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begun by him, with the renewed support of Duke Antony Ulric of Wolfenbüttel. A plot was hatched, but discovered in time; and in December 1691 Prince Max, Oberjäger. 'meister' von Moltke, and others, were placed under arrest. An inquiry was held, in the course of which the Duchess Sophia, who had made no secret of her sympathy with her younger sons, was examined before the Privy Council. Prince Max was sent across the border ; but Moltke was executed for high treason, and the whole affair created much stir as going to the root of the domestic policy of the House of Brunswick-Lüneburg.* During his imprisonment Moltke was said to have been offered his liberty if he would implicate the Hereditary Princess in the conspiracy, but to have asserted her complete innocence. This story assumes the existence of some active enmity against her at the Hanoverian Court; but the Duchess Sophia's sympathies were in this instance on the same side as those imputed to her daughter-in-law; and there is no warrant for seeking any further.f Unlikely as it is that Sophia Dorothea should have interfered against the interests of her own son on behalf of those of her brother-in-law, she may have felt some sort of good will towards the unlucky and erratic Maximilian. But the fiction of a love affair between them rests on nothing beyond the circumstance that in one of her letters she speaks of him as 'mon ami.' } As for the dynastic schemes of the House of Hanover, they were in 1692 crowned by the investiture of Sophia Dorothea's father-in-law as Elector, thougb many years were to pass before the Electoral College recognised its ninth member. The bitterest opponent of the new dignity was once more found at Wolfenbüttel.
It was in March 1688, nearly five years before she came to be known by the title of Electoral Princess, which she was to wear for only two miserable further years, that
* See Sir W. D. Colt's despatch to the Duke of Portland, dated Celle, July 18, 1692.
+ Mr. Wilkins, who repeats the Moltke story, also repeats the insinuation that the charge against Sophia Dorothea was suggested by Countess Platen. Schaumann (p. 51), while perceiving the futility of the story, yet finds in it an indication that, as early as 1691, a pretext was being sought for effecting the ruin of the Princess.
I See ibid. p. 86. The Lund correspondence discussed below contains many references to Prince Maximilian, whose attentions to his sister-in-law are treated by her as more or less burdensome, though they excite the jealousy of her lover.
Count Philip Christopher von Königsmarck came upon the scene at Hanover. There is not the faintest indication that he had been in Hanover previously to this date, when his presence at a Court fête is accidentally chronicled. He belonged to a Swedish family of great distinction and wealth, which since his celebrated grandfather's day had taken footing as landed proprietors in Northern Germany. But though early accustomed to the ways of Courtsprobably, as has been seen, visiting that of Celle among others-he had led a roving life, more especially since in 1682 a dark scandal affecting his elder brother, with whom he was then staying in England (the murder of Thomas Thynne, commemorated in sculpture on the walls of Westminster Abbey), had obliged them both to quit that country. The elder died in the Morea in 1686 ; what became of the younger during these years is unknown. He seems, however, before his appearance at Hanover, to have spent some time in France, and afterwards to have made the acquaintance of Prince Frederick Augustus of Saxony (Augustus the Strong). In the latter part of 1688 he appears to have gone to Italy, after the death, in September, of his uncle, Otto William, the ever-victorious' Venetian commander. He was now very rich, and the head of his family. His mother had in 1680 withdrawn to Sweden, but his sisters, whose fortune was still to make, were much about Hamburg and neighbouring parts. The elder, Amalia (or Emily) Wilhelmina, in 1689 married the Swedish Count Axel Lewenhaupt, who in 1692 was admitted into the military service of the Duke of Celle, and not long afterwards passed into that of the Elector of Saxony. The younger, Aurora, was already known at many Courts, and her biographer, untrustworthy as he is, cannot be wrong in saying that her independence was recognised everywhere. * It was under the circumstances quite natural that Königsmarck, on his return from Italy-perhaps after an intervening stay at Dresden-should have established himself at Hanover; and, though no faith is to be placed in the particular source from which the statement is taken,t he may well be believed to have made a considerable show there. It is not surprising that Duke Ernest Augustus should have offered so brilliant a personage a commission in his army; and though the statement has been doubted, he certainly commanded a
* Cramer, vol. i. p. 20.
per daughter hora was on thing her Hugubelieved, rightltheir
daughtand the hos Botice to follow between the
ar as we the grounds of Mr.We are at
Hanoverian regiment of foot in Flanders, and was afterwards a colonel of dragoons in the same service.* There is no evidence whatever of any relations of intimacy having arisen between him and the Hereditary Princess for some time after his taking up his residence at Hanover. No mention of anything of the kind is to be found in the despatches of Sir William Dutton Colt, whom in the summer of 1689 the English Government accredited to the Brunswick Courts, and who laboured hard to unite them among one another and to secure their adherence to the Grand Alliance. He believed, rightly or wrongly, that notwithstanding her Huguenot connexion the Duchess Eleonora was on the French side, and had engaged her daughter to attempt to persuade the Duke of Celle to come over to it. This Duke shows great fondness for his
daughter and grandson.' We are at a loss, however, to understand the grounds of Mr. Wilkins's conclusion that, as
far as we know, Königsmarck sided with England. In any case, we must decline to follow him at this point in his account of the growth of affection between Sophia Dorothea and the Swedish adventurer, and the cross-intrigue between the latter and Countess Platen. His authority seems to be the tissue of scandals with which the 'Histoire Secrette de
la Duchesse de Hanovre' (1732) elaborated the romancing narrative of the 'Roman Octavia,' and which were reproduced in a still trashier product of the London market, the "Memoirs of the Love and State-Intrigues of the Court of ‘H- ' (1743). The pathetic anecdote of Königsmarck, in defiance of etiquette and of the vigilance of Countess Platen, carrying the Princess's little daughter up the palace steps is taken from one of the Conversations' which owe so much to the literary skill of Major Müller. From the same source comes the sensational episode of 'The Embroidered Glove,' in which Countess Platen plays the parts of layo and Marwood rolled into one.
At last, with the beginning of July 1691, we reach the fatal period of Sophia Dorothea's life, upon which the author of the volumes before us justly claims to have thrown a food of fresh light, if the letters here reproduced were actually exchanged by her and Königsmarck during the interval between that date and the end of 1693. Mr. Wilkins's ' discovery of the existence of this correspondence
18 taken the Princte and othetic aneca trigu
* [Schulenburg], "Die Herzogin von Ahlden' (Leipzig, 1852), p. 22 note.
hractors totally moure la care in the
in the University Library at Lund had, like some other events in the history of discoveries, been anticipated. But it is all the more surprising that since the whereabouts of these letters became more widely known, and a series of extracts from them was actually printed, over half a century ago, he should have been the first to take the trouble of making their contents generally accessible. We may regret that he should have done this after a fashion which was more or less dictated by the nature of his literary enterprise-translating with unavoidable freedom, pretermitting what seemed superfluous, or for other reasons was inadmissible, and, instead of simply arranging his materials with the aid of the first-hand documentary evidence before him, connecting them here and there by that species of commentary which largely draws its sap from the text. We may further regret that greater care in the transcription of dates should not have rendered unnecessary the thorough revision which Mr. Wilkins's translations will require before they can be themselves used as historical materials. Yet even so the publication, in however unsatisfactory a form, of the main portion of this correspondence puts a totally new aspect upon the question of its genuineness. After much careful consideration we feel bound to express our belief that the probability of these letters having been written by Sophia Dorothea and Königsmarck is a very strong one indeed, notwithstanding the contrary opinion of such an authority as Professor Köcher. His deliberate judgement, although apparently formed without a personal inspection of the documents, possesses a very different weight from the ready assumption of the genuineness of the correspondence with which most English writers who have referred to it * have contented themselves. We are therefore obliged to state at some length our reasons for concurring, as at present informed on the subject, in their opinion rather than in his.
The Lund correspondence, as we may for brevity's sake call it, numbers over two hundred letters, or portions of letters, of which about two-thirds purport to proceed from Königsmarck, and the remainder from the Princess. Except for a break extending over the first five months of 1693 it is continuous from midsummer 1691 to January 1694. No later letters from either between this date and the fatal
* Carlyle among them, and Thackeray, who, no doubt, followed Vehse.
July 1 have come to light. Those forming the Lund correspondence are supposed to have been confided by the writers to Aurora von Königsmarck, and to have been transferred by her to the custody of her sister, Countess Lewenhaupt, who seems at the time of the catastrophe to have been resident in Sweden, whither her husband soon returned. This theory-for it is no more—must be allowed to be the weak point in the history of the letters. Although a warm personal attachment beyond doubt existed between Aurora and her brother, and although Sophia Dorothea seems to have been on terms of personal friendship with her dear Countess,' * we can see no very sufficient (reason why they should have deposited the letters received from one another with her—Mr. Wilkins superfluously adds, ‘at
stated periods, probably at the end of every six months.' Still there is nothing impossible in the conjecture; and if Aurora actually had the letters in her possession, it was natural enough that she should have transferred them to the safer custody of her sister. Another supposition, according to which, not long before his death, Königsmarck, as a measure of precaution, induced the Princess to return him all his letters, and entrusted thern to Countess Lewenhaupt with her own, is even more arbitrary. Finally, the notion of Schaumann,t that the correspondence was a forgery imposed upon Count Lewenhaupt during his inquiries at Hanover in 1695 in order to convince him and, through him, the Elector of Saxony, of the guilt of the unfortunate pair, is hardly worthy of its author's ingenuity. From the custody of Countess Lewenhaupt, and her son after her, the letters are stated to have, on his death, passed successively into the hands of his daughter, Baroness Ramel, of her daughter, Countess Sparre, and again of hers, the wife of Count James de la Gardie, well known as an antiquarian and bibliophile. In 1833, when they were preserved at his seat, Löberöd in Scania, attention was first directed to them in print by Provost Wieselgren in a publication periodically issued by Count de la Gardie, and an extract cited by him was reprinted in a German magazine of the same year. Several years afterwards, when Professor W. F. Palmblad, of
* See her letter to Aurora, already cited, where, by the way, she states that she will write more fully about Court gossip, if her correspondent will burn her letters. See also Wilkins, p. 358; and cf. ibid. p. 315, Königsmarck's wish that his sister should watch over the Princess, and, p. 351, Countess Platen's flout at Aurora.
† Sophia Dorothea,' p. 77.