The states-general having perused the memorial, assured queen Anne that they were ready to join with her in contributing to the conclusion of a durable peace; but they expressed a desire that the French king would communicate a more particular plan for securing the interest of the allied powers, and for settling the repose of Europe. Gualtier was once more sent to Versailles, accompanied by Mr. Prior, who had resided in France as secretary to the embassies of the earls of Portland and Jersey. This gentleman had acquired some reputation by his poetical talents; was a man of uncommon ability, and insinuating address, and perfectly devoted to the tory interest. He was empowered to communicate the preliminary demands of the English; to receive the answer of the French king; and demand whether or not king Philip had transmitted a power of treating to his grandfather. He arrived incognito at Fontainbleau, and presented the queen's memorial, in which she demanded a barrier for the Dutch in the Netherlands, and another on the Rhine for the empire; a security for the Dutch commerce, and a general satisfaction to all her allies. She required that the strong places taken from the duke of Savoy should be restored; and that he should possess such towns and districts in Italy as had been ceded to him in treaties between him and his allies: that Louis should acknowledge queen Anne and the protestant succession; demolish the fortifications of Dunkirk; and agree to a new treaty of commerce; that Gibraltar and Port Mahon should be yielded to the crown of England; that the negro trade in America, at that time carried on by the French, should be ceded to the English, together with some towns on that continent, where the slaves might be refreshed. She expected security that her subjects trading to Spain should enjoy all advantages granted by that crown to the most favoured nation; that she should be put in possession of Newfoundland and Hudson's Bay, either by way of restitution or cession; and that both nations should continue to enjoy whatever territories they might be possessed of in North America at the ratification of the treaties. She likewise insisted upon a security that the crowns of France and Spain should never be united on the same head. Her majesty no longer insisted upon Philip's being expelled from the throne of Spain by the arms of his own grandfather. She now perceived that the exorbitant power of the house of Austria would be as dangerous to the liberty of Europe as ever that of the family of Bourbon had been, in the zenith of its glory. She might have remembered the excessive power, the insolence, the ambition of Charles V. and Philip II. who had enslaved so many countries, and embroiled all Europe. She was sincerely desirous of peace, from motives of humanity and compassion to her subjects and fellow-creatures; she was eagerly bent upon procuring such advantages to her people as would enable them to discharge the heavy load of debt under which they laboured, and recompense them in some measure for the blood and treasure they had so lavishly expended in the prosecution of the war. These were the sentiments of a christian princess; of an amiable and pious sovereign, who bore a share in the grievances of her subjects, and looked upon them with the eyes of maternal affection. She thought she had the better title to insist upon those advantages, as they had been already granted to her subjects in a private treaty with king Charles.
MENAGER ARRIVES PRIVATELY in ENGLAND.
As Prior's powers were limited in such a manner that he could not negotiate, Mr. Menager, deputy from the city of Rouen to the board of trade, accompanied the English minister to London, with full powers to settle the preliminaries of the treaty. On his arrival in London, the queen immediately commissioned the duke of Shrewsbury, the earls of Jersey, Dartmouth, Oxford, and Mr. St. John, to treat with him; and the conferences were immediately begun. After long and various disputes, they agreed upon certain preliminary articles, which, on the eighth day of October, were signed by the French minister, and by the two secretaries of state, in consequence of a written order from her majesty. Then Menager was privately introduced to the queen at Windsor. She told him she was averse to war; that she would exert all her power to conclude a speedy peace; that she should be glad to live upon good terms with the king of France, to whom she was so nearly allied in blood; she expressed her hope that there would be a closer union after the peace between them, and between their subjects, cemented by a perfect correspondence and friendship. The earl of Strafford, who had been lately recalled from the Hague where he resided as ambassador, was now sent back to Holland, with orders to communicate to the pensionary the proposals of peace which France had made; to signify the queen's approbation of them, and propose a place where the plenipotentiaries should assemble. The English ministers now engaged in an intimate correspondence with the court of Versailles; and mareschal Tallard being released from his confinement at Nottingham, was allowed to return to his own country on his parole. After the departure of Menager, the preliminaries were communicated to count Gallas the emperor's minister, who, in order to inflame the minds of the people, caused them to be translated, and inserted in one of the daily papers. This step was so much resented by the queen, that she sent a message desiring he would come no more to court; but that he might leave the kingdom as soon as he should think proper. He took the hint, and retired accordingly; but the queen gave the emperor to understand, that any other minister he should appoint would be admitted by her without hesitation.
THE FRENCH KING'S PROPOSALS DISAGREEABLE TO THE ALLIES.
The states of Holland, alarmed at the preliminaries, sent over Buys, as envoy-extraordinary, to intercede with the queen that she would alter her resolutions: but she continued steady to her purpose; and the earl of Strafford demanded the immediate concurrence of the states, declaring, in the queen's name, that she would look upon any delay, on their part, as a refusal to comply with her propositions. Intimidated by this declaration, they agreed to open the general conferences at Utrecht on the first day of January. They granted passports to the French ministers; while the queen appointed Robinson, bishop of Bristol, and the earl of Strafford, her plenipotentiaries at the congress. Charles, the new emperor, being at Milan, when he received a copy of the preliminaries, wrote circular letters to the electors and the princes of the empire, exhorting them to persist in their engagements to the grand alliance. He likewise desired the states-general to join councils with him in persuading the queen of England to reject the proposals of France, and prosecute the war; or at least to negotiate on the foundation of the first preliminaries, which had been signed by the marquis de Torcy. He wrote a letter to the same purpose to the queen of Great Britain, who received it with the most mortifying indifference. No wonder that he should zealously contend for the continuance of a war, the expense of which she and the Dutch had hitherto almost wholly defrayed. The new preliminaries were severely attacked by the whigs, who ridiculed and reviled the ministry in word and writing. Pamphlets, libels, and lampoons, were today published by one faction, and to-morrow answered by the other. They contained all the insinuations of malice and contempt, all the bitterness of reproach, and all the rancour of recrimination. In the midst of this contention, the queen despatched the earl of Rivers to Hanover, with an assurance to the elector that his succession to the crown should be effectually ascertained in the treaty. The earl brought back an answer in writing; but, at the same time, his electoral highness ordered baron de Bothmar, his envoy in England, to present a memorial to the queen, representing the pernicious consequences of Philip's remaining in possession of Spain and the West Indies. This remonstrance the baron published, by way of appeal to the people, and the whigs extolled it with the highest encomiums; but the queen and her ministers resented this step as an officious and inflammatory interposition.
The proposals of peace made by the French king were disagreeable even to some individuals of the tory party; and certain peers, who had hitherto adhered to that interest, agreed with the whigs to make a remonstrance against the preliminary articles. The court being apprised of their intention, prorogued the parliament till the seventh day of December, in expectation of the Scottish peers, who would cast the balance in favour of the ministry. In her speech, at the opening of the session, she told them that notwithstanding the arts of those who delighted in war, the place and time were appointed for a congress; and that the states-general had expressed their entire confidence in her conduct. She declared her chief concern should be to secure the succession of the crown in the house of Hanover; to procure all the advantages to the nation which a tender and affectionate sovereign could procure for a dutiful and loyal people; and to obtain satisfaction for all her allies. She observed, that the most effectual way to procure an advantageous peace, would be to make preparations for carrying on war with vigour. She recommended unanimity, and prayed God would direct their consultations. In the house of lords, the earl of Nottingham, who had now associated himself with the whigs, inveighed against the preliminaries as captious and insufficient, and offered a clause to be inserted in the address of thanks, representing to her majesty that, in the opinion of the house, no peace could be safe or honourable to Great Britain or Europe, if Spain and the West Indies should be allotted to any branch of the house of Bourbon. A violent debate ensued, in the course of which the earl of Anglesea represented the necessity of easing the nation of the burdens incurred by an expensive war. He affirmed that a good peace might have been procured immediately after the battle of Ramillies, if it had not been prevented by some persons who prolonged the war for their own private interest. This insinuation was levelled at the duke of Marlborough, who made a long speech in his own vindication. He bowed to the place where the queen sat incognito; and appealed to her, whether, while he had the honour to serve her majesty as a general and plenipotentiary, he had not constantly informed her and her council of all the proposals of peace which had been made; and had not desired instructions for his conduct on that subject. He declared, upon his conscience, and in presence of the Supreme Being, before whom he expected soon to appear, that he was ever desirous of a safe, honourable, and lasting peace; and that he was always very far from entertaining any design of prolonging the war for his own private advantage, as his enemies had most falsely insinuated. At last the question being put, whether the earl of Nottingham's advice should be part of the address; it was carried in the affirmative by a small majority. The address was accordingly presented, and the queen, in her answer, said she should be very sorry any one could think she would not do her utmost to recover Spain and the West Indies from the house of Bourbon. Against this advice, however, several peers protested, because there was no precedent for inserting a clause of advice in an address of thanks; and because they looked upon it as an invasion of the royal prerogative. In the address of the commons there was no such article; and, therefore, the answer they received was warm and cordial.
The duke of Hamilton claiming a seat in the house of peers, as duke of Brandon, a title he had lately received, was opposed by the anti-courtiers, who pretended to foresee great danger to the constitution from admitting into the house a greater number of Scottish peers than the act of union allowed. Counsel was heard upon the validity of his patent. They observed that no objection could be made to the queen's prerogative in conferring honours; and that all the subjects of the united kingdom were equally capable of receiving honour. The house of lords had already decided the matter, in admitting the duke of Queensberry upon his being created duke of Dover. The debate was managed with great ability on both sides; the Scottish peers united in defence of the duke's claim; and the court exerted its whole strength to support the patent. Nevertheless, the question being put, whether Scottish peers, created peers of Great Britain since the union, had a right to sit in that house; it was carried in the negative by a majority of five voices; though not without a protest signed by the lords in the opposition. The Scottish peers were so incensed at this decision, that they drew up a representation to the queen, complaining of it as an infringement of the union, and a mark of disgrace put upon the whole peerage of Scotland. The bill against occasional conformity was revived by the earl of Nottingham, in more moderate terms than those that had been formerly rejected; and it passed both houses by the connivance of the whigs, upon the earl's promise, that if they would consent to this measure, he would bring over many friends to join them in matters of greater consequence. On the twenty-second day of December, the queen, being indisposed, granted a commission to the lord-keeper and some other peers to give the royal assent to this bill, and another for the land-tax. The duke of Devonshire obtained leave to bring in a bill for giving precedence over all peers to the electoral prince of Hanover, as the duke of Cambridge. An address was presented to the queen, desiring she would give instructions to her plenipotentiaries to consult with the ministers of the allies in Holland before the opening of the congress, that they might concert the necessary measures for proceeding with unanimity, the better to obtain the great ends proposed by her majesty.
DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH DISMISSED FROM ALL HIS EMPLOYMENTS.
The commissioners for examining the public accounts having discovered that the duke of Marlborough had received an annual present of five or six thousand pounds from the contractors of bread to the army, the queen declared in council that she thought fit to dismiss him from all his employments, that the matter might be impartially examined. This declaration was imparted to him in a letter under her own hand, in which she took occasion to complain of the treatment she had received. She probably alluded to the insolence of his duchess; the subjection in which she had been kept by the late ministry; and the pains lately taken by the whigs to depreciate her conduct, and thwart her measures with respect to the peace. The duke wrote an answer to her majesty, vindicating himself from the charge which had been brought against his character; and his two daughters, the countess of Sunderland and the lady Railton, resigned their places of ladies in the bed-chamber. The ministry, in order to ascertain a majority in the house of lords, persuaded the queen to take a measure which nothing but necessity could justify. She created twelve peers at once,  [See note 2 F, at the end of this Vol.] and on the second of January they were introduced into the upper house without opposition. The lord-keeper delivered to the house a message from the queen, desiring they would adjourn to the fourteenth day of the month. The anti-courtiers alleged, that the queen could not send a message to any one house to adjourn, but ought to have directed it to both houses. This objection produced a debate, which was terminated in favour of the court by the weight of the twelve new peers.
PRINCE EUGENE ARRIVES IN ENGLAND.
At this period prince Eugene arrived in England with a letter to the queen from the emperor, and instructions to propose a new scheme for prosecuting the war. His errand was far from being agreeable to the ministry; and they suspected that his real aim was to manage intrigues among the discontented party who opposed the peace. Nevertheless, he was treated with that respect which was due to his quality and eminent talents. The ministers, the nobility, and officers of distinction, visited him at his arrival. He was admitted to an audience of the queen, who received him with great complacency. Having perused the letter which he delivered, she expressed her concern that her health did not permit her to speak with his highness as often as she could wish; but that she had ordered the treasurer and secretary St. John to receive his proposals, and confer with him as frequently as he should think proper. He expressed extraordinary respect for the duke of Marlborough, notwithstanding his disgrace. The lord-treasurer, while he entertained him at dinner, declared that he looked upon that day as the happiest in the whole course of his life, since he had the honour to see in his house the greatest captain of the age. The prince is said to have replied, "If I am, it is owing to your lordship." Alluding to the disgrace of Marlborough, whom the earl's intrigues had deprived of all military command. When bishop Burnet conversed with him about the scandalous libels that were every day published against the duke, and in particular mentioned one paragraph, in which the author allowed he had been once fortunate, the prince observed, it was the greatest commendation that could be bestowed upon him, as it implied that all his other successes were owing to his courage and conduct. While the nobility of both parties vied with each other in demonstrations of respect for this noble stranger; while he was adored by the whigs, and admired by the people, who gazed at him in crowds when he appeared in public; even in the midst of all these caresses, party riots were excited to insult his person, and some scandalous reflections upon his mother were inserted in one of the public papers. The queen treated him with distinguished marks of regard; and, on her birth-day, presented him with a sword worth five thousand pounds. Nevertheless, she looked upon him as a patron and friend of that turbulent faction to which she owed so much disquiet. She knew he had been pressed to come over by the whig noblemen, who hoped his presence would inflame the people to some desperate attempt upon the new ministry; she was not ignorant that he held private conferences with the duke of Marlborough, the earl of Sunderland, the lord Somers, Halifax, and all the chiefs of that party; and that he entered into a close connexion with the baron de Bothmar, the Hanoverian envoy, who had been very active in fomenting the disturbances of the people.
Her majesty, who had been for some time afflicted with the gout, sent a message to both houses on the seventeenth day of January, signifying that the plenipotentiaries were arrived at Utrecht; and that she was employed in making preparations for an early campaign; she hoped, therefore, that the commons would proceed in giving the necessary despatch to the supplies. The lord-treasurer, in order to demonstrate his attachment to the protestant succession, brought in a bill which had been proposed by the duke of Devonshire, giving precedence to the whole electoral family, as children and nephews of the crown; and, when it was passed into an act, he sent it over to Hanover by Mr. Thomas Harley. The sixteen peers for Scotland were prevailed upon, by promise of satisfaction, to resume their seats in the upper house, from which they had absented themselves since the decision against the patent of the duke of Hamilton; but whatever pecuniary recompence they might have obtained from the court, on which they were meanly dependent, they received no satisfaction from the parliament. The commons, finding Mr. Walpole very troublesome in their house, by his talents, activity, and zealous attachment to the whig interest, found means to discover some clandestine practices in which he was concerned as secretary at war, with regard to the forage-contract in Scotland. The contractors, rather than admit into their partnership a person whom he had recommended for that purpose, chose to present his friend with five hundred pounds. Their bill was addressed to Mr. Walpole, who endorsed it, and his friend touched the money.  [See note 2 G, at the end of this Vol.] This transaction was interpreted into a bribe. Mr. Walpole was voted guilty of corruption, imprisoned in the Tower, and expelled the house. Being afterwards re-chosen by the same borough of Lynn-Begis, which he had before represented, a petition was lodged against him, and the commons voted him incapable of being elected a member to serve in the present parliament.
Their next attack was upon the duke of Marlborough, who was found to have received a yearly sum from sir Solomon Medina, a Jew, concerned in the contract for furnishing the army with bread; to have been gratified by the queen with ten thousand pounds a-year to defray the expenses of intelligence; and to have pocketed a deduction of two and a half per cent, from the pay of the foreign troops maintained by England. It was alleged, in his justification, that the present from the Jew was a customary perquisite, which had always been enjoyed by the general of the Dutch army; that the deduction of two and a half per cent, was granted to him by an express warrant from her majesty; that all the articles of the charge joined together did not exceed thirty thousand pounds, a sum much inferior to that which had been allowed to king William for contingencies; that the money was expended in procuring intelligence, which was so exact that the duke was never surprised; that none of his parties were ever intercepted or cut off; and all the designs were by these means so well concerted, that he never once miscarried. Notwithstanding these representations, the majority voted that his practices had been unwarrantable and illegal; and that the deduction was to be accounted for as public money. These resolutions were communicated to the queen, who ordered the attorney-general to prosecute the duke for the money he had deducted by virtue of her own warrant. Such practices were certainly mean and mercenary, and greatly tarnished the glory which the duke had acquired by his military talents, and other shining qualities.
RESOLUTIONS AGAINST THE BARRIER-TREATY AND THE DUTCH.
The commons now directed the stream of their resentment against the Dutch, who had certainly exerted all their endeavours to overwhelm the new ministry, and retard the negotiations for peace. They maintained an intimate correspondence with the whigs of England. They diffused the most invidious reports against Oxford and secretary St. John. Buys, their envoy at London, acted the part of an incendiary, in suggesting violent measures to the malcontents, and caballing against the government. The ministers, by way of reprisal, influenced the house of commons to pass some acrimonious resolutions against the states-general. They alleged that the states had been deficient in their proportion of troops, both in Spain and in the Netherlands, during the whole course of the war; and that the queen had paid above three millions of crowns in subsidies, above what she was obliged to advance by her engagements. They attacked the barrier-treaty, which had been concluded with the states by lord Townshend after the conferences at Gertruydenburgh. By this agreement, England guaranteed a barrier in the Netherlands to the Dutch; and the states bound themselves to maintain, with their whole force, the queen's title and the protestant succession. The tories affirmed that England was disgraced by engaging any other state to defend a succession which the nation might see cause to alter; that, by this treaty, the states were authorized to interpose in British councils; that, being possessed of all those strong towns, they might exclude the English from trading to them, and interfere with the manufactures of Great Britain. The house of commons voted, that in the barrier-treaty there were several articles destructive to the trade and interest of Great Britain, and therefore highly dishonourable to her majesty; that the lord viscount Townshend was not authorized to conclude several articles in that treaty; that he and all those who had advised its being ratified were enemies to the queen and kingdom. All their votes were digested into a long representation presented to the queen, in which they averred that England, during the war, had been overcharged nineteen millions; a circumstance that implied mismanagement or fraud in the old ministry. The states, alarmed at these resolutions, wrote a respectful letter to the queen, representing the necessity of a barrier for the mutual security of England and the United Provinces. They afterwards drew up a large memorial in vindication of their proceedings during the war; and it was published in one of the English papers. The commons immediately voted it a false, scandalous, and malicious libel, reflecting upon the resolutions of the house; and the printer and publisher were taken into custody, as guilty of a breach of privilege.
ACTS UNFAVOURABLE TO THE PRESBYTERIAN DISCIPLINE IN SCOTLAND.
They now repealed the naturalization act. They passed a bill granting a toleration to the episcopal clergy in Scotland, without paying the least regard to a representation from the general assembly to the queen, declaring that the act for securing the presbyterian government was an essential and fundamental condition of the treaty of union. The house, notwithstanding this remonstrance, proceeded with the bill, and inserted a clause prohibiting civil magistrates from executing the sentences of the kirk-judicatories. The episcopal, as well as the presbyterian clergy, were required to take the oaths of abjuration, that they might be upon an equal footing in case of disobedience; for the commons well knew that this condition would be rejected by both from very different motives. In order to exasperate the presbyterians with further provocations, another act was passed for discontinuing the courts of judicature during the Christmas holidays, which had never been kept by persons of that persuasion. When this bill was read for the third time, sir David Dalrymple said, "Since the house is resolved to make no toleration on the body of this bill, I acquiesce; and only desire it may be intituled, A bill for establishing jacobitism and immorality." The chagrin of the Scottish presbyterians was completed by a third bill, restoring the right of patronage, which had been taken away when the discipline of the kirk was last established. Prince Eugene having presented a memorial to the queen touching the conduct of the emperor during the war, and containing a proposal with relation to the affairs of Spain, the queen communicated the scheme to the house of commons, who treated it with the most contemptuous neglect. The prince, finding all his efforts ineffectual, retired to the continent, as much displeased with the ministry, as he had reason to be satisfied with the people of England. The commons having settled the funds for the supplies of the year, amounting to six millions, the treasurer formed the plan of a bill appointing commissioners to examine the value and consideration of all the grants made since the revolution. His design was to make a general resumption; but, as the interest of so many noblemen was concerned, the bill met with a very warm opposition; notwithstanding which it would have certainly passed, had not the duke of Buckingham and the earl of Strafford absented themselves from the house during the debate.
The Conferences opened at Utrecht..... The Queen's Measures obstructed by the Allies..... Death of the Dauphin and his Son..... The Queen demands Philip's Renunciation of the Crown of France..... The Duke of Ormond takes the Command of the British Forces in Flanders..... He is restricted from acting against the Enemy..... Debate in the House of Lords on this Subject..... A loyal Address of the Commons..... Philip promises to renounce the Crown of France..... The Queen communicates the Plan of the Peace in a Speech to both Houses of Parliament..... Exceptions taken to some of the Articles in the House of Lords..... A motion for a Guaranty of the Protestant Succession by the Allies rejected in the House of Commons..... The Duke of Ormond declares to Prince Eugene, that he can no longer cover the siege of Quesnoy..... Irruption into France by General Grovestein..... The Foreign Troops in British pay refuse to march with the Duke of Ormond, who proclaims a Cessation of Arms, and seizes Ghent and Bruges..... The Allies defeated at Denain..... Progress of the Conferences at Utrecht..... The Duke of Hamilton and Lord Mohun are killed in a Duel..... The Duke of Marlborough retires to the Continent..... The States-general sign the Barrier- treaty..... The other Allies become more tractable..... The Peace with France signed at Utrecht..... Both Houses of Parliament congratulate the Queen on the Peace..... Substance of the Treaty with France..... Objections to the Treaty of Commerce..... Debates in the House of Lords on the Malt-tax for Scotland..... The Scottish Lords move for a Bill to dissolve the Union..... Address of the Commons about Dunkirk..... Violence of Parties in England..... Proceedings of the Parliament of Ireland..... New Parliament in England..... Writers employed by both Parties..... Treaty of Rastadt between the Emperor and France—Principal Articles in the Treaty between Great Britain and Spain..... Meeting of the Parliament..... The House of Lords takes Cognizance of a Libel against the Scots..... Mr. Steel expelled the House of Commons..... Precautions by the Whigs for the Security of the Protestant Succession..... Debates in the House of Lords concerning the Pretender and the Catalans..... They Address the Queen to set a Price on the Head of the Pretender..... A Writ demanded for the Electoral Prince of Hanover, as Duke of Cambridge..... Death of the Princess Sophia..... Bill to prevent the growth of Schism..... Another against all who should list, or be enlisted, in a Foreign Service..... The Parliament prorogued..... The Treasurer disgraced..... Precautions taken for securing the Peace of the Kingdom..... Death and Character of Queen Anne.
In the month of January the conferences for peace began at Utrecht. The earl of Jersey would have been appointed the plenipotentiary for England, but he dying after the correspondence with the court of France was established, the queen conferred that charge upon Robinson, bishop of Bristol, lord privy-seal, and the earl of Strafford. The chief of the Dutch deputies named for the congress, were Buys and Vanderdussen; the French king granted his powers to the mareschal D'Uxelles, the abbot (afterwards cardinal) de Polignac, and Menager, who had been in England. The ministers of the emperor and Savoy likewise assisted at the conferences, to which the empire and the other allies likewise sent their plenipotentiaries, though not without reluctance. As all these powers, except France, entertained sentiments very different from those of her Britannic majesty, the conferences seemed calculated rather to retard than accelerate a pacification. The queen of England had foreseen and provided against these difficulties. Her great end was to free her subjects from the miseries attending an unprofitable war, and to restore peace to Europe; and this aim she was resolved to accomplish in spite of all opposition. She had also determined to procure reasonable terms of accommodation for her allies, without, however, continuing to lavish the blood and treasure of her people in supporting their extravagant demands. The emperor obstinately insisted upon his claim to the whole Spanish monarchy, refusing to give up the least tittle of his pretensions; and the Dutch adhered to the old preliminaries which Louis had formerly rejected. The queen saw that the liberties of Europe would be exposed to much greater danger from an actual union of the Imperial and Spanish crowns in one head of the house of Austria, than from a bare possibility of Spain's being united with France in one branch of the house of Bourbon. She knew by experience the difficulty of dethroning Philip, rooted as he was in the affections of a brave and loyal people; and that a prosecution of this design would serve no purpose but to protract the war, and augment the grievances of the British nation. She was well acquainted with the distresses of the French, which she considered as pledges of their monarch's sincerity. She sought not the total ruin of that people, already reduced to the brink of despair. The dictates of true policy dissuaded her from contributing to her further conquest in that kingdom, which would have proved the source of contention among the allies, depressed the house of Bourbon below the standard of importance which the balance of Europe required it should maintain, and aggrandize the states-general at the expense of Great Britain. As she had borne the chief burden of the war, she had a right to take the lead, and dictate a plan of pacification; at least, she had a right to consult the welfare of her own kingdom, in delivering, by a separate peace, her subjects from those enormous loads which they could no longer sustain; and she was well enough aware of her own consequence, to think she could not obtain advantageous conditions.
THE QUEEN'S MEASURES OBSTRUCTED.
Such were the sentiments of the queen; and her ministers seem to have acted on the same principles, though perhaps party motives may have helped to influence their conduct. The allies concurred in opposing with all their might any treaty which could not gratify their different views of avarice, interest, and ambition. They practised a thousand little artifices to intimidate the queen, to excite a jealousy of Louis, to blacken the characters of her ministers, to raise and keep up a dangerous ferment among the people, by which her life and government were endangered. She could not fail to resent these efforts, which greatly perplexed her measures, and obstructed her design. Her ministers were sensible of the dangerous predicament in which they stood. The queen's health was much impaired; and the successor countenanced the opposite faction. In case of their sovereign's death, they had nothing to expect but prosecution and ruin for obeying her commands; they they saw no hope of safety, except in renouncing their principles, and submitting to their adversaries; or else in taking such measures as would hasten the pacification, that the troubles of the kingdom might be appeased, and the people be satisfied with their conduct, before death should deprive them of their sovereign's protection. With this view they advised her to set on foot a private negotiation with Louis, to stipulate certain advantages for her own subjects in a concerted plan of peace; to enter into such mutual confidence with that monarch, as would anticipate all clandestine transactions to her prejudice, and in some measure enable her to prescribe terms for her allies. The plan was judiciously formed; but executed with too much precipitation. The stipulated advantages were not such as she had a right to demand and insist upon; and without all doubt better might have been obtained, had not the obstinacy of the allies abroad, and the violent conduct of the whig faction at home, obliged the ministers to relax in some material points, and hasten the conclusion of the treaty.
DEATH OF THE DAUPHIN AND HIS SON.
The articles being privately regulated between the two courts of London and Versailles, the English plenipotentiaries at Utrecht were furnished with general powers and instructions, being ignorant of the agreement which the queen had made with the French monarch touching the kingdom of Spain, which was indeed the basis of the treaty. This secret plan of negotiation, however, had well nigh been destroyed by some unforeseen events that were doubly afflicting to Louis. The dauphin died of the small-pox in the course of the preceding year, and his title had been conferred upon his son the duke of Burgundy, who now expired on the last day of February, six days after the death of his wife, Mary Adelaide of Savoy. The parents were soon followed to the grave by their eldest offspring the duke of Bretagne, in the sixth year of his age; so that of the duke of Burgundy's children, none remained alive but the duke of Anjou, the late French king, who was at that time a sickly infant. Such a series of calamities could not fail of being extremely shocking to Louis in his old age; but they were still more alarming to the queen of England, who saw that nothing but the precarious life of an unhealthy child divided the two monarchies of France and Spain, the union of which she resolved by all possible means to prevent. She therefore sent the abbe Gualtier to Paris, with a memorial representing the danger to which the liberty of Europe would be exposed, should Philip ascend the throne of France; and demanding that his title should be transferred to his brother the duke of Berry, in consequence of his pure, simple, and voluntary renunciation.
THE QUEEN DEMANDS PHILIP'S RENUNCIATION OF THE CROWN.
Meanwhile the French plenipotentiaries at Utrecht were prevailed upon to deliver their proposals in writing, under the name of specific offers, which the allies received with indignation. They were treated in England with universal scorn. Lord Halifax, in the house of peers, termed them trifling, arrogant, and injurious to her majesty and her allies. An address was presented to the queen, in which they expressed their resentment against the insolence of France, and promised to assist her with all their power in prosecuting the war until a safe and honourable peace should be obtained. The plenipotentiaries of the allies were not less extravagant in their specific demands, than the French had been arrogant in their offers. In a word, the ministers seemed to have been assembled at Utrecht rather to start new difficulties, and widen the breach, than to heal animosities and concert a plan of pacification. They amused one another with fruitless conferences, while the queen of Great Britain endeavoured to engage the states-general in her measures, that they might treat with France upon moderate terms, and give law to the rest of the allies. She departed from some of her own pretensions, in order to gratify them with the possession of some towns in Flanders She consented to their being admitted into a participation of some advantages in commerce; and ordered the English ministers at the congress to tell them, that she would take her measures according to the return they should make on this occasion. Finding them still obstinately attached to their first chimerical preliminaries, she gave them to understand that all her offers for adjusting the differences were founded upon the express condition, that they should come into her measures, and co-operate with her openly and sincerely; but they had made such bad returns to all her condescension towards them, that she looked upon herself as released from all engagements. The ministers of the allies had insisted upon a written answer to their specific demands; and this the French plenipotentiaries declined, until they should receive fresh instructions from their master. Such was the pretence for suspending the conferences; but the real bar to a final agreement between England and France, was the delay of Philip's renunciation, which at length however arrived, and produced a cessation of arms.
THE DUKE OF ORMOND TAKES THE COMMAND OF THE BRITISH FORCES.
In the meantime the duke of Ormond, who was now invested with the supreme command of the British forces, received a particular order that he should not hazard an engagement. Louis had already undertaken for the compliance of his grandson. Reflecting on his own great age, he was shocked at the prospect of leaving his kingdom involved in a pernicious war during a minority; and determined to procure a peace at all events. The queen, knowing his motives, could not help believing his protestations, and resolved to avoid a battle, the issue of which might have considerably altered the situation of affairs, and consequently retarded the conclusion of the treaty. Preparations had been made for an early campaign. In the beginning of March the earl of Albemarle, having assembled a body of thirty-six battalions, marched towards Arras, which he reduced to a heap of ashes by a most terrible cannonading and bombardment. In May the duke of Ormond conferred with the deputies of the states-general at the Hague, and assured them that he had orders to act vigorously in the prosecution of the war. He joined prince Eugene at Tournay; and on the twenty-sixth day of May, the allied army passing the Schelde, encamped at Haspre and Solemnes. The Imperial general proposed that they should attack the French army under Villars; but by this time the duke was restrained from hazarding a siege or battle; a circumstance well known to the French commander, who therefore abated of his usual vigilance. It could not be long concealed from prince Eugene and the deputies, who forthwith despatched an express to their principals on this subject, and afterwards presented a long memorial to the duke, representing the injury which the grand alliance would sustain from his obedience of such an order. He seemed to be extremely uneasy at his situation; and in a letter to secretary St. John, expressed a desire that the queen would permit him to return to England.
Prince Eugene, notwithstanding the queen's order, which Ormond had not yet formally declared, invested the town of Quesnoy, and the duke furnished towards this enterprise seven battalions and nine squadrons of the foreign troops maintained by Great Britain. The Dutch deputies at Utrecht expostulating with the bishop of Bristol upon the duke's refusing to act against the enemy, that prelate told them that he had lately received an express, with a letter from her majesty, in which she complained, that, as the states-general had not properly answered her advances, they ought not to be surprised if she thought herself at liberty to enter into separate measures in order to obtain a peace for her own conveniency. When they remonstrated against such conduct as contradictory to all the alliances subsisting between the queen and the states-general, the bishop declared his instructions further imported, that considering the conduct of the states towards her majesty, she thought herself disengaged from all alliances and engagements with their high mightinesses. The states and the ministers of the allies were instantly in commotion. Private measures were concerted with the elector of Hanover, the landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, and some other princes of the empire, concerning the troops belonging to those powers in the pay of Great Britain. The states-general wrote a long letter to the queen, and ordered their envoy at London to deliver it into her own hand. Count Zinzendorf, the emperor's plenipotentiary, despatched expresses to his master, to prince Eugene, and to the Imperial ambassador at London. The queen held a council at Kensington upon the subject of the letter; and a fresh order was sent to the duke of Ormond, directing him to concur with the general of the allies in a siege.
On the twenty-eighth day of May, lord Halifax, in the house of peers, descanted upon the ill consequences of the duke's refusing to co-operate with prince Eugene, and moved for an address, desiring her majesty would order the general to act offensively in concert with her allies. The treasurer observed, it was prudent to avoid a battle on the eve of a peace, especially considering they had to do with an enemy so apt to break his word. The earl of Wharton replied, this was a strong reason for keeping no measures with such an enemy. When Oxford declared that the duke of Ormond had received orders to join the allies in a siege, the duke of Marlborough affirmed it was impossible to carry on a siege without either hazarding a battle, in case the enemy should attempt to relieve the place, or shamefully abandoning the enterprise. The duke of Argyle having declared his opinion, that since the time of Julius Caesar there had not been a greater captain than prince Eugene of Savoy, observed, that, considering the different interests of the house of Austria and of Great Britain, it might not consist with prudence to trust him with the management of the war, because a battle won or lost might entirely break off a negociation of peace, which in all probability was near being concluded. He added, that two years before, the confederates might have taken Arras and Cambray, instead of amusing themselves with the insignificant conquests of Aire, Bethune, and St. Venant. The duke of Devonshire said he was, by proximity of blood, more concerned than any other in the reputation of the duke of Ormond; and therefore could not help expressing his surprise, that any one would dare to make a nobleman of the first rank, and so distinguished a character, the instrument of such proceedings. Earl Paulet answered, that nobody could doubt the duke of Ormond's courage; but he was not like a certain general, who led troops to the slaughter to cause a great number of officers to be knocked on the head, that he might fill his pockets by disposing of their commissions. The duke of Marlborough was so deeply affected by this reflection, that though he suppressed his resentment in the house, he took the first opportunity to send lord Mohun to the earl with a message, importing, that he should be glad to come to an explanation with his lordship about some expressions he had used in that clay's debate; and desiring his company to take the air in the country. The earl understood his meaning; but could not conceal his emotion from the observation of his lady, by whose means the affair was communicated to the earl of Dartmouth, secretary of state. Two sentinels were immediately placed at his lordship's gate: the queen, by the canal of lord Dartmouth, desired the duke of Marlborough would proceed no farther in the quarrel; and he assured her he would punctually obey her majesty's commands. The earl of Oxford assured the house, that a separate peace was never intended; that such a peace would be so base, so knavish, and so villanous, that every one who served the queen knew they must answer it with their heads to the nation; but that it would appear to be a safe and glorious peace, much more to the honour and interest of the nation, than the first preliminaries insisted upon by the allies. The question being put for adjourning, was, after a long debate, carried in the affirmative; but twenty lords entered a protest. The earl of Strafford, who had returned from Holland, proposed that they should examine the negotiations of the Hague and Gertruyden-burgh, before they considered that of Utrecht. He observed, that in the former negotiations the French ministers had conferred only with the pensionary, who communicated no more of it to the ministers of the allies than what was judged proper to let them know; so that the Dutch were absolute masters of the secret. He asserted that the states-general had consented to give Naples and Sicily to king Philip; a circumstance which proved that the recovery of the whole Spanish monarchy was looked upon as impracticable. He concluded with a motion for an address to her majesty, desiring that the papers relating to the negotiations of the Hague and Gertruydenburgh should be laid before the house. This was carried without a division.
In the house of commons Mr. Pulteney moved for an address, acquainting her majesty that her faithful commons were justly alarmed at the intelligence received from abroad, that her general in Flanders had declined acting offensively against France in concurrence with her allies; and beseeching her majesty that he might receive speedy instructions to prosecute the war with the utmost vigour. This motion was rejected by a great majority. A certain member having insinuated that the present negotiation had been carried on in a clandestine and treacherous manner, Mr. secretary St. John said, he hoped it would not be accounted treachery to act for the good and advantage of Great Britain; that he gloried in the small share he had in the transaction; and whatever censure he might undergo for it, the bare satisfaction of acting in that view would be a sufficient recompence and comfort to him during the whole course of his life. The house resolved, that the commons had an entire confidence in her majesty's promise, to communicate to her parliament the terms of the peace before it should be concluded; and that they would support her against all such persons, either at home or abroad, as should endeavour to obstruct the pacification. The queen thanked them heartily for this resolution, as being dutiful to her, honest to their country, and very seasonable at a time when so many artifices were used to obstruct a good peace, or to force one disadantageous to Britain. They likewise presented an address, desiring they might have an account of the negotiations and transactions at the Hague and Gertruydenburgh, and know who were then employed as her majesty's plenipotentiaries.
PHILIP PROMISES TO RENOUNCE THE CROWN OF FRANCE.
The ministry, foreseeing that Philip would not willingly resign his hopes of succeeding to the crown of France, proposed an alternative, that, in case of his preferring his expectation of the crown of France to the present possession of Spain, this kingdom, with the Indies, should be forthwith ceded to the duke of Savoy; that Philip, in the meantime, should possess the duke's hereditary dominions, and the kingdom of Sicily, together with Montserrat and Mantua; all which territories should be annexed to France at Philip's succession to that crown, except Sicily, which should revert to the house of Austria. Louis seemed to relish this expedient, which, however, was rejected by Philip, who chose to make the renunciation rather than quit the throne upon which he was established. The queen demanded that the renunciation should be ratified in the most solemn manner by the states of France; but she afterwards waived this demand, in consideration of its being registered in the different parliaments. Such forms are but slender securities against the power, ambition, and interest of princes. The marquis de Torcy frankly owned, that Philip's renunciation was of itself void, as being contrary to the fundamental laws and constitution of the French monarchy; but it was found necessary for the satisfaction of the English people. Every material article being now adjusted between the two courts, particularly those relating to the king of Spain, the commerce of Great Britain, and the delivery of Dunkirk, a suspension of arms prevailed in the Netherlands, and the duke of Ormond acted in concert with mareschal de Villars.
THE QUEEN COMMUNICATES THE PLAN OF THE PEACE TO PARLIAMENT.
On the sixth day of June, the queen going to the house of peers communicated the plan of peace to her parliament, according to the promise she had made. After having premised that the making peace and war was the undoubted prerogative of the crown, and hinted at the difficulties which had arisen both from the nature of the affair, and numberless obstructions contrived by the enemies of peace, she proceeded to enumerate the chief articles to which both crowns had agreed, without, however, concluding the treaty. She told them she had secured the protestant succession, which France had acknowledged in the strongest terms; and that the pretender would be removed from the French dominions; that the duke of Anjou should renounce for himself and his descendants all claim to the crown of France; so that the two monarchies would be for ever divided. She observed, that the nature of this proposal was such as would execute itself; that it would be the interest of Spain to support the renunciation; and in France, the persons entitled to the succession of that crown upon the death of the dauphin, were powerful enough to vindicate their own right. She gave them to understand that a treaty of commerce between England and France had been begun, though not yet adjusted; but provision was made, that England should enjoy the same privileges that France granted to the most favoured nation; that the French king had agreed to make an absolute cession of the island of St. Christopher's, which had hitherto been divided between the two nations, that he had also consented to restore the whole bay and straits of Hudson; to deliver the island of Newfoundland, with Placentia; to cede Annapolis, with the rest of Arcadia or Nova Scotia; to demolish the fortifications of Dunkirk; to leave England in possession of Gibraltar, Port-Mahon, and the whole island of Minorca; to let the trade of Spain in the West Indies be settled as it was in the reign of his late catholic majesty; she signified that she had obtained for her subjects the assiento, or contract, for furnishing the Spanish West Indies with negroes for the term of thirty years, in the same manner as it had been enjoyed by the French. With respect to the allies, they declared, that France offered to make the Rhine the barrier of the empire; to yield Brisac, Fort Kehl, and Landau, and raze all the fortresses both on the other side of the Rhine, and in the islands of that river; that the protestant interest in Germany would be re-settled on the footing of the treaty of Westphalia; that the Spanish Netherlands, the kingdoms of Naples and Sardinia, the duchy of Milan, and the places belonging to Spain on the coast of Tuscany, might be yielded to his Imperial majesty; but the disposition of Sicily was not yet determined; that the demands of the states-general with relation to commerce, and the barrier in the Low Countries, would be granted with a few exceptions, which might be compensated by other expedients; that no great progress had yet been made upon the pretensions of Portugal; but that those of Prussia would be admitted by France without much difficulty; that the difference between the barrier demanded by the duke of Savoy in the year one thousand seven hundred and nine, and that which France now offered, was very inconsiderable; that the elector palatine should maintain his present rank among the electors; and that France would acknowledge the electoral dignity in the house of Hanover. Such, were the conditions which the queen hoped would make some amends to her subjects, for the great and unequal burden they had borne during the whole course of the war. She concluded with saying, she made no doubt but they were fully persuaded that nothing would be neglected on her part, in the progress of this negotiation, to bring the peace to a happy and speedy issue; and she expressed her dependence upon the entire confidence and cheerful concurrence of her parliament. An address of thanks and approbation was immediately voted, drawn up, and presented to the queen by the commons in a body. When the house of lords took the speech into consideration, the duke of Marlborough asserted, that the measures pursued for a year past were directly contrary to her majesty's engagements with the allies; that they sullied the triumphs and glories of her reign, and would render the English name odious to all nations. The earl of Strafford said, that some of the allies would not have shown such backwardness to a peace, had they not been persuaded and encouraged to carry on the war by a member of that illustrious assembly, who maintained a secret correspondence with them, and fed them with hopes that they would be supported by a strong party in England. In answer to this insinuation against Marlborough, lord Cowper observed, that it could never be suggested as a crime in the meanest subject, much less in any member of that august assembly, to hold correspondence with the allies of the nation; stich allies especially whose interest her majesty had declared to be inseparable from her own, in her speech at the opening of the session; whereas it would be a hard matter to justify and reconcile either with our laws, or with laws of honour and justice, the conduct of some persons in treating clandestinely with the common enemy without the participation of the allies. This was a frivolous argument. A correspondence with any persons whatsoever becomes criminal, when it tends to foment the divisions of one's country, and arm the people against their sovereign. If England had it not in her power, without infringing the laws of justice and honour, to withdraw herself from a confederacy which she could no longer support, and treat for peace on her own bottom, then was she not an associate but a slave to the alliance. The earl of Godolphin affirmed, that the trade to Spain was such a trifle as deserved no consideration; and that it would continually diminish until it should be entirely engrossed by the French merchants. Notwithstanding these remonstrances against the plan of peace, the majority agreed to an address, in which they thanked the queen for her extraordinary condescension in communicating those conditions to her parliament; and expressed an entire satisfaction with her conduct. A motion was made for a clause in the address, desiring her majesty would take such measures in concert with her allies, as might induce them to join with her in a mutual guarantee. A debate ensued: the question was put, and the clause rejected. Several noblemen entered a protest, which was expunged from the journals of the house by the decision of the majority.
In the house of commons, a complaint was exhibited against bishop Fleetwood, who, in a preface to four sermons which he had published, took occasion to extol the last ministry at the expense of the present administration. This piece was voted malicious and factious, tending to create discord and sedition amongst her majesty's subjects, and condemned to be burned by the hands of the common hangman. They presented an address to the queen, assuring her of the just sense they had of the indignity offered to her, by printing and publishing a letter from the states-general to her majesty; and desiring she would so far resent such insults, as to give no answer for the future to any letters or memorials that should be thus ushered into the world as inflammatory appeals to the public. Mr. Hampden moved for an address to her majesty, that she would give particular instructions to her plenipotentiaries, that in the conclusion of the treaty of peace, the several powers in alliance with her majesty might be guarantees for the protestant succession in the illustrious house of Hanover. The question being put, was carried in the negative. Then the house resolved, that they had such confidence in the repeated declarations her majesty had made of her concern for assuring to these kingdoms the protestant succession, as by law established, that they could never doubt of her taking the proper measures for the security thereof; that the house would support her against faction at home and her enemies abroad; and did humbly beseech her, that she would be pleased to discountenance all those who should endeavour to raise jealousies between her majesty and her subjects, especially by misrepresenting her good intentions for the welfare of her people. The queen was extremely pleased with this resolution. When it was presented, she told them that they had shown themselves honest asserters of the monarchy, zealous defenders of the constitution, and real friends to the protestant succession. She thought she had very little reason to countenance a compliment of supererogation to a prince who had caballed with the enemies of her administration. On the twenty-first day of June the queen closed the session with a speech, expressing her satisfaction at the addresses and supplies she had received; she observed, that should the treaty be broke off, their burdens would be at least continued, if not increased; that Britain would lose the present opportunity of improving her own commerce, and establishing a real balance of power in Europe; and that though some of the allies might be gainers by a continuance of the war, the rest would suffer in the common calamity. Notwithstanding the ferment of the people, which was now risen to a very dangerous pitch, addresses approving the queen's conduct, were presented by the city of London and all the corporations in the kingdom that espoused the tory interest. At this juncture the nation was so wholly possessed by the spirit of party, that no appearance of neutrality or moderation remained.
During these transactions the trenches were opened before Quesnoy, and the siege carried on with uncommon vigour under cover of the forces commanded by the duke of Ormond. This nobleman, however, having received a copy of the articles signed by the marquis de Torcy, and fresh instructions from the queen, signified to the prince Eugene and the Dutch deputies, that the French king had agreed to several articles demanded by the queen, as the foundation of an armistice; and among others to put the English troops in immediate possession of Dunkirk; that he could therefore no longer cover the siege of Quesnoy, as he was obliged by his instructions to march with the British troops, and those in the queen's pay, and declare a suspension of arms as soon as he should be possessed of Dunkirk. He expressed his hope that they would readily acquiesce in these instructions, seeing their concurrence would act as the most powerful motive to induce the queen to take all possible care of their interests at the congress; and he endeavoured to demonstrate that Dunkirk, as a cautionary town, was a place of greater consequence to the allies than Quesnoy. The deputies desired he would delay his march for five days, that they might have time to consult their principals, and he granted three days without hesitation. Prince Eugene observed, that his marching off with the British troops, and the foreigners in the queen's pay, would leave the allies at the mercy of the enemy; but he hoped these last would not obey the duke's order. He and the deputies had already tampered with their commanding officers, who absolutely refused to obey the duke of Ormond, alleging, that they could not separate from the confederacy without express directions from their masters, to whom they had despatched couriers. An extraordinary assembly of states was immediately summoned to meet at the Hague. The ministers of the allies were invited to the conferences. At length the princes, whose troops were in the pay of Britain, assured them that they would maintain them under the command of Prince Eugene for one month at their own expense, and afterwards sustain half the charge, provided the other half should be defrayed by the emperor and states-general.
IRRUPTION INTO FRANCE BY GENERAL GROVESTEIN.
The bishop of Bristol imparted to the other plenipotentiaries at Utrecht the concessions which France would make to the allies; and proposed a suspension of arms for two months, that they might treat in a friendly manner, and adjust the demands of all the confederates. To this proposal they made no other answer but that they had no instructions on the subject. Count Zinzendorf, the first Imperial plenipotentiary, presented a memorial to the states-general, explaining the danger that would result to the common cause from a cessation of arms; and exhorting them to persevere in their generous and vigorous resolutions. He proposed a renewal of the alliance for recovering the Spanish monarchy to the house of Austria, and a certain plan for prosecuting the war with redoubled ardour. Prince Eugene, in order to dazzle the confederates with some bold enterprise, detached major-general Grovestein with fifteen hundred cavalry to penetrate into the heart of France. This officer, about the middle of June, advanced into Champaigne, passed the Noire, the Maese, the Moselle, and the Saar, and retired to Traerbach with a rich booty and a great number of hostages, after having extorted contributions as far as the gates of Metz, ravaged the country, and reduced a great number of villages and towns to ashes. The consternation produced by this irruption reached the city of Paris; the king of France did not think himself safe at Versailles with his ordinary guards; all the troops in the neighbourhood of the capital were assembled about the palace. Villars sent a detachment after Grovestein, as soon as he understood his destination; but the other had gained a day's march of the French troops, which had the mortification to follow him so close, that they found the flames still burning in the villages he had destroyed. By way of retaliation, major-general Pasteur, a French partisan, made an excursion beyond Bergen-op-zoom, and ravaged the island of Tortola belonging to Zealand.
FOREIGN TROOPS IN BRITISH PAY REFUSE TO MARCH WITH ORMOND.
The earl of Strafford having returned to Holland, proposed a cessation of arms to the states-general, by whom it was rejected. Then he proceeded to the army of the duke of Ormond, where he arrived in a few days after the reduction of Quesnoy, the garrison of which were made prisoners of war on the fourth day of July. The officers of the foreign troops had a second time refused to obey a written order of the duke; and such a spirit of animosity began to prevail between the English and allies, that it was absolutely necessary to effect a speedy separation. Prince Eugene resolved to undertake the siege of Landresy: a design is said to have been formed by the German generals, to confine the duke on pretence of the arrears that were due to them, and to disarm the British troops lest they should join the French army. In the meantime, a literary correspondence was maintained between the English general and the mareschal de Villars. France having consented to deliver up Dunkirk, a body of troops was transported from England under the command of brigadier Hill, who took possession of the place on the seventh day of July; the French garrison retired to Winoxberg. On the sixteenth of the same month prince Eugene marched from his camp at Haspre, and was followed by all the auxiliaries in the British pay, except a few battalions of the troops of Holstein-Gottorp, and Walef's regiment of dragoons, belonging to the state of Liege.
Landresy was immediately invested; while the duke of Ormond, with the English forces, removed from Chateau-Cambresis, and encamped at wensne-le-Secq, proclaimed by sound of trumpet a cessation of arms for two months. On the same day the like armistice was declared in the French army. The Dutch were so exasperated at the secession of the English troops, that the governors would not allow the earl of Strafford to enter Bouchain, nor the British army to pass through Douay, though in that town they had left a great quantity of stores, together with their general hospital. Prince Eugene and the Dutch deputies, understanding that the duke of Ormond had begun his march towards Ghent, began to be in pain for that city, and sent count Nassau Woodenburgh to him with a written apology, condemning and disavowing the conduct and commandants of Bouchain and Douay; but, notwithstanding these excuses, the English troops afterwards met with the same treatment at Tournay, Oudenarde, and Lisle: insults which were resented by the whole British nation. The duke, however, pursued his march, and took possession of Ghent and Bruges for the queen of England; then he reinforced the garrison of Dunkirk, which he likewise supplied with artillery and ammunition. His conduct was no less agreeable to his sovereign, than mortifying to the Dutch, who never dreamed of leaving Ghent and Bruges in the hands of the English, and were now fairly outwitted and anticipated by the motions and expedition of the British general.
THE ALLIES DEFEATED AT DENAIN.
The loss of the British forces was soon severely felt in the allied army. Villars attacked a separate body of their troops, encamped at Denain, under the command of the earl of Albemarle. Their intrenchments were forced, and seventeen battalions either killed or taken. The earl himself and all the surviving officers were made prisoners. Five hundred waggons loaded with bread, twelve pieces of brass cannon, a large quantity of ammunition and provisions, a great number of horses, and considerable booty fell into the hands of the enemy. This advantage they gained in sight of prince Eugene, who advanced on the other side of the Schelde to sustain Albemarle; but the bridge over that river was broke down by accident, so that he was prevented from lending the least assistance. Villars immediately invested Marchiennes, where the principal stores of the allies were lodged. The place was surrendered on the last day of July; and the garrison, consisting of five thousand men, were conducted prisoners to Valenciennes. He afterwards undertook the siege of Douay; an enterprise, in consequence of which prince Eugene abandoned his design on Landresy, and marched towards the French in order to hazard an engagement. The states, however, would not run the risk; and the prince had the mortification to see Douay reduced by the enemy. He could not even prevent their retaking Quesnoy and Bouchain, of which places they were in possession before the tenth day of October. The allies enjoyed no other compensation for their great losses, but the conquest of Fort Knocque, which was surprised by one of their partisans.
PROGRESS OF THE CONFERENCES AT UTRECHT.
The British ministers at the congress continued to press the Dutch and other allies to join in the armistice; but they were deaf to the proposal, and concerted measures for a vigorous prosecution of the war. Then the earl of Strafford insisted upon their admitting to the congress the plenipotentiaries of king Philip; but he found them equally averse to this expedient. In the beginning of August, secretary St. John, now created lord viscount Bolingbroke, was sent to the court of Versailles incognito, to remove all obstructions to the treaty between England and France. He was accompanied by Mr. Prior and the Abbe Gualtier, treated with the most distinguished marks of respect, caressed by the French king and the marquis de Torcy, with whom he adjusted the principal interests of the duke of Savoy and the elector of Bavaria. He settled the time and manner of the renunciation, and agreed to a suspension of arms by sea and land for four months between the crowns of France and England; this was accordingly proclaimed at Paris and London. The negotiation being finished in a few days, Bolingbroke returned to England, and Prior remained as resident at the court of France. The states-general breathed nothing but war; the pensionary Heinsius pronounced an oration in their assembly, representing the impossibility of concluding a peace without losing the fruits of all the blood and treasure they had expended. The conferences at Utrecht were interrupted by a quarrel between the domestics of Menager and those of the count de Rechteren, one of the Dutch plenipotentiaries. The populace insulted the earl of Strafford and the marquis del Borgo, minister of Savoy, whose master was reported to have agreed to the armistice. These obstructions being removed, the conferences were renewed, and the British plenipotentiaries exerted all their rhetoric, both in public and private, to engage the allies! in the queen's measures. At length the duke of Savoy was prevailed upon to acquiesce in the offers of France. Mr. Thomas Harley had been sent ambassador to Hanover, with a view to persuade the elector that it would be for his interest to co-operate with her majesty; but that prince's resolution was already taken. "Whenever it shall please God," said he, "to call me to the throne of Britain, I hope to act as becomes me for the advantage of my people; in the meantime, speak to me as to a German prince, and a prince of the empire." Nor was she more successful in her endeavours to bring over the king of Prussia to her sentiments. In the meantime, lord Lexington was appointed ambassador to Madrid, where king Philip solemnly swore to observe the renunciation, which was approved and confirmed by the Cortez. The like renunciation to the crown of Spain was afterwards made by the princes of France; and Philip was declared incapable of succeeding to the crown of that realm. The court of Portugal held out against the remonstrances of England, until the Marquis de Bay invaded that kingdom at the head of twenty thousand men, and undertook the siege of Campo-Major, and they found they had no longer any hope of being assisted by her Britannic majesty. The Portuguese minister at Utrecht signed the suspension of arms on the seventh day of November, and excused this step to the allies as the pure effect of necessity. The English troops in Spain were ordered to separate from the army of count Starem-berg, and march to the neighbourhood of Barcelona, where they were embarked on board an English squadron commanded by sir John Jennings, and transported to Minorca.
THE DUKE OF HAMILTON AND LORD MOHUN ARE KILLED IN A DUEL.
The campaign being at an end in the Netherlands, the duke of Ormond returned to England, where the party disputes were become more violent than ever. The whigs affected to celebrate the anniversary of the late king's birth-day, in London, with extraordinary rejoicings. Mobs were hired by both factions; and the whole city was filled with riot and uproar. A ridiculous scheme was contrived to frighten the lord-treasurer with some squibs in a band-box, which the ministers magnified into a conspiracy. The duke of Hamilton having been appointed ambassador-extraordinary to the court of France, the whigs were alarmed on the supposition that this nobleman favoured the pretender. Some dispute arising between the duke and lord Mohun, on the subject of a lawsuit, furnished a pretence for a quarrel. Mohun, who had been twice tried for murder, and was counted a mean tool, as well as the hector of the whig party, sent a message by general Macartney to the duke, challenging him to single combat. The principals met by appointment in Hyde Park, attended by Macartney and colonel Hamilton. They fought with such fury, that Mohun was killed upon the spot, and the duke expired before he could be conveyed to his own house. Macartney disappeared, and escaped in disguise to the continent. Colonel Hamilton declared upon oath before the privy-council, that when the principals engaged, he and Macartney followed their example; that Macartney was immediately disarmed; but the colonel seeing the duke fall upon his antagonist, threw away the swords, and ran to lift him up; that while he was employed in raising the duke, Macartney, having taken up one of the swords, stabbed his grace over Hamilton's shoulder and retired immediately. A proclamation was issued, promising a reward of five hundred pounds to those who should apprehend or discover Macartney, and the duchess of Hamilton offered three hundred pounds for the same purpose. The tories exclaimed against this event as a party-duel; they treated Macartney as a cowardly assassin; and affirmed that the whigs had posted others of the same stamp all round Hyde Park, to murder the duke of Hamilton, in case he had triumphed over his antagonist, and escaped the treachery of Macartney. The whigs, on the other hand, affirmed that it was altogether a private quarrel; that Macartney was entirely innocent of the perfidy laid to his charge; that he afterwards submitted to a fair trial, at which colonel Hamilton prevaricated in giving his evidence, and was contradicted by the testimony of divers persons who saw the combat at a distance. The duke of Marlborough, hearing himself accused as the author of those party mischiefs, and seeing his enemies grow every day more and more implacable, thought proper to retire to the continent, where he was followed by his duchess. His friend Godolphin had died in September, with the general character of an able, cool, dispassionate minister, who had rendered himself necessary to four successive sovereigns, and managed the finances with equal skill and integrity. The duke of Shrewsbury was nominated ambassador to France in the room of the duke of Hamilton; the duke d'Aumont arrived at London in the same quality from the court of Versailles; and about the same time the queen granted an audience to the marquis de Monte-leone, whom Philip had appointed one of his plenipotentiaries at the congress.
THE STATES-GENERAL SIGN THE BARRIER-TREATY.
In vain had the British ministers in Holland endeavoured to overcome the obstinacy of the states-general, by alternate threats, promises, and arguments. In vain did they represent that the confederacy against France could be no longer supported with any prospect of success; that the queen's aim had been to procure reasonable terms for her allies; but that their opposition to her measures prevented her from obtaining such conditions as she would have a right to demand in their favour, were they unanimous in their consultations. In November, the earl of Strafford presented a new plan of peace, in which the queen promised to insist upon France's ceding to the states the city of Tournay, and some other places which they could not expect to possess should she conclude a separate treaty. They now began to waiver in their councils. The first transports of their resentment having subsided, they plainly perceived that the continuation of the war would entail upon them a burden which they could not bear, especially since the duke of Savoy and the king of Portugal had deserted the alliance; besides, they were staggered by the affair of the new barrier, so much more advantageous than that which France had proposed in the beginning of the conferences. They were influenced by another motive, namely, the apprehension of new mischiefs to the empire from the king of Sweden, whose affairs seemed to take a favourable turn at the Ottoman Porte, through the intercession of the French monarch. The czar and king Augustus had penetrated into Pomerania; the king of Denmark had taken Staden, reduced Bremen, and laid Hamburgh under contribution; but count Steenbock, the Swedish general, defeated the Danish army in Mecklenburg, ravaged Holstein with great barbarity, and reduced the town of Altena to ashes. The grand seignor threatened to declare war against the czar, on pretence that he had not performed some essential articles of the late peace; but his real motive was an inclination to support the king of Sweden. This disposition, however, was defeated by a powerful party at the Porte, who were averse to war. Charles, who still remained at Bender, was desired to return to his own kingdom, and given to understand that the sultan would procure him a safe passage. He treated the person who brought this intimation with the most outrageous insolence, rejected the proposal, fortified his house, and resolved to defend himself to the last extremity. Being attacked by a considerable body of Turkish forces, he and his attendants fought with the most frantic valour. They slew some hundreds of the assailants; but at last the Turks set fire to the house, so that he was obliged to surrender himself and his followers, who were generally sold for slaves. He himself was conveyed under a strong guard to Adrianople. Meanwhile the czar landed with an army in Finland, which he totally reduced. Steenbock maintained himself in Tonningen until all his supplies were cut off; and then he was obliged to deliver himself and his troops prisoners of war. But this reverse was not foreseen when the Dutch dreaded a rupture between the Porte and the Muscovites, and were given to understand that the Turks would revive the troubles in Hungary. In that case, they knew the emperor would recall great part of his troops from the Netherlands, where the burden of the war must lie upon their shoulders. After various consultations in their different assemblies, they came into the queen's measures, and signed the barrier-treaty.
Then the plenipotentiaries of the four associated circles presented a remonstrance to the British ministers at Utrecht, imploring the queen's interposition in their favour, that they might not be left in the miserable condition to which they had been reduced by former treaties. They were given to understand, that if they should not obtain what they desired, they themselves would be justly blamed as the authors of their own disappointment; that they had been deficient in furnishing their proportion of troops and other necessaries, and left the whole burden of the war to fall upon the queen and the states in the Netherlands; that when a cessation was judged necessary, they had deserted her majesty to follow the chimerical projects of prince Eugene; that while she prosecuted the war with the utmost vigour, they had acted with coldness and indifference; but when she inclined to peace they began to exert themselves in prosecuting hostilities with uncommon eagerness; that, nevertheless, she would not abandon their interests, but endeavour to procure for them as good conditions as their preposterous conduct would allow her to demand. Even the emperor's plenipotentiaries began to talk in more moderate terms. Zinzendorf declared that his master was very well disposed to promote a general peace, and no longer insisted on a cession of the Spanish monarchy to the house of Austria. Philip's ministers, together with those of Bavaria and Cologn, were admitted to the congress; and now the plenipotentiaries of Britain acted as mediators for the rest of the allies.
PEACE WITH FRANCE.
The pacification between France and England was retarded, however, by some unforeseen difficulties that arose in adjusting the commerce and the limits of the countries possessed by both nations in North America. A long dispute ensued; and the duke of Shrewsbury and Prior held many conferences with the French ministry; at length it was compromised, though not much to the advantage of Great Britain; and the English plenipotentiaries received an order to sign a separate treaty. They declared to the ministers of the other powers, that they and some other plenipotentiaries were ready to sign their respective treaties on the eleventh day of April. Count Zinzendorf endeavoured to postpone this transaction until he should be furnished with fresh instructions from Vienna; and even threatened that if the states should sign the peace contrary to his desire, the emperor would immediately withdraw his troops from the Netherlands. The ministers of Great Britain agreed with those of France, that his Imperial majesty should have time to consider whither he would or would not accept the proposals; but this time was extended no farther than the first day of June; nor would they agree to a cessation of arms during that interval. Meanwhile the peace with France was signed in different treaties by the plenipotentiaries of Great Britain, Savoy, Prussia, Portugal, and the states-general. On the fourteenth day of the month, the British plenipotentiaries delivered to count Zinzendorf, in writing, "Offers and demands of the French king for making peace with the house of Austria and the empire." The count and the ministers of the German princes exclaimed against the insolence of France, which had not even bestowed the title of emperor on Joseph; but wanted to impose terms upon them with relation to the electors of Cologn and Bavaria.
The treaties of peace and commerce between England and France being ratified by the queen of England, the parliament was assembled on the ninth day of April. The queen told them the treaty was signed, and that in a few days the ratifications would be exchanged. She said, what she had done for the protestant succession, and the perfect friendship subsisting between her and the house of Hanover, would convince those who wished well to both, and desired the quiet and safety of their country, how vain all attempts were to divide them. She left it entirely to the house of commons to determine what force might be necessary for the security of trade by sea, and for guards and garrisons. "Make yourselves safe," said she, "and I shall be satisfied. Next to the protection of the Divine Providence, I depend upon the loyalty and affection of my people. I want no other guarantee." She recommended to their protection those brave men who had exposed their lives in the service of their country, and could not be employed in time of peace. She desired they would concert proper measures for easing the foreign trade of the kingdom, for improving and encouraging manufactures and the fishery, and for employing the hands of idle people. She expressed her displeasure at the scandalous and seditious libels which had been lately published.
She exhorted them to consider of new laws to prevent this licentiousness, as well as for putting a stop to the impious practice of duelling. She conjured them to use their utmost endeavours to calm the minds of men at home, that the arts of peace might be cultivated; and that groundless jealousies, contrived by a faction, and fomented by party rage, might not effect that which their foreign enemies could not accomplish. This was the language of a pious, candid, and benevolent sovereign, who loved her subjects with a truly parental affection. The parliament considered her in that light. Each house presented her with a warm address of thanks and congratulation, expressing, in particular, their inviolable attachment to the protestant succession in the illustrious house of Hanover. The ratifications of the treaty being exchanged, the peace was proclaimed on the fifth of May, with the usual ceremonies, to the inexpressible joy of the nation in general. It was about this period that the chevalier de St. George conveyed a printed remonstrance to the ministers at Utrecht, solemnly protesting against all that might be stipulated to his prejudice. The commons, in a second address, had besought her majesty to communicate to the house in due time the treaties of peace and commerce with France; and now they were produced by Mr. Benson, chancellor of the exchequer.
THE TREATY WITH FRANCE.
By the treaty of peace the French king obliged himself to abandon the pretender, and acknowledge the queen's title and the protestant succession; to raze the fortifications of Dunkirk within a limited time, on condition of receiving an equivalent; to cede Newfoundland, Hudson's Bay, and St. Christopher's to England; but the French were left in possession of Cape Breton, and at liberty to dry their fish in Newfoundland. By the treaty of commerce a free trade was established, according to the tariff of the year one thousand six hundred and sixty-four, except in some commodities that were subjected to new regulations in the year sixteen hundred and ninety-nine. It was agreed that no other duties should be imposed on the productions of France imported into England than those that were laid on the same commodities from other countries; and that commissaries should meet at London to adjust all matters relating to commerce; as for the tariff with Spain, it was not yet finished. It was stipulated, that the emperor should possess the kingdom of Naples, the duchy of Milan, and the Spanish Netherlands; that the duke of Savoy should enjoy Sicily, with the title of king; that the same title, with the island of Sardinia, should be allotted to the elector of Bavaria, as an indemnification for his losses; that the states-general should restore Lisle and its dependencies; that Namur, Charleroy, Luxembourg, Ypres, and Newport, should be added to the other places they already possessed in Flanders; and that the king of Prussia should have Upper Gueldre, in lieu of Orange and the other states belonging to that family in Franche Compte. The king of Portugal was satisfied; and the first day of June was fixed as the period of time granted to the emperor for consideration.
A day being appointed by the commons to deliberate upon the treaty of commerce, very just and weighty objections were made to the eighth and ninth articles, importing, that Great Britain and France should mutually enjoy all the privileges in trading with each other that either granted to the most favoured nation; and that no higher customs should be exacted from the commodities of France, than those that were drawn from the same productions of any other people. The balance of trade having long inclined to the side of France, severe duties had been laid on all the productions and manufactures of that kingdom, so as almost to amount to a total prohibition. Some members observed, that by the treaty between England and Portugal, the duties charged upon the wines of that country were lower than those laid upon the wines of France; that should they now be reduced to an equality, the difference of freight was so great, that the French wines would be found much cheaper than those of Portugal; and, as they were more agreeable to the taste of the nation in general, there would be no market for the Portuguese wines in England; that should this be the case, the English would lose their trade with Portugal, the most advantageous of any traffic which they now carried on; for it consumed a great quantity of their manufactures, and returned a yearly sum of six hundred thousand pounds in gold. Mr. Nathaniel Gould, formerly governor of the bank, affirmed, that as France had since the revolution encouraged woollen manufactures, and prepared at home several commodities which formerly they drew from England; so the English had learned to make silk stuffs, paper, and all manner of toys, formerly imported from France; by which means an infinite number of artificers were employed, and a vast sum annually saved to the nation; but these people would now be reduced to beggary, and that money lost again to the kingdom, should French commodities of the same kind be imported under ordinary duties, because labour was much cheaper in France than in England, consequently the British manufactures would be undersold and ruined. He urged, that the ruin of the silk manufacture would be attended with another disadvantage. Great quantities of woollen cloths were vended in Italy and Turkey, in consequence of the raw silk which the English merchants bought up in those countries; and, should the silk manufacture at home be lost, those markets for British commodities would fail of course. Others alleged, that if the articles of commerce had been settled before the English troops separated from those of the confederates, the French king would not have presumed to insist upon such terms, but have been glad to comply with more moderate conditions. Sir William Wyndham reflected on the late ministry, for having neglected to make an advantageous peace when it was in their power. He said that Portugal would always have occasion for the woollen manufactures and the corn of England, and be obliged to buy them at all events. After a violent debate, the house resolved, by a great majority, that a bill should be brought in to make good the eighth and ninth articles of the treaty of commerce with France. Against these articles, however, the Portuguese minister presented a memorial, declaring, that should the duties on French wines be lowered to the same level with those that were laid on the wines of Portugal, his master would renew the prohibition of the woollen manufactures and other products of Great Britain. Indeed, all the trading part of the nation exclaimed against the treaty of commerce, which seems to have been concluded in a hurry, before the ministers fully understood the nature of the subject. This precipitation was owing to the fears that their endeavours after peace would miscarry, from the intrigues of the whig faction, and the obstinate opposition of the confederates.
THE SCOTTISH LORDS MOVE FOR A BILL TO DISSOLVE THE UNION.
The commons having granted an aid of two shillings in the pound, proceeded to renew the duty on malt for another year, and extended this tax to the whole island, notwithstanding the warm remonstrances of the Scottish members, who represented it as a burden which their country could not bear. They insisted upon an express article of the union, stipulating, that no duty should be laid on the malt in Scotland during the war which they affirmed was not yet finished, inasmuch as the peace with Spain had not been proclaimed. During the adjournment of the parliament, on account of the Whit-sun-holidays, the Scots of both houses, laying aside all party distinctions, met and deliberated on this subject. They deputed the duke of Argyle, the earl of Mar, Mr. Lockhart, and Mr. Cockburn, to lay their grievances before the queen. They represented that their countrymen bore with great impatience the violation of some articles of the union; and that the imposition of such an insupportable burden as the malt-tax would in all probability prompt them to declare the union dissolved. The queen, alarmed at this remonstrance, answered, that she wished they might not have cause to repent of such a precipitate resolution; but she would endeavour to make all things easy. On the first day of June, the earl of Findlater, in the house of peers, represented that the Scottish nation was aggrieved in many instances: that they were deprived of a privy-council, and subjected to the English laws in cases of treason: that their nobles were rendered incapable of being created British peers; and that now they were oppressed with the insupportable burden of a malt-tax, when they had reason to expect they should reap the benefit of peace: he therefore moved, that leave might be given to bring in a bill for dissolving the union, and securing the protestant succession to the house of Hanover. Lord North and Grey affirmed, that the complaints of the Scots were groundless; that the dissolution of the union was impracticable; and he made some sarcastic reflections on the poverty of that nation. He was answered by the earl of Eglinton, who admitted the Scots were poor, and therefore unable to pay the malt-tax. The earl of Hay, among other pertinent remarks upon the union, observed, that when the treaty was made, the Scots took it for granted that the parliament of Great Britain would never load them with any imposition that they had reason to believe grievous. The earl of Peterborough compared the union to a marriage. He said that though England, who must be supposed the husband, might in some instances prove unkind to the lady, she ought not immediately to sue for a divorce, the rather because she had very much mended her fortune by the match. Hay replied, that marriage was an ordinance of God, and the union no more than a political expedient. The other affirmed, that the contract could not have been more solemn, unless, like the ten commandments, it had come from heaven: he inveighed against the Scots, as a people that would never be satisfied; that would have all the advantages resulting from the union, but would pay nothing by their good will, although they had received more money from England than the amount of all their estates. To these animadversions the duke of Argyle made a very warm reply. "I have been reflected on by some people," said he, "as if I was disgusted, and had changed sides; but I despise their persons, as much as I undervalue their judgment." He urged, that the malt-tax in Scotland was like taxing land by the acre throughout England, because land was worth five pounds an acre in the neighbourhood of London, and would not fetch so many shillings in the remote countries. In like manner, the English malt was valued at four times the price of that which was made in Scotland; therefore, the tax in this country must be levied by a regiment of dragoons. He owned he had a great share in making the union, with a view to secure the protestant succession; but he was now satisfied this end might be answered as effectually if the union was dissolved; and, if this step should not be taken, he did not expect long to have either property left in Scotland, or liberty in England. All the whig members voted for the dissolution of that treaty which they had so eagerly promoted; while the tories strenuously supported the measure against which they had once argued with such vehemence. In the course of the debate, the lord-treasurer observed, that although the malt-tax were imposed, it might be afterwards remitted by the crown. The earl of Sunderland expressed surprise at hearing that noble lord broach a doctrine which tended to establish a despotic dispensing power and arbitrary government. Oxford replied, his family had never been famous, as some others had been, for promoting and advising arbitrary measures. Sunderland, considering this expression as a sarcasm levelled at the memory of his father, took occasion to vindicate his conduct, adding, that in those days the other lord's family was hardly known. Much violent altercation was discharged At length the motion for the bill was rejected by a small majority, and the malt-bill afterwards passed with great difficulty.