Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/168

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and to public opinion the same cool and placid hardihood which distinguished him on fields of battle, had really begun to feel remorse, it would be absurd to reject, on account of his unworthiness, the inestimable services which it was in his power to render to the good cause. He sate in the interior council; he held high command in the army; he had been recently entrusted, and would doubtless again be entrusted, with the direction of important military operations. It was true that no man had incurred equal guilt; but it was true also that no man had it in his power to make equal reparation. If he was sincere, he might doubtless earn the pardon which he so much desired. But was he sincere? Had he not been just as loud in professions of loyalty on the very eve of his crime? It was necessary to put him to the test. Several tests were applied by Sackville and Lloyd. Marlborough was required to furnish full information touching the strength and the distribution of all the divisions of the English army; and he complied. He was required to disclose the whole plan of the approaching campaign; and he did so. The Jacobite leaders watched carefully for inaccuracies in his reports, but could find none. It was thought a still stronger proof of his fidelity that he gave valuable intelligence about what was doing in the office of the Secretary of State. A deposition had been sworn against one zealous royalist. A warrant was preparing against another. These intimations saved several of the malecontents from imprisonment, if not from the gallows; and it was impossible for them not to feel some relenting towards the awakened sinner to whom they owed so much.

He however, in his secret conversations with his new allies, laid no claim to merit. He did not, he said, ask for confidence. How could he, after the villanies which he had committed against the best of Kings, hope ever to be trusted again? It was enough for a wretch like him to be permitted to make, at the cost of his life, some poor atonement to the gracious master, whom he had indeed basely injured, but whom he had never ceased to love. It was not improbable that, in the summer, he might command the English forces in Flanders. Was it wished that he should bring them over in a body to the French camp? If such were