Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/577

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556
[HISTORY
SPAIN


not only by the army and the Church, but by the masses. There can be no doubt that Ferdinand VII. could have ruled despotically if he had been able to govern well. But, although possessed of some sardonic humour and a large measure of cunning, he was base, and had no real capacity. He changed his ministers incessantly, and on mere caprice. Governed by a camarilla of low favourites, he was by nature cruel as well as cowardly. The government under him was thoroughly bad, and the persecution of the " Jacobins," that is of all those suspected of Liberal sentiment, ferocious. Partial revolts took place, but were easily crushed. The revolt which overpowered him in 1820 was a military mutiny. During the war the American colonies had rebelled, and soldiers had been sent to suppress them. No progress had been made, the service was dreadfully costly in life, and it became intensely unpopular among the troops. Meanwhile the brutality of the king and his ministers had begun to produce a reaction. Not a few of the officers held Liberal opinions, and this was especially the case with those who had been prisoners in of 1820 France during the war and had been inoculated with foreign doctrines. These men, of whom the most conspicuous was Colonel Rafael Riego (q.v.), worked on the dis- content of the soldiers, and in January 1820 brought about a mutiny at Cadiz, which became a revolution. Until 1823 the king was a prisoner in the hands of a section of his subjects, who restored the constitution of 18 12 and had the support of the army. The history of these three miserable years cannot be told except at impossible length. It was a mere anarchy. The Liberals were divided into sub-sections, distinguished from one another by a rising scale of violence. Any sign of moder- ation on the part of the ministers chosen from one of them was enough to secure him the name of " Servile " from the others. The " Serviles " proper took up arms in the north. At last this state of affairs became intolerable to the French government of Louis XVIII. As early as 1820 the emperor Alexander I. of Russia had suggested a joint intervention of the powers of the Grand Alliance to restore order in the Peninsula, and had offered to place his own army at their disposal for the purpose. The Con- The project had come to nothing owing to the oppo- gress of sition of the British government and the strenuous Verona ""^objection of Prince Metternich to a course which would have involved the march of a powerful Russian force through the Austrian dominions. In 1822 the question was again raised as the main subject of discussion at the congress assembled at Verona (see Verona, Congress of). The French government now asked to be allowed to march into Spain, as Austria had marched into Naples, as the man- datory of the powers, for the purpose of putting a stop to a state of things perilous alike to herself and to all Europe. In spite of the vigorous protest of Great Britain, which saw in this demand only a pretext for reviving the traditional Bourbon ambitions in the Peninsula, the mandate was granted by the majority of the powers; and on the 7th of April 1823 the duke of French In- Angouleme, at the head of a powerful army, crossed tervention, the Bidassoa. The result was a startling proof of 1823. t j Te -g; mS y structure of Spanish Liberalism. What

the genius of Napoleon had failed to accomplish through years of titanic effort, Angouleme seemed to have achieved in a few weeks. But the difference of their task was fundamental. Napoleon had sought to impose upon Spain an alien dynasty; Angouleme came to restore the Spanish king " to his own." The power of Napoleon had been wrecked on the resistance of the Spanish people; Angouleme had the active support of some Spaniards and the tacit co-operation of the majority. The Cortes, carrying the king with it, fled to Cadiz, and after a siege, surrendered with no conditions save that of an amnesty, to which Ferdinand solemnly swore before he was sent over into the French lines. As was to be expected, an oath taken " under compulsion " by such a man was little binding; and the French troops were compelled to witness, with helpless indignation, the orgy of cruel reaction which immediately began under the protection of their bayonets.


The events of the three years from 1820-1823 were the begin- ning of a series of convulsions which lasted till 1874. On the one hand were the Spaniards who desired to assimilate their country to western Europe, and on the other those of them who adhered to the old order. The first won because the general trend of the world was in their favour, and because their opponents were blind, contumacious, and divided among themselves.

If anything could have recalled the distracted country to harmony and order, it would have been the object-lesson pre- sented by the loss of all its colonies on the continent of America. These had already become de facto colonies'! S independent during the death-struggle of the Spanish monarchy with Napoleon, and the recognition of their inde- pendence de jure was, for Great Britain at least, merely a. question of time. A lively trade had grown up between Great Britain and the revolted colonies; but since this commerce, under the colonial laws of Spain, was technically illegitimate, it was at the mercy of the pirates, who preyed upon it under the aegis of the Spanish flag, without there being any possibility of claiming redress from the Spanish government. The de- cision of the powers at the congress of Verona to give a free hand to France in the matter of intervention in Spain, gave the British government its opportunity. When the invasion of Spain was seen to be inevitable, Canning had informed the French government that Great Britain would not tolerate the subjugation of the Spanish colonies by foreign force. A dis- position of the powers of the Grand Alliance to come to the aid of Spain in this matter was countered by the famous message of President Monroe (Dec. 2, r823), laying the veto of the United States on any interference of concerted Europe in the affairs of the American continent. The empire of Brazil and the republics of Mexico and Colombia were recognized by Great Britain*in the following year; the recognition of the other states was only postponed until they should have given proof cf their stability. In announcing these facts to the House of Commons, George Canning, in a phrase that became famous, declared that he had " called a new world into existence to redress the balance of the old " and that " if France had Spain, it should at least be Spain without her colonies."

In Spain itself, tutored by misfortune, the efforts of the king's ministers, in the latter part of his reign, were directed to re- storing order in the finances and reviving agriculture Reactionary and industry in the country. The king's chief Elements iu difficulties lay in the attitude of the extreme mon- s P ai "' archists (Apostolicos), who found leaders in the king's brother Don Carlos and his wife Maria Francisca of Braganza. Any tendency to listen to liberal counsels was denounced by them as weakness and met by demands for the restoration of the Inquisition and by the organization of absolutist demon- strations, and even revolts, such as that which broke out in Catalonia in 1828, organized by the " supreme junta " set up at Manresa, with the object of freeing the king from " the dis- guised Liberals who swayed him." Yet the absolute monarchy would probably have lasted for long if a dispute as to the suc- cession had not thrown one of the monarchical parties on the support of the Liberals. The king had no surviving Question ol children by his first three marriages. By his the Succes- fourth marriage, on the nth of December 1829, sion. The with Maria Christina of Naples he had two daughters. Pragmatic According to the ancient law of Castile and Leon women could rule in their own right, as is shown by the examples of Urraca, Berengaria, and Isabella the Catholic. In Aragon they could transmit the right to a husband or son. Philip V. had introduced the Salic Law, which confined the succession to males. But his law had been revoked in the Cortes summoned in 1789 by Charles IV. The revocation had not however been promulgated. Under the influence of Maria Christina Ferdinand VII. formally promulgated it Isabella 11., at the close of his life, after some hesitation, and Queen, amid many intrigues. When he died on the 29th of °^ September 1833, his daughter Isabella II. was proclaimed queen, with her mother Maria Christina as regent.