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Reign of George I page 2

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Somerset, made that proud minister and his party sensible of the royal aversion towards them. The seals were abruptly taken from him, and his office doors locked behind him "To be removed," wrote the fallen man to Atterbury," was neither matter of surprise nor concern to me; but the manner of my removal shocked me for at least two minutes. I am not in the lease intimidated from any consideration of the whig malice and power; but the grief of my soul is this: - I see plainly that the tory party is gone." It showed that party that their negotiations with the pretender were fully understood. Addison, in a letter to the Hanoverian cabinet, expresses the salutary effect of this decisive measure: - "The removal of the lord Bolingbroke has put a seasonable check I to an interest that was making in many places for members in the next parliament, and was very much relished by the people, who ascribe to him, in a great measure, the decay of trade and public credit."

The triumph of the whigs was complete. Whilst Oxford, who had been making great efforts at the last to retrieve himself with his party by assisting them to seize the reins of power on the queen's illness, was admitted in absolute silence to kiss the king's hand, and that not without many difficulties, Marlborough, Somers, Halifax, and the rest were received with the most cordial welcome. Yet, on appointing the new cabinet, the king showed that he did not forget the double- dealing of Marlborough. He smiled on him, but did not place him where he hoped to be, at the head of affairs. He was on his guard against the "junto," as it was termed; and though he did not altogether lay them aside, he preferred men hitherto less prominent. He made lord Townshend secretary of state and prime minister; Stanhope, the second secretary; the duke of Mar was removed from the secretaryship of Scotland to make way for the duke of Montrose; lord Halifax was made first lord commissioner of the treasury, and was raised to an earldom, and was allowed to confer on his nephew the lucrative sinecure of auditor of the Exchequer; lord Cowper became lord chancellor; lord Wharton was made privy seal, and created a marquis; the earl of Nottingham, president of the council; Mr. Pulteney was appointed secretary-at-war; the duke of Argyll, commander-in-chief for Scotland; Shrewsbury, lord chamberlain and groom of the stole; the duke of Devonshire became lord steward of the household; the duke of Somerset, master of the horse; Sunderland, lord lieutenant of Ireland; Waljfole was at first made simply paymaster of the forces, without a place in the cabinet, but his ability in debate and as a financier soon raised him to higher employment; lord Orford was made first lord of the admiralty; and Marlborough, commander- in-chief and master of the ordnance. The duchess says that she went down on her knees to entreat him to decline any employment, assuring him that his fame and his wealth would, in an independent position, render him far more necessary to the court than it could be to him, and that he ought never to put it in the power of any king to use him ill. This was sound advice, but Marlborough had not the firmness to listen to it; neither his love of money nor his love of power would allow him to listen to it. He accepted office, and was gratified by appointments bestowed upon his son-in-law, Sunderland, the lords Godolphin and Bridge- water, and the duke of Montague. But he soon saw cause to rue his compliance. He was treated with great outward respect, but no confidence; nor did he deserve it, for with a strange fancy for treason when it could no longer offer any plausible motive, it is shown by the Stuart papers that, whilst still holding this office, he furnished the pretender with a loan which assisted him in the rebellion of the next year, 1715. His past and present conduct, therefore, left him without excuse for a complaint when he could not obtain even a lieutenancy for a friend, but was obliged to solicit Pulteney, the secretary-at-war, to do it for him, adding, " Don't say it is for me, for whatever I ask is sure to be refused." In Ireland Sir Constantine Phipps, in spite of his new-fangled loyalty, was deprived of the seals, and Mr. Broderic made chancellor. Lord Somers was passed over altogether, professedly on account of his age, but, as it was supposed, in a great measure, from his having been one of the "junto;" but he was gratified by an additional pension of two thousand pounds a year.

In the whole new cabinet Nottingham was the only member who belonged to the tory party, and of late he had been acting more in common with the whigs. The tories complained vehemently of their exclusion, as if their dealings with the pretender had been a recommendation to the house of Hanover. They contended that the king should have shown himself the king of the whole people, and aimed at a junction of the two parties; but the violence of these factions was far too great to tempt any man in his senses to such a measure, the failure of which had been sufficiently striking under king William. The ministerial arrangements being completed, the coronation took place on the 20th of October, and was fully attended by the chief nobles and statesmen, even by Oxford and Bolingbroke, and was celebrated in most parts of the kingdom with many demonstrations of joy. At Bristol, Norwich, and Birmingham, however, there were tory and high church riots, for even Birmingham was then remarkably high church. At Bristol the cry was, " Sacheverel and Ormonde!" and " Down with all foreign governments!" At Oxford full convocation met, and conferred an honorary degree on Sir Constantine Phipps, the late Jacobite chancellor of Ireland. These were plain enough indications of the sentiments and wishes of that party; but the government behaved with a wise moderation. Though they had plundered a house and murdered a man, fifteen of the Bristol rioters were tried and sentenced to fine and imprisonment, but not a man was put to death - a lenity far more striking than was displayed in the same city after the riots of 1831.

On the 28th of August the pretender, who was again at Plombieres drinking the waters, issued a proclamation asserting his right to the throne of Great Britain, and explaining the cause of his not having hitherto made a resolute effort to regain it - namely, "the death of the princess our sister, of whose good intention towards us we could not for some time past well doubt." It was her deplorable and unexpected death which had, he argued, prevented the completion of these good intentions. This was a direct charge of complicity in his cause by the late tory ministry of England, and was immediately seized on as an unanswerable proof of it by the whigs. The tories, confounded by so damning a disregard of their interests by the pretender, had no alternative but to deny the authenticity of the document, but that authenticity was as stoutly and foolishly maintained by the pretender himself. Then followed a fierce war of pamphlets. Those on the tory side were bearing such titles as the following: - "Stand fast to the Church." "Where are the Bishops now?" "The Religion of King George." "No Presbyterian Government." "The State Gamester; or, the Church of England's Sorrowful Lamentation." "AEsop in Mourning." "The Duke of Ormonde's Vindication." "The Lord Bolingbroke's Vindication." "No Pretender; or, the Duke of Marlborough's Design Defeated." These were hawked in all directions; but the hawkers were seized, their pamphlets burnt, and themselves sent to the house of correction. Able writers were employed on the whig side, and Addison admirably ridiculed the Jacobites in what he called "A Tory Creed," which appeared in the "Freeholder." The first three articles were - "That the church of England will always be in danger till it has a popish king for its defender. That for the safety of the church no subject should be tolerated in any religion different from the established, but that the head of our church may be of that religion which is most repugnant to it. That the protestant interest in this nation and in all Europe could not but flourish under the protection of one who thinks himself obliged, on pain of damnation, to do all that lies in its power for the extirpation of it."

At the coronation there was the usual creation or advancement of peers. Amongst these, besides Halifax being made an earl, and Wharton a marquis, as we have said, lord Paget was made earl of Uxbridge, Henry Boyle baron Carlton, and Sir Richard Temple lord Cobham. The day after, Cobham and general Stanhope were dispatched on a secret mission to the emperor of Vienna. Stanhope was chosen because he had fought bravely for the emperor Charles VI. in Spain, and the object was to assuage the jealousy of Charles at seeing one of the vassals of the empire advanced to the independent position of king of England, and to obtain, if possible, the completion of the Bavarian treaty, which still remained an obstacle to the cordial alliance of the Dutch and Charles. They took the Hague on their way, and endeavoured to bring the States-General to a reasonable view of the matter. At Vienna Stanhope was most cordially received by the emperor, and urged upon him the necessity of settling the Barrier Treaty to secure the Netherlands against French intrigues; but he very unexpectedly found prince Eugene much opposed to it, being extremely indignant at the last proposals of the Dutch, and declaring the Low Countries rather a burden than a benefit to the empire, and not worth accepting on such terms. Stanhope remained in Vienna till the 22nd of December, endeavouring to reduce the difficulties, and on his way back again paused to induce the Dutch to reduce their terms. Though he did not succeed in bringing the parties to an immediate agreement, he prepared the way for one, and, after a yet considerable struggle betwixt Dutch and German pugnacity, the treaty was finally concluded in November of 1715. The Dutch were to garrison Namur, Tournay, Menin, Furnes, Warneton, Ypres, and Knoque; and, jointly with Austria, Dendermond, for which they were to receive five hundred thousand crowns yearly.

Immediately after Stanhope's return, Cobham remaining minister at Vienna, early in January, 1715, the ministers met in council, and agreed to issue two proclamations, one dissolving parliament, and the other calling a new one. In the proclamation calling a new parliament, the whigs did not restrain themselves within constitutional limits, but, instead of leaving the electors to the free exercise of public opinion, endeavoured to serve the ends of their party by severely reflecting on the conduct of the late government, and called upon the electors to have especial regard to such candidates as showed a firmness to the protestant succession. As was to be expected, there were considerable exhibitions of the rancour of factions in the elections. There were here and there riots and disturbances, and at Cambridge the undergraduates took a very active part. "Aright trusty body of passively obedient Johnians were mounted upon their college leads, under which the members were to pass, with a good store of brickbats to discharge on their heads."

The elections went, however, vastly in favour of the whigs. The hopes of advantage from a new monarch made their usual conversions. In the house of commons of 1710 there was a very large majority of whigs; in that of 1713 as great a one of tories; and now again there was as large a one of whigs. In the lords the spectacle was the same. Bolingbroke says, "I saw several lords concur to condemn, in one general vote, all that they had approved of in a former parliament by many particular resolutions."

In the commons, Mr. Spencer Compton, the ministerial nominee, was elected speaker. On the 21st the king opened the parliament in person, but, being unable to speak English, he handed his speech to the chancellor Oowper to read. In the speech the king thanked his faithful and loving subjects for the zeal and firmness which they had shown in defence of the protestant succession. He expressed his regret to find that some of the conditions of the peace had not yet been fulfilled; that it was essential to the trade of the count: that they should be duly executed, and equally essential the honour and security of the nation that alliances should be entered into to guarantee the present treaties. He observed that the pretender boasted of the assistance he expected from England, but trusted that he would be disappointed. He declared his astonishment to find the public debt so much increased since the peace of Utrecht, and the more so, because some branches of the revenue set apart for the civil government had become so much encumbered, that the income granted him would not be sufficient to maintain him in the honour and dignity requisite for the head of such a nation, especially as he had a son, the prince of Wales, who had several children, that some expenditure would be increased beyond what the civil list had lately borne, but that he confided in their affection for providing what was necessary. He assured them that the established constitution in church and state should be the rule of his government, and the happiness of the people the chief care of his fife.

In both houses warm debates arose on the addresses. That in the lords was moved by the duke of Bolton, who used the words in it "to recover the reputation of this kingdom." Bolingbroke boldly proposed, in a splendid speech - his last in parliament - that the word" recover "should be changed for" maintain;" but the original address was carried by a majority of sixty-six to thirty-three. It was on this occasion that Bolingbroke saw with indignation his old supporters so rapidly wheeling round to the other side.

In the commons the address condemned in strong language the shameful peace which had been made after a war carried on at such vast expense, and attended with such unparalleled successes; but expressed a hope that, as this dishonour could not with justice be imputed to the nation, through his majesty's wisdom and the faithful endeavours of the commons, the reputation of the kingdom might in due time be vindicated and restored. The speech having alluded to the pretender, the address, which was moved by Walpole, went on to say that u It is with just resentment we observe that the pretender still resides in Lorraine, and that he has the presumption, by declarations from thence, to stir up your majesty's subjects to rebellion. But that which raises the utmost indignation of your commons is, that it appears therein that his hopes were built upon the measures that had been taken for some time past in Great Britain. It shall be our business to trace out those measures whereon he placed his hopes, and to bring the authors of them to condign punishment."

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