On March 7, 1793, the French Convention declared war on Bourbon Spain. The entry of the French troops in April led to the dismantling of the wall and the castle of San Sebastián so that its cannons would defend the Bidasoa, where the French were momentarily prevented from entering.
In August, however, they entered through Navarre and took Irún and Fuenterrabía. The Provincial Council left San Sebastián and moved to Getaria. The French advanced and, although the Province was not fully occupied, San Sebastián, disarmed, capitulated on August 4, 1794. 1700 Spanish soldiers and 90 cannons fell into French hands.
The reaction to the conquest was the flight of many inhabitants and the abandonment of houses. In response, the French requisitioned goods, forced to open shops to guarantee the supply of the troops, arrested clergymen, and sealed off churches and convents.
The Diputación was divided, passing a part of it to collaborate with the French, in the pretense of constituting itself as a state associated with France. France, forced Guipuzcoa to fully integrate, dissolving the collaborationist General Meetings, imprisoning several of its members and establishing a city council in San Sebastián with only one from Donostia, among twelve members.
The Peace of Basel ended the War of the Pyrenees on July 22, 1795 Spain surrendered and gave the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola (Captaincy General of Santo Domingo) in exchange for keeping Guipúzcoa.
The surrender without any military defense led Carlos IV's minister, Godoy, to recriminate the Guipuzcoan understanding with the French, alleging, among other issues, the commercial, cultural and even political interrelation of the city with France.
The consequences for San Sebastián, however, did not end with the war. Godoy's accusations of collusion with the French in the capitulation of August 1794 led to the investigation of a military trial in Pamplona.
The members of the San Sebastián City Council were arrested and subjected to a trial that was held from February 1796.
In 1798 a sentence was passed: the mayor and the councilmen were sentenced to exile and disqualification, as well as the military officers in the Plaza de San Sebastián.
This is the unpublished document of the defense before the War Council of Mayor Juan Jose Michelena and other members of the corporation.
Defense of Mr. Juan Jose Michelena, Mayor of San Sebastián, for the delivery of the same during the war of the Convention.