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Henry J. (Henry John) Van-Lennep.

The American lady's preceptor : a compilation of observations, essays and poetical effusions designed to direct the female mind in a course of pleasing and instructive reading online

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that mine eyes desire yfju above all things."

This last proof of Catharine's affection extort-
ed tears even from the obdurate Henry. He or-
dered her remains to be interred with due solem-
nity in the monastry of St. Peterborough, and af-
terwards erected that monastry into a bishop's
see, as a tribute of affection and regard to the
memory of a person, whose sweetness of temper
and elevation of soul rendered her worthy of a
better fate.



ANNE BOLEYN,

qUEEN-CONSORT OF HENRY THE EIGHTH.

ANNE BOLEYN, the daughter of Sir Tho-
mas Boleyn, was born in 1507, and carried to
France at seven years of age, by the sister of
Henry VIII, who was given in marriage to Louis
XII. After the death of Louis, his widow re-
turned to her native country, but Anne remained
in France, in the service of Claudia, the wife of
Francis L The year of her return to England
is uncertain ; but it appears to have been about



HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 127

the time when scruples were first entertained by
Henry VllI, respecting the legality of his mar-
riage with the betrothed wife and widow of his
brother, Catharine of Arragon. In his visits to
the queen, to whom Anne Boleyn became maid
of honour, Henry had an opportunity of observ-
ing her beauty and captivating manners. Anne
quickly perceived her influence over the heart of
the monarch, whose passion, either from principle
or policy, she resolutely resisted.

The kiiig, soon after, entertained the design of
raising Anne Boleyn to the throne ; and was the
more confirmed in this resolution, when he found
that her virtue precluded all hopes of gratiiying
his passion in any other manner. With this view
he eagerly sued for a divorce from Catharine ;
and when Clement conducted the aflfair in so dila-
tory and ambiguous a manner, that Henry did not
seem to be the least nearer the accomplishment of
his vyishes, he laid the extravagant proposal before
the pope, to grant him a dispensation to have two
wives, and to render the children of both legiti-
mate ; and as the king was a great casuist in mat-
ters of divinity, which seem to flatter his passion,
he alledged in favour of so immoral a proceeding,
sev^eral precedents in the Old Testament.

But when these, and all other means of obtain-
ing the pope's consent failed of success, he broke
with the see of Rome, divorced himself from
Catharine, espoused Anne Boleyn, and obtained
from parliament the ratification of his marriage.

Soon after this event the pregnancy of Anne
both gave joy to the king, and was regarded by
the people as a strong proof of her virtue. On
being delivered of a princess, (who afterwards
swayed the sceptre with such renown under the
name of Elizabeth) Mary, the only daughter of



123 HISTORICAL SKETCHES.

Henry by Catharine, was set aside, and the suc-
ctssion to the crown vested in the issue of Anne
Boleyn by the king.

Henry had persevered constantly in his love
for this lady during six years that his prosecution
of the divorce lasted ; and the obstacles which
opposed the gratification of his passion served
only to redouble his ardour : but the affection
which had subsisted so long under difficulties, had
no sooner attained secure possession of its ob-
ject than it languished from satiety ; and the king's
heart was apparently alienated from his consort.
Her enemies soon perceived this fatal change,
and were very forward to widen the breach. She
had brought forth a dead son, and Henry's ex-
treme fondness for male issue being thus, for the
present, disappointed, his temper, equally violent
and superstitious, was disposed to make the inno-
cent mother answerable for this misfortune. But
the chief means which Anne's enemies employed
to inflame the king against her, was his jea-
lousy.

Anne, though she appears to have been entirely
innocent, and even viriuous in essentials, had a
certain gaiety, if not levity (f character, which
threw her off her guard, and m.ade her less cir-
cumspect than her situation required. Her edu-
cation in France rendered her the more prone to
these freedoms, and she conformed herself with
difficulty to that strict ceremonial which was prac-
tised in the court of England. More vain than
haughty, she was pleased to see the influence of
h'.r beauU' on all around her; and she indulged
herself in an easy familiarity with persons who
were formerly her equals.

Henr} 's dignity was offended by these popular
xnanners, and though the lover had been entirely



HISTORICAL SKEfcirtS. 129

blind, the husband possessed but too quick dis-
cernment and penetration. Wicked instruments
interposed, and put a malignant interpretation on
the harmless liberties of the queen. The vis-
countess of Rocheford in particular, who was
imarried to the queen's brother, but who had lived
on bad terms with her sister-in-lavv^, insinuated the
most cruel suspicions into the king's mind; and,
as she was a woman of a very profligate charac-
ter, paid no regard either to truth or humanity in
those calumnies which she suggested. She mis-
TL'presented every instance of favour which the
queen conferred on all who approached her person,
as tokens of affection ; and even pretended that
her own husband was engaged in a criminal cor-
respondence wuth his sister. These ivripLitations
of guilt were eagerly admitted by Henr}^, who
had transferred his affection to Jane Seymour,
maid of honour to the queen, v/hom he h:id de-
termined to raise to the throne.

The divorce of one queen, or the murder of
another, under the sanction of the law, were no
obstacles to Henry's will, v/hen his passion was to
be gratified.

The king's jealousy first appeared openly in a
tilting at Green, ick ; where the queen happened
to drop her handkerchief,* an instance, probably
casual, but interpreted by him as an instance of
gallantry to some of his paramours. He imme-
diately retired from the place, sent orders to con-
fine her to her chamber, arrested several gentle-
men who were attendants at court, and her bro-
ther, the earl of Rocheford.

The queen was at first more astonished than
alarmed at this instance of his violence and impe-
tuosity, and concluded that he intended only to
terrifv her. But when she discovered that his-



130 HISTORICAL SKETCHES.

indignation did not subside, she reflected on his
obstinate unrelenting spirit ; and prepared herself
for that melancholy doom which seemed to wait
her.

As she was conveyed to the tower, she was in-
formed of her supposed offences, of which she
had been hitheno ignorant: she made earnest
protestations of her innocence, and when she en-
tered her prison, she fell upon her knees, and
prayed God so to help her, as she was not guilty
of the crime imputed to her.

Of all those whom the beneficence of the
queen's temper had obliged, during her prosper-
ous fortune, no one, except Cranmer, durst in-
terpose between her and the king's fury; and
the person whose advancement every breath had
favoured, and every countenance nad sullied upcn,
was now neglected and abandoned. Even her
uuClC the du!:C Cf Ncrfolk^ preferring the con-
nections of party to the ties of biouu, WSS be-
come her most dangerous enemy, and all the re-
tainers to the catholic religion hoped, that her
death would terminate the king's quarrel with
Rome, and induce him to renew his intimate con-
nection with the apostolic See.

In this crisis of alarm and danger, the queen
endeavoured to soften the heart of her obdurate
husband, by a letter, which from its simplicity
and firmness conveys internal evidence that she
was not essentially culpable.

This letter had no influence on the mind of
Henry. The four gentlemen who were arrested,
Norris, Weston, Brereton and Smeton, were
tried, but no legal evidence was procured against
them. Smeton v/as prevailed on, by the vain
hope of life, to confess a criminal correspondence
with the queen : but her enemies never dared to



HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 131

confront him with her, and he was immediately
executed. Norris, who had been much in the
. king^s favour, received an offer of pardon, if he
would confess his crime and accuse the queen ;
but he generously rejected that proposal, and said,
that in his conscience, he believed her -entirely
guiltless, and would die a thousand deaths rather
than calumniate an innocent person.

The queen and her brother were tried by a ju-
ry of peers ; their uncle the duke of Norfolk pre-
sided as lord high stev/ard. Upon what proof
or pretence the crime of incest was imputed to
them, is unknown : the most trivial and absurd
circumstances were admitted by the peers of En-
gland as a sufficient evidence for sacrificing an in-
nocent queen to the cruelty of a tyrant. Though
unassisted by counsel, she defended herself with
great judgment and presence of mind, and the
spectators could not forbear pronouncing her en-
tirely innocent. Judgment however was given
by the court both against the queen ,and lord
Rocheford. When sentence of death was pro-
nounced, lifting up her hands to heaven she said :
" O Father, O Creator ! thou art the way, the
truth, and the life, thou knowest that I have not
deserved this death ;" — ^and then turning to the
Judges made the most pathetic declaration of her
innocence.

The queen now prepared for death. She sent
her last message to the king, and acknowledged
her obligations to him, in continuing thus uni-
formly his endeavours for her advancement :
from a private gentlewoman, she said he had first
made her a marchioness, then a queen, and now
since he could raise her no higher in this world,
he was sending her to be a saint in heaven. She
then renewed the protestations of her innocence,



132 HISTORICAL SKETCHES.

and recommended her daughter to his care. Be-
lore the lieutenant of the lower, and all who ap-
proached her, she made the like declaration, and
continued to behave herself with her usual sere-
nity, and even with cheerfulness.

When her execution w^as deferred for a few
hours, she said to the lieutenant of the Tower,
" I am soriy I shall not die till noon, for I thought
to be dead by this time, and past my pain ; but
the executioner, I hear is very expert, and my
neck is very slender." Upon which she grasped
it in her hand and smiled.

Such was her calmness and serenity at the hour
of her death, that the lieutenant of the tower
said, " I have seen many men and women exe-
cuted and they have been in great sorrow ; and
to my knowledge, this lady hath much pleasure
in death."

When she was brought to the place of execu-
tion she expressed herself in the following man-
ner :

" Good christian people ! I am come hither to
die according to law, and by the lavr I am judged
to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against
it. I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to
speak any thing of that whereof I am accused
and condemned to die. But I pray God save the
king, and send him long to reign over you ; for a
gentler or more merciful prince was there never,
and to me he was ever a good, a gentle, and a
sovereign lord. And if any person will meddle
of my cause, I require them to judge the best.
And thus I take my leave of the wcrlJ, and of
you all; and I heartily desire }ou to pray for



HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 133



CATHARINE PAR.

HENRY having divorced himself from Ca-
tharine of Arragon, and Anne of Cleves; lost Jane
Seymour by death, and beheaded Anne Boleyn,
and Catharine Howard; espoused in 1543, Lady
Catharine Par, widow of Nevil, Lord Latimer,
" a woman," according to Lord Herbert of
Cherbury " of much integrity and worth, and
some maturity of years ; beautified with many ex-
cellent virtues, especially with humanity, the
beauty of all other virtues."

Henry, who was as fickle in his opinions and
sentiments about religion, as he had shewn him-
self with regard to his wives, was continually al-
tering his religious tenets, which he obstinately
required should be believed and followed through-
out the kingdom. Many persons were cruelly
tortured and punished with death, for not recant-
ing their opinion ; among others queen Catha-
rine was near falling a sacrifice to his malignity.
In 1546, the king from his extreme corpulency
and bad habit of body, became afflicted with
disorders, which threatened his life, and rendered
him even more than usual, peevish and passi-
onate. The queen attended him with the most
tender and dutiful care, and endeavored by every
soothing art and compliance, to allay those gusts
of humor which were increased by his infirmities
to a most alarming degree. His favorite topic
of conversation was theology ; and Catharine,
whose good sense made her capable of discours-
ing on any subject, was frequently engaged in the
argument ; and being secretly inclined to the

M



134 HISTORICAL SKETCHES.

principles of the reformers, she unwarily disco-
vered too much of her mind on these occasions.
Henry, highh provoked that she should presume
to differ from him, made complaints of her ob-
stinacy to Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, who
gladly laid hold of the opportunity to inflame the
quarrel. He praised the kings anxious care for
preserving the orthodoxy of his subjects ; and
represented, that the more elevated the person
who was chastised, and the more uear to his
person, the greater terror would the example
strike into every one, and the more glorious would
the sacrifice appear to all posterity.

Henry, hurried by his own impetuous temper,
and encouraged by his councellors, went so far
as to order articles of impeachment to be drawn
up against his consort. Wriothesely the chancel-
lor, executed his commands ; and having ob-
tained the signature of the warrant, he chanced
to drop this important paper from his pocket ;
and as some person of the queen's party found it,
it was immediately carried her. She was sensi-
ble of the extreme danger to which she was ex-
posed ; but did not dispair of being able by
her prudence and address, still to elude the ef-
forts of her enemies. She paid her usual visit
to the king, and found him in a more serene dis-
position than she had reason to expect. He en-
tered on a subject which was so familiar to him,
and he seemed to challenge her to an argument
in divinity. She gently declined the conversa-
tion, and observed that such profound speculations
were ill suited to the natural imbecility of the sex,
" Women," she said, " by their first creation,
were made subject to men ; the female after the
image of the male ; it belonged to the husband
to choose principles for his wife ; the wife's duty



HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 13j

was, In all cases, to adopt implicitly the senti-
ments of her husband : and as to herself, it was
doubly her duty, being blest with a husband,
who was qualified by his judgment and learning,
not only to choose principles for his own family,
but for the most wise and knowing of every na-
tion."

" Not so by St. Mary !" replied the king ;
'•' you are now become a doctor, Kate ; and better
fitted to give than to receive instruction." She
meekly replied, " that she was sensible how lit-
tle she was entitled to these praises ; that though
she usually declined not any conversation, how-
ever sublime, when proposed by his majesty ; she
well knew that her conceptions could serve to no
other purpose, than to give him a little momentary
amusement, that she found the conversation apt to
languish when not revived by some opposition,
^ and had ventured sometimes to feign a contrariety
of sentiments, in order to give him the pleasure
of refuting her ; and that she also proposed, by
this innocent artifice, to engage him into topics,
whence she had observed by frequent experience,
that she reaped profit and instruction." — *' And is
it even so sweetheart ?" replied the king, " then
we are perfect friends again." — He embraced her
with great affection, and sent her away with as-
surances of protection and kindness.

Catharine's enemies, who vfere ignorant of
this reconciliation, prepared next day to convey
her to the tower, pursuant to the king's warrant.
Henry and Catharine were conversing amicably
in the garden, when the chancellor appeared with
forty constables. The king spoke to him at some
distance from her ; and seemed to expostulate
with him in the severest manner : she even over-
heard the terms of knave, fool, and beast, which



136 HISTORICAL SKETCHES.

he very liberarally bestowed upon the magistrate ;
and then ordered him to depart from his presence.
Catharine afterwards interposed to mitigate his
anger, " Poor soul ! you know not how little intit-
led this man is to your good offices. From thence-
forth, the queen having narrowly escaped so great
a danger, was careful not to offend Henry's hu-
mor by any contradiction ; and Gardiner whose
malice had endeavoured to widen the breach,
could never afterwards recover his favour and
good opinion.

Thus Catharine, by her good sense and pro-
priety of conduct, and by yielding to the torrent
which she could not stop, affords a convincing
proof that mildness of temper will often gain
that ascendency over the turbulent passions of
man, which a less gentle spirit would in vain
endeavour to control.



MARIA BEATRICE D'ESTE,

CONSORT OF JAMES THE SECOND.

MARIA BEATRICE LEONORA, of the

illustrious house of Este, second consort of James
the Second, was daughter of Alfonso the Fourth,
duke of Modena, and of Loura Martinozzi, niece
of Cardinal Mazarine. She was born in 1658,
and educated with a view to take the veil : but
fortune disposed of her otherwise, and instead of
being immured in the tranquil gloom of a con-
vent, she was thrown into a busy scene, and des-
tined to be buffeted by the storms and tempests of
an adverse world.



HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 137

James, duke of York, soon after the death of
his first wife declared his conversion to the Cath-
ohc religion, and agreed to espouse Maria of the
house of Este, whom Louis the fourteenth de-
clared an adoptive daughter of France, and of-
fered to provide her with a suitable portion. But
■when the messenger brought to Modena the pro-
posals of the duke of York, her mother Loura,
opposed the match, under the pretence that her
daughter, then only fifteen, was too young, and
hitended to assume the veil, and recommended
in her stead the princess Honoria, sister of her
late husband Alfonso the fourth.

The young princess, either secretly instigated
by her mother, or impelled by devotion, express-
ed a determined resolution to enter into a con-
vc-nt ; nor was her repugnance overcome, until a
letter was procured from the Pope, commending
the marriage as highly beneficial to the Roman
Catholic religion, and condemning the resolutions
of the princess, to persc ver> in assuming the veil,
as immoral and criminal. This letter had its ef-
fect : on the 30th oi September Maria was mar-
ried to the duke of York, by proxy, and accom-
panied by her mother, arrived at Paris ; where,
as a prelude to her future misfortunes, she was
detained till the repugnance of parliament, to the
marriage of the presumptive heir with a Catholic
princess, was finally overcome. It was not till
the 10th of December that she disembarked at
Dover, where she was received by the duke, her
husband ; by whom she was conducted with regal
pomp to London.

Her amiable qualities and meekness of beha-
viour, would have conciliated the esteem of the
English, if the dread of the Roman Catholic re-
ligion had not hardened their hearts, and m^de
H 2



138 HISTORICAL SKETCHES. Jjj^

her the object of general aversion. Unfortunate-
ly for her, the conduct of James contributed to
render his marriage more and more unpopular,
and as the house of Modena was in close alliance
with France, it was apprehended that Louis would
assist him, on his succession to the crown, to re-
store the church of Rome. These apprehensions
were but too nearly verified : James after his ac-
cession rapidly caused laws to be enacted for the
advantage of the Roman Catholics, and the op-
pression of the Protestants.

In consequence of these innovations, the Pro-
testants made application to the prince of Orange
to protect their laws and religion. The prince
landed at Torbay the 5th of November, 1688 :
James himself, deserted by his army, and even by
his own children, and none remaining in whom
he could confide, precipitately embraced the re-
solution of sending his family, and likewise retir-
ing himself, into France. In this resolution he
was encouraged by the queen, who was sensible
that her strong attachment to her own religion
had rendered her the object of general hatred,
and who was terrified by the great ferment into
which the nation was thrown.

Louis the Fourteenth having, with the great-
est humanity, offered his protection to the depos-
ed king at a timo when all abandoned and be-
trayed him, sent the duke de Lauzun to London,
to convey the queen and the prince of Wales, then
an infant, privately to France. IMadame de Se-
vigne has thus described their escape :

'' The evening of Lauzun's arrival in London,
the king, who had taken the resolution to favour
the queen's escape, retired with her as usual into
Iter apartment, laid himself down to repose, and
dismissed his attendants. An hour afterwards he



k



HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 139



rose, and ordered a valet to introduce a person
whom he would find waiting at the door of ihe
anti-chamber ; it was the duke de Lauzun. The
king said to him, ' I trust the queen and my son
to your care ; you must risk all hazards, and en-
counter all difficulties, to conduct them into
France.' Lauzun thanked him for the trust re-
posed in him, but said it was absolutely necessa-
ry, that another person should accompany him ,*
and introduced Saint Victor, a gentleman of cou-
rage and merit. Saint Victor took the infant and
wrapped him up in his great coat. Lauzun hand-
ed the queen, (you may easily imagine the scene
of parting between the king and queen) and, fol-
lowed by two female attendants, conducted her
into the street, placed her in a hackney coach,
and conveyed her to the Thames, where they took
a small open boat and descended the river, in
such boisterous and rainy weather, that the ele-
ments, while they seemed to conspire against
them, in reality favoured their escape.

At length reaching the mouth of the Thames,
they embarked in a small sloop. Lauzun sat by
the side of the captain, purposing to throw him
into the sea, if he should discover the rank of the
persons whom he had on board, and offered to
deliver them unto the adverse party : but the cap-
tain imagining that he carried ordinary passen-
gers, was only anxious to pass carefully through
fifty Dutch ships, which paid no attention to this
little yacht.

" Thus, concealed by the mean appearance of
the vessel, and conducted by heaven, the queen
and her party landed at Calais. The queen re-
tired into a convent at Boulogne, till she received
news of the king's safety. It is well known that
the prince of Orange was desirous that James.



140 HISTORICAL SKETCHES,

should leave England. He was sent to Roches-
ter, the very place to which he had intended go-
ing. The house appointed for his reception was
strongly guarded in front, but the back part was
not secured, by which means he made his escape
to France.

" Louis acts divinely towards the royal fugi-
tives ; for is it not being the image of the All-
powerful Being, to support a king at a time when
he was betrayed and abandoned by his subjects,
and obliged to fly from his kingdom i

" The magnanimous soul of Louis performs
this great part. He sat out with his retinue and
a hundred coaches and six, to meet the queen and
the prince of Wales. When he perceived the
prince's coach he alighted from his carriage, and
embraced the child tenderly ; then he ran to the
qneen, saluted her, and conversed with her some
time. He seated her on his right hand in his
own carriage, and carried her to Saint Germain,
where she toimd herself treated like a queen ;
was provided with clothes, and every accommo-
dation, and was presented with a small box, con-
taining six thousand louis d'ors.

" The following day James arrived at St. Ger-
main. Louis went to the end of the hail to re-
ceive the king of England : James bowed very
low, as if he would embrace his knees : Louis
prevented him, and embraced him very cordially ;
and then said to him, ' This, Sir, is your house ;
whc^n I shall come here you will do the honours,
and I will pay them to you when you come to
Versailles.'

" Louis sent ten thousand louis d'ors to the fallen


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Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry John) Van-LennepThe American lady's preceptor : a compilation of observations, essays and poetical effusions designed to direct the female mind in a course of pleasing and instructive reading → online text (page 9 of 18)