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cherished his own obscurity as fondly as others seek for notoriety and applause. But more of the reality of power than is commonly supposed is exercised by men of whom the world knows nothing. There is a prejudice against them, because it is supposed that those who evade the obligations of public responsibility have in view some private and sinister design, and are released from many of the obligations of public life. But a sense of duty, an inviolable love of truth, and even an ardent desire of benefiting the world, are not less intense in a certain class of elevated natures when they are dissevered from public notoriety and popular applause. In such men the dignity of contemplative life controls and directs the more active faculties, and they have their reward in witnessing the success of their own ideas under other names and in other hands. Such characters are rare; but it is no aggeration to say that the late Baron Stockmar was one of them.
If there be one place more than another where such men and such services are of inestimable value, it is in Courts. Royal personages are for the most part by education and rank excluded from many of the ordinary sources of experience and information. They see mankind in a mask of formality and etiquette. Few persons are completely natural in addressing them. It is only within a very small and innermost circle of domestic life that they can find the pleasures of genuine friendship or the benefits of absolute sincerity. But unhappy, and indeed impossible, would be the solitary lot of a sovereign to whom such intimate and informal service were altogether wanting. It has been one of the distinctive merits of the reign of Queen Victoria that her Court has been discreet, dignified, and pure. It has been alike untainted by private scandal and by political intrigue. It has been governed by the same principles which direct a well-ordered family. Even in that which is concealed there is nothing to demand concealment; and whatever record leap to light' hereafter, we know that posterity will only find in the more private annals of the reign fresh grounds of loyal attachment to the sovereign and of respect for those most nearly attached to her personal service.
It would seem, as we turn over the pages of this volume, that for the Queen and for the older generation of her subjects posterity has begun. A reign of five and thirty years is a a long passage in history; and as we retrace in these lines the course of events long gone by, but well-remembered and familiar to ourselves, and the countless figures of those who,
having played a conspicuous part in life, have vanished from the scene, we seem to be living in another sphere and to be looking back to another period of existence. There is cer tainly nothing for any one to be ashamed of in this publication, and but little to give pain to any one now living. But we confess that we have not read it without some sense of the indecorum of the compiler of this Memoir, who, in order to make good his father's claims to the notice of the world, has torn aside the veil which enshrouded his father's memory. There is an inconsistency in the claim for posthumous celebrity on behalf of a man who had, in his own lifetime, so firmly repudiated and renounced it. Without the assent or the authority of the highest (persons interested in these pecu liar transactions, Baron Stockmar the younger, being in possession of his father's confidential papers, and consequently of a key to his father's confidential intercourse with the sovereigns of Belgium and England, holds himself justified in publishing as much of them as he thinks fit. He has sometimes let slip an insinuation against illustrious reputations; he has sometimes revived the memory of disputes and differences which have long been forgotten by those they most nearly touched, and were unknown to the younger generation; and he has given an exaggerated importance to the influence exercised by his father, which, though considerable, was never preponderant. It is not our intention to dwell upon these errors of judgment; we shall not give greater prominence to them by quoting examples in support of the strictures we feel compelled to make. On the contrary, we shall pass them over in silence, and turn rather to those matters of public interest with which the work abounds. But the present Baron Stockmar, of whom we wish to speak with all possible respect, must forgive us for adding our opinion that his father, who was a man of severe discretion and stern judgment, especially in matters relating to himself, would not have sanctioned, at the present time, the whole of this publication.
In relating the life of Baron Stockmar it is fair to admit that our impressions of him are not exclusively drawn from these pages.
We knew him well ourselves. We have even seen him actively engaged in those private councils and deliberations which were the chief occupation of his life, and heard the voice of the oracle as it was delivered, and received with unbounded respect, from a small chamber in Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace, or even from a smaller lodging
in Davies Street or Holles Street, to which at one time, from some fanciful motive, he retired. The manners of Baron Stockmar were dry and pedantic. He delivered his opinions with sententious gravity, as a man who has long been accustomed to be listened to and obeyed. He was extremely dyspeptic, fastidious in his diet, and nervously afraid of cold; indeed, his medical experience, concentrated on the observation of his own health, sometimes threw him into a state of hypochondriasis. But the opinion of those who lived with him was, that, with the exception of a weak digestion, his ailments were more imaginary than real. A man of this temperament is seldom of a very genial disposition, but in the case of Stockmar, the tendency to a melancholy and somewhat contracted view of life was tempered by the genuine warmth and goodness of his heart. He was capable of the most entire self-sacrifice to the welfare of those he loved, and Lord Palmerston (who did not like him for many reasons) justly and candidly affirmed that Stockmar was the most disinterested individual whom he had met with in the course of his life. One of his friends asserts in this biography that his natural bent of melancholy alternated, as is sometimes the case, with exuberant bursts of high spirits, and that, but for his hypochondriasis, he would have been neither to hold nor to bind. Of this extreme gaiety our own experience of him, in the later years of his life, furnishes no example; but we knew him as a kind-hearted and honourable man, fond of children, constant in his friendships, admirably discreet, and judicious, if not quite so wise as he was supposed to be. His son claims for him, with perfect truth, the merit of a thorough German character and heart. He was, indeed, in the highest degree national. His long residence in foreign countries had not in the slightest degree mitigated his national peculiarities. The very atmosphere of his room was German, wherever it might happen to be. He viewed all subjects from a purely German point of view; and, although he was no mean politician, living in daily intercourse with the first English statesmen, we doubt whether he took any real interest in English politics, except in so far as they affected the interest and welfare of the House of Coburg and his own greater German country. To this circumstance may in part be attributed the fact that, placed as he was in a position of extreme delicacy, he escaped all suspicions of intrigue, at least in England; he lived on terms of equal confidence with men of all parties here, and he was never accused of assuming any influence whatever in
English political affairs. * They were to him of altogether secondary interest in comparison with the interests of the Royal Family and the course of events on the Continent. These considerations and facts may not be without value in enabling the reader to form a just'estimate of his character and conduct, which were blameless and without reproach, as the confidential adviser and friend of King Leopold and of the Prince Consort.
Christian Frederic Stockmar was born on August 22, 1787, of parents in the middle rank of life, who appear to have had a small landed estate on the confines of Bavaria. His mother was a woman of good common sense, chiefly remembered for quaint sayings, which remind us of the farmyard philosophy of the admirable Mrs. Poyser. One of them to the effect that
God Almighty took care that cows' tails should not grow too • long,' was long remembered and quoted by Princes of the House of Coburg. The young Stockmar was brought up to the study of medicine in the Universities of Würzburg, Erlangen, and Jena till the year 1810. His boyhood was, therefore,
, spent in that dark and dreary decade which marked the lowest degradation of his country beneath the ascendency of France, and left an indelible impression on the mind of every German. But, more fortunate than his older contemporaries, he entered upon active life at the moment of the revival of patriotic feeling and national resurrection. The dawn broke just as he began to play a part in the world, and if he learned no other lesson from his medical education, he imbibed the salutary conviction that time and nature are the best allies of the physician in the treatment, not only of physical disease, but of the social and political maladies of mankind. The following just and modest remark occurs in one of his letters to the King:
• The King complains of medicine. I can write no apology for the art, because I have learned to know the exact limits of its power. Physicians themselves in most cases do not know what they should know, and in very few cases can they do what the patient requires. Hence the recourse to deception and lying. It is only in the preven
* His son relates a strange anecdote, for which we should be glad (or rather sorry) to have more complete authority, that a rich Englishman, a writer, and Member of Parliament, called on him one day and offered him 10,0001. if he would support his application to the Queen for a Peerage. Stockmar replied: 'I will go into the ' next room to give you time to withdraw. If I find you here when I
come back, I shall have you kicked out by the servants.' We cannot believe that a man in the position described would have been so absurd or so base as to offer a bribe; or that if he had offered it, Stocknar would have told the story.
tion of maladies that a good and great physician can be really of use.' (P. 52.)
His first steps to advancement in life were, however, professional. In 1812 he was attached to the military hospital in Coburg; in the following year he caught a hospital fever, which very nearly cut short his career. In 1814 he crossed the Rhine in the medical service of the 5th German corps d'armée which invaded France, and in this capacity he was attached to the ducal regiment of Saxony, where he became known to Prince Leopold of Saxe Coburg, who took the young armysurgeon into his service as his own body-physician, and thus gave a totally new direction to his life.
On March 29, 1816, Stockmar joined his master at Brighton, and for the first time set foot in England, unconscious of the part he was afterwards to play here. The marriage of Leopold to the Princess Charlotte took place on May 2, and the period which elapsed between that event and her premature death in November, 1817, introduced Stockmar, to some extent, into English society at the little Court of Claremont. He was speedily admitted to the confidential intimacy of the Prince, who made him his German secretary rather than his physician : and the Princess seems to have treated him with great kindness and familiarity, and even to have conversed with him on her most private and delicate affairs. For example, he reports that she one day said to him, My mother is bad, but she would not . have become so bad, if my father had not been a good deal
than she is'-a speech which, for filial impiety, can hardly be exceeded, and which was the more strange as it was addressed to a subordinate foreign attendant, whom the Princess had only known since her marriage.
Thus it came to pass that Stockmar picked up a very minute account of the circumstances which led to the rupture of the intended marriage of the Princess with the Prince of Orange. These particulars are contained in a manuscript volume (now in the possession of Her Majesty the Queen), chiefly in the handwriting of Miss Cornelia Knight, with corrections and additions by the Princess herself. of this volume the author
Of of this biography has made (we know not by what authority) an unrestricted use. The story has been told by Miss Knight herself, and more than once in the pages of this Review, and we shall not repeat it here. But it may be worth while to record three or four points which are now clearly established. The Dutch marriage had been projected and approved by the Prince Regent as early as 1813, when Charlotte was only seventeen: but though she acquiesced in her father's wishes, there never VOL. CXXXVI. NO. CCLXXVIII.