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minating influences under which it hail vokeil under their influence, and asbeen for centuries, and was still ac- suming å station to which it had no customed to exert its faculties, when claim on pretences utterly false, pro that glorious burst of national enthu- mulgated the constitution of 1812. siasm took place, to which the voice of That promulgation was for the moEngland answered with the note of an ment overlooked by many who were universal sympathy, and the vow of a quite aware of what was meant, from fraternal co-operation. The priests, the natural reluctance to anything like the nobles, the peasants, the whole discussion in the then state of the people, rose as with one heart-it was country-many, very many, rather a nation, not a faction, that called than let the French' know that the and it was a nation, not a faction, that nation was not at one, thought themmade answer.
selves justified, and in so far, doubtless, · Within the Spanish nation, how, they were so, in giving no external ever, there did already exist a faction, resistance. But this would not do. and this faction was destined to be the The prejudices of the great muss of the instrument for heaping upon it evils, nation were insulted, at the same moof a new kind indeed, but not inferiorment when the church and the nobito those under which it had long been lity were thus openly attacked ; and contented to labour. faction had the church, robbed of her power and been rearing itself unseen, and unno- her patrimony, and the nobility robticed, which was now to take advan- bed by one scratch of the pen, of all tage of a time of danger, that ought their privileges, nay, deprived of all to have united all, for the rash pro- power whatever in the state, and the mulgation of opinions that could not people of Spain, accustomed for cenhave, and had not, any other effect turies to reverence their clergy, and but that of rending asunder every obey their feudal lords, refused, from bond of union that did exist; and that moment, to continue that patrio. which, but for the presence of the tic warfare, which, in its first moveEnglish army, must have been the ments, had commanded the admirameans of laying the Spanish nation tion, and roused the hopes, of the prostrate and fettered at the feet of world. They said, these men are not Napoleon.
for our Spain, no, nor for the right It had been the curse of Spain, that Spain ; they are for a Spain of their whatever notions of civil liberty had own imagining, an unchristian, a refound access among any classes of her publican, a French Spain. If Frenchpopulation, had come in tainted with men must rule us, we prefer living the Jacobinical extravagances of infi- Joseph to dead Voltaire-let them del and revolutionary France. The fight their own battle-the cause is priests themselves had known no me
no longer ours.-Sir Howard Douglas, llium between their breviaries and the in his excellent Pamphlet,* dwells at Dictionnaire Philosophique. And now, great length on the events we have at the moment when the result of all thus rapidly glanced over-We must those French principles and schemes make room for his summing up of was visibly embodied before their eyes, their consequences. in the presence of a French invading
“ As nearly the whole of Spain was army, headed by the lieutenants of a French military despot, even now it occupied by the troops of Napoleon at was that these rash men dared to pol- formed, very few of the members of that
the time the Extraordinary Cortes was lute for the first time the ears of their body were duly elected by the provinces own countrymen with the open enun- and towns of old Spain which they were ciation of all the most violent and in- supposed to represent; and still fewer of solent dogmas of the creed of infidelity the members who took their seats as deand Republicanism. These were the puties for the colonies, were chosen by men who took to themselves the name ihe actual voice of any regularly constiof Liberales ; they consisted for the tuted body of the people. But, as at that most part of mercantile mena few period there were many individuals whom nobles, and but a few, joined with the troubles of the war had driven from them--and the Cortes of Cadiz con the provinces, and also many South
* Crisis of Spain.
American merchants, natives, and others, kingdom the most violent opposition,
santry were neutralized, and the only de-
and other persons connected with South Constitution, proceeds to peruse the folAmerica, were the chief instruments in lowing extracts of addresses which were getting up the Constitution ; and there printed and circulated in the country, and were not wanting agents to help them, which truly, as well as prophetically chasome from bad motives, and otliers from racterize that code." pure, though erroneous views. One great
And again object was to retain empire over their colonies. Jealous of Great Britain, they re “ A government not blinded by the fused her proffered mediation between most intemperate degree of revolutionary Spain and her revolted possessions, and zeal, but really legislating for the wholethought to retain dominion over them by some correction of the evils they wished the united system of legislature, intro to reform, should have considered the deduced in the new code. So zealous, in- fection of the church, in such a nation as deed, were they in the pursuit of this vain Spain, a decisive obstacle to any strong object, that they determined to combine measures, and sure to produce violent recoercion with their policy, and in 1811 actions if persevered in. But far from actually sent a large armament, consisting being deterred, the Cortes proceeded to of several regiments, from Galicia, then heap fuel on the flame. the only province in Spain unoccupied by “ The framers of the constitution, al. the French, and that at a time when the though they did not respect the religious Captain-General of that province was re- prejudices of the people for whom they presenting his force as insufficient, desti were legislating, were so fearful of them, tute of money, and in want of equipment that none of the reforms intended to be of every kind. Yet the government of introduced in the church establishments, Cadiz found means to equip that arma. were noticed in the constitution; and the ment!
only article under the head of Religion, “ When the Constitution came to be (Art. 12,) is an intolerant declaration, promulgated and proclaimed, it was very that the Roman Catholic Faith is the apparent, from the way in which it was only national religion, and that the exer. received, that it was not in conformity cise of none other will ever be permitted. with the state of public opinion in by far “ This was intended to procure the the greater part of Spain. Persons who support of the clergy, in the establishment may have been presènt when it was pro of the constitution, and not to agitate the claimed in the capital, sea-ports, and great people with any notice of intended altecommercial towns, (where it was in ge- rations; and this article in the new code neral considered as conducive to the fa has been quoted by commentators on it, vourite measure of retaining possession to prove that the priesthood of Spain of their colonies,) might think otherwise; bave no just grounds to be dissatisfied but it is a fact, that in a great number of with the measures of the Cortes. But the cities,-in most of the towns,-in all the priesthood were not so easily deceivthe villages, and universally amongsted, or, at least, the Cortes spon took steps the peasantry in the interior of the coun to undeceive them. For very soon after try, it was received with dissatisfaction, the constitution was promulgated, the with disgust, and, in many places, with measures affecting the clergy were taken abhorrence.
into consideration. It is not necessary to “ So apprehensive, indeed, were some notice these farther than may be suffi. of the authorities, acting under the pro cient to account for the opposition of the visional government, lest popular com clergy to a system, which does not apmotion should take place against it, that pear to the reader of the article Reliin March, 1812, they prevented the mea gion in the constitution, to call for their sure of arming the peasantry of Galicia, disapprobation. On the 16th of June, who had applied for arms to defend their 1812, was published an act for abolishing own country, at that time menaced by tithes throughout the monarchy! The the enemy; and in other parts of Spain, measure was announced with a preamble, like fears dictated similar precautions ! called the Parte Legal, in which it is as
“ Nor were these apprehensions with serted, that the precept or obligation out ground. This will not appear ex for paying tithes was entirely abolished traordinary to the reader, who, having at the death of Jesus Christ.' considered the real dispositions of the “ This was the most injudicious act people, and the true character of the new the Cortes had yet committed. It is
*.“ El precepto de pagar diezmos quedo enter amonte abolido con la muerte de Jesu Christo."
plain, that the measure must have been the new constitution to be proclaimed in contemplated when the constitution was every city, town, and village, recovered executed; and the super-eminent folly from the possession of the enemy. It of doing the deed, and doing it in such a was received, as has been already obserway, put it in the power of the clergy to ved, with great apparent satisfaction in add the charge of hypocrisy and decep- Madrid, in certain great cities, and in all tion to the other, which they denomina sea-ports and commercial towns; but not ted a sacrilegious usurpation of the rights so elsewhere. of the church, and of their rights of pro “ It was evident to the whole army, perty.
during the movements of 1812, how luke. “ It is not necessary to remark farther warm the Spanish people had become. upon the genius and character of the Spa- . The British army was, indeed, everynish code, the mischievous tendencies of where well received ; but the people which are, it is to be feared, about to committed themselves no farther than convulse Europe. It is almost entirely a by giving shouts of vivas. The Spanish prure democracy. A mode of election, regular armies were not recruited by a whose basis is universal suffrage-short single man in the provinces they occu(biennial) parliaments—a legislature com- pied during the campaign; all attempts posed only of the commons estate? to organize a popular force were ineffecKing without power, without a council tual ; a plan which had been proposed, of his own nomination-in the hands of of trying to incorporate Spanish recruits an executive council nominated and paid in the allied army, under British officers, by the commons—a council, wit ut failed; the advance of the army into the whose • dictamen' the King can do no centre of the country, which had been thing, and in which his ministers (who undertaken to encourage, and to produce, are also excluded from seats in the Cor- as it was expected, supporting movetes) have no voice-the monarch's will ments amongst the people, had no such liable to be forced upon all occasions, if results; and, after an arduous campaign, the Cortes persevere in pushing any bill the allied army returned to Portugal, to a third passing.–Ministers made re without having accomplished more by sponsible for acts which they have no the glorious victory at Salamanca, than share in forming, (for the consejo de es the temporary occupation of Madrid, and tado is the King's only council,) and no the evacuation of Andalusia. voice in voting--the army and the navy “ The war proceeded; and, notwithunder the authority of the commons standing the apathy which the bulk of house, in all that relates to regulations, the Spanish people now exhibited, was discipline, order of advancement, pay, brought to a successful termination, administration, and in short all that be- mainly through the exertions of the Brilongs to their constitution and good or. tish government, by the abundant means der. These are the discordant elements it furnished by the gallantry of her of which the Spanish constitution was troops, and by the admirable manner in formed, by which it is impoisoned, and which they were commanded by the ilout of which have arisen disorders which, lustrious Wellington,” if they be not purged, will transmit her
Ferdinand, then, was placed, in confrom civil war to the greater horrors of sequence of the success of the English military despotism. Those who support armies within, and the success of the ed the constitution originally, were call
allied armies beyond Spain, at the ed liberales ; those who opposed it, ser.
head of a nation effectually disunited. viles; and here it was evident to close observers, a furious party spirit was form
The triumph of the moment-the
drunken joy that overspread all Eued, which was destined, ere long, to deluge Spain with the blood of her sons,
rope, was felt in Spain too; and he and Europe with the mischief of its prin- tions, which he was blockhead enough
was received with universal acclamaciples.
" The constitution is dated March the to consider as the language of universal 19th, 1812; but its actual promulgation
and deliberate submission. The feeling was deferred until the expected successes
which the constitutionalists must have of the approaching campaign should re- had, that they themselves had, since cover territories in which to proclaim it. their ascendancy,done much to thwart,
“ When the French army, defeated at and almost nothing to forward, the gloSalamanca, retired from all that part of rious march of events, must have, no the country, and the siege of Cadiz was doubt, cowed them a little at the moraised, the Spanish government caused ment. The old nobles, and the priest
hvod, and the peasantry, meanwhile, ere he understood its character, and were too proud and too happy to be that he threw it aside, because he disresisted ; and thus, from a concur covered that it had, in fact, annihilarence of circumstances, Ferdinand was ted his kingly authority. Now, in the enabled to do, what he was knave first place, we do not believe one word enough to think of doing, and fool about Ferdinand's absolute ignorance enough to think he could do safely ;- of the constitution. He surely must that is, to break the solemn promise have seen it ere he signed it, and the he had given, on being called to the first three sentences were enough to throue. He swore to preserve the have told him about the whole state constitution, as it had been framed; of the affair. But granting that he and the moment he was scated on the did not understand the constitution throne, he totally annulled the consti- thoroughly, it will scarcely be denied tution, -seized the reins of absolute that he understood it was a CONSTIpower-(Spain and Portugal, by the TUTION of some kind--that the docuway, are, perhaps, the only European ment before him contained something countries where the epithet absolute is favourable to civil liberty, and inimical openly claimed now-a-days, and, cer to the old Bourbon despotism of Spain. tainly, the only ones where it is echo He must have understood thus much, ed with vivas.) Not contented with and it was with this understanding this, he turned round on the constitu- that he swore. tionalists, whose worst fault, at this Grant, however, that when he came particular crisis, had been their total to Madrid, and found how much the want of courage to resist any one of mobility and the churchmen hated the the steps he had been pleased to take, constitution ; grant, that when he -he turned round on them, fined, found this, and found therefore that banished, imprisoned,-in short, play- he had been, to a certain extent, in ed all the extravagant tricks which a the dark at the moment when he gave boyish measure of conceit, and a bru- it his solemn acceptance-grant, that tal measure of cruelty, could suggest. under these circumstances, there might He gave himself up, hoodwinked into have been some excuse for his pauthe hands of a set of cold-blooded sing, or even for his refusing at once crafty zealots, and proceeded, under to go on with the constitutional kingtheir direction, to re-establish, in all ship-grant all this, and what apology its abominable character, that system remains ?-He did throw off the conwhich had originally been fixed in stitution, but he promised to convoke Spain by usurpation and robbery; and immediately the real Cortes, and to which, if this man and his friends frame with their aid a proper constihad been possessed of one ray of in tution. He made this promise, partly telligence, they must have seen was perhaps to soften his oath-breaking in now altogether unfit for any European the eyes of the favourable and indifcountry, and could not possibly, re ferent. He certainly made this proplaced after such an interval, and un mise to sooth the constitutionalistsder such circumstances, have any other and after doing this, what followed ? effect than that of preparing the way He commenced his reign by breaking for a second downfall. The light, to one promise, and he never fulfilled be sure, had come from France, and the other. Here is the blot-here is its rays were tinged with odious co Ferdinand VII.-disguise the blot, lours, but still it was light,-and this justify the Bourbon, who can ! light had had time to spread too, The military insurrection of 1820, and, after all, what light is not better was taken advantage of by the Liberals, than total blackness ? But these people (unhappy precedent !) for once more saw nothing except the French part of forcing the constitution of 1812, upon it--nothing rung in their ears but the both king and nation. Ferdinand, the hated sound of “ 1791”—and they royal Vicar of Bray, re-swore himself threw away the noblest opportunity of course without hesitation-but the that could have been desired-they pation was not so easy to be dealt repropped a despotism, when they with. Continual alarms followed. Brimiglit have rebuilt a kingilom. gandage among the mountains-dis
Sir Howard Douglas says that Fer content everywhere, except only in dinand had sworn to the constitution, some oft he mercantile towns. There