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THE SPANISH CAMPAIGN OF NAPOLEON
 IN less than five weeks from the time when Napoleon first placed his foot upon the soil of
Spain he was master of more than half the kingdom. Sir John Moore, with an army of about
30,000 Englishmen, was marching rapidly from Portugal, to form a junction with another
English army of about 10,000 men under Sir David Baird, who were advancing from Corunna.
It was supposed in England that the co-operation of these highly-disciplined troops with
the masses of the Spaniards who had already fought so valiantly, would speedily secure the
overthrow of the French.
But when Sir John Moore and Sir David Baird learned that Napoleon himself was in Spain,
that he had scattered the Spanish armies before him as the tornado drives the withered
leaves of the forest, that he was already in possession of Madrid, and would soon be ready
to direct all his energies against them, they were both greatly alarmed, and, turning
about, fled precipitately back to their ships. A
depu-  tation of about twelve hundred of the notables of Spain called upon Napoleon, to confer
with him respecting the affairs of the kingdom. He informed them very fully of the
benefits he wished to confer upon Spain by rescuing the people from the dominion of the
old feudal lords, and bringing them into harmony with the more enlightened views of modern
times. He closed his remarks to them by saying,
"The present generation will differ in opinion respecting me. Too many passions have been
called into exercise. But your posterity will be grateful to me as their regenerator. They
will place in the number of memorable days those in which I have appeared among you. From
those days will be dated the prosperity of Spain. These are my sentiments. Go consult your
fellow-citizens. Choose your part, but do it frankly, and exhibit only true colors."
General Moore was treating toward Corunna. An English fleet had repaired to that port to
receive the troops on board. On the 22nd of December Napoleon left Madrid, with 40,000
men, to pursue the flying foe. The Spaniards, instead of rallying to the support of the
English, whom they never loved, dispersed in all directions, leaving them to their fate.
 Spanish insurgents," says Napier," were conscious that they were fighting the battles of
England. To restore Spain to Ferdinand, England expended one hundred millions sterling
($500,000,000) on her own operations. She subsidized Spain and Portugal besides, and with
her supply of clothing, arms, and ammunition, maintained the armies of both, even to the
By forced marches the Imperial troops rushed along, threading the defiles of the mountains
of Gaudarrama in mid-winter, through drifts and storms of snow. Napoleon climbed the
mountains on foot, sharing all the toil and peril of his troops. Such a leader any army
would follow with enthusiasm. In one of the wildest passes of the mountains he passed a
night in a miserable hut. Savary, who was with him, writes:
"The single mule which carried his baggage was brought to this wretched house. He was
provided with a good fire, a tolerable supper, and a bed. On those occasions the Emperor
was not selfish. He was quite unmindful of the next day's wants when he alone was
concerned. He shared his supper and his fire
 with all who had been able to keep up with him, and even compelled those to eat whose
reserve kept them back."
General Moore was straining every nerve to escape. The weather was frightful, and the miry
roads almost impassable. The advance-guard of Napoleon was soon within a day's march of
the foe. General Moore, as he fled, blew up the bridges behind him, and recklessly
plundered the wretched inhabitants. His troops became exceedingly exasperated against the
Spaniards for their cowardly desertion, and reproached them with ingratitude.
"We ungrateful!" the Spaniards replied; you came here to serve your own interests, and now
you are running away without defending us."
So bitter was hostility which thus arose between the English and the Spaniards, and the
brutality of the drunken English soldiers was so insupportable, that the Spaniards often
welcomed the French troops, who were under far better discipline, as their deliverers. Sir
Archibald Alison, in his account of these scenes, says:
"The native and uneradicable vice of northern climates, drunkenness, here appeared in
 frightful colors. The great wine-vaults of Bembibre proved more fatal than the sword of
the enemy. And when the gallant rear-guard, which preserved its ranks unbroken, closed up
the array, they had to force their way through a motley crowd of English and Spanish
soldiers, stragglers and marauders, who reeled out of the houses in disgusting crowds, or
lay stretched upon the roadside, an easy prey to the enemy's cavalry, which thundered in
"The condition of the army became daily more deplorable; the frost had been succeeded by
the thaw; rain and sleet fell in torrents; the roads were almost broken up; the horses
foundered at every step; the few artillery-wagons which had kept up fell, one by one, to
the rear; and being immediately blown up to prevent their falling into the hands of the
enemy, gave melancholy tokens, by the sound of their explosions, of the work of
destruction which was going on."
On the 2nd of January Napoleon's advance-guard had reached Astorga. Notwithstanding the
condition of the roads, and all the efforts of the retreating foe, an army of forty
thousand men had marched two hundred miles in ten
 days. It was a cold and stormy winter morning when Napoleon left Astorga, in continuance
of the pursuit. He had proceeded but a few miles on horseback, when he was overtaken by a
courier from France, bearing important dispatches. The Emperor alighted by the roadside,
and, standing by a fire which his attendants kindled, read the documents. His officers
gathered anxiously around him, watching the expression of his countenance as he read.
The dispatches informed Napoleon that Austria had entered into a new alliance with England
to attack him on the north, and that the probability was, that Turkey, exasperated by
Napoleon's alliance with Russia, would also be drawn into the coalition. It was also
stated that, though Alexander personally was strong in his friendship for Napoleon, the
Russian nobles, hostile to the principle of equal rights, inscribed upon the French
banners, were raising an opposition of such daily increasing strength, that it was feared
the Czar also might be compelled to join in the new crusade against France.
To conduct the war in Spain, Napoleon had withdrawn one hundred thousand of his best
troops from the Rhine. His frontiers were
 thus greatly exposed. For a moment it was said that Napoleon was staggered by the blow.
The vision of another European war, France struggling single-banded against all the
combined powers of the Continent, appalled him. Slowly, sadly he rode back to Astorga,
deeply pondering the awful question. There was clearly but one of two courses before him.
He must either ignobly abandon the conflict in favor of equality of rights, and allow the
chains of the old feudal despotism to be again riveted upon France, and all the new
governments in sympathy with France, or be must struggle manfully to the end. All around
him were impressed with the utter absorption of his mind in these thoughts. As he rode
back with his retinue, not a word was spoken. Napoleon seldom asked advice.
Soon his decision was formed, and all dejection and hesitation disappeared. It was
necessary for him immediately to direct all his energies toward the Rhine. He consequently
relinquished the personal pursuit of the English; and commissioning Marshal Soult to press
them with all vigor, he prepared to return to France. Rapidly retracing his steps to
Valladolid, he spent five days in giving the most
 minute directions for the movements of the army, and for the administration of affairs in
Spain. In those few days he performed an amount of labor which seems incredible. He had
armies in France, Spain, Italy, and Germany, and he guided all their movements, even to
the minute details.
On the first day of the year Joseph had written to Napoleon, and, in the expression of
those kindly sympathies' which the advent of a new year awakens, had said, "I pray your
Majesty to accept my wishes that, in the course of this year, Europe, pacified by your
efforts, may render justice to your intentions."
Napoleon replied, "I thank you for what you say relative to the new year. I do not hope
that Europe can this year be pacified. So little do I hope it, that I have just issued a
decree for levying one hundred thousand men. The rancor of England, the events of
Constantinople, every thing, in short, indicates that the hour of rest and quiet is not
The Emperor, having finished his dispatches at Valladolid, mounted his horse, and set out
for Paris. Mr. J. T. Headley thus describes this marvellous ride:
"In the first five hours he rode the
aston-  shing distance of eighty-five miles, or seventeen miles the hour. This wild gallop was
long remembered by the inhabitants of the towns through which the smoking cavalcade of the
Emperor passed. Relays of horses had been provided on the road; and no sooner did be
arrive at one post, than he flung himself on a fresh horse, and, sinking his spurs in his
flanks, dashed away in headlong speed. Few who saw that short figure, surmounted with a
plain chapeau, sweep by on that day, ever forgot it. His pale face was calm as marble, but
his lips were compressed, and his brow knit like iron; while his flashing eye, as he
leaned forward, still jerking impatiently at the bridle as if to accelerate his speed,
seemed to devour the distance. No one spoke, but the whole suite strained forward in the
breathless race. The gallant chasseurs had never had so long and so wild a ride before."
Napoleon had acted a very noble part toward his brother. The masses of the Spanish people
were very ignorant and fanatical. The priests, wielding over them supernatural terrors,
controlled them at will. There were certain reforms which were essential to the
re-generation of Spain. But these reforms would
 exasperate the priests, and, through them, the people. Napoleon, anxious to save his
brother from the odium of these necessary measures, took the responsibility of them upon
himself. He issued a series of decrees when he entered Madrid as a conqueror, and by
virtue of the acknowledged rights of conquest, in which, after proclaiming pardon for all
political offenses, he introduced the following reforms.
The execrable institution of the Inquisition was abolished. The number of convents, which
had been thronged with indolent monks, was reduced one-half. One-half of the property of
these abolished convents was appropriated to the payment of the salary of the laboring
clergy. The other halt was set apart to the payment of the public debt. The custom-houses
between the several provinces of the kingdom, which had been a great source of national
embarrassment, were removed, and imposts were collected only on the frontiers. All feudal
privileges were annulled.
These measures, of course, exasperated the priests and the nobles. Unfortunately the
people were too ignorant to appreciate their full value. As Joseph returned to Madrid,
under the protection of the arms of his imperial
 brother, though the bells rang merrily, and pealing cannon uttered their voices of
welcome, and though the most respectable portion of the middle class received him with
satisfaction, there was no enthusiasm among the populace, and the clergy and the nobility
received him with suspicion and dislike. The Emperor, upon his departure, had confided to
Joseph the command of the army in Spain. But the great generals of Napoleon, ever ready to
bow to the will of the Emperor, whose superiority they all recognized, yielded a reluctant
obedience to Joseph, whom they did not consider their superior in the art of war.
Sir John Moore continued his precipitate flight, vigorously pursued by Marshal Soult.
"There was never," says Napier, "so complete an example of a disastrous retreat.
Abandoning their wagons, blowing up their ammunition, and strewing their path with the
debris of an utterly routed army, they finally, with torn, bleeding, and
greatly-diminished columns, escaped to their ships."
The new coalition in Germany against Napoleon rendering it necessary for him to withdraw a
large part of his troops from Spain, greatly encouraged the foes of the new
 regime. The British Government, animated by its success in inducing Austria again to
co-operate in an attack upon France, and sanguine in the hope of drawing Russia and Turkey
into the coalition, which would surely bring the armies of Prussia into the same line of
battle, redoubled its efforts in Spain and Portugal. Emissaries were sent everywhere to
rouse the populace. Gold was lavished, and arms and ammunition were transmitted by the
British fleet to important points.
A central junta was assembled at Seville. It issued a proclamation, calling upon the
people everywhere to rise in guerrilla bands. The whole male population was summoned to
the field. Death was the penalty denounced upon all those who, by word or deed, favored
the French. Twenty thousand troops in Portugal were taken under British pay, and placed
under British officers, so that, while nominally it was a Portuguese army, it was in
reality but a British force of mercenaries. Numerous transports conveyed a large body of
troops from England under Sir Arthur Wellesley, which was landed in Lisbon.
Where the French army had control, there seemed to be a disposition, especially among
 the most intelligent and opulent portion of the people, to accept the new regime of
Joseph. The bitterest foe of Joseph will not deny that the reforms which he was
endeavoring to introduce were admirable, and absolutely essential to the regeneration of
Spain. The British Government wished to restore the old regime under Ferdinand; for that
Government was in sympathy with the British rule of aristocratic privilege. The French
Government wished to maintain the new regime under Joseph, because that Government would
bring Spain into sympathy with France, in her defensive struggle against the combined
despotisms of Europe. Popular opinion in Spain seemed now to be upon one side, and again
upon the other, according to the presence of the different armies.
"At Madrid," says Alison, "Joseph reigned with the apparent consent of the nation.
Registers having been open for the inscription Of those who were favorable to his
government, no less than twenty-eight thousand heads of families in a few days enrolled
themselves And deputations from the Municipal Council, the Council of the Indies, and all
the incorporations, waited upon him at Valladolid, to entreat that he would return to the
reas-  sume the royal functions, to which he at length complied."
At Saragossa, on the other hand, Joseph was opposed with persistence and bravery, which
has rendered the siege of Saragossa one of the most memorable events in the annals of war.
A very determined leader, Parafox, with about thirty thousand men, threw himself into that
city. A proclamation was issued, declaring that no mercy would be shown to those who
manifested any sympathy for the reign of Joseph. Suspicion was sufficient to doom one to
mob violence and a cruel death.
"Terror," says Alison, "was summoned to the aid of loyalty. And the fearful engines of
popular power, the scaffold and the gallows, were erected on the public square, where some
unhappy wretches, suspected of a leaning to the enemy, were indignantly executed.
"The passions of the people were roused to the very highest pitch by the dread of treason,
or any accommodation with the enemy. And popular vehemence, overwhelming all restraints of
law or order, sacrificed almost every night persons to the blind suspicions of the
multitude, who were found hanging in the morning on the gallows erected in the Corso and
 The priests summoned the peasants from all the region around, so that soon there were
fifty thousand armed men within the walls, inspired by .as determined a spirit of
resistance as ever possessed the human heart. The siege was commenced about the middle of
December with thirty-five thousand men, according to the statement of Napier. It is
generally understood in warfare that one man, acting upon the defensive within a fortress,
is equal to at least five men making the assault from the outside. But in the memorable
siege of Saragossa, the besieged had a third more men than the besiegers. Alison thinks
Napier incorrect, and makes the besieging force forty-three thousand. This gives the
besieged a superiority of seven thousand men. It surely speaks volumes for the courage and
skill of the French army, that under such circumstances the siege could have been
conducted to a successful issue, especially when the determination and bravery of the
people of Saragossa are represented as almost without a parallel.
The scenes of woe which ensued within the walls of Saragossa no pen can describe, no
imagination can conceive. In addition to the garrison of fifty thousand men, the city was
 crowded with women and children, the aged and the infirm. For fifty days the storm of war
raged, with scarcely a moment's intermission. Thirty-three thousand cannon shots and
sixteen thousand bombs were thrown into the thronged streets. Fifty-four thousand human
beings perished in the city during these fifty days—more than a thousand a day. Many
perished of famine and of pestilence. When the French marched into the town, there were
six thousand dead still unburied. There were sixteen thousand helplessly sick, and many of
them dying. Only twelve thousand of the garrison remained, pale, emaciate, skeleton men,
who, as captives of war, were conveyed to France. When we reflect that all this heroism
and bravery were displayed, and all these unspeakable woes endured, to reintroduce the
reign of as despicable a monarch as ever sat upon a throne, and to rivet the chains of
despotism upon an ignorant, debased, and enslaved people, one can not but mourn over the
sad lot of humanity.
The rank and file of armies is never composed of men of affectionate, humane, and angelic
natures. It is the tiger in the man which makes the reckless soldier. Familiarity with
 crime, outrage, misery, renders the soul callous. There is no rigor of army discipline
which can prevent atrocities that should cause even fiends to blush. The story of the
sweep of armies never can be truly told.
As all the physical strength of the region for leagues around Saragossa had been gathered
in that city, its fall secured the submission of the surrounding country. Lannes was
called to join the grand army in Germany. Junot, who was left in command of the troops at
Saragossa, prepared for an expedition against Valencia. City after city passed, with
scarcely any resistance, into the hands of the French. The campaign in Germany rendered it
necessary for Napoleon to withdraw all his best troops, leaving Joseph to maintain his
position in Spain, with a motley group of Italians, Swiss, and Germans, who were by no
means inspired either with the political intelligence or the martial enthusiasm of the
The Spanish peasants, depressed by failure, and inspired, not by intelligent conviction,
but by momentary religious fanaticism, threw down their arms and returned to their homes.
There was but little integrity or sense of honor to be found in Spain, long demoralized by
 wretched government; and the immense supplies which England furnished were embezzled or
misapplied. The Spaniards are not cowards. The feeble resistance they often made proved
that they took but little interest in the issues of the war. Ferdinand had done nothing to
win their regard. But he was a Spanish prince, in the regular line of descent from their
ancient kings. Joseph Bonaparte was a stranger, a foreigner, about to be imposed upon them
by the aid of foreign arms. It was easy, under these circumstances, to rouse a transient
impulse for Ferdinand, but not an abiding devotion.
General Duhesme was in Barcelona with a few thousand troops, cut off from communication
with his friends by the English fleet, and a large army of Spanish peasants which was
collected to secure his capture. General St. Cyr, with about sixteen thousand infantry and
cavalry, marched to his relief. In a narrow defile, amidst rocks and forests, he
encountered a Spanish force forty thousand strong, drawn up in a most favorable position
to arrest his progress. St. Cyr formed his troops in one solid mass, and charging
headlong, without firing a shot, in half an hour dispersed the foe,
 killing five hundred, wounding two thousand, and capturing all their artillery and
ammunition. The next day St. Cyr entered Barcelona The Spaniards were so utterly dispersed
that not ten thousand men could be re-assembled two days after the battle.
But the English fleet was upon the coast, with encouragement and abundant supplies. After
a little while, another Spanish army, twenty thousand strong, was rendezvoused at Molinas
del Rey. St. Cyr again fell upon these troops. They fled so precipitately that but few
were hurt. Their supplies, which the British had furnished them, were left upon the field.
St. Cyr gathered up fifty pieces of cannon, three million cartridges, sixty thousand
pounds of powder, and a magazine containing thirty thousand stand of English arms. Lord
Collingwood, who commanded the British fleet, declared that all the elements of resistance
in the province were dissolved. These events took place just before the fall of Saragossa.
In the middle of February of this year, 1809, St. Cyr had twenty-three thousand men
concentrated at Villa Franca. Forty thousand Spaniards were collected to attack him.
Almost contemptuously, he took eleven thousand
 of his troops, surprised the Spaniards, and scattered them in the wildest flight. He
pursued the fugitives, and wherever they made a stand dispersed them with but little
effort or loss upon his own side. There was no longer any regular resistance in Catalonia,
though guerrilla bands still prowled about the country.
Thus the wretched, desolating warfare raged, month after month. Nothing of importance
toward securing the abiding triumph of either party was gained. Whenever the French army
withdrew from any section of country, British officers entered, to re-organize, with the
aid of the Spanish priests, the peasants to renewed opposition, and British gold was
lavished in paying the soldiers. Junot was taken sick, and Suchet, whom Napoleon
characterized at Saint Helena as the first of his generals, was placed in command. We have
not space to describe the numerous battles which were fought, and the patience of our
readers would be exhausted by the dreary narration. The siege of Gerona by St. Cyr
occupied seven months.
Joseph was still in Madrid. As we have said, the more intelligent and opulent classes
rallied around him. Sir Archibald Alison, ever the advocate of aristocratic privilege,
 admitting the fact of Joseph's apparent popularity in Madrid, in the following strain of
remark endeavors to explain that fact:
"Addresses had been forwarded to Joseph Bonaparte at Valladolid from all the
incorporations and influential bodies at Madrid, inviting him to return to the capital and
resume the reins of government. Registers had been opened in different parts of the city
for those citizens to inscribe their names who were favorable to his cause. In a few days
thirty thousand signatures, chiefly of the more opulent classes, had been inscribed on the
lists. In obedience to these flattering invitations, the intrusive King had entered the
capital with great pomp, amidst the discharge of a hundred pieces of cannon, and numerous,
if not heartfelt, demonstrations of public satisfaction; a memorable example of the effect
of the acquisition of wealth, and the enjoyments of luxury, in enervating the minds of
their possessors, and of the difference between the patriotic energy of those classes who,
having little to lose, yield to ardent sentiments without reflection, and those in whom
the suggestions of interest and the habits of indulgence have stifled the generous
emotions of nature."
The great defect in Joseph's character as an
 executive officer, under the circumstances in which he was placed, was his apparent
inability fully to comprehend the grandeur of Napoleon's conceptions. Instead of looking
upon Spain as an essential part of the majestic whole, and which, by its money and its
armies, must aid in sustaining the new principle of equal rights for all, he forgot the
general cause, and sought only to promote the interests of his own kingdom. Napoleon,
having secured the reign of the new regime of equality in France, in antagonism to the old
regime of privilege, immediately found all Europe banded against him. France could not
stand alone against such antagonism. Hence it became essential that alliances should be
formed for mutual protection. The genius of Napoleon was of necessity the controlling
element in these alliances.
In that view, he had enlarged and strengthened the boundaries of France. He had created
the kingdoms of Italy and Naples. He had, impelled by the instinct of self-preservation,
bought out the treacherous Bourbons of Spain, and was endeavoring to lift up the Spaniards
from ages of depressing despotism, that Spain, under an enlightened ruler, rejoicing in
the intelligence and prosperity which existed under
 all the new governments, might contribute its support to the system of equal rights
England, Russia, Prussia, Austria, and the aristocratic party throughout all Europe, were
in deadly hostility to the principle of abolishing privileged classes, and instituting
equal rights for all. They were ever ready to squander blood and treasure, to violate
treaties, to form open or secret coalitions, in resisting these new ideas. Regarding
Napoleon as the great champion of popular rights, and conscious that there was no one of
his marshals who, upon Napoleon's downfall, could take his place, all their energies were
directed against him personally.
Thus we have the singular spectacle, never before witnessed in the history of the world,
never again to be witnessed, of the combined monarchs of more than a hundred millions of
men waging warfare against one single man. And therefore Napoleon called upon all the
regenerated nations in sympathy with his views to rally around him. He regarded them as
wings of the great army of which France was the centre. In combating the coalition, he was
fighting battles for them all. They stood or
 fell together. In the terrific struggle which deluged all Europe in blood, Napoleon was
the commander-in-chief of the whole army of reform. He was such by the power of
circumstances. He was such by innate ability. He was such by universal recognition.
When therefore Napoleon regarded the sovereigns appointed over the nations whom his genius
had rescued from despotism but as the generals of his armies, who were to co-operate at
his bidding in defense of the general system of dynastic oppression, it was not arrogance,
it was wisdom and necessity that inspired his conduct. Louis in Holland, Jerome in
Westphalia, Eugene in Italy, Murat in Naples, Joseph in Spain, all were bound, under the
leadership of Napoleon, to contribute their portion to the general defense.
Very strangely, Joseph seemed never to be able fully to comprehend this idea. He was a man
of great intelligence, of high culture, and a more kindly, generous heart never throbbed
in a human bosom; and yet, notwithstanding all Napoleon's arguments, it seemed impossible
for him to comprehend why he should not be as independent as the King of Spain, as
Napoleon was in the sovereignty of France. Fully
 recognizing the immeasurable superiority of his brother to any other man, and loving him
with a devotion which has seldom if ever been exceeded, he was still disposed to regard
himself as placed in Spain only to promote the happiness of the Spanish people, without
regard to the interests of the general cause. Instead of being ready to contribute of men
and money from Spain to maintain the conflict against coalesced Europe, he was continually
writing to his brother to send him money to carry on his own Government, and to excuse him
from making any exactions from the people. He was exceedingly reluctant to deal with
severity, or to quell the outrages of brigands with the necessary punishment. His letters
to the Emperor are often filled with complaints. He deplores the sad destiny which has
made him a king. He longs to return, with his wife and children, to the quiet retreat of
Napoleon dealt tenderly with his brother. He fully understood his virtues; he fully
comprehended his defects. Occasionally an expression of impatience escaped his pen, though
frequently he made no allusion, in his reply, to Joseph's repinings.
The Duke of Wellington is reported to have
 said that "a man of refined Christian sensibilities has no right to enter into the
profession of a soldier." A successful warrior must often perform deeds at which humanity
shudders. Joseph was, by the confession of all, one of the most calm and brave of men upon
the field of battle. Still, he was too modest a man, and had too little confidence in
himself to perform those hazardous and heroic deeds of arms which war often requires.
Napoleon, conscious that his brother was not by nature a warrior, and also wishing to save
him from the unpopularity of military acts in crushing sedition, left him as much as
possible to the administration of civil affairs in Madrid. His statesmanship and
amiability of character could here have full scope.
To his war-scarred veterans, Junot, Soult, Jourdan, Suchet, the Emperor mainly intrusted
the military expeditions. Still, to save Joseph from a sense of humiliation, the Emperor
acted as far as possible through his brother, in giving commands to the army. But the
marshals, obedient as children to the commands of Napoleon, whose superior genius not one
of them ever thought of calling in question, often manifested reluctance in executing
 directed by Joseph. At times they could not conceal from him that they considered their
knowledge of the art of war superior to his. Joseph was king of Spain, and was often
humiliated by the impression forced upon him that he was something like a tool in the
hands of others.
During the year 1809 Joseph remained most of the time in Madrid. There were innumerable
conflicts during the year, from petty skirmishes to pretty severe battles, none of which
are worthy of record in this brief sketch.
The latter part of April the Duke of Wellington landed in Portugal, with English
re-enforcements of thirty thousand men. With these, aided by such forces as he could raise
in Portugal and rally around him in Spain, he was to advance against the French. Napoleon
had been compelled to withdraw all of the Imperial Guard, and all of his choicest troops,
to meet the war on the plains of Germany. Marshal Soult was on the march for Oporto. With
about twenty thousand troops he laid siege to the city. The feebleness of the defense of
the Portuguese may be inferred from the fact that the city was protected by two hundred
pieces of cannon, and by a force of
 regular troops and armed peasants amounting to about seventy thousand men. Soult, having
made all his preparations for the assault, and confident that the city could not resist
his attack, wrote a very earnest letter to the magistrates, urging that by capitulation
they should save the city from the horrors of being carried by storm. No reply was
returned to the summons except a continued fire.
The attack was made. The Portuguese peasants had tortured, mangled, killed all the French
prisoners that had fallen into their hands. Both parties were in a state of extreme
exasperation. The battle was short. When the French troops burst through the barriers, a
general panic seized the Portuguese troops, and they rushed in wild confusion through the
streets toward the Douro. The French cavalry pursued the terrified fugitives, and, with
keen sabres, hewed them down till their arms were weary with the slaughter.
A bridge crossed the river. Crowded with the frenzied multitude, it sank under their
weight, and the stream was black with the bodies of drowning men. Those in the rear, by
thousands, pressed those before them into the yawning gulf. Boats pushed out from the
 banks to rescue them, but the light artillery of the French was already upon the water's
edge, discharging volleys of grape upon the helpless, compact mass. Before the city
surrendered, four thousand of these unhappy victims of war, torn with shot, and suffocated
by the waves, were swept down the stream. Though the marshal exerted himself to the utmost
to preserve discipline, no mortal man could restrain the passions of an army in such an
hour. The wretched city experienced all the horrors of a town taken by storm. The number
of the slain, according to the report of Marshal Soult, was more than eighteen thou-sand,
not including those who were engulfed in the Douro. Multitudes of the wounded fled to the
woods, where they perished miserably of exposure and starvation. But two hundred and fifty
prisoners were taken. The French took two hundred thousand pounds of powder, a vast amount
of stores, and tents for the accommodation of fifty thousand men. They captured also in
the port thirty English vessels loaded with wine. The loss of the French in capturing
Oporto, according to the report of the general-in-chief, was but eighty killed, and three
hundred and fifty wounded.
 It is heart-sickening to proceed with the recital of these horrors. Similar scenes took
place in Tarancon, where General Victor destroyed the remains of the regular Spanish army
with terrible slaughter. A band of about twelve thousand men were cut to pieces by General
Sebastiani. Again the Spaniards met with a fearful repulse upon the plains of Estremadura.
The Spanish general, Cuesta, with twenty thousand infantry and four thousand horse, was
attacked by General Victor with fifteen thousand foot and three thousand horse. As usual,
the French cut to pieces their despised foes, capturing all their artillery, inflicting
upon them a loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners, of ten thousand men, while the French
lost but about one thousand.
While these scenes were transpiring, Joseph, at Madrid, not only occupied himself with the
general direction of the war, so far as the instructions which he perpetually received
from Paris enabled him to do, but labored incessantly, as he had done in Naples, in
promoting all needful reforms, and in forming and executing plans for the happiness of his
subjects. He caused a constitution, which had been formed at Bayonne, to be published and
circu-  lated, that the Spaniards might be convinced that it was his desire to reign over them as
a father rather than as a sovereign.
Napoleon, speaking of his brother Joseph to Dr. O'Meara at Saint Helena, said:
"Joseph is a very excellent man. His virtues and his talents are appropriate to private
life. Nature destined him for that. He is too amiable to be a great man. He has no
ambition. He resembles me in person, but he is much better than I. He is extremely well
"I have always observed," O'Meara remarks, "that he spoke of his brother Joseph with the
most ardent affection."
The fickleness of the multitude was very conspicuous during all these stormy scenes.
Joseph made a short visit to the southern provinces. Everywhere he was received with the
greatest enthusiasm, the people crowding around him, and greeting him with shouts of
"Vive le Roi." Deputations from the cities and villages hastened to meet him
with protestations of homage and fidelity. Joseph responded, in those convincing accents
which the honesty of his heart inspired, that he wished to forget all the past, to
maintain the salutary
 institutions of religion, and to confer upon Spain that constitutional liberty which would
secure its prosperity. Joseph and the friends who accompanied him were so much impressed
with the apparent cordiality of their greeting that they were sanguine in the hope that
the nation would rally around the new dynasty. On the 4th of March the King entered
Malaga. The enthusiasm of his reception could scarcely have been exceeded. The streets
through which he passed were strewn with flowers, and the windows filled with the smiling
faces of ladies. He remained there for eight days, receiving every token of regard which
affection and confidence could confer.
JOSEPH ENTERING MALAGA.
But in other parts of the country where Joseph was not present it seemed as if the whole
population, without a dissenting voice, was rising against him. His embarrassments became
extreme. He not only had no wish to impose himself upon a reluctant people, but no earthly
consideration could induce him to do so. It was his sincere and earnest desire to lift up
Spain from its degradation, and make it great and prosperous. The emissaries of Great
Britain were everywhere busy recruiting the Spanish armies, lavishing gold in payment,
 supplying the troops abundantly with clothing and all the munitions of war, and giving
them English officers. Guerrilla bands were organized, with the privilege of plundering
and destroying all who were in favor of the new regime. The friends of the new regime
dared not openly avow their attachment to the government of Joseph, unless protected by
French troops. It was thus extremely difficult to ascertain the real wishes of the nation.
The Duke of Wellington was upon the frontiers, with an army of seventy thousand English
and Portuguese. If Joseph remained in Spain, it was clear that he had a long and bloody
struggle before him. If he threw down the crown and abandoned the enterprise, it was
surrendering Spain to England, to be forced inevitably into the coalition against France.
Thus the existence of the new regime in France seemed to depend upon the result of the
struggle in Spain. Joseph could not abandon the enterprise without being apparently false
to his brother, to his own country, and to the principle of equal rights for all