History of England, Part III, William and Mary to 1887
Tout, T. F. --Powell, F. York
CHAPTER IV: George II and Walpole 1727-1748
1.  was born in , and unhappily remained a thorough German in his habits. He could however speak English fluently, and knew much more about English affairs than his father. Yet
says the courtier Lord Hervey,
He was prudent, careful, regular and punctilious. He said himself
He was vain and selfish, and
He was, however, straightforward and just, a good man of business and a brave soldier. He despised learning, and was very greedy of money.
He was coarse and immoral in his private life, but his clever wife, of Anspach, always had more power over him than the Countess of Suffolk and his other favourites.
was a shrewd, honest, true-hearted woman, with plenty of common-sense, no romantic ideas, and some cultivation. She had a taste for theology and philosophy, and delighted to surround herself with learned and sensible men. She wisely kept in power, though would have liked to have given his place to Sir Spencer , an incompetent courtier.
2.  The twenty years of 's (after Sir Robert ) ministry best show the strength and the weakness of the rule of the great Whig houses. held his mastery over his party by a singular mixture of practical wisdom, honesty, and corruption. He was no orator, though an apt and ready debater, with a complete understanding of the forms and the temper of the House, an extraordinary power of managing men, and a complete mastery of the arts of corruption. He answered the denunciations of a factious opposition by retorting,
He laughed at decorum, at honesty, at purity, and he did little to raise the tone of public life. He tried nothing heroic, but won his way by dint of tact and good sense. He brought the country gentry round from Jacobitism to support the new dynasty. He kept the merchants and tradesmen Whigs by his sound commercial and financial measures. He conciliated the Dissenters, though he avoided vexing the Church. He kept in touch with public opinion.
and were his favourite maxims. He shunned violent changes, and aimed at good administration, not brilliant legislation. Called to power to restore the national credit,
| never failed as a financier. He started a Sinking
Fund to save the Whigs from the reproach of the national
debt, but soon made inroads upon it that he might please
the squires by cutting down the land tax. He changed
the malt tax into a tax on beer, and persevered despite
formidable riots in Scotland (). But a different fate
met his famous (). This was a plan
to turn the , first on tobacco and finally on
wine, into an ; that is, the tax was no longer to be
levied at the ports but at the warehouse. Duties on
importation were to be changed into duties on consumption, while
the new system would prevent frauds in the revenue, enable
to take off the land tax, and by establishing a
system of bonded warehousing for re-exportation, |
But the Excise was unpopular, partly because the first Excise had been brought into England during the Commonwealth from our old rivals the Dutch. The opposition cried out that 's plan was but the clearing the way for a
stood out for some weeks, but finally withdrew the measure.
 In the mob of Edinburgh, excited by the execution of a gallant smuggler and the harshness of Porteous, the captain of the city guard, broke open the (the city prison) and solemnly hanged Porteous in the Grassmarket. The Government proposed to avenge the by taking away the charter of Edinburgh, but prudently changed the plan when he found that even the Scotch members, who received a regular salary from him, were up in arms against it. The bill, though cut down
(Porteous's widow), was only carried by a single vote.
3.  honestly tried to do his best for his country, but
says Lord Hervey,
His strong love of power gradually disgusted his colleagues, who intrigued actively against him. As he got older, he grew so jealous that he drove away nearly every man of character and ability from his ministry. The brilliant but unsteady was removed in from his secretaryship of state, and transferred to the less important office of Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. In Pulteney,
the orator, joined the opposition. In broke
with altogether. Lord Chesterfield, the famous
writer, a |
was turned out of his place in the Household. even quarrelled violently with his brother-in-law, . Those who stayed on with were either men of doubtful character, like Sir William Yonge,
or, like Henry and his brother, Thomas , Duke of Newcastle, of second-rate ability.
 The displaced ministers, whose fierce charges of corruption gained for them the name of
as called the young men he scorned to win over. Of these the most striking was , whose lofty and impassioned eloquence and unswerving honesty had already won him a unique position. Meanwhile , the greatest party manager of his day, had been allowed to return from exile in , and had used his brilliant literary and social gifts to create a new Tory party, free from all taint of Jacobitism. Frederick, Prince of Wales, a shallow, worthless man, was on as bad terms with his father the king as himself had been with , but with less cause. Round his court at Leicester House the Opposition gathered, and 's celebrated pamphlet was written to suggest the benefits which would result from a really national monarch, putting himself at the head of his people to crush the noble faction that had domineered so long over king and people alike. also wrote largely for the Craftsman, the ably conducted weekly organ of the opposition. James , the famous poet of nature, wrote his as the popular song of the new national party. But, despite statesmen, pamphleteers, and poets, faithfully stood by his trusty minister, though in the death of Queen lost him a strong and steady friend. But neither court support nor the arts of parliamentary management and corruption could keep the great minister much longer in power.
4. 's foreign policy was on the same lines as his home government. His chief aim was to maintain the peace of Europe on the basis of the Utrecht settlement. At first he found his best support in France, where the crafty but peace-loving Cardinal Fleury was gradually
creeping into power.  His chief danger always came from
Spain, where the bold and ambitious Elizabeth Farnese of
Parma, the second wife of Philip V., now ruled
her weak husband, and strove to keep up the
policy of Alberoni, and to win principalities
for her own children in Italy. The Emperor
was still angry with the Maritime Powers, and started in
an Ostend East India Company, threatening their
most lucrative trade. In the Spanish ambassador at
Vienna was the Dutch adventurer Ripperda, |
He now concluded the , by which Philip joined his old enemy the emperor in attempting to upset the treaty of Utrecht, to which both were from very different motives equally hostile. Ripperda then went back to Madrid and became Philip's foreign minister. In England, France, Prussia, Holland, and some minor States united in the to oppose Spain and Austria. Europe seemed on the verge of a general war; but Ripperda, like Alberoni, suddenly fell from power (). and Fleury both struggled for peace, and were still more anxious to do so when the far-seeing and eccentric Frederick William I. of Prussia, who had married 's sister, went over with his well-governed state and large and carefully-trained army, to the side of the emperor. In Gibraltar was besieged in a half- hearted way by the Spaniards, and the English sent a fleet to blockade Portobello in South America. But preliminaries were quickly signed. In England and Spain made peace by the . In the Second ended the troubles which the first treaty had begun. When, in , the broke out in Europe, steadily refused to take part in it, though France and Spain were now again united, and Elizabeth's Italian schemes at last triumphed, now that her son, Don Carlos, drove the Austrians from Naples, and established himself as king of that country. The war was therefore limited to two campaigns, and in preliminaries of peace were signed, though the Third or was not concluded until 7th November . By it Don Carlos was recognised as King of Naples, and Austria compensated by Parma and Piacenza, which rounded off their former possession the Milanese; Duke Francis of was made Duke of Tuscany (where the
|house of Medici had died out), and was given to Stanislas, the exiled king of Poland, who was Louis XV.'s father-in-law, for his lifetime, after which it was to go to France.|
5.  England's suspicions of Spain were now thoroughly roused. The alliance of the two Bourbon courts seemed to threaten the balance of Europe. Meanwhile the trade jealousies, which play so great a part in eighteenth century politics, grew. Spain complained of the English ships, which, despite the Treaty of Utrecht, carried on a large smuggling trade with the South American Colonies. English merchants complained of the harshness of the Spanish custom-houses, of the tyranny of the Spanish officials, and of the right of search claimed by them over all ships in South American waters. A merchant captain named Jenkins went about the country declaring that his ears had been cut off by the Spaniards, and showing them in a box wrapped up in cotton wool. This roused English feeling to fever heat. The Opposition attacked for his cowardly contempt of English interests. Very unwillingly gave in, and in war was declared against Spain. In Admiral Vernon, a noisy member of the opposition, won great applause by capturing Portobello with only six ships; but in the same leader, at the head of a vast force, failed hopelessly in his assault on , the strongest fortress in Spanish South America. Yet 's sluggish conduct of the war drew some fresh charges upon him. The death of the emperor, , on 20th October , made a general European war certain, and was further attacked for neglecting our treaty obligations and withholding support from the Austrians. At last, in , a general election went decidedly against him. Early in he was beaten in Parliament over the Chippenham election petition, and forced to resign. His enemies would have impeached him, and a committee was appointed to inquire into his government. But he was still powerful enough to stop this. The king made him Earl of Orford, and his friends soon came back to power. But his own career was at an end. He had long suffered from ill-health. He died in . With all his faults he had given England peace for twenty years.
6. The fall of was followed by no great change at home. The opposition was made up of men who agreed in nothing but their dislike of , and they could
not form a united ministry. The new ministers were of
course Whigs.  Lord , |
(who, as Sir Spencer , had, in , almost turned out ), became First Lord of the Treasury and nominal Prime Minister. But his incompetence left , now Secretary of State, at the practical head of affairs. , 's greatest ally, was still in office, and Henry was Paymaster. Pulteney withdrew from active work, and took the earldom of Bath and a seat in the Cabinet without office. and the other young and fiery spirits of the opposition, like the Tories, were left out in the cold. As a protest against 's system, a was passed to limit the number of offices which could be held by members of Parliament; but the system of government was hardly changed.
was a remarkable man.
Yet his irregular habits and want of fixed principles prevented him from winning his proper place among English statesmen. He had read much and travelled far, and knew more about foreign affairs than anybody else in England. The king liked him because he could talk German with him, and thoroughly sympathised with his foreign policy. But despised 's arts of management.
With such a disposition, and with thorough dislike of all business habits, he was soon to be thrust out of power by the Pelhams, who had inherited the dexterity but not the greatness of . But before his fall in , (now become Earl Granville) had brought England into an active share in the European war.
7.  Wilmington had died in July , and was succeeded by the decorous and business-like Henry , who had learned from 's mistakes that he must conciliate the whole of the opposition. So he formed a , which included nearly every section of the Whig party, and found room for more than one Tory. The king's personal dislike to kept him out of place until , when, in the crisis
|of the Jacobite revolt, was compelled, by the resignation of his ministers and the failure of to form a Cabinet, to admit to office. As Paymaster of the Forces, his eloquent mouth was stopped, while his presence made the ministry more popular. The bold but unscrupulous Henry , 's rival, became Secretary at War. The ministry held together as long as lived. The second great Whig schism was thus healed as completely as the first. A European war and a British rebellion left no time for factious disunion.|
9. England and France having broken the long peace, Jacobitism again became important. The incompetence of the old Pretender had damped all zeal for his cause, but his son, , was now twenty-five years old, and might well rouse warmer feelings.
says an eyewitness,
France now again took up the Stewart cause, and invited the young Chevalier to Paris. In he left Rome
But the great fleet which, in , set forth from to invade England was almost destroyed by a terrible storm. Busy with the Netherlandish and Italian campaigns, the French ministry had neither time nor money to waste on . Profoundly vexed at this lukewarmness, he vowed that he would raise his standard in Scotland
He scraped together what money he could, and sailed with two ships for the Highlands. Neither his father nor the French Government knew what he was doing. The consort that contained his stores was disabled by an English cruiser. His vessel, the , managed to escape, and on 25th July Charles landed in Lochnanuagh in Inverness-shire, near Moidart. The Highland chiefs of the district were aghast at his rashness, and advised him to go
|back to France; but the Macdonalds and the Camerons soon caught his enthusiasm. The capture of two companies of regulars sent out from Fort Augustus decided the question; and on 19th August the Marquis of Tullibardine, who for his treason in had forfeited the duchy of Atholl to his younger brother, raised the standard of the Stewarts in wild and desolate Glenfinnan. Murray of Broughton hurried up from the south, and became Charles's Secretary of State. The clans now assembled in large numbers, and General Cope, the commander-in-chief in Scotland, afraid to defend the pass of Corry Arrack, retreated northwards to Inverness. This left the way to the Lowlands open; and on 4th September marched in triumph into Perth, where he was joined by James Drummond, called by his neighbours, despite his father's attainder, Duke of Perth, and Lord George Murray, another brother of the Duke of Atholl. The latter proved the ablest officer on the side of the rebels, but quarrelled fiercely with Perth and Murray of Broughton.|
and his lieutenant, Hawley, put the remnants of the revolt down very cruelly. Numbers of prisoners were hanged at Carlisle and elsewhere. Lords Kilmarnock, Balmerino, and Lovat, Colonel Townley, and eight others were tried and executed in London. More lasting measures for ending the old Highland anarchy followed. The were abolished, and the reign of Scots law extended to the wildest recesses of
|the north. Great efforts were made to root out the reverence for the clan chieftains. A disarming Act was sternly carried out. It was made a crime to wear the Highland kilt and clan tartan. Schools were established to extend a knowledge of English. The Jacobite Episcopal clergy were put under crushing disabilities. Good hard roads were made through the Highlands. The easy-going Celtic chief, bound by custom to treat his tenants fairly, gave way to the Lowland landlord, zealous for progress and improvement, anxious for a good interest out of his estate, and sometimes straining the law in his own favour. The loyal and satisfied clansman became the distressed and discontented crofter, little better off than the Irish cottier. The more daring spirits were drafted off into the Highland regiments raised with 's goodwill. Later on whole glens were stripped of their inhabitants, who were sent off to Canada to make room for sheep. The spirit of gloomy theological bitterness invaded the remotest valleys. The Highlands had become peaceful, but some of the noblest and most characteristic features of Highland life had been blotted out.|
10.  Though both sides had failed, and were now fighting for very little, the continental war still went on. After conquering nearly all the Austrian Netherlands, the French threatened the United Provinces in . But a popular revolution, as in , restored William IV., Prince of Orange, 's hunchbacked son-in- law, as stadtholder. The Dutch then checked the French advance. Russia, ruled since by Elizabeth, a true daughter of Peter the Great, and anxious to make her influence felt as a great power, also threatened to help Austria, so the French were willing to negotiate. In October the (Aix-la-Chapelle) ended the war.
 George II., 1727-60.
 Walpole's Ministry, 1721-42.
 The Porteous Riots, 1737.
 Growth of the Opposition to Walpole.
 Leicester House and the New Toryism.
 Foreign policy of Walpole, 1725-38.
 The war with Spain, 1739, and the fall of Walpole, 1742.
 Carteret's Ministry, 1742-44.
 Pelham's Ministry, 1744-54.
 Peace of Aachen, 1748.