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1808, June.


renewed their fire with greater vigour than ever, CHAP. and the French were repulsed here, and at all other points, with great slaughter. On the morning of this day a fellow was detected going out of the city with letters to Murat. It was not till after these repeated proofs of treasonable practices, that the French residents in Zaragoza, with other suspected persons, were taken into custody.

Lefebvre now supposing that his destructive The French bombardment must have dismayed the people, pulsed in an and convinced them how impossible it was for take the so defenceless a city to persist in withstanding city bay him, again attempted to force his way into the town, thinking that, as soon as his troops could effect a lodgement within the gates, the Zaragozans would submit. On the 2d of July, a column of his army marched out of their battery, which was almost within musket-shot of the Portillo, and advanced towards it with fixed bayonets, and without firing a shot. But when they reached the castle, such a discharge of grape and musketry was opened upon their flank, that, notwithstanding the most spirited exertions of their officers, the column immediately dispersed. The remainder of their force had been drawn up to support their attack, and follow them into the city; but it was impossible to bring them a second time to the charge. The general, however, ordered another column instantly to advance against the gate of the Carmen, on the left of the Portillo. This entrance was defended by a sand-bag battery, and by mus


1808. June.

the city.

CHAP. keteers, who lined the walls on each side, and

commanded two out of three approaches to it; and here also the French suffered great loss, and

were repulsed. They indest The military men in Zaragoza considered these

attacks as extremely injudicious. Lefebvre probably was so indignant at meeting with any opposition from a people whom he despised, and a place which, according to the rules and pedantry of war, was not tenable, that he lost his temper, and thought to subdue them the shortest way, by mere violence and superior force. Having found his mistake, he proceeded to invest the city still more closely. In the beginning of the siege, the besieged received some scanty succours; yet, however scanty, they were of importance. Four hundred soldiers from the regiment of Estremadura, small parties from other corps, and a few artillerymen got in. Two hundred of the militia of Logrono were added to these artillerymen, and soon learnt their new service, being in the presence of an enemy whom they had such righteous reason to abhor. Two four-and-twenty-pounders and a few shells, which were much wanted, were procured from Lerida. The enemy, meantime, were amply supplied with stores from the magazine in the citadel of Pamplona, which they had so perfidiously seized on their first entrance, as allies, into Spain. Hitherto they had remained on the right * bank of the

• In military language, you al- plain this to the court upon ways describe the country by the Whitelocke's trial, and therecurrent of water, and speak as fore the explanation cannot be if you were looking down the thought unnecessary here. stream. It was requisite to ex


1808. July.

They form

Ebro. On the 11th of July they forced the passage of the ford, and posted troops enough on the opposite side to protect their workmen while forming a floating bridge. In spite of all the efforts of the Aragonese, this bridge was com- a bridge pleted on the 14th; a way was thus made for Ebro. their cavalry, to their superiority in which the French were mostly indebted for all their victories in Spain. This gave them the command of the surrounding country; they destroyed the mills, levied contributions on the villages, and cut off every communication by which the besieged had hitherto received supplies. These new difficulties called out new resources in this admirable people and their general, worthy of commanding such a people in such times. Corn mills, worked by horses, were erected in various parts of the city; the monks were employed in manufacturing gunpowder, materials for which were obtained by immediately collecting all the sulphur in the place, by washing the soil of the streets to extract its nitre, and making charcoal from the stalks of hemp, which in that part of Spain grows to a magnitude that would elsewhere be thought very unusual.

By the end of July the city was completely in- Distress of vested, the supply of food was scanty, and the ants. inhabitants had no reason to expect succour.

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the inhabit.

“On this simple founda- was formed after the siege, which tion,” says Mr. Vaughan, "a re- produced 13 arrobasof Castille per gular manufactory of gunpowder day; that is, 325 lb.of 12 ounces.' VOL. II.


1808. July.

CHAP. Their exertions had now been unremitted for IX.

forty-six days, and nothing but the sense of duty could have supported their bodily strength and their spirit under such trials. They were in hourly expectation of another general attack, or another bombardment. They had not a single place of security for the sick and the children, and the number of wounded was daily increased by repeated skirmishes, in which they engaged for the

purpose of opening a communication with the country. At this juncture they made one desperate effort to recover the Torrero. It was in vain ; and convinced by repeated losses, and especially by this last repulse, that it was hope. less to make any effectual sally, they resolved to abide the issue of the contest within the walls, and conquer or perish there.

On the night of the second of August, and on the following day, the French bombarded the city from their batteries opposite the gate of the Carmen. A foundling hospital, which was now filled with the sick and wounded, took fire, and was rapidly consumed. During this scene of horror, the most intrepid exertions were made to rescue these helpless sufferers from the flames. No person thought of his own property or individual concerns, . . every one hastened thither. The women were eminently conspicuous in their exertions, regardless of the shot and shells which fell about them, and braving the flames of the building. It has often been remarked, that the wickedness of women

Foundling Hospital burnt.



exceeds that of the other sex ; .. for the same CHAP. reason, when circumstances, forcing them out of the sphere of their ordinary nature, compel August. them to exercise manly virtues, they display them in the highest degree, and, when they are once awakened to a sense of patriotism, they carry the principle to its most heroic pitch. The loss of women and boys, during this siege, was very great, fully proportionate to that of men; they were always the most forward, and the difficulty was to teach them a prudent and proper sense of their danger.

On the following day, the French completed Convent their batteries upon the right bank of the Guerva, gracia. within pistol-shot of the gate of St. Engracia, so August 3. called from a splendid church and convent of Jeronimites, situated on one side of it. This convent was, on many accounts, a remarkable place. Men of letters beheld it with reverence, because the excellent historian Zurita spent the last

years of his life there, observing the rules of the community, though he had not entered into the order; and because he was buried there, and his countryman and fellow-labourer, Geronymo de Blancas, after him. Devotees revered it, even in the neighbourhood of our Lady of the Pillar, for its relics and the saint to whom it was dedicated. According to the legend, she was the daughter of Ont Comerus, a barbarian chief, in the pay of the Romans, by whom the city of Norba Cæsarea, (situated near the Tagus, between the present towns of Portalegre and Al

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