THE WATERSHED: II
THE reign of George III, who dedicated himself to the extirpation of party, created the parties of our modern history. Such a re-formation of public opinion must, indeed, soon have come about under any sovereign. Nothing could have perpetuated the old relation of Britain to America, or to Ireland. Any government would soon have to reckon with the political effect of our industrial revolution, while a large-scale capitalism, controlling the markets of a new empire, challenged the commercial principle of the old. Western Europe, too, was so far an intellectual unit that Britain could not escape immune from Continental revolution. Yet the speed with which a new Whig and a new Tory party were formed, and their bitter conflict, were due in great measure to the King, a man of high virtue and narrow outlook, who would never conciliate opposition or conceal a hatred, but could yet embody the single loyalties which in the hour of attack hold together a Church, a nation, or a party.
He was the child of an Opposition Court, bred in a persecution complex, cherished in a vision of Kew as a ring of light in a dark world. Whig governors and preceptors had come and gone, without impressing the youth who was being nursed up for an un-Whig future. Newcastle's secretary, accomplished Andrew Stone; bishops in plenty; mathematical Mr. Scott, courtly lord Harcourt, supple and delightful Lord Waldegrave; their influence had faltered and failed, leaving only two--the Princess-Mother and Lord Bute.
By 1758 son, mother, and friend had formulated their policy and their creed. They were well aware of their own value, and of the ease with which a wedge could be driven between Pitt and Newcastle. They began to demand promotion for their clients like Gilbert Elliot, now and then to interpose in elections, and