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SPIRIT OF THE MAGAZINES.
SKETCHES OF THE PUBLICK SERVICES OF THE LATE SIR JOHN MOORE.
(WITH A PORTRAIT.] EVERY profession has participated in the honour of contributing to the defensive strength of the British empire, during those interesting events which late years have presented. Nelson was the son of a clergyman; Moore was the son of a physician; and the grandson of a clergyman of the kirk of Scotland. He was born at Glasgow. His father, Dr. John Moore, was educated at the university of Glasgow; but being called to exercise the duties of his profession in the military hospitals, and preserving at all times a considerable connexion among military men, the attention of his sons was very naturally directed toward the publick service of their country.
Dr. Moore was of extremely facetious manners, which, together with his skill, recommended him as a fit person to take charge of the two young noblemen, heirs of the house of Hamilton, who were constitutionally inclined 10 pulmonary consumption.
In company with Douglas Hamilton, the surviver of the two brothers, Dr. Moore made the tour of Europe, which occupied four or five years. The result of his observations was communicated to the publick, in his “ View of Society and Manners in France,, &c.” 1799. In Italy, 1781. His eldest son, John, accompanied his father in this tour; and as the tacticks of the Prussian army under old Frederick were then supposed to be the ne plus ultra of military skill, they engaged the particular attention of our travellers, especially of young Moore, who could not but acquire ideas from them, to be afterwards employed in promoting his personal reputation. He entered the army early in life; and being favoured by the patronage of the Hamilton family (and of the duke of Argyle) his rise was rapid. He was successively lieutenant-colonel and colonel of the 52d regiment. Lieutenant colonel Moore was employed in the Mediterranean, and was at the evacuation of Toulon in December 1793. In the capture of Corsica, which succeeded, early in the following year, he was one of two officers selected by lord Hood, to examine the state of that island, before an attempt was made on it. The other officer was major Koehler, of the artillery, who died while on a mission, in the service of Turkey. The famous defence of a small circular tower at Martello, occurred on this attack; and trifling as that tower was, as a fortification, from its construction and situation, it required a regular battery to reduce it. Lieutenant-colonel Moore was at this time extremely active, in attacking Fornelli, a small town, which from local advantages, was a place of some strength. The cannon, &c. destined to this attack were dragged for the space of several miles, over rugged inountains, with exemplary perseverence; and after a labour of four days continuance, were formed into a battery, on an eminence no less than 700 feet above the level of the sea. The defences of the town were commanded from hence; but the works were assaulted by lieutenant-colonel Moore, and carried after considerable resistance.
The skill and enterprise that distinguished lieutenant-colonel Moore on this occasion pointed him out for further services. He was the officer to whom was committed the attack on the Mozello, a strong star fort, which was carried by storm, at daybreak, after waiting in concealment among the bushes, as near to the fort as prudence permitted. The nature of the ground, and the resistance made by the enemy, occasioned a good deal of scrambling in this service: and here the lieutenant-colonel was wounded in the head, by the explosion of a shell. Nevertheless, he entered the place with the grenadiers; and the applause of the army, with the congratulations of his general, Stuart, induced him quickly to forget his wound. General Stuart also recommended the lieutenant-colonel now appointed adjutant general, to succeed him in the military government of the island : but his abilities were to find opportunities for distinction elsewhere.
In 1795, general sir Ralph Abercrombie was ordered with forces to the West Indies, and among his officers was general Moore, now brigadier general. He distinguished himself eminently at the reducțion of St. Lucie. His promptitude in the attack on Morne [i. e. Mountain] Chabot, one of the strongest posts on the island, was conspicuous : for, having been detached with about 600 men, to advance by a circuitous path, he was misled by his guide ; fell in with an advanced picquet of the enemy, and his design was discovered. Another detachment, under general Hope, was advancing by a nearer way; but general Moore, now depending on his own strength, by a decisive movement carried the post. Ho afterwards defeated a desperate sally of the enemy at the Vigie, and the island surrendered May 25th, 1796.
In 1798, brigadier general Moore was appointed major-general. He was at this period a representative in parliament for a district of North Britain.
The same officers were ordered on the expedition to Holland, in 1799. Sir Ralph Abercrombie appointed two brigades under major generals Moore and Burrard, to attack the Helder; but the enemy retired. In this country major general Moore received a slight wound. The English were successful ; but their Russian coadjutors failed, and their failure ruined the enterprise.
Sir Ralph Abercrombie was afterwards sent to the southern part of Europe. He summoned Cadiz; but the Spanish governour refused to hearken to him. Egypt, being at that time in possession of the French, the British army bent its course thither, intent on dislodging them. While the fleet lay in Marmorice bay, major general Moore was sent to Jaffa, to learn by occular inspection the state of the Turkish army, under command of his highness the Grand Vizier.Such an army!
The British general, left to his own resources, arrived in Aboukir bay, March 7, 1801, and major general Moore, who commanded the reserve, in defiance of a hail storm of shot and shells, landed, formed his companies, and would have rushed up the sand hills; but, in truth, all that could be done was to clamber up them; and many of the same individuals who had effected it, when making this exertion, some days afterwards, in cold blood, found themselves unable to accomplish it. This movement, however, startled the French : and seeing British soldiers rising over the ridges, in all direcLions, they abandoned their cannon, &c. and retreated.
At the battle of Aboukir, major general Moore was wounded, while leadiing on the reserve: yet he was not long laid aside; but assisted at the siege of Cairo, and escorted the French troops to their embarkation. At the sicke of Alexandria, an attack was committed to his charge.
On returning to England, the major general was retained in active service; and had the command of the Kentish district.
Having been employed in several negotiations and services of observation, requiring a keen eye, a firm heart, and mature judgment, in union with promptitude and decision, sir John was selected for the purpose of assisting with troops, the king of Sweden, early in 1808. That monarch, it is shrewdly suspected, attempted to overbear the British officer, and to induce him to exceed his orders. This sir John peremptorily declined ; and by his firmness incurred the displeasure of his Swedish majesty. Whenever the particulars of this affair shall be disclosed, we doubt not but that the principle on which sir John acted will do him honour. After a delay of two months, his departure from Sweden was sudden, and even rapid. In this he was assisted by the British ambassadour. He anticipated unpleasant circumstances, and escaped them by diligence.
In the meanwhile, the atrocities committed by Buonaparte in seizing the crown of Spain, had become too flagrant to be born; and resistance sprung up, in that country, almost in all parts of it at the same instant. Like a thunder storm which suddenly bursts over an extensive champaign, was the burst of Spanish patriotism: and the British ministry having determined on complying with the request of the Spaniards by sending them assistance, sir John Moore was one of the first officers selected for that purpose.
Very short was the interval between his arrival from Sweden, and his sailing for Spain A few days spent in refitting the vessels, and in recruiting the stores and equipments of the army, sufficed to prepare this gallant band of heroes for their intended service. Sir John arrived after the battle of Vimiera : and when the officers whose testimonies were necessary to elucidate the convention consequent on that affair, were departed for England, sir John remained commander in chief of the British forces on the west of the peninsula. Conscious of the hazard of the undertaking, yet unwilling to leave any thing unattempted, that had the smallest chance of success, this gallant general determined on marching into the interiour, to assist the Spaniards. The scarcity of supplies was so great, that his army was obliged to march in small bodies ; and when it had penetrated into the mountains that border Spain, it found itself reduced to little more than the supports it had brought.
The country afforded no magazines, nor the means of establishing any. The governing authority in Spain had never possessed the power of effectively remedying this deficiency: and the time necessary in which Spaniards might be supposed to attempt it, could not be obtained. The object of sir John's first anxiety, was, to assemble the divided corps of his army. To have left a detachment exposed to the enemy, would have appeared in his eyes no less dishonourable than treason. This junction he happily accomplished : and though he knew that he must retire, ultimately, from scarcity of supplies, yet he determined to bring the French to action before that became notorious. His intention was to attack marshal Soult, who was posted in his neighbourhood, with about 30,000 men; but the French general not daring to trust the event of a battle man to man with the British, clamoured so loudly for assistance, that Buonaparte, then at Madrid, complied with his demands, and forwarded all his troops that could be spared from every quarter. Intelligence of this determination did not reach general Moore so soon as it ought to have done. He was, therefore, under the necessity of ordering a sudden retreat, for which he was not prepared : nor did the rapidity with which he moved, allow him time to prepare. The