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racter I have elsewhere endeavoured to portray, and it only remains for me to touch upon a charge connected with the last year of his life. He is suspected by a contemporary of having “entered into such correspondence “ and designs as would have been fatal to himself or to " the public "*- in plain words, intrigues with the Pretender. Certain it is that at the time the Jacobites had strong hopes of gaining him; but their most secret correspondence, so far as I have seen it, in the Stuart Papers, does not go beyond hopes, rumours, and loose expressionst: and finally, when Mr. Lockhart, a leader of their party in Scotland, distinctly applied to James, at the eve of the new elections, to know how far their support should be given to any friend of Sunderland, the Chevalier answers, January 31. 1722, “ It is very true “ that Sunderland has to some people made of late a “ show of wishing me well; but I have never heard
directly from him myself, and have been far from
having any particular proof of his sincerity.” † This, in fact, appears the upshot of the whole affair; and it is far from improbable that the overtures of Sunderland may have been to win over some leading Tories to his party, and not to attach himself to theirs. The hopes of his support were, perhaps, just as groundless as when Atterbury, four years afterwards, drew up an elaborate argument to prove that Walpole intended to restore the Stuarts whenever George the First should die ! $
But further still, there seems great reason to believe that however Sunderland may have tampered with the Jacobites for the object of obtaining their support, he did not take a single step without the knowledge and approval of his sovereign. After his death the Regent of France, speaking to the English Minister at Paris, expressed his suspicion that Sunderland had intrigued with the Pretender's party, and stated some facts in corroboration of the charge. This was accordingly communicated to Lord Carteret as Secretary of State ; but Car
* Tindal's Hist. vol. vii. p. 450.
| James to Mr. Menzies, July 20. 1721. Lord Orrery to James, October 28. 1721. See Appendix.
Lockhart's Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 74.
teret's answer was as follows:-“ A thousand thanks for “ your private letter, which affords me the means of “obviating any calumny against the memory of a person “ who will be always dear to me. I have shown it to the “ King, who is entirely satisfied with it.”*
Lord Sunderland, as I have stated; died on the 19th of April. The father very speedily followed the son-in-law; and England lost one of her noblest worthies in John, Duke of Marlborough. A paralytic attack in 1716 had impaired his commanding mind, and he expired on the 16th of June in this year. His achievements do not fall within my limits, and his character seems rather to belong to the historians of another period. Let them endeavour to delineate his vast and various abilities — that genius which saw humbled before it the proudest Mareschals of France that serenity of temper which enabled him patiently to bear, and bearing to overcome, all the obstinacy of the Dutch Deputies, and all the slowness of the German Generals - those powers of combination so provident of failure, and so careful of details that it might almost be said of him that before he gave any battle he had already won it! Let them describe him great in council as in arms, not always righteous in his ends, but ever mighty in his means !
The Duke left his widow in possession of enormous wealth, insomuch that she was able in some degree tocontrol the public loans and affect the rate of interest.f This wealth -- or, as they declared, her personal charms even at the mature age of sixty-two- soon attracted several suitors around her, especially the Duke of Somerset and Lord Coningsby. Their letters are still preserved at Blenheim. Coningsby writes like a man bewildered with the most passionate love : “ To my dearest, dearest “Lady Marlborough alone I could open the inmost thoughts of my loaded heart, and by her exalted wisdom find re
Whither to go or how to dispose of a life
* Sir Luke Schaub to Lord Carteret, June 1. 8722. Lord Carteret's answer, June 21. 1722. Coxe's Collections, vol. lii. This volume contains several other proofs to the same effect; but the one I have given above seems decisive.
† Robert Walpole to Lord Townshend, August 30. 1723. See also Coxe's Life of Marlborough, vol. vi. p. 387.
“ entirely devoted to you, I know not till I receive your “orders and commands ....... I live in hopes that the “great and glorious Creator of the world, who does and
must direct all things, will direct you to make me the “happiest man upon the face of the earth, and enable me "to make my dearest, dearest Lady Marlborough, as she “is the wisest and best, the happiest of all women!” * This effusion, be it observed, was written only six months after her husband's decease. But both to Coningsby and Somerset the Duchess replied with a noble and becoming spirit. She declared that if she were only thirty instead of sixty she would not allow even the Emperor of the world to succeed in that heart which had been devoted to John, Duke of Marlborough.
The deaths in such rapid succession of Stanhope, Craggs, and Sunderland, and the expulsion of Aislabie, left Walpole entirely master of the field. The late schism between rival statesmen was closed up, as it were, with coffins; and although, as will be seen, there were still some dissensions in the Cabinet, these found no echo either in Parliament or in the country. No longer was the Whig party divided, no longer the House of Commons nearly balanced. The late elections had confirmed the Ministerial majority, and the Jacobites and Tories despairing of victories in Parliament rather turned their minds to projects of conspiracy or hopes of invasion. In the Session of 1724, for example, there was only one single public division in the House of Commons. From this time forward, therefore, and during a considerable period, the proceedings of Parliament seem no longer to require or admit the same minute detail as I have hitherto given them, nor shall I have to record either rebellion at home or great wars abroad. The twenty years of Walpole's administration (to their high honour be it spoken) afford comparatively few incidents to History. Of these years I shall therefore have much less to say than of the tumultuous periods both before and after them, nor let the reader imagine that my flow of narrative is altered because it glides more swiftly on smooth ground.
* To the Duchess of Marlborough, November 20. 1722. Blenheim Papers and Coxes Copies, vol. xliii.
THE confusion and disaffection which followed the South Sea Scheme were of course highly favourable to the views of the Jacobites, and revived their drooping hopes, and still more were they cheered at the birth of an heir, even though at a time when there was nothing to inherit. The prospect of this event was first communicated to them in the spring of 1720:-“It is the most acceptable
news," writes Bishop Atterbury, “which can reach the
ears of a good Englishman.' Lord Oxford also was consulted to the number and rank of the persons who should be invited as witnesses on this solemn occasion.f At length on the last day of the year the titular Queen of England, then residing at Rome, was delivered of a Prince, who received the names of Charles Edward Lewis Casimir, and became the hero of the enterprise of 1745. According to the fond fancy of the Jacobites, there appeared a star in the heavens at the moment of his birth I; and, what is rather more certain, seven Cardinals were present by order of the Pope. The Pretender's second son, Henry Benedict, Duke of York, and afterwards Cardinal, was not born till 1725.
At this period the Jacobites seem really to have deluded themselves so far as to believe that the hearts of nearly the whole nation, even down to the rabble, were with them. Thus James is told by Lord Lansdowne:
“ There were great rejoicings in London upon the Lord Mayor's day, “whose name happening to be Stuart, the people made “the streets ring with no other cry but A Stuart! A “Stuart! High Church and Stuart! Every day pro• Letter to James, May 6. 1720. Appendix.
James to Lord Oxford, May 26. 1720. Appendix.
See the Lockhart Papers, vol. ii. p. 568. ; and the Medals of the Stuarts in Exile, No. 53., in Sir H. Ellis's Catalogue.
St. Simon, Mem. vol. xviii. p. 338. A Te Deum was afterwards sung in the Pope's chapel, and in his presence.
“duces some new evidence of their inclination.” * To promote the favour of the multitude the Jacobites often made use of reasonings suited only to its capacity. Thus when the King's German mistresses were inveighed against, as they might justly be, it is gravely stated, amongst other grounds of complaint, that they are not sufficiently young and handsome! For instance, the letter of Decius in Mist's Journal, May 27. 1721, laments,
we are ruined by trulls, nay, what is more vexa“tious, by old ugly trulls, such as could not find enter“tainment in the most hospitable hundreds of Old Drury!” This letter was warmly resented by the House of Commons on the motion of Lechmere, and Mr. Mist the printer was sentenced to fine and imprisonment; but his journal continued many years afterwards under the new and punning title of Fog's.
The affairs of James in England were at this time managed by a Junta, or Council of five persons, namely, as it would seem, the Earls of Arran and Orrery, Lords North and Gower, and the Bishop of Rochester. Between them and James an active correspondence was carried on, for the most part in cipher or with cant names, and generally by the hands of non-jurors, Roman Catholic priests, and other trusty persons that were constantly passing to and fro. There were also communications with Lord Oxford, probably through Erasmus Lewis, his former secretary, a man of fidelity and talent, but not much courage ; at least I find his excessive caution a subject of good-humoured jest among his friends. It appears that the Council of Five was often discordant and wrangling in its deliberations, and this in the opinion of James showed the necessity of a single head, by which means, he says, his business would certainly be done with much more harmony and secrecy. He wrote to suggest that Lord Oxford should act as the chief $; but that nobleman
* Lord Lansdowne to James, Nov. 17. 1721. Stuart Papers. † “ Lewis is in the country with Lord Bathurst, and has writ me a most dreadful story of a mad dog that bit their huntsman ; since “which accident, I am told he has shortened his stirrups three bores; " they were not long before !" Dr. Arbuthnot to Swift, December 11. 1718.
# James to Lord Lansdowne, April 13. 1722. Lansdowne