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George IV
George IV
202

the king would never again receive or open any letter or paper addressed to him personally by the queen' [see Caroline, Amelia Elizabeth]. The ceremony took place with great pomp, but the expense was so enormous and the exclusion of the public so complete that it produced only unpopularity. The royal robes alone cost 24,000l., the crown 54,000l. The king next made preparations for visiting Ireland, and landed at Howth, from the Lightning packet, on 12 Aug., undeterred by the news of his wife's death (7 Aug.), which he had just received. 'The king was uncommonly well during his passage and gayer than it might be proper to tell,' but in deference to his bereavement he postponed his entry into Dublin until the 17th. He quitted Ireland on 3 Sept., after a series of festivities, to which all parties contributed with enthusiastic loyalty; but the weather was so unfavourable that it was not till the 13th, after considerable peril, that he landed at Milford. He next arranged to visit Hanover. He left England 24 Sept., and, travelling via Calais and Brussels, in about a week reached Osnaburg and Hanover, where he remained till the end of October. It was on this journey that he encountered his old friend Brummell, almost destitute, at Calais, and passed him by without recognition or relief. To complete the tour of his dominions he next visited Scotland, and landed at Leith on 14 Aug. 1822, remaining in Edinburgh till the 29th. Lord Londonderry's death occurred during his absence, and on his return to town he was engaged in the arrangements for a reconstitution of the ministry. He resisted as long as he could the introduction of Canning into the cabinet, but at length he yielded on 8 Sept. When Canning had retired in 1820 the king had parted from him with expressions of goodwill, but subsequently he took offence because Canning's friends in the House of Lords opposed the Divorce Bill, as he supposed at Canning's instigation. Greville also reports that Canning had insisted that the expense of the Milan commission should be defrayed by the king and not by the state (see this exclusion of Canning from office 1820-2, discussed in Stapleton, Correspondence of Canning, vol. i.) For some time after Canning became foreign secretary he found himself thwarted by the king, who derived from some of the other ministers, especially Lord Westmorland, private information and advice, and even communicated directly with the foreign ambassadors. Now, however, and for the remainder of his life, he withdrew himself almost completely from the public view. Except to open and prorogue parliament, he made no public appearance in London after his visit to the two theatres in 1823. He spent his time, attended, without any concealment, by his mistress, Lady Conyngham, at Brighton, and latterly almost entirely at Windsor, where he built a pagoda at Virginia Water and established a menagerie. Signs of dropsy had begun to appear, and, apprehensive of being ridiculed for his unwieldy bulk, he took extraordinary precautions to prevent himself from being seen even while driving in Windsor Park. As the catholic question grew more pressing his opposition to emancipation became more decided, and it was also with great reluctance that he was brought to consent to the recognition of the Spanish-American republics (see Stapleton, Correspondence of Canning). In 1825 it was known that he supported the Duke of York in his almost passionate denunciation of the measures for the relief of the catholics. At the end of the year he came to an understanding with Canning, that his objections to catholic relief were to be respected, and thenceforward their relations became more amicable. Upon the retirement of Lord Liverpool (February 1827) he was at first desirous of keeping Canning out of the first place, making some peer, to be selected by the cabinet, Liverpool's successor, and retaining the existing ministry; but this proving impracticable, and the delay in the formation of a ministry being now serious, he commissioned Canning on 10 April to form a ministry. During this crisis his health was bad, and excitement and indecision rendered it worse. In a long interview with the Duke of Buckingham he explained that his chief anxiety had been to keep together a cabinet which would let the catholic question rest. Next the Duke of Wellington resigned his position of commander-in-chief, and the king was with difficulty convinced that it would be unconstitutional for him to assume the direct command of the army himself. After Canning's death (8 Aug. 1827) all the troubles of the spring began again. Contrary to expectation the king, instead of selecting a 'protestant' premier, commissioned Lord Goderich to form an administration. He was very anxious to have Herries included as chancellor of the exchequer, and after considerable pressure induced him to accept the seals. It was thought that he desired this because Herries was intimate with Knighton, his confidential servant, and was consequently, though wrongly, supposed to be likely to yield to the king's wishes on money matters. During the existence of Lord Goderich's weak ministry in 1827-8 the king assumed considerable freedom in disposing of patronage and appointments without