Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Anne (1665-1714)
ANNE (1665–1714), queen of Great Britain and Ireland, was born at St. James's Palace, London, 6 Feb. 1665. She was the second daughter of James, duke of York, afterwards King James II, and his first wife, Anne Hyde, daughter of the Earl of Clarendon. Of the eight children born from this marriage only the Princesses Mary and Anne survived their mother, who died 31 March 1671 after receiving the last sacraments of the church of Rome. There can have been little resemblance between this ‘very extraordinary woman,’ as Burnet calls her, and her second daughter, unless Grammont's gossip be worthy of record, that the duchess too was fond of eating. Not long after the death of his first wife the duke was pressed by his friends to marry again, and in 1673 gave his hand to Mary of Modena, whom in later days the Princess Anne came cordially to detest, and to regard as an evil influence with her father (see her letter, 9 May 1688, in Dalrymple's Memoirs, ii. 174). But this censorious attitude can only have been gradually adopted. During Charles II's reign Anne necessarily shared the fortunes of her father and stepmother, though protected together with her sister by the prudence of the king from sharing their unpopularity. By the express command of Charles II, and with their father's consent, the two princesses were brought up as members of the church of England. With the same intention Lady Frances Villiers, wife of Colonel Edward Villiers, and daughter of the Duke of Suffolk, was chosen as governess for the Princess Anne. She appears to have been a sickly child, and when about five years of age was sent over on a visit to France for the benefit of her health. Of her childhood little else is known. It must, however, have been at a period of her life of which no dated records have come down to us, that she first formed an intimacy destined to affect nearly the whole of her after life. ‘The beginnings of the princess's kindness for me,’ writes the Duchess of Marlborough, ‘had a much earlier date than my entrance into her service. My promotion to this honour was wholly owing to impressions she had before received to my advantage; we had used to play together when she was a child, and she even then expressed a peculiar fondness for me’ (Conduct, 9). More trustworthy details concerning the Princess Anne begin for us with the first week in November 1677, which ‘produced four memorable things.’ The Duke of Cambridge, the Duke of York's eldest son by Mary of Modena, was born on the same day as that on which the Archbishop of Canterbury (Sheldon), who had been the godfather of the Princess Anne, died. The Princess Mary and the Prince of Orange were married on the Sunday, and ‘on the Friday Lady Anne appear'd to have the small-pox.’ With this record of sickness (confirmed by a letter in the Hatton Correspondence, i. 155) begin such personal reminiscences as we possess concerning a life which will never be justly judged if its sufferings are left out of the account. The passage referred to opens the diary of Dr. Edward Lake, which extends from November 1677 to April 1678. Dr. Lake was introduced as chaplain and tutor into the service of the Princesses Mary and Anne by the Bishop of London, Dr. Henry Compton, who was said to have actively contributed to the decision that they should be educated as protestants, and who had himself been appointed their preceptor. On 23 Jan. 1676 he had confirmed them in the Chapel Royal at Whitehall, of which he was dean. Lake was much troubled at being kept away from attendance on the Princess Anne by her illness, the more so ‘because her nurse was a very busy, zealous Roman catholic;’ and accordingly obtained permission from the governess and the preceptor to offer his ministrations notwithstanding. He gives a rather touching picture of the poor young princess during this passing attack of illness, which shows both that a warm affection had up to this time united her to her elder sister, and that even as a child she was full of protestant zeal, for she bade him take care to instruct her nurse's child in the protestant religion. His last entry concerning the princess is a singular statement, proving how imperfect her own training had up to this time been in the forms of the most sacred rite of the church. She afterwards became a very regular communicant.
Less than a year after her sister's tearful departure, about the beginning of October 1678, the Princess Anne accompanied her stepmother on a visit to Holland. Luttrell mentions the rumour that some priests went with them, who wished to keep out of the way of the notable ‘discoveries’ of Oates and Tongue, which had then begun to set the nation in a ferment. The duke was, in 1679, for the second time obliged to leave England with the duchess, on this occasion for the Netherlands; but, according to his own remembrance, the Princess Anne was obliged to remain behind (see Macpherson's Original Papers, i. 91, and cf. Hatton Correspondence, i. 177). It seems, however, that she and her sister Isabella were afterwards permitted to join their parents at Brussels, and to accompany them to the Hague. The duke and his family returned to London in October, and soon afterwards undertook a journey with great pomp into Scotland, where the duke had been appointed lord high commissioner. In 1681 a project of marriage between Anne and Prince George of Hanover was apparently not unfavourably received by Charles II, to whom it had been proposed through Prince Rupert by his sister Sophia, then Duchess of Calenberg (Hanover). Her son, Prince George, had, however, hardly reached England when he was recalled by his father, who had arranged a marriage for him with his cousin Sophia Dorothea. In the same year 1681 the Princess Anne twice, in March and in July, journeyed to Scotland to visit her parents; on the second occasion, as the duke believed, ‘to be a blind upon his return, and hinder any disturbance upon the people's imagining it’ (Original Papers, i. 682–3). It was a troubled year for the duke and duchess, who, in addition to political troubles, suffered the loss of their youngest daughter, Isabella (4 March); but in 1682 the skies had in some measure cleared, and in May the duke brought home his family to St. James's amidst the ringing of bells and the blazing of bonfires. Not long afterwards they paid a visit to the king at Windsor. Charles II, now once more at liberty to show his goodwill to his brother and his family, greatly resented the presumption of one of the most self-sufficient of his subjects, the Earl of Mulgrave, in ‘pretending courtship’ to the Princess Anne. He was forbidden the court, and had all his places taken from him.
In 1683 a more acceptable suitor made his appearance. Already in May, in which month the duke and duchess and their daughter paid a five days' visit to Oxford, the rumour was about town that Prince George of Denmark was coming over to England to marry the Lady Anne. On 19 July the prince arrived at Whitehall, and on the evening of the 28th the marriage was solemnised in the Chapel Royal at St. James's by the Bishop of London. At court the prince was thought ‘a handsome fine gentleman’ (Hatton Correspondence, ii. 31); and at the university Prior, taking his part in the ‘Hymenæus Cantabrigiensis,’ declared that Venus was mated with Mars. (The effusion is signed A. Prior, St. John's, but is confidently assigned to Matthew in the Aldine edition, ii. 318). Burnet, however, states that the marriage ‘did not at all please the nation, for we knew that the proposition came from France.’ Prince George's brother, King Christian V, a very able and active sovereign, had accepted French mediation in his long-standing quarrel with Sweden, and he was on bad terms with the Dutch. But English public opinion was at this time excited on the religious question only; and as France was supposed to have pushed the marriage, it was feared that the prince would become a convert to Rome (Burnet).
The marriage of the Princess Anne made certain changes necessary in her household. At her earnest request the wife of Colonel Churchill (formerly Sarah Jennings) was now made one of the ladies of her bedchamber. The office of first lady of the bedchamber was bestowed upon the Countess of Clarendon, her aunt by marriage, who, as the Duchess of Marlborough afterwards spitefully wrote, ‘looked like a mad woman, and talked like a scholar.’ According to the same authority the princess's court was throughout so oddly composed that she must, in any case, have preferred Colonel Churchill's lady to her other attendants. ‘Be that as it will, it is certain she at length distinguished me by so high a place in her favour, as perhaps no person ever arrived at a higher with queen or princess.’ It seems to have been some time between the princess's marriage and the accession of her father to the throne that she made the girlish proposal to Lady Churchill ‘that, whenever I should happen to be absent from her, we might, in all our letters, write ourselves by feigned names, such as would import nothing of distinction of rank between us. Morley and Freeman were the names her fancy hit upon; and she left me to choose by which of them I would be called. My frank open temper naturally led me to pitch upon Freeman, and so the princess took the other; and from this time Mrs. Morley and Mrs. Freeman began to converse as equals, made so by affection and friendship’ (Conduct, 10–14).
In 1684 occurred the first of those disappointments of which Anne was to have so frequent and so sad an experience. But as yet the report (mentioned by Luttrell under 30 April) that she had given birth to a dead child could hardly cause public apprehension. On 6 Feb. in the following year her father was safely seated upon the throne; and the princess, who had attended the opening of parliament on 22 May, was on 1 June delivered of a daughter. She was christened by the Bishop of London on the next day by the name of Mary. On 12 May 1686 the princess gave birth to another daughter, who was christened Anne Sophia by the Bishop of Durham, Lady Churchill being one of her godmothers. Both infants died within a few days of each other, the younger on 2 Feb., and the elder on 8 Feb. 1686–7. The death of ‘the lettl princess, Lady Anne,’ writes the kindly Alice Hatton, proved ‘a great aflection’ to her mother; and shortly after the death of their ‘eldest and only daughter’ the princess, who had miscarried in January, withdrew for a time with her husband to Richmond. Similar mishaps are noted by Luttrell in the latter part of October in the same year, and in the middle of April 1688.
Though the fears expressed in a letter written in the ‘fatal’ February 1686–7, that the princess's mind might be too sensibly affected by her sufferings, proved groundless, she cannot have inquired very deeply into the causes of the political troubles of the times. They were, however, becoming clear enough to the husband of her chosen friend, if not to that friend herself, who had soon after the accession of James II, on the departure of Lord and Lady Clarendon for Ireland, become first lady of the bedchamber to the princess. Even Lady Churchill, simple creature as she describes herself to have been in those days, had become convinced that as things were everybody must sooner or later be ruined who would not become a Roman catholic. Traces have been found of a scheme in which the French ambassador Bonrepaux and the papal nuncio d'Adda were the chief movers, to obtain the consent of the princess and her husband to a change of religion on the part of the former in return for the succession being secured to her before her sister (Mazure, Histoire de la Révolution de 1688, cited by Hallam, Constitutional History, chap. xiv.) There seems, however, no indication that James II made any attempt to interfere with the religious beliefs of his daughter beyond putting books and papers in her hands. The Earl of Tyrconnel (who had married Frances Jennings, a sister of Lady Churchill) is also said by his sister-in-law to have sought to gain over the princess through her to the church of Rome (Conduct, 15–16). In general the king's conduct to his daughter seems to have been marked by paternal affection, nor is it necessary in support of this to cite the apocryphal anecdote which was thrown in the teeth of the Duchess of Marlborough, and which represented the king as having twice paid heavy debts incurred by the princess under the influence of her favourite (see The Other Side of the Question, 47–8). Nor is there any evidence of his having shown resentment, even when at a critical time in his reign she adopted a course of conduct prejudicial to his interests, if not to his honour. The birth on 10 June 1688 of a Prince of Wales—afterwards the ‘Old Pretender’—hastened the collapse of his father's rule, for a widespread belief arose that, in Burnet's words, a base imposture had been put upon the nation. Among the circumstances which helped to surround the event with suspicions was the absence of the Princess of Denmark, who was staying at Bath, and who pleaded the state of her health as a reason for not attending the extraordinary privy council held in October to place the genuineness of the young prince beyond all possible doubt. Whether her journey to Bath in June had been undertaken from any motive hostile to her stepmother, it is not easy to decide. There was certainly no love lost between them, even if Boyer's story, that there had been a quarrel between the royal ladies, ending, as some said, by the queen throwing a glove in the princess's face, be rejected as scandal. The king afterwards declared that he had desired her to defer her visit, and that he had only consented to it in the hope that she might still be back in time (Clarke's Life of James II, ii. 160). On the other hand Burnet asserts (iii. 249–50) that the king pressed her going to Bath against the opinion of most of her physicians and of all her other friends, and in a letter to her sister the princess herself expresses her deep concern at having been away at the time of the birth, ‘for I shall never now be satisfied whether the child be true or false. It may be our brother, but God only knows’ (Dalrymple, ii. 175). Her father afterwards entertained no doubt that the two princesses both expected to succeed to the crown in turn, and that the journey to Bath had been contrived on purpose (Clarke, ii. 159), and elsewhere he states that it was the scepticism of the Princess Anne which induced the queen to consent to the extraordinary council (ib. ii. 197). This scepticism did not wholly give way even after the council had been held (Clarendon's Diary, ii. 196–9), and it abundantly manifests itself in the extracts made by Birch from her correspondence with her sister, which include the string of questions, fit only for a jury of matrons, propounded by the Princess of Orange on the subject of the birth, and answered seriatim by the Princess of Denmark (Dalrymple, ii. 167 seqq.) If we may credit her father, her doubts were completely resolved a year afterwards by a witness of experience (see Original Papers, i. 157), and it is clear that in her later years she regarded the Pretender as her brother.
Very soon the storm burst over the head of King James II, and, his elder daughter's side having been chosen for her, it became necessary for the younger also to decide upon a course of action. From a letter of the princess, dated 13 March 1688, it appears that, after assenting to Anne's paying a visit to her sister in the spring of that year the king had withdrawn his permission, and this is confirmed by Barillon. The letters between the sisters, given in extracts by Dalrymple, certainly convey the impression that there was a thorough understanding between them. Among the assurances of support which reached the Prince of Orange in the latter part of the summer was a letter from Churchill, of which the salient point was that he ‘put his honour absolutely into the hands of the prince.’ On 23 Sept. Clarendon had a conversation with the Princess Anne, in which she spoke with great dissatisfaction of the Sunderlands, and appeared to her uncle to have something on her mind (Diary, ii. 189). On 1 Nov. William's declaration was circulated in London, and on the 5th he landed at Torbay. Four days afterwards Clarendon asked his niece to say something to the king ‘whereby he might see her concern for him;’ but she declined to put herself forward (ib. ii. 201). And when the news came to town that Clarendon's son, Lord Cornbury, ‘who had been early taught to consider his relationship to the Princess Anne as the groundwork of his fortunes and had been exhorted to pay her assiduous court,’ had joined the Prince of Orange with some soldiery, the princess seemed unable to understand Clarendon's emotion, and expressed her belief that ‘many of the army would do the same’ (Macaulay, from Clarendon). A prophetic, if not a well-informed, spirit spoke in her words. The news of Cornbury's desertion had reached London on 15 Nov. On the 24th the Duke of Grafton and Churchill, accompanied by Colonel Berkeley, escaped from the king's quarters at Salisbury to the Prince of Orange's at Exeter. Churchill, it was afterwards asserted, had in fear for his own security anticipated the outbreak of a plot, of which he was the centre, to seize the person of the king. Next evening Prince George of Denmark, after supping with the king at Andover, whither the royal army had retreated, rode away in the company of the Duke of Ormond and the Earl of Drumlanrig to the Prince of Orange, whom they found at Sherburne on the 30th. And when the king reached London on the 26th he found that his daughter, accompanied by her favourite, had fled from him like their husbands. In the words of a letter written on the following day, ‘yesterday morning, when the Princess of Denmark's women went to take her out of her bed, they found she had withdrawn herself, and hath not yet been heard of. Nobody went in her company that we hear of besides Lady Churchill and Mrs. Berkeley’ (Ellis, Original Letters 2nd series, iv. 164–5; cf. Clarendon's Diary, ii. 207). ‘Mrs.’ Berkeley had been governess to the princess's children. There is naturally enough considerable obscurity as to the events which preceded and led to the flight of the princess. Even Burnet describes Churchill, before the coming of William, to have undertaken ‘that Prince George and the Princess Anne would leave the court, and come to the prince, as soon as was possible.’ After the landing the princess had written to William, by the advice of the Churchills, approving his enterprise, and assuring him that she was entirely in the hands of her friends, by whose decision she would regulate her movements (Macaulay, referring to the letter in Dalrymple, dated 18 Nov.). And Lediard (i. 80) has a story that, about six weeks before her flight, the princess had a private staircase constructed in her apartments at Whitehall, obviously with a view to future contingencies. On the other hand, we have the narrative of the Duchess of Marlborough (Conduct, 16–19), who represents matters as if the princess had been taken by surprise by the news of her husband's flight, and as if all that she (the writer) did was to obey her mistress's orders. Acting on a hint previously received, Lady Churchill advised the princess to send her to the Bishop of London, who, having been suspended, was secretly lodged near by in Suffolk Street, and with him the nocturnal escape by the backstairs was arranged. In the company of the Earl of Dorset the bishop met the fugitives in the neighbourhood and carried them in a hackney-coach to his house in the city. Next day they went on to Lord Dorset's at Copt Hall, whence they journeyed to Lord Northampton's, and so to Leicester and by way of Harborough, where she first ‘discovered’ herself and was accompanied to Nottingham by Sir Charles Shuckborough with about fifty horsemen, in a cavalcade swelled by further accessions. Here, where she had arrived on 1 Dec., she was joined by others, including the Earls of Devonshire, Northampton, Chesterfield, and Scarsdale, and a guard was appointed for her person, with officers to attend her, and the valiant Bishop of London, whom King James had once told that ‘he talked more like a colonel than a bishop,’ for captain. According to Lord Chesterfield the princess appointed a council to settle the course of proceedings, and a project was discussed and approved by the princess to destroy all the papists in England should the Prince of Orange be killed by any of them. From Nottingham she returned to Leicester, where a very large concourse of nobility and gentry was now assembled, fourteen or fifteen troops of horse in all, and where the whole militia of the county had been summoned in a letter signed by all the principal gentlemen. The Northamptonshire militia was likewise called out, and a few days later, after progressing through Coventry and Warwick, the princess ‘made a splendid entry into Oxford … the Earl of Northampton with 500 horse leading the van. Her royal highness was preceded by the Bishop of London, at the head of a noble troop of gentlemen, his lordship riding in a purple cloak, martial habit, pistols before him, and his sword drawn, and his cornett had the inscription in golden letters on his standard, “Nolumus leges Angliæ mutari.” … The vice-chancellor with the heads of the university attended in their scarlet gowns, made to her a speech in English, and the prince [George] received her royal highness at Christ Church quadrangle with all possible demonstrations of love and affection’ (see Ellis, Original Letters, 2nd series, iv. 177–8. For other details of the progress, cf. Hatton Correspondence, ii. 118–21; Luttrell, Letters of the Second Earl of Chesterfield, 335–6; cf. Memoir, 48–51; and Colley Cibber's Apology, 57, where it is stated that on the princess's flight the country was alarmed with the news that ‘two thousand of the king's dragoons were in close pursuit to bring her back to London’).
It was reported that when the news of the king's first flight reached Anne on her progress, she ‘called for cards and was as merry as she used to be;’ and when Clarendon afterwards reproached her with this, her defence was that ‘she never loved to do anything that looked like an affected constraint.’ On 19 Dec. she returned in safety with her husband to Whitehall, where they were immediately visited by the Prince of Orange (Luttrell), a date which does not tally with the story that on the day (18 Dec.) when William arrived at St. James's, and James was making his way down the stormy Thames to Rochester, his daughter, accompanied by Lady Churchill, both covered with orange ribbons, went to the theatre in the king's coach. In the ensuing discussions as to the settlement of the throne, the Princess Anne of course took no direct part. If her agents exerted themselves in the matter, she disowned them. When at last the arrangement which was actually adopted was under discussion, she did not, if she told the truth to Clarendon, authorise Lord Churchill to signify her consent to it (Diary, ii. 255). It seems, however, that the influence of Tillotson and of Lady Russell was brought to bear upon her; and, as the Duchess of Marlborough represents it, no sooner had the princess's favourite lady been brought to see reason, than she contrived to make her mistress see it likewise. The Prince of Orange was, on his side, willing to make a concession except on the main point, and thus the Declaration of Right, while settling the crown on William and Mary and vesting the government in William alone, established the succession after them of the posterity of Mary, then of Anne and her posterity, and then of William's posterity by another wife. It was noted at the time by Evelyn that the house of Hanover was left out of the succession. A clause moved by Burnet to include it was, however, still in debate between the lords and commons, when the birth of a son to the Prince and Princess of Denmark seemed to render it superfluous. As, notwithstanding, the lords still adhered to Burnet's clause, the Bill of Rights had in consequence to be dropped for the session. When it was revived and passed in 1689, the clause was absent, and, as Macaulay says, during eleven years nothing more was heard of the house of Hanover.
Princess Anne had attended the coronation of King William and Queen Mary on 11 April 1689. It was on 24 July that her hopes seemed at last to be fulfilled by the birth at Hampton Court of a son; and three days afterwards the prince was by the trusty Bishop of London christened William; the king and the Earl of Dorset were his godfathers, and the former was pleased to declare him Duke of Gloucester (Luttrell, i. 564; Clarendon's Diary, ii. 283). Though in August fears were entertained for the child's safety, it survived its early perils, and in October and November the parents took part in the gaieties of the day, the prince visiting Newmarket and appearing at the lord mayor's show, and the princess entertaining the queen and the ladies of the court at a ball at Whitehall. There had hitherto been no reason for anything but goodwill between the royal pair on the throne and the Prince and Princess of Denmark. The king had begun by a series of courtesies towards Prince George, assenting in April to a bill naturalising him in England and creating him Duke of Cumberland. By his own desire and at his own expense the prince took part in the king's expedition to Ireland in June 1690, but the king coolly ignored his presence during the campaign and even refused him a seat in the royal coach (Conduct, 38). When, at the end of April 1691, the king was on the point of embarking for the war in Flanders, the prince in vain asked his permission to serve at sea as a volunteer and without any command (Luttrell, ii. 219, 225; Conduct, 38–40).
But it was not only or chiefly resentment of the treatment shown to the prince which caused the estrangement between Anne and her royal relatives. In the first instance, immediately after the accession of William and Mary, there arose a difficulty connected with the princess's apartments at Whitehall (Conduct, 27–8; cf. The Other Side, 31). Much about the same time she in vain endeavoured to obtain from the queen the house at Richmond where she had lived as a child (Conduct, 28). According to the favourite of the Princess Anne, the two sisters were not fitted for living together in comfort, inasmuch as ‘Queen Mary grew weary of everybody who would not talk a great deal, and the princess was so silent that she rarely spoke more than was necessary to answer a question’ (ib. 25). Yet as girls they had been good friends, and Queen Mary afterwards protested that she had treated the princess and her infant with the tenderness of a mother (Burnet, iv. 162). Money began the quarrel. At the beginning of the new reign Anne enjoyed an annuity of 30,000l. charged upon the civil list, besides another of 20,000l. secured to her by her marriage settlement (Boyer, 5; Conduct, 32; Macaulay inverts these figures). Some days after the birth of the Duke of Gloucester it had been proposed by a zealous friend of the princess in the commons to raise her grant on the civil list to 70,000l.; but though her actual income was clearly inadequate, the motion had been ‘baffled.’ Five months afterwards, on 18 Dec. 1689, it was renewed. The queen, on becoming aware of what was intended, is said (by the Duchess of Marlborough) to have asked her sister the meaning of these proceedings, and, when told by the princess that her friends had a mind to make her a settlement, to have imperiously exclaimed: ‘Pray, what friends have you but the king and me?’ Much nettled, the princess now let things take their course. The motion gave rise to a two days' debate, which was so disagreeable to the king that he sent the Earl of Shrewsbury to offer through the Countess of Marlborough that if the princess would stop the proceedings in the house her civil list annuity should be raised to 50,000l. The answer returned by Anne, the language of which Macaulay may be right in attributing to ‘her friend Sarah,’ was ‘that she could not think herself in the wrong to desire a security for what was to support her, and that the business was now gone so far that she thought it reasonable to see what her friends could do for her.’ The princess obtained an annuity of 50,000l., with the parliamentary security desired. Some soreness, however, remained on both sides; nor was it forgotten at court how warmly the Earl and Countess of Marlborough had interested themselves in the matter. When, therefore, a year afterwards, Mrs. Morley pressed upon Mrs. Freeman an annual pension of 1,000l., there was fitness in the proposal; but Macaulay's sneer seems unwarranted that ‘this was in all probability a very small part of what the Churchills gained by the arrangement’ (cf. with his account of the whole episode, Conduct, 29–38). The garter, which the princess took occasion to remind the king he had promised to Marlborough, was not sent; ‘Caliban,’ alias ‘the Dutch monster,’ as Mrs. Morley ventured to call him in writing to her friend, was not to be forced into keeping inconvenient promises (Miss Strickland, xi. 96, 247 note). In connection with the money affairs of the princess may be noticed the granting away as a forfeiture by King William of the Irish estate of James II, to which the Princess Anne was co-heiress with Queen Mary. In this grievance, too, Marlborough seems to have interested himself (Calendar of Treasury Papers, 1708–14, p. 611).
But the years 1690 and 1691 passed without any serious outbreak between the sisters. The daughter to whom Anne gave birth on 14 Oct. 1690, and who lived but two hours, was christened Mary—like one of her poor little elder sisters—before she too was privately buried in Westminster Abbey. It was quite early in 1692 that the sudden and mysterious disgrace of Marlborough, who on 21 Jan. was dismissed from all his employments, led to an estrangement between the queen and the princess which was never healed. His wife afterwards coolly asserted that his disgrace was designed as a step towards removing her from her position with the princess. It is virtually certain that King William had already reason for serious suspicion of Marlborough's dealings with the exiled king, although an angry conversation on 9 Jan., in which the queen was said to have threatened the princess with the reduction of her revenue by one half, may have contributed to hasten the course of events. James declared that a ‘most penitential and dutiful’ letter which Anne wrote to him about this time, but which he did not receive till he had arrived at La Hogue in April 1692, ‘considering the great power my Lord and Lady Churchill had with the princess, was a more than ordinary mark of that lord's sincerity in what he professed’ (Clarke, James II, ii. 476–8; cf. Original Papers, i. 241). In any case, even after Marlborough's dismissal, the princess was by no means disposed to accept the situation, and on 4 Feb. she took the countess with her to court at Kensington. Hereupon the queen, in a letter dated 5 Feb., which has a kindly tone even when embedded in the duchess's context, told the princess plainly that she must dismiss Lady Marlborough. After in vain attempting to prevail upon her uncle Rochester to be her messenger, Anne on the 6th sent a reply to the queen defending her favourite, but received no answer, except a message by the lord chamberlain forbidding Lady Marlborough's further presence at the Cockpit. Even when Anne on the 8th announced her intention of retiring herself from court should the queen persevere in her resolution, the latter was immovable, and Lady Marlborough was relieved of her offices as groom of the stole and governess of the household to the princess, which were given to the Countess of Suffolk (Luttrell, ii. 343, 360, whose dates, however, do not altogether agree with the duchess's in the Conduct). But though defeated Anne was not cowed, and that she was not without friends was shown by the ‘proud Duke of Somerset’ lending her his villa on the Thames called Sion House, whither she went, accompanied by the countess, on 19 Feb., and by his losing no time in paying her his respects there with the Duke of Ormond. The latter soon reappeared with a peremptory message from the king bidding the princess remove her favourite, but ‘the answer,’ writes Luttrell, ‘we hear not.’ On the same day, 1 March, the young Duke of Gloucester, who had remained with the queen at Kensington, was, by his mother's desire, carried to Sion House.
After, on 17 April, the princess had given birth to the youngest of her children, Prince George, who lived only long enough to be baptised, the queen paid a visit to her sister, but, according to Lady Marlborough, only in order to insist upon the removal of the obnoxious favourite. Being refused, she departed in anger, nor was she conciliated by a letter sent by the princess after her recovery through the Bishop of Worcester (Stillingfleet), inasmuch as it did not promise obedience to her demand. And about this time the royal displeasure against the princess found vent in a series of petty indignities, the remembrance of which was of course carefully treasured up. The guard of honour attending upon her and her husband seems to have been taken away before; and on paying his respects at Kensington the prince had missed the customary salute on entering the palace, though the drums duly beat on his departure (Luttrell, ii. 366, 376). Pressure was put upon the nobility to prevent them from waiting on the princess; and when she came to town, where she had taken Berkeley House (on the site of the present Devonshire House, and at that time the ‘last house’ in London), further humiliations were inflicted on her. At St. James's Chapel the rector ceased to bow to her from the pulpit, or to send his text to be laid upon her cushion; and it was said that the very bellman of Piccadilly was forbidden to sing her praises under her windows. When in the autumn she visited Bath, the mayor and aldermen were ordered to desist from their daily ceremonious attendance on her person (Conduct, 100; Luttrell, ii. 564; Macaulay).
Before this journey, however, further events had happened that seemed to justify the royal severity which was the source of all these hardships. On 5 May Marlborough was committed to the Tower on a charge of high treason, several other persons being likewise taken into custody. Fortunately the particular evidence against him proved a forgery [see Churchill, John]; but for the moment, though the princess showed absolute confidence in his innocence, there was panic in Berkeley House. Mrs. Morley wrote to her dear Mrs. Freeman, from whom at last she had been obliged to part, that she was ‘told by pretty good hands that as soon as the wind turns easterly, there will be a guard set upon the prince and me’ (Coxe, i. 51). She soon withdrew to Sion House, where, in June, she fell ill of a fever; and in July she was again indisposed. Before she went to Bath with her husband in August she had dined at St. Albans with Marlborough (who had been released on bail in June) and the countess, which Luttrell says was ‘taken notice of.’ Bishop Compton was of the party; and it may have been due to the mixed inspirations here received or refreshed that the princess was at Bath heard to declare that ‘no papist or Jacobite should come into her presence’ (Luttrell, ii. 556). After her return to Berkeley House she still reserved apartments there for her faithful Mrs. Freeman, in which Marlborough occasionally resided; and so closely did she connect his disgrace with her service that she was only prevented by the unselfishness or prudence of his wife from creating a new place for him in her household (Conduct, 285). Under such circumstances the rumours of a reconciliation between the queen and the princess, which from time to time flew about the town, could hardly prove correct. The childless queen indeed continued to show many kindnesses to the Duke of Gloucester; but there was no open return of goodwill between the sisters, and about January 1693 Grubstreet accordingly abused the princess in a scandalous pamphlet, and then ‘vindicated’ her in a half-treasonable one (Luttrell, iii. 15, 16). Rochester in vain sought to bring about a reconciliation on the basis of a temporary removal of Lady Marlborough; and after, by somebody's fault (see The Other Side, 127, versus Conduct, 100–2), this attempt had fallen through, the princess continued at Berkeley House ‘in a quiet way;’ two further disappointments of the kind to which the poor lady was by this time accustomed happening to her in March 1693 and in the January following.
A change came over the English court in 1694 by the sudden decease, on 28 Dec., of Queen Mary. Macaulay tells us that ‘Mary died in peace with Anne.’ At all events, natural courtesies passed. On the first news of the queen's being taken with the smallpox Anne had affectionately offered to ‘run any hazard for the satisfaction’ of seeing her; but it had been thought better to keep the patient quiet for the present. The princess continued her inquiries without, as Lady Marlborough asserts, receiving any answer except on one occasion ‘a cold thanks.’ After her sister's death nothing was wanting in the princess's conduct. Her husband, indeed, when he called to offer his condolences, was told that the king was asleep; but she wrote to William a becoming though brief letter, in which she assured him of her being ‘as sensibly touched with this sad misfortune as if she had never been so unhappy as to fall into the queen's displeasure,’ and asked leave to wait upon him as speedily as he wished. Very soon he received her at Kensington, treating her ‘with extraordinary civility’ (Conduct, 107–10; cf. Luttrell, iii. 418–19).
Even had William been otherwise disposed, he must have perceived the necessity of being on good terms with his sister-in-law. Some of the Jacobites, cherishing the notion that in the event of a contest between them the English people would prefer the Princess of Denmark to the Prince of Orange, urged that the opportunity should be used for a rising. There was little immediate fear that the Princess Anne would enter into a combination with her father, even he at the time could hardly have expected it (cf. Original Papers, i. 246). But she had dangerous advisers. Hence William left nothing undone that it was in his power, or in his nature, to do to bring about a complete reconciliation. The Archbishop of Canterbury was sent by the king to wait upon the princess; her guard of honour was restored, and she was invited to keep a court of her own at Whitehall, ‘as if,’ says Luttrell, ‘she were a crowned head,’ 5,000l. a quarter being assigned to her for the maintenance of divers servants of the late queen, whom she was requested to take into her ‘family.’ After she and the prince had given up Berkeley House, they for a time lived at Camden House; and the king then made over St. James's Palace to them, of which they took possession in the spring of 1696. In the summer of the same year they resided at Windsor; in 1694 and 1695 the princess had rusticated at Twickenham (Luttrell; Evelyn; and see Miss Strickland, xi. 391, 368). In return the princess endeavoured to show her loyalty to the king's interests. She instructed her servants to vote at the Westminster election in 1694 for the candidates agreeable to the king (Luttrell, iii. 537); and it was said that when her uncle Clarendon, who had never taken the oaths, presented himself at her door, she sent word to him that she received nobody but the friends of the king (O. Klopp, vii. 24, from a despatch of Hoffman, the imperial resident; Coke, Detection, 127, places this occurrence after the death of James II). Whatever there may have been wanting now as of old in the personal demeanour of the king, no doubt whatever existed as to his desire to be on terms of amity with the princess and her husband; it was universally felt that her star was at last in the ascendant, and her audience-chamber was now as crowded as it had formerly been deserted (Shrewsbury Correspondence, 220; cf. Luttrell, iii. 437). One important point, however, remained in the relations between the king and his sister-in-law, which neither of them was likely to overlook. ‘Our friend,’ writes the Duke of Shrewsbury to Admiral Russell (Orford), ‘who has no small credit with her, seems very resolved to contribute to the continuance of this union, as the only thing that can support her, or both. I do not see he is likely at present to get much by it, not having yet kissed the king's hand; but his reversion is very fair and great.’ After contradictory reports had for some time circulated as to the treatment which awaited Lord and Lady Marlborough (see O. Klopp, vii. 24, note; and Hatton Correspondence, ii. 210), all doubts were set at rest by the earl being introduced into the king's presence, and kissing hands, on 29 March 1695. After this crowning favour it is not wonderful that when in the following May arrangements were being made for the government of the country during the king's absence in Flanders, he should have been expected by many to appoint the princess regent. But, in point of fact, though he had made his peace with her, he did not, as Burnet puts it, ‘bring her into any share in business;’ and shortly after this time we find Evelyn recording a conversation at Lambeth Palace, where, in a large company, ‘we discoursed of several matters, particularly of the Princess of Denmark, who made so little figure’ (Diary, 5 July). The next year, 1696, was one of the darkest of William's reign. At St. Germains a corresponding hopefulness prevailed; and King James states that about this time he received a letter from his surviving daughter, asking whether he would permit her to accept the crown should William die, expressing her readiness to make restitution when opportunity should serve, and arguing that a refusal of the crown by her would only remove him the further from the hope of recovering his rights. But James declined to enter into any such bargain (see Clarke, James II, ii. 559–60; and Original Papers, i. 257–8. The letter is unusually full of lacunæ, with salient words inserted afterwards).
Few notices remain of the life of the princess in this and the three following years (1697–1699). Her health continued uncertain: she miscarried in February 1696 and again in December 1697, September 1698, and January 1700; in December 1696 she is reported ill of convulsion fits, and in April 1699 of the gout. A visit to Tunbridge Wells in the summer of 1697 can have conferred no lasting benefit, though in the winter following she took a more decided lead in the amusements of the court, for a time giving a ball every Monday at St. James's, while the prince followed the fashion and his own inclination by periodical sojourns at Newmarket (for all these details see Luttrell). Lady Marlborough continued her chosen friend, and when in 1698 Mrs. Freeman's daughters began to be married, it was Mrs. Morley who doubled the dowry of 5,000l. given to the eldest by her father, the larger offer of 10,000l. having been refused by the countess. Lady Harriet Churchill married the only son of Lord Godolphin, for whom, according to an unauthenticated tradition, the Princess Anne had in her younger days entertained a tender sentiment (Mrs. Thomson, i. 163). In January 1701, when her god-daughter, Lady Anne Churchill, married the Earl of Sunderland's heir, Lord Spencer, she repeated her munificence. Corresponding gifts were made to the younger daughters of the duchess, who married after Anne came to the throne. In 1698 an arrangement under the king's orders had closely connected the Earl of Marlborough himself with the domestic affairs of the prince and princess. The frail life of the little Duke of Gloucester, who to his mother before he died must have represented a hope seventeen times cherished and but once permitted to survive more or less speedy disappointment, alone safeguarded the succession as by law established. But even the Jacobites could not look in a very grim humour on such a scene as that of the little duke on his mother's birthday heading his company of small soldiers in Hyde Park (Hatton Correspondence, ii. 200; cf. Luttrell, iii. 265–266). The unsentimental king—partly perhaps for his wife's sake—took a kindly interest in the child, and as early as November 1695 bestowed on him a vacant garter. The installation was held with great splendour at Windsor in July 1696. Yet all this pomp could not conceal the fact that the health of the little prince was the reverse of good; he escaped the small-pox in May 1695; but in these years the despatches of the foreign ministers from time to time mention how little reliance was to be placed on the child's vital powers (Klopp, vii. 129). In 1698, however, the Duke of Gloucester was nine years old, and in settling a revenue for life on the king after the peace of Ryswick, parliament took into account among other things the expediency of a distinct household being established for his nephew. The king accordingly before going abroad in that year appointed Marlborough governor of the prince, and the Bishop of Salisbury preceptor—as he states, much against his own wish, and as his annotator, Lord Dartmouth, states, much against the princess's. At the same time King William appointed the little prince to the command of his own cherished Dutch regiment of footguards. Lady Marlborough's censures on the king's settlement of the expenses of the young duke's household, and her account of his passing quarrel with the princess as to its composition (Conduct, 116–120), may be passed by. Marlborough was at the same time restored to his place in the council and to his military rank and employments, and not long afterwards was made one of the lords justices for conducting the government during the king's absence. As late as November 1699 we hear of the Duke of Gloucester on the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's birthday (a festival boisterously kept by all true English protestants, even under Queen Anne) ‘firing all his guns and making great rejoicings’ (Luttrell). But on 26 July of the following year he was taken sick at Windsor—it was again erroneously thought of the small-pox—and on the 29th he died.
Burnet relates that the princess attended on her son ‘during his sickness with great tenderness, but with a grave composedness that amazed all who saw it; she bore his death with a resignation and piety that were very singular.’ The description of her overwhelming grief is quite reconcileable with this; and there is something pathetic as well as grotesque in the fact that from this time forth she always called herself, in correspondence with her friend, ‘your poor, unfortunate, faithful Morley’ (Coxe, i. 162). The sympathy was very general, and even the French court, after receiving a formal announcement from King William, went into mourning (Duke of Manchester, Court and Society from Elizabeth to Anne, ii. 147–50). At St. Germains, of course, hopes ran higher than ever, and an agent from the Jacobites in England speedily found his way thither. It seems not improbable that the sympathies of the Princess Anne herself now began to flow in this direction, though it may be questioned whether Lord Stanhope is right in assigning to this point of time her letter to her father already noticed (Reign of Queen Anne, 9). At all events there was no personal reason for her favouring the claims of the Electress Sophia of Hanover, more especially as the wishes of the latter seem now and for some time afterwards to have been for the family at St. Germains rather than for herself (Klopp, vii. 15 et passim; and cf. Stanhope, i. 7). In the country there seems at first to have been an expectation or wish that the king should marry again (Luttrell, iv. 673); but when he opened the new parliament of 1701 he recommended a provision for the succession in the protestant line. On 12 June the Act of Settlement, which placed the Electress Sophia and her heirs in the succession, received the royal assent. It may be mentioned here that almost immediately after William's death, a charge was bruited about against him of his having intended to exclude Princess Anne from the succession; according to Burnet there was a further rumour that she was to be imprisoned. An inquiry ordered by the lords ended in a resolution of their house declaring the report groundless and scandalous, and requesting Anne to prosecute its authors (Somerville, 8–9; Ranke, vii. 9).
James II died at St. Germains on 17 Sept. 1701, and Louis XIV recognised his son as King of England. Under the influence of these events a parliament, in which the tories no longer commanded a majority, was elected. ‘James III’ was attainted, and the men and money needed were voted for the war with France.
There is no reason to suppose that affection for her father had ever been altogether dead in Anne's heart. When, towards the end of her reign, the Jacobites wished to persuade themselves that she favoured their cause, a story from such a source reached the ears of the Hanoverian agent Schütz that she was greatly touched by an affecting letter written to her by her father before his death, in which he recommended his family to her. ‘It was brought to her by Madame Oglethorpe, who went twice to France’ (Occasional Papers, ii. 504; the authority given by Schütz is the Jacobite Lord Portmore). Such a letter may have been written and received; and, at all events, shortly after the death of James II his widow wrote to the Princess Anne conveying to her his last blessing and forgiveness, with his prayer that God might convert her heart and confirm her in the resolution to ‘repair to his son the wrongs done to himself’ (Clarke, James II, ii. 601–2). But probably King James never saw reason to unsay his words to Lord Peterborough, that he could never have a good opinion of the Prince and Princess of Denmark, or put any confidence in them (Original Papers, i. 281). He had never, largely no doubt because of the difference of creed between him and his daughter, gained an ascendency over her mind, and its constitution was not such as to let it easily fall a prey to remorse. On receiving the news of her father's death she went into mourning and secluded herself (Luttrell). She cannot be supposed to have promoted the introduction by the tories into the bill for abjuring the Pretender of a clause making it high treason to compass her death, which clause was unanimously accepted. The bill passed on the last day of King William's life; on the following morning, 8 March 1701–2, he died.
When Queen Anne ascended the throne, the grand alliance, though not yet complete, had been knit, and the country was on the eve of the declaration of war against France (actually issued on 4 May following). A tory House of Commons had been followed by one in which parties seemed nearly balanced, but which had given in its adhesion to the policy of King William; in the lords the whig interest was still in the ascendant. On St. George's day, 23 April 1702, Anne was crowned.
Three days after her accession the queen made her first speech in parliament. Marlborough had carried the sword of state before her on the occasion, and the countess had of course accompanied her in her coach. The queen's declaration ‘that she knew her heart to be entirely English’ was resented by those who were loyal to the memory of the late king (Dalrymple, iii. 244, says that this and other expressions supposed to reflect upon him were ill received by ‘the public,’ but the words ‘entirely English’ were engraved on her coronation medal; see Miss Strickland, xii. 66). The speech was, however, very warlike in tone, and also referred to the project, recommended by William III shortly before his death, of a union between England and Scotland. Parliament, though enabled by an act passed in the previous reign to sit for six months after the death of the sovereign, could hardly do more than approve the appointment of commissioners for giving effect to the proposal. Before parliament was prorogued in May with a view to its dissolution (2 July), it had granted to the queen the same revenue as that latterly enjoyed by her predecessor, and she had in return announced her intention to apply 100,000l. out of the first year's 700,000l. to the public service.
Anne did not wait for the election of her first parliament before making a series of appointments, on some of which her heart was set, while others followed almost as a necessary consequence. It was understood that Anne's first wish had been to associate her husband with herself in the regal dignity; but the parallel with her sister's case had not been considered to hold (Original Papers, i. 621; Burnet, v. 56; Coxe, i. 155). Nor was it possible for her to entrust to him the command in the Netherlands which he had desired; but he received the title of generalissimo of her majesty's forces, Marlborough declaring himself ‘ravished’ to serve under him, and the office of lord high admiral. Towards the end of the year, after considerable resistance in the lords, by taking a prominent part in which Sunderland incurred the queen's lasting resentment, a life annuity of 100,000l., double, says Burnet, of what any queen of England ever had in jointure, was granted to the prince, and he was also made constable of Dover and lord warden of the Cinque Ports. Next to her husband the man whom the queen delighted at last to have the opportunity of honouring was of course the Earl of Marlborough. Three days after her accession he received the long-delayed garter, and on the day following was, in accordance with King William's wish, made captain-general of the English forces at home and abroad, and soon afterwards master of the ordnance. To these offices was added the rangership of Windsor Park, a pleasant sinecure made doubly pleasant by the fact that the hated Portland had had to vacate it. The countess was made groom of the stole and mistress of the robes, and received the control of the privy purse. Other favours flowed in rapidly upon the Marlborough family and those connected with it (Coxe, i. 108). Luttrell (v. 163) gives a list of the ladies of the bedchamber, who included whig as well as tory ladies. Rochester, whose daughter's services were declined, was himself, instead of being placed at the head of the treasury, left in the doubtful position of an Irish viceroy, whose commission had been cancelled by the late king. The rivalry between him and Marlborough soon became patent, and ended in his angrily resigning his office, in which he was succeeded by Ormond. By Marlborough's advice the treasurer's staff was given to his political alter ego Godolphin. Other changes were made, among which need only be mentioned the appointment of the high-church Earl of Nottingham to one of the secretaryships of state. Several whigs were left in the ministry and household, but from the list of the new privy council the names of the great whig leaders of the late reign were omitted. Politics apart, the queen seems to have acted generously towards her predecessor's servants (Luttrell, v. 172); but not all the claims left unsettled by him were liquidated by her (Calendar of Treasury Papers, 1702–7, Preface, x).
With regard to another class of appointments, it was rumoured very early in Anne's reign that ‘her majesty would herself dispose of all ecclesiastical preferments belonging to the crown as they became vacant, and not leave it to the Archbishop of Canterbury and five other bishops as the late king did’ (Luttrell, v. 157). High-church feeling had of late vigorously revived. Anne appointed the Archbishop of York (Sharpe) instead of Tenison of Canterbury to preach her coronation sermon; and of the statesmen admitted to office upon her accession most were well-known ‘highfliers.’ Among the addresses presented to her on her accession she left unnoticed one presented by the presbyterian, independent, and baptist ministers of London, and at the prorogation of parliament in May, while undertaking to maintain the act of toleration, she declared that ‘her own principles must always keep her entirely firm to the interest and religion of the church of England, and would incline her to countenance those who had the truest zeal to support it’ (Stoughton, v. 323). In the elections for the new parliament the church question accordingly assumed great prominence, and the result was that the tory high-churchmen were stronger in Queen Anne's first parliament than they had been in any since the revolution (Somerville~, 23–4). She gratified the majority by dismissing from the office of almoner the Bishop of Worcester (Lloyd), who was accused of having sought to influence his clergy against the tory candidate in the Worcestershire election. During the summer she had paid a state visit to the headquarters of the high-church party, the university of Oxford, afterwards continuing her progress, on which she was enthusiastically welcomed, to Bath and Bristol.
Intent, however, as the new House of Commons, with Harley as its speaker, was upon church affairs, the war necessarily claimed its first attention. The grand alliance had been strengthened by further additions, but the chief military successes of the year were gained by the English general. On 12 Nov. Queen Anne went in state to St. Paul's, the Countesses of Marlborough and Sunderland accompanying her in her coach. After Marlborough's return to England she insisted, notwithstanding the protests of his lady, on raising him to a dukedom (she may have been annoyed by the pyramidical illumination at Ludgate, in which his name was placed after Ormond's, Coke, 129), and on settling upon him for the term of her own life an annual pension of 5,000l., derived from the post office. Her wish that this pension should be settled for ever on the title was, however, rejected by the commons, and it was on this occasion that the queen made the offer of a further 2,000l. a year to the duchess out of the privy purse, which the latter declined at the moment, but afterwards, ‘by the advice of her friends,’ inserted in her accounts.
On 4 Nov. 1702 the bill against occasional conformity, which was for many years to be regarded as the test measure of church opinion and sentiment, was brought into the House of Commons. The queen was ardently on the side of the bill. The Prince of Denmark, though himself an occasional communicant, had been induced to vote for it. But it had at last to be dropped in the lords. When, in a rather less rigorous form, it was reintroduced in November 1703, stronger opposition was offered to it by the whigs, and Marlborough and Godolphin, though they voted for it, were less than lukewarm in its favour; and though the queen seems still in her heart to have wished it to pass, the prince absented himself from the division in which it was thrown out by a majority of eleven. In November 1704 it again appeared. This time its defeat in the lords was foreseen, and not averted by the shameless proposal to force it through the lords by tacking it to a land-tax bill. As both Marlborough and Godolphin on this occasion voted against it, there can have been little or no pressure from the queen in its favour. In this very year 1704, however, she had chosen a better way for proving her goodwill to the national church. On the day after her birthday, which fell on a Sunday, she informed the commons that she desired to grant for the benefit of the church her entire revenues from tenths and first-fruits, appropriated to the crown in 1534, and amounting to between 16,000l. and 17,000l. a year (Stoughton, v. 349). Notwithstanding the rancorous accusations of Swift, there seems no reason to doubt Burnet's assertion that he had suggested this step to the queen and Godolphin after having previously recommended it to her predecessors; but Queen Anne's Bounty, as the fund established by statute to carry out her wishes was called, remains a living monument of her piety and beneficence, more especially since its application has been extended to cognate purposes (Stanhope, 118, who refers to Burn's Ecclesiastical Law, ed. Phillimore, ii. 283–95).
The ecclesiastical views of the queen, which, beyond all doubt, added to her popularity in England, were not of a nature to augment such goodwill as accrued to her in Scotland by virtue of her Stuart descent. Here discontent had reached a very high pitch; the union was still a mere project, and the ministers of the crown who, contrary to expectation, had been continued in office after the queen's accession, were universally unpopular. It was now rumoured that a letter from the queen to the Scottish privy council betrayed suspicious tendencies towards a continued toleration of the adherents of episcopalianism in Scotland, and these suspicions were confirmed when the letter, either surreptitiously or by authority, found its way into print (Burton's History of Scotland, 1689–1748, i. 354–5). Though the parliament, opened 9 June 1702 by the Duke of Queensberry as the royal commissioner, unanimously recognised Queen Anne's title, voted the requisite supply, and agreed to the joint commission for negotiating the union, yet, when the draft of an abjuration bill was presented, a strong feeling of opposition manifested itself. Two very factious sessions followed, as the result of which bills were passed showing the angry and jealous temper of the people. The act securing the presbyterian establishment as ‘the only church of Christ within this kingdom,’ and another declaring that after her majesty's decease no king or queen of Scotland should have the power to make war or peace without the consent of parliament, received the royal assent; but the act of security which the Scottish parliament had chiefly at heart, the queen's commissioner refused to touch with the sceptre (10 Sept.). This act provided that in the event of the queen's death the Scottish estates should name a successor from among the protestant descendants of the royal line (the proposal to insert the name of the Electress Sophia had been rejected with furious indignation); but that this successor should not be the same as the successor to the English throne, unless the religion, freedom, and trade of the Scottish nation should have been previously secured. Queen Anne had throughout manifested the strongest disapproval of the proceedings of the Scottish parliament, and had sent instructions, which fortunately arrived too late, for the suppression or rejection of the act of security. The Scottish titles granted at this time by the queen, and her revival of the order of the Thistle, could not act as balm to the ‘spirit of ferocity and opposition’ which, as Smollett says, ‘threatened the whole kingdom with civil war and confusion.’ The winter of 1703–4 witnessed the natural result of this state of things in the shape of a plot, or the rumour of a plot, of which the queen apprised the lords on 17 Dec. The reality of the so-called ‘Scottish plot’ [see Lovat] being asserted by the whigs and denied by the tories, the lords and the commons were at issue on the subject, and the queen had to assuage the troubled waters by pointing out how inconvenient for the public service and how uneasy to her were such misunderstandings between the houses (for a full account of the dispute see Somers Tracts, xii. 423–30). The ‘Scottish plot’ itself dropped out of notice; and when the Scottish parliament had reassembled in July 1704 and the act of security, tacked to a bill of supply, had been passed without debate for a second time, the royal commissioner (now the Marquis of Tweeddale) was empowered to signify the royal assent (Somerville; Burton). In Ireland the succession was, in 1703, settled by an act modelled upon the English act of 1701, and containing the imposition of a severe church of England test upon all officials and magistrates.
The domestic troubles of the year 1703 were not counterbalanced by any brilliant successes abroad. The Emperor Leopold I having on 12 Sept. 1703 renounced his claim to the Spanish throne, his second son was, under the title of Charles III, proclaimed King of Spain and the Indies. He soon set forth on his journey to Spain, visiting on the way, under the guidance of Marlborough, the lords ‘of the heretics in England, by whose grace,’ according to the Jacobite pamphleteers, he was ‘the catholic king’ (Noorden, i. 401). His voyage across the Channel was delayed by the effects of the terrible storm which strewed the English coasts with wrecks and filled the land with desolation, so that the queen gave orders for the observance of a general fast on 19 Jan. following. But on 28 Dec. Charles landed at Portsmouth, and on the 29th reached Windsor, where he remained till the 31st (Marlborough Despatches, i. 223). He was received by the queen with royal honours; nor could she in any way have more closely and personally identified herself with the policy of the war, and have seemed more resolutely to shut the door against any peace which should fail to establish the Habsburg claimant upon the Spanish throne. (For details of the reception see Luttrell, v. 374–376; and compare Ellis, Original Letters, first series, iii. 356–7, for the queen's letter to Sir George Rooke, 22 Jan., ordering him to ‘pay the same obedience to the King of Spain as to time and manner of his setting sail’ for Lisbon, ‘as you would do to myself.’)
Already in the winter 1702–3 the desirableness of modifying the administration in a sense more favourable to their policy had suggested itself to Marlborough and Godolphin. The zeal of the tories for the war had begun to cool; the jealous ambition of Rochester had helped to make Nottingham recalcitrant, and he had many followers in the commons and some in the ministry itself. In the summer of 1703 the Duchess of Marlborough duly communicated her husband's complaints to the queen, who, in reply to the expression or pretence of a wish on the part of the duke to resign, appealed in pitiable tones to the patriotic devotion of her friends (Coxe, i. 202). The language of this letter encouraged the duchess still further to urge upon the queen the cardinal fact that the whigs were her friends and not the tories; but Anne had too much in common with the latter to give them up even at her favourite's bidding, and the duke was as cautious about throwing himself into the arms of the whigs as they were about an alliance with him and Godolphin. Furthermore, Harley, who contrived to command the confidence of many moderate men of both parties, had already suggested to Marlborough another and a more attractive combination. These manœuvres explain among other things the ministerial changes which followed the duke's departure for the continent in 1704. In his absence, Nottingham declared to the tory high churchmen that the queen was desirous to do everything she could to give them satisfaction, but that she was hindered by Marlborough and Godolphin; and then developed his plan of securing their support to the Occasional Conformity Bill by the celebrated device (the tack) already mentioned. He at the same time made an urgent appeal to the queen herself to make her choice between the whigs and the tories, declaring his resolution to resign if she persisted in retaining the former. The queen, after endeavouring to make him reconsider his resolution, acquiesced in his proposed resignation, and by way of encouragement began by dismissing two of his adherents, Lord Jersey and Sir Edward Seymour. Mrs. Freeman was informed by her friend that ‘something more of the nature, it is believed, will soon happen that will not be disagreeable to her,’ and on 18 May Nottingham formally resigned the secretaryship of state, in which he was succeeded by Harley. A few other changes took place, among which was the appointment of Henry St. John as secretary at war. This rearrangement of the ministry, though it contented Marlborough, is in no sense to be regarded as a whig victory; and Swift either judged rashly or was in a bad temper when he wrote in the preceding February that ‘the queen and House of Lords and half the commons are whigs, and the number daily increases’ (Letters, i. 4; cf. the curious letter from Gwynne to Robethon in Original Papers, i. 690). On the contrary, as late as 21 Nov. 1704, we find Mrs. Morley declaring to Mrs. Freeman, when discussing the course of church affairs in the late reign, that whenever things lean towards the whigs ‘I shall think the church beginning to be in danger’ (Conduct, 158).
The great victory of Blenheim in 1704 was followed by other successes on the Rhine and Moselle. Queen Anne was full of joy. Evelyn describes her appearance at the thanksgiving held at St. Paul's on 7 Sept. for the late great victory. In her rich coach drawn by eight horses she was accompanied by the Duchess of Marlborough only, in a very plain garment, while the queen was resplendent with jewels. The house voted supplies of unheard-of liberality for the prosecution of the war, and presented its address of thanks to Marlborough after his return to England, when he was warmly received by the queen at St. James's on 14 Dec. On 3 Jan. 1704–5 she had the satisfaction of seeing, from the windows of St. James's Palace, the trophies of Blenheim borne to Westminster Hall; and soon afterwards, in reply to an address from the commons, she declared her wish to bestow upon the duke and his heirs for ever the royal manor of Woodstock, asking the assistance of the house to clear off the encumbrances on the estate. Furthermore, she gave orders that a palace bearing the name of Blenheim should be constructed at her own expense in Woodstock Park. Nearly everything that her gratitude and friendship could bestow upon the great general and his consort was now offered them, and as yet their favour with her was unbroken. She resented the attempt of the university of Oxford, at one of its solemnities, to imitate the House of Commons by coupling the achievements of Sir George Rooke with those of the hero of Blenheim. At Cambridge, to which she paid a visit after the dissolution of parliament in April, the Duke of Somerset, for whom she had a strong regard, entertained her as chancellor. The greatest scholar and the greatest man of science who adorned her reign—Bentley and Newton—took part in the Cambridge festivities; and the latter, at that time M.P. for the university, was together with the vice-chancellor knighted by the queen. She seems at this time to have been in the best of humours; at Newmarket, whence the visit to Cambridge had been undertaken, she ordered her house to be rebuilt, liberally contributed to the improvement of the town, and bought ‘a running horse of Mr. Holloway, which cost a 1,000 guineas, and gave it to the prince’ (Luttrell, v. 542–4).
Before the dissolution of parliament the lords had, besides throwing out the Occasional Conformity Bill, put a stop upon a tory place bill, which had passed the commons and which had for its object to exclude from their house all holders of offices created since 1684. The queen had been adverse to this bill, and had requested the Archbishop of York to induce his brethren to vote against it. Notwithstanding her ecclesiastical predilections and her rooted suspicion of the whigs, it was becoming more and more difficult for Anne to avoid making a choice between that party and the baffled high-church tories; and this very circumstance made her as desirous as ever to maintain Marlborough, Godolphin, and the moderate men. On the other hand, however, Marlborough and Godolphin were becoming more fully convinced than before that the war could not be effectively carried on without the support of the whigs, and this lent colour to the belief that the queen herself was being drawn in the same direction. All the foreign ministers were fluttered by the tidings that on 18 April she had dined with Orford, one of the whig leaders (Noorden, ii. 248 note). Some influence was probably exerted by these rumours on the issue of the parliamentary elections held in May in the midst of unusual excitement fanned by audacious party libels against Queen Sarah and the regicide whigs; for when parliament met on 25 Oct. the election of speaker proved the whigs to possess a considerable majority in the commons. It is certain that the queen's interest had been exerted on behalf of the whig candidate for the speakership (see her letter to Lady Bathurst, cited by Miss Strickland, xii. 142). But she had not been converted. Before the houses assembled, a long struggle had been waged against the unwillingness of the queen to remodel her administration in deference to the wishes of the victorious whigs and their staunch advocate, the Duchess of Marlborough. Of the whig leaders—the Junto as they were called— Somers, Halifax, Orford, Wharton, and Sunderland, the last two were the most distasteful to the queen: Wharton, because of his profligacy and undisguised contempt for religion; Sunderland, because, as she had already experienced, no member of his party surpassed him in unyielding resoluteness. The efforts of the whigs and the duchess to obtain a high office of state for her son-in-law, Sunderland, were not supported by Marlborough; but the queen was at last prevailed upon to send him as ambassador to Vienna, where the accession of the Emperor Joseph I in May 1705 gave special importance to the selection. Next, a struggle began for the removal of Sir Nathan Wright from the lord chancellorship; and the efforts of the duchess, who speaks with unmitigated contempt of this ‘warm stickler for the church,’ were on this occasion seconded by Godolphin. The queen's hesitation to confer upon a whig an office to which so great an amount of church patronage belonged is very noteworthy; but when in her difficulty she appealed to Marlborough himself, whom she had hitherto found so reasonable, he plainly told her that she must choose between following the advice of Godolphin and ‘sending for Lord Rochester and Lord Nottingham.’ On 11 Oct. the great seal was transferred to Cowper; and a step—but no more—had been taken towards the construction of a whig government (Coxe, i. 483–4. The duchess, Conduct, 147, modestly says: ‘I prevailed with her majesty to take the great seal from Sir Nathan Wright’).
Mindful, no doubt, of the changed aspect of parties, the queen, in the speech with which she opened parliament in October 1705, after dwelling on the importance of prosecuting the war and bringing about a union with Scotland, promised to make the support of the church her chief care, adding the curious words: ‘I mention this with a little more warmth because there have not been wanting some so very malicious as even in print to suggest the church of England as by law established to be in danger’ (Stanhope, 205. The special allusion seems to be to a publication called ‘The Memorial of the Church of England;’ see the scornful reference in Conduct, 148. The author, Dr. Drake, resorts to the artifice of representing the whigs as systematically traducing the queen and making her at one time ‘the common subject of the tittle-tattle of every coffee-house and drawing-room.’ Mrs. Thomson, i. 444). Hereupon the high tory leaders on 15 Nov. brought forward a proposal that Anne should invite to England the heir presumptive to the throne, the Electress Sophia. The proposal was moved by Lord Haversham, and the queen was present at the debate. (Her first attendance at a debate seems to have been 29 Nov. of the previous year, when Lord Haversham had introduced a discussion on the affairs of Scotland. Stanhope, 166.) Burnet's suggestion, or the suggestion reported by him, that this motion was brought forward with the mischievous purpose of creating a misunderstanding between queen and nation, may be beyond the mark; but the demand was doubtless prompted by extreme factiousness, and the queen bitterly resented the speeches of the tory leaders, among whom Buckingham was personally insolent to herself, and more especially she ‘could never overcome’ the unpleasing impression she on this occasion received of Nottingham. (See Dartmouth's note to Burnet, v. 233.) Nor should it be overlooked that the whigs, friends though they were to the Hanoverian succession, strongly opposed the motion, knowing ‘it was disagreable to the queen’ (Smollett, ii. 65). She wrote to the duchess accordingly, that she believed Mrs. Freeman and she would not disagree as they had formerly done; ‘for I am sensible of the services those people have done me that you have a good opinion of, and will countenance them, and am thoroughly convinced of the malice and insolence of them that you have always been speaking against’ (Conduct, 159). At the same time the debate had suggested the expediency of taking practicable measures for safeguarding the protestant succession; and in April 1706 the queen could transmit to the elector by Lord Halifax several acts favourable to the interests of his family. They included the Regency Act, which was afterwards carried into execution after Anne's death, and of which a clause obliged the privy council to proclaim the successor appointed by law with all convenient speed, as well as an act naturalising the Electress Sophia and her issue. Queen Anne, who had been in friendly correspondence with the court of Hanover during the past year (Original Papers, i. 705 seqq.), and who had recently received from the electress the expression of her belief ‘that it would be for the good of England and all Europe that the queen should live for a hundred years’ (ib. ii. 31), took the occasion of sending the garter to her cousin, the electoral prince. In September the electoral house was still further gratified by his being made a peer of England under the title of Duke of Cambridge (ib. ii. 64. The patent does not, however, appear to have been sent to him till the spring of 1708. See his letter to the queen in Ellis, 2nd series, iv. 247).
The ebullitions of something not unlike disloyalty which the queen had found to be compatible with tory and high-church opinions in both clergy and laity were insufficient to change either her principles or her prejudices, and would probably have exercised a still slighter influence upon her conduct than they actually did, had not the strength of Marlborough's position still remained the same. The military glories of the year 1705 had indeed fallen to the genius of Peterborough. But 1706 was a year of victories on every side: in Italy, where later in the year Prince Eugene's victory at Turin secured the north for the grand alliance, and severed the south for ever from the monarchy of Spain; in Spain itself, where Peterborough raised the siege of Barcelona, and Galway for a few weeks occupied Madrid; and in Flanders, where Marlborough's victory at Ramillies placed the Spanish Netherlands in the hands of the allies.
Queen Anne's fidelity to the policy recommended to her by her predecessor was as yet unshaken. Not only had she publicly testified to this by appointing and attending a thanksgiving-service at St. Paul's on 23 Aug. 1705, though there was less reason for rejoicing than in the following year when she twice, on 27 June and 31 Dec., attended similar ceremonies. She also showed great liberality towards her army, as when in January 1706 she presented 30,000l. to the officers and soldiers who had lost their horses in the last campaign for ‘recruiting’ them (Luttrell, vi. 2); and in March of the same year Marlborough describes her efforts to meet the expenses of the war as ‘extraordinary’ (Marlborough Despatches, ii. 447). But the policy of the war was in her mind personally identified with no other statesmen than Marlborough and Godolphin; nor could she yet understand the necessity of submitting to the advice—which meant the control—of the whigs. In the autumn of 1706 they were still only tolerated by her. They had resolved upon bringing into the ministry a member of their party who was most repugnant to the queen. The duchess returned to the charge again and again, and finally, with the aid of a misread word, contrived to give serious, though apparently only passing, offence to the queen. (‘I beg of God Almighty, as sincerely as I shall do for his pardon at my last hour, that Mr. and Mrs. Morley may see their errors as to this notion before it is too late.’ The queen had read the word notion as nation (Coxe, ii. 152).) Explanation and (after a week's delay) a kind of apology from the queen followed; but though a letter from Marlborough respectfully represented the absolute necessity of employing the whigs if the war was to be vigorously carried on, the queen still held out against the appointment of Sunderland. She stated that she was still ‘always ready to be easy with Mrs. Freeman,’ but in truth a cloud had already settled upon the relation between them. These doings belong to the months from August to October (Coxe, ii. 138–158). On 20 Oct. the duchess had surpassed her previous efforts by a letter in which Mrs. Morley was desired to reflect ‘whether you have never heard that the greatest misfortunes that ever has happened to any of your family, has not been occasioned by having ill advice, and an obstinacy in their tempers’ (Private Correspondence, i. 152). But it was not till after an interview with Marlborough, who had returned to London on 18 Nov., that the queen at last gave way. On 3 Dec., the day fixed for the meeting of parliament, Sunderland was at last appointed secretary of state, Sir Charles Hedges being removed to make room for him. Some minor offices and peerages, or promotions in the peerage, were soon bestowed upon whigs; but the downfall of the high tories was most significantly marked by the removal from the privy council of Buckingham, Nottingham, and Rochester, together with Lords Jersey and Gower, and Sir George Rooke. The disgrace of the first two of these showed the excellence of the queen's memory; her relations with Rochester are more doubtful, but it is certain that he was hated by the duchess. Marlborough and Godolphin still seemed without rivals in the royal confidence. But though the relations of the queen to them and even to the duchess seemed unchanged—it was on 17 Dec. that a further favour was bestowed upon the house of Churchill by the extension of its ducal honours to the female line—Anne was not to forget that her ‘obstinacy’ had been overcome and her personal wishes affronted.
The year 1707, which added no military or naval glories to those of its predecessor, witnessed the accomplishment of the one great act of domestic statesmanship for which Queen Anne's reign is memorable. Her own concern with the act of union was mainly formal, and, as has been seen, Stuart though she was, but little love was lost between her and her Scottish subjects. Yet she was not wanting in a sense of what becomes a monarch in the great moments of a nation's life; and her royal assent to the act was given, on 6 March 1707, in a speech of excellent taste and feeling (Burton, Reign of Queen Anne, i. 350. The speech is cited by Stanhope, 279–80). As late as 27 May, Secretary Boyle writes to Lord Manchester that ‘the queen does not remove to Windsor till next month, having more business than is usual at this time upon the account of the union’ (Court and Society, iii. 223; for a narrative of the events in Scotland which preceded the union and proved its necessity see Burton, Reign of Queen Anne, iii. chap. vii.).
The strife of parties, which had fortunately not prevented the consummation of the union, was inevitably fed by the failure of the military operations of 1707. In this year (April) Marlborough indeed achieved a notable diplomatic success by securing, in the famous interview at Altranstedt, the neutrality of the dangerous hero, Charles XII of Sweden. But in Flanders the general's designs were again impeded by his Dutch allies, and frustrated by bad weather, while the south-west of Germany was falling back into French hands before the elector of Hanover had by Queen Anne's wish assumed the command. (His letter to the queen on this occasion, dated 26 Oct., is in Original Papers, ii. 95.) But the great reverse of Almanza had taken place at a much earlier date (25 April).
In the summer of 1707 the crisis in Queen Anne's personal relations began to announce itself to those most interested in their continuance. Marlborough, though aware of the ill feeling which existed between Harley and the whigs, had been slow to suspect him of any endeavour to insinuate himself into the queen's personal confidence by the arts of flattery and intrigue. The duke's own relations with the whig chiefs were by no means easy, and he had offended Halifax, who had been sent as envoy to Hanover, by thwarting his desire to be appointed a plenipotentiary for the peace negotiations which had been in prospect after the campaign of 1706. The queen was growing weary of the obligation of adapting her will to the counsel of her ministers. Her high-church opinions were her own, and she had always considered ecclesiastical appointments to be not merely nominally within her own bestowal. Her wish (ultimately baffled) to appoint instead of Dr. Potter (afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury) the high-church candidate, Dr. Smalridge, to the vacant chair of divinity at Oxford, and her promise of the two vacant sees of Exeter and Chester to Dr. Blackall, an uncompromising churchman, and Sir William Dawes, who was supposed to hold similar opinions, aroused the wrath of the whigs. Their wishes were supported, in the matter of the Oxford chair effectually, by Marlborough and Godolphin. But the duchess foresaw a greater danger threatening the position of herself and her friends; and her indignation was fired by the discovery that she had herself nourished the serpent that was to sting her. According to the duchess's account, Abigail Hill was an indigent first cousin of her own, for whom she had obtained the place of bedchamber-woman in the establishment of the Princess of Denmark. The steps by which a personal attendant becomes a personal friend, and as such acquires an influence over the mind of master or mistress, rarely admit of being fixed by dates; moreover, Queen Anne was often more or less of an invalid, and invalids are apt to become the prey of their servants. Though the duchess had begun to find the queen more shy of her company and more reserved when with her than before, she was not rendered suspicious of her ‘cousin Hill’ till she had been informed of her private marriage to Mr. Samuel Masham. She speaks of this information as having reached her in the summer of 1707; already, on 3 June, the duke advises her, ‘if Mrs. Masham does speak of business to the queen,’ to warn the former cautiously, ‘for she certainly is grateful, and will mind what you say.’ (In the Private Correspondence, i. 77, this letter is dated 9 June.) The duchess goes on to state that when she tenderly expostulated with Mrs. Masham, both her conduct and that of the queen convinced her that there was some mystery in the affair. ‘And in less than a week's time I discovered that my cousin was become an absolute favourite; that the queen herself was present at her marriage in Dr. Arbuthnot's lodgings’ (Arbuthnot, though a strong tory, had been appointed physician to the queen in October 1705; see Craik's Swift, 127), ‘at which time her majesty had called for a round sum out of the privy purse; that Mrs. Masham came often to the queen, when the prince was asleep, and was generally two hours every day in private with her. And I likewise then discovered beyond all dispute Mr. Harley's correspondence and interest at court by means of this woman.’ She then remembered many signs and tokens to which she had previously been blind (Conduct, 177–85; cf. Coxe).
There can be no reasonable doubt that the duchess had made a real discovery. In the measure in which her influence over the queen had declined, that of her kinswoman had risen. The intrigues of Harley are not proved by any direct evidence, but they were suspected by a correspondent of the Duke of Shrewsbury as well as by Lady Marlborough, and are admitted by the tory writer who, in answering the narrative of the duchess, proposed to show ‘The Other Side of the Question’ (see Coxe, ii. 259 note). The duchess, to whom Godolphin had in vain induced Mrs. Masham to make an overture of reconciliation, now opened all portholes for the combat, while the duke and Godolphin adopted a more temperate course of conduct, consisting in the main of threats of resignation at first neither made nor probably received very seriously. Harley in some measure diminished their zeal by protesting that he was their sincere and loyal friend, and the queen declared that, though she had a very good opinion of Mr. Harley, and would never change it unless she saw cause, she relied entirely on none but ‘Mr. Freeman [Marlborough] and Mr. Montgomery [Godolphin].’ Thus the lord treasurer hesitated, and Marlborough on 8 Nov. from the Hague advised his wife to leave off struggling ‘against wind and tide’ (Coxe, ii. 341–68). The duchess, however, continued to make the queen, as the latter was still patient enough to phrase it, ‘truly sensible of her kindness in telling her her mind freely upon all occasions,’ and told some of it to Mrs. Masham likewise. On paying her respects to the queen at Christmas 1707 the duchess was coldly received, and some days passed before a letter in which she had (not disrespectfully) reproached the queen obtained a kindly answer (Conduct, 203–11).
It was a sign of the growing power of the whigs that at the end of 1707 the queen had filled the contested Oxford chair with the whig candidate, and had appointed a whig (Dr. Trimnel) bishop of Norwich. The party had effectually shown its strength to Marlborough and Godolphin, and on 22 Dec. it completely identified itself with their war policy by carrying in both houses an address which declared that no peace could be honourable or safe if any part of the Spanish monarchy were left in the power of the house of Bourbon. Under such circumstances it was impossible that the queen, in spite of her personal confidence in him, should any longer continue Harley in office, for he had hoped to stand against the whigs with the aid of Marlborough and Godolphin, while probably at the same time undermining the influence of these latter with the queen. In January 1708 they finally made up their minds against him. But the queen would not allow him to go. They hereupon announced to her their determination to quit her service if he were retained in it, and, when she still remained unmoved, absented themselves from a cabinet meeting. Dartmouth (note to Burnet, v. 354) relates that Marlborough, after waiting on the queen to announce his intention, left her highly incensed, and that a kind of demonstration in her support was hereupon organised by a crowd of courtiers, doubtless tories. She had the mortification of seeing the incomplete cabinet break up before her eyes, after so trusted a minister as Somerset had declared it impossible to proceed without the general and the treasurer (Conduct, 212; Coxe, ii. 387–8; the presence of the queen is mentioned by Burnet). Even so she would not give way, nor was it till Harley had himself pressed his resignation upon her, and the Prince of Denmark had added his representations, that she summoned Marlborough to her presence and announced to him that she had agreed to Harley's withdrawal. On 11 Feb. he resigned his secretaryship of state, and a whig (Henry Boyle) was appointed in his place. St. John and two others likewise quitted office. It is to the credit of the queen's good nature that when, before Harley's dismissal, the duchess had declared to her that if the duke resigned his offices she must abandon hers, the queen had promised that should this event unhappily ever occur, she would bestow the duchess's offices among her daughters (Conduct, 213).
The public feeling against Harley was embittered by the news, which became generally known in March 1708, of French preparations at Dunkirk for an invasion of Scotland. The British government was forewarned in time, and though the French ships under Forbin, with the Pretender on board, reached the coast of Scotland, no response was apparent there, and the expedition returned to Dunkirk by April. Stringent measures were taken by parliament to prevent any outbreak in Scotland of the Jacobite zeal which had been found wanting at the critical moment, but at the same time care was taken not to goad the country into fury by inopportune severity; and St. Simon, in a noteworthy passage of his ‘Memoirs’ (iv. 106–7, 1862 edition), is eloquent in his praises of Queen Anne's conduct on this occasion. She had been encouraged by loyal addresses in which all parties joined; and it was observed that in her answer to one of these she for the first time adverted to her brother as ‘a popish pretender, bred up in the principles of the most arbitrary government’ (Coxe, ii. 400; cf. Court and Society, ii. 312). Yet when the question as to the treatment of the chevalier, should he be captured by the British fleet, had been mooted in council, the queen had shown great agitation and shed tears, so that the discussion of the matter could not be proceeded with (Tindal, cited by Somerville, 519 note). She must, by the way, have been disturbed if informed of the fact that in the interval between the sailing of Forbin's expedition and its return to Scotland, several episcopal clergymen—members of a body for which she had so warmly interested herself—had been prosecuted at Edinburgh for having officiated without the qualification of the oaths, and for having evaded the injunction to pray for the queen and the Princess Sophia (Burton, History of Scotland (1689–1748), ii. 29–30). With reference to more dangerous offenders, it may be added that in 1709 the law of treason in Scotland was made the same as that in England.
Notwithstanding the parliamentary addresses of December 1707, it was clear to Marlborough that success alone could sustain what popular feeling still existed in favour of the war. On 11 July 1708 he gained the long-contested victory of Oudenarde. France was now reduced to a condition in which it was impossible for her to carry on the struggle, and the fearful severity of the winter 1708–9 spread distress and famine through the land. Peace was therefore offered by Louis XIV, but on terms to which the British plenipotentiaries, Marlborough and Townshend, refused to listen. In May 1709 the king made the famous appeal to his people, with the result that, when the campaign of 1709 began, the French forces in the Low Countries were as numerous as those of the allies.
At home the strife of factions had continued round the queen. In the first instance the whigs, encouraged by the dismissal of Harley and his followers, pressed upon her the appointment of Somers to the presidency of the council, and, when she demurred to this, his admission into the cabinet without any office. The queen had at this time a personal objection against Somers, whom she regarded as the chief mover in the attacks upon the admiralty administration of her husband, and it was supposed that the prince, instigated by Admiral Churchill, was urging her to hold out. Godolphin supported the demand of the whigs, and Marlborough, on being appealed to by the queen, represented to her that, should she not accede to it, everybody would feel convinced that she was ‘guided by the insinuation of Mr. Harley.’ In answer, Godolphin reports, she ‘renounced and disclaimed any talk, or the least commerce, with Mr. Harley, at first or second hand, and was positive that she never speaks with anybody but the prince upon any things of that kind.’ Godolphin seems to have given credit to this assertion; and on 6 May the queen, in a letter to the Duke of Marlborough, showed the regard she still retained for him (the italics are the duchess's) by kindly assurances and by the promise that she would never at any time ‘give her consent to a peace but upon safe and honourable terms.’ But in the same letter she openly complained of the importunities of the whigs; and she continued as obstinately opposed to the appointment of Somers as ever. ‘The battle between us,’ Godolphin writes on 12 June, ‘might have lasted till now, if, after the clock had struck three, the Prince of Denmark had not thought fit to come in, and look as if he thought it were dinner-time’ (Coxe, ii. 420–34; cf. Conduct, 214).
Parliament had been dissolved on 15 April, and in the elections which followed the whigs made every effort to increase their majority. Amidst various vexations the queen seems to have much leant upon the advice of Somerset, who, as master of the horse, had constant access to her, and whose interference irritated the whigs against Marlborough, still very imperfectly trusted by them. It is impossible to say what other influences were exerted in conjunction with that of Mrs. Masham, which continued as strong as ever through the spring and summer. In April the duchess was nauseated by the phrase ‘Masham and I’ in a letter from the queen, and her correspondent Maynwaring entreated her to return to court and help putting an end to ‘the senseless farce of Harlequin and Abigail;’ but in May she seems to have thought that ‘Mrs. Masham does not meddle with business’ (Private Correspondence, i. 111, 113, 120). She afterwards went so far as to assert that during the whole summer of this year the queen continued in secret correspondence with Harley, having taken her residence for the purpose, notwithstanding the sultry weather which made the prince pant for breath, in the hot small house at Windsor, to which Mrs. Masham could privately introduce visitors from the garden (Conduct, 222). After the victory of Oudenarde the queen wrote a letter to Marlborough, which the duchess's censor (The Other Side, 363) rightly considers deserving of particular notice; for it shows her as struggling between an old and deep attachment, which had been made galling to her, and the desire for a freedom of action which on ‘the other side’ had been represented to her as her duty towards herself. The duke answered her in words such as have been rarely addressed by a subject to a sovereign, urging her ‘as a good christian’ to get rid of her private resentments, and to ‘make use of such as will carry on this just war with vigour: which is the only way to preserve our religion and liberties, and the crown on your head.’ The correspondence continued in much the same strain, Marlborough having now fully resolved to cast in his lot with the whigs, and in reply to his renewed offer or threat of resignation the queen, on 27 Aug., summed up her case by declaring herself desirous ‘to encourage those whig friends that behave themselves well,’ but unwilling ‘to have anything to do with those that have shown themselves to be of so tyrannising a temper; and not to run further on those subjects, to be short, I think things are come to, whether I shall submit to the five tyrannising lords’ [the junto] ‘or they to me’ (Coxe, ii. 501–18).
In the meantime an open quarrel had taken place between the queen and the duchess. The duchess chose the opportunity of the thanksgiving service for Oudenarde, held at St. Paul's 30 Aug., to mingle with complaints as to Mrs. Masham's unwarranted rearrangement of the jewels worn by the queen, remonstrances as to her want of trust in the duke. Anne not unnaturally requested that these public confidences or ‘commands,’ as she afterwards called them, which had continued from the coach into the church, should cease. The result was a brief but very sarcastic correspondence, followed on 20 Sept. by an interview which the duchess has not noted in her narrative, but of which she preserved some memoranda written by herself. (They are given by Coxe.) It ended by greatly agitating both the queen and the duchess, who was angrily sent away. Hereupon she for a time thought of desisting from further endeavours, and her resolution was applauded both by the duke, who owned to a tenderness for the misguided queen, and by the whig leaders, who no longer anticipated any advantage from their advocate's efforts (Coxe, ii. 521–5; cf. Conduct, 219–21).
In the parliament which met on 16 Nov. 1708, the whigs were again in the majority; and the agitation for the admission of Somers to the cabinet was therefore resumed more eagerly than ever. The Prince of Denmark and Admiral Churchill continuing to operate against the whigs, the party now proceeded to carry out a plan of action upon which its chiefs had previously determined. (See the curious letter from Sunderland to Newcastle in Ellis, Original Letters, 2nd series, iv. 251 seq.) The prince was to be deprived of his office, ‘for that whatever council he has, George Churchill will in effect be always lord high admiral.’ The duke judiciously persuaded his brother to resign; but, more especially as nothing short of the removal of the prince would facilitate the redistribution of offices they had at heart, the whigs refused to be appeased by this sacrifice. At last, in order to spare a cruel humiliation to her husband, who was at the time hopelessly ill, the queen signified her willingness to give way in behalf of Somers. On 2 Nov. Godolphin joyfully announced the news to Marlborough; on the 28th the Prince of Denmark died. The queen, who had displayed a constant affection towards him, had been assiduous in her attentions during his sufferings. For nearly two months after his decease she saw no visitors, nor did she appear in public till her birthday in the following year (Luttrell). The Duchess of Marlborough had in a not unbecoming manner pressed her sympathy upon the queen at the last stage of the prince's illness, and had been present at his deathbed in Kensington Palace. The account of the curious scenes which followed will be found at length in her ‘Private Correspondence’ (i. 410–16). The queen, who ‘expressed some passion’ on quitting her husband's corpse, suffered herself to be persuaded by the duchess to leave Kensington for St. James's, but deeply offended her former favourite by the preference she exhibited for Mrs. Masham. At St. James's in the evening a similar experience awaited the duchess, who indulged in some unseemly sarcasms against her mistress, adding, by way of amends, that the queen ‘had bits of great tenderness for the prince;’ and ‘I did see the tears in her eyes two or three times after his death, upon his subject, and, I believe, she fancied she loved him; and she was certainly more concerned for him than she was for the fate of Gloucester; but her nature was very hard, and she was not apt to cry.’ No real reconciliation followed these meetings; and when, in March 1708–9, Marlborough returned to England after the failure of the peace negotiations, he was mortified to find Mrs. Masham courted by persons of all ranks and distinctions (Coxe, iii. 31).
After some delay it proved that, outwardly at least, the prince's death had made a great change in public affairs. In November Pembroke was made lord high admiral, Wharton lord lieutenant of Ireland, and Somers lord president of the council. The queen's mourning rendered the reserve now shown by her to her ministers, both old and new, less surprising. Little respite, however, was allowed her. A passage in the prayer book, suitable to her married state, having been rather tardily altered, both houses immediately sent up an address requesting her not to indulge her grief so far as to lay aside thoughts of a second marriage, which she very properly met by declining to send any particular answer. Indeed, the address had, by many persons on both sides, been regarded as a bad joke (Wentworth Papers, 75). But a more pertinacious attempt was made to oblige her to satisfy the claims to office of the two members of the junto still left out in the shade—Halifax and Orford. In the end, she once more appealed to Marlborough to take her part against the whigs; but he must have declined to interfere, as, before his return from his campaign in November 1709, Orford had been placed at the head of the admiralty. In the summer of 1709 the duchess had, notwithstanding the duke's warnings, striven to keep up a sarcastic correspondence with the queen; and having embarrassed her through asking, by way of a more convenient entrance to her own apartments, for some rooms which the queen wished to give to Mrs. Masham's sister, improved the occasion to the best of her power. The queen was driven to inform her that their connection must henceforth be an official one, whereupon the duchess surpassed herself by drawing up a copious narrative of her twenty-six years' services given and favours received, and forwarding it to the queen with extracts concerning friendship and charity from ‘The Whole Duty of Man,’ and a similar passage from Jeremy Taylor. Anne failed to fulfil a promise to read and answer these papers, and at church passed the duchess with an impersonal smile (Conduct, 224–7). Nor was there any longer any doubt as to the importance of Mrs. Masham's influence. Among her statesmen she chiefly favoured Somerset, while Harley was busily directing the attacks of Jacobite zeal and tory spite against Marlborough and the war policy. For with this policy Marlborough and Godolphin must stand or fall.
The campaigns of 1709 had but little advanced the war, although after the surrender of Tournay the battle of Malplaquet (11 Sept.) had led to the fall of Mons (26 Oct.). Marlborough now proposed that his office of captain-general should be conferred on him for life. The proposal was not supported by the whig leaders, and fell through. That it was actually placed before the queen and refused by her seems unproved (see Noorden, iii. 616 note, where it is stated that no such draft of a letter from the duke to the queen referring to her refusal as is cited by Coxe, iii. 136 note, can be discovered among the Coxe MSS. in the British Museum). But the fact of the application was bruited abroad, and soon Marlborough was subjected to a series of annoyances. When, early in 1710, he was ordered by the queen to confer a vacant regiment upon Colonel Hill, the brother of Mrs. Masham, he sought an audience in order to represent the inexpediency of distinguishing so young an officer; but the queen dryly bade him ‘advise with his friends.’ Hereupon he temporarily withdrew from London, leaving it on the day appointed for a cabinet council. Finding, however, that the queen had taken no notice of his absence, he at first sought to obtain the support of the other members of the government for a letter offering the queen the choice between his resignation and the dismissal of Mrs. Masham. Perhaps a united effort might have carried the day; but among the leaders only Sunderland supported the bold policy of an address to the queen in the lords. Marlborough accordingly compromised matters by addressing to her a strong remonstrance against ‘the malice of a bedchamber woman,’ without, however, insisting upon her removal (Conduct, 232–4; cf. The Other Side, 409–10). The queen, on being further importuned by Godolphin and the whigs, hereupon gave way as to the regiment, and, Marlborough having at the advice of the whig leaders forborne from further pressing the dismissal of the favourite, an audience in which he was graciously received by the queen seemed to put a satisfactory termination to the incident (4 Feb.). The Dutch envoy reported to the Hague a complete reconciliation, and Marlborough was enthusiastically congratulated by Heinsius (Noorden, iii. 622 note). In truth, however, the affair had, besides incensing the favourite, increased the coolness between Marlborough and the whigs. When in March the commons addressed the queen on his approaching departure to the Netherlands as both general and plenipotentiary, she caused the answer prepared by Godolphin to be so altered as to deprive it of its cordiality. Scarcely had he crossed the water when the news reached him of the virtual failure of the Sacheverell impeachment (20 March 1709–10). The queen's sympathy could not but be on Sacheverell's side; nor was the mob in error which shouted to her as she passed in her chair, ‘God bless your majesty! God bless the church! We hope your majesty is for Dr. Sacheverell.’ Afterwards, when the suspension to which he was sentenced had expired, she presented him to the valuable living of St. Andrew's, Holborn, though she prudently declined to make him a bishop. Her favourite prelates, York and London, voted not guilty, and there were other indications that those on whom she looked with the greatest goodwill were against the spirit of the impeachment.
After this fiasco the air was again full of rumours of impending ministerial changes. Yet this was the time chosen by the Duchess of Marlborough, who had been in vain importuning the queen to allow her to resign her offices in favour of her daughters, to force herself into the royal presence. Though repulsed by a command to make her communication in writing, she contrived afterwards to obtain the promise of an interview, and when this promise was again withdrawn renewed her request, declaring that no misunderstanding should be caused by her, and that no answer would be required from the queen. Then, without waiting for a reply, she appeared at Kensington (17 April 1710). On being at last admitted, she could hardly elicit any words from the queen but ‘You desired no answer, and you shall have none.’ Protestations and tears were alike in vain, though, after the queen had brusquely left the room and been followed to the door of the closet by the duchess, the latter had extracted from her a species of permission to pay her respects when the queen should be at Windsor (the graphic narrative in the Conduct, 238–44, is supplemented by Coxe, iii. 202, from another version apparently by the duchess, and from her letter to Mr. Hutchinson). Mrs. Morley and Mrs. Freeman never met again. On the day after their parting the duchess sent to the queen a letter from the duke to Godolphin concerning a dangerous foreigner, against whom it was thought prudent to protect the queen's person. The letter was returned to the duchess with a brief formal message and without thanks. Their correspondence, too, was nearly at an end.
The appointment of Shrewsbury to the office of lord chamberlain, which took place about this time, and of which the queen informed Godolphin as of a settled thing, was the first public sign of the coming change, for Shrewsbury was known to have a secret understanding with Harley. Then a possibly unintentional awkwardness on the part of Marlborough involved him in another personal difficulty with the queen. In a list of promotions sent by him for her approval he had not included the names of Colonel Hill and Mr. Masham, but had drawn the line in his recommendations slightly above them. The queen insisted upon the promotion of Masham to a colonelcy, and, to cover the advancement of Hill, commanded that all the colonels of his year should be made brigadiers. Marlborough assented to the former of these orders, but, against the advice of Godolphin, refused to agree to the other. He had the double humiliation of finding the queen persist in her decision, and himself so inadequately supported by his colleagues that he had once more to give way. But more important proceedings were already in course of preparation, and on 13 June the dissolution of the whig government began. Sunderland, the first whig admitted to it, was the first dismissed, the high tory Dartmouth being appointed secretary of state in his place. On the day before her son-in-law's dismissal the Duchess of Marlborough wrote her last letter but one to the queen, enclosing in her angry missive several affectionate letters written to her by Mrs Morley in earlier days (Coxe, iii. 261–2; the duchess's letter is not in the Conduct). A brief and hasty reply from the queen, refusing to return her letters, provoked a retort on the part of the duchess, stating that in consequence she would take a little better care of the remainder.
As yet, however, neither Marlborough nor his colleagues seemed inclined to relinquish their posts, and the duke was urged by a joint ministerial memorial to retain his command. The intrigues of Harley to disunite the government however continued, and there were jealousies among its members. Somers, for instance, was suspected by Marlborough and others of scheming on his own account, and it would seem that his deferential manner to the queen over their teacups, and, if the duchess is to be believed, his politeness to Mrs. Masham, had made him not unwelcome at court (Private Correspondence, ii. 152). On 8 Aug. the queen took advantage of an altercation at a cabinet meeting in her presence to strike a deadly blow at the stability of the ministry by dismissing Godolphin. The treasury was now put into commission, and Earl Poulett made first lord; but the chancellorship of the exchequer was, ‘as a particular favour of the queen's’ (Luttrell, vi. 618), given to Harley, whose manœuvres were thus made patent by their success. Very soon the ministry was gradually transformed by the dismissal of all the whig chiefs and the admission into it of high tories, such as Rochester, Buckingham, and Ormond (who was sent to Ireland); while a secretaryship of state was given to the most brilliant speaker of their party, Henry St. John. There can be no doubt that the queen looked upon the victory as one gained on her behalf; she spoke of herself as released from a long captivity (Burnet, vi. 14). According to Dartmouth she regretted the loss of Somers, and desired him to wait often upon her.
The Sacheverell agitation, the rumours of the domineering treatment of the queen by the late ministers, and the growing weariness of the people in the matter of the war, combined to decide the elections of 1710 in favour of the tory party. With the electors at large, as for instance, in Middlesex, the church question—or the supposed church question—was uppermost. But the victory had no doubt been also, to a great extent, gained with the aid of other elements of dissatisfaction; and Harley, the chief author of the political revulsion, took care to put ‘the queen’ forward with unctuous iteration (see the curious document entitled ‘Mr. Harley's Plan of Administration,’ 30 Oct. 1710, in Miscellaneous State Papers (1501–1726), ii. 485–7). Whether he influenced the course of conduct now adopted by the queen towards the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, or whether it was due to the whisperings of inter-feminine spite, must be left an open question. Notwithstanding the fresh Hampstead air sought by her thrice a week in the summer, the queen seems this year to have suffered from the gout; and she had observed the thanksgiving for the successes of her army on 7 Nov. in the chapel at St. James's (Boyer). She acquiesced in the wish of the new ministers that the usual parliamentary vote of thanks to the general should be pretermitted, and at his first audience begged him not to insist upon it. Unfortunately the indiscretions of his wife had not ceased during his absence, and while overwhelming the queen with documents chiefly transmitted through the royal physician, Sir David Hamilton, she had been with difficulty restrained from publishing the queen's private letters to herself. Though terrified and at the same time determined not to see her, Anne had been generous enough to pronounce her incapable of the peculations with which she had been charged by Swift in the ‘Examiner’ (see Coxe, iii. 344–7; cf. Conduct, 263). Perceiving on his return that the official disgrace of the duchess had been determined upon, and humiliated by the treatment which he experienced from the ministers and parliament, Marlborough strove to make peace between his wife and the queen at any cost but that of the loss of office. He induced the duchess to write an apologetic letter, in which she promised, so long as she was retained in the queen's service, to hold her peace (Coxe, iii. 352; in the Conduct, 364, the duchess gives it to be understood that her resignation was at last her own act). The letter and the pleadings with which Marlborough presented it had no effect. The queen declared that she could not change her resolution, and must insist upon the duchess's key of office being returned within two days (17 Jan. 1710–11). It was returned on the same evening. The vacant offices of mistress of the robes and groom of the stole were conferred upon the Duchess of Somerset, while the privy purse was given to Mrs. Masham.
In the meantime the course of events had favoured the prospects of peace. The ministry had continued to take advantage of the popular feeling so thoroughly in unison with the sentiments of the queen against the whigs and the captain-general, and in favour of the recently endangered church. The House of Lords, however, rejected both a proposal for a commission of inquiry into grants made since the revolution of 1688 (30 April), and a bill to repeal the act for the general naturalisation of protestants. The former device was to have filled the exchequer at the expense of the whig magnates, the latter to have gratified the popular dislike of the ‘poor Palatines,’ to whom the queen had formerly been munificent. Afterwards, in March 1712, she renewed her charity to the Palatines settled in Ireland; but the experiment was not saved from ending as a failure (Treasury Papers, 1708–14, 475). A worthier sign of church zeal than this demonstration against the dissenters was the act passed on the recommendation of the queen for the building of fifty new churches in London, the cost of which was to be defrayed from part of the duty on coals hitherto devoted to Wren's reconstruction of St. Paul's. The queen's message was brought into the House of Commons by St. John while Harley was recovering from the murderous attack made on him by Guiscard (8 March). It was even reported that the terrible adventurer had formed a design against the person of the queen, and precautions were taken to insure the safety of her residence at St. James's Palace (Luttrell, vi. 705). Burnet says that her health was at this time much shaken; besides suffering from the gout she had three attacks of the ague, which appear to have been caused or intensified by her agitation about public business. Much later in the year (December 1711) we find convocation congratulating her on her recovery from an illness which had in some quarters, possibly by design, been represented as extremely dangerous (Luttrell, v. 374; cf. Wentworth Papers, 210, 215). She had never been more popular, and her birthday this year was celebrated with great rejoicings (Luttrell, vi. 688). Her absence from court on the anniversary of her accession was attributed to the dangers surrounding her; much to her credit she personally forbade the indecent show made of Guiscard's body after his execution (Craik's Swift, 213 and 216 note).
The principal task of the administration of which Harley, now Earl of Oxford and lord treasurer, stood at the head, was carried on in secret. There were at this time not less than five secret agents of France in England, who, though acting separately, were all guided by the same hand (Mesnager, 109–10). The British ministers were not less discreetly served; so that they were able to make the Dutch believe that whatever proposals might be brought to London, they would not be dealt with till after consultation with the states. Mesnager was in the midst of his labours presented at Kensington to the queen, who told him: ‘'Tis a good work; pray God succeed you in it. I am sure I long for peace; I hate this dreadful work of blood’ (ib. 134). Torcy declares (Mémoires, ii. 43–44) that she did her best to forward the negotiations. After having declared, on 25 Aug., that there was no French plenipotentiary in London, she made things pleasant for Mesnager in his incognito, and even expressed a wish to defray his expenses. And Mesnager himself attributes the success of the negotiations mainly to two causes, viz. ‘the steadiness of the queen, guided by her own aversions to some of the other people, and especially by her resentments of the affronts which it is said had been offered her by some of the women about her person,’ and ‘the exquisite management of the treasurer’ (Mesnager, 182). After the signature of the preliminaries she received Mesnager graciously in a secret audience (so Torcy, ii. 73–4), and continued to give effectual support to the action of her ministry, even when they sailed dangerously near the wind. A different set of preliminary articles, which included a barrier for the Dutch, and was otherwise more careful of the interests of the allies, had been communicated to the states and to Count Gallas, an imperial diplomatist residing in London under the designation of ambassador of the king of Spain; and when Gallas, indignant even at this version, published it in the newspapers, and loudly denounced the conduct of the queen and her government, she forbade him the court, notwithstanding her personal regard for him (Torcy, ii. 102), and requested Charles VI to send another ambassador in his place.
On 17 Nov. 1711 Marlborough landed in England, accompanied by Baron von Bothmar, the Elector of Hanover's plenipotentiary. It is likely enough that the queen's mind had been inflamed against him by the story that a design was on foot which could only be defeated by her having ‘no man in any considerable command but such as might be depended upon’ (Mesnager, 167). For there can be little doubt that his dismissal was a settled matter before his arrival. The whigs, though they had not agreed to dethrone the queen, had desperately engaged in a very questionable manœuvre. The high-church tory, Nottingham (‘Not-in-the-game’), for whom no office had been found in the tory government, proffered the whigs his alliance on the condition of their supporting an endeavour on his part to carry a bill against occasional conformity. With Nottingham and Somerset the whigs were certain of a constant majority in the lords, by which a peace unacceptable to their party could be rendered absolutely impossible. On 7 Dec. the queen, after opening parliament, had the mortification of listening to a debate in which both Nottingham and Marlborough inveighed against the preliminaries, and by a majority of 62 to 54 a clause was added to the address, declaring no peace to be safe in which Spain and the West Indies were left to the house of Bourbon. In the commons a similar clause was indeed defeated by a large majority; but the deadlock had been established. According to Swift (Letters, i. 113) some of the lords who voted in the majority had been told that by doing so they would please the queen. This it is not easy to credit; but he also says, on the authority of Mrs. Masham, that on leaving the house after the debate the queen had given her hand in a marked manner to Somerset, one of the most vehement opponents of the peace, and she continued to show great favour to the Duchess of Somerset (Wentworth Papers, 223, 235). Out of leading-strings she seemed hard to hold; it was almost as if she refused to be directed except by her caprices. As for the whigs, they paid their part of the bargain by helping Nottingham to carry the bill against occasional conformity through the lords, whereupon it easily passed through the commons, and at last became law (December).
The ministry were not slow in retaliating. Charges of peculation and falsified accounts were trumped up against Marlborough, and the report containing these was published by order of the House of Commons. At a cabinet council on 31 Dec. the queen ordered the removal of Marlborough from all his employments, on the ground of the information laid before parliament. On the same day as that which witnessed the downfall of Marlborough, the famous simultaneous creation of twelve peers was announced, by which, though the House of Lords can hardly be said to have been ‘swamped,’ the coalition majority was hopelessly undone. One of the new peers was Mrs. Masham's husband.
At the beginning of 1712 the queen was again troubled with gout; hence her message to the lords, requesting them to adjourn to the same day as that fixed by the commons, which gave rise to a debate on privilege. Her illness must have served her as a welcome excuse for not showing much personal attention to Prince Eugene, who early in January had arrived in London on a visit of several weeks; but on her birthday she presented him with a sword splendidly set with diamonds (Luttrell, vi. 723). The peace negotiations opened at the end of the month without the prince having been able to produce any change in the policy of the British government. The ministers, who greatly resented his coming, did not disdain to listen to denunciations accusing him of a plot with Count Gallas and Marlborough to set fire to London, seize the person of the queen, and oblige her to convoke a new parliament, for the purpose of putting an end to the peace negotiations and punishing their authors (see Torcy's Mémoires, ii. 139–140, where the authenticity of these designs is judiciously treated as an open question. No doubts as to the ‘hellish plot’ beset Hamilton; see his Transactions during the Reign of Queen Anne, 205–8). As usual, the most was made of the alarm; the queen's guards were doubled; several entrances to St. James's Palace were closed; and even Prince Eugene was ‘protected’ (Torcy, ii. 142). London was, as a matter of fact, in an excited and turbulent condition. The Mohocks were abroad, and Marlborough was supposed to have or to contemplate an understanding with them. On the queen's birthday he was insulted by the mob in the park, while the court was ‘crowded more than ever by all the church, nobility, and gentry’ (Original Papers, ii. 270). In parliament the proceedings against him and others connected with the administration of the army (Walpole and Cardonnel) continued, and he was condemned virtually unheard (January). Then the Barrier treaty, signed by Townshend in October 1709, was taken into consideration, and those who had concluded or advised it were censured as enemies to the queen and kingdom. In the meantime the peace congress, in which England was represented by the Bishop of Bristol (Robinson) and the Earl of Strafford, had actually held its first meeting at Utrecht on 29 Jan.
A suspension of arms was agreed to in Flanders in June, and again in August, 1712; and by the end of the year the opposition to the peace in England had become powerless. But the treaty of peace still awaited its conclusion, which was delayed above all by one obstacle, the continued presence of the Pretender in France. The question of the treatment which he was to receive had been a grave difficulty, the more so that both Louis XIV and Queen Anne had a personal interest in his welfare. But for her strong aversion from the religion professed by him, there can be no doubt that her sympathy would have been much warmer now (cf. Buckingham to Middleton in Original Papers, ii. 330). For her protestant feeling was by no means growing feebler as her years increased, though she may have failed to derive comfort from the prophecy of the Bishop of Worcester (Lloyd) made to her about this time (June 1712), that four years hence there would be a war of religion, when the King of France would be a protestant and fight on their side (Swift's Letters, i. 167). She was, however, greatly pleased when Hampden's motion for a joint guarantee in the treaty of peace of the Hanoverian succession was rejected by the commons (17 June) in favour of a general expression of confidence in her fidelity to the protestant succession itself (Smollett, ii. 237). But to what extent Queen Anne showed an interest at this time in her brother's future it is impossible to determine. In the so-called ‘Minutes of the Negotiations’ of Mesnager (210–326) a long and circumstantial account is given of his endeavours, with the aid of a person ‘near the queen’ (Lady Masham), to obtain the insertion in the treaty of peace of a secret clause which should relieve King Louis from the obligation of keeping his promise to recognise the succession of the House of Hanover beyond the lifetime of Queen Anne. It is here insinuated that the queen, who before Mesnager went to Utrecht caused him to be presented with her portrait set in diamonds, favoured the scheme, but that it was frustrated by the clumsiness of the agents of St. Germains in England. The story that the Abbé Gaultier had hoped by the sheer force of his eloquence to persuade the queen to resign the crown in favour of the chevalier must be taken for what it is worth. In October 1712 Gaultier certainly informed Torcy that Bolingbroke was interested in the prince and his future, provided that the queen's rights were not prejudiced, and that he was at the same time anxious to verify a rumour as to some of the whigs having eighteen months before taken steps in the same direction (Stanhope, 536, from letters in the archives of the French foreign office). There seems, however, no doubt that at St. James's, whatever may have been the thoughts and feelings of the queen and her ministers, fear sealed their lips towards one another on the subject of the Pretender (see Somerville, 582). But the immediate difficulty had been to induce him to leave France, so that he might not have to be expelled from its soil. He had begun his journey in September 1712; but it was not till 20 Feb. 1712–13, that he actually crossed into Lorraine. About the same time Bolingbroke in a vigorous despatch insisted that an end should at last be made of delay, and on 31 March the treaties of peace and commerce between France and Great Britain, as well as the French treaties with the other members of the grand alliance except the emperor, were at last signed at Utrecht.
The support given by Queen Anne to the tory ministry had materially contributed to the conclusion of the peace. In the remaining period of her reign the person of the sovereign was more than ever prominent in the calculations of politicians; yet it cannot be said that her conduct critically affected the struggle in progress around her. She continued to fulfil the duties of the throne as she conceived them, more especially interesting herself in ecclesiastical appointments. She compensated Dr. Smalridge for his former disappointment by raising him to the see of Bristol, vacated by Dr. Robinson on his translation to London; she refused a mitre to Swift, as he professed to believe through the ill offices of his ‘mortal enemies’ Sharpe of York and the Duchess of Somerset (April 1713); but consented to Atterbury being rewarded for ‘the flame he had raised in our church’ (Burnet) by the bishopric of Rochester and the deanery of Westminster (May). But though she interested herself as before in church and state, it was well known that her bodily condition was becoming more and more infirm, so that during the last two years of her life the state of her health was the cause of repeated alarms. In the spring and summer of 1712 a marked improvement had been thought observable in her health (Wentworth Papers, 287, 292, 297); but Swift reports a passing fear concerning her already in September of that year (Letters, i. 175), and in October and December he speaks of her as more or less suffering from the gout (ib. i. 178, 209). She was still ‘lame with the gout’ in February 1712–13 (ib. i. 243, 245); but, though the Jacobites had been informed that she could not live longer than March (Occasional Papers, ii. 390), she was able on 9 April, at the meeting of parliament after the conclusion of the peace, to be carried to the House of Lords, where she read her speech ‘very well, but a little weaker in her voice’ (Swift's Letters, i. 279). She did not as yet communicate the terms of the treaties to the houses; but she spoke of her efforts for securing the protestant succession and of the perfect friendship existing between her and the house of Hanover, and, referring to the unparalleled licentiousness of the libellous publications of the day, exhorted factions and parties to calmness and mutual forbearance (Wyon, ii. 441. The Stamp Act of the previous year had only extinguished the small deer of the periodical press). Of course at such a time her words were carried away by the wind. On 5 May 1713 peace was proclaimed in London; on 9 June the debates on the treaty of commerce with France began in the commons, and by a small majority this early endeavour in the direction of free trade was thrown out. Then a cabal between Scottish malcontents and the whigs to effect the repeal of the union was only defeated by a narrow majority in the lords (June).
More personal to the queen was the question raised by a message from her to the commons in the same month concerning a considerable debt which had accumulated above her civil-list expenditure. After some hesitation a bill enabling her to raise 500,000l. for the discharge of these arrears was consolidated with another money bill and passed. Burnet (vi. 173) seeks to show that there were grounds for the suspicions raised by the queen's demand, inasmuch as a few years before the actual debt had amounted to little more than half the sum now required. Nor, though the charitable expenditure of the queen had doubtless continued, had Blenheim of late been a drain upon her purse. It was accordingly, he says, concluded by ‘all people’ that the coming elections were the real purpose for which the money was in part needed. At all events there can have been no truth in the charge made in the next reign that it was intended for the service of the Pretender (Wyon, ii. 459). About this very time two addresses were successively carried in the lords requesting the queen to intervene for the removal of the Pretender from Lorraine, to which she returned evasive answers; but when a similar address was carried in the commons, she promised to use her endeavours (Burnet, vi. 175). When on 16 July she closed the session of parliament by a speech from the throne (she had been unable to be present on the 7th at the peace thanksgiving in St. Paul's), it was noticed that the customary assurance of her determination to support the Hanover succession was omitted (Wyon, ii. 466). At the end of the season (31 July) the queen was well enough to review the household troops in Hyde Park (Wentworth Papers, 345).
Sanguine as the Jacobites abroad were at all times, their hopes which the peace of Utrecht might have dashed to the ground revived with the news, true or false, of the queen's ailing condition, and as the signs increased of doubt and uncertainty, to say the least, among her ministers. The rumours diligently posted about ‘Miss Jones,’ ‘Mrs. Ord,’ ‘Christopher,’ ‘Dunbar,’ ‘Quaint,’ ‘Quanton’ (or whatever other pseudonyms Queen Anne went by in the Jacobite correspondence), frequently pointed to her speedy decease; in the meantime she was to name her brother as her successor, after being authorised to do so by the loyal majority in the new parliament. (Many passages of this kind will be found in the Stuart sections of Original Papers.) At the same time the official changes made during the latter part of the summer, mostly between the middle of August and the middle of September, could not but excite eager speculation. Shrewsbury was sent to Ireland, Ormond's presence nearer home being thought desirable. The Earl of Mar, who was regarded as a Jacobite, was made secretary of state for North Britain, another of the secretaryships of state being given to Bromley, and the chancellorship of the exchequer to Wyndham (formerly secretary at war), who were supposed to hold similar opinions. Other changes were made of the same kind; and it seemed evident that so many placeholders must be speculating on an event by which they would not lose their places. After every exertion had been made, and the pens of the ministerial fighting-men had been more active than ever, the elections for the British House of Commons resulted in an overwhelming tory majority. In Ireland a whig House of Commons had been recently elected; and Shrewsbury had soon been instructed to prorogue parliament with a view to its dissolution (December).
On Christmas eve, 1713, the queen was seized by a violent attack of fever, which left her for several hours unconscious (Wyon, ii. 475). A panic ensued, which was repeated when after her recovery several relapses followed. In February Swift writes that ‘few of the whigs will allow the queen to be alive, or, at best, that she can live a month’ (Craik, 277–8). When parliament met on the 18th, there was a general feeling of uneasiness attested by the falling of the stocks, which had been affected by rumours of every kind; so that it was thought expedient for the queen, when she had sufficiently recovered, to address a letter to the lord mayor, intended to calm the apprehensions of the public. Among the incidents which had excited fears had been a movement of French troops to the coast, very innocently explained by the French government.
Immediately after the meeting of parliament the whigs found an opportunity for reviving the suspicions against the queen excited by the announcement of her debts in the previous session. When it was discovered that a quarter of the profits of the South Sea Company were to be reserved to assignees of her majesty, the question who these assignees were came to be so pertinaciously asked that the ministers ultimately had to abandon the proposal as to the quarter-share itself (Wyon, ii. 480; cf. Wentworth Papers, 396 sqq.). On 2 March 1713–14, when parliament reassembled after an adjournment, the queen was carried in a chair to the House of Lords. About this time she seemed again in better health, and though soon afterwards she had a ‘fit of shivering’ at Windsor, she appeared to be very well in April (Wentworth Papers, 359, 360, 375). The injunctions of the royal speech had little effect upon the whigs, who seized the occasion of the ratification of the treaties with Spain to take up the cause of the shamefully deserted Catalans, and afterwards in the lords to condemn the commercial treaty (July). But the question of the succession remained the really disquieting element in the political atmosphere. In her answer to an address from the lords, Queen Anne alluded with very little obscurity to a proposed ‘diminution of the royal dignity’ which had by this time become the favourite item in the whig programme. The queen had throughout continued on terms of civility with the electress dowager Sophia and her son; and just before the opening of parliament she had furnished Thomas Harley with a letter to the elector promising her assent to any further securities which the electoral family might desire. But even then she had referred to proposals from other quarters inconsistent with her own dignity and security which she felt herself bound to oppose. What the whigs had in view was to bring over to England a member of the Hanoverian family—if possible the elector; if not, his son the electoral prince. At a meeting of the whig leaders held about the end of April it was resolved to carry into effect this design, which had been for some time cherished. A debate on the state of the nation had just ended in the lords, which had been characterised by extraordinary violence. After losing by a small majority a proposal to declare the protestant succession in danger, the whigs had carried an address to the queen to renew her endeavours for the expulsion of the Pretender from Lorraine; and to this a clause had been added, on the motion of Wharton, asking the queen to proclaim a reward for the apprehension of the Pretender, dead or alive. The address had been in some measure softened down after an adjournment; but even so the queen's answer had not disguised her just resentment (Somerville, 555). It was then that the whigs thought of taking advantage of the circumstance that as Duke of Cambridge the electoral prince was a peer of the realm, in order to obtain for him the usual writ of summons and thus bring him over to England. The Hanoverian envoy, Baron Schütz, accordingly applied for the writ to the chancellor (Harcourt), who referred the matter to the queen. So indignant was Anne at the attempt to force her hand that she forbade Schütz her presence. Never, Oxford told him, had he seen the queen in a greater passion (Original Papers, ii. 598). At a cabinet it was indeed resolved to issue the writ, which could not be refused, and which Schütz accordingly carried to Hanover. The electoral family were advised by Strafford to disavow the proceedings of their envoy, and he sought to convey to the queen the assurance that there had been no desire on their part to disoblige her (Wentworth Papers, 31–32). But before long, a memorial, dated 7 May, from the electress dowager and the elector reached the queen, which suggested as necessary securities for the succession the removal of the Pretender from Lorraine, and the presence in Great Britain of a prince of the electoral family. In answer to this memorial, Queen Anne on 30 May wrote the two memorable letters to the Electress Sophia and to the electoral prince, which, accompanied by a third from Oxford to the elector, left no room for doubt as to the queen's mind being made up on the subject. The letters are in truth what they were called by the Duchess of Marlborough, to whom they were forwarded by the electress—‘very extraordinary;’ and possibly the rumour was true that ‘the queen's letter touched the old electress so much that it hastened her death,’ which took place on the day after that on which it had reached her (8 June; see Letters of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, 1875, 110, and cf. Molyneux's letter from Hanover in Coxe, iii. 574. The letters are printed in Boyer, 699–700). The elector, now heir-at-law to the throne, answered courteously, but not in such a way as to reassure the queen, though the electoral prince was profuse in his apologies; and the silly Earl of Clarendon was sent to Hanover to see that the dreaded project remained unexecuted.
The ascendency of Bolingbroke over Oxford, which to Bothmar seemed evident from the selection of Clarendon as envoy to Hanover (Original Papers, ii. 626), showed itself also by other signs. Thus in domestic affairs the introduction of the schism bill (May), which the whigs vainly opposed in the lords, marks the climax of the high-church intolerance of Queen Anne's reign; and of this intolerance it suited Bolingbroke to pose as the champion. Oxford was unable to put a check upon him either in this matter or in those administrative measures of which the consequences might be more personally disastrous to their authors. (As to the measures said to have been taken shortly before the queen's death for securing the obedience of the troops, see a curious draft of a memorial from Stair to Marlborough in Miscellaneous State Papers, ii. 522–524). Unable either to satisfy the tories or to keep a door open towards the whigs, Oxford had already in June offered his resignation to the queen, but she had declined it. Early in July, however, Swift was told that his patron's fall was near, and on the 27th Oxford himself announced it as impending for the following day. On the 29th Lady Masham, who, according to Swift's correspondent Ford, had never been in higher credit with the queen, confirmed the news of the downfall of the partner and director of her old intrigues. Her letter dwells on Oxford's ingratitude to her dear mistress, whom he had teased and vexed for three weeks, and had thus probably caused the illness from which she was now suffering. There cannot, she declares, be a greater object for compassionate help than ‘this good lady.’ Another of Swift's correspondents (Erasmus Lewis) informs him that the queen had told all the lords that Oxford was negligent, ‘seldom to be understood,’ untrustworthy, unpunctual, ill-mannered, and disrespectful (Letters, ii. 45, 49, 68–71).
The queen, who had closed the session of parliament on 9 July with a speech implying reproof of factiousness, and again omitting all reference to the house of Hanover (Wentworth Papers, 401), had of late seemed stronger; on 12 June Arbuthnot described her to Swift as in good health (Letters, ii. 33; cf. Wentworth Papers, 386, 387). But there was no real hope of her days being many; the importance of the arrangements to be made after Oxford's dismissal was manifest; and the sense of responsibility which weighed upon those concerned seems to have been overwhelming. On the night of 27 July, after Oxford had resigned his office, the queen presided over a long-protracted cabinet council. Instead of the lord treasurer's staff being given to Bolingbroke, it was resolved to put the treasury into commission; but the choice of the members of the commission proved too difficult a matter to settle before the cabinet separated at two o'clock in the night. Next morning, the 28th, the queen was reported too ill to attend to business, and the meeting was postponed to the following day. On the 29th, after being cupped, she seemed better; but on the 30th, in the morning, a fit which the doctors considered to be apoplexy, and treated accordingly, rendered her insensible for nearly two hours. The Duchess of Ormond, who was in waiting, sent word to her husband, who was in deliberation at the Cockpit with the other members of the cabinet, including the Duke of Shrewsbury. They at once repaired to Kensington, where the queen lay. According to one account, of which Swift's correspondent Ford disputes the correctness, the Dukes of Somerset and Argyll, who had with many other persons likewise hastened to Kensington, entered the room where the cabinet was assembled, and took part in the deliberations which followed. Their names were still on the privy council list, and by their presence the cabinet (at that time no very distinctly defined body) virtually became a privy council. The physicians in attendance having been called upon to give their opinions as to the condition of the queen, Sir Richard Blackmore, Dr. Shadwell, and Dr. Mead seem to have agreed that her case was desperate, the last-named (a whig) thinking that death would be immediate. Arbuthnot, on the other hand, appears to have suggested a rather more hopeful view of the case, though privately sharing the alarm of his colleagues (see Wentworth Papers, 407). The physicians at the same time declared that the queen might be spoken to; and it must have been hereupon that ‘one of the council,’ said by Ford to have been Bolingbroke, proposed that Shrewsbury should be recommended to her as lord treasurer. The lords were admitted to the queen's chamber, where Bolingbroke stated to her the recommendation upon which the council had agreed. She at once placed the staff in Shrewsbury's hands. This was at about one o'clock in the afternoon. The queen continued ill the whole day, through which as well as through the ensuing night the council continued to sit. (The scandal as to the evil intentions of Arbuthnot and the cold selfishness of Lady Masham (see Wentworth Papers, 408) is not worth repeating. As to Dr. Radcliffe's refusal to attend the queen, see Radcliffe.) In London, on the morning of 30 July, the report went that the queen was dead. She was not prayed for, says Ford, even in her own chapel at St. James's, ‘and, what is more infamous, stocks arose three per cent. upon it in the city.’ At Kensington a full privy council was sitting, including Somerset and Argyll and a large number of whigs. They dictated a series of orders; a regiment was despatched to Portsmouth, and instructions were given to secure the tranquillity of London. Messengers were sent to Flanders to recall the troops, and to the Hague and Hanover. On the 31st the queen was in a lethargic state—‘the breath is said to be in her nostrils, but that is all,’ writes Lewis, another of Swift's correspondents.
Everything was in readiness for the nomination of the regency, and for the proclamation of King George. But the queen still lingered. By her bedside lay her will, ready for signature; and the Bishop of London was in attendance, in case an opportunity should still offer for his ministrations. But the lethargy continued till, a few minutes after seven on the morning of Sunday, 1 Aug. 1714, Queen Anne died. (As to the circumstances of her last illness and death, see especially Ford's letters to Swift, ii. 74–80; and cf. Boyer, 714. A full narrative will be found in Wyon, ii. 522–8, and Miss Strickland has further particulars. Among them is the legend, which Carte is supposed to have had from Ormond, that the queen at the last made a sort of confession to the bishop, and that his words, on leaving the room, pointed to this confession having had reference to her brother. See also Original Papers, vi. 231, and a note to Burnet, vi. 231). The cause of the queen's death seems to have been suppressed gout, ending in erysipelas, which produced an abscess and fever. (After her death an inspection of the body was made by Dr. Thomas Lawrence, of which an account will be found in Treasury Papers, 1714–1719, 363). Her funeral took place at Westminster on 24 Aug., when she was interred in the vault on the south side of Henry VII's Chapel, which already contained the remains of her children and of her husband, and in which, according to the instructions given by her after his death (Private Correspondence, i. 415), room had been left ‘for her too.’ The vault was then closed up with brickwork (Coke, 482).
A few days after Queen Anne's death, Arbuthnot, who had been her physician since 1705, wrote to Swift that her days had been numbered in his imagination, ‘and could not exceed certain limits, but those were narrowed by the scene of contention among her servants. I believe sleep was never more welcome to a weary traveller than death was to her’ (Swift's Letters, ii. 92). He adds that, owing to the queen's will having been left unsigned, Lady Masham and several of the queen's servants were left in deplorable case, and in another letter (ib. ii. 99) he says that ‘the queen's poor servants are like so many poor orphans exposed in the streets.’ There is certainly no feature more striking in the early administrative records of the new reign than the difficulty which was found in meeting the claims which had come over to it from that of Queen Anne (see Treasury Papers, 1714–1719, passim). The will also contained a bequest of 2,000l., to be distributed among poor people as her majesty's alms, the payment of which had likewise to be left to the decision of her successor (ib. 70).
Queen Anne's good qualities were not altogether unroyal. She loved her country and its institutions, and shrank from no exertion of which she was capable on their behalf. Her hatred of the factiousness which clogged the wheels of the state-machine was not mere lip-hatred, and to those in whose guidance she had come to trust she was, during by far the greater part of her reign, no fickle mistress but a steady friend. More than this, she was on occasion generous and self-sacrificing; neither wholly lost in the frivolities of life nor deaf to the call of its nobler duties; condescending, without want of dignity in bearing; and open-handed to the soldiers who fought her battles, and to the poor under the shadow of her throne. But the effect of these qualities was marred by the obstinacy of character which she had inherited from her ancestors, and which in her took the form of a tenacity of opinion often proof against arguments, threats, or entreaties alike, coupled with a certain dulness of intellect, incapable of distinguishing between the binding force of moral principles and the duty of having her own way. Probably the Duchess of Marlborough was near the truth when she wrote of her former mistress and friend that ‘in matters of ordinary moment her discourse had nothing of brightness or wit, and in weightier matters she never spoke but in a hurry, and had a certain knack of sticking to what had been dictated to her to a degree often very disagreeable, and without the least sign of understanding or judgment’ (Private Correspondence, 120). But with regard to the period of her womanhood, at all events, it should never be forgotten that Anne had since her marriage undergone an amount of bodily suffering and mental anguish which, in the opinion of competent medical authority, would have weakened the intellectual vigour of most women.
The public life of Queen Anne, for the influence of whose personal character room enough was left by the incompleteness of the British constitution, reflects both her virtues and her defects. She took an active personal share in the business of state, frequently attended cabinet councils, and even on occasion originating measures herself. Thus Bolingbroke asserts that the ‘restraining orders’ to Ormond were first proposed by the queen (see Miscellaneous State Papers, ii. 482–3). She continued the custom of her ancestors in attending debates in the House of Lords. But she regarded it as her special right to appoint her ministers according to her own choice, and from any party (see her letter to Marlborough in Coxe, ii. 439). This principle was in direct conflict with the system of party government which was in her reign, though still with very incomplete success, continuing to assert itself.
The ornamental surroundings of royalty had comparatively little charm for her; and in her later years, partly no doubt in consequence of the condition of her health, she lived so much to herself that her court at times seemed ‘as it were abandoned’ (Burnet, vi. 230). She had striven to reform the system of selling places in her household, but without enduring success (Mrs. Thomson, i. 362). Her own expenditure was free and generous. On coming to the throne she strove to fulfil the engagements of her predecessors, although she did not think it necessary to renew all the pensions granted to cavaliers by her uncle and father and dropped by William III (Treasury Papers, 1702–1707, 36, 43). For herself she at least announced, in March 1703, the admirable principle that ‘the queen grants no reversions’ (ib. 123), which, however, she seems at one time to have intended to violate in the case of the daughters of the Duchess of Marlborough. We find her naturally generous to her late husband's servants, continuing their salaries during her life, ‘provided they keep no public houses’ (Luttrell, vi. 390; Wentworth Papers, 63; but see Treasury Papers, 1708–1714, 531). Her charity extended itself to the most various objects, and is apparent in many transactions of her reign.
But, as has been seen, there was one department of affairs which Queen Anne considered specially her own. Her interest in the church as shown by her endeavour to take the ecclesiastical patronage of the crown into her own hands, and more enduringly by the bounty which bears her name, has already been sufficiently illustrated. She was zealous for the efficiency of the clergy as well as for their welfare (cf. Ellis, 3rd series, iv. 331). The curious hallucination, which in 1706 at least momentarily prevailed at the Curia, that she was a convert to the church of Rome, is one of the unsolved problems of her history (see Strickland, xii. 113). In the crisis of 1688 she had written to her sister that ‘she would choose to live on alms rather than change’ her religion (Appendix, Dalrymple's Memoirs, ii. 170).
The Duchess of Marlborough inscribed on the statue erected by her to the queen at Blenheim, that she was ‘religious without affectation.’ Perhaps it cannot be added that she was religious without superstition. The revival by her of the practice of the royal touch, which William III had all but discontinued, can, however, hardly have been a matter of personal choice (see Burton, ii. 202; Treasury Papers, 1702–1707, p. 142). It is well known that among those she touched was Samuel Johnson. Anne touched as late as March and April in the year of her death (see Wentworth Papers, 359, 375). In the observance of the duties of religion Queen Anne was an example of regularity (Stoughton, v. 322), nor did she tolerate slackness in others.
Anne's affectionate disposition was in her earlier years prevented by untoward circumstances from finding its most natural outlet. Deprived of her mother, separated from her sister, estranged in some degree from her father, she had to take refuge in the friendship which was the consolation, till it became the bane, of her life. When, in after years, this bond was at last broken, she had grown suspicious and hard to be led, even by the politician who had shown to her the irksomeness of the old guidance. The devotion of Abigail never became to her as the friendship of Mrs. Freeman. The Duchess of Somerset seems in some degree, by the great charm of her manner, to have taken the place in the queen's affections of her imperious predecessor (see Dartmouth's note to Burnet, vi. 34, where he also states that the Queen of Sicily, Anna Maria of Savoy, was the only relation he ever heard Queen Anne speak of with much tenderness). Peculiarly susceptible to the influences of friendship, the queen was at the same time, as has been sufficiently seen, an affectionate wife and a tender mother. Nor, having suffered herself, was she without ready sympathy for the sufferings of others (see her letter to the duchess on the death of Lord Blandford, Coxe, i. 164; and her letter to Rooke, Ellis, 3rd series, iv. 330).
The personal tastes of Queen Anne show little or no love of the polite arts which had characterised our earlier Stuart kings, and had left some faint traces in the pursuits and pleasures of her father and uncle. It is wonderful how few of the literary stats of the ‘age of Queen Anne’ seem ever to have crossed her orbit. She took no interest in the theatre, except to check its more obvious immoralities (see her proclamation of January 1704 in Ashton, 255). She never visited the public playhouses; but plays seem now and then to have been performed at court (Strickland, xii. 103; cf. Ashton, 255). In a graver department of literature it was in a sense an accident that her illustrious grandfather's historical work did not see the light of publicity till soon after the commencement of her reign, when it was printed with a dedication to her (1702). Another great historical publication, though not the work of a great author — Rymer's ‘Fœdera’ — was published at her sole charge ; and the compiler, who had been appointed historiographer royal in the preceding reign, was under her encouraged by an annual grant of 100l. (Treasury Papers, 1702-7, 28; 1714-19, 63). It has been seen that she had the honour of knighting Isaac Newton.
For art she cared as little as for letters. Wren was her court architect, but on her splendid gift of Blenheim Palace Vanbrugh was employed. Early in her reign Verrio finished the famous frescoes at Hampton Court, which began to be out of fashion already under her successor. Of course she sat to Kneller. For music she cared so little, that in 1708 she is stated never to have heard her own band play (Court and Society, ii. 337). The personal tastes of Queen Anne went in a different direction. There is no proof that she cared much for jewellery, notwithstanding the stir made by Marlborough about the jewels inherited by her from her sister, and withheld from her in Holland (Marlborough Despatches, i. 10-11, 35, &c.); nor for lace, in which she does not seem to have been extravagant. Her predilections were rather in favour of open-air amusements, more especially that of hunting. Swift tells Stella of the famous chaise, or ‘open calash,’ as Luttrell calls it (v. 205), arranged so as to fit only the portly figure of the queen, and drawn by one horse, ‘which she drives herself, and drives furiously like Jehu,’ following the stag-hunt in Windsor forest (Craik, 225; cf. Strickland, xi. 361). But even in this species of recreation, in which she indulged almost to the last, she did not affect variety. Her patronage of racing may have been largely due to a wish to respond to the tastes of her husband. She did not care for a present of hawks sent by the King of Denmark (Treasury Papers, 1702-7, Preface, xxix); and the spaniel keeper of Charles II, James II, and Queen Mary, found under her his occupation, or, at least, his profits, gone (ibid. 164).
In person Queen Anne is described by Smollett (ii. 279) as ‘of the middle size, well proportioned. Her hair was of dark brown colour, her complexion ruddy; her features were regular, her countenance was rather round than oval, and her aspect more comely than majestic.’ With this judicious description may be compared the portrait drawn by the Duchess of Marlborough of the queen in her last years when she had grown ‘exceeding gross and corpulent’ (Private Correspondence, ii. 119 seq.). Her hand was considered very beautiful, and may be still admired in Kneller's portrait at Windsor (Strickland, xii. 53). She suffered greatly from her eyes, to the weakness of which she refers in a letter to Marlborough (Coxe, iii. 127, and see the anecdote in Somerville, 267; her oculists were Read and Grant, both advertising quacks, of whom the former was knighted, Ashton, 323-5). In compensation she was gifted ‘with a softness of voice, and sweetness in the pronunciation, that added much life to all she spoke’ (Burnet, v. 2, where the annotators state that Charles II was so pleased with the natural sweetness of her voice that he had her taught to speak by the famous actress, Mrs. Barry). Neither Kneller's brush nor Bird's less fortunate chisel, nor the flattery, often equally robust, of her poets and prose writers, has succeeded in persuading posterity that good Queen Anne was either an attractive woman or—though she appropriated to herself Queen Elizabeth's motto (semper eadem)—a great queen. On the other hand, spared though she was by neither foe nor friend, yet even in her own libellous age it was chiefly left to foreign pens to libel a genuinely national queen. Since Queen Anne has been dead, popular sentiment has preserved her name in kindly remembrance for the sake of her homely virtues, and neither partisan nor sectarian prejudice has prevented historians from acknowledging that she took no ignoble view of the responsibilities belonging to the throne on which a parliamentary compromise had seated her—the last of our Stuart sovereigns.