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exertion to drive the latter from the soil was made, or at least none was sustained with steadfast courage in the field. Manifestoes, decrees, and lofty boasts, like a cloud of canvas covering a rotten hull, made a gallant appearance, but real strength and firmness were nowhere to be found.
The Spanish insurrection presented indeed a strange spectacle; patriotism was seen supporting a vile system of government; a popular assembly working for the restoration of a despotic monarch; the higher classes seeking a foreign master; the lower armed in the cause of bigotry and misrule. The upstart leaders secretly abhorring freedom, yet governing in her name, trembled at the democratic activity they had themselves excited. They called forth all the bad passions of the multitude, but repressed the patriotism that would regenerate as well as save.
The country suffered the evils, without enjoying the benefits, of a revolution! Tumults and assassinations terrified and disgusted the sensible part of the community; a corrupt administration of the resources extinguished patriotism, and neglect ruined the armies: the peasant-soldier, usually flying at the first onset, threw away his arms and returned to his home, or, attracted by the license of the partidas, joined the banners of men who, for the most part originally robbers, were as oppressive to the people as the enemy. The guerilla chiefs would, in their turn, have been quickly exterminated, but that the French, pressed by lord Wellington's battalions, were obliged to keep in large
This was the secret of Spanish constancy! Copious supplies from England, and the valour of the Anglo-Portuguese troops, these were the supports of the war! and it was the gigantic vigour with which the duke of Wellington resisted the fierceness of France, and sustained the weakness of three inefficient cabinets, that delivered the Peninsula. Faults he committed, and who in war has not ? but his reputation stands upon a sure foundation, a simple majestic structure, that envy cannot undermine, nor the meretricious ornaments of party panegyric deform. The exploits of his army were great in themselves, and great in their consequences: abounding with signal examples of heroic courage and devoted zeal, they should neither be disfigured nor forgotten, being worthy of more fame than the world has yet accorded them-worthy also of a better historian.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Operations in Catalonia-General Swartz marches against the town of Manresa,
Second operations of Bessieres – Blake's and Cuesta's armies unite at Benevente
- Generals disagree - Battle of Rio Seco—Bessieres' endeavours to corrupt
The Asturian deputies received with enthusiasm in England - Ministers preci.
pitate- Imprudent choice of agents—Junot marches to Alcantara, joined by
Spanish general Belesta seizes general Quesnel and retires to Gallicia-In-
surrection at Oporto-Junot disarms and confines the Spanish soldiers near
Lisbon-General Avril's column returns to Estremos-General Loison
marches from Almeida against Oporto; is attacked at Mezam Frias; crosses
the Douero; attacked at Castro d'Año; recalled to Lisbon-French driven
out of the Algarves-- The fort of Figueras taken— Abrantes and Elvas
threatened_Setuval in commotion—General Spencer appears off the Tagus-
Junot's plan-Insurrection at Villa Viciosa suppressed_Colonel Maransin
takes Beja with great slaughter of the patriots—The insurgents advance from
Leria, fall back- Action at Leria—Loison arrives at Abrantes—Observations
on his march--French army concentrated— The Portuguese general Leite,
aided by a Spanish corps, takes post at Evora-Loison crosses the Tagus ;
defeats Leite's advanced guard at Montemor-Battle of Evora—Town taken
and pillaged—Unfriendly conduct of the Spaniards-Loison reaches Elvas;
collects provisions ; is recalled by Junot_Observations
Political and military retrospect—Mr. Fox's conduct contrasted with that of
his successors General Spencer sent to the Mediterranean—Sir John Moore
Comparison between the Portuguese and Spanish people—The general opinion
of French weakness and Spanish strength and energy, fallacious_Contracted