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ditch, surrounded by her faithful children, the liberty and the constitution of Spain fell before the murderous assault, after a defence such as only the sons of liberty know how to exhibit.
With their fall closed the second battle of light and darkness in the nineteenth century; and the cheering dawn was turned into night.
Stripped of the pretences which thinly veiled the dark purposes of the despots, their act assumes the form of a high crime against the liberty, laws, and independence of free nations. It has a meaning, which it becomes us deeply to ponder, under the light of recent revelations.
The safety of France was not implicated in the Spanish Revolution, save by the bare example of a free government established in spite of the opposition of the King. Social order was not disturbed by the constitutional authorities. They were devoting their best energies successfully to maintain it against the partisans of the King, the intrigues of his priests and courtiers, and the countenance and support of the menacing army of France.
The blood that flowed in the Palace was shed by the King's guards, at his instigation, in a revolt against the established government, to re-instate him in his unlimited and despotic power; and he hypocritically thanked those who suppressed the insurrection.
The ruinous loans and exhausting taxes, which were insolently put forward as grounds of interference by a foreign nation, were chiefly occasioned by the impending war which the accusers were bringing
on the country; and the terms of raising them were rendered more oppressive by the insecurity their threats and the King's intrigues threw over the "existing order."
There was no propagation of the revolution abroad, or danger to the life of the King at home, by the very confession of Morillo, during the insurrection of July. The government earnestly and energetically suppressed every symptom of insurrectionary violence, controlled the clubs, restrained by salutary laws the excesses of the press, and so carefully and delicately dealt with the King's inclinations, so anxiously avoided even the appearance of restraint on his person or of opposition to his wishes, that against the opinion and remonstrances of the Cortes, they continued the opponents of the constitution appointed by the King in the most important military posts, till their moderation was their ruin. They fell victims of a vile conspiracy, because they too much shrank from being what they were charged with being. What England would have been, if Parliament had continued Charles at the head of government-what France would have been, had Louis conducted the defence of the country against the European coalition-that Spain became, because her moderation stopped short of their examples. Europe combined against France because she did, and crushed Spain because she did not depose and fetter her crowned and anointed traitor.
There remains then, nothing as the cause of the war, but the single fact, that Spain had freely established a constitution, moderate in principle, conser
vative in its administration, resting on the popular will, yet leaving ample prerogatives in the hands of the King for the due administration of the laws and his own protection; only controlled by the responsibility of the ministry, and the restraints of every free constitution. Against this the war was waged. It was waged to destroy the example of a free and peaceful government, which despots called revolutionary. It was undertaken, because it was at last fully felt and seen, with all the clearness of the logic of history, that free ideas were dangerous playthings. They soon grew from pets to masters. They were inconsistent with the existence of neighboring, despotism. They were a living light that would shine into the adjacent darkness, not because carried there, but because it is the nature of light to diffuse itself. It will dispel darkness-and this, to despotic power, was ruin. They therefore resolved to extinguish what they could not hide nor escape. To be free was the sin. The only atonement was death. With this, there is no reasoning but the sword. There is no law for it, none against it--but the law of selfdefence. The Holy Allies would yield none of their power, and held fast to the central principle of their policy-the absolute, uncontrolled, and uncontrollable sovereignty of the King;—and against whatever was inconsistent with this, they consistently waged a war of hate and extermination, under the name of revolutionary madness.
We are equally settled in maintaining the sovereignty of the people-their absolute and unlimited right to change their institutions at their pleasure—
and this is absolutely incompatible with the principle of the Holy Alliance. We must therefore be ready, not to argue, but to fight. These principles go to the foundation of civil society-they are the criteria of the rights of Kings and of men-there is no arbitrament but the sword. The allies had become conscious of this, and acted with rigid and unflinching consistency. The Spanish ministry were deceived in supposing the pretexts to be the cause of the war, and they sacrificed their country by their blunder.
With the blood and torture which signalized the triumph of Ferdinand, we have nothing to do. It is all included in the historical meaning of despotic power. We leave Spain weltering in her blood, for another field of agony, which rushes red upon the sight.