previous next

George (Augustus) 1683-

King of Great Britain; son of the preceding and Sophia Dorothea; born in Hanover, Oct. 20, 1683. In his childhood and youth he was neglected by his father, and was brought up by his grandmother, the Electress Sophia. In 1705 he married a daughter of the Margrave of Brandenburg-Anspach, a woman of superior character and ability. He was made a peer of England the next year, with the chief title of Duke of Cambridge. He was a brave soldier under the Duke of Marlborough. In 1714 he accompanied his father to England, and was proclaimed Prince of Wales Sept. 22. The prince and his father hated each other cordially, and he was made an instrument of intrigue against the latter. The Princess of Wales was very popular, and the father also hated her. At one time the King proposed to send the prince to America, there to be disposed of so that he should have no more trouble with him. He was crowned King Oct. 11, 1727. His most able minister was Walpole (as he was of George I.), and he and the clever Queen ruled the realm for fourteen years. He, in turn, hated his son Frederick, Prince of Wales, as bitterly as he had been hated by his father. It was during the later years of the reign of George II. that the War of the Austrian Succession and the French and Indian War (in which the English-American colonies were conspicuously engaged) occurred. During that reign England had grown amazingly in material and moral strength among the nations. The wisdom of William Pitt had done much towards the acquirement of the fame of England, which had never been greater than in 1760. George died suddenly, like his father, in Kensington Palace, Oct. 25, 1760. He had never been popular with the English people.

There had been peace between France and England for about thirty years after the death of Queen Anne, during which time the colonists in America had enjoyed comparative repose. Then the selfish strifes of European monarchs kindled war again. In March, 1744, France declared war against Great Britain, and the colonists cheerfully prepared to begin the contest in America as King George's War; in Europe, the War of the Austrian [46] Succession. A contest arose between Maria Theresa, Empress of Hungary, and the Elector of Bavaria, for the Austrian throne. The King of England espoused the cause of the empress, while the King of France took part with her opponent. This caused France to declare war against Great Britain. The French had built the strong fort of Louisburg, on the island of Cape Breton, after the treaty of Utrecht, and, because of its strength, it was called the Gibraltar of America. When the war was proclaimed, Governor Shirley, of Massachusetts, perceiving the importance of that place in the coming contest, plans for its capture were speedily laid before the Massachusetts legislature. That body hesitated, but the measure was finally agreed upon by a majority of only one vote. Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut furnished their proper quota of troops. New York sent artillery, and Pennsylvania provisions. Commodore Warren was in the West Indies with a fleet, and was expected to join the provincials in the expedition. After waiting some time, the colonial forces, under Sir William Pepperell, sailed, April 4, 1745, for Louisburg. Warren joined them at Canso early in May, and on the 11th the combined land forces, 4,000 strong, debarked at Gabarus Bay, a short distance from the fortress. The first intimation the French had of danger near was the sudden appearance of this formidable armament. Consternation prevailed in the fort and the town. A regular siege was begun on May 31. Other English vessels of war arrived, and the combined fleet and army prepared for attack on June 29. Unable to make a successful resistance, the fortress, the town of Louisburg, and the island of Cape Breton were surrendered to the English on the 28th. This event mortified the pride of France, and the following year the Duke d'anville was sent with a powerful naval armament to recover the lost fortress, and to destroy English settlements along the seaboard. Storms wrecked many of his vessels, sickness swept away hundreds of his men, and D'Anville abandoned the enterprise without striking a blow. Anchoring at Chebucto (now Halifax), D'Anville died there by poison, it is believed. With the capture of Louisburg the war ended in the colonies. By a treaty made at Aix-la-Chapelle, all prisoners and property seized by either party were restored. The struggle had been costly, and fruitless of good except in making a revelation of the strength of the colonists.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: