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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Under the leadership of Marquis de Chaves


Stars of the stage]

[Sidenote: "The Last of the Mohicans"]

In the annals of the American stage the season of 1826 is remembered for the first appearance of the three great actors Edwin Forrest, Macready and James H. Hackett, the American comedian. The same year saw the first appearance of Paulding's "Three Wise Men of Gotham," and Cooper's "Last of the Mohicans."

[Sidenote: Philhellenic efforts]

The Greek cause found friends in Switzerland, England and America. Two loans for $14,000,000 were raised in London by American and English subscriptions. Both loans were disgracefully financed. Barely one-half of the amount was finally accounted for. With the proceeds contracts were made for eight warships. The "Perseverance," a steam corvette, mounting eight 68-pound cannon, reached Nauplia in September. The "Hope," a staunch frigate of 64 guns, built in New York, arrived in December. She was rechristened the "Hellas."

[Sidenote: Dom Pedro IV.]

The death of Dom Juan de Braganza in March had placed the throne of Portugal as well as that of Brazil at the disposal of his oldest son, Dom Pedro IV., at Rio. Under the terms of England's mediation of the previous year, Dom Pedro renounced the throne of Portugal in favor of his infant daughter, Maria Gloria, while at the same time he conferred

upon Portugal a liberal constitution, the so-called Charta de Ley, similar to that conceded to Brazil in 1822.

[Sidenote: Dom Miguel's revolt]

[Sidenote: Canning's policy]

Dom Pedro IV. had intrusted the throne of Portugal to the regency of his sister Maria Isabella, on condition that his infant daughter should marry her uncle, Dom Miguel. It was his intention that the infant Princess should be recognized as Queen, while Dom Miguel would reign as regent. Under the leadership of Marquis de Chaves, instigated by Dom Miguel, several provinces revolted and declared for Miguel as absolute king. Conquered in Portugal, the insurgents retired to Spain, where they were well received. The Portuguese constitutional government called for help from England. France threatened to invade Spain. Canning acted at once: "To those who blame the government for delay," declared Canning in Parliament, "the answer is very short. It was only last Friday that I received the official request from Portugal. On Saturday the Ministers decided what was to be done. On Sunday our decision received the King's sanction. On Monday it was communicated to both Houses. At this very moment the troops are on their way to Portugal." It was then that Canning delivered the great speech in defence of his foreign policy which he closed with Shakespeare's famous lines:

Oh, it is excellent To have a giant's strength. And it is tyrannous To use it like a giant.


[Sidenote: Portuguese revolt suppressed]

On the first day of January an English army corps under Clinton was landed at Lissabon and a squadron of eleven British ships of the line came to anchor at the mouth of the Tagus. The news of this foreign intervention dismayed the revolutionists. On the banks of the Mondego the Marquis de Chaves, with 10,000 rebels, still commanded the approach to Coimbra. On January 9, a drawn battle was fought with 7,000 constitutional troops under Saldanha. Next morning Dom Miguel's followers, on the news of an approaching British column, quitted the field and dispersed. The Spanish troops on the frontier disarmed those that crossed into Spain.

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