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THIRD SERIES.] BOSTON, NOVEMBER 1, 1830.
[VOL. 5, No. 3.
FERDINAND THE BELOVED; OR, ROYAL GRATITUDE.*
The proclamation concluded by declaring the CORTES to be dissolved; and ordaining that all opposing the execution of this decree should suffer DEATH!!!—Annals of the Peninsular Campaigns.
AFTER an arduous service of six years in Portugal and Spain, during the whole of the interesting campaigns in these countries, I was at length indulged with permission to revisit England, on the short leave of absence of two months. Anxious to behold the gratifying spectacle of an idolized monarch reascending the throne of his ancestors, amidst the acclamations and blessings of his devoted people, after so many years of vicissitude in the fortune of war, I waived my original intention of embarking in the British packet from Cadiz, and determined on a journey to Madrid; having found a ready companion for the voyage in my friend, (a merchant of the former city,) at whose establishment, at Xeres de la Frontera, I had been passing some pleasant weeks.
Our preparations were immediately commenced. Knowing by experience how sadly destitute the houses of public accommodation on our route were of those conveniences, which are to be found, with a greater or less degree of comfort, in other parts of the European con
tinent, I stored my ample canteens, (capable of furnishing a breakfast and dinner service for four persons,) with an abundant stock of tea, coffee, chocolate, sugars, liqueurs, and a gallon of old "King's own rum (which had not seen the light for five years); nor did I omit (although no smoker myself) to fill a canister with a few dozen of prime Havannah cigars, of such a superior quality, that my fuming friends bestowed on them the name of “ sugar-plums."
Money, or liquor, no doubt, will have their influence in all countries; but to a Spaniard, a more tempting bribe could not be offered to quicken the movements of every man on the road, from the Director-general of Posts in his gaudy coat, down to the humble driver in his sheep-skin jacket, than a good cigar! It has been even known to mollify the heart of the rude bandit, and cause him, whilst rifling his victim, to utter an apologetic-" Pardon me, sir, for this little liberty!"
We discovered a chariot of ancient fashion for sale, which had
The reference in this article to the proceedings in Spain in the year 1814 will be read with peculiar interest at the present time, when a revolution in France has just been effected presenting so brilliant a contrast to the one here described, and when other countries in Europe, and particularly Spain herself, are apparently on the eve of asserting and maintaining those rights which sixteen years since were so ingloriously resigned.
13 ATHENEUM VOL. 5, 3d series.
been built, Heaven knows when, or where; but it had the advantages of being strong and roomy, with luggage wells, which were easily converted into a deposit for my canteens; a strong net-work bag was fitted up behind, for the reception of the luggage, &c., which is called the Zagal, a name which is also borne by the man who sits in charge of it, and who has the additional duty to perform, of running between the leaders of the mule-team through towns, or narrow passes, holding the head of each at arms-length, whilst he, scarcely touching the ground, seems almost to fly, as he guides the team at a galloping pace. In this reticulated sack our trunks were stowed, and over them the bedding. My companion had provided regular mattress, bolster, &c. My preparations in that respect were few and simple-a canvass bag six feet by two, a pillow, and a blanket, sufficed for all my wants; this bag was each night filled with fresh straw, (an ever-ready convenience,) and being laid on the wellswept floor, with the luxury of a pillow, it formed as comfortable a resting-place as I could desire, infinitely preferable to a berth on those (almost-living) bedsteads, on which the unwary traveller is invited to repose at the Posado. In various parts of the interior of the carriage were secret pockets, so artfully concealed as to set discovery at defiance, except by a general ripping open of the lining, an experiment frequently resorted to by practised banditti, when the plunder of their victims proves inadequate to their rank and appearance.
We engaged a tiro, or team, of six capital mules, for the entire journey to Madrid, for four hundred dollars, in which sum were included the payment for the services of the mayoral, or coachman, his zagal, and also the feeding, stabling, shoeing, &c., of the team; an amount not exceeding that at which an equal length of road could be performed in England with four horses.
Even with such a powerful tiro, (to which the mayoral always attaches a spare mule on his own account in case of accidents,) we could not calculate on daily journeys of more than from ten to twelve Spanish leagues (four British miles each) per day. The usual rate of traveling of the cochés colleroes, or stage coaches, is forty miles per day with the same number of horses or mules, (generally the former,) and they halt every fourth day.
All being ready for the journey, we took our departure from the house of my compañon de voyage at Xeres, on the 20th April, 1814, attended by one servant only, an Irish boy, who had served me upwards of three years, and who possessed all the characteristic shrewdness and vivacity of his country, with a sufficient smattering of the Spanish language to render him equal to the expression of his own, or our ordinary wants, without the aid of our interpretation.
He sat perched beside the mayoral on the fore-boot, converted into a driving seat, of the comforts of which we could form but a mean opinion, from the imploring looks. the poor fellow occasionally threw upon us, as turning his head to make a mute appeal to our pity. Meanwhile the carriage rattled over the long, rough, and stony streets of this straggling town, at the very top of the mules' speed. With the exception of the wheelers, the animals were strangers to the restraint of bit or rein, guided solely by the voice of the noisy driver, who, after the zagal resigned his office, scolded or encouraged each mule by name, and in terms which the brutes, by the quick motion of their lengthy ears, really appeared to understand.
My fellow traveller, although he had passed upwards of thirty years in Spain, had never been more than a few leagues beyond the purlieus of Cadiz and Xeres; he was, notwithstanding, a man of the most extensive information on all subjects
relating to the country of his adoption—a scholar of the first ordera linguist of almost universal capacity-a Catholic of the purest faith -and, to crown all, an idolatrous admirer of the Spanish constitution, then in the third year of its rickety existence - In his enthusiastic dreams, he was perpetually drawing on futurity for the realization of those blessings which, in the fervency of his imagination, he saw hovering, on angel-wings, over regenerated Spain, and which (next to Hibernia, the land of his birth) he adored with all a lover's fondness, frequently exclaiming, "You will see, my dear sir, what this country will be in another hundred years
There was scarcely a village or town through which we passed, to which his information and historical recollections did not impart an interest. Although bred to the mercantile profession in its most rigid forms, his mind had ever thirsted after every useful knowledge; and it may seem strange, that I, who had passed my days in garrisons and camps, should supinely sit for two hours, half dozing, in our halted carriage at Baylen, while he pursued, with untired steps, under the rays of a scorching sun, the strides of a village guide, while pointing out the scene of Castaños' triumph and Dupont's defeat, exultingly exploring the field of battle, where eighteen thousand troops of the flower of the French army ingloriously grounded their arms to the raw and half-disciplined levies of the army of Spain, the self-assembled conscripts of an insulted and invaded nation! It has been well observed by the intelligent and accomplished author of the Annals of the Peninsular Campaigns, that the chivalry of France never received a deeper tarnish than in the surrender at Baylen."
At Cordova, the " once proud capital of the Ommiade Caliphs,"
all my early feelings of romance revived; and accompanied by my friend, I devoted an entire day to view the various wonders of that celebrated mosque, now a Christian cathedral, which, in all its pristine freshness of architectural ornament, adorns that renowned city.
Nor was my mind less excited by delightful reflections on our next day's journey, while threading the mazes of the Sierra Moreno, by the remembrance that we then traversed the very ground which the inimitable Cervantes has immortalized by making it the scene of the exploits of the heroic Quixote. Every hill, and dell, and mountain stream, seemed familiar to my eye and mind. Here the goatherd, clad in his rude dress made of the skins of the animals he tended, gazed in idle amazement at our equipage, while his startled flock cast up their bearded faces to bestow on us a momentary glance, then fled to the towering cliffs, tinkling their bells in secure defiance of pursuit. Again a troop of Arieros,* clad and armed as in days of yore, would cross our path at some sudden turn of our tortuous track, escorting their wellladen mules decked in their crimson, deep-fringed housings, (which possibly adorned their great-greatgrandsires,) plodding in low and solemn pace to the deep-toned sound of the neck-bell of their leader. Now and then a Manchego† from the plains, dressed in his black and braided chaleco, Montero cap, and nicely sandaled feet, appeared, cheering on his little mula with the sprightly seguidilla of the Mancha; while, on each side of the animal, a dark and shining boracho hung glistening in the sunbeam, full, almost to bursting, of the delicious wine of the Val de Pénas! Nothing appeared altered since the days of chivalry. It only wanted the presence of the renowned Knight and his faithful Sancho to complete the romantic scene.
Native of Mancha.
It was at a short distance from the village of Cardena, (the scene of so much fanciful adventure,) where we had halted during the heat of the day, that we met a Cabinet courier on his way to Cadiz, from whom we were destined first to hear that important intelligence which soon rung through the world with wonder-the abdication of the throne of France by the GREAT NAPOLEON! The noise of our approaching carriage awoke this man of despatch, who was quietly dozing his siesta on the saddle, though traveling at the rate of ten miles an hour. This may appear an extraordinary assertion, but it is nevertheless true.* From him we received the proclamation of Louis the XVIIIth, issued at Paris on the 11th of that month on his restoration to the throne of his fathers, and also the gratifying news of the total cessation of hostilities. Elated by this intelligence, we pushed forward. Having the advantage of a bright moon, we prolonged our daily journey to the latest hour the mules could be kept to their pace, and on the night of the 30th April reached Madrid in safety.
Taking up our quarters in the Posado, called the Fontano de Oro, (at the Puerto del Sol,) we were early the next morning visited by several Members of Cortes, by the Minister of War, Don Tomas Moreno; the Inspector General of Infantry, Don Juan O'Donoju; the Inquisitor General (!); and last, though not least in my esteem, the brave Brigadier-General, Sir John Downie. Not the slightest suspicion of the king's hostility to the Cortes appeared to exist in the public mind at that period, when all parties seemed confident in his Majesty's acceptance of the constitution.
The 2d of May was appointed for
the affecting ceremony of the exhumation of the remains of the martyred patriots, Daioz and Velarde, who gloriously fell in the last desperate struggle to maintain the arsenal at Madrid, during Murat's massacre of the 2d May, 1808. On this solemn occasion, the Regency, the Cortes, the military of all ranks, and the public functionaries of the capital, emulously pressed forward to assist, and by their presence confirmed the patriotic feeling, which never appeared more intensely or nobly excited. The bones of these departed heroes were raised from their place of sepulchre, and deposited in a sarcophagus, under a discharge of one hundred salvoes of artillery.
The troops of the latter corps, to which these gallant men belonged, claimed the honor of bearing the sarcophagus to the church of St. Domingos. The procession, headed by the Regency, and including all that was of rank and honor in Madrid, extended more than one mile in length. "Honor to the memory of the departed heroes!" "Death to the enemies of Spain !" "Long live Ferdinando, our Beloved King! and "Long live the Constitution!" were the shouts from thousands and tens of thousands, as the cypress and the laurel waved their united branches over all that remained of the first victims of French perfidy ! How soon, alas! were these exchanged for sounds of discord, and for deeds of horror; for the dungeon and the dagger's point! for proscription and exile! Fickle, inconstant people, deeply have you paid the penalty of your vacillation!
From the contents of confidential letters received from certain of the deputies, who, with the President of the Cortes, had proceeded to Valencia to do homage to their restored sovereign, whispers were already
In this courier, my friend instantly recognised the same individual who brought the first intelligence of the peace of Amiens to Cadiz, in 1802, having performed the journey, direct from Paris, (without quitting the saddle one hour in the four and twenty,) in the incredibly short space of seven days, the distance about 1200 miles! His speed was rewarded by the merchants of Cadiz and Séville with a purse of one thousand dollars.
circulated of royal treachery. In the meantime, the minions of the Court had received their instructions; the emissaries of the enemies of the Cortes scattered themselves among the people, and working on the weakness of minds unprepared for the glorious boon of political freedom, soon turned the scale of popular feeling. The Cortes were represented as desirous of stripping their beloved King of his regal rights; trampling on their holy religion; and establishing an infidel republic! The manifesto issued by Ferdinand at Valencia, on the 4th of May, (from which the motto of this article was extracted,) was placarded in every part of the city. The Cortes, thus denounced as traitors, became, from that moment, the objects of popular vengeance. Soldiers were allowed to parade the streets with drawn sabres or bayonets, shouting, Death to the Cortes!" "Death to the Constitution!"
The Alcalde Mayor, Montezuma, (a Peruvian, boasting his descent from the Incas,) himself a member of the Cortes, had joined the royal cause, but found his civic authority (if indeed sincere in his attempts to enforce it) unequal to stem the tide of this alarming ferment. The military were under no sort of control; the Regency tacitly laid down their functions which, it required no stretch of sagacity to foresee, would, ere many days, be wrested from their feeble hands. Thus Madrid, from the 9th to the 12th of May, (the day on which it was announced that the Beloved Ferdinand would make his grand entry,) was a prey to the unbridled licentiousness of an inflamed and debauched soldiery: the jails were emptied, and hordes of desperate ruffians were let loose upon the people, to work out their eventual freedom by the exercise of terror, and the vengeance of the knife upon all who yet appeared favorable to the constitution; the dregs of the female population, infuriate with liquor, rushed in crowds through the streets, crying out,
"BLOOD, BLOOD for our insulted Sovereign !!!"
During these days of terror, the few English then in Madrid passed not only unmolested through the mob, but were even loudly cheered and caressed by the furious rabble; the dissolution of the Cortes, now universally known, having been attributed to the countenance and advice of the British ambassador, who joined the King at Valencia the day preceding that on which the President of the Cortes and a deputation of its members presented themselves at the feet of their monarch. I shall decline entering into a discussion on the correctness of this opinion; certain it is, however, that a loan of money to a considerable amount was, at that critical moment, granted-and, to the strength thus afforded to the despotic King, his sudden and unexpected manifesto against the Cortes and the Constitution was not unaptly attributed. Fortified with the means of corruption and intimidation, the new ABSOLUTE KING pursued his march in triumph to his capital, accompanied by the representative of British majesty, surrounded by four thousand cavalry, with British sabres in their hands, commanded by the British General Whittingham, and cheered by the homage of one hundred thousand willing slaves!!!
The night of the 12th was one of horrors; several of the unfortunate deputies, of the liberal side, (denounced by their political opponents the Serviles,) were seized, even in the bosom of their families, and, loaded with chains, dragged off to the filthy dungeons of the Inquisition. Many others, who foresaw the impending storm, had providently fled from the capital in various disguises; whilst others, trusting to the fidelity of some lowly dependant, were secreted in wretched hovels or in cellars, anxiously watching the favorable moment for escape. But, alas! whither were they to fly? From their places of concealment these unhappy men could hear the