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Bouchain.

fign; but the fatisfaction was not so general in England. 1711. When Sutton arrived at Whitehall, with an account of the duke of Marlborough's passing the French lines, it gave his friends indeed the greater joy, because his enemies had given out, that nothing would be done this year in Flanders, because, as they pretended, he was resolved no affair should fucceed under the present administration, if he could help it. But, his enemies, being disappointed, endeavoured to Jeffen the glory of the action, pretending, he had only removed his army from a plentiful to a starving camp. But this malicious suggestion was soon confuted, as well by the fequel of his success, as by the applause all Europe gave to his conduct ; while Villars was openly reflected on, both in his own army and at Paris,

Pursuant to the resolution taken in the council of war, The fiege of the fiege of Bouchain was undertaken, the difficulty of which may be judged from the situation of the place. Bouchain is a fortified town, standing at the confluence of the Sanset and the Selle into the Scheld. The Sanfet parts the Upper Town from the Lower, forms an inundation between that and the Selle, and fills the ditches which surround the works between the Upper and Lower Towns. The Selle divides the Lower Town in two parts, and, between the Lower Town and the Scheld, is a horn-work, which covers two separate bastions, and which is cut in two by a ditch supplied by the Scheld. Notwithstanding these, and several other difficulties, the place was invested the roth of August, N. S. by thirty battalions, and twelve squadrons, commanded by general Fagel. Marshal Villars tried to throw more men into the town by a narrow causeway (called the Cow-path) through the morass ; but the duke of Marlborough took his measurés so well, that he was guarded against every thing, and drove the French from that advantageous poft. He saw what the event of this fiege might be; and therefore beftirred himself with unusual application, and was more fatigued in the course of this fiege, than he had been at any time during the whole war. The trenches were vigorously carried on, and by the batteries and bombs the town was foon laid in ruins. Villars did all he could to raise the fiege, but to no purpose. When he saw that could not be done, he endeavoured to surprize Doway. To that end, he fent a détachment of ten thousand men under Albergotti (the Jate governor of Doway) and thought fit to be there himself in person. They marched the 7th of September in the

evening;

The town

1711. evening ; and, about one in the morning, they were disco

vered by a patrole of the confederate horse, who sent intelligence of it to count Hompesch ; so that orders were immediately given to the officers in the out-posts to be upon their guard. But, in the mean time, the enemy advanced towards the gate of St. Eloy, where they designed to scale the wall; and several of their boats, filled with soldiers, paffed over the inundation to favour the attempt, and came so near the works, that, being challenged by the centinels, they anfwered, “ They were the governor's fishermen ;' which the garrison mistrusting, and, at the same time, hearing some firing from the out-posts, they fired likewise upon the boats : so that the enemy, finding themselves discovered, retired immediately. Those in the inundation left their boats behind, and made what haste they could to join their main body, which marched back, and re-passed the Sanset, with great precipitation, having lost a considerable number of their

men by defertion.

Villars having failed in all his attempts to relieve Boufurrenders. chain, the garrison, after twenty days from the opening of

the trenches, capitulated, and could obtain no betters terms, than to be made prisoners of war. The garrison, consisting at first of fix thousand men, was reduced to less than three thousand. The governor pretended he was in a condition to have defended himself some days longer ; but the soldiers, finding Villars did not attempt to relieve the place, obliged him to capitulate.

The success of this memorable fiege, so difficult in all its circumstances, improved the bravery and resolution of the confederate troops ; so that they never expressed so much eagerness for coming to a fair engagement with the enemy: . The duke's stratagem in passing the lines without the loss of a man; the cutting off the communication of the enemy with Bouchain ; the manner of the duke's investing the town with an inferior army; his casting up lines, making regular forts, raising batteries, laying bridges over a river, making a morass passable, and providing for the seçurity of his convoys, against a superior army on the one side, and the numerous garrisons of Condé and Valenciennes on the other, were enterprizes that shewed the great military skill of the undertaker. As this was reckoned the most extraordinary thing in the whole history of the war, so the honour of it was acknowledged to belong entirely to the duke of Marlborough; as the blame of a miscarriage in it

must

1711.

must have fallen fingly on him (f). Villars's conduct on this occasion was much censured, but by means of madam Maintenon (whose favourite Villars was) it was approved by the king of France.

Whilst the works and breaches of Bouchain were repaira ing, the duke of Marlborough sent the earl of Albemarle to the Hague, to regulate the operations for the remaining part of the campaign with the states; and, as he judged the enemy might be troublesome in the winter, to the conquered places near them, without the reduction of Quesnoy, to obtain their concurrence for the siege of that place. But the states, considering how far the season was spent, and the difficulties which must attend such an enterprize in the sight of the enemy's army, especially in a country where they had destroyed all the forage, they rejected the proposal. They agreed however, that most of their troops should be quartered in the frontier towns, not only, that they might be ready to take the field early in the spring, but also to hinder the enemy from making any new lines during the winter, and oblige 'them, at the same time, to continue their troops upon their frontiers, where they would find it very

difficult to fubfift them. The duke, who had been acquainted with the negotiations that were carrying on in England, by monfieur Mesnager from the French court, and the proposals he had given in to the ministry from his master, could not but perceive, that the states had this also for an inducement, to make no more sieges during the remainder of the campaign, in order to spare their troops till they faw what would be the result of the negotiations ; though they did not think fit to insert it

among

their other arguments for putting an end to it. The duke therefore set the forces at work to level the approaches, fill up the breaches, and put the town of Bouchain into a posture of defence ; which was not finished till about three weeks after its surrender, thro' the badness of the weather, which very much incommoded both the French and the allies, who continued incamped to see each other drawn off to their winter quarters. As soon as Bouchain was put in a good pofture of de

(f) As Villars was lampooned successes. Bouchain was called in France about his Ne plus ul a dove-house, to lessen the glory tra, and for suffering Bouchain of taking it; and the passage of to be taken in his fight: so, on

the French lines was represented the contrary, the duke of Marl as a militia-company's crossing 2 borough was libelled in England kennel. by fome mercenary pens for his

fence,

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1711. fence, both the armies began to separate, having already

greatly suffered by the continual rains, and the scarcity of
forage.

This was the last service which the duke of Marlborough
ever performed in the field. The allies were now in pof-
feffion of the Maese almost to the inlet of the Sambre, and
the Scheld beyond Tournay, and of the Lys fo far as it is
navigable. And besides the conquests of Bavaria, Cologne,
and other countries in Germany, they had also reduced so
much of Guelderland, as had formerly been left to Spain by
the treaty of Munster; and likewise Limburg, Brabant,
Mechlin, Flanders ; two thirds of Hainault, with their
strong holds, the conqueft of which was thought almost im-
practicable. By the taking of Bouchain, and the progress
of the confederate army on the Scarpe and the Lys, they
were become masters of two rivers, which, by the means of
the Deule, and its canal, had been serviceable to the French
for many years in their continual invasions of the Spanisha
Netherlands, of which they were now altogether deprived.
All these important conquests the allies had made during the
course of this war, under the conduct of the duke of Marl-
borough, who having given the necessary orders for securing
the navigation of the Scarpe to Doway, and covering the
workmen employed in fortifying several posts on that river,
and on the Scheld, left the army on the 27th of October,
and, after some stay at the Hague, landed in England on

the 17th of November, O. S. Affairs in As the affair of Spain had been so much prefled from the Spain.

throne, and so much infifted on all the last session of parliaM.S.

ment, and as the commons had given 1,500,000 1. for that
service (a sum far beyond all that had been granted in any
preceding session) it was expected matters would have been
carried there in another manner than formerly. The duke
of Argyle baving been recalled from the service in Flanders
(where he had acted in constant opposition to the duke of
Marlborough) was appointed to command the English forces
in Spain ; and great hopes were entertained, that, hy his
courage, activity, and conduct, the face of affairs there
would be changed for the better : but all these hopes failed.
After the surrender at Brihuega, there were, as hath been
related, but three English regiments left, Lepels dragoons,
with Richards's and Du Bourgay's regiments of foot, and
these had almost been destroyed at the battle of Villaviciosa.
However, they were in great measure compleated again by
the dragoons and foot that made their escape from their con-

finement.

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finement. But there was no money to subsist them; and, 1711.
if the Catalans, in whose towns they were quartered, had
not been so humane as they were, they must have been
starved. There had been no remittances from England in
above six months, till the beginning of February, when the
pay-master received bills for thirty-two thousand pounds
only, though the establishment in Spain amounted yearly to
one million, one hundred thousand pounds and upwards.
As this fmall fum bore no proportion to what fubfiftance
was due, so it did not fuffice to give any relief to those
who were in want, and therefore they must have perished,
had it not been for the good nature of the people of Cata-
lonia.

During the winter, general Stanhope had been endeavour-
ing to get an exchange of prisoners; but the court of Madrid
was fo averse to it, and fo unwilling the Englifh should ob-
tain their liberty while the war continued, that, instead of
agreeing to it, Stanhope was removed from the city of Val-
ladolid to a poor fisher-town in Asturia, and afterwards to
Pan, the capital of Bearn in France, where he continued till
all the prisoners on both sides were released.

Sir John Norris came with the feet in the beginning of March from Port-Mahon to Barcelona, and a great council of war was held at the palace, in king Charles's presence, about the situation of affairs, and the operations of the next campaign. Soon after, major-general Whetham arrived at Barcelona, and fuperfeded Lepel in the command of the forces. He was followed by a few regiments of foot from Ireland, and two from Gibraltar, that were re-implaced by some that came from that kingdom.

The duke of Argyle was expected with great impatience, by whose presence it was hoped (says our author *) all our

* Manua

script acwants, which were very great, would be supplied : for no money had been returned, except the inconfiderable fum before-mentioned. Some bills indeed were drawn by a banker of London upon our English merchants ; but these were protested. The duke of Argyle (who, in his way to Spain, came, the 4th of April, to the Hague, and went on his journey without visiting the duke of Marlborough) staid some time at Genoa, expecting the remittances he was promised before he left England, but none came, which made him very uneasy. However, he came away with two men of war, and landed at Barcelona the 29th of May, and had his first audienee of king Charles, as ambassador and plenipotentiary, the next day. The duke employed all his

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