Abbildungen der Seite

services. His Majesty then passed several hours in a state of not uneasy slumber : the Queen almost uninterruptedly kneeling by his side, and gently chafing his band, from which assurance of her presence his Majesty derived the greatest comfort.

During this afternoon, to such an extremity of weakness was the King reduced, that he scarcely opened his eyes, save to raise thern in prayer to heaven, with a look expressive of the most perfect resignation. Once or twice indeed this feeling found expression in the words “ Thy will be done !" and on one occasion he was heard to utter the words, “ the Church - the Church !" and the name of the archbishop.

It was about nine o'clock in the evening of this day that the archbishop visited the King for the last time.

His Majesty's state altogether incapacitated him from joining in any act or exercise of devotion; but, as at each preceding interview, his grace's presence proved a source of joy and consolation to the dying Monarch, who strove in vain to convey any audible acknowledgements of the blessings which he sensibly enjoyed; bu' when, on leaving the room, the archbishop said, “ My best prayers are offered up for your Majesty,” the King replied, with slow and feeble yet distinct utterance, · Believe me, I am a religious man.”

After this exertion his Majesty gently moved his hand in token of his last farewell, and the archbishop withdrew.

As the night advanced, a more rapid diminution of his Majesty's vital powers was perceptible.

His weakness now rendered it impracticable to remove him into his usual bed-room, and a bed was accordingly prepared in the royal closet, which communicates with the apartinent in which his Majesty had passed the last ten days of his life. At half-past ten the King was seized with a fainting fit, the effects of which were mistaken by many for the stroke of death. However, his Majesty gradually though imperfectly, revived, and was then removed into his bed.

From this time his voice was not heard, except to pronounce

[ocr errors]

the name of his valet. In less than an hour his Majesty expired, without a struggle and without a groan, the Queen kneeling at the bedside, and still affectionately holding his hand, the comfortable warmth of which rendered her unwill.. ing to believe the reality of the sad event.

Thus expired, in the seventy-third year of his age, in firm reliance on the merits of his Redeemer, King William the Fourth, a just and upright King, a forgiving enemy, a sincere friend, and a most gracious and indulgent master.

We subjoin another account of the last moments of his Majesty as transmitted by one of his immediate attendants.

On the evening Monday the 19th it was evident that the King was fast approaching his last moment. It must however have been some consolation to his faithful subjects, who we are waiting with the deepest anxiety for a true account of his Majesty's situation, to know that all the stories which had been so sedu. lously propagated about his having fallen into a profound lethargy, from which it has been difficult to awaken him, were pure and unadulterated falsehoods. Never at any period of his life had his mind been more serene, never had his intellect been more unclouded. There never was any difficulty in making his Majesty aware of any fact with which it was necessary that he should be made acquainted; and the anecdotes which have been published to the contrary derive their interest, not from their veracity, but from their utter want of it. His Majesty received the sacrament on the preceding day from the hand of his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, and those who are acquainted with the high character of that irreproachable prelate must be aware that no earthly consideration would have induced him to administer that holy rite of our religion to a man who was incapable of appreciating its value or of comprehending how dangerous it is to those who dare to receive it unworthily. The restlessness and pain which his Majesty suffered were the main causes of the exhaustion of his physical powers: but his mental faculties remained unimpaired, and bis natural affections

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

appeared to gather fresh strength from the conviction with which his Majesty was impressed, that he should not long be permitted by an Almighty Providence to indulge them. In his waking moments—and they were many-his Queen and his children were seldom absent from his side, and when they were, it appeared as if there were something which his eyes desired to see, but in vain. Nor in this, might have been his mortal agony, were his thoughts confined to the welfare of his own family. The bulletins afforded satisfactory evidence that on all the public documents which had been transmitted to him for some days past he had considered, and when necessary signed ; and the very morning preceding his death, so clear was the intellect which some individuals were pleased to represent as obtuse to the most vivid recollections of military glory, that he called for Sir Herbert Taylor to bring him as usual, his box of letters, and that he replied, on being informed that there was no box for him to open, “Oh, I forgot—this is Monday.” To those who know how true-hearted an Englishman our sailor-King was, we need not explain that anything connected with the national glory of our country was likely to retain a place in his memory so long as his memory retained

At one of the visits which his medical attendants paid liim during the preceding week, he said, " Doctor I know I am going, but I should like to see another anniversary of Waterloo. Try if you cannot tinker me up to last over that day.” His Majesty survived the recurrence of a day which is doomed to be as imperishable as any event can be in the records of time, and was fully alive to all its proud and ennobling recollections. He conversed freely upon that subject, and upon many others, in the intervals of ease which he occasionally obtained from the acuteness of his sufferings. His breathing was at once difficult and painful. With the consciousness that he had discharged the duties of his sphere, if not always wisely, still always conscientiously, and for what he deemed the best interests of his attached subjects, he was prepared to meet his fate with the cheerfulness which became a christian and a king.

its powers.

[graphic][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
« ZurückWeiter »