but, though the Jacobites had been informed that she could not live longer than March (Occasional Papers, ii. 390), she was able on 9 April, at the meeting of parliament after the conclusion of the peace, to be carried to the House of Lords, where she read her speech ‘very well, but a little weaker in her voice’ (Swift's Letters, i. 279). She did not as yet communicate the terms of the treaties to the houses; but she spoke of her efforts for securing the protestant succession and of the perfect friendship existing between her and the house of Hanover, and, referring to the unparalleled licentiousness of the libellous publications of the day, exhorted factions and parties to calmness and mutual forbearance (Wyon, ii. 441. The Stamp Act of the previous year had only extinguished the small deer of the periodical press). Of course at such a time her words were carried away by the wind. On 5 May 1713 peace was proclaimed in London; on 9 June the debates on the treaty of commerce with France began in the commons, and by a small majority this early endeavour in the direction of free trade was thrown out. Then a cabal between Scottish malcontents and the whigs to effect the repeal of the union was only defeated by a narrow majority in the lords (June).
More personal to the queen was the question raised by a message from her to the commons in the same month concerning a considerable debt which had accumulated above her civil-list expenditure. After some hesitation a bill enabling her to raise 500,000l. for the discharge of these arrears was consolidated with another money bill and passed. Burnet (vi. 173) seeks to show that there were grounds for the suspicions raised by the queen's demand, inasmuch as a few years before the actual debt had amounted to little more than half the sum now required. Nor, though the charitable expenditure of the queen had doubtless continued, had Blenheim of late been a drain upon her purse. It was accordingly, he says, concluded by ‘all people’ that the coming elections were the real purpose for which the money was in part needed. At all events there can have been no truth in the charge made in the next reign that it was intended for the service of the Pretender (Wyon, ii. 459). About this very time two addresses were successively carried in the lords requesting the queen to intervene for the removal of the Pretender from Lorraine, to which she returned evasive answers; but when a similar address was carried in the commons, she promised to use her endeavours (Burnet, vi. 175). When on 16 July she closed the session of parliament by a speech from the throne (she had been unable to be present on the 7th at the peace thanksgiving in St. Paul's), it was noticed that the customary assurance of her determination to support the Hanover succession was omitted (Wyon, ii. 466). At the end of the season (31 July) the queen was well enough to review the household troops in Hyde Park (Wentworth Papers, 345).
Sanguine as the Jacobites abroad were at all times, their hopes which the peace of Utrecht might have dashed to the ground revived with the news, true or false, of the queen's ailing condition, and as the signs increased of doubt and uncertainty, to say the least, among her ministers. The rumours diligently posted about ‘Miss Jones,’ ‘Mrs. Ord,’ ‘Christopher,’ ‘Dunbar,’ ‘Quaint,’ ‘Quanton’ (or whatever other pseudonyms Queen Anne went by in the Jacobite correspondence), frequently pointed to her speedy decease; in the meantime she was to name her brother as her successor, after being authorised to do so by the loyal majority in the new parliament. (Many passages of this kind will be found in the Stuart sections of Original Papers.) At the same time the official changes made during the latter part of the summer, mostly between the middle of August and the middle of September, could not but excite eager speculation. Shrewsbury was sent to Ireland, Ormond's presence nearer home being thought desirable. The Earl of Mar, who was regarded as a Jacobite, was made secretary of state for North Britain, another of the secretaryships of state being given to Bromley, and the chancellorship of the exchequer to Wyndham (formerly secretary at war), who were supposed to hold similar opinions. Other changes were made of the same kind; and it seemed evident that so many placeholders must be speculating on an event by which they would not lose their places. After every exertion had been made, and the pens of the ministerial fighting-men had been more active than ever, the elections for the British House of Commons resulted in an overwhelming tory majority. In Ireland a whig House of Commons had been recently elected; and Shrewsbury had soon been instructed to prorogue parliament with a view to its dissolution (December).
On Christmas eve, 1713, the queen was seized by a violent attack of fever, which left her for several hours unconscious (Wyon, ii. 475). A panic ensued, which was repeated when after her recovery several relapses followed. In February Swift writes that ‘few of the whigs will allow the queen to be alive, or, at best, that she can live a month’ (Craik, 277–8). When parliament