Abbildungen der Seite

It must be admitted that the professional pursuits of the Bishop of Osnaburg, when he fancied himself competent to command an English army against one of the most renowned generals, who ever headed the armies of France; and of Prince William on the quarter-deck of a British man of war, the noblest station in the world, must from their very na-. ture have weaned them from that system of personal exclusion, and that sense of individual importance, which the system of education adopted with them, was so well calculated to inculcate. There is an instance on record, in which three memorials of three different sorts, one for the public interest, one for the Prince's domestic happiness, and the third containing a private claim, could not possibly find access to him. Colonel M.Mahon, his private secretary, would have nothing to do with them. Lord Moira, the private friend of the prince, would have nothing to do with them, and the Secretary of State for the Home Department put them in his pocket, and thought no more about them—and why ?—it was more than their places were worth to break in upon the privacy of the ruler of a people, and the ruler of the English people into the bargain, who had entered upon the duties of his office with the avowed principle, that the crown is held for the benefit of the people, but of which people, cooped up in the seraglio of Carlton House, he knew but little, and cared still less.

A very just and rational ground of complaint existed respecting the system of restraint to which the sons of the King were exposed in their education, and which certainly had a tendency to give an impress to their characters, not exactly consistent with that of a free-born Englishman. On their emancipation from the nursery and the superintendence of Lady Charlotte Finch, who, following the instructions of the royal parents, became in her department as great a martinet, as one of her pupils afterwards showed himself in the army, the three royal brothers were placed under the care of Dr. John Jarnes Majendie, till the year 1771, when a separate establishment was formed for the Prince of Wales and the Bishop

of Osnaburg at Buckingham Palace, whilst Prince William and Prince Edward remained at Kew.

We should justly lay ourselves open to the charge of illiberality, and perhaps of falsification, were we here to cast the slightest imputation on the character of the eminent individuals, who were selected as the preceptors of the royal youths. They ought not to be called to an account for the defect of a plan, in the construction of which, it is probable, they never were consulted. The preceptors of the Princes were not left to adopt a system of education according to their own judgment and discretion; but the plan in all its details was strictly laid down for them, accompanied with the most peremptory injunction, not to deviate from it in the slightest degree. The error, therefore, is to be attributed solely to those who framed the system of education, and not to those, who had to carry it into execution, for it would be the height of injustice to the memory of those learned men, were we not openly to declare, that the persons to whose charge the care of the juvenile years of the royal youths was committed, were men eminently qualified for the execution of the important duty reposed in them.

One of the greatest faults attached to the royal family of this country is, that in the election of their official servants, they generally give the preference to foreigners, which is tantamount to saying that, a corresponding degree of talent is not to be found in this country, or that being themselves sprung from a foreign stock, they amalgamate better together, independently of which, there is frequently a sturdiness and an unbending disposition in an Englishman, not very palatable to the taste of German aristocracy.

At the time when the Earl of Holderness was appointed preceptor to the princes, there were men in our chartered schools and universities of the most brilliant talents, and well fitted in every sense for the important task of education : these men, however, wore all passed over to make room for the appointment of a Mr de Salzes, as sub-preceptor, who, although

he bore the character of an amiable man, and a profound classical scholar was, as being a native of Switzerland, and knowing little or nothing of English history, or even the first rudiments of the English Constitution, not a very fit person to be entrusted with the education of British Princes. As the children of royalty, they were of course to be educated in the belief of the divine right of Kings, and this was to be taught them by an individual, who had been brought up as a republican; and who in his native mountains had heard of Kings and Courts, but knew little of their nature or character, except from history.

A spirit of nationality reigns in the breast of almost every individual, and the introduction of an alien into any particular establishment, is soon followed by the introduction of another. Thus, when it was determined to appoint a sub-preceptor to Prince William, and Prince Edward, the King consulted Mr. de Salzes, on the choice of the person to be appointed, and it was not to be supposed that Mr. de Salzes would recommend an Englishman, on the same principle, that it was scarcely ever known that a Scotchman recommended an Englishman to a situation, until he despaired of finding one of his own country to fill it. It might have been supposed thai if George III. had not sufficient penetration to discover the merit of some of the dignitaries of the church, by whom he was surrounded, and who, by their classical attainments, were capable of undertaking the task of the education of his two younger sons; that Mr. de Salzes might in his intercourse with some of the learned men, with whom he was daily brought into contact, by virtue of his office as sub-preceptor, have selected a native of this country as worthy of the office of educating the two royal youths—but the very contrary was the result, ior being himself a Swiss, he recommended a Colonel Bude, a aative of the Pays de Vaud, who had been page to the Prince of Orange, and on his retiring from that situation, entered the Sardinian army. These no doubt, were great and weighty qualifications for the preceptor of a Prince of the blood royal of England; but nevertheless, they prevailed, and Colonel

Bude was sent for to England. The chronicles of the day, of course, informed us that his abilities were of the most substantial and comprehensive nature. He was thoroughly acquainted with the forms and etiquette of a Court, which at that period, was no trifling recommendation in the eyes of the royal parents; he was an excellent musician ; was an expert player on the violin, and knew something of the flute. He had been for some time in Holland, and was an excellent judge of the flavour of tobacco; he had been in Sardinia, and could never breakfast without anchovies. He had been in the army, and knew something of mathematics; he had studied Vauban on fortification, and had arrived at the knowledge that the glacis is not the counterscarp, nor the bastion, a drawbridge. His honour was reported to be of the most delicate nature, and according to one of his chroniclers, “his religious principles were founded on the firm base of unadulterated Christianity.” It happens, however, that Colonel Bude was a kind of renegade Catholic, and his religious principles were of that accommodating kind, that they could conform themselves to the country in which he lived. In Holland, he was a Lutheran; in Sardinia, he was a Catholic; and in England, he was a Protestant; and had he undertaken the preceptorship of the sons of the Sultan of the East, he would have forgotten “ the firm base of unadulterated Christianity," and would have become a follower of Mahomet, without, perhaps, being in the least the worse for it. On his arrival in England, he became a permanent resident of the royal household; and as George III., was at that time Elector of Hanover, and having to maintain an army there of two or three thousand men, whom he never saw in his life, be determined that they should also have a General, who was never to see the troops which he commanded, and no fitter person could he select for so important an office, than Colonel Bude. Nevertheless, with all these drawbacks upon his character as a person fitted for the responsible task of education, Colonel Bude by a particular sauvity of manner, and a true courtier-like bearing, gained the esteem of his royal pupils, particularly of Prince William,

whom, at a future period, he accompanied to the continent, and finally became the private secretary of the Duke of York.

Although Prince William was now at a distance from his two elder brothers, on account of their separate establishments, yet they frequently met, and numerous were the scrapes in which the high spirited youths found themselves, and loud and incessant were the complaints which were carried to the ear of their royal parents, on account of some mischief which they had committed; but as the actual delinquent could scarcely ever be discovered, the reprimand was of that general nature, that it made very little, or no impression upon them. In whatever difficulty or embarrassment they found themselves, they always stood by each other, and no threat, nor bribe, could ever induce one of them to disclose the real offender; and if at any time a tale was carried to the King or Queen, of any act of misconduct on the part of one of them, the other two were sure to resent it and miserable, indeed, was the life which the informer afterwards led. The following anecdote strongly corroborates this statement. The Prince of Wales, the Bishop of Osnaburg, and Prince William, were once at play in one of the apartments, when the head of one of their drums being out, the mischievous youths prevailed on the attendant to get into the hoop, that they might draw her about the room. Prince William, who was, perhaps, the most mischievous of the three, contrived to throw her down, when she in the warmth of her resentment, Aung him against the wainscot. The King on being informed of it, ordered her to go to Saint James', and to remain there till the return of Lady Charlotte Finch to town, as his Majesty did not choose to interfere in such matters. On the arrival of Lady Charlotte, she examined into the particulars, when another of the servants said, that the accused attendant did not strike Prince William. The Prince of Wales being present, said with great spirit, “pray do not assert any such thing, you know she di strike my brother, but you are both Scotchwomen, and will say anything to favour one another.” In this manner did

« ZurückWeiter »