directing at the same time what is to be observed in order that there may be no interruption in the administration of justice and the political arrangements and government of the people.

The King.–Since Divine Providence, by reason of the voluntary and solemn renunciation of my august father has placed me on the throne of my ancestors. of which I was regarded already as the sworn successor by the representatives assembled in the Cortes, according to the usages and customs of the Spanish nation for a long time practiced; and since that auspicious day on which I entered into the Capital in the midst of the most sincere demonstrations of loyalty and affection with which the people of Madrid came out to re. ceive me, making this manifestation of love to my royal person before the French army, which, under the guise of friendship had hastily advanced : being a presage of what this heroic people would one day perform for their king, and for their own honor, and giving an example which all other part of the kingdom nobly followed ; since that day it has been my royal purpose to respond to sentiments so loyal and to fulfil the weighty obligations which rest upon a king towards his people to dedicate all my time to the discharge of such august functions and to repair those evils to which the pernicious influences of a Court favorite during the preceding reign gave rise. My first efforts were directed to the restoration of the various magistrates and other persons who had been arbitrarily deprived of their employments, but the un. favorable situation of affairs and the perfidy of Bonaparte, from the cruel effects of which I desired by going to Bayonne to preserve my people, scarce gave place for more. The royal family being then reunited there was committed in relation to it and in a signal manner in my own person an outrage exceeding in atrocity any furnished by the history of civilized nations, as well from the circumstances attending it as the series of events which then occurred; and in violation of the highest and most sacred law of nations, I was deprived of my liberty and of the enjoyment of the government of my kingdoms and carried to a palace with my beloved brother and uncle, and that mansion served as a prison for the space of almost six years. In the midst of these afflictions, the love and loyalty of my people was ever present to my memory, and the consideration of the infinite evils to which they were exposed formed a large part of these afflictions, surrounded as they were by enemies, almost deprived of the power of resistance ; without a king and without a government previously established which could push forward any movement and reunite at its command the forces of the nation and direct their movements and apply the resources of the State to combat the large armies which simultaneously invaded the Peninsula, and were already most perfidiously placed in possession of the principal places.

In this deplorable condition I issued in the form in which being controlled by force, I could alone do it, and as the only remedy which remained, the decree of the 5th May, 1808, directed to the Council of Castile, and in their absence to whatsoever chancery or audiency should be found at liberty for the convocation of the Cortes, whose duty alone it should be by promptly arranging the necessary means and supplies, to secure the defence of the kingdom, and for that purpose remaining permanently in session to meet any emergency; but this my royal decree unfortunately was then unknown, and although after this the provinces furnished supplies immediately upon their receiving notice of the cruel acts performed at Madrid by the commander of the French troops, on the memorable second of May, and by their government by means of the Juntas which they created. The glorious battle of Bailen occurred at this time; the French fled to Victoria, and all the provinces and the capital proclaimed me once more king of Castile and Leon, with all the formal. ities which have been practiced in relation to the kings, my august predecessors; a recent event of which the medals struck at many different places bear true testimony, and which the towns through which I passed on my return from France confirmed by the utterance of those acclamations of joy which moved the sensibilities of my heart where they are engraved never to be effaced. From among the deputies which they called the juntas the central one was formed which exercised in my royal name, the entire sovereign power from September 1808 until January 1810, in which month was established the Council of the Regency in which the exercise of that power was continued to the 24th of September of the same year, in which month were installed in the island of Leon the Cortes called general and extraordinary. One hundred and four deputies, that is fifty seven Proprietaries and forty seven substitutes as appears by the act certified by the Secretary of State, of foreign affairs and Justice Nicholas Maria de Sierra, agreeing under oath to the act in which they promised to secure to me all my dominions as their sovereign. But at this Cortes convened in a manner never practiced in Spain even on the most pressing occasions and in the most turbulent times of the minorities of the kings in which it had been customary to convene a more numerous body of representatives than the common and ordinary one, they were not called the estates of the nobility and clergy, although the cen. tral junta had so commanded, this decree having been artfully concealed from the council of the regency, and also that the junta had assigned to it the presidency of the Cortes—a prerogative of sovereignty which the regency would not have been deprived of at the discretion of Congress if they had had notice of the existence of the decree. With this ererything remained at the disposal of the Cortes, who on the very day of their installation and in the first of their acts deprived me of that sovereignty which but a short time before had been recognised by those very deputies, nominally ascribing the sovereignty to the nation in order to appropriate it to themselves and after. wards impose upon the nation, after such usurpation, the laws which they desired, placing a yoke upon the nation by which it was forced to receive

those laws under a new constitution, which without power or authority from any province, town or junta, and without notice to those which are said to be represented by the substitutes of Spain and the Indies, the deputies established and they themselves sanctioned and published in 1812.

This first attempt against the prerogatives of the throne, abusing the name of the nation, was the foundation of much that followed ; and in spite of the repugnance of many of the deputies and sometimes of a majority of them, what were called fundamental laws were brought forward and adopted by the means of the clamor, threats and violence of those who were present in the galleries of the Cortes, by which they were overawed and terrified; and that which was truly the work of a faction has been dressed up as the spurious representation of public sentiment, and as such obtained currency with those not seditiously inclined, so that in Cadiz, and afterwards at Madrid, they occasioned much trouble in those good cities.

These acts were so notorious, that scarcely any one is ignorant of them ; and the very journals of the Cortes afford secret testimony of them all. A mode of making laws so foreign to the practice of the Spanish nation, gave rise to the alteration of those good laws under which at other times the nation had been respected and happy.-In a word, almost the entire form of the ancient constitution of the monarchy has been changed, and copying the revolutionary and democratic principles of the French Constitution of 1791, and omitting from the same what was assumed in the beginning of the constitution which was framed at Cadiz, they have sanctioned not the fundamenmental laws of a moderate monarchy, but those of a popular government, with a chief or magistrate, a mere executive delegate, but no king, although the title is preserved in order to deceive and mislead the inconsiderate, and the nation at large. The same want of freedom characterised the signing and swearing to this new Constitution, and it is evidence to all, not only what occurred in relation to the respectable bishop of Orense, but also the punishment threatened those who did not sign and swear to it. And in order to prepare the minds of men for these strange innovations, especially those relating to my royal person, and the prerogatives of the throne, they undertake, by means of the public papers, in some of which, some of the deputies of the Cortes were themselves interested, abusing the very liberty of the press established by themselves, to render odious the royal power, giving to all the rights of majesty, the name of despotism, treating as synonymous those of king and despot, and speaking of kings as tyrants ; at the same time, cruelly persecuting whomsoever had the firmness to contradict or dissent from this course, regarding it as revolutionary and seditious; and this democracy prevailed in everything, and taking the title of royal from the army, navy, and all those establishments which for a long time had enjoyed that title, and instituting that of national, in order to flatter the people wbo, in spite of so many perverse acts, possessed with their national loyalty those sound opinions which


always marked their character. In relation to all this, when I happily entered the kingdom, by enquiry I received a faithful account and full information, partly by my own observation, and partly through the public press of the same, from which, up to that time had been boldly scattered abroad, the gross and infamous matter in relation to my coming and my character, which, even with respect to any other person, would be a very grave offence and worthy of the severest notice and chastisement. These acts, so unexpected, filled my heart with bitterness, which was only in part alleviated by the demonstrations of affection from all those who hoped for my return, in order that by my presence they might put an end to those evils, and that oppression which those had suffered, who had cherished the remembrance of my person, and sighed for the true felicity of their country.

I promise and swear to you, true and loyal Spaniards at the same time that I compassionate the evils which you have suffered, that you shall not be defrauded of your noble expectations. Your Sovereign desires to be such for you and glories in being such over an heroic nation which by its immortal deeds has gained for itself the admiration of all, and preserved its liberty and henor.

I abhor and detest despotism ; neither the light nor the cultivation of the nations of Europe will now suffer it; nor in Spain were there kings ever despots ; nor have the wholesome laws and constitutions of the kingdom ever authorized it, although unhappily, from time to time there have been some abuses of power, as in all other places and in every thing that pertains to man, and which no possible constitution can wholly prevent; nor were these abuses in relation to the nation at large, but in relation to persons and property connected with unfortunate, but rarely witnessed circumstances, which gave the opportunity and occasion for them.-Nevertheless, in order as far as is given to human foresight to prevent these abuses, that is, by preserving what is due to the dignity and rights of the crown, since those which pertain to it and those which belong to the people are equally inviolable ; I will treat with the representatives of Spain and the Indies, and in a Cortes lawfully assembled, composed of both, and the more readily, because order being re-established and those salutary usages under which the nation has lived and which with their consent the kings, my august predecessors established, they may the more readily be united ; they shall be firmly and law. fully established so far as may be promotive of the good of my kingdoms, in order that my vassals may live prosperously and happily with one religion and wmpire, firmly united by an indissoluble bond, in which, and in which alone consists the temporal happiness of a king and a kingdom, which has, by distinction, the title of Catholic ; and henceforth I shall take in hand the preparation and regulation of what shall appear best for the re-union of these Cortes through which I hope may be secured the basis of the prosperity of my subjects in both hemispheres.

Liberty and security, individual and royal, shall be firmly secured by the means of laws which, guaranteeing public tranquility and order, leave to all that salutary liberty, in the undisturbed enjoyment of which, distinguishing a moderate government from an arbitrary and despotic one, those citizens who are its subjects ought to live. In the possession of this true liberty, all shall, at all times, enjoy the communications by the Press, of their thoughts and feelings, that is, within those limits which sound reason, sovereign and independent, prescribes to all, that it do not degenerate into licentiousness ; since the respect which is due to religion and government, and that which men mutually owe to each other for their own protection, cannot in any civilized

government reasonably permit that it shall be trampled upon and destroyed · with impunity.

All suspicion of the dissipation of the revenues of state shall be removed, by a separation in the treasury of that which may be assigned for those expenses which may be required from respect to my royal person and family and that of the nation which I have the glory to command, from the revenues which by the assent of the kingdom, is imposed and assigned for the main. tenance of the state in all the branches of its administration. And those laws which may from time to time form the rule of conduct for my subjects shall be established with the assent of the Cortes. In order that this basis may serve as a sure presage of my royal intentions in the government of which I undertake the charge, and that I may be known to all not as a des. pot, or tyrant, but as a king and a father of his vassals. Therefore having learned by the unanimous information received from persons respectable for their zeal and knowledge and in relation to the matters herein contained, having received representations from various parts of the kingdom, in which are expressed the repugnance and disgust with which as well the constitution, formed by the general and extraordinary Cortes as the other political establishments recently introduced are regarded in the provinces; the evil and prejudicial results which have followed from these and which would be augmented if I should add the authority of my, consent, and should swear to support that constitution :-In conformity with such decided and general demonstrations of the wishes of my people, and because the same are just and well founded, I declare that my royal purpose is not only not to swear or accede to the said constitution or to any decree of the general and extraordinary Cortes, or the ordinary Cortes already issued, that is, such as deprive me of the rights and prerogatives of my sovereignty, established by the constitution and the laws under which the nation has for a long time continued ; but to declare that constitution and those decrees now and at all times void and of no force or effect, in the same manner as if such acts had never been passed, and that the same be abrogated, and with no obligation on the part of my people or subjects of whatsoever class or condition, to comply with or observe them.

« ForrigeFortsett »