Page images
PDF
EPUB

the oven considerably less than half, of what they weigh at present.

We shall conclude by quoting, from Mr. Comber's Appendix, a statement of the distribution of land throughout England and Wales : The Proportion of land cultivated for different purposes in England and Wales.

Acres, Wheat

3,160,000 Barley and rye

861,000 Oats and beans

2,872,000 Clover, rye grass, &c.

1,149,000 Roots and cabbage cultivated by the plough 1,150,000 Fallow

2,297.000 Hop grounds

36,000 Nursery grounds

9,cco Fruit and kitchen gardens cultivated by the spade 41,000 Pleasure grounds

16,000 Land de pastured by cattle

17,479,000 Hedge-rows, copses, and woods

1,041,000 Ways, water, &c.

1,316,000

Commons and waste lands

32,027,000 6,473,000

Total acres in England and Wales

38,500,000

Art. IX. A Narrative of the Campaign of the Pritish Army in Spain,

commanded by his Excellency Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore, K. B. &c. &c. Authenticated by official Papers and original Letters. By James Moore, Esq. 410. Pp. 324:

il. 113. 6d. Boards. Johnson. 1809. MPORTANT state-measures not only attract general notice,

but should always be open to the most ample investigation; and the conduct of any individual, who has acted a prominent part in the contrivance or in the execution of them, should be equally subject to the scrutiny of the community, whose welfare they involved. Where merit has been displayed, the result of this examination ought to be, and always would be, adequate reward: if failure be proved, the sentence of the public should be retributive in proportion to the extent of the incapacity, the negligence, or the treachery which has been manifested. These observations are common-place; and it seems as if such a sysa tem would naturally and constantly prevail : but experience shows that sometimes the world is kept so far in ignorance of the secret springs and finer movements of the political maF 3

chine

chine, that neither the praise nor the blame which has been deserved has been judiciously apportioned ; and we still more frequently perceive that it is difficult, if not impossible, to fix and to instruct the public mind respecting national affairs, sufs ficiently to form a correct judgment, to derive wisdom from past experience, to punish the minister who has erred, and to deter him or his successor from future trifling with the welfare of empires. From the want of this requisite watchfulness and dictation, the rulers of a country often persist in a mistaken line of conduct, after costly experiments have shewn its fallacy; and that country is made unjust to the merits or prodigal in the gratification of their agents, at the instigations of interest, of partiality, or of dislike.

On all accounts, therefore, we are glad when the operation of any of these causes puts the public in possession of authentic and more complete documents, in relation to great political events, than would otherwise perhaps have reached them. In the case which at present excites our attention, the hard lot of a very gallant soldier has produced a development of this kind; and we are told by his brother, from whom the volume before us proceeds, that

. Although the King and the British Nation have proclaimed their admiration of Sir John Moore as loudly as of any of the most distinguished military characters that preceded him : yet, like the Great and Good of every age, he has not escaped the insinuations of Envy, even after terminating an illustrious career by a most glorious death. The effects of Calumny against so noble a character can be of no long duration ; but during that period the Relatives and Friends suffer, and the uninformed part of the Public remain, in some degree, in suspence. It is, therefore, incumbent on a Brother by unfolding the truth to prove to all, that the pretended facts upon which the malignant representations were founded, are utterly false'

We had not the honour of knowing, nor of being in any way connected with, Sir John Moore : but in common with the world we know that he had been engaged in a variety of actions, in which his frequent wounds and the constant praises of his superiors attested his gallantry, his enterprize, and his judgment; and in the General Orders of His Royal Highness the late Commander in Chief, after the fall of this lame:ited officer, we have a tribute to his high merits, the just sentiments and glow, ing terms of which will ever be as honourable to the giver as to the object of them. Towards the close of these orders, it is remarked :

" The life of Sir John Moore was spent among the troops.

“ During the season of repose, his time was devoted to the care and instruction of the Officer and Soldier; in war, he courted service

ja every quarter of the globe. Regardless of personal considerations, he esteemed that to which his Country called him the post of honour, and by his undaunted spirit, and unconquerable perseverance, he pointed the way to victory.

His Country, the object of his latest solicitude, will rear a Mo. nument to his lamented memory ; and the Commander in Chief feels he is paying the best tribute to his fame by thus holding him forth as an example to the Army.'

These feelings, however, have not been altogether ratified and participated by the Government and the nation : but by both have occasional intimations been given, that Sir John Moore's decision of abandoning the Spanish cause was unwelcome at home, and that his retreat of the British Army was inglorious abroad. Another attempt has been made to effect that object which the deceased commander relinquished as hopeless; and the panegyrics of His Majesty, personally *, together with the distinctions which spring from him as the fountain, but which testify also the participation of his ministers, are showered on the officer whose efforts have now been brilliantly but vainly directed to this end : an officer gallant and able (we are willing to grant) like Sir John Moore, but whose present career in the same arena gives bleeding testimony to the correctness of that General's sentiments, while it meets with such diferent ac. knowlegement.

This case, then, is interesting, and descrving of investigation. as far as the reputation of Sir John Moore is concerned: but it is highly important as involving the question of the propriety of the operations of a British Army in Spain : a system in which the administration of this country has persevered since the failure of the campaign of 1808, and which, it is but too evident, will be marked by similar diappointment in the events of 1809. Under all these impressions, we may be allowed to dwell at some length on the documents provided in the volume before us; which is composed from a Journal of proceedings constantly kept by Sir John Moore, authenticated by original papers, official records, and the reports of Staff Officers. It contains the whole correspondence with Mr. Frere, except two useless letters from him which were never received by the General;' and all Sir J. M.'s dispatches to the Secretary of State, with very few omissions, and such as are quite immaterial to the public;' together with his correspondence with Spanish Ollicers, civil and military, Lieutenant-Generals Sir David Baird and llope, Major-Generals Lord Wm. Bentinck and Leith, &c. &c.

The orders concerning Sir John Moore are from the Commander in Chief in his name only : but those which relate to Sir Arthur Willesley are from the Cómniander in Chief in the King's name

#

On the 25th September 1803, a dispatch was written by Lord Castlereagh to Sir John Moore at Lisbon, communicating to him the intelligence of his appointment to the command of an army of not less than 30,000 infantry and 5000 cavalry,' to be employed in the North of Spain. Of this force, from 10 to 12,000 men were yet to be sent from England, under Sir David Baird, to be landed at Corunna, but the larger proportion was to be taken by Sir John from the army in Portugal. The dispatch was received by the General on the 6th of October; and after having experienced great difficulties in forwarding the equipment of the troops, particularly from the inexperience of the Commissariat, he thus writes on the 27th: Every thing is now clear of Lisbon, except two regiments, which march to-morrow and the day following; and I shall myself leave it in a couple of hours.' He had before stated that his intention was to intrust the conduct of the marches to the Generals conducting columns, and to proceed himself direct to Almeida ; and he Now says:

I am under the necessity of sending General Hope with the artillery, cavalry, and a corps of infantry, in all about 6,000 men, by the great road leading from Badajos io Madrid; as every information agreed, that no other was fit for the artillery, or could be recommended for the cavalry. This is a great round, and will separate the corps

for a time, from the rest of the army: but there is no help for it; the road turns to the left a short distance from Modiid, and Icads upon Espinar, from whence it can be directed on Valladolid and Burgos, or whatever other place may be judged hereaiter best for the assembling of the arnıy.

" Sir David Baird arrived at Corunna on the 13th instant. I have written to him to march upon Astorga as soon as his corps is equipped. With the infantry which marched from this direct upon Alnieida and Ciudad Rodrigo, I shall not advance beyond Salamanca ; until the corps unver Baird and Hope approach istorga and Espinar, but shall collect them in Almeida, Ciudad Rodrigo, and Salamanca. This, at least, is my intention at present ; and I shall consider myself fortunate if they reach those places before the first rains, which, in general, last six or eight days, and fall so heavy,, that, during their continuance, the troops must halt.”

Early obstacles were experienced, from a want of money, (which was throughout the case,) from a difficulty of obtaining provisions, from the badness of roads, and from the ignorance of the Portuguese themselves on this latter point. It was afterward discovered that the representation respecting the roads thr ugh the north of Portugal was erroneous; and that the important delay, which subsequently arose in the junction of General Hope with the Commander in Chief, might have been avoided by his column having marched with the rest of the

army.

[ocr errors]

1

army. As to provisions, it was found that the whole army could not be subsisted on the road by Elvas; no magazines having been formed for such a body of troops.

When the Spanish Commissary General was consulted on this subject, and when the quantity of meat required by the British army was explained to him, he computed, that were they to be supplied with the rations specified, in three months all the oxen would be consumed, and very few hogs would be left in the country.

On the general question, moreover, of the abilities and energy of the Spaniards themselves, an unfavourable idea was soon communicatta by Lord William Bentinck, who had been residing in Spain on a diplomatic mission. In a dispatch about the beyir.ning of October, he observes with a melancholy presage: “ I am every moment more and more convinced, that a blind confidence in their own strength, and natural slowness, are the rocks upon which this good ship runs the risk of being wrecked.”

An English officer, Captain Whittingham, also writes thus to Lord W. B.:

Head Quarters, Calahorra, 28th Oct. 1808. " On the 25th General Castanos leit this place for Logrono. We arrived about four in the evening: I he army of Castile was drawn up to receive the General. Its strength about 1,000 men, form any idea of its composition, it is absolutely necessary to have seen it. It is a compelete mass of miserable peasantry, without clothing, without organization, and with few Officers that deserve the

" The General and principal Officers have not the least confidence in their troops ; and, what is yet worse, the men have no confidence in themselves.

" This is not an exaggerated picture; it is a true portrait,” &c. &c.'

On the 8th of November, Sir John arrived at Almeida, and on the 13th with his advanced guard at Salamanca; and a few hours afterwards he wrote a letter to Lord W. Bentinck at Madrid, in which we find these remarkable passages :

objection to you, or Mr. Frere, representing the necessity of as many more British troops as you think proper. It is certain, that the agents, which our Government have hitherto employed, have deceived them. For affairs here are by no means in the flourishing state they are represented and believed to be in Erg! nd; and the sooner the truth is known in England, the better. Eut you must observe, my Lord, ihat whatever is critical must now be decided by the troops which are here ; the French, I suspect, are ready, and will not wait. I differ only with you in one point, when you say, the chief and great obstacie and resistance to the French will be afforded by the English Army. If that be so, Spain

But to

name.

“ I have no

« PreviousContinue »