« ZurückWeiter »
insurrection in the south of Portugal. The landing in Mondego Bay was effected on the 5th, with considerable difficulty. General Spencer landed on the 7th and 8th. Having ascertained the enemy's force, he wrote a letter to Sir H. Burrard, with a plan of operations for the corps that he was to bring into Portugal, and on the 9th the advanced guard of the army marched forward towards Lisbon. On that day he heard of Joseph Bonaparte having left Madrid, and of the probability of Marshal Bessieres making an irruption into the north of Portugal. It was necessary to gain some important advantages before this plan should be effected, and the army continued its march. The Portugueze Generals soon demanded to be supplied with provisions from the British stores, which it was impossible to comply with. The Portugueze separated, and continued to remain separate from the British till after the 22d of August. Sir Arthur did every thing to induce them to co operate; he demanded only a reinforcement of 1000 infantry, 400 light troops, and 200 cavalry, and promised that they should receive provisions from the British stock; but even to this the Portu gueze General would not consent! We have then the battle of Roleia, with a reference to the Gazette for particulars. Before that action, Sir Arthur had thought of attacking the French posts upon the coast, but being so miserably disappointed of the Portugueze co-operation, and having wit. nessed the gallantry of the French in the action of the 17th, he resolved to change his plan, and to make towards the French position of Torres Vedras. General Anstruther's force landed on the 20th. We have then the battle of Vimiera, with a reference to the Gazette for particulars, and with it terminated Sir Arthur's command, and of course his narrative ends.
Fourth day, Nov. 21.-Answers were read to a number of questions in writing given in to Sir Arthur Wellesley by the President, in which there is nothing of importance. Lord Moira asked whether Sir Arthur thought the force under his command sufficient to drive the French from Lisbon and the forts on the Tagus? The answer was in the affirmative. His Lordship then asked to what extent provisions had been supplied by the country, and whether it could have afforded a sufficiency for the wants of the army, if means had been employed to collect them? Sir Arthur replied, that no exertions would have drawn from the Portugueze a supply of bread sufficient for the army. The country afforded no provisions but beef and wine; of these there was at first abundance, but wine was afterwards frequently exFeb. 1809.
hausted, when the troops halted more than supply could not be obtained; and it was one day in a place, and latterly a sufficient also soon found, that without killing the draught bullocks in the country people's in Portugal for a large army. In fact, becarts, the supply of cattle was not sufficient fore Sir Arthur quitted the army, more than half the food was in salt provisions, and afterwards, he believes, the whole. Sir Arthur believed the expulsion of the French from Portugal to be an object of the highest importance to the Spanish nation.
Captain Malcolm, of the Donegal, described the dangerous nature of the coast, and the extreme difficulties of the debarkation. Many of the transports were insuf ficient; out of 200, 60 lost their anchors and cables, and had the hard weather continued, the whole must have gone to the bottom; about 20 flat bottomed boats were lost, and seven or eight men drowned.
Sir Hew Dalrymple then came forward, and read his narrative of the operations of the army under his command. On the 15th of July, he received dispatches announcing his appointment to the chief command of the armies in Spain and Portugal, with instructions, not only to cut off their retreat from Spain, with an expel the French from Portugal, but to outline of measures to be pursued when these objects were accomplished. On embarking on the 13th of August, he was informed by Lord Collingwood of the French having abandoned Madrid, probably with a view to more active o perations in conjunction with Bessieres He also heard of the landing of Sir Arthur Wellesley in Mondego Bay. On the 19th he had an interview with Admiral Cotton, who informed him that the coast, and that he relied chiefly on Sir A. Wellesley was proceeding along the victualling transports for provisions. The Admiral thought lightly of the French force at Lisbon, but Sir Hew did not think with him. He also resolved to land at Mondego Bay, but not to interfere with the plans of Sir Arthur in that separate command for been recommended to his particular which he had been selected, as he had confidence; great confidence was expressed in his well-known talents, and a sort of wish was expressed that every attention which the rules of the service would allow, should be paid to his advice and opinion. On learning that Sir H. Burrard had taken the command of
the army, he landed on the 22d, perfect ly ignorant of the state of the Portugueze insurgents, their numbers, discip line, and efficiency, and had shortly after an interview with Sir Arthur Wellesley. He found the army in the same position that it occupied the day before, and his first order was for it to move for ward. He knew not why other officers thought that, if the army had advanced on the 21st, the result of the action would have been more important; it was true that the French had lost more men than we in the battle of Vimiera; but the great loss which we sustained in our very small body of cavalry in a great measure balanced that advantage. None of the officers saw any difficulty in forcing the French to cross the Tagus; but he himself had not had time to learn the strength of the Portugueze or of the French, or the state of the British ordnance, or of the Commissariat. A short time after his landing, the French appeared to be moving forward, and it was expected that another action was to be fought on the same ground; but it proved to be the cavalry attending General Kellerman, who came to solicit an armistice. There were few objections made to the conditions of the armistice, As to the article respecting private property, about which such a clamour had been raised in this country and in Portugal, it was nothing different from the customary articles on all similar occa sions; he might instance the capitulations of Malta, Alexandria, and Egypt. It never was intended to include any sort of merchandise or public property; it was declared by Kellerman himself to mean nothing but what was strictly the private property of the French; but it was not to be expected that we should be able to restore to the Portugueze the full effects of eight months of French plunder; when he (Sir Hev) heard of some attempts to carry off plunder, he declared that any persons, whatever their rank, presuming to carry off what was not strictly private property, should be detained as prisoners of war. If the armistice had not been agreed to, the army must have marched forward, not exceeding 16,000 men, exposed perhaps to the horrors of famine as well as those of war, and, being once embarked in so hazardous a service, rapidity of movement was every thing; but this was im
possible, as many of the artillery horses were insufficient ; and if it had been resolved on to attack the enemy, the British army must have been confined to a position near the sea, to ensure the junction of Sir John Moore. (Some uninteresting conversation with a Portugueze General respecting the armistice is then detailed.) On the 24th Col. Murray returned from Sir C. Cotton, and was sent off to Lisbon to report the Admiral's objection to the article respecting the Russian fleet. The French Commander agreed that the article should be expunged. On the 29th Captain Dalrymple returned with the convention. Of some of the articles he disapproved, and assembled all the principal officers for their advice. The armistice expired next morning, so that he must either have ratified the convention or recommenced hostilities. With the approbation of Generals Burrard, Wellesley, Moore, Hope, &c. he did rafify it. He conceived the chief respon sibility of the measure to lie upon him, and he should therefore give his reasons for agreeing to it. The first was the probability of a scarcity of provisions, in consequence of which, and of the danger of the surf, it had been deter. mined that Sir J. Moore's corps should be landed gradually, and that each division should bring along with it provi sions sufficient for its own use. Such was the state of the weather, that on the very day after the signature of the convention, the whole British fleet was driven out to sea, and there was no cal. culating how long such weather might last;-thus was the provisioning of the army most uncertain, for no supply of corn could be had from the Portugueze, and the sole dependence was on our own victualling ships. Farther, the attack of the forts on the Tagus was not the light matter that had been represented. Fort St Julien was in the best state of defence, and could not have been reduced without battering cannon; and if it had been resolved to attack the French in their strong positions, much time must have been required for making the necessary preparations-much more for reducing the enemy to such a condition as would have obliged him to surrender at discretion. A battle must have been fought almost in the city of Lisbon, and Kellerman's threat of de
struction to that city would most pro. bably have been realised. But, if Por tugal was the only object of the expedition, the convention was no doubt most improper, for certainly, by a delay of some months, the French force might have been completely reduced; but he always understood that the expulsion of the French from Portugal was a mere preliminary to the great and the ultimate object of the expedition-a co-operation of the British army in the defence of Spain. If he was right, there was no room for delay; if the British force had been detained a month or two longer, the heavy rains would have ren. dered it impossible for them to join the Spaniards before the middle of spring, These were his reasons for ratifying a convention, which would be the more approved the more it was investigated. He received dispatches from Ministers after the convention, which induced him to think that they approved of his conduct. He had a letter from Lord W. Bentinck approving of the convention. He had letters of thanks from the chief Magistrate of Lisbon, from the Bishop of Oporto, from General Castanos, and from various public bodies, and he felt that he had dune his duty to his coun
Fifth day, Nov. 22.-Sir Arthur Wellesley read some observations on the narrative of Sir Hew Dalrymple. Af. ter a defence of his military operations, he made the important declaration, that "At the moment when his command ceased, it had been his object to have turned the enemy's position at Torres Vedras, and he could assert that, at that moment, however much the difficulty might have been, the means existed in his hands of bringing the contest to a fortunate conclusion." But this plan not having been adopted, Sir Arthur a gain expressed his approbation of the principle of the convention, although he totally dissented from particular points in it. He wished, for instance, that the negotiation should not extend beyond the suspension of hostilities; that, in stead of" private property," the words "arms and baggage" might be substitured; and that nothing should be introduced about the Russian fleet. In none of these did the Commander agree with him; and he certainly appeared, instead of cultivating his friendship, to be pre.
judiced against him. When Kellerman's approach was announced, Sir A. asked Sir H, if he should go to the outposts to speak to him? The answer was, no; that Kellerman had inquired for the Commander of the Forces, and that he must be brought to head quarters. Sir Arthur corrected a statement of Sir Hew's, in which he stated, that it was in consequence of a suggestion of General Kellerman, and not by any desire expressed from Sir H. Dalrymple himself, that he (Sir A.) signed the preliminary articles. Sir Arthur declared that he was in another room, when Sir H. came to him, and informed him that Kellerman had said, when he (Sir H.) was going up to sign the preliminary treaty, that it was not proper for him, the Commander of the Forces, to sign such paper with a General of Division. He (Sir H.) therefore asked Sir A. if he had any objections to sign the paper, when he said he would sign it as any other paper that he might be desired to sign by his authority. But Sir Arthur disclaimed all responsibility, when his superior officer, the Commander of the Forces, was himself present; was in fact the negotiator of the treaty, had stepped forward to sign it himself, and was only prevented by General Kellerman on a point of etiquette. Upon the whole, he declared that Sir H. Dalrymple decided for himself on every proposition, and he (Sir Arthur) never saw the convention till he landed in England. Sir H. Dalrymple replied, that in the negotiation of the armistice, Sir Arthur certainly discussed the points for some time at the table with General Kellerman,
Sixth day, Nov, 24.-Colonel Torrens and Captain Malcolm were called by Sir A. Wellesley, chiefly to prove that Sir A. disapproved of many points of the armistice; that he had not the confidence of Sir H. Dalrymple; and that the lat ter had paid no attention to his recom. mendation of advancing the army, until the necessity of it was again urged by Sir A. to Col. Murray. Sir Hew Dalrymple then read answers to a number of written questions given him by the President, chiefly relating to his proceedings on landing; the steps he took to obtain information, and the knowledge he obtained of the comparative state of the British and French force, their numbers and resources, previous to the armistice.
The result of the answers was, that Sir Hew had obtained very little information, and that he did not recollect precisely from whom he had it. The rest has been anticipated in his previous exhibitions. Gen. Fergusson also read answers to some written questions of the President. From the landing to the battle of the 21st, there was a regular supply of provisions, and on that day there was three days biscuit in the camp. He did not know the strength of the forts on the Tagus, and the defences of Lisbon; the castle of Lisbon he believed to be of no great strength, but the forts and positions of defence in the vicinity and on the Tagus were certainly strong. Had the French withstood a siege, the army was not provided with the necessary artillery, the largest being 9-pounders. In the event of such an attack Lisbon must have been destroyed. As to the convention, General F. seemed to doubt whether the objects accomplished by it might not have been obtained more speedily by other means. General Spencer gave in a military report of the strength of the forts commanding the Tagus.
Seventh day, Nov. 26.-Generals Ack land, Spencer, and Nightingale, were examined. They were of opinion that the French would not have surrendered
prisoners of war on the 22d, nor, if driven back upon Lisbon, without making farther efforts. The French could not have been prevented from retiring across the Tagus, and the advantages secured by the convention could not, in their opinion, have been secured by any other means. General N. however, was somewhat doubtful as to what might have been their conduct, for “he would say, that the whole French army, both men and officers, were completely broken-hearted, and dispirited, after the battle of Vimiera." The convention, General S. observed, was similar to that in Egypt in 1801. In reply to some questions about artillery, it was stated that the Alfred, which was armed with 24 pounders, was ordered to attend the movements of the army from Mondego, for the express purpose of supplying whatever heavy ordnance may be wanted. There was no heavy artillery on carriages, and if there had, it could not have been brought forward on account of the badness of the roads. Captain Preval, of the engineers, gave some information respecting the works at Lisbon. The President then signified that there could be no further proceeding until the arrival of Sir H. Burrard, who was hourly expected, and the Court adjourned sine die.
HIGH COURT OF JUSTICIARY.
January 25. THE HE Court having advised the informations ordered in the case of Rachel Wright, convicted of child-stealing at the Glasgow circuit, in Sept. last, delivered their opinions at great length. Their Lordships unanimously agreed in finding that child-stealing is a crime, according to the law of Scotland, and one that, so often as it had occurred, had been punished capitally. Sentence of death was therefore pronounced on the prisoner, that she be executed at Edin. on the 8th March. Before pronouncing sentence, the Lord Justice Clerk made a most impressive and eloquent address to the pannel.-All their Lordships were present. She has, however, received a
respite during his Majesty's pleasure. The circumstances connected with this case are the following:
"On Friday, 8th July last, the mother of the child having gone into a neigh bour's house, left her playing at the door. On her coming out, about ten minutes afterwards, she missed the infant, when a search was immediately made, and every means used to get intelligence concerning her, but to no purpose. The distraction of a parent's mind, in such a situation, it is more easy to imagine than describe. In this distraction, however, did both parents remain until Sunday at mid-day, when such intelligence was obtained as led to the recovery of the child. The circumstances attending the discovery are worthy of
record. Having mentioned their loss to Mr Ewing of Glasgow, he, on the Sunday, after the morning service, intimated, that if any person could give information respecting the child, he would be happy to receive it. Providentially a person was present who had seen a woman carrying a child into Kilmarnock the preceding day, and from the inhuman manner in which she treated, conceived that it could not be her own, and that most likely it was the one ad. vertised. This information being immediately communicated to the father, he instantly set out for Kilmarnock; but, upon reaching that town, he learn ed, to his disappointment, that the wo man had proceeded towards Irvine, whither he posted with the utmost speed. While hastening to Irvine, in extreme agitation, he was accosted by a gentleman on horseback, and asked the cause of his pushing forward at such a rate; who, being informed of it, immediately dismounted, and gave the poor man his horse. This circumstance, however, al-` though well intended, had likely defeat. ed its purpose; for the poor man, impelled by his anxiety, kept the horse at a quick pace, and being wholly unaccustomed to riding, found himself soon unable to proceed farther. At this moment he fell in with a young man (a volunteer, we believe,) to whom he made his case known; when he forthwith volunteered his services, and, mounting the horse, proceeded in quest of the thief. When he came within a little of Prestick toll-bar, he descried a woman with a child, answering the de scription he had received; and immedi ately demanding, in an authoritative tone, that she should stop and deliver the child, she was, as it were, fixed to the spot, and speechless. The child had been so subdued by beating, that she showed no symptoms of reluctance at coming to a stranger; and he, after getting her secured by a party of volunteers who were passing at the time, rode off in triumph with the infant to her father. When he came within sight of him, the only symptom the child showed of sensibility, was of exclaiming, "Eh, there's my daddy!"-It is unnecessary to add, that he hastened home, to restore to the arms of his afflicted wife the infant, whose loss had almost deprived her of reason."
Lately, at ditto, John Wentworth Sturgeon, Esq. to Barbara, second daughter of the late Captain James Skene, of Aberdeen.
At London, Captain Pulteney Malcolm, royal navy, to Miss Elphinston, eldest daughter of the Hon. William Fullerton Elphinston.
Feb. 1. At Perth, the Rev. Robert S.
Walker, Aughtergaven, to Cecilia, second
Binny, to Janet, youngest daughter of the
13. At Dumfries, William Walker, Esq. late of Jamaica, to Margaret, eldest daugh ter of the late Rev. Dr Burnside, of that place.
16. At Heckfield church, Hants, the Right Hon. Sir Arthur Paget, K. B. to the Right Hon. Lady Augusta Fane, daughter vorced lady of Lord Boringdon. of the Earl of Westmoreland, and the di
Lately, at London, Ebenezer Gairdner, Esq. of Cannon Street, to Harriet, only daughter of the late T. Meredith, Esq. of Calcutta.
Captain. Peter Parker, of the Melpomene frigate, to Miss Marianne Dallas, daughter of Sir George Dallas, Bart.
Charles Christie Esq. of Gunnersbury Lodge, to Miss Dickinson, daughter of John Dickinson, Esq. of Winchester Row,
Fullarton of Skeldon, Esq. a son, who died Jan. 1. At Skeldon, the Lady of William on the 10th.
17. The Lady of Captain M. H. Scott, royal navy, a daughter.
19. Mr. Gillanders of Highfield, a son, 23. At Alva, Mrs Johnstone of Alva, a daughter.
24. At Collie.Priest House, Devonshire, Lady Mary Hay, a daughter.
rie, a daughter.
rol, a daughter.
29. The Lady of Geo. Macpherson Grant, Esq. of Ballindalloch, a daughter. At.