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VII.

CHAP, the contrast between their extensive information and

general knowledge of the world, and the narrow ideas of the spiritual militia who had hitherto been their sole instructors. The contrast was rendered the more striking, from the brilliant career which had attended at first the arms of France, then those of England, when compared with the almost uniform defeats which their own had sustained. Hence the armies of Spain, as indeed those of all the Continental monarchies, retired from the conflict deeply imbued with democratic principles; and the officers, especially, were generally impressed with the belief that nothing but the establishment of these was wanting to open a boundless career of prosperity to their country, of promotion and elevation to themselves.

1814.

16.

8. But if the army was an important, it might be a The Church. decisive ally to the democratic party in the towns, the

royalists in the country had a force for their support equally numerous, equally zealous, and still better disciplined and docile to their chiefs. The Church was unanimous in favour of the crown and the establishment of arbitrary power: an unerring instinct told them that freedom of thought would inevitably lead to freedom of action, and the termination of their long-established dominion. Their numbers were immense, their possessions extensive. A hundred thousand priests, doomed to celibacy in a country suffering under the want of hands, and capable of maintaining, with ease and comfort, at least double its number of inhabitants, were diffused over its whole extent, and in all the rural districts, at least, exercised an unlimited sway over the minds of their flocks. Essentially obedient to the voice of their spiritual chiefs, which was everywhere governed by the commands issuing from the conclave of the Vatican, the efforts of this immense body of spiritual militia were entirely devoted to one object--the re-establishment of despotic power, in its most unmitigated form, over the whole Peninsula. The policy of the court of Rome was directed to this object

17.

aptry.

iktirst comir own

indeed from the ples; and ed with the of these was perity to their mselves. is it might be a n the towns, the

for their support ind still better dis! The CHURCH was and the establishment instinct told them that iably lead to freedom of their long-established do

immense, their possessions and priests, doomed to celiander the want of hands, and ith ease and comfort, at least habitants, were diffused over its . the rural districts, at least, exeray over the minds of their flocks. 10 the voice of their spiritual chiefs, re governed by the commands issuing of the Vatican, the efforts of this imiritual militia were entirely devoted to Te-establishment of despotic power, in its ed form, over the whole Peninsula. The murt of Rome was directed to this object

Church in Ireland. In both cases, regardless of the real sui
welfare of the people of their persuasion, they were go-
verned by one motive—the furtherance of the power and
extension of the influence of their own establishment. In
the Peninsula, this was to be done by aiding despotic
power against democratic infidelity; in the British Islands,
by supporting democratic ambition against heretical power.
But when the vast influence and wide-spread possessions
of the clergy are taken into consideration, and the abso-
lute direction which they had of the minds and opinions
of their followers in all the rural districts and many of
the towns, it was a most formidable enemy with which
the republicans had to contend, and it was doubtful whe-
ther, in a protracted struggle, victory might not incline
to the side which it espoused.

9. This influence and importance, in a political point
of view, of the clergy, was the more important, from, gene- State of the
rally speaking, the comfortable and prosperous condi-
tion of the peasantry, and their entire submission to the
• voice of their pastors. If the clergy were a zealous and
admirably trained phalanx of officers for the church mili-
tant, the peasantry composed an incomparable body of
private soldiers. Sober, abstemious, regular, and yet ardent
and capable of great things, the Spanish peasant is the
one in Europe, with the exception, perhaps, of the
Polish, who most readily forms a good soldier, and is
most easily induced to undertake his duties. The five
centuries of incessant warfare with the Moors had nur-
tured this tendency; the benignity of the climate, and
absence of artificial wants among the peasantry, have ren-
dered it easy of retention. The Castilian or Catalonian
loses little by leaving his home and joining a guerilla
band in the mountains ; his fare remains the same, his
habits are little different, the sphere of his achievements is
much extended. The roving adventurous life of partisan
VOL. II.

B .

VII,

CHAP. warfare, with its hairbreadth escapes and occasional

triumphs, suits his tastes and rouses his ambition. Un1814.

like the peasant of Northern Europe, the Spanish cultivator is never worn down by the labours, or depressed by the limited ideas, of daily toil. Blessed with a benignant climate, tilling a fruitful soil, or wandering over vast downs after immense flocks, he can satisfy his few wants with a comparatively small amount of actual labour. The greater part of his life is spent in doing nothing, or in such exercises as nourish rather than depress his warlike disposition. “The Spaniards," says Chateaubriand,“ are Christian Arabs : they unite the savage and the religious character. The mingled blood of the Cantabrian, the Carthaginian, the Roman, the Vandal, and the Moor, which flows in their veins, flows not as other blood. They are at once active, indolent, and grave.” “Every grave nation,” says Montesquieu, in discoursing of them, “is indolent ; for those who do not labour consider themselves as masters of those who do. In that country liberty is injured by independence. Of what value are civil privileges to a man who, like the Bedouin, armed with the lance and followed by his sheep, has no need of food beyond a few acorns, figs, or olives ?” The dolce far niente is as dear to the Spaniard as to the inhabitant of the Ausonian fields; but the precious hours of rest are not spent in listless inactivity : they are cheered by the recital of the ballads, or the recounting of the stories which recall the glories, the dangers, the adventures of war. There was scarcely one at this time who had not his musket suspended over his hearth, which had been used in the guerilla warfare with the French, and his tale to recount of the indignities endured, or the vengeance taken, or the surprises achieved, in the conflict with those ruthless

invaders. Mutual benefits and dependence, and a long 1 Chateaub. Congr. de series of kind actions and good deeds, performed by Verone, i.

to the parochial clergy to their flocks, had endeared them

to the whole rural population ;? and it was easy to see , which was espouseu »,

1814, uirectors. ine 10. So great was the influence of the clergy, and so

18. znant

loyal the feelings of the peasantry, that they would in all state of the downs

probability have enabled the king to resist all the efforts j with a

of the malcontents, had there been any body of efficient ne greater

and united landed proprietors in the country. But none such exer

such existed in Spain. Generally speaking, the clergy ike disposi

were the sole leaders of the people. There were many d," are Chris

nobles in Spain, and they were inferior to none in the religious char

world in pride and aristocratic pretension ; but they ian, the Cartha

had neither political power nor rural influence. Nearly Moor, which flows

all absentees, residing the whole year round in Madrid, They are at once

they had none of that sway over the minds of their g grave nation, says

tenantry which is enjoyed by landed proprietors who m, " is indolent ; for

have attached them by a series of kind acts during many themselves as masters

generations: intrusted with no political power, they had try liberty is injured by

no weight in national deliberations, or authority in the 1 are civil privileges to a

affairs of Government. The grandees of Spain, who armed with the lance and

cherished the purity of their descent as carefully as the i need of food beyond a few

Arabs do the pedigree of their steeds, and who would he dolce far niente is as dear

admit of, and indeed could contract, no marriage where se inhabitant of the Ausonian

sixteen quarterings could not be counted on both sides, hours of rest are not spent in

had incurred the penalty prescribed by nature for such are cheered by the recital of the

overweening pride and selfishness. They had become a uing of the stories which recall the

worn-out and degenerate race, considerably below the the adventures of war. There was

usual stature of the human frame, and lamentably infes time who had not his musket sus

rior in vigour, courage, and intelligence. Not one great hearth, which had been used in the

man arose during the whole of the protracted Peninwith the French, and his tale to recount

sular war: few of the generals who did distinguish themes endured, or the vengeance taken, or

selves belonged to the class of grandees. Nevertheless, chieved, in the conflict with those ruthless

this selfish fainéant race possessed a great part of the utual benefits and dependence, and a long

landed property in the kingdom, and by the operation Ad actions and good deeds, performed by

of the strict entails under which it was nearly all held,
and the constant intermarriage of the nobility among

e cheered ist are not Ausonian

VII.

1814.

mon

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in the re

the loss of

colonies.

CHAP. into a few hands. The greater part of the remain

- ing landed property was in the hands of incorpora

tions, municipalities, or the Church ; so that there was perhaps no country in the world which, from its political situation, stood so much in need of an efficient body of rural proprietors, and yet was so entirely destitute of it.

11. It was scarcely possible that a monarchy so situ19. Huge gap ated, distracted by such passions, and divided by so many venue from opposite interests, could long escape the convulsions of civil the South

war; but it was accelerated, and the means of averting it American

were taken away, by the peculiar circumstances in which, on the restoration of Ferdinand in 1814 to the throne of his ancestors, the FINANCES of the country stood. From the causes which have been mentioned, the industry and resources of old Spain had declined to such a degree, that little revenue was to be derived from taxation at home ; while, on the other hand, the gold and silver mines in the hands of Government in the colonies had become so prolific that the chief revenue of the state had long been derived from its transmarine possessions, and the principal attention of Government was fixed on their maintenance. The income derived by Spain from her colonies, anterior to the Revolution, amounted to 38,000,000 piastres, or £9,500,000_fully a half of the whole revenue, at that period, of the Spanish crown. It is true, about £7,500,000 of this suin was absorbed in expenses connected with the colonies themselves, leaving only £2,000,000 available to the royal treasury at Madrid; but still it was by this vast colonial expenditure, and the establishment it enabled the king to keep up, that nearly the whole power and influence of Government was maintained. It was the gold of Mexico and Peru that paid the armies and civil servants, and upheld nearly the entire sway of the court of Madrid. Now, however, this source of influence was gone. The revolution in South America had cut off fully a half of the whole revenue of Spain ; and

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