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In Italy and Dalmatia ; on the Rhine, Danube, and Elbe ; in Prussia, Denmark, and Poland, his legions were to be found. Over that vast extent, above 500,000 disciplined men maintained the supremacy of France. From these bands he drew the imperial guards, the select soldiers of the warlike nation he governed, and the terror of the other continental troops. The veterans of Jena, Austerlitz, reduced in numbers, but of confirmed hardihood, were collected into one corps, and marched towards Spain. A host of cavalry, unequalled for enterprise and knowledge of war, was also directed against that devoted land ; and a long train of gallant soldiers followed, until 200,000 men, accustomed to battle, had penetrated the gloomy fastnesses of the western Pyrenees ; 40,000 troops of inferior reputation, drawn from the interior of France, from Naples, Tuscany, and Piedmont, were assembled at Perpignan. The march of this multitude was incessant; and as they passed the capital, Napoleon, neglectful of nothing which could excite their courage, and swell their military ardour, addressed to them one of those nervous orations that shoot like fire to the heart of a real soldier. In the tranquillity of peace it may seem inflated, but on the eve of battle it is thus a general should speak.
“Soldiers ! after triumphing on the banks of the Vistula and the Danube, with rapid steps you have passed through Germany. This day, without a moment of repose, I command you to traverse France. Soldiers ! I have need of you ! the hideous presence of the Leopard contaminates the Peninsula of Spain and Portugal. In terror he must fly before you. Let us bear our triumphal eagles to the pillars of Hercules ; there also we
have injuries to avenge. Soldiers ! you have surpassed the renown of modern armies ; but have you yet equalled the glory of those Romans, who, in one and the same campaign, were victorious upon the Rhine and the Euphrates, in Illyria and upon the Tagus ? A long peace, a lasting prospe. rity, shall be the reward of your labours. A real Frenchman could not, ought not to rest, until the seas are free and open to all. Soldiers ! all that you have done, all that you will do for the happiness of the French people, and for my glory, shall be eternal in my heart.'-- Thus saying, he caused his troops to proceed to the frontiers of Spain."*
Napoleon's advance to Madrid-Sir John Moore's Expedi
tion-Retreat-Sufferings and Insubordination of the Army--Battle of Corunna-Death of Sir John MooreOperations of the Spaniards-Defence of Saragossa-Soult
advances into Portugal. NAPOLEON entered Spain on the 8th November, and the influence of his presiding genius was soon apparent in the defeats which the Spaniards experienced from the French generals. Belvidere had been routed, and Blake's army, after a series of combats, almost annihilated at Reynosa on the 13th ;-a defeat which involved the loss of the greater part of the Spanish veteran soldiers who had been conveyed from the Baltic. With the remnants of his army Blake fled to the Austurian mountains, and in conjunction with Romana, at
* Napier's Peninsular War.
tempted to re-organise the fragments. Bonaparte rapidly approached the capital, defeating with ease the Spaniards under General St. Julian. As the French approached Madrid, the central junta fled ; and Morla, who remained in command, if no traitor, at least shewed little zeal or energy in his country's
The city, in a state of alarm and anarchy, was summoned to surrender by Napoleon on the 2nd December : no answer was returned ; but when the French batteries were opened, and the Retiro carried by Villatte's division, a capitulation was agreed to, and on the 4th the surrender was made ; though loud professions had been made at first of resistance against the French, and each individual seemed to burn with patriotic ardour. No sooner were the terms completed, than a body of nobles, clergy, and public authorities, waited on the Emperor at Chamartin, with an address. Resistance from the Spaniurds seemed now for a time to be at an end ; and a single British army, numerically weak and unsupported, was the only opposing force in the Peninsula. The French army was divided throughout the provinces, to complete the conquest effected in the capital ; an arrangement which might well be made, seeing that after deducting the number of troops required for garrisons and communications, a force of no less than 160,000 men was disposable for active operations.
Sir John Moore, who was placed at the head of the British army, enjoyed a very high military reputation ; his talents were universally acknowledged, his courage had been repeatedly tried, and he was endeared to his followers by goodness and kindness of heart. To appreciate his merits, we must take into account the difficulties which he was fully conscious he had to encounter : he was was aware of the weakness and disorder of the Spanish armies, and the imbecility of the government; no general plan of operation had been forwarded to him : judging from the apparent apathy of the people, and not having had means of forming a full estimate of their character, he believed that the French would require “ little more than a march to subdue the country :" we must add likewise that the sense of these difficulties, acting upon a naturally grave temperament, made him doubt the ultimate success of the struggle. “The probability,” said he in a letter to one of his brothers, “ is that the French will succeed; and if they do, it will be from no talent having sprung up after the first effort, to take advantage of the enthusiasm that then existed. The Spaniards have not shewn themselves wise or prudent. Their wisdom is not that of action; but still they are a fine people ; a character of their own, quite distinct from other nations, and much might have been done with them. Pray for me that I may make wise decisions, but if bad ones, it will not be from want of consideration.” There is no doubt that the early vigour of the Spaniards had in many cases subsided into an inert hatred of the French : disasters had pressed heavily upon them; they were destitute of experienced troops, and had scarcely any artillery ; they were almost without generals of talent, and magazines ; and their leaders were divided and at variance. The supplies from England had been in many cases misapplied, and the they were quarrelling about their distribution, when they ought to be using them against the enemy: Sir John Moore arrived in Spain too late to save
the Spanish armies from defeat ; and while he remained six weeks at Salamanca, uncertain how he should act, the course of events went so rapidly on as still more to increase his indecision. After de. feating Blake, it was evident that Napoleon would advance on Madrid ; Sir John plainly saw that there were just two courses open to him, either to march to the defence of the capital, or retreat and assume a defensive position ; his own inclination was in favour of the latter, for it appeared impossible that an army which did not exceed 30,000 men, could contend against Napoleon's forces, which were more than six times that number.
Mr. Frere, the English ambassador, was Sir John Moore's only medium of communication with the head junta, whose influence, however, was scarcely more than nominal, except in their own immediate neighbourhood. Of an ardent temperament, and trusting too implicitly to the representations of the junta, Mr. Frere unconsciously represented to Sir John Moore matters as they really were not, and urged movements in advance, which Moore feared would be pregnant with disaster and destruction. Frere wished him to take the Spartan resolution of advancing at once to defend Madrid, a proceeding obviously most rash. Anxious, however, to discharge his duty in the best manner possible, urged by his own feelings, and the importunities of the Spanish government, General Moore resolved, by an effort against the north-western part of the French army, both to prevent them from pressing upon Romana, who was endeavouring to re-unite the remnants of the Gallician army; and also to hinder them from marching to the south to complete the conquest of the Peninsula. Yet General Moore perceived that by this bold measure, he ran the