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said Alberoni, the minister of Philip V., when contemplating the results of the temporary energy he had infused into the State ; 'and when I die, it will again quietly lay itself down in its tomb.' But the nation never lost its vitality, and the national character survived the national humiliation. The royal authority has stood unshaken amidst all the political tempests that have desolated the Spanish peninsula. Indeed the people can appreeiate no government of which monarchy is not the presiding principle, and they are but too prone to consider it as the only substantial power of the State. Loyalty is an inextinguishable passion, and the throne is based on ancient traditions, although surrounded and supported by modern institutions.
The feeling of the Spanish people on the return of prosperity, and their just confidence in the future, found a suitable expression in the address of the Queen's ministers to their Sovereign on the restoration of San Domingo to the Crown. “God,' they say, “who during a period the memory of which is imperishable exalted this monarchy, and who has preserved the purity of its reputation in the midst of long and terrible trials, has permitted it to recover from its past weakness, and to be able to embrace a people who were separated from its bosom in days of perturbation and debility which will never return.' The revival of Spain can excite in this country no feeling but one of unqualified satisfaction. Great Britain and Spain,' in the words of Lord Russell, have for long periods of time, and in circumstances of high moment to each, been faithful and active allies, and their alliance has been greatly useful and highly honourable to both. It is a fundamental maxim of British policy to wish well to Spain, and earnestly to desire her welfare and prosperity. While endeavouring to bring prominently forward the very strong grounds which exist for believing that she is at length arousing herself and taking the right course of industry and enterprise, we have left ourselves no room to notice the many attractions of the country which are pleasantly set forth in the · Letters from Spain,' the work of a very accomplished man. Neither have we entered at length upon the history of the court or the conduct of the political leaders of Spain; and in particular we have with some difficulty abstained from adverting at present to certain financial shortcomings of the Spanish Government, because we are persuaded that the time cannot be far distant when it will proudly redeem the honour of the country, and efface from its escutcheon a great and lamentable blot.
* Despatch from Lord J. Russell to Mr. Edwardes, May 14, 1861.
Art. VI.-1. Addresses delivered on different Public Occasions
by His Royal Highness the Prince Albert. 1857. 2. Prince Albert's Speeches. People's Edition. WHERE are events—the paralysing nature of which seems to
arrest the hand of Time himself, causing a recoil, equally from the Past and the Future, in which the mind of an individual or of a nation stands for awhile giddily still, like a ship struck between two seas.
Of this character is the event under which the country is still stunned—the death of the Prince Consort. We were all at the busy work or idle play of life, adding house to house and field to field, preparing for a great mart of the inventions and productions of the civilized world, and seeing no cloud, except one, which we made equally sure to repel or disperse; when suddenly, and to many without the slightest preparation, there appeared a handwriting on the wall, and the millions of the land gazed upon it with sorrowful anxiety. The metaphor goes no further. For whom did that writing concern? Not the tyrant swelling with pride, or the Sybarite revelling in excess; not one who, in any sense, was using the sacred things of the Lord's temple for unhallowed
purposes, but a Prince, gentle, pure, and upright, wise and good. Let us not, however, act or speak as if the death of the righteous, even in the vigour of his days and the zenith of his usefulness, were a strange, or, in every sense, an evil thing, in this imperfect world. Much mercy has been shown by the Dispenser of events. He has been cut off by no accident harrowing the soul with second causes—by no assassin sullying our resignation with feelings of resentment. He has died with his own beloved ones about him, cared for and tended by the highest skill in the land ; with the prayers of multitudes of the subjects of that agonized Lady besieging Heaven, all importunate for his life, and the wail of a great nation rising muffled about his couch. It is sufficient that in the hands of the Lord are the issues of life and death, and that without His knowledge not a sparrow falls to the ground.
Nor let it either ungratefully and untruly be said that we have utterly lost him whom we so deeply lament. A life spent among us for above twenty years in one ceaseless stream of good and wise works, no death of the body can be said to sweep away. In the light of a glorious example, long watched by the good with ever-increasing admiration, that life is ours still. Let us, therefore, endeavour, in all humility, to trace something of the character and habits of a mind which has left as a legacy a standard of conduct so far raised above all former precedent; enlisting the
help help of his own honoured words in our task, by referring, as we proceed, to that small volume of his ‘Speeches' on various public occasions, wherein the mind may be said to have traced an unassailable record of itself.
There are two classes of character to which the term greatness is applied. The one possessing gorgeous powers, unsustained by any corresponding elevation of the whole man, which crosses our path in this world like a meteor, attracting notice as much by its irregularity as its light. The other, endowed with that perfect balance of mental powers and moral qualities—the totus tereswhich needs to be known as a whole before it can be appreciated in its parts ; appealing not to our love of the marvellous, or thirst for excitement, but to our deeper sympathies and nobler aspirations, and therefore slow to find favour in a world more quickly caught by dazzling eccentricities than by the steady light of a general superiority of being. Of this last class of character, and from the station he occupied and the opportunities he enjoyed, one of the most perfect examples which history will, perhaps, ever record, was that illustrious man whose career is thus early closed.
Looking back now at the time when the Prince first came to this country, a young and untried foreigner, to whom we gave so much, and from whom we expected so little, the nation seems to have been strangely blind to the promise which we now feel always beamed from that firm and serene brow. There was no outburst of congratulation that a lot so brilliant should have fallen, to all appearances, so auspiciously. We waited and watched, with no very eager interest, prepared rather to discover those errors and shortcomings known to be inseparable from youth—and not youth only—and royalty, than to hail any dawning signs of a great and exceptional career. Nor was our blindness intentional or malicious. Behind the constitutional restraints imposed on all English monarchs, to which the other Self of a reigning Queen was necessarily subject, -restraints imposed purposely to neutralize the personal propensities of the individual, and to level each in succession to the same safe and just medium,
- from behind these limits royalty assumes but a colourless, however imposing, character to the great mass of the people. If the private life be outwardly decorous, little is said, and that little often not true.
But to say nothing of this incapacity of judging, what right had we to raise any hopes beyond that same measure of respectability and decorum? What precedent had we for a Prince leading a life, setting an example, and creating for himself a career, for the good of a country, such as we now proudly, Vol. 111.–No. 221.
fondly, and sadly look back upon ? If any one had ventured to prophesy that this untried youth and foreigner was to be foremost in the ranks of every form of intelligence, foremost in plans of active philanthropy, foremost in diligence, order, and judgment, in purity of morals, and the practice of every domestic virtue, he would have been scouted as a dreamer of dreams. A youth just twenty years of age, and yet fully furnished in every scholarly department of learning and taste; a modern German Prince, and yet the worshipper of constitutional laws and the friend of progress; inexperienced in the art of life, exalted in station, and suddenly exalted in fortune ; possessing great personal advantages, and ushered into a gay and luxurious court, and yet not one blot on his moral escutcheon; royal, yet disdaining every royal road to attainment and every traditional royal right to self-indulgence. Surely we may be pardoned for not readily believing in a character which the history of princes and of mankind had doubly proved to be fabulous !
The country had had no opportunity of knowing anything of Prince Albert before he became a suitor for our young Queen; nor scarcely more between the 16th November, 1839, when Her Majesty announced him to the Privy Council as the object of her choice in words of trust now made touching by their subsequent fulfilment, and the 10th February, 1840, when this most auspicious marriage took place. A few days before the wedding ceremonial the Duke of Wellington said in the House of Lords, with his customary plainness, “It appears to me that the public ought to know something beyond the name of Prince Albert; and truly it does appear strange now that there should have been so little curiosity shown on the subject. Books appeared, ephemeral in their character, giving a history of the House of SaxeCoburg and Gotha, where, if ancestry goes for anything, every possible guarantee might have been found for some at least of the sterling qualities we have since learned to revere in their descendant. No men of straw—no mere royal images—those progenitors equally of the young Bride_and Bridegroom : Frederick the Wise, John the Constant, John Frederick the Magnanimous, Prince Electors of Saxony, who toiled, and bled, and suffered bonds and imprisonment, and sentence of ignominious death, and loss of state and realm, for the Protestant cause at the Reformation. But loyalty, then-a-days, was accustomed to dispense with very earnest convictions. These facts, therefore, went little beyond the surface, and perhaps went not so
Even the character of the Prince's uncle, Leopold of the Belgians, did not stand then where it does now. A silly rumour that Prince Albert was a Roman Catholic, founded ostensibly on the marriage of his cousin to the Queen of Portugal, and on our Queen's not having declared the form of religion to which he belonged, obtained a worthless belief; but otherwise he arrived in England with a reputation, for better and for worse, still to make.
The first distinct sentiments he may be said to have inspired were those of commiseration at the supposed thanklessness of his position. But Pity here was not akin to Love, and it was by no very complimentary logic that a man precluded from the stir of politics was concluded, by the national ignorance and vanity, to have no sphere at all. Here, again, no human prescience could have guessed how far higher was the ambition of this unknown young man than anything which the coarse strife of politics could have satisfied. It was well, however, that even these nobler aims were not impatient of realisation. At every point a jealous insular nation, visiting upon the stranger all the mistrust which previous generations of Princes had inspired, confronted himready to do all loyal and courteous homage, but sternly requiring to be slowly and really convinced before they would more than nominally trust. Never had a nation less cause to fear! That mind which in its unswerving homage to the laws which govern men and Nature we have learned to revere as unique among Princes and conspicuous among men, recognised immediately the laws which governed its own individual and peculiar position, and trod at once firmly in them. From the first day of his marriage the young and royal Husband sought that one thing, most creditable to his judgment and honourable to his heart, through which alone all other things could be safely added to him. That one object to which every other ambition yielded, and for which even his remarkable powers were for a while kept from the public knowledge, was simply and solely the good and the happiness of our Queen. This was the secret of that discretion which not even the most lukewarm could deny to him-no negative virtue, the offspring of cold calculation unnatural in the young, but the fruit of an entireness of selfdevotion of which man is seldom found capable.
Happy for both that he was met by a kindred spirit! Every advantage that the nation has derived from the Prince's career is owing to the perfect harmony of the two individuals thus loftily placed. Had the Royal Lady who bestowed her hand been less royally noble in nature-had there been the slightest jealousy of his influence, or of his personal participation in scenes and duties denied to the Crown, it is not too much to say that the world would have known but little of the Prince's powers for N 2