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minds against him. But the queen would not allow him to go. They hereupon announced to her their determination to quit her service if he were retained in it, and, when she still remained unmoved, absented themselves from a cabinet meeting. Dartmouth (note to Burnet, v. 354) relates that Marlborough, after waiting on the queen to announce his intention, left her highly incensed, and that a kind of demonstration in her support was hereupon organised by a crowd of courtiers, doubtless tories. She had the mortification of seeing the incomplete cabinet break up before her eyes, after so trusted a minister as Somerset had declared it impossible to proceed without the general and the treasurer (Conduct, 212; Coxe, ii. 387–8; the presence of the queen is mentioned by Burnet). Even so she would not give way, nor was it till Harley had himself pressed his resignation upon her, and the Prince of Denmark had added his representations, that she summoned Marlborough to her presence and announced to him that she had agreed to Harley's withdrawal. On 11 Feb. he resigned his secretaryship of state, and a whig (Henry Boyle) was appointed in his place. St. John and two others likewise quitted office. It is to the credit of the queen's good nature that when, before Harley's dismissal, the duchess had declared to her that if the duke resigned his offices she must abandon hers, the queen had promised that should this event unhappily ever occur, she would bestow the duchess's offices among her daughters (Conduct, 213).

The public feeling against Harley was embittered by the news, which became generally known in March 1708, of French preparations at Dunkirk for an invasion of Scotland. The British government was forewarned in time, and though the French ships under Forbin, with the Pretender on board, reached the coast of Scotland, no response was apparent there, and the expedition returned to Dunkirk by April. Stringent measures were taken by parliament to prevent any outbreak in Scotland of the Jacobite zeal which had been found wanting at the critical moment, but at the same time care was taken not to goad the country into fury by inopportune severity; and St. Simon, in a noteworthy passage of his ‘Memoirs’ (iv. 106–7, 1862 edition), is eloquent in his praises of Queen Anne's conduct on this occasion. She had been encouraged by loyal addresses in which all parties joined; and it was observed that in her answer to one of these she for the first time adverted to her brother as ‘a popish pretender, bred up in the principles of the most arbitrary government’ (Coxe, ii. 400; cf. Court and Society, ii. 312). Yet when the question as to the treatment of the chevalier, should he be captured by the British fleet, had been mooted in council, the queen had shown great agitation and shed tears, so that the discussion of the matter could not be proceeded with (Tindal, cited by Somerville, 519 note). She must, by the way, have been disturbed if informed of the fact that in the interval between the sailing of Forbin's expedition and its return to Scotland, several episcopal clergymen—members of a body for which she had so warmly interested herself—had been prosecuted at Edinburgh for having officiated without the qualification of the oaths, and for having evaded the injunction to pray for the queen and the Princess Sophia (Burton, History of Scotland (1689–1748), ii. 29–30). With reference to more dangerous offenders, it may be added that in 1709 the law of treason in Scotland was made the same as that in England.

Notwithstanding the parliamentary addresses of December 1707, it was clear to Marlborough that success alone could sustain what popular feeling still existed in favour of the war. On 11 July 1708 he gained the long-contested victory of Oudenarde. France was now reduced to a condition in which it was impossible for her to carry on the struggle, and the fearful severity of the winter 1708–9 spread distress and famine through the land. Peace was therefore offered by Louis XIV, but on terms to which the British plenipotentiaries, Marlborough and Townshend, refused to listen. In May 1709 the king made the famous appeal to his people, with the result that, when the campaign of 1709 began, the French forces in the Low Countries were as numerous as those of the allies.

At home the strife of factions had continued round the queen. In the first instance the whigs, encouraged by the dismissal of Harley and his followers, pressed upon her the appointment of Somers to the presidency of the council, and, when she demurred to this, his admission into the cabinet without any office. The queen had at this time a personal objection against Somers, whom she regarded as the chief mover in the attacks upon the admiralty administration of her husband, and it was supposed that the prince, instigated by Admiral Churchill, was urging her to hold out. Godolphin supported the demand of the whigs, and Marlborough, on being appealed to by the queen, represented to her that, should she not accede to it, everybody would feel convinced