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very chamber which he had occupied when a simple private soldier in that identical corps.
“ It was after this event that the Prince of Asturias was received to favour, and with him the friends who had been so devoted to his cause. M. d'Escoiquiz was appointed to superintend all the negotiations with the French ambassador, as it was thought in counsel that M. de Beauharnais, after what had taken place, would find himself more at ease with M. d'Escoïquiz than with any other of its members."
It was immediately after these events that Charles IV., by his own spontaneous act, abdicated the throne in favour of his son, who took his father's place as Ferdinand VII. All the circumstances which followed, are fully detailed in the work of M. de Pradt, and need not be repeated here. The details of the manuscript tally in every respect with those given by that author, and I shall therefore content myself with giving to the reader the gossiping portion of the narrative; the hitherto unpublished history of one of the most striking and audacious coups-demain of modern history.
“ From this hour was it evidently planned and meditated, and one scarcely knows which to admire most, the fond and simple security of the Spaniards, or the boldness and contempt of all social respect which characterized the proceedings of the French. The ambassador announced at length the arrival of the Emperor Napoleon at Bordeaux, and was pleased to renew the protestations of friendship on the part of his master, with which he had already beguiled the faith and credulity of the poor young Prince of Asturias. It was not, however, until the 8th of April that King Ferdinand decided on despatching his young brother, Don Carlos, to meet the emperor, with instructions to proceed even to Paris, should he fail in encountering him on the road. Don Carlos was the bearer of a letter from Ferdinand to Napoleon, in which, after speaking of the strict alliance which it was the interest of both countries to maintain, and having again urged the subject of his marriage with one of the emperor's nieces, he announced his intention of going forward to meet his imperial majesty, as soon as he should have approached the frontiers of Spain.
“Don Carlos took his departure on the 9th of April. The news of the departure of the emperor from Paris reached Madrid on the 11th. Ferdinand, meanwhile, worn out with the persecutions of the Grand Duke de Berg and General Savary, quitted Madrid for Burgos on the 14th. His council advised him to this measure ; perceiving that he had not the means either of attack or defence, it was thought to be the wisest plan to throw himself into the arms of Napoleon.
“ It was now observed that not one single negotiation had taken place with the new king, and that he had not been formally acknowjedged by Napoleon, who had never taken the trouble to answer any of his letters, and now, too late, it was beginning to be feared that the frequent conferences which had taken place between Charles IV., the queen, and the Grand Duke de Berg, through the medium of the Queen of Etruria, had for their only aim the intention of replacing Charles upon the throne, by causing him to protest against the act of abdication. This secret intrigue, of which M. de Monthion, adjutantgeneral, had been the messenger, and the Queen of Etruria the instrument, produced the act of the 21st of April, in which Charles IV. speaks thus :
. I protest and declare that my decree of the 19th of March, by which I'abdicated the throne in favour of my son, was extorted from me by force, and the desire of preventing great disorder in my kingdom, and the effusion of the blood of my well-beloved people, and ought therefore to be regarded as an act null and void.
• • Yo El Rey.' “ The natural consequence of this protestation was of course the application to Napoleon for help against his son, thus pronounced rebel and usurper. Ferdinand had authorized to take charge of the government during his absence, a junta, presided over by his uncle Don Antonio. He had with him one single squadron of the gardes du corps; and two companies of foot had orders to await him at Burgos. He was three days upon the road, and found every post occupied by French troops, among which he could not discern a single Spanish soldier. At Burgos, he found Marshal Bessières in command of 10,000 men. The marshal courteously offered the use of the relays which had been provided for Napoleon, for the conveyance of Ferdinand to Vittoria, which offer was accepted. Here the unfortunate prince found a corps composed of two hundred dragoons, and a compagnie d'elite of fifty gendarmes, commanded by Colonel Fleury.
“The prince remained three days at Vittoria, and lodged at the Hôtel de Ville. Savary grew impatient at this long delay; his orders were to bring the prince on to Bayonne, nolens volens. Every measure had been taken to carry him off on the 19th, if he had not listened to the last endeavour at persuasion on the 18th. But the king removed every difficulty by announcing his intention of once more setting forward on his journey. At nine o'clock on the morning of the 19th, at the moment of his getting into the carriage, a popular instinct had drawn together a vast concourse of people at the door of the Hôtel de Ville; a universal cry of execration arose from the multitude as the young prince mounted the vehicle, the traces were cut, and the mules unharnessed. Ferdinand was compelled to harangue the populace, and succeeded in quieting them by assurances of his perfect safety; the furious cries which had been heard, gave place to tears, and soon afterwards he was allowed to depart; but in consequence of the delay, did not arrive at Irun until eleven o'clock at night.
“ Here the king and his brother were lodged at the house of M. d'Alozabal outside the town, and they were guarded by a Spanish regiment. General Savary did not arrive at Irun until the 20th, at seven in the morning, owing to an accident which occurred to his carriage. Thus the king and his council were left for eight hours alone, without their French escort, guarded by Spanish troops, in the house of a Spaniard, situated on the sea-shore, where a number of boats were lying attached to stakes planted at the bottom of the garden. General Savary, immediately on his arrival, rushed like a terrified culprit to the house where the king bad alighted. Oh, joy he found him still sleeping quietly in his bed.
“At eight o'clock, the cortège set out for Bayonne, and in that place was accomplished one of the most extraordinary events which perhaps has ever taken place in the history of nations. At the moment when the king passed over the frontier, the carriage was surrounded by detachments of the imperial guard. Their numbers appeared rather extraordinary for a mere guard of honour. This reflection, vague enough on its first adoption, changed to a sinister foreboding when, on passing beneath the triumphal arch which had been thrown across the road, they beheld the following words inscribed amidst the boughs of laurel with which it was decorated. He who can make and destroy Kings at pleasure, is himself more than a King' !
“ Now were the princes of Spain beyond the jurisdiction of their own country, and in the power of Napoleon ! Between Vivau and Bayonne, Ferdinand found the Infant Don Paulos, who with three Spanish noblemen had come to greet his unhappy brother. The king requested them to join him in his carriage, and then he learned with the greatest surprise that Napoleon himself had declared to them on the day before, at ten in the morning, that they might never expect to return to Madrid, and that one of his own brothers was about to occupy the throne of Spain. I have marked the hour at which this declaration had taken place, because it must have taken eighteen hours to get the news conveyed to Irun, and at Irun, as we have seen, there had been ample time and opportunity for the escape of the princes.
“ Nothing was left but resignation to their fate ; the carriage was drawing near to Bayonne, and at half past twelve o'clock, the princes arrived in the good old city, and a few moments afterwards, the king received the visit of Napoleon in person. In this interview, doubtless by design, the conversation was insignificant, excepting that it was observed that in the style of Napoleon's address to the king, there existed an affectation of addressing liim in the third person, using the pronoun elle, which might be applicable in the French language either to majesty or royalty.
“ Ferdinand hastened to pay his respects to Napoleon, in grateful homage for this first visit, and the emperor invited him to dine at the Château de Maroc. The Dukes de San Carlos, de Medina Cæli, and del' Infantado, were also invited. The Prince de Neufchâtel was the only Frenchman present at this dinner.
“On the next day Napoleon granted a private audience to M. d'Es. coïquiz, and bade him comprehend that he was determined to alter the dynasty which had sat upon the throne of Spain; forgetting that he had a thousand times declared that his own existence was incompatible with the fact of any sovereign of the house of Bourbon being allowed to remain on any of the thrones of Europe. He gave as excuse for his proceedings the proclamation of the Spanish government at the period of the battle of Jena, which proclamation he said had been regarded in France as a measure of war. He then added, in a loud, fierce voice, that it would be useless to seek to alter his determination, for that nothing on earth could make him change. He paused after the utterance of these terrible words, and then spoke in a softened voice, of the misfortunes into which the young princes had fallen, and regretted for their sakes that he was compelled to take such harsh measures, wishing them to be assured that nothing but the necessity of perfecting his system could have induced him to behave thus hardly towards them. He even went so far as to offer to the young king, upon condition that he would renounce all pretensions to the Crown of Spain, the kingdom of Etruria, with one year's revenue, to be spent in forming a household, one of his nieces in marriage, and in case he himself died without heirs, a right to share his property with his younger brothers.
“ M. d'Escoïquiz, who was a brave and clever man, answered to all this disloyal cant as became a Spaniard and a gentleman, without acrimony and without passion,--stating that it was not in the power of the emperor to replace to the king the loss of the crown of which he was depriving him, and appealing at great length to every feeling of honour and humanity in the emperor's bosom. Napoleon listened to all without betraying the slightest mark of impatience, but merely replied that he had been for a long time engaged in examining the question on every side; that his present determination was dictated by the system which he had in view, and which, although against the feelings of his heart, he must continue to persevere in. The canon then retired.
“ The result of his visit was submitted to the other friends of Ferdinand. M. de Cavallos was alone of opinion that every proposition of Napoleon should be refused, and that all communication between the two sovereigns should be suspended, and he exacted, seeing the great responsibility which the council was incurring with the Spanish nation, that each member should certify his opinion in writing.
“ Is it not strange that the courage of these men should have been roused just at the moment when they had need of nought but resignation? But so it was: their Spanish pride had taken umbrage at last, and the Duke del Infantado was commissioned to announce to Napoleon the prince's intention of naming a plenipotentiary to negotiate in writing every subject which it might be the emperor's pleasure to have discussed. The proceeding of Napoleon on this occasion was highly characteristic of the man. He sent for M. d'Escoïquiz, and told him, in blunt and coarse language, that if before eleven o'clock that night the councillors did not bring the formal renunciation of Ferdinand to the throne of Spain, and the formal demand of that of Etruria, he would treat with Charles IV., who was to arrive on the morrow,
M. de Cavallos implored the young king not to accede to any proposition of Napoleon; but the day after M. d'Escoïquiz ventured to speak again concerning Tuscany, when Napoleon answered abruptly, Par Dieu, mon cher, il n'est plus temps !!
“On the 30th, at four in the afternoon, Charles IV, and the queen arrived at Bayonne. Napoleon had despatched one of his chamberlains to compliment them at Irun. In the same carriage with the king was the Princess d’Alcadia, daughter of the Prince of the Peace. The entry of the king and queen was most brilliant. The princes were allowed to go forward to meet them, and returned to Bayonne in their suite.
“ The arrival of Charles completely altered the face of things. He consented to all that was required of him. Napoleon sent a message, through M. d'Escoïquiz to Ferdinand, to the effect, that as King Charles IV. had refused to adhere to his abdication, it was the duty of the Prince of Asturias to give in his renunciation on the instant. The young prince, through weakness, consented to this mark of respect to his father, although aware that in this proposition must be concealed some sinister design of Napoleon. The first act of authority on the part of Charles was to name the Grand Duke de Berg lieutenant-general of the kingdom, thus excluding Don Antonio, who had been called to Bayonne by an order of Charles himself. Don Antonio had yielded without a murmur; and an aide-de-camp of the Grand Duke de Berg escorted him to Bayonne, where he arrived on the 25th. He had incurred some danger on the road, for the people had unharnessed the mules of his carriage at Tolosa, and thrown down cart-loads of rubbish on the bridge. Don Antonio had owed his safety entirely to the courage of the captain of cuirassiers, who commanded his escort.
“ Soon after the arrival of Don Antonio, the Queen of Etruria joined the royal party, bringing with her the Infant Don Franciso. It was at this moment that the princes were greeted with the astounding information that they were immediately to depart as prisoners for Valençay, and it was here they arrived on the 18th of May.
Their entrance into the château will never be forgotten, for it left upon the mind of every beholder the most singular impression. The princes (all excepting Don Antonio) were young, and blooming with health and innocence, while every thing about them, the habiliments which they wore, the carriages which conveyed them, the liveries of their attendants, brought back the memory of past centuries. The very coach from which they alighted might have belonged to Philip V. This air of vetusté reminded the bystanders of their grandeur, and rendered their position still more interesting. They were the first Bourbons who had touched the soil of France after so many years of troubles and disasters, and it was with tears that they were received. The Princess de Talleyrand, and the ladies of her suite, crowded round to greet them on their arrival, and by their attentions, succeeded in diverting the grief which they expressed at this cruel and unjustifiable exile. It was the object of every inhabitant of the château to render their exile as easy to be borne as possible.
“On the very morrow of their arrival the young princes were assured by all they saw, that Napoleon reigned not either in the château or the park of Valençay. No one was permitted to appear before them without an order from themselves, and it was agreed that no one should approach them save in court costume. Such marks of honour and respect were pleasing to young men who had been brought up amid the ceremony and etiquette of the Escurial. Every hour of the day was allotted to some pursuit. In the morning, mass at the chapel—then the siesta then driving or riding in the park, and then again to prayer. In a few days the young princes found themselves more at home than they had ever done at their father's palace at Madrid. They had never been accustomed even to go out to take an airing without a ceremonious permission from the king; they had never been allowed even to walk together, it not being etiquette for more than one royal prince to be absent from the palace at a time. It is a singular fact, that the amusements of the chace, riding on horseback, and dancing, had been strictly prohibited at the court of Spain. It was at Valençay that Ferdinand fired his first shot.
“The young princes were all delighted at the change in their habits,