« EdellinenJatka »
turning towards Madrid. Years afterwards he spoke of this parting, thus :—
I left the Duke of Wellington’s army on the march. . . They pursued the way to Vittoria, where they fought the famous battle of that name, and I always regret that my wish to see Madrid, and to rejoin my former companions, deprived me of the magnificent sight of that famous victory.
Yet there were sound reasons for his decision :—
Events were so doubtful that I did not like to go with him [Lord W. Russell] across the Douro. Lord Wellington told me that the (French were likely to extend on this side, in which case I should have been completely cut off from Alicante; [besides] as I had no military character, I never liked to bea mere incumbrance' on the operations of men whose whole days were occupied in the real business of war.
But if he consequently missed the excitement of a great battle, the journey which he took was not without adventure and interest. When he left the army he was far from well—so ill, indeed, that he was delayed for some days at Plasencia ; and, what was unusual with him, thought it necessary to, mention his illness again and again in his diary. Perhaps for this reason at Plasencia he engaged a servant, ‘the worstdressed and most foul-shinned scamp I ever saw.’ Thenceforward his appearance was even more grotesque than before.
I wore a blue military cloak, and a military cocked hat; I had a sword by my side; my whole luggage was carried in two bags, one on each side of the horse: In one of these I usually carried a leg of mutton, from which I cut two or three slices when I wished to prepare my dinner. My servant had a suit of clothes which had never been of the best, and was then mostly in rags. He too wore a cocked hat, and, being tall and thin, stalked before me with great dignity.’l ‘ '
From Plasencia, after making a short detour to see the
1 It was at Plasencia that Lord John was the guest of the 'jolly, red-faced priest' who reproved him for not drinking more wine with the syllogism: ' Qui bene bibit, bene dormit; qui bene dormit, non peccat; qui non peccat, snlvatus Crit.'
Monastery of Yuste, the retreat of Charles V., he proceeded to Talavera, where he carefully examined the battlefield, endeavouring to trace the course of the charge in which his brother William had been wounded; thence he took the road to Toledo; and on June 5, only two days after the French had evacuated it, having made a circuit of the surrounding country, he at last entered the Spanish capital, ‘and came through a very shabby street to a very dirty inn.’
Much is ruined and destroyed; but enough remains to show that it was a most magnificent little town. Although the French were here four years, the people have true Spanish feelings, and showed a joy at Lord Wellington's success, compared to which all London rejoicings are tame and flat.
The joy it [the news of Vittoria] caused among all classes was a sight I had never known before. Every'man, woman, and child was reading the gazette, or hearing it read, on the first day. Then came shouting, singing, dancing, and thanksgiving.
While Lord John was thus accompanying Lord Wellington and riding to Madrid, his more cautious friends were carrying out their original plan and proceeding to Alicante. They reached Alicante on May 7, and stayed in that ‘insufferable, stupid, filthy town ’ 1 for more than a month. The retreat of the French induced them to reconsider their arrangements and to rejoin Lord John, whom they hoped ‘to keep steady in future.’ They reached Madrid a fortnight after Lord John’s arrival, and stayed there till July 17. On that day they left Madrid in two caleches with two riding horses; and, after a fortnight’s travel, they entered Valencia, where they were detained waiting for a ship till September 9, when they embarked on board a fish vessel, master Captain Martin, who cheated us by taking
_180 dollars for our passages. He sailed with a fine westerly brain, but the ship was not the best of sailers.2
1 Mr. Bridgeman's Letters, p. 110.
9 Mr. Bridgeman, as usual, is more explicit. He wrote, 'The brig was a clumsy. bad sailer, and the master a great blackguard. We had a great deal of swell, and were all sick.‘
Bad as the vessel was, however,vv she brought them in three days to Palma, the chief port of Majorca, where, after a twentyfour hours’ detention in quarantine, they were permitted to land and escorted to the Bishop’s palace, ‘prepared for the reception of our magnificent persons.’ They remained in Majorca for nine days, when they 'crossed from Alendia to Minorca, landing in Ciudadela on the 22nd, and reaching Port Mahon on September 23. There the three friends again parted. Mr. Bridgeman and Mr. Clive, recurring to their original intention, went on to Sicily. Lord John, on the contrary, took advantage of a ship of war, the Esyfioz'r, touching at Port Mahon, crossed to T arragona, and thence, finding his way
, across Spain, returned to England:
,, Reasons for his return undoubtedly existed. On the 25th 'of the previous April, while Lord John was staying at Lord Wellington’s headquarters near the Portuguese frontier, an event had occurred in England which was destined to influence the whole of his life. This event was the death of General Fitzpatrick, a gentleman who may be still recollected by a few persons as a politician and by a few others as a poet and a scholar, who has been mentioned in this memoir as a successful candidate for Bedfordshire in 1807, and who had been nominated member for the Duke of Bedford’s borough of Tavistock in 1812. Lord Tavistock, the Duke’s eldest son, was already member for Bedfordshire; Lord William, the second son, though he was serving as Lord Wellington’s aidedecamp in Spain, was member for Bedford; and the Duke resolved on making Lord John, his third son, ,rnember for the Devonshire borough. It was true that Lord John was still under age, and therefore ineligible for a seat in Parliament. Disqualifications of this kind had only slight influence with borough owners, who all acted on, if they did not claim, the right to do what they chose with their own. Lord Liverpool, moreover, the Prime Minister of 1813, was himself under age when first elected to the House of Commons. Mr. Fox, who was the pattern and example of all true Whigs, was under age when he was first elected for Midhurst ; and Lord John’s absence abroad made it certain that he would be neither expected nor required to make any inconvenient declaration for some time. Probably for all these reasons, and perhaps still more from a desire to push the fortunes of a favourite and promising son, the Duke ordered the electors of Tavistock to elect Lord John. The electors, of course, obeyed their patron’s commands, and Lord John became consequently a member of Parliament.1
It is characteristic of Lord John that no mention of his election occurs throughout his diary. It was his business there, so he evidently thought, to record circumstances of public importance, not private matters affecting himself; and in accounting for his second separation from his friends he merely stated—
Finding I must undergo forty days’ quarantine if I went on to Sicily, I gave it up and resolved to come home.
But Mr. Bridgeman, writing three months afterwards, says-—
I was astonished to see John’s arrival in England about three weeks after he left us at Mahon. He flew home, on what wings I know not, but I suppose on those of political ambition.2
The journey occupied a longer time than Mr. Bridgeman imagined. Lord John left Port Mahon on September 26, and he did not sail from Corufia for England till October 27. In the intermediate period, however, he probably contrived to see as much of interest as many mortals succeed in witnessing
1 In introducing the second Reform Bill in 1831, Lord John gave the following account of TavistOck (where the franchise was vested in the freeholders). He said :—
‘In that borough in 1716 there were no persons who polled at elections. Looking at the returns from thence, it appears that the family to which I belong very often returned a member; and the other member seems usually to have been a gentleman of the county. At some period, I really cannot tell exactly when, the Duke of Bedfdrd, having great property in the neighbourhood, bought up the freeholds, and in time the constituency was so diminished that the electors varied only between twenty-seven and thirty-five. They [were] not entirely dependent, but still it will be seen that so small a number was much more within the verge of the influence of a great proprietor than the no voters would be who, a century earlier, assisted at elections.
2 Mr. Bridgeman's Letters, p. 185.
in a long series of years. He sailed from Port Mahon in the Espoz'r, a brig of war commanded by Captain Spencer,l touched the Spanish coast at Barcelona on the 29th, breakfasting there with Captain Adam on board the Inm'mz'éle; and after a three days’ visit to Admiral Hallowell’s flagship, the Mal/a, landed at Tarragona, and became the guest 0f Lord Frederick Bentinek 2 at Reus. , On Tuesday, October 5, in company with Mr. Locker,3 he left Reus with hired mules for Saragossa. The marks of the famous siege were still everywhere visible.
The country houses, the convents, the suburbs on the Ebro are reduced to a few roofless walls, penetrated in a thousand places by cannon and musket balls. . . . But when we got into the Calle Coso4 our astonishment was much increased at seeing that every house was like a sieve; doors, windows, and walls all being penetrated by musketry.
Mr. Locker and he stayed at Saragossa till October I 3, and then proceeded by Tudela and Pampeluna to Lord Wellington’s headquarters at Vera.
On the 20th I went with Lord William to the Highland Brigade. The high hill of La Rune, which rises above here, is visible from a great distance. ()n it is a stone to mark the boundary of France and Spain. On Sunday, the 24th, 1 rode along the line to Irun, and dined with Lord Waldegrave, On Monday I went to Passages, where Sir G. Collier treated me very kindly, and sailed on the 27th in the packet for England.
Perhaps no sight could have been more imposing than that on which Lord John thus gazed. From the high ground, over
1 Afterwards Captain Sir Robert Spencer, K.C.H., Lord Spencer's second son.
2 Captain, afterwards Admiral Sir C., Adam, was the second son of the Right Hon. W. Adam. General Lord Frederick Bentinck was the fourth son of the third Duke of Portland.
3 Mr. Locker was Public Secretary to the Mediterranean Fleet. He was carrying despatches to Lord Wellington on this occasion.
4 The Calle Coso, or Calle del C050, is the chief street in Saragossa. Mr. Locker Lampson tells me, on the authority of his father's diary, that ' the walls that separated the houses had been pulled down, and the long street had been converted into two immense forts.’