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Prince of Orange attempts to raise the
but is forced to retreat.
the raising the siege. Upon his appearing,
the Duke of Orleans, to whose particular siege of Sit conduct the care of that siege was commit
ted, drew off from before the place, leaving scarce enough of his men to defend the trenches. The Prince was under the necessity of marching his forces over a morass ; and the Duke, well knowing it, took care to attack him near Mont Cassel, before half his little army were got over. The dispute was very sharp, but the Prince being much out-numbered, and his troops not able, by the straitness of the passage, to engage all at once, was obliged at last to retreat, which he did in pretty good order. I remember the Dutch troops did not all alike do their duty; and the Prince seeing one of the officers on his fullest speed, called to him over and over to halt; which the officer in too much haste to obey, the Prince
him a slash over the face, saying, “ By this mark I shall know you another time.” Soon after this retreat of the Prince, Saint Omers was surrendered.
St Omers surrenders.
Upon this retreat, the Prince marching back, lay for some time among the boors, who, from the good discipline which he took care to make his troops observe, did not give us their customary boorish reception. And yet as secure as we might think ourselves, I met with a little
passage confirmed in me the notions, which the generality, as well as I, had imbibed of the private barbarity of those people, whenever an opportunity falls in their way. I was strolling at a distance from my quarters, all alone, when I found myself near one of their houses ; into which, the doors being open, I ventured to enter. nobody when I came in, though the house was, for that sort of people, well enough furnished, and in pretty decent order. I called, but, nobody answering, I had the curiosity to advance a little farther, when, at the mouth of the oven, which had not yet wholly lost its heat, I spied the corpse of a man so bloated, swoln, and parched, as left me little room to doubt, that the oven
had been the scene of his destiny. I confess the sight struck me with horror; and as much courage and security as I entered with, I withdrew in haste, and with quite different sentiments, and could not fancy myself out of danger till I had reached our camp. A wise man should not frame an accusation on conjectures; but, on inquiry, I was soon made sensible, that such barbarous usage is too common among those people; especially if they meet with a straggler, of what nation soever.
This made me not very sorry when we decamped, and we soon after received orders to march and invest Charleroy ; before which place we staid somewhat above a week, and then drew off. I remember very well, that I was not the only person then in the camp that was at a loss to dive into the reason of this investiture and decampment; but since I at that time, among
the politicians of the army, never heard a good one, I shall not venture to offer my sentiments at so great a distance.
marches towards Mons.
We, after this, marched towards Mons; Army and, in our march, passed over the very grounds on which the battle of Seneff had been fought three years before. It was with no little pleasure that I re-surveyed a place, that had once been of so much danger to me; and where
my memory and fancy now repeated back all those observations I had then made under some unavoidable confusion. Young as I was, both in years and experience, from my own reflections, and the sentiments of others, after the fight was over, methought I saw visibly before me the well-ordered disposition of the Prince of Condé; the inexpressible difficulties which the Prince of Orange had to encounter with ; while at the same moment I could not omit to repay my debt to the memory of my first patron, Sir Walter Vane, who, there losing his life, left me a solitary wanderer to the wide world of fortune.
But these thoughts soon gave place to new objects, which every hour presented themselves in our continued march to En
ghien, a place famous for the finest gardens in all Flanders, near which we encamped, on the very same ground which the French chose some years after at the battle of Steenkirk; of which I shall speak in its proper place. Here the Prince of Orange left our army, as we afterwards found, to pass into England; where he married the Princess Mary, daughter of the Duke of York. And after his departure, that campaign ended without any thing further material.
Now began the year 1678, famous for the peace, and no less remarkable for an action previous to it, which has not failed to employ the talents of men, variously, as they stood affected. Our army, under the Prince of Orange, lay encamped at Soignies, where it was whispered that the peace was concluded. Notwithstanding which, two days after, being Sunday the 17th day of August, the army was drawn out, as most others as well as myself apprehended, in order to a feux de joye; but in lieu of