OREALD.COM - An Old Electronic Library
eng: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Reign of Queen Anne (Continued) page 11


Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 <11> 12 13 14 15

On the side of the allies the generals count Lottum, Tettau, Oxenstjern, and the marquis of Tullibardine were killed. Both prince Eugene and lieutenant-general Webbe were wounded. The duke of Argyll, who fought with extraordinary courage, had his clothes shot through in various places, but escaped unhurt. The terrible carnage was in a great measure attributed to the impetuous and obstinate fighting of the prince of Orange, who was supposed desirous in this war to establish his reputation for valour with the States-General; but to the same cause may just as correctly be attributed the victory. The awful carnage was the direct result of attacking a hundred and twenty thousand Frenchmen in such a fortified position; desperate fighting was the necessary- condition of victory. On the other side the pretender distinguished himself by equally gallant conduct. He charged twelve times with the household troops, and in the last received a sword-wound in the arm. The French having retired into Valenciennes, the allies continued the siege of Mons, which capitulated on the 23rd of October, and the armies then retired into winter quarters.

In other quarters the campaign had been of little importance. On the Rhine the French gained a slight advantage over count Merci near Friburg. In Piedmont field-marshal Daun, who commanded in place of the duke of Savoy - who refused to act on account of some difference with the emperor - was opposed effectually by the duke of Berwick, though he had dispatched a portion of his troops to put down a new outbreak of the Camisards in the Yiverais, where they defeated the leader, Abraham, broke him alive on the wheel, and hanged or sent to the galleys the rest of the prisoners. Daniel, the coadjutor of Abraham, was also killed, and the insurrection for the time quelled. The duke of Marlborough had been very desirous to send succours to the brave but unfortunate protestants of the Viverais and the Cevennes; but before it could be done the news of their defeat came, about a month before the bloody battle of Malplaquet.

In Spain and Portugal the advantage was on the side of the French, so far as it went. The English and Portuguese were defeated at Caya by the Spaniards under the marshal de Bay. The castle of Alicant, garrisoned by two English regiments, held out all the winter. The Chevalier D'Asfeldt, who conducted the siege, caused the rock to be undermined, and having lodged fifteen hundred barrels of gunpowder, informed Syburg, the governor, that two of his officers might come out and see the condition of the works. This offer being accepted, D'Asfeldt in person accompanied them to the mine, and used every means to induce them to capitulate. Syburg continued deaf to his remonstrances, and resolved to stand the explosion. The mine being sprung, he and a large number of the garrison perished; but notwithstanding this dreadful disaster, the officer who succeeded to the command resolved to hold out to the last extremity. After the reduction of Minorca, general Stanhope and admiral Whitaker went to their relief; but finding it impracticable, negotiated their capitulation, and conveyed them to Minorca. In Catalonia general Staremberg held the ground against king Philip. In the north of Europe the whole face of affairs was changed by the defeat of the king of Sweden at Pultowa, and his flight into Turkey. Augustus of Saxony again marched into Poland, supported by Prussia, which entered into a league with him against Sweden.

The defeat of Malplaquet, though really more costly to the allies than to himself, had, in his depressed circumstances, shown Louis the increased necessity for peace; but he took shelter under the more favourable aspect of affairs in Spain and on the Rhine to renew his tenders of negotiation with an air of independence. His minister. De Torcy, opened a communication with Petikum, the resident of the duke of Holstein at the Hague, and offered to send plenipotentiaries to the Hague to treat if the States-General sent them passports. The States-General declined giving these passports till they knew the proposed basis of the treaty, but they allowed Petikum to proceed to Versailles. Meantime king Philip, apprised of this movement, issued a manifesto, protesting against articles entered into by the contracting parties regarding Spain. He declared his determination to drive Charles thence, and that his prospects of doing so were every day rising. He also made overtures to Marlborough, and De Torcy did the same, again tempting the avaricious duke, but in vain; the dangers were too great for even the large bribe offered. When Petikum returned with Louis's proposals, they were found to be so wholly short of the demands of the allies, that they abruptly refused to treat; declared their resolution to prosecute the war with unabated vigour, and wrote to all the allies, exhorting them to the same determination.

The parliament of Great Britain met on the 15th of November, and the queen, opening it in person, announced in her speech that France had been endeavouring, by false and hollow artifices, to amuse the allies with a prospect of peace, but with the real intent to sow jealousies amongst them. The allies had wisely rejected the insidious overtures; that our arms had been as successful as in any former campaign, and had now laid France open to the advance of the confederate troops; and that if they granted her, as she trusted they would, liberal supplies, she believed that we should now soon reduce that exorbitant and oppressive power which had so long threatened the liberties of Euröpe. Both lords and commons presented addresses fully approving of the rejection of the king of France's delusive overtures. They thanked the duke of Marlborough for his splendid victory at Malplaquet - a sentiment by no means responded to by the nation at large, which severely blamed him for the sacrifice of such a host of his countrymen, as they believed, only for his own personal glory and gain. The commons voted six million two hundred thousand pounds for the services of the year, and established the lottery and other schemes for raising this heavy sum.

The great topic, however, which engrossed almost the whole attention not only of this session of parliament but of the whole nation, was not foreign affairs, not the general war, but a party war at home, which was carried on with the most extraordinary furor, and put the whole public into a flame. The ostensible cause of this vehement conflict was the publication of a couple of sermons by a clergyman, hitherto of no mark; the real cause was the determination of Harley and the tories to damage the whigs irremediably, and to drive them at once from the service of the state and the support of the people. They therefore seized with consummate tact on these sermons, which were, as printed, stupid though rabid performances; and which, had they not been adroitly steeped in party spirit - the most inflammable of all spirits - and set fire to, might soon have slept forgotten in the linings of trunks, or as wrappers of butter and cheese.

On the 13th of December, 1709, Mr. Dolben, the son of the archbishop of York, denounced in the house of commons two sermons preached and published by Dr. Henry Sacheverel, rector of St. Saviour's, in Southwark. The first of these sermons had been preached, on the 15th of August, at the assizes at Derby, before the judge and sheriff. The second had been preached, on the 5th of November, before the lord mayor and corporation in St. Paul's cathedral. In both these sermons he had made an attack, if not avowedly on the government, on the principles on which the throne and the whole government were established. He professed the most entire doctrines of non-resistance and passive obedience, which, at the same time that they made him appear incapable, if he had the power, of overturning any government, set him to entirely sap and undermine the government and title of the queen, by representing the resistance which had been made to the encroachments of the Stuarts, and especially to James H., as perfectly impious and treasonable, contrary to all the laws of God and the political institutions of men. He reprobated the revolution and all that flowed from it; and thus, pretending to passive obedience, he was, in the fullest sense, preaching resistance and a counter-revolution. Whilst crying non-resistance, he was, as far as in him lay, arming all those who were hostilely inclined to overturn the throne of Anne, as built only on rebellion and on maxims subversive of the divine right of kings. In his second sermon, which he called " Perils from False Brethren," he preached flaming]y against the danger to the church; danger from the false and democratic bishops who had been put in by the usurper William of Orange; danger from the dissenters, whom he had by law tolerated, and made powerful in the state and against the true church.

The reader must bear in mind that, as parliament had been rent by the violent contentions of the two truculent factions of whig and tory, each professing high principles of patriotism, protestantism, and liberty, but both thinking far more of the possession of power and the damaging of each other than of the real business and benefit of the country, so the church had been equally made the arena of the like unseemly struggles by the parties of high and low church - the whigs and tories of the hierarchy. The high church, essentially tory, were bent on re-establishing all the dogmas and ceremonies of a very partially-reformed Romanism - all the high-handed principles of Laud and of Sancroft; principles of despotism in church and state; of absolute submission to kings in political matters, to bishops and archbishops in ecclesiastical ones. They looked with implacable hostility on the more liberal, or, as they were termed, low churchmen introduced to the prelatical bench, and to a great number of other dignities and livings; on the freedom of religious faith and civil action conceded to dissenters, and which they had sought through parliament with all pertinacity to extinguish by the occasional conformity bill. These were the topics, this the animus which had raged year after year in the convocation; which had arrayed the lower against the upper house, where sate the bishops of the revolution, and which had become so rabid, so blinded by party zeal, so lost to all sense of decency and decorum, before a public wondering more and more as the odium theologicum increased, asking itself more and more amazedly,

"In heavenly minds can such resentment dwell?"-

that the queen had been compelled to desire the primate to cease to call the convocation together.

In these disgraceful quarrels of convocation Dr. Sacheverel had virulently distinguished himself; and, in now giving a more wide and popular vent to his combative propensities, he, in fact, beat the drum-ecclesiastic to »all the host of similarly militant clergy throughout the country. With such a jubilant avidity was this war-note responded to by high church clergy, high church zealots of all sorts, and the tories ready to rush to the assault on any promising occasion, that no less than forty thousand copies of these sermons are said to have been sold. "Nothing," says Dr. Johnson, "ever sold like it, except 'The Whole Duty of Man.'"

It has been asserted that Sacheverel was a man of no ability either as a preacher or a writer; that he was a man of an insignificant family, and so ignorant that the gownsmen of Oxford, whilst they feted him there soon after the notoriety which he had won by these sermons and the events which followed, were amazed at it, and heartily despised him. On the other hand, high church writers have cried him up as a man of sound classical acquirements, of a handsome and commanding person, and of a wonderfully vivid and exciting eloquence. The reality appears to lie, as usual, betwixt the two extreme statements. His printed sermons certainly are marvellously heavy and long-winded, and would seem rather calculated to send people to sleep than to rouse them as they did. But we often find men who have a certain power of delivery which gives to a discourse a fascination which only vanishes on reading the same in print. There is a zeal and warmth, a piquant and persuasive manner and tone, which for the time give a wondrous charm to very commonplace matter; and when these are exerted to influence a temperament already feverish, the effect is beyond imagination. A little spark, it is commonly said, can create a great flame; but when the spark falls into a powder magazine, the effect is an explosion. The public mind at this moment was, through the exertions of the tories and the indefatigable cries of The church in danger! become very gunpowdery, and Sacheverel had artfully dragged in still more popular elements of excitement, which were taken up and flung amongst the people by the artifices and exertions of the tory faction. The introduction of the poor Palatines had been industriously represented, as we have stated, as a means to pull down the wages of the English labourers and artisans, and to overrun this country with a pauper swarm of foreigners in place of our own genuinely English population. The cry on this subject worked wonderfully, and the populace of London rose in a desperate frenzy, ready to exterminate foreigners, to destroy the chapels and houses of dissenters, and to clamour, according to the lesson given them, for the church and the queen.

The reverend tool by which the extraordinary ebullition and the extraordinary effects which were produced were raised, was not, however, quite so despicable a man, so far as qualifications went, as historians are inclined to represent him. He was of an old and highly respectable county family of Derbyshire. He had himself a good estate at Callow in that county, which was bequeathed to him by his kinsman, George Sacheverel; and his descendants in the female line, the Sacheverel-Sitwells of Stainsby, a few miles from Derby, still figure amongst the most respectable county families. His grandfather, John Sacheverel, was a determined puritan clergyman, who was silenced at the restoration of Charles II., and died in prison for his faith. His father, however, had become as zealous a churchman on the other side, and Dr. Sacheverel had inherited his principles. He was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, was chamber- fellow with Addison, and was so much esteemed by him till their politics separated them, that the latter dedicated his "Farewell to the Muses" to him in 1694. This is sufficient to demonstrate that a man to whom Addison would show such a public mark of respect, was neither fool nor dunce. On the contrary, Sacheverel cultivated both Latin and English poetry; translated and dedicated to Dry den part of Virgil's first "Georgic;" published Latin poems in the "Müsse Anglicanse," and stood high as a college tutor. That he was a man vain, ambitious, and soon carried away by a love of notoriety, is equally clear.

<<< Previous page <<< >>> Next page >>>
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 <11> 12 13 14 15

Pictures for Reign of Queen Anne (Continued) page 11

Duke of Hamilton
Duke of Hamilton >>>>
Marlborough and the King of Sweden
Marlborough and the King of Sweden >>>>
Between Welhen and Rathen
Between Welhen and Rathen >>>>
Sir C. Shovel
Sir C. Shovel >>>>
Great seal of Queen Anne
Great seal of Queen Anne >>>>
Limbourg
Limbourg >>>>
Marshal Boufflers
Marshal Boufflers >>>>
The Duchess of Marlborough
The Duchess of Marlborough >>>>
Battle of Malplaquet
Battle of Malplaquet >>>>
Castle and town of Alicant
Castle and town of Alicant >>>>
D
D"Asfeldt >>>>
Sacheverel rioters
Sacheverel rioters >>>>
Trial of Dr. Sacheverel
Trial of Dr. Sacheverel >>>>
Council chamber at the Hague
Council chamber at the Hague >>>>
View in the Pyrenees
View in the Pyrenees >>>>

Home | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About