George III (1738-1820)

The following is an excerpt about King George III from a BBC article on the Web.  He was King of Great Britain during the American Revolution.

George III was born on 4 June 1738 in London, son of Frederick, Prince of Wales and Augusta of Saxe-Gotha. He became heir to the throne when his father died in 1751, succeeding his grandfather George II in 1760. He was the first Hanoverian monarch to use English as his first language. In 1761, George married Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and they enjoyed a happy marriage, with 15 children.

George chose his mentor the Earl of Bute as his first chief minister. He was a poor choice, isolating George from senior politicians. Effective government became almost impossible, and George was increasingly vilified. The instability following Bute’s resignation in 1763 did little to solve the crown’s financial difficulties, made worse by the Seven Years’ War. In 1770, George appointed Lord North as his first minister. Although an effective administrator, North’s government was dominated by disagreements with the American colonists over British attempts to levy taxes on them. War began in 1775 and was prolonged in 1779, at the king’s insistence, to prevent copycat protests elsewhere. The British defeat in 1781 prompted North to resign. 1

Commentary

In December of 1773, King George instructed North Carolina’s Royal Governor Martin to set up prerogative courts, meaning that the sovereign could ultimately decide matters rather than a local court.  This decision by the King followed his decision to let a court-law established under prior Royal Governor Tryon expire.  This had the effect of denying colonials the ability to sue British merchants for a debt owed and secure the debt by attaching the merchants property located in North Carolina.  This was one of the grievances along with other grievances in the colonies that led to Committees of Correspondence throughout the colonies, a movement that led to the creation of the Continental Congress and the eventual declaration of independence from Great Britain.  This movement originated with Samuel Adams (1722-1830) of Boston.  Harnett’s leadership in the movement led Josiah Quincy, Jr. to call Harnett “The Samuel Adams of North Carolina.”  Samuel Adams was known as the “Father of the American Revolution.”  For more details, see the article in this Web site on Committees of Correspondence.

Notes

1.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/george_iii_king.shtml. Accessed on August 17, 2013.

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