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she was taken seriously ill ; and, on the 7th of August, closed her troubled life, at Brandenburgh House; having directed in her will that the words, « Here lies Caroline of Brunswick, the injured queen of England,” should be her epitaph.
On the morning of the 14th, after a disgusting contest between her executors and the government for the possession of her remains, they were removed from Brandenburgh House towards Harwich, on their way to interment at Brunswick. The ministers, from false prudence, or to gratify personal feelings of unworthy rancour beyond the grave, gave orders that the funeral should take a circuit, to avoid manifestations of sympathy from the corporation and the people, along the direct route through London. At Kensington the procession found every road but that of London barricaded by the mob, and was constrained to take the forbidden route, with the intention of passing through Hyde Park into the northern road. The park gate was closed and barricaded, but was forced by the military. The upper gate was also barricaded. Here a conflict took place between the military and the people; and two of the mob were shot dead by soldiers. The procession moved on; the conflict was renewed; the mob triumphed, and the corpse was borne through the city. Sir Robert Wilson had remonstrated with some soldiers and an officer on duty. His interference, humane, but unmilitary, caused his removal from the army. The directing civil magistrate present, having consulted his humanity in preference to his orders, and to prevent bloodshed, yielded to the
wish of the multitude, was also deprived of his commission.
Whilst the queen of George IV. was dying, he was on his way to visit Ireland. The news of her death reached him on board the Irish packet. It either was, or was said to be, his intention, upon receiving the news, to land privately; but his person was recognised, his presence was proclaimed, and the whole population of Dublin and its vicinity pressed round him with delirious joy. His recollection of the more phlegmatic, independent, and self-licensed temper of an English mob, contrasted with the popular ecstasies of his present reception by the Irish, dissolved the frozen and freezing barriers of royal etiquette, and of his personal character. The homage which he received was not the less gratifying to him because it was unthinking and abject; and he threw himself, with more of natural effusion than he had perhaps ever manifested before, upon the hearts of the people. The Irish appeared to be seized, like the Abderites, with a sort of deliration; their heads turned, and imaginations possessed with a single idea — the presence of the king. He seemed to descend in kindness, like an apparition of superior nature, among a provincial people, debased by servitude of caste and country, of lively imaginations, and quick and extreme in their emotions, whether for good or ill.
The exhibitions of royal state, and the manifestations of enthusiastic homage, during his stay in Ireland, would be little worth repeating. His chief, if not only, private visit was to Slane Castle, the residence of lord Conyngham. Here he was
seen in his private and social character; and it is certain that he left upon the minds of persons very competent to judge, who then conversed with him for the first time, flattering impressions both of his capacity and demeanour. Among those invited to meet him were two individuals holding office in Ireland, who had agreed in being strenuous opponents of the union, but now entertained adverse opinions on the Catholic claims. One of these, a person equally and eminently distinguished by his eloquence, wit, and personal character, sat at dinner opposite the king. Lady Conygnham whispered something in the royal ear. There was nothing extraordinary in this : but their eyes were directed to the opposite guest, who appeared somewhat disturbed by the seeming scrutiny. The king relieved him by saying: “B- you would hardly guess that lady Conyngham has been repeating to me a passage from one of your speeches against the union. My early opinion was, that your's and the -'s" (referring to the other functionary present) “opposition to the measure was well-founded; and since I have seen this glorious people, and the effects produced by it, that opinion is confirmed; but,” he added, as if correcting himself, “ I am sure you will agree with me in opinion that, now the measure is passed, you should both feel it your duty to oppose any attempt to repeal it with as much zeal as you originally opposed its taking place." Both bowed assent; and the king continued, “ But you all committed a great mistake: you should haye made terms, as the Scotch did; and you could have got any terms." He then referred, with perfect familiarity, to the
stipulations of the Scotch union. Mr. S-the anti-Catholic functionary, said - “ And the Scotch further stipulated for the establishment of their national religion.” “You are right," said the king; “they secured that point also : but-no, no," (again hastily checking himself), “ you must give no weight to what I have just said. It should not be supposed that I entertain an opinion from which inferences might be drawn that would lead to disappointment.” Mr. S-obviously meant that the Irish parliament, at the union, should have stipulated for Protestant ascendancy; but the king appeared to understand the Catholic by the national religion of Ireland, the emancipation of which should have been made a condition.
If kings did not, like other people, speak loosely, and accommodate the hue of their opinions to circumstances, it might be inferred from this speech of the late king, that he resisted the Catholic claims from some extrinsic influences rather than from personal feelings.
Despatches were received in the course of the evening, announcing the riots at the funeral procession of the queen ; and he expressed, without the slightest reserve, in somewhat contemptuous terms, his dissatisfaction at the want of arrangement and energy on the part of ministers. He then adverted to the firmness with which his father had acted in the riots of 1780; and spoke of him in a tone of solemn reverence, with the reality or well-acted appearances, of strong emotion.
George IV. obtained for the moment, during this visit in Ireland, a magical ascendant over the
minds of individuals, and over politico-religious party spirit in the multitude. Had he adopted the liberal and decisive policy which either a sound understanding or a sound heart would have alike dictated to him, whilst the mass of the nation was in this state of fervour and fusion, he would have left behind him his image stamped permanently upon Ireland as a pacificator. But he merely issued at his departure, through a letter addressed to the lord lieutenant by lord Sidmouth (the most inauspicious vehicle he could employ), a puny equivocating exhortation to concord, which proved but a false gospel of religious peace. He left Ireland on the 5th, arrived in London on the 16th; and left England again on the 24th of September, for Hanover, where he made his public entry on the 11th of October.
Lord Talbot was at this time chief governor of Ireland, and Mr. Charles Grant chief secretary. The lord lieutenant had no one qualification for his office but that of being a narrow-minded exclusionist, and therefore agreeable to the Protestant ascendancy party. The secretary was a man of enlightened principles, of high character, of known capacity, and of that moral simplicity of purpose which distinguishes the administrator from the politician. His appointment was a pledge and gratification to the Catholics. But a government administered upon this wretched system of counteraction, conceived in the lowest spirit of political handicraft, was peculiarly inapplicable to Ireland, and produced there its natural effects. The king had not long departed, when his visit and his