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appear; it may be reasonably considered, that she was deprived of all means of performing them, since, even in her regnal life, at the period when she had commenced some struggles to free herself from the domination that oppressed her, the duchess of Marlborough would neither permit her to be generous nor charitable.
Lockhart, of Carnwath, the intimate friend of the duke of Hamilton, the only real confidant of queen Anne, has left the following anecdotes of the state of her majesty's privy-purse about the year 1706: “When the queen happened to have occasion to call for a small sum of money, the duchess of Marlborough, who kept her privypurse, would tell her, “it was not fit to squander away money whilst so heavy a war lasted;" though, at the same time, a vast sum of the public money was annually bestowed in building the duke of Marlborough's magnificent house at Woodstock. I remember that, just then, one Mrs. Dalrymple brought up from Scotland a very fine japanned cabinet, which, being her own work, she presented to the queen; but it was more than six months before her majesty could be mistress of fifty guineas, which she designed to give as a return for the complimentthat sum, indeed, being scarcely the value of it." Thus, there is as little new in ladies' works as in any other of the vast routine of human inventions. Many persons in middle life will remember that in their childhood all their grown-up
female relations were intent on the act of japanning screens and other ornaments—perhaps, they did not proceed to cabinets—but here is a Scottish lady capable of japanning cabinets, worthy of the remuneration of fifty guineas from the queen-regnant, Anne.
To return to matters of more importance in the character and conduct of queen Anne; whilst her greedy favourite strove to prevent her royal mistress from giving the reward she thought fit for the ingenuity and taste of one of her
It has been proved that the Marlboroughs drew from the public purse at that very moment the enormous revenue of 64,0001. per annum ; before the death of the duke, their income amounted to 94,0001. Yet before the second year of queen Anne's reign, they were so much limited in their means as to have no conveyance of their own.
2 Lockhart of Carnwath, Papers, vol. 1. p. 267 to 269.
female subjects, this very favourite was revelling in unbounded wealth, the fruits of the very war she urged as a reason for penuriousness. As for charity, it may be supposed that the queen dared not make the demand of the dragon who guarded her gold, for she borrowed the sum she needed, and paid it as she could obtain the funds by some personal deprivation. A case of touching distress became known to her of the sad fate of sir Andrew Foster, a gentleman who had spent his life as her father's faithful servant; he had . likewise been ruined in fortune by his adherence to him. The queen
had known him when she was a child ; and when she was informed that he had expired of famine, in some wretched abode in London-his destitution being so complete that he left not wherewithal for the purposes of interment-shocked at the fate of the unfortunate Jacobite, she was desirous that he might be decently buried. Yet, her majesty, in all points, excepting food, lodging, and clothing, was as poor as the unconscious object of her remorseful charity; nevertheless, she had some credit, and obtained a loan of twenty guineas of lady Fretchville, one of her ladies, whose name often occurs as her personal attendant. Her majesty employed the gold thus borrowed for the
of giving decent interment to the hapless servant of her father.
The opposition of the duke of Hamilton to the Union was constant and effectual, until, on a sudden, it ceased. His conduct was considered, by all statesmen in and near those times, as most mysterious; but it was generally supposed, that he was gained by the personal influence of queen Anne, with whom he maintained an intimate friendship. The secret has been divulged by Charles Hamilton, (the duke's son, by the unfortunate lady Barbara Fitzroy,) who has given a quotation from a despatch of lord Middleton, prime minister to the titular king at St. Germains. James Stuart saw the progress of the Union with satisfaction, for the woful experience of a century of regal calamity in his family had convinced him that the islandempire would always be rent into miserable weakness until that long-needed measure should take place. He entreated the duke of Hamilton to forbear from further opposition to
? Lockhart of Carnwath's Papers, vol. i. p. 267 to 269.
? Ibid. p. 316.
66 As for your
the Union, as he had it extremely at heart to give his sister (queen Anne) this proof of his ready compliance with her wishes, not doubting but he should have one day the power of making amends to his ancient kingdom.'
As the queen completed the Union while the duchess of Marlborough ostensibly governed her, it has been attributed to the influence of that person and her party. Such assertion is completely erroneous.
Witness the words of Maynwaring, the confidant of the duchess, and himself one of the under ministers of state : Scots," says he, writing to her, “it is impossible for you to think worse of them than I do, or to apprehend more mischief from them, and I think your being against the Union should always be remembered to your everlasting honour, for without that it had been impossible for these people to have supported themselves for a month.” Thus, it may be gathered, that the queen derived some little freedom from her communication with her northern magnates when the Union was ratified, since “these people” signify Harley and his coadjutors, from among whom her Tory ministry was afterwards formed.
The duchess of Marlborough was not the only person in violent opposition to the Union. Lord-chancellor Somers, soon after president of the council, did all he could to prevent the repeal of the cruel torture laws pertaining to the Scottish national constitution, which, together with many savage customs in executions, were among the worst abuses which this salutary Union swept away. Lord Somers had the baseness to oppose the abolition of torture, appointed at the will and pleasure of the Scottish council of state, “ until after the death of the pretended prince of Wales ;"3 the tragedy of Nevill Payn, the Jacobite, being tortured to death, under the regency of Mary II., at a time when this Somers was in the English ministry, cannot be forgotten; his argument would betray the use his colleagues in Scotland had made of it since the Revolution. Torture was likewise used as a power of eliciting evidence in
i Hamilton's Transactions, p. 41–44, quoted in Continuation of History of England. Sir J. Mackintosh, vol. ix. p. 199.
2 Coxe MS. Brit. Museum; likewise Private Correspondence of the duchess of Marlborough, vol. i. p. 396.
Continuation of Mackintosh's History of England, vol. ix. p. 228.
criminal causes, as the London Gazette, published in the reign of William and Mary, fully proves."
Notwithstanding all opposition, the measure was passed early in the year 1707, both in Scotland and England. Queen Anne signed the Union, and ratified it, with great state, in presence of the Scottish commissioners, her own ministers, and the members of both houses of parliament. In the act of signing the ratification, the queen is said to have made use of words worthy of a more enlightened statist than herself.
“ The Union with Scotland,” she said, “is the happiness of my reign.”3
On the same day, April 24th, 1707, her majesty dissolved the English house of commons, and finally summoned the first united parliament of Great Britain, to meet on the ensuing October 23rd. The queen celebrated the Union by a national festival. A few days afterwards, she went in solemn procession to St. Paul's Cathedral, on May-day 1707, when she returned hearty thanksgivings for the successful completion of an act of legislature, which she rightly foretold would prove the true happiness of her reign.
The magnificent routine of ceremonial which attended her majesty's May-day festival was an easy and pleasant part of the affair; but, owing to the corrupt mode in which her ministry brought the Union into practical effect, Scotland was, in the course of a few ensuing weeks, almost in a state of
rebellion. The queen's attention was, about the same period, diverted from these affairs of vital moment, concerning her realms, to a fresh explosion of palace-dissension, arising from a cause which, for three succeeding years, left her little peace in the hours of domestic retirement. The strife originated in the furious jealousy now manifested in the behaviour of the duchess of Marlborough, against her kinswoman, Abigail Hill. There is reason to suppose, from the extraordinary part taken by the queen in the secret
1 The London Gazette, of April, 1689, more than once mentions, with the coolness of customary occurrence, that the murderer of sir George Lockhart had been repeatedly tortured, by order of the Scottish council, to force him to disclose his accomplices, without effect. Brit. Museum.
2 See Vignette. : Vie de la reine Anne Stuart, printed at Amsterdam, 1715; and Edmund Calamy's Diary, vol. ii.
marriage of this attendant with her page, Samuel Masham, that the suspicions of the duchess of Marlborough against her kinswoman had burst into open fury before that wedlock, which did not occur until the summer of 1707. The poor queen certainly played a strange part in the transaction, forgetting her sovereign dignity so far as to go into a corner of the palace, to become witness of a stolen marriage between two persons of full age, who had the leave of no person to ask concerning their
union, excepting perhaps her own, out of deference. And the queen condescended to such arrangement, in order that all parties might keep their ears safe from a furious explosion of wrath from the imperious duchess; the whole forms a palace-incident too ridiculous for belief, were it not verified on all sides. How long the knot, tied in the presence of majesty, between Abigail and Samuel would have remained concealed in romantic mystery, there is no knowing, if poor queen Anne, whose hand, like that of her unfortunate ancestors, was ever open to give, had not thought proper to dower the bride very handsomely from the privy-purse; a fund which the Marlborough duchess guarded with angry watchfulness. “The conduct," says the duchess, “both of the
queen and Abigail, convinced me there was some mystery; thereupon I set myself to inquire, as particularly as I could, into it; 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—at which time her majesty had called for a round sum from the privy-purse." To add to these enormities, the inquiring duchess made the discovery, “that Mrs. Masham came often to the queen when the prince was asleep (he was then a declining invalid, and took naps in the middle of the day), and she 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 the means of this woman. She adds, “I was struck with astonishment at such an instance of ingratitude, and should not have believed it, if there had been any room for doubting.” The duchess wrote a most exaggerated statement of these trivial circumstances to her
i Conduct, p. 184.