Text below 'allegedly' reproduced from a letter sent by Wellington to

August 1812


Whilst marching from Portugal to a position which commands the approach to
Madrid and the French forces, my Officers have been diligently complying
with your requests which have been sent by HM Ship from London to Lisbon and
thence by dispatch rider to our headquarters.

We have enumerated our saddles, bridles, tents and tent poles and all manner
of sundry items for which His Majesty's Government holds me accountable. I
have dispatched reports on the character, wit and spleen of every Officer.
Each item and every farthing has been accounted for, with two regrettable
exceptions for which I beg your indulgence.

Unfortunately the sum of one shilling and ninepence remains unaccounted for
in one infantry battalion's petty cash and there has been a hideous
confusion as to the number of jars of raspberry jam issued to one cavalry
regiment during a sandstorm in western Spain. This reprehensible
carelessness may by related to the pressure of circumstance, since we are at
war with France, a fact which may come as a bit of a surprise to you
gentlemen in Whitehall.

This brings me to my present purpose, which is to request elucidation of my
instructions for His Majesty's Government so that I may better understand
why I am dragging an army over these barren plains. I construe that perforce
it must be one of two alternative duties, as given below. I shall pursue
either one with the best of my ability but I cannot do both:

1.  To train an army of uniformed British clerks in Spain for the benefit of
the accountants and copy-boys in London or, perchance.

2.  To see to it that the forces of Napoleon are driven out of Spain.

Your most obedient servant, Wellington

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