On the following morning, being Monday, the Ministers came to the resolution of entering the baronet’s house by force; and, as he sat at breakfast with a considerable company of friends, an attempt was made by a man to enter by the window, which he broke in trying to raise the sash. This man was secured; but a more successful party of officers below dashed in a window on the ground floor, and soon appeared in the drawing-room. Sir Francis was seized and, still struggling and protesting, was conveyed to a carriage. Then, escorted by the military, he was taken to the Tower, amid tremendous crowds, crying “Burdett for ever!” A strong force had occupied the passage through the City, and had drawn up before the Tower before the arrival of the party with the prisoner, whom they had taken round by 佛山桑拿0757 Pentonville and Islington. The scene during the conveyance of Sir Francis into the old fortress was indescribable for tumult and yelling. As the soldiers were returning they were hooted and pelted with stones, and at last they lost patience and fired, killing two persons and wounding several others.
The whole of London was thrown into great agitation, and Sir John Anstruther that evening, in the House of Commons, was very severe on the Ministers for not taking more decided measures for the protection of the metropolis. The next day the letter of Sir Francis was taken into consideration. Many severe strictures were made on his conduct, and even Whitbread contended that the Speaker’s warrant was perfectly legal, and that Sir Francis had done a great injury to the cause of Reform by stirring up a riot in the prosecution of a constitutional question. There was a call for the 佛山桑拿按摩全套体验 expulsion of the Radical baronet from the House; but as this would have produced a new election in Westminster, by which he would certainly have been returned afresh, that was prudently abandoned.
On the 13th of April the Speaker read to the House a notice which he had received, that a bill would be filed against him, in the Court of King’s Bench, to try the validity of his warrant in this case, and the House ordered the letter and the notice to be entered on the Journals. On the 16th Sir Samuel Romilly moved for the discharge of Gale Jones; but Windham observed that a meeting of the electors of Westminster was announced for the morrow, to take into consideration the case of their representative, and that to liberate Jones at that moment would be sure to be attributed to fear on the part of the Commons. The motion was, therefore, rejected.
The meeting of the Westminster electors the next day, held in Palace Yard, under the 佛山桑拿东莞蒲友论坛 very walls of Parliament, was attended by vast crowds, and the tone of the speakers was most indignant. They justified the letter of their representative to themselves; denounced the conduct of the Commons as oppressive, arbitrary, and illegal, tending to destroy the popular liberties; and they approved highly of the baronet’s spirited resistance to the forcing of his house. They called for his liberation, and for that of the unjustly incarcerated Mr. Gale Jones. They drew up a letter to Sir Francis to this effect, to be presented to him in the Tower by the high bailiff of Westminster; and they prepared a petition and remonstrance to the House of Commons in equally spirited terms, which was presented the same evening by Lord Cochrane. The Honourable J. W. Ward, afterwards Lord Dudley and Ward, opposed the reception of the petition as highly indecorous, and as violating the dignity of the House; but Whitbread defended it, and even Canning and Perceval excused, in some degree, the tone of the petition in the circumstances. It was 佛山夜生活论坛 ordered, therefore, to be laid on the table.
In the meantime, coroners’ inquests had been held on the two men who were shot by the military. In the one case the jury brought in a verdict of “justifiable homicide;” but, in the other, of “wilful murder” against the soldiers. On their part, the Government offered a reward of five hundred pounds for the discovery of any one who had been guilty of firing at the soldiers, 佛山桑拿会所全套 and an additional one of five hundred pounds for the discovery of the person who had fired at and wounded Ensign Cowell, whilst on duty at the Tower, the night after the committal of Sir Francis. The Reform party in the Commons demanded whether the Government did not intend to offer a reward for the discovery of the soldiers who had fired at and wounded several of the people, and killed two of them. Whitbread moved that an inquiry should be instituted into the justice of the verdict of “wilful murder” against the soldiers, and in this he was seconded by William Smith of Norwich; but Captain Agar, who had been on duty, declared that the people had fired the first shot, and the Premier got rid of the question by asserting that an inquiry was already going on into the circumstances of the riot, and that it was not for Parliament to anticipate it.
During the Easter recess, popular meetings were held condemning the conduct of Ministers and calling for Parliamentary Reform. On the meeting of the House again, a very strong petition, bearing rather the character of a remonstrance, was presented from the electors of Middlesex by Mr. George Byng, on the 2nd of May. The Ministerial party declared that the petition was an insult to the House; but the Reformers maintained that not only the language of the petition, but the whole of the unhappy events which had taken place, were the direct consequences of the corrupt character of the representation, and of the House screening from due punishment such culprits as the Duke of York, Lord Castlereagh, etc. The petition was rejected; but the very next day a petition of equal vigour and plainness was voted by the Livery of London, and was presented on the 8th, and rejected too. The House had grown so old in corruption, that it felt itself strong enough to reject the petitions of the people. A memorial was presented also on the same subject from Major Cartwright, one of the most indefatigable apostles of Reform, by Whitbread, and this was rejected too, for the major pronounced the committal of Sir Francis a flagrantly illegal act.
As Sir Francis Burdett had commenced suits, not only against the Speaker, but also against the Sergeant-at-arms, and against Lord Moira, the Governor of the Tower, for his arrest and detention, the House of Commons appointed a select committee to inquire into the proper mode of defence, and it was determined that the Sergeant-at-arms should appear and plead to these indictments, and that the Attorney-General should be directed to defend them. Though these trials did not take place till May and June of the following year, we may here note the result, to close the subject. In the first two, verdicts were obtained favourable to the Government, and in the third the jury, not agreeing, were dismissed. These trials came off before Lord Ellenborough, one of the most steady supporters of Government that ever sat on the judicial bench; and the results probably drew their complexion from this cause, for the feeling of the public continued to be exhibited strongly in favour of the prisoner of the House of Commons. He continued to receive deputations from various parts of the country, expressive of the sympathy of public bodies, and of the necessity of a searching reform of Parliament. Whatever irregularity might have marked the proceedings of the radical baronet, there is no question that the discussions to which they led all over the country produced a decided progress in the cause of a renovation of our dilapidated representation.
The prorogation of Parliament, on the 21st of June, liberated both Sir Francis and the unfortunate president of the debating society, Mr. John Gale Jones. On the morning of this day vast crowds assembled before the Tower to witness the enlargement of the popular baronet. There was a great procession of Reformers with banners and mottoes, headed by Major Cartwright, and attended by Mr. Sheriff Wood and Mr. Sheriff Atkins; but as Sir Francis apprehended that there might be some fresh and fatal collision between the military and the people, he prudently resolved to leave the Tower quietly by water, which he effected, to the deep disappointment of the populace. No such excitement as this had taken place, on a question of right between the House of Commons and an individual member, since the days of Wilkes.
The other measures of Parliament during this Session were these:—In the House of Lords Lord Holland, and in the Commons Henry Brougham, moved for addresses to his Majesty, exhorting him to persevere in his efforts to induce the Governments of other nations to co-operate in the abolition of the slave trade, and to take measures for putting a stop to the clandestine practice of British subjects yet carrying on this trade in a fraudulent manner, as well as to adopt plans for preventing other evasions of Mr. Wilberforce’s Act. Mr. Bankes introduced a motion for rendering perpetual his Bill to prevent the grant of offices in reversion, and such a Bill was passed in the Commons, but rejected in the Lords.
A Bill for Parliamentary Reform was introduced by Mr. Brand, and debated with unusual interest, owing to the events connected with Sir Francis Burdett, but was, of course, rejected by a large majority. The day for such a measure was yet far off. There was a motion made by Mr. Parnell regarding tithes in Ireland; another by Grattan and Lord Donoughmore for Catholic emancipation; and a third by Sir Samuel Romilly for reform of our criminal code—all necessary, but yet long-to-be-deferred measures. Lord Melville also introduced a plan of great importance into the House of Peers, namely, to substitute Government war vessels for the conveyance of troops to their destinations abroad. He showed that not only was there immense and flagrant jobbing going on between the Government Transport Board and the merchants from whom they hired ships on such occasions, but that these all tended to the misery and mortality of the soldiers; that the transport vessels hired were often not only inconveniently small, necessitating very uncomfortable and unhealthy crowding, but they were also frequently crazy, unseaworthy craft, badly manned, and ignorantly commanded by very ordinary skippers. He showed that a great amount of the mortality attending the transport of our troops to distant shores was owing to this cause, and that all might be avoided, and a considerable pecuniary saving effected, by employing none but Government vessels, roomy and clean, and commanded by officers duly qualified. But no such necessary and humane scheme was likely to be cordially supported by an unreformed Parliament. Mr. George Rose also obtained leave to bring in a Bill for a more questionable object. It was to augment our navy by bringing up the children of such people as became chargeable to parishes at Government naval schools, and thus regularly appropriating them as sailors. He estimated these children at ninety thousand, and calculated that these schools would furnish seven thousand sailor-boys per annum. It was a scheme for a press-gang system commencing with the cradle.
The supplies for the present year were voted to the amount of fifty million one hundred and eighty-five thousand pounds. No new taxes were to be levied, but there was to be a loan of eight million pounds. This money was distributed as follows: twenty-five million pounds to the land service and ordnance, twenty million pounds to the navy, a subsidy to Portugal of nine hundred and eighty-eight thousand pounds, and to Sicily of four hundred thousand pounds.
ARREST OF SIR FRANCIS BURDETT. (See p. 597.)
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aspect of affairs in Spain at the commencement of 1810 was gloomy in the extreme. Scarcely a town, fortress, or army remained to the Spaniards; yet, perhaps, never did Napoleon feel a deeper anxiety concerning it. The spirit of the people had shown that it could not be easily subdued. He might beat its regular troops, and compel the surrender of cities, after long and severe sieges, but there still remained a whole population hostile to him. Throughout all the mountain districts the inhabitants might be said to be still in arms against him, and there was a fire burning in the general Spanish heart that might at any moment blaze up into a dangerous flame, or, if not, must wear out his troops, his energies, and his resources. Napoleon had yet to discover that it is impossible to subdue the people of a mountainous country, so as
to rule them in peace, if they are at heart opposed to the ruler.
Yet, looking at Spain from a mere momentary point of view, its condition was sad enough. Saragossa had undergone a second siege, in which the inhabitants had again made a brilliant stand, and caused the French much loss and suffering, though compelled at length to surrender. The battle of Oca?a, in November of 1809, had been lost by Areizaga, and left Spain without a single considerable army. During the latter part of the same year, General Reding, the patriotic Swiss general, had been defeated at Valls. Blake had sustained two heavy defeats near Saragossa and Belchite, with the loss of the greater part of his artillery and men. Gerona had withstood a desperate siege, but was compelled to capitulate on the 10th of December. Tarragona and Tortosa had suffered the same fate. In some of these towns the Spaniards had not yielded till they had killed and eaten their horses and mules.
Towards the end of the year Soult had been recalled to Madrid, to take the place of Jourdain, who was remanded to Paris. Soult then determined to make an expedition into the south, to subdue Seville and Cadiz—the last places of consequence left to the Spaniards. He took King Joseph with him, or rather, perhaps, King Joseph was afraid to be left in the capital without his protection. The battle of Oca?a, and the destruction of Areizaga’s army, left the passes of the Sierra Morena all open, and on the 21st of January Soult was at Baylen, where the army of Dupont had surrendered. Thence he pushed forward for Seville, sending other divisions of the army to traverse Malaga and Granada. Nothing could be more favourable to the visit of Soult than the then condition of Seville. The stupid, proud, ignorant Junta had refused all proffers of aid from the British, and they had, at the same time, worn out the patience of the people, who had risen upon them, and expelled them from the place. They then fled to Cadiz, in the hope of renewing their authority there; but they met with a still fiercer reception from the people of Cadiz, and were compelled formally to resign. As for the inhabitants of Seville, they talked of defending the city against the French, but there was no order amongst them, no authority, and they did nothing. Soult marched on from town to town, collecting a rich spoil everywhere, which the Spaniards had left behind them. They seemed to think of carrying away with them only their money, but a mass of other wealth fell into the hands of the French, and amongst it, as usual, great quantities of British cannon, muskets, and ammunition, which assisted in enabling the French to fight with us. Soult entered Cordova in triumph on the 17th of January, and Seville on the 1st of February, and there King Joseph established his court for some time.
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Soult sent on Marshal Victor, without delay, to surprise and seize Cadiz. But the Duke of Albuquerque, with eight or ten thousand men, had been called at the first alarm, and, making a rapid march of two hundred and sixty English miles, reached the city just before him. The garrison now consisted of twenty thousand men—British, Spanish, and Portuguese—commanded chiefly by General Graham, an officer who had distinguished himself at Toulon, at the same time that Buonaparte first made his merit conspicuous. The British troops had been offered by Lord Wellington, and, though insolently refused by the Junta before, were now thankfully accepted. Some were hastened from Torres Vedras, under command of the Hon. Major-General Stewart, and some from Gibraltar. The British, independent of the Portuguese under their command, amounted to six thousand. The Spanish authorities, having their eyes opened at length to the value of the British alliance, now gave the command of their little fleet to Admiral Purvis, who put the ships, twenty in number, into tolerable order, and joined them to his own squadron. With these moored across the harbour, he kept the sea open for all necessary supplies; and though Soult, accompanied by King Joseph, arrived on the 25th of February, and sat down before the place, occupying the country round from Rota to Chiclano, with twenty-five thousand men, he could make no impression against Cadiz, and the siege was continued till the 12th of August, 1812, when the successes of Wellington warned them to be moving. It was an essential advantage to Wellington’s campaign that twenty-eight thousand French should thus be kept lying before this place.
In Andalusia, the French under Sebastiani held Malaga and Granada; but more eastward, the Spanish made a very troublesome resistance. It was in vain that Sebastiani marched into the mountains of Murcia to disperse the forces that Blake was again collecting there. Beaten in one place, they appeared in another. A strong force, under General Lacey, surprised a body of six thousand French at Ronda, and put them to flight, securing their arms and stores. In Catalonia, General O’Donnell stood his ground well, the country not only being by nature strong, but lying along the coast, where the British could support them by their fleets. Rushing from their hills and mountain forts, the Catalonian militia continually inflicted severe chastisement on the French invaders, and then retired to their fortresses. Marshals Suchet, Augereau, and Macdonald found it impossible to make permanent head against O’Donnell and the Catalonians. In fact, though Spain might seem to be conquered, having no great armies in the field, it was never less so—and that Buonaparte felt. Wherever there were hills and forests, they swarmed with sharpshooters. For this species of warfare—the guerilla—the Spanish were peculiarly adapted. The mountaineers, headed by the priest, the doctor, or the shepherd, men who, in spite of their ordinary habits, had a genius for enterprise, were continually on the watch to surprise and cut off the enemy. Other bodies of them were led by men of high birth, or of military training, but who were distinguished for their superior spirit and endurance of fatigue. These leaders had the most perfect knowledge of the woods and passes of the mountains, and had the most immediate information from the peasantry of the movements of the French. They could, therefore, come upon them when totally unlooked-for, and cut them off suddenly. If they were repulsed they disappeared like shadows into the forests and deserts. Sometimes they came several thousand strong; sometimes a little band of ten or twenty men would dash forward from their concealment and effect some startling deed. To chase them appeared hopeless, for they vanished in a thousand ways, as water sinks into the earth and disappears. To intimidate them, Soult published a proclamation that he would treat them as bandits, and immediately shoot all that he captured; and the commanders replied by another proclamation that for every Spaniard shot they would execute three Frenchmen; and they so literally fulfilled their threat that the French were compelled to return to the ordinary rules of warfare.
Such was the state of Spain, though nominally conquered by the French. It was only held by a vast force, and there was no prospect that this force could ever be dispensed with. Joseph was so heartily tired of his kingdom that, on going to Paris to attend Napoleon’s marriage, he declared that he would abdicate unless he were made generalissimo of all the forces in Spain, the separate generals, in their own provinces, paying but little regard to his commands, but each acting as if viceroy of his own province. To Napoleon the state of things was equally irksome. The drain of men and money was intolerable, and appeared without prospect of any end. He resolved, therefore, to make a gigantic effort to drive the British out of Portugal, when he hoped to be able to subjugate Spain. He could not yet proceed thither himself, but he sent heavy reinforcements under Drouet and Junot, and dispatched Massena, who was reckoned the greatest general next to himself, to drive Wellington into the sea. Massena had been so uniformly victorious, that Buonaparte styled him “the dear child of victory,” and had made him Prince of Esslingen.
In the Peninsula, altogether, the French had upwards of two hundred thousand men, but the force which Massena led against Wellington did not amount to more than sixty thousand, Drouet remaining, for the present, in Spain with eighteen thousand men, and Regnier lying in Estremadura with ten or twelve thousand more. To contend against Massena’s sixty thousand veterans, Lord Wellington had only twenty-four thousand British on whom he could rely. He had thirty thousand Portuguese regulars, who had been drilled by General Beresford, and had received many British officers. Wellington had great expectation that these troops, mixed judiciously with the British ones, would turn out well; but that had yet to be tried. Besides these, there were numerous bodies of Portuguese militia, who were employed in defending the fortresses in Alemtejo and Algarve, thus protecting the flanks of Wellington’s army.
In June Massena advanced, and laid siege to Ciudad Rodrigo. This was almost within sight of Wellington’s lines. The town was defended by a Spanish garrison, and Wellington was called upon to co-operate by attacking the besiegers. This he offered to do if Romana would undertake to prevent the march of Regnier from Estremadura on his rear the while; but Romana would not undertake to maintain himself against Regnier if the British force under General Hill crossed the Tagus. Wellington, whose object was to defend Portugal and not Spain, therefore lay still; and the Spaniards, after a brave defence, were compelled to capitulate on the 10th of July. Then there was a wild cry of indignation raised against Wellington by the Spaniards, and even by his own officers, that he should see a place taken from our allies, under his very eyes, and not attempt to relieve it. The French taunted him with it in the Moniteur, and regarded it as a great sign of his weakness. But none of these things moved Wellington. He knew what he had to do—which was to defend Portugal—and he had made his plans for doing it; but this was not by exposing his small army in any situation to which the Spanish chose to call him, while, at the same time, they declined to co-operate with him. He soon had the division of Marshal Ney upon his outposts, where he fell in with our light division under General Craufurd. Wellington had ordered that, on attack, Craufurd should retire on the main body in order, because he did not wish to reduce his small numbers in skirmishes, but to reserve them for favourable occasions; but Craufurd, being hotly pursued, turned and gave the French a severe rebuff, killing and wounding above one thousand of Massena’s men. Craufurd, having driven the French back three times, made a masterly passage, by a bridge, over the Coa, and joined the main army.
When he entered Portugal Massena issued a proclamation, informing the Portuguese that the British were the troublers and mischief-makers of Europe, and that they were there only for their own objects of ambition, and calling on the inhabitants to receive the French as their friends and saviours. Lord Wellington issued a counter-proclamation, remarking that the Portuguese had had too much occasion to learn what sort of friends the French were; that they had learned it by the robbery of their property, their brutality towards the women, and oppression of all classes. He called on them, as the sole means of rescue, to resist to the death; and he ordered them, as the British army retired from Lisbon, to withdraw from their towns and villages, carrying whatever they could with them, so that the enemy might find no means of support. This was part of his great plan; and he assured the Portuguese that those who stayed behind after their magistrates had ordered them to withdraw should receive no assistance from him; and that whoever was found holding any communication with the enemy should be deemed a traitor, and treated accordingly.
On the 26th of August Massena arrived before Almeida, a strongly fortified town not thirty miles from Ciudad Rodrigo. Wellington hoped that it would detain him at least a month, for it had a good Portuguese garrison, commanded by Colonel Cox, an English officer: and he himself drew near, to be able to seize any opportunity of damaging the besiegers. But in the night of the 27th there was a terrible explosion of a powder magazine, which threw down part of the wall, and made the place untenable. Treachery was immediately suspected, and what followed was sufficient proof of it; for the Portuguese major, whom Colonel Cox sent to settle the terms of the capitulation, went over to the French, and was followed by a whole Portuguese regiment with the exception of its British officers. This was a great disappointment to Lord Wellington, whose plan was to detain Massena till the rainy season set in, when he would at once find himself embarrassed by bridgeless floods and in intolerable roads, and, as he hoped and had ordered, in a country without people and without provisions.
But, undiscouraged, Lord Wellington ordered General Hill, who had already crossed the Tagus, to hasten onward, and he then carefully fell back, and took his position on the grim and naked ridges of Busaco, a sierra extending from Mondego to the northward. Behind this range of hills lay Coimbra, and three roads led through the defiles to that city. These, and several lesser ravines used by the shepherds and muleteers, he thoroughly fortified; and, posting himself on these difficult heights, he calmly awaited the advance of Massena. The ascents by which the French must reach them were precipitous and exposed; and on the summit, in the centre of the range, Wellington took up his headquarters at a Carmelite convent, whence he could survey the whole scene, having upwards of thirty thousand men disposed along these frowning eminences.
On the 26th of September the hostile host was seen in full march—cavalry, infantry, and artillery, attended by a vast assemblage of waggons and burden-bearing mules. The spectacle, as described by eye-witnesses, was most imposing in its multitudes and its beautiful order. At night, the whole country along the foot of the hills was lit up by the enemy’s camp fires, and towards morning the din of preparation for the contest was plainly audible. Nothing but the overweening confidence of Massena in his invincibility, and the urgent commands of Napoleon, could have induced him to attack the Allied army in such a position; but both he and Buonaparte held the Portuguese as nothing, regarding them no more than as so many Spaniards, unaware of the wonderful change made in them by British discipline. A letter of Buonaparte to Massena had been intercepted, in which he said that “it would be ridiculous to suppose that twenty-five thousand English could withstand sixty thousand French, if the latter did not trifle, but fell on boldly, after having well observed where the blow might be struck.” Ney, it is said, was of opinion that this was not such a situation; that it was at too great odds to attack the Allies in the face of such an approach. But Massena did not hesitate; early on the morning of the 27th he sent forward several columns both to the right and left of Wellington’s position, to carry the heights. These were met, on Wellington’s right, by Picton’s division, the 88th regiment being commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Wallace, and the 45th by Lieutenant-Colonel Meade. They were supported by the 8th Portuguese regiment. The French rushed up boldly to the very heights; but were hurled back at the point of the bayonet, the Portuguese making the charge with as much courage and vigour as the British. Another attempt, still farther to Wellington’s right, was made, the French supposing that they were then beyond the British lines, and should turn their flank; but they were there met by General Leith’s division, the Royals, the 9th and the 38th regiments, and were forced down the steeps with equal destruction. Both these sanguinary repulses were given to the division of General Regnier. On the left of Wellington the attack was made by Ney’s division, which came in contact with that of General Craufurd, especially with the 43rd, 52nd, and 95th regiments of British, and the 3rd Portuguese Ca?adores, and with the same decisive and destructive result. There, too, the Portuguese fought gallantly, and, where they had not room to kill with their bayonets, they imitated the British soldiers, and knocked down the French with the butt-ends of their guns. Everywhere the repulse was complete, and Massena left two thousand slain on the field, and had between three and four thousand wounded. One general was killed, three wounded, one taken prisoner, besides many other officers. The Allies lost about one thousand three hundred, of whom five hundred and seventy-eight were Portuguese. Wellington was delighted with the proof that General Beresford’s drilling had answered the very highest expectations, and that henceforth he could count confidently on his Portuguese troops, and he wrote in the most cheering terms of this fact in his dispatches home.
On the 28th Massena had discovered the pass of Boyalva through these hills, to the north of Busaco, which Wellington had ordered Colonel Trant to occupy. But Trant had missed his way, and did not reach the pass in time. Wellington saw, therefore, his flank turned, and the enemy on the highway to Oporto. He therefore quitted his position, and, taking Coimbra in his way, compelled such of the inhabitants as had not obeyed his order to march along with him. On the 1st of October he was on his route southward, accompanied by this strange crowd. It was a perfect exodus, and appeared to the poor inhabitants as a severe measure, but to it they owed their after-salvation. Had they remained, it would have been only to suffer the oppressions and insults of the French, and to see them supporting themselves on their provisions. As it was, the French, on entering Coimbra, found it, as they had done Viseu, totally deserted, and the stacks of corn and provision that could not be carried away, for the most part too adroitly buried to be easily found. They were left to the starvation that the English general designed for them. But what a scene on the road! The whole country moving south with the cattle and sheep, and waggons laden with their goods. “No power of description,” said an eye-witness, “can convey to the mind of any reader the afflicting scenes, the cheerless desolation that we daily witnessed on our march from the Mondego to the lines. Where-ever we moved, the mandate, which enjoined the wretched inhabitants to forsake their homes and to remove or destroy their little property, had gone before us. The villages were deserted; the churches—retreats so often, yet so vainly confided in—were empty; the mountain cottages stood open and untenanted; the mills in the valley, but yesterday so busy, were motionless and silent. From Thomar the flanks of our line of march were literally covered with the flying population of the country. In Portugal there are at no time many facilities for travelling, and those few the exigencies of the army had very greatly diminished. Rich indeed were those who still retained a cabriolet, and mules for its service. Those who had bullock-cars, asses, or any mode of transporting their families and property, looked contented and grateful; for respectable men and delicate women of the second class might on every side be seen walking slowly and painfully on foot, encumbered by heavy burdens of clothes, bedding, and food.” It was a whole country in emigration; quitting their cities, homes, and fields to coop themselves up in the vicinity of Lisbon, for the stern purpose of starving the detested enemy out of the 佛山飞机桑拿0757 land.
WELLINGTON’S RETREAT FROM COIMBRA. (See p. 604.)
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But, sorrowful as the sight itself was, the news of it in Great Britain excited the strongest condemnation in the party which had always doubted the power of Wellington to cope with the vast armies of France. They declared that he was carrying on a system that was ruining Portugal, and must make our name an opprobrium over the whole world, at the same time that it could not enable us to keep a footing there; that we must be driven out with terrible loss and infamy. But not so thought Wellington. Before him were the heights of Torres Vedras, about twenty-four miles from Lisbon. These, stretching in two ranges between the sea and the Tagus, presented a barrier which he did not mean the French to pass. He had already planned the whole scheme; he had already had these heights, themselves naturally strong, made tenfold stronger by military art; he had drawn the enemy after him into a country stripped and destitute of everything, and there he meant to stop him, and keep him exposed to famine and winter, till he should be glad to retrace his steps. Neither should those steps be easy. Floods, and deep muddy roads, and dearths should lie before him; and at his heels should follow, keen as hornets, the Allied army, to avenge the miseries of this invaded people.
By the 8th of October Wellington was safely encamped within these impregnable lines, and the crowd of flying people sought refuge in Lisbon, or in the country around it. The British did not arrive a moment too soon, for Massena was close at their heels with his van; but he halted at Sobral for three days to allow of the coming up of his main body. This time was spent by the British in strengthening their position, already most formidable. The two ranges of mountains lying one behind the other were speedily occupied by the troops; and they were set to work at more completely stopping up roads, and constructing barriers, palisades, platforms, and wooden bridges leading into the works. For this purpose fifty thousand trees were allowed them, and all the space between Lisbon and these wonderful lines was one swarming scene of people bringing in materials and supplies. The right of the position was flanked by the Tagus, where the British fleet lay anchored, attended by a flotilla of gunboats, and a body of marines occupied the line of embarkation; Portuguese militia manned the Castle of St. Julian and the forts on the Tagus, and Lisbon itself was filled with armed bands of volunteers. There was no want of anything within this busy and interesting enclosure, for the British fleet had the command of the sea and all its means of supply. Seven thousand Portuguese peasantry were employed in bringing in and preparing the timber for the defences; and every soldier not positively on guard was enthusiastic in helping the engineers and artillery in the labour of making the lines impregnable.
It was one of the most interesting scenes in any warfare; and there was not a man who did not enjoy the astonishment and disappointment of the French when, on the 11th, they marched in wonder up to the foot of these giant fortifications. Wellington had doubly obtained his wish; for he was not only safely ensconced in his strong position, but the rainy season which he was anticipating had set in in earnest. The main body of the French had been detained by the bad roads and the floods, and now, when the proud general, who expected so rapidly to drive the British into the sea, surveyed the scarped cliffs bristling with cannon and with bayonets far above him, his astonishment was evident. He rode along the foot of the hills for several days reconnoitreing the whole position, which seemed suddenly to have altered the situation of the combatants, and not so much to have shut up Wellington and his army in Lisbon, as to have shut him and his numerous one out to famine and the wintry elements.
For more than four months the invincible Massena continued to watch the lines of Torres Vedras without striking a single effective blow. In fact, instead of attacking Wellington, Wellington attacked his advanced posts near Sobral on the 14th, and drove them in with the bayonet. The French then showed themselves in some force near Villa Franca, close to the Tagus; but there the gunboats reached them, causing them rapidly to retreat, and killing General St. Croix. After this, the French made no further attempt on those mountain lines which struck Massena with despair. After occupying his position for a month he fell back to the town of Santarem, and there and in the neighbouring villages quartered his troops for the winter. His great business was to collect provisions, for he had brought none with him; and had the people obeyed strictly the proclamation of Wellington and the Junta, he would have found none at all, and must have instantly retreated. But the Portuguese thought it hard to quit their homesteads and carry all their provisions to Lisbon or into the mountains, and the miserable Junta threw all the blame of the order on the British general. Not only, therefore, was a considerable amount of provisions left in the country, but boats were left at Santarem, on the Tagus, contrary to Wellington’s orders, by which provisions were brought over by the French from Spain.
Yet, during this winter, while Massena’s army was in a constant state of semi-starvation, badly clothed and badly lodged, and thus wasting away by sickness and desertion, that of Wellington increased in numbers, in physical condition, and in discipline. Whilst Massena’s army, originally seventy-one thousand men, was ere long reduced by the battle of Busaco and the miserable quarters in the wet country near Torres Vedras to fifty-five thousand, the forces of Wellington had been augmented, by reinforcements from England, and by the addition of Portuguese and Spanish troops, to fifty-eight thousand. When Massena retreated to Santarem, Wellington followed him to Cartaxo, and there fixed his headquarters, and ordered General Hill to post his division opposite to Santarem, so as to check the enemy’s foraging parties in that direction. At the same time, Colonel Trant, who had surprised the French rear as Massena’s army was leaving Coimbra on his march after Wellington to Torres Vedras, and had secured the sick and wounded in the hospitals there to the amount of five thousand men, and who retained possession of Coimbra, now joined Sir Robert Wilson and Colonel Millar, who commanded the Portuguese militia, and their united force appeared in Massena’s rear, cutting off his communication with the north and also with the Spanish frontier.
Such was Massena’s situation, so early as the commencement of November—having to maintain his army in a country reduced to a foodless desert by the art of his masterly antagonist, and, instead of being able to drive the British before him, finding them menacing him on all sides, so that he dispatched General Foy to make his way with a strong escort to Ciudad Rodrigo, and thence to proceed with all speed to Paris, to explain to the Emperor the real state of affairs. The state was that the whole of Portugal, except the very ground on which Massena was encamped, was in possession of the British and the Portuguese. There was no possibility of approaching Lisbon without forcing these lines at Torres Vedras, and that, if done at all, must be at the cost of as large an army as he possessed altogether. All the rest of Portugal—Oporto, Coimbra, Abrantes—and all the forts except Almeida were in the hands of the enemy. As to the destitution of Massena’s army, we have the description from his own statements in letters to Napoleon, which were intercepted. From this information, Lord Wellington wrote in his dispatches: “It is impossible to describe the pecuniary and other distresses of the French army in the Peninsula. All the troops are months in arrears of pay; they are, in general, very badly clothed; they want horses, carriages, and equipments of every description; their troops subsist solely upon plunder; they receive no money, or scarcely any, from France, and they realise but little from their pecuniary contributions from Spain. Indeed, I have lately discovered that the expense of the pay and the hospitals alone of the French army in the Peninsula amounts to more than the sum stated in the financial exposé as the whole expense of the entire French army.”
Such were the advantages now possessed by the British over the French commander, that both the Portuguese and people at home were impatient that Wellington should at once attack and annihilate Massena’s army. But Wellington knew better. He knew that a great battle, or battles, must vastly reduce his own as well as Massena’s army. He knew that France could readily march down eighty or a hundred thousand fresh men into Portugal at extremity, but that Great Britain could not so readily do that; and, should the Whigs come into power, as was probable, he could not calculate on any support at all. The king now hopelessly insane, the Prince of Wales must be soon appointed Regent, and then, perhaps, would come in his friends the Whigs. There were many other considerations which made Wellington refuse to accede to a general attack on the French at present. He had, as it was, trouble enough with the Junta; but, should any reverse occur, his situation then would be intolerable. Just now the Portuguese troops were in good spirits for fighting, but defeat would ruin all the progress yet made with them. He knew that the winter would do for the French army all that he expected without any cost to himself, and he waited for that, ready then to follow up the advantages it would give him. It was his great plan of operations which already reduced them to the dilemma in which they were, and now came winter and did the rest, fully showing his superior sagacity. In November the weather became and continued wretched in the extreme. The country was flooded, cutting off the precarious supplies of the French, but adding strength to the encampment of Torres Vedras. The cross roads were impassable for artillery, and all but impassable for waggons bringing provisions, which had to be hunted for far and wide, with incredible hardships and little success. Leaving the hostile armies in this position till the spring, we must notice other important matters.
In the course of 1810 the French were expelled completely from the East and West Indies, and the Indian Ocean. Guadeloupe, the last of their West India Islands, was captured in February, by an expedition conducted by General Beckford and Admiral Sir A. Cochrane. In July an armament, sent out by Lord Minto from India, and headed by Lieutenant-Colonel Keating, reduced the Isle of Bourbon; and, being reinforced by a body of troops from the Cape of Good Hope, under Major-General John Abercromby and Admiral Bertie, the Isle of France, much the more important, and generally called Mauritius, surrendered on the 3rd of December. Besides a vast quantity of stores and merchandise, five frigates and about thirty merchantmen were taken; and Mauritius became a permanent British colony. From this place a squadron proceeded to destroy the French factories on the coast of Madagascar, and finished by completely expelling them from those seas.
Our forces in Sicily had an encounter, in the autumn, with those of Murat, King of Naples. Murat was ambitious of driving us out of Sicily, and Ferdinand IV. and his court with us. From spring till September he had an army lying at Scylla, Reggio, and in the hills overlooking the Strait of Messina, but he did not attempt to put across till the 18th of September. Seizing then the opportunity, when our flotilla of gunboats and our cruisers were off the station, he pushed across a body of three thousand five hundred men, under General Cavaignac. These troops were chiefly Neapolitans, but there were two battalions of Corsicans, and they were furnished with an embroidered standard to present to the Corsicans in our service, whom they hoped to induce to desert to them. General Cavaignac managed to land about seven miles to the south of Messina, and attacked the British right wing. Sir John Stuart made haste to bring up other troops to the support of the right, but before he could arrive, Colonel C. Campbell defeated the invaders, taking prisoners a colonel, a lieutenant-colonel, and forty other officers, with eight hundred men. There was a rapid retreat to their boats by the intruders, but the British pursued and cut to pieces great numbers of them, besides what were killed by the Sicilian peasantry. One boat full of soldiers was sunk as it went off, and the Neapolitans in another deserted to their old king.
Colonel Campbell did not lose a single man, and had but three wounded, so that it is evident that the flight of the enemy must have been instantaneous and universal. Murat made no further attempt to seize Sicily, though he kept his camp on the heights behind Reggio and Scylla for two years longer.
Vol. V CHAPTER I. REIGN OF GEORGE III. (continued).
Napoleon’s Desire for an Heir—The Archduchess Maria Louisa—The Divorce determined upon—The Marriage—Napoleon quarrels with his Family—Abdication of Louis Buonaparte—Napoleon’s bloated Empire—Affairs of Sweden—Choice of Bernadotte as King—He forms an Alliance with Russia and Britain—His Breach with Napoleon—Insanity of George III.—Preparations for a Regency—Restrictions on the Power of the Regent—Futile Negotiations of the Prince of Wales with Grey and Grenville—Perceval continued in Power—The King’s Speech—Reinstatement of the Duke of York—The Currency Question—Its Effect on the Continent—Wellington’s Difficulties—Massena’s Retreat—His Defeat at Sabugal—Surrender of Badajoz to the French—Battle of Barrosa—Wellington and Massena—Battles of Fuentes d’Onoro and Albuera—Soult’s Retreat—End of the Campaign—Our Naval Supremacy continues—Birth of an Heir to Napoleon—Elements of Resistance to his Despotism—Session of 1812—Discussions on the Civil List—Bankes’s Bill—Assassination of Perceval—Renewed Overtures to Grey and Grenville—Riots in the Manufacturing Districts—Wellington’s Preparations—Capture of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz—Wellington and Marmont—Battle of Salamanca—Wellington enters Madrid—Victor’s Retreat—Incapacity of the Spaniards—The Sicilian Expedition—Wellington’s Retreat—Its Difficulties—Wellington’s Defence of his Tactics—A Pause in the War.