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The fate of Cabul was now to be decided. Some mark of just retribution should be left upon it, and General Pollock determined to destroy the great bazaar, where the mangled remains of our murdered envoy had been exposed to the insults of the inhabitants. The buildings were therefore blown up with gunpowder, the design being to allow the work of destruction to extend no further. But it was impossible to restrain the troops. "The cry went forth that Cabul was given up to plunder. Both camps," wrote Major Rawlinson, "rushed into the city, and the consequence has been the almost total destruction of most parts of the town, except the Gholom Khana quarter and the Bala Hissar. Numbers of peopleabout 4,000 or 5,000had returned to Cabul, relying on our promises of protection, rendered confident by the comparative immunity they had enjoyed during the early part of our sojourn here, and by the appearance ostentatiously put forth of an Afghan Government. They had many of them re-opened their shops. These people have been now reduced to utter ruin; their goods have been plundered, and the houses burnt over their heads. The Hindoos in particular, whose numbers amount to some 500 families, have lost everything they possessed, and they will have to beg their way to India in the rear of our columns." Meanwhile General Nott had retaken Ghuznee.and you pat them on the head and take yourselves off! Did you
Saturday morningIn the Peninsula, altogether, the French had upwards of two hundred thousand men, but the force which Massena led against Wellington did not amount to more than sixty thousand, Drouet remaining, for the present, in Spain with eighteen thousand men, and Regnier lying in Estremadura with ten or twelve thousand more. To contend against Massena's sixty thousand veterans, Lord Wellington had only twenty-four thousand British on whom he could rely. He had thirty thousand Portuguese regulars, who had been drilled by General Beresford, and had received many British officers. Wellington had great expectation that these troops, mixed judiciously with the British ones, would turn out well; but that had yet to be tried. Besides these, there were numerous bodies of Portuguese militia, who were employed in defending the fortresses in Alemtejo and Algarve, thus protecting the flanks of Wellington's army.
SURPRISE OF THE CATO STREET CONSPIRATORS. (See p. 155.)When, therefore, Lord Wellington pondered over matters in Madrid, he looked in vain for anything like a regular Spanish army, after all the lessons which had been given to them. The army of Galicia, commanded by Santocildes, considered the best Spanish force, had been defeated by Clausel, himself in the act of escaping from Wellington. Ballasteros had a certain force under him, but his pride would not allow him to co-operate with Lord Wellington, and he was soon afterwards dismissed by the Cortes from his command. O'Donnel had had an army in Murcia, but he, imagining that he could cope with the veteran troops of Suchet, had been most utterly routed, his men flinging away ten thousand muskets as they fled. Moreover, Wellington had been greatly disappointed in his hopes of a reinforcement from Sicily. He had urged on Ministers the great aid which an efficient detachment from the army maintained by us in Sicily might render by landing on the eastern coast of Spain, and clearing the French out of Catalonia, Valencia, and Murcia. This could now be readily complied with, because there was no longer any danger of invasion of Sicily from Naples, Murat being called away to assist in Buonaparte's campaign in Russia. But the plan found an unexpected opponent in our Commander-in-Chief in Sicily, Lord William Bentinck. Lord William at first appeared to coincide in the scheme, but soon changed his mind, having conceived an idea of making a descent on the continent of Italy during Murat's absence. Lord Wellington wrote earnestly to him, showing him that Suchet and Soult must be expelled from the south of Spain, which could be easily effected by a strong force under British command landing in the south-east and co-operating with him from the north, or he must himself again retire to Portugal, being exposed to superior forces from both north and south. The expedition was at length sent, under General Maitland, but such a force as was utterly useless. It did not exceed six thousand men; and such men! They were chiefly a rabble of Sicilian and other foreign vagabonds, who had been induced to enlist, and were, for the most part, undisciplined.
If I hadn't grown into such a perfect lady, I should have gone up