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Marlborough's America

Marlborough's America

Stephen Saunders Webb
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Yale University Press
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    Marlborough's America
    Book Description:

    Scholars of British America generally conclude that the early eighteenth-century Anglo-American empire was commercial in economics, liberal in politics, and parochial in policy, somnambulant in an era of "salutary neglect," but Stephen Saunders Webb here demonstrates that the American provinces, under the spur of war, became capitalist, coercive, and aggressive, owing to the vigorous leadership of career army officers, trained and nominated to American government by the captain general of the allied armies, the first duke of Marlborough, and that his influence, and that of his legates, prevailed through the entire century in America. Webb's work follows the duke, whom an eloquent enemy described as "the greatest statesman and the greatest general that this country or any other country has produced," his staff and soldiers, through the ten campaigns, which, by defanging France, made the union with Scotland possible and made "Great Britain" preeminent in the Atlantic world. Then Webb demonstrates that the duke's legates transformed American colonies into provinces of empire. Marlborough's America, fifty years in the making, is the fourth volume of The Governors-General.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-18260-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. viii-x)
  4. Preface: Army and Empire
    (pp. xi-xxii)
  5. ENVOY: “The Sunshine Day”
    (pp. 1-20)

    On sunday, march 8, 1702, King William III died and princess Anne of Denmark, younger daughter of the exiled King James II, was proclaimed queen. She immediately met her privy council and declared herself determined to protect the Protestant succession to the imperial throne and to resist the aggression of France everywhere in the Atlantic world. For nineteen years, “The Sunshine day” of Anne’s accession had been the boundary of expectation for the Denmark-Churchill connection. Now, suddenly, all their dreams of power and favor came true. On the Monday, Queen Anne commissioned John Churchill, earl of Marlborough, as general and...

  6. PART I: Winning America in Europe:: Précis

    • [Map]
      (pp. 22-24)
    • The Cockpit Circle
      (pp. None)
    • Précis
      (pp. 25-29)

      In ten victorious campaigns, from 1702 to 1711, captain general the duke of Marlborough educated and promoted the officers who, as governors general, transformed England’s autonomous American colonies into provinces of a British empire. Indeed, the duke’s disciples dominated the imperial army throughout the six decades in which Britain achieved dominion in the Atlantic world and imposed an Augustan aegis on the entirety of “Greater Britain.” Their accomplishments, extended for nearly forty years after the death of the duke in 1722, make a mockery of the idea of “salutary neglect.”

      They passed the test of battle in the storm of...

    • CHAPTER ONE Grand Designs
      (pp. 30-57)

      Marlborough’s annual parliamentary campaign had closed and his annual military campaign was about to begin when, on February 20, 1703, his hopes and his wife’s happiness were destroyed. The marquess of Blandford, the Marlboroughs’ sole surviving son and heir, was amiable and able. He possessed his father’s masculine beauty and his military ambition. “The finest young man that could be seen,” Blandford had begged to join his father’s staff, but lady Marlborough had held her son out of danger, as she thought, in university. At Cambridge, Blandford suddenly sickened and died of smallpox, aged seventeen. His parents were at his...

    • CHAPTER TWO The March to the Danube
      (pp. 58-75)

      On the night of April 9, 1704, John Churchill, the duke of Marlborough, crossed the English Channel to open the epic campaign that would preserve English national independence, make England’s empire British, secure the Protestant succession to the imperial throne, and rescue both European and American liberty from the aggression of Louis XIV. The campaign would, so its genius hoped, make a deathless reputation for the name “Marlborough” in a world that had forgotten “the detested names of Whigg and Torry.” For once, the Channel crossing itself had that Augustan calmness which poets and praetorians alike now ascribed to the...

    • CHAPTER THREE Blenheim
      (pp. 76-99)

      As the British burned Bavaria, the French army under Tallard had marched down the Danube from its headwaters in the Black Forest. They reached the vicinity of Ulm by July 29, 1704. There the French could be joined by the elector of Bavaria and all the troops he dared withdraw from his garrisons. Marlborough admitted that his eastward advance (across the Lech into Bavaria and down the right bank of the Danube through Neuburg and Rain onto the plain of Ingolstadt) had left the roads to the west open, enabling Max Emmanuel to unite his forces with the French. Marlborough...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Greater Britain
      (pp. 100-122)

      The New Style New Year opened auspiciously for the queen’s army and the English empire. On January 3, Guards regiments paraded the flags captured at Blenheim from the Tower of London to Westminster Hall through streets lined with cheering crowds. At a window of St. James’s Palace, the Denmark-Churchill connection gathered for the last time. Queen Anne and Prince George, the duke and the duchess of Marlborough, lord Godolphin, lord and lady Fitzharding watched the triumphal procession together. The crashing salutes of “forty Guns in the Park being fired at the same time” punctuated the parade. The Household Cavalry’s troopers...

    • CHAPTER FIVE Ramillies and Union
      (pp. 123-152)

      In the generation since he had begun his ascent to power as one of James Stuart’s new men, Marlborough’s own imperial vision had grown to continental size, in Europe as well as in the Americas. In the spring of 1706, the captain general intended to take forty battalions and forty squadrons, all the northern European troops in English pay, and march to save Savoy, and so Italy, from France. As his British battalions and squadrons moved south, they would be joined by the Prussians, the Danes, and the Hanoverians whom he had recruited during the winter. Marlborough’s army was to...

    • Soldiers, Statesmen, and Sacheverell
      (pp. None)
  7. PART II: “The Endless War”:: Précis

    • [Map]
      (pp. 155-156)
    • Précis
      (pp. 157-161)

      Marlborough might have matched Bonaparte’s consolidation of power and extent of victory save that the captain general served the constitutional monarch of a small nation. The febrile politics of Britain and the recuperative power of France both were on display in the spring of 1708. Concluding that the secretary of state, Robert Harley, was an unreconstructed tory, the enemy of moderation at home and conciliatory to France abroad, the duke and duchess of Marlborough and lord treasurer Godolphin demanded that Queen Anne dismiss her secretary. She declined. They threatened to resign. Only the refusal of her ministers to serve, the...

    • CHAPTER SIX Oudenarde
      (pp. 162-184)

      Swordsmen know that the best defense is a good attack. In 1708, Marlborough exemplified the truth of this axiom, both in politics and in war. He took the offensive against tory critics and jacobite invaders in Britain. He repressed Burgundian revolt and defeated French aggression in Flanders. He authorized amphibious assaults on French empire in the Mediterranean, in the Caribbean, and from New York to Newfoundland along the Atlantic frontier.

      At the outset of 1708, the political “winter campaign” was still being fought in parliament. In the lords, Marlborough himself scuttled the “blue water” squadron. He saw to it that...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN Malplaquet
      (pp. 185-211)

      Marlborough did not hurry back to England from the scene of his triumphs in Flanders during the campaign of 1708. Instead, he commuted through the terrible winter from allied headquarters in Brussels to the Mauritshuis in The Hague. In both the Netherlands capitals, the captain general drove forward preparations for the largest army ever fielded by the allies. At the same time, he supervised negotiations for a comprehensive peace with France in Europe and America. Marlborough’s preparations for war were supported by the whig-controlled British parliament. It authorized 10,000 additional troops in British pay and made military appropriations of £7...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT The Duke’s Decline
      (pp. 212-226)

      Celebrations of the victory at Malplaquet merely punctuated the collapse of the Marlborough-Godolphin ministry’s last, whig, incarnation. The rot had already set in when, on November 10, 1709, Marlborough had returned in triumph to receive the thanks of both houses of parliament and, more tangibly, to secure appropriations totaling £6 million to carry on the war. Yet Marlborough’s paymaster wrote that the failure of peace negotiations had so depressed the financial community that “’tis as much as the Bank are able to do to keep their heads above water, that we are brought to our last stroke, and that let...

    • CHAPTER NINE Quebec and Bouchain
      (pp. 227-254)

      On January 17, 1710/11, the duke of Marlborough paid another installment on the price of retaining his command in Flanders. In return for a few squadrons of cavalry, he surrendered “five battalions for our attempt upon Quebec. Pray do me the justice,” secretary of state St. John wrote to prime minister Harley, “to believe that I am not light or whimsical in this project. It will certainly succeed if the secret is preserved, and if it succeeds you will have done more service to Britain in half a year, then the ministers who went before you did in all their...

    • The Blenheim Victories
      (pp. None)
  8. PART III: Marlborough’s America:: Précis

    • [Map]
      (pp. 257-258)
    • Précis
      (pp. 259-266)

      The murder of Daniel Parke, bearer of the Blenheim dispatch, governor general of the Leeward Islands, was a unique event, unparalleled in the first British empire. His assassination on December 7, 1711, and the killing of most of his bodyguard, the grenadiers of the 38th Regiment, by the militiamen of Antigua, led by their captains, most of them assemblymen, marked the midpoint between republican revolutions, that of 1641 and that of 1776. Ideology excited and excused the fatal quarrel between a soldier of the queen who was a son of the church, a Virginia planter, and a rapacious rake, and...

    • CHAPTER TEN The Dreadful Death of Daniel Parke
      (pp. 267-290)

      The causes and consequences of the Anglo-American counterrevolution appeared early and with unequaled clarity in Antigua. Political passions divided the military. Executive authority encountered legislative pretensions. Corruption of every kind saturated state and society. All this could be said of England, but in the Caribbean colony, the uncertainties and tensions of war on the frontier of empire raised tropical temperatures to the point of military panic, political murder, and provincial insurrection. The Antiguan uprising was also a measure of the duke of Marlborough’s changing imperial “interest.” Just as the commission to command the Leeward Islands to the Virginian Daniel Parke,...

    • CHAPTER ELEVEN Defending the Revolution: Robert Hunter in New York
      (pp. 291-329)

      Home on parole during 1708, honor bound not to fight against France, Colonel Robert Hunter caroused with England’s leading literati: Addison and Steele, Congreve and Swift. Hunter contributed pieces to the Tatler, the first fashionable magazine. When Hunter’s parole expired and he had to return to Paris, his literary reputation was such, and his identification with “moderation” was so well known, that Jonathan Swift could plausibly attribute to Hunter’s pen the famous “Letter on Enthusiasm.” Counsels of moderation also infused the “Projects for unity of Partys” and news of the prorogation of convocation that Swift sent Hunter. Swift also regaled...

    • CHAPTER TWELVE Alexander Spotswood: Architect of Empire
      (pp. 330-370)

      The royal lieutenant governor of Virginia, Colonel Alexander Spotswood was, as he himself wrote, “a Commander in Chief without A Single Centinel to defend me in this Dominion.” The leader of the Virginia opposition party declared that although Virginia’s military governors were “Tyrants in their nature, yet they are Tyrants without Guards.” Nonetheless, Spotswood, like the royal and soldierly legates of the imperial crown generally, and Marlborough’s men especially, was obsessed with security, foreign and domestic. Spotswood’s particular contribution to imperial security was his determination to marshal the inherent might of an armed provincial populace first to protect and then...

    • The Hanoverians: Monarchs, Ministers, and Military Men
      (pp. None)
  9. Epilogue: The “Golden Adventure”
    (pp. 371-414)

    At first light on June 16, 1722, John, duke of Marlborough, captain general, master of the ordnance, and colonel of the First Guards, died at Windsor Lodge. On July 14, his remains were brought up to Marlborough House to lie in state. Marlborough’s last parade began at 12:30 on August 9. From Marlborough House, west along the mall, north through the royal parks, east down Piccadilly, south to Charing Cross, King Street, and the Abbey, the procession was led by detachments of the Horse Guards and Grenadiers. Their kettledrums were decked with black baize. Their trumpets were wound with cypress...

  10. Marlborough’s America
    (pp. None)
  11. Notes
    (pp. 415-554)
  12. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 555-558)
  13. Index
    (pp. 559-579)