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This Week in History
March 8-14, 2015

Queen Anne Takes the Throne in England
March 19, 1702

By Nancy Spannaus

Willem Wissing (1656 - 1687) and Jan van der Vaart (1647 - 1721) (Details of artist on Google Art Project) Queen Anne, when Princess of Denmark, 1665 – 1714

During 12 years, in the early 18th century, from 1702 to 1714, England had a monarch who should be remembered for making a worthy effort, and no small contribution, to the cause of republicanism, including in the American colonies. That monarch was Queen Anne, the last of the Stuarts to occupy the throne.

The story of Queen Anne’s reign is related in the groundbreaking historical study produced by H. Graham Lowry, entitled “How the Nation Was Won, America’s Untold Story, 1630-1754.” In that volume, Lowry unfolds the humanist conspiracy which created the American republic as a self-conscious outflanking maneuver against the evil European oligarchy, a conspiracy which featured the brilliant satirist Jonathan Swift, an ally of Germany’s humanist giant Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. Swift guided a faction within Queen Anne’s court, which worked in tandem with the Massachusetts republicans, and succeeded in taking some strategic steps which were crucial to the ultimate founding of the United States.

The most obvious of those steps was the appointment in 1710 of two royal governors who ended up facilitating the intellectual, strategic genius of the American republic, Benjamin Franklin. They were Robert Hunter, governor of New York, and Alexander Spotswood, governor of Virginia. These two governors were to play significant roles in both opening up American settlement to the West, through their treaty with the Iroquois in 1722, and in sponsoring the career of Franklin. Spotswood, in particular, although removed from the Virginia governorship in 1722, went on to play a prominent role in building the nation, including as Postmaster General for the colonies. It was Spotswood who appointed Franklin Postmaster General in 1737—a post from which he could create the networks which would make a successful revolution.

Jonathan Swift, 1667-1745.

Both governors were also notable in their projects to bring large cohorts of German refugees from the Palatinate to New York and Virginia. In Virginia, German iron makers established the settlement of Germanna in the Blue Ridge region; in New York, they settled upstate. Ultimately the descendants of this migration played a crucial role in the American Revolution, utilizing their skills as riflemen against their clumsy British foes.

The key figure fighting for hegemony within Queen Anne’s court was the Irish cleric, poet, and intelligence operative Jonathan Swift, who himself had significant networks of republicans internationally, and played a crucial role against the policies of war and looting which the bankers’ shills, Robert Walpole, and John Churchill (the Duke of Marlborough), championed. The maneuverings of Swift’s friends and agents of influence—which even penetrated the Queen’s bedroom—have been unearthed by Lowry, in fascinating detail. Swift’s satires, as Lowry makes clear, were never written without a specific political purpose. (Read the book.)

Swift wrote a poem in 1731 reflecting on the final years of Queen Anne, and his own death:

And oh! How short are human schemes!
Here ended all our golden dreams.
What St. John’s skills in state affairs,
What Ormond’s valour, Oxford’s cares,
To save their sinking country lent,
Was all destroyed by one event.
Too soon that precious life was ended,
On which alone, our weal depended.

Queen Anne died at the age of 49, and was replaced by George I of Hanover, who proved totally inhospitable to the policies of Swift and Leibniz, whom he banned from even visiting England. England began its long evil trek into the Evil Empire which it represents today.