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in a preceding part of this Memoir it was stated, that the Emperor Alexander, possessing a deep penetration into the views of the French ruler, had adopted a temporizing line of policy, of which caution and prudence were the basis; and, as those views gradually unfolded themselves, the propriety of that policy became every day more apparent.' But there was a point beyond which forbearance would be criminal; and that point was no sooner overstepped by Napoleon, than the indignant spirit of Russia was roused, and she immediately placed herself in a defensive attitude. The eagles of France were immediately set in motion; and the black eagle of Russia, looking from his distant eyrie, awaited, but feared not the approaching conflict. Prince Leopold, whose ardent spirit longed to signalize itself, under the injured banners of his country, again applied to Russia, to be admitted into active service; but Alexander answered him—“ Much as I should profit by your services, still they would be dearly purchased by that ruin, which would infallibly befal your family on the first moment that it was known by Napoleon that your sword was drawn.” With this noble consideration for the interests of the Coburg Saalfeld family, the offer of Prince Leopold was rejected; and, foreseeing no imme. diate prospect of being useful to his country, he resolved upon a tour to the south of Europe, during which he obtained much substantial knowledge,
and enjoyed frequent opportunities of cultivating his taste for the fine arts.
In the year 1813, Prince Leopold began his active military career, which was one connected series of glorious exploits, until the second occupation of Paris by the allied troops, and the final downfal of the Buonapartean family.
On his return from his visit to this country, in company with the allied sovereigns, during which he succeeded in gaining the affections of the Princess Charlotte of Wales, his family affairs detained him for a considerable time in the French capital; and having, in consequence, some final arrangements to adjust with the Prussian government, he proceeded by the way of Coburg to Berlin; and here the welcome invitation of the Prince Regent of England was communicated to him, by which he was called to accept in marriage the hand of his illustrious daughter.
On the 21st of February, 1816, his Serene Highness arrived in London, and took up
his residence at the Clarendon Hotel. His arrival was immediately made known to Lord Castlereagh, who lost no time in waiting on the Prince, to know his pleasure as to his future arrangements. After his lordship had taken his leave, he despatched a King's messenger, with the result of the interview, to the Prince Regent at Brighton. On the following day his Serene Highness was occupied in receiving visits, at the Clarendon Hotel,
Engraved by J. Hopwood Jun" from a Miniature in the pofsefsion of a Lady of Quality
Landon Publishd by 1 Kelly ftiternoster Rou, Dec. 272817
from a number of distinguished characters; after which he paid a visit to the Archdukes John and Lewis of Austria, who were at that time on a visit to this country. In the course of the day General Sir Benjamin Bloomfield arrived from Brighton, having been despatched express, by command of the Prince Regent, to invite Prince Leopold to the Pavilion at Brighton. In the evening his Highness dined with Lord Castlereagh, at whose house there was a select party to meet him.
Early on the following morning his Serene Highness, accompanied by Lord Castlereagh, left town for Brighton; and it was understood that his introduction to the Princess Charlotte was to take place at the Pavilion. The manner in which he was received at Brighton, must, to a heart like his, susceptible of feeling, have been highly gratifying. It was the welcome with which a dear relative or a friend would have been received, not that, which is in general bestowed upon the stranger. The congratulations which he met with from every quarter on his arrival in this country, were those of the heart, and not of fictitious joy. The interesting situation in which he presented himself, precluded the observance of the customary formalities; and he was received into the royal circle, as one who had formerly belonged to it, but who, under particular circumstances, had been for a time estranged from it. His manners and deportment were justly admired; there was no appearance of frippery nor false pride about him;