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Chap. Restoration. The journey of Ferdinand from Valencia to N a Madrid was the exact counterpart of that of Charles II.
mi- from Dover to London, a hundred and fifty-three years before. It was a continual triumph. In vain the Cortes assumed a menacing aspect, and, in a tumultuous and stormy meeting, adopted the most violent resolutions to resist the royal authority, and to declare traitors, and punish as such, all who should aid the king in his criminal designs. Physical force was awanting to support their resistance. The troops which they sent out to withstand the royal cortege were the first to array themselves in its ranks, amidst loud cheers and cries of "Viva el Rey Assoluto!" Everywhere the pillar of the constitution was overthrown and broken: enthusiastic crowds, wherever he passed on the journey to Madrid, saluted the returning monarch; and the Cortes, deserted by all, even their own ushers, in utter dismay fled across New Castile towards Cadiz. Some remained, and were thrown into prison. It 'n^sST*was on the 13th May that the king, surrounded by a mi 7<?g' loyal and enthusiastic crowd, which, as he approached the 71 j cha- capital, was swelled to above a hundred thousand persons,
teaubnand, r' # «• i
congrea de and amidst the universal and heartfelt acclamations of his 27,28.'' subjects, entered Madrid, and reascended the throne of his fathers.1
Thus fell the work of the Cortes — the Constitution
Reflections of 1812, the victim of its own violence, folly, and injusevent, and tice. Happy if it had never been revived, and become, coursM10"* in consequence of that very violence and injustice, the opento*L watchword of the revolutionary party all over the world! king' Hitherto the proceedings of the king had been entirely justifiable, and such as must command the assent of all the friends, not only of order, but of freedom, throughout the world. The constitution which had been overthrown was not only an object of horror to the vast majority of the nation, but had been imposed upon it by a small minority, whose ideas and designs were not less threatening to the interests than repugnant to the habits of the VII.
people. It was the work of a self-elected knot of revo- Chap. lutionists at Cadiz, whose object was to secure to themselves the real government of the country, strip the Crown of all its prerogatives, and divide the whole offices and patronage of the country among themselves. The king had pledged his royal word that he would without delay assemble the Cortes, convoked according to the ancient laws and customs of the country, and with their aid commence the formation of laws and the reformation of abuses, which might secure the happiness of his subjects in both hemispheres. It was a matter of little difficulty in Spain, whatever it might be elsewhere, to effect such a reformation; for its ancient constitutions contained all. TM , .
the elements of real freedom, and its inhabitants could f'
tread the path of improvement in the securest of all i8, 19.''
ways, without deviating into that of innovation.1 *
But Ferdinand did not do this, and thence has arisen
. . 34.
boundless calamities to his country, lasting opprobrium to Ferdinand-s
himself. He resumed the sceptre of his ancestors and measures, reigned as an absolute monarch ; but he forgot all the pro- Juhmtnt of mises, so solemnly made, to reign with the aid of a Cortes ti°°Jnquisi" assembled according to the ancient laws and customs of the realm. He fell immediately under the direction of a camarilla composed of priests and nobles, who incessantly represented to him that there could in Spain be no constitutional government, and that the only way to secure either the stability of the throne or the welfare of the
* It is a curious and instructive circumstance how it was that the ancient elements of freedom were lost in Spain; Chateaubriand thus explains it: "Les premières auxqueUes les députés du Tiers assisterent, furent celles de Laon en 1188: cette date prouve que les Espagnols marchaient a la téte des peuples libres. Feu & peu les bourgeois fatigués laissaient le souverain payer leurs mandatairca, et désigner les villes aptes a la députation. Douzo cites seulement en obtinrent le droit . Charles V. tyran, naturellement ligué avee son collègue cet autre tyran, le peuple, éleva les villes représentées a vingt; mais en memo temps, dans la reunion de Tolédo, en 1535, il retrancha pour toujours des Cortes le Clerga et la Noblesse. Les rois, débarrassas du joug des Cortas, furent contraints de s'en imposer d'autres. Des conseils ou des conseUlers dirigeaient la monarchic."—Chateaueriand, Congrit de Virom, tom. 19. See also Uietoria d'Eepana, viil 471. Madrid, 1851.
Chap. kingdom, was to restore everything to the condition in
which it was before the Revolution. He was not slow
18lt in following their advice. Disregarding a patriotic and moderate address from the University of Salamanca, in which he was prayed to follow up the gracious intentions professed in the declaration from Valencia, of convoking a Cortes, and establishing with their concurrence the laws which were to govern the kingdom, he re-established by a decree from Madrid the Inquisition, and as a July 21. natural consequence recalled the Pope's nuncio, who had left the country on its abolition by the Cortes. The use of torture, however, in all the civil tribunals, was proAng. s. hibited by a decree soon after; and in a memorial to the Pope by the Spanish government it was proposed to abolish it also in the dungeons of the Inquisition, and various regulations were submitted for mitigating the severity of that terrible tribunal. These.proposals were carried into effect; and thereafter its proceedings were , Ann Reg confined to a species of police surveillance over opinions, 73-4Moii- to cneck tae progress of heresy, but without the frightful UndYs5' tor''ures which had characterised its secret, or the Autos1814. ' da-fa" which had for ever disgraced its public proceedings.1
The open assumption of absolute power by the GovernDucont<mt ment, the delay in convoking the Cortes, and, above all, quarters, the re-establishment of the Inquisition, excited the utmost alarm in the liberal party throughout Spain, and spread great dissatisfaction even among the officers of the army, by whose support alone they could be carried into effect. Symptoms of disturbance soon appeared in various quarters; for in Spain the habits of the people are so independent, and danger or life are so little regarded, that from dissatisfaction to hostility, as with the Bedouins, is but a step. The roads in the whole of Estremadura, the Castiles, Andalusia, Aragon, and Catalonia, were so infested by bands of guerillas, who, long inured to violence and rapine, had now become mere robbers and bandits, that
^\>ut they had no adequate armed force at their disposal to 18Ueffect that object. A proclamation by the governor of Aag. i. Andalusia revealed the existence of more serious disturbances, having a decided political tendency, and threatened every person who should be found either speaking or acting against Ferdinand VII. with death, within three days, by the sentence of a court-martial. A great number of arrests took place soon after in Madrid—ninety persons were apprehended in a single night; and so numerous did the^^yf*8prisoners soon become that the ordinary places of con- J*s Memofinement would not contain them, and the spacious con- Esp°z y vent of San Francisco was converted into a vast state i6G, iei prison, to embrace the increasing multitude.1
These proceedings excited the greatest consterna- gfi tion among th$ liberals, and great numbers of persons Revolt of who deemed themselves compromised fled across the Sw^e. Pyrenees into France. Among the rest, the famousSept 26Espoz Y Mina, who had gained such great celebrity as a partisan chief in Navarre in the war with Napoleon, fell under the suspicion of the Government, who sent him an order, on 16th September, to fix his residence at Pampeluna, and place the troops he had formerly commanded under the orders of the Captain-general of Aragon. Regarding this injunction, as it certainly was, as a decided measure of hostility, this daring chief, at the head of the 1st Regiment of Volunteers, approached that fortress in the night of the 26th. They were provided with scalingladders, and acted in concert with the 4th Regiment, then in garrison in the city, by whom Mina was admitted into the fortress, and with the officers of which he spent a part of the night on the ramparts, expecting a movement in his favour. Although the greater part of the officers, however, had been engaged in the conspiracy, the private soldiers nearly all remained faithful; and in Mina's own regiment of volunteers they sent information to the gover
Chap. nor of Aragon of what was in agitation, and warned him to be on his guard. The consequence was, that the
1814, attempt proved abortive; Mina himself with difficulty de1?E^poz" made his escape, his troops nearly all deserted him, and [af^f he deemed himself fortunate in being able to retire to Osa's"' France by Puente la Reyna—thus seeking refuge among 18U; Amu the enemies whom he had so strenuously combated, from 7sf77^ ' the king he had so powerfully aided in putting on the throne.1
This abortive insurrection, as is ever the case in such
Fresh kr- circumstances, strengthened the hands and increased the crw'Iifd^ rigour of the monarch. It soon appeared that the restoSept.,ni"d- ration of the absolute government, and the chief privileges of the nobles, had been resolved on by the camarilla which ruled the State. Already, on 15th September, a decree had been issued restoring the feudal and seignorial privileges of the nobles, which had begn abolished by a decree of the Cortes on 6th August 1811; and this was soon followed up by the still more decisive step of reinvesting the council of the Mesta with its old and ruinous right of permitting its flocks to pasture at will over the downs in Leon, Estremadura, and the two Castiles, thus rendering the enclosure of the land or the improvement of the soil impracticable. On 14th October, on occasion of the king's going to the theatre of Madrid, an amnesty for State offenders was published, which professed to be general, but contained so many exceptions that it in reality Nov. 7. was little more than nominal; and the resolution of the Government to extinguish anything like free discussion in the kingdom was evinced by the king in person arresting and committing to prison M. de Macanay, the MinisDec. 17. ter of Justice and of the Interior. Soon after, the state Njjv^u"' prisoners at Madrid were sentenced, some to ten, some to 2sdi8U; &*x, and some to two years of the galleys, or of imprisoniSu 77*' ment m strono castles; and they included the editors of, 79.' ' or contributors to, the Redacta General, and principal liberal journals published at Madrid.2