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Reign of Queen Anne (Continued) page 2

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Marlborough's flattery appeared to produce the intended effect. The rough Swede assured him that he had a great regard for the queen of England, and for the objects of the grand alliance, and should do nothing contrary to it. That he detested the domineering spirit of the French, and that no good need be expected till they were reduced to the condition they were in at the peace of Westphalia. That he was come into Saxony to demand certain satisfaction, and that when he had obtained it he should go away, and not sooner. All this passed through interpreters, for

Charles either could not speak French or refused to do it. Marlborough did not, however, depend on Charles's word, he kept his eyes and ears open, and found that he was beginning to think of chastising the Czar, from which the duke drew the most satisfaction, as it showed that his mind was not turned towards affairs in the south. Marlborough, also, perceiving that the chief ministers were very poor, and that all in the camp lived in a rude style, offered Piper, Hermelion, and Cjederholm, good English pension?, Piper made some difficulty in accepting his, but Marlborough succeeded better with his wife, and all the three councillors not only accepted the pensions, but received a year's in advance. To make all sure, however, Marlborough left an English diplomatist, Mr. Jeffreys, to accompany the. army, a rare favour, for Charles had always refused to allow any foreign minister to attend him in the field. By this means Marlborough was kept in constant knowledge of all that passed in the Swedish camp. But notwithstanding Charles's profession, he continued to harass and alarm the emperor, until he had obtained from him all that he chose to demand, when he marched away into Poland to encounter the Czar. Marlborough himself returned by way of the courts of Prussia and Hanover to the Hague, giving everywhere the utmost satisfaction by his arrangements with Charles XII., who had made every neighbouring court uneasy, lest he might turn his erratic arms against them.

But the campaign in the Netherlands this year bore nö relation to the great expectations formed of it. Louis, in the very depth of his poverty and difficulties, had found the means of paralysing the allies. When the duke mustered the confederate allies at Andulach, near Brussels, about the middle of May, he found the French forces so far preponderating, that though he had advanced to Soignies, intending to come to an engagement with them much on the same ground, the plain of Fleurus, as he hoped to have met them upon in the previous autumn, he did not think it safe to fight. The French were commanded by the duke de Vendome and the elector of Bavaria, and they had called out all the garrisons round to swell their army. Marlborough, therefore, fell back towards Brussels, and encamped at Mildert, and the French advanced to Gemblours. The two armies lay thus still till the duke found that the French had been obliged to send off a large detachment to oppose the attempts of the duke of Savoy and Eugene in Provence, when he determined to come to action. But the French were now no longer in the mind for fighting. They decamped, and continued to retreat from one post to another with such adroitness and celerity, that Marlborough could not come up with them till they were safely encamped under the cannon of Lisle, with the Scheldt before them, and their flanks well protected by intrenchments. Marlborough pitched his camp at Helchin, and foraged under the cannon of Tournay, within a league of the enemy, but found it impossible to draw them into action. The French plan was not to fight in the Netherlands this year, but to drive the allies out of Spain, and both armies went into winter quarters at the end of October. Marlborough, compelled to pass a blank campaign, set off for Frankfort to confer with the electors of Maienz, Hanover, and the Palatinate, on their future plans, after which he returned to the Hague, to consult with the States-General, and reached England in the beginning of November, to find affairs there assuming as unsatisfactory a shape as they had done on the continent. The people and the queen were both beginning to tire of the whigs, and a new favourite was undermining the influence of the great duchess with Anne.

In Spain the adroit manoeuvre of Louis by which, through his treaty with the selfish and short-sighted emperor, he had liberated his troops from Italy to throw them upon that country, and the want of unity betwixt Charles and his auxiliaries, quite changed the face of affairs. The whigs had studiously left the reinforcements in Spain insufficient, from the idea that it was better to continue to distract the attention of Louis in that direction than by a bold and vigorous effort to drive him from the country. They had a vain idea of conquering France, and thought this more easy to achieve while the French arms were demanded in various quarters. But the astute Louis was not so readily dealt with. He contrived, as we have seen, to amuse the allies in Flanders without coming to blows. He coped without difficulty with the Germans on the Rhine, and, though fiercely attacked at Toulon by the Savoyards, he defeated the allies in Spain, to the great astonishment of Europe.

By this lime the opinion formed of king Charles when he was in England by those who had opportunity of observing him was now become that of all who had come near him in Spain - that he was a very poor creature. The earl of Peterborough, who had been travelling about with little success to borrow money for such a contest, and was returned to Spain, but without any command, did not hesitate to say that people were great fools to fight for such a couple of simpletons as Charles and Philip. Charles was surrounded by a set of Austrians who were utterly incapable of commanding, and who made it equally impossible for any one else to command. The great plan of the campaign was to march boldly on Madrid; but Charles was, as before, too timid to venture on such a step. He remained in Catalonia, and ordered the earl of Galway, with the Dutch and English forces, and Das Minas, with the Portuguese, to defend the frontiers of Arragon and Valencia, and thus he contrived to wait for fresh troops from England, or from Italy, where they were no longer wanted. Whilst Das Minas and Galway, who was only second in command, were laying siege to Velina, in Valencia, and were in want of almost everything - food, clothes, and ammunition - they heard that the duke of Berwick was hastening, by forced marches, to attack them. They therefore drew off towards the town of Almanza, and there fell in with the enemy, who proved to be considerably stronger than themselves. They came to an engagement, however, on the 14th of April. The battle began about two in the afternoon, and the whole force of each army was engaged. The centre of the allies, consisting of Dutch and English, fought most valiantly, and repeatedly threw back the forces of the duke of Berwick. For six long and bloody hours they maintained the fight; but the two wings were beaten and dispersed, the Portuguese horse on the right at the first charge, but the Dutch and English, on the left, only after a brave but unequal resistance. When the gallant centre was thus exposed on both flanks, they formed themselves into a square and retired from the field, fighting doggedly as they went. But at length their ammunition was spent, they were worn out with fatigue, and they surrendered, to the amount of thirteen battalions. The Portuguese, part of the English horse, and the infantry who guarded the baggage, retreated to Alcira, where the earl of Galway joined them with about two thousand five hundred horse, and they escaped. It was a complete triumph for the French and Spaniards. The allies lost five thousand men, besides the wounded and the large force which surrendered. The earl of Galway received two deep cuts in the face; the marquis Das Minas was run through the arm; and his mistress, fighting at his side in the costume of an Amazon, was killed. The lords Tyrawley, Mark Ker, and colonel Clayton were amongst the wounded. All the cannon, with a hundred and twenty colours and standards, were lost. The enemy, however, did not obtain a bloodless victory - they lost about two thousand men.

Nothing now could stop Berwick, who won great reputation by this decisive action. He marched into Valencia, taking town after town, whilst Saragossa at the same time surrendered, without a shot, to the duke of Orleans. Berwick marched for the Ebro, which he crossed on the 4th of June, and at length pursued and shut up the flying confederates in Lerida. Whilst he was waiting for artillery and ammunition to commence the siege of this strong place, he received orders to hasten into Provence, where the duke of Savoy had penetrated, and to assist the duke of Burgundy, who was marching to the relief of Toulon, which Savoy was besieging. On approaching Beziers he learned that Burgundy did not want his services, and he hastened back and joined the duke of Orleans in the siege of Lerida. The siege commenced on the 2nd of October, and was continued till the 12th of October. Both the besiegers and besieged were in a nearly equal state of wretchedness, destitute of almost everything, such was the poverty of Spain; and, had any tolerable force marched up, the siege must have been raised. But Charles was too inert or too dastardly to lead thither his troops, though they lay at no great distance; and the place was taken by storm, and given up to all the licence of the soldiery. After this Manilla surrendered so late as the 17th of December, and with that the campaign closed. The duke of Orleans returned to Paris, and the duke of Berwick remained with the army till towards spring, when Louis sent for him in haste into France, ordering him to quit Spain unknown to Philip, lest he should endeavour to detain him. The earl of Galway and Das Minas embarked at Barcelona for Lisbon, leaving general Carpenter with the English forces remaining in Catalonia, the only portion of Spain now left to the pusillanimous Charles.

The operation, however, which the most alarmed the French court was that of the duke of Savoy against Provence. This had been planned by Marlborough and prince Eugene, and would undoubtedly have had a brilliant success had not the emperor been secretly planning his attempt on Naples instead of sending all his forces into Italy to the support of this enterprise. The duke of Savoy and prince Eugene, though abandoned by this selfish and small-souled emperor, on whose account the great powers of Europe were expending so much life and wealth, crossed the Alps by the Col di Tende with twenty thousand men, whilst Sir Cloudesley Shovel appeared on the coast of Provence with the united fleet of England and Holland to support them. Eugene crossed the Var on the 10th of July, Sir John Norris and his English sailors clearing the way for him in their gunboats. But the French were fast marching towards Toulon from various quarters, Villars having been dispatched with a large force, as we have stated, from the army of Flanders. The duke of Savoy, on the other hand, instead of pushing on to Toulon with all speed, halted his army to rest, and then marched leisurely forward. By this means, not only had the French been able to collect a very powerful army, but had had time to strengthen greatly the fortifications of Toulon. When the practised eye of prince Eugene took a survey of the formidable heights of Toulon, and of the great force on the outworks, with the power of the batteries, he advised the duke not to attempt the siege of the place with the forces at his command. The duke, however, would persist, and an assault was made on the outworks on the hill of St. Catherine's, and on two small forts near the harbour. These were carried, but at a great cost of life, including that of the gallant prince of Saxe-Gotha. But fresh French troops kept pouring in; it was impossible to maintain even this advantage. On the 15th of August the hill of St. Catherine was recovered by the French, and the Savoyards were even attacked in their own camp. On this an order was given to bombard the place, both from sea and land, in retaliation for the ravages committed by the French on Turin; the bombardment, especially from the sea, was made with terrible effect. A great part of the city was destroyed, and the English and Dutch sailors destroyed eight ships of the line in the harbours, and utterly destroyed two batteries. In the night of the 25th of August, the army of Savoy retired; on the 81st it crossed the Var without any pursuit of the French, and then laid siege to Suza, an old and strong town at the foot of the Alps, which surrendered after a fortnight's investment.

Sir Cloudesley Shovel, leaving a squadron with Sir Thomas Dilkes in the Mediterranean, sailed for England, and on the night of the 22nd of October closed his brave career in a Budden and melancholy manner. By some miscalculation his vessels got amongst the rocks of Seilly. His own ship Btruck on a rock about eight o'clock at night, and went down, drowning him and every soul on board. Three other vessels shared the same fate, only the captain and twenty- four men of one of them escaping. Sir Cloudesley Shovel had risen from a humble origin in Suffolk, and raised himself to the head of the maritime service of his country by his bravery, skill, and integrity. His body, when cast ashore, was stripped by the wreckers and buried in the sand; but was afterwards discovered and interred in Westminster Abbey.

Whilst the Savoyards had been engaged at Toulon, the imperial forces, who should have supported them, were marching, under the command of general count Daun, to j the invasion of the Neapolitan territory. The Austrian j forces crossed the frontier eight thousand strong - namely, j five thousand foot and three thousand horse - and were immediately welcomed by the citizens of Capua, who opened their j gates. Aversa and Naples itself did the same. The garrisons, both Spaniards and Neapolitans, declared for king Charles. The prince of Castiglione in the passes of the Appenines, and the duke of Atri in the Abruzzi, endeavoured to maintain the cause of king Philip, but in vain. That monarch had completely alienated the population by his heavy demands on them for the war in Spain; and thus easily was the kingdom of Naples taken possession of by Austria, and retained for twenty-seven years.

The only part of the campaign of 1707 which remains to be noticed is that of the Upper Rhine. The prince of Baden was dead, being really no loss to the allies. The German army, owing to the emperor's all-absorbing idea of seizing Naples, was so small that it could not stand its ground even against the moderate force which the French had on the Upper Rhine under Villars. That general crossed the river at Strasburg, broke through the lines at Buhl, which were regarded as the rampart of Germany, reduced Rastadt, penetrated into Württemberg, took Stutgard and Schorndorff, and routed three thousand Germans under general Janus at Lorch. There appeared every probability that Villars would win back the territories of the elector of Bavaria, and nullify the great victory of Marlborough at Blenheim; but he was stopped in his career by the immediate demand of a considerable number of his troops to march into Provence. The imperial army took post at Heilbronn, and the command was intrusted to prince George of Hanover - afterwards George I. of England - who, though no brilliant military genius, yet showed more tact and activity than the late prince of Baden. Villars, weakened by the removal of so many of his troops, gave George no opportunity of showing his ability in a fight, but recrossed the Rhine, and quartered himself at Strasburg.

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