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led by Bolingbroke and Atterbury, which forced the hand of Oxford and carried the Schism Act. As a natural consequence the whole body of Protestant Dissenters were passionately devoted to the Hanoverian succession. Their numbers appear by this time to have considerably increased. It appears, by a report drawn up by Neal, the well-known historian of Puritanism, in 1715 and 1716, that at that date there were 1,107 Dissenting congregations in England and 43 in Wales. The Presbyterians were by far the most numerous, and they about equalled the Independents and Baptists united. The position of the Nonconformists in the last few months of the reign of Anne was extremely perilous, and they had everything to fear from the ministry of Bolingbroke; but the Queen, by a remarkable coincidence, died on the very day on which the Schism Act was to have come into operation. It is related that on that morning Burnet met Bradbury, the minister of the great Independent Chapel in Fetter Lane, walking through Smithfield with slow steps, and with an absent and dejected air. 'I was thinking,' he said, in reply to the greeting of the Bishop, 'whether I shall have the constancy and resolution of the martyrs who suffered in this spot, for I most assuredly expect to see similar times of violence and persecution.' The Bishop consoled him by the intelligence that the Queen was dying, and promised, as soon as the event occurred, to send a messenger to inform him, or, if it was the hour of public worship, to drop a handkerchief from the gallery of his chapel. A few hours later, while London was still wholly ignorant of what had happened, the signal was given. Bradbury concluded his sermon with a fervent thanksgiving to God, who had blasted the hopes and designs of wicked men. He announced to his startled hearers the accession of George I., and having implored the Divine blessing on the King and on his family, minister and

1 Burgess, the most popular Dissenting minister in London in the reigns of William and Anne, is said to have once explained from the pulpit that the descendants of Jacob

were called Israelites 'because God did not wish his people to be called Jacobites.'-Bogue and Bennett.

2 Bogue and Bennett, Hist. of the Dissenters, i. 357–359.


congregation joined in a psalm of triumph, describing the chosen prince, raised up by the Almighty Hand to save His people from their enemies. Some time later the same minister, accompanied by several other leading Nonconformists, was deputed to present an address of congratulation to the new sovereign. In the vestibule of the palace they met Bolingbroke, who asked them sarcastically, as he pointed to their dark robes, which contrasted strangely with the pageantry about them, Is this a funeral?' No, my Lord,' was the answer, not a funeral, but a resurrection!' 2


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These were the chief elements that composed the Whig party which the accession of George I. raised to power. But although a singular combination of skill and good fortune had secured its success, although a dynasty which was once on the throne, and was supported by the army, was able, for a time at least, to command the allegiance of the classes who always rally around order, yet the permanence of the Government seemed more than doubtful. The strongest sympathies and enthusiasms of the nation took other directions, and the balance of classes was decidedly against it. The Whigs directed everything' to their own advantage, and entirely discarded the policy of endeavouring to conciliate their opponents. The systematic exclusion of all Tories from the Government; the censure by both Houses of a peace which had been approved by two successive Parliaments; the report of the Secret Committee in which the whole conduct of the late ministers in negotiating the peace was minutely investigated and painted in the blackest colours; and finally the impeachment of Bolingbroke, Oxford, Ormond, and Strafford were sufficient to drive almost the whole party into the arms of Jacobitism. It is remarkable, however, that, even in this season of party violence and party triumph, the Whig leaders shrank from a repetition of the Sacheverell agitation, and abstained very prudently, though very illogically, from

1 The eighty-ninth Psalm.

2 Or according to another version, The funeral of the Schism Act-the resurrection of liberty.'- Compare



Bogue and Bennett's Hist. of Dissenters, ii. pp. 78-79, and Wilson's Hist. of Dissenting Churches, iii. 513-514.

impeaching the Bishop of Bristol, who had been one of the plenipotentiaries in negotiating the peace, though they impeached his colleague, Lord Strafford. The violence shown on this occasion was a natural consequence of the measures of the last administration, but few will now question that it was excessive. No conclusive evidence of the Jacobite intrigues of the late Government was at that period accessible to the ministers. The 'restraining orders' furnished a ground for impeachment which was unquestionably valid, but they could affect neither Ormond, whose duty as a soldier was simply to obey orders, nor Strafford, who was negotiating in Holland. However inadequate, and even criminal, might have been the terms of the peace, the approbation of the preceding Parliaments should have sheltered its authors from criminal proceedings. The aspect of English politics was now rapidly changed by the disappearance of many leading figures from the scene. Bolingbroke fled to France, and, in a moment of anger or miscalculation, threw himself openly into the service of the Pretender, and thus exposed himself to an Act of Attainder and irretrievably ruined his future career. Ormond, soon after, took the same course, with a similar result; but after a short time he abandoned politics and lived quietly in France. Oxford awaited the storm with his usual calm courage, and he was flung into the Tower, where he remained untried for two years. In 1715 the Whigs lost Wharton, the most skilful and unscrupulous of their party managers, Halifax, the greatest of their financiers, and Burnet, the most brilliant of their churchmen. Somers lingered till 1716, but he was now a helpless paralytic, and, though a few fitful flashes of his old intelligence were occasionally discerned, his mind for many months before his death was profoundly impaired. Marlborough soon experienced the same fate. Though appointed Captain-General and Master of the Ordnance by the new Government, he received no confidence and exercised scarcely any influence, and he viewed with bitter displeasure the course of events. The death of two daughters, in 1714, threw a deep shadow over his life. In

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1716 he was reduced by two successive strokes of paralysis to almost complete impotence, and he remained a pitiable wreck till his death in 1722.

In the country the surprised acquiescence and the sense of relief from impending danger, which had greeted the accession of George I. were soon replaced by a general discontent. The University of Oxford testified its sentiments by conferring, on the very day of the King's coronation, an honorary degree on Sir Constantine Phipps, who had just been removed from the Government of Ireland on suspicion of Jacobitism. On the same day violent riots broke out at Birmingham, Bristol, Chippenham, Norwich, and Reading. Similar scenes soon occurred in almost every considerable town in the kingdom. The birthdays of Anne and of Ormond and the imprisonment of Oxford were the occasions of violent and threatening disturbances The House of Lords in 1716 strongly censured the University authorities of Oxford for having refused to take any measures for celebrating the birthday of the Prince of Wales. On the other hand, those who attempted to celebrate the King's birthday in London with the usual festivities were insulted by the populace; and on the following day, which happened to be the anniversary of the Restoration, bonfires were lit, the streets were illuminated, a picture of King William was burnt in Smithfield, great crowds patrolled the city, shouting Ormond and High Church for ever!' and several persons were injured. The Dissenters, in 1714 and 1715, were exposed to violence very similar to that which they had experienced after the impeachment of Sacheverell. In London several of their ministers were burnt in effigy. At Oxford a Quaker meeting-house was utterly destroyed, and in most of the towns of Staffordshire, Shropshire, and Cheshire the Nonconformist chapels were wrecked.' The Nonjurors now very generally attended the ordinary church service, but they took great pains to show that their antipathy

'See Wright's England under the House of Hanover, Tindal's History,

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Wilson's Life of Defoe, Rogers' Protests of the House of Lords, i. 234-236.

to the Revolution was unabated. Some of them, when the names of the King and royal family were mentioned in the prayers, stood up and faced the congregation. Others less demonstratively glided down on their hassocks, and remained sitting till the prayers were over. Others tried the gravity of the congregation by ostentatiously rustling the pages of their prayer-books in order that they might not hear the obnoxious names. A fashion became common of drinking disloyal toasts in disguised forms, such as 'Kit,' or King James III.; Job,' or James, Ormond, and Bolingbroke; three pounds fourteen and fivepence,' or James III., Lewis XIV., and Philip V. Innumerable ballads and pamphlets circulated through the country, sustaining and representing the prevailing discontent.

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The situation was, undoubtedly, very critical. The ministers had secured a large Whig majority in the Parliament, but there was every probability that if a dissolution occurred in three years, the verdict would have been reversed, and another of those great revulsions of power which of late years had been so frequent would have taken place. The utter ignorance of the King of the language of his people, and his awkward retiring manners, disgusted the nation all the more because it was the habit of the Whig party to throw many imputations upon the late Queen. It was remarked with bitterness that one of the very first acts of the new Government in foreign policy was to embroil England with a Northern Power in the interests of Hanover. Bremen and Verden, which had been ceded to Sweden by the treaty of Westphalia, had, on account of their situation between Hanover and the sea, been long an object of desire to the Princes of the House of Brunswick. In 1712 these provinces, together

1 Kennett's Life, pp. 161-162. Perry's Hist. of the Church of England, iii. 71.

2 Marshal Berwick, the truest and most moderate of the Jacobite leaders, declared at this time that five out of six of the English nation were on the side of King James, not, indeed, so much on account of his incontestable

right, as from hatred to the House of Hanover, and to prevent the ruin of the Church and of the liberties of the kingdom; and he added that many persons of the greatest consideration, many noblemen, clergy, and gentlemen, had given assurances of their good intentions.-Mémoires du Maréchal de Berwick, ii. 139–140.

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