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With this force, tempted by the battering train, Charles committed the error of wasting his strength on a siege of Stirling Castle, instead of preparing to annihilate the English troops, which were in rapid advance upon him.After the Painting by BIRKET FOSTER, R.W.S.
The congress had opened at Aix-la-Chapelle early in the spring, but it did not begin its sittings till the 11th of March, 1748, Sandwich being sent thither as our Plenipotentiary. The campaign, however, opened simultaneously, and, could Cumberland and the king have managed it, war would soon have overturned the hopes of peace; but circumstances were too much for them. The Prince of Nassau, ambitious as he was of military renown, failed to bring into the field his Dutch levies; the thirty thousand Prussians, as Pelham had expected, did not appear. The Dutch, so far from furnishing the sums they had engaged for, sent to London to raise the loan of a million sterling; but London itself had ceased to be a money-lending place. The war had drained the resources even of the British capital. To complete the deadlock, Marshal Saxe advanced into the field, and showed to the world that, though Cumberland might beat an army of famine-exhausted Highlanders, he was no match for him. He completely out-generalled him, made false demonstrations against Breda, where the Allied army lay, and then suddenly concentrated his forces before Maestricht, which, it was evident, must soon fall into his hands. Maestricht secured, the highway into Holland was open.
Landor sat and heard them out, silence on his lips and wrath upon his brow. "We will go wherever you say," he reiterated immovably.
Encouraged by their success against the commercial treaty, the Whigs demanded that the Pretender, according to the Treaty of Peace, should be requested to quit France. It had been proposed by the French Court, and privately acceded to by Anne, that he should take up his residence at Bar-le-duc or Lorraine. The Duke of Lorraine had taken care to inquire whether this would be agreeable to the queen, and was assured by her Minister that it would be quite so. As his territorythough really a portion of Francewas nominally an independent territory, it seemed to comply with the terms of the Treaty; but the Whigs knew that this was a weak point, and on the 29th of June Lord Wharton, without any previous notice, moved in the Peers that the Pretender should remove from the Duke of Lorraine's dominions. The Court party was completely taken by surprise, and there was an awkward pause. At length Lord North ventured to suggest that such a request would show distrust of her Majesty; and he asked where was the Pretender to retire to, seeing that most, if not all, the Powers of Europe were on as friendly terms with the king as the Duke of Lorraine. Lord Peterborough sarcastically remarked that as the Pretender had begun his studies at Paris, he might very fitly go and finish them at Rome. No one, however, dared to oppose the motion, which was accordingly carried unanimously. On the 1st of July, only two days afterwards, General Stanhope made a similar motion in the House of Commons, which was equally afraid to oppose it, seeing that the House was still under the Triennial Act, and this was its last session. The slightest expression in favour of the Pretender would have to be answered on the hustings, and there was a long silence. Sir William Whitelock, however, was bold enough to throw out a significant remark, that he remembered the like address being formerly made to the Protector to have King Charles Stuart removed out of France, "leaving to every member's mind to suggest how soon after he returned to the throne of England notwithstanding." The addresses carried up from both Houses were received by the queen with an air of acquiescence, and with promises to do her best to have the Pretender removed. Prior, in Paris, was directed to make the wishes of the public known to the French Government. But this was merely pro forma; it was understood that there was no real earnestness on the part of the English queen or ministry. Prior, writing to Bolingbroke, said that De Torcy asked him questions, which for the best reason in the world he did not answer; as, for instance, "How can we oblige a man to go from one place when we forbid all others to receive him?" In fact, the Abb Gualtier, in his private correspondence, assures us that Bolingbroke himself suggested to the Duke of Lorraine the pretexts for eluding the very commands that he publicly sent him.