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ORIGINAL DISPATCHES FROM THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON TO SIR CHARLES STUART, BRITISH ENVOY TO PORTUGAL JANUARY 1810-OCTOBER 1812 Following his successful career in India Wellington took command in 1809 of the British forces pitted against Napoleon’s army in the Peninsula. After victories at Oporto and Talavera in that year, he was elevated to the peerage as Viscount Wellington and also assumed the supreme command of the Portuguese Army. The recipient of these letters, Sir Charles Stuart, later 1st Baron Stuart de Rothesay (1770-1845), was an aristocrat who had a highly successful diplomatic career very much connected with Wellington’s exploits in the Peninsula War and later in France and northern Europe. He was the son of Lt Gen Sir Charles Stuart and grandson of John, 3rd Earl of Bute. He married a daughter of the 3rd Earl Hardwicke and his own daughters married Earl Canning and the Marquess of Waterford. His diplomatic career began in 1801 in Vienna and then moved to France and Spain before he became the British representative in Portugal in 1810 where he was the conduit between Wellington and theBritish Government. He later served at The Hague and as Ambassador at Paris (1815-1830) and St Petersburg. His large archive of letters was dispersed by auction in the 1850s. 68* Wellington (Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke, 1769-1852). Two private letters addressed to Sir C Stuart KB, each in Wellington’s own hand relating to Stuart’s grant of his knighthood, signed and dated Badajoz Oct 20 th 1812 & Seville 6 AM Oct 25th 1812, the first written on four sides of a small folded sheet of writing paper and the second written on two sides of a folded sheet These two letters concern Sir Charles Stuart’s request that Wellington should invest him with the Order of the Bath at Lisbon. Wellington expresses the opinion that this is not a necessary ceremony but says he will do it if required. He goes on to say that if he is to travel to Lisbon for this ceremony he ‘would wish you to order six horses or mules for my carriage to Estremoz’. He goes on to itemise his requirements for relays of horses at various places. Ever one for entertainment Wellington adds that ‘If I should go to Lisbon to invest you, you must order a feast or a Ball, & invite the whole town ...’. The second letter assures the Ambassador that he will reach Lisbon with his Order.
70* Wellington (Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke, 1769-1852). An autograph letter on three sides of a folded sheet of folio paper to C Stuart, Esq, signed Wellington, dated Gouvea, September 14th 1810 An interesting dispatch which gives details of the treatment of prisoners, and the current state of the French army. Wellington refers to ‘a person who is in the British service by the name of Le Court, whom the Government have decided to send out of Portugal... It will be very inconvenient to the army to do so... Mr. Le Court was employed by me to take care of the French prisoners going home from Oporto last year’, and he continues ‘I have heard that the Mob of Lisbon attacked Colonel Pavetti who I lately sent down to Lisbon as a Prisoner & one of our Officers who was in charge of him... they ended by attacking Sir John Cradock’s House, and I believe Villiers’ Servants were insulted’. The letter finishes with an update ‘I think that the French have got a reinforcement, not only from Nantes but from a corps which was at Versailles. I find three battalions, which were at Nantes in June, now in Junot’s corps, and one battalion which was at Versailles, in Ney’s.’ Gurwood, Dispatches of Field Marshal The Duke of Wellington, 1838, Volume VI, pages 440-441. (1) £400-600
Wellington’s Anglo-Portuguese army had besieged Burgos in northern Spain between the 19th of September and the 21st of October 1812. These two private letters, from their hurried script and locations, express Wellington’s exasperation at having to deal with arrangements for investing Sir Charles with his Order of the Bath in Lisbon, while he is fully occupied in land warfare with the enemy. Not in Gurwood, Dispatches of Field Marshal The Duke of Wellington, 1838. (2) £500 - £700
71* Wellington (Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke, 1769-1852). An autograph letter on eight sides of two folded folio sheets to C Stuart, Esq, signed Wellington, dated Cartaxo, Jany. 3rd 1811 This dispatch to the Envoy in Lisbon describes Wellington’s plans for billeting officers of the British Army in Portuguese households at Lisbon. He insists that the Portuguese ‘should also be encouraged to complain of any Officer who treats them ill, or who requires more from his landlord than the General Order entitles him to...’ Wellington expresses the need to respect the dignity of local magistrates, and in short needs the Army to recognise that they are not occupying enemy territory but living alongside an ally. Wellington goes on to give a lengthy opinion on the unreliability of the Portuguese: ‘I never entertained a doubt that Dom Miguel Forjaz would make the best arrangement, and give all the necessary orders for the performance of any service: but there exists in the people of Portugal an unconquerable love of their ease, which is superior even to their fear and detestation of the enemy… Thus every arrangement is defeated, and every order disobeyed with impunity…’. Gurwood, Dispatches of Field Marshal The Duke of Wellington, 1838, Volume VII, pages 101-103 (1) £300-400
69* Wellington (Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke, 1769-1852). A six page letter dated Viseu, March 6th 1810, written in a secretarial hand on two bifolia of paper watermarked John Wise 1802 and signed Wellington The letter, addressed to Charles Stuart, shows the degree of detailed distractions which the Commander in Chief had to deal with while fighting a war in the Peninsula. He is reporting to the British minister in Lisbon on his enquiry into a case of complaint about a British soldier who, it was claimed, killed a local man who refused to mend his boots. General points are made about the habitual lack of evidence that could be used at a court martial and the lengths to which Wellington went to maintain discipline. “It is unfortunately but too true that outrages of all descriptions are committed by the British Soldiers in this Country notwithstanding the pains taken by me and the General and other superior officers of the Army to prevent them; and to punish those who commit them.... I know of no means which have not already been adopted to endeavour to keep the British Soldiers in order. Detachments are never allowed to march excepting under the Command of an Officer; and the most strict orders have been given for the regulation of the conduct of the Soldiers when so employed....” Gurwood, Dispatches of Field Marshal The Duke of Wellington, 1838, Volume V, pages 549-550. (1) £400-600
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Military, Aviation & Transport History | 16 May 2019 | High Res