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The New Zealand Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian, Saturday, April 5, 1862

The Prince Consort’s pedigree

The Prince Consort’s pedigree.

Thomas Carlyle, in one of his Essays, gives the following pedigree of Prince Albert with characteristic introductory remarks:—

“Another individual of the Ernestine Line, surely notable to Englishmen, and much to be distinguished amid that imbroglio of little Dukes, is the ‘Prinz Albrecht Franz August Karl Emanuel von Sachsen-Coberg-Gotha;’ whom we call, in briefer English, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg; actual Prince Consort of these happy realms. He also is a late, very late; grandson of that little stolen Ernst. Concerning whom both English History and English Prophecy might say something—but not conveniently in this place. By the generality of thinking Englishmen he is regarded as a man of solid sense and worth, seemingly of superior talent, placed in circumstances beyond measure singular. Very complicated circumstances; and which do not promise to grow less so, but the contrary. For the Horologe of Time goes inexorably on; and the Sick Ages ripen (with terrible rapidity at present) towards ——Who will tell us what? The human wisdom of this Prince, whatever share of it he has, may one day be unspeakably important to mankind!—But enough, enough. We will here subjoin his pedigree at least; which is a very innocent Document, riddled from the big Historical cinderheaps, and may be comfortable to some persons:—

“‘Ernst the Pious, Duke of Sachsen-Gotha (1601-1675), was one of Bernhard of Weimar’s elder brothers; great-grandson of Johann Frederick the Magnanimous, who lost the Electorate. Had been a soldier in his youth, succeeded to Gotha and the main part of the Territories; and much distinguished himself there. A patron of learning, among other good things; se: Seckendorf on compiling the History of the Reformation. To all appearance, an excellent, prudent, and really pious Governor of men. He left seven sons; who at first lived together at Gotha, and ‘governed conjointly’ but at length divided the Territories; Frederick the eldest taking Gotha, where various other Fredericks succeeded him, and the line did not die out till 1824. The other six brothers likewise all founded ‘Lines,’ Coburg, Meinungen, Rombild, Eisenberg, Hildburghausen, Saalfield, most of which soon died out; but it is only the youngest brother , he of Saalfield, with his line, that concerns us here.

“‘ 1st Johann Ernst (1658-1729) youngest son of Ernst the Pious; got Saalfield for his portion. The then Coburg Line died out in 1678, upon which arose great arguings as to who should inherit; arguings, bargainings; and, between the Meinungen and Saalfield especially, a lawsuit in the Reichshofrath (Imperial Aulic Council as we call it), which seemed as if it would never end. At length, in 1735, Saalfield ‘after two hundred and six Conclusa (Decrees) in its favour,’ carried the point over Meinungen; got possession of ‘Coburg town, and nearly all the Territory,’ and holds it ever since. Johann Ernst was dead in the interim—but had left his son.

“‘ 2d, Franz Josias (born 1697) Duke of Sachsen Saalfield—who, as we see, in =1735, after these ‘296 Decrees,’ got Coburg too, and adopted that town as his Residenz; Duke of SachsenCoburgSaalfeld thenceforth. A younger brother of this Franz Josias was the “Cobourg” (Austrian General)thrice famous in the French newspapers of 1792-94, if now forgotten. His (Franz Josias’s) son and successor was

“‘ 3d, Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800)—and his

“‘ 4th, Franz Friedrich Anton (1750-1806. [sic: delete]) He left three daughters, one of whom became Duchess of Kent, and mother of Queen Victoria: likewise three sons; the youngest of whom is Leopold, now King of the Belgians and the eldest of whom was

“‘ 5th, Ernst Anton Karl Ludwig (1784-1844) ; to whom Sachsen Gotha fell in 1824—whose elder son is now reigning duke of Sachsen Cobourg-Saalfeld-Gotha (chief residence Gotha); and whose younger is

“‘ 6th, Prince Albert, whom we know.’”