Page:A book of the Pyrenees.djvu/54

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


serpent reposing on a pillow of green satin. Each cavalier wore on his arm a Scotch shield or targe covered with cloth of gold and bearing a device. The horses' trappings were of crimson satin with plumes of yellow, white, and carnation. So much for the Frenchman's ideal of a Scotchman!"—White.


We must pass on to the time of the First Empire, before Bayonne became the scene of any political event of importance.

Napoleon had resolved on dethroning the King of Spain, and on converting the peninsula into a kingdom for his brother Joseph. The condition of affairs in Spain was favourable. The King, Charles IV, was the feeblest of the fainéant race of the Bourbons. He retained a tame confessor about his person, for whom he would whistle when he was conscious of a twinge of conscience. The Queen, Louisa Maria of Parma, had made a paramour of Manuel Godoy, a lusty private in the Guards. Him she created Prince of the Peace and Prime Minister. His power over her and over the mind of the poor King was complete.

The Infante, the Prince Ferdinand, was also feeble-minded. He was the rallying point of the faction opposed to Godoy. Ferdinand appealed by letter to Napoleon (11 October, 1807), and the Emperor at once, through his agent Savary at Madrid, pressed him to throw himself on his protection by coming to Bayonne, "where," said Savary, "you will hear him salute you as Ferdinand VII, King of Spain and the Indies." The stupid Bourbon prince walked into the trap. On 16 April, 1808, he crossed the frontier. "Ha! is the fool actually come!" exclaimed Napoleon, who was at Bayonne. "I could hardly have thought it possible."

Napoleon received him graciously, but instead of hailing him as king, endeavoured to induce him voluntarily to re-