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which the decline of a people is brought about. The English never were remarkable for a national costume; but, that they are a degenerated race, since fashion became their idol, no one will be bold enough to deny, and in no race of men is that degeneracy more conspicuous than in our sailors. The real old fashioned man-o-war's man is nearly extinct, and we have now a race of puny, new-fangled, modern cock-boat lubbers, that disgrace the noble service to which they belong, by a foppish attention to their dress; formerly, Jack looked himself in large loose canvass trousers, looking marvellously like unto a couple of bran new flour sacks; now he appears in the smart-made pantaloon trousers; his shoes were formerly decorated with large buckles, now he is not dressed, unless he sports a pair of wellingtons. He was formerly seen at Portsmouth Point, or in his land localities of Black wall, Poplar, Limehouse, Shadwell, or Ratcliffe Highway with a blue jacket, which was evidently never made for him, double breasted, with a flat collar, and mother-of-pearl buttons, placed as close to each other as plums in a Christmas pudding; now the jacket which he wears, fits him to a nicety. There is a show of fashion about him, and instead of a long plaited pig-tail, for without a pig-tail, no jack-tar is half complete, he now wears his hair a la militaire, closely cropped behind, and the front dressed in the newest fashion. The former were the men, whom the immortal Nelson led on to victory, or, who to speak in other words, enabled him to gain the victory; these were the men, who with Prince William in the Prince George, humbled the pride of the Spaniards, and who with Rodney gave to England the sovereignty of the seas. If then the change of dress, and a slavish obedience to the ruling fashion, have an influence on the character of a people, Prince William was by no means in error, when he attributed the effeminacy of the Germans, as he beheld them, to their vicious adherence to the rules of fashion. In this particular, a very marked difference existed between the two brothers, but this may in a great degree be attributed to the difference of the professions to which they belonged. Prince William had no particular end to gain
in paying the most marked attention to the most foppish style of dress of the Prussian soldiers, for the knowledge of the peculiar cut of their coat, or the arrangement of their aecoutrements, would profit him little or nothing on the quarter-deck of a man of war; whereas on the other hand, the Bishop of Osnaburg had found great fault with the costume of the English soldiers, with their long coats, and their little black cocked hats, and the immense clubs which disfigured the hinder part of the leads of the cavalry soldiers, plastered with flour and grease, which in hot weather ran down their clothes in white lines, and stuck upon their faces like the white and red on the faces of the clowns.
General Bude was a great admirer of national costume, and he took every opportunity of imprinting upon the mind of Prince William the danger attending any innovation of dress, or the introduction of foreign costume, inconsistent with the character and habits of the people. The disputes which he had with the two Princes on this subject were frequent and warm, and Colonel Greville, being a thorough-bred courtier, coincided with the Bishop of Osnaburg in all his opinions, however strange and inconsistent they might be, leaving Gen. Bude to fight the battle single-handed, for Captain Merrick declared himself wholly neutral, caring not what alterations or innovations were made in the dress of the army, so that they meddled not with the navy, nor subjected the sailors to any stated kind of costume; they had, indeed, a national costume of their own, and he never wished to see them wear any other. It was a principle of General Bude, that the national costume of a country forms a very interesting part of its history, and in his endeavours to instil into the mind of Prince William a correct knowledge of the German people, it constituted no little portion of his system of instruction. The introduction of foreign modes was one of the causes of the decline of the Roman empire. The Romans were designated according to the costume which they wore; the Spaniards during their prosperity; the Poles at the epoch of their power; the Hungarians at the period of their independence, had the national costume which were in general use, and which were not worn solely by the old people. Before the war of 1618, Germany had a national costume, and a distinct dress according to the different classes. “ Our neighbours," said General Bude, one day to Prince William, when the early history of Germany was the subject of discussion, “profitted by our troubles, and imported into our country from the opposite banks of the Rhine, that malady of foreign ornaments which dazzled our eyes, and filled our hearts with vanity. During a century and a half, we have slavishly borne the yoke of the women; we were overwhelmed with the tempest of the people and the ruin of the German empire was consummated.”
“ Fashion, which the most ingenious philosopher bas not yet been able to describe in a satisfactory manner, has a great resemblance to Saturn, who devoured his own children; it is the Moloch on whose altar, our happiness, peace, the enjoyments of life, our health and our country have been sacrificed. Unfortunately the mania of novelty in trifles and bagatelles, and the mania of antiquity in great things has been our original and incarnate sin.”
You are then, said Prince William, of the opinion of Luther, who says, we Germans are suchi boobies, that we are struck with everything that is new, and we pay our court to it like a pack of fools, and they who wish to dissuade us from it, only render us more wedded to it. It, however, no one prohibits us from it, we then soon become tired and weary of it, and we then bark after some other novelty. Thus the devil has always the upper band of us; for there is no pattern so gross and ugly, no fashion so grotesque and eccentric, that is not immediately followed. It has always plenty of votaries, and the more ill-looking and clumsy it is, the more it is followed and adopted.
Luther, said General Bude, knew us Germans well, but what does your Franklin say, “ the imposts which are levied by the state, are supportable, but the taxes of fashion are exorbitant.” Fashion is a new infection from which results either nakedness or a disfiguration, instead of dress; and ugliness and
caricatures instead of taste. It is a common invention of lazy people who are chiefly occupied with it, and of fools, who not being able to obtain any celebrity by their talents or their actions, make themselves notorious by their love of dress, and what is called, leading the fashion. I scarcely ever knew a man, who was a leader of fashion, that was not a great simpleton. Fashion too frequently entails ruin upon its followers by useless expences, it is injurious to the mind by an effeminate and disgusting attention to trifles; it is detrimental to the heart by leading it from a good and refined taste, to attach itself to things senseless and insipid; it is hurtful to the body, because it takes no account of the various constitutions, nor of the habits, nor of the respective ages; it spoils the beautiful symmetry of the female form, and is the cause of fatal or incurable maladies. It is, in fact, a slow poison introduced into domestic life.
“A very pretty philippic you have read to us against fashion, said the Bishop of Osnaburg, but you may as well place a man out of the world, as out of the fashion, and especially in our station in life. Now by way of supporting you in your ideas of a national costume, I will recommend to my father, the introduction of a costume for every particular class in life, and no Act of Parliament shall be valid, unless at the time of passing it, all the Members were clothed in their appointed costume. There shall be a costume for the labouring classes, and one also for children. Particular classes and trades shall be distinguished by certain accessories, such as gold, silver, embroidery and feathers, For women there shall be ribands of different colours, by which their different conditions can be at once ascertained, and any one wearing false colours to be punished as the magistrates may determine. I should propose green to be worn by little girls; white and orange for young ladies of quality ; red for virgins, blue for wives-brown and silver for matrons. I would further propose, that no foreigner, not naturalized, shall wear the national costume, nor those who have lost the right of citizenship, or who have never been able to obtain it. I shall further propose, that all Princes of the blood royal on their travels, shall not be obliged to consult the individuals, to whose care they may be entrusted, as to what dress or costume they shall wear, and that any one in their suite, who may presume to interfere with them, shall be sent back to England, and mulct of all arrears of pay that may be due to them.
* What will our Petershams, and our D'Orsays and other leaders of the votaries of fashion say to this opinion of General Bude ? and if that opinion be correct as applicable to them, are we entitled to set down George the Fourth as an exception ?
General Bude could not withstand the keenness of this irony. He had several times expressed his opinion rather cavalierly on the scrupulous attention, which the Bishop of Osnaburg paid to his equipment on the score of fashion, contrasting it with the true sailor-like indifference which Prince William exhibited, and as the Bishop considered, that all the remarks which the General made on the subject of dress and fashion were directed against him, he resolved on the first opportunity to retaliate upon the General, and silence him for ever on the topic of costume or fashion.
Though General Bude was not immediately attached to the suite of the Bishop of Osnaburg, yet as the two royal brothers travelled together from Hanover to Berlin, the Bishop and the General were brought constantly into collision, and Prince William, who never was happier, than when he was concocting some mischief, took particular delight in getting them into an argument, well-knowing that they never could agree. The testiness of the old General was put into competition with the positiveness of the royal youth, whilst Prince William urged on the disputants, first espousing one side, and then espousing the other, and speaking often against his own conviction, merely to aggravate the temper of the disputants. These cavils and disputes, however, in the end, generated a great deal of ill-blood between the parties, although neither openly considered it policy to show it, notwithstanding at the same