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Visit of George IV. to Ireland page 3

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On Sunday the king went in state to Christ's Church Cathedral, accompanied by the lord lieutenant, the duke of Montrose, lord Sidmouth, and the marquis of Londonderry, in full court dresses, his majesty appearing in the Windsor uniform. At the grand entrance he was received by the archbishop of Dublin, and conducted in procession to the royal pew, preceded by the choir and the dean and chapter, followed by the lord lieutenant and the lords in waiting. Nearly all the bishops mustered in the cathedral on this occasion, the service being chanted by the bishop of Kildare. The sermon was preached by the archbishop. The lord mayor and the recorder, followed by the city regalia, walked uncovered from the church to the Mansion House.

On Monday, the 20th, the king held a levée in Dublin Castle. For four hours the carriages continued to set down company in the castle yard. Upwards of two thousand gentlemen went on that occasion to do homage to the king. Ile was dressed in a field marshal's uniform. After the levée he received addresses from the Roman catholic bishops, the presbyterians, and the society of friends, who suffered their hats to be removed before they entered the royal presence. For the first time since the revolution the Irish Roman catholic prelates had the privilege of standing before the throne of their sovereign. Their reception was most gracious and flattering. The deputation consisted of Dr. Curtis, Roman catholic primate of all Ireland; Dr. Troy, archbishop of Dublin; his coadjutor, Dr. Murray; Dr. O'Kelly, archbishop of Tuam; Drs. Plunket, Marum, Doyle, M'Guarin, Archdeacon, and Murphy. The address was carried by the primate, and handed to Dr. Murray, who had the honour of reading it to the king. The king read a reply, after which all the bishops in turn kissed his majesty's hand. The reply was endorsed, " His majesty's answer to the address of the Irish Roman catholic bishops." They were dressed in their Episcopal robes, and wore golden crosses on their breasts. During the levée the marquis of Londonderry addressed the venerable Dr. Troy, and expressed his satisfaction at meeting him so little altered, after an absence of twenty years. When the marquis, as lord Castlereagh, was chief secretary in Ireland, working with tremendous energy to carry the union, he had very intimate relations with Dr. Troy. The latter wrote to him and to the under secretary, Mr. Cooke, many a communication, marked "most confidential," "strictly private," "most secret," with postscripts containing a request that they should be burned. But litera scripta manet, this most secret correspondence was carefully preserved in the archives of Dublin Castle, and many of the letters which the most reverend writer firmly believed were burned may now be read in the Castlereagh " Memoirs."

In their address, the Roman catholic prelates glanced at the past history of Ireland, when their monarchs approached its shores only in hostile array, driven to the necessity of conquering "a litigated sceptre by their arms. " " For us," they add, " has been reserved the happier lot of welcoming for the first time a sovereign who comes to his people with the olive branch of peace in his hand, and with healing on his wing, to receive the willing and undivided allegiance of every individual within the wide range of his extended rule, the homage of the confidence and zealous attachment of all his subjects of every class and description. For ourselves and for the clergy of our communion, the spiritual pastors of four-fifths of the population of this portion of your majesty's dominions, we acknowledge the weighty debt of gratitude by which we are bound to your majesty's august house." They went on to state that they owed to him and his father the privilege of administering the rites of their religion, and the high honour of being permitted to stand in his presence. In the worst of times they had never failed, they said, to inculcate the duty of respectful deference to those placed in authority. The addresä proceeded: - "How many and how important are the additional inducements which must now stimulate our humble endeavours in the discharge of the same bounden duty, when, protected as we are by the legislation of our country, we have now the happiness, impelled by the most zealous attachment to your majesty's royal person, earnestly to impress upon the consciences of the whole Roman catholic community of this your majesty's realm the holy commandment of our blessed Redeemer of rendering unto Caesar the things that are Cœsar's, and unto God the things which are God's."

This address was presented before the passing of catholic emancipation, when the exercise of the Roman catholic religion was barely tolerated. Since that time the church of Rome in Ireland has received a series of most important concessions. Roman catholics sit in the imperial parliament and upon the bench of justice, and receive a, large proportion of the patronage of the state in every department. The priests are educated at the public expense, and the people are instructed gratuitously on the principle of religious equality and scrupulous respect for the rights of conscience. Yet, with all these privileges and advantages, some modern pastorals of the Roman catholic hierarchy are a perfect contrast in their spirit to the address presented to George IV. The most liberal concessions seem not to have had the effect anticipated by the statesmen who spent so many years in obtaining them.

The presbyterians - the third of the great religious denominations in Ireland - presented an address by a deputation representing the synod of Ulster, the synod of Munster, and the presbytery of Antrim, which was read by the moderator of the synod of Ulster. They hailed his majesty as the first of our kings who ever visited that land in peace. Referring to William III., they drew an historical parallel: - "The last of glorious memory who landed on our shores - having rendered himself illustrious for maintaining the independence of Europe against a presumptuous despot, who aimed at universal dominion - came hither to recover and confirm our liberties, civil and religious, by the achievements of war. Your majesty, after a conflict similar in its objects, but more arduous and desperate - equally protracted in its continuance, and brilliant in its conclusion - has arrived among your people of Ireland to foster and perpetuate the blessings of peace. As our ancestors endured every hardship and privation, and counted not their lives dear in the service of their great deliverer, so do we, their posterity, humbly proffer to your majesty the like devotion in defence of the dignity of your crown, and the independence of these nations. As they strenuously co-operated in the establishment of our matchless constitution, so would we make every sacrifice for the maintenance of the same under the auspices of your majesty," They then referred to their having been " planted in the north for the civilisation of a rude and refractory province," and to the conduct of their progenitors, who uniformly supported the cause of religion, constitutional liberty, and monarchy, against arbitrary power, anarchy, and usurpation. They expressed thanks for the many favours they had received from the house of Hanover, and especially for " the munificent provision made for the support of their ministers." They took credit - and not without reason - for the exemplary conduct of their people, who have maintained the same character to the present day, for it is a rare thing to find an Ulster presbyterian in gaol. "The presbyterians of Ireland," they continued, " have become a numerous body, amounting to a million of people, who rank among the most industrious, intelligent, and peaceable of the inhabitants of this island; living together in harmony, and cultivating the good will of all their brethren; diligently instructed in their duties as citizens and subjects, and indissolubly united in loyalty to your majesty and your royal house." The king's answer to this address excited much interest, on account of the sentiment with which it concluded. " I have the fullest confidence," said his majesty, " in your faithful and firm attachment to my person and throne; and you may be assured of my constant protection of those civil and religious liberties which are the birthright of my people."

The address of the society of friends was characterised by the dignified simplicity and the practical philanthropy which are the habit and the aim of that estimable body of Christians. They observed that, although religiously restrained from demonstrating their feelings by public marks of rejoicing, they respectfully offered to the king a sincere and cordial welcome, and congratulated him upon his safe arrival. " We desire," they said, " that thy visit may not only tend to thy own satisfaction and the joy of thy people, but that an event so auspicious may promote the improvement of Ireland and her inhabitants, and thus render an important and lasting advantage to the empire." Acknowledging the many civil privileges they enjoyed, they thus concluded: "We desire for thee, O king, that thou mayest be enabled, under the influence of that grace which visits the hearts of all men, to rule in righteousness, and to be an instrument in the Divine hand to promote that state wherein all nations may join if the holy anthem, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.' " The total number of addresses presented was two hundred and seventy.

There were some little incidents that occurred at the levée which may be worth recording as traits of Irish society. Lord Norbury, one of the judges, was famous for Iiis propensity to punning, which he indulged on the most solemn occasions, even when passing sentence of death on a prisoner. "Lord Norbury's last" was a frequent heading in the Irish papers. At the levée his lordship fell when kneeling to kiss the king's hand; the king, having assisted him to rise, he remarked, "This is not the first lift your majesty has given me." On being told that the king was delighted by the reception he met with in Ireland, the witty lord remarked, "That Ireland was the place to get a cordial reception." Some one having observed that the corporation should have got the streets better paved, in preparation for the king's visit, lord Norbury answered, "If they are ill paved they are well flagged."

Sir Frederick Flood was at the levée, though now between eighty and ninety years of age. The king complimented him on his youthful appearance, to which the venerable baronet replied, " I took out a new lease of my life on the 17th of August " (the day of the king's public entry into Dublin). The king often referred to this compliment in conversation with his courtiers. On Tuesday, the 21st, the king had a drawing-room at the castle, which was attended by numbers altogether unprecedented in Ireland. The presentations exceeded anything ever witnessed. The Irish ladies, forgetting and forgiving the treatment of the poor queen, were said to be intensely inspired with the ambition of getting a royal kiss. On Wednesday the royal visit to the theatre took place. The play and after-piece chosen by his majesty were "The Duenna" and " Patrick's Day," both from the pen of Sheridan. The king, who was received with great enthusiasm, sat out all the entertainments.

On Thursday he visited the Linen Hall, then an important place, but now deserted. He next paid a visit to the Bank of Ireland, formerly the parliament house, an edifice as chaste in its classic beauty as it is magnificent in its vast and symmetrical proportions. The preparations made for this visit by the commercial magnates of the city were on a splendid scale. He was received on his entrance by the governor, Mr. Arthur Guinness. A sumptuous déjeûner was laid out in the hall, which was formerly the peers' chamber. It is stated, however, that his majesty declined this entertainment, as he came to inspect the establishment, not to be feasted, and he was engaged for the grand corporation dinner in the evening. This, was a most gorgeous affair. The Oak Saloon - since called the t£ king's room," at the Mansion House - is said to be unequalled in Europe. It resembles the circular court-yard of an Arabian palace, being one hundred feet in diameter, without any pillar or other support for the roof but the external walls. It was on this occasion surrounded by a gallery supported by arches springing from columns, and crowded by a circle of beauty and fashion.

The royal table formed an elevated crescent, over which from the gallery a superb canopy was thrown. Under this was placed a state chair for the king, to which he was conducted by the lord mayor, the company all rising as he entered. He was surrounded at the royal table by all the great dignitaries of church and state. The king's health, proposed by the lord mayor, was drunk with the most enthusiastic applause. His majesty retired at ten o'clock. The health of the marquis of Londonderry, among other toasts, was afterwards drank. In responding, the marquis said, "I hope that I do not indulge too much in the pride of an Irishman, when I say, as I truly may, that a pageant so splendid, in every way so magnificent, I have never witnessed in any country, as that which graced the public entree of his majesty into the metropolis of Ireland, on the memorable 17th of August. Never did the national character display itself in a manner so honourable to the people. Never did the warm hearts and the intelligent minds of Irishmen stamp upon the world the true value of their character in a manner so unequivocal or upon an occasion so memorable." The marquis added that he had no doubt that the country would improve, and he felt more satisfaction than he had language to express in assuring them that the present would not be the last visit which his majesty would pay to Ireland.

The marquis Conyngham subsequently stated that the king had expressed his determination to pay a triennial visit to Ireland, and to lay an injunction upon his successors to do likewise. When the lord mayor left the chair, alderman Beresford was called to it, and was asked to propose the standing toast of the corporation, " The glorious, pious, and immortal memory." This he firmly refused to do. He was then asked to propose the health of alderman Darley, which he did. The worthy alderman returned thanks, and concluded by giving the interdicted toast, for which he was near losing his salary of one thousand pounds a year as police magistrate, the king being highly indignant at this breach of the compact of conciliation with the Roman catholics.

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