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PREFACES belong to the sweet uses of olden times; and trite and quaint as may be their forms, we cannot quietly part with their fashion. Their very origin involves a bit of antiquity that delights us. Proface was long a“familiar exclamation of welcome at a dinner, or other meal, equivalent to much good may it do you ;' but from what language derived was long uncertain.” So says the venerable Archdeacon Nares, in his excellent “Glossary;" and upon etymological showing, he proves “it is plain that we had it from the Norman romance language.” In a quaint old letter we read,
Thus, proface ye with the preface :'' Shakspeare, in his hospitality of Henry IV., says
“Sweet Sir, sit-most sweet Sir, sit-proface :" and Heywood, in one of his epigrams, says
“ Reader, read this thus ; for preface, proface,
Much good may it do you." But, to the point: the old proface grace is forgotten in our feastings; but the custom still lingers on the threshold of books in the “ prefaces” of the present day.
Lest we generalize into a preface upon prefaces, we hasten to observe that the volume now before the reader is not the least eventful of its series. It begins gloomily, with the death of an excellent Patron of Literature and the Arts ; but, however sombre the subject, it has, we hope, enabled us to convince the Readers of THE MIRROR that our exertions to bespeak their interest correspond with the times. All the Engravings illustrative of the late King's death and obsequies are from drawings made expressly for this work. The Bedchamber and Private Dining Room in Windsor Castle were sketched within the walls themselves ; and the Lying-in-state, Procession, and Interment were transferred by artists who were spectators of the several scenes or incidents. The Memoir and descriptive particulars which accompany these Engravings were re-written from various sources, aided by many points of information, of minor importance in themselves, but in some measure assisting the completeness of the details. That such exertions (necessarily of great expense) should be made for a work bearing the lowest remunerating price in this country, may appear strange; but the cir
cumstance deserves mention, as well from our own grateful feeling, as for the honour of the public
that these exertions have been amply repaid by more than a proportionate increase of their patronage.
The Engravings otherwise bave been, in some instances, selected with an eye to events of the day: so as to be little pictures or“ Mirrors” of the times. Algiers—the Hotel de Ville at Paris—the Palace of the King of the French — Lullworth, the asylum of “ unkingship,” and two or three other subjects, are illustrations of a few of the ups and downs, which Time has slid through the lantern of the last six months, and reflected on the blank of our paper; whilst the sketchbooks of a few Correspondents have furnished subjects of other and more pacific interest, in the birthplaces, abodes, and memorials of literary genius.
Original Communications, of fact and fancy, will be found in due proportion in the subsequent pages. To their contributors we return our best acknowledgments. Selections from the best-graced literature of the day, and our own adoption of useful and amusing facts, constitute the remainder, and, we hope, realize the “Literature, Amusement, and Instruction" of our weekly " proface."
It may be as well to mention that the modicum of this half-yearly volume has been increased three sheets, or forty-eight pages. This will account for the trifling advance in price observable by our purchasers by the volume.
And now, courteous Reader, with grateful recollections of the past, we promise our best studies for the future. A new year and
a new volume bring fresh hopes of new subscribers, and stimulate us in striving for the gratification of all.
December 27, 1830.
HER MAJESTY, QUEEN ADELAIDE.
HER Most Gracious Majesty, ADELAIDE, the Queen Consort of these realms, was born the 13th day of August 1792, and baptized by the names of Adelaide Louisa Theresa Caroline Amelia; and is the daughter of George Frederic Charles, Duke of Saxe Coburg Meiningen, by Louisa Eleanora, a daughter of Christian Albert Lewis, Prince of Hohenlohe Laugenburg. The Duke of Saxe Coburg Meiningen, her Majesty's father, whose character was most estimable, died in 1803, when only 42 years of age, shortly after the birth of his only son, the present Duke. By his will, his Šerene Highness confided the guardianship of his three children, as well as the Regency of the Duchy, during his son's minority, to her Majesty's mother, the Duchess, an intelligent and most amiable woman. The third child alluded to (the younger daughter) was Ida, who has since become Duchess of Saxe Weimar Eisenach. There could not have been a happier choice, either with reference to the Guardianship, or the Regency: the children were educated in great retirement at Meiningen, the capital of the small principality, with strict care as to their morals, and sedulous attention to their improvement in every branch of polite learning and useful knowledge; thus reflecting the highest credit upon their excellent mother. The amiable Princess just mentioned is still living, and last year paid a visit to her daughter in England, now Queen, with whom her Serene Highness remained several weeks.
The Queen, from earliest childhood, was remarkable for sedate, and rather reserved habits, devoting almost her whole time to her studies, though cheerful and lively among her more intimate associates. When arrived at more mature years, the Queen took no pleasure in the frivolities of fashion, and evinced an utter detestation of that laxity of morals and equivocal conduct, and that contempt for religion, which had sprung out of the French Revolution, and which for a considerable period had the prevailing sway in too many of the petty Courts of Germany.
The Duchess of Saxe Meiningen, highly to her honour, amidst the peace, ful circle of her retired court, steadily persevered in the well-regulated and virtuous course which she had commenced in the education of her children, and the administration of her Duchy. Fortunately for the mild and maternal character of the Duchess' public and private life, the territory of her sovereignty was overlooked by the ambitious eye of Buonaparte, who appears to have considered the Court of Meiningen too insignificant to deserve bis attention. He did not think it worth his while to attempt the corruption of the court by his usual sinister means; while the Duchy did not form such an obstacle to any of his plans, as to excite his solicitude.
Far different was it, unhappily, in many of the other states of Germany, where at their courts, and amongst their higher classes, irreligion and profigacy made for a time the most frightful progress, whilst the people were subjected to heart-rending privation and distress. The Court of Meiningen thus formed a splendid exception, and was remarkable for its strict morality, and steady support of the true Protestant faith; and its Princesses became celes, brated for their amiable and estimable conduct; they took the greatest pleaNo. 468.]
sure in establishing and superintending schools for the education of the children of the lower classes of the community, and in procuring and providing food and clothing for the poor and destitute in the city and suburbs of Meiningen. The Princess Adelaide was, above all, the life and soul of every institution, which had for its object the amelioration of the condition of her fellow-creatures. In no school could the virtues and amiable qualities peculiarly adapted to a Queen of England be more admirably learnt; and the conduct of her Majesty, since her arrival in this country, has proved those qualities to be deeply implanted in her heart, and the invariable guide of her actions. The same feelings and the same principles which prompted the Princess Adelaide to perform, with undeviating attention, all the duties of her station, to extend the hand of charity and sympathy to the destitute and afflicted, and to succour her distressed fellow-creatures, were brought into action in a more extended sphere, when the Princess became the consort of . the Duke of Clarence, and transferred her residence to England; and in a still more enlarged circle, are now displayed in the conduct of the consort of the Monarch of the British Empire, all those traits of purity of mind and of heart, which are infinitely more to be prized than the blandishments of personal beauty, or the mere charm of elegant attractions, from their value being deeply felt and patriotically acknowledged in the hearts of the people.
Our late excellent Queen Charlotte had long kept her eye upon this virtuous family, which, flourishing like an oasis in the great desert of corrupt Germany, had attracted much of her regard and attention ; and when her Majesty's foresight judged it prudent to urge her third son, the Duke of Clarence, to enter into the wedded state, she strongly pressed upon his attention the only remaining daughter of the house of Meiningen. The youngest sister, Ida, had already been married to her cousin Bernard, the second son of the Grand Duke of Saxe Weimar. . Accordingly, we believe, his Royal Highness having made the necessary inquiries, and finding the Queen's recommendation amply confirmed, a regular demand was made of the Princess' hand in marriage,
and in due time a favourable answer returned. As it was impossible for his Royal Highness to proceed to Germany, the Princess, with her mother, was invited over to England; and on the 11th of July, 1818, the Prince and Princess were married at Kew, in the presence of the Queen and other members of the Royal Family; and at the same time, the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, which had previously taken place in Germany, was performed according to the rites of the Church of England. After the ceremony, the Duke and Duchess of Clarence spent a few days in retirement at St. James's Palace, and then proceeded, with a numerous suite, to Hanover. In the capital of that kingdom they spent the winter of 1818 and the spring of 1819.
Her Royal Highness was soon declared pregnant, and the most happy anticipations were formed of her giving birth to an heir to the crown of England. In the month of March, however, her Royal Highness caught a severe cold, which ended in a violent pleuretic attack, and, in consequence of the treatment necessary to preserve her valuable life, premature labour was induced, and in the seventh month of her pregnancy her Royal Highness was delivered of a princess. The child was christened on the day of its birth by the names of Elizabeth Adelaide, but expired very soon afterwards, and was interred in the royal vault at Hanover, where lie the remains of the great Elector, Ernest Augustus, and George I. The Duchess' recovery was slow, but perfect, and a change of air being thought requisite, she proceeded, as soon as she was able to travel, to Meiningen, visiting Gottingen and Hesse Phillipsthall, on the way,
The joy of the good people of Saxony on again beholding their beloved princess knew no bounds; and from the moment she entered the precincts of the Duchy, she was met and welcomed by the vassals of her brother, and carried in triumph for a distance of nearly thirty miles, to the capital, where