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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."
'About five in the morning he desired the sacrament, and went
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.) Rapin 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
was compelled to be a passive spectator of the catastrophe. Military men,' says Burnet, 'assured me that if it had not been for that misfortune, Villars' attempt might have turned fatally on himself, and to the ruin of his whole army.' These details are important as modifying the commonly received impression of the affair, which is thus stated by Earl Stanhope.
'Lord Albemarle, taken by surprise on the afternoon of the 24th of July, was put to the rout. The French Chief slew or scattered the greater part of the force at Denain and took prisoners no less than 3000; amongst these Albemarle and the Princes of Anhalt and Nassau-Siegen. To add to the poignancy of their defeat, it had for one of its witnesses Eugene himself, who was approaching rapidly on the other bank of the Scheldt, but was stopped short by the redoubt of the Denain bridge which the French had seized.' *
It does not appear when Albemarle obtained his release, but we find that Prince Eugene passed the greater part of the following winter with him at the Hague. On the death of Queen Anne, he was sent by the States-General to congratulate her successor on his accession to the English throne, and the new monarch, and his son the Duke of Gloucester, afterwards George II., passed the first night of their journey to England with Lord Albemarle, at his house at the Voorst. In 1717 he was nominated by the nobles of Holland to compliment Peter the Great on his arrival in that country, and attended him to Amsterdam.' He died the following year, and was succeeded by his son, William Anne, born June 5th, 1702, to whom Queen Anne stood godmother in person. On the strength of this tie an application was made in his behalf, when in his fourth year, for a Captain's commission in the army, which was refused.
'However he had not very long to wait for his promotion, for at the age of fifteen he was appointed to a company in the First Regiment of Foot Guards, which gave him the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the army, a grade which his biographer and the present bearer of his title did not reach until he was on the wrong side of forty.'
He became a Major-General in 1741, and served in that capacity at Dettingen, where he had a horse shot under him, and behaved with great gallantry. He commanded the first line (including the brigade of Guards), at Fontenoy; and his descendant claims for him the honour, if it be one, of being the principal interlocutor in the traditional interchange of courtesies.
The barrier passed, the English and French brigades of Guards found themselves confronted with each other at a distance of thirty *History of England, comprising the Reign of Queen Anne until the Peace at Utrecht-1701-1713.' By Earl Stanhope. Page 535.
yards. A pause ensued of sufficient duration to enable Lord Charles Hay to make some chaffing observations to Count d'Aubeterre, and to bring to the front the Duc de Biron, General of the French Household Division, and holding a corresponding rank to that of Lord Albemarle. Then is said to have occurred that strange colloquy between the English and French Commanders. Lord Albemarle, taking off his hat, calls out," Messieurs les Gardes Françaises, tirez," whereupon the French General, not to be outdone in politeness, answers, "Messieurs les Gardes Anglaises, tirez-vous les premiers; nous riposterons."
Suspecting the story to be a myth, Lord Albemarle suggests that it arose from the practice in the French army of receiving the enemy's fire before firing-a practice that cost them dear on this occasion—and he urges that, if the invitation was given at all, no officer of inferior rank would have ventured to enter upon such a dialogue in the immediate presence of the French and English Generals of division.' He does not seem to be aware that the story has definitively taken its place amongst the 'Mock Pearls of History' since the production of a letter (first printed by Mr. Carlyle), from Lord Charles Hay to his brother, Lord Tweedale, written shortly after the battle, in which he says
'It was our regiment that attacked the French Guards, and when we came within twenty or thirty paces of them, I advanced before our regiment, and hoped they would stand until we came up to them, and not swim the Scheldt as they did the Mayn at Dettingen. Upon which I immediately turned about to our regiment, speeched them, and made them huzzah -I hope with a will. An officer (d'Auteroche) came out of the ranks, and tried to make his men huzzah: however, there were not above three or four in their brigade that did.'
This, it must be owned, puts a different complexion upon the matter by converting a chivalrous interchange of courtesy into something like chaff.'
The battle of Fontenoy was fought on the 30th of April, 1745; that of Culloden on the 16th of April, 1745. Lord Albemarle and his son, Lord Bury, filled the same relative positions in each; Lord Albemarle commanding the front line of the infantry and Lord Bury acting as aide-de-camp to the Duke of Cumberland. On the morning of the 16th, Lord Bury had a narrow escape from a Highlander who had got within the English lines, under the pretence of asking quarter, for the purpose of killing the Duke. Mistaking the aide-de-camp, who happened to pass in a showy uniform, for the Commander-in-Chief, he suddenly seized one of the soldiers' muskets and discharged it at Lord Bury, happily without effect, receiving the next moment with perfect indifference, and as a matter of course, the shot with which his own existence was immediately terminated by another soldier.'