Imágenes de páginas


ticable." The proposal does not, however, "fetch" the Emperor, who goes on procrastinating. However, Louis XIV. gets wind of it, though he was meant to, through D'Audriffet, and grows uneasy, throwing all the cold water that he can upon the scheme. Meanwhile in England things go against the Chevalier. Queen Anne dies, King George succeeds, and, in spite of James's solemn protest, addressed to the Powers in English, French, and Latin, England seems perfectly content. After this it is not surprising to find Leopold, when James returns to the subject of his marriage, shaking his head discouragingly, and pointing out that the Chevalier's matrimonial value has fallen appreciably in the market. He must no longer look "so high." Besides, the Emperor will not care to embroil himself by such a marriage with the Government of King George, with which he has struck up a friendship which, in Louis XIV.'s words, promises to prove alike "solide et sincère." Now, there is the Princess Sobieska ! Leopold thinks that he could manage that. Through her mother she is a niece of the Empress Eleanor. Therefore, to a certain extent, James will still secure the Hapsburg interest. for marrying the Archduchess, that is out of the question. James does not see it. He goes on harping upon the Archduchess Elizabeth, and worrying poor Leopold to resume negotiations.


Leopold found worry of a more serious sort besetting him, on account of James, in a different quarter. To satisfy France was all very well. But what in this matter satisfied France offended England. Now, England itself was very little to the Duke of Lorraine. Louis XIV. kept assuring him that


English complaints and remonstrances should have "point de suite," and that he would see him through the business. He had "" nothing to fear." However, the remonstrances went on. bishops made themselves ridiculous by very indiscreet and officious interference. The Duke judges that this "n'estoit qu'une grimace de la Cour d'Angleterre." But after a time he grows irritable, and recalls his envoy-quite as much in disgust as for economy. That does not mend matters-no more does the Duke's letter, written at the French king's suggestion for communication to Prior. D'Audriffet's despatch of 3d May 1714 shows that Leopold at that time quite expected that he might be made to give effect to the English demand. Meanwhile Queen Anne dies. James issues his proclamation, at which George and our Parliament take needlessly great offence, and an icy coldness springs up between the two Courts-just under circumstances which make a coldness appear least acceptable to Leopold. For however little Queen Anne might have had it in her power to cross him, her successor is Elector of Hanover as well as King of England, fast friends with the Emperor, and has a great say in the bestowal of ecclesiastical patronage in Germany, for which Leopold, on behalf of his "near and dear relations," has an insatiable appetite. Accordingly he grows uncomfortable. He notices with alarm, so the letters show, that George takes an unusually long time advising him of the late Queen's death, and when the advice comes, it says nothing about his own succession. Anxious to make up the breach, Leopold at once despatches a special envoy, Lambertye, to present his congratulations. To the Duke's dismay George will

not receive him. Leopold, however, bids him stay where he is, and addresses to the king his wellknown memorial, which must certainly be pronounced dignified in tone and just in substance. James's proclamation, Leopold shows, was issued without any knowledge or consent on his part. Privately, he causes it to be explained that he is simply obeying dictatorial orders from Versailles. But-"on a beau leur dire," writes de Bosque, D'Audriffet's substitute, on the 31st of October, "que la france a vn pouuoir arbitraire sur le Duc de Lorrain et ses Etats, cela ne les contente plus." The poor Duke grows most uncomfortable. However, in January the matter is made up, and King George consents to receive Lambertye at last -at the very time when Queen Mary Beatrice threatens once more to trouble relations just settling down again, with her visit to Lunéville. In any case Lambertye's mission did not bring Lor raine any good-except, says Noel, it be the importation of a new variety of potato, which he brought from England, and which proved much superior to the old Lorraine sort.

If our statesmen had little right to call upon Leopold to expel James, they had of course every reason to be vigilant. And they do not appear to have failed often in that duty. To be quite fair, James's followers, on the whole, made the task pretty easy for them. They were always plotting, but at the same time also always letting out their secret,—a tippler talking in his cups; an officer confiding intelligence to his sweetheart; a bungling conspirator boasting in very big words. Long before October 1715, when the great “invasion at length took place, we have references to some

[ocr errors]

intended move. All is promptly reported to England, and to Paris, where, after his arrival at his post, Stair, when not engaged in smuggling goods for his friends, spares neither pains nor money to obtain the very best and most prompt intelligence.

Now he warns

At length, after much posting backwards and forwards of trusted but untrustworthy messengers and confidants, after more than one false alarm, and one very provoking act of treachery (on the part of a bankrupt banker), after much dissuasion from the Duke of Lorraine, who seems to have exhausted all his powers of reasonable argument in vain, after stealthy visits said to have been paid by Bolingbroke and Ormonde to Bar, and by Mar to Commercy, the great move takes place. To the end Leopold appears to have considered James's recall by the spontaneous act of the English nation a probable contingency. him that a Hanoverian king on the English throne will play his game far more effectively than he himself possibly can by taking up arms-t -that, in the face of the unpopularity which the foreign ruler is sure to bring upon himself, if left alone, James will, by raising the flag of rebellion, only be cutting his own throat. However, James will not hear. Becoming prudent, at any rate, as the time for action draws nearer, both the Chevalier and his friends grow close and uncommunicative, so as to extract complaints even from D'Audriffet, who, having been previously let into all the harmless little secrets of the plot at first hand, now finds himself reduced to coaxing intelligence out of " une personne attachée au Chevalier de St George, qui est de mes amies." However, in October, just before the depar

ture actually takes place, Leopold confides to him that James has expressed himself resolved to take his fortune into his own hand. He has been advised from England and Scotland that circumstances will never be more favourable. If he misses this chance, he will have no other. "C'est tout gagner ou tout perdre."

The final escape of James was, on the whole, managed with secrecy and some skill, though things went a little untowardly. Stair, who was sparing no pains to keep the Chevalier watched to his every step, was a little deceived, partly by that false information which Bolingbroke says that he purposely gave him, partly by the diplomatic bearing of the Regent and Torcy, who were both secretly befriending the Chevalier. Certainly Stair got his correct intelligence too late to be of much use, and so sent to Château Thierry to have James seized after the bird had flown. Cadogan in Brussels was better informed. He had stationed a gentleman from Mecklenburgh," M. de Pless, at Nancy, ostensibly to attend the Academy, really to play the spy upon the Chevalier. A letter from the Regent to D'Audriffet shows that the object of his mission was perfectly understood in the French capital. The news of the Chevalier's departure comes out through the indiscretion of some one in the secret arriving from Commercy-and immediately Pless takes formal leave of the Duke, and hurries without a moment's delay off to Brussels, where Cadogan has a courier ready, who, but for provokingly prolonged contrary winds, would have reached England in excellent time.

Finding the Chevalier's mind made up, Leopold, wishing to be kind to the last, sends his protégé

[blocks in formation]

It is well known that James started from Commercy on the 28th of October 1715 in disguise. But the precise manner of his escape, as related in the 'Gazette de Hollande,' on what professes to be trustworthy evidence, has been strangely ignored in England. It explains why, for a full fortnight after James's disappearance, newspapers still go on reporting his supposed doings in Lorraine. The escape was of course abetted by the Prince de Vaudémont, who, to make it possible, invited a large company to Commercy for the day appointed, to hunt in his forests. James went out to hunt, and James apparently came back in the evening. But the James who returned was not the real Stuart prince, but a follower of his, who bore a striking resemblance to his master, and had more than once been mistaken for him. Who this gentleman was I have not been able to trace. With this man James had exchanged clothes, unseen by any one, out in the forest. And so, as the Duc de Villeroy writes to Madame de Maintenon (the letter is in the Paris MSS.), "Il partit misterieusement de Commerci en chaise roulante, vestu du violet en Ecclesiastique, avec un petit colet, malgré la vigilance des Espions, sans qu'ils ayent pú auoir ni vent ni nouuelles de son départ, que deux ou trois

jours après sa sortie." The Chevalier pursued his journey, carefully avoiding highroads, reaching Peterhead safely in the end, though after much after much travelling backwards and forwards, taking pains to elude Stair's spies, who were placed at all important points. At Nonancourt he narrowly missed being caught, as we know, by Captain Douglas and two other emissaries, evidently what Bunyan calls "ill-favoured ones.' "" For the impression became general in France -over which the editor of 'The Annals of the Earls of Stair,' Mr Murray Graham, grows exceedingly indignant that these men were assassins retained to destroy the Chevalier by Lord Stair, whose passports they carried, and who promptly came to their rescue when they were brought before the Grand Prévôt de la Haute Normandie. Very probably they looked cut-throats. One of them was armed.

And as cut-throats,

not spies, the maîtresse de la poste cautioned James against them, helping him off, to save his life, in a disguise and with a guide provided by herself. As supposed cut-throats they were seized by the police, and as cut-throats they were brought before the judge. Stair's interference probably saved their lives. But all his explanations and all his protestations could not for a long time remove from the mind of the French people the impression that the men assassins. The Regent, we hear, released them without inquiry, simply to avoid scandal.


How the Chevalier's enterprise ended we all know. He does not appear to have been particularly attentive to his late host, the Duke of Lorraine. On the 24th of October he sent him a formal farewell; but on the 7th November we have the Duke stating as a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

grievance that he is without news. During November we find people in Paris growing remarkably confident. On the 2d of December Lord Stair complains that "les plus sages à la Cour" are just again beginning to treat the Chevalier as Pretender. Until two days before he was "King of England to every one in Paris, "et tout le monde avoit levé le masque.' There was not a single Frenchman, having any connection with the Court, who so much as set foot in Stair's house. Everybody thought that the Stuart cause was about to triumph. But the 11th of January 1716 saw James back at Gravelines, "d'où il repassa en Lorraine," say the MSS. in the Archives Nationales. Miss Strickland will have it that he went to Paris, where Bolingbroke advised him to go straight into Lorraine, without first asking leave of the Duke-which advice he did not follow. Independent Lorraine sources state that he passed through Lorraine, “courant la poste à 9 chevaux." As he had left all his goods and chattels at Bar-le-Duc, that seems the more likely version. Before his departure Duke Leopold had assured the Chevalier that his dominions would always be open to him, and that he "pourroit compter sur luy en tout ce qui en pourroit dependre." In March, however, under altered circumstances, we find him advising Queen Mary Beatrice, "for the second time," that he cannot again receive her son into his duchy. The Chevalier himself seems to have taken the first warning. For we read in the 'Gazette de Hollande' that his Domestiques et Equipages were removed from Bar to Paris in February. cording to M. Konarski (I have not verified the entry in the archives, but it is doubtless correct), James left Bar on the 9th of


February—“ sans adresser ses remerciments et ses adieux au duc Leopold," says Noel; comme un escroc vulgaire," says M. Konarski. "Ne se contentant par de l'argent que Léopold lui donnait, il emprunta des sommes assez fortes aux seigneurs et partit sans les rembourser." The sum of 15,000 francs paid to his friend M. de Bassompierre, which appears in the official accounts, is only one such debt. "Cette ingratitude de la part du Chevalier de Saint Georges," adds Noel, "indignait toute la Cour." People People spoke to Leopold about it. "Gentlemen," said the Duke, "you forget that this Prince is in misfortune, and that he was a king."

If the direct benefits which the hospitality extended to James brought to Lorraine were less than nil, the indirect were scarcely more valuable. No doubt, the Chevalier having set the example, not a few Roman Catholics from the United Kingdom, so Noel relates, sought the same hospitable refuge. Others came-among them both Noel and Marchal name the elder Pittto take advantage of the new Academy opened by Leopold, and rapidly blossoming into greatness under such distinguished masters as Duval and Vayringe. Some of these men brought plenty of money with them, and their liberal fees went to swell acceptably the professors' receipts. But the number of impecunious persons, more particularly Irish, who flowed to the Lorraine Court to prey upon Leopold's generosity, seems to have been even larger. "Nous regorgeons d'Irlandais," writes the Duke's friend Bardin in 1719Irlandais who evidently boasted but little money and less gratitude. Bardin complains of an an exceptionally bad case of the latter sort. Leopold mildly replies, "I helped

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

In 1749, when the Duc fainéant, Stanislas Leszinski, "simple gentilhomme lithuanien," was holding his gay little Court at Lunéville, with Voltaire and Madame du Châtelet to lend brilliancy to it, and Madame de Boufflers to preside as elderly Venus, we read that the whole company were deeply touched when the great French writer, as was his wont, read out aloud his just concluded chapter on the Stuarts, in the 'Siècle de Louis XV. Everybody had a regret for the hardly used dynasty. Scarcely had Voltaire closed his book when in rushed a messenger, bringing the tidings that James's son, Charles Edward, doubly an exile after the failure of his rebellion of 1745, had, on the demand of the English Government, been seized at Paris on leaving the Opera. "Oh heaven!" exclaimed Voltaire, "is it possible that the king can suffer such an indignity, and that his glory can have been tarnished by a stain which all the water of the Seine will not wash away!" The whole company was moved. Voltaire retired gloomily into his own room, threw down his MS. into a corner, and did not take the work up again till he found himself amid the more prosaic surroundings of Berlin. Very shortly after Charles Edward himself knocked at Stanislas' door. What he did during the nearly three years that he was a refugee at Lunéville it seems impossible to ascertain. The French State Papers are silent at Lunéville not a tradition has survived. doings evidently were not considered worth recording. The drama of Stuart kingship was played out. The dream had come

to an end.

[ocr errors]



« AnteriorContinuar »