unavailing. In her anger she had told the queen she wished for no answer, and she was now met by a stony and exasperating silence, broken only by the words constantly repeated, “You desired no answer and you shall have none.”
The fall of the Whigs, now no longer necessary on account of the successful issue of the war, to accomplish which Harley had long been preparing and intriguing, followed; and their attempt to prolong hostilities from party motives failed. A friend of Harley, the duke of Shrewsbury, was first appointed to office, and subsequently the great body of the Whigs were displaced by Tories, Harley being made chancellor of the exchequer and Henry St John secretary of state. The queen was rejoiced at being freed from what she called a long captivity, and the new parliament was returned with a Tory majority. On the 17th of January 1711, in spite of Marlborough’s efforts to ward off the blow, the duchess was compelled to give up her key of office. The queen was now able once more to indulge in her favourite patronage of the church, and by her influence an act was passed in 1712 for building fifty new churches in London. Later, in 1714, she approved of the Schism Bill. She gave strong support to Harley, now earl of Oxford and lord treasurer, in the intrigues and negotiations for peace. Owing to the alliance between the Tory Lord Nottingham and the Whigs, on the condition of the support by the latter of the bill against occasional conformity passed in December 1711, the defeated Whigs maintained a majority in the Lords, who declared against any peace which left Spain to the Bourbons. To break down this opposition Marlborough was dismissed on the 31st from all his employments, while the House of Lords was “swamped” by Anne’s creation of twelve peers, including Mrs Masham’s husband. The queen’s conduct was generally approved, for the nation was now violently adverse to the Whigs and war party; and the peace of Utrecht was finally signed on the 31st of March 1713, and proclaimed on the 5th of May in London.
As the queen’s reign drew to its close, rumours were rife on the great subject of the succession to the throne. Various Jacobite appointments excited suspicion. Both Oxford and Bolingbroke were in communication with the Pretender’s party, and on the 27th of July Oxford, who had gradually lost influence and quarrelled with Bolingbroke, resigned, leaving the supreme power in the hands of the latter. Anne herself had a natural feeling for her brother, and had shown great solicitude concerning his treatment when a price had been set on his head at the time of the Scottish expedition in 1708. On the 3rd of March 1714 James wrote to Anne, Oxford and Bolingbroke, urging the necessity of taking steps to secure his succession, and promising, on the condition of his recognition, to make no further attempts against the queen’s government; and in April a report was circulated in Holland that Anne had secretly determined to associate James with her in the government. The wish expressed by the Whigs, that a member of the electoral family should be invited to England, had already aroused the queen’s indignation in 1708; and now, in 1714, a writ of summons for the electoral prince as duke of Cambridge having been obtained, Anne forbade the Hanoverian envoy, Baron Schütz, her presence, and declared all who supported the project her enemies; while to a memorial on the same subject from the electress Sophia and her grandson in May, Anne replied in an angry letter, which is said to have caused the death of the electress on the 8th of June, requesting them not to trouble the peace of her realm or diminish her authority.
These demonstrations, however, were the outcome not of any returning partiality for her own family, but of her intense dislike, in which she resembled Queen Elizabeth, of any “successor,” “it being a thing I cannot bear to have any successor here though but for a week”; and in spite of some appearances to the contrary, it is certain that religion and political wisdom kept Anne firm to the Protestant succession. She had maintained a friendly correspondence with the court of Hanover since 1705, and in 1706 had bestowed the Garter on the electoral prince and created him duke of Cambridge; while the Regency Act provided for the declaration of the legal heir to the crown by the council immediately on the queen’s death, and a further enactment naturalized the electress and her issue. In 1708, on the occasion of the Scottish expedition, notwithstanding her solicitude for his safety, she had styled James in her speech closing the session of parliament as “a popish pretender bred up in the principles of the most arbitrary government.” The duchess of Marlborough stated in 1713 that all the time she had known “that thing” (as she now called the queen), “she had never heard her speak a favourable word of him.” No answer appears to have been sent to James’s letter in 1714; on the contrary, a proclamation was issued (June 23) for his apprehension in case of his arrival in England. On the 27th of April Anne gave a solemn assurance of her fidelity to the Hanoverian succession to Sir William Dawes, archbishop of York; in June she sent Lord Clarendon to Hanover to satisfy the elector.
The sudden illness and death of the queen now frustrated any schemes which Bolingbroke, or others might have been contemplating. On the 27th, the day of Oxford’s resignation, the discussions concerning his successor detained the council sitting in the queen’s presence till two o’clock in the morning, and on retiring Anne was instantly seized with fatal illness. Her adherence to William in 1688 had been a principal cause of the success of the Revolution, and now the final act of her life was to secure the Revolution settlement and the Protestant succession. During a last moment of returning consciousness, and by the advice of the whole council, who had been joined on their own initiative by the Whig dukes Argyll and Somerset, she placed the lord treasurer’s staff in the hands of the Whig duke of Shrewsbury, and measures were immediately taken for assuring the succession of the elector. Her death took place on the 1st of August, and the security felt by the public, and perhaps the sense of perils escaped by the termination of the queen’s life, were shown by a considerable rise in the national stocks. She was buried on the south side of Henry VII.’s chapel in Westminster Abbey, in the same tomb as her husband and children. The elector of Hanover, George Louis, son of the electress Sophia (daughter of Elizabeth, daughter of James I.), peacefully succeeded to the throne as George I. (q.v.).
According to her physician Arbuthnot, Anne’s life was shortened by the “scene of contention among her servants. I believe sleep was never more welcome to a weary traveller than death was to her.” By character and temperament unfitted to stand alone, her life had been unhappy and tragical from its isolation. Separated in early years from her parents and sister, her one great friendship had proved only baneful and ensnaring. Marriage had only brought a mournful series of infant funerals. Constant ill-health and suffering had darkened her career. The claims of family attachment, of religion, of duty, of patriotism and of interest, had dragged her in opposite directions, and her whole life had been a prey to jealousies and factions which closed around her at her accession to the throne, and surged to their height when she lay on her deathbed. The modern theory of the relations between the sovereign and the parties, by which the former identifies himself with the faction for the time in power while maintaining his detachment from all, had not then been invented; and Anne, like her Hanoverian successors, maintained the struggle, though without success, to rule independently finding support in Harley. During the first year of her reign she made known that she was “resolved not to follow the example of her predecessor in making use of a few of her subjects to oppress the rest. She will be queen of all her subjects, and would have all the parties and distinctions of former reigns ended and buried in hers.” Her motive for getting rid of the Whigs was not any real dislike of their administration, but the wish to escape from the domination of the party, and on the advent
- For their names see Hume and Smollett’s Hist. (Hughes, 1854) viil. 110.
- See also Hist. MSS. Comm. Ser. Rep. vii. App. 246b.
- Ibid. Portland MSS. v. 338.
- Sir J. Leveson-Gower to Lord Rutland, Hist. MSS. Comm., Duke of Rutland’s MSS. ii. 173.
- See Bolingbroke’s Letter to Sir W. Wyndham.