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can be ignorant. There are no less than fifty-three public charities, promoted by the immediate patronage, or assisted by the able counsel, clear and impressive judgment, and generous contributions of His Royal Highness ! It is not the personal beneficence of His Royal Highness that is alone to be considered, but the influence his conduct must be expected to have with those who have the power to ameliorate the condition of their fellow-creatures; and no individual of exalted rank has set a higher example of public virtue, or used more actively, constantly and beneficially, his endeavours in behalf of institutions of benevolence, for the protection, the education, and the relief of the poor, and for every sort of charitable societies.
In 1816, during the absence of the Duke of Kent from this country, a meeting was held, in the metropolis, and a resolution passed that the natal day of so illustrious a Prince should annually be commemorated. The following address was made to His Royal Highness :
« We the assembled Members of various benevolent institutions, honored with the patronage of your Royal Highness, being desirous of publicly marking our attachment to your person, and our just appreciation of your virtues and talents, beg permission to tender you the sincere tribute of our respect and affection. We are induced by every social and moral principle to pay peculiar honor to a dynasty distinguished like that of your illustrious family, for its paternal protection of every interest of knowledge and humanity. What then must we not owe to your Royal Highness, for the conspicuous part you have taken in the benign spirit of the House of Brunswick, by your unworried and powerful exertions, to render effective those measures, which constitute the glory of Great Britain, and which embracing every class of society at home, providing for the impoverished, relieving the diseased, and instructing the ignorant, aim at extending their blessings over the whole earth ? We are satisfied, that in offering to your Royal Highness the gratitude of our hearts, we are also speaking in the name of our couutry: and we are proud of an opportunity of expressing in
the language of truth, sentiments which are re-echoed among all ranks of the British Empire.”
On the second of November in that year, the first meeting took place; and the distinguished company that assembled to express their gratitude and esteem, was the proudest testimony that could be offered to a Prince. It was remarkable for including all parties in politics, and persuasions in religion, attracted by the general principle of benevolence, to testify its respect and regard to the Duke of Kent, who by his eminent endeavours to banish ignorance, and relieve distress, had entitled himself to that testimony. Among the many gratifying expressions of public opinion, made on this occasion, by the illustrious, honorable, and literary characters present, we must confine ourselves to record the following, which was received by the assembly with the most enthusiastic applause, “ May every Royal Duke in Europe qualify himself to the same truly noble return, as His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, from the great body of his fellow-subjects.”
However grateful to His Royal Highness these demonstrations of public attachment, gratitude and admiration of his conduct cannot fail to be considered, the feeling of his own breast must be to him a reward superior to all human praise or earthly glory. The Duke of Kent seeks to do good by stealth, not to acquire from it popularity; and a striking instance of his mind in this respect, which occurred among others, during his residence at Gibraltar, we shall relate. A soldier had a boat, in which, when off duty, he employed himself in fishing. One night, when at sea with his eldest boy, behind the rock, a Levant gale came on, and they returned no more.
His widow was nearly lying in, and took to her bed broken-hearted. Being much pitied, a subscription was made for her : and the third night after her loss, she was sitting at the window crying over her children, when a gentleman came in, and enquired after her misfortunes. He took the children on his knee and kissed them; said he would befriend her, if she continued to behave well, and, putting twelve gold cobs (dollars) into her hand, departed. The next day he called again, and repeated his call several succeeding days. He sent her a doctor, who brought her to bed ; and every thing her state required, she was furnished with by the same gentleman. She did not know it was the Prince till a month after, when, to make use of her own words, she knew him at a review, for all his regimentals;? and when he next called, her eldest boy was afraid, and mentioned who he was. From this time he never again called, but sent the widow money by the doctor, and she now enjoys an annual allowance from His Royal Highness.
The Duke of Kent takes very little share in politics : he does not attach himself to any particular party or political interests; and from the following emphatic annunciation by His Royal Highness, of his successor to the chair at the Anniversary of the festival of St. Patrick in 1817, it will be observed that he never allows a feeling of party to show itself at any of the numerous public meetings over which he presides.
My politics,' said the Royal Duke, are no secret, nor am I ashamed to avow them. With some experience in the function which I am now executing, (the Duke of Kent presided at 72 Charity Meetings in the course of 1816) I am not at a loss for witnesses to refer to-whether in this, or in any other charity meeting, I ever introduced a single sentence of a political tendency. You perceive on each side of me Noble. men who differ in their politics, but here unite in cordial harmony. The comfort which I feel is beyond my powers of expression, at this moment, in congratulating you upon the total banishment from these meetings of all political prejudice and party feeling. True Charity is of no particular party, but is the cause of all parties. I am to announce to you as my successor in this chair for your next festival the naine, and to give the health of, a Noble Person, Lord CastleREAGH, with whose politics I have the misfortune to differ on some points ; but to whose signal munificence and variously proved kindness to this Charity I bear most ardent testimony. My advice is, that the example of this day may be the model for future celebrations—that the successive Presidents may be alternately selected from the two sides of politics and my earnest hope is, that each party will make it their practice to attend the presidency of their political opponent--so that liber
ality may become the standing fashion of these festivals ; and that the generosity of politicians to the charity may be exceeded only by their generosity to each other. This is the only rivalry which I recommend ; and it is what I shall assuredly support and enforce, both by precept and example, at my return to my country. The rapture with which you receive my sentiments-(The Royal Duke was frequently interrupted by the acclamations of the company) is very dear to me; but that sensation is infinitely heightened by my conviction that it is an auspicious omen for this Charity.'
On the 29th of May 1818, His Royal Highness was united, at Coburg, to Her Serene Highness Victoria Mary Louisa, youngest daughter of his late Serene Highness Francis Frederic Anthony, reigning Duke of Saxe Coburg Saalfeld; which marriage was again solemnized at Kew, on the 11th of July following
As a sketch of Her Royal Highness may not be uninteresting, we shall observe, that she was born at Coburg the 17th August 1786, and brought up under the eye of her mother, conjointly with her brother Prince Leopold, until she attained the age of sixteen ; when, in compliance with the entreaty of her father, to whom she was most tenderly attached, and who feeling his end approaching, wished to see his only remaining unmarried daughter settled, prior to his demise, she married the then Hereditary Prince of Leiningen, who was twenty-eight years older than her, and, in no one respect, either of person, manners, qualifications, or habits, suited to her; being entirelywrapped up in the amusements of the chase, to which he devoted his whole time, and possessing one of the most violent and irritable tempers imaginable. Notwithstanding this, she fulfilled her duties to him in so exemplary a manner from that time up to the period of his demise in 1814, that the breath of slander was never raised against her. By the late Prince of Leiningen she had two children, now living, and under her guardianship, a son, Prince Charles, born in September 1804, and a daughter, Princess Feodore, in December 1807. The same respectable conduct which marked her quiet and retired life during the twelve years she was married to the Prince of Leiningen,
was equally maintained after his decease; and when, in April 1818, it became the wish of the country that the Duke of Kent should marry, she was pointed out as in every respect the most suitable match for him.
The union is likely to prove a most fortunate one, from the similarity of their Royal Highnesses' habits, which are most simple and unostentatious, and from the peculiar gentleness of the Duchess's character, and the unaffectedness of her manners, which strike every one who has the good fortune of approaching her. To this it may be added, that the Duchess appertains to a family remarkable for the union and harmony subsisting through all the branches of it, and which consists as follows :-of the Dowager Duchess, who was a Princess of the House of Reuss, and who is a most exemplary mother, as well as a very sensible woman; of the reigning Duke, who married, about eighteen months since, the only daughter of the Duke of Saxe Gotha; of Prince Ferdinand, the second brother, a distinguished General in the Austrian service, who married, about the same time, the beautiful Hungarian heiress Princess Coharry; of the third brother, Prince Leopold ; -of Princess Sophia, the eldest daughter, married to Count Mensdorff, another most distinguished General in the Austrian service; of Princess Antoinette, the second daughter, married to Duke Alexander of Wirtemburg; and lastly of Princess Julia, the third daughter, married to the Grand Duke Constantine of Russia, from whom she has been separated by mutual accord for several years, but without the slightest reflection on her character ;-the whole forming an ensemble of a family no less remarkable for their amiable manners than for their good looks.
In the debates that took place in both Houses of Parliament, in May 1818, on the subject of increasing the Royal Establishment, the virtuous struggle His Royal Highness is making to emancipate himself from those pecuniary embarrassments, the origin of which has already been shown, met with that public encomium it so highly demanded. On that occasion ample justice was done to His Royal Highness's character and services, and his great privations and losses were first make known to the public.