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York having a young wife) was no stranger to our language or manners, and went often to the chapel of his princess; which I observe the rather, because I could heartily wish the like disposition were in another court, and because it may be disagreeable to a prince to take up new doctrines on a sudden, or speak to his subjects by an interpreter.
An ill-natured or inquisitive man may still, perhaps, desire to press the question farther, by asking what is to be done, in case it should so happen, that this malevolent working party at home, has credit enough with the court of Hanover, to continue the suspicion, jealousy, and uneasiness there, against the queen and her ministry; to make such demands be still insisted on, as are by no means thought proper to be complied with; and in the mean time to stand at arm's length with her majesty, and in close conjunction with those who oppose her.
I take the answer to be easy: in all contests, the safest way is to put those we dispute with, as much in the wrong as we can. When her majesty shall have offered such, or the like concessions, as I have abovementioned, in order to remove those scruples artificially raised in the mind of the expectant heir, and to divide him from that faction by which he is supposed to have been misled; she has done as much as any prince can do, and more than any other would probably do in her case; and will be justified before God and man, whatever be the event. The equitable part of those, who now side against the court, will probably be more temperate; and if a due dispatch be made in placing the civil and military power in the hands of such as wish well to the constitution, it cannot be any way for the quiet
or interest of a successor to gratify so small a faction, as will probably then remain, at the expence of a much more numerous and considerable part of his subjects. Neither do I see how the principles of such a party, either in religion or government, will prove very agreeable, because I think Luther and Calvin seem to have differed as much as any two among the reformers: and because a German prince will probably be suspicious of those, who think they can never depress the prerogative enough.
But supposing, once for all, as far as possible, that the elector should utterly refuse to be upon any terms of confidence with the present ministry, and all others of their principles, as enemies to him and the succession; nor easy with the queen herself, but upon such conditions as will not be thought consistent with her safety and honour; and continue to place all his hopes and trust in the discontented party; I think it were humbly to be wished, that whenever the succession shall take place, the alterations intended by the new prince, should be made by himself, and not by his deputies: because I am of opinion, that the clause empowering the successor to appoint a latent, unlimited number, additional to the seven regents named in the act, went upon a supposition, that the secret committee would be of such, whose enmity and contrary principles disposed them to confound the rest. King William, whose title was much more controverted than that of her majesty's successor can ever probably be, did, for several years, leave the administration of the kingdom in the hands of lords justices, during the height of a war, and while the abdicated prince himself was frequently attempting an invasion: whence one might
imagine, that the regents appointed by parlia ment upon the demise of the crown, would be able to keep the peace during an absence of a few weeks without any colleagues. However, I am pretty confident that the only reason, why a power was given of choosing dormant viceroys, was to take away all pretence of a necessity to invite over any of the family here, during her majesty's life. So that I do not well apprehend what arguments the elector can use to insist upon both.
To conclude; the only way of securing the constitution in church and state, and consequently this very protestant succession itself, will be by lessening the power of our domestic adversaries as much as can possibly consist with the lenity of our government; and if this be not speedily done, it will be easy to point where the nation is to fix the blame: for we are well assured, that since the account her majesty received of the cabals, the triumphs, the insolent behaviour of the whole faction, during her late illness at Windsor, she has been as willing to see them deprived of all power to do mischief, as any of her most zealous and loyal subjects can desire.
CONSEQUENCES HOPED AND FEARED
DEATH OF THE QUEEN.
AUGUST 9, 1714.
In order to set in a clear light what I have to say upon this subject, it will be convenient to examine the state of the nation, with reference to the two contending parties; this cannot well be done, without some little retrospection into the five last years of her late majesty's reign.
I have it from unquestionable authority that the duchess of Marlborough's favour began to decline very soon after the queen's accession to the throne, and that the earl Godolphin's held not much above two years longer; although her majesty (no ill concealer of her affections) did not think fit to deprive them of their power, until a long time after.
The duke of Marlborough, and the earl of Godolphin, having fallen early into the interests of the lower party, for certain reasons not seasonable here to be mentioned, (but which may deserve a place in the history of that reign) they made large steps that way upon the death of the prince of Denmark, taking several among the warmest leaders of that side into the chief employments of state. Mr Harley, then secretary of state, who
disliked their proceedings, and had very near overthrown their whole scheme, was removed with the utmost indignation; and about the same time, sir Simon Harcourt, and Mr St John, with some others, voluntarily gave up their employ
But the queen, who had then a great esteem for the person and abilities of Mr Harley, (and in proportion of the other two, although at that time not equally known to her) was deprived of his service with some regret: and upon that, and other motives well known at court, began to think herself hardly used; and several stories ran about, whether true or false, that her majesty was not always treated with that duty she might expect. Meantime the church party were loud in their complaints; surmising from the virulence of several pamphlets, from certain bills projected to be brought into parliament, from endeavours to repeal the sacramental test, from the avowed principles and free speeches of some persons in power, and other jealousies needless to repeat, that ill designs were forming against the religion established. These fears were all confirmed by the trial of Sacheverell; which drew the populace, as one man, into the party against the ministry and parliament.
The ministry were very suspicious that the queen had still a reserve of favour for Mr Harley, which appeared by a passage that happened some days after his removal: for the earl of Godolphin's coach and his happening to meet near Kensington, the earl, a few hours after, reproached the queen, that she privately admitted Mr Harley, and was not, without some difficulty, undeceived by her majesty's asseverations to the contrary.