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Title: England and Napoleon (1801-1815)

Compiler: S. E. Winbolt

Editor: Kenneth Bell

S. E. Winbolt

Release date: July 6, 2016 [eBook #52514]
Most recently updated: January 24, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Chuck Greif and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images available at The Internet Archive)


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General Editors: S. E. Winbolt, M.A., and Kenneth Bell, M.A.



Scope of the Series and Arrangement of Volumes.

1.Roman Britain to 449.
9.1547-1603.Now Ready.

The volumes are issued in uniform style.
Price 1s. net each.




[Image of the colophon unavailable.]




This series of English History Source Books is intended for use with any ordinary textbook of English History. Experience has conclusively shown that such apparatus is a valuable—nay, an indispensable—adjunct to the history lesson. It is capable of two main uses: either by way of lively illustration at the close of a lesson, or by way of inference-drawing, before the textbook is read, at the beginning of the lesson. The kind of problems and exercises that may be based on the documents are legion, and are admirably illustrated in a History of England for Schools, Part I., by Keatinge and Frazer, pp. 377-381. However, we have no wish to prescribe for the teacher the manner in which he shall exercise his craft, but simply to provide him and his pupils with materials hitherto not readily accessible for school purposes. The very moderate price of the books in this series should bring them within the reach of every secondary school. Source books enable the pupil to take a more active part than hitherto in the history lesson. Here is the apparatus, the raw material: its use we leave to teacher and taught.

Our belief is that the books may profitably be used by all grades of historical students between the standards of fourth-form boys in secondary schools and undergraduates at Universities. What differentiates students at one extreme from those at the other is not so much the kind of subject-matter dealt with, as the amount they can read into or extract from it.{vi}

In regard to choice of subject-matter, while trying to satisfy the natural demand for certain “stock” documents of vital importance, we hope to introduce much fresh and novel matter. It is our intention that the majority of the extracts should be lively in style—that is, personal, or descriptive, or rhetorical, or even strongly partisan—and should not so much profess to give the truth as supply data for inference. We aim at the greatest possible variety, and lay under contribution letters, biographies, ballads and poems, diaries, debates, and newspaper accounts. Economics, London, municipal, and social life generally, and local history, are represented in these pages.

The order of the extracts is strictly chronological, each being numbered, titled, and dated, and its authority given. The text is modernised, where necessary, to the extent of leaving no difficulties in reading.

We shall be most grateful to teachers and students who may send us suggestions for improvement.



It will be obvious from the Table of Contents that, though there is a great wealth of illustrative matter for this period, I have preferred to draw largely upon the Diary and Correspondence of Charles Abbot, Lord Colchester, published in three volumes in 1861, and the Despatches of the Duke of Wellington, by Lieutenant-Colonel Gurwood. The latter is a very convenient selection. The title of the volume is justified by the fact that some eighteen out of the forty-eight pieces have more or less direct reference to England’s struggle with Napoleon.

S. E. W.

Christ’s Hospital,
    October, 1912.



Introduction v
1801. Battle of the BalticCampbell1
1801. State of Ireland Diary of Lord Colchester3
1801. Golf and FootballStrutt8
1802. Party Speeches of Sheridan and CanningStanhope9
1803-1815. Typical Vessels of the Royal NavyClowes13
1803. Desire for Pitt’s Return to OfficeStanhope15
1803. Canning on AddingtonStanhope17
1803. Notes by Pitt on the War, Germany, and NapoleonStanhope18
1803. Gun-boats for DefenceDiaries of George Rose20
1804. The Poor in Manufacturing TownsGentleman’s Magazine21
1804. Wheat, Flour, and BreadGentleman’s Magazine24
1805. England and the Mediterranean (I.)Pitt25
England and the Mediterranean (II.)Nelson26
1805. The Blow that Killed Pitt (I.)Pitt27
The Blow that Killed Pitt (II.)Canning28
1805. Routine on a British Man-of-WarClowes29
1805. Nelson’s Plan for TrafalgarClowes32
1805. TrafalgarSouthey{viii}34
1806. The Younger PittScott43
1806. Ministry of All the TalentsEarl of Malmesbury44
1806. Military PlansLord Colchester46
1807. Catholic Emancipation (I.)Lord Colchester47
Catholic Emancipation (II.)Malmesbury50
1807. Party PoliticsLeigh Hunt52
1807. Berlin DecreesColchester53
1809. Corunna (I.)Colchester55
Corunna (II.)Charles Wolfe55
1809. Public EconomyDiaries of George Rose57
1809. Resignation of PortlandColchester58
1809. Duel of Canning and CastlereaghColchester59
1806-1809. Military ExpensesColchester60
1809. Talavera: Protest by LordsProtests of the Lords61
1810. Walcheren ExpeditionColchester62
1810. Wellington’s Difficulties in SpainWellington’s Despatches65
1811. The RegencyColchester71
1811. Fête at Carlton HouseColchester73
1812. Weaving MachinesByron’s Letters76
1812. BadajozWellington’s Despatches79
1812. Murder of PercevalColchester84
1812. Sheridan’s Last Utterances in the HouseMoore85
1813. Sir Stapleton Cotton’s Military ServicesColchester86
1813. VittoriaWellington’s Despatches87
1814. Deposition of NapoleonByron’s Letters95
1814. Capture of ToulouseWellington’s Despatches96
1814. Duke of Wellington’s ThanksColchester102
1814. Negotiations with BuonaparteSouthey105
1815. Interview with Napoleon in ElbaVivian109
1815. WaterlooWellington’s Despatches112




Source.—Thomas Campbell: Historical Lyrics and Ballads. P. 93.


Of Nelson and the North
Sing the glorious day’s renown,
When to battle fierce came forth
All the might of Denmark’s crown,
And her arms along the deep proudly shone;
By each gun the lighted brand,
In a bold determined hand,
And the Prince of all the land
Led them on.


Like leviathans afloat
Lay their bulwarks on the brine;
While the sign of battle flew
On the lofty British line:
It was ten of April morn by the chime:
As they drifted on their path,
There was silence deep as death;
And the boldest held his breath
For a time.


But the might of England flushed
To anticipate the scene;
And her van the fleeter rushed
O’er the deadly space between.
“Hearts of oak!” our captains cried; when each gun
From its adamantine lips
Spread a death-shade round the ships,
Like the hurricane eclipse
Of the sun.


Again! again! again!
And the havoc did not slack,
Till a feeble cheer the Dane
To our cheering sent us back;—
Their shots along the deep slowly boom:
Then cease—and all is wail,
As they strike the shattered sail;
Or in conflagration pale
Light the gloom.


Out spoke the victor then,
As he hailed them o’er the wave,
“Ye are brothers! ye are men!
And we conquer but to save!
So peace, instead of death, let us bring;
But yield, proud foe, thy fleet
With the crews, at England’s feet,
And make submission meet
To our King.”


Then Denmark blessed our chief,
That he gave her wounds repose;
And the sounds of joy and grief
From her people wildly rose,{3}
As death withdrew his shades from the day:
While the sun looked smiling bright
O’er a wide and woful sight,
Where the fires of funeral light
Died away.


Now joy, Old England, raise
For the tidings of thy might,
By the festal cities’ blaze,
Whilst the wine-cup shines in light;
And yet amidst that joy and uproar,
Let us think of them that sleep
Full many a fathom deep
By thy wild and stormy steep,


Brave hearts! to Britain’s pride
Once so faithful and so true,
On the deck of fame that died
With the gallant good Riou!
Soft sigh the winds of Heaven o’er their grave!
While the billow mournful rolls
And the mermaid’s song condoles,
Singing glory to the souls
Of the brave!

Source.Diary of Lord Colchester, 1861. Vol. i., p. 286.

Minutes of Proceedings in Ireland from July to Dec. 1801; and Outlines of Irish Business for 1802, reported and read over to Mr. Addington, Feb. 1802.

Irish Affairs, Jan. 1802.

I. Their present state, including a detailed Account of the Government Transactions there during the last Six Months.

II. Outline of the Public Business of Ireland for the Year 1802.{4}


1. Lord-Lieutenant.—Unsettled powers; question whether a Lord-Lieutenant from England, administering the protection and patronage of the Crown subordinately to the King’s Ministers—or a Government by Lords Justices setting up for themselves, and tyrannising over their countrymen—or endeavour to govern Ireland entirely by a Secretary of State at Whitehall.

N.B.—No communication has been made to Lord Hardwicke in answer to the paper transmitted by him to Lord Pelham, containing remarks upon Lord Pelham’s proposition.

2. Chief Secretary.—Unsettled emoluments of the Office in Ireland. Unsettled footing of the Irish Office in London.

Query.—Suppress its establishment as an Office accredited with the Secretary of State for the Home Department; and as hitherto employed for soliciting Civil Patents and Military Commissions in the place of the old office of Resident Secretary (Fremantle and Jenkinson). And transfer the agency and fees of the business to the Secretary of State’s Office; leaving no establishment in London for the Chief Secretary to transact his business, except what assistance he may personally obtain for himself from Dublin Castle, etc.

N.B.—The salary and fees of this Office upon Peace Establishments, viz. about 5,000l. British, are not more than adequate to the necessary expenses of the office conducted with economy; having houses and servants in each country; and the removal of a family twice a year across the Channel.

3. Private Secretary.—Unprovided present subsistence, and no certain future provision.

4. Lord Chancellor (Lord Clare).—Hostile to any Government by Lord-Lieutenant. Desirous himself to be Lord-Deputy, or at the head of Lords Justices; and for Mr. Cooke to be Secretary of State under him.

5. Commander of the Forces.—Sir W. Meadows, cordially co-operating with the Lord-Lieutenant.

6. Royal Building, &c.—In the Castle a library for printed{5} books upon Irish affairs. Orders also given for arranging the State Papers, &c., in the Birmingham Tower. Plans and estimate ordered for rebuilding the Castle chapel, and adapting it to choir service.

Parliament House.—A proposal transmitted to the King’s Ministers for selling it to the National Bank of Ireland, or appropriating it to Public Offices.

Phœnix Park.—Walls and roads ordered to be repaired; rights of Park officers ascertained; encroachments defeated.

7. Union Engagements.—Many liquidated. No vacant office has been given away without considering to what promise it could apply.


1. Treasury Statements of Annual Income and Expenditure of Ireland assimilated to the British series of Public Accounts, and adapted to the same annual and quarterly periods.

2. Revenue Boards.—Examination into its past state by personal conference with each of the four senior Examiners; all of them agreeing that it was corrupt and inefficient; proved also by lists of Officers accused and protected; proved also by reports of Mr. Beresford, in 1792; and of the Acting Surveyor-General, Mr. Cooke, in 1800.

Division of the Board into Customs and Excise, as projected in Lord Townsend’s and Lord Buckingham’s Administration, and executed now in the manner prescribed by Mr. Beresford, in a letter written by himself on a former occasion; a copy whereof was delivered to me by Mr. B., with a recommendation of its being adopted for this purpose at this time.

Dublin Quay Regulated.—Tobacco stores, gate notes, &c., under advice of the Board, and upon suggestion and report of Mr. Croker, who was appointed acting Surveyor-General of the port, with joint approbation of Mr. Beresford and Mr. Annesley, and established in the Office of Surveyor-General by Lord Hardwicke.

Regulations enforced prohibiting all Revenue Officers from being traders.{6}

Revision and Amendment of the Distillery Laws considered. Throughout Ireland the Surveyors-General ordered to report quarterly from their actual surveys.

N.B.—Dublin Customs’ duties are one half, and Dublin Excise duties one quarter of all Ireland.

A mode settled for passing Collector’s accounts in Dublin with more expedition, and (as in England) without their personal attendance.

Cruisers called in; inspection of repairs ordered, and a report upon the future complement of men for their Peace Establishment.

Additional officers appointed, not for patronage, but upon special reports of the Board, and upon considerations of personal merit, viz. two Surveyors-General, one Inspector-General, and one Inspector, and two Landwaiters in the Port of Dublin.

General plan for prevention of smuggling and illicit distilleries prepared for consideration.

Commercial regulations between Great Britain and Ireland considered, and reported upon by the Commissioners of Revenue.

3. Auditors of Public Accounts.—Their accounts methodised on the British plan, and brought up to 5th January, 1802, showing the actual amounts of debts due from Public Accountants.

4. Stamps.—After a previous investigation by the Treasury, and personal conference repeatedly with the Commissioners.

Establishment settled on the British model, and report upon the building purchased for the use of this Office before the Rebellion.

Consignments to distributors, and the appropriation of their receipts new modelled.

Debts from deceased and dismissed distributors called in; securities of distributors raised.

Inspectors-General ordered upon survey throughout Ireland, and to make quarterly reports; and two new inspectors{7} added at inferior salaries, with prospect of succession to the higher, if merited.

Revision and amendment of the Stamp Laws prepared.

N.B.—Last summer, in the counties of Wicklow and Wexford, several Justices of Peace refused to convict in penalties for evading the Stamp Duties.

5. Crown Lands.—A report upon their state, extent, and value ordered to be made out in thirty-two books for the thirty-two counties.

6. Board of Works.—Appropriation of issues between May 1801, and August 1801, viz. 20,000l. having been called for, and no account being produced of time or place, of articles supplied, or work done, nor any check appearing; an inquiry directed for settling an efficient system of checks for the future; report made and instructions issued to take effect prospectively from 5th January, 1802.

N.B.—By Comptroller of Accounts (who has controlled the Barrack Accounts), and two Privy Councillors.

All the old accounts ordered to be balanced and closed to 5th January, 1802, where a debt stated in November to be 11,000l., was stated in January to be a debt of 37,000l.; though no new work was ordered or executed in the interval. And it appeared also that no final accounts had been settled with the tradesmen for [1] years. How many years?

N.B.—During the period within which this debt was incurred, there was an annual issue to the Board of from 25,000l. to 32,000l. a year. No new building, except one house, which cost 3,000l., was erected. The Castle or public apartments are worse furnished than any private gentleman’s house in England.

Note.—The First Commissioner of the Board, consisting of seven, is also sole Barrackmaster-General; and has the sole expenditure of nearly 300,000l. a year. And the latest of his accounts delivered in to be audited, viz. March, 1800, did not come down to a later period than 25th March, 1796.

N.B.—Lord Tyrawley, from a very moderate beginning, is{8} reputed to have made a landed property of 10,000l. a year, out of private trusts (viz. law arrears, &c.), and out of public offices, viz. the Board of Works and Barrack Office.

As to the economy of his department, ex uno disce omnes. Ready-made sentry-boxes sent in carts from Dublin to Cork. Extravagant expense of carriage, and destruction of the articles themselves.

Source.—Strutt’s Sports and Pastimes of the People of England, 1801. Pp. 93 and 97 of Methuen’s edition, 1903.

There are many games played with the ball that require the assistance of a club or bat, and probably the most ancient among them is the pastime now distinguished by the name of golf. In the northern parts of the kingdom golf is much practised. It requires much room to perform this game with propriety, and therefore I presume it is rarely seen at present in the vicinity of the metropolis. It answers to a rustic pastime of the Romans which they played with a ball of leather stuffed with feathers, called paganica, because it was used by the common people: the golf-ball is composed of the same materials to this day; I have been told it is sometimes, though rarely, stuffed with cotton. In the reign of Edward III. the Latin name cambuca was applied to this pastime, and it derived the denomination, no doubt, from the crooked club or bat with which it was played; the bat was also called a bandy, from its being bent. Golf, according to the present modification of the game, is performed with a bat, not much unlike the bandy: the handle of this instrument is straight, and usually made of ash, about four feet and a half in length: the curvature is affixed to the bottom, faced with horn and backed with lead; the ball is a little one, but exceedingly hard; being made with leather, and, as before observed, stuffed with feathers. There are generally two players, who have each of them his bat and ball. The game consists in driving the ball into certain holes made in the ground; he who achieves it the soonest, or in the fewest number of strokes, obtains the victory.{9}

Football is so called because the ball is driven about with the feet instead of the hands. It was formerly much in vogue among the common people of England, though of late years it seems to have fallen into disrepute, and is but little practised. I cannot pretend to determine at what period the game of football originated: it does not, however, to the best of my recollection, appear among the popular exercises before the reign of Edward III., and then, in 1349, it was prohibited by a public edict; not, perhaps, from any particular objection to the sport in itself, but because it co-operated, with other favourite amusements, to impede the progress of archery. When a match at football is made, two parties, each containing an equal number of competitors, take the field, and stand between two goals, placed at the distance of 80 or 100 yards the one from the other. The goal is usually made with two sticks driven into the ground, about two or three feet apart. The ball, which is commonly made of a blown bladder, and cased with leather, is delivered in the midst of the ground, and the object of each party is to drive it through the goal of their antagonists, which being achieved the game is won. The abilities of the performers are best displayed in attacking and defending the goals; and hence the pastime was more frequently called a goal at football than a game at football. When the exercise becomes exceeding violent, the players kick each other’s shins without the least ceremony, and some of them are overthrown at the hazard of their limbs.


Source.—Stanhope’s Life of Pitt, 1862. Vol. iii., p. 415.

The great speech of Sheridan was, however, reserved till the 8th of December, when the Army Estimates came forward. They were moved by Mr. Charles Yorke as Secretary at War. “I was much surprised,” said Mr. Yorke, “when, on another evening, I heard an Hon. gentleman (Mr. Fox) maintain that there was no reason why a larger establishment{10} than usual in former periods of peace should be maintained in Great Britain; and that there were reasons why even a smaller force would suffice everywhere but in the West Indies.” It was no hard matter for Mr. Yorke to argue against this proposition, or to point out the dangers that impended from the Continent of Europe. He could reckon on the support of the House for the proposal which his speech contained—to provide for a regular force of nearly one hundred and thirty thousand men, counting officers, and including the regiments in India. This was an increase on the establishment voted on the first conclusion of the peace.

Then and after some other speeches Sheridan rose. He referred to Fox as to the man whom of all men upon earth he most loved and respected. But these sentiments did not withhold him from some keen animadversions, although in covert terms, upon the course which Fox had latterly been seeking to promote. He approved of the King’s Speech. He approved of the large establishments. He approved of Addington as Minister. What (he asked) had other members really to allege against that Right Hon. gentleman? Theirs was a mere capricious dislike; for no better reason than is given in an epigram of Martial, or in an English parody upon that epigram:

“I do not like thee, Dr. Fell,
The reason why I cannot tell;
But this I’m sure I know full well,
I do not like thee, Dr. Fell.”

Those who call to mind that Addington already bore the nickname of “the Doctor,” and who know the keen relish of the House of Commons for almost any jest, may easily imagine the roars of laughter with which Sheridan’s allusion was received.

Sheridan proceeded in a strain of blended wit and argument. “What,” he said, “did these gentlemen expect from the present Chancellor of the Exchequer? We treated him when in the Chair of this House with the respect he merited.... But did they expect that when he was a Minister he was to{11} stand up and call Europe to Order? Was he to send Mr. Colman, the Serjeant-at-Arms, to the Baltic and summon the Northern Powers to the Bar of this House? Was he to see the Powers of Germany scrambling like Members over the benches, and say—Gentlemen must take their places? Was he expected to cast his eye to the Tuscan gallery, and exclaim that strangers must withdraw? Was he to stand across the Rhine, and say—The Germans to the right, and the French to the left? If he could have done these things, I for one should always vote that the Speaker of the House should be appointed the Minister of the country. But the Right Hon. gentleman has done all that a reasonable man could expect him to do.”

“Sir,”—so Sheridan continued—“I confess I wish to know what Mr. Pitt himself thinks. I should be glad to hear what his sentiments are of the call made for him; and loudly too, in another place by a vigorous statesman.[2] I well remember, Sir, and so do we all, the character Mr. Pitt gave of the present administration. Does he mean to retract that character? I cannot suppose he does.... Sir, when I see so many persons anxious about that gentleman, I am glad to hear that his health is re-established. But how, I would ask, can we with any consistency turn out the man who made the peace to bring in the man who avowed his approbation of it?... I suspect, therefore, that the political Philidor’s game has been misunderstood; that his friends have displaced a knight and a castle when they should only have taken two pawns; that they have made an attempt to checkmate the King when they had no instructions for doing it. I cannot forget the period when the august Person of the Sovereign was held up as the only man who was against extending privileges to the Catholics in Ireland; and I cannot, therefore, brook the idea of calling that Right Hon. gentleman back to power, and forcing him upon the Crown.... Mr. Pitt the only man to save the country! If a nation depends only upon one man, it cannot, and I will add, it does not{12} deserve to be saved; it can be saved only by the Parliament and people.”

Next after Sheridan rose Canning. In his great speech that evening he displayed not only a luminous eloquence, but the rarer gift (rarer, I mean, in him) of perfect discretion. He desired to express his sentiments, not of satisfaction merely, but of thankfulness, for the part which his Hon. Friend (Mr. Sheridan) had that day done.

“It is by no means the first time,” he said, “that my Hon. Friend, throwing aside all petty distinctions of party feeling, has come forward, often under circumstances of peculiar difficulty, often discouraged, always alone, as the champion of his country’s rights and interests, and has rallied the hearts and spirits of the nation.[3] I trust we shall now hear no more of those miserable systems, the object of which is not to rouse us to ward off our ruin, but to reconcile us to submit to it.... ‘We have nothing to dread from France but a rivalry in commerce,’ says the Hon. gentleman opposite to me (Mr. Fox). Look round, Sir, on the state of the world, and can such an argument even from such a man need farther refutation?”

“And what, Sir”—so Canning went on in another passage—“what is the nature of the times in which we live? Look at France, and see what we have to cope with, and consider what has made her what she is? A man. You will tell me that she was great, and powerful, and formidable before the date of Bonaparte’s Government; that he found in her great physical and moral resources; that he had but to turn them to account. True, and he did so. Compare the situation in which he found France with that to which he has raised her. I am no panegyrist of Bonaparte; but I cannot shut my eyes to the superiority of his talents, to the amazing ascendency of his genius. Tell me not of his measures and his policy—it is his genius, his character, that keeps the world in awe. Sir, to meet, to check, to curb, to stand up against him, we want arms of the same kind. I am far from objecting to the{13} large military establishments which are proposed to you. I vote for them with all my heart. But, for the purpose of coping with Bonaparte, one great commanding spirit is worth them all. This is my undisguised opinion. But when I state this opinion thus undisguisedly, is my Right Hon. Friend (Mr. Pitt) to be implicated in a charge of prompting what I say?...

“Sir, of all the imputations to which that Right Hon. gentleman could be subjected, I confess I did think that of intrigue and cabal the least likely to be preferred against him by any man who has witnessed his public conduct.... No, Sir. Never did young Ambition, just struggling into public notice and aiming at popular favour, labour with half so much earnestness to court reputation and to conciliate adherents, as my Right Hon. Friend has laboured since his retreat from office not to attract, but to repel; not to increase the number of his followers, but to dissolve attachment and to transfer support. And if, whatever has been his endeavour to insulate and individualize himself in political life, he has not been able to succeed wholly, even with those who would sacrifice to his wishes everything but their attachment to him—if with the public he has succeeded not at all, what is the inference? what but that, retreat and withdraw as much as he will, he must not hope to efface the memory of his past services from the gratitude of his country?—he cannot withdraw himself from the following of a nation; he must endure the attachment of a people whom he has saved.”

Source.—Clowes: The Royal Navy, 1900. Vol. v. (1803 to 1815), p. 15.

Models of many of the most typical vessels which were added to the Navy during the period under review are to be seen at Greenwich. Among them are whole or half-block models of the following ships:{14}

Name. Length of Gun-deck. Beam. Depth in Hold. Tons. Men. Guns. When and where Built, or how Acquired, etc.
  Ft. In. Ft. In. Ft. In.        
Caledonia 205 0 54 6 23 2 2,616 875 120 Launched 1808, at Devonport. Designed by Sir W. Rule.
Hercules 176 1 48 4¼ 21 0 1,750 590 80 Launched 1815, at Chatham. Designed by Surveyor’s Dept.
Bulwark 181 10 49 3 20 7 1,940 590 74 Launched 1807, at Portsmouth. Designed by Sir W. Rule.
Java 171 11½ 44 1 14 3 1,458 480 60 Launched 1815, at Devonport. Designed by Surveyor’s Dept.
President 173 3 44 4 13 11 1,533 480 50 Taken 1815, from the Americans.
Chesapeake 151 0 40 11 13 9 1,135 315 48 Taken 1813, from the Americans.
Lively 154 1 39 6 13 6 1,076 284 46 Launched 1804, at Woolwich. Designed by Sir W. Rule.
Euryalus 145 2 38 2½ 13 3 946 264 42 Launched 1803, by Adams, Bucklershard. Designed by Sir W. Rule.
Lacedemonian 150 4 40 0½ 12 9½ 1,073 264 38 Launched 1812, at Portsmouth. Built after the French Hébé, taken in 1782.
Barbados 140 0 36 7 16 0 800 195 36 Ex. Brave. Taken from the French, 1804.
Eden 108 6 30 8 9 0 451 150 28 Launched 1804, by Courtney, Chester. Designed by Sir W. Rule.
Andromeda 129 7 36 5⅜ 11 0 812 195 24 Ex. Hannibal. Taken 1812, from the Americans.
Florida 119 5½ 32 0 14 2 539 135 20 Ex. Frolic. Taken 1814, from the Americans.
Epervier 95 1 28 6 8 9½ 315 121 16 Taken 1803, from the French.
Cadmus 90 3 24 6 11 0 237 76 10 Launched 1808, by Dudman, Deptford. Designed by H. Peake.


Source.—Stanhope’s Life of Pitt, 1862. Vol. iv., p. 28.

Mr. Long to Mr. Pitt.

Bromley Hill,
April 3, 1803.

Dear Pitt,

I am anxious to give you some account of what passed between Addington and myself upon my return, reserving details upon the whole subject till we meet. He seemed extremely anxious that you should not consider a pending negotiation as any obstacle to coming forward at the present moment, but it is hardly necessary to say what he stated upon this subject, because he has since altered his opinion, and rather thinks the fit time would be when the negotiation is brought to a point either way, which (in conjunction with Lord Hawkesbury, Lord Castlereagh, and your brother) he is satisfied will be determined before you meet at Bromley Hill. Upon the whole question of arrangement he seemed disposed to adopt what you had authorized me to state, not as anything settled, but as a general idea upon the subject, but at the same time expressed great difficulties about Lord Hobart (none about Lord Pelham). He ended this part of the subject by saying that of course you were the best judge of those persons who had claims upon you, but that he trusted you would not decide anything upon this point (if the thing proceeded to that length) without also considering the fair pretensions of those who had claims upon him. I instanced Bragge, Smyth, Lord C. Spencer, and Wickham, as persons accidentally placed in the situations they held, and whom it might be necessary to call upon to give way: he admitted the justice of what I said upon all these persons, and of the possible necessary arrangement respecting them, but added that he believed the last particularly agreeable to the Chancellor of Ireland and the Lord Lieutenant, and also well qualified for his office. With respect to Lord Grenville, he thought it impossible to admit him or any of his friends at the present moment without a marked degradation of himself{16} and his colleagues, but that he could not mean to proscribe them, or to preclude you from taking whatever assistance you thought right at any future time. I then mentioned Canning and Rose: he said the first had been personally offensive to him; but upon my submitting to him whether he could justify the suffering even personal offence to stand in the way of what he had taken so much pains to convince me was a necessary public arrangement, he seemed very much softened upon this point, and with respect to Rose he stated no objection. There was no difficulty in leaving the vacancies at the Treasury, provided something else was done for Broderick, for whom he had pledged himself to provide. He then showed me a letter from Lord St. Vincent, requesting, on account of his state of health, that he would find him a successor as soon as he conveniently could, and expressed a wish to send the papers which referred to the points upon which you desired information. It is very probable you may want further information upon these subjects, which of course you can have at Bromley Hill.

I saw Lord Castlereagh the next day: very anxious that you should be induced to come into the proposal, even during negotiation, if, contrary to all appearances, it should be protracted. He argued the cases of war, of peace, and of protracted negotiation very ably, as each affording sufficient grounds for your placing yourself at the head of the Government. If we were led into war, no person could conduct it with effect but yourself. You could prevent the negotiation spinning out to a disadvantageous length; and in peace, the state of parties was the ground upon which he urged the necessity of your taking the Government. Neither he nor Lord Hawkesbury concealed from me the necessity for a change. Lord H. was of opinion Lord Grenville could not possibly come in under this arrangement, but seemed to think there would not be any difficulty at a future period.... I have made some endeavours to obtain the opinion of the City: as far as I have been able to ascertain it, it is uniform—a very strong wish that you should take the lead in Government,{17} but an almost equally strong opinion that Grenville should be no part of it. Thornton gave me some strong grounds for supposing this was the general opinion upon both points; but as I know how often people give their own opinion as the public opinion, only for the purpose of strengthening it, I receive a public opinion with some caution. At the same time I have heard the [same] from so many quarters, that I believe it is not mistaken; and there is one point at least in which I think you will concur with me—that pending the negotiation it would be extremely prejudicial to yourself to take office with Grenville; for if it ended in war, his influence would be supposed to have occasioned it; and things are certainly in that state in which it is the general wish that we should at least give ourselves every fair chance of preserving peace....

I have only had time to scribble this as fast as I could since Huskisson told me he was going to Walmer. I hope you will find it intelligible.

Ever yours,
C. L.

Source.—Stanhope’s Life of Pitt, 1862. Vol. iv., pp. 58, 59, 60.

Praise to placeless proud ability
Let the prudent Muse disclaim;
And sing the statesman—all civility—
Whom moderate talents raise to fame.
* * * * *
Splendid talents are deceiving,
Tend to counsels much too bold;
Moderate men we prize, believing
All that glitters is not gold.
When the faltering periods flag,
Or the House receives them drily,
Cheer, oh cheer him, brother Bragge!
Cheer, oh cheer him, brother Hiley!{18}
Each a gentleman at large,
Lodged and fed at public charge,
Paying, with a grace to charm ye,
This the fleet, and that the army.
Brother Bragge and brother Hiley,
Cheer him! when he speaks so vilely;
Cheer him! when his audience flag,
Brother Hiley, brother Bragge.
If blocks can from danger deliver,
Two places are safe from the French:
One is the mouth of the river,
The other the Treasury Bench.
Pitt is to Addington
As London to Paddington.

Source.—Stanhope’s Life of Pitt, 1862. Vol. iv., p. 223.

The War.

(Paper-mark, 1803.)

“Whether the attacks should be numerous or few in order to strengthen them, and in what points:—

“1. South of Italy.—Besides Neapolitans, 10 or 15,000 British troops and as many Russians; besides free corps raised in Albania and Italy, the latter by the King of Sardinia.

“2. North of Italy.—Switzerland and South of Germany.—Austrian troops supported by 60,000 Russians as auxiliaries.

North of Germany.—40,000 Russians, with a body of Hanoverians, a Swedish army, and a diversion from England. To advance towards the Low Countries.

“The operations on the two flanks may be modified according to the conduct of Turkey. These will probably only act when forced. Austria and Sweden may, it is thought, be brought to act voluntarily.

“It is not meant by diversion that any descent should be made from hence in the beginning, but that we should continue{19} to menace their coasts, and not attempt anything in the interior till after some decided success.

“Advantages to be given to any Power if necessary should be regulated with a view to the future safety of Europe, and the zeal shown by each Power. It is supposed nothing can be proposed for Prussia consistent with the safety and interests of the rest of Europe, except the provinces she ceded to France. Austria is expected from the little which has passed to be very moderate, and content with inconsiderable acquisitions in Germany and Italy.

“King of Sardinia should not only be re-established, but his share should be made as large as possible.

“Switzerland should be arrondi, and its position strengthened as much as possible.

“The same principle should be followed with respect to Holland.”


(Paper-mark, 1803.)

“The present situation of the German body neither good for the countries themselves nor for Europe.

“Should a part of it be englobé by the two great Powers, or a third great State formed in the middle of Germany? This can scarce be thought of, from its injustice to so many Princes of the Empire.

“Could a more concentrated Federative Government be formed out of the different States; and should not in that case both Austria and Prussia be separated from it?

“Principle of mediation being to precede war.

“Intimate union necessary between England and Russia, who are the only Powers that for many years can have no jealousy or opposite interests.”


“I see various and opposite qualities—all the great and all the little passions unfavourable to public tranquillity—united in the breast of one man, and of that man, unhappily, whose personal caprice can scarce fluctuate for an hour without affecting the destiny of Europe. I see the inward workings of{20} fear struggling with pride in an ardent, enterprising, and tumultuous mind. I see all the captious jealousy of conscious usurpation dreaded, detested, and obeyed—the giddiness and intoxication of splendid but unmerited success—the arrogance, the presumption, the self-will of unlimited and idolized power, and—more dreadful than all in the plenitude of authority—the restless and incessant activity of guilty but unsated ambition.”

Source.Diaries ... of the Right Hon. George Rose, 1860. P. 69.

Mr. Pitt to Mr. Rose.

Oct. 18th, 1803.

Dear Rose

I received your letter just as I left home this morning. I had not forgot your wish to have a description of our gun-boats; but as many of my friends here are more expert in fitting a boat, or fighting it, than in writing or drawing, I could not at once obtain one which would explain to you the last improved mode of fitting as accurately as I wished. But Mr. Whitby, the Assistant of Sheerness Yard, who has been appointed to superintend the work, and whom I saw yesterday, has promised me to send immediately to your house, in Palace Yard, a small model of the frame and slide, which will, I trust, completely answer the purpose. I should hope it will reach your house in a day or two, and you will, I take for granted, send orders for its being immediately forwarded to you by coach. We have now fitted, or are fitting, I believe, about 170 boats between Margate and Hastings, which, I think, will contribute not a little to giving the enemy a good reception whenever they think proper to visit us. By the intelligence I collect, and by the orders for extraordinary preparation which are received from London by this post, I am much more inclined than I have ever been hitherto to believe that some attempt will be made soon. In this situation I am likely to have my time very completely occupied by the various concerns of my regiment and{21} my district. I hope, however, to find some interval for attending a little to the cursory remarks, when I hear from Long, which I am expecting to do every day. Our volunteers are, I think, likely, to be called upon to undertake permanent duty, which, I hope, they will readily consent to. I suppose the same measure will be recommended in your part of the coast. I wish the arrangements for defence were as forward everywhere else as they are in Hythe Bay, under General Moore. We begin now to have no other fear in that quarter than that the enemy will not give us an opportunity of putting our preparations to the proof, and will select some other point, which we should not be in search of in the first instance. I write here to save the post, as I shall not get back to Walmer till a late hour.

Ever sincerely yours,
W. Pitt.

Source.Gentleman’s Magazine. Vol. 74, July to December, 1804, p. 710.

July 17.

Mr. Urban,

“Judge not, lest you be judged.”

The benevolence and humanity of Dr. Lettsom must ensure esteem; and certainly the trouble he has taken to meliorate the condition of the labouring poor must deserve praise, and be grateful to his own feelings, but, in the way of doing good, there is much delicacy required; and while we are zealous in our endeavours to promote an active charity in one particular instance, we should be careful, in the extension of this important Christian duty, not to forget the other Christian branch of charity to others also.

In his Remarks on the Condition of the Children of our labouring Poor, this worthy medical gentleman has, I think, been too partial in confining his subject to the great manufacturing towns of this kingdom, and very particularly so in his comparative view of the new Lanark Mills and those of Holy-well and Manchester.{22}

I have always understood there is great difficulty in the attempt of separating the cause of the evil which a state derives from the immorality and the emasculated condition of the poor, from the important benefits which it derives from the increasing manufactures carried on by these objects of our speculation. That the regulation of the morals and the health of the rising progeny of a state, as conducive to industry and to opulence, demands every attention, it is needless to argue; but let us see the great difficulties which our principal manufacturing towns labour under, such as Birmingham and Manchester, compared with the less contaminated primitive and more hardy poor connected with the manufactories of Scotland.

From several generations past, the manufactories of our great commercial towns have encouraged the most extensive employment to the labouring poor; motley groups of individuals from various quarters have been lured to them; the parental stock in various particulars originally defective in point of stamina, and their progeny of course, unhappily tainted with the same misfortune; the gleanings of work houses from the capital, from many parts of the country, have been thrown into these great towns; forsaken children from impure connexions, in whom squalid poverty has laid the foundation of many disorders, and which growing up and settling in these places have been communicated to a succeeding race: this evil is therefore not the present growth of our large factories. In Scotland, it is but of late years the manufactures have sprung up; the stamina of their labouring poor is naturally more hardy and less corrupted, not having the intercourse of the Southern provinces; and by recruiting constantly from the same parental source, no wonder that the children at the Lanark Mills have been found more healthy than those of the English manufacturing towns.

Although the proprietor of the Lanark Mills may deserve praise for his attention to the health of the children employed in his establishment, it does not follow that other gentlemen, eminently signalized for their enterprising spirit, industry,{23} and abilities, owing to the natural advantages of Mr. Dale,[4] deserve a public exposure and stigma.

I think Mr. Bott, of Nantwich, in Cheshire, is highly to be commended, for his denial of an entry into his manufactory; and if the visit of the benevolent Mr. Neild was only to wrest from his mill articles of crimination for an exposure before the public, Mr. Bott has acted very wisely, by the interdiction of curiosity and intrusive inquiry at his own expense; but there are many other reasons which may be fairly alledged for this gentleman’s refusal. I am informed, that it frequently happens that many persons, on gaining admittance to these extensive manufactories, have suborned the artisans from their employers, and in various other respects have caused much disorder to the establishment.

By the law of the land, it is ordained that these factories should be opened to the regular and periodical visits of Magistrates; therefore, by thus exposing the partial evils of these extensive commercial establishments, which few human undertakings of such a vast magnitude can be exempt from, where such immense numbers of hands are employed, an oblique reflection is doubtless cast on the judicial administration of the State.

The benevolence and zeal of a patriotic character should recommend itself in a more effectual manner than by publicly praising one man or set of men at the expense of others, equally, and in the fullest extent as much deserving. All memorials for the public good should be circulated through the hands of the civil Magistrate or members of the country where the evil exists; reforms can thus be more certainly obtained than by innuendos, which but too generally carry with them the appearance of party consideration, or other interested motives.



Source.Gentleman’s Magazine. Vol. 74, January to June, 1804, p. [iv].


Quantity of Quarters returned per Month. Highest Price per Quarter in the Month. Monthly Arrangement, 1804. Lowest Price per Quarter in the Month. Average Price per Quarter for the the Month.
Qrs. Bush. Shillings.   Shillings. s. d.
25,789 3 63 January 35 53 8½
19,253 5 60 February 32 52 1¼
22,465 2 61 March 35 50 8¼
22,813 1 62 April 30 51 8¾
17,198 0 59 May 32 51 8¾
18,877 8 58 June 32 51 1¾
30,517 4 70 July 32 54 11¼
50,437 2 80 August 37 64 2¼
45,199 3 85 September 42 70 6¼
64,684 7 93 October 42 73 5
69,001 1 132 November 50 88 11¼
51,933 3 135 December 62 10 3¼

Total, 438,170 quarters, 3 bushels. Average per quarter, 70s. 8½d.


Quantity of Quarters returned per Month. Highest Price per Quarter in the Month. Monthly Arrangement, 1804. Lowest Price per Quarter in the Month. Average Price per Quarter for the the Month.
  Shillings.   s. d. s. d.
71,797 55 January 36 6 49 1½
61,191 50 February 37 44 9½
73,366 50 March 30 44 10¾
60,904 50 April 38 44 9¼
48,641 50 May 39 44 9¼
69,795 50 June 37 44 10¼
86,321 60 July 37 49 4¼
67,421 75 August 45 63 2
40,586 75 September 50 63 11¾
84,443 84 October 56 71 4¾
49,954 105 November 65 87 8½
59,110 105 December 80 98 3½

Total, 773,529 sacks. Average, per sack, 58s. 1d.{25}


Price of the Quartern Loaf, Wheaten, per Week.

Note.—The Assize is set on Tuesday in every week, and takes place on the Thursday following; therefore the under is dated on Thursday.

  d.   d.   d.   d.
January5 9¼April5 8½July5 8½October 4 12
12 9¼12 8½12 8¾11 12¼
19 9¼19 8½19 9¼18 12¼
26 926 8¼26 9¼25 12¾
February2 9May3 8¼August2 9¾Novem.1 13¼
9 8½10 8½9 108 13½
16 8½17 8½16 10¾15 14½
23 8½24 8½23 1222 16
March1 8½31 8½30 1229 16½
8 8½June7 8½Septem.6 11¼Decem.6 16½
15 8½14 8½13 1113 16¾
22 8½21 8½20 11½20 16½
29 8½28 8½27 11½27 16¼


I. Pitt on Malta (1805).

Source.—Stanhope’s Life of Pitt, 1862. Vol. iv., p. 306.

Mr. Pitt to M. Novosiltzoff (Extract).

Downing Street,
June 7, 1805.

I certainly have always felt that, as long as the execution of the Treaty of Amiens was in question, this country had no right to look to any object [touching Malta] but that of endeavouring to secure for it, if possible, a real and secure independence according to the spirit of that treaty. But a fresh war, produced by the conduct of France, having once cancelled that treaty, I cannot consider this country as bound by any intentions it has professed with a view to the execution of the treaty; and on general grounds of moderation and justice, I cannot think this country called upon to offer such an addition to all the other sacrifices of acquisitions made during the war, especially in return for concessions on the part of France which can afford no adequate security for Europe.{26}

The possession of Malta appears to be of the most essential importance to great and valuable interests of our own, and to our means of connexion and co-operation with other Powers. Some naval station in the Mediterranean is absolutely indispensable; but none can be found so desirable and secure as Malta. Notwithstanding this sentiment, however, if the arrangement proposed respecting Malta could secure by negotiation an arrangement really satisfactory on the Continent, and particularly adequate barriers both for Italy and for Holland, and if we could obtain the only substitute for Malta which we think could at all answer the purpose (namely, Minorca), we are ready to overcome our difficulties on this point; but on any other ground the sacrifice is one to which we cannot feel ourselves justified to consent. It has, therefore, been impossible to ratify that part of the 10th article which relates to this subject, and which was referred hither for decision. We have also found ourselves under the painful necessity of protesting against any step which can lead to making our established principles of maritime law the subject of any revision or discussion. We have endeavoured to explain frankly and without reserve the motives which guide us on both points. They are, to our own minds, convincing and conclusive.

II. Nelson on Sardinia (1805).

Source.—Stanhope’s Life of Pitt, 1862. Vol. iv., p. 328.

Lord Nelson to Mr. Pitt.

Gordon’s Hotel, 6 a.m.,
Aug. 29, 1805.


I cannot rest until the importance of Sardinia, in every point of view, is taken into consideration. If my letters to the different Secretaries of State cannot be found, I can bring them with me. My belief is, that if France possesses Sardinia, which she may do any moment she pleases, our commerce must suffer most severely, if possible to be carried on. Many and most important reasons could be given why the{27} French must not be suffered to possess Sardinia; but your time is too precious to read more words than is necessary; therefore I have only stated two strong points to call your attention to the subject. I am sure our fleet would find a difficulty, if not impossibility, in keeping any station off Toulon, for want of that island to supply cattle, water, and refreshments, in the present state of the Mediterranean; and that we can have no certainty of commerce at any time, but what France chooses to allow us, to either Italy or the Levant.

I am, &c.,
Nelson and Bronte.


“How I leave my country!” (Pitt’s last words).

Source.—T. Holland Rose: Pitt and Napoleon. London: G. Bell and Sons. Pp. 312, 332, 333.

(a) Pitt to Lord Harrowby.

Downing Street,
October 30, 1805.

I enclose you a very gloomy account from one of our Dutch correspondents,[5] from which however I am inclined to deduct as he proposes at least one half. And though the remainder would be bad enough in itself, I see nothing in the consequences at all alarming, if Austria has the courage to pursue the only policy which is safe under such circumstances. Allowing for the great loss the French must evidently have sustained, they must probably require some interval before they can move to the Inn, and that march must be from 100 to 150 miles. If the Austrians and Russians on the Inn were to be 100,000 men by the 20th of this month, the further reinforcements they must probably receive from the Tirol and Salzburg, from such part of the Ulm army as may find its way to them, and from the Austrian reserves, must enable them to make a stout and probably an effectual resistance in{28} that position. And they have still to expect a second army of 50,000 Russians in no long time, and, I should hope, 40,000 more of the reserve originally intended by Russia to have been kept on the frontier of Lithuania, but which might surely now be converted into an active force. Add to this that if Bonaparte advances to the Inn, he will be at least 300 miles from his frontier, just about the time the Prussian force will be collected at Bayreuth, and his allies probably advancing from Saxony and Hesse, the first of which places seems not more than 80 miles, the second 150 and the third 200 miles from points that would cut off all communication with Mentz, Manheim, and Strasburg. I am only unreasonable enough to desire that the Prussian army may move for this object within five days from your arrival, and everything may yet take a decisive turn in our favour before Christmas. We are flattering ourselves that as the wind is nearly due north, you may be able to sail, but I take the chance of this finding you still at Yarmouth.

(b) Canning to Pitt.

South Hill,
January 4, 1806.

If Sturges had not written to me yesterday, and I had only my newspapers of this morning to trust to, I should have made out a very good consolatory case from the materials which they furnish. But they are not altogether sufficient to counteract the impression of Sturges’s first intelligence; and I must therefore refer to you for more substantial and certain consolation.

1. If the Emperor of Russia has not given up the game personally; and if he is still in a situation to communicate with the Emperor of Germany, I have hopes that his influence may yet induce the E. of G. to break the armistice, before it has led to peace. It is obviously (upon the map) the interest of Austria to do so.

2. My second hope is from the co-operation of Prussia, but that (which was my only hope yesterday) is a good deal{29} weakened by the resolution which Sturges announced to me of the Russian army retreating through Hungary. Thro’ Hungary! Into Hungary with a view to the first object, I can understand. But a retreat commenced thro’ Hungary at the same moment with the offer to Berlin of the use of Russian armies is more perplexing than encouraging.

3. If the very worst happens that is now threatened—if Austria does make a separate peace, and is abolished as a Power, and if Prussia lies down and licks Bonaparte’s feet, and is forgiven and gets Hanover assigned to her for her submission—still, with Russia unpledged to peace and committed in war, we are better off than we were before the Coalition took place. We must then, I think, set about making a new treaty with Russia with a view to joint negotiation hereafter. But still this is not the hopeless state of things in which (when we were looking at the possibility of it three months ago) we thought we should have nothing to do but to return an answer to Bonaparte’s neglected letter of January last. Nothing like it.

“One of the greatest comforts that you could send me would be the intelligence that you are going on well and getting stout. I did not very much like the late accounts of you.... I take for granted you do not mean to attend the funeral.”[6]

Note.—The last fatal news of Austerlitz was received by Pitt on January 13, 1806, and he died ten days afterwards, on January 23.

Source.—Clowes’ Royal Navy, 1900. Vol. v., p. 21.

“Our crew were divided into two watches, starboard and larboard. When one was on deck the other was below: for instance, the starboard watch would come on at eight o’clock at night, which was called eight bells; at half-past is called{30} one bell, and so on; every half-hour is a bell, as the hour-glass is turned, and the messenger sent to strike the bell, which is generally affixed near the fore-hatchway.[7] It now becomes the duty of the officer on deck to see that the log-line is run out, to ascertain how many knots the ship goes an hour, which is entered in the log-book, with any other occurrence which may take place during the watch. At twelve o’clock, or eight bells in the first watch, the Boatswain’s Mate calls out lustily, ‘Larboard watch, a-hoy.’ This is called the middle watch, and when on deck, the other watch go below to their hammocks, till eight bells, which is four o’clock in the morning. They then come on deck again, pull off their shoes and stockings, turn up their trousers to above their knees, and commence ‘holy-stoning’ the deck, as it is termed (for Jack is sometimes a little impious in the way of his sayings). Here the men suffer from being obliged to kneel down on the wetted deck, and a gravelly sort of sand strewed over it. To perform this work they kneel with their bare knees, rubbing the deck with a stone and the sand, the grit of which is often very injurious. In this manner the watch continues till about four bells, or six o’clock; they then begin to wash and swab the decks till seven bells, and at eight bells the Boatswain’s Mate pipes to breakfast. This meal usually consists of burgoo, made of coarse oatmeal and water; others will have Scotch coffee, which is burnt bread boil’d in some water, and sweetened with sugar. This is generally cooked in a hook-pot in the galley, where there is a range. Nearly all the crew have one of these pots, a spoon, and a knife; for these things are indispensable; there are also basins, plates, etc., which are kept in each mess, which generally consists of eight persons, whose berth is between two of the guns on the lower deck, where there is a board placed, which swings with the rolling of the ship, and answers for a table.... At half-past eight o’clock, or one bell in the forenoon watch, the larboard watch goes on deck, and the starboard remains below. Here again the ‘holy-stones,’ or ‘hand-bibles,’ as they are called by the crew,{31} are used, and sometimes iron scrapers. After the lower deck has been wetted with swabs, these scrapers are used to take the rough dirt off. Whilst this is going on, the cooks from each mess are employed in cleaning the utensils and preparing for dinner; at the same time the watch are working the ship, and doing what is wanting to be done on deck.

“About eleven o’clock, or six bells, when any of the men are in irons, or on the black list, the boatswain or mate are ordered to call all hands; the culprits are then brought forward by the Master-at-Arms, who is a warrant-officer, and acts the part of Jack Ketch when required; he likewise has the prisoners in his custody, until they are put in irons, under any charge. All hands being now mustered, the Captain orders the man to strip; he is then seized to a grating by the wrists and knees; his crime is then mentioned, and the prisoner may plead; but, in nineteen cases out of twenty, he is flogged for the most trifling offence or neglect, such as not hearing the watch called at night, not doing anything properly on deck or aloft which he might happen to be sent to do, when, perhaps, he has been doing the best he could, and, at the same time, ignorant of having done wrong, until he is pounced on, and put in irons. So much for legal process. After punishment, the Boatswain’s Mate pipes to dinner, it being eight bells, or twelve o’clock; and this is the pleasantest part of the day, as at one bell the piper is called to play ‘Nancy Dawson,’ or some other lively tune, a well-known signal that the grog is ready to be served out. It is the duty of the cook from each mess to fetch and serve it out to his messmates, of which every man and boy is allowed a pint, that is, one gill of rum and three of water, to which is added lemon acid, sweetened with sugar. Here I must remark that the cook comes in for the perquisites of office, by reserving to himself an extra portion of grog, which is called the over-plus, and generally comes to the double of a man’s allowance. Thus the cook can take upon himself to be the man of consequence, for he has the opportunity of inviting a friend to partake of a glass, or of paying any little debt he may have{32} contracted. It may not be known to everyone that it is grog which pays debts, and not money, in a man-of-war. Notwithstanding the cook’s apparently pre-eminent situation, yet, on some occasions, he is subject to censure or punishment by his messmates, for not attending to the dinner properly, or suffering the utensils of his department to be in a dirty condition. Justice, in these cases, is awarded by packing a jury of cooks from the different messes, for it falls to the lot of each man in a mess to act as cook in his turn. The mode or precept by which this jury is summoned is by hoisting a mess swab or beating a tin dish between decks forward.... At two bells in the afternoon, or one o’clock, the starboard watch goes on deck, and remains working the ship, pointing the ropes, or doing any duty that may be required, until the eight bells strike, when the Boatswain’s Mate pipes to supper. This consists of half a pint of wine, or a pint of grog, to each man, with biscuit, and cheese or butter. At the one bell, or half-past four, which is called one bell in ‘the first dog-watch,’ the larboard watch comes on duty, and remains until six o’clock, when that is relieved by the starboard watch, which is called the ‘second dog-watch,’ which lasts till eight o’clock. To explain this, it must be observed that these four hours, from four to eight o’clock, are divided into two watches, with a view of making the other watches come regular and alternate.... By this regular system of duty, I became inured to the roughness and hardships of a sailor’s life. I had made up my mind to be obedient, however irksome to my feelings, and, our ship being on the Channel Station, I soon began to pick up a knowledge of seamanship.”

Source.—Clowes’ Royal Navy, 1900. Vol. v., p. 127.

After declaring his intention of keeping the fleet in such a position of sailing that the order of sailing should be the order of battle, Nelson went on to say:—{33}

“If the enemy’s fleet should be seen to windward in line of battle, and that the two lines ... could fetch them, they will probably be so extended that their van could not succour their rear. I should therefore probably make the second in command’s signal to lead through about the twelfth ship from their rear, or wherever he could fetch, if not able to get so far advanced. My line would cut through about their centre.... The whole impression of the British fleet must be to overpower [from] two or three ships ahead of their commander-in-chief—supposed to be in the centre—to the rear of their fleet. I will suppose 20 sail of the enemy’s line to be untouched. It must be some time before they could perform a manœuvre to bring their force compact to attack any part of the British fleet engaged, or to succour their own ships; which, indeed, would be impossible without mixing with the ships engaged.... British to be one-fourth superior to the enemy cut off. Something must be left to chance. Nothing is sure in a sea-fight, beyond all others. Shot will carry away the masts and yards of friends as well as of foes; but I look with confidence to a victory before the van of the enemy could succour their rear; and then that the British fleet would, most of them, be ready to receive their 20 sail of the line, or to pursue them should they endeavour to make off.... The second in command will, in all possible things, direct the movements of his line, by keeping them as compact as the nature of the circumstances will admit. Captains are to look to their particular line as their rallying point; but, in case signals cannot be seen or clearly understood, no captain can do very wrong if he places his ship alongside that of an enemy.”

Should the enemy wait in line of battle—as he actually did at Trafalgar—to receive an attack from windward—

“the divisions of the British fleet will be brought nearly within gunshot of the enemy’s centre. The signal will most probably then be made for the ... lines to bear up together; to set all their sails, even their steering sails, in order to get as quickly{34} as possible to the enemy’s line, and to cut through, beginning at the twelfth ship from the enemy’s rear. Some ships may not get through their exact place, but they will always be at hand to assist their friends. If any are thrown round the rear of the enemy, they will effectually complete the business of 12 sail of the enemy. Should the enemy wear together, or bear up and sail large, still the 12 ships composing, in the first position, the enemy’s rear are to be the object of attack of the lee line, unless otherwise directed by the Commander-in-Chief, which is scarcely to be expected, as the entire management of the lee line, after the intentions of the Commander-in-Chief are signified, is intended to be left to the judgment of the admiral commanding that line. The remainder of the enemy’s fleet ... are to be left to the management of the Commander-in-Chief, who will endeavour to take care that the movements of the second in command are as little interrupted as possible.”[8]

Source.—Southey: Life of Nelson (1813).

Villeneuve was a skilful seaman, worthy of serving a better master and a better cause. His plan of defence was as well conceived, and as original, as the plan of attack. He formed the fleet in a double line, every alternate ship being about a cable’s length to windward of her second ahead and astern. Nelson, certain of a triumphant issue to the day, asked Blackwood what he should consider as a victory. That officer answered, that considering the handsome way in which battle was offered by the enemy, their apparent determination for a fair trial of strength, and the situation of the land, he thought it would be a glorious result if fourteen were captured. He replied, “I shall not be satisfied with anything short of twenty.” Soon afterwards he asked him if he did not think there was a signal wanting. Captain Blackwood made answer, that he thought the whole fleet seemed very{35} clearly to understand what they were about. These words were scarcely spoken before that signal was made, which will be remembered as long as the language, or even the memory of England shall endure—Nelson’s last signal—“England expects that every man will do his duty!” It was received throughout the fleet with a shout of answering acclamation, made sublime by the spirit which it breathed, and the feeling which it expressed. “Now,” said Lord Nelson, “I can do no more. We must trust to the great Disposer of all events, and the justice of our cause. I thank God for this great opportunity of doing my duty.”

He wore that day, as usual, his Admiral’s frock-coat, bearing on the left breast four stars of the different orders with which he was invested. Ornaments which rendered him so conspicuous a mark for the enemy, were beheld with ominous apprehensions by his officers. It was known that there were riflemen on board the French ships; and it could not be doubted but that his life would be particularly aimed at. They communicated their fears to each other, and the Surgeon, Mr. Beatty, spoke to the Chaplain, Dr. Scott, and to Mr. Scott, the public Secretary, desiring that some person would entreat him to change his dress, or cover the stars: but they knew that such a request would highly displease him. “In honour I gained them,” he had said, when such a thing had been hinted to him formerly, “and in honour I will die with them.” Mr. Beatty, however, would not have been deterred by any fear of exciting his displeasure, from speaking to him himself upon a subject in which the weal of England, as well as the life of Nelson, was concerned, but he was ordered from the deck before he could find an opportunity. This was a point upon which Nelson’s officers knew that it was hopeless to remonstrate or reason with him; but both Blackwood, and his own Captain, Hardy, represented to him how advantageous to the fleet it would be for him to keep out of action as long as possible; and he consented at last to let the Leviathan and the Téméraire, which were sailing abreast of the Victory, be ordered to pass ahead. Yet even here the last infirmity of{36} this noble mind was indulged; for these ships could not pass ahead if the Victory continued to carry all her sail, and so far was Nelson from shortening sail, that it was evident he took pleasure in pressing on, and rendering it impossible for them to obey his own orders. A long swell was setting into the Bay of Cadiz. Our ships, crowding all sail, moved majestically before it, with light winds from the south-west. The sun shone on the sails of the enemy, and their well-formed line, with their numerous three-deckers, made an appearance which any other assailants would have thought formidable; but the British sailors only admired the beauty and the splendour of the spectacle; and, in full confidence of winning what they saw, remarked to each other what a fine sight yonder ships would make at Spithead!

The French Admiral, from the Bucentaure, beheld the new manner in which his enemy was advancing—Nelson and Collingwood each leading his line; and pointing them out to his officers, he is said to have exclaimed, that such conduct could not fail to be successful. Yet Villeneuve had made his own dispositions with the utmost skill, and the fleets under his command waited for the attack with perfect coolness. Ten minutes before twelve they opened their fire. Eight or nine of the ships immediately ahead of the Victory, and across her bows, fired single guns at her, to ascertain whether she was yet within their range. As soon as Nelson perceived that their shot passed over him, he desired Blackwood, and Captain Prowse, of the Sirius, to repair to their respective frigates, and on their way to tell all the Captains of the line-of-battle ships that he depended on their exertions; and that if by the prescribed mode of attack they found it impracticable to get into action immediately, they might adopt whatever they thought best, provided it led them quickly and closely alongside an enemy. As they were standing on the front of the poop, Blackwood took him by the hand, saying he hoped soon to return and find him in possession of twenty prizes. He replied, “God bless you, Blackwood; I shall never speak to {37}you again.” ...

The enemy continued to fire a gun at a time at the Victory, till they saw that a shot had passed through her main-topgallant sail; then they opened their broadsides, aiming chiefly at her rigging, in the hope of disabling her before she could close with them. Nelson, as usual, had hoisted several flags, lest one should be shot away. The enemy showed no colours till late in the action, when they began to feel the necessity of having them to strike. For this reason the Santissima Trinidad, Nelson’s old acquaintance, as he used to call her, was distinguishable only by her four decks, and to the bow of this opponent he ordered the Victory to be steered. Meantime an incessant raking fire was kept up upon the Victory. The Admiral’s Secretary was one of the first who fell; he was killed by a cannon-shot while conversing with Hardy. Captain Adair, of the Marines, with the help of a sailor, endeavoured to remove the body from Nelson’s sight, who had a great regard for Mr. Scott; but he anxiously asked, “Is that poor Scott that’s gone?” and being informed that it was indeed so, exclaimed, “Poor fellow!” Presently a double-headed shot struck a party of marines who were drawn up on the poop, and killed eight of them, upon which Nelson immediately desired Captain Adair to disperse his men round the ship, that they might not suffer so much from being together. A few minutes afterwards a shot struck the fore-brace bits on the quarter-deck, and passed between Nelson and Hardy, a splinter from the bit tearing off Hardy’s buckle, and bruising his foot. Both stopped, and looked anxiously at each other; each supposed the other to be wounded. Nelson then smiled, and said, “This is too warm work, Hardy, to last long.”

The Victory had not yet returned a single gun. Fifty of her men had been by this time killed or wounded, and her main-topmast, with all her studding sails and her booms, shot away. Nelson declared that in all his battles he had seen nothing which surpassed the cool courage of his crew on this occasion. At four minutes after twelve she opened her fire from both sides of her deck. It was not possible to break the enemy’s line without running on board one of their ships.{38} Hardy informed him of this, and asked him which he would prefer. Nelson replied, “Take your choice, Hardy; it does not signify much.” The Master was ordered to put the helm to port, and the Victory ran on board the Redoutable, just as her tiller ropes were shot away. The French ship received her with a broadside; then instantly let down her lower-deck ports, for fear of being boarded through them, and never afterwards fired a great gun during the action. Her tops, like those of all the enemy’s ships, were filled with riflemen. Nelson never placed musketry in his tops. He had a strong dislike to the practice, not merely because it endangers setting fire to the sails, but also because it is a murderous sort of warfare, by which individuals may suffer, and a commander now and then be picked off, but which never can decide the fate of a general engagement.

Captain Harvey, in the Téméraire, fell on board the Redoutable on the other side. Another enemy was in like manner on board the Téméraire; so that these four ships formed as compact a tier as if they had been moored together, their heads lying all the same way. The Lieutenants of the Victory seeing this, depressed their guns of the middle and lower decks, and fired with a diminished charge, lest the shot should pass through, and injure the Téméraire. And because there was danger that the Redoutable might take fire from the lower-deck guns, the muzzles of which touched her side when they were run out, the fireman of each gun stood ready with a bucket of water, which, as soon as the gun was discharged, he dashed into the hole made by the shot. An incessant fire was kept up from the Victory from both sides, her larboard guns playing upon the Bucentaure and the huge Santissima Trinidad.

It had been part of Nelson’s prayer, that the British fleet might be distinguished by humanity in the victory which he expected. Setting an example himself, he twice gave orders to cease firing upon the Redoutable, supposing that she had struck, because her great guns were silent; for, as she carried no flag, there was no means of instantly ascertaining the fact. From this ship, which he had thus twice spared, he received{39} his death. A ball fired from her mizen-top, which in the then situation of the two vessels was not more than fifteen yards from that part of the deck where he was standing, struck the epaulette on his left shoulder, about a quarter after one, just in the heat of action. He fell upon his face, on the spot which was covered with his poor Secretary’s blood. Hardy, who was a few steps from him, turning round, saw three men raising him up. “They have done for me at last, Hardy,” said he. “I hope not,” cried Hardy. “Yes,” he replied; “my backbone is shot through.” Yet even now, not for a moment losing his presence of mind, he observed, as they were carrying him down the ladder, that the tiller ropes, which had been shot away, were not yet replaced, and ordered that new ones should be rove immediately; then, that he might not be seen by the crew, he took out his handkerchief, and covered his face and his stars. Had he but concealed these badges of honour from the enemy, England perhaps would not have had cause to receive with sorrow the news of the battle of Trafalgar. The cockpit was crowded with wounded and dying men, over whose bodies he was with some difficulty conveyed, and laid upon a pallet in the Midshipmen’s berth. It was soon perceived, upon examination, that the wound was mortal. This, however, was concealed from all except Captain Hardy, the Chaplain, and the medical attendants. He himself being certain, from the sensation in his back and the gush of blood he felt momently within his breast, that no human care could avail him, insisted that the Surgeon should leave him, and attend to those to whom he might be useful; “for,” said he, “you can do nothing for me.” All that could be done was to fan him with paper, and frequently to give him lemonade to alleviate his intense thirst. He was in great pain, and expressed much anxiety for the event of the action, which now began to declare itself. As often as a ship struck, the crew of the Victory hurrahed, and at every hurrah a visible expression of joy gleamed in the eyes and marked the countenance of the dying hero. But he became impatient to see Captain Hardy; and as that officer, though often sent for,{40} could not leave the deck, Nelson feared that some fatal cause prevented him, and repeatedly cried, “Will no one bring Hardy to me? He must be killed! He is surely dead!” An hour and ten minutes elapsed from the time when Nelson received his wound before Hardy could come to him. They shook hands in silence, Hardy in vain struggling to suppress the feelings of that most painful and yet sublimest moment. “Well, Hardy,” said Nelson, “how goes the day with us?” “Very well,” replied Hardy; “ten ships have struck, but five of the van have tacked, and show an intention to bear down upon the Victory. I have called two or three of our fresh ships round, and have no doubt of giving them a drubbing.” “I hope,” said Nelson, “none of our ships have struck.” Hardy answered, “There was no fear of that.” Then, and not till then, Nelson spoke of himself. “I am a dead man, Hardy,” said he; “I am going fast; it will be over with me soon. Come nearer to me. Let my dear Lady Hamilton have my hair, and all other things belonging to me.” Hardy observed, that he hoped Mr. Beatty could yet hold out some prospect of life. “Oh, no!” he replied; “it is impossible. My back is shot through. Beatty will tell you so.” Captain Hardy then once more shook hands with him, and, with a heart almost bursting, hastened upon deck.

By this time all feeling below the breast was gone; and Nelson, having made the Surgeon ascertain this, said to him: “You know I am gone, I know it. I feel something rising in my breast”—putting his hand on his left side—“which tells me so.” And upon Beatty’s inquiring whether his pain was very great, he replied, “So great, that he wished he was dead. Yet,” said he, in a lower voice, “one would like to live a little longer too!” And after a few minutes, in the same undertone, he added, “What would become of poor Lady Hamilton, if she knew my situation!” Next to his country she occupied his thoughts. Captain Hardy, some fifty minutes after he had left the cockpit, returned; and, again taking the hand of his dying friend and commander, congratulated him on having gained a complete victory. How many of the enemy were{41} taken he did not know, as it was impossible to perceive them distinctly; but fourteen or fifteen at least. “That’s well,” cried Nelson, “but I bargained for twenty.” And then, in a stronger voice, he said: “Anchor, Hardy; anchor.” Hardy, upon this, hinted that Admiral Collingwood would take upon himself the direction of affairs. “Not while I live, Hardy,” said the dying Nelson, ineffectually endeavouring to raise himself from the bed: “Do you anchor.” His previous order for preparing to anchor had shown how clearly he foresaw the necessity of this. Presently calling Hardy back, he said to him in a low voice, “Don’t throw me overboard:” and he desired that he might be buried by his parents, unless it should please the King to order otherwise. Then reverting to private feelings: “Take care of my dear Lady Hamilton, Hardy: take care of poor Lady Hamilton. Kiss me, Hardy,” said he. Hardy knelt down and kissed his cheek: and Nelson said, “Now I am satisfied. Thank God, I have done my duty.” Hardy stood over him in silence for a moment or two, then knelt again and kissed his forehead. “Who is that?” said Nelson; and being informed, he replied, “God bless you, Hardy.” And Hardy then left him—for ever.

Nelson now desired to be turned upon his right side, and said, “I wish I had not left the deck; for I shall soon be gone.” Death was, indeed, rapidly approaching. He said to the Chaplain, “Doctor, I have not been a great sinner:” and after a short pause, “Remember that I leave Lady Hamilton and my daughter Horatia as a legacy to my country.” His articulation now became difficult; but he was distinctly heard to say, “Thank God, I have done my duty.” These words he repeatedly pronounced; and they were the last words which he uttered. He expired at thirty minutes after four—three hours and a quarter after he had received his wound....

The Redoutable struck within twenty minutes after the fatal shot had been fired from her. During that time she had been twice on fire—in her fore-chains and in her forecastle. The French, as they had done in other battles, made use in this of fire-balls and other combustibles; implements of destruction{42} which other nations, from a sense of honour and humanity, have laid aside; which add to the sufferings of the wounded, without determining the issue of the combat: which none but the cruel would employ, and which never can be successful against the brave. Once they succeeded in setting fire, from the Redoutable, to some ropes and canvas on the Victory’s booms. The cry ran through the ship, and reached the cockpit: but even this dreadful cry produced no confusion: the men displayed that perfect self-possession in danger by which English seamen are characterized; they extinguished the flames on board their own ship, and then hastened to extinguish them in the enemy, by throwing buckets of water from the gangway. When the Redoutable had struck, it was not practicable to board her from the Victory; for, though the two ships touched, the upper works of both fell in so much, that there was a great space between their gangways; and she could not be boarded from the lower or middle decks, because her ports were down. Some of our men went to Lieutenant Quilliam, and offered to swim under her bows, and get up there; but it was thought unfit to hazard brave lives in this manner.

What our men would have done from gallantry, some of the crew of the Santissima Trinidad did to save themselves. Unable to stand the tremendous fire of the Victory, whose larboard guns played against this great four-decker, and not knowing how else to escape them, nor where else to betake themselves for protection, many of them leaped overboard, and swam to the Victory: and were actually helped up her sides by the English during the action. The Spaniards began the battle with less vivacity than their unworthy allies, but they continued it with greater firmness. The Argonauta and Bahama were defended till they had each lost about four hundred men; the San Juan Nepomuceno lost three hundred and fifty. Often as the superiority of British courage has been proved against France upon the seas, it was never more conspicuous than in this decisive conflict. Five of our ships were engaged muzzle to muzzle with five of the French. In all five the{43} Frenchmen lowered their lower-deck ports, and deserted their guns; while our men continued deliberately to load and fire, till they had made the victory secure....

The total British loss in the battle of Trafalgar amounted to one thousand five hundred and eighty-seven. Twenty of the enemy struck. But it was not possible to anchor the fleet, as Nelson had enjoined; a gale came on from the south-west. Some of the prizes went down, some went on shore; one effected its escape into Cadiz; others were destroyed. Four only were saved, and those by the greatest exertions. The wounded Spaniards were sent ashore, an assurance being given that they should not serve till regularly exchanged; and the Spaniards, with a generous feeling which would not perhaps have been found in any other people, offered the use of their hospitals for our wounded, pledging the honour of Spain that they should be carefully attended there. When the storm, after the action, drove some of the prizes upon the coast, they declared that the English who were thus thrown into their hands should not be considered as prisoners of war; and the Spanish soldiers gave up their own beds to their shipwrecked enemies. The Spanish Vice-Admiral Alva died of his wounds. Villeneuve was sent to England, and permitted to return to France. The French Government say that he destroyed himself on the way to Paris, dreading the consequences of a court-martial; but there is every reason to believe that the tyrant, who never acknowledged the loss of the battle of Trafalgar, added Villeneuve to the numerous victims of his murderous policy.

Source.—Sir W. Scott.


O, dread was the time, and more dreadful the omen,
When the brave on Marengo lay slaughtered in vain,
And beholding broad Europe bow’d down by her foemen,
Pitt closed in his anguish the map of her reign!{44}
Not the fate of broad Europe could bend his brave spirit
To take for his country the safety of shame;
O, then in her triumph remember his spirit,
And hallow the goblet that flows to his name.


Round the husbandman’s head while he traces the furrow
The mists of the winter may mingle with rain.
He may plough it with labour and sow it in sorrow,
And sigh while he fears he has sow’d it in vain;
He may die ere his children shall reap in their gladness;
But the blithe harvest-home shall remember his claim;
And their jubilee-shout shall be softened with sadness,
While they hallow the goblet that flows to his name.


Though anxious and timeless his life was expended,
It toils for our country preserved by his care,
Though he died ere one ray o’er the nations ascended,
To light the long darkness of doubt and despair;
The storms he endured in our Britain’s December,
The perils his wisdom foresaw and o’ercame,
In her glory’s rich harvest shall Britain remember,
And hallow the goblet that flows to his name.

Source.Diaries ... James Harris, first Earl of Malmesbury, 1844. Vol. iv., p. 349.

February 1.—His Royal Highness was cold with me for several days; but when he found my opinion to be the prevalent one, and even that of the King himself, he very handsomely gave way, and, having sent for me, by a fair and honest avowal of his mistake, left me more satisfied with him than before. The new Ministry was appointed a few days after this.

Lord Grenville and Fox were its two leaders, and their respective adherents and friends made up the Cabinet.[9]


The Prince of Wales went most heartily and unbecomingly with them, and lowered his dignity by soliciting office and places for his dependents, and by degrading himself into the size of a common party leader.

From this moment I withdrew entirely from official men, my determination being to act as if Mr. Pitt was alive, and to endeavour to regulate my political conduct, and that of those I influenced, on what I supposed would be his, were he still in existence, whether in or out of office.

I told this to Lords Bathurst and Camden on the 27th January, considering these two as more personally, and less politically, attached to him, than any one else, not excepting Canning himself.

On the 4th February, Lord Carrington came to me in consequence of my having canvassed him for his interest at Cambridge University for Lord Palmerston. This he promised me in the handsomest manner; but I was surprised—when I lamented Mr. Pitt’s death, and spoke of the wisdom and propriety of his friends’ acting together, and in conformity to his doctrines and principles—to find Lord Carrington lukewarm on the subject. He said he conceived “we were all now free to act as we pleased. All bond of union was dissolved; no obligation remained with anyone to abide by a party which had lost its leader, and with its leader everything.” He said this in so very positive a way, that I contented myself with saying my sentiments were directly contrary to his, but that it was not for me to dispute with him on a point rather of feeling than of party. Lord Carrington was profuse in his lamentations on the death of Pitt, and equally so in his profession of friendship and gratitude to him, and respect for his memory, and, as a proof, he instanced his wish, that the part of Mr. Pitt’s debts, arising from a loan his friends contributed to raise for him in 1800, should not be produced when the items of them were laid before the House. [N.B. the House had voted a public funeral, and to pay Mr. Pitt’s debts immediately after his death, which Wyndham (strange to say) opposed, giving as a motive that no public{46} funeral had been decreed to Burke.] Lord Carrington, however, said he was overruled by the Bishop of Lincoln, Prettyman[10] (who had been Pitt’s private tutor at Cambridge), who assured him it was one of Pitt’s last dying requests, that the six friends who had advanced him certain sums should be repaid. (They were Lord Bathurst and Carrington, Steele, Bishop of Lincoln, and two others, who at the time never would take any acknowledgment, or ever expected to be repaid.) This assertion of the Bishop of Lincoln, Lord Carrington said, shut his mouth, and the debt was laid before the House, which raised his (Pitt’s) debts to 43,000l.

Ministers went on quietly, and with a very large majority, the whole year of 1806. In June an idea was suggested to make a push at them before the Recess, and I had several conversations with Canning, and one with Perceval on the subject, and constant ones with the Duke of Portland, who, by having undergone an operation for the stone, was wonderfully recovered.

Source.Diary of Lord Colchester, 1861. Vol. ii., p. 49.

House of Commons.—Mr. Fox attended; and Mr. Wyndham opened his military plans: about 350 Members present. His speech lasted four hours. Lord Castlereagh spoke next—about an hour and a half. Mr. Fox about an hour, and Mr. Yorke the same; he was followed by Sir James Pulteney, General Tarleton, and Colonel Crawfurd, &c. The House rose at half-past one without any division; and leave was given to bring in four Bills. The first of which was for the repeal of the additional force, or Parish Recruiting Act; the others for further suspending the militia ballot; altering the levy en masse, or training Act; and for increasing the Chelsea Hospital privileges and allowances.

Mr. Wyndham’s plan consisted in these points:—

1. To supply, maintain, and increase the regular army, by{47} recruiting for term of years, renewing the service at the end of seven and fourteen years: even for a further period; making twenty-one years in the whole. The second and third periods of renewed service to be attended with some small increase of pay, e.g. 6d. for the first, and 1s. per week for the second period, and an increased Chelsea pension to every soldier at the end of twenty-one years. Also an increase of widows’ pensions, and of the Compassionate List; and this to be the only mode of recruiting.

2. To reduce the militia gradually to its original or lowest standard, viz. about 36,000 for England, by not filling up the vacancies.

3. The volunteer establishment to be reduced in expense, by striking off inspecting field officers, permanent duty pay, and lowering the high allowances to the lowest rate, called the August allowances. The clothing now due (being the fourth year) to be continued for this issue only, and no person hereafter becoming volunteer to have any assistance from Government but arms; and an exemption from the operation of the General Training Act.

4. All persons of military age, from eighteen to forty, to be liable to be trained to arms when called out by classes, but not to be embodied in corps; and to be relieved also from the training, either by entering into a volunteer corps, or paying a fine; and the numbers for training, e.g. 100,000 for one year, to be taken by lot out of the given classes.


I. Lord Colchester’s Diary.

Source.Diary of Lord Colchester, 1861. Vol. ii., p. 92.

[Feb.] 28th.—Lord Hawkesbury called on the Catholic clauses in the Mutiny Bill, to express his alarms, and those of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Perceval and Sir William Scott, about the apprehended extension of the Irish law of 1793, by now enabling Catholics to be Generals on the Staff.{48}

Sunday, March 1st.—Lord Sidmouth called. He desired to deposit with me his determination not to agree to granting the Catholics liberty to hold staff commissions. The King had with difficulty been persuaded by Lord Sidmouth to consent even to extend the Irish Act of 1793 to Catholic officers in the army, when coming to England; but had acceded to it at last, as a strict consequence of the Union; the Irish law then in force being virtually adopted for England. Lord Howick admitted that in the House of Commons he had given no other intimation of his notice. The Duke of Bedford and the Irish Government had understood the same things, and explained the concession on this ground to be only to the Catholics in Dublin. That it was now proposed, because the minute of Cabinet had been worded generally, that it should be carried into effect in its largest sense; and the King was again to be asked for his consent. The Cabinet were about to meet this day upon that express topic.

2nd.—Lord Sidmouth called. The Cabinet had parted yesterday upon a resolution to proceed with the Catholic clauses, although they admitted that the King had not been specifically acquainted with that part of the measure which enabled Catholics to become Generals on the Staff; and although Lord Sidmouth had consented only to the application of the law of 1793; and although Lord Henry Petty, and Lord Holland, and Lord Howick allowed that he had never consented beyond that; and although Lord Howick admitted that, in his notice to the House of Commons, he had not in his own mind, any larger measure, &c. &c. But Lord Grenville declined to be the person who should state the subject again to the King or ask his consent upon it. Lord Sidmouth said he certainly would not interfere by volunteering his advice to the King; but, when he should see the King on Wednesday, he should, if asked by the King, give his own opinion and act upon it, whether sanctioned by the King or not; and so the Cabinet parted.

In the House of Commons Lord Howick first mentioned to me the Catholic clauses, and asked whether I thought they must{49} necessarily pass through a Committee of the whole House, as being of religion. I told him that had really never occurred to me, but I would look into it and let him know; and although I entirely disapproved of what he was about, it was no reason why we should not freely converse about all the forms of proceeding.

The House engaged from six in the evening till six in the morning, hearing counsel and witnesses on the Westminster petition, complaining of Mr. Sheridan for having tampered with witnesses.

3rd.—Searched precedents for Catholic clauses. Lord Howick postponed the Mutiny Bill Committee. I showed him the precedents I had collected. He hoped “I should not take any part in the Committee.” But I told him that “I must inevitably do so.”

4th.—Lord Howick wrote me the following note:—


Stratton Street,
March 4, 1807.

My dear Sir,

I believe I shall alter my course of proceeding respecting the new clauses, and introduce a new Bill instead. As the measure is the subject of a notice for discussion to-day, though in another form, I take it for granted there can be no objection to my moving for leave to bring in a Bill, if I should ultimately determine to do so, instead of moving an instruction on the clauses in a committee.

I am afraid I have been guilty of an omission in not moving for an address in answer to the King’s message, which I see was done in the House of Lords yesterday; but, as the treaty was not laid before the House, and the only matter on which a proceeding of the House was to be had was voting the money, I thought it was the best way to refer the message to the Committee of Supply; in which it was proposed to vote to-day the sum advanced to the King of Prussia. Will you have the goodness to let me know, when I come to the House{50} to-day, whether this has been the usual course of proceeding; or whether, if it should not be deemed sufficiently respectful, anything can now be done to correct the error.

I am, my dear Sir,
Ever yours sincerely,

He drank tea with me in my room behind the chair. I told him I wished he would confine his Bill to the Irish Law of 1793. To that I could agree; but not without the same exclusion from the high military offices. He said, “That was but a small object.” I replied, “But the principle is large. You will never satisfy Mr. Keogh.” He said, “Oh, I did not think of trying at that. But I have said too much on this subject to let things remain as they are; we must do what satisfies us, whether it satisfies Mr. Keogh or not.”

II. Letter from the Duke of Portland to the King.

Source.Diaries and Correspondence of James Harris, first Earl of Malmesbury, 1844. Vol. iv., p. 360.

Copy of a Letter from the Duke of Portland to the King, sent Thursday Evening, March 12th, 1807, to the Queen’s House, acknowledged by Colonel Taylor Friday Morning the 13th.

Burlington House,
March 12th, 1807.


I am so sensible of my presumption in addressing your Majesty on a subject of a public nature, that nothing but the confidence I have in your Majesty’s goodness, and the attachment I bear your Majesty, would induce me to do it. But it is a subject of such infinite magnitude, that, were I silent, I feel I should deserve to forfeit that I am most ambitious to be considered, of being looked upon by your Majesty as one of your Majesty’s most loyal and devoted subjects and servants.

Your Majesty will probably anticipate the subject on which I cannot but express my anxiety to lay my sentiments at your Majesty’s feet.

It is the Bill just proposed by Lord Howick, granting indulgences to the Catholics; a measure, that should any peculiarity{51} of circumstances have induced your Majesty to acquiesce in, I should still think that by following the dictates of my own conscience and voting against it, I should not offend your Majesty.

But, impressed as I am with a belief of what must be your Majesty’s opinions and wishes, I could not forgive myself were I to conceal from your Majesty that your opinion is mistaken and your wishes not generally understood; and, humbly permit me to represent to your Majesty that it cannot well be otherwise, since one of your Majesty’s principal Ministers in the House of Commons brings in the Bill. Should I be wrong, and your Majesty has not given your consent to the measure in its present shape, I have little apprehension in giving it as my opinion that it may ultimately be defeated in its progress, though not, I fear, till it comes into the House of Lords; but, for this purpose, I must fairly state to your Majesty, that your wishes must be distinctly known, and that your present Ministers should not have any pretext for equivocating upon the subject, or any ground whatever to pretend ignorance of your Majesty’s sentiments and determination, not only to withhold your sanction from the present measure, but to use all your influence in resisting it.

The effect of such a proceeding is so obvious, that I would not suggest it, did I not believe that your Majesty’s business would be at a stand in such a case; and that persons would not be ready to come forward (should your Majesty think fit to call upon them) who are capable and willing to undertake the management of your Majesty’s affairs. But for this purpose it would be highly necessary and advantageous that the public should know the necessity to which your Majesty was driven of taking the conduct of your affairs out of the hands of those who now administer them; that for this purpose your Majesty should send for Lord Grenville, and state to him distinctly, that either your sentiments had been misrepresented or that you never had consented to the measure proposed by Lord Howick, and that, consistently with the opinion your Majesty had uniformly expressed, it never could or would have your Royal assent. It would then remain with Lord{52} Grenville and his colleagues to take their part; possibly they might give way and still remain your Majesty’s Ministers; but, should they refuse to submit themselves to your Majesty’s pleasure, the necessity of employing other persons would be obvious to the whole world. The designs (which my feelings may possibly lead me unjustly to attribute to them) could no longer be mistaken, viz.: that the most venerated and sacred barriers of our constitution should be undermined and sapped for the purpose of introducing a new system into Church and State, and that your Majesty was reduced to the necessity of submitting to them or quarrelling with your Parliament.

Under such circumstances I cannot but believe, and cannot fear to assure your Majesty, that the nation as well as individuals will come forward in support of the established laws of the realm, and that persons will be found able to carry on your Majesty’s business with talents and abilities equal to those of your present Ministers. If your Majesty should suppose that in the forming of such an Administration, I can offer your Majesty any services, I am devoted to your Majesty’s commands; but, while I say this, I feel conscious that my time of life, my infirmities, and my want of abilities are not calculated for so high a trust. I, however, can say that if, in this very momentous crisis, your Majesty calls upon me, I will serve you zealously and faithfully to the end of my existence.[11]

Source.—Extract from the Prospectus of The Examiner. By Leigh Hunt.

The great error of politicians is that old fancy of Solon, who insisted that it was infamous for a citizen to be of no party, and endeavoured by a law to make the Athenians hypocrites. This conceit not only destroys every idea of mediation between two parties, but does not even suppose that both may be wrong. Yet all history may convince us,{53} that he who resolutely professes himself attached to any party, is in danger of yielding to every extreme for the mere reputation of his opinion: he will argue for the most manifest errors of this or that statesman, because he has hitherto agreed with him—an obstinacy as stupid, as if a pedestrian were to express his satisfaction with a tempest at night, because he had enjoyed sunshine in the morning.

The big and little Endians in Gulliver have not yet taught us the folly of mere party: and one of the most ridiculous inconsistencies in the human character is that enjoyment which all ages have expressed in satirical productions, without receiving benefit from them: they drink the physic with a bold and pleasant countenance, and instantly prepare to counteract its effect; or rather, every man thinks the physic excellent for everybody but himself.—“Party,” says Swift, “is the madness of many for the gain of a few.” When Scarmentado in Voltaire arrived at Ispahan, he was asked whether he was for black mutton or white mutton: he replied, that it was equally indifferent to him, provided it was tender. A wise man knows no party abstracted from its utility, or existing, like a shadow, merely from the opposition of some body. Yet, in the present day, we are all so erroneously sociable, that every man, as well as every journal, must belong to some class of politicians; he is either Pittite or Foxite, Windhamite, Wilberforcite, or Burdettite: though at the same time two-thirds of these disturbers of coffee-houses might with as much reason call themselves Hivites or Shunamites, or perhaps Bedlamites.

Source.Diary of Lord Colchester, 1861. Vol. ii., p. 134.

Tuesday, December 1st.—Received the following letter from Perceval:

Dear Mr. Speaker,

The Parliament will not meet till the Thursday after the birthday. I am culpable in not having sent you earlier{54} intelligence, but the day was not fixed till Wednesday last, and, of the determination not to meet till near the birthday, unless circumstances particularly required it, you were apprised by me before.

*   *  *  *  *  *   *  *  

The business of recasting the law of trade and navigation, as far as belligerent principles are concerned, for the whole world, has occupied me very unremittingly for a long time; and the subject is so extensive, and the combinations so various, that, even supposing our principles to be right, I cannot hope that the execution of the principle must not in many respects be defective; and I have no doubt we shall have to watch it with new provisions and regulations for some time.

The short principle is that trade in British produce and manufactures, and trade either from a British port or with a British destination, is to be protected as much as possible. For this purpose all the countries where French influence prevails to exclude the British flag shall have no trade but to and from the country, or from its allies. All other countries, the few that remain strictly neutral (with the exception of the colonial trade, which backwards and forwards direct they may carry on) cannot trade but through this being done as an ally with any of the countries connected with France. If, therefore, we can accomplish our purposes, it will come to this, that either those countries will have no trade, or they must be content to accept it through us.

This is a formidable and tremendous state of the world; but all the part of it which is particularly harassing to English interests was existing through the new severity with which Buonaparte’s decrees of exclusion against our trade were called into action.

Our proceeding does not aggravate our distress from it. If he can keep out our trade he will; and he would do so if he could, independent of our orders. Our orders only add this circumstance: they say to the enemy, if you will not have our trade, as far as we can help it you shall have none. And as to so much of any trade as you can carry on yourselves,{55} or others carry on with you through us, if you admit it, you shall pay for it. The only trade cheap and untaxed which you shall have, shall be either direct from us, in our own produce and manufactures, or from our allies, whose increased prosperity will be an advantage to us.

*   *  *  *  *  *   *  *  

Yours, very truly,
Sp. Perceval.

CORUNNA (1809).

I. Bulletin of Jan. 21.

Source.Diary of Lord Colchester. Vol. ii., p. 164.

[Jan.] 21st.—The annexed bulletin was circulated.

Downing Street,
Jan. 21st.

Brigadier General Stewart arrived this morning at Lord Castlereagh’s with despatches from Sir John Moore, dated Corunna, 13th inst., upon which place he had directed his retreat, and not on Vigo, as he originally intended. Sir John Moore had effected his retreat to Corunna with the loss of only part of his baggage; there had been repeated skirmishes with the rear guard, in which we had uniformly repulsed the enemy, and at Vigo Sir John Moore offered the enemy battle, but the French declined it. The enemy, when Brigadier General Stewart left Corunna, were in force in the neighbourhood, but it was trusted that Sir John Moore would effect his re-embarkation without much loss, as the transports which he had sent for from Vigo were entering the Bay at Corunna, when General Stewart sailed on the 14th.

II. The Burial of Sir John Moore at Corunna (1809).

Source.—Charles Wolfe.


Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
As his corse to the rampart we hurried;
Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot
O’er the grave where our hero we buried.


We buried him darkly, at dead of night,
The sods with our bayonets turning;
By the struggling moonbeam’s misty light,
And the lantern dimly burning.


No useless coffin enclosed his breast,
Not in sheet or in shroud we wound him;
But he lay like a warrior taking his rest,
With his martial cloak around him.


Few and short were the prayers we said,
And we spoke not a word of sorrow;
But we steadfastly gazed on the face that was dead,
And we bitterly thought of the morrow.


We thought, as we hollowed his narrow bed,
And smoothed down his lonely pillow,
That the foe and the stranger would tread o’er his head,
And we far away on the billow!


Lightly they’ll talk of the spirit that’s gone,
And o’er his cold ashes upbraid him;—
But little he’ll reck, if they let him sleep on
In the grave where a Briton has laid him.


But half of our heavy task was done
When the clock struck the note for retiring:
And we heard the distant and random gun
That the foe was sullenly firing.


Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
From the field of his fame fresh and gory;
We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone—
But we left him alone with his glory!

Source.Diaries ... Right Hon. George Rose, 1860. Vol. ii., p. 336.

Lord Mulgrave to Mr. Rose.

Feb. 4th, 1809.

My dear Rose,

It must be ever unpleasant to me not to accede at once to any measure proposed by you and by Canning; more especially as I find the Memorial is in the hands of the clerks of the Council before I had an opportunity of answering your note.

Since I came into office I have proceeded on all questions of augmentation of salaries, on a strong impression of the importance of public economy, and on a full conviction that the advance of any one salary does not rest there, but raises a cry of claim, founded upon relative duties and rank, with an air of justice from precedent; which involves either an excessive increase of charge to the public, or an imputation of harshness and injustice, against the person in authority, who rejects the authority of the precedent, and refuses the increase demanded. I feel how impossible it is for me to follow up the principle I have set out upon either with comfort to myself or advantage to the public, if I alone pursue it. Upon all the demands of clerks for increase of salary, I have consulted Perceval, to ascertain how far the general charges upon the funds of Government would be influenced by such increase; because I know that the advance in one department must be followed by a similar advance in every other. I relinquished, on the representation of Perceval, a most important, and almost necessary, measure of increasing the appointments of{58} the Naval Lords of the Admiralty. I rejected the recommendation of the Commissioners of Naval Revision for the addition of £200 per annum to the Commissioners of the Navy, because I did not think that increase necessary, whilst so many eager candidates were pressing for the situation. If the Paymaster to the Treasurer of the Navy has his salary raised, will not the Commissioners of Victualling and Transport Boards, whose duties are so constant and laborious, especially the former, have a claim to a similar advance? I have refused the advance to the Commissioners at the Cape as recommended by the Commissioners of Naval Revision; and in short I have consented to no increase of salary without being persuaded that proper persons could not be found without such increase; and therefore, as far as my consent is required, I cannot give it, but upon that persuasion, in any case. I am aware that I have created much dissatisfaction by holding the public purse-strings so close; but it is from an apprehension that without very rigid economy we can neither retain the goodwill of the public, nor hold out against the perseverance and resources of the enemy.

Ever yours sincerely,

Source.Diary of Lord Colchester, 1861. Vol. ii., p. 200.

Sunday, Sept. 10th.—Received the following letter from Perceval.

[Most private and confidential.]

Downing Street,
Sept. 9th, 1809.

My dear Mr. Speaker,

I cannot let the week close without giving you some information (though I have delayed till now giving you any, with the hopes of giving you more than I am able, even at present) upon a subject of great importance.

The Duke of Portland has resigned, the King only desiring he would keep his office till some arrangement might be made for his successor. The story is a great deal too long for{59} a note or a letter; suffice it to say, that it is mixed in some respects with the most painful considerations that it has ever been my misfortune to have felt.

Whether it will be possible for us to form any arrangement, or what it will be, I really cannot at present state to you, as I do not know myself. According to present appearances, Castlereagh cannot stay with us, from a sense of what is due to himself; and Canning will not. Conceive me then, and my situation in your house, under such circumstances, and judge whether, if these appearances are realised, it would be just by the King or by the country in me, to affect to be able to remain either without them or some other strength, where how to acquire it is not very easy to imagine.

I wished you not to know this subject from any other quarter but myself, and I feel that I have only whetted your curiosity, and it would take a volume to communicate it fully. Possibly, therefore, till a personal meeting, I must defer the full explanation. The result, whatever it may be, you shall hear as soon as I can tell you. The cruel thing upon Castlereagh is, that though this is entirely independent of the late expedition, it is next to impossible but that the public impression will connect the two together.

I am, my dear Mr. Speaker,
Yours very truly,
Sp. Perceval.

Source.Diary of Lord Colchester, 1861. Vol. ii., p. 209.

Letter from Mr. Perceval.

Downing Street,
Sept. 20th, 1809.

Dear Mr. Speaker,

I have had so much to say that I have no time to say it; but I might have found time to have thanked you for your kind and ready answer to my former letter.

You have judged me perfectly right. If you had asked my{60} advice I could not have been so dishonest as not to have given it for the decision you have made. Castlereagh and Canning have been fighting. Thank God Canning is not severely hurt, and Castlereagh is not touched. Terrible, all this, for public impression. What we are to do is not finally settled. It must end in an attempt to form an united Government with our opponents. But it is a bitter pill to swallow for more than one.

When I can tell you anything positive, and can get a moment to tell it, I will.

Yours very truly,
Sp. Perceval.

Source.Diary of Lord Colchester, 1861. Vol. ii., p. 239.

The military expenses of the last four years have been:—
 Navy (Expedition to Copenhagen)19,673,000
 Navy (Expedition to Spain and Portugal)18,156,000
 Vote of Credit2,500,000
 Navy (Expeditions to
 Spain and Portugal, and Walcheren)18,986,000
 Vote of Credit500,000
      Ordnance 5,275,000
 Total £46,011,000


Source.Protests of the Lords. Vol. ii., 1741-1825, p. 423.

January 26, 1810.—The thanks of the Lords were voted to Lord Viscount Wellington for his services on the 27th and 28th of July, 1809, at the victory of Talavera. The title of Viscount Wellington of Talavera was conferred on the 4th of September, 1809. The motion was made by Lord Liverpool and opposed by Lords Suffolk, Grosvenor, and Grey. The following protest was inserted:

1st. Because in the battle of Talavera, though eminently distinguished by those splendid proofs of discipline and valour which his Majesty’s troops have never failed to display, we cannot recognize those unequivocal characteristics of victory which can alone form an adequate title to the thanks of this House. On the contrary, that the British army appears to have been improvidently led into a situation, in which the repulse of the enemy, effected with a great loss, produced neither security from a subsequent attack, nor relief from the distress under which our brave troops were suffering, and was immediately followed by the necessity of a precipitate retreat, whereby our wounded were left to fall into the hands of the enemy.

2ndly, Because, by voting the thanks of this House on such an occasion, we diminish the value of the most honourable reward we have it in our power to confer, whilst we indirectly sanction the propriety of that elevation to the honours of the peerage, with which his Majesty, without inquiry, was advised to mark his approbation of the commander of his army in Spain, at a time when his ministers were informed of the unfortunate consequences which might be expected to follow, and in fact did follow, that dear-bought success.

Charles Grey, Earl Grey.
James Maitland, Lord Lauderdale
(Earl of Lauderdale).



A.—A Squib on the Expedition.

Source.Diary of Lord Colchester, 1861. Vol. ii., p. 232.

The following squib was published in the papers at this time on the Walcheren Expedition:

Extract from the Grand Romantic Drama lately performed for the Amusement of the Emperor of France.

Act I., Scene 1.Cabinet Council discovered; Naval and Military Officers attending.

First Cabinet Minister. We now are met in grave deliberation
Upon the plan for Antwerp’s subjugation,
That we may not despatch this expedition
Without due caution, knowledge and precision.
Ye officers of military fame,
We wish for your opinion of the same.
1st Mil. Officer. I wrote before my reasons in detail,
Why I esteem your plan quite sure to fail.
Lord C—gh. You think ’twill fail?
2nd Mil. Officer. And so do I.
3rd Mil. Officer. And I.
Lord C—gh. All of you think so: better go and try.
But, ere our army sails, ’tis fit we know
Something about the place to which they’ll go.
Pray, sirs, is Antwerp fortified or no?
1st Mil. Officer. Rumour reports it fortified full well,
But I, not having been there, cannot tell.
2nd Mil. Officer. I know no more.
3rd Mil. Officer. Nor I, I do declare.
Lord C—gh. Well, well—they’ll see directly they get there.
Lord M—ve. But as the chief design of this great feat,
Captain, will be to take the Antwerp fleet;
Say, can the frigates, or can any ship,
Sail up above, and so give us the slip?{63}
Naval Officer. Had I been there, I could have told you what
The water’s depth; but having ne’er, cannot.
Lord M—ve. This is no cause our plan should be forsaken,
It will be known as soon as Antwerp’s taken.
Lord E—n. But shan’t we lose the fleet? Then there’ll be laughter.
Lord M—ve. Lose it? If they go up, mayn’t we go after?
Lord E—n. Our friend the smuggler says the troops are few;
And then the garrison—Pray what think you?
1st Mil. Officer. Few on the coast may be, and in the town;
But from the country they can soon bring down
A force too large for us to hope to lick;
And all that’s done must be done very quick.
Lord Ch—m. Fear not: delay was ne’er a fault of mine;
And every morning I’ll get up at nine—
Dressed, breakfast done by twelve—no speed I’ll lack,
And do it all completely in a crack.
1st Cab. Min. Brave warriors, your advice and information
Has now received our full consideration.
[Exeunt Mil. and Naval Officers.
Lord C—gh. As secrecy’s the soul of expeditions,
I see no use in telling the physicians
Whither it’s going; but desire they would
Send plenty of what physic they think good.

Enter Sir Lucas Pepys.

(To Sir L. P.) Prepare (I can’t tell rightly against when)
Physic enough for forty thousand men,
But do it quick; what’s proper you can tell.
[Exit Sir L. P.
Mr. P—l. Now there’s no fear but all will answer well;
So excellent we’ve made each preparation,
And all so accurate our information.
When Parliament meets next how fine a story
Shall we not have to tell of wars and glory.

Manet, Mr. C—g, Solus.

Mr. C—g. Most of this plan is gibberish to me,
But I shall quietly lie by and see
How it goes on; and then, if all succeeds,
I share the praise; but if it ill proceeds
I’ll try what, leaving this ungoverned crew,
Setting up statesmen for myself will do.


The rest of the play is of so very tragic and horrible a cast, that we think the author will not be justified in bringing it forward, and we decline publishing any further extracts at present.

B.—Debate on the Expedition.

Source.Diary of Lord Colchester, 1861. Vol. ii., p. 243.

[March] 30th.—House of Commons. Resumed Walcheren debate. At four in the morning divided four times.

I. To censure the policy, 227; against it, 275.

II. To justify it, 272; against it, 232.

III. To censure the retention, 224; against the censure, 275.

IV. To excuse the delay in evacuating it, 253; against that, 232.

Adjourned after seven o’clock.

The second division, the largest in this Parliament except that of June 1807, upon the address of the change of Ministry.

N.B.—It was the general opinion that the only resolution upon this business which was indisputably untrue was the unanimous vote that the failure was not imputable to any misconduct of the officers by sea or land.

My own opinion certainly was contrary to any such resolution. For, first, it was in evidence that the wind and weather did not prevent Lord Huntley from landing in Cadsand, in good time to have destroyed the batteries of Breskens, and opened a passage for the fleet up the Wieling Channel, clear of Flushing. And, secondly, there was no evidence to prove{65} that the whole fleet might not have gone up that channel with Lord Gardner’s squadron, instead of going originally into the Stonediep: the further deviation into the Roompot, which ruined the whole prospect of getting to Antwerp up the West Scheldt, was probably inevitable after the fleet had once missed their entrance by Cadsand and the Wieling Channel.

It suited the Opposition to exculpate the land and naval service, because then the failure (by their reasoning) exclusively followed from the plan, and the plan only. It also suited the Ministers, partly because they had advised the King to tell the City of London that there was no ground for military inquiry (they then not knowing of Lord Chatham’s narrative); and partly from a proper desire to avoid throwing blame upon those who served under them by their own appointment.

Source.Selections from the Wellington Despatches. Gurwood. P. 409.

I. To the Right Hon. H. Wellesley.

2nd Dec., 1810.

I am afraid that the Spaniards will bring us all to shame yet. It is scandalous that in the third year of their war, and having been more than a year in a state of tranquillity, and having sustained no loss of importance since the battle of Ocaña, they should now be depending for the safety of Cadiz, the seat of their Government, upon having one or two more or less British regiments; and that after having been shut in for 10 months, they have not prepared the works necessary for their defence, notwithstanding the repeated remonstrances of General Graham and the British officers on the danger of omitting them. The Cortes appear to suffer under the national disease in as great a degree as the other authorities, that is, boasting of the strength and power of the Spanish{66} nation, till they are seriously convinced they are in no danger, and then sitting down quietly and indulging their national indolence.

II. To the Right Hon. H. Wellesley.

16th Dec., 1810.

I have had some difficulties lately with the Spanish muleteers attached to the British army, in consequence of the general requisition which is said to be made of all individuals of the military ages for the army.

I doubt very much whether this requisition is or can be enforced; and I believe that the magistrates in the different districts are very glad to show the activity and steadiness with which they execute the law, by calling for these people who they know will quit with reluctance the lucrative business in which they are engaged, to serve as soldiers. However, I cannot encourage them to stay away when they are called for; and I very much apprehend that the army will be reduced to the greatest distress if they should leave us, notwithstanding the pains which I have taken, and the expense which I have incurred, to have it equipped as it ought to be with the means of transport.

It appears to me that the production of a certificate from me, or Colonel Alava, or Colonel O’Lawlor, that a man is employed as a muleteer with the British army, might exempt him from service as a soldier, without any great violation of principle or any inconvenience. I do not believe that the whole number of persons of this description exceeds 500; and of these many cannot be of the military ages.

I hope some arrangement will be adopted upon this subject; and I can only say that if something is not done, and I am to be deprived of all those persons of this description who have until now been attached to this army, I shall be entirely crippled, and it will be a question whether we ought not to quit the Peninsula entirely. I doubt that even here we could exist one day without their assistance.{67}

III. To the Earl of Liverpool.

21st Dec., 1810.

I did not know what to say about the reduction of the number of our transports in the Tagus: I have no apprehension that we shall be obliged to embark, and no idea that the enemy will for a length of time be in a situation to oblige us to think of such an operation; but I cannot, as an Officer, be so certain of the course of events as to tell you that the transports may be withdrawn.

It may be necessary to request your attention for a few moments to explain our situation in reference to that of the enemy, and the general state of affairs in the Peninsula as affecting this question. I have no doubt that the enemy is not, and does not consider himself, able to force the position of the allies in this country. Indeed, I believe I have the means of beating the force now opposed to me, in their own position, of course with the sacrifice of a certain loss of men.

I think that the paper published in the Moniteur of the 23rd November shows that our position in front of Lisbon is considered so strong, that it ought not to be attacked in front; and, from the perusal of that paper, I am of opinion that the enemy will endeavour to maintain a position in this country with the troops now in it, probably reinforced by some of those now on the frontier, and will endeavour to dislodge us by occupying the countries north of the Douro and south of the Tagus, and thus distress us for supplies. The accomplishment of this plan will require an enormous force and some length of time; but when I recollect that in the last year the whole of the north of Spain, and of Old Castille, were abandoned by the enemy, even before the battle of Talavera, I cannot doubt that they will abandon those countries likewise upon the existing emergency, which will give them a part of the force they require.

I am also certain that, if the British army should not be obliged to evacuate Portugal, the French army must withdraw{68} from Andalusia. I think it not improbable, therefore, that a large part of it, if not the whole of the French army in Andalusia, will be introduced into the southern parts of this kingdom.

I do not despair of holding my ground against this accumulation of force, and I have taken measures to prevent the only inconvenience which it can produce, viz., a deficiency of supplies. But as these troops are all within a few marches of me, and an order from Paris would not only put them in motion, but they could be in this country almost before the transports could arrive in England, I cannot think it advisable, in the existing situation of affairs, to send them out of my reach.

The question whether I should attack the enemy in the position which he now occupies has been well considered by me. I have a superior army, I think, by 10,000 men, or one sixth, including the Spaniards; and, notwithstanding some defects in its composition, I think I should succeed. But the loss must necessarily be very great in killed and wounded; and the necessity which would exist of exposing the troops to the weather for some days and nights would throw a great proportion of this convalescent army into the hospital. Then what is to be gained in this action, in which failure would be the loss of the whole cause? Nothing at present that I know of, excepting to relieve the northern provinces and Andalusia from the presence of the enemy; which relief it is probable that the course of events will bring about, without the risk and loss of an action.

But there is another view of this question, which is a very serious one, and has made much impression upon my mind. If the northern provinces of Spain and Andalusia should be relieved from the pressure and presence of the enemy by the course of events, or by exertions in Portugal, what will the cause gain by this relief? In the last year I cannot forget that I brought upon myself and General Cuesta not less than 5 corps d’armée, and the King’s guards and reserve, more than equal to a 6th corps; and that when the whole of Castille and the north of Spain was cleared of the enemy, not a man{69} was put in the field by those provinces, nor even one raised!

In this year I have had 3 corps d’armée, the most numerous and efficient in Spain, upon my hands for 8 months. The kingdom of Galicia has been entirely free from the enemy, and Castille partially relieved. The Spanish army in Galicia have made no movement whatever, as General Mahy says, for want of great coats; but in fact, because they want pay, clothing, means of subsistence, transport, discipline, and every thing which can keep a body of men together in an operation. In Castille nothing has been done, excepting that the guerrillas have been more daring and successful in their robberies.

The relief of Andalusia would, I fear, make no difference in the situation of affairs there. I do not think it quite certain that the enemy would be obliged to raise the siege of Cadiz, although it is probable that he would. But if the siege of Cadiz were not raised, the general cause would derive no advantage from the relief of Andalusia; and even if the raising the siege of Cadiz were the consequence of the relief of Andalusia, I doubt that there are means at Cadiz of putting into the field the troops now composing the garrison of that place, so as to render them a disposable force for the cause of their allies, or that any benefit would be derived from that event, excepting that it would place at the disposal of the allies the means which the enemy have collected for the siege of Cadiz, and retard, and probably prevent, the operation.

Your Lordship will probably deem this a melancholy picture of prospect, in the Peninsula, but you may rely upon its truth. This state of affairs in Spain is the result of some defects in the national character, aggravated by the false principles on which all the affairs of the country have been conducted since it attempted to shake off the yoke of France. The Spaniards have consequently no army; no means of raising one; no authority to discipline an army if they could raise one; no means to arm, equip, clothe, or feed anything which could be collected under that name. The war in the Peninsula,{70} therefore, as far as the Spaniards are concerned in it, cannot take a regular shape. It must be confined to the operations of the guerrillas, upon which the calculations are very different from those which would be made in respect to the operations of a more regular force.

If all this be true, our business is not to fight the French army, which we certainly cannot beat out of the Peninsula, but to give occupation to as large a portion of it as we can manage, and to leave the war in Spain to the guerrillas. As long as the French do not interfere with our supplies, or the resources of the Portuguese Government, or any point of our security, I think it very immaterial whether they are in Spain or Portugal. Indeed, adverting to the greater difficulties they have in subsisting in the latter country and in keeping up their communications, I believe it is more advantageous that they should be where they are. Their numbers are certainly diminishing daily, while they do us no mischief; on the contrary, we are nearer to our resources than ever we were, and they leave the whole of the north of Spain open to the operations of the guerrillas.

But if the army now in Portugal is to be assisted by other corps, operating north of the Douro and south of the Tagus, before I can have secured the supplies of provisions I require, I must then seek to dislodge them by more determined means than I have tried hitherto. These means, God knows, may fail; or I may be prevented from trying them by the weather, or by other circumstances over which I can have no control. In all these cases it would be terrible not to have transports at hand, and I cannot advise they should be sent away.

It is certainly astonishing that the enemy have been able to remain in this country so long; and it is an extraordinary instance of what a French army can do. It is positively a fact that they brought no provisions with them, and they have not received even a letter since they entered Portugal. With all our money, and having in our favour the good inclinations of the country, I assure you that I could not{71} maintain one division in the district in which they have maintained not less than 60,000 men and 20,000 animals for more than 2 months. This time last year I was obliged to move the British cavalry only from the district which they now occupy with their whole army, because it could not be subsisted. But they take everything, and leave the unfortunate inhabitants to starve.

Source.Diary of Lord Colchester, 1861. Vol. ii., p. 316.

[Feb.] 5th.—Perceval showed me the following letter which he had just received from the Prince of Wales:

Carlton House,
Feb. 4th, 1811.

The Prince of Wales[12] considers the moment to be arrived which calls for his decision with respect to the persons to be employed by him in the administration of the executive government of the country, according to the powers vested in him by the Bill passed by the two Houses of Parliament, and now on the point of receiving the sanction of the Great Seal.

The Prince feels it incumbent upon him at this precise juncture to communicate to Mr. Perceval his intention not to remove from their situations those whom he finds there as His Majesty’s official servants. At the same time the Prince owes it to the truth and sincerity of character, which, he trusts, will appear in every action of his life, in whatever situation he may be placed, explicitly to declare that the irresistible impulse of filial duty and affection to his beloved and afflicted father, leads him to dread that any act of the Regent might, in the smallest degree, have the effect of interfering with the progress of his sovereign’s recovery.

This consideration alone dictates the decision now communicated to Mr. Perceval.{72}

Having thus performed an act of indispensable duty, from a just sense of what is due to his own consistency and honour, the Prince has only to add that, among the many blessings to be derived from His Majesty’s restoration to health, and to the personal exercise of his royal functions, it will not, in the Prince’s estimation, be the least, that that most fortunate event will at once rescue him from a situation of unexampled embarrassment, and put an end to a state of affairs, ill calculated, he fears, to sustain the interests of the United Kingdom in this awful and perilous crisis; and most difficult to be reconciled to the general principles of the British Constitution.

Mr. Perceval’s Answer.

Downing Street,
Feb. 5th, 1811.

Mr. Perceval presents his humble duty to Your Royal Highness, and has the honour to acknowledge the receipt of Your Royal Highness’s letter of last night, which reached him this morning.

Mr. Perceval feels it his duty to express his humble thanks to Your Royal Highness for the frankness with which Your Royal Highness has condescended explicitly to communicate the motives which have induced Your Royal Highness to honour his colleagues and him with your commands for the continuance of their services in the stations entrusted to them by the King. And Mr. Perceval begs leave to assure Your Royal Highness that in the expression of Your Royal Highness’s sentiments of filial and loyal attachment to the King, and of anxiety for the restoration of His Majesty’s health, Mr. Perceval can see nothing but additional motives for their most anxious exertions to give satisfaction to Your Royal Highness, in the only manner in which it can be given, by endeavouring to promote Your Royal Highness’s views for the security and happiness of the country.

Mr. Perceval has never failed to regret the impression of Your Royal Highness with regard to the provisions of the Regency Bill which His Majesty’s servants felt it to be their{73} duty to recommend to Parliament. But he ventures to submit to Your Royal Highness that, whatever difficulties the present awful crisis of the country and the world may create in the administration of the executive government, Your Royal Highness will not find them in any degree increased by the temporary suspension of the exercise of those branches of the Royal prerogative which has been introduced by Parliament, in conformity to what was intended on a former similar occasion. And that whatever Ministers Your Royal Highness might think proper to employ, would find in that full support and countenance which, as long as they were honoured with Your Royal Highness’s commands, they would feel confident that they would continue to enjoy, ample and sufficient means to enable Your Royal Highness effectually to maintain the great and important interests of the United Kingdom.

And Mr. Perceval humbly trusts that, whatever doubts Your Royal Highness may entertain with respect to the constitutional propriety of the measures which have been adopted, Your Royal Highness will feel assured that they could not have been recommended by His Majesty’s servants, nor sanctioned by Parliament, but upon the sincere, though possibly erroneous conviction, that they in no degree trenched upon the true principles and spirit of the Constitution.

Mr. Perceval feels it his duty to add that he holds himself in readiness at any moment to wait upon Your Royal Highness, and to receive any commands with which Your Royal Highness may be graciously pleased to honour him.

Source.Diary of Lord Colchester, 1861. Vol. ii., p. 336.

[June] 19th.—Went to the fête at Carlton House. By previous inquiry I managed both going and coming without the smallest difficulty; I drove up Warwick Street to within a few paces of the small gate at which the chairs come out, and by walking that length I was in the house in a few moments. I went in at ten minutes past nine, and came{74} away by the same road at about twenty minutes past four in the morning.

At the top of the hall steps I found Colonel Palmer and other aides-de-camp, waiting to receive the company. They took my ticket, and Lord Moira, who was close by, told me in which way I could best see the apartments before the company filled them; and he would have gone with me, but was in waiting at the head of the first steps to receive the royal family of France.

The great rooms lie all on the right side of the building; the smaller apartments on the left; and in them the Prince waited to receive the King of France, etc.

About ten they arrived; and the Prince, after seating the King of France in one of the small rooms, hung with fleur de lys furniture; and paying his compliments to him as King, released his French Majesty from all further ceremony, and conducted him as a private person with the rest of the French court, through the different apartments. Having done this once he left them to themselves, and for the rest of the evening walked about alone, in every direction, and into every room.

He passed me several times; and I think once made a slight acknowledgment of me by look. At other periods during the evening I had long and marked conversations with the Duke of York and Duke of Cumberland; also with the Duke of Clarence and Duke of Gloucester.

The Duchess of York and Princess Sophia of Gloucester also recognized and talked to me.

Lord Yarmouth, upon finding that I had no ticket for supping at the Regent’s table, gave me one, as a person who ought to be of that party (viz. one of that 200), from which, however, many of the highest rank were excluded.

At a quarter to two the card marked that we were to assemble in the gilt room; and so did 500 other persons who had nothing to do with the Regent’s party. This was the only thing ill managed, for with this enormous crowd, and waiting there one hour before the doors were opened to go down to supper, everybody was heartily tired; and the King{75} of France, who (as Lord St. Helens says all kings do) must have been heartily tired of swinging from one foot to the other.

At length the doors opened, four aides-de-camp stood inside, and as soon as the Prince had handed down the Duchess d’Angoulême, and the King of France handed the Duchess of York, Monsieur with Princess Sophia of Gloucester, &c., all other persons were stopped at the door who did not present their tickets.

Luckily for me, during the hour of waiting, I found myself close to Lord Chichester; and upon communication we found ourselves ticketed, and without any lady attached to either, so we agreed to make common cause. Lady Chichester not being in a state of bustle, had by the Prince’s gracious permission, seen all the preparations in the morning.

Upon descending into the conservatory, Perceval, Lord Chichester, and myself, after some difficulty of finding places, separated, and it ended in my going with Lord Chichester to the vacant end of the Prince’s long table, which could not be less than 200 feet long. My children would have been amused with the river of water and the little gudgeons swimming about in the whole length of this table; and all the grown children were equally delighted.

Tierney said to me in the course of the evening that he had previously seen and admired the whole spectacle, except that Sadler’s Wells business of the rivulet and the swimming fishes.

Nevertheless it was oriental and fanciful, towards the Prince’s end particularly; for in that part the table widened, and the water also, and fell by a succession of cascades into a circular lake surrounded with architectural decorations, and small vases, burning perfumes, which stood under the arches of the colonnade round the lake.

Behind the Prince’s end of the table there was a magnificent sideboard of gilt plate three stories high.

A band in the garden, not seen by the company, played the whole time.

After the supper was well ended, and before the company rose to go upstairs, there was a grand crowd from the supper{76} room beyond the brass railing, of fine ladies and gentlemen, who came to lean against and look over the railing at our superior lot, and to endeavour at descrying the gudgeons in our river. “There, I see them;” “Look, look;” “Don’t you?” &c., by all the Misses and company, old and young, not to mention Lady Mansfield, Lady Buckingham’s niece, old Mr. Hastings, and many other souls old and young, whose eager and ridiculous curiosity was very entertaining.

At length the royals all rose and went upstairs; Lord Chichester had undertaken to pilot me all round the rest of the supper apartments; Lady Chatham and a young lady of her family were tacked on to us, and so we proceeded.

A few minutes so completely filled the conservatory in which the Prince’s table was placed, that before we got fairly round, the crowd and pressing was beyond anything I ever saw or felt; until, not without an intolerable cram and jam, we made our way with one tide which bore down another tide, and thus we saw the other six rooms all in continuation of the same line as the conservatory. The furthest room was seven or eight steps higher than the rest, and commanded a long but indistinct view of tables and tables not less than 500 feet in distance.

Besides these rooms there was supper under tents in the gardens. Certainly, the supply, waiting, and arrangements seemed to be admirable. No delays in arrivals, no difficulties, no accidents.

Source.—Byron’s Works, 1898. Letters and Journals. Vol. ii., p. 424.

Debate on the Framework Bill, in the House of Lords, February 27, 1812.

The order of the day for the second reading of this Bill being read,

Lord Byron rose, and (for the first time) addressed their Lordships as follows:—{77}

My Lords,—The subject now submitted to your Lordships for the first time, though new to the House, is by no means new to the country. I believe it had occupied the serious thoughts of all descriptions of persons, long before its introduction to the notice of that legislature, whose interference alone could be of real service. As a person in some degree connected with the suffering county, though a stranger not only to this House in general, but to almost every individual whose attention I presume to solicit, I must claim some portion of your Lordships’ indulgence, whilst I offer a few observations on a question in which I confess myself deeply interested.

To enter into any detail of the riots would be superfluous: the House is already aware that every outrage short of actual bloodshed has been perpetrated, and that the proprietors of the frames obnoxious to the rioters, and all persons supposed to be connected with them, have been liable to insult and violence. During the short time I recently passed in Nottinghamshire, not twelve hours elapsed without some fresh act of violence; and on the day I left the county I was informed that forty frames had been broken the preceding evening, as usual, without resistance and without detection.

Such was then the state of that county, and such I have reason to believe it to be at this moment. But whilst these outrages must be admitted to exist to an alarming extent, it cannot be denied that they have arisen from circumstances of the most unparalleled distress: the perseverance of these miserable men in their proceedings tends to prove that nothing but absolute want could have driven a large, and once honest and industrious, body of the people, into the commission of excesses, so hazardous to themselves, their families, and the community. At the time to which I allude, the town and county were burdened with large detachments of the military; the police were in motion, the magistrates assembled; yet all the movements, civil and military, had led to—nothing. Not a single instance had occurred of the apprehension of any real delinquent actually taken in the fact, against whom{78} there existed legal evidence sufficient for conviction. But the police, however useless, were by no means idle: several notorious delinquents had been detected,—men, liable to conviction, on the clearest evidence, of the capital crime of poverty; men, who had been nefariously guilty of lawfully begetting several children, whom, thanks to the times! they are unable to maintain. Considerable injury has been done to the proprietors of the improved frames. These machines were to them an advantage, inasmuch as they superseded the necessity of employing a number of workmen, who were left in consequence to starve. By the adoption of one species of frame in particular, one man performed the work of many, and the superfluous labourers were thrown out of employment. Yet it is to be observed, that the work thus executed was inferior in quality; not marketable at home, and merely hurried over with a view of exportation. It was called, in the cant of the trade, by the name of “Spider-work.” The rejected workmen, in the blindness of their ignorance, instead of rejoicing at these improvements in arts so beneficial to mankind, conceived themselves to be sacrificed to improvements in mechanism. In the foolishness of their hearts they imagined that the maintenance and well-doing of the industrious poor were objects of greater consequence than the enrichment of a few individuals by any improvement, in the implements of trade, which threw the workmen out of employment, and rendered the labourer unworthy of his hire. And it must be confessed that although the adoption of the enlarged machinery in that state of our commerce which the country once boasted might have been beneficial to the master without being detrimental to the servant; yet, in the present situation of our manufactures, rotting in warehouses, without a prospect of exportation, with the demand for work and workmen equally diminished, frames of this description tend materially to aggravate the distress and discontent of the disappointed sufferers. But the real cause of these distresses and consequent disturbances lies deeper. When we are told that these men are leagued together not only for the destruction{79} of their own comfort, but of their very means of subsistence, can we forget that it is the bitter policy, the destructive warfare of the last eighteen years, which has destroyed their comfort, your comfort, all men’s comfort? that policy, which, originating with “great statesmen now no more,” has survived the dead to become a curse on the living, unto the third and fourth generation! These men never destroyed their looms till they were become useless, worse than useless; till they were become actual impediments to their exertions in obtaining their daily bread. Can you, then, wonder that in times like these, when bankruptcy, convicted fraud, and imputed felony are found in a station not far beneath that of your Lordships, the lowest, though once most useful portion of the people, should forget their duty in their distresses, and become only less guilty than one of their representatives? But while the exalted offender can find means to baffle the law, new capital punishments must be devised, new snares of death must be spread for the wretched mechanic, who is famished into guilt. These men were willing to dig, but the spade was in other hands: they were not ashamed to beg, but there was none to relieve them: their own means of subsistence were cut off, all other employments preoccupied; and their excesses, however to be deplored and condemned, can hardly be subject of surprise.

BADAJOZ (1812).
Source.Selections from the Wellington Despatches. Gurwood. P. 581.

To the Earl of Liverpool.

7th April, 1812.

My dispatch of the 3rd instant will have apprised your Lordship of the state of the operations against Badajoz to that date; which were brought to a close on the night of the 6th, by the capture of the place by storm.

The fire continued during the 4th and 5th against the face{80} of the bastion of La Trinidad, and the flank of the bastion of Sta Maria; and on the 4th, in the morning, we opened another battery of 6 guns in the second parallel against the shoulder of the ravelin of San Roque, and the wall in its gorge.

Practicable breaches were effected in the bastions above mentioned on the evening of the 5th; but as I had observed that the enemy had entrenched the bastion of La Trinidad, and the most formidable preparations were making for the defence, as well of the breach in that bastion as of that in the bastion of Sta Maria, I determined to delay the attack for another day, and to turn all the guns in the batteries in the second parallel on the curtain of La Trinidad; in hopes that by effecting a third breach, the troops would be enabled to turn the enemy’s works for the defence of the other two; the attack of which would besides be connected by the troops destined to attack the breach in the curtain. This breach was effected in the evening of the 6th, and the fire of the face of the bastion of Sta Maria and of the flank of the bastion of La Trinidad being overcome, I determined to attack the place that night.

I had kept in reserve in the neighbourhood of this camp, the 5th division under Lieut.-General Leith, which had left Castille only in the middle of March, and had but lately arrived in this part of the country; and I brought them up on that evening. The plan for the attack was that Lieut.-General Picton should attack the castle of Badajoz by escalade with the 3rd division; and a detachment from the guard in the trenches furnished that evening by the 4th division, under Major Wilson of the 48th regt., should attack the ravelin of San Roque upon his left, while the 4th division under Major-General the Hon. C. Colville, and the Light division under Lieut.-Colonel Barnard, should attack the breaches in the bastions of La Trinidad and Sta Maria, and in the curtain by which they are connected. The 5th division were to occupy the ground which the 4th and Light divisions had occupied during the siege; and Lieut.-General Leith was to make a false attack upon the outwork called the Pardaleras; and{81} another on the works of the fort towards the Guadiana, with the left brigade of the division under Major-General Walker, which he was to turn into a real attack, if circumstances should prove favourable; and Brig.-General Power, who invested the place with his Portuguese brigade on the right of the Guadiana, was directed to make false attacks on the tête-de-pont, the Fort San Christoval, and the new redoubt called Mon Cœur.

The attack was accordingly made at 10 at night; Lieut.-General Picton preceding by a few minutes the attack by the remainder of the troops. Major-General Kempt led this attack, which went out from the right of the first parallel. He was unfortunately wounded in crossing the river Rivillas below the inundation; but notwithstanding this circumstance, and the obstinate resistance of the enemy, the castle was carried by escalade, and the 3rd division established in it at about half-past 11. While this was going on, Major Wilson of the 48th carried the ravelin of San Roque by the gorge, with a detachment of 200 men of the guard in the trenches; and with the assistance of Major Squire, of the engineers, established himself within that work.

The 4th and Light divisions moved to the attack from the camp along the left of the river Rivillas, and of the inundation. They were not perceived by the enemy, till they reached the covered-way; and the advanced guards of the 2 divisions descended without difficulty into the ditch, protected by the fire of the parties stationed on the glacis for that purpose; and they advanced to the assault of the breaches led by their gallant officers, with the utmost intrepidity. But such was the nature of the obstacles prepared by the enemy at the top and behind the breaches, and so determined their resistance, that our troops could not establish themselves within the place. Many brave officers and soldiers were killed or wounded by explosions at the top of the breaches; others who succeeded to them were obliged to give way, having found it impossible to penetrate the obstacles which the enemy had prepared to impede their progress. These attempts were repeated till{82} after 12 at night; when, finding that success was not to be attained, and that Lieut.-General Picton was established in the castle, I ordered that the 4th and Light divisions might retire to the ground on which they had been first assembled for the attack.

In the mean time, Lieut.-General Leith had pushed forward Major-General Walker’s brigade on the left, supported by the 38th regt. under Lieut.-Colonel Nugent, and the 15th Portuguese regt. under Colonel Do Rego, and he had made a false attack upon the Pardaleras with the 8th caçadores under Major Hill. Major-General Walker forced the barrier on the road of Olivença, and entered the covered way on the left of the bastion of San Vicente, close to the Guadiana. He there descended into the ditch, and escaladed the face of the bastion of San Vicente. Lieutenant-General Leith supported this attack by the 38th regt. and 15th Portuguese regt.; and our troops being thus established in the castle, which commands all the works of the town, and in the town; and the 4th and Light divisions being formed again for the attack of the breaches, all resistance ceased; and at daylight in the morning, the Governor, General Philippon, who had retired to Fort San Christoval, surrendered, together with General Vieland, and all the Staff, and the whole garrison. I have not got accurate returns of the strength of the garrison, or of the number of prisoners. But General Philippon has informed me that it consisted of 5,000 men at the commencement of the siege, of which 1,200 were killed or wounded during the operations; besides those lost in the assault of the place. There were 5 French battalions, besides 2 of the regiment of Hesse Darmstadt, and the artillery, engineers, &c.; and I understand there are 4,000 prisoners. It is impossible that any expressions of mine can convey to your Lordship the sense which I entertain of the gallantry of the officers and troops upon this occasion. The list of killed and wounded will show that the General officers, the Staff attached to them, the commanding and other officers of the regiments, put themselves at the heads of the attacks which they severally{83} directed, and set the example of gallantry which was so well followed by their men.

Marshal Sir W. Beresford assisted me in conducting the details of this siege; and I am much indebted to him for the cordial assistance which I received from him, as well during the progress, as in the last operation which brought it to a termination. The duties in the trenches were conducted successively by Major-General the Hon. C. Colville, Major-General Bowes, and Major-General Kempt, under the superintendence of Lieut.-General Picton. I have had occasion to mention all these officers during the course of the operations; and they all distinguished themselves, and were all wounded in the assault. I am particularly obliged to Lieut.-General Picton for the manner in which he arranged the attack of the castle; for that in which he supported the attack, and established his troops in that important post.

Lieut.-General Leith’s arrangements for the false attack upon the Pardaleras, and that under Major-General Walker, were likewise most judicious; and he availed himself of the circumstances of the moment, to push forward and support the attack under Major-General Walker, in a manner highly creditable to him. The gallantry and conduct of Major-General Walker, who was also wounded, and that of the officers and troops under his command, were conspicuous.

The arrangements made by Major-General the Hon. C. Colville for the attack by the 4th division were very judicious; and he led them to the attack in the most gallant manner. In consequence of the absence, on account of sickness, of Major-General Vandeleur, and of Colonel Beckwith, Lieut.-Colonel Barnard commanded the Light division in the assault, and distinguished himself not less by the manner in which he made the arrangements for that operation, than by his personal gallantry in its execution.

I have also to mention Brig.-General Harvey of the Portuguese service, commanding a brigade in the 4th division, and Brig.-General Champelmond, commanding the Portuguese brigade in the 3rd division, as highly distinguished. Brig.-General Harvey was wounded in the storm.{84}

Source.Diary of Lord Colchester, 1861. Vol. ii., p. 379.

[May] 11th.—The House of Commons being in Committee hearing evidence on the Orders in Council, at a few minutes after five, I was called down from my room into the House by a message that

Mr. Perceval was shot in the lobby.

As soon as I had taken the chair, the assassin, a bankrupt Liverpool merchant, John Bellingham, was forcibly brought to the bar. I detained him till a Magistrate was brought, who came almost instantly; and then the assassin was conducted to the prison room belonging to the Serjeant-at-Arms, where he was examined before Mr. White, a Westminster Justice; and Mr. Alderman Combe and Mr. Taylor, two Members who were also Justices, and thereupon committed to Newgate for murder.

Mr. Perceval’s body (for he fell lifeless after he had staggered a few paces into the lobby) was brought into my house, and remained in the first picture room till the family removed it (for privacy) at one o’clock in the morning to Downing Street.

12th.—I wrote to invite Ponsonby, Whitbread, Lord Castlereagh, Ryder, Canning, Master of the Rolls, Wilberforce, &c. &c., to meet here at three o’clock, and consult upon the proper course of recommending Perceval’s family to the protection of the Crown. There came also Elliott, Adair, Wellesley Pole, &c. &c.: and Lord Castlereagh stated the Regent’s intention to send a message on the subject; in answer to which Ponsonby, Whitbread, Canning, and Bankes fully and at length declared their unqualified assent. Finding Tierney not present, I wrote to him before I went into the House to excuse the omission, on the score of believing that through Ponsonby or Whitbread I should have seen him; and that the scenes and thoughts which for the preceding eighteen hours had surrounded me and occupied me must be my apology for this and, I feared, many other omissions.{85}

I found afterwards that he had taken the omission heinously ill; but on Wednesday when he came into the House he appeared to be quite appeased by my letter.

In the House of Commons, by common consent, no other business was done. Lord Castlereagh presented the Message, and moved the Address. In most faces there was an agony of tears; and neither Lord Castlereagh, Ponsonby, Whitbread, nor Canning could give a dry utterance to their sentiments.

The House resolved by common acclamation to present the Address “as a House,” and not by Privy Councillors.

All other business was put off for distant or nominal days.

13th.—House of Commons. Unanimous votes in Committee upon the Regent’s Message, to grant 50,000l. among the children, and 2,000l. a year to Mrs. Perceval for her life. A debate and division by which a further resolution was carried for 2,000l. a year to Mr. Perceval’s eldest son; but great ill-will towards this third proposition, which was moved by Mr. Sumner, and at first resisted by Ministers.

Source.—Moore’s Life of Sheridan, 1825. P. 677.

My objection to the present Ministry is, that they are avowedly arrayed and embodied against a principle,—that of concession to the Catholics of Ireland,—which I think, and must always think, essential to the safety of this empire. I will never give my vote to any administration that opposes the question of Catholic Emancipation. I will not consent to receive a furlough upon that particular question, even though a Ministry were carrying every other that I wished. In fine, I think the situation of Ireland a paramount consideration. If they were to be the last words I should ever utter in this House, I should say, “Be just to Ireland, as you value your own honour;—be just to Ireland, as you value your own peace.”

His very last words in Parliament, on his own motion relative to the Overtures of Peace from France, were as follows:{86}

“Yet, after the general subjugation and ruin of Europe, should there ever exist an independent historian to record the awful events that produced this universal calamity, let that historian have to say,—‘Great Britain fell, and with her fell all the best securities for the charities of human life, for the power and honour, the fame, the glory, and the liberties, not only of herself, but of the whole civilized world.’ ”

Source.Diary of Lord Colchester, 1861. Vol. ii., p. 440.

[March] 9th.—Sir Stapleton Cotton,[13] having on the 5th announced to me his arrival in London, I delivered to him the thanks of the House, in the following speech:

Lieutenant-General Sir Stapleton Cotton, in this interval between the active seasons of war, your proper sphere of duty is within these walls; and we hail with pride and pleasure your return among us, bringing with you fresh marks of royal[14] favour, the just reward of fresh services and triumphs.

Descended from a long line of ancestors, whose names are recorded in the earliest ages of our history, and characterized with those qualities of prudence, generosity, and valour, which have laid the foundations of English greatness, your race has exhibited many a model of that splendid worth which dignifies the gentlemen of England; always prompt to discharge the laborious duties of civil life, and never slow to take up arms at the call of their country. Such, in an eminent degree, was that venerated person from whom you have immediately derived your own hereditary honours, endeared by his active virtues to the public men of his own time, not unknown to some who still sit among us, and ever remembered by myself with the sincerest sentiments of respect and affection.

But, Sir, when the path of early life lay open to your choice,{87} the then warlike state of the world called forth a congenial spirit, and your military ardour led you to encounter the toils and dangers of war in distant climes. Trained in the same camps, and animated by the same love of glory as the great captain who now commands our armies, and fills the world with his renown, you have bravely followed his brilliant career, and shared in his unexampled triumphs. Renouncing the charms of ease, and the seat of your ancestors, you have gallantly gone forth to the tented fields of Portugal and Spain, and, having reaped the harvest of our thanks for your achievements in the battle of Talavera, you now stand before us crowned with the never-fading laurels of Salamanca; your squadrons upon that memorable day, overthrowing the enemy’s embattled ranks, laid open the road to victory; and the work which your gallantry had commenced, your triumphant perseverance completed.

These heroic exploits have again entitled you to the public gratitude; and I do now, in the name and by the command of the Commons of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled, deliver to you their unanimous thanks for your distinguished exertions in the battle of Salamanca, on the 22nd of July last, which terminated in a glorious and decisive victory over the enemy’s army.[15]

VITTORIA (1813).
Source.Selections from the Wellington Despatches. Gurwood. P. 700.

To Earl Bathurst.

22nd June, 1813.

The enemy, commanded by King Joseph, having Marshal Jourdan as the Major-General of the army, took up a position, on the night of the 19th inst., in front of Vitoria; the left of{88} which rested upon the heights which end at La Puebla de Arganzon, and extended from thence across the valley of the Zadorra, in front of the village of Ariñez. They occupied with the right of the centre a height which commanded the valley to the Zadorra. The right of their army was stationed near Vitoria, and was destined to defend the passages of the river Zadorra, in the neighbourhood of that city. They had a reserve in rear of their left, at the village of Gomecha. The nature of the country through which the army had passed since it had reached the Ebro had necessarily extended our columns, and we halted on the 20th, in order to close them up, and moved the left to Murguia, where it was most likely it would be required. I reconnoitred the enemy’s position on that day, with a view to the attack to be made on the following morning, if they should still remain in it. We accordingly attacked the enemy yesterday, and I am happy to inform your Lordship, that the Allied army under my command gained a complete victory, having driven them from all their positions; having taken from them 151 pieces of cannon, waggons of ammunition, all their baggage, provisions, cattle, treasure, &c., and a considerable number of prisoners.

The operations of the day commenced by Lieut.-General Sir R. Hill obtaining possession of the heights of La Puebla, on which the enemy’s left rested, which heights they had not occupied in great strength. He detached for this service one brigade of the Spanish division under General Morillo; the other brigade being employed in keeping the communication between his main body on the high road from Miranda to Vitoria, and the troops detached to the heights. The enemy, however, soon discovered the importance of these heights, and reinforced their troops there to such an extent, that Lieut.-General Sir R. Hill was obliged to detach, first, the 71st regt. and the light infantry battalion of General Walker’s brigade, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel the Hon. H. Cadogan, and successively other troops to the same point; and the Allies not only gained, but maintained possession of these{89} important heights throughout their operations, notwithstanding all the efforts of the enemy to retake them.

The contest here was, however, very severe, and the loss sustained considerable. General Morillo was wounded, but remained in the field; and I am concerned to have to report that Lieut.-Colonel the Hon. H. Cadogan has died of a wound which he received. In him His Majesty has lost an officer of great merit and tried gallantry, who had already acquired the respect and regard of the whole profession, and of whom it might have been expected that, if he had lived, he would have rendered the most important services to his country. Under cover of the possession of these heights, Sir R. Hill successively passed the Zadorra, at La Puebla, and the defile formed by the heights and the river Zadorra, and attacked and gained possession of the village of Subijana de Alava, in front of the enemy’s line, which the enemy made repeated attempts to regain.

The difficult nature of the country prevented the communication between our different columns moving to the attack from their stations on the river Bayas at as early an hour as I had expected; and it was late before I knew that the column, composed of the 3rd and 7th divisions, under the command of the Earl of Dalhousie, had arrived at the station appointed for them. The 4th and Light divisions, however, passed the Zadorra immediately after Sir R. Hill had possession of Subijana de Alava; the former at the bridge of Manclares, and the latter at the bridge of Tres-puentes; and almost as soon as these had crossed, the column under the Earl of Dalhousie arrived at Mendoza; and the 3rd division, under Lieut.-General Sir T. Picton, crossed at the bridge higher up, followed by the 7th division, under the Earl of Dalhousie. These 4 divisions, forming the centre of the army, were destined to attack the height on which the right of the enemy’s centre was placed, while Lieut.-General Sir R. Hill should move forward from Subijana de Alava to attack the left. The enemy, however, having weakened his line to strengthen his detachment on the hills, abandoned his position in the valley{90} as soon as he saw our disposition to attack it, and commenced his retreat in good order towards Vitoria.

Our troops continued to advance in admirable order, notwithstanding the difficulty of the ground. In the mean time, Lieut.-General Sir T. Graham, who commanded the left of the army, consisting of the 1st and 5th divisions, and General Pack’s and Bradford’s brigades of infantry, and General Bock’s and Anson’s of cavalry, and who had been moved on the 20th to Murguia, moved forward from thence on Vitoria, by the high road from that town to Bilbao. He had, besides, with him the Spanish division under Colonel Longa;[16] and General Giron, who had been detached to the left, under a different view of the state of affairs, and had afterwards been recalled, and had arrived on the 20th at Orduña, marched that morning from thence, so as to be in the field in readiness to support Lieut.-General Sir T. Graham, if his support had been required.

The enemy had a division of infantry with some cavalry advanced on the great road from Vitoria to Bilbao, resting their right on some strong heights covering the village of Gamarra Mayor. Both Gamarra and Abechuco were strongly occupied as têtes-de-pont and the bridges over the Zadorra at these places. Brig.-General Pack with his Portuguese brigade, and Colonel Longa with his Spanish division, were directed to turn and gain the heights, supported by Major-General Anson’s brigade of light dragoons, and the 5th division of infantry under the command of Major-General Oswald, who was desired to take the command of all these troops.

Lieut.-General Sir T. Graham reports, that in the execution of this service the Portuguese and Spanish troops behaved admirably. The 4th battalion of caçadores, and the 8th caçadores, particularly distinguished themselves. Colonel Longa being on the left, took possession of Gamarra Mayor.{91}

As soon as the heights were in our possession, the village of Gamarra Mayor was most gallantly stormed and carried by Major-General Robinson’s brigade of the 5th division, which advanced in columns of battalions, under a very heavy fire of artillery and musketry, without firing a shot, assisted by 2 guns of Major Lawson’s brigade of artillery. The enemy suffered severely, and lost 3 pieces of cannon.

The Lieut.-General then proceeded to attack the village of Abechuco with the 1st division, by forming a strong battery against it, consisting of Captain Dubourdieu’s brigade, and Captain Ramsay’s troop of horse artillery; and under cover of this fire, Colonel Halkett’s brigade advanced to the attack of the village, which was carried; the light battalions having charged and taken 3 guns and a howitzer on the bridge. This attack was supported by General Bradford’s brigade of Portuguese infantry. During the operation at Abechuco, the enemy made the greatest efforts to repossess themselves of the village of Gamarra Mayor, which were gallantly repulsed by the 5th division, under the command of Major-General Oswald. The enemy had, however, on the heights on the left of the Zadorra, 2 divisions of infantry in reserve; and it was impossible to cross by the bridge till the troops which had moved upon the enemy’s centre and left had driven them through Vitoria. The whole then co-operated in the pursuit, which was continued by all till after it was dark.

The movement of the troops under Lieut.-General Sir T. Graham, and their possession of Gamarra and Abechuco, intercepted the enemy’s retreat by the high road to France. They were then obliged to turn to the road towards Pamplona; but they were unable to hold any position for a sufficient length of time to allow their baggage and artillery to be drawn off. The whole, therefore, of the latter, which had not already been taken by the troops in their attack of the successive positions taken up by the enemy in their retreat from their first position at Ariñez and on the Zadorra, and all their ammunition and baggage, and everything they had, were taken close to Vitoria.{92} I have reason to believe that the enemy carried off with them one gun and one howitzer only.

The army under King Joseph consisted of the whole of the armies of the South, and of the Centre, and of 4 divisions and all the cavalry of the army of Portugal, and some troops of the army of the North. General Foy’s division of the army of Portugal was in the neighbourhood of Bilbao; and General Clausel, who commanded the army of the North, was near Logroño with one division of the army of Portugal commanded by General Taupin, and General Van-der-Maessen’s division of the army of the North. The 6th division of the allied army under Major-General the Hon. E. Pakenham was likewise absent, having been detained at Medina de Pomar for 3 days, to cover the march of our magazines and stores.

I cannot extol too highly the good conduct of all the General Officers, officers, and soldiers of the army in this action. Lieut.-General Sir R. Hill speaks highly of the conduct of General Morillo and the Spanish troops under his command, and that of Lieut.-General the Hon. W. Stewart, and the Conde de Amarante, who commanded divisions of infantry under his directions. He likewise mentions the conduct of Colonel the Hon. R. W. O’Callaghan, who maintained the village of Subijana de Alava against all the efforts of the enemy to regain possession of it, and that of Lieut.-Colonel Rooke of the Adjutant-General’s department, and Lieut.-Colonel the Hon. A. Abercrombie of the Quartermaster-General’s department. It was impossible for the movements of any troops to be conducted with more spirit and regularity than those of their respective divisions, by Lieut.-Generals the Earl of Dalhousie, Sir T. Picton, Sir L. Cole, and Major-General Baron C. Alten. The troops advanced in échelons of regiments in two, and occasionally three lines; and the Portuguese troops in the 3rd and 4th divisions, under the command of Brig.-General Power and Colonel Stubbs, led the march with steadiness and gallantry never surpassed on any occasion.

Major-General the Hon. C. Colville’s brigade of the 3rd{93} division was seriously attacked in its advance by a very superior force well formed, which it drove in, supported by General Inglis’ brigade of the 7th division, commanded by Colonel Grant of the 82nd. These officers and the troops under their command distinguished themselves.

Major-General Vandeleur’s brigade of the Light division was, during the advance upon Vitoria, detached to the support of the 7th division; and Lieut.-General the Earl of Dalhousie has reported most favourably of its conduct. Lieut.-General Sir T. Graham particularly reports his sense of the assistance he received from Colonel De Lancy, the Deputy Quartermaster-General, and from Lieut.-Colonel Gouverie, of the Adjutant-General’s department, and from the officers of his personal staff; and from Lieut.-Colonel the Hon. A. Upton, A.Q.M.G., and Major Hope, A.A.G., with the 1st division; and Major-General Oswald reports the same of Lieut.-Colonel Berkeley of the Adjutant-General’s department, and Lieut.-Colonel Gomm of the Quartermaster-General’s department.

I am particularly indebted to Lieut.-General Sir T. Graham, and to Lieut.-General Sir R. Hill, for the manner in which they have respectively conducted the service entrusted to them, since the commencement of the operations which have ended in the battle of the 21st; and for their conduct in that battle; as likewise to Marshal Sir W. Beresford, for the friendly advice and assistance which I have received from him upon all occasions during the late operations.

I must not omit to mention likewise the conduct of General Giron, who commands the Galician army, who made a forced march from Orduña, and was actually on the ground in readiness to support Lieut.-General Sir T. Graham.

I have frequently been indebted, and have had occasion to call the attention of your Lordship to the conduct of the Quartermaster-General, Sir G. Murray, who in the late operations, and in the battle of the 21st June, has again given the greatest assistance. I am likewise much indebted to Lord Aylmer, the Deputy Adjutant-General, and to the officers{94} of the departments of the Adjutant and Quartermaster-General respectively; and also to Lord FitzRoy Somerset, and Lieut.-Colonel Campbell, and those of my personal staff; and to Lieut.-Colonel Sir R. Fletcher, and the officers of the Royal Engineers.

Colonel H.S.H. the Hereditary Prince of Orange was in the field as my aide-de-camp, and conducted himself with his usual gallantry and intelligence.

Mariscal de Campo, Don L. Wimpffen, and the Inspector-General, Don T. O’Donoju, and the officers of the staff of the Spanish army, have invariably rendered me every assistance in their power in the course of these operations; and I avail myself of this opportunity of expressing my satisfaction with their conduct; as likewise with that of Mariscal de Campo, Don M. de Alava; and of the Brig.-General Don J. O’Lawlor, who have been so long and usefully employed with me.

The artillery was most judiciously placed by Lieut.-Colonel Dickson, and was well served; and the army is particularly indebted to that corps. The nature of the ground did not allow of the cavalry being generally engaged; but the General Officers, commanding the several brigades, kept the troops under their command respectively close to the infantry to support them, and they were most active in the pursuit of the enemy after they had been driven through Vitoria.

I send this dispatch by my aide-de-camp, Captain Fremantle, whom I beg leave to recommend to your Lordship’s protection. He will have the honour of laying at the feet of His Royal Highness the colours of the 4th batt. 100th regt., and Marshal Jourdan’s bâton of a Marshal of France, taken by the 87th regt.

I enclose a return of the killed and wounded in the late operations, and a return of the ordnance, carriages, and ammunition taken from the enemy in the action of the 21st inst.{95}


I.—April 8.

Source.—Byron’s Works, 1898. Letters and Journals. Vol. ii., p. 408.

April 8, [1814].

Out of town six days. On my return, found my poor little pagod, Napoleon, pushed off his pedestal;—the thieves are in Paris. It is his own fault. Like Milo, he would rend the oak; but it closed again, wedged his hands, and now the beasts—lion, bear, down to the dirtiest jackal—may all tear him. That Muscovite winter wedged his arms;—ever since, he has fought with his feet and teeth. The last may still leave their marks; and “I guess now” (as the Yankees say) that he will yet play them a pass. He is in their rear—between them and their homes. Query—will they ever reach them?

II.—April 9.

Saturday, April 9, 1814.

I mark this day!

Napoleon Buonaparte has abdicated the throne of the world. “Excellent well.” Methinks Sylla did better; for he revenged and resigned in the height of his sway, red with the slaughter of his foes—the finest instance of glorious contempt of the rascals upon record. Dioclesian did well too—Amurath not amiss, had he become aught except a dervise—Charles the Fifth but so so—but Napoleon, worst of all. What! wait till they were in his capital, and then talk of his readiness to give up what is already gone!! “What whining monk art thou—what holy cheat?” ’Sdeath!—Dionysius at Corinth was yet a king to this. The “Isle of Elba” to retire to!—Well—if it had been Caprea, I should have marvelled less. “I see men’s minds are but a parcel of their fortunes.” I am utterly bewildered and confounded.

I don’t know—but I think I, even I (an insect compared{96} with this creature), have set my life on casts not a millionth part of this man’s. But, after all, a crown may be not worth dying for. Yet, to outlive Lodi for this!!! Oh that Juvenal or Johnson could rise from the dead! Expende—quot libras in duce summo invenies? I knew they were light in the balance of mortality; but I thought their living dust weighed more carats. Alas! this imperial diamond hath a flaw in it, and is now hardly fit to stick in a glazier’s pencil:—the pen of the historian won’t rate it worth a ducat.

Psha! “something too much of this.” But I won’t give him up even now; though all his admirers have, like the thanes, “fallen from him.”

Source.Selections from the Wellington Despatches. Gurwood. P. 809.

To Earl Bathurst.

12th April, 1814.

I have the pleasure to inform your Lordship that I entered this town this morning, which the enemy evacuated during the night, retiring by the road of Carcassone.

The continued fall of rain and the state of the river prevented me from laying the bridge till the morning of the 8th, when the Spanish corps and the Portuguese artillery, under the immediate orders of Lieut.-General Don M. Freyre, and the headquarters, crossed the Garonne.

We immediately moved forward to the neighbourhood of the town; and the 18th hussars, under the immediate command of Colonel Vivian, had an opportunity of making a most gallant attack upon a superior body of the enemy’s cavalry, which they drove through the village of Croix d’Orade, and took about 100 prisoners, and gave us possession of an important bridge over the river Ers, by which it was necessary to pass, in order to attack the enemy’s position. Colonel{97} Vivian was unfortunately wounded upon this occasion; and I am afraid that I shall lose the benefit of his assistance for some time.

The town of Toulouse is surrounded on three sides by the canal of Languedoc and the Garonne. On the left of that river, the suburb, which the enemy had fortified with strong field works in front of the ancient wall, formed a good tête de pont. They had likewise formed a tête de pont at each bridge of the canal, which was besides defended by the fire in some places of musketry, and in all of artillery from the ancient wall of the town. Beyond the canal to the eastward, and between that and the river Ers, is a height which extends as far as Montaudran, and over which pass all the approaches to the canal and town to the eastward, which it defends; and the enemy, in addition to the têtes de pont on the bridges of the canal, had fortified this height with 5 redoubts, connected by lines of entrenchments, and had, with extraordinary diligence, made every preparation for defence. They had likewise broken all the bridges over the Ers within our reach, by which the right of their position could be approached. The roads, however, from the Arriège to Toulouse being impracticable for cavalry or artillery, and nearly so for infantry, as reported in my dispatch to your Lordship of the 1st instant, I had no alternative, excepting to attack the enemy in this formidable position.

It was necessary to move the pontoon bridge higher up the Garonne, in order to shorten the communication with Lieut.-General Sir R. Hill’s corps, as soon as the Spanish corps had passed; and this operation was not effected till so late an hour on the 9th as to induce me to defer the attack till the following morning.

The plan, according to which I determined to attack the enemy, was for Marshal Sir W. Beresford, who was on the right of the Ers with the 4th and 6th divisions, to cross that river at the bridge of Croix d’Orade, to gain possession of Montblanc, and to march up the left of the Ers to turn the enemy’s right, while Lieut.-General Don M. Freyre, with the{98} Spanish corps under his command, supported by the British cavalry, should attack the front. Lieut.-General Sir S. Cotton was to follow the Marshal’s movement with Major-General Lord E. Somerset’s brigade of hussars; and Colonel Vivian’s brigade, under the command of Colonel Arentschildt, was to observe the movements of the enemy’s cavalry on both banks of the Ers beyond our left. The 3rd and Light divisions, under the command of Lieut.-General Sir T. Picton and Major-General C. Baron Alten, and the brigade of German cavalry, were to observe the enemy on the lower part of the canal, and to draw their attention to that quarter by threatening the têtes de pont, while Lieut.-General Sir R. Hill was to do the same on the suburb on the left of the Garonne.

Marshal Sir W. Beresford crossed the Ers, and formed his corps in 3 columns of lines in the village of Croix d’Orade, the 4th division leading, with which he immediately carried Montblanc. He then moved up the Ers in the same order, over most difficult ground, in a direction parallel to the enemy’s fortified position; and as soon as he reached the point at which he turned it, he formed his lines and moved to the attack. During these operations, Lieut.-General Don M. Freyre moved along the left of the Ers to the front of Croix d’Orade, where he formed his corps in 2 lines with a reserve on a height in front of the left of the enemy’s position, on which height the Portuguese artillery was placed; and Major-General Ponsonby’s brigade of cavalry in reserve in the rear.

As soon as formed, and that it was seen that Marshal Sir W. Beresford was ready, Lieut.-General Don M. Freyre moved forward to the attack. The troops marched in good order, under a very heavy fire of musketry and artillery, and showed great spirit, the General and all his Staff being at their head; and the 2 lines were soon lodged under some banks immediately under the enemy’s entrenchments; the reserve and Portuguese artillery, and British cavalry, continuing on the height on which the troops had first formed. The enemy, however, repulsed the movement of the right of General Freyre’s line{99} round their left flank; and having followed up their success, and turned our right by both sides of the high road leading from Toulouse to Croix d’Orade, they soon compelled the whole corps to retire. It gave me great satisfaction to see that, although they suffered considerably in retiring, the troops rallied again as soon as the Light division, which was immediately on their right, moved up; and I cannot sufficiently applaud the exertions of Lieut.-General Don M. Freyre, the officers of the Staff of the 4th Spanish army, and of the officers of the General Staff, to rally and form them again.

Lieut.-General Mendizabal, who was in the field as a volunteer, General Ezpeleta, and several officers and chiefs of corps, were wounded upon this occasion; but General Mendizabal continued in the field. The regiment de Tiradores de Cantabria, under the command of Colonel Leon de Sicilia, kept its position, under the enemy’s entrenchments, until I ordered it to retire.

In the meantime, Marshal Sir W. Beresford, with the 4th division, under the command of Lieut.-General Sir L. Cole, and the 6th division, under the command of Lieut.-General Sir H. Clinton, attacked and carried the heights on the enemy’s right, and the redoubt which covered and protected that flank; and he lodged those troops on the same height with the enemy; who were, however, still in possession of 4 redoubts, and of the entrenchments and fortified houses.

The badness of the roads had induced the Marshal to leave his artillery in the village of Montblanc; and some time elapsed before it could be brought to him, and before Lieut.-General Don M. Freyre’s corps could be re-formed and brought back to the attack. As soon as this was effected, the Marshal continued his movement along the ridge, and carried, with General Pack’s brigade of the 6th division, the two principal redoubts and fortified houses in the enemy’s centre. The enemy made a desperate effort from the canal to regain these redoubts, but they were repulsed with considerable loss; and the 6th division continuing its movements along the ridge of the height, and the Spanish troops continuing a corresponding{100} movement upon the front, the enemy were driven from the two redoubts and entrenchments on the left; and the whole range of heights were in our possession. We did not gain this advantage, however, without severe loss; particularly in the brave 6th division. Lieut.-Colonel Coghlan of the 61st, an officer of great merit and promise, was unfortunately killed in the attack of the heights. Major-General Pack was wounded, but was enabled to remain in the field; and Colonel Douglas, of the 8th Portuguese regt., lost his leg; and I am afraid that I shall be deprived for a considerable time of his assistance.

The 36th, 42nd, 79th, and 61st, lost considerable numbers, and were highly distinguished throughout the day.

I cannot sufficiently applaud the ability and conduct of Marshal Sir W. Beresford throughout the operations of the day; nor that of Lieut.-Generals Sir L. Cole, Sir H. Clinton, Major-Generals Pack and Lambert, and the troops under their command. Marshal Sir W. Beresford particularly reports the good conduct of Brig.-General d’Urban, the Quartermaster-General, and General Brito Mozinho, the Adjutant-General to the Portuguese army.

The 4th division, although exposed on their march along the enemy’s front to a galling fire, were not so much engaged as the 6th, and did not suffer so much; but they conducted themselves with their usual gallantry.

I had also every reason to be satisfied with the conduct of Lieut.-General Don M. Freyre, Lieut.-General Don G. Mendizabal, Marisco de Campo, Don P. Barcenas, Brig. Don J. de Ezpeleta, Mariscal de Campo Don A. Garcas de Marcilla, and the Chief of the Staff, Don E. S. Salvador, and the officers of the Staff of the 4th army. The officers and troops conducted themselves well in all the attacks which they made subsequent to their being re-formed.

The ground not having admitted of the operations of the cavalry, they had no opportunity of charging.

While the operations above detailed were going on, on the left of the army, Lieut.-General Sir R. Hill drove the enemy{101} from their exterior works in the suburb, on the left of the Garonne, within the ancient wall. Lieut.-General Sir T. Picton likewise, with the 3rd division, drove the enemy within the tête de pont on the bridge of the canal nearest to the Garonne; but the troops having made an effort to carry it they were repulsed, and some loss was sustained. Major-General Brisbane was wounded; but I hope not so as to deprive me for any length of time of his assistance; and Lieut.-Colonel Forbes, of the 45th, an officer of great merit, was killed.

The army being thus established on 3 sides of Toulouse, I immediately detached our light cavalry to cut off the communication by the only road practicable for carriages which remained to the enemy, till I should be enabled to make arrangements to establish the troops between the canal and the Garonne.

The enemy, however, retired last night, leaving in our hands General Harispe, General Baurot, General St. Hilaire and 1,600 prisoners. One piece of cannon was taken on the field of battle; and others, and large quantities of stores of all descriptions, in the town.

Since I sent my last report, I have received an account from Rear-Admiral Penrose of the successes in the Gironde of the boats of the squadron under his command.

Lieut.-General the Earl of Dalhousie crossed the Garonne nearly about the time that Admiral Penrose entered the river, and pushed the enemy’s parties under General Lhuillier beyond the Dordogne. He then crossed the Dordogne on the 4th, near St. André de Cubzac, with a detachment of the troops under his command, with a view to the attack of the fort of Blaye. His Lordship found General Lhuillier and General Desbareaux posted near Etauliers, and made his disposition to attack them, when they retired, leaving about 300 prisoners in his hands. I enclose the Earl of Dalhousie’s report of this affair.

In the operations which I have now reported, I have had every reason to be satisfied with the assistance I received{102} from the Quartermaster and Adjutant-General, and the officers of those departments respectively; from Mariscal de Campo Don L. Wimpffen and the officers of the Spanish Staff, and from Mariscal de Campo Don M. de Alava; from Colonel Dickson, commanding the allied artillery; and from Lieut.-Colonel Lord FitzRoy Somerset and the officers of my personal Staff.

Source.Diary of Lord Colchester, 1861. Vol. ii., p. 505.

Friday, July 1st.—At three the House of Commons went up with the Address upon the Treaty, and returned by half-past four. Upon my return Lord Castlereagh acquainted the House that the Duke of Wellington was attending, according to his request of being permitted to thank the House in person. The House was crowded in all parts. The Duke was admitted, took his seat within the bar, in a chair placed for him, as usual, on the left hand of the entrance. After sitting down covered, he rose and thanked the House. When he had finished his speech, I rose, and taking off my hat, addressed him in reply. He then withdrew; the acclamation in the House and in the lobby and passages was loud, long, and reiterated till his departure. He was dressed in his Field-Marshal’s uniform, with the blue ribbon of the Garter, and another over his shoulder, and the Golden Fleece in magnificent diamonds hanging from his neck upon the blue ribbon. I kept on my full dress, and the Sergeant also his collar, after we returned from Carlton House and until the ceremony was over.

Speech of the Duke of Wellington in the House of Commons.

Mr. Speaker,—I was anxious to be permitted to attend this House in order to return my thanks in person for the honour they have done me in deputing a Committee of Members of this House to congratulate me on my return to{103} this country, and this after the House had animated my exertions by their applause upon every occasion which appeared to merit their approbation, and after they had filled up the measure of their favours, by conferring upon me, at the recommendation of the Prince Regent, the noblest gift that any subject had ever received.

I hope it will not be deemed presumptuous in me to take this opportunity of expressing my admiration of the great efforts made by this House and the Country, at a moment of unexampled pressure and difficulty, in order to support the great scale of operations by which the contest was brought to so fortunate a termination.

By the wise policy of Parliament the Government were enabled to give the necessary support to the operations which were carried on under my direction. And I was encouraged by the confidence reposed in me by His Majesty’s Ministers, and by the Commander-in-Chief, by the gracious favour of H.R.H. the Prince Regent, and by the reliance which I had on the support of my gallant friends, the General Officers of the army, and on the bravery of the officers and troops, to carry on the operations in such a manner as to acquire for me those marks of approbation of this House for which I have now the honour to make my humble acknowledgments.

Sir,—It is impossible for me to express the gratitude which I feel. I can only assure the House that I shall always be ready to serve His Majesty in any capacity in which my services can be deemed useful, with the same zeal for my Country which has already acquired for me the approbation of this House.

The Speaker’s Reply.

My Lord,—Since last I had the honour of addressing you from this place, a series of eventful years has elapsed, but none without some mark and note of your rising glory. The military triumph which your valour has achieved upon the banks of the Douro and the Tagus, of the Ebro and the Garonne, have{104} called forth the spontaneous shouts of admiring nations. Those triumphs it is needless on this day to recount; their names have been written by your conquering sword in the annals of Europe, and we shall hand them down with exultation to our children’s children.

It is not, however, the grandeur of military success which has alone fixed our admiration, or commanded our applause. It has been that generous and lofty spirit which inspired your troops with unbounded confidence, and taught them to know that the day of battle was always a day of victory; that moral courage and enduring fortitude which in perilous times, when gloom and doubt had beset ordinary minds, stood nevertheless unshaken, and that ascendancy of character, which, uniting the energies of jealous and rival nations, enabled you to wield at will the fate and fortunes of mighty empires.

For the repeated thanks and grants bestowed upon you by this House in gratitude for your many and eminent services, you have thought fit this day to offer us your acknowledgments. But this Nation well knows that it is still largely your debtor. It owes to you the proud satisfaction that amidst the constellation of great and illustrious warriors who have recently visited our country, we could present to them a Leader of our own, to whom all, by common acclamation, conceded the pre-eminence, and when the will of Heaven, and the common destinies of our nature, shall have swept away the present generation, You will have left your great name and example as an unperishable monument exciting others to like deeds of glory, and serving at once to adorn, defend, and perpetuate the existence of this country among the ruling nations of the earth.

It now remains only that we congratulate your Grace upon the high and important mission on which you are about to proceed; and We doubt not that the same splendid talents, so conspicuous in war, will maintain with equal authority, firmness, and temper our national honour and interests in peace.{105}

Source.—Robert Southey: Poems.

1. Who counsels peace at this momentous hour,
When God hath given deliverance to the oppress’d,
And to the injured power?
Who counsels peace, when Vengeance like a flood
Rolls on, no longer now to be repressed;
When innocent blood
From the four corners of the world cries out
For justice upon one accurséd head;
When Freedom hath her holy banner spread
Over all nations, now in one just cause
United; when with one sublime accord
Europe throws off the yoke abhorr’d,
And Loyalty and Faith and Ancient Laws
Follow the avenging sword?
2. Woe, woe to England! woe and endless shame,
If this heroic land,
False to her feelings and unspotted fame,
Hold out the olive to the Tyrant’s hand!
Woe to the world, if Buonaparte’s throne
Be suffer’d still to stand!
For by what names shall Right and Wrong be known?
What new and courtly phrases must we feign
For Falsehood, Murder, and all monstrous crimes,
If that perfidious Corsican maintain
Still his detested reign,
And France, who yearns even now to break her chain,
Beneath his iron rule be left to groan?
No! by the innumerable dead
Whose blood hath for his lust of power been shed,
Death only can for his foul deeds atone;
That peace which Death and Judgment can bestow,
That peace be Buonaparte’s, and that alone!{106}
3. For sooner shall the Ethiop change his skin,
Or from the Leopard shall her spots depart,
Than this man change his old flagitious heart.
Have ye not seen him in the balance weighed,
And there found wanting?—On the stage of blood
Foremost the resolute adventurer stood;
And when, by many a battle won,
He placed upon his brow the crown,
Curbing delirious France beneath his sway,
Then, like Octavius in old time,
Fair name might he have handed down,
Effacing many a stain of former crime.
Fool! should he cast away that bright renown!
Fool! the redemption proffer’d should he lose!
When Heaven such grace vouchsafed him that the way
To Good and Evil lay
Before him, which to choose.
4. But Evil was his Good,
For all too long in blood had he been nursed,
And ne’er was earth with verier tyrant cursed.
Bold man and bad,
Remorseless, godless, full of fraud and lies,
And black with murders and with perjuries,
Himself in Hell’s whole panoply he clad;
No law but his own headstrong will he knew,
No counsellor but his own wicked heart.
From evil thus portentous strength he drew,
And trampled under foot all human ties,
All holy laws, all natural charities.
5. O France! beneath this fierce Barbarian’s sway
Disgraced thou art to all succeeding times;
Rapine, and blood, and fire have marked thy way,
All loathsome, all unutterable crimes.
A curse is on thee, France! From far and wide
It hath gone up to Heaven; all lands have cried
For vengeance upon thy detested head;{107}
All nations curse thee, France! for wheresoe’er
In peace or war thy banner hath been spread,
All forms of human woe have followed there:
The Living and the Dead
Cry out alike against thee! They who bear,
Crouching beneath its weight, thine iron yoke,
Join in the bitterness of secret prayer
The voice of that innumerable throng
Whose slaughtered spirits day and night invoke
The everlasting Judge of right and wrong,
How long, O Lord! Holy and Just, how long!
6. A merciless oppressor hast thou been,
Thyself remorselessly oppressed meantime;
Greedy of war, when all that thou couldst gain
Was but to dye thy soul with deeper crime,
And rivet faster round thyself the chain.
O blind to honour, and to int’rest blind,
When thus in abject servitude resigned
To this barbarian upstart, thou couldst brave
God’s justice, and the heart of humankind!
Madly thou thoughtest to enslave the world,
Thyself the while a miserable slave;
Behold the flag of vengeance is unfurl’d!
The dreadful armies of the North advance;
While England, Portugal, and Spain combined
Give their triumphant banners to the wind,
And stand victorious in the fields of France.
7. One man hath been for ten long wretched years
The cause of all this blood and all these tears;
One man in this most awful point of time
Draws on thy danger, as he caused thy crime.
Wait not too long the event,
For now whole Europe comes against thee bent;
His wiles and their own strength the nations know;
Wise from past wrongs, on future peace intent,
The People and the Princes, with one mind,{108}
From all parts move against the general foe:
One act of justice, one atoning blow,
One execrable head laid low,
Even yet, O France! averts thy punishment:
Open thine eyes! too long hast thou been blind;
Take vengeance for thyself, and for mankind!
8. France! if thou lov’st thine ancient fame,
Revenge thy sufferings and thy shame!
By the bones that bleach on Jaffa’s beach;
By the blood which on Domingo’s shore
Hath clogg’d the carrion-birds with gore;
By the flesh that gorged the wolves of Spain,
Or stiffened on the snowy plain
Of frozen Muscovy;
By the bodies that lie all open to the sky,
Tracking from Elbe to Rhine the Tyrant’s flight;
By the widow’s and the orphan’s cry,
By the childless parent’s misery,
By the lives which he hath shed,
By the ruin he hath spread,
By the prayers that rise for curses on his head,
Redeem, O France! thine ancient fame,
Revenge thy sufferings and thy shame;
Open thine eyes! Too long hast thou been blind;
Take vengeance for thyself, and for mankind!
9. By those horrors which the night
Witnessed, when the torches’ light
To the assembled murderers showed
Where the blood of Condé flowed;
By thy murdered Pichegru’s fame;
By murdered Wright (an English name);
By murdered Palm’s atrocious doom;
By murdered Hofer’s martyrdom;
Oh! by the virtuous blood thus vilely spilt,
The Villain’s own peculiar private guilt,
Open thine eyes! too long hast thou been blind!
Take vengeance for thyself and for mankind!


Source.—J. H. Rose: Pitt and Napoleon. G. Bell and Sons, 1912. Pp. 170-172, and 173, 174.

His next subject was politics;—he asked me how Congress went on. I told him that there were plenty of fêtes, but that little progress was said to be made in business; and I mentioned to him the bon mot of the Prince de Ligne, who said—“Le Congrès danse, mais ne marche pas,” at which he smiled. I added, that Poland was understood to be a stumbling-block; that it was said the Emperor of Russia wanted to form a kingdom of it, but that the other Powers, it was supposed, feared Russia’s becoming too formidable. He remarked that it was a power that went on increasing; a very rising power. He then said that the treaty of peace between himself and the Allies should have been signed at Frankfort; separating Germany entirely from France, and taking Holland, Italy, and Spain from him; but that he never could have consented to leave France less in territory, than it was when he ascended the throne. I asked him why he did not make peace at Dresden, when those terms were offered to him: He said that the Allies were not sincere, and that besides les choses at that time were different; that had peace been then made, England would have been saved some thousands of men and much money; that he considered it very bad policy of England to appropriate Belgium to herself;[17] that it would probably draw her into a war; for that any other Continental Power would be sure of France as an ally, by offering Belgium as a bribe. “Supposing,” said he, “for instance, Russia were to say to France, ‘Do you take Belgium, and let me have Poland.’—In short,” added he, “England cannot maintain herself as a Power of the first rank on the Continent; Belgium must be lost on the first coup de canon. The English Government{110} should have covered and fortified Belgium, but Antwerp is the object; for a battle fought and lost before Brussels, which is close to the gates of Paris, would open the road to Holland. England, with her immense colonies, instead of being obliged to keep up a large army to cover Belgium, should withdraw within her Island, and act when and where she chose.” He spoke of the Dutch troops, and appeared to have but a poor opinion of them;—their marine, he said, was much reduced. He expressed himself with much contempt of the Austrian soldiers, who “would not fight without a belly full.”—Referring to the campaign in France, he said that he should have beaten the Allies, had he not been betrayed; for that the peasants were taking arms in their rear. I asked him by whom he had been betrayed; whether by Talleyrand, whom I had heard accused.—He answered so as to give me to understand he had been a party; but he principally blamed Marmont and Augereau.[18] The latter, he told me, had a fine army, superior to the Austrians, and was to have joined him (Bonaparte) in his last movement; but that he had made his terms with the Allies a fortnight before, and that he had narrowly escaped being massacred by his soldiers for his conduct.—I observed to him, that when I had passed through Paris, I had heard there was an opinion amongst the lower orders that he and Paris had been sold—“que l’Empereur et Paris étoient vendus.” Blücher, he said, was a brave man, but not a great general; and added, that he had lost two armies.[19] The Prussians had fought well.—Of Schwartzenberg, as an officer, he expressed himself favourably.—Upon my asking him if he did not consider the Duke of Wellington a good general, he replied, “Oui.”—I was not satisfied with this, but repeated the question in stronger terms, asking if he was not a very good—an excellent general. He answered,{111}Oui, oui!” with emphasis, but not another word.—Touching on the Corunna campaign, he said Moore was a good general, and had saved that army. The Spaniards, as soldiers, he held very cheap. In the mountains they had done something, their character was obstinacy (opiniâtreté)—they wanted valour. I mentioned the gallant defence they had made at Saragossa. This, he said, was opiniâtreté;—they were 50,000 men within the walls, attacked by 15,000. I observed that, at least, the Portuguese had proved themselves very good troops. This he admitted. “But then,” added he, “they were officered by British, and of this the national pride [fierté] of the Spaniards would not admit;—besides, the Spaniards are bigots in religion, and you know that you are heretics” (vous savez que vous êtes des hérétiques), said he, laughing. The French soldiers, he asserted, were peu constans; that he (Bonaparte) knew it well, and had acted upon it in the campaign in France; that the soldiers could not bear such a check (secousse). He inquired if the English soldiers, when drunk, were not ungovernable, observing that the French, at such times, were loving (doux et tendres).

... Speaking of the Americans, he said, they wanted a ten years’ war to make them a nation; that at present they had no noblesse, which they would acquire by a war; that they were now a nation of merchants (une nation de marchands), as was shown in the case of the sale of Jefferson’s library to the highest bidder; that had we (the English) made peace with them before, we should have gone to Congress with more weight; that America had carried on the war with spirit after France had fallen (après que la France eut succombée) and that the war, after all, was about nothing—a few feet more or less of lake. He then said something of a great project he had with respect to Mexico, of which I could not catch the meaning; and observed, that we should one day or other lose Canada; adding—“of what great consequence is it to England, with her numerous colonies?” He said, that when America became more powerful, she would probably rival us in our marine; that he had made the attempt to do{112} this, but had failed. With respect to the Right of Search, which I called a droit, he said it was no droit, but a mere théorie; that when we were very strong we should exercise it, but if, on the contrary, we had Russia, Sweden, and Denmark against us, we probably should not insist on it. He gave it as his opinion, that England and France should be allied. On my signifying, by a shake of the head, the improbability of such an event, he said, “Why not?—The world is large enough—France does not want to meddle too much with commerce. There was a man, Fox, who could have effected it, but unfortunately he is dead.” (Mais pourquoi pas? le monde est assez grand—la France n’a pas besoin de se mêler trop du commerce. Il y avoit un homme, Fox, qui auroit pu le faire, mais malheureusement il est mort.) He then asked where we were going from Elba, and on my answering, “To Rome and Naples,” he replied, “Ah! then you will see there a magnificent Lazzarone,”[20] adding, “From Naples, I suppose, you return to England by sea?” Upon my saying that it was my intention to return by Italy and the Mont Cenis, as I had seen all the other Passes of the Alps, having come from Vienna by the Tyrol, he observed, “No, there is still that over the Julian Alps.” On saying this he made us a low bow, wished us a très bon voyage, and retired.

Source.Selections from the Wellington Despatches. Gurwood. P. 857.

To Earl Bathurst.

19th June, 1815.

Buonaparte, having collected the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th corps of the French army, and the Imperial Guards, and nearly all the cavalry, on the Sambre, and between that river and the Meuse, between the 10th and 14th of the month, advanced{113} on the 15th and attacked the Prussian posts at Thuin and Lobbes, on the Sambre, at daylight in the morning.

I did not hear of these events till in the evening of the 15th; and I immediately ordered the troops to prepare to march, and afterwards to march to their left, as soon as I had intelligence from other quarters to prove that the enemy’s movement upon Charleroi was the real attack.

The enemy drove the Prussian posts from the Sambre on that day; and General Ziethen, who commanded the corps which had been at Charleroi, retired upon Fleurus; and Marshal Prince Blücher concentrated the Prussian army upon Sombref, holding the villages in front of his position of St. Armand and Ligny.

The enemy continued his march along the road from Charleroi towards Bruxelles; and on the same evening, the 15th, attacked a brigade of the army of the Netherlands, under the Prince de Weimar, posted at Frasne, and forced it back to the farm house, on the same road, called Les Quatre Bras. The Prince of Orange immediately reinforced this brigade with another of the same division, under General Perponcher, and, in the morning early, regained part of the ground which had been lost, so as to have the command of the communication leading from Nivelles and Bruxelles with Marshal Blücher’s position.

In the mean time, I had directed the whole army to march upon Les Quatre Bras; and the 5th division, under Lieut.-General Sir T. Picton, arrived at about half past 2 in the day, followed by the corps of troops under the Duke of Brunswick, and afterwards by the contingent of Nassau.

At this time the enemy commenced an attack upon Prince Blücher with his whole force, excepting the 1st and 2nd corps, and a corps of cavalry under General Kellermann, with which he attacked our post at Les Quatre Bras.

The Prussian army maintained their position with their usual gallantry and perseverance against a great disparity of numbers, as the 4th corps of their army, under General Bülow, had not joined; and I was not able to assist them as I wished,{114} as I was attacked myself, and the troops, the cavalry in particular, which had a long distance to march, had not arrived.

We maintained our position also, and completely defeated and repulsed all the enemy’s attempts to get possession of it. The enemy repeatedly attacked us with a large body of infantry and cavalry, supported by a numerous and powerful artillery. He made several charges with the cavalry upon our infantry, but all were repulsed in the steadiest manner.

In this affair, H.R.H. the Prince of Orange, the Duke of Brunswick, and Lieut.-General Sir T. Picton, and Major-Generals Sir J. Kempt and Sir Denis Pack, who were engaged from the commencement of the enemy’s attack, highly distinguished themselves, as well as Lieut.-General C. Baron Alten, Major-General Sir C. Halketh, Lieut.-General Cooke, and Major-Generals Maitland and Byng as they successively arrived. The troops of the 5th division, and those of the Brunswick corps, were long and severely engaged, and conducted themselves with the utmost gallantry. I must particularly mention the 28th, 42nd, 79th, and 92nd regts., and the battalion of Hanoverians.

Our loss was great, as your Lordship will perceive by the enclosed return; and I have particularly to regret H.S.H. the Duke of Brunswick, who fell fighting gallantly at the head of his troops.

Although Marshal Blücher had maintained his position at Sombref, he still found himself much weakened by the severity of the contest in which he had been engaged, and, as the 4th corps had not arrived, he determined to fall back and to concentrate his army upon Wavre; and he marched in the night, after the action was over.

This movement of the Marshal rendered necessary a corresponding one upon my part; and I retired from the farm of Quatre Bras upon Genappe, and thence upon Waterloo, the next morning, the 17th, at 10 o’clock.

The enemy made no effort to pursue Marshal Blücher. On the contrary a patrol which I sent to Sombref in the morning{115} found all quiet;[21] and the enemy’s vedettes fell back as the patrol advanced. Neither did he attempt to molest our march to the rear, although made in the middle of the day, excepting by following, with a large body of cavalry brought from his right, the cavalry under the Earl of Uxbridge.

This gave Lord Uxbridge an opportunity of charging them with the 1st Life Guards, upon their débouché from the village of Genappe, upon which occasion his Lordship has declared himself to be well satisfied with that regiment.

The position which I took up in front of Waterloo crossed the high roads from Charleroi and Nivelles, and had its right thrown back to a ravine near Merke Braine, which was occupied, and its left extended to a height above the hamlet Ter la Haye, which was likewise occupied. In front of the right centre, and near the Nivelles road, we occupied the house and gardens of Hougoumont, which covered the return of that flank; and in front of the left centre we occupied the farm of La Haye Sainte. By our left we communicated with Marshal Prince Blücher at Wavre, through Ohain; and the Marshal had promised me that, in case we should be attacked, he would support me with one or more corps, as might be necessary.

The enemy collected his army, with the exception of the 3rd corps, which had been sent to observe Marshal Blücher, on a range of heights in our front, in the course of the night of the 17th and yesterday morning, and at about 10 o’clock he commenced a furious attack upon our post at Hougoumont. I had occupied that post with a detachment from General Byng’s brigade of Guards, which was in position in its rear; and it was for some time under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Macdonell, and afterwards of Colonel Home; and I am happy to add that it was maintained throughout the day with the utmost gallantry by these brave troops, notwithstanding the{116} repeated efforts of large bodies of the enemy to obtain possession of it. This attack upon the right of our centre was accompanied by a very heavy cannonade upon our whole line, which was destined to support the repeated attacks of cavalry and infantry, occasionally mixed, but sometimes separate, which were made upon it. In one of these the enemy carried the farm house of La Haye Sainte, as the detachment of the light battalion of the German Legion, which occupied it, had expended all its ammunition; and the enemy occupied the only communication there was with them.

The enemy repeatedly charged our infantry with his cavalry, but these attacks were uniformly unsuccessful; and they afforded opportunities to our cavalry to charge, in one of which Lord E. Somerset’s brigade, consisting of the Life Guards, the Royal Horse Guards, and 1st dragoon guards, highly distinguished themselves, as did that of Major-General Sir W. Ponsonby, having taken many prisoners and an eagle.

These attacks were repeated till about 7 in the evening, when the enemy made a desperate effort with cavalry and infantry, supported by the fire of artillery, to force our left centre, near the farm of La Haye Sainte, which, after a severe contest, was defeated; and, having observed that the troops retired from this attack in great confusion, and that the march of General Bülow’s corps, by Frischermont, upon Planchenois and La Belle Alliance had begun to take effect, and as I could perceive the fire of his cannon, and as Marshal Prince Blücher had joined in person with a corps of his army to the left of our line by Ohain, I determined to attack the enemy, and immediately advanced the whole line of infantry, supported by the cavalry and artillery. The attack succeeded in every point: the enemy was forced from his position on the heights, and fled in the utmost confusion, leaving behind him, as far as I could judge, 150 pieces of cannon, with their ammunition, which fell into our hands.

I continued the pursuit till long after dark, and then discontinued it only on account of the fatigue of our troops, who had been engaged during 12 hours, and because I found{117} myself on the same road with Marshal Blücher, who assured me of his intention to follow the enemy throughout the night. He has sent me word this morning that he has taken 60 pieces of cannon, belonging to the Imperial Guard, and several carriages, baggage, etc., belonging to Buonaparte, in Genappe.

I propose to move this morning upon Nivelles, and not to discontinue my operations.

Your Lordship will observe that such a desperate action could not be fought, and such advantages could not be gained, without great loss; and I am sorry to add that ours has been immense. In Lieut.-General Sir T. Picton, His Majesty has sustained the loss of an officer who has frequently distinguished himself in his service; and he fell gloriously leading his division to a charge with bayonets, by which one of the most serious attacks made by the enemy on our position was repulsed. The Earl of Uxbridge, after having successfully got through this arduous day, received a wound by almost the last shot fired, which will, I am afraid, deprive His Majesty for some time of his services.

H.R.H. the Prince of Orange distinguished himself by his gallantry and conduct, till he received a wound from a musket ball through the shoulder, which obliged him to quit the field.

It gives me the greatest satisfaction to assure your Lordship that the army never, upon any occasion, conducted itself better. The division of Guards, under Lieut.-General Cooke, who is severely wounded, Major-General Maitland, and Major General Byng, set an example which was followed by all; and there is no officer nor description of troops that did not behave well. I must, however, particularly mention, for His Royal Highness’s approbation, Lieut.-General Sir H. Clinton, Major-General Adam, Lieut.-General C. Baron Alten (severely wounded), Major-General Sir C. Halkett (severely wounded), Colonel Ompteda, Colonel Mitchell (commanding a brigade of the 4th division), Major-Generals Sir J. Kempt and Sir D. Pack, Major-General Lambert, Major-General Lord E. Somerset,{118} Major-General Sir W. Ponsonby, Major-General Sir C. Grant, and Major-General Sir H. Vivian, Major-General Sir J. O. Vandeleur, and Major-General Count Dornberg. I am also particularly indebted to General Lord Hill for his assistance and conduct upon this, as upon all former occasions. The artillery and engineer departments were conducted much to my satisfaction by Colonel Sir G. Wood and Colonel Smyth; and I had every reason to be satisfied with the conduct of the Adjutant-General, Major-General Barnes, who was wounded, and of the Quartermaster-General, Colonel De Lancey, who was killed by a cannon shot in the middle of the action. This officer is a serious loss to His Majesty’s service, and to me at this moment.

I was likewise much indebted to the assistance of Lieut.-Colonel Lord FitzRoy Somerset, who was severely wounded, and of the officers composing my personal Staff, who have suffered severely in this action. Lieut.-Colonel the Hon. Sir A. Gordon, who has died of his wounds, was a most promising officer, and is a serious loss to His Majesty’s service.

General Krüse, of the Nassau service, likewise conducted himself much to my satisfaction; as did General Trip, commanding the heavy brigade of cavalry, and General Vanhope, commanding a brigade of infantry in the service of the King of the Netherlands.

General Pozzo di Borgo, General Baron Vincent, General Muffling, and General Alava, were in the field during the action, and rendered me every assistance in their power. Baron Vincent is wounded, but I hope not severely; and General Pozzo di Borgo received a contusion.

I should not do justice to my own feelings, or to Marshal Blücher and the Prussian army, if I did not attribute the successful result of this arduous day to the cordial and timely assistance I received from them. The operation of General Bülow upon the enemy’s flank was a most decisive one; and even if I had not found myself in a situation to make the attack which produced the final result, it would have forced the enemy to retire if his attacks should have failed, and would{119} have prevented him from taking advantage of them if they should unfortunately have succeeded.

Since writing the above, I have received a report that Major-General Sir W. Ponsonby is killed; and, in announcing this intelligence to your Lordship, I have to add the expression of my grief for the fate of an officer who had already rendered very brilliant and important services, and was an ornament to his profession.

I send with this despatch 3 eagles, taken by the troops in this action, which Major Percy will have the honor of laying at the feet of His Royal Highness. I beg leave to recommend him to your Lordship’s protection.

Return of the Killed, Wounded, and Missing of the British and Hanoverian Army under the Command of Field-Marshal the Duke of Wellington, K.G., in the Battle fought at Quatre Bras on the 16th June, 1815.

 Officers. Sergeants. Rank
Total Loss of
Officers, and
Rank and File.
British. Hanoverians. Horses.
Killed 29 19 302 350 316 34 19
Wounded 126 111 2,143 2,380 2,156 224 14
Missing 4 6 171 181 32 149 1

On the Retreat from Quatre Bras to Waterloo on 17th June, 1815.

 Officers. Sergeants. Rank
Total Loss of
Officers, and
Rank and File.
British. Hanoverians. Horses.
Killed 1 1 33 35 26 9 45
Wounded 7 13 112 132 52 80 20
Missing 4 3 64 71 30 32 33


In the Battle fought at Waterloo on the 18th June, 1815.

 Officers. Sergeants. Rank
Total Loss of
Officers, and
Rank and File.
British. Hanoverians. Horses.
Killed 116 109 1,822 2,047 1,759 288 1,495
Wounded 504 364 6,148 7,016 5,892 1,124 891
Missing 20 29 1,574 1,623 807 816 773
Total      2,432 9,528 1,875

The greater number of the men returned missing had gone to the rear with wounded officers and soldiers, and joined afterwards. The officers are supposed killed.



[1] Blank in MS.

[2] Lord Grenville.

[3] Mr. Canning seems to allude especially to the course of Mr. Sheridan at the time of the Mutiny of the Nore.

[4] There is no imputation meant against the character of this gentleman on the supposition of his being a dissenter of the Church of England; illiberal, indeed, would be remark of this kind to infer any kind of reproach; but when a panegyrick is derived from party, some partiality may very naturally be suspected.

[5] Respecting the battle at Ulm.

[6] Nelson’s funeral, on January 7, 1806, at St. Paul’s.

[7] It is now generally near the quarter-deck hatchway.

[8] The entire memorandum is in James, iv., 23-25 (ed. 1837).

[9] This Administration went by the name of “All the Talents.”

[10] Afterwards Bishop of Winchester.

[11] This letter is so carelessly composed and worded, that it is probably from the rough copy that it is taken.

[12] This letter was drawn up by Sheridan. See Moore’s Life, vol. ii., p. 20.

[13] Now Lord Combermere. He had commanded the British cavalry in Spain during the years 1809, 1810, 1811, and 1812.

[14] Sir Stapleton had been made K.B.

[15] From MS. speeches (collected).

[16] The advance of the column under Sir T. Graham was so effectually covered by Colonel Longa that the enemy was not aware of any British troops being in that direction.

[17] By the Treaty of Vienna, Belgium went to the Kingdom of Holland.—J. H. R.

[18] Augereau commanded the army operating near Lyons, but it was inferior to that of the Austrians.—J. H. R.

[19] A gross exaggeration. Napoleon probably referred to Blücher’s surrender near Lübeck in November, 1806, and his defeat at Vauchamps in February, 1814.—J. H. R.

[20] Alluding to Murat.

[21] Lieut.-Colonel the Hon. A. Gordon was sent, escorted by a squadron of the 10th Hussars, to communicate with the Prussian headquarters, as to co-operation with the British army ordered to retire to the position in front of Waterloo.