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dinary capacity. He frequently expressed his concern that he could not employ a nobleman who was equally distinguished for political and military talents. Other generals,' he said, “ found every thing impracticable which was proposed to them; but Marlborough appeared never to discover a difficulty. At length he appointed him governor to the Duke of Gloucester; and with a gracefulness of compliment which has seldom been exceeded, when he delivered the Prince into his care, said, “Teach him to be like yourself, and he will not want accomplishments.'

When the ungenerous usage which William had experienced from Parliament led him, in the bitterness of his heart, to determine upon renouncing a throne where his best intentions were thwarted by a party-spirit which has from that day been the worst evil and the peculiar disgrace of England, Marlborough was one of the few persons to whom he imparted his design. And when, after the accession of Philip V. to the throne of Spain, William prepared for war, he appointed Marlborough to command the forces in the Netherlands, and to negociate the treaties for the renewal of the Grand Alliance. This was an arduous task: he had to reconcile jarring interests, to allay or at least suspend inveterate enmities, to moderate extravagant pretensions, and to conciliate impracticable young sovereigns, in whom will and passion were paramount, and obstinate ministers who had grown old in imbecility and error. In addition to these difficulties, both William and the Dutch government urged him, in his treaty with the Emperor, to fix the number of troops which England should supply, without waiting for the sanction of Parliament. On this point Marlborough stood firm ; in his correspondence with the English ministers he says, “I am fully persuaded that if the King should be prevailed upon to settle this by his own authority, we shall never see a quiet day more in England, and consequently not only ruin ourselves, but also undo the liberties of Europe; for if the King and parliament begin with a dispute, France will give what laws she pleases.' And to Godolphin he says that, if the cabinet should be induced to take this step, and send out orders to him, 'I am so persuaded that the doing of this by His Majesty's authority would prove fatal to himself and the kingdom, that I should desire to be recalled : for, before God, I will die sooner than do so fatal a thing. These representations had the effect of dissuading the King from an intention which seems to have originated in an imperfect understanding of the constitution, certainly not in any desire of increasing his power by unconstitutional means. The last advice of William to his successor was, that she should look upon Marlborough as the most proA 4


per person in her dominions to lead her armies, and direct her councils.

Well was it for England and for Europe that Marlborough, owing to accidental circumstances, possessed that influence over the mind of the new Sovereign to which he was justly entitled by his surpassing talents : for the exigencies of the time required the full exertion of such talents. William himself, great general as he was, had scarcely been able, with the aid of all his allies, to make head against the overwhelming power of France: but Spain was now detached from the alliance, and ranged on the side of France; and by virtue of that connection Louis XIV. had obtained complete possession of the Spanish Netherlands, (which had been the bulwark of Holland,) for all purposes of offensive war.

Bavaria also was become the ally of the French, whose arms, by this connection, were at once introduced into the heart of the empire. The power of France exceeded all precedent in modern history. The French are eminently a military people; their education, their habits of mind and of body, their universal cleverness, their vivacity, their buoyant spirit, the hardness and the lightness of their character, their virtues and their vices, fit them above all others for a military life: and half a century had brought their armies to the highest state of discipline, under officers alike characterized by the love and knowledge of their profession. The kingdom had also the advantage of a firm government, under a sovereign of no common talents, who, more than any other of the European kings, possessed the unbounded affection of his subjects, because his character was completely suited to that of the people whom he governed. There was no vacillation in his councils; whoever might be minister, the same system was steadily pursued; a system of aggrandizement, which disregarded all treaties, all obligations moral and religious, and against which there could be no security; that system during the whole of his long reign, the longest in the annals of Europe, he had pursued without intermission and without remorse.

It would have been easy for Louis to effect the subjugation of Europe, had not this country opposed. But the situation of England must have appeared to him as unfavourable as that of his own kingdom was advantageous, in all those points which he had been accustomed to contemplate as constituting the essential strength of states. A woman was at the head of a feeble government, -a factious legislature and a divided nation. Her talents were of the common standard; there was little in her personal character which deserved respect, but few persons have ever been more largely entitled to compassion. The rank in which she was born placed her in an unhappy situation, wherein the path of


duty was not plain. The strongest intellect and the purest mund might have hesitated how to act, between a sense of what was due on the one hand to the king her father, and on the other to the religion of her country, in which she had been so carefully brought up, that neither her father's example, nor the perversion of her mother had, in the slightest degree, shaken her attachment to the principles of the English Church. Her part was taken, not with deliberation, but in a time of confusion, alarm and fear: in that crisis she preferred her public to her private duty, and her own heart ever afterwards punished her for the sacrifice of a natural and sure feeling to a doubtful obligation. When the king heard that she also had deserted him, he burst into tears, and exclaimed, God help me! even my own children have forsaken me! Anne must have called to mind this exclamation with a bitterness at least equal to that in which it was uttered, when, after having borne eight immature births, and nine living children, she saw the last of them expire, when he was the acknowledged heir to the crown, and when the promise of his virtues and talents might have satisfied the wisest desires and the most ambitious hopes. She attended on him,' says Burnet, during his sickness, with great tenderness, but with a grave composedness that amazed all who saw it; she bore his death with a resignation and piety that were indeed very singular.' It might have occurred to the bishop that this composedness was the demeanour of one who submitted to the stroke as a judicial visitation, and in her inward soul acknowledged how fitting it was that she, who had sinned against a parent, should be punished in her children. Under that impression she corresponded with her father, and requested he would sanction her acceptance of the crown in the event of William's death, declaring her readiness to restore it whenever it should be practicable. James would hear of no such compromise.--If he had survived William, Anne would have had a second conflict with herself, more painful than the first. His decease placed her in a different situation. She could have no personal affection for her brother, and it appears that she had been so far imposed upon by the impudent story of the warmingpan as to doubt his birth,—though not to disbelieve it.

Louis, who knew of her correspondence with her father, could not have supposed that she should, in any degree, be the dupe of so gross a falsehood. He reckoned the Queen's conscience among his allies; and he was statesman enough to understand that public measures depend more upon the personal disposition of the governors, than upon any principle of policy, or any other causes what

He had not yet learnt to fear the English armies, and probably thought that in losing William they had lost their greatest



strength. The English councils he had a right to despise, -flyctuation perpétuelle dans la conduite d'Angleterre, was the indignant exclamation of De Witt. Unanimity in a nation was regarded by him as of such importance, that, for the sake of obtaining it, he had stained his history by a most inhuman and wholesale

persecution : it is likely, therefore, that he calculated the religious animosities which prevailed among the English, at more than they were worth in his favour. With the strength of the jacobites he was perfectly acquainted, and he knew the price of a patriot. Every thing in the comparison seemed to ensure the success of France in the approaching contest, for he was altogether ignorant of the spirit and the resources of England.

The hopes which he entertained from the disposition of the queen were frustrated by the ascendancy of the Countess of Marlborough. The intimacy between them, which had commenced in early youth, had ripened into a romantic friendship, in which rank on the one side, and talents on the other, established something like equality. The happiness of the countess was not increased by the power of which she found herself possessed upon the queen's accession; her influence, however, at this time was one of the most fortunate accidents in English history. The garter was given to her husband, he was appointed captaingeneral of the forces at home and abroad, and at his instance Godolphin was made lord high treasurer-a statesinan worthy to be his colleague. The only son of Godolphin had married Marlborough's eldest daughter, Lady Henrietta. Lady Anne, the second, was married to Lord Spencer, son of the Earl of Sunderland. Marlborough and Godolphin were both Tories, but more than any men of their generation free from the narrowness and asperity of party-spirit; for they were both men of sound judgement, as well as mature years and political experience, upright principles, and true English feeling. The ministry was formed by the queen, without their interference; she consulted her private inclinations and antipathies, and composed it of the most decided Tories, men who were so intolerant that, not contented with filling all the higher offices of the state and the law, they would not have suffered a single Whig to officiate as justice of the peace, if Marlborough and Godolphin had not interposed and restrained them. This interposition became a cause of disunion in the ministry, even from its commencement. The queen's uncle, Lord Rochester, was at the head of the tories; his father, in all important respects the most valuable of our English historians, is also the model of an English statesman, for the general justness of his views, and the uniform integrity of his life. Rochester had neither inherited his moderation nor his wisdom, nor

his manly and decided character. When the question of peace or war was now at issue, and it was time for England to come forward in fulfilment of the alliances which William had concluded, he and the more violent Tories would have drawn back and temporized; and they proposed the miserable expedient of engaging in the contest only as auxiliaries, not as a principal. This paltry policy was combated and exposed by Marlborough, and the better genius of England for that time prevailed; but a schism was thus occasioned in the party, and a coldness followed between Rochester and Marlborough, who, till that time, had been friends, and Rochester became his secret opponent first, and ultimately his open enemy.

But Marlborough had a nearer disquietude. His wife had long been inclined to favour the Whigs, and from the marriage of her daughter with Lord Spencer, that inclination had increased, till it became a strong and decided preference. If fortune had placed her in the situation of her royal mistress she would have made a queen like Elizabeth, or the Russian Catharine, without the personal weakness of the one, or the vices of the other; her character was of the same stamp, commanding and imperious. The political sphere in which she was placed made her, of necessity, interested in political affairs; the wife of Marlborough and the favourite of Queen Anne could see, or hear, or think of little else; her talents qualified her to take a part, but unhappily she was unable to act with moderation, for her temper was warm, as well as frank and generous. During William's life all difference between herself and the queen, upon political opinions, was suspended by their common dislike to the king: but upon Anne's accession, a dispathy immediately began, which, though only perceptible at first in the point of difference, insensibly extended, till it leavened the whole feelings of both, and converted old friendship into inveterate ill will. Such a woman could not withhold from interfering when her interference might well have been spared : her husband's interest and welfare and glory were now inseparably connected with the prosperity of the state, and it was impossible for her to refrain from suggesting measures which, in her judgment, seemed essential to his success. Obedience was the only virtue in which she was deficient :--perhaps the fault was in Marlborough himself, who loved her too fondly to exact subinission, when he failed to persuade her that she was acting from mistaken views. The family connection with Godolphin gave her greater means of interfering than she would otherwise have possessed : in this respect, therefore, it was unfortunate. One of her first letters to that statesman after the formation of the new ministry, shews both her judgment and her disposition in a favourable


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