Memoirs of the Duke of Marlborough with His Original Correspondence: Collected from the Family Records at Blenheim, and Other Authentic Sources - Vol. 1

Memoirs of the Duke of Marlborough with His Original Correspondence: Collected from the Family Records at Blenheim, and Other Authentic Sources - Vol. 1

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Memoirs of the Duke of Marlborough with His Original Correspondence: Collected from the Family Records at Blenheim, and Other Authentic Sources - Vol. 1

Memoirs of the Duke of Marlborough with His Original Correspondence: Collected from the Family Records at Blenheim, and Other Authentic Sources - Vol. 1

Read FREE!

Excerpt

It is a singular fact, that no authentic Life of John Duke of Marlborough has been given to the public, especially when we reflect on the abundance of original and interesting documents preserved in the family records.

Sarah Duchess of Marlborough, indeed, collected and compiled nu. merous materials for the Life of her illustrious husband, and consigned the task to Messrs. Glover and Mallet, who were then conspicuous in the literary world. She intrusted to their care her valuable papers, and assigned by will the sum of one thousand pounds, to the author or authors of a History of the Duke of Marlborough, but clogged the bequest with a condition, that the work should he approved by her executors, and even added the whimsical injunction, that it should not contain a single line of verse.

Glover declined the undertaking, and Mallet never commenced the work. On his death, therefore, the papers, which had been intrusted to him, were restored to the family, and being, with others of no less value, deposited at Blenheim, were regularly arranged by order of the late duke.

Although accident and caprice prevented the great actions of the Duke of Marlborough from being displayed in their proper light, he could not pass uncelebrated, either by his own or by subsequent ages. We have, accordingly, many narratives of his life, printed in the various languages of Europe, and differing in merit and authenticity.

The earliest of these productions is a biographical sketch, concluding with 1713, the year in which it was printed, and is accompanied with a Life of Prince Eugene. It is anonymous, but is dedicated to his son-in-law, the duke of Montague, and exhibits evident proofs that the author had served under the command of Marlborough, and shared his confidence.

The next is that of Lediard, in three volumes octavo, printed in 1736. The writer was patronised by the duke, attended him during his journey into Saxony, and appears to have been a diligent observer. This work, which is principally compiled from Gazettes and other periodical publications, is minute in military details, and as authentic as the means of the author permitted. But although Lediard has introduced a few original letters, he was unable to obtain access to more private documents; and therefore, is frequently mistaken in tracing the motives of action, even in the field, and still more in developing the secrets of the cabinet.

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