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way through a fresh forest-clearing before the felled trees are removed will have felt how formidable an impediment they can become; but he would probably infer that, however they might impede an enemy, they would be troublesome neighbours to an army intending to keep itself free for action. There has surely seldom been an army brought into battle with so varied a mixture of races and nationalities as the seven millions, voted by the British Parliament, brought together under Marlborough's banner. Our own islands provided the usual variety of races, Teutonic and Celtic, and there were fighting beside them Dutch, Danes, Prussians, Saxons, Palatines, Hanoverians, Hessians, and Italians.” 1

Before the end came, Villars had been sadly wounded. With the instincts of the true soldier he tried to continue in command, but he was so unfit for the duty that something like pressure was necessary for the protection both of himself and of his army, even though its doom was certain. Hence it was the decree of fate that this calamity should alight on the French people through the hands of that Boufflers whom they had tired of calling The Unfortunate.

The fortification of a camp in preparation for a battle is an admission of weakness. The commander abandons

any bold attacking strategy, and sacrifices the pliability and potency of his army, that he may secure its safety. Between the French force heavily fortified but embarrassed by the restraints of their fortress, and the assailing host armed by the highest skill that the armies of the world could produce, there appeared for some time to be a contest terribly equal, until it was seen that the defenders of the fortresses were thinned in number without slaughter. The neighbouring forest-land, if it was a protection to the encamped army as a whole, was a still more available protection to those who retreated through the forest glades. It happened that a large body of reinforcements had to be brought from Tournai to join the army of the allies ; and Marlborough had provided that, instead of coming up to the front, they should abide until their services were wanted in the enemy's rear. These had come into action, and there was no meeting their attack but by weakening the force in the front. At the same time, a lateral force on the left-a mixed body of Scots and foreigners-had been kept in reserve under the command of the Prince of Orange; and the weakened defenders of the fortifications were attacked in rear and flank. This was conclusive, and the battle was gained.

2 “Jamais on ne vit un tel faisceau de forces diverses réunies dans une même tout et comme dans la main d'un seul homme! Ce phénomène, sans example dans toute autre coalition, est le plus bel éloge des deux héros qui les commandoient.”—Hist. de Marlborough, de l'imprimerie Impériale, iii. 105.

This battle had been inaugurated with much deliberation and ceremonial on both sides, as if each were conscious of having at last reached the final issue. In the British camp there was a solemn religious ceremonial as at Blenheim, the service of the Church of England being read at the head of each regiment.

On the policy of the field-works making up the intrenched camp, the military critics of the day said that instead of a ganglion of ramparts and trenches enclosing all parts of the field, a lighter

VOL. III.

D

form of engineering would have better suited the exigencies of a field of battle,—such as redoubts or bastions, called “ cæspitious,” as made out of the materials available on the spot. These, amply scattered over the ground in possession, might serve active troops in an infinite variety of shapes troublesome to an enemy; and if they were likely to be available to the foe, they might be blown up on abandonment.

But the great embankments and ditches of the fortified camp in the end only provided fortresses for the enemy when, being the stronger party, he could occupy them. .

Mighty issues in the Continental battle-field had been, as it were, keeping time in harmony with mighty issues in the Cabinet at home. In the march through France there was work begun that, on the whole, had better be completed at once. to have occurred to Marlborough that, in the event of the supplies for the war becoming narrower, it might be well to narrow his projects accordingly; and that hence his war-path took the direction of Calais, his latest achievements, both uneventful, being the occupation of Ayre and St Venant.

We now leave behind the great battles, and the war both in Spain and nearer home, so far as Britain

concerned. The next duty is to examine certain political and personal influences busily at work at home, and find how their tendencies, in conjunction with those of the two wars, lead us to the Treaty of Utrecht.

It seems CHAPTER XV.

The Revolution at Court.

THE QUEEN AND THE DUCHESS THE QUARREL-RISE OF ABIGAIL HARLEY,

HIS INSCRUTABILITY DISMISSAL OF GODOLPHIN-HIS RECEPTION OF IT-HIS PROPHETIC WARNINGS THREE CONSPICUOUS STATESMEN : BOLINGBROKE, HARLEY, AND WALPOLE THEIR RELATIVE CAREERS GUISCARD'S ATTACK

ON HARLEY-A NEW PARLIAMENTTHE OLD MINISTRY ATTACKED THROUGH THE WAR IN SPAIN—EXPEDITION TO QUEBEC—COMMANDED BY ABIGAIL'S BROTHER THE HOUSE OF LORDS THE TWELVE NEW PEERS—THE FALL OF MARLBOROUGH.

HENRY HALLAM seeks concurrence in the opinion that “it seems rather a humiliating proof of the sway which the feeblest prince enjoys, even in a limited monarchy, that the fortunes of Europe should have been changed by nothing more noble than the insolence of one waiting-woman and the cunning of another. It is true that this was effected by throwing the weight of the Crown into the scale of a powerful faction; yet the house of Bourbon would probably not have reigned beyond the Pyrenees but for Sarah and Abigail at Queen Anne's

toilet.1

The sagest of historians is parsimonious in rhetoric or antithesis, and hence, perhaps, the rarity of his indulgence in these decorative accomplishments has led his expressions beyond the wise precision of his usual estimate of political forces. The conflict between Sarah and Abigail is certainly the most picturesque and amusing feature in the eventful political period we have reached; but we shall see that other forces were necessary, and were busily at work, in shifting the old tenor of history. The mighty duchess, who bullied principalities and powers on the one side—the humble waiting-maid, whom she assisted out of dependence and abject poverty on the other — make in themselves an antithesis suitable as material for romance. But Abigail Hill, though her father seems not to have been a fortunate man, was so powerful in connections as to count cousinship with the Duchess of Marlborough on the one hand and Harley on the other. Her cousinship to Duchess Sarah came of descent that made her a granddaughter of a baronet. Sarah opens the drama thus : “An acquaintance of mine came to me and said she believed I did not know that I had relations who were in want. When she had finished her story, I answered that indeed I had never heard of any such relations; and immediately gave her out of my purse ten guineas for their present relief, saying I would do what I could for them.” 1

1 Constitutional History, edit. 1832, iii. 283.

There came a vacancy in the bedchamber staff of Queen Anne when she was princess; and the duchess says on the occasion, that as it had occurred that

1 An Account of the Conduct of the Dowager Duchess of Marlborough, 177.

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