London. 1808. viii,216,pp. plus four folding maps. Antique-style three-quarter calf and marbled boards. Minor offsetting and foxing on titlepage and to other leaves facing maps. Old library stamps on first two leaves; contemporary ownership inscription on titlepage. Errata slip pasted to verso of titlepage. Very good, untrimmed. Item #WRCAM41553
In 1807, Gen. John Whitelocke was sent to the Rio de la Plata with a large force. His goal was to reinforce British troops already operating there and in Argentina and to seize Buenos Aires, a move designed to open up the markets of South America to British commerce and replace those lost on the Continent by Napoleon's blockade. Despite his large force, Whitelocke proceeded cautiously and ineptly, further hampered by bad weather. The assault on Buenos Aires was met by civilian as well as military resistance, when the British had expected local merchants to welcome them with open arms. Craufurd commanded a light brigade, which led the attack on Buenos Aires and successfully achieved its objectives. However, a large part of the attacking force was cut off and forced to surrender while Whitelocke napped in his tent and Craufurd's brigade was ordered to surrender with the rest of the British force. Santiago Liniers, the Spanish commander, proposed a truce if the British would promise to withdraw in two months, but said he could not answer for the safety of the prisoners if the attack was renewed. Feeling that the object of the expedition was now untenable, Whitelocke accepted those terms. The British withdrew to Montevideo and then to England, losing what might have been a foothold in South America. Whitelocke was the subject of the greatest scorn on returning to England, where he was court- martialed and cashiered. Though this work is sometimes attributed to General Whitelocke, the accusatory and wounded tone of the narrative makes that unlikely. SABIN 103672. PALAU 375051. HALKETT & LAING 1, p.164. DNB (online).