Convention of Cintra

Last updated
Palace of Queluz, where the Convention of Sintra was signed. Queluz40TE.jpg
Palace of Queluz, where the Convention of Sintra was signed.
Junot embarks for France, after the Convention of Cintra, at Cais do Sodre, Lisbon The Embarkation of Genl. Junot, after the Convention of Cintra, at Quai Sodre (Henri L' Eveque, F. Bartolozzi).png
Junot embarks for France, after the Convention of Cintra, at Cais do Sodré, Lisbon

The Convention of Cintra was an agreement signed on 30 August 1808, during the Peninsular War. By the agreement, the defeated French were allowed to evacuate their troops from Portugal without further conflict. [1] The Convention was signed at the Palace of Queluz, in Queluz, Cintra, Estremadura.

Peninsular War War by Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom against the French Empire (1807–1814)

The Peninsular War (1807–1814) was a military conflict between Napoleon's empire and Bourbon Spain, for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when the French and Spanish armies invaded and occupied Portugal in 1807, and escalated in 1808 when France turned on Spain, previously its ally. The war on the peninsula lasted until the Sixth Coalition defeated Napoleon in 1814, and is regarded as one of the first wars of national liberation, significant for the emergence of large-scale guerrilla warfare.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Portugal Republic in Southwestern Europe

Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a country located mostly on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost sovereign state of mainland Europe, being bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain. Its territory also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments.

The French forces under Jean-Andoche Junot were defeated by the Anglo-Portuguese forces commanded by Sir Arthur Wellesley at Vimeiro [2] on 21 August and found themselves almost cut off from retreat. However, at that moment, Wellesley was superseded by the arrival of Sir Harry Burrard and then the next day by Sir Hew Dalrymple. Both were cautious old men who had seen little recent fighting; rather than push the French, they were satisfied to open negotiations. Wellesley had sought to take control of the Torres Vedras area high ground and cut the French retreat with his unused reserve, but he was ordered to hold. Talks between Dalrymple and François Kellerman led to the signing of the Convention.

Jean-Andoche Junot French general

Jean-Andoche Junot, 1st Duke of Abrantès was a French general during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington 18th and 19th-century British soldier and statesman

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, was a British soldier and Tory statesman who was one of the leading military and political figures of 19th-century Britain, serving twice as Prime Minister. His victory against Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 puts him in the first rank of Britain's military heroes.

Battle of Vimeiro battle

In the Battle of Vimeiro on 21 August 1808, the British under General Arthur Wellesley defeated the French under Major-General Jean-Andoche Junot near the village of Vimeiro, near Lisbon, Portugal during the Peninsular War. This battle put an end to the first French invasion of Portugal.

Dalrymple allowed terms for Portugal similar to those a garrison might receive for surrendering a fortress. The 20,900 French soldiers were evacuated from Portugal with all their equipment and 'personal property' (which may have included looted Portuguese valuables[ citation needed ]) by the British Navy. They were transported to Rochefort, France. Junot arrived there on 11 October. Avoiding all Spanish entanglements and getting free transport meant the French travelled loaded, not light like a defeated garrison marching to their own lines.

Rochefort, Charente-Maritime Subprefecture and commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Rochefort is a commune in southwestern France, a port on the Charente estuary. It is a sub-prefecture of the Charente-Maritime department.

The Convention was seen as a disgrace by many in the United Kingdom [3] who felt that a complete defeat of Junot had been transformed into a French escape, while Dalrymple had also ignored the Royal Navy's concern about a blockaded Russian squadron in Lisbon. The squadron was allowed to sail to Portsmouth, and eventually to return to Russia, despite the fact that Britain and Russia were at war.

Anglo-Russian War (1807–1812)

During the Napoleonic Wars, the Anglo-Russian War was the phase of hostilities between the United Kingdom and Russia after the latter signed the Treaty of Tilsit that ended its war with France. Anglo-Russian hostilities were limited primarily to minor naval actions in the Baltic and Barents Seas.

Wellesley wanted to fight, but he signed the preliminary Armistice under orders. He took no part in negotiating the Convention and did not sign it. Dalrymple's reports were written, however, to centre any criticism on Wellesley, who still held a ministerial post in the government. Wellesley was subsequently recalled from Portugal, together with Burrard and Dalrymple, to face an official inquiry. The inquiry was held in the Great Hall at the Royal Hospital Chelsea from 14 November to 27 December 1808. All three men were cleared; but while Wellesley soon returned to active duty in Portugal, Burrard and Dalrymple were quietly pushed into retirement and never saw active service again. Sir John Moore, commenting on the Inquiry, expressed the popular sentiment that "Sir Hew Dalrymple was confused and incapable beyond any man I ever saw head an army. The whole of his conduct then and since has proved him to be a very foolish man."

Royal Hospital Chelsea retirement home and nursing home for British soldiers

The Royal Hospital Chelsea is a retirement home and nursing home for some 300 veterans of the British Army. Founded as an almshouse, the ancient sense of the word "hospital", it is a 66-acre (27 ha) site located on Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea. It is an independent charity and relies partly upon donations to cover day-to-day running costs to provide care and accommodation for veterans.

John Moore (British Army officer) British soldier and general

Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore, was a British Army general, also known as Moore of Corunna. He is best known for his military training reforms and for his death at the Battle of Corunna, in which he repulsed a French army under Marshal Soult during the Peninsular War. After the war General Sarrazin wrote a French history of the battle, which nonetheless may have been written in light of subsequent events, stating that "Whatever Buonaparte may assert, Soult was most certainly repulsed at Corunna; and the British gained a defensive victory, though dearly purchased with the loss of their brave general Moore, who was alike distinguished for his private virtues, and his military talents."

Lord Byron laments the Convention in his Childe Harold's Pilgrimage:

Lord Byron English poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement

George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, known simply as Lord Byron, was a British poet, peer, politician, and leading figure in the Romantic movement. He is regarded as one of the greatest British poets and remains widely read and influential. Among his best-known works are the lengthy narrative poems Don Juan and Childe Harold's Pilgrimage; many of his shorter lyrics in Hebrew Melodies also became popular.

<i>Childe Harolds Pilgrimage</i> poem by Lord Byron

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage is a lengthy narrative poem in four parts written by Lord Byron. It was published between 1812 and 1818 and is dedicated to "Ianthe". The poem describes the travels and reflections of a world-weary young man who, disillusioned with a life of pleasure and revelry, looks for distraction in foreign lands. In a wider sense, it is an expression of the melancholy and disillusionment felt by a generation weary of the wars of the post-Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. The title comes from the term childe, a medieval title for a young man who was a candidate for knighthood.

And ever since that martial synod met,

Britannia sickens, Cintra! at thy name;
And folks in office at the mention fret,
And fain would blush, if blush they could, for shame.
How will posterity the deed proclaim!
Will not our own and fellow-nations sneer,
To view these champions cheated of their fame,
By foes in fight o'erthrown, yet victors here,

Where Scorn her finger points, through many a coming year?

The Convention of Cintra is also the name of a pamphlet written by the future British Poet Laureate William Wordsworth in 1808; he also wrote a passionate sonnet that, in his own words, was "composed while the author was engaged in writing a tract occasioned by" the Convention, in which he laments the bondage felt by "suffering Spain". Delays in publication meant that journalistic, and satirical, features of Wordsworth's prose has been overlooked. [4] An excerpt from the 'tract' itself can be found in William Wordsworth: Selected Prose, Penguin Classics 1988; the whole may be found in The Prose Works of William Wordsworth through googlebooks. It is notable for its recognition of the significance of guerrilla warfare in the Peninsular War. The term 'guerrilla' was not then current and is not used by Wordsworth. He mentions Wellesley (Wellington) but does not anticipate his future importance.

Related Research Articles

Maria I of Portugal Portuguese monarch

Dona Maria I was Queen of Portugal from 1777 until her death. Known as Maria the Pious in Portugal and Maria the Mad in Brazil, she was the first undisputed queen regnant of Portugal and the first monarch of Brazil. With Napoleon's European conquests, her court, then under the direction of her son João, the Prince Regent, moved to Brazil, then a Portuguese colony. Later on, Brazil would be elevated from the rank of a colony to that of a kingdom, with the consequential formation of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves.

Battle of Roliça battle during the Peninsular War

In the Battle of Roliça an Anglo-Portuguese army under Sir Arthur Wellesley defeated an outnumbered Imperial French division under General of Division Henri François Delaborde, near the village of Roliça in Portugal. The French retired in good order. Formerly spelled Roleia in English, it was the first battle fought by the British army during the Peninsular War.

Maximilien Sébastien Foy French military leader, statesman and writer

Maximilien Sébastien Foy was a French military leader, statesman and writer.

Sir Harry Burrard, 1st Baronet, of Lymington British Army general

General Sir Harry Burrard, 1st Baronet was a British soldier who fought in the American War of Independence, the French Revolutionary Wars and in the Peninsular War.

Hew Whitefoord Dalrymple British Army general

General Sir Hew Whitefoord Dalrymple, 1st Baronet was a Scottish general in the British Army and Governor of Gibraltar.

This is an order of battle for the Battle of Vimeiro that was fought on 20 August 1808.

Brent Spencer British Army general

General Sir Brent Spencer was an Anglo-Irish officer in the British Army, seeing active service during the American Revolutionary War and the French Revolutionary Wars. During the Peninsular War he became General Wellesley's second-in-command on two occasions. He fought at Vimeiro and testified in Wellesley's favor at the inquiry following the Convention of Cintra. He led a division at Bussaco and two divisions at Fuentes de Onoro. After the latter action, he had an independent command in northern Portugal. Wellesley, now Lord Wellington, was not satisfied that Spencer was up to the responsibilities of second-in-command and he was replaced by Thomas Graham. Miffed, Spencer left Portugal and never returned. He became a full general in 1825.

Sir Adolphus John Dalrymple, 2nd Baronet of High Mark was a British army officer and politician.

Lt.-Gen. Sir Wroth Palmer Acland KCB was an English soldier, notable for his role in the Peninsular War.

Robert Anstruther, was a Scottish general who served during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

Military career of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington,, was one of the leading British military and political figures of the 19th century. Often referred to only as "The Duke of Wellington", he led a successful military career in India during the Fourth Anglo–Mysore War (1798–99) and the Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803–1805), and in Europe during the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815).

Pierre Margaron French soldier

Pierre Margaron led the French cavalry at the Battle of Vimeiro in 1808. He joined a volunteer battalion in 1792. He rose in rank during the French Revolutionary Wars until he commanded a heavy cavalry regiment in 1798. He led his horsemen at the Trebbia, Novi and Genola in 1799 and Pozzolo and San Massimo in 1800. He became a general of brigade in 1803 and led a corps light cavalry brigade at Austerlitz, Jena and Lübeck. He participated in the 1807 invasion of Portugal and fought at Évora and Vimeiro. From 1810 to 1812 he held a post in the interior. He became a general of division in 1813 and led troops at the Battle of Leipzig. His surname is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 2.

Barnard Foord Bowes or Barnard Bowes Foord commanded a British brigade in several battles during the Peninsular War. He joined the 26th Foot Regiment as a junior officer in 1781 and rose in rank by purchase to become lieutenant colonel of the 6th Foot Regiment in 1796. He led troops during the Irish Rebellion of 1798. From 1799 to 1806 he served in Canada and married his wife there. He led a brigade at Roliça and Vimeiro in 1808. He was promoted major general in 1810. He was severely wounded while leading his brigade in an assault during the 1812 Siege of Badajoz. He was killed in action leading a storming column at the Siege of the Salamanca Forts.

Fort of São Vicente 19th-century fort in Portugal

The Fort of São Vicente is located in the town and municipality of Torres Vedras, in the Lisbon District of Portugal. In 1809 it was the first of 152 forts, redoubts and other defences to be developed as part of three defensive lines between the Atlantic Ocean and the River Tagus that were designed by the Duke of Wellington to protect the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, from possible invasion by French troops during the Peninsular War. These came to be known as the Lines of Torres Vedras. Together with the Fort of Alqueidão, it is considered the most important fortress of those constructed for the Lines.

Fort of Casa 19th-century fort in Portugal

The Fort of Casa was the most easterly of the forts and redoubts built in 1809-10 during the Peninsular War on the second line of the three defensive Lines of Torres Vedras aimed at protecting the capital of Portugal, Lisbon. It is situated in the parish of Forte da Casa, in the municipality of Vila Franca de Xira, in the Lisbon District.

Fort of Arpim 19th-century fort in Portugal

The Fort of Arpim is in the parish of Bucelas in the municipality of Loures, in the Lisbon District of Portugal. It was constructed during the Peninsular War, forming part of the first of three defensive Lines of Torres Vedras aimed at protecting Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, from French invasion. The fort, which never saw battle, has been restored and can be visited.

Fort of Subserra 19th-century fort in Portugal

The Fort of Subserra, also known as the Fort of Alhandra, is situated at 142 metres above sea level close to Alhandra in the municipality of Vila Franca de Xira in the Lisbon District of Portugal. Together with other smaller redoubts and batteries that also had the Subserra name, it was built during the Peninsular War (1807-14) as part of the first line of defence of the Lines of Torres Vedras planned by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington to protect the Portuguese capital of Lisbon and, if necessary, his own retreat.

References

  1. Horward, Donald D. (1994). Napoleon and Iberia – The Twin Sieges of Ciudad Rodrigo and Almeida, 1810. Reference to the signing of the Convention of Sintra and its conditions. Greenhill Books. p. 5. ISBN   9781853671838.
  2. Newitt, Malyn (2009). Portugal – In European and World History. paragraph 2,reference to Junots defeat at the battle of Vimeiro (First ed.). Reaktion Books Ltd. p. 159. ISBN   9781861895196.
  3. Esdaile, Charles (2002). The Peninsular War. Reference to the serious embarrassment by the British to the agreed terms of the Convention. Penguin Books. p. 102. ISBN   9780140273700.
  4. Valladares, Susan (2013). ""For the sake of illustrating principles": Wordsworth, the Convention of Cintra, and Satirical Prints". European Romantic Review. 24 (5): 531–554. doi:10.1080/10509585.2013.828400.