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  1. kicking the hornets nest Manual
  2. A Despite Of Hornets (Napoleon's Spanish Ulcer)

Dependant entirely upon Britain for her defense and gradual rebuilding of a credible military force, Portugal nonetheless made an effective ally in the Peninsular War, with Lisbon serving as the Anglo-Portuguese COG. The principal reasons for this British victory rests with two distinctly related French weaknesses in the Iberian Peninsula: logistics and sea power. The Peninsular War served as a source of strategic consumption for the French army. Did this risky logistical and manpower transfer make possible the successful establishment of a complimentary center of gravity in Spain?

It is said that they have landed several hundred artillery men and sailors from their fleet which have joined up with the priests and populace, as well as with the troops that the Duke of Albuquerque has rallied on the island ofLeon. Since the destruction of the Spanish main fleet at Trafalgar in October , Spain had generally been quiescent in naval and military affairs with the 6 exception of providing Napoleon a levy of her best troops for duty in the Baltic. However, the specter of a rejuvenated Spain, imder competent and motivated French military leadership was a cause for serious concern.

The Royal Navy would be even more stressed in coping with the added weight of Spanish and Portuguese resources going towards the French naval establishment. Being surrounded on three sides by water she would be far more defensible by a numerically constrained force. Previous to the French Andalusian offensive of , Cadiz had been a liberal stronghold and growing middle class power in Spanish politics. After some turbulent political infighting the Central or Supreme Junta of Seville became the recognized de facto government of revolutionary Spain, while Madrid remained the traditional capital while under French domination.

Revolutionary Spain was never able to achieve a truly cohesive and representative government, resembling rather, a quarrelsome coalition forced together by necessity. However, having a British regent run Spain as they did with Portugal for the absent Portuguese king was not even remotely considered by the proud Spanish. The discredited and disgraced Supreme Junta fled Seville before the rapid and triumphant French advance, hastily abandoning the city while some of its more responsible delegates fled to Cadiz.

A melange of the former Supreme Jimta and the Cadiz Junta then formed a provisional revolutionary government eventually headed by a five man Regency to coordinate military operations and to politically consolidate the various revolutionary factions. This water barrier aroimd the Isla de Leon formed a formidable natural obstacle. The Santi Petri river was fully navigable by gunboats and small brigs and had numerous offshoots of canals and small inlets. Cadiz was the primary Spanish port coimecting the central government in Madrid with her revenue producing colonies in the Americas.

For several centuries the merchants and townspeople had enjoyed a royal monopoly with all trade fi-om America. Due to its relatively large middle class population its demographics were not representative of Spain as a whole. It was more cosmopolitan than the majority of Spain and in some circles was passionately committed to modernization, albeit under Spanish auspices.

The usurpation of the Spanish throne by Napoleon and subsequent invasion exacerbated the already existing maelstrom of civil unrest and contrary social, economic and religious policies and divisions. Many of these reforms, while necessary and often desirable, had just the opposite rather than the intended effect. Traditional segments of Spanish society, mainly the nobility and the Catholic Church, as well as the privileged Basque provinces, resisted the changes since many of their prerogatives and privileges would be drastically curtailed.

Godoy, already an unpopular figure due to his alleged adulterous affair with the queen, was unable to push through reforms due to his unpopularity, and in some cases, resistance fi'om the king himself in order to placate his supporters and to control Godoy. Thus prior to the French invasion, traditional Spanish political and social structures had become rather more disjointed and impotent rather than cohesive and modernized.

kicking the hornets nest Manual

The successful coordination of these energies into an effective and coordinated front by the remaining political institutions of Spain continued to elude the Spanish nation. After the Dos de Mayo, regional juntas attempted to consolidate power and build a consensus for fighting and governing. The eighteen months between the Dos de Mayos and the beginning of the siege of Cadiz saw only limited progress in centralizing and enhancing political control of the populace and war effort.

Even with the convening of the long awaited Cortes and the promulgation of the famous liberal Constitution of , Cadiz and Spain 11 would continue to wrestle with political disunity well into the next century, setting the eventual conditions for the civil war of He realized that he had but two choices; either disband his force and operate as partisans until conditions changed, or seek aid firom an ally. In wisely choosing the latter Albuquerque force marched his army to the only readily defensible location left in Andalusia where he could link up with his maritime ally, Cadiz.

Fortunately for the inhabitants, they had received advanced notice of the French successes and had begun to improve their existing defenses. Cadiz, which had last fallen to the British over a century earlier, had invested both money and labor in upgrading her defenses in the interim. Although not completely equipped to withstand a long siege, Cadiz had considerable redoubts and fortifications along her harbor and the Santi Petri river.

However, the rapid response of the British CINC and other British officials provided the wherewithal for further resistance. Albuquerque soon found himself promoted out of command and sent to Great Britain as the Spanish Ambassador to the court of St. James because of his popularity. The 12, men that Albuquerque brought to Cadiz, even with local augmentation, would be insufiBcient to stop a determined Marshal Victor.

Significant aid and resources must come from Great Britain if Cadiz were to hold out. Spanish fears over the possible loss of her overseas colonies to a growing British mercantile threat was well foimded. A threat that was especially vexing to the merchant class of Cadiz. Spanish concerns were clearly legitimate. Being an island made Cadiz accessible to the British fleet. Two way communications would be relatively rapid vis-a-vis the Royal Navy thereby enhancing coordination and making the execution of peninsular policy simpler.

Moreover, garrison rights on the Isla de Leon offered Wellington a suitable secondary COG site for his army should they be forced to evacuate Lisbon. These reasons, and pressure from his eldest brother. If aid did not arrive soon, then Cadiz too would be lost. His southern flank along the Portuguese border was now wide open to French incursion.

Following a petition for military assistance and a formal request for a British garrison to defend the Isla de Leon, Britain quickly responded to the call for help. Thus he had already assembled the necessary manpower and watercraft for an expedition and was well positioned to answer the Spanish plea for help. Aiding Cadiz would also help to protect Gibraltar. The opening of Cadiz to the British was the next step in the stormy maturation of a peninsular coahtion relationship between the two petulant allies.

Consequently, the main lines of every major strategic plan are largely political in nature and their political character increases the more the plan encompasses the entire war and the entire state. The plan for the war results directly from the political conditions of the two belligerent states, as well as from their relations to other powers. According to this point of view, there can be no question of a purely military evaluation ff a great strategic issue, nor of a purely military scheme to solve it. Should she concentrate her finite assets in protecting the fledgling army under Wellington in the vulnerable capital of Portugal to maintain a conventional threat to France, or should Britain press to assist the Spanish Government in whatever form it would eventually take and reallocate slim military assets in a gamble which might offer a far greater return for her coahtion investments?

In consequence he immediately ordered the necessary preparations to dispatch a reinforced brigade to sail to the Isla de Leon. This was not a simple decision. Already Wellington was facing an increase in French pressure after his costly and controversial victory at Talavera. Deep in the process of upgrading the Ordananza of Portugal and constructing the Lines of Torres Vedres Wellington continued to be chronically short of manpower and equipment.

With the southern approaches to Portugal now unsecured, any diversion of manpower could have a disastrous impact on his own fragile position. Each of these corps commanders played a role in crushing the mile Spanish defensive line along the Sierra Morena. This time buffer gave the Spanish the opportunity to consolidate and march to Cadiz. Just as Wellington had been fortunate in having a fresh body of troops arrive from Britain, he was just as favored in having an exceptional naval counterpart in the person of Admiral George Cranfield Berkley in being able to shift his logistics and manpower assets to the other COG.

The Royal Navy would provide extraordinary service for the allies over the next two years in defending Cadiz and supplying the city with foodstuffs, naval stores, and a plethora of other logistical needs while ferrying large detachments of troops and supplies for the guerrillas.

It was the Royal Navy which enabled Wellington to sustain his COG where his opponents could not, and gave the important advantage of interior lines to the numerically inferior allies despite being on the periphery of the Iberian Peninsula. The British were quick to marshal forces on behalf of the new Spanish government. It had become a race between the French and the British to concentrate superior forces in the vicinity. To adequately defend the island from attack Wellington earlier estimated that it would take upwards of 15, men, supported by file Royal Navy, to repel a determined assault.

A strong naval force, rich in gunboats and small craft, would have to play a pivotal role in patrolling the shallow waters around the Isla de Leon. A vigorous naval presence was required until an adequate land forces could be formed into an semi-independent and partially self sufficient command to protect the island. Consequently the British Admiralty hastily agreed to reinforce the Cadiz squadron, dangerously stripping Lisbon, Gibraltar, as well as ports in Ireland, for duty at Cadiz. In a dispatch to Admiral Berkeley on 15 February, the Admiralty ordered additional ships to Cadiz, to assist in stopping a probable French land assault, but to also safeguard it from a possible sortie from the French fleet at QC Toulon.

If the French fleet were to gain local naval superiority for even a few hours it would enable the I Corps to make a forced crossing the Santi Petri river, allowing Victor to rapidly overrun the Isla de Leon. The British fleet would then be forced to evacuate what allied forces she could and abandon the growing stockpile of supplies. The value and importance of holding Cadiz was well understood by both Wellington and the Admiralty and all necessary steps were taken to preclude its loss.

With the lag in communications brought about by a change in the prevailing seasonal winds between the British Isles and Iberia, the military situation was still unclear to the Admiralty and War Office in early February and caution remained the order of the day. By 20 February over 11, allied soldiers and sufficient stores had been gathered at Cadiz, yet still more troops were required to properly defend the island. Wellington was hard pressed to locate more reinforcements for the Cadiz garrison or even for himself Ultimately, General Stewart was obliged to appeal to Robert Banks Jenkins, Lord Liverpool, for additional men from Britain since Wellington could provide no more.

The British government experienced an increasingly difficult time in filling the personnel requirements of the troop short field command. Fagging enthusiasm for the war in Britain impacted on military expansion. Neither recruiting nor inpressment could keep pace with the growing manpower needs of 23 both the army and navy. There was no ready pool of reserves that could be tapped for service in the Peninsula.

Unlike France and later Prussia, Britain never organized a draft to fill her painful military vacancies. Five 24 pounders and five 12 pounders each with a considerable portion of spherical case shot in each, it has occurred to me that this ration of ammunition might be eminently useful at Cadiz, under which idea I have ventured to suggest it to your Lordship. A plethora of like correspondence amply illustrates the necessary coordination and risk assessments made by Wellington and his staff in the race to reinforce Cadiz. A robust British fleet commanded by Admiral Charles Berkeley made the fulfillment such a difficult logistical challenge possible.

Stewart and his troops experienced some difficulty in obtaining adequate housing and in making local purchases for fresh rations. Cadiz had already absorbed a large number of refugees and the influx of displaced Spanish soldiers and governmental officials filled the city to capacity. This housing crisis and lack of moderately priced foodstuffs continued to worsen as the siege progressed, in fact it would become one of the principal sources of friction between the Spanish military and their British counterparts during the siege of Cadiz.

Stewart immediately recognized the importance of retaking and occupying the fort. This realignment of ships somewhat hamstrung allied harbor operations and commerce in the bay, contributing to a slowdown in shipping and embarkment. The quandary at being the end of a very long line of communication at the extreme southern coast of Spain, separated by five major rivers and mountain chains that were bisected by only a few marginal roads, was beginning to be felt by Victor and Soult.

Exacerbating the difficulties of an already long LOC was the increase of Spanish guerilla activity especially in the nearby Ronda mountains, a sub-chain of the rugged Sierra Nevada. Repeated raids and ambushes compoimded the difficulties of the already awkward task of supplying the disbursed French army. The foothills of this range reached all the way to Gibraltar, allowing guerilla groups in the Ronda mountains to easily draw aid firom the British garrison when French observation troops were drawn away by coordinated raids.

The lack of small watercraft in the immediate vicinity precluded an amphibious assault and without naval support from Toulon, any half measure waterborne attack would be simply 27 repulsed by the allied fleet. The French tactical stalemate seemed imsolvable without naval support. However, if the stalemate could not be broken by force of arms, perhaps it might be breached by diplomacy. The defenders of Cadiz are Spaniards, and by their side stand their allies - the English and the Portuguese. The I Corps was getting materially weaker while the allies were growing correspondingly stronger.

A frustrated Victor wrote to Soult, What will hinder us the most here is a shortage of fodder and grain for the horses. It is incredible that none exists in this area within a 40 mile radius, and that we can only obtain some by the care or general order of the Army I must take this occasion to say that the chief ordnance officer does very little to tend to this essential part of his duty and that he seems to take absolutely no interest in seeing that the horses of the teams and of the officers of the I Corps are taken care of For the good of the service to His Majesty and to the Marshal, I beg Your Excellency to give positive orders to the ordnance officer of the Army of Spain to establish sufficient stores and supplies at Xeres, or rather at San Lucar by the Guadalquiver, so that we can be in a position to support our forces in front of Caffiz.

Otherwise, our zeal and goodwill will mount to nothing. It is obvious that the service of the horses of the artillery in these circumstances is the most essential, and if we cannot provide for their subsistence, this service caimot be continued. I appeal, in this regard, to the solicitude of Your Excellency. Another reason for moving the cavalry towards Mediona-Sidona and Vejer near the Ronda mountains was to stem the increasingly bold attacks from the partitadas. Since the siege mainly required the use of the infantry, engineers, and artillery, the cavalry arm had relatively little to do in a static posture and was best suited for this endless mission.

The British War Office understood that although the Duke of Wellington was the commander of all British forces in the Peninsula except for Gibraltar, he could not properly supervise the defense of the other allied capital without putting Lisbon in jeopardy. Sir Thomas Graham, Lord Lyndoch, was selected for this important coalition post.

His prior service as British liaison officer to both Russia and Austria and active campaigning with Sir John Moore in the Peninsula, and also participating in the recent abortive Walchem expedition made him one of the most experienced and seasoned officers extant in the rather limited British senior officer inventory. He had already served in the Iberian Peninsula and had personally experienced the difficulties associated in working with the Spanish Army.

Graham would command the British troops at Cadiz until July , winning the important battle of Barossa against Victor and capturing the first eagle ever lost by a French force. As adept as the British were in choosing a gifted and capable commander for Cadiz they were equally skilled in selecting a consummate diplomat and intelligent ambassador in the form of Henry Wellesley, younger brother of both Wellington and the Foreign Secretary, Richard Wellesley. Although this arrangement smacked of nepotism, it was actually highly beneficial to the British government.

All of the Wellesleys were exceptional men. The force you have sent here has saved the place: and I have no doubt that if it continues to hold out, it will be owing to the confidence of the inhabitants in the English troops I hope when they hear in England of British troops having been admitted into this place they will send us a few more regiments, for Cadiz must depend for its defense upon the British and upon the British alone. We know nothing of the rest of Spain, excepting what we hearfrom Lisbon. The importance of m aintainin g Spain as an active ally in the Peninsular War, even at prohibitive financial cost, was clearly obvious.

I should appraise you, however, that a very considerable degree of alarm exists in this country respecting the safety for the British Army in 33 Portugal; and as it is always some advantage to know on a question of doubtful policy on which side it may be best to err, I have no difficulty in stating that, xmder all circumstances, you would rather be excused for bringing away the army a little too soon than, by remaining in Portugal a little too long Fortunately for Wellington, the growing tensions between Napoleon and Czar Alexander would soon cause the French to start drawing away some of their best units for use in the abortive invasion of Russia.

The French martial tide which had singed so powerfully from the headwaters north of the Sierra Morena in early were now receding from Andalusia in the Franco military twilight of Soult realized that with the strong conventional English army controlling the center of Spain, then his army would be cut off in Andalusia from the rest of French controlled Spain.

Cadiz was too important to leave lightly defended. He directed the new British commander, General Roger Cooke who followed Sir Thomas Graham, to continue to refine defensive works and be ready to receive additional troops should it become necessary in the event of military reversals to have Cadiz as a haven for the British Army. But such a set of wretches as the Spanish troops I have never yet beheld.. It was the joint and combined nature of the defense that enabled Cadiz to withstand the I Corps for so long.

The generous naval assistance rendered by the Royal Navy in stores, nautical equipment and supplies, and most especially, the incessant patrolling of the bay and Santi Petri provided vital support for 35 the land based defenders that only sea power could apply. Cut off firom all land traffic and commerce, Cadiz had to rely exclusively on neutral and allied merchant fleets for all food and supplies. The I Corps could never approach the level of robust logistics that the allies enjoyed although only separated by a few hundred yards at some points. In a later treasury examination in it was disclosed that Britain had provided over fifty-four million poimds for Peninsular military operations and financial aid.

Over half this amount went to Cadiz. A combination of flattery and hard bargaining eventually enabled the redoubtable Wellesley to win concessions fi-om the Spanish. Britain not only provided a large financial indemnity to Spain, but also supplied a large military presence for the defense of the Isla de Leon. British land forces numbered at times almost 16, troops, a considerable investment in available land power given that Wellington had only 50, British troops at his disposal.

British officers were also given commands of Spanish divisions that were partially paid for by Great Britain. Several French mistakes contributed to the successful allied defense of the Isla de Leon. Victor wanted to immediately march for Cadiz and stop any attempts by the British to garrison the island.

Had Victor been allowed to march when he desired, the I Corps would have foimd the Punte Zuarrzo bridge intact and only a few hundred ragged Spanish troops to defend the island. The 1, man British detachment from Gibraltar did not land until 7 February, three days after the I Corps would have arrived at Cadiz. These suggestions, which were natural enough, were made, but they were not heeded. The same mistake that led to the failure of all om operations in Spain, was the cause of this irreparable blunder also.

It was believed, that with the surrender of Seville the war would come to a close, just a year before the same belief had existed concerning Madrid, and there was so strong a conviction that the goal and the fruit of the expedition were to be found at Seville Had Joseph left the ineffectual Supreme Junta intact in Seville and not breached the Sierra Morena and invaded Andalusia, the jealous citizens of Cadiz most likely would not have admitted a British garrison and Wellington would have had to take his army either to the United Kingdom or other refuge outside of French controlled Europe.

The value of garrisoning Cadiz by the British was obvious. When Marshal Andre Massena marched against Wellington he was short personnel and supplies. It is questionable that Welhngton could have defeated such odds, even given his considerable talents and penchant for reverse slope defenses. When sending a force to aid Massena in Portugal in early , the allies used the opportunity to sortie fi'om Cadiz and won a victory at the battle of Barossa.

Simply watching the 39 coast and waiting for a possible allied amphibious assault wore down French assets in Andalusia. Additionally, Cadiz became a focal point for partisan operations against the French army. Guerrillas linked up with regular Spanish forces and acted as guides for various regular units.

Cadiz became the rally cry for many Spaniards and its freedom of the seas gave the allies tremendous flexibility. Artillery Ammunition Muskets.. Powder barrels. Guineas and Gunpowder. Cambridge, MA, , Data extracted from P. Manufactures and Internal Trade and Improvements! New Haven, , The above infoimation is extracted from tabulated data on pages Su pplying War Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton.

New York, , , citing Carl Von Clausewitz. Schneider and Lawrence L. September, , 46, for a tongue in cheek scolding of modem Army officers whom misuse or misunderstand Clausewitz. This tendency assumes a universal understanding of the definitions of such terms. But the use of this terminology in a professional discourse suggests the contrary; we are nearer mutual confusion than common understanding. Su pplying War. On War. Princeton, NJ, , A History of the Peninsular War. New York, Manchester, British Foreign Aid in the Wars with France Cambridge, Destruction of this army, if it is at all significant.

Seizure of his capital if it is not only the center of administration but also that of social, professional, and poUtical activity. Delivery of an effective blow against his principal ally if that ally is more powerful than he. Edited by Montgomery Martin. It is obvious that our operations in Spain must be defensive; that they cannot be connected with Portugal: that we must have a retreat upon Cadiz; and that retreat cannot be secure, unless, Cadiz is in our hands.

Wellesley, 9 December Am I correct? Frere to Richard Wellesley, 10 February Finley, Jr. April, , Paris, for the French perspective on the very successfiil winter offensive of in capturing Andalusia. See P. An Account bv Jean Jacques Pelet. Edited, annotated and translated by Donald D. Minneapolis, MN, An in-depth account on die French government of Spain during this period can be found in Rafel L.

Thesis, Fordham University, Both very powerful works helped to popularize the term and the passions attached thereto. Organizing the nation to oppose France, he activated the Ordananza, tihe ancient militia of Portugal. Men in the Ordnanza were put into two categories; the first was active duty with the British Army, while the second remained on the rolls and took part in irregular operations or in aiding Wellington scorch the countryside in front of advancing French troops. Tallahassee, FL, , Other British governmental officials also sent forces without getting clearance from eiflier the War Office or Admiralty.

However, Wellington immediately dispatched a reinforced brigade of troops and supply ships to the port of Cadiz to rapidly supplement the meager Spanish defenses as did the governor of Gibraltar. London, , If using the center of mass, or size of the army as the COG, then the French in part defeated themselves. Attrition sapped the lifeblood of the peninsular forces, and the French miUtary and administration eventually proved unable to restore flagging vital signs with a transfusion of sufficient recruits.

London, Service Historique de VArmee. London, for the impact of the Continental System on British commerce. Charles Esdaile. The Wars of Napoleon. London, , The constant blockade duty was extremely wearing on the British crews posted for months off the coast of Iberia. London, , LXI: Spring, , See Donald D. Annapolis, , Also Esdaile, Wars of Napoleon. Madrid, Three vols. A Narrative of the Principal Events of the Campaigns of Ramon Solis. Madrid , Diego F. F Tsla de T.

Cadiz, , I: Headquarters were established in the town of Isla. It is considered that the French can only attempt the passage of the river Santi Petri in diree points, namely the Puenta Zuarza, the Point of Santi Petri, and the right of the Carracas and to the left. Between these point the banks of the river are so boggy that it is inaccessible by each side. New York, , Making salt had been an important industry in Cadiz for centuries. During high tides a series of sluice gates were opened in ftie kilometers of levees that separated the salt pits from the open sea.

After the water had almost toped the levee the gates were closed and the pooled sea water allowed to evaporate. After the process was repeated over a two week period, workers would then scrape out the remaining salt, remove impurities, and then barrel it. The salt was transferred to warehouses and then traded.

London, , Vn Madrid, , IX: The Spanish Navy had two main fleets stationed in El Ferrol and in Cadiz in the period following the Trafalgar debacle. Madrid, Eric Christiansen. The Orgins of Military Power in Spain. Al Mando Del Almirante Rosillv. Cadiz, , On War.. As a result, had the troops he attempted to mobilize in March really come to blows with the forces of Marshal Murat, it is hard to see how a Spanish Jena could have been adverted. Adolfo De Castro.

They are jealous of their Junta and do not hesitate publicly to accuse them of treason to their coxmtry. They call loudly for the immediate convocation of the Cortes. Edited by Ferdinand Whittingham. London, , Whittingham to William R. Wyles, 22 January , Following the dissolution of the Supreme Junta in January several of the delegates fled to Cadiz, where they formally dissolved the late Junta.

The Cortes met on the Isla de Leon and produced the famous Constitution of Wars of Napoleon. Francois Vigo-Roussillon, Journal de Campagne Paris, , Joseph Bonaparte. Edited by Albert De Casse. IX: VII: In view of the importance of securing the waters around Cadiz the local Junta published a seven item proclamation outlining the necessary steps in raising a local defensive squadron of small watercraft.

Unemployed sailors were impressed into service and local shippers had to furnish the vessels. From the beg inning of the end of die march his cavalry had been constantly engaged against the enemy, only with the greatest difficulty covering the retreat of the infantry; and his troops generally, being denied food and forage by their countrymen both at Xeres and at Santa Maria; had dragged themselves into Cadiz utterly exhausted.

VH: See John T. Jones, Accounts of the War in Spain. Portugal, and the South of France from to Inclusive. II: Albuquerque replaced Governor Venegas, who had been appointed by the uiq opular Supreme Junta previous to its dissolution. Venegas was viewed as a self serving politician and sycophant. London, , II: Albuquerque contributed to his sacking by publishing an appeal to the citizens of Cadiz to siqjport him and pay his long overdue soldiers over the order of the Regency.

There is considerable differences in opinion concerning the size and ability of the Spanish forces on the Isla de Leon to halt Marshal Victor in the January-March timeframe. HI: concluded that the garrison of Cadiz, like other major cities in Andalusia, would have turned the keys over to the French had the Duke of Albuquerque not stiffened their resolve. See Don W. For details on the friction between the two allies during this time see James P.

Herson Jr. See Castro. Cadiz v Su Provincia. On two previous occasions during the Peninsular War, Britain had volunteered to garrison the Isla de Leon to aid die Spanish Government. The first instance was during June when General W illiam Spencer landed his brigade from Lisbon arrived to offer assistance in capturing the remnants of the French Trafalgar fleet in the harbor; and on a second occasion, [almost exactly one year before the French invasion of Andalusia] Major-General Richard Mackenzie, also from Lisbon with a brigade was denied admittance to the Isla de Leon.

British Library. Upon his arrival in Cadiz on 28 January , Bartholomew Frere the British Ambassador to the late Supreme Junta was petitioned by the new Spanish government to request military help from Britain. Without the British troops this place will fall; upon their agVmg me for men, can you spare from Gibraltar to assist and instruct the Spanish here? Napier, History of the Peninsular War. A Wellesley Affair. Weuceslao R. Madrid, , Three vols.

I: Severn, A Wellesley Affair. Spanish Ulcer. I: , and Fortescue, History of the Army. Edinburgh, Scotland. National Library of Scotland. Special Collections, MSS. They had to shift the materials around to different ships than urged in your paper. I propose a Quartermaster representative work in concert with an Agent of Transport in Lisbon to arrange and alter ships cargoes as required. They can then send plans back to your Headquarters. United Kingdom. Special Collections. George Cranileld Berkeley Collection. As he said to Napoleon, "What is the good of having given me an income of sixty thousand pounds a year in order to inflict on me the tortures of Tantalus?

I shall die here with all this work. The simplest private is happier than I. Consequently relations at headquarters were often strained, and the Marshals were angry at the severe reprimands to which they were subjected. The controlling leaders being out of gear the machine did not run smoothly: there was nothing but friction and tension. The Marshals were inclined to attribute their disgrace to the ill-will of Berthier and not to the temper of Napoleon. Particularly was this the case with Davout, who since had suspected that Berthier desired to ruin his reputation. This misunderstanding was most unfortunate, for it prevented Berthier from effecting a reconciliation between Davout and the Emperor.

Hence Napoleon was driven more and more to trust to the advice of the rash, unstable King of Naples. The major-general's lot through the campaign was most miserable. Working day and night to supervise the organisation of the huge force of six hundred thousand men; mistrusted by his former comrades; blamed for every mishap by the Emperor, whatever the fault might be, he had to put up with the bitterest insults, and while working as no other man could work, to endure such taunts as, "Not only are you no good, but you are in the way.

But what most moved Napoleon's anger against the chief of the staff was that Berthier, with "the parade states" before him, emphasising the enormous wastage of the army, constantly harped on the danger of pressing on to Moscow. So strained became the relations between them, that for the last part of the advance they no longer met at meals.

But during the hours of the retreat the old friendship was resumed. When Napoleon quitted the army at Vilna he left the major-general behind to help the King of Naples to withdraw the remnant of the Grand Army.

A Despite Of Hornets (Napoleon's Spanish Ulcer)

Marching on foot through the deep snow, with fingers and nose frostbitten, the sturdy old veteran of sixty endured the fatigue as well as the hardiest young men in their prime; and in addition to the physical fatigue of marching, had to carry out all the administrative work, and bear the moral responsibility for [19] what remained of the army; for the King of Naples, thinking of nothing but how to save his own crown, when difficulties increased, followed the example of Napoleon and deserted his post. Berthier reached Paris on February 9th, much broken down in health; but his wonderful physique soon enabled him to regain his strength, and by the end of March he was once again hard at work helping the Emperor to extemporise an army.

Then followed the terrible catastrophe of Leipzig, due undoubtedly to Berthier's dread of acting without the express orders of the Emperor. The engineer officer charged with preparing the line of retreat reported that the one bridge across the Elster was not sufficient. The major-general, knowing that the Emperor desired to hide any signs of retreat from the Allies, replied that he must await the Emperor's orders, so, when, after three days' fighting, the retreat could no longer be postponed, a catastrophe was inevitable.

Yet, in spite of everything, the Emperor refused to acknowledge himself beaten, and by the commencement of was once again ready to take the field, though by now the Allies had invaded France. Still, when the end came and Napoleon abdicated, Berthier remained at his side, and it was only when the Emperor had released his Marshals from their allegiance that on April 11th he sent in his adhesion [20] to the new government.

When all save Macdonald had deserted the fallen Emperor, Berthier stayed on at Fontainebleau, directing the withdrawal of the remnants of the army, and making arrangements for the guard which was to accompany Napoleon to Elba. But though he remained with him until the day before he started for Elba, Berthier refused to share his exile, and at the time Napoleon was magnanimous enough to see that, owing to his age and the care of his children, he could not expect such a sacrifice. So far, the Prince had done all that honour and affection could demand of him. But, unfortunately for his fame, instead of withdrawing into private life, he listened to the prayers of his wife, who keenly felt the loss of her title of "Serene Princess.

Moreover, the Prince Marshal now saw in Napoleon the disturber of the peace of Europe, so when the Emperor suddenly returned from Elba he withdrew from France, and retired to Bamberg, in his father-in-law's dominions. It is commonly supposed that Berthier committed suicide, but the medical evidence shows that his fall was probably the result of giddiness arising from dyspepsia. It was on June 1st that the accident happened. He was watching a division of Russian troops passing through the town, and was much distressed by the sight, and heard to murmur, "My poor country!

For the moment the tragic death of the Marshal was the talk of Europe, but only for the moment, for the fate of the [21] world was hanging on the issues of the great battle which was imminent in Belgium. If the Prince of Wagram had been there, it is more than conceivable that the scales would have fallen other than they did; for it was the indifferent staff work of Soult and the bad drafting of orders which lost the French the campaign.

Of this, Napoleon was so firmly convinced that he never could efface it from his memory; again and again he was heard saying, "If Berthier had been here I should never have met this misfortune. It was this failure to return which so embittered the fallen Emperor against the Prince of Wagram, and led to those cruel strictures on his character to which he gave vent at St. Moreover, Napoleon, so great in many things, was so jealous of his own glory that he could be mean beyond words.

Even in the early years when he heard people praising Berthier's work in , he told his secretary, Bourrienne, "As for Berthier, since you have been with me, you see what he is—he is a blockhead. Helena, forgetting his old opinions, "Berthier has his talents, activity, courage, character—all in his favour. Look at women. He undoubtedly chose to be second to Napoleon; he served him with a fidelity that Napoleon himself could not understand, and he won his great commander's love and esteem in spite of the selfishness of the Corsican's nature.

I do not indulge in useless sentiments, and Berthier is so uninteresting that I do not know why I should care about him at all, and yet when I think of it I really have some liking for him. It was this belief in Napoleon which in time obsessed the Prince of Wagram's mind, which killed his own initiative and was responsible for his blunders in and at Leipzig, and turned him into a machine which merely echoed the Emperor's commands.

In Berthier's eyes it was no reproach, but a testimony to his own principles, "that he never gave an order, never wrote a despatch, which did not in some way emanate from Napoleon. Helena, "His character was undecided, not strong enough for a commander-in-chief, but he possessed all the qualities of a good chief of the staff: a complete mastery of the map, great skill in reconnaissance, minute care in the despatch of orders, magnificent aptitude for presenting with the greatest simplicity the most complicated situation of an army.

Stable-boy, seminarist, Marshal, King, Murat holds the unchallenged position of Prince of Gascons: petulant, persevering, ambitious and vain, he surpasses D'Artagnan himself in his overwhelming conceit. From his earliest childhood Joachim was a horse-lover and a frequenter of the stables; but his parents had higher aims for their bright, smiling, intelligent darling, and destined him for the priesthood.

The young seminarist was highly thought of by the preceptors at the College of Saint Michel at Cahors and the Lazarist Fathers at Toulouse; but neither priest nor mother had truly grasped his dashing character, and one February morning in Joachim slipped quietly out of the seminary doors and enlisted in the Chasseurs of the Ardennes, who were at the moment billeted in Toulouse.

Two years later this promising recruit, having fallen foul of the military authorities, had to leave the service under a cloud. A post as draper's assistant was a poor exchange for the young soldier, who found the cavalry service of the royal army scarcely dashing enough, but the Revolution gave an outlet which Murat was quick to seize. For three years the future King harangued village audiences of Quercy on the iniquities of caste and the equality of all men; so that when, in [24] February, , the Assembly called for volunteers for the "Garde Constitutionnelle" of Louis XVI.

In Paris, Joachim soon found that the royal road to success lay in denouncing loudly all superior officers of lack of patriotism. Soon there was no more brazen-voiced accuser than Murat. In the course of a year he worked his way out of the "Garde Constitutionnelle," and by April, , he had attained the rank of captain in the 12th Chasseurs. Meanwhile, he had been selected as aide-de-camp by General d'Ure de Molans.

Having seen no service, he owed his appointment largely to his conceit and good looks. Blue-eyed, with an aquiline nose and smiling lips; with long chestnut curls falling over his well-poised head; endowed with great physical strength, shown in his strong, supple arms and in the long flat-thighed legs of a horseman, he appeared the most perfect type of the dare-devil, dashing cavalry soldier. The moderate republican general, d'Ure de Molans, was useful to him for a time, but the young Gascon saw that the days of the extremist were close at hand; accordingly, he allied himself with an adventurer called Landrieux, who was raising a body of cut-throats whose object was plunder, not fighting.

The Convention, which had licensed Landrieux to raise this corps of patriotic defenders of the country, accepted his nomination of Murat as acting lieutenant-colonel. But they soon fell out, for Murat had the audacity to try and make these patriots fight instead of merely seeking plunder. The consequence of this quarrel was that, early in , he found himself accused as a ci-devant noble. Imprisoned at Amiens, and brought before the Committee of Public Safety, in a fit of republican enthusiasm he changed his name to Marat.

But this did not save him, and he owed his life to a deputation from his native Quercy, [25] which proved both his humble birth and his high republicanism. The future Emperor ever knew when to reward merit, and on being appointed to command the army in Italy he at once selected him as his aide-de-camp. So far he had seen little or no war service. But the campaign of proved that Bonaparte's judgment was sound, for by the end of the year there was no longer any necessity for Murat to blow his own trumpet. In the short campaign against the Sardinians he showed his talent as a cavalry leader by his judgment in charges at Dego and Mondovi.

He had no cause to grumble that he was not appreciated, for his general selected him to take to Paris the news of this victorious campaign and of the triumphant negotiations of Cherasco. He returned from Paris in May as brigadier-general, in time to take part in the crossing of the Mincio and to rob Kilmaine of some of his honours.

The commander-in-chief still kept him attached to the headquarter staff, and constantly employed him on special service. His enterprises were numerous and varied—one week at Genoa on a special diplomatic mission, a week or two later leading a forlorn attack on the great fortress of Mantua, then commanding the right wing of the army covering the siege, he showed himself ever resourceful and daring.

But during the autumn of he fell under the heavy displeasure of his chief, for at Milan and Montebello Josephine had shown too great favour to the young cavalry general. Murat accordingly had no scruples in intriguing with Barras against his chief. But his glorious conduct at Rivoli once again brought him back to favour, and Bonaparte entrusted him with an infantry brigade in the advance [26] on Vienna, and later with a delicate independent mission in the Valtelline.

But Murat, unlike Lannes, Marmont, and Duroc, was not yet indispensable to Bonaparte, and accordingly was left with the Army of Italy when the general returned in triumph to Paris. So far, Murat had not yet been able to distinguish himself above his comrades-in-arms. He led the cavalry of the advance guard in the march up the Nile, and was present at the battle of the Pyramids and the taking of Cairo.

But so far the campaign, instead of bringing him fresh honours, nearly brought him disgrace; for he joined the party of grumblers, and was one of those who were addressed in the famous reprimand, "I know some generals are mutinous and preach revolt I am as high above a general as above a drummer, and, if necessary, I will as soon have the one shot as the other.

On July 27, , Murat was appointed governor of the province of Kalioub, which lies north of Cairo; to keep order among his turbulent subjects his whole force consisted of a battalion of infantry, twenty-five cavalrymen, and a three-pounder gun. So well did he do his work that the commander-in-chief selected him to command the whole of the cavalry in the Syrian expeditionary force. During the siege of Acre he commanded the covering force, and pushed reconnaissances far and wide.

So feared was his name that the whole Turkish army fled before him on the banks of the Jordan, and left their camp and immense booty in the hands of the French. But though he had thus destroyed the relieving force, Acre, victualled by the English fleet, still held out, and Bonaparte had to retreat to Egypt. It was at Aboukir that Murat consolidated his reputation as a great commander. The Turkish general had neglected to rest the right flank of his first line on the sea, and Murat, seizing his opportunity, fell on the unguarded flank with the full weight of his cavalry, and rolled the unfortunate Turks into the water.

Thereafter, by the aid of a battery of artillery, the centre of the second line of the Turkish army was broken, and the French horse dashing into the gap, once again made short work of the enemy, and their leader captured with his own hands the Turkish commander. Bonaparte, in his despatch, did full justice to his subordinate. I ask you to make him general of division: his brigade of cavalry has achieved the impossible. His grumbles forgiven, Murat left Egypt among the chosen band of followers of whose fidelity Napoleon was assured; his special mission was to gain over the cavalry to the side of his chief.

He it was who, with Leclerc, on the 18th Brumaire, forced his way into the Orangerie at the head of the [28] grenadiers and hurled out the deputies. The First Consul rewarded him amply, appointing him inspector of the Consular Guard, and, later still, in preference to his rival, Lannes, gave him in marriage his sister Caroline.

Murat had met Caroline Bonaparte at Montebello during the Italian campaign of , and had at once been struck by her beauty. Like many another cavalier, he had a flame in every country, or rather, in every town which he visited. But by the gay Gascon saw that it was time to finish sowing his wild oats, since destiny was offering him a chance which falls to the lot of few mortals. It was by now clear that the First Consul's star was in the ascendant.

Already his family were reaping the fruits of his success. Ambition, pride and love were the cords of the net which drew the willing Murat to Caroline. As brother-in-law to the First Consul, Joachim felt secure against his bitter rival, Lannes. To add point to this success, he knew that the victor of Montebello was straining every nerve to gain this very prize.

Moreover, Fortune herself favoured his suit. Bonaparte had offered the hand of Caroline to the great General Moreau, but the future victor of Hohenlinden refused to join himself to the Corsican triumph. To cover his confusion the First Consul was glad to give his sister's hand to one of his most gallant officers, especially as by so doing he once and for all removed the haunting fear of an intrigue between him and Josephine. Accordingly, on January 25, , Murat and Caroline were pronounced man and wife in the temple of the canton of Plailly, by the president of the canton.

Though Caroline only brought with her a dot of forty thousand francs, she stood for what was better still, immense possibilities. Murat's honeymoon was cut short by the Marengo campaign. In April he started, as lieutenant-general in command of the cavalry, to join the Army of the Reserve at Dijon. Thence the First Consul despatched his horsemen to seize Piacenza, the important bridge across the Po, the key of the Austrian lines of communication. At Marengo the cavalry acted in separate brigades, and the decisive stroke of the battle fell to the lot of the younger Kellermann, whose brilliant charge decided the day in favour of the French.

The despatches only mentioned that "General Murat's clothes were riddled by bullets. So far Murat had always held subordinate commands; his great ambition was to become the commander-in-chief of an independent army. His wife, Caroline, and his sister-in-law, Josephine, were constant in their endeavours to gain this distinction for him from the First Consul.

But it was not till the end of that they succeeded; and then only partially, for in December the lieutenant-general was appointed commander of a corps of observation, whose headquarters were at Milan, and whose duty was to overawe Tuscany and the Papal States. Tuscany and the Papal States were easily conquered, and the King of Naples was only too glad to buy peace at Foligno. Italy lay at the feet of the French general, but what was most gratifying of all, after his successful negotiation with the King of Naples, the First Consul tacitly accepted the title which his brother-in-law [30] had assumed of commander-in-chief of the Army of Naples.

Murat had the satisfaction of having under his orders Lieutenant-General Soult, three generals of division and four generals of brigade. For the moment his Gascon vanity was satiated, while his Gascon greed was appeased by substantial bribes from all the conquered countries of the Peninsula.

The "commander-in-chief" was joined at Florence in May, , by his wife, Caroline, and his young son, Achille, born in January, whom he found "charming, already possessed of two teeth. He spent the summer in visiting the watering-places of Italy. In August the First Consul raised him to the command of the troops of the Cisalpine Republic, and he retained this post for the next two years, and had his headquarters in Milan, making occasional expeditions to Paris and Rome, and on the whole content with his position, save for occasional quarrels with Melzi, the president of the Italian Republic.

Their jurisdictions overlapped and the Gascon would play second fiddle to no one save to his great brother-in-law. In January, , the First Consul recalled Murat to Paris, nominating him commandant of the troops of the first military division and of the National Guard, and Governor of the city. Bonaparte's object was not so much to please his brother-in-law as to strengthen himself.

He was concentrating his own family, clan, and all his most faithful followers in readiness for the great event, the proclamation of the Empire. Men like Lannes, whose views were republican, were discreetly kept out of the way on foreign missions; but Murat, as Bonaparte knew, was a pliant tool.

As early as he had hotly favoured the Concordat, and had had his marriage recelebrated by Cardinal Consalvi; and both Caroline and Joachim infinitely preferred being members of the imperial family [31] of the Emperor of the French to being merely relations of the successful general and First Consul of the French Republic. While Murat strutted about in sky-blue overalls, covered with gold spangles, invented new uniforms, and bought expensive aigrettes for his busby, his wife showed her rococo taste by furnishing her drawing-room in red satin and gold, and her bedroom in rose-coloured satin and old point lace.

They had their reward. Five days after the proclamation of the Empire, after a furious scene, Napoleon conceded the title of Imperial Highness to his sister with the bitter words: "To listen to you, people would think that I had robbed you of the heritage of the late King, our father.

The rupture of the peace of Amiens did not affect the life of the Governor of Paris; for two years he enjoyed this office, with all its opportunities of ostentation and display. But in August, , the approaching war with Austria caused the Emperor to summon his most brilliant cavalry leader to his side. Immediately on his return the Emperor appointed him "Lieutenant of the Empire, and commandant in his absence" of all the troops cantonned along the [32] Rhine, and of such corps of the Grand Army as reached that river before himself.

When war actually broke out Murat's duty was to mask, with his cavalry in the Black Forest, the turning movement of the other corps of the Grand Army which were striking at the Austrian rear. Once the turning movement was completed the Prince was entrusted with the command of the left wing of the army, which included his own cavalry division and the corps of Lannes and Ney.

Excellent as he was as cavalry commander in the field, Murat had no head for great combinations. Instead of profiting by the advice of those able soldiers, Lannes and Ney, he spent his time quarrelling with them. He accordingly kept his troops on the wrong side of the Danube, with the result that in spite of Ney's brilliant action at Elchingen, two divisions of the Austrians under the Archduke Ferdinand escaped from Ulm.

Prince Murat, however, retrieved his error by his brilliant pursuit of the escaped Austrians, and by hard riding and fighting captured quite half of the Archduke's command. Impetuosity, perseverance, and dash are undoubtedly useful traits in the character of a cavalry commander, and of these he had his fair share. But his jealousy and vanity often led him astray. During the advance down the Danube, in his desire to gain the credit of capturing Vienna, he lost touch completely with the Russians and Austrians, who had retreated across the Danube at Krems, and he involved the Emperor in a dangerous position by leaving the unbeaten Russians on the flank of his line of communications.

But the Prince quickly made amends for his rashness. The ruse by which he and Lannes captured the bridge below Vienna was discreditable no doubt from the point of view of morality. It was a direct lie to tell the Austrian commander that an armistice had been arranged and the bridge ceded to the French. But the fact remains that Murat saved the Emperor and the French army from the difficult and costly [33] operation of crossing the broad Danube in the face of the Allies.

At Austerlitz the Prince Marshal covered himself with glory. In command of the left wing, ably backed by Lannes, he threw the whole weight of his cavalry on the Russians, demonstrating to the full the efficacy of a well-timed succession of charges on broken infantry, and giving a masterly lesson in the art of re-forming disorganised horsemen, by the use he made of the solid ranks of Lannes' infantry, from behind which he issued again and again in restored order, to fall on the shaken ranks of the enemy.

At Austerlitz he was at his best. The action on the left was mainly one of cavalry, in which quickness of eye and decision were everything, where a fault could be retrieved by charging in person at the head of the staff, or by a few fierce words to a regiment slightly demoralised. Rapidity of action and a self-confidence which on the battlefield never felt itself beaten were the cause of Murat's success.

It was the fixed policy of Napoleon to secure the Rhine valley, so that never again would it be possible for the Austrians to threaten France. To gain this end he originated the Confederation of the Rhine, grouping all the small Rhineland states in a confederation of which he himself was the Protector, and binding the rulers of the individual states to his dynasty, either by marriage or by rewards. As part of this scheme the Emperor allotted to Murat and Caroline the duchies of Cleves and Berg, welding them into one province under the title of the Grand Duchy of Berg.

He gained this honour not as Murat, the brilliant cavalry general, but as Prince Joachim, the brother-in-law of the Emperor Napoleon. In their eyes Berg was but a stepping-stone to higher things, a source of profit and a pretext for exalting themselves at the expense of their neighbours. The Grand Duke entrusted the interior management of the Duchy to his old friend Agar, who had served him well in Italy, and who later became Count of Mosburg.

Any prosperity which the Grand Duke enjoyed was entirely due to the financial ability of Agar. Murat, however, kept foreign affairs in his own hands. As Foreign Minister, by simply taking what he wanted, he added considerably to the extent of his duchy. But, like all Napoleon's satellites, he constantly found his position humiliating, for in spite of his tears and prayers, he had continually to see his duchy sacrificed to France.

It was no use to complain that Napoleon had taken away the fortress of Wesel, which had been handed over to the Grand Duchy by special treaty by the King of Prussia, for, as Queen Hortense wisely asked him, "Who had really made that treaty? Who had given him the duchy, the fortress, and everything? But though his cavalry had thus wiped the Prussian army out of existence, the war dragged on, for, as in , the Russians had entered the field.

In November the Emperor despatched his brother-in-law to command the French corps which were massing round Warsaw. The Grand Duke read into this order the idea that he was destined to become the King of a revived Poland; accordingly he made a triumphant entry into Warsaw in a fantastic uniform, red leather boots, tunic of cloth of gold, sword-belt glittering with diamonds, and a huge busby of rich fur bedecked with costly plumes.

The Poles greeted him with enthusiasm, and Murat hastened to write to the Emperor that "the Poles desired to become a nation under a foreign King, given them by your Majesty. But in spite of his disappointment he was still too much of a Frenchman and a soldier to allow his personal resentment to overcome his duty to his Emperor, and he continued to hope that by his daring and success he might still win his Polish crown. At Eylau he showed his customary bravery and his magnificent talent as a cavalry leader, when he saved the shattered corps of Augereau by a successful charge of over twelve thousand sabres.

At the battle of Heilsberg the celebrated light cavalryman, Lasalle, saved his life, but a few minutes later the Grand Duke was able to cry quits by himself rescuing Lasalle from the midst of a Russian charge. Unfortunately for Murat, the prospective alliance with Russia once and for all compelled Napoleon to lay aside all thought of reviving the kingdom of Poland, and when the would-be King arrived with a Polish guard of honour and his fantastic uniform, he was met by the biting words of the Emperor: "Go and put on your proper uniform; you look like a clown. But Napoleon had no intention of dying without issue.

Thanks to his brother-in-law's generosity, Murat was able to neglect his half-million subjects in Berg and spend his revenues right royally in Paris. But early in his ambition was once again inflamed by the hope of a crown—not a revived kingship in Poland, but the ancient sceptre of Spain.

Napoleon had decided that the Pyrenees should no longer exist, and that Portugal and Spain should become French provinces ruled by puppets of his own. Junot already held Portugal; it seemed as if it needed but a vigorous movement to oust the Bourbons from Madrid. Family quarrels had already caused a revolution in Spain. Charles had fled the kingdom, leaving the throne to his son Ferdinand. Both had appealed to Napoleon; consequently there was a decent pretext for sending a French army into Spain. On February 25th Murat was despatched at a few hours' notice, with orders to take over the supreme command of all the French corps which were concentrating in Spain, to seize the fortresses of Pampeluna and St.

Sebastian, and to advance with all speed on Madrid, but he was given no clue as to what the Emperor's ulterior object might be. He was ordered, however, to keep the Emperor daily informed of the state of public opinion in Spain. Prince Joachim very soon perceived that King Charles was rejected by everybody, that the Prime Minister, the Prince of Peace, was extremely unpopular, and that Ferdinand was weak and irresolute: it seemed as if he would follow the example of the King of Portugal, and would flee to the colonies when the French army approached his capital.

The only disquieting feature of the situation was the constant annihilation of small parties of French soldiers and the brutal murder of all stragglers. On March 23rd the French army [37] entered Madrid. All was tranquil.

What is the Difference Between Bees, Wasps, and Hornets?

Meanwhile the ex-King Charles had retired to Bayonne, and, by the orders of the Emperor, the Prince of Peace was sent there also, whereupon King Ferdinand, fearing that Napoleon might take his father's part, hurried off to France. So far the Spaniards, though restless, were waiting to see whether the French were friends, as they protested, or in reality stealthy foes.

The crisis came on May 2nd, when the French troops were compelled to evacuate Madrid on account of the fury of the populace at the attempted abduction of the little Prince, Don Francisco. Murat showed to the full his indomitable courage, fighting fiercely, not only for his Emperor, but for the crown which he thought was his. Bitter indeed were his feelings when he received a letter dated that fatal day, May 2nd, informing him that Joseph was to be King of Spain, and that he might choose either Portugal or Naples as his kingdom.

Murat was in no hurry to commence his reign, and his subjects showed no great anxiety to see their new ruler. But when King Joachim Napoleon, to give him his new title, arrived at Naples he was received with unexpected warmth. The new monarch, with his striking personality and good looks, at once captivated the hearts of his fickle Southern subjects.

Joseph had been prudent and cold, Joachim was ostentatious and fiery. The Neapolitans had never really cared for their Bourbon sovereigns. Some [38] of the noblesse had from interest clung to the old dynasty, but the greater part of the nobility cared little who ruled them so long as their privileges were not interfered with. Among the middle class there was a strong party which had accepted the doctrines of the French Revolution.

The lower class were idle and lazy, and willing to serve any sovereign who appealed to them by ostentation. The people who really held the key of the hearts of the mass of the population were the clergy. Joseph, with his liberal ideas, had attempted to free the people from clerical thraldom. Joachim, however, with his Southern instincts, refused to deny himself the use of such a powerful lever, and quickly ingratiated himself with his new subjects. From the moment that he arrived at Naples the new King determined, if not to rule Naples for the Neapolitans, at least, by pretending to do so, to rule Naples for himself and not for Napoleon.

These ministers, firmly convinced that Napoleon would never return from the Spanish war, had decided that in the event of his death they would declare Murat his successor rather than establish a regency for the young son of Louis Napoleon, the King of Holland. In pursuance of the plan of winning his subjects' affections Joachim had at once called to his aid Agar, who had so successfully managed the finances of the Grand Duchy of Berg.

The difficulties of finance in Naples were very great, and with Agar the King had to associate the subtle Corsican, Salicetti, who had so powerfully contributed to the rise of Napoleon. Taxation in Naples was heavy, for the Neapolitans had to find the money for the war with their old dynasty, which was threatening them from Sicily, aided by the English fleet. To secure the kingdom against the Sicilians and English, a large Neapolitan army of thirty thousand troops had to be [39] maintained along with an auxiliary force of ten thousand French. The royal household alone required 1,, ducats per annum.

To meet this heavy expense the ministers had to devise all sorts of expedients to raise money. Regular taxation, monopolies, mortgages, and loans barely sufficed to provide for the budget. Still the King managed to retain his popularity, and in his own way attempted to ameliorate the lot of his subjects. He introduced the Code Napoleon.


He founded a military college, an artillery and engineer college, a naval college, a civil engineer college and a polytechnic school. He expanded the staff of the University and established an Observatory and Botanical Garden at Naples. He attempted to conciliate the Neapolitan noblesse by gradually dismissing his French ministers and officers and appointing Neapolitan nobles in their place.

At the same time he abolished feudal dues and customs. He also attempted to develop industries by giving them protection. Above all, by the strict measures of his minister Manhes he established peace in the interior by breaking down the organised system of the freebooters and robbers. As time went on he found that the clergy and monks were too heavy a burden for his kingdom to bear, and, at the expense of his popularity, he had to cut down the numbers of the dioceses and parishes and abolish the religious orders.

From the first the new King grasped the fact that his kingdom would always be heavily taxed, and his throne insecure as long as the Bourbons, backed by the English, held Sicily. His plan of campaign, therefore, was to drive his enemy out of the smaller islands, and thereafter to demand the aid of French troops and make a determined effort against Sicily. In October, , by a well-planned [40] expedition, he captured the island of Capri, and caused the English commander, Sir Hudson Lowe, to capitulate.

It was not till the autumn of , however, that he was ready for the great expedition. Relying on the traditional hatred of the people of Messina for the Bourbons, he collected a strong force on the Straits, and waited till the moment when, after a gale, the English fleet had not yet arrived from the roads of Messina. On the evening of September 17th he sent away his advance guard of two thousand men in eighty small boats. Cavaignac, the commander of this force, secured the important villages of Santo Stefano and Santo Paolo. But at the critical moment the commander of the French division, acting according to the Emperor's orders, refused to allow his troops to cross.

Before fresh arrangements could be made the English fleet reappeared on the scene, and Cavaignac and his force were thus sacrificed for no purpose. Joachim, as time showed, never forgave the Emperor for the failure of his cherished plan. By the commencement of , the coming Russian campaign overshadowed all other questions. Murat, who had earnestly begged to be allowed to share the Austrian campaign of , was delighted to serve in person.

But as King of Naples he refused to send a division of ten thousand men to reinforce the Grand Army, "as a Frenchman and a soldier he declared himself to the core a subject of the Emperor, but as King of Naples he aspired to perfect independence. But nevertheless, once he rejoined the Emperor at Dantzig, he laid aside all his royal aspirations and became the faithful dashing leader of cavalry. During the advance on Moscow the cavalry suffered terribly from the difficulties of constant reconnaissances and want of supplies, but in spite of this Murat urged the [41] Emperor not to halt at Smolensk, but to push on, as he believed the Russians were becoming demoralised.

Scarce a day passed without some engagement in which the King of Naples showed his audacity and his talent as a leader. Notwithstanding, Napoleon, angry at the constant escape of the Russians, declared that if Murat had only pursued Bagration in Lithuania he would not have escaped. This reproach spurred on the King of Naples to even greater deeds of bravery, and so well was his figure known to the enemy that the Cossacks constantly greeted him with cries of "Hurrah, hurrah, Murat!

In spite of the losses during the campaign, when the French evacuated Moscow Murat had still ten thousand mounted troops, but by the time the army had reached the Beresina there remained only eighteen hundred troopers with horses. When the Emperor deserted the Grand Army, he left the King of Naples in command, with orders to rally the army at Vilna. But Murat saw that it was impossible to re-form the army there, and accordingly ordered a retirement across the Niemen, a line which he soon found it was impossible to hold. On January 10, , came the news that the Prussians had actually gone over to the enemy.

It seemed as if Napoleon was lost, and Murat thereupon at once deserted the army, and set out in all haste for Italy, thinking only of how to save his crown. The King arrived in Naples bent on maintaining his crown and on allowing no interference from the Emperor. But in spite of this he could not decide on any definite line of action. He was afraid the English and Russians would invade his country, but on the other hand his old affection for Napoleon, and a sort of sneaking belief in his ultimate success, prevented him from listening to the insidious advice of the Austrian envoy, whom the far-seeing [42] Metternich had at once sent to Naples.

But in April Napoleon quitted Paris for the army in Germany without sending one line in reply to these imploring letters. Meanwhile on April 23rd came a letter from Colonel Coffin suggesting the possibility of effecting an entente between the English and Neapolitan Governments, or at any rate a commercial convention. All through the summer the negotiations were continued, but Murat, in spite of the guarantee of the throne of Naples which the English offered, could not break entirely with his Emperor and benefactor. Still Napoleon, in his blindness, instead of attempting to conciliate his brother-in-law, allowed articles to his disparagement to appear in the Moniteur.

Nevertheless Murat at bottom was Napoleon's man. There a reconciliation took place between the brothers-in-law. But after the defeat at Leipzig King Joachim asked and obtained leave to return to his own dominions. His presence was needed at home, for in Italy also the war had gone against the French.

Murat, in his hurry, had to leave his coach snowed up in the Simplon Pass and proceed on horseback to Milan, where he halted but a few hours to write a despatch to the Emperor, [43] which practically foretold his desertion. On reaching Naples, he found that his wife, who hitherto had been an unbending partisan of the French, had entirely changed her politics and was now pledged to an Austrian alliance. The King was ever unstable, vanity always governed his conduct: the Queen was always determined, governed solely by a cold, calculating ambition.

Negotiations were at once opened with the Austrians. The King protested "that he desired nothing in the world so much as to make common cause with the allied Powers. Meanwhile he addressed an order of the day to his army, stating that the Neapolitan troops should only be employed in Italy.

This of course did not commit him either to Napoleon or the Austrian alliance. For the national party of the Risorgimento were striving hard to seize this opportunity to unite Italy and drive out the foreigner, and no one seemed more capable of carrying out their policy than the popular King of Naples. The Austrians flattered the hopes of "young Italy" by declaring in their proclamation that they had only entered Italy to free her from the yoke of the stranger, and to aid the King of Naples by creating an independent kingdom of Italy.

Still Murat hesitated on the brink. Three days later the Austrian envoy arrived with the proposals of the Allies. But he could not yet make up his mind, and, moreover, the English had not yet guaranteed him Naples. In January, however, these guarantees were given, and against his will he had to sign a treaty. He used every artifice to prevent a collision between the French and Neapolitan troops. When the campaign opened his troops abandoned their position at the first shot, while he himself took good care not to reach the front until the news of Napoleon's abdication arrived.

But Murat's conduct had alienated everybody. During the remainder of the lot of the King of Naples was most unenviable. The restored Bourbons of France and Spain regarded him as the despoiler of the Bourbon house of Sicily. Russia had been no party to the guarantee of his kingdom.

England desired nothing so [45] much as his expulsion. Austria alone upheld him, for she had been the chief party to the treaty; but Metternich was waiting for him to make some slip which might serve as a pretext for tearing up that treaty. Even the Pope refused the bribe which the King offered him when he proposed to restore the Marches in return for receiving the papal investiture. In despair Murat once again entered into negotiations with the Italian party. A general rising was planned in Lombardy, but failed, as the Austrians received news of the proposed cession of Milan.

With cruel cunning they spread the report that the King of Naples had sold the secret. Henceforward Murat had no further hope. Foreigners, Italians, priests, carbonari and freemasons, all had turned against him. Such was the situation when on March 8, , the King heard that Napoleon had left Elba. As usual he dealt double. He at once sent a message to England that he would be faithful, while at the same time he sent agents to Sicily to try to stir up a revolt against the Bourbons.

As soon as the news of Napoleon's reception in France arrived, he set out at the head of forty thousand troops, thinking that all Italy would rise for him. But the Italians mistrusted the fickle King; the Austrian troops were already mobilised, and accordingly, early in May, the Neapolitan army fled homewards before its enemies. King Joachim's popularity was gone. A grant of a constitution roused no enthusiasm among the people. City after city opened its gates to the enemy. Resistance was hopeless, so on the night of May 19th the King of Naples, with a few hundred thousand francs and his diamonds, accompanied by a handful of personal friends, fled by sea to Cannes.

But the Emperor refused to receive the turncoat, though at St. Helena he bitterly repented this action, lamenting "that at Waterloo Murat might have given us the victory. For what did we need? To break three or four English squares. Murat was just the man for the job. There he was given a safe conduct by the Allies and permission to settle in Austria. But the deposed monarch could not overcome his vanity. He still believed himself indispensable to Naples.

Some four hundred Corsicans promised to follow him thither. The filibustering expedition set out in three small ships on the 28th of September. A storm arose and scattered the armada, but in spite of this, on October 7th, the ex-King decided to land at Pizzo. Dressed in full uniform, amid cries of "Long live our King Joachim," the unfortunate man landed with twenty-six followers. He was at once arrested, and on October 13th tried by court martial, condemned to death, and executed a few hours later.

Joachim Murat met his death like a soldier. As he wrote to his wife, his only regret was that he died far off, without seeing his children. Death was what he courted when landing at Pizzo, for he must have known how impossible it was for him to conquer a kingdom with twenty-six men. Still, he preferred to die in the attempt to regain his crown rather than to spend an ignoble old age, a pensioner on the bounty of his enemies.

Murat died as he had lived, brave but vain, with his last words calling out, "Soldiers, do your duty: fire at my heart, but spare my face. The King of Naples owed his elevation entirely to his fortunate marriage with the Emperor's sister; otherwise it is certain he would never have reached such exalted rank, for Napoleon really did not like him or trust him, and had a true knowledge of his ability.

Helena, "in the field, but in the Cabinet destitute of either decision or judgment. He loved, I may rather say, adored me; he was my right arm; but without me he was nothing.

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In battle he was perhaps the bravest man in the world; left to himself, he was an imbecile without judgment. His love of horses, his intuitive knowledge of [47] exactly how much he could ask from his horsemen, his reckless bravery, his fine swordsmanship, his dashing manners, captivated the French cavalry and enabled him to "achieve the impossible.

But this was the sum total of his military ability. He had no conception of the use of the other arms of the service, and never gained even the most elementary knowledge of strategy.