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George I
George I

cellor, had hastened to present his 'Impartial History of Parties' (see for this paper, which is not altogether historical and not at all impartial, the appendix to Campbell's 'Life of Lord Cowper' in his Lives of the Lord Chancellors, iv. 421-9), and Lady Cowper writes (Diary, p. 32): 'The King is, as we wish, upon the subject of Parties, and keeps my Lord's MS. by him, which he has read several times.' The notion of retaining the services of a few tories was soon relinquished (see as to Hanmer and Bromley Political State, viii. 350). A precedent of enduring importance was set by the selection of seven great officers of state, together with the veteran Somers without office, to form the cabinet council of the sovereign. George I seems to have shown considerable firmness in resisting solicitations, and the number of peerages (fourteen) and other honours bestowed by him at this time was not excessive. On 20 Oct. his coronation took place in Westminster Abbey with great pomp, both spiritual and lay peers of nearly every political complexion, including Bolingbroke, who had hitherto in vain sought to be admitted to the royal presence (Lady Cowper), appearing in their places (for details see Political State, viii. 347 seqq.; cf. Lady Cowper's lively description, Diary, p. 3 seqq.; Klopp cites an elaborate narrative in Lünig, Theatrum Europœum). In London the solemnity was unmarred by disturbances, but in Bristol and elsewhere it was celebrated by riots, with cries the reverse of loyal (cf. Lady Cowper, p. 19).

From 1714 to 1717 the conduct of affairs was in the hands of the administration in which Townshend exercised the chief influence, and in which his most intimate asssociate, Walpole, afterwards (October 1715) entered the cabinet as first lord of the treasury. The first thing necessary was the dissolution of Queen Anne's last parliament (4 Jan. 1715). It had readily voted the new sovereign a civil list of 700,000l.; indeed, some of the tories even proposed to increase this figure at which his predecessor's personal revenue had stood by a further 300,000l. (cf. Wentworth Papers, p. 411; according to Wortley Montagu, this proposal was made on behalf of the crown at the suggestion of Walpole). It had shown its loyalty to King George in other ways, but the majority was tory, with a variable infusion of Jacobitism. In the elections for the new parliament, which met on 17 March, no exertions on the part of the government were spared to secure a favourable verdict on the question of the succession challenged by the Pretender's manifesto of the previous 29 Aug. The tories, unwilling or unable to meet this issue directly, raised the old cry of the church in danger, and the presbyterian principles of the house of Hanover were, with audacious ignorance or mendacity, held up to opprobium (see the pamphlet, English Advice to the Freeholders of England, cited by Wright). No doubt George I's mother was bred a Calvinist, but the line to which he belonged was Lutheran. Leibniz had been at pains to impress upon him the agreement between the Augsburg Confession and the Thirty-nine Articles; and George was not of a nature to make difficulties on such subjects (see Correspondance de Leibniz avec l'Electrice Sophie, iii. 342; cf. Toland, p. 56). He naturally brought his Lutheran travelling court chaplain with him to England (Malorite, i. 60); but he conformed unhesitatingly to the church of England (Political State, viii. 377, 464, and especially ix. 313; and see on the whole subjectPAULl, Aufsätze zur engl. Gesch. Neue Folge, 1883, pp. 379 sq.)

In the new parliament, which was opened by the king in person, though his speech had to be read by the lord chancellor, the whigs commanded a very large majority. In its principal transactions the personal influence of George I had no determining share. His opinion as to the impeachment of the fallen tory leaders is unknown. The revival of the Riot Act (1715) was'provoked by mobs which as a rule clamoured for the church rather than against the throne, though the cry of 'No George' was occasionally heard (cf. Wright, i. 32-3), and though it was even rumoured that a plot had been laid in the city to assassinate the magistrates favourable to the king (Treasury Papers, 1716, p. 235). The Septennial Act (1716) in the first instance unmistakably added to the security of the reigning family. The king, however, was from the first profoundly unpopular with his subjects at large, and in London both with the world of fashion and with the public of the streets. This arose partly from his own want of royal graces, but still more from the rapacity attributed to his German mistresses and dependents. Outrageous corruption was imputed to the ladies, who reached the height of their honours as Duchess of Kendal (1719) and as Countess of Darlington (1722) respectively, and against the rest of the foreigners, down to the king's two favourite valets, Mustapha and Mahomet, captives of one of his Turkish campaigns, who, as pages of the backstairs, were said to carry on a brisk traffic in minor offices (Jesse, ii. 297; 'Honest Mah'met' is immortalised in Pope, Moral Essays, Ep. ii. 198).

The anticipation of the Jacobite insurrections of 1715-16 produced, however, a con-