Monday, July 11, 2016

The Royal Response to the American Revolution

King George III
From The Mad Monarchist:
Starting with the royals most affected, the British, the first thing that must be done is to set aside the entire list of crimes cited as “evidence” of the tyranny of King George III in the Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson. It is as close as one could possibly get to being completely untrue. King George III was not a tyrant, never acted against the wishes of his government and never overstepped his legal authority. It was only that the King presented an easier target to vilify than the nameless, faceless members of Parliament who passed the legislation which the American colonists objected to. In fact, if one reads his own words on the subject, King George III was at every step leading up to the outbreak of war, always anxious to avoid conflict and resolve the matter peacefully. He was prepared to be reasonable but certainly felt that what was being asked of the colonists was not at all out of order. Once violence did erupt, however, he was the most committed in all of Britain to continuing the war until victory was secured. He threatened, more than once, to abdicate rather than accept American independence or to accept the Whig party into government who would push for such a thing.

As the war went on, the King became understandably bitter and voiced contemptuous views of the American populace, despite the fact that two-thirds were active or passive loyalists. However, as he said to John Adams, the first U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain, while he was the last to agree to the independence of America, he was indeed the first to extend a hand of friendship to the new nation and work to retain it as part of the British trade network and commercial empire. What many would find more surprising though, is that the King’s son and heir, the Prince of Wales and future King George IV, was allied with a political faction that practically cheered every American victory in the war. This group was backed by the Prince of Wales and focused around Charles Fox, the Marquis of Rockingham and Edmund Burke. Members of this group even took to wearing the colors of Washington’s Continental Army to show their solidarity with the American cause and most of these men were wealthy and/or aristocratic which says something about just how “revolutionary” the war in America really was. Fox and Burke would later part company over the much more revolutionary war in France with Fox supporting the revolutionaries and Burke staunchly opposing them. (Read more.)

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