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    Software name: appdown
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      WILLIAM COBBETT.


      Sir Arthur determined to give Soult as sharp a chase as he had given Sir John Moore. He wrote to General Beresford to hold Villa Real, if possible, whilst he pressed on the heels of Soult. On the 16th of May he came up with Soult's rear, near Salamonde, defeated the rear-guard, killed and wounded a great number of men, and Sir Arthur wrote that, had they had half an hour's more daylight, he should have taken the whole of his rear-guard. He added: "I shall follow him to-morrow. He has lost everythingcannon, ammunition, baggage, military chestand his retreat is in every respect, even in weather, a pendant for the retreat to Corunna." In truth, had Sir John Moore sent a Nemesis to avenge himself, it could not have executed a more complete retribution. All the horrors of Sir John's retreat, and far worse, were repeated. The French had exasperated the population here, as everywhere, by their reckless cruelties and rapacity, and they surrounded the flying army, and killed every man that they could find straggling, or who was left exhausted on the road. On the other hand, the French tracked their retrograde path with equal fury. "Their route," says Sir Arthur, "could be traced by the smoke of the villages that they set on fire." Sir Arthur, in his dispatches, also says that, during their abode in Portugal, the French had murdered people merely because they did not like their seizure of their country; and that he saw men hanging on trees by the roadside, whom they had executed for no other reason. So the scene of Soult's retreat was now one long picture of Pandemoniumthe whole way strewn with dead men, horses, and mules; a wasted country, and an infuriated peasantry seeking to wreak their vengeance. Sir Arthur stopped his pursuit near the frontiers of Spain. He could not overtake Soult, who fled flinging away every impediment, whilst he was compelled to carry his supplies and artillery along with him. Besides, the French, since the defeat of the Spaniards at Tudela, had entered Andalusia in great force, where there was no army to oppose them except the ill-equipped one of the proud and unmanageable General Cuesta; and Marshal Victor, who commanded in Estremadura, might readily have made a descent on Lisbon, had Wellesley gone far into Spain. He therefore resolved to return to Oporto, to make necessary inquiries as to the roads into Spain; to improve his commissariat; and then, forming a junction with Cuesta, to[575] advance against Marshal Victor. Whilst at Oporto he had the satisfaction to learn that Frere was superseded by his own brother, Lord Wellesley, as ambassador for Spain, a circumstance of immense importance to the cause.At the Congress, which began in June, William Stanhope, Horace Walpole, and Poyntz represented England. At Paris Lord Waldegrave supplied the place of Horace Walpole; and at the Hague the Earl of Chesterfield ably managed the national interests. At the Congress there was a frequent exchange of memorials and counter-memorials, but no real business was done. The only things which grew apparent were that France and Spain were becoming more reconciled, and that the league between Spain and the Emperor was fast dissolving.


      Each union of parishes, or each parish, if large and populous enough, was placed under the management of a board of guardians, elected annually by the ratepayers; but where under previous Acts an organisation existed similar to that of unions or boards of guardians, under the Poor Law Amendment Act these were retained. The following table exhibits the local divisions of England and Wales made under that Act:

      The soldier understood. "Trying to save you, sir," he said a little resentfully.[319]


      Hastings embarked on the 8th of February, 1785, and arrived in England in June, 1786. He had sent home before him his wife, whose health had begun to suffer from the climate of India, and she had been most graciously received by King George and Queen Charlotte. He had been accompanied to his ship, on leaving Calcutta, by all the authorities, and by all people of distinction; he had received the most enthusiastic addresses of regret and of admiration as the saviour of India. In London, not only at Court, but in Leadenhall Street, he met with the same gratifying honour. He spent the autumn at Cheltenham with his wife, where he was courted and fted in a manner to warrant his writing to a friend, "I find myself everywhere and universally treated with evidences, apparent even to my own observation, that I possess the good opinion of my country." He was busy trying to purchase Daylesford, the, old family estate, and anticipating a peerage.

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      Which happened upon the following day. And he was there to see it all, so that the question he had not cared to ask was answered forever beyond the possibility[Pg 198] of a misunderstanding. It was stable time, and she walked down to the corrals with him. He left her for a moment by the gate of the quartermaster's corral while he went over to the picket line. The bright clear air of a mountain afternoon hummed with the swish click-clock, swish click-clock of the curry-combs and brushes, and the busy scraping of the stable brooms in the stalls.[Pg 130]

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