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SPAIN, until in the latter part of the year she attracted the attention of every European court by her intrigues against the establishment of a representative government in Portugal, had no occurrence in her foreign policy worthy of being commemorated, and exhibited, in her domestic condition, the same inquisitorial system of tyranny, the same endless fears of discontent and danger, the same hopeless prostration of all thought and action before bigotry and despotism, which had formed her history from the restoration of Ferdinand to absolute power. By the surrender of Callao, in Peru, to the revolutionists, she lost the last foot of ground which remained to her in South America; but she still obstinately refused to acknowledge the independence of her revolted colonies, or to enter into commercial connexions with them, which might have been to her some compensation for the loss of their allegiance. She still made empty vaunts of her inalienable supremacy over these distant countries, and still more empty threats of using force to assert it, while the pirates of Algiers, and the privateers of Colombia, were insulting her coasts, and capturing her. mer
chantmen in the very mouth of their harbours. The wretched state of the finances occasioned her failing to pay a stipulated sum of six millions of reals to the Dey of Algiers; and the barbarian immediately sent his corsairs to sea, and paralyzed for a time the whole trade of Catalonia and Valencia. So early as April, Colombian privateers appeared in the Mediterranean, harassed the commerce of Cadiz, and made several prizes; others were cruising with equal success on the northeastern coasts. Spain was reduced to too low a state to revenge the insults; and even the steam-boat between Cadiz and Gibraltar was forced, for a while, to abandon her voyages. These privateers did not always respect the usages of war; other flags than those of Spain were occasionally exposed to their aggressions.
Too feeble to resent insult from without, Spain was equally deprived of all comfort and respectability within. What with the necessities and jealousies of the government, and the violences of organized banditti, neither life nor liberty nor property were secure for an instant; a social order could scarcely be said to exist; since everything which rendered it comfortable and respectable had fled. The finances were ruined, the population was impoverished, commerce scarcely raised its head j the priesthood were jealous, well paid, and absolute; the government Was solely occupied with cares of police, extinguishing every latent spark of enlightened thought, and guarding against the possible return of banished revolutionists, or the importation of foreign liberals. Superstitious belief, slavish terrors, and Spanish gravity—a king without either heart or head, a ministry without talent or independence, an inquisition without principle or humanity—a profligate and poor aristocracy—a selfish, dark, and tyrannical, priesthood—a populace whose only energies were reserved for outraging the laws, and converting the country into a den of thieves—a military force setting itself above the restraints of discipline, and, reckoning on the credit of its being indispensable to the court, letting loose its licentiousness on friends and foes—in the maritime, and once commercial cities, great aptitude for revolt— every where else an utter listlessness and indifference to political matters, the mark of a people sunk to the lowest degree of political debasement, and knowing no spring of political conduct except abject fear*—these were the elements which now constituted the monarchy of Ferdinand 7th.
A pasquinade, pasted up in the streets of Madrid, in defiance of the vigilance of the police, thus described the state of the country: "Nothing is wanting to thy happiness, my dear country; thou hast monks and locusts—the police; ports without ships, troops without
breeches, a brilliant priesthood, high roads infested by banditti, an exhausted treasury, the country divided into parties of all colours; a king who is not ignorant of it, but who does not dare to do any thing; a paper currency which is worth more than it ought to be: nothing was wanting to thee but a holy year, and the pope has hastened to grant it."
In the beginning of the year the king changed the constitution of his council and gave it anew name. The Consultative Junta was dissolved, and a new body installed in its place, under the appellation of the Permanent Great Council, which was to deliberate and decide upon all proposed measures, and control the ministers in their various departments. Neither the men nor their system was changed; the duke del Infantado was still at the head of the ministry, and cardinal Inguanzo, now appointed archbishop of Toledo, was the ■first oouncillor named. The framers of this council, whether with a view to improve its policy by giving it more stability, or merely to secure the continuance of their own power, prevailed upon the king to sanction as a fundamental principle of its institution, that its members should not be removeable at pleasure—that they should not be dismissed, or exiled from the capital, except for crimes duly proved, and by an express order of the sovereign. This was a scheme to protect themselves against each other's intrigues, and to resist perhaps the influence of those menials of the king, who, without ostensible power, formed in reality his privy council; and yet within a few months, the duke del Infantado himself was under the necessity of resigning. A man gains little bv securing the right to remain in a capital till proved guilty of a crime, when, if lie neglects the hint which tells him'that-his presence is disagree.able, lie may be sent for life to the dungeons of tlie Inquisition withMutissny thing being proved against thiffltitatqaih The anxiety of the ministers to protect themselves against exile, except in the case of being convicted of something criminal, was a bitter satire upon ithe.i >valoe attached to law and liberty in the administration of the Spanish government. ■.'•<'• /».i- ■>■: The leading members of the new: Council were, the archbishop of 'Toledo f the bishop of Leon; father Cyrille; the duke del Infantado; the duke de San Carlos; don Louis de Salazar; don Francis Calomarde, as minister of Justice; don Louis Ballasteros, as minister of, Finance; the marquis de ZambrasKy as minister of War; Castanos, captain-general; the marquis Villa Verde; the marquis de la Reunion; the count du Venadito; don: Jose Garcia de la Torre. It was.solemnly installed in its functions bn the 15th of January. The duke del Infantado, addressing an harangue to his majesty, in which he told him all that he the king hadleter wished to do, and all that fc^vWOuld ever intend to do, laid th& blame of the present; state of things :on the incapacity of those who had before possessed the royal confidence, and described the:new council as setting in its constitution an example to all monarchies, and forming, by its creation, an epoch in the history, of Spain. ^ We mttstiendeavour," said the minister to*he.kiag, "to strengthenwhat the disaffected seek to weaken, and to reclaim those parts to order which have quitted their bounds. Impressed with those truths, your
majesty has been anxious to re« establish harmony in all the branches of the monarchy, to pee
serve the laws inviolate, and to cement the bonds of affection and fideHty between yourself and your subjects. :.The; nation, Sire, is convinced of $K>nr: anxiety, and is grateful for it: and it feels assured that the neglect alone of those to whom your majesty had intrusted the execution of yjrar wishes, has conducted the monarchy to the brink of a precipice. The nation, Sire, desired to see its king surrounded by men possessing his confidence, and charged with proposing the means of rendering the people happy, of attacking »eud destroying those vices which the course of time had introduced into the government of reforming that government, of watching over its fleets and armies, of maintaining the rights of legitimacy, and*; in fine, of bringing on that day which should restore to the people concord and tranquillity. The permanent Council is charged with these important duties; and, in order to accomplish them, it will spare no sacrifices. Yes, Sire, we promise and swear, that we will not rest, so long as the enemies of your sovereignty exist, until wevshallihiavB dragged them forth^ ; no matter where they may be hidden, or under what disguise they may.seek to conceal themselves/;';'. lini; iroii i....If itihadi«ver been the wishof Ferdinand <'to;re-establish harmony in all the branches of the monarchy, and cement the bonds of affection between himself and'his subjects," the! -measures, which he.-was .still sedulously pursuing, were certainly admirably calculated io defeat Iris own purpose^ and .make the world believe that)'he sought the "Safety of his throne onlyia perpetuating discord and distrust. The pretended amnesty, clogged with vague exceptions of whole classes so ill defined that a man could scarcely tell whether or not he was included, had destroyed all confidence: no one who had in any way- contributed to raise the troops, or took any share in proclaiming the constitution throughout the kingdom, -hut was in hourly danger of being called to account fed* by-gone iniquities, in which nearly thel wholes.population had participated. M. Burgos, in* a memorial addressed tortile iking, im the) beginning of the year, on the besturieauE of winning back the departed-prosperity and tranquillity o£) thei'cwuntry, said, with much truth1 and boldness:.i" The first mean, is a full and absolute araaestyy tai.all; without exceptions; pry'.iif i there ibe exceptions, they must bo few, personal, and distindtly named. To fear danger fromitm amnesty is to tremble at a phantomm Men, whose severity is 'offended? if * criminals are not punished, will perhaps maintain that the impunity of certain royalist* might encourage excesses, and lead to new convulsions. I entreat your majesty not to yield to this melancholy scruple. Justice is already satisfied with the leaders of the rebellion having died on the scaffold. Three years of proscription and misfortune have sufficiently punished those who took part in the errors and disorders of the late period. Policy authorizes and prescribes exceptions to the ordinary rules of i justice, when crowds have been//guilty :■ when punishment is impossible, pardon or oblivion is necessary." This was honest, wise, and humane advice, but it was lost upon Ferdinand and his ministers,. FqEtythousand^
families were said to have already been driven into i exile in consequence of their connexion with political events, and they hidcariried forth with them almost ill the capital and enterprise of the country. A number of citizens of Barcelona, who were suspected of having once favoured the constitution, or who had consented to hold offices under its reign, when. Eerdinand himself consented to hold his crown under it, were ordered to leave the city within four-andtwenty hours, and betake1 then*. • selves to particular places of■■ restraint specially assigned to them. Not a moment's delay was allowed them for , preparation^ and 'tHeti entreaties to be allowed' to qiiitithd kingdom were disregarded;' I T<he criminal tribunal of Seville passed sentence of death upon about set> venty of the deputies who> had' voted for the establishment of si regency in 1823, but fortunateb/ only four or five of them were ■ W the hands of that tardy justice which had kept them up forthtfae* years, as if afraid lest victims should fail for her periodical festivals of blood. General Capape had long been imprisoned on flusi picion of being accessory to lanunJ surrcction similar to that of Bessiercs. At length he was brought to trial before the Supreme Council of war, on the 10th of April. A minority of the court were for finding him guilty, and passing sentence of death; but the majority voted that he ought to be acquitted, : and re-instated in his former honours. The king, however, in the face of this judgment of the Court, sentenced him to be banished to the West-Indian island of Porto Rico, and to ,be confined in St. Sebastian till a vessel should be fouqd to transport him, Th$