CONVENTION, MILITARY, a treaty made between the commanders of two opposing armies concerning the terms on which a temporary cessation of hostilities shall take place between them. It is usually solicited by that general who has suffered a defeat, when his retreat is not secure and small chance is left of main refused his position ; and it is seldom by the victor, since, without in ' the unavoidable loss attending an action, his force becomes immediately dis posable for other operations.
In 1757 the Duke of Cumberland, when in danger of being surrounded, entered into a convention with the Duke de Riche lieu, through the medium of Denmark, by which, on consenting to disband all his auxiliaries, he was allowed to retire with the English troops across the Elbe. And in 1799, when the Anglo-Rusaian army failed in the attempt to deliver Hol land from the French power, the Duke of York made a treaty with General Brune, by which the invading force was allowed to re-embark, on condition that 8000 French and Dutch prisoners of war in England should be restored.
After the battle of Vimeira in 1808, the Duke of Abrantes, having been defeated, and fearing a general rising in Lisbon against him, sent General Kellerman to the quarters of the British commander in-chief; to request a cessation of arms, and propose a convention by which the French troops might be allowed to retire from Portugal. This being granted, it
was finally arranged in the convention that they should not be considered as pri soners of war ; and that, with their pro perty, public and private, their guns, and cavalry horses, they should be transported to France : On the other hand, all the fortresses which had not capitulated were to be given up to the British, and a Rus sian fleet, then in the Tagus, was to be detained in English ports till after the conclusion of a peace. This is the cele brated convention which was made at Lisbon, and is generally but improperly called " the Convention of Cintra." It excited much dissatisfaction both in Por tugal and England, as the cupidity of the French induced them to appropriate to themselves property to which they had no claim. (Napier, vol. i.). By the ap pointment of a committee consisting of one individual of each of the three na tions, all causes of complaint were, how ever, finally removed.