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officers, and he therefore made up his mind to pocket his ill fortune as cheerfully as possible, nor appear to fret at an evil which was in every way of his own seeking. His father had determined, and rightly determined, that the Prince should be treated only as any other officer in respect to his duty, and the King was therefore only acting according to the principle he had laid down, in visiting him with some token of his royal displeasure. An Admiralty order was next issued expressly forbidding his Royal Highness, from quitting Plymnouth without permission, and thus the displeasure was in the second instance openly shown at his conduct, which it certainly merited. There appears about this time to have been a great laxity in the conduct of our naval officers, and the Admiralty had found it necessary to issue some very strict orders respecting the conduct of captains. Discipline is the soul of the naval service, and the enforcement of strict discipline among the common seamen, with insubordination
among the officers, is equally as injurious to the public interest, as if the men were equally careless, or as any breach of the rules of duty. The force of a bad example, too, is more extensive in its consequences. It is impossible not to see in the treatment of his Royal Highness, in the present instance, an example of lenity which would not have been extended to officers less highly connected. The punishment was a very slight one in proportion to the offence, and it is very probable that the nonemployment, more actively, of the Prince, in his professional capacity in the future period of his life was caused in some degree, by the consideration that the difficulty of acting by his Royal Highness in all respects, as the heads of the service would act by an officer not so closely connected with the Royal Family. When it is considered how much depends for safety on the right conduct of commanding officers, and how much responsibility is reposed in their hands, involving the best interests of the country, it appears desirable that they should not be employed in more than their own private interests are concerned, except in very particular instances.
The determination to promote officers, both in the army and navy, so highly connected, before they have acquired a competent knowledge of the duties of the intermediate rules of the service, is highly injurious. Prince William Henry was made a Post Captain from a Lieutenant of very short standing; in fact, after a period of service in which he may have been said to have seen little or none in that rank, and to have been introduced to the irresponsible command of others before his Royal Highness knew how to command himself. Commander he never was, having been put into a port ship from his year's Lieutenancy
The determination taken by the King and Admiralty was soon communicated to him. It was no doubt a delicate task for the Board to decide on the punishment which justice required should yet be inflicted. It was therefore arranged, that when the Prince had remained at Plymouth for as great a space of time as he had absented himself from his station without orders, he should return to Halifax and the West Indies again, there to remain until he was ordered home. The determination of the Admiralty was made to him in due form; to which, feeling no doubt the consciousness of his previous breach of orders, his Royal Highness bowed submission without a murmur.
The Prince of Wales and the Duke of York determined, as their brother could not meet them in London, to visit him at Plymouth; and they accordingly left Carlton House, January 6th, 1788, and reached Plymouth Dock on the 8th. The interview has been described as having been very affectionate. It has been before remarked, that Prince William always paid a great deference to his eldest brother; in fact, to so great a degree did the Prince in some cases carry his feeling, that he frequently sacrificed to his better judgment; and those feelings of a kindly character towards others, which were a predominant feature in his character. As it was, the three Princes, in the heyday of youth, and full of bouyancy of juvenility, determined to take their pleasure together as far as possible. They visited
the dock-yard, round which the town then called Plymouthdock was built, but which has now taken the fantastic name of Devenport, situated in one branch of Plymouth harbour, bebetween which and Plymouth, and not three-quarters of a mile from either, stands the town of Stonehouse. This was the place where the principal balls and assemblies were then held. It is now connected with Plymouth by buildings in one direction, and with Plymouth-dock or Devenport in another, except a short distance occupied by the glacis of the lines which surrounded the former place. The Long-room at Stonehouse, as it was then called, was known to every officer in the naval service as the scene of agreeable enjoyment, though it has long ago passed away, all three towns having grown so much in population and wealth, as to have public roorns of their own. Most of the naval heroes, whose names are recorded in our anpals, used to make the Long-room at Stone-house the scene of pleasant recollections, and here the three royal brothers, now gathered to their fathers, entered to enjoy the sprightly dance. Plymouth boasted at the time, in the bloom of youth and beauty, a number of very charming women. Miss Fanshawe was sister or daughter of the venerable officer of that name, who was long a commissioner of the Plymouth dockyard ; but the favourite of Prince William was a Miss Wynue, who had several relatives in the navy; but the intimacy extended to nothing more than a little flirtation, though of course calumny was busy at work immediately. The three brothers enjoyed the dance at the Long-room, exceedingly, mingling with the company, and by princely condescension, making the ladies happy in being their partners, and affording their partners the honour of which few ladies in England could boast. Twice the royal brothers visited the ball at the Long-room out of three days that they remained. They then rode round the beautiful Mount Edgecumbe and along Maker Heights, on the Cornish shore, and afterwards, under a royal salute from Plymouth citadel, the visitors departed on their return to the metropolis. This was the only time the Prince of Wales was in his dukedom of Cornwall.
The absence of his royal brothers was made up to Prince
William by a visit from Nelson, who came to Plymouth and stayed some weeks. Here the two friends had a conference with some leading individuals from one of the West India islands respecting a reform of abuses in the government naval service there. Nelson entered evidently into a subject in which he had taken so much interest on the spot while in the Boreas, but observed to the parties, “ You may rest assured that steps shall be undertaken by me to accomplish the discovery of the malpractices, and to procure you the reward which, I have not the least doubt, you will so merit. I must nevertheless, apprize you, that my interest is very small, therefore, do not build on what I can do for you. Indeed, little else but my integrity and public spirit can bring such an individual as I am into notice: however, the goodness of the cause in which we are engaged will support itself at all times, more especially, I dare say, with such an upright character as Mr. Pitt. His royal Highness commands me to say, that were he placed in a situation where he could be of any service to this cause, he would assuredly sift it to the bottom; but that, at present, not having been from this port since his arrival, he can only give his good wishes for the accomplishinent of what you have begun." It is highly satisfactory to know that the reform thus urged was at least wrought out through many obstacles, and a great saving effected by the discovery of the frauds carried on. Thus early was the reformer of political frauds in the state, the advocate of the reform of abuses of a very inferior character, in a branch of the public service to which he belonged, at a period when a great measure of parliamentary reform by his means could have been little foreseen.
It appears from this circumstance that his royal Highness was never in the habit of suffering a plain common sense question to be put down by the dictates of mere interest or prejudice. He was early in life a reformer. The late King George IV., is said to have observed of his brother William, "that he had run away with all the plain sense of the family;" his Majesty did not imagine, when he said this, what an ill compliment he was paying the rest of the royal house. The truth was, that Prince William had been bred up in a good school, when serving in the navy. There he was accustomed to see things with his own eyes, call them by their plain names, submit to his superiors and to self-denial, and judge by matter of fact, not prejudice. His royal Highness was untutored in the chicanery of a court, and saw nothing through that jaundiced medium; it was from this cause the court had no sympathy with him, and he lay so long in the back ground, fortunately for his future glory as a monarch.
The stay of his Royal Highness at Halifax, was not of long duration. He disliked the place, and the station itself was perhaps the most unpleasant and inhospitable to which a naval officer could be sent. It was in the opinion of Prince William, a little short of an exile, and he felt himself not a little aggrieved that he should be selected for that station, when others of a more useful and enterprising nature could have been selected for him. He however, regarded it as a part of the punishment which was to be inflicted on him, for the breach of naval discipline which he had committed, and therefore he considered that all complaint would be unavailing
For the purpose, however, of softening the rigour of his naval banishment, as he called it, his instructions were at the setting in of the winter to sail for the West Indies, where he arrived in the middle of November, and took up his old station at the Island of Jamaica.
The Andromeda entered the harbour of Port Royal as the sun was setting, and he immediately went on shore accompanied by the first Lieutenant. As the arrival of his Royal Highness was not generally known, and full of that fun, which ever distinguished him, he repaired with the first Lieutenant in their uniforms to the public rooms, where as a Captain of one of his Majestys ships, he was immediately welcomed with the greatest respect and good humour by the officers of the army who were present, and with whom he played several games of billiards, they little thinking the rank of the individual, with whom they were contending. At last his Royal