There was no particular strategy in the revolutionary plans, and what strategy there was fell to pieces at an early point.
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.
On the morning of Monday, October 3d, all was as quiet in Lisbon as King Carlos himself could have desired. At about eleven o’clock Dr. Bombarda sat in his office at the asylum, when a former patient, a young lieutenant who had suffered from the persecution mania, was announced to see him. Bombarda rose and asked him how he was. Without a word the visitor produced a Browning pistol and fired point blank at the physician, putting three bullets in his body. Bombarda had strength enough to seize his assailant by the wrists and hand him over to the attendants who rushed in. He then walked down-stairs unaided before he realized how serious were his wounds. It soon appeared, however, that he had not many hours to live; and when this became clear to him, he took a paper from his pocketbook and insisted that it should be burned before his eyes. What the paper was I need not say. At about six in the evening he died.
Bombarda was a passionate anticlerical, and his murderer was a fanatical Catholic. The citizens, with whom he was very popular, jumped at the conclusion that the priests had inspired the deed. As soon as his death was announced in the transparency outside the office of O Seculo, there were demonstrations of anger among the crowd and some conflicts with the police.
Meanwhile the Revolutionary Committee, to the number of fifty or thereabouts, were sitting in the Rua da Esperança, discussing the question, “To be or not to be.” The military members counseled delay, for the Government had ordered all officers to be at their quarters in the various barracks which are scattered over the city. The intention had been to choose a time when most of the officers were off duty and the men could mutiny at their ease; but this plan had for the moment been frustrated. The military view might have carried the day, but for the determination shown by Candido dos Reis, who pointed out that it would be madness to give the Government time to order the ships out of the Tagus. Finally, he turned to the military group, saying, “If you will not go out, I will go out alone with the sailors. I shall have the honor of getting myself shot by my comrades of the army.” His insistence carried all before it, and it was decided that the signal should be given, as previously arranged, at one o’clock in the morning.
That evening, at the Palace of Belem, some two miles down the Tagus from the Necessidades Palace, Marshal Hermes da Fonseca, President-elect of Brazil, was entertaining King Manuel at a State dinner. There was an electrical sense of disquiet in the air. Several official guests were absent, and every few minutes there came telephone-calls for this or that minister or general, some of whom reappeared, while some did not. At last the tension got so much on the nerves of the young King that he scribbled on his menu-card a request that the banquet might be shortened; and, in fact, one or two courses were omitted. Then followed the dreary ritual of toasts; and at last, at half-past eleven, Dom Manuel parted from his host and set off in his automobile, escorted by a troop of cavalry. Two bands played the royal anthem. Had he known, poor youth, that he was never to hear it again, there might have been a crumb of consolation in the thought.
It would be impossible without a map to make clear the various phases of the Battle of Lisbon. Nor would there be any great interest in so doing. There was no particular strategy in the revolutionary plans, and what strategy there was fell to pieces at an early point. It is not clear that the signal was ever formally given, but about the appointed hour mutinies broke out in several barracks. In some cases the Royalist officers were put under arrest, in one case a colonel and two other officers were shot. A mixed company of soldiers and civilians, with ten or twelve guns, marched, as had been arranged, upon the Necessidades Palace, to demand the abdication of the King; but they were met on the heights behind the palace by a body of the “guardia municipal,” and, after a sharp skirmish, were forced to retire, leaving three of their guns disabled behind them. They retreated to the general rallying-point of the Republican forces, the Rotunda, at the upper end of the mile-long Avenida da Liberdade. This avenue stands to the Rocio very much in the relation of Charing Cross Road to Trafalgar Square: there is a curve at their junction which prevents you from seeing — or shooting — from the one into the other. On reaching the Rotunda, the insurgents learned that the Rocio had been occupied by Royalist troops, from the Citadel of St. George and another barrack, with one or two machine guns, but no cannon.
There, then, the two forces lay, with a short mile of sloping ground between them, awaiting the dawn. Under cover of darkness, a body of mounted gendarmes attempted to charge the insurgent position, but they were repulsed by bombs.
Meanwhile, what had become of the naval cooperation, on which so much reliance had been placed? It had failed, through the tragic weakness of one man. Candido dos Reis is one of the canonized saints of the Republic; but I think it shows a good deal of generosity in the Portuguese character that the Devil’s Advocate has not made himself heard in the case. Dos Reis had undertaken the command of the naval side of the revolt; but oddly enough, he seems to have arranged no method of conveyance to his post of duty. He found at the wharf a small steamer, the captain of which agreed to take him off to the ships; but there was some delay in getting up steam. During this pause, some one as yet unidentified, but evidently a friend of Dos Reis, rushed down to the wharf and shouted to him that the revolt was crushed and all was lost. Dos Reis, who had assumed his naval uniform on board the steamer, took it off again, and, in civilian attire, went ashore. He proceeded to his sister’s house, where he spent an hour; then he sallied forth again, and was found next morning in a distant quarter of the city with a bullet through his brain.
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