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The Life and Diary of Lieut. Col. J. Blackader
Chapter XI


CAMPAIGN FOURTH, 1705

Preparations and Sketch of the Campaign——Captain Blackader embarks for Holland—Rejoins the Regiment—Letters—Army march to the Moselle—Return disappointed—French lines forced—Misconduct of the Allies—Captain Blackader’s Remarks—Letters— He returns to Rotterdam—Obtains a Major’s Commission.

The exploits of Marlborough and Prince Eugene were now the theme of universal admiration. They were regarded as twin constellations in glory, and all Europe resounded with their applauses. On his arrival in England, the Duke was complimented iii the most flattering terms, and received the thanks of both Houses of Parliament. The memory of his distinguished services was perpetuated by the most substantial marks of royal favour. The manor of Woodstock was bestowed upon him, where a magnificent palace was huilt, and named in honour of his great victory at Blenheim. Foreigners were not less grateful than his own country. He was created, by Leopold, a Prince of the Empire; the territory of Mindelheim being, for that purpose, erected into a Principality.

But these splendid conquests were not productive of all the advantages that might have been expected to result from them. France, though impoverished and discontented, was not yet exhausted. The despotism of Louis, in a great degree, rendered him superior to his straits and embarrassments. By arbitrary compulsions, he was enabled to overcome the reluctance of his subjects, and replenish the coffers of his treasury; and to the astonishment of Britain and her Allies, he again entered the field with armies as numerous and well equipped as they had been in any year since the commencement of the war. Marshal Villars, with 70,000 men, lay encamped on the Moselle; while Villeroi, with a smaller force, commanded in Flanders.

The Duke of Marlborough’s plan was to open the campaign, of this year, on the Moselle, by attacking Villars, and pushing the war into the interior of France. D’Auverquerque, as formerly, was to carry on operations in the Netherlands. On the 26th of March, the Duke departed for Holland; and having concerted measures at the Hague, he marched his army towards the Moselle, which he reached on the 30th of June. In a few days he was within sight of the enemy, who were encamped on the same river, near Syrk. Magazines of ammunition, and stores of all sorts were formed at Triers. The Prince of Baden was expected to join the Confederate army, and to co-operate with them in the same plan. Various events, however, concurred to disconcert the Duke’s projects, and render his schemes abortive. He was mortified with disappointments from the quarter where be had looked for succour, and at the very time when he hoped to reap unfading laurels, by giving a. final blow to the power of France. The Prince of Baden failed to perform his engagement. In a fit of pretended sickness, which was supposed to be at the reputation of his illustrious colleague, he - quitted his army; and neither expresses nor expostulations could prevail with them to hasten their approach. Villars was too advantageously posted, and too strongly fortified, to he attacked by an inferior force. He had swept the country of forage and provisions, and thus rendered it impossible for a large army to subsist in his neighbourhood.

By the treachery and tardiness of his friends, and the masterly arrangements of his foes, the Duke saw himself constrained to relinquish his designs of offensive hostilities on the French frontier. Under these mortifying circumstances, he was compelled to march back to the Maese, where the state of the war demanded his assistance. The enemy, in that quarter, had not failed to profit by his absence, having retaken Huy, and attempted the reduction of Liege. He left Triers on the 19th of June, and with incredible expedition, arrived before Liege, in time to save the citadel; for upon his approach, Villeroi caused his artillery to be drawn off, and sent back to Namur. This changed the whole face of affairs in the Netherlands, and enabled the Allies to become the assailants in their turn. In order to retrieve his misfortunes on the Moselle, and make atonement for the misconduct of Prince Lewis, he resolved to attack the French within their own lines, and force them from their intrenchments, which was immediately accomplished, the /enemy being repulsed with great slaughter. This, with some other successes, under Baron Spar, closed the operations for this year; hut from the sluggishness of the Germans, and an envious opposition on the part of some of the Dutch officers, it was far deficient in military glory to the preceding campaign. We now return to Captain Blackader, who was on a recruiting party in Scotland; and this short sketch will prepare the reader for the extracts we are to lay before him.

January 5. Hearing a sermon this day, on a subject I was much delighted with—how the angels were employed in taking care of the saints, and the many offices of kindness they do us, and how we are given in charge to them to look after us. It reminded me how wonderfully I was delivered last campaign—the angels encamping about me, and putting a hedge of security around me and all that I had.

January 6. This morning set apart for secret and joint prayer. I hope we had access to God, and were accepted.

January 12. My mind harrassed all day with business. In the evening taken up with company, and involved in sin by idle, foolish conversation, which defiles the soul.

January 14. Taking great pleasure in hearing a sermon on the Providence of God directing and disposing all things. This is a comfortable doctrine to me, who am as great an instance of the care and kind conduct of Providence as any in the world.

Some proposals for his advancement being made about this time, he remarks with his characteristic diffidence and humility:—

January 18. I am so far from seeking preferments or great things for myself, that I am really afraid of higher posts in the world, and sincerely think I am unfit for what I have already. Lord, teach me in every thing to be humble, and to seek thy. council and conduct, even in the smallest particulars.

January 26. Easy and cheerful. In the evening I designed to go abroad, hut was kept at home by Providence; and I bless God for it. I was alone all the evening, which I employed in reading, meditation and prayer. I had access to the throne of grace, and one of the kindest visits that I have had since I came to Scotland. I poured out my soul to God, and told him every thing in my heart without reserve. My former petitions that I had put up were answered, and I had that word fulfilled, I ham heard thee in an accepted time. My doubts and fears that seemed before like great mountains, were now cast into the sea, and I saw, as it were, this promise written, Be it unto thee, even as thou wilt.

February 15. This vexing trade of recruiting, depresses my mind. I am the unfittest for it of any man in the army, and have the least talent that way. Sobriety itself is here a bar to success. I see the greatest fakes are the best recruiters. I cannot ramble, and rove, and drink, and tell stories, and wheedle, and insinuate, if my life were lying at stake. I saw all this before I came home, and could have avoided coming ; but it was the hopes of enjoying the blessings of the gospel that brought me to Scotland, more than recruiting; though I do not deny that I had an eye to that also.

February 20. Hearing of our going abroad, and much encouraged by that promise, Exod. xxxiii. 14/

My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.

February 25. I complain of disappointments in Scotland. I have not got that good of gospel ordinances that I wished and expected. I experience also vexation in other things about the business of the regiment. But I shall wait and have patience. I hope to have reason to praise God before I leave the country, That his way is the best, and that he orders all things well.

At this time he expresses an inclination to have left the army, intending to purchase a property, that he might reside in Scotland; hut was dissuaded by his friends.

March 10. I see the hand of Providence appearing about our going abroad. O Lord, do as seemeth good to thee, either by stopping or furthering us; thou only canst direct our ways. I desire to he resigned.

March 23. Toiling all the morning embarking men. Business prospering and going on well. I see Providence orders every thing better than I could do myself.

March 25. Sabbath. Heard a sermon upon that subject, Exod. xiv. 15. the passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea. It was lively and suitable, and came home to me with power and life. I hope it is by the Lord’s command I go forward, and having his orders, I trust I shall have his presence and conduct; and though they had the Red Sea in their way, and insuperable difficulties, yet they obeyed, and this engaged Omnipotence to work miraculously on their behalf. He can do the same still to those who trust in him,

March 31. Embarking this day at Kirkaldy; committing myself, my wife and family, to the conduct and care of a kind God and Father, who must he our convoy and safe-guard.

April 1. Weather blowing and tempestuous.

April 4. Alarmed this morning by the motions of some French privateers appearing and coming close to us, and waiting on us most of the day. In the afternoon the ships retired, but appeared again and came up to us in the evening, and followed us all the night. I bless God I was easy and composed.

April 5. Disordered by stormy weather, contrary winds, and fears of a tedious voyage. Privateers hovering about us all the day. A life at sea is the true emblem of a-Christian’s life, tossed up and down while here; But there remains a rest.

April 7. Landed this day, but not at the port designed; being chased in here by fear of enemies and storms.

April 8. Reached Rotterdam.

April 12. Leaving Rotterdam and going up to the regiment; at night came into the Busse.

April 17. Taken up all day in preparations for marching. More easy and composed this year in going out to the camp than last.

April 20. Marching out of the Busse. I trust God will accompany me, and keep me from the infection of bad company, which is the greatest discouragement I have in the army.

April 22. Sabbath. Marching all day. This is what I hate most. Nothing but cursing, swearing, and profaneness, as if hell itself had broken loose about me.

April 23—30. Marching every day.

May 1. Arrived at Maestricht.

May 2. Got account this day that we are to inarch to the Moselle. I will not fear any evil, for God is a tried God to me there already. I remember the 15th of May last year, one of the most notable deliverances I have met with. .

The same day he wrote to his wife at Rotterdam, giving her a farther account of his destination, of which he had till then been uncertain.

Maestricht, May 2.

You see I neglect no opportunity of letting you hear from me. We are come up this length, though I could not give you any account in my last, how we were to he disposed of; but now I can tell you. We are to be reviewed to-morrow by the Duke, and we are to march on Friday straight up the country to the Moselle. I commit myself to the same God who has hitherto dealt so bountifully with us, and wrought such great deliverances for me. I bless his name that I am every way well as I could wish, hearty and cheerful. I hope to hear the same account of you. Live by faith and you shall not want comfort. I know not where this shall find you, for the Colonel tells me his Lady is not at the Busse, so I think you are probably all gone to Rotterdam together. I have not seen William Young, (my nephew,) his regiment is just now marching to join the camp. You see I have altered my seal and chosen another motto, Separez de corps et non de coeurs. I write in haste, as I have many things to do in this town before marching. The Lord’s blessing rest with you. I am thine.

J. B.

To Mrs. Blackader, Mr. Montier’s, 7 Merchand, Scots Dyke, Rotterdam.

From Maestricht the army marched to Treves, which they reached on the 17th of May. From, the camp near this place he wrote again the following letter to his wife:

Near Treves, May 15.

We are now come within two days march of Treves, and are resting this day, which gives me the opportunity of writing. It is said we are to join Prince Lewis’ army on the other side of the Moselle, and what we are to do next I do not pretend to tell you. Perhaps the French will he so strong that we will not think it advisable to attack their lines; and you know Prince Lewis is not thought rash of fighting. But all this is hut poor comfort, and not to trust to I confess, so I recommend you to go for support where you have already had it, and where all needy humble believers should always have it. The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous flee to it and are safe. I told you before, that I in particular, beyond many others, need not fear to go to the Moselle, for God is a tried God to me, and I have the experience of a remarkable preservation there already.

I bless God I am well, easy, and cheerful, more than I have been since I went to Scotland,—and now, except my being absent from my dearest joy on earth, there is almost nothing else that troubles me; but in that as in all things else, I desire to trust God cheerfully, hoping a comfortable meeting in God’s own time. All things about me have been right and well ordered. My company is very well, and my horses hold out well upon this long journey. At writing this we have the worst weather I have seen at this time, of the year. It is just now showering snow and hail, and so cold that I am forced to lay aside the pen to draw on my hoots. The Lord’s blessing rest with you. I am, &c. J. B.

To Mrs. Blackader, 7 Scots Dyke, Rotterdam, j

The march still continuing, he reached Treves on the 17th. A letter to his friend Mrs. Balderstone, in Edinburgh, is dated from this place, two days after his arrival.

Treves, May 19.

I have never had time, before now, to salute you and your kind husband by a line; for we were not well in our garrison till we had orders to march out, and we have been marching now this month almost every day. The Lord was merciful to us on our voyage; for though we had the French privateers about us almost every day, and sometimes within cannon shot, yet by the goodness of God they did us no harm. Dear friend, I invite you to extol the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. He has in mercy removed much of that melancholy and chagrin that I was sometimes troubled with in Scotland, and helps me to trust in him cheerfully : the sweet experience of the last campaign, and the wonderful deliverances I met with, do help much to strengthen and bear me up, and I am no way afraid of going into Germany again this year. We have indeed a very wicked army, which is a great discouragement; and I am weary of dwelling in the tents of sin. I see not how good people can pray with confidence for success to it, only that we have a good and just cause, though we be foul-fingered hands that manage it; and we see by our last year’s success, that God can in his sovereignty use any instruments he pleases for carrying on his own work, and I doubt not hut he shall get glory by us, either one way or other. We know not well yet where we are going, or Avhat we are to do. I know I need not hid you mind me, for, as you tell me, I am laid on you as a charge, that you must mind me; and pray, go on, for you are well paid for your pains. You serve a good master, and get something for yourself when you ply the throne of grace for your friends. The Lord’s blessing rest with you and your family. I am, &c.

J. B.

Mrs. Balpeiistone, Edinburgh. .

The following is another letter to his wife, of the date of the 20th :

Camp near Treves, Sabbath.

I wrote to you from Treves on Friday last. The same night, when I came home to the regiment, I found a letter from you, dated May 5—8, wherein you tell me of the Colonel’s Lady going to Coblentz, and the inclination you had of going with her, if you had orders from me; and that you think I consult your ease more than my own inclination. I answer, you need not doubt hut my inclination would lead me to have you always near me, and if both of us had our wills and wishes, we would never be parted at all. But you must consider, it is not by inclinations we are to be led, but by duty,—and I am persuaded it is your duty to stay still at Rotterdam; considering that you have the gospel there, good company, edifying conversation, time and opportunity to serve God, advantage of living by faith, and trusting him with a husband who is far from you.

On the other hand, you will find no solidity or weight in reasons for coming up the country, hut the fond inclination of seeing that which we love. There is no pleasure in living in a Popish country without the gospel. Make good use of it; it is a mercy not to be slighted. You know you are not fitted for travelling, and should you meet with any accident by the way, you would not have peace. But I need not use many words, when I know you would obey the very thoughts of my heart if you knew them ; and I hope you shall be no loser by being in your duty. You will remember last campaign, how Providence gave us a comfortable meeting several months sooner than others who travelled many miles to see their husbands.—We are lying still here near Treves, and what we are to undertake I know not, nor care not. There is no great probability of fighting this summer, that I can see; but this is not to make you secure. It is all one for God to preserve from danger, or in the midst of danger. The Lord’s blessing rest with you. I am, &c. J. B.

Mrs. Balckader, Rotterdam.

May 20—24. Marching every day. Walking alone, and meditating along the banks of the Moselle. Drawing near the enemy, and in prospect of fighting.

June 2. Resting this day; quietly reading over the 126th Psalm, and applying the promises to myself.

The army at this time was encamped near Syrk ; and from this place he dates another letter to his wife.

Camp near Syrk, June 2.

I received your letter with the inclosed to Captain

Lawson. You have no reason to quarrel, for I have taken all occasions upon the march to write; and sometimes after fatiguing marches, when others lay down to sleep, I sat up and wrote to you. Many of my fellow-officers write their wives only once in two months. I ought, both as a soldier and a Christian, to wish that I loved earthly enjoyments less, and that I kept a looser hold of them. I think I could part with all other comforts pretty easily, without much regret, except thyself. I wish I may not provoke a holy God who seeketh the whole heart, and ought to have it all.

There is no news since my last. We are still lying here, expecting more troops to join us. But we must look above all human help, to that God who hath hitherto covered my head in the day of battle; he only is my sure defence. We hear the French are making progress in Flanders, and besieging Huy. Brigadier Hamilton’s Regiment is in it.

Let me know what you are at present reading. I find Mr. Rutherford’s book very sweet and comfortable. May the experience of God’s goodness to us both, make you cheerful and easy; and trust in him generously without fear or doubting. You will always find that God bestows mercies on his people, proportionably as they believe on him, and according to the trust they put in him. Let us not then bind up his hand, nor stop the course of our own mercies by misgiving fears, unbelief, or narrowness of heart, My love to all who are kind to you. I am thine.

J. B.

To Mrs. Blackader, 7 Mr. Montier’s, Rotterdam. J

June 5. Getting account this day that we are to inarch hack again, just down the same way we came up. Travelling all night, yet easy, and committing my way to God.

Camp near Treves, June 7.

When I wrote to you last, I had no news; but now this is to acquaint you with news which, I believe, will not be displeasing to you.. We are upon our march back, down to Holland, the French are so strong there, and making such progress; and measures here being a little disconcerted, appear to be the reasons of this march. We are to go towards Liege or Maestricht, but it is all one to me, up the country or down; for the earth is the Lord’s, and wherever he gives his presence, I care not what place it be. I just now received your letter, wherein you beg a thousand pardons, for quarrelling me without reason. I take your submission, and pardoned you before you sought it. You know I have that in my breast, that you need never fear .my resentment; though indeed I take it ill to be quarrelled with on these two very heads that I piqued myself most upon—writing often, and writing kindly. But I see I should not make an idol of any thing I do. There is always most ease and satisfaction, when we are found precisely in the way of duty. Then we are kept in perfect peace, or else the being sure that we are in the road of duty, makes trouble easy. I am very thankful to God.I have such a wife, who needs not commands or authority to oblige to duty, and needs no more but to have duty pointed out, and to be advised to it; and I do you but justice to say, that I have always found that duty, and the sense of duty, pleasantly determines both your judgment and your will, to whatever side it calls, though inclination should murmur against it. May the Lord prepare you for the approaching solemn occasion, and doubt not but I shall mind you. Have exalted noble thoughts, by faith, of the Master of the feast, of his liberality and bounty, then shall you Taste and see that God is good. I am thine. J. B.

To Mrs. Blackader.

June 10. Still marching down the country. Being Sabbath, I retired much of the day, and rode alone, to be out of the hearing of such company and such language.

June 19. Coming back to Maestricht again. I bless God for his preservation of me all this long march, up and down. Wherever we set up our standards, there have I some memorial of his mercy to set up. If we encamp on the banks of the Maese, there I had my Ebenezers fourteen years ago, and also great deliverances two years ago. If we encamp on the Moselle, I had my preservations there last year. If on the banks of the Danube, I have Schellenberg and Hochstet. Wherever I go, I meet with some remembrancer to stir me up to gratitude and thankfulness, and to beget confidence and trust for the time to come.

June 21. Crossing the Maese. This day has been a fatiguing long march, continuing from three in the morning, till eleven at night. A great many of the army fell by with weariness, and some died, it being a scorching hot day. I bless God for his mercies to me, for my health and strength, and the good accommodation I have in a camp, which make me live easy and well, while others (better than I) are miserable, and serve in bitterness of soul.

June 23. Marching all day. Uneasy with hot weather. A soldier’s life is an odd unaccountable way of living. One day too much heat, another too cold. Sometimes we want sleep, meat, and drink; again, we are surfeited with too much. A bad irregular way of living.

June 26. Short march. Lying near the enemy (at Liege.) I commit myself to thee, O Lord, and put my trust in thee. I will not be afraid, though an host encamp against me. Through thee I shall do valiantly. I fetch all my supplies from thee.

June 27. Taken up during the day, judging of criminals in a court martial. Seeking the conduct of the Spirit of God to judge uprightly and righteously.

July 2. On command these three days. I had the charge of about 1500 artillery horses, which made me somewhat uneasy, as fifty men might easily have come and taken hundreds of them. I have just got notice from the officer who succeeded me in that post, that the enemy fell in and carried off 100 of them. I own it was neither my care, nor prudence, nor conduct that prevented this misfortune, but purely the goodness of Providence to me, who watches over me continually. Employed again this day in a court martial; well guided and directed; I bless God I was there as a judge, and not as a criminal. It is only his grace that makes me differ from the worst of men.

July 4. This morning putting my hand to a small affair before prayer, it went wrong. I checked myself that I should undertake any thing before prayer, so I went to my knees; and after prayer I set about the same affair, and went through it with easel. I observe this, that I may he encouraged, the first thing I do in the morning, to commit myself and all my ways to God; and put all I have within the hedge of his protection. . . '

July 6. The day quietly spent. In the evening I went out to meditate in the fields, and I observe it as a mark of the Spirit of God guiding and influencing me, I had more access and enlargement in prayer than ordinary, and was helped to act faith very strong, trusting in God, and believing that if he were with me, I durst attack the French lines alone; and that a straw in the hand of Omnipotence, is better than Go-liah’s spear. In returning home, it came into my mind to ask a sign; but I immediately checked the thought as sinful, saying to myself, “I’ll trust the Lord’s word and promise without any sign,” I had no sooner said this, than a bullet came whistling close by my head, shot at'random by a soldier cleaning his piece. I wist not what to think of it; but I said within myself, this is the promise accomplished, Psalm xci. He will give his angels charge over thee; thou shalt not he afraid of the arrow (or bullet) that flieth by day.

All this while I knew nothing of what was doing in the army; but when I came home, I found that our regiment and the whole army had orders to march immediately. We guessed it was to attack the French lines; accordingly we marched at nine o’clock at night in great silence, and marched all night. It was one of < the sweetest nights I ever had in my life. Faith lively; access to God, and communion with him; trusting him, and securing myself in the chambers of his grace and mercy, so that I had no manner of fear or concern of any danger that might be before me; the stock of strength and courage being in Christ’s hands, and not in my own. Sensible of my weakness, I was determined to come every moment, as the occasions of the day might require, to draw fresh supplies out of Christ’s fulness. I did so, and he was a liberal master, he supplied me bountifully with courage to do my duty creditably in the functions of my post. O Lord, I give thee all the praise and glory; none of it belongs to me, for I trade hut with a borrowed stock. I desire to allow myself in no other ambition, hut of serving thee, and laying out myself and all thou givest me for thy glory and service; and if thou give me any credit in this army, I desire to lay it down at thy feet. If it make me more capable of serving thee in the army, I seek no other advantage of it. I find that a good exhortation, Be careful about nothing ; for though I am far from a pushing ambitious temper as others are, yet Providence takes care and gives me occasions, like this, of acting honourably, and puts me in posts that I was neither expecting nor seeking; and when these occasions are over, I can return to my own way again with contentment.

July 7. We attacked the French lines this morning, and got in much easier and cheaper than we expected. The lines were partly forced and partly surprised, for the French had a part of their army there, hut not sufficient to make head against us ; not knowing that we were to attack them at that place; for there was a feint made to attack them in another part, which made them draw their forces that way. Our horse had some action with them, and heat them wherever they encountered them. Our foot had nothing to do, for the enemy fled before they came up. As I said before, the Lord assisted me, and gave grace and strength as I needed. Through the day, and in the intervals of action, I plied the throne of grace by prayer, and he carried me through well.

July 8. Sabbath. Marching all day. We seem to have committed a great error, neglecting the opportunity of pushing our victory by marching straight on between them and Louvain. The French, by marching all night, have prevented us, and got before us, and stopt us. This shews us men are but men; that there are flaws and weaknesses in the wisest mens’ prudence. One day a great heroic action, and the next, perhaps, a great blunder. We seemed also, by too much wariness, to have neglected a fair opportunity of attacking them on their march, or in their camp. But let God alone have the glory, and all flesh be grass.

It was confessedly an oversight in the Allies to allow the enemy, when they were driven from their lines, and might have been attacked a second time with advantage, io possess themselves, without molestation, of the strong camp at Parck, whereby they secured Louvain, Brussels, and Antwerp. But this error is not to be imputed to the Duke of Marlborough, who had projected a second attack before they had time to recover from their consternation, and was preparing to put it into execution. In this scheme, he was supported by M. D’Auverquerque, but opposed by the other Generals of the States, especially by Schlangenburg, who, it is said, had a personal pique against the Duke. He persuaded some others of the Dutch commanders to join him, representing the enterprise as neither advisable nor practicable. The Duke, in consequence, was obliged to submit, though with great reluctance, and much mortified that his sanguine hopes should be disappointed of closing the campaign with distinguished glory. He mentions himself, in a letter, that he had formed the troops in order of battle; but that the Deputies of the States having consulted their other Generals, would not consent to it, so that he was compelled to abandon a project which promised all imaginable success. The Deputies themselves appear to have become sensible of their mistake, and approved of the Duke’s conduct, so far as to remove Schlangenburg from the army.

July 9. Resting this day over against the enemy. The town (Louvain) between us, which is firing upon us, and some of the bullets coming in among our tents; but little hurt done.

July 10—11. The firing still continuing briskly, but no hurt done: that promise was made good, Psalm iii; I laid me down, and slept; I awaked, for the Lord sustained me. I will not fear though ten thousand were against me round about. I lay at my post two days; and just as I was writing this, some cannon balls, shot from the town, came close over my tent, and lighted among those in the rear, but did me no harm. We are all fretting and uneasy about this mismanagement and blunder, that we have not im-proven our victory as we ought to have done; and I am fretting among the rest.

July 12. Removing our camp this day out of the reach of the town’s cannon. To-morrow is appointed by the General to he observed through the army in thanksgiving for our success, and prayer. God grant that we be not found mocking him in this exercise, when these mouths come to His service hot from cursing and swearing, pretending to thank “God for mercies they have no sense of; and when the work is over, return to their trade of swearing and blasphemy. But, Lord, whatever the army do, make me single, and fervent, and tune my heart to praise and gratitude.

I see plainly the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. Providence laughs at men’s projects, and often works by disappointments, and contrary to their expectations. Our passing the lines was a pleasant disappointment, for we were far from expecting such success, a victory so cheap. But then again, here was a gallant army, that (humanly speaking) might have carried all before them, beat the enemy, and possessed all this country; yet Providence steps in and again disappoints us, for we stopt short by blundering in the midst of so fine a career. It is the Lord’s doingsj and wonderous in our eyes; he says to the purposes of men, as to the raging waves, Hitherto shall ye come and no farther.

There is a letter to his wife, of this date, from the camp near Louvain, in which he makes a recapitulation of some things already taken notice of.

Thursday, July 12.

I wrote you the good news of our having passed the lines, and I now write you again in an advanced post, near the enemy. Yesterday we had a bickering with them, but the water was between us, and it was only the picquets of regiments that were engaged. Lieutenant Dalrymple was wounded in the head, but not badly. We have hot lost one man in the regiment as yet. We are all fretting that we have made such a mistake—as we might probably have been masters of this country.

I believe you will be pretty much concerned for me at present, considering the circumstances we are in, and the news you will be hearing daily; but be not afraid for me, be not concerned, I am in good hands.—The Lord is my defence, I shall not be moved; he is my fortress, my shield and buckler, and my strong tower.—Continue you to trust him cheerfully. You must not only believe when all goes fair before the wind; then any body may believe;'but you must believe when all is in hazard; and there must be a time between the promise and the accomplishment ; and this is the season of the trial of faith.— My best advice to you is, to be humble, watchful, circumspect, and self-denied.

I was on command some days ago, and had the charge of, 1500 artillery horses : it was an alert post, and par ties, thick about me, &c. I can give you no account of our operations, or what we are to undertake next; probably we must try to make some farther progress, and to reap some fruits of our passing the lines. Be not you anxious about it. Take no notice of reports of news or stories flying about. .You are too much impressed with these. Providence often works against all our probabilities, and it signifies not what people, even the wisest of them, either think or say. I am thine. J. B.

To Mrs. Blackader, Mr. Montier’s, I Merchand, Scots Dyke, Rotterdam.

July 18. Here (near Louvain) have we been stopt these ten days; hut we are now going to march again, towards the enemy I believe. If the Lord would lead Us on as the Captain of our host, then we would do great things; hut without his presence the smallest obstacle will stop us. Marching all night to attach the enemy: it has been a pleasant night to me. I rely on the Divine promises, and cast the weight of my soul upon the well-ordered Covenant. Acting again in an honourable post, wherein I was well assisted to go through it creditably. In all the intervals of business and of action, I was sensible of the goodness of God. Our army got another check and mortification this day, (19) for we did not succeed in passing the water, (the Dyle) and dislodging the French. They did not heat us, nor did Ave lose any men; hut our General, it seems, found the thing in prudence not practicable, and that we could not pass at that place. Such of our troops as did pass,' beat the enemy from their posts. I observe this throughout the campaign, that in all our encounters with the French, Providence lets us see we are fully masters of them, and-can easily heat them, for they appear in our hands like a cur matched against a mastiff. But at the same time we are prevented, and kept, as it were, in a chain from giving them a total rout: For either we let occasions slip when they are put in our power, or we greedily pursue occasions when it is not the will of Providence to firvour us. But I hope our chain shall yet he loosed, and Ave shall he successful. Arise, O Lord, let thy enemies he scattered; for they are thy enemies as well as ours. I am very much fatigued with our march, for we were twenty-two hours under arms, and so my spirits are not lively, especially for want of sleep. The enemy cannonaded us on our march, hut did us no harm, for we came safe to our camp at night.

The skirmish here referred to, was that which took place on the 30th of July, between Louvain, and the village of Neerysche. The Duke being informed that several posts on the Dyle, between these places, were but slightly guarded, resolved to force them, in order to pass the river. The Duke of Wirtemberg, and Count Oxenstiern, with a part of the troops, were ordered on this service. They decamped about eleven at night, and reached the enemy’s posts by three next morning. Some battalions of grenadiers crossed the river on bridges, and repulsed the French Guards with great vigour; but not being timely supported, they were obliged to retire with the loss of a few officers, and about fifty privates. 2 On whom the blame of this misadventure rests, is not well explained. Captain Blackader merely says, their Commanding Officer judged it impracticable, yet he was himself plainly of a different opinion ; and was evidently dissatisfied at losing so many opportunities of fighting. For the first time we find him here differing in opinion with his superiors, and venturing a short military critique on the operations of the army since their action on the 7th.

July 25. As to public affairs, when I think upon our conduct this campaign, we seem, in my weak judgment, to have committed several mistakes and weaknesses since we attacked the lines. I say not this to reflect in the least on Generals or their conduct, but only I would be a narrow observer of providences ; which rules the successes and victories of armies as it pleases. First when we attacked the lines in the morning, they were surprised; and we easily beat all the troops that made head against us. Their army was coming up, hut in no great order; and if we had pushed the attack vigorously with the troops we had over, or kept them in play with our horse till the foot had come up, in all probability we had routed them. But instead of that, we suffered them quietly to retire, and stood and looked on. Then in the next place, if we had but posted our army so as the right had run to Judoigne, and the left to Tirlemont, we had lain just across their way, that they could hardly have got by us; whereas, we camped about. Tirlemont, and so gave them a passage clear to get before us again. .

Then again, if we had but marched on three hours farther that night, and had taken up the pass and strong camp of Parck, we had been betwixt them and Louvain, and all that country: But instead of that, we lay still at Tirlemont, and the French, by marching all night, got before us, and stopt us at Louvain. Then again, though we had rested all night, if we had hut marched next morning at day-break, we had fallen upon them in their march, weary and unawares. But we lay still till nine o’clock; and, as it was, our army came in sight of them, while their foot was passing the Dyle in great haste and confusion; and if we had attacked them even then, in all human appearance we had heat them. But we suffered them to pass quietly, and then cut off their bridges.

Then the next day after we had encamped at Louvain, our pickets and some regiments marched to the right, to the water side, and fired upon them. Our men had no cover, hut the French had breast-works along the river side; and so we got a great many men wounded, and some killed, foolishly and to no purpose. Then on the 18th we marched all night, designing to pass the water, and surprise the enemy as we had done at their lines, and had over ten or twelve battalions who took post on a village on the other side, which they beat the French from. It is true our horse could not pass there; but it is granted by all, that our foot might have passed, and taken their posts, and kept them in spite of all the French army ; because we were reckoned superior to them by 25 or 30,000 men. But instead of that, those that were over were ordered to come back, and take off our bridges; and so we marched off. The French, by their mien, did not look as if they would stand to it, but came up stragglingly and hovering off at a distance, that they might retire in case we pushed over the water : But the battle is not always to the strong Providence laughs at man’s projects.

Such were Captain Blackader’s sentiments with regard to the operations and lost, opportunities of the army; and there can be no doubt, this indecision would not have happened, had the Duke of Marlborough not been thwarted in his measures by the tardiness or timidity of the States’ Deputies and their Generals.

While near Tirlemont he writes again to his wife, to relieve her anxiety after the recent engagement.

Camp near Tirlemont. Monday, July 23.

I believe you have been pretty uneasy these four or five days by-gone, by not hearing from me since our late action with the French; though I comfort myself in the hopes of this, that the manifold experience you have of my preservation and deliverances, makes you trust God more fixedly than before, without unbelieving fears. I could not possibly write to you on Thursday, the post day, for that was the day of our action ; and we were in arms from Wednesday night at ten, marching all night, till Thursday at eight at night. We were to have attacked the French by passing the water that is between us and them; so we marched silently all Wednesday night to the left above Louvain; and by break of day our detachments were at the water-side, where we were to pass, and laid on bridges without opposition; for the French were surprised in the same manner as before at the lines, and made no head against the regiments that crossed. But unluckily, it seems there was a mistake as to the place, for when the General came up he found it was not practicable for the horse, as the place was marsh ground. In the mean time, the foot were still passing the bridges, and bad taken post on the other side, and had beat some brigades of the French from their posts; but the General, finding the horse could not pass, sent orders for the foot to come back, which they did without any loss; for the French never charged them, only they brought down a battery of some cannon to the water-side, and played upon our lines as they were marching, but did very little harm, and so we got safe to our camp.

This action is variously talked of; commended and censured according to men’s various humours. Some are of opinion, if we had gone over with our foot only, that we had beat them; for when we observed their motions first in the morning, they seemed to he irresolute and wavering whether they should come up to defend the passage or retire towards Brussels. Others think it was prudently done, not to risk our army to an affront, when our horse could not act. But whatever it he to the army, I look upon all God’s ways of dealing with me to he mercy and goodness,—and I believe myself to he as sound and safe in the chambers of his Omnipotence, faithfulness, and love, in time of action, as if I were with you at Rotterdam.

Our whole army seemed to he mighty keen and eager to he at the French, and were uneasy and out of humour when ordered to retire. I do believe, by the blessing of God, we would have heat them if we had gone over. For I observe this, all this campaign, that in all skirmishes between us and them, it appears we are masters of them, and could heat them as easy as a mastiff worries a cur-dog; but at the same time I observe that we are, as it were, chained down, and cannot get them soundly beat. It is currently believed here, that both at the lines and now, it is the States and their Generals that hinder us to fight, and to improve our advantages as we might. So that if you have a value for my safety and preservation, you should go and thank the States for it.

I hope this letter will come seasonably to your hand; though I flatter myself that you are quite another woman, for a masculine and strong heart, than you - were the first or second campaign. You have more reason, more experience of God’s goodness, and I hope more grace. You will excuse me if I add a fourth cause; that you begin now to be an old married wife, and should be settled and calm.

I am thine. J. B.

Mrs. Blackader, Rotterdam.

July 27. My mind is getting becalmed again with lying.idle, and I now begin to wish for action, because it rouses the spirits into activity. This day, three of my men were taken prisoners, and the other day two of them deserted. This is a providence that I do not well understand. Most Captains of the army know nothing but to curse and swear at their men. I ordinarily every day put them, by prayer, within the circle of God’s protection. But I believe every dispensation to me is fraught with mercy and kindness.

August 2. The very morning of this day is an Ebenezer. The day of Hochstet,—a day much to be remembered for the wonderful mercy and deliverance I got. The Lord wrought a great salvation for us that day; he delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me. A thousand fell at my side, and ten thousand at my right hand, but it came not near to me, but in a way of remarkable mercy and favour; for though the ball was at my throat, the angel of the Lord held it as he did the knife in Abraham’s hand. I cried unto the Lord, and he answered me. I employed this day in meditating on these things; and there was a thanksgiving appointed by the General for commemorating that great day.

August 3—6. Marching every day, but very uneasy; scorching hot weather—my horse sick—and my servant in the hospital.

August 7. This day there was a great preparation, and all the appearances and dispositions for a battle. We were to attack the enemy (twenty battalions of us) through the wood (of Soignies.) The action threatened to be a bloody one, for they were well fortified, and occupied a strong post at Waterloo. The time we were lying in the wood, I retired frequently for meditation. The enemy was so strongly posted, that it was thought impracticable to attack them, so we were ordered to draw off at one o’clock, having marched at nine in the morning. I observed at our coming off, what a poor weak creature man is of himself. There came a panic fear, and surprise among the soldiers at the head of the line, that before they knew what they were doing, they rolled and turned back oiie upon another, from one regiment to another, and knew not what hand to turn them to. I thought upon that Scripture, One man shall chase a thousand. It was over in two minutes; they came to themselves and were ashamed. Late at night we came to our camp, and lay on the bare ground all night for want of our tents, for we thought they were all taken by the French, and indeed they were very near it.

August 8—16. Marching back to the camp at Tirlemont.

These operations are more enlarged upon in his letters, of this date, from which we shall make one or two selections.

Wavre, August 9. Thursday.

I believe you may be somewhat anxious by not hearing from me these eight days; for we have been marching since Friday last, still courting the occasion of falling upon the French; but Providence still disappoints us, and balks our projects. On Tuesday there was all the preparation, and dispositions, and appearance of a pitched battle ; and if it had come to a battle/ in all probability it had been one' of the bloodiest most of us ever saw. But when we came up to them, we found them so strongly posted and fortified, that it would have been a butchering . to have attacked them in their camp. There was also a stratagem to be used, which, if it had taken effect, would probably have decided the battle in our favour. There were twenty battalions, (ours was one,) and horse conform, that were to march through a wood and post ourselves quietly in the wood till we should hear that the battle was fully joined. Then We were to come out and attack them in the rear. Accordingly we marched at three in the morning, and posted ourselves in the wood, where we stayed till three; afternoon. General Churchill commanded us; but the Duke finding it impossible to attack them, as I said, we came off.

I have still reason to say, that times of fighting and action, and prospects of danger, are the pleasantest times I have; and I should be well satisfied to have every day the same prospect of danger, to have the same supplies and furniture of faith in Christ, relying upon the well ordered Covenant- I trusted much to that promise, Josh. i. 9, which was strongly impressed upon me.

We are now drawn off farther from the enemy, and there is no more talk of attacking them; and in all probability there is but little appearance of any more action this campaign. I will not say what Providence may do, which ordinarily works by disappointment of expectations. You may thank your friends the Hollanders again, for it is said generally, that we owe it most to them, our sleeping in a sound skin on this occasion; and that they were positively against fighting there. However it he, it seems Providence will not work by these means ; not this time at least. It has been a fatiguing march this week by-gone, and we have had very little rest. I lost five men in that camp, two by desertion, and three taken prisoners. The Lord’s presence and blessing be with you. I am thine. J. B.

Mrs. Blackader, Rotterdam,

Monday, August 13.

We are marched yesterday still farther from the enemy, so that the appearance of action grows less, and we scarcely expect to see the Messieurs this campaign again. But let me warn you, as thoughts of action wear out, not to let castles in the air come, in their place; for at the very time you wrote of coming to Aix-la-Chapelle, we seemed to be upon the brink of; a battle, where probably ten thousand had lain on the spot. For my part, I dare not allow myself in wishing earnestly to be in garrison, (though I be weary enough of the camp,) or to wish that it were peace; for without God’s presence and blessing, the garrison and winter would be but a melancholy time. Comforts and enjoyments, when we expect much satisfaction from them, may he blasted, and a time of peace may be more troublesome than war. I have cause to bless God while I live, for the bountiful supplies of his grace and spirit that he gives me in times of war; and if he should withhold these from me in peace, I should wish to he hack to the camp, and in action every day. It is his presence alone that can make any place, any lot, any condition happy.

The campaign is slipping away, and I hope God will give us a comfortable meeting at the end of it. We are going to take St. Lewe; and our regiment having been on command when we expected to fight on Tuesday, we do not think it will he our tour to be on the siege. About your coming to Aix, I do not think it safe or convenient. If I thought it would benefit, your health, I would order you there; but I may say in jest, it is because you are promised a temporal blessing, and as Papists go to our Lady of Lo-retto to get favours, so you would go to Aix; but with this difference, they expect their favours by way of miracle, you would have it by means.

They begin now to talk of peace, and that proposals are making; I know nothing of them, only if we had improven our success at the passing of the lines, as we might have done, and if we had got Brabant, it might perhaps have procured a peace very soon: but we must look to a higher hand, and the scourge of war must continue till God have wrought his purposes by it. Let him be exalted in the earth. Remember me to all kind friends. I am thine.

J. B.

Mrs. Blackader, Rotterdam.
St. Lewe, August 20.

We are now marched back to the lines, and are lying covering the siege of St. Lewe. It is observable that we have, been these six weeks marching and counter-marching, and seeking all occasions of coining at the enemy, yet our prospects have been blasted, and we have been kept as a lion in chains, and cannot get out. There seems also to be a spirit of division sown among our generals, and as long as it continues I never expect we shall do any great things. I confess I begin to turn more dull than when the prospects of danger and death were more frequent. God gives the charges suitable to the errands he sends us on.. If he sends us among snares and temptations, he gives the more grace; if he do not send difficult errands, we need the less expenses. Blessed be God who has borne us both so well through. O that we may have grace to pay our vows when he deals so bountifully with us, and to walk before him in all holy circumspect tenderness, as becomes the children of so many mercies. The Lord’s rich blessing be with you. I am thine. J. B.

Mrs. Blackader, Rotterdam.

P. S.—August 27. St. Lewe is over when we thought it was but beginning; which gives us a new proof, that the French, if they be well holden to, are no formidable enemy. We are now demolishing the lines here-about, after which I believe we shall march. These three men of mine that were taken, I have got again, they were exchanged.

Early in September he left the army to return to Rotterdam.

September 7. Travelling this day, but not so serene, being continually in company. I slipped off from the party on pretence of hunting, and retired alone where I had sweet and spiritual meditation. I look upon it as a great merey that I have left the camp so soon; for I wearied more these twenty days by-gone, than I had done all the campaign. .

September 8. Coming in to the Busse this day. Next day set out for Rotterdam: we were very late upon the water.

September 11. Here have I reason to he grateful; after a eampaign of fatigues, hazards, and dangers, the Lord has brought me back safe to this place, and given me a comfortable meeting with my wife. He has'compassed me about with songs of deliverance.

He continued in Rotterdam for some time, enjoying the ordinances of the gospel, and the fellowship of religious people, which was always his greatest happiness. “I am always,” says he, “cheerful and merry in good and innocent company. Perhaps I am now too much so, but I would wish to commend religion by a cheerful conversation, to convince the world that religion does not make people sour and morose.”

About the middle of October he returned again to die Busse, where he got the melancholy news of Brigadier Ferguson’s death.

September 13. I got the surprising account of our Brigadier’s death, with which I was greatly affected. Man’s breath goeth out, to earth he turns, that day his thoughts'perish. O the vanity of human grandeur ! He was just come from court, where he was sent for that he might be raised a step higher for his services.

September 15. This day we were employed in the funeral of our Brigadier.

November 1. This day our regiment came in tu the Busse, and I went out to meet them.

Several promotions were at this time to take place, and his among the rest, as appears by the following letter to Mrs. Balderstone," Edinburgh :

Busse, November 7. 1705.

I received the kind letter you wrote to me in summer, and I cannot but observe how seasonably it came first to my wife’s hand just at the communion of Rotterdam, and then to my hand. It came just upon our march, when we were going to attack the French, and the army was” halting in sight of the enemy. This gave me an opportunity to retire for an hour or two alone in the fields, at a hedge side; and there I looked over all the Scriptures that you' had sent me, and was helped to act faith, leaning on those sweet promises. But I thought some of them gave such high titles, that I blushed to take them; though, as to the spiritual part and accomplishment of a promise, I think no promise so large or great, but the believer, though mean otherwise, may lay hold of it. I wrote you to rejoice that another campaign was brought to a happy issue. I was never better borne through or supported, particularly when there was any appearance of fighting or action; and I could have wished all the campaign to have been made up of those days, to have had such liberal allowances of grace. I must confess at other times, when we were idle, I was, as it were, becalmed, and grace at a stand; but still new providences, especially surprise and danger, stirred me up to more vigorous acting.

Our Brigadier is dead. Lieutenant Colonel Borth-wick is putting in for the regiment; Major Cranston to be Lieutenant Colonel, and I, as oldest Captain, to be Major, I know not how it will go, but I desire to be very easy, go as it may. I must confess I am grown weary of living in the tents of wickedness, in a place of so much profanity as an army is, especially now that I am growing grey-headed in following the regiment. I would desire a quiet retreat out of the noise of drums and oaths, but a wise God knows best what is good for me. I desire to trust him cheerfully with all that concerns me. Remember us kindly to your husband, and pray let me hear from you soon.

' Yours, &c. J. B.

Mrs. Balderstone, Edinburgh.

In the beginning of December, he went to the Hague on the business of his promotion, and had a conference with the Duke of Marlborough, who was there on his way to England.

December 12. At court here for several days, where I have but little to say, and no body to speak well for me. I talked this forenoon with the Duke about my business, and got a good answer, (for none ever get ill words from him.) But I lay no stress upon these things, I look above them. I am incapable of making my court to great men, though I know how to make moyen with Him who is greater than all. He will dispose of things the way that shall be best for me. If He smile upon me, I envy not the Duke of Marlborough in his own post.

December 15. Got my Major’s commission this day. I wish it may not be a burden too heavy for my weak shoulders. I see Providence brings about my affairs, as well as theirs who have dexterity to manage them.

December IT. Coining back to the Hague from Rotterdam. We have a proverb, Meat and mess never hindered any man. I lost nothing by going away, all my business went on well and smoothly. I found more friendship and credit at Rotterdam than I expected ; and when I came to the Hague, my affair had taken such a good turn, that it has saved me 2000 merks I thought to have been out of pocket. I met with far more generosity and kindness than I could ever have looked for from that quarter.


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