Imatges de pÓgina
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to have been fond of learning the con- an improving farmer in his neightents of books rather by the informa- bourhood, and are written in a plain, tion of persons employed to read them perspicuous, not very inelegant style. for the purpose, than by reading them Such an example could not but go far himself. A still more useful zeal was in effacing the ignoble ideas which displayed in promoting the diffusion half a century ago were barbarously of knowledge among the lowest class attached to this most useful pursuit; of his subjects. The speech is re- and in rendering the taste, as it has corded of him, that he hoped the day since become, general among great might come, in which every poor child proprietors.---Another useful pursuit in his dominions might be able to read was still more effectively pronoted its Bible. He took under his imme- by royal influence. The diate patronage the plan of facilita- discovery, particularly those of Cook, ting instruction invented by Lancas- which gave a lustre to the reign of ter; and it is remarkable, that he al- his Majesty, originated chiefly in the ways continued this patronage, even personal interest taken by himself in after the Church of England had these spirited undertakings. transferred theirs exclusively to the It has already been observed, that system of Bell. The liberal patron- the King's strict principle, and his age of their Majesties was also extend- aversion to dissolute pleasures, were ed to the establishment of Sunday not attended with any forbidding auSchools, for the religious education sterity. He possessed even a lively

taste for most liberal and elegant Among the useful objects to which amusements.

He took particular the attention of the King was ear- pleasure in music; and occasionally nestly directed, agriculture was pro- performed himself on the piano-forte. minent. Indeed the occupations of Handel was his favourite composer ; a practical farmer were pursued by and German music was generally prehim as a favourite amusement, with ferred to the Italian. The sister art out any regard to the ridicule at- of painting was largely indebted to tempted to be thrown by certain wits his patronage for the flourishing state on this humble recreation. Anxious to which it has now reached. Reyto instil the same taste into his off- nolds and West, its two greatest orspring, he assigned to each of the naments, both experienced his fayoung princes a spot of ground, vour; and it was to the ample emwhich they sowed and reaped with ployment afforded to the latter in the their own hands. His Majesty just- royal palaces, that he was enabled to ly understood the functions of a royal rise to the highest place in his art. farmer, in endeavouring, by exam- Their Majesties were also fond of ple and experiment, to improve the dramatic entertainments, and freprocesses by which the art was con- quently honoured the two national ducted. He prided himself particu- theatres with their presence. larly on his stock, and in improving The King, in several particulars, the quality of British wool by the im- displayed a magnanimity which seems. portation of the finest Merino breeds. to belong only to a great mind. His There are preserved three letters, personal courage was fully proved on sent by the King to the Annals of occasion of two frantic attempts made Agriculture, under the signature of upon his life. The first was by MarRalph Robinson. They relate to the garet Nicholson, who attempted to methods employed by Mr Duckett, stab him as he alighted from his car

riage at St James's; the other by tently read on; and the bookseller reHatfield, who fired a pistol at his mained in agony, till his visitor, cohead from the pit of Drury-Lane ming to a pause, laid down the book, Theatre. The composure displayed and began to enter into conversation on this last occasion was very remark- with his accustomed good humour, able. He not only witnessed the re- nor were the bookseller's fears of any presentation with perfect tranquillity, future visitation in consequence, ever but took his accustomed doze of a realized. few minutes between the play and the George III. was in his youth acfarce. In the outrageous attack made counted handsome. He was in stature by the mob on his way to Parliament above the middle size his countein 1795, the King appeared the most nance florid—his eyes blue-his hair unmoved of all his train ; and he de- so light as to approach the colour livered his opening speech with, if of white_his manner, frank, open, possible, more than usual distinctness and gracious, pleased the English, and correctness. Striking magnani- who had been accustomed to German mity was also displayed in his feel- reserve and stateliness in his two imings and conduct towards the rem- mediate predecessors.

With those nants of the unfortunate house of who surrounded or were introduced Stuart. The particulars are too well to him, he entered readily into famiknown to need repetition. No mo. liar conversation. He had even the narch was ever exposed, in an equal art of persuading them, that they degree, to the shafts of personal sa- were the exclusive objects of his attire. The invective of Wilkes, and tention. At the same time, his manthe ridicule of Wolcot, continued for ners are represented as somewhat deyears unremittingly directed againstficient in grace and dignity. He his person.

To all these attacks spoke hurriedly, putting numerous the King remained proof to a de questions, often twice or thrice regree which reflects uncommon cre- peated, and without always waiting dit upon him. He could even despise for an answer. In his hours of rethe last, though the most trying of laxation, he delighted in a species of all to the usual frailty of human na- broad humour, and indulged in boisture. His Majesty prohibited all pro- terous laughter at his own jokes, secution of Wolcot, although the in- which were not always marked by the decorous nature of many of his sal. most poignant wit. Hence was derilies would have afforded probably a ved to superficial spectators an unfasuccessful ground for it.

vourable impression of his underIt is recorded, in one of his morning standing; the injustice of which was walks through Windsor, he happened perceived by those who saw him in to enter a bookseller's shop, and be- his serious moments, and his hours of gan to read. The master, who was business. A great exaggeration, hownot so early, hastened in, and was in ever, was probably made on both no small dismay when he found his Ma- sides, when he was described as hajesty employed upon Paine's Rights ving the ablest mind and the awkof Man; and, particularly, that he wardest manner in the British domihad opened the book at the place nions. On the whole, we may confiwhere he himself was described as un, dently pronounce, that the British fit to perform the office of a parish sceptre has been swayed by only a constable. The King, however, in- few greater Kings; by none more distinguished for conscientiousness in The death of the King had been public, and purity in private life. The only a short time preceded by that of long and deep shade which covered his fourth son, the Duke of Kent. the close of his career, and those great This event was the subject of very events, of the lapse of which he was deep regret. The Prince had reso deeply unconscious, softened all deemed some youthful faults, and acfeelings of party and personal disap- quired universal esteem, by the most pointment, and

gave him, in the eyes extraordinary and unremitting exerof the nation, almost a sacred charac- tions in support of all those benefiter.

cent plans and institutions with which The death of the King was imme- the age teems. To those, latterly, diately followed by the accession of almost his whole time appears to have George IV., which took place with been devoted. The general correctall the usual formalities, and amid ex- ness of his domestic life, and the virpressions of general satisfaction. The tues and connexions of his august details, consisting of mere matters of spouse, heightened the public esteem ceremony, are given in the Chronicle. and regret.

CHAPTER II.

INSURRECTIONARY MOVEMENTS.

Plot by Thistlewood and others to Assassinate Ministers.The Detection.Disturbances in Yorkshire.-Rising at Glasgow.- Action at Bonnymuir.Tranquillity restored.

The emotion caused by the death same time rendered desperate by the of George III., and the commence- state of his private affairs, formed a ment of a new reign, had scarcely scheme the most daring and atrocious subsided, when other, and very dif- which had been witnessed by England ferent events, forced themselves on since the era of the Gunpowder Plot. public attention. The discontent, From amid the obscure recesses of the which had so long been deeply and metropolis he collected a small band secretly fermenting, exploded with of individuals, not of the very lowest such violence, as to diffuse for some rank, but whose ruined circumstances time a very serious alarm. The ge- caused them to “regard the world as neral distress of the labouring classes not their friend, nor the world's law," presented, as usual, a state of things and rendered them fit instruments for highly favourable to the designs of such a deed of darkness. To them he the disaffected ; while the disappoint- disclosed this new scheme-more da. ed and the sufferers in former abor- ring than had ever entered the mind tive attempts, becoming always more of the most infuriate enemies of social fierce and embittered, threw aside order. It was founded on the followat last that rempant of moderation ing circumstances :to which they considered their former The Ministers of the Crown are acfailures as imputable, and determined customed, from time to time, to ceto proceed at once to the most vio- ment their union by that grand Englent extremities.

lish rallying point--a dinner ; to London, which contains always a which the members of that high conpopulation ready for every criminal fidential body, entitled the Cabinet, and desperate enterprize, afforded the are alone admitted. It was proposed first theatre of action. Thistlewood, to seize one of these occasions. An who, by legal distinctions, rather than armed band might be organized, by any proof of innocence, had esca- which, though unfit to cope with any ped the effects of a former tumult, regular or duly assembled force, emboldened by impunity, and at the could surprise a few unarmed and

VOL. XII. FART 1.

B

unsuspecting individuals, collected on Edwards, one of their own number ; an occasion which tended to lull whom they afterwards loudly denounasleep every caution. Buoyed up by ced as having acted the part not only these fatal hopes, he anxiously wait- of a spy, but of an instigator. This ed the moment when the newspapers, charge was never investigated. There according to their usage, should an- certainly appears some ground to susnounce a Cabinet dinner. The affair pect that Edwards had some conhad already been opened in secret cern, not in originally devising the conclave; and about twenty-five had affair, but in maturing and bringing it been found, who declared themselves into shape ; a course certainly highly ready for every extremity. A garret unjustifiable, though it was a case in or loft was hired in Cato-street, a se- which the services of an informer, or questered situation at the west end of even of a simple spy, could by no the town, in which the instruments means be rejected. Besides him, howof death were deposited ; and a ren- ever, another, (Hyden) who had for dezvous appointed on the afternoon a moment been seduced, but whose of the 23 February to muster for better sentiments prevailed, followed the fatal onset.

Lord Harrowby into the Park, and Such were the means by which it made a full communication of the criwas expected to overthrow the Bri- minal designs which were to be put tish Constitution, and erect a new in execution that very day. This ingovernment on its ruins. Yet con- formation being communicated to the temptible as these appeared, it would Cabinet, and confirmed from other have been rash to estimate, accord- quarters, it was still determined to deding to them, the extent of the evil lay any apprehension of the conspiwhich might have ensued. The as- rators, till they should be in a situasassination, could the design of it tion which might render the proof of have escaped detection, had certain their guilt complete. ly the chances of success in its favour. The preparations for the dinner As soon as this should be announced, went on ostensibly as before ; and the instruments were ready to raise in the police officers contented themselves city the standard of insurrection, with watching the premises, into which would probably have been join- which materials for the dark purpose ed by many ; while, in the North of intended were seen conveying in the England, and the West of Scotland, course of the day. In the afternoon, a a store of combustible materials was a body of twenty-five conspirators collected, ready to blaze at the first were mustered, and were taking some spark. Although, therefore, the so- refreshment previous to issuing forth lid elements which compose the Bri- to fulfil their fatal purpose. Meantish Constitution could never have time, Mr Birnie of the police had yielded to such an attack, yet an in- collected twelve officers, who were terval of anarchy and bloodshed could supported by a company of the Coldnot have failed to ensue, sufficient, for stream Guards, under Captain Fitza long time, to derange the state ma- clarence. The loft was accessible onchine, and to aggravate, in a fearfully by a ladder, at the foot of which degree, all the evils under which the a sentinel was posted. The officers, nation already groaned.

however, secured the sentinel, and The state was never in actual dan- rushed up the ladder; but by this ger of such an issue. The conspira- time the conspirators had taken the tors were, from the first, betrayed by alarm, armed themselves, and, at the

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