Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

that gentleman deserved it; but I am fully persuaded, that there was an English officer, in his dominions, every jot as fit for the high command of Captain-General, and time has abundantly declared it.

The camp of Dundalk was fatal to the English. We lost a great many brave men there, amongst whom were Colonel Wharton, Colonel Deering, and several other persons of quality; and it is thought, that, if his Grace the Duke of Schomberg had fought the Irish with all their boasted odds, he would hardly, though beaten, been a greater loser.

But, whether King William approved the Duke of Schomberg's managing the army or not, it is plain he acted contrary to his Grace ; for no sooner could he reach the Boyne with bis troops, but he gave the enemy battle, humouring or approving of the inclinations of the English, whose custom it has been, always to engage at sight, without counting numbers.

What made the King so fiery at the Boyne is uncertain. Some attribute it to the rashness of his temper, others, with more justice, believe the precipitation, he then shewed, was occasioned by the ill news he had received from England, that my Lord Torrington had engaged the French fleet off Beachy-head, and was worsted in the combate. He lost the Anne, commanded by Captain Tyrrel, and the Dutch suffered extremely in the engagement. See here the vanity of the English, and the industry of our enemies. We proudly imagined, that a single squadron of ours was a superior match for all the naval power of France, and now we find, that our united fleets give way to the Admirals of France.

My Lord Torrington's conduct was mightily blamed; with what reason I shall not determine. At the instance of the Dutch Captains he was tried at a court martial, and acquitted immediately; thereupon he laid down bis commission, and it is yet uncertain, whether we did not sacrifice a brave man, who deserved a better fate, to the ferment of the people, and the fury of their resentments; and it is equally strange, that in such publick actions, where so many thousands were witnesses of the fact, the common-wealth should not be capable of knowing whether an officer did his duty, or omitted it.

Had the French staid much longer on our coasts, it is reported King William designed to bave commanded his fleet himself, and to bave given them battle. But, as the world is malicious, so this monarch found this design of his ridiculed by some pretended politicians, who imagined, that the command of an army at land is very different from the management of a fleet at sea ; never considering, that the Dutch had an Opdam, and the English a Monk, and an Ossory, who, though they were no marine officers yet behaved themselves with as mucb honour, prudence, and courage, as any who ever ploughed the surface of the ocean.

The reduction of Ireland, some two or three towns excepted, was the consequence of the battle of the Boyne, and King James himself took shipping at Waterford, deserting now this realm, as he had lately done that of England some time before; and indeed, by so precipitate a flight, he made himself unworthy of any other fate than that which he sustained,

King William found himself repulsed at the first siege of Limerick, more by the inclemency of the air, and the badness of the season, than by the valour of the garison, though the town was commanded by three officers of great experience, and sheltered the remains of the whole Irish army. But there's no fighting against the elements, they were appointed and commanded by a greater King than William the Third; and Canutus, the Danish monarch, might have instructed our royal General in the truth of this maxim, if the latter had given himself the trouble of consulting the English bistory.

The King quitted Ireland the latter end of this campaign, and left Monsieur Ginkle, afterwards Earl of Athlone, to reduce that part of the kingdom which continued in the interest of King James. It is true, that Lord, by tbe instances of the English commanders, and by the valour of their troops, ventured to fight, and won the battle of Aghrim, and obliged all the enemies of his master to submit themselves to his obedience; yet it is the opinion of our officers, if a General of our own nation had commanded qur troops, the matter would as soon have been effected.

Thus far King William had all the success he could in reason desire ; but fortune was not always indulgent to bis wishes, and the rest of her conduct towards that monarch shewed, that Kings as well as peasants are often mortified by her caprices.

The battle of Steinkirk was glorious to the English, though they smarted severely by the numbers, and continual fire of the French. My Lord Cutts was wounded in the action, the Generals Lanier and Mackay killed, and troops of our bravest officers attended them to the regions of futurity.

The English were exasperated at the cowardice or ill-nature of some Dutch officers, who refused to sustain our battalions, and seemed to make a jest of their ruin. Our soldiers took all opportunities of quarrelling with the officers and soldiers belonging to the States, and the umbrage, we had received from the misfortunes of that skirmish, had like to have been of the worst consequence to both nations.

But the prudence of King William, or, to speak plainly, the influence he had over the superior officers, allayed the ferment our soldiers were in, whicb, perchance, had be not been King of England, and Stadtholder of the United Provinces, he had never effected.

But vengeance seldom sleeps ; and, if Count Soames, by his omitting to succour the English, orcasioned the death of several brave men, he himself died soon after, being struck with a cannon ball; and that General, in the hour of his death, so far forgot his honour, as to call to the soldiers to shoot him, in order to be freed from the violent pains he was tormented witb.

If our logs at Steinkirk was considerable, it was nucb more so at Landen. Several reasons were given out to colour the shame of

1

our defeat, but nothing could be alledged to vindicate our disgrace, or extenuate the glory of the French.

The intelligence, which the Duke of Bavaria's Secretary held with the French, was generally assigned to be the cause of the loss of this battle. Whether the correspondence he managed was by the order of his master, is uncertain, but the servant was hanged very fairly, and tried afterwards.

The Elector of Bavaria is reckoned a superstitious Prince, brave enough, and very much devoted to his religion; but the execution of this gentleman in so odd a manner, without any examination, tryal, or conviction, convinced us of the late Elector's policy, but gave us no great proofs of his piety.

Our horse, excepting two or three regiments, behaved themselves but indifferently, and they declared openly, that they fought as they were paid. But our foot did good service, if not to the English nation, yel to the rest of the confederates; for they stood very firmly, and maintained their ground with all the courage imaginable, and by this means gave the allies an opportunity of running away.

General Talmash and Sir Henry Bellasis continued last upon the field of battle, and one of these had won immortal reputation, if the memory of Vigo and Port St. Mary's did not cancel the glory he acquired in Flanders.

But he survives, and Talmash lies as low as envy or jealousy could desire bim. Though it is impossible to imagine he was sacri ficed to the resentment of a court party; yet it is easy to believe some in the ministry heartily wished his ruin.

He was too brave and too publick a spirited man, either to let himself, the Parliament, or nation be imposed on; he loved a sole dier, and, as he was the readiest to lead his men to battle, so he took the greatest care to see them rewarded after the combate. His principles of honour and his sense were too good to be bribed or amused, and his personal courage and integrity too great to be forced or threatened into an unworthy silence.

Such qualifications as these were, without dispute, made him obnoxious to such as hated the interest of England; and, at last, they prevailed so far as to have him employed in an attempt, where he must of necessity lose his honour or his life.

But these were not the only losses that afflicted King Williams He had the misfortune to see his Queen fall ill of the small-pox, and a few days robbed the English of a Princess, a better than whom never mounted a throne, or gave laws to a willing people.

She died as unconcerned as his Majesty her husband fought, and braved the King of Terrors with as great a resolution on her bed of sickness, as he did in the field of battle. And certainly that lady's

8 piety or courage was the greater, since, as she said herself to my Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, she was always prepared to die, and her royal spouse very often took the sacrament before a battle.

King William, as it is reported, was very much concerned at her death; and, if he had expressed a more visible sorrow, the nation would have resented it still more kindly, wbo sincerely mourned the loss of that Princess, and still do upon her memory.

But, though the loss of so good a Princess afflicted King William very much, yet the peace of Reswick mortified him much more. He was obliged, at last, by the murmuring temper of his subjects, lo acquiesce in terms very dishonourable to Europe, and not over glorious to his Majesty. By this treaty of pacification, the French were to retain Luxemburgh and Strasburgh, those bulwarks of Flanders and the empire; who, instead of them, were only to have an equivalent, which, in fact, was far from the intrinsick value of those provinces. But, notwithstanding the inequality of these and other articles, the conduct of the Duke of Savoy, and the neutrality in Italy, powerfully persuaded the allies to put an end to the war.

Soon after the peace, the partition treaty followed ; and, by too much precaution, the government involved the nation in a dreadful war, which, to their best thinking, they endeavoured to avoid. The Spaniards, who are a haughty people, so much resented the intended division of their monarchy, that their grandees made a will, or influenced their monarch so to do; by which he devised all his dominions in Italy, Spain, and the West Indies, to the house of Bourbon, in the person of the Duke of Anjou, who, notwithstanding the most dreadful imprecations of his grandfather to the contrary, took possession of those states and provinces, by the assistance of that monarch, who, to prefer his family, despised all sanctions, both divine and human.

It is frequently observable in politicks, that men often lose the substance, by an inquisition after the shadow. Old Æsop told us this a great many years ago; and we see it every day's experience, that, greedily desiring the whole, we even lose that part of which we might have securely possessed ourselves. But it fell out quite otherwise, in relation to this partition treaty; for the bouse of Austria, not being contented with a part of the Spanish provinces, lost them the whole, and the balance of Europe was turned to the part of France, which they thought would have been at the discretion of the confederates.

When the peace of Reswick was brought to a conclusion, the Parliament of England thought it high time to disband some of their national regiments, and all the foreigners in their service, Amonst these last were the Dutch blue guards, and my Lord Portland's regiment of Dutch borse, who attended his Majesty in all his expeditions, long before and after his accession to the throne of England. His Majesty was much dissatisfied at the proceedings, and made all the interest be possibly could in the house, to disannul the injunctions of bis supreme council; but all to no effect. He used intreaties to the Parliainent, but to no purpose ; and, upon this occasion, behaved much different from the haughty character be had all along maintained.

He laid the scheme of the present war we are engaged in against France and Spain, and made all the provision the grandeur of such

a design required. After the unfortunate accident of breaking his collar-bone, he fell into a fever, which quickly put an end to his reign and glory.

During his sickness, he behaved himself with that great ness of soul, which he had often shewed in the field, and died with the same bravery as he had expressed iu the heat of action.

PROPOSALS

FOR THE

REFORMATION OF SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES,

IN ORDER TO THE BETTER EDUCATION OF YOUTH;

Humbly offered to the serious Consideration of the High Court of

Parliament.
[Prom a Quarto, containing nine Pages, printed in 1704.]

These proposals were calculated for the reformation of learning

in North Britain, and though the individuals, contained in them; are peculiar to Scotland, yet the substance of the whole, mutatis mutandis, may not be improperly applied to that part of the realm, which lies South of the Tweed, where the same objections are as forcible against schouls and schoolmasters; the aspiring of poor and mechanical spirits to the ministerial office, and the admis. sion into holy orders of those, who either have never been initiated with the advanced studies of an University, or, perchance, on account of their poverty, bave been permitted, after a very short stay at those fountains of learning, to return bome, and seek after a title to orders, that they may get a morsel of bread *. Though it must be confessed, that no nation has produced more learned and pious divines, than the two famous Universities of England. But it is wished, that a method could be found to prevent so many extra-university men, who, without due education, creep into the ministry for a maintenance; and to reform the extraordinary expences, that are squandered away in the excesses of our young gentlemen, in the great schools and uni

versities of this nation. THERE THERE has been a great decay of learning in this kingdom for

many years : for instance, where we have now one, who can write one single sheet, an hundred years ago we had twenty, who

. See 1 Sam. ii. 36. VOL. X,

« ForrigeFortsæt »