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couraged him to proceed with the army ito Spain : in his progress be met with but little opposition from the French, whose design appears to have been to draw him into the heart of the country, in order the more effectually to harrass bis army, and if possible to cut off his retreat. Sir Arthur on his arrival at Talavera, about sixs ty miles from Madrid, began to be apprehensive of his hazardous situation, owing to the little assistance afforded him by the “ uni. "versal Spanish nation." In his dispatch of July 241h. he says "! I have not been enabled to follow the enemy as I could wish on " account of the great deficiency of transport in Spain. I enclose the "copy of a letter which I thought proper to address to Major, " Gen. O'Donoghue on this subject, adjutant general of the Spanish "army," (which letter ministers have not thought proper to publish] " as soon as I found that this country would furnish no means of " this description. Gen. Cuesta bas urged the central junta to " adopt vigorous measures to relieve our wants : till I am supplied, "I do not think it proper, and indeed I cannot contiņue my ope. "rations.” Thus after having been three months in the country, the British commander at length acknowledges the disappointment of his expectations, and resolves to proceed no farther. Joseph Bonaparte, and the French generals, appear to have been acquainted with the situation of the British army, and the intention of its commander. Perceiving that they could not entice him farther up the country, they collected their forces and meditated their attack, Sir Arthur, apprehending their design, in concert with the Spanish general Cuesta, fixed on the different positions for the two armies, and waited the approach of the enemy. Then followed the tremen, dous battles of Talavera on the 27th. and 28th of July, at the close of which both parties claimed the victory. We have yet much to be informed of respecting these sanguinary conflicts, which it is probable have decided the fate of the campaign. That our countrymen fought with great bravery, no one can entertain a doubt; but the accounts of Sir Arthur, Cuesta, and the French generals, vary so much in some important particulars, that it is difficult at present to determine to which side belongs the just claim of victory. Sir Arthur states " the great loss his army bad sustained in valuable offie "cers and soldiers in this long and hard fought action, with more . " than double their numbers." The British army it appears a.. mounted to about 20,000 men, and the French army to 40,000, But here a question naturally arises-What assistance was afforded by Cuesta's army stated by Sir Arthur in his dispatch of 15th. July as" amounting to 38,000 men, of which 7000 were cavalry? The united armies were indisputably superior in numbers to the French. To the Britith army is doubtless to be attributed the chief merit of the action; but unless the army of onr ally was composed entirely of
poltroons, they must have materially assisted the British, in which case is it not mere gasconade to represent the former as vanquishing “ double their numbers ?" Sir Arthur acknowledges certain services performed by the Spaniards: the Spanish general in the order of the day, published on the 2d. instant, thus addressess his army.-“ Sol“ diers of the army of Estramadura ! On the 27th. and 28th. of « July you fought bravely; you repeatedly repulsed the enemy..... os This glorious victory is due to your firmness, and union, to your
incesssant and well supported fire, and to confidence in your offic ? “ cers and chiefs: if you always observe the same, you will always “ be invincible. ... Soldiers, I am satisfied with your valour and “ firmness: I congratulate you on your triumph, and I rely on your “ union and discipline;" at the same time the general hints that there were some “ base cowards who abandoned their regiments “ in the day of battle," and whom he threatens “ with decimation ' “as soon as they are apprehended.” In the official dispatch to the
junta he further states_" The Spanish troops, and especially those “ which had the greatest share in the action left me nothing to wish “ for with respect to their courage and gallantry. ...The King's “ regiment has in particular covered itself with glory, and in con"junction with the English took several pieces of cannon, &c.” And although the ridiculous remarks which follow respecting the character of the French armies, viz.-" The French are not men, except “ when they find no resistance.-We know that the French soldiers " now refuse to enter into action after seeing their best troops de* stroyed :"-although such stupid effusions render the statements of Cuesta, like those of most of the Spanish generals, liable to much suspicion, yet comparing them with the accounts of Sir Arthur, it seems that material service was rendered to the British army by the Spaniards; and this we are sure of, that the latter claim their share of the victories. The French as a proof of the justice of their claim assert_“ The loss of the English is enormous: we took 800 infan.' “ try prisoners, and a whole regiment of cavalry: this regiment was " taken by one of ours, which opened its ranks to receive the charge, " and then cut off their retreat. The rest of the English column.. *s which constituted the whole force of the enemy, is in full retreat.",
War in itself, is seldom any thing but a system of complicated wickedness, and every thing connected with it shares the contamisation. We can seldom depend on the veracity of the different parties; misrepresentation, if not falsehood, pervades, in a greater or less degree, almost every detail of military operations, and the only possible way of arriving at the truth, is to compare the different accounts, and to judge of their correctness by subsequent events : thus we argued respecting the tremendous battles of Esling, and Aspern, in which both the French aud' the Austriaps so confidently
claimed the victory. The events of the succeeding month plainly evinced, that the former were following up their victory, whilst the latter were unable to prevent, or obstruct the preparations of their enemies for renewing those attacks which were finally so successful, asto induce the Austrian Emperor to sue for an armistice, which was agreed to on the bumiliating terins dictated by the. French.
From the dispatches of Sir A. Wellesley received just previously to the arrival of those containing the account of the battles of Talavera, the people of this country were prepared for the intelligence of the retreat of the British. They were at least assured of the inability of Sir Arthur “ to continue his military operations on " account of the great deficiency of the means for transporting “ his army,” which he had confidently expected would have been furnished by the Spaniards. The account of the battles of Talavera were therefore so wholly unexpected, that the ministerial journalists more particularly, were again suddenly roused from that tone of despondency respecting the affairs of Spain, which they had lately indulged, and in language of extravagance bordering on frenzy, representing the victory of Sir Arthur as complete in itself as important in its consequences, expressed their renewed hopes, and sanguine expectations, not only of the “ deliverance of Spain," but “the deliverance of Europe.". The report so industriously circulated, and so confidently believed, but for which there appears , to be no foundation, of the rupture of the armistice between France and Austria, gave new vigour to these hopes and expectations. Not a moment was allowed for sober reflection on the nature, or the consequences of the victories so proudly claimed, of which however some hints were given by the British general in the short extract of one of his letters published in the same extraordinary gazette, which contained the details of his victories. Of the fruits of these contests, we are informed on the part of the British, of the “ capture of 20 pieces of cannon, ammunition, "tumbrils, and some prisoners, which the enemy left on his re"treat across the Alberche, conducted in the most regular order.” Of the number of these prisoners we are not informed. The French on their part state “ the capture of 800 infantry, and a whole regi- . "ment of cavalry;" the former part of this statement nearly agrees with that of the British commander, who states the number of the “ missing" at 653. By the details of the latter it is evident that the British forces on various points were repulsed, or in military phrase, obliged " to retire,” or “ to change their position;" the final result, appears to have been, that our forces kept possession of their main positions, and that the French were in the end repulsed, and retired although unpursued. Of the loss sustained on both sides
the accounts, as may naturally be supposed, materially vary. The French state “ that theirs is not considerable.". The Spanish general follows the example of the French in merely stating the loss on his part as “ pot considerable." The British general, states “ from .« report the loss of the French to amount to about 10,000," sendo ing us at the same time the regular returns of the killed, wounded, and missing of the British, amounting to 5367 men, and 444 horses, that is one fourth part of the army!
By the short extract of Sir Arthur's chispatch, written three days after the battle, we are informed " That the French had appeared « with a rear guard of about 10,000 men on the heights of the left “ of the Alberche, but that the extreme fatigue of the troops, the “ want of provisions, and the number of wounded to be taken care " of prevented the British from changing their position ;-that the " French afterwards retired.” Thus the British at Talavera, like the Austrians after their much boasted victory at Aspern, were unable to pursue the enemy, or in any way to hinder his future plan of operations. New reports, however, invigorated the hopes of our ministers and their dependents. Some curious intercepted letters of Marshal Soult were published, in wbich he gives a most · melancholy account of the state of his own army, representing it as almost annihilated. Fresh dispatches have been received from Sir Arthur Wellesley, the contents of which are concealed frona the
public eye; but by the accounts inserted in the Lisbon papers, and - by various private letters, it appears that the “ intercepted let.
ters," were forgeries, designed to mislead the British general ; that the French generals were forming a plan to surround his forces; to frustrate which he had found it requisite hastily to retreat towards Portugal, leaving a great part of his sick and wounded at Talavera ; .--that.“ Marshal Soult was in his rear with " a considerable force, that the Spaniards afforded him no assis. “ tance ; that the inhabitants fled to the mountains taking ali “ their live stock, &c. with them, and otherwise acting with great “ hostility to the English army; that Soult had taken several “ detachments of the English that were going to and coming from “ the army.” Sir Arthur Wellesley it farther appears had effected his retreat across the Tagus to' Deleitosa about 80 miles from Talavera ; and that, for the present, his position was deemed secure. The conclusion of the second campaign, the catastrophe of a second British army in Spain remains to be told, and we have little doubt, will be told before the expiration of another month!
We have thus thought it necessary to recapitulate the leading particulars in the history of our connection with the “ universal “ Spanish nation” for this twelvemonth past; and if any thing can open the eyes of our countrymen to the infatuation of ministers,
and to the gross, the repeated, the uniform deceptions which have
Ministers resolving that however the campaign might terminate,
Jarl Weaped on the bee, but what arose the number of