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y the want of succoperations here my duty left
ther attempts were unavailable." His lordship then proceeds to inform the war minister, what: undoubtedly much surprised him, that the city of “ Antwerp, so far from being in the state which " had been reported, is from very correct accounts, represented to "be in a complete state of defence ; and the enemy's ships had been “ brought up, and placed in security under the guns of the “ citadel ..... Under these circumstances, however, mortifying " to me to see the progress arrested of an army from whose good s conduct I had every thing to hope, I feel that my duty left me " no other course than to close my operations here."
But it is not only the want of success, but the dreadful condition of the British forces on the Isle of Walcheren, which marks this most calamitous expedition. The French and English accounts agree in stating the number of the sick at from 14, to 16,000 : the number of deaths are further stated to be so considerable, that in order to conceal them in some measure from public notice, orders were given that the funerals should be conducted in the most private mamer, early in the morning, and without the usual military ceremonies. Letters received from different officers give the most melancholy details on this subject. One extract will be sufficient for our readers. “ We have at length received a supply of medicines from “ England. You will not perhaps at first view credit it, but I " assure you most faithfully, that I myself, have seen the diseased " lying in the streets here” [at Flushing] " and on the stairs and " passages, without beds, or any other covering than their regi. “mental cloathing, and that, so offensive from the inability of those “unhappy sufferers, that nothing but mortality could be expected. « Indeed our streets for some weeeks past, daily present to the eye " no other view but the removal of the dying and the dead. The “greatest medicinal want was in the article of bark, so necessary "to impede the progress of fever, and alleviate the paroxysms of "ague, the two prevalent disorders here. The chemists of Middle" burgh, the great medicinal depot of South Holland, said, when "applied to for this medicine, that it was owing to our own act of " parliament that they could not supply us.”
Although great caution is necessary in attempting to interpret the dispensations of Heaven, more especially as they relate to that retributive justice which visits guilty nations, it is scarcely possible on the present occasion to avoid serious reflection on that inhuman act passed by a British senate to prohibit the exportation of bark, at a time when it was in every sense of the word, a drug in this country; but the hope of increasing the miseries of France overpowered every humane feeling. From the manner in which this subject is now brought home to us as a nation, let us learn the important lessons, that justice and policy are in union with each other, and that acts
of inhumanity so far from being necessary, as is frequently main tained by modern statesmen, are not more unjust than they are impolitic.
Thus have the resources of Britain been again wasted, and the lives of our countrymen again sacrificed, in an expedition productive of nothing but calamity and disgrace, and which so far from having the tendency to humble our enemies, las on the contrary afforded them additional cause for confidence in their own snperiority, and exultation over our weakness and folly,
AFFAIRS OF SPAIN. The " modern Marlborough," as he has been styled by his panegyrists, the Viscount Talavera, Baron Douro, and Lord Welling. ton, bas been compelled, after boasting of his “ brilliant victory,” to make a precipitate retreat, in which he left a considerable part of the sick and wounded of his army to the mercy of the eneniy. We are happy to find that at the moment our hireling writers were heaping their calumnies on the French armies, and were publishing reports of their cruelties in Spain, as stupid as they were false, the British commander was doing justice, not only to their humanity, but their generosity.* In reply to the letter of his lordship to the commander in chief of the French army, the latter in very civil terms promised, “ that every possible care should be taken, and “ every attention paid to the sick and wounded British officers and « soldiers; and that he should do hiinself the pleasure of supplying « the officers with what money they might want.” This promise appears to have been carefully fulfilled, as the assistant commissary reported to Lord Wellington, that “the wounded are well fed and « taken care of,-indeed preferably to the French troops.” It is finely remarked by the French general, Marshal Mortier, in his reply to Lord Wellington-" These acts, General, are debts of * justice which two brave nations owe to each other.” It affords some consolation to the friends of mankind to behold the horrors of war softened by the exercise of the milder virtues, and the best feelings of human nature. .
The official dispatches of Lord Wellington, describing his retreat from Talavera, appear to be written under some degree of anxiety : his lordship seems to have been somewhat puzzled how to extricate his army from the hazardous situation in which it was placed,
* Some of the Editors of our provincial prints seem to vie with the London Editors in the art of lying. One of these wiseacres, the editor of the Bath TIerald, lately gave the public an account of French cruelties in Spain, in which we were gravely assured, “ that they impaled naked women, and butchered children-by thousands !"
owing to its having advanced so far into an enemy's country, without being properly acquainted with the state or number of the forces with which it had to contend, and in conséquence of aa action, in which it was most unfortunately diminished by one fourth. In the conferences with the Spanish general Cuesta, his lordship appears to be considerably embarrassed respecting a plan of operations. On being requested by Cuesta to choose bis own plan, either to go or stay at Talavera,“ be preferred to go, thinking " that the British troops were likely to do the business effectually": (of defeating Marshal Soult)“ and without a contest;" leaving the Spanish general to defend Talavera, against General Victor: but General Cuesta, “ apprehending that his lordship was not strong “ enough to meet the corps coming from Placentia,” and “ perceiving " that the enemy was moving on bis flank, and had appeared in his “ front,” judged it most prudent immediately to follow the British army. Lord Wellington endeavoured to prevent this movement by writing to the Spanish general; but the latter “ had unfortunately “ began his march, and arrived shortly after daylight on the morn“ing after the arrival of the British army. The question what was “to be done was then to be considered :" and the result of this consideration was, that finding the French armies, in different stations were much stronger than either general had imagined, his lordship gave up all thoughts of seeking after Marshal Souls, and judged it best to continue retreating. “ We could extricate our... “selves” (says Viscount Talavera) “ from this difficult situation “ only by greut celerity of movement, to which the troops were "unequal, as they had not had their allowance of provisions for “several days, and by suceess in two battles. If unsuccessful in . " either, we should have been without a retreat; and if Soult and “ Ney, avoiding an action, had retired before us, and had awaited "the arrival of Victor, we should have been exposed to a general " action with 50,000 men equally without a retreat.” In consequence of these and other most untoward circumstances detailed by his lord-ship, and “ after considering the whole subject maturely,” he adds, "he was of opinion, that it was advisable to retire to the bridge of " Arco Bispo, and to take up a defensive position upon the Tagus.” His lordship has since been farther retreating, and, after being "obliged to fall back upon the frontiers . of Portugal;” and much marching and counter-marching, in which the army has endured “ great distress for want of provisions and the means of " transport,” has at length, and for the presént, fixed his station at Badajos, a Spanish town on the borders of Portugal, from whence he will, we hope, be able to effect a further retreat to his own country, by which measure alone the army can be placed in a state of security.
The ministerial writers are on this occasion loud in their censures of the Spanish general for leaving Talavera contrary to the opinion of Lord Wellington : we should, however, have been much surprised, had he remained there, and have run the risk of encountering the French forces: the expectations of Lord Wellington on this point appear to have been most unreasonable ; and had Cuesta, instead of following the British, remained at Talavera till he was attacked by the French, his army, it is probable, must either have surrendered, or have been cut to pieces, or totally dispersed. General Cuesta acted, therefore, the most prudent part in following the British; nor is his bravery to be impeached for leaving Talavera any more than that of the newly-made viscount. ;
Lord Wellington, by way of apology for his conduct in leaving iso large a portion of the sick and wounded of his arıny at Talavera ; observes—" I have only to lament, that a new concurrence of events “ over which, from circumstances I had, and could have no con“ troul, should have placed the army in such a situation.” With respect to the “ concurrence of events" which compelled his lord: ship to make so disgraceful a retreat it cannot properly be termed “ new.” It was suspected by many, that such would be the consequence of advancing into the heart of a country where little assistance could be expected from the inhabitants. We by no means pretend to be a judge of military operations, in general; but we have in the present instance a superior guide to direct us in our opinion; one whose ample experience, repeated observations, and dying testimony, had Lord Wellington profited by, he would not have had to lament that “ concurrence of circumstances,” by which so many of his countrymen were sacrificed in an unprofitable cam: paign. That able and excellent officer, Sir John Moore, faithfully told his countrymen, that their credulity bad required the sacrifice of one army, but which he hoped would be the only army sacrificed, in attempting to assist a people, who had no heart to assist themselves. But Lord Wellington was a ministerial favourite, and being assured that the “ universal Spanish nation' were rising to -shake off the government of Joseph Bonaparte; and panting after new honours, he in an evil hour accepted the command, and undertook the management of a new campaign. A few trifling successes in Portugal induced him to fall into the snare laid for him by the enemy, who inticed him into the heart of Spain, where, depending for assistance on lukewarm friends, and opposed by firm, united, and victorious enemies, “a concurrence of circumstances” was naturally produced, which in their result afford matter for deep and lasting lamentation, not only to Lord Wellington, but to the whole British nation.
Although the commander of the “ Grand Expedition," has not for bis services at Middleburgh and Flushing, received new honours,
from his sovereign, nor loud plaudits from bis countrymen, we canuot belp wishing that Lord Wellington liad been assisted by the counsels of Lord Chatham, which might have been instrumental in saving the lives of many thousands of his countrymen. The latter after having ascertained the state of the enemy's forces observes “ Under these circumstances, however mortifying to me to see the " progress arrested of an army from whose good conduct I had " every thing to bope, I feel that my duty left me no other course " than to close my operations here ; and,” adds his lordship, “ it "will always be a satisfaction to me to think that I have not "í been induced lightly to commit the safety of the army confided " to me, or the reputation of his Majesty's arms." What a pity is it that Lord Wellington cannot now enjoy satisfaction of a similar nature; but instead of which he has to “ lament" over“ a concur"rence of circumstances” which compelled him, after unprofitably losing a large part of his army, to “extricate” the remainder " from their difficult situation, by great celerity of movement," uncertain what might be their fate.
But Lord Wellington has his peerage to console him under his disappointments; he has likewise the warm approbation of ministers, as appears by the “ GENERAL ORDERS” issued from the “ Horse “Guards,” and to which they have affixed the name of his Majesty. We refer our readers to this singular military document, and leave them to judge whether much of the language does not sound more like satire, than commendation.
From the unfortunate campaign of the Douro and Talavera commander, let us turn to the new embassy of his brother, the renowned Marquis Wellesley, who for bis services more partie cularly in the East Indies, has doubtless been chosen by ministers as the most fit and proper person to assist by his counsels the Spanish junta, and to inspire them with ardent zeal for resisting the innovations which Joseph BONAPARTE has made on the old system of civil and ecclesiastical despotism, and for the preservation of the “ regular government of Spain," under which the nation has so long flourished! And we must acknowledge, that no man appears to be better qualified for this purpose than the new ambassador. His administration in the East Indies appears to have been formed on the model of the '“ regular governments of Europe," over whose fall the cabinet of Britain bas been long lamenting. That grand enemy of those governments, a FREE PRESS, the Marquis very properly judged could not with safety be tolerated under his favourite system; he therefore effected its total annihila. tion. The account given of his excellency's public appearance at Cadiz is curious, and we cordially agree with the writer, who has