HC Deb 05 February 1810 vol 15 cc309-11

Brigadier general the hon. Charles Stewart being come to the House, the Speaker acquainted him that the House had upon Thursday last resolved, That the Thanks of this House be given to him for his distinguished exertions on the 27th and 28th of July last, in the memorable battle of Talavera, which terminated in the signal defeat of the forces of the enemy; and the Speaker gave him the Thanks of the House accordingly, as followeth, viz.

"Brigadier-general Charles Stewart; Amongst the gallant officers to whom this House has declared its gratitude for their distinguished services in Spain, your name has the honour to stand enrolled.—During the progress of the two last campaigns in Spain and Portugal, whoever has turned his eyes towards the bold and perilous operations of our armies in Leon and Gallicia; whoever has contemplated the brilliant passage of the British troops across the Douro, an exploit which struck the enemy himself with admiration as well as dismay; must have marked throughout those memorable achievements, that spirit For the Minutes of each day's Evidence, see Appendix to this volume. of energy and enterprise with which you have rapidly advanced in the career of military fame, and by which you have now fixed your name for ever in the annals of your country, as a chief sharer in those immortal laurels won by British fortitude and valour in the glorious and hard-fought battles of Talavera.—Upon the great commander under whom it was there your pride and felicity to serve, his sovereign, this House, and the voice of an applauding empire, have conferred those signal testimonies of honour and gratitude, which posterity will seal with its undoubting approbation: and it is no mean part of the merits for which you are to be this day crowned with our Thanks that you were chosen by such a commander, to be the companion of his councils, and the sure hand to which he could entrust the prompt and effectual direction of his comprehensive and victorious operations.—To you, Sir, I am therefore now to deliver the Thanks of this House; and I do accordingly, in the name and by the command, of the Commons of the United Kingdom, thank you for your distinguished exertions on the 27th and 28th days of July last, in the memorable battles of Talavera, which terminated in the signal defeat of the forces of the enemy."

Upon which brigadier gen. Stewart said, "Mr. Speaker; I feel myself totally inadequate to express the high sense I entertain of the distinguished honour that has been conferred upon me, an honour far exceeding any little services I may have rendered in the fortunate situations in which I have been placed: If a sentiment of regret could at such a moment arise in my mind, it would be, that (from the circumstance of a severe indisposition) I stand alone here on the present occasion, the army being still on service, and that I am not accompanied by my gallant brother officers (equally members of this House), who are far more eminently entitled to its thanks and to the applause of their country than myself.—If I might venture to arrogate any thing beyond the most anxious zeal for the King's service, and a sincere love for the profession I belong to, it is an ardent desire to follow the footsteps of my great and gallant commander, to whose sole abilities and exertions we stand indebted not only for the battle of Talavera, but for all those successes which have rendered him alike an ornament to his country and a terror, to her foes: To follow his bright example, to emulate his achievements, and to be thought worthy of his confidence, I shall ever consider as the surest passport to the greatest distinction that can be conferred on a soldier; I mean the approbation of this honourable House.—I must now offer my sincerest acknowledgments to you, Sir, for the very marked kindness yon have shewn me in expressing to me the Thanks of this House, by condescending to enumerate my humble services in the partial manner you have done; and I beg to assure you it will be my anxious study to avail myself of all occasions to merit the honour which has this day been conferred upon me."