Lisbon Regicide - Investigation - Conspirators and Revolutionaries

Conspirators and Revolutionaries

Authors of the period (many Republican) shone light on the responsible actors and their motivations, although many details remain unclear. Raul Brandão talked to people associated with the events, and extracted a confession from dissident leader José Maria de Alpoim:

Only two people in Portugal know everything, I am the other...Only I and others know in which house the meeting was held, who was presided, and who traded Buíça the revolver for the carbine.

António da Albuquerque (who was exiled to Spain by the royal family following the publication of his defamatory novel O Marquês da Bacalhoa) recounted the testimony of Fabrício de Lemos (one of the other assassins present in the Terreiro do Paço), which he recounted in his book A Execução do Rei Carlos (The Execution of King Carlos). Aquilino Ribeiro (who did not participate directly but was involved, knew the plan and the assassins) also wrote of the events in Um escritor confessa-se (A Writer Confesses). José Maria Nunes, one of the assassins in the Terreiro do Paço, also left a description of the events (often autobiographical and self-aggrandizing, but generally credible) in E para quê?

Of these four analyses, only Aquilino referred to the possible kidnapping of the royal family and the planned assassination of Prime Minister João Franco. The plan was presumed to have developed at the end of 1907. José Maria de Alpoim cultivated alliances within the Carbonária and planned to acquire arms and assassinate the Prime Minister and (later) the king. These plans (as described by José Maria Nunes) were drawn up at the Hotel Brébant on Boulevard Poissóniere in Paris between two politicians and several French revolutionaries. Maria Nunes did not divulge the politicians' identity, but the French revolutionaries probably belonged to the international anarchist movement (the Portuguese ambassador in Paris had heard of plans to assassinate the royal family from anarchists living in France).

The Portuguese dissidents were the principal financiers, and the Carbonária provided the men. It was also discovered that the weapons used in the assassinations were obtained by Gonçalo Heitor Freire (a republican and Freemason) through the Viscount of Ribeira Brava, one of the main conspirators. The arms used in the Library Elevator Coup plot, originally guarded in the Armazéns Leal, were transported to the viscount's home and hidden. After the plot failed, a group of 18 men met in a mansion in Xabregas on 30 or 31 December, where they plotted to assassinate the royal family. Eight of the eighteen men have been identified; they constituted the first group in the Terreiro do Paço: Alfredo Costa, Manuel Buíça, José Maria Nunes, Fabrício de Lemos, Ximenes, Joaquim Monteiro, Adelino Marques and Domingos Ribeiro. The second group took up positions in Santos; a third group waited in Alcântara, covering the road up to the Palácio das Necessidades. The attackers did not believe they would survive the attempt: Manuel Buíça had a will drawn up, and Alfredo Costa paid a debt to a friend. However, the majority of the first group escaped into the crowd and the other groups never intervened in the assassinations.

The plan to kill the king was a major part of the revolt. However, a strange story was later told concerning the derailment of the royal carriage on the return to Lisbon. On the day of the plot, shortly after 4:00 pm and 300 kilometres (190 mi) from the capital in Pìnzio (near Guarda), two servants of José Maria de Alpoim returning to the capital after sending their master into exile in Salamanca ran out of gas and were forced to stop in the village. In a local tavern, witnessed by several people, the servants affirmed that at that time there was no king in Portugal because he was dead. Since the plot occurred around 5:00 pm, it is unknown how the servants became aware of the events. Their timing would have been correct had the train not derailed earlier in the day. The questions of what level of planning the plot had attained and how involved was dissident José Maria de Alpoim continued to persist; although the two assassins (Buíça and Costa) were blamed for the attacks, the remaining plotters were never forgotten. After the October 5 Revolution, José Maria de Alpoim and the former viscount of Ribeira Brava were unable to participate in the hierarchy of the new regime; Apoim never advanced beyond adjunct to the attorney general, and the former viscount did not survive his term as civil governor of Lisbon (he was a victim of an October 1918 revolt).

Read more about this topic:  Lisbon Regicide, Investigation

Famous quotes containing the word conspirators:

    If we are on the outside, we assume a conspiracy is the perfect working of a scheme. Silent nameless men with unadorned hearts. A conspiracy is everything that ordinary life is not. It’s the inside game, cold, sure, undistracted, forever closed off to us. We are the flawed ones, the innocents, trying to make some rough sense of the daily jostle. Conspirators have a logic and a daring beyond our reach. All conspiracies are the same taut story of men who find coherence in some criminal act.
    Don Delillo (b. 1926)