« AnteriorContinuar »
to to o, . . to of fidelio: to stats rejo o the
- - is chors of duto to t to, y as to where expressly pointed out. The real question is, then, whether the agreeing to the irmistice was, or was not, an act, which, to every rational mind, must have manifesty appeared to be detrimental to the nation. If this question be decided in the negative, then, not only Wellesley, but all the parties concerned are innocent ; but, if it be decided in the affirmative, they are all guil+y, and he the most guilty, because he, who alone could possibly be well acquainted with ill the local and other circumstances, was the first to set his hand to il e agreement. The writer of this defence says, in other place, that very great mischief might we arisen from an open rupture between ir commanders. In the plural, observe, to. but a noment before, we hou been old, that there was but one commander. We are told, that if Wellesley had publicly kclared his disapprobation of the terms of * agreement, “the discord, which must have ensued between 3 m and the com* mander-in-chief wool i.ave unquestionably embarrassed all uture operations ! of the army.” What Le coso, orobation # 80 mild, so gentle, so unasse ding, so łmble, so submissive a thing as a “attor.." ney's or banker's clerk's Could this thing's disapprobation have embarra's 'd all the operations of an army, under a hef whose nod was law Incredible ! No : we tonot be made to believe, that a nuchine,
"gh composed of flesh and blood or of * h and bones rather, could have produced
* embarrassment in the operations of an
("at a name") could have Fút it into an on chest, or thrusted it into any hole or *", and amongst any of the "ead stock ** army. When a man has a bad cause; so he is put to the inventing of reasons, ... " pretty sure to contradict himself. Hohertoi have proceeded upon the suppo"", that Wellesley really did no more o obey the orders of Dalrymple; that hile was the great mover in the af. * , and that the former only aided and ** sted. The contrary, however, I think, ony appears to have been the fact; but, fo *" us hear what further this famous o has to say. — “ Sir Arthur Wellesley, in fact, privately protested ... ." Alle armistice in the strongest ... ..."; he distinctly declared his objec.."; to the commander-in chef, and th . all in his power to prevent him * granting the terms he did to the
“enemy. So A. os-y other at" for o', nor 1...d airy concern whatever “ in writing the armistice: it was negociated “ with Kellermann by Sir H. Dalrymple “ himself (indeed it was dictated and writ“ ten in French by Kellermann), and was “ aferwards signed by Sir A. Wellesley, “ in obedience to the positive order of Sir H. “ Dalrymple the commander-in-chief.—It is “ a curious fact, not unworthy of remark, “ that Sir H. Dalrymple had intended in “ the first instance to affix his own signature “ to the armistice; but that he refrained “ from doing so, and ordered Sir A Wel“ lesley to sign it, at the instigation of the “ French general, whose views in such a “ requisition it does not require much pe“ netration to discover. Sir A. "..., “ therefore is no more responsible for the “ terms of the armistice, than col. Murray “ is for the terms of the Convention ; or to “ carry the comparison still to ther, than “ an attorney or banker's clerk would be “ for signing an obligation of his master. “ It has been urged, that Sir A. Wellesley
“ might have told the commander-in-chief,
“ that he would sooner go into arrest than “ put his maine to such an instrument, but “ under the firmest conviction in his own “ mind (which, if cooliy considered, will “ be found to be the simple fact), that he “ was merely acting under the positive or* ders of the commander-in-chief, he “signed it as he would have done any “ other military order which did not appear “ to him to be contrary to the articles of “ war, or the established laws of his coun“ try, in preference to cominencing open
“ hostilities with his commander-in-chief
—the very day after he superseded him. “Sir A. Wellesley's refusal to sign the “ armistice, would by no means have pre“ vented the conclusion of it, but the dis“ cord which must have ensued between “ him and the commander-in-chief would “ have unquestionably embarrassed all the “ future operations of the army. These are strong facts ; but they are most sub“stantially and literally true, and perfectly “ corroborated by numerous letters from “ the most distinguished officers of the “ British army in Portugal. These letters “ also all agree in stating, that Sir A. Wellesley most distinctly declared his “ opinion that the expediency of permitting the French to capitulate at “ all, was occasioned solely by the di“ lemma into which the army had been ‘ brought by its being prevented, contrary ‘ to his plans and wishes repeatedly urged, “ from following up the victory of the 21st,
“ in which case, the whole French army “ must inevitably have been destroyed, “ instead of being enabled by that ; “ to retreat to the passes, and to concen“ trate thensclves in forts in their rear, “ which it might consume the whole of the “ winter months to beat them out of. At “ the conclusion of the action of the 21st, “ the head quarters of the French at “ Torres Vedras were four miles nearer to “ the right wing of the English army, “ which had not been engaged, than to the “ French defeated army, in consequence of “ Junot's having exclusively attacked our “ centre and left wing. It therefore amounts “ almost to a certainty, that if Sir A. Wel. “ lesley had been permitted to push forward agreeably to his plan and request, he “ must inevitably have arrived before them, “ occupied their posts, and annihilated them as an army."—There is, after this, a crying paragraph about “ party ani“mosity,” than which charge nothing ever was more false, as every man in the country will testify. So, here, the few weeks of Sir Hew are swelled out into “the whole “ of the winter months "! And where was Junot to find provisions for the whole of the winter months? Were his army and his horses and his fleet to be fed by ravens; or had they collected food sufficient, in that very country where our fine commanders were afraid of being starved in a week or two
So, if Wellesley had been permitted to go on, he would have destroyed the French army. Now, who prevented him His victory was won on the 21st of August. .
lemn protest of one notoriously the to orite
of the ministers, notoriously backed by a host of powerful friends at home in and out of parliament, and not less notoriously of mo very unassuming disposition, especially on the morrow of his gaining a brilliant victory; that he, a prudent old man, should not deign to consult with, but should reject the advice of such a person, nay, and make him, like an attorney's or banker's clerk, set his hand to, as being the negociator of, terms penned by the French General, and against which hateful terms he had made a solemn protest; I put it to the sense of any man who hears me, whether this be possible Away,
then, with all the lies about private protests # and private letters. There is no proof pro
duced of the existence of any such protest ; while there is the strongest presumptive proof, that no such protest ever was made. Besides, have we not the internal evidence of Dalrymple's dispatch 2 What does the old gentleman say * Why : “As I land“ed in Portugal entirely unacquainted with “ the actual state of the French army, and “many circumstances of a local and inci“ dental nature, which, DOUBTLESS, “had great weight in deciding the question, “my OWN opinion in favour of expelling “ the French army from Portugal, by means " of the Convention, was, such and such.” Why this “ doubtless?" He does not pretend to have had a decided opinion of his own. Would he have thus spoken, if he had despised the protest of Wellesley? The thing is not to be believed by even the most credulous and most stupid of mankind; and I beseech the honest part of the public, I beseech all those who feel for the honour of their abused country, to be upon their
guard against the arts of that sink of false
lood and corruption, which is now stirring to its very entrails for the purpose of misleading the public mind and palsying the arm of justice. “ Private letters from “the army" have been trumped up, and published without signatures ; it was stated, in several of the papers, that, when the armistice was signed, Wellesley was at the distance of forty miles from head quarters; but, there are two facts, which I am particularly anxious to impress upon the minds of my readers; the first of which is, that the Morning Post news-paper, in which has appeared the dirty defense of Wellesley, was, in the autumn of 1806, the property of: a company of persons, thiefly East Indians, and that Mr. Paull hawing accused one of these persons, a man who had been high in office under Lord Wellesley, of causing certain articles to be
o' to paper against hon, the person so ac-- e.", whose raine was or to sow, and who lived in Devonshire oce, acknowledged, in a letter to Mr. Paul] that he was a part proprietor, which letter I saw and read. I have not heard, that the paper has changed proprietors, and my firm belief is, that it has not.—The second fact is, that, in the Gazette Extraordinary, containing the documents relating to the late transactions in Portugal, that document, that most important document of all, the armistice, which was signed by, and which was evidently the work of, Wellesley, was inserted in the French language, unaccompanied with a translation, while all the other documents, to none of which his name and seal were affixed, were inserted in English only ; a thing as unprecedented as the motive of it must be obvious to all the world. Until the ministers have had time to show, that they had no hand in this ; that some of their underlings were bribed to do it; I will not accuse them, or suppose them guilty, of an act of partiality so shockingly base; but, unless this be done by them, upon their heads the charge must finally fail, and, in the mean while we should be upon our guard, every man should endeavour to warn his neighbour, against the effect of that powerful and infamous influence which is now at work for the purpose of bringing Wellesley off in safety over the mangled reputations of the other commanders.
Botley, 22 Sept. 1808.
P. S. I have below, inserted, upon this subject, a letter, and an article from the Times newspaper, both which I beg to recommend to the perusal of my readers.
inisters have been unable to infuse their own spirit, and the spirit of the nation at large, into the generals they employ —Not a man amongst us doubted that Junot and his army would be brought prisoners to England; and we anticipated with a very pardonable, if not a laudable exoto, n, the arrival here, as captives, of some of Buonaparte's best troops commanded by his best generals. General Kellerman is the man to whom the honour of the victory at Marengo in a great measure belongs. How did it happen that Sir A. Wellesley, on the very day after his memorable victory, when he was fully able to appreciate the relative means possessed by himself and his enemy, should agree “ that the French army should in no case be considered as prisoners of war, that they should be conducted back sase to France, and be left in undisturbed possession of what they call their private property?"-Good God! Sir Is the good old maxim, that one English pian is a match for two Frenchman, to be reversed ? Or what was there to prevent 30 000 Britons from making half the number of Frenchmen surrender at discretion ? The possession of the forts, the strong position at Cintra, the want of victuallers, cannot be listched to. IIad the French army victuallers to attend them when they entered the country as enemies 2 Cou'd not we, who were the friends and deliverers of the Portuguese, rely upon their assistance for a fortnight's or even a month's supply of provisions At a time too when all the north of Portugal was open to us. Have the French armies had victuallers to attend them in their camp igns in Germany, Poland, and Dalmatia 2 – After the battle of the 21st we were, or we might have been, at the heels of the French army, with our bayonets in their loins; and, if properly pursued, even without the aid of cavalry, they would have had no time to take up or strengthen a
osition at Cintra. Junot knew this, and
herefore endeavoured to stop us by negociation. He has accomplished by address what he in vain attempted with the sword. Portugal was no longer his object: that every bat man in his army knew must be lost: but he wanted to save his troops, to keep unclipped the wings of the French eagles. He has succeeded, and in so doing he has pared the nails of the British lion. He has transferred to his own brow the laurels which his opponent has thus declared himself unworthy of. immortal honour, and our army has sustained a disgrace, which I only hope is not indelible. We admire CoRNw Allis for his masterly retreat with 5 sail of the line before
13; and shall we refuse our enemy the applause due to him for escaping from a situation ten times more critical ? Buonaparte will not withhold his praise, and 3 ou will soon see these conventions held up to the world in the Moniteur anyongst the most
lorious trophies of the French army.— 3. troops are now in possession of the forts of the Tagus;–ask our artillery and engineer officers what time it would have required to occupy them by force. Were any thing wanting to Junot's triumph on this occasion, look at all the details of his stipulations; they contain demands which one should have thought to British officer would for a moment have listened to. If his garrisons march through Portugal, they are to be accompanied by British commissaries to provide for their subsistence. When they embark, all the horses are to be carefully embarked with them. Why, Sir, our cointnander has positively engaged to carry home a larger number of French horses, than were sent from England with Sir A. Wellesley's army, by whom these Frenchmen have been beaten: and whilst we are told, that
Indeed, he has done himself.
that officer had no more cavalry with him, because horse transports are so scarce or so dear, and whilst we are actually prevented by these causes from sending out all the cavalry we wish for the future operations of the campaign, our general bas most generously undertaken to convey to France 800 French horses.—But, it seems, our transports are not good enough for “His ervel“ lency the French commander in chief, and “ the other principal officers of the French “ army.” OUR generals and officers may sail about the globe in West-Indiamen, or colliers; but Junot and his friends, forsooth, must be accommodated on board ships of war.- If they had been brought prisoners to England, this might have been a proper distinction, and the emblem on the admiral's bow would have felt complacency at the freight; but that his majesty's ships, should be sent into an enemy's port to land an enemy's army, and to have it said there, that we brought them so far because: we could not make that army prisoners, is really exposing the ships to a dishonour, and his májesty's officers to a degradation, which it is hardly in human nature to supportAsk lord Mulgrave and lord St. Vincent, or any other lord of the admiralty, if our ships are fit for this sort of service. — It is a known fact, that many of our public ministers, representatives of his majesty, have been exposed to great inconvenienée and even danger, for the want of this very accommo; dation which is to be obtained for General
Junot; they have been told that packetboats, or bye-boats, or fishing-boats, are good enough; nay, Sir, the conqueror of Maida, Sir John Stuart, with difficulty obtained for his accommodation a small brig of war, when he last went out to take the connmand of our army in Sicily: but M. Junot must pom}ously sail into Rochfort in a British 74. If there belongs a large portion of French insolence to the formation of this demand, there is in yielding to it a degree cfpusillaniinity, which as an Englishman, I am altogeher ashamed to characterise. --— But, it is lot only the Frenchmen, their horses, heir arms and baggage, their 60 rounds of mmunition. that we are thus to taka care of *r them ; —but all their private property, oring of which can be taken away, must ko be secured, landed on the coast of France, and, I suppose, insured at Lloyd's, at is majesty's expence, against the dangers f the seas:–a pretty employment this for }ritish seamen o' Except the sight of the )anes voluntarily and for money assisting 5 in fitting out their own ships last year at 'openhagen, I never, since I was born, eard of any thing so mean and so dastardly. —Junot may have squeezed any sum out # his duchy of Abrantes, his followers may live extorted with thumb-screws moidores or ingots of gold from the unfortunate 'ortuguese, his coffers may be full of the roduce of that rapine and plunder which has been long since denounced, to the venseance of indignant Europe, Yet ALL is to: E sack ED ! The British seamen and oldiers, the conquerors of Vimeira, the eliverers of Portugal, are to aid and abet hese most atrocious robberies. They are to lake themselves accessaries of the fact. They are to receive the stolen goods, and to onvey them to a place of safety '-Either he French are or are not robbers and plunerers. If they are, Englishmen are now heir accomplices.—What will our good fiend and ally, the Prince Regent, say to all his What will he say, when he learns, that te have not only thus prevented his subjects form recovering their stolen goods, insured in asylum and indemnity to the robbers, at that we have, in fact, wrested fom him be sovereignty of his country For, if this convention, this surrender of British honour, >e fulfilled, his royal highness is not at liberty "o call to account any one of his subjects who may have been foremost in giving aid and assistance to an invading enemy, and whose reachery may have afforded that enemy the means of prolonged resistance when attacked by the allies of his royal highness.--That these shameful terms were not extended to
-beaten and despondent mind.
secure a safe retreat to the so et, is due, not to the spirit of our mory nociation, but to the resistance of Sir Charles Cotton. The convention which he signed with the Russian admiral is second in impropriety only to that concluded with Junot ; but at least he has not returned the enemy's ships to their country with 60 rounds of cartridges to each gun.--To have agreed to the conditions set forth in the 7th a ticke of the armistice shews such an absence of judgment, of spirit, of common sen.e., that I really can hardly believe my eyes when I see Sir A. Wellesley's name put to it. Whilst we are thus spontaneously, and with
out condition, giving up the whole French
army, who ought to have been considered as our prisoners, what have we done for our friends the Spaniards : Look at the 18th article of the definitive convention. You will there find, that, in exchange for the Spanish troops detained on board ship in the port of Lisbon, which are thus graciously delivered to him, our commander-in-chief engages to obtain from the Spaniards a number of civil and military Frenchmen detained in Spain in consequence of certain occurrences in that country. If the British general receives a civil answer to his requisition on this head, it can only be in favour of the peculiar situation in which Spain now stands towards this country. At all events, he will be told, that before he again ventures to negociate on military matters, he should take a lesson from Castanos. I write, Mr. Cobbett, in some haste, and therefore can notice only cursorily these and other points that have excited my grief as well as my surprise. The putting H. I. and R. My. Napoleon I. (whom this country has never officially acknowledged in that capacity) by the side of our most gracious sovereign; the leaving the French in possession of Lisbon till the embarkation of their second division ; the engagement to interpret every doubt in favour of the French army; the whole tenour of the 16th article; the 20th, which relates to hostages; the impropriety of a lieut. colonel of the army stipulating, without authority, for Sir C. Cotton, whose flag was flying at the mairmast head; all these things afford, in addito what I have already said, ample and abundant matter for regret, and, as I think, for censure on those who acted for this country. They all bear the appearance of a If the Freuch had been our conquerors, instead of we theirs, these articles could not bave been
worded more to their advantage.—But, I | must not ask to occupy too much of your