In Portugal, under the reign of Alphonso I—Sancho II— Dionysus—John II—Emanuel—John III—Sebastian—Philip II— Joseph I—Maria Francesca Isabella—John VI—Pedro VI—and Dona Maria.
In Spain, under the reign of Reccarred I—Charles V—Philip II—Philip III—Charles II—Charles III. Charles IV.—and Ferdinand VII
Alphonso, in 1139, in the cause of the church and of national independence, subjugated the Moors of Portugal. The victor was saluted on the field by his army as king of the conquered dominion; the Cortes Lamego invested him with regal authority; and Pope Alexander III. acknowledged his legitimacy, the independence of the nation, and the laws and constitution which were prescribed. By a provision of the constitution, which probably sprung from the religious tolerance of the Moorish regime, the king was prohibited under forfeiture of the crown, from becoming tributary to any foreign power. But notwithstanding this proud interdiction, Alphonso in the course of severe conflicts which afterwards took place between him and the kings of Castile and Leon, made his kingdom, in violation of his own constitution, a fief of Rome, in order to secure the papal support.
In consequence of this concession to papal supremacy, Sancho II., in 1245, became involved in a dispute with the clergy; and upon appealing to Pope Innocent IV., had the misfortune to lose his crown.
Alphonso III. succeeded to the regal dignity. Jealous of the rights of sovereignty, and determined to transmit them unimpaired to his successor, his reign was, in consequence, a perpetual contest with the intrigues of the clergy. Inflexibly firm and resolute, he defeated their artful attempts to extend their landed estates; to obtain exemption from taxation; to acquire for their persons and possessions an independence of secular jurisdiction; and to subject the temporal to the spiritual authority by an insidious and gradual encroachment on the rights of the crown.
Dionysus, who succeeded Alphonso III., opposed with prudence and firmness the papal intrigues, which had disturbed the peace of the kingdom from its foundation. In order to moderate the selfishness and tyranny of the first and second estates, composed of the clergy and nobility, he erected the cities into a third estate, of equal legislative authority. By elevating the dignity of the commonality, and taking advantage of the commercial resources which the geography of the country afforded, he awakened in the nation a spirit of indomitable enterprise which laid the foundation of its subsequent greatness. This liberal and enlightened policy cost him the friendship of the papal court, but he disarmed its malice by an admirable course of prudence and courtesy.
John II. became King of Portugal in 1450. During his administration Ferdinand and Isabella, of Spain, governed by the spirit of Catholic intolerance, instituted a rigorous prosecution against the Jews, by which thousands of them were deprived of their fortunes, and driven into exile. The Jews had arisen in Spain into considerable political influence; they had become farmers of the revenue; and their characteristic avarice had rendered them obnoxious to the people. Instead of rectifying the evil by adequate measures, the crown and people, influenced by the church, were made instrumental in gratifying its hatred against the Hebrew race, by a persecution as unjust as it was impolitic. John II., with more liberal views of government, improved the injudicious measures of Spain, to the advantage of his own kingdom. Discarding the intolerance of his religion, he invited the persecuted Jews to his dominion; and by affording them a peaceful asylum, added largely to the wealth, population, prosperity and importance of the nation.
Emanuel, son of John II., succeeded to the throne of Portugal in 1495. He married Elenora, sister of Charles V., of Germany. He had imbibed the beneficent toleration of his sire, which had been so advantageous to the nation, but which was too antagonistical to the spirit of Catholicism, to command its support. The craft of priestly policy might conceal its hostility to tolerance from public perception, but machinations for its subversion would be no less incessantly at work. In the pious system of sacerdotal intrigue the amiable qualities of human nature are the most available, as they are the most insidious, and least liable to be suspected. Devoid of the finer sentiments of honor, the priests, in their capacity of spiritual advisers, scruple not to abuse the privileges accorded them, in making the influence which a female may exercise over a husband, lover or parent, subservient to their own purposes. This species of ecclesiastical intrigue is illustrated in the conduct of Queen Elenora. Having acquired a controlling ascendancy over the king's mind, she was induced by her spiritual advisers to extort from him a promise that he would require the Jews to embrace Christianity under pain of being reduced to slavery for life. By whatever considerations, Emanuel was led to promulgate a decree so injurious to the national welfare, and so inconsistent with the tolerant spirit he had manifested, yet he had the humanity or sagacity to procrastinate its execution for twenty years, and thus to ameliorate the horrors with which it was fraught; and to place the development of the catastrophe beyond the period of his administration.
John III., son of Emanuel, was crowned King of Portugal in 1521. A pliant tool in the hand of papal intrigue, he gave a fatal blow to the tolerance and prosperity of his kingdom. The implacable hatred of the church towards the Jews, hoarded for so many years, now relieved of all restraint, exhibited its fiendish barbarism in deeds of exterminating cruelty. To escape the persecution to which they were exposed, the Jews practised the externals of Catholicism, while they secretly observed their ancient rites. The vigilance of the papal machinery, like a monster with a thousand eyes, penetrating all secrets, soon detected this evasion. In order to discover the persons who thus consulted self-preservation and the dictates of consciences, the inquisition was introduced, and a crusade of blood and devastation preached against the whole Hebrew race. Their property was confiscated; their children were torn from them and placed under Catholic control; and they themselves reduced to slavery, or subjected to the tortures of the inquisition.
While John III., during his reign, was the wretched instrument of Catholicism for the accomplishment of its atrocious designs, his grandson, Sebastian, who in 1557, at the age of three years succeeded to the throne, was educated, by the express injunction of his father's will, by the Jesuists, and consequently was moulded to the same purposes, and reduced to the same flexible subserviency. Inclined to extravagance by temper and disposition, and educated by bigotry and craft, his ambition became singularly whimsical; his devotion to the pope absolute; and his thirst indomitable and unquenchable to engage in some enterprise in which he might shed the blood of infidels and heretics. When he arrived at majority, in order to express his devotion to the pope, he assumed the title of "Most Obedient King." At the age of twenty years his restless fanaticism led him to undertake an expedition against the unoffending infidels of Tangiers; and suddenly falling on the astonished inhabitants, gained an easy victory over them. The success of his forces against these defenceless mountaineers led him to imagine that his arms were invincible. Muley Mohammed having conspired against his uncle Muley Moloch, the governor of Morocco, Sebastian conceived that by aiding the conspirators with his personal valor and military forces, he might acquire some distinction for his name, and some advantages for the church. The dictates of prudence and sound policy, the protestations of his ablest counsellors, and the munificent offer of Muley Moloch to purchase his neutrality by the cession of five fortified places on the coast of Africa, were feeble remonstrances to a mind like that of Sebastian's, in which fanaticism had supplanted principle, and despotism humanity. To popularize the hazardous undertaking, the papal machinery began to work industriously in its favor. Collecting an army of twenty-one thousand three hundred men, comprised of Portuguese, Germans, Spaniards, Frenchmen and Italians, and a fleet of one hundred vessels, he sailed for Africa, and landed with safety at the port of Alzira. Although the number and skilful disposition of the Moorish troops left little doubt of their triumph; although Sebastian's provisions were nearly exhausted; although Muley Moloch, more concerned for the safety of the misguided fanatic than from any apprehension of the success of his arms, again attempted to negotiate a peace; although some of the Portuguese commanders advised a retreat, and all of those of the conspirators a retreat to the coast, yet so confident was Sebastian of the interposition of divine providence in aiding him to butcher the infidels, that he even refused to defer the engagement until the afternoon, in order that he might have the darkness of the night to cover a retreat, should such a measure become inevitable. Sebastian fought with distinguished bravery, yet his desperate fanaticism was equalled, if not surpassed, by the heroic courage of those who had been tortured, outraged, and exiled by his intolerance. The martial semicircle of the Moors enclosed his forces in a volume of destructive flame, and their disciplined valor and skilful manoeuvres completely annihilated them. The bodies of the vanquished that strewed the battlefield were, in general, too horribly disfigured with wounds to admit of their persons being identified; and Sebastian's corpse being among the number, his actual death became doubtful. This circumstance, twenty years afterwards furnished the papal machinery with a convenient opportunity for manufacturing a bogus Sebastian. But although Joseph Taxera, a Dominican monk, traversed Europe to enlist the imperial courts in its favor, yet the numerous spurious Sebastians that had sprung up, and the eagerness of several crowned heads to seize the kingdom, defeated the object of his mission. The controversy was finally settled by the battle of Alancatura, which, crowning with victory the arms of Philip II., of Spain, one of the claimants, subjugated Portugal to the dominion of Spain.
The religious frenzy and whimsical ambition of Sebastian, the result of his Catholic education, cost Portugal the flower of her nobility, the strength of her army, and her national independence; overloaded her with debt, and degraded her under the dominion of a government distracted by unsuccessful wars, and governed by a rapacious and unprincipled administration. When John III., in 1540, introduced the Jesuists into his kingdom, the doom of Portugal was sealed. From that period, under the intolerant measures of his administration, its power began rapidly to decline, until its disastrous connection with Spain secured its downfall. Guinea, Brazil, the Molluccas, and all the fairest dominions of Portugal were wrung from her grasp. Spain oppressed her with rapacious tyranny; England and the Jesuists monopolized her trade, and the calamities which had visited her in such frightful succession exhausted her resources.
The capacity of the nation for greatness, notwithstanding the degradation into which she had sunk, still animated the patriotic Portuguese with the hopes of a national redemption. In 1640 a powerful conspiracy was formed against the Spanish regime, and in 1750 the political independence of Portugal was achieved, and Joseph I. elevated to the throne. Duke Pombal, an able statesman, and the prime minister of the government, regarding the Jesuists as the origin of the weakness and disgraces of the government, and believing that their secrecy, dissimulation and treachery, absolved him from any obligation he might assume with regard to them, inconsistent with the public good, became a member of their order that he might acquire a correct knowledge of their principles and mode of operation, and be qualified to counteract their pernicious machinations. With profound dissimulation, he so completely deceived them that they admitted him to an intimate knowledge of all their secrets, plans and designs. After having fully obtained his object he made a public exposition of their secrets. He disclosed the dangerous principles of their constitution, their political objects, the oaths by which they were bound, the baseness of their intrigues, their false professions, their horrible deeds, and their disgraceful rapacity and profligacy. By the exposure which he was enabled to make he succeeded in having them removed from the important position of confessors to the king, and instructors of youth in colleges. He also induced Joseph to expel them from the missions of Paraguay; to abridge the power of the bishops; and to prohibit the celebration of the "auto-da-fe" of the inquisition. The Jesuists not being able successfully to arrest the progress of reform determined to assassinate the king; but failing in this attempt, the whole order fell under the ban of the kingdom, and were officially declared a political organization under the mask of religion, and its members expelled from the kingdom as enemies of the public peace, and traitors to the government. Pope Clement XIII., enraged at this summary destruction of the most efficient department of his machinery, endeavored to intimidate the reformers by threats of excommunication, and commissioned a legate to adopt any means to arrest proceedings against the Jesuists. But his legate was promptly escorted out of the kingdom; and as the conduct of the holy father in protecting and defending an organization of traitors and assassins, implicated him in the guilt of an accessory, all connection with the See of Rome was declared dissolved until the imputation should be removed by the abolishment of the Jesuistical order. The vanity of Pope Clement could not permit him to suffer such a mortification, and the decree of dissolution was rigorously enforced; but his successor, at the hazard of disproving the papal infallibility, complying with the demands of Portugal, amicable relations were re-established.
On the death of Joseph I., in 1777, Maria Francesca Isabella, his eldest daughter, succeeded to the royal dignity. The superstitious temperament of this queen, and her natural infirmity, which terminated in confirmed mental alienation, disqualified her for the administration of the governmental powers on sound principles of public policy, and surrendered her to the selfish control of a corrupt priesthood and ambitious nobility. By the intrigues of these two classes, which seldom scruple to sacrifice the popular interest to their personal advantage, Pombal was deprived of his useful political influence, most of his regulations were abolished, and Portugal, from the dawn of a magnificent future, sunk into the obscurity and lethargy of her former condition.
In 1817 John VI., who had been regent during the imbecility of the queen, from 1795 to her death, ascended the throne. The spirit of French republicanism exerted a liberalizing influence over Europe generally, and had apparently a similar effect on the pope and his machinery.
Those who did not understand the profoundity of sacerdotal craft might have been stupefied with astonishment to see a pope, while professing to be infallible, discarding principles and policies which had been approved by the practice, and defended by the anathemas of his predecessors. He not only sanctioned the prohibition of Portugal forbidding Jesuists from entering the kingdom, and consented to the abolition of the inquisition, but even requested that all persecution against the Jews should cease, and that they should be admitted to greater rights and privileges. The popular current had set in too strongly in favor of change in the constitution and administration of the government for papal sagacity to oppose, and unobstructed by the sacerdotal machinery, it became daily augmented in volume and impetuosity. The liberal feeling of the nation, allowed spontaneously to flow, culminated in 1820 in establishing, without violence or bloodshed, a provisional government and a new cortes. Tolerance on the lips of a Catholic priest is treason to Rome; and, though this circumstance might have cautioned prudence against investing any of them with power, yet as they had warmly espoused the liberal cause, they were elected by the people as members to the cortes, with the exception of a few lawyers and governmental officers. At the assemblage of the cortes, under the presidency of the archbishop of Braga, the revolutionary measures were sanctioned, the inquisition forever interdicted, and a constitution framed which secured freedom of person and property, the liberty of the press, and legal equality. The king approved the provisions of this constitution, and swore to support it. But under this prosperous appearance of republican progress, the demon of religious intolerance was secretly at work; availing itself of every means to arrest the popular current. The portentous mutterings of an approaching storm were frequently heard; and it was not, therefore, a matter of surprise to the friends of freedom, that in 1832, a regency was established at Valladolid, under the bishop of Lisbon, with the avowed object of subverting the constitution, and inviting the people to rally under the standard of monarchy; nor that this regency was supported by the queen, Don Miguel, the clergy and the nobility. The machinations of the papal machinery had so successfully extinguished the popular enthusiasm which had won such important concessions to natural right, that no sooner was the standard of royalty raised, than an enormous reduction took place in the ranks of the liberal party. So many priests, noblemen, soldiers and people espoused the royal cause, that John VI. found no difficulty in declaring the constitution of 1822, which he had sworn to support, null and void, and to protect his perjury and his treason to the freedom of the people, by disarming the military and the national guards. The absolutists then proceeded to annul all the concessions that had been made, in accommodation to the popular feeling; they restored the church confiscated property, established a censorship over the press, imprisoned or banished the liberal members of the cortes, and organized a junta for the purpose of framing a monarchial constitution. But Don Migual, aspiring to become absolute king, could not submit to the restriction of a constitution; and, being commander-in-chief, and exercising the governmental powers, excited an insurrection against the Lisbon cortes, and arbitrarily proceeded to banish all liberals, constitutionalists, freemasons, and members of other secret societies. That he might successfully remove every obstacle that imperiled his ultimate designs, he forbade all appeals to the king. But the acts which his ambition dictated were too reprehensible not to acquire for his administration a dangerous and prejudicial notoriety. In spite of all precaution the rumor of his tyranny penetrated the royal palace, and Don Miguel was summoned into the presence of the king to explain the reasons for his arbitrary conduct. Candidly acknowledging or artfully assuming that he had been the innocent victim of craft and misrepresentation, he succeeded in obtaining the king's pardon.
In 1826 John VI. died, and Isabella becoming regent, administered the government until Pedro IV. of Brazil, the brother of the deceased king, could make it convenient to visit Portugal, and assume the reigns of government. After having done so he established a constitution, providing two legislative chambers, and then abdicated in favor of his eldest daughter, Dona Maria da Gloria. Don Miguel, his brother, the chamberlains, and the magistrates swore to support the constitution. But the first, in violation of his oath of allegiance, and of his fraternal obligations, entered into a conspiracy for its overthrow. With this object in view he organized an apostolic party, and abusing the power and confidence with which he was honored, secretly filled the army, navy, and civil offices with his adherents. Having matured his plans he caused an insurrection to break out against the queen, in order to enable him to seize the royal authority under pretense of restoring public tranquillity. England, however, interfering, the revolution was checked, and the project of usurpation frustrated. But the treasonable plot was skilfully and comprehensively laid, and the zealous support which it derived from the papal machinery soon rendered it popular with the masses. As if enamored of slavery and despotism, the people began to crowd into the ranks of the apostolic party, to second its declaration in favor of Don Miguel as king, to unite in its shouts of "Long live the absolute king," "Down with the constitutions," and to denounce, abuse and assault those who refused to echo its suicidal acclamations. A few military garrisons which still withstood the popular frenzy, and adhered to the cause of constitutional government, raised the standard of revolt; and being joined by other troops, an army was organized which marched against Lisbon. It was met by the apostolic army, which greatly outnumbered it; and being defeated, the liberal junta was dissolved and Don Miguel proclaimed absolute king. In 1834 Don Miguel was defeated by Don Pedro IV., and the constitution of 1826 was re-established by the cortes.
We will conclude our history of Papal Political Intrigues, by a cursory glance at a few of its instances with regard to the government of Spain.
Catholicism was introduced into Spain in 586, under the reign of Reccared I.; and from that period the governmental affairs were controlled by the political intrigues of the clergy, until 711, when the kingdom became a province of the Caliph of Bagdad.
The Moorish government adopted a more liberal policy than was consistent with the spirit of Catholicism. It tolerated the free exercise of all religions. It permitted the subjugated to retain their laws and magistrates. Agriculture, commerce, arts and science flourished under its auspices. It established libraries and universities; and, from the hand of its civilization Europe has received the knowledge of arithmetical characters, of gunpowder, and of the art of manufacturing rags into paper. But the Infidels who conferred these advantages could not conciliate the proud spirit of the Spaniard to subjugation under foreign rule, nor the pope to the loss of revenues derivable from an opulent kingdom. A national struggle for indivisibility of empire, and primogenitureship in succession was consequently inaugurated; and a succession of conquests, from 1220 to 1491, ultimated in the reduction of the Moors under Castellian supremacy. With the achievement of nationality, and the discovery of South America, Spain began to rank with the first powers of Europe. But her decline was as rapid as her elevation. Besides the conflicting laws and customs which prevented national unity, and the political tyranny which oppressed the masses, a rigorous persecution was inaugurated against the Moors and Jews, compelling such as refused to be baptized to leave the kingdom.
In 1520 Charles V. became king of Spain, and subsequently, also Emperor of Germany. After suppressing an insurrection of his Spanish subjects, who demanded a liberal constitution, and annihilating the last vestige of civil liberty by separating the deliberative estates, he established over the kingdom a military, religious, and political despotism. So oppressive was his administration, and so reckless were his expenditures, that although Mexico, Peru, and Chili poured a continual stream of wealth into the public treasury, yet excessive taxes had to be imposed, and enormous loans negotiated to satisfy the demands of the rapacious monarch.
In 1555 Philip II. ascended the throne of Spain. The Catholic education of this prince fitted him better for a cloister than a throne. His rapacity empoverished the nation, and his religious intolerance perpetually convulsed it with sedition and war. His devoutest wish was to extirpate heretics, and his most pleasing sight was an auto-da-fe, in which he could behold his subjects expiring in the flames. Like Sigismund, the smell of burning heretics was never offensive to his nostrils. His inhuman and impolitic course having led his minister to intimate that he was depopulating his kingdom by his frequent massacres, he replied: "Better be without subjects than to reign over heretics." As cowardly as he was blood-thirsty, it was his custom when his army was engaged in battle, to retire to a safe retreat and pray for its success; and whenever a victory was achieved to assume the head of the command, as if the triumph was the result of his valor and military skill.
Although his Catholicism had transformed him into merely mechanical part of the papal machinery, without feeling or reason, yet when his truce with France was broken by the interference of Pope Paul IV., and his right to the kingdom of Naples was declared forfeited, he awoke from his lethargic slumbers, and commissioned the bloody Alva to proceed with an army to Rome and chastise the holy father for his insulting political intrigues. The pope alarmed, and, perhaps surprised at the belligerent attitude of a king once so remarkably obedient, thought it better to consult prudence than the divine prerogatives of his office, and to avert the impending chastisement by subscribing to articles of peace.
In 1169 Philip III. became invested with the royal dignity. By nature a tyrant, by temper a bigot, without any administrative capacity, and educated in superstition and intolerance, he seems to have been born for the the disgrace and destruction of the throne he inherited. In the most brilliant period of Spanish history her religious despotism was prophetic of her premature decay, and each succeeding reign verifying the prophecy, she now tottered on the verge of ruin. Favorites were allowed to waste the national revenues, England and Holland destroyed the Spanish commerce, frequent insurrections destroyed the public peace; eight hundred thousand Jews, and two million Moors were, during this and the preceding administration driven from the country; and to complete the national degradation Spain had to submit to the supremacy of England.
In 1665 Charles II. succeeded to the regal authority. At his death, which occurred in 1700, he made Philip of Anjou, grandson of his sister, consort of Louis XIV., the sole heir of his dominion, in order to prevent the division of the empire, which had been resolved upon by France, England and Holland. This will led to the war of the Spanish succession, notwithstanding which the Bourbon, Philip V., maintained himself on the Spanish throne.
In 1759 Charles III. succeeded to the throne of the Spanish monarchy. The decaying embers of liberalism which had began to scintillate amid the gloom of despotism, now shone forth with renewed brilliancy. Genius and intelligence, which alone are capable of grappling with the astute principles of government, and of developing the latent greatness of a people, were fortunately exhibited in the favorite publicists and statesmen of the monarch. Profound and elevated views of political economy began to characterize the administration; and the true principles of commerce, the national importance of agriculture, arts and manufacture, and the best means for their development, became more generally understood by the government and the people. With Count Florida Blanca, a man of extraordinary ability and activity, as ambassador at Rome, holding the pope in check; with Aranda, a man of penetrating genius, occupying the most influential position of the state; with Olavides enjoying the confidence of the monarch, and elaborating laws for public improvement; and with Campomanes, a scholar of varied and profound erudition, as fiscal giant of the royal council of Castile, defending the enlightened policy of the government against the attacks of bishops; equalizing taxation; and reducing the number of mendicants, the nation could not but increase in splendor and prosperity, notwithstanding it had became involved in a formidable war which raged between France and England. By the co-operation of these patriotic statesmen, whose lofty spirit scowled on despotism and religious bigotry, a pragmatic sanction was obtained from the government which restricted the inquisition, banished the Jesuists from the Spanish dominions, and confiscated their property.
But Rome and her priests could not forgive these benefactors of the nation, although their liberal policy had improved every department of government, and had added, amid the disasters of war, wealth to the treasury, and a million men to the population. Florida Blanca was disgraced, imprisoned, and finally banished to his estates. Campomanes was removed from office, and disgraced. Aranda, who so greatly contributed to public security, good order, and the abolition of abuses, after passing through several trying vicissitudes, was banished to Arragon. And Olavides, in the midst of his beneficent and patriotic labors was arrested for heresy, and imprisoned in a monastic dungeon.
For the better protection, perhaps, of the monarchy from aggressions from without, and from insubordination from within, the pope, at the request of Charles III., declared the Spanish monarchy to be under the supervision of the Immaculate Conception. St. James, the former protecting genius of Spain, was formally deposed from office, and the Virgin Mary duly invested with his authority and jurisdiction. The truth of the Immaculate Conception was demonstrated beyond prudent dispute by the oaths of the emperor and the estates; and similar oaths were made the indispensable condition of all who should henceforth receive a university degree, or become a member of any corporation or association. As reverence for the clergy had become the substance of the Catholic religion, so now invocations to the Virgin Mary became the principal act of devotion.
In 1788 Charles IV. was invested with the imperial dignity. In 1808 the troops of Bonaparte having entered his dominions, he welcomed them as allies, and shortly afterwards resigned the crown in favor of his son, Ferdinand VII. A month had not elapsed before he secretly revoked his resignation, and finally ceded his right to the crown to Napoleon, who placed Joseph Bonaparte on the throne. Although the ministers of Ferdinand VII., and the greater part of the educated classes of Spaniards, acknowledged without hesitation the authority of Joseph, yet the monks and priests, whose principles and interests are identified with despotism, in conjunction with the absolutists, and supported by England, found sufficient available material in the change of dynasty, in the arrogance of the French, and in the national hostility to foreign domination, to excite a general insurrection against the French regime, and in favor of Ferdinand VII. as king. A junta was established at Seville which proclaimed war against France, and announced an alliance between England and Spain. A desperate struggle was now inaugurated, which, through six bloody campaigns, raged from 1808 to 1814; during which every important city was successively taken and lost, and every province was desolated and drenched in blood. Armies after armies, on both sides, were created and destroyed with melancholy rapidity. The papal machinery held the people in such absolute control that, though the French gained victory after victory, abolishing as they triumphed the feudal privileges, the inquisition, the monkish order, and endeavored by the most liberal concessions to conciliate the popular prejudices, yet they retained no place which they did not garrison. Their ranks were constantly thinned by the secret dagger, their communications cut off by guerillas, and their wounded murdered in cold blood. Insurgent bands everywhere carried on the bloodiest struggles, and women took a fiendish delight in torturing and assassinating the captives of war. A length the dreadful tragedy was closed, by the victory of the English at Toulouse.
Peace being restored to the nation the cortes assembled, and shortly afterwards passed a resolution, declaring that before Ferdinand should be acknowledged as king, he should be required to swear to support the constitution which had been drawn up by the cortes of 1812, and which had been acknowledged by the allies of Spain. When interrogated as to his disposition of complying with the demands of the cortes, he replied in a tone of insolent indifference: "I have not thought about it." To fortify the absolute power he intended to usurp he professed to abhor despotism, and solemnly pledged his honor to grant the people a new constitution, founded on liberal principles, and which would afford ample protection to the rights of person and property, and to the freedom of the press. But the motives which induced him to make these promises did not urge him to fulfil them. While he nullified the old constitution, he did not restrict his authority by a new one; but in the exercise of absolute power arrested the officers who served under Joseph Bonaparte, and banished them with their wives and children; abolished freemasonry; restored the Jesuists; re-established the inquisition; put liberals to the rack; executed all who opposed the domineering pretensions of the priests; imprisoned those who ventured to remonstrate against his measures; incarcerated in monastic dungeons the members of the cortes; and domineered with absolute despotism over the lives and fortunes of his subjects. These severe proceedings, intended to intimidate insurgents, produced disloyalty, confusion and anarchy. The army became dissatisfied; the people insubordinate; the country infested with plundering and murdering guerillas; and, encouraged by this turbulent state of affairs, four battalions, in 1819, under Riago, declared for the constitution of 1812. The progress of this revolution was strenuously opposed by the allied forces of the monks, the priests, and the absolutists. The bishop of Cienfuegos defeated it at Cadiz. But the people inhaling the patriotic enthusiasm, arose in masses in its favor, and even the apostolics deserted their commanders. Ferdinand deprived of troops, and almost of adherents, found himself obliged to submit to the demands of the people. A provisional junta was established to conduct-the public affairs, before which Ferdinand appeared and swore to support the constitution of 1812. The inquisition was abolished. The cortes assembled, and in a session of four months, endeavored by the means of moderate measures to conciliate the prejudices and interests of contending factions, and to restore harmony and vigor to the nation. The clergy and absolutists, whom no concession could satisfy, except that of unrestricted monarchy, organized a conspiracy for the overthrow of the constitution; and as the cortes had in their reformatory measures abolished some convents, and banished all non-juring priests, they appealed to the religious frenzy of the people, and succeeded in creating considerable opposition to the constitutions. In the interest of this counter revolution an apostolic junta was established on the frontiers of Portugal, for the avowed design of destroying the privileges of the crown and the clergy. Numerous bands of armed monks and peasants appeared in the different provinces; and their bold assassinations and barbarous acts produced such universal consternation, that the cortes declared the whole country in a state of siege. It was now evident that the priests and monks who had stimulated the peasants to insurrection had been instigated by the French government. But the cortes met the conspirators with skilful and vigorous measures, and having vanquished them in every engagement, succeeded finally in effecting the disbandment of their forces.
In 1822 another attempt was made to subvert the constitution. At Soi d'Urgel, on the confines of France, the absolutists established a regency under the Marquis Mataflounds. France was the instigator of this regency, and supported it with her influence and money. The army of the absolutists, composed of apostolic soldiers, and soldiers of the faith, were met by the united strength of the nation, and overwhelmed with defeat. The regency fled to France. But this evidence of the capability and determination of Spain to maintain a constitutional government, awakened into opposition every element of despotism, not only within her borders, but within all Europe. The pope refused to receive the Spanish ambassadors. The nuncio left Madrid; France, Austria, and Prussia demanded of the cortes that they should restore to Ferdinand full sovereign powers, and England advised a compliance with the demand. The Duke Angouleme, the commander of the French forces, established a junta which formed a provisional government on absolute principles, and declared the acts of the cortes null and void. France raised an army of the soldiers of the faith, who were received by the Spanish clergy with acclamations of joy, and termed by them "Good Christians." The peasantry, controlled by the priests, espoused the cause of the absolutists, but the army, the educated classes, and the people residing in cities generally adhered to the party of the constitutionalists.
The dictatorial interference of foreign powers in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation, and their attempts to defeat a governmental reform which they had sanctioned, and which, to achieve had cost the nation so much treasure, and so many valuable lives, fired the native pride and heroism of the Spanish character, and united the different factions of the constitutionalists in a solid body in favor of their country and its liberty. Though few in number, without allies, and without pecuniary resources, yet they were full of energy and heroic courage. The cortes repelled with patriotic indignation the insolent interposition of foreign powers, and prepared for the doubtful contest with consummate skill. As the church had been the chief cause of the national calamity, they appropriated its surplus plate to the necessity of the public treasury. The soldiers of the faith, and their guerilla bands, exclusively requiring the attention of the national guards and of the soldiers of the line, the cortes found themselves without an efficient army to oppose the march of the French troops, and the apostolic forces. This serious disadvantage enabled the absolutists to march oh from victory to victory; and though some places made a good defence, and others a stubborn and desperate resistance, yet others submitted with scarcely a struggle. The gloom which now overshadowed the prospects of the constitutionalists, was ominously deepened by the defection of some of their generals. But the undaunted firmness of the remaining leaders, and the unequalled boldness and skill which characterized their manoeuvres, desperately disputed inch by inch the progress of the monarchists, until the fall of Valencia terminated the eventful struggle, so honorable to the constitutionalists, so disgraceful to Europe, and so full of admonition to freemen. The bloody contests in which the liberals had been engaged greatly depleted their ranks, and now dungeons, exile, and the secret dagger nearly completed their annihilation. Under these depressing circumstances, the cortes invested Ferdinand with absolute power. The apostolics, the soldiers of the faith, the clergy and the uneducated classes, hailed him with acclamations of "Long live the absolute king;" "Long live religion;" "Death to the nation;" "Death to the negroes." Ferdinand then declared null and void all the acts of the constitutional government, and all the public approvals by which he had sanctioned them. An attempt was made to introduce the inquisition, but the liberals, supported by France, and even approved by the pope, successfully resisted the obnoxious measure. In 1832, the infirmities of Ferdinand having rendered him the dupe of designing favorites, he created Christina, the queen, regent for the infanta Isabella, his daughter. In 1837 the regent was obliged, by an insurrection, to proclaim the constitution of 1812. In 1843, Isabella having attained her majority, was declared queen. The constitution, revised and deprived of its democratic provisions, was substituted for that of 1837. After the adoption of this constitution the municipal privileges were abridged, the sale of the sequestered church property suspended, and extraordinary provisions devised for the support of the clergy.
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