CHURCHILL, John (1650-1722)

CHURCHILL, John (1650–1722)

cr. 21 Dec. 1682 Ld. Churchill of Eyemouth [S]; cr. 14 May 1685 Bar. CHURCHILL; cr. 9 Apr. 1689 earl of MARLBOROUGH; cr. 14 Dec. 1702 duke of MARLBOROUGH

First sat 19 May 1685; last sat 5 Dec. 1721

MP Newtown I.o.W. 1679 (Mar.-July)

b. 26 May 1650, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Winston Churchill (1620-88) and Elizabeth (d.1698),1 da. of Sir John Drake, of Ashe, Musbery, Dorset; bro. of Charles and George Churchill. educ. Dublin free g.s. 1662; St Paul’s c.1664. m. c. November 1677,2 Sarah (1660-1744), da. of Richard Jennings, of Sandridge, Herts., 2s. (d.v.p.), 5da. (3 d.v.p.); 1 da. illegit. with Barbara Villiers, duchess of Cleveland.3 suc. fa. 1688. KG 1702. d. 16 June 1722; will 19 Mar. 1722; pr. 6 July 1722.4

Page to James, duke of York, by 1667, groom of bedchamber to York 1673-78, master of wardrobe to York 1677-85; envoy extraordinary, Denmark 1683, ambassador extraordinary, Paris Feb.-Apr. 1685; gent. of bedchamber 1685-88, 1689-92; PC 14 Feb. 1689-23 June 1692, 19 June 1698-30 Dec. 1711, 1715-d.; master of horse and gov. to duke of Gloucester 1698-1700; ld. justice 1698-1700; amb. extraordinary and plenipotentiary to The Hague 1701-11; master of the Ordnance 1702-12, Oct. 1714-d.

Ensign 1st Ft. Gds. 1667; capt. of ft. Admiralty regt. 1672, lt.-col. 1675-83; lt.-col. 2nd R. English regt. (French army) 1674-7; brig. of ft. 1678; col. 1st Drag. Gds. 1683-5, 3rd Horse Gds. 1685-8 (later 7th Ft) 1689-92 (24th Ft.) 1702-4, 1st Ft. Gds. 1704-11, 1714-d.; maj.-gen. 1685; lt.-gen. Nov. 1688; c.-in-c. English forces in the Netherlands 1690-2, allied forces 1701-11; capt.-gen. 1702-11, 1715-d.

Dep. lt. Dorset 1685-88; high steward, St Albans 1685-d., Woodstock, 1705;5 ld. lt. Oxon. 1706-12.

Freeman, Merchant Adventurers, Hamburg 1683,6 East India Co. 1687;7 gov. Hudson’s Bay Co. 1685-92,8 Chelsea Hosp. 1715-d.

Associated with: Windsor Lodge; St Albans; Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxon.

Likenesses: oil on canvas by ?J. Closterman aft. J. Riley, c.1685-90, NPG 501; oil on canvas by M. Dahl, c.1702, National Army Museum; oil on canvas by Sir G. Kneller, Royal Hospital, Chelsea.

Before the Revolution

Marlborough’s formative experience was that of a courtier.9 Gilbert Burnet, bishop of Salisbury, described him as

a man of noble and graceful appearance, bred up in a court with no literature: but he had a solid and clear understanding, with a constant presence of mind. He knew the arts of living in a court beyond any man in it. He caressed all people with a soft and obliging deportment, and was always ready to do good offices.10

In his early manifestation as a courtier, ‘no expectations were given of the accomplished officer and soldier. His complexion was fine and delicate, the whole fabric of his body… indicated nothing like strength and vigour’. His initial appointments at court, as a page and as an ensign were almost certainly due to the influence of his elder sister, Arabella, the duke of York’s mistress.11 As Churchill ‘had no fortune to set up on, this set him on all the methods of acquiring one’, he undertook various military and diplomatic postings as he attempted to establish himself, possibly serving in Tangier, and accompanying Bernard Granville on an embassy to Savoy, serving at the battle of Sole Bay in 1672, and with the French army at the siege of Maastricht the following year.12

Churchill’s uncertain prospects partly account for his prolonged courtship of Sarah Jennings; his parents wished him to marry Katherine Sedley, daughter of Sir Charles Sedley and another of York’s mistresses. He avoided the match by joining with his father in breaking the entail to the family’s estates, so that his father could pay his debts, and provide for his younger children. Meanwhile, the death of Sarah’s brother, Ralph, in the summer of 1677, made her a co-heiress to the family’s estates, and therefore a much better prospect. The date of Churchill’s marriage is unknown, but was probably shortly after the marriage of Princess Mary to the Prince of Orange in November 1677. It was not publicly acknowledged until May or June of the following year, and the first official document mentioning the fact was a deed of 15 June 1678.13

Meanwhile, Churchill strove to improve his position. In November 1677, he paid Ned Villiers £2,000 for the post of master of the robes to York.14 In March 1678 he was sent to Bruges to plan for the arrival of the army. He then went to The Hague to negotiate a convention with William in the company of Sidney Godolphin, the future earl of Godolphin, the man destined to be his closest friend. In February 1679 he was elected to Parliament, but on 1 May he received leave of absence for the whole session, allegedly to recover his health, but in reality to join York, in exile in the Low Countries. In August 1679, Churchill was in England when Charles II fell ill, being sent to bring York back to London.15

Churchill and his wife were particularly close to York’s younger daughter, Princess Anne. When Churchill’s daughter Anne (the future countess of Sunderland) was born in February 1683, the princess was one of her godparents. In June, Churchill (by now a Scottish peer, Lord Churchill), was one of those dispatched to bring over Prince George, the future duke of Cumberland, to England for his marriage to the princess. Following the marriage Sarah Churchill was employed in the household of the princess, first as a lady of the bedchamber and then as groom of the stole. Henceforth, both Churchills were important members of her household, and Sarah’s friendship with the princess became the key to his future career.16

In the winter of 1684 the Churchills moved into the Cockpit, part of Princess Anne’s lodgings in the palace of Whitehall.17 By the time of the accession of James II in February 1685, Churchill was a trusted servant of the new king, as well as a confidant of Princess Anne. James II despatched Churchill to France as extraordinary ambassador to Louis XIV. He left on 16 Feb., returning for the coronation in April.18 Whilst in Paris he told the Protestant, Henri de Ruvigny, the future Viscount Galway [I], ‘that if the king ever was prevailed upon to alter our religion, he would serve him no longer, but withdraw from him’.19 It was expected that Churchill would stand for election to the new Parliament for St Albans on the Sandridge interest, which had seen Sarah’s father and grandfather returned to the House of Commons. He was named as high steward in the new charter delivered to the town on 19 Mar. but on that day John Verney reported that ‘Lord Churchill sets up his brother, by which I guess his Lordship may be by that time the Parliament sits of the peers.’20 George Churchill was elected at the end of March and Churchill was raised to the English peerage on 14 May, five days before Parliament met.

On 19 May 1685 he was introduced into the House by William Maynard, 2nd Baron Maynard, and Richard Butler, Baron Butler of Weston, more commonly known as the earl of Arran [I]. In all he attended on five days of this part of the session, and was named to three committees. He last attended on 12 June, thereafter he was engaged in the suppression of the rebellion of James Scott, duke of Monmouth. When the House resumed on 9 Nov. Churchill attended on each of the 11 days. Over the whole session, he attended on 16 days of the session, 37 per cent of the total.

At the end of December 1685, Sir John Reresby suggested that Churchill was part of the faction led by Robert Spencer, 2nd earl of Sunderland, and Lord Chancellor George Jeffreys, Baron Jeffreys, rather than that of the king’s brothers-in-law, Laurence Hyde, earl of Rochester, and Henry Hyde, 2nd earl of Clarendon. This was probably accurate, given Churchill’s suspicion of the Hydes.21 In January 1686 he was selected as one of the 30 peers to try Henry Booth, 2nd Baron Delamer, and, as the most junior baron present, he cast the first not guilty vote of what was to be an unanimous verdict.22 He attended the prorogation on 10 Feb. 1686.

By the end of Charles II’s reign the Churchills were already able to invest surplus income.23 In the new reign Churchill continued to invest the profits of royal service, some of it in non-landed enterprises, such as the East India Company.24 According to L’Hermitage’s report of 22 June 1694, Churchill subscribed £10,000 to the Bank of England. His name does not appear on the printed list of subscribers sent to Berlin by the Prussian envoy, Bonet, on 6 July 1694, which suggests it was invested under another name.25 He subscribed £20,000 to the Bank in 1709, so that in 1710 he was listed with those holding over £4,000 worth of stock.26 Not that investment in more liquid assets militated against the acquisition of land.27 A further source of income was an annuity he bought from George Savile, marquess of Halifax, although this caused some difficulty following the death of William Savile, 2nd marquess of Halifax, in securing payment from his trustees.28

Although Churchill prospered, there is evidence of his continued concern over the direction of royal policy. On 29 Dec. 1686 Princess Anne wrote to her sister that Churchill ‘will always obey the king in all things that are consistent with religion – yet rather than change that, I daresay he will lose all his places and all that he has’. Churchill acted as Anne’s representative in discussions with Everard Dijkvelt in March 1687, whom William had sent to observe the political situation.29 On 17 May 1687, Churchill himself wrote to William: ‘I being resolved, although I cannot live the life of a saint, if there be ever occasion for it, to show the resolution of a martyr’.30

Despite any misgivings that Churchill may have had over the direction of royal policy, he continued in the king’s service.31 In November 1687, possibly as a way out of his dilemma of serving the king, he asked to command the English regiments in Dutch service. The various parliamentary lists of 1687-8 show that commentators regarded Churchill’s closeness to the king as indicating agreement with his religious policies. However, a closer observer of the court, the French ambassador, Paul Barillon, revealed in a dispatch of 5 Dec. that Churchill had refused to vote for the repeal of the Tests. This was confirmed by a newsletter of 12 Jan. 1688, which recorded that ‘Lord Churchill swears he will not do what the king requires of him’.32 Nevertheless he continued to extract favours from James II. In May 1688, Churchill was quick to seize upon the lapsing of the archdeaconry of St Albans to secure the presentation to it of John Cole.33 Perhaps deliberately, Churchill was absent at the military encampment when James’s son was born on 10 June.

In December 1687, Churchill revealed a certain sense of insecurity when he conveyed Sandridge to the family lawyer, Anthony Guidott.34 In the course of 1688, he became actively involved in the plotting against the king, specifically undermining his control of the army.35 On 27 July Churchill protected his estate by conveying £7,000 to Sarah and putting his property into trustees for the benefit of his wife and children.36 On 4 Aug. he wrote to William that he was ‘resolved to die in that religion that it has pleased God to give you both the will and power to protect’.37 Following the Dutch invasion the newly promoted lieutenant general Churchill marched with James II’s army to Salisbury. There he joined with Henry Fitzroy, duke of Grafton, and others in advising an accommodation with William, although when a council-of-war was held, Churchill was the sole dissenter against a retreat, his advocacy being later seen as a manoeuvre to make his defection easier.38 On the night of 23-24 Nov. he deserted to William, explaining in a letter to the king that his actions ‘could proceed from nothing but the inviolable dictates of my conscience, and a necessary concern for my religion’.39

On 3 Dec. Churchill told Clarendon that the king was mistaken in thinking he would have betrayed him to William if he continued his advance, adding that ‘he had never left him, but that he saw our religion and country were in danger of being destroyed’. On 8 Dec. Churchill was one of those consulted about the response to the commissioners sent from James, and one of those reporting their conclusions to the prince. He said very little on the contentious matter of whether to supersede the writs already issued for calling a Parliament.40 On 14 Dec. he brought a message to the council of peers in London that the prince ‘would not advance further than Windsor till the king’s resolutions were known as to his proposals’.41 On 17 Dec. Churchill was one of the dozen peers consulted by William at Windsor on the news of James’s return to London. Both Churchill and Grafton argued against sending the king to the Tower, and eventually all agreed that he should be sent to Ham House. Having been summoned by William on 20 Dec. he attended a meeting of the Lords at the presence chamber in St James’s on the following day. He also attended on the 22nd, 24th and 25th and probably on the 27th as well.42

Churchill was soon at the centre of the new regime.43 He was chiefly active in preparing the army for war, following the disruption caused by James’s order to disband his forces. George Legge, Baron Dartmouth, was informed on 3 Jan. 1689, that in army affairs ‘Churchill is the greatest man next to’ Frederick Schomberg, duke of Schomberg.44 Indeed, Thomas Bruce, 2nd earl of Ailesbury, heard from Schomberg that ‘the army is now modelling, and all done in the prince’s closet... My Lord Churchill proposes all, I am sent for as to say the general consents, and Monsieur Bentinck [Hans Willem Bentick, the future earl of Portland], is the secretary for to write all’. He then continued, ‘the harvest my Lord Churchill made by this was vast, for all was sold’.45 It was the reorganization of the army and its concomitant the selling of commissions, which reputedly cemented Churchill’s fortune.46

Churchill was present on the opening day of the Convention on 22 Jan. 1689. Rather diplomatically, given his long service to James II, on 29 Jan. he was listed as absent with ‘some indisposition’ from the vote on whether a regency would be the best way to preserve the protestant religion and the nation’s laws.47 Roger Morrice confirmed his absence, noting that he had ‘hurt his leg’.48 Two days earlier Clarendon had put an even worse construction on his absence at St Albans, linking it to widespread rumours that Churchill had undertaken to persuade Princess Anne to give up her right to the throne should Princess Mary predecease her husband without producing an heir. Burnet had apparently peddled this rumour, which Churchill denied, but Clarendon feared that Churchill’s absence would allow the rumour currency. On 31 Jan. Churchill voted against declaring William and Mary, king and queen. However, on 4 Feb. he voted in favour of agreeing with the Commons in using the term ‘abdication’. On 5 Feb. Clarendon again expressed his suspicions to the princess. He indicated that Churchill had told Jonathan Trelawny, bishop of Bristol, that she had written to Clarendon not to ‘say anything in the House from her’, despite having told Clarendon and others that she would do nothing to the prejudice of her rights.49 Churchill and Charles Sackville, 6th earl of Dorset, carried a message from Princess Anne to the Lords, while they were at a conference with the Commons on 6 Feb., praying that concern for her interest should not hinder the two Houses from coming to an agreement because she was willing to submit to whatever they should conclude for the good of the kingdom ‘which hastened the conclusion and they returned and made report’. The Lords then voted to agree with the Commons that James II had ‘abdicated’ and that the throne was vacant.50 Churchill voted with the majority in this division. Not only was his vote crucial in this respect, but behind the scenes he helped persuade Princess Anne to relinquish her right to the throne. Ironically, the closeness of his relationship with the princess meant that William was wary of bestowing his full trust on him. As the king remarked to Halifax, ‘Lord Churchill could not govern him nor my lady, the princess his wife, as they did the prince and princess of Denmark’.51

After the Revolution, 1689-92

Despite William’s distrust, Churchill’s role in the Revolution and its aftermath brought him advancement. At the end of February 1689 he was named a gentleman of the bedchamber. On 9 Apr. he was created earl of Marlborough, choosing that title because of his mother’s distant relationship to the wife of James Ley, earl of Marlborough.52 On 13 Apr. he was introduced into the House by Charles Talbot, 12th earl (later duke) of Shrewsbury, and Charles Gerard, earl of Macclesfield. He last attended on 7 May, it being noted that ‘Lord Churchill [sic], is very suddenly to go for Holland’.53 On 22 May he was excused attendance on the House, having registered a proxy with Shrewsbury on 12 May. His absence on campaign meant that he attended only 22 per cent of the session, comprising roughly half the sittings available to him, and was named to four committees. While on campaign his public standing was emphasized, following the birth on 15 July 1689 of Mary Churchill (future duchess of Montagu), when Prince George, Queen Mary and the countess of Derby agreed to be her godparents.54

William III’s suspicion of Marlborough’s closeness to Princess Anne was probably exacerbated by the question of an independent income for the princess, which the king opposed. The Commons grappled with the issue during the second half of 1689, eventually agreeing an address which was presented to the king on 23 December. On 30 Dec. the king’s reply was reported to the House: ‘whatsoever comes from the House of Commons, is so agreeable to me, and particularly this address, that I shall do what you desire of me.’ This victory for the princess and her court was bought at some cost. As Sarah later recalled, she ‘had taken a vast deal of pains to compass’ this settlement, and that this ‘was the true cause of King William’s and his queen’s anger against me’.55

Marlborough was absent when the next session of the Convention convened and on 28 Oct. he was excused attendance, being abroad. He arrived back on 4 Nov. and attended for the first time on 6 November.56 He attended on 45 days of the session, 62 per cent of the total and was appointed to five committees. Classed by Thomas Osborne, marquess of Carmarthen (and later duke of Leeds) as an opponent of the court on a list compiled between October 1689 and February 1690, adding that he was to be waited on, Marlborough was one of those who supped with the king at Shrewsbury’s on 6 Jan. 1690, part of the king’s attempts to improve relations with key members of the Lords.57 On 25 Jan. Marlborough acted as a teller in opposition to Thomas Grey, 2nd earl of Stamford, concerning an address to the king to defer taking any resolution about going into Scotland or Ireland until the House had offered their advice. Ever willing to act as the royal servant, Marlborough was utilized by the king in attempting to persuade Godolphin to remain at the treasury, a post he relinquished in March 1690.58

Marlborough was present at the opening of Parliament on 20 Mar. 1690, attending in all on 47 days, including the adjournment on 7 July, 87 per cent of the total. On 2 May Clarendon recorded that Marlborough ‘went away and gave no votes’ on the bill for the better securing King William and Queen Mary against the Jacobite threat.59 On 12 May he was named to manage the conference on the bill providing for the queen’s regency during William’s absence on campaign. He was then named to a committee to draw a clause for the abjuration bill. He was named to a further ten committees during the session. 

In May Roger Morrice reported that Marlborough had lent the king £10,000, which may tally with a Jacobite report of 9 May that ‘Lord Churchill is raising as much money as he can upon his estates’.60 He was named in June to the Council of Nine to advise Queen Mary and as commander of the army in England. The queen seems to have valued his advice, for following his suggestion Parliament was prorogued when it met following an adjournment on 7 July.61 Not that the queen reposed full confidence in Marlborough, writing that he ‘can never deserve either trust or esteem’.62 In this it seems she was in agreement with her father, for in July Daniel Finch, 2nd earl of Nottingham, the secretary of state, received information that in James II’s last pardon ‘none are excepted but the earl of Marlborough’ and Henry Compton, bishop of London.63

Nevertheless, on 7 July the queen wrote that Marlborough was much with Carmarthen and Nottingham, and ‘loses no opportunity of coming upon all occasions with the others [the Council of Nine]’.64 He attended most of the council’s meetings until mid-August, and the prorogation on 18 Aug. after which he went to Portsmouth to supervise his Irish expedition. His relative inexperience in military matters provoked some sniping. The queen reported to the king on 22 Aug. that Carmarthen had said that if George Churchill had a flag, ‘he will be called flag by favour, as his brother is called the general of favour’. Marlborough left London on 26 Aug. for Ireland where he was instrumental in the capture of Cork and Kinsale.65

Marlborough’s service in Ireland meant that he was absent when the 1690-1 session convened, not attending until 29 Oct. 1690. On 27 Dec. he entered his dissent against the resolution allowing written protections to be given to menial servants. In all, he attended on 43 days of the session, 59 per cent of the total and was named to six committees. Meanwhile, his prestige was sufficient for rumours to circulate that he would be made master of the Ordnance and a duke, possibly taking the title of Albemarle, although his ambitions may have been restricted to the garter and a military command to accompany the ordnance.66

When William went to The Hague early in 1691 for a military conference, he did not take Marlborough. The perception that Marlborough had grievances was picked up by Jacobite agents and in January 1691, Henry Bulkeley made contact with the earl in the hope of preying upon his disillusionment.67 On 17 Feb. Marlborough wrote to the king of his frustrations: ‘I am tired out of my life with the unreasonable way of [the], proceedings of the lord president [Carmarthen]; for he is very ignorant of what is fit for an officer, both as to recruits, and everything else as to a soldier’. His interference meant that ‘business is never done’, and made Marlborough wish the king would soon return, after which ‘I shall beg never to be in England when you are not’. Despite these frustrations, Marlborough persevered. On 27 Feb. Henry Sydney, Viscount Sydney, wrote to William that ‘Marlborough behaves himself much better than he did at first after your going away; he is now pretty diligent and seldom fails the committees’.68 He also attended the adjournment on 31 March. On 23 Apr. Marlborough attended the council, following which he was one of those who dined with William at the house of Ralph Montagu, earl (later duke) of Montagu.69 Marlborough was not appointed to the council to assist Queen Mary in the summer of 1691, because he accompanied William on campaign.70 In August both Princess Anne and Prince George pressed for Marlborough to be given the garter, but without success.71

Marlborough continued to be dissatisfied with his professional prospects. Important army commands had been given to Dutch and German officers like Godard van Reede Ginkell (later earl of Athlone [I]) and Solms, and he was only one of several lieutenant generals appointed in December for the next campaign in Flanders.72 He found that William favoured the English and Scottish officers who had served in the Dutch brigades and he did not get on well with the king’s Dutch favourite, Portland.73 This led to his involvement in agitation in Parliament to force the king to part with his foreign officers, where he may have used Princess Anne as a rallying point for the disaffected.74 Some of this discontent may have given way to Jacobite intrigue. In evidence to the Commons on 9 Dec. William Fuller named Marlborough among more than 40 ‘persons of quality and others that had signed an address to the French king to desire him to send an army into England’.75 Whatever stress may be placed on the testimony of such an inveterate schemer, Marlborough was in touch with Jacobite agents and in December he mediated a reconciliation between Princess Anne and her father by persuading her to write a ‘penitential letter’ to him.76

On 20 Jan. 1692, without warning, Marlborough was dismissed from all his offices.77 Various explanations were offered for the king’s actions. Marlborough was recognized as having been discontented and as having spoken disparagingly of the king’s conduct and of the Dutch. He was also accused of alienating Princess Anne from the queen and of becoming a Jacobite.78 The king seemed to hold a real sense of personal grievance; Robert Harley, future earl of Oxford, and Bonet both reported that the king had said that Marlborough’s conduct had been such that were he not king he would have sought a duel.79 Whatever the role played by the quarrel between the royal sisters, Princess Anne stood by Marlborough, refusing to dismiss the countess from her service, with the result that she was effectively banished from court.

Marlborough was in attendance at the beginning of the 1691-2 session, 22 October. On 12 Jan. 1692 he entered his dissent to the resolution to receive the divorce bill of Henry Howard, 7th duke of Norfolk. On 9 Feb. he registered his proxy to Godolphin, but he continued to attend the Lords until the adjournment on 23 February. Although one newsletter remarked on 2 Feb. that ‘Marlborough is present in the House of Peers daily’, he attended only 62 days of the session, 64 per cent of the total and was named to five committees.80

Out of favour, 1692-4

In April 1692 Marlborough was excepted from James II’s pardon, although Portland had obtained information early in May that Marlborough had received a pardon by ‘his own promises to engage a great part of the army’.81 Dalrymple suggested that Marlborough and James Butler, 2nd duke of Ormond, had been excepted at their own request ‘the more effectually to conceal their secret connections’.82 In May, when an informer named Young concocted a plot implicating Marlborough and others, during the French invasion scare, the earl was committed to the Tower on a charge of high treason.83 Lyttelton noted that the princess’s court at Sion was ‘melancholy’ upon hearing the news, but that the earls of Macclesfield and Montagu had refused to sign the order for Marlborough’s commitment’.84 Moreover, William Cavendish, 4th earl of Devonshire, Montagu, Francis Newport, Viscount Newport, and Richard Jones, Viscount Ranelagh [I], had refused to sign the arrest warrant.85 This cannot be confirmed from the Privy Council minutes as no presence list is given for the relevant day (3 May), nor is a list of signatories given for the arrest warrant, though the implication is that it was identical to the preceding entry, which does include Devonshire. There were 26 signatories to the order of commitment, dated 5 May, including Devonshire, Macclesfield, Montagu, Ranelagh and Newport.86 Marlborough was sufficiently worried about his fate to write to Carmarthen for protection against forged documents being presented to the grand jury.87 When the threat of an invasion had eased following the battle of La Hogue, Marlborough, perhaps prompted in part by the death of his son Charles, petitioned for release.88 However, the judges when consulted on 28 May refused a writ of habeas corpus.89 By 10 June Nottingham had admitted to Portland that ‘the business of Mr. Young will come to nothing’, the witnesses having being convicted of forgery, and that the prisoners would be bailed on the 15th.90 Marlborough was prepared for this eventuality having approached Halifax to stand bail for him when his counsel petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus.91 On 15 June he was bailed by Halifax, John Vaughan, 2nd Baron Vaughan and 3rd earl of Carbery [I], Shrewsbury and Henry Boyle, future Baron Carleton, for £6,000.92 He was removed from the Privy Council on 23 June, along with Halifax, Shrewsbury and Arthur Herbert, earl of Torrington.93 Marlborough’s dismissal and subsequent arrest had caused disquiet among his friends. As Sydney noted, Godolphin was ‘angry upon my Lord Marlborough’s account’ and Edward Russell, future earl of Orford, ‘hath liked nothing ever since my Lord Marlborough was in disgrace’.94

Believing that the government was planning his destruction, Marlborough became more openly critical in Parliament and began to figure more prominently in Jacobite correspondence. Nottingham continued to collect intelligence, including an affidavit from Dr. Richard Kingston, affirming that Marlborough had said that King William ‘exercised a more arbitrary and tyrannical power than King James did’, and that ‘every good man ought to lay his helping hand to put an end to it’. Marlborough retained the support of Princess Anne, and socialized with various opponents of the ministry, including Bishop Compton, of London, Russell, Shrewsbury, Montagu, Carbery, Godolphin, Henry Boyle and Thomas Felton. Nor was he lacking support among government officials: Nottingham was informed that Sir John Werden, a customs’ commissioner, had made a speech at the board ‘in commendation of the Lord Marlborough’s carriage in the House of Lords’.95

Marlborough was present when the 1692-3 session convened on 4 November. On 7 Nov. the House took into consideration the cases of Marlborough, Theophilus Hastings, 7th earl of Huntingdon, and Robert Leke, 3rd earl of Scarsdale, all of whom were still under bail in the king’s bench, and ordered the matter to be brought before the committee for privileges. On the 9th, the lord chief justice, Sir John Holt, was quizzed in a committee of the whole about his refusal to bail the accused. Upon hearing that such an action was not lawful, Marlborough asked for the protection of the House.96 The committee of the whole resolved on 14 Nov. that the judges had a duty in pursuance of the Habeas Corpus Act to admit a prisoner upon bail, if committed for high treason, unless it was made to appear upon oath, that there were two witnesses against the prisoner. On 15 Nov. the House spent some time in an inconclusive debate about discharging Marlborough and Huntingdon. On the 18th, the Lords were informed that both Marlborough and Huntingdon’s bail had been discharged and that therefore there was no occasion for further proceedings.

On 21 Nov. 1692 Marlborough acted as a teller in opposition to Ailesbury on the motion to vacate protections granted by Edward Clinton, 5th earl of Lincoln. On 7 Dec. he entered his protest against the failure of the House to agree to a committee of both Houses to consider the state of the nation. On 8 Dec. he acted as a teller in opposition to Richard Lumley, earl of Scarbrough, in a division concerning the ordnance. On 20 and 21 Dec. he was named to manage a conference on the naval papers brought to the Lords by Nottingham. In a follow-up to this, on 29 Dec. he was named to prepare reasons for a conference on whether the vote delivered from the Commons approving Admiral Russell’s conduct was according to the usual manner of proceedings, and was then one of the managers of the subsequent conference on 4 Jan. 1693. On 31 Dec. 1692 and 3 Jan. 1693 he voted in favour of the place bill, signing a protest against its rejection on 3 January.

At about the turn of the year, Ailesbury forecast Marlborough as a likely opponent of Norfolk’s divorce bill; he voted against it on 2 Jan. 1693. On 17 Jan. he entered his dissent against the resolutions concerning the failure of Charles Knollys’ claim to the earldom of Banbury. On 19 Jan., following the report of a conference with the Commons, he entered two dissents to the resolutions concerning the failure of the Lords to insist on their amendments to the land tax bill. On 24 and 25 Jan. he was named to manage conferences on the recently published libel, King William and Queen Mary Conquerors. On 4 Feb. Marlborough voted Charles Mohun, 4th Baron Mohun, not guilty of murder. When the House considered the heads of advice to be offered to the king on 11 Feb. he acted as a teller on two occasions in opposition to John Egerton, 3rd earl of Bridgwater, who reported the heads to the House. Both men were then named to draw up the resultant address.

On 6 Mar. 1693 Marlborough dissented to the resolution not to communicate to the Commons information concerning the state and condition of Ireland. Two days later he entered his dissent to the expiring laws bill. On 10 Mar. he was named to report the conference on the bill concerning the duchy of Cornwall, and then named to draw up reasons for the Lords insisting on their amendments to the bill. On 13 Mar. he acted as a teller in opposition to Feversham at the report stage of the bill to prevent the false and double return of Members. On 14 Mar. he was named as a reporter to the conference on the bill to prohibit trade with France and for the encouragement of privateers. In all he was present on 95 days of the session, 93 per cent of the total, and was named to 25 committees. Clearly, his presence must have been pervasive, and a reminder to the government that he might be better off employed rather than left to foment opposition.

During August 1693 Marlborough took part in the political manoeuvring aimed at securing a reconstruction of the ministry. On the same day Charles Hatton affirmed the importance of Marlborough to the discussions when he wrote that ‘Lord Churchill’ had effected a reconciliation between the two royal sisters. The crucial summit of ‘great men’, at Althorp included Shrewsbury, Montagu, Godolphin, Marlborough, Russell and Thomas Wharton, future marquess of Wharton; another meeting was hosted by Montagu at Boughton. The intention was to replace Nottingham with Sunderland; Sydney was to carry ‘the scheme of this great new settlement’ to the king and according to Anne Nicholas ‘if he will accept of them they will give him four hundred thousand pounds’.97 Sir Christopher Musgrave rather sceptically told Harley that if Marlborough ‘came into a play it is strange’, and all came to nought when William failed to countenance any of the changes.98

Marlborough was present when the 1693-4 session opened on 7 November. He attended on 103 days of the session, 81 per cent of the total. On 4 Dec. he acted as a teller for a division on the triennial bill. In the debate which followed about what constituted holding a Parliament, he offered the word ‘assemble’ as part of the definition. On 8 Dec. he backed Devonshire’s amendment defining a session as being held even if ‘no act or judgment’ should pass. On 21 Dec. Marlborough moved that the duchess of Grafton and William Bridgeman be allowed to withdraw their petition in the cause of Bridgeman v. Holt, the duchess having agreed the matter with the lord chief justice. The matter was adjourned, ‘some Lords thinking such a failure of justice should not go without some censure.’99 Presumably, one of those Lords was Marlborough for on 22 Dec. he entered his dissent against the passage of the resolution.

On 3 Jan. 1694 Marlborough was named to manage a conference about the proceedings in council concerning the admirals who had commanded the fleet the previous summer. On 12 Jan. he suggested that the Lords adjourn until the House receive a more satisfactory answer from the king. He was named to further conferences on the conduct of the admirals on 15 Jan. and 8, 12 February. On 15 Feb. he acted as a teller concerning the same issue. On 5 Jan. Marlborough was named to manage a conference on the Lords’ amendments to the place bill. On 17 Feb. he voted in favour of reversing the court of chancery’s dismission in Montagu v Bath. On 26 Feb. he spoke in support of the Commons’ bill for the reform of treason trials, which was lost without a division. On 14 Apr. he was named to manage a conference on the bill for the easier recovery of small tithes. In all he was named to a further 20 committees during the session.

Marlborough was not an opponent of the government out of conviction; he still sought a return to office. He had helped convince Shrewsbury to return to office as secretary at the beginning of March 1694, in part to secure his ‘own peace’.100 On 4 May Marlborough executed a settlement, in accordance with the will of Sarah’s mother that her estate of Agney, Kent should be beyond his control, to vest it in trustees for her sole use.101 It may have been coincidental that this settlement occurred at the same time as his possible betrayal to the French of the English attack on Camaret Bay, although at worst it merely confirmed what the French already knew.102 On 22 June, Following this military disaster, Marlborough tendered his service to the king, through Shrewsbury, which William declined.103 This may account for Sunderland writing to Portland in July of Marlborough’s ‘extraordinary desire to be again employed’. He continued to attend political gatherings. Wharton and Felton intended to meet Marlborough and Godolphin at Sunderland’s on 14 Aug. 1694, where ‘some suspect there is a project to reconcile Sunderland and Lord Rochester’. Sunderland confirmed a meeting saying on 5 Aug. that in the next week he was expecting to see Marlborough, along with Henry Guy, Dr. John Radcliffe, Romney (the former Sydney), Felton, and Wharton.104

Rehabilitation, 1695-8

Marlborough was present at the opening of the 1694-5 session, 12 November. On 22 Nov. he acted as a teller in a vote concerning stamp duty on parliamentary records. The death of Queen Mary on 28 Dec. opened the way towards Marlborough’s rehabilitation as it emphasized the need for a reconciliation between William and Princess Anne. As Shrewsbury observed on 29 Jan. 1695, Marlborough had ‘no small credit’ with Princess Anne and seemed ‘very resolved to contribute to the continuance of this union, as the only thing that can support her, or both. I do not see he is likely, at present, to get much by it, not having yet kissed the king’s hand, but his reversion is very fair and great’.105 Charles Hatton had already noted he had begun to abandon his opposition stance in the Lords. Marlborough, he wrote, had been previously ‘very zealous for passing the treason bill; but last Tuesday [8 Jan.], he absented himself from the committee, where it was carried by seven votes that the treason bill should not commence till 1698’, rather than 1695, a concession to the court.106 On 22 Jan. Marlborough acted as a teller twice in divisions on the treason trials bill. At the report stage on 23 Jan. when Rochester renewed his attempt to have the bill commence immediately, James Vernon reported that ‘Marlborough took upon him to answer him that our security was not so slender if it depended only on those three lives’, namely the king, Princess Anne and the duke of Gloucester.107

On 19 Mar. 1695 Marlborough acted as a teller in a division on the descent of baronies by writ. On 13 Apr. he was named as a reporter of the conference with the Commons concerning Sir Thomas Cooke and the East India Company. He was named to the committee to draw up reasons to be offered at a conference on the matter, and was named as a manager on the 17th. On 18 Apr. he was named to manage a conference on the expiring laws bill. On 22 Apr. he was elected (with 26 votes – the joint lowest total), as one of the peers to serve on a joint committee with the Commons in the examination of Cooke; he also served as the manager of a conference about it on the 24th.108 On 26 Apr. he reported back from the committee of both Houses that the report was not yet ready and asked for an early sitting on the following day. On 30 Apr. he reported from the committee appointed to inspect the Journals for a series of precedents relating to the method of proceeding in cases of impeachments for misdemeanours. In all he attended on 97 days of the session, 81 per cent of the total. He was named to a further 38 committees, reporting from the Whitchcot estate bill.

Meanwhile, Marlborough’s slow rehabilitation continued; he kissed the king’s hand on 29 Mar. 1695, and it was reported that he would serve as a lieutenant general in Flanders.109 When Princess Anne took up lodgings in St James’s Palace in December 1695, so did Marlborough, where he remained until the spring of 1711.110 Marlborough was also concerned about elections to the Commons, but on a personal level. On 7 July 1695 he wrote from St Albans to give Sir Benjamin Bathurst warning that a new Parliament was likely, it being ‘for the Princess’s service to have you of the House’. He added that ‘it would be a great mortification to me’, if John Howe ‘should meet with any assistance from such as you may have power over, he having used me not as one gentleman ought to use another; and yet impossible for me to take notice of, as I might have done in another place’.111

Having attended the prorogation on 8 Oct. Marlborough was present on the opening day of the 1695-6 session, 22 November. On 5 Dec. he was named to manage a conference on the coinage. On 6 Dec, in the committee of the whole on the state of the nation, he supported moves to investigate the naval failings of the previous summer, noting that ‘whether by a negligence or treachery the losses of the merchants did arise’. On 14 Dec. he was named to a conference on the address against the Scottish East India Company. On 23 Dec. in committee of the whole on the treason trials bill, he supported making the statute effective from the year 1695, and not postponing it. He also wished to draw the definition of the crime against the king to include ‘any violence, hurt or mischief of the king’.112 On more mundane legislative matters, Marlborough received a letter from Lady Jane Blount dated 23 Dec. giving her consent to Blount’s estate bill, which suggests he was active either in managing the bill or in the committee considering it.113

On 3 and 7 Jan. 1696 Marlborough was named to manage conferences on the bill for regulating the silver coinage, which had been extensively amended by the Lords. On 9 Jan. he entered his protest against the resolution that the House not insist upon a clause allowing, for a limited time, the export of coin; acted as a teller in on the question of whether to insist upon the Lords’ amendment about the Mint receiving gold in the coinage bill; and entered his dissent against the resolution that the House not insist upon a clause requiring that the deficiency on all clipped coin be made good. He was then appointed to the committee to prepare reasons for the Lords insisting on some amendments to the bill; and what should be offered, concerning the Commons denying the Lords a right of inflicting pecuniary penalties. He was then named on 10 Jan. to manage the ensuing conference. Also on 9 Jan. Marlborough acted as a teller on the question of whether to read the petition of Sir Richard Verney, the future 11th Baron Willoughby de Broke. On 24 Feb. he was named to the address committee following the king’s speech alerting the Lords to the Assassination Plot, and to the resultant conference with the Commons. He signed the Association on 27 February. In all he attended on 101 days of the session, 82 per cent of the total and was named to a further 48 committees, reporting on the Wye and Lugg navigation bill.

Marlborough continued to seek advancement. On 23 May 1696 Sunderland wrote to Portland about a successor to Henry Capell, Baron Capell, as lord deputy in Ireland, that there were ‘many pretenders and none more pressing than Marlborough’.114 In June Sir John Fenwick had been arrested and over the next few months made unsubstantiated allegations about the involvement of Marlborough, Godolphin, Shrewsbury and Russell in the Assassination Plot. By the end of September rumours were rife that Fenwick had implicated Marlborough in Jacobite activity, but the king discounted Fenwick’s evidence.115 Marlborough continued to socialize extensively: in September, both he and Godolphin appear to have left Wharton’s Buckinghamshire house to visit Sunderland at Althorp.116

Marlborough was present when Parliament convened on 20 Oct. 1696. On 6 Nov. the king informed the Commons that the information given by Fenwick contained allegations against ‘several persons of quality’, including Marlborough. Fenwick was sent for and questioned by the Commons, and given the opportunity to substantiate his charges. Following the inadequacy of his answers, the Commons voted that his information was ‘false and scandalous’, and ordered a bill of attainder to be brought in against him. In these debates Charles Montagu, future earl of Halifax, distinguished himself, doing ‘great right’ to Russell, Shrewsbury and Marlborough, ‘by name, showing how improbable this fiction was, as to any of you’.117 Vernon reported on 17 Nov. that at the second reading of the Fenwick attainder bill, Marlborough’s brother in law, Charles Godfrey, ‘moved the questions in behalf of my Lord Marlborough’. There seems little doubt that Marlborough promoted the attainder bill. On 24 Nov. Vernon reported that he was ‘very hearty in this matter and as if he would push it’.118 On 1 Dec., after Fenwick’s papers were delivered into the House and read:

Marlborough first stood up, and spoke… that he did not wonder to find a man in danger, willing to throw his guilt upon any other body; that he had some satisfaction to be owned in such good company; but that he assured their Lordships that he had no sort of conversation with him, upon any account whatsoever since this government.119

Marlborough informed Shrewsbury on 2 Dec. that ‘it all went as well as you could wish’, and that ‘Rochester has behaved himself on all this occasion like a friend’.120 Yet on 10 Dec. John Somers, Baron Somers, told Shrewsbury that Rochester had made a proposition to Marlborough ‘to get a vote in the House [of Lords], upon the paper’ [of Fenwick’s], which he felt was ‘to make this matter help towards the rejecting of the bill’. He elaborated on 24 Dec. noting that Rochester’s plan was ‘judged wholly improper at the time he proposed it, and designed principally to obstruct the passing of the bill, by dividing some who were likely to be earnest for it’.121 On 18 Dec. Marlborough acted as a teller for the second reading of Fenwick’s attainder bill. On 23 Dec. he was listed as voting in favour of the bill’s third reading, and succeeded in getting Prince George to vote for it as well.122 On 24 Dec. Vernon indicated that Fenwick’s supporters had intended to embarrass Marlborough by asking him ‘the reasons the king had to part with him, and what had followed upon his discontent’.123

On 5 Jan. 1697 Somers wrote to Shrewsbury that Marlborough and Russell would be with him the next day concerning the machinations of Charles Mordaunt, earl of Monmouth, over the Fenwick affair. On 9 Jan., Marlborough and Godolphin ‘spoke in behalf of themselves’ and of Shrewsbury when the Lords considered the papers which Lady Mary Fenwick had produced upon the order of the House (of 22 Dec.) about how Fenwick should behave at his trial. On several occasions this advice to Fenwick mentioned using the evidence which had led to Marlborough’s committal to the Tower in 1692 by contriving to have it laid before the House. On 15 Jan., when the Lords debated these papers and Monmouth’s role therein, Marlborough, together with Godolphin, and others, ‘all pressed that they could not but look upon him as the contriver of those papers, and the judgment of the House ought to be formed accordingly’.124 Monmouth was then sent to the Tower and Marlborough was one of those named to the committee to draw up a representation to the king on the matter.

Marlborough was involved in other business during the session. On 30 Nov. 1696 he was named to manage a conference at which the Commons communicated their resolution on the privilege of Members. His skills as a mediator were called upon in an attempt to resolve disputes involving peers. On 4 Dec. he was one of seven peers appointed to compose matters between Devonshire and John Sheffield, marquess of Normanby, over the purchase of Berkeley House.125 On 21 Jan. 1697 he was one of six peers appointed by the House to mediate between Huntingdon and his son, George Hastings, styled Lord Hastings, future 8th earl of Huntingdon. On 1 Feb. he acted as a teller in a division on the bill for the recovery of debts from peers and Members of the Commons. On 26 Feb., Edward Montagu, 3rd earl of Sandwich, registered his proxy with Marlborough, but he continued to attend. On 5 Mar. Marlborough was named to manage a conference on the bill prohibiting the import of wrought silks, being named on the 9th to the committee to draw up reasons for the Lords insisting on their amendments. On 18 Mar. Bradford and Sandwich registered their proxies with Marlborough. On 15 Apr. Marlborough entered his protest to a clause in the bill to restrain the number and ill practices of stock-jobbers because the House rejected an amendment to it to ensure the legislation was not retrospective. In all he attended on 98 days of the session, 86 per cent of the total, and was named to a further 32 committees.

Peace brought with it the prospect of ministerial changes, and Marlborough was very much part of the political speculation that spring and summer. In April 1697 John Locke was informed that Sunderland was being cultivated ‘and ’tis buzzed about that he is bringing the Lord Rochester, Marlborough and Godolphin into play’.126 On 31 July Marlborough was at Tunbridge Wells, where he hosted a dinner for Sunderland, Romney, Lord Edward Russell and Thomas Coningsby, Baron Coningsby [I], the future earl of Coningsby, who were staying with Philip Sydney, 3rd earl of Leicester, at Penshurst. The following day Marlborough, Godolphin and George Churchill returned the visit.127 On 2 Nov. one of Harley’s correspondents reported that Marlborough and Godolphin had been reconciled to Rochester.128

Marlborough was present on 3 Dec. 1697 when the next session opened. Vernon reported on 6 Jan. 1698 that when Bartholomew Burton was examined by the Commons about the false endorsement of exchequer bills, he ‘gave some occasion to think of it by saying he had contracted with some gentlemen to pay their subscriptions, they laying down half the money should have the benefit of the whole sums’ naming Marlborough among others, ‘but those present denying it, and he being called in again it appeared that he very ill explained himself, for besides the half deposited he had the party’s bills to negotiate for the rest and they were to bear the discount’.129 In mid-session, reports again surfaced of Marlborough’s return to office, Vernon noting on 14 Feb. that he had been told ‘an exchange is negotiating’, whereby Marlborough would become lord chamberlain, and Shrewsbury governor to the duke of Gloucester. Vernon could not vouch for the veracity of this rumour, but revealed that ‘Marlborough is frequently with the king, and therefore I hope they are well together’.130 On 5 Mar. Marlborough was named to prepare for a conference aimed at discovering the ground on which the Commons had proceeded in the bill to punish Charles Duncombe, and was also one of those appointed to manage the ensuing conferences on 7 and 11 March. On 15 Mar. he was noted as supporting the committal of the bill and listed as voting in favour of it.131 The adjournment of 20 Apr. until 2 May provided a convenient window for the marriage on 28 Apr. of his daughter, Henrietta, to Francis Godolphin, later 2nd earl of Godolphin.

On 6 May 1698 John Methuen informed Galway that the Irish interest had ‘been much frighted about the woollen bill, but I have at last engaged my Lord Godolphin, Rochester and Marlborough to secure it for this session and they kept their words, and have put it off a week in such manner that I hope we shall certainly gain our point’.132 This may be a reference to the delaying tactic of the committee on the bill requesting to see some papers in the hands of the clerks of the council. On 7 May Marlborough acted as teller on the question of appointing a date for the next sitting of the House. On 10 May he was appointed to manage a conference on the Colchester hospitals and workhouse bill. On that day Sandwich again registered his proxy with Marlborough. On 7 June in what was probably a reference to the bill brought into the Commons for raising annuities and incorporating the new East India company, Vernon informed Shrewsbury that as a result of what the House had done ‘there is a prospect of an accommodation between the Old Company and the new subscribers; if it succeed, the two millions will be raised with greater certainty and much less clamour. I believe my Lord Godolphin and Lord Marlborough have mediated it’.133 On 15 June Marlborough was appointed to manage a conference on the impeachment of Goudet, and then to a committee to prepare reasons for the Lords insisting on their resolution on how the impeachment should be managed. He was appointed to manage the resultant conferences on the matter on 16, 21, 23, 28 June and 2 July. He attended on 123 days of the session, 94 per cent of the total, being named to 55 committees.

Return to office, 1698-1701

By 11 June 1698 Vernon had heard that ‘Marlborough is to be one of the cabinet council; he will be a very fit man to be one of the lords justices, there being a want of such.’ The king declared this and Marlborough’s appointment as Gloucester’s governor at the cabinet on 12 June, and on 16 July Marlborough was declared one of the lords justices.134 There followed a quarrel over minor appointments to Gloucester’s household, which Marlborough smoothed over with the assistance of Arnold Joost van Keppel, earl of Albemarle.135 On 19 Aug. Vernon informed Portland that Marlborough, Orford (as Russell had become), Godolphin and Charles Montagu were to attend Quainton races near to Wharton’s residence at Winchendon, where Shrewsbury was to meet them, although Marlborough does not seem to have been let into the secret of the partition treaty which was communicated to Shrewsbury at this gathering.136

Marlborough was present when the 1698-9 session opened on 6 December. On 29 Dec. Somers wrote to Shrewsbury of the king’s intentions to abandon the country in the wake of the votes on the army, noting that the king ‘had spoken of it to my Lord Marlborough (which one would wonder at, almost as much as the thing itself)’.137 On 21 Jan. 1699 Sunderland wrote to Marlborough for advice on how to answer a summons to attend the House.138 On 10 Feb. Marlborough acted as a teller for the petition in Fitch v. attorney-general. On 21 Mar. he was a teller on the appointment of a date to hear Captain Desborrow’s petition. On 25 Apr. he was named to a committee to prepare reasons for the Lords insisting on the proviso they had added to the bill making Billingsgate Market a free market for fish, and on the 26th appointed to manage the ensuing conference. On 3 May he was named to manage a conference on the bill laying a duty upon paper. He attended on 59 days of the session, 72 per cent of the total, and was named to 35 committees.

Marlborough was named a lord justice by the king on 30 May 1699.139 On 3 June Marlborough wrote to Shrewsbury, chiefly to criticize Orford, who had resigned from the admiralty: ‘he said with great peevishness, where he thought it might hurt me, and that was that Lord Sunderland governed everything, and that I acted nothing but as influenced by him. This is the unjuster, for he can’t but know the contrary’.140 During the summer Marlborough was involved in the usual round of social and political engagements.141 At the beginning of October Marlborough was hopeful that his brother, George, would succeed Sir Robert Rich at the admiralty, although ‘there are some who dislike it’, including Orford, who was ‘a good deal out of humour upon Mr. Churchill’s being in the admiralty’.142 George Churchill was appointed at the end of the month. Following the king’s return to England, on 18 Oct. Marlborough was one of the many attending his levee the next day.143

Marlborough was present at the opening of the 1699-1700 session on 16 November. Vernon reported that on 8 Dec. the Commons considered the state of the debt owing to the Prince George, and that although Marlborough ‘has bestirred himself… some of the leading men were not to be prevailed with.’144 On 13 Dec. when an address was proposed in the Commons for the removal of Burnet as preceptor to the duke of Gloucester, ‘Marlborough showed a great concern for the bishop, suspecting it would come on’.145 On 19 Dec. Vernon expected Marlborough to leave town the following day, to receive Sunderland at St Albans ‘and intends to stay there all the holidays’. This was the prelude to the marriage on 2 Jan. 1700 of Marlborough’s daughter to Sunderland’s heir. As Vernon informed Shrewsbury on 16 Feb. this had led to ‘as great jealousies of my Lord Sunderland as ever, which my Lord Marlborough and Lord Godolphin are involved in’.146 Also in February Marlborough was forecast as likely to support the bill for continuing the East India Company as a corporation and on 23 Feb. he voted in favour of allowing a committee of the whole to discuss two amendments to the bill. On 2 Apr. he was named to manage a conference on the bill for taking off duties on woollen manufactures.

On 5 Apr. 1700 William III wrote to Portland to get him to encourage the lord privy seal, John Lowther, Viscount Lonsdale, in his opposition to the Irish forfeitures bill, adding ‘I did so myself yesterday evening; but Milord Marlborough who dogs his footsteps certainly intimidates him. If the bill does not now fall in your House, I count all lost’.147 On 9 Apr. Vernon noted apropos the land tax and Irish forfeited estates bill that Marlborough ‘went away on Saturday [6 Apr.], before the question; I believe he has not been at the House since’. Meanwhile the Lords amended the bill and adhered to their amendments. The king intervened to ensure that sufficient Lords altered their view, presumably including Marlborough, who on the 10th ‘came to the House that day, who had not been at any question before’, and helped ensure that the Lords did not adhere to their amendments.148 He attended on 64 days of the session, 81 per cent of the total and was named to 33 committees.

By the end of the session ministerial changes were being openly discussed even before Somers was dismissed in May. As ever, Sunderland ‘struck up a new scheme’, involving Marlborough, Godolphin and Rochester.149 Marlborough’s position was unclear as he seemed to be suffering for some unspecified offence done to the king. On 13 Apr. Vernon reported that neither Sunderland nor Marlborough had ‘been seen of late, but I hope calmer thoughts will now take place’. He followed this on the 16th with the observation that Sunderland and Marlborough ‘will have much to do to set themselves right with’ Somers and the Whigs, possibly over the Kidd affair.150 Marlborough wrote to Shrewsbury on 11 May: ‘the king’s coldness to me still continues… to have friends and acquaintances unreasonably jealous and the king at the same time angry’.151 By 25 June Vernon thought ‘the cloud that has been hanging over my Lord Marlborough is clearing up’ and on the 27 June he was named as one of the lords justices.152 With the king abroad and the ministry in a state of flux, Marlborough also seems to have been engaged in the negotiations attempting to entice Godolphin back to the treasury.153

On 30 July Gloucester died of smallpox, bringing the issue of the succession into sharp focus, and by implication enhancing Marlborough’s importance as the leading counsellor of the heir to the throne. On 5 Sept. Guy intimated to Harley that Marlborough had been instrumental in patching up a disagreement with between Godolphin and Rochester adding on the 24th that Sunderland, Godolphin and Marlborough ‘do positively say that the king must and will go on, and that without doubt Harley will have a summons, and that he must be positive and bold and rely upon his strength, for that will be sufficiently able to do it thoroughly’.154 Thus, Marlborough played a role behind the scenes in preparing for a Parliament to secure the Protestant Succession.155

On 22 Sept. Marlborough was reported to have arrived at St Albans from Althorp, having elicited from Sunderland that he had no designs to visit London that winter.156 Marlborough attended the prorogation on 24 October. On 31 Oct. James Brydges, future duke of Chandos, confided to his diary that he had found Marlborough, in company with Godolphin, Guy and Coningsby, and had been told by him ‘he believed the Parliament would not be dissolved, and that for secretary of state the king had not disposed of it, not denying it might be given to himself’. L’Hermitage, too, on 1 Nov. felt that Marlborough would be made secretary.157 However, at a ‘great council’ at the Cockpit on 5 Nov. the office was given to Sir Charles Hedges.158 That same month, with the death of Carlos II of Spain and Louis XIV’s acceptance of his grandson, Philip of Anjou, as his successor, the context of international affairs changed, and again emphasized the value to the king of Marlborough’s military and diplomatic skills.159

Marlborough attended the election held at St Albans on 15 Jan. 1701 in support of his brother, George, while remaining aloof from the struggle for the second seat. He missed the opening of the 1701 session on 10 Feb., first attending on 21 February. On 14 Mar. he was named to draw the address on the partition treaty. On 15 Mar. Portland revealed that the treaty had been shown to a group of leading royal servants, including Marlborough, before the ratifications in late February 1700. Having obtained the king’s permission to respond, on 17 Mar. Marlborough informed the House that he had seen a rough draft of the treaty during a meeting at Portland’s, but never been formally consulted on it as the Privy Council had never discussed it. As Leeds (the former Carmarthen) perceived it, those including Marlborough named by Portland ‘to have been the Lords before whom the treaty hath been considered’, had all ‘had the king’s leave to declare their parts in it, and have all them shew’d their particular dislikes to several parts of it, and so have left it at the king’s door’. As Marlborough was not one of the men ‘struck at’ nothing was said against him.160

Meanwhile, on 12 May 1701, Brydges recorded in his diary that the Marlboroughs ‘came to see me and left Lady Tyrconnel’s petition’, presumably the petition from her surviving trustees, Sir John Temple and Anthony Guidott, relating to Irish forfeitures, which was presented to the Commons on 19 May.161 On 15 May Marlborough was named to manage a conference on the amendments to the bill for regulating the king’s bench and fleet prisons. On 3 June he acted as a teller in a division relating to the impeachment of the Whig Lords and protested when it was carried. He also protested against the resolution that the Commons ‘will be as careful not to do anything that may tend to the interruption of the good correspondence between the two Houses’. On 6 and 10 June he was named to conferences on the impeachments. On 9 June he entered his protest against the resolution not to appoint a committee to meet with a Commons’ committee regarding the impeachment, because it would be an obstacle to the trial. On 17 June he entered his protest against the resolutions that the House proceed with the trial of Somers, and against his acquittal and the dismissal of the impeachment. He was duly listed as voting against the acquittal of Somers. He attended on 75 days of the session, 71 per cent of the total, being appointed to a further 26 committees.

Commander-in-chief, 1701

On 31 May Marlborough was appointed commander-in-chief of the English forces abroad. The following month, on 26 June, the king also appointed Marlborough ambassador-plenipotentiary to be England’s chief negotiator for the new treaty of grand alliance. On 1 July Marlborough and the king left for Holland. Once there Marlborough paid some attention to domestic politics: on 8 July he asked Godolphin how Sunderland ‘has behaved himself’ to Rochester and Godolphin as the king ‘has not named him since we have been here’. Marlborough also noted that Albemarle had told him the king had said that Sunderland was ‘very unreasonably dissatisfied with’ Marlborough. The earl certainly feared Sunderland’s influence noting on 6 Aug. that ‘it’s already said in England’ that Charles Howard, 3rd earl of Carlisle, ‘is come over to turn all things into another channel by his means’.162 On 29 July Marlborough sent Vernon the draft treaties between the king, the States and the Emperor, the final version of which Marlborough signed on 27 August.163

Marlborough was keen to have the allocation of forces to be supplied by each party to the alliance agreed by Parliament. As he wrote to Vernon on 3 Oct. 1701 ‘if the king should be prevailed upon to settle this by his own authority… we shall never see a quiet day more in England, and consequently not only ruin ourselves, but also undo the liberties of Europe’.164 His clearest exposition of this point came in a letter to Godolphin on 24 Oct. in which he pointed out that if the king prevailed with the cabinet to send him instructions to complete the numbers before Parliament sat ‘I am so persuaded that the doing of this by his majesty’s authority would prove so fatal to himself and the kingdom that I should desire to be recalled’.165 Marlborough’s arguments proved persuasive and they were approved without a division by the Commons.166

Marlborough favoured an early meeting of the existing Parliament to take advantage of the change in political opinion caused by Louis XIV’s recognition of James III, abrogating the treaty of Ryswick.167 However, before Marlborough was able to return to England, the king signalled his intention to dissolve Parliament and Godolphin resigned on 10 November.168 Marlborough thought his friend had acted hastily, as the Tories thought themselves likely to obtain a majority in the new Parliament.169 Bonet noted a marked mistrust of Marlborough among Tories, who believed that he would accommodate himself to the king’s wishes in order to maintain his lucrative employments.170

Marlborough was present when the 1701-2 session began on 30 December. On 1 Jan. 1702 he signed the address of support for William III attendant upon the recognition of the Pretender by France. On 3 Jan. Sandwich registered his proxy with Marlborough. On 5 Jan. he laid before the House the treaties which had been signed with England’s allies during the summer and autumn of 1701. On 9 Jan. Marlborough wrote to the grand pensionary of Holland, Anthonie Heinsius, to inform him that the Commons had unanimously agreed to furnish 40,000 men for the war, suggesting that this as clear evidence that ‘the gentlemen of England are entirely in the interest of Holland’. He then added a request that ‘your prints may make no party distinctions’. This was one of many letters to Heinsius in which he interpreted events in Parliament. On 20 Jan. he added that when the estimate for the 40,000 troops was laid before Parliament on the following day it might ‘occasion some angry speeches, but pray be not alarmed, for I dare assure you that the quota of forty thousand will be made good to you’.171

On 25 Jan. 1702 Godolphin wrote to Speaker Harley upon Rochester’s ‘dismissal’ that he and Marlborough would wait on him at his house the following evening.172 On 26 Jan. the king sent Galway to Marlborough ‘to attend him presently’ and he was ‘a considerable time in private with his majesty upon what subject is not known’, although it was allegedly to reassure Marlborough that reports of his removal from the general command of English forces in Flanders and replacement by Ormond were groundless.173 On 27 Jan. the Dutch envoy noted that Marlborough, Godolphin and Sir George Rooke had met at the house of Sir Edward Seymour.174

The king’s fatal illness saw Marlborough, Godolphin and Harley in consultation, with Godolphin arranging a meeting for the evening of 6 Mar. 1702.175 On 8 Mar. Marlborough was named to the conference on the death of the king and the accession of Queen Anne. William’s death was quickly followed by indications that Marlborough would be the key military and diplomatic agent of the new monarch. On 9 Mar. he was made captain-general of the land forces and commander-in-chief of forces to be employed in Holland in conjunction with the allies, and on 14 Mar. master-general of the ordnance.176 On 13 Mar. Vernon noted that Marlborough was to be dispatched as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the States General.177 This was the last day he attended the Lords for several weeks, as he left London on 14 Mar. embarking at Gravesend on the following day.178 In this particular instance, Marlborough was like an ‘ambassador general’, who could give instructions to other ministers abroad, but such authority was only temporary ‘on this occasion… as the exigency of affairs shall require’.179 L’Hermitage remarked that Marlborough was hardly leaving the queen, as his wife would remain in close attendance, but with the queen’s accession, Sarah’s role changed, there being no longer any need for her to act as a channel of communication between Anne, Marlborough and Godolphin.180 Marlborough again attended the Lords on 10 April.181

During the early months of the new reign there was discussion about the extent to which Marlborough and Godolphin would be free to take a moderate course. Rochester and the Tories desired ‘a more entire change, to be carried quite through all subaltern employments’. Burnet added that Marlborough had assured him that the mainly Tory ministry was appointed ‘upon the promises they made to carry on the war, and to maintain the alliances: if they kept these, then affairs would go on smoothly in the house of Commons; but if they failed in this, the queen would put her business in other hands’.182 On 21 Apr. Marlborough informed Heinsius that the queen was ‘resolved very quickly to shut the door upon any other alterations; and I may assure you that when she has done all that she intends, there will be at least six Whigs for one of the other party’.183 Not that Marlborough’s views went unchallenged. At the cabinet held on 1 and 2 May to approve the formal declaration of war, he faced fierce opposition to his strategy for full English involvement in the continental campaign from Rochester.184 Marlborough may have prompted the unsuccessful motion in the Commons on 2 May for an address that ‘no person be an officer, in England or Ireland, in her majesty’s new-raised forces, but such as were born in England, Scotland or Ireland, or the dominions of thereunto belonging, or of English parents, unless they were before in half-pay’. Francis Gwyn noted that Marlborough desired it ‘for there are some that had promises from the late king that Lord Marlborough cannot put off any other way’.185

Marlborough was one of five peers named by the queen to inspect King William’s papers, following which they declared to the Lords on 4 May 1702 that they had not found anything ‘tending to the prejudice of the queen, or her succession to the crown’. Marlborough was absent through ill health, but according to Burnet he confirmed the findings ‘to some peers who were sent by the House to ask him the same question’.186 The effect was to stifle rumours that William III had plotted to supersede Anne with the house of Hanover.187 Marlborough was not present in the Lords between 20 Apr. and his last attendance of the session on 9 May. He left London for The Hague three days later.188 He had attended on 41 days of the session, 41 per cent of the total and, as was now customary, was named to committees whenever he was present.

The Session of 1702-3

As early as 23 July 1702 Marlborough was thinking of the next Parliament: hoping that it might meet to do business early in October. On 28 July he felt the need to reassure Heinsius about the results of the general election: ‘by the elections that are come, they seem to be more of the Church party than Whigs, but I beg you to be assured that whatever sort of men are chosen they will be all zealous for the common cause’. On 10 Aug. he asked Heinsius to ensure that when the Danish ambassador to London, Christian von Plessen, passed through The Hague he knew that Marlborough was fully supportive of the claims of Prince George to command the allied forces: ‘I take him to be an honest man, but he is imposed upon by my Lord Rochester’. Also on 10 Aug. he told Godolphin that Rochester ‘will always be endeavouring to give mortifications’ to them, and that if he continued ‘disturbing underhand the public business’, the queen would have to intervene to ensure he took up his Irish lieutenancy in person. Once on campaign, Marlborough faced pressure from Godolphin for his return to England at the earliest opportunity in order to assist in the planning of the war and the resultant parliamentary business. Marlborough found it ‘morally impossible’ for him to be in London two weeks before the parliamentary session.189 On 7 Sept. Nottingham informed him that Parliament would not sit before 20 Oct. thereby allowing Marlborough ‘to tell us something of the measures designed for the next year, which will be useful in order to her majesty’s resolutions about the things to be proposed to the Parliament.’190

By 14 Sept. 1702 Marlborough’s thoughts had turned to the queen’s speech at the opening of Parliament, so that he could provide the Pensioner with some idea of its contents. On 6 Oct. he informed Heinsius that as he could not be at The Hague ‘time enough to discourse you concerning what the queen may say to the Parliament, if there be any particular thing you could wish she should put in her speech, that may be good for the common cause, I desire you will let me know it’. By 8 Oct. he had received the heads of the speech but since he was not able to be at The Hague in time to send the Pensioner’s thoughts on them before the opening of the session, he did not make use of them, apart making a suggestion that something should be said in the speech about the Cadiz expedition, which was done.191 Also on 8 Oct. Marlborough had asked that Benjamin Sweet ensure that by the time he arrived at The Hague ‘the accounts for the 40,000 men for this year should be in a readiness to be laid before the Parliament at their first meeting’.192

Godolphin clearly expected a political boost from Marlborough’s arrival, ‘from a very much applauded campaign, for himself and the reputation of the queen’s government, will easily have influence to disperse those clouds and a great many others of the same nature’.193 Henry St John, future Viscount Bolingbroke, had similar high expectations, albeit with a significant caveat, ‘he has the most glorious field to range in, that ever subject had, and it lies in his power to make himself the darling of good men, and a terror to others. Should he do otherwise, he dances on a rope, and many have fallen who were better fixed.’194 Although Marlborough left on 15 Nov. 1702, adverse weather delayed his arrival at St James’s until the 28th. He attended the Lords on that day and was given the thanks of the House for his services during the campaign; to which he replied that the success was ‘chiefly to be imputed to God’s blessing upon her majesty’s happy conduct, and the great bravery of her troops and those of her allies’. Marlborough had taken advice from Godolphin on the wording of his answer, having had early notice of Ormond’s reply to a similar vote before he left for England.195

As early as 22 Oct. 1702, first Godolphin and then the queen had intimated to Sarah that she wished to raise Marlborough to a dukedom. Marlborough was able to counter his wife’s arguments against the honour with reference to Heinsius’s arguments in favour.196 On 29 Nov. the queen informed the cabinet of her intentions, together with a pension of £5,000 p.a. for life. Marlborough wished to have the grant in perpetuity, confirmed by act of Parliament. Despite some positive hints from senior Tories like Musgrave and Seymour to Marlborough himself, members of the Commons baulked at a grant in perpetuity. Godolphin crafted a solution; an address to the queen ‘showing an uneasiness for not complying… from the inconvenience of the precedent and at the same time a satisfaction in Lord Marlborough’s services’, a course adopted on 16 December. Meanwhile, on 15 Dec. Marlborough had let it be known that ‘the queen’s kindness to him might be waived; rather than be displeasing to any one single Member’.197 Marlborough’s entourage, and perhaps the duke himself, may have been ‘a little chagrined’ by this disappointment, while the queen described it as being ‘so maliciously hindered in the Parliament’, that she offered an extra £2,000 p.a. from the privy purse, which ‘can draw no envy, for nobody need know of it.’198 John Evelyn thought it ‘a bold and unadvised request’, given Marlborough’s ‘considerable estate, above 30,000 pounds per ann. in places and employments, with 50,000 pounds at interest’. Then there was Sarah ‘engrossing all that stirred and was profitable at court’.199 Marlborough was introduced into the Lords as a duke on 18 Dec. by Charles Seymour, 6th duke of Somerset, and Ormond.

In keeping with Marlborough’s long service to the queen, he was involved in cajoling the Lords to accept the bill settling £100,000 for life on Prince George. In the committee of the whole on 11 Jan. 1703 there was a debate on a clause exempting the prince from the clause in the act of settlement excluding ‘strangers, though naturalized’ from English offices and peerages after the Hanoverian succession.200 Some thought that to enact such a clause would question the rights of other ‘foreigners,’ a point which divided legal opinion. ‘After some heats on this debate by the duke of Marlborough’ and others it was suggested that a separate bill be introduced explaining the act of settlement on this point to avoid it being seen as a tack to a money bill. On 14 Jan., before this new bill was read a third time, Marlborough favoured hearing the judges on the question of the ‘foreign’ peers. The bill was passed, but was rejected by the Commons. On 19 Jan. the House considered the main bill in favour of the prince. Marlborough ‘opened the cause with an earnest request that, since their Lordships had been unanimous in passing a bill … in favour of all the foreign lords, they would be as much one in showing their respects to the prince’. There followed a long debate on the clause in favour of the prince alone, which was eventually lost.201 On 19 Jan. the queen wrote to Sarah, ’I am sure the Prince’s bill passing after so much struggle is wholly owing to the pains you and Mr. Freeman [Marlborough] has taken’.202

At the third reading of the bill against occasional conformity on 19 Dec. 1702, Marlborough was one of those peers that had argued that although ‘the thing was just in itself’, it was ‘unseasonable’.203 Clearly that was not perceived as outright opposition for in about January 1703 Nottingham thought that Marlborough was likely to support the bill. This was true in that Marlborough would vote for it, but would not lobby for it, and wished to see it defeated. As he wrote to Sarah, ‘I must be careful not to do the thing in the world which my Lord Rochester would most desire to have me do; which is to give my vote against this bill’.204 On 16 Jan. he voted against adhering to the Lords’ wrecking amendment to the penalty clause, which saw the bill lost in a dispute between the Houses. On 2 Feb. Marlborough informed Heinsius that ‘Parliament being entered into inquiries will occasion their sitting ten days longer than I thought’, and therefore ‘I shall order my own affairs so that as soon as the Parliament shall be up, I shall stay for nothing but her majesty’s leave’. One of these events was the marriage on 9 Feb. of his daughter, Elizabeth, to Scroop Egerton, 4th earl of Bridgwater.205 Marlborough last attended on 17 Feb. having been present on 40 days of the session, 47 per cent of the total. His absence after the 17th was occasioned by the illness and death of his son. After a short spell in St Albans, during which he sent instructions to Anthony Guidott for drawing up a new will, Marlborough came to court on 28 February.206

Marlborough’s local power base in St Albans often led to delicate negotiations with the nominal head of Hertfordshire society, the lord lieutenant, Algernon Capell, 2nd earl of Essex. Of particular importance was the make-up of the lieutenancy and at the end of February 1703 Adam de Cardonnel delivered Marlborough’s list of the gentlemen to be added to the lieutenancy to Secretary Hedges. When Hedges showed it to Essex, he ‘made some scruple at the number and said he should speak to your grace of it at your coming to town’.207 Essex persisted in his opposition to the nominations but was still awaiting a reply from Marlborough on 20 March.208 Relations between Marlborough and Essex were complicated by the latter holding a military commission, so that Marlborough had to tread warily when putting Essex off from joining the campaign: on 24 May he acknowledged that he would be glad to have Essex’s company, but that there were major-generals in England ‘that would be very uneasy at it’, and that it was a little late for his equipage to be sent over that year.209

Marlborough’s powers of patronage reached even to the peerage itself. On 14 Mar. 1703 Lady Hervey wrote a letter thanking Sarah for her ‘kind mediation’ through which her husband, John Hervey, was raised to the peerage as Baron Hervey.210 Marlborough in response to Hervey’s letter of thanks dwelt on his desire to employ his interest ‘in behalf of such as are most zealous for the interest and support’ of the queen’s government.211 Years later, Sarah bitterly recalled that the Herveys’ ‘first title, which I got, was for the sake of Sir Thomas Felton, and to keep my word’, Lady Hervey being Felton’s daughter.212

The one field of patronage in which Marlborough’s powers were of limited reach was the Church, but that did not prevent him from trying to advance his favoured army chaplains; on 24 May 1703 he proposed Dr. Knightly Chetwood for the vacant see of St Asaph, but to no avail. More serious were the patronage concerns relating to the ordnance in which he was bedevilled by disputes at Carlisle involving the earl of Carlisle on one side and the Musgraves on the other.213

Marlborough’s letters during March 1703 evinced some concern with Tory manoeuvring. On the 16th he wrote of Rochester’s ‘passion and faction’, and that ‘the more submissive 19 [Rochester] is, the more care must be taken that he may not have to do with any business that may concern 85 [the queen], for he is not capable of having anything but revenge in his heart’. Similarly, on the 26th, he wrote that if Buckingham (as Normanby now was) ‘continues being so impertinent’ as to join with Seymour and others ‘to obstruct business’, it would be ‘better to be plain with him, than to suffer him to go on in that way. For, by that he will be much abler to do mischief, than if he were out, and I am very much mistaken if he will care to part with his place’.214

Marlborough’s prestige also placed the marriage of his remaining unmarried daughter, Lady Mary Churchill, in the spotlight. As early as May 1703 the duke evinced some concern that a marriage proposal from Montagu on behalf of his heir John Montagu, the future 2nd duke of Montagu, was ‘very good if the young man were some years older’.215 His misgivings were overcome and in July news broke of an intended match.216 Montagu’s proposal was renewed and accepted in the summer of 1704; part of Lady Mary’s portion was her parents’ ability to secure the reversion of Montagu’s office of master of the great wardrobe to his son, and a dukedom for Montagu, plus £10,000 from the queen.217 The marriage took place in March 1705.218

Marlborough remained concerned about Tory plotting, his anxieties centring on Rochester, Musgrave and Seymour. A visit from the two latter to the former was interpreted by him in June 1703 as flattering Seymour into doing ‘such mischiefs as they dare not openly own’. Upon Sarah urging a purge of Tory office-holders, he reflected that even if some were fit to be removed, such as Jersey and Buckingham, there were no obvious replacements. Instead, he felt Rochester should be spoken to by the queen, for if his influence ‘be strong enough to declare which way the war shall be managed, they may ruin England and Holland at their pleasure, and… do it in a manner as may not at first be unpopular, so that the people may be undone before they can see it’. The Scottish parliament and the succession was also becoming an issue. Somewhat naively, on 3 June he wrote to the duchess, ‘I do not understand the Scotch affairs, but I should think the settling of the Succession can’t but be good’. By 14 June he told Godolphin, ‘methinks the Scotch affairs do not go well’.219

Marlborough was perennially distracted while abroad with requests for his early return home. He wrote to Heinsius on 31 July 1703, ‘I am already so pressed to be early in England, that my stay at The Hague can’t be long’. Nor was he willing to compromise his neutral stance between the parties; on 29 Aug. he told the duchess ‘that I shall always continue in the humour I am now in, which is to be governed by neither party, but to do what I think is best for England, by which I know I shall disoblige both parties’. He continued to be worried by Tory machinations, telling the duchess on 9 Sept. that he agreed with Godolphin that Seymour ‘will not be his nor my friend this winter, but play the knave and fool as he did last winter’. On 27 Sept. he added that Buckingham’s impertinence came naturally to him, and that ‘I dare say you will find him the most troublesome this winter’, and ‘if possible’, a more violent party man than Nottingham.220

The Session of 1703-4

On 29 Sept. 1703 the secretary at war, William Blathwayt, made several salient points to Marlborough as he looked forward to the parliamentary session: how far, he asked, was the duke willing for military success to ‘be taken notice of as there shall be occasion at the next meeting of the Parliament’ and he requested that he would ‘be pleased to inform such as are fittest for the direction of such a matter’. Further, he asked that Cardonnel ‘transmit such a scheme’ as Marlborough judged proper ‘to be laid before the House of the additional charge of this last year and of the whole in all particulars for the year to come’. Blathwayt added that this should be sent as soon as possible in case Marlborough ‘should be detained by contrary winds or otherwise on the other side, as the last year, after the opening of the session’. On 30 Sept. Marlborough outlined his fears that ‘if both parties agree that the war must not be offensive in this country… the Dutch will not think themselves very safe in our friendship’. By saving the Dutch ‘they must preserve us from the arbitrary power’ of Rochester and the Tories. He hoped ‘the heats that continue between the two parties’ could be overcome by the management of Godolphin and Harley.221

Marlborough arrived in The Hague on 16 Oct. 1703.222 While there, he showed again an appreciation of the political implications of army patronage. John Campbell, 2nd duke of Argyll [S] (later earl of Greenwich in the English peerage), might ‘have reason to take it ill’ if he was not offered command of the troop of guards commanded by his father. As a result he had written to Godolphin to prevail with James Douglas, 2nd duke of Queensberry [S] (later duke of Dover), that the queen should give him that command, ‘which will fortify him in the good intentions he has for her majesty’s service’. Marlborough landed back at ‘Tower wharf’ on 30 October. When Godolphin’s scheme for managing Parliament was revealed to Harley on 4 Nov., he added, significantly, ‘it is necessary above all the rest that the duke of Marlborough and you and I should meet regularly, at least twice a week if not oftener, to advise upon everything that shall occur’, starting on the 6th.223 Marlborough was present at the opening of the 1703-4 session on 9 Nov., even sending the queen’s speech to Heinsius. He suffered from indifferent health at the start of the session, and this may have been responsible for him missing some sittings in November, especially when little business was transacted in the upper House. Also in November Sunderland forecast him as likely to support the bill against occasional conformity and on a second forecast made between 26 Nov. and 8 Dec., he maintained his view. On 14 Dec. Marlborough was listed as voting for the bill and he entered his protest against the failure of the House to give the bill a second reading and against its rejection. Meanwhile, Marlborough was quietly satisfied, informing Heinsius on 26 Nov. of the votes of the Commons (in the committee of supply), whereby ‘all the designs of some few ill affected people are quite disappointed, for the House of Commons have dispatched more business this day than they used to do in a fortnight’.224

On 25 Dec. 1703 Marlborough journeyed to Petworth, where on the following day he met Archduke Charles, the Habsburg claimant to the Spanish throne.225 Marlborough attended the Lords on 13 Jan. 1704, but left London on the following day, for military and diplomatic discussions with the allies. From The Hague on 25 Jan. he wrote one of his missives which showed that he viewed the proceedings of Parliament through the lens of a practising diplomat. He had received news that the Commons ‘are very likely to be angry [over the Ashby v. White case], which ought to be avoided at all times, but much more at this, when almost all our allies take their measures from what we do in England’. On 1 Feb. he reiterated the point: ‘the disputes that appear in print between the two Houses have a very ill effect here’. That same day he wrote to Godolphin, ‘I found the enclosed proxy this day in my pocket. If you should have no occasion of making use of it, you may burn it’, which is presumably what occurred as no proxy was registered.226

Marlborough sailed from Rotterdam on 12 Feb. 1704, landing at Gravesend and attending the Lords on the 15th.227 On 22 Feb., it was stated in the Lords in William Keith’s narrative of the Scotch Plot that Marlborough ‘knew everything that passed at St Germain’, through a correspondence with his nephew, James Fitzjames, duke of Berwick. On 16 Mar. Marlborough entered his dissent against the resolutions of the committee of the whole on the public accounts bill. On 25 Mar. he entered his dissent to a decision on the previous question and the following resolution that the failure to pass a censure on Robert Ferguson was an encouragement to the enemies of the crown. This would seem to question the identification of Marlborough as the peer ‘M’, said in one report as being absent along with Godolphin and several other peers, on the first question. Godolphin joined Marlborough in protesting against the substantive question, and the report noted that Godolphin and ‘M’ ‘laboured mightily to oppose the vote by which the cabinet was censured though not concerned.’228 Having attended the last day of the session on 3 Apr., Marlborough embarked at Harwich on 6 Apr. and arrived at The Hague on the 10th.229 He had attended on 56 days of the session, 57 per cent of the total, and been named to 16 committees. In his parting shot to Godolphin from Harwich on 8 Apr., he passed on intelligence he had received of Nottingham’s machinations in which he

tells his party that the queen is desirous to do everything that would give them satisfaction, but that she is hindered by you and me; that he is so convinced that we shall in a very short time put all the business into the hands of the Whigs, that if he can’t get such alterations made in the Cabinet Council as he thinks absolutely necessary for the safety of the Church, he would then quit.

Nottingham had then suggested tacking the bills against occasional conformity and reviving the commission of accounts to the land tax bill.230

The Blenheim Campaign and the Session of 1704-5

On 9 June Marlborough responded to the news that ‘matters are not like to go well’ in Parliament and that Wright and Buckingham would act with ‘all the ill that is in their power’, by leaving matters to Godolphin, who as he was ‘upon the place is best judge of what measures ought to be kept with them. I employ my own thoughts so entirely of succeeding in what I am a doing that till this is over I am not capable of helping in any other matter’. This did not prevent him from proffering the advice on 25 June that Queensberry should be sacrificed if he should ‘oppose the queen’s business’, or on 2 July that ‘since the liberties of Europe will depend upon the Parliament being in good humour this next winter, so that I entirely agree with 46 [Harley], that everybody ought to be spoke to very plainly’. On 16 July Marlborough suggested that Buckingham’s ‘intentions are to be troublesome the next winter … for he is governed by nothing but self-interest’. On 30 July Marlborough agreed with his wife on the desirability of Parliament sitting ‘as early as possible’, as he had told Godolphin before he left London. Following the battle of Blenheim (2 Aug.), the need to replace the men lost in battle became an additional imperative for Parliament’s early meeting. With that in view on 10 Aug. Marlborough was already thinking of taking an account on oath from every regiment ‘so that the Parliament may provide for it’.231

The Emperor celebrated Blenheim by making Marlborough a prince of the Empire. Vernon rather perceptively hoped that ‘Marlborough will overcome envy as well as the common enemy; but as dangers decrease from abroad, they may strengthen at home, if there be not great prudence used to prevent it’.232 Again there were pressures for an early return to England: on 12 Sept. Hedges wished to see Marlborough ‘here before we sit down to business, that measures may be concerted, and the scheme for the next year, beforehand.’ On 17 Oct. Hedges reiterated the point when bemoaning that he was likely ‘to be detained so long on that side’, as he believed that Marlborough had ‘given some light for a scheme for the next year’s service, otherwise we may be at some loss if the Parliament should be disposed to go on cheerfully, as there is reason to believe they will.’233 On 15 Sept. Marlborough promised to send to Godolphin ‘a true state of the recruits… so that it may be laid before the Parliament… for the 20,000 pounds allowed by Parliament was not sufficient when we had no battle, and now that we have had two, it will fall very short’. Also on the 15th he opined that if Godolphin and Harley thought Buckingham should be removed, ‘I do not doubt but he will give them occasion enough to put it in execution’. On 11 Oct. he forwarded abstracts of ‘what men will be wanting to complete the foot’.234

Meanwhile, the duchess sent him a stream of letters on the position of the remaining Tories in the ministry and their penchant for trouble-making. On 9 Oct. 1704 he had to fend off criticism that he was favouring Tory designs: ‘my pretending to be of no party is not designed to get favour, or to deceive anybody, for I am very little concerned what any party thinks of me’, and ending with a desire to retire to a country that did not know ‘the detested names of Whig and Tory’. On 23 Oct. having been further nagged by Sarah, he returned to the position of Buckingham, who he felt was ‘in measures’ with Nottingham and Rochester to ‘give all the obstruction that is in their power to the carrying on the public business with vigour this sessions’. To allow him to retain his post would encourage others to obstruct business. For a replacement Marlborough suggested John Holles, duke of Newcastle, who had long been favoured by Harley.235 Instead of a quick return to England, Marlborough decided that diplomatic considerations necessitated a visit to Berlin and Hanover in November and December. He made a favourable impression on Princess Sophia, who recorded that he was ‘a man who knows how to move so easily, so freely and so courteously. He is as skilled as a courtier as he is a brave general’. From Hanover on 21 Nov. Marlborough told Heinsius that ‘the letters from England, which I found here at my arrival, presses me very much to hasten for England’, so that his stay at The Hague would be short.236

Although he was destined to be absent from Parliament until mid-December 1704 (he was excused attendance on 23 Nov.), Marlborough maintained a close watch on proceedings. On 5 Dec. he returned to the matter of recruits, telling Godolphin ‘for God’s sake let the House of Commons be pressed to help in the getting of men early, for I think the success of the next campaign depends upon which shall get first into the field’.237 Hence the recruiting act which passed in the session increased the legal powers of justices in an attempt to ensure that constables recruited more efficiently.238 On the same date he wrote to Harley that ‘nothing has been offered yet, nor any care taken by the Parliament for recruiting the army… it is of that consequence for an early campaign, that without it we may run the hazard of losing in a great measure the fruits of the last’. Marlborough wanted Harley ‘to advise with our friends if any proper method can be thought of, that it may be laid before the House immediately, without staying for my arrival’.239

The Tories seemed intent on stirring up trouble for the ministry. In their Address on 25 Oct. the Commons coupled Marlborough’s success at Blenheim with Rooke’s at Malaga. In about November, Marlborough’s name appeared on a list, which may be a forecast of those thought likely to support the Tack. His views were unequivocal on the issue. On 5 Dec. he wrote to Harley welcoming the defeat of the Tack: ‘when I reflect on the dangerous consequences the obstinacy of some people might have produced, I cannot but think this happy turn as great a victory with reference to England as any advantage we have had since I saw you’.240 On 8 Dec. he elaborated in a letter to the duchess: ‘if they had succeeded it is what must have disturbed everything, for not only in England, but here also [The Hague], they would have been so out of heart, that they would have advanced no monies, so that all our preparations must have stood still’. More generally, Marlborough’s view appears to have been that if Parliament ‘went on vigorously this year with their supplies, that all necessary preparations might be made in due time for the next campaign, he was confident the queen might prescribe the terms of peace by next winter’.241

Marlborough embarked from Rotterdam on 11 Dec. 1704, arriving at Greenwich from whence he went to St James’s on 14 December. He attended the Lords for the first time on 15 Dec., when he received the thanks of the House. He spent Christmas at St Albans, and then Windsor Lodge, returning to London on 2 Jan. 1705 having spent ten days in the country. On 3 Jan. the standards captured at Blenheim were paraded in Westminster Hall. On the 6th he attended a dinner in his honour at Goldsmiths’ Hall paid for by the lord mayor and aldermen. Not everyone was convinced of Marlborough’s military prowess, some preferring to give the credit to Prince Eugene: as his once prospective bride, Katherine Sedley, countess of Dorchester put it, ‘Dr. Radcliffe and I can cure a fever’.242 On 8 Jan., the Commons appointed a day ‘for taking into consideration the great services that have been performed’ by Marlborough. On the 11th they unanimously agreed an address to the queen ‘to consider of some proper means to perpetuate the memory of the great services performed’ by him. In response, the queen proposed granting the manor of Woodstock to Marlborough and his heirs, and a bill was ordered to give effect to her grant.243 It was introduced into the Commons on 25 Jan., managed by the chancellor of the exchequer, Henry Boyle, and sent up to the Lords on 3 February. The bill passed the Lords on the 5th without any amendments, Sunderland serving as the chair of the committee of the whole House. The queen also let it be known that she would pay for the construction of a house on the site but this was not acknowledged publicly. Feeling more secure financially, around this date Marlborough transferred the remainder of the inheritance of his wife’s estates into her name.244

As before, meetings to manage parliamentary affairs were regularly held between Marlborough, Godolphin and Harley. Messages between the two latter often demonstrated Marlborough’s initiative in such matters; for example, ‘Marlborough desires the gentlemen of the House of Commons may be summoned to meet at Mr. Boyle’s tomorrow night’.245 Similarly, on 25 Jan. 1705 Godolphin wrote to Harley that ‘having had an account’ at Marlborough’s ‘just now, how things passed today in the House, he desired me to ask the favour of you... that you would come to us, this evening at his lodgings, soon after nine, that we may think a little what is next to be done.’246 This probably related to the amendments reported to the Commons from the committee of the whole on the bill securing England from the Scottish acts of security. Likewise, the case of Ashby v. White saw Godolphin write to Harley on 24 Feb. after the Commons had resolved to address the queen on the issue:

this and the other business will make her majesty be early tomorrow night at the Cabinet Council. I therefore wish that after you have dined you would come tomorrow to my house that we may have a little the more time, and I will endeavour to get the duke of Marlborough to meet you there.247

On 2 Feb. 1705 Sandwich registered his proxy with Marlborough and on the following day William North, 6th Baron North, did likewise. On 7 Feb. Marlborough, Godolphin ‘and the courtiers’ spoke against the second reading of the place bill, which was committed ‘yet such amendments were ordered to be made to it as tis thought will hardly be complied with by the Commons,’ which proved to be an accurate assessment.248 Marlborough was absent from the Lords 11-18 Feb. and also 25 Feb.-1 Mar. latterly travelling to Woodstock via Windsor.249 He attended the Lords regularly from 2 Mar. to the last day of the session, 14 March. He had been present on 39 days of the session, 39 per cent of the whole, and had been named to 13 committees.

Interestingly, Marlborough did not feel the need to interpret parliamentary events to Heinsius during this session, limiting his comments to assessments of when Parliament would rise and therefore when he could be expected in Holland. Before Marlborough went on campaign he was involved in facilitating a ministerial change. On 23 Mar. he was reported to have ‘just now spoken with’ Buckingham, ‘who is not very easy with it’, presumably the idea of taking the position of lord privy seal away from Buckingham, and offering him the position of lord keeper (albeit in commission), replacing Wright, instead. On 24 Mar. Godolphin wanted to see Harley at his home ‘if it were only to take leave of the duke of Marlborough’, and also to discuss the ‘matter of the great seal’.250 Buckingham was removed as lord privy seal, a change by which Portland thought the ‘liaison is thoroughly effective’ between the Whigs and Marlborough and Godolphin.251 However, the queen could not easily be persuaded to discard Wright, although, on 27 Mar. James Lowther reported that Marlborough ‘expects alterations in the lieutenants and justices of peace and also in some offices’.252 On 25 Mar. Marlborough was still at St James’s, but on the 27th George Clarke reported that he had gone to Harwich.253 Marlborough embarked on 29 Mar. but was driven back by contrary winds, eventually sailing again on 1 April.254

The 1705 Election and the Session of 1705-6

With a general election in progress, Marlborough defined a good Parliament as one in which ‘neither party might have a great majority, so that her majesty might be able to influence what might be good for the common cause’. He now had a parliamentary interest to defend at Woodstock, through his nominee, William Cadogan, the future Earl Cadogan. Cadogan was allegedly set up ‘contrary to all assurances and promises’ made to Montagu Venables Bertie, 2nd earl of Abingdon, previously the dominant interest in the borough. Marlborough even wrote to St John and James Craggs to insist on a poll, even if defeat was certain, and asked St John to get Sir Simon Harcourt, the future Viscount Harcourt, to appear for Cadogan. The election at St Albans also proved difficult with both seats only being gained after a petition against the Tacker, John Gape, even though the duchess was present in person to support his opponent, Henry Killigrew.255 Sarah was also active by letter, writing on 17 Apr. that ‘John Tombs who keeps my Lord Marlborough’s courts at Sandridge has an interest in the town of St Albans: I give you the trouble of this to desire you will speak to him from me, to use it in promoting Mr. Killigrew’s election as well as my brother’s [George Churchill].’ Other candidates sought the reflected glory of the duke’s prestige. St John informed Marlborough that Sir Henry Dutton Colt had been making use of the duke’s name in the Westminster contest, claiming that ‘your grace left positive directions in his favour’ which ‘I never heard any thing one way or other from your grace relating to any such thing’. A series of letters were exchanged with John Howe following the loss of his Gloucestershire seat. On 29 June Marlborough promised to write to Godolphin ‘to make use of my name, and such interest as I have with Mr. Boscawen, that we may not be deprived of the benefit of your zeal and affection to her majesty and the government this winter in Parliament’. However, he delayed his letter until 30 July and told Godolphin ‘at this distance I know not what is good or bad, otherwise I should think a man in his place would be useful in the House. But in this matter I pray do just what you please’. Despite further appeals, Howe was not found a seat.256 More pleasantly, Marlborough was able to congratulate St John on his election and to hope that ‘we shall meet in the winter in a temper wholly inclined to promote the public service’.257

The Whig victory at the polls in 1705 posed a managerial problem for the duumvirs: to ensure support for the ministry in Parliament required concessions to the Whigs, which the queen seemed unwilling to grant. On 25 May Marlborough suggested that the queen ‘advise with [the] lord treasurer what encouragement may be proper to give them’.258 A month later Marlborough wrote a letter to Godolphin for him to read to the queen, in which he asked her to ‘advise early with you what encouragement might be proper to give the Whigs, that they might look upon it as their own concern to beat down and propose all such proposals as may prove uneasy to her majesty and government’. Marlborough feared that parliamentary difficulties might encourage the Dutch to promote what he considered to be an unsafe peace and that in this they would be abetted by Rochester and Nottingham. In another letter to Godolphin intended for the eyes of the queen, on 6 July, Marlborough commented that the election had resulted in neither party being able ‘to carry any point against the other by their own strength. One sort of gentlemen have behaved themselves so, that there remains very little room for debate which the queen should make hers’. Godolphin was ‘the only man in England capable of giving such advice as may keep you out of the hands of both parties’. On 23 July Marlborough told Sarah, ‘you sometimes use the expression of my Tory friends. As I will never enter into party and faction… I will have no friends but such as will support the queen and government’.259

Marlborough was increasingly the target for pamphleteers, a most unwelcome development given his sensitivity to criticism. Already in July 1703, he had written to the duchess of his being ‘named in a libel [The Prophecy]. I beg you will send it me, for if I should not see it, I shall think it worse than maybe it is.’ Now came James Drake’s Memorial of the Church of England, which Marlborough thought ‘the most impudent and scurrilous thing I ever read; for if such liberties may be taken of writing scandalous lies without being punished, no government can stand long’, even though he was able to laugh at its depiction of Buckingham and Jersey as pillars of the Church.260 William Stephen’s A Letter to the Author of the Memorial of the Church of England followed. When the cabinet discussed intelligence on the author of this tract on 17 Jan. 1706, there was disagreement on whether to send it to the House of Commons. Marlborough, however,

found out a mid-way; only to acquaint the House that the discovery was in great part made, but because [it] reached some of the servants of their Members, and might [reach] some of their Members, the queen thought fit to lay it before the House that she had made such a progress in it; but not the informations themselves, unless asked for; the Secretary to be instructed to say, if the House inclinable to call for ’em, he had leave to lay them before the House.261

The following day Harley informed the Commons of developments. On 22 Jan. Godolphin wrote to Harley about the prosecution of Stephens, understanding that the duke would ‘have him prosecuted in both your names or in neither’. On 3 Feb. Stephens approached Harley to facilitate his ‘humble submission’ to the duke for publishing ‘those false and malicious reports of him, which with too great credibility I have received’.262 Marlborough thought that Stephens ‘ought not to be forgiven before sentence’, but hoped that he would be before it was carried out. Having received his wish, he added that ‘I should have been uneasy if the law had not found him guilty, but much more uneasy if he had suffered the punishment upon my account’.263 Stephens was suitably grateful, writing on 24 July to Anthony Ashley Cooper, 3rd earl of Shaftesbury, of ‘the unparalleled favour of the duchess of Marlborough who interceded with the queen to pardon my corporal punishment to which I was justly sentenced,’ and the duke’s satisfaction with her efforts to secure a pardon for him.264

Towards the end of the campaigning season, Marlborough faced a dilemma, which he summed up on 3 October. Portland ‘thought my going to Vienna was necessary, but at the same time he told me that my being at the opening of the Parliament might prevent heats’. In the end Marlborough decided on Vienna, but this did not prevent him from proffering advice to the queen: she should follow Godolphin’s advice in order to carry on the war as the only other course of action was to rely on Rochester and Nottingham, which would encourage party warfare. In the event, the queen yielded to their entreaties and replaced Wright as lord keeper with William Cowper, the future Earl Cowper, at the end of September. From Vienna Marlborough demanded from lieutenant general Thomas Erle that ‘no care will be wanting in laying the proper estimates before the Parliament, and making the necessary demands for the service of the Ordnance’. Nor did he neglect the contribution of army Members to the parliamentary arithmetic, informing Godolphin on 9 Oct. that he would ‘send over all the Parliament men before I leave the army, except Cadogan, who cannot well come before me’. On 3 Nov. he regretted the heats engendered by the struggle for the speakership of the Commons, hoping that a large majority would make the queen’s business ‘easy, for I think Europe must be saved by England’. Even in Vienna, Marlborough was capable of considering the demands of Parliament, writing to Harley on 3 Nov. that he ‘had taken care that Mr. St John may be instructed to answer as well as he can any demand the Parliament may make as to the state of the quotas furnished by the allies this campaign’.265

Marlborough was excused attendance on the House on 12 Nov. 1705. On 15 Nov. John Thompson, Baron Haversham, made a motion for an address inviting the electress of Hanover to reside in England, a delicate matter given the queen’s inveterate opposition. Marlborough thought it would be easy to convince the elector that it was ‘unseasonable and may be prejudicial to his interest’, to condone such a move. On 18 Nov. he was able to forewarn Godolphin of a proposal to lend the emperor £250,000, a loan to which Marlborough eventually subscribed £10,000.266 Marlborough sailed for England on 27 Dec. and arrived in London on 30 December. He went into the country, arriving back in London on 5 Jan. 1706.267 On 6 Jan. Marlborough was present at dinner at Harley’s, the purpose of which was to reconcile Somers and Halifax with Harley. Marlborough attended the Lords on 8 Jan., the first day after the Christmas recess. On 11 Jan. he dined with Cowper, Bradford (as Newport had become), Somerset, Shrewsbury and ‘several other Lords’, and on the 12th, he dined with the same company with the addition of Wharton.268 After attending on 18 Jan., he was next present on the 29th, spending some of the intervening period at Woodstock.269 The grant of Woodstock, and the building of Blenheim, had expanded Marlborough’s local interest into Oxfordshire. On 5 Feb. a warrant was signed for Marlborough to replace Abingdon as lord lieutenant, with a new lieutenancy commission being issued on 5 April.270 Even then he had to smooth over the ruffled feathers of Francis North, Baron Guilford, who sent back his commission as a deputy lieutenant, Marlborough noting that it had been sent to him inadvertently and that he did not take its return ‘in ill part’.271 On 7 May St John wrote that ‘Craggs, I suppose, gives your grace an account that care has been taken in the manner you directed of the deputations for Oxfordshire’. On 10 May he wrote again:

after we had agreed to send the deputations into the country and had answers from most people, whom we took care to sound, I heard that Reeves was appointed clerk of the lieutenancy. I wish this trifle be not sufficient to sour some people. It’s a nice matter to bring that county into humour; when they are once so, a little care will maintain it.

On 14 June St John wrote ‘the commissions of lieutenancy are sent into Oxfordshire, and I intend to be in that country as soon as this embarkation is over’.272 Similarly, Marlborough had responsibility for the bench; on 18 May Cowper wrote to Marlborough ‘I have not yet received the papers which contain your grace’s pleasure in relation to the commission of the peace for Oxfordshire. I believe it very seasonable to do something in that matter if your grace thinks fit to give me some order in it.’273 In the event, 26 men were added to the bench.274 Relations with Abingdon continued to be difficult. On 14 Sept. Chetwood reported a conversation with Abingdon, where the earl said ‘with some emotion, that the demands you made of him seemed to imply a desire you had to break with him’. Chetwood defended the duke saying that:

the true occasion of these misunderstandings… was the occasional conformity bill, which as it was unseasonably set on foot, was so unwarrantably prosecuted, that it might give just grounds to suspect that something else was aimed at besides the bare passing of that bill. That when designs were formed against the lord treasurer, the laws of friendship, as well as the queen’s service, obliged you to make what interest you could for his preservation. That not your grace but the e[arl], of N[ottingham], and Sir E. S[eymour], were to be blamed, who made that conduct which displeased him, unavoidable.275

By March 1707 Marlborough was working to ensure that his son-in-law, now styled Viscount Rialton, would be chosen knight of the shire at the next election. Opposition was expected at the assizes, Shrewsbury writing that ‘he will meet with a greater opposition than I could have imagined an heir of the duke of Marlborough recommended by him could have found’. Marlborough engineered a reconciliation with Abingdon and Rialton was elected unopposed.276

Marlborough took part in several other debates during the 1705-6 session. On 21 Feb. he was one of those peers that spoke successfully against Rochester’s motion to dispense with the standing order of allowing 14 days after the commitment of a private bill.277 On 9 Mar. he was named to draw up an address for the discovery and prosecuting the author, printer, and publishers, of Sir Rowland Gwynne’s Letter to the earl of Stamford, which had been voted ‘a scandalous, false, and malicious libel’. Marlborough had intervened in the debate when Rochester ‘would have diverted the House from passing the censure by saying it appeared very likely that it was published by the authority of the court of Hanover’, showing ‘that was impossible because matters of fact were affirmed in the letter which the electress knew to be false’.278 As he was present on the 11th, he may have been named as a manager of the two conferences on this subject. On 10 Mar. Godolphin left with Marlborough ‘a draught of a speech for the queen to make at the close of the session… for your correction’.279 He was present on the last day of the session, 19 Mar., having attended on 29 days of the session, 31 per cent of the total, and being named to a further two committees. As he told Heinsius on that day, the session had ‘most certainly been the best that ever was in England, for we are already as good as masters of all the money that has been given for this year’s service’. He embarked at Greenwich on 12 Apr. leaving Godolphin to grapple with Whig demands which were ‘not all so reasonable as is certainly necessary for their own sakes as well as for everybody else’.280

Ramillies, the Union and the Session of 1706-7

Despite Marlborough’s victory at Ramillies on 12 May 1706, he thought that ‘France is not yet reduced to her just bounds, and that nothing can be more hurtful to us on this occasion than seeming over-forward to clap up a hasty peace’.281 By the end of June Marlborough was already thinking of the next session, writing to Harley, ‘I am impatient of having your thoughts upon the methods for the making the queen’s business go easy in the winter’. On 27 Sept. he added, ‘as the Parliament grows near, I beg at your leisure, I may hear as often as may be’.282 Since the end of the previous session Godolphin had been under pressure from the Whigs to replace Secretary Hedges with Sunderland. During the summer Marlborough was roped in by Godolphin in an attempt to persuade the queen of the necessity of this change. He duly sent a letter on 27 June, to which the queen replied on 9 July opposing the idea. At this stage Marlborough thought that Sunderland ‘and his friends ought not to take it unkindly; for as she is every day sensible of the undutiful and unkind usage she meets with from the greatest part of 8 [the Tories] will bring her to what I am afraid she is yet uneasy at’. Godolphin’s threatened resignation in August brought a rebuke from Marlborough that such a step ‘you could not justify to God nor man; for without flattery, as England is divided, there is nobody could execute your place with success’. Simultaneously, he was writing to the duchess ‘I would have everything that is reasonable done to satisfy 14 [the Whigs], of which I think 91 [Godolphin], is the best judge’.283

On the related question of the Union with Scotland, Marlborough advised Godolphin on 29 July that ‘care must be taken against the malice of the angry party, and notwithstanding their malicious affectation of crying the church may be ruined by the Union, the Union must be supported.’ To this end Marlborough was willing to write to James Johnston, even though he had ‘very little interest’ with him. On 29 Aug. Marlborough related to Johnston his view that nothing could tend towards the ‘public good’ than ‘the union of the two nations’, and asking him to use his interest with John Ker, duke of Roxburghe [S], to get him to support the project. On 12 Oct. Johnston reported that he had received a letter from Marlborough ‘earnest for the Union’, although his reply made Marlborough think that ‘as far as I can judge by it he has no opinion of the Union, nor will meddle so as to be of any use’. Further Marlborough agreed to persuade Argyll to take leave of absence from the campaign to promote the Union.284 Sir David Nairne told John Erskine, 22rd earl of Mar [S], that the duke had got Argyll into ‘a very good humour on making him or promising to make him major-general, upon which his grace has promised to go to the Parliament and serve the queen in the affair of the Union’.285 All this is in keeping with the view of the French agent, Guénin, who wrote that the Union had given ‘much satisfaction’ to Marlborough, who had ‘really done more than anyone to put it through, although he has not seemed to have played much part in it’.286

With no progress having been made towards accommodating Whig demands for office on 26 Sept. 1706 Marlborough revealed to Godolphin the gist of a letter he had written to the queen:

I am not for putting yourself into the hands of either party. But the behaviour of Lord Rochester and all the hot heads of that party are so extravagant, that there is no doubt to be made of their exposing you and the liberties of England to the rage of France, rather than not be revenged as they call it. This being the case, there is a necessity as well as justice of your following your inclinations in supporting lord treasurer, or all must go to confusion. As the humour is at present, he can’t be supported but by the Whigs, for the others seek his destruction, which in effect is yours.

As he affirmed to the duchess on 30 Sept. Rochester and the tackers ‘are not for carrying on the war, and consequently not in the true interest of the queen and kingdom’.287 On 7 Oct. Marlborough was getting ready to send over army officer Members for the parliamentary session, observing that ‘they never finish their money matters in Holland till the Parliament has made their first votes’. On 10 Oct. he wrote to Godolphin that having ‘been so very much mortified at seeing the little effect my letters of late’ had had on the queen, ‘I was resolved to write no more, but at my arrival to have spoke my mind with all submission and duty, very freely, after which I should have given no more trouble’. However, he wrote again on 13 Oct. giving Godolphin unequivocal backing. Godolphin was reduced to hoping for Marlborough’s swift arrival as ‘I find plainly nothing will be set right with 83 [the queen], as it ought to be till then’. On 29 Oct. he returned to this theme. Marlborough was wanted ‘for several things which ought necessarily to be done before the Parliament. And your being here before their sitting down, must needs have a very great influence toward hastening their preparation for next year’. A fresh problem now arose as Godolphin sent intelligence to Marlborough that Harley and his associates were proposing to solve the ministry’s political problems by forming a party of the court against the Junto. On 29 Oct. Marlborough thought that Harley ‘must not be suffered to go on in the project… and by gaining him you will govern the others without taking any pains with them’. Marlborough landed at Margate on 16 Nov., arriving in London on the 18th, ‘where notwithstanding his grace had deferred his arrival till the dusk of the evening, and endeavoured to enter as privately as possible, the common people of Southwark discovered him, and immediately giving the alarm to their brotherhood in the city, attended him with huzzas and acclamations to the court’. On 20 Nov. Marlborough and Godolphin met with Harley and the latter was forced to comply with their wish to bring Whigs into the ministry. On 23 Nov. Marlborough dined with Halifax and scotched rumours that he was soon to return to Holland to negotiate a peace. At the end of November he went to view the building work at Blenheim.288

On the eve of the parliamentary session, the queen finally gave in and appointed Sunderland to the secretaryship. Marlborough was present on the opening day of the session, 3 Dec. 1706, noting to Thomas Wentworth, 2nd Baron Raby (later earl of Strafford), that ‘the proceedings today in Parliament… gives us the prospect of a very happy session’. On 13 Dec. he wrote to Heinsius that ‘everything goes in Parliament as could be wished’.289 On 17 Dec. Sunderland’s son, Charles Spencer, the future 3rd duke of Marlborough, was baptized with Marlborough as one of the godparents.290 On 19 Dec. Marlborough dined with the lord mayor and aldermen at the Vintners’ Hall, with the trophies of the campaign on display.291 On that day Cardonnel wrote to Shrewsbury that John Smith had ‘acquainted my Lord duke himself with your grace’s having sent him up your proxy,’ which appears to have been dated 3 December.292 Marlborough himself replied to Shrewsbury on the 26th that ‘if anything should happen, wherein I may have the least thought, that we might differ in opinion, you may be sure I shall not make use of it without your grace’s advice and direction, but rather be governed by your better judgment’.293 On 30 Dec. Shrewsbury replied: ‘I think it much more sure to vote for the public good, than were I present to give it’, and that ‘in any Parliament, I have had the honour to sit with you, I cannot recollect that we ever differed’.294

Meanwhile, on the 4 Dec. 1706 the House ordered thanks to be given to Marlborough when he was ‘in his place’, which took place on the following day. Marlborough was now in a strong position to bring to gestation plans to exploit his success for the purpose of establishing his family. On 14 Dec. Charles Powlett, 2nd duke of Bolton, moved successfully for an address to the queen to allow Marlborough’s honours to be passed by act of Parliament through the female line.295 Following the queen’s assent to the address on the 17th, Marlborough gave his thanks to the House, adding that he had requested that Woodstock and Blenheim might go along with the titles, and hoped that after his wife’s death ‘upon whom they are settled in jointure, that estate and house may be limited to go always along with the honour’. The judges were ordered to bring in the requisite bill, which was presented on 18 Dec. and passed both Houses on the 20th.296 Not to be outdone, on 7 Jan. 1707 the Commons voted for an address to the queen in which they signalled their willingness to enable the queen to ‘make some provision for the more honourable support of his dignity in his posterity’. The queen’s response was to make perpetual the duke’s £5,000 p.a. pension on the Post Office. On 14 Jan. John Netterville surmised to Harley that Marlborough’s grant ‘was a managed matter by some of his friends and favourites; his grace privy to the design all along’. This may also have been the reason why Marlborough attended a meeting at the home of Charles Bennet, 2nd Baron Ossulston (later earl of Tankerville), with several peers on 18 Jan. 1707. Solicitor-general Harcourt introduced the bill on 14 Jan. and managed it through the Commons. It passed the Lords on 22 January. Perceptively, Robert Raworth recorded ‘great is the man, and great have been his actions, but all these favours create enemies’.297

On 24 Jan. 1707 Marlborough informed Albemarle that the Union had passed in Scotland and ‘is like to meet with some struggle here, though I make no doubt but it will have a happy issue’.298 On 29 Jan. he attended a meeting at Sunderland’s house in company with Godolphin, Wharton, Orford, Halifax, Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend, William Wake, bishop of Lincoln, and John Moore, bishop of Norwich, to put the final touches to the draft of a bill for the security of the Church of England, which had been promoted by Thomas Tenison, archbishop of Canterbury, and was designed to pass before the Union. The bill was duly brought in by Tenison on 31 January. Marlborough was not present on that day, presumably taking advantage of the convenience of St Albans for a short visit, as he informed Heinsius on 4 Feb. that he had been ‘in the country’. On 15 Feb., Marlborough spoke against amending the articles of Union. On the 17th he informed Heinsius that he was going ‘for five or six days into the country’, and he next attended on 27 February. He last attended on 14 Mar. having been present on 32 days of the session, 37 per cent of the total. Marlborough left London for Margate on 21 Mar. and sailed on 2 Apr. 1707.299

Harley and the Session of 1707-8

On 7 Feb. Marlborough had successfully approached Bishop Compton for a prebend of St Paul’s for his chaplain, Francis Hare, the future bishop of Chichester.300 Other ecclesiastical matters were not so easily resolved. From February, the struggle to fill the vacant bishoprics Chester and Exeter, and the regius professorship of divinity at Oxford precipitated a political crisis because the candidates favoured by the Whigs were blocked by the queen’s preference for promoting two Tory divines, Sir William Dawes, the future archbishop of York, and Dr. Blackall, the future bishop of Exeter. Marlborough’s interest in this was the advancement of his protégé, John Potter, the future archbishop of Canterbury, to the regius chair. More generally, the imbroglio had serious political implications as the Whigs could not understand why their candidates were not being preferred. The death of Simon Patrick, bishop of Ely, at the end of May, allowed some leeway in that his replacement by Bishop Moore left three bishoprics vacant. Finding the queen intransigent, Godolphin on 8 June seemed ‘resolved to use all his endeavours to keep them vacant till he can have Mr. Freeman’s [Marlborough’s] assistance in those spiritual affairs which seem to grow worse and worse’. Marlborough at this stage was somewhat perplexed, writing on 12 June ‘I find something is doing by way of promotions in 171 [the Church], that makes 89 [the Whigs], uneasy. I do assure you I am very sorry for it, but you know I have very little to say in those matters’. Having long championed Potter’s promotion, ‘if he has not the professor’s place, I will never more meddle with anything that may concern Oxford’. Having read Godolphin’s missive of 8 June, he reacted with more alarm: if the queen’s ‘prejudice to some people is so unalterable, and that they will be disposing of the preferments now vacant to such as will tear to pieces her friends and servants, that must create distraction’. On 23 June Marlborough noted that whatever pleased John Sharp, archbishop of York, ‘can’t be for the service of 42 [the queen]’. He advised Godolphin to write ‘very plainly what he thinks is wrong and send it to 42 without offering to quit, or expecting any answer but as in duty bound to leave it to her consideration’.301 Still the queen refused to budge, despite warnings of an impending attack on the conduct of the admiralty in the next parliamentary session. On 25 Aug. she wrote to Marlborough:

as to what you say that I must either put my business into the hands of 4 [Harley], or follow 10 [Godolphin’s] measures, I should be glad you would explain yourself a little more on that, for I know no measures 10 has but what were laid down when 40 [Marlborough], was here, and I do not know I have broken any of them, for I cannot think my having nominated Sir William and Dr. Blackall to be bishops is any breach, they being worthy men, and all the clamour is raised against them proceeds only from the malice of 18 [the Whigs].

She rejected the charge that Dawes and Blackall had been recommended to her by Harley: ‘I do assure you these men were my own choice.’302 The situation was eventually resolved in January 1708 when Dawes and Blackall were confirmed in the sees to which Anne had promised them; Trimnell replaced Moore at Norwich and Potter obtained the regius chair.

Given the opposition which Marlborough and Godolphin had encountered at court, typified by the time-consuming battles with the queen over appointment of Sunderland and the Whig bishops, they cast around for its source. On 22 May 1707, Marlborough wrote to Sarah, acknowledging receipt of a letter in which she had revealed her suspicions that Abigail Masham had been speaking of business to the queen. This in turn pointed the finger at her distant relative, Harley. On 30 June Marlborough advised Godolphin to find a way to speak plainly to Harley ‘for if he continues in doing ill offices upon all occasions’ to Somers, Sunderland and Halifax, ‘it will at last have so much effect upon 239 [the queen], whose inclinations are already that way, it must occasion that no measures will be followed’. To the queen on 7 July he wrote that the ‘interest of the Whigs obliges them to be more governed by you than that of the Tories’. Blaming ‘the malice of their chiefs, and the behaviour of the greatest part of the clergy’, he told her that if the Tories were in charge, ‘they would not carry this war on with vigour, on which depends your happiness and the safety of our religion’. In conclusion, he advised that the queen ‘lose no time in taking such measures with [the] lord treasurer as may make the next sessions of Parliament cheerfully enable you for the carrying on of this war, without which all must run to ruin’.303

Whilst Marlborough recognized the need to appease the Whigs, he also valued Harley’s managerial qualities. On 4 Aug. 1707 he told the duchess that ‘there is no possibility in my opinion of acting otherways than making use of him, so that there should not only be pains taking in possessing 42 [the queen] of a just character, but also of convincing 199 [Harley]’. He also warned her that if the Whigs ‘mortify’ the court, it would dishearten Godolphin and then Harley would have ‘the power and credit of doing what he pleases’. To Godolphin the ‘timely remedy’ to the influence of Abigail and Harley was for Marlborough to join him in ‘speaking very plainly at the same time to Mrs. Morley [the queen] both of 199 [Harley] and a great many other things, and settling a rule for preventing (before it is too late) all those uneasinesses for the future’. To accomplish this Marlborough needed to be in England before the Parliament met. Marlborough appears to have taken this on board for on 1 Sept. he asked Sarah for her thoughts on ‘what you think best for the service and quiet of 38 [Godolphin], for whatever it be I think it ought to be put in practice before the meeting of the Parliament.’304

Other matters of concern to Marlborough while on campaign were the repercussions of the failure of the attack on Toulon, and the machinations of the Tories at Hanover in promoting an invitation to Princess Sophia, which the Whigs threatened to support. On 20 Aug. Marlborough offered Godolphin advice on how to deal with Peterborough (the former Monmouth): ‘you must do no step in that matter but in conjunction with’ Halifax, Somers, Sunderland, and if possible Wharton.305 On 29 Aug. Joseph Addison wrote that Peterborough’s actions in Spain and the failure at Toulon presaged ‘a warm session, but we are still in hopes the duke of Marlborough will come to our relief and set things right again as he has done formerly when affairs were in a more desperate posture’.306 On 4 Sept. Marlborough wrote to the queen that if she would:

not let those that have the honour to serve you govern your affairs agreeable to the circumstances of the time, your business must inevitably run to confusion, and consequently make it impracticable for 10 [Godolphin] to continue in his employment. For if he be thought to have the power and do not govern, both parties will be angry with him, but when once out of service both will admire and be his friends. If I were with you I believe I could better let you see the trouble and distraction you are like to be in this winter, which you must prevent before the meeting of the Parl[iament], or it will be too late.307

In a more practical vein, he informed Godolphin that he would write to St John shortly about ‘what ought to be laid before the Parliament concerning the troops. For if I take time for my doing what is necessary on this side the water, they will have met above a fortnight before I can be in London’. If Parliament ‘at their first meeting should not act with vigour, it must add to our misfortunes abroad.’308

With the need to settle matters before Parliament met, Godolphin suggested on 22 Sept that Marlborough return to England for a fortnight while Parliament ‘passed all their votes and taken their resolutions for carrying on the war’, and then go back to The Hague to finish concerting measures with the allies. On 25 Sept. Godolphin informed Harley that he had asked Marlborough to be in London four or five days before Parliament met. Marlborough could not agree to this as he was already committed to a journey into Germany, but on 27 Sept. he suggested delaying the meeting of Parliament for two weeks. On 7 Oct. Godolphin thought that would be difficult, but that ‘nothing is fixed here to make 88 [Parliament] succeed, nor can 38 [Godolphin] do anything so shameful as to abandon 42 [the queen] but upon a joint measure with Mr. Freeman [Marlborough]’. He hoped Marlborough would ‘hasten’ over ‘so that nothing very material may be decided finally before you come’.309 In the event Parliament was prorogued until 6 Nov. by which time Marlborough’s arrival was imminent. As Harley put it: ‘it has been thought proper to adjourn the Parliament (after the Speaker was approved) until Thursday next [6 Nov.], in hopes of either seeing, or hearing, from your grace before that day.’310

Cadogan reported that Marlborough was ready to embark for England on 28 Oct. 1707, awaiting only a ‘fair wind’. He embarked on 4 Nov. arriving in London on 7 November.311 He first sat on 10 Nov. and in all attended on 74 days of the session, 69 per cent of the total. Marlborough’s arrival clarified the outstanding issues: on 11 Nov. Johnston wrote to Trumbull. ’You hear no doubt, that after much noise, the court yielded and the Place Act takes place. Had they stood it out, they would have had but one third of the Scotch Members for them. I suppose the admiralty and the bishops will be yielded too’. Even though Peterborough’s affair was still not settled, it was likely Marlborough ‘will quiet him’. Everything had awaited Marlborough’s arrival, ‘all as it were in a storm and nothing less than a dissolution was threatened, but now there is a great calm.’312 Edmund Gibson, the future bishop of London, also gave the credit to Marlborough: ‘before the duke’s coming over, the ministry seemed to be much undetermined, but now it is generally understood that they are fixed in the right way and that we are to have bishops, a secretary and an admiral to content.’ He thought ‘some assurances have been given’, having observed several men ‘who are not to be satisfied or won over by any considerations but what are public and honourable’ now to be ‘very zealous for the ministry’, who had been of a very different opinion the week before.313 On 29 Nov. Marlborough wrote to Heinsius that the address of the Commons showed ‘the sense of the nation as to the carrying on the war’. He added that naval ‘misfortunes’ were ‘likely to occasion inquiry and consequently uneasiness, but you may be assured will give no delay to the dispatch of public business, so that in all likelihood it will end in giving trouble to some few private persons which will no ways affect the public’. Of more concern was the need to augment the troops available for the campaign; Marlborough wrote to Heinsius again on 5 Dec. saying there was little hope of increasing the provision from the British side, unless the States General could offer assurances that they would ‘likewise do their part’.314

On 9 Dec. 1707 Vernon told Shrewsbury, ‘I don’t think you can expect to see the duke of Marlborough [in the country], very soon, for our House is now upon enquiries relating to the war’.315 On 19 Dec. the Lords debated the Spanish war in the presence of the queen. Nottingham, ‘with a great show of respect’ towards Marlborough, advocated transferring a considerable force from Flanders to Spain. In this he was seconded by Rochester, ‘who dropped some expressions’ that occasioned several exchanges with Marlborough, in which the latter was noted for the ‘warmth’ with which he expressed his opinion. Marlborough argued that due care was being taken to relieve Spain, but that Flanders was of even more concern, for if that theatre of the war was denuded of troops, the French might use their superior forces to overrun the Dutch and force them to make a separate peace. He also observed that:

the ministry had been reflected on by some Lords during the session and therefore desired they would speak out who had anything to say and if there was any misconduct that it might be laid before the House: and without dealing in general terms desired the Lords that were dissatisfied to mention the actions and persons that were to blame. His grace showed at the same time how bad it was for the ministry to be schooled on all occasions when any member of the House thought fit to do it whether there were any reason given or not, and acquainted the Lords with several particulars relating to the last campaign and that which is to come that they say were fully satisfactory and took away all occasion of complaint.316

Following the adjournment of the House on 23 Dec. Brydges summed up the situation: ‘by the steadiness of my Lord Marlborough, &c we have all been preserved from the violence of the Whigs’.317

On 22 Dec. 1707 Marlborough went ‘to pass the holidays at Blenheim’, returning on the 30th.318 In the absence of Sarah, Marlborough kept Shrewsbury up until past midnight discussing Harley’s scheme of moderation.319 On 31 Dec. Marlborough was one of those councillors deputed to examine William Greg, a clerk in Harley’s office, who had admitted sending regular accounts of Parliament to the French minister, Michel de Chamillard.320 In January 1708 the recruitment bill ran into difficulties in the Commons, presaging a shortage of manpower for the army, with the ministry suffering a defeat in the Commons and a watered-down version passing the Commons in late February.321 On 23 Jan. Marlborough apologized to Heinsius for his failure to write by the previous post, which was because he had been ‘so very weary at the House of Commons not doing what I thought was best for the getting recruits for this year’s service’. The question was lost by seven ‘and it is thought if gentlemen had not been afraid of hurting their elections this summer, we should have carried it by a great many’. On 13 Feb. he added that ‘I hope our recruit-bill will enable us to get the men,’ despite the failure of legislation instituting conscription based on quotas for parishes and counties.322 Meanwhile, Marlborough had tangled with Peterborough on 15 Jan. over the conduct of the Spanish campaign. When Peterborough made ‘an excursion into some other subject’, Marlborough intimated that he thought it would be for his Lordship’s service to clear one point before he proceeded to another: and that therefore he believed his Lordship would do well to explain the money affair [the allegations of misappropriation of public funds] first and then go on to the other points’.323

At this point, the divisions between the leading ministers as to how to manage Parliament reached a crisis. Discussions had been ongoing between Marlborough, Godolphin and Harley over the idea of strengthening the ministry by bringing in some moderate Tories to join those moderate Whigs who had supported the ministry in December, and who were likely to support the lord treasurer over the admiralty, the Scottish Privy Council and the conduct of the war in Spain. However, Harley appears to have gone too far, albeit with the queen’s backing, and attempted to negotiate with Tories such as William Bromley who had been the ministry’s vigorous opponents. In effect, Harley presented Marlborough with the option of abandoning the lord treasurer and joining a new scheme of government, one with which he had some sympathy given his natural inclination towards moderation and his fear of Junto domination. The alternative was to stick with Godolphin and his plans to reconstruct the ministry by admitting more Whigs into office. Marlborough only backed Godolphin after being convinced that moderate Whig opinion would not join Harley’s scheme.324 In this battle for Marlborough’s support, Harley tried to convince him not only of the efficacy of his scheme, but of his essential trustworthiness. On 28 Jan. 1708 Harley wrote to Marlborough that having attended the queen, `I had been represented to your grace to have said something which had given your grace dissatisfaction’. Therefore, he wished to wait on the duke to ‘clear myself’, while assuring him of his ‘utmost regard and affection’ for Godolphin. Harley wrote again on 1 Feb. in an attempt to gain an opportunity to explain himself to Godolphin. On 6 Feb. he tried to obtain an audience with Marlborough to ‘restore me to his Lordship’s favour and to that end give me an opportunity of speaking freely to your grace what perhaps may deserve your grace’s attention for one quarter of an hour any time you will please to command.’ To which Marlborough replied on the 7th, `I have been very exactly informed of all the transactions for some days past; and particularly what was said under the sanction of a message yesterday morning.’325

Once Marlborough had made his decision to remain loyal to Godolphin, he informed the queen around 6 Feb. 1708 that:

since all the faithful service I have endeavoured to do you, and the unwearied pains I have taken for these ten days to satisfy and convince your majesty’s own mind, have not been able to give you any such impression of the false and treacherous proceedings of Mr. Secretary Harley to lord treasurer and myself, but that your majesty is pleased to countenance and to support him to the ruin of your own business at home. I am very much afraid it will be attended with the sorrow and amazement of all Europe as soon as the noise of it gets abroad. And I find myself obliged to have so much regard to my own honour and reputation, as not to be every day made a sacrifice to falsehood and treachery, but most humbly to acquaint your majesty that no consideration can make me serve any longer with that man.326

The brief power struggle which followed was essentially resolved at the cabinet meeting on 8 Feb. before which Godolphin, Marlborough and his wife all threatened to resign, whereupon a number of lords indicated their refusal to serve with Harley by declining to do business in their absence. In response, on the 9th the Commons let the supply bill lie on the table and in the Lords, ‘after a warm report that the queen was not to be prevailed on by the duke of Marlborough and lord treasurer’s united requests to part with Secretary Harley’, Wharton ‘made a motion to enquire into the matter of [Harley’s office clerk] Greg’s condemnation’.327 The resultant committee, packed with Harley’s enemies, was what probably persuaded the queen to accept Harley’s resignation. She sent for Marlborough on the 9th and ‘at his coming back to the House of Lords it was soon spread abroad that the seals would be sent for’.328 Addison succinctly summed up: Marlborough and Godolphin had ‘refused to sit any longer in council with so wily a Secretary and would have laid down themselves if he had not been removed’.329 Meanwhile, on 7 Feb. Marlborough entered his protest against the passage of the bill to complete the Union, which included the abolition of the Scottish Privy Council, a measure which Somers felt ‘was no little ingredient towards making the changes which have since happened’. On 5 Mar. Marlborough went to St Albans, ‘for two days retirement from the crowd of business’. He was back in the Lords on the 8th. On the 9th he wrote that he dared not leave the kingdom while there was uncertainty as to the fate of the Jacobite invasion in Scotland. He last sat in the Lords on 25 Mar. having been named to 12 committees. Early on 29 Mar. he left London for Margate, reaching The Hague on the 30th.330

No sooner had Marlborough departed than Robert Walpole, the future earl of Orford, wrote to him on 30 Mar. of difficulties in the Commons over army recruitment. Nor did the duke obtain much respite from Godolphin, who as early as 5 Apr. was reminding him of his plans to return for a short visit later in the month. The exigencies of the war demanded a visit to the Elector of Hanover instead.331 Sunderland’s Cabinet minutes of 11 Apr. record that ‘the queen did depend upon the duke of Marlborough coming back, when she gave him leave to go so early, and therefore leaves it to him to judge.’332 Godolphin probably hit the nail on the head when he opined on 13 Apr. that his trip made it look as if ‘any place is more agreeable than England’. For Marlborough, without a trip to Hanover, ‘we should have begun this campaign without any project’. However, his visit soon gave rise to rumours that he would bring the electoral prince, George* [588], duke of Cambridge, back with him to England.333 Much as Marlborough wished to avoid the entanglements of English politics, since Harley’s challenge he could no longer hope to stay aloof from the parties, seeking, as Arthur Maynwaring put it in April, to ‘temper their violence’ and trying to ‘reconcile them’.334

The Election of 1708 and the turn to the Whigs

The implication of Maynwaring’s analysis was clear: a turn to the Whigs was necessary, and to most observers this meant an office for Somers. Maynwaring was relieved to find that Marlborough was not blocking his return to office: ‘I am very glad to find so plainly that there is nothing imputed to my lord duke upon the business of Lord Somers, because I will endeavour to convince some people of that’.335 As before, the chief stumbling block was the queen. On 22 Apr. she gave Marlborough an account of a visit from Newcastle and Devonshire, ‘in which they proposed my taking Lord Somers into the cabinet council, without giving him any employment’. On 28 Apr. Marlborough replied ‘as for England I do not doubt but care is taken to incline your majesty to believe that the Tories will have this next Parliament a majority in the House of Commons.’ It was, he told her, unlikely that after the French backing for the Pretender, and with most Tories ‘suspected either to have known or at least to have wished success to the attempt’, that the people of England would choose ‘such men as they believe would ruin all that is dear to them.’ He also asked her to consider ‘the consequences of refusing the request’ of Newcastle and Devonshire, ‘since it will be a demonstration, not only to them, but to everybody, that [the] lord treasurer and Lord Marlborough have no credit with your majesty but that you are guided by the insinuation of Mr. Harley.’336

With electioneering in full spate, Marlborough told the duchess on 25 Apr. 1708 that he ‘liked so well’, Defoe’s Advice to the Electors of Great Britain that ‘I have read it twice’. At St Albans, George Churchill was narrowly defeated for the second seat by Joshua Lomax, while Gape topped the poll. Marlborough was no doubt ‘vexed’ by the failure of his brother to be returned (although he was elected for Portsmouth), and by the failure to remove Gape from the Hertfordshire bench, for which he blamed Essex. However, he had resolved ‘to meddle as little as possible’ in the election, and not to spend any money.337 His name appears on a list of the first Parliament of Great Britain in about May 1708, with markings that suggest he was perceived as a court Whig.

As a peer of Scotland Marlborough was entitled to participate in the election of representative peers and he was canvassed for his vote. On 27 Apr. 1708 he informed Godolphin that he had promised Lady Orkney to endeavour to get her husband, George Hamilton, earl of Orkney, elected, and asked him to speak to Queensberry, Sunderland, Boyle and Cowper to help effect it. By virtue of being on campaign, Marlborough had to exercise his rights by proxy; on 7 May James Ogilvy, earl of Seafield [S], wrote a detailed letter of instruction to ensure that he followed the correct form in disposing of his proxy.338 On 20 May Marlborough sent it to Mar, reserving votes only for two army officers, Orkney and John Dalrymple, 2nd earl of Stair [S].339 Mar received it on 29 May, and on 31 May he acknowledged receipt of Marlborough’s instructions: ‘I shall obey your commands as to those two Lords and shall name the rest as I think most for the queen’s service’. Mar then made public that he had received Marlborough’s proxy, ‘that it might be known how 163 [the court], would declare’. To counteract this impression Sunderland intervened in support of the Squadrone, creating problems for Marlborough later with the queen. On the day after the election Mar informed Marlborough of the Lords he had voted for, which seemed to have been allowed, although Patrick Hume, earl of Marchmont [S], protested against Marlborough voting on the grounds that he was a peer of England.340 The queen was unhappy at Sunderland’s action, noting on 18 June that ‘there is no wonder opposition should increase when one of my own servants are at the head of it’. She reiterated her displeasure on 22 June noting that although Sunderland had ‘neither directly or indirectly made use of my name’, he ‘owned he had writ his own thoughts about the elections to some lords of the Squadrone’, and that this had had the same effect ‘for whatever comes from one in such a post, on such a subject must be looked upon as done by my approbation so that I cannot but still resent this usage very much’. Although she had not yet dismissed him, she reminded Marlborough ‘of the promise you made to me when I first took this person into my service, which was that if ever he did anything I did not like or something to yet purpose you would bring him to make his leg and take his leave.’341 On 8 July Marlborough asked the duchess and Godolphin for their comments, before replying (in a letter drafted by Godolphin) asking her not to remove Sunderland, but to follow Godolphin’s advice.

The election had returned a clear Whig majority, and Godolphin’s apprehensions of the forthcoming Parliament should the queen not include more Whigs in office, meant that as early as 13 June, he had written to Marlborough to request his arrival at least 15 days before it sat.’342 Marlborough was sufficiently aware of the need to manage Parliament that even on campaign he was able to pay remarkable attention to the minutiae of politics. On 27 May 1708 he wrote to the duchess about the election of William Guidott, marked on a parliamentary list as a Whig, but ‘if pains there be not taken with him… I fear he will be found otherwise. When you see him, you may speak as your not doubting of his being for the carrying on the war, till a safe peace can be had, by which you will see his inclinations.’343 Whigs such as Halifax now felt ‘the game’ was not difficult to play; all the duumvirs had to do was ‘to carry on the administration by such measures, and in such hands, as you declare to like’. Their enemies were too weak ‘to disturb you. And there is an inclination, and a disposition among those that have the majority to support, to assist you, and to do everything that is reasonable to please you’. Marlborough’s response on 15 July was to affirm his willingness to join with Halifax and his friends ‘to encourage those who are for supporting the present government and carrying on the war with vigour, so that we may have a speedy and lasting peace which is my chief ambition.’344

Given the struggle to obtain the appointment of more Whigs to office, Marlborough continued to affirm to the queen his desire to be free of domestic politics, ‘to serve you in the army, but not as a minister’.345 The queen was unwilling to recognize the distinction: ‘tho you say you will serve me as a general, but not as a minister, I shall always look upon you as both, and never separate those two characters, but ask your advice in both capacities on all occasions.’346 On 12 July Marlborough told the duchess that ‘you may depend upon my joining with 89 [the Whigs], in opposition to 84 [the Tories], in all things’. He also had advice for Sunderland: there was ‘no necessity of his saying anything to 42 [the queen] that she will take ill, but on the contrary that he would endeavour to please as much as is consistent with his opinion, for it will be very mortifying to me… if she should persist to have him removed’. On 15 July he wrote to her again that he was sure the Tories would ‘endeavour all they can to vex me, but I hope 89 [the Whigs] will support me in this war’.347 On 22 July Marlborough wrote to the queen about how her letters had caused him some discomposure; he was pleased, however, that ‘the impressions’ the queen had of Sunderland making use of her name in his letters to Scotland ‘had been so far set right, by the assurances he gave you, as to let you see all possible endeavours had been used from thence to incense you against him’. In return Marlborough had been spared ‘so great a mortification in the face of all Europe, at a time when I was so zealously endeavouring to serve you’. On a more strategic level, he continued,

it is utterly impossible for you ever to have more than a part of the Tories, and tho you could have them all, their number is not capable of doing you good, no more than their inclination, they can do you hurt by making the Whigs jealous and uneasy, and that is their great aim, for they know that must have the consequence of dividing the Whigs, and by that means, enabling them to cast the balance on the side of those who are and will always be, in opposition to your majesty’s administration and government.348

On 22 July Marlborough wrote to Sarah that ‘I will always be in the interest of 89 [Whigs]’, but ‘at the same time, for their sakes and that of the public, as well as my own reputation, I must be master of judging of my actions towards 39 [the queen]’.349

Although Marlborough believed that the Tories had got possession of the queen through Mrs. Masham, the queen was not to blame other than ‘by being too fond’ of her, ‘who imposes on her’. The queen of course refused to acknowledge such an influence, writing on 6 Aug. ‘I am very sorry to find you persist in your resolution of not advising me concerning my home affairs… there being nobody but 40 [Marlborough], and 10 [Godolphin], that I do advise with nor can rely on’. On 27 Aug., with a scheme of parliamentary management becoming urgent, the queen put it to Marlborough that ‘I think things are come [to the point] whether 17 [the queen], shall submit to the five tyrannizing lords [the Junto Whigs Orford, Sunderland, Halifax, Somers and Wharton], or they to me… let me know your thoughts of what may be the best expedient to keep 17 from being thrown into the hands of the five lords.’ Meanwhile, Marlborough was tactfully attempting to prevent his wife from making the situation worse: hoping that since she had observed that the queen ‘is not capable of being changed by reason’, so ‘you would be quiet till the time comes in which she must change’. As he re-assured his wife in November, so long as the queen was governed by the cabinet in ‘affairs of consequence’, and Godolphin was ‘well with the queen’, then Masham could only ‘vex, but never do mischief’.350

To maintain the pressure, the Whigs signalled their intention to attack the admiralty, and specifically Marlborough’s brother, who was thought to influence Prince George and hence the queen. Marlborough remained loyal to his brother, but under no illusions as to his political failings as ‘a very indiscreet’ Tory, with ‘so little judgment that he is capable of any indiscretion’, although ‘I am very sure he would not say or do anything that he thought might prejudice the queen’.351 On 8 Oct. Marlborough wrote to his brother that if he did not ‘take an unalterable resolution of laying down that employment’ before Parliament sat, ‘you will certainly do the greatest disservice imaginable to the queen and prince, the greatest prejudice to me, and bring yourself into such inconvenience as may last as long as you live, and from which it is wholly impossible to protect you’.352 By mid-October Godolphin was reduced to deflecting Whig importunities with the promise ‘that when Lord Marlborough comes all will be set right’. As Marlborough’s return was not expected much before Christmas, the Whigs threatened to disturb the ministry at the opening of Parliament by opposing the court’s choice of Speaker, ‘for that they had no other way left to let the world see, and all their friends, that they were upon a different foot’.353 On 19 Oct. Maynwaring urged the duchess to intervene by persuading the Whigs that ‘Marlborough has done his best, and so prevail with them at least to suspend their wrath till they see what turn he will take when he comes home’. In late October, Maynwaring was still trying to convince them that Marlborough ‘had acted a very sincere part in endeavouring to bring Lord Som[ers], into the council’.354 On 24 Oct. Godolphin was still hoping that Marlborough would be back in England before the Parliament met on 16 Nov., somewhat later than usual. He even used the death of Prince George on 28 Oct. to reinforce his argument that Marlborough should hasten over.355 In the event Marlborough continued the campaign well into the winter and remained absent from Westminster when Parliament sat on 16 November. Possibly he found remaining with the army to deal with intransigent logistical problems a plausible excuse for avoiding the turmoil of British political life.356 In his absence rumours abounded about the state of his health. On 24 Dec. Johnston wrote: ’I do not hear that the duke of Marlborough comes over for some time. It’s like he’ll first make the matter sure. It’s whispered that he has a diabetes. It’s certain his health is breaking very fast for Cardonnel writes it’.357

Despite his absence, Marlborough maintained a close watch on one of the topics of perennial interest to him, namely the legislation governing the recruitment of soldiers. Heavy losses had led to an urgent need to augment the number of troops, especially as his plans for the following campaign involved the invasion of France.358 On 22 Nov. 1708 Marlborough emphasized to Walpole that the long campaign had delayed the dispatch of recruitment officers to England and hence the time available for them to operate, so that it was more important than ever ‘to think of some measures of raising recruits by act of Parliament on the parishes or hundreds. Pray discourse the matter with the gentlemen of the House of Commons, and use your utmost endeavours to bring it to pass, since nothing can conduce more to the public service’. Further, there was likely to be a need for ‘latitude [to] be allowed in the funds given in Parliament for defraying it.’ He also approached Boyle in favour of a bill ‘levying men upon the counties as has been formerly proposed’ and Brydges to ‘join in your utmost endeavours to procure an act of Parliament for levying of men in the respective counties’. On 9 Dec. he was encouraged by the replies of both Walpole and Boyle to hope that Parliament would come into ‘proper measures for recruiting the army’.359 Henceforth, he received regular reports on the progress of the legislation until it passed the Commons on 24 Jan. 1709.360

Meanwhile, on 13 Dec. Bromley had shown ‘as much malice as he could’ while disparaging Marlborough in the Commons in support of a vote of thanks to general John Richmond Webb for his role in the victory at Wynendael. Marlborough was ‘uneasy’ at this ‘barbarous proceeding’, believing the promoters of the motion were encouraged by Mrs. Masham.361 Godolphin appealed to Marlborough at the start of January 1709 over the claims of the Whig-backed James Graham, duke of Montrose [S], for the post of Scottish secretary and the queen’s preference for Queensberry, being ‘in a great perplexity’ and asking him ‘to hasten over’.362 Marlborough thought Queensberry, who was appointed on 3 Feb., a ‘knave’, whom he would do ‘all that is in my power to hinder his coming into so dangerous a place’. As he told the duchess: the principles of the Whigs were ‘for the good of England’, while the Tories would destroy both England and ‘the liberties of Europe’. Hence, he would ‘always govern my actions by joining with such as are for the good of England, but will never be a slave to either party, and consequently not expect favour from either’.363

On 24 Jan. 1709 Marlborough wrote to Heinsius concerning the address of the Commons for information regarding the number of effective troops in Spain and Portugal, ‘the ill affected intending to take advantage of being angry at the seven regiments now at Antwerp, they being part of those establishments’.364 On 2 Feb. Marlborough wrote an official letter in response to the vote of thanks of the Commons of 22 January. At the same time he wrote to Coningsby thanking him for his letter by which he saw ‘how great a share my Lord Wharton has had in the honour that is done me’.365

Marlborough left Brussels on 24 Feb. and arrived at London on 1 March.366 He first attended the Lords on 2 Mar. and was commended by the House for his eminent services. Interestingly, on 21 Mar. Bishop Wake explained apropos the resolution of the Lords that peers of Scotland made peers of Britain after the Union could not vote in the election for Scottish representative peers that the ‘great thing urged was that this was allowed by the last winter’s act to such as were peers of Scotland and England. The answer to which was that this was indulged to the interest of the duke of Marlborough and Lord Greenwich [Argyll]; but plainly against the Scots act’.367 Marlborough last attended on 24 Mar. having attended on 12 days of the session, 13 per cent of the total.

Malplaquet, Mrs Masham and Sacheverell, 1709-10

Marlborough’s plans to return to Holland may have been disrupted slightly by family concerns. The death of the duke of Montagu on 9 Mar. 1709, coupled a few hours later by the birth of a son to the new duchess saw Marlborough ‘stopped for a few days upon this occasion’.368 One matter requiring discussion was guardianship of the lunatic dowager duchess which was eventually split between her brothers-in-law, Newcastle and Thomas Tufton, 6th earl of Thanet. On 18 Mar. Johnston wrote that if Marlborough ‘goes he returns quickly and our House is it seems to sit on. He’s very high and speaks but to whom he pleases. He and the Junto are junckating it about. However the Junto are not easy.’ Marlborough embarked from Deal on 27 Mar., arriving at The Hague on 29 Mar., in order to keep a watching brief on Dutch-French negotiations. On 18 Apr. Marlborough was at The Hague, ready to ‘embark the very first fair wind’. He arrived back at St James’s on 21 Apr., the day that Parliament was prorogued and, as Bishop Nicolson put it, ‘nobody doubts but he brings home with him the glad tidings of peace’. On 25 Apr. Marlborough went to view Blenheim, returning on the 28th.369 On 29 Apr. he wrote to Heinsius that he was awaiting only a ‘fair wind’ to bring over himself and Townshend and that ‘the preliminaries I acquainted you with… are by many not thought sufficient, for they would have had Newfoundland and Hudson’s Bay as well as our treaty of commerce’. On 3 May, Marlborough left for Margate, arriving at The Hague on the 7th.370

It was probably during one of his sojourns in England early in 1709 that Marlborough first asked to be made captain-general for life. On 20 May Craggs reported an unsuccessful search among government records for a precedent and the lord chancellor’s opinion that it was ‘a new instance and liable to a malicious construction’. Cowper confirmed the absence of precedents himself in a letter of 23 June. Undaunted, Marlborough tried again in September, only to be rebuffed.371 William Legge, 2nd Baron (later earl of) Dartmouth, later suggested that Somers was responsible for thwarting Marlborough’s efforts to obtain the captain-general’s post for life by informing the queen of the danger of such a grant.372

On campaign in the spring and summer of 1709, Marlborough had to deal with not only with military matters and the linked negotiations for a peace and a Barrier Treaty for the Dutch, but with growing pressure from the Junto for the admission of Orford to office in order to facilitate parliamentary management in the next session.373 On 24 May he thought what was proposed for Orford ‘impossible for anybody to prevail’ with the queen. That being the case Godolphin should consult Somers, Sunderland and Devonshire on the ‘best methods of settling the sea business. If that were well done I should hope everything might go well’. Marlborough was somewhat sceptical about employing Orford, questioning whether ‘he would answer his friends’ expectation, for if I do not mistake very much you would see in two sessions of Parliament that he would take some pretext to quit’.374

Towards the end of May the French rejected the peace preliminaries, relieving Marlborough, who bemoaned the ‘good-natured turn of some of my countrymen’. Maynwaring and Sarah agreed on Marlborough’s dilemma: ‘if he should have ill success in war, it will be said that he might have had a good peace, and if he had made any other peace than what was proposed, it would have been said that he might have had a better’. In August Marlborough made clear his objection to the Barrier Treaty: ‘as soon as they [the Dutch], have obtained their desires in the Barrier, they can have no other thoughts or interest but that of making peace as soon as possible’. On 18 Aug. he explained that its promoter, Townshend, was ‘a very honest man, but he has not been long enough in 110 [Holland], to judge of their tempers, so that he will certainly mislead 5 [Somers]’. Marlborough thought that the cabinet should take responsibility for the treaty, and refused to acknowledge any role in its negotiation, leaving Townshend to sign it alone in October.375

Even victory in the ‘very obstinate’ battle of Malplaquet, on 31 Aug. did not enable Marlborough to feel secure.376 On 29 Sept. he wrote to the queen that

I have for some time, with the greatest mortification imaginable, observed your majesty’s change from Lady Marlborough to Mrs. Masham, and the several indignities Mrs. Masham has made her suffer, of which I am much more sensible than of any misfortune that could have befallen myself, which has made me take the resolution of retiring as soon as this war shall be ended. I was assured last winter of what I am convinced is true, that Mrs. Masham has assured Mr. Harley and some of his wretches that let my services or successes be what they would from thence forward I should receive no encouragement from your majesty, which she was very confident must oblige me to resign. In order to know how far your majesty’s inclinations were with this project, I acquainted you with the desire I had of desiring that mark of your favour that my commission might be for my life. You were pleased to judge it not proper.

On 25 Oct. the queen defended the decision as her own, and blamed Sarah for his criticisms of Abigail, noting that ‘I believe nobody was ever so used by a friend as I have been by her ever since my coming to the crown. I desire nothing but that she should leave off teasing and tormenting me and behave herself with that decency she ought both to her friend and queen, and this I hope you will make her do, and is what I am sure no reasonable body can wonder I should desire of you’.377

Marlborough remained committed to changing the admiralty, writing on 22 Sept. that ‘I am very desirous that 104 [the admiralty] should be changed entirely to the satisfaction of 89 [the Whigs] and consequently that 15 [Orford], should be at the head of it’. As early as 27 Sept. Godolphin informed Marlborough that Parliament was due to sit on 15 November. Marlborough was being pressed to remain at Brussels until relieved by Prince Eugene, but to Godolphin this was ‘wholly impossible if you would have anything go on here… all is undone if you don’t come over as soon as your campaign is ended’. On 10 Oct. Marlborough anticipated being in England ‘sometime before the meeting of the Parliament’, adding that Cardonnel would ‘bring with him an exact account of the extraordinaries of the last year and of this, so that you may take just measures of what you are to lay before the Parliament’. On the same day he discussed with the duchess tactical considerations in the Lords, noting that if Sunderland and Somers could ‘have the power with’ Somerset ‘to make his mob as you call them, to act with their friends, it would very much help the carrying everything’ in the House’.378 Although Godolphin and Marlborough may have been sceptical of the efficacy of Orford’s appointment to the admiralty, Whig strength in Parliament saw them at length press the queen in the matter, and Orford was appointed on 8 Nov. 1709.379

By 4 Nov. Marlborough was at The Hague awaiting ‘only a fair wind’ to embark for England. He landed at Aldeburgh, Suffolk, on the 8th and arrived at St James’s on the 10th, where he dined with Godolphin.380 On 8 Nov. James Craggs, the younger, had written tellingly to James Stanhope, the future Earl Stanhope, that the ministers wanted Marlborough in London to ‘authorize whatever measures they will take’ in Spain, and he wished him there personally because ‘I find much more facility in treating with him, and that he enters with more earnestness and detail in all these affairs than anybody else, for our ministers at home are so taken up with domestic considerations.’ Marlborough missed the first few days of the 1709-10 session, travelling to Woodstock on the 14th. He first attended on 21 Nov. whereupon Lord Chancellor Cowper gave him the thanks of the House. Also on the 21st Marlborough and Rochester stood as godfathers to one of Hamilton’s sons. When more than £6m was voted for the war, Marlborough wrote on 25 Nov. to Count Maffey, the Savoyard envoy, that ‘our parliamentary business goes on wonderfully’.381

Marlborough left London again for the country on 1 Dec., returning on the 5th. On 10 Dec. it was reported that he had been admitted ‘extraordinary to the Kitcat Club’ at Sir Henry Furnese’s. Shortly afterwards, on 20 Dec. it was reported that ‘some time since’, the impeachment of Sacheverell had been decided upon at the Kitcat, ‘where my Lord Marlborough himself they say was present, assented to it, and has actually entered himself a member of that detestable society’.382 In fact Marlborough had attended the feast held to celebrate Furnese’s induction into the Club and never formally joined. On 16 Dec. Craggs again reported that Marlborough had gone into the country for a few days, which at least partly explains his absence between 11-18 December.383 On 23 Dec. Johnston noted that Marlborough ‘complains that he feels a sinking and lowness of his spirits that he knows not what to think of’. Plans were being considered for the duchess to accompany him abroad, ‘whether to be there or not to be here I know not, but I think rather not to be here’, as there had been ‘more than ordinary pains this winter to bring matters betwixt her mistress [Queen Anne], and her at least to a fair appearance, but it seems even that will not do.’384 Marlborough spent the Christmas recess at Woodstock.385

A political crisis erupted over filling the places of constable of the Tower and the colonelcy of dragoons left vacant by the death of Essex on 10 Jan. 1710. Rivers requested the post of constable from Marlborough, who referred him to the queen, confident that she would consult him, and that he would then be able to appoint his favoured candidate. Instead the queen appointed Rivers. To compound matters, she also promised the regiment to John Hill, Abigail’s brother. The disposition of these posts brought into question Marlborough’s authority in the army, and when he asked the queen to reconsider, she refused. An enraged Marlborough retired to Windsor on 15 Jan., to consider how to retrieve the situation.386 Options canvassed included forcing Abigail from office and another attempt to gain the captain-generalcy for life and so protect his authority for the future.

Some of the more zealous Whigs, such as Maynwaring, were pleased that the queen remained obstinate because her ‘monstrous folly and stupidity’ would force Parliament to enquire why Marlborough was absent and call him back by removing those who obstructed him.387 Moderate figures, such as Somers, were more conciliatory. On 16 Jan. Somers had an audience with the queen in which he attempted to put Marlborough’s case that he was being undermined; the queen replied that ‘there was nobody durst attempt to do you ill offices with her, and if they should it would only turn upon themselves’. She promised to reassure him of this in person, ‘and then she did not doubt but you would let her know that upon reflection you had changed your opinion, and that you thought that was not unreasonable she had proposed to you’. Another audience with Somers followed on 19 Jan. during which the queen ‘owned she could not but be surprised so great offence was taken at a recommendation of this kind, that when your grace came to her she would endeavour to show you that her friendship was as entire for you as could desire’. Given this, Somers thought Marlborough should return to London to ‘perfect this inclination by personally speaking with her and satisfying any difficulty that may perhaps remain’.388 On 16 Jan. Cowper also had an interview with the queen in which he apprized her of his opinion that the appointment of Hill would ‘weaken your authority in the army, where the public service so much required it should be supported’.389 On 18 Jan. Marlborough told Coningsby ‘now is the time or never for getting rid… Mrs. Masham’. This was taken by some to mean a parliamentary address for Abigail’s removal. Sarah had already made her opposition to such a move clear as it was ‘unreasonable to ask the Whigs to press her remove when she was so insignificant’, not least because it would stiffen the queen’s resolve.390 On 19 Jan. Maynwaring apparently suggested to Somers and Sunderland that such an address be promoted in the Commons, but this was deemed imprudent by most Whigs, and it certainly annoyed the queen when she heard of it.391 Maynwaring was still advised that Marlborough should insist on the removal of Abigail, using the threat of not serving in the next campaign. More moderate counsel prevailed, much to the annoyance of Maynwaring who fumed against Godolphin’s advice that Marlborough ‘must truckle to Abigail to prevent the ruin of England.’ In the event Marlborough only asked to be allowed to retire if Hill obtained the regiment. Eventually, a compromise was patched up, with the queen backing down on the regimental appointment. Marlborough returned and had an audience with the queen on 23 January. On 24 Jan. Cardonnel informed Henry Watkins that ‘our bussle here at Court’, was over, it being about ‘whether Mrs. Masham and her party should have the disposal of all vacancies in the army and, by degrees, of everything else’.392

Marlborough had complained to the queen about those who had tried to persuade her that an attempt was being made to get the Commons to address for Abigail’s removal; ‘he had moved it to her majesty as what he thought would be for her service, and for the ease of her ministry, but it never entered into his thoughts to stir up Parliament to prescribe to her what servants she should keep about her person’. The contrary was, though, widely believed, possibly because although against an address, Sarah was in favour of a confrontation, believing the long-term consequences of leaving Abigail in post to be fatal; ‘everything is hazarded, nay sure to be lost, if this evil is not cured’.393

Marlborough attended on 26 days of the session, 28 per cent of the total, being named to two committees. He last attended on 16 Feb. 1710, on which day the Lords agreed to join the Commons in addressing the queen for the duke’s immediate departure for Holland, in order to assist in any peace negotiations and to hasten the preparations for an early campaign. This was sponsored by the Whigs in accordance with Marlborough’s wishes, for he wanted to avoid involvement in further political battles.394 Marlborough duly left for Harwich on 19 Feb. arriving at The Hague on 25 February.395 He was thus absent from the Sacheverell trial. As early as 9 Jan. Marlborough had expressed doubts about the wisdom of prosecuting Sacheverell, apparently telling Wharton that he had had ‘continual solicitations from all the Church party’: ‘the whole body of the inferior clergy espouse his interest’, he said, and he was believed to have expressed ‘some apprehensions of carrying things too far’.396 He was sincere in writing on 8 Mar. of his hope ‘that you will have happily finished the trial of Sacheverell. The tumults and disorders it has occasioned make a great noise here, even to the prejudice of the public’. On 20 Mar. Marlborough was marked as ‘employed abroad’ on a list of those voting on Sacheverell’s guilt.397 By 24 Mar. he had received a voting list from the trial, digested it, and remarked to the duchess that he could not see how nine of the Lords had been influenced to be for Sacheverell. Tellingly he noted that Shrewsbury would only have done so if he had known the inclinations of the queen. He was worried by the trial and its aftermath confiding to the duchess on 3 Apr. that ‘the present humours in 108 [England] gives me a good deal of trouble’. In particular he was alarmed by the presentation to the queen of the first address promoted by the Tories assuring her of their loyalty to crown and Church. On 17 Mar. Marlborough informed Godolphin that he hoped to be able to give the queen the option of ‘laying the whole before the Parliament’, so that they could give their opinion on the peace negotiations. For this reason, on 21 Mar. Marlborough urged that Parliament should continue sitting or be prorogued for only a short period so that it would be able to advise upon any concessions made to the French in the peace negotiations ‘for should it be refused, or granted without the knowledge of Parliament I fear it might cause very great uneasiness’.398

Although abroad, Marlborough remained engaged in local politics. On 8 Mar. he wrote to the duchess, ‘I am more concerned at our want of interest in Oxfordshire’, than worrying about Somerset’s designs, ‘for I had much rather end my days quietly with my neighbours than be great at court, where I desire no more power, than that of being able to persuade 42 [the queen] not to hurt themselves [sic]’.399 This was a reference to a by-election held on 22 Feb. where ‘the Oxfordshire gentlemen’ had chosen Sir Robert Jenkinson, ‘in opposition to my Lord Marlborough’s interest, by a majority of 160’. Not that defeat dented his commitment to extending his landholding in the county. At the end of March William Guidott was negotiating with Abingdon and Sir John Walter for the purchase of two estates ‘convenient for Blenheim’, although the sellers wished to have 23 years’ purchase while Marlborough, characteristically, offered only 20.400

The 1710 Election and the dismissal of Godolphin

Marlborough was not consulted before the appointment of Shrewsbury as lord chamberlain on 14 Apr. 1710. He was disconcerted, fearing that Shrewsbury came in at Harley’s instigation, and that it signified ‘that they have another scheme than what would be approved on by us’. In response, ‘the chiefest care’ should be to maintain the current Parliament, ‘for if that can’t be obtained, which I very much doubt, nothing will be worth the managing. Of all things 89 [the Whigs] must be sure to be of one mind’.401 On 24 Apr. he wrote to Orford of his ‘surprise’ that ‘Shrewsbury should come into play at this juncture. He must be very much altered since we knew him, if he holds it long’.402 Similarly, he wrote to Heinsius on 27 Apr. that ‘as to what effect the change in England may have as to the common cause, God only can tell, but to you as a friend I will own very frankly that I do not like it’. His long-standing friendship with Shrewsbury led him to write to the duchess on 8 May that he approved of the Whigs living with Shrewsbury: ‘but if he should act against their interest, I would not be in friendship with him’. On 11 May he asked Sarah not to ‘show any uneasiness’ to Craggs, Walpole or Maynwaring, from whom he obtained much of his political intelligence.403

The general promotion of army officers proposed by Marlborough in advance of the 1710 campaign stopped short of John Hill among the brigadier-generals and Samuel Masham, the future Baron Masham, among the colonels. The queen insisted on their inclusion, and although Walpole defended Marlborough’s decision on the grounds that ‘to take in the whole year would make it a very great promotion and more than I thought your grace designed’, he felt that the queen had been primed being ‘very ready about the affair of Colonel Masham, and asked me how many more would be affected with the order about brevets besides him… She was of opinion at first that they should all be made brigadiers, but I prevailed with her to let me write to your grace first’. Given all this, Walpole felt the matter not worth disputing ‘especially now ’tis put in this method to come from your grace.’ Marlborough complied, being fully aware that stopping Hill’s promotion gave a ‘great handle’ for Rivers and Somerset to disparage him to the queen.404 On 18 May, Marlborough explained that the ‘true’ reason for stopping the promotions was not only ‘from the numbers and confusion it must have occasioned among the queen’s subjects, but also [it would have] given great dissatisfaction to all the foreigners, this army being composed of eight different nations’, unity being a prerequisite of military victory.405

In May 1710 a memorandum by Harley indicated the line of argument he employed with the queen against Marlborough; the ‘temper’ of the duchess and ‘victories’ of the duke had ‘made them intolerable.’ ‘Their pride, avarice, insolence and falsehood’ had rendered them ‘odious and unpardonable’.406 Marlborough realized that the weak point in the ministry was the position of his son-in-law, Sunderland, whom the queen disliked and ‘when the time may be proper for the taking off the mask, his being put out will be the first step’. He reacted to hints that Sunderland’s removal was being contemplated by concentrating on the effect that his dismissal would have on the allies’ perception of his own power, and the encouragement it would give to France. When this argument was put to the queen, she said ‘it is true indeed that the turning a son-in-law out of his office may be a mortification to the duke of Marlborough but must the fate of Europe depend on that’?407 Nor could Marlborough prevail on her to delay Sunderland’s dismissal until the end of the campaign.408

Though faced with the ‘dismal prospect’ of affairs in England’, Marlborough reassured Godolphin on 1 June 1710 about future prospects, at least ‘as long as I am obliged to be at the head of this army, that you will struggle with the difficulties and not quit, and I shall follow your directions of not being provoked’. He also observed that ‘the noises made in England of the great changes that are to be made, are more likely to encourage the enemy to continue the war than to make reasonable offers of peace’. Even before the dismissal of Sunderland on 14 June, Marlborough had warned the duchess that matters would not rest there, ‘for the ruin of 89 [the Whigs], and a new 88 [Parliament], is most certainly the scheme’. Godolphin urged him not to resign and was supported by a veritable barrage of letters arguing the same point. A joint letter signed on 14 June by Godolphin, Cowper, Somers, Newcastle, Devonshire, Orford, Halifax and Boyle summed up the attitude of the Whig ministry, and other persuasive letters were sent by Townshend, Heinsius, and the Emperor. Marlborough complied with their wishes, although he felt that it would not prevent Parliament from being dissolved. He also warned his wife to ‘be careful of her behaviour, for she is in a country amongst tigers and wolves’. As he wrote to Godolphin on 24 June: ‘I hope she will not be prevailed upon to come to town; for in my opinion the intercourse of letters between 42 [the queen] and herself has no other end than making things worse’. A month later he wrote to advise her that she ‘should keep yourself in the country, and quiet as much as is possible till my return. For whatever you say or do, will in this unjust time be turned to your disadvantage’.409

Marlborough hoped to retrieve his situation in two ways. There was always the chance of military successes, and the failure of the peace talks at Gertrudenberg suggested that he might retain his command.410 As Marlborough told Brydges on 6 July, ‘we should be very happy if they could contribute to the quieting and calming the ferment at home, which otherwise may unravel whatever it is possible for us to do on this side’. The other hope was that opinion among the allies would deter the queen from making more changes to the ministry or dissolving Parliament; hence his plea to Heinsius: ‘for Godsake make Monsieur Vrijbergen [the Dutch envoy in London] talk boldly on this subject, for our all depends upon it’. Despite this intervention provoking an adverse reaction from Queen Anne, on 13 July Marlborough wrote to Vrijbergen that having received an account of his audience with the queen, he was ‘sensibly obliged to you for the fresh instances of your friendship to me, as well as of your zeal for the public good’. Simultaneously, he wrote to Heinsius that the reception of the resolution delivered by Vrijbergen from the States showed that if Shrewsbury ‘can by this advice hinder the allies from being concerned for those who act for the good of the common cause, he will quickly have it in his power to make the king of France universal monarch’.411 Marlborough also approached Prince Eugene, who wrote to the Emperor, who in turn wrote to the queen and ordered Count Gallas, his envoy in London, to act in concert with Eugene and Marlborough.412 Meanwhile, Marlborough concentrated on the campaign, stressing to Godolphin the need to maintain public credit, ‘for nothing can encourage the enemy more for the continuing of the war than the knowledge of the credit beginning to fail’. However, he was sufficiently perturbed by Coningsby’s replacement by John Annesley, 4th earl of Anglesey, to write to Heinsius on 15 July that Anglesey was ‘thought one of the greatest Jacobites in England’.413

The dismissal of Godolphin on 8 Aug. presented Marlborough with a stark choice: either to resign or find a way of reconciling himself to the ministerial changes. He was not short of advice, particularly from Sunderland, who intimated that he should ‘for the sake of the whole, have yet patience, tho I believe nobody’s was ever more tried’, and continue in command of the army.414 On 17 Aug. Marlborough wrote to Heinsius ‘I am so mortified at this removal of the best of men, that the wisest thing is to say no more’. To Godolphin himself he wrote ‘I have taken the resolution of troubling my head as little as is possible with politics, but applying my thoughts wholly how to finish this campaign to the best advantage’. The uncertainty of affairs saw Marlborough ensure that he kept money due to him in cash ‘for I think everything looks very dismal’.415 On 26 Aug. Harley recorded that Marlborough ‘had written a most submissive letter to the queen’.416 Marlborough wrote encouragingly to Brydges: ‘I cannot but approve of your resolution of continuing in your employment’, despite his concern at Godolphin’s removal: ‘you may guess by it what mine must have been, not only from the friendship and intimacy that has been so long between us, but more particularly for the sake of the public, which ought always to be our chief care’. On 28 Aug. he wrote to Heinsius that Parliament was so sure to be dissolved that officers were seeking leave to return to England to ‘take care of their elections; some are already gone’ and on 2 Sept. he told Halifax he was ‘mortified and afflicted at so unexpected a blow’ as Godolphin’s dismissal. He stated that he was ‘hourly expecting the dissolution of Parliament, which must put the kingdom in a very great ferment’. On 4 Sept. he wrote to Heinsius that the new ministers ‘have so entirely the power that they can make whatever removes they please. This is so melancholy a prospect that I am afraid France is encouraged by it so much that they will not make any new offers till they first see the behaviour of the new Parliament’.417

As early as 5 Aug. 1710 Marlborough’s own thoughts had turned to local electoral politics. He wrote to the duchess that ‘there be no alteration made in the election of Woodstock’. As he expected Cadogan and Stanhope to assist him by their presence in the Commons he asked her to inform Godolphin so as to ensure Stanhope got a seat. As an afterthought, on 4 Sept. he mentioned to Godolphin ‘to fix’ Boyle a seat in the Commons, ‘for if such men will not act, how is it possible to expect any good success?’418 Although the duchess believed that it was not in Woodstock’s interest to disoblige the duke, she endangered the election by ordering a stop to all the work at Blenheim. On 8 Oct. Samuel Travers was able to report to Marlborough that both Cadogan and Sir Thomas Wheate had been elected unopposed after he had ordered money to pay off the labourers there.419 Matters went differently at St Albans. Although Gape expected great opposition from the duchess, ‘who now makes all the interest she can possibly against me’ on behalf of William Grimston and Lomax ‘and they stick at nothing to gain their ends, besides making use of my lord duke’s name in telling the voters how much they will oblige him in serving them,’ Marlborough ensured that she did not attend the poll. Gape and Grimston were returned unopposed.420

As for Marlborough’s role in the election for Scottish representative peers, as early as 21 Aug. 1710 he had promised Godolphin that he would send his proxy to Seafield. His chosen agent was Stair, who had a letter from him for Seafield, ‘who will take measures with the said earl, as to the elections.’ On 4 Sept. Godolphin informed Marlborough that as well as himself, both Stair and Orkney, ‘having taken the oaths in Parliament, and being abroad in the queen’s service… are qualified to give your proxies as soon as you hear the proclamation is out’.421 On 13 Sept. Godolphin reported to Seafield that Marlborough was ‘procuring all the proxies of those in the army to assist you’ in the Scottish peerage elections.422 He entrusted his proxy to Stair, recommending Seafield, Orkney, John Lindsay, 19th earl of Crawford [S], and John Murray, 2nd earl of Dunmore [S], Crawford having solicited for his vote as early as 24 July. On 1 Oct. Seafield reminded Marlborough about his proxy, who replied on 29 Oct. that he had given it to Stair, who ‘will concert with your Lordship and agree with you as I desired him, to make the best use of it for the public, in order to have a good Parliament… since we had never more need of it to calm our unnatural heats’. On 26 Oct. Stair acknowledged receipt of the proxy. In the event, though, he did not cast Marlborough’s proxy because the election of 10 Nov. was held under the auspices of the opposing party and victory for them was assured.423

Having retained his command at the unanimous desire of the Whig leaders, and having approached the elector of Hanover at their behest, Marlborough was ‘resolved of doing nothing but in concert with them’, so that he would not act with the Tories. He maintained a watching brief from the campaign, but wrote to Walpole on 25 Sept. that ‘you may believe our chief attendance is on what is doing on your side’. Nor did the new ministry wish to provoke a precipitous departure, Shrewsbury using Craggs in September as an intermediary to advise Marlborough not to resign.424 On 3 Oct. Harley listed Marlborough among those considered certain to oppose the new ministry. Marlborough preserved the outward show of working with the new ministers; on 5 Oct. he congratulated St John on becoming secretary, being ‘glad to renew and cultivate our former friendship upon all occasions’. However, he was under no illusions. On 7 Oct. he wrote to Heinsius that ‘the turning out of Mr. Cardonnel [as secretary of war], is a declaration that I must not serve’. The appointment of George Granville, future Baron Lansdown, as Cardonnel’s successor, surprised him, ‘as it nearly concerns me, I was in hopes I might have been written to about it first’. He added ‘I think our all depends in a great measure on the new Parliament’. In a more general assessment, on 12 Oct. he told Heinsius that ‘if they are suffered to go on quietly in England, they will bring in the Pretender in a very little time’. Not that Marlborough was entirely passive or averse to rallying support. In a missive to Wriothesley Russell, 2nd duke of Bedford, on 18 Oct. he wrote, ‘I am sensibly afflicted at what has passed of late and is still carrying on in England, especially at a juncture… when we ought to be most united for the welfare of our country and the good of the public’.425 Further, on 19 Oct. Sunderland informed Cowper that he had received letters from Marlborough in which the duke desired ‘very pressingly to have the opinion of your lordship and the rest of his friends about the time of his coming over’.426

Marlborough and the Tories: the Session of 1710-11

Harley could not have been unaware of the risks involved in dismissing Marlborough. On 28 Oct. John Drummond informed him of Heinsius’s view that Marlborough be retained in command of the army, because ‘the whole alliance was easy under his conduct, that the States were used to him, and though they knew his faults as well as his virtues, that there was nobody they would either prefer or equally desire with him’. On 1 Nov. Drummond addressed the need for an accommodation between Harley and Marlborough; he felt Marlborough was ‘sensible of the intolerable measures which others encouraged him to go into. I know he hates some of their leaders very heartily, and I believe he would abandon his old friend [Godolphin] so far as never to desire to have him in play again’. Drummond felt the peace was hindered by French hopes of divisions in England and Marlborough’s retirement, ‘who they know has been no less instrumental in keeping the allies together as in his success in the field’. Despite Marlborough’s covetousness gaining him ‘much reproach and ill will’ in Holland, ‘his success in the field, his capacity or rather dexterity in council or the cabinet, and his personal acquaintance with the heads of the alliance and the faith they have in him make him still the great man with them’.427

On 29 Oct. Marlborough told the duchess that he ‘would be governed by’ the Whigs ‘from whose principle and interest I will never depart’. They may previously have suspected him of acting out of self-interest when they had a large majority in the Commons, ‘but now they must do me the justice to see that it is my inclination and principle which makes me act’.428 On 3 Nov. Craggs reported that ‘I believe his grace’s presence is thought necessary by the new and old ministers, and what appears to me very strange is, that those who had no difficulty in using him as they have done, have as little in saying nothing can be done without him’. Others did not believe that the new regime regarded Marlborough as indispensable, citing as evidence the series of slights to which he was subjected, which they believed was designed to provoke his resignation. Thus, Arygll’s promotion in October, Hoffman, the Emperor’s resident minister, interpreted as meant to cause Marlborough ‘vexation’. ‘He will be insulted until he resigns voluntarily’.429 On 30 Oct. Marlborough told Heinsius that ‘the elections in England give a very melancholy prospect’.430 Nor was the duchess optimistic in confiding to Hare about Marlborough’s fate:

sometimes I think it by the discourse of him that they think it of too much consequence and danger to put him out after such successes, but they print millions of lies in case it happens to quiet those that would not like it. But I believe what they wish most is that he should act with them till he has lost every friend he has and then they may be at liberty to hang him by some contrivances for a reward for all his good services.431

The latter option seemed to accord more with St John’s view that if Marlborough ‘should engage, though never so artfully and covertly, in the measures of those people to whom of late he has so closely linked himself, it is impossible to say how high the ferment would rise, and into what dangers he would run himself’.432

Two days before Parliament assembled, The Examiner of 23 Nov. 1710 set out to attack Marlborough for the rewards he had received from the queen. Marlborough was still at The Hague, having arrived there on 17 November. He remained there for over a month. Meanwhile, on 28 Nov. Scarbrough’s motion for an address of thanks to Marlborough was apparently not concerted with the Whig leadership, and allowed to drop rather than face an embarrassing defeat.433 St John’s comment was ‘one would imagine Lord Scarbrough was hired by somebody who wished the duke of Marlborough ill to take so ill-concerted and ridiculous a measure’.434 Drummond felt that the longer Marlborough stayed at The Hague,

the more he will be convinced of the necessities he lies under to submit himself to the queen’s pleasure and the measures which her majesty and her ministers think most for her honour and satisfaction. He has faithfully promised both to the Grand Pensionary and to ours, that he is resolved to live with you if you will make it practicable or possible for him; he will not enter into the heats of party debates, but will go heartily and sincerely into all measures that may be esteemed proper for carrying on the war, but for other votes he will be at his free liberty.435

On 28 Nov. St John outlined to Drummond a scheme of reconciliation. Favour would be restored ‘if he comes home and disengages himself from the Whigs; if he puts a stop to the rage and fury of his wife, in short, if he abandons all his new and takes up with all his old friends.’436 The ministry kept up the pressure on Marlborough when three of his officers, Colonel Philip Honywood, and lieutenant generals Thomas Meredyth and George Macartney were cashiered in December for drinking a toast to the confusion and damnation of Harley and the government.437 On 21 Dec. Cowper confided to his diary a conversation with Queensberry, which attributed the ministerial changes to the ‘duchess of Marlborough bearing Mrs. Masham coming in to the Queen’s favour so impatiently, and the duke’s restlessness under Hill’s having the regiment; the foolish menaces of some of his friends, at that time to address against Mrs Masham; his withdrawing, &c’. He predicted that ‘the duke of Marlborough would be mortified, till quit. The colonels thereof [are] not to be forgiven’.438

Marlborough landed at Sole Bay on 26 Dec. 1710, arriving in London on the 28th.439 ‘He had a great mob attending him from Whitechapel to Montagu House, where he dressed himself and dropping his mob, came privately to his old lodgings at St James’s.’440 He then had a brief audience with the queen. At a longer audience on the 29th Swift reported that the duke behaved ‘with abject submission; that he was the meanest of her majesty’s instruments; her humble creature’.441 Indeed, the queen told Dartmouth that his submission had been ‘lower than it was possible to imagine’. When Dartmouth waited on Marlborough he was received ‘with seeming kindness and civility’, the duke complaining about the duchess that ‘a man must bear with a good deal to be quiet at home’, and spoke ‘very severely’ of Argyll, ‘who was never to be satisfied or obliged’.442 John Bridges broadly confirmed these reports, before referring to Marlborough’s ‘very great levees, and both parties have been to pay their court to him’, although these did not include Harley, Argyll, or Rochester.443 On 30 Dec. Marlborough gave Cowper an account of his interview with the queen, ‘that the condition of his continuing to serve is, his submitting to them: time will shew if not’. Cowper ‘advised the duke to be all submission to the queen; none to any of his enemies; but to behave rather higher than he would if they had not the ascendant and to stand and fall by that conduct.’ According to St John, Marlborough ‘was lamenting his former wrong steps in joining with the Whigs’, and was ‘worn out with age, fatigues, and misfortunes’. To Drummond, Marlborough went so far as to agree that ‘some of those he thought his friends had endeavoured and still would prostitute him, naming Lord Wharton’.444 Yet Marlborough remained wary of Harley. On 31 Dec. Marlborough and Harley ‘looked on one another in the public room at St James’s, and gave each other a nod, and at night his grace, at council, placed himself next to the other, but no words passed.’445 William Nicolson, bishop of Carlisle, reported that at court on 1 Jan. 1711 Marlborough was ‘much caressed’, and on 2 Jan. Cardonnel informed Watkins that Rochester, Shrewsbury, Buckingham, John Poulett, Earl Poulett, and others had been with Marlborough ‘and given each other mutual assurances of friendship’. Harley, however ‘keeps off’.446 Ralph Bridges noted on 3 Jan. that Marlborough ‘behaves himself with great submission to the queen, has been twice at council and is willing to come into the measures of the new ministry’.447

Marlborough first attended the 1710-11 session on 3 January. On 6 Jan. after the Lords, in committee of the whole, had examined Galway and Charles O’Hara, Baron Tyrawley [I], over the campaign in the Spanish peninsula, Marlborough felt constrained to tell the Lords that ‘it was somewhat strange, that generals who had acted to the best of their understanding, and had lost limbs in the service, should be examined like offenders, about insignificant things’. In the committee of the whole on 9 Jan. Marlborough backed Tyrawley, noting that ‘he could not perceive the tendency of such enquiries, but if they designed to censure persons, who had acted to the best of their understandings, they would have nobody to serve them’. Later he moved that Galway and Tyrawley be formally told that they were not accused and that ‘the council in Valencia was only to give light into the subsequent operations of the campaign’, although no vote was taken. Marlborough again intervened in the debate to suggest that Tyrawley ‘had answered fully to the question that was put to him’. On 11 Jan. Marlborough contradicted Peterborough over the proposed expedition to Toulon, explaining that it failed not for want of men, but ‘for want of time and other accidents’. Also on 11 Jan. he entered his protest against the resolution to reject the petitions of Galway and Tyrawley concerning the conduct of the war in Spain and against the resolution to agree with the resolution of the committee of the whole that the defeat at Alamanza had been occasioned by the opinions of Galway, Tyrawley and Stanhope. On 12 Jan. he intervened again to contradict Peterborough. As Mungo Graham put it, Marlborough told the House that the earl ‘knew no more of the design on Toulon than the man in the moon did’, before declaring that ‘if men are to be censured when they give their opinions to the best of their understandings, I must expect to be found fault with as well as the rest’. Galway had done his duty and the whole council of war were for fighting before reinforcements could be supplied by the enemy.448 Marlborough then protested against the resolution that ‘the carrying on the war offensively in Spain was approved and directed by the ministers, notwithstanding the design of attempting Toulon… and therefore are justly to be blamed, for contributing to all our misfortunes in Spain, and to the disappointment of the expedition against Toulon’. As Marlborough wrote to Townshend, ‘I am just now come from the House, where the late ministers have been censured’.449

On 10 Jan. 1711 Marlborough and Harley ‘had their first conference together’ which ‘lasted a pretty while’. Harley ensured that Marlborough understood that Sarah’s resignation was a necessary requirement for an agreement between them, the queen being implacable over her removal. On 16 Jan. Marlborough wrote to Heinsius that since his return he had been ‘always very uneasy in my mind’, although he had ‘assured her majesty of my readiness of finishing this war if she thinks me of any use’. Despite a submissive letter from his wife, and a personal appeal to the queen from Marlborough on 17 Jan. the duchess was forced to resign on the 18th. On that day Peter Wentworth observed that Marlborough was ‘very submissive and complaisant to everybody. Last Wednesday Mr. Harley and he had a meeting and he visit[ed], all the ministry’.450

Wentworth was in the Lords on 22 Jan. 1711, where he found the Spanish ‘enquiry begins to cool a little there’, because the House agreed to a proposal from Marlborough and Godolphin ‘that the establishment and the non-effectives should be referred to a select committee’. Wentworth also mentioned Marlborough’s denial of the allegation made by Argyll that several regiments appeared on the Spanish establishment which were never sent there. The duke suggested that it was the sense of the House that it be referred to the select committee, only adding that it was false to talk of the Spanish theatre being starved in favour of Flanders. From Buckingham’s giving thanks for this information, Wentworth surmised that ‘the ministry is willing to make the duke… easy in his command in the army, if he does not trouble himself to advise who shall be employed here at home’.451 Bishop Nicolson referred to ‘some calm debates, wherein the duke of Marlborough discovered his superior abilities to the duke of Argyll and his great integrity’, while Thomas Bruce also thought the inquiry being turned into a select committee meant that matters had been composed.452 When the Lords debated the proposed censure of Galway on 24 Jan. for ‘giving the post of honour to the Portuguese’, Marlborough defended him as not being ‘so much in the wrong to act as he did’, even though he had no express authority so to do. He begged ‘that out of compassion to that Lord’s age, the loss of an eye, and of an arm, they would be tender of what censure they passed upon him’, but the Lords still voted his actions ‘contrary to the honour of the imperial crown of Great Britain’.453

In St John’s assessment, Marlborough had nothing to reproach the ministers with: his wife, Godolphin and himself had ‘thrown the queen’s favour away’; he needed to secure his wife’s removal from office as ‘irreconcilable’ to the queen; and he must begin on ‘a new foot’. Marlborough had promised to comply, but St John felt ‘the exterior is a little mended; but at heart the same sentiments remain, and these heightened and inflamed by what he calls provocations’. The implied threat was that if he left office and then lost the protection of the court, ‘such scenes will open as no victories can varnish over’.454 On 26 Jan. Marlborough informed Heinsius that since his return to England he had been ‘so out of humour’ he had rarely written, but that now the queen had ‘taken the resolution for my serving this next campaign,’ preparations had to be made.455 On 31 Jan. Marlborough sat as one of the commissioners in place of the queen to pass the malt bill. After attending the Lords on 1 Feb. he was absent for a week, returning from Woodstock on the evening of the 7th.456 He last sat on 15 Feb., having been present on 24 days of the session, 21 per cent of the total, and being named to two committees. Having visited Harley on the day before he went, he left London on 18 Feb. and embarked at Harwich on the 20th.457 Although Marlborough’s ability to control army appointments was curtailed by the institution in February of a committee of the council at the war office, which henceforth directed military patronage, he was able to obtain much of what he wanted through St John, and the committee began to atrophy, holding its last meeting at the end of July.458

On 3 Mar. 1711, one of Robert Wodrow’s correspondents thought ‘there is also some ground to believe that there is a good understanding betwixt Marlborough and Harley’.459 Marlborough was again able to portray himself as above party, the Hanoverian agent Robethon reporting Marlborough’s views to Hanover on 10 Mar.: ‘the Whigs believed that I should quit my functions in disgust and make common cause with them against the court, while the Tories flattered themselves that in order to keep office I would join absolutely with them and declare myself against the Whigs. But I have done neither.’ Relations between Marlborough and the ministry were superficially cordial during the campaign. The Examiner ceased publication on 14 June, and Harley tackled the queen over funds for Blenheim. Marlborough employed Henry Watkins, a Tory, as his secretary to improve relations with the ministry.460

While on campaign, Marlborough kept his ear to the ground about developments in England. Brydges proved to be a useful source of intelligence, particularly as he remained paymaster. On 26 Feb. Brydges wrote ‘I have been to wait on the gentleman you recommended me to, and we have agreed to consult often together, and impart to one another what we hear in order that your grace may have all the intelligence we can meet with’.’461 In April, Brydges acknowledged the ‘support I received not long ago from your friends in Parliament’, when he was attacked over his accounts. On 9 June Brydges sent Marlborough news that ‘it is looked upon here as certain that there are propositions in agitation for a general peace… tho the treaty is carried on with the utmost secrecy’, and on 23 Aug. following the detention of Matthew Priorby a customs officer, he wrote that ‘we have a strong report in town of a secret negotiation of peace being carried on’.462

With Harley incapacitated by Guiscard’s assassination attempt, St John cultivated Marlborough, hoping ‘never to see again the time when I shall be obliged to embark in a separate interest from you’.463 Marlborough continued to be wary of the ministers, and warned the duchess on 5 Apr. that his letters would probably be opened by agents of the government, so ‘for the quiet of my life’, he asked her to be ‘careful never of writing anything that may anger them… whilst I serve, I must endeavour not to displease, for they have it so much in their power to vex me’. By 14 May he had cause to remind her of his request for her letter of 28 Apr. ‘speaks so freely’ of Harley that it concerned him.464 On 23 June Marlborough informed Oxford (as Harley had become) that he was sending Stair over to consult on the campaign. John Bridges wrote on 20 July that ‘the sudden arrival’ of Stair ‘occasions various speculations’. Stair was conciliatory on Marlborough’s behalf, suggesting that the duke was as ready to live with Oxford as he had been with Godolphin. Stair’s mission had a serious purpose, in preparing the ground for the army to stay on the French frontier during the winter, so as to start the 1712 campaign at an advantage. It was also a means for an alliance with Oxford to finish the war. Writing in 1736 Stair recalled that he had thought Oxford on the verge of ‘establishing a very good understanding’ with Marlborough, but that in the end he deferred ‘declaring his final resolution’, and then repeatedly put Stair off before sending Marlborough ‘a bamboozling letter’. Meanwhile Sarah feared that Oxford was using the funding of Blenheim as ‘bait’ that Marlborough ‘may not join against him in any difficulties that may happily arise in the winter’.465

Marlborough disassociated himself from the Whig pamphlet Bouchain: in a Dialogue between the Medley and the Examiner and ‘a villainous answer to it’, probably by Mrs. Manley, noting that ‘whilst these barbarous proceedings are in fashion, it were to be wished that we should never appear in print’.466 Watkins told Drummond in July that Marlborough detested the Medley as well as the Examiner, and was innocent of all the offence given from around him.467 With the rumours of peace negotiations in circulation, Marlborough used Drummond to approach Oxford in November, in the hope of ‘the firmest union with his Lordship, whose friendship to me this summer has been proof against all the attempts by our enemies to destroy it’.468 The queen was anxious to obtain Marlborough’s support, writing on 9 Nov. to Oxford that when Marlborough arrives, ‘I should think it will be best for me just to begin to open the matter of the Peace to him and to refer him to you and Mr. Secretary [St John], for a fuller account of all that is past’.469 The ministry’s leverage over Marlborough concerned his accounts. Sir Solomon Medina had informed the parliamentary commissioners of accounts that on bread and other army contracts he had paid 332,425 guilders for Marlborough’s ‘own use’, plus 12 or 14 wagons gratis. This covered 1702-10 when he and his predecessor, Antonio Alvarez Machado, had paid Marlborough a total of £63,410 3s. 7d. Having arrived at The Hague, Marlborough wrote to the commissioners on 10 Nov. N.S. His letter was read to the Commons on 21 December. In it he asserted that the money was merely what had been ‘allowed as a perquisite to the general, or commander-in-chief of the army in the low countries, both before the Revolution and since… for the service of the public in keeping secret correspondence, and getting intelligence of the enemy’s motions and designs’.470

The session of 1711-12: the peace and dismissal

Before Marlborough’s return to England, he was joined at The Hague by the Hanoverian envoy, Baron Bothmer, and the two men landed at Greenwich on 17 Nov. 1711. Bothmer brought with him a memorial from the elector against the peace, which was presented to the secretary of state on 28 November.471 It was published in the Daily Courant on 5 December.472 On 18 Nov. Marlborough waited on the queen, making, as she wrote, ‘a great many of his usual professions of duty and affection to me. He seemed dejected and very uneasy about this matter of the public accounts, stayed near an hour and saw nobody here but myself.’473 Upon his return home the duchess hosted a gathering of Whigs to persuade him to join them against the peace.474 Considerable pressure was put on him from the other side, which Marlborough tried to evade. According to Bateman, on 19 Nov. Oxford ‘paid a visit to his grace of M[arlborough], who came to town early yesterday morning, went to court at noon, and came back at night’. L’Hermitage confirmed as much in his despatch of 23 Nov. writing that the day after Marlborough arrived in London, Oxford had made a visit to Marlborough, who was not at home, whereupon Marlborough alerted Oxford that he had to go on Tuesday [20th], to Hampton Court to see the queen and could not see him until Wednesday. Meanwhile, the duke had asked the queen’s permission to visit Blenheim for three or four days, but considering the likely importance of the opening day of Parliament, he decided not to go. Marlborough was summoned twice to council, but he did not consider it appropriate to attend, declaring that he was very easy that the whole nation should see that he had no hand in such a peace.475 Burnet wrote that Marlborough had asked to be excused from attending the council after he had made no impression with the queen in arguing against the ministry’s peace policy.476 By 30 Nov. Cardonnel recorded that Oxford had visited Marlborough at St James’s ‘three or four times’.477

The ministry had made other preparations in case Marlborough came out against the peace, apart from priming the commission of accounts. Jonathan Swift’s The Conduct of the Allies was published on 27 Nov., a devastating critique in which the war was portrayed as a scheme whereby Marlborough (and others) got rich at the expense of the public purse. Marlborough attended the prorogation also on 27 November. On that day Wentworth was at Marlborough’s ‘levee… his house is very fine, but tis not filled so much with company as when he was in lodgings’. Ralph Bridges had made the same point the previous day, when he reported on a recent visit made by Bishop Compton to Marlborough at his new residence in St James’s ‘and found that formerly great man all alone’.478

About December Marlborough was listed by Nottingham on what may be a list of supporters for his attack on the ministry’s peace proposals or for his occasional conformity bill. This was the result of a meeting between Marlborough, Godolphin and Nottingham which laid the grounds for an agreement between Nottingham and the Whigs, whereby the earl would oppose the peace in return for Whig backing for a bill against occasional conformity.479 On 4 Dec., George Baillie wrote to Montrose of rumours of an agreement between the three men, although Marlborough ‘acts an odd part having been backward and forward several times since he came over. The reason may be that they have heavy money matters to lay to his charge with which he has been threatened: now I’m told that he declares against the peace and has excused himself from attending the Cabinet’.480 Two days before the session began, Ralph Bridges reported that the Dutch and the Emperor had declared for war and Marlborough ‘as plainly declares for it and which is pretty remarkable at the same time declares against the present ministry. His duchess invites and caresses and treats all persons whether Whigs or Tories and my lord duke in particular closeted Sir Thomas Hanmer for an whole hour last week’.481

Marlborough was present when the House sat on 7 December. During the debate on the Address, Arthur Annesley, 5th earl of Anglesey, ‘arraigned in general terms those who had carried on the war and said they might have had a peace, a good one too, after the battle of Ramilles’. Marlborough replied ‘like a Roman general’, defying ‘the world to charge him with having concealed the most minute thing that past on that occasion from the queen’ and that he was ‘so far from wishing to prolong the war that he would crawl on all fours to the queen’s feet to beg she would consent to peace, but not a peace that must ruin both herself, her subjects and all the world about her’.482 Having defended his conduct he added that he could not support entering into peace negotiations with France ‘upon the foot of the seven preliminary articles; for I am of the same opinion with the rest of the allies, that the safety and liberties of Europe would be in imminent danger if Spain and the West Indies were left to the house of Bourbon’.483 On the 8th his name appears on a list of those in favour of presenting the address, including the ‘No Peace without Spain’ clause, in the abandoned division of that day and on 10 Dec. he appeared on Harley’s list of officer-holders and pensioners who had voted against the ministry.

On 14 Dec. Ralph Bridges thought that when Nottingham moved the bill against occasional conformity on the following day, he was to be seconded by either Marlborough or Wharton. Although the honour went to Wharton, according to Raby, Marlborough had ‘the intelligence of the Whigs and actually knew of Lord Nottingham’s design above a fortnight before the Parliament met’.484 On 19 Dec. Marlborough was forecast as an opponent of the ministry on the following day’s vote on the Hamilton peerage case. In the event he ‘went out’ of the debate before the division and did not vote on the question, probably because the matter touched upon the queen’s prerogative. Wentworth confirmed his abstention.485 It was perhaps a sign of opinion polarizing on the issue of the peace that on 26 Dec. Robert Bertie, marquess of Lindsey (later duke of Ancaster), registered his proxy with Marlborough, having retrieved it from Abingdon. On 29 Dec. Marlborough’s name appears on Oxford’s list of those peers to contact over the recess, presumably to inform him of his dismissal. Around this date it was reported that Marlborough was ‘almost daily at the Lord Nottingham[‘s]’.486

Meanwhile the attack on Marlborough was gathering pace in the lower House. On 11 Dec. the Commons asked for the report of the commissioners of accounts. On 19 Dec. Cowper, at Marlborough’s request, wrote to Sir Peter King in order to arrange a meeting at Sir Richard Onslow’s to organize Marlborough’s defence.487 George Lockhart delivered into the Commons on 21 Dec. a report of ‘some practices’ relating to the army. On the following day William Shippen presented the depositions of Solomon de Medina and others. According to Ralph Bridges, one of the purposes of the short adjournment of the Lords on 22 Dec. (to 2 Jan.) was to enable a vote to be passed vindicating Marlborough following the charges brought by the commissioners of accounts.488 This was thwarted by the restoration of the court’s majority in the upper House following the creation of peers at the end of December. Hence Wentworth reported on 28 Dec. that people had not known what to make of Walpole ‘being so ready to have those affidavits read in the House’ on 21 and 22 December. The consequence of which was that ‘they are in the Votes; which for three weeks at least will leave an impression upon people’s mind in the country that his grace [Marlborough], and Walpole has [sic], been guilty of notorious bribery’. In essence, Marlborough’s response to this information was to publish a defence, based on his letter to the commission of accounts, in the Daily Courant on 27 December. In turn, the report of the commissioners was published on the 29th.489

The ministry’s authority was restored by the creation of 12 peers and the dismissal of Marlborough. On 31 Dec. 1711, the queen told the Cabinet that she ‘thought fit to dismiss him from all his employments that the matter might undergo an impartial investigation’.490 In his reply to the queen’s letter of dismissal, Marlborough referred to ‘a false and malicious information’ which had been ‘made public at a time when there was no opportunity for me to give in my answer, which they must needs be conscious would fully detect the falsehood and malice of their aspersions and not leave them that handle for bringing your majesty to such extremity against me’. He also excused his absence from the cabinet because he felt unable ‘to join in the counsels of a man, who, in my opinion, put your majesty upon all manner of extremities’, and because ‘the friendship of France might needs be destructive to your majesty, there being a root of enmity irreconcilable to your majesty’s government, and the religion of these kingdoms.’ On 5 Jan. 1712 Prince Eugene arrived on a visit to England, dining with Marlborough on the 7th. He spent much time in the company of Marlborough and was feted by many of the nobility. From this no doubt sprang his observations of April that year, in which he judged Marlborough, Godolphin and Sunderland as for more violent measures against the ministry than Somers, Cowper and Halifax.491

On 9 Jan. 1712, Cadogan sent to Marlborough ‘Cardonnel’s certificates and attestations concerning the business of the bread’, which showed that for the previous 35 years ‘it was an established custom to present the general commanding in chief with a considerable annual gratification in proportion to the number of troops the army was composed of’.492 Certainly, a case (later published) was compiled for the purpose of lobbying Members, in which the report of the commissioners of accounts was rebutted, and Marlborough’s management lauded as ‘so necessary and important a part of the war, and which has turned to so good an account, has been managed with so little expense to the public’, that with regard to secret service expenditure he had ‘saved the government near four times the sum this deduction amounts to’.493 On 10 Jan. Brydges wrote to Marlborough that St John was ‘concerned’ that Marlborough ‘intended to push for a vote of justification in Parliament’. He thought this would be perceived as ‘an attacking the ministry, which would engage many, who would otherwise not appear against you to espouse their interest, and I find by him it will be very difficult to prevent a vote’s being carried that the 2½ per cent be deemed public money’. On 11 Jan. Wentworth reported that Marlborough was ‘very uneasy at the report of the commissioners of accounts, and they say, with reason, for that there will be opened such a scene of corruption as never was known. However, mountains often bring forth mice, tho nobody can doubt his greediness hath got the better of his understanding’. This proved not to be the case, for on 24 Jan. the Commons ‘roasted’ Marlborough, voting by 265-155 that his conduct over the bread contracts was ‘unwarrantable and illegal’. Swift recorded ‘the ministry is mighty well satisfied, and the duke will now be able to do no hurt’, for, as William Berkeley, 4th Baron Berkeley of Stratton, put it, the votes ‘hang over his head to keep him in awe’. Marlborough had his defenders in the debates, including Hedges, Brydges, Sir John Germaine, and General Charles Ross, while St John stayed silent.494 Marlborough’s response, in a letter to Albemarle, was that ‘if it procure me a quiet retirement… I shall be easy in relation to my own destiny’.495 He wrote to Heinsius on 28 Jan. of ‘taking my measures to retire’, but added that ‘if you do at this time consent to such a peace, as is, I fear, projected, Europe is for ever undone’.496

On 25 Jan. 1712 Marlborough wrote to Sweet ‘to desire of you the friendly part of securing what is due to me, so that I may have nothing to do with anybody but yourself. Let me see you before anybody when you come to London, and believe me that you shall always find me your friend.’ He added on 28 Feb. ‘I desire you will continue in sending over the balance of the account, and what else may have been received on my account... You must never write to me but by a sure hand, and pray let me know some time before you return.’ On 21 Apr. Sweet assured Marlborough that he ‘may depend that I will sooner lose my life than discover any transaction that your grace has been pleased to entrust me with, although I think it signifies nothing if all the world knew it.’497

Further proceedings against Marlborough were threatened. On 16 Feb. 1712 Swift reported to Archbishop King that although nobody had said anything about the queen exercising her prerogative in dismissing Marlborough, an impeachment might have raised awkward questions: ‘I believe it is wisdom to stop where things are as to him’.498 L’Hermitage reported that on 25 Feb. a bill had been proposed (actually an instruction to the committee on ways and means) that the 2½ per cent Marlborough had collected should be employed for public uses (actually to the war), but it did not receive a seconder and was dropped.499 On 7 Apr. Bateman reported to Trumbull that the queen had ‘given orders’ for prosecuting Marlborough. According to L’Hermitage on 11 Apr. the court had ordered that Marlborough should be forced to make restitution for the 2½ per cent, but also noted that legal opinion ‘was that he couldn’t be forced to pay, considering the written orders he had, and it’s believed that nothing will come of this’. On 15 Apr., Ralph Bridges reported that the attorney general was drawing up a bill against Marlborough ‘to be brought into the Exchequer for to make him account for two-and-a-half per cent, which the Parliament have declared to be public money. His grace pleads the queen’s warrant, signed by Sir Charles Hedges, and has chose for his counsel [William] Etterick and [Samuel] Dodd.’500 Other sources confirmed the report, varying only in the identity of Marlborough’s defence counsel.501 No actual prosecution followed, Lockhart for one believing that Marlborough and Oxford had come to an agreement that ‘the process should be let fall, on condition his grace would next summer go out of the kingdom and give no further countenance to the Whig party’. Burnet also believed this to be the case. Although Marlborough’s successor, Ormond, was allowed the same perk with regard to bread contracts, the threat of prosecution remained.502 On 12 Aug. L’Hermitage reported that although an action had begun in the exchequer against Marlborough, ‘the best lawyers from the beginning have said there is no basis for such a proceeding’.503 On 12 Oct. Marlborough wrote to Sweet about the ‘barbarous’ law suit ‘now begun against me’: the ministers who had ‘persuaded the queen to prosecute me in this manner, must know that I have laid this money out for the public good.’ On 10 Mar. 1713 Marlborough promised Sweet, who had been summoned by the commissioners of accounts that he considered himself obliged to ensure that he would receive no harm from ‘whatever hardships you meet with upon the account of your being my friend in witnessing the truth (which will certainly clear me from this unjust and barbarous persecution’.504

While all this manoeuvring was going on, Marlborough continued to play a role in the Lords. On 4 Mar. 1712, James Berkeley, 3rd earl of Berkeley, registered his proxy with Marlborough. With the House adjourning for Easter on 15 Apr. Marlborough then left for Windsor Lodge on the 16th.505 He had returned to London to attend on 28 Apr. the first day after the recess. Marlborough’s diplomatic knowledge was invaluable for party organization: it was Marlborough’s calculation about when news of the peace would reach London which led Townshend on 1 May to summon Whig peers back from Newmarket.506 On 18 May, Meinhard Schomberg, 3rd duke of Schomberg, left his proxy with Marlborough.

On 28 May Marlborough seconded Halifax’s motion for an address to the queen for the ‘restraining orders’ to be laid before the House and for Ormond to be ordered ‘to act offensively in concert with the allies’.507 During the debate in response to Oxford’s claim that Ormond would not decline cooperating with the allies in a siege, Marlborough pointed out that ‘he did not know how to reconcile the orders not to hazard a battle, and to join in a siege, to the rules of war’, since it was impossible to lay a siege without hazarding a battle should the enemy attempt to relieve the place. Lockhart recorded that Marlborough laid out a plan of action for the campaign, which was rebutted by Argyll. According to Ralph Bridges, ‘Marlborough reflected upon the present general’s both courage and conduct’, which occasioned Poulett to defend Ormond, noting that ‘he showed a great deal more of it in saving the lives of 10 or 20,000 men, than other generals did by losing of them in order to gain their pay.’ A correspondent of Gilbert Coventry, 4th earl of Coventry, gave another version of events: ‘Marlborough alleged that it was a very hard thing that the nation should be at the charge of maintaining so great an army abroad for no use at all’. In response Poulett retorted that Ormond ‘had no such views in fighting as a late general had, who would send his army against stone walls that the officers might be knocked in the head that he might fill his pockets with their commissions’. Marlborough may not have heard Poulett’s speech clearly, for he ‘contained his resentment for a while, and remained silent’, but issued a challenge after the debate, apparently through General Macartney, or possibly Lord Mohun. Lady Poulett alerted Secretary Dartmouth to the challenge, and he averted a duel using the queen’s name to ensure that Marlborough dropped the matter.508 Marlborough duly voted in favour of the motion to address the queen ‘to send orders to her general, to act, in concert with her allies, offensively against France, in order to obtain a safe and honourable peace’ and entered his protest against its rejection. He then seconded an unopposed motion proposed by Strafford (as Raby had become) for an address for an account of the negotiations and transactions relating to the preliminaries in 1709, and an account of the negotiations and transactions at Gertrudenberg, to be laid before the Lords, since he saw nothing but merit in the actions he had taken.509

When the Lords returned to the matter of the peace, on 7 June 1712 Marlborough spoke in the debate on an address thanking the queen for her speech on the progress of the peace negotiations. He noted that ‘the measures entered into and pursued in England for this year past were contrary to her majesty’s engagements with the allies; did sully the triumphs and glories of her reign, and would render the English name odious to all other nations’. He also protested against the loss of an amendment to the address asking the queen to take measures in concert with the allies to induce them to join in a mutual guarantee of the peace.510 According to one account, ‘Strafford spoke a great deal and with a notable malice against the Dutch, not without reflections, as was judged, upon my Lord Marlborough, who thought so too, and answered very strongly in his mild way’.511 Marlborough attended on 85 days of the session, 79 per cent of the total and was named to ten committees.

Retirement and exile, 1712-14

Marlborough retired to St Albans in July, where he entertained using his campaign tent pitched on the bowling green.512 This was of particular use when celebrating the anniversary of the battle of Blenheim, when Godolphin, Cowper and Walpole attended a large gathering.513 Marlborough’s concern for the minutiae of local patronage saw John Verney, Viscount Fermanagh [I], report on 7 Sept. that he had given the livings of Bladon and Woodstock to Dr. William Baker, the future bishop of Norwich.514 Following the death of Godolphin at Holywell on 15 Sept. Marlborough acted as a pallbearer at his funeral on 7 October.515 On the day of Godolphin’s death, Marlborough wrote to Nottingham, ‘I can so little bear this unexpected blow that I am quite determined to go out of England, which I have had thought of doing for some time’. On 26 Sept. Sunderland wrote to Nottingham that although he was as surprised as the earl by the decision, he conceded that there were good reasons for so doing, including removing the pretence from ministers that Marlborough was the head of a faction against the queen.516 Maynwaring duly facilitated the arrangements, writing on 18 Oct. to Oxford to obtain a pass to travel abroad.517 Marlborough had indicated his desire to travel through Holland and Germany, to Italy, but it seems unlikely that his main intention was to enjoy a quiet retirement. Berkeley of Stratton spoke for many when he noted that ‘the reason is yet a mystery’. St George Ashe, bishop of Clogher [I], wrote on 28 Oct. that ‘his enemies say it is guilt… his friends… urge the reasonableness of his quitting a place where he is daily baited and uneasy… but few know the true reasons of his going’.518 Marlborough’s pass was signed on 30 Oct. and he left London on 24 Nov., spending some time with the dying Sir Henry Furnese while awaiting a favourable wind.519 He left England on 30 Nov. having taken the precaution of dispatching £50,000 to The Hague in case of emergencies, and placed his English lands in trust. On 13 Dec. he set out for Antwerp, then travelled to Maastricht and on to Aix-la-Chapelle, where Sarah and Cadogan, who became Marlborough’s key representative in exile, joined him in February 1713. Sarah’s correspondents were to be an important link with the Whigs while Marlborough was in exile.

It seems probable that Marlborough wished to use his contacts and reputation in order to promote intervention by the allies against the ministry, or in readiness for a struggle over the succession. The French feared his intervention at Utrecht against the Peace. The French secretary of state, De Torcy, informed Shrewsbury in February 1713 that he had received reliable information that Marlborough had secretly met the Emperor and Prince Eugene to hatch a plan to continue the war and support a conspiracy in England. Marlborough may indeed have planned an invasion of Hanoverian troops in Dutch ships hired under cover of the Empire to ensure a ministry capable of ensuring the Protestant Succession, but all the parties rejected the plan.520

Having seen a printed version of the peace treaty and the treaty of commerce, Marlborough wrote to Craggs in June, ‘I could wish they had been more to our advantage; for instead of the great advantages we were made to expect, in comparing the treaties that of Holland seems to be more for their advantage, than any care that has been taken for England, for not only the loss of our woollen manufactures in the treaty of commerce, the 9th article in the treaty of peace does in a very plain manner restore Dunkirk to France’.521 He also paid some attention to the 1713 election. At the end of May Marlborough wrote that although Cadogan might not be able to attend the election at Woodstock, he could certainly attend his duty in the Commons. On 26 July he wrote to assure William Grimston of his support at St Albans. He even resided for a time in Antwerp in case the result of the election presented the opportunity for his return to England.522

Marlborough wrote to Oxford from Frankfurt in May or June 1713 of his surprise at being ‘charged with mismanagement of the public money in the report of the commissioners of accounts on pretence of the subject troops having been mustered complete during the war, and the foreigners not being mustered at all’. Such things were easily misrepresented, thereby giving ‘the greatest falsehoods an air of truth by suppressing of circumstances, by relating facts by halves, by reporting only parts of answers, by confounding of times, and drawing conclusions from innuendos and suppositions’.523 There remained the possibility of impeachment by the Tory-dominated House of Commons. In such a situation, Cadogan remained Marlborough’s essential link with England, carrying papers to and fro between England and the Continent. Marlborough also welcomed an overture from Mary of Modena to resume contact, mainly as an insurance policy against Jacobite Members supporting an impeachment.524

The queen’s sudden illness in December 1713 persuaded Oxford to appease Marlborough.525 He directed the payment of £10, 557 on Marlborough’s ordinary accounts and £3,296-5 in extraordinaries. He also assured Marlborough that ‘all those I converse with are resolved not to give your grace the least disturbance’ in Parliament. ‘This, I suppose, will prove a great disappointment to some people, who would serve themselves at the expense of your grace’s repose. I cannot suspect there will be any change in this resolution, if there should I believe your grace will have early notice of it.’526 The queen’s illness also prompted renewed plans by Marlborough for intervention to prevent a Jacobite restoration on the queen’s death.527

In March 1714 there were rumours that Marlborough would soon return to England. On 24 Mar. Bateman reported that ‘Marlborough will soon be here, with the queen’s permission, which Lady Sund[erland] asked and obtained about ten days ago’. Although this proved to be false, family illness did provide an excuse for Marlborough to return to England. Early in 1714, his grandchildren, William Godolphin, styled Viscount Rialton (later styled marquess of Blandford) and his sister caught smallpox, and although they recovered, in March the countess of Bridgwater contracted the disease and died. The shock of her death caused the countess of Sunderland to miscarry, with almost fatal consequences. Even so, Marlborough rejected the suggestion that he needed to request permission to return from the queen.528

Rumours abounded as to Marlborough’s intentions. In late May Vanbrugh told Marlborough that Anglesey, one of the leaders of the Hanoverian Tories, held Marlborough ‘in strong suspicion of having wholly embarked in the Pretender’s interest and that you are to bring him over. I cannot say that any of them directly believe it but him I have named, but I know he is wild enough to credit it’.529 The Hanoverian resident Kreienberg reported on 22 June that ‘Cadogan believes he knows from the queen herself, that my lord duke would be welcome’ to return.530 Marlborough did not finally decide to return until news of Berwick’s departure from Paris in late June 1714 to undertake the siege of Barcelona, which suggested that there was no plan for a French-backed invasion of Britain.531

The ministry was certain that Marlborough soon be back: on 11 June, Prior told Bolingbroke that Marlborough was returning to England. Both Oxford and Bolingbroke sought to enlist him in their fight for control of the ministry. Oxford opened negotiations through Cadogan in mid-April. Oxford’s duplicity in telling the Whigs that the elector would be invited to England, while he sent letters to Hanover arguing the opposite, was revealed to Marlborough by the electress, and subsequently published in London on 1 July. Bolingbroke opened negotiations with Marlborough in mid-July through Craggs senior, and an agreement appears to have been reached between them whereby Marlborough would resume his offices and Bolingbroke would be reconciled to Hanover.532

Return to England and final years

On 9 July Bateman, in London, had picked up that ‘the duke of Marlborough’s baggage is put aboard in order for his coming hither by permission, at the instance of Lord B[olingbro]ke, which still forebodes more to the disadvantage of [the] lord treasurer.’ He added on 14 July that Marlborough ‘is not yet arrived, nor any changes yet made. But all agree that the white staff is to be given up and succeeded by a commission’.533 On 15 July it was reported that he was expected on ‘the first fair wind’, that his house in St James’s was ‘fitting up’ ready for him, and on the 22nd that the Whigs were ‘making great preparations to receive him’. This was gainsaid, but then he was reported to be embarking on 24 July. He did not set out for Ostend until the 16th, embarking for England on the 28th. The wind then further delayed his arrival, partly explaining the state of paralysis afflicting the government in the days before Oxford’s dismissal.534

Auditor Edward Harley suspected Marlborough of being at the centre of the machinations which led to the fall of Oxford. Marlborough ‘was to be at the head of it’, and Cadogan and Somerset were ‘engaged in the new plan that was forming by the Lord Bolingbroke’.535 After Marlborough’s death, Vanbrugh referred to ‘what is now freely said, and generally allowed for truth, that had the queen lived a month longer, he had been seen to act a sad part, having made his peace on the worst terms’. Henry Pelham, looking back from 1741, was recorded as saying that Marlborough ‘had certainly before the death of the queen made his peace with her and was coming over on purpose’.536

L’Hermitage reported Marlborough’s arrival on 1 Aug. and the reception he received at Dover: being saluted by cannon from the town, but not the castle.537 He passed through Rochester and Chatham on 3 Aug. where he was welcomed with ‘repeated shouts and acclamations’. He arrived in London on 4 Aug. ‘with all pomp imaginable’. Wentworth thought that Marlborough had tried, unsuccessfully, to get the City to ‘excuse their compliment’, but they refused and he was met with a troop of militia with drums and trumpets, as well as ‘a train of coaches’. Bateman reported on 4 Aug. that the Marlboroughs ‘came through the City this afternoon, attended with the trained bands, and a numerous mob. A great many coaches also met them, but neither his, nor any of his family’s, being in the Regency is grating to ’em’. Swift’s correspondent, Charles Ford, thought him ‘hissed by more than huzzarred’. On 6 Aug. Bothmer reported Marlborough ‘not pleased’ that ‘there is any man but the king higher than him in this country’. Nevertheless, on 7 Aug. Charlett was informed that Marlborough’s levee was ‘prodigiously numerous’.538

Although Marlborough had been named as one of the electress’s regents, as recorded by Rivers on one of his trips to Hanover (probably in 1710), subsequently the list had been changed and he was not on the list opened on the queen’s death. This may have prompted Marlborough to allow the City to make a fuss.539 Marlborough attended on only one day of the short session following Queen Anne’s death, on 5 Aug. 1714. He left London on 8 Aug. for several days in the country, before intending to travel to Bath to visit the countess of Sunderland.540 On 21 Aug. it was reported that Marlborough had been at Woodstock and gone to dine at Wharton’s at Winchendon. After a visit to St Albans, Marlborough was back in London for the king’s arrival on 17 September.541 He also attended the prorogation on 23 September.

Marlborough met the new king when he arrived at Greenwich on 18 Sept. 1714, the king saying ‘my lord duke, I hope your troubles are now over’.542 He had already been restored as captain-general of the land forces. On 26 Sept. he was restored as colonel of the 1st foot guards, and on 1 Oct. as master-general of the ordnance. By mid-September Marlborough’s levees were ‘crowded as much as ever’, with Argyll and Marlborough acting as if ‘there never had been any difference between them.’ On 29 Sept. Cowper recorded that he had dined with Marlborough, ‘who I think played double with Lord Halifax about his being treasurer &c. Bothmer stated the difficulty the king made, being for a commission. [The] Duke of Marlborough, Lord Townshend, [and the] earl [of] Sunderland seemed for his being treasurer but were really against it.’ On 14 Oct. Thomas Burnet thought ‘only my Lord Marlborough caresses his enemies and neglects his friends too much, and is too engrossing’. Wentworth had heard something similar noting that the ‘high Whigs’ thought it one of his ‘sneaking maxims to be reconciled to those that have disobliged him most’.543

Although Marlborough was restored to his offices, he did not gain pre-eminence in the ministry. At the end of December 1714, according to Bonet, Marlborough was seen as a crucial figure along with Townshend and Bothmer and Bernsdorff, but in reality it was Townshend who wielded most influence.544 As Brydges (now Carnarvon) wrote in December 1714, Craggs senior had composed the differences between Marlborough and Townshend and ‘these two with the assistance of Bothmer and Bertsdorff form the ministry’.545 In 1716 his political importance was curtailed by a stroke and he never recovered his political power. He remained a figurehead until his death on 16 June 1722 at Cranbourne Lodge, Windsor. He was survived by his wife and two daughters, Henrietta, who succeeded to the title, and Mary.

Interpretations of Marlborough have been many and varied. To Burnet he was ‘one of the greatest men the age has produced’. The Dutch field deputy, Sicco van Goslinga agreed, referring to ‘the rare gifts of this truly great man’, although for him he had many defects: ‘the duke is a profound dissembler, all the more dangerous that his manner and his words give the impression of frankness itself. His ambition knows no bounds, and an avarice which I can only call sordid, guides his entire conduct.’546

In domestic politics, Marlborough tried to avoid much of the incessant management involved, and therefore took few initiatives that were not devised by his political associates.547 He asked Sarah repeatedly not to ask him to intercede with the queen and Godolphin in political appointments. Nevertheless, he did recommend to places where he thought the interests of his position required it, although he allowed Godolphin to bear the brunt of his dealings with supplicants and their sponsors. Accusations of venality were always vigorously denied by Marlborough; as early as 16 Aug. 1703 he reassured the duchess that ‘since the queen came to the crown, I have never taken one farthing from anybody living for any favour or employment.’548 Perhaps Winston Churchill was correct when he noted that Marlborough ‘took all the emoluments, perquisites and commissions which belonged to his offices and appointments’, but eschewed ‘bribes or any money that was not his by usage or law’.549

Marlborough’s role in the Lords ranged from being a brooding oppositionist in William’s reign, which saw him engaged quite heavily in the business of the House, to a busy, pivotal political figure during the reign of Anne, when the time available for parliamentary activity was much diminished. As his correspondence with Godolphin reveals, his presence or absence often determined the timing of a session, and his military demands could often dominate the financial business of the lower House. For Godolphin, as lord treasurer, his presence made the queen more susceptible to his arguments; and his prestige (and negotiating skills) made Parliament, not just the Lords, more amenable to the executive’s demands.


  • 1 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 344.
  • 2 F. Harris, Passion for Govt. 23.
  • 3 W.S. Churchill, Marlborough, i. 59.
  • 4 TNA, PROB 11/583.
  • 5 CSP Dom. 1704-5, p. 231.
  • 6 Add. 28079, ff. 59-60.
  • 7 BL, IOR/B/38, p. 291.
  • 8 Churchill, i. 414-15.
  • 9 J.R. Jones, Marlborough, 7-8.
  • 10 Burnet, iii. 280.
  • 11 Harris, 18.
  • 12 Burnet, iii. 280; Williamson Letters (Cam. Soc. n.s. ix), 88; Churchill, i. 81-82, 89.
  • 13 Harris, 22, 25, 357; Churchill, i. 128, 998.
  • 14 Verney ms mic. M636/30, A. Nicholas to Sir R. Verney, 15 Nov. 1677.
  • 15 Jones, Marlborough, 19-22; Harris, 27-28.
  • 16 Harris, 33, 41, 45; Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. ii. 371-2; Churchill, i. 168-9.
  • 17 Harris, 37-38; Add. 61363, ff. 5-6.
  • 18 HMC Ormonde, n.s. vii. 323.
  • 19 Burnet, iii. 282.
  • 20 Verney ms mic. M636/39, J. to Sir R. Verney, 19 Mar. 1684/5.
  • 21 Reresby Mems. 401; Harris, 39.
  • 22 State Trials, xi. 593.
  • 23 Harris, 37; P.G.M. Dickson, Financial Revolution in England, 431.
  • 24 Add. 22185, ff. 12-13; BL, OIR/B/38, pp. 268, 291; HOME MISC/2, p. 29; HMC Bathurst, 4; Add. 61472, f. 29; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 170.
  • 25 Add. 17677 OO, f. 279; DZA, Bonet, 6/16 July 1694.
  • 26 Dickson, 263; Eg. 3359.
  • 27 E. Suss. RO, ASH 840, Ashburnham to Hoare, 17 Oct. 1696; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 544, 559.
  • 28 Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 12, f. 124; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 92.
  • 29 Churchill, i. 209-11.
  • 30 CSP Dom. 1686-7, p. 426.
  • 31 Churchill, i. 214.
  • 32 Harris, 46; Churchill, i. 221.
  • 33 Bodl. Tanner 28, f. 43; Fasti 1541-1857, i. 15.
  • 34 Harris, 46.
  • 35 Burnet Supp. ed. Foxcroft, 291.
  • 36 Gregg, Queen Anne (2001 edn), 60; Harris, 47.
  • 37 Dalrymple, Mems. pt. 2, v. 121.
  • 38 Kingdom Without A King, 24.
  • 39 Churchill, i. 263.
  • 40 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 214, 221.
  • 41 Add. 34487, ff. 48-49.
  • 42 Kingdom Without A King, 57, 122, 124, 153-4, 158, 165, 168.
  • 43 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iv. 480; Clarendon Corresp. ii. 245.
  • 44 HMC Dartmouth, i. 249.
  • 45 Ailesbury Mems. 245.
  • 46 Harris, 62.
  • 47 Timberland, i. 339.
  • 48 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iv. 504, 509.
  • 49 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 255, 260.
  • 50 Schwoerer, Declaration of Rights, 220; Beinecke Lib. OSB MSS fb 210, ff.
  • 51 Halifax Letters, ii. 202.
  • 52 CP, viii. 492-93.
  • 53 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. v. 109.
  • 54 Add. 61432, f. 2.
  • 55 Add. 61414, f. 115.
  • 56 Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 600.
  • 57 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. v. 359; Horwitz, Parl. Pols. 96.
  • 58 CSP Dom. 1689-90, pp. 430-1.
  • 59 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 312.
  • 60 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. v. 438; HMC Finch, ii. 278.
  • 61 CSP Dom. 1690-1, p. 37.
  • 62 Mems of Mary, 30.
  • 63 HMC Finch, ii. 392.
  • 64 Dalrymple, Mems. pt. 3, v. 93.
  • 65 HMC Finch, ii. 433, 460; iii. 378-86; Bodl. Clarendon 90, f. 41; Churchill, i. 288-93.
  • 66 HMC Portland, iii. 452; HMC Le Fleming, 301; Harris, 59.
  • 67 Harris, 59.
  • 68 CSP Dom. 1690-1, pp. 262, 283.
  • 69 HMC Finch, iii. 389; Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 215.
  • 70 Horwitz, Parl. Pols. 67.
  • 71 CSP Dom. 1690-1, p. 468.
  • 72 Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 318.
  • 73 Jones, 46-47.
  • 74 Churchill, i. 340-1.
  • 75 Glasgow Univ. Lib. Ms Hunter 73, lxxi. T. Apprice to Clarendon, 10 Dec. 1691.
  • 76 Jones, 50.
  • 77 Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 342.
  • 78 Add. 70119, R. to Sir E. Harley, 21 Jan. 1692; Beinecke Lib. OSB mss 1, box 2, folder 96, Yard to Poley, 22 Jan. 1691/2; Burnet, iv. 152, 161-2; Burnet Supp. ed. Foxcroft, 373; Add. 29578, f. 290.
  • 79 HMC Portland, iii. 488; Churchill, i. 341.
  • 80 HMC Hastings, ii. 342.
  • 81 Wood, Life and Times, iii. 388; HMC 12th Rep. IX, 94; HMC Finch, iv. 114.
  • 82 Dalrymple, Mems. pt. 3, vii. 229.
  • 83 TNA, WO 94/8, p. 119.
  • 84 Hatton Corresp. (Cam. Soc. n.s. xxiii), 177.
  • 85 Horwitz, Parl. Pols. 105.
  • 86 TNA, PC 2/74, pp. 386-8.
  • 87 Add. 61363, ff. 11-12.
  • 88 Add. 61414, ff. 195-6.
  • 89 Halifax Letters, ii. 152.
  • 90 HMC Finch, iv. 211, 217.
  • 91 Add. 75375, ff. 14-15.
  • 92 Hatton Corresp. 180.
  • 93 PC 2/74, p. 423.
  • 94 CSP Dom. 1691-2, p. 365; UNL, PwA 1348.
  • 95 HMC Finch, iv. 478, 501, 504-5; Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 525; Bodl. Carte 79, f. 461.
  • 96 HMC Lords, iv. 88.
  • 97 Add. 61455, ff. 18-19; Hatton Corresp. 195; Halifax Letters, ii. 172; HMC Finch, v. 243; Verney ms mic. M636/47, A. Nicholas to J. Verney, 27, 31 Aug. 1693.
  • 98 HMC Portland, iii. 541; Horwitz, Parl. Pols. 118.
  • 99 HMC Hastings, ii. 233, 237; Horwitz, Parl. Pols. 124-25.
  • 100 Horwitz, Parl Pols. 153-4; Add. 51511, f. 54.
  • 101 Harris, 74.
  • 102 Churchill, i. 373; Jones, 51.
  • 103 Shrewsbury Corresp. 47, 53.
  • 104 UNL, PwA 1239/1, 1240/1; HMC Portland, iii. 552.
  • 105 Shrewsbury Corresp. 220.
  • 106 Add. 29574, f. 369.
  • 107 Add. 46527, f. 48.
  • 108 HMC Lords, n.s. i. 551.
  • 109 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 455, 457.
  • 110 Harris, 76.
  • 111 HMC Bathurst, 3-4.
  • 112 HMC Hastings, iv. 313, 318.
  • 113 HMC Lords, n.s. ii. 120.
  • 114 UNL, PwA 1251/1.
  • 115 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, i. 7, 11.
  • 116 Bodl. Carte 233, f. 25.
  • 117 Shrewsbury Corresp. 426.
  • 118 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, i. 64, 72.
  • 119 Shrewsbury Corresp. 438-39.
  • 120 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 427.
  • 121 Shrewsbury Corresp. 440, 448.
  • 122 Add. 47608, f. 138; Horwitz, Parl. Pols. 186.
  • 123 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, i. 138.
  • 124 Shrewsbury Corresp. 456; Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, i. 163, 173.
  • 125 HMC Lords, n.s. ii. 260.
  • 126 Locke Corresp. vi. 81.
  • 127 Add. 75369, R. Crawford to Halifax, 1 Aug. 1697.
  • 128 HMC Portland, iii. 592.
  • 129 Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss. 46/176.
  • 130 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 12.
  • 131 CSP Dom. 1698, p. 145.
  • 132 Add. 61653, ff. 71-74.
  • 133 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 97.
  • 134 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 104, 106, 111, 130.
  • 135 Harris, 80-81.
  • 136 UNL, PwA 1475; Horwitz, Parl. Pols. 246.
  • 137 Shrewsbury Corresp. 573.
  • 138 Add. 61126, ff. 10-11.
  • 139 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 298.
  • 140 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 622-23.
  • 141 UNL, PwA 1498, 1499.
  • 142 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 361; Montagu (Boughton) mss 47/248.
  • 143 Add. 17677 TT, ff. 276-77.
  • 144 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 382.
  • 145 Montagu (Boughton) mss 48/10.
  • 146 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 392, 435.
  • 147 Churchill, i. 443.
  • 148 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 17, 24.
  • 149 Add. 70272, R. Harley, ‘Large Acct. Revolution and Succession’.
  • 150 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 29, 35.
  • 151 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 647.
  • 152 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 97-98.
  • 153 Add. 61363, f. 26.
  • 154 HMC Portland, iii. 626, 628.
  • 155 Kenyon, 318-19.
  • 156 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 138.
  • 157 Churchill, i. 449; Horwitz, Parl. Pols. 278.
  • 158 Cumbria RO, D/Lons/W/2/2/3, J. to Sir J. Lowther, 5 Nov. 1700.
  • 159 TNA, PC 2/78, p. 95.
  • 160 Horwitz, Parl. Pols. 285; Burnet, iv. 481-82; HMC Lords, n.s. iv. 221; Timberland, ii. 22; Leics. RO, DG 7 box 4950, bdle 22.
  • 161 Churchill, i. 438.
  • 162 Churchill, i. 464; Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 147; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 5, 7, 12, 18.
  • 163 Add. 40775, f. 53; Churchill, i. 472; CSP Dom. 1700-2, p. 418.
  • 164 Add. 40775, f. 233.
  • 165 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 40.
  • 166 Horwitz, Parl. Pols. 300.
  • 167 Churchill, i. 477-8.
  • 168 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 27, 28, 30, 37, 46, 48.
  • 169 Kent HLC (CKS), U1590/C9/1, A. to J. Stanhope, 18 Nov. 1701.
  • 170 Add. 30000E, ff. 411-13; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 48.
  • 171 Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 6-7.
  • 172 HMC Portland, iv. 33.
  • 173 Add. 70073-4, newsletter, 27 Jan. 1702.
  • 174 Churchill, i. 480; Add. 17677 XX, f. 190.
  • 175 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 49.
  • 176 Dalton, v. 15.
  • 177 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 193.
  • 178 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 51; Add. 70073-4, newsletter, 17 Mar.
  • 179 War and Society, 3/2, p. 17.
  • 180 Harris, 89, 91.
  • 181 Kent HLC (CKS), U1590/C9/1, A. to J. Stanhope, [17-] 28 Mar., Apr. 1702; Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 212.
  • 182 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 200; Cumbria RO, D/Lons/W2/2/5, J. to Sir J. Lowther, 11 Apr. 1702; Burnet, v. 10, 12.
  • 183 Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 13-14.
  • 184 Pols. in Age of Anne, 73.
  • 185 HMC Portland, iv. 39; Add. 70020, f. 187.
  • 186 Burnet, v. 15.
  • 187 Churchill, i. 548.
  • 188 Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 173, 176; Kent HLC (CKS), U1590/C9/1, A. to J.
  • 189 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 92-93, 99, 104, 108; Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 23, 25.
  • 190 Add. 61118, f. 140.
  • 191 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 115-16, 123; Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 36.
  • 192 Add. 61135, f. 16.
  • 193 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 127.
  • 194 Add. 75375, f. 46.
  • 195 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 146-49; Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 241.
  • 196 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 138, 143-44; Curtis Brown, Letters of Q. Anne, 97.
  • 197 Gregg, Queen Anne, 165; HMC Portland, iv. 53, 54; HLQ, xxx. 251; Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 247; Nicolson, London Diaries, 145.
  • 198 Add. 42176, f. 11; 61416, ff. 32-33.
  • 199 Evelyn Diary, v. 525.
  • 200 Churchill, i. 620-2.
  • 201 Nicolson, London Diaries, 164-6, 170, 176-8.
  • 202 Add. 61416, ff. 36-37.
  • 203 Nicolson, London Diaries, 141.
  • 204 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 259.
  • 205 Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 53, 54.
  • 206 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 174-75.
  • 207 Add. 61395, ff. 38-39.
  • 208 Add. 61119, ff. 101, 107-8.
  • 209 Murray, Letters and Dispatches of Marlborough, i. 110.
  • 210 Add. 75400, Lady Hervey to duchess of Marlborough 14 Mar. 1702[-3].
  • 211 Murray, i. 73.
  • 212 Add. 61457, f. 137.
  • 213 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 190-1, 193-96.
  • 214 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 156, 159.
  • 215 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 178, 336.
  • 216 Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 315.
  • 217 Harris, 110.
  • 218 Beinecke Lib. OSB mss 163, box 1, Briscoe-Maunsell newsletter, 24 Mar.
  • 219 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 197-98, 202-3, 205.
  • 220 Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 87; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 240, 242, 248.
  • 221 Add. 61133, f. 79; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 251; HMC Bath, i. 56.
  • 222 HMC Astley, 141.
  • 223 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 256-57; Morrison Cat. ser. 2, ii. 46; HMC Portland, iv. 75.
  • 224 Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 97-98.
  • 225 HMC Portland, iv. 77; Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 374.
  • 226 HMC 7th Rep. 769; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 260, 264, 267.
  • 227 Stowe 245, f. 88; Morrison Cat. ser. 2, ii. 50.
  • 228 KSRL, Methuen-Simpson Corresp. C.163, Simpson to Methuen, 28 Mar. 1704.
  • 229 Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 411; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 275.
  • 230 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 274-75.
  • 231 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 321, 334, 343, 348, 354.
  • 232 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 266-7.
  • 233 Add. 61120, f. 173; Add. 61121, f. 17.
  • 234 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 372-73, 385; Murray, i. 513.
  • 235 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 385, 392.
  • 236 Churchill, i. 909; Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 155.
  • 237 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 407.
  • 238 Scouller, Armies of Q. Anne, 108.
  • 239 Murray, i. 556.
  • 240 Eg. 3359, ff. 45-46; HMC Bath, i. 65.
  • 241 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 409; Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 278.
  • 242 UNL, mss PwA 601; Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 497, 506; Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 157-58; Morrison Cat. ser. 2, ii. 52; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 410; Nicolson, London Diaries, 271, 277.
  • 243 Harris, 114; De Briefwisseling van Anthonie Heinsius, iv. 39.
  • 244 Harris, 114-16.
  • 245 HMC Portland, iv. 155.
  • 246 Add. 70284, Godolphin to Harley, ‘Thurs. 25 at 6’.
  • 247 Add. 70285, Godolphin to Harley, ‘Sat. at 7’ [24 Feb. 1705].
  • 248 Add. 70022, ff. 34-35, newsletter, 8 Feb. 1704/5.
  • 249 Morrison Cat. ser. 2, ii. 54; Briscoe-Maunsell newsletters, 17 Feb. 1704[-5].
  • 250 Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 170; HMC Portland, ii. 189; HMC Bath, i. 67.
  • 251 Churchill, ii. 26.
  • 252 Cumbria RO, D/Lons/W2/2/8, Lowther to Sir J. Lowther, 27 Mar. 1705.
  • 253 Add. 28041, f. 4; HMC Astley, 177.
  • 254 Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 536-37.
  • 255 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 423, 426, 427n.; Worcs. RO, Hampton (Pakington) mss, 705:349/4657/ (iii) /37; HMC Portland, iv. 176.
  • 256 Add. 61474, f.131; Add. 61131, ff. 124-25; Add. 61364, ff. 36-37, 42-43, 52-53; Murray, ii. 101, 159; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 469.
  • 257 Murray, ii. 100.
  • 258 Holmes, Politics, Religion and Society, 198.
  • 259 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 453, 457-58, 466; Churchill, ii. 29.
  • 260 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 214, 475; Churchill, ii. 184.
  • 261 Cowper, Diary 35-36.
  • 262 HMC Portland, iv. 281; Add. 70206, Stephens to [?Harley], 3 Feb. 1705[-6].
  • 263 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 544, 556.
  • 264 TNA, PRO 30/24/20/287; Churchill, ii. 86-87.
  • 265 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 502-3, 507; Churchill, ii. 32-33; Murray, ii. 304, 324.
  • 266 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 508, 510; Add. 61602, ff. 3-4.
  • 267 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 799; Morrison Cat. ser. 2, ii. 57; Simpson-Methuen Corresp. C.163, Simpson to Methuen, 7 Jan. 1705[-6].
  • 268 Cowper, Diary, 33, 34.
  • 269 Murray, ii. 406; HMC Mar and Kellie, 247; Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 225.
  • 270 CSP Dom. 1705-6, pp. 67, 109.
  • 271 Murray, ii. 696.
  • 272 Add. 61131, ff. 153, 155-56, 167-68.
  • 273 Add. 61135, f. 3.
  • 274 Glassey, JPs, 176.
  • 275 Add. 61365, ff. 23-24.
  • 276 Add 40776, ff. 46-47.
  • 277 Nicolson, London Diaries, 382.
  • 278 Simpson-Methuen Corresp. C.163, Simpson to Methuen, 12 Mar. 1705[-6].
  • 279 HMC Portland, iv. 289.
  • 280 Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 230; Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 37; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 519.
  • 281 Churchill, ii. 153.
  • 282 HMC Bath, i. 82, 105.
  • 283 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 563, 603, 628, 656, 658, 660.
  • 284 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 636, 647, 651, 655, 659, 662, 703; Murray, iii. 125-26; HMC Downshire, i. 845.
  • 285 HMC Mar and Kellie, 279.
  • 286 Churchill, ii. 195.
  • 287 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 694-95, 699.
  • 288 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 699, 703, 708, 714-15, 724-26, 728n.; Harris, 130; HMC Mar and Kellie, 326; Addison Letters ed. Graham, 61; EHR, lxxxii. 734-35; Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 111-12.
  • 289 Murray, iii. 240-41; Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 285.
  • 290 Addison Letters, 66.
  • 291 Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 119; HMC Mar and Kellie, 359.
  • 292 Add. 61398, f. 108.
  • 293 Shrewsbury Corresp. 660.
  • 294 Add. 61131, f. 41.
  • 295 Nicolson, London Diaries, 402.
  • 296 HMC Lords, n.s. vii. 8-9.
  • 297 Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 125; HMC Portland, viii. 279; PH, x. 173; HMC Fortescue, i. 28.
  • 298 Murray, iii. 300.
  • 299 Nicolson, London Diaries, 392, 417-18; LPL ms. 1770, f. 35; Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 299, 303; Addison Letters, 409; Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 156.
  • 300 Murray, iii. 311.
  • 301 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 811, 817, 824, 829.
  • 302 Add. 61101, ff. 97-98.
  • 303 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 790, 836, 843.
  • 304 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 873, 879, 884, 902.
  • 305 Harris, 135; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 860, 864-65, 877-8, 888.
  • 306 Addison Letters, 75-76.
  • 307 Add. 61101, ff. 103-4.
  • 308 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 915-16.
  • 309 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 919-20, 925, 931-32; HMC Bath, i. 184.
  • 310 Add. 61125, f. 70.
  • 311 Add. 61494, f. 25; Murray, iii. 645; Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 231.
  • 312 Add. 72488, ff. 30-31.
  • 313 NLW, Plas yn Cefn, 2739.
  • 314 Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 351-52, 356.
  • 315 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 288.
  • 316 Addison Letters, 84-85; HMC Egmont, ii. 220-21; Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 301; Timberland, ii. 184-85.
  • 317 HEHL, Stowe 57 (2), pp. 5-7.
  • 318 Add. 61399, f. 48; 61389, ff. 16-17.
  • 319 Harris, 139; Cowper, Diary, 43.
  • 320 HMC Portland, iv. 469-70.
  • 321 Churchill, ii. 310.
  • 322 Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 366-67, 370; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 945.
  • 323 Addison Letters, 86-87.
  • 324 Pols in Age of Anne, 234; Holmes, Politics, Religion and Society, 67, 72; EHR, lxxxii. 736-44.
  • 325 Add. 70295, Harley to Marlborough, ‘Wed. night’ [28 Jan. 1708], 1, 6 Feb. 1708, Marlborough to Harley, [7 Feb. 1708].
  • 326 Add. 61101, ff. 109-10.
  • 327 Nicolson, London Diaries, 449-50.
  • 328 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 343-4; Holmes, Politics, Religion and Society, 73-82.
  • 329 Addison Letters, 91-92.
  • 330 UNL, PwA 1188/1; Add. 61399, f. 96; Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 376; Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 285; Murray, iii. 698-99.
  • 331 Add. 61133, ff. 101-2; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 947, 948; Jnl. Soc. Army Hist. Res. xlv. 69.
  • 332 Add. 61498, f. 151.
  • 333 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 954, 966, 985.
  • 334 Private Corresp. of Duch. of Marlborough, i. 120.
  • 335 Add. 61459, ff. 20-23.
  • 336 Add. 61101, ff. 111, 113-4.
  • 337 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 965, 976; HP Commons, 1690-1715, ii. 297; Add. 61652, f. 49.
  • 338 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 967; Add. 61136, f. 107.
  • 339 Murray, iv. 44.
  • 340 Add. 61628, ff. 92, 98, 114-17, 135-7; 61136, ff. 109-10, 111-13; Herts. ALS, DE/P/F127, memo. election of peers.
  • 341 Add. 61101, ff. 119-122.
  • 342 Harris, 149; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1009, 1048.
  • 343 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 996.
  • 344 Add. 61134, ff. 186-88.
  • 345 Churchill, ii. 410.
  • 346 Add. 61101, ff. 129-31.
  • 347 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1035-36, 1039.
  • 348 Add. 61101, ff.135-36.
  • 349 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1049.
  • 350 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1055, 1101, 1158; Add. 61101, ff. 137-38, 146-49.
  • 351 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 895.
  • 352 Churchill, ii. 475-76.
  • 353 Lansd. 1236, ff. 246-49.
  • 354 Add. 61459, ff. 121-23, 133-36.
  • 355 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1124, 1142.
  • 356 Harris, 152.
  • 357 Add. 72488, ff. 40-41.
  • 358 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1131, 1133.
  • 359 Murray, iv. 335-36, 366; Add. 61128, f. 193; 61134, f. 119.
  • 360 Add. 61128, f. 202; 61133, ff. 145-46, 149-50, 156-57, 160; 61129, ff. 3-4; 61366, f. 145.
  • 361 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1175, 1185.
  • 362 Add. 72488, ff. 42-43.
  • 363 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1197, 1207-8.
  • 364 Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 422.
  • 365 Murray, iv. 442.
  • 366 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1231; Morrison Cat. ser. 2, ii. 75.
  • 367 LPL, ms. 1770 (Wake Diary), f. 73v.
  • 368 Bodl. Ballard 23, f. 85.
  • 369 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1232, 1235, 1236, 1247; Add. 72488, ff. 56-57; Murray, iv. 474, 494; Nicolson, London Diaries, 500; Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 432, 433; Christ Church, Oxf. Wake mss 17, f. 205.
  • 370 Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 434; Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 436-7; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1250.
  • 371 Jnl. Soc. Army Hist. Res. xlv. 71-74; Churchill, ii. 639-40.
  • 372 Burnet, v. 416.
  • 373 Add. 61164, ff. 195-6.
  • 374 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1264, 1289.
  • 375 Churchill, ii. 553-54; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1289, 1301-2, 1336, 1347-48, 1354; Add. 61459, ff. 170-73.
  • 376 Murray, iv. 591.
  • 377 Add. 61101, ff. 157-58, 163-64.
  • 378 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1383, 1387, 1390, 1396-7.
  • 379 Churchill, ii. 647.
  • 380 Murray, iv. 653; Morrison Cat. ser. 2, ii. 77; HLB ix. 129; Kent HLC (CKS), U1590/0139/9, Craggs to Stanhope, 11 Nov. 1709.
  • 381 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. p. xxxii; Kent HLC (CKS), U1590/0139/9, Craggs to Stanhope, 15 Nov. 1709; Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 46, ff. 169-70; Churchill, ii. 659.
  • 382 Kent HLC (CKS), U1590/0139/9, Craggs to Stanhope, 2 Dec. 1709; HMC Portland, ii. 209; HMC Downshire, i. 885-6.
  • 383 O. Field, Kit Cat Club, 219-20; Kent HLC (CKS), U1590/0139/9, Craggs to Stanhope, 16 Dec. 1709.
  • 384 Add. 72488, ff. 68-69.
  • 385 Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 478.
  • 386 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1408.
  • 387 Add. 61460, f. 154.
  • 388 Add. 61134, ff. 223-29.
  • 389 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1410.
  • 390 Harris, 164.
  • 391 Gregg, Queen Anne, 302-3.
  • 392 Add. 61460, ff. 165-66, 176, 179; Gregg, Queen Anne, 303; Churchill, ii. 662-69; Morrison Cat. ser. 2, ii. 81.
  • 393 Wentworth Pprs. 104-5, 108; Add. 61460, ff. 174-75.
  • 394 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1418-19.
  • 395 Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 548; Murray, iv. 694.
  • 396 Add. 72494, ff. 150-51.
  • 397 Murray, iv. 696; Add. 15574, ff. 65-68.
  • 398 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1425, 1438, 1441, 1445, 1453.
  • 399 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1433.
  • 400 Add. 72494, ff.157-58; 61367, f. 133.
  • 401 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1470-1.
  • 402 Murray, v. 17-18.
  • 403 Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 489; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1488, 1492.
  • 404 Add. 61133, ff. 196-97, 201-2; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1500.
  • 405 Churchill, ii. 713.
  • 406 Add. 70333, memo. 21 May 1710.
  • 407 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1493, 1499; Add. 61101, ff. 172-74; Add. 61118, f. 37.
  • 408 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1522.
  • 409 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1514-15, 1529-30, 1541-42, 1576; Add. 61134, ff. 202-3; 61148, ff. 206-7; Churchill, ii. 718-19.
  • 410 Holmes, ‘Great Ministry’, 67.
  • 411 Murray, v. 73, 78-79; Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 503, 507-8.
  • 412 Churchill, ii. 736, 740.
  • 413 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1567; Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 508.
  • 414 Add. 61127, ff. 109-10.
  • 415 Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 518; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1606, 1609.
  • 416 HMC Portland, ii. 218.
  • 417 Murray, v. 132, 139; Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 520, 521.
  • 418 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1590-91, 1625.
  • 419 Add. 61353, ff. 115-17; Harris, 174.
  • 420 Add. 70198, Gape to Harley, 6 Sept. 1710; Harris, 174.
  • 421 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1612, 1622-23.
  • 422 HMC 14th Rep. III, 210.
  • 423 Murray, v. 193, 217; Add. 61296, ff. 131-32; Add. 61136, ff. 159-60; Add. 61155, ff. 81-82; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1624.
  • 424 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1639; Murray, v. 176; Add. 61475, ff. 25-26.
  • 425 Murray, v. 185, 191-92, 201; Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 529, 531.
  • 426 DE/P/F56, Sunderland to Cowper, 19 Oct. 1710.
  • 427 HMC Portland, iv. 618, 620, 624.
  • 428 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1653.
  • 429 Kent HLC (CKS), U1590/0140/12, Craggs to Stanhope, 3 Nov. 1710; Churchill, ii. 772.
  • 430 Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 536.
  • 431 Add. 61464, ff. 16-20.
  • 432 Bolingbroke Corresp. i. 15.
  • 433 Harris, 175; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1658; Wentworth Pprs. 159; Holmes, ‘Great Ministry’, 82-83; Churchill, ii. 772; NAS, Montrose mss GD220/5/807/4.
  • 434 Bolingbroke Corresp. i. 29-30.
  • 435 HMC Portland, iv. 634.
  • 436 Bolingbroke Corresp. i. 25-26.
  • 437 Churchill, ii. 772-3.
  • 438 Cowper, Diary, 51.
  • 439 Add. 72500, f. 50; Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 671.
  • 440 Add. 72495, ff. 38-39.
  • 441 Swift Corresp. ed. Woolley, i. 323.
  • 442 Burnet, vi. 33.
  • 443 Add. 72491, f. 23.
  • 444 Cowper, Diary, 52; HMC Portland, iv. 635.
  • 445 Add. 72500, f. 51.
  • 446 Nicolson, London Diaries, 527; Morrison Cat. ser. 2, ii. 82.
  • 447 Add. 72495, ff. 38-39.
  • 448 Timberland, ii. 283, 301-3, 314-15; Montrose mss GD220/5/808/6.
  • 449 Murray, v. 252.
  • 450 Morrison Cat. ser. 2, ii. 83; Harris, 177; Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 538; Churchill, ii. 796-97; Wentworth Pprs. 174.
  • 451 Wentworth Pprs. 176-78.
  • 452 Nicolson, London Diaries, 536; HMC Mar and Kellie, 487.
  • 453 Wentworth Pprs. 179.
  • 454 Bolingbroke Corresp. i. 79-81.
  • 455 Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 538.
  • 456 HMC Townshend, 78.
  • 457 Add. 61353, ff. 141-2; Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 693-94.
  • 458 Holmes, Brit. Pols. 28; HJ, iv. 79, 83.
  • 459 NLS. Wodrow pprs. Letters Quarto V, ff. 142-41.
  • 460 Churchill, ii. 799, 806, 829; Swift v. Mainwaring ed. Ellis, p. xxi; Harris, 184.
  • 461 Add. 61134, f. 138.
  • 462 Churchill, ii. 823, 880-1.
  • 463 Churchill, ii. 816.
  • 464 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1662, 1668.
  • 465 Add. 61125, ff. 92, 98-99; 72491, f. 39; HMC Portland, v. 43; Churchill, ii. 836-37; Marchmont Pprs. ii. 77-78; Stowe 751, ff. 3-6.
  • 466 Harris, 185; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1682.
  • 467 HMC Portland, v. 50.
  • 468 HMC 10th Rep. I, 144.
  • 469 Longleat, Portland 3 f. 61.
  • 470 Cobbett, Parl. Hist. vi. 1051–52.
  • 471 Murray, v. 567; Churchill, ii. 898, 904.
  • 472 Holmes, ‘Great Ministry’, 142.
  • 473 HMC Bath, i. 217.
  • 474 Harris, 187.
  • 475 Add. 72500, ff. 63-64; Add. 17677 EEE, ff. 370-1.
  • 476 Burnet, vi. 77.
  • 477 Morrison Cat. ser. 2, ii. 85.
  • 478 Harris, 187; Swift Works, ed. Davis, vi. p. xi; Wentworth Pprs. 215; Add. 72495, ff. 106-7.
  • 479 Holmes, ‘Great Ministry’, 146-47.
  • 480 Haddington mss. Mellerstain letters IV, Baillie to Montrose 4 Dec. 1711.
  • 481 Add. 72495, ff. 108-9.
  • 482 PH, xxviii. 197-98; Add. 17677 EEE, ff. 388-93.
  • 483 Cobbett, vi. 1037-38.
  • 484 BLJ, xix. 157; Holmes, ‘Great Ministry’, 166; HMC Portland, ix. 316.
  • 485 Wentworth Prs., 226.
  • 486 Lincs AO, Massingberd Mundy mss, 2MM/B/5; KSRL, Moore pprs. 143, Charles Vere to Arthur Moore, n.d.
  • 487 Campbell, Lives of Ld. Chancellors, iv. 332-3; Holmes, ‘Great Ministry’, 183.
  • 488 BLJ, xix. 158.
  • 489 Wentworth Pprs. 233; Add. 17677 FFF, ff. 15-16; Churchill, ii. 909-10.
  • 490 Hamilton Diary, 91.
  • 491 Add. 61101, f. 183; Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 712; Correspondentie van Willem III en van Hans Willem Bentinck, ii. 715; HMC Portland, v. 158.
  • 492 Add. 61160, f.140.
  • 493 Cobbett, vi. 1079-1088.
  • 494 Churchill, ii. 930; Wentworth Pprs. 245, 258; Nicolson, London Diaries, 581; Jnl to Stella, ed. Williams 471; Churchill, ii. 934; Holmes, ‘Great Ministry’, 185; Add. 17677 FFF, ff. 35-37.
  • 495 Murray, v. 574.
  • 496 Marlborough-Heinsius Corresp. 571.
  • 497 Add. 61135, ff. 57, 59, 62-65.
  • 498 Swift Corresp. i. 416.
  • 499 Add. 17677 FFF, ff. 77-79.
  • 500 Add. 72500, f. 76; Add. 17677 FFF, f. 156; Add. 72495, ff. 134-35.
  • 501 Scots Courant, 21-23 Apr. 1712; Clavering Corresp. (Surtees Soc. 178), 148.
  • 502 Lockhart Pprs. 375; Burnet, vi. 145-46; Churchill, ii. 935.
  • 503 Add. 17677 FFF, ff. 315-16.
  • 504 Add. 61135, ff. 70, 85-86.
  • 505 Morrison Cat. ser. 2, ii. 93.
  • 506 Pols. in Age of Anne, 309.
  • 507 Add. 17677 FFF, f. 220.
  • 508 Boyer, Anne Hist. 570, 571; Lockhart Pprs. 389-93; Add. 72495, ff. 149-50; 72496, ff. 25-26; Add. 17677 FFF, ff. 225-27; Cornw. RO, Antony mss, CVC/Y/4/28; Morrison Cat. ser. 2, ii. 94; HMC Dartmouth, i. 309.
  • 509 PH, xxvi. 165, 179; Add. 17677 FFF, ff. 220-2.
  • 510 Timberland, ii. 375, 377-80.
  • 511 Christ Church, Oxf. Wake mss 17, f. 329.
  • 512 Harris, 189.
  • 513 Churchill, ii. 968.
  • 514 Verney ms mic. M636/54, Fermanagh, to P. Viccars, 7 Sept. 1712.
  • 515 Add. 17677 FFF, ff. 377-8.
  • 516 Leics. RO, DG 7 box 4950 bdle 24, Marlborough to Nottingham, 15 Sept. 1712, Sunderland to same, 26 Sept. 1712.
  • 517 HMC Portland, v. 238.
  • 518 HJ, xv. 595; Wentworth Pprs. 306; HMC Various, viii. 260.
  • 519 Churchill, ii. 973; Add. 17677 FFF, ff. 423-4, 430-1.
  • 520 HJ, xv. 594-95, 599; Harris, 190; TNA, SP78/157, f. 64.
  • 521 Stowe 751, f. 67.
  • 522 HMC 9th Rep. pt. 2, p. 472; HMC Verulam, 114; HJ, xv. 604.
  • 523 Add. 61125, ff.139-42.
  • 524 Cowper (Panshanger) mss DE/P/F56, Sunderland to Cowper, 1 Nov. 1713; HJ, xv. 604.
  • 525 HJ, xv. 606.
  • 526 Add. 61125, f. 143.
  • 527 HJ, xv. 609.
  • 528 Add. 72501, ff. 109-10; Harris, 199; HJ, xv. 595.
  • 529 Add. 61353, ff. 156-57.
  • 530 Gregg, Queen Anne, 389.
  • 531 HJ, xv. 611.
  • 532 TNA, SP78/158, f. 193; HJ, xv. 613-14; Harris, 201.
  • 533 Add. 72501, ff. 145-48.
  • 534 HMC Portland, v. 472, 474; Swift Corresp. ii. 5, 21; Harris, 202; HJ, xv. 615.
  • 535 HMC Portland, v. 662.
  • 536 HMC Carlisle, 42; Harrowby mss Trust, Ryder Diary, 28 Aug. 1741.
  • 537 Add. 17677 HHH, ff. 333-37.
  • 538 Churchill, ii. 1016; HMC 10th Rep. IV, 343; Wentworth Pprs. 410; Add. 72501, f. 155; Swift Corresp. ii. 49; Harris, 203; Bodl. Ballard 31, f. 128.
  • 539 Add. 70278, ‘the electorice’s Regents copied by Earl Rivers at Hanover’; Harris, 203.
  • 540 Add. 17677 HHH, ff. 341-3; Wentworth Pprs. 412-13.
  • 541 HMC Portland, vii. 201; Harris, 204.
  • 542 Churchill, ii. 1019.
  • 543 Wentworth Pprs. 422, 426; Cowper, Diary, 57; Letters of Thomas Burnet to George Duckett, 75.
  • 544 Harris, 207.
  • 545 HLB, ix. 138.
  • 546 Burnet, iii. 280; Churchill, i. 419.
  • 547 Brit. Stud. Monitor, 8, p. 10; Jnl. Soc. Army Hist. Res. xlv. 68; HLQ, xxx. 246.
  • 548 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 236, 388.
  • 549 Churchill, i. 423.