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At day-break on Tuesday, May 26th, it was announced to the public that one of the most excellent, the most patriotic, and the most British Monarch that ever sat on the imperial throne of these realms, was no more.
William IV., the Sailor King, -and there are national associations which vibrate to every heart in those two simple words— William IV., the Reformerhe whose mere assent stamped on the wishes of a great people the force of irresistible commands, and made the prejudices of peer and peasant, of aristocrat and artizan, merge into one general and glorious feeling for the British common wealWilliam IV.,- he who evinced his most intimate and profound knowledge of the British character, by being at once the example and patron of all the social and domestic virtue,– William IV., he who taught this populous and intelligent community the necessity and value of obedience to the law by his own implicit and deliberate obedience to it as a subject-William IV., the good, the kind, the affable, the companion, and the commander of his people was now, alas ! no greater than the meanest among them, save as he has illustrated the mighty power which an Almighty God intrusted to his care by deeds of mercy, wisdom, and well-regulated humanity and policy. The fitful fever of life, which too often terminates with the wisest and best in vanity, vexation, and disappointment, has with him come to a termination, which the most fortunate Sovereign in our bistory might envy, and which the wisest might strive in vain, during a much longer reign, to accomplish. He who, from the first moment of his reign, taught us that when he assumed the monarch he had not forgotten that he was man, has submitted to the common fate of mortality, and has gone amidst universal regret to that awful tribunal where princes and plebeians are equal, and where kings (to borrow an expression one of our poets) “only wear the crown of their own virtues."
The death of William IV., occurred between half-past two and a quarter to three o'clock, on Tuesday morning. To those who were witnesses of the acute sufferings of his Majesty at the early period of his complaint, it was matter of wonder
that he did not sink under them sooner. But his Majesty was blest with an excellent constitution by nature, and, in spite of the manifold temptations of his rank and station, was not a wanton waster of it. Those, then, who wondered that he fell not sooner, have not taken into their consideration how far temperance, abstinence, and sobriety conduce to the formation of a sound mind in a sound body, and to the consequent prolongation of the ordinary functions of vitality. His Majesty, it is certain, was sensible almost to the last moment of his existence, and expressed the most heartfelt satisfaction at the constant and unremitting attention which he received from the different members of his family. The Queen--and none but those who have been long invalids know how to appreciate the value and tenderness of female sympathy in acute bodily suffering—has set an example to our country--women of patient assiduity and attention to her deceased consort, which they will do well to imitate, but which they will strive in vain to surpass. For the last ten or twelve days slie did not know the comforts of an uninterrupted night's rest. The plainest words gives the best description of the greatest virtues, and therefore it is, that without seeking the slightest amplification or rotundity of phrase, we state the highest eulogium we can pass on her Majesty in the homely but kindly and significant phrase, that she had not her clothes off during the whole of that period. When the infirm state of her Majesty's health is taken into consideration, such an affectionate discharge of her conjugal duties must render envy silent, and detraction dumb.
To every Briton who loves liberty, and values at their ines. timable price the political franchises of his countrymen, it must be matter of pride and satisfaction that he lived in the reign, and was happy under the protection of William the Reformer. He is no more ; but the privileges which he be. stowed on his subjects, may they be eternal !
The manner of the death of the Kings of England forms a curious item in the pages of history, for beginning with William the Conqueror we find that he died from enormous fat, from
drink, and from the violence of his passions. William Rufus died the death of the poor stags which he hunted. Henry the First died of gluttony, having eaten too much of a dish of lampreys. Stephen died in a few days of what was called the iliac passion, which we suppose may be a royal word for prussic acid, or something like it. Henry the Second died of a broken heart, occasioned by the bad conduct of his children. A broken heart is a very odd complaint for a Monarch to die of. Perhaps “ rat's-bane in his porridge” means the same thing as a broken heart. Richard Cour de Lion died like the animal from which his heart was named, by an arrow from an archer. John died nobody knows how, but it is said of chagrin, which we suppose is another term for a dose of hellebore. Henry III. is said to have died “a natural death,” which with kings, and in palaces, means the most unnatural death which a mortal can shuffle off his “mortal coil.” Edward the First is likewise said to have died of a “natural sickness," sickness which it would puzzle all the college of physicians to nominate. Edward the Second was most barbarously, indecently murdered by ruffians employed by his own mother and her paramour. Edward the Third died of dotage, and Richard the Second of starvation, the very reverse of George the Fourth. Henry the Fourth is said to have died “ of fits caused by uneasiness," and uneasiness in palaces at those times was a very common complaint. Henry the Fifth is said to have died “ of a painful affliction, prematurely." This is a country phrase for getting rid of a king. Oh! that the glorious hero of Agincourt should have been got rid of by the priests “by a painful affliction, prematurely.” Henry the Sixth died in prison, by means known then only to his jailor, and known now only by heaven. Edward the Fifth was strangled in the Tower by his uncle Richard the Third, whom Hume declares to have possessed every quality for government. This Richard the Third was kiled in battle, fairly of course, for all kings were either killed fairly or die naturally according to the court circulars of those days. Henry the Seventh wasted away, as a miser ought to do, and Henry the Eight died of carbuncles,
fat, and fury, whilst Edward the Sixth died of a decline, Queen Mary, the moet heartless, or the most bloody-hearted of wretches, is said to have died of a “broken-heart," whereas she died of a surfeit, from eating too much of black-puddings, her sanguinary nature being prone to hog's-blood, or blood of any sort. Old Queen Bess is said to have died of melancholy from having sacrificed Essex to his enemies. James the First died of drinking, and of the effects of a nameless vice. Charles the First died a righteous death on the scaffold, and Charles the Second died suddenly, it is said of apoplexy. James the Second died abroad, thank God! and we trust that the Duke of Cumberland will do the same. William the Third died from a consumptive habit of body, and from the stumbling of his horse. Queen Anne died from her attachment to “strong waters,” or in other terms, from drunkenness, which the physicians politely called the dropsy. George the First died of drunkenness, which his doctors as politely called an apoplectic fit. George the Second died by a rupture on the heart, which the periodicals of that day termed a visitation of God. It is the only instance in which God ever touched his heart. George the Third died as he had lived, a madman. Throughout life he was at least a consistent Monarch. George the Fourth died of gluttony and of drunkenness. William the Fourth died amidst the sympathies of his subjects, and may it be a long time before we have the means of describing the death of his successor.
Friday the 7th, was the day appointed for the lying in state of the mortal remains of his late Majesty William the Fourth, the influx of visitors of every grade, and in vehicles of every imaginable description, was considerable at an early hour in the morning. Indeed, on the previous evening, all the coaches from London, which came down in extra numbers, were well laden, and the streets teemed with multitudes, of whom it seemed almost more than doubtful whether the half of them would obtain at any price decent lodging for the night within the walls of Windspr's town. The principal inns were preengaged in the full extent of their abilities for many days
previous, principally by those whose official duties rendered their attendance on this melancholy occasion indispensably necessary. The Board of Green Cloth, for instance, including all the functionaries belonging to that department, put up at the White Hart, and occupied no less than eighty two beds; the gentlemen belonging to the Earl Marshal's department, and that of the Lord Chamberlain, being located at the Castle Inn. Besides these, a great number of officers quartered here for the occasion, filled up every habitable corner of the superior hostelries, whilst the second and third-rate houses, down even to the venders of ordinary “malt and spirituous liquors,' ” were honoured with the company (an honour they could willingly dispense with in these busy times) of innumerable non-commissioned officers, policemen, &c., whose attendance was necessarily required on occasions of this description. One hundred policemen from London, eighty of the A division, and ten of the C and E divisions respectively, assisted in keeping the peace, and admirably they succeeded in doing so, to the satisfaction alike of those whose en avant enthusiasm they had to control, and of those of the weaker and less aspiring sort, who, but for such protection, would have come off but secondbest in a crowd. All was orderly, quiet, slow, but sure; the weak and the strong, the forward and the diffident shared alike, and all gained, at the expense only of a trifling modicum of patience, a full view of a sight which many of them never saw before, and but few of us in the ordinary course of nature can expect to see again--the last mortal paraphernalia of a Sovereign of these realms--the omega of royalty.
The melancholy exhibition-almost a mockery of grief, to be sure, and yet an exhibition teeming with melancholy reflections, and a moral of the severest kind-took place, in what is called the Waterloo Chamber-so named in honour of the last great day of Britain's martial renown, and appropriately decorated with portraits of the European sovereigns, and other persons of distinction, whose names are connected with that memorable event. Very different, however, were the