Page images
PDF
EPUB

ciled to his fate, and endeavouring to soothe the sorrows of his sister, and of those around him. The presence of an English clergyman afforded him in his last moments the consolation of receiving the visible symbols of that religion which he had always sincerely professed. On the 5th February, 1819, Lord Somerville expired, when, to borrow an idea from a poet whom he read and relished, a warmer heart was never made cold by death.

KING GEORGE III.

FROM THE EDINBURGH WEEKLY JOURNAL, FEB. 8, 1820.

Our last Journal acquainted our readers that our venerable Sovereign had closed his long and varied part in the mortal drama. Death has dropped the curtain on a reign of sixty years, the longest in the British annals, and the most marked with public events ; and at the same time, a life spent in the most conscientious, virtuous, and self-denying efforts to perform the arduous duties of a monarch, has been closed in sickness, in sorrow, and in comparative obscurity. Were a voice from Heaven to proclaim aloud to us, that there is another and a better world, in which virtue may expect its assured reward, the testimony of a miracle could not impress the awful truth more deeply upon the mind than the life and death of GEORGE the THIRD. Our readers will forgive us, if, in re

cording this striking event, we forget for a space our character as Journalists in the more important duty of the moral teacher. A very brief review of the character of our late beloved Sovereign, though long in reference to our limits, is all we are enabled to give. We trust to perform it with the veneration due to the memory of the dead, and, at the same time, with the truth and sincerity which the living have a right to expect from us.

GEORGE the THIRD was the first of his family who could be termed a British Monarch ; for his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, were foreigners both in language and manners; and, without its being possible to impute blame to them for a predilection so natural, the two former loved their German hereditary dominions better than they did the more powerful and wealthy kingdoms, which fortune, and the misconduct of the Stuarts, had called them to govern. Accordingly, the accession of our late sovereign in 1760 was hailed by most of his subjects as the commencement of a new dynasty of Kings, Britain's genuine offspring. The morgue germanique, the military pedantry and awkward formality, which characterized the court of GEORGE the Second, gave way, under the young Sovereign, to manners and an etiquette of a more easy nature, which better fitted the genius of a free

2 A

VOL. IV.

and high-spirited people. Even the caustic Walpole has recorded favourably the impression made upon him by the change. “I was surprised,” says he, “to find the levee room had lost so entirely the air of the lion's den. Tbis Sovereign don't stand with his eyes fixed royally on the ground, and dropping bits of German news: he walks about, and speaks to everybody. I saw him afterwards on the throne, where he is graceful and genteel, sits with dignity, and reads his answers to addresses well.” Of his Majesty's personal appearance and demeanour, we need only add to the testimony of this acute observer, that GEORGE the THIRD continued till the close of the active part of his reign, to be distinguished by his graceful and dignified elocution in public. The rapture of the celebrated Quin, who had been his tutor, broke out upon the first royal speech from the throne, in the familiar exclamation,

I taught the boy to speak !" In private conversation, George the Third's manner was too much hurried to be graceful ; but his desire to please and oblige was seconded by a memory tenacious in a most flattering degree, of all the minute particulars which could interest those who had been once introduced to him. Of the King's person, it is only necessary to say, it indicated more of muscular strength than of grace ; and with his features, his whole subjects are well acquainted ; for not only the most ordinary prints, but even the effigies on his coin, however deplorable in other respects, have not failed to preserve a striking likeness of the royal original. We return to the impression made by the King's accession.

A short acquaintance with the new sovereign showed that morals, as well as courtesy, had ascended the throne with him. His early marriage with the late Queen, by a happy union of temper and of virtues on both sides, made the royal household a model of domestic affection. The pleasures of the Monarch were as simple as they were innocent. Without doors, they were limited to the chase, and to the improvement of his farm; the first of which afforded a healthy exercise, and the second a profitable example to his subjects. At home, he filled up the few intervals which the laborious duties of his station left him, with music, (the only one of the fine arts to which he was powerfully attached,) with mechanical pursuits and scientificexperiments, and with the collecting, improving, and arranging that most valuable library, which the munificence of his Royal Successor graciously bestowed on the public. George III. might be termed a bibliographer rather than a student, yet he read a good deal also, and rather for improvement than amusement. The King's habits were temperate even to abstemiousness, and his chief de

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »