Слике страница
PDF
ePub

to tarnish the duke's reputation, and to to amuse the boy, he took down a sword countenance the reports of his cruelty and drew it. The young prince turned to the Scotch after the battle of Cullo- pale and trembled, supposing that his den, it produced no amelioration in the uncle intended to kill him. The duke army.

was dreadfully shocked, and complained The duke's behaviour on the death of to the princess that scandalous prejuhis brother, the Prince of Wales, was dices had been instilled into the child far from amiable. When intelligence against him. of the event was communicated to him, In November, 1751, he fell from his he said, sneeringly, “ It is a great blow horse, while hunting at Windsor. Reto this country, but I hope it will re- fusing to be blooded, he grew dancover it in time." He probably thought gerously ill, and was given over by that the chief obstacle to his future im- the physicians, but happily recovered. portance was removed by his brother's When urged to take advantage of the decease; and calculated, no doubt, on uneasiness manifested by the king on becoming sole regent, in the event of this occasion, and solicit his majesty to the king's death during the minority get the regency bill repealed, he said, of Prince George. His want of feeling I would rather bear the ignominy on the occasion materially decreased his that has been laid upon me, than venpopularity, which had already for some ture to give the king the uneasiness of time been on the wane. Elegies on the reflecting, if it were but for two hours deceased prince were cried about the in his own room, on the injury he has streets, to which were added such ex- done me." clamations as the following:“Oh! that The duke was keenly sensitive to it was but his brother !" Oh! that it any thing which he thought affected was but the butcher!"

the national honour. In 1756, on being So rooted an opinion of his severity informed of the loss of Minorca, he exhad been formed by the people, that claimed, “We are undone! Sea and the probability of his becoming regent land are cowards! I am ashamed of excited general consternation. Some my profession!" His conduct aftereven imagined that advantage would wards, during the prosecution of Admibe taken of the youth of the prince's ral Byng, is described at having been children to raise the duke to the throne. extremely harsh and vindictive. Party George the Second appears to have prejudice, however, then ran so highi, rather participated in the general feeling that, without suspecting his own injusagainst his son on this occasion; and tice, many an otherwise conscientious

was passed nominating the person became the tool of the blackest Dowager Princess of Wales regent, in malice, in abetting the designs of his the event of the king's demise before political friends. Prince George should have attained In 1757, the French having made an the age of royal majority. When the irruption into Germany and threatened king caused his plans on this subject Hanover, the king wished the duke to to be communicated to the duke, the take the command of the continental latter coolly returned his thanks and forces, and, at length, wrung from him duty, and added, "For the part allotted a reluctant consent. Accordingly, in to me, I shall submit to it, because his the month of April, his royal highmajesty commands it.” He, however, ness embarked for the field of action ; considered a most unmerited affront to and, on his arrival in Germany, found have been put upon him, hy the ap- himself at the head of an allied army pointment of the princess dowager, in- amounting to fifty thousand men. The stead of himself, to the regency; and French, under Marshal D'Etrées, addeclared to his friends, that "he now vancing from the Rhine, the passage of felt his own insignificance, and wished which the duke had in vain been urged the name of William could be blotted to dispute, the allies were compelled to out of the English annals.”

retire beyond the Weser. D'Etrées A mortification of a slighter sort soon passed that river also without oppofollowed :-In his apartment there were sition, and on the 25th of July attacked few ornaments but arms; and, one day, the duke in his camp at Hastenbech. Prince George having paid him a visit, | While the battle was yet doubtful, his

an act

royal highness, from a defect, not of an intended French invasion, and it courage, but of judgment, appears to was generally supposed that the Duke have given orders for a retreat. The of Cumberland would have been called confederates accordingly retired, hard to the head of the army. During a pressed by the marshal, first to Nieu conversation which he had with the burg, then to Verden, and finally to Duchess of Bedford on this subject, he Stade. D'Etrées, on being urged to stated that he did not believe the comembrace a favourable moment of at mand would be offered to him, but tack, replied there was no occasion for when no wise man would accept it and fighting It soon became apparent no honest man would refuse it. that the marshal was right; for, find At this period the duke had become ing that his further advance was pre- enormously fat : in the summer of vented by the German ocean, that he 1760, he had a stroke of the palsy; was enclosed on the right and left by the which, although he soon recovered his Elbe and Weser, and that the enemy speech and the use of his limbs, was conhad taken possession of all the passes sidered by his friends, on account of the as his troops had receded, the duke was grossness of his constitution, as an omen compelled, in the month of September, of his decease at no very distant period. to submit to terms of capitulation. Shortly afterwards occurred the sudden

A convention was accordingly signed death of George the Second, who had at Closter-Seven, by which it was de often hinted that he should leave the clared that the electorate of Hanover / purchased German principalities to the should be left in the hands of the duke: but he had either never intended, French, and that the whole confederate or forgotten, to make such an arrangearmy, amounting to forty thousand ment. The duke had, however, now men, should be disarmed and dis become fully reconciled to retirement; banded. Walpole, in his memoirs of though still a young man he had outGeorge the Second, is at great pains lived his ambition, and all his feelings to vindicate the duke's conduct in this and passions were sobered down either campaign; and asserts that, though to apathy or content. unsuccessful, the battle of Hastenbech On the 31st of October, 1765, he was peculiarly glorious to his royal visited at court, apparently in good highness, as it afforded him opportu health and spirits; he afterwards dined nities of evincing the most consummate in Arlington Street, and took tea with military skill: but such was far from the Princess of Brunswick, without exbeing the general opinion.

hibiting any symptoms of indisposition; The convention of Closter-Seven, but a few minutes after his return home however, seems to have been concluded he was attacked with a shivering fit, in obedience to the express command and almost as soon as the king's phyof George the Second; but when news sician arrived, he fell breathless on a of the event arrived in England, where sofa, and expired. it excited universal clamour, he thought Walpole states, that the duke was proper to disavow the whole transaction. one of the only five great men he could Two messengers were despatched to pretend to have seen.

He was unrecal the duke, who, early in October, doubtedly brave, although he displayed returned to Kensington. He said to the cruelty of a coward. He appeared Mr. Fox, on his arrival, “ You see me to have a natural inclination for war, well, both in body and mind : I have but, apparently, despised renown. It written orders in my pocket for every was an observation of his, " That durthing I did.” His haughty nature ing the height of his popularity, his could ill brook the coldness with which satisfaction was allayed by thinking of he was received; and, on his father Vernon"-that admiral being about the saying in his hearing,

“ Here is my

same period, with very little reason, son, who has ruined me and disgraced the idol of the public. He was not himself," he came to the resolution of contented with flattery, but expected resigning all his employments; and blind obedience from those beneath from that period, passed his life in him. He felt so extraordinary and comparative retirement.

unlimited a respect for the royal authoIn 1759, a rumour was circulated of rity, that had his brother, whom he

appears to have despised, become king, disasters at Hastenbech, we cannot but he would, in all probability, have treated smile at finding him elevated by his him with the most unconditional defer- admirers above all heroes, either anence. Politics he considered unworthy cient or modern. The success which of his notice, and refused to attend the insurgents had obtained over the cabinet councils, even on occasions royal forces, previously to the duke's when his advice would, perhaps, have appointment to oppose them, may be been valuable. He despised money, attributed principally to the imprubut was much addicted to gambling. dence or irresolution of the king's He was fond of women, but always commanders : at the battle of Culloden felt averse to matrimony. Lord Gran- they were a match in no respect for ville, at one time, greatly annoyed those to whom they were opposed. him by negociating a match for him The success of the duke, on this ocwith the King of Denmark's sister. casion, can, therefore, scarcely be said The duke consulted Sir Robert Wal- to balance even the least of his defeats. pole, then retired from public affairs, He was successful only against a force how to avoid the marriage with which of brave but undisciplined highlanders, he was thus threatened. Sir Robert without efficient arms or skilful comadvised him to seem willing to consent manders; being invariably beaten when to it, provided the king would make opposed to troops who were on a par him a large settlement. He adopted with his own, in every particular, perthis plan, and the alliance was no haps, except the very important one of longer urged.

having a man of military talent and exHe appears to have affected a lofty perience at their head. After the battle elevation of character, which posterity of Hastenbech, a French officer, noticwill scarcely allow him to have pos- ing the fine martial appearance of an sessed. He evinced the littleness of English prisoner, observed, “ If we his mind by his attention to military had had many such enemies as you, trifles. To him, the establishment of we should not have conquered." To a proper pattern for spatterdashes, ap- this the man replied, “There were peared to be an object of considerable thousands of better soldiers than I am, importance; and the slightest trans- but not one D'Etrées to lead them." gression of martial etiquette was visited On another occasion, an English capwith his severe displeasure. He af- tive having told some French officers fected, on some occasions, a dignified that they had nearly made the duke humility, and a philosophical indiffer- prisoner at Fontenoy, one of them ence, which, however, but ill concealed said, “We took care not to do so : he the proud swellings of his heart, and does us more service at the head of your his strong inclination for power. army." Marshal Saxe once sneer

Notwithstanding the encomiums ingly said of him, “ He is the greatest which he received from some of his general of his age, for he has maincotemporaries, who, in estimating his tained several thousand men on a spot talents as a commander, judged rather of ground where I should never have from the national importance of the billetted so many rabbits.” The duke, battle of Culloden, than the real mili- on hearing of this, is said to have obtary skill of the conqueror, it may be served, that his men were well enough safely asserted, that no general ever fed to fight the French on any ground: purchased reputation at a cheaper rate. and it is true that they did occasionally Even the meritof his success, at the head fight, but, while under his command, of regular troops over the raw forces of never could manage to beat them. the Pretender, must, in some measure, There are a few facts recorded, illusbe attributed to the advice of Lord Stair; trating the more amiable parts of the and when we contrast the comparatively duke's character, which it behoves us insignificant victory of Culloden,--and not to omit. On one occasion having insignificant it certainly was, viewed as missed his pocket-book at Newmarket, a martial achievement, although, per- just before the horses started, he dehaps, it determined the fate of the clined making any bets, observing that nation,—with the duke's previous de- he had already lost money enough for feat at Fontenoy, and his subsequent that morning. At the conclusion of the

races, he was presented with his pocket- he soon obtained a comfortable place. book' by a half-pay officer, who had While the duke was in Germany, a found it near the stand, shortly after serjeant of excellent character having it had been dropped by the duke, but performed a daring exploit, the duke who had had no opportunity of return- thought proper to give him a commising it. "I am very glad, sir," said sion. But this elevation in rank by the duke, “ that it has fallen into such no means increased the man's happihands; keep it: had it not been for ness; he could no longer associate with this accident, its contents would pro- his former companions, and his brother bably have been, by this time, dispersed officers treated him with degrading among the blacklegs of Newmarket." neglect. At length, he told the duke

During his march against the rebels, how unpleasantly he was situated, and he was, one day, presented with a pe- entreated permission to resume his haltition for assistance, from a destitute berd. The duke desired him to let the lad, whose father had been many years matter rest for a day or two; and the in the royal household. The duke next morning, on parade, walked up ordered the boy into his presence, and, to him, when he was standing apart giving him some money, said, “In con- from the other officers of the regiment, sideration of your father's fidelity, and familiarly took his arm, and, on being hoping that you are worthy of being invited by Lord Ligonierto dine at his son, when the present troubles are the mess, replied, "With much pleaover, should my life be spared, I will sure, but I must bring my friend here endeavour to provide you with some with me." Oh! certainly,” said his permanent situation.”. After the re- lordship; and thenceforth the duke's bellion was ended, the boy proceeded to “ friend” never had occasion to comLondon, and obtained an interview with plain of being slighted by any indithe duke, by whose recommendation vidual in the service.

MARY, PRINCESS OF HESSE.

race.

THIS princess, the fourth daughter religion, and turned Roman Catholic. of George the Second and Queen This change of creed in a prince of Caroline, is characterized as having the empire was viewed with much been the mildest and gentlest of her surprise, and subjected him, in the

She was born on the 22nd of event of his succeeding his father, to February, 1723. On the 8th of May, various heavy restrictions; which, if 1740, being then only in the eighteenth possible, increased the acerbity of his year of her age, she was married, in temper, and the brutality of his bethe chapel at St. James's, to Frederick, haviour. After passing many years of Prince of Hesse, with whom she em- her life in hopeless sorrow and unrebarked for the continent, on the 6th sisting submission, death, at length, of the following month of June. The relieved the princess of her tyrant ; prince, her husband, is said to have and she spent the remnant of her days treated her with great inhumanity. in ease and tranquillity. Her death In 1754, he abjured the protestant took place on the 14th of June, 1771.

LOUISA, QUEEN OF DENMARK. LOUISA, youngest daughter of George by the public for her personal graces, the Second, was born on the 7th of her temper, and her talents. In 1743, December, 1724. She was almost ido- her hand was solicited by Frederick, lized by her mother, and much admired Prince Royal of Denmark. On the 27th

of October in that year, she was united this country, that, however unhappy to him, by proxy, at Hanover, and he she might be in Denmark, she would soon after ascended the Danish throne. never trouble her relations with any Like her father, he kept a mistress, to complaints; nor did she, until the last shew that he was not governed by his day of her life, when she wrote them wife; and her death, like that of her an exceedingly pathetic letter. She mother, was occasioned by a rupture. expired, in the prime of her life, after She had declared to the Duke of Cum a terrible operation, which lasted an bérland, before her departure from | hour, on the 8th of December 1751.

AUGUSTA, DUCHESS OF BRUNSWICK. This princess, the first child of was compelled to seek refuge in EngFrederick, Prince of Wales, was born land; and in the autumn of 1806, the on the 31st of July, 1737. She was duke fell in the field of battle, while the favourite of her parents, on ac leading on the Prussians against the count of her beauty and gentleness of French. His son and successor afterdisposition. She received a very careful wards met with a similar fate. education, and became highly accom On her arrival in this country, the plished. In 1763, she was demanded in duchess found the king, her brother, marriage by the hereditary Prince of infirm, blind, and about to be visited Brunswick Wolfenbüttel, and no ob with that most dreadful of calamities, the stacles being raised to the match, the loss of reason; and her daughter, afternuptials were solemnized on the 16th wards Queen Caroline, not only living of January, 1764, in the great council in virtual widowhood, but deprived chamber, at St. James's palace. On this even of the society of her own child. occasion, her brother, George the Third, The declining years of the duchess presented her with a diamond necklace were, therefore, it cannot be doubted, worth £30,000; Queen Charlotte gave unhappy, rather than otherwise. her a gold watch, set with jewels, of Early in 1813, a species of epidemic exquisite workmanship; and her mo cough, accompanied with shortness of ther, the princess dowager, gave her a breathing, which was then prevalent diamond stomacher of immense value. in the metropolis, attacked the duchess, In a few days after their marriage the and greatly aggravated an asthmatic royal pair proceeded to the continent, complaint with which she had long where they resided for many years, in been afflicted. On the 21st of March a state of enviable domestic happiness. she was confined to her bed, but The fruits of their union were six chil without being considered in danger. dren; one of whom became, in 1795, the On the 22nd the Princess of Wales wife of George, Prince of Wales, after- quitted her, after a visit of some hours wards George the Fourth.

duration, without any idea that the Unluckily for the princess, her hus duchess was near her dissolution ; band, who had succeeded to the ducal shortly before nine, on the same evenchair, on the demise of his father, ac- | ing, however, she was seized with viocepted the command of the Prussians lent spasmodic attacks, which termiagainst the troops of republican France. nated 'her existence in about twelve His territories were shortly afterwards hours. Her remains were interred in entered by the enemy; the duchess Westminster Abbey.

« ПретходнаНастави »