The independence of justice was established by a clause which provided that no judge should be removed from office save on an address from Parliament to the Crown. The two principles that the King acts only through his ministers, and that these ministers are responsible to Parliament were asserted by a requirement that all public business should be formally done in the Privy Council, and all its decisions signed by its members - provisions which went far to complete the parliamentary Constitution which had been drawn up by the Bill of Rights. The national union which had already been shown in this action of the Tory Parliament, now showed itself in the King's welcome on his return from the Hague, where the conclusion of a new Grand Alliance between the Empire, Holland, and the United Provinces, had rewarded William's patience and skill. The Alliance was soon joined by Denmark, Sweden, the Palatinate, and the bulk of the German States. The Parliament of 1702, though still Tory in the main, replied to William's stirring appeal by voting forty thousand soldiers and as many sailors for the coming struggle.
A Bill of Attainder was passed against the new Pretender; and all members of either House and all public officials were sworn to uphold the succession of the House of Hanover.
But the King's weakness was already too great to allow of his taking the field; and he was forced to entrust the war in the Netherlands to the one Englishman who had shown himself capable of a great command. John Churchill, Earl of Marlborough, was born in 1650, the son of a Devonshire Cavalier, whose daughter became at the Restoration mistress of the Duke of York The shame of Arabella did more perhaps than her father's loyalty to win for her brother a commission in the royal Guards; and, after five years' service abroad under Turenne, the young captain became colonel of an English regiment which was retained in the service of France. He had already shown some of the qualities of a great soldier, an unruffled courage, a bold and venturous temper held in check by a cool and serene judgment, a vigilance and capacity for enduring fatigue which never forsook him. In later years he was known to spend a whole day in reconnoitring, and at Blenheim he remained on horseback for fifteen hours. But courage and skill in arms did less for Churchill on his return to the English court than his personal beauty. In the French camp he had been known as "the handsome Englishman;" and his manners were as winning as his person.
Even in age his address was almost irresistible: "he engrossed the graces," says Chesterfield; and his air never lost the careless sweetness which won the favour of Lady Castlemaine. A present of £5,000 from the King's mistress laid the foundation of a fortune which grew rapidly to greatness, as the prudent forethought of the handsome young soldier hardened into the avarice of age. But it was to the Duke of York that Churchill looked mainly for advancement, and he earned it by the fidelity with which as a member of his household he clung to the Duke's fortunes during the dark days of the Popish Plot. He followed James to the Hague and to Edinburgh, and on his master's return he was rewarded with a peerage and the colonelcy of the Life Guards. The service he rendered James after his accession by saving the royal army from a surprise at Sedge-moor would have been yet more splendidly acknowledged but for the King's bigotry. In spite of his master's personal solicitations Churchill remained true to Protestantism; but he knew James too well to count on further favour.
Luckily he had now found a new groundwork for his fortunes in the growing influence of his wife over the King's second daughter, Anne; and at the crisis of the Revolution the adhesion of Anne to the cause of Protestantism was of the highest value. No sentiment of gratitude to his older patron hindered Marlborough from corresponding with the Prince of Orange, from promising Anne's sympathy to William's effort, or from deserting the ranks of the King's army when it faced William in the field. His desertion proved fatal to the royal cause; but great as this service was it was eclipsed by a second. It was by his wife's persuasion that Anne was induced to forsake her father and take refuge in Danby's camp. Unscrupulous as his conduct had been, the services which he rendered to William were too great to miss their reward. He became Earl of Marlborough; he was put at the head of a force during the Irish war where his rapid successes won William's regard; and he was given high command in the army of Flanders. But the sense of his power over Anne soon turned Marlborough from plotting treason against James to plot treason against William. Great as was his greed of gold, he had married Sarah Jennings, a penniless beauty of Charles's court, in whom a violent and malignant temper was strangely combined with a power of winning and retaining love.
Churchill's affection for her ran like a thread of gold through the dark web of his career. In the midst of his marches and from the very battle-field he writes to his wife with the same passionate tenderness. The composure which no danger or hatred could ruffle broke down into almost womanish depression at the thought of her coldness or at any burst of her violent humour. He never left her without a pang. "I did for a great while with a perspective glass look upon the cliffs," he once wrote to her after setting out on a campaign, " in hopes that I might have had one sight of you." It was no wonder that the woman who inspired Marlborough with a love like this bound to her the weak and feeble nature of the Princess Anne. The two friends threw off the restraints of state, and addressed each other as "Mrs. Freeman" and "Mrs. Morley." It was on his wife's influence over her friend that the Earl's ambition counted in its designs against William. His plan was to drive the King from the throne by backing the Tories in their opposition to the war as well as by stirring to frenzy the English hatred of foreigners, and to seat Anne in his place.