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VII.

1814.

CHAP. had been opened, came to the hall of the Cortes, in the '._ Isle of Leon, with feelings wound up to the highest

pitch, from the wrongs they had so long endured from the selfish and monopolising policy of the mother country, and the free and independent spirit which the breaking out of the revolution in the Caraccas and elsewhere had excited in her transmarine possessions. They found themselves in a highly democratic and vehemently excited assembly, in which the noble name of liberty was continually heard, in which the sovereignty of the people was openly announced, the whole fabric of the new constitution was made to rest on that foundation, and in which the most enthusiastic predictions were constantly uttered as to the future regeneration and happiness of mankind from the influence of these principles. They returned to South America, under the restriction which had been adopted of each Cortes to two years' sitting, before these flattering predictions had been brought to the test of experience, or anything had occurred to reveal their fallacious character. They instantly spread among their constituents encroachments, injustice, and violence to which it is at all times liable, particularly in the progress of revolutions. Such a guard can only be afforded by the establishment of an assembly of the great landed proprietors—like our House of Lords, having concurrent power with the Cortes; and you may depend upon it there is no man in Spain, be his property ever so small, who is not interested in the establishment of such an assembly. Unhappily, in legislative assemblies, the most tyrannical and unjust measures are the most popular. I tremble for a country such as Spain, in which there is no barrier for the preservation of private property, excepting the justice of a legislative assembly possessing supreme power. It is impossible to calculate upon the plans of such an assembly: they have no check whatever, and they are governed by the most ignorant and licentious of all licentious presses-that of Cadiz. I believe they mean to attack the royal and feudal tenths, the tithes of the Church, under pretence of encouraging agriculture; and finding the supplies from these sources not so extensive as they expected, they will seize the estates of the grandees. Our character is involved in a greater degree than we are aware of in the democratical transactions of the Cortes, in the opinion of all moderate, well-thinking Spaniards, and, I am afraid, with the rest of Europe. It is quite impossible such a system can last : what I regret is, that I am the person who maintains it. If the king should return, he will overturn the whole fabric, if he has any spirit; but the gentlemen at Cadiz are so completely masters, that I fear there must be another convulsion." WELLINGTON to Don DIEGO DE LA VEGA, Jan. 29, 1813; GURWOOD, X. 64, 65, 247; xi. 91.

-Om counbreaksewhere ey found nently exliberty was of the people the new conn, and in which nstantly uttered ness of mankind . They returned on which bad been

sitting, before these ght to the test of exo reveal their fallacious among their constituents

25.

Portugal :

the seat of

to Rio Ja

the flattering doctrines and hopes with which the halls of CHAP.

VII. the Cortes had resounded in Europe. Incalculable was the influence of this circumstance upon the future des- 1814. tinies of South America, and, through it, of the whole civilised world. To this, in a great degree, is to be ascribed the wide-spread and desperate resolution of the 1 Comte de vast majority of the inhabitants in the revolutionary con-Trequil...

mont, de test in those magnificent settlements; their frightful deso- l'Anglelation by the horrors of a war worse than civil ; and their Lord Pal

merston, final severance, by the insidious aid of Great Britain, from ii. 265. the Spanish crown.1

In all the particulars which have been mentioned, PORTUGAL was in the same situation as Spain; but in Situation of two respects the situation of that country was more effect of the

removal of favourable for innovation, and her people were more than ripe for revolt than in the Spanish provinces. The royal government family having, during the first alarm of the French inva- neiro. sion, migrated to Brazil, and dread of the terrors of a sea voyage having prevented the aged monarch from returning, he had come to fix his permanent residence on the beautiful shores of Rio Janeiro. A separation of the two countries had thus taken place; and the government at Lisbon, during the whole war, had been conducted by means of a council of regency, the members of which were by no means men either of vigour or capacity, and which was far from commanding the respect, or having acquired the affections, of the country. While the weight and influence of Government had been thus sensibly weakened, the political circumstances of Portugal, and the events of the war, had in an extraordinary manner diffused liberal ideas and the spirit of . independence through a considerable part of the people.

Closely united, both by political treaties and commercial intercourse, with Great Britain, for above a century Its general Portugal had become, in its maritime districts at least, i almost an English colony. English influence was pre

habits and

ideas. dominant at Lisbon : English commerce had enriched

ich it is at all times liable, particu

a guard can only be afforded by great landed proprietors-like our ver with the Cortes; and you may in, be his property ever so small, who of such an assembly. Unhappily, in nical and unjust measures are the most ch as Spain, in which there is no barrier ety, excepting the justice of a legislative r. It is impossible to calculate upon the y have no check whatever, and they are id licentious of all licentious presses-that of attack the royal and feudal tenths, the tithes : of encouraging agriculture ; and finding the t 80 extensive as they expected, they will seize

Our character is involved in a greater degree o democratical transactions of the Cortes, in the ell-thinking Spaniards, and, I am afraid, with the e impossible such a system can last: what I regret sho maintains it. If the king should return, he will , if he has any spirit ; but the gentlemen at Cadiz is, that I fear there must be another convulsion.”—

DE LA Vega, Jan. 29, 1813; GUBWOOD, 4, 64, 65,

26.

of VII.

1814.

CHAP. Oporto : the English market for port had covered the hi_ slopes of Tras-os-Montes with smiling vineyards. In

addition to this, the events of the late war had spread,
in an extraordinary degree, both admiration of the Eng-
lish institutions, and confidence in the English character,
through the entire population. Thirty thousand Portu-
guese troops had been taken into British pay : they had
felt the integrity of British administration : they had
been led to victory by British officers. Unlike the native
nobles who had held the same situations, they had seen
them ever the first in the enemy's fire — the last in
acts of domestic corruption. Immense had been the
influence of this juxtaposition. Standing side by side
with him in battle, they had learned to respect the
English soldier in war, to admire the institutions which
had trained him in peace. Even the hatred in which
they had been bred of the heretic, yielded to the evidence
of their senses, which had taught them his virtues. In
daily intercourse with the British soldiers, they had
learned to appreciate the liberty which had nurtured
them; they had come to envy their independence of
thought, and imitate their freedom of language. The
mercantile classes in Lisbon and Oporto, almost entirely
supported by British capital, and fed by British com-
merce, were still more strongly impressed with the
merits of the political institutions, from intercourse with
a nation governed by which they had derived such signal
benefits. Thus a free spirit, and the thirst for liberal
institutions, was both stronger and more wide-spread in
Portugal than in the adjoining provinces of Spain; and
it was easy to foresee that, if any circumstances impelled
the latter country into the career of revolution, the former
would be the first to follow the example.

FERDINAND VII., whom the battle of Leipsic and Character of conquest of France had restored to the throne of his

ancestors, was not by nature a bad, or by disposition a cruel man; and yet he did many wicked and unpardon

27.

Ferdinand
VII.

tage

ter, ortu

y had ey had je native

had seen
che last in
ud been the

side by side
o respect the
titutions which

hauiet in which
sd to the evidence
m his virtues.
wldiers, they i

In
which had no
heir indepen, Ultra
Omo angua

Dporto, almo be. The
and fed by Vt entirely
ngly impresse. Litish com-
Gons, from int with the
they had deri rcourse withi
it, and the Ved such signal
onger and mon birst for liberal
jining province e wide-spread in
at, if any circa of Spain; and
the career of re, mstances impelled
ollow the exam Olution, the former
, whom the bal

had restored to
by nature a bad.

Sve on the part of the liberal press in Europe. Placed 181
in the very front rank of the league of princes, ruling a
country in which the vast majority were decidedly monarch-
ical-a small minority vehemently democratic-brought,
the first of all the monarchs of Europe, in contact with
the revolutionary spirit by which they were all destined
to be so violently shaken, it was scarcely possible it could
be otherwise. But the character of Ferdinand was, per-
haps, the most unfortunate that could have been found to
tread the path environed with dangers which lay before
him. He had neither the courage and energy requisite
for a despotic, nor the prudence and foresight essential in a
constitutional sovereign: he had neither the courage which
conimands respect, the generosity which wins affection,
nor the wisdom which averts catastrophe. Indolence was
his great characteristic; a facility of being led, his chief
defect. Incapable of taking a decided line for himself,
he yielded easily and willingly to the representations of
those around him, and exhibited in his conduct those
vacillations of policy which indicated the alternate ascen-
dancy of the opposite parties by which he was sur-
rounded. His inclination, without doubt, was strongly
in favour of despotic power ; but he had great powers of
dissimulation, and succeeded in deceiving Talleyrand
himself, as well as the liberal ministers subsequently im- . .
posed upon him by the Cortes, as to his real intentions.
Supple, accommodating, and irresolute, he had learnt

Martignac,
hypocrisy in the same school as the modern Greek has 100, 106.
learned it from the Turk—the school of suffering. .
The treaty of Valençay, as narrated in a former work,*

28. restored Ferdinand VII. to liberty, and he re-entered the Ferdinand's kingdom of his fathers on the 20th March 1814, just ten Spain, and days before the Allies entered Paris. This treaty had treatment been concluded with Napoleon while the monarch was Cortes.

* History of Europe, 1789-1815, chap. lxxxvii. $ 71.

tid many wicked and

of Leipsic and 20 throne of his

by disposition a

ortes.

ed and unpardon

VII.

CHAP. still in captivity, and it was a fundamental condition of

-_ it that he should cause the English to evacuate Spain. 1814.

The subsequent fall of the Emperor, however, rendered this
stipulation of no effect; and, after having been received
with royal honours by the garrisons, both French and
Spanish, in Catalonia, the monarch proceeded by easy
journeys to Valencia, where he resided during the whole
of April. The reason of this long sojourn in a provincial
town was soon apparent. He was there joined by the
Duke del Infantado, and the leading grandees of the
kingdom, as well as many of the chief prelates. Mean-
while the Cortes, who had testified the greatest joy at the
deliverance of the king, refused to ratify the Treaty of
Valençay, as having been concluded without their consent
-continued resident at Madrid, without advancing to meet
their sovereign-and soon began to evince their imperious
disposition, and to show in whom they understood the real
sovereignty to reside. At the moment when Ferdinand re-
entered his kingdom, they published of their own authority
a decree, in which they enjoined him to adopt, without
delay, the Constitution of 1812, and to take the oath of
fidelity towards it. Until he did so, he was enjoined not
to adopt the title, or exercise the power, of King of Spain;

and they even went so far as to prescribe the itinerary he Decree, was to follow on his route to the capital, the towns he 1814; Mar- was to pass through, and the expressions he was to use in tignac, 107; Ann. Reg.' answer to the addresses he was expected to receive. It 68. is not surprising that he turned aside from such task

masters,1

Scarcely had the monarch set his foot in Spain when Universal he received the most unequivocal proofs of the detestation

in which the constitution was generally held, and the universal hatred at the subordinate agents to whom the Cortes had intrusted the practical administration of government. From the frontier of Catalonia, to Valencia–in the fortresses, the towns, the villages, the fields—it was one continual clamour against the Cortes : “Viva el Rey

March 20

1814, 67,

29.

unpopularity of the Cortes.

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