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doing so, but Lord Loughborough, whom he also consulted, was on the other side, and gave his reasons in writing (Campbell, Lives of the Chancellors, vi. 296–8). The year (1794) was one of scarcity and of much discontent among the lower classes, and as the king proceeded to open parliament on 29 Oct. his carriage was surrounded by a mob shouting ‘Bread!’ ‘Peace!’ and ‘Down with George!’ A missile was shot through the window of his coach, and as he returned stones were thrown; he behaved with great coolness, and the next evening was much cheered on appearing in Covent Garden Theatre (Annual Register, 1795, ii. 39). This attack led to the enactment of the Treasonable Attempts Bill. On 1 Feb. 1796 a stone was thrown at his carriage and hit the queen, as they were returning from Drury Lane Theatre. He was strongly opposed to negotiations with France in 1797, and wrote his opinion to Pitt on 9 April; Pitt answered in a decided tone. The next day George sorrowfully acquiesced, and negotiations were opened at Lille (Life of Pitt, iii. 52, App. ii–vi.) On 19 Dec. he went in state to St. Paul's to give thanks for the victories of Cape St. Vincent and Camperdown. As he was entering his box in Drury Lane Theatre on 15 May 1800, he was shot at by a madman named James Hadfield. He showed great unconcern, and slept as quietly as usual during the interval between the play and the afterpiece (Kelly, Reminiscences, ii. 156; Wraxall, Memoirs, ii. 29).

The homeliness of the king's manners, his lack of dignity in private life, and the minute economy of his domestic arrangements became more conspicuous as he grew older. They were ridiculed in caricatures chiefly by Gillray, and in verse by Dr. Wolcot (Peter Pindar) and others. In 1791 the king is represented in a print as toasting muffins, and in 1792 as applauding the happy thought of the queen, who is instructing her daughters to drink tea without sugar to save ‘poor papa’ expense. He is said while at Weymouth to have had household necessaries sent from Windsor to avoid the high prices of the watering-place, and Peter Pindar describes ‘Great Cæsar’ as handling the soap and candles which came by the mail. In a caricature of 1795 Gillray ridicules his ‘affability,’ or love of gossiping and asking questions, in a print representing him as chattering to a cottager who is carrying food to his pigs. The most famous story of George's eccentric and undignified habits is preserved by Peter Pindar in verse, and by Gillray in a caricature of November 1797, and records how he stopped while hunting at an old woman's cottage and learnt from her how the apple got inside the dumpling (see Gillray, Caricatures; Wolcot, Works of Peter Pindar, i. 337; Wright, Caricature History, pp. 458–65). He was, however, decidedly popular, especially with the middle class; the court was not fashionable, and a certain number of the working class were discontented, though the nation was as a whole strongly loyal. The king's virtues and failings alike were such as won the sympathy of average Englishmen of the middle class, and the affliction from which he had lately suffered greatly increased his subjects' affection for him.

George was fully persuaded of the necessity for a legislative union with Ireland, and took much interest in the progress of the scheme. At the same time he did not forget the proposals for Roman catholic relief which had caused him uneasiness in 1795, and saw that it was possible that the Irish union might cause their renewal in one shape or other. ‘I only hope,’ he said to Dundas in the autumn of 1799, ‘that the government is not pledged to anything in favour of the Roman catholics,’ and on Dundas replying that it would be a matter for future consideration, and pointing out that the coronation oath only applied to the sovereign in his ‘executive capacity, and not as part of the legislature,’ he angrily broke in with ‘None of your Scotch metaphysics, Mr. Dundas—none of your Scotch metaphysics’ (Mackintosh, Life of Sir James Mackintosh, i. 170). While he was at Weymouth on 27 Sept. 1800, the chancellor, Loughborough, who happened to be staying with him, showed him a private letter which he had received from Pitt summoning him to a cabinet council on the subject of catholic emancipation, and thus betrayed to him the minister's design before Pitt had thought fit to say anything to him about it. The news caused him great anxiety (Campbell, Lives of the Chancellors, vi. 306, 322). He further received letters from Dr. Moore, archbishop of Canterbury, and Dr. Stuart, archbishop of Armagh, condemning the design. On 13 Dec. he also received a paper from Loughborough, stating the objections to emancipation (Life of Sidmouth, i. 500–12). Meanwhile no communication took place between the king and his ministers on the subject. At the levee on 28 Jan. 1801, one of the days on which the speaker was swearing-in the members of the new parliament, George asked Dundas what the ministers were ‘going to throw at his head,’ and declared that it was the ‘most Jacobinical thing he ever heard of,’ adding, ‘I shall reckon any man my personal enemy who proposes any such measure’ (Wilberforce, Life of Wilberforce, iii. 7). The next day he wrote to the