MOST people are probably by this time aware of the existence of a small and select party of latter-day Jacobites, whose ambition it is to pack Queen Victoria off to Hanover and establish the heiress of the Stuarts upon the throne in her stead. But many of us are still hazy about the precise reasons for this ambition, and the methods by which it is sought to carry it out.
The pedigree shown on the next page may serve to make good the claim of our modern Pretender, if we admit - what most people do not - that thrones are inherited, like other property, apart from the wishes of the people.
It will thus be seen that Princess Ludwig of Bavaria is directly descended from Charles I.'s daughter, while Queen Victoria is only descended from his sister. There are also nearly three hundred other persons who would have a better claim to the throne by descent than Queen Victoria. Among them are Don Carlos, the Duke of Parma, and the Princess of Bulgaria. Of course, however, Queen Victoria holds the throne, not by priority of descent but by Parliamentary title. The Stuarts were dispossessed by the magnificent majority of one.
But the Jacobites contend that a Parliamentary title can be upset by Parliament. They have therefore talked from time to time of running their own candidates for Parliament, in spite of the fact that they consider a Parliament, summoned by the "Usurper," to be a mere convention and no Parliament at all. An amusing address was issued to the electors of North Hunts, in May, 1895, by a Jacobite candidate. In a speech to his supporters he said he had come to ask them whether they preferred to have reigning over them a real Sovereign or a spurious half-Sovereign - a Hanover Jack.
JAMES I. ______________________|_________ | | Charles I. Elizabeth (married the King of Bohemia. Queen | Victoria is directly descended from her.) _______|_____________________________________________________ | | | Charles II James II. Henrietta (married the Duke of Orleans). ________________| | | | James (styled James III. by Anne (married the King of Sardinia). | the Jacobities ; the | | Old Pretender by | | the Hanoverians). Charles Emmanuel III., King of Sardinia. | | |_____________________ | | | Victor Amadeus III., King of Sardinia. Charles Henry ___________|______________ (styled Charles III. (Cardinal York; | | by the Jacobites; styled Henry IX. Charles Emmanuel IV. Victor Emmanuel I. "the Young Pre- by the Jacobites). (King of Sardinia, (King of Sardinia, tender" by the styled by the Jaco- styled Victor I. by Hanoverians). bites Charles IV. the Jacobites). | ____________________________________________________| | Mary Beatrice (married the Duke of Modena; styled | Mary III. by the Jacobites). _____________________|_________ | | Francis, Duke of Modena Ferdinand (styled Francis I. by the | Jacobites). | Mary (married Prince Ludwig of Bavaria; the present Jacobite Queen Mary IV.)
The eldest of these, Prince Rupert, Jacobite Duke of Cornwall (not Prince of Wales, a title which has to be conferred by the Sovereign), won golden opinions here at the jubilee, as his father, the Jacobite "Prince Consort," did ten years before. This same "Prince Consort" aroused somewhat of a flutter throughout Europe a year or two ago, when he accompanied Prince Henry of Prussia to Russia, and indignantly declined to be toasted as a mere member of his suite.
Life at the Bavarian Court is most uneventful, and it must often please Princess Ludwig and her family to reflect over what might have been. At any rate the fantastic little movement which her pedigree has inspired, serves to remind English people that, in case of any discontent with the present dynasty after the death of Queen Victoria, there exists another family possessing claims of descent and all the virtues which may be desired for a throne.
The movement in England is by no means a new craze. There have been Jacobites ever since the exile of James II. When Cardinal York died, the Stuart succession passed to the House of Savoy, and a letter, written by Canning, early in the century, shows that this fact was very generally recognised. Disraeli often alluded to it at the time when the late Duke of Modena was the Stuart heir.
When in the society of intimates, he was more than once known to toast the Duke as his "King over the water," but, of course, he was too practical a man ever to make these views public. In several of his novels, however, there are allusions to modern Jacobitism, and a character in "Endymion" talks of going over to the Duke of Modena.
An unlikelier partisan was found, strangely enough, in the late Mr. Bradlaugh. His denunciations of the Georges were easy to explain by his Radical views, but he often went so far as to admit to the present writer that, if he accepted a sovereign at all, he would prefer that it should be one with hereditary right. He was often to be seen in the lobby of the house of Commons, reading and displaying a copy of the latest issue of a Jacobite newspaper.
Mr. Johnstone, of Ballykilbeg, the Orange M.P., has also heard of the Jacobite movement. One of its leaders once sent him a copy of a Jacobite newspaper, with a letter signed "Boyne Waters," upbraiding him for tolerating the existence of such treason. Mr. Johnstone fell into the trap at once, and asked a question in the House of Commons about the paper. Mr. Asquith, then Home Secretary, replied that the Government did not propose to give "fictitious importance to an ephemeral craze" by a prosecution. Mr. Johnstone's question had, however, served to make the movement widely known, to an extent which gratified the Jacobites, and the persistence of the propaganda has proved that the craze is by no means ephemeral.
The present Jacobite party may roughly be divided into four groups. First, there are a few Scottish lairds, Roman Catholic peers, and Irish country gentlemen, who cherish Jacobitism as a pious opinion, but are fully aware of the hopelessness of the cause, and take no steps to propagate their views.
Lord Ashburnham is looked upon as the head of this section, but he has often been to Court, and is not looked upon with disfavour by Queen Victoria. She has followed the movement closely, and knows the names of its leading lights. One of them, a Mr. Jenner, was presented to her, in company with other promoters of the Stuart Exhibition, but she at once turned her back on him, saying curtly: "I have heard of Mr. Jenner."
The second group of Jacobites consists of bookworms, recruited mainly from suburban drawing-rooms. They have formed a sleepy society, which they call the Order of the White Rose; they read dreary papers on unimportant details of history, and indulge in harmless ceremonies with parchments and rose-water; but they steadily set their faces against all active work.
Thirdly, come the various Jacobite societies who seriously aim at a change of dynasty. Chief among them is the Legitimist Club, a secret society which takes care to allow as little of its doings as possible to transpire to the public. There is also the White Cockade Club of Huntingdonshire, founded by a number of the descendants of the Fraser clan, who have actively canvassed all the peasantry of the county, and secured several hundred adherents.
These celebrate the various Jacobite anniversaries most zealously. On the 30th of January they wear mourning, and send a deputation to decorate King Charles I.'s statue at Charing Cross (see p. 152) with wreaths of flowers, and on the 29th of May they make holiday with quoits and other old-fashioned games in commemoration of the Restoration. Another association is the Society of King Charles the Martyr, which has succeeded in reviving the 30th of January services in a large number of churches.
The Thames Valley Legitimist Club is another active body which has kept itself well to the fore. It is mainly recruited from South London, and includes a large number of working men within its ranks. The Society of the Red Carnation has also been formed, with the object of combining Jacobitism and "Christian Socialism," but its work is still in its infancy. The Order of Saint Germaine has also exhibited considerable activity, particularly in the matter of Jacobite publications.
Lastly, there are a number of notoriety-hunters, who have taken up Jacobitism as a means of advertising themselves. They have done much to make the cause ridiculous, and are not countenanced by any of the regular societies.
The main articles of the new Jacobite propaganda are the repeal of the Act of Settlement; the abrogation of the remaining religious disabilities which attach to the throne, the Lord Chancellorship, etc.; Home Rule for Scotland and Ireland, and the restoration of peerages which have been forfeited through adherence to the Stuart cause. Various illustrated papers have been published, and an enthusiastic Jacobite once issued some postage labels, bearing the effigy of "Queen Mary IV." These were to be affixed to letters, with the ordinary stamps upside down to pay the postage.
An interesting calendar also saw the light not long ago. This gave a correct list of the House of Lords, as the Jacobites regard it, taking "no notice of peerages granted, or of acts of attainder passed, by the Prince of Orange, the Princess George of Denmark, or the Electors of Hanover, etc."
It also gave a list of "the Legitimate rulers of the world," which may interest many who are not Jacobites. We find Don Carlos set down as King Charles VII. of Spain and Charles XI. of France. The existence of Italy is ignored, and Humbert figures only as King of Sardinia, while there are still a King of Naples and the Two Sicilies, a Grand Duke of Tuscany, a Duke of Parma, Papal States, and aristocratic republics of Venice, Genoa, and Lucca.
The German Empire is blotted out in the same way. In its place we have the Holy Roman Empire, marked " throne vacant since 1806." Francis Joseph is still Emperor of Austria, but William II. is only King of Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg. There are Archbishop-Electors of Cologne, Mayence, and Trèves, a King of Hanover, and Free Cities of Hamburg, Bremen, Lubeck, and Frankfort-on-the-Maine. To be quite correct, the Prince of Wales should have been set down as rightful Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, for, had he not been heir to the British throne, he would have succeeded to the Duchy instead of his brother.
The throne of the Eastern Empire, we are told, has been vacant since 1453, but the various sovereigns of the Balkan states are accepted as legitimate. There is, however, a pretender - Prince Karageorgevich - in Servia. He is descended from Kara George, the first Prince of Servia since her emancipation from the Turks, but the short reigns of that Prince and his son do not confer any better legitimate right than that of the reigning dynasty.
There is a pretender to the Byzantine throne in the person of the Princess Paleologæ-Nicephoræ-Comnenæ, the wife of an English colonel. We give her portrait, but most Legitimists are agreed that the throne of the Eastern Empire is elective, and that it cannot be held by a woman. There was once, it is true, an Empress Irene, but she had no more right to the throne than the Empress Catherine had to that of Russia. As the Legitimists admit that if a dynasty occupies a throne for one hundred years without a protest it obtains a prescriptive right, it is difficult to see why they do not accept the Sultan as the rightful Sovereign at Constantinople. Many of them, however, only admit rightful Sovereignty in the case of Christian princes, and would apparently like to revive the crusades.
In Portugal the Legitimist claimant is Dom Miguel, whose adherents answer to the Carlists of Spain. The present pretender succeeded to his father's claims in 1866. He is now an officer in the Austrian army, but holds himself in readiness to fight for his rights at the first opportunity. The Legitimists also support the deposed Queen of Hawaii, and look upon Doña Isabella as rightful Empress of Brazil. The United States of America they regard as revolted colonies, and do not acknowledge as an independent state. They support the King of Denmark for the crown of Norway, and the Queen of Saxony for that of Sweden. The Bernadottes, who are the ruling family in Norway and Sweden, are naturally tabooed as the creatures of Buonaparte. Malta, it appears, ought still to be governed by the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. And, of course, the Pope is supported in his pretensions to the recovery of the old Papal States.
The country, however, which specially attracts the attention of Legitimists is Spain, where really practical work remains to be done with a fair prospect of success. Don Carlos was for nearly two years the actual ruler of a large part of Spain with his own administration, and even his own postage stamps. Ever since the war his partisans in the north of Spain have maintained an unswerving loyalty, and there are now Carlist clubs in every town and many villages in Spain. A Carlist daily is published in Madrid, and many Carlist newspapers are published regularly in other parts of the country.
There is grave dissatisfaction throughout Spain at the misconduct of affairs in Morocco, and, more particularly, in Cuba; and another Carlist rising would undoubtedly command considerable support. Very active measures are now being taken to prepare for a favourable moment, when Don Carlos will give the signal for the resumption of hostilities.
He now lives most of the year in his palace on the Grand Canal in Venice, where all Spaniards who come to pay their respects find a cordial welcome. He is a tall, handsome man, with very engaging manners. He is a consummate horseman, and proved a plucky soldier during the war, endangering his person far more rashly than his adherents liked. His father, Don Juan, died at Brighton, and Don Carlos himself resided there for a long period after the war. He was recently married, for the second time, to the Princess Berthe de Rohan, a descendant of the ancient sovereigns of Brittany.
His son and heir, Don Jayme, was educated at the Vienna Military Academy, and is now serving in the Russian army to perfect himself against the chance of a campaign in Spain. He has a chivalrous and adventurous disposition, and recals in many ways Prince Charles Edward, the hero of the Forty-Five. Not long ago he disguised himself and travelled all through Spain, running all sorts of risks and enjoying the danger. When he was in Madrid, he once found himself face to face with the young king and his mother, and was very suspiciously scrutinised by the police.
At the time of the last Carlist war, a large number of English legitimists went out to Spain to fight for Don Carlos, and no doubt they would again. Attempts were made to put the Foreign Enlistment Act in force against persons recruiting in England for Don Carlos, but the Government declined to sanction a prosecution.
Don Carlos, as head of the House of Bourbon, is also de jure King of France, but his partisans there, known as the Blancs d'Espagne, are scarcely more numerous than the English Jacobites. Their strongholds are in Brittany and Normandy, where they indulge in public demonstrations every year. Their theory is that, if Don Carlos regained the throne of Spain, his ambassador in France would afford a useful nucleus for the operations of his partisans.
The Orleanists declare that the ancestor of Don Carlos abdicated all pretensions to the French throne; but even if this were so, it must be remembered that the ancestor of the Duke of Orleans, the regicide Egalite, also abdicated all claims for himself and his descendants. Legitimists consider the Duke of Orleans to be as truly the heir of a criminal as they do the inheritors of the traditions of Buonaparte.
But this is the age of democracy, and, while we may live to see many existing thrones fall, it is unlikely that many of the pretenders, all of whom represent the old reactionary ideas of authority, will ever regain the positions which their ancestors have lost. As an old Jacobite ballad puts it:-
The faire white rose has faded
In the garden, where it grew.