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When this excellent princess was yet in her father's court, she was so celebrated for the beauty of her person, and the accomplishments of her mind, that there was no prince in the empire, who had room for such an alliance, that was not ambitious of gaining her into his family, either as a daughter, or as a consort. He who is now the chief of the crowned heads in Europe, and was then king of Spain, and heir to all the dominions of the house of Austria, sought her in marriage. Could her mind have been captivated with the glories of this world, she had them all laid before her ; but she generously declined them, because she saw the acceptance of them was inconsistent with what she esteems more than all the glories of this world, the enjoyment of her religion. Providence, however, kept in store a reward for such an exalted virtue; and, by the secret methods of its wisdom, opened a way for her to become the greatest of her sex, among those, who profess that faith to which she adhered with so much Christian magnanimity
This her illustrious conduct might, in the eye of the world, have lost its merit, had so accomplished a prince as his Royal Highness declared his passion for the same alliance at that time: it would then have been no wonder that all other proposals had been rejected. But it was the fame of this heroic constancy that determined his Royal Highness to desire in marriage a princess whose personal charms, which had before been so universally admired, were now become the least part of her character. We, of the British nation, have reason to rejoice, that such a proposal was made and accepted; and that her Royal Highness, with regard to these two successive treaties of marriage, showed as much prudence in her compliance with the one, as piety in her refusal of the other.
The princess was no sooner arrived at Hanover, than she improved the lustre of that court, which was before reckoned among the politest in Europe; and increased the satisfaction of that people, who were before looked upon as the happiest in the empire. She immediately became the darling of the Princess Sophia, who was acknowledged in all the courts of Europe the most accomplished woman of the age in which she lived, and who was not a little pleased with the conversation of one in whom she saw so lively an image of her own youth.
But I shall insist no longer on that reputation which her Royal Highness has acquired in other countries. We daily discover those admirable qualities for which she is so justly famed, and rejoice to see them exerted in our own country, where we ourselves are made happy by their influ
We are the more pleased to behold the throne of these kingdoms surrounded by a numerous and beautiful progeny, when we consider the virtues of those from whom they descend. Not only the features, but the mind of the parent, is often copied out in the offspring. But the princess we are speaking of takes the surest method of making her royal issue like herself, by instilling early into their minds all the principles of religion, virtue, and honour, and seasoning their tender years with all that knowledge which they are capable of receiving. What may we not hope from such an uncommon care in the education of the children of Great Britain, who are directed by such precepts, and will be formed by such an example!
The conjugal virtues are so remarkable in her Royal Highness, as to deserve those just and generous returns of love and tenderness, for which the prince, her husband, is so universally celebrated.
But there is no part of her Royal Highness's character which we observe with greater pleasure, than that behaviour by which she has so much endeared herself to his Majesty; though, indeed, we have no reason to be surprised at this mutual intercourse of duty and affection, when we consider so wise and virtuous a princess possessing, in the same sacred person, the kindest of fathers and the best of kings. And here it is natural for us to congratulate our own good fortune, who see our sovereigns blessed with a numerous issue, among whom are our heirs male in two direct descents, which has not happened in the reign of any English king since the time of his Majesty's great ancestor Edward the Third, and is a felicity not enjoyed by the subjects of any other of the kings of Europe who are his contemporaries. We are like men entertained with the view of a spacious landscape, where the eye passes over one pleasing prospect into another, till the sight is lost by degrees in a succession of delightful objects, and leaves us in the persuasion that there remain stiil more behind.
But if we regard her Royal Highness in that light which
diffuses the greatest glory round a human character, we shall find the Christian no less conspicuous than the princess. She is as eminent for a sincere piety in the practice of religion, as for an inviolable adherence to its principles. She is constant in her attendance on the daily offices of our church, and by her serious and devout comportment on these solemn occasions, gives an example that is very often too much wanted in courts.
Her religion is equally free from the weakness of superstition and sourness of enthusiasm. It is not of that uncomfortable melancholy nature which disappoints its own end, by appearing unamiable to those whom it would gain to its interests. It discovers itself in the genuine effects of Christianity, in affability, compassion, benevolence, evenness of mind, and all the offices of an active and universal charity.
As a cheerful temper is the necessary result of these virtues, so it shines out in all the parts of her conversation, and dissipates those apprehensions which naturally hang on the timorous or the modest, when they are admitted to the honour of her presence. There is none that does not listen with pleasure to a person in so high a station, who condescends to make herself thus agreeable, by mirth without levity, and wit without ill-nature.
Her Royal Highness is, indeed, possessed of all those talents which make conversation either delightful or improving. As she has a fine taste of the elegant arts, and is skilled in several modern languages, her discourse is not confined to the ordinary subjects or forms of conversation, but can adapt itself with an uncommon grace to every occasion, and entertain the politest persons of different nations. I need not mention, what is observed by every one, that agreeable turn which appears in her sentiments upon the most ordinary affairs of life, and which is so suitable to the delicacy of her sex, the politeness of her education, and the splendour of her quality.
It would be vain to think of drawing into the compass of this paper the many eminent virtues which adorn the character of this great princess; but as it is one chief end of this undertaking to make the people sensible of the blessings which they enjoy under his Majesty's reign, I could not but lay hold on this opportunity to speak of that which ought, in justice, to be reckoned among the greatest of them.
No. 22. MONDAY, MARCH 5.
Studiis rudis, sermone barbarus, impetu strenuus, manu promptus, cogitatione celer.
For the honour of his Majesty, and the safety of his government, we cannot but observe, that those who have appeared the greatest enemies to both, are of that rank of men, who are commonly distinguished by the title of Fox-hunters. As several of these have had no part of their education in cities, camps, or courts, it is doubtful whether they are of greater ornament or use to the nation in which they live. It would be an everlasting reproach to politics, should such men be able to overturn an establishment which has been formed by the wisest laws, and is supported by the ablest heads. The wrong notions and prejudices which cleave to many of these country gentlemen, who have always lived out of the way of being better informed, are not easy to be conceived by a person who has never conversed with them. That I
may give my readers an image of these rural statesmen, I shall, without further preface, set down an account of a discourse I chanced to have with one of them some time ago. I was travelling towards one of the remote parts of England, when about three o'clock in the afternoon, seeing a country gentleman trotting before me with a spaniel by his horse's side, I make up to him. Our conversation opened, as usual, upon
the weather; in which we were very unanimous ; having both agreed thatit was too dry for the season of the My fellow-traveller, upon this, observed to me, that there had
1 This Freeholder, together with the 44th and 47th, on a Tory fox-hunter, have all the ease and gaiety of the best Spectators on Sir Roger de Coverley. And, in general, we may observe, that the gentle graces of Mr. Addison never forsake him, in a paper of humour; the bent of his genius lying so strongly that way.
If he anywhere writes beneath himself in the Freeholder, it is in those graver parts, which seem scarce susceptible of embellishment, (as those on the habeas-corpus, and the land-tax,) or which require more time and recollection in a writer who would do justice to his subject (as those on trade, and government) than he had to bestow upon them. Not but another reason might be, that he purposely restrained his wit, on many occasions, the better to adapt himself to the apprehension of his plainer readers, whom he was chiefly concerned to manage, and whose idiot prejudices he wanted to remove.
been no good weather since the Revolution. I was a little startled at so extraordinary a remark, but would not interrupt him till he proceeded to tell me of the fine weather they used to have in King Charles the Second's reign. I only answered that I did not see how the badness of the weather could be the king's fault; and, without waiting for his reply, asked him whose house it was we saw upon the rising ground at a little distance from us. He told me it belonged to an old fanatical cur, Mr. Such-a-one. “ You must have heard of him," says he, “he's one of the Rump." I knew the gentleman's character upon hearing his name, but assured him, that to my knowledge he was a good churchman: “Ay!” says he, with a kind of surprise, “ We were told in the country, that he spoke twice, in the queen’s time, against taking off the duties upon French claret.” This naturally led us in the proceedings of late parliaments, upon which occasion he affirmed roundly, that there had not been one good law passed since King William's accession to the throne, except the act for preserving the game. I had a mind to see him out, and therefore did not care for contradicting him. “Is it not hard,” says he, “ that honest gentlemen should be taken into custody of messengers to prevent them from acting according to their consciences ? But," says he, “what can we expect when a parcel of factious sons of whores
He was going on in great passion, but chanced to miss his dog, who was amusing himself about a bush, that grew at some distance behind us. We stood still till he had whistled him up; when he fell into a long panegyric upon his spaniel, who seemed, indeed, excellent in his kind: but I found the most remarkable adventure of his life was, that he had once like to have worried a dissenting teacher. The master could hardly sit on his horse for laughing all the while he was giving me the particulars of his story, which I found had mightily endeared his dog to him, and as he himself told me, had made him a great favourite among all the honest gentlemen of the country. We were at length diverted from this piece of mirth by a post-boy, who winding his horn at us, my companion gave him two or three curses, and left the way clear for him. “I fancy,” said I, “ that post brings news from Scotland. I shall long to see the next Gazette." Sir,” says he, “ I make it a rule never to believe
of your printed news. We never see, sir, how things go, except