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is so inclement that there is nothing on the earth-that all the grass and oats have been destroyed by the cold--that he has no horses or carriages for the conveyance of heavy artillery, the German princes having utterly failed in their engagements.* Villeroy and the elector of Bavaria were rapidly advancing so as to threaten Holland ; and the States, in great alarm, sent express upon express to Marlborough, to march with all haste to their succour. Villeroy had taken Huy, and was investing Liège. Marlborough appre. hended that the Dutch would be frightened into a negotiation for peace. The imperturbable general is very nearly broken down with anxiety. He writes to Godolphin on the 16th, “I have for these last ten days been so troubled by the many disappointments I have had, that I think if it were possible to vex me so for a fortnight longer, it would make an end of me. In short, I am weary of my life.” † A vigorous resolution roused Marlborough out of this despondency. On the 17th of June, at midnight, he broke up the camp at Elft, and marched back to the position which he had occupied a fortnight before. By a series of rapid movements he united his army with that of the Dutch general, D'Auverquerque ; and Villeroy retreated within the formidable lines which the French had constructed, extending from the Meuse, near Namur, to the Scheldt at Antwerp. Marlborough's first object was to regain possession of Huy, in which he succeeded by the capitulation of the garrison on the 11th of July. But this success was accompanied by a bitter mortification. Upon the approach of a French detachment, the Palatine general D'Aubach abandoned Treves and Saarbruch, and burned the magazines which contained stores that were essential to the further prosecution of the operations on the Moselle. Marlborough's disappointments in the campaign were matters of rejoicing to the High Tories in England, who were now distinguished as "the tackers. The great general took this so to heart that he writes to Godolphin, “ this vile enornious faction of theirs vexes me so much, that I hope the queen will after this campaign give me leave to retire.” † in answer to a consolatory letter from the queen, he writes to her majesty that he has received a list of the new parliament, by which he sees that there are enough tackers returned, to stir everything that may be uneasy to the government; “to prevent which, I think your majesty should advise with lord treasurer (Godolphin). what encouragement may be proper to give the Whigs.". But Marlborough does not want the Whigs to be in power. The lord treasurer, he writes “is the only man in England capable of giving such advice as may keep • "Dispatches," vol. ii. p. 103. t Coxe, vol. ii. p. 122. Ibid., vol. ii. po raz.
you out of the hands of both parties, which may at last make you happy, if quietness can be had in a country where there is so much faction." *
The great operation of this campaign was the forcing of the French lines on the 17th of July. This formidable barrier between Dutch Brabant and the Austrian Netherlands, had been three years in construction. In part of their extent the lines followed the course of the river Gheet, and the river Demer; and, at various intervals, were fortified posts of considerable strength. Distributed along convenient parts of the lines was the French army of seventy thousand men. Marlborough maintained his usual secrecy, confiding his plans to no one but Auverquerque. He had determined to attack the lines by passing the Gheet near Leuwe-a part where the greatest difficulties appeared to present themselves. The weaker part of the lines was to the south of the Mehaigne; and thither D'Auverqucrque was directed to march, “ to give the enemy a jealousy that they were to be attacked on that side, and so oblige them to draw their greatest strength that way." | The feint had its effect. Villeroy collected his main strength on that weak part where D'Auverquerque had crossed the Mehaigne. " But the bridges prepared over the Mehaigne served equally to bring back Auverquerque's troops to the left of that river, and to unite them to the army of Marlborough; and the movements being all made under cover of night, the object aimed at was attained before the enemy could discover which was the real point of attack. The lines were, however, of the most formidable description : for, besides the height of the ramparts and the largeness of the ditch, they were further defended by the difficulties of the ground over which they were to be approached; and by the river Gheet, which could not be crossed without laying bridges over it, and which was near enough to the lines to be defended by the fire from the parapet. All these obstacles would have been sufficient to have rendered the lines unassailable, though defended by a very inferior body against a whole army, but for the ability with which the attention and the main force of the enemy was diverted from the real point of attack, and the energy with which that attack was conducted.” 1
During the day of the 17th Villeroy was employed in watching the movements of Auverquerque. At eight o'clock at night a detachment of Marlborough's army began its march towards the Little Gheet river; and at the same time Auverquerque recrossed the • Coxe, vol. ii. p. 132.
+ Bulletin in Dispatches, vol. ij.p. 174. Sir George Murray's Account, in Dispatches, vol. ii. p. 177.
RETREAT OF THE FRENCH.
Mehaigne, and connected his vanguard with the rear of Marlborough. When the morning dawned, the English and Dutch were approaching the French works, concealed by a thick fog. They carried the castle of Wange, and without waiting for the construction of bridges, the troops scrambled through the marshy ground, crossed the Gheet, mounted its slippery banks, rushed into the trench, and were within the enemy's lines. They were encountered by the marquis d'Allegre with twenty battalions of infantry and fifty squadrons of horse. Marlbcrough himself headed a charge of cavalry, and for a short time, having only a trumpeter and a servant with him, was surrounded as the French repulsed his charge. But the English troops rallied to his rescue ; and a second charge left them masters of the lines. Villeroy came up too late, and had no resource but a retreat. Marlborough was anxious to pursue, but the Dutch thought a pursuit hazardous, and he encamped near Tirlemont. L'Allegre was taken prisoner, with four other general officers and a thousand men. Harley wrote to Marlborough, after the news of the success, “Your friends and servants here cannot be without concern upon your grace's account, when we hear how much you expose that precious life of yours upon all occasions, and that you are not contented to do the part of a great general, but you condescend to take your share as a common soldier.” * Harley's friend, Swift, ventured to insinuate, after a few years, that Marlborough wanted courage.
Villeroy retreated beyond the Dyle, and there established a strong position near Louvain. Marlborough was prevented taking any immediate offensive measures through the constant interference of the deputies of the States. The English general was indignant, and sent an officer to the Hague, to represent“ that unless the command be more absolute in one person, we shall hardly be able to do anyhing." Councils of war, he said, were called on every occasion, which entirely destroys the secrecy and despatch upon which all great undertakings depend.” | He wanted to force the passage of the Dyle ; and he traversed ground which, somewhat more than a century after, became familiar to every Englishran. On the 27th of August he writes to the duke of Shrewsbury, “ I had at the camp at Meldert with great difficulty brought together a provision of about ten days' bread; and having marched four days together through several defiles, and part of the Bois des Soignies, the army came the 18th instant into a spacious plain, with only the Yssche between us and the enemy.
About noon we were formed in order of battle, ard having visited the posts with • Core, tol. ñ. p. 149.
| Dispatches, vol. ii. p. 197
M. D'Auverquerque, we had resolved upon making the attack, thinking there was no more to do but to order the troops to advance, when the Deputies of the States, having consulted their other generals, would not give their consent, so that I was with great regret obliged to quit the enterprise, which promised all imaginable success."* There was a skirmish on the plain of Waterloo. But for the interference of the Dutch Deputies there might have been a decisive battle on that ground, of which Byron wrote after the eventful day of the 18th of June, 1815, “Waterloo seems marked out for the scene of some great action, though this may be mere imagination.” The opportunity was lost of antici pating the later glories of that plain. Marlborough wrote to Harley on the end of September, entreating that the government should not take any formal notice at the Hague of his “late disappointment,” for “ I am persuaded if an opportunity should now offer before our leaving the field, the greatest part of the generals who were against engaging the enemy are too sensible of their error, that they would not obstruct anything that might be proposed for our advantage.” He was looking forward to a new pleasure when he returned home. Mr. Vanbrugh had informed him that “ the first stone at Woodstock" had been laid, and he compliments the architect upon his plans, saying, “ the greatest satisfaction I enjoy on this side is from the hopes I have of finding the house in good forwardness at my return in the winter.” †
The Elections of 1705 roused up a bitterness of party-feeling that had rarely been equalled in England. It is difficult to look back upon these times and not to be moved to pity, if not to despise, the people that could be stirred into the most violent wrath against each other by the cry that was raised from the Land's End to Berwick. That cry was,
“ The Church in danger.” The queen had manifested less disinclination to transfer a portion of her favour to the Whigs. The High-churchmen gave out the rallyingcry from their pulpits. The Jacobite and Tory pamphleteers told the nation “that the Church was to be given up; that the bishops were betraying it; that the Court would sell it to the Dissenters." I The elections seem to have been managed in a most extraordinary way, if we may judge from Defoe's description of the election which he saw at Coventry. Mobs drawn up in battle-array, were fighting in the streets; whilst freemen, or pretended freemen, went up to vote, without any examination of their qualifications-no list of voters-no oath tendered---no books kept. “ The Dissenters," says Burnet, “ who had been formerly much divided, were now Dispatches, vol. ii, p: 237
Ibid., p. 247.
# Burnct, vol. v. p. 218.
united entirely in the interests of the government, and joined with the Whigs every where.” It was seen that the Whigs would have a parliamentary majority; so Godolphin declared in their favour " more openly than he had done formerly.” The duke of Newcastle was made Lord Privy Seal in the place of the duke of Bucking. ham. The incapable and violent sir Nathan Wright was removed from the office of Lord Keeper, and Mr. William Cowper was appointed to that high place.
When the Parliament met at the end of October the contest of the Commons began with the election of Speaker. The Whig candidate, Mr. John Smith, had a majority. The queen's speech complained of the malicious insinuations that the Church was in danger. “I will always affectionately support and countenance the Church of England as by law established. I will invariably maintain the Toleration. I will do all I can to persuade my subjects to lay aside their divisions, and will study to make them all safe and easy." This was plainer language than had been spoken since the time when William uttered what he thought from that throne. The Tories were angry with the queen, and they took a course which they judged would annoy her, Anne looked with little real complacency upon the Act of Settlement. Lord Haversham, one of the Tory leaders, moved in the Lords, that the princess Sophia of Hanover should be invited to reside in England, as presumptive heir of the crown. The motion was negatived, although very strongly supported by, Buckingham, Rochester, and other Tory peers. The queen was indignant, for “these very persons, having now lost that interest in her and their posts, were driving on that very motion which they had made her apprehend was the most fatal thing that could befall." So queen Anne writes to the duchess of Marlborough, “ I believe dear Mrs. Freeman and I shall not disagree as we have formerly done ; for I am sensible of the services that those people have done me that you have a good opinion of, and will countenance them ; and am thoroughly convinced of the malice and insolence of them that you have always been speaking against."
The question of the Succession being thus stirred again by the Tories, the Whigs proposed a measure which had some practical utility. They brought forward a Bill for appointing a Regency, which should carry on the government, in the case of the demise of the queen, until the arrival of her successor. The regents were to consist of the archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Keeper, the the Lord Chief Justice, and four great officers of state. The bill
• Burnet, vol. V. p. 227.