11 AUGUST 1855, Page 17


OP ItA.NOYElka THE lives of the Queens of -England since the accession of trie ' house of Brunswick have interest in varioua points of view. ,Te biography of Sophie. Dorothea of Zell, Wife of George the Eiret, I though not very eventful, has the mystery attaching to her connexion with Count lioaissmark, which ended in his asses- aination, and her imprisonment for life., Iferx,elationsliiiira the. court of Hanover—the Elector and tliui.fattler. of ,Sophis,w, ,brothers—offers a fair opportunity of deseritting. the polities, trigues, morals, and manners of the German .courts from a hnn- dred and fifty to two hundred years ago; which 1)r. Doran by no means omits. Sophia's cotisinship to George the First likewiSe furnishes a Lit occasion, for giving a genealogical and historical sketch of the house of Brunswick, The life of Caroline, wife of fieorge the Second, was externally happier than that of her , mother-in-law Sophia if not, owing to the coarse infidelity of -her husband, in reality. Perhaps' however, 'she did not feel this; for Caroline was ambitious; ruled her,husband secretly; and W9,S conspicuously before the public herself as a belle esprit, patroness of lieerature and philosophy, and a friend of learning. Queen Charlotte, the "old Queen" of the last generation, had little strength or at least elevation 'of character, and, as general opinion Tainted her when the first heyday of youth 'was over, very little Of attractiveness. The madness,of her liusband, end the misconduct of her two eldest. sons during that madness, gave something of a Lear-like air to a large portion of her life, and to the reader re- -deems it from insipidity. by-suffering. The career of Caroline Brunswick, from the time when Malmesbury appeared at " the court of her father to demand her handler the first gentleilian. in Europe," until she died, mortified, worn-out, and broken- hearted, seven-and-twenty years afterwards, is full of troubln, change, and turmoil. And though there is nothing in her eouree either lofty or attractive, there is much over which the moralist

may ponder, aid the lover, of gossip revel. .

Very sufficient materials exist for a delineation, of the lives Of these Queens, except S,ophia Dorothea, respecting *hose character, and whose guilt or, innocence, not much of a conclusive nature is really extent. Walpole's numerous publieationa, Lord Hervey's Memoirs published within these few years, and several collections of , family papers, throw a full light upon the whole reign of George the - Second, and the early times of George the 'Third. For a later period there are the Memoirs, of Madame D'Arblay, (Wanny Burney,) the . Molinesbury and Buckingham Tapers, the lives of Eldon and Sid- mouth, with many other publications, of less value and authority, perhaps, but containing curious particulars. There is also the daily press, getting fuller and fuller as time, -rolls on, till at the "Queen's Trial" it becomes as full as the gre-at lover of scandal could desire. There is, however, one pea arity in connexion with this amplitude of authorities. 'A large portion of the works are, or have been, the "new books" of this generation, with which the reading public are already acquainted. Dr. Doran's laboqrs do not leave an impression of research but of reading: they have as much the air of an article as a book. This peculiarity is inevitable. The fulness with which the private life and vices of the first two Ggpirges are exhibited, render- ing the biography of Sophia Dorotheaf_especia.11y, less a life of the Queen than of the King, a. fault 'that might easily- have been avoided, though at the expense Of some curious if not very edifying matter. A natural wish not to lose singular and tharae- ,teristio particulars hiss induced Dr. Doran to overlay his profesSeid subject with facts and stories as illustrative of the times as of the lives of his Queens; and these particulars are sometimes out of place where they are found, though they would do verj well in separate chapters on the manners of the first half of the eighteenth century. The great defect of the book is the' tone. Dr. Doran has forgotten that the rather forced fun which is appropriate to such topics as dress and dining is not so fit for the lives of queens, or the charac- teristics of kings, nobles, and courts. It is possible that in his ethical censures he is sometimes a little harsh under all eiregin- stances, and sonetimes looks at the mode as much as the morality. We know that the populace were highly indignant at the coarse- ness and ungainliness of George the First's" Gernihn ladies; but that was surely the King's affair. Dr. Doran's-book, however, is an extraordinary repository of facts and anecdotes connected with • Lives of the Queens of England of the House of Hanover. By Dr. Doran, Au- thor of *• Table Traits," "Habits and Men," &c. In me...volumes. Publishe4 by 'Bentley.

the courts of Germany and England for a century and a half; and a very humiliating picture it is. One feature of -the book is the number of portraits introduced, of persons about whom the general reader knows little or nothing. Here is a name well enough known, but how few have heard of the individual, a natural (laughter of George the First.

"Her more celebrated sister, who married the Earl of Chesterfield, and in whose name her husband is said to have compelled George II. to pay him a very _large sum, which, also according to report, was bequeathed her by George L, in the will which was destroyed, led as gay and careless a life as her lord, but not for so long a period as he. She was in the very height of her enjoyment of the splendour of the great world, when, attracted by cu- riosity to the obscurely-lighted drawingroom of Lady Huntingdon, Where Whitfield was preaching, she learned, for the first time to heed as well as hear, the story of the brighter splendour of a greater, and the night and an- guish of a more terrible world, than the one in which she was chief lady of the revels, and the fascinator, not to be resisted, of every man in it except her husband. It was here she first felt that all was not so well with her heart, nor so safe for her soul, as should be. She was a woman of strong mind, and she at once braved all the storm with which fools and fine gentle- men pelted her, by boldly declaring the difference which had come over her views, and that,which should in future mark her practice. She mould fain have retired altogether from the world ; but in obedience to her husband, who exacted from her a service which he never repaid, she went occasionally to court. At each visit it was remarked that her costume diminished in finery, but increased in taste. At her last visit among the gay and panting throng, she appeared in a plain but elegant dress of sober brown brocade, powdered,' as the heralds might say, with silver flowers.' A smile may mock this humility of a court lady, but the costly and Continental simplicity was encountered by her half-brother the King (for it was in George H.'s time that this occurred) with a frown. He had not yet learned to honour pious men or women of any creed, and he had little respect for Lady Hun- tingdon or 'Whitfield. Be accordingly made two or three steps in advance

to the shrinking lady, and rather rudely remarked, know who selected that gown for you ; it must have been Mr. Whitfield. I hear you have been a follower of his for this year and a half.' Lady Chesterfield mildly replied,

have, and very well do I like him,' and withdrew ; but she afterwards used to regret that she had not said more, when she had so excellent an op- portunity for uttering a word in season' with effect.

"Lady Huntingdon hoped, for sometime, that a sense of religion might soon touch the heart of him who continued to be polite and impious to the last. He laughingly called death a leap in the dark, and he obstinately refused the light which would have saved him from leaping to his destruc- tion. The nearest approach he ever made to being converted by Lady Hun- tingdon, was when he once sent her a subscription towards building a cha- pel, and earnestly implored her not to expose him to ridicule by revealing the fact.

"His noble wife—for she was a wife—true woman, rising above the shame of her birth, and resolute to save even him who was resolute and resigned to perish, was most assiduous at the deathbed of a husband who was as anxious as Charles II. to be courteous and civil, even in death. His last day on earth was the 24th of March 1773; and his courtesy had well nigh failed him when he heard that his wife had sent for Mr. Rowland Bill to at- tend him."

George the Fourth figures a good deal in the lives of his -mother and wife • and never favourably. This is a sample of his manner of proceeding during the first illness of his father.

"The Prince of Wales was extremely desirous to remove the King from Windsor to Kew. The King was violently averse from such removal, and the Queen opposed it until she was informed that it bad the sanction of the phy- sicians. The difficulty was, how he was to get there. Of his own will be would never oo. The Prince and physicians contrived a plan. The Queen and Princesses were to leave Windsor early, and, as soon as the King should be told of their departure, his uneasiness would be calmed by an assurance that he would find them at Kew. The Queen yielded reluctantly, on being told that it would be for her consort's advantage; and she and her daughters proceeded, without state and in profound grief, to Kew. Small accommoda- tion did they find there ; for half the apartments were locked up, by the Prince's orders, while on the doors of the few allotted to the Queen and her slender retinue, some illustrious groom of the chambers had scratched the names of those by whom they were to be occupied, in chalk ! Night had set in before the King arrived. He had been wheedled away from Windsor, on psomise of being allowed to see the Queen and their daughters at Kew. He . performed the journey in silent content ; and when be arrived—the promise was broken ! The Queen and children were again told that it was all for the best; but a night passed by the King in violence and raving showed how deeply he feIt the cruel insult to which he had been subjected. In the mean time, preparations to name the Prince Regent were going on."

Some of the following " errors " of George the Third were shared in by a good many. We know from the Buckingham Papers what the opinion of the red-tapists was as to Sir Arthur 'Wellesley having the command in Portugal ; Nelson was always hated by officials high and low. "We may add here that the King himself occasionally committed errors that must have considerably annoyed those of his family and Cabinet who entertained more correct views and opinions. Thus, it is pretty well known that George III. was very reluctant to admit Sir Arthur Wellesley to act as ,Commander-in-chief. It is mentioned by Lord Holland, in his Memoirs of the Whig Party,' that Nelson himself was looked coldly upon at court, even when he made his first appearance there after the glorious victory of the .Nile. Incompetent and unsuccessful officers were there conversed with, while scarcely a word of recognition was vouchsafed to the diminutive con- queror. He had doubly offended. His connexion with Lady Hamilton was an offence to both King and Queen. Ile had besides accepted an order' from the King of Naples, without first asking permission. Ile had been told not to wear it above the order of the Itath, but his reply was that the latter order was in its right place ; and as the King of Naples had affixed his own on the spot which it then occupied on the Admiral's coat, he would let it remain where the Neapolitan ling had graciously condescended to put it. This in- dependent line of conduct was not likely to gain favour either with the King or Queen ; and though they submitted to have victories gained for them by his head and hand, they had very little esteem for him who wan their battles. The King is known to have been very averse to the public funeral with which honour, poor enough, was done to the remains of the hero."