Letter from King James III and VIII to Queen Clementina, September 17, 1726
Six months after the birth of the Duke of York (later King Henry IX), Queen Clementina determined to separate from King James III and VIII. The reason given for this separation was that the King had put his sons in the charge of three Protestants: John Hay as Secretary of State, his wife as Governess, and his brother-in-law James Murray as Governor. The Queen returned to the King in July 1727 when the Hays resigned their positions as Governor and Governess.
A printed version of the text can be found on pages 396 to 399 of volume 3 of Original Letters Illustrative of English History, edited by Henry Ellis (London: Harding, Triphook, and Lepard, 1825).
Notwithstanding the bad success of the many steps I have taken to convince you of my affection and tender regard, my compassion for you increases in proportion with the misfortunes I see your separation from me exposes you to. The circumstance of my departure from Rome with our children very speedily, ought to make a feeling impression on you; I am sure it raises in me all the loving sentiments I ever had for you, and presses me to solicit you anew with all the earnestness possible not to let slip so favourable a conjuncture of returning to your family, assuring you at the same time, that you will find in me a fond husband, ready to forget what is past, and wholly intenet on providing for your happiness and tranquility for the time to come.
Consider, I beseech you my dear Clementine what you owe to God, to yourself, to me, to our children, and to the world; reflect on it seriously, and it will be impossible for me to believe you can hold out any longer in a resolution that draws consequences after it, for which you will ever after be accountable to God and man. I flatter myself the more that you will no longer persist in it, that I had yesterday from the Pope's own mouth that the only motive you ever laid before His Holiness to justify your separation from me, was, that I gave my son a Protestant Governor. Since I as father and king am solely accountable for his education, I hope that after serious reflection you will think it just and fitting to submit in that to my judgement and conscience. But if, as God forbid, you should be resolved to remain always separated from me, I will send Sir William Ellis to inform you of the measures I shall take for your maintenance in a nunnery, with the regret of not being in a condition to suit that to my inclination, but to my power ability. Whatsoever be the event, Madam, I shall have the comfort of having done my part, and complied with my duty, since I omitted nothing that might prevent your misfortune, in the midst of which you shall always find in me, sentiments that are becoming a Christian, a husband, and a king.
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