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A History of the Four Georges and of William IV, V

And visited the residences of some of the Irish nobility


August 12 George landed at Dunleary, where anxious and enthusiastic crowds had long been waiting to welcome him. He was received with universal cries of "The King! God bless him!" to which he replied by waving the foraging-cap which he had been wearing, and crying out, "God bless you all; I thank you from my heart." Then he got into his carriage, and with a cavalcade of his attendants and a concourse of admiring followers he drove to the Viceregal Lodge in Phoenix Park, some eight or nine miles' distance. When he arrived at the Lodge he alighted from the carriage and proclaimed to the crowd, "In addressing you I conceive that I am addressing the nobility, gentry, and yeomen of Ireland. This is one of the happiest moments of my life. I feel pleased being the first of my family that set foot on Irish ground. Early in my life I loved Ireland, and I rejoice at being among my beloved Irish friends. I always considered them such, and this day proves to me I am beloved by them." Then he went on to say that "circumstances of a delicate nature," to which it was needless to advert, had prevented him from visiting them earlier. Rank, station, and honor were nothing to him, but "to feel that I live in the hearts of my Irish subjects is to me the most exalted happiness." He wound up with the touching words, "I assure you, my dear friends, I have an Irish heart, and will this night give a proof of my affection towards you, as I am sure you will towards {26} me, by drinking your health
in a bumper of whiskey punch."

[Sidenote: 1821--The King and the Primacy of all Ireland]

This speech may be taken as the keynote of George's behavior throughout the entire visit. On the 17th of the month he made his grand state entrance into Dublin in an open carriage drawn by eight horses, and he wore in his hat an enormous bunch of shamrocks, to which, by repeated gestures, he kept incessantly calling the attention of the crowd. More than once as he gazed upon his admiring followers he was observed to shed tears. Afterwards he attended reviews, showed himself at the theatre, was present at a great ball at the Mansion House, received an entertainment at Trinity College, and visited the residences of some of the Irish nobility. He talked to everybody, and sometimes in his conversation showed much of the good sense and shrewdness which really belonged to him, but in his demeanor towards the general multitude he always enacted the part of an enthusiastic Sovereign whose enthusiasm sometimes showed itself in the form of what might have been called, if he were not a Sovereign, outrageous mountebankcry. On Monday, September 3, he quitted the shores of Ireland. Just before his departure he received a deputation headed by Daniel O'Connell, who fell upon his knees, and in that attitude of loyal devotion presented his Majesty with a laurel crown. The King was particularly gracious to O'Connell, shook him warmly by the hand, and accepted gratefully the gift offered to him, and, for the time, O'Connell divided the applause of the crowd with the monarch. There was a renewed interchange of good wishes and blessings, and then the King got into his barge to be conveyed to the steamer, and several loyal Irishmen, in their enthusiasm, rushing to see the last of him, tumbled into the sea, and with some difficulty rescued themselves, or were rescued, from drowning.

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