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George II of Great Britain

Birthdate: 30. October 1683
Date of death: 25. October 1760

George II was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 until his death in 1760.

George was the last British monarch born outside Great Britain: he was born and brought up in northern Germany. His grandmother, Sophia of Hanover, became second in line to the British throne after about 50 Catholics higher in line were excluded by the Act of Settlement 1701 and the Acts of Union 1707, which restricted the succession to Protestants. After the deaths of Sophia and Anne, Queen of Great Britain, in 1714, his father George I, Elector of Hanover, inherited the British throne. In the first years of his father's reign as king, George was associated with opposition politicians, until they rejoined the governing party in 1720.

As king from 1727, George exercised little control over British domestic policy, which was largely controlled by the Parliament of Great Britain. As elector, he spent twelve summers in Hanover, where he had more direct control over government policy. He had a difficult relationship with his eldest son, Frederick, who supported the parliamentary opposition. During the War of the Austrian Succession, George participated at the Battle of Dettingen in 1743, and thus became the last British monarch to lead an army in battle. In 1745, supporters of the Catholic claimant to the British throne, James Francis Edward Stuart , led by James's son Charles Edward Stuart , attempted and failed to depose George in the last of the Jacobite rebellions. Frederick died unexpectedly in 1751, nine years before his father, so George II was ultimately succeeded by his grandson, George III.

For two centuries after George II's death, history tended to view him with disdain, concentrating on his mistresses, short temper, and boorishness. Since then, most scholars have reassessed his legacy and conclude that he held and exercised influence in foreign policy and military appointments.

Quotes George II of Great Britain

„If he is mad, so much the better; and if he is mad, I hope to God he’ll bite some of my generals.“

—  George II of Great Britain

The New-York Magazine (November 1791) p. 662.
On being warned by the Duke of Newcastle, in 1758, against promoting James Wolfe. Often quoted as "Mad, is he? Then I hope he will bite some of my other generals."

„I hate bainting, and boetry too! Neither the one nor the other ever did any good.“

—  George II of Great Britain

John Ireland Hogarth Illustrated (1791); cited from John Ireland and John Nichols Hogarth's Works (1883) p. 122.
Later sources usually quote this as "I hate all bainters and boets!", or as "Damn the bainters and the boets too!" The saying is often misattributed to George I.

„No, I'll have mistresses.“

—  George II of Great Britain

Non, j'aurai des maîtresses.
William M. White Emmanuel Swedenborg ([1856] 1867) vol. 2, p. 308.
Tearfully answering his wife, Queen Caroline, who as she lay dying had urged him to marry again.

„There are kings enough in England. I am nothing there. I am old and want rest and should only go to be plagued and teased there about that Damned House of Commons.“

—  George II of Great Britain

Statement made in Hanover (1755), quoted in Isaac Kramnick, Bolingbroke and His Circle: The Politics of Nostalgia in the Age of Walpole (Cornell University Press, 2018), pp. 113–114

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