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had long survived his intellectual death, and will not be affected by the dissolution of his mortal frame.
In the retreat of human calamity, and occupying no public place, except in the memory of a grateful nation, and as the final close must, in the course of events, have been long expected, the demise of his late Majesty constitutes a most memorable epoch, not only in the history of this country, but in the particular lives of the population. How much of mortal happiness has depended upon his example? How much of the fate of nations has hung upon his decisions? How deeply has the past been influenced, and how largely will the future be swayed, by his opinions, his acts, his conduct, as a man and a Monarch. His late Majesty filled a sphere at once glorious and stupendous, never since creation was there an era when so much of good or evil rested on the personal character of a great ruler. New principles started from the increasing light of knowledge, and experiments for weal or woe to mankind resulted according as men were wisely illuminated or dazzled into blindness. In the moral view of his reign, history will ascribe more prodigious power to our departed father, than even to the effects which, in a political sense, have sprung from his rectitude, his firmness, and his genuine piety. Had his late Majesty to that glorious example which he set before his people, not superadded a fixed and noble resistance, alike to sophistry and to menace, instead of being now the foremost country in the world, we should, in all probability, have been a distracted and degraded race, a province of some merciless conqueror, or a prey to more horrid mutual destruction.
With the exception of the sudden decease of his ever-to-be-lamented grand-daughter, never have stronger grounds existed for deeper sympathy, than those which present themselves, when we contemplate the demise of our late beloved Monarch. Were gratitude for the innumerous blessings bestowed by the wisdom and beneficence of our Monarch left out of the question, still what tender and holy interest would dwell round his memory. What blow was it that struck down a mind which neither wars nor danger could bend? Was it disappointed ambition, or the lust of evil passions? No, his affliction was deep, but its source was pure. Paternal love, wounded in its dearest object, a young and favourite daughter, buried his understanding in her tomb; and what more interesting and awful spectacle can present itself than that of a despairing father, in the double solitude of mental affliction and his visual darkness, wandering helpless and forlorn through the apartments of that palace, where in happier times he had spent so many hours of his blameless life. Each day brings forth to the light some additional proofs of his private and public worth. It was in the bosom of his family, and in the discharge of all those sacred duties which grow out of the relations of son, husband, father, brother, and friend, that his primeval virtues were to be traced. The simplicity of his manners, when laying aside the occasionally necessary pomp and dignity of his station, formed a
striking and pleasing contrast with the dignity of his demeanour when seated on the throne of his kingdom.
Nothing indeed could be more reasonable than that the affectionate subjects of the late King should wish him long to live, notwithstanding his malady, for his intellectual failing was much different from that which is called insanity. It was not the prevalence nor the conquering power of any passion over reason, but it was the decay of reason under anxieties of the most painful nature. Upon his innocent and benevolent heart, it was not inflicted to rage with anger, or to pine with melancholy, or to brood with presumptuous discontent over disappointed projects: his mental illness was fatuity. He had not even lost his memory; his mind was full of ideas derived from the habits of his past life; but he had no ideas, at least scarcely any correct ideas from present circumstances, and therefore he had no judgement for present transactions. The images of past scenes, chiefly those of ceremony, or of some gracious intercourse, were continually flitting before his mind's eye, for it was said "that ministering angels were the companions of his thoughts in the loneliness of the circle, by which he was cast off from rational intercourse with this world." He imagined himself in his drawing room or his audience chamber, or preparing for a ride, and by the succession of one scene to another, or by the intervention of some present want or refreshment, he was prevented from finding that his vision was unreal.
any were hitherto blind to the supereminent excellencies of our late Monarch, both as a king and as a man, let them look around and read them in the tears of his people. He must indeed exceed in goodness, he who in the long enjoyment of sovereign power has erected no other feeling amongst his subjects than that of children towards a benevolent father. Their love followed him through sunshine and through storm: it guarded him in danger, fought for him in battle, stood by him in attempted revolution, and faithful even when he had lost the power of knowing and rewarding fidelity, attended him to the solitary chambers of mental alienation, and now sheds the sincerest tears of sorrow upon his honored remains. What had so dear, so lamented a Monarch done to deserve a degree of attachment so true, so constant, and so universal? What was his character as a man? He was the pride and model of humanity. Born to greatness, he was simple in his tastes, unaffected in his manners, warm and sincere in his affections. His conduct was morality, charity his law, and the welfare of all his unwearied aim. Irreproachable himself, he was indulgent both to the weakness and errors of others. Spotless as a husband, unexcelled as a father, unshaken as a friend, an enlightened and conscientious Christian, he practised what he believed, filled all the relations of life with the tenderest care and most unimpeachable integrity; and walking with his God through all the vicissitudes of a protracted existence, became
What was his character as a King which he carried to the throne? The exercise of all those virtues which embellished his domestic life; their sphere was extended, but their power unenfeebled. New duties called forth new energies; the mind being clear and expansive, it easily embraced and actively transacted the mighty concerns of this great Empire. A friend to the liberties of the people, he watched with a patriot's care over the integrity of the Constitution, and employed the high authority with which he was invested, not to limit, but to extend and secure its blessings. But while he voluntarily disarmed the crown of some privileges, which less virtuous hands might have abused, he maintained a just and wholesome authority with unbending firmness. A ruler in principles, and love of freedom, as well as in birth, he stood forth the champion of European independence, when anarchy and atheism struck at the very throne, and threatened to level every order of society. Unconquerable in spirit, neither foreign menace nor domestic treason could appal him, nor change his resolution. The shock of events struck, but shook him not. He stood amongst defeated kings and shattered kingdoms, solitary in might as in daring; the wonder of earth, the chosen of heaven. He saw the war-lightning of an usurper blasting the legitimate monarchies of Europe, and crumbling successively at his feet; he saw the patrimony of his fathers wrenched from him by a tyrant; but in the midst of all his calamities, his noble spirit scorned to succumb, but seemed rather to gather additional vigor from the opposition which it met with. Yet in him power did not create ambition. He fought to save, not to conquer. To the glories of war he would have preferred the blessings of an unbroken peace, had peace been consistent with justice, with sympathy, and even with the security of his people; for his mind was formed to enjoy and to impart happiness: called to supreme command in tempestuous times, and compelled to stand the chance of battles, during the greater part of his reign; he was still the monarch of the Scriptures, patriarchal amidst all the dangers, exertions, and turmoils of war. The arts of peace flourished under his care, even where there was no peace. The prospect of trade kept pace with our military and naval glories, and the perfecting of our laws, the improvement of our national condition, and the increase of all that makes nations great and powerful, were carried on with a degree of activity and success, which had never been attained, even in the periods of the most profound tranquillity. Institutions unknown to Greece and Rome, and to the more civilized nations of Europe, rose under the shadow of royal patronage, and in arts and in arms, in domestic comforts and public wealth, in works of useful industry and extent of national greatness, in vigor of administration and a just and merciful application of the laws, the British Empire became a monument of all that is possible for human wisdom, genius, courage, and energy to achieve, with such frail materials as mortal men.
It however seldom happens, that merit and virtue are duly honoured during the life
of their possessor. It is only when death has removed him from the sphere which he blessed and honoured by his presence, that his deserts are fully appreciated and admired. He must indeed have displayed superior brilliance, if he obtained from his cotemporaries even a small portion of the praise to which he was entitled. What, therefore, must have been the great and amiable qualities of our departed Monarch, since even during his life they were acknowledged by men of all principles and parties, and formed the theme of universal admiration. They were such as never before invested the throne with greater influence over the hearts of mankind. There was an integrity of character, which gained him at once respect and obedience as a King, love and confidence as a man. In whatever he undertook or allowed, the purity of his motives was never impeached. He might err, for he was human; but not in intention, for he was above the evil passions of humanity. His pleasures partook of the simplicity of his heart; they were innocent recreations in the bosom of his family, where the Monarch vanished in the tender husband and affectionate father. Who could forget, that ever witnessed, the affecting scenes of Windsor Castle, where Monarch and Queen, Princes and Princesses, laying down all the pomp of exalted rank, mixed, walked and moved, among respectful and admiring subjects, as undistinguished members of the great family? Who, when the solemities of divine service were over, when the peals of the organ still rolled through the lofty aisles of the royal chapel, and shook the banners of national chivalry, who could behold without a feeling of ancient times, and a sentiment of boundless love and veneration, his blessed and aged Monarch leaning on his two elder daughters, and walking in the midst of his people?
After this slight sketch of the character of our late Monarch, is it requisite to account for the depth and universality of our sorrow at his loss. It is true that for years he lay despoiled of reason and of power; but though unseen by our eyes, he was still beloved in our hearts. The idea that he remained amongst us, and that it was still possible that he should awake to the triumph of his cause, and the glories of his country, had in it something of consolation, if not of hope. But the prospect is now dark and desolate, and in the bitterness of our hearts we can only exclaim, that in our King we have lost a father, than whom no mortal being, ever has or ever will descend to the grave better entitled to all the honour that history can bestow, or to the praise or veneration of mankind.
Having thus briefly alluded to the dark side of the picture which the demise of our Sovereign now presents to our view, let us not forget that it has also its bright side, and that one cause of consolation remains for us. Let us not forget that the reign of his successor threatens no change; that George IV. has long trodden in the footsteps of his revered parent; and that administering in his name, through a period of matchless
splendour, he has given us assurance of the future, in experience of the past. It is but a legal or constitutional fiction that the king never dies, for alas! with all their state and majesty, and god-like potency, kings are human, and must submit to the common lot of humanity; but it is a proud and blessed reflection for Britain, that in the present instance, the fiction is almost a reality. The transition is not one accompanied by doubt or fear; we know our king, and we know by what he has done, what he will do. His father's counsellors are his-his father's spirit is before his eyes-his father's precepts are engraven on his heart-and so advised, so inspired, so guided, the Regent has prepared himself for the Monarch; and we have reason to expect a reign of wisdom, of strength, and of honour-of wisdom to lead us through the difficulties of these times of strength to maintain our exalted station-and of honour to transmit to posterity that glory which has accumulated like a halo round the crown, and those inestimable enjoyments which make the happiness of a people, if rightly understood and wisely employed. With such a successor truly we may say the king has not died; the immortal part of George III. has gone to its immortal reward-he has exchanged a corruptible for an incorruptible crown; his mortal virtues are perpetuated in his illustrious son, our Sovereign George the Fourth.
All of us except the very old, who had ceased to mingle in the affairs or to lead the feelings of society, were born beneath the sceptre of George III.; the whole people of this Country, with still fewer exceptions, were formed and educated since he began to govern. His name and image had identified themselves with our earliest remembrance, and made part of our happiest associations. From tradition only had we any knowledge of the times which preceded him. He was an Heir-loom handed down to us from antiquity. He was the great, the living, almost the sole remnant of our loved forefathers, of that hallowed generation of parents and instructors, who had given us life, and fostered us in infancy, and sowed in our youthful minds the seeds of loyalty and piety, of truth and honour. To us, the offspring of his reign, therefore, the death of an aged Monarch is as if the paternal roof had fallen in, and left our chambers desolate. To other nations, the near and watchful observers of England, it will be as if some towering rock, hoary with time, and hardened by the tempest, some land-mark immemorial had sunk into the earth and changed the bearings of the whole visible horizon.
The work now offered to the Public, aspires to the character of a most authentic and comprehensive detail of the principal incidents, public and domestic, of the Life of his late Majesty. In its composition, the objects in view have been perspicuity and order in the narrative, selection of the most important circumstances, and a strict impartiality exhibited, not only in a fair and ungarbled representation of facts, but in the absence of every kind of colouring which might favour the purposes of what may properly be