§705 Amadeo I, King-Elect of Spain (1870.11-1873.2): VI-51.

VI-51 (§705):

The assembled people, to see a new spectacle,
Princes and several Kings present by deputy:
Pillars, walls shall fail but like a miracle,
The King saved and his thirty followers.

(Peuple assemblé, voir nouveau expectacle,
Princes & Roys par plusieurs assistans:
Pilliers faillir, murs mais comme miracle,
Le Roy sauvé & trente des instans.)

NOTES: Vignois (1910, p.311) succeeds in detecting the true theme of this stray quatrain: « Amadeo of Savoy, King of Spain. The crowd assembled in Barcelona to see their new King. A number of dignities of the kingdom, princes of science and those deputies who proclaimed themselves sovereigns in delegating their powers to Amadeo, accompanied him. The moment when His Majesty went up the first step of the stair leading to the pavilion of reception, the platform upon which the King just passed fell instantly, dragging away with it all that were on it; thirty persons fell in the debris, but this accident had no sinister results.»; but his materialistic view of the “fall of pillars and walls” is not pertinent because he gave no historical proof of it, nor there was any record of such an accident in the royal ceremony, which was not held in a pavilion, but in the monumentally built Palace of the Cortes ( “An official reception had been prepared for the new King. A state carriage was in waiting to convey him to the Cortes.” - Whitehouse, 1897, p.92-93) permitting no such eventual fall of a royal platform. The “fall of pillars and walls” is a metaphor for the assassination of General Prim, the promoter of the King-Elect Amadeus and at the same time his principal supporter and protector to come, the misfortune having befallen a moment before the Royal entrance to the capital.

Pillar: A metaphor for a supporter (cf. Dubois), as in the quatrains VII-43 and VIII-29.

Wall: A metaphor for a protector, as in the quatrains III-56, X-45.

Pillars, walls shall fail: « On the conclusion of the ceremonies and fetes at Florence attending his investiture of the high dignity conferred upon him, Amadeus returned to Turin to confer with the Duchess who, still suffering from the effects of her recent confinement (Count of Turin, born in Turin, November 24, 1870), had been unable to accompany her husband to the capital. It was now arranged, the King's immediate presence being necessary at Madrid, that Maria Victoria with her two sons should follow when she had sufficiently regained her strength, while Amadeus set out alone for the country of his adoption. After a hasty visit to Florence, where he remained but a few hours in order to receive his father's blessing and bid a final farewell to the other members of his family, Amadeus left on Christmas night for Spezia, there to embark on the Spanish frigate which was to convey him to Barcelona. The King-Elect was accompanied thus far on his journey by his brother Prince Humbert and Prince Eugene Carignano. General Cialdini, with the rank of special Ambassador to the King of Spain, was to escort his royal master as far as Madrid.

At noon on December 26th, on the arrival of the train at Spezia, the royal party at once proceeded to the harbor to embark on the " Numancia " which was lying at anchor in the bay. The weather was dull and dreary, and snow fell as the launch left the quay. Besides the local authorities and officials but few persons had ventured forth to witness the departure of the Prince. A feeble attempt at a cheer was made as the party left the landing-stage, but the proceedings were characterized throughout by moral as well as atmospheric depression, and even the Spanish officials showed but little enthusiasm in spite of the thunder of the guns, and brave display of bunting of the assembled war vessels. As Prince Humbert and the other visitors left the " Numancia " Amadeus uttered the prophetic words: " I go to fulfil an impossible mission. Spain, now divided into various parties, will unite against a foreign King, and I shall soon be obliged to return the crown they have offered me." To the reply that the well-known loyalty of the House of Savoy would disarm and conquer his enemies, he sadly murmured, " My loyalty will not be able to save me from the fury of the contending factions."

Doubtless the warning words of Mendez Vigo, uttered a few days previously, were in the Prince's mind. In a furious attack on the President of the Council, accusing him of manufacturing out of whole cloth the enthusiastic reports of the welcome which would be accorded the Duke of Aosta in Spain, Vigo, had exclaimed: " I am a loyal Spaniard, and I owe the truth to the King-Elect. I ask him before he enters Spanish territory to employ some means of ascertaining the true opinion of the Spanish people."

Meanwhile it must not be supposed that Queen Isabella calmly submitted without protest to what she naturally considered the usurpation of the rights of her son Don Alfonso, in whose favor she had abdicated a throne she in truth no longer possessed. From Geneva a vigorously worded manifesto was launched: " The revolution continues its career, and has just disavowed the rights of my son, — who is to-day your legitimate King according to all the Spanish Constitutions, — by calling to the throne of St. Ferdinand and of Charles V. a foreigner, whose merits, however great, cannot entitle him to be your Sovereign in the face of the rights of a whole dynasty, the only one which has in its favor that legitimacy, consecrated by the lapse of ages and by constitutions which it has been a signal folly to disavow." The ex-Queen then adds that she would not restore the throne to her son at the cost of Spanish blood, enough of which has been already shed, but that she enters this solemn protest, and is confident that when the revolutionary torrent has spent itself, the restoration may be brought about pacifically. Similar pronunciamentos from the pen of Don Carlos stimulated the energies of his partisans, who had proclaimed him King in the famous assembly held at Vevey, Switzeland, on April 18, 1870; on the conclusion of which the royal exile had actually constituted a ministry and distributed military commands in the Peninsula to which he dared not himself return.

Political passions ran high in Madrid, while in the provinces the situation was further complicated by the efforts of the Alphonsists, Carlists, Republicans, and, last but not least, the members of the "Internacional." The prospects for a peaceful accession of the new Ruler were doubtful at best, when an event occurred which shook the political fabric to its foundations, and deprived the Crown at a blow of its chief support [Pillars, walls shall fail]. With the assassination of General Prim the possibility of the foundation of a foreign dynasty in Spain vanished. By virtue of the combined prestige of Prim and Serrano it might have floated a while longer than it did, but with the disappearance of either it must inevitably have sunk below the overwhelming blood of national opposition. The session of the Cortes on December 27, had been marked by violent denunciation on the part of the opposition to the new regime. In vain had Prim argued, stormed and pleaded, surpassing himself in his effort to shield the sovereign whose advent he so impatiently awaited. Laboring under great excitement, which he made no attempt to conceal, the General, in company with two of his aides-de-camp, left the Cortes after dark to drive to the Ministry of War. As the carriage entered the narrow Calle del Turco it was stopped by a party of armed men and the General fired upon at close range. The assault was so sudden and unexpected that no attempt could be made to seize the aggressors, who promptly took to flight. Nine shots had taken effect; seven in the left shoulder and two in the right hand. Covered with blood the General sank in the arms of an aide-de-camp, while the carriage was driven at full gallop to his residence. In spite of the gravity of the wounds and the necessary amputation of his fingers, the doctors did not at first apprehend a fatal termination. For two days Madrid hovered between hope and despair; on the third fever ensued, and at half-past eight o'clock on the evening of December 30, but a few hours before the arrival of the King on whose brow he had labored so persistently to place the crown, Prim expired. The first news which greeted Amadeus when the " Numancia " cast anchor in the harbor of Carthagena, was that of the assassination of the man to whom he must naturally turn for guidance and advice on taking up the reins of government. Nor were the motives for the assassination obscure or far to seek. If Prim had found death at the hands of his political adversaries, yet countrymen withal, for the part he had played in attempting to bring peace to his distracted country, there could be but little doubt that the foreign Ruler, whose importation was so bitterly resented, would from the outset become the target of every discontented dagger within the realm. Yet Amadeus hesitated not a moment. Turning to those around him he sadly exclaimed: " Gentlemen, my duty is clear. Let us get on to Madrid." Passing the night at Aranjuez, where his reception by the populace was cold and forbidding, the King reached Madrid about noon on January 2, 1871.» (Whitehouse, 1897, p.86-92).  

The assembled people, to see a new spectacle, Princes and several Kings present by deputy:  « An official reception had been prepared for the new King [a new spectacle], and the approaches to the station, and streets through which he must pass, were thronged with vast crowds assembled, in spite of the bitter cold and snow, to witness the arrival of the sovereign [The assembled people, to see a new spectacle]. A state carriage was in waiting to convey him to the Cortes. Declining this the King signified his intention of entering the capital on horseback. As the brilliant escort of generals and aides-de-camp started it soon became evident to Amadeus that special precautions were being devised by the members of his suite [his thirty followers] to surround him in such manner as to prevent any possible contact with the public crowd for fear of insult, or worse. The King thereupon requested all accompanying him to fall back, and rode alone several paces in advance of his brilliant following. From the railway station the King proceeded direct to the church of Atocha where the remains of Prim lay in state. A large painting representing the scene hangs in the apartments of the Ducal Palace in Turin. The general lies in his unclosed coffin, in full uniform, his hands folded upon his breast. Four tall candles burn at the corners of the low platform on which the bier rests. Amadeus stands beside the corpse, his hands clasped upon his sword, his head bowed in grief. At a respectful distance hovers a brilliant group of generals [princes], diplomatists [several Kings present by deputy] and statesmen, while in the background a half-dozen priests recite the prayers for the dead. What a contrast from the grim presence of death to the scene in the Cortes, where the young King now goes to take the oath and receive the homage of his new subjects ! As he glanced round the serried ranks of members of both branches of the Cortes, Amadeus knew that even here amongst those assembled to give him official greeting were inexorable foes, morally responsible if not directly accountable for the political crime which had deprived him of his staunchest ally [Pillars, walls]. Not even the glittering uniforms of the representatives of army, navy and diplomacy, or the sumptuous toilettes of the Court Ladies, dazzling with jewels and gay with flowers, could efface the sombre memory of the silent form lying yonder in the church of the Atocha, and which should have been so conspicuous a figure near the throne. To the sensitive ears of the new King the enthusiastic and prolonged cries of welcome which greeted his entrance had a false ring, noticeable even under the emotion they caused. On the entrance of the King, the President arose and read the following message from the Regent [Marshal Serrano]: 

" Deputies: The revolution of 1868, initiated through the bravery of the army and navy, and prepared by national sentiment, has become personified in this Constituent Assembly which, comprehending the needs of the country, has given satisfaction to liberal aspirations while preserving peace and order, granting a fundamental code having as its basis democratic principles, guaranteed by a monarchy, the more lofty and worthy of respect emanating as it does from the popular sovereignty. The constitution having been voted, the Assembly desired to develop the system adopted by it, and while the election of the Prince who was to occupy the throne was being prepared, placed its confidence in me, rendering me the high honor of entrusting to me public affairs and the direction of the policy framed by the Chamber. I, from that moment desirous of accomplishing with loyal impartiality the duty you charged me with, have had, in common with the Chamber, the responsibility of the important interval which closes to-day. Nevertheless I do not regret traversing so many and such difficult trials since they have left us all the consciousness of the fulfilment of duties imposed upon us by our country. The day has at length arrived on which your labor is terminated, and on which I must resign the powers which, to enable me to assist you in accomplishing an end, you confided to me. With an easy conscience I abandon the high magistracy with which you invested me, hoping the verdict of my country will be benign, and considering myself rewarded with the opinion you have formed as to my conduct; which opinion remains impressed on my most sacred feelings. May God grant the fervent prayers I offer up to Him for the prosperity and future of my dear country. May our fellow-citizens gratefully cherish the memory of this Assembly whose labors result in the monarchy we inaugurate to-day, and towards which we all look for the happiness of this noble nation."

Grand words, and modest, coming as they did from one in whose hands had so long lain the destiny of a great nation, and from one who, looking only to what he considered the public good, had so strenuously rejected all temptation for personal aggrandizement. The constitution of 1869 having been read, His Majesty arose and took solemn oath to accept and defend the same, as well as the laws of the Kingdom. The President then turning to the chamber amidst enthusiastic applause proclaimed Amadeus I. King of Spain. The Constituent Cortes, its labors having ended with the election and proclamation of the Sovereign, was now declared dissolved, and the responsibilities and cares of government devolved upon the young Monarch.» (Whitehouse, 1897, p.92-97).  

Instan: From the Latin « insto, instare, être ou se trouver sur (to be or to be present).» (Vignois, id.); « īn-stō, to stand in or on; to be near or close.» (Smith-Lockwood) .

But like a miracle, The King saved and his thirty followers: « The first official act of the new Ruler consisted in the selection of a ministry, the formation of which was naturally enough entrusted to Marshal Serrano [one of the princes]. The Marshal himself Prime Minister and Minister of War, gathered round him a composite cabinet into which entered such various political ingredients of the liberal-monarchical factions as Ruiz-Zorrilla, Martos (Foreign Affair), Ulloa, Sagasta, Moret, Ayala and Beranger. This ministry entered upon its official being on January 4, 1871. On the 13th General Cialdini was received by the King with all the pomp and ceremony befitting his high mission, and delivered into His Majesty's hands the letter of Victor Emmanuel accrediting him as Ambassador Extraordinary to congratulate the new Sovereign on his accession [the King present by deputy]. The general expressed to His Majesty the sorrow of the Italian people at losing a prince [General Prim] so greatly and deservedly beloved, but gave utterance also to the widespread conviction that the Prince [Amadeo]'s origin could but strengthen the sympathies and interests of the two nations, already so closely related by ties of blood and racial affinities.» (Whitehouse, 1897, p.97-98).  

« The sequel of the revolution of September demonstrated that the Spanish people did not confound the monarchical principle with the causes which had produced the downfall of the late dynasty, and this fact was still further confirmed by the action of the Constituent Assembly and the object the Carlists, or rebels as they were called, had in view. The republican element was as yet a factor which, although it could not safely be overlooked, was, however, no serious menace to the established government; but the troublesome Carlist following, and the possibility of a fusion of one or several independent factions with this party, caused the ministry to anticipate the approaching elections with considerable apprehension. The result proclaimed a not insignificant ministerial majority in both houses of Parliament, and the political atmosphere seemed less dangerously charged with brewing storm than had been anticipated when, on the date fixed, Amadeus opened the session with a speech impregnated with wise and conciliatory utterances. Alas ! If the opening ceremonies were characterized by calm and apathy the brief lull was all too soon to be followed by violent controversy and bitter denunciation... From tenderest infancy he had witnessed the varying fortunes of the struggle for independence and unity in the land of his birth. He had assisted at the national or parliamentary checks, or advantages, which marked the progressive policy of his father and the great ministers who served him. Defeat and disappointment were no strangers to him; despair and humiliation had visited his House. But he had instilled into his very nature that reverence for the constitutional rights of the people which had in the end carried his father triumphantly to the leadership of a great nation. Political trickery, or any tampering with the spirit of the conditions under which he had assumed the great charge entrusted to him, was as far removed from his character as the committal of a dishonest action. Of doubtful political expediency there should be none. He would walk straight and upright to the goal, and when the path was blocked with obstacles over which he could not constitutionally pass, he would turn neither to the right nor to the left: would make no attempt to coerce the desires of those who had called him to preside over their destinies, but with honor unscathed abdicate the throne for whose mere lustre he cared so little.» (Whitehouse, 1897, p.100-105).  

« A favorite morning excursion was to the museums. On these occasions the King crossed the city to the Prado on foot, attended by a single aide-de-camp. The servants returning from their early marketing would relate to their mistresses how they had met the King, and almost brushed against him with their baskets full of vegetables and household provisions. The democratic simplicity of these excursions gave offence to many, who maintained that the monarch lowered the majesty of his office in dispensing with the time-honored ceremonial of his predecessors. The Carlists and Alfonsinists sneered at the vagaries of " King Maccaroni," as they contemptuously styled him, but all parties united in considering the proceeding hazardous in the extreme. Nor were they wrong, for in July an unsuccessful attempt was made on his life by an unknown individual who discharged a pistol at him as he walked through the streets. The King was uninjured, and the incident seemed to make little impression on him; it certainly did not cause him to alter his habits or to mingle less freely with his subjects. But the occurrence justified the anxiety felt by those who were charged with His Majesty's safety.» (Whitehouse, 1897, p.114-115).  

« For some time past Amadeus had received warning that a plot was rife for a fresh attempt upon his life, and it was rumored that the night of July eighteenth had been selected for the perpetration of some outrage. Nevertheless the King refused to alter in any degree his usual habits, and resolved to spend that evening in the society of his subjects. Whether the decision was born of his inherent contempt of danger, or from the conviction that it especially behooved him to show himself to his people at a time when such rumors were in circulation, who shall say ! It would appear, however, that on this occasion Amadeus did not place much faith in the warnings of a police he had ample reason to believe officious, or give credence to the existence of any serious danger, since he allowed the Queen to accompany him. Their Majesties spent the hot, close, evening listening to the concert in the public gardens of the Buen Ritiro, one of Madrid's most famous pleasure-grounds. At midnight, on the close of the concert, the homeward drive was begun along the route where, on account of the evil reports abroad, constables had been stationed at intervals sufficiently apart to avoid the suggestion that special precautions had been deemed necessary. As the royal carriage proceeded at a rapid pace up the via del Arenal, a broad, modern thoroughfare, a public vehicle, adopting the same tactics as those which had been employed in the assassination of General Prim, attempted to impede its progress by driving at right angles across the street, and fouling the Court equipage [The King and his thirty followers]. Fortunately, however, the King's coachman was able to knock the cab-driver from his box before the wheels of the two vehicles became locked. At the same moment six or seven shots were fired from the midst of a group of idlers standing on the corner. The King sprang to his feet at the first detonation, shouting: " Here is the King. Fire at him, not at the others ! " The aide-de-camp, seated in front of Their Majesties, courageously threw himself before the Queen, interposing his body between Her Majesty and the direction from whence the shots were fired. By a miracle [like a miracle] none of the occupants of the carriage were touched [The King saved and his thirty followers] although one of the horses was wounded and the carriage itself riddled with bullets. The postilion immediately whipped up his maddened beasts to full gallop, guiding them in the direction of the palace.

Meanwhile the police closed in on the band of would-be assassins who defended themselves with revolvers. Crowds rapidly assembled and, while impeding the operations of the police, facilitated the escape of many of those implicated in the plot. Two were arrested on the spot; a third killed while desperately attempting to cut his way through. During the night some twenty arrests were made, amongst the most notable of which was that of a certain Dudascal, the ex-chief of an unsavory political association. The indignation of the populace at the dastardly attempt was general and widespread. Angry crowds demanded that the prisoners be given into their hands in order that summary justice might be meted out to them. Frightened and excited officials flocked to the palace where they huddled together in the antechambers exchanging vivid and grossly exaggerated accounts of the occurrence. Señor Zorilla was amongst the first to arrive, and was at once ushered into the presence of the King. In spite of the trying ordeal just passed through, Amadeus appeared perfectly calm and collected as he quietly related the circumstances of the attack, and gave orders concerning the measures he desired carried out. His first thought was for his father, and the desire to spare him unnecessary anxiety should exaggerated accounts of the attempted assassination first reach him. Accordingly the following somewhat laconic telegram was immediately despatched to the Italian Court:

" I inform Your Majesty that this evening we were objects of an outrage. Thanks to God are absolutely unhurt. Amadeus.

" Madrid, July 18,

" 1: 24 A. M."

This message reached Victor Emmanuel while on one of his favorite hunting expeditions in the mountains above Valsavaranche, near Aosta. Rapidly descending to the nearest encampment to which the telegraph wires had been carried for his convenience, the King, in spite of his terrible anxiety, forwarded congratulations and words of encouragement to his son; at the same time urging him to loyally persevere in the task he had undertaken, and to show to the world that a prince of the House of Savoy, at any cost, and regardless of personal peril, would pursue the aim in view without swerving a hair's breadth from his constitutional obligations. The following morning Amadeus might have been seen walking without escort through the Madrid streets as if he were as free from worry or danger as the meanest of his subjects. The Queen, however, did not so readily recover from the recent shock, or close her eyes to the peril of their position. Her Majesty's life was one of continual dread for the safety of her husband and those most dear to her. Each time Amadeus left the palace she suffered torments of apprehension lest he should not enter it again alive. " Alas ! " the poor lady exclaimed to one of her intimate friends shortly after the July outrage, "all here have the right to complain except ourselves. We must bear all in silence." Her discouragement and mental anxiety added in no small degree to her consort's distaste for a task, the ultimate accomplishment of which became daily more doubtful.» (Whitehouse, 1897, p.150-155).
© Koji Nihei Daijyo, 2014. All rights reserved.



Koji Nihei Daijyo

Author:Koji Nihei Daijyo
We have covered 143 quatrains (§588-§730) concerning the World Events in the 19th century after Napoleonic ages [1821-1900] in the Prophecies of Nostradamus, and 218 in the 20th [1901-2000] (§731-§948).

Latest journals