Page images



George I. broke through the principle of exclusive nationality by bestowing the honour upon a few English peers. George IV. overturned the scriptural character by raising the number of knights to sixteen.

The Parliament of England had met in December, during the anxious discussion in Scotland of the Articles of the Treaty of Union. At the end of January the queen sent to the House of Peers, and announced that the Treaty for an Union had been ratified by Act of Parliament in Scotland, with some alterations and additions. The Articles were then presented. In the Lords, a Bill was brought in for the Security of the Church of England as by law established; the movers having, of course, a slight appre. hension that the sovereign's oath to preserve the Church of Scotland might be liable to misconstruction unless thus qualified. The debates in the English Parliament on the principle of the Union were animated, but were not violent. The ministry were anxious to pass the Bill for the Union, without making any alteration in the Articles as adopted by the Scottish Parliament. They succeeded in preventing a debate on each clause by inserting the Articles in the preamble of the Bill, with the two Acts, for the Security of the Churches of each country. By this device the measure was to be accepted or rejected as a whole. It was passed without difficulty, and on the 6th of March the queen gave the royal assent in these words :—“My Lords and Gentlemen : It is, with the greatest satisfaction that I have given my assent to a Bill for uniting England and Scotland into one kingdom. I consider this Union as a matter of the greatest importance to the wealth, strength. and safety of the whole island ; and, at the same time, work of so much difficulty and nicety in its own nature, that till now all attempts which have been made towards it in the course of above a hundred years have proved ineffectual ; and, therefore, I make no doubt but it will be remembered and spoke of hereafter, to the honour of those who have been instrumental in bringing it to such a happy conclusion. I desire and expect from all my subjects, of both nations, that from henceforth they act with all possible respect and kindness to one another, that so it may appear to all the world they have hearts disposed to become one people. This will be a great pleasure to me, and will make us all quickly sensible of the good effects of this Union. And I cannot but look upon it as a peculiar happiness, that in my reign so full provision is made for the peace and quiet of my people, and for the security of our religion, by sa firm an establishment of the Protestant Succession throughout Great Britain." ;0's

as a

[ocr errors][merged small]

Warlike Addresses of Parliament.--Reverses.--Battle of Almanza.-Marlborough's visit

to Charles XII. of Sweden.--Indecisive Campaign of 1707.-Siege of Toulon.-Wreck of Sir Cloudesley Shovel.-Naval miscarriages.--Complaints in Parliament.--Discontents in Scotland.-- Jacobite Plots.--Antempted invasion.-Dismissal of Harley and St. Jobin from the ministry.--Campaign of 1708.-Ghent surrendered to the French. --Battle of Oudenarde.--Sardinia and Minorca surrendered to the Allies.-Death of the Prince of Denmark.--Surrender of Lille.--Proposals of France for Peace.--Campaign of 1769.-Surrender of Toumay.-- Battle of Malplaquet. THE Parliament which met in December, 1706, is chiefly memorable for its ratification of the Treaty of Union. The ministry was all powerful, chiefly through the splendid successes of Marlboro ough in the Netherlands, and from the favourable aspects of the war in Spain and Italy. An indirect overture for peace had been made by Louis; but the English Parliament was in no pacifi: attitude. The queen called for supplies, “sufficient for carrying on the war next year in so effectual a manner, that we may be able to improve everywhere the advantages of this successful campaign." The Lords congratulated her majesty upon “ the ever-memorable victory of Ramilies,” and expressed what they called " the universal satisfaction of your people," at the public declaration which the queen had made “that no negotiations for peace should be entered into, but in conjunction with all the members of the Grand Alliance." The Commons promised “such speedy and effectual supplies as, by the continuance of God's blessing upon your majesty's arms, may establish the balance of power in Europe, by a safe, honourable, and lasting peace.” The supplies were granted with unusual rapidity; and the pension of 15000. per annum to the duke of Marlborough was settled upon his posterity. When the Parliament was prorogued, it was renewed by Proclamation, declaring that the first Parliament of Great Britain should be held on the 23rd of October.

The warlike successes of the Allies curing this year were by no means commensurate with the expectations of the government. In Spain there was a fatal reverse. We have already seen how the insurrection of Catalonia and Valencia had utterly failed, through the incompetency of the Austrian prince and his generals. When Peterborough no longer animated thcir courage by his dar



ing, and combated their hesitation by his energetic sagacity, the good fortune which gave the Allies Barcelona utterly forsook them. Madrid had been retaken by marshal Berwick, and king Philip was again seated in the Escurial. The so-called king Charles, instead of remaining with the army in Valencia, to lead them against Ber. wick, returned to Barcelona. . In April, lord Galway and the Portuguese general, Das Minas, took the field, with about seventeen thousand men. The French and Spanish army was superior in numbers, especially in cavalry. They met on the plain of Alamanza ; and there a battle was fought, in which the Allies were utterly routed. Four thousand of the English, Dutch, and Portuguese were slain on that fatal Easter Monday, the 25th of April, and eight thousand were taken prisoners. A letter from Mr. Methuen, the English minister at Lisbon, to the duke of Marlborough, says, “Our infantry is wholly taken or destroyed; but of the horse three thousand five hundred are saved, the greater part of which are Portuguese, who, being on the right, gave way upon the first shock of the enemy, and abandoned the foot.” * The towns of Valencia and Aragon were surrendered to the victor. Peterborough's exploits were nearly fruitless. In Catalonia alone had king Charles any adherents. That province continued the seat of warfare, with English assistance, for three more years; but the spirit which only could secure success was gone. It was no longer an insurrection in favour of the House of Austria against the House of Bourbon ; it was a national demonstration for king Philip against a foreign enemy. The terrible defeat of Almanza went to the leart of the humblest in England, if we may judge from Addison's amusing Essay upon omens. The salt is spilt by an unlucky guest, and the lady of the house says to her husband, “ My dear, misfortunes never come single. Do not you remember that the pigeon-house fell the very afternoon that our careless wench spilt the salt upon the table ? " “Yes, my dear, and the next post brought us an account of the battle of Almanza." +

Marlborough, the diplomatist, was more busy in 1707 than Marlborough, the general. There was a y ung king of Sweden, with a passionate desire for war and conquest, who would not take the orthodox course of heartily joining the Grand Alliance against France, or of throwing his weight into the scale of France against the Grand Alliance. Charles XII. had plans of his own, which he pur

[ocr errors]

* Dispatches, vol. iii. p. 353.

| Lord Macaulay, in his " Essays," has quoted this passage, to observe that much clearer omens indicated disaster in Spain. We quote it to show the impression which public disasters made upon the popular mind at home.

[ocr errors]

sued with a self-will which had very little respect to the power or influence of any state or confederacy of states. He had defeated the Russians in 1700. He had first conquered, and then deposed king Augustus of Poland, and had set up a man of noble family, Stanislaus, as king; Augustus was also elector of Saxony. Charles led his army into Saxony; held its elector in a sort of honourable captivity; and from his camp at Alt Ranstadt, near Leipsic, demanded the submission of Europe to his decrees. Louis XIV. in the reverses of 1706 turned his views to Charles as an ally;. bribed his ministers; even solicited him to become the mediator between the Bourbons and the Allies. The English government had also its alarms; and Marlborough was in communication with general Grumbkow, who had been sent on a mission to Charles by the king of Prussia. The Prussian gave the young Swede a glowing account of Marlborough and his actions, which was duly reported to him whom the general styles “his hero: ” Among other particulars, he asked me if your highness yourself led the troops to the charge. I replied, that as all the troops were animated with the same ardour for fighting, your highness was not under the necessity of leading the charge; but that you were everywhere and always in the hottest of the action, and gave your orders with that coolness which excites general admiration. I then related to him that you had been thrown from your horse ; the death of your aide-de-camp, Brinfield, and many other things. He took such pleasure in this recital, that he made me repeat the same thing twice. I also said that your highness always spoke of his majesty with the highest esteem and admiration, and ardently desired to pay your respects. He observed, that is not likely, but I should be delighted to see a general of whom I have heard so much.' The general of whom Charles had heard so much was not slow to gratify him. On the 27th of April Marlborough was at Alt Ranstadt. He writes to Harley that he had that day his audience of the king; delivered the queen's letter; and that his majesty seemed very well inclined to the interest of the Allies. † Lediard, the biographer of Marlborough, who was in the camp at Alt Ranstadt, gives us a more precise view of the courtly management of the duke at this audio

He presented to his Swedish majesty a letter from the queen of Great Britain, and, at delivering it, made him the following compliment in French : 'Sir, I present to your majesty a letter, not from the Chancery; but from the heart of the queen, my mistress, and written with her own hand. Had not her sex prevented it, she would have crossed the sea to see a prince admired by the * Coxe, vol. iii. p. 159.


† Dispatches, vol. ii. p. 347


[blocks in formation]

whole universe. I am, in this particular, more happy than the queen ; and I wish I could serve some campaigns under so great a general as your majesty, that i might learn what I yet want to know in the art of war." * Charles was very gracious in return. He said he would do nothing to prejudice the common cause in general, or the Protestant religion in particular. He cared very little for the common cause. Voltaire has shown what he did really care for. Marlborough, Voltaire says, "fixed his eyes attentively upon the king. When he spoke to him of war in general, he imagined that he saw, in his majesty, a natural aversion towards France, and that he took a secret pleasure in speaking of the conquests of the Allies. He mentioned the Czar to him, and took notice, that his eyes kindled whenever he was named, notwithstanding the moderation of the conference. He, moreover, remarked, that the king had a map of Muscovy lying before him on the table. This was sufficient to determine him is his judgment, that the king of Sweden's real design, and sole ambition, were to dethrone the Czar, as he had already done the king of Poland.” Marlborough promised pensions to the Swedish minister, count Piper, and other functionaries, paying one year in advance ; and then he returned to the Hague, to go to his accustomed fightingground.

Marlborough wrote from Brussels to Harley, in the middle of May, “ All our troops are in motion. . . . Since their success in Spain, the enemy talk very big, and pretend to give us battle ; for my part, I think nothing could be more for the advantage of the Allies.” † But there was no battle in the Netherlands during that campaign. Vendôine commanded the French army, and he was content with defensive operations.'' The States controlled Marlborough's plans. Thus the two generals were constantly occupied in watching and counteracting each the stratégy of the other. But if Marlborough was unable to strike any decisive blow, he had consuited with prince Eugene for the accomplishment of a plan that was calculated to injure France in a vital part. An attempt was to be made, by land and sea, to penetrate into the south-eastern part of Louis's own territory. The land forces, under the duke of Savoy and Prince Eugene, were to invade Provence. An English and Dutch fleet, under sir Cloudesley Shovel, were to co-operate in this bold attempt. In the beginning of July, Victor Amadeus and Eugene crossed the Alps by the pass of the Col di Tende ; on the rith they made the passage of the Var; dislodged the

Lediard, "Life of Marlborough," vol. ii. p. 166. † Dispatcheś, vol. iii. p. 869.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »