Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/260

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


54: SIR JOHN MOORE.


Salamanca, Sir John Moore addressed a long letter to lord William Bentinck, a few extracts from which will put the reader in possession of the knowledge of Sir John's feelings and views, and of the state of the country at this period. " I am sorry to say," he writes, " from Sir David Baird I hear nothing but com- plaints of the Junta of Corunna, who offered him no assistance. They promise every thing, but give nothing ; and, after waiting day after day for carts which they had promised to procure for the carriage of stores, his commissary was at last obliged to contract for them at an exorbitant price, and then got them. This is really a sort of conduct quite intolerable to troops that the Spanish government have asked for, and for whose advance they are daily pressing. On my arrival here, and telling colonel O'Lowlar that I wished to have supplies immediately provided on the road from Astorga to this place, for the march of the troops from Corunna, he began by telling me, that a power which he should have got, and which it was promised should be sent after him from Madrid, had not been sent ; that he had thus no authority, and had hitherto been acting upon his own credit, &c. I run over all this to you, though perhaps it should properly be addressed to Mr Frere, but to you I can state it with more ease ; and I shall thank you to speak to Frere upon it, when I hope he will have some serious communication with the Spanish ministers, and plainly tell them, if they expect the advance of the British army, they must pay somewhat more attention to its wants. Proper officers must be sent to me, vested with full powers to call forth the resources of the country when they are wanted, and without delay, the same as is done, I presume, for the Spanish armies. We shall pay, but they are not to allow us to be imposed upon, but to tell us what is paid by the Spanish government in such cases. We find no difficulty with the people ; they receive us everywhere well, but the authorities are backward, and not like those ot a country who wish our assistance. With respect to magazines, it is impossi- ble for me to say where they ought to be made. With respect to those at Madrid, it is very likely to be a proper place for Spain to collect a considerable depot of various kinds. It is their capital, and they know best ; but it does not seem to me to be a place where the British could be called upon to make any collection. We shall establish small magazines, for consumption, in the neigh- bourhood where we are acting. Those great resources which a country makes for general supply, should be made by Spain, that when we approach them, we may draw from them, and pay for what we get : but Spain should make them, and be at the expense and trouble of their conservation. As I believe we are giving money to Spain, part of it may be applied by them in this manner ; but it is they that should do it, not we. I have no objection to you or Mr Frere representing the necessity of as many more British troops, as you think proper. It is certain that the agents which our government have hitherto employed, have deceived them ; for affairs here are by no means in the flourishing state they are re- presented and believed to be in England, and the sooner the truth is known there, the better. But you must observe, my lord, that whatever is critical, must now be decided by the troops which are here. The French, I suspect, are ready, and will not wait I differ with you in one point, when you say the chief and great obstacle and resistance to the French, will be afforded by the English army : if that be so, Spain is lost The English army, I hope, will do all which can be expected from their numbers; but the safety of Spain depends upon the union of its inhabitants, their enthusiasm in their cause, and their-firra determination to die rather than submit to the French. Nothing short of this, will enable them to resist the formidable attack about to be made upon them. If they will adhere, our aid can be of the greatest use to them ; but if not, we shall soon be out-numbered, were our force quadrupled. I am, therefore, much