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Reign of William and Mary. - (Continued.) page 11

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In Piedmont the allies were as little successful as in Flanders. Catinat engaged the duke of Savoy and the duke of Leinster in the plain of Marsaglia, near his capital of Turin, and defeated them, killing Leinster (Schomberg), and wounding the earl of Warwick, his second in command. The allies lost eight thousand men, and their cannon; but, like Luxembourg in Flanders, Catinat was not able to follow up the advantage, and Louis immediately sent M. de Chanlais to Turin to endeavour to make terms with the duke, as he had already done with the pope, but did not yet succeed. The short resistance in Piedmont, however, had the effect of drawing some of the French forces from Spain, where they had compelled the surrender of Catalonia. In the east the Germans had invested Belgrade, but could not hold it; and Louis was active in bribing the Turks against the Austrians.

If the affairs of England had been unsuccessful by land, they had been most disastrous by sea. Before leaving for Holland William ordered that Killigrew and Delaval should, with their whole fleet, amounting to nearly a hundred sail, get out to sea early and blockade the French fleets in their ports, so as to allow our merchantmen to pursue their voyages with security. Our ports were crowded with trading vessels, which had long been waiting to sail to the Mediterranean and other seas with cargoes. About the middle of May the admirals united their squadrons at St. Helen's, and, being joined by a considerable number of Dutch men-of-war, they took on board five regiments of soldiers, intending to make a descent on Brest. No less than four hundred merchantmen were ready to start, and on the 6th of June the united fleet put out from St. Helen's to convoy them so far as to be out of danger of the French fleets, when Sir George Rooke was to take them forward to the Mediterranean under guard of twenty sail. But the French appear to have been perfectly informed of all the intentions of the English government from the traitors about the court, and the English to have been perfectly ignorant of the motions of the French. Instead of Tourville allowing himself to be blockaded in Brest, and D'Estrees in Toulon, they were already out and sailing down towards Gibraltar, where they meant to lie in wait for the English.

The united fleet of the allies having, therefore, accompanied Rooke and the merchantmen about two hundred miles beyond Ushant, returned. Rooke did not think they were by any means certain of their enemies being behind them, and earnestly entreated the admirals to go on farther, but in vain. They not only turned back, but went home, without making the slightest attempt to carry out the attack on Brest. When they reached England it was well known that Tourville had recently quitted Brest, and was pursuing his course south to join D'Estrees. The consternation and indignation were beyond bounds. A swift vessel was dispatched to overtake and recall Rooke and the merchant vessels if possible. But it is proverbial that a stern chase is a long chase. It was impossible to come up with Rooke; he had reached Cape St. Vincent, and there learnt that a French fleet was lying in the bay of Lagos; but, imagining that it was only a detached squadron, he went on, till on the 16th of June he perceived before him the whole French fleet, amounting to eighty vessels.

As to engaging such an unequal force, that would have been a wilful sacrifice of himself and his charge. The Dutch admiral Vandergoes agreed with him, that the best thing was for the merchant vessels to run into the Spanish ports Faro, St. Lucar, or Cadiz, as best served them, others were too far out at sea; these he stood out to protect as long as he could, and they made, some for Ireland, some for Corunna and Lisbon. He himself then made all sail for Madeira, which he reached in safety. Two of the Dutch ships being overtaken by the French, ran in shore, and thus drawing the French after them, helped the others to get off. Captains Schrijver and Vander Poel fought stoutly so long as they could, and then surrendered. The French commander Coetlegon took seven of the Smyrna merchantmen, and sunk four under the rocks of Gibraltar. The loss to the merchants was fearful. The news of this great calamity spread a gloom over the city of London, and many were loud in attributing disloyalty to Killigrew and Delaval, probably not without cause, for that they were in correspondence with St. Germains is only too certain.

Sir George Rooke returned from Madeira to Cork, which he reached on the 3rd of August, his ships of war and the traders which had followed him for safety numbering fifty vessels. Leaving the rest of his ships to convoy the merchantmen to Kinsale, he returned to the fleet, which was cruising in the channel, and which now returned to St. Helen's, where they had already landed the soldiers. About the same time a squadron, which had gone out to seize Martinique and Dominique, under Sir Francis Wheeler, after coasting Newfoundland and Canada, returned totally unsuccessful. The Dutch set sail for Holland on the 19th of September, and thus terminated this inglorious naval campaign.

The miserable failures this summer, both by land and sea, wonderfully encouraged the hopes of the Jacobites. The enormous taxation which was grinding the people - to enable the Dutch king, as they represented, to fight his country's battles with English blood and money - they assured themselves must soon induce the English people to recall James. Their secret presses were busily at work diffusing these opinions. Two men, Dormer and Canning, had been tried at the Old Bailey, fined five hundred marks apiece, and set three times in the pillory, for such an offence. But this severity did not at all check the practice. One William Anderton, who passed for a working jeweller, had long been suspected of printing these libels, and was at length discovered in his secret printing office in St. James's Street, with some of the most furious libels about him, and one of them only partly in type. In these libels William was represented as a glaring tyrant, who detested the English, but was all the more ready to lead them to destruction, and to drain them of their substance. He was tried at the Old Bailey before! the lord chief justice Treby, and though the jury were un- willing to bring in a verdict that would send him to the gallows, Treby so intimidated them by his language, that they gave way. He was condemned for high treason, and spite of strenuous endeavours made to get the sentence mitigated, was hanged at Tyburn.

But the death of Anderton, far from quieting the malcontents, only added fierceness to their attacks. The carnage of Englishmen at the battle of Landen was actively commented on, to bring William into odium; the distressed people and artisans out of work, and the sailors whose pay was far in arrears, were all excited, by ballads and halfpenny broadsides, to believe that there was nothing but misery and fraud for them so long as the Dutch dynasty continued on the throne. The sailors' wives were told that their husbands would never obtain their wages, and many of them appeared before Whitehall clamouring for their rights. Some of these the queen admitted and soothed, by assuring them that their husbands should be fully and speedily paid. Bartholomew Fair was seized on as a means of incensing the people against the admirals for their wretched management. The admirals Delaval and Killigrew, as well as the lords of the admiralty, were all burlesqued, and with such success, that government sent a posse of constables to arrest the bold caricaturers, with all their scenery. There was scarcely a street or a tavern in London in which the work of sedition was not boldly carried on.

At such a crisis William returned from his unsuccessful campaign, only to find the whole public greatly exasperated at the issue of affairs. He arrived at Kensington on the 30th of October. William found that his endeavours to employ and conciliate both parties - whigs and tories - had not answered. They could not work together, and between them everything went to ruin. The tories were almost to a man in alliance with his enemy James, and yet he dreaded again putting himself into the power of the rapacious and domineering whigs. They were, it is true, the only party really attached to his own principles, They had fought out the revolution for him, and were disposed to carry on the war with vigour; but at the same time he had found them so banded together when in office, that they were rather his masters than his servants, and their rapacity was so insatiable, that the whole resources of the country were in continual danger of being embezzled under one pretext or another, and diverted to the aggrandisement of their own families. Neither were they all free from the same treason as the tories. Russell and others were in close intrigue with James. It was necessary, however, to decide on employing, almost exclusively, one party or the other. If he employed the tories, they were bent on abandoning the war on the continent, and confining it to a maritime contest. In this they had great reason on their side. It was clear that since William came to the throne, we had been drawn in to take the principal part of the continental warfare on ourselves. The whole governmental expenditure in James's time amounted to only about two millions: it was now annually at least five millions, and was rapidly increasing. We had not been able, even with that, to pay as we went on, but had formally established a national debt. We were again deeply in arrears: the navy was a million behind, and the sailors were clamorous for their wages. We were paying three-fourths of the expenditure of the campaigns in the Netherlands. Our army was now annually upwards of eighty thousand men, our navy forty thousand. We were, in fact, shedding our blood and exhausting our resources to defend the pauper princes of Germany, who, when well paid for doing it, would not combine heartily in the cause.

The tories very reasonably demanded whether this state of things was to be continued. It was clear that if we had retained an English prince on the throne, we should never have been drawn into this system of defending the continental powers, who, if they would not rouse themselves to defend themselves, ought to be beaten and trodden on by Louis till their spirit was roused for the maintenance of their own independence. At sea we were capable of not only securing our own coasts, but of annoying France, and thus serving the allies.

On the other hand the whigs asserted that if we left the Flemish and German states to fall under the victorious arms of Louis, he would then invade us. This, however, was a fallacious argument; for it is a notorious fact that, if nations are worthy of independence, they will maintain it, and that no extraneous props can hold them up if they are not politically sound at heart. Moreover it was clear that the fears of invasion were futile if we concentrated all our power at sea, and in internal strength; for we could do all that with half the force and the money that we wasted on the continent. But the whig arguments best suited William's views of using England to defend Holland, and, therefore, he was driven by circumstances towards that party. He had admitted to his favour the infamous Sunderland, one of the most unprincipled men of the age. Sunderland had been one of the most unscrupulous of James's ministers, and to please the arbitrary monarch he had actually turned papist. He had been foremost in advocating James's most detestable measures, and in executing them as a judge in the atrocious high commission court. One of his last acts was to appear and give evidence against the seven bishops. When the revolution appeared inevitable he was one of the first to betray James; and then he had, to hide himself from the contempt and abhorrence of all parties, retired to Holland, where he again returned to protestantism, and waited for time to abate the odium against him before he reappeared in the political arena. After a time, though expressly excepted from the act of grace, he ventured to return to England, and lived in retirement. No one imagined that he would have the audacity to show himself again in public life, but he had the secret good-will of William, and by degrees he crept out, and, though at long intervals, gradually accustomed the public to his presence. He had insinuated himself into the counsels of William to that degree that he secretly swayed his judgment in them - a fact, considering his most base and hypocritical character, by no means to the credit of William's own. Sunderland was firm in his advice that nothing could insure the efficiency of the public service but the return of the whigs to power; he even advocated that of Marlborough, but for a time unsuccessfully. His first success was in recalling Russell to the head of the admiralty.

On the 7th of November parliament met. William had a poor story of his campaign to relate, but he attributed his defeat to the enormous exertions which Louis had made, and on that plea demanded still greater efforts from this country. He demanded that the army should be raised to a hundred and ten thousand men, and the navy proportion- ably augmented. He complained bitterly of the mismanagement of the fleet, and the commons immediately proceeded to inquire into the cause of it. The whigs made a vehement charge of treachery and neglect against Delaval and Killigrew; the tories, to defend them, threw the blame on the admiralty. Lord Falkland, who was chief commissioner, was proved by Rainsford, the receiver of the navy, to have embezzled a large sum, and it was moved that he be committed to the Tower. This, however, was overruled, but he was reprimanded in his place. The lords then took up the same examination, and endeavoured to turn the blame from the earl of Nottingham to Sir John Trenchard, the whig secretary. Nottingham declared that early in June he received a list of the French fleet from Paris, and the time of their sailing, and handed it to Trenchard, whose duty it was to send the orders to the admirals. But Trenchard was in his turn screened by the whigs. The matter was again taken up by the commons, and lord Falkland was declared guilty of a high misdemeanour and committed to the Tower; whence, however, in two days he was released on his own petition. Robert Harley - destined to make a great figure in this and the succeeding reign - Foley, and Harcourt, all of whom had from whigs joined the tories, presented to the house a representation of the receipts and disbursements of the revenue, which displayed the grossest mismanagement. But the farther the inquiry went the more flagrant became the discoveries of the corruption of both ministers and members of parliament, through bounties, grants, places, pensions, and secret service money; so that it was clear that parliament was so managed that ministers could baffle any bill, quash any grievance, and prepare any fictitious statement of accounts. The result was that William was compelled to dismiss Nottingham, and to place Russell, secret traitor as he was, at the head of the admiralty. The seals which Nottingham resigned were offered to Shrewsbury, but were not at once accepted.

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Pictures for Reign of William and Mary. - (Continued.) page 11

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