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Chap. them in the most gloomy colours the disastrous state of yiL the country, with its colonies lost, its trade ruined, its 1819- exchequer bankrupt, its noblest patriots in captivity or in chains, its bravest generals shot, its liberties destroyed, the Inquisition restored, the public education in the hands of the Jesuits, an inconsistent camarilla, fluctuating in everything except evil, ruling alike the monarch and the country. They professed the utmost respect for the king, and the firmest determination to protect his person and just authority: the only object was to displace a ministry, the worst enemy he had in his dominions, and restore the Cortes, the only security for their prosperity and just administration. To these considerations, in themselves sufficiently just and powerful, was added the gold of the Cadiz merchants, who hoped, by frustrating the expedition, to succeed in re-establishing peace with the colonies, and regaining the lucrative commerce they had so long enjoyed with them. The result was, 1Marti that, before the time arrived when the expedition could AnnHist' ^ possibility set sail, the whole army was imbued with n. 387^388; revolutionary ideas, and only awaited the signal of a 1819, i% leader to declare openly against the Government, and avert the much dreaded departure for South America.1 57 The Condk D'abisbal, formerly General O'Donnell, Insurrec- of Irish extraction, who had distinguished himself in Cadiz.' Catalonia during the late war, was at the head of the July 7- expedition. He was a man of a bold and enterprising character, and possessed of such powers of dissimulation that those most entirely, as they thought, in his confidence, were not in the slightest degree aware of what he really intended. He had at first entered cordially into the designs of the conspirators, and their principal hopes of success were founded on his heading the enterprise. For a long time he adopted the views of the disaffected, and from the knowledge which they had of this, he gained unlimited influence over the minds of the soldiers. But when the decisive moment arrived, the deep dissimulation of the man became apparent. In the night of the Chap.
7th July, when the conspiracy was on the point of !_
breaking out, the Conde d'Abisbal assembled the gar- 1819rison of Cadiz, six thousand strong, which was entirely at his devotion, and, without revealing to them what he intended to do, informed them that he was about to lead them on a short expedition, of which the success was certain, and which would entitle them to the highest rewards from their sovereign and country; but he required them to bind themselves by an oath to obey his orders, whatever they were. The soldiers, ignorant of his design, 1Ann Hi8t but having confidence in his intention, at once took the »• 388,389;
. Ann. Reg.
oath, and as soon as this was done he led them into the ww, lTM-> camp "des Victoires," where seven thousand men, destined i. i8ofi«. to be first embarked, were assembled.1
These troops were ordered to assemble in parade order, 5g and no sooner was this done than d'Abisbal stationed his The conmen round them in such positions as to render escape at first arimpossible, and then, ordering the soldiers to load their d'Abtbai. muskets and the artillerymen their pieces, he summonedJlJy8, the men to lay down their arms, and deliver up the officers contained in a list which he had prepared. Resistance was impossible, as the men who were surrounded had no ammunition, and they were compelled to submit. A hundred and twenty-three officers, comprising the chiefs of the army, were put under arrest, a part of the troops sent out of the camp, and dispersed through villages of Andalusia, and three thousand compelled to embark and set sail they knew not whither. In fact, their destination was the Havannah, where they arrived in safety six weeks afterwards. Having by these extraordinary means gained this great success, succeeded in arresting his comrades, and crushing a conspiracy of which he him- 3Martignac self had been the chief, d'Abisbal hastened to Madrid, 1II)"t0;.jA;;n' where he took credit to himself for having at once de- Ann. Reg. feated a dangerous conspiracy, and compelled a mutinous i8o.' '' body of soldiers to obey orders,2 and proceed on their
Chap. destination. He was received with the greatest distincN1L tion at Court, decorated with the great ribbon of the
1819. order of Charles III.; and his second in command, General Saarsfield, who had powerfully seconded him in his enterprise, promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general. But these flattering appearances were of short duration, D'Abisbui and the discovery of the conspiracy proved entirely fatal of the"TM- to the expedition, with the exception of the three thouTxpeditLn.* sand in tne nrst stupor of astonishment, had been hurried on board, and sent off to the Havannah. The Government had become, with reason, so distrustful of the troops that they no longer ventured to keep them together, or in the neighbourhood of Cadiz; and sinister rumours ere long reached Madrid as to the share which the Conde d'Abisbal had had, as well as his second in command, in the conspiracy. The consequence was that they were both called to the capital, under pretence of giving personal information on so dangerous an affair; and while there they were deprived of their commands, and the direction of the expedition intrusted to the Conde de Calderon, a veteran of seventy years of age. D'Abisbal was too powerful a man, however, to be brought to judgment; and, to the surprise of every one, this scene of dissimulation and hypocrisy on both sides AAnn6kist was brought to a close by a decree, which, after reciting ii. 389,39o'; the great services he had rendered to his country, apMartignac, po£nted ljim Captain-general of Andalusia, President of the Audience of Seville, aad Governor of Cadiz.1
But although everything was thus smooth on the surAdditional face, d'Abisbal was far from having really regained the Mw7onf confidence of the Government, and they were daily thrown Sefiovem-mto greater consternation by the discoveries made as to ment- the extent of the conspiracy, and the share which the new captain-general had had in fomenting it. Great numbers of officers were arrested; but the Government did not venture on the hazardous step of bringing them to justice. They took the opportunity, however, of acting with extreme severity in other quarters. Ten officers who had Chap. been arrested for their accession to Porlicr's conspiracy vn" in Galicia in 1815, and had remained in prison ever l819, since, were ordered to be executed par contumace, twenty ■were sent to the galleys, and twenty-five imprisoned for various periods. Additional levies of troops were ordered in Galicia and Catalonia, the mountaineers of which provinces were deemed attached to the royal cause. General Elio adopted the most rigorous measures, and even made use of torture, to discover the traces of a conspiracy which was suspected to exist in Valencia, and to implicate a large number of the most respectable citizens ; and every effort was made to prevent the introduction of French books across the Pyrenees, by which it was suspected the minds of the soldiers and people had been chiefly corrupted. But these measures of precaution proved ineffectual: the importation of foreign revolutionary books continued, and the concentration of the troops in the great towns, where the principal danger was apprehended, j.ATMleft the provinces open to the incursions of armed bands Ann. Reg.' which infested the roads, and, in some instances, openly isi." proclaimed the constitution.1
Still, however, the preparations for the expedition continned at Cadiz; but in the course of the autumn a fresh Yeiiow difficulty arose, which proved insxirmountable. In thecldu*' end of July, a dangerous epidemic broke out at Cadiz, Aug"m which soon spread from the hospitals to the crews of the ships and the troops in garrison, or in the adjoining camps in the Isle of Leon; and though the punishment of the galleys was, in the first instance, threatened to the physician who gave it its true appellation, on the 20th of August a proclamation of the commander ad interim of the expedition, Don Blaise-Foumas, announced the true character of the disease, which was the yellow fever, though it was disguised under the name of the typhus iterodis. In spite of all the precautions which could be taken, the progress of the malady was very
Chap. rapid, especially among the indigent and crowded populaYIL tion of that great seaport. Ten thousand were soon seized 1819, with the disorder—the hospitals were full—the deaths rose to a hundred a-day; and the soldiers, seized with a sudden panic, mutinied against their officers, burst through the barriers of the quarantine which had been established round the island of Leon, and, spreading to the number of nine thousand over the adjoining villages of Andalusia, carried the seeds of real contagion and the terrors of imaginary danger wherever they went. So far did the alarm spread that the most rigorous measures were adopted, to prevent any communication between Andalusia and New Castile; a sanitary junta of eighty persons was established at Madrid to prevent the contagion , Ann Hirt spreading to the capital; and a decree published, denounc"•Mi^392iing the punishment of death against any person who 1819, i8§! should enter the capital, without a certificate of health, from the infected province.1 62 While these events, fraught with incalculable, and then Sale of Fio-unforeseen, consequences to both hemispheres, were in American! progress in Spain, its Government was actively engaged Feb. 22. -n diplomat negotiations of the most important character. The extreme penury of the exchequer compelled them to have recourse to every imaginable device to replenish it: one thought of was the sale of the Floridas to the Americans, which was effected, under colour of determining the limits of the two countries, by a treaty signed at Washington on 22d February. By this treaty the Americans acquired the whole territories known by the name of the Floridas, between the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico—a territory of vast extent, and in great part of surpassing fertility. The price, disguised under the name of discharging claims on the Spanish Government, was to be 5,000,000 dollars, (£1,250,000). Some difficulties arose about the ratification of this treaty by the Spanish government, on the ground of a predatory expedition, alleged by the Spaniards to have been