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AMIDST the political distractions, which have agitated other nations, it has been one of the greatest blessings, which this country has enjoyed to have had in WILLIAM THE FOURTH, a Monarch, who reigned not only the King, but the fond father of his people, while their cheerful and affectionate loyalty, constituted the happiness of his life, the chief glory of his crown, and the strength, prosperity, and splendour of the nation.
It has, however, been the will of Heaven to remove that much esteemed Monarch, from his earthly kingdom, and to gather him to his Fathers, at a most momentous crisis of the Country, when the people were looking up to him, as their chief hope to carry them victoriously, through those great measures for the reformation of all abuses, in the administration of the affairs of Church and State, and which a high and haughty Aristocracy, are using their utmost efforts to preserve and maintain. To William THE FOURth, the people of this country, have a large debt of gratitude to pay, and it must be generally admitted, that the Historian cannot point to the reign of any English Monarch, in which greater benefits have been conferred upon the people, than in the reign of WILLIAM THE FOURTH.
It has not indeed been distinguished by the universal war cry of GEORGE III, nor the profligacy, debauchery, and extravagance of GEORGE IV., but in times of peace, under the sanction, and rule of a patriot king, the people have been restored to some of their rights, and WILLIAM THE FOURTH, lived to experience, that the brightest jewel in the Crown of a Monarch, is the love of his people. He has died with the lustre of that jewel unimpaired, and prosperity will award him a niche, in the temple of fame, which few of his predecessors deserve, and which it is hoped, his successors will endeavour to acquire.
We cannot stifle our attachment to persons and families, whose memory ought to be dear to every Englishman. It is not for malice and misrepresentation to make us forget that the Houses of Orange and Brunswick, have rendered us essential services, at critical times, and that to them, under Providence, we are indebted for the continued enjoyment of privileges, which distinguish us from the rest of the world. Such names have hitherto been mentioned with veneration, by our most ardent and enlightened Patriots; and their names, at the head of which now stands that of WILLIAM IV., will continue to be venerated by all who being rationally, as well as fervently attached to the constitution itself, cannot remember with indifference, those persons and families, which have been the instruments of its preservation.
In detailing the incidents of the private life of WILLIAM THE Fourth, the Author is well aware, that he will frequently be obliged to tread on very tender ground. The actions of Monarchs are but little known, until they have been removed from this earth; but when all delicacy, and respect to the feelings of the existing King are removed, then it becomes the duty of the Historian, to give a faithful and impartial portraiture, uninfluenced by party spirit, or any consideration for the personal feelings of those, who, now that the shield of royalty is removed, from them, must appear in their real character to the world.
The political events of the life of WILLIAM THE FOURTH are of more momentous import; but as the friend of the people, as the defender of their imperscriptible rights, the Author has in the course of this work, fearlessly exposed the political machinations, by which their rights were withheld from them, and whilst bestowing upon their patriot King, all the praise that is due to him, for his unflinching adherence to the cause of Reform, he has not less fearlessly investigated the causes, and the power of those, who, though admitted by the constitution to legislate for the people, are yet the people's enemies.