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Reign of Queen Anne


Anne confirms William's Engagement with the Allies - Inclines to the Tories - War proclaimed with France - Appoints Commissioners to treat of a Union with Scotland - Keiserswerth and Landau taken by the Allies - Marlborough in Flanders - Nearly taken by the French - Affairs in Germany, Italy, and Poland - The Expedition under Ormond and Rooke against Cadiz - Spanish galleon destroyed at Vigo - Seafight betwixt Benbow and Du Cass in the West Indies - A Settlement made on the Prince of Denmark - Marlborough made a Duke - Bill for preventing occasional Conformity - Violent Contentions in Parliament and in Convocation - Affairs of Scotland - Progress of the War in Germany - King of Portugal joins the Alliance - The King of Spain visits England - Simon Frazer's Conspiracy - Grant of Tenths and First Fruits by the Queen to the Clergy - Opposition to Government in Scotland - Bad State of the Emperor's Affairs - Marlborough's March into Bavaria - Battles of Schellenberg and Blenheim - Siege of Landau - Campaign in Portugal - Rooke takes Gibraltar - Beats the French off Malaga - Manor of Woodstock granted to Marlborough - Affairs of Scotland and Ireland - Marlborough in Flanders - Hampered by the Deputies of the States - Visits the Court of Vienna - State of the War on the Rhine, in Hungary, Piedmont, Poland, and Portugal - Defeat of the French at Gibraltar- Amazing Campaign of Lord Peterborough in Spain - Battle of Ramillies - Siege of Barcelona raised by the English - Victory of Prince Eugene at Turin - King of Sweden marches into Saxony - Union completed with Scotland.
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When Anne succeeded to the throne she was in her thirty- eighth year. She was fat, indolent, and good natured. She had long been under the complete management of the imperious lady Marlborough, and through her Marlborough expected to be the real ruler of the country. Through them the queen had imbibed a deep-rooted hatred of the whigs, whom they had taught her to regard as the partisans of king William, and the real authors of all the indignities and mortifications which she had endured during his reign. The tories, therefore, calculated confidently on recovering full power under her, and had resolved to place Marlborough at the head of the army. The queen, on her part, had a great leaning towards the tories, as the enemies of the whigs, and the friends of the church, to which she was strongly attached. The endeavours which had been made in her father's time to make a catholic of her, and in her brother-in-law's time to level the distinctions betwixt church and dissent, had only rooted more deeply her predilection for the church; nor did the fact of her husband being a Lutheran, and maintaining his Lutheran chapel and minister in the palace, at all diminish this feeling.

No sooner was the king dead than the courtiers who had been eagerly watching the shortening of his breath - the lord Jersey and others - ran in breathless haste to bring the news to Anne, who, with her friend the lady Marlborough, sate on that Sunday morning anxiously waiting for the message which should announce her queen. The first person who reached her with the news, lord Dartmouth says, was bishop Burnet, who drove hard, and out went the earl of Essex, whose office it was to make that communication. Dartmouth insinuates that Burnet was not well received for what he calls his officiousness; but Dartmouth is decidedly inimical to the bishop, and if he was not favourably received, it was, most probably, less from the haste he showed, than from his having been always a devoted servant of William and Mary. But Burnet was rapidly succeeded by the press of eager courtiers. First amongst them was the earl of Clarendon, the queen's uncle, who was a rabid Jacobite, and his object was to claim from the queen a promise she was said to have made to her father after the death of her son the duke of Gloucester, that she would name her brother, the prince of Wales, her successor. But Anne, well aware of his errand, on his demanding admittance to her, desired the lord in waiting to ask him whether he was prepared to take the oath of allegiance to the queen, for he had not taken it to William. "No," replied the haughty Hyde, "I came to talk to my niece. I will take no other oaths than I have done." Anne, therefore, refused to see him, and he remained, says Roger Coke, a non-juror to the day of his death. Her other uncle, the earl of Rochester, the great champion of the church, met with a different reception. Lord Dartmouth, who criticises Burnet's haste, was not far behind him, and the marquis of Normandy, the queen's quondam lover, also pressed in amongst the first. Anne, who was not famous for her conversational talents, observed to him that it was a very fine day, and Normandy, with the ready wit of a true courtier, replied, "Your majesty must allow me to declare that it is the finest day I ever saw in my life," which was echoed through the whole court circle as a most felicitous impromptu.

Though it was Sunday, both houses of parliament met, for they were empowered still to sit by an act passed in William's reign, and the death of William was formally announced to the commons by Mr. Secretary Vernon. There was a great specifying, full of congratulations, Mr. Granville saying, "We have lost a great king, and got a most gracious queen." Both houses then proceeded to the palace with addresses of felicitation, and were graciously received. The privy council also waited on the queen, who assured them of her determination to maintain the laws, liberties, and religion of the country, to secure the succession in the Protestant line; and the church and state as by law established. The privy council having taken the oaths, she caused a proclamation to be issued, signifying her pleasure that all persons in office should continue to hold their respective posts till further orders.

On the 11th of March she went in state to the house of lords. She was accompanied in her coach by her consort the prince of Denmark, and Marlborough carried the sword of state before her. Lady Marlborough occupied the place close behind the queen, but ladies do not seem to have been admitted into the body of the house as at the present day. Anne had a remarkably rich and touching voice, and it had been cultivated, at the suggestion of her uncle, Charles II., for elocutionary delivery, as especially important for a monarch, - one of Charles's few wise suggest ions. She concluded her speech with these words - "As I know my own heart to be entirely English, I can sincerely assure you that there is not anything that you can expect or desire from me which L shall not be ready to do for the happiness and prosperity of England, and you shall always find me a strict and religious observer of my word."

It has been observed that, unfortunately, both the assurances that her heart was entirely English, and that her word should be sacred, had been in her father's speech; but in Anne the word English had a peculiar signification. With the exception of Edward VI., Elizabeth, and Mary II., there had not been a king or queen for a very long time, who was English both by father and mother. Anne's mother, as well as father, were English, and the common people had always a tradition that the queen's grandmother, the wife of chancellor Hyde, first lord chancellor, had been a washerwoman, or, as cardinal York asserted, a tub-woman - that is, a drawer of beer at a country public house, which, though a doubtful tradition, always gave her a wonderful claim in their regard. Anne was too thoroughly English in many other respects. Her education had been so neglected that she knew scarcely any other language than English, and very little of what was written in that She rarely ever read a book, and her orthography, as well as that of her friend, lady Marlborough, and most ladies of the time, was amazingly defective.

Not only did she receive the thanks of both houses for her gracious assurances, but congratulatory addresses from the city of London, from the bishop and clergy of London, from the various bodies of dissenters, and the different counties and chief towns of the kingdom. There was, according to Burnet, a great difference of tone observed in these addresses towards the late king. Some mentioned him in terms full of respect and gratitude, others named him slightingly or not at all. To all Anne gave short but courteous answers; some of these answers, however, being bo short that they had not a word in them, but only friendly smiles and nods, for Anne was no orator.

There was expected to be some difficulty in Scotland from the Jacobites, but all passed over easily, the Jacobites, in fact, thinking that as Anne had no issue, the Stuarts would be sure to get in again on her death. The secretaries of state for Scotland, and such of the Scotch privy councillors who were in London, waited on her, read to her their "claim of rights," and tendered her the coronation oath with many professions of loyalty and attachment; and this ceremony being completed, the earl of Marchmont, the chancellor of Scotland, was dispatched to represent the queen in the general assembly of the kirk about to assemble. In Ireland the natives were so rigorously ruled, that they excited no alarm. The queen announced the coronation for the 23rd of

April, and took up her abode at Windsor, as St. James's was completely hung with black, and was too gloomy for living in. She also took immediate possession of William's favourite residence at Kensington, which George of Denmark had always coveted. William's remains were unceremoniously transferred to "the prince's chamber" at Westminster, and the Dutch colony, as they were called, the attendants of William, were routed out, to their great indignation. Before a week had expired Anne accomplished what she had so often attempted in vain - she conferred the order of the garter on Marlborough. He was appointed captain-general of the English army both at home and abroad, and, soon after, master of the ordnance. The prince of Denmark was made lord high admiral, with the title of generalissimo of the forces; but as he was both ignorant of and indisposed to the management of either naval or military affairs, Marlborough was in reality the real cominander-in- chief of the forces.

The commons voted her majesty the same revenue as king William had enjoyed, and pledged themselves to the repudiation of the pretended prince of Wales, and to the defence of her majesty's person and the protestant succession. On the 30th of March the queen went to the house of lords and ratified the act for the revenue and for her household, and generously relinquished one hundred thousand pounds of the income granted. At the same time she passed a bill continuing the commission for examination of the public accounts; but these necessary inquiries were always defeated by the principal persons who were deep in the corruption. The villany was almost universal, and therefore was carefully screened from efficient research.

On the 12th of April the funeral of the late king took place, prince George acting as chief mourner, though William had a particular aversion and contempt for him, and, though it was his proper office, had refused to allow him to perform it at the funeral of queen Mary. The body was deposited in the vault of Henry VII.'s chapel, near that of the late queen and that of Charles IL

When the great officers of the court came to surrender their white sticks she graciously returned them all, requesting them to hold office for the present, except that of lord Wharton, comptroller of the household, which she handed to Sir Edward Seymour. This marked affront, so unlike the gentle nature of Anne, was no doubt instigated by the vindictive lady Marlborough. Wharton had been a most determined whig, and had, probably, particularly stirred the imperious lady's spleen by his urging on the repeated attempts to impeach her husband. The incensed noble muttered threats of vengeance which he did not forget. On the other hand, lady Marlborough did not forget her grudge against the old earl of Portland. She got him dismissed from his office of groom of the stole and keeper of Windsor Park, into both of which she stepped herself, getting her two daughters, lady Harriet Godolphin and lady Spencer, nominated ladies of the bedchamber.

In naming her ministers, the tory bias of the queen at once showed itself. Godolphin, the family ally of the Marl- boroughs, was appointed lord treasurer; Nottingham was made principal secretary of state, and was allowed to name Sir Charles Hedges as the other secretary, in the place of Mr. Vernon; Rochester, the queen's uncle, was made lord-lieutenant of Ireland; the duke of Somerset, lord president of the council, was dismissed to make way for the earl of Pembroke, who could scarcely rank as a tory, but disclaimed being a whig; the earl of Bradford was made treasurer of the household through the influence of Rochester; the marquis of Normanby received the privy seal - a reward for his happy flattery; and the earl of Jersey retained his post of chamberlain for his assiduous transmission of the news of William's "shortening breath." Howe, one of the most insolent and noisy insulters of the late king in the house of commons, was made one of the joint paymasters of the forces; and himself, Grenville, Gower, and Harcourt were sworn privy councillors. Peregrine Bertie was now vice-chamberlain under Jersey Gower was also made chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster; Harcourt solicitor, and Northey attorney-general. Sir Nathaniel Wright remained lord-keeper: and Sharp, archbishop of York, became the queen's adviser in all ecclesiastical matters. The only whigs who retained office were the duke of Devonshire, lord high steward, and Mr. Boyle, chancellor of the exchequer; and, on Shrewsbury's refusing the post of master of the horse, the duke of Somerset, though displaced as lord-president, was induced to accept that office.

The prince of Denmark appointed a counsel for himself, into which he introduced none but tories. At the head of this board, which was deemed wholly illegal, but which was not called in question by parliament from respect to the queen, he placed Sir George Rooke, a most decided antagonist to the whigs, and made him president of the commission for managing the fleet. To him was added George Churchill, the brother of Marlborough, who was a tory, and something more - a Jacobite; Sir David Mitchell, and Richard Hill.

The queen manifested an earnest desire to restore the venerable old non-juring bishop Ken to his see of Bath and Wells, as is supposed, at the instigation of Rochester. Ken had lived in a state of great poverty, passing his winters in London with his nephew, the Rev. Izaak Walton, and his summers at Longleat with his friend, lord Weymouth. Anne sent Weymouth to propose his again returning to his diocese, offering to remove Dr. Kidder, the then bishop, to Carlisle; but Ken, though he would have taken the oath of allegiance, could not take that of abjuration of the prince of Wales, as it implied the calumny on his birth, which he did not believe; and, therefore, the queen's effort did not at this time succeed.

On the 23rd of April the coronation took place, being St. George's day. The queen was so corpulent and so afflicted with gout that she could not stand more than a few minutes at a time, and was obliged to be removed from one situation to another during this fatiguing ceremony in an open chair. Tennison, the archbishop of Canterbury, officiated, and the whole ceremony and banquet did not end till eight in the evening. Everybody, say the newspapers, was satisfied, even the thieves, who managed to carry off the whole of the plate used at the banquet in Westminster Hall, together with a rich booty of table-linen and pewter.

During March and April there was a continual arrival of ambassadors-extraordinary to congratulate her majesty on her accession. Prussia, Denmark, Sweden, most of the German states, and particularly those of Zell and Hanover, sent their envoys; and there was a strong discussion in the council on the necessity of declaring war against France. Marlborough and his faction were, of course, for war, in which he hoped to win both glory and affluence; but Rochester and the majority of the council, including the dukes of Somerset and Devon, and the earl of Pembroke, strongly opposed it, on the ground that the quarrel really concerned the continental states and not us, and that it was sufficient on our part to act as auxiliaries, and not as the principal. The queen, however, being determined by the Marlborough influence to declare war, laid her intentions before parliament, which supported her, and, accordingly, war was proclaimed on the 4th of May, the emperor and the States-General issuing their proclamations at the same time. Louis was charged with having seized on the greater part of the Spanish dominions, with the design of destroying the liberties of Europe, and with grossly insulting the queen by declaring the pretended prince of Wales the real king of Great Britain and Ireland. When these charges were read over by De Torcy to Louis, he broke out into keen reproaches against the queen of England, and vowed that he would make Messieurs the Dutch repent of their presumption. He delayed his counter-declaration till the 3rd of July.

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