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noticed,* wrote home to the society at Lloyd's coffee-house, and to the principal manufacturing towns in Britain, setting forth how great a market had been opened to a great Tariety of English goods, And the ministry, as soon as they heard of the conquest of Buenos Ayres, sent thither a ship of war with a convoy of merchant-men; The market was overstocked; many adventurers suffered great loss, and sonic were ruiued. The conduct of sir Home Popliam was generally attributed to rapacity; his success, as far as his own interest wds eoncerned, in his projects, to a very plausible eloquence, and address in operating on the particular characters, prejudices, interests, and passions of men, and bodies of men. It had not been fully ascertained, that sir Home, though there was no reason to doubt his courage, had ever been placed in a situation to have a single shot fired at him; yet by a dextrous management of newspapers, he came to be called, by his numerous par. fisans, the gallant captain, the gal. lant commodore, the gallant sir Home Popham. His conduct was declared by a court-martial, held in March 1807, to be highly reprehensible in a British officer, and leading to a subversion of all military discipline, as well as subordination to government: and he was reprimanded accordingly.+ But the rharacter and conduct of men are judged of very much according to their fortune: sir Home mieht not, perhaps, have escaped with a mere
rebuke, If his trial had been delayed till, the final result was known of his expedition to the Rio de It Plata.
It was not greatly to be wondered at, that the British ministry did not shew great promptitude in support, ing an expedition unauthorized by government, and originating in such views as that of sir Home Popham's enterprise against Buenos Ayres. Besides, the views and hopes of Mr. Fox were wholly pacific. He was not disposed, it may be presumed, to send out an armament to the Biode-la-Plata, so lone as there was any hope that all differences with France might be settled by negotiation. But when the prospect of such a settlement became fainter and fainter every day, and at last vanished away, a reinforcement te the British troops was sent to La Plata, in October 1806, from England, under the command of sir Stimuel Auchmuty, and convoy of sir Charles Stirling, in the Ardent ship of war, who was appointed to supersede sir Home Popham in the naval department on that station. The transports were such bad sailers, that they were obliged, in their voyage, to go into Janeiro for water. He there received intelligence of the recapture of Buenos Ayres; but of our having possession of Maldonado, near the mouth of the river. The general, on his arrival at Maidonado, found our troops were without artillery, without stores of any kind, with only a few days' provision, and without any prospect of procuring more, without detaching a linpe force raanv miles into the country, exposed to the insults of a corps of 400 horse, that ho. vered round the English to infer, rept supplies. "The enemy," saya sir Samuel, "are armed with swords and masker*. They ride up, disBoaat, fire over the back of their horses, mount, and gallop off. All the inhabitants of this country are arrostoated to this mode of war. fare, and every inhabitant is an enemy." * Maldonado was an open 'own. and so situat«d, that with a small force it could not be rendered tenable. The only point that appeared assailable with propriety, as it had also doae to general Beres. ford, was Monte Video. He con. oared his resources equal to the enterprise, bnt he found it a most trduons undertaking. He had not entrenching.tools sufficient to make approaches; and, after a few days' ■ring, the whole powder in the fleet was reduced to 500 barrels, about fonr days' consumption: to add to h's difficulties, 4000 picked troops, with 24 pieces of cannon, ware rapidly approaching him. He therefore determined, if possible, to take the place by assault: in which de. siga, though with a heavy loss, he nappi y succeeded. For a detailed iccount of the rapture of Monte Video, it is unnecessary for us to do more, nor could we do any thing •• well, as to refer onr readers to *e London Gazette Extraordinary, April 12, 1807 f. This achieve
• See note or. lord Castlerengh's speech, in the house of commons, December 19, 1806.
f In his o»»n defence, he assumed a lofty tone, and said that the sum of his offence was no more than that it had been .his fate to have reduced the capitals of two of i he four great divisions of the world: meaniugiiueiios Ayres and the Cape •f Good Hope.
ment was characterized by a cheerful patience and alacrity, cool self, command, and persevering courage and intrtpidity, under difficulties and dangers uncoramon'y great, and som<' of them unexpected. A bat. terv as near as possib'e to the de. fence of Monte Video, though ex. posed to the superior fire of the enemy, which had been incessant during the whole of the siege, ef. fected a breach that was reported to be practicable, February 2. Orders were issued for the attack, an hour before daybreak on the ensuing morning; and a summons was sent to the governor in the evening, to surrender the town: to which message no answer was returned. At the appointed hour, our troops marched to the assault: they ap. proached near the breach before they were discovered: when a destructive fire opened upon them from every gun* that could bear upon them, as well as from the musketry of the garrison. Heavy as this fire was, our loss would have been comparatively trifling, if the breach had been open; but during the night, and under our fire, the enemy had barricadoed it with hides, so as to render it nearly impracticable. The night was extremely dark. The head of the column missed the breach; and when it was approached, it was so shut up that it was mistaken for the untouched wall. In this situ, ation, our men remained under a heavy fire for a quarter of an hour; when the breach was discerned by captain Renny, of the 40th light infantry, who gloriously fell, as he mounted ft. Our gallant soldiers mshed to it, and, difficult as it was of access, forced their way into the town. Cannon had been placed at the head of the principal streets, and their fire, for a short time, was destructive: but our troops advanced in all directions, clearing the streets nnd lotteries with their bayonets, and overturning their can. non. The 40th regiment, with co. lonel Browne, followed: they also missed the breach, and twice passed through the fire of the batteries before they found it. The 87th regiment was posted near the north gate, which the troops who entered at the breach were to open for them; but their ardour was so great," that they scaled the walls, and, as the troops within approached the gate, entered the town. At daylight everything wasln our possession, except the citadel, which made a shew of resistance, but soon surrendered; and early in the morning, the women were seen peaceably walking the streets. The num.' ber of British troops employed in the reduction of Monte Video, amounted to upwards of 4000, of which 1200 were engaged in the storm; that of the Spaniards to 60G0. The loss of the British, which fell chiefly on the storming column, was 600. The loss of the enemy was very great; about 800 killed, 500 wounded, and upwards of 2000 officers and men, including the governor, prisoners. There was no discordancy of sentiments or views between the commanders of the army and fleet in the expedition
* l*tler from sir S. Aurhmutv to the right honourable William Windham, Monte Video, February 7, 1806.
t Containing a dispatch from sir S. Auchmuty to the right honourable William ••lodhani, Monte Video. February 6, 1807. The reports of our commanders, Kiherio onoonlaminated by the base artifices of the foreign bulletins, abridge the touof tlie annalist; which, in attempts to extricate the truth out of French and "'•her gazettes, is exeessive.
P 3 captain
against-Monte Video. The utmost cordiality subsisted between the genera' and rear-admiral Stirling, from whom the general received the roost friendly attention, and every thing in his power to grant. The merit of our soldiers was greatly enhanced by the bravery of their opponents. Sir Charles Stirling, in his letter to Mr. Windham, Monte Video, February 8, says, " It has been much the custom to speak slightly of the resistance to be expected from the Spaniards in this country, and with confidence of the facility which has been given to naval operations, by a prior kne-wledge of the river: but the battles lately fought prove the former opinion to be erroneous; and experience proves that all the information hitherto acquired had not prevented the most formidable difficulties." *
Before intelligence was received of the recapture of Buenos Ayres, in August, by the Spaniards, it was hoped by the British ministry, that an expedition to the west might meet with the same success which, it was yet believed, had attended his majesty's arms on the east coast of South America. With a view to this object, and to the opening and facilitation of a commercial intercourse with the interior of the country, a force of 4200 men was sent out, nnder the command of brigadier-general Craufurd, at the end of October 1806", accompanied with a competent naval force under that of admiral Murray. The choice of the course to be steered, whether to the eastward, by the way of New South Wales, or to the westward, round Cape Horn, was left to adi-;iral Murray, who, it appears, proceeded in the eastern direction, as far as the Cape of Good Hope. It was explained to the general, that the object of the expedition was the capture of the seaports and fort, ressej, and the reduction of the province of Chili. It was not, however, intended, that military operations should pass beyond the limits of Chili, as, by extending these to Peru, and attempting the rapture of Lima, an enterprise might be undertaken disproportion, ate to the means of execution, and which, by fai'ure, might even risk the loss of what might have previ. •usly been obtained in Chi i; an event which, it was stated to general Craufurd, would materially counteract the farther views of go. vernment, as to future operations oa a more extended scale, in which the force under his command might he destined to co-operate: and he nas always to bear in mind, that the establishment and retention of a strong mi'itary post on the west coast of South America, from which .future operations might be carried on, was the main object of his en. terprise. If he should succeed in reducing the province of Chili, or any portion thereof, he was directed to employ al4 the means in his power, whether of authority or conciliation, to prevent among the inhabitants a spirit of insurrection. His princi. pal efforts were always to be directed to the maintenance of internal order and tranquillity in the territories occupied by his majesty's arms, and even in the territories adjacent thereto, where the general was by no means to encourage any acts of insurrection or revolt, or any measures tending likely to any other change than that of placing the
• As had heen experienced, in the course of the preceding year, by sir Home, who had credited and Spread those reports.
country under his majesty's protection and government. It was alsu his majesty's pleasure, that the same rights and functions should be continued, as much as possible, to each class of the inhabitants, that they had hitherto enjoyed and ex. ercised; preserving to them the form of their former government, subject only to the changes which the sub. stitution of his majesty's authority for that of the king of Spain, might render inevitable, with respect either to the individuals employed in the administration of the attairs of the' province, or to the laws and regulations by which it was then go. verned. All such measures were to be adopted as should appear to be best ca dilated for improving the condition and conciliating the good, will of the inhabitants: among vvhich changes, the abolition of the capi. tation tax, at present imposed on the Indians, and of the different commercial restrictions and monopolies imposed by the Spanish go. vernment, were to be inc uded. It was his majesty's will, that in se. lecting men for employments under his government, particularly in in. stances of financial or judicial of. fices, natives of South America should in all cases be preferred to Spaniards; and that, in all instances where the former could with any propriety be preferred to the latter, the change should be made All the commercial regulations estab. lished by his mnjesty"s privy coun.' cil for the trade of Buenos Ayres, were, as nearly as circumstances would admit, to be extended to all the other posses ions which his majesty miiht acquire in South Ame. rica. But the part of the general's conduct, in the event of the reduction of Chili, or any portion of it, P 4 requiring
requiring most caution, would be, that which related to the assurances to be given to the inhabitants, in proclamations or otherwise, as to the support zchich they might expect on the conclusion of- a peace. On this head, he .could not follow a better rule than that observed by brigadier-general Beresford, of abstaining from all declarations by which his majesty would stand pledged to any condition which it might eventually be found inconvenient or difficult to fulfil. The inhabitants would witness the extent to which his majesty's authority would have been established amongst them, and would judge of the reluctance with which he would relinquish possessions likely to prove so highly beneficial to the interests of his kingdom ; and upon this judgment they were to be left to regulate their conduct. But no assurance could with propriety be given to them, other than that of protection, so long as his majesty's troops should remain in force in the country, and of an anxious^ zcish on the part of his majesty, so to regulate the conditions of any future peace, as to leave them no cause for apprehen ion. If the general should succeed in obtaining possession of Valparaiso and St. Jago, or establishing any other sufficient footing in Chili, he was instructed to take the earliest possible means of apprising brigadier-general Beresford thereof, and of concerting with him the means of securing, by a chain of posts, or in any other adequate manner, an uninterrupted commu
nication, both military and com. mercial, between the provinces of Chili and Buenos Ayres.*
When intelligence was received of the recapture of Buenos Ayres by the Spanish soldiery, assisted by the townsmen, the Fly sloop of war was dispatched with orders to general Craufurd to proceed, not to Chili, but the Rio de la Plata, to join the British force under the command of sir Samuel Auchmcty. The sloop fortunately, as was then supposed, arrived before the general left the Cape of Hood Hope. Ge. neral Craufurd, agreeably to orders, set sail from the Cape in April, and arrived in La Plata on the 14th of June. After this junction between the two generals, thn whole Brrtish force in l.a Plata was computed at 9,51/0 men. "As it had been thought adviscable, (to use the words of the secretary of state for the department of war and colonics,) that an officer of high rank, as well as talents and judgment, should be sent to take the command of such of his majesty's forces as were at that time employed, or likely soon to be employed, in the southern provinces of South Ame. rica, it was his majesty's pleasure to make choice for that purpose of general Wbitelocke." The general accordingly set sail for his destination early in March, carrying along with him an additional force of ) 030 men; of which there was a troop of horse-artillery to the num. ber of 130, dismounted, with bar. ness and appointments.+ The general service intrusted to his care.
* Most secret letter from the ri^ht honourable William Windham to brigadiergeneral Craufurd, October SO, 1806.
t Letter from ?>Ir. secretary Windham, containing instructions to lieutenantgeneral Whitclocke, March 5, 180?.