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objections to the existing system of govern-, much of the proceeds from their lands ment in Spain, few could have desired a which is now consumed in distant cities revival of the political system of 1837. would obviously be consumed upon those
But if the Progresistas gave too much estates. There would then be wealth and a freedom to the municipalities on the one certain degree of intelligence, added to local hand, and corrupted the safeguards of pro- information, to support the farmer in an vincial liberty into so many organs of their improvement of agriculture, and probably own despotism on the other, the Moderados to originate many of the material reforms swept away all those local institutions with which the Central Government has never out which it was alike impossible that Spain achieved. could have any government but by means The only method by which such an end of the bayonet, and (with or without the can probably be attained is by the formabayonet) could have any intelligent govern- tion of a just Constitution, which shall imment at all. The idiosyncrasies of each partially assign the proportions of the terriprovince—both moral, social, and material torial and the municipal element, on a --were so prominent, that their recognition moderately restricted basis, and thus afford by a Central Legislature or by a Central to either interest its due share in the govGovernment was quite impracticable. In ernment of the State. If, again, instead of Spain there is so little social centralization, the cringing and partisan provincial deputa(if such a term be intelligible,) that a politi- tions, sanctioned by the Progresista Miniscian at Madrid, or a deputy sent from Gal- tries, local legislatures were created, in licia or Asturias, knows as little of the real subordination to a central legislature at character and real wants of the people of Madrid, on equally just and on conservaThurcia or of Andalucia as an English tive* principles, the landlords would have House of Commons knows of Indian legis- an immediate interest in government which lation.
would inevitably recall a great proportion The Constitution, then, which Spain re- of them to their own country. When, inquires—but which she seems no more likely deed, it is remembered with what contumeto obtain from the one party than from the ly they have been treated by Moderados other—is a constitution based upon a recog- and by Progresistas alike, it is impossible nition of national distinctions, and of the to be much surprised at their voluntary distributive character of property. Those expatriation. The Moderados ruled, not ineradicable distinctions which have survived through their moral influence, but by the ages of tyranny and oppression will least of sword; and under the rule of the Progresall be overcome by the establishment of a istas, they found themselves excluded from uniform bad government. What we con- all share in the local legislatures. A single ceive to be the great bane of the social sys- insolent upstart was not seldom in supreme tem of Spain, and the chief obstacle at once jurisdiction over the province. Local legisto Conservative and intelligent government, latures thus constituted would possess the is that which it is the fashion to call “ absen- two qualifications necessary to material reteeism" in the owners of the soil. This forms—they would be at once sufficiently system is so general in Spain among the intelligent, and interested in progress. The larger landholders, that the country is prac- municipalities ought to undergo a similar tically subjected to that very misery of poor reconstruction. During three hundred years landlordism that is now reigning in France they exerted a vast influence in Spanish through the continuous division of property, politics. They were then moderately exwhich—as M. de Tocqueville, by the way, clusive corporations. Why should they has lately reminded the world --dates long now oscillate between anarchy and bondage ? prior to the French Revolution. What the We have adverted to these cardinal defilanded interest urgently demands is the res- ciencies in the constitutional and territorial idence of these landholders on their estates. system of Spain, because they stand at once They are, in fact, of a class intervening be- among the most important and the most tween English and Irish landlords before practicable. But there are other evils aristhe Encumbered Estates Act came into ing out of all the modern systems of gov. operation. Though generally absent from ernment, which either lie deeply rooted in their property, their estates are seldom the social system of Spain, or are at least irretrievably or even seriously mortgaged. Their utility, therefore, to the country is * The term "conservative” is perhaps obscure
to not extinct, but dormant. If they could be in its meaning, through its invidious applicat induced—to compel them by direct legisla- a special party in this country, no more really contion would be impolitic and perhaps im- We use the expression in its widest and in its origpracticable-to reside upon their estates, linal gense.
less easily eradicated. The chief of these, It was thus that Espartero displaced Sartorrests in the anomalous relations of the army ius, and that O'Donnell displaced Espartero. both to the people and the State. The The revolutionizing general seldom perhaps army, in fact-and its numerical insignifi- takes the initiative ; or, at least he fails to cance renders this truth the more remark- make his military demonstration either until able-is not simply an engine, but a source a camarilla has won over the Queen to his of government. "It forms a distinct and in- cause, or unless his command over the dependent power of the realm ; and were army is sufficiently strong to insure a victoit not for its own divisions and self-hostility, ry over Queen and country together. He it would certainly be the most powerful of makes war with the Queen's troops against all. The Spanish troops have become pre- her government, and instals himself a miliscriptively debauched by traditionary and tary dictator in its place. perpetual mutiny. This extraordinary fea This has always struek us as the most ture of demoralization, which has no ex- hopeless and ineradicable evil in the Spanish ample in any other European Government, system. No effectual remedy has ever has been falsely ascribed to the influence of been suggested; for the difficulty has its the civil wars; for it is notorious that the origin in the demoralization, not of the military defections of the reign of Ferdinand army alone, but of society itself. The exwere among the greatest and most import- pedient of reducing the army in such a deant of all. The effect, moreover, of civil gree as to render the National Guard the war, if, on the one hand, it display itself in chief depositaries of power, has proved a a relaxation of discipline, must also on the very imperfect one; a certain military force other be that of consolidating the troops on may always be drawn into the neighbourthe victorious side; and though it may en hood of the capital; it may there overpower gender conflicting opinions among the mass- the Government; and the total apathy of es, from whom those troops must ultimately the National Guard would alone save the be recruited, it happens that no one of the country from civil war. A law excluding important military revolutions that succeed- officers from political offices, would obvioused the civil wars were directed in the interest ly be thrown aside as a dead letter. The of the Carlists, between whom and the only remedy that we can see in the present Queenites those wars were waged. state of Spain, rests in a development of
It is easy, however, to discover how both the natural elements of power throughout Moderado and Progresista Governments the country ; for those elements must alhave extended the demoralization which was ways be more or less stable and conservaalready a part of the Spanish military sys- tive. If territorial and municipal jurisdic tem. Afraid to attempt the maintenance tions were created in exact proportion to of discipline by means of punishments, they the landed and oppidan interests in the havė usually done so by means of rewards. country, such a stable and conservative Whenever indications of discontent were fabric of government might be erected as observed in their ranks, they immediately military violence should hardly be able to received additional pay. In anticipation of subvert. any critical juncture, dollars and five-franc We have entered at length upon these pieces were regularly distributed whenever questions, because there is a general disposthey were deemed to be most necessary. ition to regard the principle at issue beIt has been commonly believed that different tween the rival leaders in the State as one battalions regularly received tickets for the between revolutionary retrogression in the theatre in reward for the most ordinary dis- Moderados, and positive order and reform cipline and subordination, a deviation from in the Progresistas. It will now be our aim which would have insured their being flogged to point out some of the salient features in or shot on the other side of the Pyrenees. the Spanish provinces which apply to the Though this story may not be strictly true, demand for material improvements, on the it is at least no more than a legitimate cari- satisfaction of which, as we have said, the cature upon the Spanish War Office. prosperity of Spain depends.
The general officers, it is well known, The natural constitution itself of these form the springs of action by which revolt provinces clearly implies, that they were is thus maintained in practice. Their exer- designed to be governed by a species of cise with impunity of this infamous power federal organization. This truth applies to arises, no doubt, from the total want either the whole Peninsula ; for the Portuguese of any stable constitution, or of any princi- are scarcely more alien to any one province ple of moral authority to avenge it. The of Spain than that province to any other immediate event which drives a ministry province. While their geographical posifrom power, is usually a military revolution. tion demands their political distinctiveness
from other territories, the character of eachperty, there is no doubt that agricultural province is not only so alien from the other, colonisation might be effected with success. but its products and capacities are so pecu- But the instances in which there is any eviliar, that they seem mutually designed each dence of flourishing activity are extremely to supply the wants of the other. The rare. rocky soil of Arragon and Navarre has nur- It will have been seen, then, that the contured at the outpost of danger a race of dition of Spain—though differing in social hardy mountaineers, who seem as though characteristics in nearly all its provinces, and they had been stationed there to defend presenting exceptionally a spectacle of energy Peninsular independence. And thus the and comparative wealth-is chiefly that of soil of remoter provinces is capable of sup- a country in which there is neither private plying what some of the northern provinces enterprise nor public improvement, in which can neither dispense with nor produce. the absence or indifference of the landowner
One great evil in the material condition combines with the poverty or stupidity of of Spain arises from the want of roads. the peasant to maintain agriculture in its The country, in this respect, has a closer normal barbarism-in which the inaction of resemblance to Turkey than to a Christian politics, in their application to domestic State. There are no canals but in Valencia, government, leaves the face of the country and there is no other railway than that be- in great degree without roads and other tween Madrid and Aranjuez. There is little means of transport, and without security for interchange of goods, because the cost of property, or a vindication of civil rights; transport, if not physically impossible, is and in which, in consequence, the condition enormous, through the want of communica- of the people rarely presents an aspect of tions, for the country is seldom intersected civilisation. That a predominance among by carriageable roads. The people generally the originating influences of this social misery seem to live a life of worse than mediæval is to be assigned to an injudicious and nonmisery. The most splendid domain inhab- natural polity, to a worse practical adminisited by a labourer in either of the two tration, and to the unrestricted sway of a Castiles, is a mud-hut. In nearly all the vicious and infamous priesthood, may be central provinces, the country is so infested deduced, not only from the obvious relation with robbers, that the labourers can live of this trifle evil to the results which we only in villages, often at a great distance have to deplore, but from the general supefrom their place of work, and consequently riority of social condition in contiguous dispass a considerable portion of their time and tricts where, without the intervention of any strength upon the road; for they are afraid positive countervailing influences, that evil to linger after dark. The population of the has simply been restrained. provinces generally bears no proportion to Basque Provinces, which have been partially, their extent or to their capabilities. Many and in the Republic of Andorre which has of them are so naturally luxuriant, and yet been wholly, free of the Government of so undeveloped, that it is with difficulty that Spain—and both of which have maintained a population barely one-tenth of what the from immemorial time their own local polity, soil might produce, can subsist upon the their own local administration, and their actual produce. Thus the vast district of own half-Protestant restraints on the social Gallicia has a population scarcely exceeding authority of the Church-the condition of a million, scarcely any of whom live upon the peasant is much superior to his average anything better than maize and rye. The condition in the Spanish dominions.* Yet people of Estremadura — whom, however, the Basque provinces have been disturbed we never visited--are said to dress in skins, and overrun by conquests in a degree of and probably are lower in the scale of civil- which no integral province of Spain presents ization than any people in European Russia. any example; and the Republic of Andorre, Their life is entirely pastoral; and there is though freed from even a temporary occupascarcely a labouring man in the whole pro- tion by foreign arms during nearly six hunvince. Yet perhaps there is no county in dred years, is far behind Spain itself in the Great Britain equal to Estremadura in point culture and practical knowledge of its landof natural fertility. In Catalonia, on the owners and rulers. Nor can it be alleged other hand, the people are engrossed in that the natural resources of these two manufactures, and in the little province of Valencia, there is a great amount of agricultural energy. The mining speculations of
* A statement of this question has been lately made the French and English have lately become in a little book of travels, entitled, “ Border Lands of a source of labour in several districts ; and Spain and France, with an account of a Visit to tho
Republic of Andorre." Chapman and Hall: London, if there were an adequate security for pro-1856.
anomalous States are equal to those dis- the worst intrigue, and whose success in played by several of the Spanish provinces; government is measured by the extent of the evil, in truth, lies too deep to be seri- their malversation. With a Court openly ously affected by any alternations from Pro- repudiating all public faith—with an army gresista to Moderado Ministries, except in debauched into a piratical organizationso far as the policy of material reform, to with its leading officers seizing on the Gov. which the former party is committed, may ernment one by one, as though they were be the indirect means of supplying the car- rather brigand chiefs, than Marshals and dinal deficiencies, both in government and Statesmen of the Empire--all the elements territorial condition, which it has here been of public administration seem daily losing our aim to shadow forth. The few efforts their vitality, and approaching an irrevocable of the Central Government in behalf of local dissolution. This government of generals, improvements, have hitherto been marked successively ruling, not by moral authority, by the worst ignorance, and the most signal but by forcible usurpation, is just that governinefficiency.*
ment which M. Guizot has defined to be the Yet more hopeless than this social bar- first attribute of social barbarism. Spain barism, and this injurious political organiza- is far indeed from practically appreciating tion, is the traditionary character of the rul- what we suppose is intended to be conveyed ing men, whose progress to power (with few by “the right man in the right place,” in the other exceptions than that of Espartero) has tautology of Mr. Layard. When we reflect been a path of crime, whose finest policy is on the organization of the country, in res.
pect both to its government, and to the local * During the Regency of Espartero, the Govern- relations of the soil, we find it strangely ment at Madrid issued orders to the Gefes of certain analogous to the system in which De Tocquefields into orchards
, planting them with certain fruit ville has just traced the chief causes of the fall trees—the districts and the trees being specified in of the Monarchy.in France. Nor does any the decree. The choice proved singularly infelicitous; political truth grow daily more fixed and cerin scarcely a single instance was the soil adapted to tain than that a policy of conciliation and justhe trees, and agricultural reform was abandoned in tice on the part of the Central Power can alone dos had interfered with their schemo--the Moderados save the institutions of Spain from a fast adthat the ground was cursed for the Progresistas' sako. vancing tide of popular revolution.