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daughters of earth. Seen by the light of this experience, with all its graceful humility, sound sense, sterling knowledge, and profound thought, there is no eulogium we can pen which could exaggerate the merits of that address. It would seem as if this, one of his last, and his grandest effort, were meant purposely to bring before the most general and enlightened audience the evidence of that earnest desire for truth which was ever the rule and compass of that mind. He, who in the smallest things was not content without the knowledge of what he knew,' as distinguished from the empirical solutions which satisfy the mass, would, even had he been the meanest born of men, have listed himself to sit among the great ones of the earth. The scope of this speech, and the unity of all its parts, preclude any partial quotations. The Prince was proud of the compliment paid to him by the Association in requesting him to accept the office of President; and well he might be, for no body of men ever stood more acquitted to the world of choosing a head from any consideration but that of distinguished personal merit. And yet it is a fact that the Prince was greatly hindered by pressure of business in the needful preparation of this address, and felt, though certainly without any cause, that he might have done himself better justice.
One part of the speech there is which no one heard or will peruse without a sense of the personal magnanimity of the speaker. We allude to the generous laudation of the late Alexander Humboldt, whose birthday, as the Prince reminded the meeting, fell on that very day. We feel proud of the contrast this presents with the snarling and spiteful mention of the Prince Consort in Humboldt's published letters to Varnhagen-a spite traceable, as any one may perceive, to the worldly-minded philosopher's disappointment at the absence of any message from the Queen respecting his Cosmos. The admirable speech at Edinburgh on the opening of the Post Office and Industrial Museum, on the 23rd October, 1861, was the last occasion on which this gentle and earnest voice was heard by the public.
That these speeches and addresses were entirely his own Ceased to be doubted, as the powers of his mind became more recognised. It is well known that he derived no help from any one in the way of ideas and opinions, though occasionally, and this only in his early time, a few of the sentences would be written by himself in German first, and translated with the help of some trusted friend. In most instances they were spoken, and always with great distinctness and gentle emphasis, without any appearance of assistance from memoranda. On some after-dinner Vol. 111.-No. 221.
occasions a few pencil-notes, taken from his pocket, were laid on the table by his side, and quietly consulted in intervals of applause. From the first his English was easy and pure; but he greatly expanded in facility and fluency in the last years, and there is no doubt that he would soon have mastered even that most English accomplishment, impromptu speaking. For there is plenty of evidence of his power of expressing himself clearly, even eloquently, and at considerable length, without any previous preparation. At the meetings of the Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, especially, he came into contact with the most practised orators of the day, in debates of no insignificant character, and always maintained his part with conspicuous ability.
Thus we have allowed this illustrious mind to speak for itself, feeling that none can follow its multifarious phases, without acknowledging each in turn as a part of a singularly grand and harmonious whole, in which the same life-blood of profound thought circulates from the centre to the uttermost fibre of the mental structure. It would be difficult to cite any instance of the same amount of spoken words so entirely devoid of the element of superficiality. That element would seem to have been foreign and repugnant to the nature of his mind, which we invariably find seeking a point far removed from the surface. There is no need to impute to one who had been an indefatigable student, and always continued a close reader, any substitute for the usual laborious processes of attainment. But having diligently stored, and being always in the habit of replenishing the cells of the mind, the secret of his clear modes of perception consisted in his invariably rising into that purer atmosphere towards which all sound principles converge. There great things became simplified to him, and small ones fertile. There that balance was gained which allowed no object of interest to be cherished to the exclusion of another. Thus the great fact of his having, in one sense, no speciality, because every sympathy, made him the most enlightened patron of all other men's specialities. Nature, no less than position, and far more still, had marked this mind out as a centre to others. No man of any particular form of intelligence ever looked back on an interview with the Prince, without feeling that beyond his own especial orbit of interest, he had caught glimpses of a large and consistently working intellectual system. For a time, it is true, each professor of art or science believed that he had found a devotee to his own particular shrine; after a while cach knew that the Prince's perfect comprehension of one was but the measure of his knowledge of all.
Even in one department apparently the least congenial with his tastes, we find no exception to the rule. By a curious contrast with the habits of most German princes he cared little for the glitter and tinsel of military externals, but he was deeply versed in the principles of military science. The late Sir Howard Douglas, one of the highest authorities that can be quoted, spoke of the Prince's attainments on that head with equal admiration and surprise. It is well known, too, that the Duke of Wellingtonno flatterer of any man
n—had conceived so high an opinion of Prince Albert's military knowledge and powers of business, as earnestly to recommend him to Her Majesty as his successor as Commander-in-Chief. That the unalterable discretion of the Prince should decline such a post is easily comprehended, now that we see
as from a distance-alas! how soon Death has given that !—the far larger sphere of usefulness he filled toward the two objects of his devotion, the Crown and the Country, by holding himself free from direct official life. At the very time that the miserable rant was raised about his interference' at the Horse Guards, he was quietly, like a good genius, giving the army the benefit of his enlightened judgment. To him was owing the formation of the camp of instruction at Chobham, as stated in the House of Lords by the late Viscount Hardinge.
Perhaps the part of the mind most rarely seen, in these latter times, in combination with the accurate habits of a profound reasoner, was that which rendered the study and practice of the Fine Arts his favourite recreation. These first offered that supposed neutral ground in public matters on which a royal individual, in a position none ever succeeded in comprehending but himself, could safely tread. The late Sir Robert Peel, who looked with a puzzled yet practical eye upon this grand and anomalous impersonation of Waste Power, gladly hailed the opportunity of giving it, at all events nominally, some definite application in the direction of the decoration of the New Houses of Parliament. The Commission on the Fine Arts, with the Prince as President, was appointed in 1841. It was soon obvious that there was nothing nominal in His Royal Highness's conception --he being then only twenty-two-of the office he had undertaken. Artists to whom commissions were given were astonished to find that amongst the names of hereditary possessors of galleries and patrons of art, which swelled the Commission, none could be compared with the youthful President in knowledge of the conditions of art, or in sympathy with the artist mind. What the Commission has achieved, or will be found to have achieved when the scheme to which the Prince lent his whole energy is
accomplished, it is not for such as we to determine, in times when, as is well known, only a seat in the Lower House gives a right judgment in matters of art. But we may safely leave this
, like all his other works, to the verdict of posterity. Coming from Germany at a time when modes of art had obtained there, which, with few exceptions, are uncongenial to English tastes, he has been accused of desiring to engraft the German practice upon the English school. But had Prince Albert come from Italy itself in the zenith of the Cinque-cento, he could hardly have recommended more desirable innovations than a thorough practice of drawing, and the study of larger and more monumental forms of art.
As to his own personal artistic powers, he may be truly said to have handled even a pencil consistently with the nature of his mind. His slightest design, his most hasty suggestion on paper, bore on it the character of a beginning and an end--the sense of a whole—to which few amateurs attain.
The same feeling presided over the many collections of works of art with which he was gradually enriching the Royal residences. That same system and principle of completeness ran through them all—as in his deeply-interesting collection of every existing design by Raphael — which distinguishes a monument of real and personal intelligence, from that class of indiscriminate accumulation only prompted by power and money.
In feeling for the sister art he was—and, we are inclined to think, in this only—true to the German type of race. He loved music with all a German's heart. On every occasion where happily the Prince's judgment could 'interfere,' as partially in the case of the Duke of Wellington's funeral, the public were sure to hear the highest class of composition ; while the taste which presided over the programme of Her Majesty's exquisite concerts was only too cultivated for the majority of the favoured listeners.
The Prince's admiration for Mendelssohn was enthusiastic; and on that great master's visits to London in 1844 and 1847, the years of the respective triumphs of the Midsummer Night's Dream' and of the · Elijah,' he was received at Windsor Castle more on the footing of an illustrious guest than of a professional artist. It was to hear the oratorio of · Elijah' that Her Majesty and the Prince paid their first (and only ?) visit to Exeter Hall, April 23, 1847. The following day Prince Albert sent his own marked book, with which he had followed the performance, to Mendelssohn, with an inscription in his handwriting, a sentence of which bears upon the leading characteristic of his own
mind :—"To the Great Master, who, through the whole maze of his creation, from the soft whispering to the mighty raging of the elements, makes us conscious of the unity of his conception, in grateful remembrance. Mendelssohn, who died in the November following, knew these to be the words of one perfectly conversant with the science to which he paid this tribute. It was in his student years at Bonn that the Prince wrote an Essay on Music, which we may be sure is of no superficial character ; and at all times he was accustomed to seek solace from the cares and fatigues of his life in the expression of musical thoughts. These utterances have naturally been surrounded with privacy ; but there are two hymns now permitted to be published,* which, it is said, were repeatedly played to him by filial hands, at his desire, during those last days! Many a long-drawn sigh will henceforth follow the tones of their sweet and mournful harmony.
Imperfect as must be the summary within our limits of the multifarious sources of feeling and intelligence embraced by this most distinguished mind, it would be doubly incomplete without an allusion to one not hitherto found compatible with the conditions of a royal existence or of a foreign education. We mean his singular aptitude for our modes of public business. If in all things he scrupulously sought to identify himself with this country, he was in this instance more English than the English themselves. Heads of departments, select committees, deputations, whoever had the advantage of his co-operation in the transaction of public affairs-all told the same tale of his remarkable ability ; rendered the more available by his neverfailing punctuality and consideration for others. In the words of one of no small experience, uttered at a time when none dreamt that the hour was fast coming when that centre-place at the board would know him no more, it was said of him—“The Prince plays with the difficulties of public business.' Not that there was anything like play in the matter. The secret of his doing better lay in his working harder than most. His practice in public affairs had become enormous, and his note-book presented a variety and fulness of business engagements which would have daunted most men. Nor were the smallest things despised by him. In one department of business, that connected with the Duchy of Cornwall, it is known that the Prince, from motives of peculiar kindness, kept the minutes of the meetings for a time with his own hand; and they were admirably kept. Here, too, one quality, which is sure to be tested on this
* Two Hymns. The Music by H. R. H. the Prince Consort. Published at Windsor, by Permission.