- Poems for the Shift by Ann Churchill
- Full text of "The life of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, to the accession of Quenn Anne;"
- For Catriona Crowe
- Gifting Information
Within months, the War of the Spanish Succession began.
Poems for the Shift by Ann Churchill
A series of military victories by John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, including the Battle of Blenheim strengthened England's negotiating position at the end of the war. The last years of the 17th century had seen differing policies pursued by parliaments in England and Scotland which included disagreements over the succession. The solution seemed to be unification and so on 1 May England and Scotland were combined into a single kingdom, and Anne became the first sovereign of Great Britain.
One British parliament would meet at Westminster, and there would be a common flag and coinage but Scotland would keep its own established Church and its systems of law and education. Politically, Anne's reign was marked by the development of the two party system, with Whigs and Tories competing for power. Anne hoped to rule through mixed ministries, but in the Whigs became dominant. In there was a major shift to the Tories, which lasted until her death.
Anne allowed herself to be heavily influenced by her ministers and her favourites, particularly her friend Sarah Churchill, wife of the duke of Marlborough. Anne died on 1 August Her only surviving son William had died in , prompting parliament to pass the Act of Settlement to ensure a Protestant succession. Search term:. Read more.
The Duke of Berwick saw active service in many countries. He rose to a high position in the French army, and is best known amongst the famous marshals of Lewis XIV. Berwick was killed by a round-shot in at the siege of Philipsburg. Unlike his renowned uncle, he gave liberally to those about him, and distributed large sums in secret charity.
He died poor in an age when most men of high position amassed fortunes. If, however, he despised wealth, he loved glory.
A devout Catholic, he made no parade of his religion. A sincere though moderate Jacobite, he was at all times ready in after-life to fight for his half-brother, the ' Pre- tender. This was the lady whom Marlborough's parents wished him to marry.
The discarded mistress lived in comparative poverty and obscurity until she married Colonel Charles Godfrey in She left, by her husband, one son, Francis, and two daughters. Bos- cawen, afterwards created Viscount Falmouth.
Danch, M. He died at the age of sixty-seven, in , in Bath, where there is a monu- ment to him in the abbey. See O'Callaghan's ' Irish Brigade,' p. J She was born , and died in March, , in her seventy-sixth year. This marriage was not owned for several months ; why, I know not.
Historical MSS. This old Oxfordshire family is now, I believe, extinct. Churchill becomes a page to the Duke of York — Becomes a favourite with James. Paul's School, may Upon leaving school his father obtained for him the position of page to the Duke of York, in recognition of Sir Winston's fidelity to the royal cause. It is said that application was in the first instance made to the Duke of Beaufort to take the boy, but as there was no vacancy in the Badminton household, Sir Winston applied to the Duke of York, who granted his request.
To inspect a handful of troops in Hyde Park, and to see them march past in all their feathers and fine clothes, was one of his most cherished enjoyments. The young page usually accompanied him upon these occasions, and was thus able to indulge that taste for everything military which had grown up with him from earliest childhood. He evinced the utmost interest in these parades, and soon learnt to answer quickly and clearly all questions upon drill details.
James was highly pleased with his precocious military knowledge and love for matters to which he himself attached so much importance. Also Noble. Thus began the career of this penniless boy. His own and his parents' poverty brought home to him, as it so often does to young men in similar circumstances, the necessity for hard work on his part. It was the spur in his side which made him put forth all his strength to win in the race of life. How many able men owe it to their easy circumstances that they have passed away, without raising even a ripple on the sea of fame!
It is difficult, we are told, for the rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven ; it is no less difficult for him to become great in the pro- fession of arms, where a life of hard work and anxious care, often endured under great privations, must always be the initial step on the road to distinction. It is surely for this reason that younger sons are more apt to succeed as soldiers than their brothers who are heu's to fortune. The ambition born of poverty is generally for riches and the comforts they ensure ; but a noble nature seeks wealth rather as a means to an end, that end being honour and renown.
To what extent John ChurchUl was indebted for his first, start in life to his sister's influence with her royal lover, it is difficult to say. Even in our own time, prior to the abolition of purchase in the army, the Queen's pages received free commissions in the Foot Guards. It was about this time that James began to entertain for him that warm regard which lasted to the moment when the ensign, become a General, quitted his service for ever.
James much disliked having about him men who were not Catholics, and his liking for young Churchill must have been deep and strong to make him forgive the determined Protestantism of his favourite.
Full text of "The life of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, to the accession of Quenn Anne;"
It has been often said that the Duchess of York fell in love with her handsome young page, and much of his success in early life is thus accounted for. There is, however, no trustworthy authority for this imputa- tion. How frequently has the course of history been turned aside by some apparently unimportant Court intrigue or by some chance like the finding of Moses by Pharaoh's daughter! How many leaders of men have owed their first opportunity to some trivial occurrence or some fortunate connection with those in power!
The period produces the man, chance assists him, and then if real greatness be in him, he dominates his generation and influences posterity. Godolphin, who had been her Maid of Honour, gives the following touching description of her death : ' She was full of unspeakable torture and died poor creature in doubt of her religion, without the Sacrament or Divine by her, like a, poore wretch ; none remembered her after one weeke, none sorry for her ; she was tost and flung about, and everyone did what they would with the stately carcase.
Godolphin,' p. Chapter To understand thoroughly the surroundings amidst which VL Marlborough grew into man's estate, it is necessary to To know what an army is worth, we take stock of its commander ; and to form any useful estimate of society during the reigns of Charles II. What was their character and disposition? Were they English gentlemen in thought, word and deed ; honest, and truthful? Did they love England for England's sake, or only for their own selfish ends? Were they better or worse than their father and grandfather, the mere feeble imitators of the sturdy, manly Tudors?
It was wittily said of them that Charles could do well if he would, and that James would do so if he could. But ease and pleasure were the great aims of his unkingly life.
For Catriona Crowe
Come what may, his one and fixed determination was to live in undisturbed posses- sion of that crown which his father had lost by the adoption of violent and unconstitutional measures. Having secured the throne, life thenceforward was to him a species of comedy, a practical joke.
Sensualist, idler, and cynic, he scoffed at religion, and believed, neither in the honour of men nor in the virtue of women. If every man had his price, experience led him to believe that every woman had hers also. The ironical dealings of fate tickled his fancy ; the foibles and ambitions of men amused him, and their wrangles over trifles afforded material for his careless and witty raillery. Tenacious of what he deemed his kingly rights and prerogatives, he was utterly without ambition; devoid of any semblance of patriotism or principle, wrapped up in love of self, he cared nothing for the feelings or wants of others.
His only aspiratioii was to rule as he chose, without interference from Par- liament or Minister, and whilst so doing, to wrest from the passing hour every possible personal enjoyment. In pursuit of that enjoyment there was no temptation that he sought to resist, no vice or villainy from which he shrank. As long as he was allowed to saunter lazily through life in possession of the throne, he felt no sting of shame, although the Dutch fleet burnt his ships in the very Thames.
The wail of a nation dishonoured but not over- thrown, troubled him nothing. If the plague decimated his subjects or the flames destroyed his capital, why should such national misfortunes affect him? As long as the taxes supplied money for himself and his mistresses, why should he distress himself?
The avarice and extravagance of these women, however, drained his coffers, and com- pelled him to depend upon Lewis XIV. During his unworthy reign, public as well as private honour and virtue were laughed to scorn by all the Court. He left his soldiers and sailors unpaid, and every depart- ment of Government became rotten to the very core.
The royal brothers were both unblushing libertines. The intrigues of Charles were known not only in Whitehall, but in the country generally. His indifference to the affairs of State was also notorious, and was thus recorded in contemporary doggerel : ' And when he was beat, He still made his retreat To his Clevelands, his Nells, and his CarweUs. At heart he was a coward, a fact which, together with his love of ease, kept him from such heroic ventures as brought his father to the scaffold, and subsequently sent his brother into exile.
His heart was too hollow to admit of any manly respect for the most faithful public servant. The sturdy honesty of Clarendon was to him as nothing in the balance with the caresses of a Barbara Villiers or the smiles of a Louise de Keroualle. He was a treacherous friend, an accomplished dissembler, and Barillon's letters to Louvois show him to have been devoid alike of truth and self- respect.
His idea of happiness was apparently to sit munching sweetmeats and dried pears in the midst of rollicking rogues and wanton women. To his low, craven nature it mattered nothing that he should be hated by all that was honest at home, and despised as the puppet and pensioner of Lewis by all that was honourable abroad. Like his brother, he leaned towards absolutism in govern- ment, and consequently towards the Eoman Catholic re- ligion which fostered it. Unlike James, however, he would risk neither his head nor his throne — not even his ease — for either.
A voluptuary in every sense of the word, he was too fond of lazy comfort to be either brutal or vin- dictive; but, unlike his brother, he was endowed with as much good nature as a selfish monarch, destitute of heart, could possess. Yet he had many qualities which attach men to princes, and which made him generally popular. His good humour was inexhaustible.
Like most indolent men, he was familiar with all, easy of access, affable, and so intolerant of formality and cere- mony that it was no easy matter to make him play the King at any time. Entirely devoid of haughtiness or insolence, he allowed those about him to laugh at his foibles, and seldom resented even the wit and satire they pointed at ' Old Eowley,' as they had familiarly nicknamed him. He had a smile and a cheery greeting for everybody.
It was no part of his easy, indolent philo- sophy to cherish animosity or to register wrongs. He for- gave with extreme readiness. Weak, careless, and hating business, he was steadily consistent in his determination to die King of England. He had tasted the bitterness of foreign exile, and 1 was determined never again to set out upon what he laugh- He loved to tell stories of his many adventures when in exile, and he told them well, with an accuracy of memory that made his courtiers wonder he did not also remember how frequently he had related them before.