Mad, Sad but George Wasn't Bad

Daily Mail (London), September 26, 1998 | Go to article overview

Mad, Sad but George Wasn't Bad


Byline: CHRISTOPHER HUDSON

THE CURIOUS thing about George III is that his name is synonymous with madness, yet he was one of our sanest, most civilised kings.

Many people who read this delightfully affectionate and balanced portrait of Britain's longest-serving king (1760-1820) will have a picture in their mind's eye of Nigel Hawthorne in The Madness Of King George, red-faced and exploding with ferocious geniality until gradually his mind gives way, and he becomes a madman at the centre of what seems a mad system of government.

The best-known summary comes in 1066 And All That: 'George III was a Bad King. He was, however, to a great extent insane and a Good Man and his ministers were always called Pitt.' That he was a good man, there is no doubt. Proud of his German descent (he spoke German to his wife when they were alone), he nevertheless regarded himself as British through and through, believing that an Englishman should honour his family and his country, praise God, speak the truth and lead a decent life.

One of his first acts, when he came to the throne at the age of 22, was to issue a proclamation for the 'Encouragement Of Piety And Virtue'.

Sadly, it was not a virtuous age. For all the earnest moral instruction George III instilled into his young sons, most of them grew up to be scandalous womanisers, gambling and drinking themselves into debt.

His eldest son, who would be Prince Regent and later George IV, seduced one of his mother's maids of honour when he was 16, and later passed on two of his mistresses to the King's political enemy, Charles James Fox.

George III remained a rock of outraged stability, what-whatting and tut-tutting round his palaces, talkative, obstinate, buffoonish and kind.

Laughably formal and strait-laced, he was nevertheless cultivated, in keeping with an age so much more civilised than our own.

He was passionate about music and built up an art collection and a splendid library. He gave Dr Johnson an annual pension just for being Dr Johnson.

He loved fireworks, bands, military uniforms and bits of machinery, spending hours taking clocks and telescopes apart and putting them together again.

He ushered the Archbishop of Canterbury into the tube of the astronomer Herschel's giant telescope, saying: 'Come, my Lord, I will show you the way to heaven.' Villagers, labourers, shopkeepers, grooms, would be given a cheerful quizzing: 'Well, boy, what? What do you do? What do they pay you, what?' Although wistfully inclined towards

several English ladies, George let his agents search out for him a suitably Protestant European princess, only insisting, like Henry VIII, on seeing her miniature portrait first. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Mad, Sad but George Wasn't Bad
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.