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Full account of the visit of the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) to McIlvaine's home in Clifton.
letter, McIlvaine, Du Bois, son-in-law, Prince of Wales
McIlvaine, Charles Pettit, "Letter to G. W. Du Bois (son-in-law)" (1860). Charles Pettit McIlvaine Letters. 39.
Cinc. Oct. 3, 1860
Your letter about the visit of the Prince came today. Emmy promised to write Mamy about it, and I supposed has done so, but I will write also. On Saturday morning, having previously placed a letter to the Duke of New Castle at the Burnet [House] to be given him immediately on his arrival, I saying that I would wait on him on Saturday at 10 o’clock to make arrangements about their attendance at Church next day. I went to the Burnet [House] and met him. After conversation about the business, I requested the honour of the Princes’ alighting at my house as they drove through Clifton. (I believe he had not stopped at any private house since he reached the American shore, except as a necessity where tavern accommodations as on the Prairie were not suitable.) It had been arranged that they were to lunch at Mr. Bowlens. The Duke promptly answered that it should be so, and he would see to it. Sir Henry Acland of the suite had been at our house a few days before. I hesitated not. Charley had come down from Gambier on purpose to see the Prince. The Duke had said he thought they would get to Clifton about 3 o’clock. We were all hard at work cleaning up–mowing the grass, raking the walks and c.–when word was given that they were coming. I had just time to put on my coat when the Prince’s carriage with 4 white and grey horses containing himself, Lord Lyon, the Duke, Earl St. Germain, and the Mayor was at the door. Nain and Emmy and Anne were in station in the parlour. Their mother stayed upstairs and looked out of the windows. The suite consisted of about 14 besides the Cinc. Committee. Our room was well filled. They did not sit but stood, and were with us about twenty minutes, during which time my conversation was principally with the Prince. He shook hands as he entered with the girls. Charley was also there but as he came in after the party, I did not see him and so to my mortification he was not introduced. After I had occupied the Prince as long as was wise I went to converse with Mayor Gen. Bruce, brother of Lord Elgin, and Nain and Emmy in succession had the Prince.
When they left us, I rode with them as had been arranged to Mr. Bowlen. There we occupied quite a half hour in walking about, before lunch, where I was almost all the time alone with the Prince. I took him in to lunch, which was very handsome, and sat between him and the Duke. We had a great deal of conversation. On Sunday they were all at St. John’s and occupied the front pews immediately before the chancel. The order of the congregation was admirable. As they retired and shook hands with me, the Prince said he hoped to see me in England.
Now as to my impressions about him. In appearance he is short and of delicate make. Countenance mild, engaging and intelligent, with a very amiable look, as that of a pure-minded, well educated young gentleman. His manners are easy, modest and remarkably common sense. I think it is remarkable that having never before been a republican and democratic population, having just come from where all the etiquette of the Royal Family was as much observed as in England, necessary now where manners must be so new, he should so perfectly accommodate himself to the circumstances. It shows great good sense. I thought his conversations indicated a man above his years. His opinions seemed to be formed and his dispositions seemed very amiable. You could not have known that he was anything but a well bred gentlemen except from the deference of his suite. The party were much delighted with Clifton and were surprised at the style of Mr. Bowlen’s house. Dr. Acland, son of Sir Thomas Acland, and the physician of the party came out on Sunday PM and spent some hours with us. He seems greatly oppressed with anxiety lest the immense draught upon the strength and health of the party, by so much publicity should result in some mishap.
The whole matter has been very gratifying to me. I told the Prince about Kenyon, and the donations of the Duchess of Kent and those of the Royal Family. Sir Henry Acland has promised Nain the autographs of all the party.
I leave on Friday for New York and
[Letter ends here; there appear to pages missing]