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Reign of George II. (Continued.) page 10


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Before going to his government of Ireland, Chesterfield was dispatched to Holland to stimulate the sluggish pulses of the Dutch. He was highly popular there, and he succeeded in engaging them, at least on paper, to furnish sixty thousand men for the German campaign. It was agreed that the duke of Cumberland should take the supreme command of the confederate army.

In January of this year died Charles VII., king of Bavaria and emperor of Germany. His life had been rendered miserable, and his kingdom made the prey of war, by his unpatriotic mania of supporting the French in their attacks on Germany. Marlborough had inflicted a severe chastisement on him, entering and ravaging his dominions, and routing him with great slaughter of his troops. But nothing had ever cured him of this madness, and his last years were spent in poverty, and exclusion from his own kingdom. His son and successor showed himself a wiser and a better man. He at once renounced all claims to the Austrian succession, and to the claim on the imperial crown. He agreed to vote for the duke of Lorraine, Maria Theresa's husband, at the next diet, and never to support the French or the Prussian arms. On these terms a treaty- was concluded betwixt Austria and Bavaria at Fuessen, and Austria therefore restored to him his rightful inheritance of Bavaria.

At home, in March, and before the close of the session of Parliament, died Robert Walpole, earl of Orford, one of the ablest, and not the worst, minister which this country has had. With all his faults, he had exerted all his power, and for a long course of years succeeded in maintaining peace, and in rendering unnecessary those levied subsidies which were now draining the pockets of the British subjects for the sole benefit of Germany. His most violent traducers he had lived to see perpetrating in a more unblushing and exaggerated style everything for which they had denounced him as the worst of men, and for which they had been lauded as the most patriotic and best. The chief disease of which he died, on the 18th of March, in the sixty-ninth year of his age, was the stone, from which he endured indescribable torments. To still his pain, for six weeks before his death he was kept in a state of stupor by opium; yet, during this condition, he roused himself only a few days before his death to exhibit his still deep insight into the human heart. The king had set his mind on his second son, the duke of Cumberland, marrying a princess of Denmark; but as she was deformed, the duke was steadfastly set against the match. When no arguments or remonstrances on his part had any effect on the stubborn soul of the king, he dispatched Mr. Poyntz, his governor, to consult Walpole on the best means of escaping the marriage. After pausing awhile, Walpole said, "Let the duke consent to the match, on condition that he receives an immediate, separate, and ample revenue and establishment, and, believe me, the match will be no longer pressed upon him." This Walpole said from his intimate knowledge of the avarice of the king. The duke adopted the advice, and heard no more of the marriage.

The campaign in Flanders opened in April. The English faithfully furnished their stipulated number of men, twenty- eight thousand, but both Austria and Holland had most disgracefully failed. Holland was to send fifty thousand into the field, and keep the other ten thousand in her garrisons; but she had sent less than half that number, and Austria only eight squadrons. The French had a fine army of seventy-five thousand men under the able general, marshal Saxe; and the king of France and the Dauphin had come to witness the conflict, which gave a wonderful degree of spirit to their troops. On the part of the allies, the duke of Cumberland was chief in command, but, from his youth, he was not able to set himself free from the assumptions of the Austrian general, old marshal Konigsegg, and the Dutch general, the prince of Waldeck. These officers would have plagued and thwarted a Marlborough, but they assumed a j right over the young commander, Cumberland, to dictate and direct. Under such circumstances, any nation but England would have refused to fight another country's battles. It would have insisted that the condition should be kept, or have lain still. To go into action with such odds of numbers, and such mischief of divided command, was only to sacrifice our brave countrymen for the shortcomings and insolence of foreigners. The young duke of

Cumberland, who had much more martial courage than moral courage and experience, committed the fatal mistake of yielding, and the unfortunate British soldiers paid for it.

The French, confident of victory, on the 1st of May invested Tournay, and the duke of Cumberland was advised to march to the relief of that city. This was a blunder which Marlborough would not have been led into. Tournay was one of the most strongly fortified cities of the Netherlands, abounding with provisions and ammunition, and garrisoned by nine thousand Dutch. It might have stood out for months, and employed a considerable portion of the French army; whilst England insisted on the marching of fresh forces from Austria and Holland, according to compact. As it was, to march against the French before Tournay, was to rush into a certain contest with the whole French army of nearly eighty thousand men, whilst the allies could have only about fifty thousand. Saxe made the ablest arrangements for the coming fight. He left fifteen thousand infantry to blockade Tournay, drew up his army in a very strong position a few miles in advance, and strengthened it by various works.

The allies, on coming near, found Saxe encamped on. some gentle heights, with the river Scheldt and the village of Antoin on his right, and a wood named Barre on his left. In front lay a narrow valley, and, as at Dettingen, he had secured the passage of the river by the bridge of Calonne in his rear, defended by a tete-de-pont, and a reserve of the household troops. He had constructed abbatis in the wood of Barre, thrown up redoubts betwixt Antoin and Fontenoy, and strongly fortified those villages themselves. The narrow valley between Barre and Fontenoy was formidably defended by cross batteries, and by the natural ruggedness of the ground; and altogether, the French officers confidently regarded their position unassailable. Yet, inferior as they were in numbers, the allies at once marched and attacked the French pickets and outposts, drove them in, and stood under arms, as it was growing dark, ready to renew the onset at daybreak.

At four o'clock in the morning (the 11th of May) the cannonade began. Prince Waldeck undertook to carry Fontenoy and Antoin with the Dutch, and the duke of Cumberland, at the head of the English and Hanoverians, to bear down on the enemy's left. At the same time, the duke sent general Ingoldsby with a division to clear the wood of Barre, and storm the redoubt beyond. When Ingoldsby reached the wood, he found it occupied by a body of sharpshooters, and, instead of attacking them vigorously, he paused, and returned to the duke for fresh orders - a great neglect of duty, by which much time was lost, and the enemy enabled to direct their undivided attention on that side to the main body of English and Hanoverians advancing under the duke. On the other hand, the Dutch, finding Fontenoy surrounded by a fosse, and the French mounted with their batteries on the rubbish of houses, which they had demolished for the purpose, were panic-struck, and instead of making a resolute rush to storm the place, having suffered considerably from the French batteries, fell back, and stood aloof, thus leaving the English and Hanoverians exposed to the whole fire of the hostile army. So scandalous was the behaviour of the Dutch, that one of the officers of their mercenaries, colonel Appius, commanding a regiment of Hesse-Hamburgers, galloped off, followed by his regiment, to the town of Ath, fifteen or twenty miles off, where he wrote a letter to the Dutch government, declaring that the whole allied army was cut to pieces, except the regiment which he had had the good fortune to bring off.

Thus shamefully deserted on both hands, Cumberland still led forward his British and Hanoverians against the main body of the French army. The ruggedness of the ground in the narrow valley betwixt the wood of Barre and Fontenoy, compelled them to leave the cavalry behind; but the infantry pushed on, dragging with them several pieces of artillery. Cumberland had the advantage of the advice and spirit of his military tutor, general Ligonier, and, in face of a most murderous fire, the young commander hastened on. The batteries right and left mowed them down, and before this comparative handful of men stood massed the vast French army, in a position pronounced by the French impregnable.

It was one of those occasions on which the English have attempted almost impossibilities; and shown a fearful disregard of their lives. Spite of the murderous fire right and left and in front, they bore on, and soon in close contact with the enemy, they began to commit havoc on them. The front ranks of the French showed terrible gaps as the British advanced on them. Amongst the first who fell was the young duke de Grammont, who had, in his impetuosity, caused the loss of the battle of Dettingen. He was killed by the side of his uncle, general de Noailles, who was assisting Saxe. The dense column of the English, compressed betwixt the wood of Barre and Fontenoy, soon drove the French from their positions, and, still pushing on towards the rear of Fontenoy, threatened to cut off the bridge of Calonne, and with it the enemy's retreat across the river. Both French and English conceived that the battle was decided for the allies. Marshal Konigsegg congratulated Cumberland on their victory, and, on the other hand, Saxe warned Louis XV. that it was necessary to retreat. Louis, however, is said to have protested against giving way, and both French and English soon became aware that the Dutch had deserted their post, and that the right wing of the French army remained wholly unengaged. The British and Hanoverian conquerors on their right, when they mounted the French positions, looked out for their left wing, the Dutch, and, to their dismay, beheld them hanging with cowardly inactivity in the distance. The brave marshal Saxe, at the same moment making the same discovery, called forward the household troops, which had been posted to receive the Dutch, and precipitated them on the flank of the British. Foremost in this charge was the Irish brigade, in the pay of France, who fought like furies against their countrymen. Overwhelmed by numbers, and numbers perfectly fresh, and mowed down by additional artillery, which the default of the Dutch had set at liberty, and unsupported by their own cavalry from the confined and rugged nature of the ground, the brave British and Hanoverians were compelled to give way. But they did it in such order and steadiness, disputing every inch of the ground, as excited the admiration of their opponents. The duke of Cumberland was the last in the retreat, still regardless of his own danger, calling on his men to remember Blenheim and Ramilies; and seeing one of his officers turning to flee, he threatened to shoot him. Thus they gave way slowly, and still fighting, till they reached their horse, which then made a front to covet them, till they were out of the melee; their dastardly allies, the Dutch, then joined them, and they marched away in a body to Ath. The English soldiers, boiling with rage and contempt of their traitorous allies, would have liked to turn their arms upon them on the march. "Had the Dutch done their duty in this battle," says Voltaire, "there would have been no resource, nay, no retreat, for the French army, nor, in all probability, for the king and his son."

The amount of the slain told the shameful tale of their dishonour. There were only one thousand five hundred and forty-four Dutch left on the field, whilst the little body of Hanoverians had one thousand seven hundred and sixty-two killed, and the English four thousand and forty- one. The French lost, by their own admission, seven thousand. It was, therefore, rather for the allies a half victory than a defeat. The battle was declared, by an officer present, to have been the most destructive of officers of any in the memory of men. Amongst the British field-officers who fell, were lieutenant-general Campbell and major- general Ponsonby. Tournay, for which the battle was fought, might have detained the French a long time; but here again Dutch treachery did its work. Hertsall, the chief engineer in the Dutch service, betrayed the place to the French, fled to their camp, and then assisted them by his advice. He carried off with him the two persons who had charge of the sluices and reservoirs, having engaged them before to let all the water out. Nor was this the worst of the traitor Hertsall, for he was suspected of having, before his departure, laid a train to a powder magazine, which blew up and destroyed the greater part of a Dutch regiment. Tournay surrendered in a fortnight, and the citadel the week after. Ghent, Bruges, Oudenarde, and Dendermond fell in rapid succession. Whilst the allies were covering Antwerp and Brussels, the French attacked and took Ostend, again by the treachery of the governor, who refused to inundate the country. Never had the Dutch covered themselves with such disgrace. They could scarcely be recognised as the same people who had stood stoutly both in the cabinet and in the field in the days of William of Orange. They became deeply suspected by the allies of having acted, through the whole shameful affair, under French influences.

The affairs of England, menaced by invasion, were during this time compelling George to draw part of his forces homeward; it was, consequently, only the approach of winter which saved the towns of Flanders from the French. At the same time, the wily Prussian was in arms again, trusting to seize yet more of the Austrian territories, whilst the powerful ally of Maria Theresa was at once pressed by the fault of the Dutch and Austrians in Flanders, and at home by the pretender. George, who, in spite of all remonstrances, had persisted, notwithstanding the domestic danger, in paying his annual visit to Hanover, was earnestly engaged, through lord Harrington, in endeavouring to accomplish a peace betwixt Prussia and Austria. Neither Frederick nor Maria Theresa, however, were in any haste to conclude peace. Frederick hoped to profit by the engagement of England with the French, and Maria Theresa held out with some vague hopes of regaining Silesia through the money of England. But Frederick, on the 3rd of June, gained a decided victory over the prince Charles of Lorraine, throwing himself betwixt the Austrians and the Saxons, whom the English subsidy had brought to their aid. In this battle of Hohen Friedberg the Austrians lost nine thousand men in killed and wounded, and had as many made prisoners. Prince Charles retreated into Bohemia, and was soon followed by Frederick, who fixed his camp at Chlum. Whilst another battle was impending, Maria Theresa, still undaunted, accompanied her husband to the Diet at Frankfort, where she had the satisfaction of seeing him elected emperor of Germany on the 13th of September. From her balcony she was the first to cry "Long live the emperor Francis I.!" which was re-echoed by the acclamations of ten thousand people in the streets. She then hastened to Heidelburg, where she reviewed her army of sixty thousand men, and as she rode by the side of the emperor along the ranks, she raised the enthusiasm of the soldiers by her beauty, her frank demeanour, and by ordering every soldier the gift of a florin. The same month, however, her troops were again defeated by Frederick at Sohr, near the sources of the Elbe. Their defeat this time was owing to their neglect of discipline, and taking to plundering when they should have been fighting. Spite of their being sixty thousand and the troops of Frederick only twenty-eight thousand, Frederick saw his advantage, and snatched a victory from them, to their great amazement. The king of Prussia now offered to make peace, and Maria Theresa rejected his overtures; but another victory over her combined army of Austrians and Saxons, which put Frederick in possession of Dresden, brought her to reason. A peace was concluded at Dresden on Christmas Day, by which Silesia was confirmed to Prussia, and Frederick, on his part, acknowledged the recent election of the emperor Francis. King George had also entered into a secret treaty with Prussia; and Frederick, sending his army into winter quarters in Silesia, returned to Berlin, thence to ponder fresh schemes of aggrandisement.

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Pictures for Reign of George II. (Continued.) page 10

Westminster election
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Harbour of Helsingfors
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The retreat of Belleisle
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George II. at the battle of Dettingen
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Medal in commemoration of the battle of Dettingen.
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Prince Charles Stuart
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