Page images

a united, and patriotic, and successful re- at the first blush, startle and persistance may soon be made to the govern- haps convince those who are not ment of a proud despot and his minions, disposed to give the subject sufficient who in their stupid obstinacy now tyran. reflection. The validity of this arnise over the sleeping energies of a great gument once established, it will go and once valiant nation; and that the Spa- to prove that Spain is doomed to

; nish people may show that they possess the continue forever in the same demoral capacity of enjoying the liberty plorable state ; for there is no which may be obtained by physical power.] earthly reason why the question and

concomitant answer should not be The question which naturally oc- supplied a century hence with the curs to the generality of English- same justice and propriety as at men who are not deeply conversant present. Are evils to be cured by with the state of Spanish affairs, is letting them have full scope to prey —“Why do not the Spanish peo- upon their victims ?-or is the enple, like the French, rise sponta- lightenment of nations to be obtainneously to arms against their op- ed by keeping individuals in a close pressors ?" To enter into a full and jealous oppression ? Wait till and satisfactory solution of this que- the mass of the people becomes less ry, would carry us beyond the limits gross in their ignorance-less fanawhich we can for the present assign tic in their superstition. But how to the subject ; and we shall accord- is this to be obtained ?

Is it by ingly remit to a future number the making no efforts whatever to open task of demonstrating the several the eyes of the said people ?—or is causes which militate against an the miracle to be accomplished by clectric and simultaneous rising up divine interposition ?-or, perhaps, of the Spanish nation. But whate- the enlightenment of the mass of ver may be the obstacles to be sur- the Spanish nation is to be achieved mounted, the dangers to be incur- by carefully removing from their red, or the trial to be undergone, reach all the means of coming to a before a regeneration can be effect- knowledge of the truth? Such is ed in Spain, neither those obstacles, precisely the aspect in which the dangers, or trials, can present a unprejudiced will view the argupretext, much less an efficient rea- ment in favor of postponing Spanish son, for apathy and inactivity on the liberty to a future period. part of those who feel any interest But the Spanish nation is not, as in the affairs of their country. A it is gratuitously assumed, satisfied false argument is continually ad- with the present system of affairsduced by the advocates of the pre- unless, indeed, by a nation be meant sent ruinous and humiliating system the swarm of reptiles who fatten on of government in the Peninsula, the ruin of the land-unless by a when they wish to paralyze the ef- nation be meant the tribe of placeforts of the noble-minded, or destroy holders and place-hunters—the sythe sympathy which those efforts cophants, an indolent portion of the may generate in kindred spirits in aristocracy and of a tyrannic and foreign countries. They say, “ The vicious clergy—and a degraded rabSpanish people are content with the ble, that care little under what form existing order of things; why, then, of government they live, provided disturb the tranquillity of the land they can carry on their pernicious by attempts, the probable results of avocations. But if, on the contrary, which will only be to entail a long by a nation is understood the retrain of calamities on the inhabit- spectable, enlightened, and indusants ? Why endeavor, by violent trious classes of society, the balance means, to introduce into thie nation will weigh prodigiously in favor of institutions which the mass of the liberal institutions. These and other public can neither understand nor considerations had determined the appreciate ?" These questions may, exiled Constitutionalists, in accords


ance with their brethren of the Pe- the Carlist faction in the Peninsula, ninsula, to exert their efforts in be- reasonably enough added another half of their country, so soon as a argument in favor of such anticipafavorable opportunity should offer tions. But among the obstacles for carrying their undertaking into which were destined to impede and execution with any strong probabi- check the progress of the constitulity of success. The late memora- tionalists, there was one more deepble events in Paris, which terminat- ly deplored by the friends of Spaed so fortunately in the overthrow of nish liberty, as they knew the fatal oppression, were the welcome mes- effects which it was sure to produce; sengers which told that the long- such was the disunion which bewished-for moment was at length came but too soon apparent among arrived, when the energies of the the chiefs that were organizing the Spaniards were to be called into invasion into Spain. This disunion action to break the ignominious was the more detrimental to the shackles which kept their country in cause, as it originated not in the more ignominious thraldom. It was pique or disappointment of the moevident that, with the downfall of an ment, but was on the contrary an obnoxious dynasty in France, the evil of long standing—an evil which chief support of despotism in Spain had been firmly established, and was also felled to the ground. No was now systematically continued. longer would the patriots have to That the reader may clearly underdread the scandalous and unprinci- stand the original cause of this capled invasion of a hundred thousand lamitous difference among the Spasoldiers, sent to destroy the liberties nish patriots, it is necessary he of the land—as was the case in should learn that among that valiant the year 1823. Instead of the agents body there exist two distinct parties, and abettors of oppression, the libe- known by the denominations of the rals of Spain beheld now friends and Masones and the Comuneros. Withbrothers, who, if they did not sup- out entering into an examination, port their cause, would at least or presuming to give a judgment, throw no impediment in the way of concerning the merits and demerits freedom, much less present them- of these parties, it will still be neselves as instruments in the hands cessary to afford some idea of of tyranny to enslave and oppress. their character, views and preten

Strong symptoms of revolutionary sions. The Masones possess the effervescence in Spain became im- moral, and the Comuneros the numediately perceptible. A general merical majority among the retumovement took place among the re- gees. Though we must not infer fugees individually, or in parties ; from this, that there are not many they moved towards the frontiers. Comuneros who have adhered and The public journals were filled with will adhere to the operations of the speculations relating to the ques- other party when they perceive intion at issue, and the state and pros- efficiency or fault in their own. pects of Spain acquired suddenly a The Masones contain in their ranks degree of interest and importance the greater proportion of the influwhich offered a striking contrastential names among the liberals. with the indifference formerly dis- The members of the Cortes of the played towards the affairs of that year 1812, the old generals and kingdom. Sanguine expectations patriots, &c., belong to this party.

. of success were entertained, and the That part of the aristocracy which internal intrigues, occasioned by entertains liberal opinions, also ad

Such as Don A. Arguilles, Don C. Valdez, Count Toreno, Martinez de la Rosa, Calatra. ça, Cuadra, Galiano Isturiz, &c. Among the generals--Mina, Espinoza, Placensia, Castel. lar, Butron, Quiroga, Lopez, Banos, &c.

heres to the politics of the Masones, ran, more especially, in favor of Mias is also the case with the men of na, and he was accordingly elected. science and letters that have es- No choice could argue at once poused the cause of freedom. The more justice and discretion-even party of the Comuneros is of more putting aside the extraordinary memodern date than that of the Ma- rit of that general—even passing sones.

Its members profess more over in silence his abilities as a soldecided opinions, and its leaders dier, his rigid discipline, consumare more strongly characterized by mate prudence and fertility of exvehemence and impatience. The pedients in cases of emergency military chief of the party is Gene- even, we repeat, making abstracral Torrijos, a gallant and enthusi- tion of so many claims which pointastic young officer, who, during his ed him out to the preference of his sojourn in London, displayed an brother liberals, the very name of unusual activity and restlessness for Mina was in itself a host--a name carrying his plans into effect. The not merely respected among the partizans of Torrijos, of greater Spaniards, but justly admired and note, are Palarea, Gurrea, Vigo, appreciated in foreign countries. and F. Valdes, the leader of the The friends of liberty hoped that late unsuccessful attempt.

such superior pretensions would inWe will now proceed to give a duce the various chiefs to acquiesce rapid sketch of the late events which in the propriety of the election of we have already asserted have given Mina to the supreme command ; to the cause of Spanish liberty a but, unfortunately, this was far from degree of high interest, even at a being the case.

Without entering time when the afiairs of France and into invidious and disagreeable speBelgium made so powerful an ap- culations, we will merely state that, peal to the attention of the public. whilst Espinosa, Plasencia, Butron,

Immediately after the glorious and other generals, readily and joyevents at Paris, the Spanish patri- fully subscribed to the choice, there ots, resolving to make an attempt were other chiefs who opposed it, in behalf of the liberty of their coun- and determined to act independent try, proceeded without delay to take of his authority. Colonel Valdes, the necessary steps to carry their De Pablo, and Vigo, were more designs into execution. A provi- conspicuous in this opposition, and sional junta of government was they forthwith applied themselves formed, composed of Isturiz, Va- to hasten their invasion into Spain. dillo, Calatravo and Sancho, who This unfortunate circumstance was proceeded forth with to Bayonne, to a source of great sorrow and fulfil the duties incumbent on their plexity to the more prudent among station. In every undertaking, even the Spaniards. They harbored fearof a trifling nature, the necessity of ful anticipations that much mischief a general leader is imperiously felt; might ensue from this spirit of disuand without unity in design and in nion, and they even dreaded that execution, few probabilities of suc- the immediate success of the cause cess can be reckoned upon. Deep- might be affected by the event. Nely impressed with this truth, both gociations were entered upon, which the provisional junta and the refu- proved abortive, and an entrance gees individually perceived the ur- into Spain without further delay was gency of naming a general-in-chief, the result. It is, however, but just on whom the supreme command of to observe, that the decided hostithe various bodies preparing to lity evinced by the sub-prefect of march into Spain should be invest- Bayonne towards the constitutionalod. Among the various brave, ex- ists, and the numberless paltry vexperienced, and otherwise distin- ations with which he contrived to guished chiefs, the general opinion annoy them, might also have weight




in influencing the resolution taken bitants. One day Valdes was comby the oppositionists to Mina. Be pletely routed, and the next this as it may, a detachment of con- heard of his repulsing a force of two stitutionalists entered Spain on the thousand men under Juanito. So 15th of October, under the com- imperfect was the information remand of a chief in the interests of ceived, that the greatest variety of Torrijos and the Comuneros. opinion existed even with regard to

Colonel Don Francisco Valdes is the amount of the numeral strength an officer who possesses in no ordi- of the invaders. Some boldly asnary degree the quality of daring serted that the corps of Valdes intrepidity. He is, besides, enthu- amounted to eight hundred strong, siastically attached to the cause of while others were only willing to liberty, and bears a character of allow the colonel half the number. unimpeached honor and integrity. The latter were, no doubt, nearer Added to this, his great activity and the mark. Colonel Leguia sustainthe recollection of his attempt at ed a partial check, and this gave Tarifa, have invested him with a rise to the rumor of the total disdegree of merit which gained him comfiture of the liberals—a rumor partizans, and enabled him to mus- very industriously circulated by a ter up a respectable body of follow- certain Spanish capitalist of Paris,

But let us calmly ask, is this deeply interested in the present afenough to justify Valdes for his am- fairs. No event of importance, bition, or excuse his reluctance to however, took place. Valdes mainact under the orders of such a man tained his position at Zugarramurdi, as Mina ?

This unbappy breach but it does not appear that he deamong the constitutionalists paved rived any considerable advantage the way to the spirit of intrigue, and therefrom ; the desertions from the the enemies to Spanish liberty would enemy were few, and, as far as we not allow so favorable an opportu- can gather, the conduct of the inhanity to escape without setting all bitants not remarkable for cortheir engines to work, in order to diality. multiply the difficulties which the The attempt of Colonel Valdes folly of the patriots themselves con- possessed none of the elements spired to increase. From the very which could count probabilities of active part which certain persons success, or remove gloomy anticiplayed, from the pecuniary means pations from the more prudent and at the command of other men by no experienced among the patriots. A means deserving of inplicit trust, - small body of men, hastily equipped and from a variety of circumstances and indifferently organized, invade which it is superfluous to enume- Spain, and their movement is unrate, we may draw the most melan- dertaken through a province which, choly inferences concerning the se- owing to certain privileges which it ries of intrigues carried on among enjoys, has always exhibited a dethe deluded Spaniards, whom, it cided hostility towards the constitunow appears, no lesson of expe- tional government. The leader of rience can render wiser.

this band, though a brave and hoColonel Valdes then, after a norable officer, is neither from exstormy interview with Mina, effect- perience, abilities, or station, of ed, as we have related, his entry sufficient weight to take on himself into Spain : but his first movements the responsibility of so arduous an were for some time totally unknown enterprise ; indeed, the whole affair to the public. Indeed, the most bears rather the semblance of an contradictory accounts were daily experimental adventure, than of a in circulation concerning the pro- regular, judicious, and systematic gress of the small band, and the en- military operation. Jejune and illcouragement afforded by the inha- concerted measures-imperfect in


formation of the country and the in dealing this award, a separation enemy-want of means and autho- of the innocent from the delinquent rity, come to increase these obsta- cannot easily be attained. The cles to success.

natural result is, that foreigners, The position of General Mina however favorably inclined towards was at this moment extremely deli- the cause, come to a conclusion cate and perplexing. The ignorant that it cannot prosper as long as it and mischievous men who had hith- possesses no more competent superto used their utmost endeavors to porters. fix odium and reproach on the cha- But there was another and a very racter of that honorable soldier, powerful reason to determine Mina would, under existing circumstances, to adopt the resolution which he have another opportunity to seize ultimately took. The rashness of upon in order to vent the venom of Valdes seriously compromised the their spite and envy. The most enterprise into which they had emodious aspersions had been syste- barked, at the same time that it exmatically disseminated against the posed that commander to probable fair fame of the general. By the destruction. It was indispensable most lenient he had been represent- to marc immediately to his suped as an indolent, selfish man, who, port, and by vigorous exertions enpossessing the means of enjoying a deavor to counteract the mischief tranquil life, preferred his ease and of a first blunder. It was neither comfort to the prosperity of his humane nor politic, to abandon country. But there were Spaniards, these Spaniards to their fate. Imalso, some from sheer ignorance pelled, therefore, by such weighty and imbecility, others from still less considerations, but against the dicexcusable motives, who blushed not tates of his better judgment, Geneto advance the most weighty accu- ral Mina determined to march forthsations against him. His honor with into Spain. He felt fully and integrity were called in ques- aware of the incompetence of the tion--he was represented as a trai- means in his power to carry on any tor to the cause of liberty ; and extensive operations, and he probathere were some who went so far as bly limited his views, for the moto give it to be understood that he ment, to reconnoitring the country, was afraid of marching into Spain and aiding to liberate Valdes from --Bisum teneatis ! General Mina his difficult position. The force turned coward! And why all this which Mina could command has violent persecution against him who been differently stated, but we have had rendered such essential services good reason to suppose it did not to his country ? Simply, because exceed three hundred men. Of he would not blindly enter into these a considerable number were every mad scheme which any im- officers of all ranks, from that of prudent man thought fit to agitate. general to lieutenant ; these gentleWe will not offer an insult to Gene- men formed themselves into a body, ral Mina by undertaking an idle which they called the sacred battadefence of his conduct. Yet the lion, and they cheerfully submitted mischief which this systematic and to undergo all the toil, and perform abominable persecution of Mina all the duties, of private soldiers. does to the Spanish cause is im- The services of these men, however mense. The friends of the cause valuable in other circumstances, abroad have neither the time nor were little available in the present the opportunities of entering into posture of events. These officers a proper investigation of motives, were old veterans, the youngest not and drawing reasonable inferences. below forty, almost all infirm and They only see things en masse suffering from the effects of a long which deserve condemnation, and, series of sorrows and misfortunes ,


« PreviousContinue »