Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 13.djvu/53

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family documents nor traditions support the notion.’ (It is curious that the margravine of Anspach, in her ‘Memoirs,’ ii. 93, should refer to the report without scepticism.) Mrs. Green further points out that the supposed marriage cannot even be shown to have been a contemporary rumour; for the report is not once alluded to in the extant correspondence of the day, and is, so far as is known, entirely of later date. Moreover, Mrs. Green notices, it is certain that a different rumour was actually current at the English court, viz. that Craven wished to marry the queen's eldest daughter Elizabeth, who was only seven years his junior. A marriage with this learned and pious woman, who had little of the light-heartedness in the midst of grief which characterised her mother and two at least of her sisters, could hardly have proved congenial to the gallant soldier. In favour of the supposed marriage between Craven and the queen there is nothing to urge except the analogies, such as they are, of the mésalliances of the age, among which that of Henrietta Maria to Lord Jermyn is perhaps the most striking. In Elizabeth's published letters there is not a word addressed to Craven, or concerning him, which assigns more than friendliness, or the most unembarrassed gaiety (see, e.g., her pleasant letter to Prince Rupert, in Bromley's Royal Letters, p. 286). Her bequest of papers and pictures to him proves nothing, nor on the other hand can any conclusion be drawn from his extraordinary munificence to her; more especially as, though of this evidence enough remains (the Margravine of Anspach testifies, Memoirs, ii. 93, to having seen a bond for 40,000l., which he had lent the queen), it is equally certain that he gave large sums to Charles II, and that his hand and heart were alike open, even to those who had no special claims upon him. In the days of the plague and of the fire of London he actively exerted himself. Indeed, it is a well-known anecdote that his horse knew the smell of a fire at a great distance, and was in the habit of immediately galloping off with him to the spot; and a Latin elegy on his death expressly draws a parallel between the assistance which he gave to the queen and that which he gave to the unfortunate in general (Mrs. Green, ii. 66 n.) It is difficult to prove a negative; and a balancing of mere probabilities seems in the present instance uncalled for.

After the queen's death Craven, as has been seen, continued to occupy a distinguished place among those who enjoyed the goodwill of her royal nephews. In March 1668 Pepys describes him as ‘riding up and down to give orders like a madman’ to the troops assembled in Lincoln's Inn Fields on the occasion of a city tumult. To Elizabeth's son Prince Rupert their old comradeship in war and tribulation must have specially endeared him; and on Rupert's death, in 1682, he became the guardian of the prince's illegitimate daughter, Ruperta (see Rupert's will in Bromley's Royal Letters, Introd. p. xxvii). At the accession of James II information is said to have reached Craven that his resignation of his regiment would be acceptable in high quarters; but on his warmly deprecating the sacrifice of what he prized so much it was left to him (Collins). He was a member of the new sovereign's privy council, and was in June 1685 appointed lieutenant-general of the forces. Strangely enough, it had nearly fallen to the lot of himself and his beloved regiment to play a prominent part in the catastrophe of the Stuart throne. On the evening of 27 Dec. 1688, when the Dutch guards entered St. James's Park, the Coldstreams had the guard at Whitehall, and Craven was himself in command. Count Solms, the commander of the Dutch troops, called upon him to order his men away; but Craven refused to do so without express orders from the king himself. After an interview with Craven, and another with Count Solms, James ordered Craven to call off the Coldstreams; and when the king retired to rest, his palace was guarded by the troops of the Prince of Orange (O. Klopp, Der Fall des Hauses Stuart, 1876, iv. 289–90; cf. Clarke, Life of James II, 1816, ii. 264–5. There was a dispute as to whether James had agreed that the posts at Whitehall, as well as those at St. James's Palace, should be relieved by the Dutch guards).

Under the new régime the Coldstream regiment was bestowed on General Talmash, and the lord-lieutenancy of Middlesex upon the Earl of Clare. Craven's public life was now at an end; but he is said still to have shown much private activity, and to have continued his practice of aiding in the extinction of fires. He must also have found continued opportunities for gratifying his taste for building and gardens at his various seats—Hampsted Marshall, Benham (purchased by him from Sir Francis Castillon; see Memoirs of the Margravine of Anspach, ii. 90–1, with a reference to Lysons's Berkshire, u.s.), and Combe Abbey, and at his London house aforesaid. He is also held to have been a patron of letters, on the not very conclusive evidence of the dedication to him of numerous works. He belonged to the Royal Society, and is stated to have been intimate with Evelyn, Ray, and other students of the natural sciences (Biogr. Notes, ap. Miss Benger, ii. 456 sqq.) Yet a doubt must be