Posted at 10.13.2018
When George IV died, on 26th June, 1830, THE CHANGING TIMES (founded in 1775) publicized a scathing obituary declaring, as Hibbert (1975) quotes: 'There never was a person less regretted by his fellow-creatures than this deceased ruler'. This was no idiosyncratic view, for both as Prince Regent and later as Ruler, George have been roundly criticised. Although he motivated the idea that he was 'the first gentleman of Europe' and was doubtless a 'patron of the Arts'- notwithstanding the somewhat mercurial and superficial character of the 'patronage', in some instances - his faults considerably outweighed his virtues and from his own family to the general populace he was the object of scorn and derision throughout his life. This is widely mirrored in the Art and Books of the era, where George sat as uneasily as Humpty Dumpty atop a mountain of creativeness: not so much its mind but its focus on.
Prince George Augustus Frederick reigned as Regent from 1811 before loss of life of his father, George III, in 1820, when he ascended the throne. George III got bouts of recognized 'madness' (now generally thought to have been due to porphyria, which ironically his child inherited) and more often than once his capability to rule was called into question by the parliaments of the time. When it was finally realised that he was struggling to function sufficiently even to open up Parliament, the nine calendar year Regency begun.
A time of huge politics change, encompassing riots, revolution and the abolition of slavery, and against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, the years of the 'Regency' have come to be associated with an imaginative renaissance in which architects such as Nash, encouraged by the Prince, would redesign London; music artists like Reynolds and Gainsborough would significantly develop portraiture and the powerfully influential 'Romantic Activity' in Books, which encompassed the work of poets as diverse as Blake, Byron and Wordsworth, started out. Crucially, it was also the time when the novel became widely accepted as an important genre, with the writing of such perennially popular novelists as Sir Walter Scott and Jane Austen.
Indeed, it is interesting to consider how Austen, not usually seen as a 'controversial' writer, shown the modern day view of the Prince Regent. Austen's book, Emma, was initially publicized in 1815, and 'given a lavish way to obtain three Royal Highnesses' in its devotion (Tomalin, 1998). However, Austen had not been towards this effusive wording, since she disliked the Prince Regent intensely, principally because of his treatment of his better half. In a letter to Martha Lloyd, dated February 16th, 1813, (cited in Le Faye, 1997) she composed: Poor girl, I will support her as long as I could, because she actually is a Woman, & because I hate her Partner - but I could barely forgive her for contacting herself 'attached & affectionate' to a guy whom she must detest - & the intimacy thought to subsist between her & Woman Oxford is bad - I really do not know what to do about it; but easily must give up the Princess, I am settled at least always to think that she would have been respectable, if the Prince possessed behaved only tolerably by her initially.
Given that was Austen's profoundly kept, if 'private', thoughts and opinions of 'His Royal Highness' it can only just have been a way to obtain great distress to her to accept the 'invitation', usually 'demand', of the Prince, as an admirer of her work, to offer any dedication whatsoever. Austen really experienced no choice but to concur, as was explained by his intermediary and librarian, John Murray. Her acquiescence is indicative of the Regent's power; his failure to acknowledge the work personally, when printed and delivered to him as something special, proof his rather superficial, vain character, especially since he offered the suggestion that she write an 'historical relationship' predicated on his family!
Yet, more importantly, perhaps, this showing vignette reveals much of the general view of the public, if we take Austen as consultant of such. Plainly, the Princess is not thought guiltless, yet she actually is presented less culpable than the Prince: 'she could have been respectable', writes Austen, surely an indictment against Regency Population in general. Certainly, she got parodied the excesses of the Regency mores in Mansfield Playground (1814), where in fact the Crawfords have been practically corrupted at the home with their uncle, 'the Admiral'. Austen simultaneously criticises the methods of Regency Modern culture and the Prince Regent, since he's 'the First Gentleman' and director of the. Being privy to her naval officer brothers' tales, she is in a position to show precisely how indelicate 'polite modern culture' is becoming, when Mary Crawford makes use of a rather risque double-entendre when dining with the Bertram's. Her reference to having seen more of 'admirals and rears and vices' is shocking to both meekly pious heroine, Fanny Price, and Fanny's cousin, the near future clergyman, Edmund Bertram. Austen also shows the difference between city and rural life when Edmund criticises Mary's abrupt dismissal of the influence of the clergy by declaring that, 'We do not try looking in great places for our best morality'. The Court docket, at the centre of 'City life', with the Prince Regent at its mind is thus neatly - and obliquely - criticised. The fact that the Prince was an 'admirer' of Austen's work, notwithstanding, shows her subtlety and his obtuseness. It also shows how incorrect it is to think about Austen as uninterested in the 'important occurrences' of her time. She actually is more than alert to the cultural evils of the Regency period and in no small measure lays the blame because of this at your feet of the 'immoral' Regent himself.
Criticism of the Prince is necessarily frequently subliminal, though he was often criticised openly, especially in the modern-day caricatures of such as George Cruikshank and James Gillray. These anti-establishment artists contrast strongly with the 'recognized view' evidenced in the commissioned portraits of the Prince Regent, and later the King, in the task of portraitists like Sir Thomas Lawrence. Peter Ackroyd, in his London: The Biography (2000) details George being referred to at his coronation as being 'obliged to provide himself, as main actor in a pantomime'. Since the coronation cost a small fortune, the Regent's 'play-acting' may be seen as akin to Marie-Antoinette's - and almost as dangerous. In the end, this is uncomfortably close, chronologically, to the People from france Revolution, of 1789 and the sooner 'defection' of the Americas, in 1776. Indeed, there is a genuine fear of revolution in Great britain at the moment, especially after the assassination of the Best Minister, Spencer Perceval, in 1812, who the Prince had, remarkably given his previous problems with him, proved in office.
Events such as the Luddite Riots (the background to Charlotte Bront's book of 1849, Shirley) proclaim the unrest that your disparity between the rich and the poor, nowhere more obviously viewed than in the extravagances of the Prince of Wales, was starting to provoke. The benefits of the Corn Laws and regulations, in 1815, made wheat very costly for the ordinary people whilst increasing the wealth of the nobility via their land and they were simultaneously increasing their employees' rents whilst lessening their wages. As a result, riots erupted throughout the country and led to the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester where eleven individuals were killed and 400 wounded; an ostentatious heir to the throne was plainly the very last thing that was sought. The early Romantics, stressing emotion over reason, reflected this public unrest and the original impetus for the writing of such as Blake, Wordsworth, Byron and Shelley was politically radical. Later, when the task of Wordsworth became so imbued in the 'Establishment' that he was, after Robert Southey, created Poet Laureate, he was greatly criticised by his contemporaries and prior, in the 'Determination' to his unfinished epic poem, Don Juan (1819-1824) Byron, whose political leanings were towards sociable reform (he even published 'Song for the Luddites', in 1816) lampooned Robert Southey and, by extension, the Regent, referred to in the poem as 'Fum the Fourth, our royal bird': Bob Southey! You're a poet - Poet-laureate, And rep of all race, Although't holds true that you turn'd out a Tory at Previous, - yours has recently been one common case; And today, my Epic Renegade! what are ye at? With all the Lakers, in and out of place? A nest of tuneful individuals, to my vision Like "four and twenty Blackbirds in a pye".
Southey acquired mourned Robespierre as 'the benefactor of mankind' on his loss of life (Storey, 1997) but got, like Wordsworth (and even the Regent himself, once a 'supporter' of the French Revolution) customized his views. Byron here castigates his erstwhile fellow reformer and puns on the word 'pye' to web page link it with the previous Laureate, Henry James Pye, to be able to emphasise the satirizing of the principal role of the Poet Laureate i. e. to 'flatter' the ruler, in this case the Prince Regent. Furthermore, in the nursery rhyme, the king and queen are diverted by money and pleasure, 'the counting-house' and the 'bakery and honey', an obvious connect to the excesses of the Regency court. It is worth noting that Byron's 'Determination' was never published with the Cantos of Don Juan in his life span and that the original nursery rhyme is considered to satirise an earlier King's greed, immorality and excesses, Henry VIII, whom Byron would use to attack the Regent in his poem, 'Windsor Poetics'.
Byron is also scornfully derisive about 'the Lakers', certainly the 'Lake Poets', such as Southey and Wordsworth, who Byron observed as having, in modern-day parlance, 'sold-out' to the Tories, having been 'Renegades' in their junior. Byron thus reflects the need for change and the corrupting aspect of the Regency judge which diverted men from reform by the temptations of the stunning trappings of wealth with that your Regent surrounded himself (like the indulgent 'Xanadu' of the Royal Pavilion at Brighton, mainly the task of John Nash). Byron was not altogether incorrect to criticise his previous 'allies', for it is obviously true that Wordsworth, in line with the roots of the Romantic ideal crystallized by the 'heart' of the French Revolution (i. e. to discard an outdated life-style and of pondering when it was against the law then even to speak or write of the) improved his 'radical' views 'radically'. In 'The Prelude' (started in 1805) Wordsworth exclaimed, 'bliss was it in that dawn to be alive', echoing the sensation that was the herald of a fresh soul to be embraced: Yet in the regal sceptre, and the pomp Of orders and degrees, I nothing at all found Then, or had ever before, even in crudest junior, That dazzled me, but instead what I mourned And ill could brook, beholding that the best Ruled not, and sense that they need to rule.
The idea obviously expressed is the fact 'the pomp/ Of purchases and levels' is clear, vainglorious and unfair. The poet considers the injustices of the world which 'the best/Ruled not'; nothing at all could be more critical of the Regency excesses of early Nineteenth Century England. It was, as Byron, Shelley et al presumed, a 'U-turn' of epic proportions for Wordsworth, in later life, to 're-assess' his work and take an Establishment view, and the mockery of Southey in 'Epic Renegade' is thus typically justified, though Byron was not wholly free of hypocrisy himself, of course, nor was Southey exclusively in his 'defection' to an altered interpretation of the word 'Intimate', putting the emphasis far more on the harmony with characteristics which is nowadays usually from the movement.
Quite the contrary was true of the first Intimate, William Blake. Never 'in tune' with any 'movement' per se, Blake maintained a bold, idiosyncratic, reforming and mainly anarchistic series throughout his life. In his poem 'London', from Melodies of Experience (1794) Blake openly criticises every degree of specialist, even the throne: I wander thro' each charter'd avenue, Near where the charter'd Thames does flow, And draw atlanta divorce attorneys face I meet Grades of weakness, marks of woe. In every cry of each Man, In every Infant's cry of fear, Atlanta divorce attorneys voice, atlanta divorce attorneys ban, The mind-forg'd manacles I listen to. How the Chimney-sweeper's cry Every black'ning Chapel appalls; Along with the hapless Soldier's sigh Runs in blood down Palace walls. But most thro' midnight roads I hear How the more youthful Harlot's curse Blasts the new born Infant's tear, And blights with plagues the Matrimony hearse.
T. S. Eliot's famous remark that Blake's poetry has 'an integrity against which the whole world conspires since it is distressing' is clearly evidenced here. His view of London is characterised when you are taken from the amount of the normal man and female. Like Dickens, later, he opted to be the 'words' of the 'common man' not the 'mouthpiece' of the Establishment; his 'sensibility' triggers him to respond to the 'bloodstream' on the 'Palace walls' and even though a 'great London visionary' (Ackroyd, 2000, p. 15) not blind to its faults. Blake's dark 'streets' are 'charter'd', hence, governed, under guideline, and therefore designed to be protected. The actual fact that they are not criticises the whole contemporary society from the throne down, encompassing the 'black'ning chapel' which seems oblivious to the interpersonal evils embodied in 'the Chimney-sweeper's cry' and 'the younger Harlot's curse'. The 'double-standard' of this corruptly led culture is loathed by the poet and he will not shrink from proclaiming his abhorrence. Furthermore, in the 'mind-forg'd manacles' he sees the side of the monarch (especially since he first wrote 'German forged links'). The poet exemplifies the reforming zeal which prepared early-Romanticism.
Blake was a consummate uncompromising artist, whose written work was always along with a painstakingly created engraving on bronze, colour washed, then paper. However, his art was as not the same as his contemporaries' as his writing. The Regency saw the introduction of detailed Scenery expressing profound psychological depth. This is very much motivated by the Prince Regent, who developed his own collection and urged the federal government to do also, inspiring the later basis of 'The National Gallery'. Samuel Palmer's straightforwardness of style combines with the visionary spiritual feeling produced from Blake; John Constable's peacefully, idyllic rural scenery, innovatively created in the open air, evoked an England already felt to be slipping away also to be the way more with the coming of the Industrial Revolution.
Indeed, much Victorian Literature, written in the mid-nineteenth century, is set in the time of the Regency. For example, Emily Bront's Wuthering Heights, printed in 1847, starts in 1801, with 'flashbacks' in the dual narrative to the late eighteenth century and Lockwood, the 'intruder' from London, and portrayed as a snobbish 'dandy', symbolizes the Regency idea that 'the City' was 'the centre of the World'. (Interestingly, the Bront sisters probably took their models for the 'wild, untamed' heroes of these books from the writing of the era, too, being 'Byronic' in aspect; they were also inspired by their admiration of the Duke of Wellington, a critic of the Prince Regent. ) This was quite widespread in the middle nineteenth century, to be found in the works of George Eliot and Thomas Hardy among others.
Turner's untamed and intentionally indistinct 'seascapes' influenced later authors as well as artists and the Regent's sensitivity to the value of Art is evidenced in his patronage from it throughout his life. Like Kenneth Grahame's 'Toad', he often became obsessed with fads and then drop them without further thought but it is just a testimony to its importance to him that this was not the situation with Fine art, to which he continued to be devoted in his support and gratitude regardless of the many deprecating caricatures which satirised his life and reign, dialling him, in later life, 'the Prince of Whales' (Le Faye, p. 44) anticipated to his corpulent build; Keats even referred to him as 'fat George'(Gittings, 1970). Indeed, to some extent, he lampooned himself more successfully, albeit unwittingly, by commissioning ridiculously flattering 'standard' portraits by such as Sir Thomas Lawrence (1816).
'Prinny', as he was known by his inner circle, was similarly considering architecture, commissioning John Nash to renovate Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, as well as to reshape London. In the course of this, the eponymous Regent's Recreation area was developed, initially for private use only, from the former Royal Hunting Grounds (Ackroyd, 2000); this, however, was unlikely to endear him to the starving populace of whom he looked like typically oblivious. Even his brother, William IV, later remarked that the Prince Regent got, 'damned expensive tastes' in 'knicknackery' (Brown & Cunliffe, 1982, p. 148) but given his uneasy marriage with his family, it was unavoidable that any facet of his life that could be criticised, would be, especially since acknowledgement of George's defects could only add to the level of popularity of his successors; the moral and sober replacing the immoral and facile. (This would culminate in the extravagantly 'wholesome and reputable', Queen Victoria, who is registered as having disliked being near 'Uncle King', as she called George IV, saying it was: 'too disgusting because his face was protected with greasepaint'. )
Nowhere was this more noticeable than in the Prince's private life, which both as Regent and King, was always 'very vulnerable'; so much so that most of his correspondence was demolished on his fatality (Aspinall, 1963). His 'first love', Mary Robinson, an celebrity whose stage name was 'Perdita', received ardent love letters from him in his children authorized 'Florizel' (probably a reference to Shakespeare's A Winter's Story where people so named semester in love: Florizel is a prince, Perdita a royal raised by the shepherd). Cannily, given the Prince's relative penury in later life, she extracted a financial 'bond' from him to be redeemed on his coming of age; remarkably, the Regent honoured this but then, he was usually nice to his mistresses rather than his wives.
Maria Fitzherbert, a twice-widowed Roman Catholic and the love of his life was much less successful economically. Indeed, the Prince frequently borrowed from her and hid from his lenders at her house. Her religion forbade their matrimony, but George married her in secret, in 1785, without the consent of the Ruler, thus making the union unlawful. Nevertheless, he continued to be near her to the finish of his life and after his death, Wellington, not an admirer of the Prince but keen to maintain the dignity of the monarchy, managed to get his personal job as executor to burn off his correspondence with Mrs. Fitzherbert. This was an exercise in retroactive 'damage-limitation', because much of the criticism of George got surrounded his 'marriages' and liaisons. His indiscretions managed to get even easier for the favorite press to lampoon him and continue to maintain him in very low-esteem, although much of what he achieved was ideally overlooked or regarded as 'frivolous'. THE CHANGING TIMES wrote of him that he preferred 'a woman and a bottle to politics and a sermon' but forgotten the fact that he previously this, at least, in keeping, with almost all of his contemporaries.
George have been compelled by the King, for financial reasons, to marry his cousin, Caroline of Brunswick, in 1795. Caroline, it appears, was favored by everyone however the Prince despite her indiscretions, for which many, like Jane Austen, blamed George (when the Prince first saw Caroline, he supposedly called frantically for brandy). They were separated soon after the labor and birth of their little princess and George prohibited her from his intricate coronation. Caroline, not easily deterred, attemptedto induce her way in but was repelled by the boxers George experienced hired as webpages (Brown & Cunliffe, p. 234). Nevertheless, she remained extremely popular with everyone.
George was evidently incapable of obtaining similar 'reputation'; indeed, he appears to remain basically indifferent to it, even though his instructor was actually attacked in 1817. Instead of reacting favorably to the unrest, he selected instead to 'set styles', taking on Regency 'dandies' like 'Beau' Brummell and with them as his 'model' then shedding them in response to trivial quarrels. (Brummell famously retaliated by giving an answer to a royal snub with the question: 'Who's your fat good friend?' but paid for it. ) George deserted the use of wig powder when it was taxed, is largely acknowledged with having spread (on Brummell's advice) the adoption of the dark convenience in male clothing which replaced the greater elaborate and colourful silks and satins of the earlier days and he encouraged the putting on of 'tartan'. However, in a period of revolution, war and interpersonal upheaval, along with his people starving, it is, perhaps, easy to see how 'attained tastes' could not be accepted as any kind of serious replacement for strong, moral command. Therefore, although a lot of the criticism of the Regent's appearance was itself superficial, behind it lay down a deep disquiet about the future monarch which was by no means dispelled when it became a reality.
Byron published, in 'Windsor Poetics', of experiencing the Regent position between the coffins of Henry VIII and Charles I, in the royal vault at Windsor (Byron, Poetical Works, p. 73): Famed for contemptuous breach of sacred ties, By headless Charles see heartless Henry is; Between them stands another sceptred thing - It steps, it reigns - in all but name, a king: Charles to his people, Henry to his wife, - In him the double tyrant starts alive: Justice and loss of life have mix'd their dust particles in vain, Each royal vampire wakes to life again, Ah, what can tombs avail! - since these disgorge The blood vessels and dust particles of both - to mould a George.
Byron traces an unhappy lineage to its present 'sceptred thing': a combination of the arrogance of Charles I, ruling, he thought, by 'Divine Right', and the corrupt, immoral and headstrong, Henry VIII, who tore the united states aside for his own vain fulfilment. These 'royal vampires', feeding in the design of modern Gothic horror from the 'bloodstream' with their people, find a hideous reincarnation in the Regent, 'the twice tyrant', George. Byron does not paint a fairly picture but seems, overall, to reveal a common opinion. As The Times paper on his loss of life: What eyeball has wept for him? What heart has heaved one throb of unmercenary sorrow?. . . If he ever endured a pal - a devoted friend in virtually any get ranking of life - we protest that the name of her or him never reached us.
The birth into the future King George IV, in the beginning released as that of a girl to his disappointed parents, culminated in a more common disappointment. Wellington, George's polar contrary in most things, called him 'the worst man I ever fell in with in my own complete life' but later described him more appropriately, perhaps, as a 'medley' of a man. Certainly, both as Regent and King, George presided over an interval whose influence continues to be much in facts but little of the was due to its ruler.