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PREFACE

ΤΟ

CARLETON'S MEMOIRS,

CONTAINING

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES

OF

THE EARL OF PETERBOROUGH.

FROM an anecdote in Boswell's Life of Johnson, we are referred to the following Memoirs for the best account of the military achievements of the earl of Peterborough. "The best account of lord Peterborough that I have happened to meet with, is in captain Carleton's Memoirs. Carleton was descended of an officer who had distinguished himself at the siege of Derry a He was an officer, and, what was rare

a Mackenzie, in his "Narrative of the Siege of Londonderry," mentions no officer called Carleton. There is indeed a colonel Crofton frequently spoken of. But as Carleton himself served in the great Dutch war of 1665, we can hardly suppose him descended of a person distinguished by feats of arms in 1688.

at that time, had some knowledge in engineering. Johnson said he had never heard of the book. Lord Elliot had a copy at Port Elliot; but, after a good deal of inquiry, procured a copy in London, and sent it to Johnson; who told sir Joshua Reynolds, that he was going to bed when it came, but was so much pleased with it, that he sat up till he read it through, and found in it such an air of truth, that he could not doubt its authenticity; adding with a smile, in allusion to lord Elliot's having recently been raised to the peerage, I did not think a young lord could have mentioned to me a book in the English history that was not known to me.”—Boswell's Life of Johnson.

A short sketch of the life of this celebrated general may be no unpleasing introduction to a volume, which derives its chief value from narrating his glorious

successes.

Charles Mordaunt, afterwards earl of Peterborough, was born in 1658; and, in June 1675, succeeded to the title of lord Mordaunt and the estate of his family. He was educated in the navy, and in his youth served with the admirals Torrington and Narborough in the Mediterranean. In 1680 he accompanied the earl of Plymouth in the expedition to Tangier, where he distinguished himself against the Moors.

In the succeeding reign, lord Mordaunt opposed the repeal of the Test Act in the House of Lords; and having thus become obnoxious to the court, obtained liberty to go into the Dutch service. When he arrived in Holland, he was, as we learn from Burnet, amongst the most forward of those who advised the prince of

Orange to his grand enterprise. But the cold and considerate William saw obstacles, which escaped the fiery and enthusiastic Mordaunt ; nor, although that prince used his services in the Revolution, does he appear to have reposed entire confidence in a character so opposite to his own. Yet Mordaunt reaped the reward of his zeal, being in 1688 created earl of Monmouth, lord of the bedchamber, and first commissioner of the treasury, which last office he did not long retain. He accompanied William in his campaign of 1692; and in 1697 succeeded to the title, which he has so highly distinguished, by the death of his uncle Henry, the second earl of Peterborough.

In the first year of queen Anne's reign, Peterborough was to have been sent out as governor-general of Jamaica, but the appointment did not take place. In 1705 he was appointed general and commander-inchief of the forces sent to Spain, upon the splendid and almost romantic service of placing Charles of Austria on the throne of that monarchy. The wonders which he there wrought, are nowhere more fully detailed than in the simple pages of Carleton. Barcelona was taken by a handful of men, and afterwards relieved in the face of a powerful enemy, whom Peterborough compelled to decamp, leaving their battering artillery, ammunition, stores, provisions, and all their sick and wounded men. He drove before him, and finally expelled from Spain, the duke of Anjou, with his army of twenty-five thousand French, although his own

b See also the "Earl of Peterborough's Conduct in Spain," by Dr. John Freind. London, 1707.

forces never amounted to half that number. All difficulties sunk before the creative power of his genius. Doomed as he was, by the infatuated folly of Charles, and by the private envy of his enemies at home, to conduct a perilous expedition, in a country ill affected to the cause, without supplies, stores, artillery, reinforcements, or money; he created substitutes for all these deficiencies,—even for the last of them. He took walled towns with dragoons, and stormed the caskets of the bankers of Genoa, without being able to offer them security. He gained possession of Catalonia, of the kingdoms of Valencia, Aragon, and Majorca, with part of Murcia and Castile, and thus opened the way for the earl of Galway's marching to Madrid without a blow. Nor was his talent at conciliating the natives less remarkable than his military achievements. With the feeling of a virtuous, and the prudence of a wise man, he restrained the excesses of his troops, respected the religion, the laws, even the prejudices of the Spaniards; and heretic as he was, became more popular amongst them than the catholic prince whom he was essaying to place on their throne. Yet, as Swift has strongly expressed it, "the only general, who, by a course of conduct and fortune almost miraculous, had nearly put us into possession of the kingdom of Spain, was left wholly unsupported, exposed to the envy of his rivals, disappointed by the caprices of a young unexperienced prince, under the guidance of a rapacious German ministry, and at last called home in discontent." The cause of this strange step it would be

c Conduct of the Allies.

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