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tion of the monarchical government and a iver of oval ažection for the restored sovereign. Then came the sicw but sure reaction of democracy and dissent against royalty and the estabisheci căurch, assisted by a no-popery panic—the Orange in rigies, encouraged by a pope, against the Roman-catholic sovereign James II.—the conficting passions of the revolution of 1688—the expu sion of the male Ene of Stuart-the triumph of an oligarchy—the Dutch reign, the era of Continental wars, standing armies, national debt, and universal taxation—the contests between selfish parties and rival interests during the reign of Anne-and, finally, the happy establishment of a Protestant succession, in the peaceful accession of the illustrious House of Brunswiek to the throne of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

With this progressive chain of national events and changes bave the queens in our series of royal biographies been inextricably involved. To use the words of Guizot, “Great events have acted on them, and they have acted according to the events. Such as they were in life we have endeavoured to portray them, both in good and ill, without regard to any other consideration than the development of facts. Their sayings, their doings, their manners, their costume, will be found faithfully chronicled in this work, which also includes the most interesting of their letters: the orthography of these, as well as the extracts from ancient documents, have been modernised for the sake of perspicuity.

The Queens of England were not the shadowy queens of tragedy or romance, to whom imaginary words and deeds could be imputed to suit a purpose or create a sensation. They were the queens of real life, who exercised their own free will in the words they spoke, the parts they performed, the influence they exercised, the letters they wrote. They have left mute but irrefragable witnesses of what they were in their own deeds, for which they, and not their biographers, must stand accountable. To tamper with truth, for the sake of conventional views, ought not to be expected here. Events spring out of each other : therefore, either to suppress or give a false version of one, leads the reader into a complicated mass of errors, having the same effect as the spurious figure with which a dishonestly disposed school-boy endeavours to prove a sum that baffles his feeble powers of calculation. Aye, and it is as easily dotected by those who are accustomed to verify history by the tests of datos and documents. It is, however, the doom of every writer who has had the fidelity to bring forward suppressed evidences, or the courage to confuto long-established falsehoods, to be assailed, not only by the false


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ix but by the deluded. Opinions have their date, and change with circumstances, but facts are immutable. We have endeavoured to develop those connected with the biographies of the Queens of England with uncompromising fidelity, without succumbing to the passions and prejudices of either sects or parties, the peevish ephemerides of a day, who fret and buzz out their brief term of existence, and are forgotten. It is not for such we write: we labour in a high vocation, that of truth.

The historical biographer's business, however zealously and carefully performed in the first instance, when breaking unwrought ground, must be often repeated, before all the widely-scattered and deeply-buried treasures of the Past can be collected together. Truth lies not on the surface, but, as the wisdom of ages bears testimony, in a well, which only those who will take the trouble of digging deeply can find, although it be easy enough to draw when once the sealed-up fountain has been discovered and opened. This observation is peculiarly applicable to those documents which, after slumbering forgotten for centuries in their secret depositories, are at last brought forward, like incorruptible witnesses in a perplexing trial, to confute the subtleties of some specious barrister who has exerted the persuasive powers of eloquent language to establish falsehood. Facts, not opinions,” should be the historian's motto; and every person who engages in that difficult and responsible department of literature ought to bear in mind the charge which prefaces the juryman's oath,—“You shall truly and justly try this cause, you shall present no one from malice, you shall excuse no one from favour.”

To such a height have some prejudices been carried, that it has been regarded as a species of heresy, to record the evil as well as the good of persons who are usually made subjects of popular panegyric; and authors have actually feared in some cases to reveal the base metal which has been hidden beneath a meretricious gilding, lest they should provoke a host of assailants. It was not thus that the historians of Holy Writ performed their office, for with the sacred annalists there is no compromise between truth and expediency. Expediency! perish the word, if guilt is to be covered and moral justice sacrificed to such consideration !

Nothing has been more fatal to the cause of truth than the school of historical essay, which, instead of communicating information, makes everything subservient to a political system, repudiates inconvenient facts as gossip, and imposes upon the defrauded reader declamations about the dignity of history, instead of laying before him a digest of its evidences. But take the proceedings in a court of justice-a trial for


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murder, for example—how minutely is every circumstance investigated, what trifles tend to the conviction of guilt and the establishment of in

How attentive is the judge to the evidence, how indifferent to the eloquence of the advocate. He listens to the depositions of the witnesses, he jots them down, he collates them in his tablets, he compares the first statements with the cross-examinations, he detects discrepancies, he cuts short verbiage, he allows no quibbles or prevarication, but keeps every one to the point. In summing up, he proves that all depends on the evidence, nothing on the pleadings; if he condescend to notice the arguments of the rival counsel, it is only to caution the jury against being unduly biassed by mere elocution.

Brief notices of the ancient British and Saxon queens will be found in the Introduction. The personal histories of the Anglo-Norman, and several of the Plantagenet, Tudor and Stuart queen-consorts, we found involved in scarcely less obscurity than those of their British and AngloSaxon predecessors. Dimly, however, as their memorials floated over the surface of general history, they afforded indubitable evidence that substantial matter connected with those shadows would, on diligent search, be discovered, as, indeed, the result has proved. Documentary historians alone can appreciate the difficulties, the expense, the injury to health, to say nothing of the sacrifice of more profitable literary pursuits, that have been involved in this undertaking. We have related the parentage of every queen, described her education, traced the influence of family connexions and national habits on her conduct, both public and private, and given a concise outline of the domestic, as well as the general history of her times, and its effects on her character, and we have done so with singleness of heart. If we have borne false witness in any instance, let those who bring accusations bring also proofs of their assertions.

The materials for the lives of the Tudor and Stuart queens are of a more copious and important nature than the records of the consorts of our Anglo-Norman and Plantagenet sovereigns. We miss, indeed, the illuminated pages, and the no less picturesque details of the historians of the age of chivalry, rich in their quaint simplicity, for the last of the monastic chroniclers, John Rous, of Warwick, closed his labours with the blood-stained annals of the last of the Plantagenet kings.

It is, however, from the Acts of the Privy Council, the Parliamentary Journals, and the unpublished Regal Records and MSS. in the State Paper Office, as well as from the treasures preserved in the Bibliothèque du Roi, at Paris, and the private MS. collections of historical families xi

Preface. and gentlemen of antiquarian research, that our most important facts are gathered. State papers, autograph letters, and other important documents, which the antiquarian taste of the present age has drawn forth from the repositories where they have slumbered among the dust of centuries, have afforded their silent but incontrovertible evidence on matters illustrative of the private history of royalty, to enable writers who, unbiassed by the leaven of party spirit, deal in facts, not opinions, to unravel the tangled web of falsehood. Every person who has referred to original documents is aware that it is a work of time and patience to read the MSS. of the Tudor era. Those in the State Paper Office, and the Cottonian Library, have suffered much from accidents, and from the injuries of time. Water, and even fire, have partially passed over some; in others, the mildew has swept whole sentences from the page, leaving historical mysteries in provoking obscurity, and occasionally baffling the attempts of the most persevering antiquary to raise the shadowy curtain


of the past.

The records of the Tudor queens are replete with circumstances of powerful interest, and rich in the picturesque costume of an age of pageantry and romance. Yet of some of these ladies so little beyond the general outline was known, that the lives of Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, and Katharine Howard, were for the first time opened to the public in this work.

Our earlier queens were of course necessarily members of the church of Rome. There are the biographies of only five Protestant queens in this Series. Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, and Anne of Cleves died, howsoever they might live, in communion with the church of Rome. Katharine Parr is, therefore, our first Protestant queen, and the nursing mother of the Reformation. There is only another Protestant queenconsort, Anne of Denmark, the three queens-regnant, Elizabeth, Mary II., and Anne. Undoubtedly these princesses would have been better women if their actions had been more conformable to the principles inculcated by the pure and apostolic doctrines of the church of England.

The lives of our four queens-regnant form an important portion of the royal biographies. The communication of the Bedingfield State Papers by their learned editor, the Rev. C. R. Manning, M.A., honorary secretary of the Norfolk Archæological Society, now enables us to correct the erroneous statements of Foxe and Burnet regarding Elizabeth's journey from the Tower to Woodstock, and her subsequent imprisonment. Sir Henry Bedingfield's Journal and Official Reports to queen Mary and her council, elucidate very fully that portion of her biography, and enrich it with lively personal anecdotes, which are now, for the first time, amalgamated with the eventful story of her early life. It is also satisfactory to be able to solve the previously inexplicable enigma of the bitter indignation she expressed against her ministers, when informed of the decapitation of Mary queen of Scots, by showing that as her ministers found it impossible to induce her to execute the death warrant of her royal kinswoman, Burleigh, Walsingham and Davison employed a private secretary of Walsingham to forge her signature to that instrument, and acted upon it without her knowledge—a discovery which gives a new reading to her conduct on this occasion, and acquits her of the pitiful hypocrisy imputed to her by Davison, on whose unsupported testimony she has been too hastily condemned.

We have compelled the royal Stuart queens-regnant, Mary and Anne, to bear witness of themselves by their letters—such letters as they permitted to survive them, which are indeed sufficient to elucidate their actions. The great marvel regarding the secret correspondence of royalty at such an epoch, is not that so much is destroyed, but that any

should survive. Strange mysteries might have been unfolded, if biographers had been allowed to glance over the contents of those papers which queen Mary spent a lonely vigil in her closet in destroying, when she felt the dread fiat had


“ Set thine house in order, for thou shalt die and not live.”

The materials for the biography of Mary Beatrice of Modena, the consort of James II., are chiefly derived from the unpublished documents of the period. Many of these, and indeed the most important, are locked up in the secret archives of France, papers that are guarded with such extreme jealousy from the curiosity of foreigners, that nothing less than the powerful introduction of M. Guizot, when premier of France, could have procured access to that collection. Through the kindness and liberality of that accomplished statesman-historian, every facility for research and transcription was granted during our residence in Paris in 1844. The result was fortunate beyond our most sanguine expectations, in the discovery of a very important mass of inedited royal letters and contemporary records connected with the personal history of the expatriated Stuarts. Not the least curious of these are the disjointed fragments of a quaint diary kept by one of the nuns of Chaillot, from 1711 to 1714, who, with minuteness and simplicity worthy of Samuel Pepys himself, has recorded the proceedings and table-talk of the exiled queen during

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