During the interval between the proclamation of the accession of George I and his arrival, which did not take place until September 17, the country was in a disturbed state, and it is not unnatural that Lady Mary in Yorkshire was alarmed for the safety of herself and the child.
“I cannot forbear taking it something unkindly that you do not write to me, when you may be assured I am in a great fright, and know not certainly what to expect upon this sudden change,” she wrote from Middlethorpe to Montagu. “The Archbishop of York has been come to Bishopthorpe but three days. I went with my cousin to-day to see the King proclaimed, which was done; the Archbishop walking next the Lord Mayor, all the country gentry following, with greater crowds of people than I believed to be in York, vast acclamations, and the appearance of a general satisfaction. The Pretender afterwards dragged about the streets and burned. Ringing of bells, bonfires, and illuminations, the mob crying Liberty and Property! and Long live King George! This morning all the principal men of any figure took post for London, and we are alarmed with the fear of attempts from Scotland, though all Protestants seem unanimous for the Hanover succession. The poor young ladies at Castle Howard are as much afraid as I am, being left all alone, without any hopes of seeing their father again (though things should prove well) this eight or nine months. They have sent to desire me very earnestly to come to them, and bring my boy; ’tis the same thing as pensioning in a nunnery, for no mortal man ever enters the doors in the absence of their father, who is gone post. During this uncertainty, I think it will be a safe retreat; for Middlethorpe stands exposed to plunderers, if there be any at all.”
A day or two later this letter was followed by another:
“You made me cry two hours last night. I cannot imagine why you use me so ill; for what reason you continue silent, when you know at any time your silence cannot fail of giving me a great deal of pain; and now to a higher degree because of the perplexity that I am in, without knowing where you are, what you are doing, or what to do with myself and my dear little boy. However (persuaded there can be no objection to it), I intend to go to-morrow to Castle Howard, and remain there with the young ladies, ’till I know when I shall see you, or what you would command. The Archbishop and everybody else are gone to London. We are alarmed with a story of a fleet being seen from the coasts of Scotland. An express went from thence through York to the Earl of Mar. I beg you would write to me. ’Till you do I shall not have an easy minute. I am sure I do not deserve from you that you should make me uneasy. I find I am scolding, ’tis better for me not to trouble you with it; but I cannot help taking your silence very unkindly.”
THE ACCESSION OF GEORGE I (1714)