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Vol. XIV. No. 16..] LONDON, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 15, 1803. [Price lon.
In the London Gazette Extraor inary, in which were published, by the government, the several documents relation; to the late Conventions in Portugal, the Armistice, which was the basis of all that followed, and watch, as far as it was to outed from, in the su' coluent negociations, was 1 cm dered less injurious and disgroceful ; this Armistice, which was, on our part, negociated by Sir Arthur Wellesley, and which bore his
signature; this Armistice was published, was, by the government, communicated to the people of England, .
in the French ia; ;uage only, while all the other documents were, in the very same Gazette Lxtraordinary,
SUMMARY OF POLITICS.
Cox v ENTio No I.N Po RTUGAL. The act, a statement of which I have placed at he head of this present Number of nry work, should be constantly borne in mind y every man in this disgracel and abused ountry. It has been the subject of much onversation and inquiry; it was a thing, of w:ich the ministers must have been desirous a give, or cause to be given, a satisfactory xplanation; it is notorious, that a whole month has now elapsed without the appearnce of even any attempt at such explaation ; and, therefore, the public are jusfied in concluding, that their intention, om the first, w is to do all in their power screen Wellesley, let what would become t his associates in the never-to-be-forgotten "ansaction. Whether they will persevere n this their evident intention we shall bon see; probably I shall be able to pereive it even before this article be finished ; br, the hero of Oude being arrived, his ewspaper will not be long in making nown to us what we have to expect with spect to him. In the meanwhile, let s attend to some points which have escaped s. The dispatch, giving an account of we victories in Portugal, were dated on the 2d of August ; the bearer of that dispatch ould not have come away before that day: n that very day the armistice was negociated nd concluded, and yet the bearer of the disatch brought no cecount of the armistice. Vas not this something very singul:r Say, hat the bearer was ready to come off in the morning, and that the armistice was not oncluded until night. But, if there were o vessel ready to send off with another nessenger at night, why was not the bearer ept until night, that the consequence of the iciery as well as the victory itself might have been announced to us at ; he bathe ime : What injury to the service could jossibly have arisen from the delay of a ew hours in the departure of this messenser? Nay, what possible ioconvenience could have therefrom arisen 3 Sir Arthur
[578 Wellesley would not, indeed, have enjoyed the praises of this gulled nation for the space of a week ; a strong and unjust public persuasion, in his favour, would not have been excited ; but that is all, that is all the mischief that could possibly have arisen fron the delay.—But, was there a delay 2 1 doubt it. Did not the bearer of the dispatch bear also the account of the armistice, in substance if not in form It is my opinion that he did. Ships do not move off at a mom &nt's warning, like post-chaises. The armistice must have been concluded before the bearer of the bragging dispatch left Portugal; and, though it would have been of little use, perhaps, to send forward the document in due for in, yet the substance of it might have been added to the dispa'ch, and it is not credible that it was not added. My belief, therefore, is, that the substance of the aimistice was made known to Lord Castlereagh through the bearer of the dispatch ; a , 1 that he, not being bound to coinionicate that substance to the public, suit-red us to go on, for as long a fine as possible, applauding the conduct of Wellesley. I do not wish to strain any thing. I have no other motive; I can have no other tootive, than th it of a desire to see impartial justice done; but, this appears to me to be the fact, and, if it be so, the public ought to bear it in mil:d ; because it is a circumstance strongly corroborating the opinion, now generally prevalent, that the ministry, or a part of them at least, have intended and, proably, do intend, to screen Wellesley at of events. From motives, which will, by-and-bye, become apparent enough, the friends of Wellesley are now questioning the poeticability of reducing Junot within any reasonable space of time; and a correspondent, whose letter will be found in another part of this double Nember of the Register, sets himself seriously to work to controvert the opinion which I gave, to wit, that, after reading Wellesley's dispatch, we had a right to expect, by the next arrival, an is count of the ticonditicual
surrender of the French. Did any one imagine, that, by the “ next arrival,” I meant, or could mean, the very next vessel that should come into port from the shores of Portugal 2 I meant, by the next bearer of dispatches from our army ; the next bearer of any intelligence of iumportance ; and, I appeal to the language of the press, at the time Wellesley's dispatch was received, for a proof that such was the expectation generally entertained. But, was it a reason alle expectation ? That is the question ; and it is, observe, a question which lies entirely between so flesley and the public, the other commanders having had no hand in the bragging dispatch. . ." My correspoudent now tells me of tu'enty or more than twenty thousand men, whom Junot load under his command. But, Wellesley told us, that, with half his force, before he was joined by Burrard, he beat “ the whose of the Fren: h force, commanded *" b : the Quc d'Atrom/es in pron.' I should like to have seen him when he penned this last quoted sentence. “By the Duc d'A“brantes in person " " How he braced up, I dare say, and repeated the words to himself, with an air of pomposity so inseparable from his sect. “ In person 1" Why, if there had bech an army of a hundred thousand men, commanded by emperors, the language and manner could not have been more ponpous. Some one has observed, that the giving of this title to Junot proceeded solely from the vanity of Wellesley; as if nothing short of a Duke were worthy of the honour of measuring swords with a Wellesley; and, indeed, it seems difficult to attribute to any other motive, this cutting and fl grant insult to a prince and a people, whom we went out to rescue from insult and oppression.— To return from this digression : it matters little what were the numbers of Junot's force at the date of the negociation; for, whether many or few, “ the whole" of his force had been beaten by “ one hulf” of the force of Wellesley, and we know, that the force of the latter became double in number, or nearly double, previous to the signing of the Convention. It is a fact pretty generally known, that when transports are demanded, dout se tunnage is expected. Besides, the number is now swelled out with oil sorts of persons, persons, who, observe, shut up in forts, would have been a dead weight upon him; and yet my correspondeat chooses to believe, that Jurot could have brought twenty thousand men into the field, though it was positively stated, that he retreated with his whole force before one trait of Welk'sley's army ; that is to say,
before less than nine thousand men. After all, however, we return to the point: be his force what it might, the whole of it was beaten by about one third of the force that we had at the time of making the Convention ; the whole of it was beaten but the day before by one third of that force, a:mongst whom were the very men who had beaten him ; this is the fact, or.... Wellesley told this nation this credulous and abused nation, a shanne fill lie. Well, says this new defender of Wellesley, but of what avail would have been a superiority of force : We should not have inade Junct surrender any thing the sooner on account of great superiority of numbers.--Nv Why then, the complete power of cutting off succours and of preventing the chance of sallies would, in the hands of our generals, have been useless 2 Besides, what are this gentleman's ideas of a siege It is, for the most part, a very vulgar affair ; an affair much more resenbling ditching and draining than any thing else; and, as two laboniets will do twice as much at ditching in a doj than one labourer will do, so thirty thousand men will, in the same space, do twice as much at making trenches, approaches, and batteries, as fifteen thousand men. We have, moreover, the authority of that great man, Sir Hew, one of whose motives for coming to terms with Junot was, that there was a doubt, whether Sir John Moore's division could be landed at the time. Now, acceding to the notion of my correspondent, more niem were not only not necessary, but absolutely useless for the purpose of any operation that could, at the time alluded to, be in contemplation. But, for the pur. pose of storming, would not superiority of numbers have been an advantage 2 Or, has not this mode of attack yet found its way into the practice of our armies 2 Why do we raise all these men; why do we pay ten thousand officers ; why have we a stas superior in numbers, and very far superior in expence, to Buonaparte, if we are never to hear of any enterprize of this sort : The greater part of the forts in Portugal, it tny information be correct, were thing, to be taken by storm, with the loss of perhaps a thousand men for each attack of this kind; and, it will require very ample and very credible evidence to cou: vince me, that, with such an army, with thirty thousand men, so able-bodied and so accustomed to labour, with such a train of artillery, and with the whole of the strength, labour, and resources of the country at out disposal, not to mention a considerable as: ny of Portuguese actually embodied ; it
will require much indeed to convince me, that, with such means, our generals might not, in the course of one week, have carried a mine under the rampart of Junot's strongest fortress There would have been no regular investiture necessary; no line of circumvallation ; none of the precautions usually adopied in cases of regular siege ; because sailies and succours were out of the question. Did ever man conceive, that, under such circumstances, a breach could not be made in six days * Never; and, when my correspondent reminds me of Saragossa and other open towns, which have exhibited to the world instances of long and successful resistance, my answer is, that it has not been owing to the strength of the place, but to the strength and courage of the defenders. Let him shew me an instance, wherein the assailant had, with a third of his force, boaten the assailed but the day before, and had all the country around for friends, while his enemy had nothing but enemies within and without ; let him shew me an instance like this, wherein a successful, or a long, defence has been maintained, and k will say, that he has advanced something worth listening to ; but, for an instance of this sort he will search history in vain.—As if for the purpose of furnishing us with a striking instance of the miserable shifts, to which the partizans of Sir Arthur Wellesley are driven (for he must, at last, stand responsible for the Convention), this writer reminds me, that the people of Lisbon, the dear good folks of Lisbon, were at the mercy of Junot; and, that it was our duty to prevent him, by any means whatever, from committing any cruelties upon them, which cruelties he might have committed, if we had refused him such terms as he demanded. It is pity that this argument has been so long delayed; for it would have applied equally well against sending the expedition to Portugal, where it has, at an enormous expence, purchased us deep disgrace, and done infinite injustice and injury to our allies of Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. Indeed, it would apply against every attempt to drive the enemy out of any town or place. It is a sweeping argument; the universal argument of the coward: “.. I “would attack you, but I am afraid of the * consequences.” What did not Junot well know, that, at last, he must become really responsible for all the cruelties he committed upon the people of Lisbon 2 Did he not know, that we had cords to hang with and muskets to shoot with ? Or, was he ap
Prized, by any means, that we were so gentle a people, or had committed our armies
to the care and command of generals so
gentle, that he had only to play the bully, the robber, and the murderer, aud had nothing to apprehend in the way of retaliation Judge, reader, of the badness of a cause, in support of which such an argument is resorted to.——But, as the reader will perceive, we are now, it seems, to answer those who defend the Convention, not those who execrate the Convention and defend Wel. lesley. Reader, we have heard the defenders of Wellesley assert, in the most posi
tive manner, that he protested against the
Convention, and against any compromise at all with the French; that he had nothing to do with negociating the armistice which he signed ; that the French general wrote it out with his own hand; that Dalrymple, at Kellerman's request, commanded Wellesley to put his signature to it; and, that, after very earnest remonstrances, he finally yielded obedience to the hateful command. Those defenders have plyed us with dissertations upon military discipline; they have told us, that absolute power in the chief an implicit obedience in his inferiors are the soul of an army; and, calling in the terrible to the aid of the persuasive, they have reminded us, that if poor Sir Arthur had disobeyed the mighty Sir Hew, the latter might have run him through the body : Did they not assert and reason thus * Näy, the gaudy, chariot-lounging, the painted and piano-playing strumpets about town, who, as part of their regular calling, deal in the pathetic as well as in lies, trumped up a story of Sir Arthur's going upon his knees to prevail upon Sir Hew not to bring such a disgrace upon his country. Did not his defenders say, that he was to be considered, as to the Armistice, as no more responsi-. ble than the clerk of an attorney or a banker, who signs a document or draft in the name of his master Did they not throw all the blame, all the responsibility,. upon Sir Hew, whose fame they blasted, . and whose carcase they threw down before us, to be trampled and spit upon 2 Did they not, in support of their great assertion respecting the Protest, first publish and thet, quote, as from vouchers of undoubted authenticity, numerous extracts of “ letters
jrom the army,” the whole of which ex-.
tracts spoke of the famous Protest, blained Sir Hew and Burrard, but were particularly strong and clear as to the Protest ? Every . sycophant in London had this Protest upon. his lips. Protest, Protest, “the gallant Sir “ Arthur's Protest,” the “Conqueror of “ Vimeira's Protest ?" This was the cry, through the regions of Whitehall, and was faithfully echoed by the punks of the squares,
——Well, then, now he is come ; not recalled, but come. He is come home to tell his own story. We, before, called topon his defenders to produce us his Protest; but we now call upon himself. Now, then, Mr. “ conqueror of Vincira ;” now, then, “ gallant Sir Arthur;" now, then, you whose friends have hazarded political infamy for your sake; now, then, produce this Protest to us; and, if you cannot, tell us, whose labour, whose sweat and pain and misery have supported the vast expence of the expedition; tell us why you signed the armistice of the 22d of August, after having bcaten with “ half” your force, “the “ whole of the French force, commanded “ by the Duc D'Abrantes in person.” Come, Sir, none of your haughty Eastern airs. None of your disdainful silence. That will hot serve your turn. Your friends have asserted, that you made a Protest. Where is it Shew it us. Tell us of what it consisted; or acknowledge that those friends, in wittingly asserting what was false, with a view of saving your reputation at the expence of your associates, have proved themselves to be the very greatest scoundrels that ever infested the earth, and that they merit the gallows and the gibbet more than any malefactor, whose name and deeds stand recorded in the annals of Newgate. “Letters “ from persons of high honour in the army!" Vile miscreants . To go thus coolly and deliberately to work in the hatching, the completing, and the publishing of a set of corresponding lies! It is impossible to proceed. No words can do justice to conduct like this.- The reader will perceive, that the same set of worse than felonious villains are now at work upon “ further letters from the “ army and navy." The protest is not now spoken of. The tone is softened. No great tlame upon any body, except the poor Portuguese. Take a specimen. “ Ex“ tract of a letter from an officer of distinction on board one of his majesty's ships, just arrived from Lisbon.—Yesterday I got some papers, in which I perceive Sir A. Wellesley's conduct in the suspension of arms, is most unjustly confounded with thesonal treaty. The first, he signed at the immediate desire of Sir Hew Dalrymple; but with the latter he had nothing to do at all. The whole was contrary to his opinion. The motives by which he has been influenced, are highly honourable to his feelings. In short, your newspapers are all ill-informed of the state of affairs at the time; and I believe most persons will be astonished, when they
know that the French embarkation, after |
all their losses, amounted to 25,000 men. And you may depend upon it, the Pertuguese army availed ours nothing ; and there never was a symptom of revolt in favour of us. I mean not to defend the treaty—it is a disgraceful and an infamous one ; but as the principal olject was obtained, there need not have been the outcry which appears to have been made in the country. As to the Russian fleet, that is in our possession. I thiuk, if Sir C. Cotton had not orders from home, he has done wrong; but if out generous conduct is the means of forwarding our negociations for a peace with Russia, it will be hereafter considered as a good act." I beg the reader to look upon this as a sham letter; but, what a pretty fellow this officer of “ distinction" must be, if the letter be real. You see, the fellow, who has been base enough to palm this letter upon the public, dares not name either the writer, or the ship that he is on board of. All that is here said about fine feelings, an ill-informed press, and the policy of not fighting is, to be sure, but too characteristic of but too many “ officers of “ distinction;" yet not of the navy. The slander upon the Portuguese, however, is worthy of marked reprobation. It was exactly thus, that the Pittite crew uniformly treated the French royalists. They first inveigled them into a stats of dependance; and then they belied and betrayed them. Does the man, who has published this pretended letter “ from an officer of distinction" in the navy, think that such statenients will not be resented by the Portuguese? But, what cares he He has his pay for the use of his dirty columns, and that is all he wants. Well, but what are we doing : What part are we acting We, the people of this fine “ free country,” who live under a constitution that is, as Pitt used to say, at the end of his speeches, “ the greatest “blessing that a benign Providence ever “bestowed upon man.” Upon himself, I suppose, he meant. But, what are we, free fellows as we are; what are we doing? We have been talking for a long while ; we have been fretting and fuming and scolding and crying like women, or rather like Italian inen, like Jews and Genoese, who, when they are kicked and cuffed, scold and run and run and scold. Here it will end, and that our masters well know. There his been a little stir, owing to Mr. Waith:IAN, in the city of London; but, we shall not now see the example followed, as it was, the other day, when the object was to praise the conduct of thoso in power. Then we had
585] Old Rose galloping down into Hampshire, calling meetings, and assembling his sycophauts from far and near. . Now they are as still as mice. Over a bottle, the servants being gone and the doors shut, they look wise, shake their heads, assume a bluff countenance, and begin to talk big ; but, the reptiles dare not stir an inch. One wants a sinecure, another a pension, another a place for his son, another a contract, another a living, another a ribbon or a star. They dare not stir. They are the basest slaves that ever disgraced the earth. Let them be told, that the ministry wish them to address, or petition, against the Conventions in Portugal, and you will see them pouring forth in hundreds, as bold as heroes, looking as big and talking as bok] as if every individual of them felt himself strong enough to overset a church steeple. Oh, the base wretches Well, they suffer for it. They are pretty decently peculated upon, and their continual anxiety, their constant fear of displeasing, their perpetual dependance, is a sort of hell upon earth. Yet, now, you shall hear these miserable slaves talk about freedom, about the birthright of Britons, and about our glorious constitution, in as good terms as you could wish to hear. This is a part of
their punishment. They are compelled to
belie their hearts. They are slaves, and compelled to assume occasionally the appearance of being free.—This does not apply to Hampshire alone. It is, with very few exceptions, applicable to the whole kingdom. There is, it appears, to be a meeting in Esser, and, if it produce a good, plain, manly complaint, unaccompanied with nauseous common-place flattery of the king and his family, which would be not less dishonourable in him to receive than in the county of Essex to offer, it will be a fit subject for commendation ; but, it will not, I am afraid, meet with much imitation. T. same influence that sent Wellesley and his comrade Convention-makers to Portugal; that influence which has done so much upon other occasions, will not fail to be exerted now. Indeed, it exerts itself. It is sown all over the country, as regularly as corn is sown in a field. Seventy millions a year are, in one way and another, spent by the government. The government employs and pays all, and, it receives all. There is a chain of dependance running through the whole nation, which, though not every where seen, is everywhere feit. There is not one mau in one thousand who does not feel the weight of this chain. Army, navy, church, the law, sinecures, pensions, tax offices, war and navy offices, Whitehall,
OCTOBER 15, 1808–Convention in Portugal.
[586 India-house, 'Bank, contract, job, &c. &c. Whos is there; who is not himself, or who has not a son, a brother, or some relation or other, employed and paid by, dependent for bread upon, the minister of the day 2 Those means by which men formerly maintained their sons and relations, and by which a country gentry were supported in a state of independence, are now drawn away in taxes ; and, in order to find a maintenance, those sons and relations must now go and serve the ministry, in some capacity or other ; must go and crouch to them, and receive from them, in the shape of pension or of hire, a share of that income, which has been drawn, in taxes, from their parents, or other natural supporters. This is the state in which we are. There needs no trouble, on the part of the ministry, upon an occasion like the present. They know well, that the country cannot stir ; because they know that, generally speaking, he who stirs must, if they please, starve. Hence it is, that our anger seems always to evaporate in noise ; that, like a mob, we hollow and bawl and threaten when no one can distinguish one of us from the other, and that, the moment we are put individually to the test, we, by conduct, if not by words, deny having had any share in the clamour. And, does it become us to scoff at the slavery of other nations : We are exceedingly bold in reproaching the French with their abject submission; but, let me put this question to you, reader : What do you think the French government would have done, had its generals made such a convention as ours have made 2 l'ouse a little, and then answer that question. Well, now for another. Suppose, that the French government had not discovered any anger at such
conduct in its generals, but seemed, as sar
as the people could judge, to be resolved to screen them ; what do you think the French people would have done in that case ? “ Held their tongues,” say you. . So they would, and so shall we. That is to say, they would have gabbled about the disgrace in their coffee-houses and at their tables, but would have said not a word to their government; and what have we done more ? And, if our conduct be, in effect, the same as theirs, under similar circuitustances, would have been, of what consequence is it, what difference is it as a question of freedom, whether men be kept in awe by the terrors of the naked sword, or by the terrors of starvation ? Of all the proofs of a state 6f slavery, none is so complete as that of not during to complain when one is aggrieved. The French, we say, dare not complain,