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FROM THE BUST BY BEHNES, EXECUTED FOR HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS IN 1826.
In the rude block aspiring talent sees
Its patron's face, and hews it out with ease;
Towards the close of the year 1825, the duke of York commenced to sit for this bust at his late residence in the Stable-yard, St. James's; and, in the summer of 1826, continued to give sittings, till its final completion, at the artist's house, in Dean-street, Soho. The marble was then removed, fcr exhibition, to the Royal Academy, and from thence sent home to his royal highness, at Rutland-house. The duke VOL 1-4
and his royal sister, the princess Sophia, were equally delighted with the true and spirited likeness, and gratified by its possession, as a work of art.
The duke of York, on giving his orders to Mr. Behnes, left entirely to him the arrangement of the figure. With grea judgment, and in reference to his roya. highness's distinguished station, the artist has placed armour on the body, and thrown
a military cloak over the shoulders. This judicious combination of costume imparts simplicity and breadth to the bust, and assists the manly dignity of the head. The duke's fine open features bear the frank and good-natured expression they constantly wore in life: the resemblance being minutely faithful, is as just to his royal highness's exalted and benevolent character, as it is creditable to Mr. Behnes's execution. The present engraving is a hasty sketch of its general appearance. His royal highness kindly permitted Mr. Behnes to take casts from the sculpture. Of the many, therefore, who experienced the duke of York's friendship or favour, any one who desires to hold his royal highness's person in remembrance, has an opportunity of obtaining a fac-simile of the original bust, which is as large as life.
Mr. Behnes was the last artist to whom .he duke sat, and, consequently, this is his last likeness. The marble was in the possession of his royal highness during his long illness, and to the moment of his death, in Arlington-street. Its final destination will be appropriated by those to whom he was most attached, and on whom the disposition of such a memorial necessarily devolves.
To the ample accounts of the duke of York in the different journals, the Table Book brings together a few particulars omitted to be collected, preceded by a few notices respecting his royal highness's title,
a correct list of all the dukes of York from their origin, and, first, with an interesting paper by a gentleman who favoured the Every-Day Book with some valuable genealogical communications.
SHAKSPEARE'S DUKES OF YORK, &c.
For the Table Book.
The elastic buoyancy of spirits, joined with the rare affability of disposition, which prominently marked the character of the prince whose recent loss we deplore, rendered him the enthusiastic admirer and steady supporter of the English stage. I hope I shall not be taken to task for alluding to a trifling coincidence, on recalling to recollection how largely the mighty master of this department, our immortal Shakspeare, has drawn upon his royal highness's illustrious predecessors in title, in those unrivalled dramatic sketches which unite the force of genius with the simplicity of nature, whilst they impart to the strictly accurate annals of our national history
some of the most vivid illuminations which blaze through the records of our national eloquence.
The touches of a master-hand giving vent to the emanations of a mighty mind are, perhaps, no where more palpably traced, than throughout those scenes of the historical play of Richard II., where Edmund of Langley, duke of York, (son of king Edward III.,) struggles mentally between sentiments of allegiance to his weak and misguided sovereign on the one hand, and, on the other hand, his sense of his other nephew Bolingbroke's grievous wrongs, and the injuries inflicted on his country by a system of favouritism, profusion, and oppression.
Equal skill and feeling are displayed in the delineation of his son Rutland's devoted attachment to his dethroned benefactor, and the adroit detection, at a critical moment, of the conspiracy, into which he had entered for Richard's restoration.
In the subsequent play of Henry V., (perhaps the most heart-stirring of this interesting series,) we learn how nobly this very Rutland (who had succeeded his father, Edmund of Langley, as duke of York) repaid Henry IV.'s generous and unconditional pardon, by his heroic conduct in the glorious field of Agincourt, where he sealed his devotion to his king and country with his blood.
Shakspeare has rendered familiar to us the stormy scenes of domestic desolation, the intricate plans of deep-laid policy, and through which his nephew and successor, Richard, the next duke of York, obtained a glimpse of that throne, to which, according to strictness, he was legitimately entitled just before
"York overlook'd the town of York."
The licentious indulgence, the hardhearted selfishness, the reckless cruelty, which history indelibly stamps as the characteristics of his son and successor, Edward, who shortly afterwards seated himself firmly on the throne, are presented to us in colours equally vivid and authentic. The interestingly pathetic detail of the premature extinction in infancy of his second son, prince Richard, whom he had invested with the title of York, is brought before our eyes in the tragedy of Richard III., with a forcible skill and a plaintive energy, which set the proudest efforts of preceding or following dramatic writers at defiance.
To "bluff king Hal," (who, during the lifetime of his elder brother, Arthur, prince
of Wales, had next borne this exclusively royal title of duke of York,) ample justice is rendered, in every point of view, in that production, as eminent for its gorgeous pageantry as for its subdued interest, in which most of our elder readers must have been sufficiently fortunate to witness the transcendant merits of Mrs. Siddons, as Queen Catherine, surpassing even her own accustomed excellence.
Had, contrary to the wonted career of the triumph of human intellect, a Shakspeare enraptured and adorned the next generation, what studies would not the characters and fates of the martyred Charles I., and his misguided son, James II., have afforded to his contemplation. Both these sovereigns, during the lives of their respective elder brothers, bore the title of duke of York.
The counties of York and Lancaster are the only two in England from which the titles conferred have been exclusively enjoyed by princes of the blood royal. It may be safely asserted, that neither of these designations has ever illustrated an indivi; dual, who was not either son, brother, grandson, or nephew of the sovereign of this realm.
Richard, duke of York, killed at the battle of Wakefield, may, at first sight, strike the reader as an exception to this assertion, he being only cousin to Henry VI.; but we ought to bear in mind, that this Richard was himself entitled to that throne, of which his eldest son shortly afterwards obtained possession, under the title of Edward IV.
By the treaty of Westphalia, concluded at Munster, in 1648, which put an end to the memorable war that desolated the fairest portion of the civilized world during thirty years, it was stipulated that the bishopric of Osnaburgh, then secularized, should be alternately possessed by a prince of the catholic house of Bavaria, and the protestant house of Brunswick Lunenburgh. It is somewhat remarkable, on the score of dates, that the Bavarian family enjoyed but one presentation between the death of Ernest Augustus, duke of York, in 1728, and the presentation of his great, great, great nephew, the lamented prince whose loss, in 1827, is so deeply and justly deplored.
OTHO, EARL OF YORK. More than five centuries before a prince of the house of Brunswick sat on the
British throne, there is a name in the genealogy of the Guelphs connected with the title of York.
Until the time of Gibbon, the learned were inclined to ascribe to Azo, the great patriarch of the house of Este, a direct male descent from Charlemagne: the bril liant result of this able investigator's researches prove, in Azo's behalf, four certain lineal ascents, and two others, highly probable,
from the pure well of Italian undefiled."
Azo, marquis or lord of Tuscany, married Cunegunda, a daughter of a Guelph, who was also sister of a Guelph, and heiress of the last Guelph. The issue of this alliance was Guelph I., who, at a time before titles were well settled, was either duke or count of Altdorff. He was succeeded by his son, Henry the Black, who married Wolfhildis, heiress of Lunenburgh, and other possessions on the Elbe, which descended to their son, Henry the Proud, who wedded Gertrude, the heiress of Saxony, Brunswick, and Hanover. These large domains centered in their eldest son, Henry the Lion, who married Maud, daughter of Henry II., king of England, and, in the conflicts of the times, lost all his possessions, except his allodial territo ries of Lunenburgh, Brunswick, and HanoThe youngest son of this marriage was William of Winchester, or Longsword, from whom descended the dukes of Brunswick and Lunenburgh, in Germany, progenitors to the house of Hanover. His elder brother, Otho, is said to have borne the title of York.
This Otho, duke of Saxony, the eldest son of Henry the Lion, and Maud, was afterwards emperor of Germany; but previous to attaining the imperial dignity, he was created earl of York by Richard I.,king of England, who, according to some authorities, subsequently exchanged with Otho, and gave him the earldom of Poictou for that of York. Otho's relation to this kingdom, as earl of York, and grandson of Henry II., is as interesting as his fortunes were remarkable.
The emperor, Henry VI., having died, and left his son, Frederick, an infant three months old, to the care of his brother Philip, duke of Suabia; the minority of Frederick tempted pope Innocent to divest the house of Suabia of the imperial crown, and he prevailed on certain princes to elect Otho, of Saxony, emperor: other princes reelected the infant Frederick. The contention continued between the rival candi
dates, with repeated elections. Otho, by flattering the clergy, obtained himself to be crowned at Rome, and assumed the title of Otho IV.; but some of his followers having been killed by the Roman citizens he meditated revenge, and instead of returning to Germany, reconquered certain possessions usurped from the empire by the pope. For this violence Otho was excommunicated by the holy father, who turned his influence in behalf of the youthful Frederick, and procured him to be elected emperor instead. Otho had a quarrel with Philip Augustus, king of France, respecting an old wager between them. Philip, neither believing nor wishing that Otho could attain the imperial dignity, had wagered the best city in his kingdom against whichever he should select of Otho's baggage horses, if he carried his point. After Otho had achieved it, he seriously demanded the city of Paris from Philip, who quite as seriously refused to deliver up his capital. War ensued, and in the decisive battle of Bovines, called the "battle of the spurs,' from the number of knights who perished, Philip defeated Otho at the head of two hundred thousand Germans. The imperial dragon, which the Germans, in their wars, were accustomed to plant on a great armed chariot with a guard chosen from the flower of the army, fell into the hands of the victors, and the emperor himself barely escaped at the hazard of his life. This battle was fought in August, 1215; and Otho, completely vanquished, retreated upon his devotions, and died in 1218, without issue.*
his brother, the duke of Gloucester; and an historian of the period calls him "a soft prince." It is certain that he had few stirring qualities, and that passive virtues were not valued in an age when they were of little service to contending parties. In 1402, three years after the accession of Henry IV., he died at his manor of Langley, and was interred in the priory there.
Edward Plantagenet, second duke of York, was son of the first duke, grandson to Edward III., and great uncle to Henry V., by whose side he valiantly fought and perished, in the field of Agincourt, October 25, 1415.
Richard Plantagenet, third duke of York, nephew of the second duke, and son of Richard earl of Cambridge, who was executed for treason against Henry V., was restored to his paternal honours by Henry "VI., and allowed to succeed to his uncle's inheritance. As he was one of the most illustrious by descent, so he became one of the most powerful subjects through his dignities and alliances. After the death of the duke of Bedford, the celebrated regent of France, he was appointed to succeed him, and with the assistance of the valorous lord Talbot, afterwards earl of Shrewsbury, maintained a footing in the French territories upwards of five years. The incapacity of Henry VI. incited him to urge his claim to the crown of England in right of his mother, through whom he descended from Philippa, only daughter of the duke of Clarence, second son to Edward III.; whereas the king descended from the duke of Lancaster, third son of that monarch. The duke's superiority of descent, his valour and mildness in various high employments, and his immense possessions, derived through numerous successions, gave him influence with the nobility, and procured him formidable connections. levied war against the king, and without material loss slew about five thousand of the royal forces at St. Alban's, on the 22d of May, 1452. This was the first blood spilt in the fierce and fatal quarrel between the rival houses of York and Lancaster, which lasted thirty years, was signalized by twelve pitched battles, cost the lives o eighty princes of the blood, and almost annihilated the ancient nobility of England After this battle, the duke's irresolution, and the heroism of Margaret, queen of Henry VI., caused a suspension of hostilities.
The wager, in its consequences so disastrous to the Germans, and so illustrious to the French arms, was made with Philip while Otho was passing through France on his way from the court of England. Collectors of" engraved British portraits," and the portraits of persons who "come into England," should look to this. How many illustrated "Grangers" are there with a portrait of Otho IV., earl of York?
THE DUKES OF YORK.
Edmund Plantagenet, surnamed De Langley, from his birth-place, fifth son of king Edward III., was first created earl of Cambridge by his father, and afterwards created duke of York by his nephew, Richard II. He was much influenced by
Hist. of House of Austria Rapin. Favine.
The leaders on both sides assented to meet m London, and be solemnly reconciled. The duke of York led the queen in solemn procession to St. Paul's, and the chiefs of one party marched hand in hand with the chiefs of the other. It was a public demonstration of peace, with secret mutual distrust; and an accident aroused the slumbering strife. One of the king's retinue insulted one of the earl of Warwick's; their companions fought, and both parties in every county flew to arms. The battle of Bloreheath, in Staffordshire, 23d September, 1459, was won by the Lancastrians. At the battle of Northampton, 10th July, 1560, the Yorkists had the victory, and the king was taken prisoner. A parliament, summoned in the king's name, met at Westminster, which the duke of York at tended; and, had he then seated himself on the throne in the House of Lords, the deadly feud might have been ended by his being proclaimed king; but his coolness and moderation intimidated his friends, and encouraged his enemies. His personal courage was undoubted, but he was deficient m political courage. The parliament deiberated, and though they declared the duke's title indefeasible, yet they decided that Henry should retain the crown during life. They provided, however, that till the king's decease the government should be administered by the duke, as the true and lawful heir of the monarchy; and in this arrangement Richard acquiesced. Meanwhile, queen Margaret, with her infant son, appealed to the barons of the north against the settlement in the south, and collected an army with astonishing celerity. The duke of York hastened with five thousand troops to quell what he imagined to be the beginning of an insurrection, and found, near Wakefield, a force of twenty thousand men. He threw himself into Sandal castle, but with characteristic bravery, imagining he should be disgraced by remaining between walls in fear of a female, he descended into the plain of Wakefield on the 24th of December, and gave battle to the queen, who largely outnumbering his little army, defeated and slew him; and his son, the earl of Rutland, an innocent youth of seventeen, having been taken prisoner, was murdered in cold blood by the lord de Clifford. Margaret caused the duke's head to be cut off, and fixed on the gates of the city of York, with a paper crown on it in derision of his claim. He perished in the fiftieth year of his age, worthy of a better fate.
Edward Plantagenet, fourth duke of
York, eldest son of the last, prosecuted his father's pretensions, and defeated the earl of Pembroke, half brother to Henry VI., at Mortimer's Cross, in Herefordshire. Shortly afterwards, queen Margaret advanced upon London, and gained a victory over the Yorkists under the earl of Warwick, at the second battle of St. Alban's, and, at the same time, regained possession of the person of her weak husband. Pressed by the Yorkists, she retreated to the north and the youthful duke, remarkable for beauty of person, bravery, affability, and every popular quality, entered the capital amidst the acclamations of the citizens. Elated by his success, he resolved to openly insist on his claim, and treat his adversaries as rebels and traitors. On the 3d of March, 1460, he caused his army to muster in St. John's Fields, Clerkenwell; and after an harangue to the multitude surrounding his soldiery, the tumultuary crowd were asked whether they would have Henry of Lancaster, or Edward, eldest son of the late duke of York, for king. Their "sweet voices" were for the latter; and this show of popular election was ratified by a great number of bishops, lords, magistrates, and other persons of distinction, assembled for that purpose at Baynard's Castle. On the morrow, the duke went to St. Paul's and offered, and had Te Deum sung, and was with great royalty conveyed to Westmin. ster, and there in the great hall sat in the king's seat, with St. Edward's sceptre in his hand. On the 29th of March, 1461, ne fought the fierce and bloody battle of Touton, wherein he issued orders to give no quarter, and there were above thirty-six thousand slain. This slaughter confirmed him king of England, and he reigned upwards of twenty years under the title of Edward IV., defiling his fame and power by effeminacy and cruelty. The title of York merged in the royal dignity.
Richard Plantagenet, of Shrewsbury, fifth duke of York, son of Edward IV., was murdered in the tower while young, with his elder brother, Edward V., by order of their uncle, the duke of Gloucester, after. wards Richard III.
Henry Tudor, sixth duke of York, was so created by his father Henry VII., whom he succeeded as king, under the title of Henry VIII., and stained our annals with heartless crimes.