Mr. Hale to Mr. Seward

No. 34.]

Sir: It is my duty to inform you that Madrid has been the scene of a fearful insurrection, which has been completely quelled by the government. The first manifestation of the insurgents was early Friday morning, (22d instant,) when two regiments of artillery, stationed at the barracks of San Gil, not more than a quarter of a mile north of the royal palace, raised the standard of a revolt. It began by some of the men shooting their officers, who were supposed to be loyal to the government. It is said that they relied upon being supported by several regiments of infantry, who failed them, and afterwards actually took part in the conflict against them. They were finally overcome by the government, but not till after the barracks where they were stationed was perfectly riddled by cannon balls.

The insurrection was not confined to the military, but extended over a great part of the city, and barricades were formed in numerous places—it is difficult now to say how many, but they were formed in many streets of the city. The house where I live and keep the legation is in Culle de Barquillo, No. 26. The Prussian legation is under the same roof, and the Brazilian is in the same street, on the opposite or northern side, No. 13, and the Belgian legation at No. 14, on the same side with mine. At the very corner of my house the insurgents erected a barricade, three or four fest high, in the course of the afternoon, across the street, women and children assisting in doing the work, unmolested. The insurgents, for some hours, appeared to have undisturbed possession of this street, or that part of it where these several legations are situated. No violence or injury of any kind was done or threatened to any of them, and I had no apprehension of any, not either for myself or family, save what might occur [Page 577] from the effects of some random shot. These apprehensions were not altogether unfounded, as you may infer from the fact that the corner of my house was hit by one cannon ball, the marks of which very palpably remain, and also by one musket or rifle ball. These I suppose to have been fired by some government troops in clearing the streets, and that the hitting of my house was purely and entirely accidental. I learn that a somewhat similar casualty happened to the Brazilian legation. The shield of the arms of Brazil over the door was carried away by a cannon shot.

Marks of cannon and musket balls are to be seen in various parts of the city, and frequently pools of blood were seen standing in the streets on the morning of the 23d instant. The insurrection was not quelled without a great sacrifice of human life. By the morning of the 23d the government were in complete possession of the whole city, and had taken, it is said, between one and two thousand prisoners. As this is the second attempt at revolution made within the short time I have been in Spain, in each of which the government has triumphed, I am apprehensive that they will feel it to be necessary to deal severely with such of the rebels as they have in their power. Indeed, I hear that many executions have already taken place; but I have authentic information of the shooting of twenty sergeants of artillery and one of infantry this afternoon. Before this reaches you, you will undoubtedly see more detailed accounts in the newspapers than I have been able to give you.

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I have the honor to remain, with the highest respect, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.