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of Spain, at the time, gave to these conjectures, a great degree of probability. Her finances were exhausted by the constant drain, arising from the demands of the French government, and by the considerable expenses, required for the support of her army and navy. By far the greatest proportion of her regular forces was removed, and dispersed, either in the north of Germany, or in Portugal. The administration of the public concerns, exclusively in the hands of the Prince of Peace, had become odious, and contemptible in the eyes of the nation, and relaxed all the ties which attached it to the crown. Under circumstances so deplorable, it was natural to imagine, that Napoleon, freed by the treaty of Tilsit from all apprehension of interference on the part of Russia, would encounter few, or no obstacles in his project to master Spain.
Such was certainly the opinion of Mr. Beauharnais, ambassador of France at Madrid. But he was grossly mistaken, when he took the universal hatred of the Spaniards against the Prince of Peace, for a disposition favourable to a change of dynasty; an idea which, nevertheless, prompted the French government to relinquish the original plan of reducing Spain by gradual encroachments, in order to strike at once the decisive blow.
The event, however, did not entirely correspond with the calculations of Mr. Beauharnais. The occurrences at Arranjuez, on the 6—18 March, electrifying, as it were, the Spanish nation, rekindled their predilection for their legitimate sovereign, and their aversion to foreign dominion. The grand duke of Berg became convinced of it, from the moment he en- j tered Madrid, and the disgrace of M. de Beauharnais was one of the first consequences of the disappointment.
The French journals vied with each other, in representing the insurrections, which broke out in several Spanish provinces, immediately after the transportation of the royal family to France, as assemblages of a factious mob, inimical to order, which the approach of French troops would promptly disperse.
Having traversed the greatest part of Spain in the months of May and June last, I made it my particular business to observe the true state of things. All that I myself saw, or was able to collect from persons, highly respectable, and worthy of confidence, I shall faithfully state in this narrative.
As soon as I entered Spain,I had occasion to perceive thatpublic opinion, roused by the recent occurrences, was by no means favourable to the French. Nay more,—the animosity
Spaniards against their perfidious allies (for it is thus they in
titled them) went so far, that every stranger wa9 exposed to insult, merely on the suspicion of his being a Frenchman. I experienced this myself, on the day of my arrival at Badajos. Being taken for one, I had the grossest abuse lavished on me as I passed through the streets, and should not have escaped serious injuries, which were threatened, but for the declaration of the soldier, who escorted me, that I was not a subject of Napoleon.
The same disposition of mind was equally manifest at Madrid. During a stay, which I made there, of two weeks, I had many opportunities of satisfying myself, that the effervescence was at its height, and that the inhabitants, far from being dismayed, by the unfortunate termination of the affair of the second of May, and the butcheries which succeeded,* felt them, on the contrary, as an additional grievance, and a new stimulus to hate. Rage half stifled, was legible in every face; exclamations of vengeance were ready to burst from every lip.
The French, who had imagined, that, by an act of severity they might impress the inhabitants with terror, and prevent further commotions, were soon convinced of their error. The batteries of heavy ordnance, and mortars, which they were seen to erect, with no small activity, in the Prado, bespoke their fears; whilst, on the other hand, the numerous patroles, constantly marching through every part of the capital, gave it the appearance of a besieged town.
The massacre of the second of May—with what other name can the occurrences of that day be designated—was the signal, at which several provinces, such as Andalusia, the kingdoms of Valencia, Mercia, Arragon, &c. broke out into open revolt. This news had scarcely reached Madrid, when theWaloon guards, and other troops of the line, with which it was garrisoned, were seen to desert in large bodies, to join the in- surgents. Desertion was so common, that a regiment of cavalry, of which I do not recollect the name, found itself reduced to four men, at the time of my departure from Madrid. The spirit of insurrection pervaded Spain with such rapidity, that the French army, in less than a fortnight, found two
* The day after, the French officers stationed themselves in every part of the public walk, known under the name of P.-ado. They stopped without distinction every body that passed, women as well as men, searched them, and caused all those to be shot instantaneously upon whom they found any th inir in the shape of arms, even a penknife. I have this fact from two French officers, who had a share in the massacre. From them also I learned that a certain colonel Frederic of the Imperial guard, boasted of having himself singly, caused more than 150 persona to be shot!
Vol. III. 2P
thirds of the nation marshalled as it were against it. It may not be useless to mention here, what occurred at Seville, when the inhabitants declared themselves in favour of the national cause. They went, in a body, to the cathedral, headed by all the clergv of the town. The holy sacrament was then brought out, and the people swore on the host, to defend themselves to the last extremity, to abandon, to burn the town, should they be overpowered, rather than submit to the law of the conqueror.
The French government were then taught by their own experience, that the same means do not produce in every country the same results; that measures, styled energetic, may prove successful with a people corrupted, and debased, but that they are of no avail with those, who have preserved a sense of dignity.
Never did a modern nation display its own more brilliantly, than did Spain at the period of which I am speaking; and this too, under circumstances, such as must have made the cause appear desperate, even in the eyes of the most determined. Betrayed by a minister, whose very name has become a term of opprobrium, and whom she had seen abuse the unlimited confidence, with which he had been invested by her sovereign, and deliver to the enemy, the frontiers, the armies, and the fleets; abandoned by her rulers, who concealed from her, to the last moment, the perilous situation of the kingdom; attacked, unawares, in her very vitals, by a formidable army, doubly strong from renown;—under such circumstances,when it was least expected, the Spanish nation resumed her ancient virtue, and at this appalling crisis exhibited to astonished Europe, an instance of courage, of loyalty, nay, what is more, of fidelity to her sovereigns, which these but little merited, and of which it would be in vain, to seek another example, in the history of the world. It would seem as if the Spanish nation had been anxious, by this heroic effort, the more fully to make amends for her long and inglorious lethargy.
I cannot forbear, while on this subject, combating an erroneous opinion, which the French government endeavours to disseminate by every possible means, and which finds many abettors in the north of Europe. It is insisted, that the recent events in Spain, are entirely owing to religious fanaticism.— Religious opinions cannot be denied to have had a share in them; but, if we examine attentively the course, which the insurrections took in the\ provinces, the prevailing sentiment, which directed the first movements, and the uniformity,which is every where perceived in the object; we shall be convinced that other causes, equally powerful, must have contributed to this general combination. These causes, I am inclined to think, arose in a great measure, out of the little progress, which the modern principles, spread by the French revolution, had made in this country. Nor ought this to excite surprise. From temper averse to innovation, the Spaniard resisted the seductions of the new doctrine the more readily, as it was preached by a people, against whom, he at all times cherished a strong hereditary antipathy. This doctrine, besides, did not meet, in Spain, with the same favourable predispositions, as in other countries, where a taste for literature was more generally diffused. In consequence, therefore, of their fortunate ignorance, the Spaniards, notwithstanding their proximity to the revolutionary focus, preserved their ancient moral character. They preserved their respect for legitimate authority; their attachment to the person of the sovereign, as well as to their early political, and religious ideas. Thus it happened, that in Spain, the government and the nation remained united, when almost every where else, the ruling authorities found themselves dissociated from the governed, by reason of the revolution, which the doctrine in question had operated in the minds of the latter; a revolution which accelerated the downfal of so many states. A sufficient proof of the correctness of this observation, is to be found in the patience, with which the long administration of the Prince of Peace was endured—an administration on which public opinion, at an early period, had pronounced judgment of reprobation.
To the joint agency of several causes, therefore, and not to the fanaticism of the priests alone, must we attribute the extraordinary spectacle, which the Spanish nation offered to the world, by rising en masse to repel a foreign yoke.
Of all the events which signalize the annals of a revolution, of which no mind, as yet, can explore the end, certainly those \ which have recently occurred in Spain, furnish the most consoling picture to the lovers of order and of justice. Besides the many thrones, which, since the fatal epoch of this revolution, have fallen to the ground, overturned by the people themselves, or in their name, we have seen some crushed, as it were, by the sceptre itself, as in Prussia, and in several other states of the Germanic empire. What, however, we had not yet seen, was a whole nation, rising in order to support the tottering throne of her legitimate sovereigns, and to renew to them the oath of fidelity, at the very moment of their destruction. This noble example was reserved for Spain; for a country, which the authors of the age have so cruelly calumniated.
That we may be the better able to appreciate justly the credit due to the Spanish nation for this conduct, it will be necessary to state the forces, she had to contend with, when this general insurrection took place.
According to the most accurate estimates, formed in the country itself, the number of French troops in Spain, amounted in the beginning of the month of June, 1808, from seventyfive to eighty thousand men, without including the armies in Portugal, composing a body of twenty, to twenty-five thousand men. These forces must have been deemed sufficient, by the Emperor Napoleon, for the execution of his projects. Master of all the frontier towns, of which his troops took possession, in virtue of passports, signed and delivered by the Prince of Peace, in his character of generalissimo of the kingdom; master of Portugal, on which he seized by the same means, which brought so many other countries under his yoke, Napoleon had a right to expect, that he would be able to reduce Spain before she should have had time, to organize any defence whatever; for, all her regular troops,dispersed throughout her various provinces, scarcely amounted to thirty thousand men. If there be those, who,—judging of measures by the issue—still think that even in this state of things, it was imprudent to undertake the conquest, of such a country as Spain, with eighty, or a hundred thousand men, I would observe to them, that, at the period in question, the object was not so much conquest, as the completion of a scheme of surprise: That, to this end the Prince of Peace had already made the most important advances, in delivering Spain bound hand and foot to the enemy; and that Napoleon, with the exampie of so many other nations before him, who had, with more means of resistance than Spain, submitted, notwithstanding,with docility to his dominion—could hardly form a better idea of the character, and the fortitude of the Spaniards!
The same apology cannot be made for the object of this entcrprize; for, viewed in any light, it must always appear equally absurd and odious. Since the treaty of Basle, in 1795, France disposed of Spain at her pleasure. Bent on the destruction of the victim, she preyed on its resources with an avidity, which could leave no doubt, as to the approaching catastrophe, of the total inanition of the kingdom. If, therefore, Napoleon wished to secure Spain for ever, by establishing his own dynasty on her throne, why not rather continue to pursue the same system of spoliation, which, by weakening her more and more, could not fail to bring her at length to the point desired. Spain would then have fallen from weakness, and Na