« ForrigeFortsett »
its icient i desti
g so situjy so many sions of civil of averting it nces in which, o the throne of y stood. From the industry and to such a degree,
from taxation at gold and silver mines colonies had become of the state had long ne possessions, and the it was fixed on their mainsy Spain from her colonies, amounted to 38,000,000 y a half of the whole revenue, ish crown. It is true, about | was absorbed in expenses nies themselves, leaving only whe royal treasury at Madrid; but olonial expenditure, and the estabe king to keep up, that nearly the ence of Government was maintained. Lexico and Peru that paid the armies and unheld nearly the entire swav of
how was revolution to be compared without armies, CHAP.
« Nouvelle has since led them into so many acts alien to the old Espagno,
iii. 361, iv. Castilian honour, and discreditable to subsequent admi- 153, 154." nistrations.1
12. While so many circumstances tended to prognosticate future and fierce dissension in the Spanish penin- Constitu
tion of 1812: sula, the enormous defects of the Constitution of 1812, how it was which was the ruling form of government at the time of for the restoration, rendered it imminent and unavoidable. The circumstances under which that constitution was framed have been already explained, and the calamitous influence they exercised on the deliberations and temper of the Spanish Constituent Assembly.2 That Assem- * Hist. of bly-convoked in 1811, at the most disastrous period of 178921815, the contest with France, and when the Imperial armies occupied the whole country except a few mountain provinces and fortresses on the sea-coast-so far from presenting a faithful representation of the feelings of the majority of the nation, presented the very reverse. Galicia and Asturias alone-evacuated by Ney at the time of the advance of Wellington to Talavera—with the seaport towns of Valencia, Cadiz, and Alicante, were in the hands of the Spaniards : the whole remainder of 3 Toreno,
Histoire de the country was occupied by the French; and, of la Guerre
ms course, the election of members for the Cortes was im- que
de la Revo
The 349, 354;
S Martignac, the Cortes was returned only by the seaports of Cadiz, Sur l'Es.
pague, 94, Volonnia and Alicante, and the mountaineers of Galicia 95; Hist.
CHAP. vinces then in Cadiz—that is, by the most democratic
portion of the community. In this extraordinary and unconstitutional device, perhaps unavoidable under the circumstances, the real germ of the whole subsequent calamities of Spain, and of the south of Europe, is to be found.
As might have been expected, from its construction by 21. Its extreme the representatives of little more than the democratic democratic tendency. rabble of three seaport towns, the Constitution of 1812,
formed by the Cortes at Cadiz, was republican in the extreme. It preserved the shadow of monarchy, but nothing more. It did not establish a “throne surrounded with republican institutions,” but a republic surrounded by the ghost of monarchical institutions. The Legislature consisted of a single Chamber, elected by universal suffrage ; there was to be a representative for every 70,000 inhabitants in old Spain ; and the American colonies were also admitted on similar terms to a considerable share in the representation. Every man aged twentyfive, and who had resided seven years in the province, had a vote for the representation of his department in the Cortes. The king had a veto only twice on any legislative measure : if proposed to him a third time by the legislature, he was constrained to pass the measure, whatever it was. There was no House of Peers, or check of any kind on the single Chamber of the Cortes, elected, as it was, by universal suffrage ; and the king's ministers, by becoming such, ipso facto lost their seats in the National Assembly. The Cortes was to be re-elected every two years; and no member who had once sat could be again returned to its bosom. The king had the appointment of civil and military officers, but only out of a list furnished to him by the Cortes, who could alone make regulations for the government of the army. The judges in all the civil courts were to be appointed by the Cortes. The king could declare peace or war, and conclude treaties in the first instance; but his measures in
ment of the kingdom, he was empowered to appoint a 2013 quent privy council of forty members, but only out of a list of Congrès de
Verone, i. Ś to be
a hundred and twenty furnished to him by the Cortes. 24, 25;
In like manner all diplomatic, ministerial, and ecclesias- 328, 341; iction by
tical appointments were to be made out of a list of three, Ei lemocratic
presented to him by the same body; and, to perpetuate x 88 21 n of 1812, its power, a permanent committee was appointed, which tution of
1812; Arlican in the exercised, during the intervals of its sessions, nearly the chives Di
plom. iii. onarchy, but
whole powers of the administration intrusted to the entire l. 159." jne surrounded blic surrounded
This constitution was so thoroughly democratic in all 3. The Legislaits parts, that it could not by possibility coexist with a Utter un
suitableness ected by universal monarchical government in any country of the earth. of the con
w i n af stitution to entative for every
Biennial parliaments, universal suffrage, the exclusion of th and the American
the king's ministers from the legislature, a single cham[ terms to a consider
ber, the practical appointment to all offices, civil and milivery man aged twenty
tary, by a Cortes thus popularly elected, and the eternal years in the province,
succession of new and inexperienced persons into the legison of his department in
lature, by the self-denying ordinances which they had veto only twice on any
passed, were amply sufficient to have overturned society ed to him a third time by
in Great Britain—long as its people had been trained ained to pass the measure,
to popular institutions—in six months. What, then, was no House of Peers, or check
to be expected when such a constitution was suddenly hamber of the Cortes, elected,
imposed on a country inured to political nullity by cenaffrage; and the king's minis
turies of absolute government—by a so-styled National pso facto lost their seats in the
Assembly, elected, during the whirl of the French war, he Cortes was to be re-elected
almost entirely by the populace of Cadiz, when crowded 10 member who had once sat could
to suffocation by all the most ardent spirits in the Penins its bosom. The king had the
sula refluent within its walls from the effects of the French and military officers, but only out of
invasion ? It was impossible to imagine a constitution him by the Cortes, who could alone
more at variance with the ancient institutions, or repugor the government of the army. The
nant to the present feelings of nineteen-twentieths of the civil courts were to be appointed by the
Spanish people. It was like a constitution for Great could declare peace or war; and con
Britain formed by a parliament elected by the inhabitants cost, instance; but his measures in
of the Tower Hamlets, Marylebone, and Manchester, with
CHAP, a few returned from the mountains of Cumberland and
_ Wales. But, unfortunately, in proportion to its utter 1814,
unsuitableness for the entire inhabitants of the Peninsula, and the abhorrence of the vast majority of the people to its provisions, it was the object of impassioned attachment on the part of the democratic populace in the capital and a few seaport towns. It was so for a very obvious reason : it promised, if established in a lasting way, to put the whole power and patronage of the state at their disposal. Therein the seeds of a lasting division of opinion, and of a frightful civil war at no distant period in the Peninsula, in which it might be expected that 12,000,000 bold, hardy, and loyal peasants, scattered over the whole country, would be arrayed on one side ; while 500,000 ardent and enthusiastic democrats concentrated in the capital and chief fortresses, and having the command of the army, were in arms on the other.
The proceedings of the Cortes, and the democratic 23. Universal character of the measures they were pursuing, was well unpopu
the known to the Duke of Wellington, and discerned by Cortes and him with his wonted sagacity. He repeatedly warned
the government of Great Britain, that while the spirit of the nation was anti-Gallican, not democratic, that of the Cortes and its narrow body of constituents was democratic, not anti-Gallican ; and that it would be their wisdom, without sanctioning in any shape, or interfering at all with the proceedings at Cadiz, to turn their attention exclusively to the expulsion of the French from the Peninsula. * They did so, and with what effect need be
*« The natural course of all popular assemblies of the Spanish Cortes among others—is to adopt democratic principles, and to vest all the powers of the state in their own body; and this Assembly must take care that they do not run in this tempting course, as the wishes of the nation are decidedly for a monarchy. By a monarchy alone it can be governed ; and their inclination to any other form of government, and their assumption of the power and patronage of the state into their own hands, would immediately deprive them of the confidence of the people, and render them a worse government, and more impotent, because more numerous, than the Central Junta."-WELLINGTON to H. WELLESLEY, Nov. 4, 1810; GuRwOOD, iv. 559. “The Cortes are unpopular everywhere, and, in my opinion, deservedly so.
larity of t
le to Attachne capivery obsting way, ate at their jn of opinion, period in the lat 12,000,000
over the whole ; while 500,000 ncentrated in the ng the command of
vuld to none; but though Spain marched under his CHAP.
Europe, the end of the world, in all governments, monarchical c. x. $ 55.
tien fine Chateaub. and republican, where the executive and legislative func
Congrès de tions are united in one person or assembly ; for then Verone, i. there is no possible check upon the misdeeds of either. Martignac, The only security which can be relied upon is to be Ann. Reg.
1812, 67, found in their separation and mutual jealousy, for then 68. they act as a check upon each other.2
The proceedings of the Cortes, and the republican spirit with which they were animated, acted in a still Influence of
• 99, 100;
, and the democratic ere pursuing, was well ton, and discerned by
He repeatedly warned in, that while the spirit of not democratic, that of the
of constituents was demoand that it would be their Ig in any shape, or interfering s at Cadiz, to turn their attenspulsion of the French from the 180, and with what effect need be popular assemblies—of the Spanish Cortes among tic principles, and to vest all the powers of the nd this Assembly must take care that they do not se, as the wishes of the nation are decidedly for a y alone it can be governed ; and their inclination to onment, and their assumption of the power and to their own hands, would immediately deprive them people, and render them a worse government, and more - pumerous, than the Central Junta."—WELLINGTON TO ^. Gurwood, iv. 559.
" It is impossible to describe the state of confusion in which affairs are at
wwhere, and, in my opinion, deservedly so.