Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/584

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HISTORY]
563
SPAIN


which it was an open secret she had decided upon in pectore beforehand.

Canovas gathered round him most 01 the prominent Conserva- tive and Catholic statesmen. The first step of the new cabinet A Protec- was calculated to satisfy the protectionist aspirations tioaist which had spread in the kingdom about the same Regime. t ; me jjjat mos t Continental countries were remodel- ling and raising their tariffs. The Madrid government used an authorization which Sagasta had allowed his Long Parlia- ment to vote, to please Senor Gamazo and the Liberal repre- sentatives of agricultural interests, empowering the government to revise and increase all tariff duties not covered by the then existing treaties of commerce. This was the case with most of the products of agriculture and with live stock, so Canovas and his finance minister made, by royal decree, an enormous increase in the duties on these classes of imports, and particu- larly on breadstuffs. Then, in 1891, they denounced all the treaties of commerce which contained clauses stipulating most- favoured-nation treatment, and they prepared and put in force in February 1892 a protectionist tariff which completely reversed the moderate free-trade policy which had been so beneficial to the foreign commerce of Spain from 1868 to 1892. Not a few nations retaliated with higher duties upon Spanish exports, and France raised her wine duties to such an extent that the exports of wines to that country dropped from £12,500,000 before 1892 to £2,400,000 in 1893 and the following years. The effects of a protectionist policy verging upon prohibition were soon sharply felt in Spain. Foreign exchanges rose, exports decreased, the railway traffic declined, and the commercial classes and consumers of foreign goods and products were loud in their protests. Industrial interests alone benefited, and imported more raw materials, chemicals, and coal and coke, which naturally influenced the exchanges adversely. Spain only attempted to make new treaties of commerce with Hol- land, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland. The Great Powers contented themselves with securing by agreements the same treatment for their commerce in Spain as that granted by those five treaties. The Protectionists in 1893 wrecked a treaty of commerce with Germany in the Senate; and Spain subsequently persevered in her protectionist policy. During his two and a half years' stay in office Canovas had not so much trouble with the opposition as with the divisions which sprang up in the Conservative ranks, though he fancied that he had managed the general election in 1891 so as to secure the customary docile majorities. The split in the Conservative camp originated in the rivalry between the two principal lieutenants of Canovas, Romero Robledo and Francisco Silvela. The latter and a strong and influential body of Conservatives, chiefly young politicians, dissented from the easy-going views of Romero Robledo and of Canovas on the expediency of reforms to correct the notorious and old-standing abuses and corruption of the municipalities, efpecially of Madrid. When Canovas found himself deserted on so delicate a matter by a numerous section of his party, he resigned, and advised the queen to send for Sagasta and the Liberals.

Sagasta took office very reluctantly, as he considered a change of policy premature. He conducted the general election with Difficulty much regard for the wishes of the opposition, and out of 456 seats in the Lower House allowed them to have more than 170, the Conservatives get- ting nearly 100 and the Republicans 30. He had to settle some knotty questions, foremost a conflict with Morocco, which was the consequence of the aggression of the unruly Riff tribes upon the Spanish outposts around Melilla. Reinforcements were tardily sent out; and in a second attack by the Arabs the Spanish forces lost heavily, and their commander, General Margallo, was killed. Public opinion was instantly fired, and the press called so loudly for revenge that the government sent to Melilla no less a personage than Marshal Campos, at the head of 29 generals and 25,000 men. The sultan of Morocco lost no time in censuring the behaviour of the Riff tribes, and in promising that he would chastise them. Marshal Campos was sent to


with Morocco.


Fez to make a treaty, in which he obtained ample redress and the promise of an indemnity of £800,000, which Morocco punctually paid.

Colonial affairs gave Sagasta much to do. He had given seats in his cabinet to Senor Antonio Maura as colonial secretary and to Senor Gamazo, his brother-in-law, as finance minister. These two moderate Liberals acted in Question. concert to grapple with colonial questions, which in 1894 had assumed a very serious aspect. Spain had received many ominous warnings. Marshal Campos, on returning from Cuba in 1879, had advocated some concessions to satisfy the . legitimate aspirations of the majority of the colonists. In 1886, in the first parliament of the regency, Cuban autonomist depu- ties divided the house on a motion in favour of home rule and of an extension of the franchise in Cuba. This motion was negatived by all the Conservatives, by most of the Dynastic Liberals and by some of the Republicans. The majority of Span- iards were kept by the government and the press quite in the dark about the growth of disaffection in Cuba, so that they were loath to listen to the few men, soldiers and civilians, cour- ageous enough to raise the note of alarm during the ten years before the final catastrophe. For no other reason did the minister for the colonies, Senor Maura, in 1894 fail to convince the Cortes, and even the Liberal party, that his very moderate Cuban Home Rule Bill was an indispensable and wise, though tardy, attempt to avert a conflict which many plain symptoms showed to be imminent in the West Indies. Maura was warmly supported in Congress by the Cuban home rulers and by some far-sighted Liberals and Republicans. Nevertheless, his bill did not find favour with the Conservatives or the majority of the Liberals, and Sagasta, trimming according to his inveterate habit, found a pretext to get rid of Maura and Gamazo. In the place of Maura he found a more pliant minister for the colonies, Senor Abarzuza, who framed a Cuban Reform Bill so much short of what his predecessor had thought an irreducible minimum of concessions, that it was censured in Havana by all the colonial Liberals and home rulers, and by their representatives in Madrid. The latter at the last moment recorded their votes in favour of the Abarzuza Bill when they perceived that a strange sort of eleventh-hour presentiment was about to make all the Spanish parties vote this insufficient reform. Before it could be promulgated, the tidings came of a separatist rising in the old haunts of Creole disaffection near Santiago de Cuba. Sagasta sent about 12,000 men to reinforce the 15,000 soldiers in Cuba under General Callaga, and was preparing more when a characteristically Spanish ministerial crisis arose. The subal- terns of the Madrid garrison took offence at some articles pub- lished by Radical newspapers, and they attacked the editorial offices. Neither the war minister nor the commanders of the garrison chose to punish the offenders, and sooner than endorse such want of discipline, Sagasta and the Liberal party once more made way for Canovas. A very few days after he assumed office Canovas received information concerning the spread of the rising in Cuba which induced him to send out Marshal Campos with 30,000 men. He allowed Marshal Campos much liberty of action, but dissented from his views on the expediency of allowing him to offer the loyalists of Cuba as much home rule as would not clash with the supremacy of Spain. The prime minister declared that the Cubans must submit first, and then the mother country would be generous.

Before a year had passed, in view of the signal failure of Marshal Campos, the Madrid government decided to send out General Weyler, who had made himself famous in the Philippines and at Barcelona for his stern and cruel procedure against disaffection of every kind. He showed the same merciless spirit in dealing with the Cubans; and he certainly cleared two-thirds of the island of Creole bands, and stamped out disaffection by vigorous military operations and by obliging all the non- aeaeral combatants who sympathized with the rebels in Weyier's arms to elect between joining them in the bush, Cam P al «"- La Manigua, or residing within the Spanish lines. This system might probably have succeeded if the United States had not