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Maarten Janssen, 2014-
|Author(s)||Juan Agustín de Urain|
|Addressee(s)||Juan Ignacio Mendizábal|
Letter from Juan Agustín de Urain to Juan Ignacio de Mendizábal, a sergeant.
The author writes to Mendizábal, answering his letter and explaining him the circumstances they are living. He asks for information regarding the relocation of a common friend.
On September the 18th 1823, Juan Ignacio Mendizábal disembarked in the village of Guetaria coming from A Coruña. He had been there as a member of the volunteer militia until the capitulation of that place to the royal troops. The mayor of the village arrested him because he was carrying several green and purple ribbons (one of them in the hat) with subversive slogans such as "Constitution or death" and "Long life to the National Freedom". He was arrested and his documents and goods were searched, amongst these documents there were several manifestos from the count of Cartagena. The defendant was interrogated and he denied most of the facts arguing he did not know about the ribbons. However, "in all the documents and books seized to the defendant there was nothing suspicious of being of a political nature. The documents revolved around his particular matters". The eight letters provided to the proceeding documentation were examined and, as it turned out, not all of them were addressed to Mendizábal, but to Francisco de Lalama, a printer and the defendant´s father-in-law. Amongst the most suspicious letters, one written by Pedro Sánchez deserved special attention since it outlined a plan to create new militias to threat the peace in the country. The author admitted it was his and stated it was an answer to a Mendizábal´s letter in which he asked for advice. The Court of Justice considered that due to his occupation as an apothecary, his incarceration could have entailed disadvantages to the community, therefore, he was released on bail. Julián María Andonaegui was also enquired and stated that his letter was an answer to one he had received from the defendant and he assured he could show it before the tribunal. The aforementioned letter was examined but denied as irrelevant and therefore it was returned to his owner. Juan Agustín de Urrain also argued that he only answered a letter from the defendant, however, he could not provide the two letters because he reused them as wrapping paper for cigarettes. The prosecution decided to search and seize documents in Urrian´s house and, although nothing suspicious was found and they gave the documents back, one letter was forgotten and attached to the proceeding documentation.
Although the defendant admitted that the possession of the ribbons could be reprehensible, he stated they were justifiable due to the times they were living. He presented several witnesses who verified he renounced enlisting the volunteer militias at the beginning of the constitutional period and his participation in the siege of A Coruña was for subsistence purposes. After everything, there was no sign of disloyalty on his side since he came back. The judgment was delivered on April 1824 and the defendant was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in the castle of San Sebastián, penalty payment and the warning of a stricter sentence if he continued committing offences. Besides, the ribbons had to be burnt publically and Guetaria´s mayor was cautioned for not having acted faster in the prosecution of the crime. However, the sentence was reviewed by the Royal Chancellery. Once the documents were examined, the case was dismissed given that the defendant´s letters and actions predated May 1824, therefore, it was included in the pardon issued by the King in May 12th 1824. The defendant was reminded he had to behave irreproachably and be loyal to the new order.
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