On December 9, 1718, we were informed that the house of the Spanish Ambassador was surrounded by troops, and a day or two later we learned that our arrest, on the charge of inciting to revolution, might be expected at any moment. On the 29th, we were awakened early in the morning to find the house full of soldiers; the Duchess was carried off to imprisonment at Dijon, and the Duke of Maine was immured in the citadel of Dourlans in Picardy.
In the Bastille
I was taken in a carriage with three musketeers, to a little bridge before a wall, and delivered to the governor of the Bastille, who sent me to a large empty room, the walls of which were covered with charcoal drawings executed by former prisoners. A little chair was brought me, a bundle of wood was lighted on the hearth, one small candle was fixed to the wall, and I heard half a dozen locks and bolts closing the door that shut me off from mankind. The first hour, which I spent gazing at my crackling fire, was the most desolate of all my imprisonment.
Then the governor appeared, with my attendant Mademoiselle Rondel; I was rejoiced to find that she was to relieve my solitude, and to hear from her that she had managed to hide all my papers after my capture. Our room was presently furnished with beds, table and chairs; on the following day we were given books and a pack of cards; our meals were tolerable, and except for our captivity we were comfortable enough.
The two judges charged with the interrogation of the prisoners in our affair, of whom there seemed to be a considerable number, came daily, and held their interviews in a room immediately below ours; so that Rondel could see through the window one of our acquaintances after another being brought across the court to be examined. My time did not come for many days, and I spent long hours racking my brain for the answers which I ought to give. The fear of the questions by torture began to force itself on my mind; and though I thought I could face pain or even death I was doubtful whether I should be able to keep silence under that dreadful ordeal.
After these weeks of suspense I was called before the judges, and was asked whether the Duchess of Maine had not great confidence in me and whether I had not been aware of her treasonable correspondence and intrigues. The line I took was to represent my services to my mistress as having been of a very humble nature; I insisted that I knew nothing of her private affairs, and had seen and heard nothing that could at all compromise her loyalty to the Government. This appeared to satisfy them for the present, and after enquiring whether I was well treated in prison they dismissed me.
I did not suffer from ennui in the Bastille; I devised for myself many little occupations; and soon a surreptitious correspondence with the Chevalier de Menil, who had been imprisoned for participation in our affair, gave interest to the days. We were even permitted occasional interviews by favour of one of the subordinate officials, and before we regained our liberty I had promised to be his wife.
The Regent at last became anxious to bring to an end the whole episode of the Duchess of Maine's intrigue; but he wished first to secure a full admission of guilt from the principal actors in it. The Duchess was promised her complete liberty if she would send him a frank confession in writing, which should be seen by no one but himself. Finding herself in a position to secure the freedom of all those whom she had imperilled, she sent the Duke of Orleans the required paper, in which she disclosed everything in detail and with entire sincerity.
I was examined again without making any disclosure, but after receiving the written command of the Duchess I wrote out a declaration of all that I knew and was a few days later set at liberty, after two years of captivity. I went down at once to Sceaux, where I was affectionately received by my mistress.
Returning to Paris two days later, to fetch my things from the Bastille, I called at the Convent of the Presentation, and found in the parlour the Chevalier de Menil. I was astonished at his manner, no less than by what he said; it was evidently that his only desire was to break his engagement with me. I realised that the man was without honour or kindness, and yet it was difficult to detach my affections from him.
It was about a year later that M. Dacier was introduced to me, after the death of his wife, by the Duchess de La Ferte, and an ardent desire for liberty from my condition of servitude led me to accept his proposal of marriage, subject only to be the permission of my Duchess. This she was reluctant to give, and the matter was still under discussion when we heard of M. Dacier's sudden death.
The rest of my life, though it has been a long one, contains little of interest. I found myself without any object to live for, and a strange deadness of feeling came over me, harder to bear than illness or death. I had a distaste for existence and a horror of the world, and desired nothing more than to hide myself away. A little pension had been secured for me; my mistress had fallen dangerously ill; I wished to leave Sceaux in order to run away from a new attachment which was gaining power over me; and the thought of entering a Carmelite house became a settled project. But I was refused even this last refuge; the prioress deciding that I had no vocation for the religious life.
I spent several years without coming to any harmony either with myself or with fortune. Several offers of marriage were made to me, but I could not bring myself to accept any of them, until a sudden fancy for the sweet simplicities of country life led me to agree to a marriage with M. de Staal.
A few days after my marriage I heard of the death of the Duchess of Maine. I never knew a more perfectly reasonable woman. She was all feeling; even her thoughts were really sentiments; she was lively without moodiness, impassioned without violence, always animated; sweet and sensible. There was a vivid warmth about her, that made her a perfectly gracious friend.
* * * * *
Life of William Pitt
The biographer of Pitt was a grandson of the Lord Mahon, afterwards Earl of Stanhope, who married, in 1774, the great statesman's eldest sister. Philip Henry Stanhope was born at Walmer on January 30, 1805, and entered the House of Commons as Lord Mahon in 1831. He took a prominent part in the foundation of the National Portrait Gallery, and the Historical Manuscripts Commission, and the promotion of successful archaeological investigations on the site of Troy. His literary labours were considerable and important. Chief among them were the "History of England from the Peace of Utrecht to the Peace of Versailles," the "History of Queen Anne's Reign," and the "Life of the Right Honourable William Pitt." The last named, published in 1861-2, is one of the most authoritative of political biographies, compiled with a gravity and care characteristic of its author, and of abiding value as a standard book of reference for one of the greatest personalities and one of the most stirring periods of English history. Earl Stanhope died on December 24, 1875.
I.—The Boy Statesman
William Pitt, the elder, afterwards Earl of Chatham, married in 1754 Lady Hester Grenville. William Pitt, their second son, was born on May 28, 1759, at Hayes, near Bromley, in Kent.
In his boyhood, from the earliest years, William Pitt evinced to all around him many tokens of intellectual promise and ambition; but his parents were frequently distressed by his delicate health. It was no doubt on this account that he was not sent to any public or private school. Lord Chatham was extremely careful of the education of his family; and, without any disparagement to young William's tutor, it was certainly from his father that he profited most.
William was at fourteen so forward in his studies that he was sent to Cambridge, commencing his residence at Pembroke Hall in October 1773. His health at this period gave cause for great alarm. A serious illness at Cambridge, however, proved a turning-point; for long afterwards he enjoyed fairly good health. Early hours, daily exercise on horseback, and liberal potations of port wine—his elixir of strength at this time, although it helped in later years to undermine his constitution—made him far stronger after his illness than before it.
In 1778, after the death of his father, he was entered at Lincoln's Inn, and was called to the Bar in 1780. But he had little opportunity of practising as a barrister, for his parliamentary ambitions were soon fulfilled. In the autumn of 1780 he was an unsuccessful candidate for Cambridge University; but through the influence of Sir James Lowther he was returned in the same year for Appleby, and took his seat in the Commons on January 23, 1781.
Lord North was still at the head of affairs, and the Opposition consisted of two parties: the aristocratic Whigs, whose leader was the Marquis of Rockingham, but whose true guiding spirit was Charles James Fox; and a smaller band of the old adherents of Lord Chatham, under Lord Shelburne. To this party Pitt, as a matter of course, attached himself. His first speech was made on February 26, in support of Burke's bill for economical reform. He completely fulfilled the high expectations that had been formed of the son of so illustrious a father. Not only did he please, it may be said that he astonished the House.
Two speeches later in the session confirmed the distinction of the young orator. In 1782, after a long series of Opposition attacks, Lord North resigned; but in the new arrangements Pitt was not included. He had determined that he would serve his sovereign as a cabinet minister, or not at all. For a time he devoted his efforts, without success, to the reform of the representation of the House of Commons. But in July 1782 Lord Rockingham died; there was a cabinet split, due to a quarrel between Fox and Shelburne; the latter became First Lord of the Treasury, and Pitt, at the age of twenty-three, was offered and accepted the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer.
The newly-formed ministry was soon exposed to hot attacks by the coalition of the parties of Fox and North, and Pitt, in attacking this "baneful alliance," made one of the greatest speeches of his career. But the ministry was defeated; Lord Shelburne resigned; and the king, advised by Shelburne, invited Pitt to become Prime Minister. After anxious consideration he refused.
The Fox and North coalition now assumed office. This union of extremes was unpopular in the country, although powerful in parliamentary strength. Pitt tried once more to pass a measure of parliamentary reform; and during the recess he paid a visit to France—the one foreign journey of his life.
When parliament resumed its sittings, in the autumn of 1783, Fox's India Bill was passed by the Commons, but rejected by the Lords. The king, who was vehemently opposed to the bill, demanded the resignation of Fox and North, and on December 19 invited Pitt, now aged twenty-four, to become Prime Minister. This time the invitation was not refused.
Pitt had great difficulty in forming a cabinet, and was the only cabinet minister in the Commons. His main support in that house was Henry Dundas, treasurer of the navy—his life-long friend. On facing parliament at the opening of 1784, Pitt's purpose was to delay a dissolution until the coalition's unpopularity in the country had reached its height, and with this end he patiently endured defeat after defeat. In March he deemed that the right moment had come, and his judgement was rewarded at the General Election by a triumphant majority.
Pitt was Chancellor of the Exchequer as well as First Lord of the Treasury, and during the years of peace that followed, his successes were largely financial. He established a series of financial reforms that not only increased the favour in which his ministry was held, but undoubtedly enabled the country to bear the terrible strain that was afterwards to be placed upon it. In his attempt to adjust commercial relations with Ireland he was less successful; he was obliged, besides, to abandon his schemes of parliamentary reform, and his exertions, in concert with his friend Wilberforce, to destroy the slave traffic ended in disappointment—even although in this he had the hearty support of his rival, Fox.
Young as he was, and victorious as he had become, he was never tempted to presume upon his genius, or relax in his application. He allowed himself but little holiday. He spent a good deal of such time as he could spare at Holwood, a property he had bought near Bromley; and occasional visits to Brighton, and to his mother's residence at Burton Pynsent, in Somersetshire, made up the greater part of his travels.
II.—The Regency Problem
Not only had Pitt's administration rehabilitated English finances; it had gained for England a strong measure of European support. In 1788 there was concluded what was virtually a triple defensive alliance with Prussia and Holland; and with France herself, should she be willing to remain at peace, there was a treaty of commerce to engage her in more friendly relations.
But towards the end of the year Pitt was confronted with what seemed a certainty of loss of office. King George III., after a long period of ill health, was found to be definitely suffering from mental alienation. A regency became necessary, and the person clearly marked out for the office was the Prince of Wales. But the prince was the political associate of Fox, and there was no doubt that his first step on accession to power would be the dismissal of Pitt.
Pitt saw the prospect before him, and did not attempt to shirk it. But he did propose certain restrictions on the regency in order that the king, should he recover his reason, might without difficulty resume his power.
When parliament assembled in December, Fox declared boldly that the prince had as much right to assume sovereignty during the king's incapacity as he would have in the event of the king's death. Pitt, exulting in his rival's indiscreet departure from Whig principles, retorted that the assertion of such a right, independent of the decision of the two houses, was little less than treason to the constitution. Fox's attitude was unpopular, and Pitt's resolutions, and the Regency Bill that followed, were carried through the Commons.
Towards the end of February, the third reading of the Regency Bill was impending in the Lords. Pitt had proposed that the difficulty about procuring the royal assent to the measure should be overcome by empowering the chancellor by a joint vote of both houses to put the Great Seal to a commission for giving the assent. But this expedient was unnecessary. By February 22 the king was completely recovered. The Regency Bill fell to the ground, and all the hopes which the Opposition had reared upon it.
The day of thanksgiving for the king's recovery is regarded by Lord Macaulay as the zenith in Pitt's political life. "To such a height of power and glory," he says, "had this extraordinary man risen at twenty-nine years of age. And now," he adds, perhaps less justly, "the tide was on the turn."
III.—The Struggle with France
Pitt was able to declare, in the session that preceded the dissolution of 1790, that "we are adding daily to our strength, wealth, and prosperity," and, as a result of the elections, his parliamentary majority was more than confirmed.
But symptoms of the coming stress were already manifest. The minister was anxiously watching the course of the revolution in France; and, while far from sharing the enthusiasm of Fox for the new principles, he did not endorse the fierce hostility of Burke.
"I cannot regard with envious eyes," he said, "any approximation in neighbouring states to those sentiments which are the characteristics of every British subject."
But the development of events soon made it clear that the new France had become a danger to the peace of Europe. As long as possible Pitt avoided war, which was ultimately forced upon him in 1793 by France's attack upon Holland, to which we were bound by treaty obligations.
From that time, until the peace in 1802, English naval enterprises were generally successful, and English military enterprises generally failed. Pitt has often been blamed for the faults of his country's generals; but it is assuredly true that he did all that a civilian could do to secure success in the field.
The heavy cost of the war, increased as it was by the subsidies paid to Austria, and afterwards to Russia, compelled an entire departure from Pitt's old financial methods. Each year brought an increase of taxation and an increase of debt; and at the beginning of 1797 the directors of the Bank of England, in dire perplexity, told Pitt that the state, for all his expedients, was threatened with insolvency. Pitt did not falter. An order in council was issued, suspending cash payments at the bank. Thus was established a gigantic system of paper credit, giving us power to cope with no less gigantic foes. Cash payments were not resumed until 1819.
Pitt had not only to cope with enemies without, but with sedition within. Societies formed for propagating the principles of the revolution advocated the subversion of the constitution under the pretence of parliamentary reform; the populace, angered by the privations caused by the clearness of food, listened readily to the agitators; riots were frequent, but the most mischievous form taken by sedition was that of armed conspiracy. Against these evils Pitt contended by royal proclamations, prosecutions, and, above all, by the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act. In his firm suppression of disorder Pitt was loyally supported by large majorities in both houses, and the country generally was on his side. But his domestic policy, his foreign policy, and his finance were unsparingly attacked by Fox and a small band of devoted followers—followers who did not abate in their resolution when their leader, weary of the unequal conflict, retired for a time from public life.
In the busy and anxious year 1796, there was a report that Pitt was on the point of marriage. During his short intervals of leisure at Holwood, he often visited his neighbour, Lord Auckland, at Beckenham, and was much attracted by Lord Auckland's eldest daughter, the Hon. Eleanor Eden. This strong attachment did not proceed to a proposal and a marriage. Pitt wrote to Lord Auckland avowing his affection, but explaining that in the circumstances of pecuniary difficulty in which he was involved, he would not presume to make the lady an offer. Lord Auckland acknowledged the explanation as adequate, and thus honourably ended the only "love-passage" in the life of Pitt.
Considering that Pitt's income as minister was L6,000 a year, and that he derived an additional L3,000 a year from the Lord Wardenship of the Cinque Ports, his pecuniary troubles may seem hard to explain. He had no family, and no expensive tastes. But he was so intent upon the national exchequer that he neglected his private accounts, with the consequence that he was plundered by his domestics. His expenses were not checked, and his debts continued to grow.
In the year 1800 Pitt was able to achieve a momentous change in the affairs of Ireland. The chronic discontent of that country, largely due to the resentment of the Catholics at their exclusion from the rights of citizenship, had been fanned by the importation of revolutionary ideas; and there were hopes, once or twice on the point of realisation, of a French invasion of the island. In 1798 a rebellion broke out, but was suppressed with promptness, and, it must be added, in many instances with cruelty. But to Pitt the suppression of the insurrection was only the first part of his duty. He thought that to revert to the old system would be a most shallow policy. A new, and comprehensive, and healing method must be tried—an Act of Union, which should raise the minds of Irishmen from local to imperial aims—which should blend the two legislatures, and, if possible, also the two nations, in one.
In 1800 the project was fulfilled—not without fierce resistance in the Irish Parliament, and not without a certain distribution of favours to those for whose support the government was anxious; although the allegations made on this subject seem to be exaggerated. Having accomplished the union, Pitt laid plans for a further reform which led, early in the following year, to his retirement from office.
He proposed the emancipation of the Catholics by the substitution of a political for the religious test of fitness for citizenship. Although the Anglican bishops and clergy and many laymen were strongly opposed to Catholic emancipation, Pitt would probably have been able to carry his scheme had it not been for royal antagonism. The king believed, erroneously but passionately, that by consenting to such a measure he would violate his coronation oath.
His majesty expressed his opinions on the subject so publicly and so vehemently that on January 31, 1801, Pitt felt compelled to ask leave to resign unless he were allowed to pursue his course on the Catholic question. The king required the abandonment of the scheme, and on February 3 Pitt resigned office. Thus abruptly ended his renowned administration of more than seventeen years.
The new Prime Minister was Mr. Addington, formerly Speaker of the Commons. Several of Pitt's colleagues remained in the ministry, although others withdrew from it; and Pitt himself gave general support to the government—support which was offered with especial warmth, and possessed especial value, during the hotly criticised peace negotiations with the First Consul Bonaparte in 1801 and 1802. Although Pitt had been obliged when in office to refuse several inadequate offers of peace, he had always been prepared to end the war under honourable conditions. The distinction of ending the war did not fall to his share; but his services were not forgotten. On May 7, 1802, the House of Commons carried by overwhelming numbers a motion, "That the Right Hon. William Pitt has rendered great and important services to his country, and especially deserves the gratitude of this house." And on May 28, 1802, Pitt's birthday, more than 800 persons assembled at a memorable banquet in honour of "the pilot that weathered the storm."
Until the renewal of war in 1803 Pitt took little-part in public affairs. Most of his time was spent at Walmer Castle, with occasional visits to Bath for the sake of his health, which had been uncertain since an attack of serious illness in 1797. He remained in constant communication with his political friends, and sometimes during the earlier part of his retirement aided the ministry with his advice. But with the progress of time he found himself less and less able to support Addington and his colleagues.
In May 1803 the uneasy peace came to an end. The constant aggressions of Bonaparte and his dominating tone made friendly relations impossible. There was a widespread feeling in the country that now that the storm had recommenced the old pilot should be called to the helm. Pitt returned to the Commons after the declaration of war, and forcibly criticised some of the financial and defensive measures of the ministry.
In 1804 the ministry showed itself wholly unequal to the strain upon it; and the situation was complicated by a temporary return of the king's malady. Pitt not only renewed his opposition to Addington, but made it plain that he was prepared to take part in a strong and comprehensive administration, including even Fox, that should be formed to rescue the crown and country from the dangers to which they were exposed under the Addington ministry.
A series of combined attacks was directed against the government during the month of April. Although Addington was not defeated in the Commons, he saw his majority steadily diminish; and on April 26 he resolved to resign. On the 30th, the Lord Chancellor intimated to Pitt his majesty's desire to receive the plan of a new administration.
V.—The Last Ministry
The king's opposition made the inclusion of Fox in the new ministry impossible. His hostility to Fox, however, was not simply on political grounds; he believed him to be responsible for the excesses of the Prince of Wales. Pitt was in consequence obliged to be content with a restricted choice of ministers, and had to face a powerful opposition in parliament. Addington was persuaded to join the ministry early in 1805.
During the summer of 1804 Bonaparte and his host lay menacingly at Boulogne, awaiting that command of the channel "for six hours," which the great warrior recognised as essential to his plans. Meanwhile, Pitt laboured to form another coalition, and, at the cost of heavy subsidies, was successful. Russia, Austria, and Sweden joined in the league against Napoleon; Prussia still hesitated.
In the summer of 1805 Napoleon was again at Boulogne, but his plan of invasion was wrecked by the failure of the French fleet to reach the Channel. When Napoleon learned that the fleet had gone south, and that the attack upon England had been thwarted, he straightway marched his army to mid-Europe. Pitt had staked everything on the new coalition, and the surrender of the Austrians at Ulm was news of the utmost bitterness to him. But a splendid corrective came soon afterwards in the crowning naval victory of Trafalgar. Although the nation's feelings were divided between joy at the triumph and grief at the death of the illustrious victor, Pitt's popularity, which had been somewhat uncertain, was enormously enhanced by the event. The Lord Mayor proposed his health as "the saviour of Europe."
Pitt's reply was nearly as follows: "I return you many thanks for the honour you have done me, but Europe is not to be saved by any single man. England has saved herself by her exertions, and will, I trust, save Europe by her example." With only these two sentences the minister sat down. They were the last words that Pitt ever spoke in public.
He was suffering much at this time from gout, and his general health was undermined by anxiety. In December he journeyed to Bath, and at Bath there reached him the news of the destruction of his coalition at Austerlitz. The battle was the cause of his death. He was struck down by a severe internal malady and he was in a state of extreme debility when on January 11, 1806, he returned home to the house he had taken on Putney Heath. It is said that as he passed along to his bedroom, he observed a map of Europe hanging on the wall, upon which he turned to his niece and mournfully said: "Roll up that map. It will not be wanted these ten years."
For a few days the doctors had hopes that he might recover, but on the 22nd it became evident that he could not live for twenty-four hours. Early in the morning of the 23rd he died.
"At about half-past two," wrote the Hon. James Hamilton Stanhope, who was at his bedside, "Mr. Pitt ceased moaning, and did not make the slightest sound for some time. Shortly afterwards, in a tone I never shall forget, he exclaimed: 'Oh, my country! How I love my country!' From that time he never spoke or moved, and at half-past four expired without a groan or struggle. His strength being quite exhausted, his life departed like a candle burning out."
* * * * *
ARTHUR PENRHYN STANLEY
The Life of Thomas Arnold, D.D.
Arthur Penrhyn Stanley was born at Alderley Rectory, Cheshire, on December 13, 1815. He was educated at Rugby under Arnold, and at Oxford, where Tait, the future Archbishop of Canterbury, was his tutor. Entering holy orders, he was appointed select preacher in 1845; became Canon of Canterbury in 1851; and in 1863 succeeded Trench as Dean of Westminster. He died on July 18, 1881, and by Queen Victoria's commands his remains were laid beside those of his wife, Lady Augusta Bruce, in Henry VII.'s Chapel, Westminster. Of all his works, perhaps his most important contribution to English literature is the "Life of Arnold," which was published two years after the death of the famous master of Rugby. To the task of writing the book Stanley devoted all his energies, steering clear, however, of any attempt to form an opinion of his own upon Arnold's life and character, while achieving a result that not only assured his own position at Oxford, but brought him well into the front rank of contemporary writers. The religious animosity at Oxford was uncongenial to Stanley, and it was only the prospect of Dr. Arnold occupying the Chair of Modern History that reconciled him to his surroundings.
I.—Youth and Early Manhood
Thomas Arnold, seventh child and youngest son of William and Martha Arnold, was born June 13, 1795, at East Cowes, Isle of Wight, where his father was collector of customs. His early education was undertaken by a sister; and in 1803 he was sent to Warminister School, in Wiltshire. In 1807 he went to Winchester, where, having entered as a commoner and afterwards become a scholar of the college, he remained till 1811. In after life he always cherished a strong Wykehamist feeling, and, during his headmastership at Rugby, often recurred to his knowledge there first acquired, of the peculiar constitution of a public school.
He was then, as always, of a shy and retiring disposition; but his manner as a child, and till his entrance at Oxford, was marked by a stiffness and formality, the very reverse of the joyousness and simplicity of his later years. He was unlike those of his own age, with pursuits peculiar to himself; and the tone and style of his early letters are such as might have been produced by living chiefly with his elders, and reading, or hearing read, books suited to a more advanced age. Both as boy and young man he was remarkable for a difficulty in early rising amounting almost to a constitutional infirmity; and though in after life this was overcome by habit, he often said that early rising was a daily effort to him.
The beginning of some of his later interests may be traced in his earlier amusements and occupations. He never lost the recollection of the impression produced upon him by the excitement of naval and military affairs, of which he naturally saw and heard much by living at Cowes in the time of the Napoleonic war; and with his playmates he would sail rival toy fleets or act the battles of the Homeric heroes with improvised spears and shields. He was extremely fond of ballad poetry, and his earliest compositions all ran in that direction. At Winchester he was noted for his forwardness in history and geography; and there also he gave indications of that mnemonic faculty which in later years showed itself in minute details, extending to the exact state of the weather on particular days, or the exact words or passages he had not seen for twenty years. The period of his home and school education was too short to exercise much influence on his after life, but he always looked back upon it with tenderness.
In 1811 he was elected a scholar of Corpus Christi College, Oxford; in 1814 he took a first class in classics; in 1815 he was made a Fellow of Oriel; and he gained the Chancellor's prizes for the Latin and English essays in 1815 and 1817. During his later time at Oxford he took private pupils and read extensively in the libraries. Meanwhile, he had been led gradually to fix on his future life course. In December, 1818, he was ordained deacon and next year settled at Laleham, where, in August, 1820, he married Mary Penrose, daughter of the rector of Fledborough, Notts.
At Laleham he remained for nine years, coaching private pupils for the universities. Here were born six of his nine children; the youngest three, besides one who died in infancy, were born at Rugby. During this period an essential change and growth of Arnold's character became manifest. The warm feelings of his youth gave place to the fixed earnestness and devotion which henceforth took possession of him. His former indolent habits, his morbid restlessness and occasional weariness of duty, indulgence of vague schemes without definite purpose, intellectual doubts as to accepted religious beliefs—all seem to have vanished for ever.
It was now that the religious aspect of his character came to be emphasised. In common acts of life, public and private, the depths of his religious convictions very visibly appeared. And while it is impossible to understand his religious belief except through the knowledge of his life and writings on ordinary subjects, it is impossible on the other hand, to understand his life and writings without bearing in mind how vivid was his realisation of those truths of religion on which he most habitually dwelt. It was this which enabled him to undertake labours which, without such a power, must have crushed or enfeebled the spiritual growth which in him they seemed only to foster. His letters at this time show better than anything else how he was, though unconsciously to himself, maturing for the arduous duties he afterwards undertook. It was now, too, that he first became acquainted with Niebuhr's "History of Rome," which revolutionised his views of history, and, later, served as a model for his own "History of Rome."
II.—Headmaster of Rugby
Arnold was not without his visions of ambition and extensive influence from the first, but he liked Laleham, and always looked back with fond regret to his time there. "I have always thought," he wrote in 1823, "with regard to ambition, that I should like to be aut Caesar aut nullus; and as it is pretty well settled for me that I shall not be Caesar, I am quite content to live in peace as nullus." But the fates had ordered it otherwise. Friends had long been urging him to seek a larger sphere of usefulness; and when, in August, 1827, the headmastership of Rugby became vacant, he applied for the post.
He had himself little hope of success. The testimonials he sent in were few, but all spoke strongly of his qualifications. Among them was a letter from Dr. Hawkins, the future Provost of Oriel, in which the prediction was made that if Arnold were elected he would change the face of education throughout the public schools of England. The impression produced upon the trustees by this letter and by the other testimonials was such that Arnold was immediately appointed. In June, 1828, he received priest's orders; in April and November of the same year took his degrees of B.D. and D.D., and in August entered on his new office.
The post was in many respects suited to his natural tastes—to his love of tuition, which had now grown so strongly upon him that he declared sometimes that he could hardly live without such employment; to the vigour and spirits which fitted him rather to deal with the young than the old; to the desire of carrying out his favourite ideas of uniting things secular with things spiritual, and of introducing the highest principles of action into regions comparatively uncongenial to their reception. He had not, however, accepted it without grave doubts about his fitness. In a private letter he says:
I confess that I should very much object to undertake a charge in which I was not invested with pretty full discretion. According to my notions of what large schools are, founded on all I know and all I have ever heard of them, expulsion should be practised much oftener than it is. Now, I know that trustees, in general, are averse to this plan, because it has a tendency to lessen the numbers of the school, and they regard quantity more than quality. In fact, my opinions on this point might, perhaps, generally be considered as disqualifying me for the situation of master of a great school; yet I could not consent to tolerate much that I know is tolerated generally, and, therefore, I should not like to enter on an office which I could not discharge according to my own views of what is right.
At Rugby, Arnold from the first maintained that in the actual working of the school he must be completely independent, and that the remedy of the trustees, if they were dissatisfied, was not interference, but dismissal. It was on this condition that he took the post; and any attempt to control either the administration of the school or his own private occupations he felt bound to resist as a duty not only to himself but the master of every foundation school in England. The remonstrances which he encountered, particularly from his fixed determination always to get rid of unpromising subjects, were vehement and numerous; but he repeatedly declared that on no other conditions could he hold his appointment, or justify the existence of the public school system in a Christian country.
"My object," he wrote, just before taking up duty, "will be, if possible, to form Christian men, for Christian boys I can scarcely hope to make; I mean that, from the natural imperfect state of boyhood, they are not susceptible of Christian principles in their full development upon their practice, and I suspect that a low standard of morals in many respects must be tolerated amongst them, as it was on a larger scale in what I consider the boyhood of the human race."
This is the keynote of his whole system. As he put it, what he looked for in the school was, first, religious and moral principles; second, gentlemanly conduct; and third, intellectual ability. Intellectual training was never for a moment underrated, but he always thought first of his charges as schoolboys who must grow up to be Christian men. His education, in short, "was not based upon religion, but was itself religious." For cleverness as such, Arnold had no regard. "Mere intellectual acuteness," he used to say, "divested as it is, in too many cases, of all that is comprehensive and great and good, is to me more revolting than the most helpless imbecility, seeming to be almost like the spirit of Mephistopheles." Often when this intellectual cleverness was seen in union with moral depravity, he would be inclined to deny its existence altogether.
A mere plodding boy was, above all others, encouraged by him. At Laleham he had once got out of patience, and spoken sharply to a pupil of this kind, when the pupil looked up in his face and said, "Why do you speak angrily, sir? Indeed, I am doing the best that I can." Years afterwards he used to tell the story to his children, and said, "I never felt so much ashamed in my life—that look and that speech I have never forgotten." And though it would, of course, happen that clever boys, from a greater sympathy with his understanding, would be brought into closer intercourse with him, this did not affect his feeling of respect, and even of reverence, for those who, without ability, were distinguished for high principle and industry. "If there be one thing on earth which is truly admirable, it is to see God's wisdom blessing an inferiority of natural powers where they have been honestly, truly and zealously cultivated."
III.—As Teacher and Preacher
Arnold had always been painfully impressed by the evils of the public school system, according to which a number of boys are left to form an independent society of their own, in which the influence they exert over each other is far greater than that exerted by the masters. He writes, in 1837:
Of all the painful things connected with my employment, nothing is equal to the grief of seeing a boy come to school innocent and promising, and tracing the corruption of his character from the influence of the temptations around him, in the very place which ought to have strengthened and improved it. But in most cases those who come with a character of positive good are benefited; it is the neutral and indecisive characters which are apt to be decided for evil by schools, as they would be, in fact, by any other temptation.
This very feeling led him to catch with eagerness at every means by which the trial might be shortened or alleviated. He believed that the change from childhood to manhood might be hastened without prematurely exhausting the faculties of body and mind; and it was on this principle that he chiefly acted. He desired the boys to cultivate true manliness as the only step to something higher. He treated them as gentlemen, and appealed and trusted to their common sense and conscience.
Lying to the masters he made a grave offence. He placed implicit confidence in a boy's assertion, and then, if a falsehood were discovered, punished it severely. In the higher forms any attempt at further proof of an assertion was immediately checked. "If you say so, that is quite enough; of course, I believe your word"; and there grew up in consequence a general feeling that "it was a shame to tell Arnold a lie: he always believed you." Few scenes can be recorded more characteristic of him than when, in consequence of a disturbance, he had been obliged to send away several boys, and when, in the midst of the general spirit of discontent which this excited, he stood in his place before the assembled school and said, "It is not necessary that this should be a school of three hundred, or one hundred, or of fifty boys; but it is necessary that it should be a school of Christian gentlemen."
Arnold's method of teaching was founded on the principle of awakening the intellect of every individual boy. Hence it was his practice to teach by questioning. As a general rule, he never gave information, except as a kind of reward for an answer, and often withheld it altogether, or checked himself in the very act of uttering it, from a sense that those whom he was addressing had not sufficient interest or sympathy to receive it. His explanations were at short as possible—enough to dispose of the difficulty and no more; and his questions were of a kind to call the attention of the boys to the real point of every subject and to disclose to them the exact boundaries of what they knew or did not know. With regard to the younger boys, he said: "It is a great mistake to think that they should understand all they learn; for God has ordered that in youth the memory should act vigorously, independent of the understanding—whereas a man cannot usually recollect a thing unless he understands it."
At Rugby he made it an essential part of the headmaster's office to preach a sermon every Sunday in the school chapel. "The veriest stranger," he said, "who ever attends service in this chapel does well to feel something more than common interest in the sight of the congregation here assembled. But if the sight so interests a mere stranger, what should it be to ourselves, both to you and to me?" More than either matter or manner of his preaching was the impression of himself. Even the mere readers of his sermons will derive from them the history of his whole mind, and of his whole management of the school. But to his hearers it was more than this. It was the man himself, there more than in any other place, concentrating all his various faculties and feelings on one sole object, combating face to face the evil which, directly or indirectly, he was elsewhere perpetually struggling.
His personal interest in the boys was always strong. "Do you see," he on one occasion said to an assistant-master who had recently come, "those two boys walking together? I never saw them together before; you should make an especial point of observing the company they keep; nothing so tells the changes in a boy's character."
IV.—Influence of the Great Teacher
But the impression which Arnold produced upon the boys was derived not so much from any immediate intercourse or conversation with them as from the general influence of his whole character, displayed consistently whenever he appeared before them. This influence, with its consequent effects, was gradually on the increase during the whole of his stay. From the earliest period, indeed, the boys were conscious of something unlike what they had been taught to imagine of a schoolmaster, and by many a lasting regard was contracted for him. In the higher forms, at least, it became the fashion, so to speak, to think and talk of him with pride and affection. As regards the permanent effects of his whole system, it may be said that not so much among his own pupils, or in the scene of his actual labours, as in every public school throughout England is to be sought the chief and enduring monument of Arnold's headmastership at Rugby.
Of Arnold's general life at Rugby there is no need to say much; for although the school did not occupy his whole energies, it is almost solely by his school work that he is remembered. He took a not unimportant part in the political and theological discussions of his time, and various literary enterprises also engaged his attention. In theology he entertained very broad views. One great principle he advocated with intense earnestness was that a Christian people and a Christian Church should be synonymous. That use of the word "Church" which limits it to the clergy, or which implies in the clergy any particular sacredness, he entirely repudiated.
He was convinced that the founders of our constitution in Church and State did truly consider them to be identical; the Christian nation of England to be the Church of England; the head of that nation to be, for that very reason, the head of the Church. This view placed him in antagonism to the High Church party; but, as a matter of fact, he neither belonged, nor felt himself to belong, to any section of the English clergy. Politically, he held himself to be a strong Whig; but that he was not, in the common sense of the word, a member of any party is shown by the readiness with which all parties alike, according to the fashion of the time, claimed or renounced him as an associate.
Arnold did not like the flat scenery of Warwickshire He described himself as "in it like a plant sunk in the ground in a pot." His holidays were always spent away from Rugby, either on the Continent, or, in later years, at his Westmoreland home, Fox How, a small estate between Rydal and Ambleside, which he purchased in 1832. He was just about to leave Rugby for Fox How when his life was mournfully and suddenly ended by an attack of angina pectoris, on June 12, 1842. Only the year before he had been appointed by Lord Melbourne Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford.
Arnold's principal works are six volumes of sermons, a three-volume edition of Thucydides, the Oxford "Lectures on Modern History," and the three-volume "History of Rome," which, by his unfortunate death, was broken off at the Second Punic War. To the last-named he looked as the chief monument of his historical fame.
* * * * *
Life of Queen Elizabeth
Agnes Strickland, born in London on August 19, 1796, with her sister Elizabeth began in 1840 the publication of the immense series of historical biographies of which the "Lives of the Queens of England" formed the first and most important group. In that group the "Elizabeth" is recognised as holding the highest rank. It is an essentially feminine study of one of the most remarkable of women; not a history, for historical events are treated as of infinitely less importance than picturesque personal details and miscellaneous gossip, but presenting altogether an admirable picture of the outward seeming of those spacious days, and a discriminating and judicious portrait of the maiden queen herself. The author's views, however, would not always be endorsed by a masculine critic. Agnes Strickland died on July 13, 1874. The literature relating to the life and times of Queen Elizabeth would form a library of contemporary records. Many volumes of state papers have been published: Camden's "Annals of Elizabeth" is the classical account of her. Creighton's "Queen Elizabeth" and volumes VII. to XII. of Froude's "History of England" are the leading modern works; and no one who wishes to know anything of the great queen can afford to neglect Hume's "Courtships of Queen Elizabeth," which will also be found in these pages (see Hume).
I.—The Lady Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth first saw the light at Greenwich Palace, where, says Heywood, "she was born on the eve of the Virgin's nativity, and died on the eve of the Virgin's annunciation." The christening ceremony was gorgeous and elaborate, but, with the downfall of her mother, Anne Boleyn, she ceased to be treated as a princess. She seems to have owed much to the judicious training of Lady Margaret Bryan, in whose charge she was. Later, she was associated with Prince Edward, four years her junior; both displayed an extraordinary precocity and capacity for learning.
On Henry's death, she resided with his widow, Catharine Parr, who married the Lord Admiral, Thomas Seymour. That ambitious nobleman, brother of the Protector, certainly designed, when Catharine died, to marry Elizabeth; an intention which was among the causes of his execution under attainder. His relations with her had already been unduly familiar, but there was no warrant for the scandalous stories that were repeated; and although Elizabeth all her life was naturally disposed to an excessive freedom of manners, she now became a pattern of decorum. But she was probably more in love with Seymour, as a girl of fifteen, than with anyone else in after life; though, on his death, she called him "a man of much wit and very little judgement."
Ascham is full of praises of her learning and her wide reading, both in Greek and Latin, which is displayed somewhat pedantically in her letters; her propriety and simplicity of apparel in these days is in curious contrast to the extravagances of her wardrobe in later life.
Mary treated her conspicuously as a sister; she refused, however, to abjure her Protestantism. Her position became extremely difficult, as the French, the Spaniards, and the Protestant party each sought to involve her in plots for their own ends. These culminated in Wyat's rebellion. The inevitable suspicions attaching to her caused her to be lodged in the Tower; but, in spite of the machinations of the Spanish party and the distrust of Mary, the evidence produced failed to warrant her condemnation.
Yet she was kept in rigorous confinement, her life continuing to be in danger for a month after Wyat himself had been executed. She was then removed to Richmond, but refused to purchase liberty at the price of marriage to a foreign prince, Philibert of Savoy—a scheme intended as a cover for Mary's determination to marry Philip, the Prince of Spain. Finally, she was transferred to Woodstock, where she was held a close prisoner.
Policy now led her to profess acceptance of the Roman religion, but in very ambiguous fashion. Probably it was through the intercession of Philip—now her brother-in-law, whose policy at this time was to conciliate the English people—that she was set at liberty and readmitted to court at Christmas.
At the end of the next year Elizabeth was at Hatfield, under the gentle surveillance of Sir Thomas Pope. She continued to be involved in grave dangers by perpetual plots, in which she was far too shrewd to let herself be implicated; and she guarded herself by a continued profession of Romanism to the hour of her accession on her sister's death.
As the hour of Mary's death approached, there was no doubt of Elizabeth's succession, though there was alarm as to possible complications. On November 17, 1558, the Chancellor announced to Parliament that Mary was dead, and Elizabeth queen. She held her first council at Hatfield two days later, when William Cecil took his place as her chief counsellor; on her entry into London, the position which was to be occupied by Lord Robert Dudley, afterwards Earl of Leicester, was already conspicuous.
The coronation, which took place in January, was a magnificent pageant, in which Elizabeth openly courted the favour and affection of her subjects; and it became at once apparent that the breach with Rome was reopened. The supremacy of the crown was reasserted, the all but empty bench of bishops was filled up with reformers; and, in answer to the Commons, Elizabeth very clearly implied her intention of reigning a virgin queen. She had already declined Philip of Spain's offer of his widowed hand; and now the fact that Mary Stuart stood next in the succession—with a better title than Elizabeth's own, if her legitimacy were challenged—became of immense importance.
Accordingly, an express declaration of her legitimate right to the throne was procured from Parliament. For some time pageants and popular displays were the order of the day. But, in spite of Elizabeth's own declarations, all her council were convinced that the safety of the realm demanded her marriage; and suitors began to abound. Arran appears—who now stood very near the throne of Scotland. Pickering, Arundel, Dudley, all seemed possible aspirants. The Austrian Archduke Charles, cousin of Philip of Spain, and Eric of Norway, were candidates. She played with them all, and the play was made more grim by the tragic death of Dudley's wife, Amy Robsart.
II.—Mary Stuart and Saint Bartholomew
The proposals for Elizabeth's own hand were now diversified by her interest in those for the hand of the Queen of Scots; for it was of immense importance to the Queen of England that Mary should not wed a foreign prince who might support her claim to the English throne. Mary professed willingness to be guided by her "sister," but was insulted by Elizabeth's offer of her own favourite, Dudley, who was made Earl of Leicester. Melville, the courtly Scots ambassador, had much ado to answer Elizabeth's questions about his mistress's beauty and accomplishments in a manner agreeable to the English queen. Mary solved her own problem, only to create a new one, by marrying her cousin, Lord Darnley. Elizabeth was bitterly aggrieved when a son—afterwards James I.—was born to them. She herself continued to agitate Cecil and the council by the favours she lavished on Leicester. But the renewed entreaties of Parliament, that steps might be taken to secure the succession, led to what threatened to be a serious quarrel.
Amongst these high matters, the records of her majesty's wardrobe, and the interests of Cecil in capturing for her service a tailor employed by Catherine de Medici, form an entertaining interlude. But tragedy was at hand; the murder of Darnley, Mary's marriage to the murderer Bothwell, her imprisonment at Loch Leven, Elizabeth's perturbation—for she was sincere in her fear of encouraging subjects to control monarchs by force of arms—was diversified by a last negotiation for her marriage with the Archduke Charles, which broke down over his refusal to abjure his religion.
Then came a turn of the wheel; Mary escaped from Loch Leven, her followers were dispersed at Langside, and she fled across the Solway to throw herself on Elizabeth's protection and find herself Elizabeth's prisoner.
The Scottish queen was consigned to Bolton; an investigation was held at York, when Mary's accusers were allowed to produce, and Mary's friends were not allowed to test, their evidence of her complicity in Darnley's murder. At that stage the investigations were stopped; but the Duke of Norfolk, the head of the commission, was not deterred from pressing the design of marrying Mary himself. Mary was placed in the charge of Shrewsbury and his termagant spouse, Bess of Hardwick.
From this time for fifteen years, Elizabeth was perpetually playing at proposals for her own marriage with one or other of the French King's brothers, to keep the French court from a rapprochement with Spain. Suspicions of Norfolk's intentions led to his arrest, and this precipitated the rising in favour of Mary under the Catholic northern earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland; an insurrection promptly and cruelly crushed. In the spring of 1570 the Pope issued a bull of deposition; and the plots on behalf of Mary as Catholic claimant to the throne thickened.
In 1571 it appeared that Elizabeth was set on the marriage with Henry of Anjou, nineteen years her junior, the brother who stood next in succession to the throne of Charles IX. of France—a marriage not at all approved by her council, and very little to Henry's own taste. It was at this time that the conduct of negotiations in Paris was entrusted to Francis Walsingham.
The relations between the queen and the Commons were exemplified by her attempt to exclude an obnoxious member, Strickland, met by the successful assertion of their privileges on the part of the House.
In this year the plot known as Ridolfi's was discovered, and it is to be noted that Elizabeth herself ordered the rack to be used to extort information. The result was condemnation of Norfolk to the block. The recalcitrance of Henry of Anjou led to his definitely withdrawing from his courtship, while the young Alencon became the new subject of matrimonial negotiation.
Elizabeth played with the new proposal, as usual, relying always on her ability to back out of the negotiations, as in previous cases, by demanding of her suitor a more uncompromising acceptance of Protestantism than could be admitted. The whole affair, however, was apparently brought to a check by the massacre of St. Bartholomew, with the perpetration of which it seemed impossible for the most powerful of Protestant monarchs to associate herself.
Cecil—now Lord Burleigh—would have used the occasion for the destruction of Mary Stuart; but the device for doing so irreproachably by handing her over to her own rebels, was frustrated—though Elizabeth concurred—by the refusal of the Scots lords to play the part which was assigned to them. The Alencon affair was soon in full swing again, the young prince writing love-letters to the lady whom he had not seen.
III.—The Hour of Mary's Doom
Elizabeth's fondness for pageantry—partly out of a personal delight in it, partly from a politic appreciation of its value in making her popular—especially pageantry at some one else's expense, was illustrated in the gorgeous doings at Kenilworth, depicted (with sundry anachronisms) in Scott's novel.
These gaieties were the embroidery on more serious matters, for the Netherlands had for some time been engaged in their apparently desperate struggle with the power of Spain, and now actually invited the Queen of England to assume sovereignty over them—an offer which she was too acute to accept.
Yet we cannot pass over a highly characteristic incident. When the queen's majesty had a bad toothache, the protestations of her whole council failed to persuade her to face the extraction of the tooth, till the Bishop of London invited the surgeon to operate first on him in her presence, with satisfactory results. We must also record how the ugly little Alencon, or Anjou as he was now called, arrived unexpectedly to woo her in person, charmed her by his chivalrous audacity in doing so, and won from her the appropriate name of "Little Frog."
Whether she really wished to marry her "frog" is extremely doubtful. She made all the more parade of her desire to do so, since the extreme antipathy of the council and the nation to the project would secure her a retreat to the last. The expectation of the marriage caused the Netherlanders to offer Anjou the sovereignty which she had rejected; with the idea of thus securing the united support of England and France. But when matters reached the point of negotiation for an Anglo-French league, with the marriage as one of the articles, Elizabeth, of course, could not be brought to a definite answer, and after long delay Anjou found himself obliged to return to the Netherlands, neither accepted nor rejected. His subsequent death put an end to this, her last, matrimonial comedy.
At last an English force was actually sent to help the Netherlanders, under the command of Leicester. His conduct there led to his recall. Another favourite stood high in the queen's good graces—Walter Raleigh. Probably it was with a view to ousting this rival that Leicester brought his stepson Essex into the queen's notice.
But now the hour of Mary's doom was approaching. A plot was set on foot for the assassination of Elizabeth, into which Anthony Babington, whose name it bears, was drawn. Walsingham, possessed of complete information from the beginning, through his spies, nursed the plot carefully; letters from Mary were systematically intercepted and copied till the moment came for striking; the conspirators were arrested, and suffered the extreme penalty of the treason laws; and Elizabeth consented to have Mary herself at last brought to trial. She was refused counsel; the commission condemned her. Parliament demanded the execution of the death sentence. Elizabeth had her own misgivings.
She was afraid of the responsibility. Leicester suggested poison, but Burleigh and Walsingham stood by the law. A special embassy of remonstrance came from France; Mary wrote a dignified letter, not an appeal for her life, which moved the queen to tears; protests from the King of Scotland only aroused indignation; Elizabeth was frightened by rumours of fresh plots and of a French invasion.
At last she signed the death warrant, brought to her by Secretary Davison; the Chancellor's seal was attached, and the council, fearing some evasion on Elizabeth's part, issued the commission for Mary's execution without further reference to the queen; she was kept in ignorance of the fact till the tragedy was completed. She was furious with the council, but powerless against their unanimity. She could venture to make a scapegoat of Davison, and made a vain attempt to clear herself of responsibility in a letter to James, which failed to soothe the burst of indignation with which the news was received in Scotland. But the one thing she feared—a coalition of France, Spain, and Scotland—was made impossible by the antagonisms of the former and the weakness of the last.
Another crisis was at hand. Philip of Spain, claiming the throne of England as a descendant of John of Gaunt, was preparing the great Armada; Pope Sixtus V. was proclaiming a crusade against the heretic queen. Drake sailed into Cadiz harbour, and "singed the don's whiskers," but the vast preparations went on. A lofty spirit animated the queen and the people. London undertook to provide double the number of ships and men demanded from her. The militia was gathered at Tilbury, under Leicester. Howard of Effingham was Lord Admiral, with Drake as vice-admiral; in the enthusiasm of the moment, Elizabeth bestowed knighthood on a valorous lady, Mary, the wife of Sir Hugh Cholmondeley.
A report that the Armada had been destroyed by a gale, which actually drove it into Corunna for repairs, caused Elizabeth, with her usual parsimony, to order four great vessels to be dismantled; Howard retained them instead, at his own charges. On July 19, 1588, the Armada was sighted off the Lizard, and for eighteen days the naval heroes were grappling with that "invincible" fleet. Elizabeth herself visited the camp at Tilbury, rode through the lines, wearing a corselet and a farthingale of amazing dimensions, while a page bore her helmet, and addressed her soldiers in stirring words.
The victory was celebrated by medals bearing the device of a fleet in full sail, with the words Venit, vidit, fugit ("it came, it saw, it fled"), and of the dispersal by fireships with the words, Dux femina facti ("a woman led the movement").
IV.—Elizabeth's Closing Years
The defeat of the Armada was followed by an expedition to Lisbon, to wrest Portugal from Spain; owing to inadequate equipment it failed, after a promising beginning, the Portuguese lending no help. Essex managed to escape from court and join the expedition, messengers ordering him to return being too late. For this he was forgiven; but when he secretly married the widow of Sidney, and daughter of Walsingham, Elizabeth was furiously angry.
Not Essex, but Norris was sent to command a force dispatched to the aid of Henry of Navarre, who was now fighting for the crown of France. Essex, however, was subsequently sent, at Henry's own request. His absence was utilised by Burleigh to secure the advancement of his own astute son, Robert Cecil, who secured the royal favour by the ingenuity of his flattery.
When Essex finally returned from France, he was received with the utmost favour; but in the interval he had been transformed into an intriguing politician. Parliament, which had not been called for four years, met in 1593, and there was an immediate collision with the Crown. Elizabeth's tone was much more despotic than of old. Petitions for the settlement of the succession were met by the arbitrary imprisonment of Wentworth and other members.
Essex favoured the popular party, but had not the courage to head it; he was moved not by patriotism, but by jealousy of the Cecil ascendancy. The queen, when she had passed the age of sixty, was as determined as ever to pose as a youthful beauty, and her courtiers had no reluctance in assuming the tone of despairing lovers. No one played this part more persistently than Raleigh, who, when relegated to the Tower for marrying, proclaimed his misery, not at being separated from his bride, but at being shut out of the radiant presence of the queen.
Essex and Raleigh were associated in two expeditions, one directed with complete success against Cadiz, the other being a complete failure. The Burleigh faction succeeded in getting for Raleigh whatever credit there was in both cases, though Essex was better entitled to it.
But it was Ireland that wrought the ruin of Essex. A dispute in the council on the subject caused the queen to box the favourite's ears, which caused him to retire in resentment for many months. Soon after his return to court, he brought upon himself his own appointment to the lord-deputyship of Ireland. His conduct there displeased her; from her scolding letters, he concluded that his enemies in the council were undermining his position in his absence. He deserted his post, hurried to London, and burst, travel-stained as he was, into Elizabeth's chamber. For the moment she appeared disposed to forgive him, but was not long in deciding that his insolence must be punished, and he was placed in confinement.
So he continued for about a year, in spite of appeals to the queen. The adverse party in the council had the predominance. At last, however, he was granted a degree of liberty, and Francis Bacon tried to conciliate Elizabeth towards her former favourite. But the unfortunate man allowed his resentment to carry him into dangerous courses. His house became a rendezvous of the discontented. Finally, a futile attempt on his part to raise the citizens of London in his favour consummated his ruin. He was soon a prisoner; his condemnation was now a foregone conclusion; Elizabeth signed the warrant with fingers which did not tremble; and, to the universal astonishment, the favourite was executed.
Elizabeth's meeting with her last parliament displays in a marked degree the tact which never deserted her when she thought fit to employ it. Their protest against the practice of monopolies, instead of rousing her ire, brought from her a notably gracious promise to redress the grievances complained of. This was in 1601. In the next year, when she became sixty-nine, there was no relaxation in her gaieties; but under the surface, Elizabeth was old and sad.
Her popularity had never been the same since the death of Essex; and the memory of the man she had cherished and finally sent to his doom, well-deserved as that was, was a perpetual source of grief to her. In March 1603, she was stricken with her last fatal illness. Yet she would not go to bed. At last she gave in; she knew herself dying long before she admitted it.
It was uncertain whether even in her last moments she would acknowledge the right of any successor to her throne, but a gesture was interpreted as favouring the King of Scots. Finally, she sank into a sleep from which she never awoke. So passed away England's Elizabeth.
* * * * *
Journal to Stella
The "Journal to Stella," which extends over the years 1710 to 1713, was first published in 1766 and has often been republished since. The manuscripts are preserved in the British Museum. It was at Sir William Temple's home, Moor Park in Surrey, that Swift came to know Esther Johnson, or "Stella," who was fourteen years younger than himself. In 1699 Temple died, and Stella, with her friend, Rebecca Dingley, came to Ireland at Swift's request. Their relation has been made a great mystery. It will perhaps always be doubtful whether he was nominally married to her secretly; the evidence is on the whole against the existence of such a bond. But to the further question—why did he not take her to live as his wife—a sufficient reply may be found in his abnormal nature. In the "Journal" the word "Presto" refers to Swift himself (see FICTION); "MD" to Stella.
LONDON, Sept. 9, 1710.
I got here last Thursday, after five days' travelling, weary the first, almost dead the second, tolerable the third, and well enough the rest; and am now glad of the fatigue, which has served for exercise; and I am at present well enough. The Whigs were ravished to see me, and would lay hold on me as a twig while they are drowning, and the great men making me their clumsy apologies, etc. But my Lord Treasurer received me with a great deal of coldness, which has enraged me so, I am almost vowing revenge. I have not yet gone half my circle; but I find all my acquaintance just as I left them. Everything is turning upside down; every Whig in great office will, to a man, be infallibly put out; and we shall have such a winter as hath not been seen in England.
The Tatler expects every day to be turned out of his employment; and the Duke of Ormond, they say, will be Lieutenant of Ireland. I hope you are now peaceably in Presto's lodgings; but I resolve to turn you out by Christmas; in which time I shall either have done my business, or find it not to be done. Pray be at Trim by the time this letter comes to you; and ride little Johnson, who must needs be now in good case. I have begun this letter unusually, on the post-night, and have already written to the Archbishop; and cannot lengthen this. Henceforth I will write something every day to MD, and make it a sort of journal; and when it is full, I will send it, whether MD writes or no; and so that will be pretty: and I shall always be in conversation with MD, and MD with Presto; and so farewell.
LONDON, NOV. 11, 1710.
I dined to-day in the City, and then went to christen Will Frankland's child; Lady Falconbridge was one of the godmothers; this is a daughter of Oliver Cromwell, and extremely like him by the picture I have seen. My business in the City was to thank Stratford for a kindness he has done me. I found Bank stock fallen thirty-four to the hundred, and was mighty desirous to buy it. I had three hundred pounds in Ireland, and I desired Stratford to buy me three hundred pounds in Bank stock and that he keep the papers, and that I would be bound to pay him for them; and, if it should rise or fall, I should take my chance and pay him interest in the meantime. I was told money was so hard to get here, and no one would do this for me. However, Stratford, one of the most generous men alive, has done this for me: so that three hundred pounds cost me three hundred pounds and thirty shillings. This was done a week ago, and I can have five pounds for my bargain already. I writ to your Mother to desire Lady Giffard would do the same with what she owes me, but she tells your mother she has no money. I would to God, all you had in the world was there. Whenever you lend money, take this rule, to have two people bound, who have both visible fortunes; for they will hardly die together; and, when one dies, you fall upon the other, and make him add another security. So, ladies, enough of business for one night. Paaaaast twelve o'clock; nite, nite deelest MD. I must only add, that, after a long fit of rainy weather, it has been fair two or three days, and is this day grown cold and frosty; so you must give poor little Presto leave to have a fire in his chamber morning and evening too; and he will do as much for you. Shall I send this to-morrow? Well I will, to oblige MD. 'Tis late, so I bid you good-night.
CHELSEA, June, 1711.
I went at noon to see Mr. Secretary at his office, and there was Lord Treasurer; so I killed two birds, etc., and we were glad to see one another and so forth. And the Secretary and I dined at Sir William Wyndam's, who married Lady Catherine Seymour, your acquaintance, I suppose. There were ten of us at dinner. It seems, in my absence, they had erected a Club, and made me one; and we made some laws to-day, which I am to digest and add to, against next meeting. Our meetings are to be every Thursday. We are yet but twelve; Lord Keeper and Lord Treasurer were proposed; but I was against them, and so was Mr. Secretary, though their sons are of it, and so they are excluded; but we design to admit the Duke of Shrewsbury. The end of our Club is to advance conversation and friendship, and to reward deserving persons with our interest and recommendation. We take in none but men of wit or men of interest; and if we go on as we begin, no other Club in this town will be worth talking of. This letter will come three weeks after the last, so there is a week lost; but that is owing to my being out of town.
Well, but I must answer this letter of our MD's. Saturday approaches, and I han't written down this side. Oh, faith, Presto has been a sort of lazy fellow: but Presto will remove to town this day se'night: the Secretary has commanded me to do so: and I believe he and I shall go some days to Windsor, where he will have leisure to mind some business we have together. To-day our Society (it must not be called a Club) dined at Mr. Secretary's: we were but eight. We made some laws, and then I went to take my leave of Lady Ashburnham, who goes out of town to-morrow.
Steele has had the assurance to write to me that I would engage my Lord Treasurer to keep a friend of his in an employment. I believe I told you how he and Addison served me for my good offices in Steele's behalf; and I promised Lord Treasurer never to speak for either of them again.
We have plays acted in our town; and Patrick was at one of them, oh, oh. He was damnably mauled one day when he was drunk, by a brother-footman, who dragged him along the floor on his face, which looked for a week after as if he had the leprosy, and I was glad enough to see it. I have been ten times sending him back to you; yet now he has new clothes and a laced hat, which the hatter brought by his orders, and he offered to pay for the lace out of his wages.
I must rise now and shave, and walk to town, unless I go with the Dean in his chariot at twelve: and I have not seen that Lord Peterborough yet. The Duke of Shrewsbury is almost well again, but what care you? You do not care for my friends. Farewell, my dearest lives and delights: I love you better than ever, if possible, as hope saved, I do, and ever will. God almighty bless you ever, and make us happy together! I pray for this twice every day; and I hope God will hear my poor hearty prayers. Remember, if I am used ill and ungratefully, as I have formerly been, 'tis what I am prepared for, and I shall not wonder at it. Yet I am now envied, and thought in high favour, and have every day numbers of considerable men teasing me to solicit for them. And the Ministry all use me perfectly well; and all that know them say they love me. Yet I can count upon nothing, nor will, but upon MD's love and kindness. They think me useful; they pretended they were afraid of none but me, and that they resolved to have me; they have often confessed this: yet all this makes little impression on me—Pox of these speculations! They give me the spleen; a disease I was not born to. Let me alone, sirrahs, and be satisfied: I am, as long as MD and Presto are well. Little wealth, and much health, and a life by stealth: that is all we want; and so farewell, dearest MD; Stella, Dingley, Presto, all together; now and for ever all together. Farewell again and again.
LONDON, July, 1711.
I have just sent my 26th, and have nothing to say, because I have other letters to write (pshaw, I began too high) but to-morrow I will say more, and fetch up this line to be straight This is enough at present for two dear saucy naughty girls.
Morning. It is a terrible rainy day. Patrick lay out all last night, and is not yet returned: faith, poor Presto is a desolate creature; neither servant, nor linen, nor anything.
I was at Court and Church to-day: I am acquainted with about thirty in the drawing-room, and I am so proud I make all the Lords come up to me; one passes half an hour pleasant enough. We had a dunce to preach before the queen to-day, which often happens. Windsor is a delicious situation, but the town is scoundrel. The Duke of Hamilton would needs be witty, and hold up my train as I walked upstairs. It is an ill circumstance that on Sundays much company always meet at the great tables. The Secretary showed me his bill of fare, to encourage me to dine with him. "Poh," said I, "show me a bill of company, for I value not your dinner."
In my conscience. I fear I shall have the gout. I sometimes feel pains about my feet and toes: I never drank till within these two years, and I did it to cure my head. I often sit evenings with some of these people, and drink in my turn; but I am resolved to drink ten times less than before; but they advise me to let what I drink be all wine, and not to put water in it. Tooke and the printer stayed to-day to finish their affair. Then I went to see Lord Treasurer, and chid him for not taking notice of me at Windsor. He said he kept a place for me yesterday at dinner, and expected me there; but I was glad I did not go, because the Duke of Buckingham was there, and that would have made us acquainted; which I have no mind to.
I have sent a noble haunch of venison this afternoon to Mrs. Vanhomrigh; I wish you had it sirrahs. I dined gravely with my landlord, the Secretary. The queen was abroad to-day to hunt; but finding it disposed to rain, she kept in her coach, which she drives herself, and drives furiously, like Jehu, and is a mighty hunter, like Nimrod. Dingley has heard of Nimrod, but not Stella, for it is in the Bible. Mr. Secretary has given me a warrant for a buck; I can't sent it to MD. It is a sad thing, faith, considering how Presto loves MD, and how MD would love Presto's venison for Presto's sake. God bless the two dear Wexford girls!
There was a drawing-room to-day at Court; but so few company, that the queen sent for us into her bedchamber, where we made our bows, and stood about twenty of us round the room, while she looked at us round with her fan in her mouth, and once a minute said about three words to some that were nearest to her, and then she was told dinner was ready, and went out.
LONDON, Dec. 1, 1711.
To-morrow is the fatal day for the Parliament meeting, and we are full of hopes and fears. We reckon we have a majority of ten on our side in the House of Lords; yet I observe Mrs. Masham a little uneasy. The Duke of Marlborough has not seen the queen for some days past; Mrs. Masham is glad of it, because she says he tells a hundred lies to his friends of what she says to him: he is one day humble, and the next day on the high ropes.
This being the day Parliament was to meet, and the great question to be determined, I went with Dr. Freind to dine in the City, on purpose to be out of the way, and we sent our printer to see what was our fate; but he gave us a most melancholy account of things. The Earl of Nottingham began and spoke against a peace, and desired that in their address they might put in a clause to advise the queen not to make a peace without Spain; which was debated, and carried by the Whigs by about six voices: and this has happened entirely by my Lord Treasurer's neglect, who did not take timely care to make up his strength, although every one of us gave him caution enough. Nottingham has certainly been bribed. The question is yet only carried in the Committee of the whole House, and we hope when it is reported to the House to-morrow, we shall have a majority.
This is a day that may produce great alterations and hazard the ruin of England. The Whigs are all in triumph; they foretold how all this would be, but we thought it boasting. Nay, they said the Parliament should be dissolved before Christmas, and perhaps it may: this is all your d——d Duchess of Somerset's doings. I warned them of this nine months ago, and a hundred times since. I told Lord Treasurer I should have the advantage of him; for he would lose his head, and I should only be hanged, and so carry my body entire to the grave.
I was this morning with Mr. Secretary: we are both of opinion that the queen is false. He gave me reasons to believe the whole matter is settled between the queen and the Whigs. Things are now in a crisis, and a day or two will determine. I have desired him to engage Lord Treasurer to send, me abroad as Queen's Secretary somewhere or other, where I will remain till the new Ministers recall me; and then I will be sick for five or six months, till the storm has spent itself. I hope he will grant me this; for I should hardly trust myself to the mercy of my enemies while their anger is fresh.
Morning. They say the Occasional Bill is brought to-day into the House of Lords; but I know not. I will now put an end to my letter, and give it into the post-house with my own fair hands. This will be a memorable letter, and I shall sigh to see it some years hence. Here are the first steps towards the ruin of an excellent Ministry; for I look upon them as certainly ruined; and God knows what may be the consequence.—I now bid my dearest MD farewell; for company is coming, and I must be at Lord Dartmouth's office by noon. Farewell, dearest MD; I wish you a merry Christmas; I believe you will have this about that time. Love Presto, who loves MD above all things a thousand times. Farewell again, dearest MD.
LONDON, Dec. 20, 1711.
I was with the Secretary this morning, and, for aught I can see, we shall have a languishing death: I can know nothing, nor themselves neither. I dined, you know, with our Society, and that odious Secretary would make me President next week; so I must entertain them this day se'night at the Thatched House Tavern: it will cost me five or six pounds; yet the Secretary says he will give me wine.
Saturday night. I have broken open my letter, and tore it into the bargain, to let you know that we are all safe: the queen has made no less than twelve Lords to have a majority; nine new ones, the other three peers' sons; and has turned out the Duke of Somerset. She is awaked at last, and so is Lord Treasurer: I want nothing now but to see the Duchess out. But we shall do without her. We are all extremely happy. Give me joy, sirrahs. This is written in a coffee-house.
LONDON, Feb. 26, 1712.
I was again busy with the Secretary. I dined with him, and we were to do more business after dinner; but after dinner is after dinner—an old saying and a true, "much drinking, little thinking." We had company with us, and nothing could be done, so I am to go there again to-morrow.
To-day in the morning I visited upwards: first I saw the Duke of Ormond below stairs, and gave him joy of being declared General in Flanders; then I went up one pair of stairs, and sat with the duchess; then I went up another pair of stairs, and paid a visit to Lady Betty; and then desired her woman to go up to the garret, that I might pass half an hour with her, for she was young and handsome, but she would not.
Tell Walls that I spoke to the Duke of Ormond about his friend's affairs. I likewise mentioned his own affair to Mr. Southwell. But oo must not know zees sings, zey are secrets; and we must keep them flom nauty dallars. I was with Lord Treasurer to-day, and hat care oo for zat? Monday is parson's holiday, and oo lost oo money at cards; ze devil's device. Nite, nite, my two deelest logues.
LONDON, April 6, 1713
I was this morning at the rehearsal of Mr. Addison's play, called "Cato," which is to be acted on Friday. There were not above half a score of us to see it. We stood on the stage, and it was foolish enough to see the actors prompted every moment, and the poet directing them; and the drab that acts Cato's daughter, in the midst of a passionate part, calling out "What's next?" I went back and dined with Mr. Addison.
Nothing new to-day; so I'll seal up this to-night. Pray write soon.... Farewell, deelest MD, MD, MD. Love Presto.
* * * * *
LYOF N. TOLSTOY
Childhood, Boyhood, Youth
Childhood (1852), Boyhood (1854), and Youth (1855-57)—Tolstoy's first literary efforts—may be regarded as semi-autobiographical studies; if not in detail, at least in the wider sense that all his books contain pictures more or less accurate of himself and his own experiences. No plot runs through them; they simply analyse and describe with extraordinary minuteness the feelings of a nervous and morbid boy—a male Marie Bashkirtseff. They are tales rather of the developments of the thoughts, than of the life of a child, with a pale background of men and events. The distinct charm lies in the sincerity with which this development is represented.
August 12, 18—, was the third day after my tenth birthday anniversary. Wonderful presents had been given me. My tutor, Karl Ivanitch, roused me at seven by striking at a fly directly over my head with a flapper made of sugar paper fastened to a stick. He generally spoke in German, and in his kindly voice exclaimed, "Auf, Kinder, auf; es ist Zeit. Die Mutter ist schon im Saal." ("Get up, children, it is time. Your Mother is already in the drawing-room.")
Dyadka Nikolai, the valet of us children, a neat little man, brought in the clothes for me and Volodya, who was imitating my sister's governess, Marya Ivanova, in mocking, merry laughter. Somewhat sternly presently Karl Ivanitch called from the schoolroom to know if we were nearly ready to begin our lessons.
In the schoolroom, on one shelf was our promiscuous assortment of books, on another, the still more miscellaneous collection which our dear old tutor was pleased to call his library. I remember that it included a German treatise on cabbage gardens, a history of the Seven Years' War, and a work on hydrostatic. Karl Ivanitch spent all his spare time in reading his beloved books, but he never read anything beyond these and the Northern Bee. After early lessons our tutor conducted us downstairs to greet Mamma.
She was sitting in the parlour, in front of the samovar, pouring out tea. To the left of the divan was the old English grand piano, on which my dark-complexioned sister, Liubotchka, eleven years old, was painfully practising Clementi's exercises. Near her Marya Ivanova, with scowls on her face, was loudly counting, and beating time with her foot. She frowned still more disagreeably at Karl as he entered, but he appeared to ignore this and kissed my mother's hand with a German salutation. After mutually affectionate greetings Mamma told us to go to our father and to ask him to come to her before he went to the threshing floor.
We found Papa angrily discussing business affairs with Yakov Mikhailof, the chief concern being apparently about money from Mamma's estate at Khabarovka, her native village. A large sum was due to the council, and Yakov pleaded that it would be difficult to raise it from the sale of hay and the proceeds of the mill. "For example," said he, "the miller has been twice to ask me for delay, swearing by Christ the Lord that he has no money. What little cash he had he put into the dam."
Yakov was a serf, and was a most devoted and assiduous man, excessively economical in managing his master's affairs, and constantly worried himself over the increase of his master's property at the expense of that of his mistress.
For some days we had been expecting something unusual, from preparations which we saw going on for some journey, but an announcement from Papa at length surprised us terribly. He greeted us one morning with the remark that it was time to put an end to our idleness, and that as he was going that evening to Moscow, we were to go with him and to live there with our grandmother, Mamma remaining on the estate with the girls.
My thoughts were mingled, for I was very grieved for the sake of Mamma, yet I felt pleasure at the idea that we were grown up. For poor Karl Ivanitch I was extremely sorry, as he would be discharged. On my way upstairs I saw Papa's favourite greyhound, Milka, basking in the sunshine on the terrace, and ran out, kissed her on the nose and caressed her, saying, "Farewell, Milotchka. We shall never see each other again." Then, altogether overcome with emotion, I burst into tears.
My father was a chivalrous character of the last century, who regarded with contempt the people of the present century. His two chief passions were cards and women. He was tall and commanding, bald, with small eyes ever twinkling vivaciously, and a lisping utterance. He knew how to exercise a spell over people of every grade, and in the highest society he was held in great esteem. He seemed born to shine in his brilliant position, and was an expert in the management of all things that could conduce to comfort and pleasure.
A lover of music, he sang to his own piano accompaniment operatic songs, but had no liking for Beethoven's sonatas and other scientific compositions. His principles grew more fixed as years rolled on; he judged actions as being good or bad accordingly as they procured him happiness and pleasure, or otherwise; he talked persuasively; and he could represent the same deed as either an innocent piece of playfulness or of abominable villainy.
Happy days of childhood that can never be recalled! What memories I yet cherish of them. I see Mamma just as plainly as when she so long since was talking to some one at the tea-table, while I, in my high chair, grew drowsy. Presently she stroked my hair with her soft hand, saying, "Get up, my darling, it is time to go to bed. Get up, my angel."
I spring up and embrace her, and exclaim, "Dear, dear Mamma, how I love you!" With her sad and fascinating smile she places me on her knees, is silent awhile, and then speaks. "So you love me very much? Love me always and never forget me. If you lose your Mamma, Nikolinka, you will not forget her?"
She kisses me still more lovingly, and I cry with tears of love and rapture flooding my face, "Oh, do not say that, my darling, my precious one." Will that freshness, that happy carelessness, that thirst for love which made life's only requirements, ever return? Where are those pure tears of tenderest emotion? The angel of consolation came and wiped them away. Do the memories alone abide?
About a month after we had removed to Moscow, Grandmamma received a visit from Princess Kornakova, a woman of forty-five, with disagreeable gray-green eyes, but sweetly curved lips, bright red hair, and insalubrious face. In spite of these peculiarities her aspect was noble. I took a dislike to her because I found from her talk that she was given to beating her own children, and thought that other people's children, especially boys, needed to be whipped.
Another visitor was Prince Ivan Ivanitch, distinguished for his noble character, handsome person, splendid bravery and extraordinary good fortune. He belonged to a powerful family, and lived in accordance with principles of the strictest religion and morality. Though somewhat reserved and haughty, in demeanour, he was full of kindly feeling. Prince Ivan Ivanitch was a highly cultured man of most versatile accomplishments. Our Grandmamma was evidently delighted to see him, and his magnificent aspect and her liking for him inspired me with unbounded admiration and reverence.
He asked why Mamma had not come to Moscow. "Ah," was the reply, "she would have come if possible, but they have no income this year."
"I do not understand," replied the Prince. "Her Khabarovka is a wonderful estate, and it must always bring in a fine revenue."
"I will tell you," said Grandmamma, sadly. "It seems to me that all the pretexts are made simply to enable him to live a gay life here, while she, angel of goodness that she is, suspects nothing. She believes him in everything."
This conversation should not have been overheard by me, but, having overheard it, I crept out of the room.
On the 16th of April, nearly six months later, serious news came from Mamma. She wrote to Papa that she had contracted a chill, which had caused a fever, that this was over, but had left her in such utter weakness that she would never rise from her bed again, although those about her were not aware of such a condition. She wished him to come to her at once and to bring her two boys with him. She prayed that God's holy will might be done.
On April 25th we reached our Petrovskoe home. Papa had been very sad and thoughtful during the journey. We at once learned from the steward that Mamma had not left her room for six days. I shall never forget what I saw when we entered Mamma's room. She was unconscious. Her eyes were open, but she saw nothing. We were led away. Mamma soon passed away.
She was dead, the funeral obsequies took place, and then our life went on much as before. We rose, had our repasts, and retired to rest at the same hours. Three days after the funeral the whole household removed to Moscow. Grandmamma only learned what had happened when we arrived, and her grief was terrible. She lay unconscious for a week, and the doctor feared for her life, for she would not eat, speak, or take medicine. When she recovered somewhat, her first thought was of us children. She cried softly, spoke of Mamma, and tenderly caressed us.