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and ingratitude,” as if she herself, and connexions, had not owed their all to the queen she was abusing. An historian, taking notice of her vehement complaints of Mrs. Masham's thanklessness, observes: “It is true, she was her near relative, and the defect of base ingratitude seems to run in her family.” He declares withal, “that she should have chosen her watch-dog on the queen, when she became too grand or too indolent to perform that needful office, from a better breed.”]
Whilst the duchess was in the mood for reviling, she penned the queen the following choice epistle. In the course of the letter, she alludes to the princess Sophia, whose visit to England was so much dreaded by the queen as to occasion it to be a threat alternately held over her by two, at least, of the contending parties, into which her subjects were divided :“ The DUCHESS OF MARLBOROUGH TO QUEEN ANNE” (under the usual names of Morley and Freeman.)
August 6, 1707, Lord Marlborough has written to me to put your majesty in mind of count Wratislaw's picture, and in the same letter desires me to ask for one that he sent lord treasurer, (lord Godolphin,) which canie from Hanover, which I have seen, and which I know you would not have me trouble you with ; and I have been so often discouraged in things of this nature, that I believe nobody in the world but myself would attempt it; but I know Mrs. Morley's intentions are good, and to let her run on in so many mistakes, that must of necessity draw her into great misfortunes at last, is just as if one should see a friend's house on fire and let them be burnt in their beds without endeavouring to wake them, only because they had taken laudanum, and did not desire to be disturbed.
“ This is the very case of poor dear Mrs. Morley; nothing seems agreeable to her but what comes from the artifices of one that has always been reported to have a great talent that way.”
This clause seems to point at Mrs. Masham, against whom the duchess had declared open war:
“I heartily wish she (the queen) may discover her true friends before she suffers for the want of that knowledge; but as for the business of calling for the princess Sophia over, I don't think that will be so easily prevented as, perhaps, she (the queen, to whom the letter is written) may flatter herself it will, though I can't think there can be many, at least that know how ridiculous as creature she (the princess Sophia) is, that can be in their hearts for her.”
This attack on the princess Sophia probably originated in some contempt which that high-minded lady had shown for the character of the duke of Marlborough, on his
* Ralph's Answer to the Conduct.
% Coxe MS. Brit. Museum. VOL, XII.
late visits to her court, for his duchess had certainly never been in company with the electress :
“ But we are a divided nation,” (resumes the self-sufficient censurer of all sorts and conditions of her contemporaries ;) “some are Jacobites that cover themselves with the name of Tory, and yet are against the crown. Others are so ignorant, that they really believe the calling over any of the house of Hanover, will secure the succession and the protestant religion.
“ And some of those gentlemen that do know better, and that have for so many years supported the true interest against the malice of all the inventions of the enemies of this government, I suppose will grow easy, and will grow pretty indifferent—at least, in what they may be of no ill consequence, further than in displeasing the court, not only in this of the princess Sophia, but in anything else that may happen. As Mrs. Morley orders her affairs, she can't expect much strength to oppose anything where she is most concerned.
“ Finding Mrs. Morley has so little time to spare, unless it be to speak to those who are more agreeable, or that say what she likes on these subjects, I have taken the liberty to write an answer to this—which you will say is sincere, and can be no great trouble only to sign it with Morley.”
It is an enigma to know what the duchess of Marlborough meant by the last paragraph of this epistle, unless she had finished up the insult by enclosing an answer to her own audacious attack, mimicking the manner of the queen's probable reply. She could not mean an answer to the small matter of business relative to the queen's pictures, which she makes the excuse of venting her evil feelings in this unique performance, because she only asks for the unofficial signature of “Morley." The folly of reviling the princess Sophia, in her low-caste term of “creature,” could only have been perpetrated by one who cared for no consequences but the free ebullition of her own spite and spleen. The browbeating style of the epistle proves the terms on which she lived with the queen in the summer of 1707.
Only a few weeks subsequent to the date of the above quoted epistle, a circumstance took place, which is solely recorded in a private and hitherto inedited letter of Henrietta, the eldest daughter of the duke and duchess of Marlborough, who had married to the heir of lord Godolphin, and was of course one of the bonds of the “family-junta.' Her intelligence is, therefore, correct when she declares, that in a stormy council-debate, her majesty rose up in a flutter, and overthrew the chair on which she had been seated. From this movement, an augury, in jest, was drawn by the triumphant family-faction, that the queen meant it as a type or emblem of their overthrow; a playful allusion to which circumstance is to be found in the following ex
tract of a letter, preserved among the papers of his grace the duke of Devonshire : LADY RIALTON TO THE DUCHESS OF DEVONSHIRE.
Sept. 23, 1707. “I leave this place, as does the duchess of Marlborough, for St. Albans, lord G-, and lord R and your slave, for lord Kerrs (?); from thence to Newmarket, where your lord's expected. Wee hear he can't stay for your grace.
" Wee are every hour expecting to hear of three or four new ministers in great places, but the manner of the work is, I own, what delights me extremely, though I hear you, madam, have had some meetings with him.
“ Wee are all well here, and like mightily the queen's throwing back her chair, being a strong argument for the dissolution. All letters, wee hear, are opened ; this can't be, because it comes by a servant of the duchess of Marlborough's. I am, my lord duke's, and your grace's, with great sincerity and respect, “ Most faithful, obedient, and humble servant,
“ HTT. RIALTON."3 The time has been noted, when the queen's government made use of the protestants of the Cevennes in France,
a means of annoying Louis XIV.; of course their leader, Cavallier, with his comrades, (being guerillas, called camisards, received a warm welcome in London, when they took shelter under queen Anne's protection from the wrath of their king. Scarcely were they settled as refugees, when the lively spirits of the natives of the south began to effervesce in a style extraordinary, even among the numerous sectarians of Great Britain. Their ministers, after remaining in trances or slumbers, such as would in these days have been called mesmeric, gave vent to such wild prophecies, that the government thought fit to interfere. John Aude and Nicolas Facio, for printing and publishing the writings of Elias Marion, were sentenced to be perched on a scaffold at Charing-cross and the Royal Exchange, with papers in their hats, signifying their crime; “and," adds Calamy, “they actually suffered accordingly.” Such a
Copied by permission of his grace. 2 Lord Godolphin and the husband of the writer, lord Rialton, son-in-law to the duke and duchess of Marlborough, and son ta lord-treasurer Godolphin. “ Lord Kerrs” does not seem so intelligible, without we have mistaken the word for lord Kent, afterwards duke of Kent, and the head of the powerful Grey family. He was lord-high-chamberlain, and a virulent Whig.
3 The letter is signed Htt. Rialton, the first name seeming to be a contraction of Henrietta; the construction of the epistle is more like that of a lord than a lady, but the indication of the Christian name shows that it must be written by lady Rialton.
proceeding was not a very hospitable transaction. It seems that the dissenters of England were exceedingly angry with their flighty rivals, considering, justly, that they brought scandal on them, by breaking up the bonds of moral law. A convert of good family, named Lacy, fancied that he imitated the Jewish patriarchs, by leaving his wedded wife, and taking a second spouse, who was but a candlesnuffer at one of the theatres, and was considered by the Cevennois as an enlightened person.
Edmund Calamy, the learned dissenting-minister, preached vigorously at Salter's Hall against these fanatics, and published his sermons under the collective title of a “Caveat against the New Prophets." Sir Richard Bulkeley, a small and crooked gentleman, who had been promised by the French prophets to be made “tall and straight as a poplar tree," published his answer in favour of the prophets, and a paper war ensued.
Whilst the consort of the queen lived, the dissenters always had a friend at court, who made common cause with them. Calamy sent a presentation copy of his “Caveats” to his royal highness prince George, “who," to use his words, “received it very graciously, and put it in the window-seat of his bed-chamber, as if it were among the books under course of perusal. Her sacred majesty, queen Anne, one day paying a domiciliary visit in the apartment of her spouse, espied this new book, and asked him “how he came by it?' It was given me by the author,' replied the prince. Upon which the queen observed, that she thought she might have expected such a present.”
Perhaps, here was some passing shade of jealousy of her royal authority ; but her words fell not unheeded. Mr. Justice Chamberlain, gentleman of the bed-chamber to the prince, hurried to the author, and reported the words of her majesty. Calamy says, “ that he had his book handsomely bound, and offered it to queen Anne by the hands of her rising favourite, Abigail Hill, (who was then privately married to Mr. Masham.) - This measure drew down on the unfortunate dissenter's head a raging storm from her imperious grace of Marlborough. The poor man finished his little episode of royalty with mysterious lamentations on the impossibility of knowing how to proceed in court matters, and with reproaches to his friend of the prince's bedchamber for having drawn him into “a scrape.” This was
the wrath of the Marlborough duchess, not of his sovereign; for her majesty sent Mr. Forster, page of her back-stairs, to thank the gentle dissenter “for his present to her, and the service he had done the public by appearing against the new prophets.”
The terror that the queen's tyrant inspired may be ascer tained by this little anecdote, and still more, that Abigai Hill, of full age, and apparent liberty to please herself (indeed, she must have been what is usually called an old maid,) could not marry a fellow-servant without keeping so unromantic a wedlock profoundly secret to the world in general. The poor woman, although supported by her royal mistress, actually retained her own name for more than a year, for fear of the tigerish rage into which both she and queen Anne well knew the Marlborough duchess would be pleased to transport herself.
Her majesty spent the height of the summer at Windsor, pursuing her usual amusement of hunting the stag in her high-wheeled chaise ; the queen must have had great skill in driving, or that species of good luck which often attends persons of headlong courage, or she would have met with a series of disasters similar to that which befell her friend, the duchess of Somerset, when following the royal hunt on her majesty's track in the same species of vehicle. The duchess gives a lively description of her fall, and her letter' at the same time affords a view of life at Windsor Castle one hundred and forty years ago. THE DUCHESS OF SOMERSET TO THE DUCHESS OF DEVONSHIRE.
“ Windsor, Sept. ve 30th, 1707. “ I hope, deare madam, this will find you at London, and well after your journey. I am very glad you think of coming to stay some days here, and I will undertake to keep you in everything but lodging, and do all I can to incline you to like Windsor, though I must own we have not much diversion ; but if sixpenny omber Combre] will be any, you may have plenty of gamesters, and I hope you will find lady Harborough here; for though she has had the goute in her hand, 'tis now so much better, that she thinks she shall be able to come a-Saturday, in order to come into waiting (on her majesty), or aMunday. I hope she will have better luck than I had; for I was overturned in the chaise yesterday, and everybody thought I had broken all my bones, but, thank God, I had as little hurt as was possible. “ I am, deare madam, yr grace's most faithfull, humble servant,
“ E. Somerset.”
* Devonshire Papers [inedited], copied by permission. ? The daughter of lady Russell; the duchess of Devonshire had newly come to her title.
3 The chaise was the liunting-chair.