in a very

Lieut. General Viscount Wellington, K.B., to the Earl of Liverpool,

Secretary of State. · MY DEAR Lord,

• Viseu, 2nd April, 1810. 'I have received your letter of the 13th March, and I am much obliged to you for the consideration you have given to our situation in this country, and your discussion of the subject.

• The great disadvantage under which I labor is, that Sir John Moore, who was here before me, gave an opinion that this country could not be defended by the army under his command: and, although it is obvious that the country was

different situation at that time from what it is at present, that I am in a very different situation from that in which he found himself; and that, moreover, it can be proved, from the marches and operations of the army under Sir John Moore, and his dispatches, that little was known of Portugal at that time; yet persons, who ought to be acquainted with these facts, entertain a prejudice against the adoption of any plans for opposing the enemy, of which Portugal is to be the theatre, or its means the instrument, and will not even consider them.

• I have as much respect as any man can have for the opinion and judgment of Sir John Moore ; and I should mistrust my own, if opposed to his, in a case which he had had an opportunity of knowing and considering. But he positively knew nothing of Portugal, and could know nothing of its existing state. Besides this prejudice, founded on Sir John Moore's opinion, there is another very general prejudice against any military operation in the Peninsula.

• My opinion is, that as long as we shall remain in a state of activity in Portugal, the contest must continue in Spain; that the French are most desirous that we should withdraw from the country, but know that they must employ a very large force indeed in the operations which will render it necessary for us to go away; and I doubt whether they can bring that force to bear upon Portugal without abandoning other objects, and exposing their whole fabric in Spain to great risk. If they should be able to invade it, and should not succecd in obliging us to evacuate the country, they will be in a very dangerous situation ; and the longer we can oppose them, and delay their success, the more likely are they to suffer materially in Spain.



• All the preparations for embarking and carrying away

the army, and every thing belonging to it, are already made; and my intention is to embark it, as soon as I find that necessity exists for so doing. I shall delay the embarkation as long as it is in my power, and shall do every thing in my power to avert the necessity of embarking at all.

* If the enemy should invade this country with a force less than that which I should think so superior to ours as to create the necessity for embarking, I shall fight a battle to save the country, for which I have made the preparations; and if the result should not be successful, of which I have no doubt, I shall still be able to retire and embark the army.

• In short, the whole of my conduct shall be guided by a fair and cool view of the circumstances of our situation at the moment, and a reference to your Lordship’s instructions of the 27th February, (A.)

• I had considered that a doubt might exist of the policy of bringing matters to extremities in this country, and I had brought that subject under the view of the King's Government in my dispatches of the 31st January and 9th February, to which your Lordship's answer of 27th February is clear and distinct; and I understand from that letter, that if there exists a military necessity for it, I am to evacuate the country; and if there does not exist a military necessity for it, I am not to evacuate the country : in which last understanding is included of course the other understanding, that I am not to be frightened away by a force which I shall not consider to be superior to that which I shall have under my command.

• Your Lordship will observe that, in this plan, there is no intention or desire to attempt a desperate resistance. Am I right in understanding that I am not to quit the country, unless pressed by a force which I shall consider superior to that which I shall have to oppose to the enemy? If I am right, I may be obliged to bring matters to extremities; and I shall now show you, that whatever may be the nature of our operations, or the mode or period at which we shall evacuate Portugal, I have not mistaken the place of embarkation.

* Upon reference to the enclosures in my dispatch of 14th November, your Lordship will find a discussion on the relative advantage and disadvantage of embarking the army at different places in Portugal, in a letter to Admiral Berkeley; and

you will see that it is distinctly stated that the contest for Lisbon and the Tagus cannot be brought to extremities, without giving up all thoughts of embarking at Peniche. I might have said that, connected with an embarkation at Peniche, it cannot be brought to extremities at all with any advantage, as it is obvious that the battle would be fought after Lisbon, and the Tagus would be lost—the heart of the country, that alone which is an object to either party, the only point by which we could communicate with England as an army, or the Portuguese with the Brazils as a nation.

• If I am to bring the question of evacuation to extremities at all, it is therefore obvious that I must preserve the communication with Lisbon, and must give up all thoughts of embarking at Peniche. But I think I am not wrong in my choice of St. Julian, even though I ought not to bring matters to extremities. The Government may determine that not bringing matters to extremities, I shall embark at an early period; or that I shall stay as long as I can, going at last, when the enemy shall move into the country with a force which I shall think so superior to that under my command as to oblige me to evacuate.

• In the first case there is no question ; all places are alike, St. Julian is as good as Peniche and Oporto, the Mondego and Setuval as good as either. In the second case I must observe, that your Lordship is misinformed of the nature of the position of St. Julian; and I think you have received your information upon the relative strength of these places, and their relative advantage as places of embarkation, from some of those persons who have never considered the subject, and

probably have never even looked at either place.

• If the weather should prevent the army from embarking at St. Julian, the troops will be in a position from whence nothing could force them. They could withdraw from it the rear guard to the last man, being protected by the works which have been constructed, which are of a strength not to be taken, except by a regular attack.

* St. Julian, however, is not so strong as Peniche; but the difference in the relative strength of these positions is not sufficient to compensate for other disadvantages in adopting Peniche as a place of embarkation.

* In the first place; whether matters are to be brought to extremities or not, we must have our stores and our hospital at Lisbon, and all our communication with Lisbon to the last moment. Peniche has neither the means of giving cover to what we have, nor of providing transports for their removal to the army when wanted; nor are the communications with Peniche sufficiently good to answer the purposes of the constant supply of the army. If we could find cover for all that we have at Peniche, the removal of our stores from Lisbon to that place would soon discover our object, the effect of which discovery would be felt in the conduct of friends as well as of enemies.

• Secondly; if Peniche is to be used as the place of embarkation for the whole army at the last moment, it must immediately be stored with provisions to provide for the contingency of the weather not suffering the army to quit the place, which is, I assure you, at least as probable at Peniche as it is in the Tagus.

· Thirdly; adverting to the necessity of keeping a corps upon

the Tagus during all our operations, we might experience some inconvenience in forming a junction with that corps, Peniche being the place of embarkation, owing to local circumstances, of which the discussion would be too long at the end of this long letter.

· Fourthly; when we do go, I feel a little anxiety to go, like gentlemen, out of the hall door, particularly after the preparations which I have made to enable us to do so, and not out of the back door, or by the area.

• I am willing to be responsible for the evacuation of Portugal, under your Lordship’s instructions of the 27th February. Depend upon it, whatever people may tell you, I am not so desirous as they imagine of fighting desperate battles; if I was, I might fight one any day I please. But I have kept the army for six months in two positions, notwithstanding their own desire, and that of the allies, that I should take advantage of many opportunities which the enemy apparently offered of striking a blow against them; in some of which the single operation would certainly have been successful. But I have looked to the great result of our maintaining our position on the Peninsula; and have not allowed myself to be diverted from it by the wishes of the allies, and probably of some of our own army, that I should interfere more actively in some partial affairs; or by the opinion of others, that we ought to quit the country

prematurely; and I have not harassed my troops by marches and counter-marches, in conformity to the enemy's movements. I believe that the world in the Peninsula begin to believe that I am right.

* I am convinced that, if the Spaniards had followed my advice, Spain would now have been out of danger, and that the conduct which I have pursued has given us at this moment an efficient army, which is the only hope of the Peninsula. I am perfectly aware of the risks which I incur personally, whatever may be the result of the operations in Portugal. All I beg is, that if I am to be responsible, I may be left to the exercise of my own judgment; and I ask for the fair confidence of Government upon the measures which I am to adopt.

• If Government take the opinions of others upon the situation of affairs here, and entertain doubts upon the measures which I propose to adopt, then let them give me their instructions in detail, and I will carry them strictly into execution. I may venture, however, to assure you, that, with the exception of Marshal Beresford, who I believe concurs entirely in all my opinions respecting the state of the contest, and the measures to be adopted here, there is no man in the army who has taken half the pains upon the subject that I have.

• Believe me, &c. The Earl of Liverpool."


Lieut. General Viscount Wellington, K.B., to Vice Admiral

the Hon. G. Berkeley, K.B. MY DEAR Sır,

• Viseu, 3rd April, 1810. I am much indebted to you for the letter of the 31st. I shall be very much obliged to you if you will send home a transport or transports with the 300 German deserters now at Lisbon ; but as I expect many more, I shall be obliged to you if you will send them to England, from time to time, in proportion as they shall arrive at Lisbon. If they should at any time amount to such numbers as that it would be inconvenient to the ships of war to receive them, I will then request you to send home a transport with them.

• I shall be very glad to see the chevaux de frise. Your nephew is here, and dines with me this day.

• I have good accounts from General Murray, of the 10th

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