THE LAST OF THE ROYAL STUARTS.*
Mn. VAUGHAN writes almost complainingly about the strangeness of the fact that so little has been published con-
cerning Henry Stuart, Cardinal Duke of York, "titular King Henry the Ninth of Great Britain, France, and Ireland," and that "only in so far as his course of action is associated with that of his brilliant and popular brother the 'Bonny Prince Charlie' of song and story has the last of the Royal Stuarts ever been seriously touched upon ; whilst his im- portant ecclesiastical career, his personal influence in the affairs of his family, and his obstinate assumption of the Royal title are little understood and appreciated by English readers." Yet even after reading his interesting and carefully prepared book, we confess to being not greatly surprised at this neglect. The last of the Stuart Pretenders was not a little of a personage ; but in the political sphere be was much more of a wraith than of a personality. His character, perhaps in the real as well as in the conventional sense, was better than that of Prince Charlie, He did not beoome a sot; nor had he
such relations with any woman as the Young Pretender had with Clementina Walkinshaw. On the other hand, he had no
force, fire, dash,—none of the qualities that give the redeeming touch of romance even to blackguardism. The best that even Mr. Vaughan can say is that, "though he was in truth not a genius, Henry Stuart was no fool ; his excellent rule of the See of Frascati, his judicious patronage of learning, and his decision to eschew useless political intrigue go far to prove his possession of sound common-sense a stately and pious Prince of the Church, a lonely and pathetic yet withal picturesque and kingly figure, fully worthy to be the last male representative of Mary Queen of Scots."
On March 6th, 1725, Henry Benedict, the younger son of James III., titular King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, and Maria Clementina Sobieska, granddaughter of King John III. of Poland, first saw the light in the mean-looking and dull Palazzo Muti, which had been purposely selected by Pope Clement XI. as suitable quarters for his guests. Writing of the circumstances attendant on the birth of his hero, Mr. Vaughan says :— "By a singular coincidence the birth of Henry Stuart, who throughout his long life always exhibited a peculiar love of peace and a strong aversion to domestic strife, occurred at a moment of fierce quarrelling within the walls of the palace of the Santi Apostoli. Almost on the eve of his second son's birthday James had appointed for his Secretary of State the titular Earl of Inverness, an act that roused to fury his consort, who rightly or wrongly imagined the existence of a guilty attachment between her husband and Lady Inverness, 'a mere coquet, tolerably hand- some, but withal prodigiously vain and arrogant."
Clementine's death while her children were yet young deprived them of the care of a mother, but the fact that she had for some years before her death given herself up to the spiritual life hardly prepared her for the task of educating young men to conquer a kingdom. At one time it seemed possible that Henry would be the more martial and adven- turous of the brothers. When Murray of Broughton saw him as a boy he came to the conclusion that "all the fire of his great ancestors on the Sobieski side seems collected in him, and I dare believe that should his arms ever be employed in so warrantable a cause as that which warmed the breast of his glorious progenitor when a hundred and fifty thousand Turks owed their defeat to the bravery of a handful of Christians led on by him to victory, this martial young prince would have the same success." It is possible, however, to say the least, that this eulogium by Murray was merely a piece of fulsome adulation ; it is quite certain that from a very early age Henry showed that his inclinations were towards peace and piety. Mr. Vaughan describes his share in the "Forty-five" as insignificant and "unprofitable," and speculates thus with good reason :— "With what exact feelings Henry regarded his brother's scheme from the very beginning it is difficult to gauge, but it is most likely that he shared the opinion of his father, who, whilst admiring and openly praising his elder son's enterprise, in reality only hoped for his dearest Carlucci° ' to return safe and sound to the shelter of the old Roman palace. For though James pro- fessed himself to be—and in a certain sense undoubtedly was— deeply interested in the Scottish campaign, yet to judge from the King's private correspondence on the subject, he seems ever to have been a prey to the fixed idea of ultimate failure, a dismal
• The Last of tha Royal Stuart,: Henry Stuart, Cardinal Duke of York, By Herbert H. Vaughan. London Methuen and Co. [10s. 6d. net.]
foreboding in which Henry probably agreed. In the diffi- cult, thankless, and inglorious part he was destined to play during 'The Forty-five,' Henry certainly did his best, and it was Nature's deficiencies rather than his own ill-conduct that served to render him a complete cipher during the momentous year that he remained in France whilst his brother was fighting and enduring in Scotland. Add to all this the fact of his extreme and untried youth—he passed his twenty-first birthday only a few weeks before Culloden—and there will then be found a sufficiency of reasons to account for Prince Henry's failure in a part that would have taxed to the uttermost the full powers of a much older, abler, and more enthusiastic person."
Henry Stuart did, indeed, find his mission when he entered the Church of Rome ; he made an excellent and—being enormously wealthy—a munificent Bishop of Frascati for forty-two years :— "Whilst possessing in a marked degree his parents' extreme piety and loyal attachment to their Church, Henry Stuart had by no means inherited either his mother's asceticism or his father's melancholy, so that he was fully able to appreciate the many advantages that his rank and riches brought him. Hospitable to a fault, he delighted in expending his wealth upon others and in playing the patron to all who were willing to apply to him for subsistence or for advancement. He kept what was practically an open table in his house, his meals were of the choicest, and were always served with such display that they were considered to rival the luxurious and extravagant banquets for which his friend, the French Cardinal de Berths, was famous or notorious. The magnificence of his household can best be realised by the fact that he kept five chaplains in constant attendance, and that he maintained grooms, lackeys, and serving-men without number, all of a pleasing appearance and of commanding stature, as a great Prince should We should probably search through history in vain in order to discover just such another example of untiring pastoral zeal combined with so keen a delight in the pomps and petty vanities of a decadent age."
Mr. Vaughan tells at considerable length the somewhat sordid story of "Charles the Third," the "Countess," and the Duchess of Albany, with which that of the Cardinal was bound up. Of more interest are the misfortunes which befell the old man at the age of seventy-five, when, suffering with the Papacy in the misfortunes which came upon it in consequence of the disturbed state of Europe, he was driven from his episcopal residence, his house sacked, and his property con- fiscated. It was then that George III. came to the rescue of his harmless and helpless rival, and that a pension of £4,000 was paid out of the Privy Purse to the last of the Stuarts. Henry was restored to the bishopric of Frascati, and finally raised to the bishopric of Ostia and Velletri, which carries with it the deanship of the Sacred College, or the second position in the Roman Catholic Church. By that time Henry was too old and infirm to appreciate his new honour. In 1807 he died at the age of eighty-two, having been a Cardinal for over sixty years and a Bishop for over half-a-century, "whilst for twenty-one years five months and fourteen days he had lived a determined but pacific Pretender to the crown of a great kingdom whose soil he never trod." Mr. Vaughan dismisses the story of the so-called Sobieski Stuarts thus :— " A long ill-constructed myth, the chief mystery of which lies in the fact that any educated person could ever have affected to credit it. Certain students of Jacobite historical literature pro- fess to recognise, not without reason, in the g Doctor Beaten' of the story the personality of the Chevalier Robert Watson, yet it is difficult to understand what advantage this old charlatan could have expected to obtain from an unblushing fraud of this nature, and the true reason for starting the Sobieski-Stuart legend must therefore ever remain a mystery. It has often been stated that the two brothers themselves genuinely believed in tho details of their own story, and consequently in the reality of their own royal descent; and this is far from being impossible, for the human capacity to credit what is agreeable to personal vanity is naturally unlimited."