Page:The Fall of Maximilan's Empire.djvu/76

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more came into prominence as the heroic defender of Vera Cruz, the loss of a leg in that fight adding to his prestige. Provisional President and then Dictator until deposed in 1844, tried for treason and banished for ten years; President again by popular movement when the war broke out with the United States, but compelled to fly for his life in 1848 in consequence of the unfortunate termination of that war.; recalled again in 1853 by another revolution and made Dictator,—his name was indeed most intimately and painfully associated with the recent history of his distracted country, and the versatility of his political faith seemed almost without a parallel in modern history. The twenty years that had then elapsed since his first inauguration (by Liberal votes) had sufficed to enable him to become as despotic as he had once sworn to be constitutional. He arrogated to himself the title of Serene Highness for life, with power to name his successor. But that glory was short-lived. The standard of revolt was soon raised, and a serious insurrection broke out. Then did he perpetrate the crime that proved to be the death-blow to his own ambitions,—in giving (July, 1854) to Don José Gutierrez de Estrada[1] full powers to "negotiate with the courts of London, Paris, Madrid, and Vienna, and to make due

  1. The same ambassador who ten years later headed the deputation that waited on the Archduke Maximilian to offer him the Imperial throne of Mexico.