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repeated evasions, continued to practise it until it arose to Chap. the enormous amount of from fifty to seventy thousand , YI1' slaves annually sent into Cuba alone. 1818,

The internal situation of Spain had not sensibly ameliorated during the years the transactions of which have Miserable been now briefly enumerated. The Inquisition had sp^a- its spread its leaden arms over the kingdom, and crushed nTMJ.and any approach to independent thought: the severance of South America had dried up the principal sources of its material industry. The army, in great part without pay, always long in arrears, was with difficulty held to its standards, and the effective strength of the regiments exhibited a very different return from the rolls on paper. So great had the dilapidation of the military force of the kingdom become, from the penury of the Exchequer, and discoutent and desertion of the troops, that, by a decree on June 1, its organisation was entirely changed, and June 1. they were divided into forty-seven regiments of common and light infantry, twenty-two regiments of cavalry, five thousand artillery, two regiments of guards: in all, seventy thousand men, to which were to be added fortythree regiments of provincial militia, which mustered about thirty thousand combatants. As to the navy, it had fallen into such a state of decay, that the power which, two hundred and thirty years before, had fitted out the invincible Armada, and planted such magnificent colonies in the Indies, and even in later times had all but rivalled the power of England upon the seas, was unable to fit out a fleet to transport the military succours which were so loudly called for to the New World. In this extremity the Government, with the money extorted the preceding year from the priests, bought a squadron of old worn-out lineof-battle ships from Russia, to which Alexander, out of pure generosity, added three frigates in a present. Such, however, was their state of decay that they took five1 Ann. Humonths to make the voyage from Cronstadt to Cadiz, aoi'ao'i" and had to put into Plymouth to refit.1 At length the

VOL. II. D

Chap, squadron arrived at Cadiz, on 21st February, and two v1L thousand men were embarked on board of it for Lima. 1818. fphe extreme penury of the finances, in consequence of Extreme the loss of the mines of South America to the GovernthSnL ment, and its commerce to the country, was the cause of Decree,n' this woeful state of decrepitude—a memorable proof of 3, the straits to which even the greatest naval power may be reduced by the severance of its colonies. The Government was overwhelmed with demands for payment of debts by foreign countries, when by no possible contrivance could they raise money to pay their own armaments. The most pressing part of the debt consisted of 1,500,000,000 reals (£14,500,000), composed of vales, a species of assignats issued in former times by the treasury. The Cortes had provided for the payment of the interest of this debt by assignation of the property of the Inquisition; but as the restoration of the property of that body left nothing for the creditors, the minister of finance, by a decree on 3d April, reduced the debts to a third of their amount, and made provision for the interest of that third from the estates of the Church. By another March s0- decree, Corunna, Santander, Cadiz, and Alicante were declared free ports—a vain attempt to restore the commerce to which the loss of the colonies had brought total ruin. A manifesto was prepared, and submitSept . u. ted in the end of the year to the Congress of Aix la Chapelle, to be addressed to the revolted colonies, which promised them an amnesty for the past, reformos, wo*- &tion of abuses, and a certain degree of freedom of com1818 ?2f" merce- It was approved of and published, but proved of wi. 'no avail with men resolutely set upon asserting their independence.1

An event occurred in the close of this year, which, in its final results, was attended with most important effects upon both kingdoms of the Peninsula. On 26th December, the young Queen Maria Isabella, who had arrived from Brazil in the autumn of 1817, to share the fortunes of the King of Spain, and who was very near Chap. her time, was suddenly seized with convulsions, and

1819.

expired in twenty minutes. The infant was delivered after the mother's death by the Csesarean operation, but Death of it expired, after being baptised, in a few minutes after Maria its mother. Being a female, it could not have succeeded Ifsfliu. by the existing law, sanctioned by all the powers ofDec-2cEurope at the treaty of Utrecht, to the crown of Spain;1 but this bereavement, by leaving the king to 1 Ann. Hist, marry again, which, as will appear in the sequel, he310' actually did, was attended with consequences of the last moment to tho Peninsula, and of general interest to the whole of Europe. This death was almost immediately followed by that of the old King, Charles IV., who had been forced to resign the crown at Bayonne in 1808, ggf'^': who expired at Naples on 20th January 1819, a few Moiiteur, weeks after his Queen, Louisa Maria Theresa of Parma, 1819. had died on the road to that place.2

Meanwhile the preparations for the grand expedition sg to South America, which had been so long in prepara- Disastrous tion, went on without intermission; although the fate fT/st which befel the advanced guard of two frigates, with two timl1" thousand men, despatched in the preceding year, was not such as to afford very encouraging hopes of its ultimate success. The soldiers and crew on board one of the frigates mutinied, threw the officers overboard, and sailed into Buenos Ayres, where they were received with open arms by the insurgents, whom they immediately joined. The other was captured off the coast of Peru by the insurgent squadron, and eight thousand muskets which it had on board were immediately appropriated to their use. Undeterred by these disasters, however, the Government continued their preparations for the grand expedition with the utmost activity; and by the middle of i^'i^f' January fifteen thousand men were collected in the Isle A^^*fof Leon, and six ships of the line, in a tolerable state of «. 38-i, 383. equipment for the voyage.3

Chap. The disorganised state of all parts of Spain, however, N11' still continued, and the repeated revolts which broke out,

1^19- especially among the soldiery, might have warned the

Fresh re- Government that a serious disaster was impending over Tenci^*' the monarchy, and that the great armament in the Isle ^pprewed. of Leon was not likely to sail without making its strength Jan. 21. felt by the Government. On the 21st January a fresh conspiracy was discovered by General Elio in Valencia, the object of which was to assassinate him and his principal officers, and immediately proclaim the Constitution of 1812. At its head was Colonel Vidal, who made a vigorous defence against the soldiers sent to arrest him, and was only made prisoner after he had been run through the body. He himself was hanged, and his associates, to the number of twelve, shot from behind, the punishment reserved for traitors. This event had a melancholy effect upon the fate of the prisoners at Barcelona, who had been implicated in General Lacy's revolt in the preceding year. They were condemned to death to the number of seventeen, and executed without mercy. Disturbances at the same time broke out in New Castile, Estremadura, and Andalusia, the roads of which were infested by bands of old guerillas, who formed themselves into bands of robbers, amounting to three hundred men. But all these disorders were ere long !.A"n, IJht- thrown into the shade by the great revolt which broke

n. 384,385; » °

Ann. Reg. out among the troops in the Isle of Leon, which was 179.' 'attended with the most important consequences on both hemispheres.1

s5 Such had been the penury of the exchequer, and the Causes'of state of dilapidation into which the once magnificent in the Isle arsenals and dockyards of Cadiz had fallen, that the of Leon, fitting-out of the expedition, after two years' incessant preparation, was still incomplete. Two ships of the line and a frigate were despatched on 11th May, to clear the coasts of America of the insurgent corsairs who infested them; but one of these—the Alexander—was obliged, a few days after, to return to Cadiz to refit. During the Chap. long delay occasioned by these difficulties, the troops YIL collected for the expedition, which by the end of May 1819amounted to twenty-two thousand men—a force perfectly capable of effecting the subjugation of South America, bad it arrived in safety at its destination—were left concentrated and inactive in the island of Leon. During the leisure and monotony of a barrack life they had leisure to confer together, to compare the past and present condition of their country, and ruminate on the probable fate which awaited themselves if they engaged in the warfare of South America. A large number of veterans, who had served under Murillo in those disastrous campaigns, not a few of whom were in the public hospitals suffering under severe mutilations, gave the most dismal accounts of the dreadful nature of the warfare on which they were about to be sent, the ferocious enemies with which they had to contend—the English veterans trained under Wellington, who formed so large a part of the insurgent forces—the interminable deserts they had to cross, the pestilential gales, so fatal to European constitutions, with which the country was infested, and the frightful warfare, where quarter was neither asked nor given on either side, which awaited them on their arrival. A proclamation of the king, issued on 4th January, in which it was announced j»n. 4. that no quarter would be given to any soldiers of foreign nations found combating in the insurgent ranks, rather! Ann HUt increased than diminished these alarms, by proving the Ang%f5; reality of one of the many, and not the least formid- isis, m'-, able, of the dangers which were represented as awaiting 1178, ire. them.1

To these considerations, already sufficiently powerful, ^ were added the efforts of the merchants and revolutionists Efforts'of of Cadiz, who spared neither their talents nor their riches m^rai? to to induce the assembled troops to abandon their duty remote it. and revolt against the Government. They painted to

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