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The English ministry, in concert with the parliament, took the most vigorous measures for repelling the intended. invasion, as well as for continuing the war. And no sooner had all apprehensions of danger ceased, than the duke of Marlborough, the great pillar of the nation, and the chief support of the grand alliance, went over to Flanders in order to command the confederate army, in conjunction with prince Eugene, who, in the beginning of the campaign, had headed a separate army upon the Rhine. The French army, commanded by the duke de Vendome in the name of the duke of Burgundy, though more numerous than that of the confederates, studiously avoided an action, or any hostile attempt; until by treachery, under the JULY 5. appearance of surprise, they got possession of Ghent and Bruges. The duke of Marlborough, accused of being privy to this treachery, demonstrated by his conduct the injustice of the aspersion. Though not yet joined by prince Eugene's army, but assisted by the advice of that consummate general, he passed the Scheld, by a forced march, and came up with the enemy near Oudenarde. They could no longer decline a battle: and their situation and superiority in numbers seemed to ensure them success.

JULY 11.

The Scheld, and several enclosures, covered the left wing of the French army. A morass lay along the hostile front; and on a rising ground, on their right, the enemy placed their cavalry, interlined with parties of foot. The infantry of the allies, advancing across the morass, were received with great firmness by the French foot. But the British cavalry broke the French horse at the first shock, and the foot intermixed with the squadrons were cut to pieces on the spot. Meantime the French infantry behind the morass had stood their ground against all the efforts of the confederates. In order, however, to avoid being flanked by the British cavalry, now triumphant, they sheltered themselves in the inclosures on the banks of the Scheld; and, although the approach of darkness prevented the defeat from becoming general, the fears and misconduct of the enemy yielded to


the allies all the advantages of a complete victory. So great was their panic and confusion, that while the confederates expected nothing but the renewal of the action the next morning, the vanquished retreated by five different routes in the night and that disgraceful and disorderly flight, by breaking the spirit of the soldiers, rendered all the operations of the French timid, during the rest of the campaign". Though they preserved their cannon and baggage, they lost by this defeat about twenty thousand men: they had five thousand killed, nine thousand taken prisoners, and near six thousand deserted.

Immediately after the battle of Oudenarde, the French were reinforced by a strong detachment under the duke of Berwick, from the Rhine; and the confederates were joined by prince Eugene's army, which escorted a grand convoy: This convoy the duke of Berwick, whose troops arrived first, proposed to attack; but that proposal, as well as every other which he made during the campaign, was rejected by the duke de Vendome, either from jealousy or timidity23. In consequence of the safe arrival of the convoy, and the troops that guarded it, the siege of Lisle, the principal city in French Flanders, and the second in the dominions of Lewis XIV. the key of the kingdom, fortified with all the art of Vauban, was undertaken by prince Eugene; while Marlborough lay encamped in the neighbourhood, in order to prevent the enemy from interrupting the operations, and to forward the necessary supplies to the besiegers,4.

21. Feuquiers. Burnet. Voltaire.

22. Burnet, book vii. Duke of Berwick's Mem. vol. i.

AUG. 22.

23. Duke of Berwick's Mem. vol. i. As none of these proposals were embraced, it is impossible to say, what success might have attended them; but military men, in general, seem to be of opinion, that most of the measures suggested were highly worthy of being adopted.

24. Burnet, book vii. Duke of Berwick, vol. i.


No town was ever, perhaps, more vigorously attacked or defended than Lisle; into which the mareschal de Boufflers, an old experienced officer, had thrown himself, with some of the best troops of France; the garrison consisted of about twelve thousand men, the besiegers of, at least, thirty thou sand. None of the works were carried without an obstinate struggle; and scarce were the assailants masters of one place, when they were driven from another, and in danger of losing all their former advantages, gained at a prodigious expence of blood and valour. Yet still they persevered, and by perseverance advanced their progress. Meanwhile Vendome endeavoured to distress them by cutting off their convoys. But in that service he most unaccountably failed, as well as in all his attempts to relieve the place; so that Boufflers, after a gallant defence of two months, was oblig ed to surrender Lisle. He retired into the citadel, which was also forced to capitulate; and Ghent and Bruges were recovered before the close of the campaign25. No event of any importance happened in Germany during the summer. The electors of Hanover and Bavaria, who were opposed to each other on the Upper-Rhine, not being in a condition to act with effect in the field, employed themselves chiefly in fortifying their lines; a precaution suggest

ост. 23.

25. Id. Ibid. The duke of Berwick particularly investigates the causes of the capture of Lisle. And it appears if his advice had been followed, that the convoys of the confederates would have been effectually cut off, and perhaps prince Eugene, and even the duke of Marlborough, defeated, by the assistance of troops that might have been drawn out of the neighbouring garrisons, without their knowledge, to reinforce an already strong army, by which they were surrounded; and which could, with such reinforcements, have amused the one, while it gave battle to the other. It also appears, on the same authority, that Marlborough, on one occasion, would have totally defeated Vendome, if he had not been prevented from hazarding a battle by the field deputies of the States. See the Duke of Berwick's Mem. vol. i. and the Letters, at the end of the volume, which contain many curious particulars in the military line, and fully illustrate the principal events of the campaign in Flanders, in 1708.


ed by a mutual consciousness of their weakness 26. On the side of Italy, where much was expected, some advantages were gained by the allies, but nothing signal was performed. The duke of Savoy, who, beside his native troops, had in his army twenty thousand men in the pay of Great-Britain and the States, had formed great and extensive projects. He designed to pass through the territories of the Swiss, to join the troops of the empire in Alsace, and to penetrate into France on that side. But he was so vigorously opposed by mareschal Villars, that he was happy in having opened a passage into the enemy's country, and secured his own dominions against the future invasions of the French on the most exposed side, by making himself master of Exilles, la Perouse, and Fenestrelles 27.

The confederates were yet less successful in Spain. There the house of Bourbon had two armies in the field, on the side of Catalonia; one under the duke of Orleans, another led by the duke de Noailles; and a third army in Estramadura, commanded by the marquis de Bay. Though Charles III. had not a sufficient force to enable him to face the duke of Orleans in the field, the latter was prevented, by the unprovided condition of his army, from making such progress as might have been feared. He took, however, Tortosa in the month of July; and Dania and Alicant, in the province of Valencia, fell into the hands of the French before the close of the campaign. The duke de Noailles, opposed by the prince of Darmstadt, performed nothing of importance, except providing his troops with provisions at the expence of the Catalans; and the season of action, on the side of Portugal, was passed in a state of absolute inactivity28.

26. Barre, Hist. d'Allemagne, tom. x. Burnet, book vii. 27. Burnet, ubi sup. State of Europe, 1708.


28. Hist. d'Espagne. tom. ii. Mem. de Noailles. tom. ii. But the generals, who there commanded, and whose conduct in the field was so little worthy of praise, gained great credit by a wise and humane convention, that can never be enough admired: they agreed, that the peasants, on the frontiers

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The operations by sea were attended with very consider. able success, on the part of the confederates. Sir John Leake, having carried to Catalonia the princess of Wolfenbuttle, whom Charles III. had espoused, took on board some troops and directed his course to Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia. No sooner did the English fleet appear than the monks, gained by cardinal Grimani, who was in the interest of the house of Austria, ran in bodies to the streets and public places, holding the crucifix in their hands, and assured the inhabitants, who flocked around them, that God had made use of heretics to give them a better master. This made such an impression on the populace, that the viceroy was forced to accept of such terms as the invaders chose to grant: and the whole island submitted without drawing a sword29. The same admiral, assisted by major-general Stanhope, also took the island of Minorca3°; a conquest, in itself less valuable than Sardinia, but of more importance to England when at war with Spain, on account of the excellent harbour of Mahon, and the strong castle of St. Philip, by which it is defended.

The reduction of those islands, which, in conjunction with the fortress of Gibralter, gave the maritime powers the absolute command of the Mediterranean, induced the Italian states to submit to certain antiquated claims of the empercr Joseph, that they would otherwise have rejected with disdain. Even the pope, who had hitherto adhered to the interests of Philip V. and who had raised an army for the defence of the ecclesiastical state, no sooner heard of the surrender of Bologna to the Imperialists, and that an English fleet was ready to bombard Civita Vecchia, than he promised to acknowledge Charles III. as lawful king of Spain, in order to

frontiers of Spain and Portugal, should not be disturbed, by the troops of either party, in cultivating the soil, or in feeding their cattle; and that the war, should, for the future, be considered as subsisting only between regular armies, or men in military service, and not between the private inhabitants of the two kingdoms. Id. Ibid.

20. Hist. d'Espagne, tom. ii. State of Europe, 1708.

30. Id. Ibid.


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