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inconvenience had resulted from the government of two kingdoms so closely connected, by legislative bodies which were independent of each other; and by an act which received the royal assent, May 1, 1707, the two kingdoms were incorporated into one, to be called GREAT BRITAIN. The union was greatly opposed at the time by the Scottish nation, which is now convinced of the important advantages it has derived from this measure. Scotland retained her own laws, and her own presbyterian form of religion.
Queen Anne was always popular with her subjects; and her name is still familiarly spoken of as good Queen Anne." She was not, indeed, possessed of shining talents, and was too much governed by female favourites in her household. But she was exemplary as a wife and mother, and was a great benefactress to the Church, to which she was sincerely attached. In particular, she did what she could to restore to the Church what had been taken from it at the time of the Reformation. Charles I. had determined upon a similar measure, and had confided his design to Sheldon, who succeeded Juxon on the throne of Canterbury; but death stopped his performance of his wish. His son could do little more than restore what the Rebellion had violently torn away: but Anne carried out successfully a measure of the following description. The firstfruits, which were originally an exaction of the Pope from every new incumbent of a benefice, had been assumed by the crown. These the queen settled on a corporation for the augmentation of small livings.
The fund so raised and
applied is called Queen Anne's Bounty.
The reign of Anne was one of the most brilliant periods of English literature. Milton and Dryden, indeed, belong to the latter half of the preceding century; but Pope, and Addison, and Swift, with many other writers of much note, gave lustre to the reign of Anne. Sir Isaac Newton, who had published his great work on the system of the universe in the reign of William III., did not die till 1727. The queen's last years were much embittered by the quarrels of Harley and St. John, the ministers for whom she had sacrificed the Duke of Marlborough. She died Aug. 1, 1714, in the forty-ninth year of her life, and the Elector of Hanover was proclaimed king as George I. Anne was the last sovereign of the house of Stuart.
THE new king, who was the son of the Electress Sophia, landed at Greenwich, Sept. 18, 1714. He was a stranger to the language and manners of England, and put himself #into the hands of the Whig party; which seems to have enjoyed its triumph with too vindictive a temper against its political rivals. The Earl of Oxford was impeached for his share in the treaty of Utrecht, and kept in prison for about two years. He was then set at liberty, as his prosecutors found that there was not sufficient ground for the charges against him. The Lords Ormond and Bolingbroke withdrew to the continent, and were attainted. They repaired to the court of the Pretender, who was preparing an effort for the overthrow of the new government.
The standard of this prince was raised in the Highlands by the Earl of Mar, in 1715; and he was proclaimed as James III., in the north of England, by the Earl of Derwentwater and Mr. Forster; who were joined by the Scottish Lords Wintoun, Nithisdale, Carnwarth, and Kenmuir. Being reinforced by a body of Highlanders, they advanced to Preston in Lancashire, where they were attacked by the royal forces, and obliged to surrender at discretion. The very same day a battle was fought between Mar and the Duke of Argyle at Sheriff- Muir, near Dumblane, in which the latter had the advantage; and the Pretender, who had landed in Scotland, found it necessary to retrace his course, and reached France in safety, with the Lords Mar, Melford, and others. Of the noblemen who surrendered at Preston, Derwentwater, Kenmuir, and Wintoun were beheaded; Nithisdale escaped in women's clothes, brought by his wife the night before the day appointed for his execution: the lives of the rest were spared.
The legal duration of parliaments had been fixed by law to the term of three years; and as the ministers thought it unsafe to hazard a general election in the unsettled state of the country, a bill was brought in to extend the duration of parliaments to seven years; which has since remained the legal period between one general election and another, though in practice the term has seldom exceeded six years. This bill, which is called the Septennial Bill, received the high approbation of Lord Somers, the great constitutional lawyer.
The death of Louis XIV., in 1715, occasioned a long regency in France, under the Duke of Orleans, which was favourable to the continuance of peace; and the reign of George I. is unmarked by any foreign transactions of much importance. The king entered into alliance with the Regent of France, in order to oppose the ambitious designs of Cardinal Alberoni, at that time chief minister in Spain : -and an English fleet, under Sir G. Byng, was sent (1718) > to the Mediterranean, where it totally destroyed the Spanish fleet of twenty-seven sail of the line. An expedition under Admiral Hosier (1725) to the coast of Spanish America was less successful; but the Spaniards, on their part, failed in an attempt to recover the fortress of Gibraltar.
In England an amazing amount of distress was occasioned in the year 1720, by the failure of a scheme, which is usually known as the South Sea Bubble.
It was noticed in the reign of William III. that parliament determined to raise money on the public account by means of loans. This money had been borrowed of various mercantile companies; and a proposal was made to government by the South Sea Company, to pay off all their various debts, and thus become the sole national creditor. The government was to pay a lower rate of interest than before; and the South Sea Company was to raise the money for thus buying up the national debts, by opening a subscription to a scheme for carrying on a trade in the South Sea, of the profits of which a most extravagant notion was indulged. People came in crowds to subscribe, and many ventured all they had. The desire to obtain shares was such, that the original purchasers sold them for ten times as much as they had given. In a few months it was found
that the whole scheme was a delusion. Thousands of families were reduced to beggary, and the trade of the country received a shock from which it did not quickly recover.
Notwithstanding the ease with which the Earl of Mar's rebellion had been put down, the Jacobites (or adherents of the Pretender) continued their machinations in his favour. In these designs Atterbury, bishop of Rochester, was supposed to be implicated; and he was, accordingly, deprived by the civil power of his see, and banished, in 1723. He was a man of much genius and learning, and had laboured to restore the convocation to its due place in the constitution; but the day of the power of that assembly had passed away. The beginning of its decline was the abandonment of the privilege of self-taxation by the Clergy in the time of Charles II.; but it survived as a body deliberating on the spiritual affairs of the Church until 1717. In that year, when it seemed likely that some difference would arise between the Upper House, or House of Bishops, and the Lower House, concerning a work of Hoadley, bishop of Bangor, it was prorogued, without being permitted to come to a decision. The Houses still meet at the commencement of every Parliament, but cannot proceed to act without the royal permission, which, for various reasons, has not been of late years accorded.
It has been already remarked that we cannot speak highly of the state of the Church generally during this reign. The bishoprics and other preferments were often regarded rather as political rewards than as offices of grave and solemn responsibility. But this statement admits some exceptions.
George had married the Princess Sophia of Zell; but his consort had long been confined at Alden, on a charge generally believed to be false. By this lady he was the father of the prince who succeeded him, and also of a daughter, married to the King of Prussia. His own court was disgraced by his connexion with a person whom he created Duchess of Kendal; nor was this the only instance of his laxity of principle in so important a part of his moral and religious duty. In 1727, the king set out on his usual visit to Hanover; but was taken ill, and died in his carriage, near Osnaburg, on the 11th of June. He was, on the whole, less unpopular with his English subjects than might have
been expected, from his foreign origin, and his predilection for Hanover.
Born at Hanover.
Buried in Westminster Abbey. Reigned
Archbishops of Canterbury.
William Wake, A.D. 1715-1737. | Matthew Hutton, A.D. 1757, 1758. John Potter, A.D. 1737-1747. Thomas Secker, A.D. 1758—1768. Thomas Herring,A.D. 1747-1757.
THE Prince of Wales, who succeeded his father as George II., was married to the Princess Caroline of Anspach, a lady of remarkable ability and discretion. To the time of her death (which occurred in 1737) she had considerable share in the government, especially during the king's frequent excursions to Hanover. It should also be mentioned that the Church is indebted, under God, to the discernment of Queen Caroline', for the advancement of Archbishop Secker, and of Bishop Butler, who was the author of the immortal work on The Analogy of Natural and Revealed Religion to the Constitution and Course of Nature." the time of the king's accession his eldest son Frederick, who then became Prince of Wales, was twenty years of age. For a period of fifteen years, at the beginning of this reign, Sir Robert Walpole was the chief minister of the crown. He had been brought forward in the government in the late reign, and was a dexterous and successful minister. The kingdom enjoyed much tranquillity under his management of affairs, and such excitement as existed in the country found vent chiefly in parliamentary discussions on the national debt, and on the number of troops
1 The personal piety of Queen Caroline has been much questioned; and it has been doubted whether she did not value Bishop Butler rather as an able and acute reasoner, than as a man of religion. It is certain that she declined on her death-bed to receive the Holy Eucharist from the hands of the Archbishop of Canterbury; but whatever she may have been, her general measures were favourable to the Church.