Research Subjects: 19th Century Society

 

Chapter I: The Background of the Peninsular War

Chapter II: The Romanticising of Spain and Spaniards

Chapter III: The Romanticising of the British Mission in Spain

Chapter IV: Britons' Reaction to the Peninsular War's Outcome

Epilogue

Bibliography

Notes

British Popular Opinion of the Peninsular War: 1808-1814

By Ignacio Paz

Prologue

As a Spaniard living in France, I became fascinated with the Peninsular War of 1808-14; as a Spaniard living in the UK, I became fascinated with the strong attachment that Britons have with my home country. I began to wonder if the two were somehow connected and the fruit of my endeavour is this dissertation.

This dissertation hopes to show how the British attachment to Spain began during the Peninsular War. It will demonstrate how the main attitude of British public opinion to the conflict was a romantic one. By examining the press and other institutions of the time, it will reveal how and why the British public romanticized the country, its people and the British mission that was sent to help Spaniards drive the French out of the Iberian Peninsula.

The importance of British public opinion of the war is not its effect on it, as it had none, but its ability to drive attitudes that lasted after the conflict and well into the nineteenth century. This includes the fascination that writers of the Romantic Movement had over Spain, which lead to hundreds of written works on the subject. Public opinion also drove the attitude that Britain had a new “moral legitimacy” for involving itself in international affairs in the name of liberty.[1]

In the last couple of decades the British participation in the Peninsular War has become one of the most popular Napoleonic research topics within the Anglo-Saxon world. However, while the colossal output of research has been incredibly important, it is overwhelmingly centred on either military or political sources. This dissertation hopes to add a new perspective by examining what British popular opinion about the conflict was like; that is, non-political and non-military.

Historian Charles Esdaile, the world’s renowned Peninsular expert, was the first to realise the flaws of historiographical debates that centre the war on either politics or military, and his Peninsular War: A New History was an attempt to combine the two.[2] But even this ignores the general British public’s attitude, and makes generalisations like “though the British, Spaniards and Portuguese hated one another, in the end they hated Napoleon still more.”[3] That might be true of their respective armies and of Spanish civilians, but not of the British public. Esdaile’s more recent publication, Peninsular Eyewitnesses, does a better job at showcasing more views of ordinary citizens, but on the Spanish side, not the British side.[4] Esdaile’s most relevant work to this dissertation is, in fact, a lecture that he gave at the Bicentenary of the Peninsular War.[5] Though it is barely 10 pages long, the lecture deals with why the Peninsular War was a turning point for British military support, and why the conflict created a “cult following,” as he describes it. This was due to Britain having become “a largely literate society and therefore one that was more avid for news of current affairs than ever before,” which supports this dissertation’s use of newspapers, journals, poems and other works of the literary field as primary evidence of British public opinion.

His lecture also discusses how the Peninsular War helped to change attitudes toward the British military, making it appear more humane, as the war was regarded as a just war, one “which there could be no doubt of the rectitude of Britain’s cause, a war which in the end saw Britain achieve victory at the cost of an effort which, if still substantial, was by no means disproportionate.” This dissertation’s look at the British public’s romanticising of the British mission in Spain would not be very noteworthy if it didn’t contrast to the negative attitudes that the military had before. Linda Colley’s landmark Britons is also extremely useful in understanding attitudes toward the military, as well as understanding the Britain of the time and specifically how Britons looked at themselves.[6]

Along with journal articles on the Romantic and Nationalist movements, I was helped in writing this dissertation by a few other secondary sources. Diego Saglia’s work on British Romanticism about Spain indicates that the orientalising and mystification of Spaniards began during the Peninsular War.[7] Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities showed me the incredible power of the written word in helping people to conceptualise nations and reminded me that nationalism in the nineteenth-century was a progressive ideology on the left of the political spectrum.[8]

There were, unfortunately, no opinion polls during the years of the Peninsular War, but I believe I have a strong understanding of the levels of support throughout the conflict thanks to primary research. The majority of primary sources are newspaper clippings, such as letters to the editor and commentaries, and articles from the varying leading journals and magazines of the time. This is very fitting, since papers “did not lead opinion, they fed it.”[9] By going through hundreds of these written works, I was able to gain a sense of the kind of support the Peninsular War had among the general public. I will attempt to show the complexity of popular opinion toward the Peninsular War, as Britons’ reasons for supporting the war varied greatly. And even when criticism of the war effort appeared after British defeats, the majority of the public was still very supportive of helping Spain, and laid the blame on the British and Spanish governments’ handling of the conflict.

Although the aim of this dissertation is to provide an overall picture of British attitudes toward the conflict and its location, I do not pretend to have captured the opinion of the whole of British society. By “popular opinion,” I am, in fact, limiting it to those who participated in the literary field, either by contributing written works or by reading them – essentially the literate class of British society. This is not to dismiss the importance of those who were not fortunate enough to read or write, but because finding their opinions during the time is next to impossible without a time machine.

I originally intended to divide this dissertation by important dates, such as the Battles of Bailén, Coruña or Vitoria, but I quickly realized that was impractical. After all, I had wanted to avoid a military angle, and updates sent to Britain from the front could take anywhere from a week to more than a month. The overarching element in public opinion was a romanticizing of different aspects of the war, and I decided to have the dissertation laid out in a similar manner. The main bulk of the dissertation is divided into three parts: the first on the romanticizing of Spaniards and Spain, the second on the romanticizing of the British mission to Spain, and the third on how the British public dealt with the disappointing outcome of the war and how it contributed to the overall romanticizing of Spain. There will also be a short chapter at the beginning on the historical background of the Peninsular War, in order to help the reader place things into context.

Chapter I: The Background of the Peninsular War

Few European royal families during the Napoleonic era were free of black sheep: Tsar Paul of Russia, King George III of Great Britain and Queen Maria I of Portugal were all three mentally unstable, while many other rulers had a record of stupidity. But the royal family of Spain “set a record of viciousness and moral degradation.”[10] After the enlightened despotism of Charles III, the Spanish people had the unfortunate luck to be ruled by his piggish son, Charles IV, though “ruled” would be too generous of a description. Charles IV was a classic Bourbon ruler, devoting most of his energy to making clocks and other oddities. The real ruler was the Prime Minister Manuel de Godoy. Godoy had quickly risen as the favourite at court, helped by his lover, the Queen Maria Luisa, an affair that almost everybody in Spain was aware of except Charles IV.

Though Manuel de Godoy was skilled with diplomacy, having made peace with France in 1795 and subsequently an alliance, he was considered ruthless and immoral by much of the court and the nation, and his outspoken manners made him many enemies. His most profiled enemy was Prince Ferdinand, who also despised his parents. After gathering a group of anti-Godoyists around him, called “el Cuarto del Principe” he attempted a coup, but Godoy quickly learned of the plot and promptly informed King Charles IV, who, in turn, threw his son in jail and tried him for treason. After a verdict of not guilty in January 1808, Ferdinand was released, though kept at a distance and mistrusted by the court.[11]

Napoleon read about the Spanish royal family’s dramas with disgust – the idea of the Spanish people being stuck with despicable rulers like the Bourbons proved to him the just cause of his Empire’s expansion. And because of that, Napoleon also read the updates with an eye for opportunity, as he had always taken the alliance with Spain with a grain of salt, never quite trusting the rulers he viewed with such disdain.

The opportunity Napoleon had been looking for arose, when Portugal refused to enforce his Continental System, which would have required the Portuguese to stop all trade with Britain. Convincing the Spanish government to let the French army across Spain, on its way to conquer Portugal, was hardly an effort. On the contrary, Godoy readily agreed, with the stipulation that a piece of Portugal would become his principality. The deal was finalised in the Treaty of Fontainebleau, signed on October 29, 1807. Less than two months later the French captured Lisbon. However, Godoy, fearful that Napoleon would renege on the treaty, considered using the Spanish people against French forces. Godoy’s fears were justified, as Napoleon, using the pretence of Portugal, poured more and more troops into northern Spain, quietly taking control of Barcelona and Pamplona. Soon there were over 100,000 French soldiers in the country.

The Spanish court, as usual, was slow to react, and, in the end, decided that resistance was futile, choosing instead to fly to the American colonies. They made it only 48 kilometres outside of Madrid, when a mob of soldiers and peasants invaded the palace they were staying at in the town of Aranjuez, and demanded the blood of Godoy, who was seen as the cause of Spain’s current predicament. The court in turn pressured Charles IV to abdicate in favour of his son, Ferdinand, and the King soon acquiesced. The newly proclaimed Ferdinand VII decided to have the court head back to Madrid, which was by this point occupied by the French under Marshal Murat. Now safe, Charles IV attempted to regain his throne by appealing to Napoleon through letters. The Emperor now had his opportunity, and played the competing Bourbon royals against each other, tricking them into coming for a meeting at the town of Bayonne near the French border, without each knowing the other would be there. As soon as Ferdinand arrived Napoleon placed him under arrest and ordered him to abdicate his throne and return it to his father. Ferdinand eventually agreed, and Charles IV, following a deal he had made with France, subsequently handed the throne of Spain to Napoleon. Charles IV and his wife, along with Godoy, left for a life in exile, while Ferdinand was placed under house arrest in France.

Back in Madrid, rumours spread about the French kidnapping of their monarchs, and when French forces tried to escort the remaining members of the royal family, it confirmed many Spaniards’ fears. The anxious onlookers attacked the soldiers, who, in turn, shot and dispersed the crowds. The subsequent attacks of the next days became immortalised as the Second and Third of May. Then, to the shock of most of Spain and to Britons, Napoleon placed his brother Joseph on the throne of Spain on June 15, 1808. Upon learning of the turn of events, the different regions of Spain took up arms against the French, either by forming militias known as guerrilla fighters, or more organized armies. The northern province of Asturias revolted as well, and the Asturian government sent a deputation to London, to try and receive some form of aid from the British; they arrived on June 8 to throngs of fans and welcoming parties. A month later, on July 16, one of the provincial armies, the Army of Andalusia, attacked French troops near Bailén, and gave the French Empire its first defeat. All these updates Britons read with wonder and admiration.[12]

Chapter II: The Romanticising of Spain and Spaniards

Britons had never fully considered Spaniards as enemies during the time Spain was allied to France. Britons saw them as being dragged into a conflict they had no wish to be a part of. It was the fault of the degenerate character of the Spanish monarchy, and their Prime Minister Godoy, whom Napoleon controlled.[13]

Between the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, and the Peninsular War, British historiography on Spain had been predominantly negative. Its Inquisition was depicted as an evil machine of torture chambers and mass executions run collectively by the Church and the despotic Spanish royals. Spain brought to mind an image of “repression, brutality, religious and political intolerance, and intellectual and artistic backwardness.”[14] Beginning in the late eighteenth-century, however, there was a growing perception that the people of Spain, unlike its rulers and religious orders, were not part of that system, and, in fact, Britons pitied them for their sorry state. They saw Spaniards as held hostage in a regressive world, thanks to despotism; Spain had to obey “the dictate of a tyrannical and odious authority.”[15]

The Spanish uprisings that began in May 1808, quickly became a fascination to Britons and “Spanish fever” swept the country for the rest of the year; everyone wanted to read the latest updates on the situation in the newspapers, or acquaint themselves more with the patriotic people of Spain by reading books and journal articles on the subject.[16] The Times newspaper even sent one of the world’s first war correspondents, Henry Crabb Robinson, to Spain and Spanish newspapers were sent to Britain to be translated and reprinted for Britons. In short, the cause of Spain was “the cause of every man in England.”[17]

But what caused such profound admiration in the British public? They saw in the Spanish uprisings the chance for Spain to liberate itself, not just from the French, but from the despotism that plagued most of Europe. Spain would be the “theatre, on which the contest between liberty and tyranny is to be determined.”[18] Britons began calling for their government to help Spain in its struggle. Support for Spain was so large that it transcended party lines. The left-leaning Whig Party had traditionally favoured peace with Napoleon, because they still saw in France the opportunity for liberalism to blossom on the European continent. If Napoleon was overthrown and the Bourbons restored, the chances for such blossoming would be diminished. But now there was a new opportunity – Spain. Spain could show Europe how to have a peaceful introduction of a liberal constitutional monarchy, where the people would rule. For the Tories, helping Spain was a practical issue, as it would increase Britain’s chances of defeating Napoleon.[19]  

Editorials from the summer of 1808 reveal that most Britons had similar aspirations for Spain as the Whig Party. One example is an article from the Leeds newspaper: “under despotic monarchies, the cause of the Monarch is the cause of the Monarch alone – the people feel little sympathy in what they do not consider a belonging to themselves.” Spaniards’ ability to revolt against France, without a monarch to help, them showed that “Nations may at length do what despotic Monarchs have attempted in vain.”[20] A Spanish win would prove that democratic values were better than autocratic ones. Of course, this view rested on the British imagination of the Spanish fight being a totally nationalist one.

Britons only had newspaper reports to go by, and they substantiated the image of Spain as a nation-at-arms. There were more reports of Spanish civilians, of all social standings, contributing to the “patriot cause” than there were of actual Spanish armies. As one article from The Times said: “it is more correct to say that the Spaniards became soldiers in performing [glorious and astonishing exertions], than that they performed them because they were soldiers.”[21]

James Gillray, The Spanish Bull Fight or The Corsican
Matador in Danger
, published in London by Hannah
Humphrey on 11 July, 1808. British Museum.

Satirical prints, which had become very popular during the reign of George III, are a good way of seeing the opinions of the time[22], and one, in particular, has been frequently cited, called The Spanish Bull Fight or The Corsican Matador in Danger.[23] This satirical print, though a bit over-dramatic, demonstrates the high expectations the British public had over the Spaniards’ ability to kick the French out of Spain. The scene is of a bullring, with different European rulers looking into the ring from the stands, including George III, the Emperor of Austria, the Regent of Portugal, the Tsar of Russia, the King of Prussia and the King of Sweden. The focus of the drawing is the bullfight itself, which shows a bull, representing Spain, having just trampled and killed Joseph Bonaparte, tossing Napoleon into the air. Napoleon’s behind comically squirts blood, and he holds half a sword. The other half has been plunged into the bull that obviously was too strong for Napoleon and his sword. The Spanish bull’s impressiveness is increased by the sight of three dying bulls on the ground to the right. One is labelled “Prussian Bull Beef,” another “Dutch Bull Beef” and the last “Danish Bull Beef.” At the very top of the print lies a quote from a travel book of 1770: “The Spanish Bull is so remarkable for Spirit that unless the Matador strikes him Dead at the First Blow, the Bull is Sure to destroy him”. This printing was reproduced several times during the summer of 1808, because it embodied the hopes and expectations Britons had of the Spanish.

On June 15, Canning indicated to Parliament that the government would aid the Spanish Patriots, and by the end of the month supplies were transported to the province of Asturias. On July 4, King George III ordered all hostilities against Spain terminated.[24] Shortly after, Sir Arthur Wellsley, the future Duke of Wellington, led an advance guard of troops into Portugal, where he joined the rest of a British army that kicked the French forces out of that country. At the same time, a Spanish army defeated the French at the Battle of Bailén.

Though reasons for supporting the Spaniards were diverse, most people shared the same expectation: that Spain’s patriotism would be no match for the French. In September of 1808, “it was considered most probable that the Spaniards alone would soon drive the French out of the peninsula.”[25] And with a little help from Britain, Napoleon’s troops and his brother Joseph would be run out of the country by the end of summer. It would be the beginning of the end for the French Empire.

James Gillray, Spanish Patriots attacking the French Banditti; Loyal Britons lending a lift, published in London by Hannah Humphrey on 15 August 1808. British Museum.

One satirical print shows the kind of war the British public was expecting to have.[26] It’s a battle scene in the Spanish countryside, with mountains nearby. To the left is the Spanish side, made up of a variety of people; alongside regular Spanish troops there are nuns, aristocratic men and women, monks, and even a bishop. Most of them are passionately charging to the right and attacking the French army, whose soldiers all look scared, and in the background many of them are fleeing up a hill. While there are some truths to the drawing – there were indeed incidents of monks attacking French soldiers throughout the Peninsular War – it is all a gross exaggeration. Aristocratic women never helped to load cannons, nor did bishops lead a charge on horseback. In the midst of it all, are Spanish banners: one of them is inscribed with ‘Vive la Liberté’, which undoubtedly played into the minds of Britons who felt the war was an ideological battle between liberty and despotism. This print not only reveals the expectations Britons had of the Spanish war effort, but that they, specifically, did not expect British soldiers to be needed much. After all, the title says “Britons lending a lift,” implying that they are playing a small secondary role, and in the whole drawing there appears to be only one British solder participating in the battle. Otherwise, the only other British presence is the barrels of British gunpowder, which was a metaphor for the aid the British government was sending to Spain. Britain comes off looking as a humanitarian nation, as there is little self-interest (with only one soldier’s life at risk) – they are aiding a nation fighting to attain a liberty similar to the one Britons’ enjoyed.

Part of the reason the British public’s esteem for Spaniards was so high, was that reports on the affairs in Spain were very often exaggerated. The general Sir John Moore found Spanish affairs to be “in a very different state from what I expected or from what they are thought to be in England.”[27] Moore confided to his brother that the true state of affairs (that Spain was not a nation-at-arms) was concealed by the government “to prevents its sinking the nation into despair.” This concealment is important in understanding the romanticising of Spain, because the public’s imaginations of Spaniards were constantly stoked by the daily reports of their widespread patriotism. As one commentator put it: “defeats are metamorphosed into victories – and partial victories, with all the extravagance of hyperbole, are blazoned into a defeat of an enemy’s whole army.”[28] Britons’ hopes that the Spanish revolution would result in the destruction of Napoleon and the introduction of British-style democracy on the continent would have been reined in if they had known the full picture.

Instead, Britons’ hopes had no limits, and resulted in glorifying the “Patriots of Spain.” Poems and songs were written in their honour, usually with mythical references to Greek gods and historical references to Spain’s former glory, which are all elements of Romantic writings.[29] One poem titled “A Pindaric Effusion to the Cause of Spain and Europe” calls Spain’s cause as “the good old cause of liberty; of ancient Greece and early Rome.”[30] Images of unified nations were also common, as one poem by a William Thomas Fitzgerald shows: “Germans! Italians! Hear the glorious call, Iberia’s quarrel is the cause of all! Britannia points – and marks the noble view!”[31] While another poem describes Spain as “A nation uprising in arms!”[32] Early Nationalism was seen as a way to unify a people under progressive ideal, so Britons hoped Italians and Germans would follow the example of Spain and fight the French in the process of unifying their respective nations. The British public’s passion for Spain extended beyond the pen, as thousands of regiments of volunteers offered to “extend their services to any part of Spain.”[33]

Britons imagined Spaniards in the way they wanted to imagine them, because they were, on the whole, a mystery. Much of the public’s opinion of Spaniards before the Peninsular War had been shaped by the negative historiography of the previous centuries, but recent events, that shined light on their character, showed that that historiography was flawed. There was a sudden thirst from Britons to re-learn Spanish history, and dozens of books would be published for the next several years – and not just history books, but travel books as well, and most of them quick to point out the deep gratitude the Spanish had for Britons. In a review of Sir John Carr’s “Travels in Spain” the reviewer states that “the popularity of the English in Spain was evident in every place to which the traveller came.”[34] There were articles on religious history, and on the kind of vegetation Spain had, one newspaper printed a chart representing the number of leagues between major Spanish cities and Madrid, to give people a sense of the geography.[35] The maddening examinations of Spain were inconclusive, however. Some citied Spaniards’ warmth, other their coldness; some said they were lazy, while others said they were the best labourers. For all intents and purposes, Spain was still a mystery by the end of the Peninsular War.

As well as a renewed interest in the history of Spain, Britons wanted to know about the land and its people. But, once again, Spaniards were often described in rather ambiguous terms. One article begins by noting that Spanish men have a “peculiar character” while the women “are distinguishable for the warmth of their constitutions.”[36] The ambiguity of such descriptions was due to a variety of reasons. As explained earlier, British historiography on Spain before the Peninsular War had been primarily negative, but when Britons found themselves cheering Spanish patriotism against Napoleon they began to perceive Spaniards as compatriots in the ideological battle against despotism and, as the British army coordinated attacks on the French with Spanish armies, as compatriots on the battlefield, there was an attempt to re-examine the Spanish in a more positive light. The attempt to explain how a people, once seen as backward and stupid, suddenly were seen as one of the bravest on the continent, resulted in the romanticising of Spain. Spain’s ruggedness, its purity, was seen as a boon to Spaniards – their relationship to nature was bound with their sense of patriotism. One soldier writes in a letter that the Spaniards “make a better use” of nature’s gifts than their Portuguese neighbours, demonstrating how Spain’s simplicity was conceptualized as a good things, in comparison to the rest of Western Europe.[37] It is what allowed Spaniards to be more susceptible to national fervour. But the British admiration for Spain may indicate a general anxiety within British society over their own relationship with nature, revealed by Luddism.

The Luddite movement began in 1811, when textile workers, who were under economic pressure from increased production for the war effort while receiving low wages, felt threatened by new automated machines that did not require skilled labourers. Numbers widely vary on how many workers lost their jobs because of these machines, but it certainly created enough fear for groups of workers to coordinate attacks on mills that used them. Though it began in Nottinghamshire, the movement spread throughout England by 1812, and was considered dangerous enough by the government that they sent troops to quell the unrest, leading to battles in Lancashire.[38] According to historian Eric Hobsbawm’s “Machine Breakers” article, published in 1964, there were, in fact, more British troops fighting the Luddites than there were in the Peninsular War.[39] However, its not the strength of Luddism during the period of the Peninsular War that is of relevance to this dissertation, but the underlying sentiments that helped carry the movement forward – a distaste for machinery. While the Luddism of 1811-12 was not explicitly against industrialisation, like its later imitators, there is a clear link between the Luddites and early Romantics.

The Romantic Movement was, among many other things, a response to rapid industrialisation. There was a new emphasis on the pleasures of the aesthetics of the natural world, and on an individual’s search for strength through the imagination and exploration. Caspar David Friedrich’s painting Wanderer above the Sea of Fog is a classic example of the Romantic’s yearning to explore the unknown, and leave behind modern society, which valued rationalisation and practical things like machines. Modern to romantics meant a mundane society that ran life like clockwork, with few aesthetic beauties to appreciate. What the Luddite movement reveals is that the disregard for machines was not limited to the upper class Romantics, and the sentiment was strongly felt by the working class as well. It is therefore likely that many workers and their families would have shared the view of Spain as romantic because of the country’s lag in industrialisation. The classic view of Spain as backward, rural and untamed was now seen as an opportunity to appreciate the aesthetic wonders that the rest of Western Europe had lost. What’s more, it needed to be recorded, which would be the task of Anglo-Saxon Romantics, who, after the Peninsular War, flocked to Spain to experience the country’s magic before it too disappeared though industrialisation. They would record their experiences in Spain decades after the Peninsular War’s end in 1814, in the form of art and literature, perhaps the most famous being Tales of the Alhambra by the American Washington Irving.[40] But it was during the Peninsular War that the British public began to imagine Spain as romantic, spurred on by the sentiments of the early Romantics and the Luddites of 1811-12. 

Curiosity about Spaniards extended to British women as well. A month after the Second of May revolt, the women’s magazine La Belle Assemblée published an article on the character of Spaniards as current events were “drawing upon Spain the attention of the world.” The first third is a very detailed list of facts about Spain, such as the size of its area and population (148,000 square miles containing 11 million people), government structure, and the diverse vegetation and weather of the different regions. The rest of the article is an elaborate description of the Spanish disposition: they are witty, imaginative, patient, fiery, brave, sincere, compassionate, respectful, proud but not arrogant, and hard working.[41]  The end result of the article is an extreme romanticising of Spaniards. The grave characteristic of Spaniards, which before the Peninsular War would probably have been seen as dullness, is now evidence to the British of their greatness, as “gravity is the mark of nations and persons who think, and preserve their own dignity.” Demonstrating one’s intelligence through “the art of conversation” is regarded as French and arrogant, and the contrast to the more simple and quiet Spaniards was another reason for their being appreciated. The article also trumps the long-held British belief that Spaniards are lazy by citing many of their labours and industry, and instead claims that only Castilians are lazy.[42]

The magazine also turned out an article specifically on Spanish women, describing their fashion, their hairdos, features and characteristics. But even this article results in a rather confusing image – Spanish women were once in “a state of abject slavery” it claims, though they are now known for their “success in the enterprises of a lover.”[43] It is small wonder that after the Peninsular War, thousands of Britons would visit Spain, and there were even some that went during the war, such as Lord And Lady Holland.[44] Britons needed to go and see for themselves what the supposedly wild and mystical land of Spain was like.

The characteristics of Spaniards as lazy become more pronounced whenever the war was not going well, such as at the beginning of 1809 when General Sir John Moore died in a battle that ended in retreat, and much of 1810 and 1811 was a stalemate. However, even though there was a growing number of Britons against the Peninsular War, most of them were against it because they didn’t believe they could win against Napoleon. They were not necessarily against the “Spanish cause” of attaining their liberty. “That Bonaparte will ultimately succeed, we apprehend is highly probably” stated the Whig Edinburgh Review.[45] They questioned the Spaniard’s ability to win, as they had “done nothing to take advantage of their union, their numbers, and their supposed zeal in the cause.”[46] Or they blamed the Spanish and British governments for their meddling in military directions.

Although Spain enjoyed a more celebrated image by the British when the Peninsular War began, its stereotypical image from previous British historiography as backward, and its people controlled by the Catholic Church, regenerated itself as the conflict dragged on. The main reason why the British public had believed the conflict would be over quickly was because of the strong Spanish patriotism displayed on the Second of May. By the end of the year such expectations were more or less gone and some Britons blamed Spaniards. As scepticism about “Spanish patriotism” grew, so did the stereotypical image of Spain.

In Robert Semple’s A Second Journey in Spain: in the Spring of 1809 Spanish superstition and ignorance is repeatedly described and deplored. The most shocking to Semple was the Catholic Church’s use of certain images of the Virgin Mary in Spain, which he argued were, in fact, adaptations of pre-Christian superstitions. One example is an image of the Virgin appearing to an exhausted Saint Domingo and Saint Francisco. She restores their energy by giving them milk from her breasts, an act “that no modest earthly woman would assume,” Semple adds.[47] The perceived blasphemy of Spanish Catholics by Britons is best demonstrated in the monthly journal The Missionary Magazine, that published an excerpt from Semple’s book, commenting that it showed “the deplorable ignorance and superstition that still prevail in that country, and should lead all Christians to pray, that whatever may be the issue of the present contest in Spain, it would please the Lord to enlighten that miserable people, and deliver them from such state of horrid darkness and delusion”.[48] Though highly critical of Spaniards, the comment reveals that Britons wanted Spaniards to be enlightened. Spain’s struggle for liberty was seen as the process for its enlightenment.

Although some of the conclusions Britons made regarding Spaniards were not positive, they were more often paradoxical, which could be why works on the topic were constantly being produced – there was no one clear definition. Spain, in general, would remain a mystery to Britons long after the Peninsular War, due to contradictory descriptions. Perhaps it is this essence of mystery that Spain stubbornly continued to have, even after intense British investigation, that led to its romanticizing during the Peninsular War, and long after the conflict’s conclusion.

One of the effects of the British romanticising of Spain is that the country became a popular destination for British travellers, wanting a thrill in the “wild, unpoached game reserve of Europe” that was still close enough to Britain to be easily accessible.[49] Britons were also the main perpetrators of the myth that the Peninsular War was a National War. While mystery was the main factor in the romanticising of Spain, it was the clarity of Britain’s moral authority in intervening in Spain that led to the romanticising of the British military mission of the Peninsular War.

Chapter III: The Romanticising of the British Mission in Spain

Britons had for a long time, like most societies, looked for evidence of divine will in their policy-making, but not until the Napoleonic Wars did they link their nation so closely to God. There was a growing belief that they were a chosen people, destined to liberate Europe from Napoleon’s tyranny, even if they had to fight him alone.

Before 1789, Britain’s army only numbered around 40,000, and it relied on foreign mercenaries. The Napoleonic Wars changed the army’s structure. Britain had to counter the national armies of France by recruiting large numbers of Britons into the armed forces, and profound fears of a French invasion from 1803 to 1805 pressured the government to expand the army and militias. By 1814 the army numbered around 250,000 men, while the Royal Navy went from 16,000 to about 140,000 by 1812, and volunteer, part-time units and militias totalled around half a million men by 1804. British society was forced to view soldiers differently. Before 1789, most regarded them “the scum of the earth,” as the Duke of Wellington once described them. But by 1808, Britons depended on soldiers like never before for the security of their livelihood, and democratic way of living. Britons had to “re-imagine plebeian soldiers as potential heroes and as patriots.”[50]

The “re-imagining” of the soldier occurred through articles and poems that praised their glory and character.[51] Soldiers in the Peninsular War, specifically, were also able to write back to their families on a scale never seen before. Such correspondence helped to humanise their mission in Spain, as Britons felt closer to the soldiers. The Morning Chronicle, for example, published an extract of a letter from an officer in Spain, who recalled how a comrade of his died in battle, “whilst gallantly leading on his men.” But more importantly, he died “in the cause of his country, and of humanity.”[52] Letters like these helped to ensure to Britons were emotionally invested in the mission.

The rightness of the British intervention in Spain has already been discussed in the previous chapter, but its importance to popular support for the war cannot be underestimated. Though helping the Spanish defeat the French would help the British in the long-term, in the short-term Britons did not see any self-interest in helping Spain. They were being selfless; helping Spaniards for a just cause, and at the same time Britain could share in the glory. As one article eloquently put it:

Great Britain never exhibited a more edifying spectacle to surrounding nations; she never displayed, at any period of her various annals, a more elevated virtue, or disinterested patriotism, than in the part which she took at the commencement of the Spanish struggle[53]

And one reader in the Morning Post argued about Britain’s need to provide a lot more help to the Spaniards, by contrasting images of right and wrong – Machiavelli was “Bonaparte’s master in politics” while Britons had providence to guide them.[54]

The hope that Britons would be able to bask in the same glory as Spaniards, is demonstrated by one newspaper’s commentary on how Spaniards “now behold the British legions flying to their assistance, and burning to participate in their perils and fatigues; they will confide in them as brothers, conscious of the near affinity of the cause for which both stand forward to contend.”[55]

Even many who did not support the war and favoured peace could not help recognizing the “resplendent success” of certain battles of the British army in Spain. Critics tended to trace any faults of the army to bureaucracy, which got in the way of generals carrying out their plans.[56]

British works on the Peninsular War often have the recurring theme or motif of the divine. One of the clearest examples of Briton’s desire for their peninsular mission to have been preordained, is when The Missionary Magazine printed a thirty-year-old poem by William Cowper in 1810. It followed an introduction with the title “On the Fates of Spain” and described Cowper’s poem on a conqueror being stopped in Spain as a prophecy. Its prophetic characteristic is, in fact, very compelling: a prince similar to “imperial Philip” is “Trick’d out of all his royalty by art” but “at this hour the conqu’ror feels the proof” as “The wreath he won drew down an instant curse” and now “The fretting plague is in the public purse”. The prince mentioned could be the Bourbon royal house of Spain, specifically Charles IV and his son Ferdinand VII, who were tricked by Napoleon into given away their royal rights to him. And the curse mentioned could be how Spain quickly became a nightmare to Napoleon, as it could never be completely subdued, and, instead, drained resources (“public purse”). The poem ends by describing how divine intervention would exact just vengeance on the oppressor.[57] The importance of Cowper’s poem in regards to the peninsular conflict is not its accuracy in predicting the event, but the fact that many Britons saw it that way. This shows how many of them were compelled to view their mission in Spain as divinely inspired. Linking the mission to a thirty-year-old poem by a popular, religious poet was further evidence of its divine nature.

Charles Williams, The Spanish Bull broke loose or Joseph’s flight out of Spain, published in London by E. Walker on September 1808. British Museum.

One satirical print shows both the British desire to share Spain’s glory, and the powerful usage of the word liberty.[58] Many articles have already been cited containing their use of liberty as an ideological instrument to support the Spanish cause. However, the use of ‘liberty’ in support of the peninsular war is most pronounced in the satirical prints that were popular at the time. Most of them represent Spaniards as a bull (a reference to the Spanish bull-fighting). In “The Spanish Bull broke loose or Joseph’s flight out of Spain,” two bulls are seen driving King Joseph out of Spain. One is brown and is labelled ‘John Bull’, representing the British, which is further made clear by the swords, pistols and bayonets he carries. Next to him is ‘Don Bull”, who is the obvious representation of the Spanish Nation. He has broken through a ‘Corsican Chain’ and is ahead in the charge against Joseph. Each bull is fuming two clouds of smoke out of their nostrils – on all of them are the words ‘Liberty’. Juxtaposing the thunderstorm that pours on Joseph and his followers, the Spanish sun shines on the country. The sun is formed by the letters of another commonly used word in the dialogue about of the Peninsular War – “Patriotism.”

On the top of a plateau, stand several monarchs watching the Spanish and British, as represented by the two bulls, drive Joseph Bonaparte out of Spain. There are George III, the Emperor of Austria, the Regent of Portugal, the Tsar of Russia, the King of Sweden, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, the Pope, and a man behind the Pope who is possibly the King of Prussia. Just as the brown bull is supposed to be the British military, and the white bull is the Spanish nation fighting for Ferdinand VII, the diverse group of leaders are not just representing themselves, but their public. To a Briton, a monarch is not a representative of god, like in the times of Louis XIV, but is the first citizen of his nation – he is above the public but still respects their individual liberty. This is an extremely simple explanation of the British concept of liberty, but is one that gave powerful weight to the military’s cause in Spain.

The exaltations of liberty’s cause for the British army was naturally most pronounced after news of British victories, but none more so than the most popular of the Spanish battles – Vittoria. The number of articles, songs and epic poems priding the victory of June 1813 that sealed Spanish independence from France, are too colossal to be studied in this dissertation, but all are important in demonstrating British romanticising of the military mission in Spain. One of these epic poems (spread over two periodical issues) is immersed in historical references of Moors, Lusitania and past glories. It juxtaposes images of Spain representing freedom, with that of France, where “Freedom bleeds Beneath the Despot’s hand.”[59] It also glorifies the death many of the soldiers met: “But ere upon those hills they fell, their bosoms own’d the joyous swell, And all those passions warm and high, That have the breast and ire the eye Of heaven-created Liberty.”[60]  The romanticising effect of the battle was so powerful that it turned years of frustration in Spain into “one uninterrupted series of successes.”[61] Vittoria was the realisation for many that the British military mission always had “right” on its side.

As has been previously explained, British women in unprecedented numbers participated in the dialogue about the Peninsular War compared to previous conflicts. It was not limited to investigations about Spain and its people, a topic we have seen they greatly helped in romanticizing, but they also explored the reverence to the British army. This was common amongst men, but was a sentiment generally regarded as limited to a man’s world. In the same way women gave a sensitivity to Spain that it did not have before the war, they gave a gratitude to the British military mission that helped to humanize the army and increase their popularity. Soldiers maintained their heroic and manly characteristics, while given an image of kindness by women. According to historian Linda Colley, women also gave the army a more sexualised image, recalling the sisters in Pride and Prejudice, who are so enthralled by the redcoats.[62]

As many women as there were writing on Spaniards, there were perhaps many more writing on the ideals of liberty. “The Call of Liberty” was written in May 1809 and is a classic example of the kind of works being produced by women.[63] It is a poem that personifies liberty and it is written as if Lady Liberty herself is shouting it out to the world. She calls for patriots to follow her cause in the struggle against tyranny (Napoleon) by taking up her sword, made from heaven, truth and justice. “Seize it with ecstasy, wield it, ye brave! Oh seize it to punish, to conquer, to save!” she cries.[64] Lady liberty refers to the Battle of Bailén, where the sword was used, and at Coruña, where Sir General Sir John Moore gave his life to his country, the swords beamed in a “zenith of glory.”[65] It is incredible that a person from the female gender, which had been considered as pacifist and weak, wrote such passages. For it not only justified bloodshed in the name of liberty, but glorified it. Those who died in the name of liberty “would triumph in death” and their tombs would be immortalised by their living and victorious comrades-in-arms. The poem’s end calls on Spaniards to keep fighting for freedom and that if they could not succeed, death would be better than living under oppression. There is a reference to the Spanish General Palafox, who had bravely defended the city of Zaragoza in two bloody sieges from the French, only to be captured in the end. He was a “martyr to glory and Spain” perhaps a call for others to follow in his stead. The poem’s last lines cement the ideological value of liberty in the struggle against Napoleon: “And this be your watch-word in danger and fight, ‘O Liberty! Thou art our star!”[66] Only if the current conflict was in the name of liberty could it be a “righteous” one.

Richard Westmacott, Wellington Monument, or Achilles, 1821.

Women also helped to glorify soldiers in a more controversial manner, when Countess Spencer in 1814 launched a public subscription to fund a commemorative statue. It was a highly unusual fundraiser in that it was confined to women, who donated more than 10,000 pounds. Sculptor Richard Westmacott was chosen, who designed London’s first public nude statue that rests in Hyde Park.[67] Finished in 1822, it’s called Achilles, as its subject is Achilles with a raised shield and a sword at the ready. A cape elegantly hangs over one arm, though this does not detract from his heroic demeanour and his chiselled, muscular features remind one of the idealized male body that was popular later in the nineteenth-century – not as slim perhaps, but fit, brave and elegant. The 18-foot statue rests on a base that is just as tall, with an inscription that dedicates the monuments to the Duke of Wellington and his soldiers.[68] The glory of the Peninsular War is further enhanced by the fact that the statue was built from the canons taken in the victories of Salamanca, Vittoria and Toulouse (as well as Waterloo). The Wellington Monument demonstrates how the British began to glorify the soldier in a Greek/Roman style. Soldiers were perceived as having just as much wisdom and humanity as bravery and combat skills.[69] And a female connection to the military would continue long after, as the inscription was “by their country women” – women had claimed public space in their name on behalf of soldiers. The level of disdain Britons had towards their soldiers before the French Revolution would never return.

British support of the Peninsular War was partly due to the romanticising of its military mission in Spain. It plaid an important part in Britain’s moral high ground in the struggle against Napoleon. Here was a chance to show the hypocrisy of Bonaparte, and the validity of the British way of life. The public’s enthusiasm for the army in Spain helped to reconstruct the military’s image in Britain for decades.

Chapter IV: Britons' Reaction to the Peninsular War's Outcome

As we have seen, Spain was a place of imaginations for many Britons; For early Romantics, the country was still untainted by industrialization and so its people were closer to nature; For the pious, the country was a divine mission, proof of Britain’s chosen role in the world; For progressives it was an exercise in international humanitarianism; For many patriots it was a chance to enhance the glory of Britain; For Whigs and Tories it was a battlefield for their socio-political world views – the former focusing on liberalism and the latter on traditionalism. But even Tories thought that the kind of traditionalism Britons were fighting for in Spain was one similar to the one in their own country. That is, one that respected the monarchy and supported the political hegemony of the upper class, but recognised that individuals had certain rights. For that reason, members of both sides of the political spectrum argued their support for the Peninsular War in the name of liberty, a term that had varying connotations according to a person’s political ideology. The outcome of the Peninsular War, though, was against any Briton’s definition of liberty.

In an attempt to pacify Spain, Napoleon freed Ferdinand VII and gave him back his throne, although by this point the allies were already entering France and soon Napoleon would be sent to the island of Elba. Ferdinand, in whose name Spaniards had fought and died against the French, returned to national joy and appreciation. El Deseado, as he had been called throughout the war, quickly undercut the country’s joy when he reinstituted the Inquisition and then repealed the Constitution of 1812.[70] The latter was the fruit of the deputies of Spain who ruled in Ferdinand’s name, and had been a powerful tool of persuading progressives to support the peninsular war in Britain as well as Spain, as it guaranteed individual rights, and established a constitutional monarchy.

Britons were quick to point out the “incompatibility of Spanish liberty with the re-establishment of the Inquisition” as the latter went against individual rights.[71] For almost six years Britons believed they were playing an important role in Spain to guarantee its liberty and Spaniards’ nationalism. Britain’s destiny as the magnanimous assistant against despotism had been a powerful motivation for supporting the Peninsular War. The Constitution of 1812 had been regarded as a major stepping stone toward the fulfilment of that destiny, and Ferdinand VII’s repeal was a “sad, sad reverse and crushing to Britons.  “Now the heart-eating hope that future ages would wake to liberty and joy, is blasted,” bemoaned one poet.[72]

Isaac Cruikshank, The noble Spaniards, or Britannia assisting the cause of freedom all over the world, whither friend or foe!, published in London by S. W. Fores on 20 July 1808. British Museum.

The political print The noble Spaniards, or Britannia assisting the cause of freedom all over the world, whither friend or foe! reveals the aspirations Britons had of the Peninsular War.[73] In it, an officer heads a formation of Spanish troops, made up of soldiers, peasants, farmers, and even a woman through a serene countryside. Several banners are being held up, one with the inscription ‘Ferdinand VII Liberty or Death’, the other “Vox Populi Vox Dei’ and “No French Tyranny”. In the top-left corner, up on a cloud is Britannia, who says “The Nation that has spirit to throw off the yoke of the Tyrant of France, is at that moment an ally of Great Britain,” as she throws military aid to Spain (cannon, muskets balls, a barrel of gun powder). This printing demonstrates how Ferdinand VII became a rallying point not just for the Spanish but the British. They believed, or at least hoped, that he embodied British democracy and constitutional monarchy. The print’s title reinforces the idea that Britain’s help to Spain was a selfless and humanitarian act, as they do not care whether Spain becomes a formal friend or foe to Britain. The quote of Britannia is in fact an altered quote by Canning who said in parliament on June 15 that “We shall proceed upon the principle that any nation of Europe that starts up with a determination to oppose a Power which ... is the common enemy of all nations, becomes instantly our essential Ally.” This image became a mirage, however, when Ferdinand VII began his despotic rule in 1814.

Britons had not been unaware of the absolutist tendencies of the Spanish monarchy. On the contrary, that had been a subject of gross criticism by the British for the two centuries before the Peninsular War. They viewed it as the second biggest obstacle to progress in Spain next to the Inquisition. However, many Britons convinced themselves that the Napoleonic Wars would be a lesson for European monarchies; that the experience would make them “be more mild in their government than formerly…and [would] allow their people more liberty than they enjoyed before.”[74] After the war, the radical William Cobbett ridiculed people for such opinion in an editorial that reveals that it was widely known in Britain what kind of monarch Ferdinand VII would be like, but out of delusion, or self-interest, to see Napoleon defeated, Cobbett said, the Peninsular War always maintained a strong level of public support.

Still, there were Britons who had convinced themselves that Ferdinand would be more progressive than his fellow monarchs because he had been an enemy of Godoy’s. Godoy had been blamed for Spain’s bad governance, and he had been reported in the press as being a puppet of France and having alienated “the heart of the King to his son,” Prince Ferdinand. This was practically universal in all British newspapers and journals, and it is understandable why the public believed Ferdinand would do a better job as king – they thought he would be the opposite of Godoy. Furthermore, when the Spanish royal family tried to flee Spain in March 1808 and were stopped at the town of Aranjuez by the populace, Ferdinand was given the crown to the crowd’s celebration. To Britons, Ferdinand had been “unanimously elected King”.[75] At the beginning of the conflict, those who still believed Ferdinand would be just another despotic monarch, like Cobbett, were clearly in the minority, as one Letter to the Editor of the Times reveals:

Mr. Cobbett has surely caused an unnecessary alarm among his readers, by asserting…that we are to be taxed for carrying on a war in Spain, not for the sake of giving liberty and happiness to the people of that wretched country, but for restoring the hateful despotism that had so long prevailed.[76]

The earlier referenced editorial by Cobbett, written after the war, is an exceptionally insightful read, and indicates the swift re-evaluation Britons had about Ferdinand VII – he no longer was tricked into giving up the throne to Napoleon, but “deserted” it. He should have been bound to honour the Constitution of 1812 as a social contract, which Cobbett calls “his compact with the [Spanish] nation,” but instead tore it up on his return to the throne. The article repeatedly separates his government and the Spanish nation, especially in the end when Cobbett calls for England to continue supporting the “patriots of Spain” who were “abandoned to the violence of a party in which power, vengeance, despotism and superstition are united.” He exalts Spain’s role in securing the liberty of Europe against Napoleon, but berates Europe for doing nothing for Spain in its time of need. Although considered a radical by the British government, Cobbett’s final sentiment is one that the general British population agreed on:

We can neither be happy nor safe without a constitution; without it we have no country. No man can be sure of his personal safety without a national representation, without the free exercise of the rights of man, much less in a country with such a terrible tribunal as that of the Inquisition. We value not a life spent in infamous servitude, and to shed our blood for our country may perhaps one day produce the fruit of liberty; for the greater the miseries which civilized nations suffer, the more near is the period of their remedy.[77]

Britons were very proud of their social governance that balanced the tradition of the monarchy with parliamentary democracy, and it had been hoped that Spain would emulate Britain and sow the seeds of liberty for the rest of the continent. With the disappointment of the Spanish experience, however, Britons would be less inclined to risk soldiers’ lives out of support for liberty in the future.

All the past critiques of Spain as a degenerate, backward state seemed to be proven true by the sudden dash of hopes and expectations. However, more than ever before Britons believed that Spaniards on the whole shared the same hopes and expectations, and that they were just as let down by Ferdinand VII as the British public was. Britons now pitied the Spanish public, who they felt had earned their liberty through their magnanimous example of devout patriotism. They vilified the governance of Spain, but unlike in the past, it was conceptualized as an entity separate from Spaniards, who were seen as being more oppressed now than they had been under Joseph Bonaparte. Although now it was all the more tragic because of the ironic circumstances that led to their new oppression, and the fact that their oppressor was one of their own. Incidentally, the tragedy of Spaniards added to the romantic myth of Spain, and Britons, who had thought that after the Peninsular War they knew Spain well, were as perplexed about the country as they had been before the conflict. Despite their simple character Spanish patriotism and passion for liberty gave the French Empire its first defeat. Yet, despite the same passion for liberty, they helped absolutism and the Inquisition return comfortably.[78] Thus, Spain became a paradox, and because of that was a romantic’s dream.

Romanticism, though romantic, almost never had a happy ending – it was tragic,. and Spain’s tragedy played into the overall romanticising of the country.[79]

Epilogue

It would be impossible to deny that the Peninsular War is more a military and political history than a social one. However, the struggle’s impact on British society is still impressive, but it is harder to measure because it is much more elusive than the more definitive battle or election. Newspapers and periodicals indicate support for the war was extraordinarily high throughout the conflict, and led to an intense romanticising of Spain. As a result, Spain would be a fixture in British romanticism through much of the nineteenth-century.

Britons’ disappointment in the restoration of an absolute monarchy in Spain helped to restrain them in intervening in the country when a revolution in 1821 broke out. Nevertheless, the Peninsular War’s exaltations of liberty and nationalism became firmly rooted in British society, as they would repeatedly support similar situations, such as Greek independence or the Crimean War. And Spain would remain a place of fascination to Britons – from the Civil War of 1936-39, to today’s tanned expatriates who reside in Spain.

The Peninsular War was one of the first conflicts to claim British public space. In London there is a Salamanca Place and two Salamanca Streets, and numerous other British towns have similar urban geographies.[80] But more importantly the war claimed British imagination. The Spanish conflict is one of the first occasions for Britons to exalt the principles of liberty and self-determination that would be rallying cries for later nineteenth-century revolutionaries and romantics.

Ultimately, the Peninsular War represented various opportunities to British society, and Spain became conceptualised as the tableau to which all aspirations of liberty, patriotism, beauty and adventure were drawn. As one Quarterly Review commented in 1809: the Peninsular War “presents a spectacle, certainly, not less improbable than the wildest fictions of Romance.”[81]

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Matilda, Rosa. “The Epoch of glory: To the Champions of Liberty in Spain,” The Morning Post, 5 July, 1808.

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J.S., “To the Editor of The Times,” The Times, 28 March 1811, p. 3.

“To the Editor of The Times,” The Times, 4 July, 1808, p.3.

Tortado, Ingenuo, “the incompatibility of Spanish liberty with the re-establishment of    the inquisition demonstrated”, The Times, 6 November 1811.

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Moore, James, Esq, A Narrative of the Campaign of the British Army in Spain, commanded by his excellency Lieut.-General Sir John Moore, authenticated by official papers and original letters (London: Joseph Johnson, St. Paul’s Church Yard, 1809).

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_____. Charles Esdaile, The Peninsular War: A New History (London: Penguin Press, 2002).

Godechot, Jacques Léon, The Napoleonic Era in Europe, (New York: Rinehart and Winston, 1971).

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Articles and Other Sources

Davies, Godfrey. “The Whigs and the Peninsular War, 1808-1814.” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society. Vol. 2 (1919), pp.113-131.

Esdaile, Charles. (2008, Nov.). British Military Intervention in Spain. Lecture presented to the 12th Forum of the British Hispanic Foundation, Madrid, Spain.

Roelle, Jeanna Rose. “That Romantic Fortress”: British Depictions of the Alhambra, 1815-1837. Unpublished MA thesis, University of Oregon, September 2009.

Saglia, Diego, “Imag(in)ing Iberia: Landscape Annuals and Multimedia Narratives of the Spanish Journey in British Romanticism,” Journal of Iberian and Latin            American Studies, Vol. 12, No. 2 (2006), pp.123-146.

_____. ‘ ‘O My Mother Spain!’: The Peninsular War, Family Matters, and the Practice of Romantic Nation-Writing,’ ELH, Vol. 65, No. 2 (Summer, 1998), pp.363-393.

Notes:

[1] Charles Esdaile, The Peninsular War: A New History (London: Penguin Press, 2002), p.88.

[2] Ibid, p.x.

[3] Ibid, p.482.

[4] Charles Esdaile, The Peninsular Eyewitnesses: The Experience of War in Spain and Portgual 1808-1813 (UK: Pen & Sword Military, 2008).

[5] Charles Esdaile (2008, Nov.), British Military Intervention in Spain, Lecture presented to the 12th Forum of the British Hispanic Foundation, Madrid, Spain.

[6] Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707-1837 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1992).

[7] See Diego Saglia, Poetic Castles in Spain: British Romanticism and Figurations of Iberia (Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodopi, 1999).

Saglia, “ ‘O My Mother Spain!’: The Peninsular War, Family Matters, and the Practice of Romantic Nation-Writing,” ELH, Vol. 65, No. 2 (Summer, 1998), pp.363-393.

Saglia, “Imag(in)ing Iberia: Landscape Annuals and Multimedia Narratives of the Spanish Journey in British Romanticism,” Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies, Vol. 12, No. 2 (2006), pp.123-146.

[8] Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (1983, Reprint, London and New York: Verso, 2006).

[9] A.D. Harvey, Britain In The Early Nineteenth Century, (London: B.T. Batsford Ltd, 1978), p.47.

[10] J. Christopher Herold, The Age of Napoleon (1963, Reprint, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002), p.201.

[11] Jacques Léon Godechot, The Napoleonic Era in Europe (New York: Rinehart and Winston, 1971), p.136.

[12] Rory Muir, Britain and the Defeat of Napoleon, 1807-1815 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1996), pp.32-38

[13] “Civil Catechism,” The Hull Packet, 6 September 1808.

[14] Philip Wayne Powell, Tree of Hate: Propaganda and Prejudices Affecting United States Relations with the Hispanic World (1971, Reprint, United States: University of New Mexico Press, 2008)

[15] The Times, 9 January 1805, p.2.

[16]Muir, p.38. 

[17] The Times, 29 September 1808, p.2.

[18] The Annual Register,1810, p.i.

[19] Godfrey Davies, “The Whigs and the Peninsular War, 1808-1814,” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Vol. 2 (1919), pp.113-131.

[20] The Leeds Mercury, 3 September 1808.

[21] “Private Correspondence,” The Times, 7 October 1808, p.3.

[22] Diana Donald, The Age of Caricature: Satirical Prints in the Reign of George III (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1996).

[23] Figure 1.

[24] “Proclamation of Peace of His Britannic Majesty with the Spanish Nation,” The Observer, 10 July 1808, p.4.

[25] James Moore, Esq. A Narrative of the Campaign of the British Army in Spain, commanded by his excellency Lieut.-General Sir John Moore, authenticated by official papers and original letters, (London: Joseph Johnson, St. Paul’s Church Yard, 1809), p.18.

[26] Figure 2.

[27] Moore, p.72.

[28] A Mere Irishman, “Reflection on the English Journalists,” Irish Magazine, and Monthly Asylum for Neglected Biography (Jan 1810),  p.29.

[29] “The Spirit of Spain: A Song,” The Lancaster Gazette, 9 July 1808.

[30] The Morning Chronicle, 8 July 1808.

[31] “Address to the Patriots of Spain,” The Morning Post, 4 July 1808.

[32] Fingal, “To the Patriots of Spain,” The Morning Post, 16 July 1808.

[33] The Morning Post, 23 July 1808.

[34] La Belle Assemblée or, Bell's Court and Fashionable Magazine Addressed Particularly to the Ladies (circa 1810), p.337.

[35] “Itinerary of Spain,” The Ipswich Journal, 6 August 1808.

[36] “Character of the Spanish Ladies,” La Belle Assemblée or, Bell's Court and Fashionable Magazine Addressed Particularly to the Ladies (June 1, 1809), p. 186.

[37] S. D. Broughton, Letters from Portugal, Spain, & France: Written during the campaigns of 1812, 1813, & 1814, Addressed to a Friend in England; describing the leadings features of the provinces passed through, and the state of society, manners, habits of the people (London: Longman, Rurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, Paternoster Row, 1815), p.133.

[38] Kevin Binfield, Writings of the Luddites (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2004).

[39] Eric Hobsbawm, Labouring Men: Studies in The History of Labour (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd., 1964).

[40] Jeanna Rose Roelle, “That Romantic Fortress”: British Depictions of the Alhambra, 1815-1837, Unpublished MA thesis, University of Oregon, September 2009.

[41] “Interesting Particulars Concerning Spain and the Character of Its Inhabitants,” La Belle Assemblée or, Bell's Court and Fashionable Magazine Addressed Particularly to the Ladies (July 1808), pp. 21-24.

[42] It claims 60,000 Galicians travel to Andalusia every year for trade, 30,000 go to Portugal to work in the harvest

[43] “Character of the Spanish Ladies,” La Belle Assemblée or, Bell's Court and Fashionable Magazine Addressed Particularly to the Ladies (June 1809), pp.186-190.

[44] Lady Holland, Elizabeth Vassall Fox, The Spanish Journal of Elizabeth Lady Holland, Ed. The Earl of Ilchester (London: Longmans, Green, And Co., 1910).

[45] Edinburgh Review, Vol. 13, No. 25 (October 1808), p.226.

[46] Edinburgh Review, Vol. 15, No. 30 (January 1810), p.393.

[47] Quoted from an extract in “Spanish Superstition,” The Missionary Magazine,  Vol. 5 (May 1810), p.187.

[48] Ibid, pp.186-188.

[49] Quoted in Roelle, p. 1.

[50] Colley, pp.283-284.

[51] “To the Editor of The Times,” The Times, 4 July, 1808, p.3.

[52] The Morning Chronicle, 11 July 1811.

[53] La Belle Assemblée or, Bell's Court and Fashionable Magazine Addressed Particularly to the Ladies, Vol. 16 (February 1811).

[54] The Morning Post, 23 September 1808.

[55] The Morning Post, 4 August 1808.

[56] Liverpool Mercury, 28 August 1812.

[57] William Cowper, “Poetry: On the Fates of Spain,” The Missionary Magazine, Vol.1 (January 1810), pp. 43-44.

[58] Figure 3.

[59] “The Battle of Vittoria,” Anti-Jacobin Review and True Churchman’s Magazine, Vol. 45 (August 1813) p.198.

[60] “The Battle of Vittoria,” Anti-Jacobin Review and True Churchman’s Magazine, Vol.45 (September 1813), p.302. P. 302-311.

[61] P. 198, “the battle of vittoria” anti-jacobin, august,1813

[62] Colley, p.257.

[63] Felicia Dorothea Browne, The Domestic Affections, and Other Poems (London: J. M’Creery, 1812), pp.139-144.

[64] Ibid, p.140.

[65] Ibid, p.141.

[66] Ibid, p.144.

[67] Colley, p.258.

[68] Figure 4.

[69] J.S., “To the Editor of the Times,” The Times, 28 March 1811, p. 3.

[70] “Spain: Decree For Re-Establishing The Inquisition,” European Magazine and London Review, Vol. 66 (September 1814), pp.264-265.

[71] Ingenuo Tortado, “the incompatibility of Spanish liberty with the re-establishment of the inquisition demonstrated”, The Times, 6 November 1811, p.3.

[72] “On the Present State of Spain,” Monthly Magazine, or British Register, Vol. 38, No. 258 (August 1814), p.44.

[73] Figure 5.

[74] William Cobbett, “Deliverance of Spain,” Cobbett’s Weekly Political Register, 4 March 1815, pp.257-266

[75] “Charles the Fourth King of Spain, and his Queen,” La Belle Assemblée or, Bell's Court and Fashionable Magazine Addressed Particularly to the Ladies (February 1811).

[76] A Turtle Patriot, The Times, 19 August 1808, p.3.

[77] Cobbett, p.266.

[78] Britons could not know in 1814 that 7 years later they would see Spaniards revolt against Ferdinand VII.

[79] Jacqueline M. Labbe, The Romantic Paradox: Love, Violence and the uses of Romance, 1760-1830 (London: Macmillan Press Ltd., 2000), p.2.

[80] Esdaile, lecture.

[81] Quarterly Review, Vol. 1 (February 1809), p.1.

 

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