In The Beginning





THE little Duchy of Saxe-Meinengen was once a portion of the

inheritance of the princely Franconian house of Henneberg. The failure

of the male line transferred it, in 1583, to the family of reigning

Saxon princes. In 1680, it fell to the third son of the Saxon Duke,

Ernest the Pious. The name of this son was Bernard. This Duke is looked

upon as the founder of the House of Meinengen. He was much devoted to

the study of Alchemy, and was of a pious turn, like his father, as far,

as may be judged by the volumes of manuscript notes he left behind

him--which he had made on the sermons of his various court-preachers.



The law of primogeniture was not yet in force when Duke Bernard died,

in 1706. One consequence was, that Bernard's three sons, with Bernard's

brother, ruled the little domain in common. In 1746, the sole surviving

brother, Antony Ulrich, the luckiest of this ducal Tontine, was monarch

of all he surveyed, within a limited space. The conglomerate ducal

sovereigns were plain men, formal, much given to ceremony, and not much

embarrassed by intellect. There was one man, however, who had enough

for them all: namely, George Spanginburg, brother of the Moravian

bishop of the latter name, and who was, for some time, the Secretary of

State at the court of Saxe-Meinengen.



Antony Ulrich reigned alone from 1746 to 1763. He was of a more

enlightened character than any of the preceding princes, had a taste

for the arts, when he could procure pictures cheaply, and strong

inclination towards pretty living pictures, which led to lively rather

than pleasant controversies at court. His own marriage with Madame

Scharmann disgusted the young ladies of princely houses in Germany, and

especially exasperated the aristocracy of Meinengen. They were scarcely

pacified by the fact, that the issue of the marriage was declared

incapable of succeeding to the inheritance.



The latter fell in 1763 to two young brothers, kinsfolk of Antony, and

sons of the late Duke of Gotha, who reigned for some years together.

The elder, Charles, died in 1782. From that period till 1803, the other

brother, George, reigned alone. He had no sooner become sole sovereign,

than he married the Princess Louisa of Hohenlohe Langenburg. At the end

of ten years, the first child of this marriage was born, namely

Adelaide, the future Queen of England.



Eight years later, in the last year of the last century A.D. 1800, a

male heir to the pocket-duchy was born, and then was introduced into

Meinengen the law which fixed the succession in the eldest male heir

only. Saxe-Meinengen was the last country in Europe in which this law

was established.



The father of the Princess Adelaide, like his brother Charles, was a

man of no mean powers. Both were condescending enough to visit even the

burgher families of Saxe-Meinengen; and Charles had so little respect

for vice in high places, that when a German prince acted contrary to

the rights of his people, the offender found himself soundly lashed in

paper and pamphlet, the pseudonymous signature to which could not

conceal the person of the writer--the hasty Duke Charles. If this

sometimes made him unpopular over the frontier, he was beloved within

it. How could the people but love a sovereign Duke who, when a child

was born to him, asked citizens of good repute rather than of high rank

to come and be gossips?



In the revolutionary war, Duke George fought like a hero. At home, he

afforded refuge to bold but honest writers, driven from more mighty

states. He beautified his city, improved the country; and, without

being of great mental cultivation himself, he loved to collect around

him, scholars, philosophers, artists, authors, gentlemen. With these he

lived on the most familiar terms, and when I say that Schiller and John

Paul Richter were of the number, I afford some idea of the society

which Duke George cared chiefly to cultivate. He buried his own mother

in the common church-yard, because she was worthy, he said, of lying

among her own subjects. The majority of these were country folk, but

George esteemed the country folk, and at rustic festivals he was not

unwilling to share a jug of beer with any of them. Perhaps the rustics

loved him more truly than the sages, to whom he proved, occasionally,

something wearisome. But these were often hard to please. All, however,

felt an honest grief, when, on the Christmas night, of 1803, Duke

George died, after a brief illness, caused, it is said, by a neglected

cold, and the rage at an urgent demand from the Kaiser, of 60,000

florins, fine-money for knightly orders, ducally declined.



The Duke left a young family, Adelaide, Ida, and his son and successor,

Bernard, then only three years of age. The mother of these fatherless

children took upon herself the office of guardian, with that of Regent

of the duchy. The duties of both were performed with rare judgment and

firmness, during a time of much trouble and peril, especially when the

French armies were overrunning and devastating Germany.



On the young ladies, gently and wisely reared in this little court,

Queen Charlotte had begun to look with the foresight of a mother who

had elderly and wayward sons to marry. When the death of the Princess

Charlotte of Wales threatened to interrupt the direct succession of the

crown, the unmatched brothers of the Regent thought of taking unto

themselves wives. Cumberland had married according to his, but to no

other person's, liking, hardly even that of his wife. The Dukes of Kent

and Cambridge made better choice; and there then remained but the

sailor-prince to be converted into a Benedict. The Queen selected his

bride for him, and he approved, or acquiesced in the selection. He

might, as far as age goes, have been her father, but that was of small

account; and when Adelaide of Saxe-Meinengen was spoken of, men

conversant with contemporary history, knew her to be the good daughter

of an accomplished and an exemplary mother.



The preliminaries of the marriage were carried out amid so much

opposition, that at one moment the accomplishment of the marriage

itself wore a very doubtful aspect. The difficulty was of a pecuniary

nature. The Dukes of Kent and Cambridge were content, on the occasion

of their respective marriages, to accept an addition to their income of

L6,000. The Duke of Cumberland was compelled to rest content, or

otherwise, without any addition at all,--save the expenses of a wife.

With the Duke of Clarence it was different. He already possessed

L18,000 per annum, and ministers resolved, after a private meeting with

their supporters, to request the Parliament to allow him an increase of

L10,000. On the 13th of April, 1818, a message from the Prince Regent

to that effect, was submitted to either House, by Lord Castlereagh and

the Earl of Liverpool. In the Commons, the first-named Lord hinted at

the dependence of our Princes on the liberality of Parliament, since

the time when the crown had surrendered its long uncontrolled disposal

of revenues. But the House was not to be "suggested" into a generosity

which might be beyond justice. Tierney, the gad-fly of his period,

complained of the previous meeting of the friends of ministers, and the

communication to them, before it was made to the House, of the amount

to be applied for. Methuen insisted, that before the Commons would

grant a farthing, they must be made acquainted with all the sources

from which the King's sons derived their present revenue, as well as

the amount of the revenue itself. Finally, Holme Sumner met the

proposal of an additional L10,000, by a counter-proposal of L6,000.

This was carried by a narrow majority of one hundred and ninety-three

to one hundred and eighty-four; and when this sum was offered to the

Duke, he peremptorily declined to accept it.



Things did not progress more in tune with marriage-bells in the House

of Lords. There, when Lord Liverpool stated what his royal client would

be contented to receive, Lord King started to his legs and exclaimed,

"That the question was not what it might please the Duke of Clarence to

take, but what it might please the people to give him!" They were not

willing to give what he expected, and for a time it seemed as if there

would consequently be no marriage with the Princess of Saxe-Meinengen.

But only for a time.



"The Duke of Clarence is going to be married, after all," was a common

phrase launched by the newspapers, and taken up by the people, in 1818.

If the phrase had but one meaning, it had a double application. In the

former sense, it had reference to the disinclination of Parliament to

increase his income, without which he had expressed his determination

not to marry. It was further applied, however, to the old course of his

old loves. There were the years spent with Dora Bland, then "Mrs.

Jordan," the actress,--years of an intercourse which had much of the

quiet, happy character of a modest English home,--the breaking-up of

which brought such great grief to the mother in that home, that even

every service subsequently rendered to her, seemed to partake of the

quality of offence. It has been registered as such, by those who heard

more of the wailing of the Ariadne, than they knew of the

groundlessness of it, when vented in reproaches for leaving her

unprovided for as well as deserted.



Then the public remembered how this light-of-heart Duke had been a

suitor to other ladies. He was the rival of Wellesley Pole, for the

favour and the fortune of the great heiress, Miss Tilney Long. That

ill-fated lady conferred on this wooer of humbler degree, the office of

slaying her happiness, sapping her life, and mining her estate. The

other lady, who declined the Duke's offer of his hand, or petition for

her own, was Miss Sophia Wykeham, of Thame Park, daughter and sole

heiress of an Oxfordshire 'squire. Each lady had merits of her own, and

other attractions besides those which lay in the beaux yeux de sa

cassette; but, perhaps, each remembered the clauses of the royal

marriage act; however this may have been, Miss Tilney chose between her

suitors, while Miss Wykeham, after turning from the prayer of the Duke,

never stooped to listen to a lowlier wooer.



These were the "antecedents" of the lover who, in maturer age, took,

rather than asked for, the hand of Adelaide of Saxe-Meinengen. Of all

the actions of his life, it was the one which brought him the most

happiness; and with that true woman he had better fortune than is

altogether merited by a man, who, after a long bachelorship of no great

repute, settles down in middle-life to respectability and content,

under the influences of a virtuous woman, gifted with an excellent

degree of common-sense.



In the dusk of a July evening, in the year 1818, this unwooed bride

quietly arrived, with her mother, at Grillon's Hotel, Albemarle Street.

She had but cool reception for a lady on such mission as her own. There

was no one to bid her welcome; the Regent was at Carlton House at

dinner, and the Duke of Clarence was out of town on a visit. Except the

worthy Mr. Grillon himself, no person seemed the gladder for her

coming. In the course of the evening, however, the Regent drove down to

Albemarle Street; and, at a later hour, the more tardy future-husband

was carried up to the door in a carriage drawn by four horses, with as

much rapidity as became a presumed lover of his age, in whom a certain

show of zeal was becoming.



The strangers became at once acquainted; and acquaintance is said to

have developed itself speedily into friendship. The family-party

remained together till near upon the "wee sma'" hours; there was much

indulgence there, we are told, of good, honest, informal hilarity; and

when the illustrious and joyous circle broke up, the easy grace,

frankness, and courtesy of the Regent, and the freedom and

light-heartedness of the Duke, are said to have left favourable

impressions on both the mother and the daughter.



Quaintest of royal weddings was that which now took place in old Kew

Palace. Indeed, there were two, for the Duke of Kent who had gallantly

fetched his wife from abroad, and had married her there, according to

Lutheran rites, was now re-married to his bride, according to the forms

of the Church of England. Early in the day, there was a dinner, at

which the most important personages in that day's proceedings were

present. The old house at Kew seemed blushing in its reddest of bricks,

out of pure enjoyment. The Regent gave the bride away; and, the

ceremony concluded, the wedded couples paid a visit to the old Queen in

her private apartment. She was too ill, then, to do more than

congratulate her sons, and wish happiness to the married. The Duke and

Duchess of Kent thereupon departed, but the Duke and Duchess of

Clarence remained,--guests at a joyous tea party, at which the Regent

presided, and which was prepared alfresco, in the vicinity of the

Pagoda. It must have been a thousand times a merrier matter than

wedding state-dinners of the olden times, at which brides were wearied

into suffering and sulkiness. If the figure about "cups which cheer but

not inebriate" had not been worn to the finest tenuity, I might at once

give it, here, application and illustration. Suffice it to say, that a

more joyous party of noble men and women never met in mirthful

greenwood; and when the princely pair took their leave, for St.

James's, the Regent led the hilarious cheer, and sped them on their

way, with a "hurrah!" worthy of his bright and younger days.



The Regent, undoubtedly, manifested a clearer sense of the fitness of

things, on this occasion, than either of the managers of the theatres,

honoured by the presence of the newly-married couple soon after the

union.



At Drury Lane, was given the "Marriage of Figaro," and Covent Garden

complimented the Duke and Duchess with the "Provoked Husband."



It cannot be said that the public looked with much enthusiasm on any of

the royal marriages. Such unions with rare exceptions, are unpleasantly

free from sentiment or romance; and, in the present instances, there

was such a matter-of-fact air of mere "business" about these contracts

and ceremonies, such an absence of youth, and the impulses and the

dignity of youth, that the indifferent public, even remembering the

importance of securing a lineal succession to the throne, was slow to

offer either congratulation or sympathy. The caricaturists, on the

other hand, were busy with a heavy and not very delicate wit; and

fashionable papers, uniting implied censure with faint praise, observed

that "the Duchesses of Kent, Clarence, and Cambridge are very deficient

in the English language. They can scarcely speak a sentence. They

possess most amiable dispositions." It may be added, that they also

possessed true womanly qualities which won for them the esteem of

husbands, of whom two of the three, at least, had never been remarkable

for a chivalrous, a gentlemanlike, a manly respect for women. That was

a sort of homage rarely paid by most of the sons of George III., and I

am afraid, that our fathers generally are obnoxious to the same remark.



After a brief residence at St. James's, and as brief a sojourn at the

Duke's residence in Bushey Park, the Duke and Duchess of Clarence

repaired to Hanover, and remained there about a year,--no incident

marking the time that is worthy of observation. The issue of this

marriage scarcely survived the birth. In March 1819, a daughter was

born, but to survive only a few hours. In December 1820, another

princess gladdened the hearts of her parents, only to quench the

newly-raised joy by her death in March of the following year. The loss

was the keener felt because of the hopes that had been raised; and the

grief experienced by the Duke and Duchess was tenderly nourished,

rather than relieved, by the exquisite art of Chantrey, which, at the

command of the parents, reproduced the lost child, in marble,--sleeping

for ever where it lay.



The household at Bushey was admirably regulated by the Duchess, who had

been taught the duties as well as the privileges of greatness. The

fixed rule was, never to allow expenditure to exceed income. It is a

golden rule which, when observed, renders men, in good truth, as rich

as Croesus. It is a rule which, if universally observed, would render

the world prosperous, and pauperism a legend. It was a rule the more

required to be honoured in this case, as the Duke had large calls upon

his income. When those were provided for, old liabilities effaced, and

current expenses defrayed, the surplus was surrendered to charity.

There was no saving for the sake of increase of income,--economy was

practised for justice-sake, and the Duke and Duchess were so just, that

they found themselves able to be largely generous. With the increased

means placed at their disposal by the death of the Duke of York, there

was but trifling increase of expenditure. If something was added to

their comforts, they benefitted who were employed to procure them; and,

if there was some little additional luxury in the rural palace of

Bushey, the neighbouring poor were never forgotten in the selfish

enjoyment of it.



In 1824, the Duke and Duchess of Clarence had apartments in St. James's

Palace, where, however, they seem to have been as roughly accommodated,

considering their condition, as any mediaeval prince and princess in

the days of stone walls thinly tapestried and stone floors scantily

strewn with rushes. The Duke cared little about the matter himself, but

he gallantly supported the claims of his wife. In a letter addressed to

Sir William Knighton, the King's privy purse, in 1824, he thus

expresses himself--from St. James's Palace:--



"His Majesty having so graciously pleased to listen to my suggestion

respecting the alteration for the Hanoverian office, at the palace, I

venture once more to trouble you on the point of the building intended

for that purpose. To the accommodation of the Duchess, this additional

slip at the back of the present apartments, would be most to be wished

and desired, and never can make a complete Hanoverian office without

our kitchen, which the King has so kindly allowed us to keep. Under

this perfect conviction, I venture to apply for this slip of building

which was intended for the Hanoverian office. I am confident His

Majesty is fully aware of the inconvenience and unfitness of our

present apartments here. They were arranged for me in 1809, when I was

a bachelor, and without an idea at that time of my ever being married,

since which, now fifteen years, nothing has been done to them, and you

well know the dirt and unfitness for the Duchess of our present abode.

Under these circumstances, I earnestly request, for the sake of the

amiable and excellent Duchess, you will, when the King is quite

recovered, represent the wretched state and dirt of our apartments, and

the infinite advantage this slip would produce to the convenience and

comfort of the Duchess .... God bless the King and yourself, and ever

believe me, &c.--WILLIAM."



Though often as ungrammatical and inelegant, it was seldom the Duke was

so explicit in his correspondence as he is in the above letter.

Generally, he wrote in ambiguous phrases, very puzzling to the

uninitiated; but when his Duchess Adelaide was in question, and her

comfort was concerned, he became quite graphic on the "state and dirt"

in which they passed their London days, in the old, dingy, leper-house

palace of St. James's.



With the exception of the period during which the Duke held the office

of Lord High Admiral, 1827-28,--an office which may be said to have

been conferred on him by Canning, and of which he was deprived by the

Duke of Wellington,--with the exception above noted, this royal couple

lived in comparative retirement till the 26th of June, 1830, on which

day, the demise of George IV. summoned them to ascend the throne.



It is said that when the news of the death of George IV. was announced

to the Duchess of Clarence, the new Queen burst into tears. The

prayer-book she held in her hand, at the moment, she conferred on the

noble messenger, as a memorial of the incident, and of her regret. The

messenger looked, perhaps, for a more costly guerdon; but she was

thinking only of her higher and stranger duties. If Queen Adelaide

really regretted that these now had claims upon her, not less was their

advent regretted by certain of the labouring poor of Bushey, whose

harvest-homes had never been so joyous as since the Duke and Duchess of

Clarence had been living among them.



The course of life of the new Queen was only changed in degree. Her

income was larger, so also were her charities. Her time had more calls

upon it, but her cheerfulness was not diminished. Her evenings were

generally given up to tapestry work, and as she bent over the frame,

many of the circle around her already sorrowingly remarked, that the

new Queen, though not old in years, seemed descending into the vale of

life.



The esteem of her husband for her was equal to her merits. His

affection and respect were boundless; and when the senate granted her,

on the motion of Lord Althorpe, L100,000 per annum, with Marlborough

House and Bushey Park, in case she survived the King, the good old

monarch was the first to congratulate her, and was pleased to put her

in office, himself, by appointing her Perpetual Ranger of the Park,

which was to become her own at his decease.



I shall not anticipate matters very violently, or unjustifiably,

perhaps, if I notice here, that William IV. was not forgetful of his

old loves, and that Queen Adelaide was not jealous of such memories.

She looked more indulgently than the general public did, on the

ennobling of his children of the Jordan family. If that step could have

been met by objections, in these later days, it was at least supported

by that amazingly powerful, but sometimes perilous engine, precedent.

Though indeed, there was precedent for the contrary; and perhaps the

husband of Queen Adelaide would have manifested a greater sense of

propriety on this occasion, had he rather followed the decent example,

in a like matter, of the scrupulous Richard the Third than that of

Henry the Eighth or the Second Charles.



There was another ennobling, however, which the public as warmly

approved as the Queen heartily sanctioned. In 1834, her husband raised

to the dignity of a Baroness, the lady who had declined to share with

him whatever of higher or more equivocal honour he could have

conferred, by marrying her. In that year, Miss Wykeham became, by the

grateful memory and good taste of her old royal lover, Baroness Wenman

of Thame Park, Oxon. This testimony of the memory of an old affection

was an act to be honoured by a Queen, and to it that royal homage was

freely tendered. Enquirers, on turning over the peerage books, may

discover many honours conferred on women too ready to listen to the

suit of a monarch; but, here, for the first time, was a title of

nobility presented to a lady who had declined to give ear to royal

suit, paid in honesty and honour.



The fact is that there was something chivalrous in the bearing of the

King towards ladies; hearty, but a courteous heartiness. This sort of

tribute he loved to render to his wife; and there was nothing so

pleasant to hear, in his replies to addresses, after his accession, as

the gallant allusions to the qualities of the Queen, who stood at his

side, serenely satisfied. This heartiness was not an affectation in

him. "It was of his nature; and another phase of his character was

manifested by King William at the first dinner after he ascended the

throne, at which his relations only were present. On that pleasant

occasion, although it was a family dinner, he gave as a toast:--"Family

peace and affection;" it was the hearty sentiment of a citizen King who

loved quiet and simple ways, who walked the streets with his intimate

friends, and often occupied the box-seat of his carriage, turning round

to converse with the Queen, inside.



When Adelaide became Queen Consort, some persons who would not have

been ill-pleased to see her fail, affected to fear that the homely

Duchess should prove to be unequal to the exigencies of the queenly

character. One person, I remember, hinted that, in this matter, she

would not do ill, were she to take counsel of the Princess Elizabeth of

Hesse Homburg, "than whom none could better record to Her Majesty the

forms, and usages, and prescriptions of the court of Queen

Charlotte." But Queen Adelaide needed no such instruction as the good

daughter of George III. could give her. She observed the forms and

usages that were worthy of observance; and as for proscriptions, she

could proscribe readily enough when duty demanded the service,--as the

Church felt, with mingled feelings, when she declined to invite

clergymen to her state balls or to her dancing soirees. The dancing

clergy had their opportunity for censure, when the King and Queen gave

dinner-parties on the Sunday.



The court was essentially a homely court. The two sovereigns fed

thousands of the poor in Windsor Park, and looked on at the feasting.

The Queen went shopping to Brighton Fancy Fairs, and when on one

occasion she bent to pick up the "reticule" which an infirm old lady

had dropped, as much was made of it as of the incident of King Francis,

who picked up (or did not pick up) Titian's pencil, and handed it to

that sovereign gentleman among artists.



Then the new sovereigns paid more private visits than any pair who had

hitherto occupied the British throne. While the Queen called on Sir

David and Lady Scott, at Brighton, her royal husband, with whom she had

just previously been walking, on the Esplanade, would suddenly appear

at the door of some happy but disconcerted old Admiral, and invite the

veteran and his wife to dinner. To the hearty, "Come along, directly,"

if there was a glance from the lady at her toilet, the Citizen-King

would encourage her by an intimation, never to mind it, for he and his

wife were quiet people; "and, indeed," as he once remarked, "the Queen

does nothing after dinner but embroider flowers." Which, indeed, was

true enough, and--to tell the truth--very dull, as I am assured, did

the finer people find it.



The consequence of this familiarity of the sovereigns with their

humbler friends, was a rather audacious familiarity ventured upon by

people who left their queer names in the book at the King's door, and

more than once successfully passed it, and penetrated to the Queen's

drawing-room. This evil, however, was soon remedied. There were other

matters Queen Adelaide was bold enough to, at least, attempt to remedy.

Indecorousness of dress, in a lady, she would censure as sharply as

Queen Charlotte; and if, when Mrs. Blomfield appeared at her first

drawing-room, in a "train of rich immortal velvet," as the fashionable

chroniclers of the day call it, she did not even hint surprise, it was

perhaps out of respect for the successor of the Apostles, of whom that

good, but richly velvetted, lady was the honoured wife.



The letter-writers who dealt with court incidents at the period of the

accession of this domestic couple tell of various illustrations of the

simplicity of the new sovereigns, When the Duke of Norfolk had an

interview with William IV. at Bushey,--on the affair which had brought

him thither being concluded, the King declared he must not leave the

house without seeing the Queen; and thereupon ringing the bell, he bade

the official who answered the summons to "tell the Queen I want her."



This lady, at the time when her husband was Duke of Clarence and Lord

High Admiral, had been accustomed, on her visits to Chatham, to be

received and entertained by the daughters of the then Commissioner,

Cunningham. As soon as the Duchess became Queen, among her first

invited visitors to Bushey were these ladies. At the meeting, they

offered to kiss Her Majesty's hand, but "No, no," said Queen Adelaide,

"that is not the way I receive my friends. I am not changed;" and

therewith ensued a greeting less dignified, but not less sincere.



There are other stories told of incidents at Windsor, which indicate

the difference of the court going out from that of the court coming in.

This change required the removal from the palace of a little household,

the head lady of which reluctantly gave way to the new Queen. These

incidents, however, belong rather to the Chronique Scandaleuse than

to mine. I will only add, therefore, that people generally rejoiced in

seeing a "wife" installed where "queans" used to rule it; and that,

when William IV. was seen walking arm-in-arm with Watson Taylor, or

some other happy courtier, they added one incident to the other, and

comparing the new court with the old, exclaimed, "Here is a change,

indeed!" No one ever dreamed at that moment that the time would come

when party-spirit would stir up the "mobile" against the sovereigns;

that the Queen would be accused of plotting with the Duke of Wellington

against Reform; that stones would be cast at the royal carriage as it

bore the King and his Consort from the theatre; and "that, when matters

went adversely to the humour of the ultra-chiefs of the popular

movement, the first lady in the land should be marked out for vengeance

by the famous cry, "The Queen has done it all!"



The drawing-room of which I have before spoken, at which good Mrs.

Blomfield appeared in "immortal velvet," was remarkable, however, for

another incident, which I will relate in the words of a writer in

"Frazer's Magazine," John Wilkes, ex-M.P. for Sudbury, who thus relates

it in his "Regina's Regina"--"The drawing-room of Her Majesty Queen

Adelaide, held in February 1831, was the most magnificent which had

been seen since that which had taken place on the presentation of the

Princess Charlotte of Wales, upon the occasion of her marriage. No

drawing-room excited such an interest, when compared with that, as the

one held by Queen Adelaide, at which the Princess Victoria was

presented on attaining her twelfth year. It was on this occasion that

the Duchess of Kent and her illustrious daughter arrived in state,

attended by the Duchess of Northumberland, Lady Charlotte St. Maur,

Lady Catherine Parkinson, the Hon. Mrs. Cust, Lady Conroy, La Baronne

Letzen, Sir John Conroy, and General Wetheral. This was the first

public appearance of the Princess Victoria at court. Her dress was made

entirely of articles manufactured in the United Kingdom. Victoria wore

a frock of English blonde, simple, modest, and becoming. She was the

object of interest and admiration on the part of all assembled, as she

stood on the left of Her Majesty on the throne. The scene was one of

the most splendid ever remembered, and the future Queen of England

contemplated all that passed with much dignity, but with evident

interest."



Nearly three-quarters of a century had elapsed since a Queen-Consort

had been crowned in Great Britain. On the present occasion, such small

pomp as there was, was confined to the religious part of the ceremony.

The procession, to and from Westminster Hall, the banquet there, and

the dramatic episode of the entry of the champion, were all dispensed

with. There was an idea prevalent, that the cost would be too great,

and that the popular voice would be given to grumble;--as if money

spent in the country, and made to circulate rapidly through many hands,

would not have been a public benefit rather than a public injury. The

ministry, however, would only sanction the maimed rites which were

actually observed;--the privileged people were deprived of many a

coveted perquisite, which might have dipped deeply into the public

purse, and the heir of Marmion and the owner of Scrivelsby, kept his

horse and his defiance at home in the domain of the Dymokes. The

public, cheated of their show, called it a "half-crownation."



There was only one incident at this ceremony which is worth narrating.

The Queen-Consort's crown was a rich little toy, sparkling but small.

It would hardly fit a baby's head, and, accordingly, Queen Adelaide's

hair was turned up in a knot, in order that on this knot the little

crown might safely rest. The Archbishop of Canterbury, in place of

fitting the crown down upon this knot of hair, only lightly placed the

glittering toy on the top of it. Had the Queen moved, she would have

been discrowned in an instant, and all the foolish people whose

footsteps go wandering on the borders of another world, instead of

going honestly straightforward in this, would have had a fine

opportunity of discussing the value of omens. But, in a case of

adornment, the ladies had their wits about them, and were worth the

whole episcopal bench when the matter at issue was surmounting a head

of hair with its supreme adornment of a crown. Some of those in

attendance stepped forward, saved their embarrassed mistress from an

annoyance; and Queen Adelaide was crowned in Westminster Abbey, by a

couple of ladies-in-waiting!



It may be that the Archbishop was not so much to blame on this

occasion. The little crown was made up at her own expense for the

occasion, by Rundell, out of her own jewels, and it may not have fitted

easily. She had a dread of unnecessary outlay, and, perhaps, remembered

that at George the Fourth's coronation, the sum charged by Rundell

merely for the hire of jewels by the King, amounted to L16,000, as

interest on their value. The whole expense of the double coronation of

William and Adelaide, did not amount to much more than twice that sum.



The Queen herself was not ill-dressed on this occasion, as will be seen

by the record made by those who have registered the millinery portion

of the ceremony:--"Her Majesty wore a gold gauze over a white satin

petticoat, with a diamond stomacher, and a purple velvet train, lined

with white satin, and a rich border of gold and ermine. The coronet

worn by Her Majesty, both to and from the Abbey, was most beautiful. It

was composed entirely of diamonds and pearls, and in shape very similar

to a mural crown."



It may not be irrelevant to state, that when the modest coronation of

William and Adelaide was yet a subject of general conversation, the

expensive finery of that which preceded it was actually in the market,

and was subsequently sold by public auction. Out of the hundred and

twenty lots "submitted" by Mr. Phillips, the new King and Queen might

have been tempted to secure a souvenir of their predecessor; but they

had no taste for "bargains;" perhaps, small regard for their defunct

kinsman. Nevertheless, so thrifty a lady as the Queen may have sighed

at the thought of the coronation ruff of Mecklin lace going "dirt

cheap" at two pounds; and she may have regretted the crimson velvet

coronation mantle, with its star and gold embroidery, which originally

costing five hundred pounds, fetched, when yet as good as new, only a

poor seven-and-forty guineas. There was the same depreciation in other

articles of originally costly value. The second coronation mantle of

purple velvet, fell from three hundred to fifty-five pounds; and the

green velvet mantle, lined with ermine, which had cost the Czar, who

presented it to the late King, a thousand guineas, was "knocked down"

at a trifle over a hundred pounds. Sashes, highland-dresses,

aigrette-plumes,--rich gifts received, or purchases dearly acquired,

went for nothing; and, after all, seeing into what base hands

coronation bravery is apt to fall, the economical King and Queen were

not without justification in setting an example of prudence, which was

followed at the next great crowning.



Perhaps not the least remarkable incident in connection with this

coronation, was the absence of the heiress-presumptive to the crown,

the Princess Victoria. No place had been assigned to her, nor any

preparation made in expectation of her gracing or witnessing the

ceremony. It has been said by some persons that Earl Grey, the prime

minister, obstinately opposed all idea of inviting the Princess to be

present. But the grounds for such opposition are so unapparent, that it

is difficult to give credit to them at all. By others, it has been

asserted that the Duchess of Northumberland, the governess of the

Princess, in the exercise of a superior and enlightened judgment, and

in consideration of the then alleged delicate health of her young

charge, advised that her pupil should not be present at the coronation

of King William and Queen Adelaide. This reason seems hardly to account

for the fact. In the absence of a better, it was accepted by those at

least who did not throw the blame of that "conspicuous absence" on

Queen Adelaide herself and her royal consort; but, as an anonymous

writer remarked,--"Who that knew the good King William and his

incomparable Queen, would believe that any slight was put by them on

their well-beloved niece and the heiress-presumptive to the throne?"

The same enemies also stated that "the Duchess of Northumberland was

seeking to give a political bias to the education of the Princess; and

some uneasiness was therefore created at the palace." The "Times"

asserted, with iteration, that the Duchess of Kent had "refused to

attend, yes, refused to attend," and reproved Her Royal Highness, in

the harsh terms which illustrated many of the controversies of the day,

for the impertinence of the widow of a mediatized German Prince, in

withholding her daughter from a ceremony at which she could never, at

one time, have expected to see daughter of hers, as heiress-presumptive

to the crown of England! Other papers made this alleged refusal rest on

the course taken by Lord A. Fitzclarence, who, in marshalling the

coronation procession, on paper, had assigned a place to the Princess

Victoria, after the other members of the royal family, instead of next

to the King and Queen. Finally, the "Globe," on authority, declared

that the Duchess having pleaded the delicate state of her daughter's

health, had obtained the king's sanction to her absence,--a version of

the end of a story which began, nevertheless, more like the current

report of it than would seem here to be indicated. As marked an

instance of absence as that of the Princess, was that of the whole of

such members of the preceding administration, as happened to be members

of the House of Commons. This, however, little affected the King, who,

at the subsequent dinner at St. James's Palace, gave, as a toast, the

"Land we live in," and declared that, except as a formality and

memorial, the coronation was an useless affair, as far as he was

concerned, for no oath he had there taken could bind him more

stringently to fulfil his duty towards the people than he felt himself

to be bound as soon as the responsibility of his position had fallen

upon him.



The land he lived in now speedily became agitated by that wave of

revolution which was shaking many of the monarchies of Europe. England

endured as great revolution as any of them, but with this difference,

that here it was effected according to law, and albeit not exempt from

very vast perils, was carried through to its natural consequences, to

the mutual advantage of the government and the governed.



When the first rumours began to spread of an opposition establishing

itself at court against the progress of reform, the press manifested

particular desire to exonerate the Queen from the charge of

participating in, or heading such a course. The "Times" especially

interfered to protect that lady from similar aspersions. Papers of less

influence, but of like principles, had openly named Queen Adelaide, the

two daughters of George III., Elizabeth, (Princess of Hesse Homburg,)

and Mary, (Duchess of Gloucester,) as mischievously active in impeding

the popular will. In answer to such accusations, the "Times" (April 9,

1831) in a brief, but spirited and courteous leader, denounced the

falsehood, and showed the improbability and the unfairness of such

allegations. On a like occasion, that paper fairly urged that whatever

opinions might be expressed by members of the household, they were not

to be attributed to the mistress of that household. At the same time,

on these members and on the fair frequenters of drawing-rooms who there

gave utterance to sentiments which they carried into action elsewhere,

against the great consummation sought by the people, the pro-reform

paper thundered its bolts and showered its sarcasm with unsparing

hands. On most occasions, however, so much was made of the apparent

heartiness of the King, that excess of praise in that direction, took

the form of censure on the lukewarmness if not the hostility of the

Queen. Contrasts rather than parallels were the favourite medium for

turning the public attention to the two sovereigns. The Ex-Chancellor

Eldon was said to have assured Queen Adelaide, that if reform was

carried, the days of her drawing-rooms were numbered, and that royalty

would do well to follow a counsel which was given by Earl Grey to the

bishops,--namely, set its house in order. On the other hand, we hear of

the new Chancellor Brougham attending the court with his huge official

purse so full of petitions in favour of parliamentary reform, that as

he continued to extract and present them, he apologized to King William

for troubling him with such piles of the public prayers or demands.

Whereupon the King is said to have remarked, in the hearing of the

Queen, "My Lord Chancellor, I am willing to receive anything from that

purse, except the seals!" The wit was small, but the suggestiveness was

considered important, and gossips, on both sides, jumped to conclusions

which had questionable affinity with the premises.



While the Queen was thus treated with a certain degree of moderation by

the press, she is said to have been seriously coerced by the liberal

ministry of the day. The charge was distinctly made, after the Queen's

death, in a funeral sermon, preached by the Rev. Mr. Browne, Vicar of

Atwick. The occasion was so solemn, that an honest man was not likely

to be led even into exaggeration, much less into deliberate

misrepresentation. I will therefore quote the preacher's own words:--



"The Queen-Consort had witnessed in her father-land, some of the

dreadful effects of the French revolutionary movements; and she was

known to disapprove, out of womanly feeling and fear for her husband's

safety, of popular tumults and agitations. With the narrow-minded and

impure, suspicion is proof, and is followed by resentment. This pure

being was a sufferer by the machinations and exactions of the ephemeral

favourites of the misguided populace. Her influence over her royal

husband was too great to be trusted, and she was forbidden,--I speak

advisedly, and mean nothing less than 'forbidden'--to have a kindred

spirit near her during the agitation and intimidation, by which the

measure called the Reform Bill, was supported and carried."



It was when that bill was in jeopardy, when the King,--who had made so

many knights that the very pages called them the "Arabians," the

"Thousand and One,"--hesitated to create a sufficient number of new

lords to secure the passing of the bill in the Upper House; it was then

that the press began to admonish the King and to menace the Queen. On

one occasion, when they attended at the opening of the new Staines

Bridge, where, by the way, they were so closely pressed upon by the

mob, that maids of honour and gentlemen in waiting had their pockets

picked, the Conservative wits remarked, that the King might make new

bridges, but that he must leave the peers alone. The Whig party at once

assumed that Queen Adelaide was at the head of a faction, whose object

was to give reality to such jokes, and thenceforward the Queen was

little spared. The "Times" asserted that it was by "domestic

importunity" alone that the free action of the King's mind was impeded.

The Queen was compared to Queen Amata, in the "AEneid," cajoling or

raging at her older consort, Latinus, because the latter preferred

AEneas to Turnus, as a husband for their daughter, Lavinia. There was

not much alike in the two cases, for Amata was a staunch Conservative,

who detested the idea of a foreign prince obtaining the hand of her

daughter, and exercising influence within the limits of Latium. But

there were strong terms in the original which suited the purpose of the

hour, and the Queen was pelted with them most unmercifully.



Occasionally, there was a truth mixed up with the harder words, which

even ultra-Tories could not gainsay, as when the "Times" remarked, that

"a foreigner was no very competent judge of English liberties, and

politics are not the proper field for female enterprize or exertion."

When this strong hint was taken to have failed, and Queen Adelaide was

still supposed to be conspiring with the daughters of George III. to

turn King William from his liberal views, this was the tone with which

the royal lady was lectured by the press:--"There is a lady of high

rank, who must be taught a salutary, though a very painful, lesson. She

may be bold as an amazon, be troublesome, importunate, or overbearing,

but her present course is one from which can follow nought but final

wretchedness. Why has she so eagerly, within these few hours, bidden

her gossips not to despair? Why such haste to tell them, all will be

well! The King will do without the Whigs! Yes, madam, but England will

not. Still less will England do without the unmutilated Bill."



At another time, Queen Adelaide was reminded that if a female influence

drove Necker from the court of Louis XVI., one of the consequences was

the destruction of the most influential lady; another, the ruin of the

country. The influence being assumed to be still active, allusion was

made to the "foreign woman whom the nation may have too easily

adopted." Reports were rife that intrigues were on foot, the object of

which was to induce liberal peers to betray their party, and then the

public censor showered imprecations on "blandishments and intreaties,

urged with a force and pertinacity which, coming from a monarch, are

difficult to be refused."



On the other hand, the Conservative press drew its own inferences, and

made its own accusations. When the cholera was raging, during the

reform fever, Queen Adelaide's drawing-room happened to be very thinly

attended. The real cause was lost sight of, and Her Majesty was

respectfully assured that the scanty attendance was entirely owing to

Lord Grey's revolutionary government, beneath which all old English

energy, vitality, and spirit, had become so extinct, that it was

unequal to the exertion of even manifesting respect for an English

Queen.



These old English qualities did, however, manifest themselves at a

Conservative festival in Gloucestershire, where the health of "the

Queen" was "received with great applause." Upon which announcement the

"Times" significantly asked, "Is that meant as a compliment to Her

Majesty, or will it sound as such in the ears of the unanimous people?"

Then, when reiteration was made of the alleged co-operation of the

sisters of William IV. with Queen Adelaide, in efforts to overthrow the

Reform Bill, the "Times" stepped forward with the following testimony

in favour of those ladies and their mother, with the accompanying

admonition to the Queen:--"No one will be persuaded that any daughter

of George III. could so mistake their position in this country, or so

disregard their duty. Queen Charlotte was advised by her mother, before

she ever touched the shores of England, to make entire and religious

abstinence from politics the rule of her life, as a British Princess;

and for twenty-eight years, till the question of the first Regency

forced Queen Charlotte upon the stage, as a reluctant actress, she had

satisfied herself with being a modest spectatress, living in strict

observance of maternal counsel: and what was the consequence? Down to

the abovementioned period of her wedded life, Her Majesty enjoyed, in a

degree not experienced by any Queen-Consort for centuries past, the

respect and good-will of the whole community. Is it then to be supposed

that the leading maxim of her own mother, was not impressed by that

judicious and estimable woman, upon the minds of her daughters, the six

Princesses, two of whom still adorn the court of England with their

constant presence? The Princess Augusta and the Duchess of Gloucester

owe little to the gossips who thus abuse the delicacy of their

illustrious names."



Party-spirit was, doubtless, aggravated on either side by the tone of

the press. Influential cities announced their refusal to pay taxes, and

tavern-clubs possessing pictures of King and Queen, turned them heels

uppermost, with an intimation that they should be righted as soon as

the originals had made themselves right with the people. If Tories of

eminence talked of coercing the King, Whigs equally exalted hinted at

the possibility of sending his Consort to Germany, and of rousing the

men of the provinces in order to make an impression upon people in high

places. One well-known "man about town" presiding at a public dinner,

refused to propose the Queen's health, and, among the lower

caricature-shops, she might be seen pictured, wending her way, the

ejected of England, to a dull, dreary, and unwelcoming Germany.



Publicly, however, she had her champions too. Mr. Baring, from his

place in parliament, protested against the language of the Whig papers,

generally. His own description of it, as applicable to the Queen, was,

that it comprised foul slander against the highest personage of a sex,

from insulting which every manly mind would recoil. The gallant

champion added, with less discretion, perhaps, that the full measure of

scornful indifference and silent contempt with which the Queen repaid

all the insults heaped upon her, had elevated her in the hearts of

those whose homage was a worthy tribute. Mr. Hume, ultra-reformer as he

was, exhibited very excellent taste on this occasion, and pointed out

in a few words marked by good common sense, that the name of the

exalted lady, in question, should never be dragged into the debates,

the discussions, and the dissensions of that house.



Less, perhaps, by way of championship, than in the character of

consolers, did the bishops, or a certain number of them, with the

Archbishop of Canterbury at their head, address Queen Adelaide. They

had, previously, "been up" to the King, who was just then being

counselled in various ways, by everybody, from wary old politicians to

the 'prentice-boys of Derry. They brought to his Consort the usual

complimentary phrases,--but, in the present instance, they carried

weight with the Queen, for amid the din of abuse with which she was

assailed, a few words of assurance and encouragement, of trust,

counsel, and consolation, must have fallen pleasantly upon her ear. She

said as much, at least, in a brief phrase or two, indicative of the

satisfaction she experienced at hearing such words from such men, at a

period when she was the object of so much undeserved calumny and insult.



The scene was, undoubtedly, made the most of by those who rejoiced most

in its occurrence; perhaps, too much was made of it; and this induced

the ridicule of the opposite side. The "Times" courageously denied its

existence. The presentation of the prelates was admitted, but the

Queen's speech was defined as a hoax. There was nobody by, it was said,

but the knot of diocesans and a body of maids of honour,--and, of

course, any report emanating from such a source was to be received with

more than ordinary suspicion.



Long before the press had commenced directing an undesired notice upon

the Queen, private circles were canvassing her conduct with regard,

especially, to this matter of reform. "By-the-bye," says Moore in his

Diary, "the Queen being, as is well known, adverse to the measure which

is giving such popularity to her royal husband, reminds me a little of

the story of the King of Sparta, who first gave his assent to the

establishment of the Ephori. His wife, it is said, reproached him with

this step, and told him that he was delivering down the royal power to

his children, less than he had received it. 'Greater,' he answered,

'because more durable.' This is just such an answer as William the

Fourth would be likely to give to his wife. But the event proved the

Spartan Queen to have been right, for the Ephori extinguished the royal

power; and if Queen Adelaide's bodings are of the same description,

they are but too likely to be, in the same manner, realized,"--a

curious avowal from Lord Lansdowne's Whig friend.



There are few things which more forcibly strike a student of the

political literature of this period, than its wide difference from that

which now generally prevails. It seemed, in those days, as if no public

writer could command or control his temper. The worst things were

expressed in the worst forms, and writers had not reached, or did not

care to practise, the better style by which a man may censure sharply

without doing undue wrong to the object of his censure, without losing

his own self-respect or forfeiting that of his readers.



Taken altogether, the year 1832 may be said to have been the most

eventful, and the least felicitous, in the life of Queen Adelaide. It

was a year which opened gloomily for the court, both politically and

personally. At one of the small festivities held at the Pavilion, the

King's old friend, Mr. Greenwood, of the firm of Cox and Greenwood,

Army Agents, was playing whist, after dinner, with the Queen for a

partner, and the King and Sir Herbert Taylor for adversaries. During

the progress of the game he was taken ill, became insensible, and, on

being removed from the room by Sir Herbert and Lord Erroll, died in an

adjoining apartment, within a quarter of an hour. The Queen was very

much shocked at this incident, and the elder ladies about court who

thought it ominous of a fatal year,--for already were movements hostile

to monarchy becoming active,--considered the next month's omen of

unpleasant significance too, when the fog in London, on the night of

the anniversary of the Queen's birth-day, was so dense, that not a lump

of the illuminations was visible through the mist. Then ensued, in the

subsequent spring, the unpleasant feud with the Sefton family, in which

Queen Adelaide's name was so prominent.



Soon after the temporary resignation of the Grey ministry, King William

invited the Jockey Club to dinner at St. James's Palace. Among the

invited was old Lord Sefton, who was a Whig and something more, and

who was resolved to avenge on the King the wrongs inflicted, as he

assumed, by that dissembling monarch on his friends of the late

administration. Lord Sefton, accordingly withdrew from the club, in

order that he might be able to decline the royal invitation, as a

member. The unsuspicious King at once invited him as a friend, but Lord

Sefton was ungracious enough to absent himself, and did not condescend

to restore the sovereign to favour, till Lord Grey was once more at the

helm of the national ship,--steersman and captain too. His lordship and

family appeared at the ball given by the Queen, in May to which, of

course, they had been all invited. Meanwhile, however, the King had

learned how he stood in the estimation of the Earl, meeting whom in the

Queen's ball-room, he turned his royal back upon him, publicly. Thence

arose embittered feelings on the part of the offended peer. Vivere

sat, vincere, "to conquer, is to live enough," is the Sefton motto,

and the bearers of it seem to have been determined to have this taste

of life, by putting down the royal offenders, and appearing before them

to enjoy their humiliation. "Lord Molyneux" (Lord Sefton's son, says

Mr. Raikes, in his Diary,) "has attended a public meeting at

Liverpool, where he made a speech, and actuated by his father's

feelings, alluded very bitterly to the conduct of both the King and

Queen. He afterwards came to town, and appeared, with his family, at

the ball. On the following day, the King commanded Mr. W. Ashley, as

vice-chamberlain to the Queen, to write to Lord Molyneux, and request

he would not appear at court again. Nothing could be more just. This is

only a slight instance," adds the Tory Diarist, "of Whig insolence and

ingratitude. Sefton has been made a peer, and treated with the most

marked courtesy and attention by the present King."



In the following June, Lord Lichfield, master of the buck hounds,

prepared a list of guests invited by him to meet the King, at the

conclusion of Ascot races; at dinner, at Lord Lichfield's house, Fern

Hill. The King expressly ordered that Lord Sefton should not be

invited. Considering the offence, it was singular that any one should

have thought of winning the Queen over to use her interest in

influencing her husband to withdraw the command. Lady Lichfield,

however, did so, intimating to Her Majesty, that if the King had been

moved by what was reported to have passed at the Jockey Club, she was

enabled to say how that matter had been much misrepresented. The Queen

confined all reply and comment to the words, coldly uttered, that, she

hoped it was so.



It certainly was not a period when Queens could expect to be cordial

with people who insulted them, and whose speeches in public were

exercising a very unwholesome influence on the more ignorant of the

lower orders. At the above very Ascot races, the King was grievously

assaulted, in the Queen's presence, by a ruffian in the crowd. Their

Majesties had just taken their seats in the grand stand, and the King

had then risen to salute the people in view, when the ruffian in

question flung a stone at him, which struck the King on the forehead,

but did not inflict any serious mischief. The assailant was let cheaply

off; but Queen Adelaide was much distressed by his act; and the

impression it made upon her was only increased, a week later, when she

appeared with the King at the review in Hyde Park. There she was

treated with such incivility and rudeness, that at the fete, at the

Duke of Wellington's, in the evening, where they held a little court,

the Queen wore a spiritless and sorrowing aspect, while King William,

his buoyant spirits all quenched, looked aged and infirm, weary of his

vocation and vexations.



The season, certainly, was not one for monarchs to be abroad in, with

joyous exterior. In the summer of this year, there passed through

London a princess whose story bore with it a great moral to the wearers

of crowns. I allude to the Duchess of Angouleme, the daughter of Louis

XVI. She had experienced the widest extremes of fortune, but had been

longest and most intimately acquainted with misfortune. She was again a

fugitive and an exile,--one never destined to behold her country again.

The Queen visited her at her modest apartments in Charles Street,

Grosvenor Square; and she took leave of that illustrious victim of many

revolutions, with evil forebodings of the issue of the spirit of the

then present time. Her Majesty did not, indeed, lack a certain spirit

of her own, wherewith to meet the other and revolutionary spirit. Thus,

when her friend and faithful servant, Lord Howe, was compelled to give

up his office of chamberlain to the Queen, his mistress would never

accept the nomination of any other person to the same post. Lord Howe

remained in attendance upon his mistress unofficially; but he

positively refused to be reinstated by Lord Grey, to whom his reply

was, "That he had been wantonly dismissed by him, and would receive no

favour at his hands." The act of Lord Grey was, probably, far more

keenly felt at court, than that of the two new radical members (Messrs.

Wigney and Faithful) returned for the royal borough of Brighton; and

who, "under the very nose of the court," as it was said, "talked openly

of reducing the allowance made to the King and Queen." This was a

foolish speech; but there was an even more indiscrete tongue

within the Pavilion, than those of the new radical senators without. In

1833, the King himself declared in favour of a republican form of

government! What must the feelings of Queen Adelaide have been,--she

who had a horror of revolutions, and a hatred for republicanism,--on

that never-to-be-forgotten Sunday evening, the 6th of January, 1833?

The American Minister was a guest at the dinner table that evening. At

the dessert, the King, instead of wisely going to sleep, as he was

accustomed to do after his second glass of wine, would be lively and

talkative. When he was in this vein, he was addicted to make speeches,

and on this occasion, before the ladies had retired, he delivered

himself of a very notable one, considering the times and the speaker,

in which he expressed his great regret that he had not been born a

free, independent, American: seeing that he entertained deep respect

for the United States, and considered Washington to be the greatest man

that ever lived. Queen Adelaide must have been astounded when listening

to this profession of political faith, and to this eulogy of a man who

had struck the brightest jewel out of the crown of his panegyrist's

royal father!



To old royalists, such a speech as the above savoured of that period

which is called "the end of the world." Speculative individuals who

heard of it, were amazed. "The aristocracy are hourly going down in the

scale; royalty is become a mere cypher." Well might Mr. Raikes make

this entry in his journal, when a King of England manifested a liking

for "rowdyism." The influences of these passing events, even on men of

intellect, are well marked by a contemporary passage in the diary of

the merchant, whose commercial affairs were going the way he fancied

the monarchy was tending. "I was walking the other day," he writes, in

February 1833, "round the Royal Exchange, the enceinte of which is

adorned with the statues of Kings. Only two niches now remain vacant;

one is destined to our present ruler, and that reserved for his

successor is the last. Some people might say it was ominous." So,

indeed, it proved to be; half-a-year after the accession of Queen

Victoria, when there were as many niches as there had then been

sovereigns, and room for no more, destruction ensued, but it was the

Royal Exchange that fell (by fire), and not the monarchy. That has

grown stronger. May it ever so flourish!



Meanwhile, it is to be observed, that Queen Adelaide after this time

began to re-conquer the popular esteem. When, in July 1834, she

embarked at Woolwich as Countess of Lancaster, on board the royal

yacht, for Rotterdam, in order to visit her relations in Germany, the

spectators of the scene received her with demonstrations of great

respect, and, on her return, in the following month, she landed at the

same place amid acclamations of loyalty and welcome.



It was after her return that the King began to bear symptoms of

restlessness and fatigue, which betokened that decay which gradually

made progress, and was ultimately accelerated in 1837, when his

daughter, Lady de Lisle, died to the grief of many, but especially to

the heart of her father.



As the King's health began to give way, so also did his temper more

easily yield before small provocations, and more freely did he indulge

in that early acquired habit of using strong expletives which has been

noted, in her diary, by Fanny Burney. William the Conqueror, it is

said, used to ungallantly beat his wife, Matilda, of whom he was

otherwise so fond. William the Fourth was guilty of an offence only

next to it in criminality,--by swearing in presence of his Consort,

Adelaide. There is a well-known instance of this told in connection

with a visit to the Royal Academy, in 1834. The occasion was that of a

private view, with a very large public attendance, at Somerset House.

The President of the Royal Academy received the illustrious visitors,

and accompanied them through the rooms. In the course of their

progress, he pointed out to the King the portrait of Admiral Napier,

who had recently been in command of the Portuguese fleet, for Don

Pedro. The King's political wrath was too strong for his infirmity,

and, without forgetting the presence of his wife, nay, making such

presence an excuse for not breaking forth into greater unseemliness, he

exclaimed:--"Captain Napier may be d----d, sir! and you may be d----d,

sir! and if the Queen was not here, sir, I would kick you down stairs,

sir." Such a scene indicated as much infirmity as bad taste on the part

of the chief actor, and must have sorely tried the patience and shaken

t





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