Page images
[ocr errors]

inake use of their numbers. The constant successes with which God had blessed the queen's reign, put it out of their power to compass that which was aimed at by them; the forcing a peace, and of consequence the delivering all up to France.” * Marlborough, though he still affected to be of no faction, saw the time had passed by when he could have the support of the party which the queen had first marked by her favour. Those who had attempted to stop the supplies by tacking to their vote the Occasional Conformity Bill were the High Tories, with whom he long conspired to make the life of King William a burden to him, by disturbing all his designs for the independence of nations, Marlborough, after the Session was ended, wrote to Godolphin, “ As to what you say of the tackers I think the answer and method that should be taken is what is practised in all armies,--that is, if the enemy give no quarter, they should have none given to them.” Godolphin's mode of giving no quarter was to deprive every man of public employment “who ha given his vote for the tack." Whigs gradually were called by Godolphin into the public service; and political aspirants began to see that there was not only a virtue in moderation, but that it was a virtue which brought its own reward.

“ Own Time," vol. v. p. 494.

[blocks in formation]

The War in Spain.-Expedition to Catalonia.-Gibraltar taken by Sir George Rooke and

the Prince of Darmstadt.-Sea-fight off Malaga.--Siege of Gibraltar by the Spaniards. -Expedition to Spa:n under Peterborough.-Siege of Barcelona.-Peterborough surprises Montjouich.- Barcelona taken.- Peterborough's rapid successes in Valencia.Philip V. besieges Barcelona.-It is relieved.--The Allies enter Madrid.-Supineness of the Austrian king.-Disgust of Peterborough-He leaves Spain.---Prince Eugene drives the French out of Italy.


Whilst Marlborough was leading the army of the Allies to the Rhine-an army upon whose success depended the great issue between the king of France, and the emperor of Germany—the archduke Charles, who had assumed the title of king of Spain, had landed at Lisbon, and was prepared to head the troops on the western frontier of the kingdom to which he laid claim. But instead of carrying the war into Spain, the army of English, Dutch, and Portuguese were completely held in check by the duke of Berwick ; and the Allies were unable to prevent several of the Portuguese towns being taken by the Spaniards. At the opposite

. extremity of the Peninsula an attempt was made to rouse the Catalans to declare for king Charles. The prince of Darmstadt was sanguine of success; and a little army of five or six thousand men was put under his command. They embarked at Lisbon in May, in a fleet of which sir George Rooke was the admiral. The expedition landed at Barcelona; but receiving very little support from the people, it re-embarked, and Rooke sailed down the Mediterranean, and passed through the Straits, where he effected a junction with the feet under sir Cloudesley Shovel. It was not in the nature of English sailors willingly to return to port without effecting anything; and so the admirals planned an attack upon Gibraltar, in which the prince of Darmstadt agreed to join. The famous rock on which the Saracens bad built their castle in the eighth century, and which they held till the middle of the fifteenth century, was strongly fortified by the Spaniards ; but its vast importance as the key of the Mediterranean was not estimated as in more recent times. In 1704 there were not more than a hundred men within the works; but they were commanded by a brave veteran who rejected with disdain the summons to surrender.




Two thousand marines, under the command of the prince of Darmstadt, landed on the Isthmus, now known as the Neutral Ground; and the supplies from the main land were thus cut off. On the 2nd of August Rooke commenced a bombardment from his ships, which was continued on the next day. That day was a great festival; and a part of the garrison went to pray to their saint, instead of standing by their guns. The eastern part of the rock was thus imperfectly defended, and the English sailors scaled the precipice. At the same time the South Molehead was stormed, -with a heavy loss to the assailants by the springing of a mine. But they gained the ramparts; and all resistance was at an end. The brave governor made honourable terms for himself and his garrison ; and upon the rock which has defied every besieger through a century and a half, the English flag floated in an easy victory. Sir George Rooke took possession in the name of the queen of England ; although the prince of Darmstadt would have hoisted the Spanish standard and proclaimed king Charles.*

The prince of Darmstadt remained at Gibraltar, with a force of two thousand men. The English fleet then went in search of a French fleet that had been equipped at Toulon, and was under the command of the high-admiral of France, the count de Toulouse. Rooke had been joined by some Dutch vessels ; the French admiral had also been joined by some Spanish vessels. These two armaments, formidable in the number of their ships, met off Malaga. They fought all day; but not a ship of the hundred vessels engaged was sunk, or burnt, or taken on either side. Nothing exhibits a more striking contrast to the naval engagements of the days of Nelson than this drawn battle. And yet we must not conceive that little damage was done, or that it was a bloodless action. Sir Cloudesley Shovel describes the fight as 6 very sharp.” He says, “there is hardly a ship that must not shift one mast, and some must shift all.” † The French fleet was even more disabled. The count de Toulouse sailed away to Toulon, and Rooke made for Gibraltar. Te Deum was sung in Paris for a great victory; and thanksgivings were offered up at St. Paul's for the blessing upon her majesty's arms. Three thousand English and Dutch were killed and wounded, and the estimated loss of the French was four thousand,-a terrible slaughter of brave men without any decisive results.

The capture of Gibraltar was considered a very serious blow loy the court of Madrid, and before the autumn of 1704 was passed,


Mahon, “War of the Succession," p. 100.
Letter printed in Tindal, vol. iv. p. 665.



eight thousand men, under the marquis of Villadaria, commenced 2 siege. The earl of Galway, who in 1704 was appointed to the command of the troops in Portugal, sent four regiments to the aid of the garrison of Gibraltar, with supplies of ammunition and provisions. The prince of Darmstadt made a brave and judicious resistance. The captain-general of Andalusia, whose energy had saved Cadiz in 1702, was unable to make any impression upon those who now held the rock with an adequate force. The English fleet constantly threw in fresh supplies to the besieged, which the French admiral, De Pontis, was powerless to prevent. The besiegers were ill supplied with necessaries. A French commander was sent to supersede Villadaria, but matters were not improved by the change. Sir John Leake, in March, attacked De Pontis, and swept away what remained of the French naval power. The siege was raised; and the Spaniards saw with dismay that a fortress which they had neglected properly to defend had been rendered impregnable. It was some time before the English government appreciated the true value of Gibraltar; but during the war of the Succession it was always vigorously defended against many attempts to retake it; and in 1713 its possession was confirmed to England by the peace of Utrecht.

In our brief relation of the great campaign of 1704, we have exhibited, however imperfectly, those wonderful qualities of Marlborough by which he appears, in all his movements, to have left nothing to accident. The most enduring patience; a temper never to be disturbed ; a caution that allowed no surprise; a foresight that left no contingency unprovided for these were qualities even more remarkable than his daring and courage when the hour arrived for their display. It has been said of Marlborough,---by a writer who has succeeded in the very difficult task of presenting the broadest aspect of history with the clearness and precision that are rarely obtained without minute detail.—" for the first time, in English history at least, a march was equivalent to a battle. A change of his camp, or even a temporary retreat, was as effectual as a victory; and it was seen by the clearer observers of his time, that a campaign was a game of skill, and not of the mere dash and intrepidity which appeal to the vulgar passions of our nature." + As if to exhibit, upon a different theatre of the same great warfare, the most remarkable contrast to the character and actions of Marlborough, Charles Mordaunt, earl of Peterborough, took the command of an expedition to Spain. He has come upon the scene

Galway's Narrative. Parliamentary Hist. vol. vi. col. 941.
* * Eighteen Christian Centuries,” by the Rev. James White, p. 485.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

at times, in various characters. He has accompanied William of Orange to England in 1689. He has lost his position as a statesman; has been sent to the Tower ; has been deprived of his places and emoluments, in carrying on a system of intrigues in the proceedings against Fenwick in 1696. He attempted to save the life of the accused, -endeavouring to implicate two of the leading Whigs in the conspiracy, by inducements to Fenwick to accuse them; and then he turned round upon the unhappy man when the scheme broke down, and was strenuous for his attainder. Restless and changeable, vain and flighty, too adroit to be wise, and parties became afraid of him. But with all his eccentricities, his genius commands the admiration of the cleverest, and his profusion buys the flattery of the meanest. He adores the ladies with the homage of a knight-errant; and he rushes into war as if he were to be the first lance in a tournament. His craving for excitement kept him always in motion; and it was said that he had seen more kings and more postilions than any man in Europe. Pope declared of him, with sound judgment, " He has too much wit as well as courage to make a solid general.” What he did in Spain is one of the marvels of history -a series of exploits beside which romance may “pale its uneffectual fire.” When Peterborough sailed from Portsmouth, in June, 1705, having the command of five thousand men, and with general directions " to make a vigorous push in Spain," he had precisely that commission which suited his character. It was a service of hazard which was agreeable to his chivalric nature ; for he scarcely did justice to his own courage when he said that it proceeded from his not knowing when he was in danger. He had very inadequate resources of men and money, and thus he had difficulties to overcome, which pleasurably tasked all his mental energies. He was left unfettered by minute instructions, and had unlimited authority over the land forces and a divided command with sir Cloudesley Shovel at sea, -which circumstances gave him, as he imagined, free scope from the pursuit of his own road to fame, by the shortest and steepest path. Macaulay calls Peterborough “ the most extraordinary character of that age, the king of Sweden himself not excepted

a polite, learned, and amorous Charles the Twelfth."'*

Swift pointed to some such comparison, in well known lines on Peterborough:

“Ne'er to be match'd in modem reading

But by his namesake, Charles of Sweden." The wit, the learning, the accomplished manners, the very faults of Peterborough made him a favourite with the most celebrated men of his time. . " I love the hang-dog dearly," wrote Swift to Stella.

* Essays,


« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »