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mise thus held out; and his general portrait of Marlborough, as regards his achievements and his genius, is the worthiest of the original with which we have met in the pages of the many modern writers who have illustrated the subject. But if we have a fault to find, it is rather that his narrative reads in parts too much like a vindication; as if the exalted fame of the man, and our national pride in him, rendered it necessary, or at all events graceful on our part, to judge of all doubtful questions which touch him in the favourable sense. We cannot, for our own part, accept this principle of criticism. Marlborough, before the tribunal of history, must be judged like any other man-or let history respectfuily refrain from pronouncing any judgment on him at all. After a century and a half has elapsed, the only client worth defending is Truth. But, in plain earnestness, the more closely the man and his actions are examined, the more does his extreme superiority, in all that constitutes a great man, “le moral' apart, make itself clearer and clearer to the observer. He is not merely the best among many, but he stands among contemporaries absolutely alone. If the experience of other times had not demonstrated this truth, that of our own is surely alone sufficient to establish it—that high military genius is something apart, solitary, and exceptional; and that a warlike nation and a magnificent army may utterly break down in collision with an enemy who has no prominent advantage over them except one—that of possessing a first-rate strategist to direct his movements. Marlborough was to the_full as
much the master of those to whom he was opposed, as Frederic - the Great or Napoleon. If his genius was not fully appreciated
in after days, by either of those great professors of his art, we attribute this less to any spirit of jealousy than to the insularity of our position and the smallness of our national contribution to the general forces of the several alliances in which we have been engaged.
*Above all' (says Lord Stanhope) 'our gratitude as Englishmen is due to him because he so signally “retrieved" (let us adopt those words from the Commons' notes *) “the ancient glory of England.” To Marlborough, beyond all others, belongs the praise of bringing back to our arms the full lustre that beamed upon them in the days of the Edwards and the Henries. The days of Queen Anne need fear no comparison with those : Ramillies and Blenheim are worthy to be enrolled side by side with Agincourt, Cressy, and Poictiers.'
* Lord Stanhope does not here notice the fierce debates in Parliament which the insertion of these words occasioned. The Whigs regarded them as an insult to the memory of William III.
We must think that it is not strictly accurate to attribute to our men the honours really due to our general. The English • infantry,' Marshal Bugeaud is reported to have said, “is the ‘most formidable in the world : happily there is but little
of it!' When we claim to ourselves, as Lord Stanhope seems a little inclined to do in this passage, the glory of campaigns in which we, English born, formed only a small fraction of the great armies engaged, we tempt foreign military historians to sneer and to depreciate. We do not suppose that there were, at any one time, in any campaign, more than 30,000 of Queen Anne's British troops actually in service under Marlborough. He was, thoughout, the commander of an allied force; and the consummate temper and sagacity with which be filled a post so eminently difficult, formed even more, if possible, than sheer military talent, the highest of his merits. At Blenheim, out of 52,000 men in all, Marlborough had only 9,000 English, besides • Dutch, Danes, and Hanoverians. The Margrave of • Baden, besides the Imperialists * (?), had Suabians, Prussians, (and Franconians.' At Ramillies, which was more the Englishman's battle than Blenheim, the Duke's army consisted of troops in Dutch as well as English pay, and a contingent of Danes. At Malplaquet, where the armies were swelled on each side into the then unheard-of magnitude of more than 100,000 men, almost the entire anti-Gallican confederacy had its respective contingents in the field. On the other hand, in the famous • Representation of the Commons to the Queen,' drawn up by Sir Thomas Hanmer's Committee in 1712,f of which the
* We have before us a dry professional compendium, entitled • Introduction to the Study of Military History, by J. v. H., member of • the Swedish Academy of Military Science,' in which the author selects the battle of Blenheim as adapted for a special lecture. He does ample justice to the commanding genius of the Duke of Marlborough; but all he says of the English troops is that they were a • little behind those of the Continental armies in their equipment,' although their musketry fire was effective.
† One of the ablest state papers of that age of fine political writing. Sir Thomas Hanmer had the credit of it with the public; but it bears marks of a much stronger hand than his. Swift lays claim to his share in it, and did his best to make it what he calls a 'pepperer.'
Sir Thomas Hanmer, whom the biographies term a distinguished statesman and polite man of letters,' afforded one of the instances so often to be noted in our party history, of the gradual and almost unmarked failure of a career which had at first every prospect of success. His importance in Parliament was at one time so great, that his opposition to the Commercial Articles of the Treaty of Utrecht endangered the success of the whole measure. He went to France, in company
object is to complain of the unequal burdens cast on England in respect of the war, it is asserted that the allies have “almost wholly declined taking on themselves any part of the war in Spain ;' and that in seven years, from 1705 to 1711, the forces sent there by England · have amounted to not less
than 57,973 men,' besides subsidised troops. But the war in Spain, which cost so much of our island blood, was, though abounding in gallant feats against great odds and in chivalrous surprises, on the whole inglorious. Our men were commanded by one or two knights errant, and one or two incapables. They achieved, therefore, but little; and our ordinary historians prefer dwelling on the exploits done in Flanders, in which we really had a much smaller share; though Lord Stanhope,
with Ormond, in a semi-official way in 1712, and Saint-Simon could make nothing of him. “Il parnt à la cour un personnage singulier
fut reçu avec des empressemens et des distinctions surprenantes. Le roi l'en combia, les ministres s'y surpassèrent, tout ce qui étoit de plus marqué à la cour se piqua de le fétoyer. C'étoit un Anglais d'un peu plus de trente ans, de bonne mine et parfaite! ment bien fait, qui s'appeloit le chevalier Hammer (sic), et qui étoit 'fort riche. Il avoit épousé aussi la fille unique et héritière de milord • Harrington (Arlington), secrétaire d'Etat, veuve du duc de Grafton,
qui en étoit éprise,' [Swift describes his dining with this lady in . 1712 : 'She wears a great high head-dress, such as was in fashion ' fifteen years ago, and looks like a mad woman in it; yet she has great remains of beauty,'] et qui conserva de droit son nom et son rang de duchesse de Grafton, comme il se pratique toujours en Angleterre en faveur des duchesses, marquises, et comtesses qui étant veuves se remarient inégalement. Hammer passoit pour avoir beaucoup d'esprit et de crédit dans la chambre des Communes. Il étoit 'fort attaché au gouvernement d'alors, et fort bien avec la reine, qui • l'avoit tenu toute la campagne auprès du duc d'Ormond, pour être ! un peu son conseil. De Flandre il vint ici; il y demeura un mois ou six semaines, également couru et recherché, et s'en alla d'ici en
Angleterre pour l'ouverture du parlement. Je n'ai point su alors ce • qu'il étoit venu faire, ni même s'il étoit chargé de quelque chose,
comme l'accueil qu'il y reçut porte à le croire, et j'ai oublié à m'en " informer depuis. On n'en a guère ouï parler dans la suite ! Il faut qu'il n'ait fait ni figure ni fortune sous ce règne en Angleterre, et • qu'il ne se soit pas accroché au suivant.' Saint-Simon no doubt regarded Hanmer's attaining the dignity of Speaker of the House of Commons—if he knew of it—as no • fortune' worth a courtier's notice. Probably the real solution of the failure of Hanmer to make his mark' on the age lay in the fact that he was fundamentally a dull man. His qualifications as an editor of Shakspeare are summed up by Horace Walpole. Ile amended Iago's puzzling description of Cassio as follows: "A fellow almost damned in a fair phiz.'
as is surely pardonable in an inheritor of the great name which he bears, devotes to the affairs of the Peninsula a larger space than they usually occupy in English histories.
The great glory of Marlborough lies in this—not that he knew how to make the best of excellent materials, but that he obtained his successes through the employment of the very worst materials which a first-rate general ever had at his disposal.
It is not to be supposed that the timidity of the Dutch States was the only obstacle against which Marlborough had to strive. In a Confederacy that ranked together so many members great and small, there was scarce upon the Continent one general officer, there was scarce one petty prince, who did not put forward some selfish and undue pretensions. . . . Nothing-in public life at least—could ruffle his composure: neither the scruples of the Dutch Deputies, which so often interposed between him and an almost certain victory, nor the pretensions as unreasonably earned of his Gernian colleagues; neither the calumnies of his opponents nor the changes in his friends; an attack in Parliament as little as an onset from the French. [We can scarcely agree with this last remark in its full extent: Marlborough surely at times showed extreme sensitiveness to the attacks of his political enemies.] It is recorded of him that once, as he heard a surly groom mutter some words of anger behind him, he quietly turned to Commissary Marriot, who was riding by his side, and said, “Now, I would not have that fellow's temper for all the world.” With the suavity of mind in this great chief there was also no less suavity of manner. So competent a judge as Lord Chesterfield speaks of him in the following terms : “Of all the men that ever I knew in my life (and I knew him “ extremely well), the late Duke of Marlborough possessed the graces “ in the highest degree, not to say engrossed them. These graces en“hanced the effect of his noble cast of countenance, and of his singular
beauty both of face and form. They gave him on every occasion a “ most fascinating influence; they enabled him, whenever he desired, " to please and persuade." (Pp. 127–170.)
Without detracting to any serious extent from the force of a panegyric which rests on so much concurrence of authority, we cannot help doubting whether the graces of Marlborough were not, to some extent, Chesterfieldian graces after all. Perhaps it might be owing to the dislike and suspicion so generally entertained of his personal motives; but even his most attractive advances seem to have been often received with a kind of distrust. It is rather remarkable that Saint-Simon (who derived his impressions of men and events on our side in Flanders chiefly from the gossip of released French prisoners), while speaking of the great .courtoisie ' of Marlborough in his relations with Prince Eugene, adds, nevertheless, 'Qu'il n'avoit
pas la même estime, la confiance, l'affection qu'Eugène s'étoit acquises.'
No circumstance, however, speaks more highly at once for Marlborough's loftiness of understanding and serenity of temper than the perfection of his personal relations with so formidable a rival in popularity as Eugene S
It was the intercourse of three days,' immediately before Blenheim, • that laid the foundations of lasting friendship between these two eminent men. Ever afterwards there prevailed between them an entire concert of measures, an entire cordiality of feeling. Equally to the honour of Marlborough and Eugene, they almost always viewed public affairs in precisely the same light, and they were never disjoined by the least spark of personal jealousy. “I dare say," thus we find Marlborough writing four years after this time, “ Prince Eugene “and I shall never differ about our share of laurels.”' (P. 129.)
Thus far as regards the general and the statesman; but when from these categories we pass to that of the man, we are forced unwillingly to part company with our guide. Lord Stanhope carefully anatomises the Duke's character; he points out his laxity of political principle, his subserviency to a termagant wife, his rapacity coupled with avarice, and so forth ; but he does not seem to us capable of drawing the unwelcome lesson from these particulars which Lord Macaulay but too unerringly drew, of the utter meanness which vitiated his whole composition ; described nowhere so fiercely as in those savage lines of Pope, which Pope dared not give to the public, and which have never yet been printed :
• What wonder triumph never turned his brain,
Filled with small fears of loss, small joys of gain ?' We will not, however, for our own part pursue so ungrateful an inquiry, except so far as is necessary to point out the singular leniency with which Lord Stanhope has dealt with one special portion of the Duke's misdoings, his treacherous dealings with the Pretender. This leniency is the more remarkable because here again, as in other cases, Lord Stanhope appears to us to pass over lightly, in his present history, charges which he had himself effectually substantiated in his former volumes.
We omit the affair of Brest, as not belonging to this epoch, and confine ourselves to the occurrences just before and after the demise of Anne :
The second instance is of 1715. It is alleged that Marlborough, being then, in name at least, Commander-in-Chief for King George, sent over in secret a sum of money to assist the exiled Prince in his invasion of the kingdom. Of this second charge the public in general are not so fully aware, nor is it quite so clearly established. The first indication, as also the sole proof of it, is contained in a letter which I found