Had he possessed strong intelligence and character, or had he fallen into the hands of really able advisers, it is possible that the revulsion of feeling following on so grim a tragedy might have indefinitely prolonged the life of the Monarchy.
Continuing Portugal’s 1910 Revolution,
our selection from Portugal by William Archer. The selection is presented in seven easy 5 minute installments.
Previously in Portugal’s 1910 Revolution.
The Paris Temps of November 14, 1907, published an interview with Dom Carlos which embittered feeling and alienated many of his supporters. “Everything is quiet in Lisbon,” declared the King, echoing another historic phase: “Only the politicasters are agitating themselves…. It was necessary that the gâchis — there is no other word for it — should one day come to an end…. I required an undaunted will which should be equal to the task of carrying my ideas to a happy conclusion…. I am entirely satisfied with M. Franco. Ça marche. And it will continue; it must continue for the good of the country…. In no country can you make a revolution without the army. Well, the Portuguese Army is faithful to its King, and I shall always have it at my side…. I have no shadow of doubt of its fidelity.” Poor Charles the First!
At the end of January, 1908, a revolutionary plot was discovered, and was put down with severity. After signing some decrees to that end, at one of his palaces beyond the Tagus, the King, with his whole family, returned to Lisbon and the party drove in open carriages from the wharf toward the Necessidades Palace. In the crowd at the corner of the great riverside square, the Praça do Comercio, stood two men named Buiça and Costa, with carbines concealed under their cloaks. They shot dead the King and the Crown Prince, and slightly wounded Dom Manuel. Both the assassins were killed on the spot.
It is said that there was no plot, and that these men acted entirely on their own initiative and responsibility. At any rate, none of the Republican leaders was in any way implicated in the affair. But on All Saints’ day of 1910, Buiça’s grave shared to the full in the rain of wreaths poured upon the tombs of the martyrs of the new Republic; and relics of the regicides hold an honored place in the historical museum which commemorates the revolution.
Franco vanished into space, and Dom Manuel, aged nineteen, ascended the throne. Had he possessed strong intelligence and character, or had he fallen into the hands of really able advisers, it is possible that the revulsion of feeling following on so grim a tragedy might have indefinitely prolonged the life of the Monarchy. But his mother was a Bourbon, and what more need be said? The opinion in Lisbon, at any rate, was that “under Dom Carlos the Jesuits entered the palace by the back door, under Dom Manuel by the front door.” The Republican agitation in public, the revolutionary organization in secret, soon recommenced with renewed vigor; and the discovery of new scandals in connection with the tobacco monopoly and a financial institution, known as the “Credito Predial,” added fuel to the fire of indignation. The Government, or rather a succession of Governments, were perfectly aware that the foundations of the Monarchy were undermined; but they seemed to be paralyzed by a sort of fatalistic despair. They persecuted, indeed, just enough to make themselves doubly odious; but they always laid hands on people who, if not quite innocent, were subordinate and uninfluential. Not one of the real leaders of the revolution was arrested.
The thoroughness with which the Republican party was organized says much for the practical ability of its leaders. The moving spirits in the central committee were Vice-Admiral Candido dos Reis, Affonso Costa (now Minister of Justice), Joao Chagas, and Dr. Miguel Bombarda. Simoes Raposo spoke in the name of the Freemasons; the Carbonaria Portugueza, a powerful secret society, was represented by Machado dos Santos, an officer in the navy. There was a separate finance committee, and funds were ample. The arms bought were mostly Browning pistols, which were smuggled over the Spanish frontier by Republican railway conductors. Bombs also were prepared in large numbers, not for purposes of assassination, but for use in open warfare, especially against cavalry. Meanwhile an untiring secret propaganda was going on in the army, in the navy, and among the peasantry. Almost every seaman in the navy, and in many regiments almost all the non-commissioned officers and men, were revolutionaries; while commissioned officers by the score were won over. It is marvelous that so wide-spread a propaganda was only vaguely known to the Government, and did not beget a crowd of informers. One man, it is true, who showed a disposition to use his secret knowledge for purposes of blackmail, was found dead in the streets of Cascaes. On the whole, not only secrecy but discipline was marvelously maintained.
At last the propitious moment arrived. Three ships of war — the Dom Carlos, the Adamastor, and the San Raphael — were in the Tagus to do honor to the President-elect of Brazil, who was visiting King Manuel; but the Government knew that their presence was dangerous, and would certainly order them off again as soon as possible. The blow must be struck before that occurred. At a meeting of the committee on October 2, 1910, it was agreed that the signal should be given in the early morning of October 4th. All the parts were cast, all the duties were assigned: who should call this and that barrack to arms, who should cut this and that railway line, who should take possession of the central telegraph-office, and so forth. The whole scheme was laid down in detail in a precious paper, in the keeping of Simôes Raposo. “You had better give it to me,” said Dr. Bombarda, “for I am less likely than you to be arrested. Even if they should think of searching at Rilhafolles [the asylum of which he was director], I can easily hide it in one of the books of my library.” His suggestion was accepted, the paper on which their lives and that of the Republic depended was handed to him, and the meeting broke up.
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