and ultimate glory, he looks with utter contempt at Portugal, whilst he presses without cessation upon the provinces of Spain. Do 1 say, however, that there were no objects in Portugal which claimed our attention? By no means. There was in that country a French army, and in its port a Russian fleet. The capture of that army and the possession of that fleet were of the highest importance; and we stood not only ourselves, but beheld the enemy in such a relative situation as we had never before the good fortune to witness. We saw a French army in a position in which it was cut off from all means of assistance,—situated in an unfriendly country,—deprived of every succour by sea and land. Every man who looked to it might say, that, whatever should be the fate of the other armies of Buonaparte, whatever views of aggrandisement they might be the means of promoting, here at least was an army cut off from all possibility of relief—an army that must be forced to pay the tribute due to British valour, and submit, by British exertions, to confusion and defeat.—This expedition, however, required several important and necessary considerations to be attended to most particularly. It required that the most positive and clear instructions should be given to the officer who was to have the conduct of it. Being intended to act in different situations, according to different circumstances, it was, above all things, necessary that it should be properly equipped for the service; that the commander shoidd at least have had the opportunity afforded him of choosing his own ground; that after such discretion was confided to him, he should at least be continued in his command. This

was essentially necessary to insure its success. But the shores of Portuga were not the first object of the expe dition. It fluctuated between th( northern and southern coasts of Spain and the suggestion of carrying it tc Portugal, farfrom having been found ed upon any previous original deter mination, was taken up in forty-eigh hours, upon the suggestion of th Spanish deputies.

"Spain was the original destina tion of this army; and, on the 21st o June, Lord Castlereagh says, in hi letter to Sir Arthur, that it wa better to bring the whole force to gether than to trust to a junction o the coast of Spain: but from tha moment every thing was trusted to junction there. Sir Arthur's cxp( dition sailed separately,—the cavalr belonging to it sailed separately,General Moore's expedition sailc separately,—General Auckland's e> pedition sailed separately,—the who: of the ordnance sailed separately,and the junction of all these forci and equipments was left to be effec ed on the coast of Spain. On tl 28th one letter was written to Ai miral Purvis, directing him to ser intelligence to Sir Arthur, on t! north coast of Spain; and another' General Spencer, telling him that S Arthur was to co-operate with hin so that the machinery by whicli ll expedition was to be worked wr that Admiral Purvis, who was c Cadiz, was to send requisites to S Arthur Wellesley, who was in t north of Spain, which were to indu Sir Arthur to send orders to Genu Spencer, who was in the south. Tv days afterwards the whole plan altered, in consequence of an opinii given by the Spanish deputies London ; and in opposition to all t previous plans, SirArthuris instrm si' to expel the French from Port«*J f—words of which Sir Hew Dafe-pnplc has said, that if they wm elected for being equivocal, :aey could not have been more so. Tbesc instructions were sent on the sonujsg of the 30th, and on the eveaag of the same day new instruction were written, in consequence of trill diipatches from Sir Charles Cjccd, that there were only 4000men Irato defend the forts on the Tagus. i*co* information,—incredible as it ocgkt to have appeared, and false as : "Vr- was believed without hesitation! The expedition proceeds .;.on this account,—its falsehood is Cucovcred,—and the British comrasder is reduced to the necessity -'t executing very imperfectly the ■nice to which he had been ap

H The expedition was equipped as ^perfectly as it was planned. Accruing to the authority of Sir Arthur Welksley himself, there was not s poixrt in which cavalry would not fcwe been serviceable; and yet the etp«&tuia was set on foot with only ticre huadred horse. When the coble lord karnt that, instead of 1000 Juaot had 20,000, with a large /fopfiruon of cavalry, he then informd Sir Arthur that a proportion of ciTilry «rould accompany the troops; ret there were only 700 embarked; od there were never more than 1500 - Portugal, even including General i*-*waxt'i expedition, which did not irnve at the Tagus till September. Xow, m 1S07, when there was nei'.l«r hope nor intention of attempting ^y tiling upon the continent, .Lord Cariercagh felt so much dissatisfact-jo at the preceding administration's of cavalry, that he put a reso'.anoB on the table of that House,

fediring that he had provided trans

ports for 4000 horse,—that there they were,—that they wanted nothing but services. In 1808 he tells Sir Arthur Wellesley, that as great a proportion of cavalry as his means of transport will enable him shall be sent :—and that groat proportion turnB out to be 700 men!—The equipment of the artillery was even more singular. Sir Arthur says, that when the expedition sailed, it being uncertain whether it might not remain long at sea, and it being doubtful in what part of the peninsula it might be serviceable* it was thought advisable not to take good horses to draw the guns. I have heard," said Lord Henry, " of cases where it has been necessary to have particularly good artillery horses; I nave heard of cases where it has not been necessary to have artillery horses at all; but this is the first time that I have ever heard of an expedition in which it was necessary to have bad artillery horses. The horses were sick, lame, blind, cast off, and unfit for service; and this not by accident, but by concert between Lord Hawkesbury and the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland!

«• Sir Arthur Wellesley sailed, conceiving himself to be commander-inchief of the expedition which was to effect the destruction of the enemy in Portugal; yet six general officers, superior to him in rank, are successively sent out! Having sent General Burrard to supersede General Wellesley, and General Dalrymple to supersede General Burrard, and designing to send another general to supersede General Dalrymple, it is entertaining to see Lord Castlereagh recommending persons so superseding each other to act together in harmony! The noble leader of the band puts all his instruments out of tune, throws them into a strain of discord, and then conjures them to be harmonious. By this time, however, he was himself become completely ignorant who was the commander-inchief; they had been appointed in such rapid succession, that he knew not to whom he should address himself as such, and all his future instructions were therefore directed to the senior officer for the time being!

"There is yet one point more which requires attention, relative to the equipment of this expedition. It is stated in the instructions furnished by Lord Castlereagh, that the great expence of rendering the army maintainable on its landing has determined him to trust to the resources of the country, as there was no doubt it would furnish every species of supply. Sir Arthur Wellesley affirms, that no exertions whatever could have drawn from Portugal a supply of bread; that the supplies of cattle for slaughter were not sufficient for the army; and that it is a country which never fed itself for more than seven months in the year. Yet this is the country on which the noble lord, from considerations of expence, was to rely, not only for the sustenance of the army, but for the means of facilitating the rapidity of its motions! The noble lord is not often economical, but when his economy does come forward, it produces considerable effect. Philosophy has been stated to be a good horse in the stable, but a bad one on the road: the same may be said of economy : but the noble lord's economy is always on the road, never in the stable. When no expeditions are going forward, then he has transports ready for 4000 cavalry: In time of war, when every thmg depends upon rapidity, then his economy will net allow transports for more

than 7 or 800; his economy will have artillery horses that are lame, and blind, and unfit for service; and his economy will draw supplies from a country which has not the power of supplying itself!

"Sir Arthur landed, and commenced a bold system of operations, which, supported by British bravery, could not have been otherwise than successful. Sir Harry Burrard arrived to supersede him ;—to him all the defects in the state of the army were immediately obvious :—he saw the want of cavalry and of artillery, and the inability of the country to afford provisions; and upon these grounds he rests the justification of his subsequent conduct. His reign, however, was but short: The north wind brought Sir Harry, the south brought Sir Hew; and scarcely had Sir Harry's sun risen, when it set for ever. And here it is but justice to point out the very peculiar situation in which SirHewDalrymple wasplaced. He had first taken the command of an army which he had never before seen, and landed in a country with which he was not acquainted: he was committed to a system of operations upon which he had never been consulted :—in his own words, all the responsibility was vested in him, all the direction in others. He was in want of everything necessary to enable him to act with confidence and decision. First, and most materially, he was in want of precise instructions; he was in want also of cavalry and artillery horses; and to these deficiencies is to be attributed the conclusion of the fatal and ever-to-be lamented armistice.

"Of the maritime convention it would be superfluous to speak, were it not to shew that its principle was introduced by Lord Castlereagh himcf. So Ute as the year 1807, Lord SMrford suggested that it might be possible to reduce the Russian Ittt, by blocaade, to such a state as would . all probability lead to a coovraucra; and this was followed tp by a letter from the admiralty to Sir Chirks Cotton, authorising him to awdude a maritime convention, cpra the terms on which that conwaion wis concluded. Not a word at Eutnjction was afterwards received 'or Sir Charles. Circumstances were sjtinafly changed, and yet he re* sas ia September with the same inrnctioiH which he had received in April! He goes on and concludes tie convention; and then it is that At Board of Admiralty write a letter to him, in which they do not contea him for applying at one time ue instructions meant for another, bet they blame him for introducing • aor principle into the service. But tin ru precisely the very principle »akh Lord Castlereagh had suggested i a-d yet when Sir Charles Collin had concluded a treaty Upon that praxiple, the noble lord thinks it inRsuoos to turn round upon the gallant admiral, and exclaim, * Thou aast not say I did it!'

* It it but a short time, sir," Lord Henry continued, addressing himself B the Speaker, " since, as the organ of this House, you stated to those bra»e men by whose skill and couift the victory of Vimiera was MBeved, that their swords had not kta drawn in vain. As far as va■Sf and skill were concerned, assu'tdly their swords were not drawn in "ia; but for any purpose of solid «dnntage to ourselves, or of afford°% assistance to our allies, they were ■Swi in vain. I would ask our al!*» the Spaniards,—1 would ask the **>ple of Biscay, Gallicia,and A6tu

rias, who have recently tracked the desolating progress of the enemy,— I would ask our own countrymen, who shed their best blood before Coruna, against that very army which had been transported from Portugal to fight them, whether the battles of Vimiera and Roleia had not been fought in vain? I would ask even the people of Portugal, whom we have now abandoned, or must speedily abandon, whether the skill and valour so gloriously displayed in these battlps was not displayed in vain,—whether, in a word, our gallant countrymen did not draw their swords in vain? Let the House compare the situation of General Junot in June with what it was in the December following, when he was quelling insurre: on in Spain, and assisting to drive the British army to Coruna. What had intervened between July and December? A British expedition! British success! British victory! I hope, at least, that the result of the vote this night will be to give some important instruction to the country, and that those who have been attributing the failure of our expedition to other causes will come to a distinct vote; that they will inform the country, if they are of that opinion, that all* though the expedition was properly commanded, yet it was convenient that the commander should be changed; that although it was proper there should be a large force of cavalry, yet that it was not inconvenient to have scarcely any cavalry at all; that although it was proper to have efficient artillery horses, yet it was no detriment to the service to have horses that were wounded, lame, blind, spavined, and cast off; that it was necessary to have the most precise instructions given to the commanders, and yet that it was na fault in his Majesty's ministers to have abstained from giving any instructions at all. We have been warned that we ought to guard against the language of humiliation, and to prevent ourselves from being depressed by the appearance of the sinking fortune of the country. The language that infers national humiliation I do pot approve of; but if results such as we have seen are to proceed from British valour, if such are to be the only fruits that we are to reap from victory, all that I can say is, that the language of humiliation best becomes this House. But if valour and victory only lead to misfortune and disgrace, let us point out to whom the language of humiliation ought to belong. If the glory of armies be rendered unavailing by the weakness of our councils; if valour in the field be defeated by incapacity in the cabinet, let us at least discriminate.— With this view I propose, with deference to the House, the adoption of resolutions intended to record a most important commentary on the past, and to present a most instructive lesson for the future."

To one part only of this able and argumentative speech was Lord Castlereagh able to make a satisfactory reply. "At the commencement of the campaign," he said, " ministers had a disposable force of 5000 men, under General Spencer, at Gibraltar, and of 10,000 at Cork, under Sir Arthur Wellesley. That under Sir John Moore could not be calculated on immediately, as its getting free of the Baltic was uncertain; so that there was no possible chance that these three corps could be brought speedily to act together on the same service, still less m one expedition. But was it not better to send the two former to the immediate aid of the

Spanish cause, than to delay them until additional succours could be provided in England? General Spencer was sent in the first instance to Cadiz, and not to Portugal; and the plain reason was, that if he had arrived in the Tagus before the main force under Sir Arthur, it might have been a signal to the enemy to concentrate his force.

"The charge against ministry of a deficiency in the equipment of the expedition had been greatly narrowed since it was first set up. At first the whole failure was imputed to them:—they had sent out an army destitute of ammunition, of artillery, of provisions, of tents, of every thing: but now the points to be relied on were the deficiency of artillery horses, and the situation of Portugal with respect to supplies. An advancing army, in general, depended for supplies upon the country which it went to succour. Provisions are not meant; for all the expeditions to Spain and Portugal carried with them provisions for three months, exclusive of the transport provisions, which amounted to eight weeks more. But an army requires a great number of cattle to convey those provisions and other necessaries :—in the Austrian army, so great a proportion as even one half is usual; so that for 30,000 men, 15,000 beasts of burden would be wanted. It was not surprising, therefore, that for assistance of this kind they should depend on the country; and it was also necessary that an army should land at some distance from the enemy, in order that it might have time to create and collect the means to enable it to advance. When a want of artillery horses was complained of, Lord Henry must have shut his eyes to the reinforcement which was immediately to follow from

« ForrigeFortsett »