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important, but for the illustration of which he is excellently furnished by local knowledge, ample materials, skill in the requisite languages, and indefatigable industry. With all these advantages on his side, we must nevertheless confess that he has somewhat disappointed us. There is altogether a want of effect about the narrative. We seldom find that dexterity in detecting the secret motives and springs of action, which is so indispensible a faculty in the historian. There is but little profound or vigorous political discussion. The characters concerned in the respective transactions, do not appear to us very happily discriminated; nor is the composition distinguished by vivacity. In one of the most important features of his undertaking, the distinct description of military movements and maneuvres, he has, in our apprehension, entirely failed. We entertain, however, sanguine expectations, that he will gain strength as he proceeds. The details of the Guerilla system will call forth his peculiar powers; and the heroic perseverance of the Spanish nation against the most fearful disparity of means and numbers, will rouse him into more vigorous narrative.
It is most painful to compare the later periods of Spanish history, with the times of its power and grandeur; and it is among the most impressive illustrations of the disastrous effects of misgovernment, to contrast the complete nullity into which the nation had sunk, with the state of intense activity into which it was thrown by a strong appeal to the energies of the people. In the days of Gonsalvo, de Leyva, Spinola, and Farnese, the armies of Spain were eminent in valour, discipline, and success : under the Bourbon dynasty, they became a mere mockery of military force. Nothing, in short, can exceed the state of debility into which that once powerful nation had been gradually falling, and which had reached its extreme point of depression at the epoch of the French Revolution. Dr. Southey has described this state of moral and political degradation with great accuracy.
• In other countries where absolute monarchy has been established, and the Romish superstition has triumphed, both have been in some degree modified by the remains of old institutions, the vicinity of free states, and the influence of literature and manners. But in Spain and Portugal, almost all traces of the ancient constitution had been effaced; and as there existed nothing to qualify the spirit of popery, a memorable example was given of its unmitigated effects. The experiment of intolerance was tried with as little compunction as in Japan, and upon a larger scale. Like the Japanese government, the Inquisition went through with what it began; and though it could not in like manner secure its victory, by closing the ports and barring the passes of the Peninsula, it cut off, as much as possible, all intel
lectual communication with the rest of the world. The courts of Madrid and Lisbon were as despotie as those of Constantinople and Ispahan. They did not, indeed, manifest their power by acts of blood, because the reigning families were not cruel, and cruelty had ceased to be a characteristic of the times; but with that cold, callous insensibility to which men are liable, in proportion as they are removed from the common sympathies of humankind, they permitted their ministers to dispense at pleasure exile and hopeless imprisonment, to the rigour and inhumanity of which death itself would have been mercy. The laws afforded no protection, for the will of the minister was above the laws; and every man who possessed influence at court, violated them with impunity, and procured impunity for all whom he chose to protect. Scarcely did there exist even an appear. ance of criminal justice. Quarrels among the populace were commonly decided by the knife: he who stabbed an antagonist or an enemy in the street, wiped the instrument in his cloak, and passed on unmolested by the spectators, who never interfered farther than to call a priest to the dying man. When it happened that a criminal was thrown into prison, there he remained till it became necessary to make room for a new set of tenants': the former were then turned adrift; or, if their crimes had been notorious and frequent, they were shipped off to some foreign settlement.
• After the triumph of the monarchial power, the Cortes had fallen first into insignificance, then into disuse. There was no legislative body; the principle of the government being, that all laws and public measures of every kind were to proceed from the will and pleasure of the sovereign. Men of rank, therefore, if they were not in office, had no share in public business; and their deplorable education rendered them little fit either to improve or enjoy a life of perfect leisure. It is said also to have been the system of both governments, while they yet retained some remains of perverted policy, to keep the nobles in attendance about the court, where they might be Jed into habits of emulous extravagance, which would render them hungry for emoluments, and thereby dependent upon the crown. The long continued moral deterioration of the privileged classes had produced in many instances a visible physical degeneracy; and this tendency was increased by those incestuous marriages, common in both countries, which pride and avarice bad introduced, and for which the sanction of an immoral church was to be purchased.
• The armies partook of the general degradation. The forms of military power existed like the forms of justice: but they resembled the trunk of a tree, of which the termites have eaten out the timber, and only the bark remains. There appeared in the yearly almanacks a respectable list of regiments, and a redundant establishment of officers: but brave and capable of endurance as the Portuguese and Spaniards are, never were there such officers or such armies in any country which has ranked among civilized nations. Subalterns might be seen waiting behind a chair in their uniforms, or asking alms in the streets ; and the men were what soldiers necessarily become when, without acquiring any one virtue of their profession, its sense of character and honour, its regularity, or its habits of restraint, they possess all its license, and have free scope for the vices which spring up in idleness. Drawn by lot into a compulsory service, illdisciplined, and ill-paid, they were burdensome to the people, without affording any security to the nation. pp. 4–7.
Religion, taking the word in its emphatic sense, was in a most miserable condition; but it presented, in some respects, a less gloomy aspect. Although the people at large were under the absolute dominion of superstitious feeling, and the parochial clergy, as well as the monastic orders, were nearly on the same level with the laity in point of mental enlargement, yet there were signs of the approach of a better state of things. The dignitaries of the church were men of respectable characters. The spirit of intolerance was mitigated; much had been done, by commercial intercourse and other circumstances, to diminish the horror in which heretics had been formerly held; and some progress had been made towards the introduction of liberal opinions. The morals of the lower classes were deeply depraved, and the influence of what may be
called their vulgar, rather than their popular literature, must have greatly tended to the increase of their licentiousness. The robber or the assassin was usually the hero of the ballad; nor was the Spanish drama free from this gross perversion of right feeling and taste. Even the higher orders were infected by this corruption of manners. Noblemen delighted to ape the ruffian and the bravo, and women were found among those
of distinguished rank, who affected the dress and the manners • of the vilest of their sex. Such was the state of things in Spain, when the Revolution involved France in the calamities of civil commotion, and ultimately placed the sceptre of that country in the hands of a military adventurer, gifted with faculties of the highest order, but deficient in the judgement and moderation necessary for the retention and consolidation of power. The outline of the great transactions of that era is sketched, but not with a master hand. There appears to be too much of party feeling, on a contracted scale, in the mind of the present Historian, for either a candid or an enlarged view of events which require an unusual absence of prejudice in the individual who undertakes to trace out their course, and to analyse their precise qualities. He writes, in this portion of his work at least, too much in the character of a regularly drilled politician and pamphleteer, and with too little of the calm and impartial tone of an independent chronicler, to admit of our adopting his representations as our own, and, and at the same time, without enough of detail and definition to render it expedient to discuss with him the merits of the case. Dr. Southey has made no secret of his sentiments; but they are no further before us at the present moment, than as they call for the observation, that a man of such decided party spirit has at least one disqualification for becoming a dispassionate historian. After a strong, and probably accurate statement of the evils arising from the absurd experiments tried on education by the Revolutionary governments, preparatory to an analysis of the scheme devised by Napoleon for training up the youth of France in entire subserviency to his views, Dr. Southey intimates that the Consul was then probably
hesitating whether to take the right-hand way or the left ; whether to build up again the ruined institutions of France, strengthen the throne on which he had resolved to take his seat, by an alliance with the altar'; and in restoring to the kingdom all that it was possible to restore, while he retained the sovereignty to himself, engraft upon the new dynasty those principles which had given to the old its surest strength when it was strongest, and a splendour of which no change of fortune could deprive it
. Two parties would be equally opposed to this, the Jacobins and the Royalists. The latter it was impossible to conciliate : they would have stood by the crown even if it were hanging upon a bush ; but their allegiance being founded upon principle and feeling,... upon the sense of honour and of duty, ...would not follow the crown when it was transferred by violence and injustice from one head to another. He found the Jacobins more practicable. They indeed had many sympathies with Bonaparte : he favoured that irreligion to which they were fanatically attached, because it at once Aattered their vanity and indulged their vices; his schemes of conquest offered a wide field for their ambition and their avarice: and what fitter agents could he desire than men who were troubled with no scruples of conscience or of honour; whom no turpitude could make ashamed; who shrunk from no crimes, and were shocked by no atrocities? Thus Bonaparte judged concerning them, and he reasoned rightly. The Jacobins both at home and abroad became his most devoted and obsequious adherents : they served him in England as partizans and advocates, denying or extenuating his crimes, justifying his measures, magnifying his powers, and reviling bis opponents; on the continent they co-operated with him by secret or open treason, as occasion offered ; in France they laid aside in his behalf that hatred to monarchy which they had not only professed but sworn, and swearing allegiance to a military despotism, gave that despotism their willing and zealous support.' pp. 34-36.
We have as little partiality for Jacobinism as even Dr. Southey can desire; but if the alternative be the ascription of principle and feeling, honour and duty,' to the Bourbon Royalists, who would have stood by the crown,' quand même
it were hanging upon a bush,' we must submit to his anathema. The whole passage is a manifesto issued against those who shall presume to extenuate' what Dr. S. may be pleased to consider as the crimes' of Napoleon, or to judge that extraordinary man by any other code than the opinions of the Laureate. A subsequent attack on the Foxites' is distinguished by the coarseness of its invective; and even the Grenville party, though their well known aristocratical feeling obtains for them high eulogy, are punished for their opposition to the specific measures of Administration, by a rebuke for their factious animosity.' We have thought it right to mention these particulars, since the feelings and views which they indicate, must be taken into the account in every fair estimate of the value of Dr. Southey's historical labours. But, that we may not be suspected of ascribing too much importance to his sentiments, we shall, without further delay, pass on to the immediate subject of his book.
When Napoleon, in the plenitude and very wantonness of power, determined on taking entire possession of Spain and Portugal, the administration of the former state was in the hands of Don Manuel de Godoy, Prince of the Peace; a man ignorant and selfish, of depraved morals and notorious incapacity. His influence and conduct corrupted the nobility; and the character of the Royal Family is sufficiently known, to render unnecessary any attempt to prove that neither talent, virtue, nor patriotic feeling was to be looked for in that quarter. From such a court and ministry, and from a nation sunk as were the Spanish people, Napoleon could anticipate no effectual opposition to his plans; and the whole of his career has sufficiently proved his practical ignorance of the disinterested qualities of human nature, and the moral force of human passion. He began with a series of intrigues, artfully deyised, and skilfully arranged. The imbecility of the King, and the worthless character of Ferdinand, supplied him with his machinery; and he played father against son, and son against father, with as little remorse as he would have employed the different pieces on a chess-board. The general detail of these manoeuvres is distinctly, and no doubt accurately given by Dr. Southey ; but we cannot say that he displays any extraordinary sagacity in exploring the secrets of cabinets, or in tracing up events to their obscure causes. The conspiracy of the Escurial, the tumult at Aranjuez, and the abdication of the King, were all subservient to the grand design of Napoleon, and were made use of by him in furtherance of his ends; but how far he might be concerned in them, or whether they did not take place entirely without his interference, are questions by no means, as it appears to us, sufficiently cleared up. Without, however, entering into the discussion of these points,