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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 51

Anne (1702—1714)

page 84

Anne (1702—1714).

William and Mary were succeeded by James's younger daughter, Anne. Anne reigned, but certainly did not govern, for thirteen years. She was, as the late Earl of Beaconsfield described Queen Victoria, "physically and morally incapable of government." She was physically lethargic, and mentally imbecile. Of her husband, Prince George of Denmark, Charles II. said, "I have tried Prince George drunk, and I have tried him sober, but drunk or sober there is nothing in him." They were a well-matched couple.

For the better part of the reign the de facts sovereigns of England were John Churchill and Sarah Jennings, otherwise Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. It is difficult to say whether William's defeats or Marlborough's famous victories were the more disastrous to all concerned. "What they fought each other for," no one yet has been able to "make out." Eventually the duke's enemies got him convicted of peculation—theft is the Saxon word—and dismissed from his command. He was, perhaps, the greatest of English generals, yet, strange to say, he could not have passed the fifth standard in a Board School to save his life.