Description

    Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, Autograph Letter Signed, "Wellington". Eleven pages, 7.5" x 9.25", three sheets of fine quality paper all watermarked "Phipps & Son 1808", each with four integral pages, March 23, 1810 (originally dated the 22nd, but changed by Wellington), Viseu, Portugal, with endorsement on page twelve. This important dispatch was written to Admiral Sir George Cranfield Berkeley of the Royal Navy who was responsible for the supply of men, food, and material to the Duke of Wellington's army in the Peninsula War. In the letter, Wellington laments the lack of resources at his disposal to thwart the advance of Napoleon's French forces on British and Portuguese positions. Wellington is particularly upset at the demands of his Portuguese allies and the deplorable state of their own military assets: "I think it scandalous that the Portuguese regular army should not be 100,000 instead of 50,000 men; more scandalous that they should want near 10,000 men to complete to 50,000; still more scandalous that they have not means to support the army which they have." Wellington also levels criticism at the British government for its inability or unwillingness to provide adequate arms and clothing for his men. In light of those deficiencies Wellington writes, "I must consider not only what is desirable, but what is practicable; and I must first look a little at the facts of the case, and consider of the means in my power, or likely to be in my power, of their nature, and of the mode in which they will probably operate in the circumstances which will most probably exist." The "Iron Duke" then lays out his plans for military actions against the French. This letter is quoted in full in Colonel John Gurwood's The Dispatches of Field Marshal the Duke of Wellington, published in 1836. An important letter that gives remarkable insight into some of the problems that faced Wellington during his six-year campaign to drive the French from Spain. Light soiling and weakness at the folds, else very fine.

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    Auction Dates
    February, 2010
    11th-12th Thursday-Friday
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