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Visit of George IV. to Ireland page 2

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On Monday the lawn before the viceregal lodge was covered with carriages and vehicles of every description, filled with ladies anxious to get even a distant view of the king. Among these, equestrians and pedestrians were crowding; and, from the number of standings, and basket- women moving about, the place had the appearance of Donnybrook fair. But his majesty, wishing to remain as private as possible until his public entry, did not appear. On Wednesday he held a private levée to receive the state functionaries, who were ordered to appear in mourning.

On Friday, the 17th, his majesty made his public entry into Dublin. As early as six o'clock in the morning the streets exhibited great bustle, with the rapid movement of carriages, horsemen, and pedestrians to the places allotted for them; at eight o'clock a number of the representative bodies had assembled; at nine the carriages of the nobility, the officers of state, and the gentry who were to take part in the procession, were seen driving to their respective stations, filled with the high personages of the realm in full dress, the servants in new and splendid liveries, and the horses decked out in gay and gaudy trappings, intermixed with a profusion of blue ribbons: blue being the " welcome colour" agreed to be worn in honour of his majesty. Platforms had been erected in various places along the line of procession, where seats were procured with difficulty at high rates. These were early occupied by elegantly dressed ladies. About nine o'clock a procession passed through Dame Street towards Mountjoy Square which excited universal admiration. It was composed of the silk ribbon, stuff, and cabinet weavers, each man dressed or ornamented with the fabric of his trade, and carrying a small flag. No such procession could be mustered now, as the silk weavers are extinct, and the liberty where they flourished is a decayed and ruinous district. At half-past eleven the lord mayor, aldermen, sheriffs, and common council, preceded by a band of music, mounted and took their places at the top of Sackville Street, within a barrier which had been erected to represent the city gates - a sort of Temple Bar which had been extemporised for the occasion. The city marshal appeared on horseback in full uniform, having before him the keys of the city on a salver. The old city state coach was furbished up for the occasion, and looked quite grand drawn by six beautiful bays. Altogether, the corporation made a very respectable appearance on this the greatest day of its history. The aspect of the streets along the line of the procession was gay and brilliant in the extreme: flags, tastefully ornamented, floated from the windows; balconies, festooned and adorned with laurel, were erected wherever an opportunity offered; banners and streamers fluttered in the breeze over public buildings and private houses. In front of the General Post Office a gallery was erected, covered with crimson cloth and hung with laurel wreaths; from the lofty summit of Nelson's pillar the royal standard was displayed, and on the balcony beneath its waving folds a number of people had stationed themselves to view the procession. The ships in the river were all adorned with flags and streamers. Beautiful triumphal arches were thrown across several of the leading streets. A little before twelve o'clock all things had been arranged, and the king entered an open carriage, drawn by eight horses led by grooms, and attended by a numerous train of footmen in the most showy liveries. His majesty was dressed in a full military uniform, decorated with the order and ribbon of St. Patrick; his hat was ornamented with a rosette composed of shamrocks, of more than twice the size of a military cockade. He was accompanied in his carriage by the marquises of Headfort and Winchester. A signal rocket having been sent up, the artillery at the Wellington monument announced the starting of the procession, which passed out through the northern gate and moved along the route prescribed. It was joined on the Circular Road by the gentlemen of the Dublin corporation, and a deputation from the inhabitants of the city, all on horseback; the former wearing pink silk scarfs with white fringes, and bearing wands and favours. The citizens went by parishes, ranged in alphabetical order, with their distinctive banners and inscriptions. After these came the woollen weavers; next the cotton weavers, walking six abreast; then the stuff, silk, and ribbon weavers, all richly dressed, and with various fanciful decorations. A long line of private carriages closed the procession, which passed from the Circular RoaJ down Eccles Street, Temple Street, and Gardner's Row, to the bottom of Cavendish Row, where the city gates had been erected. At the barrier there was a long pause, when an aide-de-camp, galloping down Cavendish Row, called out loudly at the gate that the whole procession was stopped, including the king's carriage, and demanded that the gates should be opened. The city marshal, rising in his saddle with the dignity befitting the greatness of the occasion, pompously replied that the gates should not be opened without the express order of the lord mayor. A general officer then came up, and urged the immediate opening of the gates for the king. The city marshal then consulted the lord mayor, who walked up to the gate and asked through the railing what was the pleasure of those gentlemen, when they repeated their request, to which the lord mayor replied, " If the king is approaching, I presume he is accompanied by Athlone, pursuivant-of-arms, and it is his duty to announce the approach of the king; I must therefore decline to have the city gates thrown open unless requested to do so by the proper authority." Hereupon the aide-de-camp galloped back at full speed, and a few minutes after returned with Athlone, flanked by two lancers. He was instantly challenged by the trumpeter stationed upon the top of the arch which surmounted the city gates. Ile required to be admitted to the presence of the lord mayor, to whom he rode up uncovered, and stated that by the command of the lord lieutenant he demanded entrance to the city of Dublin for his majesty king George IV. The lord mayor replied that he and every one of his fellow- citizens most heartily rejoiced that their gracious sovereign had condescended to honour the city with his presence; that the gates should be on the instant thrown open, and the corporation would wait with all humility to receive his majesty. Athlone then galloped back with the message; and all difficulty being thus got over, the procession moved forward in the following order: - A detachment of cavalry; an immense train of carriages, containing the nobility, archbishop, bishops, the provost, fellows, and scholars of the university; a party of lancers, state trumpeters, king's messengers; the lord lieutenant's leading carriage, drawn by four horses, and carrying the maces; three other of his excellency's carriages, with his suite. When these entered the gates were again closed, and the same ceremony repeated, when they were again opened, and the king's leading carriage entered, drawn by six horäes, each attended by a groom, and having two servants behind in superb liveries; a party of dragoons followed; next came the lord lieutenant in his own carriage, drawn by six horses; four aides-de-camp; his majesty's state carriage; four aides-de-camp; twenty-four servants, two by two, in full state liveries; the king, in an open carriage drawn by eight horses, each attended by a groom.

The moment his majesty entered the gate there was one loud burst of enthusiasm, which rolled along the masses down Sackville Street to Carlisle Bridge, and reverberated along the whole line to the castle. The scene presented to the king at this time was one of great splendour. Throughout one of the finest lines of streets in Europe, not only were the windows and balconies all filled with ladies and gentlemen in full dress, the roofs of all the houses were thickly covered, the streets at each side were thronged with people, two thin lines of soldiers keeping a passage clear in the middle for the procession. On the appearance of his majesty, all the bands struck up) "God save the king," and the immense multitude, with one consent, stood uncovered. He rose from his seat, and bowed his acknowledgments on each side, holding his hat in his hand, and repeatedly pointing to the immense bunch of shamrocks with which it was adorned, which seemed to have an electrical effect on the people, who acknowledged the national compliment by deafening plaudits. His majesty was met by the lord mayor, aldermen, sheriffs, common council, and the two city representatives, all uncovered, who successively approached the royal carriage, and made their obeisance. He immediately commanded them to rise, and at the same time stood up himself in the carriage, and addressing the lord mayor in the most gracious manner, expressed the happiness he felt on entering his "grand and loyal city of Dublin." The recorder, who was attired in his scarlet robes, hereupon stepped up to the door of his majesty's carriage, and addressed him on behalf of the city of Dublin. After some introductory remarks he said: - "That the monarch of the greatest empire upon earth, under whose paternal sway our rights, laws, and liberties have been most anxiously protected and secured, should, almost the instant after the crown had been placed upon his head, in performance of the august ceremony of his coronation, have ordered arrangements for his most gracious visit to Ireland, must to us, in common with the rest of our countrymen, be matter of just exultation and pride. But there is another consideration, sire, which gives additional interest to the present scene, and cannot but contribute to render this day for ever dear to the recollection of Irishmen. History informs us that some of your royal predecessors have visited this country, but the same authority obliges us to add, under untoward circumstances, and in periods of national agitation and disunion. How delightfully contrasted the occasion upon which your majesty appears amongst us! In the person of you, royal sire, we behold the first monarch who has landed upon our shores to receive the enthusiastic homage of the entire island, and in the rapture of a nation's welcome, to partake of the happiness he communicates. You are now, sire, about to enter your ancient and loyal city of Dublin. The acclamations of assembled thousands accompany your majesty's advance. These are the richest offerings which love and gratitude can make, for they are the spontaneous bursts of the heart, and are sure to be received with a corresponding emotion by a sovereign whose first ambition has uniformly been to reign in the affections of all his people."

To which his majesty was pleased to make answer: - '' That he was truly sensible of the faithful attachment of his loyal and good citizens of Dublin, and that it made a deep and indelible impression upon his heart." The lord mayor, kneeling, and bare-headed, delivered the keys and the city sword to his majesty. The king immediately redelivered them, saying, " My lord, I return these keys and this sword; they cannot be placed in better hands than yours."

The ceremonies at the barrier occupied about twenty minutes, during the greater part of which the king stood in his carriage uncovered, bowing in acknowledgment of the acclamations of the people. Sir Benjamin Bloomfield, one of his equerries, who had taken an active part in arranging the visit, remarked, " I humbly hope your majesty doe? not think I have any reason to be ashamed of my country to-day." To which his majesty replied, " No, indeed, Bloomfield. You may be proud of them - they are a noble people." At this point some of the lower order forced their way almost to the very door of the royal carriage, shouting, " God bless you! God bless you! Ireland loves you." To which he politely responded, " I love Ireland," placing his hand upon his breast, and waving his hat with the big bunch of shamrock. The procession, moved forward, and the king was met with the same rapturous applause wherever he appeared. In Sackvilla Street he recognised the prince and princess Esterhazy in the windows of a drawing-room, for the use of which that day they paid fifty guineas. The veteran field-marshal, the marquis of Drogheda, was also recognised, and affectionately saluted, as he stood at the window of his own house, leaning on the back of a chair. The foreign ambassadors and their suites occupied balconies erected in front of the Post Office, which was superbly decorated. At twenty minutes past two o'clock the procession entered the castle gate, and was conducted to the presence chamber in that ancient seat of viceregal power. There earl Talbot, the lord lieutenant, kneeling before his majesty, presented to him the sword of state. The king, taking him by the hand, and bidding him rise, said, " I receive it, that I may again present it to you, my Talbot. I feel assured that I cannot commit it to better hands." The procession meantime halted. It was estimated that there were not less than twenty thousand gentlemen on horseback, each decorated with a pink or blue-coloured scarf or sash, with a "welcome medal," and bearing a baton in his hand, from which a flag or streamers floated in the air. The king, looking out from the window on the dense masses, said, " I want words to tell how my heart responds to the affectionate feelings of this excellent and generous people. I shall love them for ever. They shall ever dwell in my thoughts and in my heart. I expected when I left England kind treatment from a people proverbially hospitable, and naturally grateful, but I was not prepared for this enthusiastic and affectionate welcome. I thought I knew my Irish subjects, but I find there was much room to know them better. They shall profit by my improved knowledge of them while ever I have life. The beauty of the city and the splendour of its buildings perfectly surprise me."

The king then received on the throne the address of the clergy, presented by the archbishops and bishops of the university - the first they had ever presented in English - and of the corporation, which was presented by the lord mayor, whom the king immediately created a baronet.

On Saturday there was a grand military review in Phoenix Park, which was a source of great attraction. The king appeared in full military uniform, mounted on a grey charger. He seemed delighted with the enthusiastic demonstrations of popular respect with which he was greeted. The troops passed in review before him. There was a great sham battle, with tremendous thundering of artillery, brilliant charges of cavalry, and admirable manoeuvring of the infantry, which ended in the utter rout of " the enemy." The sun shone brightly on this magnificent show - bayonets, swords, and helmets reflecting its effulgence, and greatly heightening the pictorial effect. A thousand carriages, filled with ladies, declared by their admiring countrymen to be the most beautiful in Europe, surrounded the tract called the "fifteen acres," forming a broad circle, like a border of brilliant colours - the centre of one of the finest parks in the world, whose undulating surface, verdant and well-wooded, stretched away in the distance as far as the eye could see, the beautiful groups of deer being startled from their quiet propriety by the stunning peals of artillery and the clattering of horses' hoofs. The general adoption of the " welcome " costume gave the vast multitudes the appearance of one family. The king repeatedly signified his approbation of the fine condition of the troops, and the admirable precision of their evolutions.

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