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perfections can be supplied and these wants satisfied. This presupposes self-reliance and confidence in each other. To show the way how these individual exertions can be directed with the greatest benefit, and to foster that confidence upon which the readiness to assist each other depends, this Society deems its most sacred duty.
• There has been no ostentatious display of charity or munificence, nor the pretension of becoming the arbiter of the fate of thousands, but the quiet working out of particular schemes of social improvement; for which, however, as I said before, the Society has only established examples for the community at large to follow.'
The next occasion was the meeting of the Royal Agricultural Society, held at York, July 13, 1848. This Society, formerly called “The Board of Agriculture,' had been dissolved a quarter of a century before, in consequence of such inveterate party feeling as frustrated its very object; whereupon it was reconstituted with a particular statute curiously forbidding reference to any matter to be brought forward or pending in either House of Parliament.' The Prince's attendance at the tenth annual Meeting further endorsed this veto. The admirable working of the farms at Balmoral, and of the model farm at Windsor, have proved to the world that the Prince was no mere theoretical tiller of the earth ; so that his ever leading doctrine of Progress, so hard to dibble into the brains of the old-fashioned English farmer, comes with perfect justice from the man who had made his doctrine, even in this department, pay. Science and mechanical improvement,' he says, have in these days changed the mere practice of cultivating the soil into an industrial pursuit, requiring capital, industry, machinery, and skill and perseverance in the struggle of competition. This, while a great change, we must also consider as a great progress, as it demands higher efforts, and a higher intelligence.'
The laying the first stone of the Great Grimsby Docks follows, April 18, 1819, the Prince's presence being appropriately given for an object partaking both of a national and state character. Here the speech is the more interesting as exhibiting the view an intelligent foreigner would take of an occasion so purely English in character.
“We have been laying the foundation not only of a Dock as a place of refuge, safety, and refitment for mercantile shipping, and calculated even to receive the largest steamers in Her Majesty's Navy, but, it may be, and I hope it will be, the foundation of a great commercial Port, destined in after times—when we shall long have quitted this scene, and when our names even may be forgotten-to form another centre of life to the vast and ever-increasing commerce of the World, and an important link in the connection of the East and the West. Nay, if I contemplate the extraordinary rapidity of development which
characterizes the undertakings of this age, it may not even be too much to expect that some of us may live yet to see this prospect in part realized.
• This work has been undertaken, like almost all the national enterprises of this great country, by private exertion, with private capital, and at private risk; and it shares with them likewise that other feature so peculiar to the enterprises of Englishmen, that, strongly attached as they are to the institutions of their country, and gratefully acknowledging the protection of those laws under which their enterprises are undertaken and flourish, they love to connect them in some manner directly with the authority of the Crown and the person of their Sovereign ; and it is the appreciation of this circumstance which has impelled me at once to respond to your call as the readiest mode of testifying to you how strongly Her Majesty the Queen values and reciprocates this feeling.'
The humane attention of His Royal Highness to the conduct and welfare of the servants of the Royal household—an attention paid in like measure by very few private gentlemen—has been since partially known. It is therefore now no matter of wonder that he should have expressed himself as only fulfilling a duty to the country in taking the chair at a meeting of the Servants' Benevolent Society. It was strange, however, then to hear this young, stately, and royal man—to many invested with a kind of mystery as standing in so intimate a relation with the Head of the State-entering into careful details regarding small incomes, deposits, and 301. annuities. Yet it was natural that this very speech, abounding in practical sense, and teeming with affectionate interest for a question which came so closely home to every worthy household in the land, should have attracted greater wonder and attention than any previous one.
From a subject so peculiarly connected with the study of his own time, we find him, a month later, June 11th, 1849, dining with the Merchant Taylors' Company, an ancient institution the original intention and need of which time had long reduced to nought, though its forms have remained, like others, wedged too tight among the living things of subsequent generations to be swept away. Here again he takes advantage of his foreign point of view to compliment the country of his adoption :- Anybody may indeed feel proud to be enrolled a member of a Company which can boast of uninterrupted usefulness and beneficence during four centuries, and holds to this day the same honourable position in the estimation of the country which it did in the time of its first formation, though the progress of civilisation and wealth has vastly raised the community around it; exemplifying the possibility in this happy country of combining the general progress of mankind with a due reverence for the institutions and
even forms which have been bequeathed to us by the piety and wisdom of our forefathers.'
The next occasion, like the last, though equally English in character, was in no way connected with any progress of ideas. The presentation of new colours to the 23rd Regiment of Royal Welsh Fusiliers drew forth a plain, soldierlike speech, terse and strong, adapted to his audience, and coming with perfect grace from one whose knowledge of military science has taken many a veteran by surprise.
We now approach the period when the Prince began to show his power to guide as well as his readiness to concur in the ideas of the present generation-and to guide them through obstacles of no common difficulty. The feelings which succeeded the announced plan of the Exhibition of all Nations,—the prejudices, evil prophecies, and discouragements it endured,-are fresh in the minds of our readers. The most formidable difficulties were opposed by the Government itself, startled out of all its proprieties by a scheme its philosophy had never dreamt of. Here, for the first time, the Prince, though nominally sustained by high names, may be said to have thrown himself on the intelligence of the country. Still, it was difficult to get at this intelligence, or to put himself into a position calculated to communicate his views to the thinking classes. An opportunity was offered at a Mansion House dinner, given expressly by the Lord Mayor for the purpose of furthering the scheme, at which, besides the usual array of rank and note, 180 Mayors were assembled from the provinces. The gathering together of such numbers, however, was no pledge of cordial concurrence, or even of comprehension of his views. It was rather that all were flattered in being nominally associated in a scheme for the failure of which few in their hearts thought they should be held responsible. It was well they came, for the Prince had girded himself up battle for Peace and Industry with weapons none could oppose, Here he at once assumed that high ground to which his mind ever instinctively gravitated, taking for his guiding idea the policy, not of any party, class, interest, or expedience, but that which he interpreted as the policy of the Supreme Ruler of nations :
'Gentlemen, I conceive it to be the duty of every educated person closely to watch and study the time in which he lives, and, as far as in him lies, to add his humble mite of individual exertion to further the accomplishment of what he believes Providence to have ordained.
Nobody, however, who has paid any attention to the peculiar features of our present era, will doubt for a moment that we are living at a period of most wonderful transition, which tends rapidly to accom
plish that great end, to which, indeed, all history points--the realization of the Unity of mankind ! Not a unity which breaks down the limits, and levels the peculiar characteristics of the different nations of the Earth, but rather a unity the result and product of those very national varieties and antagonistic qualities.
The distances which separated the different nations and parts of the Globe are rapidly vanishing before the achievements of modern in vention, and we can traverse them with incredible ease ; the languages of all nations are known, and their acquirement placed within the reach of everybody; thought is communicated with the rapidity, and even by the power, of lightning. On the other hand the great principle of dirision of labour, which may be called the moving power of civilization, is being extended to all branches of science, industry, and art. ....
"So man is approaching a more complete fulfilment of that great and sacred mission which he has to perform in this world. His reason being created after the image of God, he has to use it to discover the laws by which the Almighty governs his creation, and, by making these laws his standard of action, to conquer nature to his use; himself a Divine instrument.
• Gentlemen, the Exhibition of 1851 is to give us a true test and a living picture of the point of development at which the whole of mankind has arrived in this great task, and a new starting point from which all nations will be able to direct their future exertions.
'I confidently hope that the first impression which the view of this vast collection will produce upon the spectator, will be that of deep thankfulness to the Almighty for the blessings which he has bestowed upon us already here below; and the second, the conviction that they can only be realized in proportion to the help which we are prepared to render each other,—therefore only by peace, love, and real assistance, not only between individuals, but between the nations of the Earth.
• This being my conviction, I must be highly gratified to see here assembled the magistrates of all the important towns of this Realm, sinking all their local, and possibly political differences; the representatives of the different political opinions of the country, and the representatives of the different Foreign Nations to-day representing only one interest.'
No wonder such words as these produced a solemn effect on the hearers. Many eloquent speeches followed, but he alone had so blown the magic horn as to disenchant the gross and torpid spirits around. This was no German mysticism no royal hobby,—but a definite idea, however vast. And by the time the report of the speech had flown over England, and the Mayors back to their boroughs, more than one shrewd capitalist would have guaranteed the success of the Exhibition.
The opportunity for another public exposition of his sentiments on this subject was renewed on the 23rd October, 1850, when the chief dignitary of York returned the hospitality of the Lord Mayor by a banquet, at which the Prince and some members of
the Commission were present. Here, with that unstudied diplomacy which flows honestly from an earnest purpose, instead of reverting to the broad principles on which he had previously justified the scheme, he proceeded to vindicate the character of the Englishman in its adoption, thus giving a guarantee for his complete intelligence of the national mind, even when calling upon it to try a new thing. After paying a touching tribute to the then lately-deceased Sir Robert Peel, the last act of whose life had been to attend a meeting of the Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, he thus sagaciously applied the analysis of the great statesman's character to the object he had at heart :
Gentlemen, if he has had so great an influence over this country, it was from the nation recognising in his qualities the true type of the English character, which
is essentially practical. Warmly attached to its institutions, and revering the bequests left to him by the industry, wisdom, and piety of his forefathers, the Englishman attaches little value to any theoretical scheme. It will attract his attention only after having been for some time placed before him ; it must have been thoroughly investigated and discussed before he will entertain it. Should it be an empty theory, it will fall to the ground during this time of probation ; should it survive this trial, it will be on account of the practical qualities contained in it; but its adoption in the end will entirely depend upon its harmonising with the national feeling, the historic development of the country, and the peculiar nature of its institutions.
• It is owing to these national qualities that England, whilst constantly progressing, has still preserved the integrity of her Constitution from the earliest times, and has been protected from wild schemes, whose chief charm lies in their novelty; whilst around us we have seen, unfortunately, whole nations distracted, and the very fabric of society endangered, from the levity with which the result of the experience of generations, the growth of ages, has been thrown away to give place to temporarily favourite ideas.
* Taking this view of the character of our country, I was pleased when I saw the plan of the Exhibition of 1851 undergo its ordeal of doubt, discussion, and even opposition; and I hope that I may now gather from the energy and earnestness with which its execution is pursued, that the nation is convinced that it accords with its interests and the position which England has taken in the world.'
In August, 1850, we first hear him publicly speaking on a topic, that of the Fine Arts, supposed to be more particularly his own. This was on occasion of his laying the first stone of the new National Gallery at Edinburgh. Here, as usual, instead of high sounding surface phrases, a fundamental idea was given :
* The building of which we have just begun the foundation, is a temple to be erected to the Fine Arts; the Fine Arts, which have so