« AnteriorContinuar »
against the popular power, which had arisen the most fatal of all measures,--to one of those by its side; whilst the patriotic societies over- which at once ruin the present, and destroy all turned or displaced the local authorities, in- prospects for the future. They made a separasulted the majesty of the throne and the royal tion between all arrears, or existing debt, and authority, preached license and proclaimed the current expenses of the year, and approdisorder; whilst violence was organized, and priated to this last the whole revenue of the state, anarchy systematically constituted, the pro- that is to say, they proclaimed public bankvihces did not afford a more cheering ex- ruptcy as to the national debt, and thus inflicted ample, and in that circle of fire into which on public and private credit one of those mor Spain was now resolved, the extremities show- tal stabs from which they never recover. . ed themselves not less inflamed than the centre. “Having thus got quit of the debt, the next There could be discerned, by the prophetic eyes object was to bring up the income to the exof wisdom, the black speck which was soon to penditure of the year. For this purpose, they enlarge and overwhelm the kingdom with the re-established the direct and burdensome land-tax, horrors of civil war.
which had been abandoned on the restoration “In a great proportion of the provinces, of royalty, in 1814, and created various new separate juntas were formed, while some dis- taxes, most of which, from their extreme unporegarded alike, the authority of government pularity, they were soon compelled to abandon. and that of the supreme assembly. Each of « They next established on the frontier a line these assemblies deliberated, interpreted, acted of custom-houses, with a rigour of prohibition according to the disposition of the majority of which could hardly be conceived in an indusits members, and no central authority felt it- trious country, which was unintelligible in self sufficiently strong to venture to subject to Spain, and was speedily followed by the estaany common yoke the local parliaments, each blishment, on the frontier, of a system of of which, in its own little sphere, had more smuggling, the most vast and organized that influence than the central alone possessed."
ever existed. 1. 211.
“ Finally, they abolished the tithes and feudal Amidst the general transports of the revolu- tenths, but established the half of them for the tionary party at this unexpected change, the scrvice of the state. This was immediately at usual and invariable attendant or revolution-tended with the worst effects. The ecclesias äry convulsions, embarrassments of finance, were tical tithe was the burden, of all others, which soon experienced. The way in which this un- was most regularly and cheerfully paid in dying load precipitated the usual consequences Spain, because the people were accustomed to of revolutionary triumph, national bankrupt- it, and they conceived that, in paying it, they cy, and a confiscation of the property of the discharged at once a legal obligation and a church, is thus detailed :
debt of conscience; but when it was converted “No sooner was the new Cortes installed, into a burden merely available to the ordinary than numerous and important cares occupied wants of the state, it was no longer regarded their attention. Of these, the most pressing in that light, but as an odious charge, and its was the state of the finances. Disinterestedness collection was instantly exposed to the increase is not in general the distinctive character of ing embarrassments of the other imposts. the leaders of party, and the countries deliv- “At the time that they voted these different ered by revolutions usually are not long of financial expedients, their total inadequacy discovering what it has cost them. In vain was obvious to the most inconsiderate; and it the ministry, in vain the Cortes, terrified at the soon became evident that additional resources daily increasing deficit in the public treasury, and were unavoidable.”—I. 230, 231, the absence of all resources to supply it, Thus the first effect of the triumph of revosought to reduce, by economical reductions, lution in Spain, was the imposition of a heavy those charges which the state could evidently income-tax, the destruction of the public debt, and no longer support. While reductions were the confiscation of tithes, and a large portion of the effected in one quarter, additional charges land rights of the kingdom, to the service of the multiplied in another. All those who could treasury. One simple and irresistible cause make out the shadow of a claim of loss arising produced these effects,-the failure of the refrom the arbitrary government; all those whose venue,-invariably consequent on the suspenhands had touched, to raise it up, the pillar of sion of industry, the failure of credit, and conthe constitution, had restitutions or indemnities traction of expenditure, which result from to claim, without prejudice to arrears, and new popular triumph.
The rapid progress of innovation in every questioni lemand. Refusal was out of the
for it would have been considered as other department, in consequence of the re-esa denial of justice, an act of ingratitude, a tablishment of the democratic constitution, proof of servility. Amidst the public transports speedily unhinged all the institutions of society. the revenue was incessantly going down."
Its effect is thus detailed by our author:It became absolutely indispensable, there- “Independent of the financial measures of fore, to provide new resources; but where was which I have given an account, and which a government to find them, destitute of credit, were attended with so little good effect, the in a country without industry and without com- Cortes were occupied with innumerable promerce? The expedient of a patriotic loan was jects of reform in legislation, administration, tried, but that immediately and totally failed.) and police, so numerous, that it is impossible The patriots all expected to receive, not to be to give any account of them. Devoured with called upon to give money to government. Re- the passion for destruction, and but little so sourse was then, from sheer necessity, had to licitous about restoring with prudence, the ardent friends of reform did not allow a single tical moment; they renewed their instances; day to pass without denouncing some abuse, spoke of the public peace, order, and the life of declaiming against some remnants of despo- the king, for which they declared they could not tism and arbitrary power. Projects of laws answer, if the public demands were refused: succeeded each other without interruption; and finally drew from him a reluctant consent and as every one of these projects was held to to the measure of spoliation. be an incontestible and urgent necessity, and to “This success, so dearly bought, was by no hesitate as to it would have been apparently to means attended with the good effects which had call in question the principles of the Revolu- been anticipated from it. The people would tion, and evince à certain mark of aversion have seen, without dissatisfaction, a share of for the supremacy of the people, not one of the public burdens borne by the ecclesiastical them was either adjourned or rejected. Innu- body; but a total abolition, an entire extinction merable commissions were established to ex- of their property, appeared to them a cruel amine the projects of innovation ; reports persecution, a work of heresy and impiety, the made; laws discussed and voted; and the old horror of which reacted on all the measures legislation of the kingdom daily crumbled into which had the same origin. dust, without a single individual in the country “The revolutionary party might have borne having either the time to read, or an opportu- all the unpopularity which that exorbitant nity to consider the innumerable institutions measure occasioned, if it had been attended which were daily substituted, instead of those with the immense consequences which had which had formerly existed.”—I. 235.
been anticipated in relieving the finances; but All these projects of reform, however, and in that particular also, all their hopes proved all this vast confiscation of property, both fallacious. The property of the clergy, when ecclesiastical and civil, could not supply the exposed to sale, found few purchasers. The continually increasing deficit of the treasury. known opposition of the Holy See, the exasAnother, and still greater revolutionary con-peration of the people, the dread of a revolufiscation awaited the state, and to this, invin- tion: all these circumstances rendered the cible necessity speedily led.
measure perfectly abortive, and caused it to "From the commencement of the next ses- add nothing to the resources of the treasury.” sion of the Cortes, measures had been taken to I. 247-249. facilitate the secularization of the religious This is the usual progress of revolutionary orders of both sexes; and many of them had movements. Terror! terror! terror! That is already left their retreats, and rejoined their the engine which they unceasingly put in force: friends in the world.
Insurrections, mobs, tumults, the means of “At length matters came to a crisis. On obtaining their demands, which they never fail the proposition of Colonel Sancho, a law was to adopt. Demonstrations of physical strength, passed, which confiscated the whole property of the public meetings, processions, and all the other regular clergy to the service of the state. This law, methods of displaying their numbers, are noadopted by the Cortes, was submitted to the thing but the means of showing the opponents royal sanction. The king evinced the utmost of their measures the fate which awaits them, repugnance to a measure so directly subversive if they protract their resistance beyond a cerof all the religious opinions in which he had tain point. Force is their continual argument; been educated. Terrified at this resistance, the logic of brickbats and stones; the perspecwith which they had not laid their account, the tive of scaffolds and guillotines, their neverrevolutionary party had recourse to one of failing resource. Confiscation of the property those methods which nothing can either au- of others, the expedients to which they always thorize or justify, and for which success can have recourse to supply the chasms which the offer no excuse.
disorganization of society and the dread of “Convinced that they could obtain only by spoliation have occasioned in the public terror what was refused to solicitation, they revenue. took the resolution to excite a popular sedition, The usual leprosy of revolutionary convul. organize a revolt, and excité a tumult to over- sions, Jacobin societies, and democratic clubs, come the firmness of the king. For this pur- were not long of manifesting themselves in pose, they entered into communication with the this unhappy country. runners of the revolutionary party, took into “On all sides, secret societies were formed, their confidence the leading orators of the whose statutes and oaths evinced but too clubs, and concerted measures in particular clearly the objects which they had in view. with the banker, Bertrand du Lys, who had Besides the freemasons, who had long been always at his command a band of adventurers, established, a club was formed which took the ready to go wherever disorder was to be com- title of Confederation of Common Chevaliers, mitted.
and declared themselves the champions of the “The signal was given. The mobs assem- perfect equality of the human race, and emanbled : Bands of vociferating wretches traversed cipated themselves in the very outset from all the public streets, uttering frightful cries, and the restraints of philanthropy and moderation. directing their steps to the arsenal. A slight To judge, to condemn, and to execute every indemonstration of resistance was made; but the dividual whatsoever, without excepting the report was speedily spread that the troops king and his successors, if they abused their were unable to make head against the contin authority, was one of the engagements, a part 1:ally increasing mass of the insurgents, and of the oath which they took on entering into that the life of the king was seriously menaced. the society.” The ministers presented themselves in that cri- «On the side of these secret societies clubs rapidly arose, which soon became powerful ror, at least the greatest surprise : nothing can and active auxiliaries of anarchy, wherever it give a better idea of the true spirit of anarchy. appeared. The most tumultuous and danger- Nothing was here done in disorder, or in one ous of these was the Coffee-house of the Cross of those moments when the exaltation or de. of Malta. There, and for long, the king was lirium of the moment has become impossible daily exposed to insult and derision, without his to repress. It was calmly, with reflection, at ministers ever taking the smallest step to put an end leisure, and with the aid of numbers, who were to a scene of scandal, with which all loyal sub- ignorant of the spirit which ruled the movejects in the realm were horrorstruck. They ment, that they imprisoned, led forth from hoped by thus abandoning the royal prey to prison, thrust on board vessels, and despatched his pursuers, to escape themselves from the for a distant destination, a multitude of citifury of party; but their expectations were zens, proprietors, fathers of families, whom no cruelly deceived. Public indignation speedily law had condemned, no trial proved guilty ; assailed them; the bitterest reproaches were and all this by the means, and under the orders daily addressed to them. All their disgraceful of a body of men who had no pretensions to transactions, all the revolts they had prepared any legal authority. to overawe the sovereign, were recounted and 6 These acts were committed in open day, exaggerated. The transports of indignation at the same time at Barcelona, at Valencia, at were so violent, that soon they were compelled Corunna, and Carthagena. This was anarchy to close this club, to save themselves from in- in unbridled sovereignty; and let us see what stant destruction."--I. 261, 262.
the legal authorities did to punish a series of The Spanish Revolution was fast hastening acts so fatal to their influence, and of such to that deplorable result, a Reign of Terror, the ruinous example in a country already devour natural consequence of democratic ascendency, ed by revolutionary passions. when its course was cut short by the French “The government was informed of all that invasion, under the Duke d’Angoulême. The passed; the facts were public and incontestdetails on this subject are perfectly new, and able; they were acted in the face of day, in in the highest degree instructive to the British the face of the entire population of cities. No public.
prosecution was directed against the crimi“For long the revolutionary party had borne nals; no punishment was pronounced; no with manifest repugnance the system of mo- example was given. A few inferior functionderation which the government had adopted, aries, who had aided in the atrocious acts and the majority of the Cortes had supported, were deprived of their situations, and orders during the last session. That party proceeded secretly despatched for the clandestine recall on the principle, that terror alone could over- of the exiles. Such was the sole reparation awe the enemies of the Revolution, and that made for an injury which shook the social nothing was to be gained with them by mo- edifice to its foundation, and trampled under deration in language or indulgence in action. foot all the rights and liberties of the citizens." It saw no chance of safety, but in a system of --I. 287–290. terror powerfully organized. The catastrophe The famous massacres in the prison on of Naples, the submission of Piedmont, the re- September 2, 1792, did not fail to find their pression of the insurrection attempted in imitators among the Spanish revolutionists. France, furnished them with a favourable op- The following anecdote shows how precisely portunity to renew their efforts; and from the similar the democratic spirit is in its tendency reception which it then met with, it was evi- and effects in all ages and parts of the world. dent that the taste for blood was beginning to “A priest, a chaplain of the king, Don Ma manifest itself among the people.
thias Vinuesa, was accused of having formed “ While things were taking this direction at the plan of a counter-revolution. This absurd Madrid, and the people were awaiting with a design, which he had had the imprudence to sombre disquietude the measures which were publish, was easily discovered, and Vinuesa in preparation, the Reign of Terror and Vio- was arrested and brought to trial. The law lence had already commenced in the provinces, punished every attempt of this description by the effects of the supreme popular will, and which had not yet been put into execution, the progress of anarchy in every part of the with the galleys, and Vinuesa was, in virtue kingdom.
of this statute, condemned to ten years of hard “Individuals of every age and sex were labour in those dreary abodes. This sentence, arrested and imprisoned, without the warrant of a kind to satisfy the most ardent passions, of any of the constituted authorities, by men was the highest which the law would authorwithout a public character, on the mere orders ize; but it was very far indeed from coming of the chiefs of the revolutionary party, who up to the wishes of the revolutionary clubs. thus usurped the most important functions of “On the 4th May, two days after the con. government. They threw the individuals thus demnation of the prisoner, a crowded meeting collected together into the first vessels which took place at the gate of the Sun, in open day, were at hand, or could be found in any of the when a mock trial took place, and the priest ports of the kingdom, and transported them, some was by the club legislators condemned to to the Balearic, others to the Canary Islands, death. It was agreed that the judges should according to the caprice of the revolutionary themselves execute the sentence, and that rulers.
measure was resolved on amidst loud accla“ This is perhaps the event of all others in mations. Having resolved on this, they quietthe history of modern revolutions, so fertile in ly took their siesta, and at the appointed hour crimes, which excites, if not the greatest hor- proceeded to carry it into execution, without
the legal authorities taking the slightest step divested of revolutionary jargon, amounted to to prevent the outrage.
this: "On the 4th May, 1821, four or five hun. * At four o'clock the mob reassembled, and dred men murdered in prison an old prieste proceeded straight to the prison doors. No who implored their pity. Behold and honout one opposed their tumultuous array; they pre- one of the assassins. "_I. 297_299. sented themselves at the gate, and announced The gradual decline of the moderate party their mission. Ten soldiers, who formed the under the increasing fervour of the times, and ordinary guard of the prison, made, for a few their final extinction in the Cortes, under the minutes, a shadow of resistance, which gave incessant attacks, and irresistible majorities no sort of trouble to the assailants. The bar- of the revolutionists, is thus narrated : riers were speedily broken; the conquerors
« In the second session, it was no longer inundated the prison; with hurried steps they possible to recognize the Cortes of the first. sought the cell where the condemned priest They were the same individuals, but not the was confined, and instantly broke open the same legislators, or the same citizens. Worn door. The priest appeared with a crucifix in out by a continual struggle with men whom his hand; he fell at their feet, and in the name nothing could either arrest or discourage; disof the God of mercy, whose image he present- gusted with discussions, in which they were ed, besought them to spare his life. Vain at- always interrupted by the hisses or groans of tempt!-to breasts which acknowledged no the galleries; irritated by the attempts at civil religion, felt no pity, what availed the image war which were daily renewed in the proof God who died to save us. One of the judges vinces; heated by the burning political atof the gate of the Sun advanced. He was mosphere, in which they found themselves armed with a large hammer, and struck a immovably enclosed; the moderate deputies, severe blow at the head bowed at his feet. who, in the preceding year, had formed the The victim fell, and a thousand strokes soon majority of the Cortes to combat the forces of completed the work of death. Blood has anarchy, gave up the contest, and yielded without flowed, the victim is no more.
opposition to whatever was demanded of them. But the head which that hammer had slain, “ The most dangerous enemies of the public could not suffice for the murderers. Besides peace, beyond all question, were the Patriotic the criminal there remained the judge. He Societies. There it was that all heads were also was condemned to die, for having only exalted--that all principles were lost amidst applied the existing law, and not foreseen the the extravagancies of a furious democracyjudgment which the tribunal of the Sun was that all sinister projects were formed, and all to pass on the criminal. The assassins made criminal designs entertained. A wise law, the straight to his house, amidst cries of Death work of the first Cortes, had armed governto the traitors, Long live the constitution !' ment with the power to close these turbulent They traversed the town, and arrived at the assemblies, when they threatened the public house of the judge ; five men with drawn tranquillity. But this feeble barrier could not swords entered the house, after placing senti- long resist the increasing vehemence of the nels around it, to prevent the possibility of revolutionists. A law was proposed, and escape. But Heaven did not permit that new speedily passed, which divested government murder to be committed. The judge, informed of all control over these popular societies. It of what was going forward, had fled, in the placed these agglomerations of fire beyond the interval between the first judgment and execu- reach of the police--forbid the magistrates to tion, and the murderers, after covering him be present at their debates--substituted interwith execrations, dispersed themselves through nal regulations for external controlmand, inthe town to recount their exploits, and dwell stead of any real check, recognised only the with exultation on the commencement of the "elusory responsibility of the presidents.' reign of terror.
“Never, perhaps, did human folly to such a "In the evening, the clubs resounded with degree favour the spirit of disorder, or so acclamations, and the expressions of the most weakly deliver over society to the passions intoxicating joy; and popular songs were which devoured it. Hardly was the law composed and published, celebrating the first passed, when numbers who had been carried triumph of popular justice. No one ventured away by the public outcry, were terrified at to hint at punishing the criminals. A few in the work of their own hands, and looked back sulated individuals ventured to condemn them; with horror on the path on which they had ada thousand voices rose to applaud and defend vanced, and the vantage ground which they them. The press joined its powerful efforts had for ever abandoned."-1. 302, 303. to celebrate that memorable day; and, in fine, “The clubs were not slow in taking advanto commemorate the public exultation, a sort tage of the uncontrolled power thus conceded of monument was erected to perpetuate its re- to them. The most violent of their organs, collection. Vinuesa had fallen under the blows which was at once the most dangerous aná of a hammer; his murderers, and their pro- the most influential, because he incessantly tectors, created a decoration, and instituted a espoused the cause of spoliation, Romero Alsort of order, called the order of the hammer. fuente, published a pamphlet full of the most The ensigns of this new honour were speedily furious ebullitions of revolutionary zeal, in fabricated; they consisted in a little hammer which he divulged a pretended conspiracy of iron, made in imitation of that which had against the constitutional system, whose rami. struck the fatal blow. The new chevaliers fications, diverging from Madrid, extended into proudly decorated their bosoms with the in- the remotest provinces and foreign states. signia. It bore an inscription, which, when i The plans, the resources, the names, of tiels conspirators, were given with affected accu-leyes of the people to their real interests, and racy; nothing was omitted which could give the pernicious tendency of the course into to the discovery the air of truth. The electric which they had been precipitated by their despark is not more rapid in communicating its magogues; and that the new elections would shock, than was that infamous libel. Never have produced a majority in favour of the prulhad the tribune of the Club of the Golden dent and restraining measures, from which Fountain resounded with such menacing and alone public safety could be expected. The sanguinary acclamations. They went even so case, however, was just the reverse: the revo. far as to say that the political atmosphere could not lutionary party, by violence and intimidation, be purified but by the blood of fourteen or fifteen almost everywhere gained the ascendency; thousand inhabitants of Madrid.”-1. 351, 352. and the fatal truth soon became apparent, that
« In the midst of these ebullitions of revolu- democratic ambition is insatiable; that it is tionary fury, the provinces were subjected to blind to all the lessons of experience, and deaf the most cruel excesses of anarchy. At Cadiz, to all the cries of suffering; that like a madSeville, and Murcia, the people broke out into dened horse, it rushes headlong down the prea open revolt; the authorities imposed by the cipice, and never halts in its furious career Cortes were all overthrown, and the leaders of till it has involved itself and public freedom in the insurrection installed in their stead. All one common ruin. the vigour and reputation of Mina could not “ The new Cortes commenced its labours prevent the same catastrophe at Corunna. He under the most sinister auspices; the circumresigned his command, and Latré, the insurrec- stances under which the elections had taken tionary leader, stepped into his place. Every- place were sufficient to justify the most serious where the authority of government, and of the apprehensions. Central Cortes, was disregarded; the most vio- “The elections in the south had taken place lent revolutionists got the ascendant, and so- under the immediate influence and actual preciety was fast descending towards a state of sence of open rebellion. At Grenada, the peoutter dissolution.
ple by force intruded into the electoral college, “All these disorders, all these excesses, found in the and openly overwhelmed the election; in all capital numerous and ardent defenders. The press, the provinces of the north, the proprietors had in particular, everywhere, applauded and encou- absented themselves from the elections, from raged the anarchists; it incessantly exalted the hatred at the Revolution, and a sense of inabil. demagogues, for whom it proudly accepted the ity to restrain its excesses.
At Madrid, even, title of Descamisados, (shirtless,) and for whose all the partisans of the old regime had been excesses it found ample precedents among our constrained to abstain from taking any part in Sans Culottes. It condemned to contempt, or the vote, notwithstanding the undoubted right marked out for proscription, all the wise men which the amnesty gave them. who yet strove to uphold the remnants of the places, actual violence; in all, menaces were Spanish monarchy. Occupied without inter- employed, with too powerful effect, to keep mission in detracting from all the attributes of from the poll all persons suspected of moderathe monarchical power; in dragging in the gut- tion in their principles. ter the robe of royalty, in order to hold it up to
6 In the whole new Cortes not one great prothe people covered with mire; it invented for prietor nor one bishop was to be found. The all the monarchs of Europe the most calum-whole body of the noblesse was represented nious epithets and ridiculous comparisons, and only by two or three titled but unknown men; offered to the factious of every state in Europe, the clergy by a few curates and canons, well whatever their designs were, the succours of known for the lightness with which the retheir devouring influence."-1. 357, 358. straints of faith sat upon them. Only one
“Three evils, in an especial manner, spread grandee of Spain was to be found there, the the seeds of dissolution over this agitated Duke del Parque, who had abandoned the pacountry, and spread their ramifications with lace of the Escurial for the Club of the Founthe most frightful rapidity. These were the tain of Gold; and had left the halls of his king press, with its inexpressible violence, and its to become the flatterer of the people. complete impunity; the petitions which ren- Among the new deputies great numbers dered the tribune of the Cortes the centre of were to be found who had signalized themdenunciations, the focus of calumny, and the selves by the violence of their opinions, and arena where all the furious passions contended the spirit of vengeance against all moderate with each other; in fine, the licentiousness of men, by which they were animated. The first the patriotic societies, where the public peace measure of the Cortes was to elect Riego for was every day, or rather every night, delivered president, a nomination which confirmed the up to the fury of an unbridlęd democracy. The hopes of the anarchist party, and excited everyCortes were perfectly aware of these causes of where the most extravagant joy among the paranarchy; they had openly denounced them, tisans of the Revolution.”-I. 383, 384. and declared their intention of applying a
As the other insanities and atrocities of the prompt remedy. Still nothing was done, and French Revolution had found their admirers the Assembly was dissolved without having and imitators in Spain, so the overthrow of the done any thing to close so many fountains of constitutional throne of Louis XVI., on the 10th anarchy."--I. 377.
August, 1792, was followed by too cloše a paOne would imagine that the accumulation of rallel in the Spanish monarchy. so many evils would have produced a reaction The public distress, and the violence of the in the public mind; that the universal anxiety, revolutionary faction in every part of the king astress, and suffering, would have opened the don, at length produced a reaction. Civi