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Wellington's Dispatches
June 25 - 30, 1808


Lieut. General the Hon. Sir A. Wellesley, KB., to Brigadier General General the Hon. C. Stuart.

' Dublin Castle, 25th June, 1802.

My Dear Charles

' I enclose some papers which I have received respecting the state of the transports at Cork. The troops are certainly too much crowded, and I recommend those which can be quartered within one day's march of Cork, may be landed, unless it be certain that we shall go immediately. The troops would be on board before I should get to Cork, if they should be landed and marched only one day's march into the country; and they would certainly benefit by this arrangement.

' Believe me, &c.;

Lieut. General the Hon. Sir A. Wellesley, K.B., to Major General Hill.

' Dublin Castle, 29th June, 1808.

My Dear Hill

' I received your letter of the 27th this morning, and I am glad to find that you can make arrangements for landing the corps so frequently. It will tend much to the health of the men, and will make them feel less unpleasantly the heat and confinement of the transports.

' There is camp equipage complete, including haversacks and canteens for 4000 men, on board the Grinfield, which sailed from Portsmouth on the 21st of June; and for the same number on board the Tuscan, which sailed from Portsmouth on the 23rd.

' As soon as these vessels shall arrive, you will direct the regiments to make returns for the number of canteens and haversacks that they may require, which are to be issued upon these returns from the Quarter Master General's stores. But they are to be kept in their packages in the regimental store of each regiment, and are not to be issued to the soldiers until further orders shall be given.

' Believe me, &c.

Viscount Castlereagh, Secretary of State, to Lieut. General the Hon. Sir A. Wellesley, K.B.

' Downing Street, 30th June, 1808


' The occupation of Spain and Portugal by the troops of France, and the entire usurpation of their respective governments by that power, has determined his Majesty to direct a corps of his troops, as stated in the margin, to be prepared for service, to be employed, under your orders, in counteracting the designs of the enemy, and in according to the Spanish and Portuguese nations every possible aid in throwing off the yoke of France.

' You will receive, enclosed, the communications which have been made by the deputies of the principality of Asturias, and the kingdom of Galicia, to his Majesty's government, together with the reply which his Majesty has directed to be made to their demand of assistance.

' I also enclose a statement of the supplies which have been already dispatched to the port of Gijon, for the use of the people of Asturias.

' As the deputies from the above provinces do not desire the employment of any corps of his Majesty's troops in the quarter of Spain, from whence they are immediately delegated, but have rather pressed, as calculated to operate a powerful diversion in their power, the importance of directing the efforts of the British troops to the expulsion of the enemy from Portugal, that the insurrection against the French may thereby become general throughout that kingdom, as well as Spain, it is, therefore, deemed expedient that your attention should be immediately directed to that object,

' The difficulty of returning to the northward, with a fleet of transports, at this season of the year, renders it expedient that you should, in the first instance, proceed with the armament under your orders off Cape Finisterre. You will, yourself, precede them in a fast sailing frigate to Coruna, where you will have the best means of learning the actual state of things, both in Spain and Portugal; and of judging how far the corps, under your immediate orders, either separately or reinforced by Major General Spencer's corps, can be considered as of sufficient strength to undertake an operation against the Tagus.

' If you should be of opinion, from the information you may receive, that the enterprise in question cannot be under taken without waiting for reinforcements from home, you will communicate, confidentially, to the Provisional Government of Galicia, that it is material to the interests of the common cause that your armament should be enabled to take an anchorage to the northward of the Tagus, till it can be supported by a further force from home; and you will make arrangements with them, for having permission to proceed with it to Vigo, where it is conceived it can remain with not less security than in the harbour of Ferrol, and from which it can proceed to the southward with more facility than from the latter port.

' In case you should go into Vigo, you will send orders to Major General Spencer to join you at that place, should he have arrived off the Tagus, in consequence of the enclosed orders; and you will also transmit home such information as may enable his Majesty's ministers to take measures for supporting your corps from hence.

'With a view to the contingency of your force being deemed unequal to the operation, an additional corps of ten thousand men has been ordered to be prepared for service, and which, it is hoped, may be ready to proceed in about three weeks from the present time. I enclose such information as we are in possession of with respect to the enemy's force in Portugal; a considerable proportion of which is said to have been lately moved to Almeida, on the north-eastern frontier. You will, no doubt' be enabled to obtain more recent information at Corona, in aid of which Lieut. Colonel Browne has been ordered to proceed to Oporto, and to meet you, with such intelligence as he can procure, off Cape Finisterre.

' An officer of engineers, acquainted with the defences of the Tagus, has also been sent off the Tagus to make observations, and to prepare information for your consideration with respect to the execution of the proposed attack on the Tagus. The result of his inquiries he will be directed to transmit also to the rendezvous off Cape Finisterre, remaining himself off the Tagus till your arrival.

' You are authorized to give the most distinct assurances to the Spanish and Portuguese people, that his Majesty, in sending a force to their assistance, has no other object in view than to afford them the most unqualified and disinterested support; and in any arrangements that you may be called upon to make with either nation, in the prosecution of the common cause, you will act with the utmost liberality and confidence, and upon the principle that his Majesty's endeavors are to be directed to aid the people of Spain and Portugal in restoring and maintaining against France the independence and integrity of their respective monarchies.

' In the rapid succession in which events must be expected to follow each other, situated as Spain and Portugal now are, much must be left to your judgment and decision on the spot.

' His Majesty is graciously pleased to confide to you the fullest discretion to act according to circumstances, for the benefit of his service, and you may rely on your measures being favorably interpreted, and receiving the most cordial support.

' You will facilitate, as much as possible, communications between the respective provinces and colonies of Spain, and reconcile, by your good offices, any differences that may arise between them in the execution of the common purpose.

' Should any serious division of sentiment occur, with respect to the nature of the Provisional government which is to act during the present interregnum, or with respect to the Prince in whose name the legal authority is considered as vested by the captivity or abdication of certain branches of the royal family, you will avoid, as far as possible, taking any part in such discussions, without the express authority of your government.

'You will however, impress upon the minds of persons in authority, that, consistently with the effectual assertion of their independence, they cannot possibly acknowledge the King or Prince of Asturias, as, at present, possessing any authority whatever, or consider any act done by them as valid, until they return within the country, and become absolutely free agents. That they never can be considered free so long as they shall be prevailed on to acquiesce in the continuance of French troops either in Spain or Portugal.

' The entire and absolute evacuation of the Peninsula, by the troops of France, being, after what has lately passed, the only security for Spanish independence, and the only basis upon which the Spanish nation should be prevailed upon to treat or to lay down their arms.

' I have the honor to be, &c.

Viscount Castlereagh, Secretary of State, to Lieut. General the Hon. Sir A. Wellesley, K.B.

' Downing Street, 30th June, 1808,


' Since my instructions to you, No. 1, were closed, advices have been received from Sir Charles Cotton, off the Tagus. The intelligence, therein conveyed, does not require that I should vary any part of those instructions, except in so far as to direct that, instead of going yourself to Coruna, you should send a confidential officer to that port, to execute that part of your instructions, and to meet you off Cape Finisterre, or to follow you to the Tagus. You will, of course, feel it of the most pressing importance, that your armament should proceed to the Tagus, not separating yourself from it, with the least possible delay. The artillery preparation, which was ordered to be in readiness for 1st July, with a view to another service, has been embarked with six additional 10 inch mortars, and will sail from the river to-morrow. It will be directed to proceed immediately off the Tagus. Two additional battalions, at present cantoned in the neighbourhood of Cork, the 36th and 14th, consisting of about 1200 men, have been ordered to embark, and join your force; for the reception of which, and to prevent the troops already embarked from being too much crowded, 3000 tons of transports sailed this day from the Downs, with a fair wind; as did also the 20th Light Dragoons from Portsmouth. I consider, therefore, every part of your equipment has been forwarded from hence; and, I trust, you will find the whole ready to proceed upon your arrival at Cork. But if the two last regiments should not have been actually embarked, you will not delay your departure, but will order them to follow you off the Tagus. 30,000 stand of arms, and an equal number of pikes, have been sent, which you will make such use of as the public service may appear to you to require. A supply of money has also been sent for the use of your troops. Any demands for military stores, which you may receive from the provinces which have declared against France, you will send home, and it will be the earnest wish of his Majesty's Government to comply with them as far as circumstances will permit. With respect to the money, £200,000 has been ordered to be sent to Ferrol, for the immediate use of the Spanish patriots, till further arrangements can be made. It would much facilitate their financial operations, if they could give circulation in Spain to a paper currency, secured upon their South American finances;-this, together with a moderate duty upon imposts, would furnish them with immediate resources, and, in proportion as a currency of the nature alluded to could be thrown into circulation, it would have the effect of attaching the soldiers to the national cause..

' I mention this subject that, in any communication you may have with the persons in authority, you may press it on their attention.

' I have the honor to be, &c.;

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