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. The Convention was signed at the Palace of Queluz, in Queluz, Cintra, Estremadura.
The French forces under Jean-Andoche Junot were defeated by the Anglo-Portuguese forces commanded by Sir Arthur Wellesley at Vimeiro 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 However, at that moment, Wellesley was superseded by the arrival of Sir Harry Burrard and then the next day by Sir Hew Dalrymple.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.
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) 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.
The Convention was seen as a disgrace by many in the United Kingdom  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.
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."
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". 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.
Abrantes (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐˈβɾɐ̃tɨʃ]) is a municipality in the central Médio Tejo subregion of Portugal. The population as of 2011 was 39,325, in an area of 714.69 square kilometres (275.94 sq mi). The municipality includes several parishes divided by the Tagus River, which runs through the middle of the municipality. The urbanized part, the parish of Abrantes (São Vicente e São João) e Alferrarede, located on the north bank of the Tagus, has about 17,000 residents.Adolphus Dalrymple
Sir Adolphus John Dalrymple, 2nd Baronet of High Mark (3 February 1784 – 3 March 1866) was a British army officer and politician.Allan Bank
Allan Bank is a grade II listed two-storey villa standing on high ground slightly to the west of Grasmere village in the heart of the Lake District. It is best known for being from 1808 to 1811 the home of William Wordsworth, but it was also occupied at various times by Dorothy Wordsworth, Dora Wordsworth, Thomas De Quincey, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Thomas Arnold, Matthew Arnold and Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley. It is now owned by the National Trust and is open to the public.Battle of Alcantara (1809)
The Battle of Alcantara (14 May 1809) saw an Imperial French division led by Marshal Claude Perrin Victor attack a Portuguese detachment under Colonel William Mayne. After a three hours skirmish, the French stormed across the Alcántara Bridge and forced the Portuguese to retreat. The clash happened during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Alcántara, Spain is situated on the Tagus river near the Portuguese border, 285 kilometres (177 mi) west-southwest of Madrid.
While Marshal Nicolas Soult invaded northern Portugal in early 1809, two other French forces stood ready to cooperate in the subjugation of Portugal. Pierre Belon Lapisse's division lurked near Ciudad Rodrigo while Victor's I Corps operated in the Tagus valley. A weak force under Robert Thomas Wilson watched Lapisse while Alexander Randoll Mackenzie's Anglo-Portuguese corps kept an eye on Victor. After being outgeneraled by Wilson, Lapisse marched south to join Victor. When Sir Arthur Wellesley's Anglo-Portuguese army advanced to attack Soult's corps, the detachment under Mayne occupied Alcántara.
Believing Mayne's troops to be a serious threat, Victor marched against him. The Loyal Lusitanian Legion battalion defended the Alcántara Bridge for three hours. Then, the French artillery silenced their guns and a supporting battalion of militia took to its heels. The bridge was mined, but when Mayne ordered the charges to be detonated, its heavy construction withstood the explosion. Victor's infantry then rushed the incompletely demolished span. The French hung around the area for a few days but finally withdrew. The next action was the Battle of Talavera.Brent Spencer
General Sir Brent Spencer (1760 – 29 December 1828) 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.
He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Sligo Borough from 1815 to 1818.Christopher Hely-Hutchinson
Christopher Hely-Hutchinson (1767–1826) was an Irish lawyer, politician and soldier.Daniel Stuart
Daniel Stuart (1766–1846) was a Scottish journalist, and associate of Samuel Taylor Coleridge.David Dundas (British Army officer)
General Sir David Dundas (1735 – 18 February 1820) was a British Army officer who fought in the Seven Years' War and French Revolutionary Wars, wrote important texts on the Principles of Military Movements and then served as Commander-in-Chief of the Forces from 1809 to 1811.François Étienne de Kellermann
François Étienne de Kellermann, 2nd Duc de Valmy (4 August 1770 – 2 June 1835) was a French cavalry general noted for his daring and skillful exploits during the Napoleonic Wars. He was the son of François Christophe de Kellermann and the father of the diplomat François Christophe Edmond de Kellermann.Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl Bathurst
Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl Bathurst, (22 May 1762 – 27 July 1834) was a High Tory, High Church Pittite from the end of the Second Empire. For thirty years an MP and whence ennobled one of the government's main stalwarts on Colonial policy. Not a good speaker in debates, he was nevertheless a competent administrator. If rather dull, he remained intensely loyal and at the centre of government for longer than all his contemporaries. A personal friend of William Pitt the Younger, he became a broker of deals across cabinet factions during the volatile Napoleonic era. After the Napoleonic Wars, Bathurst was on the 'conservative' wing of the Tory party. He came round towards arbitrating on a less than harsh colonial regime.Hew Whitefoord Dalrymple
General Sir Hew Whitefoord Dalrymple, 1st Baronet (3 December 1750 – 9 April 1830) was a Scottish general in the British Army and Governor of Gibraltar.John Moore (British Army officer)
Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore, (13 November 1761 – 16 January 1809) 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."Josceline Percy (Royal Navy officer)
Vice Admiral The Hon. Josceline Percy (29 January 1784 – 19 October 1856) was a Royal Navy officer and politician who went on to be Commander-in-Chief, The Nore.Maria I of Portugal
Dona Maria I (English: Mary I; 17 December 1734 – 20 March 1816) 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.Maximilien Sébastien Foy
Maximilien Sébastien Foy (3 February 1775 – 28 November 1825) was a French military leader, statesman and writer.Michael Glover
Michael Glover (1922–90) served in the British army during the Second World War, after which he joined the British Council and became a professional author. He has written many articles and books on Napoleonic and Victorian warfare.Sintra (disambiguation)
Sintra is both a town and a municipality in Portugal.
Sintra may also refer to:
Palace of Sintra
Opel Sintra, a minivanSir Harry Burrard, 1st Baronet, of Lymington
General Sir Harry Burrard, 1st Baronet (1 June 1755 – 17 October 1813) was a British soldier who fought in the American War of Independence, the French Revolutionary Wars and in the Peninsular War.VIII Corps (Grande Armée)
The VIII Corps of the Grande Armée was the name of a French military unit that existed during the Napoleonic Wars. Emperor Napoleon formed it in 1805 by borrowing divisions from other corps and assigned it to Marshal Édouard Adolphe Casimir Joseph Mortier. Marshal André Masséna's Army of Italy was also reorganized as the VIII Corps at the end of the 1805 campaign. The corps was reformed for the 1806 campaign under Mortier and spent the rest of the year mopping up Prussian garrisons in western Germany.
After Jean-Andoche Junot's Army of Portugal was repatriated after the Convention of Cintra in 1808, it was reconstituted as the VIII Corps. However, Junot's command was broken up before the end of the year. In 1809, the soldiers from the Kingdom of Württemberg were formed into a new VIII Corps under the leadership of Dominique Vandamme. After seeing a few battles, they were used to protect Napoleon's rear areas. By January 1810 a new VIII Corps was created in Spain and placed under Junot. This unit participated in Masséna's invasion of Portugal before being discontinued in 1811.
A new VIII Corps was formed from Westphalians for the 1812 French invasion of Russia and placed under Junot's command. The corps was effectively destroyed during the retreat. The following year, the corps was rebuilt with Polish units and assigned to Józef Poniatowski. The VIII Corps fought in the fall 1813 campaign and ceased to exist after the Battle of Leipzig.