se first hostile acts of the French on the[p. 38] territory of their allies.
The net result was to leave the two chief fortresses, on each of the 鏉窞娌瑰帇鎵撻鏈?main entries into Spain from France, completely in the power of the Emperor.
Godoy and his employers were driven into wild alarm by these acts of 鏉窞妗戞嬁淇℃伅缃憃pen hostility. The favourite, in his memoirs, tells us that he thought, for a moment, of responding by a declaration of war, but that 鏉窞妗戞嬁鎸夋懇鍏ㄥ浣撻獙 the old king replied that Napoleon could not be intending treachery, because he had just sent him twelve fine coach-horses and several polite letters. In face of his master鈥檚 reluctance, he tells us that he temporized for some days more. The story is highly improbable: Charles had no will save Godoy鈥檚, and would have done whatever he was told. It is much more likely that the reluctance to take a bold resolve was the favourite鈥檚 own. When the French troops still continued to draw nearer to Madrid, Godoy could only bethink himself of a plan for absconding.鏉窞涓濊淇濆仴鎸夋懇 He proposed to the King and Queen that they should leave Madrid and take refuge in Seville, in order to place themselves as far as possible from the French armies. Behind this move was a scheme for a much longer voyage. It seems that he proposed that the court should follow the example 鏉窞鍗佸ぇ绾㈢伅鍖?of the Regent of Portugal, and fly to America. At Mexico or Buenos Ayres they would at least be safe from Bonaparte. To protect the first stage of the flight, the troops in Portugal were directed to slip away from Junot and mass in Estremadura. The garrison of Madrid was drawn to Aranjuez, the palace where the court lay in February and March, and was to act as its escort to Seville. It is certain that nothing would have suited Napoleon鈥檚 plans better than that Charles IV should abscond and leave his throne derelict: it would have given the maximum of 鏉窞妗戞嬁缃憊ip璐﹀彿瀵嗙爜 advantage with the minimum of odium. It is possible that the Emperor was working precisely with the object of frightening Godoy into flight. If so his scheme was foiled, because he forgot that he had to deal not only with the contemptible court, but with the suspicious and revengeful Spanish nation. In March the people intervened, and their outbreak put quite a different face upon affairs.
Meanwhile the Emperor was launching a new figure upon the stage. On February 26 his brother-in-law, Joachim Murat,
the new Grand-Duke of Berg, appeared at Bayonne with the title of 鈥楲ieutenant of the Emperor,鈥?and a commission to take command[p. 39] of all the French forces in Spain. On March 10 he crossed the Bidassoa and assumed possession of his post. Murat鈥檚 character is well known: it was not very complicated. He was a headstrong, unscrupulous 鏉窞澶滅敓娲籷q缇?soldier, with a genius for heading a cavalry charge on a large scale, and an unbounded ambition. He was at present meditating on thrones and kingdoms: Berg seemed a small thing to this son of a Gascon innkeeper, and ever since his brothers-in-law Joseph, Louis, and Jerome Bonaparte had become kings, he was determined to climb up to be their equal. It has frequently been asserted that Murat was at this moment drea