Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

would ::sst assuredly have proposed it. sum more adequate to the object in view. The person, however, the most proper to decide in the business, had been of an opinion very different, and it was his duty to submit.

It is now pretty generally known that the suggestion of confining his royal highness's income to a grant of 50,0001. a year, exclusive of the revenues of the duchy of Cornwall, which on an average amounted to 13,0001, a year, came from his majesty himself, who was unwilling, at the close of a disastrous and expensive war, when economy in every branch of the public expenditure was loudly called for by all ranks of his subjects, to increase the expences of the state by a larger establishment for the Prince of Wales. We have already hinted that the education of the Prince of Wales was conducted on a plan not

[ocr errors]

well calculated to give him all those advantages of irstruction, which it was of so much importance the youthful mind of the heir apparent to the crown should be stored with. The great defect of the plan of the royal education seems to have been a want of attention to make the Prince acquainted with actual life. The monarchs who have governed their subjects most happily have been those who have formed their knowledge of human affairs, not from books or the lessons of their governors and preceptors, but from personal observation and experience.

What the preceptors of the Prince of Wales were answerable for was well performed. On attaining the years of majority the Prince of Wales was unquestionably the most accomplished young prince in Europe. His knowledge of the ancient languages was correct and extensive, and of the modern dialects he could converse with ease and fluency in French, German, and Italian. His attainments as a polite scholar are so universally admitted, that it is unnecessary to dwell upon them here farther than to observe that the best English writers, particularly the poets, are familiar to his royal highness, and that on all subjects relating to belles lettres there are few critics who possess a purer taste or more refined judgment.

In those accomplishments which may be deemed rather elegant than necessary, bis royal highness had made a proficiency equally striking. He had cultivated the science of music with success, and, considered with that indulgence which is always due towards an amateur, excelled both as a vocal and as an iristrumental performer, His taste in the fine arts has been fully exemplified by the elegant style in

which he has decorated his residences of Carleton-house and the Pavilion, and the interest he takes in their prosperity may be judged from the munificence with which his artists have ever been rewarded. The present reign has been thought peculiarly favourable to the cultivation of the fine arts in England, and we will venture to prognosticate they will experience po diminution of the royal patronage, whenever the fourth prince of the house of Brunswick shall, in the course of nature, be called to the throne of his ancestors.

The period when a young man of illustrious rank and splendid fortune attains his majority, forms an important epoch in his life. Our young nobility, educated for the most part at public schools and at the universities, when they come of age, have generally acquired a tolerable share of expe

rience in the world. Their companions are usually those with whom they associated at school or at college, and previous habits of thinking and acting for themselves, which our public seminaries are so admirably calculated to teach, fit them to enter the great world.

With the Prince of Wales the case was otherwise. He had been educated indeed under the ablest masters, and his progress in all the useful and many of the ornamental branches of learning reflected equal honour on the diligence of the teachers and the capacity of the pupil; but, as we have before obscrved, a knowledge of real life formed no part of the system of his royal highness's education, and he made his entrance into public life under the disadvantage of having passed his youth in a state of seclusion and restraint.

« ZurückWeiter »