URING the period of King Charles's days of adversity he made many fruitless attempts to obtain a wife. He was
rejected by all the young ladies to whom he made proposals. Marriages in that grade of society are almost
always mere transactions of business, being governed altogether by political and prudential considerations. In
all Charles's proposals he was aiming simply at strengthening his own position by means of the wealth or family
influence of the bride, supposing as he did that the honor of being even nominally a queen would be a
sufficient equivalent to the lady. The ladies themselves, however, to whom he addressed himself, or their
friends, thought that the prospect of his being really restored to his throne was very remote and uncertain,
and, in the mean time, the empty name of queen was not worth as much as a rich and powerful heiress, by
becoming his bride, would have to pay for it.
After his restoration, however, all this was
 changed. There was no longer any difficulty. He had now only to choose. In fact, one or two who had refused him
when he was a fugitive and an exile thought differently of the case now that he was a king, and one of them, as
has already been said, gave him intimations, through her friends, that if he were inclined to renew his suit,
he would be more successful. Charles rejected these overtures with indignant disdain.
The lady whom he ultimately married was a Portuguese princess. Her father was King of Portugal, but before his
accession to the throne his title had been the Duke of Braganza. The name of his daughter was Catharine. She is
thus known generally in history by the name of Catharine of Braganza.
It is said that the plan of this marriage originated with Queen Henrietta Maria, and that a prominent motive
with her in promoting the measure was her desire to secure for Charles a Catholic wife. Catharine of Braganza
was a Catholic. Henrietta Maria was deeply interested, and no doubt conscientiously so, in bringing back her
own family and their descendants, and the realm of England, if possible, to the ancient faith; and this
question of the
mar-  riage of her son she justly considered would have a very important bearing on the result.
Queen Henrietta is said to have laid her arrangements in train for opening the negotiation with the Portuguese
princess, at a visit which she made to England in 1660, very soon after her son's restoration. The Restoration
took place in May. The queen's visit to her son was in October. Of course, after all the long years of danger,
privation, and suffering which this family had endured, the widowed mother felt an intense emotion of joy at
finding her children once more restored to what she considered their just hereditary rights. Charles was on the
English throne. James, the Duke of York, was Lord High Admiral of England, that is, the commander-in-chief of
the naval forces of the realm; and her other children, those who were still living, were in peace and safety.
Of course, her heart was full of maternal pride and joy.
Her son James, the Lord High Admiral, went across the Channel to Dover, with a fleet of the finest ships that
he could select from the whole British navy, to escort his mother to England. The queen was to embark at
 queen came down to the port from Paris, attended by many friends, who sympathized with her in the return of her
prosperity, and were attracted, besides, by the grand spectacle which they thought would be presented by the
appearance and maneuvers of the English ships, and the ceremony of the embarkation.
The waters of the English Channel are disturbed by almost perpetual agitations, which bleak winds and rapid
tides, struggling continually together, combine to raise; and many a traveler, who passes in comfort across the
Atlantic, is made miserable by the incessant restlessness of this narrow sea. At the time, however, when
Henrietta Maria crossed it, the waters for once were calm. The people who assembled upon the pier to witness
the embarkation looked over the expanse before them, and saw it lying smooth, every where, as glass, and
reflecting the great English ships which lay at a little distance from the shore as if it were a mirror. It was
a bright and beautiful October morning. The air seemed perfectly motionless. The English ships were adorned
with countless flags in honor of the occasion, but they all hung down perfectly lifeless upon the masts and
rigging. Scarcely a ripple rolled upon the beach;
 and so silent and still was the morning air, that the voices and echoes came from vast distances along the
shore, and the dip of the oars of the boats gliding about in the offing sent its sound for miles around over
the smooth surface of the sea; and when the grand salute was fired at the embarkation of the queen, the
reverberation of the guns was heard distinctly, it was said, at Dover, a distance of thirty miles.
Even in such a calm as this, however, uncommon as it is, the atmosphere is not perfectly still. When the royal
party were on board the vessels and the sails were set, the fleet did begin to glide, almost imperceptibly, it
is true, away from the shore. In the course of the day they had receded several miles from the land, and when
the dinner hour arrived they found that the lord admiral had provided a most sumptuous banquet on board. Just
before the time, however, for setting down to the table, the duke found that it was a Catholic fast day, and
that neither his mother nor any of her attendants, being, as they were, all Catholics, could eat any thing but
fish; and, unfortunately, as all James's men were Protestants, they had not thought of the fast, and they had
no fish on board. They, however, contrived to produce a sturgeon for the
 queen, and they sat down to the table, the queen to the dish provided for her, and the others to bread and
vegetables, and such other food as the Catholic ritual allowed, while the duke himself and his brother officers
disposed, as well as they could, of the more luxurious dainties which they had intended for their guests.
With a fair wind, three hours is sufficient for the run from Calais to Dover. It took the Duke of York two days
to get his fleet across in this calm. At length, however, they arrived. The king was on the pier to receive his
mother. Rejoiced as her majesty must have been to be welcomed by her son under such circumstances, she must
have thought mournfully of her departed husband at the time of her landing, for it was here that he had taken
leave of her some years before, when the troubles of her family were beginning. Charles conducted his mother to
the castle. All the inhabitants of Dover, and of the country around, had assembled to witness the arrival, and
they welcomed the mother back to the land of her husband and her sons with long and loud acclamations.
There was a great banquet at Dover Castle. Here all the members of the royal family were
 present, having been assembled for the occasion. Of course, it was an occasion of great family rejoicing,
mingled undoubtedly, on the part of the queen, with many mournful thoughts and bitter recollections. The fast
was past, and there was, consequently, no difficulty now about partaking of the food that had been provided;
but another difficulty arose, having the same origin, viz., the question whether the divine blessing should be
implored upon the food by a Catholic priest or an Episcopal chaplain. Neither party could conscientiously
acquiesce in the performance of the service by the other. They settled the important question, or rather it
settled itself at last, in the following manner: When the guests were ready to take their places at table, the
king, instead of asking his mother's spiritual guide to officiate, as both Christian and filial courtesy
required him to have done, called upon his own chaplain. The chaplain said grace. Immediately afterward, the
Catholic priest, thinking that fidelity to his own religious faith required him to act decidedly, repeated the
service in the Catholic form, ending with making the sign of the cross in a very conspicuous manner over the
table. The gentry of Dover, who had been admitted as
 spectators of this banquet, were greatly scandalized at this deed. They regarded the gesture as an act of very
wicked and very dangerous idolatry.
From Dover the queen proceeded with her children to London. Her sons did every thing in their power to honor
their mother's visit; they received her with great parade and pomp, assigned her a sumptuous residence, and
studied every means of amusing her, and of making her visit a source of pleasure. But they did not succeed. The
queen was very unhappy. Every place that she visited recalled to her mind the memory of her husband, and
awakened afresh all her sorrows. She was distressed, too, by some domestic troubles, which we have not here
time to describe. Then the religious differences between herself and her children, and the questions which were
arising out of them continually, gave her a great deal of pain; she could not but perceive, moreover, that she
was regarded with suspicion and dislike by the people of England on account of her Catholic faith. Then,
besides, notwithstanding her English husband and her English children, she was herself a French woman still in
character, thought, feeling, and language, and she could not feel
 really at home north of the Channel. After remaining, therefore, a few months in London, and arranging some
family and business affairs which required her attention, she determined to return. The king accompanied her to
Portsmouth, where she set sail, taking the little princess Henrietta with her, and went back to France. Among
the family affairs, however, which she arranged, it is said that the marriage of her son, the king, was a
special object of her attention, and that she secretly laid the train which resulted in his espousing Catharine
According to the accounts given in the chronicles of the times, the negotiations were opened in the following
manner: One day the Portuguese embassador at London came to a certain high officer of the king's household, and
introduced the subject of his majesty's marriage, saying, in the course of the conversation, that he thought
the Princess Catharine of Portugal would be a very eligible match, and adding moreover, that he was authorized
to say that, with the lady, very advantageous terms could be offered. Charles said he would think of it. This
gave the embassador sufficient encouragement to induce him to take another step. He
ob-  tained an audience of Charles the next day, and proposed the subject directly for his consideration. The
embassador knew very well that the question would turn, in Charles's mind, on the pecuniary and political
advantages of the match; so he stated at once what they would be. He was authorized to offer, he said, the sum
of five hundred thousand pounds
as the princess's portion, and to surrender to the English crown various foreign possessions, which had, till
then, belonged to the Portuguese. One of the principal of these was the island of Bombay in the East Indies.
Another was Tangier, a port in Africa. The English did not, at that time, hold any East Indian territories. He
likewise offered to convey to the English nation the right of trading with the great South American country of
Brazil, which then pertained to the Portuguese crown.
Charles was very much pleased with these proposals. He immediately consulted his principal minister of state,
Lord Clarendon, the celebrated historian, and soon afterward called a meeting of his privy council and laid the
case before them. Clarendon asked him if he had given up all thoughts of a Protestant
connec-  tion. Charles said that he did not know where to look for a Protestant wife. It was true, in fact, that
nearly all the royal families of Europe were Catholics, and royal bridegrooms must always have royal brides.
There were, however, Protestant princesses in Germany; this was suggested to his majesty, but he replied, with
an expression of contempt, that they were all dull and foggy, and he could not possibly have one of them for a
The counselors then began to look at the pecuniary and political advantages of the proposed bargain. They got
out their maps, and showed Charles where Bombay, and Tangier, and the other places offered with the lady as her
dowry lay. The statesmen were quite pleased with the prospect of these acquisitions, and Charles was
particularly gratified with the money item. It was twice as much, they said, as any English king had ever
before received as the marriage portion of a bride. In a word, the proposition was unanimously considered as in
every respect entirely satisfactory, and Charles authorized his ministers to open the negotiations for the
marriage immediately. All this time Charles had never seen the lady, and perhaps had never heard of her before.
indi-  vidual qualifications, whether of mind or of person, seem to have been considered a subject not worth
inquiring about at all.
Nor ought we to be at all surprised at this. It was not Charles's object, in seeking a wife, to find some one
whom he was to cherish and love, and who was to promote his happiness by making him the object of her affection
in return. His love, so far as such a soul is capable of love, was to be gratified by other means. He had
always some female favorite, chosen from among the ladies of his court, high in rank, though not high enough to
be the wedded wife of the king. These attachments were not private in any sense, nor was any attempt made to
conceal them, the king being in the habit of bestowing upon the objects of them all the public attentions, as
well as the private intimacy which pertain to wedded life. The king's favorite at the present time was Lady
Castlemaine. She was originally a Mrs. Palmer, but the king had made her husband Lord Castlemaine for the
purpose of giving a title to the wife. Some years afterward he made her a duchess. She was a prominent lady in
the court, being every where received and honored as the temporary wife of the king. He did not intend, in
 Princess Catharine, to disturb this state of things at all. She was to be in name his wife, but he was to place
his affections where he pleased. She was to have her own palace, her own household, and her own pleasures, and
he, on the other hand, was to continue to have his.
Notwithstanding this, however, Charles seemed to have had some consideration for the personal appearance of his
proposed bride, after all. The Spanish government, as soon as Charles's plan of espousing Catharine became
known, attempted to prevent the match, as it would greatly increase the strength and influence of Portugal by
giving to that country so powerful an ally. Spain had plenty of money, but no princess in the royal family; and
the government therefore proposed to Charles, that if he would be content to take some Protestant lady for a
wife, they would endow her, and with a portion as great as that which had been offered with Catharine. They,
moreover, represented to Charles that Catharine was out of health, and very plain and repulsive in her personal
appearance, and that, besides, it would be a great deal better for him, for obvious political reasons, to marry
a Protestant princess. The other party replied that Catharine was not ugly by any
 means, and they showed Charles her portrait, which, after looking at it a few minutes, he said was not
unhandsome. They reminded him, also, that Catharine was only the third in succession from the crown of
Portugal, so that the chance of her actually inheriting that realm was not at all to be disregarded. Charles
thought this a very important consideration, and, on the whole, decided that the affair should go on; and
commissioners were sent to make a formal proposal of marriage at the Portuguese court. Charles wrote letters to
the mother of the young lady, and to the young lady herself, expressing the personal interest he felt in
obtaining the princess's hand.
The negotiations thus commenced went on for many months, with no other obstruction than the complication and
intricacy which attend all matrimonial arrangements where the interests of kingdoms, as well as the personal
happiness of the wedded pair, are involved in the issue. embassadors were sent, and contracts and treaties were
drawn up, discussed, modified, and finally signed. A formal announcement of the proposed marriage was made to
the English Parliament, and addresses congratulatory were voted and presented in reply. Arrangements
 were made for transferring the foreign possessions promised to the British crown; and, lastly, the money
intended for the dower was collected, tied up in bags, sealed, and deposited safely in the strong room of the
Castle at Lisbon. In fact, every thing went on prosperously to the end, and when all was thus finally settled,
Charles wrote the following letter to his expected bride.
"London, 2d of July, 1661.
"MY LADY AND WIFE,
"Already the embassador has set off for Lisbon; for me the signing of the marriage has been great happiness;
and there is about to be dispatched at this time, after him, one of my servants, charged with what would appear
necessary, whereby may be declared on my part the inexpressible joy of this felicitous conclusion, which, when
received, will hasten the coming of your majesty."
"I am going to make a short progress into some of my provinces. In the mean time, while I am going further from
my most sovereign good, yet I do not complain as to whither I go; seeking in vain tranquility in my
restlessness, looking to see the beloved person of your majesty in these realms already your own; and
 that with the same anxiety with which, after my long banishment, I desired to see myself within them, and my
subjects desiring also to behold me among them. The presence of your serenity is only wanting to unite us,
under the protection of God, in the health and content I desire.
"The very faithful husband of her majesty, whose hand he kisses.
The letter was addressed
"To the QUEEN OF GREAT BRITAIN, my wife and lady, whom God preserve."
Whoever reads this letter attentively will see in it that infallible criterion of hypocrisy and pretense in
professions of regard, viz., extravagant ideas feebly and incoherently expressed. When the heart dictates what
is said, the thoughts are natural, and the language plain; but in composition like the above, we see a
continual striving to say something for effect, which the writer invents by his ingenuity as he goes on,
without any honest impulses from the heart to guide him. He soars one minute and breaks down the next, in
absurd alternations of the sublime and the ridiculous. How honest Charles was in such professions, and what was
 of connubial happiness which he was preparing for his bride, is shown by the fact that he was even now spending
all his time with Lady Castlemaine; and, to reconcile her to his marriage with Catharine, he had promised her
that he would make her one of the ladies of the queen's bed-chamber as soon as she arrived in London, which
would give him constant opportunities of being in her society.
We have made very little allusion to Catharine herself, thus far, in the account of these transactions, because
she has had, thus far, nothing to do with them. Every thing has been arranged for her by her mother, who was an
ambitious and masculine woman, and at this time the queen regent of Portugal. Catharine had been kept shut up,
all her days, in the most strict seclusion, and in the most rigorous subjection to her mother's will. It is
said that she had hardly been ten times out of the palace in her life, since her return to it from the convent
where she had been educated. The innocent and simple-hearted maiden looked forward to her marriage as to a
release from a tedious and intolerable bondage. They had shown her King Charles's picture, and had given her an
account of his perilous adventures and romantic escapes,
 and of the courage and energy which he had sometimes displayed. And that was all she knew. She had her
childlike ideas of love and of conjugal fidelity and happiness, and believed that she was going to realize
them. As she looked forward, therefore, to the period of her departure for England, she longed impatiently for
the time to come, her heart bounding at every thought of the happy hour with eager anticipations of delight.
An English nobleman—the Earl of Sandwich—was sent with a squadron to bring the bride to England. He was
received, when he entered the Tagus, with great ceremony. A Portuguese minister went down the river to meet him
in a magnificent barge. The nobleman descended to the lowest step of the ladder which led down the side of the
ship, to receive the minister. They ascended the ladder together, while the ship fired a salute of twenty or
thirty guns. They went into the cabin, and took seats there, with great ceremony. The minister then rose and
made an address of welcome to the English commander. Lord Sandwich replied, and there was then another
thundering salute of cannon.
All this parade and ceremony was, in this
 case, as it often is, not an expression of real cordiality, good will, and good faith, but a
substitute for them. The English commander, who had been specially instructed to bring over the money as well
as the bride, found, to his great astonishment and perplexity, that the queen regent had spent a considerable
portion of the money which had been put away so safely in the bags, and she wished to pay now a part of the
dowry in merchandise, at such prices as she thought reasonable, and to have a year's credit for the remainder.
There was thus thrown upon Lord Sandwich the very heavy responsibility of deciding whether to give up the
object of his expedition, and go back to England without the bride, or to take her without the money. After
very anxious hesitation and suspense, he decided to proceed with his enterprise, and the preparations were made
for the princess's embarkation.
THE BRIDAL PARTY AT LISBON.
When the day arrived, the queen descended the grand staircase of the palace, and at the foot of it took leave
of her mother. Neither mother nor daughter shed a tear. The princess was conducted through the streets,
accompanied by a long cavalcade and a procession of splendid carriages, through long lines of soldiers,
 and under triumphal arches, and over paths strewed with flowers, while bands of music, and groups of dancers,
at various distances along the way, expressed the general congratulation and joy. When they reached the pier
there was a splendid brigantine or barge ready to receive the bride and her attendants. The Earl of Sandwich,
and other English officers of high rank belonging to the squadron, entered the barge too. The water was covered
with boats, and the shipping in the river was crowded with spectators. The barge moved on to the ship which was
to convey the bridal party, who ascended to the deck by means of a spacious and beautiful stair constructed
upon its side. Salutes were fired by the English ships, and were echoed by the Portuguese forts on the shore.
The princess's brother and the ladies who had accompanied her on board, to take leave of her there, now bade
her farewell, and returned by the barge to the shore, while the ships weighed anchor and prepared to put to
The wind was, however, contrary, and they were compelled to remain that night in the river; and as soon as the
darkness came on, the whole shore became resplendent with illuminations at the windows in the city, and with
rock-  ets, and fire-balls, and fire-works of every kind, rising from boats upon the water, and from the banks, and heights,
and castle battlements all around upon the land. This gay and splendid spectacle beguiled the night, but the
wind continued unfavorable all the next day, and confined the squadron still to the river. Catharine's mother
sent out a messenger during the day to inquire after her daughter's health and welfare. The etiquette of
royalty did not allow of her coming to see her child.
The fleet, which consisted of fourteen men-of-war, put to sea on the second day. After a long and stormy
passage, the squadron arrived off the Isle of Wight; the Duke of York came out to meet it there, with five
other ships, and they all entered the harbor of Portsmouth together. As soon as Catharine landed, she wrote
immediately to Charles to notify him of her arrival. The news produced universal excitement in London. The
bells were rung, bonfires were made in the streets, and houses were illuminated. Every body seemed full of joy
and pleasure except the king himself. He seemed to care little about it. He was supping that night with Lady
Castlemaine. It was five days before he set out to meet his bride, and he
 supped with Lady Castlemaine the night before he commenced his journey.
Some of Charles's best friends were very much grieved at his pursuing such a course; others were very
indignant; but the majority of the people around him at court were like himself in character and manners, and
were only led to more open irregularity and vice themselves by this public example of their sovereign. In the
mean time, the king moved on to Portsmouth, escorted by a body of his Life Guards. He found that his intended
bride was confined to her bed with a sort of slow fever. It was the result, they said, of the roughness and
discomforts of the voyage, though we may certainly imagine another cause. Charles went immediately to the house
where she was residing, and was admitted to visit her in her chamber, the many attendants who were present at
the interview watching with great interest every word and look on either side by which they might judge of the
nature of the first impression made by the bride and bridegroom upon each other. Catharine was not considered
beautiful, and it was natural that a degree of curiosity should be manifested to learn how Charles would regard
CATHARINE OF BRAGANZA.
 There are two apparently contradictory accounts of the impression made upon Charles by
 this his first sight of his intended bride. Charles wrote a letter to Lord Clarendon, in which he expressed
himself very well satisfied with her. He admitted that she was no beauty, but her countenance was agreeable, he
said, and "her conversation," he added, "as far as I can perceive, is very good; for she has wit enough, and a
very agreeable voice. You would be surprised to see how well we are acquainted already. In a word, I think
myself very happy, and I am confident that we shall agree very well together. I have not time to say any more.
My lord lieutenant will tell you the rest." At the same time, while writing this in his official communication
to his minister, he said privately to one of his companions on leaving the presence of his bride, that, "upon
his word, they had sent him a bat instead of a woman."
The royal couple were married the next day, first very privately in the Catholic form, and afterward more
openly, in a great hall, and before a large assembly, according to the ritual of the Church of England. The
bride was attired in the English style, her dress being of rose color, trimmed with knots of blue ribbon. These
knots were, after the ceremony, detached from the dress, and distributed among the
com-  pany as wedding favors, every lady eagerly pressing forward to get a share. Magnificent presents were made
to the groomsmen and bridesmaids, and the company dispersed. The queen, still indisposed, went back to her bed
and her supper was served to her there, the king and other members of the household partaking it with her,
seated at the bedside.
A day or two afterward the royal party proceeded to London, in a long train composed of Life Guards, carriages,
horsemen, baggage wagons, and attendants of every grade. The queen's heart was full of anticipations of
happiness. The others, who knew what state of things she was to find on her arrival there, looked forward to
scenes of trouble and woe.
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