Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

estimate of their dispositions, their predominant virtues or their vices; but too little attention is paid to this great touchstone of the inward man, and many a youthful trait, indicative of the future character, passes unnoticed, either from a want of discernment or wilful blindness; and then no clue can be obtained to a correct delineation of the individual, until freed from the control of others, we see the object upon the great stage of the world, acting from the dictates of its own unbiassed judgment and inclination. A simple remark, excited by a peculiar combination of circumstances, will often give a greater insight into the tone and feelings of the infant mind, than could have been produced by the most methodical investigation, or the most profound analytical inquiry. The following anecdote will testify the early impressions which the mind of the Princess Charlotte received in regard to the obedience of the sovereign to the laws of the country, and we must admire the individual, who, being herself born to the prerogatives of royalty, could, at the age of seven, utter a sentiment so truly agreeable to the British constitution.

Being one evening present when a game of chess was playing, one of the parties suddenly exclaimed, « Check Mate.” ss What is Check Mate?" inquired the Princess.

She was an swered, “It is when the king is en prise by any particular piece, and cannot move without falling into the hands of an enemy.” “ That is a bad

[blocks in formation]

F 2

situation indeed, for a king," said the Princess ; “ but that can never be the fate of the king of England, so long as he conforms to the laws; and then he will meet with protection from his subjects.”

The heart of the Princess Charlotte appeared in her infancy to be alive to the most generous sympathies of our nature. Amongst the early admonitions of her mother, the exercise of charity was particularly inculcated. She was taught never to pass a beggar without affording him relief; and that the mite given in secret, to succour the aged and the helpless, was more acceptable in the eyes of Heaven, than hundreds squandered by the hand of ostentation. She therefore formed a little hoard, which she denominated the “ beggars' purse;” and never did she behold a mendicant, but her little heart throbbed with joy in tendering him the welcome pittance. Grand and beautiful are the precepts of the Christian religion, and never were they exemplified with greater force than in the actions of this royal child. The advantages nd the blessings attending on the practice of those precepts had been constantly impressed upon her mind; and that impression was never effaced to the last hour of her existence. May the following anecdote be transcribed and placed before the view of the rising generation, especially those of an elevated rank, and may they learn from it the exercise of that virtue, which ennobles an

H.

the Princess: of the king of the laws: and from his sub

otte appeared nost generous ist the early

exercise of 1. She was out affording in secret, to , was more an hundreds ation. She ch she deno

did little heart ne welcome e precepts were they he actions

nd the

exalted station, and without which, all the titles of the earth are insignificant and unsubstantial. “Let little children come to me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven,” said our Saviour; and how worthy this child was to inherit that kingdom, the following will testify.

One morning, the Princess Charlotte was enjoying her usual walk, accompanied by a single attendant, when she saw a boy very ragged in his attire, sitting under a hedge, and crying from the pain of a wound which he had on one of his hands. Impelled by the innate goodness of her heart, she hastened to the boy, and inquired the cause of his tears. He shewed her the wound on his hand, which, from a want of covering, was exposed to the cold influence of the air, and without hesitation, she took her handkerchief, and was proceeding to bind the wound, when she was checked by her attendant, from a fear that some injurious consequences might ensue.

" No harm can happen to me,” said the lovely child; “ have I not read in my Bible, that He who was greater than any earthly king, healed the wounds of the leper; and shall I then not follow his example, and bind the wounds of this poor boy?".

A strong enthusiasm of character, which was construed by many into a violence of temper, manifested itself in her Royal Highness at a very early period. She never qualified her opinion of persons nor of things, but spoke it boldly and without consideration. There was also often

I never

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

mixed a degree of sarcasm in her observations, which often exposed her to the severe reproof of the guardians of her education; and, on one of these occasions, she said, reprove me for uttering a falsehood, but never for speaking the truth.

The time was now fast approaching when her Royal Highness was to experience the severe affliction of being removed from the society of her mother, and from circumstances which threw a melancholy shade over the opening years of her life; the nicest feelings of her affectionate heart were to be lacerated by the unfortunate dissensions of her parents, and to her young and sensible mind, a choice of evils presented itself, from which she saw no immediate relief; the ardent love which she felt for her mother impelled her to espouse her cause; and the sincere affection which she justly entertained for her father, prompted her to exonerate him from every imputation of harshness towards her mother. She was fast verging towards that age, when a just discrimination of right and wrong, as far as concerns the actions of others, begins to display its operations; and from a temperament so naturally warm and enthusiastic as the Princess Charlotte's, the opinion resulting from that discrimination was often undisguisedly expressed; some conclusions were thence unwarrantably drawn, which, reaching a certain quarter, rendered the vigilance of the parental eye more necessary, in order to avert the effects of the influence of another personage,

1

ness.

servations

, reproof of on one of

for utterthe truth.

when her ne severe iety of her h threw a urs of her ate heart e dissen

and senself, from e ardent ed her to

which appeared to be rapidly increasing over the actions and opinions of the young Princess.

The system of her education was therefore changed, and Lady De Clifford was appointed to the important and responsible situation of gover

His Majesty, who, by the customary law of England, as well as by the feudal, is guardian of all infants, and, of course, more particularly of his grand-daughter, and the heiress presumptive of his crown, selected the Bishop of Exeter, afterwards translated to the see of Salisbury, as her private tutor; and a divine of more eminent piety, of profound learning, and of amiable manners and disposition, could not have been selected. Under the Bishop of Exeter, a reverend divine Dr. Nott acted as a sub-preceptor. There was no part of her education to which a more exemplary attention was paid, than to instruct her in the principles of the christian religion, and to instil into her mind an ardent attachment to the ecclesiastical establishment of this country. It must not, however, be supposed, that any attempt was made to impress upon her mind any illiberal ideas respecting those modes of faith which dissented from the established one, or to check the growth of the true principles of religious toleration. In the first place, her mind was too enlarged and of too liberal a cast to admit of any such impressions; and, in the second, the enlightened character of her preceptor was a sufficient guarantee against any attempt to inculcate those principles, which would

on which

rompted ation of as fast scrimirns the ations; m and le opi

was sions eachce of vert

age,

« PoprzedniaDalej »