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1712. to fall upon the French army, by offering to undertake a mfiege; since Quesnoy, the place to be attacked, was within
less than three leagues of the army, and all things necessary for a siege were already at Marchiennes ; so that the consequence of this offer would have been the immediate investing of that place, which was as contrary to the queen's last orders, as a battle. Prince Eugene, and the deputies seemed extremely diffatisfied with the duke's answer, and said, “ They
were obliged to give an account of what had passed, and of “ the delays made by the duke, to their masters, by ex“ press.” In this posture things continued for some days,
when, on the 4th of June, N. S. two of the deputies made Memorial a visit to the duke; and, in the evening, sent him a long meof the states morial, containing the substance of their discourse with him. deputies up. In this they told the duke, “ That, by order of their ma
“ fters, they represented to him, with how great a degree " of surprize the states had received the news of his declar« ing, he would undertake nothing, till he had letters from “ England, and of his refusing to affist either in a fiege or a " battle. That it seemed to them incomprehensible and un« accountable, why the allies should lofe such an apparent “ opportunity they had, as well in regard to the goodness " and number of their troops, as the situation of the armies, “ to gain some great advantage over the enemy, which, if “ once neglected, might for ever be irretrievable. That they “ could by no means conceive his orders was so strict, as " to tie up his hands, when so fair an occafion of annoy“ ing the enemy presented itself: and that, in their opinion, " such orders ought to be understood in the best sense, so " as to enjoin the declining any attempt for some little “ time, provided no great prejudice might redound by " that means to the common cause; but in no wise fo “ justify the fitting still with their arms across, in such a " situation, where inaction would cut off all hopes of their “ being able to attempt any thing for the future ; fince, if the “ army continued inactive for any time, the forage would « be consumed, and the operations for the rest of the cam“ paign would be rendered not only difficult, but impractis6 cable. Besides, the enemy would have time to intrench " and fortify their camp, as much as they pleased. That 66 the states had ordered them to inforce these
arguments “ with others, and particularly with this, That the army, “ his grace commanded, consisted not only of her ma“ jesty's national troops, but, for the moft part, of such, " as were in the joint pay of her majesty and the states,
the command of which indeed belonged to his grace, as 1712. “ general in chief; but, as those troops were engaged by a “ both powers jointly, to make war, and act against the sc enemy, they could not be exempted from that lervice by “ his grace alone, without the knowledge and consent of “ the states, at least, without contradicting the treaties and " the ends, by and for which they were engaged. That
not only the treaty of the grand alliance, but others made
between her majesty and the states, obliged her majesty ś to push on the 'war with vigour; but the declaration schis grace made, that he could not act till farther orders,
at a time, when, by his grace's own approbation, they 66 had marched just within sight of the enemy, and when " there was so fair a prospect of success, if something were « attempted, could not, they thought, be reconciled ei" ther with those treaties, or the repeated affurances, which “ her majesty had given them by letters, by my lord Straf“ ford, and by his grace, lately at the Hague. There" fore they desired his grace, if he had any regard to those “ treaties and assurances, which ought to be kept facred, to “ push on the war with vigour, offensively against the “ enemy; but that, if his grace persisted in his resolution of s not acting offensively, they desired to know, whether he 66 would consent, that the troops under him might be em“ ployed to cover a fiege, which they would undertake ; " and whether he would give a promise to attack the enemy, « if they came to disturb them. That, in case his grace 6 refused, they did in the most folemn manner, and in the
strongest terms, protest against the irreparable damage, " which such a conduct would occasion to the confederacy. “ That, in order the better to guide themselves, they de“ manded to know precisely, what his orders were; how far “ they reached; and what dependance the states might have “ on her majesty's troops for the future: and lastly, they “ required, on their part, that his grace would not hinder " the troops in the joint pay from acting agreeably to the 66 reason of war, and their folemn treaties and engagements. • The conclusion of the memorial was, that the states had 66 ordered this representation to be made in writing to his
grace, that all the world and posterity might see, that they « have been so far from being guilty of the great injury, 66 which the common cause receives from the present inac$ tion, that they have done all in their power to prevent it; “ and that others are to answer for all the unhappy consequences of it.” To the subítance of this memorial, exprefied
1712. before by the deputies in their discourse with the duke, he
could only answer, that, before he entered upon action, • he should be glad to receive letters from England, which " he expected every moment.' And this was all the satisfaction he was then at liberty to give to their demands, bound up as he was, by his last instructions. The duke immediately dispatched a messenger to England, with an account of what had passed, hoping, That, before they came to any extremities, he should have his final orders, and recommending it as a matter of the greatest importance, both to the public and himself, that he should know her majesty's pleafure as soon as might be.
In the inean time, prince Eugene and the states deputies. pressed the duke continually for a positive answer, representing, at the same time, the goodness and superiority of the confederate troops, which could not be contradicted; and concluding, that the duke must have orders not to do any
thing, though he would not own them ; fince they knew, ( he could not otherwise answer for his inaction.' In debating this matter, one of the deputies took, as the duke thought, too much liberty in censuring the proceedings of England; which he was desired to forbear, as being no way agreeable to that good understanding, which was so necessary to be kept up between the queen and the states. While the duke was under this uneasiness, on the 7th of June, N. S. a letter came from Mr. St. John, dated the 17th of May, O.S. which exprefled “the impatience her majesty was in to hear, “ whether the orders, fent on the 10th of May, came safely “ and early to his hands, and the assurance she had of his " punctual obedience to her commands in so nice and im
portant a conjuncture." The duke returned an answer the next day, representing, “ That things were now come ta “ great extremity: that he could not avoid seeing every day “ fresh marks of the ill blood and dissatisfaction caused a“mong the allies, by the measures he was obliged to ob« ferve: that
many of them did not scruple to say, We were betraying them; and this ferment seemed rather likely to “ increase, than diminish ; and, considering the circumstances.
we were in, it was hard to say, what might be the confequences of it: that, let the peace, which he was in daily
expectation to hear of, be never so advantageous, he was “ apprehensive, that, if the allies should pretend to dislike w it, he could not depend upon any troops, but those com
posed of her majesty's own subjects. And what confirmed “ him in this opinion was, that he was well informed, that
« if, the elector of Hanover did not approve of the peace, 1712. 6 his troops would have orders to serve with the Dutch, and 56 would likewise be augmented by all that prince could spare “ from other parts; and he was not without suspicion, that " endeavours were likewise using to gain the Danes.” The close of his letter was in these words : “ By this and my
for“ mer you may guess, how uneasy a situation I am in; and, $c if there be no prospect of action, I do not fee of what use “ I am here ; and, if it suit with her majesty's service, I 56 should be glad, I might have leave to return to England. " But in this, and all other matters, I shall readily submit “ to her majesty's pleasure. I am impatient to hear from “ you what I am to depend upon."
Prince Eugene and the Deputies having resolved to besiege Quesnoy be. Quesnoy (x), the town was invested on the 8th of June, by fieged. a detachment from the two armies, consisting of thirty battalions, and as many squadrons, under the command of general Fagel. The duke, though he had no part in carrying on the fiege, yet could not refufe furnishing seven battalions and nine squadrons of the troops in the joint pay of England and the states, but avoided sending any of those, which were in the queen's whole pay.
On the roth, a letter came from marshal Villars, wherein he let the duke know, “ He had received several advices, " that Quesnoy was invefted ; and that part of the troops in 66 his grace’s ariny was employed in that service: that, by $o order of his master, he desires to know of him, if any s troops under his command have a share in undertaking or sc forming that fiege ; for he could not think, prince Eugene “ would venture to attempt it with those forces alone, which “ he commands. He therefore begs his grace would explain 66 this matter to him, that he may know how to act, and < take his measures, according as prince Eugene perseveres 56 in, or desists from, this enterprize. He adds, that a cou
rier went from Paris the morning before, with the answer «s of Spain to the queen, which, it was supposed, would be 5 satisfactory.” The duke's answer was, “ That, as the “ marshal observed himself, of what consequence it was to $¢ keep this affair secret, he would leave him to judge, whe
(x) Quesnoy, a small, but strong the French. It stands seven miles town of the Low-Countries, in fouth-east of Valenciennes, 18 the earldom of Hainault, and ter- fouth-west of Mons, and 18 almost fitory of Valenciennes, subject to north-ealt of Cambray.
1712. « ther he could have done it better, than by the conduct he
" had observed. That it was true, that for the fiege of
Qucfnoy, which it was not in his power to prevent, he " had furnished some troops, which were paid in part by the « ftates, but not one single man solely in the queen's pay. " That he thought, since the trenches were not opened, the
siege would have no effect to break the measures concerted " between their sovereigns, before they could receive their “ final instructions.” He concludes, “ He was surprized,
upon the duke of Wirtemberg's informing him, that the “ marshal had said to one of that duke's trumpets, that the « English would do the French no hurt, nor the French " them: that himself had such orders, and did not doubt, 6 but the duke of Ormond had the same." The marshal, in another letter the next day, denied, “ That he had ever “ seen or heard of any trumpet from the duke of Wirtem“ berg : that this was a mere invention of those, who had a “ mind to give a reputation to the Dutch Gazettes, in “ which it had been affirmed, that his grace had thewed
prince Eugene his orders, not to engage in any attempt. " He desires to be informed by his grace, whether the army “ under his command would oppose any attempt, which the “ king's forces would certainly make upon prince Eugene's, "' if he continued the fiege: and adds, that the king, while “ he sees prince Eugene undertaking a siege, and knows the “ army under his grace ought not to act, directly or indi
rectly, against his, would be very much displeased with
« him, if he should continue unactive.” Bishop of
By this time the Dutch plenipotentiaries at Utrecht havBristols de ing, by order of the states, expoftulated with the bishop of the Dutch Bristol, about the duke of Ormond's refusing to affist the conministers,
federates in any undertaking against the enemy: the bishop June 2. answered, “ That he knew nothing of the matter, and would
“ represent it to the queen :" But, at the same time, he took occasion to let them know, “That, two days before, he had “ received an express, with a letter from her majesty, in " which she complained, that, notwithstanding all the ad“ vances she had made from time to time to the states, in " order to engage them to enter with her upon a plan of “ peace, their high mightinesses had not answered her as " they ought, and as her majesty hoped they would. That " therefore they ought not to be surprized, if her majesty “ did not think herself at liberty to enter into separate mea« sures, in order to obtain a peace for her own conveniency." Upon this, the plenipotentiares of the states represented to