Page images



CHAP. deplorable state of nudity and destitution. The clothing

- of the infantry for the most part had not been renewed

since 1814 ; only seven regiments of cavalry were dressed in anything like homogeneous uniform ; various dresses clothed the remainder, all worn out. The artillery was crazy and broken down, the arsenals empty. The entire cost of the army was 352,607,000 reals (£3,500,000), being more than half the revenue of the monarchy, aud yet every branch of the service was deeply in arrear of their pay. No less than 38,000,000 reals (£380,000) was due to the cavalry, and £450,000 to the infantry. The report announced that the constitution had been accepted at Puerto Rico, St Domingo, and Cuba, but that the war, “fomented by the stranger,” still lingered on the continent of America, to which, since 1815, fortytwo thousand men had been despatched from Old Spain. Here is the secret of the Spanish revolution ; it is to be found in the destitution of the exchequer, and ruin of the external commerce of the kingdom, in consequence of the South American revolution. Had the trade of Cadiz and Corunna been as flourishing as it was prior to 1810, and the Spanish troops been paid, clothed, fed, and lodged, like the English soldier, there would have been no revolution ; the king, with the general consent of the nation, would have reigned like his fathers, and Riego, unknown and guiltless, would have died a natural death.

The majority of the Cortes was composed of the 84. Majority of liberals of 1812, whom six subsequent years of the galthe Cortes: its leaders. leys, imprisonment, or exile, had confirmed in their prin

ciples, and inspired with an ardent thirst of vengeance against their oppressors. It was no wonder it was so ; the royal government now experienced the retribution due for its severities, and had leisure to lament the failure to act in that magnanimous spirit which, by forgiving error, might have caused it to be abjured. But although the composition of the majority was such as presaged violent and destructive measures at no distant period, its


leaders were men of enlarged views and great capacity, CHAP. whose statesmanlike wisdom at first imposed a consider- able check upon its excesses. In the front rank of the 1820. leaders must be placed MARTINEZ DE LA Rosa, a man of great ability and uncommon oratorical powers ; and CALATRAVA, an orator less brilliant, but more argumentative, and a statesman more experienced in public affairs. The MARQUIS TORENO also, a nobleman of the most enlarged views, who had studied with advantage, and learned the action of representative governments by travelling in foreign countries, lent the aid of his extensive knowledge and profound reflection. If anything could warrant the hope of a prudent use of power in a body constituted as the Cortes was, it was its being directed by such men. But there were others of a different stamp, whose influence ere long increased, and at length became irresistible from the combined influence of the clubs and the press. Among these were soon remarked Gasco, Philippe Navarro, Romoro, Alpuente, and Moreno, the Jacobins of the revolution. Their party at first did not Martin number above a sixth of the whole Cortes ; but, as is too i. 225, 226;

Ann, Hist. often the case in such circumstances, they in the end ac- iii. 428, 429. quired its entire direction.1

The first measures of the Cortes, though not of a vio- , lent or sanguinary character, were nevertheless obviously Suppression calculated to increase the democratic influence and action suits, and in the country. The Afrancesados, who awaited their fate in Biscay in deep distress, were restored to their entails. property, but not to their offices, pensions, or honours ; the sixty-nine of the old Cortes were included in the Sep. 21. amnesty, but, with the exception of the Marquis of Mattaflorida, declared incapable of holding any election or public office. The decree of the former Cortes and of the king against the Jesuits was adopted, with certain modifications. An important law was also passed restricting the entails, which bad so long operated to the prejudice of Spanish agriculture. They were prohibited


measures reg




CHAP. in future absolutely in landed estates, and permitted

only in payments out of land, as right of superiority, 1820.

or of the manor, to the extent of 20,000 ducats for

grandees, 40,000 for persons enjoying title, and 20,000 Oct. 12. for private individuals. No entail was admitted below

6000 ducats. These were steps, and important ones, .Ann. Hist. in the right direction ; and if the leaders of the revoiii. 430, 432, 439; Mar-'lution had limited themselves to such practical reforms, tignac, i. 230, 231. they would have deserved well of their country and of

the human race.1

But in the midst of these beneficent labours, the dreadFinancial ful evil of embarrassment of the finances still made itself

felt, and with increasing severity, from the cessation of speculation and confidence which had arisen from the revolution. The loss of the revenue derived directly from South America by the produce of the mines, and indirectly by the stoppage of the commercial intercourse with the revolted colonies, rendered abortive all attempts to pay the interest of the debt and carry on the current expenses of the nation from its domestic resources.* In

this extremity the Spanish Cortes did what the ConstiOct. 1. tuent Assembly had done before them ; they suppressed

all the monasteries except eight, and confiscated their property to the service of the state ; the monks and nuns, 61,000 in number, turned out, received small pensions

varying from 100 to 400 ducats (£20 to £80). Already Oct. 14. the clubs had become so formidable that a decree was

Hist: passed closing their sittings, which remained a dead letter. Rapport du Tithes were abolished, both in the hands of the clergy Comte Toreno; Mar- and lay proprietors, but the half of them was kept up as tignac, i.

a direct contribution for the service of the state.2 Even after all these extraordinary revolutionary resources had

2 Ann. His


230, 231.

A dira

* According to a report presented to the Cortes by the Commission of Finance, on 22d October, the National Debt consisted of Reals.

Francs. 142,220,572,391 or 3,839,580,000 or 140,000,000 The whole revenues of Spain were not equal to the discharge of the interest of this debt annually.--Rapport, Oct. 22, 1850. Annuaire Historique, iii. 440.



[ocr errors]

been taken into the exchequer, the budget exhibited a deficit CHAP. of 172,000,000 of reals (£1,720,000), being about a – fourth of the annual revenue, * which was provided for by 182 a loan of £2,000,000, negotiated with Lafitte and the bankers on the liberal side in Paris.

But meanwhile the Government, the creature of military revolution, was subjected to the usual demands and Tumult at

Madrid, and insults consequent on such an origin. They found ere dismissal of long that the prætorian guards in the Isle of Leon were Riego. as imperious, and as difficult of management, as their predecessors in the camp which had overawed the masters of the world. Incessant were the efforts made by Riego, who had now the command of that force, to keep alive the spirit of revolution among the troops ; but as it rather declined, and rumours of an intention to separate the army began to reach the Isle of Leon, Riego hastened to Madrid, to support by his presence the revolutionary clubs against the Government, which was suspected of leaning to moderate ideas. He arrived there in the end of August, and for a week was the object of general adula- Aug. 29. tion. He was surrounded by the club Lorrenzini, by the influence of which the minister-at-war was removed, and succeeded by Don Gastano Valdes. In the middle of it he visited the theatre, where an audience from the Sept. 3. clubs, vehemently excited, called for a party air, the Tragala Perro, which had been composed in hatred of the noblesse during the fervour at Cadiz; and Riego himself, standing up surrounded by his whole staff, joined in the chorus. This open insult to the nobility and the Government led to a fearful tumult in the theatre, in the course of which Riego openly resisted the police and other * The budget proposed by the Cortes exhibited

From all sources 530,394,271 reals, or £5,304,000
An expenditure of 702,807,000


172,408,033 £1,724,000 which was provided for by a loan of 200,000,000 reals, or £2,000,000. — Ann. Hist. iii. 443.


CRAP, authorities; and next day the clubs were all in a tumult,

and the banners so well known in the French Revolution 1820,

were seen in the great square—“ The Constitution or Death.” The Government, however, was not deterred. The troops remained faithful to their duty : large bodies, with artillery loaded with grape-shot, were stationed around the square of the Puerto del Sol, where the mobs were assembled ; and the revolutionists, seeing themselves

mastered, were compelled to submit. On the following Sept. 4. day a decree of the Cortes put the clubs under a strict

surveillance, closed the Lorrenzini, and Riego was deprived of his command in Galicia and sent into exile at Oviedo. At the same time the army in the Isle of Leon was broken up ; but to keep the troops in good humour, and insure obedience to the decree, large gratuities and pensions

were voted to the troops, according to their rank and 1 Martignac, i. 234, 240; periods of service. Riego and Quiroga for their share got Ann. Hist.' 1.432,435, a pension of 84,000 reals each (£840), equivalent to

about £1500 in Great Britain.1

This vigorous step was attended by an immediate 88. Closing of schism in the popular party. Arguelles and Quiroga, and rupture

T: who had been foremost in resisting the clubs, were soon with the denounced as traitors and apostates ; and Riego, for a Nov. 16.

short time, was the rallying-cry of the seditious in the provinces. If this victory had been followed up with vigour and perseverance, the downward progress of the revolution might have been arrested, and Spain saved unutterable calamities. But it was not so : the press continued as violent as ever; the clubs resumed their ascendant, and the progress of anarchy became unrestrained. The Cortes had passed the decree, despoiling the religious houses for the advantage of the state, already mentioned, and it was brought to the king to adhibit his signature in terms of the constitution, which declared that necessary for it to become a law. Instead of doing so, he wrote at the bottom the words prescribed for his refusal. He was perfectly entitled to do so, as much as the Cortes was to

the session,


The e for the aunt to the sea

« PreviousContinue »