« AnteriorContinuar »
1708. and the duke de Vendofme would have again commanded.
But an unexpected alteration was suddenly made, and the French king declared the duke of Burgundy generaliffimo of his forces, appointing the duke de Vendome to serve under him; and he was to be accompanied by the duke of Berry. The pretender (who was returned from his unsuccessful expedition to Scotland) went with them, without any other character than that of the chevalier de St. George. The elector of Bavaria was to command on the Rhine, with the duke of Berwick under him, the marshal de Villeroy being recalled, and appointed to command in Dauphiné. These proceedings of the French king surprized every one ; but he conceived great hopes from these alterations of his generals. The credit with relation to money was still very
low in France. For, after many methods taken for raising the credit of the mint-bills, they were st ll at a discount of forty per
No fleets came this year from the West-Indies, and
therefore they could not be supplied from thence. Deligns of
On the 12th of April, there was a great conference be
tween prince Eugene, the duke of Marlborough, the depuconcerted. ties of the States for private affairs, and pensionary Heinfius, Brodrick, in the chamber of Triers, the usual place of conferences in Mil. Hift. the States apartment; which was pitched upon to avoid the
trouble of the ceremonial; for otherwise it must have been at the duke of Marlborough’s, as ambassador extraordinary ; whereas prince Eugene had no character, his credentials importing only, “ that his imperial majesty had sent his first is counsellor, president of the council of war, and general« lieutenant, prince Eugene, to concert the operations of " the campaign, in whom the States were desired to put an -66 intire confidence.” As soon as they were entered the room, the duke of Marlborough tock prince Eugene by the hand, and led him to a seat above his own ; after which the States deputies placed themselves, without observing any precedency among them. Prince Eugene opened the conference with a speech, wherein he gave a particular " o count of the emperor's forces in Naples, Lombardy, and 66 Piedmont, and of those designed for Spain, and having -os mentioned the troops which his imperial majesty intended “ to employ in Germany, he gave, in very modeft terms, “ his own opinion of the operations of the next campaign, " both on the Upper-Rhine and the Low-Countries ; con
cluding, that lie had instructions from his imperial ma" jefty to use his endearours to engage
queen of Great“ Britain and the States-General to approve the scheme he
“ had proposed, and to second, on their parts, his imperial 1708. “ majesty's efforts, both to reduce the exorbitant power of “ France, and to restore his brother king Charles III. to " the whole monarchy of Spain."
After prince Eugene had ended his speech, the duke of Marlborough acquainted the aflembly with the instructions he had received from the queen his mistress, in relation to the business before them; and at last inention was made of a separate army to be cominanded by prince Eugene. This conference, which lasted above an hour, was but a kind of preliminary ; for the deputies of the States were not impowered to make any antwe, either to prine Eugene's, or the duke of Marlborough's proposals, but only (according to the usual methods observed by that republic) to receive them, and to report the fame to their high mightinesles ; which they did on the 16th.
Several other conferences were held, though more privately, between the duke of Marlborough, prince Eugene, and the deputies of the States ; the result of which was (as it afterwards appeared) " That most of the imperialists em
ployed the year before on the Upper Rhine, with the Sax
ons and Hessians in the pay of Great Britain and Holland, " and the troops which the elector Palatine was to furnish, + in confideration of his imperial majesty's restoring him to • the poffeffion of the Upper Palatinate, with the preroga
tives enjoyed by his ancestors, should march into the Netherlands, to act there, under prince Eugene, in concert
with the British and Dutch forces, commanded in chief by (the duke of Marlborough, and under him, by veldt-mar"Thal Auverquerque.' Whether prince Eugene, who took Hanover in his way to the Hague, then communicated this scheme to the elector of that name, and found him averse to it, or propoled other measures to his electoral highness, is not known; but it was thought fit, that prince Eugene and the duke of Marlborough should now both wait on that prince, in crder to obtain his concurrence to the resolutions taken at the Hague, and engage him to return to command the army on the Upper Rhine.
The duke of Marlborough intended to have gone back to The duke England, before the opening of the campaign, but prince of MarlboEugene was very earnest with him to meet him at Hanover ; prince Euand the States having represented to the queen of Great- gene go to Britain the necessity of his presence on that fide, and how Hanover, uncertain the winds might make his timely return, the sea
1708. son being so far advanced, he resolved upon the journey to
the court of Hanover. , Prince Eugene, having finished his
under the command of the duke of Berwick.
purpose, two days before, from Dresden. On the prince's
Marlborough made no long stay after prince Eugene at Harough to the nover ; for he fet out from thence the day after, and arrived Hague.
the 3d of May at the Hague, where he communicated to
and the duke of Marlbo
ceeded to Brussels (a). The duke having conferred with 1708. veldt-marshal d'Auverquerque, who, notwithstanding his infirm state of health, preserved a vigorous mind, and seemed resolved to die, like a hero, in the field, gave orders to the troops to march to Andernach near Brussels, where the Dutch, Pruffians, and Hanoverians, began to form the army
the 23d of May. The 26th they marged to Billingen, where the duke of Marlborough took up his quarters in the abbey of that name ; and the veldt-marshal fixed his at Hall, a little town, which lay in the front of the first line. The British forces repaired to this camp likewise with all possible expedition, as did also a considerable body of troops in the service of the States General from their respective garrisons in Flanders. And, last of all, the field-deputies of their high mightinesses arrived there, who behaved themfelves this campaign with so much prudence and resolution, that they contributed very much to the success of it.
Upon notice of thefe motions, the duke de Vendosme alfembled his army, on the 25th of May, between Mons and St. Ghislain, and took up his head-quarters at St. Simpronien, from whence le marched the next day to Soignies, posting his right at Naist, and his left at Canchie Notre Dame, within three leagues of the confederate camp. He was joined the same day by the duke of Burgundy, who had the chief (at least titular) command of the army, together with the duke of Berry, his brother, and the pretender.
(a) Here the dake was hon- pressed to do abroad ; and assures oured with a letter from the him, that, whatever infinuations *queen, dated May 6, by the her enemies might make to the manner of which, as the du- contrary, she would never give chess of Marlborough observes her consent to a peace, but upin the account of her conduct, on safe an honourable terms. p. 255, her majesty seemed still She begs the duke to be so juft to have retained a great degree to her, as not to let the mifre. of regard for Mr. Harley. After presentations made of her have complaining to the duke of being any weight with him ; adding, fo tired that day with importuni that it would be a greater trouties from the whigs, that she had ble to her than could be exprefnot fpirits left to open her afflict fed ; and concludes with these ed heart fo freely and fully as she words ; ' I cannot end without intended, the goes on to say, begging you to be very carethat she was entirely of his opi • ful of yourself, there being nion, thinking it neither for her • nobody, I am sure, that prays honour nor interett to make steps more heartily than her, who (meaning the first steps) towards • will live and die most sincerely a peace, as the duke had been
On the 29th of May, the confederate army, which canfisted of a hundred and eighty squadrons of horse, and 4 hundred and twelve battalions, made a motion from Bellinghen, advancing the right to Herfelingen, the left to Lembecy, and fixing the head-quarters at St. Renelle, in hopes of bringing the enemy to an engagement, which, by their bold march to Soignies, they seemed rather to seek than decline, being superior, at least, in number, to the allies; for their army consisted of a hundred and ninety-seven fquadrons, and a hundred and twenty-four battalions. The same day the enemy received their heavy baggage from Mons, but sent it back thither on the 31st, which still gave the confederates hopes they should come to an engagement ; and thereupon, the duke of Marlborough ordered the troops to be in a readiness to march at an hour's warning. The fame evening the duke received intelligence, that the enemy's heavy baggage, having received a counter-order, was returned to the camp, and that they had foraged for two days; whence it was reasonably concluded, that they would not march the next day as the deserters had reported. The duke of Marlborough, having advised with the other generals, resolved to send the horie to forage the next morning ; and they wert out, before break of day; but they had not been out an hour, before advice came, that the enemy had begun the night before, at ten, to send their heavy baggage to Mons, and decamped without any noise at eleven, marching towards Nivelle. The foragers were immediately recalled, and to avoid all loss of time, the infantry marched first of all about noon from St. Renelle, and were followed by the cavalry. About four they formed four columns, intending to incamp the right towards Anderlech, and the left to Lake ; but upon farther notice, that the enemy had not incamped at Nivelle, but had continued their march by Bois Signieur Isaac to Braine la Leu, the duke judged, that they could not have any other defign, than to post themelves on the bank of the Deule, to hinder the allies from paffing that river, and to seize Louvain; being the very same project, which the duke de Vendosme had formed the last year,
but muscarried in it. To prevent the enemy, there was no other remedy, but to continue marching all night; fo that, on the 3d of June in the afternoon, the army of the allies arrived et the camp of Terbank, very much' fatigued, as well by this long march as by the continual rains, which had fallen for four and twenty hours together. The French, having received intelligence of this expeditious march of the con