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Open war was now proclaimed by the Spanish Govern- Chap.

VII.

ment against the liberals of all grades, and, unhappily, the violence of the Government kept pace with the in- 1814, creasing desire of the inhabitants of the great towns for Farther constitutional privileges. As it had now become a mat-e^lngaoF ter of imminent danger to hazard such opinions in public, ^ Pofthe liberal leaders had recourse to the usual resource of a her'* ^eTolt• zealous and determined party under such circumstances. Secret societies were formed under the direction of the chiefs of their party, and the ancient and venerable order of free-masons was laid hold of as a cover for designs against the Government. The Inquisition, in consequence, issued a proclamation denouncing these societies; and March 5. ere long it appeared that there was too much foundation for their apprehensions. On 18th September, General Porlier, who had greatly signalised himself in the Peninsula, assembled the troops stationed at St Lucia without the gates of Corunna at night, and suddenly entering the city, the sentinels of which had been gained, put the Captain-general of Galicia, the governor of the town, and a few other persons, under arrest. No sooner was tbis done than he issued a proclamation, in which he proposed the reassembling of the Cortes, and dismissal of the Ministers; and another, purporting to be from the aM°n!,gnr' Provincial Junta of Galicia, under the "presidency of {{j^g^General Porlier, General-commandant of the Interior of 117.' the Kingdom."1

In taking these bold steps, which at once committed 3g him with the Government, the principal reliance of Porlier it« failure, was on a body of grenadiers and light infantry stationed death." at St Iago, which he had reason to believe would join him. Being informed, however, that they hesitated, and that his presence might probably determine them, he set out in haste from Corunna at the head of eight hundred men and four guns, and arrived at a village within four leagues of St Iago, where he halted to rest his men, who were much fatigued by their march. While there, some

Chap. emissaries from the convent of St Iago introduced themYIL selves in disguise among his men, and urged them to i8is. arrest their general by the promises of ample rewards in case of success. These promises proved successful: Porlicr and his officers were suddenly surrounded and seized by their own men, while reposing in a cabaret in the heat of the day after their march; and the general, being taken Oct. 3. back to Corunna, was condemned by a court-martial to be hanged, which sentence was immediately carried into execution. He wrote, on the eve of his death, a pathetic letter to his wife, with a handkerchief steeped in his tears, in which he exhorted her not to afflict herself on account of the species of death to which he was sentenced, since it was dishonourable only to the wicked, but glorious to the virtuous. He met his fate with dignity and resolution. Then began the days of tragedy in Spain, which ere long led to such frightful reprisals on both sides, and for many long years deluged the Peninsula with blood: oJSt.lo*"' unhappy bequest of the insane liberals, who estab1815;^ Ann. lished a constitution utterly repugnant to the vast majouf'. 'rity of the people, but eminently attractive to the ardent and generous among the educated classes.1 jrt In the end of August, one Spanish army, under Casinvwion of taflos, crossed the frontier near Perpignan ; and another,

retreat of

under the Conde d'Abisbal, the Bidassoa, with the prokrds.'FrMh fessed design of aiding Louis XVIII. in his contest with Mteofthe *ne partisans of Napoleon. As that contest had been kins- already decided by the battle of Waterloo and the presence of a million of the allied troops in France, it may readily be imagined that the presence of the Spanish auxiliaries was anything but desirable, and accordingly the Duke d'Angouleme, as already mentioned, hastened to the Spanish headquarters, where he had an interview with Castafios, whom he prevailed on to retire; and his , Ante'c retreat 0n tne eastern was soon after followed by that of Hi. § 29. the Conde d'Abisbal on the western frontier.2 The people both in Pampeluna and Corunna had taken no part in the attempts of Mina and Porlier; thelatter had been pub- Chap.

licly thanked by the king for their conduct on the occasion. L_

It was hoped, therefore, that no measures of severity 1816' would follow the suppression of these insurrections; and the dismissal, soon after the death of Porlier, of several of the ministers most inclined to arbitrary measures, led to a general hope that a more moderate system was about to be adopted, and that possibly a Cortes convoked according to the ancient customs might be assembled. But these hopes were soon blasted; and before the end of the year the determination of the king to act upon the most arbitrary principles was evinced in the most unequivocal manner. The trial of the liberals who had been arrested in Madrid, among whom were included several of the ministers of state, and most distinguished members of the late Cortes, began in November; but after long proceedings, and a transference of the cases from one tribunal to another, which it was thought might be more subservient to the royal will, the judges of the last reported that the evidence against the accused was not such as to bring them within the laws against traitors or persons exciting tumults and disturbances, which alone authorised severe punishments. Upon receiving this report the king ordered the proceedings to be brought to him, and pronounced sentences of the severest kind, and entirely illegal, on thirty-two of the leading liberals in Spain, which he sigued with his own hand. Among these was one of ten years' service, as a common soldier, in a regiment stationed at Ceuta, on the celebrated Senor Arguelles, whose eloquence had so often resounded through the halls of the Cortes; and one of eight years of service in chains, in a regiment stationed at Gomera, on Sefior 1 Atm.,R*g. Garcia Herreros, formerly Minister of Grace and Jus-us.' tice!1

Notwithstanding these severities, the situation of the king was very hazardous at Madrid, and secret information soon after reached him, which convinced him Chap. that a change in the system of government had become YI1' indispensable. The extreme penury of the treasury, from ^16- the loss of nearly all the resources derived from South Change of America, and the distracted state of society in Spain and pSicy after the six years' dreadful war of which the Peninsula 3mn?26,,d- Da^ been the theatre, rendered it impossible to maintain 1BI6- the national armaments on anything like an adequate scale; and if it had been practicable, it was doubtful whether the danger of convulsion would not be thereby increased, since the whole revolts came from the army, and had been organised by its leading officers. The precarious condition of the royal authority was the more strongly felt, that the clergy, though possessed of unbounded influence over their flocks, and invaluable allies in a protracted struggle, had no armed force at their command to meet the rebellious bands of the soldiery, whom the liberal leaders had shown they could so easily array against the Government. The weight of these considerations ere long appeared in a partial change of the ministry. To the surprise of all, there appeared in the Jan. 26. Madrid Gazette of 28th J an nary 1816, a decree appointing the celebrated and enlightened Don Pedro de Cevallos to his former office of First Secretary of State, and admitting that his dismissal, on the resumption by the king of the royal authority, had been founded on erroneous information.* By the same decree, the cognisance of state offences was taken from the extraordinary tribunals, by which they had hitherto been tried, and remitted to the ordinary tribunals. This was a great step towards a more just system of administration; and the changed policy of the Court was at the same time evinced by the conferring of honours and offices on the ministers who had

* "Considering as unfounded the motives which induced me to order your discharge from the office of my First Secretary of State and of the Cabinet, and being highly satisfied with the zeal, exactitude, and affection with which, in the cruelest times, you have served myself and the State, I reinstate you in the use and exercise of your office, of which you will immediately take charge."—Decree, 26th January 1816.—Madrid Gazette

formed the cabinet of Don Pedro de Cevallos, though they Chap. were not reinstated in the ministry. These advances 11"'

towards a liberal government, however, had no effect in 181bchecking the conspiracies, for one was soon after dis- F"°n3teu'', covered at Madrid, chiefly among half-pay officers, who g^^TMhad flocked there in great numbers—which, however, was i2$"i30-' suppressed without any commotion.1

It soon appeared, also, that if the liberals were deter- 42 mined on continuing their conspiracies, the king was not Restoration less set on rushing headlong into the most arbitrary mea- anits'and sures. A severe decree against all persons bearing arms potfcmea

after nightfall was issued on 20th March, and another! on 4th December. The discovery of the conspiracy at Madrid was made the pretence for innumerable arrests in every tOM-n, and almost every village, in the kingdom, of persons who were found meeting after ten at night; and the utmost terror was struck into the persons apprehended, and their relations, by the information that, on the 19th July, the State prisoners at Ceuta, who embraced most July 19. of the members of the late Cortes, had been removed at dead of night, put in irons, and hurried on board a zebecque, which set sail with them on an unknown destination. In fact, they were conveyed to Port Mahon in Minorca, where it was thought they would be more secure. And about the same time a decree appeared which re-Jniy 25. vealed, in a still more decisive manner, the determination of Government permanently to destroy freedom of thought. Not content with enthralling the present, they aimed at throwing their chains over the future; and a decree issued in July, re-establishing the order of the > Decree, Jesuits, restoring to them their possessions in so far as^.;2^ they had not been alienated, and intrusting them with °ujgj'6Aug' the entire direction of education, both male and female, Ann. Reg. threatened to throw the same chains permanently over the 131.'' souls of the people.2

An event occurred in the autumn of this year, which was fondly looked forward to by the persecuted liberals

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