VALENCIA is a City towards the Centre of Spain, to the Seaward, seated in a rich and most populous Country, just fifty Leagues from Madrid. It abounds in Horses and Mules; by reason of the great Fertility of its Lands, which they can, to great Advantage, water when, and as they please. This City and Kingdom was as much inclin'd to the Interest of King Charles as Catalonia it self; for even on our first Appearance, great Numbers of People came down to the Bay of Altea, with not only a bare Offer of their Services, but loaded with all Manner of Provisions, and loud Acclamations of Viva Carlos tercero, Viva. There were no regular Troops in any of the Places round about it, or in the City it self. The nearest were those few Horse in Madrid, one hundred and fifty Miles distant; nor any Foot nearer than Barcelona, or the Frontiers of Portugal.
On the contrary, Barcelona is one of the largest and most populous Cities in all Spain, fortify'd with Bastions; one Side thereof is secur'd by the Sea; and the other by a strong Fortification call'd Monjouick. The Place is of so large a Circumference, that thirty thousand Men would scarce suffice to form the Lines of Circumvallation. It once resisted for many Months an Army of that Force; and is almost at the greatest Distance from England of any Place belonging to that Monarchy.
This short Description of these two Places will appear highly necessary, if it be consider'd, that no Person without it would be able to judge of the Design which the Earl of Peterborow intended to pursue, when he first took the Arch-Duke aboard the Fleet. Nevertheless the Earl now found himself under a Necessity of quitting that noble Design, upon his Receipt of Orders from England, while he lay in the Bay of Altea, to proceed directly to Catalonia; to which the Arch-Duke, as well as many Sea and Land Officers, were most inclin'd; and the Prince of Hesse more than all the rest.
On receiving those Orders, the Earl of Peterborow seem'd to be of Opinion, that from an Attempt, which he thought under a Probability of Success, he was condemn'd to undertake what was next to an Impossibility of effecting; since nothing appear'd to him so injudicious as an Attempt upon Barcelona. A Place at such a Distance from receiving any Reinforcement or Relief; the only Place in which the Spaniards had a Garrison of regular Forces; and those in Number rather exceeding the Army he was to undertake the Siege with, was enough to cool the Ardour of a Person of less Penetration and Zeal than what the Earl had on all Occasions demonstrated. Whereas if the General, as he intended, had made an immediate March to Madrid, after he had secur'd Valencia, and the Towns adjacent, which were all ready to submit and declare for King Charles; or if otherwise inclin'd, had it not in their Power to make any considerable Resistance; to which, if it be added, that he could have had Mules and Horses immediately provided for him, in what Number he pleas'd, together with Carriages necessary for Artillery, Baggage, and Ammunition; in few Days he could have forc'd King Philip out of Madrid, where he had so little Force to oppose him. And as there was nothing in his Way to prevent or obstruct his marching thither, it is hard to conceive any other Part King Philip could have acted in such an Extremity, than to retire either towards Portugal or Catalonia. In either of which Cases he must have left all the middle Part of Spain open to the Pleasure of the Enemy; who in the mean time would have had it in their Power to prevent any Communication of those Bodies at such opposite Extreams of the Country, as were the Frontiers of Portugal and Barcelona, where only, as I said before, were any regular Troops.
And on the other Side, as the Forces of the Earl of Peterborow were more than sufficient for an Attempt where there was so little Danger of Opposition; so if their Army on the Frontiers of Portugal should have march'd back upon him into the Country; either the Portugueze Army could have enter'd into Spain without Opposition; or, at worst, supposing the General had been forc'd to retire, his Retreat would have been easy and safe into those Parts of Valencia and Andahzia, which he previously had secur'd. Besides, Gibraltar, the strongest Place in Spain, if not in the whole World, was already in our Possession, and a great Fleet at Hand ready to give Assistance in all Places near the Sea. From all which it is pretty apparent, that in a little time the War on our Side might have been supported without entering the Mediterranean; by which Means all Reinforcements would have been much nearer at Hand, and the Expences of transporting Troops and Ammunition very considerably diminish'd.
But none of these Arguments, though every one of them is founded on solid Reason, were of Force enough against the prevailing Opinion for an Attempt upon Catalonia. Mr. Crow, Agent for the Queen in those Parts, had sent into England most positive Assurances, that nothing would be wanting, if once our Fleet made an invasion amongst the Catalans: The Prince of Hesse likewise abounded in mighty Offers and prodigious Assurances; all which enforc'd our Army to that Part of Spain, and that gallant Prince to those Attempts in which he lost his Life. Very much against the Inclination of our General, who foresaw all those Difficulties, which were no less evident afterwards to every one; and the Sense of which occasion'd those Delays, and that Opposition to any Effort upon Barcelona, which ran thro' so many successive Councils of War.
However, pursuant to his Instructions from England, the repeated Desires of the Arch-Duke, and the Importunities of the Prince of Hesse, our General gave Orders to sail from Altea towards the Bay of Barcelona, the chief City of Catalonia. Nevertheless, when we arriv'd there, he was very unwilling to land any of the Forces, till he saw some Probability of that Assistance and Succour so must boasted of, and so often promis'd. But as nothing appear'd but some small Numbers of Men, very indifferently arm'd, and without either Gentlemen or Officers at the Head of them; the Earl of Peterborow was of Opinion, this could not be deem'd sufficient Encouragement for him to engage in an Enterprize, which carry'd so poor a Face of Probability of Success along with it. In answer to this it was urg'd, that till a Descent was made, and the Affairs thoroughly engag'd in, it was not to be expected that any great Numbers would appear, or that Persons of Condition would discover themselves. Upon all which it was resolv'd the Troops should be landed.
Accordingly, our Forces were disembark'd, and immediately encamp'd; notwithstanding which the Number of Succours increas'd very slowly, and that after the first straggling Manner. Nor were those that did appear any way to be depended on; coming when they thought fit, and going away when they pleas'd, and not to be brought under any regular Discipline. It was then pretended, that until they saw the Artillery landed as well as Forces, they would not believe any Siege actually intended. This brought the General under a sort of Necessity of complying in that also. Though certainly so to do must be allow'd a little unreasonable, while the Majority in all Councils of War declar'd the Design to be impracticable; and the Earl of Peterborow had positive Orders to proceed according to such Majorities.
At last the Prince of Hesse was pleas'd to demand Pay for those Stragglers, as Officers and Soldiers, endeavouring to maintain, that it could not be expected that Men should venture their Lives for nothing. Thus we came to Catalonia upon Assurances of universal Assistance; but found, when we came there, that we were to have none unless we paid for it. And as we were sent thither without Money to pay for any thing, it had certainly been for us more tolerable to have been in a Country where we might have taken by Force what we could not obtain any other way.
However, to do the Miquelets all possible Justice, I must say, that notwithstanding the Number of 'em, which hover'd about the Place, never much exceeded fifteen Hundred Men; if sometimes more, oftner less; and though they never came under any Command, but planted themselves where and as they pleas'd; yet did they considerable Service in taking Possession of all the Country Houses and Convents, that lay between the Hills and the Plain of Barcelona; by means whereof they render'd it impossible for the Enemy to make any Sorties or Sallies at any Distance from the Town.
And now began all those Difficulties to bear, which long before by the General had been apprehended. The Troops had continu'd under a State of Inactivity for the Space of three Weeks, all which was spent in perpetual Contrivances and Disputes amongst our selves, not with the Enemy. In six several Councils of War the Siege of Barcelona, under the Circumstances we then lay, was rejected as a Madness and Impossibility. And though the General and Brigadier Stanhope (afterward Earl Stanhope) consented to some Effort should be made to satisfy the Expectation of the World, than with any Hopes of Success. However, no Consent at all could be obtain'd from any Council of War; and the Dutch General in particular declar'd, that he would not obey even the Commands of the Earl of Peterborow, if he should order the Sacrifice of the Troops under him in so unjustifiable a Manner, without the Consent of a Council of War.
And yet all those Officers, who refus'd their Consent to the Siege of Barcelona, offer'd to march into the Country, and attempt any other Place, that was not provided with so strong and numerous a Garrison; taking it for granted, that no Town in Catalonia, Barcelona excepted, could make long Resistance; and in case the Troops in that Garrison should pursue them, they then might have an Opportunity of fighting them at less Disadvantage in the open Field, than behind the Walls of a Place of such Strength. And, indeed, should they have issu'd out on any such Design, a Defeat of those Troops would have put the Province of Catalonia, together with the Kingdoms of Aragon and Valencia, into the Hands of King Charles more effectually than the taking of Barcelona it self.
Let it be observ'd, en passant, that by those Offers of the Land Officers in a Council of War, it is easy to imagine what would have been the Success of our Troops, had they march'd directly from Valencia to Madrid. For if after two Months Alarm, it was thought reasonable, as well as practicable, to march into the open Country rather than attempt the Siege of Barcelona, where Forces equal, if not superior in Number, were ready to follow us at the Heels; what might not have been expected from an Invasion by our Troops when and where they could meet with little Opposition? But leaving the Consideration of what might have been, I shall now endeavour at least with great Exactness to set down some of the most remarkable Events from our taking to the Relief of Barcelona.
The repeated Refusals of the Councils of War for undertaking the Siege of so strong a Place, with a Garrison so numerous, and those Refusals grounded upon such solid Reasons, against a Design so rash, reduc'd the General to the utmost Perplexity. The Court of King Charles was immerg'd in complaint; all belonging to him lamenting the hard Fate of that Prince, to be brought into Catalonia only to return again, without the Offer of any one Effort in his Favour. On the other Hand, our own Officers and Soldiers were highly dissatisfy'd, that they were reproach'd, because not dispos'd to enter upon and engage themselves in Impossibilities. And, indeed, in the Manner that the Siege was propos'd and insisted upon by the Prince of Hesse, in every of the several Councils of War, after the Loss of many Men, thrown away to no other purpose, but to avoid the Shame (as the Expression ran) of coming like Fools and going away like Cowards, it could have ended in nothing but a Retreat at last.
It afforded but small Comfort to the Earl to have foreseen all these Difficulties, and to have it in his Power to say, that he would never have taken the Arch-Duke on Board, nor have propos'd to him the Hopes of a Recovery of the Spanish Monarchy from King Philip, if he could have imagin'd it probable, that he should not have been at liberty to pursue his own Design, according to his own Judgment. It must be allow'd very hard for him, who had undertaken so great a Work, and that without any Orders from the Government; and by so doing could have had no Justification but by Success; I say, it must be allow'd to be very hard (after the Undertaking had been approv'd in England) that he should find himself to be directed in this Manner by those at a Distance, upon ill grounded and confident Reports from Mr. Crow; and compell'd, as it were, though General, to follow the Sentiments of Strangers, who either had private Views of Ambition, or had no immediate Care or Concern for the Troops employ'd in this Expedition.
Such were the present unhappy Circumstanches of the Earl of Peterborow in the Camp before Barcelona: Impossibilities propos'd; no Expedients to be accepted; a Court reproaching; Councils of War rejecting; and the Dutch General refusing the Assistance of the Troops under his Command; and what surmounted all, a Despair of bringing such Animosities and differing Opinions to any tolerable Agreement. Yet all these Difficulties, instead of discouraging the Earl, set every Faculty of his more afloat; and, at last, produc'd a lucky Thought, which was happily attended with Events extraordinary, and Scenes of Success much beyond his Expectation; such, as the General himself was heard to confess, it had been next to Folly to have look'd for; as certainly, in prima facie, it would hardly have born proposing, to take by Surprize a Place much stronger than Barcelona it self. True it is, that his only Hope of succeeding consisted in this: That no Person could suppose such an Enterprize could enter into the Imagination of Man; and without doubt the General's chief Dependence lay upon what he found true in the Sequel; that the Governor and Garrison of Monjouick, by reason of their own Security, would be very negligent, and very little upon their Guard.
However, to make the Experiment, he took an Opportunity, unknown to any Person but an Aid de Camp that attended him, and went out to view the Fortifications: And there being no Horse in that strong Fortress; and the Miquelets being possess'd of all the Houses and Gardens in the Plain, it was not difficult to give himself that Satisfaction, taking his Way by the Foot of the Hill. The Observation he made of the Place it self, the Negligence and Supineness of the Garrison, together with his own uneasy Circumstances, soon brought the Earl to a Resolution of putting his first Conceptions in Execution, satisfy'd as he was, from the Situation of the Ground between Monjouick and the Town, that if the first was in our Possession, the Siege of the latter might be undertaken with some Prospect of Success.
From what has been said, some may be apt to conclude that the Siege afterward succeeding, when the Attack was made from the Side of Monjouick, it had not been impossible to have prevail'd, if the Effort had been made on the East Side of the Town, where our Forces were at first encamp'd, and where only we could have made our Approaches, if Monjouick had not been in our Power. But a few Words will convince any of common Experience of the utter Impossibility of Success upon the East Part of the Town, although many almost miraculous Accidents made us succeed when we brought our Batteries to bear upon that Part of Barcelona towards the West. The Ground to the East was a perfect Level for many Miles, which would have necessitated our making our Approaches in a regular Way; and consequently our Men must have been expos'd to the full Fire of their whole Artillery. Besides, the Town is on that Side much stronger than any other; there is an Out-work just under the Walls of the Town, flank'd by the Courtin and the Faces of two Bastions, which might have cost us half our Troops to possess, before we could have rais'd a Battery against the Walls. Or supposing, after all, a competent Breach had been made, what a wise Piece of Work must it have been to have attempted a Storm against double the Number of regular Troops within?
On the contrary, we were so favoured by the Situation, when we made the Attack from the Side of Monjouick, that the Breach was made and the Town taken without opening of Trenches, or without our being at all incommoded by any Sallies of the Enemy; as in truth they made not one during the whole Siege. Our great Battery, which consisted of upwards of fifty heavy Cannon, supply'd from the Ships, and manag'd by the Seamen, were plac'd upon a Spot of rising Ground, just large enough to contain our Guns, with two deep hollow Ways on each Side the Field, at each End whereof we had rais'd a little Redoubt, which serv'd to preserve our Men from the Shot of the Town. Those little Redoubts, in which we had some Field Pieces, flank'd the Battery, and render'd it intirely secure from any Surprize of the Enemy. There were several other smaller Batteries rais'd upon the Hills adjacent, in Places not to be approach'd, which, in a manner, render'd all the Artillery of the Enemy useless, by reason their Men could not play 'em, but with the utmost Danger; whereas ours were secure, very few being kill'd, and those mostly by random Shot.
But to return to the General; forc'd, as he was, to take this extraordinary Resolution, he concluded, the readiest Way to surprize his Enemies was to elude his Friends. He therefore call'd a Council of War a-shore, of the Land Officers; and aboard, of the Admirals and Sea Officers: In both which it was resolv'd, that in case the Siege of Barcelona was judg'd impracticable, and that the Troops should be re-imbark'd by a Day appointed, an Effort should be made upon the Kingdom of Naples. Accordingly, the Day affix'd being come, the heavy Artillery landed for the Siege was return'd aboard the Ships, and every thing in appearance prepar'd for a Re-imbarkment. During which, the General was oblig'd to undergo all the Reproaches of a dissatisfy'd Court; and what was more uneasy to him, the Murmurings of the Sea Officers, who, not so competent Judges in what related to Sieges, were one and all inclin'd to a Design upon Barcelona; and the rather, because as the Season was so far spent, it was thought altogether improper to engage the Fleet in any new Undertaking. However, all Things were so well disguis'd by our seeming Preparations for a Retreat, that the very Night our Troops were in March towards the Attack of Monjouick, there were publick Entertainments and Rejoicings in the Town for the raising of the Siege.
The Prince of Hesse had taken large Liberties in complaining against all the Proceedings in the Camp before Barcelona; even to Insinuations, that though the Earl gave his Opinion for some Effort in public, yet us'd he not sufficient Authority over the other General Officers to incline them to comply; throwing out withal some Hints, that the General from the Beginning had declar'd himself in favour of other Operations, and against coming to Catalonia; the latter Part whereof was nothing but Fact. On the other Side, the Earl of Peterborow complain'd, that the boasted Assistance was no way made good; and that in failure thereof, his Troops were to be sacrificed to the Humours of a Stranger; one who had no Command; and whose Conduct might bear a Question whether equal to his Courage. These Reproaches of one another had bred so much ill Blood between those two great Men, that for above a Fortnight they had no Correspondence, nor ever exchang'd one Word.
The Earl, however, having made his proper Dispositions, and deliver'd out his Orders, began his March in the Evening with twelve Hundred Foot and two Hundred Horse, which of necessity were to pass by the Quarters of the Prince of Hesse. That Prince, on their Appearance, was told that the General was come to speak with him; and being brought into his Apartment, the Earl acquainted him, that he had at last resolv'd upon an Attempt against the Enemy; adding, that now, if he pleas'd, he might be a Judge of their Behaviour, and see whether his Officers and Soldiers had deserv'd that Character which he had so liberally given 'em. The Prince made answer, that he had always been ready to take his Share; but could hardly believe, that Troops marching that way could make any Attempt against the Enemy to satisfaction. However, without further Discourse he call'd for his Horse.
By this we may see what Share Fortune has in the greatest Events. In all probability the Earl of Peterborow had never engag'd in such a dangerous Affair in cold Blood and unprovok'd; and if such an Enterprize had been resolv'd on in a regular Way, it is very likely he might have given the Command to some of the General Officers; since it is not usual, nor hardly allowable, for one, that commands in chief, to go in Person on such kind of Services. But here we see the General and Prince, notwithstanding their late indifferent Harmony, engag'd together in this most desperate Undertaking.
Brigadier Stanhope and Mr. Methuen (now Sir Paul) were the General's particular Friends, and those he most consulted, and most confided in; yet he never imparted this Resolution of his to either of them; for he was not willing to engage them in a Design so dangerous, and where there was so little Hope of Success; rather choosing to reserve them as Persons most capable of giving Advice and Assistance in the Confusion, great enough already, which yet must have been greater, if any Accident had happen'd to himself. And I have very good Reason to believe, that the Motive, which mainly engag'd the Earl of Peterborow in this Enterprize, was to satisfy the Prince of Hesse and the World, that his Diffidence proceeded from his Concern for the Troops committed to his Charge, and not for his own Person. On the other Hand, the great Characters of the two Gentlemen just mention'd are so well known, that it will easily gain Credit, that the only Way the General could take to prevent their being of the Party, was to conceal it from them, as he did from all Mankind, even from the Archduke himself. And certainly there never was a more universal Surprize than when the firing was heard next Morning from Monjouick.
But I now proceed to give an exact Account of this great Action; of which no Person, that I have heard of, ever yet took upon him to deliver to Posterity the glorious Particulars; and yet the Consequences and Events, by what follows, will appear so great, and so very extraordinary, that few, if any, had they had it in their Power, would have deny'd themselves the Pleasure or the World the Satisfaction of knowing it.
The Troops, which march'd all Night along the Foot of the Mountains, arriv'd two Hours before Day under the Hill of Monjouick, not a Quarter of a Mile from the outward Works: For this Reason it was taken for granted, whatever the Design was which the General had propos'd to himself, that it would be put in Execution before Day-light; but the Earl of Peterborow was now pleas'd to inform the Officers of the Reasons why he chose to stay till the Light appear'd. He was of opinion that any Success would be impossible, unless the Enemy came into the outward Ditch under the Bastions of the second Enclosure; but that if they had time allow'd them to come thither, there being no Palisadoes, our Men, by leaping in upon them, after receipt of their first Fire, might drive 'em into the upper Works; and following them close, with some Probability, might force them, under that Confusion, into the inward Fortifications.
Such were the General's Reasons then and there given; after which, having promis'd ample Rewards to such as discharg'd their Duty well, a Lieutenant, with thirty Men, was order'd to advance towards the Bastion nearest the Town; and a Captain, with fifty Men, to support him. After the Enemy's Fire they were to leap into the Ditch, and their Orders were to follow 'em close, if they retir'd into the upper Works: Nevertheless, not to pursue 'em farther, if they made into the inner Fort; but to endeavour to cover themselves within the Gorge of the Bastion.
A Lieutenant and a Captain, with the Like Number of Men and the same Orders, were commanded to a Demi-Bastion at the Extremity of the Fort towards the West, which was above Musket-Shot from the inward Fortification. Towards this Place the Wall, which was cut into the Rock, was not fac'd for about twenty Yards; and here our own Men got up; where they found three Pieces of Cannon upon a Platform, without many Men to defend them.
Those appointed to the Bastion towards the Town were sustain'd by two hundred Men; with which the General and Prince went in Person. The like Number, under the Directions of Colonel Southwell, were to sustain the Attack towards the West; and about five hundred Men were left under the Command of a Dutch Colonel, whose Orders were to assist, where, in his own Judgment, he should think most proper; and these were drawn up between the two Parties appointed to begin the Assault. My Lot was on the Side where the Prince and Earl were in Person; and where we sustain'd the only Loss from the first Fire of the Enemy.
Our men, though quite expos'd, and though the Glacis was all escarp'd upon the live Rock, went on with an undaunted Courage; and immediately after the first Fire of the Enemy, all, that were not kill'd or wounded, leap'd in, pel-mel, amongst the Enemy; who, being thus boldly attack'd, and seeing others pouring in upon 'em, retir'd in great Confusion; and some one Way, some another, ran into the inward Works.
There was a large Port in the Flank of the principal Bastion, towards the North-East, and a cover'd Way, through which the General and the Prince of Hesse follow'd the flying Forces; and by that Means became possess'd of it. Luckily enough here lay a Number of great Stones in the Gorge of the Bastion, for the Use of the Fortification; with which we made a Sort of Breast-Work, before the Enemy recover'd of their Amaze, or made any considerable Fire upon us from their inward Fort, which commanded the upper Part of that Bastion.
We were afterwards inform'd, that the Commander of the Citadel, expecting but one Attack, had call'd off the Men from the most distant and western Part of the Fort, to that Side which was next the Town; upon which our Men got into a Demi-Bastion in the most extream Part of the Fortification. Here they got Possession of three Pieces of Cannon, with hardly any Opposition; and had Leisure to cast up a little Retrenchment, and to make use of the Guns they had taken to defend it. Under this Situation, the Enemy, when drove into the inward Fort, were expos'd to our Fire from those Places we were possess'd of, in case they offer'd to make any Sally, or other Attempt against us. Thus we every Moment became better and better prepar'd against any Effort of the Garrison. And as they could not pretend to assail us without evident Hazard; so nothing remain'd for us to do, till we could bring up our Artillery and Mortars. Now it was that the General sent for the thousand Men under Brigadier Stanhope's Command, which he had posted at a Convent, halfway between the Town and Monjouick.
There was almost a total Cessation of Fire, the Men on both Sides being under Cover. The General was in the upper Part of the Bastion; the Prince of Hesse below, behind a little Work at the Point of the Bastion, whence he could only see the Heads of the Enemy over the Parapet of the inward Fort. Soon after an Accident happen'd which cost that gallant Prince his Life.
The Enemy had Lines of Communication between Barcelona and Monjouick. The Governor of the former, upon hearing the firing from the latter, immediately sent four hundred Dragoons on Horseback, under Orders, that two Hundred dismounting should reinforce the Garrison, and the other two Hundred should return with their Horses back to the Town.
When those two Hundred Dragoons were accordingly got into the inward Fort, unseen by any of our Men, the Spaniards, waving their Hats over their Heads, repeated over and over, Viva el Rey, Viva. This the Prince of Hesse unfortunately took for a Signal of their Desire to surrender. Upon which, with too much Warmth and Precipitancy, calling to the Soldiers following, They surrender, they surrender, he advanc'd with near three Hundred Men (who follow'd him without any Orders from their General) along the Curtain which led to the Ditch of the inward Fort. The Enemy suffered them to come into the Ditch, and there surrounding 'em, took two Hundred of them Prisoners, at the same time making a Discharge upon the rest, who were running back the Way they came. This firing brought the Earl of Peterborow down from the upper Part of the Bastion, to see what was doing below. When he had just turn'd the Point of the Bastion, he saw the Prince of Hesse retiring, with the Men that had so rashly advanc'd. The Earl had exchang'd a very few Words with him, when, from a second Fire, that Prince receiv'd a Shot in the great Artery of the Thigh, of which he died immediately, falling down at the General's Feet, who instantly gave Orders to carry off the Body to the next Convent.
Almost the same Moment an Officer came to acquaint the Earl of Peterborow, that a great Body of Horse and Foot, at least three Thousand, were on their March from Barcelona towards the Fort. The Distance is near a Mile, all uneven Ground; so that the Enemy was either discoverable, or not to be seen, just as they were marching on the Hills or in the Vallies. However, the General directly got on Horseback, to take a View of those Forces from the rising Ground without the Fort, having left all the Posts, which were already taken, well secur'd with the allotted Numbers of Officers and Soldiers.
But the Event will demonstrate of what Consequence the Absence or Presence of one Man may prove on great Occasions; No sooner was the Earl out of the Fort, the Care of which he had left under the Command of the Lord Charlemont (a Person of known Merit and undoubted Courage, but somewhat too flexible in his Temper) when a panick Fear (tho' the Earl, as I have said, was only gone to take a View of the Enemy) seiz'd upon the Soldiery, which was a little too easily comply'd with by the Lord Charlemont, then commanding Officer. True it is; for I heard an Officer, ready enough to take such Advantages, urge to him, that none of all those Posts we were become Masters of, were tenable; that to offer at it would be no better than wilfully sacrificing human Lives to Caprice and Humour; and just like a Man's knocking his Head against Stone Walls, to try which was hardest. Having over-heard this Piece of Lip-Oratory, and finding by the Answer that it was too likely to prevail, and that all I was like to say would avail nothing. I slipt away as fast as I could, to acquaint the General with the Danger impending.
As I pass'd along, I took notice that the Panick was upon the Increase, the general Rumor affirming, that we should be all cut off by the Troops that were come out of Barcelona, if we did not immediately gain the Hills, or the Houses possess'd by the Miquelets. Officers and Soldiers, under this prevailing Terror, quitted their Posts; and in one united Body (the Lord Charlemont at the Head of them) march'd, or rather hurry'd out of the Fort; and were come halfway down the Hill before the Earl of Peterborow came up to them. Though on my acquainting him with the shameful and surprizing Accident he made no Stay, but answering, with a good deal of Vehemence, Good God, is it possible? hastened back as fast as he could.
I never thought my self happier than in this Piece of Service to my Country. I confess I could not but value it, as having been therein more than a little instrumental in the glorious Successes which succeeded; since immediately upon this Notice from me, the Earl gallop'd up the Hill, and lighting when he came to Lord Charlemont, he took his Half-pike out of his Hand; and turning to the Officers and Soldiers, told them, if they would not face about and follow him, they should have the Scandal and eternal Infamy upon them of having deserted their Posts, and abandon'd their General.
It was surprizing to see with what Alacrity and new Courage they fac'd about and follow'd the Earl of Peterborow. In a Moment they had forgot their Apprehensions; and, without doubt, had they met with any Opposition, they would have behav'd themselves with the greatest Bravery. But as these Motions were unperceiv'd by the Enemy, all the Posts were regain'd, and anew possess'd in less than half an Hour, without any Loss: Though, had our Forces march'd half Musket-shot farther, their Retreat would have been perceiv'd, and all the Success attendant on this glorious Attempt must have been intirely blasted.
Another Incident which attended this happy Enterprize was this: The two hundred Men which fell into the Hands of the Enemy, by the unhappy Mistake of the Prince of Hesse, were carry'd directly into the Town. The Marquis of Risburg, a Lieutenant-General, who commanded the three thousand Men which were marching from the Town to the Relief of the Fort, examin'd the Prisoners, as they pass'd by; and they all agreeing that the General and the Prince of Hesse were in Person with the Troops that made the Attack on Monjouick, the Marquis gave immediate Orders to retire to the Town; taking it for granted, that the main Body of the Troops attended the Prince and General; and that some Design therefore was on foot to intercept his Return, in case he should venture too far. Thus the unfortunate Loss of our two hundred Men turn'd to our Advantage, in preventing the Advance of the Enemy, which must have put the Earl of Peterborow to inconceivable Difficulties.
The Body of one Thousand, under Brigadier Stanhope, being come up to Monjouick, and no Interruption given us by the Enemy, our Affairs were put into very good Order on this Side; while the Camp on the other Side was so fortify'd, that the Enemy, during the Siege, never made one Effort against it. In the mean time, the Communication between the two Camps was secure enough; although our Troops were obliged to a tedious March along the Foot of the Hills, whenever the General thought fit to relieve those on Duty on the Side of the Attack, from those Regiments encamp'd on the West Side of Barcelona.
The next Day, after the Earl of Peterborow had taken Care to secure the first Camp to the Eastward of the Town, he gave Orders to the Officers of the Fleet to land the Artillery and Ammunition behind the Fortress to the Westward. Immediately upon the Landing whereof, two Mortars were fix'd; from both which we ply'd the Fort of Monjouick furiously with our Bombs. But the third or fourth Day, one of our Shells fortunately lighting on their Magazine of Powder, blew it up; and with it the Governor, and many principal Officers who were at Dinner with him. The Blast, at the same Instant, threw down a Face of one of the smaller Bastions; which the vigilant Miquelets, ready enough to take all Advantages, no sooner saw (for they were under the Hill, very near the Place) but they readily enter'd, while the Enemy were under the utmost Confusion. If the Earl, no less watchful than they, had not at the same Moment thrown himself in with some regular Troops, and appeas'd the general Disorder, in all probability the Garrison had been put to the Sword. However, the General's Presence not only allay'd the Fury of the Miquelets; but kept his own Troops under strictest Discipline: So that in a happy Hour for the frighted Garrison, the General gave Officers and Soldiers Quarters, making them Prisoners of War.
How critical was that Minute wherein the General met his retreating Commander? a very few Steps farther had excluded us our own Conquests, to the utter Loss of all those greater Glories which ensu'd. Nor would that have been the worst; for besides the Shame attending such an ill concerted Retreat from our Acquests on Monjouick, we must have felt the accumulative Disgrace of infamously retiring aboard the Ships that brought us; but Heaven reserv'd for our General amazing Scenes both of Glory and Mortification.
I cannot here omit one Singularity of Life, which will demonstrate Men's different Way of Thinking, if not somewhat worse; when many Years after, to one in Office, who seem'd a little too dead to my Complaints, and by that Means irritating my human Passions, injustice to my self, as well as Cause, I urged this Piece of Service, by which I not only preserv'd the Place, but the Honour of my Country, that Minister petite, to mortify my Expectations and baffle my Plea, with a Grimace as odd as his Logick, return'd, that, in his Opinion, the Service pretended was a Disservice to the Nation; since Perseverance had cost the Government more Money than all our Conquests were worth, could we have kept 'em. So irregular are the Conceptions of Man, when even great Actions thwart the Bent of an interested Will!
The Fort of Monjouick being thus surprizingly reduc'd, furnish'd a strange Vivacity to Mens Expectations, and as extravagantly flatter'd their Hopes; for as Success never fails to excite weaker Minds to pursue their good Fortune, though many times to their own Loss; so is it often too apt to push on more elevated Spirits to renew the Encounter for atchieving new Conquests, by hazarding too rashly all their former Glory. Accordingly, every Body now began to make his utmost Efforts; and look'd upon himself as a Drone, if he was not employ'd in doing something or other towards pushing forward the Siege of Barcelona it self, and raising proper Batteries for that Purpose. But, after all, it must in Justice be acknowledg'd, that notwithstanding this prodigious Success that attended this bold Enterprize, the Land Forces of themselves, without the Assistance of the Sailors, could never have reduc'd the Town. The Commanders and Officers of the Fleet had always evinc'd themselves Favourers of this Project upon Barcelona. A new Undertaking so late in the Year, as I have said before, was their utter Aversion, and what they hated to hear of. Elated therefore with a Beginning so auspicious, they gave a more willing Assistance than could have been ask'd, or judiciously expected. The Admirals forgot their Element, and acted as General Officers at Land: They came every Day from their Ships, with a Body of Men form'd into Companies, and regularly marshall'd and commanded by Captains and Lieutenants of their own. Captain Littleton in particular, one of the most advanced Captains in the whole Fleet, offer'd of himself to take care of the Landing and Conveyance of the Artillery to the Camp. And answerable to that his first Zeal was his Vigour all along, for finding it next to an Impossibility to draw the Cannon and Mortars up such vast Precipices by Horses, if the Country had afforded them, he caus'd Harnesses to be made for two hundred Men; and by that Means, after a prodigious Fatigue and Labour, brought the Cannon and Mortars necessary for the Siege up to the very Batteries.
In this Manner was the Siege begun; nor was it carry'd on with any less Application; the Approaches being made by an Army of Besiegers, that very little, if at all, exceeded the Number of the Besieg'd; not altogether in a regular Manner, our few Forces would not admit it; but yet with Regularity enough to secure our two little Camps, and preserve a Communication between both, not to be interrupted or incommoded by the Enemy. We had soon erected three several Batteries against the Place, all on the West Side of the Town, viz. one of nine Guns, another of Twelve, and the last of upwards of Thirty. From all which we ply'd the Town incessantly, and with all imaginable Fury; and very often in whole Vollies.
Nevertheless it was thought not only adviseable, but necessary, to erect another Battery, upon a lower Piece of Ground under a small Hill; which lying more within Reach, and opposite to those Places where the Walls were imagin'd weakest, would annoy the Town the more; and being design'd for six Guns only, might soon be perfected. A French Engeneer had the Direction; and indeed very quickly perfected it. But when it came to be consider'd which way to get the Cannon to it, most were of opinion that it would be absolutely impracticable, by reason of the vast Descent; tho' I believe they might have added a stronger Reason, and perhaps more intrinsick, that it was extremely expos'd to the Fire of the Enemy.
Having gain'd some little Reputation in the Attack of Monjouick, this Difficulty was at last to be put upon me; and as some, not my Enemies, suppos'd, more out of Envy than good Will. However, when I came to the Place, and had carefully taken a View of it, though I was sensible enough of the Difficulty, I made my main Objection as to the Time for accomplishing it; for it was then between Nine and Ten, and the Guns were to be mounted by Day-light. Neither could I at present see any other Way to answer their Expectations, than by casting the Cannon down the Precipice, at all Hazards, to the Place below, where that fourth Battery was erected.
This wanted not Objections to; and therefore to answer my Purpose, as to point of Time, sixty Men more were order'd me, as much as possible to facilitate the Work by Numbers; and accordingly I set about it. Just as I was setting all Hands to work, and had given Orders to my Men to begin some Paces back, to make the Descent more gradual, and thereby render the Task a little more feasible, Major Collier, who commanded the Train, came to me; and perceiving the Difficulties of the Undertaking, in a Fret told me, I was impos'd upon; and vow'd he would go and find out Brigadier Petit, and let him know the Impossibility, as well as the Unreasonableness of the Task I was put upon. He had scarce utter'd those Words, and turn'd himself round to perform his Promise, when an unlucky Shot with a Musket-Ball wounded him through the Shoulder; upon which he was carry'd off, and I saw him not till some considerable time after.
By the painful Diligence, and the additional Compliment of Men, however, I so well succeeded (such was my great good Fortune) that the Way was made, and the Guns, by the Help of Fascines, and other lesser Preparations below, safely let down and mounted; so that that fourth Battery began to play upon the Town before Break of Day; and with all the Success that was propos'd.
In short, the Breach in a very few Days after was found wholly practicable; and all Things were got ready for a general Storm. Which Don Valasco the Governor being sensible of, immediately beat a Parley; upon which it was, among other Articles, concluded, that the Town should be surrender'd in three Days; and the better to ensure it, the Bastion, which commanded the Port St. Angelo, was directly put into our Possession.
But before the Expiration of the limited three Days, a very unexpected Accident fell out, which hasten'd the Surrender. Don Valasco, during his Government, had behav'd himself very arbitrarily, and thereby procur'd, as the Consequence of it, a large Proportion of ill will, not only among the Townsmen, but among the Miquelets, who had, in their Zeal to King Charles, flock'd from all Parts of Catalonia to the Siege of their Capital; and who, on the Signing of the Articles of Surrender, had found various Ways, being well acquainted with the most private Avenues, to get by Night into the Town: So that early in the Morning they began to plunder all that they knew Enemies to King Charles, or thought Friends to the Prince his Competitor.
Their main Design was upon Valasco the Governor, whom, if they could have got into their Hands, it was not to be question'd, but as far as his Life and Limbs would have serv'd, they would have sufficiently satiated their Vengeance upon. He expected no less; and therefore concealed himself, till the Earl of Peterborow could give Orders for his more safe and private Conveyance by Sea to Alicant.
Nevertheless, in the Town all was in the utmost Confusion; which the Earl of Peterborow, at the very first hearing, hastened to appease; with his usual Alacrity he rid all alone to Port St. Angelo, where at that time my self happen'd to be; and demanding to be admitted, the Officer of the Guard, under Fear and Surprise, open'd the Wicket, through which the Earl enter'd, and I after him.
Scarce had we gone a hundred Paces, when we saw a Lady of apparent Quality, and indisputable Beauty, in a strange, but most affecting Agony, flying from the apprehended Fury of the Miquelets; her lovely Hair was all flowing about her Shoulders, which, and the Consternation she was in, rather added to, than any thing diminish'd from the Charms of an Excess of Beauty. She, as is very natural to People in Distress, made up directly to the Earl, her Eyes satisfying her he was a Person likely to give her all the Protection she wanted. And as soon as ever she came near enough, in a Manner that declar'd her Quality before she spoke, she crav'd that Protection, telling him, the better to secure it, who it was that ask'd it. But the generous Earl presently convinc'd her, he wanted no Intreaties, having, before he knew her to be the Dutchess of Popoli, taken her by the Hand, in order to convey her through the Wicket which he enter'd at, to a Place of Safety without the Town.
I stay'd behind, while the Earl convey'd the distress'd Dutchess to her requested Asylum; and I believe it was much the longest Part of an Hour before he return'd. But as soon as ever he came back, he, and my self, at his Command, repair'd to the Place of most Confusion, which the extraordinary Noise full readily directed us to; and which happened to be on the Parade before the Palace. There it was that the Miquelets were making their utmost Efforts to get into their Hands the almost sole Occasion of the Tumult, and the Object of their raging Fury, the Person of Don Valasco, the late Governor.
It was here that the Earl preserv'd that Governor from the violent, but perhaps too just Resentments of the Miquelets; and, as I said before, convey'd him by Sea to Alicant. And, indeed, I could little doubt the Effect, or be any thing surpriz'd at the Easiness of the Task, when I saw, that wherever he appear'd the popular Fury was in a Moment allay'd, and that every Dictate of that General was assented to with the utmost Chearfulness and Deference. Valasco, before his Embarkment, had given Orders, in Gratitude to his Preserver, for all the Gates to be deliver'd up, tho' short of the stipulated Term; and they were accordingly so delivered, and our Troops took Possession so soon as ever that Governor was aboard the Ship that was to convey him to Alicant.
During the Siege of Barcelona, Brigadier Stanhope order'd a Tent to be pitch'd as near the Trenches as possibly could be with Safety; where he not only entertain'd the chief Officers who were upon Duty, but likewise the Catalonian Gentlemen who brought Miquelets to our Assistance. I remember I saw an old Cavalier, having his only Son with him, who appear'd a fine young Gentleman, about twenty Years of Age, go into the Tent, in order to dine with the Brigadier. But whilst they were at Dinner, an unfortunate Shot came from the Bastion of St. Antonio, and intirely struck off the Head of the Son. The father immediately rose up, first looking down upon his headless Child, and then lifting up his Eyes to Heaven, whilst the Tears ran down his Cheeks, he cross'd himself, and only said, Fiat voluntas tua, and bore it with a wonderful Patience. 'Twas a sad Spectacle, and truly it affects me now whilst I am writing.
The Earl of Peterborow, tho' for some time after the Revolution he had been employ'd in civil Affairs, return'd to the military Life with great Satisfaction, which was ever his Inclination. Brigadier Stanhope, who was justly afterwards created an Earl, did well deserve this Motto, Tam Marte quam Mercurio; for truly he behav'd, all the time he continu'd in Spain, as if he had been inspir'd with Conduct; for the Victory at Almanar was intirely owing to him; and likewise at the Battle of Saragosa he distinguish'd himself with great Bravery. That he had not Success at Bruhega was not his Fault; for no Man can resist Fate; for 'twas decreed by Heaven that Philip should remain King of Spain, and Charles to be Emperor of Germany. Yet each of these Monarchs have been ungrateful to the Instruments which the Almighty made use of to preserve them upon their Thrones; for one had not been King of Spain but for France; and the other had not been Emperor but for England.
Barcelona, the chief Place in Catalonia, being thus in our Hands, as soon as the Garrison, little inferior to our Army, had march'd out with Drums beating, Colours flying, &c. according to the Articles, Charles the Third made his publick Entry, and was proclaim'd King, and receiv'd with the general Acclamations, and all other Demonstrations of Joy suitable to that great Occasion.
Some Days after which, the Citizens, far from being satiated with their former Demonstrations of their Duty, sent a Petition to the King, by proper Deputies for that Purpose appointed, desiring Leave to give more ample Instances of their Affections in a public Cavalcade. The King granted their Request, and the Citizens, pursuant thereto, made their Preparations.
On the Day appointed, the King, plac'd in a Balcony belonging to the House of the Earl of Peterborow, appear'd ready to honour the Show. The Ceremonial, to speak nothing figuratively, was very fine and grand: Those of the first Rank made their Appearance in decent Order, and upon fine Horses; and others under Arms, and in Companies, march'd with native Gravity and Grandeur, all saluting his Majesty as they pass'd by, after the Spanish Manner, which that Prince return'd with the Movement of his Hand to his Mouth; for the Kings of Spain are not allow'd to salute, or return a Salute, by any Motion to, or of, the Hat.
After these follow'd several Pageants; the first of which was drawn by Mules, set off to the Height with stateliest Feathers, and adorn'd with little Bells. Upon the Top of this Pageant appear'd a Man dress'd all in Green; but in the Likeness of a Dragon. The Pageant making a Stop just over-against the Balcony where the King sate, the Dragonical Representative diverted him with great Variety of Dancings, the Earl of Peterborow all the time throwing out Dollars by Handfuls among the Populace, which they as constantly receiv'd with the loud Acclamation and repeated Cries of Viva, Viva, Carlos Terceros, Viva la Casa d'Austria.
When that had play'd its Part, another Pageant, drawn as before, made a like full Stop before the same Balcony. On this was plac'd a very large Cage, or Aviary, the Cover of which, by Springs contriv'd for that Purpose, immediately flew open, and out of it a surprizing Flight of Birds of various Colours. These, all amaz'd at their sudden Liberty, which I took to be the Emblem intended, hover'd a considerable space of time over and about their Place of Freedom, chirping, singing, and otherwise testifying their mighty Joy for their so unexpected Enlargement.
There were many other Pageants; but having little in them very remarkable, I have forgot the Particulars. Nevertheless, every one of them was dismiss'd with the like Acclamations of Viva, Viva; the Whole concluding with Bonfires and Illuminations common on all such Occasions.
I cannot here omit one very remarkable Instance of the Catholick Zeal of that Prince, which I was soon after an Eye-witness of. I was at that time in the Fruit-Market, when the King passing by in his Coach, the Host (whether by Accident or Contrivance I cannot say) was brought, at that very Juncture, out of the great Church, in order, as I after understood, to a poor sick Woman's receiving the Sacrament. On Sight of the Host the King came out of his Coach, kneel'd down in the Street, which at that time prov'd to be very dirty, till the Host pass'd by; then rose up, and taking the lighted Flambeau from him who bore it, he follow'd the Priest up a streight nasty Alley, and there up a dark ordinary Pair of Stairs, where the poor sick Woman lay. There he stay'd till the whole Ceremony was over, when, returning to the Door of the Church, he very faithfully restor'd the lighted Flambeau to the Fellow he had taken it from, the People all the while crying out Viva, Viva; an Acclamation, we may imagine, intended to his Zeal, as well as his Person.
Another remarkable Accident, of a much more moral Nature, I must, injustice to the Temperance of that, in this truly inimitable People, recite. I was one Day walking in one of the most populous Streets of that City, where I found an uncommon Concourse of People, of all Sorts, got together; and imagining so great a Croud could not be assembled on a small Occasion, I prest in among the rest; and after a good deal of Struggling and Difficulty, reach'd into the Ring and Centre of that mix'd Multitude. But how did I blush? with what Confusion did I appear? when I found one of my own Countrymen, a drunken Granadier, the attractive Loadstone of all that high and low Mob, and the Butt of all their Merriment? It will be easily imagin'd to be a Thing not a little surprizing to one of our Country, to find that a drunken Man should be such a wonderful Sight; However, the witty Sarcasms that were then by high and low thrown upon that senseless Creature, and as I interpreted Matters, me in him, were so pungent, that if I did not curse my Curiosity, I thought it best to withdraw my self as fast as Legs could carry me away.