meanly avaricious and spiritless, was too prejudiced to
gather round him willingly the ablest statesmen, and cared more for Hanover
than for America.
His ministers were intent only on keeping in power.
‘To be well together with Lady Yarmouth
wrote, ‘is the best ground to stand on.’1
‘If the good-will of the king's mistress,’ continued England
's primeminister to its principal secretary of state, ‘if that shakes, we have no resource.’
The whig aristocracy had held exclusive possession of the government for nearly forty years; its authority was now culminating; and it had nothing better to offer the British
people, than an administration which openly spoke of seats in parliament as ‘a marketable commodity,’2
and governed the king by paying court to his vices.
The heir to the throne was a boy of fourteen, of whose education royalists and the more liberal aristocracy were disputing the charge.
His birth was probably premature, as it occurred within less than ten months of that of his oldest sister; and his organization was marked by a nervous irritability, which increased with years.
‘He shows no disposition to any great excess,’ said Dodington to his mother.
‘He is a very honest boy,’ answered the princess, who still wished him ‘more forward and less childish.’
‘The young people of quality,’ she added, ‘are so ill educated and so very vicious, that they frighten me;’ and she secluded her son from their society-The prince, from his own serious nature, favored this retirement; when angry, he would hide his passion in the solitude of his chamber; and as he grew up, his strict