Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

reoeipt of your letter, which I will not fail to bring to the knowledge of my government." This answer proved either that the Frenoh go,vernment was playing a double part, or that it was betrayed by its servant. It proved that I)e Moustier had left it in the power of Spain to pretend that his government had not recognized that of Portugal, although he must have known that the king of France had received an accredited agent from that government, and had accredited to it a minister of high rank. It waB inpredible that his court could have left him so long without instructions; and, at all evonts, this urgent application ought to have drawn from him a statement that France was in amicable political relations with the government of Portugal. The plain question, Has your king recognized the government of Portugal? was treated by him as a matter with which he had no concern, and he affected to be alone uninformed of a fact which was notorious to all Europe.

The truth is, that Spain, and the friends of the Spanish policy, were now in hopes that a new in-, surrection ip Portugal would determine the question against the constitution, without exposing Ferdinand to the danger of open war upon the one hand, or to the humiliation of a tardy and compelled recognition upon the other. It was now the middle of November, but, instead of a single Portuguese deserter having been disarmed, the rebel regiments were again equipped for invasion; instead of being dispersed in the interior, or given up to Portugal, they had been again organised on the Spanish frontier, under the eye of the Spanish, authorities; and Canellasj

instead of being ordered to leave Spain, was directing the plans, and arranging the movements, of the insurgents. The troops now collected for the enterprise were much more numerous, and better equipped, than those who had made similar attempts in August and October. Their plan was to enter, in two divisions, the provinces of Tras-os-Montes and Alentejo at the same tinw. Thp division in Alentejo, under general Magessi, was to make its way into Upper Beira, where it would be joined by that of Tras os Monies, under Chaves, which, it was reckoned, would by that time have crossed the Douro j and then both divisions, uniting in the neighbourhood of Coimbra, were to march upon the capital. They strengthened themselves for their enterprise by a solemn oath, taken on the 11th of November at La Serena, with much religious pomp. After celebrating mass, each company was formed into a circle; its captain placed himself in the centre, holding in his hand a missal, a crucifix, or a simple cross; and the men stretching their right hands towards him, swore fidelity in the following terms: "I swear to maintain and defend the lawful rights of the king of Portugal and the Algarves, Don Miguel I., our lord, and to maintain, at the risk of my life, shedding all my blood to render valid and to confirm the proclamation of the same sovereign, and of the regency of his august mother, the empress queen, during the absence of his majesty Don Miguel, made on the 31st of July, of the present year; and should his august majesty Don Miguel I., die without lawful issue, I acknowledge as his successor of the kingdom of Portugal, Algarves, the adjacent islands, and the dominions beyond sea, dependant on the kingdom of Portugal, her most serene highness the princess of Beira, Donna Maria Theresa, and at her death (which heaven avert), his serene highness the infant Don Sebastian, Braganza, and Bourbon, her august son, a Portuguese by blood and by birth, and also by the solemn contract of marriage between his august parents; and finally, I swear to defend until death the sacred and lawful rights of the aforesaid royal persons, and never to acknowledge any usurper who may be forcibly imposed upon us, in defiance of the fundamental laws of the kingdom, which bind alike subjects and sovereigns."

The regency was not ignorant of the activity of the rebels, and must have expected a new attack: yet the frontiers were almost defenceless; the garrisons had not been strengthened; no regular system of resistance had been organized; the army, according to the acknowledgment of the minister of war in the Cortes, was in such a state of disorganization, that they were compelled to have recourse to the militia, and to the assistance of Britain; and when the danger came, it surprised them, scarcely better prepared to meet it than they had been in the end of July, when rebellion had first shown itself.

On the 22nd and 23rd of November, one body of rebels, consisting of eight hundred regular infantry, and about two hundred cavalry, accompanied by a large party of Portuguese and Spanish guerillas, entered the province of Tras os Montes in the direction of Braganza, under the command of the marquis of Chaves and viscount

Montealegre. Colonel Valdez, who occupied Braganza with five hundred men of the troops of the regency, marched against them, but, after a sharp action, he was compelled to fall back upon the town before superior numbers; and, unable to maintain himself in the town, he retreated into its scarcely defensible citadel, that he might delay their advance, until the troops of the province could be drawn together. The rebels took possession of the town, and gave it up to plunder. General Claudino, the commander of the province, having too small a number of troops to relieve Braganza, immediately, retired upon Chaves, to await reinforcements. Valdez and his troops held out to the 26th, when they surrendered by capitulation. By the terms of the capitulation, the soldiers were pardoned, unless the king (Don Miguel) should adopt a different determination; the principal officers were to be treated as prisoners of war, and confined in the fortresses, "as the only means of saving their lives, and preserving them from the insults of the people." The rebels attempted in vain to induce the garrison to join them, and the prisoners were marched into Spain, guarded by Spanish lancers; for this body of the rebels uniformly consisted, in part, of Spanish troops. Simultaneously with these movements, the second division, under Magessi, had entered the Alentejo without opposition, and made themselves masters of Villa Vicosa; muskets were distributed among the peasantry by the Spanish authorities on the frontiers; and a park of artillery was preparing to march from Badajoz to support them. Whenintelligence of these events

reached Lisbon, the regency could no longer avoid looking upon Spain as having virtually issued a declaration of war. Casa Flores, the Spanish ambassador, was immediately informed that his diplomatic character was suspended, until his court should have given full explanations of such violations of the law of nations, and the faith of treaties; and instructions were sent to Villa Real, to leave Madrid, if the Portuguese government was not formally recognised within forty-eight hours. The Cortes, who were still sitting, suspended the laws relative to personal liberty for three months, and authorized government to suspend and dismiss magistrates and judges at pleasure, without regarding the forms required by the charter. A decree was issued, proclaiming that all volunteers who should join the regular army within twenty days, should have to serve for two years only; the students of the University of Coimbra, who had petitioned to be allowed to embody themselves in defence of the constitution, were formed into a regiment; the Chamber of Peers offered to march in a body against the rebels, and several members actually set oft' for the frontiers. A law was passed, at the same time, to authorize the formation of a volunteer corps, to maintain internal tranquillity. The marquis of Angija was sent to take the command in the province of Minho, and the marquis of Villa Flor in the province of Alentejo.

But it was on the support of Britain that the chief hope of the regency was placed. The policy of England had all along been marked with much firmness, and much forbearance. It had at once frankly and fully recognized the


government and the charter; it was bound to assist Portugal, if invaded by Spain; and it never concealed that it would hold Spain to have made war upon Portugal, if the former allowed the rebels, who attacked the latter, to be assembled, organized, armed, and equipped, in her territory, instead of disarming and removing them according to treaty. Britain, though not deceived by the promises and assurances of the Spanish cabinet, had hitherto confined herself to remonstrances, patiently waiting till the real share of Spain in active hostilities should be put beyond a doubt; and when thisnew invasion, so openly concocted and organized under Spanish authority, came as the final fulfilment of so many solemn promises, and the true meaning of so many evasive pretences, there was no longer any room for hesitation. If she did not now interfere, her ally would fall not beneath the policy, but in truth before the arms, of Spain. The remonstrances of the British minister became daily more urgent and menacing; he declared that he would demand his passports, unless justice were immediately done to Portugal. Spain saw herself about to be plunged into a war with Britain, without the aid of a single ally; for France disavowed the conduct of her minister, and even threatened to deprive Ferdinand of the protection of the French troops which guarded his capital. But such was the infatuated obstinacy of the Spanish cabinet, that they still hoped to succeed by promises already proved false, and by orders, which, in defiance of lying assurances, had never been given, or, if given, had uniformly been disobeyed with the knowledge and approbation of the government.

« ZurückWeiter »