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business and news, read the papers, and often look at one another without opening their lips. And 'tis very well they are so mute: for were they all as talkative as people of other nations, the coffeehouses would be intolerable, and there would be no hearing what one man said where there are so many. The chocolate-house in St. James's Street, where I go every morning to pass away the time, is always so full that a man can scarce turn about in it."
Delightful as London city was, King George I. liked to be out of it as much as ever he could; and when there, passed all his time with his Germans. It was with them as with Blucher, one hundred years afterwards, when the bold old Reiter looked down from St. Paul's, and sighed out, “Was für Plunder!” The German women plundered ; the German secretaries plundered; the German cooks and intendants plundered ; even Mustapha and Mahomet, the German negroes, had a share of the booty. Take what you can get, was the old monarch's maxim. He was not a lofty monarch, certainly: he was not a patron of the fine arts : but he was not a hypocrite, he was not revengeful, he was not extravagant. Though a despot in Hanover, he was a moderate ruler in England. His aim was to leave it to itself as much as possible, and to live out of it as much as he could. His heart was in Hanover. When taken ill on his last journey, as he was passing through Holland, he thrust bis livid head out of the coach window, and gasped out, “ Osnaburg, Osnaburg!”
The Fates are supposed to interest themselves about royal per. sonages ; and so this one had omens and prophecies specially regarding him. He was said to be much disturbed at a prophecy that he should die very soon after his wife; and sure enough, pallid Death, having seized upon the luckless Princess in her castle of Ahlden, presently pounced upon H. M. King George I., in his, trav. elling chariot, on the Hanover road. What postilion can outride that pale horseman ? It is said, George promised one of his lefthanded widows to come to her after death, if leave were granted to him to revisit the glimpses of the moon ; and soon after his demise, a great raven actually flying or hopping in at the Duchess of Kendal's window at Twickenham, she chose to imagine the king's spirit inhabited these plumes, and took special care of her sable visitor. Affecting metempsychosis — funereal royal bird ! How pathetic is the idea of the Duchess weeping over it !
The days are over in England of that strange religion of kingworship, when priests flattered princes in the Temple of God; when servility was held to be ennobling duty ; when beauty and youth tried eagerly for royal favor ; and woman's shame was held to be no dishonor. Mended morals and mended manners in courts and people, are among the priceless consequences of the freedom which George I. came to rescue and secure. He kept his compact with his English subjects; and if he escaped no more than other men and monarchs from the vices of his age, at least we may thank him for preserving and transmitting the liberties of ours. In our free air, royal and humble homes have alike been purified ; and Truth, the birthright of high and low among us, which quite fearlessly judges our greatest personages, can only speak of them now in words of respect and regard. There are stains in the portrait of the first George, and traits in it which none of us need admire ; but among the nobler features are justice, courage, moderation - and these we may recognize ere we turn the picture to the wall.
I HOLD old Johnson (and shall we not pardon James Boswell some errors for embalming him for us ?) to be the great supporter of the British monarchy and church during the last age — better than whole benches of bishops, better than Pitts, Norths, and the great Burke himself. Johnson had the ear of the nation ; his immense authority reconciled it to loyalty, and shamed it out of irreligion. When George III. talked with him, and the people heard the great author's good opinion of the sovereign, whole generations rallied to the King. Johnson was revered as a sort of oracle ; and the oracle declared for church and king. What a humanity the old man had! He was a kindly partaker of all honest pleasures : a fierce foe to all sin, but a gentle enemy to all sinners. “What, boys, are you for a frolic ?” he cries, when Topham Beauclerc comes and wakes him up at midnight : “ I'm with you.” And away he goes, tumbles on his homely old clothes, and trundles through Covent Garden with the young fellows. When he used to frequent Garrick's theatre, and had “ the liberty of the scenes,” he says, “ All the actresses knew me, and dropped me a courtesy as they passed to the stage.” That would make a pretty picture : it is a pretty picture in my mind, of youth, folly, gayety, tenderly surveyed by wisdom's merciful, pure eyes.
His mother's bigotry and hatred he 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 favorite painter ; Beattie was his poet. The King lamented, not without pathos, in his after life, that his education had been neglected. Ile 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.
But he admired as well as he could. There is little doubt that a letter, written by the little Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg Strelitz, - a letter containing the most feeble commonplaces about the horrors of war, and the most trivial remarks on the blessings of peace, struck the young monarch greatly, and decided him upon selecting the young Princess as the sharer of his throne. I pass over the stories of his juvenile loves — of Hannah Lightfoot, the Quaker, to whom they say he was actually married (though I don't know who has ever seen the register) — of lovely black-haired Sarah Lennox, about whose beauty Walpole has written in raptures, and who used to lie in wait for the young Prince, and make hay at him on the lawn of Holland House. He sighed and he longed, but he rode away • from her. Her picture still hangs in Holland House, a magnificent master-piece of Reynolds, a canvas worthy of Titian. She looks from the castle window, holding a bird in her hand, at black-eyed young Charles Fox, her nephew. The royal bird flew away from lovely Sarah. She had to figure as bridesmaid at her little Mecklenburg rival's wedding, and died in our own time a quiet old lady, who had become the mother of the heroic Napiers.
They say the little Princess who had written the fine letter about the horrors of war a beautiful letter without a single blot, for which she was to be rewarded, like the heroine of the old spelling
was at play one day with some of her young companions in the gardens of Strelitz, and that the young ladies' conversation was, strange to say, about husbands. “ Who will take such a poor little princess as me?” Charlotte said to her friend, Ida von Bulow, and at that very moment the postman's horn sounded, and
Ida said, “ Princess, there is the sweetheart!” As she said, so it actually turned out. The postman brought letters from the splendid young King of all England, who said, “ Princess, because you have written such a beautiful letter, which does credit to your head and heart, come and be Queen of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, and the true wife of your most obedient servant, George ! ” So she jumped for joy; and went up stairs and packed all her little trunks; and set off straightway for her kingdom in a beautiful yacht, with a harpischord on board for her to play upon, and around her a beautisul fleet, all covered with flags and streamers, and the distinguished Madame Auerbach complimented her with an ode, a translation of which may be read in “ The Gentleman's Magazine” to the present day :
"Her gallant navy through the main
Now cleaves its liquid way.
Of nymphs due reverence pay.
To Crete's distinguished shore,
Or be respected more.” They met, and they were married, 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 spinet - 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! There used to be Sunday drawingrooms at Court; but the young King stopped these, as he stopped all that godless gambling whereof we have made mention. Not that George was averse to any innocent pleasures, or pleasures which he thought innocent. He was a patron of the arts, after his fashion ; kind and gracious to the artists whom he favored, and respectful to their calling. He wanted once to establish an Order of Minerva for
literary and scientific characters; the knights were to take rank after the knights of the Bath, and to sport a straw-colored ribbon and a star of sixteen points. But there was such a row amongst the literati as to the persons who should be appointed, that the plan was given up, and Minerva and her star never came down amongst us.
He objected to painting St. Paul's, as Popish practice ; accordingly, the most clumsy heathen sculptures decorate that edifice at present. It is fortunate that the paintings, too, were spared, for painting and drawing were wofully unsound at the close of the last century; and it is far better for our eyes to contemplate whitewash (when we turn them away from the clergyman) than to look at Opie's pitchy canvases, or Fuseli's livid monsters.
And yet there is one day in the year a day when old George loved with all his heart to attend it — when I think St. Paul's presents the noblest sight in the whole world: when five thousand charity children, with cheeks like nosegays, and sweet, fresh voices, sing the hymn which makes every heart thrill with praise and happi
I have seen a hundred grand sights in the world — coronations, Parisian splendors, Crystal Palace openings, Pope's chapels with their processions of long-tailed cardinals and quavering choirs of fat soprani — but think in all Christendom there is no such sight as Charity Children's day. Non Angli, sed angeli. As one looks at that beautiful multitude of innocents: as the first note strikes : indeed one may almost fancy that cherubs are singing.
Of church music the King was always very fond, showing skill in it both as a critic and as a performer. Many stories, mirthful and affecting, are told of his behavior at the concerts which he ordered. When he was blind and ill he chose the music for the Ancient Con. certs once, and the music and words which he selected were from “Samson Agonistes," and all had reference to his blindness, his captivity, and his affliction. He would beat time with his music-roll as they sang the anthem in the Chapel Royal. If the page below was talkative or inattentive, down would come the music-roll on young scapegrace's powdered head. 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 Shakespeare 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 mon