« ForrigeFortsett »
Varas, to evacuate the town with the few troops which still Chap. adhered to the royal cause. This was immediately done;
the citadel and forts were taken possession of by the 1821liberals, and the Spanish Constitution proclaimed amidst the combined shouts of the military and people.
On receiving intelligence of this alarming and suecessful insurrection, the king, who was at the chateau of The king Monte-Calvcri, in the neighbourhood, hastened to Turin, Jicepts'tL and a cabinet council was hurriedly assembled to consider "0o*tltu" what should be done in the circumstances. At first it was intended by the monarch to put himself at the head of the guards and march upon Alessandria, which was regarded as the headquarters of the insurrection; and a proclamation was issued denying the statements which had been spread abroad that Austria had demanded the disbanding of the Piedmontese troops and the occupation of the fortresses. But the accounts which rapidly arrived from all quarters of the general defection of the troops, rendered this a hopeless undertaking. The guards themselves were not to be relied on. Crowds, which there was no means of dispersing, collected on all sides, exclaiming, "Viva la costituzione!" The military sent against them joined in the shouts, or remained passive spectators of the tumult. In this extremity a fresh council was held of the king's ministers, and it was there proposed to proclaim the constitution of France as a sort of mezzo-termine between monarchy and a republic. But matters had gone too far to admit now of such a compromise. While the council was sitting in the palace, and a vast crowd, with the military in their front, filled the great square adjacent, three guns were heard from the citadel, which announced that it had fallen into the hands of the conspira- "Ann.Hint.
i , • i „ , • , i iv.338,340;
tors; and soon the tricolor flag, hoisted on the ramparts, Ann. R^. amidst loud cheers from all parts of the city, announced 238.'' that the triumph of the insurgents was complete.1
Upon receiving this stunning intelligence, the king despatched the Prince of Carignan to the citadel to
Chap. ascertain the objects and demands of the conspirators. He found an immense crowd on the glacis, shouting
i82i. "Viva il —Viva la Costituzione di Spagna!" and the Resipiation troops in dense masses on the ramparts responding to the Mdhproc'k*' cries. The Prince was received by the garrison with the Ihe'priMe honours of war, and every demonstration of respect; but ofCarignan demand was universal for the Spanish Constitution.
as regent, * *
and the "Our hearts," said they, " are faithful to the king, but
Spanish . »' • i
conrtitu- we must extricate him from his fatal councils: war with March 13. Austria, and the constitution of Spain—that is what the situation of the country and the people require." With this answer the prince returned to the palace, where a long conference took place between the princes of the royal family and the cabinet. It was animated in the extreme, and continued through the whole night. The king was firm; resolved not to be unfaithful to his engagements with his allies or the cause of royalty, he took the resolution to abdicate in favour of the next heir, who was less implicated in the one, and might feel less reluctant to forego the rights of the other. This determination was immediately acted upon. Early on the morning of the 13th, the royal family, under a large escort, set out from Turin for Nice, and a proclamation was issued by the Prince of Carignan, declaring that he tim Pied- had been appointed regent of the realm. The change of Ttw' goYernment was immediately notified to the foreign minAnn. H«u isters, the regent installed in full sovereignty, and the Ann. Ree.' constitution of Spain proclaimed amidst universal accla23s.' 'mation, without the vast majority knowing what they had adopted or were shouting about.1
Such was the Revolution of 1820, in the Spanish and Oenemi Italian peninsulas, and which more or less extended its of thT'r" influence over all Europe. Commencing with military i82otioM °f treason, it ended with robbery, massacre, and the insurrection of galley-slaves. Nothing durable or beneficial was to be expected from such a commencement, "non tali auxilio nec defensoribus istis." It was characterised, accordingly, throughout, by impassioned conception and Chap.
ephemeral existence: violent change, disregard of former
usage, inattention to national character, oblivion of the 1821general national interests. Designed and carried into execution by an active and energetic, but limited and special class of the people, it exhibited, in all the countries where it was established, the well-known features of class legislation; and by the establishment of class representation of the very worst kind—universal suffrage— it insured at no distant period its own downfall. It will appear in the sequel how sudden and violent the reaction was, how quickly the newly-raised fabric yielded to the aroused indignation of mankind, and how galling, and heavy, and lasting were the chains of servitude which, from the failure of this ill-judged attempt at liberation, were imposed upon the people.
In truth, all revolutions which, like that of Spain, and its imitations in Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and Piedmont, wiuu are brought about by a single and limited class of society, speedy overinvolve in themselves the principles of their own speedy' row' destruction. They may be propped up for a time by the aid of foreign powers politically interested in the establishment of such institutions; but even with such external aid they cannot long endure; without it, they at once fall to the ground. The reason is, that the constitution which they establish, being founded on the principle of opposition to all that has preceded it, the growth of centuries, is soon found to be wholly unsuited to the national disposition and necessities; and having been brought about by the efforts of a single class, it is calculated only for its interests, and proves destructive to those of all the other classes. There was no need of the bayonets of Austria or France to overturn the revolutions of the two peninsulas. Left to themselves, they would speedily have perished from their experienced un suitableness to the circumstances of the countries. The only revolutions which ever have or ever can terminate
do in such circumstances?
Chap. in durable institutions, are those which, brought about, like that of Great Britain in 1688, by an unbearable tyranny which has for a time united all classes for its overthrow, are limited to the change requisite to guard against the recurrence of that tyranny, avoid the fatal evil of class legislation, the invariable result of class revolution, and make no further change in the institutions or government of the state, the growth of centuries, and the creation of the national wants, than is necessary to secure their unimpaired continuance.
What, it is often asked, are the military to do when what' called on by the government to act against insurgents
demanding a change in the national institutions? Are they to imbrue their hands in the blood of their fellowcitizens, guilty of no other offence but that of striving to obtain the first of human blessings, that of civil liberty? The answer is, " Certainly," if they would secure its acquisition for themselves and their children. Freedom has been often won by the gradual pressure of pacific classes on the government; it never yet was secured by the violent insurrection of armed men. To be durable, it must be gradually established: its builders must be the pacific citizens, not the armed soldiers : it never yefrwas won by the sudden revolt of the military. The only effect of the success of such an insurrection is an increase in the strength and means of oppression in the ruling power—the substitution of the vigour of military for the feebleness of monarchical, or the infatuation of priestly government. Riego and Pepe were the real murderers of freedom in the Spanish and Italian peninsulas, for they overturned the national constitution to establish military rule, and blasted the cause" of liberty by the excesses which came to be committed in its name.
RUSSIA AND POLAND, FROM THE PEACE OP 1815 TO THE
Great as have been the changes, marvellous the events, Chap.
of recent times, in all countries, the most wonderful have 1_
occurred in different and distant parts of the world, where 1 jj5' they exceed everything not only witnessed by contempo- ^gj^* raries, but recorded by history of former periods. We are of Russia, too near them to measure their proportions with the eye ; and British future times, which hear of them at a distance with the ear, recent"1 or are witnesses, after the lapse of ages, of their effects,tlmes* will more correctly estimate their relative magnitude and importance. The simidtaneous growth of theRussian power in Europe and Asia, of the United States in America, and of the British empire in India and Australia, stand forth pre-eminent in this age of wonders. Great changes in human affairs—the overthrow of aged, the rise of youthful empires—the realisation of the dreams of the Crusaders—the dwindling away of the Mahommetan faith, the boundless extension of the Christian—the restoration of a European and civilised empire on the shores of the Euxine—vast transplantations of mankind to the East and the West—the rolling back of the tide of civilisation to the land of its birth—the peopling of a new world with the race of Japhet—are obviously connected with, or the direct consequence of, these events. The effects they have produced will always be regarded as a decisive turning
VOL. II. H