercising a preponderant influence upon events. He was one of the most conscientious sovereigns who ever sat upon the English throne. Simple in his tastes and unpretentious in manner, he had the superficial appearance of a typical yeoman. But his mind was Hanoverian, with an infinite capacity for mastering main principles. He possessed great moral courage and an inveterate obstinacy, and his stubbornness lent weight to the stiffening attitude of his Government. His responsibility for the final breach is a high one.
    • Winston Churchill, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Volume Three: The Age of Revolution (1957), "The Quarrel With America", p. 172
  • Not all the Opposition Members were so foolish or extreme, but in the King's mind all were traitors. George III grew stubborn and even more intent. He closed his ears to moderate counsel and refused to admit into his Government those men of both parties who, like many American Loyalists, foresaw and condemned the disasters into which his policy was tottering and were horrified at the civil war between the Mother Country and her colonies. Even Lord North was half-hearted, and only his loyalty to the King and his sincere old-fashioned belief, shared by many politicians of the day, that a Minister's duty was to carry out the personal wishes of the sovereign stopped him from resigning much sooner than he did. Though technically responsible as First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer, he had no grip on the conduct of affairs and allowed the King and the departmental Ministers to control the day-to-day work of government. George III tirelessly struggled to superintend the details of the war organisation, but he was incapable of co-ordinating the activities of his Ministers. These were of poor quality. The Admiralty was headed by Wilke's comrade in debauch, the Earl of Sandwich. His reputation has been mauled, but recent research has shown that at least the Fleet was in much better condition than the Army. Rarely has British strategy fallen into such a multitude of errors. Every maxim and principle of war was either violated or disregarded.
    • Winston Churchill, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Volume Three: The Age of Revolution (1957), "The Quarrel With America", p. 193
  • The King is really prepared to take the field in case of attack, his beds are ready and he can move at half an hour's warning.
  • At the time you succeeded the late Mr. Pitt, being in waiting on my late revered and beloved royal master, I one day repaired to Buckingham House for the usual morning ride. Soon after the King was on horseback he called me to come nearer to him, when he said, "I have not had any sleep this night, and am very bilious and unwell." I replied, "I hoped his ride would do him good." He then told me it was in consequence of Mr. Pitt's applying to him to consent to Catholic emancipation. On our arrival at Kew he ordered me to attend him to the library; and when there, asked me if I knew where to find his coronation oath. I said, "In Blackstone;" but I think I found it in Burnet's History of the Reformation. I was commanded to read it to him, which I did, and then followed quickly an exclamation, "Where is that power on earth to absolve me from the due observance of every sentence of that oath, particularly the one requiring me to 'maintain the Protestant reformed religion?' Was not my family seated on the throne for that express purpose? And shall I be the first to suffer it to be undermined, perhaps overturned? No; I had rather beg my bread from door to door throughout Europe than consent to any such measure." These words I am ready to attest if called upon, and am of opinion they ought to be written in letters of gold.
    • General Garth to Lord Sidmouth (6 March 1821), quoted in George Pellew, The Life and Correspondence of the Right Honourable Henry Addington, First Viscount Sidmouth, Vol. I (1847), pp. 285-286
  • In the perplexity of nations, the throne of the King of England was the only one unshaken, and its stability was the work of his virtue.
    • The Guardian, quoted in Drakard's Political Spirit of the Press, On the Death of George the Third, Embodying the Political Disquisitions of the Most Popular Writers of the Day, on Subjects Connected With the Recent Royal Demise (n.d.), p. 39
  • The United States, for example, has never had a President as bad as George III, but neither has Britain had a king as admirable as George Washington (of whom William Thackeray rightly said that 'his glory will descend to remotest ages' while the memory of the sovereign went the other way). However, George was not too bad. Still, even to concede this obvious argument is to make it plain that a bad monarch is at least as likely as a bad president even given the caprice of random selection by the hereditary principle... We find that the presidency has become too secretive, too powerful, too trammeled, too ceremonial, too impotent or too complicated, depending on the president under discussion or the critic making the analysis. On one thing all are agreed - there is a danger of an 'imperial' or 'monarchical' presidency. An incumbent in Washington knows he is in trouble on the day that cartoonists begin to represent him as a king.
  • To us, the offspring of his reign, therefore, the death of an aged Monarch is as if the paternal roof had fallen in, and left our chambers desolate.
    • Robert Huish, Public and Private Life of His Late Excellent and most Gracious Majesty, George the Third (1821), p. iv
  • Although simple in his manners and pursuits in private life, yet in his royal character he was partial to shew and pageantry. There were few sovereigns who knew better how to support the state of royalty, or who, when occasion required, could divest himself of it, and fall, as it were, into the rank of a private gentleman.
    • Robert Huish, Public and Private Life of His Late Excellent and most Gracious Majesty, George the Third (1821), p. 657
  • For the most trifling reasons, and sometimes for no conceivable reason at all, his majesty has rejected laws of the most salutary tendency. The abolition of domestic slavery is the great object of desire in those colonies where it was unhappily introduced in their infant state. But previous to the infranchisement of the slaves we have, it is necessary to exclude all further importations from Africa. Yet our repeated attempts to effect this by prohibitions, and by imposing duties which might amount to a prohibition, have been hitherto defeated by his majesty's negative: thus preferring the immediate advantages of a few British corsairs to the lasting interests of the American states, and to the rights of human nature deeply wounded by this infamous practice.
  • he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it's most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither.  this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers; is the warfare of the Christian king of Great Britain. determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.
    • Thomas Jefferson, Known as the "anti-slavery clause", this section drafted by Thomas Jefferson was removed from the Declaration at the behest of representatives of South Carolina.[1]
  • We I hope shall be left free to avail ourselves of the advantages of neutrality: and yet much I fear the English, or rather their stupid king, will force us out of it. (...) Common sense dictates therefore that they should let us remain neuter: ergo they will not let us remain neuter. I never yet found any other general rule for foretelling what they will do, but that of examining what they ought not to do.
  • Did the rapid expansion bring a rush of blood to the heads of the British elite? One can put it that way. Certainly, over the next two decades, the characteristic British values of caution, pragmatism, practical common sense and moderation seemed to desert the island race, or at any rate the men in power there. There was arrogance, and arrogance bred mistakes, and obstinacy meant they persisted in to the point of idiocy. The root of the trouble was George III, a young, self-confident, ignorant, opinionated, inflexible, and pertinacious man, determined to be an active king, not just in name, like his grandfather George II, but in reality. George II, however, was a sensible man, well aware of his considerable intellectual and constitutional limitations. He had employed great statesmen, when he could find them, like Sir Robert Walpole and William Pitt the Elder, who had helped make Britain the richest and most successful nation in the world. George III employed second-raters and creatures of his own making, more court-favorites or men whose sole merit was an ability to manage a corrupt House of Commons. From 1763 to 1782, by which time the American colonies had been lost, it would be hard to think of a more dismal succession of nonentities than the men who, as First Lords of the Treasury (Prime Minister), had charge of Britain's affairs—the Earl of Bute, George Grenville, the Marquis of Rockingham, the Duke of Grafton, and Lord North. And behind them, in key jobs, were other boobies like Charles Townshend and Lord George Germaine.
  • My early familiarity with the person of George III might have abated something in my mind of the divinity which doth hedge a king; but it has left an impression of the homely kindness of his nature, which no subsequent knowledge of his despotic tendencies, his cherished political hatreds, and his obstinate prejudices as a sovereign, can make me lay aside. There was a magnanimity about the man in his forgetfulness of the petty offences of very humble people, who did not come across his will, although they might appear indiscreet or even dangerous in their supposed principles.
    • Charles Knight, Passages of a Working Life During Half a Century: With a Prelude of Early Reminiscences, Volume I (1864), p. 37
  • The amusements which the satirist ridiculed, when he told of a monarch "Who rams, and ewes, and lambs, and bullocks fed," were pursuits congenial to the English taste, and not incompatible with the most diligent performance of public duty. The daubs of the caricaturist provoked no contempt for "Farmer George and his Wife." The sneers of the rhymester at "sharp and prudent economic kings,"—at the parsimony which prescribed that at the breaking up of a royal card party "the candles should be immediately blown out,"—fell harmless upon Windsor ears.
    • Charles Knight, Passages of a Working Life During Half a Century: With a Prelude of Early Reminiscences, Volume I (1864), p. 38
  • George III had been twenty-two when, in 1760, he succeeded to the throne, and to a remarkable degree he remained a man of simple tastes and few pretensions. He liked plain food and drank but little, and wine only. Defying fashion, he refused to wear a wig. That the palace at St. James's had become a bit dowdy bothered him not at all. He rather liked it that way. Socially awkward at Court occasions—many found him disappointingly dull—he preferred puttering about his farms at Windsor dressed in farmer's clothes. And in notable contrast to much of fashionable society and the Court, where mistresses and infidelities were not only an accepted part of life, but often flaunted, the King remained steadfastly faithful to his very plain Queen, the German princess Charlotte Sophia of Mecklenberg-Streilitz, with whom he had now produced ten children. (Ultimately there would be fifteen.) Gossips claimed that Farmer George's chief pleasures were a leg of mutton and his plain little wife. But this was hardly fair, Nor was he the unattractive, dim-witted man critics claimed then and afterward. Tall and rather handsome, with clear blue eyes and a generally cheerful expression, George III had a genuine love of music and played both the violin and the piano. (His favorite composer was Handel, but he adored also the music of Bach and in 1764 had taken tremendous delight in hearing the boy Mozart perform on the organ.) He loved architecture and did quite beautiful architectural drawings of his own. With a good eye for art, he had begun early to assemble his own collection, which by now included works by the contemporary Italian painter Canaletto, as well as watercolors and drawings by such old masters such as Poussin and Raphael. He avidly collected books, to the point where he had assembled one of the finest libraries in the world. He adored clocks, ship models, took great interest in things practical, took great interest in astronomy, and founded the Royal Academy of Arts.
  • The British populace at home was not united behind the war because some people doubted its wisdom and justness. One result of the antiwar sentiment was difficulty in recruiting troops, a difficulty aggravated by George III's reluctance to incur the huge expenses necessary to expand the army. To fill the ranks, England hired German soldiers, collectively known as Hessians, and sent almost 30,000 of them to America. But Hessians alone were insufficient, and England also enlisted slaves, mobilized Indians, and depended on Loyalist soldiers. England still suffered manpower shortages, and these expedients were also partially counterproductive. Hiring mercenaries, using slaves, inciting "savages" and fomenting a civil war within a civil war heightened colonial disaffection.
    • Allan R. Millett, Peter Maslowski, and William B. Feis, For the Common Defense: A Military History of the United States From 1607 to 2012 (2012), p. 49
  • The majority of men who took up arms during the "popular uprising" phase of the war in 1775-1776 were not fighting for independence, but for their rights as Englishmen within the Empire. Although a growing number believed independence inevitable, most maintained allegiance to George III, who, they assumed, was being misled by corrupt ministers conspiring to enslave the colonies. Congress insisted that the colonies were only protecting themselves form these conspirators, that reconciliation would occur as soon as the King restrained his advisers.
    • Allan R. Millett, Peter Maslowski, and William B. Feis, For the Common Defense: A Military History of the United States From 1607 to 2012 (2012), p. 58
  • Namier and his followers have little to say about the American revolutionists but devote themselves to scolding the English Whigs... By the same token the righteousness of the Americans is somewhat diminished through the loss of the principal villain in the contest. George III is no longer the foe of liberty, seeking to subvert the British constitution, but an earnest and responsible monarch, doing his job to the best of his abilities. And those abilities, we are told, while not of the highest order, were not small either. George, in fact, becomes a sympathetic figure, and one can scarcely escape the feeling that the Americans were rather beastly to have made things so hard for him.
    • Edmund Morgan, 'The American Revolution: Revisions in Need of Revising', The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 1 (January 1957), pp. 5-6
  • The king had shown himself to be stolid, courageous, and beneficent in 1786, when he was confronted with the knife-brandishing Margaret Nicholson. This incident left a potent and enduring picture of good King George entreating the crowd: "The poor creature is mad! Do not hurt her! She has not hurt me!" The king also provided his subjects with countless affecting images of a devoted patriarch; whenever he appeared in public he always seemed to have children in tow. Moreover, he allowed his subjects access to the royal family's domestic rituals: walks, gardening, visiting, swimming at Weymouth. Court functions became wholesome and family oriented... George increasingly became identified with the bumbling, well-meaning John Bull. The predominant attitude of the prints shifted from hostility to good-natured amusement.
    • Marilyn Morris, The British Monarchy and the French Revolution (1998), p. 191
  • George III, with ten years' experience as king, would have been called a "good guy" if he had lived in the twentieth century. He was more popular in Britain and America than any English monarch since Charles II. Sincerely religious, temperate in food and drink, he had an impeccable private life; he never indulged in the clumsy frolics to which male members of the house of Hanover have been prone. He loved manly sports and country life, rode boldly to hounds and ran his own farm. George was very methodical and conscientious in support of his public business. But of the quality of statesmanship to which kings were supposed to be born, he had none. His object was to substitute national leadership for party government, to rescue the crown from the clutches of leading Whig families, and to be his own prime minister. By 1770 George had got the hand of English politics and had become a manipulator second to none in the kingdom. He spent so much money sustaining Lord North's ministry and supporting "friendly" members of the House of Commons that the palace servants complained of not having enough to eat. In the general election of 1780 George spent the enormous sum of £104,000 to have the "right" people elected, and succeeded. It is not correct to say George III introduced a new system of government, or that he aimed at absolutism. He simply put himself at the head of the old Whig system and used it for what, rightly or wrongly, he believed to be the national interest. After several attempts to find a prime minister who would be responsible to him rather than the House of Commons, he got what he wanted in Lord North — and lost an empire. The other Whig factions did not catch on to what was going on for two or three years. By that time they had persuaded themselves that the King was trying to subvert the British constitution through corruption, and and set up a royal absolutism. This explains why Burke, Pitt, Richmond, and other leading Englishmen backed the colonies against their own government, and encouraged Americans to feel that they were fighting for liberty in England as well as America.
  • George III felt no prejudice against Americans. If he had the sense to pay them a visit, and had chased foxes in Virginia, shot quail in Carolina, and gone fishing with the Yankees, he might have won their hearts and possibly learned something about colonial quirks.
  • What I have never been able to find is the man arrogating power to himself, the ambitious schemer out to dominate, the intriguer dealing in an underhand fashion with his Ministers; in short, any evidence for the stories circulated about him by very clever and eloquent contemporaries.
  • The Jubilee seems to have been very happily celebrated everywhere. Nothing could be better than its effect in London, and the town appeared in the morning to be as quiet and orderly as could possibly be wished. The public offices and a few other buildings were illuminated, the mob were occupied the whole night in gaping at them, and cheering as any carriage passed by. The only exercise of their sovereign authority was compelling all the coachmen and servants to pull off their hats as they passed the illuminated crowd over the Admiralty gate.
    • Lord Palmerston to Lord Malmesbury (27 October 1809), quoted in A Series of Letters of the First Earl of Malmesbury, His Family and Friends from 1745 to 1820, Vol. II (1870), p. 175
  • From the beginning of his reign to the close of the American War, he was one of the most unpopular Princes that ever sat upon the throne: he is now one of the most popular... When the coalition between Lord North and Mr. Fox took place, the tide turned in his favour. A very general and very just indignation was excited in the public when they saw those two statesmen renouncing all their inveterate political animosities, and forming what seemed a confederacy against the nation... The King's joining the people on so important an occasion, against his Ministers and against the Parliament, laid the foundation of his popularity. Then followed an attempt upon his life by a maniac; then the irregularities and dissipation of the Prince destined to be his successor; next his own unfortunate derangement of mind, and the dread which the public entertained of the government which they saw about to take place, with the Prince for Regent, and for his Ministers the heads of the coalition, who had already claimed for him the Regency upon grounds the most unconstitutional; then his joyful recovery when it was least expected, which dispelled in a moment the gloom which hung over the country: and last of all, but which added tenfold strength to every motive of endearment to the King, the horrors of the French Revolution; the sufferings of the Royal Family, the debasement of the nobles, the confiscation of the property of the rich, the persecution of the clergy, the national bankruptcy, and all those various evils which it had produced, and which gave almost every description of persons who have any influence on public opinion an interest to adhere to, and maintain inviolably, our established Constitution, and, above all, the Monarchy, as inseparably connected with, and maintaining everything valuable in the State.
    • Sir Samuel Romilly, diary entry (25 October 1809), quoted in Memoirs of the Life of Sir Samuel Romilly, Written by Himself; With a Selection From His Correspondence, Vol. II (1840), pp. 305-307
  • His Majesty added, that he had taken a positive determination not to admit Mr. Fox into his councils, even at the hazard of a civil war.
    • George Rose, diary entry (30 September 1804), quoted in The Diaries and Correspondence of the Right Hon. George Rose, Containing the Original Letters of the Most Distinguished Statesmen of His Day, Vol. II, ed. Rev. Leveson Vernon Harcourt (1860), p. 156
  • The crowds of people walking about the streets the whole of the day, after service time, were beyond anything I ever saw; but perfectly quiet, decent, and looking very cheerful... The number of people in the street, from Charing Cross the whole way to the [Merchant Taylors'] Hall, was immense, and the illuminations remarkably beautiful... The crowd, great as I have described it on our going, was become so immense as completely to fill the whole of the streets we passed through from side to side, and the carriage could only move at a foot's pace through the people; but all most perfectly quiet and civil; not an offensive word or insulting gesture... I can truly say I never saw before such a collection of people to give an idea from sight of the population of the metropolis; nor ever witnessed such perfect order and decorum in any great assemblage of the middling and lower order of the inhabitants of it.
    • George Rose, diary entry recording the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of George's accession (25 October 1810), quoted in The Diaries and Correspondence of the Right Hon. George Rose, Containing the Original Letters of the Most Distinguished Statesmen of His Day, Vol. II, ed. Rev. Leveson Vernon Harcourt (1860), pp. 418-419
  • [T]hat so-called "break in the smooth development of our constitutional history" which, according to the familiar legend, was due to "the able attempt of George III to recover the powers of the Crown", etc. ... Professor Namier has shown that this legend is unfounded and that in reality George III carried on, to the best of his more than limited ability, the system of government which he had inherited from his predecessors.
    • Romney Sedgwick, 'Introduction', Letters from George III to Lord Bute, 1756-1766 (1939), pp. xvi, xlii
  • Though the regular course of the King's domestic living was so plain and unostentatious, he was not diminished to that appropriate show which is befitting a British Monarch, and which has always been displayed by our princes on particular occasions... He was a good antiquary in all that is material in books or prints, concerning the forms and order of our ancient state ceremonials; he regarded not so much the brilliancy, as the fitness of the symbols and attributes of royalty, for the time, place, and object.
    • Joseph Taylor, Relics of Royalty; Or Remarks, Anecdotes, and Amusements, of His late Most Gracious Majesty, George III. Also a Circumstantial Account of His Coronation, Procession to St. Paul's, and a Description of His Funeral, &c. &c. Original and Selected from Respectable Authorities (1820), pp. 163-164
  • Thousands were afterwards admitted into the chapel, to see the coffin and its splendid paraphernalia, as it lay in the tomb. Thus ended the most awful and magnificent ceremony which any British subject now living ever witnessed in this country; a ceremony, not merely adorned with all the appendages of grandeur which belong as matter of course to all royal funerals, but rendered sublime by the voluntary and heartfelt homage of countless thousands of affectionate subjects, who had thronged to the last obsequies of their King, not from the idle curiosity of seeing a grand exhibition, but to shed a last tear over the grave of a father and a friend.
    • Joseph Taylor, Relics of Royalty; Or Remarks, Anecdotes, and Amusements, of His late Most Gracious Majesty, George III. Also a Circumstantial Account of His Coronation, Procession to St. Paul's, and a Description of His Funeral, &c. &c. Original and Selected from Respectable Authorities (1820), pp. 193-194
  • It was His Majesty's particular wish that as many of the old customs should be kept up as possible.
  • His Majesty's character, then, after all the pains which have been taken to make him odious as well as contemptible remains unimpeached; and therefore cannot be in any degree the cause of the present commotions. His whole conduct both in public and private ever since he began his reign, the uniform tenor of his behaviour, the general course both of his words and actions, has been worthy of an Englishman, worthy of a Christian, and worthy of a King.
    • John Wesley, Letter to a Friend, on ‘The Present State of Public Affairs’ (December 1768), quoted in John Telford (ed.), The Letters of the Rev. John Wesley, A.M. Vol. V: February 28, 1766, to December 9, 1772 (1960), p. 376
  • After 1763 all these efforts became hopelessly entangled in the British government's attempts to reform its awkwardly structured empire and to extract revenue from the colonists. All parts of British policy came together to threaten each colonist's expanding republican expectations of liberty and independence. In the emotionally charged atmosphere of the 1760s and the 1770s, all the imperial efforts at reform seemed to be an evil extension of what was destroying liberty in England itself. Through the manipulation of puppets and placemen in the House of Commons, the crown—since 1760 in the hands of a young new king, George III—was sapping the strength of popular representation in Parliament and unbalancing the English constitution. Events seemed to show that the crown, with the aid of a pliant Parliament, was trying to reach across the Atlantic to corrupt Americans in the same way.
  • For under him we sit and crack,
    In peace and unity compact,
    Whilst every nation's on the rack
    That does nae like our Geordie.
    • Anonymous song written in Dunbar for George's Jubilee (1809), quoted in Notes and Queries, 9th ser., x (1902), p. 493

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