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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Decazes had to bend to the storm


of Kotzebue's assassination

reached Paris, the Comte d'Artois remarked exultingly to the king: "Well, brother, you see what they are driving us to." Louis XVIII. intrusted to his favorite, Decazes, the formation of a new Cabinet. Decazes found it difficult to select competent men for the various portfolios. His Cabinet, when finally brought together, lacked internal unity and outward support. Its career was early imperilled by the untoward election of Bishop Gregoire of Grenoble, one of the regicides, to the Chamber of Deputies. This popular manifestation, though sufficiently explained by the sterling public qualities of the bishop himself, created the utmost apprehension among the Royalists. Decazes had to bend to the storm, and the election of Gregoire was declared null and void by the Ministerial majority in the Chambers. The French Royalists next professed to find cause for apprehension in Spain. Danger of war with the United States, before the cession of Florida, had caused King Ferdinand of Spain to assemble an army at Cadiz to embark for America. It was now proposed to send these troops to South America to quell the revolutionary movements there. The return of a number of soldiers stricken with yellow fever in the colonies filled the troops at Cadiz with consternation. The common soldiers, lying in squalor and inaction at their barracks, came to regard their expected order of embarkation as a sentence of death. Their officers plotted with the secret societies in Cadiz and neighboring towns. Abisbas,
the commandant at Cadiz, to safeguard his own interests pretended to encourage these plots. Then, convinced of their ultimate failure, he arrested the principal leaders by a stratagem and hurried to Madrid to reveal all and claim credit for saving the crown. The ringleaders were imprisoned and the troops were distributed into cantonments. As it turned out this only served to foment the growing spirit of dissatisfaction throughout Spain.

1820

[Sidenote: Spanish military revolt]

[Sidenote: Riego's plight]

New Year's Day was fixed for the outbreak of revolt by the revolutionists of Spain. The chosen leaders were Riego, Cabazes and Quiroga. It was arranged that Quiroga, who was held in light confinement at Medina, east of Cadiz, should gather the battalions outside of Cadiz, throw himself into the city, and there await the co-operation of his fellow conspirators. Riego with a band of chosen men was to pounce upon the military headquarters at Arcos, and to arrest the general officers before they could interfere. Accordingly, Riego, on the first day of January, proclaimed the Constitution of 1812, and, falling upon headquarters, seized the general officers and rallied the men to his standard. Quiroga was less successful. After gaining possession of San Fernando at the eastern point of the peninsula of Leon, he failed to get into Cadiz. The commandant closed the gates against him, and the troops within gave no sign of defection. By the time Riego arrived, there were but 5,000 insurgents wherewith to overcome the strong garrison and fortifications of Cadiz. Leaving Quiroga before Cadiz, Riego set himself to raise the people of the surrounding towns. He was received with kindness, but the obvious weakness of his force discouraged others from joining him. Strong forces were sent in pursuit, and the insurgents were compelled to march back and forth through the country to escape their pursuers. At Cordova, Riego was made to realize that the game was lost. The soldiers of the government were upon him, and he had only some two hundred followers left. The little band took to the mountains and there dispersed.


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