« ZurückWeiter »
known, was educated under the influence of the Earl of Bute, and the Princess Dowager of Wales, his mother, in principles far less fayourable to civil and religious liberty, than those of his royal predecessors of the Brunswick line; and much of the mistaken policy, as well as most of the ill-advised measures of his reign, have been supposed to have flowed from the defective system of his education. The Queen, bred up in foreign prejudices, could not be thought to have imbibed any sentiments very friendly to the essential principles of a free constitution, and therefore probably embraced with eagerness the system which she found prevalent in the court where she was adopted. Without mingling much in politics, and always with caution, her majesty has just had opportunity enough to shew, that in political sentiments her principles are the same as those of her august partner, or, in other words, that they lean to those notions of prerogative and high church, which, ever since the revolution, previous to the present reign, have been held dangerous to the liberties of the subject.
The Queen's partialities could not fail to accord with the King's tory bias; and when we take into consideration also that the King himself was strongly tinctured with German predilections, we cannot be surprised to find that a system of education was pursued, in regard to the young princes, something less liberal perhaps than ought to have been adopted towards the sons of the sovereign of a great and a free people. The English universities cannot easily forget the affront that was tacitly put upon them, when the junior branches of the royal family were sent to Germany for the completion of their education. Ilappily for our ancient seats of learning, the nobility and gentry of England are still satisfied with the merits and diligence of our native professors and college tutors, and uninfluenced by the royal example, are content with such instruction as the schools of Oxford and Cambridge can supply, leaving the luminaries and sages of Gottingen and Halle to the care of their own youth.
The dignity of his station, and the important place which he held in the state, as immediate heir to the crown, prevented the Priuce of Wales from being sent to Germany, to receive the finishing parts of his education. In other respects, the plan of his royal highress's education was such as was natural to be expected from the knowii, and, in this instance, uncontroled prejudices of his roval parents. The
persons selected for the important task of forming the mind of the heir apparent, were men in the highest degree estimable for their moral characters and various literary attainments; but it was remarked, with some concern, that in their political principles they were high churchmen and tories, or the mere creatures of the court.
When we consider the freedom from magisterial controul that is allowed at our public schools, and the perfect liberty that our princes of the blood enjoy after they are emancipated from the trammels of their minority, we shall not be able easily to assign a sufficient motive for the system of restraint and seclusion that was so rigorously adhered to in the education of the Prince of Wales. We have read of the discipline of camps, and have heard of the etiquette of courts, but we are utterly at a loss to conceive what bene
fit was expected to be derived from a system, the obvious effect of which was to keep a young and high-spirited prince entirely ignorant of the world, until the very moment when he was about to enter into it. One of the happy effects of a public education is, that young men are gradually seasoned, and familiarized to a commerce with the world, by their boyish intercourse with their equals at school; and if princes at their first entrance on public life shew somewhat less of discretion or prudence than other youths of high rank perhaps do, is it to be imputed rather to something radically wrong in their dispositions, than to the defective system of their education ?
The education of the Prince of Wales was conducted on a plan perfectly well calculated to render him a respectable scholar and an accomplished gentleman, but ill calculated