Monday, January 9, 2012

Duke of York


January 9 [1827].—This morning received the long-expected news of the Duke of York's death.  I am sorry both on public and private accounts. His R.H. was, while he occupied the situation of next in the royal succession, a Breakwater behind the throne. I fear his brother of Clarence's opinions may be different, and that he will hoist a standard under which will rendezvous men of desperate hopes and evil designs. I am sorry, too, on my own account. The Duke of York was uniformly kind to me, and though I never tasked his friendship deeply, yet I find a powerful friend is gone. His virtues were honour, good sense, integrity; and by exertion of these qualities he raised the British army from a very low ebb to be the pride and dread of Europe. His errors were those of a sanguine and social temper; he could not resist the temptation of deep play, which was fatally allied with a disposition to the bottle. This last is incident to his complaint, which vinous influence soothes for the time, while it insidiously increases it in the end.

Prince Frederick, the Duke of York and Albany, actually died on January 5th, 1827.  Scott received the news four days later.  The text above is from Scott’s journal.

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