At the Turn of the Tide - Lisbon at the Close of 1810: Further Extracts from the letters of a Merchant Banker

Excerpt

          It is not wishful thinking when one affirms that, dark and grim for England though the past few months have been, dawn is breaking, carrying with it the certainty that the evil things we are fighting against will at last be swept away. Some such conviction must also have been held by our predecessors, the British community in Lisbon, when, during the last quarter of 1810, it became evident that Masséna's invasion had failed in its intention and that the Portuguese army, like Wellington's men, could «take it», and, as they showed at Salamanca and the Nivelle, give the troops of France as good as they got.

         Clear evidence of that better hope for the future can be found in chance sentences embodied in letters of Edmund Power written subsequent to his re-opening business here after his departure - in November 1807 - commented upon in last year's Report under the heading, «Lisbon on the Eve of Invasion». Even then things were looking up. It was in February 1809 that Major General William Carr Beresford took command of the Portuguese army, and although Soult captured Oporto the following month he was soon sent to the right about, with Oporto recaptured and the Frenchman over the Spanish border again by the end of May, with two Portuguese generals, António da Silveira and Manuel de Brito Mouzinho, in hot pursuit. So, writing on the 1st June 1809, to his correspondent William Sweetland, of Gibraltar, after regretting that the convoy taking the letter cannot carry goods on freight as they have troops for the garrison aboard, Edmund Power continues: .......

Author: 
H. Hallam Hipwell
report: 
HA 4
page: 
246
year: 
1940
subject matter: 
Peninsular War