John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
General John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, 1st Prince of Mindelheim, 1st Count of Nellenburg, Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, KG PC (26 May 1650 – 16 June 1722 O.S.) was an English soldier and statesman whose career spanned the reigns of five monarchs.
- I have not time to say more but to beg you will give my duty to the Queen, and let her know Her army has had a Glorious Victory.
- Marlborough's message to Sarah Churchill scribbled on the back of a tavern reckoning while on horseback during the Battle of Blenheim (13 August 1704), quoted in Correlli Barnett, Marlborough (Wordsworth, 1999), p. 121.
Quotes about Marlborough
- What gave to this country the advantage in the war of the Spanish Succession was the genius and the overwhelming personal ascendency of Marlborough. ... It is due to him that England became one of the great Powers of the world, and next to France, the first of Powers.
- Lord Acton, 'The War of the Spanish Succession' (c. 1899–1901), Lectures on Modern History, eds. John Neville Figgis and Reginald Vere Laurence (1906), pp. 257-258
- Marlborough's talents had no flaw. As a strategist he saw clearly and simply the great issues – the relationship of war and policy, the interdependence between one theatre and another, the inter-relation between sea-power and land war. He constantly outwitted his enemies, one success paving the way for the next. As an organizer, he made a nonsensical military system work. His care for his troops, his understanding of them, led to his nickname of ‘Corporal John’. On the battlefield his grasp of confused tactical situations was uncannily clear and accurate; he kept cool and thought fast. To all these qualities he added unflexing will and resolution, and unflagging energy.
- Correlli Barnett, Britain and Her Army: Military, Political and Social History of the British Army, 1509–1970 (1970), p. 154
- I take with pleasure this opportunity of doing justice to that great man, whose faults I knew, whose virtues I admired; and whose memory, as the greatest general and as the greatest minister that our country or perhaps any other has produced, I honor.
- Lord Bolingbroke, Letters on the Study and Use of History (1752), quoted in Lord Bolingbroke, Historical Writings, ed. Isaac Kramnick (1972), p. 104
- He completed William's work in converting Britain from a peripheral and quasi-isolationist kingdom of little influence into a great power. He defeated the French bid to establish hegemony. ... [I]t can be claimed that he and his achievement lived on in the career of Winston Churchill...by studying his career and the reasons for his success Winston Churchill equipped himself for the supreme tests which he was to have to endure after 10 May 1940.
- J. R. Jones, Marlborough (1993), p. 234
- [I]n the ten campaigns he made against [the French]; during all which time it cannot be said that he ever slipped an opportunity of fighting, when there was any probability of coming at his enemy: and upon all occasions he concerted matters with so much judgement and forecast, that he never fought a battle which he did not gain, nor laid siege to a town which he did not take.
- Robert Parker, Memoirs of the most remarkable military transactions from the year 1683 to 1718. Containing a more particular account than any yet published of the several battles, sieges, etc. ... By Captain R. Parker ... Published by his son (1747), p. 214
- If he had been suffered to end the war which he so gloriously carried on, we should not have had the wars we have had since.
- William Pitt, speech in the House of Commons (23 November 1758), quoted in Richard Middleton, The Bells of Victory: The Pitt–Newcastle Ministry and the Conduct of the Seven Years' War, 1757–1762 (1985), p. 97
- His splendid military genius was united with an almost unparalleled evenness of temper, and a regard for, and sympathy with, his troops, which earned for him a devotion scarcely less than that which the Tenth Legion felt for Caesar, or the Old Guard for Napoleon. From a moralist's point of view, Marlborough's character was not faultless, but as a General he had few equals and no superior. He never fought a battle which he did not win, never besieged a city which he did not take, and, in spite of obstructive allies and jealous continental rivals, he curbed the aggression of France, and restored the balance of power in Europe.
- Lord Roberts of Kandahar, ‘Introduction’ (2 December 1898), Spenser Wilkinson (ed.), From Cromwell to Wellington: Twelve Soldiers (1899), p. viii