tv AHTV Andrew Roberts The Last King of America - The Misunderstood Reign... CSPAN February 6, 2022 9:00am-10:01am EST
ladies dot c-span.org. good evening, everybody. i'm very happy to welcome you to the hoover institution and to welcome our distinguish. speaker andrew roberts i think everybody realizes who he is and what he's done. he's the author of churchill walking with destiny leadership. in war the storm of war etc, etc. he was educated at. with his bachelors and phd at cambridge university of england. he's no stranger to the hoover institution. he was the a charter an original member of our military history and contemporary conflict working group. and he's been a visiting fellow
at hoover. thanks to the generosity of martha and roger mertz whose generosity really helped jumpstart the entire military history project. in addition to the 19 books and being of he's a visiting lecture as i said at hoover. he's also a visiting professor of the new york historical site society the lewis lerman fellow and a visiting professor of war studies at king's college london. he's just it's just been announced that his book was not a a book of the year, but the book of the year by the times of london, which is an unusual and rare honor indeed and i think it's no exaggeration to say that he's probably the most accomplished historical biographer in the english. speaking world and i just want to end by suggesting why that is. and i think when you look at his totality has worked there's
three themes that are prevalent number one. he writes an interesting story. he's an excellent prose style as he was from the very beginning with his book on halifax and the history of the english-speaking peoples and in this period of specialization and dash studies studies. it's very strange to see somebody who has mastered the 18th and 19th century arts of narrative history in the in the tradition of gibbon or prescott or someone of that sort second. he's an archivalist and that's important that the hoover institution because of our emphasis on archives. so just when you think he appeals to a popular audience, you can see that when he writes masters and commanders. he has access to previously on known or even on published diaries of the major military commanders of world war ii. or when you think nobody can say another word about napoleon he has access to unpublished letters from napoleon saying is
true of the churchill biography the royal correspondence or diaries the royal family the king and so on almost every major project. he he undertakes its imperative that he finds new information and tries to make that accessible. but in addition to that, i think finally there's something unique about andrew. he's an on the unapologetic traditionalist and conservative, but he's not an idol ideologue. he's neither predictably conservative in his historical work nor is he just popularly a revisionist a contrarian for the sake of being contrarian? so when you pick up masters and commanders the story of roosevelt and churchill and their subordinates, allenbrook and george marshall you would think that fdr would come off pretty badly given churchill and andrew's affection for him and later work of him. he doesn't it's a very fair portrayal of fdr in some cases
churchill comes off less astute, especially about the mediterranean strategy and just when you think that the icon george marshall can do no wrong. the xerobic and self-centered allenbrook comes off as a pretty valuable strategist to have around i when i reviewed napoleon that magnificent of napoleon the great i thought well andrew is a conservatives really going to let napoleon have it. he didn't he did chronicle the wrath of destruction that napoleon wrought but at the end he said with all warts and all he kept up much of the revolutionary idealism and fervor the good side of the french revolution and institutionalized it and i think the same is true with this magnificent new biography of george the third i think. he's trying to tell i don't think he went so far in this book to say that unfortunately we missed out on being good canadians, but he's saying to all of us.
uh, yes, we were very patriotic. we were idealistic and we fought ferociously against the british but part of our success. was that george the third was not a tyrant of continental europe, but actually humane man that was much easier to rebel against than not and without can you help me welcome andrew roberts? okay. thank you so much, victor. ladies and gentlemen, it's a great honor to be invited to address you this evening and thank you very much indeed victor for those tremendously kind words and and it's also an honor to have roger and martha mertz here who have endowed my visiting fellowship and have become great friends over the last few years. when my wife said goodbye to me on this book tour. she said so you're going to try
and make mad king george popular in america. and i said, yes darling knowing something like this was going to get a crop out. i said yes starting out. that is the idea. that's what i'm going to try to do. and she said well if you pull that off then you do realize that king herod is going to get in touch seeing whether or not you can help make parents of the year. and he the verdict of history on george the third has been uniform. it has been uniformly negative in this country understandably, of course, but also in my country where the week historians for 200 years denounced him as a as a tyrant and a monster and there's a cleric here about him that goes king george iii should never have occurred one can only wonder that's so grotesca blunder. and know three things about him, of course the first that he had porphyria a physiological disease and a horrific one and
the second was that because of his porphyria and also because of his obstinacy. he lost the american colonies for britain both caused the revolution and also lost the american war of independence and thirdly, of course, we know that he was a tyrant because the declaration of independence said that he was unfit to be the ruler of a free people and this is underlined of course by the importance historical contribution made by lin-manuel miranda in in hamilton the musical ladies and gentlemen, all three of those things are completely untrue. he did not suffer for a porphyria. i go in some detail in the appendix of this book to explain how in fact that. theory which started in the late 1960s because of a mother and son medical team giving what can
only be described as totally misleading symptoms to the doctors of the day and in fact, he had he didn't have porphyria at all. i'm not going to get into the details of it not least because it's largely about the color of the king's urine and feces, but but nonetheless what he what he actually did suffer from was the bipolar disease effective type 1 a form of manic depression. it's also not true that this had anything to do with the american revolution owing to the fact that he had one program attack of it for a few months in 1765 and then nothing until again until 1788 by which time america have been independent for five years. so it was it was not a factor. nor is it true that he was that his obstinacy was in some way.
tyranny was in some way responsible for the american revolution. he was as somebody who admired indeed revered the constitution of 1688 the glorious revolution constitution understandably because it gave him many powers, although i noticed from the harvard law review last april that the present american imperial presidency actually has more powers than king george iii. and but this is to an extent the key the key point that i was an am trying to make in this book, which was that he was not a tyrant. we know what tyrants look like the definition of an 18th century tyrant by the way was accrual despot. we know what cruel despots and tyrants were like in the late 18th century catherine the great killed 50,000 russians after the pukachev uprising the way that the french behaved in corsica or the spanish in louisiana, or the
options in austrians to the poles. this was entirely on a far more aggressive cruel and despotic. level than george the third who in the course of his of his reign never arrested an american editor or or closed in american newspaper didn't attempt to stop the stamp act congress or the first continental congress never positioned never sent an army to any of the any of the american cities except for boston in 1768. he did not act like a tyrant does but it's perfectly understandable, of course why the the declaration of independence should make him out to be one because apart from anything else he was this was 14 months into a war and it was a superb propaganda document one
of the most beautifully written most sublime shakespearean in terms of its prose absolutely magnificent document for the first third of it. the it makes you proud to be a human reading reading the sentiments of the first third of the declaration after that. you have two thirds of it which tries to argue and makes 28 charges against george the third only two of which stand up the 17th, which was about taxation and the 22nd, which was about parliament's rights of veto over american religious station and those in and of justify the american revolution. by 1775 the really from the from the 1760s onwards america was ready to become and it's it's level of historical development was such that it needed to become an independent state you
had 2.5 million population a burgeoning economy seven percent or so year on year growth you had more bookshops in philadelphia than in any other city of the empire apart from edinburgh and london and you had therefore most importantly because of the treaty of paris no external french threat on the continent of north america the nearest french army was in haiti. so you had this opportunity and quite understandably and rightly the founding fathers took it to be an independent and and self-governing entity, but that does not make the king that they were rebelling against a tyrant he was not. the stamp act that is so often presented as an example of the tyranny of the king i think needs to be looked at quite
carefully and that which i try to do in this book. i think the fact that it was only attempting to raise between 40 and 60,000 pounds at a time when the population as i say of america was 2.5 million the unenslaved were 1.9 million so actually to to work out how much it costs is about to two shillings and six months per american per year and also all of that money was going to be spent in america. it was not the appalling imposition that it's been made out to be but understandably. it was a constitutional move that was that was considered to be one stage too far by people who as i say wanted independence. in the course of the period since 2015 her majesty the queen
has allowed an enormous cornucopia of of papers of king george iii some 100,000 pages of his private papers memoranda correspondence and so on to become available and as victory kindly pointed out, this is absolutely wonderful for anybody who loves archives and this book is very much based on that and one sees all sorts of fascinating aspects of george the third including the fact that in the 1750s sadly, we don't know which date in the 1750s when as prince of wales. he was writing a essay about montesquieu's essays on the laws. he wrote this about the arguments for that had been put forward for slavery. he said what shall we say for a european traffic in black slaves
the very reasons urged for it will be perhaps sufficient to make us hold such practice in execration for an inhuman custom wantingly practiced by the most enlightened polite nations in the world. there is no occasion to answer them for they stand self condemned george the third ladies and gentlemen, never bought or sold a slave in his life. he never owned a slave. he never invested in any of the companies that did that he of course signed the legislation that abolished the slave trade in in 1807 and yet he's he's held and has been held for 200 years by the week historians as being somehow morally inferior to the 41 of the 56 signatures of the declaration of independence who did own slaves we see from the from this enormous as i say avalanche of information about george's third fascinating aspects of him but one of the ones that that really
drove me in the course of the three years in which i was writing in researching. this book was an attempt to to rebut the incredibly ad hominem personal attacks made by thomas paine in the best-selling of all of the 18th century late 18th century pamphlets common sense, which was caused published in january 1776 in which pain accused the king of being the royal brute of britain and and tried to make him out to be ignorant and and british and so on ladies and gentlemen, this is the man who founded the royal academy to bought at least half of the in fact over half of the royal collection today the largest private art collection in? in the world. he was the person who supported the whole concept of of
neoclassical jordan architecture promoting people like robert adams and and william chambers and james white and so on. he was somebody who the planet uranus was named after originally because of his interest in astronomy and his support for william herschel and his helping to buy the largest telescope in the world and somebody who brought over mozart to play at buckingham palace supported trying to bring tried to keep haydn in britain and also played for musical instruments himself and of whom handel said that while this young man lives my music needs no protector. this is actually somebody who is one of the most arguably the most cultured of a british kings. he was instrumental also in the
in paying john harrington and who had who had discovered the the way to measure longitude. he was a extraordinary bibliophile his 80,000 books of his library, which he allowed any subject who wanted to any scholar to come and work in his library at buckingham house subsequently buckingham palace those 80,000 books now formed the colonel of the british library today the idea of calling him a brute was again something that is perfectly understandable in terms of wartime propaganda, but bears absolutely no resemblance to the truth about this highly enlightened monarch and almost renaissance prince. he was popular in britain because he was british. he was the first monarch for 150 years to be born and bred in britain, and this was pointed out by him to the house of
commons when he gave his his states of the estate opening of parliament in 1761. he said born in educated in this country a glory in the name of britain. and this was very unusual his grandfather king george the second spoke english very haltingly and in a very heavy german accent his father had a german accent his great-grandfather george the first and didn't speak any english. whereas the king king george iii didn't speak. he spoke german and four other languages. thereby also slightly undermining the idea that he was ignorance and and unintelligent and but he spoke english entirely without a german accent and he was also nicknamed specially by his enemies at the beginning farmer george. it was a way that intellectuals attempted to to embarrass him. but in fact, of course in a country where 80% of people took
their livelihood from agriculture his interest in progressive agricultural techniques, he used to write articles for agricultural agricultural papers about rotation and manure and so on and in fact made him made him popular. and he was i'm very unfortunate as a as a child or a young man. when his father frederick prince of wales died very suddenly of an aneurism when he was 12 years old. he had a very good relationship with his father, which is tremendously on almost completely unknown in in hanoverian circles are into the fact that they were a house a royal house of extraordinary dysfunctionality. they all seem to hate their children and their parents and and this was not the case with
with george the third but when his father died when george was 12 his grandfather draw to the second so hated his own son frederick prince wells that he refused to bury him and he had the corpse of his father daughter third father and decomposing. in the room above his bedroom until finally the this putrefying corpse was was buried at westminster abbey. he was a loving father. this also made him very unusual in the sorry. he was a loving husband, which also made him tremendously unusual in the hanoverian family. the he was the only one not to take a mistress. the only one of the hanoverians to be in love with his wife who he met for the first time six hours before their wedding. and so of course, it was a completely arranged marriage, but one that later turned into a
genuine love match they had lots of things in common and they fell in love with each other after they were married. and unfortunately because of the of the monstrous kings malady this this terrible disease that he had it was to destroy the marriage after. years of happy marriage there was a i don't want in any way to see that to make it seem that this is a hagiography. there are lots of things that were not right about about george that were not good about george the third and he was tremendously self-righteous. he never think he thought he did anything wrong which considering that he was king at the time of the greatest strategic catastrophes who overcome britain between the loss of the irish van lands in the 15th century and the fall of france in 1940 was in itself quite extraordinary that he never
recognized that that he did anything wrong. he also i have to say had a sense of humor that is best described as hanoverian. there's that there's that great mel brooks line. what's the opposite of comedy germany? and he was not a he a particularly. money, man. he tried to be funny on occasion and it was a disaster. and but nonetheless this book fortunately does have lots of jokes in it owing to the fact that of course the 18th century was an absolute high point of of reputee and and wit and parliamentary debating points and so on. i know many of you have heard this joke, but it's my favorite jacob the late 18th century. so i'm going to tell it anyhow, which was when the earl of sandwich the first thought of the admiralty told.
john wilkes the radical journalist that he was either going to die of the pox or on the gallows and john wilkes replied. well that depends your lordship and whether or not i embrace your lordship's principles or your mistress. georgia third was a very courageous man. he had a during the invasion attempts in by the french and spanish in 1779 where he behaved superbly during the appalling gordon riots of the 1780 when he when 400 people were killed in a week in london, it was the largest destruction physical destruction of london between the great fire of london in 1666 and the blitz of 1940 to 41 and one of his aid decoll said that he didn't know what fear was he survived six assassination attempts by people suffering from mental illness. he actually and was incredibly
cool in all of them. there was one marvelous moment where somebody shot at him in the theater and he went to sleep in the interval. he was really at his bravest though. it struck me during this terrible crisis of his illness in 1789 and 1788 and 1789 when? he was struck with this manic depression. he phoned at the mouth. he babbled on he spoke for 19 hours at one sitting at one point. he became violent and had to be straight jacketed and held down and they also because the doctors at the time knew absolutely nothing about this illness. they did exactly the wrong thing which included cupping him, which was a horrible sort of torturous process where they put a cup on the arm or the or the thigh and heated it up to create
blisters and and bruising and they and they also took blood from him and large amounts of blood and these of course were the absolute opposite of what somebody really needed where he was suffering from a mental illness and one of the things about this book. i'm proud to be able to say is that this is the first book to use all of the medical the modern medical opinion. to prove that he did not have porphyria, but he did have manic depression and we've used all sorts of extraordinary experts both in psychiatry and also in in porphyria to come to this this point and it's also the first book indeed is the first biography of george the third narrative biography of george third for half a century. and so it has been written at a time when mental illness has been destigmatized finally and thankfully and so george the third can't be blamed as he has
been by weak historians for 200 years essentially for his own his own illness. no, it strikes me. can he be blamed for the grand strategy of the that led to the defeat in the american war of independence? he had the british only really had one plan, which was called the jermaine plan the invented by lord george germain the american secretary. which was to bring sir william howe coming up from new york up the hudson river to meet sir. john burgoyne who was coming down from canada to to get to albany to meet at albany and thereby use the hudson control of the hudson river to split the new england colonies off from the rest of the 13 colonies. that was the that was the plan but unfortunately in 1777 sir william, unfortunately as far as i'm concerned at least sorry, i
forgot for a moment. i was speaking to an american audience you might think of it's slightly differently, but nonetheless. what happened was sir? william howe broke off and went east and captured philadelphia. which of course was the enemy capital as far as he was concerned and thereby left burgoyne stranded to the point that he was then. course forced to surrender at saratoga in october 1777 and at which point the the french got into the war in 1778 the french got to remember about the french. they're always there when they need you. and the dutch got involved in 1779. sorry the spanish in 1779 the dutch in 1780 and so suddenly what was a colonial war. and was a very difficult colonial war in and of itself
because it was being fought 3,000 miles away and every single soldier british soldier of which there were only 35,000 for most of the war in america only they each one needed one third of a ton of supplies to be brought over from from britain. so, logistically it was a tremendously difficult war to fight and when it then turned into a world war between 1778 and 1780 it had to be fought in the west indies in the east indies gibraltar in the mediterranean was subjected to a grueling a thousand a siege and and so it suddenly turned into not just the war on two fronts, but a war on 506 fronts including africa and so on so you have this this series of harder and harder struggles to fight and the king was not responsible for either the
jermaine plan or the subsequent plans of the north administration to to try and win that war. he can't be blamed as i argue in this book very strongly either for the causes of the war or indeed the course of it. which of course was was i mentioned disastrous, but once it had been lost he was the person who? john adams the first american ambassador to the court of st. james atson. james is and in the audience of june 1785 and he said this i will be very frank with you. i was the last to consent to the separation but the separation having been made and having become inevitable. i've always said and i say now that i would be the first to meet the friendship of the united states as an independent power. and he then 15 years later when george washington gave up the presidency in march 1797 said
that george washington was the greatest character of the age. and i think i think those are those those two statements redound well to george the thirds memory. when one thinks of his legacy george third's legacy, of course the most powerful parts of it. it strikes me are in the modern monarchy. he had a an effect on the modern monarchy that i think it made him more important than the person who everybody else was every other historian a scribes the the modern monarchy to which is of course his granddaughter queen victoria, but he was actually george the third. who bought buckingham palace who bought the gold stage coach who started the royal walkabouts who
created the role enclosure and ask it who had a trooping of the color was his the annual trooping of the color was his idea as well and when one looks at to manage to the queen today, you see elements of george the third in his personal frugality when it comes to eating and drinking to his prudence financial prudence to his sense of incredible hard work and also his sense of duty all of these can be seen in the present in the present monarch, and i think that that those are important legacies of his i see from the national archives your national archives in in washington that the that there is now a trigger warning on the declaration of independence that it says that it is and i've got the code here.
outdated biased and offensive. well, as far as george the third is concerned. that's clearly true, but but it does strike me as as completely absurd to have a trigger warning on an 18th century document anybody you reads in 18th century document expecting it to reflect the views and opinions of the 21st century has to be clinically insane and and the pulling down of the statue of thomas jefferson, or at least the moving of the statue from the city hall in new york equally strikes me as an extremely dangerous thing for a country to trash it's it's founding fathers because yes, of course he was part of this monstrous evil of slavery, but he was also somebody who had the incredible courage along with the rest of the founding fathers of standing up and fighting
against the most powerful empire in the world as i was explaining earlier. i don't believe that it was a oppressive empire in many ways. it was one of the freest of american colonies in the 1760s and 70s were one of the freer societies in the world however to to stand up and fight for independence and self-government, which was proved to have been the right thing because within a hundred years you became the most powerful nation in the world was obviously the something that took immense guts and these people were also responsible for fashioning a constitution that has lasted for over two centuries and which required frankly genius to put together a way in which you could keep a nation and and ultimately of course full score and seven years later abolished slavery so it does strike me that although what you what the constitution says about being outdated biased in offensive which of course is
nothing to do with george third but to references to other people's including the native americans. is a is an absurdity. when one comes to us and this is the last point i'd like to make but if you take away nothing from my speech, please take away this when the discussion takes place about exceptionalism american exceptionalism whether or not america is an exceptional power. it strikes me that. there are many people's in the world throughout history who have rebelled quite rightly against oppressive nations and taken their sovereignty and their independence one thinks of a israelites against the egyptians the dutch against the spanish the italians against the austrians the greeks against the turks. there are any number of examples of it throughout history, but
what america did exceptionally was to demand its independence and its sovereignty against a king who was not oppressive and that it strikes me as extraordinarily exceptional. thank you very much. good now we have plenty of time for q&a if anybody would like to put their hands up these two ladies are going to there's one there going to give you a microphone. don't ask the question until the microphone gets to you. we've got cnn. sorry c-span that is covering this and so they want to the listeners will want to hear what the question is. so andrew, it's a delight to see you again, and i hope you survived the arduous trip as you
noted. you're not in england anymore and there were some comments made. about the patriots in massachusetts after the french and indian war. being rather ungrateful for the defense that the king and parliament had magnanimously provided them from a french threat. now i know in england. there's a quaint custom whereby heirs of a famous person four or five generations downstream claim up personal privilege to reject any criticism of someone they never knew and know nothing about but i want to claim that for this english speaking person because i was always proud that
in my family tree were some ornaments. that i thought were worthy of respect and we're down to me but there were two presidents by the name of adams both and there was an in battle farmer at both lexington and concord. and and you paint them as you know, being sort of quarless and ungrateful because of the protection that britain had given them but isn't it just as true that britain was protecting its huge trading interest in the united states and although it didn't treat americans with a disdain of say indians americans were not allowed to defend themselves. and when washington went with british troops to defend or build in and lose fort necessity it went back to governor dinwiddie according to ranchero, and they weren't paying. and if they were paid they were paid at a fraction of what british troops made.
yes, and no absolutely i do go into this in my book. in fact that the the french and india during the french and indian wars american troops weren't treated with the same equality as as british troops and were essentially treated only just this side of mercenaries and there were several other things like that that were resented understandably, so, but i'm not sure what you mean by they weren't allowed to defend themselves the american contribution to the french and indian war was massive. it was the first contribution from 1754 in a sense. you started the seven years' war and so so i would take issue with you honor. oppression of means of self-defense fast stores of munition were not allowed. i think i fear what you'll probably referring to i think is the way in which the the regular
army took the lion's share of available stores and ammunition and so on but i don't think first of all, i don't think any of that can be blamed on king george the third owing to the fact that the war broke out six years before he became king and and secondly, i think that you'll find throughout military history regular forces tend to to get the the lion share a regular forces do one more thing you say a couple of times that every penny. raised from american state in the united states from the plane what that from the from the stamp act everything raised from the stamp act was going to be spent on on troops that was stationed in america. nothing was going to be taken from the stamp act to back to england to go into the british coffers the the treasury coffers and so on. that's the only point i was trying to make there. and peter robinson there's a mic
it's it's on its way. peter is going to be interviewing me for his tv show. so the idea that he gets two bites of the cherry i think is a little bit is a little bit much anyway, but there we go. all right. i'll ask a question now that i won't ask when we speak on friday. got it. you attack the declaration of independence. we will get to that on friday. which also attack the wig historians who for 200 years have maligned george the third. who are these wig historians? why are they so important in your reading of history that you assume we know who they are and why do they so annoy you and well, i i suspect you'll know who they are as well. you'll have heard of macaulay. you'll have heard of george otto chavellian and his father the trevellian father and son and going really all the way up to the 20th century jack plumb.
i would call a week historian for example and all of them tried to make george the third out to be a tyrant in british political terms who was constantly attempting to expand the powers of the crown and they therefore pick up on what edmund burke and the radical wigs such as charles james fox were saying in britain, but in fact, georgia third revered the the constitution of 1688, he didn't extend it the only one occasion when he appointed a prime minister who didn't have the support of the house of commons was william pitt the younger in 1783 when the radical weeks were attempting to essentially nationalize these india company and in the subsequent general election pit won a landslide victory and so it vindicated what the king did so i yes, you're right the wig historians do get under my under my skin a
bit but largely because he didn't entirely because they wildly exaggerate the the so-called authoritarian aspects of of georgia. third. he didn't have authoritarian aspects one can totally understand why the founding fathers should want to clothe themselves in the mantle of 1642 and 1688 and those revolutions against charles the first and james the second however that you can't fit a hanoverian monarch who believes in limited government. doesn't believe in the divine right of kings into that parameter, it strikes me. but i'm sure we're going to get on to this when we go on the show on friday. gentleman in the middle left thank you. more groceries lord cornwallis when he surrendered at the end of the revolutionary war would
be considered as the point person for having lost the most valuable colony in the history of the british empire only a few years later. he was made the governor general of india and i wondered whether george had anything to do with this trajectory or his reichonization. yes, that's pretty good question about cornwallis cornwallis had been the eight decant to the king and he was also related to various friends of the of the kings and the king did not blame cornwallis personally for the catastrophe at yorktown because he felt that cornwallis, although of course come wallace's march up from charleston to the peninsula at yorktown and was not part of the overall plan. he did it essentially because he thought he could he thought he could win but people in britain
and especially the king felt that had that it was really the fault of the royal navy not being able to get cornwallis off the peninsula and that had to grass been defeated had the royal navy done what it's the duty of the royal navy has always been which is the sync french jebs it would. have it would have had a different outcome. and so when he came back, he was not caught marshall like burgoyne was he was as you say given very important tasks the one of them as you say was to command the troops in india in the morata wars, which he did extremely well and also he was responsible for putting down the irish rebellion of 1798 and he was put in overall control and command of the of the british army when there were threats to
to mainland britain as well. so he was somebody who the king king trusted and and didn't blame for the disaster at yorktown. gentleman, right in the front end what was the state of democracy in the time of george the third now the king cannot do anything very powerful without to be consent of parliament in those days who had who had power to do what well, that's a very good question because and it changed enormously during george the third's reign partly, of course because he had he did go mad on five occasions and was blind in the last 10 years of his life. he was blind and deaf and senile and so the powers very much slipped from the monarchy to the to the prime minister and the
cabinet during that period but also because he found a prime minister who mentioned earlier william pitt the younger in 1783, he trusted and liked and recognized was an extraordinary. figure he was very unlucky really that of the 14 prime ministers who he appointed during his during his reign only two of them really were exceptional william pitt the younger and his father william pitt the elder and his father. unfortunately had a by the stage that he was appointed prime minister. he was so riven with gout that it had driven in mad essentially, and he didn't have a audience with the king for two years hardly turned up to parliament at all because of this this disease this terrible disease which everybody thinks is so funny. but let me tell you it jolly. well isn't and which you can nowadays deal with with some
alkoxia and allopurinol. and so those are two aspects of it and the third really is that the way in which the parties over his very long rain. he was the longest reigning king of england. 59 years and the parties became ever more powerful and they coagulated much more when he became king right at the beginning. they were just a group of factions usually cousins in in parliament who who coalesced around individual figures by the time he left but by the time he died there were identifiable parties the weak party in the tory party and certain independence and so on so it was a it was a much more unified structure, which therefore meant that the king that the crown had less room maneuver between them frankly.
just been here. and then can we give a mic to this lady here in the front? thank you. so out of curiosity you finished churchill. you're like roaming around the world. on your book tour for that were you just like in clearly the last king of america? it's kind of directed towards us you in america and you thought my gosh these people don't have any idea what this guy was like you know what really triggered you to write this this biography? and it certainly wasn't that i assure you and no i'd written napoleon about napoleon before in the napoleonic wars and the battle of waterloo and so on and and so i'd always in the in the back of my mind known that georgia third was the easley the most misunderstood monarch in british history as well as american in my view, and he i
subscribed to google alerts and for george the third and when i so every day i get an alert whenever george iii's name is mentioned anywhere in the american media on in newspapers or on podcasts or on web websites and so on and they are universally viciously negative the words dictator despot tyrant. and so the only words that are ever used about george third, and there isn't today. that doesn't go by when somebody somewhere says that he was a tyrant and it's i struck me as being an absurdity to consider this essentially benevolent monarch as a vicious tyrant as a as i say, we know what tyrants look like in those days and he wasn't one of them, so i thought it was worthwhile publishing this book. the reviews have been very generous as victor. kylie said it's been chosen as the book of the year in england. so i'm just keeping my fingers
crossed that you might have the same mature and open-minded attitude. sorry this lady in the front here and then there's a gentleman in the middle there in the red jacket. oh, thank you very much. i totally agree with interpretation of george. with the gentleman next to me start asked about wasn't it parliament that passed most of the legislation that taxed the colonies and at the war really was a war of a taxation without representation in and i have a few more things that it really was car parliament that passed the the sugar act the navigation act all of the acts and the george became the target as you mentioned a propaganda device used by jefferson.
however, george washington george the third got even with jefferson. i'm a biographer of john adams and when john visited the king the king said as you said it was very complimentary to him, but at the same time at the end of these talk he said i'm very glad that it was you who were chosen to be the first minister to britain and when thomas jefferson who was then? american minister to france visited george the third turned us back on jefferson. i don't believe that's true i go into this in some detail. i think that jefferson's memory 40 years later in his autobiography is incorrect. he makes three or four statements factual statements in that paragraph, which can be proved not to be true. and i think that he was remembering with advantages as shakespeare put it but let me go back to another and and it's in the book and you can take issue
with you with it if you disagree, but i i think that once you read it, i really do think that you will appreciate that. he wasn't being rude to jefferson even though jefferson needless to say jolly well deserved it after 28 clauses in the declaration of independence, but can i get your to unto your pay point about taxation without representation? because of course, that is the greatest of the cries of the of the american revolution, however at the time of impact congress the virginian and the south carolinian delegations were ordered by their provinces not to accept representation if it were offered. by the time of the peace offers of the carlisle commission of 1778 where representation was on the cards if the americans wanted it it was of course too late because they've been fighting for three years, but i don't think that you can you can
claim the great wrong of no taxation without representation if you're already going to turn down the offer of representation. gentleman in the middle i'm bob benson. this is might be a frivolous quite consider a frivolous. that's good. i was looking forward to what it is. perhaps you could comment on in the play hamilton the characterization of king george and perhaps the lyrics of the songs. and yes, i do know it's not a tool frivolous saying to the fact that there are large numbers of people in my countries as well as yours who only know of george the third through the hamilton the musical who does i think completely capture the show, i mean, obviously i love the show as well. i my foot was tapping all the way through it and it's
completely historically incorrect the he's presented as this sort of camp yet sinister yet. yeah and slightly sadistic figure who will bring battalions to remind you of my love, you know, i will kill you i will kill your family and friends to remind you of my love. just not king george iii at all who was a a very devouting practicing christian a never. there isn't a page of those hundred thousand pages that the queen has made available that it showed any of this kind of aggressional viciousness. let alone sadism that the lin manuel miranda perfectly understandably came up with may also say something else that i think is quite interesting is that and in those 100,000 pages neither neither i nor any of the other royal archives scholars all the georgian papers program scholars at king's college london has been able to find so
much as a sentence to support the 1619 projects assertion that the founding fathers started the american revolution in order to protect and continue slavery. there was no plan at all. on behalf of the british government to extend the 1772 mansfield judgment let alone the 1215 magna carta. abolition of serfdom to america. i mean one can one can obviously argue that that is a terrible moral indictment on george the third and his and his ministries especially lord north. however, it's not there. and and of course that is essential assertion of the 1619 project. richard monroe here in the in the right and then we might have time for one more on that could be the gentleman there in the stripey tie. i think it was max boot who said that if the americans had
rebelled against the romans they would have said consular army after consular army until george washington was crucified and thomas paine tried to implicate george the third in that kind of mentality by associating him with the duke of covenants repressions and islands, but you think instead that william pitt and george the third had learned their lesson and actually refused. to be tyrannical and repressive the way the spanish were in new orleans and other places because they were restrained these ideas of burning churches and things like that are really total fabrications. well, there are and there are of course. examples of outrages of terrible atrocities and outrages in the american war of independence because it because about a third of americans were loyalists and so it had all of the worst aspects of a civil war and when looks at civil wars the russian civil war the spanish civil war and so on the american civil war which become much more violent
and bloody because they are civil wars and then a the know what one might call a normal war and however again, you know george the third wasn't wasn't responsible for any of that. he was in a sense. he was one of the things that i found most interested about this book was that he wasn't somebody who would travel to america he was king of ireland and king of scotland. he would never went to ireland or scotland. he was a lecture of hanover never went to hanover and so it in fact he never went north of worcester or west of plymouth in england. that's all he basically stayed in the home count as all his life and yet this extraordinary intellectual curiosity, you know where he built up this this massive library. he had 40,000 maps that his topographical map collection at the british library is a beautiful and splendid thing, but he thought that he could sort of understand the world through what he was reading and
seeing rather than actually going there and and seeing for himself. right last question before you all queue up and buy the book, which is just over there ladies and gentlemen, remembering two things. first of all, no thine enemy and secondly christmas is coming sir. i have a frivolous question that you can end with. can you forgive lucy wolseley for her depiction of george the third and lucy has come round. i'm pleased to say to a to a more nuanced approach. she is in her next. i understand at least in her next tv series. she's going to be looking at george the thirds mental illness and she's going to be dealing with it in a in a much more sort of modern way looking at what all the modern doctors are
saying and that knowing lucy she'll still dress up as queen charlotte, but but nonetheless that's that's very fetching i find. vegetable. thank yo my name is gavin, please and i am the director of programs exhibitions and community partnerships for the massachusetts historical society. our program this evening. we'll look at the just published book the nazis of copley square in this book professor gallagher provides a crucial missing chapter in the history of the american far-right by looking at the christian front the supporters the christian front imagine themselves as crusaders fighting for the spiritual purification of the nation under assault