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In the spring of 1800 accordingly, I went up to Eton, for the purpose of joining my friend. Here I several times visited the gardens of the Queen's villa at Frogmore; and, privileged by my young friend's introduction, I had opportunities of seeing and hearing the Queen and all the Princesses; which at that time was a novelty in my life, naturally a good deal prized. My friend's mother had been, before her marriage, Lady Louisa H., and intimately known to the Royal Family, who, on her account, took a continual and especial notice of her son.
On one of these occasions I had the honor of a brief interview with the King. Madame de Campan mentions, as an amusing incident in her early life, though terrific at the time, and overwhelming to her sense of shame, that not long after her establishment at Versailles, in the service of some one amongst the daughters of Louis XV., having as yet never seen the King, she was one day suddenly introduced to his particular notice, under the following circumstances: The time was morning; the young lady was not fifteen; her spirits were as the spirits of a fawn in May; her tour of duty for the day was not come, or was gone; and, finding herself alone in a spacious room, what more reasonable thing could she do than amuse herself with whirling round, according to that fashion known to young ladies both in France and England, and which, in both countries, is called making cheeses, viz., pirouetting until the petticoat is inflated like a balloon, and then sinking into a curtsy. Mademoiselle was very solemnly rising from one of these curtsies, in the centre of her collapsing petticoats, when a slight noise alarmed her. Jealous of intruding eyes, yet not dreading more than a servant at worst, she turned; and, oh heavens! whom should she behold but his most Christian Majesty advancing upon her, with a brilliant suite of gentlemen,
young and old, equipped for the chase, who had been all silent spectators of her performances. From the King to the last of the train, all bowed to her and all laughed without restraint as they passed the abashed amateur of cheese-making. But she, to speak Homerically, wished in that hour that the earth might gape and cover her confusion. Lord W. and I were about the age of Mademoiselle, and not much more decorously engaged, when a turn brought us full in view of a royal party coming along one of the walks at Frogmore. We were, in fact, theorizing and practically commenting on the art of throwing stones. Boys have a peculiar contempt for female attempts in that way. Besides that girls fling wide of the mark, with a certainty that might have won the applause of Galerius,* there is a peculiar sling and rotary motion of the arm in launching a stone, which no girl ever can attain. From ancient practice I was somewhat of a proficient in this art, and was discussing the philosophy of female failures, illustrating my doctrines with pebbles, as the case happened to demand; whilst Lord W. was practising on the peculiar whirl of the wrist with a shilling; when suddenly he turned the head of the coin towards me with a significant glance, and in a low voice he muttered some words, of which I caught Grace of God,' 'Francet and Ireland,'
*Sir,' said that Emperor to a soldier, who had missed the target fifteen times in succession, 'allow me to offer my congratulations on the truly admirable skill you have shown in keeping clear of the mark. Not to have hit once in so many trials, argues the most splendid talents for missing.'
+ France was at that time among the royal titles, the act for altering the King's style and title not having then passed. As connected with this subject, I may here mention a project, (reported to have been canvassed in Council at the time when that alteration did take place,) for changing the title from King to Emperor. What then occurred strikingly illustrates the general character of the British policy as to all external demonstrations of pomp and national pretension, and its strong
'Defender of the Faith,' and so forth. This solemn recitation of the legend of the coin was meant as a joke by
opposition to that of France under corresponding circumstances. The principle of esse quam videri, and the carelessness about names when the thing is unaffected, generally speaking, must command praise and respect. Yet, considering how often the reputation of power becomes, for international purposes, nothing less than power itself, and that words, in many relations of human life, are emphatically things, and sometimes are so to the exclusion of the most absolute things themselves, men of all qualities being often governed by names; the policy of France seems the wiser, viz., se faire valoir, even at the price of ostentation. But, at all events, no man is entitled to exercise that extreme candor, forbearance, and spirit of ready concession in re aliena, and, above all, in re politica, which, on his own account, might be altogether honorable. On a public (or at least on a foreign) relation, it is the duty of a good citizen to be lofty, exacting, almost insolent. And, on this principle, when the ancient style of the kingdom fell under revision, if- as I do not deny - it was advisable to retrench all obsolete pretensions as so many memorials of a greatness that was now extinct, and therefore, pro tanto, rather presumptions of weakness than of strength; yet, on the other hand, all countervailing pretensions which had since arisen, and had far more than equiponderated the declension in that one direction, should have been then adopted into the titular heraldry of the nation. It was neither wise nor just to insult foreign nations with assumptions which no longer stood upon any basis of reality. And on that ground France was rightly omitted. But why, when the Crown was thus remoulded, and its jewellery unset, if this one pearl were to be restored as a stolen ornament, why, we may ask, were not the many and gorgeous jewels, achieved by the national wisdom and power in later times, adopted into the recomposed tiara? Upon what principle did the Romans, the wisest among the children of the world, leave so many inscriptions as records of their power or their triumphs, upon columns, arches, temples, basilicæ, or medals? A national act, a solemn and deliberate act, delivered to history, is a more imperishable monument than any made by hands: and the title, as revised, which ought to have expressed a change in the dominion simply as to the mode and form of its expansion, now remains as a confession of absolute contraction: once we had A, B, and C ; now we have dwindled into A and B.
On this argument, it was urged at the time in high quarters, that the new recast of the Crown and Sceptre should come out of the furnace equably improved; as much for what they were authorized to claim, as for what they were compelled to disclaim. And, as one mode of effect
way of discomposing my gravity at the moment of meeting the King; Lord W. having himself lost somewhat of
ing this, it was proposed that the King should become an Emperor. Some indeed alleged, that an Emperor, by its very idea, as received in the Chancery of Europe, implies a King paramount over vassal or tributary Kings. But it is a sufficient answer to say, that an Emperor is a prince, uniting in his own person the thrones of several distinct kingdoms: and in effect we adopt that view of the case in giving the title of Imperial to the Parliament, or common assembly of the three kingdoms. However, the title of the prince was a matter trivial in comparison of the title of his ditio, or extent of jurisdiction. This point admits of a striking illustration: in the Paradise Regained, Milton has given us, in close succession, three matchless pictures of civil grandeur, as exemplified in three different modes by three different states. Availing himself of the brief Scriptural notice, -'And the devil showed him all the kingdoms of the earth,' he causes to pass, as in a solemn pageant before us, the two military empires then co-existing, of Parthia and Rome, and finally, (under another idea of political greatness,) the intellectual glories of Athens. From the picture of the Roman grandeur we extract, and beg the reader to weigh the following lines:
'Thence to the gates cast round thine eye, and see
Prætors, proconsuls, to their provinces
In various habits on the Appian road,
Or on the Emilian; some from farthest south,
The realm of Bocchus to the Blackmoor Sea;
Dark faces with white silken turbans wreath'd;
Germans and Scythians and Sarmatians, north,
With this superb picture, or abstraction of the Roman pomps and power, when ascending to their utmost altitude, confront the following representative sketch of a great English levee on some high solemnity,
the awe natural to a young person in a first situation of this nature, through his frequent admissions to the royal
suppose the King's birth-day: :-'Amongst the presentations to his majesty, we noticed Lord O. S., the Governor-General of India, on his departure for Bengal; Mr. U. Z. with an Address from the Upper and Lower Canadas; Sir. L. V. on his appointment as Commander of the Forces in Nova Scotia; General Sir, on his return from the Burmese war ["the Golden Chersonese; "] the Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean fleet; Mr. B. Z., on his appointment to the ChiefJusticeship at Madras; Sir R. G., the late Attorney-General at the Cape of Good Hope; General Y. X. on taking leave for the Governorship of Ceylon ["The utmost Indian isle, T'aprobane; "] Lord F. M. the bearer of the last despatches from head-quarters in Spain; Col. P. on going out as Captain-General of the forces in New Holland; Commodore St. L. on his return from a voyage of discovery towards the North Pole; the King of Owhyhee, attended by Chieftains from the other islands of that cluster; Col. M'P. on his return from the war in Ashantee, upon which occasion the gallant Colonel presented the treaty and tribute from that country; Admiral on his appointment to the Baltic fleet; Captain O. N. with despatches from the Red Sea, advising the destruction of the piratical armament and settlements in that quarter, as also in the Persian Gulf; Sir T. O.'N., the late resident in Nepaul, to present his report of the war in that territory, and in adjacent regions names as yet unknown in Europe; the Governor of the Leeward Islands, on departing for the West Indies; various deputations, with petitions, addresses, &c., from islands in remote quarters of the globe, amongst which we distinguished those from Prince Edward Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, from the Mauritius, from Java, from the British settlement in Terra del Fuego, from the Christian Churches in the Society, Friendly, and Sandwich Islands - as well as other groups less known in the South Seas; Admiral H. A., on assuming the command of the Channel Fleet; Major-Gen X. L. on resigning the Lieut. Governorship of Gibraltar; Hon. G. F. on going out as secretary to the Governor of Malta, &c. &c. &c.'
The sketch is founded upon a base of a very few years, i. e., we have, in one or two instances, placed in juxtaposition, as co-existences, events separated by a few years. But, if (like Milton's picture of the Roman grandeur) the abstraction had been made from a base of thirty years in extent, and had there been added to the picture (according to his precedent) the many and remote embassies to and from independent states, in all quarters of the earth; with how many more groups, might the spectacle have been crowded, and especially of those who fall within that most picturesque delineation