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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Lermontov wrote epic poems in a pessimistic


[Sidenote:

Latin-American upheavals]

In Mexico, the Presidency of Bustamente was superseded by that of General Santa Anna. The northern States of Mexico maintained their independent attitude. The State of Costa Rica attempted to withdraw from the ascendant influence of Guatemala. About the same time the city of Cartago was destroyed by an earthquake. In Colombia, Marquez maintained himself as President against his opponents. The States of Panama and Veragua seceded from the Colombian Union, but the President prevailed upon them to return to the confederation. In South America, an expedition from Peru invaded Bolivia and laid siege to La Paz, only to be driven back. Peru was now invaded by an army from Bolivia, but General Bolnes, the newly elected President of Chile, interfered on behalf of Peru.

[Sidenote: Revolts in Spain]

In Spain, General Espartero throughout this year continued his precarious rule. In October, Generals O'Donnel and Concha headed a rising at Pambulna in behalf of the former Queen-Regent Christina. The Queen's guard repelled an attack of Don Diego Leon on the palace. On October 15, Don Diego was captured and shot. One week later O'Donnel fled to France. On the same day, General Zurbano gained possession of the citadel and port of Bilbao. He declared himself in favor of the Queen-Regent.

[Sidenote: French Algerian victories]

style="text-align: justify;">On the other side of the Pyrenees the restoration of the French _entente cordiale_ with England and the other European Powers was manifested in the conclusion of the International Convention of Alexandria in July, and the quintuple treaty for suppression of the slave trade proposed by the British Government. The French cry for the forcible recovery of the Rhine frontier died down and public funds rose accordingly. Alfred de Musset's second invective poem on "Le Rhin Allemand" scarcely raised a stir. All desire for military conquests was satisfied for the moment by the exploits of French arms under General Bugeaud and the Duc d'Aumale in Algeria. For once the Arab chiefs of the Desert were cowed into submission. The effect of the Duc d'Aumale's triumphal return was spoiled somewhat by the attempt to assassinate him on September 13. Under Guizot's guidance the French Chambers showed their appreciation of the flourishing state of literature in France by their amendments to the copyright law, extending the provisions of copyright to a period of thirty years after an author's death.

[Sidenote: Death of Lermontov]

[Sidenote: Lermontov's work]

Michel Jurgevitch Lermontov, the Russian poet, died on July 27, as the result of a duel in the Caucasus. His romance, "A Hero of Our Time," was the immediate cause of the duel. This poet was the Russian spokesman of the so-called Weltschmerz (world-sorrow) which had come into vogue with the "Sorrows of Werther." Following in the wake of Chateaubriand and Byron, Lermontov wrote epic poems in a pessimistic, cynical strain, without attaining quite the bitterness of spirit of a Byron or Heine, nor the melancholy lyric beauty of a Lenau or Leopardi. Pre-eminent, on the other hand, are his poetical descriptions of the scenery and wild national traits of the Caucasus, which furnished the background for almost all of his poems. Noteworthy among his epics are "The Circassian Boy," "Ismail Bey," "Valerik," "Hadshy-Abrak," and "The Demon." Under Czar Nicholas, Lermontov's works were forbidden in Russia. After having been banished to the Caucasus, for demanding revenge for Pushkin's death, the poet published his last brilliant epic, "Song of Czar Ivan Vasilyevitch," under a pseudonym.


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