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of our Princes, through a different medium than that by which we examine the actions of other men. The above remark will particularly apply to the illustrious subject of the present history, and when we enter upon that period of his life which brings him immediately within the pale of the laws, now adverted to, we trust that we shall be able to show, that in his departure from the rigid rule, which morality has laid down for the conduct of men, the blame is not so much to be attached to him, as to the individual, who for the sake of keeping the Guelphic blood in a pure and uncontaminated state, enacted a law at variance with Christianity, and repugnant to human nature.
If persons of inferior rank in life would consider the great difficulties that Princes have to encounter, they would be less inclined to judge them with so much severity as they generally do. They ought in the first place to consider that in ordinary life, the vices, the errors and the foibles of the man are easily concealed, and that it is only the careless and the imprudent who allow half their faults to be known.
From the beginning of time, from the earliest periods of recorded history such has been the situation of Princes, and the consequence is that their characters have been transmitted to us in a more unfavourable light than those of other men, who have ostentatiously displayed their virtues and cautiously concealed their vices.
We, however, as introductory to the history of the life of William the IV. cannot avert our attention from some of the extravagances of George the IV. as they have an immediate bearing on some parts of the conduct of William theIV. when Duke of Clarence, and which involved him in debts, which although the honour of three Princes of the Blood Royal of England was pledged for their payment, are to this moment unliquidated.
The satraps of the Court must give us credit for the knowledge that Kings are but men, that thrones are made of gilded wood, and frequently as worm-eaten, as the putrid body of the King himself, though covered with his perfumed cerements.
We know that courtiers are a set of base, truckling sycophants; that a mass of brick and mortar, promoted to the rank of a palace, as being the habitation of a King, is a mere gewgaw of the most insufferable vanity, and that all the swelling grandeur, all the pomp, all the outward circumstances of royalty are nothing more than glare and tinsel. We know further, that royalty is inevitably attended with expense, and therefore we are ready to admit, that it would be ungracious to quarrel with that expense, provided it was kept within proper and legal bounds, but when we are told, that the well known private tastes, munificence, public spirit, and other high sounding virtues of George the IV., were one of the greatest blessings ever conferred on the country, we confess that we turn sick at such inflated nonsense, and especially, when we consider the drains which were made upon the pockets of the people, at a time when our streets were filled with mourning, and our houses with woe, merely to uphold the said “ tastes, munificence and public spirit of the royal voluptuary. It may be considered irrelevant, but it will be found, that the extravagances of the princely profligate were in some instances, closely connected with the conduct of the Duke of Clarence, afterwards William the IV., and for that reason, they are here introduced, that a proper clue may be at hand, for the unravelling of many circumstances, which had a direct tendency to impugn the character of the Duke of Clarence, whereas in fact, he acted more as the dupe and instrument of others, than from his own free will or principles.
In 1783, when the Duke of Clarence was in his 19th year, the career of “ private tastes, munificence, and public spirit,” had been for some time persevered in, the consequence of which was, that the three elder branches of the royal family were overwhelmed with debt. In the above-mentioned year, Parliament voted the Prince of Wales, for the purpose of keeping up the dignity of his high station, and as a separate establishment, his nonage having expired, £50,000 a year, and £60,000 as an outfit. This sum exceeded the revenue of six of the pauper principalities of Germany, from whence the royal
family of this country draw their females, for the perpetuation of the Guelphic race, and twice the amount of the civil list of Denmark or Sweden. This sum, however, which any prudent and economical prince would have found amply sufficient, to provide him with all the luxuries of life, and fully adequate to support the dignity of his station, was by the royal libertine, found wholly insufficient for the support of his profligate habits, and in 1787, his debts, which had been for some time the subject of conversation, and particularly amongst the Jews of Houndsditch, who with their accustomed rascality, were ready to advance their hundreds, or thousands, on receive ing cent per cent, were brought before Parliament by the Whig opposition, to which he at that time had attached himself, and the public heard a vast deal of the scandal and shame of allowing the heir apparent of the Crown, to be so overwhelmed with debt, but not a word was uttered of the scandal and shame, attached to the heir apparent, in contracting those debts at all. King George the Third was notoriously, one of the richest men in Europe, but so dense is the veil, which is thrown over the secrets of royalty, that not the slightest information has ever been obtained of the manner in which those riches were disposed of; had a few thousands been appropriated for the honour and dignity of the family, to the liquidation of the debts of his moral son, the Duke of York, several families would have been saved from destitution, and the name of the Duke of York not pronounced, with a heavy curse attached to it. The heir apparent to the Crown is the protegee, or to speak in a humbler strain, the pet of the nation, and therefore how inconsistent, how impolitic would it appear in the vaunted Father OF HIS PEOPLE to pay the debts of a son, of whom he was the natural Father, when the people would so gladly and willingly relieve him from such an onerous imposition. He, therefore very wisely sends a message down to his faithful Commons, which, in plain English, is little more than a command ; stating that from the fulness of his generosity, which was sheer humbug, he had made an advance of £10.000 a year from the civil list, which
considering what Kings are in general, was a wonder that he could make any advance at all; and with the statement of this unparalleled act of royal munificence, was also sent a statement of the Prince's debts, which exhibited a scene of royal extravagance, unparalleled in all the annals of European royalty. The Whigs were then in power, and as he had attached himself to their party, as a matter of gratitude, that is, if gratitude and a Whig have the slightest relationship with each other, seven hundred and eighty thousand pounds were voted by the conscientious representatives of the people, to enable the royal libertine, to emancipate himself from his honourable and dishonourable encumbrances. To call this by any other terms than a royal and magnificent robbery on the public purse, were an abuse of language. His father, and the father of his people, was on account of this extraordinary generosity on the part of his faithful Commons, enabled to deposit a few more hundred thousands in the bank of Venice, his own bank of England not being considered sufficiently good security for the large investments which GEORGE GUELPH was in the habit of transmitting to his foreign bank.
Two or three years had scarcely elapsed, when the rumour of the royal embarrassments again intruded itself upon the public ear. At this period, however, the perpetuation of the illustrious house of Brunswick became a matter of very serious consideration with certain individuals, who from prejudice or ignorance attached a greater degree of importance to the subject than, in reality, it deserved. Carlton House was in a state of siege by duns of all description, the Jewish tribe being the foremost in the attack, and evidently constituting the forlorn hope. The bonds of the heir apparent to the Crown of England, were scarcely negotiable on Change, at a discount of 50 per cent. The carriages of the prospective King of England were seized in the streets by John Doe and Richard Roe, and the house of George Guelph junior, was declared in a positive state of insolvency. A meeting of his creditors was called, and it was resolved that an application should be made to th. father of the insolvent, offering to take their debts by instal
ments, if the father would become security. To this the father returned an answer, that he was very poor, that he had a rising and expensive family, and referred the applicants to “his faithful Commons," who would undoubtedly see that his son was relieved, either by the Insolvent Court, or by an immediate advance of money, from his present embarrassments. The Commons were well disposed to meet the wishes of the considerate and liberal father, but there was a condition attached to it, which for a time defeated all the hopes of the creditors of ever getting a farthing, and this condition was, that he should marry. He had already one wife living in the person of Mrs. Fitzherbert, who being herself a married woman, when she married the Prince, and a Catholic into the bargain, there was no insurmountable obstacle existing to his marrying one of the female dead weights of the German families, and as he had been himself for some time a dead weight upon his own country, a similarity of condition would it was presumed, produce a happy marriage. The FATHER OF HIS PEOPLE told his son it was for the benefit of his people that he should marry, and as we are bound to benefit our relations, it was suggested by the father, that he had a niece then living in Germany, who, as having the blood of the Brunswickers pure in her veins, this match of all others was the most eligible that could be fixed upon. It happened, however, that marriage of all acts, was the last which the heir apparent had any inclination to perform; as a patriot Prince, it was, however, incumbent upon him to perform it for the benefit of his people, (Q. E. D.) and as an insolvent, it was incumbent upon him to perform it for the benefit of his creditors.
The bane and antidote were now before him, the payments of his debts and a wife, or insolvency and Mrs Fitzherbert; it was a most trying alternative for him; the benefit which the people would derive from his marriage, was, as became a patriotic Prince, thrown into the scale, and the consent was given to the marriage. He had now done much for the people,