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Convention of Cintra, 22nd August 1808


Convention of Cintra, 22nd August 1808

An agreement between British and French forces to allow Junot's army to be evacuated from Portugal. The agreement was highly controversial and the outcry it caused in Britain was to have a long term effect on the Peninsular war.

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Convention of Cintra

Last updated December 24, 2020 Palace of Queluz, where the Convention of Cintra was signed. Junot embarks for France, after the Convention of Cintra, at Cais do Sodré, Lisbon

The Convention of Cintra (or Sintra) was an agreement signed on 30 August 1808, during the Peninsular War. By the agreement, the defeated French were allowed to evacuate their troops from Portugal without further conflict. [1] The Convention was signed at the Palace of Queluz, in Queluz, Cintra, Estremadura.

The French forces under Jean-Andoche Junot were defeated by the Anglo-Portuguese forces commanded by Sir Arthur Wellesley at Vimeiro [2] on 21 August and found themselves almost cut off from retreat. However, at that moment, Wellesley was superseded by the arrival of Sir Harry Burrard and then the next day by Sir Hew Dalrymple. Both were cautious old men who had seen little recent fighting rather than push the French, they were satisfied to open negotiations. Wellesley had sought to take control of the Torres Vedras area high ground and cut the French retreat with his unused reserve, but he was ordered to hold. Talks between Dalrymple and François Kellerman led to the signing of the Convention.

The Convention was seen as a disgrace by many in the United Kingdom [3] who felt that a complete defeat of Junot had been transformed into a French escape, while Dalrymple had also ignored the Royal Navy's concern about a blockaded Russian squadron in Lisbon. The squadron was allowed to sail to Portsmouth, and eventually to return to Russia, despite the fact that Britain and Russia were at war.

Wellesley wanted to fight, but he signed the preliminary Armistice under orders. He took no part in negotiating the Convention and did not sign it. Dalrymple's reports were written, however, to centre any criticism on Wellesley, who still held a ministerial post in the government. Wellesley was subsequently recalled from Portugal, together with Burrard and Dalrymple, to face an official inquiry. The inquiry was held in the Great Hall at the Royal Hospital Chelsea from 14 November to 27 December 1808. All three men were cleared but while Wellesley soon returned to active duty in Portugal, Burrard and Dalrymple were quietly pushed into retirement and never saw active service again. Sir John Moore, commenting on the Inquiry, expressed the popular sentiment that "Sir Hew Dalrymple was confused and incapable beyond any man I ever saw head an army. The whole of his conduct then and since has proved him to be a very foolish man."

And ever since that martial synod met,

Britannia sickens, Cintra! at thy name
And folks in office at the mention fret,
And fain would blush, if blush they could, for shame.
How will posterity the deed proclaim!
Will not our own and fellow-nations sneer,
To view these champions cheated of their fame,
By foes in fight o'erthrown, yet victors here,

Where Scorn her finger points, through many a coming year?

The Convention of Cintra is also the name of a pamphlet written by the future British Poet Laureate William Wordsworth in 1808 he also wrote a passionate sonnet that, in his own words, was "composed while the author was engaged in writing a tract occasioned by" the Convention, in which he laments the bondage felt by "suffering Spain". Delays in publication meant that journalistic, and satirical, features of Wordsworth's prose have been overlooked. [4] [5]


Convention of Sintra

The Convention of Sintra (or Cintra) was an agreement signed on August 30, 1808 during the Peninsular War. By the agreement the defeated French were allowed to evacuate their armies from Portugal without further conflict. The convention was signed at the Palace of Queluz in Sintra, Estremadura.

Following the French defeat by forces commanded by Arthur Wellesley at Vimeiro on August 21 the French forces under Jean-Andoche Junot found themselves almost cut off from retreat. The British command was then augmented by Harry Burrard and then Hew Dalrymple. Both were cautious men who rather than push the French were happy to open negotiations. Wellesey had sought to take control of the Torres Vedras and cut the French retreat but was ordered to hold. Following talks between Dalrymple and Francois Kellerman the convention was signed. 20,900 French soldiers were allowed to evacuate from Portugal with all their equipment and the British transported them to Rochefort, Junot arriving there on October 11.

The convention was seen as a disgrace back in the United Kingdom. A complete defeat of Junot had been transformed into a French escape. The commanders seen as responsible, Wellesley, Burrard and Dalrymple, were recalled from Portugal to face a official inquiry. The inquiry was held in the Great Hall at the Royal Hospital at Chelsea from November 14 to December 27, 1808. All three men were cleared but while Wellesley soon returned to active duty in Portugal, Burrard and Dalrymple were quietly pushed into retirement and never saw active service again.


Peninsular War 1808-1814

Battles fought in Peninsular War, Napoleons French army opposed by Britian, Spain, and Portugal commanded by the Duke of Wellington.

It was at this point that the government turned to Sir Arthur Wellesley for advice for the Peninsular War. Recognising that had had not been to blame for the humiliation of the Convention of Cintra and had in fact, conducted the short campaign of August 1808 with remarkable success.

7th March 1809, he submitted a memorandum to Viscount Castleragh, the secretary of state for war. He argued that Portugal could be defended regardless of events in Spain. As long as an adequate army under strong command were to be despatched to Lisbon for the Peninsular War. It was to reinforce the 10,000 men left there by Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore five months earlier.

Sir Arthur Wellesley landing at Lisbon in 1809.

22nd April 1809, Wellesley landed at Lisbon to command a force of 20,000 British troops. 3,000 member’s of the King’s German legion and an estimated 16,000 Portuguese. He faced a daunting task. Ranged against him were three French armies at Oporto to the North, Ciudad Rodrigo to the North-East and Badajoz to the East. Each of which was capable of matching the numbers under his command. Altogether the French had nearly 200,000 troop in the Iberian Peninsula.

Wellesley could only aim to defeat each army in turn, retreating into Portugal whenever he felt threatened by overwhelming numbers. It was this factor that made the Peninsular war campaign, conducted between 1809 and 1814, such a see-saw affair of advance and withdrawal. A clear measure of the brilliance of Wellesley, that he had become prepared to fight in such a way. In the process, his army gained the experience and expertise to achieve some memorable victories.

7th May 1809, Wellesley’s first objective was Oporto, defended by 20,000 French soldiers under Marshal Soult. The main British force of 18,000 men advanced from Coimbra, with the Portuguese providing flank protection. Four days later Wellesley crossed the River Douro to catch Soult by surprise.

The French withdrew with cavalry at their heels, retiring North to Galicia across mountainous terrain. By early June Portugal had become cleared of enemy troops, enabling Wellesley to turn his attention to Spain. His aim was to make contact with a Spanish army of 30,000 men under General Cuesta before marching against Marshal Victor at Talavera.

The battle of Talavera de la Reina, 1809 – painted by William Heath

27th July 1809, Despite problems caused by the indiscipline of Cuesta’s men, who raced towards Madrid only to encounter an enemy army of 46,000 well-trained soldiers. The British force of 20,000 took up strong positions at Talavera, where they had become attacked by the French.

The battle during the Peninsular War which earned Wellesley his more familiar title of Duke of Wellington, was won primarily by the discipline of the British infantry. They laid behind the crest of a ridge to escape French fire. They would then stand and fire volleys into the enemy, then charge with the bayonet.

The French faltered and under pressure from Allied cavalry, withdrew having suffered 7,000 casualties. By comparison, the British lost 5,000 men and gained the field.

2nd August 1809, Wellington received reports that a new French army of 20,000 men had advanced across his rear. This was to take Plasencia, threatening his links with Portugal. He therefore moved his army back to Almaraz on the River Tagus before withdrawing towards Badajoz in the South-West.

The French followed, although when it had become apparent to them that Wellington had no attention of giving battle. They marched North again to deal with yet another Spanish uprising. Wellington took to opportunity to travel to Lisbon to supervise the construction of defences around the city (the ‘Lines of the Torres Vedras’). His army occupied winter quarters around Abrantes and along the River Mondego. A French attack was unlikely once the weather worsened.

Both sides prepared for a fresh Peninsular War campaign in 1810. Wellington, having vowed never to attempt another operation in conjunction with the ill-disciplined Spanish, concentrated on the defence of Portugal. The Portuguese militia of 45,000 had become called out. Arrangements became made for the evacuation of the entire area. The French was dependent for supplies on what they captured, and might advance.

In addition, the lines of the Torres Vedras, with comprising fixed defences to the North of Lisbon, had become completed. It gave the Anglo-Portuguese forces a secure base to which they might withdraw. Meanwhile, Wellington’s main army of 60,000 men, half of whom were British. Guarded the likely French approach routes in the Mondego and Tagus valleys. They did not have long to wait.

June 1810 Marshal Massena, one of Napoleon’s more experienced generals, had gathered 86,000 men of Portugal. He was ready to advance.

Storming of Ciudad Rodrigo, 1812 – coloured aquatint by T Sutherland after William Heath

Massena began his campaign by laying siege to and capturing, Ciudad Rodrigo and Almeida. Although in the process he gave clear warning that his main line of advance would be along the River Mondego.

Wellington reacted by concentrating his army along a 10-mile ridge at Busaco, on the road from Almeida to Coimbra.

27th September 1810, when the French attacked the ridge, they suffered a costly defeat. This was no more than a delaying action. As soon as it was over, Wellington pulled back towards his prepared defences outside Lisbon.

The French had become left to march across land deliberately laid bare of supplies. They then encountered the elaborate earthworks and trenches which made up the lines of the Torres Vedras. Although Masena held on throughout the winter, his army rapidly lost cohesion.

In March 1811, Masena had no choice but to order a retreat into Spain. His soldiers struggled over the mountains of central Portugal. They became harried by mercilessly by guerrillas and kept on the move by the advance guard of Wellington’s army. The French fell back to Almeida and Ciudad Rodrigo. They left 25,000 of their comrades behind.

Wellington’s next task was to capture the frontier forts at Almeida and further South at Badajoz, preparatory to an invasion of Spain. It proved to be a difficult task.

11th May 1811, as British troops laid siege to Almeida. A reorganised French army under Massena suddenly attacked them at Fuentes d’onoro. The fighting became desperate. Wellington later admitted that it was the closest he came to defeat during the Peninsula War. The stubborn resolve of the redcoats forced the enemy back.

The 30th Foot at the Storming of Badajoz, 1812 – painted by Richard Simkin

Five days later the Anglo-Portuguese army besieging Badajoz became attacked by Soult at Albuera. In the aftermath of a brutal and bloody engagement, characterised by orders to the 57th Foot (1st Battalion, Middlesex Regiment) to ‘die hard’ in the battle. Neither side claimed victory, although it soon became apparent that the French had withdrawn.

Even so, Wellington’s plans for an offensive into Spain had to be postponed until his shattered battalions could be reinforced. Almeida was taken, but as the winter closed in, the siege of Badajoz had to be abandoned. The French, now under the command of Marshal Marmont, were content to suspend operations until spring, This proved to be a mistake.

1st January 1812, Wellington resumed the offensive despite the intense cold, aiming to lay siege to Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz before marching into central Spain. By early April, both forts had been taken. Two-months later, Wellington’s Anglo-Portuguese army crossed the River Agueda, and advanced towards Salamanca, capturing the town on 17th June.

Marmont deliberately drew Wellington deeper into Spain along stretched supply lines, refusing to give battle, and on 16th July threatened to outflank his opponent on the River Douro. Wellington pulled back towards Salamanca, tempting Marmont to over-extend his advance.

22nd July 1812, on a plain beneath the Arapiles Heights to the South-East of Salamanca. The French spearhead had became suddenly attacked in the flank by the British 3rd and 5th Divisions. The British had been hidden from Marmont’s view by folds in the ground. As the French infantry reeled from the shock. They had become hit by a stunning cavalry charge carried out by the British Heavy Brigade. It had ben commanded by General Le Marchant, who became mortally wounded in the process.

By nightfall, Marmont’s army of Portugal had collapsed, losing an estimated 14,000 men and 20 guns, Marmont himself, wounded in the early stages of the engagement, was on his way back to France. It was Wellington’s most impressive victory to date.

The 88th Foot at the Battle of Salamanca, 1812 – painted by Christopher Clark

12th August 1812, An immediate consequence was the liberation of Madrid, effected by Wellington’s troops, but the French were by no means finished. The British and Portuguese marched North to lay siege to Burgos, General Clausel (Marmont’s successor) rallied his forces and moved against Wellington, while further South and army of 60,000 Frenchman advanced towards the Spanish Capital.

Faced with possible encirclement, Wellington pulled back to Salamanca and then to Ciudad Rodrigo, abandoning all his territorial gains of the year, including Madrid. By October, his troops became dispersed in winter quarters in central Portugal.

Despite the apparently indecisive nature of operations in 1812 during the Peninsular War, the French hold on Spain had been weakened. The defeat at Salamanca undermined French morale and gave renewed hope to the people of Spain, a significant proportion of whom engaged in, or actively supported, guerrilla attacks that diverted substantial numbers of French soldiers from the front line.

When Wellington began his next campaign in May 1813, his chances of success were higher than ever before. He now had over 80,000 Allied troops under his command, half of whom he sent to Salamanca and half along the River Esla with the intention of encircling the enemy army in Castile.

The French withdrew through Valladolid, Palencia and Burgos. On 21st June the French became forced to make a stand at Vitoria to protect their retreating columns. The ensuing battle, although a victory for Wellington, became marred by a failure to pursue the broken enemy (British soldiers seemed far more interested in looting the French baggage train), but the results were impressive.

By the end of the month northern and central Spain had been cleared except for small garrisons in San Sebastian and Pamplona (which Wellington proceeded to besiege) and the French had withdrawn into the Pyreness. Operations in eastern Spain, carried out by a British force of 80,000 men that had landed at Alicante in 1812, were less successful, but to all intents and purposes the Iberian Peninsula was now in Allied hands.

1st Life Guards at the Battle of Vitoria, 1813

After 20 years of war, the British army was at last achieving decisive results. This trend continued during the final months of the Peninsular War. Despite French counter-attacks in July 1813, delivered around Roncesvalles and the Maya pass. Wellington succeeded in taking both Pamplona and San Sebastian by October.

He then moved against enemy positions along the River Bidassoa with the intention of invading France, winning the battle of the Nivelle in November and approaching the city of Bayonne on either side of the River Nive a month later.

At the same time, British forces in eastern Spain advanced as far as Gerona, putting additional pressure on the French, who were also having to contend with Austrian, Russian and Prussian attacks from the East. Thus when Wellington resumed his offensive in January 1814, he did so against weakened opposition.

27th February 1814, he won the Battle of Orthez, to the East of Bayonne. Within weeks he had captured Bordeaux and pushed forward as far as Toulouse, where the final battle of the war took place on 10th April. Paris had fallen to the eastern allies, Napoleon had abdicated. French resistance had crumbled, bring end to the Peninsular War.


Convention of Cintra

The Convention of Cintra (or Sintra) was an agreement signed on 30 August 1808, during the Peninsular War. By the agreement, the defeated French were allowed to evacuate their troops from Portugal without further conflict. [1] The Convention was signed at the Palace of Queluz, in Queluz, Cintra, Estremadura.

The French forces under Jean-Andoche Junot were defeated by the Anglo-Portuguese forces commanded by Sir Arthur Wellesley at Vimeiro [2] on 21 August and found themselves almost cut off from retreat. However, at that moment, Wellesley was superseded by the arrival of Sir Harry Burrard and then the next day by Sir Hew Dalrymple. Both were cautious old men who had seen little recent fighting rather than push the French, they were satisfied to open negotiations. Wellesley had sought to take control of the Torres Vedras area high ground and cut the French retreat with his unused reserve, but he was ordered to hold. Talks between Dalrymple and François Kellerman led to the signing of the Convention.

Dalrymple allowed terms for Portugal similar to those a garrison might receive for surrendering a fortress. The 20,900 French soldiers were evacuated from Portugal with all their equipment and 'personal property' (which may have included looted Portuguese valuables [ citation needed ] ) by the British Navy. They were transported to Rochefort, France. Junot arrived there on 11 October. Avoiding all Spanish entanglements and getting free transport meant the French travelled loaded, not light like a defeated garrison marching to their own lines.

The Convention was seen as a disgrace by many in the United Kingdom [3] who felt that a complete defeat of Junot had been transformed into a French escape, while Dalrymple had also ignored the Royal Navy's concern about a blockaded Russian squadron in Lisbon. The squadron was allowed to sail to Portsmouth, and eventually to return to Russia, despite the fact that Britain and Russia were at war.

Wellesley wanted to fight, but he signed the preliminary Armistice under orders. He took no part in negotiating the Convention and did not sign it. Dalrymple's reports were written, however, to centre any criticism on Wellesley, who still held a ministerial post in the government. Wellesley was subsequently recalled from Portugal, together with Burrard and Dalrymple, to face an official inquiry. The inquiry was held in the Great Hall at the Royal Hospital Chelsea from 14 November to 27 December 1808. All three men were cleared but while Wellesley soon returned to active duty in Portugal, Burrard and Dalrymple were quietly pushed into retirement and never saw active service again. Sir John Moore, commenting on the Inquiry, expressed the popular sentiment that "Sir Hew Dalrymple was confused and incapable beyond any man I ever saw head an army. The whole of his conduct then and since has proved him to be a very foolish man."

And ever since that martial synod met,

Britannia sickens, Cintra! at thy name
And folks in office at the mention fret,
And fain would blush, if blush they could, for shame.
How will posterity the deed proclaim!
Will not our own and fellow-nations sneer,
To view these champions cheated of their fame,
By foes in fight o'erthrown, yet victors here,

Where Scorn her finger points, through many a coming year?

The Convention of Cintra is also the name of a pamphlet written by the future British Poet Laureate William Wordsworth in 1808 he also wrote a passionate sonnet that, in his own words, was "composed while the author was engaged in writing a tract occasioned by" the Convention, in which he laments the bondage felt by "suffering Spain". Delays in publication meant that journalistic, and satirical, features of Wordsworth's prose have been overlooked. [4] [5]


Prelude to Corunna: The trouble with Cintra

What happened at Cintra? The soldiers and civilians in my novel The Spanish Patriot don’t even wish to speak of it, and rightly so, especially in mixed (nationality) company.

Cintra (Sintra) is a town in Portugal 18 miles (29 km) from Lisbon in August 1808 the British negotiated a treaty, called the Convention of Cintra, with the French that was signed in the town’s Palace of Queluz.

Sir Arthur Wellesley had arrived in Portugal and taken command of a combined Anglo-Portuguese forces. Quickly they defeated the French army under Jean-Andoch Junot at first Roliça and then Vimeiro. Wellesley next sought to take the Torres Vedras high ground, and cut off the French means of retreat.

Instead, his command was immediately superseded by two new arrivals: first Sir Harry Burrard and the next day Sir Hew Dalrymple. Both were older, long out of the trenches, and rather than push French general Jean-Andoch Junot to surrender, they preferred to quickly negotiate a cessation of hostilities. Dalrymple treated with François Kellerman on terms for the Convention, and then sent it and a report home to Britain, making it seem like the conditions were Wellesley’s fault. In fact, Sir Arthur had only signed the preliminary armistice under orders and did not sign the Convention.

Why not? What was the problem? The terms. Instead of being treated like the defeated army it was, forced to give up its spoils of war and high-tail it home on its own, under the terms of the Convention, the French were walking away nearly free and clear. They were allowed to keep all their plunder—stolen from Portuguese palaces, churches, and its people– and sail home with their baggage, horses, and much artillery. Transported on British Royal Navy ships! With not even a transport fee.

This infuriated the Portuguese what ally would negotiate terms so little in their favor? The French were not only not forced to return what they had stolen, but a clause in the Convention protected them from later charges of theft and pillage. Some could argue that that item, number 5 in the Convention, legalized plunder. [see full text of the Convention]

When the Spanish heard of it, they too started to wonder: What manner of allies were these British? Would they stand by as Napoleon’s marauding armies stripped Spain bare?

When England heard the terms, the goodwill gained by the two quick field successes quickly turned to a call for generals’ blood. Where a week before the Morning Post ran the headline “Most Glorious News from Portugal, Complete Defeat of General Junot and Proposals for the Surrender of His Army,” now the editorial writer for the London Times hoped that “A curse, a deep curse” might “wring the heart and wither the hand that were base enough to devise and execute this cruel injury on their country’s peace and honour.”

Wellesely, Dalrymple, and Burrard were quickly recalled to England to face an official military inquiry [see minutes from the inquiry]. All were officially cleared of wrongdoing, though Dalrymple and Burrard were pushed quietly into retirement. Wellesley returned to active service, and eventually to Portugal, but not in time for the events in my novel. Instead, Sir John Moore, a favorite with the soldiers he trained but not with the military brass back home, was given command of the Anglo-Portuguese forces. It was Moore, now in Lisbon, who had to decide what to do about the reports that Napoleon had entered Spain. He decided to march north in support of the Spanish forces, while another contingent of British would land at Corunna and march east to join with them.

No surprise, then, that when this second force arrives at the harbor of Corunna, in the remote province of Galicia, relations are strained. Mere months ago, the British and Spanish had been at war who could trust an ally so quickly? Most of the people in the provinces wanted nothing from the English but money and guns instead here there is an army on the shore. Soon they hear of Cintra, and suspect the English would turn over all of Spain’s gold just as easily. Worse, the best thing about the British army, its so-successful General Wellesley, is gone. How will this Moore manage these gangs of lobster-backed non-believers?

More on Cintra:
Wikipedia
Military Wiki
Documents pertaining to the Convention of Cintra
Military Inquiry in to the Convention of Cintra
book: In These Times, Jenny Uglow, source for the Times newspaper quote


Convention of Cintra

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

The Convention of Cintra (or Sintra) was an agreement signed on 30 August 1808, during the Peninsular War. By the agreement, the defeated French were allowed to evacuate their troops from Portugal without further conflict. Ώ] The Convention was signed at the Palace of Queluz, in Queluz, Cintra, Estremadura.

The French forces under Jean-Andoche Junot were defeated by the Anglo-Portuguese forces commanded by Sir Arthur Wellesley at Vimeiro ΐ] on 21 August and found themselves almost cut off from retreat. However, at that moment, Wellesley was superseded by the arrival of Sir Harry Burrard and then the next day by Sir Hew Dalrymple. Both were cautious old men who had seen little recent fighting rather than push the French, they were satisfied to open negotiations. Wellesley had sought to take control of the Torres Vedras area high ground and cut the French retreat with his unused reserve, but he was ordered to hold. Talks between Dalrymple and François Kellerman led to the signing of the Convention.

Dalrymple allowed terms for Portugal similar to those a garrison might receive for surrendering a fortress. The 20,900 French soldiers were evacuated from Portugal with all their equipment and 'personal property' (which may have included looted Portuguese valuables [ citation needed ] ) by the British Navy. They were transported to Rochefort, France. Junot arrived there on 11 October. Avoiding all Spanish entanglements and getting free transport meant the French travelled loaded, not light like a defeated garrison marching to their own lines.

The Convention was seen as a disgrace by many in the United Kingdom Α] who felt that a complete defeat of Junot had been transformed into a French escape, while Dalrymple had also ignored the Royal Navy's concern about a blockaded Russian squadron in Lisbon. The squadron was allowed to sail to Portsmouth, and eventually to return to Russia, despite the fact that Britain and Russia were at war.

Wellesley wanted to fight, but he signed the preliminary Armistice under orders. He took no part in negotiating the Convention and did not sign it. Dalrymple's reports were written, however, to centre any criticism on Wellesley, who still held a ministerial post in the government. Wellesley was subsequently recalled from Portugal, together with Burrard and Dalrymple, to face an official inquiry. The inquiry was held in the Great Hall at the Royal Hospital Chelsea from 14 November to 27 December 1808. All three men were cleared but while Wellesley soon returned to active duty in Portugal, Burrard and Dalrymple were quietly pushed into retirement and never saw active service again. Sir John Moore, commenting on the Inquiry, expressed the popular sentiment that "Sir Hew Dalrymple was confused and incapable beyond any man I ever saw head an army. The whole of his conduct then and since has proved him to be a very foolish man."

And ever since that martial synod met,

Britannia sickens, Cintra! at thy name
And folks in office at the mention fret,
And fain would blush, if blush they could, for shame.
How will posterity the deed proclaim!
Will not our own and fellow-nations sneer,
To view these champions cheated of their fame,
By foes in fight o'erthrown, yet victors here,

Where Scorn her finger points, through many a coming year?

The Convention of Cintra is also the name of a pamphlet written by the future British Poet Laureate William Wordsworth in 1808 he also wrote a passionate sonnet that, in his own words, was "composed while the author was engaged in writing a tract occasioned by" the Convention, in which he laments the bondage felt by "suffering Spain". Delays in publication meant that journalistic, and satirical, features of Wordsworth's prose have been overlooked. Β] Γ]


1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cintra

CINTRA, a town of central Portugal, in the district of Lisbon, formerly included in the province of Estramadura 17 m. W.N.W. of Lisbon by the Lisbon-Caçem-Cintra railway, and 6 m. N. by E. of Cape da Roca, the westernmost promontory of the European mainland. Pop. (1900) 5914. Cintra is magnificently situated on the northern slope of the Serra da Cintra, a rugged mountain mass, largely overgrown with pines, eucalyptus, cork and other forest trees, above which the principal summits rise in a succession of bare and jagged grey peaks the highest being Cruz Alta (1772 ft.), marked by an ancient stone cross, and commanding a wonderful view southward over Lisbon and the Tagus estuary, and north-westward over the Atlantic and the plateau of Mafra. Few European towns possess equal advantages of position and climate and every educated Portuguese is familiar with the verses in which the beauty of Cintra is celebrated by Byron in Childe Harold (1812), and by Camoens in the national epic Os Lusiadas (1572). One of the highest points of the Serra is surmounted by the Palacio da Pena, a fantastic imitation of a medieval fortress, built on the site of a Hieronymite convent by the prince consort Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg (d. 1885) while an adjacent part of the range is occupied by the Castello des Mouros, an extensive Moorish fortification, containing a small ruined mosque and a very curious set of ancient cisterns. The lower slopes of the Serra are covered with the gardens and villas of the wealthier inhabitants of Lisbon, who migrate hither in spring and stay until late autumn.

In the town itself the most conspicuous building is a 14th–15th-century royal palace, partly Moorish, partly debased Gothic in style, and remarkable for the two immense conical chimneys which rise like towers in the midst. The 18th-century Palacio de Seteaes, built in the French style then popular in Portugal, is said to derive its name (“Seven Ahs”) from a sevenfold echo here, on the 22nd of August 1808, was signed the convention of Cintra, by which the British and Portuguese allowed the French army to evacuate the kingdom without molestation. Beside the road which leads for 3½ m. W. to the village of Collares, celebrated for its wine, is the Penha Verde, an interesting country house and chapel, founded by João de Castro (1500–1548), fourth viceroy of the Indies. De Castro also founded the convent of Santa Cruz, better known as the Convento de Cortiça or Cork convent, which stands at the western extremity of the Serra, and owes its name to the cork panels which formerly lined its walls. Beyond the Penha Verde, on the Collares road, are the palace and park of Montserrate. The palace was originally built by William Beckford, the novelist and traveller (1761–1844), and was purchased in 1856 by Sir Francis Cook, an Englishman who afterwards obtained the Portuguese title viscount of Montserrate. The palace, which contains a valuable library, is built of pure white stone, in Moorish style its walls are elaborately sculptured. The park, with its tropical luxuriance of vegetation and its variety of lake, forest and mountain scenery, is by far the finest example of landscape gardening in the Iberian Peninsula, and probably among the finest in the world. Its high-lying lawns, which overlook the Atlantic, are as perfect as any in England, and there is one ravine containing a whole wood of giant tree-ferns from New Zealand. Other rare plants have been systematically collected and brought to Montserrate from all parts of the world by Sir Francis Cook, and afterwards by his successor, Sir Frederick Cook, the second viscount. The Praia das Maçãs, or “beach of apples,” in the centre of a rich fruit-bearing valley, is a favourite sea-bathing station, connected with Cintra by an extension of the electric tramway which runs through the town.


Arguing Around the Slave Trade

Join, or Die political cartoon
The Pennsylvania Gazette, May 9, 1754

Arguing Around the Slave Trade

" This widening of opinions has a threatening aspect. If we do not agree on middle … ground [on the slave trade] we should lose two states …fly into a variety of shapes and directions, and most probably into several confederations and not without bloodshed.

- Oliver Ellsworth in Madison's Notes on the Convention

Pressure was building in the debates to resolve two controversial issues -- the future of the nation's slave trade and navigation regulations. Article VII, section 4, of the Detail committee report tied these two elements of the nation's economy together by setting taxes on all imports except slaves.

Debate continued on Luther Martin's (MD) move to modify the article and section to include a tax on imported slaves. Pinckney stated South Carolina and Georgia could not "do without slaves." The Convention promptly formed a committee to consider these Article 7 clauses again and to hammer out a compromise to save the Constitution.

Few actions of the Convention are so difficult for us to understand and accept as permitting the continuation of the slave trade until at least 1808. But in 1787, this clause of the Constitution allowed for a critical compromise on the heated matter of federal regulation of navigation. Northern states tended to favor central regulation of commerce as a means to assure a steady national treasury while distributing the trade more evenly among the major ports. Southern states, on the other hand, had far less commerce, relying far more on slave- powered plantation agriculture. They, therefore, tended not to favor regulation of commerce and particularly resisted any effort to restrict the importation of slaves.

Gouverneur Morris predicted, the two positions "may form a bargain among the Northern and Southern States." And so they did. As proposed by the committee and accepted as part of the Constitution's Articles 1, Section 9, slaves would be imported into this country for another twenty years. In exchange as provided in Section 10, the nation got a navigation clause that provided federal control of foreign trade.


Portuguese Army 1808-12

Disbanded in the wake of the French invasion by General Jean Andoche Junot in December 1807, the armed forces of Portugal were re-formed under the command of Sir William Beresford, a British general created a marshal in the Portuguese Army, and fought with the British in all the major campaigns of the Peninsular War, forming between a third and a half of the Allied forces that defeated the French.

Since 1640 the Portuguese army had been composed of regular troops, militia (known as troops of the Second Line), and the Ordenança, a form of home guard based in the areas from which the recruits were drawn. Junot disbanded this army in December 1807 after his occupation of Portugal. Some units, numbering 8,000 men, were reformed into the Portuguese Legion, which fought for Napoleon under the Marques de Alorna and General Gomes Freire de Andrade at Wagram in 1809 and in the Russian campaign of 1812. An uprising took place in northern Portugal in June 1808 that was followed by a partial return of disbanded Portuguese soldiers to their colors, and in July the British encouraged the formation of the Loyal Lusitanian Legion, which was placed under the command of Sir Robert Wilson and operated in conjunction with the leaders of the northern rebellion. After the withdrawal of the French army from Portugal following the Convention of Cintra (signed 31 August 1808), the new British commander, Lieutenant General Sir John Moore, marched out of Lisbon en route for Spain at the end of October 1808, leaving Portugal virtually defenseless.

Meanwhile the Regency Council began recruiting a new army, raising six battalions of light infantry (caçadores) and some cavalry regiments. After the evacuation of Moore’s army from Corunna in January 1809, and with the prospect of an imminent French invasion from the north, the regency asked for the appointment of a British officer to train the new Portuguese Army. In February 1809 Beresford, who had commanded British forces in Madeira and had been instrumental in reorganizing the island’s defense forces, was appointed. He reached Lisbon in March and was appointed marshal to give him seniority over all existing Portuguese officers.

Ably assisted by Dom Miguel Pereira Forjaz, who became secretary to the Regency Council, a new Portuguese army was rapidly raised and trained. By May Beresford had 19,000 men ready to take part in the campaign against Marshal Nicolas Soult in the north where, after the murder of General Bernardim Freire de Andrade (brother of Gomes who had joined Napoleon), they were commanded by General Francisco Silveira. In 1810 the Loyal Lusitanian Legion was incorporated into the new army, and in September 1810 Portuguese forces made up half the Allied army that defeated Marshal André Masséna’s forces at Busaco. Under the overall command of Arthur Wellesley, Viscount Wellington, with Beresford as his second in command, Portuguese forces fought at Albuera (1811), the storming of Badajoz (1812), Salamanca (1812), and Vitoria (1813), where they made up a third of the Allied forces. Led by Beresford the Portuguese fought at the final battle of Toulouse and entered Bordeaux to receive the future Louis XVIII in 1814. After the flight of Napoleon the army marched back to Portugal through northern Spain.

Beresford reorganized the Portuguese Army along British lines. A new officer corps, appointed and promoted on merit, was recruited, and British regimental officers were appointed to work alongside the Portuguese. A total of thirteen of the fifty-six general officers were also British. Beresford himself became marshal and commander in chief, with Wellington assuming overall control of all the Allied armies as marshal general. The regiments were armed with British weapons and were provided with accoutrements and uniforms from Britain. During most of the campaigns Portuguese regiments were brigaded with British, and to create an effective unified army the soldiers were taught to answer to commands in English, to practice British arms drills, and to deploy in two lines rather than in columns. Beresford communicated with his army through Orders of the Day (Ordens do Dia), which he had published.

The army, initially recruited from volunteers, maintained its manpower by conscripting all men between eighteen and thirty-five. The Second Line militia and Ordenança were also re-formed and played a key role during the French invasions. Beresford brought the numbers of the regular army from an initial figure of around 20,000 up to 55,000 men, 30,000 of whom were paid for by a British subsidy. The Portuguese Army was largely made up of infantry and artillery. A shortage of horses prevented the formation of a strong cavalry. A Quartermaster General’s department was established under Benjamin D’Urban in 1809, and Beresford provided for the army by developing a training depot for recruits, a central commissariat, hospitals, magazines, and cavalry studs. A Corps of Mounted Guides was formed for intelligence gathering.

Although the Portuguese Army had played a major role in the defeat of the French in 1813-1814, the regents refused to allow the army to be sent to the Netherlands for the Waterloo campaign in 1815. Beresford remained commander in chief of the army until the Revolution of 1820. Units of the army were deployed in Brazil in 1815 and 1816 and took part in the campaigns in the Rio de la Plata region in the south under General Carlos Lecor, a veteran of Busaco.

References and further reading Chartrand, René. 2000. The Portuguese Army of the Napoleonic Wars. 3 vols. Oxford: Osprey. Livermore, Harold V. 1999. “Beresford and the Reform of the Portuguese Army.” In A History of the Peninsular War. Vol. 9, Modern Studies of the War in Spain and Portugal, 1808-1814, ed. Paddy Griffith, 121-144. London: Greenhill. Newitt, Malyn, and Martin Robson. 2004. Lord Beresford and British Intervention in Portugal 1807-1820. Lisbon: ICS. Partridge, Richard, and Michael Oliver. 1999. Napoleonic Army Handbook. Vol. 1, The British Army and Her Allies. London: Constable and Robinson. Pivka, Otto von. 1977. The Portuguese Army of the Napoleonic Wars. London: Osprey. Rousseau, I. J., ed. 1930. The Peninsular Journal of Major General Sir Benjamin D’Urban. London: Longman. Vichness, S. E. 1976.”Marshal of Portugal: The Military Career of William Carr Beresford.” Ph. D. thesis, Florida State University.


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