By Charles J Esdaile
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Additional resources for The Duke of Wellington and the Command of the Spanish Army 1812–14
With this in mind, not to mention an eye to his own advancement, he embarked upon the campaign to strengthen the government that was eventually to lead to its complete collapse and the notorious duel between the Foreign Secretary and Lord Castlereagh. In the meantime, Canning was determined to do whatever he could to lessen the chance of further Peninsular disasters. When Garay raised the subject of the command-in-chief, he therefore chose to take his words at face value. 29 When Wellesley was sent out to replace Frere, his instructions induded an injunction to investigate the possibility of having Wellington invested with the supreme command.
27 The following day Wellington developed these ideas further in a letter to Lord Castlereagh, which he began by demonstrating not only that the allies were outnumbered and outclassed, but also that the Spanish armies in northern Spain could not take the field on account of their want of cavalry. In addition to increasing the numerical advantage enjoyed by the French, this effectively ruled out the possibility of an offensive in the south, for the campaign of Talavera had shown beyond all doubt that success was unattainable unless steps were taken to neutralise the enemy forces in Old Castile.
107 On occasion, too, they were cheated or robbed by the inhabitants. IOB Yet other testimonies allege that the Spaniards were by nature affable and generous. 110 Meanwhile, the British sense of superiority was fuelled not only by the failings of the Spanish army, but also by the poverty and backwardness which they saw around them. 1ll As Grattan ruefully remarked, they therefore failed to moderate their behaviour, stillless to placate the feelings of the inhabitants. ll2 So insufferable was their arrogance, indeed, that they sometimes refused even to acknowledge that there was any reason for them to be unpopular.