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whom many of them inwardly wished to dethrone, crowding round the court of the heir-apparent, will enable us to account for some errors and some infirmities, which even the regard we bear to our sovereign cannot induce us wholly to overlook.
In two preceding reigns a numerous and highborn class of subjects, not only by loud professions, but by the honest practice of loyalty, had engrossed power; and let it not be forgotten that, by the wise and vigorous exertions of such power, they preserved two princes from the consequences of two formidable rebellions. Another class of high-born men, who were quickly called into the service of our late sovereign, must have anxiously wished, and would have eagerly seized, the moment for retaliation. Jealousy of those who, in the opinion of the new sovereign, had encroached upon the rights of his predecessors, would be disguised, even from the agent himself, under the captivating novelty and seeming justice of calling into favour those who had been too long and too rigorously excluded from it. I am no stranger to the blindness and the waywardness of ambition, and I think it possible that the ministers of the two former reigns may in some instances have stepped beyond the bounds of delicacy and moderation. But it must be acknowledged that, by fidelity to the principles upon which the House of Brunswick was called to the throne, they secured the descent of it to that illustrious line; and I should think that, on the ground merely of gratitude for services rendered under most severe trials, they were entitled to look, not, I may grant, for any pre
eminent distinction in the distribution of favours, much less for the exclusive possession of power,
but for exemption from that continued, studied, and marked neglect, which bordered upon contumelious proscription.
They who in order to govern think it necessary to divide, should discern where to remunerate, though sparingly, as well as to repress significantly. They should beware of investing one class of men with huge and towering authority, while another, not inferior in hereditary opulence, in high descent, in polished manners, liberal education, intellectual powers, and honourable sentiments, are bereaved of it entirely. They should remember that, through the instability of human affairs, they may one day stand in need of counsel and support in quarters where for the present they are most unwilling to solicit them ;-they should take care not to extinguish hope, lest they furnish opportunities for dark intrigue, or provocations to implacable hostility. But such, blessed be God ! are the habits, and such the temper of the English people, that the intrigue and the hostility which I should ever deprecate are seldom found among the unsuccessful aspirants to power; and such, let me add, is the genius of our constitution, that an English king may call for our attachment and obedience, not as the champion of any political confederacy, but as the impartial minister of wise and equal laws—as the supreme dispenser of honour to the meritorious noble, and of mercy to the unfortunate criminal — as the common protector, friend, and father of all his loving subjects. He who sustains such a character in this highly-favoured land, will experimentally find that the affection of his people will be a guard amply sufficient for the safety of his person and the splendour of his throne, and far surpassing all the deep-contrived securities, and all the proud distinctions, that lie within the reach of the military usurper, the capricious and arbitrary despot, and the restless and ruthless oppressor. Where, indeed, is the bosom that would not have been fired with honest rage? where the lips that would not have poured forth indignant execrations? where the arm that would not have been lifted up with just and terrible vengeance against the fell destroyer of that sovereign whose honourable age stood not, as says the wise man, in length of time, but in an unspotted life.
Tempted may some of you be to exclaim, Oh! that before the close of his existence he had been favoured with a short lucid interval, and informed that the irritated and irritating disturber of Europe had been checked in his career, that the bravery of English soldiers, and the skilfulness of English commanders, were conspicuous in the last decisive struggle, and that peace was at length restored to a troubled world. His. last end, I grant you, would then not have been unworthy of the righteous, and his death, as Milton beautifully says, would have appeared to be the gentle passage of a good man to immortal life. Such, however, was not the will of Heaven; and in this, as in many other instances, may be discerned the dimness of human foresight and the vanity of human wishes. In the sight of the unwise, we read in the book of Wisdom, the righteous seem to die, and their departure is taken for misery. We see not the end of the wise, nor what God hath decreed of him, and to what end the Lord hath set him in safety. Now the loss of sight and of intellectual soundness were to our sovereign as death; and, while we lament that he had not the gratification just now mentioned, let us not forget that in some respects he was taken away from the evil to come.
Look to him in private life: he saw not the multiplied exacerbations and unbecoming progress of domestic discord, in a cause where he had previously shewn the wisdom of age and the generosity of youth, in vindication of what he thought calumniated innocence—he saw not the lingering and fatal illness of a personage whom he for many years had treated with courtesy as a woman, and with tenderness as a wife-he saw not the premature death of a beloved grand-daughter, who, compulsorily severed from one parent, and perhaps not entirely devoted to the opinions and views of the other, was deprived of many intellectual and moral aids, which his experience and affection would have abundantly supplied.
Have we no consolation if we examine the consequences of his infirmities as they concern his public capacity? Yes. He saw not the horrors which pervaded Europe from the disastrous occurrences which preceded the frantic march of Napoleon to Moscow, and his subsequent defeats in Saxony and at Waterloo-he saw not the degraded and afflicted condition of Spain, under a weak, ungrateful, and faithless monarch, who is said to reign under the guid
ance of wicked counsellors, and the control of an ignorant, bigotted, and treacherous priesthood-he saw not the portentous aspect of a gathering storm, which sooner or later will burst upon other parts of the Continent, from dissatisfaction and disunion, because promises have been violated, because services have been ill-requited, because redress has been refused, because reflecting inquirers into political truths have been menaced with the infliction of rigorous penalties, and remonstrants against tyrannous usurpations have been thrust down into lonely, dank, sunless, moonless, starless dungeons - he saw not the undeserved distresses, the angry divisions, the military outrages, the fell and hideous conspiracies, which have arisen in a land where union and concord and prosperity were expected as the genuine fruits of victory succeeded by peace. Spared he thus was by the mercy of Providence from these and other evils to come, which, if having eyes to see he had seen, or ears to hear he had heard them, might sooner have brought down his grey hairs with sorrow to the grave.
Favourable as were these circumstances to his tranquillity, there are other points which we must contemplate with satisfaction, as advantageous to his character. It has been observed that, from the envy or malignity of contemporaries, sages, legislators, patriots, and other benefactors of mankind, while living, have been bereaved of that renown which the good sense and good feelings of posterity ultimately bestowed, when their names had been consecrated by death. Now, from peculiar circum