Page images


passed the river at a ford above the bridge. They were attacked by brig. gen. Stewart, at the head of the piquets of the 18th and 3rd German light dragoons, and driven across the ford. Their colonel, a general of division, Lefebre, was taken, together with about 70 officers and men.-The affair was well contested. The numbers with which brig gen. Stewart attacked were inferior to the French; it is the corps of the greatest character in their army; but the superiority of the British was, I am told, very conspicuous.. I inclose, for your lordship's satisfaction, lord Paget's report of it.

in this direction. The only part of the army which has been hitherto engaged with the enemy, has been the cavalry, and it is impossible for me to say too much in their praise. I mentioned to your lordship, in my letter of the 16th, the success brig.-gen. Stewart had met with in defeating a detachment of cavalry at Rueda Since that, few days have passed without his taking or killing different parties of the French, generally superior in force to those which attacked them. On the march to Sahagun, lord Paget had information of 6 or 700 cavalry being in that town. He marched on the night of the 20th from some villages where he was posted in front of the enemy at Majorga, with the 10th and 15th hussars. The 10th marched straight to the town, whilst lord Paget, with the 15th, endeavoured to turn Unfortunately, he fell in with a patrole, one of whom escaped, and gave the alarm. By this means the French had time to form on the outside of the town, before lord Paget got round. He immediately charged them, beat them, and took from 140 to 150 prisoners, amongst whom were two lieutenant-colonels and 11 officers, with the loss, on our part, of 6 or eight men, and perhaps 20 wound-gen. Stewart immediately placed himself ed. There have been taken by the cavalry from 4 to 500 French, besides a considerable number killed; this since we begun our march from Salamanca. On his march from Sahagun, on the 20th, lord Paget, with two squadrons of the 10th, attacked a detachment of cavalry at Majorga, killed twenty, and took above 100 prisoners. Our cavalry is very superior in quality to any the French have; and the right spirit has been infused into them by the example and instruction of their two leaders, lord Paget and brig.-general Stewart.

Astorga, Dec. 31, 180s.-I arrived here, yesterday; major gen Fraser, with his division, will be at Villa Franca this day, and will proceed on to Lugo. Lieut. gen. Hope with his division, stopped yesterday two leagues from this, and proceeds his morning, followed by sir David Baird The two flank brigades go by the road of Penfereda. I shall follow with the reserve and cavalry, to Villa Franca, either this night or to-morrow morning, accord ing as I hear the approach of the French The morning I marche from Benevente, seven squadrons of Buonaparte's guards

Benevente, Dec. 29, 1808.-Sir; I have the honour to inform you, that about nine o'clock this morning I received a report that the enemy's cavalry was in the act of crossing the river at the ford near the bridge. I immediately sent down the piquets of the night, under lieut. col. Otway of the 18th. Having left orders that the cavalry should repair to their alarm posts, I went forward to reconnoitre, and found four squadrons of imperial guards formed and skirmishing with the piquets and other cavalry in the act of passing. I sent for the 10th hussars, who having arrived, brig.

at the head of the piquets, and, with the
utmost gallantry, attacked. The 10th
hussars supported in the most perfect or
der. The result of the affair, as far as I
have yet been able to collect, is about 30
killed, 25 wounded, 70 prisoners, and
about the same number of horses. It is
impossible for me to avoid speaking in the
highest terms of all those engaged. Lieut.
col. Otway and major Bagwell headed the
respective night piquets. The latter is
slightly wounded. The utmost zeal was
conspicuous in the whole of my staff;
and I had many volunteers from head-
quarters, and other officers of
your army.
Amongst the prisoners is the general of
division Lefebre, (who commands the ca-
vlry of the imperial guard,) and two cap-
tains. Our loss is, I fear, nearly 50 men
killed and wounded. I will send a return
the moment I can collect the reports.
I have the honour to be, &c. PAGET,
lieut. gen.

I have forwarded the prisoners to Baniza. On the other side of the river the enemy form. d again, and at this instant three guns of Captain Donovan's troop arrived, which did considerable execution.

LONDON: Printed by T. C. HANSARD, Peterborough Court, Fleet Street; Published by R. BAGSHAW, Brydges-Street, Coven -Garden: Sold also by J. BUDD, Pall Mall.


[Price 10d.

"I trust, however, that no such villains as these will obtain influence with our ministers, and prevail upon "them to be suspicious and tardy, in their operations for the assistance of the Spanish patriots. This is "the only fair opportunity, that has offered for checking the progress of Napoleon. It is the only cause,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

to which all the people of England have heartily wished success. In all probability, it is the last opportunity That will offer, for enabling us to give a turn to the long-flowing tide of success. And, if we neglect this opportunity; if we waste the precious hours that are now given us for action, in doubts, "hesitations, and delays, we, or, at least, thise amongst us, who shall be found to have been the cause " of such conduct, ought to perish; or, which would be better, to linger out a life of misery, loaded with "the curses of all good men."-POLITICAL REGISTER, 2nd July, 1808. Vol. XIV. page, 10.


-[66 SUMMARY OF POLITICS. Napoleon, we should, up to the hour when SPANISH REVOLUTION.With respect Sir John Moore's dispatches, or, rather, a to Spain, the interesting question now ap- few parts of those dispatches, were pubpears to be, not what will be the conduct lished, have been in the confident hope of of the people of that country; not what a successful issue to the campaign. Now, will be the result of the war; not whether indeed, the truth is pretty well known, in Joseph or Ferdinand will be king; not spite of the garbling of the General's diswhether despotism, in one shape or theother, patches. There is nobody, who, at best, will be re-established, or long-lost freedom expects any thing better then the escape, be restored. Neither of these is now the of our men, with the loss of stores, ammuinteresting question, with regard to Spain. nition, waggons, cannon, and horses; and, The interesting questions are: 1st, what I, for my part, shall think that we are very is the fate, that will probably attend our lucky, if we avoid a capitulation, far, very army in that country; and 2nd, whether far less favourable to us, than the Convenour ministers, and especially the War- tion of Cintra was to the French; a capiSecretary, be not to blame for the injury tulation, negociated, perhaps, by that very and the deep dishonour, arising from a re- JUNOT, who, together with his army, treat, or rather a flight, before the enemy, ought now to have been prisoners in Engwithout having stricken a single blow, land. It is difficult to say, whether our without having so much as drawn a trig- commander, in Spain, has had it in his ger, offensively, against the armies of Na- power to prevent this danger, and this poleon.With respect to the first ques- probable result; but, I must express my tion, much need not be said, it being next opinion, that his marches and counterto impossible, that a knowledge of the marches do appear to me quite unaccountevent should not, in a few days, have ren- able. I do think, nay I am nearly sure, dered all discussion unnecessary. I shall, that, if a man like my Lord Cochrane; therefore, as far as relates to this, confine nay, if Lord Cochrane himself, though not myself to a few remarks upon the delusion a military officer, had had under his comwhich has been practised, and is still prac-mand an army of 28 thousand men, in tising upon this credulous nation. We have been led on, by lie after lie, till we are upon the eve of having the truth forced upon us. All that Napoleon said, in his bulletins, was " false;" all were falsehoods that came through that channel; while, on the other hand, we were desired to believe, that our army, stated at 45 thousand strong, were upon the point of driving the French out of the peninsula. The strength of the Spanish armies was carried to 150 thousand. An affected laugh was set up at the threats of Buonaparte. In short, just the reverse of the truth has, from first to last, been promulgated amongst us; so that, had it not been for the bulletins of

[ocr errors]

Spain, he would have done something with
them; or, at any rate, that he would not
have remained, doing nothing, till he was
half surrounded by a force, before whom
he knew he must flee. "A diversion,'
indeed! What diversion has Sir John
Moore made, in favour of the Spaniards?
Where are we to look for the evidences of
that diversion? Our army, without
marching to meet the enemy, sees him
come into Spain, and take the capital. It
then remains inactive, or, at best, marches
about without attacking the
enemy; and,
having waited in this situation, till the ene-
my has half surrounded it, runs away. This
is not the sort of diversion that Lord Coch.


[ocr errors]

rane has been making. Nothing," says | tain more than half a million of men, allowLord Collingwood, "can exceed the acti-ing for each ma double what he receives in subsistence. The next fact is, that the regular infantry, at home, in the month of July last, amounted to not less than a hundred thousand, and the regular cavalry to not less than twenty-five thousand men. Now, then, let us bear in mind, that it was early in July, that the king, in his speech to the parliament, promised us that he would give assistance to the Spaniards, having before solemnly made the same promise to the Deputies from Spain; that, at this time, or soon after, Napoleon's decree, relating to the new constitution of Spain, was received in England; that, in the middle of the same month Joseph Buonaparté set out on his way to Madrid; that, early in August, Joseph Buonaparte was driven from Madrid; that, it was not till after this, that Buonaparté, who was then at Paris, set out to the North of Europe; and that, it was not until about the 1st of November, that any part of the French army entered Spain, except that part, which had been either beaten or put to flight, or besieged, by the Spaniards, and that the whole of the coast of Spain and Portugal was at our absolute command.--Along with the intelligence, that Joseph had been driven from Madrid, we received the intelligence, that Napoleon had taken measures for drawing an immense army from Germany, and other parts, in order to send it to Spain; so that, so early as the second week in August, we had to prepare for meeting the French in Spain. I have before shown, that we had the means of meeting them; and, now, every man in England has a right to ask, to demand, to insist upon knowing, why those means were not duly and effectually employed; why this immense army has been raised, and is kept up, if, upon this occasion, it was not proper to make use of it; what this army for, if not for the purpose of meeting, and fighting with, that enemy, who seems to have sworn our destruction.It is now stated, as correct, that we have about 28 thousand men in Spain; 25 thousand foot and 3 thousand horse. Where are the other 70 or 80 thousand foot and 22 thousand horse? Why are they not in Spain too? An army of about 60 thousand men, one fifth horse, is as great as is necessary for almost any enterprize; it is as great as can be well brought into one engagement in any part of the world. But, it appears to me, that there was nothing that ought to have prevented the ministers from having an army of 70 thousand foot

vity and zeal, with which his Lordship "pursues the enemy. The success which "attends his enterprizes clearly indicates "with what skill and ability they are con"ducted; besides keeping the coast in "constant alarm, causing a total suspen"sion of the trade, and harassing a body "of troops employed in opposing him, he "has, probably, prevented those troops, "which were intended for Figueras, from "advancing into Spain, by giving them employment in the defence of their own "coasts." Here we have evidences of a real diversion. Such is the effect of command, when in the hands of a man of skill and indefatigable attention to his business, and, besides, of undaunted bravery. One frigate; only one frigate and about 300 men, under the command of such a person, is worth an army, aye, and a fleet into the bargain, committed to the hands of loungers, milk-sops, or, what is full as bad, boozing companions. I do not know, that Sir John Moore answers to either of these descriptions; but, it does appear to me, that, if he had possessed any great degree of energy, he would not have been in the situation, described in his last dispatches. A commander should be equally distinguished for his enterprize and his prudence; he may possess one and not the other; but, in the conduct of Sir John Moore, I, for my part, can discover no satisfactory evidence of either. He knew that the French armies were in Spain; it is not to be believed, that he was ignorant either of their strength or their distribution; and, therefore, if he found himself too weak for attack, or resistance, he should have retreated in time, from doing which there was nothing to prevent him. There may be some circumstances, of which we yet are ignorant, and which, when explained, may fully justify this commander; but, with my present information, this is my view of the matter.As to the 2nd question; whether our minis ́ters, and especially the War-Secretary, be not to blame for the injury and the deep dishonour, arising from a retreat, or, rather, a flight, before the enemy, without having stricken a single blow, without having so much as drawn a trigger, offensively, against the armies of Napoleon; as to this question, the first thing to be noticed; the first fact to be stated, is, that our army, exclusive of the expence of transports to carry it about, costs us 23,000,000 of pounds sterling a year, money enough to main



and 15 thousand horse at, and in the "Spanish people." This has not, that I neighbourhood of Madrid, early in the have heard of, been, as yet, openly assertmonth of October last, weeks before the ed; and, whenever it is asserted, there French army set foot in Spain. Having ought to be no dispute about the fact; but, collected a great force at the capital of the we shall have a right, a full and complete kingdom; having made all due prepara- right, to ask, how they came to be deceived tious as to supplies of every kind; having with respect to either of these most input arms into the hands of the Spani- portant points. So early as the month of ards and amply furnished them with ne- July the Spaniards had Deputies here, and cessaries for the field, we should, supposing we had Deputies, or Agen's, in Spain, the people to have been on our side, have whose expences will not fail to make a rebeen ready to meet the French, not only spectable figure in the next account of the with a fair chance, but with almost a cer- distribution of the public money. Since tainty of victory; if, indeed, they had about the middle of October, still weeks dared to approach, which, it is more than before the arrival of the French army in probable, would not have been the case. Spain, and still time enough for us to send -But, "it was thought unwise to leave out troops, we have had MR. JOHN HOOK"a French army in our rear in Portugal." HAM FRERE in Spain. Could not he send Well, even supposing it to have been wise correct information, respecting the force to clear Portugal first; Portugal was ac- of the Spaniards and the disposition of the tually cleared early in September; and, people of Spain? Besides, in answer to all at most, it required but 30 thousand men pretences and excuses of this sort, we to do that Nay, after the Convention of have a right to say to the ministers, "you Cintra; after all the blundering and con- "charge us, and you make us pay, from 50 fusion arising from the ever-famous trio of " to 100 thousand pounds a year for secret commanders; even after all that, there "services abroad, and as much for secret was plenty of time to send a complete "services at home; and, though we have army into Spain, to face Buonaparté on "not had the soul to ask you what you do his way to Madrid, without reckoning "with either, and for what purposes, what upon the assistance of a single Spanish purposes indeed, you can want the latsoldier. But, as was foreboded in the "ter; yet, surely, you cannot, with the words of my motto, "the precious hours charge of 50 or 100 thousand a year in "were wasted in suspicions and delays;" "your hand, for secret services abroad, in hesitations and bickerings, in the con- have the impudence to plead want of flicts of hostile interests and hostile ca- "correct information, as to the strength of prices. It will be pretended, perhaps," the Spanish troops and the disposition that the JUNTAS, in Spain, did not, at first, "of the people of Spain?"There is, wish for our assistance; that they kept and there can be, no maintainable justifialoof, until they saw Napoleon approach-cation for the measures, or the inactivity, ing. But, the answer to this is, that an which have led to the known dreadful English ministry, having the interest and situation of our army. We know, that the honour of their country at heart, our government had in its hands, two would have well weighed the question, months before Napoleon set foot in whether it was not then too late to Spain, an army quite sufficient to meet do any thing effectual; whether it was him there; to meet him in a country, not, then, too late to send an army whence, by the people of that councapable of meeting that of the French; try, his brother and his troops had and, if they found that to be the case, been driven in disgrace; we know, that they would have sent no troops at all. The they had the means of sending this our fact is, however, that, when the applica- army to Spain, and even to the passes of the tion was made, it was not too late; for, it Pyrenees, long before he, with his army, was not too late even when our army was could possibly arrive at that point; and, ordered to march from Portugal into we know, that they have so managed matSpain, which orders must have gone from ters, that there is only about 28 tho is and Whitehall early in the month of Septem- English troops in Spain to make bead ber, full two months before the French against a French army of, at the very least, re-entered the Spanish dominions; so 100 thousand men. These facts are unthat, there is not the smallest excuse, as to deniable. If we are told of difficulties in want of time.But, "our ministers the transporting of so large an army, we "were deceived as to the amount of the ask, what you do, then, with the 23 mil"Spanish force, and the disposition of the lions of pounds sterling a year? What is

[ocr errors]


a set of

[ocr errors]

There is a man, taking the name of a "PATRIOT LOYALIST," who is about to publish, THOUGHTS ON LIBELS; " and an Impartial INQUIRY into the "PRESENT STATE OF THE BRITISH "ARMY: which will contain Considera"tions on the Difficulty of convicting noto"rious Defamatory Writers; and on the "Effects which arise from delay in making "them the Subjects of a Prosecution; also, "a Convincing Explanation of the flourish

[ocr errors]

ing and improved State of the Military "Establishment of England, under the "actual Commander in Chief; and Re"flections on the Danger with which the "Constitution is threatened by systematic

[ocr errors]

printed Attacks, upon the Public and "Private Characters of Princes, and the High Officers of the Executive Government-Inscribed (without permission) "to his ROYAL HIGHNESS, FREDE"RICK, DUKE OF YORK AND AL"BANY, and published by T. EGERTON, "at the Military Library, Whitehall. Why, you ass; you thick-brained sot; you stupidest of all mortals; why did you fix upon this moment, of all others, to write upon such a subject? Generals and armies, who gain victories, need no pamphlets written in their praise; and those who gain none will be praised in vain. "Libels" indeed! "Prosecutions," you

the use of this immense army, if you can- | thing else, is proved by their utility; by not, at two months notice, send it to a the good effects which they produce. spot at the distance of ten day's sail For what reason; from what motive, do you keep this army on foot, and make us pay so dearly for it? For what reason do you strip the country of its most able labourers, leaving to cultivate the land few but the aged, the children, the halt and the lame? For what reason; tell us for what reason you do this, if you are unable to bring to the striking-place men sufficient to cope with the enemy? Is it "to defend this country?" Why, those against whom you would defend it, are now in Spain. Besides, has not the pretence for keeping on foot this terribly large army, always been, that you wanted a disposable force; a force to send abroad; and, if you now plead difficulties in sending that force abroad, what becomes of this pretence ?-As to the ground that may be taken by persons, wrangling for place, it is a matter of indifference to me, and to every man who wishes well to his country. The ground that we have to take, the ground that the nation has to take, is described in a very few words: either the ministers were duly informed of the internal state of Spain, or they were not. If they were not, they have, in that way, shown their want of zeal or of capacity for great affairs; and, if they were, they have knowingly sent an army of 28 thousand men, to sneak away at the approach of the ene-empty-headed, malignant wretch! "Difmy, to be captured, or to be cut to pieces; "ficulties of convicting!" Oh, it is truly to be placed in a situation, leaving it decent, at such a time, and under such a no choice but that of death or dishonour. dedication, to address the public! Fool; -To the individuals, and to the army, convict us Buonaparté, fool! Prosecute, as a body, we, indeed, cannot well attach arraign, and convict him. That is the any dishonour; but, that is not the man we want to see put down. Read his point. The point is, what the world will libels;" his speeches and bulletins. say of the conduct of this nation, during Attack him; face him with your "thoughts" this struggle respecting Spain. That is on libels. When you have done this, then the point; and, the judgment of the come and tell us your thoughts, and, perworld must be, that the cause, in which we haps, we may hear you; but, at present, engaged was (if Napoleon finally succeed) we think it something a little suspicious lost; and that we were beaten and dis- when we see the eulogist of military cha graced. And, have not the people of this racter appeal to the law of Libel for proofs kingdom; the people who pay 23 millions of the truth of his assertions.Recol of pounds sterling for the support of an lect, that the SUPREME JUNTA of Spain army, and who are yearly called upon began their labours by an edict for limitfor fresh sacrifices; have not this suffering ing the press. They have, at present, people a right to demand a knowledge of I presume, but little leisure for Thoughts the cause of this great injury and disgrace?" on libels," and for the removing of the What, to us; what, to this nation, are all "difficulties of producing conviction of the boasts about the 66 flourishing and im- "writers." Recollect that, beast; and "proved state of our military establish- keep your "thoughts" to yourself."ment?" What are these, to us, if the For my part, I wonder, that no one has army produce no effect upon the enemy? yet hit upon the scheme of trying the The excellence of armies, like that of every force of the law upon Buonaparte. He is

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »