2611. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [c. 6 June 1815] 

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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 4: 1810-1815

2611. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [c. 6 June 1815] ⁠* 

I have got an account of the Campaign in Portugal in 1810–11 par Mr. A. D. L. Carel. Officier Superieur on the staff, – which is such a master piece of impudence that I shall amuse myself with giving an account of it in three or four pages for the Quarterly. [1]  Massenas [2]  whole force with which he entered Portugal he says was 40,000 foot & 6000 horse with which he drove before him 35000 English & 50,000 Portugueze disciplined troops. Whenever we attempted to skirmish we were culbutées, [3]  nothing would stand the French bayonet &c – & not the slightest intimation throughout the whole book that the English had any such weapon. We repulsed them at Busaco wholly by our batteries. [4]  It is a masterpiece in its way, & the motto –

Quamquam inter adversa salva virtutis fama. [5] 

Our tyranny & cruelty to the Portugueze, – the sensibility of the French soldiers &c &c!

What a race of liars they are!

RS.


Notes

* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqre/ St Stephens Court/ New Palace Yard/ Westminster
Endorsement: RS./ 1 July 1815
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmarks: FREE/ 9 JU 9/ 1815
MS: Huntington Library, RS 252
Unpublished.
Dating note: dating from contents, Southey had received Carel’s book by early June 1815; see Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 6 June 1815, Letter 2612. This letter to Rickman is written around the same time. BACK

[1] Southey finally reviewed the following for Quarterly Review, 13 (July 1815), 448–526: Eustache-Auguste Carel (1788–1836), Précis Historique de la Guerre d’Espagne et de Portugal, de 1808 à 1814 (1815); Jean Sarrazin (1770–1848), Histoire de la Guerre d’Espagne et de Portugal, de 1807 à 1814 (1814); General View of the Political State of France, and of the Government of Louis XVIII (1815); and An Answer to the Calumniators of Louis XVIII (1815). (After Waterloo, Murray asked him to add the following: Official Accounts of the Battle of Waterloo (1815); Lieutenant-General W. A. Scott (dates unknown), Battle of Waterloo (1815).) For examples of his swipes at Carel, see Quarterly Review, 13 (July 1815), 461, 463, 472, 475. BACK

[2] Andre Massena (1758–1817), commander of the invasion of Portugal in 1810. BACK

[3] i.e. failures, disorganised. See Eustache-Auguste Carel, Précis Historique de la Guerre d’Espagne et de Portugal, de 1808 à 1814 (Paris, 1815), p. 14. BACK

[4] Eustache-Auguste Carel, Précis Historique de la Guerre d’Espagne et de Portugal, de 1808 à 1814 (Paris, 1815), pp. 72–73. The battle of Busaco, 27 September 1810, was an important French defeat. BACK

[5] Publius Cornelius Tacitus (AD 56–117), Historiae, Book 4, chapter 2: ‘even in disaster the honour of the soldier was preserved’. BACK

Published @ RC

August 2013