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POLICY OF LOUIS THE FOURTEENTH.

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them. Louis had to endure this bitter experience in his subsequent humiliation. His suffering people had to endure such poverty and privations as never can be the lot of an active and industrious nation, but through misgovernment and false ambition.

There can be little doubt that at this time, when Louis was carrying on the solemn farce of negotiating a second Treaty with William for securing the peace of Europe, he was organizing that system of intrigue in Spain which had for its object to make himself the virtual head of two great monarchies, and as such the powerful enemy of that Protestantism which it had been the chief object of his recent years to subject to the most atrocious persecution in his own realms. He had passed from a life of profligacy to a life of the most ostentatious piety. When, as Saint Simon records, the officers of Compiègne looked on with wonder as he walked with the most profound reverence at the side of the sedanchair of Madame de Maintenon, he was testifying his homage to the devout widow of Scarron, who had become the keeper of his conscience. He had no qualms when he committed the atrocity of the revocation of the edict of Nantes; for his ambition was to destroy Heresy, and compel all his subjects to return to the bosom of the Church. The massacres, the imprisonments, the banishments, that attended this frightful persecution, touched not his heart for he was manifesting his devotion to the great cause of Catholicism. He contemplated with no nice sense of honour the probable issue of intrigues which would lead him to break his faith to England and Holland; for were they not Protestant countries, and was not the head of them a heretic, who kept out the rightful Catholic king. It was the great monarch who set the fashion in all things,--in religion as in dress. He fancied that it was for him to make the court and the nation devout; and the mask was put on for a time by the court and nation. Addison writes to Halifax from Paris, in October, 1699, “ As for the present state of learning, there is nothing published here which has not in it an air of devotion. Dacier has - been forced to prove his Plato a very gooci Christian before he ventures to translate him, and has so far complied with the taste of the age that his whole book is overrun with texts of Scripture, and the notion of pre-existence supposed to be stolen from two verses out of the Prophets. Nay, the humour is grown so universal, that 'tis got among the poets, who are every day publishing legends and lives of saints in rhyme." * After this sacred literature came Voltaire ; after this courtly holiness came the Regency.

Kemble's "State Papers and Letters," p. 237.

CHAPTER V.

A Tory administration.-Death of the duke of Gloucester.—The electress Sophia of

Hanover.-Death of the king of Spain.-Will of Charles, which Louis accepts.The new Parliament. The king asks assistance for the States.—The Act of Settlement.--Impeachment of Somers and other Whigs.---The Kentish Petition.--The Legion Memorial.--The Great Alliance formed by William.--Death of king James. --Louis declares the son of James king of England. --William opens his last Parliament.--His accident.--His message on the Union.--Death of William the Third.-Note : The Act of Settlement.

After the prorogation of Parliament in April, the king, contrary to his usual custom, passed three months in England. He had gone through what he described as " the most dismal Session I ever had;" and he had no resource but to aim at the neutralization of the violence of the Tory party by opening to them most of the chief employments of the State. But it is evident that there was a great unwillingness in the minds of reflecting men to deem such arrangements likely to be permanent. No lawyer of eminence would accept the Great Seal; and after a month's delay it was given to Serjeant Wright, as Lord Keeper. Secretary Vernon wrote to the duke of Shrewsbury, that “when the serjeant took the Seals, he slid it with a foresight that he should not hold them long, and therefore intended to move his majesty that his compliance might not turn to his prejudice by any change.” * Sunderland was labouring, --whether honestly, or in his old intriguing spirit, it would be difficult to say,—to effect the return of Somers to the high office which he had so ably filled. Montague wrote to Somers that according to the report of Vernon, “lord Sunderland has found out a method, whereby the Seal may again be put in your hands.” But he adds, “this seems only like a shift of lord Sunderland to lessen the odium ”--that is, the odium excited by the dismissal of Somers.t The violent hatreds of the rival factions rendered it very difficult for the king to conduct the government upon any settled principles. William quaintly observes in one of his letters, “ We must always say here, like the newspapers, 'Time will show.'” But these rivalries also made the most able and honest of the king's advisers shrink from the responsibility of office. Shrewsbury, during the next Parliament, when the violence

• Vernon Letters, vol. iii. p. 59. | Hardwicke State Papers, vol. ii. p. 436.

DEATH OF THE DUKE OF GLOUCESTER.

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of party had reached its climax, wrote to Somers, “ I wonder that a man can be found in England, who has bread, that will be concerned in public business. Had I a son, I would sooner breed him i cobbler than a courtier, and a hangman than a statesman."*

The summer and autumn of 1700 were productive of events of tbe greatest importance to the future of England. On the 30th of July, the duke of Gloucester, the only one remaining of the seventeen children of the princess Anne, died at Windsor, after a short illness. He had just entered upon his twelfth year, his birth-day having been celebrated six days previous to his decease. Burnet had been the preceptor of the young prince for two years. The king sent a message to the princess" that he put the whole management of her son's household into her hands, but that he owed the care of his education to himself and his people, and therefore would name the persons for that purpose.” † When he named Burnet as preceptor to the prince, he also named Marlborough as his governor, Burnet has recorded the system of education which he pursued. He “read over the Psalms, Proverbs, and Gospels with him," and gave copious explanation ; so that he came to understand things relating to religion beyond imagination." To Divinity the bishop added Geography; forms of government in every country; the interests and trade of each nation ; the history of “all the great revolutions that had been in the world;" and the explanation of " the Gothic constitution and the beneficiary and feudal laws." Burnet says the prince “ had gone through much weakness, and some years of ill health.” This loading of the mind of a weakly boy with so much of that knowledge which belongs to riper years, instead of giving him a more complete possession of the keys of knowledge had probably reference to the fact that “the king ordered five of his chief ministers to come once a quarter and examine the progress he had made." Something more of spontaneous application would perhaps have been a wiser system. Lady Jane Grey enjoyed reading Plato; but we doubt if the poor duke of Gloucester had much enjoyment, or much profit, in puzzl. ing over “ the Gothic constitution and the beneficiary and feudal laws.” He was to display “his knowledge and the good understanding which appeared in him," at the quarterly examinations. Had he been construing Virgil, and playing in the fields of Eton, instead of hearing his worthy preceptor talk of these abtruse things “ near three hours a day,” as they moped about on Windsor terrace, that event might not have occurred which made the Jacobites

Hardwicke State Papers, vol. ii. p. 441.
t Life of Burnet. "Own Time," vol. vi. p. 305,

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grow insolent upon it, and say, now the chief difficulty was removed out of the way of the prince of Wales' succession ;” and which, on the other hand, " turned the eyes of all the Protestants in the nation towards the electress of Brunswick.” *

William had not left the country more than three weeks when this unforeseen calamity rendered it necessary to take serious thoughts of the English succession. Politicians in England were anxiously discussing this matter. “ The House of Hanover is much spoken of. The objection is, “What! Must we have more foreigners?'”+ The electress Sophia of Hanover was the last surviving child of Elizabeth Stuart, the daughter of James I., and of Frederic, the Elector-Palatine, who accepted the crown of Bohemia. Sophia, or Sophie, their twelfth child and fifth daughter, was born in 1630, and thus was in her seventieth year when the question arose as to the Protestant succession of England. In 1658 she married Ernest Augustus, who became duke of Hanover in 1679, and elector in 1692. Her eldest son, George Lewis, became elector of Hanover in 1698, when in his 38th year. The princess Sophia was a lady of unusual talent and knowledge-the friend of many learned men whom she collected around her in her court--but no female pedant, being distinguished as much for her good sense and refined manners as for her various acquirements.

The electress had been visited by William in 1699, and now she came to Loo, to return the visit, at the time when the interests of her family were thus affected by the death of the duke of Gloucester. The princess Sophia, with her large experience and keen observation, saw not only the advantages but the difficulties that were opened by this prospect. There is a very curious letter from her, written in French, to George Stepney, who, by the grace of Doctor. Johnson, is counted amongst the English poets, and by the friendship of Charles Montague was a busy diplomatist in the German courts. The electress says, that if she were thirty years younger, she has a sufficiently good opinion of her blood and her religion to believe that people might think of her in England. But as there is little likelihood that she should survive two persons, William and Anne, it is to be feared that her sons will be regarded as strangers. She hints that the son of James II., who would be glad to recover what his father had lost, might be made what was desirable—that is, might be led to change his religion. She does not look enthusiastically at the prospect before her own family; * Life of Burnet. “Our Time," vol. iv. p. 439.

+ Vernon Letters, vol. üi. p. 129. I See the notice of her character in the admirable volume of “State Papers and Cor respondence," edited by John M. Kemble.

DEATH OF THE KING OF SPAIN.

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for, she wiseiy says, “ It seems to me that in England there are so many factions, that one can be secure in nothing:" * The English Jacobites were acting upon the prospect of the succession of the prince of Wales, and sent over a representative to St. Germains to propose that he should be educated in England—we presume after the death of William. Lord Manchester, the English ambassador, wrote to Vernon," the changing his religion will never be suffered ; and they have lately declared that they would rather see him dead.” The House of Savoy would probably have had a better chance of succeeding to the English crown, had the duke not deserted the English alliance before the peace of Ryswick. When Victor Amadeus was the friend and ally of William, a negotiation had been entered into with him, to send his son into England, to be educated as a Protestant. This son, Charles Emmanuel, was the grandson of Henrietta Maria, the daughter of Charles I., who married the duke of Orleans. Their daughter, Anne Marie, married the duke of Savoy. The descendant of the daughter of Charles I., had a higher claim by the law of inheritance than the descendant of the sister of that king. There were many other claimants, who were equally disqualified with the House of Savoy, by being Roman Catholics.

More pressing considerations than belonged to the possibly distant event of the Protestant Succession in England now demanded the utmost exercise of William's foresight and perseverance. In October, the king of Spain was considered to be in the most imminent danger. The Treaty of Partition existed between France, England, and Holland ; but the Emperor' had not yet signed it. He was holding off, expecting to obtain greater advantages than the treaty had given him. William wrote to Heinsius from Loo on the pith of October, “ You may assure the ambassadors of France from me that I shall rigidly observe the treaty, in the expectation that their master shall do the same.” In another letter of the 15th, he says, “I find much too great precipitation on the part of France, who wishes to take instant possession of every thing." France had other views than the execution of the treaty in exhibiting this haste to carry out its conditions before the event which the treaty contemplated. The agents of Louis were about the death-bed of Charles of Spain, striving to influence the feeble prince to dispose of the succession by will in favour of the Bourbons. The agents of the emperor were also intriguing for the same object, in favour of the Imperial family. Louis had contrived to persuade the king of Spain that England and Holland

* Hardwicke State Papers, vol. ii. p. 442.

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