Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/258

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52 SIR JOHN MOORE.


raent of ten thousand men, on behalf of the king of Sweden, who was at this time threatened with simultaneous attacks from France, Russia, and Denmark. With this force, Sir John reached Gottenburg on the 17th, but was not per- mitted to land the troops ; he himself, however, repaired to Stockholm, to con- sult with the Swedish cabinet Here, to his astonishment, he learned that the Swedish monarch, despising the tame idea of defensive operations, was wholly engrossed with dreams of conquest. He proposed that some Swedish regiments should be collected at Gottenburg, with which the British troops should be joined, and that this united force should take possession of Zealand. The British general represented this to be impossible, on account of the number of French and Spanish troops which occupied the island of Funen, and which could not, in present circumstances, be prevented from passing over to Zealand. It was next proposed to land the British alone in Finland, where they would have had the principal part of the whole effective force of the Russian empire to con- tend with. Sir John having, in reply to this proposal, modestly hinted that ten thousand British troops might not be found equal to such an undertaking, the impatient Gustavus ordered him to be instantly arrested. He had the good fortune, however, to make his escape, and with the troops returned immediately to England. Without being permitted to land, general Moore was ordered to proceed, under the command of Sir Harry Burrard, to Portugal, in order to give the aid of his talents to the expedition already formed in that country, for the assistance of the Spanish patriots, in expelling the French from their terri- tory.

Sir John did not arrive in Portugal till after the signing of the convention of Cintra, and thus escaped all participation in the odium which was attached to that transaction. Disgusted with the manner in which the affairs of Portugal were conducted, Sir Arthur Wellesley, now duke of Wellington, applied for leave of absence, which was granted. Sir Hew Dalrymple was recalled, and Sir Harry Burrard having resigned, Sir John Moore was left commander-in-chief of the army. In this command he was formally confirmed by a letter from lord Castlereagh, dated September 25, 1808, which informed him, that an army under his orders, of not less than thirty-five thousand men, five thousand of them cavalry, was to be employed in the north of Spain, for assisting the Span- ish government. Fifteen thousand troops, it was stated, were to be sent to join him by the way of Corunna ; and he was to make immediate preparations for carrying the plan into effect, it being left to his own judgment to march for some point in Galicia, or on the borders of Leon, by land ; or to transport his troops by sea, from Lisbon to Corunna, whither the re-inforcements for his army were to be sent Sir John Moore lost no time in entering upon the duties of his important charge, though he seems to have done so under a melancholy foreboding, sufficiently warranted by the miserable condition of his army, of what would be the result. " At this instant," he says, writing to lord Castle- reagh on the receipt of his commission, " the army is without equipments of any kind, either for the carriage of the light baggage of regiments, military stores, commissariat stores, or other appendages of an army, and not a magazine is formed in any of the routes (for he had determined on the expedition by land) by which we are to march." By a subsequent letter, written ten days after the above, we find that the army was also in a great measure destitute of money, and, amongst other necessaries, particularly in want of shoes. On the 27th of October, he left Lisbon, the greater part of the army being already on the route for Burgos, which had been assigned by the Spanish government as the point where the British forces were to be concentrated ; Madrid and Valladolid were the places appointed for magazines : and Sir John Moore was officially in-