Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

done it in a more unostentatious manner, than

any similar Association ever projected. The advantage of the Prince's advocacy, in the year 1864, was exhibited in the highly-satisfactory form of subscriptions to the amount of over 23281. being announced at the dinner. The Prince justly pointed out in his speech that the relief given by the Fund was awarded with absolute secrecy, 'a secrecy so sacredly observed, that in the whole number of cases, there is not a single case of any indiscretion having been committed.' The Prince Consort had kindly consented to act as the President of this Fund, and the Queen has generously given a hundred guineas a year to it ever since her accession to the Throne. Another charitable association which the Prince of Wales has always been foremost in assisting is the Theatrical Fund. In many ways, indeed, he has been a good friend to actors, and not a few of them are proud to possess personal memorials of his appreciation of their art, or of their successful efforts in some particular play. In presiding at a dinner of the Theatrical Fund in 1870, he expressed his satisfaction at the fact, that ever since his childhood he had had opportunities of going to the theatre, and witnessing some of the most excellent plays, and appreciating the performances of some of the best actors, of the present day. Mr. Buckstone was present on that occasion, and with a great deal more discrimination and discernment than other persons have always shown, he reminded his brother actors that it was not an easy matter for the Prince of Wales to respond to all the appeals which were made to him. What with conversaziones, laying foundation stones, opening schools, and other calls upon his little leisure, I think,' said Mr. Buckstone, he may be looked upon as one of the hardest working men in Her Majesty's dominions. If those words were justified then, they are ten times more to the purpose now; for the demands upon the Prince's time have necessarily increased, while the day is not any longer than it used to be.

It is doubtless owing in some degree to the fact, that the Prince had the opportunity of visiting our North American Colonies and our Indian Empire, that he has been so ardently in favour of strengthening the ties between the mother country and her distant possessions. It is sometimes said that no man ought to be deemed eligible to fill a great position in an English Ministry until he has seen for himself some of the outlying portions of the Empire ; and if that be regarded as pushing a sound principle too far, it must at least be admitted that personal observation of the Colonies ought to be deemed part of a thorough training for public life. Between knowledge picked up at second hand, and knowledge acquired by personal travel

and

and experience, there is all the difference in the world. may learn more about any country by a few weeks' residence in it than he could find out by a study of all the books ever published. The Prince of Wales, by the wise foresight of his father, was sent early out into the world, and his visit to Canada made a lasting impression upon his mind. In 1881, at a Colonial banquet at the Mansion House, he declared that the remembrance of that journey was as fresh in his memory as it had ever been. Over and over again, he has expressed the strongest desire to visit the Australian Colonies and the Cape. He was the means of founding the Imperial Institute, in commemoration of Her Majesty's Jubilee, his desire being, as he explained at the preliminary meeting, that it should present an • emblem of the unity of the Empire, and that it should illustrate the resources and capabilities of every section of Her Majesty's dominions.' He wished that the Institute should be regarded as a centre for extending knowledge in relation to the industrial resources and commerce of the Queen's dominions. These ideas will no doubt be carried out in due time, and the results cannot fail to be extremely advantageous to the working classes, not only, as the Prince said, 'by forming a practical means of communication between our Colonial settlers and those persons at home who may benefit by emigration’; but also by improving the facilities for carrying on the competition in commerce and manufactures, now growing more and more keen year after year. In a speech delivered since this volume was published, at a meeting of the Royal Colonial Institute, * the Prince took the opportunity of emphatically repeating his views in connection with the Colonies. He referred again to his visit to North America, and to the regret which he still feels that he has never been enabled to see Australia. He then expressed the opinion to which we have just referred. “It is the duty,' he said, “if it be possible, of all Englishmen, and above all, of all statesmen, to visit those great Colonies, which will prove to them how proud we may be of being Englishmen, and of what the indomitable energy of Englishmen can do.' His Royal Highness alluded to the teaching of a certain section of politicians in this country,' to the effect, that our Colonies are a source of weakness, not of strength, and he rejoiced over the fact, that this school is almost entirely extinct. Certainly, it has considerably diminished in numbers, and makes itself heard only at long intervals. The Prince, on this occasion, also gave utterance to a sentiment, which we are

* March 6th, 1839.

confident

confident is in the mind and heart of the vast majority of Englishmen, wherever they may be found, and it is with no slight satisfaction that we quote it here :- We regard the Colonies as integral parts of the Empire, and our warmest sympathies are with our brethren beyond the seas, who are no less dear to us than if they dwelt in Surrey or Kent. Mutual interests, as well as ties of affection, unite us as one people, and so long as we hold together we are unassailable from without.' That is really the Colonial question in a nutshell, and it is curious to reflect what might have been the consequences if George III. had been influenced by even a faint trace of this line of thought. Great Britain had few colonies then ; but it was not necessary to lose any of the few which she had. It would not, however, be reasonable to complain of George III. because he had not the same breadth of view on Colonial or Imperial questions as the Prince of Wales. The essential thing is to know that our future kings are likely to have travelled more in their dominions than nine private persons out of ten, and that their sympathies will be quite as much with their Colonial subjects as with the home population. This, in itself, indicates a memorable change in the relations of the Colonies towards the mother country,

We have shown that the Prince of Wales has identified himself, at one time or another, with every great charitable object known to our time, and he has also been associated with all the most important public works of the age. He drove the last rivet into Stephenson's bridge over the St. Lawrence; he opened the Thames Embankment; docks, harbours, bridges, exhibitions innumerable, have been inaugurated' by him; he founded the Royal College of Music; and he originated the Fisheries and Colonial Exhibitions which were so popular, and did so much to bring the resources of our Colonies under the very eyes of the home population. In every duty that he has undertaken, he has always acquitted himself well. Without the most wonderful powers of endurance, he never could have gone through the wear and tear of his endless engagements. An ordinary day in his life would tire most men out. In this respect, he has always been the same. When he was in Canada, he went about to all sorts of places the livelong day, attended a state dinner in the evening, and finished with a ball where he almost invariably danced from ten o'clock till four the next morning. His suite were sometimes worn out long before His Royal Highness showed the slightest sign of fatigue. For ten entire days in Ireland during one of his visits, he scarcely had an hour to himself, except during the very brief interval

snatched

6

own

snatched for sleep. As was recorded at the time, there were presentations and receptions, receiving and answering addresses, processions, walking, riding, and driving, in morning, evening, military, academic, and medieval attire. He had to hold his

with Cardinals, Chancellors, Rectors, Commanding officers, Presidents, Chairmen, local deputations.' Without a very considerable knowledge, not only of the ordinary questions of the day, but also of art, science, and literature, and a still greater knowledge of human nature, it would be impossible for any man to pass successfully through such ordeals as these. We should infer that for a Prince of Wales to become popular in these days, and to remain so, it is necessary that he should have a fair knowledge of everything: that he should be familiarly acquainted with the chief European languages and literature, have great discernment and penetration, be a good judge of music and painting, have a thorough sympathy with the sporting instincts of Englishmen, show an interest in agricultural pursuits, have at least a superficial knowledge of the principal manufactures of the country, watch attentively the course of politics without talking about them, be on good terms with the leaders of parties, without falling under their influence, be gifted with great shrewdness in judging of character, possess all the accomplishments of ordinary men, with a good many added, show amiability to all, and in all circumstances, and be absolutely iron-clad against fatigue. The position is clearly not in the nature of those sinecures of which we hear so much in the present day. We believe we only express the general sense of the country when we affirm, that the present Prince of Wales has filled this position in a manner which has won for him universal respect, and even a much warmer personal feeling, as was made manifest in the deep anxiety of the nation during his almost fatal illness in 1871. Without entering into invidious comparisons, it may be confidently asserted, that no heir to the British Crown ever before took such pains to prepare himself for the high duties which in course of time await him. He has submitted himself to a hard and stern apprenticeship. He is known to have devoted the greatest care to the education of his children, and to have stimulated in them that desire for travel which, in his own experience, he has found to bring so great a reward. Living in the full glare of publicity; the man above all others in the nation around whom personal gossip will continually revolve ; exposed at all times to misrepresentation, or the shafts of malice; in spite of all this, the Prince has never rendered himself fairly vulnerable to the least of the attacks which were habitually levelled at some of his

predecessors.

predecessors. The late Emperor of Germany and our own Prince of Wales stand out among most Royal personages of the present generation for their anxiety to deserve well of their countrymen, and for their earnest efforts to fulfil every requirement incidental to their stations. The path of duty was very different in both cases, but in both it was conscientiously followed out. It would be almost miraculous if any one occupying a foremost position in any country entirely escaped the voice of detraction; but, in justice to the good sense and good feeling of the English people, it must be acknowledged that this unwelcome voice is almost wholly silent where the Prince of Wales is concerned. Few, indeed, are they who will not cordially and frankly acknowledge that his personal qualities, and his lofty sense of duty, well entitle him to share with his illustrious mother, the Sovereign, the loyalty and affection of the British people all over the world.

A

ART. II. – 1. The Correspondence of John Lothrop Motley,

D.C.L., formerly United States Minister in England; Author of 'Rise of the Dutch Republic,' History of the United Netherlands, 8c. Edited by George William Curtis. 2 vols.

London, 1889. 2. John Lothrop Motley, a Memoir. By Oliver Wendell Holmes. . London, 1878. MONG the many Americans and foreigners who, in recent years, have undertaken to describe England, her customs,

, and her inhabitants, there are but few who have enjoyed such opportunities as did Mr. Motley of mixing with and studying the inner life of our best society; and never perhaps have such opportunities been combined with that genius of observation and faculty for description, which were possessed by the historian of the Dutch Republic. They are but sketches that he gives us, but sketches which comprise most of the leading characters of the time, dashed off from day to day in all the ease and unrestraint of his familiar correspondence, and instinct with the natural humour and genial, if somewhat cynical, wit of the man.

We have mentioned at the outset these outline sketches of London society, not because they form the largest or most important portion of the Correspondence, but because it is to them that many of our readers will turn with the greatest eager

There is scarcely a capital in Europe with which Mr. Motley was not familiar: his diplomatic duties or his literary Vol. 168.–No. 336.

X

researches

ness.

« AnteriorContinuar »