Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

SIRE: Invested,at thismoment, with the authority to speak to your imperial and royal majesty in the name of the Polish nation, I address myself, through his excellency,monseigneur the Count Paskiewicz Erivanski, to your paternal heart.

* In submitting, without condition, to your majesty our King, the Polish nation knows that you alone can cause the past to be forgotten, and heal the deep wounds which afflict my country. - Warsaw, the 7th of September 1831, at 6 o'clock, P. M. (Signed) KRUKOWIECKI, General of Infantry,

President of the National Government.' The brave old veteran, Malachowski, came in from the field of battle between nine and ten at night, and informed the members of the Diet that, Krukowiecki having ordered a retreat upon Praga, it was impossible to continue the defence. trowski immediately summoned a meeting of the Diet; and after demanding and receiving the resignation of Krukowiecki, they elected Bonaventure Niemoiowski in his place, and then proceeded to Praga. So that when Berg and Prondzynski returned from conveying Krukowiecki's letter to Paskiewicz, they found his authority at an end, and a new government installed, which firmly refused to enter into any arrangements with the Russians. Malachowski, however, signed a military capitulation at Praga, assuring to the Poles a delay of forty eight hours for quitting the city, and the power of retiring unmolested to Modlin.

Niemoiowski had secured the archives and the government-treasure; a Polish Government, Diet, and army still existed; but the Revolution was to all political purposes at an end. The various divisions of the army, — prevented from_uniting, and deprived of the matériel which the Russians had pledged they should have by the capitulation of Praga, - one after the other, took refuge in Prussia or Austria, to avoid submitting to the Russians, the mainbody marching by Modlin and Plock, under the final command of Rybinski; af

THE SPANISH EXILES.

197

and at his suggestion the arms were seized by the British government. But, relying on the effect of his own example and presence, Torrijos departed for the coast of Andalusia, in prosecution of his Quixotic enterprise.

Meantime the great body of the exiles, stimulated more and more by the progress of revolution in France, began to repair thither from all quarters, intending to enter Spain by land from that country. Mina himself yielded to the current, and accompanied his countrymen to the Pyrenees, counting, perhaps, upon the assistance, or at least upon the connivance, of the government of Louis Philippe. In Paris, à considerable number of volunteers joined the emigrants, and they received promises of aid in money and arms from the mouvement party in France. They gradually assembled on the Spanish frontier, partly at Bayonne at the western extremity of the Pyrenees, and partly at Perpignan, on their eastern extremity. These two French cities stand each on the principal highroad into Spain, Bayonne being the point of departure for Madrid by way of Burgos, and Perpignan for the same place by way of Barcelona. The former introduces into Navarre and Biscay, the latter into Catalonia and Aragon. - A governing junta was established at Bayonne preparatory to actually crossing the frontier.

At this critical moment, when the last remnant of the Spanish constitutionalists were gathered together for a final attempt to deliver their country, they had the madness to revive those deplorable party disputes, which had disgraced and degraded the patriot cause in the time of its greatest ascendency. The comuneros and the masones had not forgotten their old quarrels. Unfortunately, also, the same insubordination of spirit,

18

VOL. II.

[ocr errors]
[graphic]

which distinguished the constitutionalists when they were the nation, was equally to be remarked among them now they were but a feeble band of exiles. Mina, and the most eminent of the patriots either as civilians or military men, were of the party of masones, and, as might be expected from their ability and experience, were less confident of success than the comuneros, who rendered themselves objects of commiseration by their violence, and by their impetuosity amounting to rashness. The effect of all this was to deprive their efforts of that unity, without which it was clearly impossible to effect any thing useful. At the same time, it must be admitted that their whole scheme was a wild and impracticable one.

The Spanish people did not desire a revolution; the fact is undeniable; and without a powerful party in the heart of the Kingdom, what had a few hundred exiles to expect in thus invading the country, but defeat to themselves, and ruin to all who should espouse their cause? And how much soever we may condemn the factious temper, which distracted the councils of the patriots, we do not believe the issue would have been different, had their conduct been ever so free from censure.

In effect, however, the consequence was that the comuneros proceeded to cross the frontiers in their own time and mode. It is supposed that the entire force assembled along the Pyrenees did not exceed 1000 men, of whom only about the half were Spaniards. Colonel Valdez led the first party, of 250 men, which crossed the frontier from Bayonne on the 17th of October, took possession of some villages, and dispersed a few royalist volunteers. But no person joined his standard, and he would have been speedily cut off, had not General Mina followed him in a few days with the residue of their forces, consisting of about 300 men. It

VALDEZ AND MINA.

199

was soon ascertained that the enterprise was a desperate one; for the inhabitants carefully kept aloof, affording neither supplies nor recruits to the invaders. Mina took possession of the town of Irun, and posted his followers on the heights near Vera, a few miles from the great road to Madrid. On the 27th a well appointed royalist force advanced to meet them. It was the advice of Mina to avoid an engagement, and maintain a guerilla warfare in the mountains; but Valdez insisted upon withstanding the royalist troops, and was accordingly_defeated with great loss, and driven back into France. Mina himself saved his life by a series of hair breadth escapes, and reached France in a state of extreme wretchedness. Seeing the irretrievable discomfiture of the expedition, the French now interfered, disarmed the fugitives, and compelled them to leave the neighborhood of Spain.

During the same period, another party of the patriots had entered Spain by the opposite extremity of the Pyrenees; and were in like manner driven back without having accomplished any thing, being reduced themselves to a state of mere starvation. The same fate attended each of the invading parties. Utterly failing to arouse the people, and having no sufficient means of their own to carry on a war with the government, they only enjoyed the consolation of having tried the experiment of proffering liberty to their countrymen. The French had regarded their preparations with an eye of sympathy, if not of encouragement, so long as there was a possibility of their success. It became indispensable to disarm them, when they were become a band of desperate fugitives, capable only of keeping the frontier in confusion. 'In fact, perfect tranquillity was restored long before the close of the year, along the whole line of the Pyrenees.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Several months elapsed before any thing transpired to indicate the success of Torrijos in the South. At length, on the night of the 3rd of March 1831, insurrection broke out in the Isle of Leon, celebrated as the scene of the revolutionary movement of 1820, under Quiroga and Riego. The assassination of the Governor of Cadiz, in the streets of the city, was the signal for the soldiers and marines stationed in the Isle of Leon to arm in mutiny, and proclaim the Constitution. They anticipated the concurrence of the garrison and populace of Cadiz; but in this they were disappointed; for Don Vicente Quesada, the Captain General of Andalusia, hastened thither from Xerez, and assured himself of the fidelity of the garrison. In consequence of this, the insurgents were obliged to leave the Isla de Leon. They landed on the opposite coast, and marched in the direction of Tarifa, where they expected to form a junction with another party of their confederates, who were approaching from Gibraltar. Being overtaken at Bejer by the royal troops, they were put to flight or made prisoners, having scarcely attempted to make a stand; and the leading individuals among the prisoners were immediately shot as rebels taken in arms. Justly alarmed by this affair, the government organized a military commission for investigating the ramifications of any conspiracy which might exist, and bringing its participators to punishment. The events in. Cadiz served no other purpose, therefore, but to fix the eyes of the police upon all persons who could be suspected of liberal views, subjecting them to infinite vexation, and adding strength at the same time to the hands of the King.

Torrijos had fixed himself at Gibraltar, where, undismayed by the result of the movement in March, he was madly engaged in projecting a new attempt at revolution. This, it was plain, could

« FöregåendeFortsätt »