« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
ment, “ the middle ages of his biography,” will be found less full of incident, presenting, as it does, fewer prominent angles for the reflection of historic light; but the monarch’s latter years embrace events of the deepest interest, an interest not exceeded by the perusal of any other equal portion of parliamentary history, from the earliest authentic records of its proceedings to the close of William's peaceful reign.
The graver passages of these historic recollections are occasionally relieved by the introduction of personal anecdote, -of correspondence hitherto unpublished, and, by the relation of many private incidents, which a rightminded chronicler of his Sovereign's Life and Reign feels to be most appropriately detailed when mentioned last.
Upon this, the latest volume of the history of our country, considerable care and cost have been expended by the publishers. Besides a faithful Likeness, engraved in the best possible manner, of the illustrious subject of these Memoirs, valuable Portraits are added of the eminent Naval Heroes with whom the youthful Prince was associated in the profession of arms, and from whom he learned “ to obey and to command." The pictorial interest of the work is still further augmented by the introduction of several highly finished Engravings of our most brilliant Naval Victories, from originals by Loutherbourg and Arnald, now preserved in the Painted Hall of Greenwich Hospital.
WILLIAM THE FOURTH.
FROM 1765 to 1779
The waves that rocked the political world, and shook many of the greatest kingdoms on earth to their centre, had just been succeeded by a calm, that diffused its serenity to the furthest extent of civilization. Great Britain and her numerous dependencies now exhibited to mankind a grand political association, bound by the strongest ties of duty and affection, actuated by one common interest, and governed by a youthful monarch, who ascended the throne under circumstances of more signal advantage than any in the long line of his royal ancestors had ever enjoyed. Happiness dwelt in the palaces of Britain, peace had her abode in all her colonies, and the banners of commerce fluttered in the breezes of every climate.
At this auspicious period, a prince was given to the British nation, destined to secure to his people a calm, resembling that on which his first ark of existence was launched.--On the 21st of August, 1765, between the hours of three and four in the morning, Queen Charlotte, consort of King George the Third, was happily delivered of a prince, her third child, at Buckingham-House palace, in the presence of the Princess Dowager of Wales, (her mother-in-law,) and several ladies of the court; the Lord Chancellor and other officers of state being also in attendance in an ante-chamber, to attest the birth of the royal infant. At noon, this “great event” was
BIRTH OF HIS MAJESTY.
announced to the public by the firing of the Tower guns, and in the evening there were splendid illuminations in different parts of the metropolis.
On the 28th of the same month, the Corporation of London waited on his Majesty at St. James's, with the following congratulatory address :
Most gracious Sovereign, -We, your Majesty's ever loyal and faithful subjects, the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Commons, of the City of London, in Common Council assembled, humbly beseech your Majesty to accept our most sincere and dutiful congratulations on the safe delivery of the Queen, and the auspicious birth of another Prince.
“ The joyful event of an increase in your Majesty's illustrious Family, will always be gratefully considered by us as a further substantial security to the civil and religious liberties of this your Majesty's free and native country
“Every addition to your Majesty's domestic happiness fills our hearts with the highest pleasure and satisfaction: and fully confiding that your Majesty's royal sentiments ever coincide with the united wishes of your faithful people, we gladly embrace every opportunity of testifying our joy, and laying our congratulations at your Majesty's feet.
“ Permit us, therefore, Royal Sir, to assure your Majesty, that your faithful citizens of London, from their zealous attachment to your Royal House, and the true honour and dignity of your crown, whenever a happy establishment of public measures shall present a favourable occasion, will be ready to exert their utmost abilities in support of such wise counsels as apparently tend to render your Majesty's reign happy and glorious.”
The answer of the King was as follows : “ I thank you for this dutiful address. Your congratulations on the further increase of my family, and your assurances of zealous attachment to it, cannot but be very agreeable to me. I have nothing so much at heart as the welfare and happiness of my people; and have the greatest satisfaction in every event that may be an additional security to those civil and religious liberties, upon which the prosperity of these kingdoms depends."
The form, style, and reasoning of this address became the subject of much criticism and animadversion from the press. To the last paragraph, “ Permit us to assure your Majesty,” &c., it was objected, that the corporation told his Majesty, that unless his affairs were in a flourish
ing situation, he was never to expect the smallest support • or assistance from the City of London. The second ob
jection was, that the corporation also declared that, when
ever public measures should have an apparent tendency to toe happ.ness and glory of their sovereign, “they would exert themselves in support of his Majesty's counsels.” Taking a retrospect through the long vista of time gone past, and comparing this address dispassionately with its multitudinous brethren, it will not appear more slovenly than some thousands of its successors. There can be no doubt of the integrity of its meaning.
On the 20th of September, 1765, the infant Prince was baptized in the grand council-chamber of St. James's Palace, by the learned Dr. Secker, Archbishop of Canterbury. He received the name of William Henry, from his uncle the Duke of Glo'ster, who, with Prince Henry Frederick and the Princess of Brunswick, acted as sponsors. Besides their Majesties and the Royal family, there were present very many of the nobility. Bonfires blazed before St. James's, Carlton House, and Whitehall, A liberal allowance of porter was distributed to the multitude; and in the evening the windows of the principal streets were brilliantly illuminated.
Superstitious observers of hours, days, and years may remark, that the first three children of their Majesties were born in August, a month which had proved particularly auspicious to the House of Brunswick. On the first of August, 1714, corresponding with the twelfth of the new style, the death of the last sovereign of the family of Stuart, Queen Anne, gave George the First peaceable possession of the throne. On the 11th of August, 1737, Augusta, the eldest child of Frederick, Prince of Wales, was born; on the 1st of August, her husband, Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, obtained the glorious victory of Minden over the French; in the same month were born Frederick, King of Bohemia, and his heroic consort Elizabeth, only daughter of James the
DEATH OF THE DUKE OF CUMBERLAND.
First, from whom the present royal family are descended. And, lastly, Queen Adelaide, consort of William IV. born in the month so propitious to the royal house.
In 1765, death struck down many branches of the royal families of Europe. On the last day of October in this year, the Duke of Cumberland, who had been in a declining state of health, expired of apoplexy, at the age of 45 years. The Duke, on the day of his death, appeared to enjoy more than usual good health : he attended court, dined with Lord Albemarle, drank tea with the Princess of Brunswick at St. James's palace, and withdrew to attend a council at his own house, in Upper Grosvenor-street. Soon after his arrival, he complained of a pain in his shoulder, with a fit of shivering: being laid on a couch, he muttered, “It's all over,” and expired in Lord Albemarle's arms. Sir Charles Wintringham, the king's physician, was soon in attendance; but human art was then unavailing.
The Duke of Cumberland was the youngest child of the numerous family of George II. (Louisa Queen of Denmark excepted,) and being born in England, some years after the accession of the house of Hanover, was educated in England, and boasted a genuine English heart. His personal and public virtues rendered him an object of the people's respect; and his gallantry at Culloden and Fontenoy acquired for him a memorable name in the history of his country. On the circumstance of his English birth, he appeared to reflect with much pride and gratification. When not more than eleven years old, he accompanied his father, George II. to a review : while passing along the line, one of the officers exclaimed, “What a charming boy!" This was indistinctly overheard by the young prince; who, mistaking the word “ charming ” for “German,” turned