« 上一頁繼續 »
DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH'.
As it is natural to have a fondness for what has cost us much time and attention to produce, I hope your Grace will forgive my endeavour to preserve this work from oblivion, by affixing to it your memorable name.
* John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, and Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, one of the ablest statesmen, and most polite courtiers, as well as one of the greatest generals, and most illustrious heroes of his age, was the son of Sir Winston Churchill, of Wotton Basset, in Wiltshire, and born at Ashe, in Devonshire, June 24, 1650. He was at first page of honour to James Duke of York; but being strongly inclined to a military life, he obtained, at the age of sixteen, an ensigncy in the guards, and in that quality served against the Moors at Tangier. In the war with the Dutch in 1672, he served under the Duke of Monmouth in the French army, where he distinguished himself so much by his gallantry and conduct, that he received the thanks of the French monarch at the head of the army. The Duke of
I shall not here presume to mention the illustrious passages
of your life, which are celebrated by the whole age, and have been the subject of the most sublime pens ; but if I could convey you to posterity in your private character, and de
Monmouth too, at his return to England, declared to King Charles the Second, that “ he owed his life at the siege of Maestrich to the bravery of Captain Churchill. This opened the way for his farther advancement; and he was accordingly appointed lieutenant-colonel of Littleton's regiment, and gentleman of the bed-chamber, and master of the robes to James Duke of York. This prince he afterwards attended to the Low Countries, and to Scotland; and it was by the interest of his royal highness, that, in 1682, he was made Baron of Eymouth, and colonel of the third troop of guards. Upon the accession of King James to the throne, he was created Baron Churchill, of Sandridge, in the county of Hertford, and made brigadier-general of his majesty's army; and in this last capacity he had a considerable share in suppressing the duke of Monmouth's rebellion. Great, however, as were the obligations which he lay under to his sovereign, those which he owed to his country were, in his opinion, much greater; for when he saw King James taking strides toward destroying the religion and liberties of his country, he immediately deserted. him, and went over to the Prince of Orange. In the subsequent reign he enjoyed the same influence which he had. possessed in the preceding. He was sworn of the privycouncil, made one of the gentlemen of the queen's bedchamber, and created Earl of Marlborough. He afterwards served with great reputation, both in Flanders and in Ireland; but, in 1692, he was dismissed from all his employments, and even thrown into the tower on a suspicion of high treason. This suspicion, however, appearing, upon examination, to be altogether groundless, he was restored to favour, and appointed governor to the Duke of
scribe the stature, the behaviour, and aspect of the Duke of Marlborough, I question not but it would fill the reader with more agreeable images, and give him a more delightful entertainment, than Gloucester, whom King William delivered into his hands with this remarkable expression, - My lord, make him but what you are, and my nephew will be all that I wish to see him.' Upon the accession of Queen Anne to the throne, he was made a knight of the garter, and captain-general of her majesty's forces, and sent over to Holland with the character of ambassador extraordinary, and minister plenipotentiary. The States too, in compliment to the Queen, and as a proof of their being sensible of the Earl's own merit, constituted him captain-general of their forces, and assigned him a pension of one hundred thousand florins per
To relate all the atchievements he performed during the ten years that ensued, i. e. from 1702 to 1712, would be almost to give a history of Queen Anne's reign. It may be sufficient here to observe, that he defeated the French armies, though headed by their ablest generals, and always superior to him in point of number, in several pitched battles, at Blenheim, at Ramilies, at Oudenard, at Malplaquet, &c.; that he reduced almost every place of importance in the French and Spanish Netherlands; saved the empire; secured the United Provinces; raised the glory and consequence of Great Britain; and humbled the pride of the French monarch to such a degree, that that ambitious prince, who, but a few years before, had seized, in imagination, the dominions of all his neighbours, now began, in earnest, to tremble for his own, In a word, it may be said of this general, what can hardly be said of any other, that he never fought a battle which he did not gain, nor ever besieged a town which he did not take. Even in the earlier part of his life, he gave evident signs of what he afterwards proved. Prince Vaudemont, it is said, delivered himself to King William in the following terms: • There is somewhat in the Earl of Marlborough, that I VOL. IV.