The Bible in Spain. Volume 1 of 2
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Don Carlos, who had taken refuge in Portugal, found himself unable to cross the frontier, and was constrained to make his way from Lisbon by sea to London, and thence by way of France into the Basque provinces, where he arrived in September, 1834. Thus were founded the Carlist and the Cristino parties; and on the side of the former were at once ranged all the Basques, and the representatives of the absolutist and ultra-clerical party throughout Spain.
Don Carlos himself, unable to cross the frontier,1313
On the outbreak of hostilities in the north-west, the most capable commander on the side of the Carlists was the Basque, Tom?s Zumalacarregui. Born at Ormastegui, in Guipuzcoa, in 1788, he had served in the Spanish army from 1808 to 1831 without finding any special favour or advancement from king or Cortes. Dismissed the service in 1831, he emerged from his retirement on the death of Ferdinand VII. in 1833, and, openly attaching himself to the Carlist fortunes, he took the field against the queen’s troops at the head of some eight hundred partisans. So great was his zeal and energy, and so popular was Zumalacarregui himself in his native Guipuzcoa, that in less than a year this little force had grown in his hands into an army of over thirty-five thousand men, superior not only in fighting qualities, but even in discipline, to any of the queen’s forces, fairly armed, and well supplied with food and clothing.
But in spite of his commanding qualities, which made him indispensable to the Carlist cause, the success of the blunt and robust soldier excited the jealousy, not only of his subordinate commanders, and of the priests and women who had so great an influence at the court of Don Carlos, but even of the Pretender himself.
The only general who may be compared with Zumalacarregui on the Carlist side was born at Tortosa, at the mouth of the Ebro, as late as December, 1806, and was thus nearly twenty years younger than the Basque commander.
Cabrera was destined for the priesthood, and actually received the tonsura in 1825, but in 1833 he quitted the convent of the Trinitarios at Tortosa and joined the Carlist army near the historic mountain fortress of Morella in November, 1833; and in less than twelve months he had been appointed a colonel in the Carlist army in Aragon.
On the side of the Constitutionalists there was no display of military talent, or even of capacity.Rodil, Amildez, Mina, Valdez, followed each other without advantage to the queen’s cause, and in spite of all the advantages incident to a regular government, with command of the capital and all the departments, little or no advantage was gained by the Constitutional forces for long after the first outbreak of hostilities. The war, however, was carried on by both Cristinos and Carlists with the utmost savagery.
The wholesale massacre of wounded and prisoners by both the Cristino and Carlist generals aroused the indignation of every civilized community, and especially in England, where an uneasy sense of responsibility for the atrocities which were committed was natural in view of the fact that the government had taken to some extent an official part in the war, and that English regiments were soon to be exposed to the cruelties against which the whole of Europe was protesting. The pressure of public opinion in England, indeed, was so strong that at length Lord Eliot was despatched to Spain to negotiate a convention between the belligerents which would ensure the ordinary laws of civilized warfare being obeyed. It was a difficult task.1414
But by the exertions of Lord Eliot and Colonel Wylde of the Royal Artillery, who was serving as a kind of military attach? at the head-quarters of the queen’s forces, a convention, known as the “Eliot Convention,” was at length signed by Zumalacarregui at or near Logro?o, on April 27 and 28, 1835.
The convention, as might have been supposed, was in practice regarded by neither party, and was evaded when not actually set at nought. It was said not to apply to any part of Spain but the Basque provinces, nor to any troops enlisted after its signature in April; but the massacre of prisoners was possibly not so systematically carried out after the agreement as it had been before. But, strangest of all, as soon as the news of the signature of this convention became known at Madrid, the utmost indignation was expressed, not only by the populace of Madrid, but in the Cortes. An attempt was made to kill Se?or Martinez de la Rosa in the streets by an armed mob, and the ministry was compelled to resign. Count Toreno was then called to the supreme power on June 7, with Mendizabal as finance minister.
Meanwhile the military skill of Zumalacarregui in the Basque provinces, and of Cabrera in the east of Spain, had alone prolonged the struggle during 1834 and 1835; but the death of Zumalacarregui from a wound received in action near Bilbao in June, 1835, was a serious blow to the hopes of the Pretender, although there are good grounds for supposing that the bold general’s end was hastened by poison administered by his own partisans.1515
In the month of April of this same year, 1835, Lord Palmerston, who, after a brief retirement from office in 1834, was once more Foreign Secretary in London, had sanctioned the enlisting of an army of ten thousand men in England, which, under the command of Colonel, afterwards Sir de Lacy Evans, landed at San Sebastian in August to assist the government of the regency to put down the Carlists in the northwest. There was already a British Auxiliary Contingent attached to the Spanish army, and the British Naval Squadron, under Lord John Hay, assisted the Cristinos on the coast between Bilbao and Santander.
But neither the native nor the British supporters of the regent were at this time successful in the Basque provinces. Bilbao was for many months besieged, and was at length relieved only in the month of December, 1836, by the English forces co-operating with Espartero, who was created, for his share in the victory, Count of Luchana.
The ministry of Count Toreno had lasted only from June to September (1835), when Mendizabal assumed the chief direction of affairs; and it was just two months later (November, 1835) that George Borrow first set foot on the soil of the Peninsula.
Mendizabal continued to be Prime Minister until May, 1836, when he was succeeded by a coalition ministry of Isturitz, Galiano and the Duke of Rivas (see text, p. 181), under whose administration took place the military riots at Madrid (August 11, 12), which were most bravely repressed by General Quesada, the commandant of the city, as so graphically recorded by Borrow (pp. 202–205). Yet Quesada’s valour was of no avail. The decree of La Granja, of August 13 and 14, extorted from the fears of the queen regent by actual threats of military violence, was followed by the precipitate flight of Isturitz and Galiano to France, and of the Duke of Rivas to Gibraltar, and the assumption of power by Se?or Calatrava, with Mendizabal as Minister of Finance. Quesada was murdered, as is said and sung on p. 206 of the text.
If the Cristino cause had made but little progress in 1836, there was even less encouragement to be found in the result of the military operations in the earlier part of 1837. General Evans was defeated at Hernani, near San Sebastian, in March, and although Lord John Hay with his English mariners took Irun, Don Carlos was allowed to march almost unopposed upon the capital. On September 12, he found himself within four leagues of Madrid, and had it not been for his own poltroonery and the jealousy and incompetence of those by whom he was surrounded, he might have ridden into the Puerta del Sol on the next day as King of Spain. But, dis aliter visum and all undefeated, he turned his back upon La Corte, and marched northwards with no apparent reason or policy, closely pressed by the new commander-in-chief of the Cristino forces, a man whose name is distinguished above that of any of his fellows in the contemporary history of his country.
Baldomero Espartero, the son of a village wheelwright in La Mancha, was born in 1792. Destined, like Cabrera, for the priesthood, he took up arms on the French invasion in 1808, and at the conclusion of the War of Independence in 1814 obtained a military position in Peru, in which he had an opportunity of distinguishing himself. After the capitulation of Ayacucho, when the independence of Peru was finally recognized, Espartero returned to Spain, and after some ten years of uneventful but honoured service in the home army he found himself, in 1833, entrusted with an important command in the queen’s army. Indolent and yet ambitious, dilatory and yet vigorous when opportunity offered, loyal and yet politically untrustworthy, Espartero flourished in the troublous times in which he found himself, and made a name for himself both in camp and court; and having, as we have seen, been created Count of Luchana on the relief of Bilbao, he had taken the place of Se?or Calatrava as Prime Minister in August, 1837, and was succeeded in the following October by Don Jos? Maria Perez, who in turn gave place to Ofalia on November 30 (see text, vol. ii. pp. 100, 121), when Espartero returned to Madrid as Minister of War.
Cabrera meanwhile was ravaging Aragon and Valencia, and continued not only absolutely to disregard the Eliot Convention, and to massacre all the military prisoners that surrendered to him, but to put to death the women and even the children that fell into his hands.
But with the war in Aragon and Catalonia, the readers of Borrow’s Bible in Spain have happily no need further to concern themselves.
The British legion, which, after two years’ evil fortune was at length becoming a force of some military value, was broken up and sent back to London at the expense of the British treasury, though a remnant elected to remain in the Peninsula, which did good service until the close of the year as the “British Auxiliary Brigade.”
In the spring of 1838 Espartero once more assumed the command of the queen’s army with the title of captain-general, and gained an indecisive victory over the Carlists at Pe?acerrada, between Logro?o and Vitoria, in June, 1838; while Cabrera was able to repulse the queen’s forces who sought to drive him from the strong position he had taken up at Aragon.
The ministry resigned in August, and the Duke of Frias presided over a short-lived cabinet, for in December, 1838, a new ministry was formed under Se?or Perez de Castro; and Espartero, at length assuming the offensive with some vigour, was enabled, by the treachery of the Carlist general Maroto, to march unopposed into Ordu?a, the ancient capital of Biscay, in May, 1839.
After this practical victory Espartero was hailed as the saviour of his country, and received the title of Duque de la Victoria. Dissension soon completed what treachery had so well begun.
Even among the strong partisan officials of Don Carlos there were three parties, viz. Marotistas, men whose professed object was to force Don Carlos to leave Spain, and to bring about a marriage between his son and the young queen, which, combined with a modified constitution, might pacify Spain; secondly, a party headed by Villa Real and Marco del Pont, having for its object the establishment of Don Carlos on the throne, with powers limited by a permanent Cortes; and thirdly, the bigoted Absolutist party, headed by Cabrera and Teijeiro.
In all these circumstances it was not surprising that the abandonment of Ordu?a in May should have been followed, after a good deal of intrigue and very little fighting, by the Convention of Vergara on the last day of August.
Don Carlos immediately fled to France, and was housed by the French government at Bourges, where he continued to hold his court, and the war in North-Western Spain was at an end.
Cabrera, however, would have nothing to say to the Convention of Vergara, and the spring of 1840 saw Espartero at the head of a powerful force before the celebrated fortress of Morella, which surrendered in May.
Cabrera was finally defeated by Espartero at Lerida in the following July, and Spain at length enjoyed a desolate peace.
Before Mr. Burke had seen any part of this edition in print, he was suddenly summoned to South America, as mentioned in his note (i. 190), and accepted my suggestion that I should revise and correct the proofs. His death shortly after leaving England has deprived me of a valued friend, and the book of the advantage of his final revision. While fully sensible of the disadvantages which this must involve, I hope that the errors thus caused will not prove so grave or so numerous as seriously to detract from the value of the edition. My best thanks are due to the many friends who have helped me, especially in the preparation of the Glossary, which has considerably outgrown the original draft.
Magdalen College, Oxford,
BORROW’S JOURNEYS IN THE PENINSULA
1. – Nov. 1835. [Belem] (11th Nov.), Lisbon (12th), Cintra, [Colhares, Mafra], Aldea Gallega (6th Dec.), [Peg?es], Vendas Novas, Monte Moro, Evora (9th–17th); returns to Lisbon (19th), where he remains about a fortnight.
Aldea Gallega, [Peg?es], Vendas Novas, Monte Moro, Arroyolos, Estremoz, Elvas, Badajoz (5th Jan. 1836), where he remains three weeks. Merida, where he remains three days. Trujillo, Jaraicejo, [Mirabete], Oropesa(?), Talavera, Madrid (about 5th Feb.).
2. – Nov. 1836. Falmouth (7th Nov.), Finisterre (11th), Lisbon (13th), Cadiz (starts on 24th), San Lucar, [Bonanza], Seville, where he remains about a fortnight. Alcal? de Guadaira, Carmona, [Moncloa, Cuesta del Espinal], Cordova (on third day from Seville), where he remains some time. Andujar, Bailen, Carolina (on third day from Cordova), [Despe?a Perros], Aranjuez (25th Dec.), Madrid (26th).
3. – May, 1837. Madrid (about 15th), Guadarrama, Pe?aranda, Salamanca (on third day from Madrid), where he remains till 10th June. [Pitiegua, Pedroso], Medina del Campo, Valladolid, where he remains about ten days. Due?as, Palencia, [Cisneros], Sahagun or [Calzada], Leon (21st), where he remains about ten days. Astorga, where he remains three days. Manzanal, Bembibre, [Cacabelos], Villafranca, [Fuencebadon], Nogales, Lugo, where he remains a week. [Castellanos], Betanzos, Corunna, where he remains about a fortnight. Santiago (early in Aug.), where he remains about a fortnight. Padron, Caldas de Reyes, Pontevedra, Vigo, where he remains a few days. Padron, [Los Angeles], Noyo, Corcuvion, [Duyo], Finisterre, Corcuvion, whence he returns to Santiago and Corunna. Ferrol, where he remains about a week. [Novales], Santa Marta, [Coisa Doiro], Viveiro, Foz, Rivadeo, Castro Pol, Navias, [Baralla], Luarca, Caneiro, [Soto Luino, Muros], Veles (? Aviles), Gijon, Oviedo, where he remains about a week. Villa Viciosa, Colunga, Ribida de Sella (= Riba de Sella), Llanes, [Santo Colombo], San Vicente, Santillana, Santander, where he remains some days. [Montaneda], O?as, Burgos, Valladolid, Guadarrama, Madrid (some time after 12th Sept.). Hence visits Toledo, and, in 1838, [Leganez, Villa Seca, Vargas, Cobeja, Mocejon, Villaluenga, Yuncler],1616
4. – Dec. 1838. Cadiz (31st), Seville, where he remains about a fortnight. Manzanares, Madrid. Hence visits [Cobe?a] and other villages to the east of Madrid. Victoriano (see ch. xlvi.) visits [Caramanchel], Alcal? de Henares, [Fuente la Higuera], Guadalajara. Borrow visits Naval Carnero (about the middle of March, 1830). Leaves Madrid for Seville (about the middle of April). Leaves Seville (31st July) for Cadiz, thence by sea to Gibraltar, whence, on 8th Aug., he sets sail for Tangier, landing next day.
Note. – Places enclosed in square brackets are not marked on the map.
On the morning of November 10, 1835,1717
That same night we entered the Tagus, and dropped anchor before the old tower of Belem;1818
The Rainha Nao is said to have caused him more trouble than all the other vessels of the enemy; and some assert that, had the others defended themselves with half the fury which the old vixen queen displayed, the result of the battle which decided the fate of Portugal would have been widely different.
I found disembarkation at Lisbon to be a matter of considerable vexation; the custom-house officers were exceedingly uncivil, and examined every article of my little baggage with most provoking minuteness.
My first impression on landing in the Peninsula was by no means a favourable one; and I had scarcely pressed the soil one hour before I heartily wished myself back in Russia, a country which I had quitted about one month previous, and where I had left cherished friends and warm affections.
After having submitted to much ill usage and robbery at the custom-house, I proceeded in quest of a lodging, and at last found one, but dirty and expensive. The next day I hired a servant, a Portuguese, it being my invariable custom, on arriving in a country, to avail myself of the services of a native, chiefly with the view of perfecting myself in the language; and, being already acquainted with most of the principal languages and dialects of the east and the west, I am soon able to make myself quite intelligible to the inhabitants. In about a fortnight I found myself conversing in Portuguese with considerable fluency.
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