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posing occurrences, we possess no means of as- lords. No doubt there was excessive meanness certaining; but on the 28th of May he was smit- here on the part of government, of which Marlboten with paralysis, and became deprived on the in- rough had just cause to complain. Yet was it stant both of sense and of speech. The best me- beneath the dignity of the greatest man of his age dical aid being at hand, he was speedily relieved to dispute with his ungrateful country about 90001. from the fit, and under the skilful management of Better would it have been had he paid the debt at sir Samuel Garth, gradually regained his strength; once ; for the sum was not such as to put him to but from the usual effects of such a stroke he the smallest inconvenience, and posterity would never wholly recovered, neither his articulation have more than recompensed the loss by the nor his memory being restored to their original judgment which it would have passed on the entone. He was able to proceed, it is true, so early tire transaction. In spite, however, of these mulas the 7th of July, to Bath, where he drank the tiplied sources of disturbance, it does not appear waters with benefit, and he returned in a certain that the latter years of this great man's life were degree into society, resuming with apparent ease spent unhappily. Frequent returns of illness he the ordinary course of his employment. That his doubtless had, each of which left him more and faculties were not absolutely impaired, moreover, is more enfeebled in mind and body; but his interdemonstrated by the fact, that it was subsequent- vals of ease seem to have been passed in the soly to this his first seizure that he played his part ciety of those who were well disposed to cheat on the trial of lord Oxford; while his successful him, as far as they could, into a forgetfulness of speculation in South Sea stock, by which, con- his fallen condition. He played much at chess, trary to the custom of the adventure, he realised whist, piquet, and ombre; he took exercise for a 100,0001., proves that the talent of making money, while on horseback, latterly, on account of weakat least, had not deserted him. But it seems an ness, in his carriage; he even walked, when at idle as well as an uncalled for perversion of truth Blenheim, unattended about his own grounds, and to contend, that from the date of his first attack took great delight in the performance of private be ever was the man he had been previously. If theatricals. We have the best authority for as " the tears of dotage” did not flow from his eyes, serting, likewise, that he was never, till within a it is certain that much of the vigour of mind which short time of his death, either indisposed or inonce belonged to him was lost, and even his capable of conversing freely with his friends. speech continued embarrassed in the pronuncia- Whether in London, at Blenheim, Holywell, or tion of certain words, as his features were slightly Windsor Lodge (and he latterly moved from place distorted. Nor did the events which accumulat- to place with a sort of restless frequency,) his ed upon him, both at home and abroad, by ab- door was always open to the visits of his numerous stracting him from painful subjects, tend to fa- and sincere admirers; all of whom he received withcilitate his recovery. The duchess, not less the out ceremony, and treated with peculiar kindness. slave of caprice now than formerly, managed to In this manner Marlborough continued to drag involve herself in a serious misunderstanding with on an existence, which, when contrasted with the the king, and withdrew, in consequence, her attend- tenour of years gone by, scarcely deserves to be ance on a court where her presence ceased to be accounted other than vegetation. In 1720, he agreeable. This was preceded by quarrels with al- added several codicils to his will, and “put his most all the oldest and steadiest friends of her hus. house in order ;” and in November, 1721, he band, such as Cadogan, Stanhope, Sunderland, and made his appearance in the house of lords, where, secretary Scraggs, which were not composed till al- however, he took no prominent part in the busiter the growing infirmities of the duke had taught ness under discussion. He had spent the winter them to think of what he once had been, and what too in London, according to his usual habits, and he was likely soon to become. Nor was the death was recently returned to Windsor Lodge, when of Sunderland, which took place in April, 1722, his paralytic complaint again attacked him, with without its effect in harassing the duke of Marl- a degree of violence which resisted all efforts at borough. That nobleman not only died in his removal. On this occasion, it does not appear father-in-law's debt, to the amount of 10,0001.; that the faculties of his mind failed him. He lay, but the sealing up of his papers by government | indeed, for the better part of a week, incapable of occasioned a tedious suit, Marlborough being na- the slightest bodily exertion, being lifted from turally anxious to secure them to himself; a mea- his couch to his bed, and from his bed to his. sure which the government, on public grounds, couch, according as he indicated a wish to that resisted.
effect; but he retained his senses so perfectly as Besides being involved in these vexatious dis- to listen with manifest gratification to the prayers putes, Marlborough was again harassed by the of his chaplain, and to join in them, as he himself workmen employed at Blenheim, who in 1718 re- stated, on the evening preceding his death. The newed their actions against him for arrears of latter event befell at four o'clock in the morning of wages dué since 1715. He resisted the demand; the 16th of June, 1722, "when his strength,” says but a decree issued against him, from which he Dr.Coxe, “suddenly failed him, and he rendered up appealed, though without effect, to the house of his spirit to his Maker, in the 72d year of his age.* .
The most bitter political adversary to whom gree of foresight as belongs to no finite mind: Marlborough ever stood opposed, and the indi- but the narrative of his life forms one continued vidual at whose hands he suffered the deepest exemplification of prudence, to which there is not wrong, has not scrupled to leave on record this a parallel in history. Had he been able to control testimony to his character, that he was "the the wayward teinper of his wife, the close of his greatest general and the greatest minister whorn public career would have offered no contrast to its our country or any other has produced."* High- commencement That, however, he found it im. er praise than this, the involuntary tribute of an practicable to accomplish ; and hence a fabric of enemy, no man need desire; yet it can scarcely power, built up by the exercise of more than man's be accounted as extravagant. When Boling. discretion, a woman's violence, the offspring of broke wrote, England, at least, had produced no wounded vanity, threw to the ground. military commander, whose exploits would bear Another important quality conspicuous in the one moment's comparison with those of the duke character of this illustrious man, was that power of Marlborough; while, as a minister or a diplo of calculation which enabled him to examine bematist, it may admit of a question whether even fore-hand, with surprising accuracy, all the yet any superior to him has arisen. It may not chances, if we may so speak, of any undertaking be out of place if we endeavour to ascertain the in which he proposed to embark. Shutting his true causes of effects so remarkable; in other eyes to none of the dangers that might, by possi. words, if we strive to point out, as far as our bility, attend it, he brought these into immediate ability extends, those peculiar qualities of mind, a contrast with their opposites, and he came to his happy combination of which raised him, and will conclusion according as the weight of probabilities at all times raise others, above their competitors appeared to incline to the one side or the other. in the great games of politics and war.
If it be said that this, at least, is no unusual It is admitted on all hands that to the care and faculty, for that all men, when placed in situadiligence of tutors the duke of Marlborough owed tions of responsibility, exercise it: we answer, nothing. He entered upon public life at an age that the very reverse is the fact. Not one when it was next to impossible that he could have man in a million is gifted with sufficient clearness acquired more than the first rudiments of educa- of perception to embrace all, and no more than all, tion; and his studies were in consequence either the chances for and against an enterprise still in totally neglected, or carried on without order, al- the future: the sanguine naturally overlook the most without an aim. But Marlborough had re- obstacles which may stand in the way of success; ceived from nature gifts infinitely superior, for the the desponding are equally fertile in magnifying purposes of action, to any which mere learning can the risks of failure. It is only such a mind as that bestow. To an intuitive quickness, which ena- of Marlborough which can take in all the bearbled him to see into and understand the charac- ings of the question fairly and honestly, and deters of others, he united an extraordinary share of cide upon it according to its merits. What but a circumspection in the developement of his own; military genius of the highest order would have a circumspection which was the more available, dictated the march upon Vienna in 1704 ? yet that it lay hidden under the guise of perfect open.
how could the empire have been saved had no ness and candour. Frank in his general deport
such march been accomplished ? ment, and apparently without the wish or the In addition to this rare faculty of calculation, power to hold back from others the absolute con- Marlborough possessed a third quality, without fidence which they bestowed upon him, he never
which hours of the most patient inquiry will prove theless contrived to communicate to each only so useless ; a firmness of purpose, which, when a much of information as the peculiar disposition of
resolution was once taken, hindered him from bethe party consulted seemed to warrant. Discre- ing diverted from it either by the remonstrances tion, therefore, may be said to have formed one or the apprehensions of others. Entering upon very prominent feature in his mental portrait ; no enterprise till after it had been examined in all that kind of discretion which, equally removed its bearings, he ceased, so soon as the moveuent from timidity and rashness, directs a man as well began, to deliberate ; and considering the diffiwhen to exhibit reserve as when to display its op- culties by which it was beset only so far as might posite; as well how to meet an exigency as to be necessary to overcome them, he pressed steadiavoid it; as well when to take the lead, as to be ly forward towards the end which it was sought guided by the advice of others, the occurrence of to attain. There are a thousand proofs in every circumstances, or the movements of an adverse one of his campaigns, both of the truth of this obparty. We do not pretend to affirm that Marl- servation, and of the benefits attending the habit borough was never deceived, that he never com- of mind described ; but in none was the unbendmitted himself, with men who eventually betrayed ing resolution of the great commander more prohim. This were to attribute to him such a de minently exhibited than during the prolonged and
harassing siege of Lille. The obstacles opposed * Lord Bolingbroke, in his Letters on the Study of
to him there were not only gigantic in themselves, History.
but rendered doubly perplexing by the opinion 262
which the allies entertained of them ; yet Marl- Douay shows how correct were his own views of borough met them one after another, and by pa- the military strength of a country. tience and perseverance overcame them.
Of bravery, if by the term be meant the animal ? With three principal points of character, then, courage which prompts men to face danger, the which seem equally requisite for the great general great Marlborough could boast only in common and the great politician, which, and as they are with the meanest of his followers; but he posbestowed by nature alone, all the instruction in sessed also that kind of courage which is found the world will not create, Marlborough was pre- to co-exist only with talent of the first order. eminently gifted. He was discreet in communi- Neither perils nor ditřiculties, however unlooked cating with others, sagacious in deliberation, and for, deprived hinn for one moment of the most perprompt and decisive in execution. As a military fect self-command. In the heat of battle, he was man, on the other hand, he possessed little science; as cool and collected as when deliberating with that is to say, he could not boast of any intimate his staff in his tent; nor was his attention ever so acquaintance with the theories of professed tacti- completely engrossed with affairs in one quarter, cians ; nor was his knowledge of engineering, in as to render him careless or inattentive io what any of its departments, more than superficial. But might be doing elsewhere. At the battle of Blenthese defects, and such they doubtless were, only heim, it is true that he led a charge of cavalry in served to bring more prominently into view ex- person, and became for a brief space so mingled cellences far more rare as well as more important. in the throng that it was impossible to look Marlborough has never been surpassed in the per- around ; yet even here all his dispositions were fect knowledge to which he attained as to what
and the smoke had no sooner cleared men can really perform : in the dexterity which away than the effects of these dispositions became he displayed in making the most of his instruments, apparent. Reserves arrived exactly when they we doubt whether he has ever been equalled. were needed ; and Marlborough flew to some Long and painful marches he doubtless executed, other point, where he saw that his presence apwhen the exigencies of the moment seemed to re- peared more likely to be useful. In like manner, quire ; but he who examines with a critical eye
neither the frustration of one part of his plan, nor the operations of the whole war, will find that not the necessity thence arising to change it, in any a single instance occurs in which the allied troops degree discomposed the temper of his mind. At were harassed beyond their strength, or deprived, Malplaquet the rashness of the young prince of even during the busiest times, of a just proportiou
Orange had wellnigh proved fatal, by deranging of rest. It was this wise consideration for the
the whole order of attack, and costing a prodigious health of his troops, which enabled him to bring loss of life ; yet Marlborough treated it as an acthem into the field, at all seasons, fit for their cident not uncontemplated, and modified at once work ; and we have said enough to show that his his own dispositions, to meet the exigency. His movements were, after all, both more rapid and campaign of 1711, again, not only displays the better combined than those of his opponents. We
same indomitable self-command, but places him dwell the more strongly upon this fact, because
in the foremost rank among the masters of mathere are men who, in the excess of zeal, look
The passage of the lines has not been upon an officer as wanting in activity, who is not cast into the shade by any subsequent operation prepared to move, both by night and day, as well in presence of an enemy. in advance as in retreat. No really great general It has been said of Marlborough, by one of his ever indulged wantonly in night marches. Rouse inost elaborate biographers, that “ his genius was your soldiers as early in the morning as you of English mould, vast, comprehensive, and darplease ; but unless all be at stake, bring them to ing; attaining its purposes by great and decided their ground, and let them sleep for three hours at efforts, simple in design, and inajestic in execuleast before midnight.
We must be pardoned if we venture to Again, though little read in strategy, Marlbo- say, that we do not exactly comprehend the obrough had obtained from nature an aptitude inject of this commendatory sentence. Between the examination of ground for military purposes,
English genius and genius as it appears elsesuch as she bestows only on the most gifted of where, we know not how a diversity of character mankind. Whether the matter under considera- is to be detected ; and as to the remainder of the tion were the choice of a position for his own army, eulogium, we must confess, that to us it is wholly or the detection of some weak point in that of the unintelligible. As little are we able to compreenemy, the eagle eye of Marlborough was equal- hend what the learned author means, when he ly keen ; and of the advantages which either held asserts that his hero, “averse by character as well out, he invariably took advantage with as much as principle from defensive warfare, was always promptitude as effect. The battle of Blenheim the assailant, and invariably pursued one grand affords one out of numerous instances of his ex- object, regardless of minor consequences.” The traordinary quickness in observing the errors leader of an army, if he possess the talents which committed by his opponents ; the disposition of the corps which covered the sieges of Lille and
* Dr. Coxe.
263 y li
become his station, can permit neither principle and that, when looking back upon his conduct nor natural bias to direct him in his mode of con- towards his first master and early benefactor, we ducting a war. Wherever the state of affairs shall are almost compelled to acknowledge that the appear to recommend his acting on the offensive, wrongs which he endured in his latter days were he will, of course, and with all diligence, adopt but a just recompense of his early treachery. that system ; when a contrary mode of proceed- The duke of Marlborough left behind him ing seems to hold out better hopes of ultimate three daughters, all of them married into the best success, he will with equal cheerfulness adopt it. families of the kingdorn. Henrietta, the eldest, The truth is, that the power of choosing between the wife of Francis earl of Godolphin, became the fitting moment for aggressive and defensive on her father's decease duchess of Marlborough; manæuvre is exactly that which, more than any but died in 1733, without male issue. Anne marother, belongs to the great military genius. Events ried Charles, earl of Sunderland, from whom are 80 ordered it, that an offensive warfare promised descended the present duke of Marlborough and to Marlborough, in all his campaigns, more im- the earl of Spencer; and Mary gave her hand to portant results than its opposite; on this account the duke of Montagu. The property which he he pursued it : but had he been differently situat- had accumulated in the course of his long and ed, we cannot for one moment doubt that he would busy life proved to be very great. In addition to have adapted his tactics, without violating any
the estates purchased for him by the country, he principle, to the position in which he stood. disposed by will of lands and money, of which the In addition to these rare qualities of mind, the
interest fell not short of 100,0001. a year; indeed, duke of Marlborough was endowed by nature with
the annual revenue bequeathed to his successors a person and address more than usually captivat- in Woodstock alone is given on the best authority ing, as well among his inferiors as his equals. To at 70,0001. The mansion house at Blenheim was the elegance of that person and that address, in- at the period of his death still in progress of erecdeed, lord Chesterfield does not hesitate to attri- tion, and he set apart a sum of money for the purbute a large share of Marlborough's success pose of completing it, of which he committed the throughout life; and though we cannot exactly management exclusively to the duchess, who eur. go so far as the noble author has done in the pas- vived her husband many years. It seems alone sage to which we allude, we are far from denying necessary to add to this, that the estates of Woodthat it contains a great deal both of philosophy
stock are held on feudal tenure, the occupant preand sound reasoning. One thing, at least, is cer- senting to the king once a year a standard similar tain, that his mode of addressing the troops, the to those which the founder of his house captured ; appearance of interest which he exhibited in his and that these are regularly desposited in a private visits to the hospitals, and his manner of speaking chapel at Windsor, where they may still be seen to the meanest sentinel whenever he happened to by the curious. cross his path, rendered him an object of equal
The funeral of this illustrious warrior and stateslove and respect to his followers. Nor ought it man was of course as magnificent as his reputato be forgotten that Marlborough kept up some
tion and the honour of the country seemed to rething more than the forms of religion in his camp.
quire. His body, after undergoing the process of He never entered upon a general action of which embalming, and lying in state at Marlborough the plan had been deliberately laid, without him- House, was conveyed in a sort of triumphal car self receiving the sacrament, and causing prayers to Westminster Abbey, long lines of carriages to be read at the head of every regiment; and the following, and all the parade of troops, heralds, consequence was, that, to use the words of one and mourners preceding and surrounding the who served under him, “cursing and swearing senseless clay. A gorgeous canopy overshadow• were seldom heard among the officers; and the
ed it, adorned with plumes, military trophies, and poor soldiers, many of them the refuse and the heraldic achievements. Dukes and earls were dregs of the nation, became, at the close of one or
the chief mourners; the pall being borne by two campaigns, civil, sensible, and clean, and had persons of not less eminent rank; and the cavalan air and spirit above the vulgar.”
cade was received by the light of blazing torches The plan of this work necessarily precludes us
at the door of the abbey by all the dignitaries and from offering any general review of the character
ministers of the church in full canonicals. Yet of the illustrious Mariborough, considered as a
was the solemn ceremony performed for no other statesman and a diplomatist. On some accounts purpose than to render due honours to the remains we are disposed to lament, on others to rejoice, of England's most illustrious commander. The that such restrictions are imposed upon us; for body was not permitted for any length of time to though the exposure of even his moral delinquen- rest where, amid such splendour, it had been encies might convey a useful lesson to mankind, it tombed ; but, being removed to the chapel at Blenwere not an agreeable task to lay them bare. heim, it was finally deposited in mausoleum, Enough is done, therefore, when we express our re
erected by Rysbrack, under the superintendence
of the duchess. gret that the greatest hero of his age was not, as he might have been, also the most honest politician;
CHARLES MORD AUNT,
EARL OF PETERBOROUGH.
CHARLES MORDAUNT, the son of John lord Mordaunt, of Reigate in Surrey, and viscount Avalon in the county of Somerset, by Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Carey, second son of Robert earl of Monmouth, was born at his father's house in the country, in the year 1658. Of the events which marked the progress of his childhood and early youth no record has been preserved, at least we have utterly failed in our efforts to obtain any information on the authority of which it would be prudent to rely. We know, indeed, that he served, when a mere boy, on board the Mediterranean fleet, under admirals Torrington and Narborough; and that in 1676 he succeeded to the honours and estates of his ancestors. likewise assured that he was present at the siege of Tangier, in 1680; having, by this time, exchanged the naval for the military profession: but of the system adopted in forming his early tastes, as well as of the names of his instructors, we are left entirely ignorant. To one fact, however, the habits of his latter years seem to bear tolerably conclusive testimony. His education, using that term in its ordinary sense, could not have been neglected : at least, if the contrary be the case, he stands forth an almost solitary instance of literary aptitude acquired in the decline of life, for which no preparation had been made in boyhood.
The first historical mention made of the subject of this memoir, represents him as a bold and uncompromising opponent of the state policy pursued by the last two princes of the house of Stuart. Walpole even asserts that his hostility to the court went so far as to involve him in the plot of which lord Russell and Algernon Sydney were the victims ;* and that he accompanied the latter to the scaffold. But as neither Burnet nor Tindal make mention of this circumstance, and as Walpole neglects to quote his authority, the truth of the statement may, at least, be doubted. Be this, however, as it may, we find him, immediately after the accession of James, taking an active part in the opposition set up to the proceedings of that ill-advised monarch. It is probable that his exertions in the cause of public liberty marked him out as an object of royal disfavour; or, it may be, that sheer disgust drove him, as it drove others, to abandon, for a time, his devoted country. At all events, he became, by degrees, so little satisfied
with the state of affairs at home, that he solicited, and obtained, permission to serve abroad, and quitted England, avowedly for the purpose of commanding a portion of the Dutch fleet, which was then about to sail for the West Indies. Thus screened from animadversion, he passed over to Holland, where he immediately attached himself to the person and fortunes of the prince of Orange; strongly urging upon him the wisdom of attempting, without further loss of time, a revolution for which all classes in England were ripe. But the advice, though according well with the designs of the stadtholder, was rejected for the present as premature. “The lord Mordaunt,” says Burnet, was the first of all the English nobility that came over openly to see the prince of Orange. He asked the king's leave to do it. He was a man of much heat, many notions, and full of discourse. He was brave and generous, but had not true judgment. His thoughts were crude and indigested, and his secrets were soon known. He was with the prince in 1686; and then he pressed him to undertake the business of England; and he represented the matter as so easy, that this appeared too romantical to the prince to build upon it. He only promised, in general, that he should have an eye on the affairs of England; and should endeavour to put the affairs of Holland in so good a posture as to be ready to act when it should be necessary: and he assured him, that if the king should go about either to change the established religion, or to wrong the princess in her right, or to raise forged plots to destroy his friends, he would try what he could possibly do.”
From this date, up to the memorable era of 1688, lord Mordaunt resided entirely in the Low Countries. He was much courted by the prince; being, as Burnet expresses it, “one whom his highness chiefly trusted, and by whose advice he governed his motions.” Nor, when the cause finally triumphed, and William became king of England, were his services permitted long to go without their reward. On the 9th of April, 1689, he was created earl of Monmouth, having, on the day previous, been nominated to the twofold office of lord of the bedchamber and first commissioner of the treasury.
Lord Monmouth, as he must now be called, discharged his civil duties only till November, 1690; when, in consequence of some misunderstanding, of the precise nature of which we are ignorant, he was suddenly dismissed from the
* Walpole's Royal and Noble Authors.