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printed truth and actual truth of the period, in writing to Clarke, also from Schønbrunn, on the 2nd October :
Write to General Senarmont and to the director of the park to give an account of the artillery lost at the battle of Talavera ; that the smallest omission will be criminal; that it is not for printing, but in order to know the truth.'
The following letter from Napoleon to Clarke is also characteristic. It shows that he systematically deceived his own troops as well as his enemies :To General Clarke, Count of Hunebourg.
Schønbrunn, 10 Oct., 1809. “I desire that you should write to the King of Spain to make him understand that nothing is more contrary to military rules than to make known the strength of one's army, either in orders of the day or in the gazettes; that when one is induced to speak of one's forces, one ought to exaggerate them and represent them as formidable by doubling or even trebling their numbers, and that when one speaks of the enemy, one ought to diminish his force by a half or a third ; that in warfare all depends upon moral force. When I conquered the Austrian army at Eckmühl, where I was one against five, my soldiers believed, nevertheless, that they were at least equal to the enemy; and even to this day, notwithstanding the length of time that has elapsed since we came into Germany, the enemy does not know our real strength. . . . . Consequently, in my Italian campaigns, where I had but a handful of men, I exaggerated my force. That has serred my purpose and has not diminished my glory.'
Napoleon, therefore, poured fresh reinforcements into the Peninsula, until nine corps, comprising 380,000 men, were collected under his most trusted commanders in the spring of 1810; and these he naturally thought sufficient at once to overawe the Spaniards and to drive the 30,000 men of the English leopard into the sea. The latter duty was especially confided to Massena, his best Marshal, whose army of Portugal was to consist of 100,000 men; and of whom Wellesley afterwards said, when questioned as to the relative merits of his opponents, 'I only know this, I always found Massena where I did not want him.'
Lord Wellington was, then, compelled after the battle of Talavera to fall back to Badajoz; and after the defeat inflicted by Soult, with 30,000 men, upon Areizaga with 50,000 Spaniards, at Oçana, on the 19th November, he was further obliged to retire from that advantageous position. He therefore, at the end of December, re-entered Portugal, and established himself in Beira, with Viseu as his head-quarters, resolved not to give up the game as long as it could be played, though he had previously prayed that if he did fail, God might have mercy upon him, for surely no one else would.'
game declared * 'Sup. Des.,' vol, vi. p. 562,
The following letter to Lord Liverpool from Pombal, 2nd January, 1810, shows the manly spirit by which he was actuated :
'I see that the Common Council of the City of London have desired that my conduct should be inquired into; and I think it probable that the answer which the King will give to this address will be consistent with the approbation which he has expressed of the acts which the gentlemen wish to make the subject of inquiry ; and that they will not be well pleased. I cannot expect mercy at their hands, whether I succeed or fail; and if I should fail, they will not enquire whether the failure is owing to my own incapacity, to the blameless errors to which we are all liable, to the faults or mistakes of others, to the deficiency of our means, to the serious difficulties of our situation, or to the great power and abilities of our enemy. In any of these cases, I shall become their victim; but I am not to be alarmed by this additional risk, and whatever may be the consequences, I shall continue to do my best in this country.'*
And he wrote the following to Admiral Berkeley from Viseu, 7th April, 1810:
• The Government are terribly afraid that I shall get them and myself into a scrape. But what can be expected from men who are beaten in the House of Commons three times a week? A great deal might be done if there existed in England less party and more public sentiment, and if there was any Government.' †
The refusal to stake the safety of his army on a battle for the relief of Ciudad Rodrigo required all his firmness. He was urged to this attempt by the Portuguese as well as by the Spaniards. His own army was eager for it, and Massena hoped that he would thus commit himself. He had on other occasions shown, as appeared to others, great rashness; and no resolve was ever more painful to him ; but he decided that it was his duty to refrain,' because the irrevocable loss of the whole cause would be the consequence of any failure in the attempt,' now that the French armies had been so largely reinforced.
He wrote thus to Mr. Pole on the 31st July, 1810:
'I considered the relief of Ciudad Rodrigo to be so important that I wished to undertake it, notwithstanding these disadvantages; and I proposed to the Marquis de la Romana that he should protect my right while I should collect the troops from Alentejo for that purpose; but anxious as he was that Ciudad Rodrigo should be relieved, he
* "Well. Des.,' vol. v. p. 404.
† Ibid., vol. vi.
declared positively that he could not maintain his position if General Hill were withdrawn, as long as the 2nd corps should remain in Estremadura. I was therefore obliged to allow matters to take their course."
When that place was captured, on the 10th of July, 1810, he fell back before Massena, who endeavoured to overtake him by forced marches; and when Almeida fell, from the explosion of its magazine and the treachery of Portuguese officers, shortly afterwards, he promoted to the best of his power the wise measures which had already been partially in progress, for preventing the French from obtaining supplies. The country was in his own words) made a desert, and behind every stone wall the French found an enemy.' The desolation-system was so far carried out, as at once to put the French to great straits even on their advance; and Massena complained in an intercepted letter to Berthier, that · he was marching through a desert, from which men and women, young and old, had fled, dreading the barbarity of the English, who shot every one who dared to remain in his home.'
In complaining of croaking’ in his army, Wellington declared that though officers had a right to form their own opinions, those at all events of high rank and situation ought to keep them to themselves,' and that if they did not do so he would send them to England, as many other Generals would have done already. He showed much generosity in regard to that enterprising and excellent officer, General Crawfurd, when he became involved, contrary to his orders, with the French on the further side of the Coa. He took upon himself what blame attached to the occurrence, and simply replied to Crawfurd's assurance that he had been in no danger, by saying that he himself had been in great danger through his operations.' He wrote on this subject to Mr. Pole, in the course of a very striking letter upon the general situation of affairs :
“Although † I shall be hanged for them, you may be very certain that not only I have had nothing to do with, but had positively forbidden, the foolish affairs in which Crawfurd involved his outposts. Of the first, indeed, in which Talbot was killed, I knew nothing before it happened. In respect to the last, that of the 24th, I had positively desired him not to engage in any affair on the other side of the Coa; and, as soon as La Conception was blown up on the 21st, I had expressed my wish that he should withdraw his infantry to the left of the river; and I repeated my injunction that he should not engage in any affair on the right of the river, in answer to a letter in which he told me that he thought the cavalry could not remain there without the infantry. After all this he remained above two hours on his ground after the enemy appeared in his front, before they attacked him, during which time he might have retired across the Coa twice over, where he would have been in a situation in which he could not have been attacked.
† Ibid., vol. vi. p. 563.
ground 'I am very much obliged to you for your private letter of the 27th ultimo. I am anxious to assure you that we are most fully and completely satisfied with all that you have done, and all that you are doing. With respect to the expediency of attacking Massena, no
• You will say, if this be the case, why not accuse Crawfurd ? I answer, because, if I am to be hanged for it, I cannot accuse a man who I believe has meant well, and whose error is one of judgment, and not of intention ; and indeed I must add that, although my errors and those of others also are visited heavily upon me, that is not the way in which any, much less a British, army can be commanded.'
Rebuking the Regency as they deserved for encouraging discontent, entreating the British Government to have greater confidence in him, and enjoining the strictest prudence on his subordinates, he retired to the ridge of Busaco. Massena could make no impression on that formidable position on the 27th of September, but was fortunate enough to turn the British left the next day before Trant reached Sardao. And leaving his stores and hospitals with 5000 men to fall into Trant's possession at Coimbra, he pressed forward rapidly after the British forces, retreating, as he vainly imagined, to their ships, until he reached on the 10th of October the memorable lines which, guarded as they were, he could not venture even to assault.
The Supplementary Despatches' are particularly valuable in affording an insight into the other side of many questions in regard to which the correspondence from one side only has been previously published. For instance, in reply to Wellington's remonstrances as to the Ministers' want of confidence in him, Lord Liverpool writes on the 10th of September, 1810 :
*I am at a loss to conceive upon what ground you can have supposed that the King's Ministers had no confidence in the measures adopted for the defence of Portugal. I should have thought that their language in Parliament must have had the effect of satisfying the world as to their public sentiments upon this subject. It certainly exposed them not only to the censure of the Opposition, but even to the animadversions of some of their friends, for what was represented to be their extreme sanguineness in the cause of the Peninsula.' *
And the entire confidence which he felt later in Wellington's judgment is happily expressed in a letter dated 19th November, 1810:
Sup. Des.,' vol. vi. p. 591.
proper judgment can be formed upon such a subject, except by those who are near the scene of action. We wish you to be governed on this point entirely by your own discretion, and that you should neither abstain from attack, nor engage in it, in consequence of any opinions which
be supposed to be entertained in this country. If it were even possible (which it is not) to form a just opinion here on such a subject, the change of circumstances and succession of events would be very likely to render that opinion, which might have been good when it was formed, bad when it came to be acted upon. In short, you know our object to be the defence of Portugal and the support of the cause of the Peninsula, as long as they are practicable : and I trust you feel that you possess the entire confidence of Government with respect to the measures which it may be desirable to adopt for these purposes, whether they may
be of a cautious or of a more enterprising character.'*
At no time were Wellington's sagacity in forecasting the progress of events, and his forethought in preparing for them, more conspicuous than in 1809-10. He thus defined his own object in entering Spain,' in a memorandum,f which was drawn up in reply to Lord Wellesley's queries. The object in entering Spain. Portugal was safe, our army disposable, and every prospect that it was sufficiently strong, with the Spanish troops that had kept the French in check, to penetrate to Madrid at least.' He knew full well that his advance could only be temporary, and that whatever his success in that campaign, he could not fail to bring down upon him forces superior to any that he might hope to wield. "He foresaw clearly, what few then believed, that the advantages which Napoleon derived from his second marriage with the Austrian Princess would not be lasting. He perceived that all was hollow within,' and that Napoleon's system was so inconsistent with the wishes, the interests, and even the existence of civilised society, that he could not trust even his brothers to carry it into execution.' But he left nothing to chance. He prepared with 30,000 British, and 25,000 Portuguese soldiers, besides the militia, to make good the words already quoted from his memorandum of March, 1809, that Portugal might (in his opinion) be defended, whatever might be the result of the contest in Spain.' He fulfilled the promise contained in the same memorandum of assisting the cause of Spain and maintaining the cause of Europe—by drawing upon himself the greatest force that the French could devote to him at the longest distance from its base and resources.
He erected three lines of fortification on land, forming an impregnable fortification behind which he could
“Sup. Des.,' vol. vi. p. 641. † Published at p. 462, vol. vi. “Sup. Des.' 'Well. Des.,' vol. vi. p. 12.