THE GUARDIA CIVIL
verdict nor with the sentence, which would be promptly carried out.
Even to resist the Guardia Civil was so great a crime that the sentence of a court-martial in such a case was penal servitude for life (Cadna Perptua).
How surprised a London rough would be at this severity after being accustomed to expiate the most brutal assaults upon the police by a fine of a few shillings.
To sum up the Guardia Civil, I may say that their practice was comprised in five memorable words, addressed to a similar corps by Mr. A. J. Balfour in his energetic days, a most sensible order, that he may well be proud of: M Do not hesitate to shoot."
Amongst other duties of the Guardia Civil in bygone years wTas the making of periodical expeditions against the remontados and the hill tribes, officially designated Talas, or cuttings down.
At certain favourable seasons of the year, especially before harvest time, the Guardias, accompanied by some Cuadrilleros, and on important occasions by a company of native infantry, marched up into the more accessible hills.
The hill-men obstructed the tracks in the most difficult places by cutting down trees and making abattis.
They also placed sharp bamboo spikes carefully concealed in the earth or mud of the footpaths, and these, if trodden on, inflicted most dangerous wounds that were apt to gangrene. Sometimes if they had much at stake, the hill-men or outlaws would venture an ambuscade, and hurl their javelins or send a flight of arrows amongst their enemies.
But even the boldest races rarely came to close quarters, for their weapons were no match against rifles and bayonets. So, led by their spies, the Spanish forces laboured upwards, and on arriving at the hamlets of the mountaineers or outlaws they burnt down the rude huts, reaped the crops, taking away what they could and burning the remainder.
They cut down every fruit tree and took special care to destroy every tobacco plant. They then retired, leaving a scene of devastation behind them.
If any of the hill-men fell into their hands their fate depended upon whether there were any murders to avenge or upon the humanity of the officer in command. This wanton destruction was committed chiefly in the interests of the tobacco monopoly, but also in order to force the hill-If any of the hill-men fell into their hands their fate depended upon whether there were any murders to avenge or upon the humanity of the officer in command. This wanton destruction was committed chiefly in the interests of the tobacco monopoly, but also in order to force the hill-