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The Reign of George III. - (Continued.)


Wellington in Spain - Soult withdrawn by Buonaparte to meet the Russians - The French driven out of Andalusia, Estremadura, Aragon, and Biscay - Lord Wellington made Commander-in-Chief of the Spanish Forces - King Joseph finally evacuates Madrid - Battle of Vittoria - Blockade of Pamplona - Wellington in the Pyrenees - Soult sent back to resist Wellington - Battles in the Passes - Battle of San Sebastian- Wellington crosses the Bidasoa into France - Welcomed by the Inhabitants - St. Jean de Luz - Wellington before Bayonne in December - Movements of the English in the South of Spain - Siege of Tarragona- Arrival of Lord William Bentinck from Sicily - Troops embarked for Alicante - French evacuate Tarragona - Bentinck repulsed by Suchet at Villa Franca - Returns to Sicily - General Clinton left in Command- Buonaparte musters New Forces - Appears, in the Spring of 1813, in Germany with Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand Men - Murat returns to head the Cavalry - Maria Louisa appointed Regent during Buonaparte's absence - Alexander of Russia advances into Prussia - Is joined by the King of Prussia - Armistice offered to Napoleon, and refused- Alliance betwixt Russia and Prussia - The French evacuate Berlin and Dresden - Rising all over Germany - Pomerania, Mecklenburg, and Hamburg cleared of the French - The Allies occupy Leipsic - Repulsed by Buonaparte at Lützen and Bautzen - Great Britain joins the Coalition of Russia and Prussia - French recover Dresden - Armistice agreed to - News of the English victory at Vittoria encourages the Allies - The Armistice expires without result - Enormous advances of Money to Russia, Prussia, and Sweden - Austria joins the Coalition - Vandamme defeated and taken prisoner in Bohemia - Oudinot and Ney beaten by Bernadotte - Blücher beats the French at Katzbach - Bavaria joins the Allies - Deaths of General Moreau and of Theodore Körner - Defeat of Buonaparte at Leipsic - He retreats over the Rhine - Recovery of all the Prussian Fortresses - Holland rises against the French, and is aided by England - Bernadotte overruns Denmark - Switzerland opens to the March of the Allies - England sends an Army to Holland - Buonaparte treats with Ferdinand of Spain - Wellington advances into France - Victory of Orthez - Wellington occupies Bourdeaux - Ferdinand of Spain is liberated, and reaches that country - British Victory at Toulouse - News of the Abdication of Buonaparte reaches the South - A Convention signed betwixt Wellington and Soult - Base Sally of General Thouvenel from Bayonne - Congress of Chatillon-sur-Seine - The Allies cross the Rhine - Buonaparte repulses Blucher at Brienne and La Rothière - Advance of Schwarzenberg and Blucher on Paris - The Allies in Paris - Abdication of Napoleon - He is sent to Elba - Louis XVIII. is proclaimed - The Allied Sovereigns in London - Norway given to Sweden - Hanover returned to England - The Austrians recover Upper Italy - The King of Sardinia restored - Murat retires to Naples - Restoration of the Pope - Ferdinand proclaimed in Spain - The Duke of Wellington arrives in London - Vote of Honours and an Estate to him - Sent as Ambassador to Paris.
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The year 1813 opened in England with high hopes. The defeat of Napoleon in Russia, and the destruction of his army, opened prospects of at length seeing this ambitious and unprincipled man, who had drenched all Europe in blood, brought down and removed from the scene. Lord Liverpool had for some time predicted that one day an English army would march into Paris, and encamp on the Bois de Boulogne, and now it really seemed probable. The nations of the north and centre of Europe were mustering to follow the aggressor home, and lord Wellington, in Spain, was daily advancing towards the southern frontiers of France by victory after victory. True, there was much yet to be done, and enormous calls on the wealth of England to be made; and at this time, whilst England and all Europe were engaged in this mighty contest, the people of the United States, instead of sympathising with the great occasion, were doing all they could to divide our attention and weaken our hands. There were warm debates in parliament on the American question, but government carried addresses expressing approbation of the course which England had taken in regard to the United States. But this annoying quarrelsomeness of our American relations tended necessarily to raise the amount of the budget, already too much swelled by the aids to Russia and our contest in Spain. The supplies demanded were seventy-two million pounds - more than had been granted in any former year. Amongst the ways and means were a fresh loan of twenty-one million pounds, and rate of credit for six million pounds. It was, however, some consolation that the nation began to see the beginning of the end.

Before pursuing the immediate story of Buonaparte and his now pursuers from the north, we will narrate the progress of lord Wellington during this year. It was a favourable circumstance for him that, although he continued to receive no little trouble, impediment, and discouragement from the proud and thankless Spaniards, the turn of affairs in the north compelled Napoleon to withdraw some of his best troops and his best general from that country, to aid him in his new campaign against Russia, Sweden, and Germany. He had altogether two hundred and seventy thousand men in Spain, in one quarter or other, to oppose the small Anglo- Italian army in the south, and the miscellaneous army under lord Wellington - amounting only to about seventy thousand men. He therefore withdrew one hundred and fifty skeletons of battalions from Spain - amounting, nevertheless, to only about twenty thousand men - as a means, of disciplining his young conscripts. What was of far more consequence, he withdrew Soult - the only general that occasioned Wellington much trouble. The nominal commander-in-chief of the French armies in Spain was king Joseph, but the real commanders were marshal Jourdan and generals Clausel and Foy in the north, general Reille at Valladolid, Drouet at Madrid, and Suchet at Toledo.

The Spaniards had at length made lord Wellington commander-in-chief of the Spanish armies, but this appointment was little more than nominal, for the Spanish generals continued as forward and insubordinate as ever; and the Spanish government was poorer than ever, its remittances from the South American colonies, which were asserting their independence, being all stopped. Lord Wellington's dependence, therefore, continued to rest on his army of British and Portuguese - sixty-three thousand infantry and six thousand cavalry.

About the middle of May Wellington entered Spain, leading the centre division himself, the right being commanded by general Hill, and the left by Sir Thomas Graham, the victor of Barossa. As they advanced, the French hastily retreated towards Valladolid, thence towards Burgos; and by the 12th of June, Wellington being close on that city, they blew up the fortifications of the castle, and retreated beyond the Ebro, which they hoped to be able to defend. But Wellington left them no time to fortify themselves. On the 14th he crossed the Ebro; on the 16th he was in full march after them towards Vittoria, for they found the Ebro no defence, as he gave them no time to blow up the bridges. On the 16th and 17th major-general Alten harassed their rear, and dispersed a whole brigade in the mountains, killing considerable numbers, and taking three hundred prisoners. On the 19th they found the French army, commanded by Joseph Buonaparte, with Jourdan as his second and adviser, drawn up under the walls of Vittoria. It was so placed as to command the passages of the river Zadorra, and the three great roads from Madrid, Bilbao, and Logrono. Their left extended to the heights of La Puebla, and behind this, at the village of Gomecha, was posted a reserve. The position was remarkably strong, and commanded by the hills interesting to Englishmen as those where the Black Prince, in his day, had defeated the French army at Nagera, commanded by the gallant Duguesclin. Wellington took till the morning of the 21st to reconnoitre the position, and to concentrate his army for the attack.

In the morning of that day - a fine and sunny day - Sir Rowland Hill leading on our right, drove the French from the heights of La Puebla. This was not done without a severe struggle. The Spanish general, Morillo, led on his brigade bravely, and was wounded. The hon. colonel Cadogan, in the action on the heights, was also mortally wounded, but refused to quit the field, and was carried to an elevation where he could still watch the progress of the battle while he lived. General Hill then pushed the French across the river Zadorra and the defiles and heights beyond to the village of Subijana de Alava, which he took possession of, and the French left fell back on Vittoria. The other divisions, under lord Dalhousie, Sir Thomas Picton, and general Cole, also crossed the river at different bridges or fords, and everywhere drove the French before them. The scene from the heights, which were crowded with people, was one of the most animating ever beheld; the English everywhere advancing amid the roar of cannon and musketry, the French retiring everywhere on Vittoria. In the meantime, our left, under Sir Thomas Graham, having a considerable number of Spanish and Portuguese troops in it, advanced to the heights beyond the Zadorra, along the Bilbao road, and carried the villages of Gamarra Mayor, while the Spanish division of Longa carried that of Gamarra Monor. Both the Spanish and Portuguese troops behaved admirably. While major-general Robertson's brigade carried Gamarra Mayor, colonel Halkett's, supported by that of general Bradford, carried the village of Abechuco. Here a determined effort was made by the French to recover this post, but they were driven back by major-general Oswald, with the fifth division.

These points being all gained, the French were not left long in possession of Vittoria. They were pushed out of the town, and the whole united army joined in chasing them along the road towards Pamplona. So complete was the rout that, according to Wellington's - dispatch, they left behind them all their baggage, ammunition, every gun but one, and a howitzer.

So close were they upon king Joseph, that a party of the English, under captain Wyndham, came upon him in his carriage, and fired through the window. Joseph had the good fortune to escape to horse, and gallop off, but his carriage fell into the hands of the English, and it was found crammed with the most precious spoil of the churches and palaces of Spain. Amongst his baggage, which also was taken, were found some of the finest paintings of the Spanish masters, rich plate, including a splendid dinner-service, a splendid wardrobe, and a number of his women, for he was a perfect Sybarite in luxury and voluptuousness. No such scene was witnessed, except on the defeat of some eastern army. The officers had gorged themselves with the spoils of Spain, and here they were left, amid crowds of wives and mistresses, monkeys, poodles, parrots, silks, satins, and jewellery. The officers and soldiers had run for it, with nothing but their arms and their c10thes on their backs, and all along the roads leading from the city was one vast crowding, jostling mass of wagons, loaded with all sorts of rich spoils, splendid dresses, and wines, and money, and fine ladies in the most terrible hurry and fright. Sheep, cattle, lambs, like a great fair, were left behind, and became the booty of the pursuers. There was a vigorous bursting open of packages, and rich wardrobes of both officers and ladies were soon fluttering in the winds - gorgeous uniforms on the backs of common soldiers and Portuguese camp-followers - fine silks and satins, and laces and gold chains, on the persons and necks of common women. The military chest was seized, and the soldiers freely helped themselves to its contents. Lord Wellington says that the troops got about a million of money. Planks were placed from wagon to wagon, and a great auction was going on everywhere, the lucky captors converting everything possible - even the heavy Spanish dollars - into gold, as more convenient for carriage. The inhabitants of the city made rich bargains, besides managing to help themselves plentifully in the scramble.

The army of Joseph dispersed at full speed, and as our cavalry could not pursue them across the hedges and ditches, they managed to escape, and. made their way to Pamplona in one wild, chaotic herd. On the field they profess to have left eight thousand men in killed and wounded, but their loss was far greater. They left, also, one hundred and fifty- one pieces of brass ordnance, four hundred and fifteen caissons, more than forty thousand rounds of ammunition, nearly two million musket-ball cartridges, forty thousand six hundred and sixty-eight pounds of gunpowder, fifty-six forage wagons, and forty-four forge wagons. The allied army had killed, British, five hundred and one; Portuguese, one hundred and fifty; Spaniards, only eighty-nine: wounded, British, two thousand eight hundred and seven; Portuguese, eight hundred and ninety-nine; Spanish, four hundred and sixty-four. Lord Wellington reported the conduct of almost every officer engaged as admirable. King Joseph did not stop till he was safe, for a time, within the strong walls of Pamplona; but the garrison there would not admit the rabble herd of fugitives, but sent them off like enemies; and they were forced to continue their flight into the Pyrenees.

News of this most extraordinary defeat acted on the French, on all sides, like the concussion of some violent explosion. They fell back and fled in confusion before any enemy appeared. General Clausel, who was advancing from Logrono with fifteen thousand men, fled back to Saragossa with such precipitation, and thence through the central Pyrenees into France, that he left all his artillery and most of his baggage on the road. The same was the case with general Foy, who fled from Bilbao to Bayonne in hot haste, ' with general Graham at his heels. Except at San Sebastian and Pamplona, where the garrisons were soon besieged, the French were scarcely to be found in Spain, except those with Suchet in the south-east.

The moral effect of this great victory was instant all over Europe. The allies in Germany, before inclined to treat with Buonaparte, at once altered their tone and their views. The uncertainty of Austria was now at an end. Russia, Prussia, and all the minor states of Germany were filled with exultation, and England rose to the summit of martial reputation. From that moment events progressed steadily towards the union of Germany, and towards the great overthrow of Napoleon in the battle of the nations at Leipsic.

Pamplona and San Sebastian being invested, lord Wellington proceeded with his main army to occupy the passes of the Pyrenees. These, Wellington, in his dispatches, says amounted to about seventy, and, in the service of securing these, he complains that he was left very much without the necessary supplies for his army. The English government had, from some cause - he supposed to send them against the Americans - reduced the number of convoys, and many of our store-ships were taken by the French frigates and privateers. It was as much in vain as ever to expect the Spaniards to do anything to supply the deficiency, after all that the English had done for them. As fast as they got rid of the French, they busied themselves in making war on the clergy, and putting them down. His lordship was, therefore, continually obliged to arrest his marches to wait for provisions. Notwithstanding, by the 7th of July, he had driven Joseph Buonaparte clean through the mountains into France, chased Clausel beyond Tudela de Ebro, and taken his post on the very edge of France. Buonaparte, alarmed at the progress of Wellington, displaced Jourdan as incapable, and sent back Soult to do what neither he, nor Ney, nor Marmont, nor Massena had been able to do before they were necessarily displaced - that is, arrest the onward march of Wellington into France.

Soult hurried southward, collecting fresh forces to repel the conquering invader, and issued a proclamation, telling the French soldiers that they had at length taught the English to fight, and they must show them that they were still their superiors. Whilst Wellington was superintending the sieges of San Sebastian and Pamplona, Soult advanced, having gathered an army of nearly seventy thousand men, and, on the 25th of July, he suddenly attacked our out- posts simultaneously in the passes of Roncesvalles and of Maya. Both these passes converged into one leading to Pamplona, where Soult hoped to raise the siege. He him- self led on thirty thousand fresh men up the Roncesvalles pass against generals Cole and Picton, who had about ten thousand to oppose him. He compelled them to retreat to some greater elevations, but with considerable loss, and he hoped there to have them joined by general D'Erlon, who had ascended the Maya pass, with thirteen thousand strong, against general Stewart, who had only four or five thousand men to oppose him. The conflict there had been terrible; the English fighting and giving way only step by step against the superior force. The awful struggle went on, five thousand feet above the plains of France, amid clouds and fogs. Stewart did not fall back till he had sixteen hundred of his small force killed and wounded, and the defiles were actually blocked up with the slain.

Matters were at this pass when lord Wellington, who had heard of the attack, at his head-quarters at Lezaco, two days before, came galloping up on the morning of the 27th. He found Soult only two leagues from Pamplona, and saw him so near that he could plainly discern his features. Wellington caused his own presence to be announced to his two bodies of troops, and they answered the announcement with loud cheers. That day the troops of Soult were pushed backwards by a regiment of the Irish, and a body of Spanish infantry, at the point of the bayonet. The next day, the 28th, the French were driven down still further. On the 29th both armies rested, but on the 30th the fight was renewed with fury; but Picton and Dalhousie, being sent across the mountains in opposite directions, managed to turn both flanks of Soult, and the French fled precipitately as far as Olaque. There the pursuing troops fell in with the right of the French, which had been worsted by Sir Rowland Hill. In the darkness the French continued their flight, and the next morning were found in full retreat for France. The English gave chase, and made many prisoners, taking much baggage. These battles, which have been named " The Battles of the Pyrenees," Wellington describes as some of the most severe that he ever saw. He states the loss of the English in killed at one thousand five hundred, but in killed and wounded at six thousand. The French, he says, admitted that they had lost fifteen thousand men, and he therefore gave them credit for the loss being much more. On one occasion Wellington surprised Soult, and had so laid his plans for surrounding him that he felt sure of capturing him; but three drunken English soldiers, rambling carelessly beyond the outposts, were taken, and let out the secret of Wellington being hidden close at hand, behind the rocks, and thus saved the French commander. A second time he was saved by the Spanish generals, Longa and Barcenas, not being at their posts in a narrow defile near St. Estevan, where he could only pass by a slender bridge. Still the English were at his heels, and committed dreadful havoc on his troops in this pass. The next day, the 2nd of August, there was a fresh encounter with Soult's forces near the town of Echalar, where they were again beaten, and driven from a lofty mountain called Ivantelly. Soult retired behind the Bidasoa, and concentrated his routed forces; and Wellington, having once more cleared the passes of the Pyrenees of the French, gave his army some rest, after nine days of incessant and arduous action, where they could look out over the plains of France, which they were ere long to traverse. But the army had not much rest here. The French made determined efforts to raise the siege of San Sebastian, while Wellington was as active in endeavouring to force Pamplona to capitulate. Un- fortunately he had still scarcely any proper men or tools for siege-work. He had long urged on the government the formation of companies of sappers and miners. But, after eighteen months, they had formed only one Company, whilst, as Wellington informed the government, there was no French corps d'armée which had not a battalion of them. This first British Company of sappers and miners came out on the 19th of August, and were immediately set to work. Sir George Collier sent his sailors to assist, and on the 31st Wellington considered that he had made sufficient breach for storming. But that morning Soult sent across the Bidasoa a strong body of French to attack the besiegers. These were met by a division of eight thousand Spaniards, who allowed the French to ascend the heights of San Marcial, on which they were posted, and then, with a shout, charged with the bayonet down kill, at which sight the French instantly broke, and ran for it. They were pursued to the river, in which many plunged, and were drowned. In the afternoon, Soult sent over again fifteen thousand men, having put across a pontoon bridge. These, under the eye and encouragement of lord Wellington, were charged again by the Spaniards, and routed as before; many again rushing into the river, and the rest, crushing upon the bridge, broke it down, and perished in great numbers also. The Portuguese troops likewise met and defeated another detachment of French, who had come by another way. These were supported by our own troops, under general Inglis, and with the same result. Wellington was highly delighted to see the Spaniards thus, at length, doing justice to their native valour under British discipline, and praised them warmly. Soult is said to have lost two thousand men.

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