that she was ‘guided by the insinuation of Mr. Harley.’ In answer, Godolphin reports, she ‘renounced and disclaimed any talk, or the least commerce, with Mr. Harley, at first or second hand, and was positive that she never speaks with anybody but the prince upon any things of that kind.’ Godolphin seems to have given credit to this assertion; and on 6 May the queen, in a letter to the Duke of Marlborough, showed the regard she still retained for him (the italics are the duchess's) by kindly assurances and by the promise that she would never at any time ‘give her consent to a peace but upon safe and honourable terms.’ But in the same letter she openly complained of the importunities of the whigs; and she continued as obstinately opposed to the appointment of Somers as ever. ‘The battle between us,’ Godolphin writes on 12 June, ‘might have lasted till now, if, after the clock had struck three, the Prince of Denmark had not thought fit to come in, and look as if he thought it were dinner-time’ (Coxe, ii. 420–34; cf. Conduct, 214).
Parliament had been dissolved on 15 April, and in the elections which followed the whigs made every effort to increase their majority. Amidst various vexations the queen seems to have much leant upon the advice of Somerset, who, as master of the horse, had constant access to her, and whose interference irritated the whigs against Marlborough, still very imperfectly trusted by them. It is impossible to say what other influences were exerted in conjunction with that of Mrs. Masham, which continued as strong as ever through the spring and summer. In April the duchess was nauseated by the phrase ‘Masham and I’ in a letter from the queen, and her correspondent Maynwaring entreated her to return to court and help putting an end to ‘the senseless farce of Harlequin and Abigail;’ but in May she seems to have thought that ‘Mrs. Masham does not meddle with business’ (Private Correspondence, i. 111, 113, 120). She afterwards went so far as to assert that during the whole summer of this year the queen continued in secret correspondence with Harley, having taken her residence for the purpose, notwithstanding the sultry weather which made the prince pant for breath, in the hot small house at Windsor, to which Mrs. Masham could privately introduce visitors from the garden (Conduct, 222). After the victory of Oudenarde the queen wrote a letter to Marlborough, which the duchess's censor (The Other Side, 363) rightly considers deserving of particular notice; for it shows her as struggling between an old and deep attachment, which had been made galling to her, and the desire for a freedom of action which on ‘the other side’ had been represented to her as her duty towards herself. The duke answered her in words such as have been rarely addressed by a subject to a sovereign, urging her ‘as a good christian’ to get rid of her private resentments, and to ‘make use of such as will carry on this just war with vigour: which is the only way to preserve our religion and liberties, and the crown on your head.’ The correspondence continued in much the same strain, Marlborough having now fully resolved to cast in his lot with the whigs, and in reply to his renewed offer or threat of resignation the queen, on 27 Aug., summed up her case by declaring herself desirous ‘to encourage those whig friends that behave themselves well,’ but unwilling ‘to have anything to do with those that have shown themselves to be of so tyrannising a temper; and not to run further on those subjects, to be short, I think things are come to, whether I shall submit to the five tyrannising lords’ [the junto] ‘or they to me’ (Coxe, ii. 501–18).
In the meantime an open quarrel had taken place between the queen and the duchess. The duchess chose the opportunity of the thanksgiving service for Oudenarde, held at St. Paul's 30 Aug., to mingle with complaints as to Mrs. Masham's unwarranted rearrangement of the jewels worn by the queen, remonstrances as to her want of trust in the duke. Anne not unnaturally requested that these public confidences or ‘commands,’ as she afterwards called them, which had continued from the coach into the church, should cease. The result was a brief but very sarcastic correspondence, followed on 20 Sept. by an interview which the duchess has not noted in her narrative, but of which she preserved some memoranda written by herself. (They are given by Coxe.) It ended by greatly agitating both the queen and the duchess, who was angrily sent away. Hereupon she for a time thought of desisting from further endeavours, and her resolution was applauded both by the duke, who owned to a tenderness for the misguided queen, and by the whig leaders, who no longer anticipated any advantage from their advocate's efforts (Coxe, ii. 521–5; cf. Conduct, 219–21).
In the parliament which met on 16 Nov. 1708, the whigs were again in the majority; and the agitation for the admission of Somers to the cabinet was therefore resumed more eagerly than ever. The Prince of Denmark and Admiral Churchill continuing to operate against the whigs, the party now proceeded