Aolib.comFragment of Photochrom print of the front of Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany (ca. 1897)

A History of the Four Georges, Volume I »


By Justin McCarthy

children in quick succession, all of whom died in infancy; and then for

ten years she had no child. The London Gazette surprised the world

one day by the announcement that the Queen had become pregnant, and

upon June 10, 1688, she gave birth to a son. It need hardly be told

now that the wildest commotion was raised by the birth of the prince.

The great majority of the Protestants insinuated, or stoutly declared,

that the alleged heir—apparent was not a child of the Queen. The story

was that a newly—born child, the son of a poor miller, had been brought

into the Queen’s room in a warming—pan, and passed off as the son of

the Queen. It was said that Father Petre, a Catholic clergyman, had

been instrumental in carrying out this contrivance, and therefore the

enemies of the royal family talked of the young prince as Perkin or

Petrelin. The warming—pan was one of the most familiar objects in

satirical literature and art for many generations after. ‹10› A whole

school of caricature was heated into life, if we may use such an

expression, by this fabulous warming—pan. Warming—pans were associated

with brass money and wooden shoes in the mouths and minds of Whig

partisans, down to a day not very far remote from our own. Mr. Jobson,

the vulgar lawyer in Scott’s “Rob Roy,” talks rudely to Diana Vernon, a

Catholic, about “King William, of glorious and immortal memory, our

immortal deliverer from Papists and pretenders, and wooden shoes and

warming—pans.“ ”Sad things those wooden shoes and warming—pans,

retorted the young lady, who seemed to take pleasure in augmenting his

wrath; “and it is a comfort you don’t seem to want a warming—pan at

present, Mr. Jobson.“ There was not, of course, the slightest

foundation for the absurd story about the spurious heir to the throne.

Some little excuse was given for the spread of such a tale by the mere

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