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Revolutions in Spain,
appears on the face of his various declarations. Last year, when he was first charged with a conspiracy by his father, he denied, and afterwards acknowledged his guilt; when he was three months since raised to the throne by the constituted authorities, he der clares his sovereignty, and his determination to defend it; he then, on the invitation or the command of the French Emperor leaves his subjects, and his kingdom, and submits all his claims to the decision of a foreign power. Shortly afterwards, " in order to give € a proof of love and obedience, and in fulfilment of his desire, he " resigns his crown into the hands of his father, wishing he may en“ joy it many years, and throws himself at the feet of his royal
Majesty, the humblest of his sons!" In his final declaratiou he states “ that he accepted the crown only under the impression that & the abdication of his royal father was voluntary, and that when “ he was unexpectedly apprised to the contrary, his sense of filial " duty determined him to give back the throne.” Princes, as their stations are most elevated, and their persons most sacred, are als lowed much greater liberty in their language and conduct than the cominon mass of mankind. In common life, however, we should pronounce the man who could thus say and unsay, a man thuş destitute of resolution and courage, not very well qualified for a station of much less importance than that of a throne. His Royal Highness at length follows the example of his father, completely renounces his sovereignty, and “ exhorts the Spaniards to consult “ the common interests of their country, by conducting themselves
in a peaceable manner, and by looking for their happiness to the “ power and wise arrangements of the Emperor Napoleon !” Thus the whole royal family of Spain resigned all their rights of sovereignty into the hands of the French Emperor.
To sanction these proceedings with those which were shortly to follow, the grandees of Spain with the various constituted author rities were invited to assenible at Bayonne, and the assembly of the notables were summoned to meet there on the 15th of June, on which day the new constitution for Spain was to be prepared; previous to wbich, however, Napoleon had sent for his brother JOSEPH, King of Naples, who arrived on the 7th, and was immediately proclaimed . King of Spain: addresses in the usual style were presented to his Majesty from the grandees, the deputation of the grand general junta, the deputies of the Council of the inquisition, and other public bodies, which were followed by various addresses from these bodies to the people of Spain, earnestly exhorting them to submission to the new government, and containing full assurances of a reformation of abuses, a restoration of their aucient pri-, vileges, and such a system as would insure them under“ the countenance " and protection of him in whose mighty hand their lot had fallen,
Revolutions in Spain.
« a continuance of the blessings enjoyed by their forefathers, with " the redress of every thing of which they had cause to complain." The new constitution was proclaimed at Bayonne, and thus the projects of the French Emperor were so far accomplished.
Whilst, however, matters were thus going on very peaceably at Bayonne, a flame burst forth in the kingdom of Spain, and spread from provivce to province, which threatens materially to disturb, if it does not entirely destroy this new and mighty scheme of boundless ambition. Our newspapers have for these six weeks past, been filled with the proclamations of the Spanish insurgents, with accounts of battles, and with columns after columns of warın reflections on this subject; much allowance must be made for the accounts of the various successes of the Spaniards against the French, more especially as the old practice is renewed by the ministerial clerks of of fice, of issuing bulletins on one day which they are obliged to contradict the next: but after making every allowance for exaggeration, the successes of the Spaniards have proved as important as they were unexpected. The surrender of the French fleet at Cadiz, the defeat of the French forces as recorded in our official Gazettes, plainly prove, that the French Emperor was not prepared for such a powerful resistance. Most certainly there is an ardour displayed not only in the proclamations, but in the actions of the Spaniards which has not been discovered in any of the nations conquered by the French. All Europe, yea the whole world must be attracted by such a spectacle, and the hopes and the fears of the friends and the enemies of the human race, as to the final result, must on such an interesting occasion be equally excited.
Such are the principal events which have attended this extraordinary Revolution. As to what may be the final consequences it is impossible with any degree of precision to conjecture. Men are generally guided by their wishes, and hazard their speculations accordingly.
In considering this subject we beg leave to lay it down as a truth, which however it may be reprobaled by some or ridiculed by others, ought never to be lost sight of_That THE SOVEREIGNTY OF A NATION ESSENTIALLY RESIDES IN THE PEOPLE, and that the sense of the people, when it can be fairly collected, ought to be obeyed. No individuals have a right to tyrannize over the majority; and no foreign power has a right to overturn an old government, or to impose a new one without the consent of the people who constitute the governed.
The first inquiry therefore on this subject is-What share has the Spanish nation had in the late changes ? The abdication of the old King, and the elevation of FERDINAND to the throne, are measures which were said to be brought about by the most respectable families, and by the principal grandees of the Spanish nation; and
as there were no commotions attending these events, we may suppose they were agreeable to the wishes of the people at large: at least it may be said they felt no interest in supporting their monarch who had so long reigned over them, and accordingly his abdication was to the nation a matter of indifference. Succeeding events, as we have already remarked, tend to prove the preference shewn by the people to the new over the old monarch.
The next inquiry is--How far the French Emperor in his project of placing his brother Joseph on the throne of Spain has been countenanced by the nation over which he has appointed him to reign? And here we cannot but deem it a singular circumstance, that the principal persons who brought about the abdication of CHALES IV, and the elevation of FERDINAND to the throne, should so shortly afterwards have left the kingdom for Bayonne, and have fallen in with the designs of the French Emperor. Not only the principal constituted authorities, but those grandees which the public prints bad held up as the hopes of the Spanish nation, the Duke D'INPANTADO in particular, (whose praises resounded from all quarters,) assembled at Bayonne, and as it appears readily acquiesced in the abdication of the whole royal family of Spain, and in' acknowledging Josepa BONAPARTE as their new sovereign, It is a very important question, and to which we feel incompetent to give an answer,--Were these bodies and individuals acting agreeably, or contrary to the wishes of the Spanish nation in general ?
With respect to that large, and apparently respectable body of the Spanish nation who have so unexpectedly started from their lethargy, and expressed their determination to have no sovereign but of their own nation and choice, if this should appear to be the sense of the majority, they have a right to what they demand; and every consistent friend to the sovereignty of the people must wish them success against all the attempts of NAPOLEON to subdue them: but we are not yet prepared to adopt those opinions which have been so decidedly, eagerly, and warmly expressed by almost all our daily, and weekly, as well as other political writers on this interesting subject.
We have perused with some attention the numerous proclamations which have been issued by the popular leaders in Spain, in order that we might if possible discover their principles and their designs. As yet they afford us very scanty information on the subject. They proclaim FERDINAND VII. their king. They talk loudly of their laws, their liberties and their religion: but as to the two former they have hitherto possessed them in name only, and as to the latter the established religion of their country, it formed such an abominable mixture of superstition, corruption, and priestcraft, tending to enslave and impoverish the people, that the sooner such
systems are overturned either in Spain; or in any other country the better. It is inpossible that a people can enjoy liberty, laws or teligion, where such establishments predominate ; they generate nothing but ignorance, slavery, and misery amongst the vast majority of a nation. Spain, one of the finest countries under heaven, has for centuries past proved a melancholy instance of the truth of these observations.
We cannot therefore but intimate our suspicions, when 'e sėé a people rising with the professed design to support an old fabrie which is fallen in many, and tottering in almost every part of Europe,----when we see bishops and priests active in exciting insurrections, working telegraphs, and leading armies ! Although it cannot be expected that a people so long depressed, should at once cast off their prejudices and break their chains, we must express our concern on observing all the different parties and ranks in Spain rivetted to the old abominable system of superstition and intoleiance. It is to the honour of NAPOLEON, that he has uniformly proved the friend of religious toleration : the bappy effects of his enlarged sentiments on this grand subject have in some degree compensated for those evils attending his ambitious conquests. We bad indulged the hope that the same system of Toleration would have been extended to Spain: but unhappily, this is the first country in which that best friend to the human race-TOLERATION, must not be suffered to enter. Napoleon and the Patriots, all deem it necessary to declare, that the Roman Catholie Religion shall be, 10€ only the established, but the sole religion of Spain. The nonsense, therefore, which abounds in the Spanish proclamations about the necessity of contending for their religion, their temples, their altars, their saints, &c. &c. is a disgrace to a people rising in the cause of liberty; and the encomiuis passed on this nonsense by the political writers of this country, is equally disgraceful to their characters, as men of enlightened minds, as Britons and Protestants.
The public prints have been filled for weeks past from day to day with accounts of the rising of the Spanish people, and of their almost uniforin success in defeating the French: and yet, to our surprise, the accounts from Bayonne are such, that one might almost suspect that there was not any very serious opposition to the views of BONAPARTE. The new King Joseph, has chosen his council, and nominated the members of various constituted authorities. Our political writers remark with concern, that in this choice he has selected some of the most respectable persons in the kingdom, who have all accepted their different appointments. His new-created Spanish Majesty has likewise set out on his journey to his capitala MADRID; and he has already made considerable progress in Spain without experiencing any opposition. As we have been deceived by
šo many accounts of battles, &c. we hope so much blood has not yet been spilt in this strange revolution as has been represented. We are happy in particular to find, that one account in which 8000 Frenchmen were said to have been murdered after they had surrendered, in cold blood, by the knives of the peasantry, is entirely unfounded. The exultation which some of our ministerial prints expressed at the spirit of the Spaniards as displayed in such an exploit, would have disgraced even savages: but they happily, have no Morning Post editors amongst them.
The manner in which the public prints, the ministerial in particular, have treated this subject, may serve to display the force of popular prejndices, interested views, and inflamed passions. The Spanish patriots are contending we are told, “ for all that is dear, " their ancient monarchy, liberties, laws, &c.” Now it is remarkable that amidst the contrariety of opinions which prevail between the different parties in Spain, there is one opinion in which all agree ;-and which we have repeatedly enforced on our readers, namely,—That the old Spanish government was so very bud, that any change must be for the better. What say the Spanish junta assembled at Bayonne ? What say even the old Spanish courtiers on this subject? Their language is well deserving attention. “At the very moment when Spain, a country so greatly favoured " by nature, but impoverished, exhausted, and debased before the "eyes of all Europe, by the defects and misrule of its own govern"ment, had arrived at the point of a complete annihilation--when " the very exertions which might have been employed to revive her
exhausted strength would only bave served to increase her suf“ fering, and to'plunge her into fresh calamities--when, in fine, all
hope was extinguished, Providence las granted us the means not only of rescuing our country from certain ruin, but also of raising " her to an height of happiness and splendour, which she has never
yet attained even in the most glorious periods of her history. By one of those political revolutions, which astonish only those who disregard the events by which they have been prepared, the house
of Bourbon, after having lost the other thrones which it possessed " in Europe, resigned that of Spain, the only one on which it re"tained a seat. After having brought the nation to the brink of ruin, deprived of the support hitherto granted by the remaining " branches of their family, and unable to preserve the countries " which had formerly united them with France ; the Bourbons " found it impossible to keep a seat which all the changes that have "occurred in the system of politics, compelled them to quit. The "most powerful prince in Europe has accepted the resignation of " the Bourbons, not to incorporate your territory in his already so extensive imperial dominions, but to establish the Spanish monar