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countable, cessation of reinforcements the other, they now cross by railand supplies from the Atlantic coast. way; while in Nicaragua they ascend Meantime the effects of the blow in steamers to the western shore have been somewhat over-estimated of the lake, and perform the remainin Central America : it is generally ing twelve miles on mules. Four supposed that the career of General lines of steamers connect Panama Walker is terminated, and that in and San Juan del Sur on the one another month the invasion of Nica- side, and Aspinwall and Greytown ragua by filibusters will become mat- on the other, with California and the ter of history. Even if that be so, the Eastern States. It was not until episode will always be interesting; 1851 that a company was formed, but if, on the other hand, the Ameri- under the auspices of Mr. Vanderbilt, cans permanently retain their footing called the Accessory Transit Comin the country, every record of the pany, for the purpose of conveying earlier events of their occupation of passengers through Nicaragua ; for it, and every incident in the career this purpose a charter was obtained of their leader, will become valuable. from the Nicaragua Government for Having had some favourable oppor- a transit route, in which it was stiputunities of becoming acquainted with lated that a certain annnal per-centthese, I will briefly recount the his. age should be paid by the Company tory of Walker and his expedition up to the Government out of its net proto this time.
fit. In the following year the route The discovery of gold in California was first opened, and every month produced a rush from all parts of the hundreds of travellers, belonging to world towards the western shores the most enterprising and progressive of the continent of North America; race in the world, passed through this the remote position of the country, magnificent and fertile country, and however, and the slender traffic with wondered no less at the extent and which it had heretofore been favour- variety of its resources, than at the ed, made the process of emigration apathy and incapacity of the inhabitone of considerable difficulty. Va- ants, calling themselves civilised, rious routes were adopted by the who could allow them to remain unhardy gold-seekers; some plunged developed. A corresponding degree boldly into the western prairies, and of astonishment was doubiless felt scaling the Rocky Mountains, arrived among the Nicaraguans themselves, half famished at their destination; when they found their country turnothers hazarded the stormy passage ed into a highway, which crowds of round the Horn, and often never ar- impetuous Anglo-Saxons traversed rived at all; while a third section like those gigantic ants whose broad found their way across some part or beaten tracks are to be seen in their other of that neck of land which own forests. connects the Northern and Southern The contact produced results which continents, and which is now known were only natural under the circumby the newly-invented appellation of stances. It became evident to the Central America. The facilities for Nicaraguans, who had been for two crossing this Isthmus were offered at years engaged in a bloody civil two points. At one place, between war, that the infusion of a little Chagres and Panama, the distance Anglo-Saxon courage and energy on between the Atlantic and Pacific is one side or the other would termionly forty-eight miles, while three nate the struggle in favour of the hundred miles farther north, and con- faction who could secure it; while so sequently affording a shorter route, tempting an appeal was not likely to the magnificent lake of Nicaragua, be made in vain, to men who were which is connected with the Gulf of only longing for an excuse to enter Mexico by a navigable river, is sepa- the country as permanent occupants, rated from the Pacific by a neck of which they had coveted when transit land only twelve miles across. passengers. But in order to under
These rival routes have both been stand the circumstances under which largely patronised by Californian pas- the Nicaraguans applied to the Calisengers: the one by Panama, which fornians for assistance, it will be was established some years before necessary to glance summarily at the history of the country for a few years siege. Although commencing under preceding this event. In 1815, Nica- such favourable auspices, success did ragua, then a Spanish colony, at- not crown the efforts of Castillon. tempted an insurrection to throw off for eight inonths Grenada was bethe dominion of the mother country. sieged, and even after Chamorro's This, however, proved abortive, and death the war was carried on by his it was not until six years after that partisans with so much vigour, and Guatemala, Honduras, San Salvador, there seemed so little chance of peace Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, declared being restored to the country, that their independence of Spain. In Castillon eagerly listened to the sug1822 they were incorporporated with gestion of some American gold-specuMexico under the Emperor Iturbide. Jators, that he should apply for the Upon his overthrow, which hap- assistance of some Californians, who pened soon after, a federal republic, had already rendered themselves nosimilar to that of the United States, torious by an unsuccessful expediwas formed, composed of the five tion into Sonora, from which they central American States, with a had just returned. Of this expedition, national assembly at Guatemala which had for its object the conquest Upon this occasion the republic only of the department of Sonora in existed two years, the most impor- Northern Mexico, General Walker tant feature in its legislation being was the leader, and although his the abolition of slavery throughout daring attempt at establishing an inthe States; but it was reconstituted dependent republic there had failed, in 1829 by General Morazan, and he gained so high a reputation for destroyed by Carera; indeed, during military skill and prowess, that Casa period of twenty years, all these tillon at once perceived the acquisiStates were a prey to a series of tion which such a man, with a few devastating revolutions, sometimes brave followers, would prove to his endeavouring to reunite, sometimes undisciplined and almost demoralat war with one another, nearly ised army. He therefore applied to always at war within themselves. Walker to know the terins upon In 1851, Honduras, San Salvador, which he and his followers were preand Nicaragua formed a union; in pared to join the Nicaraguan army. 1852 it was dissolved, and Señor The price demanded by Walker was Pineda was elected President of a grant of land, fifty-two thousand Nicaragua. In the following year he acres in extent, to be selected from died, and an election taking place any unoccupied lands in the State. to fill the vacancy, Señors Castillon These terms were at once complied and Chamorro were the candidates. with by. Castillon, and Walker lost Chamorro by force of arms obtained no time in organising his expedition. possession of the polls throughout A glance at the 'personal history of the State, and defeating Castillon, the remarkable man who conducted banished him from Nicaragua. Cas- this daring enterprise tillon, however, who, as the democra- be uninteresting. General Walker's tic and therefore popular candidate, father had been a banker in Scothad a large number of partisans in land, and emigrated to the United Nicaragua, was not a man to be thus States in 1820. Walker himself easily crushed, and, while an exile in was born in 1824, but manifested Honduras, organised an expedition a roving disposition. At an early composed of refugees like himself, and age he graduated successively in law, with them marched boldly upon Leon, physic, and divinity; travelled for his native town. Here he was re- a year in Europe; returned to the ceived with acclamation. Joined by States, and became the editor of a crowds of political adherents, who newspaper in New Orleans; thence are in these countries accustomed to proceeded to San Francisco in Calienforce their views by blows, by fornia in a similar capacity, which them he was proclaimed Provisional he relinquished to take command of Director of the republic; routed the Sonora expedition. On his return Chamorro in a pitched battle, and from this he entered into the arobliged him to take refuge in Gre- rangements above stated with Casnada, to which city he forthwith laid tillon. In stature, General Walker
is but little over five feet four. His was followed by the battle of Virgin features are described as coarse and Bay, in which the democratic forces impassable; his square chin and long under Walker were victorious, and jaw denote character, but his lips are the reputation of Americans for full
, and his mouth is not well form- prowess established. At this time ed; his eyes are universally spoken the death of Castillon by cholera of as the striking feature of his face— left the conduct of affairs almost of a singularly light grey, they are altogether in the hands of Walker, so large and fixed that in a daguer. whom the democratic leader had reotype the eyelid is scarcely visible. just appointed to the command of His manner is remarkably self-pos- his army. A considerable number sessed, and some of his most intimate of recruits arriving from California, friends, who have been with him he now determined to take Grenada, throughout the most trying scenes which was captured by 110 Ameriof his Nicaraguan experiences, have cans, with the loss of only one man, assured me that under no circum- after having stood a siege of nineteen stances have they ever observed him months against the democratic army to change countenance, even to laugh, under the command of sundry Nicaor to alter in the smallest degree his raguan generals. This decided the slow and precise mode of diction. war favour of the democrats; and He is at all times taciturn, and when Castillon being now dead, Walker he does speak it is directly to the was proposed by some of the demopoint. He manifests a contemptuous cratic leaders as president. This indifference to danger without being honour, however, he declined. On reckless, and altogether seems better the 23d of October a treaty of peace qualified to inspire confidence and was signed between General Walker respect among lawless men than to and General Ponciano Corral, the shine in civilised society.
commander-in-chief of the aristocraHe is ascetic in his habits, and his tic army, in which it was stipulated career hitherto has shown him to be that a certain Patricio Rivas should be utterly careless of acquiring wealth. nained provisional president of NicarHighly ambitious, it is only due to agua for fourteen months; that he him to say that his aspirations, how- should appoint his ministers of state; ever little in accordance they may that there should be a general oblivion be with the moral code in vogue at of all that had previously taken place the present day, are beyond riches. for political faults and opinions; Like the Emperor Louis Napoleon, that the army of General Corral he has a fixed faith in the star of should be reduced to 150 men, and his destiny, and like him he doubt- the army of Walker to the same less will be branded by the civilised number ; that the united armies nations of Europe as an unprincipled should be placed under the comadventurer or a heaven-born hero, mand of General Walker, who should according as he fails or succeeds in be recognised as general-in-chief of his daring enterprise.
the army of the republic, and named In the month of June 1855, such by a decree of the government. Walker and his fifty-six were enlisted The signing of this treaty took place by Castillon in the dennocratic army at Grenada with great eclat. "The of Nicaragua. His first engagement two armies were drawn up in the took place at Rivas, where, with a Plaza; Generals Walker and Corral hundred natives and fifty-six Ameri- embraced another in their cans, he engaged the aristocratic or presence ; and the heads of the servile troops, as they were called, new government were announced, of under General Boscha. The natives whom four were Nicaraguans, and running away, the fifty-six Americans two, including Walker, Americans. were left to fight it out, and were de- Thus, for the first time after an feated, with a loss of twenty-two incessant internecine war of two killed. Their determined resistance, years' duration, was peace restored however, produced as salutary an to Nicaragua through the instrueffect upon the enemy as a victory, mentality of the American filibuster. as General Boscha owned a loss of Sixteen days after Walker embraced 180 in killed and wounded. This Corral in the Plaza of Grenada,
he was unfortunately obliged to have United States Government, however, him shot there, in consequence of did not think that Walker's chances an intercepted correspondence which of success were at that time suffihas since been published, and which cient to warrant a recognition of the affords undoubted evidence of the government he had been instrumentreachery of Corral, who was in tal in establishing, and therefore league with Guardiola and two refused to receive Colonel French, other Nicaraguan generals to de- upon the ground that the condition stroy Walker, of whoin they natu- of political affairs in Nicaragua was rally felt jealous.
not acquiesced in by the citizens of The country being now in a state that country. In consequence of this of profound peace, Walker turned his refusal by Mr. Marcy, diplomatic reattention to the development both of lations between the
government of its mineral and agricultural resources, Nicaragua and Mr. Wheeler resident and to the establishment of his foreign minister of the United States there, relations upon a satisfactory basis. were suspended. President Rivas was a timid man, of The news of the non-recognition no mental calibre and very little of Colonel French at once decided energy, and acted entirely under the the hesitating republics of Central dictation of his general and chief. It America ; and Guatemala, Honduras, would be difficult to conceive a more St. Salvador, and Costa Rica asinteresting occupation than that to sumed a hostile attitude. The in- , which Walker now devoted himself, sults offered by the latter to a in his endeavours to regenerate a peaceful emissary of General Walker magnificent but neglected country. resulted in an open rupture. On the He visited the gold regions of Chon- 20th March, 1856, the Costa Rican tales and Segovia, and circulated army met the force which General reports of their wealth far and wide; Walker had detached under Colonel numerous decrees were passed guar- Schlessinger, amounting to 207 men, anteeing life and property, extending composed of French, Germans, and immunity to political offenders, and Americans, and utterly routed them, holding out inducements to immigra- Schlessinger himself being the first tion; à department of colonisation to set the example of flight: for this was organised, and every effort made he was tried by a court-martial, and to attract settlers to explore for sentenced to be shot; but he avoided themselves the mineral and agricul- his fate by effecting his escape, and tural wealth of a country which only he is now supposed to be serving in requires an enterprising population the Costa Rican army. The Costa to enable it to take, when joined with Ricans followed up this success by a the neighbouring States, an indepen- surprise upon Virgin Bay, where they dent position as a Central American killed a number of shopkeepers, and Republic-with a constitution doubt- innocent persons employed by the less constructed on very different Transit Company. They then attacked principles from that of the United and succeeded in occupying Rivas, States, but which, wisely and ener- with a force of about 2500 men. One getically carried out, would render of the most determined struggles her a formidable competitor to the which has taken place during the war Northern Federation.
now ensued. General Walker, who Secretly entertaining these views, happened to be marching on Leon, at which, however, he had not thought once turned back, and with a force it prudent openly to express, General of only 500 men advanced upon Walker induced President Rivas to Rivas. The battle commenced early send a minister to the United States, on the morning of the 11th of April, in the hope that his recognition by and raged throughout the rest of the that Government would prevent the day with the greatest fury. General neighbouring Central American re- Walker lost the whole of his staff, publics, who had already shown symp- and the Americans performed proditoms of alarm at his progressive gies of valour. Their loss in killed tendencies, and the power he had and wounded amounted to about acquired over Rivas, from combining 130, that of the Costa Ricans was to eject him from Nicaragua. The estimated at over 500. Although
remaining masters of the field, the a feat of strategy in the seizure of the latter evacuated it eighteen days river-boats belonging to the present afterwards, and returned precipitately Transit Company, of which they were to Costa Rica; the reason assigned otherwise incapable. in the public proclamation by General When so many events happen conCañas being the alarming outbreak of currently, it is always difficult to cholera.
maintain a chronological sequence: Meantime General Walker deter- and in order thoroughly to appreciate mined to make a second attempt, to General Walker's position at this convince the authorities at Washing- crisis, it is necessary to recur again to ton that the government of Nicaragua the battle which had just been fought had the approval of its citizens; and at Rivas. A short time before this event for this purpose he despatched thither took place, with a view of conciliatPadré Vijil, a native of the country, ing the democratic party, the seat of who succeeded iří inducing the Se- government was moved from Grecretary of State to recognise him as nada to Leon, which had always Nicaraguan minister, although the been considered their headquarters, political condition of Nicaragua was and thither the President Rivas precisely the same as when, two went, leaving Walker in the neighinonths before, he had refused to bourhood of the town of Rivas. It recognise French.
was here that the weak president in It may be remembered that, before an evil hour listened to the whisWalker's arrival at Nicaragua, a perings of Salhazar and General Transit Company had been formed by Hæres, influential leaders of the old Mr. Vanderbilt with the then existe party, who took this opportunity ing Nicaraguan Government, upon of inflaming the mind of Rivas terms which I have above described. with jealousy against Walker, until Not one farthing, however, of the at last they induced him to enter twenty per cent due to the Nicaraguan into traitorous correspondence Government out of the annual net with the Costa Rican Government, in profits, which were well known to be which he assured the enemies of his large, had ever been paid by the country of his co-operation in any Company; and President Rivas at designs that they might entertain last, at the instigation of General against the Nicaraguan army, comWalker, upon the refusal of the Com- manded by General Walker; and as pany to explain matters, or liquidate an earnest of his sincerity, he wrote the large debt due to the State, abro- to Walker, urging him to come with gated the old grant, and regranted all speed to Leon, to defend him the route to fresh American specu- from threatened attacks from that lators, who undertook, in considera- quarter, hoping thus to withdraw his tion thereof, the transport of re- attention from the town of Rivas, cruits for Walker's army from all so as to enable the Costa Ricans parts of the Union. Long and com- to attack it with greater chance of plicated proceedings between Mr. success. General Walker, in comVanderbilt, the Nicaraguan Govern- pliance with this request, had scarcement, and the new Transit Company, ly accomplished half the journey, in which Messrs. Morgan and Garri- when he heard of the attack upon the son soon became the leading men, town of Rivas. He instantly returned, now took place—proceedings which it fought the Costa Ricans, as above dewould be tiresome here to detail, and scribed, discovered the treachery, and which have already cost the United proceeded at once to Leon. Here States Government endless trouble he saw Rivas, but did not tax him and annoyance. Their most unfortu- with his unworthy conduct. His nate result, so far as General Walker is close connection with that imbecile concerned, has been to make for him old man, and a certain regard he an enemy of a powerful, wealthy, and entertained for him, prevented his not very scrupulous man in Vander- bringing about an open rupture: he bilt, who has now allied himself to the simply informed him, that in conseCosta Ricans, and whose daring and quence of what had come to his energetic agents have enabled those knowledge, he had determined, upon bastard Spanish troops to accomplish the expiration of Rivas' presidency,