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Reign of William and Mary. - (Continued.) page 13


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Immediately that the Bank of England bill had received the royal assent, William prorogued the parliament, and rewarded Montague for his introduction of the scheme of the bank, by making him chancellor of the exchequer. Shrewsbury was now induced to accept the seals, William having shown him that he was aware of his being tampered with by the agents of James, and demanded his acceptance of them as a pledge of his fidelity. To secure him effectually - for William knew well that nothing but interest would secure whigs - he conferred on him the vacant garter and a dukedom. Seymour was dismissed, and his place as a lord of the treasury was given to John Smith, a zealous whig, so that excepting Caermarthen, lord president, and Godolphin, first lord of the treasury, the cabinet was purely whig. Before leaving England, William also distributed promotions freely amongst his friends. Lord Charles Butler, brother to the duke of Ormond, was created lord Butler of England, and earl of Arran in Ireland; besides Shrewsbury being made a duke, the earl of Mulgrave, for his exertions in parliament in support of the king's views, was created marquis of Normandy, with a pension of three thousand a year; Henry Herbert was made baron Herbert of Cherbury; the earls of Bedford, Devon, and Clare were made dukes; old Caermarthen, though a tory, was created duke of Leeds; viscount Sidney, earl of Romney; viscount Newport, earl of Bedford.

William had closed the session of parliament on the 25th of April, and in a few days he was on board and sailing for Rotterdam. Before going, however, he had ventured to refuse offers of peace from Louis. That ambitious monarch, by his enormous efforts to vanquish the allies, had greatly exhausted his kingdom. Scarcely ever had France, in the worst times of her history, been reduced so low, and a succession of bad seasons and consequent famine had completed the misery of his people. He therefore employed the king of Denmark to make advances for a peace. He offered to surrender all pretensions to the Netherlands, and to agree to the duke of Bavaria succeeding to Flanders on the death of the king of Spain; but he made no offer of acknowledging William and Mary as rightful sovereigns of England. Many thought that we ought, on such conditions, to have made peace, and thus save our money and men annually consumed in Flanders. But the majority of both parliament and the English people knew Louis too well to be assured that the moment that he had recruited his finances lie would break through all his engagements, and renew the war with redoubled energy. His people were now reduced in many places to feed on nettles, and his enemies deemed it the surest policy to press him whilst in his extremity.

Finding that he did not succeed in obtaining peace, he resolved to act on the defensive only in the coming campaign in every quarter except in Catalonia, where his whole fleet could co-operate with the count de Noailles, the commander of his land forces. William, who had received intelligence of this plan of the campaign, before his departure, ordered the British fleet under Russell to prevent the union of the French squadrons from Brest and Toulon. Russell was then to proceed to the Mediterranean to drive the French from the coasts of Catalonia, and co-operate with the Spaniards on land. Meantime, the earl of Berkeley, with another detachment of the fleet, was to take on board a strong force under the command of general Tallmache, and bombard Brest in the absence of Tourville. All this was ably planned, as William's plans of his campaigns generally were; but the whole scheme was defeated, as all his schemes were defeated, by the treachery of his own courtiers and subjects: by Godolphin, his own first lord of the treasury, and by Marlborough, against whom the most damning evidence exists. Macpherson and Dalrymple, in the state papers discovered by them at Versailles, have shown that the whole of William's plans on this occasion were communicated to James by Godolphin, Marlborough, and colonel Sackville, and have given us the strongest reasons for believing that the preparations of the fleet were purposely delayed by Caermarthen, the new duke of Leeds, Shrewsbury, Godolphin, and others, letters for that purpose being discovered addressed to them by James through the countess of Shrewsbury.

But of all the infamous persons thus plotting against the sovereign they had sworn to serve, and from whom they had many of them just received the highest honours that the government could bestow, none equalled in infamy the detestable Marlborough. This man, who was professing allegiance at the same time to both William and James, and who would have betrayed either of them for his own purposes, was indefatigable in hunting out the king's secrets, and dispatching them with all haste, enforcing the disgrace of his own country and the massacre of his own countrymen with all his eloquence - the sole object being his own aggrandisement. Tallmache was the only general who could be compared with him in military talent. Tallmache betrayed and disgraced, Marlborough, who was suspected and rejected by William for his treason, must, he felt sure, be employed. Accordingly, he importuned Russell for a knowledge of the destination of the fleet; but Russell, who probably by this time had found it his interest to be true to his sovereign, refused to enlighten him. But Marlborough was not to be thus defeated in his burning thirst of treason. He was on the most intimate terms with Godolphin, and most likely obtained the real facts from him. Godolphin, indeed, had already warned the French through James of the intended blow, and Marlborough followed up the intelligence by a letter dated the 2nd of May, in which he informed James that twelve regiments of infantry and two regiments of marines were about to embark under command of Tallmache, in order to destroy Brest. "This," says Marlborough, "would be a great advantage to England; but no advantage can prevent, or ever shall prevent, me from informing you of all that I believe to be for your service; therefore you may make your own use of your intelligence." He then vents his vexation at Russell for not letting him into the secret. "Russell sails to-morrow with forty ships, the rest not being yet paid; but it is said that in ten days the rest of the fleet will follow, and at the same time the land forces. I have endeavoured to learn this some time ago from admiral Russell, but he always denied it to me, though I am very sure that he knew the design for more than six weeks. This gives me a bad sign of this man's intentions."

This letter of Marlborough's was enclosed in another to the infamous Melfort by Colonel Sackville, who says, "I have just now received the enclosed for the king. It is from lord Churchill; but no person but the queen and you must know from whom it comes; therefore, for the love of God, let it be kept a secret, even from lord Middleton..... I send it by express, judging it to be of the utmost consequence for the service of the king my master, and, consequently, to the service of his most Christian majesty." He also adds - "You see I am not deceived in the judgment of admiral Russell, for that man has not acted sincerely, and I fear he never will act otherwise."

This diabolical treason had its full effect. Tourville had already sailed. He left Brest on the 25th of April, and was at this moment in the straits of Gibraltar, which he passed on the 4th of May. Brest was defenceless; but Louis, thus apprised of his danger, instantly sent the great engineer of the age, Vauban, to put the port into the best possible state of defence, and dispatched after him a powerful body of troops. The weather favoured the traitors and the French. The English fleet was detained by contrary winds; it did not quit St. Helen's till the 29th of May. On the 5th of June the fleet was off Cape Finisterre, where a council of war was held, and the next day Russell sailed for the Mediterranean with the greater part of the fleet, and lord Berkeley with the remainder, having on board general Tallmache and his six thousand troops, turned his prows towards Brest. But by this time the town was in full occupation by a great body of soldiers, and Vauban had planted batteries commanding the port in every direction, and more, eight large rafts in the harbour well supplied with mortars. In fact, there were no less than ninety mortars and three hundred cannons; all the passages under the castle were made bombproof, and there were at least five thousand infantry and a regiment of dragoons in the place.

The English had no friendly traitors amongst the French to act the Marlborough and apprise them of all these preparations; and they rushed blindly on the destruction which their own perfidious countrymen bad organised for them.

Tallmache anchored his squadron just outside Camaret Bay, at the mouth of the harbour of Brest, and there he proposed to land his troops whilst the vessels bombarded the port. As volunteers in the fleet had gone young Danby, the son of the new duke of Leeds - now by courtesy bearing his father's old title of marquis of Caermarthen - and lord Mohun, so lately engaged in the disgraceful murder of Mountford the actor. These young nobles proposed to sail into the bay of Camaret and reconnoitre its condition. They reported that it was strongly defended by batteries. Tallmache, however, and Berkeley, ignorant of their design having been long betrayed, despised the danger, and ordered Caermarthen the next morning to enter the bay with eight vessels and batter the works they had seen, whilst Tallmache would land his men from a hundred boats.

But Caermarthen was scarcely in the mouth of the bay when not only the batteries he had observed, but three masked ones, opened upon him with terrible effect. He sent in haste to warn Tallmache, but the general was landing nine hundred men from his boats, and exclaimed, "The die is cast; we cannot retreat with honour." But even as he spoke his men were mowed down from a deadly fire from both batteries and entrenchments. They stood well, however, to their arms, and returned the fire with such effect that the batteries began to slacken, and they gave a loud hurrah in anticipated triumph. But the hope was delusive. Caermarthen, with his ships endeavouring to cover their landing, was suffering a murderous slaughter; whole decks were cleared of their men, and at the same time the soldiers on land saw cavalry issuing from openings left purposely between the entrenchments. The impetuous charge of these horse, added to the raking fire from the batteries, threw the handful of soldiers into disorder. Tallmache, seeing the case hopeless, now exerted himself to get off his men; but many of the boats were left high on the sands by the receding tide. The greater part of the unhappy men were slaughtered, and Tallmache was shot through the thigh, and was borne off to the ships. Besides the loss of the soldiers, Caermarthen lost four hundred seamen. Tallmache died in a few days, exclaiming that he had been betrayed by his own countrymen. He was so, more absolutely than he or even most of his contemporaries were aware of. The object of Marlborough was accomplished more completely than he could have anticipated. His rival was not disgraced, but destroyed - taken out of his way; and the hypocritical monster went to Whitehall to condole with the queen over this national dishonour and calamity, and to offer what he truly called "his own unworthy sword." When the offer was forwarded to William in Holland, he bluntly rejected it; but Marlborough ultimately achieved his end, and we ought never to forget, when we remember Ramilies, Blenheim, and Malplaquet, that amongst the acts by which he rose to a dukedom was the massacre of Camaret Bay.

Lord Berkeley returned to St. Helen's to take fresh orders from the admiralty, and was commanded to make a raid on the coast of Normandy. He again set sail on the 5th of July, and bombarded Dieppe, laying the greater part of it in ashes. Havre received the same treatment, and the fleet then ranged the coast, scattering terror amongst the inhabitants all the way, and harassing the French troops which were obliged to march after them. The French and Jacobites denounced this warfare on peaceable people as horrible and un-Christian; but it was replied that it was to retaliate for the atrocities repeatedly committed by the French on the palatinate, as if the diabolical orders of Louis were to be revenged on simple people who had no concern in them. By such conduct the English only degraded themselves to Louis's scale of wickedness. Berkeley then returned home, devolving the command on Sir Cloudesley Shovel, who, being joined by captain Masters with six-and-twenty Dutch pilots on the 12th of September, they attempted to fire the vessels in the harbour of Dunkirk, but failed, and then sailed to Calais, and did considerable mischief to the town.

Whilst these unfortunate demonstrations had been making, admiral Russell had sailed to the Mediterranean, and done good and legitimate service. When he arrived before Barcelona, the French had united their fleets from Toulon and Brest, in spite of the endeavours of the English. They were in full possession of the Bay of Rosas, and town after town had fallen into their hands. The fate of Barcelona was decided had not the fleets of the allies arrived, for the English was now joined by the Dutch under Callembergh and Evertsen. The army of the viceroy of Catalonia had been routed on the banks of the Ter, and all Catalonia trembled to its fall. But at the approach of the English the French made a precipitate retreat from the coast, and secured themselves in Toulon, where Russell sent vessels to blockade them. The Spanish government, in its sudden joy at this deliverance, presented Russell with a diamond, said to be worth twenty thousand pounds; but that was all the gratitude shown or benefit received. As we have experienced in Spain in our time, the Spaniards wanted the admiral to supply his own fleet with victuals, and even complained that he had not brought an army to drive out the French and defend the country against them. The viceroy was urgent that he should attack and exterminate the French vessels under the batteries of Toulon. After impressing respect for the English power on the states of Venice and Tuscany, and confirming by it the wavering faith of the duke of Savoy, Russell, by express order of the king, wintered with his fleet in the harbour of Cadiz, so as 1 to be able to prevent the union of the Toulon and Brest fleets at spring. He spent the time in active repair of his vessels and having them well supplied for the opening of the next campaign, though he received little aid from the Spanish government, who, as has been justly observed, are generally more effectual in annoying their friends than enemies. From this time, however, Russell seems to have gone heartily into the service of the new sovereigns, and a new spirit arose in the navy which soon made itself felt by the enemies of the country.

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Pictures for Reign of William and Mary. - (Continued.) page 13

Congress at the Hague
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