« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
of four thousand horse ; came upon their encampment with a force not a third of their number ; and returned to Valencia with six hundred prisoners, having utterly routed the troops of king Philip. “ Here," says Carleton, “ the earl of Peterborough made his residence for some time. He was extremely well beloved ; his affable behaviour exacted as much from all; and he preserved such a good correspondence with the priests and the ladies, that he never failed of the most early and best intelligence.”
Whilst Peterborough was carrying on this astonishing warfare in Valencia, the news of the fall of Barcelona had reached England; and the queen had gone to Parliament in great exultation, to recommend the Commons especially “ to improve the opportunity which God Almighty is pleased to afford us, of putting a prosper. ous end to the present war.' Such was the estimation in which the deeds of Peterborough were then regarded. A sum of two hundred and fifty thousand pounds was voted, “ for her Majesty's proportion of the charge of prosecuting the successes already gained by king Charles III., for the recovery of the monarchy of Spain to the House of Austria.” It was soon found that king Charles was incompetent to follow up the successes which Peterborough had accomplished for him. The young Bourbon king, Philip V., took a vigorous resolution. He marched from Madrid with a force which, being joined by that of Marshal Tessé, enabled him to enter Catalonia with twenty thousand men. Charles in April was shut up in Barcelona, whilst a large army was investing the city by land, and it was blockaded by a French fleet. The officers of Charles exhorted him to fly. Though he wanted energy he had passive courage; and he remained in the beleagured city, animating the population with appeals to their superstitious feelings, for he declared that the Holy Virgin had manifested herself to him, and told him that the Catalans would never forsake him. Nevertheless Montjouich fell, after being bombarded for twentythree days. Peterborough, meanwhile, had rapidly marched from Valercia, with two thousand foot and six hundred horse, and from the mountains above Barcelona be kept the besieging forces in perpetual alarm. But he had a project of more inportance than this partisan warfare, however suited to his genius. A fieet was coming from England under admiral Leake, on board of which was general Stanhope with reinforcements. Leake, whose caution was in signal contrast to Peterborough's daring, would not risk an encounter with the French squadron before Barcelona until he was joined off the Spanish coast by another feet, under admiral Byng.
* Parliamentary Cistory, vol. vi. col. 477,
THE ALLIES ENTER MADRID.
Stanhope, by an ingenious device agreed upon with Peterborough -that of transmitting a blank sheet of paper" cut in a particular form-apprised him of the junction which had been so long delayed. Peterborough had a commission to command at sea. He immediately marched to a small sea-port, Stiges ; made every preparation for his troops to embark; and for two nights, to the amazement of his officers and men, went out to sea in an open boat. He at last discerned the feet ;-leapt on board one of the ships, and hoisted his fag; sent orders to Leakė and Stanhope; had his men soon on board ; and hoped to reach Barcelona in tine to fight the count de Toulouse. But the Frenchman had sheered off. The English troops were, however, thrown into Barcelona ; and the French general Tessé, filled with apprehensions of defeat if he should attempt to storm the city, raised the siege, and the great army moved off, leaving their heavy cannon behind. King. Philip retired to Madrid. But he had little time for resting there. The Allies from the Portuguese frontier were marching upon the capital ; and the Court having fled, they entered Madrid on the 25th of June. Here they wasted their time, instead of marching after the duke of Berwick, who had been joined by Philip. In the same way Charles lingered at Barcelona, when it was no longer in danger. But success still followed the House of Austria. Aragon had imitated Catalonia and Valencia in acknowledging king Charles. It seemed as if the dominion of Spain'was melting away from the House of Bourbon.
At this crisis, if one tenth of the energy of Peterborough, and even a smaller portion of the common sense of Stanhope, could have been infused into the slow and formal Austrian prince, the contest might have been decided. Charles was urged by them to take the road to Madrid through Valencia, whither Peterborough had gone by sea with his men. Charles lingered at first, without showing any inclination to move at all.' His equipage was not ready, he said, to enable him to enter the capital with proper state. “Sir," said Stanhope, “our William II1. entered London in a hackney, with a cloak-bag behind it, and was made king not many weeks after."* When Charles did move, he went into Aragon and loitered at Saragossa. Peterborough was disgusted that his advice was not followed; and he gave himself up to the same inaction, which appeared a fatality in this summer. When he was sailing to Valencia he wrote a letter to Halifax, “aboard the Somerset," which sufficieztly shows his gay temper under the most serious responsibilities :“here cannot be worse company than a beggarly
Mahon, p. 97
German and a proud Spaniard, particularly to my humour; and were it not for the revenge we seek in the disagreeable men with the agreeable ladies, our condition were intolerable, black eyes
and wit in the wives being what alone can make us endure the husbands.” * But a cloud was to come over even Peterborough's gaiety. All that he had accomplished was to be thrown away.
Whether any energy on the part of Peterborough could have made effectual resistance against the spirit which was rising up in Spain may be doubted. Charles had done nothing to identify himself with the nation. The majority of the nation felt that foreign invaders had come against them. The Castilians took up the cause of Philip as if it were a national cause. The western provinces were imbued with the same spirit. Charles advanced towards Madrid. Peterborough was ordered to join him. But Berwick, knowing the full value of the enthusiasm which had gone so thoroughly in favour of Philip, compelled the Allies to evacuate the capital. Peterborough saw that the game was up; and declared that all the force of Europe would not be sufficient to subdue Castile.” † Charles and he met, as the one was leading his forces from Saragossa, and the other from Valencia. They were unsuited to act in unison. The impetuosity of the one, and the frigid obstinacy of the other, made them natural antagonists. Peterborough, resolving, or affecting to resolve, upon transferring his services to another field, proposed that he should go to the relief of Turin. He was taken at his word. Charles and his advisers were left to their own ruinous course. What Peterborough's feelings were at this juncture may be collected from a letter of singular interest, addressed by him on the 25th of August to admiral Wassenaer: “Our circumstances, in a few words, are brought to this: from being sure of the monarchy of Spain without a blow, without further expense or hazard, it is now, not only a doubtful case, but I fear worse. Our army in the midst of an enemy's country (as it has been managed) without magazines, without any place of strength, without bread, or a farthing of money, the communication being cut off with Portugal, the enemy stronger in horse, and almost equal in foot: we lost Madrid like fools, with our army superior in number, without a blow, and such confusion and want of discipline was never known, the troops subsisting upon nothing but rapine. These are the effects of a young prince's giving ear to such wretched creatures who, contrary to such solemn councils of war, and measures so unanimously agreed to, contrary to the protestations of ambassadors and ministers, the repeated in * Kemble, “State Papers and Letters," p. 445.
† Mahon, p. 207.
PRINCE EUGENE DRIVES THE FRENCH OUT OF ITALY. 163
stances of generals and all mankind, have lost, perhaps, such an empire to their prince, by carrying him up and down, selling offices, and picking up little sums of money in exchange for Peru and Mexico." * From this time we do not find Peterborough in any of the more important transactions of the war. He returned early in 1707 to Spain as a volunteer; and he offered judicious advice which was rejected. He then received his formal recall to England; rushed about. Europe, sometimes on public business and oftener for his private pleasures ; seems to have looked with something like contempt upon his military vocation, when he said, “A general is only a hangman in chief;" † and exhibited the versatility of his talents in dictating to nine amanuenses at once, and in superintending Pope's horticulture at Twickenham.
“ He whose lightning pierced the Iberian lines,
Now forms my quincunx, and now ranks my vines.” Peterborough, we have seen, had proposed to go to the relief of Turin, The duke of Şavoy, having been enabled through the subsidies of England and Holland to expend large sums in pre. parations for the defence of his capital, treated with contempt the summons to surrender of La Feuillade, the French general, who invested the city with an immense army. The successes of the French in the early part of the campaign had been very great; and. though Victor Amadeus lost not heart, even when he left Turin with a part of his forces, whilst the siege was carried on for three months with a fearful loss of life, it appeared very doubtful whether Savoy could be saved. Prince Eugene was beyond the Adige with an army of Imperialists. By a series of movements, in which he displayed that skill and energy which fitted him to be the colleague of Marlborough, he united his forces with the cava alry of the duke of Savoy in September; attacked the French in their entrenchments; obtained a complete victory; and finally drove them out of Italy.
The great campaign of Marlborough in 1706, which we shall have to relate in the next chapter, completed a series of triumphs for the Allies, which made this year one of the most memorable of the great war of the Succession.
• Kemble, “ State Papers and Letters," p. 452.
Marlborongh's Campaign of 1705.-His disappointment and anxieties.-He forces the
French lines.--Retreat of the French under Villemy. -New Parliament.--State of Parties. — The Regency Bill.-Cry of the Church in danger.-Mariborough's Campaign of 1706 in the Netherlands.- The French and Bavarian armies under Villeroy pass the Dyle.-The battle of Ramilies.-Results of the Victory.
“ I NEVER knew the duke of Marlborough go out so full of hopes as in the beginning of this campaign,” says Burnet.* He embarked at Harwich on the 31st of March. His ardent expectations were soon cooled by the opposition which the Dutch made to his plans. It was a month before he could get the States to agree to his design of leading the English and Dutch troops to the Moselle, there to co-operate with the forces under prince Louis of Baden; and, marching from Treves between the Moselle and the Saar, to penetrate into Lorraine and thus carry the war into the French territory. Without waiting for the force of Baden, Marlborough crossed the Moselle and the Saar on the 3rd of June. The French armies under Villars and Marsin had united. Mariborough was anxious to give them battle ; but they retreated; and he followed, though ill-provided with artillery. Hê encamped at Elft, and there waited for reinforcements. On the oth he wrote to Harley, that he had not one man with him but those in the English and Dutch pay. He was desirous to begin the siege of Saar-Louis; yet for want of the troops under the prince of Baden and the Prussians, "we are obliged to be idle a good part of the campaign, while the enemy are pursuing their designs without any manner of interruption.” | Such was the essential disadvantage of an arıny composed of the various contingents of Allied powers, compared with an army of one great military state. In the campaign of the Danube, the English commander, by wonderful exertions, contrived to make a compact body out of many heterogeneous parts. In the campaign of 1705, he had to prove the full difficulty of divided counsels and petty jealousies. Whilst in camp at Elft the weather was bitterly cold; and to this circumstance he at. tributes in some measure the desertions which weakened his army. On the 15th of June he writes to the States General, that the season "Own Time," vol. Y. P. 203.
# Dispatches, vol. ii. p. 87.