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Title: A Queen of Tears, vol. 2 of 2 - Caroline Matilda, Queen of Denmark and Norway and Princess - of Great Britain and Ireland
Author: Wilkins, W. H. (William Henry)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Queen of Tears, vol. 2 of 2 - Caroline Matilda, Queen of Denmark and Norway and Princess - of Great Britain and Ireland" ***

produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive/American Libraries.)






  _With 24 Portraits and Illustrations._

  _8vo., 12s. 6d. net._




_Queen Matilda in the uniform of Colonel of the Holstein Regiment of

_After the painting by Als, 1770._]




_M.A._, _F.S.A._

_Author of "The Love of an Uncrowned Queen," and
"Caroline the Illustrious, Queen Consort of George II."_







  CONTENTS                                  v

  LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS                   vii

  THE TURN OF THE TIDE                      1

  THE GATHERING STORM                      23

  THE MASKED BALL                          45

  THE PALACE REVOLUTION                    63


  "A DAUGHTER OF ENGLAND"                 110

  THE IMPRISONED QUEEN                    129

  THE DIVORCE OF THE QUEEN                149


  THE EXECUTIONS                          196

  THE RELEASE OF THE QUEEN                216

  REFUGE AT CELLE                         239

  THE RESTORATION PLOT                    268

  THE DEATH OF THE QUEEN                  295

  RETRIBUTION                             315

  LIST OF AUTHORITIES                     327

  INDEX                                   331




  _From a Painting by Als, 1770_                   _Frontispiece_

  THE ROSENBORG CASTLE, COPENHAGEN                _Facing page_ 6

  STRUENSEE. _From the Painting by Jens Juel, 1771, now
  in the possession of Count Bille-Brahe_                  " " 20

  ENEVOLD BRANDT. _From a Miniature at Frederiksborg_      " " 38

  _From the Painting by Clemens_                           " " 54

  HER OF HER ARREST                                        " " 74

  AT KRONBORG                                           _Page_ 85

  COUNT BERNSTORFF                               _Facing page_ 96

  OF CHRISTIAN VII.                                       " " 108

  an Engraving_                                           " " 130

  OF DENMARK ARE BURIED                                   " " 150

  a Painting by Heinrich Hansen_                          " " 172

  THE DOCKS, COPENHAGEN, _TEMP. 1770_                     " " 184

  _TEMP. 1770_                                            " " 184

  STRUENSEE IN HIS DUNGEON. _From a Contemporary Print_   " " 198

  SIR ROBERT MURRAY KEITH, K.C.B                          " " 218

  _From the Drawing by C. F. Christensen_                 " " 234

  MATILDA WERE IN THE TOWER                               " " 246

  QUEEN MATILDA. _From the Painting formerly at Celle_    " " 256

  the Painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds_                    " " 266


  BURIED. _From a Photograph_                             " " 300

  FRENCH GARDEN OF CELLE                                  " " 312

  KING FREDERICK VI.), SON OF QUEEN MATILDA               " " 324




Struensee had now reached the highest pinnacle of power, but no
sooner did he gain it than the whole edifice, which he had reared
with consummate care, began to tremble and to rock; it threatened
to collapse into ruins and involve in destruction not only the man
who built it, but those who had aided him in the task. The winter of
1770-1771 had been a very severe one in Denmark, and the harvest of
the summer that followed was very bad. In the country there was great
distress, and in Copenhagen trade languished, largely in consequence
of the new order of things at court, which had caused so many of the
nobles to shut up their town houses and retire to their estates. The
clergy did not hesitate to say that the bad harvest and the stagnation
of trade were judgments of heaven upon the wickedness in high places.
The nobles declared that until the kingdom were rid of Struensee and
his minions, things would inevitably go from bad to worse. In every
class there was discontent; the people were sullen and ripe for revolt;
the navy was disaffected, and the army was on the verge of mutiny.
All around were heard mutterings of a coming storm. But Struensee,
intoxicated by success, would not heed, and so long as he was sure of
himself no one dared to dispossess him.

The rats were already leaving the sinking ship. Rantzau was the first
to break away; he had never forgiven either Struensee or the Queen for
having so inadequately (as he considered) rewarded his services. He had
expected a more prominent post in the Government, and failing this had
demanded that his debts, which were very heavy, should be paid. But to
his amazement and anger, Struensee had refused. Rantzau was jealous of
the Privy Cabinet Minister for having arrogated to himself all power
and all authority. He could not forget that this upstart favourite,
this ex-doctor, had been a creature of his own making, employed by
him not so long ago for base purposes, and he hated and despised him
with a bitterness proverbial when thieves fall out. Rantzau had often
traversed the dark and slippery paths of intrigue, and, finding that
nothing more was to be got from the party in power, he resolved to
traverse them once again. Not being burdened with consistency, this
time they led him in the direction of the exiled Bernstorff, whom
he had been instrumental in overthrowing. It seemed to him that if
Bernstorff would but return to Copenhagen, supported as he was by the
powerful influence of Russia and England, and the whole body of the
Danish nobility, Struensee would surely be overthrown. But Bernstorff,
though he lamented the evil days that had fallen upon Denmark, refused
to have anything to do with a scheme in which Rantzau was concerned.
"He knows," said Bernstorff, "that I cannot trust him, and I would
rather remain here in exile than return to office through his means."

Rantzau then determined on another plan; he shook the dust of the
Struensee administration off his feet; he took formal leave of the
King and Queen while they were at Hirschholm, and ostentatiously went
to live in retirement. This was only a preparatory move, for he now
determined to gain the confidence of the Queen-Dowager and her party,
to which he felt he naturally belonged. After all he was the inheritor
of a great and an ancient name, and his family was one of the most
considerable in the kingdom. His place was rather with the nobles, who
were his equals, than in filling a subordinate position in the councils
of a mountebank minister. The Queen-Dowager, like Bernstorff, listened
to all that Rantzau had to say, but, unlike Bernstorff, she did not
repulse him. On the other hand, she refused to commit herself to any
definite plan, for she knew well the character of Rantzau as a liar
and traitor. He was the very man to carry out some desperate attempt,
but Juliana Maria had not yet made up her mind whether her cause would
be better won by waiting or by a _coup d'état_. At present she was
inclined to agree with Catherine of Russia, who repeatedly said that
if Struensee had rope enough he would hang himself before long, and so
save others the trouble.

Osten also had differences with Struensee, which at one time he carried
to the point of sending in his resignation.[1] But he was "told that
his services in the post he now filled could not be dispensed with,
that he was not only useful but necessary, and that he might be assured
his remonstrances would always have their weight".[2] So Osten,
though he hated and despised Struensee quite as much as Rantzau did,
consented to remain, and, wily diplomatist that he was, performed the
difficult task of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds.
For he saw more clearly than any one that the present administration
could not last long, and he therefore determined, while taking all he
could get from Struensee, to put himself in the right with the other
side, so that when Struensee's ship went down in the tempest, he would
ride on the crest of the wave. To this end he paid assiduous court to
the English and Russian envoys, though careful to keep on good terms
with those of France and Sweden. He also managed to convey to the
Queen-Dowager and her party the idea that he wished them well, and that
he only remained in his present post under protest, for the good of the

[1] Gunning's despatch, Copenhagen, June 15, 1771.

[2] _Ibid._

General Gahler, the minister for war, was also disaffected, and had
frequent quarrels with Struensee on matters connected with the army.
But Gahler was too deeply committed to Struensee's policy to make
any course possible to him except that of resignation. And Gahler was
reluctant to resign, not only because he was a poor man and loved the
emoluments of office, but also because his wife was a great friend
of the Queen, and one of the ladies of her household. Both Osten and
Gahler from time to time remonstrated with the arbitrary minister
on the wanton way in which he stirred up public feeling against his
administration, and counselled more conciliatory policy; but Struensee
would not hear.

Even Brandt, whom Struensee trusted absolutely, and whom he had loaded
with benefits, was jealous and discontented, and ready at any moment
to betray his friend if thereby he could benefit himself. Brandt was
greatly dissatisfied with his position, though Reverdil had relieved
him of his most onerous duties, and said with regard to some reproaches
he had received from the Queen, "that alone is hell". He made so many
complaints to Struensee that the Minister requested him to formulate
them in writing. Brandt then addressed him a lengthy letter in which he
complained bitterly of Struensee's interference in his department at
the court, which, he declared, rendered him contemptible in the eyes
of all. He told Struensee that his was a reign of terror. "No despot
ever arrogated such power as yourself, or exercised it in such a way.
The King's pages and domestics tremble at the slightest occurrence: all
are seized with terror; they talk, they eat, they drink, but tremble as
they do so. Fear has seized on all who surround the Minister, even on
the Queen, who no longer has a will of her own, not even in the choice
of her dresses and their colour." He also complained that Struensee
compelled him to play cards with the King and Queen, with the result
that he lost heavily, and his salary was thereby quite insufficient. He
therefore requested permission to leave the Danish court, and resign
all his offices in consideration of the yearly pension of five thousand
dollars a year. With this handsome annuity he proposed to live in Paris
and enjoy himself. He also asked for estates in Denmark to sustain his
dignity as count. His letter ended with a covert threat that if his
requests were not granted it was possible that he might be drawn into
a plot against Struensee, or put an end to an intolerable position by
"poison or steel".[3]

[3] This letter is still preserved in the archives of Copenhagen. It is
not worth while quoting it in full.


This letter was not only very insolent, but also incoherent, and
showed every sign of an unbalanced mind. Yet Struensee, who apparently
cherished a peculiar tenderness for Brandt, treated the epistle quite
seriously, and instead of dismissing him from court, as he might well
have done, he replied in a lengthy document which almost assumed the
importance of a state paper. He traced the whole of Brandt's discontent
to his amour with Countess Holstein, whom he disliked and distrusted.
He justified his interference in court matters on the ground that
Countess Holstein and Brandt together had introduced changes which
were displeasing to the Queen, and with respect to the Queen's dresses
he wrote: "The Queen, though a lady, is not angry with me when I
recommend retrenchment in respect to her wardrobe." With regard to
Brandt's losses at cards, he replied that loo was the only game the
King and Queen liked, and therefore it was impossible to change it,
and if Brandt and Countess Holstein did not understand the game and
consequently lost, he recommended them either to learn it better or put
on more moderate stakes. He took no notice of Brandt's demand for a
pension, but he declared that neither for him, nor for himself, would
he ask the King to grant estates to maintain their new dignities.
Brandt received Struensee's letter with secret anger and disgust. The
minister's evident wish to conciliate him he regarded as a sign of
weakness, and he immediately began to plot against his friend.

Thus it will be seen that Struensee's colleagues were all false to
him, and were only waiting an opportunity to betray him. The Queen
still clung to him with blind infatuation, and lived in a fool's
paradise, though her court was honeycombed with intrigues and she was
surrounded with spies and enemies. Even her waiting women were leagued
against her. They sanded the floor of the passage from Struensee's
chamber to the Queen's at night, that they might see the traces of his
footsteps in the morning; they put wax in the lock, and listened at
the keyhole; they laid traps at every turn, and the unconscious Queen
fell readily into them. All these evidences of her indiscretion were
carefully noted, and communicated to the Queen-Dowager at Fredensborg.
In Copenhagen and in the country the discontent daily grew greater,
and the boldness of Struensee's enemies more and more manifest. In
giving freedom to the press he had forged a terrible weapon for his own
undoing, and papers and pamphlets continually teemed with attacks on
the hated minister. Threatening and abusive letters reached him daily,
coarse and scurrilous attacks were placarded on the walls of the royal
palaces, and even thrown into the gardens at Hirschholm, that the Queen
and Struensee might see them on their daily walks.

When such efforts were made to fan the embers of popular discontent,
it is no wonder that they soon burst into a flame. The first outbreak
came in this wise. An inglorious and expensive naval war against the
Dey of Algiers, inherited from the Bernstorff administration, was
still being prosecuted, and Struensee had ordered new ships to be
constructed, and sent to Norway for sailors to man them. Such was the
maladministration of the navy department that the work proceeded very
slowly, and the Norwegian sailors who had been brought to Copenhagen
wandered about in idleness, waiting for the vessels to be finished. The
Government, with manifest injustice, would neither give these sailors
their pay nor allow them to return to their homes. The only effect of
their remonstrances was that the dockyard men were ordered to work on
Sundays so that the vessels might be finished sooner. The dockyard men
asked for double pay if they worked on Sundays, and this being refused,
they struck off work altogether, and joined the ranks of the unemployed
sailors, who had been waiting eight weeks for their pay, and were
almost starving. The Norwegians had always taken kindly to the theory
of the absolute power of the King. Their political creed was very
simple: first, that the King could do no wrong, and secondly, that he
must be blindly obeyed. It therefore followed naturally that, if an act
of injustice like the present one were committed, it must be committed
by the King's subordinates, and not by himself, and he had only to
know to set matters right. Having petitioned the Government repeatedly
without receiving any redress, they determined to take matters in their
own hands. Early in September a body of Norwegian sailors, to the
number of two hundred, set out from Copenhagen for Hirschholm with the
resolution of laying their grievance before the King in person, in the
confident hope that they would thus obtain redress.

When the sailors drew near to Hirschholm the wildest rumours spread
through the court, and the greatest panic prevailed. It was thought
to be an insurrection, and the mutineers were reported to be swarming
out from Copenhagen to seize the King and Queen, loot the palace,
and murder the Minister. The guard was called out and the gates
were barred, and a courier despatched to Copenhagen for a troop of
dragoons. At the first sound of alarm the King and Queen, Struensee,
Brandt, and the whole court, fled by a back door across the gardens to
Sophienburg, about two miles distant. Here they halted for a space,
while the Queen and Struensee seriously debated whether they should
continue their flight to Elsinore, and seek refuge behind the stout
walls of the ancient fortress of Kronborg. Eventually they resolved
first to despatch an aide-de-camp back to Hirschholm to reconnoitre,
and to parley with the supposed insurgents. The aide-de-camp, who was
a naval officer, met the malcontents outside the palace gates, and was
surprised to see no mutineers, but only a body of Norwegian sailors,
whose sufferings and deprivations were clearly marked upon their
countenances. He asked them what they wanted. "We wish to speak with
our little father, the King," was the reply; "he will hear us and help
us." The aide-de-camp galloped back with this message to Sophienburg,
but Struensee thought it was a trap, and made the officer return and
say that the King was out hunting.

The sailors replied that they did not believe it, and prepared to
force their way into the palace that they might see the King face to
face; the guard, which had now been reinforced by a troop of dragoons,
tried to drive them back. The sailors, whose intentions had been quite
peaceful, now laid hands on their knives, and declared that they
would defend themselves if the soldiers attacked them. Fortunately
the aide-de-camp was a man of resource, and resolved to act on his
own initiative and avoid bloodshed; he saw that the men were not
insurgents. He made a feint to go back and presently came out of the
palace again and announced that he had a message to them from the King.
His Majesty commanded him to say that if his loyal sailors would return
quietly, he would see justice done to them. With this the sailors
professed themselves to be content, and they walked back to Copenhagen
as peacefully as they had come. The promise was kept, and more than
kept, for the sailors, on their return to Copenhagen, were treated with
spirits, temporarily appeased by a payment on account, and all their
arrears were settled a few days later. The aide-de-camp had gone again
to Sophienburg and told Struensee that this was the only way to pacify
them, and a courier had been sent in haste from Hirschholm to the
admiralty at Copenhagen to order these things to be done, for Struensee
was by this time frightened into promising anything and everything.

When the sailors had gone and quiet was restored, Struensee was
persuaded to return to Hirschholm, but only after great difficulty;
the guard round the palace was doubled, and the dragoons patrolled all
night, for Struensee greatly feared that the sailors would shortly
return more furious and better armed. The Queen, who was determined,
whatever happened, not to abandon her favourite, ordered that her
horses should be kept saddled and in readiness, so that at the first
sign of tumult she might fly with him and the King to Kronborg. She
went to bed in disorder, had her riding-habit laid in readiness by
the side of the bed, and in the middle of the night rose to have her
jewellery packed up. Struensee was in abject terror all night, and
would not go to bed at all. With the morning light came reflection
and renewed courage, and then the court was ashamed of the panic it
had shown, and did the best to conceal it; but the news travelled to

The way in which Struensee had capitulated to the demand of the
Norwegian sailors on the first hint of tumult led other bodies of men,
whose claims were less just, to have their demands redressed in a
similar way. Therefore, a fortnight later a body of some hundred and
twenty silk-weavers proceeded on foot from Copenhagen to Hirschholm
to complain that they were starving because the royal silk factories
had been closed. Again the alarmed minister yielded, and orders were
given that work in the factories should be continued, at least until
the silk-weavers could obtain other employment. These demonstrations
roused the fear that others would follow, and the guard at Hirschholm
was increased, and soldiers were now posted round the palace and the
gardens day and night. For the first time in the history of the nation
the King of Denmark lived in a state of siege for fear of his own

Keith wrote home on the subject of the recent disturbances: "The
general discontent here seems to gain strength daily, and the impunity
which attended the tumultuous appearances of the Norwegian sailors at
Hirschholm has encouraged the popular clamours (which are no more
restrained by the nature of this Government) to break out in such
indecent representations and publications as even threaten rebellion....

"I pray Heaven that all lawless attempts may meet with the punishment
they deserve, and I sincerely trust they will. But if, unfortunately,
it should happen that the populace is ever stirred up to signalise
their resentment against its principal objects, the Counts Struensee
and Brandt, your Lordship will not be surprised if the vengeance of a
Danish mob should become cruel and sanguinary."[4]

[4] Keith's despatch, Copenhagen, September 25, 1771.

The "indecent representations and publications" became so bad that
Struensee was provoked into revoking his former edict and issuing
a rescript to the effect that, as the press had so grossly abused
the liberty granted to it by foul and unjustifiable attacks on the
Government, it would again be placed under strict censorship. This
edict had the effect of stopping the direct attacks upon Struensee
in the papers; but the scribblers soon found a way of evading the
censorship by attacking their foe indirectly, and bitter pasquinades
were issued, of which, though no names were mentioned, every one
understood the drift. For instance, one of the leading publications,
_The Magazine of Periodical Literature_, propounded the following
questions for solution: "Is it possible that a woman's lover can be
her husband's sincere friend and faithful adviser?" and again: "If the
husband accepts him as his confidant, what consequences will result
for all three, and for the children?" The answers to these questions
contained the fiercest and most scurrilous attacks on the Queen and
Struensee, under the cover of general and abstract statements.

The alarm which the Norwegian sailors had caused Struensee was followed
by the discovery of a plot against his life which increased his terror.
There were about five thousand men employed in the Government dockyards
at Copenhagen as ship-builders and labourers of every description.
These men were also dissatisfied at the changes which had lately been
introduced into the naval department, and their attitude for some time
had been sullen and mutinous. To punish them for their discontent
Struensee had excluded them from the festivities on the King's last
birthday, but now, fearing another outbreak, more formidable than
that of the Norwegian sailors, he swung round to the other extreme,
and determined to give these dockyard men a feast of conciliation in
the grounds of Frederiksberg to compensate them for the loss of their
perquisites on the King's birthday. September 29 was the day chosen for
the _fête_, and it was announced that the King and Queen, the Privy
Cabinet Minister and all the court would drive over from Hirschholm to
honour the gathering with their presence. The _corps diplomatique_ were
invited to meet their Majesties, and a detachment of the new Flying
Body Guard was told off to form the royal escort.

The _fête_ was favoured with fine weather, and the day was observed
as a day of gala; the dockyard men, with their wives and children, and
drums beating and banners flying, went in procession to the gardens
of Frederiksberg, where they were lavishly regaled. Oxen were roasted
whole, and sheep, pigs, geese, ducks and fowls were also roasted and
distributed. Thirty tuns of beer were broached, a quart of rum was
given to each man, a pipe of tobacco and a day's wages. After dinner
there were games, dancing and music. All day long the revellers waited
for the coming of the King and Queen, but they waited in vain.

In the morning, at Hirschholm, the King and Queen made themselves
ready and were about to start, when a rumour reached the palace that
a plot had been formed to assassinate Struensee at the festival.
Immediately all was confusion. The King and Queen retired to their
apartments, and Struensee summoned Brandt and Falckenskjold to a
hurried conference. Falckenskjold urged Struensee to treat the rumour
as baseless, go to the festival and present an unmoved front to the
people. This display of personal courage would do more than anything
else to give the lie to the rumours of his cowardice at Hirschholm,
and now that he was forewarned he could be safely guarded. Nothing
would induce Struensee to go; he shuddered at the slightest hint of
assassination. Falckenskjold then advised him cynically, as he was so
much afraid, to be more careful in the future how he stirred up his
enemies, or he might find himself not only dismissed from office and
disgraced, but dragged to the scaffold on a charge of high treason.
Struensee said such a charge was impossible, as he had done nothing
without the consent of the King. "Well, at any rate see that your
papers are in order," said Falckenskjold significantly. "My papers are
arranged," Struensee replied; "on that account I have nothing to fear,
if my enemies will only behave fairly in other respects." Brandt also
joined in urging Struensee to modify some of his more objectionable
measures, and attempt to conciliate his enemies. But Struensee, though
he trembled at the mere hint of personal violence, was obstinate as to
this. "No," he said emphatically; "I will withdraw nothing which in my
belief promotes the welfare of the state." "The time will come," said
Brandt emphatically, "when you will _have_ to yield." Struensee went
to see the Queen, and shortly after a message came countermanding all
orders, as neither the King nor the Queen would attend the festival.

The dockyard men were much disappointed at the non-appearance of their
Majesties, and their disappointment was changed to indignation when
they learned that it was fear which kept them at Hirschholm. It seemed
incredible that the King of Denmark should distrust his own people.
The King, in point of fact, did not distrust them; he showed himself
quite indifferent whether he went to Frederiksberg or stayed at home;
it was Struensee who feared for himself, and the Queen who feared for
her favourite. The proceedings at Frederiksberg passed off without any
disturbance, though the dockyard men jestingly remarked that the ox
sacrificed for them was not the ox they had been promised--an allusion
to Struensee's corpulence. Struensee probably showed discretion in
keeping away from the festival, for there was a deep-laid plot to
capture him, alive or dead, when he mingled with the crowd.[5]

[5] In 1774 Baron Bülow gave Mr. Wraxall a detailed account of the plot
to murder Struensee and his partisans on this occasion.--Wraxall's
_Posthumous Memoirs_.

The terror and irresolution displayed by Struensee were quite foreign
to the character before conceived of him both by friends and foes.
"I have begun to see his character in a different light from that
in which it appeared formerly,"[6] writes Keith; and again: "It has
been whispered about that, upon the late disturbances, he betrayed
some unexpected signs of personal fear, and the natural result of
this suspicion is to loosen the attachment of the persons whom he
has trusted, and to diminish that awe which is necessary for the
maintenance of his unbounded authority."[7]

[6] Keith's despatch, Copenhagen, September, 1771.

[7] _Ibid._

Struensee's cowardice, now twice proved, dealt a fatal blow to his
prestige: the man of iron had feet of clay; the despotic minister,
"the man mountain," whose reign, according to Brandt, was based on the
terror he inspired, was himself stricken with craven fears. It seemed
inconceivable that a man who had dared everything, and braved every
risk to gain power, should, the moment he reached the goal of his
ambition, reveal himself a poltroon. For two years Struensee had shown
an unmoved front to the threats of his enemies; for two years he had
carried his life in his hand; but now the mere hint of insurrection,
or assassination, made him tremble and cower behind the skirts of the
Queen. This inconsistency has never been satisfactorily explained in
any of the books written on Struensee and his administration. His
admirers pass it over as lightly as possible. His enemies say that it
reveals the man in his true colours as a sorry rogue; but this theory
will not hold, for the courage and resource which Struensee showed all
through his career until the last few months give it the lie. The key
to the mystery is probably to be found in physical causes.

Struensee was still a young man as statesmen go; he was only
thirty-four years of age--an age when most men are entering upon the
prime and full vigour of their manhood--and he came of a healthy stock;
but the herculean labours of the last two years had told upon him. No
man could overthrow ministers, reform public offices, formulate a new
code of laws, and change the whole policy of a kingdom without feeling
the strain. For two years Struensee had been working at high pressure,
toiling early and late. He left little or nothing to subordinates; his
eagle eye was everywhere, and not a detail escaped him, either in the
Government or in the court. He was a glutton for work, and gathered to
himself every department of the administration. No step could be taken
without his approval; no change, however slight, effected until it had
first been submitted to him. We have seen how Osten complained that
Struensee meddled in his department; we have seen how Brandt complained
that even the comedies and dances, the colour and shape of the Queen's
dresses, had to receive the dictator's approval. It was not humanly
possible that any man, even though he were a "beyond-man," could work
at this pitch for any length of time. He could not do justice to
matters of high policy and government, and supervise every petty detail
of a court; either one or the other must suffer, and with Struensee
the more important, in the long run, went to the wall. He lost his
sense of the proportion of things, and became burdened with a mass of
detail. It was not only the work which suffered, but the man himself;
overstrained, he lost his balance, overwrought, he lost his nerve. To
this must be ascribed the fatal errors which characterised the last few
months of his administration. To this and his self-indulgence.

It was almost impossible that a man could work at so high a pressure
without injury; it could only be possible if he took the greatest heed
of himself, carefully guarded his bodily health, and led a regular
and abstemious life. Two of Struensee's greatest contemporaries,
who achieved most in the world, Frederick the Great and Catherine
the Great, were careful to lead simple, abstemious lives;[8] but
Struensee was by nature a voluptuary, and he lived the life of the
senses as well as the life of the intellect. In early years he had
to check this tendency to some extent, for he lacked the means to
purchase his pleasures; but when, by an extraordinary turn of fortune's
wheel, he found himself raised from obscurity to power, from poverty
to affluence, with the exchequer of a kingdom at his disposal, and
unlimited means whereby to gratify every wish, he gave full rein to
his appetites. He was a gourmand; the dishes which came to the royal
table were made to tickle his palate, and what he did not like was not
served, for this mighty minister even superintended the cuisine, and
took a pleasure therein. Rich food called for rare vintages, and the
choicest wines in the royal cellar were at Struensee's disposal. He
did not stint himself either with food or drink; he was a wine-bibber
as well as a glutton, and habitually ate and drank more than was
good for him. All his life he had been a scoffer at morality, and
now he deliberately made use of his opportunities to practise what
he preached. In fine, when he was not at work, his time was spent in
the gratification of carnal pleasures. He never took any real rest; a
few hours' sleep, generally not begun until long after midnight, were
all he allowed himself, and the moment his eyes opened he was at work
again. The result of this excess, both in work and pleasure, was a
nervous breakdown; he became corpulent and flabby, his physical and
mental health was shattered, and he was no longer able to keep that
firm grasp upon affairs which the position he had arrogated to himself
demanded from the man at the helm. He relaxed his hold, and the ship
of state, which he had built with so much care, began to drift rapidly
and surely towards destruction. In the royal archives at Copenhagen
may be seen many specimens of Struensee's signature which he inscribed
upon documents during his brief rule, and in the last months of his
administration this signature is no longer bold and firm, but wavering
and disjointed, as though written with a trembling hand. This was
accounted for at the time by the statement that Struensee had hurt his
wrist in a heavy fall from his horse, while riding with the Queen at
Hirschholm towards the end of September. But the cause probably lay
deeper than that, and the trembling signature was an evidence of the
rapidly failing powers of the man, who, until he showed fear at the
arrival of the handful of sailors at Hirschholm, had been considered
almost superhuman.

[8] Catherine the Great, of course, broke her rule in one respect, but
then she was an exception of all rules.

[Illustration: STRUENSEE.

_From the Painting by Jens Juel, 1771, now in the possession of Count

This theory of physical collapse also explains much that is otherwise
inexplicable in the closing days of Struensee's career. When, by
royal decree, he had arrogated to himself the kingly authority, and
wielded without let or hindrance absolute power, it was thought that
he would use this power to complete the work he had begun, and to
revolutionise the whole political government of the kingdoms. But, to
the astonishment of all, Struensee did nothing; the power lay idle in
hands that seemed half-paralysed, or only showed intermittent signs
that it existed by some feeble revocation of previous acts, as, for
instance, the re-imposition of the censorship of the press.

As Keith wrote: "It would seem as if the genius of the Prime Minister
had wasted itself by the hasty strides he made to gain the summit of
power. Daily experience shows us that he has formed no steady plan
either with regard to the interior affairs of Denmark or her foreign
connections. From such a man it was natural to expect that the most
decisive and even headlong acts would distinguish an administration
of which he had the sole direction; instead of which, the business
accumulates in every department of the state, and only a few desultory
steps have been taken, which lead to no important or permanent

[9] Keith's despatch, Copenhagen, September 20, 1771.

To the same cause must be attributed the apathy with which Struensee
regarded the treachery of his followers, and the increased activity
of his enemies. Though beset by dangers on every side, he disregarded
alike warnings and entreaties, and drifted on to his doom. It is true
that this indifference was broken by spasms of unreasoning panic; but
the moment the threatened peril had passed he fell back into apathy




The Queen's love for Struensee was not lessened by the discovery that
her idol had feet of clay, but she lost some of her blind faith in his
power to mould all things to his will. She once told her ladies that
"If a woman truly loved a man, she ought to follow him, even though
it were to hell"; it seemed likely that her words would before long
be put to the test. During those autumn days at Hirschholm, when the
popular discontent seethed to the very doors of the palace, the Queen
came out of her fool's paradise and realised that she and her favourite
were living on a volcano that might at any moment erupt and overwhelm
them. She frequently discussed with her court, half in jest and half
in earnest, what they should do when the catastrophe came. Once at
the royal table the Queen laughingly suggested to her friends the
advisability of all taking flight together, and each began to consider
what he, or she, would do to gain a livelihood in exile. The Queen, who
had a very sweet voice, and played on the harpsichord, said she would
turn singer, for she was sure by that means she would never starve.
Struensee said he would take a lonely farm, and devote himself to
agriculture and the consolations of philosophy. Brandt said he should
turn his dramatic talents to use, and become the acting manager of a
theatre. "And as for you, my fair lady," he said to one of the Queen's
ladies, probably Madame Gahler, "with your peerless form, you need do
nothing, but simply sit as a model for artists." The lady winced, and
the rest of the company laughed, for it was known, though she was very
beautiful, that she had a defect in her figure, which she was at great
pains to conceal. Despite this levity in public, they were all secretly
uneasy, and brooded much over the situation in private. Except the
Queen, who thought only of Struensee, each one sought how he might save
himself--if necessary at the expense of his fellows.

Struensee was thrown into a fresh panic by the appearance of a placard
setting a price upon his head, which was posted up by night in the
principal street of Copenhagen, and ran:--

"As the traitor Struensee continues to ill-treat our beloved King, to
mock his faithful subjects, and to seize with force and injustice more
and more of the royal authority, which the Danish people have entrusted
to their King alone, this Struensee and his adherents are hereby
declared outlawed. The man who puts an end to this traitor's life shall
receive five hundred dollars reward, his name kept secret, and a royal
pardon granted him."[10]

[10] Translated from the original document now preserved in the royal
archives at Copenhagen.

According to Keith this placard was probably a hoax, but it had a
dire effect upon Struensee. "A paper," Keith writes, "was fixed up in
the public squares of this city, setting a price upon his head, and
this stratagem--for I can only look upon it as such--had like to have
produced a very strange effect, as I am assured for some days he was
preparing to leave Denmark, and that the appearance of fifty men in a
threatening manner would have decided his flight."[11] But Keith was
far more prejudiced against Struensee than Gunning was, and he may have

[11] Keith's despatch, Copenhagen, November 18, 1771.

Struensee at this time certainly considered the possibility of flight;
he spoke to Reverdil on the subject, and declared that he was only
prevented by his devotion to the Queen, who, if he deserted her, would
again become the victim of intrigue. But probably Brandt's reasoning
weighed more with him. "Whither would you go," said Brandt, "where you
would be Prime Minister and favourite of a Queen?" Whither indeed?
Struensee's enemies sought to frighten him into resignation. But they
little knew their man. He would cling to office and power until they
were wrenched from his grasp. Thinking himself secure behind the
shelter of the Queen he did not heed the plots of the Queen-Dowager and
the nobles against his authority. What he dreaded was assassination,
or an insurrection of the people. Keith, a foreigner, took something
of the same view: "The persons who are most incensed against this
Ministry," he wrote, "seem both by their principles and their timidity
inclined to pursue their ends by dark and secret methods, and if they
are to succeed at all, it must be by seizing a moment of popular frenzy
and striking their blow all at once."[12] Brandt, though he counselled
Struensee to stay, was really very uneasy at the aspect of affairs: "I
wish all this would come to an end," he said one day to Falckenskjold,
"for I have a foreboding that this regime will soon be overthrown."
"You will fare badly if it is," replied Falckenskjold. "Oh," said
Brandt, "I have studied law, and shall be able to take care of myself."

[12] Keith's despatch, Copenhagen, September, 1771.

It was a pity that Brandt's knowledge of law did not prevent him from
committing an act which the law of Denmark punished with death, and
which, in any case, was cowardly and brutal. Allusion has been made
to the fact that the King and Brandt frequently quarrelled, and,
though, since the arrival of Reverdil, Brandt was relieved of some
of his more onerous duties, he was still on bad terms with the King.
One morning at the Queen's _déjeuner_, the King, who rarely joined in
the conversation, suddenly, without provocation, shouted across the
table to Brandt: "You deserve a good thrashing, and I will give you
one. I am speaking to you, Count. Do you hear?" The incident created
an unpleasant sensation among the company, but Brandt, with his usual
presence of mind, ignored the affront, and turned the conversation to
other channels. After breakfast Struensee and the Queen took the King
aside, and rebuked him sharply, but the King only said: "Brandt is a
coward if he refuses to fight with me." He also told Brandt he was a
cur, and afraid to accept his challenge. It had always been one of
the King's manias, even in his comparatively sane years, to try his
strength with his attendants. He had frequently fought with Holck and
Warnstedt, and also with Moranti, the negro boy, and they had consented
to act on the defensive at his request, with the result that he was
always permitted to come off conqueror. The game was a perilous one
for the other combatant, for the King sometimes hit hard; on the other
hand, the law of Denmark made it an offence punishable with death for
any man to strike the King's sacred person.

Brandt had never yet fought with the King, for he had a love of a whole
skin, and shirked this disagreeable pastime; but now, goaded by the
King's insults, he determined to give him a lesson in manners. Apart
from his dislike of the King, his self-esteem was wounded by having
been insulted before the Queen, Countess Holstein and the other ladies,
and he resolved to be avenged. That he acted on a set plan is shown
by the fact that he hid a whip in a piano in the ante-chamber of the
King's room the day before he carried his design into execution. In the
evening of the following day, when Reverdil was absent, Brandt took the
whip from the piano, hid it under his coat, and went into the King's
apartment, where he found the semi-imbecile monarch playing with the
two boys who were his constant companions. Having turned Moranti and
the other boy out, Brandt locked the door, and then told the King, who
by this time was somewhat frightened, that he had come to fight with
him according to his wish, and asked him to take his choice of pistols
or swords. The King, who had not contemplated a duel, but a scramble,
said he would fight with his fists. Brandt agreed, and the struggle
began; but the King soon found that this particular adversary had not
come to act on the defensive, but the offensive. Brandt, who was much
the stronger of the two, for the King was weak and ailing, made use of
his strength without stint, and, rage urging him on, he first beat his
royal master unmercifully with his fists, and then thrashed him with
the whip until Christian cried for quarter. Brandt, when he had beaten
him until he could beat no longer, granted the request, and then left
the room, leaving the King much bruised and frightened.

After he had put his dress in order, Brandt proceeded to the Queen's
apartments, and joined the company at the card tables as if nothing
had happened. When the game was over, he told Struensee what he had
done. The Minister said he was glad to hear it; it would give them
peace from the King in future; but he cautioned Brandt to say nothing
about it. But the next day rumours of what had taken place were all
over the palace. The King's valet had found his master bruised and
weeping, and Moranti and the other boy had heard sounds of the scuffle.
Reports of the affray travelled to Copenhagen, and aroused general
indignation. Apart from the cowardly brutality of the attack, it was
deemed a monstrous thing that a man should raise his hand against the
Lord's anointed. Juliana Maria affected to find in it a confirmation
of her worst fears, and colour was given to the reports that the King
was systematically ill-treated, and his life was in danger. It was
said that the Queen and Struensee not only approved, but encouraged
this attack upon the King, and Brandt's appointment shortly after as
master of the wardrobe to the King, conferring on him the title of
"Excellency," was regarded as a proof of this. Without doubt, Brandt's
promotion was ill-timed, but the Queen had nothing to do with it.
Struensee granted these favours to Brandt in order to bind him more
closely to the court which he desired to leave.

Struensee, under panic from recent disturbances, had shown himself more
conciliatory, and promised to consider the possibility of re-appointing
the Council of State. He had also been induced, by Falckenskjold's
advice, to make the court pay more civility to the Queen-Dowager and
Prince Frederick, and occasionally the King and Queen invited them
to Hirschholm. But when the threatened danger seemed to pass away,
and nothing more happened, he regained his confidence, and became as
unyielding and overbearing as before. The Queen-Dowager and Prince
Frederick received fresh affronts; the idea of reviving the council was
dropped, and the dictator already considered the advisability of new
and more aggressive measures. Several more officials of high rank were
dismissed, and Struensee's favourites put in their places. He learned
nothing from the past; although he was told that the Queen-Dowager and
Prince Frederick would put themselves at the head of a party with a
view of overthrowing him, he took no heed, and merely replied: "The
purity of my views is my protection."[13] The man was drunk with

[13] _Mémoires de Falckenskjold._

Meanwhile alarming rumours reached the Court of St. James's of the
state of affairs in Denmark, and grave fears were entertained for the
safety of the King's sister, who seemed blindly rushing to her ruin.
Keith's despatches with reference to the late disturbances were laid
before the King, who took serious counsel with his mother as to what
could be done to save Matilda from the peril that threatened her, and
to preserve the honour of his house. George III. had remonstrated with
his sister in vain; of late he had heard nothing from her, and the
last communication he received from her was to the effect that, if he
wrote again, his letters must be sent through Struensee, which, under
the circumstances, was little short of an insult. The King, at least,
so regarded it, and for some time could not bring himself to write to
his sister, if his letters were delivered through such a medium. In
the meantime Lord Suffolk was commanded to send Keith the following

"Your own delicacy and sentiment must have suggested the wish that the
critical state of things at the court where you reside may affect the
Queen of Denmark as little as possible. Your desire, therefore, to mark
your regard for her Majesty will be gratified by the instructions I now
give you, to endeavour most assiduously to prevent the disagreeable
incidents, which, if I am rightly informed, her Majesty is exposed
to in the present moment. You are already directed upon large public
considerations to promote upon all proper occasions of interference the
return of Mr. Bernstorff to lead in the administration, and I am happy
to understand that, at the same time, no minister is more inclined to
support the united interests of Great Britain and Russia, and there is
none more likely than Mr. Bernstorff to preserve that respect for the
King's sister, which, amidst the revenge and violence of party rage,
might, on a change of ministers, be too little attended to, or perhaps
even violated. If, therefore, Mr. Bernstorff should meet with success,
and owe it, as probably would be the case, in great measure to your
good offices and interposition, he cannot but be gratefully disposed to
acknowledge so important a service, and he cannot acknowledge it more
essentially than by giving full scope to his well-known attachment to
the King's (George III.'s) person and family, and by providing for the
honour and security of his royal mistress, in case they are liable to
danger from the unhappy condition of the country."[14]

[14] Lord Suffolk's despatch to Keith, London, November 1, 1771.

But the return of Bernstorff was of all things the most difficult to
effect at that juncture. He was living in exile, he was not in the
secret councils of the Queen-Dowager, who alone could head, with any
hope of success, a revolution against Struensee, and he had already
refused Rantzau's overtures. All this, of course, was unknown to the
court of St. James's, though most of it was known to Keith. The King
of England had not realised that his envoy had absolutely no influence
in the affairs of Denmark. All this, and much more, Keith strove to
explain in a despatch which he wrote in reply to Lord Suffolk's. He
reviewed the situation in much the same way as Gunning had done before

"I found, upon my arrival in this country," he wrote, "that the whole
weight of government had, with the King's consent, devolved upon his
Royal Consort. Mr. Struensee was already (I must add, unhappily) in
possession of that unlimited confidence on the part of her Danish
Majesty which has given him a dictatorial sway in every department
of government.... The genius of Count Struensee, though active,
enterprising and extensive, appears to be deficient in point of
judgment and resolution. His temper is fiery, suspicious and unfeeling;
his cunning and address have been conspicuous in the attainment of
power; his discernment and fairness in the exercise of it have fallen
short of the expectation of those who were least partial to him. His
morals are founded upon this single principle--that a man's duties
begin and end with himself, and in this life. The wickedness of avowing
openly a tenet so profligate and dangerous can only be equalled by
the ingratitude with which he has acted up to it, in his haughty and
imperious behaviour to the Person (the Queen) who, with unwearied
perseverance, continues to heap upon him all possible obligations. It
is almost unnecessary to add that he is arrogant in prosperity and
timid in danger."

Keith described again in detail the disturbances of the autumn, and
went on to say:--

"During that period, my most anxious attention was continually turned
to the painful situation of the Queen of Denmark, whose partiality
for Count Struensee seemed to gather strength from opposition. The
circumstances were truly alarming; yet, after weighing them maturely,
I had the heartfelt comfort to think that the removal of the Minister,
by whatever means effected, would soon restore her Majesty to the
affection of the nation, and re-establish her legal authority. If any
dangerous crisis had taken place, I was firmly determined to offer my
services to her Majesty in the best manner they could be employed for
the security of her person and dignity, and I trusted to my conscience
and to the humanity of my gracious Sovereign (George III.) for the
justification of the steps which my dutiful attachment to the Royal
Family might in such a moment have suggested. But, my Lord, it was
indispensably necessary that I should wait for the approach of such a
crisis before I declared to her Majesty my earnest intentions, as the
Prime Minister had from the first day excluded me (together with all my
colleagues) from the possibility of access to her Majesty.... It may
appear extraordinary that in the five months I have passed in Denmark I
have not had the honour of exchanging ten sentences with the Queen."

Keith then referred again to the terrors of Struensee, and the
precautions which had been taken to guard the palace of Hirschholm. He
related how for a short time Struensee appeared to be more amenable
to advice, but, on the passing of danger, he had again resumed his
overbearing manner; and added: "I am now fully persuaded that he must
again be driven to extremity before he yields any share of power
to those ministers who were formerly accustomed to treat him as a
mean inferior, and whose late expulsion had been a result of all his
efforts." With reference to the return of Bernstorff, he pointed out
that the Queen had a prejudice against the ex-minister on account of
his supposed wish to exclude her from the regency; but he did not
consider this objection insuperable, and wrote: "If Mr. Struensee
can ever be brought to recall Count Bernstorff, the Queen will not
oppose it. If Mr. Struensee quits the helm, or is forced from it,
there is but one set of men to whom her Majesty can have recourse (the
nobility), and, amongst them, almost every voice is in favour of Count
Bernstorff.... I shall endeavour most assiduously to prevent every
disagreeable incident, to which her Danish Majesty may be exposed by
the violence of party rage. This seems at present (November 18) much
abated, and I have had the satisfaction to observe that its greatest
fury has at all times been principally levelled at the person of the
Prime Minister.... How sorry am I, my Lord, that I dare not look for
a nearer and more pleasing hope for his dismission than the prospect
of his wearing out the patience and generosity of his powerful

[15] Keith's despatch, Copenhagen, November 18, 1771.

So matters stood up to the end of November. A truce seemed to be
declared. The court remained at Hirschholm (it was said because
Struensee dared not enter the capital), and, his fears being now to a
great extent allayed, the days passed as before in a round of amusement.

Hirschholm in the late autumn was damp and unhealthy, but still the
court lingered, and it was not until the end of November that a
move was made. Even then the King and Queen did not proceed to the
Christiansborg Palace, but went to Frederiksberg. At Frederiksberg
there was a court every Monday, but these courts were very sparsely
attended; the King, it was noticed, spoke to no one, and moved like
an automaton; the Queen looked anxious and ill. Sometimes Struensee
and the Queen went a-hawking; sometimes the King and Queen drove into
Copenhagen to attend the French plays or the opera; but the citizens
saw with astonishment that their Majesties now never drove into their
capital city without their coach being guarded by forty dragoons
with drawn sabres. At Frederiksberg, too, most elaborate military
arrangements were made for the security of the court. A squadron of
dragoons was quartered in an out-building, and there was not only a
mounted guard day and night round the palace, but the surrounding
country was patrolled by soldiers. The dread of assassination was ever
present with Struensee, and though he would not alter his methods of
government, he took the most elaborate precautions for his personal
safety, and all these precautions were on his behalf.

In addition to the guarding of Frederiksberg, he gave orders to the
commandant of the troops in Copenhagen, an officer whom he had himself
appointed, to have everything in readiness to maintain order by force
in the event of a rising or tumult. Copenhagen looked like a city in
a state of siege. The heaviest guns in the arsenal were planted on
the walls in front of the guard-house, and at the town gates. The
guns on the walls were turned round, and pointed at the city every
evening after sunset; the soldiers had their cartridges served out
to them, and patrolled the streets at all hours; even loaded cannon
were placed in front of the palace, and any one who wished to enter to
transact business was escorted in and out by two soldiers. All these
extraordinary precautions were carried out with the knowledge and
consent of the Queen; but the King was not consulted; he was surprised
to find himself living in a state of siege, and asked Struensee, in
alarm, what was the meaning of it all. Struensee, who knew well how to
trade on the fears of the King, replied that it was done for the better
protection of the King's royal person, for his subjects were rebellious
and disaffected, and it was feared that, if not checked, there would be
a revolution, like that which took place in Russia a few years before.
He even hinted that the King might meet with the same fate as the
unhappy Emperor Peter III., who was assassinated. Christian was greatly
frightened on hearing this. "My God!" he exclaimed, "what harm have I
done, that my dear and faithful subjects should hate me so?"

This display of armed force still more enraged the populace against the
favourite. The pointing of loaded cannon was regarded as an attempt
to over-awe the people by force, and a report was spread abroad
that Struensee intended to disarm the corps of burghers, or citizen
soldiers, who were charged with the keeping of the city. The colonel
commanding the burghers declared that if his men were deprived of their
muskets, they would defend their King, if need be, with paving stones.
Without doubt, these military preparations hastened the impending
crisis, for the Queen-Dowager and her adherents imagined they were
really directed against them. The whole kingdom was seething with
rebellion, and tumults sooner or later were inevitable. Yet, even now,
at the eleventh hour, the worst might have been averted, had it not
been for the incredible foolhardiness of Struensee. He had offended
every class and every interest; he could only hope to maintain his rule
by force. For this the army was absolutely necessary; but, by a wanton
act of provocation, Struensee aroused the army against him.

The ill-feeling which had been stirred up by the disbandment of the
Horse Guards in the summer had to some extent subsided. The officers
of the Household Cavalry, who were most of them wealthy and of noble
birth, had been extremely arrogant, and the other officers, both of the
army and navy, were not ill-pleased to see their pride humbled by their
privileges being taken away. But Struensee, who cherished a hatred
against all the guards, now resolved to disband even the battalion of
Foot Guards, and merge the officers and men into other regiments, on
the pretext that the existence of any favoured regiment was injurious
to the discipline of the rest of the army. Falckenskjold first opposed
this design, but, as Struensee was determined, he reluctantly yielded
the point, and the Privy Cabinet Minister sent an order, signed with
his own hand, to the war department for the regiment to be disbanded
forthwith. But General Gahler, who was the head of this department,
called his colleagues together, and they declared they could not act
without an order signed by the King in person, as they considered
Struensee's decree extremely dangerous, and likely to lead to mutiny.
Struensee was at first very indignant at this demur, but, finding
Gahler resolute, he had to give way, and he obtained an order signed by
the King. This he forwarded to the war department, who, in duty bound,
immediately yielded.

[Illustration: ENEVOLD BRANDT.

_From a Miniature at Frederiksborg._]

The next day, December 24, Christmas Eve, when the guards were drawn
up in line, the King's order for their disbandment and incorporation
was read to them, and they were commanded to hand their colours over to
the officers who were present from other regiments. The men refused,
and when they saw their colours being taken away, they rushed forward
in a body, and dragged them back by force, shouting: "They are our
colours; we will part from them only with our lives." The men were now
in a state of mutiny. Their officers had withdrawn, unwilling to risk
a contest with the authorities; so a non-commissioned officer assumed
the command, and led the insurgents. They marched to the Christiansborg
Palace, broke the gate open, drove away the guard stationed there, and
took their places. Some of them were hindered from entering the palace
by the other troops, who attempted to take them prisoners. The result
was a free fight, and in the course of it one of the guardsmen was
killed, and several soldiers were wounded. Copenhagen was in a state of
riot. Meanwhile Falckenskjold hurried to Frederiksberg with the news
of the mutiny. Once more Struensee was thrown into unreasoning panic,
and quite unable to act. Brandt and Bülow, the Queen's Master of the
Horse, hurried to the Christiansborg, and endeavoured to appease the
rebellious guards, but without success. The categorical reply was: "We
must remain guards, or have our discharge. We will not be merged into
other regiments." It should be mentioned that they were picked men, and
drawn from a superior class; they ranked with non-commissioned officers
in other regiments, and such punishments as flogging could not be
inflicted on them. The envoys returned to Frederiksberg with the news
of their ill-success, and the terror of Struensee increased.

The guards now had a council of war, and it was resolved that a party
of them should march to Frederiksberg, and request an interview with
the King in person, as the Norwegian sailors had done. When the party
set out, they found the western gate of the city closed and held
against them; but at the northern gate the officer of the guard allowed
them to pass. On the road to Frederiksberg they met the King driving,
a postilion and an equerry formed his only escort, and Reverdil was
alone with him in the carriage. The soldiers, who had no grievance
against the King, formed into line and saluted him, and Christian, from
whom the knowledge of the mutiny had been carefully kept, returned
the salute. When the guards reached Frederiksberg, Struensee's fears
deepened into panic. As at Hirschholm, hurried preparations were made
for flight, and orders were given to reinforce the palace guard. The
whole of the army sympathised with the guards, and it may be doubted
whether the soldiers would have resisted their comrades by force of
arms. Fortunately, one of the officers of the guards had hurried
before them to Frederiksberg to protest against extremities; he was
now sent out by Struensee to parley with them in the King's name. The
men repeated their demand: they must remain guards, or receive their
discharge. The officer went back to the palace, and pretended to see
the King, in reality, he saw only Struensee. Presently he returned to
inform the mutineers that the King did not wish to keep any men in his
service against their will, and they were therefore discharged, and
were at liberty to go where they pleased. The detachment thereupon
returned to Christiansborg to report to their comrades, but these
refused to trust a verbal statement, and requested that a written
discharge should be handed to each man before they surrendered the

General Gahler, who had disapproved of Struensee's action throughout,
and now feared there would be bloodshed, on hearing this went to
Frederiksberg, and insisted that a written discharge for the whole body
must be made out, duly signed and sealed by Struensee himself. This
he brought back to the guards; but the men, imagining there was some
deception, took exception to the form of the order, and the fact that
the King had not signed it. When this was reported to him, Struensee
lost patience, and threatened to storm the Christiansborg if the
mutineers were not removed before midnight--a most imprudent threat,
and one practically impossible to carry out, for the Queen-Dowager and
Prince Frederick were occupying their apartments in the Christiansborg
at the time, and no doubt secretly abetting the mutineers. Moreover,
the whole of Copenhagen sided with the guards. Citizens sent in
provisions, wines and spirits, in order that they might keep their
Christmas in a festive manner; the sailors sent word that they would
help the mutineers if the matter came to a crisis, and the gunners
secretly conveyed to them the news that they would receive them into
the arsenal and join them. Midnight struck, and still the mutineers
held the palace. Struensee, finding his threat had no weight, then
veered round to the other extreme, and was soon hastily filling up the
required number of printed discharges, which were taken to the King to
be signed one by one.

In the morning--Christmas morning--glad news came to the mutinous
guards. All their demands were complied with, and more than complied
with; a separate discharge, signed by the King, was presented to every
guardsman, and a promise that three dollars would be paid him, and
any advance he owed would be wiped off. So on Christmas morning the
disbanded guards marched out of the Christiansborg, which they had
occupied for twenty-four hours, and the danger was averted. The city
continued in a great state of excitement all day, and some street
fights took place, but nothing of importance. The King and Queen drove
into Copenhagen to attend divine service at the royal chapel, as this
was Christmas Day, and the fact was considered significant, for now
they rarely went to church. Another concession was made to public
opinion, for the following Sunday evening they were not present at the
French play, as was usually the case.

Unfortunately, these attempts at conciliation, trifling though they
were, came too late. The people had now made up their minds about
Struensee; he was a coward and a bully, who would yield everything
to violence, and nothing to reason. They had found him out; he was a
lath painted to look like iron. His wanton attack upon the guards and
subsequent capitulation filled the cup of his transgressions to the
brim. It was said that at this time Keith thought fit to intervene.
Hoping to shield his Sovereign's sister from the danger which
threatened her, he saw Struensee privately, and offered him a sum of
money to quit the country. If this be true (and no hint of it appears
in Keith's despatches), it had no result, for Struensee still clung to
his post. Rantzau, also, who had not quite settled his terms with the
Queen-Dowager, and, true to his character, was ready to sell either
side for the higher price, also saw Struensee, through the medium of
the Swedish minister, and urged him to resign, or at least to reverse
his whole system of policy; but Struensee would not listen, probably
because Rantzau wanted money, and he did not wish to give it him. Still
Rantzau did not desist; he went to Falckenskjold, and told him as much
as he dared of a conspiracy against Struensee, and offered to help
to detect it for a pecuniary consideration. Falckenskjold heard him
coldly, and merely said: "In that case, you should address your remarks
to Struensee himself." "He will not listen to me," said Rantzau, and
turned away. From that moment Struensee's luck turned away from him




On January 8, 1772, the King and Queen returned to the Christiansborg
after an absence from their capital of seven months. It required some
courage to enter a city on the verge of insurrection, but the court
could not remain away from Copenhagen for ever, and Struensee at last
came to the conclusion that it would be better to put on a bold front,
and meet his enemies on their own ground. Extraordinary precautions
were taken to ensure his personal safety, and that of the King and
Queen. They entered Copenhagen as though it were a hostile city.
Keith thus describes the entry: "The court returned to Copenhagen on
Wednesday, and the apprehensions of the Prime Minister are still very
visible by the warlike parade with which the court is surrounded.
Dragoons are posted on the market places, and patrols in the streets,
and twelve pieces of cannon are kept constantly loaded in the arsenal.
The entrance into the French play-house is lined with soldiers, and
their Majesties in going from the palace to the opera-house, though the
distance is not above three hundred yards, are escorted by an officer
and thirty-six dragoons. Notwithstanding all these precautions, I see
no reason to apprehend the smallest danger to the persons of their
Majesties, and am willing to hope that the popular discontent may soon
subside, if the Minister does not blow up the flame by some new act of

[16] Keith's despatch, January 11, 1772.

There was certainly no danger to the King. The people regarded him as
a prisoner in the hands of the unscrupulous Minister, and their desire
was to deliver him from that bondage. The Queen was only in danger
because of her blind attachment to Struensee. If he could be removed,
or induced to resign quietly, all would be forgiven her, for her youth,
her inexperience and her infatuation aroused pity rather than anger in
the breast of the multitude. But, as Struensee's accomplice, she shared
in his unpopularity, and the wrath of the Queen-Dowager and the clergy
was especially directed against her. Matilda had no fear for herself;
all her fears were for the man whom she still loved with unreasoning
adoration; she trembled lest he might be forced to leave her, or fall
a victim to the vengeance of his enemies. During the dangers and
alarms of the last six months, she alone remained true to him; the
hatred of his enemies, the treachery of his friends, the warnings and
remonstrances of those who wished her well, made no difference. His
craven fears, the revelation that her hero was but a coward after
all, even the ingratitude and brutal rudeness with which he sometimes
treated her, forgetting the respect due to her as Queen and woman,
forgetting the sacrifices she had made for him, and the benefits she
had rained upon him--all this did not make any change in her devotion;
she still loved him without wavering or shadow of turning. Even now,
when the popular execration was at its height, she bravely stood by his
side, willing to share the odium excited by his misdeeds. Though all
should fail him, she would remain.

The day of the return to Copenhagen there was a ball at the
Christiansborg Palace; on the following Saturday there was the
performance of a French play at the royal theatre; on the following
Monday there was a court. On all these occasions the Queen, heedless
of murmurings and averted looks, appeared with Struensee by her side,
as though to support him by her presence. Indeed, she sought by many a
sign and token to show to all the world that, however hated and shunned
he might be, her trust and confidence in him were unbroken; and he,
craven and selfish voluptuary that he was, set his trembling lips, and
sought to shelter himself from the popular vengeance behind the refuge
of her robe.

It was at this time--the eleventh hour--that George III. made one more
effort to save his sister. Mastering his pride, he wrote to her yet
another letter, urging her for the good of her adopted country, for her
own personal safety, and for the honour of the royal house from which
she sprang, to send away the hated favourite, and recall Bernstorff.
So anxious was the King of England that this letter should reach his
sister that he overcame his repugnance to Struensee sufficiently to
command Keith to deliver it to the Queen through Struensee's hands,
according to her wishes.[17] The letter was duly delivered, but before
an answer could be returned it was too late.

[17] "I have the honour to enclose a letter from his Majesty to the
Queen of Denmark, which I am commanded to direct you to deliver to
Count Struensee for him to convey to her Danish Majesty, and you will
observe the same mode of conveyance for all the King's private letters
to the Queen of Denmark. You are to take the earliest opportunity to
acquaint Mr. Osten privately that this mode is adopted at the express
desire of the Queen of Denmark."--Suffolk to Keith, January 9, 1772.

The contents of the King's letter of course are not known, but that
the gist of it was probably that given above may be gathered from Lord
Suffolk's previous communication to the English envoy at Copenhagen.

The continued favour shown by the Queen to Struensee, the close
guarding of the royal palaces, the display of military force in the
city, and the disbanding of the guards, who were regarded in a special
sense the bodyguard of the monarch, all lent confirmation to the rumour
that a _coup d'état_ was imminent--that Struensee meant to seize the
person of the King, depose him, or otherwise make away with him, marry
the Queen, and proclaim himself Regent, or Protector of the King.
Moreover, it was whispered that he had become acquainted with the
Queen-Dowager's intrigues against his authority, and was contemplating
the arrest of Juliana Maria and her son. This rumour, to which the
military preparations gave colour, was told the Queen-Dowager by
interested persons, with a view to forcing her at last to act. Juliana
Maria was an imperious, hard, intriguing woman. From the first she
had disliked Matilda, and wished her ill, but there is no evidence to
show that she would have headed a revolution against her had she not
been driven into it by force of circumstances. That the Queen-Dowager
desired and plotted the overthrow of Struensee was natural and
excusable. He had treated herself and her son with marked disrespect;
he had privately insulted and publicly affronted them. His reforms both
in church and state were entirely opposed to her views; his intrigue
with Queen Matilda she considered dishonouring to the royal house, and
his influence over the King harmful to the monarch and the nation.
Juliana Maria and her son represented the old regime and were naturally
looked up to at a crisis; in any event, she would have been forced into
opposition to the existing state of affairs.

But Juliana Maria was above all things cautious. She was fully alive to
the peril of provoking the powerful minister and the reigning Queen,
who, holding, as they did, the King's authority, were omnipotent.
The Queen-Dowager had been anxious to bring about the dismissal of
Struensee by peaceful and constitutional means; but these had failed;
neither warnings nor threats would make him quit his post. Moreover,
she distrusted Rantzau, who headed the conspiracy against him. She
was averse from violent measures, which, if unsuccessful, would
assuredly involve both her and her son in ruin. Therefore, though she
had been cognisant of the growth of the conspiracy against Struensee
for many months--though she had conferred with the conspirators, and
secretly encouraged them--yet up to the present she had hesitated to
take action. Even the mutiny of the guards, when the mutineers were
shut up in the palace with her, had not moved her to make the decisive
step. It was not until information was brought her of a threatened
_coup d'état_, and the probable imprisonment of herself and her son,
that she determined to hold back no longer. Rantzau, who knew well
the Queen-Dowager's reluctance to commit herself, finally secured her
adhesion to the conspiracy by means of a forged paper, which contained
a full account of Struensee's supposed _coup d'état_. A copy of this
plan, which never existed in the original, was given by Rantzau to
Peter Suhm, the Danish historiographer royal, who stood high in the
opinion of the Queen-Dowager. According to it January 28 was the day
fixed for the King's abdication, the appointment of the Queen as Regent
and Struensee as Protector. Suhm at once took the document to Juliana
Maria, and urged her to immediate action. There was no time to be lost,
he told her, for the man who meditated usurping the regal power would
not long hesitate before committing a further crime. The assassination
of the King would assure him of the couch of the Queen, and the
Crown Prince, either imprisoned, or succumbing to the rigours of his
treatment, would make way for the fruit of this intercourse. For this
motive and no other had Struensee revoked the law which prohibited a
repudiated wife from marrying the accomplice of her infidelity. The man
who had abolished the Council of State would repeal, if need be, the
Salic law, which had hitherto prevailed in Denmark. The Queen-Dowager
was fully persuaded by this document; she resolved to call a meeting
of the conspirators, and nip Struensee's alleged plot in the bud. The
situation, she agreed, was desperate, and admitted of no delay.

These conspirators included Rantzau, who has already been spoken of at
length. Prince Frederick, the King's brother, who, being weak in body
and not very strong in mind, was entirely under the control of his
mother. Ove Guldberg, Prince Frederick's private secretary, who had
acted as a means of communication between the other conspirators and
the Queen-Dowager, and finally won her over to the plot. He was a man
of great ability, a born intriguer, and exceedingly cautious; Juliana
Maria placed implicit confidence in him, and was confident that he
would not embark on a desperate enterprise of this kind unless it was
sure of success.

Two prominent officers also joined. One was Colonel Köller, who
commanded a regiment of infantry, a bold, rough soldier, brave as a
lion, and strong as Hercules--a desperado, of whom Struensee said: "He
looks as if he had no mother, but was brought into the world by a man."
The other was General Hans Henrik Eickstedt, who commanded the regiment
of Zealand dragoons, which had now taken the place of the discharged
guards, and did duty at the palace of Christiansborg. Eickstedt was not
a man of any special ability, but he was honourable and trustworthy,
which is more than could be said of most of the other conspirators. He
honestly believed that Struensee's overthrow, by whatever means, was
necessary for the salvation of Denmark, and, when he learned that the
Queen-Dowager had thrown her ægis over the conspiracy, he joined it
without asking any questions; otherwise the character of some of the
conspirators might have made him pause.

The last of these active conspirators was Beringskjold, who had much
experience in intrigue. He had played the part of Danish spy at St.
Petersburg, where he made the acquaintance of Rantzau, and, like him,
took part in the conspiracy which resulted in the deposition and
murder of Peter III. Beringskjold later came back to Denmark and got
into pecuniary difficulties. It was at this time that he renewed his
acquaintance with Rantzau, who, seeing in him the tool for his purpose,
made him acquainted with the plot against Struensee, which Beringskjold
eagerly joined. He was especially useful in maturing the conspiracy,
for his spying proclivities and Russian experiences were invaluable in
such an undertaking. It was he who insisted that the Queen-Dowager must
take an active part in the conspiracy, for he well knew that without
her it would stand no chance of success. Beringskjold also knew that no
revolution could be carried through without the aid of the army, and
it was he who won over Eickstedt and Köller.

A subordinate conspirator was Jessen, an ex-valet of Frederick V.
He was now a prosperous wine merchant in Copenhagen, and was much
esteemed by the Queen-Dowager, who knew him as a tried and faithful
servant. Jessen was employed as a medium between Juliana Maria and
Guldberg at Fredensborg and the other conspirators in Copenhagen. He
informed her of the state of feeling in the capital, and circulated
rumours detrimental to Struensee and Queen Matilda. He sent reports of
the progress of the plot to Fredensborg, addressing his letters, for
greater security, under cover to the Queen-Dowager's waiting woman.
When Juliana Maria returned to Copenhagen and took up her residence at
the Christiansborg, it was Jessen who arranged the secret meetings of
her party. They were held at the house of a well-known clergyman named
Abildgaard, rector of the Holmenskirke. The house was close to the
palace, and had entrances from two different streets.

Here, when the Queen-Dowager at last determined to act, a meeting
of the conspirators was summoned and the details of the plot were
arranged. It was decided to seize Queen Matilda, Struensee, Brandt
and their adherents, obtain possession of the King and force him to
proclaim a new Government. Once get possession of the King and the rest
would be easy, for Christian VII. could be made to sign any papers
the conspirators might require, and as absolute monarch his orders
would be implicitly obeyed. To this end Jessen produced a plan of the
Christiansborg Palace, showing the King's apartments, the Queen's, and
the private staircases that led from her rooms to those of the King and
Struensee; the situation of Brandt's apartments, and of others whom it
was resolved to arrest. The conspirators decided to strike their blow
on the night of January 16-17(1772). On that evening a masked ball was
to be given at the palace, and in the consequent bustle and confusion
it would be easy for the conspirators to come and go, and communicate
with each other, without being noticed. Moreover, on that night Köller
and his Holstein regiment had the guard at the palace, together with a
troop of Zealand dragoons under the command of Eickstedt. Therefore the
whole military charge of the palace would be under the control of two
of the conspirators, and the inmates would be at their mercy.


_From the Painting by Clemens._]

The night of January 16 came at last. In accordance with their recent
policy of showing a bold front to their enemies, the Queen and
Struensee had arranged the masked ball, the first given since the
return of the court to Copenhagen, on a scale of unusual magnificence.
The royal hospitality on this occasion was almost unlimited, for all
the nine ranks of society, who by any pretext could attend court, were
invited. This in itself was a proof of Struensee's false sense of
security, for, at a time when the city was seething with sedition, to
give a masked ball to which practically every one was admitted was to
lay himself open to the danger of assassination. The ball was held
in the royal theatre of the Christiansborg Palace, which had lately,
under Brandt's supervision, been elaborately redecorated. Crystal
chandeliers sparkled with thousands of lights, and the boxes round the
theatre were gorgeous with new gilding and purple silken hangings. The
auditorium was on this occasion raised level with the stage, so that
the whole formed one large hall for the dancers. The band was placed
at the back of the stage, and the wings were converted into bowers of
plants and flowers, lit with coloured lamps.

The King and Queen, with Struensee, Brandt, and all their court,
entered the theatre at ten o'clock, and dancing immediately began. The
King, who no longer danced, retired to the royal box where card-tables
were arranged, and played quadrille with General and Madame Gahler, and
Justice Struensee, brother of the Prime Minister. The Queen, who was
magnificently dressed[18] and wore splendid jewels, danced continually,
and seemed in high spirits. Every one remarked on her beauty and
vivacity. The Queen-Dowager never attended masked balls, so that her
absence called forth no comment; but Prince Frederick, contrary to
his usual custom (for he was generally waiting on these occasions to
receive their Majesties), was more than an hour late, and when he at
last arrived, his flushed face and nervous air revealed his agitation.
But the Queen, who thought that his unpunctuality accounted for his
nervousness, rallied him playfully and said: "You are very late,
brother. What have you been doing?" "I have had some business to attend
to, Madam," he replied in confusion, as he bowed over her extended
hand. "It seems to me," said the Queen gaily, "that you would do better
to think of your pleasure than your business on the evening of a ball."
The Prince stammered some reply, which the Queen did not heed; she
dismissed him good-humouredly, and resumed her dancing.

[18] The dress the Queen is said to have worn at this ball--of rich
white silk, brocaded with pink roses--is still preserved in the Guelph
Family Museum at Herrenhausen. It was sent to Hanover after her death.

Several of the conspirators were present to disarm suspicion, including
Köller and Guldberg, who strolled about as though nothing was
impending. Presently Köller sat down to cards in one of the boxes, and
played in the most unconcerned manner possible. When Struensee went
up to him and said: "Are you not going to dance?" Köller replied with
covert insolence: "Not yet. My hour to dance will arrive presently."
As usual at the court entertainments, Struensee, after the Queen, was
the most prominent figure. Richly clad in silk and velvet, and with
the Order of Matilda on his breast, he played the part of host in all
but name. Whatever might be the feeling outside the palace walls,
within there appeared no hint of his waning power; he was still the
all-powerful minister, flattered, courted and caressed. The Queen
hung on his lightest word, and a servile crowd of courtiers and
place-hunters courted his smile or trembled at his frown. He was the
centre of the glittering scene, and, though there were few present who
did not secretly hate or fear him, all rendered him outward honour, and
many envied him his good fortune.

Though the ball was brilliant and largely attended, the company was
hardly what one might expect to find at the court of a reigning
monarch. The bearers of some of the oldest and proudest names in
Denmark were absent; and their places were taken by well-to-do citizens
of Copenhagen and their wives. A few of the foreign ambassadors were
present, including the English envoy, General Keith. He probably
attended in pursuance of his determination to be at hand to help and
defend his King's sister, in case of need. Keith feared some outbreak
of violence, which would place the Queen in personal danger. He does
not seem to have had the slightest inkling of the organised plot
against her honour and her life. He was not ignorant, of course, of
the dislike with which the Queen-Dowager and her son, representing
the nobility, the clergy and the upper classes generally, viewed the
Struensee regime, for which Matilda was largely responsible; but he
thought they would act, if they acted at all, in a constitutional
manner, by promoting the recall of Bernstorff, and the overthrow of the

The evening was not to pass without another display of Struensee's
insolence, and a further affront to Prince Frederick. The favourite
supped in the royal box with the King and Queen, but the King's
brother was not admitted, and had to get his supper at a buffet, like
the meanest of the guests. The insult was premeditated, for Reverdil
tells us that he heard of it the day before, and interceded for the
Prince in vain. The Prince probably did not mind, for he knew that the
favourite's hour had struck. But for Struensee, as he feasted at the
King's table, there was no writing on the wall to forewarn him of his

The King left the ballroom soon after midnight, and retired to his
apartments; the Queen remained dancing for some time longer. The
company unmasked after supper, and the fun became fast and furious;
the ceremony usual at court entertainments was absent here, and all
etiquette and restraint were banished. The Queen mingled freely with
her guests, and enjoyed herself so much that it was nearly three
o'clock before she retired. Her withdrawal was the signal for the
company to depart, and soon the ballroom was deserted and in darkness.

The Countess Holstein had invited a few of her intimate friends,
including Struensee, Brandt and two ladies, to come to her apartments
after the ball. But one of the ladies, Baroness Schimmelmann, excused
herself on the plea of a severe headache, and the other lady, Baroness
Bülow, was unwilling to go alone, and therefore the party fell through.
Had the Countess Holstein's party taken place, as by the merest chance
it did not, it would probably have upset the plans of the conspirators,
or at least rendered them more difficult to carry out, for the
principal men marked down for prey would have been gathered together in
one room, and would have resisted or tried to escape.

The stars in their courses seemed to be fighting for the Queen-Dowager,
for this evening also the conspiracy had been on the brink of failure
owing to the vacillation of Rantzau. This traitor, whose only wish
was to get his debts paid, had no more faith in the promises of the
Queen-Dowager than in those of Struensee (though the event proved that
he was wrong), and at the eleventh hour considered that the enterprise
was too hazardous. He therefore resolved to be on the safe side, and
reveal the whole conspiracy. To this end, about eight o'clock in the
evening, before the ball, he drove secretly to the house of Struensee's
brother. But the Justice had gone out to dinner, and Rantzau therefore
left a message with the servant, bidding him be sure to tell his
master, directly he came home, that Count Rantzau desired a visit from
him immediately on a matter of great importance. Justice Struensee
returned soon after, and the servant gave him the message, but he knew
the excitable character of Rantzau, and said: "The visit will keep
until to-morrow morning. The Count is always in a fuss about trifles."
He therefore went on to the ball, where he played cards with the King.

Rantzau, meanwhile, wondered why the Justice did not come, and worked
himself up to a state of great alarm. He would not go to the ball, but
wrapped his feet in flannel, went to bed and sent Köller word that a
violent attack of gout prevented him from keeping his appointment in
the Queen-Dowager's apartments as agreed. The other conspirators were
much disturbed by the message, for they feared treachery. Beringskjold
was sent to persuade the Count to come, and when Rantzau pointed to
his feet, he suggested a sedan chair. Still Rantzau made excuses. Then
Köller, who knew the manner of man with whom he had to deal, sent word
to say that if he did not come forthwith he would have him fetched
thither by grenadiers. The threat was effectual, and Rantzau, finding
that Struensee's brother did not appear, yielded, and was carried to
the Christiansborg in a sedan chair. When there, he regained his feet,
and became in a short space of time miraculously better.

Köller early quitted the masquerade, where he only showed himself
for a short time to disarm suspicion, and had a hurried conference
with Eickstedt in another part of the palace. The two officers, each
possessed of an order signed by the Queen-Dowager and Prince Frederick,
then separated--Köller to look after the garrison, and Eickstedt
the palace guard. Eickstedt went to the guard-room and summoned the
officers of the guard. The proceedings were conducted with the greatest
secrecy, and, when the officers had all arrived, Eickstedt lit a
candle, which he placed under the table, so that no one might see the
assembly from without. By this dim light he read an order, signed
by the Queen-Dowager and Prince Frederick, to the effect that, the
King being surrounded by bad people, and his royal person in danger,
his loving brother and stepmother hereby commanded Colonels Köller
and Eickstedt to seize that same night Counts Struensee and Brandt,
and several other persons named, and to place them under arrest. The
Queen-Dowager and Prince Frederick had not the slightest right to
command the troops; the document was, in fact, a usurpation of the
royal authority; but that was a matter which concerned Eickstedt and
Köller. The subordinate officers, who, in common with the whole army,
hated Struensee, were only too glad to carry the order into effect,
the responsibility resting not with them, but with the Queen-Dowager
and their commanders. After they had all sworn obedience, Eickstedt
gave them their orders. When all was ready, they were to advance at
half-past three o'clock, or as soon as the ball was quite over, occupy
all the doors of the palace, and allow none to go in or go out. They
were at first to try to stop them politely, and if that failed, to use
force. A picket of dragoons, with their horses bitted and saddled, were
also to be in readiness.

At the same time Köller went the round of the garrison, collected all
the officers on duty, and read to them a similar order. The aid of the
garrison was requested in case of need. The officers of the city guard
promised obedience, and returned to their several posts.

Everything was at last in readiness. Except in the Queen-Dowager's
apartments, the whole palace was perfectly quiet. The lights were put
out; the last of the revellers had gone home; the King and Queen,
Struensee and Brandt, and the rest of the court had retired to their
apartments, and were, most of them, asleep. Within and without the
palace was held by armed men; the net was so closely drawn that there
was no possibility of the prey escaping.




At four o'clock in the morning the little group of conspirators
assembled in the apartments of the Queen-Dowager. They were eight in
all--Juliana Maria, Prince Frederick, Guldberg, Rantzau, Eickstedt,
Köller, Beringskjold and Jessen--not, at first sight, a powerful list
to effect a revolution; but they had the army at their command, and
the whole nation at their back. Moreover, some, at least, of them were
sustained by the high consciousness that they were doing a righteous
work, and the others were desperate men, who had all to gain and
nothing to lose. Guldberg rehearsed to each one of the conspirators his
separate duty, that nothing might be forgotten. Then, at the request of
the Queen-Dowager, all knelt down, and a prayer was offered, invoking
the Divine blessing on the undertaking.[19]

[19] The following account of the palace revolution is based on several
authorities: some are favourable to the Queen, others against her.
They more or less agree on the main facts, which are those set forth
in this chapter, though they conflict as to details. Among them may be
mentioned the _Memoirs_ of Falckenskjold, Köller-Banner and Reverdil,
all of whom played a part in the affair; _Mémoires de mon Temps_, by
Prince Charles of Hesse (privately printed), the Private Journal of N.
W. Wraxall, who claims to have based his narrative on the statements of
Bülow and Le Texier, the _Memoirs and Correspondence of Sir R. Murray
Keith_, and sundry depositions made at the Queen's trial. There are a
great many other accounts in printed books, but they are nearly all
based on these sources.

When they rose from their knees, all the conspirators, guided by Jessen
and headed by the Queen-Dowager, went silently along the dark passages
to the apartments of the King. In the ante-chamber they found the
King's valet fast asleep. They roused him, and told him they wished
to see his Majesty immediately. Seeing the Queen-Dowager and Prince
Frederick, the valet was willing to obey without demur; but the main
door of the King's bed-chamber was locked from within, and they were
therefore obliged to go round by the secret staircase. The valet went
in front to guide them, and immediately behind him came Guldberg,
carrying a candle. The others followed in single line, and soon found
themselves in Christian's bedroom.

The King awoke with a start, and, seeing in the dim light the room full
of men, cried out in terror. The Queen-Dowager approached the bed,
and said in reassuring accents: "Your Majesty, my dear son, be not
afraid. We are not come hither as enemies, but as your true friends.
We have come----" Here Juliana Maria broke down, and her voice was
stifled by her sobs. Rantzau, who had agreed to explain the plan to
the King, hung back. But Köller thrust him forward, and then he told
the King that his Majesty's brother and stepmother had come to deliver
him and the country from the hated yoke of Struensee. By this time
the Queen-Dowager had recovered her nerve, and, embracing her stepson,
she repeated what Rantzau had said with ample detail. The King, who
was almost fainting with excitement and terror, demanded a glass of
water, and, when he had drunk it, asked if the commandant of the palace
guard were present. Eickstedt stepped forward, and confirmed what the
Queen-Dowager and Rantzau had said, and added that the people were in a
state of revolt, for a plot was being carried out to depose the King,
in which Struensee and the Queen were concerned. When the King heard
the Queen's name, he refused to believe that she had anything to do
with it, and said the story must be a mistake. But the Queen-Dowager
assured him that Matilda was privy to it, and told him the whole of
the supposed plot against his royal authority and person. Guldberg
confirmed the Queen-Dowager's statement in every particular, and
declared there was no time to be lost.

The bewildered King, at last half-convinced, asked what was to be done.
Rantzau then pulled out of his pocket two written orders, and asked him
to sign them. By the first, Eickstedt was made commander-in-chief, and
by the second, Eickstedt and Köller were vested with full powers to
take all measures necessary for the safety of the King and the country.
Thus the obedience of the army would be assured. When Christian read
these orders, he feared a conflict between the people and the military,
for he exclaimed: "My God! this will mean rivers of blood." But
Rantzau, who by this time had regained his assurance, replied: "Be
of good cheer, your Majesty. With God's help, I take everything upon
myself, and will as far as possible prevent bloodshed." The King sat up
in bed and signed the two orders; Prince Frederick counter-signed them.

Eickstedt took the first and immediately left the room; he placed
himself at the head of the picket of dragoons waiting below, and rode
to the garrison to inform the officers on duty of his new appointment
as commander-in-chief. He promptly strengthened the palace guard, had
all the gates of the city closed, and bade the garrison hold itself in
readiness for any event.

Köller also took his order, and with the others retired to an
ante-chamber, as the King had expressed a wish to get up. By the time
Christian was dressed, he was quite convinced that Struensee had
plotted against his life, and he was as eager to sign orders as he had
at first been reluctant. First of all Juliana Maria impressed upon him
that it was necessary to convey the Queen to some place where she could
not work any further mischief, and the King, after some hesitation,
wrote and signed an almost incoherent message to his consort:--

_J'ai trouvé à propos de vous envoïer à Cronbourg, comme vôtre conduite
m'y oblige. J'en suis très faché, je n'en suis pas la cause, et je vous
souhaite un repentir sincére._[20]

[20] In his agitation the King dated it 17th Jan., 1771.

The King then signed orders, drawn up by Guldberg, for the arrest of
Struensee, Brandt and fifteen other persons. He did this with alacrity,
and seemed delighted at asserting his authority, and the prospect of
being freed from the dominion of Struensee and Brandt. The orders which
concerned Queen Matilda he copied out himself in full from Guldberg's
drafts; the others he merely signed. The orders concerning the Queen
included the order to Rantzau to arrest her, the order to the head of
the royal stables to make ready the coaches to convey her to Kronborg,
and an order to the commandant of Kronborg to keep her in close
confinement. These important matters settled, Juliana Maria persuaded
Christian to remove to Prince Frederick's apartments in another part
of the palace. She had much more for him to do, and she was fearful of
interruption. For hours the King remained in his brother's apartments,
signing orders, which were to give him, as he thought, freedom and
authority, but which were really only forging the links of new chains,
and transferring him from the comparatively mild rule of Struensee and
Matilda to the strict keeping of the Queen-Dowager.

Meanwhile, in different parts of the palace the King's orders were
being carried out without delay. On quitting the King's apartments,
Köller went to perform his task of arresting Struensee, accompanied by
two or three officers of the palace guard and several soldiers. That
Köller feared resistance may be gathered from the fact that he made
the senior officer promise him, in the event of his being killed,
to shoot Struensee dead. Köller had a bitter hatred of Struensee,
dating, it was said, a long while back, when the doctor had seduced the
object of Köller's affections. He had solicited the task of arresting
Struensee, and now went to fulfil it with an eagerness born of revenge.

The door of the outer room of Struensee's apartments was firmly locked,
and his favourite valet slept within. The youth was aroused (as he
afterwards said from dreams of ill-omen) by the noise of men trying to
force the door. On asking who was there, he was commanded to open in
the King's name, under pain of instant death. Taken by surprise, the
valet had no time to give his master warning to escape by the private
staircase, which led to the apartments of the Queen, but he hurriedly
secreted certain jewels and papers, and threw open the door. There he
saw Köller, holding a wax taper and dressed in full uniform, and his
companions. Two soldiers pointed pistols at the valet's head, and a
third directed one to his breast. "Have you woke the Count?" Köller
whispered, and, on the trembling youth replying in the negative, Köller
made him give up the key of Struensee's bedroom, which was also locked.
The door was opened as silently as possible, and Köller, with a drawn
sword in his hand, entered the room, followed by three officers.

The voluptuary had furnished his chamber with great luxury. The walls
were hung with rich figured damask, the mirrors were of the purest
glass, and the washing service was of wrought silver. The bed was
canopied with purple velvet and gold, and the canopy was shaped in the
form of a royal crown. The carpet was of velvet pile, and the room
was scented with costly perfumes. Struensee was sleeping heavily--so
heavily that neither the light of the taper nor the entrance of Köller
roused him. He was sleeping with his head on his arm, and the book with
which he had read himself to sleep had fallen to the floor.

For a moment Köller stood and looked down on his victim; then he shook
him roughly by the shoulder, and Struensee awoke to the horror of the
situation. He sprang up in the bed, and shouted: "In God's name, what
is this?" Köller answered roughly: "I have orders to arrest you. Get up
at once and come with me." "Do you know who I am," said the omnipotent
minister of an hour ago haughtily, "that you dare to command me thus?"
"Yes," said Köller with a laugh; "I know who you are well enough. You
are the King's prisoner." Struensee then demanded to see the warrant
for his arrest, but as Köller did not yet possess this, he replied
shortly that the warrant was with the King, but he would be answerable
with his head that he was carrying out the King's orders. Struensee
still refused to move; but Köller thrust his sword point against his
breast, and said: "I have orders to take you either dead or alive.
Which shall it be?" Struensee, shivering with terror, sank back on the
bed, and asked for time to think; but Köller told him he must come
at once. Struensee then asked that his valet might bring him a cup of
chocolate, but Köller refused this also. "You will at least allow me
to dress myself?" said Struensee. Köller said he would give him two
minutes to do so; but he would not suffer either Struensee or the valet
to go into the next room for clothes. Struensee was therefore obliged
to hurry into the clothes he had worn at the ball, and which lay, where
he had thrown them off, on a chair by the bed--breeches of pink silk
and a coat and waistcoat of light blue velvet--gay attire especially
ill-suited for his melancholy journey.

Struensee's hands were bound, and he was hurried down to the
guard-room, where his legs were bound as well. Here he waited a few
minutes, guarded by soldiers with drawn swords and loaded pistols,
until the coach was brought round to the door. He was thrust into it,
followed by Köller, and driven under a strong escort to the citadel. On
the way he groaned: "My God, what crime have I committed?"--to which
his companion vouchsafed no answer. When he got out of the coach he
asked that something might be given to the driver, who was one of the
royal coachmen. Köller handed the man a dollar, for which he thanked
him, but said in Danish, with a vindictive look at Struensee: "I would
gladly have done it for nothing." There was hardly a menial in the
King's household who would not rejoice over the favourite's fall.

Struensee was led into the presence of the commandant of the citadel,
and formally delivered over to him by Köller. By this time he had
regained something of his self-possession, and said to the commandant,
whom he knew well: "I suppose this visit is totally unexpected by you?"
"Not at all," replied the discourteous officer; "I have been expecting
to see you here for a long time." The prisoner was then marched to a
small cell, which had previously been occupied by a notorious pirate.
On entering this gloomy chamber, Struensee, who had expected to be
treated as a state prisoner, with every comfort, if not luxury, started
back and said: "Where is my valet?" "I have not seen any valet," said
the jailor shortly. "But where are my things?" "I have not seen them
either." "Bring me my furs. It is cold here. I have no wish to be
frozen to death." But the man did not move. As there was nothing but
a wooden stool and pallet bed, Struensee asked for a sofa. "There are
no sofas here," said the man, and backed up his words by a coarse
insult. Struensee then lost his self-command, burst out into raving
and cursing, and tried to dash out his brains against the wall, but
the jailor held him back. When the commandant was informed of the
prisoner's refractory conduct, he ordered him to be fettered hand and
foot, which was promptly done. This hurt Struensee's pride more than
all the other treatment, and he broke down and wept, exclaiming: "I am
treated _en canaille_!" Certainly it was a change from the bed of down
and the purple velvet hangings of an hour ago.

Brandt was arrested at the same time as Struensee. Colonel Sames,
formerly commandant of Copenhagen, who had been deprived of his post
by Struensee, accompanied by a guard, went to his apartments, but they
found the door locked. For some time Brandt refused to answer, but
on Sames threatening to break the door down unless it were opened,
he at last turned the key and met his opponents, ready dressed and
with a drawn sword. When the soldiers advanced to disarm him, he made
no resistance, but said: "This must be a mistake. I have committed
no offence for which I can be arrested." Sames told him it was no
mistake, but that he was acting on the King's order, and it would be
better for him to yield. Brandt, who was perfectly self-controlled,
said: "Very well, I will follow you quietly." He was taken down to the
guard-room, put into a coach, and conveyed to the citadel, immediately
following Struensee. When he entered the presence of the commandant,
he said gaily: "I must apologise, sir, for paying you a visit at so
early an hour." "Not at all," replied the commandant, with elaborate
politeness; "my only grief is that you have not come before." While
some formalities were being gone through, Brandt hummed a tune with an
air of unconcern, and looking round him, said: "Upon my word, these are
mighty fine quarters you have in this castle!" To which the commandant
replied: "Yes, and in a minute you will have an opportunity of seeing
even finer ones."

Brandt was presently conducted to his cell, which was even worse than
Struensee's, and on entering it he said good-humouredly to the jailor:
"On my word, the commandant spoke truth!" Brandt bore his privations
with firmness, and presently pulled a flute from his pocket and amused
himself by playing it. He altogether showed much greater courage and
self-control than the miserable Struensee, who did nothing but weep and
bemoan his fate.

The arrest of Struensee's principal confederates quickly followed.
Falckenskjold was placed under arrest at the barracks. Justice
Struensee and Professor Berger were conveyed to the citadel: General
Gahler and his wife were arrested in bed; the lady jumped out of bed
in her nightdress, and tried to escape by the back-stairs, but she was
captured and removed with her husband to the citadel. Several others,
including Bülow and Reverdil, were placed under "house arrest," that
is to say, they were confined to their houses, and had sentries posted
over them. The servants of Struensee and Brandt were imprisoned in the
Blue Tower. The morning dawned before all these imprisonments were
carried out. The new rulers had reason to congratulate themselves that
everything had been effected without bloodshed.

Meanwhile the most dramatic scene of the palace revolution was enacted
in the Queen's apartments of the Christiansborg. Upon retiring from
the ball Queen Matilda went to see her infant daughter, and it was
nearly four o'clock before she retired to rest. Even then she did
not sleep, for the noise made by Köller in arresting Struensee, whose
apartments were beneath, was indistinctly heard by the Queen. But she
imagined it was due to the party which she understood was to be held
in Countess Holstein's rooms; she thought it had now been transferred
to Struensee's. She therefore sent one of her servants down to request
them to be less noisy in their revels. The woman went, but did not
return; and, as the noise ceased, the Queen thought no more about it,
and presently fell asleep.

About half an hour later Matilda was aroused by the entrance of one
of her women, white and trembling, who said that a number of men
were without demanding to see her immediately in the King's name. In
a moment the Queen suspected danger, and her first thought was to
warn her lover. She sprang out of bed, and, with nothing on but her
nightrobe, rushed barefooted into the next room, with the idea of
gaining the secret staircase which led to Struensee's apartments.

In the ante-chamber the first object that greeted her eyes was Rantzau,
seated in a chair and twirling his moustachios: he was dressed in full
uniform, and had thrown over his shoulders a scarlet cloak lined with
fur. At the Queen's entrance he rose and bowed with great ceremony,
evidently delighting in his part, of which any honest man would have
been ashamed. In the ante-chamber beyond were several soldiers and
frightened women. When the Queen saw Rantzau, she remembered her
undress, and cried: "_Eloignez-vous, Monsieur le Comte, pour l'amour
de Dieu, car je ne suis pas présentable!_" But, as Rantzau did not
move, she ran back to her chamber, and threw on some more clothes; the
delay was fatal to her.


When she came forth again she found the room full of armed men, and
the officer in command opposed her passage. She haughtily ordered him
to let her pass, saying that his head would answer for it if he did
not. Rantzau retorted that his head would answer for it if he did.
The officer, in evident distress, said: "Madame, I only do my duty,
and obey the orders of my King." The Queen then turned to the door,
behind which was a staircase leading down to Struensee's apartments.
But the door was closed and a soldier posted before it. "Where is
Count Struensee?" she demanded; "I wish to see him." "Madame," said
Rantzau with elaborate irony, "there is no Count Struensee any more,
nor can your Majesty see him." The Queen advanced boldly towards him,
and demanded his authority for these insults. Rantzau handed her the
King's message. She read it through without displaying any alarm, and
then threw it contemptuously on the ground.[21] "Ha!" she cried, "in
this I recognise treachery, but not the King." Amazed at the Queen's
fearless air, Rantzau for the moment changed his tone, and implored
her to submit quietly to the King's orders. "Orders!" she exclaimed,
"orders about which he knows nothing--which have been extorted from him
by terror! No, the Queen does not obey such orders." Rantzau then said
that nothing remained for him but to do his duty, which admitted of no
delay. "I am the Queen; I will obey no orders except from the King's
own lips," she replied. "Let me go to him! I must, and will, see him!"
She knew that if she could only gain access to the King she was safe,
for she could make him rescind the order and so confound her enemies.
Full of this thought she advanced to the door of the ante-chamber,
where two soldiers stood with crossed muskets to bar her progress. The
Queen imperiously commanded them to let her pass, whereupon both men
fell on their knees, and one said in Danish: "Our heads are answerable
if we allow your Majesty to pass." But, despite Rantzau's exhortations,
neither man cared to lay hands on the Queen, and she stepped over their
muskets and ran along the corridor to the King's apartments. They were
closed, and, though she beat her hands upon the door, no answer was
returned, for, fearing some such scene, the Queen-Dowager had, only
a few minutes before, conveyed the King to the apartments of Prince
Frederick. The corridor led nowhere else, and failing to gain entrance,
the Queen, hardly knowing what she did, went back to her ante-room.

[21] Rantzau picked the paper up and put it in his pocket. It was
found a year or two after his death among his papers at Oppendorft
(the estate that came to him through his wife), and has since been

Rantzau now addressed her in the language of menace. Perhaps some
memory of the homage he had paid her at Ascheberg, when she was at the
zenith of her power, flashed across the Queen. "Villain!" she cried,
"is this the language that you dare to address to me? Go, basest of
men! Leave my presence!" These words only infuriated Rantzau the
more, but he was crippled with gout, and could not grapple with the
infuriated young Queen himself, so he turned to the soldiers, and gave
them orders to use force. Still the soldiers hesitated. Then an officer
stepped forward and touched the Queen on the arm with the intention of
leading her back to her chamber. But half beside herself she rushed to
the window, threw it open and seemed about to throw herself out. The
officer seized her round the waist, and held her back; though no man
dared to lay hands on the Queen, it was necessary to defend her against
herself. The Queen shrieked for help and struggled wildly; she was
strong and rendered desperate by fear and indignation. A lieutenant had
to be called forward, but the Queen resisted him as well, though her
clothes were partly torn off her in the struggle. At last her strength
failed her, and she was dragged away from the window in a half-fainting
condition. The officers, who had showed great repugnance to their task,
and had used no more force than was absolutely necessary, now carried
the Queen back to her chamber, and laid her on the bed, where her
women, frightened and weeping, crowded around her, and plied her with

Rantzau, who had watched this unseemly spectacle without emotion, nay,
with positive zest, now sent a messenger to Osten, and asked him to
come and induce the Queen to yield quietly. Although he had threatened
to remove her by force, it was not easy to carry out his threat, for
the soldiers would not offer violence to the person of the Queen, nor
would public opinion, if it came to be known, tolerate it. Rantzau, who
was alternately a bully and a coward, had no wish to put himself in
an awkward position. He therefore did the wisest thing in sending for
the foreign minister. Osten, who at the first tidings of Struensee's
arrest, had hastened to the Christiansborg, was in the Queen-Dowager's
apartments, making his terms with her. This astute diplomatist, though
he plotted for the overthrow of Struensee, and was aware of all the
facts of the conspiracy, had refrained from taking active part in it
until its success was assured. Now that the King had thrown himself
into the arms of the Queen-Dowager, and Struensee and Brandt were in
prison, he no longer hesitated, but hastened to pay his court to the
winning side. He came at once, on receipt of Rantzau's message. He
realised quite as much as Juliana Maria that the revolution could only
be carried out thoroughly by Matilda's removal. She had gained great
ascendency over the King, and, if she saw him, that ascendency would be
renewed; if she were separated from him, he would speedily forget her.
Therefore, it was above all things necessary that the King and Queen
should be kept apart.

In a short time Queen Matilda became more composed, and even recovered
sufficiently to dress herself with the aid of her women. When Osten
entered her chamber, he found her sitting at the side of the bed,
weeping. All defiance had faded away; she only felt herself a betrayed
and cruelly injured woman. Osten came to her in the guise of a friend.
He had been a colleague of Struensee's, and had never outwardly broken
with him, and the Queen had confidence in his skill and judgment.
She therefore listened to him, when he persuaded her that more would
be gained by complying with the King's orders, at this time, than by
resisting them. He hinted that her sojourn at Kronborg would only be
for a time, and by-and-by the King's humour would change. Moreover,
the people were in a state of revolt against the Queen's authority,
and it was necessary for Matilda's safety that she should be removed
from Copenhagen to the shelter of Kronborg. "What have I done to the
people?" the Queen asked. "I know that a good many changes have taken
place, but I have done my utmost to further the welfare of the King
and country according to my conscience." Osten merely replied with
quiet insistence that she had herself contemplated flight to Kronborg
at the time of the tumult of the Norwegian sailors at Hirschholm.
Believing the man to be her friend, the Queen yielded to his advice.
"I have done nothing; the King will be just," she said. She signified
her willingness to go, provided that her children accompanied her.
Here again difficulties were raised, but the Queen was firm, and
said she would not budge a step unless her children went with her.
Finally, a compromise was arrived at; Osten made her understand that
the Crown Prince must not be removed, but she might take the little
Princess, whom she was herself nursing. This being settled, the Queen's
preparations for departure were hurriedly made, and Fräulein Mösting,
one of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting, was ordered to go with her, and
one of her bed-chamber women.

The bleak January morning was still dark when Matilda, dressed for the
journey, carrying her child in her arms and followed by two of her
women, came out of her bedroom, and signified her readiness to start.
Rantzau, who was still sitting in the ante-chamber, waiting, rose,
and pointing to his gouty foot, said with covert insolence: "You see,
Madam, that my feet fail me; but my arms are free, and I offer one
to your Majesty to conduct you to your coach." But she repulsed him
with scorn, and exclaimed: "Away with you, traitor! I loathe you!" She
walked alone down the stairs to the coaches, which were waiting in the
back-yard of the palace. She entered one, but refused to part with the
little Princess, whom she placed upon her knees. Fräulein Mösting sat
by the Queen's side, and the opposite seat was occupied by an officer
with his sword drawn. In the second coach followed the bed-chamber
woman, the nurse of the Princess Louise Augusta, and some absolutely
necessary luggage. The coaches were guarded by an escort of thirty
dragoons, and the cavalcade clattered at a sharp trot through the
streets of the still sleeping city, and was soon outside the gates of

The first part of the journey was in darkness, but, as the day broke,
the Queen looked out on the frost-bound roads and the dreary country
over which she was hurrying. She had ample time for reflection, and
bitter her reflections must have been. A few hours before she had been
Queen, vested, it seemed, with unlimited power, and the centre of a
brilliant court; now she was a prisoner, stripped of all her power, and
nearly all the semblance of her rank--a fugitive, she believed herself
to be, fleeing from the vengeance of her people. Yet even now, in this
supreme moment of her desolation, her thoughts were not of herself, but
of the man who had brought her to such a pass. The road passed by the
grounds of Hirschholm, the scene of many happy days, and the memory of
them must have deepened the Queen's dejection; but she said nothing,
and throughout the long and tedious journey uttered no word, but sat
motionless, the image of despair.

Kronborg, whither the royal prisoner was being hurried, was a gloomy
fortress erected by Frederick II. in the latter part of the sixteenth
century, and restored, after a fire, by Christian IV., nearly eighty
years later. It had changed little with the flight of centuries, and
remains much the same to-day. Built strongly of rough-hewn stone, which
has taken on itself the colour of the rocks around, the massive and
imposing castle springs directly from the sea, on the extreme point of
land between the Cattegat and the narrowest part of the Sound, which
separates Denmark from Sweden. Its massive walls, turrets and gables
frown down upon the little town of Helsingor at its base.[22] Tradition
says that deep down in its casemates slumbers Holgar Danske ("the
Dane"), who will rise and come forth when his country is in peril.[23]
He might have come forth in 1772, for Denmark was never in greater
peril than on the eve of the palace revolution.

[22] Helsingor, or Elsinore, now a busy town, is the scene of
Shakespeare's play, "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark," and, on "the platform
before the castle of Elsinore"--in other words, the flagged battlements
of Kronborg--the ghost of "Hamlet" appeared. Local tradition also
points out "the grave of Hamlet" and "the spring of Ophelia," both, of
course, legendary. Hamlet, in fact, never visited Elsinore, but was
born and lived in Jutland. But Shakespeare shows a curious knowledge of
Elsinore and Kronborg, and some light has been thrown on this subject
by the discovery among the archives of Elsinore of a manuscript, which
shows that in 1585 a wooden theatre, in which a troop of English
comedians had been acting, was burned down. The names of the actors are
given. Nearly all of them have been proved to belong to Shakespeare's
company, though the name of the poet is not among them. A monument is
now being erected to Shakespeare at Kronborg, to which Queen Alexandra
has contributed.

[23] A well-known character in Hans Andersen's fairy-tales. Two
fragments of stone in the dungeons beneath Kronborg are still shown;
one is said to serve as Holgar Danske's pillow, and the other as his

Kronborg was distant some twenty-four miles from Copenhagen, and the
journey was covered in less than three hours. The day had broken when
the melancholy cavalcade clattered through the street of Helsingor, and
pulled up under the storm-beaten walls of Kronborg. At the outermost
gate the officer in command of the Queen's escort produced the King's
letter to the commandant, which gave his consort into his charge, and
ordered her to be kept a strict prisoner. The commandant of Kronborg
must have been much surprised at this communication, but he was a stern
soldier, not given to questioning, and he obeyed his instructions to
the letter. The outer gate was thrown open, and the little procession
passed over the drawbridge, which spanned the green water of the moat,
to the guard-house, where the escort from Copenhagen remained. The
soldiers of the fortress then took charge of the two coaches, and they
wound their way up the incline under the castle walls. They crossed
another drawbridge, spanning a deep, dry ditch, and passed through the
rough-hewn, tunnel-like entrance of stone, and out into the gloomy
courtyard of the castle--a place where it would seem the sun never
shines. Here the Queen, still carrying her child in her arms, alighted,
and was hurried to a doorway on the left of the courtyard, up the
winding stone stairs, and through a large room into the chamber set
apart for her. This was a low, circular apartment in a tower, not more
than ten feet high, and very small, with four windows, iron-barred,
looking out upon the sea. The grey waves broke directly beneath the
windows, and were separated from the walls only by a strip of rampart,
on which cannon were placed.[24]

[24] The traveller De Flaux, who visited Kronborg about 1850, thus
wrote of the room: "In a tower is a small oval room, the windows of
which are still lined with iron bars. It was here that the Queen
was confined. I was shown the _prie-dieu_ used by this unfortunate
princess. It was on the faded velvet that covered it that she rested
her beautiful head. Who knows whether the spots on it were not produced
by the tears of despair she shed?" [Du Danemark.]

I was at Kronborg in 1902. The Queen's room is now destitute of any
furniture, but the iron bars guarding the windows are still there. I
looked through them at the sea beneath. It was a grey, windy day; the
waves were lead-coloured and flecked with white, and overhead were
drifting masses of cloud. On such a scene Queen Matilda must have often
gazed during the five months of her captivity.

The unhappy Queen looked round the narrow walls of this room, which was
almost a cell, with astonishment not unmixed with indignation. She had
hardly realised until now that she was a prisoner, for the crafty Osten
had conveyed to her the idea that she was going to Kronborg more for
her own safety than as a captive. But the iron-barred windows, and the
guard outside her door, brought home to her her unfortunate condition.
At least she, the daughter of kings, the wife of a king, and the
mother of a king to be, had the right to be treated with the respect
due to her rank and dignity. Whatever offences were charged against
her nothing was yet proved. Even if she were a prisoner, she was at
least a state prisoner, and though her liberty might be curtailed,
every effort should have been made to study as far as possible her
comfort and convenience. But locked into this little room, barely
furnished and without a fire, she found herself treated more like a
common criminal than the reigning Queen, and when she protested against
these indignities, the commandant told her that he was only obeying
his strict orders. The Queen, whose spirit was for the moment broken
by fatigue and excitement, and who was nearly frozen from the cold of
the long journey, sank down upon the pallet bed, and burst into bitter
weeping. Her women endeavoured in vain to comfort her, and it was only
at last, when they reminded her of her child, that she was roused from
the abandonment of her grief. "You are here too, dear innocent!" she
exclaimed. "In that case, your poor mother is not utterly desolate."


For two days the Queen remained inconsolable, and did little but sit
in a state of stupor, looking out upon the waves; nor could she be
prevailed upon to take any rest, or food, or even to lie down upon the
bed. It was true that the food offered her was such that she could not
eat it, unless compelled by the pangs of hunger, for she was given at
first the same food as that served out to the common prisoners. In
these first days it was a wonder that she did not die of hunger and
cold. It was a bitter winter, violent gales blew across the sea, and
the wind shrieked and raged around the castle walls; but there was no
way of warming the little room in which the Queen was confined. In
her hurried departure from Copenhagen she had brought with her very
few clothes. No others were sent her, and she had hardly the things
necessary to clothe herself with propriety, or protect herself against
the severity of the weather. She was not allowed to pass the threshold
of her room, not even to the large room beyond, where there was a fire.
This room was occupied by soldiers, who acted as her jailors, and the
women who passed in and out of the Queen's room were liable to be

This treatment of the Queen, for which there was no excuse, must be
traced directly to Juliana Maria; it was she who caused instructions
to be sent to the commandant as to how he was to treat his royal
prisoner. The King was too indifferent to trouble one way or another,
and the commandant would not have dared to inflict such indignities
on the King's consort unless he had received strict orders to do so
from those in authority--nor would he have wished to do so. Later the
Queen acquitted him from all responsibility in this respect. After the
first few days, when she had recovered from the shock of recent events,
Queen Matilda accepted her imprisonment more patiently, and bore her
hardships with a dignity and fortitude which enforced respect even
from her jailors, and proved that she was no unworthy daughter of the
illustrious house from which she sprang.




When day dawned on January 17, the citizens of Copenhagen awoke to the
fact that the hated rule of Struensee was gone for ever. The constant
driving through the streets during the night had attracted little
attention, for the noise was thought to arise from the guests returning
from the ball at the palace; but when morning came, and the streets
were seen to be full of soldiers, the people realised that something
unusual had happened. First there came a rumour of a fresh outrage on
the part of Struensee, and of an attempt to assassinate the King. But
swift on the heels of this came the truth: the King, with the aid of
the Queen-Dowager and his brother, had asserted himself; the favourite
and his colleagues were in prison, and Queen Matilda had been conveyed
to Kronborg. During the silent hours of the night a revolution had been
effected, and the mob, like all mobs, shouted on the winning side. The
news ran like wildfire round Copenhagen, and soon every one was in the
streets. On all sides were heard shouts of "Long live King Christian
VII.!" and many cheers were raised for the Queen-Dowager and Prince
Frederick. The people converged towards the Christiansborg Palace, and
completely filled the space in front of it, shouting and cheering.

At ten o'clock in the morning the King, who, until now, had been busy
signing orders of arrest, and sanctioning appointments of others to
fill the place of those arrested, appeared upon the balcony, with his
brother by his side, while the Queen-Dowager, more modest, showed
herself at the window in an undress. Their appearance was greeted
with deafening shouts by the crowd, to which the King and the Prince
responded by bows, and Juliana Maria by waving her handkerchief. The
enthusiasm grew more and more, until at last the King joined in the
cheers of his people. The Queen-Dowager had not miscalculated her
forces: without doubt the people were on her side.

The citizens now began to deck their houses with flags and bunting, and
everywhere kept high holiday. Even the heavens seemed to rejoice at the
downfall of the hated administration, for the sun came out, and shone
with a brilliance that had not been known in January in Copenhagen for
years. About noon the gates of the Christiansborg Palace were thrown
open, and the King, splendidly dressed, with his brother seated by
his side, drove forth in a state coach drawn by eight white horses to
show himself to his people. For the first time for months the King
dispensed with all escort, and, except for the running footmen and
postilions, the royal coach was unattended. The King drove through
all the principal streets. The crowd was so great that it was with
difficulty the coach could make way, and the people pressed and surged
around it, and in their enthusiasm wanted to take out the horses and
drag the coach themselves. The women especially were wild with delight,
and waved their handkerchiefs frantically; some even pulled off their
headgear, and waved it in the air, the better to testify their joy
at seeing their beloved Sovereign safe and sound, and freed from his
hated guardians. The King, however, when the novelty of the situation
was over, relapsed into his usual apathy, and did not respond to the
greeting of his loving subjects, but kept his window up, and stared
through it indifferently at the crowd; but Prince Frederick, who was
usually undemonstrative, had let the window down on his side of the
coach, and bowed and smiled incessantly.

The King held a court in the afternoon at the palace, and was supported
on one side by the Queen-Dowager and on the other by his brother. The
court was crowded, and by a very different class of people to those who
had appeared during the brief reign of Struensee. Many of the nobility,
who had heard the glad news, hurried into Copenhagen to personally
offer their congratulations to the three royal personages on the
overthrow of the detested German Junto. All the Queen-Dowager's party,
all the principal clergy, and all who had taken part in the conspiracy,
directly or indirectly, were present; and many more who knew of it,
but held aloof until it was an accomplished fact, were now eager to
pay their court. The King remained only a short time, and left the
Queen-Dowager and Prince Frederick to receive the rest of the company,
and they did with right good will, rejoicing in their new-found dignity
and importance. It was their hour of triumph, and the inauguration of
the clique which governed Denmark for the next twelve years.

In the evening the three royal personages drove to the opera through
cheering crowds, and when they entered their box the whole house rose
in enthusiasm. Their return to the palace was a triumphal procession,
the people forming their guard as before. At night the city was
illuminated; every house displayed lights in its windows, and bonfires
were kindled in the streets. Salvoes of artillery were fired from the
ramparts, and rockets were sent up. The whole population seemed mad
with joy. So great was the illumination that the sky was lit up for
miles around. At far-off Kronborg Queen Matilda, peering through her
iron bars, saw the light in the sky over towards the capital, and asked
what it meant. She was told that it was Copenhagen rejoicing over her

[25] _Mémoires de Reverdil._

The popular rejoicings were marred by gross excesses, though
considering the excited state of public opinion it is a wonder that
more were not committed. Some of the lowest characters had turned
into the streets, and the sailors and dockyard men, who especially
hated Struensee, were drunk with wine and excitement. The mob, not
content with bonfires, soon showed signs of rioting. They broke into
the house of one of Struensee's supporters and wrecked it, carried
off the furniture, and smashed the windows. In the cellar there was
a large stock of spirits. The rioters broke the casks open, drank
what they would, and upset the rest, with the result that they waded
up to their ankles in liquor. Inflamed by drink they next attacked
other houses. The police, unable to check the riot, which had grown
to dangerous proportions, applied to Eickstedt for soldiers to aid
them. But the Queen-Dowager was unwilling to call out the military,
as she thought a conflict might bring about bloodshed and so damp the
popular enthusiasm. Therefore, instead of soldiers, Prince Frederick's
chamberlain was sent to the scene of disturbance, with instructions
to thank the people for the rejoicings they had manifested on the
King's deliverance from his enemies, and a promise that the King would
especially remember the sailors (who were among the most tumultuous
of the rioters), if they would now go quietly home. But the mob had
by this time got out of hand, and either did not, or would not,
listen. They rushed towards the royal stables, with the intention of
smashing Struensee's coach, but were prevented by the palace guard.
They then endeavoured to wreck the house of the chief of the police,
but being foiled in this attempt also, they began to plunder the
_mont-de-pieté_. At this point the soldiers had to be called out, and
they succeeded in dispersing the rioters without bloodshed. Next day
the streets were patrolled by the burgher guard, and in the afternoon
heralds rode round the city, and at certain points read a message from
the King, in which he thanked his loyal people for their enthusiasm,
but regretted that their zeal had got the better of their discretion.
He forbade any further plundering or excesses under heavy penalties.
After this the people gradually quieted down, but it was a week before
the patrol could be removed.

Meanwhile the Queen-Dowager was occupied in distributing honours among
her adherents. The arch-conspirator, Rantzau, at last received the
reward of his intrigues. He was made General-in-Chief of the infantry,
and a Knight of the Elephant, and his debts were paid in full from the
royal treasury. It may be that the part he had played in the arrest
of Matilda, and the callousness and insolence he had shown to the
unfortunate Queen, quickened the sense of Juliana Maria's gratitude;
for she rewarded him promptly and handsomely. Eickstedt and Köller
were promoted to be full generals, and decorated with the order of
the Dannebrog. Köller, who was a Pomeranian by birth, was offered
naturalisation, with the name of Banner, an extinct Danish noble
family. Köller accepted, saying that he intended henceforth to devote
his life to Denmark, and was known from this time as Köller-Banner.
He was also given a court appointment as aide-de-camp to the King,
with apartments in the royal palace. Beringskjold was appointed Grand
Chamberlain, and received a pension of two thousand dollars, and a
further present of forty thousand dollars paid down. His elder son was
appointed a court page, and the younger was promised a captaincy. All
the officers of the palace guard who had done duty on the eventful
night were promoted a step. Major Carstenskjold, who had conducted
Matilda to Kronborg with his drawn sabre and forty dragoons, was made
a lieutenant-colonel. Colonel Sames, who had arrested Brandt, received
a present of ten thousand dollars. Jessen was created a councillor of
justice, and received a gift of two thousand dollars. Rewards were also
given to minor personages.

The only one of the conspirators who received no reward, though he
was in reality the chief among them, was Guldberg, who declared that
the success of the enterprise was sufficient reward for him, and
he required neither money nor titles.[26] Guldberg was sure of his
influence with the Queen-Dowager; he knew, too, that his apparent
disinterestedness would carry weight with the people, and so strengthen
his position. He had reserved for himself the power behind the throne,
and he filled in the new government something of the place that
Struensee had filled in the old. That is to say, he had great influence
over the Queen-Dowager; he was the indispensable man, he directed the
policy, and no appointments were made of which he did not approve. But
unlike Struensee he conducted himself with infinite tact and discretion.

[26] He later took the name of Hoegh-Guldberg, and became a minister of

As the Struensee administration had been destroyed root and branch,
it was necessary to make several new appointments to carry on the
government of the country. The first care of the Queen-Dowager was
to appoint some one to act as the King's keeper--some one who would
guard him well--for Christian VII.'s formal consent was absolutely
necessary for every step she took. The King was now in so weak-minded a
condition, and so easily influenced, that any one who had possession of
him could make him sign any order he would. All the same Juliana Maria
had some difficulty in getting the King to consent to a new guardian,
or "personal attendant," as he was called, to take Brandt's place. A
long list of names was submitted to him, but he refused them one by
one until at last, when the Queen-Dowager mentioned Osten's name, the
King said: "Yes, I will have him." But Osten did not care to exchange
his influential post as minister of foreign affairs for that of the
King's companion, and declined the honour. So Köller-Banner, who was a
great favourite of the Queen-Dowager, was appointed to the office. The
Queen-Dowager was anxious to win the support of the old Danish nobility
to the new Government. Therefore, Count Otto Thott and Councillor
Schack-Rathlou, who had been dismissed by Struensee, were invited to
take part again in the business of state. Bernstorff's recall was
urged by a powerful section, but Osten and Rantzau both opposed it
violently, for they feared the return of this upright and conscientious
man.[27] Guldberg, too, was afraid that a statesman of Bernstorff's
eminence would prove a rival to his ambition. The Queen-Dowager also
did not wish to recall Bernstorff, because of his well-known devotion
to the royal house of England. She feared that he would interfere on
behalf of Matilda, of whom she was very jealous. She determined to make
her feel the full weight of her vengeance.

[27] In spite of this opposition in time Bernstorff might have come
back, but his health was failing, and he died in the autumn of 1772, at
the age of sixty years, at Grabow.

[Illustration: COUNT BERNSTORFF.]

The bitter feeling against Struensee seemed to increase as the days
went by, and on every side were heard cries for vengeance. On January
19, the first Sunday after the revolution, _Te Deums_ were sung in
all the churches of Copenhagen; and throughout the kingdom, wherever
the news had penetrated, there was a thanksgiving to Almighty God for
the overthrow of the godless Government. The clergy, who had been
especially hostile to Struensee, and done much to bring about his
fall, did not hesitate to improve the occasion from their pulpits, and
spoke of "the fearful vengeance of the Lord" which had fallen upon
wickedness in high places. Nor did they spare in their condemnation
the unfortunate Matilda, but likened her to Rahab and to Jezebel, and
urged their congregations to hate and execrate her name. The celebrated
Dr. Münter, who had often come into conflict with the Queen and
Struensee in the days of their power, preached in the royal chapel of
the Christiansborg Palace before the King, the Queen-Dowager, Prince
Frederick and the court, and took for his text St. Matthew, chapter
viii., verses 1-13. His sermon was nothing but a violent diatribe
against the fallen minister, more especially for his policy in granting
toleration in matters of religion. "Godless men ruled over us," cried
the preacher, "and openly defied God. They, to whom nothing was sacred
either in heaven or earth, despised and mocked the national faith. Yet,
while they were meditating violent measures to secure their power for
ever, the vengeance of the Lord fell upon them." So on for many pages,
concluding with: "Our King is once more ours; we are again his people."
The eloquence of the preacher so moved the Queen-Dowager that she shed

The fanaticism of the clergy was only equalled by the fury of the
press. That the journals of Copenhagen, which were more or less
subsidised, should indulge in violent language was only to be expected,
but the most eminent writers of the time joined in the cry, including
the historian Suhm, a man who was a Dane of Danes, and who had already
urged the Queen-Dowager to action. This learned man published an open
letter to the King, which was sold in pamphlet form throughout the
kingdom. Like many other professors, Suhm was only admirable when he
confined himself to the subjects which he professed, and the moment
he quitted the realm of history for contemporary politics he became
unfortunate and of no account. His open letter out-Müntered Münter in
the violence of its abuse and the fulsomeness of its adulation. "Long
enough," runs the pamphlet, "had religion and virtue been trampled
under foot; long enough had honesty and integrity been thrust aside. A
disgraceful mob of _canaille_ had seized the person of the King, and
rendered access to him impossible for every honourable man. The country
swam in tears; the Danish land became a name of shame; the rich were
plundered; the sun of the royal house was dimmed, and every department
of the Government was given up to unscrupulous robbers, blasphemers
and enemies of humanity." After recounting at great length the danger
to which the nation had been brought by the "monster Struensee," the
pamphlet burst forth into an eloquent exhortation to Danes to arise and
defend their heritage. It called on all to rally to the standard of the
Queen-Dowager and her son, who had delivered the King and the country
from imminent peril. "Who would not praise and esteem that dangerous
but honourable night?" wrote Suhm. "Future Homers and Virgils will sing
its praises, and so long as there are any Danish and Norwegian heroes
left in the world the glory of Juliana Maria and Frederick will endure.
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but their glory shall not pass away."
This precious pamphlet was greeted with praise from the highest to the
lowest in the land. Suhm soon issued a second exhortation addressed:
"To my Countrymen--Danes, Norwegians and Holsteiners," in which he
demanded vengeance upon Struensee. Such vengeance, he declared, was
imperatively demanded for the honour of Denmark, for "all the nations
of Europe would regard a people that suffered itself to be governed by
a Struensee as a vile, cowardly people". Suhm's example was followed
by a number of anonymous scribblers, who flooded town and country
with pamphlets calling aloud for the blood of the fallen minister.
So unanimous were these pamphlets, and with such regularity did they
appear, that it provoked the suspicion that the new Government had
some hand in thus inflaming public opinion against its enemies. Not
only were Struensee, Brandt and their colleagues denounced by every
conceivable epithet, but the name of the Queen, who, though imprisoned,
was still the reigning Queen, was dragged into these effusions, and
covered with dishonour. Everything was done to foment the public rage
against her, and "Justice against Matilda" was shouted by hirelings in
the streets.

Before matters had reached this pitch, Keith had intervened on behalf
of the imprisoned Queen. It was unfortunate that Matilda, at the
time of her arrest, had not demanded to see the English minister,
and thrown herself on his protection as a princess of Great Britain.
But the thought did not cross her mind, for though Keith was anxious
and willing to help her, the Queen, in her madness for Struensee,
had rejected both the assistance and advice that had been offered
by her brother of England, and had treated his representative with
reserve. But Keith, we see by his despatches, realised the situation,
and cherished no feeling of resentment. He felt for the Queen nothing
but chivalrous pity, and determined, if possible, to shield her from
the consequences of her rashness and indiscretion. To this end he had
attended the masked ball, where he saw the Queen radiant and happy,
with no thought of the mine about to explode beneath her feet.

In the morning of January 17 Keith heard with astonishment and alarm
of the Queen-Dowager's conspiracy, and that the Queen, abandoned by
the King, had been conveyed a prisoner to the castle of Kronborg.
Rumours were current that she was in imminent peril, and that it was
proposed to execute her before the sun went down. With characteristic
determination Keith lost not a moment in acting on behalf of the Queen.
He hastened through the crowded streets to the Christiansborg Palace,
and demanded instant audience of the King. This was denied him, and
so was his request that he might be admitted to the presence of the
Queen-Dowager or her son. Nothing daunted, Keith demanded an immediate
interview with Osten, who still acted as minister of foreign affairs.
Osten, who well knew the nature of Keith's errand, tried at first to
put him off with excuses, but the envoy would not be denied, and at
last almost forced his way into Osten's cabinet, where he found him
in council with some of the other conspirators. In answer to the
envoy's inquiry, "Where is the Queen?" Osten replied that his Majesty
had found it necessary to remove his royal consort to the fortress of
Kronborg, where she would be detained until the King further signified
his pleasure, and the grave charges against her of conspiracy against
the King's authority and infidelity to his bed had been disproved.
Keith, under these circumstances, could do nothing but lodge a protest,
and demand that the Queen, as a princess of Great Britain, should
be treated with all the respect and consideration which her birth
demanded, and that, as Queen of Denmark, any proceedings against her
should follow the regular and constitutional rule of that country.
He referred to the rumours that were current of foul play, and said
that he held the Danish Government responsible for her safety, and
warned them that the King, his master, would undoubtedly declare war
against Denmark if a hair of her head were touched. After delivering
this ultimatum, Keith left the Christiansborg Palace, returned to his
own house, and wrote a long despatch to England, detailing all that
had occurred, and what he had said and done. He asked for instructions
as to how he was to proceed with regard to the new Government and the
imprisoned Queen. This done, he shut himself up in his house until the
answer should arrive.[28]

[28] _Memoirs of Sir R. Murray Keith_, vol. i. It is impossible to
quote this despatch of Keith's, as it has been destroyed. The last
available despatch of Keith's is previous to the catastrophe, and
thenceforward, until after the Queen's divorce, all the despatches
relating to the Queen are abstracted from those preserved in the State
Paper Office in London. These despatches were destroyed by order of
King George III. There is no trace either of the despatches sent by
Keith to England at this period, or of those from England to Keith,
beyond an order, later, that Keith was to bring them to England.

The popular rejoicings came to an end within a week of the palace
revolution, but the court festivities were continued some time longer.
The King frequently drove about the city in company with his brother,
and, as the ground was covered with snow, he often appeared in a
sleigh. The Queen-Dowager also showed herself in public on every
possible occasion, in marked contrast to her previous habits of rigid
seclusion. She now occupied at Frederiksberg the apartments of the
imprisoned Queen, but at the Christiansborg she retained her former
suite. Within a week of Matilda's disgrace a state banquet and ball
were held at the Christiansborg, at which the Queen-Dowager took
the place of the reigning Queen. The King's twenty-third birthday,
January 29, was celebrated all over the kingdom with great rejoicing,
and Copenhagen was decorated and illuminated in honour of the event.
In the evening the King, attended by a very large suite, witnessed
the performance at the palace theatre of two new French vaudevilles.
With a singular lack of good taste, the titles of these pieces were
"_L'Ambitieux_," and "_L'Indiscret_," and, as might be judged, they
abounded in allusions to Struensee and scarcely veiled insults of the
imprisoned Queen, who only a few days before had been the centre of
the court festivities. After the play there was a grand supper in the
knights' hall, to which the foreign envoys, ministers, and the most
distinguished of the nobility were invited. The English envoy was

The object of all these court festivities was to persuade the public
that the King shared in the universal joy. There is reason, however, to
believe that after the first few days of excitement were past, the King
began to realise that he had bettered his condition very little by the
change. He was glad to be rid of Brandt and Struensee, especially of
Brandt, but he missed the Queen, who was always kind and lively, and no
doubt if he could have seen her he would have forgiven her on the spot.
The Queen-Dowager was fully aware of this danger, and determined at all
hazards to prevent it. Already she was beginning to feel some of the
anxieties of power. Popularity is a very fleeting thing, and there were
signs that the popularity of the new Government would be ephemeral; the
recent riots of the mob, which were comparatively unchecked, had given
them a taste for similar excesses. The court lived in continual dread
of further disturbance.

A ludicrous instance of this occurred at the theatre some few days
after the revolution, when the court was at the French play. Owing
to the house being inconveniently crowded, some slight disturbance
took place in the cheaper seats. Immediately a rumour flew round the
theatre that a riot had broken out in the city, Struensee and Brandt
had escaped from prison, and the mob were setting fire to houses
and plundering everywhere. The news ran like wildfire through the
audience, and in an incredibly short space of time a scene of panic
prevailed. Every one began to make for the doors, with the result that
the confusion became worse confounded. The King was the first to take
fright, and rushed from his box, with wild looks, followed by the
Hereditary Prince. The Queen-Dowager tried in vain to detain them,
and when they were gone she was so much overcome that she fainted. A
curious crowd had collected outside the theatre, and it was not until
some time that order was restored, and the whole affair discovered to
be a hoax. But the Queen-Dowager was not reassured, and the result of
this panic was seen in a series of police regulations for the better
preservation of the public peace. The city gates, which had been left
open, were again locked at night; masters were ordered to keep their
apprentices at home after dark, and public houses were ordered to be
closed at ten o'clock.

The first step taken by the Queen-Dowager was to re-establish the
Council of State, which had been abolished by Struensee. It consisted
of Prince Frederick and the following members: Count Thott, Count
Rantzau, Councillor Schack-Rathlou, Admiral Rommeling, General
Eickstedt and Count Osten. All resolutions were discussed by the
Council of State before they received the royal assent, and the net
result of the new regulations was to take the power out of the
King's hands, and vest it in the Council, for the King's signature
was deprived of all force and validity except in council. The members
of the Council of State received in their patents the titles of
Ministers of State and Excellencies. Count Thott acted as president of
the Council in the absence of the King, and received a salary of six
thousand dollars--the other members five thousand dollars. Guldberg,
who really drew up the plan of the Council with the Queen-Dowager, and
afterwards the instructions, was not at first a member, but for all
that he was the most influential man in the Government. He and the
Queen-Dowager worked in concert, and they ruled the situation. It was
said that Juliana Maria at first entertained the idea of deposing the
King, and placing her son upon the throne, but Guldberg opposed it, and
pointed out that such a step would surely be followed by a protest from
the nation and from the foreign powers, with England at their head.

The Queen-Dowager therefore continued to play the rôle of one who had
only come forward with the greatest reluctance because her action was
urgently needed for the salvation of the King and country. This was the
line she took in a conversation with Reverdil, who was set at liberty a
few days after his arrest by her orders, and summoned to her presence.
When Reverdil entered the room, she apologised for his arrest, and
said it was a mistake, and contrary to her orders. She continued: "I
only wish I could have spared the others, but the Queen had forgotten
everything she owed to her sex, her birth and her rank. Even so, my son
and I would have refrained from interference had not her irregularities
affected the Government. The whole kingdom was upset, and going fast
to ruin. God supported me through it all; I felt neither alarm nor

[29] _Mémoires de Reverdil._

The Queen-Dowager felt well disposed towards Reverdil, who had more
than once remonstrated with Struensee on the disrespect shown by him
and his minions to her and Prince Frederick. She would probably have
reinstated him in his post, but Osten and Rantzau disliked him. They
feared he might gain an influence over the King, or enter a plea of
mercy for the prisoners, or suggest to the Queen-Dowager the recall
of Bernstorff, or induce her to summon Prince Charles of Hesse to
court--both of whom disliked them. So Osten saw Reverdil and worked
upon his fears. He advised him for his own sake to leave the court,
and the honest Swiss needed no second warning, but within a week shook
the dust of Copenhagen off his feet, and so disappears from this

[30] After leaving Copenhagen, Reverdil lived for some time at Nyon,
and afterwards at Lausanne. He maintained a correspondence with
Prince Charles of Hesse, and lived on friendly terms with a number of
distinguished personages, including Necker, Garnier, Mesdames Necker
and De Stael, and Voltaire, who said of him: "On peut avoir autant
d'esprit que Reverdil, mais pas davantage." Reverdil lived to an
advanced age, and died in 1808 at Geneva.

The next step of the Queen-Dowager's Government was the appointment of
a commission of inquiry to conduct the investigation of Struensee,
Brandt, and the ten other prisoners, and send them for trial. This
Commission consisted of eight high officials, to whom a ninth was
eventually added. They were all known to be enemies of Struensee and
his system of government. The Commission was appointed in January,
and made it its first duty to search the houses of the prisoners,
and examine all their papers. For the purpose of taking evidence
the Commission sat daily at the Christiansborg Palace, but either
because the commissioners were uncertain how to proceed, or because of
conflicting counsels, five weeks passed before the examination of the
principal prisoners began. Every one knew that the trial was a foregone
conclusion. Keith wrote to his father before it took place: "Count
Struensee is loaded with irons, and, which is worse, with guilt, in a
common prison in the citadel. Without knowing either the particulars
of the accusations against him, or the proofs, I believe I may venture
to say that he will soon finish his wild career by the hands of the
executioner. The treatment of Count Brandt in the prison, and the race
he has run, bear so near an affinity to those of Struensee that it may
be presumed his doom will be similar."[31]

[31] Sir R. M. Keith to Mr. Keith, February 9, 1772.--_Memoirs and
Correspondence of Sir Robert Murray Keith._

Struensee and Brandt were kept confined closely to their cells, and
treated with hardship and ignominy, which would have broken the spirits
of far stronger men than they, who had been rendered soft by luxury
and self-indulgence. The day after their arrival at the citadel iron
chains were specially forged for them. These chains weighed eighteen
pounds each, and were fastened on the right hand and on the left
leg, and thence, with the length of three yards, to the wall. They
wore them day and night and never took them off. Struensee felt this
indignity bitterly, and made pitiful efforts to conceal his fetters.
Curiously enough, the smith who forged them and fastened them upon him
was a prisoner who only a year before had been in chains himself, and
then had begged Struensee for alms and his liberty. The minister had
contemptuously tossed him some pence, but refused to set him free,
saying: "You do not wear your chains on account of your virtues." When
the man, therefore, fettered Struensee to the wall, he reminded him of
the incident by saying: "Your Excellency, I do not put this chain on
you on account of your virtues."[32]

[32] _Gespräch im Reiche der Todten_ (a pamphlet).

Most of the severities inflicted on the prisoners, and especially those
on Struensee, seem rather to have been dictated from a fear that they
would attempt to commit suicide, and not in any vindictive spirit.
Neither of the prisoners was entrusted with knives and forks, but the
jailors cut up their food and carried it to their mouths. Struensee at
first tried to starve himself, but after three days the commandant sent
him word that he was to eat and drink, otherwise he would be thrashed
until his appetite returned. His buttons were cut off his clothes,
because he had swallowed two of them; his shoe-buckles were removed,
and when he tried to dash his head against the wall he was made to wear
an iron cap. Brandt escaped both the strait-waistcoat and the iron cap,
for he showed no disposition to take his life; on the contrary, he was
always cheerful, and bore his fate with a fortitude which shamed the
wretched Struensee.





The ill-news from Denmark travelled to England in an incredibly short
space of time, considering how slow and difficult was the transmission
of news in the eighteenth century. Though nothing definite was
known, the air was full of rumours, and the gossips of the clubs
and coffee-houses were much exercised over the fate of the Queen of
Denmark. The greatest care had been taken to prevent any whisper of
the current scandal at the court of Denmark reaching the ears of the
English people. The less reputable members of the Opposition, it was
thought, would be sure to use the intrigue between the Queen and
Struensee as another weapon against the King and the Government. So
long back as December 20, 1771, we find Keith writing to Lord Suffolk
a private letter detailing the case of one Ball, an English naval
surgeon, who had offered his services in aid of the Danish expedition
against Algiers. Struensee, who hated every one English, had dismissed
his application with scant courtesy, and in revenge Ball had written an
angry letter to Struensee, threatening to expose his conduct. Keith
continues: "I can hardly suppose that Count Struensee will deign to
send an answer to this letter, but, as Mr. Ball has picked up here a
number of scandalous stories which might make a figure in a catch-penny
pamphlet, I think it my duty to let your Lordship know what may be the
possible consequence of his revenging his disappointment by appearing
in print. If the Minister was the only person whose name might be mixed
up in this altercation, I should be less anxious. Perhaps the Danish
envoy in London may obtain for Mr. Ball some additional gratuity which
will put an end to the dispute."[33]

[33] Keith's despatch, Copenhagen, December 20, 1771.

Whether Ball was muzzled or not there is no record to tell, but the
events at the Danish court having culminated in the catastrophe of
January 16, it was only a question of time for the scandal to be
bruited abroad in every court in Europe, and in England too. As early
as January 23 a London newspaper created great excitement by the
following paragraph: "It is affirmed by letters from the continent that
a royal princess is certainly detained in a tower, inaccessible to
every creature, except such as are appointed to attend her, but that an
absolute silence is imposed throughout the kingdom on this subject."[34]

[34] _General Evening Post_, January 23, 1772.

A few days later Keith's despatch arrived from Copenhagen, containing a
full account of the revolution there, and the arrest and imprisonment
of the Queen. Lord Suffolk, the foreign secretary, immediately
hastened with it to the King, who was about to hold a levee. George
III., who had already heard evil rumours, was so much overcome by this
confirmation of them that he immediately put off the levee, and the
royal family were thrown into grief and humiliation. Queen Charlotte
was highly indignant with her sister-in-law, and went into closest
retirement, declaring that she was ashamed to appear in public. The
Princess of Brunswick, Matilda's sister, who was staying in London at
the time, wept bitterly. The Princess-Dowager of Wales was seriously
ill, and the Princess of Brunswick thought that it was better that her
mother should not be told; but the King said: "My mother _will_ know
everything"; and therefore he went to her directly, and acquainted her
with the contents of Keith's despatch.

The Princess-Dowager was overwhelmed with affliction at the news of
this last family disgrace. She had seen it coming for some time, and
made every effort to recall her daughter from the error of her ways;
but her remonstrances were unheeded, and her advice neglected, and now
the ruin which she had foretold had fallen upon the Queen of Denmark.
Only a few months before the Princess-Dowager had been annoyed beyond
measure by the marriage of her youngest son, Henry Duke of Cumberland,
with Mrs. Horton, a beautiful and designing widow,[35] and she had
broken off all communication with him in consequence. Her other son,
the Duke of Gloucester, who had contracted a similar marriage, soon
to be publicly avowed, had added to her anxieties by a dangerous
illness. Her eldest daughter, the Princess of Brunswick, was unhappy
in her matrimonial relations. Therefore it is no wonder that the proud
Princess's patience gave way under this last disgrace. In the first
moments of her grief and anger she turned her face to the wall and
prayed for death, and forbade her children and her servants evermore
to mention to her the name of Matilda, who, she declared, had ceased
to be her daughter. Well might Walpole write: "Such an accumulated
succession of mortifications has rarely fallen on a royal family in so
short a space. They seem to have inherited the unpropitious star of the
Stuarts, from whom they are descended, as well as their crown."[36]

[35] The Duchess of Cumberland was the widow of Andrew Horton of
Catton, and the daughter of Simon Lord Irnham, afterwards Earl of
Carhampton. The marriage took place privately on October 2, 1771, at
the Hon. Mrs. Horton's house in Hertford Street, Mayfair. The King,
when apprised of the fact, immediately manifested his displeasure by
publishing a notice in the _London Gazette_ to the effect that such
persons as might choose to wait upon the Duke and the new Duchess would
no longer be received at St. James's. This marriage was the immediate
cause of the passing of the Royal Marriage Act, which made such
marriages (if contracted without the consent of the reigning sovereign)
in future illegal.

[36] Walpole's _Reign of George III._, vol. iv.

The dishonour of her youngest daughter, coming on the top of all
her other mortifications, proved too much even for the indomitable
spirit of the Princess-Dowager, and without doubt hastened her death.
In any case the end could not have been long delayed, for she was
dying of cancer, and her sufferings the last year of her life had
been agonising. Yet to the end she would not admit that she was ill,
and bore her pains, like her sorrows, in stern silence. George III.,
whose pride was deeply wounded by these family scandals, which brought
discredit on the throne and the dynasty, greatly sympathised with
his mother. Doubtless he took counsel with her as to how he was to
act to save his sister Matilda from the worst consequences of her
indiscretion, but at first he seems to have done nothing. Perhaps this
inaction was due to his great anxiety concerning his mother's health.
He had always been devoted to her, and was now unremitting in his
attentions. He visited her every evening at eight o'clock, and remained
some hours; but though the Princess was gradually sinking before his
eyes, even he did not dare to hint to her that the end was near.

The night before she died the King was so anxious that he anticipated
his visit by an hour, pretending that he had mistaken the time, and he
brought with him Queen Charlotte. Even then, with the hand of death
upon her, the Princess-Dowager rose up and dressed as usual to receive
her son and daughter-in-law. She made not the slightest allusion to her
state of health, though she kept them in conversation for four hours on
other topics. On their rising to take their leave, she said that she
should pass a quiet night. The King, who feared she might die at any
moment, did not return home, but, unknown to his mother, remained at
Carlton House. The Princess-Dowager fought hard for life the first part
of the night, but towards morning it became evident even to herself
that the end was imminent. She asked her physician how long she had to
live. He hesitated. "No matter," she said, "for I have nothing to say,
nothing to do, nothing to leave."[37] An hour later she was dead. She
died so suddenly that the King, although he was resting in an adjoining
room, was not in time to be with his mother when she breathed her last.
He gained her bedside immediately after, took her hand, kissed it, and
burst into tears.

[37] Mrs. Carter's _Letters_, vol. iv.

The Princess-Dowager of Wales died in the fifty-third year of her age,
at six o'clock in the morning, on February 8, 1772, not long after the
terrible news had arrived from Denmark. She therefore died without
hearing again of her daughter Matilda. "The calmness and composure of
her death," wrote Bishop Newton, her domestic chaplain, "were further
proofs and attestations of the goodness of her life; and she died, as
she lived, beloved and lamented most by those who knew her best."[38]
No sooner was this princess, who was cruelly abused all her life,
dead, than the papers were filled with praise of her virtues. "Never
was a more amiable, a more innocent, or a more benevolent princess,"
wrote one, and this was the theme, with variations, of the rest.
Without endorsing all this eulogy, it must be admitted that the
Princess-Dowager of Wales was in many ways a princess high above the
average. Few women have been more harshly judged, and none on so little
evidence. Insult and calumny followed her to the grave. A few days
before she died a scandalous libel appeared, and the disgrace of the
daughter was seized on as a weapon to attack once more the mother. An
indecent scribbler, who signed himself "Atticus," wrote in the _Public
Advertiser_ of the revolution at Copenhagen as follows:--

"The day was fixed: _a Favourite fell_. Methinks I hear the Earl of
Bute whisper to his poor affrighted soul, and every corner of his
hiding places murmur these expressions: 'God bless us! A known and
established Favourite ruined in a single night by a near neighbour--the
frenzy may reach this country, and I am undone. Englishmen too are
haters of favourites and Scotchmen. Those old rascally Whig families,
whose power and virtues seem almost lost, may reunite. In the meantime,
I must do something--a lucky thought occurs to me. I'll fill the minds
of the people with prejudices against those haughty Danes. Bradshaw
Dyson shall bribe the printers to suppress any contradictory reports.
Englishmen are always ready to vindicate injured virtue at any expense;
therefore nothing shall be heard but the _honour of the King's

[38] _Bishop Newton's Life of Himself_, vol. i.

Thus, even when the poor woman lay dying, the old prejudice was
revived. Then, as for a quarter of a century before, the pivot on which
all this slander turned was the precise nature of the friendship
between the Princess and Lord Bute--a matter which surely concerned no
one except themselves. Her arch-maligner, Horace Walpole, put the worst
construction on this intimacy, and her political enemies endorsed his
verdict. But Walpole hated the Princess-Dowager, because she refused to
recognise in any way the marriage of his favourite niece to the Duke
of Gloucester. The evil construction placed upon the friendship, as
Lord Chesterfield said, "was founded on mere conjectures". The whole
life of the Princess-Dowager--the decorum of her conduct, the order and
regularity of her household, her strict principles, the reticence of
her character, and the coldness of her temperament--give it the lie.
The eighteenth century, with its gross pleasures and low ideals, could
not understand a disinterested friendship between a man and a woman,
and, not understanding, condemned it. Yet there is much to show that
this friendship was of that high order of affection which eliminates
all thought of self or sex. It lasted for long years; it was marked
by complete trust and confidence on the woman's side, by loyalty and
chivalry on the man's. It never wavered through good report or ill;
opposition and insult served to strengthen it, and it was broken only
by death. There must have been something very noble in the woman who
won such allegiance, and in the man who rendered it.

The news from Copenhagen created an extraordinary sensation in
London. The ladies were whispering all sorts of naughtiness behind
their fans concerning Queen Matilda and Struensee; the gossips in the
coffee-houses were retailing fresh bits of scandal every day, and the
politicians were betting on the possibilities of a war with Denmark.
Public opinion at first seemed to be on the side of the young Queen.
Some of the papers already demanded that a fleet should be sent to
Denmark to vindicate the honour of the British Princess, who was
generally spoken of as the "Royal Innocent". The following may be
quoted as a specimen of these effusions:--

"Recollect the manner in which that lady [Queen Matilda] was educated,
and that, when delivered into the hands of her husband she was in the
full possession of every virtue. All the graces were in her; she knew
nothing but what was good. Can it then, with any degree of reason, be
concluded that in so short a time the lady could forget every virtuous
precept, and abandon herself to infamy? My dear countrymen, it cannot
be, and until we have a certainty of guilt, believe it not, though an
angel from Copenhagen should affirm it."[39]

[39] _General Evening Post_, February 8, 1772.

The popular curiosity was heightened by the profound secrecy observed
by the court and government. So far, nothing definite was known; the
King and his ministers were naturally silent. The illness and death
of his mother had hindered the King from taking action on Keith's
despatch, and while he was hesitating, another communication arrived
from Copenhagen. This was a letter addressed by that wily diplomatist,
Osten, to the Danish envoy in London, Baron Dieden, with instructions
that he was to communicate its contents to Lord Suffolk at once. This
letter threw a different complexion on the affair to that of Keith's
despatch. It assumed the guilt of the Queen, and urged that the King
of Denmark was only within his rights in removing his consort from
the contaminating presence of her favourite. The matter, Osten urged,
was of so delicate and personal a nature that it could not be treated
properly by ministers or envoys. The King of Denmark, when he had
recovered from the affliction into which the knowledge of his consort's
infidelity had plunged him, would write to his brother of England with
his own hand, and he trusted that his Britannic Majesty would suspend
judgment until then. A few days later Dieden received another despatch
from Osten, enclosing a sealed letter from Christian VII. to George
III., and the Danish envoy delivered this letter into the King's hands
at once. This letter, which no doubt Christian had been induced to copy
by the dictation of the Queen-Dowager and her advisers, took the same
line as Osten's despatch, though of course it was written in a more
intimate and confidential tone, not only as between brother monarchs,
but near relatives.

George III., who was already prejudiced against his sister by the way
in which she had slighted his advice, and ignored his remonstrances,
was not averse from dealing with the difficulty in this way. Though he
greatly disliked his cousin, the King of Denmark, and knew the insults
and cruelties which had been heaped upon his unhappy sister, yet, as
he was of a most moral and domestic nature, he could not find in them
any justification for her conduct, and he regarded her offence, if
proved, with horror. Osten's representations were so plausible that
the King, when he received Christian VII.'s letter, replied to it in
no unyielding spirit; he reserved his judgment, but demanded that
his sister should be treated fairly, and every possible respect and
indulgence be shown to her. He would not go behind his envoy's back,
in the manner suggested by Osten, for he rightly judged that Keith,
being on the spot, would be thoroughly informed of the situation.
He therefore gave his letter to Suffolk to transmit to Keith, with
instructions that he was to have a personal audience of the King
forthwith, and to deliver it into his hands. At the same time Lord
Suffolk wrote a despatch to Keith asking for fuller information, and
conveying to him in a special manner his Sovereign's approbation of his

Keith all this time had remained shut up in his house, in Copenhagen,
awaiting instructions from England, and unable, until he received
them, to do anything on behalf of the unhappy Queen. The answer to his
despatch did not arrive for nearly a month. When at last it came, "in
the shape of a sealed square packet, it was placed in Colonel Keith's
hands, and they trembled, and he shook all over as he cut the strings.
The parcel flew open, and the Order of the Bath fell at his feet. The
insignia had been enclosed by the King's own hands, with a despatch
commanding him to invest himself forthwith, and appear at the Danish
court."[40] What instructions the despatch contained will never be
known; but that George III. entirely approved of the way in which his
representative had acted is shown by a letter which Lord Suffolk wrote
at the same time to Keith's father:--

"I cannot deny myself the satisfaction of acquainting you with the
eminent merit of your son, his Majesty's minister at Copenhagen, and
the honourable testimony his Majesty has been pleased to give of his
approbation by conferring on him the Order of the Bath. The ability,
spirit and dignity with which Sir Robert Keith has conducted himself
in a very delicate and difficult position has induced his Majesty
to accompany the honour he bestows with very particular marks of

[40] _Memoirs of Sir Robert Murray Keith._

[41] Lord Suffolk, secretary of state for foreign affairs, to R. Keith,
Esq., February 28, 1772.

Fortified with these marks of his Sovereign's approval, and armed with
the King's letter, Keith, for the first time for many weeks, emerged
from his house, and proceeded to the Christiansborg Palace, where he
demanded a private audience of the King of Denmark. The audience was
promised on the morrow, but when Keith again repaired to the palace,
and was conducted to the ante-chamber of the King's apartments, he
was astonished at seeing, instead of the King, Osten and some of the
newly appointed ministers, who informed him that, his Majesty not being
well, they had been charged to receive the envoy's communication,
and convey it to the King. Keith replied with some indignation that
his orders were to deliver his letter into the King's own hands, and
he did not understand why his Danish Majesty, after he had consented
to give him audience, should refer him to his ministers. But the
ministers only politely expressed their regret, and said they were
acting under the King's orders. The whole scene of course was planned
by the Queen-Dowager, who had her own reasons for keeping the English
envoy away from the King, as she was determined at all hazards that
Matilda should be deposed and disgraced. Keith, who realised that there
was something behind, and saw the futility of further remonstrance,
reluctantly surrendered the letter; but he added that he should not
fail to inform his Sovereign of the way in which he had been treated.
He moreover said that his royal master's letter was a private one to
the King, but that he himself had authority to state to the ministers
that, if the Queen of Denmark were not treated with all the respect
due to her birth and rank, her royal brother of England would not fail
to resent it in a manner that would make Denmark tremble. He then

Keith must have written a very strongly worded despatch to Lord
Suffolk, exposing the trickery of the Danish court, and probably
hinting at the Queen's danger, for though the despatches which passed
between him and Suffolk at this time are missing, we know that they
became graver and more serious in tone. The relations between the two
countries seemed likely to be broken off, for the Danish envoy in
England, Dieden, followed Keith's example, and shut himself up in his
house until he should receive instructions. When these instructions
came, they could not have been satisfactory, for when the Danish envoy
next appeared at court, George III. pointedly ignored him, which the
minister resented by standing out of the circle, and laughing and
talking with the Prussian minister, whose master also had a dispute
with England at this time. Moreover, the Prussian minister had given
offence to the King by talking too freely about the scandal at the
Danish court. On one occasion he asked a court official with a sneer:
"What has become of your Queen of Denmark?"--to which the Englishman
made quick reply: "Apparently she is at Spandau with your Princess of
Prussia"--a princess who had been divorced for adultery.

The secrecy which still reigned over everything concerning the King's
sister, and the dilatory nature of the negotiations, led to much
unfavourable comment in England. The mystery of the Queen of Denmark
continued to be the only topic of discussion, both in public and
private. Notwithstanding all precautions, well-informed people formed a
very shrewd idea of what had taken place at Copenhagen. For instance,
on February 28, 1772, Mrs. Carter wrote to Mrs. Vesey: "I have very
little intelligence to send you from Denmark, as there is a profound
silence at St. James's on this subject. You know that the unhappy
young Queen is imprisoned in a castle dashed by the waves, where she
is kept in very strict confinement. I am persuaded you would think it
an alleviation of her misfortunes if I could tell you it is the very
castle once haunted by Hamlet's ghost, but of this I have no positive
assurance, though, as it is at Elsinur, I think such an imagination as
yours and mine may fairly enough make out the rest. In the letter that
the King of Denmark wrote to ours, he only mentioned in general terms
that the Queen had behaved in a manner which obliged him to imprison
her, but that from regard to his Majesty her life should be safe."[42]

[42] Mrs. Carter's _Letters_, vol. iv.

The thought that the young and beautiful Queen--a British princess--was
ill-treated and imprisoned, and possibly even in danger of her
life, and her brother would not interpose on her behalf, created an
extraordinary sensation, and the Opposition, thinking any stick good
enough wherewith to belabour the King and his ministers, did not fail
to turn the situation to account. It formed the subject of one of the
most powerful letters of Junius, who made a terrific onslaught on both
the King and the Prime Minister, Lord North, from which we take the
following extracts:--

    "MY LORD,

  "I have waited with a degree of impatience natural to a man
  who wishes well to his country for your lordship's ministerial
  interposition on behalf of an injured Princess of England, the
  Queen-Consort of Denmark.... An insignificant Northern Potentate
  is honoured by a matrimonial alliance with the King of England's
  sister. A confused rumour prevails, that she has been false to his
  bed; the tale spreads; a particular man is pointed out as the object
  of her licentious affections. Our hopeful Ministry are, however,
  quite silent: despatches, indeed, are sent off to Copenhagen, but
  the contents of those despatches are so profound a secret, that with
  me it almost amounts to a question whether you [Lord North] yourself
  know anything of the matter.... In private life the honour of a
  sister is deemed an affair of infinite consequence to a brother. A
  man of sentiment is anxious to convince his friends and neighbours
  that the breath of slander hath traduced her virtue; and he seizes,
  with avidity, every extenuating circumstance that can contribute
  to extenuate her offence, or demonstrate her innocence beyond the
  possibility of cavil. Is our pious Monarch cast in a different mould
  from that of his people? Or is he taught to believe that the opinion
  of his subjects has no manner of relation to his own felicity? Are
  _you_, my Lord, [North] quite devoid of feeling? Have you no warm
  blood that flows round your heart, that gives your frame a thrilling
  soft sensation, and makes your bosom glow with affections ornamental
  to man as a social creature? For shame, my Lord! However wrong you
  act, you must know better; you must be conscious that the people
  have a right to be informed of every transaction which concerns
  the welfare of the state. They are part of a mighty empire, which
  flourishes only as their happiness is promoted; they have a kind
  of claim in every person belonging to the royal lineage. How then
  can they possibly remain neuter, and see their Princess imprisoned
  by banditti and northern Vandals?... There is a barbarous ferocity
  which still clings to the inhabitants of the north, and renders
  their government subject to perpetual convulsions; but the Danes, I
  fancy, will be found the only people in our times who have dared to
  proceed to extremities that alarmed Europe, nay, dared to imprison an
  English princess without giving even the shadow of a public reason
  for their conduct.... The present Machiavelian Dowager Julia may
  send the young Queen's soul to Heaven in a night, and through the
  shameless remissness of you, Lord North, as Prime Minister of this
  unhappy country, the public may remain ignorant of every circumstance
  relative to the murder. Be not, however, deceived: the blood of
  our Sovereign's sister shall not be suffered to cry in vain for
  vengeance: it _shall_ be heard, it _shall_ be revenged, and, what is
  still more, it shall besprinkle Lord North, and thus affix a stigma
  on his forehead, which shall make him wander, like another Cain,
  accursed through the world."[43]

[43] This letter, signed "Junius," appeared in the _Gentleman's
Magazine_, March 3, 1772.

This attack naturally called forth a counter-attack, and before long
the guilt, or innocence, of the King's sister was as hotly debated
in the public press as in the clubs and coffee-houses. But neither
the thunders of Junius, nor the shrill cries of those who took the
opposite view, made any difference to Lord North, and the nature of
the negotiations which were going on between England and Denmark
remained as much a mystery as ever. When pressed in Parliament on the
subject, the Prime Minister contented himself with answering, with his
usual air of frankness, that, unless expressly ordered to do so by the
House, he would not reveal so delicate a matter, and in this he was
supported by the good sense of the House, which had no wish to see the
disgrace of the King's sister form a subject of debate within the walls
of Parliament. Moreover, at this stage it was not a question which
concerned ministers, but the King, and the blame for what followed
must be laid not on their shoulders, but on his. George III. believed
his sister guilty, and did not weigh sufficiently the extenuating
circumstances, which, whether guilty or innocent, could be urged in her
favour. He did not act at first with that firmness which the situation
undoubtedly demanded. The Queen-Dowager of Denmark and her advisers
believed the King of England to be luke-warm, and consequently
proceeded against his unhappy sister with every circumstance of cruelty
and malevolence. If even her brother would not defend her, Matilda was
indeed abandoned to the vengeance of her enemies.




All this time the unfortunate Matilda remained at Kronborg, with
no consolation except that she was permitted to retain the infant
princess. She was still very closely guarded, but after Keith's
spirited protest, the rigours of her imprisonment were slightly abated.
Some clothes and other necessaries were sent her from Copenhagen, and
by way of keeping up the fiction that she was treated with the respect
due to her birth and rank, her suite was increased, and two gentlemen
of the bed-chamber and two maids-of-honour were sent to Kronborg.
Their duties must have been light, for, confined as the Queen was to
one small chamber, they could rarely have seen their mistress during
the first months of her sojourn in the fortress. But their presence at
Kronborg was a device of the Queen-Dowager to throw dust in the eyes
of the English and other courts, for the misfortunes of Matilda were
now the subject of conversation in every court in Europe. Moreover,
the persons sent to Kronborg were all, as Juliana Maria well knew,
personally disliked by the young Queen, and they went rather in the
capacity of spies than servants of her household. As it afterwards
appeared at her trial, even the women who waited on the Queen were
really spies, and her most casual expressions and trifling actions
were distorted by these menials into evidence against her. Matilda was
allowed no communication with the outer world, and she asked her maid,
a woman named Arnsberg, what had become of Struensee. The woman told
her he was imprisoned in the citadel. The Queen wept, and asked: "Is
he in chains? Has he food to eat? Does he know that I am imprisoned
here?" These questions, natural enough under the circumstances, were
duly noted by the treacherous woman, and afterwards put in as evidence
against the Queen at her trial.

When the first shock was over Matilda bore her imprisonment with
fortitude. Her youth and strong constitution were in her favour,
and she kept well, notwithstanding her deprivations. We find Keith
writing a month after the Queen's imprisonment: "The Queen of Denmark
enjoys perfect health in Hamlet's castle. I wish the punishment of her
cruellest _enemies_, the late Minister, Struensee, and his associates,
were over, that the heat of party might subside, and her Majesty's
situation be altered for the better."[44]

[44] Keith's letter to his father, February 14, 1772.


_From an Engraving._]

In her lonely prison Matilda had ample time for reflection. She
reviewed the events of the past few months and her present situation,
and she saw, now that it was too late, that the advice and
remonstrances of her mother and brother had been given in all good
faith. She saw, too, that any hope of deliverance must come from
England, and that she could expect nothing from her imbecile husband
and the relentless Queen-Dowager and her adherents. For weeks she was
kept uncertain of the fate that awaited her; her attendants either
would not, or could not, give her any information on this head, and
she lived in constant dread of assassination. In her anxiety and alarm
she is said to have written impassioned appeals from Kronborg to Keith
in Copenhagen, and to her brother George III., throwing herself on the
protection of Great Britain.[45] Without accepting the genuineness of
any particular letter, it is certain that the Queen managed to enter
into communication with Keith, though he was not permitted to see her.
Keith had great difficulty with Osten, who spoke fair to his face but
granted nothing.

[45] These letters were first published in the English papers early in
April, 1772, and the fact that they so appeared is sufficient to cast
grave doubts upon their genuineness. It is most unlikely that such
letters would have been allowed to pass out of safe keeping. On the
contrary, the greatest care was taken that every letter and despatch
to England bearing on the Queen's case should be kept secret, and they
were afterwards destroyed by order of George III.

In the middle of February the news of the death of the Princess-Dowager
of Wales reached Copenhagen, and Keith made some attempt to break the
distressing intelligence to the imprisoned Queen by word of mouth.
But here, too, he was foiled by Osten, who would only suffer the
intelligence to be communicated to the Queen in a formal letter.
Matilda was greatly distressed at her mother's death, for she knew
that she had lost not only her mother, but also a protectress, whose
influence with the King of England was all-powerful. To her grief must
also have been added a sense of remorse, for she had parted with her
mother in anger; she knew, too, how the Princess's proud spirit must
have been abased by the news of her misfortunes, and this probably
hastened her death. Yet, even so, Matilda could not forget the man who
had brought her to this miserable pass; she hardly thought of herself;
all her anxiety was for him and his safety. That he had brought her to
shame and ruin made no difference to her love; all her prayers and all
her thoughts were of him. Her love was now but a memory, but it was one
she cherished dearer than life itself.

Probably it was the knowledge of this impenitent condition (for
everything Matilda said or did was reported through spies) that made
Juliana Maria provide spiritual consolation for the hapless captive.
The Queen-Dowager was a fanatical woman, who had no charity but much
bigotry; it is possible, therefore, that she may have been sincere in
her wish to "convert" Matilda. At least, that is the only excuse that
can be offered for the insults which were heaped upon the unfortunate
young Queen in the name of religion. Acting on the instructions of
the Queen-Dowager, the commandant of Kronborg every Sunday morning
compelled his royal prisoner to come out of her small room, where
at least she had the refuge of seclusion, and marched her over the
rough stones of the courtyard to the chapel of the fortress.[46]
There, seated in a pew with a guard on either side, and the ladies
and gentlemen of her household (who put in an appearance on these
occasions) behind her, the poor Queen was thundered at ferociously
by the garrison preacher, one Chemnitz, who, also acting under
instructions, preached at her for an hour together, and hurled at her
head the fiercest insults from the safe shelter of his pulpit. For
instance, on one Sunday he chose as his text: "And the people shall
take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel
shall possess them in the land of the Lord for servants and handmaids:
and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they
shall rule over their oppressors" (Isa. xiv. 2). On alternate Sundays
another preacher, named Hansen, took up the parable, and was even more
violent than his colleague. On one occasion he hurled at the Queen
the following text: "Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy
garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?" (Isa. lxiii. 2), and
then proceeded to draw a parallel between the hapless prisoner and the
scarlet woman. What added to the indignity of these cruel insults was
the fact that they were addressed to the Queen in the presence of the
other prisoners, many of them common criminals, and in the face of the
rough soldiers of the fortress. But the exhortations of these Boanerges
fell on deaf ears, so far as the Queen was concerned. It was noticed
that she went very white, but she otherwise showed no sign of emotion.
She left the chapel as she had entered it, with her head held haughtily
erect, and a dignified air. Though naturally the most kind-hearted and
unassuming of women, this royal daughter of England could summon all
her dignity to her aid when she chose, and look every inch a queen.
It was impossible to humiliate Matilda; nor were these the methods to
win her from the error of her ways. When the preachers sought to gain
admittance to her cell, she absolutely refused to see them, and showed
so much determination that they dared not force their way into her
presence. She might be dragged to the chapel and publicly pilloried,
that she suffered under protest; but the men who had so insulted her
she positively declined to receive, and all exhortations and threats
were unavailing. But though the insults of the preachers failed to
shake Matilda's composure, her enemies, of whom Juliana Maria was the
chief, had at last obtained a document by which they hoped to humble
her proud head to the dust.

[46] The chapel is a handsome building, with a vaulted stone roof, and
a gallery running round it. The walls are elaborately painted, and
pulpit and stalls adorned with wood-carving by German masters. The
chapel was restored in 1843, but, except for the pews, it presents much
the same appearance as it did in Matilda's day. It is now used as a
garrison chapel, for Kronborg is no longer a prison.

By the third week of February the commissioners appointed to collect
evidence against the state prisoners at Copenhagen had concluded their
investigations, and were ready to examine the two principal offenders,
preliminary to sending them to trial. Struensee was taken first. He
had now been in close confinement five weeks; the heavy irons, the
rough treatment and the mental anxiety had told upon his health,
already failing before he went to prison. It was a feeble, broken
man, very different to the arrogant minister of former days, who was
dragged forth from his dungeon to be interrogated before the Commission
on February 20. Extraordinary precautions were taken to guard the
prisoner. The examination took place within the walls of the citadel,
though in another part of the fortress--the house of the commandant.
The two gates of the citadel were closed the whole day, and in the city
the garrison and burgher guard were patrolled in readiness for any
outbreak. At ten o'clock Struensee was taken across the yard of the
citadel in the commandant's coach, under the guard of an officer and
six men, to the hall of examination. As the morning was very cold he
was permitted to wear his fur coat, and before he was brought into the
room where the Commission was sitting, his fetters were taken off. He
trembled violently while his chains were being removed, but this may
have been due to physical causes, for he had worn them day and night
for five weeks, and they were very heavy. He could scarcely stand, so
he was allowed to sit in an armchair when he confronted his enemies.

Notwithstanding his weak condition, Struensee astonished the
commissioners by his calmness, and the collected way in which he
answered their questions. He declared that all the orders he had given
to the military during the last weeks of his administration were
precautions to ensure the public safety, and he scouted the idea of his
alleged plot against the person and authority of the King, of which,
indeed, no vestige of proof existed. The first day his examination
lasted nearly eight hours, from ten o'clock in the morning until two,
and again from half-past four in the afternoon until seven o'clock
in the evening. At the close Struensee was again put in irons, and
conducted back to his dungeon.

The next morning he was brought forth again, and examined from
ten o'clock until two. At none of these sittings did the prisoner
inculpate himself in the slightest degree. At the third examination
he was closely questioned with regard to his intimacy with the Queen,
but he made no confession, and, on the contrary, declared that
his relations with her were innocent. It is said that one of the
commission, Councillor Braem, having spoken roughly to the prisoner
because he would not admit his guilt, Struensee calmly told him to
imitate his tranquillity, and added that the affair surely concerned
him more than anybody else. Incensed by this calmness Braem threatened
him with torture, and said that instruments were ready in the next
room which would tear the truth from the most obstinate criminal.
Struensee replied that he had already spoken the truth, and he did not
fear torture.[47] The third examination closed at half-past two on
the second day without any admissions having been extorted from the
prisoner. In the interval the commissioners conferred together, and
determined to change their tactics.

[47] According to Reverdil, it is doubtful whether Struensee was
threatened with torture, or, if he were, Braem exceeded his functions.
In any case, the threat was an idle one, for the instruments were not

So far they had told Struensee nothing of what had happened to
Queen Matilda, but thought to entrap him by leaving him in complete
ignorance of the details of the palace revolution. At a loss to explain
Struensee's calmness, they now shrewdly guessed that he was counting on
the protection of the young Queen. It was remembered that he had often
boasted, in the hour of his prosperity, that no harm could come to him,
for the Queen was absolutely identified with all his measures, and to
attack him would be to attack her too; she was his shield against his
enemies. He never dreamed that they would dare to attack her, for she
had absolute ascendency over the King, and moreover was the sister of a
powerful reigning monarch, who would assuredly defend her from peril,
or at least would use all his influence to prevent a scandal for the
honour of his house. When, therefore, the prisoner was again summoned
before his examiners, they told him without more ado that, if he were
trusting to the protection of the Queen, he was trusting to a broken
reed: the Queen herself was arrested and imprisoned, and would shortly
be put upon her trial, with the consent of the King of England, who,
equally with his Danish Majesty, viewed with abhorrence the guilty
connection between her and Struensee. He might therefore as well make a
clean breast of it, for everything would assuredly become known.

The effect produced on the prisoner's shattered nerves by this
revelation was all that his enemies hoped; Struensee was completely
overcome, and broke down at once. So confidently had he counted on
the Queen's protection that, now he learned she was in the same
plight as himself, all his firmness forsook him; he burst into tears
and lamentations, and begged to be allowed to retire to regain his
composure. But the commissioners were careful not to allow this
opportunity to pass; they pressed home their advantage with renewed
questions and threats, even holding out hopes of mercy if he would tell
the truth. Before long Struensee, instead of "lying like a gentleman,"
confessed without reserve that his familiarity with the Queen had been
carried to the furthest limit. The commissioners did not conceal their
exultation; this base confession did more than anything else to brand
the man before them as a profligate adventurer.

Some extenuation might be urged for Struensee if in a moment of
terror and confusion he had been taken off his guard and blurted out
the truth, or if on consideration he had recalled his words; but
his subsequent conduct leaves no room for this extenuation. There is
no doubt that he thought, by dragging the Queen (now that she could
no longer protect him) into the mud with himself, he would save his
shameful life. He probably argued that a public trial would be avoided
for the honour of the royal houses of Denmark and England, the affair
would be hushed up, and he would be allowed to escape with banishment.
It is more than probable that his crafty examiners held out this
inducement for the wretched man to confess everything. Struensee needed
little encouragement, for, having once embarked upon his story, he
seemed to take a positive pleasure in telling the most unnecessary
details. He evidently thought that the more deeply he incriminated
the Queen, the better chance he would have of saving his life. Not
content with this, the pitiful coward threw all the blame upon her--an
inexperienced woman fourteen years younger than himself, who loved him
to her destruction, who had showered benefits upon him, and to whom he
owed everything. It was the old story, "_The woman tempted me_."

There is no need to quote in full here the confession of this wretched
man. He not only made it once but repeated it with ample details four
days later; these details were marked by a total absence of reticence,
and even decency. According to this confession--and it must be
remembered that the man who made it was a liar as well as a coward--the
intimate relations between the Queen and himself began in the spring
of 1770, not long before the tour in Holstein. The Queen first gave
him marks of her affection at a masquerade; he strove to check the
intimacy, and afterwards to break it off, but without success. He even
quoted the rudeness and lack of respect with which it was notorious he
had frequently treated the Queen to prove the truth of his statement.
He declared that he had been obliged to continue the intimacy lest he
should lose his mistress's confidence--that he was thus "placed in the
alternative of ruining his fortunes, or succumbing to the will of the
Queen". This shameful confession Struensee signed.

Having now got all they wanted, the commissioners dismissed Struensee
to his dungeon until they should have further need of him. The traitor
retired well pleased with himself. Hope sprang once more within his
breast, and this was fostered by several indulgences now shown to him.
He was allowed to be shaved, his diet was made fuller, and he was given
wine. His valet was permitted to attend him under strict order of
silence. The man, who was devoted to his master, brought with him the
silver toilet bowls and perfume bottles--they were suffered to remain
in the cell, mute testimony of the change from effeminate luxury to
sordid misery.

Armed with Struensee's confession, the Government at last felt equal to
dealing with the imprisoned Queen. Hitherto they had been in difficulty
how to proceed. From the beginning of her incarceration the Queen, on
being told whereof she was accused, had passionately demanded a fair
trial. She was now informed that she would receive it.

On March 8, 1772, a fortnight after Struensee's confession, a special
commission, acting in the King's name (though he was probably ignorant
of the proceedings, or at any rate indifferent to them), arrived
at Kronborg--nominally for the purpose of examining the Queen, in
reality to extort from her by fair means or foul a confirmation of
the confession made by Struensee. It was imperative that her enemies
should obtain it, for it would justify the Queen's treatment to the
English Government, which, owing to the exertions of Keith, was
becoming unpleasantly troublesome in its demands. It is said that Keith
had contrived by some means to secretly warn the imprisoned Queen of
the impending arrival of the commissioners, so that she should not be
taken by surprise. He advised her that she should receive them with
calmness, and treat them as subjects who had come to pay court to their
Queen; when they began to interrogate her, she would do well to say
that she had no answer to give them; she could not recognise their
right to question her, as she recognised no superior, or judge, but her
lord the King, to whom alone she would account for her actions. But
unfortunately Keith knew nothing of Struensee's confession.

The commission consisted of two members of the Council of State--Count
Otto Thott and Councillor Schack-Rathlou[48]--who were well known
to the Queen in the days of her prosperity, and two members
of the committee of investigation who had examined Struensee,
Baron Juell-Wind, a judge of the Supreme Court, and Stampe, the
Attorney-General. These four men, it is scarcely necessary to say, had
been opponents of the Struensee administration. As the Queen's room
was too small to admit all these men, some of whom could hardly have
stood upright in it, the commission sat in the large hall adjoining,
generally used for the guard--a room with a painted ceiling and
pictures of Danish worthies around the walls. There, when they had
arranged themselves at a table, with pens, ink and paper, her Majesty
was informed that they awaited her pleasure.

[48] Joachim Otto Schack-Rathlou, Minister of State (1728-1800).

The Queen did not respond immediately to the summons, but first
robed herself with care. Presently she entered the room, followed
by her women. She acknowledged with a bow the salutations of the
commissioners, who rose at her entrance, and then, passing to a chair,
waved to them to be seated. She was very pale, but otherwise her
bearing showed majestic dignity and composure. The commissioners, who
had expected to find her broken down by weeks of solitary suffering and
suspense, were astonished at this reception, and for a moment knew not
how to proceed. Schack-Rathlou, who owed the Queen a grudge for the
part which he unjustly believed she had played against him, undertook
to begin the examination. For some time this proved fruitless. The
commissioners found the Queen armed at all points: she admitted
nothing, denied their right to question her, and, when she answered
under protest, her replies were of the briefest. Though she was
examined and cross-examined by the four men, two of whom were eminent
lawyers, she showed neither confusion nor hesitation. It was evident
that the Queen could not be made to incriminate herself by fair means;
therefore the commissioners resolved to resort to foul ones. They could
not threaten her with torture, so they determined to surprise her in
the same way as Struensee had been surprised, and throw her off her

Schack-Rathlou, who acted as president of the commission, therefore
told the Queen that, as she would admit nothing of her own free will,
it was their duty to inform her that they held damning evidence of
her guilt. Thereupon he produced Struensee's confession, and read it
aloud. For the first time during the examination the Queen showed
signs of emotion; she flushed either with shame or anger at the
scandalous accusations, but she listened without interruption to the
end. Then, when Schack-Rathlou put the formal question to her, she
denied everything with passionate indignation, and declared that it was
impossible that Struensee could have made such shameful statements, the
document must be a forgery. For answer, Schack-Rathlou held the paper
up before the Queen, that she might read with her own eyes Struensee's
signature. The Queen took a hasty glance, and recognising the
well-known characters, she uttered an exclamation of horror, fell back
in her chair, and covered her face with her hands. The commissioners
had trapped their victim at last.

Presently Schack-Rathlou leaned across the table, and said
significantly: "If Struensee's confession be not true, Madam, then
there is no death cruel enough for this monster, who has dared to
compromise you to such an extent." At these words Matilda let her hands
fall from her face, and gazed with startled eyes at her merciless
accusers. All her self-possession had fled, and for the moment she was
utterly unnerved. She understood the covert menace only too well: by
thus maligning the reigning Queen he was liable to death by the law of
Denmark, and death the most barbarous and degrading. She still loved
this man; even his shameful betrayal of her had not weakened her love.
It had probably been extorted from him by trickery and torture; in any
case, she refused to judge him. He had brought all the happiness she
had known into her life; if he now brought shame and ruin, she would
forgive him for the sake of the happiness that was gone. She had sworn
never to abandon him, and should she now, because of one false step,
throw him to the wolves? No! She would save him, even though it cost
her her honour and her crown.

These thoughts flashed through the Queen's brain as she confronted
her judges. Then she gripped with her hands the arms of her chair,
and, leaning forward, said: "But if I were to avow these words of
Struensee to be true, could I save his life by doing so?" The lie was
ready: "Surely, Madam," said Schack-Rathlou, "that would be adduced
in his favour, and would quite alter the situation. You have only to
sign this." So saying, he spread out a document already prepared,
which the commissioners had brought with them. In it the Queen was
made to confirm Struensee's confession. The unhappy Queen glanced at
it hurriedly. "Ah, well! I will sign," she said. She seized the pen
which Schack-Rathlou thrust into her hand, and wrote her signature to a
document that would ruin her for ever. She had hardly done so when she
fell back fainting.[49]

[49] According to _Falckenskjold's Memoirs_ and the _Authentische
Aufklärungen_, the Queen nearly fainted after writing the first
two syllables--"Caro--," but Schack-Rathlou seized her hand, and,
guiding it, added the remainder, "--line Matilda". This story bears a
remarkable resemblance to one related of Matilda's ancestress, Mary
Queen of Scots, when forced to sign her abdication in the castle of
Lochleven. Unfortunately for the truth of it, the document which the
Queen signed is still preserved in the royal archives of Copenhagen,
and the signature shows no sign of a break.

When the Queen recovered, the commissioners had gone, and with them the
fatal document; only the women who spied upon her remained, and the
guards who had come to conduct her back to her chamber. When Matilda
reached it, she threw herself on her pallet, and, clasping the little
Princess in her arms, gave way to unavailing lamentation. It is stated
by some authorities that the threat of taking her child away from her
was also used by the commissioners to extort her signature, and the
promise was made that, if she avowed her guilt, the child would remain.
This promise, if given, like all others, was subsequently falsified;
but at the time it must have carried with it every appearance of
probability, for the Queen, by admitting her guilt, also cast a slur
upon the legitimacy of her child. Now that it was too late, she
regretted the precipitation with which she had signed the paper. Her
enemies' eagerness to induce her to sign showed her clearly how she
had erred: she ought to have demanded time for reflection, or insisted
on adequate guarantees. She had signed away her crown, her honour, her
children, perhaps her life, and it might be all in vain.

The commissioners, who had succeeded almost beyond their hopes,
hastened back to Copenhagen to lay before the Queen-Dowager the
crowning evidence of Matilda's guilt. Juliana Maria was overjoyed: her
enemy was delivered into her hands; nay, she had delivered herself. In
this paper she found a full justification for all that she had done,
and a complete answer to the remonstrances of the English envoy and his
master. Keith, it is said, at first refused to believe the evidence of
his eyes, and then fell back on the argument that the Queen's signature
had been wrung from her either by force or fraud. He realised that
she had committed an irretrievable mistake. For the Queen-consort to
be unfaithful to her husband's bed was, by the law of Denmark, high
treason, and as such punishable with death. Questions of high treason
were, as a rule, solved by the King alone; the _Lex Regia_ expressly
prohibited the judges from trying such matters. But in this case the
King could not be trusted; he probably had no wish to divorce his
Queen, whether she were guilty or not guilty--much less to punish her
with imprisonment or death; he regarded offences against morality with
a lenient eye, and he had positively forced his unhappy consort into
temptation. So he was not consulted.

The Queen-Dowager took counsel with her legal advisers, with the result
that an old statute was raked up (Section 3 of the Code of Christian
V.), and a special commission, consisting of no less than thirty-five
members, who formed a supreme court, was appointed to try the case of
the King against the Queen. The court was composed of representatives
of every class: five clergy, the Bishop of Zealand and four clerical
assessors; four members of the Council of State, Counts Thott, Osten,
Councillor Schack-Rathlou and Admiral Rommeling; the members of the
commission who had examined Struensee; the judges of the Supreme Court
not members of the commission; two officers of the army; two of the
navy; several councillors of state; and one representative of the civic
authority. The court was thus composed of some of the most eminent men
in Denmark, and representative of both the church and state. Some of
them were creatures of the Queen-Dowager, and pledged to carry out her
wishes, many were upright and honourable men, but all were hostile to
the Struensee administration, which had been carried on in the name of
the Queen.

The English envoy offered no protest to this trial, though he must
have known that the judges were men prejudiced against the Queen,
and the sentence of divorce was already virtually determined upon.
But the blame for this inaction does not rest with Keith; he had
received no instructions from the King of England, to whom Matilda's
confession had been communicated with the least possible delay by the
Danish Government. George III. held that, primarily, the question was
one between husband and wife, and if his sister had forgotten her
duty as a wife and a queen, her husband was justified in putting her
away. Hence he offered no objection to the divorce proceedings which
followed, though they were conducted from first to last with the utmost
unfairness. True, he entered a plea for a fair trial, but he must have
known that, surrounded as his sister was with enemies, a fair trial
was impossible. If George III. had entered a vigorous protest at this
juncture, the trial would never have been allowed to go forward, and
a painful scandal, discreditable alike to the royal houses of England
and Denmark, might have been hushed up. Moreover, decided action at the
outset would have rendered unnecessary the crisis which brought England
and Denmark to the verge of war a few months later.




The trial of the Queen began on March 14, in the great hall of the
Court of Exchequer at Copenhagen. The whole of the commissioners were
present, and the proceedings were vested with every possible solemnity.
The court was opened by prayer, offered by the aged Bishop of Zealand,
who had officiated at the Queen's marriage five and a half years
before. The judges who formed part of the commission were formally
released from their oath of allegiance to the King during the trial,
that they might judge of the matter between Christian and his consort
in the same way as they would that between any ordinary man and wife.

Bang, a lawyer of the Court of Exchequer, undertook the King's cause,
and Uhldahl, an eloquent advocate of the Supreme Court, was appointed
to defend the Queen. He was not chosen by Matilda, but by her enemies,
with the object of throwing dust in the eyes of the world. A demand had
been made that the Queen should receive a fair trial, and as a proof
of its fairness Juliana Maria was able to point to the fact that the
most eloquent advocate in Denmark had been retained for the Queen's
defence. The device was clever, but transparent. Though the trial was
that of the King against the Queen, neither of these exalted personages
put in an appearance: the King was probably ignorant of what was going
on; the Queen, who might reasonably have expected to be present at her
own trial, was not given the option of attending. Nothing would have
induced the Queen-Dowager to permit Matilda to return to Copenhagen,
even as a prisoner. Her youth, her beauty, her misfortunes, might have
hastened a reaction in her favour, and, moreover, it was even possible
that she might by some means have effected a meeting with the King,
and such a meeting would have been fatal to all the plans. The King
would probably have forgiven her straight away, and taken her back as
his reigning Queen. Therefore, the Queen-Dowager determined to keep
Matilda safely shut up at Kronborg until she could remove her to a more
distant fortress--that of Aalborg in Jutland, a most desolate spot.
The fact that, so early as February 8, or more than a month before the
trial opened, commissioners had been sent to Aalborg to inspect the
castle with a view to its occupation by the young Queen, is sufficient
to prove that the whole trial was a farce, since her sentence and
punishment had been determined before it began.


The first week of the trial was occupied in preliminaries, such as
taking the depositions of witnesses. These witnesses were many in
number. The most prominent of them was Fräulein von Eyben, who had
been maid of honour to the Queen. This woman, whose virtue was by no
means above suspicion, had been thrust upon the Queen by Holck after
the dismissal of Madame Plessen. The Queen had never liked von Eyben,
and when she became mistress of her own household, she dismissed her.
That she was wise in doing so was shown by the fact that this woman
now came forward with detailed accounts of the traps she had set to
convict the Queen of a guilty intimacy with Struensee. Her evidence
was categorical, but it was given with so much animus that it would
have been regarded as prejudiced by any unbiassed judges. The other
witnesses were all of the kind common in divorce courts--servants,
maids, footmen, and the like--all of whom a few dollars would buy to
swear anything. Such evidence is tainted at the source, and no judge
ought to be influenced by it. Matilda was always the most generous and
indulgent of mistresses; yet these menials, who had been treated with
every kindness, now turned and gave evidence against her--the usual
kind of evidence, such as listening at doors, peeping through keyholes,
strewing sand on the floor, turning out lamps or lighting them, and
other details of a more particular nature, unfit to be related here.
Suffice it to say that the dear secrets of the Queen's unhappy love
were profaned by the coarse lips of these hirelings.

The depositions of these witnesses are still preserved in a small iron
box in the secret archives of Copenhagen. For many years they were
missing, but about twenty years ago the box was found, and opened in
the presence of the chief of the archives, the Prussian minister then
at Copenhagen, and Prince Hans of Glucksburg, a brother of the present
King of Denmark, Christian IX. The papers were examined and sorted,
put back in the box again, and passed into the safe keeping of the
secret archives, where they have since remained. The papers include not
only the depositions of witnesses, but also some letters of the Queen.
Yet, curiously enough, a few of these depositions were published in a
pamphlet by Jenssen-Tusch[50] some years before the existence of the
box was known to the authorities. Wittich afterwards repeated these
quotations with great force against the Queen.[51] The great bulk of
these papers have never been published, and it may be hoped never
will be, for their publication would only gratify prurient curiosity.
If such evidence be admitted, then all possibility of the Queen's
innocence is at an end; but the question will always remain how far
these witnesses, mostly drawn from the lowest class, were suborned to
testify against their mistress.

[50] G. F. von Jenssen-Tusch, _Die Verschwörung gegen die Königin
Caroline Mathilde und die Grafen Struensee und Brandt_ (Leipzig, 1864).

[51] K. Wittich, _Struensee_ (Leipzig, 1879).

On March 24, before the whole assembly of the commissioners, Bang, the
King's advocate, submitted his indictment of Queen Matilda. It was a
lengthy document, prepared with great care. The beginning sounds the
keynote of the whole:--

"Only the command of my King could induce me to speak against the
Queen, and it is with a sense of the deepest humility, and with horror
and grief, that I proceed to investigate the conduct of Queen Caroline
Matilda, and submit the proofs that she has broken her marriage vow. I
am compelled to indict her Majesty on these counts, because above all
others the King's marriage bed must be kept pure and undefiled. As a
husband the King can demand this right, and he is bound to assert it
for the honour of his royal house, and the welfare of his nation. As a
husband the King can demand this right given him by the marriage vow;
as the head of his royal house he is bound to guard the supremacy,
antiquity, honour and purity of the Danish royal family. The virtues
of this exalted family are known to the whole world; but if a foreign
stock were grafted on the royal stem, and the offspring of lackeys came
to bear the name of the King, the antiquity of this exalted family
would cease, its supremacy weaken, its respect be lost, its honour
abased, and its purity sullied.... Hence his Majesty, as husband of his
wife, as first of his race, and as King of his people, has appointed
this commission. His personal right, the honour of his house, and the
security of the nation simultaneously demand that the justice and
loyalty which animate this commission should, in accordance with the
law of God, the law of nature, and the law of this country, dissolve
the marriage tie which binds Christian VII. to her Majesty, Caroline

Bang then proceeded to submit his evidence. It may be divided into five

First and foremost, there was the confession of Struensee on February
21, a confession which he repeated subsequently on February 24 with the
fullest details, and signed with his own hand.

Secondly, there was the Queen's confirmation of this document, which
she signed at Kronborg on March 9. By doing so she admitted that she
had broken her marriage vow, and so forfeited her rights as wife and

But since it might be argued that these confessions were extorted by
threat, torture or other unfair means, the evidence of other persons
was submitted. Moreover, according to the law of Denmark, it was not
alone sufficient that the accused persons should confess their guilt,
as for divers reasons, known to themselves, they might not be speaking
the truth. The advocate, therefore, proceeded to quote the evidence
of a great number of witnesses, who had been previously examined by
the commission. This evidence went to show that so long ago as the
winter of 1769 and the beginning of 1770 the Queen's bed-chamber women
and sundry lackeys formed suspicions that there was something wrong
between Struensee and the Queen. They therefore spied on the Queen's
movements, and set a trap for Struensee, with the result that their
suspicions were confirmed. After taking counsel together, these women,
"with quaking hearts and tear-laden eyes," approached the Queen, who,
seeing them thus disturbed, asked them kindly what was the matter.
They then, instead of telling her they had spied, said there were evil
rumours about the court concerning herself and Struensee, that the
Queen-Dowager was aware of them, and threatened to bring the matter
before the Council of State. They affected to believe that the rumours
were unfounded, but wished the Queen to be more careful. The Queen
apparently neither admitted nor denied anything; at that time she was
ill, and Struensee was the medical attendant sent her by the King, but
she said that she would consult him about it, and perhaps if she did
not see him so often the rumours would die out. But after the Queen had
consulted Struensee, she changed her tone, and said to her women: "Do
you know that any woman who speaks in such a way about the Queen can be
punished by the loss of her tongue?"

At this point the evidence of the lady-in-waiting, von Eyben, was
taken, who said that what the Queen had denied to her women she had
confessed to her. She found her mistress one day weeping and in great
distress, and on asking what was the matter, the Queen told her of the
whole affair, confessed that she was guilty, and said that Struensee
had advised her to bribe the women, which she refused to do.

Then came the deposition of Professor Berger, now under arrest, who
said that, though he had no positive evidence, the intimacy between the
Queen and Struensee had appeared to him most suspicious. Struensee
behaved towards the Queen with a familiarity that was improper,
considering their relative positions.

The evidence of Brandt was also taken. Brandt declared that Struensee
had confided to him the intrigue, but his confidence was unnecessary,
as every word and look which passed between the Queen and Struensee
showed that they were deeply attached to one another. Sometimes they
quarrelled, and the Queen was very jealous of Struensee, but they
always became reconciled again, and were better friends than before.
Struensee's apartments at Christiansborg, Frederiksberg and Hirschholm
were so arranged that he could go from them to the Queen's rooms

There remained a great deal of servants' gossip, such as the Queen's
conversations with her women. Thus, for instance, the Queen's words,
that if a woman loved a man, she should follow the object of her
devotion to the gallows or the wheel, if need be, or even down to hell
itself, were repeated here with additions. One of the maids objected,
and said that there were few men worthy of such sacrifices; what was
a woman to do if her lover proved unfaithful? The Queen replied that
in her case she would either go mad or kill herself. She envied her
waiting-women their good fortune in being able to marry whom they
would, and said she had been married once against her will, but if she
ever had the good fortune to become a widow, she would marry the next
time whom she pleased, even if he were a private person, and she had
to leave the country and abandon her crown in consequence. The fact
that she asked for Struensee, and tried to rush to his room at the time
of her arrest, was noted against her; also her tears and lamentations
at Kronborg, and the inquiries she had made after him. It was also put
in as evidence that she always wore a miniature of Struensee, that she
took it with her to Kronborg, and kept it at night under her pillow
for fear any one should take it from her. Finally, several presents
that the Queen had given Struensee were put in as evidence against her,
though they were of no particular value. A great deal was made out of a
blue enamelled heart which the Queen had brought with her from England,
and afterwards gave to Struensee as the pledge of their friendship.
Having duly noted all this and a great deal more, Bang wound up his
indictment by demanding a verdict in the name of the King to this

"That in accordance with the law of Denmark set forth in the sixth
section of the third book of the code of Christian V., her Majesty
Caroline Matilda shall now be declared guilty of having broken her
marriage vow, and that it be forthwith dissolved, so as not to prevent
his Majesty the King, if he will, from contracting a new alliance."

The indictment of Bang was neither very able nor very convincing,
and, except for the Queen's admission of Struensee's confession, the
evidence which he adduced was hardly worthy of credence. It was all
of the nature of circumstantial evidence, and there was no direct
proof of the Queen's guilt; on the contrary, it was in her favour
that notwithstanding every effort of cajolery, bribery and threat had
been employed to procure evidence against the Queen, no better result
could be obtained than this hotch-potch of servants' gossip and vague
suppositions. It may be doubted whether any ordinary court of law would
pass sentence on such evidence; but the judges of the unfortunate
Matilda had been appointed not to execute justice, but to carry out
the behests of her enemies. Their minds were already made up as to the
verdict before they entered the court. Still, to maintain an appearance
of fairness before the world, they announced their willingness to
hear the Queen's defence, and offered no objection when the Queen's
advocate, Uhldahl, requested an adjournment of the court for a week, so
that he might have time to submit Bang's indictment to the Queen, and
consult with her concerning the defence to be offered. The court was
then adjourned until April 2.

In the interval Uhldahl went to Kronborg, and took with him Bang's
indictment. He had several audiences of the Queen, who was now more
mistress of her emotions, and they went through the charges against her
point by point. The Queen was moved to indignation at the revelations
of the treachery of those whom she had trusted, and she was aghast
at the unfairness with which some of her most innocent actions were
distorted into proofs of her guilt. Blinded as she had been by her
love for Struensee, the Queen now realised for the first time what
her conduct must have looked like to the eyes of other people. Still,
even admitting her lack of discretion to the fullest extent, a great
deal of the evidence submitted against her was both unfair and untrue.
Unfortunately, the damning testimony of her own confession remained,
and not all her tears could wash out the signature which she had so
incautiously written. It was therefore resolved to fall back on the
strict letter of the Danish law, which did not permit the confession
of an accused person to be put in as evidence, and treated it as null
and void. The Queen, it is true, admitted that appearances were against
her, but she pleaded that she was not guilty of the worst offence.
The intimacy between herself and Struensee had been carried beyond
the bounds of discretion and propriety, considering their relative
positions, but it was not wicked. For the rest, she threw herself
upon the mercy of the King, who in any case would have to confirm the
sentence of her judges. The Queen's forlorn condition, her youth, her
tears, her prayers, her evident goodness of heart, moved even her
advocate to pity, prejudiced though he was against her, and hired for
the purpose of conniving at her destruction. He drew up his defence
with her, and threw into the work so much heart that when he left
his client it became a very different document to that which he had
contemplated at first.

On Uhldahl's return to Copenhagen the second session was held on April
2, and the advocate then submitted his defence.[52]

[52] The original draft of Uhldahl's defence of Queen Matilda is still
among the heirlooms of the Uhldahl family. A copy of this celebrated
document, in Danish, is preserved in the royal archives in Copenhagen.
The above is a translation of that copy.

"It is with unfeigned emotion that I rise to fulfil the duty which the
well-being of the Queen as well as the command of the King have imposed
upon me.

"The rank of these exalted personages, the importance and far-reaching
consequences of this trial, the intense desire I have to do my duty,
and the fear that I may not be able to do it as I wish, add to my
anxiety, and justify my regret at seeing the Queen compelled to lay
aside her purple, come down from her throne, and, like the meanest
of women, seek the protection of the law. Could any more affecting
illustration of the insecurity of human happiness possibly be imagined?
She in whose veins flows the blood of so many kings is suspected of
having dishonoured her illustrious ancestry. She, who gave her lord
the King her hand and heart, stands accused by the man who at that
time swore to be her protector. She who, when she came among us, by
the unanimous verdict of the nation, was regarded as the mother of her
people, is now tried by the men who in that day would have shed their
blood in her defence. Thus unhappy is Queen Caroline Matilda, and she
alone among all the queens of Denmark. In the bloom of her youth, and
dowered with every gift to ensure happiness, she finds herself to-day
standing on the brink of an abyss, down which her honour, her dignity,
her peace of mind, may be cast. In one day she may lose her husband,
her children and her throne, and yet be compelled to survive the loss.
Suspected, accused, in danger of living a life of wretchedness for long
years to come--can anything be more heart-rending than her position?
Thus the Queen regards her situation, and thus she depicted it to me
when I had the honour of waiting upon her, in the following words:--

"'I should utterly despair had not my intentions been always for
the welfare of the King and the country. If I have possibly acted
incautiously, my youth, my sex and my rank must plead in my favour.
I never believed myself exposed to suspicion, and, even though my
confession appears to confirm my guilt, I know myself to be perfectly
innocent. I understand that the law requires me to be tried: my consort
has granted me this much; I hope he will also, through the mouth of his
judges, acknowledge that I have not made myself unworthy of him.'

"I repeat her Majesty's words exactly as she uttered them. How I wish
that I could reproduce the emotion with which they were spoken--the
frankness that carried conviction, the trembling voice which pleaded
for pity! This last, indeed, no one can refuse her without outraging
every sentiment of humanity.

"Chief among the charges brought against the Queen is that she has been
false to the vows and duties imposed upon her by her marriage with
the King her husband. It has been well urged that the King's bed must
remain unsullied in the interests of his own honour, and the honour
and prosperity of his country. These truths all will admit, but they
are so far from affecting the Queen that she demands the strictest
investigation; she believes that she has not acted contrary to them.
The more exalted her duties, the more exacting her obligations, the
more terrible are the consequences of any infraction of them. The
more familiar the two parties were, the clearer must be the evidence
that the Queen has really committed a sin. How will the honour of the
King and his royal family be better promoted--by proving the Queen
guilty, or by showing her innocence? Has the Queen never known and
fulfilled what she owed to herself, her husband and his people? Is it
not admitted that, up to the time, at all events, when the accusations
begin, she had proved herself a tender mother, an affectionate wife,
and a worthy Queen? Can it be credited that her Majesty could so easily
have forgotten herself? Can it be that she, who up to that day sought
delight in modesty, virtue, respect of the King, and affection of the
country, banished all these noble feelings from her heart in a single

"Advocate Bang in the King's name submitted three varieties of proofs
against the Queen--Count Struensee's confession, her Majesty's
statement, and (as he knew that neither of these was sufficient) the
evidence of witnesses.

"Undoubtedly Count Struensee on February 21 and 24, as the documents
show, made statements of the most insulting nature against her Majesty.
He forgot the reverence due to his Queen, and through unfounded alarm,
or confusion of mind, or the hope of saving himself by implicating
the Queen in his affair, or for other reasons, he made these absurd
allegations, which can only injure himself. For what belief can be
given to the statement that he, if the Queen thought him worthy of her
confidence, should have been so daring as to abuse it in so scandalous
a manner, or that the Queen would have tolerated it? The honour of a
private person, much more that of a queen, could not be affected by
such a statement. And how improbable it is that such a state of affairs
should have gone on at court for two whole years under the nose of the
King, and under the eyes of so many spies. The accusation is made by a
prisoner not on his oath, and is utterly destitute of probability.

"Advocate Bang admits that Count Struensee's declaration is in itself
no evidence against the Queen. Hence he tries to confirm it, partly
by the acknowledgment which the Queen made on March 9 as to the
correctness of Struensee's declaration, partly through her admission
that she had broken her marriage vows, and hence lost her marriage
rights. This he wishes to be regarded as proof. Certainly, in all civil
causes confession is the most complete form of proof, but in criminal
actions, and those such as we are now trying, the law of Denmark
utterly rejects this evidence when it says: 'It is not sufficient that
the accused person should herself confess it, but the accuser must
legally bring the accused before the court, and properly prove the

"Other proofs therefore are necessary, and since it is the King's
wish that the law should be strictly followed in this action, and
judgment be founded on the evidence submitted, it follows that the
Queen must have a claim to this benefit as much as the meanest of her

[53] Here follows an argument to show that the Queen could not be
convicted on her own confession, or on the confession of Struensee,
as the Danish code demanded that the evidence must be given by two
persons, who agreed as to the facts as well as the motives.

"I now pass to the third class of proofs, which consist of the evidence
of persons summoned by the prosecution as witnesses. Her Majesty has
commanded me to declare that she does not desire them to be recalled
and examined by me, but I have her commands to investigate the nature
of this evidence, and what it goes to prove.

"It is worthy of note that not one of the witnesses examined alleges
any other foundation for his, or her, first suspicion against the Queen
than common gossip ['town-scandal'] which they had heard. It was not
until this gossip became universal that it was mentioned to the Queen.
As most of the witnesses were constantly about the Queen's person, and
yet found no reason for believing anything wrong in her intercourse
with Struensee, it is clear that the conduct of the Queen must have
been irreproachable up to this time. Every one knows that rumour is
a lying jade; scandal is often founded on nothing, and through its
propagation alone acquires credibility. But however false the slander
may be, it leaves behind it, after once being uttered, a suspicion,
which places the conduct of the person slandered in a new and different
light. Words and actions before regarded as innocent are henceforth
seriously weighed, and if anything equivocal is detected, the slander
is regarded as confirmed. Thus it is with the witnesses in this case,
for though, prior to hearing the rumour, they did not suspect the
Queen, no sooner had they heard it than they imagined evidence against
her at every point."

Uhldahl then proceeded to subject the evidence of the witnesses to
analysis, with a view of showing how contradictory and worthless most
of it was.

Summing up all this testimony, Uhldahl said: "If we now ask if there
are any _facts_ in the evidence of the witnesses to prove that an
extreme and improper intimacy existed between the Queen and Struensee,
the answer must be: 'There are none.' That the Queen showed the Count
marks of favour and confidence cannot be denied, but no one ever saw
or heard that these went beyond the limits of honour. No witness is
able to say positively that the Queen has broken the vows she made
to her consort, nor can any adduce a single fact which would prove
the certainty of her guilt. Indeed, one of the witnesses on whom the
prosecution most relies, the maid Bruhn, is constrained to admit 'that
she never witnessed any impropriety on the part of the Queen'. Regarded
generally, all the witnesses appeal to their own suppositions. They say
they _thought_ that Struensee was a long time with the Queen, because
they were not summoned: they _imagined_ that the Queen and Struensee
were guilty because they were on familiar terms. But these conjectures
had their origin in rumour, and in the power which rumour possesses
to stimulate the imagination. It is chiefly the favour shown by her
Majesty to Count Struensee that roused the suspicions of witnesses,
and caused them to draw such conclusions. It is said that he was
constantly about the Queen, and in her company. But was he not also
about the King? And must not the Queen's confidence in him necessarily
result from the confidence with which the King honoured him? As her
justification of this, the Queen appeals to her consort's action, and
points to the striking proofs of the King's favour to Struensee--the
offices with which the King entrusted him, and the rank to which the
King raised him. There can be no doubt that he sought to acquire the
Queen's confidence in the same way as he had gained the King's. The
loyalty which he always showed to the King, the attention he paid to
the Queen when she was ill, the devotion which he seemed to entertain
for them both, maintained an uninterrupted harmony between their
Majesties. Above all else, the King's will was law to the Queen,
and this above all else made her believe that she could freely give
Struensee her confidence without danger. His offices as Secretary
to the Queen, and Privy Cabinet Minister to the King, required his
constant presence. Hence it is not surprising that he acquired a
greater share of the Queen's favour than any other man....

"I pass over all the rest of the evidence as things which are partly
unimportant, partly irrelevant, or too improper to be answered. It
is sufficient to say that no proof that her Majesty has broken her
marriage vow can be derived from any of these witnesses, if we examine
their evidence singly. The law requires the truthful evidence of
witnesses, not all kinds of self-invented conclusions. If it were
otherwise, her Majesty's rank and dignity, which ought to shield her
from such danger, would be the very things to cause her ruin.

"I hope that I have now proved the innocence of the Queen. Her Majesty
assumes that her consort only desires her justification, and she feels
assured of the discretion and impartiality of her judges. Therefore
she awaits confidently the decision demanded by her honour, the King's
dignity, and the welfare of the land. I venture in her Majesty's name
to submit--

"That her Majesty Queen Caroline Matilda be acquitted from his Majesty
the King's accusation in this matter."

Uhldahl's defence was clever and ingenious, but it lacked the stamp
of sincerity which carries conviction. His omission to cross-examine
the witnesses, though he ascribes this to the wish of the Queen (who
could have had no voice in the matter, and was entirely in the hands
of her counsel), was the course probably dictated by her enemies. If
these witnesses had been taken singly, and subjected to a searching
cross-examination, they would probably have contradicted each other,
and broken down one by one. Moreover, Uhldahl was fighting for the
Queen with one arm tied behind his back. In any divorce court, if a
husband petitions against his wife, his conduct, as well as hers, is
liable to investigation, and if it can be shown that he is as guilty,
or guiltier, than she, or that he has connived at her indiscretion, his
petition falls to the ground. But this line of defence was forbidden
to Uhldahl: he dared not say a word against the King, though he could
have shown that the King had from the first been guilty of the grossest
infidelity and cruelty towards his Queen--that he had outraged her
every sentiment of religion and virtue, that he had often told her to
do as she pleased, that he had repeatedly thrust temptation in her way,
and when at last she yielded, or seemed to yield, to it, he had not
only acquiesced in this condition of things, but at first, at any rate,
actively encouraged and abetted it. These facts--and they were all of
them notorious, and perfectly well known to the Queen's judges and
accusers--were not allowed to be pleaded in her favour.

Reverdil, who had an intimate knowledge of the facts, who had been with
the King when Matilda first came to Denmark, who had been dismissed
from court because he protested against the insults heaped upon her,
who had been recalled three years later, when the intimacy between the
Queen and Struensee was at its height, and who, much though he pitied
her, believed her to be guilty, has supplied the arguments in her
favour which were omitted by Uhldahl. He thus arraigns the King:--

"Is it not true, Sir, that from the very day of your marriage up to the
moment when the faction, now dominant, seized on you and your ministers
some weeks ago, you had not the slightest regard for the marriage tie,
and all this time you had declared to the Queen that you dispensed with
her fidelity? Have you not invited all your successive favourites to
tempt her? [_a lui faire la cour_]. Have you not said and proved in a
thousand ways that her affection was wearisome to you, and that your
greatest misery was to perform your duties to her? Your commissioners
have had the effrontery to ask the Queen and Struensee who were their
accomplices. In prison and in irons the accused have had the generosity
to be silent for your sake; but what they have not done your conscience
itself must do, and proclaim to you that you have been her real seducer.

"Do you remember, Sir, the moment when this Princess, whom they wish
to make you condemn to-day, was confided to your love and generosity?
The English sent her without any adviser, without a single companion
to your shores. Little more than a child, she had all the grace,
the innocence and the _naïveté_ of childhood, while her mind was
more enlightened and mature than you could have expected; you were
astonished at it. All hearts went out to meet her; her affability and
kindness captivated all classes of the nation. When you were wicked
enough to give yourself up to a frivolous and reckless favourite
[Holck], and to vile companions who led you into libertinism, she
found herself neglected, and you showed yourself more than indifferent
to her. She loved you; she was silent, and maintained her serenity
in public; she only wept in private with her chief lady [Madame de
Plessen], whom you, yourself, had appointed as her _confidante_.
Before long you grudged her even this poor consolation, and the
lady, whose only crime was that her conduct and principles were too
correct for your taste, was dismissed with the most signal marks of
disgrace. Madame von der Lühe, who took her place, was the sister
of your favourite. No doubt you supposed that this lady would show
as much levity, and have as few principles, as her brother; but she
disappointed your expectations. Therefore, without actually disgracing
her, you replaced her by ladies whose reputation was the most equivocal
in the kingdom. What more could the most consummate corrupter have
done? This very man, with whom the Queen is accused for having shown
weakness, you, yourself, forced upon her after she had first repulsed
him. It was in the hope of avoiding the _tracasseries_ with which your
favourites annoyed her that she was at last induced to _lier_ herself
with the man who offered his services to bring you nearer her. It was
you who broke down all the barriers which separated her from him, who
diminished the distance between them, who desired to bring about what
to-day is called your 'dishonour,' who excused, nay, tolerated, this
_liaison_, and who, up to January 17 last, even talked of it as a good

"Your cause is inseparable from that of your wife, and even though the
whole world should condemn her, you ought, if not from natural equity,
at least from self-respect, to revoke that condemnation."[54]

[54] _Mémoires de Reverdil_, pp. 403-406.

       *       *       *       *       *

Uhldahl made his defence on April 2. The court then adjourned, and
after taking four days to consider the verdict, delivered judgment.
The verdict was to the effect that Queen Matilda had been found guilty
of having broken her marriage vow, and the marriage between her and
King Christian VII. was therefore dissolved, and the King was free
to make another alliance, if it should seem good to him. The Queen's
sentence would depend upon the King's pleasure. The court at the same
time declared that the Princess Louise Augusta was legitimate, and was
entitled to all the honours due to the daughter of the King. Thus the
verdict was contradictory, for if the Queen were guilty with Struensee,
it followed almost surely (though not necessarily for certain) that the
Princess was not legitimate, for the intimacy between the Queen and
Struensee was declared by the evidence, upon which the judges pretended
to found their verdict, to have begun more than a year before the birth
of the Princess, and to have gone on continuously ever since.

The exact reasons which led to this extraordinary verdict being
promulgated will probably never be known, but during the four days that
elapsed between Uhldahl's defence and the judgment, violent disputes
and intrigues were being waged at the Christiansborg Palace. According
to some, the Queen-Dowager not only fiercely insisted upon the divorce,
but also the bastardising of both the Queen's children (though why
the Crown Prince it is difficult to say), and so making way for the
succession of her son to the throne, but was prevented from having
her way by the remonstrances of Guldberg. According to others, it was
Rantzau and Osten who wished these drastic measures, and Juliana Maria
who interposed on behalf of the Queen's children. Be this as it may,
it is certain that Matilda's enemies were divided in their opinions;
and even at this early hour there seems to have been a slight reaction
in favour of the young Queen. The situation was also complicated by
the interference of Keith, who, though he had received no instructions
to prevent the divorce of the Queen, yet, now that the trial was
over, and had shown itself to be manifestly unfair, entered vigorous
protests on behalf of the King of England's sister--protests which he
backed by menaces. Several of the Queen-Dowager's advisers took fright;
perhaps, too, they had some secret pity for the young Queen, for
they urged that it was not wise to enrage the King of England too far.
The result was a compromise: the Queen was declared to be guilty, but
her daughter was declared to be legitimate.


_From a Painting by Heinrich Hansen._]

Doubtless in consequence of the remonstrances of the English envoy,
the proceedings of the court were kept secret, and the sentence of
divorce was not published--at least, not through the medium of the
press. But a royal rescript was sent to the governors of the provinces
and the viceroy of the duchies, in which the King stated that he had
repudiated his Queen after a solemn inquiry, in order to vindicate the
honour of his house, and from motives of public welfare. The verdict
was also communicated to the foreign envoys for transmission to their
various courts. This was done in a theatrical manner. The court
assumed mourning, and the _corps diplomatique_ were summoned to the
Christiansborg Palace and proceeded thither, also in mourning. But the
King did not appear. The Grand Chamberlain of the court announced to
them the verdict, and said that the King had no longer a consort, and
there was no longer a Queen. At the same time an order was issued to
omit the Queen's name from the public prayers. Henceforth she was to be
considered as dead in law.

Uhldahl saw the Queen the day after the decision of the court, and told
her of the judgment. According to him she merely answered: "I thought
as much. But what will become of Struensee?" And when he replied that
Struensee would certainly be sentenced to death, "she cried and shook
all over". She bewailed the fact that it was she who was the cause of
his misfortunes. "The Queen would have sacrificed everything to save
him; she thought nothing of herself." Despite his base confession,
which she was forced at last to believe he had made, she forgave him
everything. Several times she bade Uhldahl to tell Struensee that
she forgave him. "When you see him," she said, "tell him that I am
not angry with him for the wrong he has done me."[55] Her love was

[55] _Christian VII. og Caroline Mathilde_, by Chr. Blangstrup,

The unfortunate Matilda was formally acquainted with the sentence of
divorce on April 9, when Baron Juell-Wind, one of her judges, went to
Kronborg by order of the Council of State, and read to the Queen the
verdict of the court in the presence of the commandant of Kronborg. The
Queen, who had been prepared by Uhldahl, heard the sentence without
emotion, but was greatly distressed at the thought that it might
involve separation from her child. She did not ask, and did not seem to
care, what her fate would be, but she was informed that it would depend
upon the King's pleasure.

Her punishment indeed was still under debate, and was being discussed
as hotly at the Christiansborg Palace as the verdict of divorce had
been. The Queen had been unfaithful to the King's bed; therefore she
had been found guilty of high treason; therefore, urged some, she was
worthy of death. The other alternative was perpetual imprisonment, and
this seems to have been seriously considered, for the preparations
at the fortress of Aalborg--a storm-beaten town at the extreme edge
of Jutland--were pushed on with all speed. In theory, the last three
months Matilda had been residing at one of her husband's country
palaces, for Kronborg was a royal palace as well as a fortress; she
was now to be stripped of every appurtenance of her rank, and sent to
Aalborg. Once there she would probably have died mysteriously.

But Keith, who had interfered to prevent the Queen from being publicly
disgraced, now interfered again, with even more determination, to
mitigate her punishment. He could not prevent the divorce, but he could
prevent the punishment. The King, the Grand Chamberlain had informed
the foreign ministers, had no longer a consort; Denmark had no longer
a Queen; Matilda was dead in law. This declaration gave Keith his
opportunity. Though, he argued, it might please the King of Denmark
to declare that Matilda was no longer his wife or his queen, it must
be remembered that she was still a princess of Great Britain, and
the sister of the King of England. Since the King, her consort, had
repudiated her, it followed that the King, her brother, became her
guardian, and her interests and future welfare were his care. By the
sentence of divorce she had passed entirely out of the jurisdiction of
Denmark to that of her native country; she became an English subject,
and as an English subject was free as air. Osten shuffled and changed
his ground from day to day, but Keith became more and more insistent,
and his tone grew more and more menacing. He sent home the most urgent
despatches, describing the unfairness of the Queen's trial, and the
danger she was in through the malice of her enemies. In default of
particular instructions, he could do nothing but threaten in general
terms; but his intervention secured a respite. The Queen remained at
Kronborg; her punishment was still undecided, and her fate uncertain.




The Queen's case being ended, it was resolved to proceed without delay
against the other prisoners, and chief among these were Struensee and
Brandt. Struensee was tried first. The day of his trial was originally
fixed for April 10, the day after the sentence of her divorce had been
communicated to the Queen at Kronborg, but, as the advocate appointed
to prosecute Struensee was not quite ready with his brief, the trial
was deferred for eleven days.

Struensee had now been in prison more than three months, and had
ample time for reflection. Seven weeks had passed since his shameful
confession compromising the Queen, but he made no sign of recanting
it; on the contrary, he imagined that it would tell in his favour.
Struensee was now a broken man; the signs of premature decay, which
first made themselves manifest in the days of his prosperity, had,
since his imprisonment, developed with great rapidity. He had shown
himself unable to bear prosperity; he was even less able to cope with
adversity. Every now and then a flash of the old Struensee would assert
itself, but for the most part he was a feeble creature who brooded day
after day in his dungeon, and bore but little resemblance to the once
imperious minister. All Struensee's thoughts were now concentrated on
a craven desire for life--life at any cost--and to this end he offered
up in sacrifice not only the woman who had done everything for him,
but all the principles and ideals which had guided him throughout his

The Queen-Dowager, who had affected so much concern for the welfare of
Queen Matilda's soul, was equally interested in the soul of Struensee.
Perhaps she thought that spiritual terrors might induce him to amplify
his already too detailed confession. From the first days of his
imprisonment Struensee had been urged to see a clergyman, but had
always refused. After his confession of adultery with Matilda, which
was taken as a sign of grace, the Queen-Dowager insisted that he should
receive a ghostly counsellor, even against his will. To that end she
appointed Dr. Münter as the fittest instrument to effect Struensee's
conversion. The choice of Dr. Münter was of course designed. He was
the most fanatical and violent of all the preachers in Copenhagen, and
had shown himself a bitter opponent of Struensee and the Queen. He had
denounced them from the pulpit in the days of their prosperity, and
from the same sanctuary he had savagely gloated over them in the days
of their ruin. It was a refinement of cruelty, therefore, to send him,
of all others, to the miserable prisoner now.

Münter entered upon his task with alacrity. He took a professional
pride in his work, and apparently felt much as a doctor would feel
who had before him a difficult case; if he could effect a cure, it
would be a great triumph for him. But, apart from this, there is no
doubt that Münter was perfectly sincere. By nature a bigot, and by
education narrow-minded, he had all the thoroughness born of that same
narrowness. To him it was all-important that he should save Struensee's
soul: the greater the sinner, the greater would be his salvation.
Therefore, Münter set to work to make Struensee confess everything,
heedless, or oblivious, of the fact that, while he was labouring
to effect the miserable man's conversion, he was (by repeating his
confessions) helping his enemies to complete his ruin.[56]

[56] Münter wrote a full and particular account of his efforts,
entitled, _Narrative of the Conversion and Death of Count Struensee_,
by Dr. Münter. This book was translated into the English by the Rev.
Thomas Rennell: Rivingtons, 1824. It contains long and (to me) not very
edifying conversations on religion which are alleged to have taken
place between Struensee and the divine. But since these are matters
on which people take different views, it is only fair to say that Sir
James Mackintosh awards the _Narrative_ high praise as a "perfect
model of the manner in which a person circumstanced like Struensee
ought to be treated by a kind and considerate minister of religion"
(_Misc. Works_, vol. ii.). To support this view he suggests that "as
Dr. Münter's _Narrative_ was published under the eye of the Queen's
oppressors, they might have caused the confessions of Struensee to
be inserted in it by their own agents without the consent, perhaps
without the knowledge, of Münter". But even he is fain to admit that
the "internal evidence" does not favour this preposterous hypothesis.
The confessions extorted by Münter from Struensee were used not only
against the wretched man, but to the prejudice of the Queen.

Münter paid his first visit to Struensee on March 1. The prisoner, who
had been told that he must see the man, whom he had always regarded as
his enemy, did so under protest, and received the preacher in gloomy
silence, and with a look that showed his contempt. But Münter--we are
quoting his own version of the interview--so far from overwhelming the
prisoner with reproaches or exhortations, greeted him in a cordial and
sympathetic manner, and told him that he wished to make his visits
both pleasant and useful. Struensee, who had not seen a friendly face
for months, was disarmed by Münter's manner, and offered him his
hand. The latter then opened the conversation by saying that he hoped
if he said anything displeasing to Struensee by mistake the latter
would overlook it. "Oh, you may say what you please," answered the
prisoner indifferently. Münter then began his exhortations with the
warning: "If you desire to receive comfort from me, your only friend
on earth, do not hug that mistaken idea of dying like a philosophic
hero." Struensee answered, not very truthfully: "In all my adversities
I have shown firmness of mind, and therefore I hope I shall not die
like a hypocrite." Then followed a long and animated conversation, in
which Münter bore the leading part. Struensee now and then ventured to
advance arguments which were knocked down like ninepins by the nimble
divine. Struensee, though the son of a clergyman, had in his youth
become a freethinker, and had always remained so. He was saturated with
German rationalism, and by every act and utterance had shown himself
to be a confirmed unbeliever in Christianity. It is therefore very
unlikely that a man of Struensee's calibre would be convinced by such
arguments as Münter adduced--at least, by those which he states he
adduced in his book.[57] But Struensee clung to life; he knew that
Münter was a power in the land, and he thought that, if he allowed him
to effect his conversion, he would make a friend who would probably
save him from death. In this first conversation he admitted that he
was afraid of death: "He wished to live, even though it were with less
happiness than he now enjoyed in his prison." But he would not seem
to yield all at once. "My views, which are opposed to yours, are so
strongly woven into my mind; I have so many arguments in favour of
them; I have made so many observations from physic and anatomy that
confirm them, that I think it will be impossible for me to renounce my
principles. This, however, I promise: I will not wilfully oppose your
efforts to enlighten me, but rather wish, as far as lies in my power,
to agree with you."

[57] I should be the last to say that such changes are not possible. I
only wish to suggest that in Struensee's case the motives which led him
to yield to Münter's arguments were not sincere.

On the second visit Struensee showed himself to be a little more
yielding, though he said his mind was neither composed nor serene
enough to examine into the nature of Münter's arguments. Struensee
wept when he thought of the trouble he had brought upon his friends;
he had no tears for the woman whom he had betrayed. Münter exhorted
him to acknowledge his errors and crimes, and search his former life,
in order to qualify himself for God's mercy. "God," said Münter, "has
given you an uncommon understanding, and, I believe, a good natural
disposition of heart, but through voluptuousness, ambition and levity
you have corrupted yourself." Struensee was flattered by this view of
his character, and admitted unctuously that voluptuousness had been
his chief passion, and had contributed most to his moral depravity.
After seven conferences Münter gave Struensee a letter from his father,
which he had for some time carried in his pocket, awaiting a favourable
opportunity to deliver. The letter was a long and affecting one. It
assumed Struensee's guilt as a matter of no doubt, and worthy of the
worst punishment; it lamented that he had not remained a doctor--that
his ambition had led him into all these crimes: now nothing would bring
his afflicted parents comfort but the knowledge of his conversion. This
letter affected Struensee much, and so did another one from his mother,
written in the same strain.

There is no need to trace this process step by step. Suffice it to say
that after twenty-one days of exhortation, when his trial was drawing
near, Struensee was so far converted as to declare to Münter: "I should
be guilty of the greatest folly if I did not embrace Christianity
with joy, when its arguments are so convincing, and when it breathes
such a spirit of general benevolence. Its effects on my heart are
too strong"--and so forth. In the days that followed Struensee
often expatiated on the advantages of the Christian religion, and
even advised Münter as to the best way of spreading the truths of
Christianity among the people. He suggested the distribution of tracts,
which does not seem very novel. So zealous was he that he even drew
up, in consultation with Münter, a long description of his conversion.
The document shows undoubted signs that the man's brain had weakened;
it is in parts so confused as to be almost unintelligible. But such as
it was, it sufficed for Münter, who was overjoyed at the thought that
he had snatched this brand from the burning. Yet Struensee, though
he expressed repentance for his sins, showed neither repentance nor
remorse for his most grievous one--his betrayal of the woman to whom
he owed everything. Recantation of this base treachery would have
done more to rehabilitate Struensee in the eyes of the world than any
number of maudlin confessions detailing his conversion, and it would
have been quite as effective for the object which, it is to be feared,
the newly-made convert had in view. Struensee's conversion availed
nothing with his merciless enemies; on the contrary, his confessions
of weakness and guilt made their task easier. Münter's good-will also
availed him nothing; the fanatical divine was only interested in saving
his soul; he cared nothing what became of his body. Thus the wretched
criminal sacrificed both his Queen and his convictions, and in either
case the sacrifice was vain.

Struensee's trial began on April 21, and Wivet, who had received the
King's orders to prosecute him, opened his indictment in a speech
of almost incredible coarseness and ferocity. In his attack, Wivet
exceeded the bounds of common decency, though there is no doubt that he
voiced the malevolent hatred which was felt against Struensee, not only
in the breasts of his judges, but among all classes in the kingdom.
Apart from his undoubted offences, which surely were heavy enough,
Wivet twitted Struensee with his low birth, his complaisance as a
doctor, his ignorance of the Danish language, his errors in etiquette,
his fondness for eating and drinking, his corpulence, his unbelieving
views, and other peculiarities, forgetting that invective of this kind
proved nothing.

[Illustration: THE DOCKS, COPENHAGEN, _TEMP._ 1770.]


The substance of the accusation against Struensee was catalogued under
nine heads.

First: His adultery with the Queen. This was based almost wholly on
Struensee's own confession and its confirmation by the Queen, and thus
the very deed which Struensee signed in the hope of saving his life
was brought forward as the head and front of the evidence against him.
Fräulein von Eyben's deposition, and Brandt's and Berger's depositions
were also read, but the evidence of the other witnesses in the Queen's
divorce was not put forward at all.

With reference to the testimony of Fräulein von Eyben, the advocate
said he produced it "not in order to prove what is already sufficiently
proved, but only to point out how Struensee strove always to be
present at places when there was an opportunity for him to obtain
what he desired, and how the indifference with which he was at first
regarded by the Person [the Queen] whose confidence he afterwards
gained, proves that it was not he who was tempted, but that his
superhuman impudence, his bold, crafty and villainous conduct were
so powerful that he at last obtained that which virtue and education
would never otherwise have granted, and therefore he is the more
criminal because he effected the ruin of another in order to gain
honour himself". This shows what even the Queen's enemies thought of
Struensee's baseness in trying to shield himself behind the pitiful
plea that the Queen tempted him. His prosecutors did quite right in
scouting such a plea, which, so far from extenuating him, only added to
his infamy.

Secondly: Struensee's complicity in Brandt's ill-treatment of the King.

Thirdly: The harshness with which he had treated the Crown Prince, "so
that it seems as if it had been his sole intention to remove the Crown
Prince from the world, or at least to bring him up so that he would be
incapable of reigning."

Fourthly: His usurpation of the royal authority by issuing decrees
instead of the King, and attaching his own signature to these decrees.

Fifthly: His suppression and dismissal of the Guards, which was
declared to be without the consent of the King.

Sixthly: His peculations from the Treasury. It was stated that
Struensee had not only taken large sums of money for himself, but
for his brother, for Falckenskjold, for the Countess Holstein, for
the Queen, and for Brandt. The Queen's grant from the Treasury was
10,000 dollars, not a very large sum, and one to which she was surely
entitled, as the grant was signed by the King. But the same paper
contained grants of money to Brandt, Struensee and Falckenskjold--a
grant of 60,000 to Brandt, 60,000 to Struensee and 2,000 to
Falckenskjold, a total of 122,000 dollars. It was said that the
document which the King signed contained only a grant of 10,000 dollars
to the Queen, and 6,000 each to Brandt and Struensee; but Struensee
added a nought to the donations to himself and Brandt, and wrote in
2,000 dollars for Falckenskjold, so that he tampered with the document
to the extent of forgery. The King now protested that he had never made
such a grant.

Seventhly: Struensee had sold, with the Queen's consent, a "bouquet"
of precious stones, although this was one of the crown jewels and an

Eighthly: He had given orders that all letters addressed to the King
should be brought to him, and he opened them, and thus kept the King in
ignorance of what was going on.

Ninthly: He had so arranged the military in Copenhagen in the month of
December that everything pointed to hostile intentions on his part,
probably directed against the King and the people.

These were the principal charges brought against Struensee by Wivet;
but, the advocate said: "To reckon up all the crimes committed by him
would be a useless task, the more so when we reflect that the accused
has only one head, and that, when that is lost by one of these crimes,
to enumerate the other offences would be superfluous." He therefore
demanded that Struensee should be found guilty of high treason, and
suffer death with ignominy.

The next day Uhldahl, who had defended the Queen, also undertook the
defence of Struensee. The defence was lukewarm--so lukewarm that it
could hardly be called a defence at all. The only time when Uhldahl
waxed eloquent was when he reproved Wivet for his brutal attacks on the
accused, and here it is probable that professional jealousy had to do
with his warmth, rather than interest in his client. The chief count
in the indictment against Struensee--his alleged adultery with the
Queen--Uhldahl kept to the last, and here he offered no defence, for
the prisoner had recanted in nowise his confession, but on the contrary
made it the ground of a craven cry for mercy. To quote Uhldahl:--

"He throws himself at his Majesty's feet, and implores his mercy for
the crime against his Majesty's person [adultery with the Queen] first
maintained by the Fiscal-General Wivet, but till now unalluded to by
him. It is the only thing in which he knows he has consciously sinned
against his King, but he confesses with contrition that this crime is
too great for him to expect forgiveness of it. If, however, regard for
human weakness, a truly penitent feeling of his error, the deepest
grief at it, the tears with which he laments it, and the prayers which
he devotes to the welfare of the King and his royal family, deserve
any compassion, he will not be found unworthy of it. In all the other
charges made against him, he believes that the law and his innocence
will defend him, and for this reason he can expect an acquittal, but
for the first point (which he admits) he seeks refuge in the King's
mercy alone."

Thus it will be seen, even in his advocate's defence, Struensee, though
denying all the other charges against him, reaffirmed his adultery with
the Queen, and on the strength of that admission threw himself on the
King's mercy. The only satisfactory thing about this sordid business is
that mercy was not granted to him.

Wivet replied, but Uhldahl waived his right of answering him again, and
thus saying the last word in favour of the prisoner. The two advocates
had in fact played into each other's hands; the first inflamed
the prejudices of the judges, already sufficiently prejudiced, by
malevolent details, the second by scandalously neglecting his duty, and
putting in a defence hardly worthy of the name.

Struensee became aware of how the advocate appointed to defend him had
given him away, and so he resolved to make a defence of his own, which
was certainly abler and more to the point. He wrote a long document,
containing an elaborate review of, and apology for, his administration,
answering his indictment at every point except one--his intimacy
with the Queen; on that alone he kept silence. This document offers a
remarkable contrast to the rambling and incoherent effusion in which he
gave an account of his conversion. One can only suppose that his heart
was in the one and not in the other. In both cases he might have spared
himself the trouble, for neither his conversion nor his apology availed
him anything.

Brandt's trial followed immediately on that of Struensee. His treatment
in prison had been the same as that of his fellow-malefactor. After
his examination he, too, was granted certain indulgences, and an
eminent divine was appointed to look after his soul. Brandt's spiritual
adviser was Hee, Dean of the Navy Church. Hee was more of a scholar
than Münter, and less of a bigot; moreover, he had the instincts of
a gentleman, which Münter had not, as was shown by the insults he
heaped upon the unfortunate young Queen. These considerations perhaps
hindered him in his work, for Hee's "conversion" of Brandt was not
so successful as Münter's conversion of Struensee. Brandt received
Hee courteously, conversed with him freely, and appeared to be much
affected by his arguments; but it may be doubted whether they made any
real impression on him, for Brandt, like Struensee, was a convinced
freethinker, and, moreover, suffered from an incurable levity of
temperament. But, like Struensee, he was anxious to save his life,
and to this end he was quite ready to be converted by Hee or any
one else. Even so, Brandt's conversion did not seem to extend much
beyond Deism; but that may have been due to his converter, for Hee
was not nearly so orthodox a Christian as Münter. Brandt was very
emotional, and frequently burst into tears when Hee reproved him for
the wickedness of his former life, but as soon as the preacher's back
was turned he relapsed into his old levity. This being reported to Hee,
he reprimanded the prisoner, and gave him several religious books to
read, such as Hervey's _Meditations_. Brandt then became very quiet,
and his conduct was reported as being most edifying. In fact, he seems
rather to have overdone his part, for he would sometimes take up his
chains and kiss them, and exclaim: "When I thought myself free I was
really a slave to my passions; and now that I am a prisoner, truth and
grace have set me at liberty." He also denounced Voltaire, whom he had
met on his travels, and his teaching with great vehemence, and, as for
Struensee, he said that he was "a man without any religion, who, from
his infancy, according to his own admission, never had the slightest
idea or sentiment of piety about him". Shortly after this denunciation
Struensee sent to inform Brandt that he had "found salvation" and he
was praying that he too might repent him of his sins. Whereupon Brandt,
not to be outdone in hypocrisy, replied that "he greatly rejoiced to
hear of Struensee's conversion. For his own part, he found comfort only
in religion, and from his heart forgave Struensee for all he had done
to draw him into his misfortunes."

But Brandt's pious sentiments and edifying behaviour availed him
nothing at his trial. Wivet, who had prosecuted Struensee, also
prosecuted Brandt; and Bang, who had prosecuted the Queen, was now
appointed to conduct Brandt's defence. Brandt was indicted on three

First: That he had deliberately committed a gross attack on the person
of the King--an awful deed, declared his prosecutor. "In the words of
David: 'How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy
the Lord's anointed?... Thy blood be upon thy head.'"[58]

[58] 2 Sam. i. 14, 16.

Secondly: That he was an accomplice to the improper intimacy which
Struensee had with the Queen.

Thirdly: That he joined Struensee in robbing the Treasury, and was an
accomplice to the forged document, whereby he received sixty thousand

He was also, in a greater or lesser degree, an accomplice in all the
offences committed by Struensee. On these grounds Wivet asked for
sentence of death.

Wivet handed in this indictment to the judges the same day as the
indictment of Struensee. Two days later Bang delivered a half-hearted
defence, which may be summarised thus:--

First: Though Brandt fought with the King, he did so at the King's own
command--that he only fought in self-defence, and left off directly the
King wished him to do so. He had voluntarily inflicted no injury on
his Majesty, and the account given by the prosecution of the affray was
very much exaggerated.

Secondly: He was in no sense an accomplice of the intrigue between
Struensee and the Queen. Though he felt morally convinced that improper
intercourse took place, he had no absolute proof of it, and he could
not take any steps in the matter without such proof. Moreover, it would
have been as much as his life was worth to have said anything.[59]

[59] This does not tally with his assertion that Struensee had confided
in him.

Thirdly: If Struensee had committed a forgery, that did not affect
Brandt, as he was ignorant of the matter. The grants which had been
given him were given with the approval of the King, and, though he
received large sums, yet he had to play cards daily with the King and
Queen, at which he lost heavily.

Thus it will be seen that Brandt's defence, though it actually denied
none of the charges, gave a plausible explanation of them all. Brandt
does not seem to have realised his danger, nor to have imagined that
anything he had done, or left undone, could be considered worthy of
death. In addition to his defence, he sent a memorial to his judges,
and a letter to the King, in which he begged to be allowed to go away,
and end his days quietly in Holstein. The letter to the King is lost;
but the memorial to the judges remains, and is written in such a spirit
of levity that it suggests doubt as to the writer's sanity. Of course
it was unavailing.

The legal farce was now drawing swiftly to a close. On April 25 the
judges assembled at the Christiansborg Palace to deliver judgment on
both cases. The judgments were very long and argumentative. There is no
need to give them at length; to do so would be merely to recapitulate
in other words the arguments brought forward by the prosecution. In
Struensee's sentence the chief count against him--his alleged adultery
with the Queen--was summed up in a few words: "He has already been
convicted of it" (presumably by the Queen's sentence), "and has himself
confessed it: he has thereby committed a terrible crime, which involves
in an eminent degree an assault on the King's supremacy, or high
treason, and according to the law deserves the penalty of death". The
rest of the judgment, which occupied some thirty pages, dealt in detail
with the other offences alleged against him, and condemned him on every

"Therefore," the judgment concluded, "as it is clear that Count
Struensee in more than one way, and in more than one respect, has not
only himself committed the crime of high treason in an extreme degree,
but has participated in similar crimes with others; and that, further,
his whole administration was a chain of violence and selfishness, which
he ever sought to attain in a disgraceful and criminal manner; and as
he also displayed contempt of religion, morality and good manners,
not only by word and deed, but also through public regulations,--the
following sentence is passed on him, according to the words of Article
I. of Chapter 4 of Book 6 of the Danish law:--

"Count John Frederick Struensee shall, as a well-deserved punishment
for himself, and as an example and warning for others of like mind,
have forfeited honour, life and property, and be degraded from his
dignity of count and all other honours which have been conferred on
him; his coat of arms shall be broken by the executioner; his right
hand shall be cut off while he is alive, and then his head; his body
quartered and broken on the wheel, but his head and hand shall be stuck
on a pole.

"Given by the Commission at the Christiansborg Palace, this 25th day of
April, 1772."

Here follow the signatures of the nine judges, headed by that of Baron
Juell-Wind, and ending with that of Guldberg.

Brandt's sentence was delivered at the same time. It contained no
direct allusion to the Queen, and was a long, rambling and confused
document. Finally, it declared that, by his treacherous and audacious
assault on the person of the King, he had committed an act of high
treason, which deserved the punishment of death, according to the same
article of the Danish law as that quoted in the case of Struensee.

"Count Enevold Brandt shall have forfeited honour, life and property,
and be degraded from his dignity of count and all other honours
conferred on him; his coat of arms shall be broken by the executioner
on the scaffold, his right hand cut off while he is still alive, then
his head; his body quartered and exposed on the wheel, but his head and
hand stuck on a pole.

"Given by the Commission at the Christiansborg Palace, this 25th day of
April, 1772."

The judgments were immediately published in the Danish journals.
Thence they found their way into foreign newspapers, and were by them
adversely criticised, not so much on account of the punishment, as for
the extraordinary and diffuse way in which the judgments were written.
In Denmark they were received with enthusiasm by the great majority of
the people, but there was a minority growing up which regarded them
more dubiously, and was disposed to criticise. The Government, however,
determined to allow little time for criticism or reaction, and resolved
to carry the sentences into effect at the earliest possible moment,
before any change took place in public opinion.




The prisoners were told of their fate on Friday, April 25, immediately
after the sentences were pronounced. Uhldahl and Bang went to the
citadel to inform their respective clients of the judgment against
them, and to hand them a copy of their sentences.

Uhldahl, who had undertaken the defence of Struensee with a very
ill-grace, entered the condemned man's cell and curtly said: "Good
Count, I bring you bad news," and then, without a word of sympathy,
he handed Struensee a copy of his sentence. Struensee, who had shown
craven fear at intervals during his imprisonment, now read the document
which condemned him to a barbarous and ignominious death with an
unmoved air, and when he had perused it to the end, he handed it
without a word to Dr. Münter, who was with him at the time. Apparently
only the sentence, and not the judgment, was handed to the condemned
man, for Struensee asked his advocate if he were condemned on all the
counts in his indictment, to which Uhldahl answered in the affirmative.
"Even on that concerning the education of the Crown Prince?" asked
Struensee. "Even on that," replied Uhldahl briefly. Struensee said
that, if he had had any children of his own, he should have reared them
in exactly the same way--to which Uhldahl made no reply. "And what is
Brandt's fate?" asked Struensee. "His sentence is exactly the same
as yours." "But could his counsel do nothing to save him?" demanded
Struensee. "He said everything that could be urged in his favour; but
Count Brandt had too much laid to his charge." The thought of Brandt's
fate moved Struensee far more than his own; but he soon regained his
composure, and resolved to petition the King, who had not yet signed
the sentences, for mercy.

When Struensee and Münter were left alone, the latter lamented the
barbarities of the sentence, but Struensee assured him they mattered
little. He still held the same ground--that is to say, he admitted his
guilt so far as the Queen was concerned, but maintained his innocence
of all the other charges against him, even the one of having forged
the document that gave him money from the Treasury, which must have
been true. But he admitted that his intrigue with the Queen made
him liable to the extremest punishment of the law. "My judges," he
said, "had the law before them, and therefore they could not decide
otherwise. I confess my crime is great; I have violated the majesty
of the King." Even now, when the sentence had robbed him of almost
his last hope, and he was face to face with a hideous death, this
wretched man had no word of remorse or grief for the ruin, misery
and suffering he had brought upon the Queen. Uhldahl had given him
Matilda's pathetic message--that she forgave him everything he had
said and done against her, even the shameful confession by which he
had striven to shield himself at her expense. Struensee received the
message without emotion, and even with sullen indifference; he was
so much engrossed with his own fate that he had no thought to spare
for the Queen. Perhaps he thought it was a device of the Evil One to
lure him away from the contemplation of his soul. However much we may
suspect the motives which first led Struensee to his conversion, there
is no doubt that he was sincerely zealous for his spiritual well-being
at the last. The long months of solitary confinement, the ceaseless
exhortations and prayers of the fervent Münter, the near approach of
death, perhaps, too, some echo from the pious home in which he had
been reared, combined to detach Struensee's thoughts from the world
and to concentrate them on his soul. He had reached that point which
counts earth's sufferings as little in comparison with the problems
of eternity. The worldling, who had once thought of nothing but his
material advancement, was now equally ambitious for his spiritual
welfare. In his pursuit of the one he was as selfish and as absorbed as
he had been in pursuit of the other. The motive had changed, but the
man was the same.


_From a Contemporary Print._]

Brandt had also received a copy of his sentence from Bang, and, like
Struensee, immediately petitioned the King for mercy. It was generally
expected that the royal clemency would be exercised in his case. The
judges who tried the case had no option but to pass sentence, but
some of them had hoped that the extreme penalty of the law would be
mitigated. It was the King's business to sign the sentences, but the
question of whether he should, or should not, confirm them was first
discussed by the Council of State before the documents were sent to
the King to sign. In the council itself there were voices on the
side of mercy, especially for Brandt, but Rantzau and Osten, the two
members of the council who had been familiar friends of the condemned
men, absolutely opposed the idea of any mercy being shown to either
of them. Yet there is no doubt that, if strict justice had been meted
out, Rantzau, at least, would have been lying under the same sentence.
Perhaps it was this thought which made him of all the council the most
implacable and unyielding: dead men could tell no tales, and until
both Struensee and Brandt were dead, Rantzau would not feel safe. So
the council, at any rate by a majority, reported that the King should
confirm the sentences.

All effort was not at an end, for Guldberg, the most influential of
the judges who had condemned Struensee and Brandt, had an audience
of Juliana Maria, and implored a mitigation of the punishment, or at
least that Brandt's life should be spared. But Juliana Maria showed
herself inflexible, and the vindictive side of her nature asserted
itself without disguise. Brandt as well as Struensee had inflicted many
slights upon her and her son; therefore he, too, should die. Guldberg,
who had supposed his influence over the Queen-Dowager was all-powerful,
as indeed it was on most points, was unable to move her in this,
and might as well have pleaded to a rock. After a long and violent
altercation he withdrew worsted, and until the executions were over
he remained in strict retirement. Whatever may be said of the others,
Guldberg, at any rate, washed his hands of the blood of the condemned

It may be doubted, however, if Juliana Maria, even if she had been
otherwise minded, could have saved Brandt's life, for the King, though
easily led in many respects, showed remarkable obstinacy in this. Some
of his ministers suggested to him that it would be generous of him to
pardon Brandt, as the chief offence was one against his royal person;
but the King at once showed the greatest repugnance to pardon. He hated
Brandt much more than he hated Struensee; he had never forgiven him
the assault, and the mere mention of his name was sufficient to fill
him with rage. He positively declared that he would not sign either of
the sentences unless he signed both, and, as no one wished Struensee
to escape, the ministers gave way. The King signed both sentences, and
displayed a savage joy when he heard that they were to be carried out
without delay. In the evening he dined in public and went in state to
the Italian opera.

On Friday, April 25, the prisoners were told of their sentences, and
on Saturday they were informed that the King had signed them, and
all hope was over. Their execution would take place on the Monday
following. Both prisoners received the news with composure, though
Struensee was much affected when he heard that every effort to save
Brandt's life had failed, and commented indignantly on the injustice of
his sentence. Münter, who brought him the fatal news, greatly lamented
that the barbarous and needless cruelties of the sentence had not been
abolished. Struensee exhorted his friend and confessor to maintain his
firmness, and said he would dispense with his services at the last
if the sight would be too much for him. But to this Münter would not
listen. "I shall suffer much more," said Struensee, "if I see that
you suffer too. Therefore, speak to me on the scaffold as little as
you can. I will summon all my strength; I will turn my thoughts to
Jesus, my Deliverer; I will not take formal leave of you, for that
would unman me." As to the brutal indignities of his death, he said:
"I am far above all this, and I hope my friend Brandt feels the same.
Here in this world, since I am on the point of leaving it, neither
honour nor infamy can affect me any more. It is equally the same to
me, after death, whether my body rots under the ground or in the open
air--whether it serves to feed the worms or the birds. God will know
how to preserve those particles which on the resurrection day will
constitute my glorified body. It is not my all which is to be exposed
upon the wheel. Thank God, I am now well assured that this flesh is not
my whole being."

Struensee wrote three letters--one to Brandt's brother, in which he
bewailed having been the innocent cause of bringing "our dear Enevold
to this pass"; another to Rantzau, saying he forgave him as he hoped to
be forgiven, and exhorting him to turn to religion; and the third to
Madam von Berkentin of Pinneberg, the lady who had first recommended
Struensee to influential personages, and thus unwittingly had laid
the foundation of his future greatness and of his future ruin. To his
brother, Justice Struensee, who was also a prisoner, the condemned man
sent a message of farewell through Münter. But to the Queen he sent
neither word of remembrance nor prayer for forgiveness for the wrong
he had done her. In this respect, at least, it would seem Struensee's
conversion was not complete.

When Hee brought Brandt the news that his execution was determined
upon, he displayed a firmness and dignity hardly to be expected from
one of his volatile temperament. He indulged in no pious aspirations
after the manner of Struensee, but said quietly that he submitted to
the will of God.

For the next two days Copenhagen was filled with subdued excitement.
On Sunday, the day before the execution, the places of public resort
were closed, but the citizens gathered together in little groups at the
corners of the streets, and spoke in hushed accents of the tragedy of
to-morrow. Meanwhile, the Government was taking every step to hurry
forward the executions and preserve public order. Soldiers were already
guarding a large field outside the eastern gate of Copenhagen, where
a scaffold, eight yards long, eight yards broad and twenty-seven feet
high, was being erected. Other soldiers were posted on the gallows-hill
a little distance to the west, where two poles were planted, and four
wheels tied to posts. The Government had some difficulty in finding
carpenters to build the scaffold, as the men had a superstition
about it; many of them refused, and were at last coerced by threats.
No wheelwright would supply the wheels on which the remains of the
wretched men were to be exposed, so at last they were taken from old
carriages in the royal stables. Though the work was pressed forward
with all speed, the scaffold was only completed a few hours before the
execution, which was arranged to take place early in the morning of
Monday, April 28.

All the night before crowds of people were moving towards the eastern
gate, and at the first break of dawn large bodies of troops marched
to the place of execution, and were drawn up in a large square around
the scaffold. Others formed a guard along the route from the citadel,
and everywhere the posts were doubled. When all preparations were
complete, the eastern gate of the city was thrown open, and huge
crowds surged towards the fatal field, or pressed against the soldiers
who guarded the route along which the condemned men were to journey
from the citadel to the scaffold. Everywhere was a sea of countless
heads. Upwards of thirty thousand persons, including women and little
children, were gathered around the scaffold alone--some animated by a
lust for blood and vengeance, but most of them by that morbid curiosity
and love of the horrible common to all mobs in all ages of the world.

At a very early hour the two clergymen went to the condemned men to
comfort and attend them in their last moments. When Münter entered
Struensee's cell, he found him reading Schegel's _Sermons on the
Passion of Christ_. The unhappy man was already dressed. His jailors
had given him, as if in mockery, the clothes he had worn at the
masquerade ball the night of his arrest, and in which he had been
hurried to prison--a blue cut-velvet coat and pink silk breeches. For
the first time for many months his chains were taken off. Struensee
greeted Münter calmly, and together they conversed on religious matters
until the cell door opened and the dread summons came.

Dean Hee found Brandt brave and even cheerful. He, too, had been
unchained from the wall, and was enjoying his brief spell of
comparative freedom by walking up and down the room. Brandt, also, was
vested in the clothes he had brought with him to the citadel--a green
court dress richly embroidered with gold. He told Hee that he was not
afraid to die, and seemed only anxious that the ordeal should be over.
He asked him if he had seen any one executed before, and how far he
ought to bare his neck and arm to the headsman's axe. Presently the
summons came for him too.

Both the condemned men were marched out to the large hall of the
citadel, where they were again fettered by a chain attached to their
left hand and right foot. As the morning was cold, they were allowed to
wear their fur pelisses. In this attire they entered the coaches drawn
up in the courtyard of the citadel. Brandt occupied the first coach,
Struensee the second. On one side of each of the prisoners sat an
officer with a drawn sword, on the other the clergyman; opposite them
were placed two sergeants. The two coaches were guarded by two hundred
infantry soldiers with fixed bayonets, and an equal number of dragoons
with drawn sabres. In a third coach were seated the Fiscal-General,
Wivet, and the King's bailiff, and facing them was the deputy-bailiff,
holding the two tin shields on which the arms of the Counts were
painted, which were to be broken in the sight of the people.

At half-past eight the bell began to toll from the tower of the
citadel. The gates were thrown open, and the melancholy procession
emerged, and began its slow progress to the place of execution. Though
the streets were thronged, and every window, balcony and housetop was
filled with spectators, the condemned men passed along their last
journey in silence--a silence only broken by the tramp of the soldiers'
and horses' feet. The morning was dull and cold, and a slight mist
hung over the Sound. When the procession reached its destination,
the Fiscal-General and the King's bailiff and his deputy-bailiff
mounted the scaffold, where the executioner, masked, and two stalwart
assistants, also masked, awaited their victims, surrounded by the
dread emblems of their hideous office. The large scaffold, which was
twenty-seven feet in height, rose far above the heads of the soldiers
who guarded it and the vast crowd beyond. All could see what took place
there, even from a far distance, for this platform and the figures upon
it were clearly silhouetted against the morning sky.

Brandt was the first of the condemned men to mount the flight of wooden
stairs to the scaffold--a task made more difficult from the fact that
he was chained hand and foot. He was closely followed by Dean Hee,
who exhorted him to firmness the whole time. Arrived on the scaffold,
Brandt turned to the clergyman, and assured him that he had no fear,
and his mind was quite composed. The worthy divine, however, continued
to encourage him with these words: "Son, be of good cheer, for thy
sins are forgiven thee." Brandt throughout behaved with heroism. When
his fetters were struck off the King's bailiff stepped forward to read
his sentence; he listened quietly to the end, and then protested his
innocence. The deputy-bailiff held up to Brandt the tin shield, and
formally asked him if it were his coat of arms painted thereon. Brandt
merely nodded in answer, and the bailiff swung the shield into the air
and broke it, with the words:

"This is not done in vain, but as a just punishment." Hee then began
to recite in a loud voice the prayer for the dying, and when it was
over he put to the condemned man the usual questions, to which Brandt
answered again that he was sorry for what he had done wrong, but he
left all to God, and was not afraid to die. Hee then gave him his
blessing, and, taking him by the hand, delivered him over to the

When the headsman approached to assist the prisoner in undressing,
Brandt exclaimed firmly: "Stand back, and do not dare to touch me!" He
undressed alone; he let his fur pelisse fall, took off his hat, removed
his coat and waistcoat, bared his neck, and rolled up the shirt sleeve
of his right arm. In this he suffered the executioner to help him, for
he was afraid he might not roll it up sufficiently. Brandt then knelt
down, laid his head on one block, and stretched out his right hand
on another, and smaller one, hard by. While he was in this position,
Hee whispered some last words of comfort, and then stood back. As the
clergyman was reciting: "O Christ, in Thee I live, in Thee I die! O
Lamb of God that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy!" the
executioner stepped forward, and with two well-directed blows completed
his dread task.

Immediately the execution was over the assistants advanced to perform
the most horrible part of the sentence, and wreak the last indignities.
They stripped the body, laid it on a block, disembowelled it, and
split it into four quarters with an axe. Each part was then let down
by a rope into a cart standing below, with the other remains; the head
was held up on a pole, and shown to the multitude; then that, too,
was let down into the cart, and lastly the right hand. After this the
scaffold was strewn with fresh sand, the axes were roughly cleaned, and
everything made ready for the next victim.

Brandt's execution had taken nearly half an hour. During the whole of
this horrible scene Struensee sat in his coach, which was drawn up near
the scaffold, with Pastor Münter by his side. Münter, who showed much
more emotion than his penitent, had ordered the coach to be turned
round in such a way that they should not see Brandt's execution. But
Struensee's eyes had wandered to the block, and he said to Münter:
"I have already seen it," and then added: "We will look up again to
heaven." In this position he and his comforter remained while the last
indignities were being wrought upon Brandt's poor body, and together
they prayed until Struensee was informed that his turn had come.

Struensee became deadly pale, but otherwise retained his composure,
and, getting out of the coach, he saluted the guard on either side.
Some favoured personages had been allowed inside the square made by
the soldiers. Many of these Struensee had known in the days of his
triumph, and as he passed, led by Münter, he bowed to them also. But,
as he approached the scaffold, his fortitude began to give way, and it
was with difficulty that he mounted the fifteen steps which led to
the top. When he reached the summit, Münter repeated in a low voice
the comforting words: "He that believeth in Me, though he were dead,
yet shall he live." Then came the same formalities as in the case of
Brandt: Struensee's fetters were knocked off, the King's confirmation
of the sentence was read, and his coat of arms was broken. Then Münter,
having prayed according to the melancholy ritual, solemnly asked
Struensee if he repented of his sins and died in the true faith of a

Struensee having answered these questions in the affirmative, Münter
laid his hand upon his head, and said with deep emotion: "Go in peace
whither God calls you. His grace be with you." He then handed him over
to the executioner.

Struensee took off his fur pelisse and his hat. He would fain have
undressed himself alone, but his trembling hands refused to do the
work, and he was obliged to let the executioner help him. When his
coat and waistcoat had been taken off, he produced a handkerchief to
bind his eyes; but the executioner assured him that it would not be
necessary, and took it away. He further removed his shirt, so that
nothing might hinder the fall of the axe. Struensee then, with half his
body bare, went with faltering steps to the block, which still reeked
with the blood of Brandt. Here he reeled and would have fallen, but the
headsman assisted him to kneel, and, with some difficulty, placed his
head and hand in the right position. As the executioner raised his axe
in the air to cut off the right hand, Münter recited: "Remember Christ
crucified, who died, but is risen again." The blow fell before the
words were finished, and the right hand lay severed on the scaffold.
But the victim was seized with violent convulsions, with the result
that the executioner's second blow, which was intended to behead him,
failed. The wretched man sprang up spasmodically, but the assistants
seized him by the hair, and held him down to the block by force. The
executioner struck again, and this time with deadly effect; but even
then it was not a clean blow, and a part of the neck had to be severed.

The same revolting indignities were committed on Struensee's corpse
as on that of Brandt; it is unnecessary to repeat them. When all was
over, the mangled remains of both men were thrown into a cart and were
conveyed through the city to the gallows-hill outside the western gate.
The heads were stuck on poles, the quarters were exposed on the wheels,
and the hands nailed on a piece of board. Thus was left all that was
mortal of Struensee and Brandt--an awful warning that all might see.[60]

[60] Archdeacon Coxe, who visited Copenhagen in 1775, states in his
_Travels_ that he saw Struensee's and Brandt's skulls still exposed
on the gallows-hill. There they remained for some years. Wraxall says
that Struensee's skull was eventually stolen by four English sailors
belonging to a Russian man-of-war.

From her watch-tower afar off, the Queen-Dowager witnessed the
execution of the men whom she deemed her greatest enemies. Early in
the morning Juliana Maria mounted to a tower on the eastern side
of the Christiansborg Palace, and there through a strong telescope
gloated over this judicial murder. The keen interest she took in
every revolting detail revealed the depth of her vindictiveness. When
Brandt's execution was over, and Struensee mounted the steps to the
scaffold, she clapped her hands triumphantly and exclaimed: "Now comes
the fat one!" So great was her satisfaction that, it is said, she
momentarily forgot her caution, and declared the only thing that marred
her joy was the thought that Matilda's corpse was not thrown into the
cart with those of her accomplices. When the cart moved away, the
Queen-Dowager, fearful lest she should lose any detail of the tragedy,
ran down from the tower to the apartments which she occupied on the
upper floor of the palace, and from the windows, which commanded a view
of the gallows-hill to the west, she saw the last ignominy wrought on
the remains of her victims. In after years the Queen-Dowager always
lived in these unpretending rooms of the Christiansborg, though at
Frederiksberg and the other palaces she took possession of Matilda's
apartments. Suhm, the historian, says that he once expressed surprise
that she should still live in little rooms up many stairs, when all the
palace was at her disposal, and Juliana Maria replied: "These rooms are
dearer to me than my most splendid apartments elsewhere, for from the
windows I saw the remains of my bitterest foes exposed on the wheel."
From her windows, too, for many years after, she could see the skulls
of Struensee and Brandt withering on the poles.[61]

[61] The statement that the Queen-Dowager witnessed the execution
from a tower of the Christiansborg Palace is controverted by some on
the ground that it would not be possible for her to see it from this
point. Certainly it would not be possible to-day, owing to the growth
of Copenhagen, and the many houses and other buildings which have been
erected, but in 1772 there were comparatively few buildings between the
Christiansborg Palace and the scene of the execution, so it was quite
possible for the Queen-Dowager to view the gallows through a telescope.

Against this statement of Suhm's is to be set one of Münter's. It does
not necessarily conflict, but it shows how capable the Queen-Dowager
was of acting a part. If she forgot herself for a moment on the tower
of the Christiansborg, she quickly recovered her self-command, and
behaved with her usual decorum. She sent for Münter, ostensibly to
thank him for having effected Struensee's conversion, in reality to
extract from him all the mental agonies of her victims' last moments,
and thus further gratify her lust for vengeance. Münter expatiated on
Struensee's conversion, and gave her full particulars of his terror
and sufferings at the last. The Queen-Dowager affected to be moved to
tears, and said: "I feel sorry for the unhappy man. I have examined
myself whether in all I have done against him I have been animated by
any feeling of personal enmity, and my conscience acquits me." She
gave Münter a valuable snuff-box of rock-crystal, as a small token
of her appreciation of his labours on behalf of Struensee's soul. To
Hee she also sent a snuff-box, but it was only of porcelain. Whether
this was to mark her sense of the greater thoroughness of Struensee's
conversion, or whether it showed that she was not so much interested
in Brandt as Struensee, it is impossible to say. Nor did her rewards
end here. That both she and the ministers looked upon these clergymen
as accomplices in bringing Struensee and Brandt to their death is
shown from the fact that, when a commission of inquiry was appointed
to consider "in what manner the persons employed in convicting the
prisoners of state should be rewarded," this commission allotted to
Münter and Hee three hundred dollars each. But Juliana Maria was of a
different opinion, and judged it more proper to make them presents.[62]

[62] Münter afterwards was appointed Bishop of Zealand.

The executions of Struensee and Brandt brought about a revulsion in
public feeling. It was felt that the national honour was satisfied, and
the time had come to temper justice with mercy. The Queen-Dowager's
party were quick to note the change. Fearful of the least breath of
popular displeasure, they now swung round from barbarity to leniency.
Those placed under "house arrest" were set free, and the ten prisoners
of state imprisoned in the citadel, were treated, for the most part,
with leniency. Madame Gahler, Colonel Hesselberg, Admiral Hansel,
Councillor Stürtz, Lieutenant Aböe, and Councillor Willebrandt, since
no evidence could be produced against them, were released after an
imprisonment of four and a half months, and were all banished from
the capital. Professor Berger, the physician, who had been accused
of poisoning, or drugging, the King, was also set free, and banished
to Aalborg, in northern Jutland. It was found, after a searching
examination, that the medicines he had given the King were quite

Three state prisoners still remained--General Gahler, Colonel
Falckenskjold and Justice Struensee. Gahler was dismissed from the
King's service, and all his appointments, and was banished from
Copenhagen. But on the understanding that the ruined soldier would
neither speak nor write of public affairs, the King, by an act of
special clemency, granted him a pension of five hundred dollars, and
the same to his wife. Justice Struensee was also released, but ordered
to quit the country immediately. This clemency, so different from what
had been shown to his brother, was due to the interposition of the King
of Prussia, who had kept Struensee's position as professor of medicine
at Liegnitz open for him, and with whom he was a favourite. Justice
Struensee eventually became a Minister of State in Prussia.

Falckenskjold, who was considered the worst of all the offenders after
Struensee and Brandt, was stripped of all his employments and honours,
and condemned to be imprisoned for life in the fortress of Munkholm.
Falckenskjold remained at Munkholm for four years, where he suffered
many hardships; but in 1776, through the intercession of Prince
Frederick, he was set at liberty, on the condition that he would never
return to Danish territory. After the revolution of 1784, when Queen
Matilda's son assumed the regency, the penalties against him were
repealed; he was allowed to return to Copenhagen for a time to look
after his affairs, and later was promoted to the rank of major-general.
He never again took active part in Danish politics, but retired to
Lausanne, where he found such friends as Gibbon and Reverdil. There
he wrote his _Memoirs_, which were largely directed to proving the
innocence of Queen Matilda, and there he died in 1820 at the age of
eighty-two years.




During the weeks occupied by the trials of Struensee and Brandt, Keith
had been untiring in his efforts on behalf of Queen Matilda, and wrung
from her enemies one concession after another. As the result of his
insistence, the Queen was no longer confined in one small room, but
was permitted to use the large dining-hall outside it and the other
apartments adjoining. She was also allowed to go out and take the
air on the ramparts and the leads of the castle. Her food was better
served, and she was waited on with some ceremony by her household. The
preachers in the fortress chapel were no longer instructed to hurl
insults at the Queen, and when she attended divine service there was
nothing to remind her of her misfortunes, beyond the omission of her
name from the liturgy. The little Princess was still allowed to remain
with her. This indulgence was probably due to the fact that the child
was ill of the measles, and it might have cost the infant her life to
take her away at this time from the Queen, who most devotedly nursed
her day and night, and found in the child her only consolation. Keith
wrote of this incident: "A more tender mother than this Queen never
was born in the world."

Queen Matilda had now been imprisoned at Kronborg several months, and
by the gentleness and dignity with which she bore her sorrows she
won the respect and devotion of her jailors. Her natural kindness of
heart showed itself even under these distressing circumstances; she
made inquiries concerning the other prisoners who were detained in the
fortress, and, as soon as greater freedom was allowed her, did what
she could to alleviate their lot. From the little money she possessed,
she gave sums from time to time to buy them comforts, and, when her
dinner was served to her properly, she put aside two dishes from her
table every day, with orders that they should be given to certain
prisoners whom she had singled out for compassion. One of these was
a Danish officer, who had been confined for many years in a small
cell on suspicion of having entered into a treasonable correspondence
with Sweden. The commandant of Kronborg remonstrated with the Queen,
and asked her to bestow her little bounty on some other, lest her
kindness should be construed into a condonation of the prisoner's
heinous offence. The Queen declined, and quoted the following line of
Voltaire's: "_Il suffit qu'il soit homme, et qu'il soit malheureux_."

The Queen in her prison heard of the tragic death of Struensee and
Brandt. According to one account she swooned with grief and horror,
and when she rallied spoke no word. According to another she
received the news with emotion, and exclaimed to Fräulein Mösting,
her maid-of-honour: "Unhappy men; they have paid dearly for their
devotion to the King and their zeal in my service." These words, it
must be admitted, do not show overwhelming grief for the death of the
man who but a short time before had been dearer to her than all the
world. Perhaps his shameful confession, and the way he had received
her message of forgiveness, influenced her in spite of herself. She
forgave him the wrong he had done her; she uttered no word of reproach;
she showed the deepest pity for his sufferings and horror at his fate;
but it was impossible that she could feel quite the same towards him
as she had done. Perhaps, too, long months of solitary confinement had
brought reflection, and the death of her mother, and the thought of
her children, whom she dearly loved, had aroused her to a higher sense
of her duties; and her eyes, no longer blinded by passion, saw clearly
in what she had failed. Certain it is that Matilda's character was
purified and ennobled by suffering.

After the sentence of divorce was pronounced, Keith had insisted upon
seeing the Queen. For some time this request was refused, or rather he
was always put off on one pretext or another. But Keith clamoured in
season and out of season at the doors of the Christiansborg, and became
so threatening that at last the crafty Osten and the vindictive Juliana
Maria had to give way, and most unwillingly gave leave to the English
envoy to visit his Sovereign's sister. But this permission does not
seem to have been granted until after the execution of Struensee and


Unfortunately, there exists no account of the first interview at
Kronborg between Queen Matilda and Keith; the despatches which the
English envoy wrote home at this time have all been destroyed. But we
can imagine what it must have been. In the days when Struensee was
in the ascendant, the young Queen was hardly permitted to see her
brother's representative--much less to have any conversation with him.
She was taught to look on him rather as an enemy than a friend, and
an enemy he undoubtedly was to Struensee and his administration. But,
freed from that baneful influence, she realised that the Englishman
was her only friend, and, if help came at all, it must come from
England, her native land, which, in the days of her brief madness,
she had forgotten. Now she clung to Keith as her friend and champion;
she placed herself unreservedly in his hands; she spoke to him quite
freely, and besought him to save her from the malice of her enemies.
But it needed neither her tears nor her prayers to urge this brave
soldier to fight for his King's sister; indeed, in her defence he was
more zealous than the King himself. He sent home a copy of the sentence
against the Queen, and a full account of her trial, pointing out its
obvious unfairness, the suborned and perjured nature of the evidence,
and the way the Queen's so-called confession had been extorted from her
under false pretences. It is said that George III. had these papers
submitted to some of the first law officers of the crown, and they
reported that the evidence was insufficient to prove the Queen guilty,
and, even where it might be believed, it was only of a presumptive
and inconclusive nature. On the strength of this report George III.
determined to give his sister the benefit of the doubt. Moved by the
despatches in which Keith eloquently portrayed the young Queen's
privations and sufferings and the danger to which she was exposed from
the fury and malice of her enemies, George III. sent instructions to
his envoy to peremptorily demand that Matilda should be set at liberty
forthwith, and handed over to his keeping.

On receipt of this despatch Keith lost no time in acquainting the
Danish Government with its contents; but the Queen-Dowager and her
adherents demurred. Every preparation had been made to remove the
unfortunate young Queen to Aalborg--a lonely fortress on the extreme
edge of Jutland, and to keep her there in perpetual imprisonment.
And to Aalborg, they informed Keith, she would shortly be conducted.
Matilda had a presentiment that if she once went to Aalborg she would
never leave it alive. The only link that bound her to Denmark was her
children; apart from them, she had nothing there, and her one wish was
to leave it for ever, and return to the country which gave her birth.
But, though Keith stormed and protested, the Danish Government showed
no signs of yielding. Perhaps they trusted to the alleged lukewarmness
of the King of England, and believed that he would not force matters
to extremities. Keith wrote home a strongly worded despatch, saying
that it was absolutely necessary for the English Government to take
prompt and vigorous measures if this daughter of England were to be set
free. He also pointed out the bad effect it would have upon British
influence in Europe if, at such a moment, England did not show herself
as good as her word. On receipt of this despatch, George III. no longer
hesitated and took the vigorous measures he ought to have taken long
before; his own honour and the honour of England alike demanded that
the Queen should not be abandoned to her fate. He commanded Keith
to inform the Danish Government that, unless they at once agreed to
deliver the Queen to his keeping, the English minister would present
his letters of recall, a state of war would be declared between England
and Denmark, and a fleet would be despatched to bombard Copenhagen.
And, in order to follow up his words with action, orders were sent to
the Admiralty for the fitting out of a strong fleet, and though no
directions were given as to where it was to sail, it was universally
thought to be destined for Denmark. The Danish envoy in London thought
so too, for he wrote to Copenhagen in great alarm. He said that
the King of England was really roused at last, he referred to his
well-known obstinacy, and urged the Danish Government to yield to his

In England the fate of the Queen of Denmark, which for so many months
had hung in the balance, was followed with close attention, and when
rumours came of the fitting out of the fleet, the public excitement
was wrought to the highest pitch. The Opposition, which had first
championed the cause of Matilda with more zeal than discretion, now
turned against her, and denounced the Government in the strongest terms
for bringing about a war between two friendly nations for a worthless
woman. The vilest pamphlets suddenly flooded the streets. To quote a
journal of the day: "Yesterday, in some parts of the city, men were
crying about printed papers, containing the most scandalous rumours,
and impudent reflections on the Queen of Denmark. The worst prostitute
that ever Covent Garden produced could not have had more gross abuse
bestowed on her."[63]

[63] _General Evening Post_, April 30, 1772.

Fortunately, for all concerned, the crisis was averted. When Keith,
on receipt of the King of England's orders, presented himself at the
Christiansborg Palace and delivered his ultimatum, panic struck the
hearts of the Queen-Dowager and her adherents, and this panic was
heightened by the news, conveyed to them by the Danish envoy in London,
that a fleet was fitted out and ready to sail. The Queen-Dowager did
not yield her victim without a struggle, she hated Matilda more than
Struensee and all his accomplices put together, but she was overborne
by the remonstrances of the rest, who knew that to precipitate a
conflict with England at this juncture would assuredly prove their
ruin. Whatever the issue of the struggle (and there was not much doubt
about that), the Danish people would never forgive the Government for
involving them in a ruinous war on such a pretext. Moreover, there was
a revulsion of feeling in favour of the young Queen, and, since the
death of Struensee, sympathy with her had been gaining ground daily.
It really would be safer, urged some, to get her out of the country
than to keep her shut up at Aalborg, for her adherents would always
be plotting to obtain her release. These considerations weighed even
with Juliana Maria, and made her see virtue in necessity. Keith, who
had noted these signs of weakness and divided counsels, pushed his
advantage, and with such success that he gained every point, and more
than every point, that George III. demanded. Not only did the Danish
Government agree to deliver Matilda to the King of England's keeping,
but they further promised that the sentence of divorce should not be
officially published, that they would do all they could to hush up the
scandal, that she should be permitted to retain her title of Queen,
and that they would pay a yearly allowance towards her maintenance in
another country. The Queen was not only to be set free, but to be set
free with honour. On only one point they would not yield: they would
not allow her to say good-bye to her son, or to take her daughter
with her. By the finding of the judges the Princess was the King of
Denmark's child, and therefore he was her proper guardian.

As Keith had no instructions on this point, he was powerless to
insist upon it; but it was with a glad heart that he sat down to
write his despatch, which informed his King that every point had been
gained--that his demands had been complied with, and war would be

The English Government received Keith's despatch with a great sense of
relief. The King, now his blood was up, would undoubtedly have insisted
upon the fleet sailing, and many complications would have ensued. The
Government were by no means sure that they would have the nation at
their back in declaring war on such a pretext. The whole story of the
Queen of Denmark's errors would have become common property; the King
of Prussia, who was in close alliance with Denmark, and whose Queen
was the sister of Juliana Maria, would probably have marched an army
into Hanover if Copenhagen had been bombarded, and a new war would
have been kindled in the north of Europe. Therefore, both the King
and the Government had every reason to congratulate themselves that
these difficulties had been avoided, and it was resolved to promote
Keith as a reward for the successful way in which he had conducted the
negotiations. Lord Suffolk wrote to Keith the following despatches:--

                                        "ST. JAMES'S, _May 1, 1772_.


  "Your despatches by King the messenger have already been
  acknowledged; those by Pearson were received on Wednesday afternoon,
  and I now answer both together.

  "His Majesty's entire approbation of your conduct continues to the
  last moment of your success, and his satisfaction has in no part of
  it been more complete than in the manner in which you have stated,
  urged and obtained the liberty of his sister, and the care you have
  taken to distinguish between a claim of right and the subjects of
  negotiation, and to prevent the mixture of stipulations with a demand
  is perfectly agreeable with your instructions.

  "The national object of procuring the liberty of a daughter of
  England confined in Denmark after her connection with Denmark was
  dissolved is now obtained. For this alone an armament was prepared,
  and therefore, as soon as the acquiescence of the court of Copenhagen
  was known, the preparations were suspended, that the mercantile and
  marine interests of this kingdom might be affected no longer than was
  necessary by the expectation of a war.

  "Instead of a hostile armament, two frigates and a sloop of war are
  now ordered to Elsinore. One of them is already in the Downs--the
  others will repair thither immediately: and, as soon as wind permits,
  they will proceed to their destination. I enclose to you an account
  of them, which you may transfer to Monsieur Ostein [Count Osten]
  ministerially, referring at the same time to the assurance of these
  pacific proceedings.

  "The compliance of the Danish court with his Majesty's demand,
  however forced, is still a compliance. Their continuing, unasked,
  the style of Queen and other concessions, and the attainment of the
  national object, accompanying each other, his Majesty would think
  it improper to interrupt the national intercourse from any personal
  or domestic consideration. You will therefore inform Monsieur
  Ostein that his Majesty intends to have a minister at the court of
  Copenhagen, the explanation you may give of this suspension of former
  directions and his determinations being left to your own discretion.

  "You will not be that minister. His Majesty will have occasion for
  your services in a more eligible situation, and, as soon as you have
  discharged your duty to the Queen of Denmark by attending her to
  Stade, you will return home, either on board his Majesty's ship which
  conveyed you thither, or, if the passage by sea is disagreeable to
  you, by land, with the least possible delay.

  "I am, with great truth and regard, Sir,

    "Your most obedient and humble servant,


[64] _Memoirs and Correspondence of Sir R. Murray Keith_, vol. i.

                                        "ST. JAMES'S, _May 1, 1772_.

  "For your own information, I enclose a list of the ships which were
  intended to enforce the demand for the Queen of Denmark's liberty, if
  it had been refused. Those from Plymouth would have been sailed if
  the countermand had been a few hours later than it was. The others
  were just ready to proceed to the Downs, and the whole fleet would
  probably have by this time been on their way to Copenhagen, under the
  command of Sir Charles Hardy.

                                    "I am, etc.,


[65] _Memoirs and Correspondence of Sir R. Murray Keith_, vol. i.

The public curiosity in London, which had been keenly aroused by
the news that a fleet was being hastily fitted out for the Baltic,
was no less excited when the preparations were suddenly stopped by
a counter-order, sent to Portsmouth on April 22. Though no official
information was vouchsafed, people shrewdly guessed the truth. Horace
Walpole gives a fair idea of the gossip which was floating about

"The King, as Lord Hertford told me, had certainly ordered the fleet to
sail; and a near relation of Lord North told me that the latter had not
been acquainted with that intention. Lord Mansfield, therefore, who had
now got the King's ear, or Lord Sandwich, First Lord of the Admiralty,
must have been consulted. The latter, though I should think he would
not approve of it, was capable of flattering the King's wishes;
Lord Mansfield assuredly would. The destination was changed on the
arrival of a courier from Denmark, who brought word that the Queen was
repudiated, and, I suppose, a promise that her life would be spared,
for though the Danes had thirty ships and the best seamen next to ours,
and though we were sending but ten ships against them, the governing
party were alarmed, probably from not being sure that their nation was
with them."[66]

[66] Walpole, _Journals of the Reign of George III._

Again: "They gave her [the Queen of Denmark] the title of Countess of
Aalborg, and condemned her to be shut up in the castle of that name.
The King of England had certainly known her story two years before;
a clerk in the secretary's office, having opened a letter that came
with the account,[67] told me he had seen it before the secretary
gave it to the King. It was now believed that this intelligence had
occasioned the Princess of Wales to make an extraordinary journey to
Germany, where she saw her daughter, though to no purpose. Princess
Amelia told Lord Hertford on the 26th [April] ... that Queen Matilda
had a very high spirit, and that she believed the Danes would consent
to let her go to Hanover. 'But she will not be let go thither,' added
the Princess, meaning that the Queen's brother, Prince Charles of
Mecklenburg, commanded there, 'or to Zell, but she will not go thither'
[another of the Queen's brothers was there]; 'perhaps she _may_ go to

[67] The account of the Queen's alleged intrigue with Struensee.

[68] Walpole, _Journals of the Reign of George III._, vol. i.

Queen Matilda's destination had been determined by her brother before
her release was assured. Matilda had herself petitioned that she
might be allowed to return to England, and live the rest of her life
among her own people; but this natural request was refused. The King
at first was inclined to grant it, and, if the Princess-Dowager of
Wales had been alive, no doubt it would have been granted. But Queen
Charlotte, who had always shown the greatest jealousy of the King's
sisters, and had quarrelled fiercely with the Princess of Brunswick,
displayed the bitterest animus against the unfortunate Matilda, who
surely could have given her no cause of offence, for she had left
England when a child of fifteen. It is probable that the King's harsh
judgment of his sister, and his slowness to intervene on her behalf,
were instigated by Queen Charlotte, who now shrilly opposed the idea of
Matilda returning to England. Her rigid virtue rose in arms at the bare
suggestion of such a thing; she declared that she would not receive
her sister-in-law; that her presence at court would be an insult; that
she would contaminate the young princesses, her daughters, and be to
them a bad example. Queen Charlotte had her way, for the King did not
venture to stand up against the tempest of her virtuous indignation. He
then thought of sending his sister to Hanover; there were three empty
palaces there, and his Hanoverian subjects would be sure to receive her
kindly. But Queen Charlotte opposed that too: Hanover was too gay a
place, she said, for one who ought to hide her head from all the world;
and at her instigation her brother, Prince Charles of Mecklenburg, who
commanded there, raised objections also. The idea of sending Matilda to
Lüneburg was out of the question, for there was no house there, and it
was too near the frontier of Denmark. So at last the King decided upon
Celle as the most suitable place for his sister to find a refuge. True,
Prince Ernest of Mecklenburg-Strelitz commanded the garrison, another
of the Queen's brothers (Queen Charlotte provided for all her needy
relatives at the expense of her adopted country), but he was young
and unmarried, and offered no objection. On the contrary, he looked
forward to the advent of the Queen as a break in the monotony of Celle.
To Celle, therefore, it was determined she should go.

Celle was an old town in the King's Hanoverian dominions, about twenty
miles north of Hanover. It was formerly the capital of the Dukes of
Brunswick-Lüneburg, and the town was dominated by the magnificent
castle where they formerly held their court.[69] The last Duke of
Celle was George William, brother of Ernest Augustus, first Elector of
Hanover and the father of George I. of England. George I., then the
Hereditary Prince of Hanover, married his cousin, the only daughter
of the Duke of Celle, the unfortunate Sophie Dorothea. At Duke George
William's death he became, through his marriage, possessed of the
dukedom of Celle, which was merged into the electorate of Hanover.
Since the death of Duke George William in 1705, there had no longer
been a court at Celle, and the importance of the town had waned, while
that of its rival, Hanover, had increased, though Celle still remained
a seat of justice, and a garrison was quartered there. The castle as
a place of residence needed many things to make it habitable. George
III. now gave orders that it was to be thoroughly repaired, and a suite
of apartments re-decorated and furnished for his sister, and rooms
prepared for the accommodation of her household.

[69] The ancestors of the royal families of England, Germany (Prussia)
and Hanover all lived at Celle.

Keith carried to the imprisoned Queen the tidings of her deliverance
early in May. It was with feelings of triumph and gladness that he
hastened to Kronborg to inform her of his success, and the King of
England's plans for her future welfare. As he wrote to his sister: "To
demand the liberty of a captive Queen, and to escort her to a land of
freedom is truly such a commencement of my chivalry as savours strongly
of the romantic. You will easily judge of the warmth of your brother's
zeal in the execution of a commission so well adapted to his genius.
Can you figure to yourself what he must have felt in passing through
the vaulted entrance of Hamlet's castle to carry to an afflicted and
injured princess these welcome proofs of fraternal affection and
liberty restored?"[70] His emotion was reciprocated, for, when Keith
came into the Queen's chamber and told her the glad news, she burst
into grateful tears, embraced him, and called him her deliverer. The
gallant soldier could have had no better reward.

[70] _Memoirs and Correspondence of Sir R. Murray Keith_, vol. i.

It was Keith's duty and pleasure now to inform the Queen that she was
no longer to consider herself a prisoner, but was merely residing in
the King of Denmark's palace of Kronborg until such time as the English
squadron should arrive to escort her to her brother's Hanoverian
dominions with every mark of honour and respect. He also told her of
the other concessions he had obtained for her; he had wrung almost
everything from her enemies except a proclamation of her innocence. On
this delicate subject the Queen is stated to have said that she found
some consolation in the thought that time would clear her character. "I
am young; I may, therefore, perhaps live," said she, "to see Denmark
disabused with respect to my conduct; whereas my poor mother, one
of the best women that ever lived, died while the load of obloquy
was heavy upon her, and went to her grave without the pleasure of a
vindicated character."[71] Throughout her imprisonment at Kronborg
Matilda had worn black--"in mourning," she said, "for her murdered

[71] _General Evening Post_, May 14, 1772.

Though Keith brought to Matilda the news of her deliverance early
in May, it was not until the end of that month that the Queen left
Kronborg. During that time she saw the English envoy almost every day,
though he, too, like herself, was making preparations for departure.
She was no longer treated as a prisoner, but rendered all the honour
due to her rank, and she was free to wander within the outer walls of
the fortress as she pleased--a very large space. The Queen's favourite
walk was on the ramparts in front of the castle, where she would often
pace for hours together, straining her eyes across the grey waters of
the sea to catch the first glimpse of the British squadron which was
to take her away from Denmark. She declared that until she beheld the
British flag she would not feel herself safe. The Queen-Dowager was
now quite as anxious to get Matilda out of Denmark as she was to go,
and to this end agreed to almost everything suggested by Keith, and in
some respects even went beyond his suggestions. Matilda had a great
many jewels, which were not the property of the Danish crown, but her
own. Some of them she had brought with her from England; others had
been given her by the King, her husband; some she had purchased with
her own money. All of these had been seized by Juliana Maria, together
with the Queen's clothes and her personal possessions. When Matilda was
first sent to Kronborg she had little or nothing beyond the clothes she
wore, but little by little, grudgingly, things had been sent her. Now
the Queen-Dowager volunteered to send Matilda the jewels which King
Christian had given her; but the wronged wife rejected the offer with
disdain. She would take no favour she said; she wished to have nothing
to remind her of the husband who had repudiated her, or the country
which had treated her so cruelly; as a British princess she would
retain none of the trappings of her Danish slavery. The question formed
a subject of despatches, and Lord Suffolk wrote to Keith as follows:
"His Majesty does not see any objection to his sister receiving the
jewels you mention, which were formerly given, and are now intended
to be delivered to her. Her Danish Majesty will thereby only retain a
property, not accept a present. There seems no occasion for rejecting
the attention voluntarily offered; but, if the Queen of Denmark is very
averse from the proposition, his Majesty does not wish to control
her inclination." The Queen _was_ very averse, and so the offer was
rejected. But Matilda requested that her personal trinkets which she
had brought from England, and her books, clothing and other things,
left scattered about in the King of Denmark's palaces, should be packed
up and sent to her new home at Celle. We shall see how that order was
carried out later.

On May 27 the Queen's longing eyes were gladdened by the sight of the
English squadron rounding the point off Elsinore. The Queen was at
dinner when the guns at Kronborg saluted and the English ships answered
back. She immediately ran out on the ramparts, and wept with joy at
the sight of the British flag. Yet it was with mingled feelings that
she beheld it, for the vessels which were to carry her away to liberty
were also to carry her away from the child whom she dearly loved.
The squadron consisted of the _Southampton_ (Captain Macbride), the
_Seaford_ (Captain Davis), and the _Cruiser_ (Captain Cummings). Keith,
who had now said good-bye to Copenhagen to his great satisfaction, and
had handed over the affairs of the legation to his secretary, was at
Kronborg when the ships anchored off Elsinore. He at once went down to
the harbour to meet Captain Macbride, and conduct him to the castle to
have audience of the Queen.


_From the Drawing by C. F. Christensen._]

The Queen received Captain Macbride very graciously, and conversed with
him a few minutes. When he asked her when it would please her to
sail, she exclaimed: "Ah, my dear children!" and, putting her hands to
her face, abruptly quitted the room. Later she sent Captain Macbride
a message, asking him to forgive her emotion, and appointing two days
later, May 30, as the date of her departure.

When it was known that the British squadron was anchored off Elsinore,
great excitement prevailed at the Danish court. By way of speeding the
parting guest, perhaps also to spy upon her, a deputation of noblemen
was sent from Copenhagen by the Queen-Dowager to formally wait upon
Matilda and wish her a pleasant voyage. Queen Matilda received the
deputation with quiet dignity, and said the day would come when the
King would know that he had been betrayed and deceived, but, for
herself, she henceforth lived only for her children.

On the day appointed by the Queen for her departure, a lady from the
Danish court arrived at Kronborg in one of the royal coaches, with an
escort, to take charge of the Princess Louise Augusta. The Queen was
agonised at parting from the infant, who had been her sole consolation
in the dreary months of her captivity, and whom she had nursed at the
breast. She even thought her liberty purchased at too dear a price.
The hope that this child would be allowed to remain with her had been
one of the inducements which led her to sign the damning paper called
her confession. It must have been a bitter thought to her that she had
signed away her honour in vain, and the babe for whom she made this
supreme sacrifice was to be torn from her arms. For a long time the
Queen held her child to her breast, and wept over it, showering on it
caresses and endearing words. The lady who had come to take charge
of the infant, and all who witnessed the parting, were hardly less
affected; but the scene could not be prolonged for ever. Pleadings
and remonstrances were unavailing, and the women had almost to use
force to take the little princess from her mother's arms. At last the
heart-broken Queen yielded her infant, and cried wildly, "Let me away,
for I now possess nothing here!"

By this time it was six o'clock in the evening. Everything was ready
for the Queen's departure, and Captain Macbride and Sir Robert Keith
had been waiting at the castle all the afternoon to escort the Queen on
board. At last she was ready to leave. It was arranged that the Queen
should be attended as far as Stade by Count and Countess Holstein,
Fräulein Mösting and a page. Of her other Danish attendants the Queen
now took farewell, and many of them were moved to tears. She also bade
adieu to the commandant of Kronborg and his wife, and exonerated them
from all blame for the deprivations she had suffered. She thanked the
commandant for what he had done directly he was allowed to ameliorate
the rigours of her captivity; to his wife she gave a gold snuff-box as
a souvenir. Nor did she forget the poor prisoners, for whom she left a
sum of money. Though she came to Kronborg a prisoner she left it as a
Queen, and a Queen to whom full honours were paid. The guard presented
arms and an escort was drawn up in the courtyard; the Queen descended
the stone stairs up which she had been hurried five months before, and
entered her coach. The commandant accompanied her to the outermost gate
of the fortress, where he took his leave. Thence it was only a few
yards to the harbour, where a Danish royal barge was waiting to row the
Queen out to the English squadron.

Immediately the Queen and her suite stepped on board H.M.S.
_Southampton_ the royal standard of England was unfurled, and the
cannon of Kronborg and of the Danish guardship in the Sound fired
a salute of twenty-one guns. The anchors were weighed immediately,
and the little English squadron set sail up the Cattegat, for it was
decided to go round Jutland, and so avoid Copenhagen. It was a fine
summer's night, and the Queen remained on deck, her eyes fixed on the
vanishing fortress (her child was to remain there until the morrow,
when she was to be taken to Copenhagen); nor could she be persuaded to
go below until darkness intercepted her view. As there was little wind
during the night the vessels made small headway. At the first break of
dawn the Queen was on deck again, and to her satisfaction found that
she could still catch a glimpse of the towers of Kronborg, which she
watched until they faded from her view.

Owing to contrary winds the voyage to Stade took several days. The
Queen is said to have beguiled her voyage by writing a long poem

    At length from sceptred care and deadly state,
    From galling censure and ill-omened hate,
    From the vain grandeur where I lately shone,
    From Kronborg's prison and from Denmark's throne
                                        I go.[72]

[72] This poem was found among Sir R. M. Keith's papers after his
death, headed: "Written at sea by the Queen of Denmark on her passage
to Stade, 1772." But the writing was not that of the Queen, and, as
Matilda had no gift for literary composition, it is doubtful whether it
is genuine. I therefore only quote the first five lines.




The English squadron arrived at Stade, a seaport town on the mouth
of the Elbe, then in the electorate of Hanover, on June 5. Matilda
was received with all the honour due to her rank as Queen of Denmark
and Princess of Great Britain. Two highly placed Hanoverian officials
rowed out to the flagship, and formally welcomed her to her brother's
dominions. The Queen landed shortly afterwards from a royal barge.
Here the Hanoverian ladies and gentlemen who were to form her new
household awaited her, and here her small Danish suite took their
leave, preparatory to returning to Copenhagen by land. The Queen gave
Count Holstein a diamond solitaire and similar souvenirs to the others.
She also recommended Captain Macbride and the other officers for
promotion through the envoy.[73] A large crowd had assembled to witness
the Queen disembark, by whom she was greeted with great enthusiasm.
There was a very general idea that she had been hardly used, and her
brother's Hanoverians were enthusiastic in her defence. The Queen was
treated with honour: she was lodged in the principal house at Stade,
and attended by her suite, which was composed of the Dowager Baroness
d'Ompteda, chief lady of her court, two other ladies-in-waiting, two
chamberlains, three pages and a number of servants. Sir Robert Keith
acted as minister in attendance.

[73] Lord Sandwich's despatch, June 28, 1772.

The Queen remained at Stade two days, and then travelled by way of
Harburg to Göhrde, a distance of thirty miles, where she was to remain
until the castle of Celle was ready for her reception. Göhrde had
formerly been a hunting-box of the Dukes of Celle. It was a long, low,
unpretending house of brick and timber, and the accommodation was so
limited that most of the suite had to be lodged in cottages hard by.
Göhrde was situated in the midst of a forest, far removed from any
town, and the Queen was more separated from the outer world there than
she had been at Kronborg.[74] At Göhrde Sir Robert Keith took leave of
the Queen, who parted from him with many expressions of gratitude and
good-will. He went, in accordance with his instructions, to England, to
give the King a full and particular account of the late revolution in
Denmark, and to say all that he could in the Queen's favour.

[74] The house at Göhrde is still standing, and is sometimes used
as a hunting-box by the German Emperor, who as King of Prussia has
appropriated it, together with all the other palaces of the King of
Hanover--except Herrenhausen--which remains the private property of the
Duke of Cumberland.

Matilda remained at Göhrde throughout the summer, and the quiet did
much to refresh her weary mind after the exciting scenes she had
gone through. In her loneliness the Queen turned to the consolations
of religion; the pastor of Lüneburg often visited her, and once a
week conducted divine service for her and the household. In August
Matilda received a visit from her sister Augusta, Hereditary Princess
of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, who came with her husband, and stayed four
days. Matilda was overjoyed to see her sister again. They had not met
since the days of their youth in England, but they had corresponded
regularly. Through good report and evil the Princess of Brunswick had
stood by her young sister, and she now determined to see as much as
possible of her in the future, which would be comparatively easy, as
Brunswick was only a few hours' journey from Celle. She had nothing
but sympathy for Matilda, and indignation at her wrongs. Together, no
doubt, they went over the whole miserable story of the unhappy marriage
in Denmark; here, too, they probably recalled the memories of their
childhood in England. The Princess of Brunswick, who had lately come
from London, also gave her sister much information concerning George
III. and Queen Charlotte, which enabled her to understand better
the state of affairs at the English court. The Prince of Brunswick,
gallant soldier that he was, also championed the cause of his young
sister-in-law, and his visit to her at this time was a proof to all
the world that he believed her to be an injured woman. His visit was
the more significant from the fact that he was a nephew of Matilda's
greatest enemy, Juliana Maria, who was by birth a princess of
Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. The Princess of Brunswick and her husband did
not always get on very happily together, for the Princess resented her
husband's many amours. Their visit to Göhrde, therefore, was regarded
not only as evidence of their friendship for the unfortunate Queen, but
as proof that harmony was restored between them.

Though the preparations at Celle were pushed forward with all speed,
it was late in October before everything was ready in the castle for
the Queen's reception. The honest townsfolk of Celle were prepared to
give their King's sister the heartiest of welcomes. There had been
no court at the castle for nearly seventy years, and they were proud
that its ancient glories were to be in part revived; moreover, they
sympathised with the sorrows of the young Queen, were indignant at her
wrongs, and firmly believed her to be the innocent victim of a court
plot. When, therefore, after four months' residence at Göhrde, Matilda
fixed October 20 for her entry to Celle, the magistrates and burgesses
determined to give her a right royal reception. A public holiday was
proclaimed; the streets of the quaint little town, which contain some
fine specimens of north German architecture, were gaily decorated, and
odes of welcome, both in prose and verse, were prepared. Prince Ernest
of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Queen Charlotte's brother, and commandant of
the garrison, heartily supported the efforts of the townspeople, and
for weeks nothing was talked of but the entry of Queen Matilda.[75]

[75] The following particulars of the Queen's entry are taken from
contemporary newspapers and the town registers of Celle.

The day of October 20 dawned beautifully fine. The town was bright with
the sunshine of late autumn; the royal standard floated proudly on
the castle tower, and soldiers paraded the streets. There was such an
influx of visitors to Celle from the surrounding villages that every
house was filled to overflowing, and there was no more accommodation to
be had at the inns. At an early hour the townsfolk assembled under arms
at the headquarters of the local militia. Each citizen wore red and
white ribbons in his hat, and a rosette of the same in his buttonhole.
A procession was formed, and headed by the chief officials, the "Four
Men," the townsfolk, with banners flying and music playing, marched
to the market-place. Here, after refreshing themselves and generally
making merry, they proceeded to line the route to the castle. At the
west gate of the town twenty-eight of the most notable burgesses, "clad
in blue velveteen and mounted on horses magnificently caparisoned,"
awaited the arrival of the Queen, and then, since her coming was
delayed, they marched out about a quarter of a mile from the town to
meet her. After they had waited a long time, a courier dashed up and
informed them that her Majesty was approaching. A few minutes later the
Queen's coach came in sight, followed by the other coaches containing
her suite. One of the chief merchants, deputed by the rest, then rode
towards the royal carriage, and when the Queen commanded a halt, he
offered her on bended knee the following greeting:--

    To us returns the sun of golden days.
      "God save the Queen!" shall be our song.
    Thou comest laden with a blessing
      For which our hearts have hungered long.

--and so on for many verses. The Queen received the address most
graciously. Then the escort of burgesses formed up, and the procession
moved towards the western gate. The Queen's coach was drawn by six
horses from the royal stables at Celle, ridden by postilions in
liveries of scarlet and gold. An escort of cavalry formed the rear of
the procession. At the west gate the Queen again halted, and Würning,
the senior of the "Four Men," read to the Queen an ode written on white
satin, beginning:--

    Through us, O Queen, Celle utters her rejoicing,
      By us doth seek her joy to celebrate,
    That thou, O Majesty, hast come among us,
      And hast not scorned our lowly gate.

The Queen again signified her liveliest satisfaction, and when the
reading of the ode was over, she passed through the gates, and a
flourish of trumpets announced her Majesty's entry into the town.
From this point the procession could only make its way slowly, for
although the route was lined with burgesses, and the Queen's coach
was escorted by cavalry, the people pressed through and surrounded
the carriage, all anxious to get a view of the Queen. "Nor would she
have any turned away, but bowed and smiled from side to side without
intermission, and showed in the most unmistakable manner her lively
satisfaction and pleasure." Indeed, the Queen is said to have exclaimed
with joyful gratitude: "Thank God! my brother's subjects do not believe
me guilty." Slowly Matilda made her way past the town hall, where the
members of the corporation were drawn up and the commandant of the town
had stationed his regiment, towards the castle. She passed over the
drawbridge, and a second later entered her new home. She was received
at the main entrance by Prince Ernest of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who
conducted her up the grand staircase to her apartments.

The Queen rested a while, and took some refreshment; but after supper,
seeing that the town was illuminated in her honour, she announced her
intention of going out to view the illuminations, and accompanied by
her suite, she made a tour of the streets on foot, commenting with
unaffected delight at the devices on the houses. It was ten o'clock
before the Queen returned to the castle, tired out with the pleasant
excitements of the day. She declared that it did her heart good to
come among so kind and devoted a people, who had striven to outvie
one another in rendering her honour. Of a truth, after the harshness
and averted looks she had encountered everywhere in Denmark the last
two years, the warm-hearted greeting must have come as a balm to the
youthful Queen. From that hour she took the townsfolk of Celle to her
heart, and they took her to theirs. Even to this day the traditions of
her goodness and amiability linger in the little town.

George III. handsomely supplemented his sister's allowance from
Denmark, and though her means did not allow of magnificence or display,
she had amply sufficient for her needs, in the quiet and secluded life
which her brother wished her to lead. Matilda was royally lodged in the
castle of Celle, and had no reason to complain of her quarters. The
castle was at that time strongly fortified and surrounded by a moat,
which perhaps gave rise to the absurd report, circulated in England,
that she was a prisoner in a few small rooms of a gloomy fortress.
Nothing could be further from the truth.


       *       *       *       *       *

I was last at Celle in 1902, and visited the castle especially to see
the apartments occupied by the Queen of Denmark. The following notes
written at the time may be of interest:--

The castle of Celle is a huge building, partly in late Gothic and
partly in the Renaissance style. It is built round a quadrangle, and
the apartments used by Queen Matilda occupy the whole of the south
side. The largest room is a long gallery, where her household and
guests were wont to assemble. This gallery is a long, low, handsome
room, hung with pictures on one wall, and pierced by many windows on
another. At one end of the gallery is the dining-room, at the other the
Queen's favourite sitting-room or boudoir. This is an octagon-shaped
room in the south-west tower of the castle, and lighted by four large
windows overlooking the beautiful schloss garden, and giving a glimpse
through the trees of the silvery Aller. The walls of this room are
lined with a sort of canvas, on which are painted bright birds of
paradise and flowers. The castellan declared that the wall-covering
and hangings were unchanged since the Queen's day, and were put up by
order of George III. for his sister. Before 1866 Matilda's apartments
were used by the Queen of Hanover; they are now occupied by the Regent
of Brunswick on his rare visits to Celle. The octagon room leads to
the Queen's bedroom, a large apartment with walls lined with the same
material, on which are painted bright flowers. The windows look over
some noble beech-trees. From this a few wooden steps lead down to the
garde-robe (dressing-room), and following the winding staircase down,
we are confronted by a stout door. Opening this, we emerge directly on
the western, or royal, gallery of the beautiful little chapel. In this
gallery is the closed pew wherein Matilda used to sit during divine
service--a pew not unlike an opera-box, cushioned and carpeted, and
with diamond-paned glass windows. At the back is a fresco representing
the denial of Christ by Peter. The pew directly faced the altar, and
from it Matilda must often have gazed at the beautiful triptych painted
by Martin Vos of Antwerp. The centre panel represents the Crucifixion,
and George William, the last Duke of Celle, and his wife, Eléonore
d'Olbreuse (not very saintly personages by the way), are painted in the
wings of the triptych, kneeling on either side of the central panel in
attitudes of adoration. Sometimes, to hear the preacher better, Matilda
moved round to the south gallery, immediately facing the pulpit, where
she also occupied a lattice-windowed pew. Here, on one of the panes,
local tradition has it that she wrote with a diamond the following
words in German: "The fear of God is over all things, and will guide me
both in the present and in the future." The writing may still be seen,
scratched on the pane, but, unfortunately for the legend, it bears no
resemblance to the well-known writing of the Queen, though it is always
shown as hers.[76]

[76] This chapel (and indeed the whole castle) is full of memories
of the great house of Guelph. It is a gem of its kind, exquisitely
proportioned and richly decorated, and was restored by the late King of
Hanover, George V., "the Blind King," shortly before he was robbed of
his kingdom by Prussia. A fresco, representing the King kneeling, in
the armour of a Christian warrior, his hands clasped in prayer, and his
beautiful face turned towards the altar, occupies the north wall of the

       *       *       *       *       *

A few days after Queen Matilda arrived at Celle she received a visit
from Keith, who had spent the summer in England. After reaching London
and reporting himself at the foreign office, Keith was commanded to the
palace, where the Sovereign gave him audience. He was about to kneel
when George III. took him by both his hands, and said: "No, no, Keith;
it is not thus we receive our friends," and then expressed to him in
the warmest terms his satisfaction at the way in which he had exerted
himself on Queen Matilda's behalf. He soon received well-deserved
promotion from the King, who appointed him ambassador at Vienna, a post
formerly filled by his father. Keith was now on his way to take up his
duties at Vienna. In conformance with instructions, he travelled round
by way of Celle to see the Queen in her new home, and report concerning
her to the King.

Before Keith left England Lord Suffolk wrote him a private letter in
which he said: "_You cannot be too minute and ample on all points of
your mission to Zell_. A thousand little circumstances which would of
course be passed over on other occasions will be interesting upon this,
and I think I may venture to assure you that the more conformable your
accounts are to this hint the better they will please."[77]

[77] Letter of Lord Suffolk to Sir R. M. Keith, October 11,
1772.--_Memoirs and Correspondence of Sir R. Murray Keith_, vol. i. The
italics are Suffolk's.

This goes to show that George III., who had been reproached with
indifference to his sister, now took a particular interest in her
welfare, and was anxious to do everything to make her situation as
comfortable and happy as circumstances admitted. This is further borne
out in the letter which Keith wrote to Lord Suffolk, which gives so
authentic and particular account of the Queen at Celle that it is worth
quoting in full:--

                                        "CELLE, _November 2, 1772_.

    "MY LORD,

  "I arrived here on October 31, late in the evening, and next day had
  the honour of delivering the King's letter to her Danish Majesty,
  whom I found in perfect health, and without any remains of pain from
  her late accident. In two very long audiences, which her Majesty
  was pleased to grant me, I endeavoured to execute with the utmost
  punctuality his Majesty's command, and shall now lay before your
  Lordship all the lights those audiences afforded me, relative to
  the Queen's wishes and intentions. I cannot enter upon that subject
  without previously assuring your Lordship that the Queen received
  those repeated proofs of his Majesty's _fraternal affection and
  friendship_, which my order contained, with the warmest expressions
  of gratitude and sensibility, and that nothing could be more frank
  and explicit than her answers to a great number of questions, which
  she permitted me to ask upon any subject that arose.

  "In regard to Denmark, the Queen declares that, in the present
  situation of that court, she has not a wish for any correspondence or
  connection there, beyond what immediately concerns the welfare and
  education of her children. That she never has written a single letter
  to Denmark since she left it, or received one from thence. That the
  only person belonging to that kingdom from whom she hears lives in
  Holstein, and is not connected with the court.[78]

[78] A letter of Queen Matilda's which she wrote from Celle to a
member of the Struensee family in Holstein has recently come to light.
Unfortunately, I cannot quote it, but it is only of interest as showing
that she maintained friendly relations with the family of Struensee
after his death.

  "The Queen having expressed great anxiety with respect to the false
  impressions which may be instilled into the minds of her children,
  particularly regarding herself, I thought it my duty to say that such
  impressions, however cruelly intended, could not, at the tender age
  of her Majesty's children, nor for some years to come, take so deep
  a root as not to be entirely effaced by more candid instructors, and
  the dictates of filial duty, when reason and reflection shall break
  in upon their minds. The Queen seemed willing to lay hold of that
  hope, yet could not help bursting into tears when she mentioned the
  danger of losing the affections of her children.

  "Her Majesty appears very desirous to communicate directly to her
  royal brother all her views and wishes in the most confidential
  manner; hoping to obtain in return his Majesty's advice and
  directions, which she intends implicitly to follow. She said that in
  matters of so private and domestic a nature, it would give her much
  greater pleasure to learn his Majesty's intentions upon every point
  _from his own pen_, than through the channel of any of his electoral

  "It gave me great satisfaction to find her Majesty in very good
  spirits, and so much pleased with the palace at Zell, the apartments
  of which are very spacious and handsomely furnished. She _wishes
  to have an apartment fitted up in the palace for her sister, the
  Princess of Brunswick_, as she thinks that the etiquette of this
  country does not permit that Princess, in her visits to Zell, to be
  lodged _out of the palace_, without great impropriety. Her Majesty
  said that she intended to write herself to the King on this head.

  "The Queen told me that the very enterprising and dangerous part
  which Queen Juliana has acted in Denmark had created greater
  astonishment in Brunswick (where the abilities and character of that
  Princess are known) than, perhaps, in any other city of Europe.

  "Her Majesty talked to me of several late incidents at the court of
  Denmark, but without appearing to take much concern in them. She
  mentioned, with a smile, some of the paltry things which had been
  sent as a part of her baggage from Denmark, adding, that this new
  instance of their meanness had not surprised her. But the Princess of
  Brunswick, who happened to be present when the baggage was opened,
  expressed her indignation at that treatment in such strong terms,
  that she (the Queen) could not help taking notice of it in her
  letters to the King.

  "She made me understand that a small collection of English books
  would be very agreeable to her; leaving the choice of them entirely
  to the King.

  "Her Majesty more than once expressed how much she considered herself
  obliged to the King's ministers for the zeal they had shown in the
  whole of the late unhappy transactions relating to Denmark and
  to herself. She is particularly sensible of the great share your
  Lordship had in all those affairs; and has commanded me to convey to
  your Lordship her acknowledgments for that constant attention to her
  honour and interests, which she is persuaded the King will look upon
  as an additional mark of your Lordship's dutiful attachment to his
  royal person and family.

  "It only remains that I should beg your forgiveness for the great
  length to which I have swelled this letter. The only excuse I can
  offer arises from my ardent desire to execute the King's orders with
  the utmost possible precision.

                                    "I am, etc., etc.,

                                        "R. M. KEITH."[79]

[79] _Memoirs and Correspondence of Sir R. Murray Keith_, vol. i.

Keith remained at Celle only a few days. Then he took leave of the
Queen whose cause he had championed so doughtily, and proceeded to
Vienna. He never saw her again.[80]

[80] Keith remained at Vienna for many years, and retired from the
diplomatic service in 1789. He became a Privy Councillor and Member of
Parliament. He died at Hammersmith in 1795, aged sixty-four.

George III. tried in every way to shield his sister's reputation, and
to prevent any details of the scandal reaching England. "The King of
England," wrote Suffolk some months after the Queen's arrival at Celle,
"has repeatedly received assurances that no part of those proceedings
which affected the Queen of Denmark should ever be made public."[81]
Woodford, who had succeeded Keith at Copenhagen as Minister-Resident,
received strict orders to do all in his power to prevent the
dissemination of scandalous publications. There were a great many.
The year of the Queen's arrival at Celle, Woodford writes to England
of "a most injurious libel," in manuscript, being circulated against
the Queen, and suspects it is a piece of malice on the part of Count
Rantzau.[82] Again, he writes of the circulation of a paper containing
the "most detestable part of Struensee's deposition".[83] A whole
case of these papers was seized at the Custom House, and owing to the
protests of the English minister, Count Osten ordered all copies to be
suppressed and the sale forbidden under heavy penalties. Woodford later
had a conversation with Count Andreas Bernstorff[84] (who had succeeded
Osten at the Foreign Office) on the subject, and reported: "The Danish
Minister said it could never be forgotten that the Queen of Denmark
was mother of the Prince Royal, the King's sister, and a daughter of
England, which were too important considerations not to engage him
to be vigilant and active against everything that could in the most
distant manner reflect upon the late melancholy and unfortunate

[81] Suffolk's despatch to Woodford at Copenhagen, December 15, 1772.

[82] Woodford's despatch, Copenhagen, December 2, 1772.

[83] _Ibid._, December 8 and 29, 1772.

[84] Andreas Peter Bernstorff, nephew and successor of the famous
minister, who became foreign minister on the disgrace of Osten in 1773
and resigned in 1780. He was recalled by the Crown Prince when Regent,
afterwards Frederick VI.

[85] Woodford's despatch, May 1, 1773.

Queen Matilda was exceedingly touched by the way in which she was
received by the townsfolk of Celle, and as the days went by she more
than confirmed the first impressions they had formed of her, and won
the affection of all the inhabitants from the highest to the lowest.
Celle now, as then, is a quiet little town, with quaint old houses and
irregular streets, and no description could convey a complete idea of
its homelike charm. The houses are not built with the magnificence
of those of Lübeck or Brunswick, whose style they resemble, but on a
more modest scale. Most of the old houses date from the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries, with high-pitched, red-tiled roofs, and with
huge wooden beams built into the walls, and the intervening spaces
filled up with brickwork or clay. Here a window, there a doorway
or gable-end, calls up the glamour of the past. The outside walls
of the old houses are often painted with figures, vines, grapes,
oak-leaves, and so forth, while the beams, sills, ties and other
woodwork are enriched with carvings showing quaint devices, or texts or
mottoes--sometimes humorous and sometimes pious.[86]

[86] The town of Celle has altered very little since Matilda's day.
It has grown towards the south, and is now the seat of the higher
provincial tribunal of the province of Hanover. The town has nearly
twenty thousand inhabitants.

The Queen walked almost daily about the town, generally attended by
only one lady. She went freely in and out among the people, making
purchases in the shops, visiting the poor and sick, comforting them
with kind words and deeds, and taking a sympathetic interest in
everything that concerned them. In her intercourse with the townsfolk
of Celle she showed herself opposed to all pride and etiquette, and
did her best to bridge over the gulf which separated the classes even
more in the eighteenth century than to-day. It was known that she had
her sorrows, but she never complained, and conducted herself with a
gentle kindness which won all with whom she came into contact. She
found great consolation in the society of her former friend, Madame de
Plessen, who, soon after she had been banished from Copenhagen, took
a house at Celle, and who now renewed her friendship with her young
mistress. Matilda never rode, fond though she was of that exercise,
and though horses in the royal stables were at her disposal. But she
drove occasionally in the country around Celle, which was not very
interesting, being for the most part a flat plain varied by clumps
of birches, firs and patches of heather. Her farthest excursion was
to Hanover, whither she went at long intervals on visits of some

[87] Malortie II., _Beiträge zur Geschichte des
Braunschweig-Lüneburgischen Hauses und Hoses_.

[Illustration: QUEEN MATILDA.

_From the Painting formerly at Celle._]

The Queen's favourite walk was in the French garden outside the
town--so-called because it was planned out after the fashion Le Nôtre
had set at Versailles. The paths ran in straight lines between
avenues of lime-trees and clipped hedges, something after the manner of
Herrenhausen, but smaller. The French garden was public to the town,
and in her walks there Matilda made many friends. She often conversed
with the townsfolk, walking there, with such affability that they were
speedily put at their ease, and became convinced that the Queen's
friendliness was not feigned, but true and natural. She was especially
fond of children, and rarely passed them without a kind word; almost
every day the school children were able to tell their parents that the
"good Queen," as she was everywhere called, had talked to them. She
often invited children to a little party at the castle, where all sorts
of things were done to give them pleasure; sometimes she would go to
the parents of quite poor children in the town and ask them to spare
her their little ones for a few hours.

The Queen was never so happy as in the society of children, and her
great grief was her forced separation from her own; she was never heard
to regret the loss of her throne or the brilliant life of courts, but
she frequently bewailed the loss of her children. Juliana Maria was
determined to prevent every means of communication between the exiled
Queen and her children, and for good reason. The secretary at the
British Legation writes of her "apprehension" that the Crown Prince
"might one day revenge the injurious treatment his royal mother had
undergone".[88] It was with much difficulty that Matilda at last
obtained from Copenhagen a picture of her little son. She hung it
in her bedroom, immediately facing her bed, and often gazed at it
longingly. Once when she was repeating some verses to the picture, she
was surprised by the Baroness d'Ompteda. The Queen repeated the lines,
which she said she had altered to suit her sad case:--

    Eh! qui donc, comme moi, gouterait la douceur
    De t'appeller mon fils, d'être chère à ton coeur!
    Toi, qu'on arrache aux bras d'une mère sensible,
    Qui ne pleure que toi, dans ce destin terrible.[89]

[88] J. J. Haber's despatch, November 27, 1773.


    Ah! who, like me, could taste the joy divine,
    My lovely babe! to mix thy soul with mine!
    Torn from my breast, I weep alone for thee
    Amidst the griefs which Heaven dispensed to me.

The Queen often wept when she thought of her children, and this,
indeed, was the only point on which she refused to be comforted.
Maternal love was very strong in Matilda's heart. She took into the
castle a motherless little girl of four years old, named Sophie von
Benningsen, so that she might give her a mother's care and training.

To provide the Queen with some diversion the theatre in the castle
was fitted up, and a company of players came from Hanover at regular
intervals, and gave representations there. To these entertainments
the Queen would invite the principal people in Celle, and she always
attended, and occupied the ducal box--the same box from which her
great-grandmother, Sophie Dorothea, had smiled across the courtiers
to Königsmarck a hundred years before. Great care was taken that
there should be nothing in the plays which could even remotely
resemble the Queen's sad history; to this end comedies were always
acted, and tragedies were forbidden. Nevertheless, once, when some
children appeared on the stage, the Queen was overcome by emotion, and
hurriedly left her box. It was a long time before she could recover
her self-control, and she walked about the gardens, notwithstanding
that the night was rough and windy, until she regained it. After this
incident no more children figured in the plays at Celle.

One day of the Queen's life at Celle very much resembled another, and
in that it had no history it might be regarded as happy, though the
shadow of sadness brooded over all. She rose early--between seven
and eight--and, if the weather permitted, took a little walk in the
gardens of the castle, or by the side of the Aller. Some mornings she
would breakfast in the gardens, at others return to the castle. After
breakfast she would dress herself for the day, and appear in her little
circle for an hour. Then often she would go out again, either for a
drive, or for a walk in the French garden, and come back to dinner at
the castle about two o'clock. She dined with all her household, seated
at the head of the table, and conversation was generally brisk and
lively. After dinner she would retire to her own apartments, and read,
or do some needlework, or play on the harpsichord, and sing to it,
for she was an accomplished musician. Later, she would again go for
a walk in the garden, if the weather was fine. Then she dressed for
the evening, and joined the circle of her court at eight, when supper
was served. To this meal guests were frequently invited from the town,
such as Prince Ernest of Mecklenburg-Strelitz or Madame de Plessen,
the colonel of the regiment, or some of the neighbouring nobility and
gentry. After supper there would be music, or cards, or conversation
in the long gallery; sometimes there was a performance in the theatre.
At eleven the Queen would retire to her apartments, and the company
broke up. She did not always retire to bed at once, for she was fond of
astronomy, and on fine nights would repair to the tower of the castle,
where there was a telescope, and gaze for a long time at the starry
heavens; sometimes she would recite some poetry. Her favourite poem was
a hymn of Gellert's, which began:--

        _Nie will ich dem zu schaden suchen,_
    _Der mir zu schaden sucht._
    _Nie will ich meinem Feinde fluchen,_
    _Wenn er aus Hass mir flucht._[90]


    Never will I try to harm
    Him who does me wrong, etc.

She was regular in her attendance at public worship; every Sunday
found her in the chapel, attended by her household. The service, which
was after the Lutheran ritual, was conducted by her chaplain, Pastor
Lehzen. On rare occasions she attended the church in the town. Every
now and then she gave little parties at the castle--on the occasion
of her own birthday, or that of members of her suite. In a letter
(July 24, 1773) to her chief lady, Baroness d'Ompteda, who was then
absent for a few weeks, taking the waters of Prymont, the Queen wrote:
"Madame de Plessen, having wished to celebrate my birthday, gave an
illumination in the garden; but the wind was so strong that the bonfire
would not burn, so she gave it yesterday evening, when the weather was
more favourable. I was there, and went to see the illuminations, which
were everywhere good. The whole of the town was illuminated."[91] One
or two more letters, of no particular importance, addressed by the
Queen to the Baroness d'Ompteda, have been found. Some slight signs of
weariness are evident. She laments that she is unable to send any news;
"but you know Celle," she writes, "and therefore will understand".[92]
Her life was undoubtedly monotonous, but it seems to have been fairly
happy, and she enjoyed the visits of her sister, the Princess of
Brunswick, who frequently posted over to Celle for a few days. These
visits were the pleasantest distractions of Matilda's life.

[91] N. Falck, _Neues Staatsbürgerliche's Magazin_, Band i., Schleswig,
1883, S. 623.

[92] _Ibid._, S. 624.

One John Moore, who was a travelling companion of the Duke of Hamilton,
came with the Duke to Celle in the summer of 1773 on the way from
Hanover, and afterwards published a volume of his travels, in which
appears the following account:--[93]

[93] _A View of Society and Manners in France, Switzerland and
Germany_, by John Moore, London, 1779.

"Before dinner I went with the Duke to the castle, where we remained
till late in the evening. There was a concert of music between dinner
and supper, and the Queen seemed in better spirits than could have been

"The apartments are spacious and convenient, and now handsomely
furnished. The _entourage_ of the court--the Queen's maids-of-honour
and other attendants--have a very genteel appearance, and retain the
most respectful attachment to their ill-fated mistress.

"The few days we remained at Zell were spent entirely at court, where
everything seemed to be arranged in the style of the other small
German courts, and nothing wanting to render the Queen's situation
as comfortable as circumstances would admit. But by far her greatest
consolation is the company and conversation of her sister; some degree
of satisfaction appears in her countenance while the Princess remains
at Zell, but the moment she goes away, the Queen, as we are informed,
becomes a prey to dejection and despondency. The Princess exerts
herself to prevent this, and devotes to her sister all the time she can
spare from the duties she owes to her own family. Unlike those who take
the first pretext of breaking connections which can no longer be of
advantage, this humane Princess has displayed even more attachment to
her sister since her misfortunes than she ever did while the Queen was
in the meridian of her prosperity.

"The youth, the agreeable countenance and obliging manners of the
Queen have conciliated the minds of every one in this country. Though
she was in perfect health and appeared cheerful, yet, convinced that
her gaiety was assumed and the effect of a strong effort, I felt an
impression of melancholy which it was not in my power to overcome all
the time we remained at Zell."

So matters remained at Celle for nearly two years, and then there came
excitement into Matilda's quiet life.

In September, 1774, a young Englishman, named Wraxall, of good
Somersetshire family, arrived at Celle. Wraxall was an active,
ambitious and enterprising youth, and the fact that he was not rich
warned him that he must do something. He therefore resolved to win fame
and money by authorship, and to this end set out to make a tour in
northern Europe, then comparatively little known. He travelled through
Denmark, Sweden and a little of Russia, and came back by way of north
Germany to Hamburg. The recent events in Copenhagen (for they were then
recent) had excited an extraordinary amount of interest in England, and
Wraxall resolved to be the first to give a really full and particular
account of what had happened there two years before. So he went to
Copenhagen on a voyage of inquiry, and when he was there kept his
eyes and ears well open, with the result that he gleaned a great many
details of the palace revolution. On his return to Hamburg, as he was
so near, he thought he would go to Celle, and pay his respects to the
unfortunate heroine of the Danish revolution of 1772, and thus make his
contemplated book more complete. To this end he travelled to Celle, and
presented himself to Baron Seckendorf, the Queen's chamberlain, and
stated his wishes. Seckendorf submitted his name to the Queen, who,
always accessible, said that it would give her pleasure to receive Mr.
Wraxall, whom she understood to be a young Englishman of birth and
education. The Princess of Brunswick, who was staying with her sister
at the time, and who was above all things anxious to amuse her, also
thought that the company of a travelled and agreeable Englishman would
be a welcome diversion. Therefore Baron Seckendorf informed Wraxall
that the Queen would receive him. He described the audience in his
private journal:--

"_Monday, September 19_:--

"I went at half-past one to the castle of Zell. Mr. Seckendorf
introduced me to the _Grande Maîtresse_ of her Highness the Princess
of Brunswick. The Princess herself entered in about a quarter of an
hour; she gave me her hand to kiss, and began conversation with me
directly. It was interrupted by the Queen's entrance, to whom I was
presented with the same ceremony. Her Majesty and the Princess kept
me in constant talk before and after dinner. We talked of Denmark, of
Prince Frederick, his intended marriage, etc. 'He was a youth,' said
she [the Queen], 'unknown while I was there.' Hirschholm, she said, was
her favourite palace. 'But tell me,' said the Princess, 'about the
Queen-Mother; she is my aunt, but no matter. Say what you will; you
may be free. And for the King, how is he?' I very frankly expressed my
sentiments. The Queen asked me a thousand questions about the court
of Russia, Sweden, my travels, etc. The Queen asked me also about her
children, the Prince in particular; I told her how they dressed him
now. I assured her I had been taken for a spy in Copenhagen.... Her
Majesty was very gay, and seemed in no way a prey to melancholy; she
was very fat for so young a woman. She asked me my age; I told her.
'You are then,' said she, 'exactly as old as I am; we were born in
the same year.' Her features are pretty, and her teeth very small,
even and white. She resembles his Majesty [George III.] infinitely in
face, but the Princess said not so strongly as she. I don't think so,
and told her Royal Highness so; her Majesty appealed to one of her
maids-of-honour, who agreed in opinion with me. The Queen was dressed
in a Barré-coloured gown, or at least an orange-red so very nearly
resembling it that I could not distinguish the difference. I asked
her how many languages she spoke. 'Five,' she said--'Danish, English,
French, German and Italian.'

"The Princess [of Brunswick] is much thinner in face, but not a great
deal less in her person; she wants the Queen of Denmark's teeth,
but has a very good complexion. She talked to me about the Duchess
of Glo'ster--if I had seen her, if I knew her. 'She is a very fine
woman,' she added, 'even now.' Mrs. C ... was mentioned. 'She was a
prodigious favourite,' I remarked, 'of the Duke of York.' She replied
with a smile: 'For the moment!' She did me the honour to ask me to take
Brunswick in my way next summer, or whenever I visited Germany again.
She said she might and should have mistaken me for a Frenchman. 'You
don't take that for a compliment, do you?' the Queen observed. Indeed,
no; I was too proud of my country. Macaronis formed a part of our
conversation. 'It is all over now,' I said; 'the word is quite extinct
in England.' 'But tell me,' said her Majesty, 'tell me ingenuously,
were you not a bit of a one while it lasted?' I assured her not. I took
my leave soon after dinner.

"_Tuesday, September 20_:--

"About ten o'clock I went to the Hôtel de Ville, where at this time
the shops of the merchants who come to the fair of Zell are held. Her
Majesty the Queen and her sister the Princess were there. I had the
honour to talk with them nearly an hour; we conversed in English most
familiarly on fifty subjects--the Grand Duke of Russia, the Empress,
the peace between Russia and Turkey, my travels, Dantzig, formed the
chief articles. I showed her Majesty my medals of the Empress of Russia
and some other things. She was dressed quite _à l'Anglaise_--a white
bonnet, a pale-pink night-gown a gauze handkerchief, with a little
locket on her bosom. Her face is very handsome; they are his Majesty's
features, but all softened and harmonised. Pity she is so large in
her person. The Princess was quite English all over--a black hat over
her eyes and a common night-gown with a black apron."

The next day Wraxall took his leave of Celle, well pleased with his
visit, and proceeded to Hamburg, where he intended to take ship for
England. But at Hamburg something happened which upset all his plans,
and for a short time linked his fortunes closely with those of Queen


_From the Painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds._]




[94] This chapter is based upon Sir N. Wraxall's _Posthumous Memoirs_,
vol. i., where a more detailed narrative will be found.

Altona, then a town in Danish territory, was only half a mile from the
free city of Hamburg, and at the time of Wraxall's visit was thronged
with partisans of the deposed Queen. Many of them had been exiled
from Copenhagen after the palace revolution of 1772; several belonged
to the Danish nobility, and chief among these was Baron Bülow, who
had formerly held the post of Master of the Horse to Queen Matilda.
Owing to the unpopularity of the Queen-Dowager's rule at Copenhagen,
their numbers were increasing daily, and already a plan was under
consideration to effect another palace revolution, abolish Juliana
Maria and her adherents, and restore Matilda. But so far the plan
existed on paper only; no steps had been taken to carry it into effect.

Things had not gone well with the Danish Government at Copenhagen
since Matilda had sailed from Kronborg more than two years before.
The Queen-Dowager quickly found that it was one thing to seize power
and another to maintain it; her spell of popularity was brief, and
before long she became the most hated woman in Denmark, not always
very justly, for according to her lights she seems honestly to have
tried to do her duty. Before long the conspirators who, under her,
had effected the palace revolution fell out among themselves, and the
Government was split into two factions, with Rantzau and Köller-Banner
on one side, Eickstedt and Guldberg on the other, and Osten trimming
between the two. It was not long before the Guldberg faction triumphed.
Rantzau was compelled to resign all his offices, and dismissed with
a pension to his estates in Holstein, but, as he showed a desire to
return to Copenhagen, he was eventually exiled.[95] Osten was banished
to Jutland, where he was living in retirement.[96] Köller-Banner was in
disgrace, and dismissed from his posts on a suspicion of treasonable
correspondence with the French and Swedish envoys. The Queen-Dowager
tried to recall him, for he was a favourite with her, and succeeded
for a time; but he was eventually overthrown.[97] Thus retribution had
fallen on some of Matilda's chief enemies, and though others, like
Eickstedt and Beringskjold, remained, their authority was shaken, and
the whole power had insensibly passed into the hands of Guldberg, who
acquired the unbounded confidence of the Queen-Dowager. Guldberg was
very clever, and a far more cautious man than Struensee, though he
did not possess either his genius or his aspirations. The first step
of the new Government had been to establish the old _régime_, and to
abolish all the reforms brought in by Struensee,[98] and place the
power once more in the hands of the privileged classes. But the people,
having once tasted the sweets of liberty, did not take kindly to the
re-imposition of their former yoke, and the Government grew daily more
unpopular. Much though they had disliked Struensee, they had approved
of many of his reforms: it was not so much what he did, as the way he
did it, to which they objected.

[95] Rantzau went to the south of France. He died in 1789, in his
seventy-second year.

[96] A few years later Osten was recalled, and appointed President of
the Supreme Court in Copenhagen, but he fell again with Juliana Maria's
Government, and died in 1797 at the age of eighty years.

[97] Köller-Banner died at Altona in 1811.

[98] The only one that remains of Struensee's institutions to this day
is the foundling hospital, which was so bitterly attacked at the time
of its foundation.

The King, who was theoretically the source of all power, was tightly
held in the grasp of the Queen-Dowager, whom he had now come to hate
quite as much as he used to hate Struensee and Brandt. But he was
powerless to free himself from this thraldom, though at times he showed
flashes of insubordination. For instance, in one of his comparatively
lucid intervals he signed a state paper as follows: "Christian VII. by
the grace of God King of Denmark, etc., in company with Juliana Maria
by the grace of the devil." He often lamented the loss of Matilda,
whom he said he had been forced to divorce against his will, and
wished her back again. He had probably discovered that this annoyed
the Queen-Dowager more than anything else, and so he spoke of his wife
in the most affectionate terms. Of his divorce he said it was the
only one on record effected when neither of the parties wished it. In
the popular mind, too, a strong reaction had set in in favour of the
exiled Queen. She had always been kind and affable to the people, and
she was credited with whatever was beneficial to them in Struensee's
legislation. The picture of her torn from her children and forced
to live in exile powerfully appealed to the public imagination, and
now that Struensee was out of the way her popularity returned with
threefold force. Her sufferings and sorrows were attributed to the
vindictiveness of the Queen-Dowager; all Matilda's shortcomings were
forgiven on the score of her youth and inexperience; it was declared
that she was the innocent victim of a cruel plot, and she gradually
became vested in the eyes of the people with the attributes of a
saint and a martyr. The Queen-Dowager was aware of this and sought
to win over the malcontents. "The suspected partisans and friends of
the unfortunate [Queen] have many of them been caressed this winter,"
writes Woodford, "and some have received places."[99] But her efforts
did not meet with great success. Those of the Danish nobility who
favoured Matilda's cause were aware of the popular feeling, and did
their utmost to encourage it, for they counted on the young Queen's
personality as their most powerful weapon to overthrow the Guldberg
ministry and the domination of Juliana Maria.

[99] Woodford's despatch, Copenhagen, July 18, 1773.

Such, then, was the state of affairs in Denmark when Wraxall arrived
at Hamburg after his visit to Matilda at Celle. The opera, the theatre
and all public amusements were at Hamburg; it consequently offered
great attractions to the Danish families at Altona, and many of them
were constantly to be found in the places of amusement at Hamburg, and
in the houses of its wealthy citizens. Wraxall dined with Hanbury,
the English consul, on September 28, and among the company present
were several Danes, including Baroness Bülow, Baron and Baroness
Schimmelmann and M. le Texier, who had been treasurer to Christian
VII. during his tour in England. He also saw at the opera the next
night the beautiful Countess Holstein, who had taken refuge in Altona.
He says: "I examined her through my glass. She is doubtless pretty,
though not in my opinion so divinely fair as fame says. Her history at
Hirschholm is well known. There was no gallantry, I thought, marked
in her features, though it is said she certainly has that quality in
her constitution. I thought of the unhappy Brandt as I looked at her."
Wraxall was well received by several of the first families at Hamburg,
and one night, when he was supping at the house of a brother-in-law of
Le Texier, where several of the Danish nobility were present, he spoke
of his recent visit to Celle, and expressed himself strongly in favour
of Queen Matilda, and spoke of his eagerness to avenge her wrongs. He
was a young man of mercurial temperament, and had probably supped too
freely, but his words made an impression on the Danes who were present.

A few days later Le Texier called upon Wraxall, and with an air of
secrecy asked him if he really meant what he said the other evening,
and whether he would be willing to serve the Queen of Denmark, because,
in that case, he could put him in the way of doing so. Wraxall was
momentarily overcome with astonishment at being taken at his word, but
he soon recovered himself, and declared with all the enthusiasm of
youth that he was willing to risk his life, if need be, for the sake of
the young Queen. Le Texier within the next few days introduced him to
the eldest son of Baron Schimmelmann, and then to Baron Bülow. These
two were the leaders of a project to restore the Queen. So far they
had not been able to communicate with Matilda, for though Celle was
only eighty miles distant from Hamburg and Altona, they were surrounded
by spies from the court of Copenhagen, who reported every movement
they made. At Celle, too, there were spies, who would assuredly have
reported the arrival of any Dane there. Wraxall, therefore, a young
Englishman travelling apparently for his pleasure, was the very
agent they wanted to open up communications with the Queen. Baron
Bülow having sworn Wraxall to secrecy, unfolded at some length the
plan which had been formed, and bade him acquaint the Queen with it
verbally, since they were afraid to put anything on paper. He gave
Wraxall his seal as his credentials to prove to the Queen that he came
from Bülow. Wraxall was instructed to go to Celle and tell the Queen
that a numerous and powerful party were anxious to restore her to the
throne, and were willing to incur the dangers of such an enterprise if
she on her part would agree to the following conditions:--

First: She must assure them of her willingness to return to Denmark and
take up the reins of government, which the King was incapacitated from
holding in his own hands.

Secondly: She must co-operate with, and assist, her adherents in every
way in her power.

Thirdly: She must endeavour to induce her brother, the King of England,
to extend his powerful protection and assistance to the enterprise.

This last condition was adjudged the most important, for according to
Woodford, who followed Keith at Copenhagen, the idea which discouraged
the partisans and well-wishers of the unfortunate Queen was that: "His
Majesty is too offended ever to permit his royal sister to return again
to this country."[100]

[100] Woodford's despatch to Suffolk, Copenhagen, October 17, 1772.

Thus authorised and instructed, Wraxall set out from Hamburg on the
evening of October 8, and by travelling all night reached Celle
the evening of the following day. He learned to his regret that
the Princess of Brunswick was still at the castle, for Bülow and
his friends had warned him that she was not to be trusted in this
matter, as she was the niece by marriage of Juliana Maria; also they
feared that Matilda might confide in her sister too freely. Wraxall,
therefore, determined to say that he had come back from Hamburg to
Celle as the bearer of a letter from Mr. Matthews, the British minister
there, to the Queen. The letter, it need scarcely be said, was not from
Matthews, but from Wraxall, in which he informed the Queen, without
mentioning names, of the proposed plan for her restoration. On the
first page of the letter he wrote a warning, in which he entreated
the Queen to consider what followed as secret, and to be especially
careful not to arouse the suspicions of the Princess of Brunswick.
The following morning Wraxall waited upon the Queen's chamberlain,
Baron Seckendorf, and told him he had a letter for her Majesty from
the English minister at Hamburg, relative to a company of travelling
comedians whom he understood the Queen wished to act at Celle, and
he would like to deliver it into her own hands. Seckendorf shortly
returned with a message from the Queen, saying that she would be
pleased to see Mr. Wraxall at dinner at two o'clock the same day. At
that hour he presented himself at the castle, and awaited the Queen
with her household in the long gallery. Presently the Queen and the
Princess of Brunswick came together out of the Queen's apartments, and
the Queen, advancing towards Wraxall, said: "I am glad to see you here
again. I understand that you have a letter for me from Mr. Matthews."
Wraxall presented it, and the Queen withdrew to the window to break
the seals. The Princess of Brunswick also welcomed Wraxall cordially,
and he tried to keep her in conversation while the Queen was glancing
over her letter. He noticed the Queen start when she read the first
lines, and she hastily put the paper into her pocket, her face showing
considerable agitation, but as dinner was announced at that moment her
confusion did not attract attention. What followed had better be told
in Wraxall's own words:--

"At table Caroline Matilda recovered herself, and conversed with her
usual freedom and gaiety. The Queen and Princess were seated in two
state chairs, separated nearly five feet from each other. When the
dessert was brought the Queen, unable any longer to restrain her
curiosity and impatience, took the letter from her pocket, and, placing
it in her lap, perused it from the beginning to the end; from time
to time she raised her eyes, and took part in the conversation. The
distance at which she was from the Princess of Brunswick rendered it
impossible for the letter to be overlooked." After taking coffee the
Queen and the Princess withdrew, and Wraxall returned to the little inn
where he lodged.

A few hours later Wraxall received a visit from Seckendorf, who
told him that the Queen had informed him of the whole business, and
had sent him as her confidential agent. She was fully alive to the
necessity of caution, and she therefore feared she would not be able
to receive Wraxall in private audience while her sister was there,
as the Princess scarcely quitted her for a moment, but if he would
send his credentials through Seckendorf she would communicate with
him further. Wraxall then gave to Seckendorf Bülow's signet-ring, and
acquainted him with the names of those from whom he came. The following
day Seckendorf came back with the Queen's answer, which he delivered
verbally. It was to the following effect: That the Queen, as she was
living under the protection of her brother, the King of England, could
not commit herself to any plan without first obtaining his consent
and approbation. That, if she consulted only her own happiness and
peace of mind, she would never return to Copenhagen, but her duties
as a mother and a queen compelled her to overlook the wrongs she had
suffered, and resume her station in Denmark if a proper opportunity
offered. That, as far as she herself was concerned, she agreed to the
propositions made by the Danish nobility if it could be proved to her
that they were sufficiently numerous and powerful to carry out their
plans with any hope of success; on this point she desired they would
give her more information. She would then write as strongly as possible
to the King of England, and ask him to lend his assistance towards her
restoration. She returned Bülow's seal, which she had enclosed in an
envelope addressed in her own handwriting to Baron Bülow, and sealed
with one of her own seals; she had also written her initials "C. M." on
the envelope, but beyond this she wrote nothing.

Armed with this Wraxall left Celle the following day, and returned to
Hamburg where he reported his progress to Baron Bülow (who met him
at a retired spot on the ramparts) and gave him back his seal. Bülow
immediately recognised the Queen's handwriting on the envelope, which
was Wraxall's credential, and, when he had learned all that had passed,
he said he would communicate with his associates, and inform Wraxall

Wraxall remained at Hamburg a week, and then received instructions to
return to Celle. His message to Queen Matilda, as before, was only
verbal, though he was authorised to put it on paper when he reached
Celle. It was to the following effect: The Danish nobility thanked the
Queen for her gracious reply to their communication, and were quite
satisfied with it. With regard to her request for further information,
Baron Bülow, in addition to himself and Baron Schimmelmann the younger,
was empowered to answer for the Viceroy of Norway, who would secure
that kingdom and its capital, Christiania, for the Queen; for Baron
Schimmelmann the elder, who, though he refused to take any active
part in the enterprise, or to risk by any overt act his safety and
vast fortune, was sincerely attached to the cause; for the Governor
of Glückstadt, one of the most important fortresses in Holstein, who
was disposed to aid the Queen; for certain officers in Rendsburg,
the key of Schleswig, which would open its gates (as the party had
secret adherents in the garrison, who would declare themselves on
the Queen's side) when the moment arrived; and for numerous friends
who, he declared, were powerful in the army, the navy, the guards, in
the metropolis, and even about the person of the King himself. For
the rest, the Queen's friends entreated her to be content with the
assurances of the Baron Bülow, their spokesman, and not ask for a
list of all the names, which would be dangerous. They also urged her
to write to the King of England as soon as possible, and ask him not
only whether he would approve of the plan to restore his sister, but
if he would grant some pecuniary assistance towards it. During the
forthcoming winter they would prepare everything to carry out their
plans, and strike the blow in the spring, as soon as the two Belts
should be free of ice.

Fortified with this message, Wraxall again went to Celle, entering the
town this time _incognito_, and lodging under an assumed name in a
little inn in the suburbs. He communicated immediately with Seckendorf,
who came to him the following morning, informed him the Princess of
Brunswick was no longer at Celle, and took his letters and messages to
deliver to the Queen. A few hours later Seckendorf came back, and told
Wraxall to go immediately to the French garden outside the town, where
the Queen would meet him. Wraxall repaired thither without delay,
and a few minutes later the Queen drove up in a coach. She sent away
her carriage and all her attendants except one lady, who discreetly
retired to a pavilion. The Queen gave Wraxall an hour's interview.
During the greater part of the time they paced up and down between the
avenue of limes in a secluded part of the garden. The Queen spoke quite
unreservedly. She said that she was satisfied with the names mentioned,
and, for the rest, she would trust the good faith of Baron Bülow. That
she would write to the King of England with great earnestness, and ask
him to send a minister to Copenhagen, friendly to her restoration, and
also to help the cause with money; for herself, she regretted that she
could not contribute, owing to her limited income, which only sufficed
for her needs, and she had no jewels, as everything had been robbed
from her when she left Denmark. That she was quite willing for her part
to visit her friends in disguise, but she was convinced that the King
her brother would never permit her to do so. "Still," she added, "could
I come, or did I come disguised, nobody would know me, as I am much
altered since I was in Denmark." This was true, as the Queen since her
residence at Celle had become very stout. She determined that Wraxall
should go to London to endeavour to obtain an audience of the King,
and the Queen gave him very minute instructions as to how he was to
behave. "You must," she said, "go very quietly to work with my brother.
If you manage with address, he will favour the attempt, but it will
be tacitly, not openly." When the conversation was ended the Queen
took Wraxall to the summer-house, where her lady was waiting, and a
dessert of fruit was laid; here he took his leave. The Queen mentioned
during the audience that no less than three emissaries from Copenhagen
had reached her since she came to Celle, but as they were all either
suspicious or worthless she refused to have anything to say to them.

Acting on the Queen's commands and the instructions of Bülow, Wraxall
started the following day for England, _via_ Osnabrück; he arrived
in London on November 15. The Queen had told him to go first either
to Lord Suffolk or to the Baron von Lichtenstein, grand marshal of
the court of Hanover, then in London, who was highly esteemed by the
King, and who had shown her much kindness: she had written to them
both. Wraxall first called on Lord Suffolk in Downing Street, but that
nobleman either would not, or could not, see him, urging in excuse
that he was ill with the gout. So Wraxall repaired to Lichtenstein's
lodgings in Pall Mall, where he was more fortunate. He gave
Lichtenstein the Queen's letter, and the Hanoverian promised that he
would try to find an opportunity to put the matter before the King; but
he advised Wraxall not to call again on Lord Suffolk until he had seen
the King. He then asked Wraxall several questions, which the latter
answered to the best of his ability, and gave him the fullest account
possible of the project, and of everybody connected with it.

Three days later Lichtenstein saw Wraxall again, and told him that he
had talked to the King at "Queen's House" on the subject, and that
the King had given him positive injunctions that Wraxall was not
to see Lord Suffolk, but to consider Lichtenstein the sole medium
through which all communications were to pass to the King. The King
was at present considering the Queen's letter, and until he had
considered it he did not think fit to grant Wraxall an audience; but
he commanded him to put on paper a full and complete account of the
project, including the names of every one connected with it directly
or indirectly. Wraxall thereupon drew up another long document,
which was duly transmitted to the King through Lichtenstein, and on
December 5 he received the King's answer through the same medium.
George III. was very cautious: he gave a general approval of the plan
to effect the Queen's restoration, but he refused to lend any direct
assistance; he therefore declined to advance any money at present, and
finally he would not be induced by any entreaties of the Queen, or
by any supplications of the Danish nobility, to affix his signature
to any paper promising aid, or expressing general approbation. This
unsatisfactory reply Wraxall transmitted to Bülow by cipher at
Hamburg, and he also wrote to the Queen through Baron Seckendorf. From
Seckendorf he received an answer on January 3, 1775, expressing the
Queen's satisfaction with the King's approval, though regretting the
qualifications which accompanied it. On January 20 he received an
answer from Bülow, in which he adjured Wraxall to return to Hamburg
as soon as possible, with the King's approbation authenticated in
whatever way might be practicable. He added that his friends were
busily preparing everything to strike the decisive blow, and they were
sanguine of success. These letters Wraxall at once communicated to
Lichtenstein, who submitted them to the King. On February 2 Wraxall
received through Lichtenstein a letter from the King to his sister, and
a paper containing four articles, which the Baron drew up in Wraxall's
presence, and affixed his seal and signature to them--so empowered by
the King. These articles ran as follows:--

"First: His Britannic Majesty gives his consent and approval to the
plan concerted by the adherents of his sister, the Queen of Denmark,
for restoring her to the throne.

"Secondly: His Majesty insists that in the execution of it no blood be
spilled, nor any measures of severity exercised towards the personal
administration in Denmark, except such as are indispensable to maintain
the counter-revolution.

"Thirdly: His Britannic Majesty guarantees the repayment of all the
money advanced or expended in a necessary prosecution of the Queen of
Denmark's revolution.

"Fourthly: His Britannic Majesty will authorise and empower his
resident at the court of Copenhagen to declare in the most public
manner, as soon as the revolution in favour of the Queen is
accomplished, that the King of Great Britain approves of it, and will
maintain it against all opposition."


Lichtenstein told Wraxall that it was the King's pleasure that he
should first go to Celle to deliver the letter to the Queen, and show
her the articles signed by Lichtenstein; then, after he had seen
the Queen, he was to proceed to her Danish adherents at Hamburg.
Accordingly, Wraxall left London on February 3, 1775, and after a
long and troublesome journey arrived at Celle a fortnight later, on
February 17.[101] He entered the town as before under an assumed name,
and went to an obscure inn. The next morning he received a visit from
Seckendorf, who received him with pleasure, and told him that the Queen
was most impatient to see him, and would give him an audience that
afternoon. "When you hear the palace clock strike four," Seckendorf
said, "set out from the inn on foot for the castle. Mantel, the Queen's
valet, will wait to receive you, and conduct you to her." Accordingly,
Wraxall gave Seckendorf his despatches, and went to the castle at the
hour named. Mantel was waiting for him, and admitted him through a side
door, probably in the western wing. He was led through a great number
of rooms to a small apartment, and there left alone; at the end of it
were stairs leading to the Queen's chamber.[102] A minute later the
Queen came into the room, and welcomed Wraxall most graciously. Their
interview is best told in his own words:--

  "We conversed till about ten minutes past six entirely alone, and
  in the most unreservedly undisguised manner. Her Majesty made me
  the recital of her reign--of the revolution--of her own conduct on
  that fatal night when she lost her crown. I listened in silence and
  astonishment. What a recapitulation did she not make me! Her words
  are for ever engraven on my heart; I could repeat her story almost
  verbatim. I know what scarce any other man on earth can know. I must
  own her unreserve, her goodness, her minute detail of circumstances
  the most concealed in their nature, my situation quite alone with
  her, superadded to some consciousness still more affecting, made me
  more than once forget I was talking to a queen. She was dressed in a
  brown silk polonaise, trimmed with green silk, her hair powdered, a
  locket on her bosom. Her under-lip is too large, but her teeth are
  fine, and that family violence in speaking becomes her; her nose
  is finely shaped, and her eyes are eloquent; she is thinner in the
  face than she was last October. She showed me his Majesty's letters
  to her, and permitted me to carry an extract from one away with me.
  She was obliged to leave me soon after six, which otherwise she
  seemed in no way inclined to do. Her talents are very good, and in
  mimicry she excels; her specimen of Prince Frederick of Denmark was

[101] In his private journal Wraxall gives a long account of the
hardships of this journey, but, as they concern himself rather than the
Queen of Denmark, I omit them here.

[102] I have seen this room--a small, dark apartment. It was the
garde-robe (or dressing-room), and is on the way from the Queen's
bedroom and the chapel.

After another interview with Seckendorf Wraxall was conducted out of
the castle as secretly as he came. The next day he went to Hamburg,
where, after an inclement journey, he arrived on February 21. At
Hamburg he remained three weeks, and saw a good deal of Baron Bülow,
to whom he communicated the result of his visit to England and
many messages from Queen Matilda. The articles drawn up and signed
by Lichtenstein on behalf of George III., which Wraxall had first
submitted to Matilda, he now handed to Bülow, who received them with
mingled feelings. The first two articles he wholly approved, but he
regretted that George III. would not advance any pecuniary assistance
and still more he lamented the fourth article, which promised that the
English envoy at Copenhagen would only support and avow the revolution
_after_ it had been effected, instead of avowing it while it was
actually in progress.

Bülow forwarded the articles to his confederates in Copenhagen, and
also had many consultations with his friends at Altona. It was not
until March 14 that he received an answer from Copenhagen, which was
much as Bülow had anticipated: all the conspirators objected to the
fourth article, and all agreed that it would be well to get the King
of England to reconsider his decision on that point. What they asked
was that the British envoy should come forward at the time they were
effecting the counter-revolution, and publicly avow it on behalf of the
King, his master. Bülow therefore resolved that a letter to the King of
England should be drawn up to this effect, and Wraxall should convey it
to London.

On March 20 Bülow gave Wraxall the letter to the King. His instructions
were that he should take this document first to Celle, submit it to the
Queen, and ask her to enclose it in a letter written by herself to the
King of England, in which she would urge their plea by every means in
her power. Wraxall was also to acquaint the Queen with the plan of the
revolution, which was now settled, and was as follows: On the day fixed
certain of the conspirators would repair to the palace, obtain access
to the King (Christian VII.), and induce, or compel, him to affix his
name to documents already drawn up. These documents would include an
order to the Queen-Dowager to retire to her own apartment until the
King's further pleasure were known, and to Prince Frederick to remove
to one of the country palaces--probably that of Frederiksborg. At
the same time, by virtue of a similar order, the ministers would be
dismissed, or arrested, and a messenger sent off to Celle to invite the
Queen to return to Denmark to resume her proper rank and authority.
That their measures would be so well concerted and so rapidly executed
as to produce the counter-revolution in a space of a few hours. That
they trusted, therefore, Queen Matilda on her part would repair with
all possible expedition to Copenhagen. A proper escort, becoming her
dignity, would be formed to accompany her from Altona through the
Danish territories, and her adherents calculated that she might, with
despatch, reach Copenhagen in four days from the time of her quitting
Celle, if no extraordinary impediment arose in her crossing the two
Belts. Her presence in the capital of Denmark would animate the courage
of her friends, cover her enemies with consternation, and complete the

Wraxall arrived at Celle on March 22 with the same secrecy as on
former occasions. As the Princess of Brunswick was at the castle he
was unable to see the Queen for two days, and then he was taken to the
Queen secretly on the night of Friday, March 24, and had an audience
with her after the Princess of Brunswick had retired to rest. It was a
dark and stormy night when Wraxall set out from his lodgings, and he
waited for some little time at the entrance of the drawbridge over the
moat, sheltering himself as well as he could from the wind and rain.
At last Mantel came, and led him in silence over the drawbridge, under
the portico, and into the courtyard of the castle, and thence by a
side door up a private staircase and along a corridor into the Queen's
library or boudoir. "Two candles were burning," says Wraxall, "and the
book-cases were thrown open, as it was uncertain at what hour the Queen
would come to me." He waited some time alone, and then Mantel brought
him a note from Seckendorf, saying that the Queen was in the Princess
of Brunswick's apartments, and would come directly she had retired. As
this was his last interview, it had better be told in his own words:--

  "I had scarcely perused the note when I heard the Queen's footstep
  on the staircase; a moment afterwards she entered the room. She was
  charmingly dressed, though without diamonds; she had on a crimson
  satin sacque and her hair dressed. I drew a chair, and entreated her
  to allow me to stand and receive her commands while she was seated,
  but she declined it, and we both stood the whole time. Our interview
  lasted about two hours. It was a quarter past eleven when I asked
  her Majesty if I should retire, and she signified her pleasure that
  I should. She approved of the letter drawn up by the Danish nobility
  to the King of Great Britain, as well as the request contained in
  it, which she confessed to be natural and just, though she doubted
  his Britannic Majesty's consent to it. 'I will, however,' she
  added, 'write to my brother the letter requested before I go to bed
  to-night, enforcing as far as I am able the petition of the nobility.
  You shall receive it from Baron Seckendorf to-morrow morning, and at
  the same time that of the Danish nobility shall be returned to you.'

  "Her Majesty ordered me to assure Baron von Bülow by letter that she
  was satisfied with all I communicated to her on his part, and that
  she should be ready on the shortest notice to mount on horseback in
  men's clothes, in order more expeditiously to reach Copenhagen, there
  to encounter every difficulty with her friends."

The Queen thanked Wraxall very warmly for his zeal in her service, and
said she would commend him to the King her brother, who, she doubted
not, would recompense him properly. She told him to write to her freely
from England, and then bade him adieu. "When the Queen was about to
withdraw," says Wraxall, "she opened the door, but held it a few
minutes in her hand as if she had something to say; she then retired."
He was conducted from the castle as secretly as he had entered it, and
the next morning left Celle on his way to England.

Wraxall arrived in London on April 5, and at once went to
Lichtenstein's lodgings, but to his dismay found that the Baron had
gone to Hanover ten days previously. He had, however, left him a
letter, directing him to wait upon Herr von Hinuber, the Hanoverian
_Chargé d'Affaires_. Accordingly Wraxall went to Hinuber, who told him
he had "the King's directions to take from Mr. Wraxall any letters
he might have, and send them immediately to the King at the 'Queen's
House'". Wraxall therefore gave him two packets addressed to the King,
one from Queen Matilda, and the other from her Danish adherents. He
also added a letter from himself, in which he again prayed the King to
give him a private audience.

To these letters George III. returned no reply, and Wraxall, after
waiting a fortnight in London, wrote to Baron Bülow telling him how
matters stood, and asking for instructions; he also wrote to the Queen
at Celle. Then followed another interval of silence. It was not until
May 10 that Wraxall received a letter from Bülow, in which he informed
him that the state of affairs at Copenhagen was extremely critical,
and he could not give him further directions until the return of Baron
Schimmelmann the younger, who had gone to Copenhagen. In the meantime
he besought him not to leave London, either for Celle or Hamburg,
unless he received instructions from George III.

But no word came from the King, and, while Wraxall was waiting, the
London journals announced the death of the Queen of Denmark, which had
taken place on May 11 at Celle.

This was the first intimation Wraxall received of the melancholy
event, and he was quite overcome, for it meant not only the loss of
the Queen, for whom he felt a chivalrous devotion, but the death-blow
to all his hopes of reward and promotion. On May 25 Wraxall received
a letter from Seckendorf, in which he lamented the loss of a kind and
gracious mistress at a moment when they had hoped her troubles were
nearing an end. The letter also informed him of an important fact,
namely, that George III. had written to Queen Matilda an answer to
the letter in which she urged the request of the Danish nobility that
the English envoy at Copenhagen should avow the revolution while it
was in progress. Whether the King refused her prayer, or granted it,
will never be known, for the letter arrived at Celle when Matilda was
either dying or dead, and it was returned to the King unopened. The
probability is that he refused, and preferred to send his refusal to
her direct rather than through the agency of Wraxall. The fact that he
declined to see Wraxall, or recognise him in any way, goes to show that
he regarded the plot with very dubious approval. Of the existence of
the plot there is no doubt, but Wraxall's version of it, and especially
of the part he played, needs some corroborative evidence. This is
afforded by a confidential letter which George III. wrote some years
later to Lord North, in answer to Wraxall's repeated demands that some
reward should be given him for the services he had rendered to the
King's sister. The letter (dated February 9, 1781) ran as follows:--

"You may settle with Mr. Wraxall, member for Hinton, in any just
demands he may have. Undoubtedly he was sent over by the discontented
nobility of Denmark previous to the death of the late Queen, my sister,
with a plan for getting her back to Copenhagen, which was introduced to
me with a letter from her. Her death and my delicate situation, having
consented to her retiring to my German dominions, prevented me from
entering eagerly into this proposal."[103]

[103] Stanhope's _History of England_, 3rd edition, 1853, vol. vii.,
Appendix xxxii. Further corroborative evidence has been furnished by
the publication of some letters of Bülow, in which he mentions that he
employed Wraxall as his agent in the plot to restore the Queen.

Wraxall considered himself very shabbily treated by George III., who
turned a deaf ear to his demands for years. It was not until 1781, when
Wraxall had won a seat in the House of Commons, and with it a useful
vote to the Government, that the Prime Minister, Lord North, gave him,
on behalf of the King, a thousand guineas for his services to the Queen
of Denmark, together with the promise of a seat at the Board of Green
Cloth. Wraxall's support was purchased for a time, but two years later,
when he gave a vote against the Government, he forfeited all chance of
further favours from the King, and the promised appointment vanished
for ever. But a thousand guineas was surely a sufficient reward for a
young and unknown man, admittedly in quest of adventure, who did little
but carry a few letters between Hamburg, Celle and London, and it was
rather for Baron Bülow and the Queen's adherents, whose agent he was,
to reward him than for George III.

Shortly after the Queen's death Wraxall states that he received a
letter from Bülow, who said that the revolution was on the point of
fruition when the ill news from Celle came to scatter consternation
among Matilda's adherents. It would seem, therefore, that Bülow and
his friends would have proceeded with their plan whether George III.
had granted their request or not. It is idle to speculate whether
they would have succeeded in their undertaking. All things were
possible in Denmark at that time to those who could seize the person
of the King. But it must be remembered that Christian VII. was closely
guarded. Moreover, there is no evidence to show that the conspirators
had the army on their side, and, without the help of the army, though
they might have effected a revolution, they would have been unable to
maintain it.




We last saw the Queen with her hand on the door, as she bade farewell
to Wraxall and wished him God-speed on his journey. "She never perhaps
looked more engaging," he wrote later, "than on that night, in that
attitude and in that dress. Her countenance, animated with the prospect
of her approaching emancipation from Zell--which was in fact only a
refuge and an exile--and anticipating her restoration to the throne
of Denmark, was lighted up with smiles, and she appeared to be in the
highest health. Yet, if futurity could have been unveiled to us, we
should have seen behind the door, which she held in her hands, the
'fell anatomy,'[104] as 'Constance' calls him, already raising his dart
to strike her. Within seven weeks of that day she yielded her last


    Then with a passion would I shake the world
    And rouse from sleep that fell anatomy.

    _King John_, Act III., Scene iv.

[105] Wraxall's _Posthumous Memoirs_, vol. i.

Queen Matilda's end was tragically sudden--so sudden as to call forth
the wildest rumours of foul play. A report was current in Celle that
the Queen was poisoned at the instigation of her deadly enemy, Juliana
Maria, acting through the agency of a negro, named Mephisto, who was
cook at the castle. It was said that he first gave a poisoned cup of
chocolate to a young page in the Queen's household, and seeing that it
worked with fatal effect, he poisoned the Queen in the same way. The
death of the Queen at the moment when their plans were nearing fruition
doubtless seemed suspicious to her Danish adherents who spread this
report, which was firmly believed by the common people in Copenhagen
and Celle. But the evidence of her physicians,[106] who sent a detailed
account of the Queen's last illness and death to George III., leaves no
doubt that she died from natural causes.

[106] Leyser, a physician of Celle, and Zimmermann, a physician of

Like all the children of Frederick Prince of Wales (except Augusta
of Brunswick and possibly George III.), Matilda was not of a strong
constitution. The climate of Denmark never agreed with her, and the
awful experiences she had gone through at Copenhagen shattered her
health. She was naturally of a plethoric habit of body, and though in
Denmark she had kept this tendency in check by continual exercise, such
as riding, walking and dancing--harmless amusements which her enemies
urged as offences against her--in her five months' imprisonment at
Kronborg she could take no exercise at all, and afterwards at Celle
she voluntarily gave up riding and dancing lest she should call forth
unkindly comment. The result was she became exceedingly stout--in
so young a woman much too stout for health. She had always lived an
active life, and the forced inaction to which she was condemned at
Celle was very bad for her, and the dulness and monotony weighed on her
spirits. Moreover, during the last few months, she had been leading a
life of suppressed excitement; the thought of her possible restoration
continually agitated her, and one day she would be greatly elated, and
another day correspondingly depressed. All this told upon her strength,
and rendered her the more susceptible to illness, should any come her

In the spring of 1775 (in fact, while Wraxall was there) an epidemic
called indifferently "military fever" or "the purples" had spread to a
great extent in Celle, and there were many deaths. Queen Matilda was
accustomed to walk freely about the town, and she therefore may have
exposed herself to infection; but she does not seem to have taken any
harm from the epidemic until after the death of her page. This boy, who
died on May 5, was a great favourite with the Queen; she felt his death
very much, and insisted on going to see him when he was lying dead in
one of the rooms of the castle. Her ladies tried to dissuade her, but
she would go, and either then, or at some other time, she caught the
infection. On coming back from the page's room she learned that the
little girl, Sophie von Benningsen, whom she had adopted, was also down
with the fever. The Queen, very much depressed, went for a walk in the
French garden, and when she came back she was so tired that she could
scarcely mount the steps of the castle. She dined as usual with her
court, but ate scarcely anything, and after dinner felt too unwell to
play cards and withdrew to her chamber.

The next morning, after a bad night, she complained of a sore throat
and chill. Her physician, Dr. Leyser, was called in, and compelled
her to remain in bed. Towards evening her condition showed a slight
improvement, but the next day symptoms so alarming appeared that Leyser
sent for Dr. Zimmermann, a celebrated physician at Hanover. The Queen
seemed to have a presentiment of death, for she said to Leyser: "You
have twice helped me through a dangerous illness since October, but
this time I shall die." The doctors affected a cheerfulness which they
were far from feeling, for the Queen's condition grew worse every hour,
and the fever became very violent. Prayers were offered for her in the
churches; she was deeply touched when her women told her that the whole
of Celle was praying for her, and even the Jewish community had offered
up supplications on her behalf.

The dying Queen was eager to avail herself of the consolations of
religion; Pastor Lehzen, her chaplain, prayed by her bedside, and read,
at her request, her favourite hymns and some verses from the Bible.
She went towards death without fear, indeed she seemed to welcome it.
Her sufferings were agonising, but through them all she manifested a
marvellous patience and fortitude. The Queen kept her senses to the
last, and almost with her dying breath expressed her forgiveness of
her enemies. Her last thought was of others; she inquired after the
little girl, Sophie, and when the doctor told her that the child was
out of danger, she whispered: "Then I die soothed," and fell quietly
asleep. In this sleep she died. The good pastor, who was praying by the
Queen's bedside when her spirit fled, thus described the end: "I never
witnessed so easy a passing; death seemed to lose all its terrors. The
words of Holy Writ: 'O Death, where is thy sting?' were literally true
in her case. She fell asleep like a tired wayfarer."

Queen Matilda died on the evening of May 11, 1775, at ten minutes past
eleven, at the age of twenty-three years and nine months.

       *       *       *       *       *

This "Queen of Tears" was married at fifteen; she died at twenty-three.
What unhappiness, what tragedy, what pathos were crowded in those brief
eight years! If she erred, she suffered greatly--imprisonment, exile,
the loss of her children, her crown, her honour--surely it was enough!
To those who are inclined to judge her harshly, the thought of her
youth and her sorrows will surely stay their judgment. We would fain
leave them to plead for her, without entering again on the oft-debated
question of how far she erred in her great love for the man who showed
himself altogether unworthy of the sacrifices she made for him. But her
indiscreet champions have unwittingly done her memory more harm than
good by claiming for her, throughout her troubled life at the Danish
court, what she never claimed--absolute innocence in thought, word and
deed. They rest their contention on evidence which we would gladly
accept if we could. But alas! it does not bear the test of critical

Nearly a hundred years after Matilda's death (in 1864) one of her many
apologists, Sir Lascelles Wraxall, grandson of the Nathaniel Wraxall
who had acted as agent in the plot for her restoration, published a
letter which he said had been given him by her daughter the Duchess of
Augustenburg, who had been allowed to take a copy of it by the King
of Hanover from the original document preserved in the Hanoverian
archives.[107] This letter purported to be written by the Queen when
she was on her deathbed to her brother George III., and proclaimed her
innocence. The Duchess of Augustenburg was the Princess Louise Augusta
of Denmark, the infant daughter taken from Matilda's arms at Kronborg,
the Princess whose birth occasioned so much scandalous rumour. She,
therefore (though formally recognised as the daughter of Christian
VII.), was interested in the question of her mother's innocence, and,
coming from such hands, the genuineness of the letter at first sight
would seem to be, as Wraxall says, "incontestable". The letter ran
as follows:--

[107] Wraxall was apparently unaware that this letter had already
appeared in print--in the _Times_ of January 27, 1852.


  "In the most solemn hour of my life I turn to you, my royal brother,
  to express my heart's thanks for all the kindness you have shown me
  during my whole life, and especially in my misfortune.

  "I die willingly, for nothing holds me back--neither my youth, nor
  the pleasures which might await me, near or remote. How could life
  possess any charms for me, who am separated from all those I love--my
  husband, my children and my relatives? I, who am myself a queen and
  of royal blood, have lived the most wretched life, and stand before
  the world an example that neither crown nor sceptre affords any
  protection against misfortune!

  "But I die innocent--I write this with a trembling hand and feeling
  death imminent--I am innocent. Oh, that it might please the Almighty
  to convince the world after my death that I did not deserve any
  of the frightful accusations by which the calumnies of my enemies
  stained my character, wounded my heart, traduced my honour and
  trampled on my dignity.

  "Sire, believe your dying sister, a queen and even more, a Christian,
  who would gaze with terror on the other world if her last confession
  were a falsehood. I die willingly, for the unhappy bless the tomb.
  But more than all else, and even than death, it pains me that not
  one of all those I loved in life is standing by my dying bed to grant
  me a last consolation by a pressure of the hand, or a glance of
  compassion, to close my eyes in death.

  "Still, I am not alone. God, the sole witness of my innocence, is
  looking down on my bed of agony; my guardian angel is hovering over
  me, and will soon guide me to the spot where I shall be able to pray
  for my friends, and also for my persecutors.

  "Farewell, then, my royal brother! May Heaven bless you--my
  husband--my children--England--Denmark--and the whole world. Permit
  my corpse to rest in the vault of my parents, and now the last,
  unspeakably sad farewell from your unfortunate

                                        "CAROLINE MATILDA."


_From a Photograph._]

If this document were genuine, it would go far to prove the innocence
of the Queen, for it must be remembered that the evidence against her,
even at its worst, was presumptive only, and it is unlikely, from all
we know of the genuine piety of her later years that she would have
faced death with a lie on her lips. But after patient inquiry nothing
can be found to prove its genuineness. The most convincing proof, of
course, would be the existence of the original letter in the Queen's
well-known handwriting; but no such letter exists in the Hanoverian
archives; nor does it exist among the Guelph domestic papers, which
the King of Hanover took with him into exile after the war of 1866.
While there was still a king in Hanover the late Mr. Heneage Jesse[108]
applied to the Hanoverian officials for information concerning this
letter, and received the following reply from Baron von Malortie,
minister and chamberlain to the King: "In the royal Hanoverian archives
there is not the letter alluded to of the late Queen Caroline Matilda
of Denmark. Solely the royal museum contains a _printed_ copy of a
letter pretending to be written by the said late Queen on her deathbed
to her royal brother, George III. of Great Britain, and it is presumed
that the Duchess of Augustenburg was permitted by the late King, Ernest
Augustus' Majesty, to take a copy of this printed copy, now in the
family museum." He then went on to say that all the officials of the
Hanoverian archives were strongly of the opinion that the Queen "never
did write, nor could write, on her deathbed such a letter, and that
the pretended letter of her Majesty is nothing but the work of one of
her friends in England, written after her death and then translated.
The history of her Majesty's last illness and of her death is here
well known, and excludes almost the possibility of her writing and
forwarding such a letter to her royal brother."[109]

[108] Author of the _Memoirs of the Life and Reign of King George III_.

[109] Jesse's _Memoirs and Life of George III_., 1867, vol. ii.

There still remains the theory put forward by some--that the Queen, in
writing this letter, protested her innocence only in general terms,
and she may have been referring to the charges made against her of
plotting with Struensee to poison or depose her husband, of which she
certainly was innocent. But this theory is untenable from another plea
put forward by the Queen's defenders, and which perhaps deserves more
respectful consideration than the letter. Some years after the Queen's
death Falckenskjold published his _Memoirs_, and in them we find the
following statement:--

"In 1780 I had an opportunity at Hanover of forming the acquaintance of
M. Roques, pastor of the French Protestant Church at Celle. One day I
spoke to him about Queen Caroline Matilda.

"'I was summoned almost daily by that Princess,' he said to me, 'either
to read or converse with her, and most frequently to obtain information
relative to the poor of my parish. I visited her more constantly during
the last days of her life, and I was with her a little before she drew
her last breath. Although very weak, she retained her presence of
mind. After I had recited the prayers for the dying, she said to me in
a voice that seemed to become more animated: "_Monsieur Roques, I am
about to appear before God. I protest that I am innocent of the crimes
imputed against me, and that I was never faithless to my husband_.'"

"M. Roques added that the Queen had never before spoken to him, even
indirectly, of the accusations brought against her.

"I wrote down on the same day (March 7, 1780) what M. Roques said
to me, as coming from a man distinguished by his integrity of

[110] _Mémoires de M. Falckenskjold_, Officier Général dans le service
de S. M. Danoise.

If Falckenskjold is to be believed, this, it must be admitted, is
remarkable evidence; but in his _Memoirs_ he can be more than once
convicted of misstatements, and, at best, this one rests on second-hand
information obtained five years after the Queen's death. It was Pastor
Lehzen, and not Pastor Roques, who attended the Queen in her illness,
and he published afterwards an edifying account of her last moments,
which contained no statement of this nature.[111] As Lehzen was the
Queen's chaplain throughout her residence at Celle, and rector of
the principal church there, it seems more likely that she would have
confided in him than in the minister of the French Protestant chapel,
whom she only saw from time to time in connection with little deeds of
beneficence to the poor among his congregation.

[111] Lehzen's _Die Letzten Stunden der Königin von Danemark_.

It is not necessary to invest Matilda with the halo of a saint to feel
sympathy for her sorrows and pity for her fate. She loved greatly and
suffered greatly for her love. Let it rest there.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Our good Queen is no more," announced Pastor Lehzen, as he came from
her deathbed to the long gallery, where the whole of the late Queen's
household, some fifty in number, were assembled. There was not one of
them who did not hear the words without a sense of personal loss, for
there was not one, even the meanest, to whom the Queen had not endeared
herself by some kind word or deed. The castle was filled with weeping
and lamentation. The ill news was quickly communicated to the town, and
every house became a house of mourning, for during her residence at
Celle Matilda had endeared herself alike to the highest and the lowest,
and was spoken of by all as their "_lieben und guten Königin_" (their
beloved and good Queen).

Owing to the danger of infection the Queen's funeral took place
within fifty hours of her death. It was found impossible to delay her
obsequies until the King's instructions could be received from England,
and therefore at midnight on May 13 the Queen was interred in the
burial vault of the Dukes of Celle in the old church.

The grand marshal of the court of Hanover, Baron von Lichtenstein, took
charge of the funeral arrangements. The Queen's coffin was carried on
a hearse, drawn by six horses, from the castle to the church under
an escort of soldiers, and the route was guarded by soldiers bearing
torches, and lined with rows of weeping people, all clad in black. The
Queen's household, headed by Baron Seckendorf, her chamberlain, and
the Baroness Dowager d'Ompteda, her chief lady-in-waiting, followed on
foot. The church was crowded with the chief people of Celle, including
Prince Ernest of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Madame de Plessen. The simple
service was conducted by Pastor Lehzen, and the coffin was lowered to
the ducal vaults.[112]

[112] Though the funeral was quite private, the expenses were very
heavy, amounting to some £3,000. They were defrayed, by order of George
III., by the privy purse.

The Sunday after the Queen's death mourning services were held in the
churches of Celle. At the town church, where she was buried, Pastor
Lehzen concluded his sermon with the following words:--

"She endeavoured to win the love of every one, even of the humblest,
and the many tears shed for her prove that she succeeded in her
endeavour. Those who were nearest her person testify how she strove in
a higher strength to exercise the most difficult of Christian virtues
[forgiveness of her enemies], and that not from a lofty, worldly pride,
but from reasons set forth for us by the Pattern of all virtues. The
last steps of her life were taken with submissive surrender to the will
of God, with trust and hope. O God! we thank Thee for Thy grace, and
for its blessed working; we honour, we extol, we praise the same, and
offer to Thee our most hearty thanks for all the goodness wrought in
this immortalised soul. May she now enjoy the rest, the reward, the
bliss of the perfected just! May a blessing rest on her royal children,
such as this loving mother sought for them so often from Thee, O God,
with many tears! Lighten the sorrow which the news of this unexpected
and grievous event will cause to the hearts of our gracious King and
Queen [George III. and Charlotte], and for the blessing of the world,
and of this country in particular, bring their Majesties to their full
term of happy years, and permit them to see their royal house flourish
and prosper. Look upon those who are nearest to the deceased Princess,
and mourn a Queen who was always full of graciousness and gentleness.
Console them in Thy mercy and loving providence, and teach them that
Thy counsel is very wonderful, and wise and tender. And thou, Celle,
overcome by the death which leaves thee forlorn, look up through
thy tears to God! Honour Him with childlike trust, and pray Him to
compensate your loss by manifestations of His mercy in other ways, and
by granting a long and happy life to our gracious King."

It was thought that the ducal vault of Celle would prove only a
temporary resting-place for the Queen, and, in accordance with her
expressed wish, her remains would be removed to England to rest in
Westminster Abbey beside those of her father and mother. But George
III. did not see his way to grant this last request, and all that is
mortal of Matilda remains at Celle to this day. On one side of her
George William, the last Duke of Celle, and his consort, Eléonore
d'Olbreuse, sleep their last sleep; on the other is the plain leaden
coffin of their unfortunate daughter, Sophie Dorothea, whose troubled
life in many ways closely resembled that of her great-granddaughter

I visited this vault a few years ago. Queen Matilda's coffin is easily
found, as it is the only wooden (mahogany) one there. It is of
extraordinary breadth--almost as broad as long--and at the head is the
following inscription in Latin: _Here are deposited the mortal remains
of Caroline Matilda, Princess of Great Britain and Brunswick-Lüneburg,
Queen of Denmark and Norway. Born July 22, 1751, died May 11, 1775._
A few faded wreaths were lying near the coffin; many of these
were deposited many years after her death by pilgrims to her last
resting-place; but I was assured that some of them had been there since
the funeral. The vault is now closed.

When the news of Queen Matilda's death reached England general mourning
for three weeks was commanded for the King's sister, and court mourning
for six weeks. Among the few English friends who knew her profound
sorrow was felt at the early death of this unfortunate daughter of
England. On May 24 a deputation of the House of Lords and a deputation
of the House of Commons waited on the King at St. James's, and
presented addresses of condolence on the Queen of Denmark's death. To
each George III. replied: "The King returns his thanks to the House for
the concern they have expressed for the great loss which has happened
to his family by the death of his sister, the Queen of Denmark."
The few thousand pounds the Queen left behind her, and her personal
effects, George III. committed to the charge of the regency of Hanover,
with orders to guard the property for her children until they came of
age, and Baron Seckendorf was entrusted with the administration of the
Queen's estate.

The news of the Queen's death travelled to Copenhagen as quickly as to
London, and completed the revulsion of feeling in her favour. She was
henceforth regarded by the people as a saint and martyr, who had been
sacrificed to the intrigues of the Queen-Dowager, and the unpopularity
of Juliana Maria and her Government was greatly increased. The
Queen-Dowager could not conceal her satisfaction at Matilda's death.
The English envoy relates how the Danish court received the news.
Writing on May 20 he says:--

"An estafette from Madame Schimmelmann brought the melancholy news from
Hamburg to Count Bernstorff very early yesterday morning, and I had
the grief to receive the confirmation of it soon after by the post....
Orders were given yesterday, as I am positively assured, to put the
Prince and Princess Royal into the deepest mourning worn here for a
mother, and I am likewise further assured that Count Bernstorff was
the adviser of that measure. But as consistency is not to be expected
here, he could not prevent the Royal Family's appearing at the play on
Wednesday and yesterday evenings, and what was worse, their assisting
on Thursday night at a ball in dominoes at the theatre, where they
made the King of Denmark dance, though they had ordered young Schack
to acquaint him on Wednesday with the circumstance he was in, with
which he was most [deeply] affected. And yesterday at Court (where I
was not) his countenance and manner were such as startled the Foreign
Ministers who approached him. The Prince Royal did not see company.
And to-day they all went to dine out of town, the King assisting at
the launching of two frigates, which resolution was taken suddenly at
twelve o'clock. They say they will wait till I, or M. Reiche, notify
the Queen of Denmark's death, in his Majesty's name."[113]

[113] De Laval's despatch, Copenhagen, May 20, 1775.

In accordance with this resolution no notice was taken of the event
by the Danish court, nor was any mourning donned, until George III.
sent a letter to the King notifying the death of Queen Matilda.
This notification was formally delivered by the English envoy at
the Christiansborg Palace the day when a court ball was appointed.
The Queen-Dowager so far forgot her discretion, or was so blind to
decency, that she did not order the ball to be postponed, and the
court danced merrily the evening of the day that the Queen's death was
notified at Copenhagen. But the next morning the Danish court went into
mourning--not as for the Queen of Denmark (for the Queen was considered
politically to have died three years before), but as for a foreign
princess who was connected with the Danish royal house--as a princess
of Great Britain Caroline Matilda was first cousin to Christian VII.
This court mourning lasted for four weeks--the usual time--and the
only concession seems to have been that the late Queen's children,
the Crown Prince Frederick and his sister, Princess Louise Augusta,
remained in mourning for a longer period.

It is said that George III., to whom the news of the court ball was
communicated, deeply resented the affront offered by the Danish court
not only to his dead sister but to him. No trace of this appears in
the official despatches. On the contrary, we find, soon after this
wanton insult to the Queen's memory, a despatch from England, saying
that "the King hoped the Queen's death would make no difference to the
good relations existing between the two courts".[114] George III. was
not a man to allow personal considerations to stand in the way of what
he considered to be public good, and he had recently obtained a pledge
from the Danish Government to the effect that they would not offer any
help, direct or indirect, to the American colonists, recently goaded
into revolt. A sister's memory was nothing to the King in comparison
with the prosecution of an unrighteous war which he believed to be

[114] Lord Suffolk's despatch to De Laval, St. James's, June 9, 1775.

       *       *       *       *       *


It was only in little Celle, among the people who had known and loved
her the last years of her brief life, that the memory of Matilda was
treasured and held sacred. Soon after the funeral a public meeting
was held at Celle and attended by the principal burgesses of the town
and the leading noblemen of the principality of Lüneburg, and after
resolutions had been passed lamenting her death, it was resolved to
petition George III. for permission to erect a monument to her memory.
In this petition it was stated: "Our only object is to raise a lasting
proof of the general affection and respect with which we regarded the
great and noble qualities of her Majesty Queen Matilda, and, by a
permanent memorial of the grief for her death felt by all true subjects
of your Majesty, to give an opportunity to our remotest descendants to
cherish with silent respect the memory of the best and most amiable of
queens." The petition was graciously received by George III., and he
willingly granted his permission.

A monument of grey marble was sculptured by Professor Oeser of Leipzig,
and erected in the French garden of Celle--the garden of which she had
been so fond--and stands to this day. A medallion of the Queen, as she
appeared in the last year of her life, is carved upon an urn, which is
upborne by allegorical figures of truth, maternal love, charity and
mercy--the virtues by which the Queen was pre-eminently known; and an
inscription runs round the pedestal setting forth her name and titles
and the dates of her birth and death. This handsome monument stands
out in bold relief against a background of sycamores, and looks across
the trim gardens to an avenue of ancient limes--the very trees, maybe,
under which Queen Matilda paced with Wraxall a few months before her

I saw it first on a June evening five years ago. At the base of the
monument blue forget-me-nots were planted, and red and white roses
clambered up the low railing around it--a touching testimony to the
fact that the Queen is not yet forgotten in Celle, and the memory of
her good deeds is still living in the hearts of the people.




Nine years passed, after the death of Queen Matilda, before retribution
overcame Juliana Maria for the part she had played in compassing her
ruin. By that time all the conspirators who had taken part in the
palace revolution of 1772 had been banished or disgraced, except two,
Eickstedt and Guldberg, and of these the latter was by far the more
powerful. The sex of the Queen-Dowager did not permit her to preside
in person over the Council of State; her son, the Hereditary Prince
Frederick, who was a puppet in the hands of his mother, nominally
presided, but he was there only as a matter of form. Guldberg in
reality presided, and behind Guldberg was Juliana Maria, for she ruled
entirely through him. The mental condition of Christian VII. made it
impossible for him to take any part in the government, though he still
reigned in theory. The whole of the regal power was transferred from
his hands to those of Juliana Maria and her other self, Guldberg, who
eventually filled the post of Privy Cabinet Secretary to the King, and
acted in many ways as Struensee had done.

Their rule was not successful. The one measure to be placed to their
credit was a law passed in 1776, which decreed that only natives
of the kingdom could hold office, though the King had the power of
naturalising deserving foreigners. In home affairs the Government
became more and more unpopular. The democratic reforms instituted by
Struensee were nearly all repealed: the orthodox clergy were gratified
by the reintroduction of public penance for sexual sins, the nobility
and landowners by the restoration of serfdom. The result of this
legislation was that the peasants were more oppressed than before, the
taxes grew heavier, and the old abuses flourished again vigorously. The
foreign policy of Denmark was to lean more and more towards Prussia.
The King of Prussia had, by means of his relative Juliana Maria,
acquired great influence over the foreign policy of Denmark, and under
his direction it grew hostile to England. The Danish Government was
weak and vacillating in foreign affairs, and its administration of
home affairs was feeble and corrupt. As the years went by, it became
greatly discredited, and the Queen-Dowager, who was regarded, rightly
or wrongly, as the cause of this loss of national _prestige_, became
more and more hated. Indeed, so unpopular was the Government of Queen
Juliana Maria that the wonder was it lasted so long; it only endured
because no strong man arose to overthrow it.

The hopes of the Danish nation were centred in the Crown Prince
Frederick, the son of Queen Matilda. At one time there was a design to
set both him and his sister aside,[115] but the Queen-Dowager and her
friends were afraid the nation would not suffer it. The Crown Prince
grew up under the care of Eickstedt, and his education was entrusted to
a learned professor named Sporon. Taking their cue, no doubt, from the
Queen-Dowager, the ministers treated the heir to the throne with scant
deference or respect: he was tyrannised over by Eickstedt, neglected by
Sporon and insulted by Guldberg. By the _Lex Regia_ he came of age at
fourteen, but the policy of the Queen-Dowager was to keep him in the
background as much as possible, and he was not confirmed until he had
reached his seventeenth year. Reports were spread abroad that he was
afflicted with the same mental imbecility as his father. Nothing could
be more untrue, for the Crown Prince was endowed not only with sound
sense and a firm will, but a strong constitution. He was about his
father's height, his complexion was fair, and his hair so flaxen as to
be almost white. In face he much resembled his mother, and it was said
that he cherished her memory.

[115] Woodford's despatch, Copenhagen, December 5, 1772.

The Crown Prince showed his character soon after he attained his
legal majority, for though only a lad of fourteen, he expressed
strong dissatisfaction concerning the cabinet orders reintroduced by
Guldberg--the same kind of cabinet orders as had cost Struensee his
head--and protested. Guldberg sent an insulting message in reply to
the Crown Prince's protest, and Eickstedt forced the young Prince
to make an apology. Frederick's remonstrance was ill-timed, and it
was probably the cause of his confirmation being delayed for three
years. But Guldberg's insult had the effect of determining him to
overthrow his domination and that of the Queen-Dowager at the earliest
opportunity. To this end he carried on a secret correspondence with
Bernstorff (who had resigned office in 1780 because of the French
and Prussian policy of the Queen-Dowager) and other opponents of the
Guldberg ministry, including Schack-Rathlou and Reventlow.

At last, on April 4, 1784, the Crown Prince was confirmed in the royal
chapel of the Christiansborg Palace, and before the confirmation his
public examination took place in the presence of the foreign ministers
and the court. This examination effectually dispelled the rumours which
had been industriously spread concerning the young Prince's mental
abilities, for he answered clearly and directly the questions put to
him, and spoke with a firmness which carried dismay to the hearts of
the Queen-Dowager and her supporters.

The confirmation of the Crown Prince was followed, as a matter of
course, by his admission to the Council of State, and this took place
on April 14, 1784. As it was an occasion of some ceremony, the King
himself occupied the presidential chair; the Crown Prince was seated on
his right, and Prince Frederick, the King's brother, on his left. The
Queen-Dowager had taken the precaution of appointing two new members
of the Council of State, her creatures, who were sworn to carry out
her wishes, and outvote any proposals of the Crown Prince. The first
business of the meeting, therefore, was the swearing in of these two
new members, and of Count Rosencrone, another nominee. When the three
men advanced to sign the oath and formally take their seats, the Crown
Prince rose and begged the King to command them to wait until he made
a proposition. The King bowed assent--he was in the habit of assenting
to every proposal--and before any one could interpose, the Crown Prince
produced a memorandum which he read from beginning to end. It proved to
be a most revolutionary document: he requested his father to dissolve
the present cabinet, to recall two of his own supporters--Rosenkrantz
and Bernstorff--to the Council of State, and to appoint two others,
also his supporters--Huth and Stampe--thus giving him a majority in
the Council. The Crown Prince then laid the memorandum before the King
for signature, and, dipping a pen in the ink, placed it in the King's
hand. At that moment Prince Frederick, who, with the other members of
the Council, had been taken by surprise, recovered his self-possession,
and attempted to snatch the paper away from the King, who was about to
sign it, but the Crown Prince intervened and held it fast. One of the
newly appointed members of the Council, Rosencrone, entered a protest,
and said: "Your Royal Highness, you must know that His Majesty cannot
sign such a paper without due consideration." The Crown Prince turned
to Rosencrone with an air of great dignity. "It is not your place,
sir," said he, "to advise the King, but mine--I am heir to the throne,
and, as such, responsible only to the nation." To the astonishment of
all, Guldberg remained silent, and, taking advantage of the momentary
hesitation, the Crown Prince obtained his father's signature to the
document, and further got him to write "approved" across the corner. He
put the paper into his pocket.

The imbecile King, who was greatly frightened at this scene, took
advantage of the pause to run out of the council chamber to his
apartments. Prince Frederick, foiled in obtaining the paper, resolved
at least to secure the King, and ran after him with all speed, bolting
the door from the outside when he left the room.

The Crown Prince at once assumed the presidency of the council, and,
turning to four Privy Councillors--Moltke, Guldberg, Stemen and
Rosencrone--declared that the King no longer required their services.
At the same time he announced the dismissal of three other members
of the Government. He then broke up the meeting, and endeavoured to
follow his father, but finding the door locked which led to the King's
apartments, he went round another way. Here, too, he found the door
barred against him. He declared that he would have it broken down by
force, and had given orders for this to be done when the door opened
and Prince Frederick appeared, leading the King by the arm, with the
intention of conducting him to the Queen-Dowager's apartments. The
Crown Prince sprang forward, and, seizing the King by the other arm,
endeavoured to draw him back, assuring him that nothing would be done
without his sanction, and that he only wished to secure the King's
honour and the welfare of the country. The feeble monarch seemed
inclined to stay with his son rather than go with his brother, and this
so incensed the Prince Frederick that he seized the Crown Prince by
the collar, and endeavoured to drag him away from the King by force.
But the younger man was the stronger, and clutching his father with
his left hand, he used his right so energetically against his uncle
that Prince Frederick was obliged to let go. At that moment the Crown
Prince was reinforced by his page, and between them they drove Prince
Frederick down the corridor, and shut the door on him. The King, who
had been almost pulled asunder by the excited combatants, ran back to
his apartments, whither he was followed a few minutes later by his son,
who now had his father in his safe keeping.

Thus was effected the palace revolution of April 14, 1784--a revolution
which overthrew not only the Government, but the Queen-Dowager and
her son. Its success or its failure turned on the result of this
undignified struggle for the possession of the King's person,
for if Prince Frederick had succeeded in carrying the King to the
Queen-Dowager's apartments, the recently signed ordinance would have
been revoked, and steps would have been taken to prevent a repetition
of the Crown Prince's efforts to assert himself.

The Queen-Dowager's rage when her son told her what had occurred in
the Council of State, and that the King was now in the keeping of the
Crown Prince, may be better imagined than described. She vowed and
protested that she would never submit to the power being thus snatched
from her hands; she wished to go to the King at once, but was told
that the Crown Prince and his friends would surely not admit her.
She threatened to summon the palace guard to take the King away by
force, but she was told that the Crown Prince had taken the precaution
to secure the good-will not only of the palace guard, but, through
commander-in-chief, of the whole army, and she was, in fact, already a
prisoner. Then at last Juliana Maria realised that she was outwitted,
and her reign was over for ever. The bitterness of her defeat was
intensified by the thought that it had been effected by the son of the
woman whom she had imprisoned and driven into exile.

The Crown Prince was proclaimed Regent the same day amid scenes of
the greatest enthusiasm. In the afternoon he walked alone through the
principal streets of Copenhagen; there was no guard, and the crowds
which filled the streets everywhere made room for him to pass, and
welcomed him with shouts and acclamations. As he said, the Danish
people were his guard, and when he returned three hours later to the
Christiansborg Palace, he had firmly riveted his hold on the affections
of his future subjects.

The Crown Prince behaved, as his mother would have done if she had been
restored to the throne, with magnanimity: there was no bloodshed, and
he treated even his bitterest enemies with great clemency. The rule of
Juliana Maria was at an end, and henceforth neither she nor her son
had the slightest influence in affairs of state. But the Crown Prince
treated them both with every respect and courtesy: they were permitted
to retain their apartments at the Christiansborg Palace,[116] and the
palace of Fredensborg was made over for the use of Juliana Maria. She
lived in retirement until her death, which took place in 1796, at the
age of sixty-seven years. Until the last she was pursued by popular
execration, and even after her death, until comparatively recent time,
it was the habit of many of the Danish peasants to spit on her tomb at
Röskilde as a mark of their undying hatred.

[116] In 1794 they were driven out by the great fire which destroyed
the Christiansborg, but apartments were found for them in the

Her son, Prince Frederick, who had neither his mother's abilities nor
her evil traits of character, had not the energy to meddle in affairs
of state, and spent the rest of his days in promoting the arts and
sciences. He died in 1805. He had married in 1774 Sophia Frederika,
a princess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, by whom he had two sons and two
daughters.[117] His elder son succeeded to the throne of Denmark in
1839 as King Christian VIII.[118]

[117] The younger of these daughters was the grandmother of Queen

[118] He died in 1848, and was succeeded by his son Frederick VII.,
who, dying in 1863 without issue, was succeeded by the present King of
Denmark, Christian IX.

Of Queen Matilda's two children little remains to be said. Her
daughter, Louise Augusta, grew up a very beautiful and accomplished
princess, who in wit and affability strongly recalled her mother,
and between her and her brother there existed the fondest ties of
attachment. She married the Duke of Augustenburg, and died in 1843, at
the age of seventy-two. The daughter of this Princess, Caroline Amalie,
married, as her second husband, Prince Christian Frederick, son of the
Hereditary Prince Frederick (who, on the death of his cousin, Frederick
VI., without male issue, became Christian VIII.), and thus the rival
races of Juliana Maria and Matilda were united. Queen Caroline Amalie
survived her husband for many years, and died in 1881, aged eighty-five


Queen Matilda's son, who, after a long regency, became, in 1808 (on
the death of his father, Christian VII., at the age of fifty-nine),
Frederick VI., was a liberal and enlightened prince; yet neither
his regency nor his reign was very successful. When Regent he
made repeated efforts to obtain the hand of an English princess in
marriage, one of the many daughters of George III.; but the King of
England, who had taken a violent dislike to Denmark after its cruel
treatment of his unfortunate sister, would not listen to the proposal.
The heir to the Danish monarchy, thus repulsed, married Marie Sophie
Frederika, a princess of Hesse-Cassel, who bore him two daughters,
Caroline, who married the Hereditary Prince Ferdinand, and Vilhelmine
Marie, who married Prince Frederick Carl Christian. His self-love was
deeply wounded by the way in which his overtures had been spurned
by his uncle, George III., and henceforth his foreign policy became
anti-English, and he threw in his lot with France. To this may be
traced directly, or indirectly, many of the disasters that overcame
Denmark during the reign of Frederick VI.--the naval engagement of
1801, wherein the English attacked Copenhagen and forced the Danes to
abandon it, the second attack by the British on Copenhagen, and its
bombardment in 1807, which resulted in the surrender of the whole of
the Danish and Norwegian fleets, and, in 1814, through the alliance of
Denmark and France against Great Britain and Sweden, the loss of Norway
to Denmark.

These disasters naturally engendered a feeling of bitterness on the
part of the brave Danes towards the English for a time, but this
feeling has long since passed away, and the two nations, whose history
is intimately connected, and who are akin in race and sympathy,
are now united in the bond of friendship--a bond which has been
immeasurably strengthened by the auspicious union which has given to
us the most beautiful Queen and the most beloved Queen-Consort that
England has ever known.





  The despatches of Walter Titley [1764-68], British Envoy
    Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary at Copenhagen. State
    Paper Office, London.

  The despatches of G. Cosby [1764-65], Assistant Envoy at Copenhagen.
    State Paper Office, London.

  The despatches of Sir Robert Gunning [1766-71], Minister Resident
    and afterwards Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary at
    Copenhagen. State Paper Office, London.

  The despatches of Sir R. Murray Keith [1771-72], Envoy Extraordinary
    and Minister Plenipotentiary at Copenhagen. State Paper Office,

  The despatches of W. Woodford [1770-73], Minister Resident
    at Hamburg, afterwards Envoy Extraordinary and Minister
    Plenipotentiary at Copenhagen.

  Sundry despatches written from the Foreign Office in London by the
    Earl of Sandwich and the Earl of Suffolk to the British Ministers
    at Copenhagen during the years 1764-73, specified elsewhere. State
    Paper Office, London.

  Sundry documents from the Royal Archives, Copenhagen, and the town
    archives of Celle, specified elsewhere.


  _Mémoires de Reverdil: Struensee et la cour de Copenhague_ (1760-72).
    Paris, 1858.

  _Mémoires de mon Temps_: par S. H. le Landgrave Charles, Prince de
    Hesse. [Printed by order of Frederick VII., King of Denmark, for
    private circulation.]

  _Mémoires de M. Falckenskjold_, Officier Général dans le service de
    S. M. Danoise.

  _Memoiren von Köller-Banner._

  _Christian VII. og Caroline Mathilde_, by Chr. Blangstrup. Copenhagen.

  _Die Verschwörung gegen die Königin Caroline Mathilde und die Grafen
    Struensee und Brandt_, by G. F. von Jenssen-Tusch. Leipsig, 1864.

  _Struensee_, by K. Wittich. Leipsig, 1879.

  _Authentische Aufklärungen über die Geschichte der Grafen Struensee
    und Brandt_, 1788. [This book purports to be written by a Dutch
    officer, and was translated into English 1790. The author has
    evidently had access to first-rate authorities, but a good deal of
    the book must be received with caution.]

  _Charlotte Dorothea Biehl's Breve von Christian VII._ Edited by L.
    Bobé. Copenhagen, 1902.

  Höst's _Grev Struensee og hans Ministerium_. Copenhagen, 1824.

  _Beiträge zur Geschichte de Braunschweig-Lüneburgischen Hauses und
    Hoses_, by C. E. von Malortie. Hanover, 1860.

  _Die Struensee und Brandtische Kriminalsache_ [pamphlet]. Amsterdam,

  _Leben, Begebenheiten und unglückliches Ende der beiden Grafen
    Struensee und Brandt_, 1772 [pamphlet].

  _Gespräch im Reiche der Todten._ Copenhagen, 1773 [pamphlet].

  _Die Letzten Stunden der Königin von Danemark_ [pamphlet]. Hanover,

  N. Falck, _Neues Staatsbürgerliche's Magazin_. Schleswig, 1833.

  _Narrative of the Conversion and Death of Count Struensee_, by the
    Rev. Dr. Münter [translated by the Rev. T. Rennell, 1825].

  _Memoirs and Correspondence of Sir R. Murray Keith_, vol. i., 1849.

  _Life of Caroline Matilda, Queen of Denmark_, by Sir C. F. Lascelles
    Wraxall, 1864. [This book is valuable for its extracts from
    N. W. Wraxall's private journal with reference to the Queen's

  N. W. Wraxall's _Posthumous Memoirs of his own Times_, vol. i.

  N. W. Wraxall's _Memoirs of the Courts of Berlin_, etc., vol. i.

  _Northern Courts_, by John Brown, 1818. [This book contains curious
    information, but a great deal of it is unauthenticated.]

  _Memoirs of an Unfortunate Queen, interspersed with letters written
    by Herself to several of her Illustrious Relatives and Friends._
    1776. [Most of these letters are evidently spurious and the Memoirs
    are untrustworthy.]

  _Histoire de Danemark_, trad. by E. Beauvois. Copenhagen, 1878.

  _Danemark_, by De Flaux.

  _History of Denmark_, etc., Dunham.

  Bubb Dodington's _Diary_, edition 1784.

  Mrs. Carter's _Letters_.

  Lady Hervey's _Letters_.

  Northcote's _Memoirs of Sir J. Reynolds_, vol. i.

  Walpole's _Reign of George III._

  Walpole's _Letters_, edition 1857.

  Archdeacon Coxe's _Travels in Poland, Russia and Denmark_, vol. v.

  Cunningham's _Handbook of London_.

  Stanhope's _History of England_, vol. vii., 1853.

  Wright's _England under the House of Hanover_, vol. i.

  _The Georgian Era_, 1832.

  Jesse's _Memoirs of George III._, 1867.

  _La Reine Caroline Mathilde_, by G. B. de Lagrèze. Paris, 1837.

  Adolphus's _History of England from the Accession of George III._,

  _George III., his Court and Family_, 1820.

  Gibbon's _Letters to Lord Sheffield_, Misc. Works, edition 1837.

  _A View of Society and Manners in Germany_, etc., by John Moore, 1779.

  Also the following papers from the years 1751-1775:--

  _The London Gazette_, _The Annual Register_, _The Gentleman's
    Magazine_, _General Evening Post_, _The Leyden Gazette_, _The
    Gazetteer_, _The Public Advertiser_, etc.


  Aalborg, ii., 175, 220.

  Aböe, Lieutenant, liberated, ii., 213.

  Alexandra, Queen, descent from Queen Louise, i., 53 _n._

  Amelia, Princess, presides over the court of George II., i., 23;
    her unamiable character, 24;
    entertains Christian VII., 160.

  "Art of Passau," i., 62.

  Ascheberg, i., 238.

  Ball, Mr., naval surgeon, ii., 110.

  Bang, Councillor, ii., 149;
    his indictment of the Queen, 152;
    defends Count Brandt, 191.

  Benthaken, Anna Catherine, i., 136.

  Benzon dismissed, i., 292.

  Berger, Professor, arrested, ii., 73;
    liberated, 214.

  Beringskjold, ii., 52;
    made Grand Chamberlain, 94.

  Berkentin, Count, i., 56.

  Berkentin, Madame, i., 143, 198.

  Bernstorff, Count, his career, i., 46 _n._;
    slighted, 234;
    dismissed, 256;
    his character, 257.

  Bolingbroke, Lord, i., 8.

  Boothby, Lady Mary, i., 88.

  Bothmar, the Danish envoy at the court of St. James's, i., 46.

  Bothmar, Baron, brother of the Danish envoy, i., 46.

  Brandt, Count Enevold, i., 128;
    banished, 148;
    recalled to court, 232;
    Master of the Revels, 321;
    made a Count, 335;
    and Struensee, ii., 6;
    thrashes the King, 28;
    arrested, 72;
    loaded with chains, 108;
    his trial, 189;
    condemned to death, 194;
    his execution, 202.

  Brunswick, Augusta Duchess of, her birth, i., 3;
    character, 21;
    hatred of Lord Bute, 42;
    her marriage, 43;
    her sympathy for her sister Queen Matilda, ii., 241.

  Brunswick, Prince Charles William Ferdinand, his marriage to Princess
      Augusta, i., 43;
    champions the cause of Queen Matilda, ii., 241.

  Bülow, Baron von, ii., 268;
    conferences with Wraxall, 273.

  Bülow, Baroness von, i., 253.

  Bute, John, Earl of, i., 26;
    and the Princess of Wales, 27;
    character, 28;
    Prime Minister, 39;
    in exile, 156.

  Carlton House, i., 19.

  Caroline, Princess, ii., 325.

  Caroline, Queen, her death, i., 3.

  Caroline Amalie, Princess, ii., 324.

  Caroline Matilda, Queen of Denmark and Norway, her birth and
      parentage, i., 1-18;
    baptised at Leicester House, 17;
    childhood at Kew, 20;
    her accomplishments, 20;
    reared in strict seclusion by her mother, 32;
    first public appearance, 38;
    betrothed to Prince Christian of Denmark, 48;
    her reluctance to the Danish match, 84;
    her marriage portion, 85;
    married by proxy, 87;
    leaves for Denmark, 87;
    reaches Rotterdam, 90;
    received by her husband at Röskilde, 96;
    public entry into Copenhagen, 98;
    her marriage, 102;
    festivities at Copenhagen, 103;
    disappointed in her husband, 109;
    crowned and anointed, 119;
    embittered against the King, 125;
    swayed by Madame de Plessen, 127;
    treated cruelly by the King, 135;
    birth of her son Frederick VI., 138;
    loss to her of Madame de Plessen, 144;
    resides at Frederiksborg, 176;
    reconciliation to the King, 182;
    illness, 191;
    attended by Struensee, 208;
    takes him into favour, 210;
    her ascendency over the King, 218;
    Struensee her evil genius, 219;
    their intrigue, 222;
    friendly relations with the King, 224;
    rides in male attire, 225;
    tour through Schleswig and Holstein, 229;
    visits Count Rantzau at Ascheberg, 238;
    meets her mother at Lüneburg, 248;
    returns to Copenhagen, 251;
    at Hirschholm, 252;
    her sympathy with the poor, 297;
    disregard of public opinion, 303;
    treatment of her son, 307;
    Order of Matilda established, 320;
    bitter feeling towards her, 328;
    delivered of a daughter, 331;
    child named Louise Augusta, 334;
    gives a masked ball, ii., 54;
    the palace revolution, 63;
    a prisoner in the hands of the conspirators, 73;
    conveyed to Kronborg, 80;
    her treatment there, 84, 129;
    bitter feeling against her, 96;
    examined by the Commissioners, 141;
    confession of guilt, 145;
    her trial, 149;
    defence of Uhldahl, 159;
    marriage dissolved, 171;
    visited by Keith, 219;
    freedom demanded by George III., 220;
    English squadron arrives at Kronborg, 234;
    parts with Princess Louise Augusta, 235;
    goes on board H.M.S. _Southampton_, 237;
    resides at Göhrde, 240;
    entry into Celle, 243;
    visited by Keith, 248;
    life at Celle, 255;
    Wraxall introduced to her, 264;
    popular reaction in her favour, 271;
    important conversations with Wraxall, 275;
    her sudden death, 295;
    details of her illness and death, 296;
    evidences of her innocence, 300;
    letter to her brother George III., 301;
    and pastor Roques, 304;
    her funeral at Celle, 306;
    looked upon as a saint and martyr in Denmark, 310;
    how the news of her death was received there, 310;
    monument erected at Celle, 313.

  Carstenskjold, Major, ii., 94.

  "Catherine of the Gaiters," i., 136;
    great influence over the King, 146;
    her shamelessness, 147;
    sent out of the country, 148.

  Catherine the Great, and Matilda, i., 265;
    her favourites, 268;
    resents the appointment of Rantzau, 269;
    becomes Empress, 274.

  Celle, entry of Matilda into, ii., 243;
    described, 255.

  Celle Castle, ii., 230;
    description of, 246.

  Charlotte, Princess of Mecklenburg, her marriage to George III., i.,
    great animus against Matilda, ii., 228.

  Charlotte Amelia, Princess, i., 77.

  Chemnitz, a preacher, ii., 133.

  Chesterfield, Lord, i., 8.

  Christian V., i., 284.

  Christian VI., i., 285.

  Christian VII., i., 52;
    training, 56;
    keeps bad company, 58;
    character, 60;
    betrothal to Matilda, 63;
    confirmed, 64;
    proclaimed King, 68;
    his first Council, 70;
    dismisses Moltke, 74;
    his distaste for work, 75;
    fond of practical jokes, 76;
    named "The Northern Scamp," 78;
    receives Matilda at Röskilde, 96;
    their marriage, 102;
    passion for display, 114;
    introduces masquerades, 115;
    crowned and anointed, 119;
    his dissipation and folly, 127;
    nocturnal expeditions, 129;
    tours through Holstein, 131;
    cruelty to the Queen, 135;
    birth of his son Frederick VI., 138;
    his _liaison_ with "Catherine of the Gaiters," 146;
    visits England and France, 150;
    lands in England, 152;
    popularity in London, 158;
    tours in the provinces, 162;
    entertained by the city of London, 165;
    low dissipation in London, 168;
    gives a masked ball, 171;
    goes to Paris, 174;
    returns to Copenhagen, 175;
    improvement in his conduct, 182;
    infatuation for Holck, 190;
    mental and physical deterioration, 191;
    royal tour through Schleswig and Holstein, 229;
    visits Count Rantzau at Ascheberg, 238;
    returns to Copenhagen, 251;
    at Hirschholm, 252;
    court manners there, 253;
    and the Council of State, 286;
    abolishes certain religious festivals, 290;
    mental state, 315;
    virtual abdication in favour of Struensee, 333;
    his vagaries, 351;
    at Frederiksberg, ii., 35;
    in the hands of the conspirators, 64;
    appears in public, 89;
    arraigned by Reverdil, 169;
    Queen divorced, 171;
    hates the Queen-Dowager, 270;
    his death, 324.

  Christian VIII., ii., 324.

  Christian Frederick, Prince, ii., 324.

  Christiansborg Palace, i., 59;
    masked ball at, 116.

  Chudleigh, Miss, i., 27.

  Cliveden, i., 19.

  Coke, Lady Mary, i., 133.

  Copenhagen, civic government of, i., 295;
    foundling hospital established, 299;
    rejoicings at fall of Struensee, ii., 89;
    riotous scenes, 92.

  Cosby, i., 62.

  Council of Conferences, i., 287.

  Council of State, i., 280;
    decree abolishing, 281;
    its origin, 285;
    re-established, ii., 104.

  Cricket introduced into England, i., 13.

  Cromartie, Lady, i., 5.

  Cumberland, Henry Frederick Duke of, i., 22;
    a dissipated youth, 245;
    marries Mrs. Horton, ii., 112.

  Cumberland, William Augustus Duke of, i., 5.

  "Danish Fly," headdress, i., 158.

  Danneskjold-Samsöe, Count Frederick, i., 73.

  Denmark, court of, i., 106;
    state of foreign affairs, 113;
    and Russia, 265;
    strained relations between, 273;
    reform in administration of justice, 295;
    serfdom in, 296;
    illegitimacy in, 298;
    marriage laws in, 300;
    discontent in, ii., 1.

  Devonshire, Duke of, i., 39.

  Dodington, Bubb, at Kew, i., 7;
    character, 29;
    the confidant of the Princess of Wales, 30.

  Eickstedt, Hans Henrik von, ii., 51;
    made a general, 93.

  Elizabeth, Princess, i., 22;
    her death, 32.

  Elsinore. _See_ Helsingor.

  Essex, Charlotte, Countess of, i., 133.

  Eyben, Fräulein von, Queen's lady-in-waiting, i., 143, 223;
    dismissed, 233;
    evidence at the trial of the Queen, 251.

  Falckenskjold, Colonel, i., 260;
    mission to Russian court, 278;
    arrested, ii., 73;
    sent to the fortress of Munkholm, 214;
    dies at Lausanne, 215.

  Filosofow, i., 141, 214;
    insults Struensee, 216;
    recalled, 269.

  "Flying Bodyguard," the, i., 326.

  Foot Guards disbanded by Struensee, ii., 38;
    their mutinous conduct, 39.

  Fredensborg Castle, i., 67.

  Frederick III., i., 284.

  Frederick V., i., 44;
    marriage with Juliana Maria of Brunswick, 53;
    becomes a drunkard, 54;
    his death, 68;
    and the Council of State, 285.

  Frederick, Crown Prince of Denmark, his birth, i., 138;
    his course of education, 307;
    treated with little respect, ii., 317;
    his confirmation, 318;
    in the Council of State, 319;
    effects the overthrow of the Ministry, 320;
    proclaimed regent, 322;
    becomes king, 324;
    his marriage and children, 325;
    disasters to Denmark during his reign, 325.

  Frederick, Prince, son of the Queen-Dowager Juliana Maria, ii., 323;
    his death and family, 324.

  Frederiksberg Palace, i., 67 _n._

  Frederiksborg, i., 176.

  Frederiks-Kirke in Copenhagen, i., 323.

  Gabel, Madame, i., 207.

  Gahler, General, i., 241;
    appointed to the War Department, 259;
    and Struensee, ii., 4;
    arrested, 73;
    banished, 214.

  Gahler, Madame von, i., 253;
    arrested, ii., 73;
    liberated, 213.

  George II. and his son Frederick, i., 2;
    his court, 23;
    death and burial, 33, 34.

  George III., his birth, i., 4;
    created Prince of Wales, 16;
    becomes king, 35;
    his marriage, 38;
    dislike to Christian VII., 154;
    writes to Matilda about Bernstorff, 258;
    his attitude to the divorce trial, ii., 148;
    demands the Queen to be set at liberty, 220;
    assents to the articles in favour of the revolution to restore the
      Queen, 283;
    and Wraxall's claims for reward, 292.

  Gloucester, William Henry Duke of, i., 22;
    visits Copenhagen, 184;
    his character, 185;
    marries Lady Waldegrave, 186;
    festivities in Copenhagen in honour of his visit, 187;
    the Danish king's opinion of him, 189.

  Goblet, wedding, i., 101 _n._

  Göhrde, ii., 240.

  Goodrich, Sir John, i., 137 _n._

  Gottorp Castle, i., 230.

  Guldberg, Ove, ii., 51;
    his great influence, 94;
    all-powerful, 269.

  Gunning, Sir Robert, i., 80;
    on Madame de Plessen, 140;
    his opinion of Count Osten, 276;
    on Struensee, 338.

  Hamburg and the partisans of the Queen, ii., 268.

  Hansel, Admiral, liberated, ii., 213.

  Hansen, a preacher, ii., 133.

  Hayter, Dr., Bishop of Norwich, i., 17.

  Hee, Dean, and Brandt, ii., 189.

  Helsingor, ii., 82 _n._

  Hesse, Prince Charles of, i., 74, 230;
    in exile, 148;
    on Struensee, 232.

  Hesse, Frederick Landgrave of, i., 75.

  Hesse, Mary Princess of, i., 75.

  Hesselberg, Colonel, liberated, ii., 213.

  Hinuber, ii., 290.

  Hirschholm Palace, i., 60;
    description of, 252;
    razed to the ground, 253 _n._

  Holck, Conrad Count, account of, i., 128;
    treats the Queen with scant respect, 130;
    influence over the King, 136;
    offer of marriage refused by Lady Bel Stanhope, 161;
    disgraceful evening amusements in London, 168;
    marriage to Count Laurvig's daughter, 190;
    his influence undermined by Struensee, 203;
    dismissed, 233.

  Holck, Gustavus, a page, i., 233.

  Holstein, Count, dismissed from office, i., 233;
    attends the Queen to Stade, ii., 236.

  Holstein, Countess, i., 253; ii., 272.

  Household Cavalry abolished, i., 324.

  Illegitimacy in Denmark, i., 298.

  Jessen, ii., 53, 94.

  Juell-Wind, Baron, ii., 142.

  Juliana Maria, Queen-Dowager, i., 53, 76;
    her character, 54;
    at Fredensborg, 305;
    rarely invited to court, 306;
    an imperious, intriguing woman, ii., 49;
    joins conspiracy against Struensee, 50;
    treatment of the Queen, 86;
    distributes honours, 93;
    her appointments to office, 95;
    takes the place of the Queen, 102;
    re-establishes the Council of State, 104;
    witnesses the execution of Struensee and Brandt, 210;
    the most hated woman in Denmark, 269;
    state of affairs in Denmark, 315;
    her rage at the overthrow of the Guldberg Ministry, 322;
    her rule at an end, 323.

  Junius on Queen Matilda, ii., 124.

  Justice, reform in administration of, i., 295.

  Keith, Sir Robert Murray, i., 341;
    reception at the court of Denmark, 344;
    his opinion of Struensee, ii., 32;
    intervenes on behalf of the Queen, 99;
    receives the Order of the Bath, 121;
    protests in favour of the Queen, 172;
    visits the Queen, 219;
    tells her she was no longer a prisoner, 231;
    takes leave of the Queen, 240;
    appointed ambassador to Vienna, 249;
    letter regarding Queen Matilda, 250;
    his death, 253.

  Kew House, i., 6.

  Kirchoff, John, and Sperling, i., 58;
    pensioned, 78.

  Köller-Banner, joins in a conspiracy against Struensee, ii., 51;
    arrests Struensee, 67;
    made a general and known henceforth as Köller-Banner, 93;
    his death, 269 _n._

  Kronborg, a gloomy fortress, ii., 81;
    chapel at, 133 _n._

  Lehzen, Pastor, ii., 260, 298;
    attends the Queen in her last illness, 305;
    funeral sermon, 307.

  Leicester House, i., 4;
    high play at, 6.

  Lennox, Lady Sarah, i., 37.

  _Lex Regia_, i., 282.

  Leyser, Dr., ii., 298.

  Lichtenstein, Baron von, interviews with Wraxall concerning the
      Queen, ii., 281.

  Lottery, royal Danish, i., 323.

  Louisa Anne, Princess, i., 22;
    her death, 145.

  Louise, Queen of Denmark, i., 45;
    death and character, 52.

  Louise Augusta, Princess, i., 334;
    declared legitimate, ii., 171;
    separated from her mother, 235;
    marries the Duke of Augustenburg, 324.

  Lühe, Madame von der, the Queen's lady-in-waiting, i., 143, 223;
    dismissed, 233.

  Lüneburg, i., 248.

  Luttichau, Chamberlain, dismissed, i., 233.

  Malzahn, i., 273.

  Marie Sophie Frederika, Princess, marries Frederick VI., ii., 325.

  Marriage laws in Denmark, i., 300.

  Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Prince Ernest, ii., 229.

  Moltke, Count, i., 55;
    dismissed, 74.

  Moltke, Count, son of the Prime Minister, dismissed, i., 292.

  _Monthly Journal for Instruction and Amusement_, i., 196.

  Moore, John, at Celle, ii., 261.

  Münter, Dr., sermon against the royal amusements, i., 117;
    his sermon against Struensee, ii., 97;
    and Struensee's conversion, 178;
    attends Struensee to the scaffold, 208;
    rewarded by the Queen-Dowager, 212.

  Newcastle, Duke of, i., 39.

  Nielsen, a Lutheran clergyman, i., 57.

  Norfolk House, St. James's Square, i., 3.

  Oeder, Professor, i., 291.

  Oeser, Professor, sculptor, ii., 313.

  Ompteda, Baroness d', ii., 240, 258, 261.

  Order of Matilda, i., 320.

  Osten, Count von, i., 273;
    appointed to the Foreign Office, 276;
    his hatred of Struensee, ii., 4;
    banished to Jutland, 269.

  Park Place, i., 19.

  Plessen, Madame de, lady-in-waiting, i., 91;
    her political intrigues, 113;
    guides the Queen in all things, 125;
    suddenly dismissed, 141;
    settles at Celle, 144;
    her character, 144;
    at Celle, ii., 256;
    celebrates the Queen's birthday, 261.

  Press censorship abolished, i., 296.

  Rantzau-Ascheberg, Count Schack Karl, i., 197;
    his career, 235;
    receives the King and Queen at Ascheberg, 238;
    retires from office, ii., 3;
    remonstrates with Struensee, 43;
    heads the conspiracy against Struensee, 49;
    his intention to betray the conspiracy, 59;
    pretends a fit of the gout, 60;
    surprises the King in bed, 64;
    attempts to arrest the Queen, 75;
    the resistance he meets with, 76;
    honours conferred on him, 93;
    exiled, 269.

  Reventlow, Count, tutor of Prince Christian, i., 56;
    his severity, 57;
    dismissed, 141;
    his bitter feeling against the Queen, 263.

  Reverdil, his career, i., 59;
    dismissed, 147;
    recalled, 347;
    describes the court at Hirschholm, 354;
    arrested, ii., 73;
    set at liberty, 105;
    dies at Geneva, 106 _n._;
    his arraignment of the King, 169.

  Reynolds, Sir Joshua, paints Matilda's portrait, i., 84.

  Rich, Sir Robert, i., 22.

  Richmond, Duchess of, i., 133.

  Roques, M., pastor, ii., 304.

  Rosenborg Palace, i., 326 _n._

  Röskilde, i., 95 _n._

  Russia, interference in Danish affairs, i., 265.

  St. Petersburg, foundling hospital in, i., 299 _n._

  Saldern, a semi-barbarian, i., 141;
    dismisses Madame de Plessen, 142.

  Salt tax abolished, i., 296.

  Sames, Colonel, ii., 94.

  Schack-Rathlou, Councillor, ii., 95, 141.

  Schimmelmann, Baron, i., 141 _n._;
    his revolutionary project, ii., 273.

  Seckendorf, Baron, acts as confidential agent between the Queen and
      Wraxall, ii., 275.

  Serfdom in Denmark, i., 296.

  Söhlenthal, Baron, i., 198.

  Sophia Frederika, Princess, ii., 324.

  Sophia Magdalena, Queen-Dowager, i., 55;
    fond of the King, 76;
    her death, 226.

  Sperling, page of the chamber, his vicious character, i., 58;
    encourages the King in vice, 78;
    superseded in the King's favour, 130;
    dismissed, 142.

  Stade, seaport, ii., 239.

  Stampe, H., ii., 142.

  Struensee, Adam, i., 193;
    appointed a preacher at Altona, 195;
    receives preferment in the Duchy of Holstein, 196.

  Struensee, Charles Augustus, appointed to office, i., 291;
    arrested, ii., 73;
    banished, 214.

  Struensee, John Frederick, i., 151;
    his parentage, 193;
    goes to Altona, 195;
    as a writer, 196;
    travelling physician to Christian VII., 199;
    appointed his surgeon-in-ordinary, 202;
    attends Matilda in her illness, 208;
    his appearance and manner, 213;
    inoculates the Crown Prince, 217;
    given the title of Conferenzath, 218;
    the Queen's evil genius, 219;
    with the King and Queen in Schleswig and Holstein, 229;
    recalls Brandt to court, 232;
    his foreign policy, 250;
    all-powerful favourite, 253;
    at the head of affairs, 261;
    keynote of his foreign policy, 265;
    his ignorance of forms of etiquette, 271;
    as Master of Requests, 280;
    abolishes the Council of State, 281;
    and the Danish nobility, 288;
    and the clergy, 290;
    a great reformer, 293;
    his principal reforms, 294;
    abolishes the Household Cavalry, 324;
    appointed Privy Cabinet Minister, 332;
    made a count, 335;
    his coat of arms, 336;
    his colleagues all false to him, ii., 2;
    and the Norwegian sailors, 8;
    plot against his life, 14;
    his cowardice, 17;
    dread of assassination, 36;
    disbands the Foot Guards, 38;
    their mutinous conduct, 39;
    Rantzau heads conspiracy against him, 49;
    the palace revolution, 63;
    taken prisoner by the conspirators, 68;
    conveyed to the citadel, 70;
    bitter feeling against him, 96;
    loaded with chains, 107;
    examined by Commissioners, 135;
    confession of guilt, 138;
    conversion by Dr. Münter, 179;
    his trial, 184;
    condemned to death, 193;
    his execution and horrible death, 202;
    head stuck on a pole, 210.

  Stürtz, Councillor, liberated, ii., 213.

  Suhm the historian urges the Queen-Dowager into a conspiracy, ii.,
    his hatred of Struensee, 98.

  Syon House, entertainment at, i., 159.

  Texier, M. le, proposes to Wraxall a project for restoring the Queen,
      ii., 273.

  Thott, Count Otto, takes office, ii., 95;
    president of the council, 105;
    commissioned to examine the Queen, 141.

  Titley, Walter, his career, i., 45 _n._

  Traventhal Castle, i., 233.

  Uhldahl, Commissioner, ii., 149;
    defends the Queen, 159;
    defends Struensee, 187.

  Vilhelmine Marie, Princess, ii., 325.

  Waldegrave, Dowager-Countess, i., 185;
    marries the Duke of Gloucester, 186.

  Wales, Augusta Princess of, her marriage, i., 2;
    life at Kew, 6;
    left a widow, 12;
    treated kindly by the King, 15;
    her children, 18, 22;
    dislike to the Duke of Cumberland, 23;
    leads a retired life, 25;
    and Lord Bute, 27;
    and Bubb Dodington, 30;
    her character, 31, 115;
    influence over her son George III., 36;
    dislike to Christian VII., 157;
    visits Brunswick, 244;
    her unpopularity, 246;
    meets Matilda at Lüneburg, 248;
    they part in anger, 249;
    her troubles and death, ii., 113.

  Wales, Frederick Prince of, an account of, i., 1;
    arrives in England, 2;
    his marriage, 3;
    in open opposition to the King, 4;
    life at Kew, 6;
    his friendship with Bolingbroke, 8;
    as an author, 9;
    his patriotism, 10;
    death and character, 12;
    buried in Westminster Abbey, 16;
    his children, 18, 22.

  Walmoden, Madame de, Countess of Yarmouth, i., 24.

  Walpole, Horace, on Christian VII., i., 163.

  Walpole, Sir Robert, i., 22.

  Warnstedt, Chamberlain, dismissed, i., 292.

  Whitefield, George, sermon on Matilda's marriage, i., 89.

  Willebrandt, Councillor, liberated, ii., 213.

  Wivet, Fiscal-General, receives the King's orders to prosecute
      Struensee, ii., 184;
    his charges against Count Brandt, 191.

  Wraxall, Sir N. W., notice of, ii., 263;
    visits Celle, 263;
    introduced to Queen Matilda, 264;
    proceeds to Hamburg, 267;
    becomes an agent in the conspiracy to restore the Queen, 273;
    his communications with the Queen, 275;
    leaves for England, 281;
    communicates with George III., 282;
    articles in favour of the revolution assented to by George III.,
    returns to Celle, 284;
    interviews with the Queen, 285;
    returns to London and delivers his letters to Hinuber, 290;
    learns the news of the Queen's death, 291;
    receives 1,000 guineas for his services, 293.

  Wyndham, Sir William, i., 8.

  Yarmouth, Countess of. _See_ Walmoden.

  York, Edward Duke of, i., 22;
    his career and death, 132.

  Zell. _See_ Celle.


  _New and Cheaper Edition. 8vo., 12s. 6d. net
  With Frontispiece and other Illustrations_

  Caroline the Illustrious

  Queen-Consort of George II. and sometime Queen-Regent

  _A Study of her Life and Time_

  W. H. WILKINS, M.A., F.S.A.

_In the Preface of this book the Author remarks that it is
characteristic of the way in which historians have neglected the House
of Hanover that no life with any claim to completeness has yet been
written of Caroline of Ansbach, Queen-Consort of George the Second,
and four times Queen-Regent. Yet, in his opinion, she was by far
the greatest of our Queens-Consort, and wielded more authority over
political affairs than any of our Queens-Regnant, with the exception
of Elizabeth and, in quite another sense, Victoria. The ten years of
George the Second's reign until her death would, Mr. Wilkins thinks,
be more properly called "The Reign of Queen Caroline," since for that
period she governed England with Walpole. And during those years the
great principles of civil and religious liberty, which were then bound
up with the maintenance of the Hanoverian dynasty upon the throne, were
firmly established in England._

_LITERATURE._--"The book will sustain Mr. Wilkins's reputation as a
student and exponent of history."

_PALL MALL GAZETTE._--"A book brimful of highly interesting and
entertaining matter."

_SCOTSMAN._--"As a vivacious chronicle of those events which constitute
the trimmings and the embroideries of serious history, Mr. Wilkins's
work will rank as one of the most entertaining books on an interesting

_NOTTINGHAM DAILY GUARDIAN._--"The author's descriptions of life at
Court during both reigns, and of such episodes as the rising of 1715
and the quarrel between George I. and his son, are full of vivid
reading, and his sketches of Walpole, Bolingbroke, and other leading
politicians are both adequate and fair."

_DAILY NEWS._--"The sketches of Court life and manners in the
days of the first two Georges furnish the reader with abundant
entertainment.... Mr. W. H. Wilkins may be congratulated upon the
discovery of one illustrious Princess who, though she filled for a
considerable period a very conspicuous and on the whole a worthy
position in the annals of this country, has somehow escaped due
biographical honours."

The "BARON DE BOOK WORMS" IN _PUNCH_.--"Brilliantly written, with
every incident dramatically given, and with every important character
duly weighed and valued, there is not a dull page in the entire work.
It is, indeed, one of the most interesting, as it is one of the most
delightful, of books, sparkling with the romance of real life that has
engrossed the Baron's attentions this many a day. Those who have a
lively recollection of _The Love of an Uncrowned Queen_ will be in no
way disappointed with this new work by the same author."


_Classified Catalogue_







  _BADMINTON LIBRARY (THE)_                             12

  BIOGRAPHY, PERSONAL MEMOIRS, &c.                       9

  CHILDREN'S BOOKS                                      32


  COOKERY, DOMESTIC MANAGEMENT, &c.                     36

  EVOLUTION, ANTHROPOLOGY, &c.                          21

  FICTION, HUMOUR, &c.                                  25

  FINE ARTS (THE) AND MUSIC                             36

  _FUR, FEATHER AND FIN SERIES_                         15


  LANGUAGE, HISTORY AND SCIENCE OF                      20

  LOGIC, RHETORIC, PSYCHOLOGY, &c.                      17


  MISCELLANEOUS AND CRITICAL WORKS                      38

  POETRY AND THE DRAMA                                  23

  POLITICAL ECONOMY AND ECONOMICS                       20

  POPULAR SCIENCE                                       30

  RELIGION, THE SCIENCE OF                              21

  _SILVER LIBRARY (THE)_                                33

  SPORT AND PASTIME                                     12

  _STONYHURST PHILOSOPHICAL SERIES_                     19

  TRAVEL AND ADVENTURE, THE COLONIES, &c.               11

  WORKS OF REFERENCE                                    31



  Abbott (Evelyn),  3, 19, 22
  ---- (J. H. M.),  3
  ---- (T. K.),  17, 18
  ---- (E. A.),  17
  Acland (A. H. D.),  3
  Acton (Eliza),  36
  Adelborg (O.),  32
  Æschylus,  22
  Albemarle (Earl of),  13
  Alcock (C. W.),  15
  Allen (Grant),  30
  Allgood (G.),  3
  Alverstone (Lord),  15
  Angwin (M. C.),  36
  Annandale (N.),  21
  Anstey (F.),  25
  Aristophanes,  22
  Aristotle,  17
  Arnold (Sir Edwin),  11, 23
  ---- (Dr. T.),  3
  Ashbourne (Lord),  3
  Ashby (H.),  36
  Ashley (W. J.),  3, 20
  Atkinson (J. J.),  21
  Avebury (Lord),  21
  Ayre (Rev. J.),  31

  Bacon,  9, 17
  Bagehot (W.),  9, 20, 38
  Bagwell (R.),  3
  Bailey (H. C.),  25
  Baillie (A. F.),  3
  Bain (Alexander),  17
  Baker (J. H.),  38
  ---- (Sir S. W.),  11, 12
  Baldwin (C. S.),  17
  Balfour (A. J.),  13, 21
  Ball (John),  11
  Banks (M. M.),  24
  Baring-Gould (Rev. S.),  21, 38
  Barnett (S. A. and H.),  20
  Baynes (T. S.),  38
  Beaconsfield (Earl of),  25
  Beaufort (Duke of),  12, 13, 14
  Becker (W. A.),  22
  Beesly (A. H.),  9
  Bell (Mrs. Hugh),  23
  Bent (J. Theodore),  11
  Besant (Sir Walter),  3
  Bickerdyke (J.),  14, 15
  Bird (G.),  23
  Blackburne (J. H.),  15
  Bland (Mrs. Hubert),  24
  Blount (Sir E.),  9
  Boase (Rev. C. W.),  6
  Boedder (Rev. B.),  19
  Bonnell (H. H.),  38
  Booth (A. J.),  38
  Bottome (P.),  25
  Bowen (W. E.),  9
  Brassey (Lady),  11
  Bright (Rev. J. F.),  3
  Broadfoot (Major W.),  13
  Brooks (H. J.),  17
  Brough (J.),  17
  Brown (A. F.),  32
  Bruce (R. I.),  3
  Buckland (Jas.),  32
  Buckle (H. T.),  3
  Bull (T.),  36
  Burke (U. R.),  3
  Burne-Jones (Sir E.),  36
  Burns (C. L.),  36
  Burrows (Montagu),  6

  Campbell (Rev. Lewis),  21
  Casserly (G.),  3
  Chesney (Sir G.),  3
  Childe-Pemberton (W. S.),  9
  Chisholm (G. C.),  31
  Cholmondeley-Pennell (H.),  13
  Christie (R. C.),  38
  Churchill (Winston S.),  4, 25
  Cicero,  22
  Clarke (Rev. R. F.),  19
  Climenson (E. J.),  10
  Clodd (Edward),  21, 30
  Clutterbuck (W. J.),  12
  Cochrane (A.),  23
  Cockerell (C. R.),  11
  Colenso (R. J.),  36
  Conington (John),  23
  Conybeare (Rev. W. J.) & Howson (Dean),  33
  Coolidge (W. A. B.),  11
  Corbett (Julian S.),  4
  Coutts (W.),  22
  Cox (Harding),  13
  Crake (Rev. A. D.),  32
  Crawford (J. H.),  25
  Creed (S.),  25
  Creighton (Bishop),  4, 6, 9
  Cross (A. L.),  5
  Crozier (J. B.),  9, 17
  Cutts (Rev. E. L.),  6

  Dabney (J. P.),  23
  Dale (L.),  4
  Dallinger (F. W.),  5
  Dauglish (M. G.),  9
  Davenport (A.),  25
  Davidson (A. M. C.),  22
  ---- (W. L.),  17, 20, 21
  Davies (J. F.),  22
  Dent (C. T.),  14
  De Salis (Mrs.),  36
  De Tocqueville (A.),  4
  Devas (C. S.),  19, 20
  Dewey (D. R.),  20
  Dickinson (W. H.),  38
  Dougall (L.),  25
  Dowden (E.),  40
  Doyle (Sir A. Conan),  25
  Du Bois (W. E. B.),  5
  Dunbar (Mary F.),  25
  Dyson (E.),  26

  Ellis (J. H.),  15
  ---- (R. L.),  17
  Erasmus,  9
  Evans (Sir John),  38

  Falkiner (C. L.),  4
  Farrar (Dean),  20, 26
  Fite (W.),  17
  Fitzmaurice (Lord E.),  4
  Folkard (H. C.),  15
  Ford (H.),  16
  Fountain (P.),  11
  Fowler (Edith H.),  26
  Francis (Francis),  16
  Francis (M. E.),  26
  Freeman (Edward A.),  6
  Fremantle (T. F.),  16
  Frost (G.),  38
  Froude (James A.),  4, 9, 11, 26
  Fuller (F. W.),  5
  Furneaux (W.),  30

  Gardiner (Samuel R.),  5
  Gathorne-Hardy (Hon. A. E.),  15, 16
  Geikie (Rev. Cunningham),  38
  Gibson (C. H.),  17
  Gilkes (A. H.),  38
  Gleig (Rev. G. R.),  10
  Graham (A.),  5
  ---- (P. A.),  15, 16
  ---- (G. F.),  20
  Granby (Marquess of),  15
  Grant (Sir A.),  17
  Graves (R. P.),  9
  ---- (A. F.),  23
  Green (T. Hill),  17, 18
  Greene (E. B.),  5
  Greville (C. C. F.),  5
  Grose (T. H.),  18
  Gross (C.),  5
  Grove (Lady),  11
  ---- (Mrs. Lilly),  13
  Gurnhill (J.),  18
  Gwilt (J.),  31

  Haggard (H. Rider),  11, 26, 27, 38
  Halliwell-Phillipps (J.),  10
  Hamilton (Col. H. B.),  5
  Hamlin (A. D. F.),  36
  Harding (S. B.),  5
  Hardwick (A. A.),  11
  Harmsworth (A. C.),  13, 14
  Harte (Bret),  27
  Harting (J. E.),  15
  Hartwig (G.),  30
  Hassall (A.),  8
  Haweis (H. R.),  9, 36
  Head (Mrs.),  37
  Heath (D. D.),  17
  Heathcote (J. M.),  14
  ---- (C. G.),  14
  ---- (N.),  11
  Helmholtz (Hermann von),  30
  Henderson (Lieut.-Col. G. F. R.),  9
  Henry (W.),  14
  Henty (G. A.),  32
  Higgins (Mrs. N.),  9
  Hill (Mabel),  5
  ---- (S. C.),  5
  Hillier (G. Lacy),  13
  Hime (H. W. L.),  22
  Hodgson (Shadworth),  18
  Hoenig (F.),  38
  Hoffmann (J.),  30
  Hogan (J. F.),  9
  Holmes (R. R.),  10
  Homer,  22
  Hope (Anthony),  27
  Horace,  22
  Houston (D. F.),  5
  Howard (Lady Mabel),  27
  Howitt (W.),  11
  Hudson (W. H.),  30
  Huish (M. B.),  37
  Hullah (J.),  37
  Hume (David),  18
  ---- (M. A. S.),  3
  Hunt (Rev. W.),  6
  Hunter (Sir W.),  6
  Hutchinson (Horace G.),  13, 16, 27, 38

  Ingelow (Jean),  23
  Ingram (T. D.),  6

  James (W.),  18, 21
  Jameson (Mrs. Anna),  37
  Jefferies (Richard),  38
  Jekyll (Gertrude),  38
  Jerome (Jerome K.),  27
  Johnson (J. & J. H.),  39
  Jones (H. Bence),  31
  Joyce (P. W.),  6, 27, 39
  Justinian,  18

  Kant (I.),  18
  Kaye (Sir J. W.),  6
  Keary (C. F.),  23
  Kelly (E.),  18
  Kielmansegge (F.),  9
  Killick (Rev. A. H.),  18
  Kitchin (Dr. G. W.),  6
  Knight (E. F.),  11, 14
  Köstlin (J.),  10
  Kristeller (P.),  37

  Ladd (G. T.),  18
  Lang (Andrew),  6, 13, 14, 16, 21, 22, 23, 27, 32, 39
  Lapsley (G. T.),  5
  Laurie (S. S.),  6
  Lawrence (F. W.),  20
  Lear (H. L. Sidney),  36
  Lecky (W. E. H.),  6, 18, 23
  Lees (J. A.),  12
  Leighton (J. A.),  21
  Leslie (T. E. Cliffe),  20
  Lieven (Princess),  6
  Lillie (A.),  16
  Lindley (J.),  31
  Locock (C. D.),  16
  Lodge (H. C.),  6
  Loftie (Rev. W. J.),  6
  Longman (C. J.),  12, 16
  ---- (F. W.),  16
  ---- (G. H.),  13, 15
  ---- (Mrs. C. J.),  37
  Lowell (A. L.),  6
  Lucian,  22
  Lutoslawski (W.),  18
  Lyall (Edna),  27, 32
  Lynch (G.),  6
  ---- (H. F. B.),  12
  Lytton (Earl of),  24

  Macaulay (Lord),  6, 7, 10, 24
  Macdonald (Dr. G.),  24
  Macfarren (Sir G. A.),  37
  Mackail (J. W.),  10, 23
  Mackenzie (C. G.),  16
  Mackinnon (J.),  7
  Macleod (H. D.),  20
  Macpherson (Rev. H. A.),  15
  Madden (D. H.),  16
  Magnússon (E.),  28
  Maher (Rev. M.),  19
  Mallet (B.),  7
  Malleson (Col. G. B.),  6
  Marbot (Baron de),  10
  Marchmont (A. W.),  27
  Marshman (J. C.),  9
  Maryon (M.),  39
  Mason (A. E. W.),  27
  Maskelyne (J. N.),  16
  Matthews (B.),  39
  Maunder (S.),  31
  Max Müller (F.),  10, 18, 20, 21, 22, 27, 39
  May (Sir T. Erskine),  7
  Meade (L. T.),  32
  Melville (G. J. Whyte),  27
  Merivale (Dean),  7
  Merriman (H. S.),  27
  Mill (John Stuart),  18, 20
  Millais (J. G.),  16, 30
  Milner (G.),  40
  Monck (W. H. S.),  19
  Montague (F. C.),  7
  Moore (T.),  31
  ---- (Rev. Edward),  17
  Moran (T. F.),  7
  Morgan (C. Lloyd),  21
  Morris (W.),  22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 37, 40
  Mulhall (M. G.),  20
  Murray (Hilda),  33
  Myers (F. W. H.),  19

  Nansen (F.),  12
  Nash (V.),  7
  Nesbit (E.),  24
  Nettleship (R. L.),  17
  Newman (Cardinal),  28
  Nichols (F. M.),  9

  Oakesmith (J.),  22
  Ogilvie (R.),  22
  Oldfield (Hon. Mrs.),  9
  Osbourne (L.),  28

  Packard (A. S.),  21
  Paget (Sir J.),  10
  Park (W.),  16
  Parker (B.),  40
  Payne-Gallwey (Sir R.),  14, 16
  Pears (E.),  7
  Pearse (H. H. S.),  6
  Peek (Hedley),  14
  Pemberton (W. S. Childe-),  9
  Penrose (H. H.),  33
  Phillipps-Wolley (C.),  12, 28
  Pierce (A. H.),  19
  Pole (W.),  17
  Pollock (W. H.),  13, 40
  Poole (W. H. and Mrs.),  36
  Poore (G. V.),  40
  Portman (L.),  28
  Powell (E.),  7
  Powys (Mrs. P. L.),  10
  Praeger (S. Rosamond),  33
  Pritchett (R. T.),  14
  Proctor (R. A.),  16, 30, 35

  Raine (Rev. James),  6
  Ramal (W.),  24
  Randolph (C. F.),  7
  Rankin (R.),  8, 25
  Ransome (Cyril),  3, 8
  Reid (S. J.),  9
  Rhoades (J.),  23
  Rice (S. P.),  12
  Rich (A.),  23
  Richmond (Ennis),  19
  Rickaby (Rev. John),  19
  ---- (Rev. Joseph),  19
  Riley (J. W.),  24
  Roberts (E. P.),  33
  Robertson (W. G.),  37
  Robinson (H. C.),  21
  Roget (Peter M.),  20, 31
  Romanes (G. J.),  10, 19, 21, 24
  ---- (Mrs. G. J.),  10
  Ronalds (A.),  17
  Roosevelt (T.),  6
  Ross (Martin),  28
  Rossetti (Maria Francesca),  40
  Rotheram (M. A.),  36
  Rowe (R. P. P.),  14
  Russell (Lady),  10

  Sandars (T. C.),  18
  Sanders (E. K.),  9
  Savage-Armstrong (G. F.),  25
  Scott (F. J.),  8
  Seebohm (F.),  8, 10
  Selous (F. C.),  12, 17
  Senior (W.),  13,15
  Seton-Karr (Sir H.),  8
  Sewell (Elizabeth M.),  28
  Shadwell (A.),  40
  Shakespeare,  25
  Shaw (W. A.),  8
  Shearman (M.),  12, 13
  Sheehan (P. A.),  28
  Sheppard (E.),  8
  Sinclair (A.),  14
  Skrine (F. H.),  9
  Smith (C. Fell),  10
  ---- (R. Bosworth),  8
  ---- (T. C.),  5
  ---- (W. P. Haskett),  12
  Somerville (E.),  28
  Sophocles,  23
  Soulsby (Lucy H.),  40
  Southey (R.),  40
  Spedding (J.),  9, 17
  Spender (A. E.),  12
  Stanley (Bishop),  31
  Stebbing (W.),  28
  Steel (A. G.),  13
  Stephen (Leslie),  12
  Stephens (H. Morse),  8
  Sternberg (Count Adalbert),  8
  Stevens (R. W.),  40
  Stevenson (R. L.),  25, 28, 33
  Storr (F.),  17
  Stuart-Wortley (A. J.),  14, 15
  Stubbs (J. W.),  8
  ---- (W.),  8
  Suffolk & Berkshire (Earl of),  14
  Sullivan (Sir E.),  14
  Sully (James),  19
  Sutherland (A. and G.),  8
  ---- (Alex.),  19, 40
  Suttner (B. von),  29
  Swinburne (A. J.),  19
  Symes (J. E.),  20

  Tait (J.),  7
  Tallentyre (S. G.),  10
  Tappan (E. M.),  33
  Taylor (Col. Meadows),  8
  Theophrastus,  23
  Thomas (J. W.),  19
  Thomson (H. C.),  8
  Thornhill (W. J.),  23
  Thornton (T. H.),  10
  Thuillier (H. F.),  40
  Todd (A.),  8
  Tout (T. F.),  7
  Toynbee (A.),  20
  Trevelyan (Sir G. O.),  6, 7, 8, 9, 10
  ---- (G. M.),  7, 8
  ---- (R. C.),  25
  Trollope (Anthony),  29
  Turner (H. G.),  40
  Tyndall (J.),  9, 12
  Tyrrell (R. Y.),  22, 23

  Unwin (R.),  40
  Upton (F. K. and Bertha),  33

  Van Dyke (J. C.),  37
  Vanderpoel (E. N.),  37
  Virgil,  23

  Wagner (R.),  25
  Wakeman (H. O.),  8
  Walford (L. B.),  29
  Wallas (Graham),  10
  ---- (Mrs. Graham),  32
  Walpole (Sir Spencer),  8, 10
  ---- (Horace),  10
  Walrond (Col. H.),  12
  Walsingham (Lord),  14
  Ward (Mrs. W.),  29
  Warner (P. F.),  17
  Warwick (Countess of),  40
  Watson (A. E. T.),  12, 13, 14
  Weathers (J.),  40
  Webb (Mr. and Mrs. Sidney),  20
  ---- (Judge T.),  40
  ---- (T. E.),  19
  Weber (A.),  19
  Weir (Capt. R.),  14
  Wellington (Duchess of),  37
  Wemyss (M. C. E.),  33
  Weyman (Stanley),  29
  Whately (Archbishop),  17, 19
  Whitelaw (R.),  23
  Whittall (Sir J. W.),  40
  Wilkins (G.),  23
  ---- (W. H.),  10
  Willard (A. R.),  37
  Willich (C. M.),  31
  Wood (Rev. J. G.),  31
  Wood-Martin (W. G.),  22
  Wotton (H.),  37
  Wyatt (A. J.),  24
  Wylie (J. H.),  8

  Yeats (S. Levett),  29
  Yoxall (J. H.),  29

  Zeller (E.),  19

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Sport and Pastime.



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Edited by A. E. T. WATSON.

Crown 8vo., price 5_s._ each Volume, cloth.

**_The Volumes are also issued half-bound in Leather, with gilt top.
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       *       *       *       *       *

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    Edition, thoroughly Revised and Re-written by W. BUTT, M.A. With a
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Mental, Moral, and Political Philosophy.


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    Home Life.

    After Life.



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  Table of Contents:
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  Page 108:
  Originally:    _Gesprach im Reiche der Todten_
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  Page 251:
  Originally:    which she intends implicity to follow. She
  In this ebook: which she intends implicitly to follow. She

  Page 256:
  Originally:    _ ... zur Geschichte des Braunschweig-Lüneburgeschen
  In this ebook: _ ... zur Geschichte des Braunschweig-Lüneburgischen

  Page 290:
  Originally:    " ... immediately to the King at the "Queen's House".
  In this ebook: " ... immediately to the King at the 'Queen's House'".

  Page 328:
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