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“ Cousel John Dosie, havicg applied to me for a testimunal reative to soch parts of his service as I have had occasion to witness, I most cheerfully comply with his request. He was under my immediate command in America for part of the year 1779, and for the whole of 1780 and 1781. In every instance of the hard and trying business of those campaigns be maintained the high character he had before acquired for courage and zealous activity. It was my lot to see him in circumstances of peculiar difficulty, and I never observed more firmness, judgment, or ready resource in any man. Subsequent to my quitting Carolina, he had the opportunity of distinguishing himself much at the head of detachments. Latterly he was again under my eye, during the short time which I passed on the Continent. At the attack which the French made on Alost I had particular reasons to applaud the cool intrepidity with which he repulsed them at one of the bridges: though he there received two wounds, he did not quit his regiment until the enemy had given up the attempt.
" I consider him as a most valuable officer, and fit to be confidently relied upon in any situation of danger.
“6 Moira, Lieut.-General.”
In 1796 he was appointed Colonel of the 87th regiment, and sent in the command of a secret expedition to Holland.
On his return he was appointed Secretary-at-War in Ire
land; an office which he filled with a degree of popularity attained by few in such stations. He had acquired much consideration in the Irish House of Commons, and he employed it at all times for the benefit of the soldier.
On one occasion, he electrified the House by his dramatic description of the energies of a Corporal O’Lavery of the 16th dragoons; who, on service, being employed to carry a despatch through a dangerous country, having been mortally wounded by the enemy in the breast, actually hid the paper in his wound, where it was afterwards found safely concealed by his blood!
The gallant subject of our memoir subsequently served as Brigadier-General in Gibraltar, Minorca, and Malta; volunteered his services to Egypt; and was present in the actions of the 8th, 13th, and 21st of March : after which he was selected by General Hutchinson to accompany him in the expedition against Grand Cairo. He was also at the affair of Khamanie; subsequently to which the army halted at the village of Algam.
On the morning of the 17th of May (the army being encamped on the borders of the Desert) an Arab was conducted to General Doyle's tent, who brought intelligence that a body of French troops, which he computed at 2000 men, were within a few miles of the camp, with a large convoy of camels. General Doyle immediately took the Arab to head-quarters, reported his intelligence, and at the same time earnestly requested permission to pursue the enemy with such of the cavalry as might be in the camp.
General Hutchinson acceding to his request, he repaired to the camp, where he learned that the Turkish cavalry had been defeated a day or two before, and that a squadron of the 12th dragoons had, previously to his arrival, been sent to watch at some distance ; but he considered that every thing depended upon promptness and expedition: therefore, without waiting for the absent squadron, he left an officer to bring it on, and immediately struck into the Desert in search of the enemy. After a long pursuit, the cavalry came up with them, when they formed a
hollow square, and commenced an irregular fire of musketry. At this time the General had ordered Major Madden of the dragoons to proceed with a flag of truce, and summon them to surrender; when Major Watson, of Hompesch's hussars, arriving at the moment, volunteered his services on the occasion, and carried the General's message to the French commander; who, after some parley, agreed to the terms.
After the capitulation of Grand Cairo, General Hutchinson in his despatches expressed his obligations to General Craddock and Doyle, and recommended them as officers highly deserving of his Majesty's favour. About this time the country fever seized many of the troops, and General Doyle, with several others, was sent ill to Rosetta, where, before he had recovered, he heard a rumour of an intended attack upon the French at Alexandria. Urged by this intelligence, he left his sick bed, mounted his horse, and rode forty miles through the Desert, under an Egyptian sun, with the fever upon him, and arrived the night before the attack. In that successful enterprise he commanded, and had the good fortune to defeat the attempts subsequently made by General Menou upon a part of his position. The Commander-in-Chief next day, in the most animated manner, thanked him publicly on the field; but in writing his despatch he not only forgot to transmit General Doyle's official report, or mention even his name or exertions, but actually stated his brigade to have been commanded by another. On discovering his mistake, General Hutchinsen felt as every man of honour would have done, and immediately wrote to Lord Hobart, the War Minister, expressing his regret that in his former despatch he had omitted the name of General Doyle. This letter fortunately arrived in time to enable Lord Hobart to do justice to the wounded feelings of this officer; and in moving the thanks of Parliament to the army and navy, his Lordship eulogised, in the warmest terms, the gallantry and services of General Doyle. We should further observe that General Hutchinson, not satisfied merely with this public reparation to General Doyle's feelings, addressed, on his
arrival at Malta, a letter to him, which, whilst it must have been highly gratifying to that General, did his own head and heart the highest honour:
“ Malta, December 22. 1801.
56 MY DEAR DOYLE, Though I sincerely regret the cause of your letter, I am at the same time extremely happy that you have given me an opportunity of explaining my conduct. I do assure you that I had no intention of wounding your honourable feelings, or of detracting from that merit or those services of which no man can be more sensible than I am. You would be convinced, from what I said to you next day, how perfectly satisfied I am with your conduct; and, indeed, I had a feeling at that time, that you had ventured your valuable life rashly, in quitting a sick bed to do your duty in the field, to which your health appeared to me to be entirely unequal. That sentence in my letter I confess to be confused and embarrassed, and not at all conveying my real meaning; but I wrote it in extreme baste, broken in upon almost every instant, and under the pressure of severe pain. Nothing can affect me so deeply as the wound it has given to your feelings; but I hope you will do me the justice to suppose that it was an unintentional act upon my part, and that you entirely condemn me for an awkward expression occasioned by the inadvertence of the moment, and the pressure of a thousand disagreeable circumstances. Nothing can be so far from my heart as to do injustice to those brave men whom I was so fortunate as to command in Egypt, particularly one whom I have so much reason to love and esteem. It was not only on the 17th of August that I had reason to applaud your manner of acting best during the whole course of a long and arduous campaign : your zealous exertions gave me the greatest reason to approve of your conduct; and I shall ever acknowledge them to have been highly beneficial to the public service. You must see, that, upon all occasions, and to all persons, I shall be ever ready to do you that justice which you deserve; and were I not, it would be a severe accu
sation against my own head and heart. Believe me, what has happened has given me more pain than I can express. - Believe me to be, my dear General,
Truly and affectionately yours,
“ J. H. HUTCHINSON, Lieut.-General.
“ Brigadier-General Doyle.”
After the close of the Egyptian campaign, General Doyle repaired to Naples, where he purposed to continue some time for the recovery of his health : but this resolution his zeal for the service induced him to relinquish; and at the request of the British Minister he became the bearer of important despatches to Government. This proved a service of great danger, as the country through which he passed was much infested with banditti, who robbed and assassinated every one who fell into their hands. His handsome conduct on this occasion was gratefully acknowledged by his Majesty's Ministers.
The friendship of the Earl of Moira had before introduced him to the Prince of Wales, and he was now considered the most efficient person for that secretaryship afterwards occupied by their mutual friend, Col. M.Mahon. In 1804 he quitted this quiet employment, in which he might have enjoyed a seat in the British Parliament, for the active and important Government of Guernsey. The islands at the mouth of the Channel had long before been supposed to be wavering under the influence of French revolutionary principles, through the emissaries that had, during the short peace of Amiens, been sent among them. Nothing could be more desirable, therefore, than that the new Governor should be one who united with the qualities necessary to a Commander-in-Chief a capacity for civil government: none could be found more fitting than MajorGeneral Doyle.
The new Governor commenced his rule by convincing the people of the real nature of French fraternity, and at the same time raising their opinions of themselves as British subjects. He told them that from their proximity to France they were the advanced guard of the British empire: he taught them