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Chap. government of the very worst kind, that of an ignorant UI' and irresponsible majority.
1820. Disorders meanwhile had broken out in the provinces,
Disorders which sufficiently demonstrated that, however popular in Ttoees.pro" the great and seaport towns, the revolutionary regime 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 jane i5. 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 coriii.424,42s! 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 Murder of event happened of evil augury as to its future career. A bodyguard, part of tne body-guard attached to liberal principles of the*rTu?- broke into the royal palace, under pretext, which was deren. wholly unfounded, that a number of Seniles had assembled there to offer the king their services, and murdered a faithful officer who withstood their entrance. So Chap. far there was nothing remarkable; such tragedies are al
most 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 „ .
known; but so far from being punished, they were all s. 224,225. acquitted on a mock trial, and immediately promoted.1
The session of the Cortes was opened with great pomp g2 by the king on the 9th July, in presence of the queen and opening of whole corps diplomatique. The sovereigu again took the juiy V. 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>A will appear in the sequel how, on either side, these pro- Hi. m. "' 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 army, which gave a graphic picture of its deplorable con- 'he aTMy.°f dition, and revealed the main cause of the revolutionary July 15, 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
Chap, deplorable state of nudity and destitution. The clothing YI1' of the infantry for the most part had not been renewed 1820- since 1814; only seven regiments of cavalry were dressed in anything like homogeneous uniform; various dresses clothed the remainder, all worn out. The artillery was crazy and broken down, the arsenals empty. The entire cost of the army was 352,607,000 reals (£3,500,000), being more than half the revenue of the monarchy, aud yet every branch of the service was deeply in arrear of their pay. No less than 38,000,000 reals (£380,000) was due to the cavalry, and £450,000 to the infantry. The report announced that the constitution had been accepted at Puerto Rico, St Domingo, and Cuba, but that the war, "fomented by the stranger," still lingered on the continent of America, to which, since 1815, fortytwo thousand men had been despatched from Old Spain. Here is the secret of the Spanish revolution; it is to be found in the destitution of the exchequer, and ruin of the external commerce of the kingdom, in consequence of the South American revolution. Had the trade of Cadiz and Corunna been as flourishing as it was prior to 1810, and the Spanish troops been paid, clothed, fed, and lodged, like the English soldier, there would have been no revolution; the king, with the general consent of the nation, would have reigned like his fathers, and Riego, unknown and guiltless, would have died a natural death.
The majority of the Cortes was composed of the Majority of liberals of 1812, whom six subsequent years of the galits leaders, leys, imprisonment, or exile, had confirmed in their principles, and inspired with an ardent thirst of vengeance against their oppressors. It was no wonder it was so; the royal government now experienced the retribution due for its severities, and had leisure to lament the failure to act in that magnanimous spirit which, by forgiving error, might have caused it to be abjured. But although the composition of the majority was such as presaged violent and destructive measures at no distant period, its leaders were men of enlarged views and great capacity, Chap. whose statesmanlike wisdom at first imposed a consider- VI1' able check upon its excesses. In the front rank of the 182°" leaders must be placed Martinez De La Rosa, a man of great ability and uncommon oratorical powers; and Calatrava, an orator less brilliant, but more argumentative, and a statesman more experienced in public affairs. The Marquis Toreno also, a nobleman of the most enlarged views, who had studied with advautage, and learned the action of representative governments by travelling in foreign countries, lent the aid of his extensive knowledge and profound reflection. If anything could warrant the hope of a prudent use of power in a body constituted as the Cortes was, it was its being directed by such men. But there were others of a different stamp, whose influence ere long increased, and at length became irresistible from the combined influence of the clubs and the press. Among these were soon remarked Gasco, Philippe Navarro, Romoro, Alpuente, and Moreno, the Jacobins of the revolution. Their party at first did not iMarti ac number above a sixth of the whole Cortes ; but, as is too i.225,§»s'
. ... Ann. Hist.
often the case m such circumstances, they in the end ac- Hi. 428,429. quired its entire direction.1
The first measures of the Cortes, though not of a violent or sanguinary character, were nevertheless obviously suppression calculated to increase the democratic influence and action suits, and in the country. The Afrancesados, who awaited their «g"„TMg fate in Biscay in deep distress, were restored to theirenUilsproperty, but not to their offices, pensions, or honours; the sixty-nine of the old Cortes were included in the seP. 21. amnesty, but, with the exception of the Marquis of Mattaflorida, declared incapable of holding any election or public office. The decree of the former Cortes and of the king against the Jesuits was adopted, with certain modifications. An important law was also passed restricting the entails, which had so long operated to the prejudice of Spanish agriculture. They were prohibited
Chap, in future absolutely in landed estates, and permitted only in payments out of land, as right of superiority,
1820- or of the manor, to the extent of 20,000 ducats for grandees, 40,000 for persons enjoying title, and 20,000
Oct. 12. for private individuals. No entail was admitted below 6000 ducats. These were steps, and important ones,
iAnn.Hist.in the right direction: and if the leaders of the revo
iii. 430 432
439; Mar-' lution had limited themselves to such practical reforms, 2$/5i. they would have deserved well of their country and of the human race.1
But in the midst of these beneficent labours, the dread
Financial ful evil of embarrassment of the finances still made itself measures, aQ(j ^j.Q increasing severity, from the cessation of
speculation and confidence which had arisen from the revolution. The loss of the revenue derived directly from South America by the produce of the mines, and indirectly by the stoppage of the commercial intercourse with the revolted colonies, rendered abortive all attempts to pay the interest of the debt and carry on the current expenses of the nation from its domestic resources.* In this extremity the Spanish Cortes did what the Constioct L tuent Assembly had done before them; they suppressed all the monasteries except eight, and confiscated their property to the service of the state; the monks and nuns, 61,000 in number, turned out, received small pensions varying from 100 to 400 ducats (£20 to £80). Already Oct. 14. the clubs had become so formidable that a decree was utuous-, passed closing their sittings, which remained a dead letter. SmuTr!"1 Tithes were abolished, both in the hands of the clergy rcno;Mar- and lay proprietors, but the half of them was kept up as 230,23i. a direct contribution for the service of the state.2 Even after all these extraordinary revolutionary resources had
* According to a report presented to the Cortes by the Commission of Finance, on 22d October, the National Debt consisted of—
Real/*. Francs. £
142,220,672,391 or 3,839,580,000 or 140,000,000 The whole revenues of Spain were not equal to the discharge of the interest of this debt annually.—Rapport, Oct. 22, 1850. Annuaire Jlutorique, iii. 440.