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THE REVOLUTION. 89
caused him to vacillate and temporize, which only made the ultimate catastrophe of the ruin of Spain more certain. "Another man of talent and decision," as Don Manuel Moreno* justly observes, "would have kept back for some time, the then threatening crisis,—Cisneros, amid his apprehensions and suspicions, only hastened it."
By way of conciliating the Americans, Cisneros took from Elio the rank which had been conferred on him, of inspector-general, and he relaxed his persecution of Liniers, whom he permitted to retire to Cordova. But on the other hand, he allowed the Peruvian viceroy's commander-in-chief, General Goyeneche, a man whose name is linked with everything which is cruel, and who was then engaged in a crusade against the Peruvian patriots, to extend his merciless fury to the inhabitants of La Paz, which depended on Cisneros; and the underhand mode of proceeding of the latter, only exasperated the Americans the more against the joint authors of the cold blooded atrocities which Goyeneche committed.
In the midst of the coming storm, Buenos Ayres
* Don Mariano Moreno, of whom we have just spoken, was his brother.
90 DONA CARLOTA DE BOURBON.
was all anarchy and confusion, as was Spain among the contending juntas; and the South American question was further entangled by the pretensions of Dona Carlota de Bourbon, wife of Don Juan of Portugal, who, as an infanta of Spain, made pretensions to the regency of the Indies. But the views of the patriots centred more and more on the project of taking the government into their own hands; and the state of affairs between Cisneros and the old Spaniards greatly forwarded their designs. The latter indeed began now to court the patriots, with an apparent spirit of union, in order to put down the viceroy, and create a junta in his place; and to this effect, on the 1st of January, 1810, when the municipal elections took place, they allowed one-half of the offices to be filled by Americans, a composition of that body, which was seen for the first time since the foundation of the city.*
* Alzaga disdained to be a member of tins mongrel body, as he called it, of civic councillors.
The Authors to General Miller.
The French in Spain—The Viceroy Cisneros—Ferdinand the Seventh —The Municipal Body of Buenos Ayres—Installation of the Junta —First Acknowledgment of its Authority—The Commissioner Cardoso—Pino's Retreat—Supremacy of the Junta—Buenos Ayres Press—Oidores—Their Expulsion—Adhesion of the Provinces to the Junta—Policy of England.
London, 1842. In May, 1810, news reached Buenos Ayres that the victorious army of France had entered Seville, that the Central Junta had fled, that its members had been maltreated, and that the whole body, accused of having betrayed the country, had been dissolved by a tumultuous popular meeting.
Cisneros felt that his fate was no longer in his own hands, and, fearing a fatal termination of his public career, he issued a proclamation in which he declared his intention to place his authority in the hands of the people.
The old Spaniards were equally alarmed: they believed their native country to be on the point of subjugation by France, and they felt that their own
92 FERDINAND THE SEVENTH.
domination in the Indies must at the same time draw to a close.
The South Americans, on the contrary, were full of exultation, for they perceived that the time of emancipation and independence had arrived.
But they proceeded cautiously, moderately, and prudently in their work. They determined, indeed, to he free, as they themselves said, or they resolved to be rebels, according to the Spaniards' view of the case; but without stopping to inquire into the metaphysical distinctions between freedom and rebellion, (we called the North Americans rebels when they were fighting for the legitimate principles of liberty,) it will be enough to say, that the patriots threw a mantle over their real designs, and cloaked them under a regard for the very legitimacy which they were about, de facto, to abolish for ever. They took possession of their own rightful heritage in the name of Ferdinand VII.; and, holding the goodly prize most religiously for themselves, they professed, in doing so, to be animated only by a wish to maintain the rights of their beloved sovereign the King of Spain.
The Cabildo, or Municipality, as usual took the lead in the new movement, and issued a summon
THE MUNICIPAL BODY OF BUENOS AYRE8. 93
convoking an assembly of "the principal and soundest part" of the population, to express the wishes of the people. On the 22nd the meeting was held in the upper gallery, or broad continuous balcony of the town-hall—the Bishop, Oidores, and great functionaries of the viceroyalty presiding in state; and, after a long discussion, a resolution passed by a great plurality of voices, authorizing the Cabildo to form a Junta till a meeting of deputies from the other cities and towns could be held.
The Junta was constituted ostensibly in order to watch over the interests of Ferdinand VII.; but through the town that night were to be heard exulting cries of "Spain has fallen! the rule of Spain has ceased!" as so indeed it truly had.
The Spaniards, however, made one further attempt to stop the inevitable current of public affairs: they so influenced the Cabildo as to procure it to name the viceroy himself as president, and two European Spaniards as vocales or secondary members of the Junta. But the result of this intrigue being announced to the people, the flame of popular enthusiasm instantly burst forth in a manner not to be withstood. Colonel Saavedra, having the con