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Bean counters

Old 8th Nov 2002, 10:03
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Europe
Age: 51
Posts: 409
Bean counters

Seems they have always been in charge

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 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 be 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
Vortex what...ouch! is offline  
Old 8th Nov 2002, 22:11
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Richmond Texas
Posts: 304
I read one similar years ago that purported to come from the Duke of Wellington. It contained the phrase "Mass of futile drivel which emanates daily from your Lordship's office" and implied that neither he nor any of his officers had the time to read, let alone implement it.

I'd like to believe that these are both from the Duke's pen so that I may cite them. I have many opportunities. I have searched his letters from the peninsula and can't find either. If anyone has chapter and verse, please let me know.

Last edited by Flash2001; 9th Nov 2002 at 19:42.
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