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GEORGE THE FOURTH,
DESCRIPTIVE OF THE
MOST INTERESTING SCENES
Private and Public Life,
IMPORTANT EVENTS OF HIS MEMORABLE REIGN ;
WITH CHARACTERISTIC SKETCHES OF ALL THE
CELEBRA T E D MEN
WERE HIS FRIENDS AND COMPANIONS AS A PRINCE,
HIS MINISTERS AND COUNSELLORS AS A MONARCH.
COMPILED FROM AUTHENTIC SOURCES, AND DOCUMENTS IN THE
KING'S LIBRARY IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM, &c.
By ROBERT HUISH,
Memoirs of Queen Caroline, 8c.
VOLUME THE SECOND.
OF THE MUSES, FINSBURY-SQUARE ;
AND G. VIRTUE, IVY-LANE.
GEORGE THE FOURTH.
[From 1810 to 1820.]
year 1810 was big with the fate of the royal family of England. In the month of May the public mind was intensely agitated by an attempt, on the part of a domestic of the name of Sellis, to assassinate the Duke of Cumberland in his apartments at St. James', and which was bruited forth to the public as one of the most diabolical acts on record. The public, at the time, sympathized with the royal Duke, and wondered what so good, so exemplary, so virtuous a man could have done to arouse the vengeance of the cold-blooded assassin. Fortunately for the country, the life of so valuable a Prince was spared ; and the public were informed, that as the murderer had not succeeded in his infernal attempt on the Duke, he considered that the most advisable act he could commit was to murder himself. The form of a coroner's inquest was gone through, and a verdict of felo de se passed upon the guilty suicide, and he was buried at the corner of Scotland Yard.
We are fully aware of the sentiments which at this time time pervade the public mind on the death of Sellis, but as the investigation of the truth or falsity of those sentiments has no bearing upon the life or actions of the immediate subject of these memoirs, we shall decline entering upon it. It is at best unbecoming the character of a Briton to prejudge, and is it highly derogatory to the patriot sense of loyalty, to promulgate opinions in prejudice to facts, which may be said to form the only true and just criterion of human action. Every man by the Constitution is declared innocent till he is pronounced guilty, and until facts themselves, incontrovertible and unimpeachable, absolutely and unquestionably prove the guilt, no one, legally or morally possesses the right of condemnation, much less the infliction of positive punishment.
It has not fallen to our lot, in the progress of this work, frequently to pass an eulogium on the actions of royalty. Kings are beings very different from other men; their sensations are of another kind; their exemptions from the general lot of hardships in some degree attending all other situations, make them strangers to commiseration and sensibility; the pleasures of friendship are exchanged for those of flattery and obsequiousness; the nature of their education is calculated to destroy all natural disposition--at least the effects are the same as if it were a part of the plan ; they begin so early to live by rules of art, that they are in masquerade the whole of their lives; whether their design be to oblige or offend, they are equally under the necessity of employing artifice. There is no other rank in life that can be so generally defined, because there is no order of men who are framed so much alike, and have such a sameness in so many respects.
It is said that in one of the royal cabinets on the Continent, the names of all the patriot kings or demi-gods, who have reigned since the commencement of history, are written in the circumference of a silver penny, and that there is still a vacancy for more. Although George IV. will not find a place there, we have some hope that the next will be William IV. of England.
The traveller who has been plodding his weary way through the dark gloom and solitude of the forest, feels his heart cheered and spirits enlivened, when at a distance he beholds the faint glimmerings of light, the harbinger of brighter scenes and purer, substantial joys ; so the historian, who has been depicting the tragic scenes of human life, emanating from the turbulence of passion or deep-rooted vice, feels himself relieved as if from some oppressive burden, when some spotless and fairy object comes before him, in which he can trace the purer
virtues of the Christian character, even if that object appears but for the moment, and then vanishes for ever.
There is a tie of the human heart in which is concentred all that ennobles its nature-all that gives a charm to social life; the founder and the preserver of domestic happiness. It is the love of the parent for the child, the love of the child for the
parent; but when the hour arrives in which that tie is to be for ever broken for this world, then the heart grows sick, reason staggers on its throne, and falls, perhaps never to be revived. In the contemplation of the latter scene, we would not breathe a whisper that should disturb the awful solemnity of the
spectacle-a father, whose reason has fled over the grave of a much-loved child, is a sacred being; he carries with him a passport through the world, to the sympathy and compassion of every feeling heart; and in that character we must now view the afflicted George III. The death of his youngest daughter Amelia, which took place at Windsor, on the 2nd of November, 1810, broke the last hold of his already tottering reason, and removed him, as it were, into a world of his own, peopled by his own creations, but desolate, dark, and dreary to all by whom he was surrounded.
The character of the Princess Amelia shines amidst the vices of royalty with a redeeming light; and the contrast is the greater, as the occurrence is so rare. Dignified, though condescending—benevolent, without ostentation-lively, though a prey to sickness, which usually quenches the spirits, as well as the health of youth-she was beloved by all who lived within the sphere of hearing of her virtues. In performing the duties of humanity and benevolence, she was indefatigable; and the grateful sympathy with which all her acts of this nature were performed was not less soothing and gratifying than the actual tribute of her kindness. In the relations of domestic life, nothing could exceed her attention, assiduity, and affection. The last act of her filial tenderness evinced that it was not in the power of sickness, severely as it operated on her, to lessen the amiable temper of her mind; for, languid as she was at some periods, and tortured by pain at others, a desire of testifying her affection for the best of fathers was one of the strongest feelings of her heart. She wished to present her royal father with a token of her filial duty and affection; and she had the satisfaction of placing on his finger a ring made by her own directions for the express purpose, containing a small lock of her hair, inclosed under a crystal tablet, set round with a few sparks of diamonds, accompanied by the impressive words-Remember me. This scene proved