« PreviousContinue »
blaze of scarlet, blue, and gold uniforms, were the Right Hon. Lord Napier of Magdala, Colonel the Right Hon. Lord Seaton, Sir John Causton and Sir James Vallentin (Sheriffs of London), several of the Aldermen, Captain Charles Mercier (hon. secretary), and other officers and gentlemen on the committee. The Lord Mayor (Mr. Alderman Besley) and the ex-Lord Mayor (Sir James Lawrence, Bart., M.P.) met the company in the reception-room, while the band of the 19th Surrey performed popular selections. As the time appointed for starting had arrived, the state coaches of the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs drove to the entrance, and the dignitaries entered their proper vehicles and set off, amidst the cheers of some thousands who had assembled to witness the procession at the Mansion House. Many private carriages of noblemen and gentlemen followed, the vehicles forming a continuous line more than a quarter of a mile in length. The Belgian colours were in fashion; the horses were decked with tricoloured rosettes, and the coachmen and servants wore the national colours of Belgium. Each member of the National Address Committee wore a handsome decoration in silver gilt, hanging to a tricolour ribbon, with buckle and clasp, specially designed by Messrs. Howell and James. On one side was the motto, “Union fait la force," and around was a wreath of laurel. On the reverse side, in relief, were the words, “ The National Committee for the Reception of the King and Queen of the Belgians." The name of each committee-man was engraved on his badge. Flags and banners were hung from many house windows, and across several streets; and as the procession passed Fleet-street, the bells of St. Dunstan's rang out a merry peal. The line of route so far was kept by the City police; and the Metropolitan police, numbering nearly 1000, detailed for this especial duty, kept the streets between Temple Bar and Marlborough House; and another police detachment between Buckingham Palace and Marlborough House to the top of Constitution-hill. There was no block, hitch, or impediment from the start to the arrival. Some hundreds of people were assembled in Trafalgar-square; Cockspur-street was profusely decorated. When the first division arrived at Marlborough House the carriages containing the Mayors had already come up, the second section
aving been marshalled by Mr. W. A. Irvine, who had arranged the line so nicely that the two divisions joined without any disorder or delay. The third section brought up the rear, and the united procession extended over more than a mile of ground. There was a great crowd assembled in St. James's Park, and on each side, from Marlborough Gate to Buckingham Palace, people clustered by thousands, and a crowd outside the lines, formed on each side, moved towards the palace, cheering as it went. As the weather was cold and foggy, most of the carriages were closed; but just when the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs entered the palace gate the sun burst through the clouds, the mist cleared, and the pleasant change, regarded as a favourable omen, was especially welcome at noon. They drove through the eastern gate of the great quadrangle to the
main entrance, where they alighted, followed by their mace-bearers and officers, and attended by servants in royal livery stationed at the doors. It was then about a quarter before twelve o'clock. They were received at the state entrance, passed through the grand hall, went up the state staircase, and were ushered through the promenade gallery to the ball-room, which had been appointed for the hall of audience. The members of the procession more than half filled the room. The municipal dignitaries were in full costume, and their scarlet and furred gowns produced an imposing effect, wbile the uniforms of the military officers and the Lords Lieutenant or Deputy Lieutenants gave life and variety to the scene. Many of the Mayors were accompanied with the mace or other insignia of their office, but these were all deposited in the back part of the room.
At half-past eleven o'clock the King of the Belgians came from Claridge's Hotel, and was received at the garden entrance of the palace by Viscount Sidney, Lord Chamberlain ; Lieutenant-Colonel Sir J. Cowell, Master of the Queen's Household; and Colonel Stephenson, C.B., Field Officer of Brigade in Waiting. The guard of honour of the second battalion of the Grenadier Guards was at the entrance on his Majesty's arrival. His Majesty was attended by the Count de Lannoy, Master of the Household of the Queen of the Belgians; M. Jules de Vaux, Private Secretary of the King; Colonel Frantzen, Aide-de-Camp; Le Baron Colonel Prisse, Adjutant; and Dr. Eustace Smith, Physician to the King. The Baron de Beaulieu, the Belgian Minister, with M. Van de Velde, First Secretary, and M. Octave Delepierre and Prince de Chimay, Secretaries of the Belgian Legation, accompanied the King. At a few minutes past twelve o'clock Lord Torrington, the Lord in Waiting to the Queen, specially appointed to attend the King, conducted his Majesty through the picture-gallery and dining-room into the ballroom. The King was followed by the Belgian Minister and the Secretaries of Legation, and by the members of his suite already named. Surrounded by these gentlemen, who were all in their official uniform, his Majesty took his place on a dais at the end of the apartment. He wore the uniform of a General in the Belgian army, with the star and ribbon of the Garter and the star of the Order of Leopold.
The ball-room presented a grand scene at this moment. At the end opposite to where the King and his staff had taken up their position, and along both sides of the apartment for about half its length, the sword-bearers and mace-bearers of numerous corporations stood at short distances. Mayors in their official robes, and gentlemen in plain clothes, but wearing Belgian scarfs, medals, and rosettes, stood in the centre of the room, and immediately in front of a reserved
that led up to the dais were the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs of London in their scarlet robes, Lord Napier of Magdala and Lord Seaton, both in military uniform, and a number of the Lieutenancy of the City of London also in uniform. They formed a brilliant array. Lines of gentlemen wearing the Belgian
colours stood in front of the benches, which rose in treble rows at each side, but, owing to the manner in which the company had grouped themselves, and in which the corporate officials were arranged, the attendance seemed larger than it really was. The King having bowed to the deputation, and signified his readiness to receive the address, the Lord Mayor said that the address about to be presented to him was a truly national one. It was signed by upwards of 300 Mayors, Lords Lieutenant, and High Sheriffs of counties, and other representative men. There was, he believed, but one omission of a mayor's signature from the petition, and that had been caused by the absence from England of the Mayor of Manchester, who was attending the opening of the Suez Canal. He called on Captain Mercier to read the address. The Lord Mayor added a few words, remarking that their object was not, in any sense, a political one; but simply to express the good feeling which they trusted would always exist between the two nations. The King then descended from the dais, and advanced to within a few steps of the Lord Mayor, to read his reply. His Majesty gave thanks, warmly and heartily, to all who had joined in the address. He regarded it as a token of ties of mutual goodwill binding England and Belgium together. He was deeply sensible of the constant kindness of our gracious Queen, for whom he had ever entertained a filial affection ; and he rejoiced in the sympathies of many eminent men in England, who had allowed him to succeed to a part, at least, of the friendship they had borne to his father. He was glad that his own people honoured this nation for its great example of political wisdom and moral energy in the firm establishment of a happy constitutional government, combining liberty with order; and as a nation which, having achieved an immense material prosperity for itself, only wished to see other nations in possession of equal advantages, and to assist in preserving the peace of the world.
Having concluded his reply, amidst hearty cheers, the King of the Belgians advanced and shook hands cordially with the Lord Mayor, who introduced to his Majesty the members of the committee. After conversing with them for some time, his Majesty retired.
At half-past one o'clock the gentlemen who were to present the address from the Volunteers began to arrive, and by a quarter before two there were from 700 to 800 volunteer officers assembled in the ball-room. Every variety of costume known in the volunteer service was to be seen on this occasion, and all branches of the volunteer service were represented when the King, attended by his suite, again entered the apartment. The Colonels formed a line across the room at some distance from the dais. Midway in this line were Lord Elcho, chairman of the Executive Committee; Colonel Loyd Lindsay, commanding the Hon. Artillery Company; Colonel Thomson ; and Colonel Wilkinson, hon. secretary of the committee. Behind the colonels, for half the length of the room and in front of the benches on each side, stood the other field officers, the captains,
and the lieutenants. When the King entered from the diningroom, he was received by Lord Elcho, with whom he shook hands. His Majesty then bowed to the assembled officers, who replied by cheering and striking the floor with their swords.
Lord Elcho, having advanced a pace or two, said he had the honour of informing his Majesty that, though the time for communicating with commanding officers in the provinces had been so short, the address had already received 370 signatures, and before it was placed permanently in the hands of his Majesty a very great many more would be attached to it. Many of the commanding officers whom his Majesty then saw before him had come from distant parts of the country to be present at the presentation of the address. He and the other members of the committee were proud to say
that as honorary colonels of volunteer corps the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince Christian, and Prince Teck had expressed their desire to attach their signatures to the address, and his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales had requested the committee to add the name of his Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. The address was then read, and the King read a suitable reply, expressing his regret, by the way, that his consort the Queen of the Belgians had been prevented by the state of her health from accompanying him on this visit to London. The King then descended from the dais and again shook hands with Lord Elcho. He then shook hands with Colonel Loyd-Lindsay, Colonel Thomson, Colonel Wilkinson, and Colonel Walmsley, and expressed his acknowledgments to the executive committee. His Majesty passed along the line of colonels, and each of the gallant gentlemen was presented to him by Lord Elcho. After conversing very graciously with the officers, his Majesty retired.
In the evening of the same day the King was entertained by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress at the Mansion House, with a distinguished company, amongst whom were the Duke of Cambridge, Prince Christian, Prince Teck, the Duke of Argyll, the Right Hon. Mr. Lowe, the Right Hon. Mr. Goschen, the Belgian Minister, and Lord Napier of Magdala. The health of his Majesty being toasted as the guest of the evening, the King returned thanks and proposed the health of the Lord Mayor, with prosperity to the City of London, and the health of all the other mayors and other city, borough, or county officials who had done him the honour to present the address to him that day. The Duke of Argyll, in acknowledging the toast of “Her Majesty's Ministers,” remarked that King Leopold was the only European Sovereign who had visited India, and that his Majesty knew more about that portion of the British empire than most of the English people. In proposing the health of the Lady Mayoress, the King once more alluded with regret to the absence of his own Queen, who would have been bappy to have shared with him the kind reception he had found in London.
On the next day, after receiving addresses at the Belgian Legation from the Belgian residents in London, his Majesty went to lunch with the Queen at Windsor ; but returned in the evening. On the 27th he went to the South Kensington Museum and the Horticultural Society's Gardens, and inspected the building of the Albert Hall of Science and Art, and the National Albert Memorial in Hyde Park. In the evening he dined with the Duke of Cambridge. On the 28th the King went to visit Prince and Princess Christian at Frogmore; and on the following day quitted London with his daughter, Princess Stephanie, going to Dover by the South-Eastern Railway, on his return to Belgium. The Prince of Wales accompanied his Majesty to the Charing-Cross Station.
26. ACCOUCHEMENT OF THE PRINCESS OF WALES.—(From the London Gazette.)
Marlborough House, Nov. 26, 1869. “This morning, at twenty minutes past twelve o'clock, her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales was safely delivered of a Princess.
"His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales was present. The Secretary of State for India, in the absence of the Secretary of State for the Home Department, arrived at Marlborough House soon after.
“Her Royal Highness and the infant Princess are doing perfectly well.
“ This happy event was made known by the firing of the Park and Tower guns."
According to custom, an official announcement of the birth of a Princess was conveyed to the Lord Mayor from the Duke of Argyll, in the absence of the Home Secretary from London, and it was at once affixed to the outside of the Mansion House, where it was read by hundreds of people during the day.
Her Royal Highness's recovery progressed most favourably.
27. INQUIRY INTO THE WRECK OF THE CARNATIC.”—The official inquiry instituted by direction of the Board of Trade into the circumstances attending the loss of the royal mail steamer “Carnatic,” while
voyage from Suez to Bombay (narrated in the “ Chronicle” for September), was concluded at the Greenwich Police-court, before Mr. Maude, the magistrate, and Captains Baker and Hight, nautical
Mr. O'Dowd attended on the part of the Board of Trade; Mr. Watney (of the firm of M‘Leod and Watney), in the absence of Mr. Williams, barrister, for the captain and officers of the ill-fated vessel ; and Mr. Browning for the Peninsular and Oriental Company.
Mr. Maude proceeded to read the judgment arrived at, as follows:
“ The inquiry as to the loss of the Carnatic and the conduct of the master divides itself into two questions—firstly, the conduct of the master up to the settlement of the ship upon the reef; and, secondly, his conduct after the last event. The first question calls for very little remark. The circumstances from which a conclusion is to be arrived at are very few, and are all agreed upon : weather was throughout fine; a slight breeze in the direction of the ship’s way; a clear sky overhead, with shining stars; and though