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George I
George I
148

same effect made to the elector by Peterborough and others in 1707 were rejected accordingly). George Lewis appears in return to have given good advice on the subject of the negotiations with Charles XII of Sweden. The elector formed intimate relations with Marlborough, and maintained them after the duke's loss of favour (for an earlier letter, 1702, see Macpherson, i. 621). In 1706 Halifax brought over the 'Regency Act,' by means of which the Hanoverian succession was to be actually accomplished, and the act which naturalised the Electress Sophia and her descendants, being protestants. The elector made polite acknowledgments (Macpherson, ii. 51 seqq.), but his policy was still governed by his dynastic interests at home and his devotion to the emperor. Rigidly abstaining from intervention in English affairs, and even more consistently than his mother avoiding any step which might give umbrage to Queen Anne or her ministers, he steadily seconded her in her policy of masterly inaction. Horace Walpole's assertion (Reminiscences, p. cvii) that during Anne's reign the elector was inclined to the tories and his mother to the whigs is a misrepresentation.

In 1707 George Lewis, after some well-warranted hesitation, accepted the supreme command of the army of the empire on the Upper Rhine. 'He found the troops in an unsatisfactory condition of discipline (September), and was much hampered by the slackness of the contributions and by the formalities surrounding his office. He showed much energy in combating these obstacles, but he was not initiated by Marlborough and Eugene into their plans for the campaign of 1708, or allowed to share its laurels. In 1709 his own offensive operations were thwarted, and on 20 May in the following year, indignant at the shortcomings of the emperor and the estates, he resigned his command (cf. his letters to Queen Anne, ap. Macpherson, ii. 178-81). But he was as loyal as ever to the war, and when sounded by Queen Anne deprecated further changes in her government. Hereupon the tory managers thought to gain his goodwill by bringing about his nomination to the command in the Low Countries. It was even said that Lord Rivers, who was sent to Hanover in 1710 to explain away the ministerial changes in England, was to insinuate the offer. But Marlborough had forewarned the elector, who managed to give replies of unimpeachable prudence to Rivers's explanations. George Lewis's chief interest in these years was probably the progress of the northern war, which led him to conclude defensive alliances with Poland (1709) and Denmark (1710), and to exert himself to stave off hostilities in the German northeast. At first he demurred to the proposed partition of the Swedish territories, but insisted, in the event of its being taken in hand, that the duchies of Bremen and Verden should be allotted to Hanover. When in the autumn of 1712 the Danes occupied Bremen, he sent troops into Verden.

The polite overtures of both Harley and St. John in 1711 were very coldly met by the elector. He maintained a significant reserve concerning the peace negotiations, but found it necessary to send a plenipotentiary to Utrecht. He did not seem overcome when Thomas Harley arrived at Hanover (July 1712) with the act according precedence in England to his mother, himself, and his son, and though turning a deaf ear to Prince Eugene's suggestion that he should play over again the part of William the Deliverer, declined to second the policy of the British ministry at Utrecht or elsewhere. In his instructions to his envoy Grote he made no secret of his suspicions of Oxford, and his trust in the whig leaders; but he steadily maintained his attitude of non-intervention in English affairs, and notably declined to favour the suggestion (1713) that the electoral prince should be sent over to England. Even the news of Anne's serious illness at the end of the year failed to move him. Schulemburg's statement that George Lewis, could he have done so with honour, would have readily renounced his claim to the English succession (Klopp, xiv. 590), remains a mere assertion. In any case, such a course became altogether impossible after the insulting letters written by Bolingbroke in Queen Anne's name, when, in consequence of the Hanoverian envoy Sch├╝tz's inquiry, the lord chancellor had sent to the prince his writ of attendance in the House of Lords [see George II]. Though one of the famous three letters was addressed to the elector (for it see Macpherson, ii. 621), it is certain that he had not joined with his mother and son in making the obnoxious inquiry (see the elector's own declaration to Clarendon, ap. Coxe, i. 142-3, and Robethon's explicit statement, Marchmont Papers, ii. 399 seqq.; cf. Klopp, xiv. 576 seqq.) In the memorial signed by the electress and himself on 7 May, however, both the dotation of the former and the establishment of a member of the electoral family in England had been pointed out as expedient (see Macpherson, ii. 608 seqq.) The death of the Electress Sophia on 8 June seems to have induced the elector to manifest a livelier interest in the succession, in which he had now taken her place; nor was it an impulse of pure sentiment which on this occasion led to a recon-