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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Action had been taken against Ferdinand and his party


of Portugal by the French general

Junot, placing Napoleon in a position to fulfil his treaty obligations. Nothing was further from his plans, however, and, indeed, Godoy and the king had recently had cause to suspect his sincerity; action had been taken against Ferdinand and his party, resulting in the exposure of the prince's correspondence with Napoleon. Napoleon occupied Etruria,--and gave the queen of that country to understand that she need not look for compensation in Portugal. Godoy, meanwhile, remained without Algarve, although hoping against hope that he might yet get it. All this time, French troops were pouring into Spain, and through deceit were possessing themselves of the Spanish strongholds in the north. To the credit of Godoy it must be said that he divined the emperor's intentions, and favored a demand for the withdrawal of the French troops, with the alternative of war. Charles IV and his other leading advisers were opposed to this idea; the king was frightened at the very thought of fighting Napoleon. The emperor now began to unmask himself. The Spanish ambassador to France returned to Madrid as the bearer of a message from Napoleon, asking for the cession of certain Spanish provinces in the north as far as the Ebro, or else for the recognition of the emperor's title to Portugal, together with a military road thereto across Spanish territory; the ambassador added that he believed Napoleon intended to possess himself of the northern provinces and perhaps of all Spain, though possibly not until
the death of Charles IV. It was now perfectly clear to Godoy and the king what Napoleon meant to do, but the party of Ferdinand, unaware of all the facts, was wedded blindly to the emperor, believing that his sole desire was to get rid of Godoy and assure the succession of Ferdinand. Charles, Godoy, and the queen thought of escaping to the Americas, and as a preliminary step moved the court from Madrid to Aranjuez. A riot followed at Aranjuez in which Godoy was captured by the followers of Ferdinand, and was with difficulty saved from death. Realizing that the army and the people were almost wholly on the side of Ferdinand, and unable to see any way out of his difficulties, Charles IV decided to abdicate, and accordingly on March 19, 1808, did so. All Spain rejoiced, for Godoy had fallen, and the idolized prince had now ascended the throne as Ferdinand VII.

[Sidenote: Duplicity of Napoleon and the journeys of Ferdinand VII and Charles IV to Bayonne.]

Napoleon was much displeased at the course of events in Spain. The flight of Charles would have fitted in with his plans, whereas the accession of Ferdinand placed him under the necessity of exposing his hand. Temporarily he saved the situation by one of the most remarkable exhibitions of successful duplicity in history. On March 23 General Murat entered Madrid with a French army, and the next day Ferdinand made his royal entry, and was received by the people with delirious joy. The foreign diplomats at once recognized him as king,--except the French ambassador. Uncertain


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