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him. Lamberty, the secretary of Bentinck, expressly declares that no English lord was admitted into the royal chamber until the king had lost all consciousness. Burnet and others give an account of his reception of the sacrament as administered by archbishop Tennison, a fact which Lamberty positively denies.
Just as the clock struck eight, William III. drew his last breath; he expired very gently in the arms of his page, Sewel, who sat behind his pillow supporting him. The lords in waiting, the earls of Scarborough and Lexington, no sooner perceived that the spirit had departed, than they told Ronjat, the surgeon, to unbind from the wrist of the royal corpse a black ribbon which fastened a bracelet of queen Mary's hair, close on the pulse. It was an outrage to tear from the arm of the breathless warrior this memorial so long cherished and so secretly kept. If William had not through life scorned the language of poetry, his newly separated spirit might have sympathized with the exquisite lines of that true poet, Crashaw:
" Whoever comes to shroud me, do not harm
Or question much
The mystery, the sign, thou must not touch !” William III. was fifty-one years, four months, and four days old when he died, he had reigned thirteen years, three weeks, and two days. More than one prelate and other persons of rank were waiting, either in Kensington Palace or in the environs, to carry the news of her royalty to the princess, now queen Anne.
Cunningham's History of Great Britain.
QUEEN REGNANT OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND.
Accession of queen Anne-Tidings brought her by bishop Burnet of king
William's death-She refuses audience to her uncle Clarendon-He refuses to take the oath of allegiance to her-Compliments of her courtiers, lords Normanby and Dartmouth—Queen's first council— Visit to houses of parliament, &c.— Takes possession of Kensington Palace-Negotiation with bishop Ken to crown her, and receive back his prelacy-. He refuses to take the oaths, or to crown her-Queen Anne proclaimed at Edinburgh queen of Scotland-Singular abnegation of the prince-consort-Queen sits to Kneller for her Windsor portrait (see frontispiece)—Coronation of Anne, queen of Great Britain and Ireland—Queen's infirmity of lameness – Her protestant coronation-oath, ceremonial, &c.—Anecdote of the queen and her consort on the coronation night—Commencement of war with France-Queen's letter for mercy to deserters—Great power given by the queen to lady Marlborough as mistress of her robes, &c.—Queen's expression of enmity to lord Brandon—Queen abolishes sale of places at courtAnecdotes concerning this measure -Queen alarmed at the asthmatic illness of her consort-Accompanies him on a western progress to BathHer royal reception at Oxford-Curious adventure of her consort prince George at Bristol-He dines with John Duddlestone, the bodice-makerQueen Anne invites John Duddlestone and his wife to Windsor Castle, Queen knights John Duddlestone, and gives her gold watch to his wifeQueen receives a letter from a Saxon duke, on naming his son Anne-The queen's name-children.
Anxious vigils had been held at St. James's Palace since the last rude repulse had been given by the dying king to the visit of his heiress-expectant and her husband, when they came to see him, during his last illness, at Kensington; agents in their interest were, however, very busy about his death-bed. Throughout the preceding Saturday night and early morning of Sunday, March 8th, the princess Anne and her favourite, Sarah of Marlborough,
sat in momentary expectation of the dawn of the royalty of the one and the dictatorship of the other-receiving, ever and anon, hurried notes from lord Jersey, the king's lordchamberlain, describing “how the breath of William III. grew shorter and shorter.” The lady Marlborough, according to her own account, was seized with a qualm of horror while these half-hourly bulletins were coming in. She thus mentions the circumstance, to the exaltation of her own sensibility, and the depreciation of every one else concerned in the matter: “ And now, after all I have related of the king, and after so much dislike as I have expressed of his character and conduct, I shall be hardly believed in what I am going to say. Yes, your lordship will believe me, for you will judge of my heart by your own. When king William came to die, I felt nothing of that satisfaction which I once thought I should have had on this occasion; and my lord and lady Jersey's writing and sending perpetually to give account as his breath grew shorter, filled me with horror; I thought I would lose the best employment at court sooner than act so odious a part.”
But there was another personage who had, likewise, stationed himself as a watcher of the failing respiration of king William-a volunteer in that service, who meant to run a race with Anne's chosen agents, and be the first in with the intelligence of death; he did so, and won it too, for he brought the queen the earliest tidings of her royalty.
“ As soon as the breath was out of king William,” says lord Dartmouth, “by which event all expectations from him were for ever at an end, off set Dr. Burnet, bishop of Salisbury, and drove hard to bring the first tidings of the king's demise to St. James's Palace, where he prostrated himself at the new queen's feet, full of joy and duty; but he obtained no advantage over the earl of Essex, (the lord of the bedchamber, then in waiting, whose proper office it was to communicate the event,) besides being universally laughed at for his officiousness." Burnet must have received some signal scorn, on this occasion, from her majesty, which hurt his self-love too much to permit him
i Conduct of the Duchess of Marlborough, p. 120. ? Lord Cholmondeley, who is supposed to be the person to whom the duchess addressed her “ Conduct." 3 Lord Dartmouth's Note to Burnet's Own Times, vol. v. p. 309.
to dwell on it, since he omits to record that he was the first voice that hailed Anne queen of the British empire. But the fact is undeniable, since it is told by friend as well as foe. “ On the queen's accession to the throne," wrote the spy Mackey, “the bishop was the first that brought her the news of king William's death; yet he was turned out of his lodgings at court, and met with several affronts.”ı
Every succeeding minute of that memorable Sunday morning brought some other applicant for audience with the queen,
from her intimate friends or near relations. All was business and bustle; the sun was as bright and glaring as ever shone on a clear March morning; the bells called from all the steeples in London and Westminster to morning-prayer—few heeded the summons. The queen was receiving those, among the crowds of politicians besieging her presence-chamber at St. James's, whom she considered entitled to an interview at the private levée she held before the important public business began of her recognition by the privy-council. Among others, her uncle, the earl of Clarendon, was seen pressing through the throngs, in the ante-chamber, that besieged the cabinet of newly-ascended majesty. The queen guessed his errand only too truly. He desired of the lord in waiting “ admittance to his niece.” The message was delivered to her majesty, who sent word to him:
« That if he would go and qualify himself to enter her presence, she would be very glad to see him.”
Mackey's Characters, p. 140. This man, who passed the principal part of his life as a paid spy, has left a curious collection of written characters of the nobility composing the court and senate of William and Mary, and Anne. He was a particular friend of bishop Burnet, and appointed his executor, which office he fulfilled; but his own standard of moral rectitude was so low, that he printed some remains of Burnet which scandalized all Christendom. Lord Dartmouth is thus described by the spy Mackey, who drew the characters of the court of queen Anne rather according to their politics than their qualifications. The characters are retouched by the remarks of Swift. Lord Dartmouth neither being a Jacobite nor a republican, met with the approbation of neither. So much the better for our purposes, because the truth of the statements of that nobleman can be the better relied upon.
“ Lord Dartmouth,” says Mackey, “sets up for a critic in conversation, makes jests, and loves to laugh at them; takes a deal of pains in bis office, and is in a fair way of rising at court; is a short thick man, turned of thirty-four years.” -“ This is fuir enough writ,” comments Swift, “but lord Dartmouth has little sincerity.” That is, he was not prepared to go all lengths to bring in the chevalier St. George as James III., on the death of Anne, as that prince remained inflexibly a Roman-catholic.
Her meaning was, “that if he chose to take the oath of allegiance to her, as his legitimate sovereign, she was willing to admit him.”
In fact, her lord in waiting demanded, “if he was willing to take the oaths to queen Anne ?”
“ No,” replied Clarendon ; "I come to talk to my niece ; I shall take no other oaths than I have taken."
How this uncompromising relative meant to talk to her, may be judged by his conversations with her at the period of the revolution. Queen Anne refused to see her uncle without he took the oaths, whereby he recognised her as his sovereign.“ And," observes our authority, Roger Coke, " that wretched man remained a non-juror to the day of his death."
Queen Anne was thus obliged to begin her reign with an act of hostility to her nearest relative in England. Clarendon's errand was evidently to recall the promises the queen had made to her father after the death of her son. Her other uncle, lord Rochester, was more complying; he had been one of the state-ministers of her sister, queen Mary, and was destined by queen Anne to have the chief share in the
government of her empire.
Scarcely was the queen's uncle excluded for the crime of persisting in his non-juring principles, when her former lover, the marquis of Normanby, presented himself. With the same Jacobite affections as lord Clarendon, the marquis possessed that perfect indifference to religion which permitted him to take as many contradictory oaths as were, in the seventeenth century, considered needful for the public weal. When this elegant courtier had made his homage to the new sovereign, her majesty, who was a person of very few words, and of still fewer ideas, had recourse to her usual theme of conversation, by remarking, " that it was a very fine day.” “Your majesty must allow me to declare, that it is the finest day I ever saw in my life!" -a speech which obtained for him from the court the laudations due to a bon-mot, as well as to an elegantlyturned compliment, in which happy allusion was made to the beautiful weather. In fact, superstition is never more active than in remarks relative to the serenity or tempes
Detection, by Roger Coke, vul. iii. p. 330.
2 Swift's Journal to Stella.