« ForrigeFortsett »
stalled iu his stead. The revolution at Madrid was an Chap.
unexpected godsend to Riego, who received it when wan- 1_
dering, almost alone, and destitute of everything, in the 182°" solitudes of the Sierra Morena. From the depths of misery and despair he was suddenly elevated to fame and fortune, and brought back to Cordova, where he joined |iu?2,4i3'; in proclaiming the constitution with General O'Donnell, fg£ J^gand those who had lately pursued him with such unre- UTMTlenting severity, and soon after made a triumphant entry 121. into Seville.1
A deplorable catastrophe at Cadiz first interrupted J4 these transports, and revealed an alarming division of Massacre at opinion even among the military, by whom the revolution March 9 had been effected. On the 9th March the people in""1 Cadiz, accompanied by a part of the military, flocked to the square of San Antonio, and General Freyre, seeing no other way of extricating himself from his difficulties, published a proclamation, in which he engaged, on the following day, at ten o'clock, in the same place, to announce the acceptance of the constitution. The people, who looked upon this as a certain step to the pacification of the colonies, and the recovery of the lucrative commerce they had so long enjoyed with South America, were in transports, and flocked on the day following, at the appointed hour, to the Place San Antonio. But a dreadful fate awaited them. In the midst of the general joy, when the square was crowded with joyous multitudes, when every window was hung with tapestry, or filled with elegantly dressed females, and flags waved in every direction, bearing liberal devices, a discharge of musketry was suddenly heard in one of the adjoining streets, and immediately a disordered crowd, with haggard countenances and cries of horror, were seen flying into the square, closely pursued by the military. It was the soldiers of the regiments of the Guides and delLeattad (of Fidelity), which, issuing from their barracks, had, without any orders, and by a spontaneous movement, commenced a fire
Chap, on the people. Instantly, as if by magic, the square was MI' deserted; the multitude, in the utmost consternation,
1820- dispersed on every side, and took refuge in houses or the casements of the fortificatioDS, closely pursued by the soldiers, who massacred them without mercy, and abandoned themselves to all the atrocities usual in a town taken by assault. The deputies of the Isle of Leon, who were in an especial manner the object of indignation to the soldiers, were only saved from destruction by being transported to Fort Saint Sebastian, where they were kept during three days, crowded in the casements, and almost starving. On the following day the same scenes of disorder were renewed; the soldiers issued from their barlAnn Hist. rac^8> an& systematically began the work of plunder and m.413^415; extortion; and before order was restored, the killed 1820,2$; amounted to four hundred and sixty, including thirty-six f^oT""' women and seventeen children, and the wounded to above a thousand.1
While these frightful scenes were inaugurating the New minis- revolution at Cadiz, the new ministry was formed, and dni entered upon its functions at Madrid. It was composed, as might be expected, of the leading men of the liberal party, several of whom passed from a dungeon to the palace of the Government. It contained, however, many eminent names, which have acquired a lasting place in the rolls of fame. Senor Arguelles, whose eloquence in the former Cortes had acquired for him the surname of "the Divine," was Minister of the Interior; Don Garcias Herreras, one of the most violent orators on the liberal side, was appointed Minister of Justice; Canga Arguelles was Minister of the Finances; the Marquis Las Amarillas, of War; Perez de Castro and Don Juan 1Ann Hi8t Jabat, were appointed to the Exterior and the Marine.2 Ailn'iie19' though the new ministers had all been leading orators 1820,237; on the liberal side in the Cortes, and many of them had i. 204,205. sunered persecution and imprisonment from the king, yet, with the acquisition of office, they felt, as is generally the
case, its difficulties and responsibilities. They endeavoured, so far as in their power, to moderate the general fervour which had elevated themselves to office; but their 1820views were by no means shared by their impatient followers, and it was soon apparent that their reign was not destined to be of very long duration.
The first measures of the new Government betrayed the external pressure to which they were subjected, and First meathe extreme division of opinion which prevailed in the S^'^.' * country on the recent changes. A decree was issued on M^eoU; 26 th March, declaring that every Spaniard who should refuse to swear to the new constitution, or who, in taking it, should qualify it with mental reservation, should, if a layman, be deprived of all honours, distinctions, and offices; if an ecclesiastic, his property was to be sequestrated. Another decree allowed the Juramentados or Afrancesados, as they were called, or Spaniards who had sworn fealty to Joseph Buonaparte, and who were estimated at six thousand, to return to Spain; but another, Aprilsafter they had in great part returned, compelled them to remain in Biscay or Navarre, provinces under the government of Mina, their implacable enemy. A third placed April 26. the sixty-nine members of the former Cortes, who had signed the petition to the king to resume the powers of an absolute monarch, under surveillance of the police in certain convents, till the pleasure of the new Cortes was taken on their fate. It augured ill of the cause of free- i. 20s, 209? dom when its inauguration was sigualised by measures ofiii.4'19. such oppressive character or revengeful severity.1
The Cortes was convoked for the 9 th July; but in
the mean time the real powers of government resided, not Estabiishin the King's Ministers, but in the Supreme Junta which "absfn sat alongside of them in Madrid. That body, elected by "dither the populace in the first fervour of the Revolution, was revolQtioncomposed of persons of the most violent character, andsuTMas they foresaw that their tenure of power would be of short duration, as it would be superseded by the meeting
Chap. of the Cortes, their principal care was to organise the Ul' means of controlling that body, and subjecting it to the
im- domination of the democrats in the capital. It was under the influence of this body that the severe decrees which have been mentioned had been passed. Nothing could be done without their sanction—nothing could withstand their control. In imitation of the Jacobins and the Girondists at Paris, they established clubs in the capital and in the principal towns throughout the provinces, in which the measures of Government were daily canvassed, and the most violent language constantly used to keep up the fervour of the public rniud. Many of them acquired a fatal celebrity in the future history of
, „ •. the revolution. At the same time, all restrictions on the 2oe,Jo7; press being removed, a host of journals sprang up in the
iii. 420. 'capital, which vied with each other in the propagation of the most violent revolutionary sentiments.1 _8 The measures of the Government soon gave tokens of
Legislative their influence. Swift as had in 1789 been the march of
measures. revolution in France, swifter still was now its advance in Spain. Before the Cortes had even assembled, the junta and clubs of Madrid had dictated decrees to the nominal Government, which had effectually secured the supremacy of the democratic party. Some of them were worthy of unqualified admiration; others were of the most perilous
April 4. tendency. Among the first, were decrees abolishing the Jesuits and the Inquisition, and all monuments and emblems which bore reference to them, and establishing an entire freedom of the press. In the last category must
April 13. be placed the decrees which followed, abolishing all exclusive privileges, and investing in the nation all seignorial
April 2i. jurisdictions; the institution of national guards, with their officers chosen by the election of the privates, agreeably to the Constitution of 1812 ; and one, declaring that the taking of all monastic vows should be suspended until the meeting of the Cortes, and that, in the mean time, no alienation of any part of the monastic property should be valid. The last enactment was of the most sinister augury, Chap.
the more especially as the necessities of the exchequer '—
had been noways diminished by the recent convulsions, 1820and the property of the church in Spain was estimated at eighteen thousand millions of reals. Meanwhile honours, gratuities, and pensions were showered on the generals and officers of the army in the island of Leon, which had made the revolution; and all idea of prosecuting the expedition to South America having been abandoned, an invitation was sent to the insurgent states to send deputies, in terms of the constitution, to the Cortes; -^"oo'ttf. and in the mean time thirty Suppliants, or substitutes, ^"u^vl' were chosen among the South Americans resident in the 223.' Peninsula.1
The elections were conducted with great regularity, and the Cortes met on the 9th July. Elected by uni- Meeting 0f versal suffrage during the first fervour of the revolution, lu eompoiiits members presented that strange assemblage, and ex-tl0n" elusion of various important classes, which invariably result from a uniform and single system of suffrage. Not a single grandee of Spain was elected; very few of the noblesse or landholders; only three bishops. Advocates, attorneys, factors, merchants, generals and military officers, who had risen to eminence by the revolution, and were ardently attached to its fortunes, constituted a decidedmajority. GeneralsQuiroga andO'Daly,and theother chiefs of the army of Leon, were amongst its ranks: Riego was only absent, because, having been appointed to the command of the army in the Isle of Leon, he could not be spared from its ranks. The conservative party, or the one attached to old institutions, was almost unrepresented. Navarre, and a few remote and obscure parts of New Castile, had alone returned members in that interest, and their number was so small that they had no weight in .„ .
, , , , „ , . , 'Martignac,
the assembly, and from the very outset were stigmatised i. '224,225; by the name of Serviles.2 Universal suffrage had done its m^W" work: it had established, as it invariably does, class