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VII.

res of the

vernment. March 26.

case, its difficulties and responsibilities. They endea- CHAP. voured, so far as in their power, to moderate the general. fervour which had elevated themselves to office; but their

1820. views 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

76. the external pressure to which they were subjected, and First meathe extreme division of opinion which prevailed in the new gocountry on the recent changes. A decree was issued on M 26th 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, April 23. after 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. 205, 209;'

Ann. Hist. dom when its inauguration was signalised by measures of illi. 419. such oppressive character or revengeful severity.1 The Cortes was convoked for the 9th July; but in

77. the mean time the real powers of government resided, not Establishin the King's Ministers, but in the Supreme Junta which ment in sat alongside of them in Madrid. That body, elected by Madrid, the populace in the first fervour of the Revolution, was revolutioncomposed of persons of the most violent character, and sures. as they foresaw that their tenure of power would be of short duration, as it would be superseded by the meeting

ment of clubs in

and other

ary mea

VII.

1820.

CHAP. of the Cortes, their principal care was to organise the

means of controlling that body, and subjecting it to the 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 mind. Many of them acquired a fatal celebrity in the future history of

the revolution. At the same time, all restrictions on the 1 Martignac, 1. 206, 207; press being removed, a host of journals sprang up in the Ann. Hist. iii. 4 20. capital, which vied with each other in the propagation of

the most violent revolutionary sentiments,

The measures of the Government soon gave tokens of Legislative their influence. Swift as had in 1789 been the march of

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 ex

clusive privileges, and investing in the nation all seignorial April 24. 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

78.

measures.

CIU

VII.

1820.

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, and 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 Cortés ; Ann. Hist. and in the mean time thirty Suppliants, or substitutes, Martignac,

i. 211, 212, 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 of

the Cortes : versal suffrage during the first fervour of the revolution, its composiits members presented that strange assemblage, and ex- tion. clusion 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 decided majority. Generals Quiroga and O’Daly, and the other 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, 2:25;

Ann. Hist. by the name of Serviles.2 Universal suffrage had done its i. 422. work: it had established, as it invariably does, class

VII.

80.

in the provinces.

attemilar of the

with. rtillery, ed. Th

CHAP. government of the very worst kind, that of an ignorant

and irresponsible majority. 1820.

Disorders meanwhile had broken out in the provinces, Disorders which sufficiently demonstrated that, however popular in vinces.Pro the great and seaport towns, the revolutionary régime

was anything but agreeable to the inhabitants of the May 14. country. At Saragossa a disturbance arose, in the

attempt of five or six hundred peasants to throw down the pillar of the constitution, which was only put down by General Haxo, with two regiments of infantry and cavalry, and a battery of artillery, with the loss of twenty lives, and triple that number wounded. The consequences were serious. The Marquis Alazan, governor of the province, brother of the famous Palafox, was deprived of his command, which was bestowed on Riego, his wife was arrested, and sixty monks were thrown into prison to await

their trial before a military commission. Shortly after June 15. an insurrection broke out in the mountains of Galicia,

near the confines of the Portuguese province of Entre Douro e Minho. A junta, styled “the apostolical,” was elected, with the device “ Religion and the King." Crowds of peasants flocked round the sacred standard. The royalists passed the Minho, and advanced towards

St Iago, where they hoped to be joined by numerous July 7.

partisans. Their number soon amounted to three thousand ; but they were worsted in several encounters with the regulars near Zuy on the Minho, and at length dispersed. Among the papers of their chiefs, which were

seized, were letters which proved that they were in cor1 Ann. Hist. ii. 424, 425. respondence with secret royalist committees in Aragon,

Andalusia, Old Castile, and the capital itself.1

On the night before the assembling of the Cortes, an 81. Murder of event happened of evil augury as to its future career. A

, part of the body-guard attached to liberal principles of the mureward broke into the royal palace, under pretext, which was

wholly unfounded, that a number of Serviles had assembled there to offer the king their services, and mur

one of the

derers.

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1820.

82.

dered a faithful officer who withstood their entrance. So CHAP. far there was nothing remarkable ; such tragedies are almost invariably the accompaniment of civil dissension. But what followed proved the impotence of the law; and that the majority, as in America, had now become so powerful that no crime committed in their interest could be brought to punishment. The fact of the murder was notorious, it had been committed by the assassins with their official scarfs on; the persons implicated in it were well

Martignac, known ; but so far from being punished, they were all i. 224, 225. acquitted on a mock trial, and immediately promoted.1

The session of the Cortes was opened with great pomp by the king on the 9th July, in presence of the queen and Opening of whole corps diplomatique. The sovereign again took the July 9. oath to the Archbishop of Seville, the first President of the Cortes, who addressed his Majesty in a speech which terminated with these words : “ The most virtuous of nations will forgive its injuries, pardon the outrages it has received, establish its constitutional government, and preserve in all its purity its holy religion. The distrust, the seeds of discord, the fears, the odious suspicions, which the perfidious have so long sought to inspire in the best of kings, will cease, and all will unite around his throne by a fraternal alliance, which will secure the public peace, produce abundance, and prove the source of every social blessing." The king pronounced a speech which re-echoed these warm anticipations and benevolent intentions. It will appear in the sequel how, on either side, these pro- iii. 426. mises were fulfilled and these anticipations realised.2

One of the most important public documents presented to the Cortes was a report on the state of the Report on

when the state of army, which gave a graphic picture of its deplorable condition, and revealed the main cause of the revolutionary July 1 spirit with which it was animated. The minister reported that, including the guard, its entire effective strength was only 53,705 men, in lieu of 87,000, its strength on paper; and 7085 cavalry mounted. The whole was in the most

2 Anp. Hist.

83

the army.

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