Lieut. General Viscount Wellington K.B., to
Marshal Sir W. C. Beresford, K.B,
' Villa Fermosa, 6th May, 1811
' MY DEAR BERESFORD,
' I have not been able to write to
you for some days, as we have had the enemy in our front, and on the 3rd, and
yesterday, we were very warmly, but partially engaged with them. They have a
very superior body of cavalry in very good order, but we maintain our ground
well, and they have as yet made no progress towards raising the blockade of
' I have received your letter of the 2nd. If General Blake
does not positively agree to every thing proposed in my memorandum, and does
not promise to carry it strictly into execution, I think that you ought not to
be in a hurry with the siege of Badajoz. I must finish this blockade in one way
or other in the course of a few days.
'Believe me, &c.
' The enemy are still close to us. You will have heard that
Joseph has quitted Madrid : one consequence of this will be to increase the
disposable force of the French, by the number of troops constantly kept at
Madrid as guards to his person. This circumstance is worthy of attention.'
Lieut. General Viscount Wellington, K.B., to
C. Stuart, Esq,
' Villa Fermosa, 6th May, 1811.
' MY DEAR SIR,
' We have been so close to the enemy
since the 1st, that I have not been able to write to you. We were warmly but
partially engaged on the 3rd and yesterday; and the enemy are still close to
us; but they have made no progress in raising the blockade. Their loss has been
very great in both affairs. They have again got a very superior cavalry, owing
to my having believed that the Visconde de Barbacena's brigade was something.
' I do not know well what to advise you respecting your seat
in the Regency. The principle on which you accepted that situation was, that
you might be useful to your own Government, and to the general cause of the
allies; and I should not think that you ought to resign it without the
permission of your own Government, if I had not received the other day the
Prince's Carta Regia, in answer to my letter.
' In that he tells me that he shall write to inform the King
that he shall dismiss Principal Souza from his situation, provided His Majesty
will recall you from Lisbon, and that no objection is made to his calling Dom
M. de Forjaz to his presence, to answer for the delays of which I complain ;
which delays, by the by, he declares, in another part of the letter, that the
Governors of the kingdom had proved to him never existed. It may be said that
you have no occasion to be acquainted with the contents of this letter, but
being acquainted with it, I think there is no doubt whatever that you cannot
continue for a moment a member of the Regency. I also think that, sooner or
later, the King's Ministers must consent to your withdrawing from the Regency;
and as I do not see any advantage likely to result from your continuance, which
will at all compensate for the loss of dignity in omitting to withdraw at the
moment at which it may be supposed that you were aware of the Prince's
objection to you, I should advise you to withdraw whenever your own feelings
suggest to you that you ought to do so ; you are therefore at liberty, if you
think proper, to withdraw," and to make any use you please of this
' In respect to Dom M. de Forjaz, his loss will be
irreparable ; and I think, from the contents of the Carta Regia to me, and the
temper in which it is written, that the step which he proposes to take is the
only one which can avert the storm ; and in my answer to the Prince, I shall
take care to avoid saying any thing which can lead to a belief that I am at all
acquainted with his intention to resign.
' I learn that you and I are to be appointed to distribute
the £100,000 voted by Parliament to the Portuguese nation. Lord Liverpool
desires that we should give in kind rather than in money, of which I also
approve. The question is, in what kind ? And corn is, I fancy, now too late.
'Believe me, &c.
Lieut. General Viscount Wellington, K.B. to
C. Stuart, Esq.
' Villa Fermosa, 7th May, 1811.
' I have had the honor of receiving your letter of
the 2nd instant, and I have to inform you that Mr. Dunmore has orders to pay
the chest of the " Aids" the sum of 100,000 dollars recently received from
' It follows as a consequence of the arrangement of the 6th
of March, for supplying with provisions the greatest part of the Portuguese
army, that the sum paid monthly as subsidy must be diminished. Under that
arrangement the expense of the provisions was to be deducted monthly from the
amount of the subsidy. The expense of the British Commissariat has been
increased in consequence of the arrangement, and of course it is possible to
allot only a diminished proportion of the monthly receipts to the chest of the
" Aids. "
' I see no mode, therefore, by which the distresses of the
Portuguese Government can be effectually relieved, and they can be enabled to
transmit to Sir William Beresford the money which he requires to pay for
supplies in Spain, excepting only by the adoption of some of those measures so
repeatedly recommended to them to increase their own resources.
' I have the honor to be, &c.
Lieut. General Viscount Wellington, K.B., to
the Earl of Liverpool, Secretary of State,
' Villa Fermosa, 7th May, 1811.
' MY DEAR LORD,
' I had the honor of receiving yesterday
morning, by the messenger, your Lordship's letter of the 11th of April, to
which I proceed to reply without loss of time.
' Your Lordship will have observed in my recent reports of
the state of the Portuguese force, that their numbers are much reduced, and I
do not know what measure to recommend which will have the effect of restoring
' All measures recommended to the existing Government in
Portugal are either rejected, or are neglected, or are so executed as to be of
no value whatever; and the countenance which the Prince Regent of Portugal has
given to the Governors of the kingdom, who have uniformly manifested this
spirit of opposition to every thing proposed for the increase of the resources
of the Government., and the amelioration of their military system, must tend to
aggravate these evils.
' The radical defect, both in Spain and Portugal, is want of
money to carry on the ordinary operations of the Government, much more to
defray the expenses of such a war as that in which we are engaged.
' The increase of the subsidy by Great Britain will have no
direct effect in increasing the pecuniary means of the Portuguese Government,
as the greatest part of the increase must necessarily be given in kind, and
that which will be give will most probably be in lieu of what was irregularly
plundered from the country heretofore.
'On all these accounts I have urged the Portuguese
Government most earnestly to adopt every measure in their power to augment
their own pecuniary resources, but hitherto without much effect. And yet until
the amount of money at their command is increased, it will be impossible to
apply an effectual remedy to the evils which have gradually and continue daily
to decrease the numbers of the army.
' However, I am decidedly of opinion that if the British
Government are determined to do no more in the Peninsula than to maintain
themselves in Portugal, 30,000 effective British troops would be sufficient, to
be aided by a reserve maintained in Great Britain or Ireland, and ready to sail
at a moment's notice. But these troops ought to be effective; and I would beg
to refer your Lordship to the first letter which I addressed to you upon the
subject on the 14th of November, 1809.
' In respect to the second question which your Lordship has
referred for my consideration, viz., the use to be made of our existing force
in the present state of the Peninsula for active operations; I will inform your
Lordship what plan I intended to follow under the existing instructions, and
indeed, however they may be enlarged, something of the same kind must be done.
' The first object of our attention must be to regain
Badajoz. This is very important, not only in respect to Portugal, but to the
subsistence of Cadiz, the greatest part of which is, I understand, drawn from
the Condado de Niebia. If Badajoz were not regained, it could not be expected
the war could be maintained at all in the Condado de Niebia. The loss of
Badajoz is also very important in reference to the safety of Portugal. The
siege of Elvas might be opened immediately,
' Circumstances have enabled us to attempt to reduce Almeida
by blockade, at the same time that we attempt to obtain possession of Badajoz
by siege. A few days must bring the blockade to an issue ; but if I find that I
can neither maintain it. nor bring the enemy to a general action on terms which
I shall think advantageous, I shall have no scruple in giving it up; as I
undertook it not as a part of a plan, but as the consequence of our preceding
operations during Massena's retreat, upon finding by intercepted letters, and
other intelligence, that the place was but ill supplied with provisions.
' If we should obtain possession of Badajoz, circumstances
may render one or other of two lines of offensive operations expedient: viz.,
one directed to the south for the relief of Cadiz, remaining on the defensive
in Beira; the other, supposing Almeida to have fallen by blockade, to undertake
siege of Ciudad Rodrigo; or, if Almeida should not have by the blockade, to
undertake the siege of both places; and afterwards to push on our operations
into the heart of Spain, and open the communication with Valencia. This latter
plan, if practicable, would relieve Cadiz and the south of Spain as soon, and
as effectually, as the first mentioned.
' I consider myself authorized to undertake the first by the
existing instructions: the instructions must be altered to enable me to
undertake the second. Circumstances vary to such a degree in this extraordinary
war, every day, that it is impossible for me to say which plan would be best,
at the moment at which I should have it in my power to execute either.
' Just to give you a notion of the degree in which
circumstances have altered within this last month, which ought to weigh in
determining upon any of the operations which are now carrying on, or which must
be carried on in future, I mention to you the detachment of a considerable body
of Spanish troops under General Blake from Cadiz ; on the other hand, the
removal of the King from Madrid, which will set at liberty a considerable force
which always attended his person ; the junction with Massena of all the French
cavalry in Old Castille, Leon, &c., while the army in Galicia, which was
kept in check by this cavalry. still remain inactive. Then all plans would be
overturned by the defeat of one of the Spanish corps which must co-operate with
us; or by the refusal of the
Spanish Government to co-operate with us according to any
plan founded on the reasonable system of security, on which alone I can venture
to act under your Lordship's instructions.
'All plans of offensive operation would also of course be
destroyed by the arrival in Spain of fresh reinforcements to the enemy's
' From this statement your Lordship will see how difficult
it is for me to lay down a plan of operations for the campaign. I have not yet
received the consent of Castaños and Blake to the plan of co-operation
which I proposed for the siege of Badajoz : and I have been obliged to write to
Beresford to desire him to delay the siege till they shall positively promise
to act as therein specified, or till I can go to him with a reinforcement from
hence. All that I can say is, therefore, that I shall carry on offensive
operations against the enemy as far as it may lie in my power, and as my
instructions will allow me, on one or the other of the plans which I have above
detailed to you, according to the best judgment which I may be able to form of
the situation of affairs at the time
' It will be necessary that you should continue to reinforce
us, and that you should send out to us particularly good horses for the cavalry
' I earnestly recommend to you not to undertake any of the
maritime operations on the coast of Spain upon which you have desired to have
my opinion. Unless you should send a very large force, you would scarcely be
able to effect a landing, and maintain the situation of which you might obtain
possession. Then that large force would be unable to move, or to effect any
object at all adequate to the expense or to the expectation which would be
formed from its strength, owing to the want of those equipments and supplies in
which an army landed from its ships must be deficient.
' It is in vain to hope for any assistance even in this way,
much less military assistance to such expeditions, from the Spaniards. The
first thing they would require uniformly would be money ; then arms,
ammunition, clothing of all descriptions, provisions, forage, horses, means of
transport, and every thing which your expedition would have a right to require
from them ; and after all, this extraordinary and perverse people would
scarcely allow the commander of your expedition to have a voice in the decision
on the plan of operations to be followed, when the whole should be ready to
' Depend upon it that Portugal should be the foundation of
all your operations in the Peninsula, of whatever nature they may be; upon
which point I have never altered my opinion. If they are to be
offeoffensivessive, and Spain is to be the theatre of them, your commanders
must be in a situation to be entirely independent of all Spanish authorities,
by which means alone they will be enabled to draw some resources from the
country, and some assistance from the Spanish armies.
' While writing upon this subject, I may as well reply to
your Lordship's official dispatch of the 11th ; No. 19.
' Of course all operations of an offensive nature must cease
if the battalions, mentioned in the memorandum enclosed in that dispatch, are
sent home before they shall be The plan which I would propose would be,
' First; to draft the seven battalions of the
Legion into the three others, and send home the officers and non commissioned
officers of the seven line battalions.
' Secondly; to form into six companies the 2nd
battalions of the 24th, 31st, 38th, 42nd, 53rd, 58th, and 66th, and to send
home to recruit, or to form the recruits, the officers and non commissioned
officers of the four companies drafted.
' Thirdly ; to send home entirely the 2nd
battalions of the 24th, 53rd, and 66th, as soon as they shall be relieved;
although, by the by, the last two are two of the best 2nd battalions we have.
' According to this plan we should reduce in some degree our
expense in this country. We should keep here officers inured to the climate,
and accustomed to the service; at the same time that we should send to England
officers and non commissioned officers to raise and train recruits. Indeed it
would be desirable if I were authorised from time to time to incorporate the
ten companies of a regiment into eight or six companies, according to their
numbers, and to send home to recruit, or train recruits, the officers and non
commissioned others of the drafted companies.
' Believe me, &c.