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the rattle against him. This language of his being exactly like that of our peculators and plunderers. there is some ground to hope, that he has all these on his side, in Spain, and, of course, that the people are against him. The Morning Chronicle has, with much acuteness, noticed this exhilirating circumstance, and has observed, that, if the fact be so, it is a hule awkward for the doctrine of those amongst us, who are so eager to contend, that the people, or rabble, as they call them, are every where the allies of Buonaparte. But, my great fear is, that the peculators are against him, and that the "rabble" are for him.Some persons, anticipating a failure in Spain, are making for themselves a coa solation in the new possessions aud sovereignty, that we shall, in that case, have in the Spanish colonies, including, of course, all the gold and silver mines. I beseech them to dismiss this busy devil from their thoughts; for, in the first place, we should. not get those possessions and that sovereign. ty without long and bloody wars; and, in the next place, they would, if we had them, be an addition to the many barthensome colonies we already have. They would, in short, be another East-Indies, and that is, in one compound word, to express all manner of national corruptions, calamities, and
Westminster, 5th January, 1809.
CONVENTION IN PORTUGAL.-Report of the Board of Inquiry to the King, dated Dec 22, 1803. Also the subsequent Prodings of the said Board.
to report to your majesty a state thereof, as it shall appear, together with our opinion thereon, and also our opinion, whether any, and what farther proceedings should be had thereupon. We have, at several meetings, perused and considered your majesty's orders and instructions, as transmitted to us by the right hon. lord Castlereagh, your ma jesty's principal secretary of state, together with sundry letters, and other papers, therewith transmitted: and have heard, and examined lieutenant general sir Hew. Dal-. rymple, Sir Harry Burrard, and Sir Arthur Wellesley, and other principal officers employed on the said cxpedition, with such witnesses as any of them desired: and also such other persons as seemed to us most likely to give any material information: and in order that your majesty may be fully possessed of every circumstance which has appeared in the course of this inquiry,We beg leave to lay before your majesty the whole of our examinations and proceedings to this our report annexed. And upon the most diligent and careful review of the whole matter, we do, in further uberlience to your royal command, most humbly report to your majesty,That it appears that early in the month of May, 1808, a very considerable force destined for foreign service, was assembled near Cork, the command of which, it is imagined, was intended for Sir Arthur Wellesley-That in the month of May, universal and unexpected resistance to French tyranny had taken place in Spain-That application was made for the 'assistance of Britain, and that government with the universal concurrence of the country, determined on giving Spain and Portugal, then also in commotion, the most effectual aid. -It appears, that in consequence of such determination major general Spencer, before the surrender of the French fleet at Cadiz, was off that port with about 5,000 men, sent by sir Hew Dalrymple from Gibraltar, His assistance not having been called for there, he proceeded to the mouth of the Tagus, with a view of aiding sir Charles Colton's fleet in forcing a passage; it having been represented that there were not in the forts and about Lisbon, more than four thousand men. But general Spencer being then off the Tagus (June 24) reports from the best authority he could have, that the enemy had 11,000 men in and about Lisbon, and 9 500 at St. Ubes, the east of Portugal, and elsewhere. In this situation the intended attack could not take place, and general Spencer returned to
May it please your inajesty.-We the underwritten general officers of the army, in obedience to your majesty's warrant, which bears date the 1st day of November, 1505, commanding us strictly to inquire into the conditions of a suspension of arms, concluded on the 22d of August, 1803, between your majesty's army in Portugal, and the French force in that country--and also into a definitite convention, concluded with the French general commanding on the 31st August following also into all the causes and circumstances (whether arising from the previous operation of the British army, or otherwise which led to them)-and into the conduct, behaviour and proceedings of tenant general sir Hew Dalrymple, and sich other commander or commanders of your majesty's forces in Portugal-and of any other person or persons, as as the, ae were connected with the said armistice, It appears that on the 14th June, applicaspention of arms, and conventionandtion was made to the Admiralty to provide a
POLITICAL REGISTER.-Official Papers.
enemy's whole disposable force, to whose attack we should be exposed in landing, probably in a crippled state, certainly not in a very efficient one.-Peniche fortress was in possession of the enemy. Mondego bay was therefore agreed on as most eligible to land at. Thinking it most important to drive the French from Portugal, he ordered general Spencer to embark (with his 5,000 formation of the 24th June, the French | men), and join off that coast. By his inhad more than 20,000 men in Portugal. Sir Arthur Wellesley thought they had not less The admiral's account made them less. than from 16 to 18,000-It appears, that sir Arthur Wellesley quitted the admiral off the Tagus, on the 27th, and joined the transports off Mondego, on the 30th. He there received information from government (dated 15th July), that a reinforcement of brigadier general Ackland and five thousand men was intended for him, and eventually ten thousand more men, under lieutenant general sir John Moore: That sir Hew sir Arthur Wellesley was also to proceed on Dalrymple was to command the army: That the instructions he had received, viz. the attack of Lisbon, if his force was sufficient. Dupont having surrendered, general Spenand also that of general Ackland very soon. cer's arrival was now considered as certain, The insurrection in Alentejo was a fortunate occurrence at this time, and sir Arthur Wellesley also received information from the secretary of state, dated 15th July, thar sir Hew Dalrymple was appointed to the command of the forces in Spain and Portugal, and sir Harry Burrard second in command; and if, in the meantime, he was joined by any officer, senior in rank, he (sir Arthur Wellesley) was to serve under him. Of the same date, sir Harry Burraid was also acquainted by the secretary of state that operations are intended to be directed, in the first instance, to the reduction of the Tagus, and secondly, to the security of Cadiz, and destruction of the enemy's force in Andalusia. It appears, that sir Arthur Wellesley was induced, from various strong reasons, as stated in his narrative, to disenibark in Mondego bay. This commenced on the 1st of August; but the surf occasioned great difficulties, so that bis corps was not all landed before the 5th. General Spencer arrived on the 5th, and his corps on the 6th. They landed on the 7th and 8th.It appears, that from the 1st August till the Sth, when the whole was disembarked, that measures were taking for the immediate movement of the army towards Lisbon, and horses and carriages were solicited. Sir Ar
nvoy to sail with the troops then under ders from Cork, on the arrival of lieunant general sir Arthur Wellesley, apointed to the command.-On the 21st une, lord Castlereagh acquaints sir Arthur Vellesley that accounts from Cadiz are ad, and general Spencer was returning to Gibraltar, and that the cabinet postpone heir instructions to him till more is known. -On the 28th of June, lord Castlereagh acquaints general Spencer, then supposed at Gibraltar, that Sir Arthur Wellesley, with nine thousand men, is ordered to proceed from Cork, and to act with his (Spencer's) corps, in support of the Spanish nation. He is, therefore, with his corps, to go off to Cadiz to wait for him; in the meantime, availing himself of any circumstance that offers of acting to advantage, even within the Straits-It appears that, on the 12th July, lieut. general sir Arthur Wellesley sailed from Cork with 9,000 men, (under instructions of the 30th June) generally to aid the Spanish nation, and the principal object to attack the French in the Tagus; but authorised, as he understood, to pursue any other object, if more likely to conduce to the benefit of the two nations. And (of te 15th July) to endeavour, if possible, not only to expel the enemy from Lisbon, but to cut off their retreat towards Spain. He arrived at Corunna the 20th, communicated with the Gallician Junta, who wished the troops to be employed in expelling the French from Portugal, and recommended him to land in that country (this was on the 26th communicated to general Spencer). Sailed from Corruna the 22d, went Oporto, (leaving the fleet off Cape Finisterre); arrived the 24th, desired by sir Cherles Cotton to leave the troops at Oporto or Mondego bay, and come to the Tagus to Had a conference with the 'communicate. generals and bishop, at Oporto, about the disposal of their force. The bishop promised mules and other means of carriage, and also a sufficiency of slaughter cattle.It appears that sir Arthur Wellesley sailed from Oporto the 25th July, ordered the trausports to go to Mondego, proceeded and joined the admiral off the Tagus the 26th. Letters were received from general 'Spencer at Cadiz, which had returned, and where the Spaniards pressed him to remain, and he expected orders from sir Arthur Wellesley. Agreed with sir Charles Cotton, that landing in the mouth of the Tagus was impracticable, and unadvisable, as there was great risk from the state of the surf, from the defences and adverse nature of the coast, and from the neighbourhood of the
thur Wellesley armed the Portuguese troops, offered money to assist in equipping them for the field, which was declined by their general officers, whom he met on the 7th, andarranged a plan of operations and march, which was delayed, at their desire, and for their convenience, till the 10th. He also left full information of his situation, intentions, and other circumstances, for lieut. general sir Harry Burrard, on his arrival at Mondego (and for whom he had previously left advices at the Berlings, off Peniche, in case of his making that point), and recommended a plan of operations for sir John Moore's corps on its arrival, to act towards Suntarem and the Tagus. On the 8th, he renewed his communications to sir Harry Burrard, leaving them at Mondego. -It appears, from the many substantial reasons enumerated in sir Arthur Wellesley's narrative, and with the aid of 6000 Portuguese, from whose co-operation he had reason to expect great advantage, but in which he was subsequently disappointed, that he determined to proceed (without waiting for his expected reinforcements, of which he had been apprised) with his own army, of 12,000 men (British) against an .enemy who, he knew, could not well produce a greater number in the field. He advanced by the coast road towards Lisbon, for the substantial reason, among others, of preserving his communication with the shipping, from which alone he could derive his bread. Wine could be found in all the villages occupied by the army, and slaughter cattle were furnished by contractors.-It appears, that the army marched on the 9th and 10th of August, from Mondego, having horses, although indifferent, for 18 pieces of cannon, for ammunition great and small, a considerable store of bread, and a moderate hospital establishment. The cavalry, about 400, including 200 Portuguese.--On the 10b and 11th, they arrived at Leyria-On the 13th, marched to Calveria.-On the 14th, to Alcabaca, where they received bread and oats, landed at Nazareth.-- On the 15th, to Caldas, and halted the 16th, receiving further supplies from Nazareth. It appears, that hitherto the Portuguese had, moved on his left, extending towards the Tagus, but they now raised such difficulties about subsistence, and proceeding on the manner sir Arthur Wellesley thought most advisable, that he dispensed with their cooperation, on condition they would send him 1600 men, to be at his disposal, and to whom he was to furnish bread. He also recommended to their general, as a measure of safety, to remain about Caldas, which
they did till after the battle of Vimeira.On the 17th, there was a very considerable action pear Obidos, with a corps of 6000 men, under general Laborde, who had taken post in the defiles, and was forced to retire with considerable loss. This and a small previous action cost us about 480 men. The army was that night at Valla Verde. and on the morning of the 18th, heard of the arrival of general Anstruther's brigade on the coast. -- On the 18th, the army marched to Lowinha, and on the 19th to Vimeira, where it halted on the 20th.-This day brig dier-general Anstruther's brigade (2400 men) joined, and lieutenant general sir H. Burrard arrived off Maciera in the afternoo2. -On the 21st, early in the morning, briga dier-general Ackland's brigade (1750 mer) landed and joined the army.-It appears, that when sir A. Wellesley was at Leyria, the enemy had the two considerable advanced corps of Laborde and Loison in their front, which (as he moved on with a Portuguese corps on his left, as far as Alcabaca) fell back towards Lisbon, and joined Junot, who had assembled by the 20th, from 12 to 14,000 men, at Torres Vedras, about eight miles from Vimeira; calculating probably, that the weather might disappoint the landing of Anstruther's and Ackland's brigades, whom he must have espied in the offing on the 19th and 20th. He determined to attack sir Arthur Wellesley's army in its situation at Vimeira, on the 21st, before the junction of so considerable a force. In this enterprize general Junot completely failed. His attack was repelled in the most gallant manner, and with great loss he was obliged to retreat upon Torres Vedras, and Cabeca de Monte Chique, where he endeavoured to re-assemble his troops. The detail of this honourable action, in which we lost 700 men, is given in the Extraordinary Gazette of Sept. 10, published upon this occasion. It appears that lieutenant-general sir 1. Burrard, having on the 21st of July received notice of your majesty's appointment of him as second in command of the forces placed under the command of lieutenant-general sir Hew Dalrymple, and having also receiv ed all necessary instructions, went immediately to Portsmouth, embarked on the 27th, and sailed on the 31st, in the Audacious, together with the fleet of transports, containing a corps of 10,000 infantry, comnianded by lieut.-gen. sir J. Moore.- After a continuance of contrary wind and bad weather, the fleet was near Cape Finisterie on the 10th of August; and it having been recommended to him, that before he proceeded to the southward of Oporto, he
should himself go there or send another person to collect information, and meet the fleet at sea, he shifted, with several officers of his staff, to the Brazen sloop, and arriving at Oporto on the 17th, learnt that sir A. Wellesley had landed at Mondego, and proceeded along the coast-road to the southward. -On the 18th, he arrived off Mondego, and there found dispatches from sir A. Wel lesley, recommending that sir J. Moore's corps should land at Mondego, and march upon Santarem, to confine the movements of the enemy on that side; and also stating that, the ariny must depend on the transports for bread, and that reliance could not be placed on the resources of the country.The difficulty of equipping and supplying sir J. Moore's corps for an interior operation at a distance from the rest of the army, and thinking that if thus acting separately, towards Santarem, he must have been in ferior to the enemy if they chose to push that way; and on inquiry, not having been able to hear of 150 mules promised by the bishop of Oporto, sir H. Burrard was induced for the present to decline the proposed operation.- sir H. Burrard proceeded in the Brazen to the southward, and in the evening of the 19th received information of the action of the 17th. near Obidos. He immediately sent back lieut.-col. Donkin to meet sir J. Moore, and directed him to land in the Mondego Bay; and under a knowledge of sir A. Wellesley's former dispatches (which he transmitted) to act as he thought most beneficial to the service in his support. He also sent off lieut.-col. Carey to land at St. Martines, and to communicate with sir A. Wellesley-It appears, that sir J. Moore did arrive at Mondego on the 20th-that he began to disembark-that on the 22d he received an order from sir H. Burrard, to re-embark such as he had landed, and proceeded to Maciera-that he arrived on the 24th at Magiera Bay, and that he disembarked his corps on the days from the 25th to the 29th, the several divisions joining the army as they landed.-It appears, that on the evening of the 20th of August, when sr Harry Burrard arrived off the landing place of Maciera, he was going to land, when sir A. Wellesley came on board, gave an account of the general state of things, and ended by saying, that he had intended to march the next morning, by five o'clock, by the Mafra road, the enemy having assembled his forces at Tones Vedras-On detailing the many difficulties to be encountered, such as the impossibility of leaving his victuallers and the shore, for any considrable distance, the inferior number of his
cavabry, and the state of his artillery and carriage horses and mulcs, the strength of the ground he had to go over, which" preseured many difficulties, and the very little dependence which could be placed on the Portuguese assistance, sif Harry Burrard, on due consideration of all circumstances, decided, that it was more advantageous to want for sir J. Moore's reinforcement, than to run any risk of defeating the great object, or of sacrificing a great many men without its complete accomplishment. [In this determination, sir Harry Burrard states, he was confirmed, by the opinions of brigadiergeneral Clinton and colonel Murray, his adjutant and quarter-master-generals.] He therefore gave orders to sir A. Wellesley accordingly, that the army was not to proceed on the morning of the 21st, and, more especially, as the landing and junction of general Ackland's brigade, on the night of the 20th, was yet unaccomplished and necessarily uncertain.-It appears, that sir A. Wellesley returned to Vimeira, and sir H. Burrard remained on board ship the night of the 20th, to complete his necessary dispatches by the return of the Brazen sloop.During the night of the 20th, and the morning of the 21st, our patroles gave intelligence of the movements of the enemy; but being inferior in cavalry, they could go to no distance, and their reports were vague. As sir A. Wellesley thought it probable, if he did not attack the enemy, that they would attack him, he prepared to receive them at day-light in the morning, by posting the nine-pounders and strengthening his centre, where he expected the attack, from the manner of the enemy's patroling.The enemy first appeared in force on our left, about eight in the morning, and it was soon obvious that their attack would be made on our left, and on our advanced guard before Vimeira; the position of the greater part of the army was immediately changed by an extension to the left. The action commenced, and was concluded in the manner detailed in the Extraordinary Gazette, and terminated in a victory honourable and glorious to the British arms. It appears that sir Harry Burrard had no information from, or communication with, sir Arthur Wellesley during the night of the 20th; but on the morning of the 21st, about nine o'clock, just as he was approaching the shore; he met an officer, sent by sir Arthur Wellesley, with information, that large bodies of the enemy had been seen moving towards our left. Sir Harry Buirard proceeded towards Vimeira, with as much expedition as an indifferent horse would allow, on a hilly
road; being two miles and a half from the landing place. He arrived there before ten, at a time that the advanced corps (Austruther's and Fane's brigades) were vigorously attacked. The officers conducting, sir H. Burrard pissed through the village, and brought him to sir Arthur Wellesley, on the heights behind the villages, where the left of the army had been originally posted. Here he was informed, saw, and approved of the steps taken by sir Arthur Wellesley to repulse the enemy, and directed him to proceed in the execution of an operation he had so happily and so well begun.-By this time it was evident that the attack upon the village and advanced corps was not meant to be further supported; it was completely repulsed, and the enemy retired in considerable confusion. They were not followed by the infantry, as the troops had received orders not to quit their position, without particular orders from sir Arthur Wellesley. The detachment of the 20th light dragoons alone pursued, but falling in with a superior cavalry, were soon obliged to return with considerable loss. This order had been very properly given, on a consideration that the principal effort of the enemy would still be made on our left, and upon this point the enemy bad just opened his cannonade, and the brigade under major-general Ferguson was already engaged at distant musketry. As support arrived, he advanced, and the enemy gave way, abandoning three pieces of canon. Major-general Ferguson still advanced, and a mile from where the first battery was taken, another also was taken. The enemy finally made an attempt to regain their last battery, but were repulsed by the 71st and 82d regiments and obliged to retire with great loss.--Soon after twelve the firing had ceased, and the enemy's cavalry were seen from our left, in bodies of about 200, by general Ferguson; and about the same time general Spencer saw a line formed, about three miles in front of our centre.About half past twelve, sir Arthur Wellesley proposed to sir Harry Burrard to advance from his right, with three brigades upon Torres Vedras, and with the other five brigades to follow the enemy, who had been defeated by our left.-It appears that the situation of the army at this moment was on the right, major-general Hill's brigade, which had not been engaged, was on the height behind Vimeira, and at a diseance of above three miles from those of generals Ferguson and Nightingale on the left In front of Vimeira, and in the centre were the brigades of Anstruther and Fane, which had been warmly engaged. Brigadier
generals Bowes's and Ackland's brigades were advanced on the heights, towards the left, in support of generals Ferguson and Nightingale. Brigadier-general Craufurd's brigade was detached rather to the rear of the left, about half a mile from major-gen. Ferguson, to support the Portuguese troops, making front in that direction.-It appears, that although the enemy was completely repulsed, the degree of expedition with which a pursuit could be commenced, considering the extended position of the army at that time, and the precaution to be taken against the superior cavalry of the enemy, must have depended on various local circomstances only to be calculated by those upon the spot. This very circumstance of a superior cavalry retarding our advance, would allow the enemy's infantry, without any degree of risk, to continue their retreat in the most rapid manner, till they should arrive at any given and advantageous point of rallying and formation; nor did sir A. Wellesley, on the 17th of August, when the enemy had not half the cavalry as on the 21st, pursue a more inconsiderable and beaten army with any marked advantage; for he says (Gazette Extraordinary)" The " enemy retired with the utmost regularity, " and the greatest celerity; and, notwith"standing the rapid advance of the British
infantry, the want of a sufficient body of "cavalry was the cause of his suffering but "little loss in the plain:"-and again, "He "succeeded in effecting his retreat in
good order, owing principally to my. "want of cavalry."-It may also be considered, that as the attack on cur centre had been repulsed long before, that on our left had, the attacking corps, which, as has been observed, was not pursued (but by the 20th dragoons, not exceeding 150), had time (above an hour) to re-assemble, and to occupy such ground as might afterwards facilitate the retreat of their right, and that the enemy were actually and visibly formed in one or more lines at about three miles in front of the centre-From these and other fair military grounds, as allowed by sir A. Wellesley; from those that occurred in sir H. Berrord's first interview. with sir A. Wellesley; from the utmost certaiuty of the immediate, arrival of sir J. Moore's corps, which, if they had not stopped at Mondego bay, would have been at Ma ceira on the 21st; sir H. Burrard' déclinédi making any further pursuit that day, or ordering the army to march next morning' early.In this opinion sir H. Burrard-states" brigadier-general Clinton and col. Murray concurred.]On the 330, sit H. Dalrymple