This month’s Smithsonian corrects the reputation of a long-misundersood man: King George III. “George was the epitome of a constitutional monarch, deeply conscientious about the limits of his power. He never vetoed a single Act of Parliament, nor did he have any hopes or plans to establish anything approaching tyranny over his American colonies, which were among the freest societies in the world at the time of the Revolution: Newspapers were uncensored, there were rarely troops in the streets and the subjects of the 13 colonies enjoyed greater rights and liberties under the law than any comparable European country of the day.
“…Even after George Washington defeated George’s armies in the War of Independence, the king referred to Washington in March 1797 as ‘The greatest character of the age,’ and when George met John Adams in London in June 1785, he told him ‘I will be very frank with you. I was the last to consent to the separation [between England and the colonies] but the separation having been made, and having become inevitable, I have always said and I say now, that I would be the first to meet the friendship of the United States as an independent power.’
“…George never owned slaves himself, and he gave assent to the legislation that abolished the slave trade in England in 1807.”
The article is by Andrew Roberts, who wrote The Last King of America, just published by Viking.