I On Myself Can Live

At the Court of St. James and the Débâcle (Continued)

That the less fantastical Triumphs of Innocence and Love is an even more obvious drama a clef explains the overwrought emotional statements Ann included in her "Advertisement" to this play. She there declares "that a more terrible Injury cannot be offer'd me, then to occasion, or permitt [this play] to be represented," adding that she "had private, as well as declar'd reasons for this;" the declared reasons are the usual ones of female modesty, aristocratic position, and fear of criticism; Ann does not tell what these "private reasons" are (MS Folger 61/9). The most intimate or striking scenes are not about the queen; these rather picture the life of the Stuart court (as quoted above) or involve a love story modelled partly on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, partly on familiar Beaumont and Fletcher character types [n9], partly on some private people at court, perhaps Ann or Heneage themselves, whom Ann did not want recognized.

But there are also a number of scenes in which the various political machinations and complications of the motivating plot (the queen's flight) are also highly realistic and mirror Mary d'Este's flight as seen by her court adherents. In these characters rehearse why they took this or that position for and against the Queen's flight across the water; who they thought her enemies were; what was to be gained; and so on. Sometime Venice is France and sometimes England. In one where Venice is England, Aubusson, the wise Master of Rhodes, tells the queen that her flight was foolish, especially if it was done because the queen's advisors thought this would lead the "states" (Parliament) to call her back for some concession:

... know, that 'ere your vessel loos'd from Venice,
Fame, with her thousand tongues, had told your purpose,
And 'twas the States, the'assumbl'd states decree,
That it shou'd instantly be thus rejected,
Least, that a secret, and obscure debate
Might make itt thought, we were dispos'd to yeild,
And only held our onours at a price
Above, what your commission was to offer

(MS Folger, [Act I] 68)

Ann conveys the hysteria that reigned in the palace, and gives her Queen a touching theatrical speech in which Ann imagines or retells what she heard or saw of the Mary d'Este's behavior in her last hours in the palace or on the English shores. Ann's queen is imagined speaking to a powerful male who claims he loves her:

Pray rise my Lord, why shou'd you kneel to me,
Alas! you best can tell I am no Queen?
Think on that day, my Lord, I ever shall,
When all the room I cou'd command in Cyprus,
Where I had liv'd in peace, and rul'd in love,
And been my self, that Genious of the place,
Was but one poor appartment in my pallace,
Which had itts deep foundations, in the sea;
Some few attendants my ill fate had left,
Who told with me, each shout the people gave
As their new Lord pass'd throo' the crouded streets;
And now, so neer the horrid tumult came,
That in dispair, leaning on Riccio's arm,
I bid him lead me to my last dominion,
A Poor frail bark, that danc'd upon the waves,
And yett me thought, was steddyer then my Island.
When you my Lord came in--

(MS Folger [Act III] 101)

Sometime during these frantic nights Ann departed for Kirby Hall, Northampton, but not because it was safe; she was going home. We know the location was dangerous because a couple of weeks later, January 1689, Daniel Finch, the second Earl of Nottingham, whose principal seat was Burleigh Hall, just across the border in Rutlandshire, warns Lord Viscount Christopher Hatton that men flocking to the Prince of Orange's standard are going to pass through Northampton close to Kirby Hall and might be violent.

Daniel Finch, the second Earl of Nottingham will figure in the younger Heneage's story as he was the eldest son of that Heneage Finch who first gained the Earldom of Nottingham, the cousin in whom the elder Heneage confided his hopes for his sons; but this second Earl of Nottingham was also by marriage related to our Ann's Haslewood relatives, and that is why he writes this letter. He had married one Ann Hatton, daughter of Lord Christopher Hatton, husband to our Ann's first cousin, Elizabeth Haslewood, Lady Hatton (eldest daughter we recall of Ann's guardian and in effect foster-father, Sir William Haslewood). Now Elizabeth Haslewood was Lord Christopher's third wife; the mother of Daniel Finch's Ann Hatton, Cecilia Tufton, had been his first. Thus, Ann Hatton was step-daughter to Ann's cousin, Elizabeth Haslewood, a kind of niece by marriage to our Ann as Ann Hatton's step- mother, Elizabeth Haslewood had lived and still behaved as a sister to our Ann, and Ann Hatton-Finch as Countess of Nottingham will figure in the story of Ann Kingsmill Finch, Countess of Winchilsea's later years. In early 1689 the former's husband, Daniel Finch, wrote as a good son- in-law to warn her father, Christopher Hatton, and all her father's family of the nearby violent pro-William mob because the Hattons were known to be faithful adherents of the Stuarts (Cameron 59-61; 236n15).

Such open loyalty was unusual and stood out. In a letter received at Kirby Hall a month before Ann arrived, Captain Charles Hatton, Lord Christopher Hatton's younger brother writes to him from Portsmouth citadel to assure him that he, Charles, will never desert James II:

knowing how firmly I have imbibed ye principles of ye Church of England, you will be secure I can never depart from my allegiance to my Prince; and I hope you will likewise as firmly beleeve yt, whilst I have breath ... (Cameron 60)
But every other officer in this (Lord Huntington's) regiment did desert James II by end of the month when Captain Charles was committed to the tower "for handing to the presse a treasonable paper against the government" (Cameron 60). Daniel Finch urges his father-in-law that his whole family is in danger; they should flee to Kensington; Lord Hatton's family--and Ann with them--stayed at Kirby Hall. So she was not only returning home, but she returned home to a group who would be in real sympathy with her and the younger Heneage's loyalty to James and Mary.

And Heneage where was he? As a deputy-lieutenant and his father's oldest living son his place was in Kent. That it was a time of profound crisis for him is clear from his way of describing this period in his 1723 diary. There he commemorates, as McGovern says, "perhaps iroically" (58), the anniversary of his "great escape" as April 29, 1690 (MS F-H 282, 29). On that day Heneage attempted to flee or elude people who were watching him where he was living in an apparent attempt to join James II. He didn't get very far: a news items dated May 6, 1690 states that on May 2nd, he and five other people were captured at Hythe where they had tried to get onto a boat for France, and like James II before them, been standed by the tide; the others escaped on horseback; Heneage's horse threw him and he was captured. Five men captured and brought Heneage before a man very active on behalf of William, Charles Talbot, Earl (later Duke) of Shrewsbury; Shrewsbury sent him to the Lord Chief Justice in London (McGovern 58; Cameron 68; Reynolds xxvii). What was he trying to escape? Everybody and everything.

He was 33. In August 1689 his father, the second Earl had died and by the time of Heneage's flight, the battle lines were drawn. Let us recall Heneage's older brother's wife, the originally most- unwanted Elizabeth Wyndham, now Lady Maidstone, the older woman who had been able to hang in there because her son, Charles, was the heir. She had no jointure originally, and now claimed the Earl had left her "by virtue of a deed of gift and schedule" the contents of Eastwell. To her the old Earl's much younger wife and children were clearly Johnny-come- lately interlopers. The new Dowager Countess, on the other hand, was the wife of the Earl whose rights were clear; as widow, she was due a jointure which included living at Eastwell. From the language used it appears the hatred took the form of a fight over the furnishings of Eastwell. Lady Maidstone wanted to take it away; Lady Winchilsea was not able to sit on the floor. Litigation began almost immediately (McGovern 235n1; Cameron 64).

From Heneage's point of view, Ann also was a burden now. Of the five men who captured Heneage one was a Ralph Hatton, who could therefore have been privy to Heneage's plans, and taken the Hatton point of view that Ann's husband's place was not in France. From a poem Ann dated 1689, which is today familiar to readers of Reynolds as "To Mr. F. Now Earl of W." (Reynolds, Poems 2), but was originally "To Daphnis" subheaded "Who going abroad, had disired [sic] Ardelia to write some Verses upon whatever Subject she thought fit against his return in the evening" (MS Folger 56), we know that Heneage had not only stopped discouraging, but begun to encourage her writing, and as we have seen Ann wrote many poems before the fall of James II. What we must look at now are not only hints of ill-health but her revelation of a battle she had begun to wage against periods of deep depression which which she sometimes succeeds in conquering, but often not.

That Ann came down to Eastwell and had not fit in very well we gather from a poem first published by Reynolds, written from Eastwell Park in July 1689, a month before Heneage's father's death. "Upon Ardelia's return home (after to long a walk in Eastwell Park ...," has been praised for its fairy-like charm. No-one had looked at what its considerable realism nor at what it has to tell us about the reception Ann felt she had endured (this is the correct verb) at Eastwell.

The poem opens with one of many references to the actual daily life Ann had always known in the countryside. She tells us of "Gypsies who ... Have threaten'd' Hanging Horns or Drowning/In hints" which, when they were explained, provoked "laughter when discover'd." In one such session (we recall the gypsies who crossed the village near Maidwell) "Ardelia" it had been prophecied from a "piece of Silver bubl'd ... in broken terms" that "she shou'd be Carted." We can take this as a merry augur or one meant to mock her. Her poem is meant to explain how this strange prophecy came true.

She had gone for a very long walk
By the aluring Muse betray'd
By fancies light of Nymphs and Faries
Romantick Notions and figary's
Of Fauns and and Sylvans dark abodes
Of Heros rushing from the Woods....
She had wanted to be alone with her poetic fancies. Something perhaps not permitted at the house? She did not stop until night fell when she found herself exhausted. Nothing to do but go back to Eastwell, and without the strength to return the distance she had gone, and frightened at the possibilty of theft or worse, she had asked Apollo to help her, only to be told
That late he saw such Fate attend her ...
That fitter 'twere she took the air
Like Country Doll to neighb'ring Faire
Like harvest Gill or stroling Player ...
Doesn't she know people who fancy themselves poets don't get coaches? and
.....................more 'twas hinted
The Tribe shou'd be kept bare and stinted
Shou'd eat by manner and Good Nature
Or starve on Epigram and Satir ...
She reminds Apollo of a "Quaker tir'd" who "but a conveniency desir'd;" or maybe a "Spanish Queen" who looks to "Be drawn [by] a rev'rend grave Machine ... " Apollo has in fact demoted Ann severely; she is a kind of vagrant or beggar (later in her career she will identify with two very drunken ones in "Fanscomb Barn"). She belongs therefore in a farmer's "cart;" which from Arthur's Lancelot's time on has been a disgrace for any aristocrat. The poem concludes with Ann's ironic picture of her return home:
Exalted high to all beholders
As Burgesse on ellecting shoulder
On totterring chair in Tumbrills middle
And Wanting but forerunning Fiddle
To guide the wondring Rabble right
And pick their Purses for the sight

(MS Folger 251-3).

What she is telling us is that she left the house because she was uncomfortable. There had been mockery, mockery of her poetry and lack of status, and probably of her and Heneage's refusal to join the new regime. Does she fancy herself some "Spanish queen" or perhaps in her plain clothing (which she describes in another poem), even better, "a Quaker"? Does Heneage think himself secure in some manner that he refuses to pledge loyalty to William as Charles Finch, the Winchelsea heir, and just about all the relatives had done or were to do in the next couple of years. Ann has taken bits of conversations she endured at Eastwell and incorporated them into the idiom of a fanciful poem. Her rueful and maybe bitter joke to herself is that as the wife of a second son to a second wife long-deceased, she would have done better to have joined the gypsies or pick a purse, and for her to be carted is only to be expected.

That Ann found herself a barely tolerated guest-relative at Eastwell explains how she and Heneage came to live or stay for a long visit with Thomas and Catherine Cavendish Tufton, Lord and Countess of Thanet, at nearby Hothfield House between 1689-90 (Reynolds xviii). The two men were old friends. They were together at the Stuart court in 1684; the marriages of both couples occurred in 1684; Lord Thanet was, of course, a member of the Kentish establishment. He was also a well- known actively loyal sympathizer with Jacobites and Non-Jurors, and had been further galvanized against any republicanism when Hothfield House was violently ransacked during the Civil War (McGovern 11; Everitt, Community of Kent 114). What more natural than to have taken in two stranded Jacobites? And a friendship sprung up between the two women which was to last for at least two decades.

It was, in fact, in a private epistolary poems to Lady Thanet (under the name of Arminda), written between 1700 and 1702, "The Petition for an Absolute Retreat," that Ann first wrote clearly and at length of a depression which afflicted her during the years 1689-1690. The version quoted here is that in the Folger-Eastwell volume which also includes one passage which has been cross-hatched out beyond retrieval and others which show Ann was not willing to compromise, felt a rage she could not conquer, but which have been replaced in the 1713 Miscellany text (which is the one printed by Reynolds) replaced by upbeat vague prayer-like lines [n10].

Ann begins with a deeply nostalgic portrait of a postlapsiarian Eden which Reuben Brower was the first to note contains a pointed allusion and reworking of an erotic passage in Andrew Marvell's "The Garden." Barbara McGovern noted an allusion to Robert Herrick's "Delight in Disorder," and it has been long known that the whole development of the piece and many basic details show that John Pomfret's "The Choice" was Ann's model for her Eden (McGovern 84; Brower, "LW and the Poetic Tradition," 72); Ann herself annotated the poems Biblical and classical allusions (MS Folger 221-2, 225-6)

But this Eden is Prologue; the purpose of the poem and what explains its structure is Ann's desire to justify her need for retreat to her friend--and to herself. As the set piece comes to an end, Ann turns to "Arminda" to thank her deeply for taking "Ardelia" in, and emotionally supporting her when

..........the sad Ardelia lay,
Blasted by a Storm of Fate,
Felt though all the Brittish State,
Faln, neglected, lost, forgott,
Dark oblivion all her lott ...
Heaven did to Arminda send,
Then gave her, for Ardelia's Freind;
To her cares the Cordial drop,
Which else, had over flow'd the Cup ...
Ann then makes a rare reference to her childlessness as she speaks of herself as caught "in a Whirl-wind drove
Spoil'd the old Fraternal Feast,
And left alive, but one poor Guest,
Rivell'd the distorted trunk,
Saplesse limbs, all bent and shrunk,
Sadly does the time presage
Of our too neer aproaching Age.
When a helplesse Vine is found,
Unsuported, on the ground,
Carelesse all the branches spread,
Subject to each haughty tread,
Bearing neither leaves, nor fruit,
Living only in the Root ...
She points to a fear-ridden paranoia when she likens herself to David who she imagines as someone who
Every anguish did apresse,
Hunted by all kinds ofills,
Like a Partridge on the Hills,
Traynes were layd, to Catch his life,
Baited ...
From his House, and Country torn ...

(MS Folger 223-4)

Ann then returns to description; she had said that unlike Marvell she would like

A Partner, suited to my mind,
Solitary, pleas'd, and kind,
Who partially, may something see
Preferr'd to all the World, in me;
Slighting, by my humble side
Fame, and splendour, wealth and pride

(MS Folger 222-3)

But as she comes to another turn in the poem and brings it back to the reality that lies behind her petition, her refrain ("Let me still, in my retreat") leads to a conclusion at least in the Folger version at variance with the happy gratitude of the above lines to Heneage. There is an important difference between the original version and the censured conclusion which is all that has been available to Ann's readers. In the Folger volume she suggests that she would like to resist Heneage, like to move away from some demands of is, and her problem is it is hard not to yield to him while she still feels the "yoak" far from "easy:"

Lett me, still in my retreat
To the yoak, my neck submitt
Which does light, and easy sitt,
By an humble, lowly mind,
Halcyon quiet, lett me find,
Which throo' future time, may last,
Bringing peace, when this is past ...

(MS Folger 226)

The impression left is that of a woman who is not compromising easily, who has no peace right now, who is restless under "the yoak." These lines are omitted in the 1713 Miscellany and replaced by four lines which suggest she presents herself as glad to submit to stay where she has landed, and against materialistic ambitions:

From all roving Thoughts be freed,
Or aims, that may Contention breed;
Nor be my Endeavours led
By Goods, that perish with the Dead!

(1713 Misc 47-8)

Again, the Folger does not end like the 1713 Miscellany with some peaceful lines about joy and heaven, but concludes rather (as far as I can retrieve it) with a desire for a liberty and an unbroken spirit:
Give me then indulgent Fate
Rest [...] yett before I dye
This sweet this absolute retreat
'Mongst Paths so lost [...] trees so high
That to the World . . .
The safe [...] secret [...] each shade
My unbroken Liberty ...

(MS Folger 310)

Such moods, of course, come and go, and Ann's poems show that while sometimes she desired to be free of a husband who in her mind stood for the world's demands of her, at others, she saw this response to him as part of her depression, and fought "her invetrate foe" (MS F-H 283 70) hard. One more poem dated as written five months after Heneage's attempt at an escape, "A Letter to Mr. Finch Oct 21st, 1690" (MS F-H 283 "Table") and subscribed in the Folger volume as written from "Eastwell" (MS Folger 5), shows Ann determined to assure Heneage she supports him in his rebellion; its background reveals a final reason for Heneage's attempted flight; England would be dangerous for him and by association for members of his family unless he convinced the authorities he would remain a passive Jacobite.

By September 1689 most important people in the state and church had taken the oath of allegiance to William; Heneage had refused (McGovern 56). We have seen Heneage's aborted horseride at Hythe on seven months later; and that one of those men who took him was a Hatton. What's interesting is that the warrant for his arrest has disappeared. On May 3rd, 1690, the day after Heneage's capture, Shrewsbury had ordered William Jephson, a Whig and a professional soldier, among the first such to join William at Exeter, to pay the five people who had taken him:

Thomas Mount, Nicholas Ingham, Ralph Hatton, Thomas Tournay, and James Foldred, the persons who took Col. Finch, having been at charges in bringing him to town, I desire you will recommend them to the Lords of the Treasury for a gratuity. Mr. Brockman, a member of Parliament for Hythe, the place where the action happened will attend you with this and give a more particular account of the matter.
We have already noted the Hatton among those who betrayed Heneage; McGovern suggests that it was Jephson who issued the warrant for Heneage's address; and that the warrant was destroyed to hide who originated it (McGovern 60). Heneage was taken to London and put under "a house arrest." On June 2nd, Heneage was required to appear in the Court of the King's Bench; on July 9th, this court doesn't know what to do about him; the case is carried over. In October 1690 he is still in London (McGovern 60; Cameron 68).

What's happening is that pressure is being put on Heneage to swear loyalty, and that the Finches are part of that pressure. Perhaps they were involved in issuing the warrant. Ann's poem of October 21st then serves to show us that this is so. She writes him to urge him to return and that she will be on his side even if he does not yield. The implication is, of course, that everyone at Eastwell is against his not swearing to the oaths. But she, she is Dido to his Aeneas; and, changing figures, a poet too who like Apollo, will woo him in verse: "when in Daphne, he wou'd Love inspire/He woo'd in verse, sett to his silver Lyre."

The poem is a love poem, and in it Ann is still defending her verse when she says poetry such as this will make their love successful:

Love, without poetrys refining aid,
Is a dull bargain, and but coursly made;
Nor e're cou'd Poetry, succesfull prove
Or toutch the Soul, but when the Sence was Love.
But the point is not love; it is loyalty; Ann's to him; his to James, and if this loyalty makes them what the world calls unsuccessful so be it. This idea of success as having to be new defined, something for both Ann and Heneage begins with the poem's first line: "Sure of successe, to you I boldly write ... " Ann talks of her uncertainty over her success with anyone but him to hint at Heneage's own lack of success. She is telling her husband there are more kinds of success in the world than he has thought, and concludes her verse epistle by telling him he must think the best of himself as she does o herself. The lovely musical close is the kind of thing that makes critics talk about Ann's genius for "the intangible" (Murry Poems 25); but they forget to look at the content; these also ring with an attempt at comfort and reassurance; she offers him a strong hand of fellowship:
But since the thoughts, of a poetick mind,
Will ne'er be half, to sylables confin'd
And whilst to fix, what is conceav'd we try,
The purer parts, evaporate and dye.
You must perform, what they want force to doe
And think, what your Ardelia thinks of you

(MS F-H 283, 106-8)

A month later on November 28th, Heneage was discharged and returned to his wife and family. The poem told him she would be waiting there.

I suggest it was in November or early December 1690 Heneage and Ann Finch they went to stay at Hothfield House. Reynolds, Cameron, and a host of other writers who have simply followed their lead have Ann and Heneage at this point settle down to marital concord and ease at Eastwell. But there is no evidence for the idea that after Heneage's return home in November 1690 he and Ann went to live permanently at Eastwell. None whatsoever. Rather there is a great deal of evidence which shows they did not. Instead they visited their two Jacobite friends for a while and then retired to two somewhat decayed lesser houses near Eastwell. It was all they could afford. It also protected Ann from unwelcome unsympathetic eyes.

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