The Peace of Riswick soon after taking place, put an End to all Incendiarisms of either Sort. So that nothing of a Military Kind, which was now become my Province, happen'd of some Years after. Our Regiment was first order'd into England; and presently after into Ireland: But as these Memoirs are not design'd for the Low Amuzement of a Tea-Table, but rather of the Cabinet, a Series of inglorious Inactivity can furnish but very little towards 'em.
Yet as little as I admir'd a Life of Inactivity, there are some Sorts of Activity, to which a wise Man might almost give Supineness the Preference: Such is that of barely encountring Elements, and wageing War with Nature; and such, in my Opinion, would have been the spending my Commission, and very probably my Life with it, in the West Indies. For though the Climate (as some would urge) may afford a Chance for a very speedy Advance in Honour, yet, upon revolving in my Mind, that those Rotations of the Wheel of Fortune are often so very quick, as well as uncertain, that I my self might as well be the First as the Last; the Whole of the Debate ended in somewhat like that Couplet of the excellent Hudibras:
Then he, that ran away and fled, Must lie in Honour's Truckle-bed.
However, my better Planets soon disannull'd those melancholy Ideas, which a Rumour of our being sent into the West Indies had crowded my Head and Heart with: For being call'd over into England, upon the very Affairs of the Regiment, I arriv'd there just after the Orders for their Transportation went over; by which Means the Choice of going was put out of my Power, and the Danger of Refusing, which was the Case of many, was very luckily avoided.
It being judg'd, therefore, impossible for me to return soon enough to gain my Passage, one in Power propos'd to me, that I should resign to an Officer then going over; and with some other contingent Advantages, to my great Satisfaction, I was put upon the Half-pay List. This was more agreeable, for I knew, or at least imagin'd my self wise enough to foretel, from the over hot Debate of the House of Commons upon the Partition Treaty, that it could not be long before the present Peace would, at least, require patching.
Under this Sort of uncertain Settlement I remain'd with the Patience of a Jew, though not with Judaical Absurdity, a faithful Adherer to my Expectation. Nor did the Consequence fail of answering, a War was apparent, and soon after proclaim'd. Thus waiting for an Opportunity, which I flatter'd my self would soon present, the little Diversions of Dublin, and the moderate Conversation of that People, were not of Temptation enough to make my Stay in England look like a Burden.
But though the War was proclaim'd, and Preparations accordingly made for it, the Expectations from all receiv'd a sudden Damp, by the as sudden Death of King William. That Prince, who had stared Death in the Face in many Sieges and Battles, met with his Fate in the Midst of his Diversions, who seiz'd his Prize in an Hour, to human Thought, the least adapted to it. He was a Hunting (his customary Diversion) when, by an unhappy Trip of his Horse, he fell to the Ground; and in the Fall displac'd his Collar-bone. The News of it immediately alarm'd the Court, and all around; and the sad Effects of it soon after gave all Europe the like Alarm. France only, who had not disdain'd to seek it sooner by ungenerous Means, receiv'd new Hope, from what gave others Motives for Despair. He flatter'd himself, that that long liv'd Obstacle to his Ambition thus remov'd, his Successor would never fall into those Measures, which he had wisely concerted for the Liberties of Europe; but he, as well as others of his Adherents, was gloriously deceiv'd; that God-like Queen, with a Heart entirely English, prosecuted her royal Predecessor's Counsels; and to remove all the very Faces of Jealousy, immediately on her Accession dispatch'd to every Court of the great Confederacy, Persons adequate to the Importance of the Message, to give Assurances thereof.
This gave new Spirit to a Cause, that at first seem'd to languish in its Founder, as it struck its great Opposers with a no less mortifying Terror; And well did the great Successes of her Arms answer the Prayers and Efforts of that royal Soul of the Confederacies; together with the Wishes of all, that, like her, had the Good, as well as the Honour of their Country at Heart, in which the Liberties of Europe were included. The first Campaign gave a noble Earnest of the Future. Bon, Keyserwaert, Venlo, and Ruremond, were sound Forerunners only of Donawert, Hochstet, and Blenheim. Such a March of English Forces to the Support of the tottering Empire, as it gloriously manifested the ancient Genius of a warlike People; so was it happily celebrated with a Success answerable to the Glory of the Undertaking, which concluded in Statues and princely Donatives to an English Subject, from the then only Emperor in Europe. A small Tribute, it's true, for ransom'd Nations and captiv'd Armies, which justly enough inverted the Exclamations of a Roman Emperor to the French Monarch, who deprecated his Legions lost pretty near the same Spot; but to a much superior Number, and on a much less glorious Occasion.
But my good Fortune not allowing me to participate in those glorious Appendages of the English Arms in Flanders, nor on the Rhine, I was resolv'd to make a Push for it the first Opportunity, and waste my Minutes no longer on Court Attendances. And my Lord Cutts returning with his full Share of Laurels, for his never to be forgotten Services at Venlo, Ruremond, and Hochstet, found his active Genius now to be repos'd, under the less agreeable Burden of unhazardous Honour, where Quiet must provide a Tomb for one already past any Danger of Oblivion; deep Wounds and glorious Actions having anticipated all that could be said in Epitaphs or litteral Inscriptions. Soon after his Arrival from Germany, he was appointed General of all her Majesty's Forces in Ireland; upon which going to congratulate him, he was pleas'd to enquire of me several Things relating to that Country; and particularly in what Part of Dublin I would recommend his Residence; offering at the same time, if I would go over with him, all the Services that should fall in his Way.
But Inactivity was a Thing I had too long lamented; therefore, after I had, as decently as I could, declin'd the latter Part, I told his Lordship, that as to a Place of Residence, I was Master of a House in Dublin, large enough, and suitable to his great Quality, which should be at his Service, on any Terms he thought fit. Adding withal, that I had a Mind to see Spain, where my Lord Peterborow was now going; and that if his Lordship would favour me with a Recommendation, it would suit my present Inclinations much better than any further tedious Recess. His Lordship was so good to close with both my Overtures; and spoke so effectually in my Favour, that the Earl of Peterborow, then General of all the Forces order'd on that Expedition, bad me speedily prepare my self; and so when all Things were ready I embarqu'd with that noble Lord for Spain, to pursue his well concerted Undertaking; which, in the Event, will demonstrate to the World, that little Armies, under the Conduct of auspicious Generals, may sometimes produce prodigious Effects.
The Jews, in whatever Part of the World, are a People industrious in the increasing of Mammon; and being accustom'd to the universal Methods of Gain, are always esteem'd best qualify'd for any Undertaking, where that bears a Probability of being a Perquisite. Providing Bread, and other Requisites for an Army, was ever allow'd to carry along with it a Profit answerable; and Spain was not the first Country where that People had engag'd in such an Undertaking. Besides, on any likely Appearance of great Advantage, it is in the Nature as well as Practice of that Race, strenuously to assist one another; and that with the utmost Confidence and prodigious Alacrity. One of that Number, both competent and willing enough to carry on an Undertaking of that kind, fortunately came at that Juncture to solicit the Earl of Peterborow to be employ'd as Proveditor to the Army and Troops, which were, or should be sent into Spain.
It will easily be admitted, that the Earl, under his present Exigencies, did not decline to listen. And a very considerable Sum being offer'd, by way of Advance, the Method common in like Cases was pursu'd, and the Sum propos'd accepted; by which Means the Earl of Peterborow found himself put into the happy Capacity of proceeding upon his first concerted Project. The Name of the Jew, who sign'd the Contract, was Curtisos; and he and his Friends, with great Punctuality, advanc'd the expected Sum of One Hundred Thousand Pounds Sterling, or very near it; which was immediately order'd into the Hands of the Pay-master of the Forces. For though the Earl took Money of the Jews, it was not for his own, but public Use. According to Agreement, Bills were drawn for the Value from Lisbon, upon the Lord Godolphin (then Lord Treasurer) all which were, on that Occasion, punctually comply'd with.
The Earl of Peterborow having thus fortunately found Means to supply himself with Money, and by that with some Horse, after he had obtain'd Leave of the Lord Galoway to make an Exchange of two Regiments of Foot, receiv'd the Arch-Duke, and all those who would follow him, aboard the Fleet; and, at his own Expense, transported him and his whole Retinue to Barcelona: For all which prodigious Charge, as I have been very lately inform'd, from very good Hands, that noble Earl never to this Day receiv'd any Consideration from the Government, or any Person whatsoever.
We sail'd from Lisbon, in order to join the Squadron under Sir Cloudsley Shovel: Meeting with which at the appointed Station off Tangier, the Men of War and Transports thus united, made the best of their Way for Gibraltar. There we stay'd no longer than to take aboard two Regiments out of that Garrison, in lieu of two out of our Fleet. Here we found the Prince of Hesse, who immediately took a Resolution to follow the Arch-Duke in this Expedition. He was a Person of great Gallantry; and having been Vice-Roy of Catalonia, was receiv'd on board the Fleet with the utmost Satisfaction, as being a Person capable of doing great Service in a Country where he was well known, and as well belov'd.
Speaking Latin then pretty fluently, it gave me frequent Opportunies of conversing with the two Father Confessors of the Duke of Austria; and upon that Account I found my self honour'd with some Share in the Favour of the Arch-Duke himself. I mention this, not to gratify any vain Humour, but as a corroborating Circumstance, that my Opportunities of Information, in Matters of Consequence, could not thereby be suppos'd to be lessen'd; but that I might more reasonably be imagin'd to arrive at Intelligence, that not very often, or at least not so soon, came to the Knowledge of others.
From Gibraltar we sail'd to the Bay of Altea, not far distant from the City of Valencia, in the Road of which we continu'd for some Days. While we were there, as I was very credibly inform'd, the Earl of Peterborow met with some fresh Disappointment; but what it was, neither I nor any Body else, as far as I could perceive, could ever dive into: Neither did it appear by any outward Tokens, in that noble General, that it lay so much at his Heart, as those about him seem'd to assure me it did.
However, while we lay in Altea Bay, two Bomb-Vessels, and a small Squadron, were order'd against Denia, which had a small Castle; but rather fine than strong. And accordingly, upon our Offer to bring to bear with our Cannon, and preparing to fix our Bomb-Vessels, in order to bombard the Place, it surrender'd; and acknowledg'd the Arch-Duke as lawful King of Spain, and so proclaim'd him. From this time, therefore, speaking of that Prince, it shall be under that Title. General Ramos was left Commander here; a Person who afterwards acted a very extraordinary Part in the War carry'd on in the Kingdom of Valencia.
But notwithstanding no positive Resolutions had been taken for the Operations of the Campaign, before the Arch Duke's Departure from Lisbon, the Earl of Peterborow, ever solicitous of the Honour of his Country, had premeditated another Enterprize, which, had it been embrac'd, would in all Probability, have brought that War to a much more speedy Conclusion; and at the same time have obviated all those Difficulties, which were but too apparent in the Siege of Barcelona. He had justly and judiciously weigh'd, that there were no Forces in the Middle Parts of Spain, all their Troops being in the extream Parts of the Kingdom, either on the Frontiers of Portugal, or in the City of Barcelona; that with King Philip, and the royal Family at Madrid, there were only some few Horse, and those in a bad Condition, and which only serv'd for Guards: if therefore, as he rightly projected within himself, by the taking of Valencia, or any Sea-Port Town, that might have secur'd his Landing, he had march'd directly for Madrid; what could have oppos'd him? But I shall have occasion to dilate more upon this Head a few Pages hence; and therefore shall here only say, that though that Project of his might have brought about a speedy and wonderful Revolution, what he was by his Orders afterwards oblig'd to, against his Inclinations, to pursue, contributed much more to his great Reputation, as it put him under a frequent Necessity of overcoming Difficulties, which, to any other General, would have appear'd unsurmountable.
VALENCIA is a City towards the Centre of Spain, to the Seaward, seated in a rich and most populous Country, just fifty Leagues from Madrid. It abounds in Horses and Mules; by reason of the great Fertility of its Lands, which they can, to great Advantage, water when, and as they please. This City and Kingdom was as much inclin'd to the Interest of King Charles as Catalonia it self; for even on our first Appearance, great Numbers of People came down to the Bay of Altea, with not only a bare Offer of their Services, but loaded with all Manner of Provisions, and loud Acclamations of Viva Carlos tercero, Viva. There were no regular Troops in any of the Places round about it, or in the City it self. The nearest were those few Horse in Madrid, one hundred and fifty Miles distant; nor any Foot nearer than Barcelona, or the Frontiers of Portugal.
On the contrary, Barcelona is one of the largest and most populous Cities in all Spain, fortify'd with Bastions; one Side thereof is secur'd by the Sea; and the other by a strong Fortification call'd Monjouick. The Place is of so large a Circumference, that thirty thousand Men would scarce suffice to form the Lines of Circumvallation. It once resisted for many Months an Army of that Force; and is almost at the greatest Distance from England of any Place belonging to that Monarchy.
This short Description of these two Places will appear highly necessary, if it be consider'd, that no Person without it would be able to judge of the Design which the Earl of Peterborow intended to pursue, when he first took the Arch-Duke aboard the Fleet. Nevertheless the Earl now found himself under a Necessity of quitting that noble Design, upon his Receipt of Orders from England, while he lay in the Bay of Altea, to proceed directly to Catalonia; to which the Arch-Duke, as well as many Sea and Land Officers, were most inclin'd; and the Prince of Hesse more than all the rest.
On receiving those Orders, the Earl of Peterborow seem'd to be of Opinion, that from an Attempt, which he thought under a Probability of Success, he was condemn'd to undertake what was next to an Impossibility of effecting; since nothing appear'd to him so injudicious as an Attempt upon Barcelona. A Place at such a Distance from receiving any Reinforcement or Relief; the only Place in which the Spaniards had a Garrison of regular Forces; and those in Number rather exceeding the Army he was to undertake the Siege with, was enough to cool the Ardour of a Person of less Penetration and Zeal than what the Earl had on all Occasions demonstrated. Whereas if the General, as he intended, had made an immediate March to Madrid, after he had secur'd Valencia, and the Towns adjacent, which were all ready to submit and declare for King Charles; or if otherwise inclin'd, had it not in their Power to make any considerable Resistance; to which, if it be added, that he could have had Mules and Horses immediately provided for him, in what Number he pleas'd, together with Carriages necessary for Artillery, Baggage, and Ammunition; in few Days he could have forc'd King Philip out of Madrid, where he had so little Force to oppose him. And as there was nothing in his Way to prevent or obstruct his marching thither, it is hard to conceive any other Part King Philip could have acted in such an Extremity, than to retire either towards Portugal or Catalonia. In either of which Cases he must have left all the middle Part of Spain open to the Pleasure of the Enemy; who in the mean time would have had it in their Power to prevent any Communication of those Bodies at such opposite Extreams of the Country, as were the Frontiers of Portugal and Barcelona, where only, as I said before, were any regular Troops.
And on the other Side, as the Forces of the Earl of Peterborow were more than sufficient for an Attempt where there was so little Danger of Opposition; so if their Army on the Frontiers of Portugal should have march'd back upon him into the Country; either the Portugueze Army could have enter'd into Spain without Opposition; or, at worst, supposing the General had been forc'd to retire, his Retreat would have been easy and safe into those Parts of Valencia and Andahzia, which he previously had secur'd. Besides, Gibraltar, the strongest Place in Spain, if not in the whole World, was already in our Possession, and a great Fleet at Hand ready to give Assistance in all Places near the Sea. From all which it is pretty apparent, that in a little time the War on our Side might have been supported without entering the Mediterranean; by which Means all Reinforcements would have been much nearer at Hand, and the Expences of transporting Troops and Ammunition very considerably diminish'd.
But none of these Arguments, though every one of them is founded on solid Reason, were of Force enough against the prevailing Opinion for an Attempt upon Catalonia. Mr. Crow, Agent for the Queen in those Parts, had sent into England most positive Assurances, that nothing would be wanting, if once our Fleet made an invasion amongst the Catalans: The Prince of Hesse likewise abounded in mighty Offers and prodigious Assurances; all which enforc'd our Army to that Part of Spain, and that gallant Prince to those Attempts in which he lost his Life. Very much against the Inclination of our General, who foresaw all those Difficulties, which were no less evident afterwards to every one; and the Sense of which occasion'd those Delays, and that Opposition to any Effort upon Barcelona, which ran thro' so many successive Councils of War.
However, pursuant to his Instructions from England, the repeated Desires of the Arch-Duke, and the Importunities of the Prince of Hesse, our General gave Orders to sail from Altea towards the Bay of Barcelona, the chief City of Catalonia. Nevertheless, when we arriv'd there, he was very unwilling to land any of the Forces, till he saw some Probability of that Assistance and Succour so must boasted of, and so often promis'd. But as nothing appear'd but some small Numbers of Men, very indifferently arm'd, and without either Gentlemen or Officers at the Head of them; the Earl of Peterborow was of Opinion, this could not be deem'd sufficient Encouragement for him to engage in an Enterprize, which carry'd so poor a Face of Probability of Success along with it. In answer to this it was urg'd, that till a Descent was made, and the Affairs thoroughly engag'd in, it was not to be expected that any great Numbers would appear, or that Persons of Condition would discover themselves. Upon all which it was resolv'd the Troops should be landed.
Accordingly, our Forces were disembark'd, and immediately encamp'd; notwithstanding which the Number of Succours increas'd very slowly, and that after the first straggling Manner. Nor were those that did appear any way to be depended on; coming when they thought fit, and going away when they pleas'd, and not to be brought under any regular Discipline. It was then pretended, that until they saw the Artillery landed as well as Forces, they would not believe any Siege actually intended. This brought the General under a sort of Necessity of complying in that also. Though certainly so to do must be allow'd a little unreasonable, while the Majority in all Councils of War declar'd the Design to be impracticable; and the Earl of Peterborow had positive Orders to proceed according to such Majorities.
At last the Prince of Hesse was pleas'd to demand Pay for those Stragglers, as Officers and Soldiers, endeavouring to maintain, that it could not be expected that Men should venture their Lives for nothing. Thus we came to Catalonia upon Assurances of universal Assistance; but found, when we came there, that we were to have none unless we paid for it. And as we were sent thither without Money to pay for any thing, it had certainly been for us more tolerable to have been in a Country where we might have taken by Force what we could not obtain any other way.
However, to do the Miquelets all possible Justice, I must say, that notwithstanding the Number of 'em, which hover'd about the Place, never much exceeded fifteen Hundred Men; if sometimes more, oftner less; and though they never came under any Command, but planted themselves where and as they pleas'd; yet did they considerable Service in taking Possession of all the Country Houses and Convents, that lay between the Hills and the Plain of Barcelona; by means whereof they render'd it impossible for the Enemy to make any Sorties or Sallies at any Distance from the Town.
And now began all those Difficulties to bear, which long before by the General had been apprehended. The Troops had continu'd under a State of Inactivity for the Space of three Weeks, all which was spent in perpetual Contrivances and Disputes amongst our selves, not with the Enemy. In six several Councils of War the Siege of Barcelona, under the Circumstances we then lay, was rejected as a Madness and Impossibility. And though the General and Brigadier Stanhope (afterward Earl Stanhope) consented to some Effort should be made to satisfy the Expectation of the World, than with any Hopes of Success. However, no Consent at all could be obtain'd from any Council of War; and the Dutch General in particular declar'd, that he would not obey even the Commands of the Earl of Peterborow, if he should order the Sacrifice of the Troops under him in so unjustifiable a Manner, without the Consent of a Council of War.
And yet all those Officers, who refus'd their Consent to the Siege of Barcelona, offer'd to march into the Country, and attempt any other Place, that was not provided with so strong and numerous a Garrison; taking it for granted, that no Town in Catalonia, Barcelona excepted, could make long Resistance; and in case the Troops in that Garrison should pursue them, they then might have an Opportunity of fighting them at less Disadvantage in the open Field, than behind the Walls of a Place of such Strength. And, indeed, should they have issu'd out on any such Design, a Defeat of those Troops would have put the Province of Catalonia, together with the Kingdoms of Aragon and Valencia, into the Hands of King Charles more effectually than the taking of Barcelona it self.
Let it be observ'd, en passant, that by those Offers of the Land Officers in a Council of War, it is easy to imagine what would have been the Success of our Troops, had they march'd directly from Valencia to Madrid. For if after two Months Alarm, it was thought reasonable, as well as practicable, to march into the open Country rather than attempt the Siege of Barcelona, where Forces equal, if not superior in Number, were ready to follow us at the Heels; what might not have been expected from an Invasion by our Troops when and where they could meet with little Opposition? But leaving the Consideration of what might have been, I shall now endeavour at least with great Exactness to set down some of the most remarkable Events from our taking to the Relief of Barcelona.
The repeated Refusals of the Councils of War for undertaking the Siege of so strong a Place, with a Garrison so numerous, and those Refusals grounded upon such solid Reasons, against a Design so rash, reduc'd the General to the utmost Perplexity. The Court of King Charles was immerg'd in complaint; all belonging to him lamenting the hard Fate of that Prince, to be brought into Catalonia only to return again, without the Offer of any one Effort in his Favour. On the other Hand, our own Officers and Soldiers were highly dissatisfy'd, that they were reproach'd, because not dispos'd to enter upon and engage themselves in Impossibilities. And, indeed, in the Manner that the Siege was propos'd and insisted upon by the Prince of Hesse, in every of the several Councils of War, after the Loss of many Men, thrown away to no other purpose, but to avoid the Shame (as the Expression ran) of coming like Fools and going away like Cowards, it could have ended in nothing but a Retreat at last.
It afforded but small Comfort to the Earl to have foreseen all these Difficulties, and to have it in his Power to say, that he would never have taken the Arch-Duke on Board, nor have propos'd to him the Hopes of a Recovery of the Spanish Monarchy from King Philip, if he could have imagin'd it probable, that he should not have been at liberty to pursue his own Design, according to his own Judgment. It must be allow'd very hard for him, who had undertaken so great a Work, and that without any Orders from the Government; and by so doing could have had no Justification but by Success; I say, it must be allow'd to be very hard (after the Undertaking had been approv'd in England) that he should find himself to be directed in this Manner by those at a Distance, upon ill grounded and confident Reports from Mr. Crow; and compell'd, as it were, though General, to follow the Sentiments of Strangers, who either had private Views of Ambition, or had no immediate Care or Concern for the Troops employ'd in this Expedition.
Such were the present unhappy Circumstanches of the Earl of Peterborow in the Camp before Barcelona: Impossibilities propos'd; no Expedients to be accepted; a Court reproaching; Councils of War rejecting; and the Dutch General refusing the Assistance of the Troops under his Command; and what surmounted all, a Despair of bringing such Animosities and differing Opinions to any tolerable Agreement. Yet all these Difficulties, instead of discouraging the Earl, set every Faculty of his more afloat; and, at last, produc'd a lucky Thought, which was happily attended with Events extraordinary, and Scenes of Success much beyond his Expectation; such, as the General himself was heard to confess, it had been next to Folly to have look'd for; as certainly, in prima facie, it would hardly have born proposing, to take by Surprize a Place much stronger than Barcelona it self. True it is, that his only Hope of succeeding consisted in this: That no Person could suppose such an Enterprize could enter into the Imagination of Man; and without doubt the General's chief Dependence lay upon what he found true in the Sequel; that the Governor and Garrison of Monjouick, by reason of their own Security, would be very negligent, and very little upon their Guard.
However, to make the Experiment, he took an Opportunity, unknown to any Person but an Aid de Camp that attended him, and went out to view the Fortifications: And there being no Horse in that strong Fortress; and the Miquelets being possess'd of all the Houses and Gardens in the Plain, it was not difficult to give himself that Satisfaction, taking his Way by the Foot of the Hill. The Observation he made of the Place it self, the Negligence and Supineness of the Garrison, together with his own uneasy Circumstances, soon brought the Earl to a Resolution of putting his first Conceptions in Execution, satisfy'd as he was, from the Situation of the Ground between Monjouick and the Town, that if the first was in our Possession, the Siege of the latter might be undertaken with some Prospect of Success.
From what has been said, some may be apt to conclude that the Siege afterward succeeding, when the Attack was made from the Side of Monjouick, it had not been impossible to have prevail'd, if the Effort had been made on the East Side of the Town, where our Forces were at first encamp'd, and where only we could have made our Approaches, if Monjouick had not been in our Power. But a few Words will convince any of common Experience of the utter Impossibility of Success upon the East Part of the Town, although many almost miraculous Accidents made us succeed when we brought our Batteries to bear upon that Part of Barcelona towards the West. The Ground to the East was a perfect Level for many Miles, which would have necessitated our making our Approaches in a regular Way; and consequently our Men must have been expos'd to the full Fire of their whole Artillery. Besides, the Town is on that Side much stronger than any other; there is an Out-work just under the Walls of the Town, flank'd by the Courtin and the Faces of two Bastions, which might have cost us half our Troops to possess, before we could have rais'd a Battery against the Walls. Or supposing, after all, a competent Breach had been made, what a wise Piece of Work must it have been to have attempted a Storm against double the Number of regular Troops within?
On the contrary, we were so favoured by the Situation, when we made the Attack from the Side of Monjouick, that the Breach was made and the Town taken without opening of Trenches, or without our being at all incommoded by any Sallies of the Enemy; as in truth they made not one during the whole Siege. Our great Battery, which consisted of upwards of fifty heavy Cannon, supply'd from the Ships, and manag'd by the Seamen, were plac'd upon a Spot of rising Ground, just large enough to contain our Guns, with two deep hollow Ways on each Side the Field, at each End whereof we had rais'd a little Redoubt, which serv'd to preserve our Men from the Shot of the Town. Those little Redoubts, in which we had some Field Pieces, flank'd the Battery, and render'd it intirely secure from any Surprize of the Enemy. There were several other smaller Batteries rais'd upon the Hills adjacent, in Places not to be approach'd, which, in a manner, render'd all the Artillery of the Enemy useless, by reason their Men could not play 'em, but with the utmost Danger; whereas ours were secure, very few being kill'd, and those mostly by random Shot.
But to return to the General; forc'd, as he was, to take this extraordinary Resolution, he concluded, the readiest Way to surprize his Enemies was to elude his Friends. He therefore call'd a Council of War a-shore, of the Land Officers; and aboard, of the Admirals and Sea Officers: In both which it was resolv'd, that in case the Siege of Barcelona was judg'd impracticable, and that the Troops should be re-imbark'd by a Day appointed, an Effort should be made upon the Kingdom of Naples. Accordingly, the Day affix'd being come, the heavy Artillery landed for the Siege was return'd aboard the Ships, and every thing in appearance prepar'd for a Re-imbarkment. During which, the General was oblig'd to undergo all the Reproaches of a dissatisfy'd Court; and what was more uneasy to him, the Murmurings of the Sea Officers, who, not so competent Judges in what related to Sieges, were one and all inclin'd to a Design upon Barcelona; and the rather, because as the Season was so far spent, it was thought altogether improper to engage the Fleet in any new Undertaking. However, all Things were so well disguis'd by our seeming Preparations for a Retreat, that the very Night our Troops were in March towards the Attack of Monjouick, there were publick Entertainments and Rejoicings in the Town for the raising of the Siege.
The Prince of Hesse had taken large Liberties in complaining against all the Proceedings in the Camp before Barcelona; even to Insinuations, that though the Earl gave his Opinion for some Effort in public, yet us'd he not sufficient Authority over the other General Officers to incline them to comply; throwing out withal some Hints, that the General from the Beginning had declar'd himself in favour of other Operations, and against coming to Catalonia; the latter Part whereof was nothing but Fact. On the other Side, the Earl of Peterborow complain'd, that the boasted Assistance was no way made good; and that in failure thereof, his Troops were to be sacrificed to the Humours of a Stranger; one who had no Command; and whose Conduct might bear a Question whether equal to his Courage. These Reproaches of one another had bred so much ill Blood between those two great Men, that for above a Fortnight they had no Correspondence, nor ever exchang'd one Word.
The Earl, however, having made his proper Dispositions, and deliver'd out his Orders, began his March in the Evening with twelve Hundred Foot and two Hundred Horse, which of necessity were to pass by the Quarters of the Prince of Hesse. That Prince, on their Appearance, was told that the General was come to speak with him; and being brought into his Apartment, the Earl acquainted him, that he had at last resolv'd upon an Attempt against the Enemy; adding, that now, if he pleas'd, he might be a Judge of their Behaviour, and see whether his Officers and Soldiers had deserv'd that Character which he had so liberally given 'em. The Prince made answer, that he had always been ready to take his Share; but could hardly believe, that Troops marching that way could make any Attempt against the Enemy to satisfaction. However, without further Discourse he call'd for his Horse.
By this we may see what Share Fortune has in the greatest Events. In all probability the Earl of Peterborow had never engag'd in such a dangerous Affair in cold Blood and unprovok'd; and if such an Enterprize had been resolv'd on in a regular Way, it is very likely he might have given the Command to some of the General Officers; since it is not usual, nor hardly allowable, for one, that commands in chief, to go in Person on such kind of Services. But here we see the General and Prince, notwithstanding their late indifferent Harmony, engag'd together in this most desperate Undertaking.
Brigadier Stanhope and Mr. Methuen (now Sir Paul) were the General's particular Friends, and those he most consulted, and most confided in; yet he never imparted this Resolution of his to either of them; for he was not willing to engage them in a Design so dangerous, and where there was so little Hope of Success; rather choosing to reserve them as Persons most capable of giving Advice and Assistance in the Confusion, great enough already, which yet must have been greater, if any Accident had happen'd to himself. And I have very good Reason to believe, that the Motive, which mainly engag'd the Earl of Peterborow in this Enterprize, was to satisfy the Prince of Hesse and the World, that his Diffidence proceeded from his Concern for the Troops committed to his Charge, and not for his own Person. On the other Hand, the great Characters of the two Gentlemen just mention'd are so well known, that it will easily gain Credit, that the only Way the General could take to prevent their being of the Party, was to conceal it from them, as he did from all Mankind, even from the Archduke himself. And certainly there never was a more universal Surprize than when the firing was heard next Morning from Monjouick.
But I now proceed to give an exact Account of this great Action; of which no Person, that I have heard of, ever yet took upon him to deliver to Posterity the glorious Particulars; and yet the Consequences and Events, by what follows, will appear so great, and so very extraordinary, that few, if any, had they had it in their Power, would have deny'd themselves the Pleasure or the World the Satisfaction of knowing it.
The Troops, which march'd all Night along the Foot of the Mountains, arriv'd two Hours before Day under the Hill of Monjouick, not a Quarter of a Mile from the outward Works: For this Reason it was taken for granted, whatever the Design was which the General had propos'd to himself, that it would be put in Execution before Day-light; but the Earl of Peterborow was now pleas'd to inform the Officers of the Reasons why he chose to stay till the Light appear'd. He was of opinion that any Success would be impossible, unless the Enemy came into the outward Ditch under the Bastions of the second Enclosure; but that if they had time allow'd them to come thither, there being no Palisadoes, our Men, by leaping in upon them, after receipt of their first Fire, might drive 'em into the upper Works; and following them close, with some Probability, might force them, under that Confusion, into the inward Fortifications.
Such were the General's Reasons then and there given; after which, having promis'd ample Rewards to such as discharg'd their Duty well, a Lieutenant, with thirty Men, was order'd to advance towards the Bastion nearest the Town; and a Captain, with fifty Men, to support him. After the Enemy's Fire they were to leap into the Ditch, and their Orders were to follow 'em close, if they retir'd into the upper Works: Nevertheless, not to pursue 'em farther, if they made into the inner Fort; but to endeavour to cover themselves within the Gorge of the Bastion.
A Lieutenant and a Captain, with the Like Number of Men and the same Orders, were commanded to a Demi-Bastion at the Extremity of the Fort towards the West, which was above Musket-Shot from the inward Fortification. Towards this Place the Wall, which was cut into the Rock, was not fac'd for about twenty Yards; and here our own Men got up; where they found three Pieces of Cannon upon a Platform, without many Men to defend them.
Those appointed to the Bastion towards the Town were sustain'd by two hundred Men; with which the General and Prince went in Person. The like Number, under the Directions of Colonel Southwell, were to sustain the Attack towards the West; and about five hundred Men were left under the Command of a Dutch Colonel, whose Orders were to assist, where, in his own Judgment, he should think most proper; and these were drawn up between the two Parties appointed to begin the Assault. My Lot was on the Side where the Prince and Earl were in Person; and where we sustain'd the only Loss from the first Fire of the Enemy.
Our men, though quite expos'd, and though the Glacis was all escarp'd upon the live Rock, went on with an undaunted Courage; and immediately after the first Fire of the Enemy, all, that were not kill'd or wounded, leap'd in, pel-mel, amongst the Enemy; who, being thus boldly attack'd, and seeing others pouring in upon 'em, retir'd in great Confusion; and some one Way, some another, ran into the inward Works.
There was a large Port in the Flank of the principal Bastion, towards the North-East, and a cover'd Way, through which the General and the Prince of Hesse follow'd the flying Forces; and by that Means became possess'd of it. Luckily enough here lay a Number of great Stones in the Gorge of the Bastion, for the Use of the Fortification; with which we made a Sort of Breast-Work, before the Enemy recover'd of their Amaze, or made any considerable Fire upon us from their inward Fort, which commanded the upper Part of that Bastion.
We were afterwards inform'd, that the Commander of the Citadel, expecting but one Attack, had call'd off the Men from the most distant and western Part of the Fort, to that Side which was next the Town; upon which our Men got into a Demi-Bastion in the most extream Part of the Fortification. Here they got Possession of three Pieces of Cannon, with hardly any Opposition; and had Leisure to cast up a little Retrenchment, and to make use of the Guns they had taken to defend it. Under this Situation, the Enemy, when drove into the inward Fort, were expos'd to our Fire from those Places we were possess'd of, in case they offer'd to make any Sally, or other Attempt against us. Thus we every Moment became better and better prepar'd against any Effort of the Garrison. And as they could not pretend to assail us without evident Hazard; so nothing remain'd for us to do, till we could bring up our Artillery and Mortars. Now it was that the General sent for the thousand Men under Brigadier Stanhope's Command, which he had posted at a Convent, halfway between the Town and Monjouick.
There was almost a total Cessation of Fire, the Men on both Sides being under Cover. The General was in the upper Part of the Bastion; the Prince of Hesse below, behind a little Work at the Point of the Bastion, whence he could only see the Heads of the Enemy over the Parapet of the inward Fort. Soon after an Accident happen'd which cost that gallant Prince his Life.
The Enemy had Lines of Communication between Barcelona and Monjouick. The Governor of the former, upon hearing the firing from the latter, immediately sent four hundred Dragoons on Horseback, under Orders, that two Hundred dismounting should reinforce the Garrison, and the other two Hundred should return with their Horses back to the Town.
When those two Hundred Dragoons were accordingly got into the inward Fort, unseen by any of our Men, the Spaniards, waving their Hats over their Heads, repeated over and over, Viva el Rey, Viva. This the Prince of Hesse unfortunately took for a Signal of their Desire to surrender. Upon which, with too much Warmth and Precipitancy, calling to the Soldiers following, They surrender, they surrender, he advanc'd with near three Hundred Men (who follow'd him without any Orders from their General) along the Curtain which led to the Ditch of the inward Fort. The Enemy suffered them to come into the Ditch, and there surrounding 'em, took two Hundred of them Prisoners, at the same time making a Discharge upon the rest, who were running back the Way they came. This firing brought the Earl of Peterborow down from the upper Part of the Bastion, to see what was doing below. When he had just turn'd the Point of the Bastion, he saw the Prince of Hesse retiring, with the Men that had so rashly advanc'd. The Earl had exchang'd a very few Words with him, when, from a second Fire, that Prince receiv'd a Shot in the great Artery of the Thigh, of which he died immediately, falling down at the General's Feet, who instantly gave Orders to carry off the Body to the next Convent.
Almost the same Moment an Officer came to acquaint the Earl of Peterborow, that a great Body of Horse and Foot, at least three Thousand, were on their March from Barcelona towards the Fort. The Distance is near a Mile, all uneven Ground; so that the Enemy was either discoverable, or not to be seen, just as they were marching on the Hills or in the Vallies. However, the General directly got on Horseback, to take a View of those Forces from the rising Ground without the Fort, having left all the Posts, which were already taken, well secur'd with the allotted Numbers of Officers and Soldiers.
But the Event will demonstrate of what Consequence the Absence or Presence of one Man may prove on great Occasions; No sooner was the Earl out of the Fort, the Care of which he had left under the Command of the Lord Charlemont (a Person of known Merit and undoubted Courage, but somewhat too flexible in his Temper) when a panick Fear (tho' the Earl, as I have said, was only gone to take a View of the Enemy) seiz'd upon the Soldiery, which was a little too easily comply'd with by the Lord Charlemont, then commanding Officer. True it is; for I heard an Officer, ready enough to take such Advantages, urge to him, that none of all those Posts we were become Masters of, were tenable; that to offer at it would be no better than wilfully sacrificing human Lives to Caprice and Humour; and just like a Man's knocking his Head against Stone Walls, to try which was hardest. Having over-heard this Piece of Lip-Oratory, and finding by the Answer that it was too likely to prevail, and that all I was like to say would avail nothing. I slipt away as fast as I could, to acquaint the General with the Danger impending.
As I pass'd along, I took notice that the Panick was upon the Increase, the general Rumor affirming, that we should be all cut off by the Troops that were come out of Barcelona, if we did not immediately gain the Hills, or the Houses possess'd by the Miquelets. Officers and Soldiers, under this prevailing Terror, quitted their Posts; and in one united Body (the Lord Charlemont at the Head of them) march'd, or rather hurry'd out of the Fort; and were come halfway down the Hill before the Earl of Peterborow came up to them. Though on my acquainting him with the shameful and surprizing Accident he made no Stay, but answering, with a good deal of Vehemence, Good God, is it possible? hastened back as fast as he could.
I never thought my self happier than in this Piece of Service to my Country. I confess I could not but value it, as having been therein more than a little instrumental in the glorious Successes which succeeded; since immediately upon this Notice from me, the Earl gallop'd up the Hill, and lighting when he came to Lord Charlemont, he took his Half-pike out of his Hand; and turning to the Officers and Soldiers, told them, if they would not face about and follow him, they should have the Scandal and eternal Infamy upon them of having deserted their Posts, and abandon'd their General.
It was surprizing to see with what Alacrity and new Courage they fac'd about and follow'd the Earl of Peterborow. In a Moment they had forgot their Apprehensions; and, without doubt, had they met with any Opposition, they would have behav'd themselves with the greatest Bravery. But as these Motions were unperceiv'd by the Enemy, all the Posts were regain'd, and anew possess'd in less than half an Hour, without any Loss: Though, had our Forces march'd half Musket-shot farther, their Retreat would have been perceiv'd, and all the Success attendant on this glorious Attempt must have been intirely blasted.
Another Incident which attended this happy Enterprize was this: The two hundred Men which fell into the Hands of the Enemy, by the unhappy Mistake of the Prince of Hesse, were carry'd directly into the Town. The Marquis of Risburg, a Lieutenant-General, who commanded the three thousand Men which were marching from the Town to the Relief of the Fort, examin'd the Prisoners, as they pass'd by; and they all agreeing that the General and the Prince of Hesse were in Person with the Troops that made the Attack on Monjouick, the Marquis gave immediate Orders to retire to the Town; taking it for granted, that the main Body of the Troops attended the Prince and General; and that some Design therefore was on foot to intercept his Return, in case he should venture too far. Thus the unfortunate Loss of our two hundred Men turn'd to our Advantage, in preventing the Advance of the Enemy, which must have put the Earl of Peterborow to inconceivable Difficulties.
The Body of one Thousand, under Brigadier Stanhope, being come up to Monjouick, and no Interruption given us by the Enemy, our Affairs were put into very good Order on this Side; while the Camp on the other Side was so fortify'd, that the Enemy, during the Siege, never made one Effort against it. In the mean time, the Communication between the two Camps was secure enough; although our Troops were obliged to a tedious March along the Foot of the Hills, whenever the General thought fit to relieve those on Duty on the Side of the Attack, from those Regiments encamp'd on the West Side of Barcelona.
The next Day, after the Earl of Peterborow had taken Care to secure the first Camp to the Eastward of the Town, he gave Orders to the Officers of the Fleet to land the Artillery and Ammunition behind the Fortress to the Westward. Immediately upon the Landing whereof, two Mortars were fix'd; from both which we ply'd the Fort of Monjouick furiously with our Bombs. But the third or fourth Day, one of our Shells fortunately lighting on their Magazine of Powder, blew it up; and with it the Governor, and many principal Officers who were at Dinner with him. The Blast, at the same Instant, threw down a Face of one of the smaller Bastions; which the vigilant Miquelets, ready enough to take all Advantages, no sooner saw (for they were under the Hill, very near the Place) but they readily enter'd, while the Enemy were under the utmost Confusion. If the Earl, no less watchful than they, had not at the same Moment thrown himself in with some regular Troops, and appeas'd the general Disorder, in all probability the Garrison had been put to the Sword. However, the General's Presence not only allay'd the Fury of the Miquelets; but kept his own Troops under strictest Discipline: So that in a happy Hour for the frighted Garrison, the General gave Officers and Soldiers Quarters, making them Prisoners of War.
How critical was that Minute wherein the General met his retreating Commander? a very few Steps farther had excluded us our own Conquests, to the utter Loss of all those greater Glories which ensu'd. Nor would that have been the worst; for besides the Shame attending such an ill concerted Retreat from our Acquests on Monjouick, we must have felt the accumulative Disgrace of infamously retiring aboard the Ships that brought us; but Heaven reserv'd for our General amazing Scenes both of Glory and Mortification.
I cannot here omit one Singularity of Life, which will demonstrate Men's different Way of Thinking, if not somewhat worse; when many Years after, to one in Office, who seem'd a little too dead to my Complaints, and by that Means irritating my human Passions, injustice to my self, as well as Cause, I urged this Piece of Service, by which I not only preserv'd the Place, but the Honour of my Country, that Minister petite, to mortify my Expectations and baffle my Plea, with a Grimace as odd as his Logick, return'd, that, in his Opinion, the Service pretended was a Disservice to the Nation; since Perseverance had cost the Government more Money than all our Conquests were worth, could we have kept 'em. So irregular are the Conceptions of Man, when even great Actions thwart the Bent of an interested Will!
The Fort of Monjouick being thus surprizingly reduc'd, furnish'd a strange Vivacity to Mens Expectations, and as extravagantly flatter'd their Hopes; for as Success never fails to excite weaker Minds to pursue their good Fortune, though many times to their own Loss; so is it often too apt to push on more elevated Spirits to renew the Encounter for atchieving new Conquests, by hazarding too rashly all their former Glory. Accordingly, every Body now began to make his utmost Efforts; and look'd upon himself as a Drone, if he was not employ'd in doing something or other towards pushing forward the Siege of Barcelona it self, and raising proper Batteries for that Purpose. But, after all, it must in Justice be acknowledg'd, that notwithstanding this prodigious Success that attended this bold Enterprize, the Land Forces of themselves, without the Assistance of the Sailors, could never have reduc'd the Town. The Commanders and Officers of the Fleet had always evinc'd themselves Favourers of this Project upon Barcelona. A new Undertaking so late in the Year, as I have said before, was their utter Aversion, and what they hated to hear of. Elated therefore with a Beginning so auspicious, they gave a more willing Assistance than could have been ask'd, or judiciously expected. The Admirals forgot their Element, and acted as General Officers at Land: They came every Day from their Ships, with a Body of Men form'd into Companies, and regularly marshall'd and commanded by Captains and Lieutenants of their own. Captain Littleton in particular, one of the most advanced Captains in the whole Fleet, offer'd of himself to take care of the Landing and Conveyance of the Artillery to the Camp. And answerable to that his first Zeal was his Vigour all along, for finding it next to an Impossibility to draw the Cannon and Mortars up such vast Precipices by Horses, if the Country had afforded them, he caus'd Harnesses to be made for two hundred Men; and by that Means, after a prodigious Fatigue and Labour, brought the Cannon and Mortars necessary for the Siege up to the very Batteries.
In this Manner was the Siege begun; nor was it carry'd on with any less Application; the Approaches being made by an Army of Besiegers, that very little, if at all, exceeded the Number of the Besieg'd; not altogether in a regular Manner, our few Forces would not admit it; but yet with Regularity enough to secure our two little Camps, and preserve a Communication between both, not to be interrupted or incommoded by the Enemy. We had soon erected three several Batteries against the Place, all on the West Side of the Town, viz. one of nine Guns, another of Twelve, and the last of upwards of Thirty. From all which we ply'd the Town incessantly, and with all imaginable Fury; and very often in whole Vollies.
Nevertheless it was thought not only adviseable, but necessary, to erect another Battery, upon a lower Piece of Ground under a small Hill; which lying more within Reach, and opposite to those Places where the Walls were imagin'd weakest, would annoy the Town the more; and being design'd for six Guns only, might soon be perfected. A French Engeneer had the Direction; and indeed very quickly perfected it. But when it came to be consider'd which way to get the Cannon to it, most were of opinion that it would be absolutely impracticable, by reason of the vast Descent; tho' I believe they might have added a stronger Reason, and perhaps more intrinsick, that it was extremely expos'd to the Fire of the Enemy.
Having gain'd some little Reputation in the Attack of Monjouick, this Difficulty was at last to be put upon me; and as some, not my Enemies, suppos'd, more out of Envy than good Will. However, when I came to the Place, and had carefully taken a View of it, though I was sensible enough of the Difficulty, I made my main Objection as to the Time for accomplishing it; for it was then between Nine and Ten, and the Guns were to be mounted by Day-light. Neither could I at present see any other Way to answer their Expectations, than by casting the Cannon down the Precipice, at all Hazards, to the Place below, where that fourth Battery was erected.
This wanted not Objections to; and therefore to answer my Purpose, as to point of Time, sixty Men more were order'd me, as much as possible to facilitate the Work by Numbers; and accordingly I set about it. Just as I was setting all Hands to work, and had given Orders to my Men to begin some Paces back, to make the Descent more gradual, and thereby render the Task a little more feasible, Major Collier, who commanded the Train, came to me; and perceiving the Difficulties of the Undertaking, in a Fret told me, I was impos'd upon; and vow'd he would go and find out Brigadier Petit, and let him know the Impossibility, as well as the Unreasonableness of the Task I was put upon. He had scarce utter'd those Words, and turn'd himself round to perform his Promise, when an unlucky Shot with a Musket-Ball wounded him through the Shoulder; upon which he was carry'd off, and I saw him not till some considerable time after.
By the painful Diligence, and the additional Compliment of Men, however, I so well succeeded (such was my great good Fortune) that the Way was made, and the Guns, by the Help of Fascines, and other lesser Preparations below, safely let down and mounted; so that that fourth Battery began to play upon the Town before Break of Day; and with all the Success that was propos'd.
In short, the Breach in a very few Days after was found wholly practicable; and all Things were got ready for a general Storm. Which Don Valasco the Governor being sensible of, immediately beat a Parley; upon which it was, among other Articles, concluded, that the Town should be surrender'd in three Days; and the better to ensure it, the Bastion, which commanded the Port St. Angelo, was directly put into our Possession.
But before the Expiration of the limited three Days, a very unexpected Accident fell out, which hasten'd the Surrender. Don Valasco, during his Government, had behav'd himself very arbitrarily, and thereby procur'd, as the Consequence of it, a large Proportion of ill will, not only among the Townsmen, but among the Miquelets, who had, in their Zeal to King Charles, flock'd from all Parts of Catalonia to the Siege of their Capital; and who, on the Signing of the Articles of Surrender, had found various Ways, being well acquainted with the most private Avenues, to get by Night into the Town: So that early in the Morning they began to plunder all that they knew Enemies to King Charles, or thought Friends to the Prince his Competitor.
Their main Design was upon Valasco the Governor, whom, if they could have got into their Hands, it was not to be question'd, but as far as his Life and Limbs would have serv'd, they would have sufficiently satiated their Vengeance upon. He expected no less; and therefore concealed himself, till the Earl of Peterborow could give Orders for his more safe and private Conveyance by Sea to Alicant.
Nevertheless, in the Town all was in the utmost Confusion; which the Earl of Peterborow, at the very first hearing, hastened to appease; with his usual Alacrity he rid all alone to Port St. Angelo, where at that time my self happen'd to be; and demanding to be admitted, the Officer of the Guard, under Fear and Surprise, open'd the Wicket, through which the Earl enter'd, and I after him.
Scarce had we gone a hundred Paces, when we saw a Lady of apparent Quality, and indisputable Beauty, in a strange, but most affecting Agony, flying from the apprehended Fury of the Miquelets; her lovely Hair was all flowing about her Shoulders, which, and the Consternation she was in, rather added to, than any thing diminish'd from the Charms of an Excess of Beauty. She, as is very natural to People in Distress, made up directly to the Earl, her Eyes satisfying her he was a Person likely to give her all the Protection she wanted. And as soon as ever she came near enough, in a Manner that declar'd her Quality before she spoke, she crav'd that Protection, telling him, the better to secure it, who it was that ask'd it. But the generous Earl presently convinc'd her, he wanted no Intreaties, having, before he knew her to be the Dutchess of Popoli, taken her by the Hand, in order to convey her through the Wicket which he enter'd at, to a Place of Safety without the Town.
I stay'd behind, while the Earl convey'd the distress'd Dutchess to her requested Asylum; and I believe it was much the longest Part of an Hour before he return'd. But as soon as ever he came back, he, and my self, at his Command, repair'd to the Place of most Confusion, which the extraordinary Noise full readily directed us to; and which happened to be on the Parade before the Palace. There it was that the Miquelets were making their utmost Efforts to get into their Hands the almost sole Occasion of the Tumult, and the Object of their raging Fury, the Person of Don Valasco, the late Governor.
It was here that the Earl preserv'd that Governor from the violent, but perhaps too just Resentments of the Miquelets; and, as I said before, convey'd him by Sea to Alicant. And, indeed, I could little doubt the Effect, or be any thing surpriz'd at the Easiness of the Task, when I saw, that wherever he appear'd the popular Fury was in a Moment allay'd, and that every Dictate of that General was assented to with the utmost Chearfulness and Deference. Valasco, before his Embarkment, had given Orders, in Gratitude to his Preserver, for all the Gates to be deliver'd up, tho' short of the stipulated Term; and they were accordingly so delivered, and our Troops took Possession so soon as ever that Governor was aboard the Ship that was to convey him to Alicant.
During the Siege of Barcelona, Brigadier Stanhope order'd a Tent to be pitch'd as near the Trenches as possibly could be with Safety; where he not only entertain'd the chief Officers who were upon Duty, but likewise the Catalonian Gentlemen who brought Miquelets to our Assistance. I remember I saw an old Cavalier, having his only Son with him, who appear'd a fine young Gentleman, about twenty Years of Age, go into the Tent, in order to dine with the Brigadier. But whilst they were at Dinner, an unfortunate Shot came from the Bastion of St. Antonio, and intirely struck off the Head of the Son. The father immediately rose up, first looking down upon his headless Child, and then lifting up his Eyes to Heaven, whilst the Tears ran down his Cheeks, he cross'd himself, and only said, Fiat voluntas tua, and bore it with a wonderful Patience. 'Twas a sad Spectacle, and truly it affects me now whilst I am writing.
The Earl of Peterborow, tho' for some time after the Revolution he had been employ'd in civil Affairs, return'd to the military Life with great Satisfaction, which was ever his Inclination. Brigadier Stanhope, who was justly afterwards created an Earl, did well deserve this Motto, Tam Marte quam Mercurio; for truly he behav'd, all the time he continu'd in Spain, as if he had been inspir'd with Conduct; for the Victory at Almanar was intirely owing to him; and likewise at the Battle of Saragosa he distinguish'd himself with great Bravery. That he had not Success at Bruhega was not his Fault; for no Man can resist Fate; for 'twas decreed by Heaven that Philip should remain King of Spain, and Charles to be Emperor of Germany. Yet each of these Monarchs have been ungrateful to the Instruments which the Almighty made use of to preserve them upon their Thrones; for one had not been King of Spain but for France; and the other had not been Emperor but for England.
Barcelona, the chief Place in Catalonia, being thus in our Hands, as soon as the Garrison, little inferior to our Army, had march'd out with Drums beating, Colours flying, &c. according to the Articles, Charles the Third made his publick Entry, and was proclaim'd King, and receiv'd with the general Acclamations, and all other Demonstrations of Joy suitable to that great Occasion.
Some Days after which, the Citizens, far from being satiated with their former Demonstrations of their Duty, sent a Petition to the King, by proper Deputies for that Purpose appointed, desiring Leave to give more ample Instances of their Affections in a public Cavalcade. The King granted their Request, and the Citizens, pursuant thereto, made their Preparations.
On the Day appointed, the King, plac'd in a Balcony belonging to the House of the Earl of Peterborow, appear'd ready to honour the Show. The Ceremonial, to speak nothing figuratively, was very fine and grand: Those of the first Rank made their Appearance in decent Order, and upon fine Horses; and others under Arms, and in Companies, march'd with native Gravity and Grandeur, all saluting his Majesty as they pass'd by, after the Spanish Manner, which that Prince return'd with the Movement of his Hand to his Mouth; for the Kings of Spain are not allow'd to salute, or return a Salute, by any Motion to, or of, the Hat.
After these follow'd several Pageants; the first of which was drawn by Mules, set off to the Height with stateliest Feathers, and adorn'd with little Bells. Upon the Top of this Pageant appear'd a Man dress'd all in Green; but in the Likeness of a Dragon. The Pageant making a Stop just over-against the Balcony where the King sate, the Dragonical Representative diverted him with great Variety of Dancings, the Earl of Peterborow all the time throwing out Dollars by Handfuls among the Populace, which they as constantly receiv'd with the loud Acclamation and repeated Cries of Viva, Viva, Carlos Terceros, Viva la Casa d'Austria.
When that had play'd its Part, another Pageant, drawn as before, made a like full Stop before the same Balcony. On this was plac'd a very large Cage, or Aviary, the Cover of which, by Springs contriv'd for that Purpose, immediately flew open, and out of it a surprizing Flight of Birds of various Colours. These, all amaz'd at their sudden Liberty, which I took to be the Emblem intended, hover'd a considerable space of time over and about their Place of Freedom, chirping, singing, and otherwise testifying their mighty Joy for their so unexpected Enlargement.
There were many other Pageants; but having little in them very remarkable, I have forgot the Particulars. Nevertheless, every one of them was dismiss'd with the like Acclamations of Viva, Viva; the Whole concluding with Bonfires and Illuminations common on all such Occasions.
I cannot here omit one very remarkable Instance of the Catholick Zeal of that Prince, which I was soon after an Eye-witness of. I was at that time in the Fruit-Market, when the King passing by in his Coach, the Host (whether by Accident or Contrivance I cannot say) was brought, at that very Juncture, out of the great Church, in order, as I after understood, to a poor sick Woman's receiving the Sacrament. On Sight of the Host the King came out of his Coach, kneel'd down in the Street, which at that time prov'd to be very dirty, till the Host pass'd by; then rose up, and taking the lighted Flambeau from him who bore it, he follow'd the Priest up a streight nasty Alley, and there up a dark ordinary Pair of Stairs, where the poor sick Woman lay. There he stay'd till the whole Ceremony was over, when, returning to the Door of the Church, he very faithfully restor'd the lighted Flambeau to the Fellow he had taken it from, the People all the while crying out Viva, Viva; an Acclamation, we may imagine, intended to his Zeal, as well as his Person.
Another remarkable Accident, of a much more moral Nature, I must, injustice to the Temperance of that, in this truly inimitable People, recite. I was one Day walking in one of the most populous Streets of that City, where I found an uncommon Concourse of People, of all Sorts, got together; and imagining so great a Croud could not be assembled on a small Occasion, I prest in among the rest; and after a good deal of Struggling and Difficulty, reach'd into the Ring and Centre of that mix'd Multitude. But how did I blush? with what Confusion did I appear? when I found one of my own Countrymen, a drunken Granadier, the attractive Loadstone of all that high and low Mob, and the Butt of all their Merriment? It will be easily imagin'd to be a Thing not a little surprizing to one of our Country, to find that a drunken Man should be such a wonderful Sight; However, the witty Sarcasms that were then by high and low thrown upon that senseless Creature, and as I interpreted Matters, me in him, were so pungent, that if I did not curse my Curiosity, I thought it best to withdraw my self as fast as Legs could carry me away.
BARCELONA being now under King Charles, the Towns of Gironne, Tarragona, Tortosa, and Lerida, immediately declar'd for him. To every one of which Engeneers being order'd, it was my Lot to be sent to Tortosa. This Town is situated on the Side of the River Ebro, over which there is a fair and famous Bridge of Boats. The Waters of this River are always of a dirty red Colour, somewhat fouler than our Moorish Waters; yet is it the only Water the Inhabitants drink, or covet to drink; and every House providing for its own Convenience Cisterns to preserve it in, by a few Hours standing it becomes as clear as the clearest Rock-water, but as soft as Milk. In short, for Softness, Brightness, and Pleasantness of Taste, the Natives prefer it to all the Waters in the World. And I must declare in favour of their Opinion, that none ever pleas'd me like it.
This Town was of the greater Moment to our Army, as opening a Passage into the Kingdom of Valencia on one Side, and the Kingdom of Arragon on the other: And being of it self tolerably defensible, in human Appearance might probably repay a little Care and Charge in its Repair and Improvement. Upon this Employ was I appointed, and thus was I busy'd, till the Arrival of the Earl of Peterborow with his little Army, in order to march to Valencia, the Capital of that Province. Here he left in Garrison Colonel Hans Hamilton's Regiment; the Place, nevertheless, was under the Command of a Spanish Governor, appointed by King Charles.
While the Earl stay'd a few Days at this Place, under Expectation of the promis'd Succours from Barcelona, he receiv'd a Proprio (or Express) from the King of Spain, full of Excuses, instead of Forces. And yet the very same Letter, in a paradoxical Manner, commanded him, at all Events, to attempt the Relief of Santo Mattheo, where Colonel Jones commanded, and which was then under Siege by the Conde de los Torres (as was the Report) with upwards of three thousand Men. The Earl of Peterborow could not muster above one thousand Foot, and about two hundred Horse; a small Force to make an Attempt of that Nature upon such a superior Power: Yet the Earl's Vivacity (as will be occasionally further observ'd in the Course of these Memoirs) never much regarded Numbers, so there was but room, by any Stratagem, to hope for Success. True it is, for his greater Encouragement and Consolation, the same Letter intimated, that a great Concourse of the Country People being up in Arms, to the Number of many Thousands, in Favour of King Charles, and wanting only Officers, the Enterprize would be easy and unattended with much Danger. But upon mature Enquiry, the Earl found that great Body of Men all in nubibus; and that the Conde, in the plain Truth of the Matter, was much stronger than the Letter at first represented.
Santo Mattheo was a Place of known Importance; and that from its Situation, which cut off all Communication between Catalonia and Valencia; and, consequently, should it fall into the Hands of the Enemy, the Earl's Design upon the latter must inevitably have been postpon'd. It must be granted, the Commands for attempting the Relief of it were pressing and peremptory; nevertheless, the Earl was very conscious to himself, that as the promis'd Reinforcements were suspended, his Officers would not approve of the Attempt upon the Foot of such vast Inequalities; and their own declar'd Sentiments soon confirm'd the Dictates of the Earl's Reason. He therefore addresses himself to those Officers in a different Manner: He told 'em he only desir'd they would be passive, and leave it to him to work his own Way. Accordingly, the Earl found out and hired two Spanish Spies, for whose Fidelity (as his great Precaution always led him to do) he took sufficient Security; and dispatch'd 'em with a Letter to Colonel Jones, Governor of the Place, intimating his Readiness, as well as Ability, to relieve him; and, above all, exhorting him to have the Miquelets in the Town ready, on Sight of his Troops, to issue out, pursue, and plunder; since that would be all they would have to do, and all he would expect at their Hands. The Spies were dispatch'd accordingly; and, pursuant to Instructions, one betray'd and discover'd the other who had the Letter in charge to deliver to Colonel Jones. The Earl, to carry on the Feint, having in the mean time, by dividing his Troops, and marching secretly over the Mountains, drawn his Men together, so as to make their Appearance on the Height of a neighbouring Mountain, little more than Cannot-shot from the Enemy's Camp. The Tale of the Spies was fully confirm'd, and the Conde (though an able General) march'd off with some Precipitation with his Army; and by that Means the Earl's smaller Number of twelve Hundred had Liberty to march into the Town without Interruption. I must not let slip an Action of Colonel Jones's just before the Earl's Delivery of them: The Conde, for want of Artillery, had set his Miners to work; and the Colonel, finding they had made some dangerous Advances, turned the Course of a Rivulet, that ran through the Middle of the Town, in upon them, and made them quit a Work they thought was brought to Perfection.
SANTO Mattheo being reliev'd, as I have said, the Earl, though he had so far gain'd his Ends, left not the flying Enemy without a Feint of Pursuit; with such Caution, nevertheless, that in case they should happen to be better inform'd of his Weakness, he might have a Resource either back again to Santo Mattheo, or to Vinaros on the Sea-side; or some other Place, as occasion might require. But having just before receiv'd fresh Advice, that the Reinforcements he expected were anew countermanded; and that the Duke of Anjou had increas'd his Troops to twelve thousand Men; the Officers, not enough elated with the last Success to adventure upon new Experiments, resolv'd, in a Council of War, to advise the Earl, who had just before receiv'd a discretionary Commission in lieu of Troops, so to post the Forces under him, as not to be cut off from being able to assist the King in Person; or to march to the Defence of Catalonia, in case of Necessity.
Pursuant to this Resolution of the Council of War, the Earl of Peterborow, tho' still intent upon his Expedition into Valencia (which had been afresh commanded, even while his Supplies were countermanded) orders his Foot, in a truly bad Condition, by tedious Marches Day and Night over the Mountains, to Vinaros; and with his two hundred Horse, set out to prosecute his pretended Design of pursuing the flying Enemy; resolv'd, if possible, notwithstanding all seemingly desperate Circumstances, to perfect the Security of that Capital.
To that Purpose, the Earl, with his small Body of Patrolers, went on frightning the Enemy, till they came under the Walls of Nules, a Town fortify'd with the best Walls, regular Towers, and in the best Repair of any in that Kingdom. But even here, upon the Appearance of the Earl's Forlorn (if they might not properly at that time all have pass'd under that Character) under the same Panick they left that sensible Town, with only one Thousand of the Town's People, well arm'd, for the Defence of it. Yet was it scarce to be imagin'd, that the Earl, with his small Body of two hundred Horse, should be able to gain Admission; or, indeed, under such Circumstances, to attempt it. But bold as the Undertaking was, his good Genius went along with him; and so good a Genius was it, that it rarely left him without a good Effect. He had been told the Day before, that the Enemy, on leaving Nules, had got Possession of Villa Real, where they put all to the Sword. What would have furnish'd another with Terror, inspir'd his Lordship with a Thought as fortunate as it was successful. The Earl rides up to the very Gates of the Town, at the Head of his Party, and peremptorily demands the chief Magistrate, or a Priest, immediately to be sent out to him; and that under Penalty of being all put to the Sword, and us'd as the Enemy had us'd those at Villa-Real the Day or two before. The Troops, that had so lately left the Place, had left behind 'em more Terror than Men; which, together with the peremptory Demand of the Earl, soon produc'd some Priests to wait upon the General. By their Readiness to obey, the Earl very justly imagin'd Fear to be the Motive; wherefore, to improve their Terror, he only allow'd them six Minutes time to resolve upon a Surrender, telling them, that otherwise, so soon as his Artillery was come up, he would lay them under the utmost Extremities. The Priests return'd with this melancholy Message into the Place; and in a very short time after the Gates were thrown open. Upon the Earl's Entrance he found two hundred Horse, which were the Original of his Lordship's forming that Body of Horse, which afterwards prov'd the saving of Valencia.
The News of the taking of Nules soon overtook the flying Enemy; and so increas'd the Apprehensions of their Danger, that they renew'd their March, the same Day; though what they had taken before would have satisfy'd them much better without it. On the other hand, the Earl was so well pleas'd with his Success, that leaving the Enemy to fly before their Fears, he made a short Turn towards Castillon de la Plana, a considerable, but open Town, where his Lordship furnish'd himself with four hundred Horses more; and all this under the Assurance that his Troops were driving the Enemy before them out of the Kingdom. Hence he sent Orders to Colonel Pierce's Regiment at Vinaros to meet him at Oropesa, a Place at no great Distance; where, when they came, they were very pleasingly surpriz'd at their being well mounted, and furnish'd with all Accoutrements necessary. After which, leaving 'em canton'd in wall'd Towns, where they could not be disturb'd without Artillery, that indefatigable General, leaving them full Orders, went on his way towards Tortosa.
At Vinaros the Earl met with Advice, that the Spanish Militia of the Kingdom of Valencia were assembled, and had already advanc'd a Day's March at least into that Country. Upon which, collecting, as fast as he could, the whole Corps together, the Earl resolv'd to penetrate into Valencia directly; notwithstanding this whole collected Body would amount to no more than six hundred Horse and two thousand Foot.
But there was a strong Pass over a River, just under the Walls of Molviedro, which must be first disputed and taken. This Brigadier Mahoni, by the Orders of the Duke of Arcos, who commanded the Troops of the Duke of Anjou in the Kingdom of Valencia, had taken care to secure. Molviedro, though not very strong, is a wall'd Town, very populous of it self; and had in it, besides a Garrison of eight hundred Men, most of Mahoni's Dragoons. It lies at the very Bottom of a high Hill; on the upper Part whereof they shew the Ruins of the once famous SAGUNTUM; famous sure to Eternity, if Letters shall last so long, for an inviolable Fidelity to a negligent Confederate, against an implacable Enemy. Here yet appear the visible Vestigia of awful Antiquity, in half standing Arches, and the yet unlevell'd Walls and Towers of that once celebrated City. I could not but look upon all these with the Eyes of Despight, in regard to their Enemy Hannibal; with those of Disdain, in respect to the uncommon and unaccountable Supineness of its Confederates, the Romans; but with those of Veneration, as to the Memory of a glorious People, who rather than stand reproach'd with a Breach of Faith, or the Brand of Cowardice, chose to sacrifice themselves, their Wives, Children, and all that was dear to them, in the Flames of their expiring City.
In Molviedro, as I said before, Mahoni commanded, with eight hundred Men, besides Inhabitants; which, together with our having but little Artillery, induc'd the Officers under the Earl of Peterborow reasonably enough to imagine and declare, that there could be no visible Appearance of surmounting such Difficulties. The Earl, nevertheless, instead of indulging such Despondencies, gave them Hope, that what Strength serv'd not to accomplish, Art might possibly obtain. To that Purpose he proposed an Interview between himself and Mahoni; and accordingly sent an Officer with a Trumpet to intimate his Desire. The Motion was agreed to; and the Earl having previously station'd his Troops to advantage, and his little Artillery at a convenient Distance, with Orders they should appear on a slow March on the Side of a rising Hill, during the time of Conference, went to the Place appointed; only, as had been stipulated, attended with a small Party of Horse. When they were met, the Earl first offer'd all he could to engage Mahoni to the Interest of King Charles; proposing some Things extravagant enough (as Mahoni himself some time after told me) to stagger the Faith of a Catholick; but all to little Purpose: Mahoni was inflexible, which oblig'd the Earl to new Measures.
Whereupon the Earl frankly told him, that he could not however but esteem the Confidence he had put in him; and therefore, to make some Retaliation, he was ready to put it in his Power to avoid the Barbarities lately executed at Villa-Real.
"My Relation to you," continued the General, "inclines me to spare a Town under your Command. You see how near my Forces are; and can hardly doubt our soon being Masters of the Place: What I would therefore offer you, said the Earl, is a Capitulation, that my Inclination may be held in Countenance by my Honour. Barbarities, however justified by Example, are my utter Aversion, and against my Nature; and to testify so much, together with my good Will to your Person, was the main Intent of this Interview."
This Frankness so far prevail'd on Mahoni, that he agreed to return an Answer in half an Hour. Accordingly, an Answer was returned by a Spanish Officer, and a Capitulation agreed upon; the Earl at the same time endeavouring to bring over that Officer to King Charles, on much the same Topicks he us'd with Mahoni. But finding this equally fruitless, whether it was that he tacitly reproach'd the Officer with a Want of Consideration in neglecting to follow the Example of his Commander, or what else, he created in that Officer such a Jealousy of Mahoni, that was afterward very serviceable to him in his further Design.
To forward which to a good Issue, the Earl immediately made choice of two Dragoons, who, upon promise of Promotion, undertook to go as Spies to the Duke of Arcos, whose Forces lay not far off, on the other Side a large Plain, which the Earl must unavoidably pass, and which would inevitably be attended with almost insuperable Dangers, if there attack'd by a Force so much superior. Those Spies, according to Instructions, were to discover to the Duke, that they over-heard the Conference between the Earl and Mahoni; and at the same time saw a considerable Number of Pistoles deliver'd into Mahoni's Hands, large Promises passing at that Instant reciprocally: But above all, that the Earl had recommended to him the procuring the March of the Duke over the Plain between them. The Spies went and deliver'd all according to Concert; concluding, before the Duke, that they would ask no Reward, but undergo any Punishment, if Mahoni did not very soon send to the Duke a Request to march over the Plain, in order to put the concerted Plot in execution. It was not long after this pretended Discovery before Mahoni did send indeed an Officer to the Duke, desiring the March of his Forces over the Plain; but, in reality, to obstruct the Earl's Passage, which he knew very well must be that and no other way. However, the Duke being prepossess'd by the Spies, and what those Spanish Officers that at first escap'd had before infus'd, took Things in their Sense; and as soon as Mahoni, who was forc'd to make the best of his way over the Plain before the Earl of Peterborow, arriv'd at his Camp, he was put under Arrest and sent to Madrid. The Duke having thus imbib'd the Venom, and taken the Alarm, immediately decamp'd in Confusion, and took a different Rout than at first he intended; leaving that once formidable Plain open to the Earl, without an Enemy to obstruct him. In some little time after he arriv'd at Madrid, Mahoni made his Innocence appear, and was created a General; while the Duke of Arcos was recall'd from his Post of Honour.
The Day after we arriv'd at Valencia, the Gates of which fine City were set open to us with the highest Demonstrations of Joy. I call'd it a fine City; but sure it richly deserves a brighter Epithet, since it is a common Saying among the Spaniards, that the Pleasures of Valencia would make a Jew forget Jerusalem. It is most sweetly situated in a very beautiful Plain, and within half a League of the Mediterranean Sea. It never wants any of the Fragrancies of Nature, and always has something to delight the most curious Eye. It is famous to a Proverb for fine Women; but as infamous, and only in that so, for the Race of Bravoes, the common Companions of the Ladies of Pleasure in this Country. These Wretches are so Case-hardened, they will commit a Murder for a Dollar, tho' they run their Country for it when they have done. Not that other Parts of this Nation are uninfested with this sort of Animals; but here their Numbers are so great, that if a Catalogue was to be taken of those in other Parts of that Country, perhaps nine in ten would be found by Birth to be of this Province.
But to proceed, tho' the Citizens, and all Sorts of People, were redundant in their various Expressions of Joy, for an Entry so surprizing, and utterly lost to their Expedition, whatever it was to their Wishes, the Earl had a secret Concern for the Publick, which lay gnawing at his Heart, and which yet he was forced to conceal. He knew that he had not four thousand Soldiers in the Place, and not Powder or Ammunition for those; nor any Provisions lay'd in for any thing like a Siege. On the other Hand, the Enemy without were upwards of seven Thousand, with a Body of four Thousand more, not fifteen Leagues off, on their March to join them. Add to this, the Marechal de Thesse was no farther off than Madrid, a very few Days' March from Valencia; a short Way indeed for the Earl (who, as was said before, was wholly unprovided for a Siege, which was reported to be the sole End of the Mareschal's moving that Way.) But the Earl's never-failing Genius resolv'd again to attempt that by Art, which the Strength of his Forces utterly disallow'd him. And in the first Place, his Intelligence telling him that sixteen twenty-four Pounders, with Stores and Ammunition answerable for a Siege, were ship'd off for the Enemy's Service at Alicant, the Earl forthwith lays a Design, and with his usual Success intercepts 'em all, supplying that way his own Necessities at the Expence of the Enemy.
The four thousand Men ready to reinforce the Troops nearer Valencia, were the next Point to be undertaken; but hic labor, hoc opus; since the greater Body under the Conde de las Torres (who, with Mahoni, was now reinstated in his Post) lay between the Earl and those Troops intended to be dispers'd. And what inhaunc'd the Difficulty, the River Xucar must be passed in almost the Face of the Enemy. Great Disadvantages as these were, they did not discourage the Earl. He detach'd by Night four hundred Horse and eight hundred Foot, who march'd with such hasty Silence, that they surpriz'd that great Body, routed 'em, and brought into Valencia six hundred Prisoners very safely, notwithstanding they were oblig'd, under the same Night-Covert, to pass very near a Body of three Thousand of the Enemy's Horse. Such a prodigious Victory would hardly have gain'd Credit in that City, if the Prisoners brought in had not been living Witnesses of the Action as well as the Triumph. The Conde de las Torres, upon these two military Rebuffs, drew off to a more convenient Distance, and left the Earl a little more at ease in his new Quarters.
Here the Earl of Peterborow made his Residence for some time. He was extreamly well belov'd, his affable Behaviour exacted as much from all; and he preserv'd such a good Correspondence with the Priests and the Ladies, that he never fail'd of the most early and best Intelligence, a thing by no means to be slighted in the common Course of Life; but much more commendable and necessary in a General, with so small an Army, at open War, and in the Heart of his Enemy's Country.