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they espouse each other's part, and the attendants soon discovered, that if they offended one of them, they were certain of meeting with the resentment of the other two.
Of the three royal brothers, Prince William was the most diminutive in stature, but there was always a manliness of temper about him, which prepossessed every one in his favour, and which formed a striking contrast with the high and haughty demeanour, which so particularly distinguished the Prince of Wales. It has been stated, that Prince William, at a very early age evinced a decided predilection for the naval profession, and that his education was regulated accordingly; we have no immediate means of either refuting or confirming that statement, but although his father might have determined, in consequence of that predilection, to devote him to the naval service of his country, yet considering the rank and station which Prince William held in society, it could not but be considered as rather a premature decision on the part of his father, to send him to sea, at the early age of thirteen, when his education was by no means completed, and in some branches of science, not actually begun. The quarter-deck of a man of war, or the middy's cabin is not a place to advance a youth, in the attainment of those branches of learning, without which no education can be considered complete. Prince William was taken from his tutors at a time, when with other men, their collegiate education is at its commencement; at no period of his life, was he remarkable for the acuteness or superiority of bis intellect, he had by no means outstripped either of his royal brothers in the acquisition of any particular branch of learning, on the contrary, they had outstripped him; is it then to be wondered at, that at a later period of his life, he showed himself deficient in many of those classical and scientific attainments, which are the concomitants of a liberal and enlightened education ? It may be said in extenuation of this line of conduct, adopted by George III. in regard to his son William, that the rules of the navy, distinctly prescribed the age, beyond which an individual entering the navy, could not be rated on the books, nor admitted into the service, and
therefore the act was imperative on him to enter his son, before he had attained his fourteenth year. The policy or the prudence of entering him at all, becomes in itself a very questionable matter, at the same time it must be admitted, that the professions of the army and navy, were the only ones open into which the King's sons could be received, at the same time, that they are the two professions of all others, from which they should be excluded, or if not wholly excluded, they should be prevented from ever assuming the command. If we follow the entire career of all the King's sons, in their professional capacity, what is the result, but disgrace, discomfiture, and dishonour? The Prince of Wales was a soldier, although the laws of the country, prevented him from fulfilling the most essential part of the duty of a soldier, that of fighting; but as far as the cut of a uniform, or the adjustment of any military frippery was concerned, he was one of the most active members of the
army. If we look to the Duke of York, what do we there behold, but the country overwhelmed with disgrace, by his blundering generalship? By him. was the flower of the English army destroyed; the finest park of artillery, which ever left the shores of England, taken by the enemy; himself and his whole army saved from being carried prisoners into France, by one of the most ignominious treaties, which was ever signed by a British General, one article of which was, that the French sailors then in the different prisons of England, amounting to above 8000 men should be released, which enabled France to man her navy, to form a junction with the Spanish fleet, and of which Nelson gave so good an account at the Battle of Trafalgar. If any other individual, but a King's son had so misconducted himself, as the Duke of York did on every nccasion in Holland, he would have been instantly brought to a court-martial, and dismissed the service for incompetency.
Of the Duke of Clarence, we shall have occasion to describe his exploits, as they respectively come under our notice, but in the mean time, it must be observed, that he only appears before us as the commanded, not as the commander,
never at the head of a fleet, nor does history record any great achievement performed by him, as the result of his own personal skill and prowess.
If we direct our view to the Duke of Kent, another soldier, and one more obnoxious or hated by the troops which he commanded, never stood at the head of a regiment. His friends called him a disciplinarian, those whom he commanded, called him a tyrant; his friends compared him to Frederic of Prussia, his soldiers looked upon him, as the haughtiest of the Indian despots. At Halifax in Nova Scotia, the army would have mutinied, had he not been removed—and he was removed to Gibraltar, and it soon became necessary to remove him to England, or it is not at all improbable, that he would have been removed from the world altogether.
If we look to the Duke of Cumberland, another soldier, what do we there find to gratify our vision? A man, who we are informed has done much for the army-and what is that much? He has added much to the expence of our army, by the introduction of German frippery, and the most ridiculous gewgaws; he has contributed much to render our soldiers, a multitude of bedizened fops, and he has so much encumbered them with trappings and helmets of an unbearable weight, that they frequently faint under them. If this then happens at a common parade, what must be the case in the day of battle? The Duke of Cumberland, we beg his pardon, the King of Hanover, has punctually attended all the reviews on the continent, where thousands are collected at the nod of the continental despots, to enslave the liberties of Europe, and what did he bring back with him to his native country ? new styles of dresses, new harlequin uniforms, new patterns of caps and helmets, stays, padding, and mustachios. He has, indeed, done much for the army, and too much have the people of this country paid him for it.
If we look to the Duke of Cambridge, another soldier, what do we there find to make us fall in love with royal Field Marshals? We do not mean to speak in the slightest degree
disparagingly of the character of the Duke of Cambridge. He has been so long isolated in Hanover, that the people of this country have nearly forgotten him; but as he holds the rank of Field Marshal in the English army, we are naturally led to inquire into the extent of his services by which he has rendered himself worthy of so distinguished a rank. History, however, is totally silent on that subject, and, therefore, we take it for granted, that no such services exist.
The late Duke of Gloucester was also a soldier, he was, however, a good and honest man, and, therefore, we will throw a veil over his defects as a soldier.
We have thus entered into a kind of crowquis of the advantages which this country has derived from the admission of the sons of George III., into the military profession; it was one way of adding to their incomes, and investing them with a certain degree of patronage, which was sometimes employed for the basest and vilest purposes, and we have only to advert to the manner in which the Duke of York abused his patronage, during his connexion with Mrs. Clarke, to establish the verity of our statement.
It is, however, to the entrance of Prince William into the navy, that we have now principally to direct our attention, and we can state, contrary to the generally received opinion, that the navy was not the choice of the royal youth, but that it was in a great degree forced upon him by his father. He frequently expressed his dissent to the designs which his father had in view; and he expostulated with his mother as to the hardship of his being sent away from home, and all the pleasures of such a splendid home, to be cooped up in a ship, when his brothers were allowed to remain at home in the full enjoyment of their youthful amusements, and with the prospect of a life of continued pleasure opening upon them. The character of George III., was mulish, and obstinate to the very last degree, and if like Don Quixote, he had once made up his mind to believe that a windmill was a giant, it was in vain to attempt to drive the crotchet out of his head. The
Queen was by no means ignorant of this trait in his character, and she has often experienced the effect of his hasty temper in endeavouring to dissuade him from any object on which he had fixed his mind, and from the execution of which she could not augur any good. He was, morally and politically considered, an ass, that will have a way of its own, and the more you attempt to drive it into the proper path, the more determined it appears to persevere in the wrong one. In the visions of George III., he saw his son William on the quarter-deck of his ship, the noblest station under Heaven that a man can fill, and he saw his name enrolled in the list of those heroes, who are England's glory, and England's pride, and which will be pronounced with a patriot's enthusiasm, when such emmets as your Miguels, or your Carloses, or your Kings of Hanover, are smothered in their native dust.
The feelings of the mother were called into action, as the time approached, when her domestic circle was to be deprived of one of its ornaments, for although she was no stranger to ambition, and would gladly have seen it ruling the actions of her children; yet, she could not eradicate the opinion from her mind, that the interests of her son, in regard to his mental attainments, had been sacrificed to the visionary glory of a professional life, and one too, which was attended with so much danger and hardship. It must also be taken into consideration, that Prince William entered the British navy, at one, perhaps, of the most inauspicious periods of our history; and it may not be irrelevant in this place to show the state of the British navy at that time, involved as we were in a disastrous and unnatural war in the principal scenes of which, it was the fate of Prince William to bear a conspicuous part.
The American war, had now continued for nearly three years, marked by various successes, and defeats; and in the months of July 1778, Lord Howe after landing the troops under Sir Henry Clinton at New York, received intelligence by his cruisers, that Count D’Estaign, who had sailed from Toulon in April, was arrived on the coast of Virginia, and on