Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

VII.

at last by 1 Martignac;

present to him the project of the law. It was on the CHAP. third presenting only in successive sessions that he was . constrained to accept. But it is not in the nature of 1820. democracy to admit of any compromise, or tolerate any bridle, how gentle soever, in its career. The clubs were instantly in motion ; the cry of a counter-revolution was heard. Frightful crowds of the lowest of the populace, yelling and vociferating vengeance in the most violent manner, paraded the streets, and converged towards the arsenal which contained all the arms and ammunition. The report spread that the troops would not act against the insurgents ; that the life of the king was in danger. Intimidated and overawed, the ministers counselled submission, and renewed their entreaties to the king to sanction the law. He long resisted ; but overcome at last by, the increasing danger, and their assurance that the troops i. 246, 248;

Ann. Hist. could not be relied on, he affixed his signature, and im- iii, 443,444. mediately after set out from Madrid for the Escurial.'

The victory thus gained over the king was not attended by the advantages which had been anticipated. In some Reception places in and around the great towns, as Valencia and cree against Barcelona, the people broke in tumultuous crowds into the inespriests monasteries, forcibly expelled the monks and nuns, and it was with difficulty that the heads of the houses were rescued from their hands. At Valencia, the archbishop, besieged by a furious mob in his palace, on account of an anathema which he had fulminated against the sale of the ecclesiastical estates, was only rescued from death by being embarked in the night for Barcelona, where, on landing, he encountered similar dangers. But in the rural districts, especially Galicia, Leon, Navarre, Asturias, Old Castile, and Aragon, the decree against the priests met with a very different reception, and was found to be incapable of execution. Transported with indignation at the thoughts of the hospitable doors, where they had so often been fed in adversity, being closed against them, and their revered inmates being turned adrift upon the world

VOL. II.

89.

esiastical estafad fulminaterace, on account

VII.

1820.

CHAP. without house or home to shelter them, the people rose

in crowds and forcibly prevented the execution of the decree. Between the resistance of the people in some districts, and the cupidity of their own agents in others, the treasury derived scarcely any aid from this great measure of spoliation. It was exactly the same in France in 1789; it will be so in similar circumstances to the end of the world. When Government takes the

lead in iniquity, it soon finds it impossible to restrain 1 Ann. Hist.“ iii. 444,445; the extortions of inferior agents : it is like a woman who Martignac, i. 248, 251. has deviated from virtue attempting to control the man

ners of her household.

Meanwhile the king, shut up in the Escurial, refused 90. Ilegal ap- to be present at the closing of the session of the Cortes, pointment of General which terminated on the 9th November ; and in secret Carvajal by the king.'

by meditated an attempt to extricate himself from the Nov. 16.

meshes in which he was enveloped. To effect this, the support of the military was indispensable ; and with that view the king, of his own authority, and without the concurrence of any of his ministers, which, by the constitution, was required to legalise the appointment, promoted General Carvajal to the situation of Captain-general of New Castile, in room of the constitutional General Vigodet, who held that important command. A warm altercation ensued between the two generals when the order to cede the command was produced, which ended by Vigodet declaring that he would retain the command till superseded by a general legally appointed. The intelligence of this rash step on the part of the king soon transpired: the clubs immediately met and commenced a warm agitation; the committee of the Cortes met, and declared its sittings permanent; the ministers were in constant consultation ; and in the clubs and agitated crowds in the streets, it was openly announced that a counter-revolution had been resolved on, and that dethronement had become now indispensable. Anxious to avoid such an extremity, the ministers sent in their collective resigna

VII.

1820.

1 Ann. Hist.

91.

tion to the king; and the permanent commission of the CHAP. Cortes, and municipality of Madrid, sent deputations to – the Escurial, with grave and severe remonstrances against the illegal step which had been taken. The irresolute and inconsistent character of the king immediately. appeared. No sooner were the addresses read than he declared he had no idea he was doing an unconstitutional thing in the appointment of General Carvajal, that he Ag

iii. 446,447; revoked it; that he would dismiss the Count Miranda, Martignac,

i. 253, 254; the grand-master of his household, and his confessor, Don Ann. Reg.

1820, 229, Victor Paez, and within three days would re-enter his 230." capital.1

He arrived, accordingly, on the 21st, accompanied by the queen, who was in a very feeble state of health, Return of

the king to surrounded by a crowd shouting vociferous revolutionary Madrid. cries, through a double line of National Guards, and Nov. 21. amidst cries of “ Viva el Constitution !” Suddenly a child was raised up above the crowd, with the book of the constitution in its hand, which it was made to kiss with fervour. A thousand cries, and the most fearful threats of vengeance, accompanied the incident; and when the king inquired what it was, he was informed it was the son of General Lacy come to demand justice against his father's murderers. Overcome with terror, and almost stupefied with emotion, the king, with feeble steps and baggard looks, re-entered the palace, and immediately shut himself up in his apartment. The most sinister presentiments were felt. Terror froze every heart. The striking resemblance of the procession which had just terminated to that of Louis XVI. from Ver- , Ang sailles to Paris in 1789, struck every mind; and men iii. 449;

"Martignac, shuddered to think how short an interval separated that i. 225, 227;

Ann. Reg. melancholy journey from the 21st January, when the 1820, 236. martyr king ascended the scaffold. 2

The victory of the revolutionists was now complete, .. and they were not slow in improving it to the utmost advantage. General Riego, so recently in disgrace, was

Ann. Hist.

as

VII.

92

lutionists

CHAP. appointed Captain-general of Aragon; Velasco, the late

governor of Madrid, who had been dismissed from his 1820.

office for his supineness on occasion of Riego's riot in Victory of the theatre, was appointed Governor of Seville; Mina the Revo

was made Captain-general of Galicia; Lopez Baños, of Navarre; Don Carlos Espiñosa of Old Castile; ArcoArguerro, of Estremadura; the Duque del Infantado, President of the Council of Castile; and all the persons of moderation in the Government were sent into exile from the capital. These were all men, not only of approved courage, but of the most determined revolutionary principles. The whole subordinate officers, civil as well as military, were selected from the same party; so that the entire authority in the kingdom had, before the end of the year, passed into the hands of the supporters of the new order of things. The clubs resumed their former activity, and increased in vigour and audacity in the metropolis; and with them were now associated a still more dangerous body of allies in the secret societies of the provinces. • The ancient and venerable institution

of free-masonry, formed for the purposes of benevolence, . Martignac, and hitherto unstained by those of party, was now peri. 259, 261; Ann. Hist. verted to a different object, and converted into a huge Ann. Reg. Jacobin Society, held together by secret signs and oaths; 1820, 230, 232. and along with it was associated a new institution of a

still more dangerous and pernicious tendency.1

This was a society, which assumed the title of Franc93. New society Communeros." Their principles were those of the So

cialists, in their widest acceptation; their maxims, that lynch law. universal equality was the birthright of man, and that

nothing had hitherto so much impeded its establishment as the false and hypocritical ideas of philanthropy and moderation by which the reign of despots had been so long prolonged. In pursuance of these principles, they were bound by their oath, on entering the society, to obey all mandates they received from its superior officers, whatever they were, and however contrary

iii. 449;

100 kom Janted to a dinstained bvr the pur

for execution of

VII.

to the laws of the state; and they engaged “ to judge, CHAP. condemn, and execute every individual, without excep- tion, including the king or his successors, who might 182 abuse their authority.” So far was this power of selfjudging and lynch law carried, that it led to serious disturbances, particularly in Asturias and Galicia, in the end of November and December, which were not suppressed without serious bloodshed; while in Madrid the agitation was so violent that one of the clubs was shut up by order of Government, while the whole garrison was called out to enforce the order; and the king, trembling for his life, no longer ventured to leave his own palace. An incident soon occurred which showed how wellfounded his apprehensions were, and gave a pitiable proof of the state of degradation to which the royal authority was reduced. The king at length went out in his carriage, which was speedily surrounded by an insulting mob, which, from furious cries, proceeded to assail the royal vehicle and guards with showers of stones. Indignant at such conduct, the guards wheeled about, charged the assailants, wounded several, and dispersed the rest. Instantly a furious mob got up, which surrounded the barrack to which the guard had retired, and insisted upon the obnoxious men being delivered up to them. This was done : they were thrown into prison and detained there long, though their conduct was so evidently justifiable that they were not brought to trial; and the king, on the representation of his ministers that they sacrifice could no longer be averted, was obliged to i. 264, 267;

Ann. Reg. dismiss his whole guard, and confine himself to his own iii. 450,451.

palace.1

94.

PORTUGAL evidently was intended by nature to form part of the same monarchy as Spain. The Pyrenees, Identity of

recent hiswhich separate them both from all the rest of Europe ; tory of

Spain and the ocean, which encircles both their shores, and opens to Portuga them the same commerce and maritime interests; the

« ForrigeFortsett »