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conditions in New Spain, a conspiracy, resulting from a reaction, sent the viceroy back to Spain a prisoner. This gave strength to revolutionary sentiments, and a few trials for treason increased the discontent. The men who were now put successively in the vice-regal place had few qualities for the times, and a certain timidity of policy was not conducive to strength of government. These were some of the features of the government of Archbishop Lizana as viceroy.1
The outbreak, when it came, brought to the front a curate of Dolores, a native priest, Miguel Hidalgo, who commanded the confidence of the disaffected, and was relied upon to guide the priesthood. Ignacio de Allende
had some of the soldierly qualities needed for a generalissimo. The purpose of these men and their allies, before they should openly proclaim a revolt, was to seize some of the leading Spaniards ; but their plot being discovered, they hastily assembled at Dolores and raised the standard of revolt (1810). Thus banded together, but badly organized and poorly armed, a body of five thousand insurgents marched from Dolores, headed by Hidalgo and Allende, and approached Guanajuato, where the intendente Riaña had intrenched himself in a fortified alhóndiga, or granary. The attack of the rebels was headlong and bloody. The gates were fired with flaming rubbish, and through the glowing way the mad throng rushed, and
1 Up to 1808 about two thousand millions of dollars of precious metals had been mined in New Spain.
* This portrait of the archbishop and viceroy follows one in Alaman's Mejico, vol. i.
after a hand-to-hand conflict (September 28, 1810) the fortress fell.1 The royalist leader had been killed, and scenes of pillage and riot followed.
Meanwhile the viceroy in Mexico prepared to receive the insurgents, and his ally, the church, excommunicated their leaders. The military force of the royalists was inconsiderable, and what there was, it was feared, might prove not as loyal as was desirable. As Hidalgo marched towards the capital, he tried to seduce to his side a young lieutenant, Augustin Iturbide, who was in command of a small outlying force. The future emperor declined the offer, and making his way to the city, was at once sent to join
Trujillo, who commanded a corps of observation, which confronted the insurgents, and who finally ran the chances of a battle at Las Cruces. Here Iturbide was of service on one flank, and on the other Trujillo risked the practice of treachery during a parley ; but what he lost in moral force was no help in the sequel, and the insurgents soon surrounded him, and he was only able to reach the city by breaking with a part of his force through the enveloping line. Hidalgo had lost two thousand men, but he had gained the day. He soon intercepted a despatch and learned from it that General Calleja had been put in motion from San Luis Potosi, and it seemed more prudent to Hidalgo that, instead of approaching Mexico, he should retreat to be nearer his recruiting ground. The retrograde movement brought the
1 There are plans of this attack in Alaman, Calleja, and the first and second campaigns of Hist. de Méjico, i. 425. In Ibid. vol. ii. is a map Morelos. of Mexico showing the marches of Hidalgo,
* After a likeness in Alaman's Méjico, vol. i.
usual result to an undisciplined force, and he was already weakened by desertions when Calleja struck his line of march at Aculco. Hidalgo felt it
CALLEJA. + * From Mariano Torrente's Historia de la Revolucion Hispano-Americana (Madrid, 1829), vol. i. 152. Cf. Alaman, i. 473.
+ After a print in Alaman's Méjico, iv. 77.
important for the revolution to have time enough to spread into other parts of the province, and so he merely fought Calleja to cover his further retreat. The rebel leader soon gathered his forces at Celaya, while Allende, his colleague, posted himself at Guanajuato. Here the latter was attacked by Calleja and routed, and the royal forces made bloody work in the town.1 Hidalgo, moving to Valladolid, reorganized his army, and then, proceeding to Guadalajara, he set up a form of government, with Ignacio Lopez Rayon as Secretary-general. At this time the insurgents held completely the provinces of Nueva Galicia, Zacatecas, and San Luis Potosi, a belt of country stretching from sea to sea in the latitude of Tampico.
Calleja had so far failed to surround Hidalgo, and in January, 1811, the signs were not very propitious for the royalists. Another royalist general, Cruz,” was now striving to join Calleja, and Hidalgo, to prevent it, sent Colonel Mier to confront him ; but Cruz defeated his opponent in an engagement near Zamora. At this juncture, and when the royalists had recaptured Guanajuato, Hidalgo moved out from Guadalajara with his entire force, which was large enough, consisting of 60,000 foot, 20,000 horse, and 100 cannon; but it was poorly armed, and without effective discipline; while Calleja commanded a well-equipped and well-organized force, but in extent it only counted 3,000 foot, with as many horse, and ten guns. At the bridge of Calderon, ten or eleven leagues from the city, Hidalgo prepared to stand. Here Calleja attacked him, leading the centre himself, 1 There is a plan in Alaman, ii. 45.
2 Portrait in Alaman, ii. 297. After a likeness in Alaman's Méjico, vol. ii.
while General Flon had command on the right, and on the left was the royal cavalry led by Empáran. The attack on both flanks failed, but aided by the firing of an ammunition-wagon, the flames of which caught the dried grass and drove in the face of Hidalgo's men, Calleja thrust his centre violently into the opposing lines, and the battle was won. It was as a victor that Calleja entered Guadalajara on the 21st of January, 1811.
Hidalgo fled with his broken army, and soon resigned the command to Allende. This general had scarcely four or five thousand men left when he reached Saltillo, where he joined Jimenes.