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Reign of Queen Anne (Continued) page 7


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Before the campaign commenced a singular circumstance occurred. A colonel Quientern, an officer in the imperial army, formed a design of carrying off the dauphin from the court of Versailles. He selected thirty men for this apparently insane enterprise, procured passports for them, and kept them in readiness in the neighbourhood of Paris. On the 24th of March he and his accomplices stopped one of the king's coaches, in which they persuaded themselves that the dauphin was, made themselves master of the person of the imagined prince, and, setting him on horseback, made the best of their way for the Netherland frontiers. They would have succeeded in reaching them, but the supposed prince broke down with fatigue, when they stopped to procure a chaise for him, and lost so much time through his inability to travel except in the easiest position, that they were overtaken at Ham by a detachment of horse within only three hours' ride of the frontier - less time than they had lost in accommodating their prisoner. They were obliged to surrender, when their mortification at the defeat of their enterprise was somewhat abated by the discovery that they had not got the dauphin of France, but only M. Berringen, the first equerry to the king. The affair became so amusing a joke, that the king, in consideration of the humanity which they had shown to their prisoner, ordered Quientern and his accomplices to be discharged, and Madame Berringen made them a handsome present for their kind treatment of her husband, though they thought their courtesies bestowed on a prince of the blood.

The duke of Vendome, on the 25th of May, posted his army at Soignies, whilst Marlborough was encamped at Billinglien and Halle, only three leagues distant. The French then moved towards Braine-la-Leuvre, and Marlborough, supposing that they meant to occupy the banks of the Dyle and cut him off from Louvaine, made a rapid night march, and on the 3rd of June was at Terbank, Auverquerque occupying the suburbs of Louvaine. There, as the allies were yet far inferior in numbers, they imagined the French would give them battle; but such were not the French plans. They had advanced only to Genappe and Braine-la Leuvre, and now sought by stratagem to regain the towns they had lost in Flanders. They knew that the allies had drawn out all their forces, and that few of these towns had any competent garrisons. The inhabitants of many of these places had a leaning to France, from the heavy exactions of the Dutch and the popularity of the elector of Bavaria and the count de Bergeyck, who was a warm adherent of the Bourbons. The French, therefore, resolving to profit by these circumstances, dispatched troops to Ghent, Bruges, and Ypres, and were soon admitted to these places. They next invested Oudenarde; but Marlborough, being now joined by Eugene, made a rapid march to that town, and took up a strong position before it. The French, however, unwilling to come to an engagement, passed the Scheldt, and attempted to defeat the allies by attacking them whilst they were in the act of passing it after them. The allies, however, effected their transit, and came to an engagement with the enemy betwixt the Scheldt and the Lys on the 11th of July. The French amounted to one hundred thousand, the allies to little more than eighty thousand. The latter, however, had this great advantage - that the commanders of the allies were united, those of the French were of contrary views. The duke of Vendome was prevented attacking the allies during their passage of the river by the remissness of the duke of Burgundy. When it was already three o'clock in the afternoon, and the allies were safe over, then the duke of Burgundy was eager for an attack, and the duke of Vendome as averse to it, the proper opportunity having been lost. The wiser general was eventually overruled, and major-general Grimaldi was ordered to attack count Rantzau, who was posted on a marshy plain near the village of Heynem, with a muddy rivulet in front of him, with the king's household troops. But these troops, when they saw the nature of the rivulet, would not charge, and filed off to the right. Rantzau then crossed the rivulet himself, and, whilst general Cadogan assaulted the village of Heynem, attacked and drove before him several squadrons of the enemy. In this attack the electoral prince of Hanover greatly distinguished himself by his gallant charge at the head of Bülow's dragoons. He had his horse killed under him, and colonel Laschky killed at his side. Several French regiments were completely broken, and many officers and standards were taken by the Hanoverians. The general engagement, however, did not take place till about five o'clock, when the duke of Argyll came up with the infantry. Auverquerque and Tilly, who led on the left of the allies, were the first to make the French give way, when they were attacked in flank by the Dutch infantry under the prince of Orange and count Oxenstjerna, and completely routed their right. After that the whole line gave way. In vain Vendome exerted himself to check their flight and re-form them; they fled in wild confusion along the road from Oudenarde towards Ghent, and Vendome could do nothing but protect their rear. Their greatest protector, however, was the night, which stopped the pursuit of the allies. As soon as it was light the pursuit was resumed; but this was checked by the French grenadiers, who were posted behind the hedges that skirted the road, and the French army reached Ghent at eight in the morning, and encamped on the canal on the other side of the city at Lovendegen, after one of the most thorough defeats that they had ever sustained. They lost three thousand men, were deserted by two thousand more, and had seven thousand taken, besides ten pieces of cannon, more than a hundred colours and standards, and four thousand horses. The loss of the allies was not inconsiderable, amounting to nearly two thousand men.

After resting a couple of days on the field of battle, a detachment was sent to level the French lines between Ypres and the Lys; another to lay the country under contributions as far as Arras, which ravaged the 'country and greatly alarmed Paris itself by carrying the war into France. This alarm was heightened by the allies next advancing upon the city of Lille, which was considered the very key to Paris and to half of France. Lille was very strongly defended by batteries and entrenchments, and by a garrison of twenty-one battalions of the best troops in France commanded by Bouffiers. This daring act combined all the skill and chief leaders on either side for the attack and the defence. The dukes of Burgundy, Vendome, and Berwick hastened to the relief of the place. Marlborough, Eugene, the prince of Orange, Augustus, king of Poland, and the landgrave of Hesse, were engaged in the siege. All the art and valour on both sides were put forth. The French endeavoured to cut off the supplies of the allies coming from Ostend; but major-general Webbe, who guarded these supplies with a body of six thousand men, defeated an attacking party of twenty-two thousand French under the count de la Motte, near Wynendael, killing six thousand of them, and accomplishing one of the most brilliant exploits of the whole war. After a stubborn and destructive defence, Bouffiers capitulated for the town on the 22nd of October, but contrived to hold the citadel till the 10th of December.

Lille, important as it was, was not won, it is said, without a loss of at least twelve thousand of the allies, whilst Bouffiers was reckoned to have lost half his garrison. During the siege Eugene had to hasten to the rescue of Brussels. After the fall of Lille the allies reduced Ghent, Bruges, and all the towns they had lost; and the French, greatly humiliated, abandoned Flanders, and retired into their own territories, the French court being filled with consternation at these terrible reverses. The duke of Berwick was highly incensed at the management of the campaign by Yendöme and Burgundy. He states that, during the siege of Lille, Marlborough, through him, made propositions for peace, which were, however, haughtily rejected by the not yet sufficiently humbled Louis. Marlborough would probably have been glad to have procured peace now, that he might watch the critical state of affairs at home, where Harley and Mrs. Masham were steadily driving their mines beneath the feet of the whigs, and where the whole body of tories were constantly endeavouring to misrepresent his proceedings in the war, continually prognosticating defeats from alleged blunders, which, nevertheless, were as regularly refuted by the most brilliant successes.

The campaign in Catalonia had begun in favour of the French, but it, too, had ended decidedly in favour of the allies. There the earl of Galway was superseded by general Stanhope, an able and active officer; and count Staremberg, the imperial general, was a man of like stamp. But before the imperial troops had arrived in the English fleet commanded by Sir John Leake, the duke of Orleans had besieged and taken Tortoso and Denia, the garrison of the latter place being detained prisoners contrary to the articles of capitulation. No sooner, however, did generals Stanhope and Staremberg get into the scene of action than they put a stop to the progress of the French, and maintained the rest of the province intact. They soon, moreover, planned a striking enterprise. Sir John Leake carried over to Sardinia a small body of troops under the command of the marquis D'Alconzel, assaulted and took Cagliari, and received the submission of the whole island, which acknowledged king Charles, and sent a very timely supply of thirty thousand sacks of corn to the army in Catalonia, where it was extremely needed. General Stanhope then, with the consent of count Staremberg, set sail for Minorca with a few battalions of Spaniards, Italians, and Portuguese, accompanied by a fine train of British artillery, directed by brigadier Wade and colonel Petit. They landed on the 26th of August at Port Mahon, and invested St. Philip, its chief fortress. They so disposed their forces that the garrison, which consisted only of one thousand Spaniards and six hundred French marines under colonel Jonquiere imagined that there were at least twenty thousand invaders, and, in consequence, surrendered after some sharp fighting, in which brigadier Wade, at the head of a party of grenadiers, stormed a redoubt with such fury as amazed the garrison. On the 30th of September not only Port Mahon but the whole island was in the hands of the English, the garrison of Port Fornelles having also submitted to the attack of the admirals Leake and Wliitaker. The inhabitants were delighted with the change, king Philip having so heavily oppressed them and deprived them of their privileges. The Spanish soldiers were conveyed by agreement to Mercia, but the French were detained in reprisal for the perfidious detention of the garrison of Denia. When La Jonquiere, the commander, ascertained the actual number of the troops to which he had surrendered, on his arrival at Mercia, he flung himself out of a window and killed himself. General Stanhope appointed colonel Petit governor of Fort St. Philip, and deputy-governor of the whole island, and returned to Catalonia.

Sir John Leake, however, proceeded to the coast of the papal states, designing to bombard Civita Vecchia, in retaliation for the pope having so openly sanctioned the late attempt of the invasion of Scotland by the pretender. But the pope had by this time suffered a deep humiliation at the hands of the imperial troops. These, in consequence of the pope having endeavoured to form a league of Italian princes in favour of France, had been marched in conjunction with those of the duke of Modena, and had driven all before them. The pope remonstrated, and, at the time of Sir John Leake's approach, the emperor and the duke of Savoy proposed a negotiation for peace through the marquis De Prie, as ambassador at Rome for Savoy. But the pope, encouraged by France, refused to receive De Prie, whereupon the imperialists marched into the papal states, took Bologna, and terribly alarmed Rome itself. The pope then hastened to receive De Prie and to disband his levies, rather than see Rome besieged and Civita Vecchia bombarded. The imperial troops took up their winter quarters in the papal states; the pope agreed to acknowledge Charles as king of Naples, and allow the passage of imperial troops through his territories. Leake contented himself with destroying many French and Italian vessels along the coast, and with giving support to count Daun, the viceroy of Naples, for king Charles.

In May of the same year, commodore Wager in the West Indies, with only four ships of the line, fell in with seventeen Spanish galleons; they were proceeding from Cartha- gena to Portobello. He attacked them about sunset, and blew up the Spanish admiral, by which a cargo of goods and money valued at three million pieces of eight were lost. The rear-admiral struck, and the vice-admiral only escaped by running with a number of the galleons behind a dangerous sand-bank off Carthagena. Wager, however, made such captures that his own share of the prize-money amounted to a hundred thousand pounds. The Spaniards said the sailors fought more like devils than men; but this was not the case with some of the officers, or the prizes would have been immensely greater, and, in fact, most of the fleet must have fallen into their hands. When he returned to Jamaica he had two of his captains tried by court-martial and dismissed the service.

The duke of Savoy, on his part, made a substantial advance in this campaign on the frontiers of Dauphine. Notwithstanding that he had to contend with the masterly genius of Villars, he made himself master of the important fortresses of Exilles, La Perouse, the valley of St. Martin, and Fenestrelle, so that he had at once established a grand barrier against the French on that side of his territories, at the same time that he had opened the way into theirs. In doing this, too, he had essentially served the cause of king Charles in Spain, by obliging the French to send from Roussillon a strong force to assist Villars. In the north, too, the king of Sweden, by quitting Poland and marching into the Ukraine against the czar, had relieved that part of the continent from a menaced danger, which detained many of the troops of the allies there. On the whole, the campaign had still further reduced Louis and strengthened the allies.

On the 28th of October, the prince of Denmark, the husband of the queen, died at Kensington Palace, in his 55th year. George of Denmark was a man not destitute of sense, but of no distinguished ability. He was a good- natured bon-vivant, who was, however, fond of the queen, who was very much attached to him. They lived together in great harmony and affection, having no jars or jealousies. They had several children, who all died early, their son, the duke of Gloucester, arriving at the greatest age. Anno was supposed to have a strong conviction that the death of all her children was a judgment on her for her desertion of her father, and the repudiation of her brother the prince of Wales, whom, though she was the first to brand as a supposititious child, she undoubtedly came to recognise as her own brother. These feelings, however, did not prevent her from growing very fat, and in this respect her husband even out vied her. He loved his bottle and his table, being always exceedingly impatient of any delay or interruption of his dinner. The queen always studied his interest, and took care that he had his fifty thousand pounds a year, his ample provision in case of his survival, and made him lord high admiral of England, the duties of which, it is only justice to say, he very much neglected. He was, like his queen, a great stickler for the high church, because he thought it approached nearer to Lutheranism than the low church; and he had the sense to stand by Marlborough and his victories, after the tories endeavoured to ruin him, believing that they hated him only out of envy, ind therefore he still stood by him when the whigs were driven from office. The prince was long a miserable victim to asthma, which, with his excessive corpulence, prevented him for long periods from lying down altogether. During these severe paroxysms, the queen attended him most affectionately day and night, took him during the summer to Bath, or to a cottage in Windsor Park, where he could be quieter than at the castle. In short, queen Anne proved to the last that she had a real affection for her husband, and was greatly afflicted on his death. Through all her griefs and anxieties on his account, she was still pursued by the fiendish malice of the implacable lady Marlborough. When the prince lay ill at Kensington, the duchess went there in a fury and forced herself into the queen's presence to demand that Mrs. Masham should vacate certain rooms, which she claimed as belonging to her office, though she had never used them, and this, notwithstanding they were appropriated to Mrs. Masham in order to be near her mistress, and relieve her in her anxious attendance on the prince. A more insolent and unfeeling conduct it is impossible to conceive, and which no sovereign but Anne would for a moment have tolerated. The duchess, however, compelled Mrs. Masham to vacate them; but hearing some time afterwards that Mrs. Masham was again using them, she went in a still more fiendish temper to insist on her quitting them, but this time obtaining only a blunt rebuff from the queen. When the prince was in his last agonies, the duchess again forced herself into his dying chamber, on the plea of its being her duty, when the outraged queen authoritatively ordered her to "withdraw!" She withdrew only to a neighbouring chamber, and continued to force herself on the reluctant queen till the funeral was over.

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