The Earl, by this Means, some small time after, receiving early Intelligence that King Philip was actually on his March to Barcelona, with an Army of upwards of twenty five thousand Men, under the Command of a Mareschal of France, began his March towards Catalonia, with all the Troops that he could gather together, leaving in Valencia a small Body of Foot, such as in that Exigence could best be spar'd. The whole Body thus collected made very little more than two thousand Foot and six hundred Horse; yet resolutely with these he sets out for Barcelona: In the Neighbourhood of which, as soon as he arriv'd, he took care to post himself and his diminutive Army in the Mountains which inviron that City; where he not only secur'd 'em against the Enemy; but found himself in a Capacity of putting him under perpetual Alarms. Nor was the Mareschal, with his great Army, capable of returning the Earl's Compliment of Disturbance; since he himself, every six or eight Hours, put his Troops into such a varying Situation, that always when most arduously fought, he was farthest off from being found. In this Manner the General bitterly harrass'd the Troops of the Enemy; and by these Means struck a perpetual Terror into the Besiegers. Nor did he only this way annoy the Enemy; the Precautions he had us'd, and the Measures he had taken in other Places, with a View to prevent their Return to Madrid, though the Invidious endeavour'd to bury them in Oblivion, having equally contributed to the driving of the Mareschal of France, and his Catholick King, out of the Spanish Dominions.
But to go on with the Siege: The Breaches in the Walls of that City, during its Siege by the Earl, had been put into tolerable Repair; but those of Monjouick, on the contrary, had been as much neglected. However, the Garrison made shift to hold out a Battery of twenty-three Days, with no less than fifty Pieces of Cannon; when, after a Loss of the Enemy of upwards of three thousand Men (a Moiety of the Army employ'd against it when the Earl took it) they were forc'd to surrender at Discretion. And this cannot but merit our Observation, that a Place, which the English General took in little more than an Hour, and with inconsiderable Loss, afforded the Mareschal of France a Resistance of twenty-three Days.
Upon the taking of Fort Monjouick, the Mareschal de Thess gave immediate Orders for Batteries to be rais'd against the Town. Those Orders were put in Execution with all Expedition; and at the same time his Army fortify'd themselves with such Entrenchments, as would have ruin'd the Earl's former little Army to have rais'd, or his present much lesser Army to have attempted the forcing them. However, they sufficiently demonstrated their Apprehensions of that watchful General, who lay hovering over their Heads upon the Mountains. Their main Effort was to make a Breach between Port St. Antonio and that Breach which our Forces had made the Year before; to effect which they took care to ply them very diligently both from Cannon and Mortars; and in some few Days their Application was answer'd with a practicable Breach for a Storm. Which however was prudently deferr'd for some time, and that thro' fear of the Earl's falling on the Back of them whenever they should attempt it; which, consequently, they were sensible might put them into some dangerous Disorder.
And now it was that the Earl of Peterborow resolv'd to put in practice the Resolution he had some time before concerted within himself. About nine or ten Days before the Raising of the Siege, he had receiv'd an Express from Brigadier Stanhope (who was aboard Sir John Leake's Fleet appointed for the Relief of the Place, with the Reinforcements from England) acquainting the Earl, that he had us'd all possible Endeavours to prevail on the Admiral to make the best of his way to Barcelona. But that the Admiral, however, persisted in a positive Resolution not to attempt the French Fleet before that Place under the Count de Thoulouse, till the Ships were join'd him which were expected from Ireland, under the Command of Sir George Bing. True it was, the Fleet under Admiral Leake was of equal Strength with that under the French Admiral; but jealous of the Informations he had receiv'd, and too ready to conclude that People in Distress were apt to make Representations too much in their own Favour; he held himself, in point of Discretion, oblig'd not to hazard the Queen's Ships, when a Reinforcement of both cleaner and larger were under daily Expectation.
This unhappy Circumstance (notwithstanding all former glorious Deliverances) had almost brought the Earl to the Brink of Despair; and to increase it, the Earl every Day receiv'd such Commands from the King within the Place, as must have sacrificed his few Forces, without the least Probability of succeeding. Those all tended to his forcing his Way into the Town; when, in all human Appearance, not one Man of all that should make the Attempt could have done it, with any Hope or Prospect of surviving. The French were strongly encamp'd at the Foot of the Mountains, distant two Miles from Barcelona; towards the Bottom of those Hills, the Avenues into the Plain were possess'd and fortify'd by great Detachments from the Enemy's Army. From all which it will be evident, that no Attempt could be made without giving the Enemy time to draw together what Body of Foot they pleas'd. Or supposing it feasible, under all these difficult Circumstances, for some of them to have forc'd their Passage, the Remainder, that should have been so lucky to have escap'd their Foot, would have found themselves expos'd in open Field to a Pursuit of four thousand Horse and Dragoons; and that for two Miles together; when in case of their inclosing them, the bravest Troops in the World, under such a Situation, would have found it their best way to have surrender'd themselves Prisoners of War.
Nevertheless, when Brigadier Stanhope sent that Express to the Earl, which I just now mention'd, he assur'd him in the same, that he would use his utmost Diligence, both by Sea and Land, to let him have timely Notice of the Conjunction of the Fleets, which was now all they had to depend upon. Adding withal, that if the Earl should at any time receive a Letter, or Paper, though directed to no Body, and with nothing in it, but a half Sheet of Paper cut in the Middle, he, the Earl, might certainly depend upon it, that the two Fleets were join'd, and making the best of their Way for Barcelona. It will easily be imagin'd the Express was to be well paid; and being made sensible that he ran little or no Hazard in carrying a Piece of blank Paper, he undertook it, and as fortunately arriv'd with it to the Earl, at a Moment when Chagrin and Despair might have hurry'd him to some Resolution that might have prov'd fatal. The Messenger himself, however, knew nothing of the Joining of the Fleets, or the Meaning of his Message.
As soon as the Earl of Peterborow receiv'd this welcome Message from Brigadier Stanhope, he march'd the very same Night, with his whole little Body of Forces, to a Town on the Sea-Shore, call'd Sigeth. No Person guess'd the Reason of his March, or knew any thing of what the Intent of it was. The Officers, as formerly, obey'd without Enquiry; for they were led to it by so many unaccountable Varieties of Success, that Affiance became a second Nature, both in Officer and Soldier.
The Town of Sigeth was about seven Leagues to the Westward of Barcelona; where, as soon as the Earl with his Forces arriv'd, he took care to secure all the small Fishing-Boats, Feluccas, and Sattees; nay, in a Word, every Machine in which he could transport any of his Men: So that in two Days' time he had got together a Number sufficient for the Conveyance of all his Foot.
But a Day or two before the Arrival of the English Fleet off Sigeth, The Officers of his Troops were under a strange Consternation at a Resolution their General had taken. Impatient of Delay, and fearful of the Fleets passing by without his Knowledge, the Earl summon'd them together a little before Night, at which time he discover'd to the whole Assembly, that he himself was oblig'd to endeavour to get aboard the English Fleet; and that, if possible, before the French Scouts should be able to make any Discovery of their Strength: That finding himself of no further Use on Shore, having already taken the necessary Precautions for their Transportation and Security, they had nothing to do but to pursue his Orders, and make the best of their Way to Barcelona, in the Vessels which he had provided for them: That they might do this in perfect Security when they saw the English Fleet pass by; or if they should pass by in the Night, an Engagement with the French, which would give them sufficient Notice what they had to do further.
This Declaration, instead of satisfying, made the Officers ten times more curious: But when they saw their General going with a Resolution to lie out all Night at Sea, in an open Boat, attended with only one Officer; and understood that he intended to row out in his Felucca five or six Leagues distance from the Shore, it is hardly to be express'd what Amazement and Concern surpriz'd them all. Mr. Crow, the Queen's Minister, and others, express'd a particular Dislike and Uneasiness; but all to no purpose, the Earl had resolv'd upon it. Accordingly, at Night he put out to Sea in his open Felucca, all which he spent five Leagues from Shore, with no other Company than one Captain and his Rowers.
In the Morning, to the great Satisfaction of all, Officers and others, the Earl came again to Land; and immediately began to put his Men into the several Vessels which lay ready in Port for that Purpose. But at Night their Amaze was renew'd, when they found their General ready to put in execution his old Resolution, in the same Equipage, and with the same Attendance. Accordingly, he again felucca'd himself; and they saw him no more till they were landed on the Mole in Barcelona.
When the Earl of Peterborow first engag'd himself in the Expedition to Spain, he propos'd to the Queen and her Ministry, that Admiral Shovel might be join'd in Commission with him in the Command of the Fleet. But this Year, when the Fleet came through the Straites, under Vice-Admiral Leake, the Queen had sent a Commission to the Earl of Peterborow for the full Command, whenever he thought fit to come aboard in Person. This it was that made the General endeavour, at all Hazards, to get aboard the Fleet by Night; for he was apprehensive, and the Sequel prov'd his Apprehensions too well grounded, that Admiral Leake would make his Appearance with the whole Body of the Fleet, which made near twice the Number of the Ships of the Enemy; in which Case it was natural to suppose, that the Count de Tholouse, as soon as ever the French Scouts should give Notice of our Strength, would cut his Cables and put out to Sea, to avoid an Engagement. On the other hand, the Earl was very sensible, that if a Part of his Ships had kept a-stern, that the Superiority might have appear'd on the French Side, or rather if they had bore away in the Night towards the Coast of Africa, and fallen to the Eastward of Barcelona the next Day, a Battle had been inevitable, and a Victory equally certain; since the Enemy by this Means had been tempted into an Engagement, and their Retreat being cut off, and their whole Fleet surrounded with almost double their Number, there had hardly been left for any of them a Probability of Escaping.
Therefore, when the Earl of Peterborow put to Sea again the second Evening, fearful of loosing such a glorious Opportunity, and impatient to be aboard to give the necessary Orders, he order'd his Rowers to obtain the same Station, in order to discover the English Fleet. And according to his Wishes he did fall in with it; but unfortunately the Night was so far advanc'd, that it was impossible for him then to put his Project into practice. Captain Price, a Gentleman of Wales, who commanded a Third Rate, was the Person he first came aboard of; but how amaz'd was he to find, in an open Boat at open Sea, the Person who had Commission to command the Fleet? So soon as he was enter'd the Ship, the Earl sent the Ship's Pinnace with Letters to Admiral Leake, to acquaint him with his Orders and Intentions; and to Brigadier Stanhope with a Notification of his safe Arrival; but the Darkness of the Night prov'd so great an Obstacle, that it was a long time before the Pinnace could reach the Admiral. When Day appear'd, it was astonishing to the whole Fleet to see the Union Flag waving at the Main-top-mast Head. No body could trust his own Eyes, or guess at the Meaning, till better certify'd by the Account of an Event so singular and extraordinary.
When we were about six Leagues Distance from Barcelona, the Port we aim'd at, one of the French Scouts gave the Alarm, who making the Signal to another, he communicated it to a Third, and so on, as we afterward sorrowfully found, and as the Earl had before apprehended: The French Admiral being thus made acquainted with the Force of our Fleet, hoisted sail, and made the best of his Way from us, either pursuant to Orders, or under the plausible Excuse of a Retreat.
This favourable Opportunity thus lost, there remain'd nothing to do but to land the Troops with all Expedition; which was executed accordingly: The Regiments, which the Earl of Peterborow embark'd the Night before, being the first that got into the Town. Let the Reader imagine how pleasing such a Sight must be to those in Barcelona, reduc'd as they were to the last Extremity. In this Condition, to see an Enemy's Fleet give way to another with Reinforcements from England, the Sea at the same Instant cover'd with little Vessels crouded with greater Succours; what was there wanting to compleat the glorious Scene, but what the General had projected, a Fight at Sea, under the very Walls of the invested City, and the Ships of the Enemy sinking, or tow'd in by the victorious English? But Night, and a few Hours, defeated the latter Part of that well intended Landskip.
King Philip, and the Mareschal of France, had not fail'd to push on the Siege with all imaginable Vigour; but this Retreat of the Count de Tholouse, and the News of those Reinforcements, soon chang'd the Scene. Their Courage without was abated proportionably, as theirs within was elated. In these Circumstances, a Council of War being call'd, it was unanimously resolv'd to raise the Siege. Accordingly, next Morning, the first of May, 1706, while the Sun was under a total Eclypse, in a suitable Hurry and Confusion, they broke up, leaving behind them most of their Cannon and Mortars, together with vast Quantities of all sorts of Ammunition and Provisions, scarce stopping to look back till they had left all but the very Verge of the disputed Dominion behind them.
King Charles look'd with new Pleasure upon this lucky Effort of his old Deliverers. Captivity is a State no way desirable to Persons however brave, of the most private Station in Life; but for a King, within two Days of falling into the Hands of his Rival, to receive so seasonable and unexpected a Deliverance, must be supposed, as it really did, to open a Scene to universal Rejoicing among us, too high for any Words to express, or any Thoughts to imagine, to those that were not present and Partakers of it. He forthwith gave Orders for a Medal to be struck suitable to the Occasion; one of which, set round with Diamonds, he presented to Sir John Leake, the English Admiral. The next Orders were for re-casting all the damag'd brass Cannon which the Enemy had left; upon every one of which was, by order, a Sun eclyps'd, with this Motto under it: Magna parvis obscurantur.
I have often wonder'd that I never heard any Body curious enough to enquire what could be the Motives to the King of Spain's quitting his Dominions upon the raising of this Siege; very certain it is that he had a fine Army, under the Command of a Mareschal of France, not very considerably decreas'd, either by Action or Desertion: But all this would rather increase the Curiosity than abate it. In my Opinion then, though Men might have Curiosity enough, the Question was purposely evaded, under an Apprehension that an honest Answer must inevitably give a higher Idea of the General than their Inclinations led them to. At first View this may carry the Face of a Paradox; yet if the Reader will consider, that in every Age Virtue has had its Shaders or Maligners, he will himself easily solve it, at the same time that he finds himself compell'd to allow, that those, who found themselves unable to prevent his great Services, were willing, in a more subtil Manner, to endeavour at the annulling of them by Silence and Concealment.
This will appear more than bare Supposition, if we compare the present Situation, as to Strength, of the two contending Powers: The French, at the Birth of the Siege, consisted of five thousand Horse and Dragoons, and twenty-five thousand Foot, effective Men. Now grant, that their kill'd and wounded, together with their Sick in the Hospitals, might amount to five Thousand; yet as their Body of Horse was entire, and in the best Condition, the Remaining will appear to be an Army of twenty-five Thousand at least. On the other Side, all the Forces in Barcelona, even with their Reinforcements, amounted to no more than seven thousand Foot and four hundred Horse. Why then, when they rais'd their Siege, did not they march back into the Heart of Spain, with their so much superior Army? or, at least, towards their Capital? The Answer can be this, and this only; Because the Earl of Peterborow had taken such provident Care to render all secure, that it was thereby render'd next to an Impossibility for them so to do. That General was satisfy'd, that the Capital of Catalonia must, in course, fall into the Hands of the Enemy, unless a superior Fleet remov'd the Count de Tholouse, and threw in timely Succours into the Town: And as that could not depend upon him, but others, he made it his chief Care and assiduous Employment to provide against those Strokes of Fortune to which he found himself again likely to be expos'd, as he often had been; and therefore had he Resource to that Vigilance and Precaution which had often retriev'd him, when to others his Circumstances seem'd to be most desperate.
The Generality of Mankind, and the French in particular, were of opinion that the taking Barcelona would prove a decisive Stroke, and put a Period to the War in Spain; and yet at that very Instant I was inclin'd to believe, that the General flatter'd himself it would be in his Power to give the Enemy sufficient Mortification, even though the Town should be oblig'd to submit to King Philip. The wise Measures taken induc'd me so to believe, and the Sequel approv'd it; for the Earl had so well expended his Caution, that the Enemy, on the Disappointment, found himself under a Necessity of quitting Spain; and the same would have put him under equal Difficulties had he carry'd the Place. The French could never have undertaken that Siege without depending on their Fleet, for their Artillery, Ammunition, and Provisions; since they must be inevitably forc'd to leave behind them the strong Towns of Tortosa, Lerida, and Taragona. The Earl, therefore, whose perpetual Difficulties seem'd rather to render him more sprightly and vigorous, took care himself to examine the whole Country between the Ebro and Barcelona; and, upon his doing so, was pleasingly, as well as sensibly satisfy'd, that it was practicable to render their Return into the Heart of Spain impossible, whether they did or did not succeed in the Siege they were so intent to undertake.
There were but three Ways they could attempt it: The first of which was by the Sea-side, from Taragona towards Tortosa; the most barren, and consequently the most improper Country in the Universe to sustain an Army; and yet to the natural, the Earl had added such artificial Difficulties, as render'd it absolutely impossible for an Army to subsist or march that Way.
The middle Way lay through a better Country indeed, yet only practicable by the Care which had been taken to make the Road so. And even here there was a Necessity of marching along the Side of a Mountain, where by vast Labour and Industry, a high Way had been cut for two Miles at least out of the main Rock. The Earl therefore, by somewhat of the same Labour, soon made it impassable. He employ'd to that End many Thousands of the Country People, under a few of his own Officers and Troops, who cutting up twenty several Places, made so many Precipices, perpendicular almost as a Wall, which render'd it neither safe, or even to be attempted by any single Man in his Wits, much less by an Army. Besides, a very few Men, from the higher Cliffs of the Mountain, might have destroy'd an Army with the Arms of Nature only, by rolling down large Stones and Pieces of the Rock upon the Enemy passing below.
The last and uppermost Way, lay thro' the hilly Part of Catalonia, and led to Lerida, towards the Head of the Ebro, the strongest Place we had in all Spain, and which was as well furnish'd with a very good Garrison. Along this Road there lay many old Castles and little Towns in the Mountains, naturally strong; all which would not only have afforded Opposition, but at the same time had entertain'd an Enemy with variety of Difficulties; and especially as the Earl had given Orders and taken Care that all Cattle, and every Thing necessary to sustain an Army, should be convey'd into Places of Security, either in the Mountains or thereabouts. These three Ways thus precautiously secur'd, what had the Earl to apprehend but the Safety of the Arch-Duke; which yet was through no Default of his, if in any Danger from the Siege?
For I well remember, on Receipt of an Express from the Duke of Savoy (as he frequenly sent such to enquire after the Proceedings in Spain) I was shew'd a Letter, wrote about this time by the Earl of Peterborow to that Prince, which rais'd my Spirits, though then at a very low Ebb. It was too remarkable to be forgot; and the Substance of it was, That his Highness might depend upon it, that he (the Earl) was in much better Circumstances than he was thought to be: That the French Officers, knowing nothing of the Situation of the Country, would find themselves extreamly disappointed, since in case the Siege was rais'd, their Army should be oblig'd to abandon Spain: Or in case the Town was taken, they should find themselves shut up in that Corner of Catalonia, and under an Impossibility of forcing their Way back, either through Aragon or Valencia: That by this Means all Spain, to the Ebro, would be open to the Lord Galoway, who might march to Madrid, or any where else, without Opposition. That he had no other Uneasiness or Concern upon him, but for the Person of the Arch-Duke, whom he had nevertheless earnestly solicited not to remain in the Town on the very first Appearance of the intended Siege.
BARCELONA being thus reliev'd, and King Philip forc'd out of Spain, by these cautious Steps taken by the Earl of Peterborow, before we bring him to Valencia, it will be necessary to intimate, that as it always was the Custom of that General to settle, by a Council of War, all the Measures to be taken, whenever he was oblig'd for the Service to leave the Arch-Duke; a Council of War was now accordingly held, where all the General Officers, and those in greatest Employments at Court assisted. Here every thing was in the most solemn Manner concerted and resolv'd upon; here Garrisons were settled for all the strong Places, and Governors appointed: But the main Article then agreed upon was, that King Charles should immediately begin his Journey to Madrid, and that by the Way of Valencia. The Reason assign'd for it was, because that Kingdom being in his Possession, no Difficulties could arise which might occasion Delay, if his Majesty took that Rout. It was likewise agreed in the same Council, that the Earl of Peterborow should embark all the Foot, not in Garrisons, for their more speedy, as well as more easy Conveyance to Valencia. The same Council of War agreed, that all the Horse in that Kingdom should be drawn together, the better to insure the Measures to be taken for the opening and facilitating his Majesty's Progress to Madrid.
Accordingly, after these Resolutions were taken, the Earl of Peterborow embarks his Forces and sails for Valencia, where he was doubly welcom'd by all Sorts of People upon Account of his safe Arrival, and the News he brought along with it. By the Joy they express'd, one would have imagin'd that the General had escap'd the same Danger with the King; and, in truth, had their King arriv'd with him in Person, the most loyal and zealous would have found themselves at a loss how to have express'd their Satisfaction in a more sensible Manner.
Soon after his Landing, with his customary Vivacity, he apply'd himself to put in execution the Resolutions taken in the Councils of War at Barcelona; and a little to improve upon them, he rais'd an intire Regiment of Dragoons, bought them Horses, provided them Cloaths, Arms, and Acoutrements; and in six Weeks time had them ready to take the Field; a thing though hardly to be parallell'd, is yet scarce worthy to be mentioned among so many nobler Actions of his; yet in regard to another General it may merit Notice, since while he had Madrid in Possession near four Months, he neither augmented his Troops, nor lay'd up any Magazines; neither sent he all that time any one Express to concert any Measures with the Earl of Peterborow, but lay under a perfect Inactivity, or which was worse, negotiating that unfortunate Project of carrying King Charles to Madrid by the roundabout and ill-concerted Way of Aragon; a Project not only contrary to the solemn Resolutions of the Council of War; but which in reality was the Root of all our succeeding Misfortunes; and that only for the wretched Vanity of appearing to have had some Share in bringing the King to his Capital; but how minute a Share it was will be manifest, if it be consider'd that another General had first made the Way easy, by driving the Enemy out of Spain; and that the French General only stay'd at Madrid till the Return of those Troops which were in a manner driven out of Spain.
And yet that Transaction, doughty as it was, took up four most precious Months, which most certainly might have been much better employ'd in rendering it impossible for the Enemy to re-enter Spain; nor had there been any Great Difficulty in so doing, but the contrary, if the General at Madrid had thought convenient to have join'd the Troops under the Earl of Peterhorow, and then to have march'd directly towards Pampelona, or the Frontiers of France. To this the Earl of Peterborow solicited the King, and those about him; he advis'd, desir'd, and intreated him to lose no time, but to put in Execution those Measures resolv'd on at Barcelona. A Council of War in Valencia renew'd the same Application; but all to no Purpose, his Rout was order'd him, and that to meet his Majesty on the Frontiers of Arragon. There, indeed, the Earl did meet the King; and the French General an Army, which, by Virtue of a decrepid Intelligence, he never saw or heard of till he fled from it to his Camp at Guadalira. Inexpressible with the Confusion in this fatal Camp: The King from Arragon, The Earl of Peterborow from Valencia arriving in it the same Day, almost the same Hour that the Earl of Galoway enter'd under a hasty Retreat before the French Army.
But to return to Order, which a Zeal of Justice has made me somewhat anticipate; the Earl had not been long at Valencia before he gave Orders to Major-General Windham to march with all the Forces he had, which were not above two thousand Men, and lay Siege to Requina, a Town ten Leagues distant from Valencia, and in the Way to Madrid. The Town was not very strong, nor very large; but sure the odliest fortify'd that ever was. The Houses in a Circle conneftively compos'd the Wall; and the People, who defended the Town, instead of firing from Hornworks, Counterscarps, and Bastions, fir'd out of the Windows of their Houses.
Notwithstanding all which, General Windham found much greater Opposition than he at first imagin'd; and therefore finding he should want Ammunition, he sent to the Earl of Peterborow for a Supply; at the same time assigning, as a Reason for it, the unexpected Obstinacy of the Town. So soon as the Earl receiv'd the Letter he sent for me; and told me I must repair to Requifia, where they would want an Engineer; and that I must be ready next Morning, when he should order a Lieutenant, with thirty Soldiers and two Matrosses, to guard some Powder for that Service. Accordingly, the next Morning we set out, the Lieutenant, who was a Dutchman, and Commander of the Convoy, being of my Acquaintance.
We had reach'd Saint Jago, a small Village about midway between Valencia and Requina, when the Officer, just as he was got without the Town, resolving to take up his Quarters on the Spot, order'd the Mules to be unloaded. The Powder, which consisted of forty-five Barrels, was pil'd up in a Circle, and cover'd with Oil-cloth, to preserve it from the Weather; and though we had agreed to sup together at my Quarters within the Village, yet being weary and fatigu'd, he order'd his Field-Bed to be put up near the Powder, and so lay down to take a short Nap. I had scarce been at my Quarters an Hour, when a sudden Shock attack'd the House so violently, that it threw down Tiles, Windows, Chimneys and all. It presently came into my Head what was the Occasion; and as my Fears suggested so it prov'd: For running to the Door I saw a Cloud ascending from the Spot I left the Powder pitch'd upon. In haste making up to which, nothing was to be seen but the bare Circle upon which it had stood. The Bed was blown quite away, and the poor Lieutenant all to pieces, several of his Limbs being found separate, and at a vast Distance each from the other; and particularly an Arm, with a Ring on one of the Fingers. The Matrosses were, if possible, in a yet worse Condition, that is, as to Manglement and Laceration. All the Soldiers who were standing, and any thing near, were struck dead. Only such as lay sleeping on the Ground escap'd, and of those one assur'd me, that the Blast remov'd him several Foot from his Place of Repose. In short, enquiring into this deplorable Disaster, I had this Account: That a Pig running out of the Town, the Soldiers endeavour'd to intercept its Return; but driving it upon the Matrosses, one of them, who was jealous of its getting back into the Hands of the Soldiers, drew his Pistol to shoot it, which was the Source of this miserable Catastrophe. The Lieutenant carry'd along with him a Bag of Dollars to pay the Soldiers' Quarters, of which the People, and the Soldiers that were say'd, found many; but blown to an inconceivable Distance.
With those few Soldiers that remain'd alive, I proceeded, according to my Order, to Requina; where, when I arriv'd, I gave General Windham an Account of the Disaster at St. Jago. As such it troubled him, and not a little on account of the Disappointment. However, to make the best of a bad Market, he gave Orders for the forming of a Mine under an old Castle, which was part of the Wall. As it was order'd, so it was begun, more in Terrorem, than with any Expectation of Success from it as a Mine. Nevertheless, I had scarce began to frame the Oven of the Mine, when those within the Town desir'd to capitulate. This being all we could aim at, under the Miscarriage of our Powder at St. Jago (none being yet arriv'd to supply that Defect) Articles were readily granted them; pursuant to which, that Part of the Garrison, which was compos'd of Castilian Gentry, had Liberty to go wherever they thought best, and the rest were made Prisoners of War. Requina being thus reduc'd to the Obedience of Charles III a new rais'd Regiment of Spaniards was left in Garrison, the Colonel of which was appointed Governor; and our Supply of Powder having at last got safe to us, General Windham march'd his little Army to Cuenca.
CUENCA is a considerable City and a Bishoprick; therefore to pretend to sit down before it with such a Company of Forragers, rather than an Army, must be plac'd among the hardy Influences of the Earl of Peterborow's auspicious Administration. On the out Part of Cuenca there stood an old Castle, from which, upon our Approach, they play'd upon us furiously: But as soon as we could bring two Pieces of our Cannon to bear, we answered their Fire with so good Success, that we soon oblig'd them to retire into the Town. We had rais'd a Battery of twelve Guns against the City, on their Rejection of the Summons sent them to come under the Obedience of King Charles; going to which from the old Castle last reduc'd, I receiv'd a Shot on the Toe of one of my Shoes, which carry'd that Part of the Shoe intirely away, without any further Damage.
When I came to that Battery we ply'd them warmly (as well as from three Mortars) for the Space of three Days, their Nights included; but observing, that in one particular House, they were remarkably busy; People thronging in and out below; and those above firing perpetually out of the Windows, I was resolv'd to have one Shot at that Window, and made those Officers about me take Notice of it. True it was, the Distance would hardly allow me to hope for Success; yet as the Experiment could only be attended with the Expence of a single Ball, I made it. So soon as the Smoak of my own Cannon would permit it, we could see Clouds of Dust issuing from out of the Window, which, together with the People's crouding out of Doors, convinc'd the Officers, whom I had desir'd to take Notice of it, that I had been no bad Marksman.
Upon this, two Priests were sent out of the Place with Proposals; but they were so triflingly extravagant, that as soon as ever the General heard them, he order'd their Answer in a fresh Renewal of the Fire of both Cannon and Mortars. And it happen'd to be with so much Havock and Execution, that they were soon taught Reason; and sent back their Divines, with much more moderate Demands. After the General had a little modell'd these last, they were accepted; and according to the Articles of Capitulation, the City was that very Day surrender'd into our Possession. The Earl of Duncannon's Regiment took Guard of all the Gates; and King Charles was proclaim'd in due Form.
The Earl of Peterborow, during this Expedition, had left Valencia, and was arriv'd at my Lord Galway's Camp at Guadalaxara; who for the Confederates, and King Charles in particular, unfortunately was order'd from Portugal, to take the Command from a General, who had all along been almost miraculously successful, and by his own great Actions pay'd the Way for a safe Passage to that his Supplanter.
Yet even in this fatal Place the Earl of Peterborow made some Proposals, which, had they been embrac'd, might, in all Probability, have secur'd Madrid from falling into the Hands of the Enemy; But, in opposition thereto, the Lord Galway, and all his Portugueze Officers, were for forcing the next Day the Enemy to Battle. The almost only Person against it was the Earl of Peterborow; who then and there took the Liberty to evince the Impossibility of coming to an Engagement. This the next Morning too evidently made apparent, when upon the first Motion of our Troops towards the River, which they pretended to pass, and must pass, before they could engage, they were so warmly saluted from the Batteries of the Enemy, and their small Shot, that our Regiments were forc'd to retire in Confusion to their Camp. By which Rebuff all heroical Imaginations were at present laid aside, to consider how they might make their Retreat to Valencia.
The Retreat being at last resolv'd on, and a Multiplicity of Generals rendering our bad Circumstances much worse, the Earl of Peterborow met with a fortunate Reprieve, by Solicitations from the Queen, and Desires tantamount to Orders, that he would go with the Troops left in Catalonia to the Relief of the Duke of Savoy. It is hardly to be doubted that that General was glad to withdraw from those Scenes of Confusion, which were but too visible to Eyes even less discerning than his. However, he forebore to prepare himself to put her Majesty's Desires in execution, as they were not peremptory, till it had been resolv'd by the unanimous Consent of a Council of War, where the King, all the Generals and Ministers were present. That it was expedient for the Service that the Earl of Peterborow, during the Winter Season, should comply with her Majesty's Desires, and go for Italy; since he might return before the opening of the Campaign, if it should be necessary. And return indeed he did, before the Campaign open'd, and brought along with him one hundred thousand Pounds from Genoa, to the great Comfort and Support of our Troops, which had neither Money nor Credit. But on his Return, that noble Earl found the Lord Galway had been near as successful against him, as he had been unsuccessful against the Enemy. Thence was the Earl of Peterborow recall'd to make room for an unfortunate General, who the next Year suffer'd himself to be decoy'd into that fatal Battle of Almanza.
The Earl of Peterborow, on his leaving Valencia, had order'd his Baggage to follow him to the Camp at Guadalaxara; and it arriv'd in our little Camp, so far safe in its way to the greater at Guadalaxara. I think it consisted of seven loaded Waggons; and General Windham gave Orders for a small Guard to escorte it; under which they proceeded on their Journey: But about eight Leagues from Cuenca, at a pretty Town call'd Huette, a Party from the Duke of Berwick's Army, with Boughs in their Hats, the better to appear what they were not (for the Bough in the Hat is the Badge of the English, as white Paper is the Badge of the French) came into the Town, crying all the way, Viva Carlos Tercero, Viva. With these Acclamations in their Mouths, they advanc'd up to the very Waggons; when attacking the Guards, who had too much deluded themselves with Appearances, they routed 'em, and immediately plunder'd the Waggons of all that was valuable, and then march'd off.
The Noise of this soon reach'd the Ears of the Earl of Peterborow at Guadalaxara. When leaving my Lord Galways Camp, pursuant to the Resolutions of the Council of War, with a Party only of fourscore of Killigrew's Dragoons, he met General Windham's little Army within a League of Huette, the Place where his Baggage had been plunder'd. The Earl had strong Motives of Suspicion, that the Inhabitants had given Intelligence to the Enemy; and, as is very natural, giving way to the first Dictates of Resentment, he resolv'd to have lay'd the Town in Ashes: But when he came near it, the Clergy and Magistrates upon their Knees, disavowing the Charge, and asserting their Innocence, prevail'd on the good Nature of that generous Earl, without any great Difficulty, to spare the Town, at least not to burn it.
We march'd however into the Town, and that Night took up our Quarters there; and the Magistrates, under the Dread of our avenging our selves, on their part took Care that we were well supplied. But when they were made sensible of the Value of the Loss, which the Earl had sustain'd; and that on a moderate Computation it amounted to at least eight thousand Pistoles; they voluntarily presented themselves next Morning, and of their own accord offer'd to make his Lordship full Satisfaction, and that, in their own Phrase, de Contado, in Ready Money. The Earl was not displeas'd at their Offer; but generously made Answer, That he was just come from my Lord Galway's Camp at Chincon, where he found they were in a likelihood of wanting Bread; and as he imagin'd it might be easier to them to raise the Value in Corn, than in ready Money; if they would send to that Value in Corn to the Lord Galway's Camp, he would be satisfy'd. This they with Joy embrac'd, and immediately complied with.
I am apt to think the last Century (and I very much fear the Current will be as deficient) can hardly produce a parallel Instance of Generosity and true public Spiritedness; And the World will be of my Opinion, when I have corroborated this with another Passage some Years after. The Commissioners for Stating the Debts due to the Army, meeting daily for that Purpose at their House in Darby Court in Channel Row, I there mentioned to Mr. Read, Gentleman to his Lordship, this very just and honourable Claim upon the Government, as Monies advanced for the Use of the Army. Who told me in a little Time after, that he had mention'd it to his Lordship, but with no other Effect than to have it rejected with a generous Disdain.
While we stayed at Huette there was a little Incident in Life, which gave me great Diversion. The Earl, who had always maintain'd a good Correspondence with the fair Sex, hearing from one of the Priests of the Place, That on the Alarm of burning the Town, one of the finest Ladies in all Spain had taken Refuge in the Nunnery, was desirous to speak with her.
The Nunnery stood upon a small rising Hill within the Town; and to obtain the View, the Earl had presently in his Head this Stratagem; he sends for me, as Engineer, to have my Advice, how to raise a proper Fortification upon that Hill out of the Nunnery. I waited upon his Lordship to the Place, where declaring the Intent of our coming, and giving plausible Reasons for it, the Train took, and immediately the Lady Abbess, and the fair Lady, came out to make Intercession, That his Lordship would be pleas'd to lay aside that Design. The divine Oratory of one, and the beautiful Charms of the other, prevail'd; so his Lordship left the Fortification to be the Work of some future Generation.
From Huette the Earl of Peterborow march'd forwards for Valencia, with only those fourscore Dragoons, which came with him from Chincon, leaving General Windham pursuing his own Orders to join his Forces to the Army then under the Command of the Lord Galway. But stopping at Campilio, a little Town in our Way, his Lordship had Information of a most barbarous Fact committed that very Morning by the Spaniards, at a small Villa, about a League distant, upon some English Soldiers.
A Captain of the English Guards (whose Name has slip'd my Memory, tho' I well knew the Man) marching in order to join the Battalion of the Guards, then under the Command of General Windham, with some of his Soldiers, that had been in the Hospital, took up his Quarters in that little Villa. But on his marching out of it, next Morning, a Shot in the Back laid that Officer dead upon the Spot: And as it had been before concerted, the Spaniards of the Place at the same Time fell upon the poor, weak Soldiers, killing several; not even sparing their Wives. This was but a Prelude to their Barbarity; their savage Cruelty was only whetted, not glutted. They took the surviving few; hurried and dragg'd them up a Hill, a little without the Villa. On the Top of this Hill there was a Hole, or Opening, somewhat like the Mouth of one of our Coal-Pits, down this they cast several, who, with hideous Shrieks and Cries, made more hideous by the Ecchoes of the Chasm, there lost their Lives.
This Relation was thus made to the Earl of Peterborow, at his Quarters at Campilio; who immediately gave Orders for to sound to Horse. At first we were all surpriz'd; but were soon satisfy'd, that it was to revenge, or rather, do Justice, on this barbarous Action.
As soon as we enter'd the Villa we found that most of the Inhabitants, but especially the most Guilty, had withdrawn themselves on our Approach. We found, however, many of the dead Soldiers Cloaths, which had been convey'd into the Church, and there hid. And a strong Accusation being laid against a Person belonging to the Church, and full Proof made, that he had been singularly Industrious in the Execution of that horrid Piece of Barbarity on the Hill, his Lordship commanded him to be hang'd up at the Knocker of the Door.
After this piece of military Justice, we were led up to the fatal Pit or Hole, down which many had been cast headlong. There we found one poor Soldier alive, who, upon his throwing in, had catch'd fast hold of some impending Bushes, and sav'd himself on a little Jutty within the Concavity. On hearing us talk English he cry'd out; and Ropes being let down, in a little Time he was drawn up; when he gave us an ample Detail of the whole Villany. Among other Particulars, I remember he told me of a very narrow Escape he had in that obscure Recess. A poor Woman, one of the Wives of the Soldiers, who were thrown down after him, struggled, and roared so much, that they could not, without all their Force, throw her cleaverly in the Middle; by which means falling near the Side, in her Fall she almost beat him from his Place of Security.
Upon the Conclusion of this tragical Relation of the Soldier thus saved, his Lordship gave immediate Orders for the Firing of the Villa, which was executed with due Severity: After which his Lordship march'd back to his Quarters at Campilio; from whence, two Days after, we arriv'd at Valencia, Where, the first Thing presented to that noble Lord, was all the Papers taken in the Plunder of his Baggage, which the Duke of Berwick had generously order'd to be return'd him, without waste or opening.
It was too manifest, after the Earl's arrival at this City, that the Alteration in the Command of the English Forces, which before was only receiv'd as a Rumour, had deeper Grounds for Belief, than many of his Friends in that City could have wish'd. His Lordship had gain'd the Love of all by a Thousand engaging Condescensions; even his Gallantries being no way prejudicial, were not offensive; and though his Lordships did his utmost to conceal his Chagrin, the Sympathy of those around him made such Discoveries upon him, as would have disappointed a double Portion of his Caution. They had seen him un-elated under Successes, that were so near being unaccountable, that in a Country of less Superstition than Spain, they might almost have pass'd for miraculous; they knew full well, that nothing, but that Series of Successes had pav'd a Passage for the General that was to supersede him; those only having removed all the Difficulties of his March from Portugal to Madrid; they knew him the older General; and therefore not knowing, that in the Court he came from, Intrigue was too often the Soul of Merit, they could not but be amazed at a Change, which his Lordship was unwilling any body should perceive by himself.
It was upon this Account, that, as formerly, he treated the Ladies with Balls, and to pursue the Dons in their own Humour, order'd a Tawridore or Bull-Feast. In Spain no sort of public Diversions are esteemed equal with this. But the Bulls provided at Valencia, not being of the right Breed, nor ever initiated in the Mysteries, did not acquit themselves at all masterly; and consequently, did not give the Diversion, or Satisfaction expected. For which Reason I shall omit giving a Description of this Bull-Feast; and desire my Reader to suspend his Curiosity till I come to some, which, in the Spanish Sense, were much more entertaining; that is, attended with much greater Hazards and Danger.
But though I have said, the Gallantries of the General were mostly political at least very inoffensive; yet there happen'd about this Time, and in this Place, a piece of Gallantry, that gave the Earl a vast deal of Offence and Vexation; as a Matter, that in its Consequences might have been fatal to the Interest of King Charles, if not to the English Nation in general; and which I the rather relate, in that it may be of use to young Officers, and others; pointing out to them the Danger, not to say Folly, of inadvertent and precipitate Engagements, under unruly Passions.
I have said before, that Valencia is famous for fine Women. It indeed abounds in them; and among those, are great Numbers of Courtezans not inferior in Beauty to any. Nevertheless, two of our English Officers, not caring for the common Road, however safe, resolv'd to launch into the deeper Seas, though attended with much greater Danger. Amours, the common Failing of that fair City, was the Occasion of this Accident, and two Nuns the Objects. It is customary in that Country for young People in an Evening to resort to the Grates of the Nunneries, there to divert themselves, and the Nuns, with a little pleasant and inoffensive Chit-chat. For though I have heard some relate a World of nauseous Passages at such Conversations, I must declare, that I never saw, or heard any Thing unseemly; and therefore whenever I have heard any such from such Fabulists, I never so much wrong'd my Judgment as to afford them Credit.
Our two Officers were very assiduous at the Grates of a Nunnery in this Place; and having there pitch'd upon two Nuns, prosecuted their Amours with such Vigour, that, in a little time, they had made a very great Progress in their Affections, without in the least considering the Dangers that must attend themselves and the Fair; they had exchang'd Vows, and prevail'd upon the weaker Vessels to endeavour to get out to their Lovers. To effect which, soon after, a Plot was lay'd; the Means, the Hour, and every thing agreed upon.
It is the Custom of that Nunnery, as of many others, for the Nuns to take their weekly Courses in keeping the Keys of all the Doors. The two Love-sick Ladies giving Notice to their Lovers at the Grate, that one of their Turns was come, the Night and Hour was appointed, which the Officers punctually observing, carry'd off their Prey without either Difficulty or Interruption.
But next Morning, when the Nuns were missing, what an Uproar was there over all the City? The Ladies were both of Quality; and therefore the Tidings were first carry'd to their Relations. They receiv'd the News with Vows of utmost Vengeance; and, as is usual in that Country, put themselves in Arms for that Purpose. There needed no great canvassing for discovering who were the Aggressors: The Officers had been too frequent, and too publick, in their Addresses, to leave any room for question. Accordingly, they were complain'd of and sought for, but sensible at last of their past Temerity, they endeavour'd, and with a great deal of Difficulty perfected their Escape.
Less fortunate were the two fair Nuns; their Lovers, in their utmost Exigence, had forsaken them; and they, poor Creatures, knew not where to fly. Under this sad Dilemma they were taken; and, as in like Offences, condemn'd directly to the Punishment of immuring. And what greater Punishment is there on Earth than to be confin'd between four narrow Walls, only open at the Top; and thence to be half supported with Bread and Water, till the Offenders gradually starve to Death?
The Earl of Peterborow, though highly exasperated at the Proceedings of his Officers, in compassion to the unhappy Fair, resolv'd to interpose by all the moderate Means possible. He knew very well, that no one Thing could so much prejudice the Spaniard against him, as the countenancing such an Action; wherefore he inveigh'd against the Officers, at the same time that he endeavour'd to mitigate in favour of the Ladies: But all was in vain; it was urg'd against those charitable Intercessions, that they had broke their Vows; and in that had broke in upon the Laws of the Nunnery and Religion; the Consequence of all which could be nothing less than the Punishment appointed to be inflicted. And which was the hardest of all, the nearest of their Relations most oppos'd all his generous Mediations; and those, who according to the common Course of Nature should have thank'd him for his Endeavours to be instrumental in rescuing them from the impending Danger, grew more and more enrag'd, because he oppos'd them in their Design of a cruel Revenge.
Notwithstanding all which the Earl persever'd; and after a deal of Labour, first got the Penalty suspended; and, soon after, by the Dint of a very considerable Sum of Money (a most powerful Argument, which prevails in every Country) sav'd the poor Nuns from immuring; and at last, though with great Reluctance, he got them receiv'd again into the Nunnery. As to the Warlike Lovers, one of them was the Year after slain at the Battle of Almanza; the other is yet living, being a Brigadier in the Army.
While the Earl of Peterborow was here with his little Army of great Hereticks, neither Priests nor People were so open in their superstitious Fopperies, as I at other times found them. For which Reason I will make bold, and by an Antichronism in this Place, a little anticipate some Observations that I made some time after the Earl left it. And as I have not often committed such a Transgression, I hope it may be the more excusable now, and no way blemish my Memoirs, that I break in upon the Series of my Journal.
VALENCIA is a handsome City, and a Bishoprick; and is considerable not only for the Pleasantness of its Situation and beautiful Ladies; but (which at some certain Times, and on some Occasions, to them is more valuable than both those put together) for being the Birth-place of Saint Vincent, the Patron of the Place; and next for its being the Place where Santo Domingo, the first Institutor of the Dominican Order had his Education. Here, in honour of the last, is a spacious and very splendid Convent of the Dominicans. Walking by which, I one Day observ'd over the Gate, a Figure of a man in stone; and near it a Dog with a lighted Torch in his Mouth. The Image I rightly enough took to intend that of the Saint; but inquiring of one of the Order, at the Gate, the Meaning of the Figures near it, he very courteously ask'd me to walk in, and then entertain'd me with the following Relation:
When the Mother of Santo Domingo, said that Religious, was with Child of that future Saint, she had a Dream which very much afflicted her. She dreamt that she heard a Dog bark in her Belly; and inquiring (at what Oracle is not said) the Meaning of her Dream, she was told, That that Child should bark out the Gospel (excuse the Bareness of the Expression, it may run better in Spanish; tho', if I remember right, Erasmus gives it in Latin much the same Turn) which should thence shine out like that lighted Torch. And this is the Reason, that wherever you see the Image of that Saint, a Dog and a lighted Torch is in the Group.
He told me at the same time, that there had been more Popes and Cardinals of that Order than of any, if not all the other. To confirm which, he led me into a large Gallery, on each Side whereof he shew'd me the Pictures of all the Popes and Cardinals that had been of that Order; among which, I particularly took Notice of that of Cardinal Howard, great Uncle to the present Duke of Norfolk. But after many Encomiums of their Society, with which he interspers'd his Discourse, he added one that I least valu'd it for; That the sole Care and Conduct of the Inquisition was intrusted with them.
Finding me attentive, or not so contradictory as the English Humour generally is, he next brought me into a fair and large Cloister, round which I took several Turns with him; and, indeed, The Place was too delicious to tire, under a Conversation less pertinent or courteous than that he entertain'd me with. In the Middle of the Cloister was a small but pretty and sweet Grove of Orange and Lemon-trees; these bore Fruit ripe and green, and Flowers, all together on one Tree; and their Fruit was so very large and beautiful, and their Flowers so transcendently odoriferous, that all I had ever seen of the like Kind in England could comparatively pass only for Beauty in Epitome, or Nature imitated in Wax-work. Many Flocks also of pretty little Birds, with their chearful Notes, added not a little to my Delight. In short, in Life I never knew or found three of my Senses at once so exquisitely gratify'd.
Not far from this, Saint Vincent, the Patron, as I said before, of this City, has a Chapel dedicated to him. Once a Year they do him Honour in a sumptuous Procession. Then are their Streets all strow'd with Flowers, and their Houses set off with their richest Tapestries, every one strives to excel his Neighbour in distinguishing himself by the Honour he pays to that Saint; and he is the best Catholick, as well as the best Citizen, in the Eye of the religious, who most exerts himself on this Occasion.
The Procession begins with a Cavalcade of all the Friars of all the Convents in and about the City. These walk two and two with folded Arms, and Eyes cast down to the very Ground, and with the greatest outward Appearance of Humility imaginable; nor, though the Temptation from the fine Women that fill'd their Windows, or the rich Tapestries that adorn'd the Balconies might be allow'd sufficient to attract, could I observe that any one of them all ever mov'd them upwards.
After the Friars is borne, upon the Shoulders of twenty Men at least, an Imagine of that Saint of solid Silver, large as the Life; It is plac'd in a great Chair of Silver likewise; the Staves that bear him up, and upon which they bear him, being of the same Metal. The whole is a most costly and curious Piece of Workmanship, such as my Eyes never before or since beheld.
The Magistrates follow the Image and its Supporters, dress'd in their richest Apparel, which is always on this Day, and on this Occasion, particularly sumptuous and distinguishing. Thus is the Image, in the greatest Splendor, borne and accompany'd round that fine City; and at last convey'd to the Place from whence it came: And so concludes that annual Ceremony.
The Valencians, as to the Exteriors of Religion, are the most devout of any in Spain, though in common Life you find them amorous, gallant, and gay, like other People; yet on solemn Occasions there shines out-right such a Spirit as proves them the very Bigots of Bigotry: As a Proof of which Assertion, I will now give some Account of such Observations, as I had time to make upon them, during two Lent Seasons, while I resided there.
The Week before the Lent commences, commonly known by the Name of Carnaval Time, the whole City appears a perfect Bartholomew Fair; the Streets are crouded, and the Houses empty; nor is it possible to pass along without some Gambol or Jack-pudding Trick offer'd to you; Ink, Water, and sometimes Ordure, are sure to be hurl'd at your Face or Cloaths; and if you appear concern'd or angry, they rejoyce at it, pleas'd the more, the more they displease; for all other Resentment is at that time out of Season, though at other times few in the World are fuller of Resentment or more captious.
The younger Gentry, or Dons, to express their Gallantry, carry about them Egg-shells, fill'd with Orange or other sweet Water, which they cast at Ladies in their Coaches, or such other of the fair Sex as they happen to meet in the Streets.
But after all, if you would think them extravagant to Day, as much transgressing the Rules of common Civility, and neither regarding Decency to one another, nor the Duty they owe to Almighty God; yet when Ash-Wednesday comes you will imagine them more unaccountable in their Conduct, being then as much too excessive in all outwards Indications of Humility and Repentance. Here you shall meet one, bare-footed, with a Cross on his Shoulder, a Burden rather fit for somewhat with four Feet, and which his poor Two are ready to sink under, yet the vain Wretch bears and sweats, and sweats and bears, in hope of finding Merit in an Ass's Labour.
Others you shall see naked to their Wastes, whipping themselves with Scourges made for the Purpose, till the Blood follows every Stroke; and no Man need be at a Loss to follow them by the very Tracks of Gore they shed in this frentick Perambulation. Some, who from the Thickness of their Hides, or other Impediments, have not Power by their Scourgings to fetch Blood of themselves, are follow'd by Surgeons with their Lancets, who at every Turn, make use of them, to evince the Extent of their Patience and Zeal by the Smart of their Folly. While others, mingling Amour with Devotion, take particular Care to present themselves all macerated before the Windows of their Mistresses; and even in that Condition, not satisfy'd with what they have barbarously done to themselves, they have their Operators at hand, to evince their Love by the Number of their Gashes and Wounds; imagining the more Blood they lose, the more Love they shew, and the more they shall gain. These are generally Devoto's of Quality; though the Tenet is universal, that he that is most bloody is most devout.
After these Street-Exercises, these ostentatious Castigations are over, these Self-sacrificers repair to the great Church, the bloodier the better; there they throw themselves, in a Condition too vile for the Eye of a Female, before the Image of the Virgin Mary; though I defy all their Race of Fathers, and their infallible holy Father into the Bargain, to produce any Authority to fit it for Belief, that she ever delighted in such sanguinary Holocausts.
During the whole Time of Lent, you will see in every Street some Priest or Frier, upon some Stall or Stool, preaching up Repentance to the People; and with violent Blows on his Breast crying aloud, Mia Culpa, mia maxima Culpa, till he extract reciprocal Returns from the Hands of his Auditors on their own Breasts.
When Good Friday is come they entertain it with the most profound Show of Reverence and Religion, both in their Streets and in their Churches. In the last, particularly, they have contriv'd about twelve a-Clock suddenly to darken them, so as to render them quite gloomy. This they do to intimate the Eclipse of the Sun, which at that time happen'd. And to signify the Rending of the Vail of the Temple, you are struck with a strange artificial Noise at the very same Instant.
But when Easter Day appears, you find it in all Respects with them a Day of Rejoicing; for though Abstinence from Flesh with them, who at no time eat much, is not so great a Mortification as with those of the same Persuasion in other Countries, who eat much more, yet there is a visible Satisfaction darts out at their Eyes, which demonstrates their inward Pleasure in being set free from the Confinement of Mind to the Dissatisfaction of the Body. Every Person you now meet greets you with a Resurrexit Jesus; a good Imitation of the primitive Christians, were it the real Effect of Devotion. And all Sorts of the best Musick (which here indeed is the best in all Spain) proclaim an auspicious Valediction to the departed Season of superficial Sorrow and stupid Superstition. But enough of this: I proceed to weightier Matters.
While we lay at Valencia, under the Vigilance and Care of the indefatigable Earl, News was brought that Alicant was besieg'd by General Gorge by Land, while a Squadron of Men of War batter'd it from the Sea; from both which the Besiegers play'd their Parts so well, and so warmly ply'd them with their Cannon, that an indifferent practicable Breach was made in a little time.
Mahoni commanded in the Place, being again receiv'd into Favour; and clear'd as he was of those political Insinuations before intimated, he now seem'd resolv'd to confirm his Innocence by a resolute Defence. However, perceiving that all Preparations tended towards a Storm, and knowing full well the Weakness of the Town, he withdrew his Garrison into the Castle, leaving the Town to the Defence of its own Inhabitants.
Just as that was doing, the Sailors, not much skill'd in Sieges, nor at all times capable of the coolest Consideration, with a Resolution natural to them, storm'd the Walls to the Side of the Sea; where not meeting with much Opposition (for the People of the Town apprehended the least Danger there) they soon got into the Place; and, as soon as got in, began to Plunder. This oblig'd the People, for the better Security of themselves, to open their Gates, and seek a Refuge under one Enemy, in opposition to the Rage of another.
General Gorge, as soon as he enter'd the Town, with a good deal of seeming Lenity, put a stop to the Ravages of the Sailors; and ordered Proclamation to be made throughout the Place, that all the Inhabitants should immediately bring in their best Effects into the great Church for their better Security. This was by the mistaken Populace, as readily comply'd with; and neither Friend nor Foe at all disputing the Command, or questioning the Integrity of the Intention; the Church was presently crouded with Riches of all sorts and sizes. Yet after some time remaining there, they were all taken out, and disposed of by those, that had as little Property in 'em, as the Sailors, they were pretended to be preserv'd from.
The Earl of Peterborow upon the very first News of the Siege had left Valencia, and taken Shipping for Alicant; where he arrived soon after the Surrender of the Town, and that Outcry of the Goods of the Townsmen. Upon his Arrival, Mahoni, who was block'd up in the Castle, and had experienced his indefatigable Diligence, being in want of Provisions, and without much hope of Relief, desired to capitulate. The Earl granted him honourable Conditions, upon which he delivered up the Castle, and Gorge was made Governor.
Upon his Lordship's taking Ship at Valencia, I had an Opportunity of marching with those Dragoons, which escorted him from Castile, who had received Orders to march into Murcia. We quarter'd the first Night at Alcira, a Town that the River Segra almost surrounds, which renders it capable of being made a Place of vast Strength, though now of small Importance.
The next Night we lay at Xativa, a Place famous for its steadiness to King Charles. General Basset, a Spaniard, being Governor; it was besieg'd by the Forces of King Philip; but after a noble Resistance, the Enemy were beat off, and the Siege raised; for which Effort, it is supposed, that on the Retirement of King Charles out of this Country, it was depriv'd of its old Name Xativa, and is now called San Felippo; though to this day the People thereabouts much dissallow by their Practice, that novel Denomination.
We march'd next Morning by Monteza; which gives Name to the famous Title of Knights of Monteza. It was at the Time that Colonel O Guaza, an Irish-man, was Governor, besieg'd by the People of the Country, in favour of King Charles; but very ineffectually, so it never chang'd its Sovereign. That Night we quarter'd at Fonte dalas Figuras, within one League of Almanza; where that fatal and unfortunate Battle, which I shall give an Account of in its Place, was fought the Year after, under the Lord Galway.
On our fourth days March we were oblig'd to pass Villena, where the Enemy had a Garrison. A Party of Mahoni's Dragoons made a part of that Garrison, and they were commanded by Major O. Rairk an Irish Officer, who always carried the Reputation of a good Soldier, and a brave Gentleman.
I had all along made it my Observation, that Captain Matthews, who commanded those Dragoons, that I march'd with, was a Person of much more Courage than Conduct; and he us'd as little Precaution here, though just marching under the Eye of the Enemy, as he had done at other Times. As I was become intimately acquainted with him, I rode up to him, and told him the Danger, which, in my Opinion, attended our present March. I pointed out to him just before Villena a jutting Hill, under which we must unavoidably pass; at the turning whereof, I was apprehensive the Enemy might he, and either by Ambuscade or otherwise, surprize us; I therefore intreated we might either wait the coming of our Rear Guard; or at least march with a little more leisure and caution. But he taking little notice of all I said, kept on his round March; seeing which, I press'd forward my Mule, which was a very good one, and rid as fast as her Legs could carry her, till I had got on the top of the Hill. When I came there, I found both my Expectation, and my Apprehensions answered: For I could very plainly discern three Squadrons of the Enemy ready drawn up, and waiting for Us at the very winding of the Hill.
Hereupon I hastened back to the Captain with the like Speed, and told him the Discovery I had made; who nevertheless kept on his March, and it was with a good deal of Difficulty, that I at last prevail'd on him to halt, till our Rear Guard of twenty Men had got up to us. But those joining us, and a new Troop of Spanish Dragoons, who had march'd towards us that Morning, appearing in Sight; our Captain, as if he was afraid of their rivalling him in his Glory, at the very turn of the Hill, rode in a full Gallop, with Sword in Hand, up to the Enemy. They stood their Ground, till we were advanc'd within two hundred Yards of them, and then in Confusion endeavoured to retire into the Town.
They were obliged to pass over a small Bridge, too small to admit of such a Company in so much haste; their crouding upon which obstructed their Retreat, and left all that could not get over, to the Mercy of our Swords, which spar'd none. However narrow as the Bridge was, Captain Matthews was resolved to venture over after the Enemy; on doing which, the Enemy made a halt, till the People of the Town, and the very Priests came out to their Relief with fire Arms. On so large an Appearance, Captain Matthews thought it not adviseable to make any further Advances; so driving a very great flock of Sheep from under the Walls, he continued his March towards Elda. In this Action we lost Captain Topham, and three Dragoons.
I remember we were not marched very far from the Place, where this Rencounter happen'd; when an Irish Dragoon overtook the Captain, with a civil Message from Major O Rairk, desiring that he would not entertain a mean Opinion of him for the Defence that was made; since could he have got the Spaniards to have stood their Ground, he should have given him good Reason for a better. The Captain return'd a complimental Answer, and so march'd on. This Major O Rairk, or O Roork, was the next Year killed at Alkay, being much lamented, for he was esteemed both for his Courage and Conduct, one of the best of the Irish Officers in the Spanish Service. I was likewise informed that he was descended from one of the ancient Kings of Ireland; the Mother of the honourable Colonel Paget, one of the Grooms of the Bedchamber to his present Majesty, was nearly related to this Gallant Gentleman.
One remarkable Thing I saw in that Action, which affected and surprised me; A Scotch Dragoon, of but a moderate Size, with his large basket-hilted Sword, struck off a Spaniard's Head at one stroke, with the same ease, in appearance, as a Man would do that of a Poppy.
When we came to Elda (a Town much in the Interest of King Charles, and famous for its fine Situation, and the largest Grapes in Spain) the Inhabitants received us in a manner as handsome as it was peculiar; all standing at their Doors with lighted Torches; which considering the Time we enter'd was far from an unwelcome or disagreeable Sight.
The next Day several requested to be the Messengers of the Action at Villena to the Earl of Peterborow at Alicant; but the Captain return'd this Answer to all, that in consideration of the Share that I might justly claim in that Day's Transactions, he could not think of letting any other Person be the Bearer. So giving me his Letters to the Earl, I the next Day deliver'd them to him at Alicant. At the Delivery, Colonel Killigrew (whose Dragoons they were) being present, he expressed a deal of Satisfaction at the Account, and his Lordship was pleased at the same time to appoint me sole Engineer of the Castle of Alicant.
Soon after which, that successful General embark'd for Genoa, according to the Resolutions of the Council of War at Guadalaxara, on a particular Commission from the Queen of England, another from Charles King of Spain, and charged at the same time with a Request of the Marquiss das Minas, General of the Portugueze Forces, to negotiate Bills for one hundred thousand Pounds for the use of his Troops. In all which, tho' he was (as ever) successful; yet may it be said without a figure, that his Departure, in a good measure, determin'd the Success of the confederate Forces in that Kingdom. True it is, the General return'd again with the fortunate, Fruits of those Negotiations; but never to act in his old auspicious Sphere: And therefore, as I am now to take leave of this fortunate General, let me do it with Justice, in an Appeal to the World, of the not to be parallel'd Usage (in these latter Ages, at least) that he met with for all his Services; such a vast variety of Enterprizes, all successful, and which had set all Europe in amaze; Services that had given occasion to such solemn and public Thanksgivings in our Churches, and which had received such very remarkable Approbations, both of Sovereign and Parliament; and which had been represented in so lively a Manner, in a Letter wrote by the King of Spain, under his own Hand, to the Queen of England, and communicated to both Houses in the Terms following:
Madam, my Sister,
I should not have been so long e'er I did my self the Honour to repeat the Assurances of my sincere Respects to you, had I not waited for the good Occasion which I now acquaint you with, that the City of Barcelona is surrendered to me by Capitulation. I doubt not but you will receive this great News with intire Satisfaction, as well, because this happy Success is the Effect of your Arms, always glorious, as from the pure Motives of that Bounty and maternal Affection you have for me, and for every Thing which may contribute to the Advancement of my Interest.
I must do this Justice to all the Officers and common Soldiers, and particularly to my Lord Peterborow, that he has shown in this whole Expedition, a Constancy, Bravery, and Conduct, worthy of the Choice that your Majesty has made of him, and that he could no ways give me better Satisfaction than he has, by the great Zeal and Application, which he has equally testified for my Interest, and for the Service of my Person. I owe the same Justice to Brigadier Stanhope, for his great Zeal, Vigilance, and very wise Conduct, which he has given Proofs of upon all Occasions: As also to all your Officers of the Fleet, particularly to your worthy Admiral Shovel, assuring your Majesty, that he has assisted me in this Expedition, with an inconceivable Readiness and Application, and that no Admiral will be ever better able to render me greater Satisfaction, than he has done. During the Siege of Barcelona, some of your Majesty's Ships, with the Assistance of the Troops of the Country, have reduc'd the Town of Tarragona, and the officers are made Prisoners of War. The Town of Girone has been taken at the same time by Surprize, by the Troops of the Country. The Town of Lerida has submitted, as also that of Tortosa upon the Ebro; so that we have taken all the Places of Catalonia, except Roses. Some Places in Aragon near Sarrogosa have declared for me, and the Garrison of the Castle of Denia in Valencia have maintained their Post, and repulsed the Enemy; 400 of the Enemies Cavalry have enter'd into our Service, and a great number of their Infantry have deserted.
This, Madam, is the State that your Arms, and the Inclination of the People have put my Affairs in. It is unnecessary to tell you what stops the Course of these Conquests, it is not the Season of the Year, nor the Enemy; these are no Obstacles to your Troops, who desire nothing more than to act under the Conduct that your Majesty has appointed them. The taking of Barcelona, with so small a Number of Troops, is very remarkable; and what has been done in this Siege is almost without Example; that with seven or eight thousand Men of your Troops, and two hundred Miquelets, we should surround and invest a Place, that thirty thousand French could not block up.
After a March of thirteen Hours, the Troops climb'd up the Rocks and Precipices, to attack a Fortification stronger than the Place, which the Earl of Peterborow has sent you a Plan of; two Generals, with the Grenadiers, attack'd it Sword in Hand. In which Action the Prince of Hesse died gloriously, after so many brave Actions: I hope his Brother and his Family will always have your Majesty's Protection. With eight hundred Men they forc'd the cover'd Way, and all the Intrenchments and Works, one after another, till they came to the last Work which surrounded it, against five hundred Men of regular Troops which defended the Place, and a Reinforcement they had receiv'd; and three Days afterwards we became Masters of the Place. We afterwards attack'd the Town on the Side of the Castle. We landed again our Cannon, and the other Artillery, with inconceivable Trouble, and form'd two Camps, distant from each other three Leagues, against a Garrison almost as numerous as our Army, whose Cavalry was double the Strength of ours. The first Camp was so well intrench'd, that 'twas defended by two thousand Men and the Dragoons; whilst we attack'd the Town with the rest of our Troops. The Breach being made, we prepar'd to make a general Assault with all the Army. These are Circumstances, Madam, which distinguish this Action, perhaps, from all others.
Here has happen'd an unforeseen Accident. The Cruelty of the pretended Viceroy, and the Report spread abroad, that he would take away the Prisoners, contrary to the Capitulation, provok'd the Burghers, and some of the Country People, to take up Arms against the Garrison, whilst they were busy in packing up their Baggage, which was to be sent away the next Day; so that every thing tended to Slaughter: But your Majesty's Troops, entering into Town with the Earl of Peterborow, instead of seeking Pillage, a Practice common upon such Occasions, appeas'd the Tumult, and have say'd the Town, and even the Lives of their Enemies, with a Discipline and Generosity without Example.
What remains is, that I return you my most hearty Thanks for sending so great a Fleet, and such good and valiant Troops to my Assistance. After so happy a Beginning, I have thought it proper, according to the Sentiments of your Generals and Admirals, to support, by my Presence, the Conquests that we have made; and to shew my Subjects, so affectionate to my Person, that I cannot abandon them. I receive such succours from your Majesty, and from your generous Nation, that I am loaded with your Bounties; and am not a little concern'd to think that the Support of my Interest should cause so great an Expence. But, Madam, I sacrifice my Person, and my Subjects in Catalonia expose also their Lives and Fortunes, upon the Assurances they have of your Majesty's generous Protection. Your Majesty and your Council knows better than we do, what is necessary for our Conservation. We shall then expect your Majesty's Succours, with an entire Confidence in your Bounty and Wisdom. A further Force is necessary: We give no small Diversion to France, and without doubt they will make their utmost Efforts against me as soon as possible; but I am satisfy'd, that the same Efforts will be made by my Allies to defend me. Your Goodness, Madam, inclines you, and your Power enables you, to support those that the Tyranny of France would oppress. All that I can insinuate to your Wisdom, and that of your Allies, is, that the Forces employ'd in this Country will not be unprofitable to the public Good, but will be under an Obligation and Necessity to act with the utmost Vigour against the Enemy. I am,
With an inviolable Affection, Respect, and most Sincere Acknowledgment, Madam, my Sister, Your most affectionate Brother, CHARLES.
And yet, after all, was this noble General not only recall'd, the Command of the Fleet taken from him, and that of the Army given to my Lord Galway, without Assignment of Cause; but all Manner of Falsities were industriously spread abroad, not only to dimish, if they could, his Reputation, but to bring him under Accusations of a malevolent Nature. I can hardly imagine it necessary here to take Notice, that afterward he disprov'd all those idle Calumnies and ill-invented Rumours; or to mention what Compliments he receiv'd, in the most solemn Manner, from his Country, upon a full Examination and thorough canvassing of his Actions in the House of Lords. But this is too notorious to be omitted, That all Officers coming from Spain were purposely intercepted in their Way to London, and craftily examin'd upon all the idle Stories which had pass'd tending to lessen his Character: And when any Officers had asserted the Falsity of those Inventions (as they all did, except a military Sweetner or two) and that there was no Possibility of laying any thing amiss to the Charge of that General—they were told, that they ought to be careful however, not to speak advantagiously of that Lord's Conduct, unless they were willing to fall Martyrs in his Cause—A Thing scarce to be credited even in a popish Country. But Scipio was accus'd—tho' (as my Author finely observes) by Wretches only known to Posterity by that stupid Accusation.
As a mournful Valediction, before I enter upon any new Scene, the Reader will pardon this melancholy Expostulation. How mortifying must it be to an Englishman, after he has found himself solac'd with a Relation of so many surprising Successes of her Majesty's Arms, under the Earl of Peterborow; Successes that have lay'd before our Eyes Provinces and Kingdoms reduc'd, and Towns and Fortresses taken and reliev'd; where we have seen a continu'd Series of happy Events, the Fruits of Conduct and Vigilance; and Caution and Foresight preventing Dangers that were held, at first View, certain and unsurmountable: to change this glorious Landskip, I say, for Scenes every way different, even while our Troops were as numerous as the Enemy, and better provided, yet always baffled and beaten, and flying before the Enemy till fatally ruin'd in the Battle of Almanza: How mortifying must this be to any Lover of his Country! But I proceed to my Memoirs.
ALICANT is a Town of the greatest Trade of any in the Kingdom of Valencia, having a strong Castle, being situated on a high Hill, which commands both Town and Harbour. In this Place I resided a whole Year; but it was soon after my first Arrival, that Major Collier (who was shot in the Back at Barcelona, as I have related in the Siege of that Place) hearing of me, sought me out at my Quarters; and, after a particular Enquiry into the Success of that difficult Task that he left me upon, and my answering all his Questions to satisfaction (all which he receiv'd with evident Pleasure) he threw down a Purse of Pistoles upon the Table; which I refusing, he told me, in a most handsome Manner, his Friendship was not to be preserved but by my accepting it.
After I had made some very necessary Repairs, I pursu'd the Orders I had receiv'd from the Earl of Peterborow, to go upon the erecting a new Battery between the Castle and the Town. This was a Task attended with Difficulties, neither few in Number, nor small in Consequence; for it was to be rais'd upon a great Declivity, which must render the Work both laborious and precarious. However, I had the good Fortune to effect it much sooner than was expected; and it was call'd Gorge's Battery, from the Name of the Governor then commanding; who, out of an uncommon Profusion of Generosity, wetted that Piece of Gossiping with a distinguishing Bowl of Punch. Brigadier Bougard, when he saw this Work some time after, was pleas'd to honour it with a singular Admiration and Approbation, for its Compleatness, notwithstanding its Difficulties.
This Work, and the Siege of Cartagena, then in our Possession, by the Duke of Berwick, brought the Lord Galway down to this place. Cartagena is of so little Distance from Alicant, that we could easily hear the Cannon playing against, and from it, in our Castle, where I then was. And I remember my Lord Galway, on the fourth Day of the Siege, sending to know if I could make any useful Observations, as to the Success of it; I return'd, that I was of Opinion the Town was surrender'd, from the sudden Cessation of the Cannon, which, by our News next Day from the Place, prov'd to be fact. Cartagena is a small Sea-Port Town in Murcia; but has so good an Harbour, that when the famous Admiral Doria was ask'd, which were the three best Havens in the Mediterranean, he readily return'd, June, July, and Cartagena.
Upon the Surrender of this Place, a Detachment of Foot was sent by the Governor, with some Dragoons, to Elsha; but it being a Place of very little Strength they were soon made Prisoners of War.
The Siege of Cartagena being over, the Lord Galway return'd to his Camp; and the Lord Duncannon dying in Alicant, the first Guns that were fir'd from Gorge's Battery, were the Minute-Guns for his Funeral. His Regiment had been given to the Lord Montandre, who lost it before he had Possession, by an Action as odd as it was scandalous.
That Regiment had received Orders to march to the Lord Galway's Camp, under the Command of their Lieutenant-Colonel Bateman, a Person before reputedly a good Officer, tho' his Conduct here gave People, not invidious, too much Reason to call it in Question. On his March, he was so very careless and negligent (though he knew himself in a Country surrounded with Enemies, and that he was to march through a Wood, where they every Day made their Appearance in great Numbers) that his Soldiers march'd with their Muskets slung at their Backs, and went one after another (as necessity had forc'd us to do in Scotland) himself at the Head of 'em, in his Chaise, riding a considerable way before.
It happened there was a Captain, with threescore Dragoons, detach'd from the Duke of Berwick's Army, with a Design to intercept some Cash, that was order'd to be sent to Lord Galway's Army from Alicant. This Detachment, missing of that intended Prize, was returning very disconsolately, Re infecta; when their Captain, observing that careless and disorderly March of the English, resolv'd, boldly enough, to attack them in the Wood. To that Purpose he secreted his little Party behind a great Barn; and so soon as they were half passed by, he falls upon 'em in the Center with his Dragoons, cutting and slashing at such a violent Rate, that he soon dispersed the whole Regiment, leaving many dead and wounded upon the Spot. The three Colours were taken; and the gallant Lieutenant-Colonel taken out of his Chaise, and carried away Prisoner with many others; only one Officer who was an Ensign, and so bold as to do his Duty, was kill'd.
The Lieutenant who commanded the Granadiers, received the Alarm time enough to draw his Men into a House in their way; where he bravely defended himself for a long Time; but being killed, the rest immediately surrender'd. The Account of this Action I had from the Commander of the Enemy's Party himself, some Time after, while I was a Prisoner. And Captain Mahoni, who was present when the News was brought, that a few Spanish Dragoons had defeated an English Regiment, which was this under Bateman, protested to me, that the Duke of Berwick turn'd pale at the Relation; and when they offer'd to bring the Colours before him, he would not so much as see them. A little before the Duke went to Supper, Bateman himself was brought to him, but the Duke turn'd away from him without any further Notice than coldly saying, that he thought he was very strangely taken. The Wags of the Army made a thorough jest of him, and said his military Conduct was of a piece with his Oeconomy, having two Days before this March, sent his young handsome Wife into England, under the Guardship of the young Chaplain of the Regiment.
April 15. In the Year 1707, being Easter Monday, we had in the Morning a flying Report in Alicant, that there had been the Day before a Battle at Almanza, between the Army under the Command of the Duke of Berwick, and that of the English, under Lord Galway, in which the latter had suffer'd an entire Defeat. We at first gave no great Credit to it: But, alas, we were too soon woefully convinced of the Truth of it, by Numbers that came flying to us from the conquering Enemy. Then indeed we were satisfied of Truths, too difficult before to be credited. But as I was not present in that calamitous Battle, I shall relate it, as I received it from an Officer then in the Duke's Army.