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people may be restored to their indubitable rights, and the frequent exercise of them ;-nothing short of such a reform can afford us a rational prospect that our crying grievances will be redressed, our oppressive burdens lightened, and our deplorable situation ameliorated.
Any administration, whose system may be founded on these grand and essential principles of REFORM, we shall consider as composed of true patriots; and as to any other, whatever may be their professions, if they are the enemies, or even the lukewarm friends of such reform, they will never deserve the confidence, or the support of the people. These are principles which we deem of the last importance, and which we are determined constantly to enforce on the most serious consideration of our countrymen. Harlow, Dec. 29, 1808.
REVOLUTIONS IN SPAIN. Our UR readers, we doubt not, have observed, that on this most
, important subject, we have exercised that caution in expressing our bpinions, as it is our wish to do, on all subjects of similar importance. Political writers in general, and periodical writers in particular, should be wary in pronouncing hasty judgments, lest they should thereby not only render their speculations unwortliy of attention, but even subjects of ridicule.
The Revolutions in Spain present, even in their commencement, a spectacle to the world, the most interesting, perhaps, which has been presented since the commencement of the Revolution in France. A kingdom containing a population of twelve millions, the third maritime power in Europe, possessing rich and extensive foreign dominions ; the government formed and supported by a powerful alliance between the church and the state, in which the former constantly predominated over the latter:-a Revolution in such an empire, in the present circumstances of Europe, is calculated to awaken the hopes and the fears of both the friends and the enemies of the human race. On this subject we shall endeavour to present to our readers an impartial statement of facts, with reflections naturally arising therefrom; and our Register will contain the principal documents published by the respective parties in this interesting business.
In the month of October last, symptoms of disorder were first discovered in the Spanish court; a letter was published by the King in which he informed his subjects, who, his Majesty observed, “ all “ loved him, and from whom he had received such constant proofs " of their veneration, that an unknown band had discovered to him " the most unheard of conspiracy, which was carried on in his own "palace against his person :” his Majesty proceeded to fix this design on his son, the Prince of Asturias, at the same time ordering the necessary measures to be taken for his own security.* As soon.
* Pol. Rev. Vol. II. p. 398.
as this intelligence arrived in this country, most of our journalists, and political writers expressed it as their firm opinion, that this was a scheme of the French Emperor, by his agent the prime minister, the Prince of the Peace, to sacrifice the Prince of Asturias, whose murder, together with that of the principal grandees, &c. was sure to follow : the usual execrations vented against NAPOLEON, for much of his former conduct, accompanied these statements. Some of our readers may perhaps recollect the censures cast upon us for not, at once, joining in these reflections. A fortnight, however, had not transpired, before all these confident opinions and speculations were proved to be erroneous. The cause of the Prince of Asturias was so far taken up by the French Emperor, that the former, after some acknowledgments made to his royal father and mother of his having “ failed in his duty," was restored to their favour, and appointed to an important military post. What part was taken by the Emperor of France, either directly or indirectly, in these proceedings, it is impossible to say. The whole affair is yet enveloped in mystery.
About the same period, it is however evident, that NAPOLEON was forming his projects respecting the government of Spain: this we have on his own authority. In his letter to the Prince of Asturias, he thus expresses himself—“I wished by my (proposed] jour“ney to Madrid to draw over my illustrious friend (the King of .“ Spain) to some necessary ameliorations of his states, and also to give a certain satisfaction to the public feelings." In the
mean time Napoleon, had under various plausible pretences, with the approbation of the Spanish court, and without any resistance or expressed dissatisfaction on the part of the people, sent his troops to The capital, as well as to different parts of the kingdom.
In the month of March last some disturbances took place at Madrid, in which the popular indignation discovered itself against the Prince of Peace, who had for inany years been the court favourite, and who it was generally understood had hoarded a mass of wealth out of the public property. The Prince retired to Aranjuez a few miles distant, one of the palaces of the royal family. A considerable ferment had been excited at Aranjuez under the idea that the King and the prime minister intended leaving the country, and the council of Castille met to deliberate on the subject. To the question which the King had sent to his council --“Whether he should “ leave the kingdom,”-the reply was." That he ought not, nor “ would they allow him to do so." In the mean time a letter wasreceived from NAPOLEON, who was then projecting a journey to Madrid, assuring the Spanish Monarch that he was approaching the kingdom with pacific dispositions. The Prince of the Peace thought
* Pol. Rev. Vol. III. p. 308.
it prudent to effect his escape, and order was shortly restored. Prdclamations were issued at Aranjuez and Madrid, exhorting the people to a peaceable demeanour, and assuring them that it never was “ the intention of their Majesties to leave the country.” Shortly after, in consequence of the popular disquiet, and the proceedings of the council of Castille, the King thought proper to sign a decree in which he stated, “ that his habitual infirmities pot permitting him " to support any longer the important burden of the government of " the kingdom, he had determined, after mature deliberation, to ab“ dicate his crown in favour of his heir the Prince of Asturias.” The Prince was accordingly proclaimed King by the constituted authorities, and this change in the government appears to have been received with satisfaction throughout the kingdom.
The abdication of CHARLES IV. was, however, soon discovered to be involuntary, as he in the course of one week, took care to have letters conveyed to the Emperor of France in which he protested against all that had taken place at Aranjuez, and expressed his resolution to resign himself into the hands of " that great man “ who had at all times declared himself his friend.” The old King with his Queen shortly after departed from Aranjuez, lest the kingdom, and arrived at Bayonne.
Soon after FERDINAND was proclaimed King, an account was sent to the French Emperor, in which an assurance was given him that this event would prove the njeans of drawing still more close the relations which had so long subsisted between the two empires: but the recent proceedings do not appear to bare met his approbation; and whether they were the effects of his intrigues, cannot easily be determined. The general opinion of our journalists appeared to be at that time, that this part of the revolution was effected by the most ancient and patriotic of the grandees, and by the most respectable classes of the people.
The partial and ill judged insurrection of the populace at Madrid on the 2d. of May,, was productive of the slaughter of both the French Iroops and the inhabitants, and tended to slew the weakness of the new government.
The designs of NAPOLEON began now to be unfolded: by his persuasion, both the old and the new King agreed to submit tlieir claims to his decision, and the weak Prince, after the example of his weak father, left his kingdom for Bayonne, and submitted bis claims to the decision of the French Emperor. We cannot help expressing our surprise at the indifference the Spaniards discovered on FERDINAND's leaving the kingdom. As to the old King he seems to have been universally despised ; and no one has been found to regret his abdication; the old gentleman himself is said to be contented and bappy in partaking of the pleasures of the chace, and in
Revolutions in Spain. following his other favourite amusements which have been liberally provided for him. We give his late Spanish Majesty full credit when he declares --" My habitual infirmities permit me no longer to “ support the important burden of the government of my kingdom;": and we wish all other Kings of the same capacity for government, would so far consult the happiness of their subjects as to adopt the language, and follow the example of their royal brother CHARLES IV. But with respect to his son FERDINAND, if credit is to be given to the various proclamations of the Spanish insurgents, or patriots (we sincerely hope their principles and conduct will prove their full claim to the latter title) he seems to have been the King of their choice : they all profess to be taķing up arms in his cause: how they could suffer him, without any opposition or remoustrance to leave the kingdom, and throw himself into the arms of the French Emperor, is a question not easily to be solved. The disadvantages they must labour under in having their King a prisoner, the danger to be apprehended to the royal captive, must have been so evident, that it is impossible to account for their conduct, As to the stratagem reported in some of the public prints to have been practised by the Frepch troops sent to escort him, it was too weak for people of common sense to fall into, and is therefore undeserving of notice. If the Prince possessed the hearts of the people of Spain, if the latter were determined to support the claims of the sovereign of their choice by the sword, the conduct of both King and People on this occasion is unaccountable.
As soon as the French Emperor had both the old and the new King in his power, he no longer concealed his ultimate views reç specting the Spanish throne. A notice was shortly published, “ That'by a treaty concluded between the Emperor NAPOLEON, “and King CHARLES, and which had been acceded to by the “ Prince of ASTURIAS, and the Infantas Don CARLOS, Don ! FRANCISCO, and Doņ ANTONIO, who compose the whole of the “ house of Spain, all the existing differences have been adjusted." This notice was accompanied by various documents which very fully detailed the easy and expeditious mode of adjusting all their differences. These were nothing more than proclamations signed by the different branches of the royal family fornrally renouncing their rights to the throne, and recommending to the people of Spain to transfer their allegiance “ to the great Emperor, in is whose friendship consisted the national prosperity and safety." It is, however, evident, that this renunciation, on the part of the Prince of Asturias was by no means voluntary; but the conduct of FERDINAND from first to last, too plainly proves that he is lamentably deficient in those qualities which are indispensibly necessary în a prince, in such arduous and important circumstances. This