of becoming fat, and was therefore very abstemious and took much exercise without regard to weather, sometimes riding from Windsor to London in the rain, and after he had dressed holding a levee, and, when that was over, giving audience to his ministers and setting off for Windsor in his carriage about 6 p.m., without having taken anything but a little tea and bread and butter, which he would often eat as he walked up and down (Wraxall, Memoirs, i. 282). He never missed a drawing-room or a levee. The graciousness of his manners to men whom he respected is recorded by Dr. Johnson, whose well-known interview with him took place in February 1767. Johnson afterwards said: ‘They may talk of the king as they will, but he is the finest gentleman I have ever seen’ (Boswell, Life, ii. 37–43, ed. 1807). He worked hard, and was inspired by a genuine desire to do good to his people, and a belief that what he thought right necessarily was so. His letters to North, for whom at this time he felt a strong affection, show the deep interest which he took in the progress of affairs. The distribution of the crown patronage was now entirely in his hands, and he gave orders about every appointment, whether it was to the place of housekeeper at one of his palaces, or to a colonelcy of the guards, or to an episcopal see. Patronage was one of the chief means by which he maintained and managed his party in parliament. Another of these means was the manifestation of his feelings by word or manner when people who had either satisfied or displeased him presented themselves at court; and a third was the disposal of the civil list revenues. The income settled on the crown, swelled as it was by the profits of the duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster and revenues from Scotland, Ireland, and other sources, was sufficient for all ordinary needs, and far more than sufficient for a king who lived so simply, yet in 1769 the ministers were forced to ask parliament for 513,511l. for payment of debts; inquiry was demanded, but in the end the money was granted without investigation. Much waste went on, as was abundantly proved in 1777, but large sums were no doubt spent in corruption of various kinds (May, Const. Hist. i. 237, 341). George was now thoroughly acquainted with political business. He identified himself with North's administration, and wrote his minister constant letters, sometimes two or three in a day, with his own hand. These letters he used to date according to the minute of writing, a custom which illustrates the importance which he attached to trifles, and possibly also his feeling that everything connected with himself was of special moment. He was at all times ready to listen to suggestions from men who were not his constitutional advisers, and from 1770 to 1782 Charles Jenkinson, afterwards Lord Hawkesbury and Earl of Liverpool, is said to have exercised an influence which was ‘sometimes paramount to, or subversive of, the measures proposed by his first minister’ (Wraxall, Memoirs, i. 416). When the new parliament met in 1771, the result of the elections and the disorganisation of the whigs secured the success of the king's policy.
George saw with some alarm the rise of the quarrel between the House of Commons and the printers, and, while writing of the printers as ‘miscreants,’ hoped that matters would not be allowed to grow serious. On 17 March, however, he considered it necessary for the commons to commit the Lord-mayor Crosby and Alderman Oliver, but was glad that the ministers were content to leave alone so dangerous an antagonist as Wilkes (Letters to North, i. 64, 67). He also took an active interest in the opposition to Savile's ‘Nullum Tempus’ Bill, which was designed to protect the subject against the dormant claims of the crown, such as that revived to the prejudice of the popular whig magnate the Duke of Portland. Family troubles crowded on the king. In November 1770 he was forced to find, not without difficulty, 13,000l. to pay damages and expenses incurred by his brother, the Duke of Cumberland, in a divorce case, and early in 1772 was much troubled at the news of the disgrace of his sister, the queen of Denmark [see under Caroline Matilda]. On 8 Feb. he lost his mother; she had probably long ceased to influence his political conduct, but this was not generally believed, and the mob followed her body to the grave with insults (Walpole, Last Journals, i. 17). Shortly before this event he heard with indignation of the marriage of the Duke of Cumberland to Mrs. Horton, and soon afterwards of the marriage of his favourite brother, William Henry, duke of Gloucester, to the widow of Earl Waldegrave. The two dukes were forbidden the court, and it was announced that the king would not receive those who called on them. It was some years before he forgave the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. These marriages and the scandals connected with them called forth a message from the king to parliament recommending the Royal Marriage Bill, which prohibited descendants of George II, except the issue of foreign princesses, from marrying before the age of twenty-five without the king's consent. After that age they might marry provided that no objection was raised by parliament to the proposed match, of which a year's notice had