The accession of Queen Anne (1665-1714) signalled a return to Tory dominance after the Whig governments of William III (1650-1702). Anne dissolved her predecessor’s final parliament on 2 July 1702, triggering a general election. In her final speech to that parliament, on 25 May, Anne had announced that ‘my own Principles must always keep me entirely firm to the Interests and Religion of the Church of England, and will incline me to countenance those who have the truest Zeal to support it’. Tory squires latched into this promise in their electioneering propaganda, declaring that Anne’s accession had rescued the Church of England from the clutches of Williamite religious dissent.
This broadside poem is typical of the shrill electioneering rhetoric that followed Anne’s accession. Although we do not know who wrote the poem, they clearly belonged in the Tory camp. The poem later runs through each of the new Tory MPs for London by name, and, in the final stanza of this extract, names the previous incumbents. But it begins by directly attributing Tory victories at the polls to the ‘restoration’ of Stuart monarchy after a Williamite ‘interregnum’. The poet tactically avoids mentioning the exiled James II, instead describing Anne as ‘Charles’s Niece’. Nonetheless, references to ‘Stuarts Injured Race’ and ‘Claims of Birth-Right’ had fairly blatant Jacobite resonances.
A facsimile of the broadside sheet is available at the English Broadside Ballad Archive here.
Calvin lament, thy conquered champions mourn,
And weep thy sons successless and forlorn,
Oppressed with grief to see the church’s reign,
After a thirteen years attempt in vain,
After so many trials to restore
Eusebia to the strength possessed before.
Behold with envy, and with sorrow see
What must be always viewed with joy by me,
Faction dethroned, and schismatics subdued,
And anarchy with its republic brood;
As Stuart’s injured race ascends the throne,
And shows a queen by nature’s laws our own,
Whose right’s unquestioned, and whose sacred weins
Swell with no blood but their’s over whom she reigns;
Sure of our choice, if we again could choose,
Or royalty once more the claims of birth-right lose.
A queen like this, and of the Stuart’s name,
Our heart’s do call for, and our voices claim,
And Albion’s sons by late elections shew
How much they pay, though not how much they owe;
As real merit is to prefered,
And change of members proves that towns have erred,
Have falsely been misled by seeming grace,
And chose a sinner for a saint-like face.
Perverse in chief Augusta’s city stood,
And enviously flung out the wise and good,
A foe to justice, as a foe to shame,
And lost to every glory but her name:
Whilst hypocrites for patriots current passed,
And men were chose that long could cant and fast;
Their abstinence, designed at city polls,
To save their victuals, not to save their souls.
But lo! the wished for time at last appears,
And hopes prevent the growth of former fears,
Lo! she repents for what her sons have done,
And makes amends for thirteen years, in one;
Famed for the generous choice she since has made,
And zealous for the cause she once betrayed;
As Clayton’s expectations fade and die,
And he drives sighing home to Belchingly;
As baffled Ashurst in a wonderous hear,
Deserts the city for his country Seat
Puffed up with pride, as if a colonel still,
And mixes spleen with air of Highgate Hill,
As say-grace Abney mourns his party’s fall,
And mortifies himself at Salters Hall,
While the prevailing candidates bestow
Their thoughts on those to whom their thoughts they owe,
And meditate Augusta’s fame to raise,
And bring her to the height of former days,
Resolved to encourage war to purchase peace,
And Charles’s reign restored by Charles’s niece.