Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Chap. The insurgents, after a variety of lesser successes, had XI' made themselves masters of Cervera, where they had im- established their headquarters. The Trappist, after susDcsperate taining several gallant actions, was driveu back into that cnvlli! town by General Bellido, who attacked him with three M»y 18. regiments drawn out of Lerida, and on the 18th May made a general assault on the town. To distract the enemy, he set it on fire in four different places, and in the midst of the conflagration, which spread with frightful rapidity, his troops rushed in. The Trappist made a gallant and protracted defence; but after a conflict of ten hours' duration, from house to house, and from street to street, his men were driven out with great slaughter, though with heavy loss to the victors. Twelve hundred of the Royalists fell or were made prisoners, among whom were one hundred and fifty monks, and nearly half the number lA428,'429"; of the Constitutional troops were lost. The Trappist i"40iig402- himself escaped with a few followers to the mountains, Monitor, where his powerful voice soon assembled a second band, 'not less gallant and devoted than that which had perished amidst the ruins and flames of Cervera.1 68 Meanwhile Misas, who had been driven into France, Defeat of re-entered Spain, drew together several desultory bands M»y 26. to his standard, and carried the war to the very gates of Barcelona. He was attacked, however, by the regular troops in that fortress, driven back to Puycerda, where he was utterly routed, and the remains of his band driven back a second time into France, where they again found an asylum—an ominous circumstance for the republican regime in Spain. But in other quarters the Royalists appeared with indefatigable activity: Galicia was almost entirely, in its mountain districts, in their hands; Navarre was overrun by their adherents ; and in the neighbourhood of Murcia, Jaimes, a noted partisan, had again raised his standard and drawn together a considerable number of followers. The king, meanwhile, was at Aranjuez, and May 30. on the 30th May, being the day of his fete, an immense crowd of peasants assembled in the gardens of the palace Chap. shouting "El Rey Assoluto!" which was caught up and * repeated by the soldiers of the guard. The national ia22, guard upon this was called out by the Liberal authorities, and dispersed the crowd; in the course of which one of them drew his sabre against the Infant Don Carlos, and was with difficulty saved by that prince from the fate which awaited him at the hands of the enraged soldiery. On the same day a still more serious tumult broke out at Valencia, where a great mob assembled, shouting, "Long live Elio!—Down with the Constitution!" and proceeded to the citadel where that general still lay in prison, having never been brought to trial. They got possession of the stronghold by the aid of the garrison by which it was held, but were immediately invested there by the national guard and remainder of the garrison of the place, and being without provisions, they were soon obliged to surrender. The victors now proceeded to Elio's dungeon, shouting " Death to Elio !" and his last hour seemed to have arrived; but he was reserved for a still more mournful end. A little gold which he had about him occupied the first attention of the assassins, and meanwhile v. 434', m\ the address of the commander of the place got him extri- Kw'fin! cated from their hands and conveyed to a place of safety.1 The intelligence of these events worked the Cortes up to a perfect fury; and in the first tumult of passion they severe'iaws passed several decrees indicating their extreme exasper- thTcOTte*. ation, and which contributed in a great degree to theJane3sanguinary character which the civil war in the Peninsula soon afterwards assumed, and has unhappily ever since maintained. It was decreed that "all towns, villages, and rural districts, which should harbour or give shelter to the factious, should be treated as enemies with the whole rigour of military law; that those in which there were factious juntas should be subjected to military execution; that every convent in which the factious were june 4. found should be suppressed, and its inmates put at the

Chap, disposed of the political authorities." Such extreme XL measures necessarily produced reprisals on the other side, 18-22- and led to a war where quarter was neither given nor Juno 16. taken. A few days after, a decree was passed putting 20,000 of the militia on permanent duty, and establishing national guards throughout the kingdom on the same footing as in France during the Revolution—that is, with the officers of every grade appointed by the privates. They at the same time summoned the Ministers to their bar to give an account of the state of the kingdom, and supplicated the king in the most earnest terms to change his advisers, and intrust everything to the Liberal party— a demand which he had the address in the mean time to evade.* The wisdom of this determination on his part was soon apparent; for a few days after, on a représenta"^'Nation by the Ministers of the alarming and distracted 437 j Mar- ' state of the kingdom, the Cortes themselves saw the neces41^413. sity of conferring upon them the extraordinary powers which the public exigencies imperiously demanded.1 In truth the state of the country had now become Great ex- such, that such a measure could no longer be delayed if ftadvli* the shadow even*of peace and tranquillity was to be prewar- served in the kingdom. The Royalists in the north, far from being discouraged by their reverses, were daily increasing in numbers and audacity, and, sheltered by the

* " Que le peuple voie le pouvoir confié à des hommes qui aiment les libertés publiques, que la Natiou Espagnole voie que le titre et les vertus du véritable patriote sont le seul droit, le seul chemin, pour monter jusqu'à Votre Majesté, pour mériter la faveur, et pour obtenir les honneurs qu'elle peut accorder, et que touto la rigueur do la justice et l'indignation du roi rctombeut sur les méchants qui osent profaner son nom auguste et sacré, pour opprimer la patrie et la liberté. Les Cortès supplieraient V. M. instamment, pour faire cesser les craintes auxquelles nous sommes livrés, et prévenir les maux que noua avons indiqués, de vouloir bien ordonner que la milice nationale volontaire soit immédiatement augmentée et armée dans tout le royaume. En même temps les Cortès espèrent que V. M. fera connaître à tout gourernement étranger qui, directement ou indirectement, voudrait prendre part à nos affaires domestiques, que la Nation n'est pas dans le cas de recevoir des lois; qu'elle a des forces et des ressources pour se faire respecter, et que si elle a su défendre son indépendance et son roi avec gloire, c'est avec la même gloire et avec de plus grands efforts encore qu'elle saura toujours défendre son roi et sa liberté."—Adreite des CorUt au Roi, 24th May 1822; Ann. Hiet., v. 433, 434.

mountain ridges 'which in that quarter intersect Spain in Chap.

every direction, they had come to extend their ramifi- _! 1_

cations over half the kingdom. Eguia, Nunez, and 1822, Quesada, who had taken refuge in France after the disaster at Cervera, issued from thence a proclamation jUno 11. in the name of the Royalist provisional government, in which they offered 160 reals (32s.) to every Spaniard who should repair, armed and in uniform, to the headquarters of the Army of the Faith at Roncesvalles before the end of the month. This proclamation put every part of Navarre, Biscay, and the north of Catalonia on fire. In a few days Quesada was at the head of fifteen hundred men, with which, ascending the Pass of Roncesvalles, he entered the valley of Bastan; and as General Lopez-Banos, with the regular troops from Pampeluna, which had been considerably reinforced, succeeded in cutting him off from France and Biscay, he boldly threw himself into Arragon, where nearly the whole rural population joined him. Meanwhile a still more important success was gained in Catalonia, where Miralles, Romagosa, and the Trappist, having united their forces, to the amount of five thousand men, suddenly moved upon La Sue d'Urgel, a fortified town on the Jane 15. frontier, in which were deposited large stores of artillery and ammunition. Encouraged by their partisans within Jane 21. the town, the Royalists in a few days ventured upon an assault by escalade. The attempt was made at dead of night: the Trappist, with a huge cross in one hand and his whip in the other, was the first man of the assaulting columns that ascended the ladders; and, after a sanguinary contest of several hours' duration, the whole forts and town were taken, with sixty pieces of cannon, sixteen hundred muskets, and large stores of ammunition. Great,,

„ , . . . - , >Ann.Hist.

part of the garrison were, in retaliation for the massacre <39; at Cervera, and subsequent decrees of the Cortes prohi- i. Sufusl biting quarter, put to death without mercy.1

This great success,-by far the most important which

Chap. had yet attended the Royalist arms, gave an entirely new XL character to the war, by diffusing universal encouragement 1822- among their partisans, and giving them a base of operaDepiomMe tions, the muniments of war, and a secure place of refuge spMUhthe m case of disaster. It in a manner stilled the passions anances. of Cortes, which, after voting extraordinary powers June 30- to the Ministry to meet the danger, was prorogued, shortly after the intelligence was received, without opposition. Even before the session was closed, however, several quarrels, attended with bloodshed, of sinister augury, had taken place between the royal guards and the national guards of the capital; and the budget exhibited a melancholy proof of the deplorable state of destitution to which the treasury had been reduced by the distrust and convulsions consequent on the Revolution.* Though the army had been reduced to 62,000 men from 80,000, and the expense of the navy from 104,000,000 reals (£1,040,000) to 80,000,000 reals (£800,000), it was found necessary to contract a loan of 102,000,000 reals (£1,020,000), to cover the ordinary expenses calculated on for 1823. The interest of the debt contracted by the Cortes since 1820 amounted to 65,586,000 reals (£655,800), and the interest of the Mo'n1"ur national debt was no less than 148,894,000 reals fSUtt, (^1,488,000), although three-fifths of it had been held

1822; Ann. as extinguished by Church confiscation, and of what reHist. v. 440, . , ° , , .

«i. mained no less than 2,069,333,613 reals (£20,693,336) had been set down without interest} as having been also

* The entire debt of Spain in 1822 was thus disposed of by the finance committee of this session of the Cortes :—

Total Debt, .... 14,020,572,591 reals, or £140,205,725
Extinguished by confiscation of
church and charitable funds by

decrees of the Cortes, . . 8,459,896,260 or 84,598,962

Remained, .... 5,560,676,331 or £55,606,763

Of which bore no intorest, . . 2,069,333,613 or 20,693,336

Remained bearing interest, . 3,491,342,718 or £34,913,427 —Finance CommUtioners' Report, June 21, 1822; Annuaire Bittorique, v. 440, 441.

« ForrigeFortsett »