Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/589

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.
568
[HISTORY
SPAIN


Compulsory Education Act as " a criminal assault on the rights of the family." His ecclesiastical policy also exposed him to the fate of those who take the middle way; the Liberals denounced the minister of education, Don F. Rodriguez San Pedro, for making concessions to the teaching orders, while the archbishops of Burgos and Santiago de Composfella fulminated against the government for daring to tax the congregations. In his reform- ing work Senor Maura had an active and efficient lieutenant in the minister of the interior, Senor La Cierva. Under his auspices laws were passed reforming and strengthening the police force, instituting industrial tribunals, regulating the work of women and children, introducing Sunday rest, early closing, and other reforms. In short, the government, whatever criticism might be levelled at its methods, had accomplished a notable work, and when on the 6th of June 1909 the Cortes adjourned, its position seemed to be assured.

Its downfall was ultimately due to the development of the crisis in Morocco. This is described elsewhere (see Morocco: Morocco History) ; here it is only proposed to outline the effects Crisis. of its reaction upon the internal affairs of Spain. The trouble, long brewing, broke out in July, with the attack by the Riff tribesmen upon the workmen engaged on the rail- way being built to connect Melilla with the mines in the hills, held by Spanish concessionaires. The necessity for strengthen- ing the Spanish forces in Africa had for some time been apparent; but Sefior Maura had not dared to face the Cortes with a demand for the necessary estimates, for which, now that the crisis had become acute, he had to rely on the authorization of the council of state. The spark was put to the powder by the action of the war minister, General Linares, in proposing to organize a new field force by calling out the Catalan reserves. This sum- moned up too vivid memories of the useless miseries of former over-sea expeditions. On the 26th of July a general strike was proclaimed at Barcelona, and a movement directed at first against the " conscription " rapidly developed into a revolu- tionary attack on the established order in church and state. Barcelona The city, a colluvies gentium, was seething with Rising of dangerous elements, its native proletariat being July 1909. reinforced by emigrants returned embittered from failure in South America and a cosmopolitan company of refu- gees from justice in other lands. The mob, directed by the revo- lutionary elements, attacked more especially the convents and churches. From the city the revolutionary movement spread to the whole province. In Barcelona the rising was suppressed after three days' street fighting (July 27-29). On the 28th martial law was proclaimed throughout Spain; and now began a military reign of terror, which lasted until the end of September. In the fortress of Monjuich in Barcelona were collected, not only rioters caught red-handed, but many others— notably journalists — whose opinions were obnoxious. The greatest sensation was caused by the arrest, on the 31st of August, of Sefior Ferrer, a theoretical anarchist well known in many countries for his anti-clerical educational work and in Spain especially as the founder of the " lay schools." He was accused of being the chief instigator of the Barcelona rising, was tried by court martial (Oct. 11-13), and shot. This tragedy, which rightly or wrongly aroused the most wide- spread indignation throughout Europe, produced a ministerial crisis in Spain. The opening of the October session of the Cortes was signalized by a furious attack by Senor Moret on Senores Maura and La Cierva, who were accused of having Fallot sacrificed Ferrer to the resentment of their clerical Maura. task-masters. The government had been already weakened by the news of Marshal Marina's reverse in Morocco (Sept. 30); to this new attack it succumbed, Sefior Maura resigning on the 21st of October 1909.

On the 22nd the formation of a new cabinet under Sefior Moret was announced. It was from the first in a position of Moret singular weakness, without a homogeneous majority Ministry, in the Cortes, and depending for its very existence 1909-1910. on { ne uncer tain support of the extreme Left and the Republicans. For three months it existed without daring


to put forward a programme. It sent General Weyler to keep Barcelona in order, caused the release of most of the prisoners in Monjuich, reduced the forces in Morocco, reopened negotia- tions with Rome for a modification of the concordat, and on the 31st of December, the end of the financial year, was responsible for the issue of a royal decree stating that the budget would remain in force until the Cortes could pass a new one. But, meanwhile, the municipal elections, under the new Local Administration Law, had resulted in a triumph of the Liberals (Dec. 12). Senor Moret now considered the time ripe for a dissolution; the king, however, refused to consent, and on the 9th of February 1910 the ministry resigned. The new cabinet, with Senor Canalejas as president of the council, in- cluded members of the various Liberal and Radical canalejas groups: Garcia Prieto (foreign affairs), Count Ministry, Sagasta (interior), General Aznar (war), the Demo- 19W ' crat Arias Miranda (navy), Cobian, a strong Catholic though a Liberal (finance), Ruiz Valarino, a Democrat (justice), Calbeton (public works) and Count Romanones, who advocated a liberal settlement with the Church (education).

Though at once denounced by Senor Moret as " a democratic flag being used to cover reactionary merchandise," 1 the name of Canalejas was in itself a guarantee that the burn- Quarrel ing question of the relations of the state to Rome with the and the religious orders would at last be taken in Vatican. hand, while the presence of so many moderate elements in his cabinet showed that it would be approached in a conciliatory spirit. A beginning was made with the issue of a circular by the minister of finance (March 18), ordering the collection of taxes from all religious bodies carrying on commercial and industrial enterprises. What more could be done would depend on the result of the elections necessitated by the dissolution of the Cortes on the 15th of April. Count Romanones, desiring to educate the electors, had been busy establishing schools; but the sweeping victory of the Liberals at the polls 2 was prob- ably far more due to the fact that this was the first election held under Senor Maura's Local Administration Act, and that the ignorant electors, indignant at being forced to vote under penalty of a fine, where they did not spoil their ballot papers, voted against the Conservatives as the authors of their grievance.

The government was thus in a position vigorously to pursue its religious policy. On the 31st of May the official Gacela published a decree setting forth the rules to which the religious associations would have to submit. It was pointed out that, in conformity with the decree of the 9th of April 1902, it had become necessary to coerce those congregations and associa- tions which had not fulfilled the formalities prescribed by the law of 1887, and also those engaged in commerce and industry which had not taken out patents with a view to their taxation. It further ordered that all foreign members of congregations were to register themselves at their respective consulates, in accordance with the decrees of 1901 and 1902. On the nth of June a further and still more significant step was taken. A royal ordinance was issued repealing that signed by Canovas del Castillo (Oct. 23, 1876), immediately after the promulgation of the constitution of 1876, interpreting the nth article of the constitution, by which the free exercise of all cults was guaranteed in Spain. The article in question forbade " external signs or public manifestations of all religious confessions with the exception of that of the state," which was defined by Canovas del Castillo as meaning " any emblem, attribute or lettering which would appear on the exterior walls of dissident places of worship." s In the speech from the throne at the opening of the new Cortes (June 16) the king declared that his government would " strive to give expression to the

1 The Times (Feb. 18, 19 10).

2 The composition of the new parliament was as. follows — Senate: Ministerialists, 103; Conservatives, 42; Regionalists, 5; Republicans, 4; Carlists, 3; miscellaneous groups, 11. Lower House: Ministeri- alists, 227 ; Conservatives, 105 ; Republicans, 42 ; Carlists, 9 ; Catalans, 7 ; Integrists, 2 ; Independents, 9 ; unattached, 3.

3 The Times (June 13, 1910).