Separated the Princess Dorothea certainly was, and never admitted even to the nominal honours of her rank, being thenceforward always styled Duchess of Halle. Whether divorced (75) is problematic, at least to me; nor can I pronounce, as, though it was generally believed, I am not certain that George espoused the Duchess of Kendal with his left hand. As the Princess Dorothea died only some months before him, that ridiculous ceremony was scarcely deferred till then; and the extreme outward devotion of the Duchess, who every Sunday went seven times to Lutheran chapels, seemed to announce a realized wife. As the genuine wife was always detained in her husband's power, he seems not to have wholly dissolved their union; for, on the approach of the French army towards Hanover, during Queen Anne's reign, the Duchess of Halle was sent home to her father and mother, who doted on their only child, and did retain her for a whole year, and did implore, though in vain that she might continue to reside with them. As her son too, George II., had thoughts of bringing her over and declaring her Queen Dowager, one can hardly believe that a ceremonial divorce had passed, the existence of which process would have glared in the face of her royalty. But though German casuistry might allow her husband to take another wife with his left hand, because his legal wife had suffered her right hand to be kissed in bed by a gallant, even Westphalian or Aulic counsellors could not have pronounced that such a momentary adieu constituted adultery; and therefore of a formal divorce I must doubt-and there I must leave that case of conscience undecided, till future search into the Hanoverian chancery shall clear up a point of little real importance.
I have said that the disgraced Princess died but a short time before the King. (76) It is known that in Queen Anne's time there was much noise about French prophets. A female of that vocation (for we know from Scripture that the gift of prophecy is not limited to one gender) warned George I. to take care of his wife, as he would not survive her a year. That oracle was probably dictated to the French Deborah by the Duke and Duchess of Zell, 'who might be apprehensive lest the' Duchess of Kendal should be tempted to remove entirely the obstacle to her conscientious union with their son-in-law. Most Germans are superstitious, even such as have few other impressions of religion. George gave such credit to the denunciation, that on the eve of his last departure he took leave of his son and the Princess of Wales with tears, telling them he should never see them more. It was certainly his own approaching fate that melted him, not the thought of quitting for ever two persons he hated. He did sometimes so much justice to his son as to say, "Il est fougueux, mais il a de l'honneur."-For Queen Caroline, to his confidants he termed her "cette diablesse Madame la Princesse."
I do not know whether it was about the same period, that in a tender mood he promised the Duchess of Kendal, that if she survived him, and it were possible for the departed to return to this world, he would make her a visit. The Duchess, on his death, so much expected the accomplishment of that engagement, that a large raven, or some black fowl, flying into one of the windows of her villa at Isteworth, she was persuaded it was the soul of her departed monarch so accoutred, and received and treated it with all the respect and tenderness of duty, till the royal bird or she took their last flight.
George II., no more addicted than his father to too much religious credulity, had yet implicit faith in the German notion of vampires, and has more than once been angry with my father for speaking irreverently of those imaginary bloodsuckers.
the Duchess of Kendal, of whom I have said so much, was when Mademoiselle Schulemberg, maid of honour to the Electress Sophia, mother of King George I. and destined by King William and the Act of Settlement to succeed Queen Anne. George fell in love with Mademoiselle Schulemberg, though by no means an inviting object-so little, that one evening when she was in waiting behind the Electress's chair at a ball, the Princess Sophia, who had made herself mistress of the language of her future subjects, said in English to Mrs. Howard, afterwards Countess of Suffolk, then at her court, "Look at that mawkin, and think of her being my son's passion!" Mrs. Howard, who told me the story, protested that she was terrified, forgetting that Mademoiselle Schulemberg did not understand English.
The younger Mademoiselle Schulemberg, who came over with her and was created Countess Walsingham, passed for her niece; but was so like to the King that it is not very credible that the Duchess, who had affected to pass for cruel, had waited for the left-handed marriage.
The Duchess under whatever denomination, had attained and preserved to the last her ascendant over the king: but notwithstanding that influence, he was not more constant to her than he had been to his avowed wife; for another acknowledged mistress, whom he also brought over, was Madame Kilmansegge, Countess of Platen, who was created Countess of Darlington, and by whom he was indisputably father of Charlotte, married to Lord Viscount Howe, and mother of the present earl. (77) Lady Howe was never publicly acknowledged as the Kings daughter; but Princess Amelia, (78) treated her daughter, Mrs. Howe, (79) upon that foot, and one evening, when I was present, gave her a ring, with a small portrait of George I, with a crown of diamonds.
Lady Darlington, whom I saw at my mother's in my infancy, and whom I remember by being terrified at her enormous figure, was as corpulent and ample as the Duchess was long and emaciated. Two fierce black eyes, large and rolling beneath two lofty arched eyebrows, two acres of cheeks spread with crimson, an ocean of neck that overflowed and was not distinguished from the lower part of her body, and no part restrained by stays 80) no wonder that a child dreaded such an ogress, and that the mob of London were highly diverted at the importation of so uncommon a seraglio! They were food from all the venom of the Jacobites; and, indeed nothing could be grosser than the ribaldry that was vomited out in lampoons, libels, and every channel of abuse, against the sovereign and the new court, and chaunted even in their hearing about the public streets. (81)
On the other hand, it was not till the last year or two of his reign that their foreign sovereign paid the nation the compliment of taking openly an English mistress. That personage was Anne Brett, eldest daughter by her second husband, (82) of the repudiated wife of the Earl Of Macclesfield, the unnatural mother of Savage the poet. Miss Brett was very handsome, but dark enough by her eyes, complexion, and hair, for a Spanish beauty. Abishag was lodged in the palace under the eyes of Bathsheba, who seemed to maintain her power, as other favourite sultanas have done, by suffering partners in the sovereign's affections. When his Majesty should return to England, a countess's coronet was to have rewarded the young lady's compliance, and marked her secondary rank. She might, however, have proved a troublesome rival, as she seemed SO confident of the power of her charms, that whatever predominant ascendant the Duchess might retain, her own authority in the palace she thought was to yield to no one else. George I., when his son the Prince of Wales and the Princess had quitted St. James's on their quarrel with him, had kept back their three eldest daughters, who lived with him to his death, even after there had outwardly been a reconciliation between the King and Prince. Miss Brett, when the King set out, ordered a door to be broken out of her apartment into the royal garden. Anne, the eldest of the Princesses, offended at that freedom, and not choosing such a companion in her walks, ordered the door to be walled up again. Miss Brett as imperiously reversed that command. The King died suddenly, and the empire of the new mistress and her promised coronet vanished. She afterwards married Sir William Leman, and was forgotten before her reign had transpired beyond the confines of Westminster! (70) Her names were Sophia Dorothea ; but I call her by the latter, to distinguish her from the Princess Sophia, her mother-in-law, on whom the crown of Great Britain was settled. (71) Konigsmark behaved with great intrepidity, and was wounded at a bull-feast in Spain. See Letters from Spain of the Contesse D'Anois, vol. ii. He was brother of the beautiful Comtesse de Konigsmark, mistress of Augustus the Second, King of Poland. (72) It was not this Count Konigsmark, but an elder brother, who was accused of having suborned Colonel Vratz, Lieutenant Stern, and one George Boroskey, to murder Mr. Thynne in Pall-Mall, on the 12th of February, 1682, and for which they were executed in that street on the 10th of March. For the particulars, see Howell's State Trials, vol. ix. p. 1, and Sir John Reresby's Memoirs, p. 135. "This day," says Evelyn, in his Diary of the 10th of March, "was executed Colonel Vrats, for the execrable murder of Mr. Thynne, set on by the principal, Konigsmark: he went to execution like an undaunted hero, as one that had done a friendly office for that base coward, Count Konigsmark, who had hopes to marry his widow, the rich Lady Ogle, and was acquitted by a corrupt jury, and so got away: Vrats told a friend of mine, who accompanied him to the gallows, and gave him some advice, that he did not value dying of a rush, and hoped and believed God would deal with him like a gentleman." Mr. Thynne was buried in Westminster Abbey; the manner of his death being represented on his monument. He was the Issachar of Absalom and Achitophel; in which poem Dryden, describing the respect and favour with which Monmouth was received upon his progress in the year 1691, Says: "Hospitable hearts did most commend Wise Issachar, his wealthy, western friend."
Reresby states, that Lady Ogle, immediately after the marriage, "repenting herself of the match, fled from him into Holland, before they were bedded." This circumstance added to the fact, that Mr. Thynne had formerly seduced Miss Trevor, one of the maids of honour to Catherine of Portugal, wife of Charles II., gave birth to the following lines:
"Here lies Tom Thynne, of Longleat Hall, Who never would have miscarried, Had he married the woman he lay withal, Or lain with the woman he married."
On the 30th of May, in the same year, Lady Ogle was married to Charles Seymour, Duke of Somerset.-E.
(73) Lady Suffolk thought he rather would have her regent of Hanover; and she also told me, that George I. had offered to live again with his wife, but she refused, unless her pardon were asked publicly. She said, what most affected her was the disgrace that would be brought on her children; and if she were only pardoned, that would not remove it. Lady Suffolk thought she was then divorced, though the divorce was never published; and that the old Elector consented to his son's marrying the Duchess of Kendal with the left hand-but it seems strange, that George I. should offer to live again with his wife, and yet be divorced front her. Perhaps George II. to vindicate his mother, supposed that offer and her spirited refusal.
(74) George II. was scrupulously exact in separating and keeping in each country whatever belonged to England or Hanover. Lady Suffolk told me, that on his accession he could not find a knife, fork, and spoon of gold which had belonged to Queen Ann(@, and which he remembered to have seen here at his first -arrival. He found them at Hanover on his first journey thither after he came to the crown, and brought them back to England. He could not recollect much of greater value; for, on Queen Anne's death, and in the interval before the arrival of the new family, such a clearance had been made of her Majesty's jewels, or the new King so instantly distributed what he found amongst his German favourites, that, as Lady S. told me, Queen Caroline never obtained of the late Queen's.jewels but one pearl necklace.
(75) George I., says Coxe, who never loved his wife, gave implicit credit to the account of her infidelity, as related by his father; consented to her imprisonment, and obtained from the ecclesiastical consistory a divorce, which was passed on the 28th of December 1694." Memoirs of Walpole.-E.
(76) "the unfortunate Sophia was confined in the castle of Alden, situated on the small river Aller, in the duchy of Zell. She terminated her miserable existence, after a long captivity of thirty-two years, on the 13th of November 1726, only seven months before the death of George the First; and she was announced in the Gazette, under the title of the Electress Dowager of Hanover. During her whole confinement she behaved with no less mildness than dignity; and, on receiving the sacrament once every week, never omitted making the most solemn asseverations, that she was not guilty of the crime laid to her charge." Coxe, vol. i. p. 268.-E.
(77) Admiral Lord Howe, and also of sir William, afterwards Viscount Howe.-E.
(78) Second daughter of George the Second; born in 1711, died October the 31st, 1786.
(79) Caroline, the eldest of Lady Howe's children, had married a gentleman of her own name, John Howe, Esq, of Honslop, in the county of Bucks.
(80) According to Coxe, she was, when young, a woman of great beauty, but became extremely corpulent as she advanced in years. "Her power over the King," he adds, "was not equal to that of the Duchess of Kendal, but her character for rapacity was not inferior." On the death of her husband, in 1721, she was created Countess of Leinster in the kingdom of Ireland, Baroness of Brentford, and Countess of Darlington.-E.
(81) One of the German ladies, being abused by the mob, was said to have put her head out of the coach, and cried in bad English, "Good people, why you abuse us? We come for all your goods." "Yes, damn ye," answered a fellow in the crowd, "and for all our chattels too." I mention this because on the death of Princess Amelia the newspapers revived the story and told it of her, though I had heard it threescore years before of one of her grandfather's mistresses.
(82) Colonel Brett, the companion of Wycherley, Steele, Davenant, etc. and of whom the following particulars are recorded by Spence, on the authority of Dr. Young:-"The Colonel was a remarkably handsome man. The Countess looking out of her window on a great disturbance in the street, saw him assaulted by some bailiffs, who were going to arrest him. She paid his debt, released him from their pursuit, and soon after married him. When she died, she left him more than he expected; with which he bought an estate in the country, built a very handsome house upon it, and furnished it in the highest taste; went down to see the finishing of it, returned to London in hot weather and in too much hurry; got a fever by it, and died. Nobody had a better taste of what would please the town, and his opinion was much regarded by the actors and dramatic poets." Anecdotes, p. 355.-E.
Quarrel between George the First and his Son-Earl of Sunderland-Lord Stanhope-South Sea Scheme-Death of Craggs-Royal Reconcilement-Peerage Bill defeated-Project for seizing the Prince of Wales and conveying him to America-Duke of Newcastle-Royal Christening-Open Rupture-Prince and Princess of Wales ordered to leave the Palace.
One of the most remarkable occurrences in the reign of George I. was the open quarrel between him and his son the Prince of Wales. Whence the dissension originated; whether the prince's attachment to his mother embittered his mind against his father, or whether hatred of' his father occasioned his devotion to her, I do not pretend to know. I do suspect front circumstances, that the hereditary enmity in the House of Brunswick between the parents and their eldest sons dated earlier than the divisions between the first two Georges. The Princess Sophia was a woman of parts and great vivacity: in the earlier part of her life she had professed much zeal for the deposed House of Stuart, as appeared by a letter of hers in print, addressed to the Chevalier de St. George. It is natural enough for all princes,-who have no prospect of being benefited by the deposition of a crowned head, to choose to think royalty an indelible character. The Queen of Prussia, daughter of George I. lived and died an avowed Jacobite. The Princess Sophia, youngest child of the Queen of Bohemia, was consequently the most remote from any pretensions to the British crown; (83) but no sooner had King William procured a settlement of it after Queen Anne on her Electoral Highness, than nobody became a stancher Whig than the Princess Sophia, nor could be more impatient to mount the throne of the expelled Stuarts. It is certain, that during the reign of Anne, the Elector George was inclined to the Tories, though-after his mother's death and his own accession he gave himself to the opposite party. But if be and his mother espoused different factions, Sophia found a ready partisan in her grandson, the Electoral prince; (84) and it is true, that the demand made by the Prince of his writ of summons to the House of Lords as Duke of Cambridge, which no wonder was so offensive to Queen Anne, was made in concert with his grandmother, without the privity of the Elector his father. Were it certain, as was believed, that Bolingbroke and the Jacobites prevailed on the Queen *85) to consent to her brother coming secretly to England, and to seeing him in her closet; she might have been induced to that step, when provoked by an attempt to force a distant and foreign heir upon her while still alive. The Queen and her heiress being dead, the new King and his son came over in apparent harmony; and on his Majesty's first visit to his electoral dominions, the Prince of Wales was even left Regent; but never being trusted afterwards with that dignity on like occasions, it is probable that the son discovered too much fondness for acting the king, or that the father conceived a jealousy of his son having done so. Sure it is, that on the King's return great divisions arose in the court; and the Whigs were divided-some devoting themselves to the wearer of the crown, and others to the expectant. I shall not enter into the detail of those squabbles, of which I am but superficially informed. The predominant ministers were the Earls of Sunderland and Stanhope. The brothers-in-law, the Viscount Townshend and Mr. Robert Walpole, adhered to the Prince. Lord Sunderland is said to have too much resembled as a politician the earl his father, who was so principal an actor in the reign of James II. and in bringing about the Revolution. Between the earl in question and the Prince of Wales grew mortal antipathy; of which -,in anecdote told me by my father himself will leave no doubt. When a reconciliation had been patched up between the two courts, and my father became first lord of the treasury a second time, Lord Sunderland in a t'ete-'a-t'ete with him said, "Well, Mr. Walpole, we have settled matters for the present; but we must think whom we shall have next" (meaning in case of the King's demise). Walpole said, "Your lordship may think as you please, but my part is taken;" meaning to support the established settlement.
Earl Stanhope was a man of strong and violent passions, and had dedicated himself to the army; and was so far from thinking of any other line, that when Walpole, who first suggested the idea of appointing him secretary of state, proposed it to him, he flew into a furious rage, and was on the point of a downright quarrel, looking on himself' as totally unqualified for the post, and suspecting it for a plan of mocking him. He died in one of those tempestuous sallies, being pushed in the House of Lords on the explosion of the South Sea scheme. That iniquitous affair, which Walpole had early exposed, and to remedy the mischiefs of which he alone was deemed adequate, had replaced him at the head of affairs, and obliged Sunderland to submit to be only a coadjutor of the administration. The younger Craggs, (86) a showy vapouring man, had been brought forward by the ministers to oppose Walpole; but was soon reduced to beg his assistance on one (87) of their ways and means. Craggs caught his death by calling at the gate of Lady March, (88) who was ill of the small-pox; and being told so by the porter, went home directly, fell ill of the same distemper, and died. His father, the elder Craggs, whose very good sense Sir R. Walpole much admired, soon followed his son, and his sudden death was imputed to grief; but having been deeply dipped in the iniquities of the South Sea, and wishing to prevent confiscation and save his ill-acquired wealth for his daughters, there was no doubt of his having despatched himself. When his death was divulged, Sir Robert Owned that the unhappy man had in an oblique manner hinted his resolution to him. The reconciliation of the royal family was so little cordial, that I question whether the Prince did not resent Sir Robert Walpole's return to the King's service. Yet had Walpole defeated a plan of Sunderland that @would in future have exceedingly hampered the successor, as it was calculated to do; nor do I affect to ascribe Sir Robert's victory directly to zeal for the Prince: personal and just views prompted his opposition, and the commoners of England were not less indebted to him than the Prince. Sunderland had devised a bill to restrain the crown from ever adding above six peers to a number limited., (89) The actual peers were far from disliking the measure; but Walpole, taking fire, instantly communicated his dissatisfaction to all the great commoners, who might for ever be excluded from the peerage. He spoke, he wrote, (90) he persuaded, and the bill was rejected by the Commons with disdain, after it had passed the House of Lords. (91)
But the hatred of some of the junta at court had gone farther, horribly farther. On the death of George 1. Queen Caroline found in his cabinet a proposal of the Earl of Berkeley, (92) then, I think, first lord of the admiralty, to seize the Prince of Wales, and convey him to America, whence he should never be heard of more. This detestable project copied probably from the Earl of Falmouth's offer to Charles II. with regard to his Queen, was in the handwriting of Charles Stanhope, elder brother of the Earl of Harrington: (93) and so deep was the impression deservedly made on the mind of George II. by that abominable paper, that all the favour of Lord Harrington, when secretary of state, could never obtain the smallest boon to his brother, though but the subordinate transcriber. (94) George I. was too humane to listen to such an atrocious deed. It was not very kind to the conspirators to leave such an instrument behind him; and if virtue and conscience will not check bold bad men from paying court by detestable offers, the King's carelessness or indifference in such an instance ought to warn them of the little gratitude that such machinations can inspire or expect.
Among those who had preferred the service of the King to that of the heir apparent, was the Duke of Newcastle;, (95) Who, having married his sister to Lord Townshend, both his royal highness and the viscount had expected would have adhered to that connexion-and neither forgave his desertion.-I am aware of the desultory manner in which I have told my story, having mentioned the reconciliation of the King and Prince before I have given any account of their public rupture. The chain of my thoughts led me into the preceding details, and, if I do not flatter myself, will have let you into the motives of my dramatis personae better than if I had 'more exactly observed chronology.- and as I am not writing a regular tragedy, and profess but to relate facts as I recollect them; or (if you will allow me to imitate French writers of tragedy) may I not plead that I have unfolded my piece as they do, by introducing two courtiers to acquaint one another, and by bricole the audience, with what had passed in the penetralia before the tragedy commences?
The exordium thus duly prepared, you must suppose, ladies, that the second act opens with a royal christening The Princess of Wales had been delivered of a second son. The Prince had intended his uncle, the Duke of York, Bishop of Osnaburg, should with his Majesty be godfathers. Nothing could equal the indignation of his Royal Highness when the King named the Duke of Newcastle for second sponsor, and would hear of no other. The christening took place as usual in the Princess's bedchamber. Lady Suffolk, then in waiting as woman of the bedchamber, and of most accurate memory painted the scene to me exactly. On one side of the bed stood the godfathers and godmother; on the other the Prince and the Princess's ladies. No sooner had the Bishop closed the ceremony, than the Prince, crossing the feet of the bed in a rage, stepped up to the Duke of Newcastle, and, holding up his hand and fore-finger in a menacing attitude, said, "You are a rascal, but I shall find you," meaning, in broken English, "I shall find a time to be revenged."-"What was my astonishment," continued Lady Suffolk, "when going to the Princess's apartment the next morning, the yeOMen in the guard-chamber pointed their halberds at my breast, and told me I must not pass! I urged that it was my duty to attend the Princess. They said, 'No matter; I must not pass that way.'"
In one word, the King had been so provoked at the Prince's outrage in his presence, that it had been determined to inflict a still greater insult on his Royal Highness. His threat to the Duke was pretended to be understood as a challenge; and to prevent a duel he had actually been put under arrest-as if a Prince of Wales could stoop to fight with a subject. The arrest was soon taken off; but at night the Prince and Princess were ordered to leave the palace, (96) and retired to the house of her chamberlain, the Earl of Grantham, in Albemarle Street.
(83) It is remarkable, that either the weak propensity of the Stuarts to popery, or the visible connexion between regal and ecclesiastic power, had such operation on many of the branches of that family, who were at a distance from the crown of England, to wear which it is necessary to be a Protestant, that two or three of the daughters of the king and Queen of Bohemia, though their parents had lost every thing in the struggle between the two religions, turned Roman Catholics; and so did one or more of the sons of the Princess Sophia, brothers of the Protestant candidate, George I.
(84) Afterwards George II.
(85) I believe it was a fact, that the poor weak Queen, being disposed even to cede the crown to her brother, consulted Bishop Wilkins, called the Prophet, to know what would be the consequence of such a step. He replied, "Madam, you would be in the Tower in a month, and dead in three." This Sentence, dictated by common sense, her Majesty took for inspiration, and dropped all thoughts of resigning the crown.
*86) James Craggs, Jun, buried in Westminster Abbey, with an epitaph by Pope. [Craggs died on the 16th of February, 1721. His monument was executed by Guelphi, whom Lord Burlington invited into the kingdom. Walpole considered it graceful and simple, but that the artist was an indifferent sculptor. Dr. Johnson objects to Pope's inscription, that it is partly in Latin and partly in English. "If either language," he says, "be preferable to the other, let that only be used; for no reason can be given why part of the information should be given in one tongue, and part in another, on a tomb more than in any other place or any other occasion: such an epitaph resembles the conversation of a foreigner, who tells part of his meaning by words, and conveys part by signs."]
(87) I think it was the sixpenny tax on offices.
(88) Sarah Cadogan, afterwards Duchess of Richmond.
(89) Queen Anne's creation of twelve peers at once, to obtain a majority in the House of Lords, offered an ostensible plea for the restrictions.
(90) Sir Robert published a pamphlet against the bill, entitled, "The Thoughts of a Member of the Lower House, in relation to a project for restraining and limiting the powers of the Crown in the future creation of Peers." On the other side, Addison's pen was employed in defending the measure, in a paper called "The Old Whig," against Steele, who attacked it in a pamphlet entitled "The Plebeian."-E.
(91) The effect of Sir Robert's speech on the House," says Coxe, "exceeded the sanguine expectations: it fixed those who had before been wavering and irresolute, brought over many who had been tempted by the speciousness of the measure to favour introduction, and procured its rejection, by a triumphant majority of 269 against 177." Memoirs, Vol. i.-E.
(92) James, third Earl of Berkeley. knight of the garter, etc. In March 1718, he was appointed first lord of the admiralty, in which post he continued all the reign of George the First. He died at the castle of Aubigny in France in 1736.]
(93) William Stanhope, first Earl of Harrington of that family.
(94) Coxe states, that such was the indignation which the perusal of this paper excited, that, when Sir Robert espoused Charles Stanhope's interest, the King rejected the application with some expressions of resentment, and declared that no consideration should induce him to assign to him any place of trust or honour.- E.
(95) Thomas Holles Pelham, Duke of Newcastle, lord chamberlain, then secretary of state, and lastly, first lord of the treasury under George II.; the same King to whom he had been so obnoxious in the preceding reign. He was obliged by George III. to resign his post.
(96) "Notice was also formally given that no persons who paid their respects to the Prince and Princess of Wales would be received at court; and they were deprived of their guard, and of all other marks of distinction." Coxe, vol. i. p. 132.-E.
Bill of Pains and Penalties against Bishop Atterbury-Projected Assassination of Sir Robert Walpole-Revival of the Order of the Bath-Instance of George the First's good-humoured Presence of Mind.
As this trifling work is a miscellany of detached recollections, I will, ere I quit the article of George I., mention two subjects of very unequal import, which belong peculiarly to his reign. The first was the deprivation of Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester. Nothing more offensive to men of priestly principles could easily have happened: yet, as in a country of which the constitution was founded on rational and liberal grounds, and where thinking men had so recently exerted themselves to explode the prejudices attached to the persons of Kings and churchmen, it was impossible to defend the Bishop's treason but by denying it; or to condemn his condemnation, but by supposing illegalities in the process: both were vehemently urged by his faction, as his innocence was pleaded by himself. That punishment and expulsion from his country may stagger the virtue even of a good man, and exasperate him against his country, is perhaps natural, and humanity ought to Pity it. But whatever were the prepossessions of his friends in his favour, charity must now believe that Atterbury was always an ambitious, turbulent priest, attached to the House of Stuart, and consequently no friend to the civil and religious liberties of his country; or it must be acknowledged, that the disappointment of his ambition by the Queen's death, and the proscription of his ministerial associates, had driven on attempts to restore the expelled family in hopes of realizing his aspiring views. His letters published by Nichols breathe the impetuous spirit of his youth. His exclamation on the Queen's death, when he offered to proclaim the Pretender at Charing Cross in pontificalibus, and swore, on not being supported, that there was the best cause in England lost for want of spirit, is now believed also. His papers, deposited with King James's in the Scottish College at Paris, proclaimed in what sentiments he died; and the facsimiles of his letters published by Sir David Dalrymple leave no doubt of his having in his exile entered into the service of the Pretender. Culpable -is he was, who but must lament that so classic a mind had only assumed so elegant and amiable a semblance as he adopted after the disappointment of his prospects and hopes? His letter in defence of the authenticity of Lord Clarendon's History, is one of the most beautiful and touching specimens of eloquence in our language.
It was not to load the character of the bishop, nor to affect candour by applauding his talents, that I introduced mention of him, much less to impute to him -,my consciousnesses of the intended crime that I am going to relate. The person against whom the blow was supposed to be meditated never, in the most distant manner, suspected the bishop of being privy to the plot-No: animosity of parties, and malevolence to the champions of the House of Brunswick, no doubt suggested to some blind zealots the perpetration of a crime which would necessarily have injured the bishop's cause, and could by no means have prevented his disgrace.
Mr. Johnstone, an ancient gentleman, who had been secretary of state for Scotland, his country, in the reign of King William, was a zealous friend of my father, Sir Robert, and who, in that period of assassination plots, had imbibed such a tincture of suspicion that he was continually notifying similar machinations to my father, and warning him. to be on his guard against them. Sir Robert, intrepid and unsuspicious, (97) used to rally his good monitor; and, when serious, told him that his life was too constantly exposed to his enemies to make it of any use to be watchful on any particular occasion; nor, though Johnstone often hurried to him with intelligence of such designs, did he ever see reason, but once, to believe in the soundness of the information. That once arrived thus: a day or two before the bill of pains and penalties was to pass the House of Commons against the Bishop of Rochester, Mr. Johnstone advertised Sir Robert to be circumspect, for three or four persons meditated to assassinate him as he should leave the house at night. Sir Robert laughed, and forgot the notice. The morning after the debate, Johnstone came to Sir Robert with a kind of good-natured insult, telling him, that though he had scoffed his advice, he had for once followed it, and by so doing preserved his life. Sir Robert understood not what he meant, and protested he had not given more credit than usual. to his warning. "Yes," said Johnstone, "but you did; for you did not come from the House last night in your own chariot." Walpole affirmed that he did; but his friend persisting in his asseveration, Sir Robert called one of the footmen, who replied, "I did call up your honour's carriage; but Colonel Churchill being with you, and his chariot driving up first, your honour stepped into that, and your own came home empty." Johnstone, triumphing on his own veracity, and pushing the examination farther, Sir Robert's coachman recollected that, as he left Palace-yard, three men, much muffled, had looked into the empty chariot. The mystery was never farther cleared up; and my father frequently said it was the only instance of the kind in which he had ever seen any appearance of a real design.
The second subject that I promised to mention, and it shall be very briefly, was the revival of the Order of the Bath. It was the measure of Sir Robert Walpole, and was an artful bank of thirty-six ribands to supply a fund of favours in lieu of places. He meant, too, to stave off the demand for garters, and intended that the red should be a step to the blue, and accordingly took one of the former himself. He offered the new order to old Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, for her grandson the duke, and for the Duke of Bedford, who had married one of her grand-daughters. (98) She haughtily replied, they should take nothing but the garter. "Madam," said Sir Robert coolly, "they who take the bath will the sooner have the garter." The next year he took the latter himself with the Duke of Richmond, both having been previously installed knights of the revived institution.
Before I quit King George I. I will relate a story, very expressive of his good-humoured presence of mind.
On one of his journeys to Hanover his coach broke. At a distance in view was the chateau of a considerable German nobleman. The king sent to borrow assistance. The possessor came, conveyed the king to his house, and begged the honour of his Majesty's accepting a dinner while his carriage was repairing; and, while the dinner was preparing, begged leave to amuse his Majesty with a collection of pictures which he had formed in several tours to Italy. But what did the king see in one of the rooms but an unknown portrait of a person in the robes and with the regalia of the sovereigns of Great Britain! George asked whom it represented. The nobleman replied, with much diffident but decent respect, that in various journeys to Rome he had been acquainted with the Chevalier de St. George. who had done him the honour of sending him that picture. "Upon my word," said the king instantly, "it is very like to the family." It was impossible to remove the embarrassment of the proprietor with more good breeding.
(97) At the time of the Preston rebellion, a Jacobite, who sometimes furnished Sir Robert with intelligence, sitting alone with him one night, suddenly putting his hand into his bosom and rising, said, "Why do not I kill you now?" Walpole starting up, replied, "Because I am a younger man and a stronger." They sat down again, and discussed the person's information But Sir Robert afterwards had reasons for thinking that the spy had no intention of assassination, but had hoped, by intimidating, to extort money from him. Yet if no real attempt was made on his life, it was not from want of suggestions to it: one of the weekly journals pointed out Sir Robert's frequent passing a Putney bridge late at night, attended but by one or two servants, on his way to New Park, as a proper place; and after Sir Robert's death, the second Earl of Egmont told me, that he was once at a consultation of the Opposition, in which it was proposed to have Sir Robert murdered by a mob, of which the earl had declared his abhorrence. Such an attempt was actually made in 1733, at the time of the famous excise bill. As the minister descended the stairs of the House of commons on the night he carried the bill, he was guarded on one side by his second son Edward, and on the other by General Charles Churchill; but the crowd behind endeavoured to throw him down, as he was a bulky man, and trample him to death; and that not succeeding, they tried to strangle him by pulling his red cloak tight-but fortunately the strings broke by the violence of the tug.
(98) Wriothesly, Duke of Bedford, had married Lady Anne Egerton, only daughter of Scroop, Duke of Bridgewater, by Lady Elizabeth Churchill, daughter of John, Duke of Marlborough. See VOL. I. 8.
Accession of George the Second-Sir Spencer Compton-Expected Change in Administration-Continuation of Lord Townshend-and Sir Robert Walpole by the Intervention of Queen Caroline-Mrs. Howard, afterwards Countess of Suffolk-Her character by Swift-and by Lord Chesterfield.
The unexpected death of George I. on his road to Hanover was instantly notified by Lord Townshend, secretary of state, who attended his Majesty, to his brother Sir Robert Walpole, who as expeditiously was the first to carry the news to the successor and hail him King. The next step was, to ask who his Majesty would please should draw his speech to the Council. "Sir Spencer Compton," replied the new monarch. The answer was decisive, and implied Sir Robert's dismission. Sir Spencer Compton was Speaker of the House of Commons, and treasurer, I think, at that time, to his Royal Highness, who by that first command, implied his intention of making Sir Spencer his prime-minister. He was a worthy man, of exceedingly grave formality, but of no parts, as his conduct immediately proved. The poor gentleman was so little qualified to accommodate himself to the grandeur of the moment, and to conceive how a new sovereign should address himself to his ministers, and he had also been so far from meditating to supplant the premier,(99) that, in his distress, it was to Sir Robert himself that he had recourse, and whom he besought to make the draught of the Kin(,'s speech for him. The new Queen, a better judge than her husband of the capacities of the two candidates, and who had silently watched for a moment proper for overturning the new designations, did not lose a moment in observing to the King how prejudicial it would be to his affairs to prefer to the minister in possession a man in whose own judgment his predecessor was the fittest person to execute his office. From that moment there was no more question of Sir Spencer Compton as prime-minister. He was created an earl, soon received the garter, and became president of that council, at the head of which he was much fitter to sit than to direct. Fourteen years afterwards, he was again nominated by the same Prince to replace Sir Robert as first lord of the treasury on the latter's forced resignation, but not -.is prime-minister; the conduct of affairs being soon ravished from him by that dashing genius the Earl of Granville, who reduced him to a cipher for the little year in which he survived, and in which his incapacity had been obvious.
The Queen, impatient to destroy all hopes of change, took the earliest opportunity of declaring her own sentiments. The instance I shall cite will be a true picture of courtiers. Their Majesties had removed from Richmond to their temporary palace in Leicester-fields(100)on the very evening of their receiving notice of their accession to the Crown, and the next day all the nobility and gentry in town crowded to kiss their hands; my mother amongst the rest, who, Sir Spencer Compton's designation, and not its evaporation, being known, could not make her way between the scornful backs and elbows of her late devotees, nor could approach nearer to the Queen than the third or fourth row; but no sooner was she descried by her Majesty than the Queen said aloud, "There, I am sure, I see a friend!" The torrent divided and shrunk to either side; "and as I came away," said my mother, "I might have walked over their heads if I had pleased."
The preoccupation of the Queen in favour of Walpole must be explained. He had early discovered that, in whatever gallantries George Prince of Wales indulged or affected, even the person of his Princess was dearer to him than any charms in his mistresses; and though Mrs. Howard (afterwards Lady Suffolk) was openly his declared favourite, as avowedly as the Duchess of Kendal was his father's, Sir Robert's sagacity discerned that the power would be lodged with the wife, not with the mistress; and he not only devoted himself to the Princess; but totally abstained from even visiting Mrs. Howard; while the injudicious multitude concluded. that the common consequences of an inconstant husband's passion 'for his concubine would follow, and accordingly warmer, if not public vows were made to the supposed favourite, than to the Prince's consort. They, especially, who in the late reign had been out of favour at court, had, to pave their future path to favour, and to secure the fall of Sir Robert Walpole, sedulously, and no doubt zealously, dedicated themselves to the mistress: Bolingbroke secretly, his friend Swift openly, and as ambitiously, cultivated Mrs. Howard; and the neighbourhood of Pope's villa to Richmond facilitated their intercourse, though his religion forbade his entertaining views beyond those of serving his friends. Lord Bathurst, another of that connexion, and Lord Chesterfield, too early for his interest, founded their hopes on Mrs. Howard's influence; but astonished and disappointed at finding Walpole not shaken from his seat, they determined on an experiment that should be the touchstone of Mrs. Howard's credit. They persuaded her to demand of the new King an Earl's coronet for Lord Bathurst. She did-the Queen put in her veto, and Swift, in despair, returned to Ireland, to lament Queen Anne, and curse Queen Caroline, under the mask of patriotism, in a country he abhorred and despised.(101)
To Mrs. Howard, Swift's ingratitude was base. She, indubitably, had not only exerted all her interest to second his and his faction's interests, but loved Queen Caroline and the minister as little as they did; yet, when Swift died, he left behind him a Character of Mrs. Howard by no means flattering, which was published in his posthumous works.
On its appearance, Mrs. Howard (become Lady Suffolk) said to me, in her calm, dispassionate manner, "All I can say is, that it is very different from one that he drew of me, and sent to me, many years ago, and which I have, written by his own hand."(102
Lord Chesterfield, rather more ingenuous-as his character of her, but under a feigned name, was printed in his life, though in a paper of which he was not known to be the author-was not more consistent. Eudosia, described in the weekly journal called Common Sense, for September 10, 1737, was meant for Lady Suffolk: yet was it no fault of hers that he was proscribed at court; nor did she perhaps ever know, as he never did till the year before his death, when I acquainted him with it by his friend Sir John Irwin, why he had been put into the Queen's Index expurgatorius.(102) The queen had an obscure window at St. James's that looked into a dark passage, lighted only by a single lamp at night, which looked upon Mrs. Howard's apartment. Lord Chesterfield, one Twelfth-night at court, had won so large a sum of money, that he thought it imprudent to carry it home in the dark, and deposited it with the mistress. Thence the queen inferred great intimacy, and thenceforwards Lord Chesterfield could obtain no favour from court- and finding himself desperate, went into opposition. My father himself long afterwards told me the story, and had become the principal object of the peer's satiric wit, though he had not been the mover of his disgrace. The weight of that anger fell more disgracefully on the king, as I shall mention in the next chapter.
I will here interrupt the detail of what I have heard of the commencement of that reign, and farther anecdotes of the queen and the mistress, till I have related the second very memorable transaction of that era; and which would come in awkwardly, if postponed till I have despatched many subsequent particulars.
(99) Sir Spencer Compton, afterwards Earl of Wilmington, was so far from resenting Sir Robert's superior talents, that he remained steadfastly -,attached to him; and when the famous motion for removing Sir Robert was made in both Houses, Lord Wilmington, though confined to his bed, and with his head blistered, rose and went to the House of Lords, to vote against a measure that avowed its own injustice, by being grounded only on popular clamour.
(100) It was the town residence of the Sidneys, Earls of Leicester, of whom it was hired, as it was afterwards by Frederick, Prince of Wales, on a similar quarrel with his father. He added to it Savile House, belonging to Sir George Savile, for his children.
(101) Mr. Croker, in his biographical notice of Lady Suffolk, prefixed to the edition of her Letters, thus satisfactorily confutes this anecdote: "On this it is to be observed, that George the Second was proclaimed on the 14th of June 1727, that Swift returned to Ireland in the September of the same year, and that the first creation of peers in that reign did not take place till the 28th of May 1728. Is it credible, that Mrs. Howard should have made such a request of the new King, and suffered so decided a refusal ten or eleven months before any peers were made? But, again, upon this first creation of peers Mrs. Howard's brother is the second name. Is it probable that, with so great an object for her own family in view, she risked a solicitation for Lord Bathurst? But that which seems most convincing, is Swift's own correspondence. In a letter to Mrs. of the 9th of July 1727, in which, rallying her on the solicitation to which the new King would be exposed, he says, - 'for my part, you may be secure, that I will never venture to recommend even a mouse to Mrs. Cole's cat, or a shoe-cleaner to your meanest domestic.'" Vol. i. p. xxv-E.
(102) "This," says her biographer, "is a complete mistake, to give it no harsher name. The Character which Swift left behind, and which was published in his posthumous works, is the very same which Lady Suffolk had in her possession. If it be not flattering, it is to Swift's honour that he 'did not condescend to flatter her in the days of her highest favour; and the accusation of having written another less favourable, is wholly false." Ibid. vol. i. p. xxxviii.-E.
(103) "It certainly would have been extraordinary," observes Mr. Croker, "that Lord Chesterfield, in 1137, when he was on terms of the most familiar friendship with Lady Suffolk, should have published a deprecatory character of her, and in revenge too, for being disgraced at court-Lady Suffolk being at the same time in disgrace also. But, unluckily for Walpole's conjecture, the character of Eudosia (a female savant, as the name imports,) has not the slightest resemblance to Lady Suffolk, and contains no allusion to courts or courtiers." Ibid. vol. ii. p. xxxiii-E.
Destruction of George the First's will.
At the first council held by the new sovereign, Dr. Wake, Archbishop of Canterbury, produced the will of the late King, and delivered it to the successor, expecting it would be opened and read in council. On the contrary, his Majesty put it into his pocket, and stalked out of the room without uttering a word on the subject. The poor prelate was thunderstruck, and had not the presence of mind or the courage to demand the testament's being opened, or at least to have it registered. No man present chose to be more hardy than the person to whom the deposit had been trusted-perhaps none of them immediately conceived the possible violation of so solemn an act so notoriously existent; still, as the King never mentioned the will more, whispers only by degrees informed the public that the will was burnt; at least that its injunctions were never fulfilled.
What the contents were was never ascertained. Report said, that forty thousand pounds had been bequeathed to the Duchess of Kendal; and more vague rumours spoke of a large legacy to the Queen of Prussia, daughter of the late King. Of that bequest demands were afterwards said to have been frequently and roughly made by her son the great King of Prussia, between whom and his uncle subsisted much inveteracy.
The legacy to the ]Duchess was some time after on the brink of coming to open and legal discussion. Lord Chesterfield marrying her niece and heiress, the Countess of Walsingham, and resenting his own proscription at court, was believed to have instituted, or at least to have threatened, a suit for recovery of the legacy to the Duchess, to which he was then become entitled; and it was as confidently believed that he was quieted by the payment of twenty thousand pounds.
But if the Archbishop had too timidly betrayed the trust reposed in him from weakness and want of spirit, there were two other men who had no such plea of imbecility, and who, being independent, and above being awed, basely sacrificed their honour and their integrity for positive sordid gain. George the First had deposited duplicates of his will with two sovereign German princes: I will not specify them, because at this distance of time I do not, perfectly recollect their titles; but I was actually, some years ago, shown a copy of a letter from one of our ambassadors abroad to-a secretary of state at that period, in which the ambassador said, one of the princes in question would accept the proffered subsidy, and had delivered, or would deliver, the duplicate of the King's will. The other trustee, was no doubt, as little conscientious and as corrupt. It is pity the late King of Prussia did not learn their infamous treachery.
Discoursing once with Lady Suffolk on that suppressed testament, she made the only plausible shadow of an excuse that could be made for George the Second. She told me that George the First had burnt two wills made in favour of his son. They were, probably, the wills of the Duke and Duchess of Zell; or one of them might be that of his mother, the Princess Sophia. The crime of the first George could only palliate, not justify, the criminality of the second; for the second did -not punish the maturity, but the innocent. But bad precedents are always dangerous, and too likely to be copied. (104)
(104) On the subject of the royal will, Walpole, in his Memoires, vol. ii. p. 458, relates the following anecdote:-"The morning after the death of George the Second, Lord Waldegrave showed the Duke of Cumberland an extraordinary piece: it was endorsed, 'very private paper,' and was a letter from the Duke of Newcastle to the first Earl of Waldegrave; in which his Grace informed the Earl, then our ambassador in France, that he had received by the messenger the copy of the will and codicil of George the First; that he had delivered it to his Majesty, who put it into the fire without opening it: 'So,' adds the Duke, 'we do not know whether it confirms the other or not;' and he proceeds to say, 'Despatch a messenger to the Duke Of Wolfenbuttle with the treaty, in which he is granted all he desired; and we expect, by return of the messenger, the original will from him.' George the First had left two wills; one in the hands of Dr. Wake, Archbishop of Canterbury, the other with the Duke of Wolfenbuttle. He had been in the right to take these precautions: he himself had burned his wife's testament, and her and her father's, the duke of Zell; both of whom had made George the Second their heir—a paliative of the latter's obliquity, if justice would allow of any violation." From the following passage in Boswell's Life of Johnson, the Doctor appears to have given credence to the story of the will:—"tom Davies instanced Charles the Second; Johnson taking fire at an attack upon that prince, exclaimed, "charles the Second was licentious in his practice, but he always had a reverence for what was good; Charles the Second was not such a man as George the Second; he did not destroy his father's will' he did not betray those over whom he ruled' he did not let the French fleet pass ours.' He roared with prodigious violence against George the Second. When he ceased, Moody interjected, in an Irish tone, and a comic look, 'Ah! poor George the Second!'" See vol. v. p. 284, ed. 1835.-E.
History of Mrs. Howard, afterwards Countess of Suffolk-Miss Bellenden-Her Marriage with Colonel John Campbell, afterwards fourth Duke of Argyle-Anecdotes of Queen Caroline-her last Illness and Death-Anecdote of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough-Last Years of George the Second-Mrs. Clayton, afterwards Lady Sundon-Lady Diana Spencer-Frederick, Prince of Wales-Sudden Removal of the Prince and Princess from Hampton Court to St. James's -Birth of a Princess-Rupture with the King-Anecdotes of Lady Yarmouth.
I will now resume the story of Lady Suffolk whose history, though she had none of that influence on the transactions of the cabinet that was expected, will still probably be more entertaining to two young ladies than a magisterial detail of political events, the traces of which at least may be found in journals and brief chronicles of the times. The interior of courts, and the lesser features of history, are precisely those with which we are least acquainted,-I mean of the age preceding our own. Such anecdotes are forgotten in the multiplicity of those that ensue, or reside only in the memory of idle old persons, or have not yet emerged into publicity from the portefeuilles of such garrulous Brant'omes as myself. Trifling I will not call myself; for, while I have such charming disciples as you two to inform; and though acute or plodding politicians, for whom they are not meant, may condemn these pages; which is preferable, the labour of an historian who toils for fame and for applause from he knows not whom; or my careless commission to paper of perhaps insignificant passages that I remember, but penned for the amusement of a pair of such sensible and cultivated minds as I never met at so early an age, and whose fine eyes I do know will read me With candour, and allow me that mite of fame to which I aspire, their approbation of my endeavours to divert their evenings in the country? O Guicciardin! is posthumous renown so valuable as the satisfaction of reading these court-tales to the lovely Berrys?
Henrietta Hobart was daughter of Sir Henry, and sister of Sir John Hobart, Knight of the Bath on the revival of the order, and afterwards by her interest made a baron; and since created Earl of Buckinghamshire.
She was first married to Mr. Howard, the younger brother of more than one Earl of Suffolk; to which title he at last succeeded himself, and left a son by her, who was the last earl of that branch. She had but the slender fortune of an ancient baronet's daughter; and Mr. Howard's circumstances were the reverse of opulent. It was the close of Queen Anne's reign: the young couple saw no step more prudent than to resort to Hanover, and endeavour to ingratiate themselves with the future sovereigns of England. Still so narrow was their fortune, that Mr. Howard finding it expedient to give a dinner to the Hanoverian ministers, Mrs. Howard is said to have sacrificed her beautiful head of hair to pay for the expense. It must be recollected, that at that period were in fashion those enormous full-bottomed wigs, which often cost twenty and thirty guineas. Mrs. Howard was extremely acceptable to the intelligent Princess Sophia; but did not at that time make farther impression on the Electoral Prince, than, on his father's succession to the crown, to be appointed one of the bedchamber-women to the new Princess of Wales.
The elder Whig politicians became ministers to the King. The most promising of the young lords and gentleman of that party, and the prettiest and liveliest of the young ladies, formed the new court of the Prince and Princess of Wales. The apartment of the bedchamber-woman in waiting became the fashionable evening rendez-vous of the most distinguished wits and beauties. Lord Chesterfield, then Lord Stanhope, Lord Scarborough, Carr Lord Hervey, elder brother of the more known John Lord Hervey, and reckoned to have superior parts, General (at that time only Colonel) Charles Churchill, and others not necessary to rehearse, were constant attendants: Miss Lepelle, afterwards Lady Hervey, my mother, Lady Walpole, Mrs. Selwyn, mother of the famous George, and herself of much vivacity and pretty, Mrs. Howard, and above all for universal admiration, Miss Bellenden, one of the maids of honour. Her face and person were charming; lively she was almost to 'etourderie; (105) and so agreeable she was, that I never heard her mentioned afterwards by one of her contemporaries who did not prefer her as the most perfect creature they ever knew. The Prince frequented the waiting-room, and soon felt a stronger inclination for her than he ever entertained but for his Princess. Miss Bellenden by no means felt a reciprocal passion. The Prince's gallantry was by no means delicate; and his avarice disgusted her. One evening sitting by her, he took out his purse and counted his money. He repeated the numeration: the giddy Bellenden lost her patience, and cried out, "Sir, I cannot bear it! if you count your money any more, I will go out of the room." The chink of the gold did not tempt her more than the person of his Royal Highness. In fact, her heart was engaged; and so the Prince, finding his love fruitless, suspected. He was even so generous as to promise her, that if she would discover the object of her Choice, and would engage not to marry without his privity, he would consent to the match, and would be kind to her husband. She gave him the promise he exacted, but without acknowledging the person; and then, lest his Highness should throw any obstacle in the way, married, without his knowledge, Colonel Campbell, one of the grooms of his bedchamber, and who long afterwards succeeded to the title of Argyle at the death of Duke Archibald. (106) The Prince never forgave the breach of her word; and whenever she went to the drawing-room, as from her husband's situation she was sometimes obliged to do, though trembling at what she knew she was to undergo, the Prince always stepped up to her, and whispered some very harsh reproach in her ear. Mrs. Howard was the intimate friend of Miss Bellenden; had been the confidante of the Prince's passion; and, on Mrs. Campbell's eclipse, succeeded to her friend's post of favourite, but not to her resistance.
>From the steady decorum of Mrs. Howard, I should conclude that she would have preferred the advantages of her situation to the ostentatious 'eclat of it: but many obstacles stood in the way of total concealment; nor do I suppose that love had any share in the sacrifice she made of her virtue. She had felt poverty, and was far from disliking power. Mr. Howard was probably as little agreeable to her as he proved worthless. The King, though very amorous, was certainly more attracted by a silly idea he had entertained of gallantry being becoming, than by a love of variety; and he added the more egregious folly of fancying that inconstancy proved he was not governed; but so awkwardly did he manage that artifice, that it but demonstrated more clearly the influence of the Queen. With such a disposition, secrecy would by no means have answered his Majesty's views; yet the publicity of the intrigue was especially owing to Mr. Howard, who, far from ceding his wife quietly, went one night into the quadrangle of St. James's, and vociferously demanded her to be restored to him before the guards and other audience. Being thrust out, he sent a letter to her by the Archbishop of Canterbury, reclaiming her, and the Archbishop by his instructions consigned the summons to the Queen, who had the malicious pleasure of delivering the letter to her rival. (107)
Such intemperate proceedings by no means invited the new mistress to leave the asylum of St. James's. She was safe while under the royal roof: even after the rupture between the King and Prince (for the affair commenced in the reign of the first George), and though the Prince, on quitting St. James's, resided in a private house, it was too serious an enterprise to attempt to take his wife by force out of the palace of the Prince of Wales. The case was altered, when, on the arrival of summer, their Royal Highnesses were to remove to Richmond. Being only woman of the bedchamber, etiquette did not allow Mrs. Howard the entr'ee of the coach with the Princess. She apprehended that Mr. Howard might seize her on the road. To baffle such an attempt, her friends, John, Duke of Argyle, and his brother, the Earl of Islay, called for her in the coach of one of them by eight o'clock in the morning of the day, at noon of which the Prince and Princess were to remove, and lodged her safely in their house at Richmond. During the summer a negotiation was commenced with the obstreperous husband, and he sold his own noisy honour and the possession of his wife for a pension of twelve hundred a-year. (108)
These now little-known anecdotes of Mr. Howard's behaviour I received between twenty and thirty years afterwards, from the mouth of Lady Suffolk herself. She had left the court about the year 1735, and passed her summers at her villa of Marble Hill, at Twickenham, living very retired both there and in London. I purchased Strawberry Hill in 1747; and being much acquainted with the houses of Dorset, Vere, and others of Lady Suffolk's intimates, was become known to her; though she and my father had been at the head of two such hostile factions at court. Becoming neighbours, and both, after her second husband's death, living single and alone, our acquaintance turned to intimacy. She was extremely deaf, (109) and consequently had more satisfaction in narrating than in listening; her memory both of remote and of the most recent facts was correct beyond belief. I, like you, was indulgent to, and fond of old anecdotes. Each of us knew different Parts of many court stories, and each was eager to learn what either could relate more; and thus, by comparing notes, we sometimes could make out discoveries of a third circumstance, (110) before unknown to both. Those evenings, and I had many of them in autumnal nights, were extremely agreeable; and if this chain of minutiae proves so to you, you owe perhaps to those conversations the fidelity of my memory, which those repetitions recalled and stamped so lastingly.
In this narrative will it be unwelcome to you, if I subjoin a faithful portrait of the heroine of this part? lady Suffolk was of a just height, well made, extremely fair, with the finest light brown hair; was remarkably genteel, and always well dressed with taste and simplicity. Those were her personal charms, for her face was regular and agreeable rather than beautiful and those charms she retained with little diminution to her death at the age of seventy-nine. (111) Her mental qualifications were by no means shining; her eyes and countenance showed her character, which was grave and mild. Her strict love of truth and her accurate memory were always in unison, and made her too circumstantial on trifles. She was discreet without being reserved; and having no bad qualities, and being constant to her connexions, she preserved uncommon respect to the end of her life; and from the propriety and decency of her behaviour was always treated as if her virtue had never been questioned; her friends even affecting to suppose, that her connexion with the King had been confined to pure friendship. Unfortunately, his Majesty's passions were too indelicate to have been confined to Platonic love for a woman who was deaf, (112)-sentiments he had expressed in a letter to the Queen, who, however jealous of Lady Suffolk, had latterly dreaded the King's contracting a new attachment to a younger rival, and had prevented Lady Suffolk from leaving the court as early as she had wished to do. "I don't know," said his Majesty, "why you will not let me part with an old deaf woman, of whom I am weary."
Her credit had always been extremely limited by the Queen's superior influence, and by the devotion of the minister to her Majesty. Except a barony, a red riband, and a good place for her brother, Lady Suffolk could succeed but in very subordinate recommendations. Her own acquisitions were so moderate, that, besides Marble Hill, which cost the King ten or twelve thousand pounds, her complaisance had not been too dearly purchased. She left the court with an income so little to be envied, that, though an economist and not expensive, by the lapse of some annuities on lives not so prolonged as her own she found herself straitened; and, besides Marble Hill, did not at most leave twenty thousand pounds to her family. On quitting court, she married Mr. George Berkeley, and outlived him. (113)
No established mistress of a sovereign ever enjoyed less of the brilliancy of the situation than Lady Suffolk. Watched and thwarted by the Queen, disclaimed by the minister, she owed to the dignity of her own behaviour, and to the contradiction of their enemies, the chief respect that was paid to her, and which but ill compensated for the slavery of her attendance, and the mortifications she endured. She was elegant; her lover the reverse, and most unentertaining, and void of confidence in her. His motions too were measured by etiquette and the clock. He visited her every evening at nine; but with such dull punctuality, that he frequently walked about his chamber for ten minutes with his watch in his hand, if the stated minute was not arrived.
But from the Queen she tasted yet more positive vexations. Till she became Countess of Suffolk, she constantly dressed the Queen's bead, who delighted in subjecting her to such servile offices, though always apologizing to her good Howard. Often her Majesty had more complete triumph. It happened more than once, that the King, coming into the room while the Queen was dressing, has snatched off the handkerchief, and, turning rudely to Mrs. Howard, has cried, "Because you have an ugly neck yourself, you hide the Queen's."
It is certain that the King always preferred the Queen's person to that of any other woman; nor ever described his idea of beauty, but he drew the picture of his wife.
Queen Caroline is said to have been very handsome at her marriage, soon after which she had the small-pox; but was little marked by it, and retained a most pleasing countenance. It was full of majesty or mildness as she pleased, and her penetrating eyes expressed whatever she had a mind they should. Her voice too was captivating, and her hands beautifully small, plump, and graceful. Her understanding was uncommonly strong; and so was her resolution. From their earliest connexion she had determined to govern the King, and deserved to do so; for her submission to his will was unbounded, her sense much superior, and his honour and interest always took place of her own: so that her love of power that was predominant, was dearly bought, and rarely ill employed. She was ambitious too of fame; but, shackled by her devotion to the King, she seldom could pursue that object. She wished to be a patroness of learned men but George had no respect for them or their works; and her Majesty's own taste was not very exquisite, nor did he allow her time to cultivate any studies. Her Generosity would have displayed itself, for she valued money but as the instrument of her good purposes: but he stinted her alike in almost all her passions; and though she wished for nothing more than to be liberal, she bore the imputation of his avarice, as she did of others of his faults. Often, when she had made prudent and proper promises of preferment, and could not persuade the King to comply, she suffered the breach of word to fall on her, rather than reflect on him. Though his affection and confidence in her were implicit, he lived in dread of being supposed to be governed by her; and that silly parade was extended even to the most private moments of business with my father. Whenever he entered, the Queen rose, courtesied, and retired or offered to retire. Sometimes the King condescended to bid her stay-on both occasions she and Sir Robert. had previously settled the business to be discussed. Sometimes the King would quash the proposal in question, and yield after retalking it over with her-but then he boasted to Sir Robert that he himself had better considered it.
One of the Queen's delights was the improvement of the garden at Richmond; and the King believed she paid for all with her own money-nor would he ever look at her intended plans, saying he did not care how she flung away her own revenue. He little suspected the aids Sir Robert furnished to her from the treasury. When she died, she was indebted twenty thousand pounds to the King.
Her learning I have said was superficial; her knowledge of languages as little accurate. The King, with a bluff Westphalian accent, spoke English correctly. The Queen's chief study was divinity, and she had rather weakened her faith than enlightened it. She was at least not orthodox; and her confidante, Lady Sundon, an absurd and pompous simpleton, swayed her countenance towards the less-believing clergy. The Queen, however, was so sincere at her death, that when Archbishop Potter was to administer the sacrament to her, she declined taking it, very few persons being in the room. When the prelate retired, the courtiers in the ante-room crowded round him, crying, "My lord, has the queen received?" His grace artfully eluded the question, only saying most devoutly , "Her Majesty was in a heavenly disposition"-and the truth escaped the public.
She suffered more unjustly by declining to see her son, the Prince of Wales, to whom she sent her blessing and forgiveness; but conceiving the extreme distress it would lay on the King, should he thus be forced to forgive so impenitent a son, or to banish him again if once recalled, she heroically preferred a meritorious husband to a worthless child.
The Queen's greatest error was too high an opinion of her own address and art; she imagined that all who did not dare to contradict her were imposed upon; and she had the additional weakness of thinking that she could play off @any persons without being discovered. That mistaken humour, and at other times her hazarding very offensive truths, made her many enemies; and her duplicity in fomenting jealousies between the ministers, that each might be more dependent on herself, was no sound wisdom. It was the Queen who blew into a flame the ill-blood between Sir Robert Walpole and his brother-in-law, Lord Townshend. Yet though she disliked some of the cabinet, she never let her own prejudices disturb the King's affairs, provided the obnoxious paid no court to the mistress. Lord Islay was the only man, who, by managing Scotland for Sir Robert Walpole, was maintained by him in spite of his attachment to Lady Suffolk.
The Queen's great secret was her own rupture, which, till her last illness, nobody knew but the King, her German nurse, Mrs. Mailborne, and one other person. To prevent all suspicion, her Majesty would frequently stand some minutes in her shift talking to her ladies (114) and though labouring with so dangerous a complaint, she made it so invariable a rule never to refuse a desire of the King, that every morning at Richmond she walked several miles with him; and more than once, when she had the gout in her foot, she dipped her whole leg in cold water to be ready to attend him. The pain, her bulk, and the exercise, threw her into such fits of perspiration as vented the gout; but those exertions hastened the crisis of her distemper. It was great shrewdness in Sir Robert Walpole, who, before her distemper broke out, discovered her secret. On my mother's death, who was of the Queen's age, her Majesty asked Sir Robert many physical questions; but he remarked that she oftenest reverted to a rupture, which had not been the illness of his wife. When he came home, he said to me, "Now, Horace, I know by possession of what secret Lady Sundon (115)has preserved such an ascendant over the Queen." He was in the right. How Lady Sundon had wormed herself into that mystery was never known. As Sir Robert maintained his influence over the clergy by Gibson, Bishop of London, he often met with troublesome obstructions from Lady Sundon, who espoused, as I have said, the heterodox clergy; and Sir Robert could never shake her credit.
Yet the Queen was constant in her protection of Sir Robert, and the day before she died gave a strong mark of her conviction that he was the firmest supporter the King had. As they two alone were standing by the Queen's bed, she pathetically recommended, not the minister to the sovereign, but the master to the servant. Sir Robert was alarmed, and feared the recommendation would leave a fatal impression; but a short time after, the King reading with Sir Robert some intercepted letters from Germany, which said that now the Queen was 'gone, Sir Robert would have no protection: "On the contrary," said the King, "you know she recommended me to you." This marked the notice he had taken of the expression; and it was the only notice he ever took of it: nay, his Majesty's grief was so excessive and so sincere, that his kindness to his minister seemed to increase for the Queen's sake.
The Queen's dread of a rival was a feminine weakness; the behaviour of her elder son was a real thorn. He early displayed his aversion to his mother, who perhaps assumed too much at first; yet it is certain that her good sense, and the interest of her family, would have prevented, if possible, the mutual dislike of the father and son, and their reciprocal contempt. As the Opposition gave into all adulation towards the Prince, his ill-poised head and vanity swallowed all their incense. He even early after his arrival had listened to a high act of disobedience. Money he soon wanted: old Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, (116) e ever proud and ever malignant, was persuaded to offer her favourite Granddaughter, Lady Diana Spencer, afterwards Duchess of Bedford, to the Prince of' Wales, with a fortune of a hundred thousand pounds. He accepted the proposal, and the day was fixed for their being secretly married at the Duchess's lodge in the Great park at Windsor. Sir Robert Walpole got intelligence of the project, prevented it, and the secret was buried in silence.
Youth, folly, and indiscretion, the beauty of the young lady, and a large sum of ready money, might have offered something like a plea for so rash a marriage, had it taken place; but what could excuse, what indeed could provoke, the senseless and barbarous insult offered to the King and Queen, by Frederick's taking his wife out of the palace of Hampton Court in the middle of the night, when she was in actual labour, and carrying her, at the imminent risk of the lives of her and the child, to the unaired palace and bed at St. James's? Had he no way of affronting his parents but by venturing to kill his wife and the heir of the crown? A baby that wounds itself to vex its nurse is no more void of reflection. The scene which commenced by unfeeling idiotism closed with paltry hypocrisy. The Queen on the first notice of her son's exploits, set out for St. James's to visit the Princess by seven in the morning. The gracious Prince, so far from attempting an apology, spoke not a word to his mother; but on her retreat gave her his hand, led her into the street to her coach-still dumb!-but a crowd being assembled at the gate, he kneeled down in the dirt, and humbly kissed her Majesty's hand. Her indignation must have shrunk into contempt.
After the death of the Queen, Lady Yarmouth (117) came over, who had been the King's mistress at Hanover during his latter journeys-and with the Queen's privity, for he always made her the of his amours; which made Mrs. Selwyn once tell him, he should be the last man with whom she would have an intrigue, for she knew he would tell the Queen. In his letters to the latter from Hanover, he said, "You must love the Walmoden, for she loves me." She was created a countess, and had much weight with him; but never employed her credit but to assist his ministers, or to convert some honours and favours to her own advantage. She had two sons, who both bore her husband's name; but the younger, though never acknowledged, was supposed the King's, and consequently did not miss additional homage from the courtiers. That incense being one of the recommendations to the countenance of Lady Yarmouth, drew Lord Chesterfield into a ridiculous distress. On his being made secretary of state, be found a fair young lad in the antechamber at St. James's, -who seeming much at home, the earl, concluding it was the mistress's son, was profuse of attentions to the boy, and more prodigal still of his prodigious regard for his mamma. The shrewd boy received all his lordship's vows with indulgence, and without betraying himself: at last he said, "I suppose your lordship takes me for Master Louis; but I am only Sir William Russel, one of the pages."
The King's last years passed as regularly as clockwork. At nine at night he had cards in the apartment of his daughters, the Princesses Amelia and Caroline, with Lady Yarmouth, two or three of the late Queen's ladies, and as many of the most favoured officers of his own household. Every Saturday in summer he carried that uniform party, but without his daughters, to dine at Richmond: they went in coaches and six in the middle of the day , with the heavy horse-guards kicking up the dust before them-dined, walked an hour in the garden, returned in the same dusty parade; and his Majesty fancied himself the most gallant and lively prince in Europe.
His last year was glorious and triumphant beyond example; and his death was most felicitous to himself, being without a Pang, without tasting a reverse, and when his sight and hearing were so nearly extinguished that any prolongation could but have swelled to calamities. (118)
(105) She is thus described in a ballad, made upon the quarrel between George the First and the Prince of Wales, at the christening recorded at p. 83 when the Prince and all his household were ordered to quit St. James's:-
"But Bellenden we needs must praise, Who, as down the stairs she jumps, Sings over the hills and far away, Despising doleful dumps."-E.
(106) Colonel John Campbell succeeded to the dukedom in 1761: Mrs. Campbell died in 1736. She was the mother of the fifth Duke of Argyle and three other sons, and of Lady Caroline, who married, first, the Earl of Aylesbury, and, secondly, Walpole's bosom friend, Marshal Conway.-E.
(107) "The letter which Walpole alludes to," says Mr. Croker, "is in existence. It is not a letter from Mr. Howard to his lady, but from the Archbishop to the Princess; and although his grace urges a compliance with Mr. Howard's demand of the restoration of his wife, he treats it not as a matter between them, but as an attack on the Princess herself, whom the Archbishop considers as the direct protectress of Mrs. Howard, and the immediate cause of her resistance. So that in this letter at least there is no ground for imputing to Mrs. Howard any rivalry with the Princess, or to the Princess any malicious jealousy of Mrs. Howard." Vol. i. p. xiv.-E.
(108) Mr. Croker asserts, that "neither in Mrs. Howard's correspondence with the King, nor in the notes of her conversation with the Queen, nor in any of her most confidential papers, has he found a single trace of the feeling which Walpole so confidently imputes." Upon this assertion, Sir Walter Scott, in a review of the Suffolk Correspondence, pleasantly remarks,-"We regret that the editor's researches have not enabled him to state, whether it is true that the restive husband sold his own noisy honour and the possession of his lady for a pension of twelve hundred a-year. For our own parts, without believing all Walpole's details, we substantially agree in his opinion, that the King's friendship was by no means Platonic or refined; but that the Queen and Mrs. Howard, by mutual forbearance, good sense, and decency, contrived to diminish the scandal: after all, the question has no great interest for the present generation, since scandal is only valued when fresh, and the public have generally enough of that poignant fare, without ripping up the frailties of their grandmothers." Sir Walter sums up his notice of the inaccuracies occurring in these Reminiscences, with the following just and considerate reflection: "When it is recollected that the noble owner of Strawberry Hill was speaking of very remote events, which he reported on hearsay, and that hearsay of old standing, such errors are scarcely to be wondered at, particularly when they are found to correspond with the partialities and prejudices of the narrator. These, strengthening as we grow older, gradually pervert or at least alter, the accuracy of our recollections, until they assimilate them to our feelings, while,