[Jokes] Wellington's message . . . (fwd)

Chris McKenna cmckenna at sucs.org
Wed Feb 2 08:44:56 GMT 2005

---------- Forwarded message ----------


Written from Central Spain, August  1812

Gentlemen, 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 H.M. ship from London to Lisbon  and
thence by dispatch 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 dis-
patched 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

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 the number  of jars
of raspberry jam issued to one cavalry regiment during  a
sandstorm in western Spain. This reprehensible  carelessness
may be related to the pressure of circumstance,  since we
are 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 from 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

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

Your most obedient servant,

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