to the misrepresentations of Bute. George heard him in silence, though he certainly was shamefully treated (Bedford Corr. iii. 288, 289). He again sent Cumberland to Pitt, who had two interviews with the king, and undertook to form an administration; but his arrangements were brought to an end on 25 June 1765 by Temple's refusal to accept the treasury. In his distress the king again turned to his uncle, who, with Newcastle's help, formed an administration under the Marquis of Rockingham, and on 10 July George at last got rid of Grenville. The humiliation of turning to the Rockingham whigs was a less evil than the retention of the old ministry. ‘I would rather,’ he said, ‘see the devil in my closet than George Grenville’ (Rockingham Memoirs, ii. 50).
George, though outwardly civil, thwarted his new ministers, and would not create peers on their recommendation. Indeed he probably from the first intended to get rid of them as soon as he could find others more subservient to himself. George saw with concern the abuses of the government in Ireland, and when Lord Hertford accepted the viceroyalty in October 1765, wrote him a paper of instructions, which was probably his own composition. It shows remarkable knowledge of the secret sources of mischief, and contains straightforward directions for destroying them by an honourable and decided policy (Froude, English in Ireland, ii. 39–43). Rockingham pressed to be allowed to treat with Pitt in January 1766. The king did not like the idea, probably because he did not wish to see the administration strengthened, and also because he did not want Pitt unless as, in a special sense, his own minister. He yielded, but Pitt was impracticable. George did not approve the repeal of the Stamp Act, though he was willing to modify it; but he asserted that he had all along preferred repeal to force, if one or the other was necessary. As Rockingham found that he was opposed by the king's friends, he obtained the king's sanction to the repeal in writing (Rockingham Memoirs, i. 301). George acted a double part, pretending to be pleased when his ministers were in a majority, but allowing the court party to see that his sympathies were really on the other side. Rockingham seems to have taxed him with this conduct (ib. pp. 299, 321; Bedford Corr. iii. 327). The repeal of the Stamp Act received the royal assent on 18 March. The retirement in May of the Duke of Grafton, one of the secretaries of state, was due to underhand negotiations carried on by Lord-chancellor Northington, who was one of the king's party. In July Northington openly quarrelled with his colleagues, and by his advice the king sent for Pitt. George received Pitt with pleasure, put all arrangements under his control, and dismissed his ministers ungraciously. Pitt was created Earl of Chatham, and formed an administration of which he was the real, and Grafton the ostensible, head. George thus won a decided success. He got rid of the administration of the great whig families, and was delighted at securing Pitt, who, he had good reason to believe, would ‘destroy all party distinctions,’ and ‘root out the present method of parties banding together’ (Chatham Corr. iii. 21, 127). Chiefly through the king's policy the whigs were now divided into hostile sections. He was personally gratified by the restoration of Stuart Mackenzie to his former office.
The new administration fell at once into a state of weakness and division. Against his own will the king allowed Chatham to treat with Bedford, and when the negotiation failed told his minister that ‘due firmness would show the Bedfords of what little consequence they were’ (ib. p. 137). The administration became more tory in character, and derived what little strength it had from the support of the king's friends. Chatham's illness reduced it to incapacity. The king was almost in despair, for he was afraid of being forced to receive Grenville. On 2 March 1767 he entreated Chatham to see his messenger if only for a quarter of an hour, in order that the ‘world might know’ that he was still advising him; on 30 May that Chatham would see Grafton, if only for five minutes; and on 2 June, when the administration seemed about to break up, that he would lay a plan before him (ib. pp. 137, 227, 267). He earnestly begged him to retain office. ‘Your name,’ he wrote, ‘has been sufficient to enable my administration to proceed;’ he hoped that his minister would recover, and help him ‘in resisting the torrent of factions.’ Chatham resigned on 14 Oct. 1768 (ib. pp. 318, 338–44). On 28 March, when Wilkes was elected for Middlesex, it was thought that the mob would attack the queen's house. George declared that he wished that they ‘would make the attempt, that he might disperse them at the head of his guards’ (Grenville Papers, iv. 268). He took an active part in the arrangements for preserving order, urged the expulsion of Wilkes from the house, insisted that ‘due firmness’ should be used in resisting riots, approved the firing on the mob in St. George's Fields, and required the Westminster justices to show firmness in using the military. In 1769 he followed a similar course as regards Wilkes. On 22 March, after Wilkes had been declared incapable of sitting in the ‘present parliament,’ while the king was talking with his