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about the ring, in the vain hope of shaking off his unwelcome pyrotechnics. All this display of intense suffering caused a corresponding movement of satisfaction in the lookers on. The horse is brought up again, the bull retreats; more fire, more agony. The spectacle is sickening. It is a relief to hear the signal given for the espada, who quickly puts the poor brute out of misery. The bulls that followed needed no fuego. They destroyed horseflesh to the evident satisfaction of the Malagueños. One laid four on the ground; another completely disembowelled a wretched hack, who poured out his life on the arena in dust and pain. The King saw it all from a lofty solium, and smiled where in Spain the smile should come in, if one would be popular, though I am sure he must have been heartsick at the view."
On March 22 the royal squadron sighted" a large white town," that "seemed to sit on the waves," and to have no visible connection with any land whatever. It was Cadiz, the great naval station of Spain, and at 7.30 the cables were cast in the bay. Here, too, the English Channel fleet was anchored, and the arrival of the King was thundered out by the "Minotaur," "Black Prince," "Resistance," and "Defence," "whose huge hulls were beautifully outlined from water-line to truck by electric lights." On the 23rd, Vice-Admiral Beauchamp Seymour, who commanded the Channel squadron, and the captains of the several ships, were introduced to the King, who dined the same evening with the Admiral and his principal officers, on board the " Minotaur," the British and German ministers being amongst the guests. After the banquet, the ViceAdmiral proposed the health of his royal guest, and making a speech" in happy terms," finally hoped "that His Majesty might long be spared to rule over a loyal and happy people, who, in his reign, would see repeated the gallant and noble deeds of their chivalrous ancestors."
According to the correspondent from whose account the preceding details are taken, the King had "already taken considerable hold on the affections of the officers of his squadron, who spoke in the highest praise of his thoughtful and courteous conduct towards them, and in admiration of his singular quickness and ability."
A royal decree of much importance, which assimilated the Basque provinces to the rest of Spain and dissolved their Juntas, was promulgated on May 7.
We are reminded of the high place that Spain takes as a wineproducing country, by the fact that in the early part of the month of May the King opened a wine exhibition at Madrid. In the building were twelve halls, splendidly decorated from floor to roof with the products of the vine in casks. Fifty provinces were represented, and the number of exhibitors amounted, it was said, to 8,000.
At this time the Budget for 1877-8 was brought before the Cortes. The estimated expenditure for the financial year 1877-8 was set down at a little over 29,000,000l. (being 3,000,0001. more
than the preceding year), and the probable income was estimated at 29,000,000l.
Several changes were made in taxation, and though the "extraordinary war contribution," that during the Carlist insurrection had been laid upon certain trades, was abolished, other taxes were imposed, and notably one on foreign residents who were exempted by treaty rights. The change, however, that most concerns British interests is set forth in the following clause, which "cannot fail," it was remarked," to cripple our trade with Spain":-" There will be established an extraordinary and transitory impost on the value of the following articles of the exterior trade:-1 per cent. at the importation of such merchandise as actually pays only from 3 to 9 per cent. in the customs; 4 per cent. on the value of tobacco imported by private individuals and on merchandise whose duties are 10 per cent. and more at the present time, with the exception of woollen goods and such objects as pay octroi duties besides; 4 per cent. on the value of Jerez and Puerto wines exported to foreign countries and Spanish colonies beyond the seas; 2 per cent. on the value of other wines which come neither from Jerez nor Puerto, and on minerals and metals exported to the same destinations."
A Sunday in the beginning of May was signalised in Madrid by a bull fight, which was almost too sensational for certain ladies of high rank who witnessed it. King Alfonso had invited the Archduke Regnier of Austria and his Archduchess to be present at this great national diversion. The Princess of Asturias and other noble ladies were amongst the spectators; and "those ladies of the upper classes," said an eye-witness, "who intended to go to the bull fight, were conspicuous in the white mantilla and brightcoloured boddices, which are the last remains of the old national Manola costume. In many splendid carriages were seen the leading families of the official society and of the nobility speeding away to the ring, and the route presented the lively and cheerful scene so common on Sunday afternoons during the spring in Madrid." The hero of the fight was "Frascuelo," "a reckless man of thirty-three, and a great favourite;" but who during the combat got terribly gored by an enraged bull. "The whole scene had lasted but a few seconds, and a loud cry of horror burst from every part of the ring. Everybody sprang to their feet, from King Alfonso in the royal box to the lowest rabble down near the barriers. Shrieks of anguish burst from the women, whilst others covered their faces with their hands or fans. Men of every rank and age could not refrain from uttering expressions of dismay and consternation, which were again renewed when the wretched sufferer, after rising to his feet, staggered a few steps, and fell down pale and covered with blood, which streamed over his brilliant costume."
The restored monarchy not only consolidated peace at home, but was able in October to announce the total suppression of the Cuban insurrection. Mochado, President of the rebel Chamber, had been killed; several of the ringleaders surrendered, and
Estrada, the chief culprit, was taken prisoner. The next step in the pacification of the island was a royal decree making grants of land in Cuba (large tracts of which lie uncultivated) to inhabitants who had lost property by the insurrection.
An important decree, or royal order, likewise appeared in support of religious liberty in Spain as guaranteed by the Constitution. It censured the Mayor of Ignatoraf, in interfering with the freedom of Protestant parents and using his authority to make them have their children baptized by a priest of the Roman Catholic Church. "His Majesty," said the order, "desiring to make respected the principle of freedom of conscience and religious profession, which constitutes one of the rights of Spaniards and of every person inhabiting this realm, has ordered you to be informed of the displeasure with which he has seen the conduct of the Mayor of Ignatoraf, and to enjoin him to abstain in future from employing the influence of his authority in anything relating to the free exercise of the religion of any person in the limits marked out by the constitution and the laws."
The Basque provinces, resenting the decree taking away their special privileges and assimilating them to the rest of Spain, declined to carry out the laws of the imperial taxation which are to be enforced.
On December 6 a Cabinet Council assembled at Madrid, and was presided over by the King in person, when the formal announcement was made of the young King's engagement with his cousin the Princess Mercèdes, daughter of the Duc de Montpensier. Unlike most royal marriages in Spain, the one here contemplated was one of pure affection, and therefore more truly to the interest of the nation, than another of those marriages of policy which had been its bane. The engagement, however, was by no means popular in Spain; for the Princess was the daughter of the man most unpopular in the country as an intriguer, and meddleruin Spanish politics, and the nobility of high Legitimist ideas disliked the Duc de Montpensier, as the grandson of Philippe Egalité, the revolutionary French prince. Yet, strange as it may seem, the very nation," according to the Times correspondent, which then exclaimed against the marriage, would never forgive him for breaking his royal word and sacrificing a young Princess, who enters on life with an ardent love of the country whose sovereign she appeared destined to be, and with the loftiest: sentiments of duty and virtue, and who promises the King a spouse fitted to strengthen him in trials, possessing as she does all the qualities which make queens beloved. Neither, however, on the other hand, would Spain forgive him if, while faithfully guarding the respect a king owes to his word, and while listening to the counsels of his heart, he overrode the universal feeling of his subjects by wedding his cousin, unless the country knew beforehand that the chief cause of the unpopularity of his marriage was to disappear on the morrow of the union-unless, in short, it had the Duc de Montpensier's
promise to quit Spain." And, according to the correspondent's private information," on which he "can rely," such a step was actually decided upon-it being the King's desire and the Duke's intention that it should be taken; and so the nation will have, it was believed," a Royal pair, young, interesting, worthy of affection, and a people doubly happy at having at last a virtuous Queen, and at the departure from their soil of a man who, rightly or wrongly, is credited with an unfavourable influence over their destinies. They will then be proud that this King, who has spent years out of Spain, has determined to have a Spanish bride." In reply to the congratulations of the municipality of Madrid, the King said:—“I receive with gladness the congratulations of Madrid, my native town, as well as that of the future Queen. I am certain that your congratulations will also be very agreeable to her. The history of the population of Madrid is mine. I share its joys and its sorrows. I hope that your wishes for the welfare of the Throne and the prosperity of the country may be realised."
RUSSIA AND SERVIA.
Condition of Russia during 1877-Old and New Régime-Industrial and Financial History The Budget-Russia makes the Protocol an Ultimatum-The Czar at Kischeneff-Russia's Policy-The Army and Navy-Military System RemodelledThe Grand Duke Nicholas-Russian Officers-Skobeleff-Todleben-Gourko-The Metropolitan of Kischeneff and the Czar-Addresses to the Czar-Popular Sentiment in Russia-A War Party and a Peace Party-The Emperor's return to St. Petersburg. Servia and the Porte-Peace of March 1877-Prince Milan's Proclamation-Servia's Policy-Servia and the War-Servia declares War, December 1877-Movements of the Servian troops.
THE history of Russia for the year 1877 is very much identified with the history of the Eastern Question and the war that resulted from the failure of its settlement by diplomatic and pacific means. Both of these disturbing elements in the European harmony-the Eastern deadlock and its consequences-are treated of as fully as space permits, under the head of "Turkey and the Russo-Turkish War;" but here a few pages may be devoted, for the most part, to what may be worthy of note in Russia's internal history and condition during 1877.
A correspondent of the Times, writing from St. Petersburg, remarked that the year 1877 had been one of severe trials to Russia-trials which "called forth all the energy of the nation." He conveniently divided the twelve months into four equal portions, each three months having a peculiar and distinctive character. First there were three months of doubt and anxiety;* next three
* It should be remembered that, Russia still adhering to the old style, its year does not begin till the twelfth day of our new year.
months of successful military operations; then three months of reverses and disappointments; which were followed, however, by three months of "victory and patriotic rejoicing." There were, likewise, weeks of exaggerated expectations, and weeks of equally exaggerated despondency. But the nation, we are told, never doubted of ultimate success.
Since the Crimean war, Russia has gone through periods of unequal prosperity. The exhaustion consequent upon that severe strain upon her power and resources was succeeded by a period of spasmodic energy, feverish activity, and boundless expectations. During the reign of the Czar Nicholas all private enterprise was disallowed. It was a time of administrative restrictions and formalities, in which all economic reforms, and aspirations after social development, were sternly repressed; but under the new régime which succeeded, the nation would, it was believed, speedily attain a degree of progress calculated to astonish Western Europe.
Such hopes were realised to some extent; but national prosperity was not to be reached by any short cut, and Russia found that there was no royal road to it. An illusory wealth, produced by the issue of 400 millions of paper roubles,* was followed by a commercial crisis. The emancipation of the serfs, and the Polish insurrection, weakened the impulse towards commercial development, and in 1866 the reform enthusiasm was on the wane; and the Government, directing its attention chiefly to administrative reforms, commercial activity revived. This led to speculation and over-production. At the beginning of 1872, we are told, the Moscow banks held bills to the amount of 53 millions of roubles, and in August 1875 the amount had reached to nearly 100 millions. "Then began the crisis. In 1874 the liabilities of bankrupt firms in Moscow amounted to about 5 millions; in the following year they rose to 11 millions, and in 1876 reached the respectable figure of 31 millions of roubles. At last the banks became alarmed and contracted their operations, and the market was soon glutted with paper money which could find no suitable investment. It was at this moment, when the commercial interests of the country required political tranquillity, that preparations were made for war. Orders were given to mobilise the army, and in order to meet the necessary expenditure 54 millions of roubles were added to the amount already in circulation."
This being the condition of Russia at the beginning of 1877, she might well wish to avoid war, for an already heavy taxation, a commercial crisis, and grave financial difficulties are hindrances before which the most vaulting ambition would do well to pause lest some terrible Nemesis overtake it.
The cost, however, was counted and the risk incurred; and, according to superficial appearances, the industrial and commercial
* The approximate value of the silver rouble is 2s. 10d.; or about 7 roubles to the pound sterling. The paper rouble is liable to great depreciation in value.