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With regard to the abdication of King Charles, and the dark and disgraceful intrigues by which his unfortunate family dissensions appear to have been consummated, we will venture to assert, that no light whatever is thrown on the subject by the extraordinary narrative of this heirloom of the Escurial,—this fixture in the seat of Spanish royalty. In what degree ministerial perfidy or filial ambition, foreign intrigue or popular discontent, --contributed to this miserable catastrophe, it seems, as yet, too early to determine. But we have no more doubt, that the resignation of Charles was produced by the threats and the cabals of Ferdinand, than we have, that the resignation of the latter was extorted by the violence and the menaces of Bonaparte. There is something not only incredible, but ludicrous, in the story which Don Pedro tells, of the free and affectionate resignation of this unfortunate monarch,---whom he represents, like some sentimental old gentleman in a German comedy, taking his elderly consort by the hand, and addressing her in these touching words. • Maria Louisa, we will retire to one of the provinces, where we will pass our days in tranquillity; and Ferdinand, who is a
young man, will take upon himself the burden of the govern• ment.' The innocence of the galleries might perhaps tolerate this trait of Bucolic sublimity; but there is no pit in Europe that would endure it even in a play.
Questionable, however, as we conceive the testimony of Don Pedro to be, we cannot withhold our belief from the story which he tells of the insolence and the outrageous usurpations of Napoleon. It bears upon it, we think, the intrinsic character of truth; and it corresponds exactly, not only with the general character of the persons represented, but with the visible exterior of the transaction which it professes to detail.
In an earlier age of European history, it might have been worth while to have chronicled the steps of this most profligate usurpation; and to have noted the shameful alternations of flattering promises, and ambiguous menaces,--of barefaced and unblushing falsehood, and open ferocious violence,-by which this bold, cunning, and unrelenting conqueror accomplished the first part of his ambitious project. Like the lion-hunters of old, he drew his. victims on in the course which he had prepared for them,-by cajoling and by irritation,-by soothing their appetites and excita' ing their spirit,--till at last, by trick and by open violence, the royal beasts were driven into his toils, and placed completely at the disposal of their stern and artful pursuer. These things, however, are now familiar; and it is among the most melancholy
and depressing of the reflections suggested by the tale before us, · that it has revealed nothing which all its readers were not prepar
ed to anticipate; and that, atrocious as it is, it harmonizes 'exactly with the rest of the policy by which Europe has for some time been governed. We turn gladly from this scene of imperial robbery, royal weakness, and ministerial perfidy, to contemplate, though with a fearful and unassured eye, the animating spectacle of that popular and patriotic struggle for independence, to which the other has so unexpectedly given occasion.
In treating of the affairs of Spain, in our last Number, we found ourselves obliged to express an opinion respecting the probable issue of the contest, far less sanguine than that with which the bulk of the people in this country have been fondly flattering themselves; and it is painful now to add, that we can, as yet, discover no good reason for changing that opinion. The glorious efforts of the Spaniards have indeed, in more instances than could have been expected, obtained the success which their zeal and valour so amply merited. The surrender of Dupont's army, -the general retreat of the enemy towards the Pyrenees,-and the flight of Joseph from Madrid, --have all happened since we last touched upon this subject; and as no one was sanguine enough to think the Spaniards could triumph without many severe losses in the outset of the contest, so, almost every one appears now to view the struggle as already decided in their favour. Because the expectation of beginning with disasters has been agreeably disappointed, men seem to have become much more sanguine than they were at first, and to consider disaster as out of the question. It is not our purpose to examine minutely the probabilities on which this question turn's; but we must state a few observations, sufficiently plain, one should think, to have damped the romantic hopes even of the English nation.
Let us reflect what the army is which the Spaniards have repulsed, in order to find out, whether they have as yet come to close quarters with Bonaparte. That consummate statesman appears for once to have erred in his calculation, when he expected to take poffeffion of Spain by the mere force of a treaty. Unaccustomed to meet with any resistance on the part of the people, he thought that his business was completed, as soon as he had got the royal family into his power. He thought he had made sure of bis purchase, when he had made them execute the deed of conveyance; and only fent such a force as might be necessary for taking quiet poffeffion. When this force, however, arrived in Spain, it appeared that the whole work remained to be done ; and the army which was sent to keep the crown, soon found that they had yet to fight for it. This is the only French force which has hitherto been engaged with the patriots. The whole force of Spain has been opposed, not to an army sent by France to conquer her, but to a
detachment detachment fent for a perfectly different purposem to do the mere parade-duty of the new monarchy. That this was a large detachment we do not deny ; and still less would we dispute the claims of those who conquered it to their own immortal renown. We only contend that it was not the army with which France intended to subdue Spain. Suppose that France were at this moment to declare war agai:aft Prussia ;--no human being can affect to doubt (except, perhaps, those wretched drivellers who conduct the French emigrant press in London) that the miserable fragments which remain of that monarchy, would instantly crumble into Bonaparte's hand. And why do we so surely form this expectation ? Because we know, that immediately upon the commencement of hoftilities, he would send a sufficient force to annihilate every thing that might dare to resist. But if, by any unaccountable error in his calculation, he should only send one half of the requisite force; It is, indeed, melancholy to reflect on these things, when we consider how glorious would be the effects of the liberation of Spain. There is no occasion for describing, in this place, the more obvious consequences of such a triumph, in permanently weakening the power of France, overcoming the terror of her name, and extending both the political and commercial influence of England. We are rather disposed at present to view another less exposed part of the picture, and to contemplate the effects of the struggle upon the cause of civil liberty; and we do fo the rather, that a part of those good consequences are likely to ensue from the glorious efforts already made, although it fhould terminate unsuccessfully.
-if, for example, the Prussian army being fifty thousand strong, Bonaparte were to send only thirty thousand men across the Rhine, or wherever Prussia is now to be found, and to leave them with. out reinforcements; or if, by any other blunder, he were to leave such a force exposed, having sent it on some different service; they would probably be entirely defeated; yet, would any man say that Prussia was restored by this sort of victory? Nevertheless, it would be quite true that a large French army had been beaten by the Prussians. And the only reason why this victory would signify nothing is, that Bonaparte would most certainly pour a hundred thousand men into Brandenburgh the week after.
In like manner, the Spaniards have not yet tried their strength against their formidable adversary. They have attacked him unawares, and beaten him by surprise. He has not even girded himself for the fight; and they have only overpowered him unarmed. He will rally, and renew the combat. The whole battle is still to begin. We have seen, in reality, nothing of it. Army after army will be poured through the Pyrenees, and all Spain muit become a field of blood. The zeal of the Spaniards has now to withstand the skill of the French captains, and the discipline of their veteran soldiers. The councils of the different kingdoms of which the Spanish monarchy is composed, are matched against the the vigour and unity of a single, practised, absolute, remorfikis man. The enthusiasm of the patriots has to contend against the regular, habitual, animal courage of professional soldiers; and the question is, which of those two feelings is likely to prevail in the long run ;-to bear up against difficulties and privations—to survive disasters—and to endure the inactivity of protracted operations. Such is the contest which is now beginning in Spain, and fuch are the grounds of our melancholy forebodings, that it will lead to the subjugation of the most gallant people in the world.
The resistance to France has been entirely begun and carried on by the people in Spain. Their Kings betrayed them-fied, and rushed, with the whole of their bale courriers, into the arms of the enemy. Their nobles followed ; and it is painful to reflect, that some of the moft distinguished of this body, after attending Ferdinand to Bayonne, returned in the train of Joseph, and only quitted his service when the universal insurrection of the common people drove him from his usurped throne. The people, then, and, of the people, the middle, and, above all, the lower orders, have alone the merit of raising this glorious opposition to the common enemy of national independence. Those who had fo little of what is commonly termed interest in the country,—those who had no stake in the community to speak the technical language of the aristocracy), ---the persons of no confideration in the state,-they who could not pledge their fortunes, having only lives and liberties to lose,-the bulk--the mass of the people, -nay, the very odious, many-headed beast, the multitude--the mob itself--alone, uncalled, unaided by the higher classes,-in despite of these higher claffes, and in direct opposition to them, as well as to the enemy whom they so vilely joined, -raised up the standard of insurrection,-bore it through massacre and through victory, until it chased the usurper away, and waved over his deserted courts. Happen what will in the sequel, here is a grand and permanent success,--a leffon to all governments,-a warning to all oligarchies,--a cheering example to every people. Not a name of note in Spain was to be seen in the records of the patriotic proceedings, until the cause began to flourish; and then the higher orders came round for their fhre in the success. The Spaniards, then, owe their victory, whether it unhappily stops Thort at its present point, or ends in the expulsion of the invaders, wholly to the efforts of the people!
Suppose for a moment that they succeed ; that France gives way before the tries the issue of the impending contest ; or is finally de
feated, and Spain freed ;-Will the gallant people, after performing such wonders, quietly open the doors of the Escurial to the same herd of crowned ortitled intriguers, who, first by misruling the monarchy, and then by deserting it in that utmost need into which their misTule had brought it, had rendered necessary all the effusion of blood, and had almost rendered it vain ? Having shed their best blood in rescuing their house from a banditti admitted by the cowardice or treachery of the watchmen, will the Spaniards be such fools as to restore those poltroons and traitors to their former posts, and renew à confidence so univer!ally abused ? No man can hesitate one inftant in saying, that this thing neither ought to be, nor will be. Common justice demands such a change of government as will give the people who haye saved the state who have reconquered it, a fair falvage-a large share in its future management. Common sense requires an alteration in the political constitution of the monarchy, sufficiently radical to guard it against a recurrence of the late çrifis. And if all considerations of justice and of prudence were out of the question, the Spanish court may be assured of this, that the feelings of our common nature,-the universal sentiments of right and of pride which must prevail among a people capable. of such gallant deeds, will prevent the repetition of the former abuses, and carry reform-change-revolution (we dread not the use of this word, so popular in England before the late reign of terror), salutary, just, and necessary revolution, over all the departments of the state.
Such, we may be assured, will be the immediate confequence of the Spaniards ultimately triumphing over their enemies, and restoring the peninsula to independence. Whether Ferdinand or Charles be the monarch, we care not ; or whether a new stock be brought from Germany for a breed. That they should have a king, every one must admit, who believes that an hereditary monarch, well fettered by the constitution, is the best guardian of civil liberty. But who the monarch is, must be a matter of little moment, provided he is sufficiently controuled in the exercise of his delegated and responsible trust. And whatever may be the form of the checks imposed upon him, we shall be satisfied, provided the basis of a free conftitution is laid deep and steady in a popular representation. Many years must elapse before this can be corrupted, and betray the people to the Crown; for the general sentiments of liberty, of contempt for bad rulers, of registance to all enemies foreign and domestic,-the universal feeling of their own powers, from the recollection of their great actions, will long remain among the Spanilh people, and thake to atoms every court-intrigue hostile to their rights.
Let us further recollect, that this system of liberty will grow