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Duke himself contributed £10,000, Portland £10,000, and
Godolphin and Boyle £5,000 apiece. But no encouragement
was needed. Eugene, as a fighting general and a loyal
colleague, was immensely popular with all classes of the
nation. The lists, which were opened on a Thursday, were
complete on the following Tuesday, when money was
refused. This transaction was regarded by contemporary
opinion as a remarkable proof of the country's wealth, and
also as a vote of confidence in the foreign policy of the
Cabinet. Marlborough announced his success to the
Austrian government with pardonable pride. He informed
Wratislaw that the English people had taken a step without
precedent in their histor3^■'■ And he congratulated Eugene
on their evident belief that their money would not be wasted.
Marlborough found his colleagues of the government
tolerably well satisfied with the progress of the first session
of the new Parliament. Although the party system had
not yet reached its full development, the fact that, unless
ministers could collect and retain a majority of some sort
in the House of Commons, they must sooner or later resign
office, was broadly recognised. Godolphin and Harley
flattered themselves that in the freshly elected House they
were safe from defeat. There is in existence a document,
which was addressed by Godolphin to Harley at the con-
clusion of the session, and which contains an analysis of

1 Murray, vol. ii., p. 404: Marlborough to Wratislaw, January 18, 1706.

1705-1706 357

the voting in the division on the Speakership. Out of
450 members who took part in it, no fewer than 100 are
described as " the Queen's Servants."-^ These were the
men who held offices or seats or both by favour of the
Crown, and who were expected to vote, and almost always
did vote in obedience to the directions of the government
of the day. They were for the most part Tories of the
type of Harley and St. John. Of the remaining 350, 190
are described as Tories, and 160 as Whigs. More than
two-thirds of the Tories had been " Tackers " ; and Godolphin
remarks that " their behaviour in this session has shown as
much inveteracy and as little sense as was possible." Never-
theless with the steady support of the Whigs, who were
well drilled and could generally be trusted to act together,
the government had commanded a clear majority.
Godolphin proposes to carry on upon the same basis. He
has no objection to receiving Tory votes, but not at the
expense of Whig ones. " I take it," he says, " our business
is, to get as many as we can from the 190, without doing
anything to lose one of the 160." The alternative policy
of playing entirely to the Tory party he regards as dangerous,
because, as he argues, for every Tory vote that was captured,
two if not three Whig ones would be lost. If those of the
Whigs who were alienated should coalesce with those of the
Tories who were not conciliatory, ministers might find them-
selves in a minority. In this conclusion Harley would
appear, for the time being at any rate, to have concurred.
But it constituted a distinct departure from the principle
upon which the Commons had been " managed " in the
preceding Parliament. Then it had been the aim of
ministers, calUng themselves Tories, to attract the less
fanatical of both parties; now they were determined to
rely upon a coalition of " the Queen's Servants " with the
whole body of the Whigs.

It may be that Godolphin had really no option in the
matter. It may be that the temper of politicians was now
so embittered that the course which he and Marlborough
had mapped out in 1702 could no longer be pursued. He

1 Portland MSS.: Godolphin to Harley, March 22, 1705/6 (Hist. MSS.
Comm., 15th Report, Appendix, part iv., p. 291).


at any rate was responsible for this altered policy. The
Duke had neither taste nor time for the mysteries of wire-
pulling. It was physically impossible that a man no longer
young, and so immersed in military and diplomatic affairs
as Marlborough was in 1705 and 1706, could give more than
the most cursory attention to domestic politics. When
Godolphin represented to him the advantages of a change
of front, he acquiesced with an almost suspicious readiness.
" You shall govern me entirely as to my behaviour," he
wrote, "for I shall with all my heart live friendly with
those that have shown so much service to you and friend-
ship to the Queen. "^ These words were written at the
Hague on December 25, 1705, at a moment when the Duke's
energies were wholly absorbed in the multitude of complex
details, strategical, financial, and diplomatic, which com-
posed the internal machinery of the Grand Alliance.

When Marlborough returned to England, he consented
to join Godolphin and St. John at a dinner at Harley's, to
which Halifax, Sunderland, Cowper, and Boyle were invited.
The affair was an unqualified success; but when Harley, in
giving the toast of " love and friendship," expressed regret
that the supply of Tokay had run out, Cowper remarked
that the " white Lisbon was best to drink it in, being very
clear. "^ The Whigs, in short, suspected Harley of duplicity.
And doubtless he had grave misgivings. Godolphin con-
sidered it " more reasonable and more easy " to use the
Whigs than to woo the Tories. More easy it certainly was.
But the new system had perils of its own. Harley, who
combined with the duties of a Secretary of State the respon-
sibilities of a government Whip, was perhaps the first
Englishman to make a scientific study of public opinion
and the forces which modified and controlled it. He had
taken Defoe into his own service, and had employed that
acute journalist to investigate the political conditions of
parishes and boroughs in various parts of the country. He
knew from the reports which Defoe sent him that the
Toryism which everywhere rallied round the manor-house
and the parish church was indisputably the greatest power

^ Coxe, vol. i., p. 376.

' Lord Covvper's JDiary; Hardwicke Papers; Miscellaneous State Papers,
1 50 1 -1 726.

1705-1706 359

in the country. Despite the popularity of the war, the
Whigs, with all the influence of their territorial magnates
and their big financiers, were thirty votes to the bad as
against the independent Tories alone, after an election in
which Whiggery was considered to have done extremely
well. Moreover, the Toryism of " the Queen's Servants "
was not abjectly servile. It was not without reluctance
that St. John had voted for the new Speaker. On that
occasion the majority had fallen to 43, some 15 or 16 of
the 100 having actually revolted. One of the mutineers,
Dr. Clark,^ member for a Cornish borough and secretary
to the Prince of Denmark, was dismissed from the Royal
Household ' to encourage the others.' If this tendency
should develop, the position of the government might
become precarious. In any case the moral authority of
a Tory ministry which existed by the votes of placemen
and of Whigs alone, could not fail to suffer diminution in
the country at large.

The Queen herself was another source of anxiety. It
was true that she had deeply resented the Tory proposal
to invite the old Electress to England, and that she had
admitted to " dear Mrs. Freeman " that she was not only
grateful to the Whigs for their protection, but " thoroughly
convinced of the malice and ignorance of others that you
have been always speaking against."^ But Haversham's
motion had been an affair of tactics, not of principles. On
the other hand it was a principle with Anne that she should
not be at the mercy of either party, and more particularly
of the Whigs. Cowper's appointment had mortified her
extremely. She would certainly resist the introduction of
members of the Junta into the Cabinet. But how long
could ministers who profited in Parliament by the votes
of the obedient battalion of 160, ignore the claims of its
distinguished leaders ? It was also a principle with Anne
that the foes of the Church of England were her foes. The
loss of the Occasional Conformity Bill, which she had always
regarded as a just and necessary measure, had turned the
mass of the parochial clergy into determined opponents of

1 Portland MSS.; News Letter, October 27, 1705 (Hist. MSS. Comm..
15th Report, Appendix, partiv., p. 268).

2 Coxe, vol. i., p. 376: The Queeu to the Duchess,


the existing administration. The Whig peers, after a set
debate, had solemnly voted that the Church of England was
"in a most safe and flourishing condition,"^ and that
whoever suggested that it was in danger was a public
enemy. But the indignant clergy declined to accommodate
their views to the votes of the Whig peers. They continued
assiduously to undermine the popularity of the government
in nine-tenths of the parishes of the kingdom. Godolphin
imagined that whoever controlled ecclesiastical patronage
controlled the consciences of the Anglican priesthood. He
was not the only English statesman who has made the
mistake of doubting the sincerity of the Church and mis-
calculating her power. In an eyewitness of the Revolution
the error was a gross one. He must at any rate have per-
ceived that the profound discontent of the clergy was a
cause of chronic uneasiness to so good a Churchwoman as
the Queen. If a remedy were not forthcoming, the fact
that the Sovereign could dismiss a ministry at will was not
to be overlooked.

Even the greatest of Godolphin's achievements, the
Union with Scotland, was at this time at any rate a source
of embarrassment. William III, who was far too good a
soldier not to realise that an impoverished, discontented,
and separated Scotland was a grievous impediment to
English strategy, almost with his dying breath recom-
mended a Parliamentary union between the two countries.
The idea was very unpopular beyond the Tweed. It could
hardly be otherwise. A small but haughty people cannot
be expected to contemplate vv^ith pleasure the partial sacrifice
of nationality which incorporation in a larger state neces-
sarily involves. The religion of the majority, moreover,
was Presbyterian ; and the Kirk was alarmed at the prospect
of subjection to a legislature in which bishops and laity of
the Church of England would overwhelmingly predominate.
Yet every intelligent Scot was sullenly conscious of the fact
that, if his country was ever to be raised from a condition
of squalid misery and chronic impecuniosity, she must get
access to the markets of England and the English colonies.
Parliamentary union was the price demanded. In the first

^ Boyer, vol. v., p. 210,

1705-1706 361

year of her reign Anne appointed commissioners from both
kingdoms to discuss the articles. ]\Iarlborough was one of
them. His view of the question, which was also William's,
plainly appeared in the Queen's expression of the hope that
the result of the Commons' deliberations would be to
" render this island more formidable than it has been
in ages past,"^ Unfortunately, commercial interests in
England were too strong for the government, and the
project speedily collapsed. Thereupon the Scottish Parlia-
ment assumed a defiant attitude. In 1703 they declined
to accept the Hanoverian Succession; and they carried a
measure commonly known as the Act of Security, which
declared that at the Queen's death, they should select a
Protestant monarch, who should not be the monarch who
succeeded to the Crown of England, unless in the meantime
they had obtained a treaty guaranteeing " the honour and
sovereignty of this crown and kingdom; the freedom,
frequency, and power of Parliaments, the religion, liberty,
and trade of the nation from English or an}^ foreign influ-
ence."^ To this disintegrating proposal the royal assent
was refused. The Scots only hardened their hearts. They
declined to vote a subsidy and gave orders to arm the nation.
In July, 1704, the Queen regretfully informed them that
" dissensions have proceeded to such a height as to prove
matter of encouragement to our enemies beyond sea."^
Yet they carried the Act of Security a second time, and
" tacked " it to the subsidy for the army. Godolphin was
now in a dilemma. The war had reached a most critical
stage. Marlborough was marching to the Danube, and
no man knew if he would ever return. At any moment
France might attempt a descent upon the Scottish coast.
Setting the immediate safety of the realm above all other
considerations, the Lord Treasurer advised the Queen to
assent to a measure, which apparently might relegate the
two countries to the position of antagonism which they had
occupied in Tudor times. When WTiarton heard that the
Act of Security had become law, he remarked that " they
now had the Lord Treasurer's head safe in the bag."'* This

^ Ibid., vol. i., p. 158. 2 Ibid., vol. ii., p. 52.

^ Ibid., vol. iii., p. 10. * Ibid., The History of Queen Anne, p. 177.


elegant observation is illustrative of the patriotism of the
Whig Junta. It meant that, if Godolphin were impeached,
he could only be saved by Whig votes; and Whig votes
would only be given in exchange for ofhce. There was
much talk of impeachment that summer. According to
Rochester and Nottingham, Marlborough himself was to be
sent to the block for his march to the Danube. Blenheim
shut these silly mouths. But the union was now become
a question of extreme urgency. According to Dalrymple,
the Earl of Stair had warned Godolphin, on the passing of
the Act of Security, " that he was on the brink of a precipice
and the two countries on that of a civil war. From that
instant the union was resolved upon in the Cabinet of
England. "•'■ In 1705 the Queen was empowered to appoint
commissioners. In England, however, the opposition of
the commercial interests was strongly reinforced by the
opposition of the Church. The clergy contended that the
Queen could not decently be asked to set up two religions
in a single realm. They contended also that, so long as
the Kirk refused even bare toleration to the Scottish Episco-
palians and denounced it as " the establishment of iniquity
by law,"^ no English Churchman could vote for the Union.
A government which had permitted the Occasional Con-
formity Bill to be lost, might recommend these things; but
such a government deserved and would receive the inveterate
hostility of every sincere member of the Anglican com-

It was abundantly evident that the government must
stand or fall by the results of its foreign policy. The war
was certainly popular; but its popularity could not be
trusted to survive another campaign conducted on the
peculiar methods of the Margrave of Baden and General
Schlangenberg. The speech in which Lord Haversham
proposed the invitation to the old Electress, had dealt very
faithfully with the miscarriages on the Moselle and the
Yssche . Haversham did not commit the blunder of attack-
ing Marlborough. He rendered full justice to the general-
ship that had contrived both enterprises. But for that

^ Dalrymple' s Memoirs, p. 346, Appendix No. vii.
2 Lang, History of Scotland, vol. iv., p. 91.

1705-1706 3^3

very reason the indictment which he drew against the allies
was the more damning. " Those who command your
army," he said, " are men of that bravery, and every
common soldier hath so much courage, that no equal
number of men in the world, I think, can stand before
them, but let our supplies be never so full and speedy,
let our management be never so great and frugal, yet
if it be our misfortune to have allies that are as slow
and backward as we are zealous and forward, that hold our
hands, and suffer us not to take any opportunity that
offers, that are coming into the field when we are going
into winter quarters, I cannot see what it is we are reason-
ably to expect."^ Haversham is contemptuously dubbed
by the Duchess " a great speech-maker and publisher of
his speeches,"^ But he was no mere hack of the Tory
party. He had generally been regarded as a Whig; and
he was conspicuous among the opponents of the Occasional
Conformity Bill. He created a great reputation by a
happy facility in the expression of ideas that were upper-
most in the public mind. But the government, fearful of
offending the allies, and especially the Dutch, deprecated
all discussion on the miscarriages of the last campaign.
Their majority in the Upper House rejected an embarrassing
motion for enquiry which Haversham moved, and their
press denounced this unseasonable orator in immoderate
language. He did not conceal his resentment that he
should be scurrilously attacked for saying in a free assembly
what every EngUshman knew in his heart to be the truth,
and what ministers themselves had only a few weeks before
instructed Lord Pembroke to say in the Queen's name to
the government at the Hague. It was distinctly to the
interest of the Grand AUiance that the Germans and the
Dutch should learn from some respectable source that
English patience had Hmits. The popular indignation to
which Haversham gave inconvenient utterance was strongly
founded on deplorable facts. It menaced the very existence
of the ministry, for those who were most ardent in their
country's cause were precisely those who, in their hearts at
any rate, were most disgusted by the misconduct of the allies.

1 Boyer, vol. iv., p. 193. 2 Conduct of the Duchess of Marlborough, p. 143.


None knew the reality of the danger better than Marl-
borough. He saw plainly that, unless decisive results
could be obtained in the forthcoming campaign, the English
people would in all human probability desert the coalition.
For those results he looked to Italy and Spain. Much had
already been done to establish the war in Italy on a proper
footing. In Spain the success in Catalonia had been fol-
lowed by the reduction of the province of Valencia. But
Louis was making immense preparations to recover the
lost ground. Tesse's army was to abandon the Portuguese
frontier, and in conjunction with a second force that was
assembling in Roussillon and with a fleet that was fitting
out at Toulon, to form the siege of Barcelona by land and
sea. To break this project the maritime powers Vv^ere
equipping fresh squadrons and were dispatching 5,000
troops to Catalonia.

They were also sending out that competent officer,
Noyelles, who though in the Dutch service was a Spaniard
by birth. Marlborough had persuaded him to assume
command of the Spanish contingent in the army of Charles.
At the same time, Galway, if the Portuguese would consent,
was to take advantage of the departure of Tesse and march
upon Madrid. Marlborough attached extreme importance
to a vigorous movement in the direction of the capital.-^
To add to the accumulated anxieties of the French govern-
ment, the Duke was planning a descent upon the coast of
Guienne. This project had been suggested by Guiscard,
a French nobleman who for private reasons had attached
himself to the enemies of France. Seeing how dispersed
and how remote from the centre of the kingdom the armies
of Louis must necessarily be, Marlborough anticipated
excellent results from this diversion, especially if it could
be combined, as Guiscard hoped, with an insurrection in
the Cevennes. " We may conclude," he wrote to Heinsius,
" that this is the time that we ought to do something that
they do not expect; ... if they are surprised, they will
find it very difficult to oppose us.""

Marlborough was in fact the organiser of victory in every

1 Murray, vol. ii., pp. 407-416: January 28 to February 5, 1706.

2 Vreede, Correspondance diplomatique el niilitaire, p. 17: Marlborough
au Grand-Pensionnaire, March 26, 1706.

1705-1706 3^5

theatre of the war. From October, 1705, to May, 1706, no
soldier or statesman of the Grand Alliance laboured more
indefatigably than he. The prompt arrival of the EngHsh
recruits in Holland surprised and dehghted Heinsius, who
displayed what Marlborough regarded as unwarrantable
nervousness of French intentions in the Netherlands.
The Duke believed that both there and on the Rhine the
enemy would remain upon the defensive. But he enter-
tained no hope of beating them in either quarter. The
permanent obstacle to decisive action was the Margrave
of Baden. The Margrave had steadily refused the Emperor's
invitations to Vienna. His plans, if he had any, remained
unrevealed until the last week in March,^ when he trans-
mitted to Marlborough a lengthy dissertation in German
which he had promised to prepare five months before.
The Austrian government had set its heart upon that
strategy which Marlborough had always known to be the
best, and which involved a great concentration of forces
on the Moselle and the Saar. They actually formulated
a plan by which Marlborough alone was to undertake the
invasion of France at this point, while the Margrave was to
be kept in ignorance of everything until the last moment,
when he was to be left behind with a diminished army on
the Upper Rhine. Marlborough doubted the feasibility of
deceiving Baden. Nor could he conquer the intense
repugnance which, thanks to his experiences of the pre-
ceding campaign, he entertained towards a design that
was in theory irreproachable. But the Dutch government
relieved him of all responsibility in the matter. They had
satisfied themselves that the Margrave's army was in-
efficient, that his magazines were empty, and that he him-
self was incompetent and impracticable. They were fully
determined that no army of theirs should again be com-
mitted to operations in which anything, great or little,
depended upon his co-operation. Marlborough was aware
of their sentiments. But they themselves, for all military
purposes, were only one degree less incapable than the
Margrave. Despite the assurances which he had received

^ Murray, vol. ii., p. 460: Marlborough to the King of Prussia, March 26,


at the conclusion of the last campaign, the Duke expected
that the new field-deputies would be little better than the
old ones, and that another summer would be wasted in
marking time in Brabant. In these circumstances he con-
ceived the idea of leading 20,000 men from Flanders to
Lombardy. Liberated from Dutch interference and once
more united with Eugene, he hoped to chase the French
from Italy as he had chased them from Bavaria. From
Italy he would pass into Provence, and with the assistance
of the Mediterranean fleet accomplish the destruction of the
naval arsenal of Toulon. To this brilliant and perfectly
practicable design he obtained the immediate assent of the
English Cabinet. That the government of the Hague
would permit their soldiers to follow him so far, was more
than he dared promise himself. On March 29 he wrote to
Wratislaw from London that the States were unlikely to
agree to anything in which Baden was concerned. " These
uncertainties," he continued, " have made me turn my
views on another project, which will be equally for the
Emperor's interests." The nature of this project he
abstained from revealing until, as he said, " I have sounded
the humour of the States thereon. "-"^ But it was evident
from his letter that he was meditating something on a
grand scale, " quelque chose d'eclatant,"^ as he himself
subsequently termed it. It was evident also that he re-
garded the general prospects of the coalition with a pessi-
mistic eye. " I pass the sea with sufficiently sad reflections,"^
he said. The hardest and most sanguine workers have
their moments of reaction.

When Marlborough embarked for Holland on April 21
he was accompanied by Buys, whose mission to England
had been a complete success, and by Halifax, who, though
a member of the Junta, had been selected to convey the
Garter to the Electoral Prince of Hanover. The Duke
arrived at the Hague on the 24th.

1 Murray, vol. ii., p. 462: Marlborough to Wratislaw, March 29, 1706.

2 Ibid., p. 49G: Marlborough to the King of Prussia, May 9, 1706.

3 Ibid., p. 462: Marlborough to Wratislaw, March 29, 1706.


The Duke had every reason to be pleased with his reception
at the Hague. The Dutch government, conscious that
the military situation of the Grand Alliance was now
extremely critical, and warned by the imperfectly muzzled
growlings from across the Channel that even English patience
had limits, seemed specially anxious to make itself agree-
able to the Cabinet of Queen Anne. The report of Buys,
which, in Marlborough's words, was characterised by " all
the zeal and respect to Her Majesty and friendship to us
imaginable, even beyond what I could have expected,""^

Online LibraryFrank TaylorThe wars of Marlborough, 1702-1709 (Volume 1) → online text (page 34 of 44)