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Passing by the intermediate genealogies of the house of Brunswick, through the course of the middle centuries, as not generally interesting to the majority of readers, it will only be necessary very briefly to show in what way the proximity of blood came, which in the early part of the last century caused the Brunswick line to be called to the throne of these kingdoms. The marriage of Ilenry VII. with Elizabeth, daughter of Edward IV. in 1485, by uniting the pretensions of the rival houses of York and Lancaster, put an end to the factions that for so many reigns had desolated England, and stained it with the blood of the flower of its princes, nobility, and gentry. Henry left issue by this marriage, a son, Henry VIII. and a daughter, Margaret, married to James IV. King of Scotland. On the failure of the line of Tudor in the person of Queen Elizabeth, James VI. of Scotland, and first of that name in England, succeeded, as matter of right, to the crown, being descended in the third generation from Henry VII. and Elizabeth of York, and, consequently, uniting in his own person all the claims of the different lines that had successively wielded the sceptre of England.
Elizabeth, daughter of James I. married Frederic, Elector Palatine, and afterwards King of Bohemia. By this prince she had a daughter, Sophia, married to Ernestus, Elector of Hanover, and representative of the house of Brunswick, Hanover, Lunenburgh, Wolfenbuttel, Zelle, &c. whose posterity, by virtue of the Act of Settlement, now fill the throne of Great Britain.
In this enlightened age, when personal merit is justly considered as a more valuable recommendation than
mere hereditary honours, the people of England would probably have little reason to be satisfied with their sovereign or his family, however illustrious their descent, or clear their claims to the proud blood of our Harries and our Edwards, if they had not claims on the loyalty and affection of their subjects far superior to those unsubstantial ties which have their foundation merely in prejudice and opinion. The house of Brunswick may indeed exhibit its genealogy with those of the most ancient royal houses of Europe, without any fear of being eclipsed by greater splendour of ancestry; but the brightest gem of their house, and that of which they may with most justice be proud and tenacious, is the love and attachment the British people have invariably shewn them from their first accession to the throne of these kingdoms.
The first princes of the house of Brunswick that filled the British throne were foreigners by birth, and consequently could not be expected to be very well acquainted with the genius, habits, constitution, or character of the people whom they were called to govern. However, the mildness of their sway, and the paternal exercise of their authority was such, that no princes, acting under the disadvantages that they did, ever conciliated in a more eminent degree the regard and veneration of all classes of their subjects. It would be difficult to point out in the whole range of English history a period in which the nation enjoyed so uninterrupted a course of prosperity as it did under the auspicious reigns of George I. and George II. Both were princes of moral character, and excellent personal humanity of disposition. The only fault of which they have ever been accused, with the least shadow of justice, is the partiality which on some occasions they shewed for their continental dominions. But this was a natural and venial error, and was amply atoned for by the many other princely virtues with which they were endowed, and which have descended with their royal inheritance to their posterity.
It is for the future historian to decide upon the character of the prescut reign, and to shew, in what degree the calamities tliat have of late years accumulated on the country are imputable to the personal exercise of the executive power, or the misconduct of the constitutional and responsible advisers of the crown. But these are subjects of discussion foreign to the nature of this work; and, therefore, it may be just sufficient to observe, that, however the general policy of the