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West Indies.Martinico occupied by the British Forces.-Guadaloupe reduced by Sir James Leith.-Continued Hostilities in South America.-Lamentable State of Affairs in Spain-Insurrection of Porlier He is arrested and executed. Constitution of the Netherlands.-Remonstrance of the Belgian Clergy-Marriage of the Prince of Orange.Poland united with Russia. Germany. Disputes betwixt the King and States of Wirtemburgh. Territorial Acquisitions of Prussia-Her new Constitution.-German Confederation and Diet.
THE earthquake which shook the centre of the French empire, failed not to agitate its extremities. The situation of the island of Martinico became critical so soon as the revolution of March became known there. The governor, Count Vaugiraud, was faithful to the royal cause, and the militia, amounting to six thousand men, of whom, however, only one-half had arms, were sufficiently well inclined. But the troops of the line, consisting of 1300 men, who possessed the forts, shewed too much of the same disposition which manifested itself in France. The majority of the officers were decidedly for Buonaparte, some putting up the tri-coloured cockade, and others, with similar sentiments less avowed, pretending that they only wished to return to France. The soldiers were chiefly refractory conscripts, who had never served, and had no attachment to Buonaparte, but who, having escaped from the army under his severe system, and finding themselves expatriated under the king's go
vernment, generally wished to return home. Count Vaugiraud acted with much good sense in anticipating the mischief which might have arisen, and which he had not the power to have controuled, by assembling the troops and releasing those of the officers who desired it from their obligations, informing them at the same time, that they must quit Martinique, and declaring that any attempt to raise the standard of rebellion would be repelled by force, and punished as an act of mutiny, in defiance of the oaths of fidelity which they had taken to Louis the Eighteenth.
Sir James Leith, commanding officer in the Leeward Islands, on learning the precarious state of this valuable colony, immediately sent to the aid of Count Vaugiraud a strong auxiliary force, which landed there on the 5th of June. The French soldiers of the line, except about 450 men, who remained faithful to the king, were disarmed, and suffered to leave the island, which was thus saved from a
banishment, or to the fortresses. This, however, can be no ground of wonder, when it is known that the number of persons in prison in Spain for their political opinions, is supposed to exceed 51,000.
from falling into the hands of the French, and who was covered with wounds, while fighting against them in the celebrated battle of Espinosa; Lieutenant-General Copons, the defender of Tarifa, and general in chief of the first army of Catalonia; Villacampa, governor of Madrid, and general of the division which bore his name, who conducted the war so successfully against the usurper in the south of Arragon; and the ex-minister at war, O'Donoju; the Camp-Marshal Porlier; and the Camp-Marshal Aguirre, one of the intrepid defenders of Saragossa, who has died in prison.
"Among them are also various other officers of merit, such as Brigadier Don Juan Moscoso, and Lieutenant-Colonels the Conde de TorreNueva, Don Jacobo Escario, Don Luis Landaburu, and Don Joachim Escario of the general staff, Brigadier Moreda, &c. "Lieutenant-General Lacy has been banished, who was general-in-chief of the army of reserve of Gallicia, and who distinguished himself so much in the war of the Peninsula. In fact, it may be observed, that almost all the chiefs who conducted the war with success have been disgraced, imprisoned, or banished.
"The following also have been imprisoned :-Senors Agar and Ciscar, celebrated mathematicians, and members of the Regency; Alvarez Guerra, minister of the interior; Cano Manuel, ex-minister of grace and justice; Quintana, secretary of the king, and interpreter of languages; the Conde de Noblejas, marshal of Castile, and his brother Don Ramon de Chaves; Domenech, political chief of Madrid; Acevedo, the same for the Asturias, &c. &c. Every journalist who supported the character of the government during the revolution, is either a fugitive, or groans in dungeons, or has been condemned to
"The distinguished deputy and patriot Antillon was very severely treated.
The persons who took him into custody, though they found him in bed, afflicted with a very dangerous disorder, tore him from it, in order to convey him in a cart from the village of his residence to the city of Saragossa, thus totally regardless of the law of humanity, and deaf to the reflections which could not fail to be excited by the deplorable situation of the sick man, who died in the cart in which he was conveyed before arriving at the place of his destination.
"The principal charges brought against the deputies were, the having approved of the two decrees of the 1st of January, 1811, and of the 2d of February, 1814, upon the conduct which the army and the authorities should observe in case the king should present himself on the frontiers of the kingdom, either surrounded by the troops of Buonaparte, or under his influence. These two decrees, known in almost all Europe, and particularly by the allied powers, were highly ap plauded for the patriotic sentiments with which they abound; particularly the latter decree, which was justly celebrated in England, because it annulled the peace concluded at Valency between King Ferdinand and Buonaparte.
"Almost all the sentences were passed when the processes were still in a state of sumario,-that is, before the accused could defend themselves; before they had brought forward witnesses for their exculpation; which is the same as if in England the accused were condemned upon no other evidence than that of the coroner's
inquest; for that which in Spain is called the sumario of a process, is nothing else but the first information. Those processes, in which a more regular course has been pursued, abound with a thousand other invalidatory circumstances. Among these, one of the most shocking is, that of the persons accused having been prevented from defending themselves in person before the tribunal, which the laws of Spain authorise them to do.
"The Special Commission, appointed for deciding these causes, because the Tribunal of the Alcades of the court, to which the commission was first gi ven, twice refused to take cognizance of them, consists of four judges, one of whom, besides, acts in the character of accuser and witness. It is wor thy of remark, that all these judges had themselves taken the oath to the constitution framed by the Cortes: one as member of the Council of Castile, two as deputies, and the fourth as President of the Regency. This has given occasion to one of the most singular occurrences that can be imagined, and which is as follows: On the trial of Admiral Valdez, one of the questions put to him was, Why did you cause the constitution to be sworn in Cadiz?' to which the Admiral answered, 'Because I was com manded to do so by Senor Mosquera, then President of the Regency, and now judge in my cause.'
"Some individuals, although not many, have succeeded in withdrawing themselves from persecution, seeking an asylum in foreign countries. he most distinguished among them is the Conde Toreno, deputy of the Cortes, well known in England under the title of Viscount Matarosa, as having been the first diplomatic agent who appeared in that country requesting assistance in the war against Buonaparte; Senors Ysturiz, Diaz del Moral, Quartero, Rodrigo, and Caneja,
deputies of the Cortes; Senor Luyando, minister of state; the governors of Segovia, Santander, and several other individuals; without including in this list the two Generals Mina, of whom the first raised in Navarre the division which bore his name, and the second succeeded him in the command when he was made prisoner."
We know not whether we are most to admire the gross ingratitude of the king, or the stupid subservience of the people, when we observe these severities directed against those guerilla leaders who defended the throne and the independence of Spain, when the counsellors by whom Ferdinand is now surrounded had laid both as an offering at the feet of Buonaparte. It is evident that Spain's time for freedom is not yet arrived, and that the Egyptian bondage of despotism must bind his willing subjects perhaps for many years to come. Yet she did not relapse into this lethal slumber without a slight convulsive struggle. Our last year's annals mentioned the premature and unsuccessful attempt of Mina in Navarre, and we have now to commemorate a similar, but more tragical, effort of the celebrated guerilla leader Porlier.
The Marshal-de-Camp Juan Diez Porlier, styled Marquis of Matarosa, in right of his wife, had distinguished himself in the guerilla war, where he commanded a division in the Asturias under the soubriquet of the Marquesito, or Little Marquis, given him on account of his diminutive size, which, like that of the Grecian hero of old, formed a singular contrast to the courage and activity of his mind. He had been rewarded as others were by confinement in the castle of Antonio, where he had remained a close prisoner since August 1814. Having obtained liberty to visit the baths at Artrigo, he seems to have imagined his interest with the
troops in garrison at Corunna was sufficient to accomplish a revolution upon the principles of the oppressed Liberales. Whether this is to be regarded as a mere insulated effort of despair, or whether he had rational hopes of assistance from accomplices who redeemed these pledges indifferently, we have not the means of knowing. His first step was successful. He assembled the troops which Sept. 18. lay at Santa Lucia near the gates of Corunna, and, entering into the town, took possession of it about one in the morning, arrested the captain-general of the province and other persons in authority, and published a proclamation addressed to the armies of Gallicia. In this manifesto he complained, with too much justice, that the restoration of King Ferdinand, which had cost so many lives and sacrifices, had disappointed the hopes of the nation-that, surrounded by unjust and selfish counsellors, he had consented to, and executed a proscription of the most illustrious and deserving Spaniards, and opened the flood-gates of despotism. There remained but one remedy-to re-assemble the Cortes, and let them determine the system by which Spain should be hereafter governed, and in the mean time to name an internal junta for the provisional government of the kingdom of Gallicia. The adoption of this violent, but necessary remedy, was to produce, according to the proclamation, the most beneficial effects." Henceforth the valiant soldier, the man of talent, and of real merit, shall meet with a solid recompence; arts, agriculture, and commerce, shall resume their ancient splendour; the national wealth shall recover the same channels which formerly nourished it; the soldiers, and others employed by the public, shall be punctually paid; the scale of justice shall return to that equilibrium
of force, which is the foundation of the tranquillity of the state. All this, soldiers, is offered you as a reward by the change of the present system; to obtain it, unite your forces with mine, and have confidence in your chiefs; doubt not but that the other armies will follow you, and that all will be actuated by the same impulse. And if even there should be obstacles and difficulties to overcome, valour makes every thing easy."
These stirring promises were breathed into indifferent ears. After maintaining possession of Corunna, Ferrol, &c. for four days, Porlier received intelligence that the wealthy Chapter of St Jago had distributed money among the soldiers quartered there, in order to induce them to declare for Ferdinand. Conceiving that his presence might counteract their machinations, Porlier left Co- Sept. 21. runna in charge of a small garrison of 300 men, and marched with the rest of his forces towards St Jago. He had not long left the town ere a counter-revolution took place, through the influence chiefly of the clergy. The members of the royal government whom Porlier had imprisoned were set at liberty, and those who had shewn themselves friendly to his cause, including the small garrison of Corunna, dispersed, and endeavoured to save themselves without even the show of resistance. This change appeared so wonderful to those who enjoyed the benefit of it, that the members of the royal junta attribute it to the immediate interference of the Most Holy Lady of the Rosary, to whom they prayed fervently in prison, and whose festival was then in the act of being solemnized. The spirit of timidity and defection seized the main body of Porlier's army, who were under his own command. They learned that the troops at Saint Jago, far from evincing any intention to join
them, had resolved to defend the pass by which Porlier must approach the town. He was deserted on his march by the greater part of his men; and at length the rest, listening to fears for their own safety and the instigations of the clergy, suffered their general and officers to be arrested in the midst of their ranks, and thrown into the prison of the Inquisition. He did not long languish in uncertainty of his doom, being condemned and executed at Corunna, with three of his adherents, about four days after the miscarriage of his enterprize. In the last will of the unfortunate Porlier, he requested his wife, whom he named his sole executor, to inter his remains, when circumstances should permit, in a simple tomb, bearing the following affecting epitaph:
The death of Porlier, indeed, was not altogether fruitless to his country, even in its present state. The government of Ferdinand appear to have taken the alarm at the insurrection of Corunna, and suddenly became disposed to listen to the advice which was earnestly pressed on them by the allied sovereigns. A sudden change took place in Ferdinand's counsels, and many of his worst counsellors were unexpectedly removed from around the throne. The Duke of San Carlos, author of the infamous treaty at Valençay, was removed from the ministry, and sent as ambassador to Vienna, as to a kind of honourable exile. Escoquiez, the preceptor of Ferdinand, to whose bigotted counsels many of the king's worst measures were imputed, was disgraced and sent to Cordova. Other courtiers were banished, chiefly men of that infamous class which truckled to the French power while uppermost, and who now, not inconsistently, were the most ready to advise the imprudent monarch to acts of despotism. But no beneficial effects followed this favourable change. Instead of consenting to pass an act of amnesty in favour of the Liberales, Ferdinand hastened to pronounce sentences of exile, imprisonment, and personal servitude upon the deputies of the Cortes, who had distinguished themselves by their zeal for freedom. Arguelles, the celebrated leader of that party, distinguished by his patriotic zeal and eloquence, was condemned to serve ten years as a private soldier; and similar penalties, worse to a well-constituted mind than death itself, were inflicted upon almost all who had held up the cause of their sinking country during her late agony. Chains, dungeons, despair, death-daily toil, rendered more dreadful by being shared in the society of common stabbers
"Here rest the ashes of Juan Diez Porlier, general of the Spanish armies. He was always fortunate in what he undertook against the external enemies of his country, and died a victim of its civil dissensions. Ye men, sensible to glory, respect the ashes of an unfortunate patriot."
About one hundred officers were arrested on this occasion, and several were severely punished. Romain, Porlier's second-in-command, had the good fortune to make his escape to England. Thus ended a rash and ill-concerted enterprise. The martyrs of liberty, however, resemble the martyrs of religion, in so much as they frequently incur destruction by a premature at tempt to extend its principles among a people blinded by prejudice, and unprepared to receive its lights. Yet the death of such men is not fruitless. It excites, like every other remarkable scene, the attention of the public, and men secretly begin to enquire into the nature of those sentiments which have led the sufferers into danger, and supported them in their last moments.