Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 54.djvu/22

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Stanhope
Stanhope
15

Barcelona on 8 May. The French had been besieging it for more than a month, and the breaches were ready for assault, but Tesseé raised the siege, and retreated into France. This gave the allies the opportunity to get possession of Madrid, on which Galway was already advancing from Portugal [see Massue de Ruvigny, Henry de]. Peterborough wished to march on it from Valencia, taking the archduke Charles with him; and Stanhope, whom the archduke had welcomed as minister, did his utmost to persuade the latter to this course. But Charles, guided by his German advisers, to whom Peterborough was odious, decided to go by way of Aragon, and Stanhope went with him. On 6 Aug., a month too late, they joined Galway's army at Guadalaxara. Peterborough, who arrived at the same time from Valencia, to every one's relief soon betook himself to Italy. But by this time the Bourbon army was stronger than that of the allies, and the latter, straitened for supplies, found it necessary to fall back on Valencia. In January 1707, when the plans for the coming campaign were discussed, the majority of the officers were in favour of an advance of the whole army on Madrid before the Bourbon army should receive the reinforcements expected from France. But Noyelles, who was at the head of the Spanish contingent, the archduke Charles, and Peterborough, who had come back from Italy, recommended purely defensive action. On the other hand, Stanhope warmly declared that 'her majesty did not spend such vast sums, and send such number of forces to garrison towns in Catalonia and Valencia, but to make King Charles master of the Spanish monarchy,' and that he should protest in the queen's name against a mere defensive line of action. His course was cordially approved by the British government, but it displeased the archduke. Noyelles carried his point, and marched the Spanish troops into Catalonia, Charles and Stanhope accompanying them. Galway had only 15,500 men when, on 25 April, he encountered Berwick at Almanza, and was defeated. Peterborough, who had been peremptorily recalled, and was now on his way home, laid the blame on Stanhope. He wrote to Marlborough: 'I cannot but think Mr. Stanhope's politics have proved very fatal, having produced our misfortunes and prevented the greatest successes' (Coxe, Marlborough, ii. 81). But this was mere spite. A year before he had written to Stanhope (18 Aug.): 'I see no one but yourself that can support this business;' but he had learnt that Stanhope's secretary had said things against him in England, and after his return to Spain from Italy he and Stanhope ceased to be friends. When the House of Lords held its inquiry into the conduct of the war in Spain in January 1711, it pronounced that Peterborough had been right, and Galway and Stanhope wrong, in the discussions at Valencia; but this was a party resolution, and was really aimed at Marlborough and his colleagues.

Disgusted with the lethargy and obstruc- tiveness he met with at Charles's court, Stanhope wished to resign, and strongly urged that Prince Eugene should be sent to Spain, or some other arrangement made which would secure unity of command. In September, at Galway's request, he joined the army, and was put in charge of what remained of the English foot. But the army was too weak to interfere with the enemy.

At the end of the year he went to England to attend parliament. It was then decided that he should succeed Galway, who wished to be relieved, in command of the English troops, retaining his post as minister with Charles. He was made major-general on 1 Jan. 1708 with the local rank of lieutenant-general, and on 26 March was appointed commander-in-chief of the British forces in Spain. He brought a bill into parliament at this time to release the highland clans from obedience to their chiefs if the latter took up arms against the queen. This was prompted by the Jacobite attempt at invasion, but was allowed to drop after the failure of that attempt.

In April 1708 Stanhope went with Marlborough to The Hague to consult Prince Eugene, and in May he rejoined the army in Catalonia. The emperor, unwilling to spare Eugene, had sent Marshal Stahrenberg to take the chief command, and the death of Noyelles removed the main cause of friction. But the allies were weak, and the Bourbons continued to gain ground throughout the campaign. The want of a port in which the British fleet could winter had been much felt, and on 15 July Marlborough wrote to Stanhope: 'I conjure you, if possible, to take Port Mahon.' In September Stanhope acted I on this suggestion with skill and vigour. He landed in Minorca on the 14th with 2,600 men, and Fort St. Philip, which had a garrison of one thousand men, surrendered on the 29th. He left a garrison there consisting wholly of English troops, for, as he wrote to Sunderland, 'England ought never to part with this island, which will give the law to the Mediterranean both in time of war and peace.' Sunderland replied that his action was approved 'for the reasons you mention, though some of them must be kept very secret.'