صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

what was to be expected from such a person, had he power in his hands, when he could so act when he had none, and whether the benevolent character was to be hoped for from a man who seemed to act the tyrant even in private life,—that their informant begged they would lay their hands on their hearts, and consider coolly if the lasting happiness of their families, and the prosperity of their country, was not greatly to be preferred to their affection and attachment to any particular person or family,—that if these great blessings were obtained, it was no matter to them or to the nation by whose hand they came,—that, therefore, if a change must be in order to obtain them, some better qualified behoved to be found out, and all thoughts of him laid for ever aside.

The deputation then said that their informant had affirmed positively that he had Mr Goring's authority for every thing he had said,—that the prince's friends were certain that this mortifying heavy charge was without much foundation; but that they were likewise as certain that Mr Goring having been long an eye-witness to his conduct, and one in whom he had placed confidence, very fatal and deep impressions would be made upon the minds of many, which nothing but his own prudent, steady, firm conduct, and circumspect behaviour for the future, could possibly remove,—that if not too late, they were certain the prince was blessed with great natural parts, with a quickness and penetration above most men, were they properly balanced,—that these qualities were very valuable in any man, but still more so in youth if properly used; but that it was against the nature of things for youth to have the prudence and experience of age,—that it was no sign of wisdom to act entirely without counsel; but that true wisdom was only to be discovered by a right choice of counsellors, and then acting steadily by their advice,— that even persons of the greatest experience and sagacity often needed advice, and that none could be reckoned truly wise, even in private affairs, who did not sometimes consult with, and put confidence in some solid friends. But how much more ought it to be done in matters which concerned kingdoms and nations, even all Europe, and perhaps the whole world. They observed that the times appeared critical,—that although war was evidently neither the interest nor inclination of England and France, yet sooner or later, and perhaps ere long, it would ensue,—that trade was the question,—that the command of the seas and the command of trade were inseparable, and that both nations viewed the question in that light,—that pride, interest, and the desire of power, combined to prompt each nation to wish earnestly for the uppermost, in so much that it was the opinion of the most reflecting part of the world, that the game of Rome and Carthage would have to be played, and that the one or other must have dominion,—that were, therefore, Britain headed by one who had no separate interest from the nation, the question to which side dominion would fall might be easily determined, and that most people of the best understanding in England were of that opinion; so that the chief point was to convince them that there was a valuable personage on whom their interest and happiness depended, whose only interest and true happiness was unalterably connected with theirs, and who was will ing and ready to sacrifice some part of his own happiness and satisfaction, in order to contribute to theirs.

A severer commentary on the conduct of Charles could scarcely have been delivered. It is not known what reception the deputation met with, or how this message was received by him; but, at his desire, the gentlemen committed it to writing, and sent the manuscript to him.* Charles returned a written answer to this message, worded in a style which showed how keenly he felt the reproaches which had been cast upon him. He informed his " friends" that he had received a very surprising message, delivered in a still more surprising manner,—that reason might, and he hoped should, always prevail with him; but his own heart deceived him, if threats or promises ever would,—that he had almost determined to wait events in silence or patience, and believed that the advances which they knew he had already made on his part, were as great as could reasonably be expected; yet that the influence of well wishers, of whose sincerity, he was satisfied, had made him put pen to paper in vindication of his character, which he understood from them some unworthy people had had the insolence to attack, very possibly to serve some mean purposes of their own,—that he despised their malice, and considered it below his dignity to treat them in the terms they deserved, —that he was willing to bring truth to light,—that he had long desired a churchman from his friends to attend him; but that his expectations had been hitherto disappointed.f From the tenor of this communication, Charles's friends perceived that it was in vain to contend any longer with him, and they, therefore, finally abandoned him to his unfortunate fate.

Though Charles at first affected not to feel the indignity offered to him by the French government, yet it is certain that it left an indelible impression on his mind, soured his disposition, and quite unhinged his deliberative faculties. During his long incognito, he scarcely ever corresponded with his afflicted father,—a silence which he said was not owing either to neglect or want of duty, but because his situation was such, that he could do nothing but vent " imprecations against the fatality of being born in such a detestable age." 4; Led away by his passions, he would suffer no control; and so infatuated did he become, that in resisting the admonitions of his friends, he thought he was pursuing a course honourable to himself, and dutiful towards "the honest man,"— his father ;§ but James was not to be misled by such false notions, and

• A copy of this extraordinary paper taken from the original among the Stuart Papon, will be found in the Appendix. It bean the date of 15th August, 1755.

t This letter will be found in the Appendix. The copy from which it was taken woa folded within the original " Memoir," presented to Charles by the deputation.

t Letter to Edgar, 24th March, 1754.

5 Letter,—Charles to Edgar, 12th March, 1755. Appendix.

hinted, that though he was happy to find Charles in such sentiments, yet that it was possible that what he might think for the best, might be otherwise. "Do you," he asks the prince, "rightly understand the extensive sense of honour and duty, from which you say you will never go astray? If you can, (he continues,) keep up to that rule, you will then be really an honest man, which is the new name you give me, and with which I am much pleased, since it is a title I value more than all those which vanity can desire, or flattery invent. It is a title we are all obliged to pretend to, and which we may all, without vauity, think we deserve, and unless we deserve it, we, in reality, can neither be happy in the next world, nor even in this, because peace and tranquillity of mind is only the share of honest men. The best wish I can therefore make you, is that you may yourself long deserve and enjoy that title: it would be the most effectual means of drawing down God's blessing upon you." *

After the estrangement of his friends, diaries gave up all thoughts of a restoration, and resided chiefly at Avignon till the death of his father, in December, seventeen hundred and sixty-six, when he returned to Italy. The Chevalier had, for several years, been in a declining state of health, and, for two years before bis death, had been confined to his bed-chamber. His remains were carried to the church of the parish where he had resided, and were decorated with all the insignia of royalty. The body was attired in royal robes, a crown put upon his head, a sceptre in his hand, and upon his breast the arms of Great Britain, &c. in gold and jewels. Above the bed of state on which the body lay, was a throne suspended from the ceiling, on the top of which were the figures of four angels holding the crown and sceptre, and at each corner the figure of death. Over the bed was this inscription :—" Jacobus Magna? Britannia; Rex, Anno Mdcclxvi," with medallions in front, representing the different orders of chivalry in Great Britain; the crowns of England, Scotland, and Ireland, to which were attached the royal insignia, viz. the purple robe lined with ermine,—the velvet tunic ornamented with gold,—the globe, the crown, the sceptre, the crosses of St George, St Andrew, &c. Four large pieces of drapery of purple silk were suspended from the canopy; and on the drapery, at the distance of every six inches, was a row of gold lace lined with white fringe. The drapery was parted and hung to the capitals of four columns on each side of the church, and these columns were covered with black cloth enriched with ornaments of gold. In the church was a number of chandeliers with skeletons holding wax tapers. The body lay in state three days; during which, none but the Italian princes and British subjects were admitted into the church. The corpse was then removed in procession to St Peter's church to be interred. The children of the charity schools led the pro* cession, and were followed by certain companies sent by the chief

• Letter to Charles, 1Mb April, 1755, A|i|>ciniix.


Samos Suurt De Chemlins de M Gorges engraved by S. Breman from the sriginal firinting.

[ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »