Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 36.djvu/370

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Mary II
Mary II
364


poems to Mary, in the ' Lacrymae Cantabrigienses,' edited by Thomas Brown, as well as in ' Clarendon Correspondence,' ii. 450 note. The city council was anxious to erect her statue with William's in front of the Royal Exchange ; but he preferred to honour her memory by carrying out her scheme of Greenwich Hospital. James II put on no mourning, and forbade the wearing of it by his court (Life of James II, ii. »525-7), and Pope Innocent XII took occasion to deliver an edifying discourse on the fifth commandment (Letters of James, Earl of Perth, ed. W. Jerdan, Camden Soc., 184o, p. 57). The hopes of the Jacobites were largely raised by her death.

It was Mary's fate in life, as she herself avers, to be misinterpreted. Placed under the fiercest light of publicity, in the most painful Eossible dilemma — between her father and er husband — she chose distinctly and definitely, and thereby drew upon herself the rancorous misjudgment of half a world. But both James and others who were without his excuse grossly erred in supposing that Mary either made or adhered to her choice with a light heart. Her solicitude for her father is unmistakably shown in numerous passages of herprivate memoirs (ap. Doebner, pp. 81-2). William warned Carmarthen that the queen never forgave disrespectful words concerning her father. Halifax lost credit with her for inopportune jests on the subject (Burnet, iv. 241 note), and Titus Oates's pension was suspended because he had darea to offend in the same sense (Klopp, v. 123). Nottingham, who enjoyed much of her intimacy, was even convinced that if she had survived her husband she would have restored her father, but though this passes probability she never seems to have cut herself loose from him till after she discovered his. cognisance of Grandvaal's design upon William's life.

Her affection for William thus became the only human anchorage of her life. She was childless, brotherless, and, after the quarrel which Anne had forced upon her, sisterless. To her husband she was absolutely loyal. Though in fact fully equal to the responsibilities thrust upon her, and wanting neither in application nor in firmness and courage, she regarded herself as unfit for politics, and felt assured that it was not through them she would find a place in history (ib. ii. 92). Year after year she cheerfully relinquished the conduct of affairs when relieved of it by the king's return, only to resume it on his departure with renewed misgivings. In an age and belonging to a family prolific of strong-minded women, she was not one of them. Buckinghamshire ( Works, ii. 74) truly calls her ' the most complying wife in the world,' and Macaulay hardly goes beyond the mark in asserting that her husband's ' empire over her heart was divided only with her God,'

Profoundly convinced that Williams was a providential mission, to further his political ends was for her a religious duty. Brought up in a spirit of militant protestantism, she had accustomed herself in Holland to a fervent, pietistic way of looking at the experiences of life. She was a great bible-reader (cf. Memoirs ap. Doebner, p. 25 ; cf. C. J. Abbey, i. 125), and never swerved from her own standard of orthodoxy, of which she was capable of giving a very clear account. But she was wholly devoid of theological arrogance, and her 'Meditations' and 'Prayers,' as well as her 'Memoirs,' which were manifestly intended for no eye but her own, breathe a spirit of simple piety. It was inevitable that, though an affectionate daughter of the church of England, and extremely regular in all practices of devotion, she should attract little sympathy from the high church party. She would gladly have reconciled parties in the church, and the church itself with the presbyterians. She even shared William's tolerant feelings towards the Roman catholics. Thus her warm interest in ecclesiastical affairs, and more especially in the matter of preferments, though altogether single-minded (cf. ib. pp. 104 seqq.), met with a return anything but grateful from the embittered-clerical spirit of her age. Her endowment of the William and Mary College in Virginia for the training of missionaries (Burnet, Own Time, iv. 216-16), and her interest in Thomas Bray [q. v.], the founder of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (Abbey, i. 83), attest her religious interests; while, according to Burnet (Memorial, pp. 106 seqq.), she had formed a design for the augmentation of poor livings at home, and entertained a strong objection to pluralities and non-residence. Her efforts on behalf of public morality were not ill-timed. Her public and private charities were alike numerous and unostentatious, her special protection was extended to the French protestant refugees, both in England and in the Low Countries (ib. pp. 143 seqq.) The charm of her character lay in her moral qualities. She was amiable, cheerful, and equable in temper, and gifted with both intelligence and reasonableness of mind. Genuinely modest in a shameless age, and hating scandal, she was not wanting in vivacity (Burnet, Memorial, p. 87). Her letters contain some sprightly turns of phrase, and her memoirs some good sketches of character. She was, moreover, unlike her sister, fond of conversation. Indeed, the Duchess of