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MARCH 17.

brother the duke of Orleans, his minister Louvois, Vauban, and five mareschals of France, he undertook the siege of Valenciennes; and by the judicious advice of Vauban, who recommended an assault to be made in the morning, when it would be least expected, in preference to the night, the usual time for such attempts, the place was carried by surprise6o. Cambray surrendered after a short siege; and St. Omer was closely invested, when the prince of Orange, with an army hastily assembled, marched to its relief. The siege was covered by the dukes of Orleans and Luxembourg; and as the prince was determined to endeavour to raise it, be the consequences what they might, an obstinate battle was fought at Mont Cassel; where, by a superior movement of Luxembourg, William was defeated, in spite of his most vigo rous efforts, and obliged to retire to Ypres. His behaviour was gallant, and his retreat masterly; but St. Omer submitted to the arms of France61.

APRIL 11.

Justly alarmed at such extraordinary success, the English parliament presented an address to the king, representing the danger to which the kingdom was exposed from the greatness of France, and praying that he would form such alliances as should both secure his own dominions and the Spanish Netherlands, and thereby quiet the fears of his people. The king returned an evasive answer, and the commons thought it necessary to be more particular. They entreated him to interpose immediately in favour of the confederates; and, in case a war with France should be the consequence of such interference, they promised to support him with all necessary aids and supplies. Charles, in his answer, artfully

60. Voltaire, Siecle, chap. xii.

61. Temple's Mem. part ii. chap. ii. In attempting to rally his dispersed troops, the prince struck one of the runaways across the face with his sword. " Rascal!" cried he, "I will set a mark on you at present, that I may hang you afterward." Id. Ibid.

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expressed his desire of being first put in a condition to accomplish the design of their address. This was understood as a demand for money: but the commons were too well acquainted with the king's connections with France, to hazard their money in expectation of alliances which they believed would never be formed, if the supplies were granted beforehand. Instead of a supply, they therefore voted an address, in which "they besought his majesty to enter into a league, offensive and defensive, with the States-General of the Uni"ted Provinces, against the growth and power of the French "king, and for the preservation of the Spanish Netherlands; "and to make such other alliances with the confederates as "should appear fit and useful for that end." They supported their advice with arguments; and concluded with assuring the king, that when he should be pleased to declare such an alliance in parliament, they would most cheerfully support his measures with plentiful and speedy supplies. Pretending resentment at this address as an encroachment on his prerogative, Charles made an angry speech to the commons, and ordered the parliament to be adjourned.

Had the king, my dear Philip, been prompted to this measure (as an author, nowise prejudiced against him, very justly observes) by a real jealousy of his prerogative, it might merit some applause, as an indication of vigour; but when we are made acquainted with the motives that produced it, when we know that it proceeded from his secret engagements with France, and his disappointment in not obtaining a large sum to dissipate upon his pleasures, it furnishes a new instance of that want of sincerity which disgraced the character of Charles63. When he thus urged the commons to strengthen his hands for war, he had actually sold his neutrality to France, as I have already had occasion to notice; and had he obtained the supply required for that end,

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he would no doubt have found expedients to screen his conduct, without entering into war, or even breaking off his private correspondence with Lewis. But to make an offensive and defensive alliance with the confederates, the condition of a supply, he foresaw, would deprive him of the secret subsidy, and throw him upon the mercy of his commons, whose confidence he had deservedly lost, and whose spirit he was desirous to subdue. Considering his views, and the engagements he had formed, he acted with prudence; but both were unworthy of a king of England.

While Charles, lolling in the lap of pleasure, or wasting his time in thoughtless jollity, was thus ingloriously sacri ficing the honour of his kingdom and the interests of Europe, in consideration of a contemptible pension from a prince to whom he might have given law, the eyes of his subjects were anxiously turned toward the political situation of the contending powers, and the events of the campaign. In Spain, domestic faction had been added to the other misfortunes of a kingdom long declining, through the weakness of her councils, and the general corruption of her people. Don John of Austria, natural son of Philip IV. had taken arms against the queen-regent, and advanced toward Madrid; and although disappointed in his expectations of support, he returned to Saragossa, where fortune soon after favoured his ambition. The young king, Charles II. escaping from his mother, ordered her to be shut up in a convent at Toledo, and declared Don John prime minister. But the hopes entertained of his abilities were not answered by the event.The misfortunes of Spain increased on every side.

In Catalonia, Monterey was defeated; Bracamonte lost the battle of Forumina in the kingdom of Sicily; and Flanders, in consequence of the capture of Valenciennes, Cambray, and St. Omer, was laid open to absolute conquest. The prince of Orange, in order to atone for his defeat at Cassel, sat down before Charleroy; but on the appearance of the French army, under mareschal Luxembourg, he was forced

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to raise the siege 4. William, though possessed of consider able talents for war, was inferior to this experienced general; and seems always to have wanted that happy combination of genius and skill, which is necessary to form the great commander.

On the Upper Rhine, Charles V. duke of Lorrain, who had succeeded his uncle rather in the title than in the territory of that duchy, commanded a body of the allies. The prince of Saxe-Eisinach, at the head of another army, endeavoured to enter Alsace. But the mareschal de Crequi, with an inferior force, defeated the views of the duke of Lorrain, though an able officer. He obliged him to retire from Mentz; he hindered him from crossing the Maese; he beat up his posts, he cut off his convoys; and having gained an advantage over the allies, near Cokersberg, he closed the campaign on that side with the taking of Fribourg. The ba ron de Montclar, who defended Alsace, was no less successful. After various movements, he inclosed the troops of the prince of Saxe-Eisinach within his own, and forced them to capitulate near Strasburg's. The king of Sweden, however, was not equally fortunate with his illustrious ally; he had still the worst in the war, notwithstanding the taking of Elseinbourg, and a victory gained over the king of Denmark. His fleet was twice defeated by the Danes, and the elector of Brandenburg took from him the important fortress of Stettin66.

During the rapid progress of the French arms in Flanders, serious negociations had been begun between Lewis and the States-General of the United Provinces, and an eventual treaty was actually concluded; by which all differences were adjusted, and nothing wanting to the restoration of peace, but the concurrence of their respective allies. The misfortunes of the confederates, and the supine indifference

64. Pelison, tom. iii.
66. Mem. de Brandenlurg.

65. Id. ibid. Volta re, Siec e, chap. xii.

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of England, seemed to render peace necessary to them. But had they been sufficiently acquainted with the state of France, they would have had fewer apprehensions from the continuance of the war. Though victorious in the field, she was exhausted at home. The successes which had rendered her the terror of her neighbours, had already deprived her, for a time, of the power of hurting them. But the ignorance of mankind continued their fears: the apprehensions of Europe remained; and Lewis derived more glory from his imaginary than from his real force.

These apprehensions were very great in England. In parliament they were made subservient to the purposes of ambition and faction, as well as of patriotism; and they awakened dangerous discontents among the people. Murmurs were heard from all ranks of men. Willing to put an end to dissatisfactions that disturbed his repose, Charles made a new attempt to gain the confidence of his people. His brother's bigoted attachment to popery, and his own unhappy connections with France, he was sensible, had chiefly occasioned the loss of his popularity. To afford the prospect of a protestant succession to the throne, and procure a general peace to Europe, could not therefore fail, he thought of quieting the minds of his subjects. He accordingly encouraged proposals of marriage from the prince of Orange to the lady Mary, his brother's eldest daughter, and presumptive heiress to the crown, the duke of York having then no male issue, and the king no legitimate offspring. By so tempting a match, he hoped to engage the prince entirely in his interests; and to sanctify with William's approbation such a peace as would satisfy France, and tend to perpetuate his own connections with Lewis.

William came over to England at the close of the campaign; and whatever might be his motives for such a conduct, he acted a part highly deserving of applause, whether we examine it by the rules of prudence or delicacy. He refused to enter upon business before he had been introduced

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