Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    [Duke of Wellington]. Arthur Wellesley Letter Signed with Related Letter. The letter signed "Wellington" is six pages, 7.75" x 12.5", Lisbon; October 26, 1809. Written during the Peninsular War and addressed to Admiral Berkeley, the Duke of Wellington discusses the potential retreat from Lisbon and lays out plans for a possible embarkation of the British Army. It reads in part:

    "...relative to the defence [sic] of this country in the event of the Enemy's force in Spain being reinforced to such a degree, as to render the possession of Portugal doubtful. In case the enemy should make a serious attack upon Portugal, his principal object as well as that of the Allies, would be the possession of the city of Lisbon. The British Army would necessarily have another object, viz a secure embarkation after the possession of the city of Lisbon should be evidently lost. The Line of Frontier of Portugal is so long in proportion to the extent and means of the country; and the Tagus and the mountains separate the parts of it so effectively from each other; and it is so open in many parts, that it would be impossible for an army acting upon the defensive to carry on its operations upon the frontier, without being cut off from the is probable also that in the event of the enemy's being enabled to invade this country in force, he will make his principle attack by the right of the Tagus; but he will employ one corps upon the left of that River, with the immediate object of embarrassing, if not preventing the embarkation of the British Army; and of preducing [sic] the use of its navigation by the Allies. I should wish then to be assisted with your opinion respecting the possibility of embarking the Army in its transport and bringing them away from the following place, in the event of a defeat by the enemy in the field, which should oblige the British Army to evacuate the country; and which of course supposes that they would be pressed by the enemy..."

    Accompanied by a related letter, dated October 27, 1880, with further notes on the embarkation plans. The Duke of Wellington and the British Army fought with the Portuguese to secure Portugal from an invasion by Napoleon. After advising that the British should make Lisbon its main base, Wellington was appointed the head of all British forces in Portugal. Admiral Sir George Cranfield Berkeley of the Royal Navy was responsible for the supply of men, food, and material to the Duke of Wellington's army in the Peninsula War. An important letter that gives insight into some of the difficulties that Wellington faced during his six-year campaign to drive the French from Spain.

    Condition: Both letters have flattened mail folds. There is light toning to the signed letter, with areas of soiling and dampstaining. The related letter is moderately toned with bumped corners.

    Auction Info

    Bidding Begins Approx.
    3rd Friday
    Auction Dates
    23rd Thursday
    Proxy Bidding Begins Approx.
    45 Days
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: N/A
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 41
    Auction Type
    Signature®:  Heritage Live®:After Internet bidding closes, live bidding will take place through Your secret maximum bid placed prior to the live event will compete against the live bids. To maximize your chances of winning, enter realistic secret maximum bids on our site. Many of our proxy bidders are successful at winning lots in these auctions, and usually below their secret maximum. You can also place last minute bids directly with us by e-mailing or calling 1-866-835-3243. (Important note: Due to software and Internet latency, live bids may not register in time, so enter realistic proxy bids.)

    Signature® Floor Sessions
    Proxy bidding ends ten minutes prior to the session start time. Live Proxy bidding on Heritage Live starts 24 hours before the live session begins and continues through the session. During the live auction event, bidding in person is encouraged, and Heritage Live includes streaming audio and often video during the event.

    Track Item