high and important station which he the junta of government by, and to at present occupies. To prove the take all his information on that, and incompetence of this gentleman, I all the subjects concerning the state need only refer to the letter in which, of Spain, from Mr Frere;* not, howappearing to be ignorant of the ar. ever, that he was to submit to his rival of reinforcements to the French communications as to commands, but army, he mentions to Sir John Moore to pay every attention to them short how desirable it would be for him, of what should be paid to commands. and how politic, to make an attack From these instructions it may he upon the French army before it judged what weight the advice of Mr should be reinforced ; and yet at the Frere must have had in determining date of that letter the French army Sir John Moore's conduct. He rehad been increased to 113,000 men! commended him to suspend his retreat Another reason which he assigned for for the present, because, he said, such the advance of the general was, that was the spirit of the people, that if France was always weak after a great they should be abandoned by the effort! Sentiments such as these can. British army, he was convinced they not fail to remind one of the case of would still accomplish their object. those, who, from being in the con- When Mr Frere stated the determinstant habit of telling stories, come at ed spirit of the Spaniards,—nay, when length to believe them themselves.” he went the length of alleging, that

His lordship then endeavoured to even if that people were left to themprove “ that the advance of the ar- selves, he had no doubt of their ultimy from Salamanca was the work of mate success, he still urged Sir John this Mr Frere." “ Lord Castle. Moore to advance; adding, that such reagh,” he said, “ in his instructions a movement was at that time of so to General Moore, directed him to much importance to the interests of be guided in every thing respecting Spain, and he was so certain + of its

* The passage alluded to in Lord Castlereagh's letter is as follows:-“Whenever you shall have occasion to make any communications to the Spanish governmeni, you are to correspond with it through the minister at Madrid, and all communications from the Spanish government to you are to be made through the same chan. nel: and although communications, either from the Spanish government or the British minister, are not to be considered by you as in the nature of orders, you will, nevertheless, receive such requisitions or representations, upon all occasions, with the utmost deference and attention; and in case you shall feel it your duty to dissent from them, you will take care to represent, in the fullest manner, your reasons for so doing, as well to the British minister, for the information of the Spanish government, as to the government at home." As for any directions to General Moore, that he should take all bis information from Mr Frere, no such were given : the thing is too absurd to be possible.

† Mr Frere's words are these :—“I cannot forbear representing to you, in the strongest manner, the propriety, not to say the necessity, of supporting the determination of the people of this country, by all the means which have been entrusted to you for that purpose. I have no hesitation in taking upon myself any responsibility which may attach itself to this advice; and I consider the fate of Spain as depending absolutely, for the present, upon the decision which you adopt. I say for the present ; for such is the spirit and determination of the people, that if aban-' doned by the British, I should by no means despair of their ultimate success.”


happy result, that he would be ready on the woolsack may find among the to take the whole responsibility upon list of fraudulent bankrupts. This, himself. By this strong, and, as it then, my lords, is the sort of man afterwards proved, false statement, whom Mr Frere thought proper to the general was induced to change select for the purpose of influencing his prudent determination of retreat the decision, if not of superseding the ing. Accompanying these commu- authority, of Sir John Moore. In nications of false intelligence, was a

this man, whose name most improper letter from Mr Frere, I have learned from private letters which deserves the strongest terms of transmitted by Sir John Moore to reprobation,-a letter which, by re- his relations, and in marking him as commending the examination of the one of those emigrants who took remessenger who bore it before a coun- fuge in this country in consequence cil of war, in the event of his not com- of the French revolution, I beg I plying with the recommendation it may not be understood as casting any contained, actually proposed to take general reflection on that description out of the hands of Sir John Moore of persons. God forbid that I should the command of his army. And who use any expression calculated, in the was the bearer, to whose representa- slightest degree, to disturb the feeltions such respectful attention was to ings of those high-minded persons ; be paid ? Was he any great officer of those generous spirits, who, from a experience? Wasit Dumourier, or Mo. chivalrous devotion to their sovereign reau, the great rival of Buonaparte ? and his family, fled from the French No such thing ;-but M. Charmilly, revolution! The conduct of such one of the most infamous characters men not only entitles them to com. existing; a man against whom Lord passion, but to admiration. This Sidmouth, when in office, was cau- person, who was the bearer of this tioned. He is, in fact, one of those extraordinary letter from Mr Frere, who commenced the sanguinary re- left Madrid on the 2d, and of course volution at St Domingo, where he could not be unaware of the state of was actually concerned in assassina- that city at the time. He also tion. From St Domingo he went brought a letter from Morla, who, on to France, as one of the delegates the very day he wrote the letter exfrom that island ; and from France horting Sir John Moore to advance he came to take refuge here, where towards Madrid, was actually negohe attempted to impose upon the go- ciating with Buonaparte for the survernment, by assuming an authority render of that city. Thus, had Sir and official character, which he did John Moore been influenced by Mr not possess, from the government of Frere’s confidential messenger, whom St Domingo. Such was the man there was great reason to consider as whom ministers thought fit to en- a traitor and a spy for the enemy, or trust. How, I would ask, could by the exhortation of Morla, whose they be ignorant of his character treachery to the Spanish cause had He who, for several years, has noto- since become glaring, the probability riously practised usury in this town, was, that our whole army would have who can be traced through all the been destroyed or taken prisoners : courts of law in actions for such prac- certainly, if Sir John Moore had ad. lices, and whose name the noble lord vanced towards Madrid, such must have been the consequence ; and it sessed of ample means to bring the was not alone the loss of that ever- contest in which it was engaged to to-be-lamented officer that the coun- an honourable termination." But he try would have had to deplore, but added, “ that in order to maintain the destruction of his whole army.the ultimate contest which is to de

In the course of his speech Earl cide for ever the power and indepen. Grey introduced a panegyric upon dence of the country, the true policy Buonaparte. “What a contrast,' of those who govern it must be, to he said, “ does the conduct of his pay a strict attention to economy, to Majesty's ministers afford to that of be actuated by a determination to the consummate general whose plans concentrate our means, not to endanthey had to oppose! Whoever speaks ger them in any enterprise or specuof him, it is not possible he should lation in which the event is doubtful; speak of him without admiring him but pursuing the economical system for his great abilities, whatever may of husbanding our resources, by which be thought of his character in other alone we could enable ourselves to respects. In rapidity of execution continue the contest, the cessation of he is only equalled by his patience in which does not depend upon us, but preparing the means. He has all the upon the injustice of our enemy." opposite qualities of Fabius and Mar. At the close of his speech he recurcellus, whether you consider the coun- red to this topic.

“ How is it postry in which he acts, the people with sible," he asked, “ to attend to the whom he has to contend, or the means cant of modern patriotism, that it is by which he is to subdue them. He of no consequence by whom the adrivals Hannibal in the application of ministration of our government and the means, and is exempt from his resources is conducted ? How can only fault, that of not improving by it seriously be urged that it is the past experience. The means pro- same thing whether the government vided by Buonaparte for the accom- be entrusted to incapable persons or plishment of his purposes are so well able statesmen? I am really asto. combined, and his objects so ably nished at the absurd extravagance of prosecuted, as generally to give him the doctrine into which men of gea moral certainty of success ; and neral good sense and good intention whatever may be thought of his total have been recently betrayed upon this disregard of the justice of those ob- subject. To the principles of rejects, it is impossible not to admire form, to a temperate, intelligible, and the ability and wisdom with which definite reform, I have been always, he combines the means of accomplish and still continue a friend. ing them.”

mote that desirable object was the Earl Grey did not, however, speak study of the last administration ; and with the utter despondency which is it was in our endeavours to attain professed by the other admiters of that end that we incurred the reBuonaparte. “ Even after all our proaches of those who covered their losses,” he said, “ great as they were, censure under the specious phrases of in blood and treasure, in character a sordid economy, and a want of vie and honour, he was persuaded that, gour." His lordship misrepreented under an administration of prudence the opinion advanced by men of ge. and wisdom, the country was pos. neral good sense and good intention.

To proThey never urged that it was the it afforded a facility in defending same thing whether government were them.” administered by weak men, or by After again defending the destiwise ones.

What they maintained nation of Sir Arthur Wellesley's arwas, that the party out of place was my, his lordship proceeded to acharge in no respect better than the party advanced by Earl Grey, concerning in place, and in some respects worse ; the deficiency of cavalry in Sir John that the opposition did not possess Moore's expedition ; “only 2000 althe slightest superiority in talents; together,” he said, “ having been that they had still less the advan: sent, to a country, too, where that tage in principles; that the measures description of force was peculiarly which they recommended towards necessary ;-a deficiency that could Ireland were factious and fallacious; not proceed from the limited number and that the language which they of our cavalry, for we had no less held respecting Spain was such as than 27,000.” To this the Earl of left no hope for the honour of Eng. Liverpool replied, by saying, “ that land, if it were entrusted to their the public mind had been very much hands.

misled upon this topic; and it was The Earl of Liverpool rose in re- material, both with reference to this ply. “ Earl Grey,” he said, “ cen- and other expeditions, that the counsured his Majesty's government for try should not be led astray by false precipitation ; declaring it to be his ideas. Had his lordship ever inopinion that they ought to have wait. quired what the proportion of toned to ascertain the probability of the nage for cavalry bore to that of tonsuccess of the patriotic cause in Spain, nage for infantry ? For infantry (and before they offered assistance to the for a long distance) a ton per man Spaniards. What! when the feeling was considered as sufficient; for every of resistance against oppression was horse transported, not less than nine so strong and so general in Spain, or ten tons were allowed: thus it would it have been honourable to would require as much tonnage to have told the Spaniards, • We will carry 5000 cavalry as 40,000 infannot give you aid while you are most try. But the amount of the tonnage in want of it, but we will defer our was a small part of the question: the assistance till you are in full strength, quality of the transports was a more and need it not ? Had such been material consideration. A horse transthe language held by ministers, they port must be a vessel of a certain de. would have deserved the reprobation scription, having a certain height beof every man in the country. It was tween the decks, &c. ; and the quana singular circumstance, with respect tity that government could at any to their conduct in the affairs of time procure of such vessels was very Spain, that every individual who cen- limited. Yet, notwithstanding this, sured their plan had a plan of his and notwithstanding cavalry could own ; but, unfortunately, none of only be sent to the peninsula by dethose plans had a single principle of grees, on account of the difficulty of agreement with each other. This at procuring forage there, from 8 to least fewed the difficultyunder which 9000 horse were sent ; and no less ministers had laboured in the forma. than 12,000 would have been sent tion of their own measures, although in all, had it not been for the information that Sir David Baird was necessary discussion upon the preretreating

vious operations, which had been al. “ In embarking in support of the ready so fully discussed, came at once Spanish cause, his Majesty's minis- to the question of Sir John Moore's ters were not so weak, so improvi- advance from Salamanca. “ His ar. dent, so foolish, as to expect that the my,” he said, “ by the junction with first efforts of the Spanish people, General Hope, had received its fair contending with such an enemy, would proportion of cavalry, and its full be crowned with unqualified success; proportion of artillery. Thus cirthat no discomfitures, no checks, no cumstanced, and apprized, as he then disasters, no reverses would retard was, of the spirit manifesting itself at and embarrass the early and crude Madrid, was it, or was it not an opoperations of undisciplined bravery, portunity that called for some effort when brought down into open plains, upon the part of the British army, to contend with the superior disci- situated as they then were? What pline, the superior strength, and the would have been the general sentisuperior generalship of such a powerment in Spain and in England, had as France. No; weak as the noble the army retired without attempting lord might suppose ministers, they any thing? If, in that most interestwere not yet guilty of calculating ing crisis, when, after all their rewith certainty upon impossibilities; peated disasters, the spirit of Spain. they did not expect that such a cause was reviving, and her chief city bidas the cause of Spain, to be fought ding defiance to an immense army at for with such an enemy as the ruler her very gates ; if in such a moment of France, could possibly be deter- a British army, so marshalled and mined in one campaign.' Reverses equipped, after a long march to the they had certainly met ; but they aid of their ally, had in the hour of had not been owing to the cause to trial coldly turned their backs upon which the noble earl seemed so an- her danger, what would have been vious to ascribe them. Those re- thought of the sincerity of this effort verses had not been owing to the of British co-operation? But in adindifference or the apathy of the Spa- vancing at this time, it was asserted niards. They were to be imputed that Sir John Moore had been influto their want of discipline ; to an ill. enced, contrary to his own judgment, judged contempt of their enemy,--a by Mr Frere.' He believed this assentiment that was to be traced to sertion would not be found correct; any other feeling rather than that of at least he hoped it would not, for apathy or indifference, and that in the sake of Sir John Moore himself. itself was a proof of their zeal and Nothing appeared in the corresponardour : and this, in the commence- dence to justify it; but it did appear ment, was so much relied upon, that that he refused to suffer Mr Frere's the Marquis de la Romana did not judgment to influence his military think it would be eventually neces- movements, and in so doing there sary for our reinforcements to act in could be no doubt of the propriety the interior of the peninsula, such of his conduct. As to Mr Frere's confidence was reposed in the native letter, requiring that the messenger spirit of the country.”

might be examined before a council His lordship then omitting all un. of war, he did not mean to vindicate

« ForrigeFortsett »