Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

according to the jargon of the Court, and, therefore, out of pure gratitude, the people could not object to do much for him. The father of that people also stepped in very opportunely on the occasion, and down came another message to “ his faithful Commons," recommending, or otherwise comInanding that a suitable provision be made for the royal pair, and parentally announcing that his son was in great pecuniary embarrassments, and appealing to their liberality, (conscience having nothing to do in the business,) whether they could allow his eldest son, their future monarch, the pride and glory of the Guelphs and Brunswickers, to enter the married state with a debt verging fast upon a million on his head, and in danger of having even the marriage bed swept from under them, to satisfy the demand of some merciless creditor. It was to him an appalling condition; the honour of the country demanded that an immediate arrangement of the debts should take place, and further to show their gratitude for the great sacrifice he had made for the benefit of the people, an act was passed settling on the Prince and his wife £125.000 a year, which with the rents of the duchy of Cornwall, £13.000 a year, and other perquisites, the usual appendages of royalty, formed an annual income of £150.000. This sum was certainly adequate to support the so much talked of dignity of the heir apparent to the Crown, but by the royal individual it was found to be far insufficient, for a very few years afterwards, this most accomplished of all spendthrifts, or, as his mother was wont to call him, “ the hopes of the family,”* informed his father that he was again in trouble, inconsistent with the dignity and honour of the heir apparent to the Crown. The King was always a staunch stickler for the dignity and honour of the Crown, and

* This panegyric of the Queen, of her darling son, was always a source of banter to the Duke of York, who regarded it in some respects, as a degradation of bimself. One day when the royal brothers had been drinking deeply, and the Prince of Wales was literally lying under the table in a state of beastly intoxication, the Duke of York actuated by a spirit of mischief, conducted the Queen to the place, and pointing to the intoxicated Prince, exclaimed, “ There motber, there lie the hopes of the family."

consequently, as both were in danger of suffering on account of the condition to which the heir apparent had reduced himself, it became a national .concern, that the most prompt and efficient means should be adopted for rescuing them from the disgrace which awaited them. The Crown, therefore, in its dignity and honour, sent down another message to the faithful guardians of the public purse, announcing to them the great embarrassments in which the heir apparent was involved; not, however, from any extravagance or want of proper management in his pecuniary affairs, but from the extreme pressure of the times, and the high price of all the articles of subsistence. According to the spirit of the English Constitution, the King can do no wrong, and "the faithful Commons” who are or ought to be the preservers and guardians of that Constitution, fully concurring in that part of it relative to the King, could not possibly believe that the King of England could tell a lie; and, therefore, fully attaching their belief to the royal assertion, that the embarrassments of the heir apparent did not arise from extravagance, they did not consider it necessary to make any inquiry into the real cause of those embarrassments, butimmediately granted to the royal profligate £60.000 for three years, or in other words, they raised his income to £210.000 a year, which he was allowed to squander in the grossest of indulgences, and at a time when the people was literally starving for bread.

It is necessary that some of these circumstances should be strictly borne in mind, as they had a powerful influence on the character of the Duke of Clarence, involving him in certain transactions, from which not one of the three royal brothers escaped without a damning stain, which was never afterwards obliterated.

On the Prince of Wales assuming the Regency in 1812, the public purse was again drained to satisfy the demands of the royal cormorant. It was allowed to be a change in the condition of the Prince of Wales, to that of Prince Regent, and, therefore it was but right and just, that the people should

pay for that change. John Bull has always had a whistle wherewith to amuse himself, and royalty is the dearest of all whistles, which he ever selected, or was forced to play upon, A change of such great political importance as that above alluded, to could not be supposed to be carried into effect with a becoming regard to the dignity and honour of the Regent, without a corresponding advance of money, and consequently “ the faithful Commons” advanced him £100.000 to defray the expence of the change of the Prince of Wales into a Prince Regent, and as the latter required a greater number of officials and menials to attend upon his royal person, than when he was simply Prince of Wales, the sum of £70.000 was granted to him for the additional expenses of the Royal Household; and in order to allay the murmurs of the people, which began to be heard, like the rumbling of the volcanic matters in the crater of Vesuvius, before it is vomited forth, it was stated by the Ministers in defiance of all truth, that £10.000 was for the Regent personally, and £10.000 for the Queen, when it was notoriously known that the whole of the sum found its way into the pockets of the Prince Regent, and very soon, indeed, found its way out again. When we now take into our consideration, the payment of these enormous sums to which may be added in 1821 the £170.000, which were lavished recklessly, and needlessly lavished on that most delectable of all pageants, the coronation, which, although it might put a crown upon his head, gave the death blow to one who ought to have shared it with him; we shall find that the people of this country paid to this illustrious personage, above six millions sterling, previously to his assuming de facteo, the kingly office. The parasites, and flatterers of Kings, the admirers of kingly dignity, may look on this picture, and blush at the rottenness of their cause. They may blush at the extravagance, which in a Prince is called munificence, but which in a private individual, would meet with censure and reprobation; they may blush at the private taste and public spirit of a man, who did nothing but revel in pomp and debauchery

while the people from whom the means of gratifying his vicious propensities were wrung, were ground to the earth, and kept there.

We have thus given a limited view of the boundless extravagance of one of our Monarchs, in order to be able to draw the contrast more forcibly between George IV. and his successor, William IV., who whatever his youthful aberrations might have been, exhibited himself on the throne, as the pattern of moral exceğlence, and Christian virtue.

There perhaps never existed a Prince, in modern times, who had so fine a family as George III. ; but, perhaps, there never was a father, who experienced greater trouble and chagrin, when his offspring arrived at that age, when they began to spurn at parental control, and fancying that Princes are not amenable to the same moral laws as other men, ran into every kind of excess and debauchery, which instilled into the minds of the people a disgust for royalty, which the character of William IV. has in some degree softened, and which his successor will do well, if she takes special heed not to increase it.

To enter into a full detail of the genealogical history of the House of Brunswick, would be carrying us as far back as the subversion of the Roman Empire, as antiquarians have traced its descent from one Caius (Etius, a Roman of some consequence, who flourished in the latter part of the fourth century. It must, however, be observed, that the antiquarians above alluded to, were born in Germany, and it is well known that the natives of that country are so much attached to hereditary rank, that there are few who cannot trace their genealogy as far back as Charlemagne, and not a few even to Noah. A man in Germany, without a well ramified genealogical tree, is like a man in England without a character, he is thought nothing of; but a genealogical tree can be manufactured in Germany as well as in England, the root of it approaching Adam, in proportion to the price that has been paid for it. We briefly allude to this circumstance from the knowledge we possess, that there are not those wanting who assert that there

is a good deal of fiction in the genealogical tree of the Brunswick family, and that some branches have been engrafted on it of so spurious an origin, that they ought to be lopped off all together, especially that which belongs to Caius (Etius. It is, however, generally admitted that the genuine descent of the Princes of Brunswick must be looked for on the other side of the Alps, and therefore Rome will answer the purpose as well as any other place.

The founders of the Brunswick family may be considered to be the Marquesses of d'Este, the name now borne by the children of the Duke of Sussex, who are legitimate in the eyes of God, but not according to the profound wisdom of the legislature of Great Britain.

The Mecklenburgh Strelitzes, the Coburg Saalfelds, the Saxe Meiningens, and others of the petty principalities of Germany, possess a kind of patent right to furnish the Princes of the Blood Royal of this country with suitable and sometimes unsuitable wives, whenever the Privy Council determine, that it is the interest of the State that they should marry, and it is to the first of these countries that we are indebted, for the mother of William IV. He was born at Buckingham House, on the 21st of August, 1765, at three o'clock in the morning. As usual on such occasions, the ante-rooms were filled with the high officers of State, and amongst the ladies shone pre-eminently the Princess Dowager of Wales, than whom no one could give more correct information respecting the much disputed legitimacy of George III., and which at the present day is much wanted, to establish the right of his children to the throne of this kiugdom.

The Tower guns were fired to announce to the people of the metropolis, “ the great event of the birth of another Prince and in the fulness of their loyalty, a considerable number of them placed some lighted candles in their windows, for the purpose of testifying their joy, it being a custom consistent with the sense and wisdom“ of the most civilized people of the world,” and which Goldsmith has so properly and keenly ridiculed in his “ Citizen of the World."

Seven days after the birth of the voung Prince, the Corpo

« ZurückWeiter »