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was to advance on Querétaro and invest it with his army. Thus the empire of Maximilian was limited to this one town, where it was besieged by an army of Mexican patriots, while, with the exception of a few cities, the whole country outside was free from imperial rule.
Soon the emperor and his army found themselves closely confined within the walls of Querétaro. Skirmishes took place almost daily, in which both sides fought with courage and resolution. Provisions grew scarce and foraging parties were sent out, but after each attack the lines of the besiegers became closer. The clergy had made liberal promises of forces and funds, and General Marquez was sent to the city of Mexico to obtain them. He managed to get through the lines of Escobedo, but he failed to return, and nothing was ever seen by Maximilian of the promised aid. Such forces and funds as Marquez obtained he used in attacking General Diaz, who was advancing on Pueblo. Diaz besieged and took Pueblo, and then turned on Marquez, whom he defeated so completely that he made his way back to Mexico almost alone under cover of the night. It was the glory gained by this act that later raised Diaz to the presidency, which he held so brilliantly for so many years.
The hopes of Maximilian were dwindling to a shadow. For two months the siege of Querétaro continued, steadily growing closer. During this trying time Maximilian showed the best elements of his character. He was gentle and cheerful in de
meanor, and brave in action, not hesitating to expose himself to the fire of the enemy. Plans were made for his escape, that he might put himself at the head of his troops elsewhere, but he refused, through a sense of honor, to desert his brave companions.
Daily provisions grew scarcer, and Maximilian himself had only the coarse, tough food which was served to the common soldiers. Day after day Marquez was looked for with the promised aid, but night after night brought only disappointment. At length, on the night of May 14, General Lopez, in charge of the most important point in the city, turned traitor and admitted two battalions of the enemy. From this point the assailants swarmed into the city, where terror and confusion everywhere prevailed. Lopez had not intended that the emperor should be captured, and gave him warning in time to escape. He attempted to do so, and reached a little hill outside the town, but here he was surrounded by foes and forced to deliver up his sword.
Juarez, the Indian president, was at length full master of Mexico, and held its late emperor in his hands. The fate of Maximilian depended upon his word. Plans, indeed, were made for his escape, but always at the last moment he failed to avail himself of them. His friends sought to win for him the clemency of Juarez, but they found him inflexible. The traitors, as he called them, should be tried by court-martial, he said and abide the decision of the court.
Tried they were, though the trial was little more than a farce, with the verdict fixed in advance. This verdict was death. The condemned, in addition to Maximilian, were his chiefs in command, Miramon and Medjia. The late emperor rose early on the fatal morning and heard mass. He embraced his fellow victims, and as he reached the street said, “What a beautiful day! On such a one I have always wished to die.”
He was greeted with respect by the people in the street, the women weeping. He responded with a brief address, closing with the words, “May my blood be the last spilt for the welfare of the country, and if more should be shed, may it flow for its good, and not by treason. Viva Independencia ! Viva Mexico !"'
In a few minutes more the fatal shots were fired, and the empire of Maximilian was at an end.
MACEO AND THE STRUGGLE FOR CUBAN INDEPENDENCE.
On the 24th of February, 1895, the people of Havana, the capital of Cuba, were startled by a report that rebels were in the field, a band of twenty-four having appeared in arms at Ybarra, in the province of Matanzas. Other small bands were soon heard of elsewhere in the island. A trifle this seemed, in view of the fact that Cuba was guarded by twenty thousand Spanish troops and had on its military rolls the names of sixty thousand volunteers. But the island was seething with discontent, and trifles grow fast under such circumstances. Twenty years before a great rebellion had been afoot. It was settled by treaty in 1878, but Spain had ignored the promises of the treaty and steadily heaped up fuel for the new flame which had now burst out.
As the days and weeks went on the movement grew, many of the plantation hands joining the insurgents until there were several thousand men in arms.
For a time these had it all their own way, raiding and plundering the plantations of the loyalists, and vanishing into the woods and mountains when the troops appeared.
The war to which this led was not one of the picturesque old affairs of battles and banners, marches
and campaigns. It displayed none of “the pomp and circumstance of glorious war ;" forest ambushes, sudden attacks, quick retreats, and brisk affrays that led to nothing forming the staple of the conflict. The patriots had no hope of triumphing over the armed and trained troops of Spain, but they hoped to wear them out and make the war so costly to Spain that she would in the end give up the island in despair.
The work of the Cuban patriots was like the famous deeds of Marion and his men in the swampy region of the Carolina coast. Two-thirds of Cuba were uncultivated and half its area was covered with thickets and forests. In the wet season the low-lands of the coast were turned into swamps of sticky black mud. Underbrush filled the forests, so thick and dense as to be almost impassable. The high bushes and thick grasses of the plains formed a jungle which could be traversed only with the aid of the machete, the heavy, sharp, cutlass-like blade which the Cuban uses both as tool and sword, now cutting his way through bush and jungle, now slicing off the head of an enemy in war.
Everywhere in the island there are woods, there are hills and mountains, there are growths of lofty grass, affording countless recesses and refuges for fugitives and lurking-places for ambushed foes. To retire to the “long grass” is a Cuban phrase meaning, to gain safety from pursuit, and a patriot force might lie unseen and unheard while an army