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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 21.djvu/166

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George II
George II
160

should take the Duke of York's place. Directly after the baptism in the princess's bedroom, the prince shook his fist in Newcastle's face, exclaiming in his broken English, 'You are a rascal, but I shall find you.' The king hereupon confined the prince to his room, as though to prevent a duel. Two submissive letters from the prince induced the king to restore him his liberty, but he was still excluded from St. James's Palace, the princess having the option of remaining therewith her children or accompanying the prince and leaving them behind her. She joined the prince at the Earl of Grantham's house in Arlington Street. Thence on 23 Jan. 1718 they removed to Leicester House, Leicester Fields, where they resided, attended only by their own servants, and without any of the insignia of state. A bill was now drafted in the cabinet to give the king absolute control of the prince's income, but was dropped mainly in consequence of the determined opposition of Lord-chancellor Cowper [q. v.] At Leicester House and at Richmond Lodge, their summer residence, the prince and princess now gathered round them a brilliant court, which was immediately thrown into opposition by an official announcement that all who should attend the prince's receptions must forbear his majesty's presence [see {{sc|, 1683-1737]. On 3 Feb. the prince was removed from the governorship of the South Sea Company, the king being elected in his place (Cox, Walpole, i. 93-107; Walpole, Reminiscences, cxi; Marchmont Papers, ii. 84; Salmon, Chron. Hist., ed. Toone, i. 462-3; Lebensbeschreibung, 41-50). In order further to humiliate the prince, the king determined if possible to deprive him permanently of the custody of his children. The 'care and approbation' of his grandchildren's marriages was undoubtedly vested in the sovereign, but there was no precedent to decide whether he had also the custody and education of them. The king had a case submitted to the common law judges, and the prince on his part took the opinion of several eminent counsel. The judges met to try the case at Serjeants' Inn on 22 Jan. 1717-18. The majority of the judges, Eyre and Price alone dissenting, decided for the king on the ground that the right of disposing of his grandchildren in marriage carried with it all the other rights of a father, to the exclusion of the true father (Howell, State Trials, xv. 1200 et seq.) The famous proposal for limiting the number of peers was calculated to humiliate the prince, and was ultimately defeated by his friends in the opposition. The king also sought to obtain an act of parliament to sever the connection between England and Hanover on the prince's accession to the throne, but abandoned the idea in deference to an adverse opinion of Lord-chancellor Parker, afterwards Earl of Macclesfield. A scheme for kidnapping the prince and transporting him to America, projected by the Earl of Berkeley, first lord of the admiralty, and reduced to writing by Charles Stanhope, elder brother of the Earl of Harrington, was apparently regarded by the king as a measure which might be resorted to in case of extremity. The draft was carefully preserved by him, and was found among his papers at his death. Walpole may have exaggerated the story, for which, however, there is some ground (see Walpole, Reminiscences, p. cx; Coxe, Walpole, i. 300, ii. 630). The discredit brought by this unnatural feud upon the Hanoverian dynasty at length determined the whigs to attempt to bring about a reconciliation. An opportunity presented itself in the spring of 1720. The Hanoverians were clamouring for the repeal of the clause in the Act of Settlement (12 and 13 Will. III, c. 2 sec. 3) which excluded them from the English and Scottish peerage and all offices under government in Great Britain. Sunderland, not being able to secure the repeal of this clause, was compelled to make overtures to Townshend and Walpole in order to strengthen his position. Walpole refused to enter the ministry as long as the feud between the king and the prince continued. Overtures for a reconciliation were made in April 1720. A fragmentary account of the negotiations given in Lady Cowper's 'Diary' does not reveal the precise terms of the agreement. It is clear, however, that the prince was induced to write a submissive letter to the king, and to express penitence in a short private audience with the king. He was then permitted to visit the young princesses, and returned, amid the acclamations of the populace, to Leicester House under an escort of beef-eaters, who mounted guard there for the first time since the rupture. On the 25th the foreign ambassadors had an audience of the prince. The king still treated the prince with marked coldness, left the regency in the hands of lords justices when he went to Hanover (14 June), and had not restored to the prince the custody of his children when Lady Cowper's 'Diary' terminates (5 July). On this footing matters stood during the remaining years of George I's life, the prince living a somewhat retired life, and being uniformly deprived of the regency during the king's visits to Hanover. His most intimate friends were the Earl of Scarborough, his master of the horse, and Sir Spencer Compton