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thirteen in 1685, he must have been twenty-four. The rapid elevation of so young a man, on the score of winning manners and good looks, was startling, and led to invidious comparisons with the favourites of James I. and other Court minions, till the indisputable merit of Keppel amply justified the full amount of honours that had been conferred upon him. He is first brought upon the stage by Lord Macaulay in 1698, in marked contrast to Portland, a most trusty but not a very respectful subject, who, as an early friend of the Prince of Orange, had acquired a habit of plain-speaking that he could not unlearn when the comrade of his youth had become the Sovereign of three kingdoms.' Keppel, on the other hand, had a great desire to please, and looked up with unfeigned admiration to a master whom he had been accustomed, ever since he could remember, to consider as the first of living men. Arts, therefore, which were neglected by the elder courtier, were assiduously practised by the younger. So early as the spring of 1691 shrewd observers were struck by the manner in which Keppel watched every turn of the King's eye and anticipated the King's unuttered wishes.'
Portland was at no pains to conceal the feelings of resentful jealousy with which he regarded so formidable a rival. He even intimated an intention of retiring from the Court; and, according to Lord Macaulay, it was to conciliate him by a fresh distinction, as well as to separate him from the object of his dislike, that he was appointed ambassador to France. But Burnet and Rapin, whom Lord Macaulay has obviously paraphrased in his description of Albemarle, mention Portland's jealousy as arriving at the exploding-point upon his return from his embassy, when (says Burnet) he could not bear the visible superiority in favour that the other was grown up to; so he took occasion, from a small preference that was given him, in prejudice of his own post as Groom of the Stole, and upon it withdrew from the Court, and laid down all his employments.' These he refused to resume, although he continued to serve the King as councillor and diplomatist. Burnet gives an additional trait which is hardly in keeping with the character: 'He was a cheerful young man, that had the art to please, but was so much given up to his own pleasures that he could scarce submit to the attendance and the drudgery that was necessary to maintain his post. He never yet distinguished himself in anything, though the King did it in everything.'
It was not only in his royal master's eyes that Keppel shone to the disadvantage of his dry, haughty, and reserved competitor. He had almost managed, by dint of affability and tact, to cause
his foreign origin to be forgotten by the English, when (in 1700) the question of the Irish forfeitures raised a storm which not merely imperilled the recently-acquired fortunes of the Dutch courtiers, but shook the throne. William, it will be remembered, thought fit to distribute a large portion of the forfeited estates as he and his predecessors had been wont to distribute the hereditary domains of the Crown. The grant that provoked most censure was that to his ex-mistress, Elizabeth Villiers, popularly valued at 20,000l. a-year. But (adds Lord Macaulay, who labours hard to palliate the transaction) of all the grants, the largest was to Woodstock, the eldest son of Portland; the next was to Albemarle. An admirer of William cannot relate, without pain, that he divided between these two foreigners an extent of country larger than Hertfordshire.' The Parliamentary Commissioners reported that there were grants to Albemarle of altogether 108,600 acres, and that prior to the inquiry he had sold or mortgaged portions to the amount of 13,0007..
This ill-advised act of royal bounty was rendered more surprising and exasperating by what had occurred in 1695, when the grant to Portland of a magnificent estate in Denbighshire had been reluctantly and ungraciously annulled, in compliance with an irresistible outburst of popular indignation. The renewed attempt gave occasion for a memorable quarrel between the two Houses, which must have ended in a civil war, had not the Lords prudently given way at the most critical moment, and concurred in a Bill providing that all the property which had belonged to the Crown at the time of the accession of James II., or which had been since forfeited to the Crown, should be vested in trustees. This measure, fortunately for the Dutch courtiers, was not pressed to extremities; but their Irish grants were cancelled; and, in part compensation to Albemarle, the King, in the course of the following year, sent some of the first English artificers to Holland, 'to beautify the house and grounds of his country seat.' No less than fifty thousand pounds were spent upon it; and we should infer, from a contemporary description, that the house and place were then rather constructed than beautified:
'Once I rid from Diesen to Zutphen, over the Issell, in order to see a most noble and magnificent house of the Right Honourable the Earl of Albemarle that his lordship had lately built about half a league from Zutphen, and from which city there is a very spacious avenue, or access made to the house, between a double row of trees; his lordship possessing a considerable estate in that province. This house has noble gardens adjoining to it, and made after the greatest models-with terras-walks, fountains, cascades, lands, &c. But they
were not then (1699) finished, no more than the house when I went to see them, after the last campaign.' *
The place passed out of the family in 1756; and when the present Lord Albemarle visited it some years since, he found scarcely a vestige of its former splendour. The pleasure-grounds had been converted into a field of rye, the wings of the house pulled down, and the Keppel arms on the pediment of the main building were the sole remaining memento of the family.
'In March, 1702, Albemarle (the first Earl) went to Holland to make the necessary arrangements for the ensuing campaign. While so engaged he received the intelligence of the dangerous illness of his royal patron, and rushed home to his bedside." But it was clearly in the preceding month that he was sent to confer with Heinsius. The accident which was the immediate cause of William's last illness, the stumble of his favourite horse, 'Sorrel,' on the molehill, occurred on the 20th February: humours of menacing appearance showed themselves on his knee on the 1st of March: he died on the 8th, and during the last three days was only kept alive by cordials. Describing what took place on the 7th, Lord Macaulay states that Albemarle had arrived at Kensington from the Hague, exhausted by rapid travelling. His master bade him go to rest for some hours, and then summoned him to make his report. That report was in all respects satisfactory. The States-General were in the best temper; the troops, the provisions, and the magazines, were in the best order. Everything was in readiness for an early campaign.' It was adding a fresh pang to death to give him a glimpse of such a prospect; but he received the intelligence with the calmness of a man whose work was done. He died between seven and eight the next morning, having exerted his last remains of strength during the night to take an affectionate farewell of his most attached followers. 'To Albemarle (continues Lord Macaulay) he gave the keys of his closet and of his private drawers. "You know," he said, "what to do with them.' No authority is given for these details. Burnet, who was in personal attendance on the dying King, merely
'He had sent the Earl of Albemarle over to Holland to put things in a readiness for an early campaign. He came back on the seventh of March, in the morning, with so good an account of everything, that, if matters of that kind could have wrought on the King, it must have revived him; but the coldness with which he received it, showed
*A Description of the King's Royal Palace and Gardens at Loo, together with a Short Account of Holland, &c.' By Walter Harris, M.D., Physician in Ordinary to His Majesty. London, MDCXCIX.
how little hopes were left: soon after he said, "Je tire vers ma fin.” (I draw towards my end.) . .
'About five in the morning he desired the sacrament, and went through the office with great appearance of seriousness, but could not express himself; when this was done, he called for the Earl of Albemarle, and gave him a charge to take care of his papers.'
At the time of William's death, Lord Albemarle was a MajorGeneral in the British service, Captain and Colonel of the First Troop of Guards, Master of the Robes, Colonel-General of the Swiss and Grisons in the service of the United Provinces, and a Knight of the Garter. The lordship of Breevorst and 200,000 guilders were bequeathed to him by a codicil to the King's will; but having no landed property in England, he left it permanently for his native country soon after the King's death, and took his seat as a noble in the Assembly of the States-General. The next year he was appointed a LieutenantGeneral of cavalry in the Dutch service, and joined the allied army on the 7th of August, 1703. His friendship, as the young Dutch favourite, had been eagerly courted by the hero of Blenheim, who (to use Lord Macaulay's words), ' studiously ingratiated himself with Albemarle by all the arts which a mind singularly observant and sagacious could learn from a long experience in Courts.' The motive was obvious; nor, we can well believe, did the good understanding that subsisted between them suffer any disturbance from one marked point of dissimilarity. Albemarle (as described by his descendant) was very prodigal in his mode of living; Marlborough erred in the opposite extreme. But the one was as ready to give as the other to receive hospitality. Whenever the Duke's business required his presence at the Hague, he became the guest of his friend.' But no considerations of personal interest or convenience would have induced Marlborough to peril his own reputation, or the fate of a campaign, by the appointment of an incompetent officer to act under or co-operate with him, and it was on his express recommendation that in each of his principal campaigns an important command was intrusted to his friend.
Albemarle conducted the attack on Mortaigne and the investment of Aire in 1710. When the allied army was drawn
* Burnet, History of his own Times,' vol. ii. pp. 301-304. Lord Macaulay's account of the death of William is a detached although apparently revised and polished fragment of his History, which closes abruptly with the General Election of 1701. The details are taken, with a few verbal alterations, from Rapin, whose exact words relating to the final charge to Albemarle are: He (the King) took leave of the Duke of Ormond and others, and delivered to the Lord Albemarle the keys of his closet and scrutore, telling him that he knew what to do with them." (Hist., vol. iii. p. 506.) Kapin had been tutor in Portland's family and was in communication with persons about the Court.
up in two lines between Lisle and Douay in 1711, he commanded the second line; and in 1712 he was appointed to the chief command of the Dutch forces in the field. Unfortunately, Marlborough had recently been replaced as CaptainGeneral of the British troops in the Netherlands by the Duke of Ormond, who, in flat contradiction to public assurances of unabated zeal in the common cause, had a secret order from Bolingbroke not to hazard a battle. "When I asked him,' writes Gualtier, through whom this order was communicated to the French minister, what Marshal Villars was to do in case Prince Eugene or the Dutch attacked him, he replied, there was only one thing to do-to fall upon him and cut him to pieces, him and his whole army.' The ungenerous, if not treacherous, haste with which Ormond declared a separate armistice and withdrew his troops, leaving the allies to make head as they best might against the common foe, was the cause of a great disaster to Albemarle. Prince Eugene, whose army was still numerically equal to the French, had laid siege to Landrecy, and posted Albemarle at Denain, a village on the Scheldt, with ten battalions and twenty-three squadrons. His only means of communication with the Grand Army on the other side were by a single pontoon bridge. He had borrowed some pontoons from Ormond to make another; but the moment the armistice was declared, Ormond insisted on their being returned; nor (says Rapin) could all the Earl, the Prince, or the StatesGeneral say, prevail with him to leave them but for eight days.'
Albemarle's position was assailed by an overwhelming force on the 24th of July. Prince Eugene, who was in a redoubt on the opposite bank, sent to him to hold out as long as possible and rely on effective support. He made a gallant resistance, and did all that could be done by conduct and bravery to prolong the unequal contest. After his entrenchments had been forced, and the confusion seemed irretrievable, he called to such troops. as he had left to follow him, and rushed forwards, as he supposed, at their head. The resulting position is thus quaintly related by the French general, whom he and his staff rather tumbled against than charged :—
'I entered the entrenchment at the head of the troops, and I had not gone twenty paces when the Duke (sic) of Albemarle and six or seven Imperial lieutenant-generals found themselves at my horse's feet. I begged them to excuse me if the present state of affairs did not allow of all the politeness that I owed to them; but the first step was to provide for the security of their persons.'
True to his word, Prince Eugene had brought up his infantry to the river side; but the only bridge had broken down, and he