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[WITA A PORTRAIT, ENGRAVED BY 1. MEYER, FROM AN ORIGINAL DRAWING.]
AN EXPIRE'S LOVE, AND FAME'S RECORDING PAGE,
C. L. Swift.
GAIN the " earthquake voice” of Death has echoed through the
Palaces of Britain, and the sound of a Nation's pleasures is again hushed in the desert silence of a Nation's mourning.--Scarcely have twelve brief months glided by, since our land was shrouded in night-like darkness, when the DAUGHTER of ENGLAND was consigned to her ancestral Tomb; and now, the portals of that regal Cemetery are again unclosed, to receive within its hallowed sanctuary the remains of England's Queen!-Yet, not then as now, were we anticipating the hour which was to release the Royal Sufferer from anguish and agony, by Death, and to hush the plaint of sorrow in the grave's repose.—Then, as it were, a shock, Jike Heaven's tbooder-bolt, struck at once all the united hearts of a loyal People, and
in a moment, one death-like sbudder paralysed the majestic soul of Britain. Now, we have had the more protracted grief of watching the slow decay of bealth, and strength, and vigour, undermined by old age, and infirmily, and pain, those natural ills “ that Besh is heir to!" and wbile each hour bore witness to some new violence of disease, and some new resignation of enduravce,-every hope of ultimate recovery vanished from our minds, until full of years, and honouss—Her Majesty sank into the tomb.
We turn, however, from the melancholy contemplation of this distressful issue of the Queen's last illness, to a few previous retrospective observations, connected with her life and character.
Her late MAJESTY the Princess Sophia CHARLOTTE CAROLINE, of MeckLEXBURGH-STRELITZ, the youngest daughter of Charles-Lewis, brother to the third Duke of MECKLENBURGH-STRELITZ, by Albertine ELIZABETY, daughter of Ernest- FREĐERICK, Duke of Saxe-HilBOURGHAUSEN, was born on ihe 19th of May, 1744 ; apd it is said, that our King first formed the idea of demanding the hand of the Princess in marriage, in consequence of a letter which was generally supposed to have beeò addressed by her, about the year 1758, to the King of PrusSIA, who had caused contributions to be levied on her father's territories. We subjoin the letter, which does infinite credit to the feelings that dictated it, and to the taste that was consulted in its composition,-leaving it, however, to our readers to judge whether it is not more like the production of a matured understanding, than of the mind of a female, at that time scarcely fourteen years of age. The cause of the appeal was this:- In the latter end of 1757, the King of Prussia, assisted only by ENGLAND, was assailed by an host of coemies. The Courts of Versailles, Warsaw, Vienna, and St. Petersburgh, were leagued against him. The King of Sweden, Frederick's brother-in-law, thougbt this was a favourable opportunity to invade his dominions—and the Russians having obtained a footing in Pomerania, be raised an army, the command of which was given to Count Hamilton, in order to co-operate with them; Frederick succeeded in driving both Swedes and Russians from his territories- but, as he bad been ivformied, that the Duke of MECKLENBURGU was to bave assisted the Swedes, with all the troops he could raise, in case they had been joined by the French or Russians, and that several magazines had been formed in his country for that purpose, the moment be had driven them into Stralsuod, he sent a detachment of Prussian troops into the Duchy of Mecklenburgh, who not only seized the magazines, but raised contributions as if they had been in an enemy's country, the Duke himself baving, upon their approach, retired to Lubeck. The Princess Charlotte, afflicted by the distresses of her country, is stated to have written in these terins to the King of PRUSSIA :
“ MAY IT PLEASE YOUR MAJESTY, “ I am at a loss whether I should congratulate, or condole with you on your late victory; since the same success which has covered you with laurels, bas overspread the country of Mecklenburgh with desolation. I know, Sire, that it seems unbecoming my sex, in this age of vicious refinement, to feel for one's country, to lament the horrors of war, or wish for the return of peace. I know you may think it more properly my province to study the arts of pleasing, or to inspect subjects of
a more domestic nature; but, however unbecoming it may be in me, I cannot resist the desire of interceding for this unhappy people.
“ It was but a very few years ago that ilris territory wore the most pleasing appearance. The country was cultivated, the peasant looked cheerful, and the towns abounded with riches and festivity! What an alteration, at present, from such a charming scene! I am not expert at description, nor can my fancy add any horrors to the picture; but sure even conquerors themselves would worp at the bideous prospects now before me. The whole country, my dear country, lies one frightful waste, presenting only objects to excite terror, pity, and despair ! The business of the husbandman and the shepherd are quite discontinued - the husbandman and the shepherd are become soldiers themselves, and help to ravage the soil they formerly cultivated. The towns are inhabited only by old men, women, and children ; perhaps here and there a warrior, by wounds, or loss of limbs, rendered unfit for service, left at his door; his little children bang around him, asking an history of every wound, and grow themselves soldiers before they find strength for the field. But this were nothing, did we not feel the alternate insolence of either army, as it happens to advance or retreat, in pursuing the operations of the campaign :-It is impossible to express the confusion, even those, who call themselves our friends, create. Even those, from whom we expect redress, oppress us with new calamities. from your justice, therefore, it is, that we hope relief ; 10 you, even chi dren and women may complain, whose humanity stoops to the meanest petition, and whose power is capable of repressing the greatest injustice."
" I am Sire,” &c. &c.
This appeal, which soon sound its way to every Court in Europe, created a great sensation at the time. It was justly viewed as a very extraordinary production, coming from one so young and so inexperienced ; and rumour says, that, on his Majesty, it made a deep impression. The delicacy of sentiment, the good sense, and, above all, the warm love of country which it breathed, pointing out the illustrious Writer as every way worthy of sharing the British throre.
We art told by the public and private records of the times, that a suitable marriage for his Majesty was an urgent, as it was a patural object of state policy, immediately on his coming to the Crown; but his known and ardent attachment to Lady Sarau Lenox, sister of the Duke of Richmond, with some manæuvres which Mr. Fox, afterwards Lord HOLLAND, set on foot to foment that youthful passion, hastened the designs of the Princess Dowager of Wales and of the Earl of Bute to bring about the Royal marriage. The Princess is said to have had in view a niece of her own, at least some Princess of the Saxe-Gotha family; but as that House was supposed to be afflicted with a constitutional disease, her wishes were over-ruled by the Cabinet, and Lord Bute then sent a confidential dependent, reported to be Colonel GREME (who was afterwards appointed to be Master of St. Catherines, near the Tower, an excellent place, in the peculiar gift of her MAJESTY), to visit the inferior Germao Courts, and to select from amongst them a future Queen for England. The instructions were said to be, that she should be perfect in her form, of pure blood, and healthy constitution, possessed of elegant accomplishments, particularly music, to which the King was very much attached, and of a mild and obligiog disposition.
Colonel Greme found the reigning Princess of Strelitz taking the waters
of Pyrmont, and accompanied by ber two daugbters, with little or no appearance of parade; and where, from the freedom of compiudication usual at those places, and the ready meaus of observation, it was no diffi. cult matter to become fully acquainted with their characters and båbits. Their Serene Highnesses frequented the rooms, the walks, and partook of the amusements, without any distiuction that should prevent Colonel GRÆne from being an unsuspected attendant on their parties. Bere, it seems, he fixed on the younger Princess, as best according with his matrimonial jostructions, and the Princess CHARLOTTE of STRELITZ was chosen to be the consort of George the Third.
On the 8th of July, therefore, in 1761, his MAJESTY, having just then turned the three-and-twentieth year of his age, caused his Privy Council to be specially summoned—and to them the King declared bis iubentions in the following words :
“ Having nothing so much at heart, as to procure the welfare and happiness of my people, and to render the same stable, and permanent to posterity, I have, ever since my accession to the Throne, turned my thoughts towards the choice of a Princess for my copsort ; and I now, with great satisfaction, acquaint you, that, after the fullest information, and mature deliberation, I am come to a resolution to demand in marriage the Princess CHARLOTTE of MecklenburghStrelitz-a Princess distinguished by every eminent virtue, and amiable endowment, whose illustrious line has constantly shewn the firmest zeal for the Protestant Religion, and a particular attachment to my family. I have judged proper to communicate to you these my intentions, in order that you may be fully apprized of a matter so highly important to me, and to my kingdoms-and which, I persunde neyself, will be most acceptable to all my loving subjects.”
This declaration, which was iminediately made public, was received with unbounded pleasure by all ranks of the people. The Earl of Hare court soon after left England, as his Majesty's Plenipotentiary to the Court of Mecklenburgh, and arrived at Strelitz on the 14th of August. The next morning he performed the ceremony of asking, in form, her Serene Highness the Princess Sophia CHARLOTTE in marriage for the King, bis Master. The contract of marriage was immediately signed, and the Princess was complimented by the States of the country, and the Deputies of the towos. On the 17th, her Serene Higbness, accompapied by the reigning Duke, her brother, set out for Stade, where she arrived on the 22d, and embarked on board his MAJESTY's yacht, accompanied by the Duchesses of ANCASTER and HAMILTON, the Earl of HARCOURT, and Lord Anson. Falling down the Elbe, she proceeded to Cuxhaven, from whence she sailed for England on the 28th ; and, after a voyage of ten days, during which the fleet endured three violent storms, the Priocess arrived in the port of Harwich, on Sunday, the 6th of September; on the following day landed at Harwich, and was received by the Mayor and Aldermen, with the usual formalities of courtly welcome.
Proceeding on her journey to London, about five o'clock she came to Colchester, where ber Sercue Highness stopped, and took refreshments at the house of Mr. Enew; and while remaining there, was, with the
usual etiquette, presented with a box of candied Eringo-root, a product of Colchester, which the Royal Family always receive when travelling through that town. Continuing her journey, she arrived at the Marquis of ABERCORN's soon after sever, where a sumptuous entertainment was provided for the Princess and her suite; and, at noon on the following day, the Sth, came to Romford, where the King's coaches and servaats waited for her. Having refreshed herself at the house of Mr. Dutton, wide-merchant, her Serene Highness entered the royal carriage and proceeded to London. On her arrival at the garden.gate of te Palace, the Princess was handed out of the coach by the Duke of Devonshire, as Lord Chamberlain, to the gate, where she was received by the Duke of YORK. When she alighted, his MAJESTY descended the steps from the Palace into the garden, and, as the Princess was about to pay her obeisance, the King, in a most affectionate manner, salated her, and then led her to the Palace. At nine o'clock the same evening the marriage ceremony was performed, in the Chapel Rogal, by the Archbishop of CanTERBURs, in the presence of all the Royal Family—the Duke of CUMBERLand giving the Princess's hand to the King; and on the 22d of September, their MAJESTIES' coronation was performed with great splendour in Westminster Abbey. The Coronation Sermon was preached by the Bishop of SARUM, who look for his text, 1 Kings, x. 9—" Because the Lord loved Israel, for ever, therefore made he thee King to do judgment ond justice.” From these words he deduced two important truths-Ist, That when great and good Kings reign, they are the means by which God blesses a people ; as, it is not said, because the Lord loved Solomon, but because he loved Israel, therefore made he Solomon King: and 2dly. That the duty and end of Royalty is to do judgment and justice.
The rejoicings throughout the country, on this occasion, almost exceeded any former precedent. Addresses of congratulation poured in from all quarters and the union of their MAJESTIES seemed to be viewed, not alone as a measure of political importance, by which the regular succession lo the crown was likely to be preserved--but as a species of national blessing, front which the hest moral consequences were expeeted to proceed ; and in addressing the Parliament, wbich assembled on the 6th of November, his Majesty thus alluded to bis recent union:
“ My Lords and Gentlemen, “ At the opening of the first Parliament, summoned and elected under my authority, I with pleasure take notice of an event wbich has made me completely bappy, and given universal joy to my loving subjects. My marriage with a Prin. cess, eminently distinguished by every virtue and amiable endowment, whilst it afforda me all possible domestio comfort, cannot but highly contribute to the happiness of my kingdom, wbich has been, and always shall be, my first object in every action of my life.
“I dare say your affectionate regard for me and the Queen, make you go before me ia what I am next to mention-the making an adequate and honourable provision for her support, in ease she should survive me. This is what not only her royal dignity, but her own merit calls for-and I earnestly recommend it to your consideration,"