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Reign of Queen Anne (Continued) page 15

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The campaign had not paused for the issue of the conference. Eugene and Marlborough left the Hague on the 15th of March, and assembled their troops, which quartered on the Meuse, at Tournai. The confederate army amounted to sixty thousand men, with which they invested Douay, and Eugene remaining to carry on the siege, Marlborough advanced to Vitri, where he encamped. Marshal Villars, at the head of an army numerous and well appointed, considering the distresses of France, and all the more numerous, because men, destitute of the means of livelihood, flocked to the royal banners, passed the Scheldt, and encamped at Boncham, declaring that he would engage the allies, but thought better of it. His aim was to embarrass the siege of Douay, in which there was a powerful French garrison, commanded by general Albergotti. The defence was vigorous, Albergotti making frequent sallies, and altogether the allies suffered severely before the town. It was compelled, however, to capitulate on the 26th of June. Eugene and Marlborough being again united, contemplated forcing the lines of the enemy betwixt Arras and Miramont, but finding them too strong, they resolved to besiege Bethune, which, in spite of the menacing attitude of Marshal Villars, who marched out of his entrenchments as if going to attack them, surrendered on the 29th of August. They afterwards took also the inconsiderable towns of Aire and Verrant, and there the campaign ended. The armies broke up and retired to winter quarters.

This was a poor result after the grand schemes of storming Boulogne and marching upon Paris. The fact was, that the anxious condition of affairs at home completely paralysed Marlborough. He was no longer the man he had been. His mind was dragged different ways, and was harassed with anxieties. He could no longer concentrate his attention on one great plan of warfare, and the consequence was, that his action was spiritless and indecisive. He seemed to have lost the secret of success, and met with annoyances which his vigilance and promptitude had hitherto prevented. On one occasion a great supply of powder and other stores was intercepted by the enemy, though under the guard of twelve hundred foot and four hundred and eighty horse, In a word he was discouraged, divided in his own mind, and the spell of victory, or rather of high enterprise, was broken.

In other quarters the scene was not more encouraging. Nothing of consequence was effected on the Rhine, and in Piedmont the duke of Savoy, still out of humour with the emperor, did nothing. The imperial forces were commanded by count Daun, who endeavoured to cross the Alps and penetrate into Dauphine, but was effectually kept back by the duke of Berwick, who held the mountain passes. In Spain, after a brilliant commencement of the campaign, everything went to ruin. General Stanhope, having passed in his parliamentary character through the Sacheverel campaign, joined the imperial general, count Staremberg, in Catalonia, in May. On the 27th of July they encountered the army of king Philip at Almanara. Stanhope had the charge of the cavalry, killed with his own hand the commander of Philip's guards, general Amessaga, and routed the whole body of horse, upon which the infantry retired precipitately on Lerida. General Staremberg pursued the flying army to Saragossa, where king Philip made a stand, but was again defeated, with a loss of five thousand men, seven thousand taken prisoners, with all his artillery, and a great number of colours and standards. Charles and his confederates entered Saragossa in triumph, and Philip continued his flight to Madrid. Whilst victory was with them, general Stanhope urged king Charles to push on to Madrid, drive Philip into the Pyrenees, and secure the pass of Pampeluna, the only one by which Louis could send rein forcements. But the inert Austrian loitered away a whole month at Saragossa, and it was not till the middle of September that Stanhope could induce him to advance. On the 21st of that month Stanhope, still leading the way, entered Madrid without opposition, Philip and all the grandees having recreated to Valladolid. On the 28th Charles himself made his entry into Madrid, but general Stanhope soon perceived that he had no welcome. The Castilians to a man were for Philip, and did the army of Charles all the mischief they could, cutting off his supplies, attacking his outposts, and destroying all the stragglers and foragers that they could meet with. Stanhope still urged Charles to send on a detachment and secure Toleda, and to keep open the passage of the Tagus to facilitate an expected advance of Portuguese troops in his favour. The Portuguese, however, did not make their appearance: provisions failed in Madrid, for the peasantry held back the supply, and the whole army marched to Toledo, where it found itself still worse off. Philip, meantime, had sent in haste to request reinforcements from Louis under the command of the duke de'Yendome, and these approaching, the timid Charles hastened back into Catalonia as the only place of security.

Such was continually the fluctuating condition of the war in Spain. The Spaniards had no inclination to support Charles, and the allies only sent troops sufficient to win victories, but not to maintain them, still less to secure the passes in the Pyrenees, and keep back fresh French armies. It was another of our futile attempts to support a man who, unless he could support himself, had no business there. At this juncture the tories, having risen into power, withheld fresh reinforcements. They were not hearty in the war, and our small army there was left to contend with impossibilities. The English and imperialists unwillingly following in the track of the king towards Catalonia, for the sake of better procuring provisions on the route, had separated, and marched at some distance from each other, though in parallel lines. In this condition they were suddenly overtaken by Vendome on the 8th of December, and Stanhope, with his five thousand men, found himself surrounded by the main army of the French, This was an instance of want of circumspection which was not anticipated in general Stanhope after his vigorous and able operations hitherto, and procured him severe blame. He managed to dispatch a messenger to Staremberg for help; but his powder was nearly exhausted, and after courageously defending himself till the next day, he was compelled to surrender himself in the. little town of Brihuega. Staremberg was accused of tardy movement for the relief of Stanhope, but he was probably prevented coming up by the forces of Vendome, who attacked him also on the 10th at Villaviciosa. Vendome's troops are said to have doubled in number those of Staremberg. Staremberg's left wing was speedily routed, and great slaughter made of them; but Staremberg himself maintained the fight with his right wing till night, when the French retreated, having suffered equally severely with the troops of Staremberg. The imperial general, however, found himself unable to pursue the advantage: he ordered all the guns to be spiked, and retreated as fast as possible into Catalonia. Vendome pursued him, took Balagues on the way, in which he left a garrison, and followed Staremberg to the very walls of Barcelona. About the same time the duke de Noailles invested Gironne, and took it in the severity of the winter weather; and thus was Charles, after a few months' campaign, which began so splendidly, stripped of the whole Spanish monarchy, with the exception of Catalonia, which was itself greatly exposed, and very inefficiently defended.

In Portugal nothing was done, and the earl of Galway obtained permission to return home. During the summer another attempt was made to assist the protestants of the Cevennes, who were in insurrection owing to their unexampled persecutions. Sir John Norris landed about seven hundred men at port Cette, within a league of Marseilles, and within fifteen of the insurgents. This force was destined to injure the unhappy Cevennois by drawing the vengeance of the French more upon them, and was of no use in relieving them. In every sense it was an ill-planned affair. The duke de Noailles marched down ten thousand militia and four hundred dragoons against them, imagining them to be a considerable body; and the invaders, after having taken a few villages, hastened on board their ships and sailed away. In the north of Europe the king of Sweden still continued at Breda, and the czar took the opportunity to reduce all Livonia. The Hungarians still continued their insurrections.

At home the new parliament met on the 25th of November. There was a strong infusion of tories sent up, but there was still also a strong party of whigs. The tories, however, carried the speakership in the person of Mr. Bromley, in the place of the late whig speaker, Onslow; but the chief managers of the Sacheverel trial had managed to secure their own return. The queen, on the other hand, showed her predilection by knighting Mr. Constantine Phipps, Sacheverel's counsel, and made him lord chancellor of Ireland, and gave other promotions to marked tories. In her speech Anne declared that she would support the church of England, maintain the constitution, and grant the indulgence allowed by law to scrupulous consciences. The word was no longer "toleration," but "indulgence," the very phrase used by Sacheverel - another proof of the queen's leaning towards the doctor. And this phrase now became general in the high church, the doctrine being that whatever liberty the dissenters enjoyed was of indulgence and not of right. In the house of lords the earl of Scarborough moved the usual vote of thanks to the duke of Marlborough, but the duke of Argyll opposed it; and the duke's friends let the matter drop, hoping to carry it when the duke returned. Other signs of the great change which had taken place in the domestic policy of the nation quickly followed. The earl of Peterborough, who had so long suffered from the overwhelming shade of Marlborough, was appointed ambassador-extraordinary to the imperial court. The earl of Rivers was appointed ambassador to Hanover; and Richard Hill, a kinsman of Mrs. Masham, ambassador- extraordinary to the States-General, and also to the council of state appointed for the government of the Spanish Netherlands, in the place of lieutenant-general Cadogan. Colonels Meredith, Macartney, and Honeywood were deprived of their regiments for drinking confusion to the enemies of the duke of Marlborough. The Marlborough reign was at an end.

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