Queen Anne - Marlborough's Campaigns

William was succeeded by his sister-in-law, ANNE, second daughter of the late James II; a princess now thirty-eight years of age, and chiefly remarkable for her zealous attachment to the church of England. The movement against the king of France had not been confined to Great Britain; it was a combination of that power with the emperor of Germany and the states of Holland. Queen Anne found it necessary to maintain her place in the Grand Alliance, as it was termed; and the Duke of Marlborough was sent over to the continent with a large army to prosecute the war in conjunction with the allies. Now commenced that career of military glory which has rendered the reign of Anne and the name of Marlborough so famous. In Germany and Flanders, under this commander, the British army gained some signal successes, particularly those of Blenheim and Ramillies; in Spain, a smaller army, under the chivalrously brave Earl of Peterborough, performed other services of an important kind. The war, however, was one in which Britain had no real interest for it has been seen that Spain has continued under a branch of the House of Bourbon without greatly endangering other states.

A party, consisting chiefly of Tories, endeavored, in 1706, to put an end to the war; and France was so much reduced in strength, as to concede all the objects for which the contest had been commenced. But the people were so strongly inspired with a desire of humiliating France, which in commerce and religion they considered their natural enemy, that some ambitious statesmen of a contrary line of politics were enabled to mar the design of a treaty. Among these was the Duke of Marlborough, who, being permitted to profit not only by his pay, but by perquisites attached to his command, wished the war to be protracted, merely that he might make his enormous wealth a little greater. It was in consequence of these unnecessary interferences with continental politics, urged chiefly by the people, and by a class of statesmen popular at the time, that the first large sums of the national debt were contracted.