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It has been suggested by more than one sensible writer, that the life of Elizabeth, the daughter of James the First, presents an inviting subject to the biographic pen. The task has hitherto been unattempted ; and, among other singularities in the destiny of this princess, it is not the least extraordinary, that she who, in Germany, had impelled so many Protestant heroes to take the field, should occupy so small a space in the history of their achievements; that the royal lady, for whose smile the chivalry of Britain had emulously contended, should have been doomed, during two-thirds of her existence, to subsist on the bounty of a re.
public; that the best-beloved of the Stuarts, in whose cause alone the Cavalier and the Puritan exchanged the pledge of fellowship, long outlived the enthusiasm she had once inspired, and finally returned to England, only to find her partizans disgraced, and herself in a manner banished from remembrance. These fluctuations in her popularity may be, in part, referred to the extraordinary aspect of the times in which she lived — an age fertile in political revolutions, and not more familiar with examples of romantic heroism, than enamoured of mystery and eccentricity, of subtle schemes and marvellously boldachievements. The critical position of the political parties, in England, contributed also to the diminution of Elizabeth's influence. Originally idolized by the Puritans, she early became an object of jealousy to the ministers of James and Charles the First. During the civil wars, many of those ardent friends were alienated from her interests
; and, at the Restoration, she found them
without the ability, or even the inclination to serve her. : It is less difficult to account for these al. ternations in popular feeling, than to excuse the posthumous neglect which succeeding times have offered to Elizabeth's memory. It is notorious, that volumes have been written to illustrate the descent, or emblazon the achievements, of the House of Brunswick, whilst of the maternal stem, by which alone it aspires to the triple crown of Britain, no memorials are exhibited. This descendant and progenitrix of kings is commemorated only in the epistolary and poetical essays of her contemporaries, as affording an apt illustration of human vicissitudes, and still more rạre example of female magnanimity. But, however contemned by the court of Charles the Second, the daughter of James the First was never wholly forgotten by the people. In the absence of authentic memoirs, romantic traditions were multiplied respecting her adventures, to which highly respectable writers have not scrupled to lend their sanction. By one of these (Pennant), she is said to have accompanied Frederic to Germany, and to have visited the camp of Gustavus ; by another (Whitaker), she is stated to have returned to England, in the reign of Charles the First, with the Earl of Craven, which is an equally palpable blunder, since Lord Craven himself was at that time constantly engaged in the Dutch service. A French writer * ascribes to her learning and metaphysics, to which she never aspired. Even the editor of Evelyn's Letters attributes to her a rivalship with Christina, queen of Sweden, the friendship of Descartes, and the correspondence of William Penn. † But, however erroneous may have been the statements respecting Elizabeth's life, her fine qualities have been generally admitted ; and, with the excep