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not so reputed a partisan of the exiled family as the weak, but dangerous, Lord Jersey. These noblemen all united in controverting, by every possible endeavour, the designs and propositions of Marlborough. *
Whilst the fervour of politics was at its height, the Queen was advised by her physicians to go to Bath. It was singular that Lord Wharton and Lord Somers were at the same time ordered to go to that fashionable resort for the recovery of their health. Lord Wharton, exhausted by his parliamentary exertions, and Lord Somers, frequently an invalid, were probably not unwilling to avail themselves of this opportunity of combining business with pleasure. The public, indeed, regarded the whole as a scheme among the physicians, and considered the Queen's illness as only a pretext for meeting these two great Whig partisans on the neutral ground which a place like Bath affords. Many of the Tories who were in that city, insulted the Whigs in public meetings and assemblies. The Whigs returned the insult, nor did the Queen wholly escape some annoyances, when it was understood that she was willing to see Lord Somers. But the placid Anne looked on these demonstrations of party spirit with a smiling countenance, and “ hoped to extinguish all their party flames
in the waters of the Bath.” Those praises of her frugality, her constancy, her “English heart, which she had been in the habit of hearing from her subjects, were now no longer expressed ; and the Queen returned to London from Bath, in all the miseries of unpopularity.
Lord Wharton, the veteran promoter of Whig principles, and father of the eccentric and infamous Duke of Wharton, had no sooner reached Bath than he was challenged, upon the pretence of affront, by a Mr. Dashwood, a hot young Tory, who was desirous of stepping forward to signalise himself in behalf of his party. Lord Wharton in vain offered the young man such satisfaction as a man of honour might give, without fighting ; but neither his age nor his infirmities appeased the ardour of Dashwood, who insisted on a duel. The parties met, fought, as was the custom, with swords, and Dashwood was disarmed by the old lord, who, in consideration of the youth and zeal of his opponent, spared his life, and even gave him the honour of his acquaintance. But Mr. Dashwood, unable to sustain the reproaches of the world for his cowardice and rude fury in challenging so old a man, died soon afterwards, it is said, through shame and vexation.t
* Cunningham, b. vi. p. 351. + Ibid.
Such were some of the effects of that political rancour for which this free country has been, and probably ever will be, remarkable. The ladies of the time, it appears, were as zealous in those days as they often prove in this more enlightened age.
Conduct of Lord Sunderland—Influence of the Duchess
understood at foreign courts—Anecdote of Charles the Third of Spain.-1708-4.
LORD SUNDERLAND, at this time on terms of confidence with his mother-in-law, the Duchess of Marlborough, was one of the most active agents of the Whig party, in making overtures to Marlborough and Godolphin. Of powerful talents, although taunted by Swift with the imputation “ of knowing a book better by the back than by the face,” * and of multiplying them on his book-shelves without caring to read them, Sunderland, or his politics, were never wholly acceptable to Marlborough. Yet the Earl, though a violent party politician, knew how, in circum
* Examiner, No. 26.
stances sufficiently trying, to prove his sincerity, and evince a real elevation of mind, by refusing from the Queen, upon his office of secretary being taken from him, a pension by way of compensation. His celebrated answer, " that if he could not have the honour to serve his country, he would not plunder it," * must have startled less scrupulous politicians; and, possibly, it might even sound strangely in our own days of boasted disinterestedness and enlightenment.
The Duke of Marlborough, in reply to advances made in behalf of the Whig party by Lord Sunderland, made this memorable answer : " that he hoped always to continue in the humour that he was then in, that is, to be governed by neither party, but to do what he should think best for England, by which he should disoblige both parties.”+ Thus ended, for the present, the negociation on the part of the Whigs.
The cabinet, therefore, continued to be composed of mixed ingredients. The Duke persevered steadily in that course which he deemed necessary, as far as foreign policy was concerned, to crush the reviving influence of the Pretender, whose subsequent attempts to recover the throne of his ancestors he plainly foresaw. From this conviction, he regarded a continued good * Boyer, p. 472.
+ Coxe, p. 280.