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cano of the French Revolution ; to grapple and fight for
1; the life with her gigantic enemy Napoleon; to gasp and rally after that tremendous struggle. The old society, with its courtly splendours, has to pass away; generations of statesmen to rise and disappear; Pitt to follow Chatham to the tomb; the memory of Rodney and Wolfe to be superseded by Nelson's and Wellington's glory; the old poets who unite us to Queen Anne's time to sink into their graves; Johnson to die, and Scott and Byron to arise; Garrick to delight the world with his dazzling dramatic genius, and Kean to leap on the stage and take possession of the astonished theatre. Steam has to be invented; kings to be beheaded, banished, deposed, restored; Napoleon to be but an episode, and George III. is to be alive through all these varied changes, to accompany his people through all these revolutions of thought, government, society-to survive out of the old world into ours.
His mother's bigotry and hatred George inherited with the courageous obstinacy of his own race; but he was a firm believer where his fathers had been free-thinkers, and a true and fond supporter of the Church, of which he was the titular defender. Like other dull men, the king was all his life suspicious of superior people. He did not like Fox; he did not like Reynolds; he did not like Nelson, Chatham, Burke: he was testy at the idea of all innovations, and suspicious of all innovators. He loved mediocrities ; Benjamin West was his favourite painter; Beattie was his poet. The king lamented, not without pathos, in his after life, that his education had been neglected. He was a dull lad, brought up by narrow-minded people. The cleverest tutors in the world could have done little, probably, to expand that small intellect, though they might have improved his tastes and taught his perceptions some generosity. ....
George married the Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg Strelitz, and for years they led the happiest, simplest lives, sure, ever led by married couple. It is said the king winced when he first saw his homely little bride; but, however that may be, he was a true and faithful husband to her, as she was a faithful and loving wife. They had the simplest pleasures - the very mildest and simplest—little country dances, to which a dozen couple were invited, and where the honest king would stand up and dance for three hours at a time to one tune; after which delicious excitement they would go to bed without any supper (the Court people grumbling sadly at that absence of supper), and get up quite early the next morning, and perhaps the next night have another dance; or the queen would play on the spinnet-she played pretty well, Haydn said ; or the king would read to her a paper out of the Spectator, or perhaps one of Ogden's sermons. O Arcadia ! what a life it must have been! .
The theatre was always his delight. His bishops and clergy used to attend it, thinking it no shame to appear where that good man was seen. He is said not to have cared for Shakspeare or tragedy much; farces and pantomimes were his joy; and especially when clown swallowed a carrot or a string of sausages, he would laugh so outrageously that the lovely princess by his side would have to say, “My gracious monarch, do compose yourself.” But he continued to laugh, and at the very smallest farces, as long as his poor wits were left him.
“George, be a king!” were the words which his mother was for ever croaking in the ears of her son; and a king the simple, stubborn, affectionate, bigoted man tried to be.
He did his best-he worked according to his lights: what virtue he knew, he tried to practise; what knowledge he could master, he strove to acquire.
But, as one thinks of an office almost divine, performed by any mortal man- - of any single being pretending to control the thoughts, to direct the faith, to order the implicit obedience of brother millions; to compel them into war at his offence or quarrel; to command, “In this way you shall trade, in this way you shall think; these neighbours shall be your allies, whom you shall help,—these others your enemies, whom you shall slay at my orders; in this way you shall worship God;"who can wonder that, when such a man as George took such an office on himself, punishment and humiliation should fall upon people and chief?
Yet there is something grand about his courage. The battle of the king with his aristocracy remains yet to be
told by the historian who shall view the reign of George more justly than the trumpery panegyrists who wrote immediately after his decease. It was he, with the people to back him, that made the war with America; it was he and the people who refused justice to the Roman Catholics; and on both questions he beat the patricians. He bribed, he bullied, he darkly dissembled on occasion; he exercised a slippery perseverance, and a vindictive resolution, which one almost admires as one thinks his character over. His courage was never to be beat. It trampled North under foot; it beat the stiff neck of the younger Pitt; even his illness never conquered that indomitable spirit. As soon
as his brain was clear, it resumed the scheme, only laid . aside when his reason left him; as soon as his hands were
out of the strait waistcoat, they took up the pen and the plan which had engaged him up to the moment of his malady. I believe, it is by persons believing themselves in the right, that nine-tenths of the tyranny of this world has been perpetrated. Arguing on that convenient premiss, the Dey of Algiers would cut off twenty heads of a morning; Father Dominic would burn a score of Jews in the presence of the Most Catholic King, and the Archbishops of Toledo and Salamanca sing Amen. Protestants were roasted, Jesuits hung and quartered at Smithfield, and witches burned at Salem; and all by worthy people, who believed they had the best authority for their actions. And so with respect to old George, even Americans, whom he hated and who conquered him, may give him credit for having quite honest reasons for oppressing them.
Of little comfort were the king's sons to the king.
But the pretty Amelia was his darling; and the little maiden, prattling and smiling in the fond arms of that old father, is a sweet image to look on.
The princess wrote verses herself, and there are some pretty plaintive lines attributed to her, which are more touching than better poetry :
Concluding, in those hours of glee,
“But when the hour of trial came,
The poor soul quitted it and ere yet she was dead the agonized father was in such a state, that the officers round about him were obliged to set watchers over him, and from November 1810 George III. ceased to reign. All the world knows the story of his malady ; all history presents no sadder figure than that of the old man, blind and deprived of reason, wandering through the rooms of his palace, addressing imaginary parliaments, reviewing fancied troops, holding ghostly courts. I have seen his picture as it was taken at this time, hanging in the apartment of his daughter, the Landgravine of Hesse Hombourg-amidst books and Windsor furniture, and a hundred fond reminiscences of her English home. The poor old father is represented in a purple gown, his snowy beard falling over his breast—the star of his famous Order still idly shining on it. He was not only sightless—he became utterly deaf. All light, all reason, all sound of human voices, all the pleasures of this world of God, were taken from him. Some slight lucid moments he had; in one of which, the queen, desiring to see him, entered the room, and found him singing a hymn, and accompanying himself at the harpsichord. When he had finished, he knelt down and prayed aloud for her, and then for his family, and then for the nation, concluding with a prayer for himself, that it might please God to avert his heavy calamity from him, but if not, to give him resignation to submit. He then burst into tears, and his reason again fled.
What preacher need moralize on this story; what words save the simplest are requisite to tell it? It is too terrible for tears. The thought of such a misery smites me down in submission before the Ruler of kings and men, the Monarch Supreme over empires and republics, the inscrutable Dispenser of life, death, happiness, victory. “O brothers," I said to those who heard me first in America—“O brothers! speaking the same dear mother tongue O comrades ! enemies no more, let us take a mournful hand together as we stand by this royal corpse, and call a truce to battle! Low he lies to whom the proudest used to kneel once, and who was cast lower than the poorest; dead, whom millions prayed for in vain. Driven off his throne; buffeted by rude hands; with his children in revolt; the darling of his old age killed before him untimely; our Lear hangs over her breathless lips and cries, ‘Cordelia, Cordelia, stay a little!
Vex not his ghost-oh! let him pass—he hates him
Stretch him out longer!'
IV.-SACK OF THE BASTILLE.
Thomas Carlyle was born in Dumfries-shire, in 1795. He was educated at the
University of Edinburgh, and began life as teacher of mathematics in a school
in Kirkcaldy; but soon abandoned the ferule for the pen. The Bastille of Paris was built by Charles V. of France, (begun 1369, completed
1383,) as a stronghold to defend the city from the English. It was afterwards converted, like the Tower of London, into a prison. The capture of it by the mob on the 14th July, 1789, was the commencement of the great French Revolution, which deluged France, and ultimately Europe, with blood.
Old De Launay, as we hinted, withdrew “into his interior” soon after midnight of Sunday. He remains there ever since, hampered, as all military gentlemen now are, in the saddest conflict of uncertainties. The Hôtel-de-Ville “invites” him to admit national soldiers; which is a soft name for surrendering. On the other hand, his majesty's orders were precise. His garrison is but eighty-two old Invalides, reinforced by thirty-two young Swiss. His walls, indeed, are nine feet thick, he has cannon and powder; but, alas! only one day's provision of victuals. The city too is French, the poor garrison mostly French. Rigorous old De Launay, think what thou wilt do ?