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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Women were sent to the galleys for owning pictures of Riego


[Sidenote:

Royalist reprisals]

[Sidenote: Riego executed]

Within twelve hours Ferdinand annulled all acts of the Constitutional Government during the preceding three years. By approving an act of the regency of Madrid, which declared all those who had taken part in the removal of the King to be traitors, Ferdinand practically signed the death warrant of those men whom he had just left with fair promises on his lips. Even before reaching Madrid, Ferdinand VII. banished for life from Madrid and from the country fifty miles around it every person who had served the government in Spain during the last three years. Don Saez, the King's confessor, was made Secretary of State. He revived the Inquisition, and ordered the prosecution of all those concerned in the pernicious and heretical doctrines associated with the late outbreak. Ferdinand justified his acts with a royal pronunciamiento containing this characteristic passage: "My soul is confounded with the horrible spectacle of the sacrilegious crimes which impiety has dared to commit against the Supreme Maker of the universe.... My soul shudders and will not be able to return to tranquillity, until, in union with my children, my faithful subjects, I offer to God holocausts of piety." Thousands of persons were imprisoned, or forced to flee the country. On November 7, Riego was hanged. Young men were shot for being Freemasons. Women were sent to the galleys for owning pictures

of Riego.

The Duke of Angouleme was indignant and would have nothing more to do with the King. In a parting letter of remonstrance he wrote: "I asked your Majesty to give an amnesty, and grant to your people some assurance for the future. You have done neither the one nor the other. Since your Majesty has recovered your authority, nothing has been heard of on your part but arrests and arbitrary edicts. Anxiety, fear, and discontent begin to spread everywhere." Angouleme returned to France thoroughly disenchanted with the cause for which he had drawn his sword.

[Sidenote: The French elections]

In France, as in England, the return of absolute rule in Spain was viewed with extreme disfavor by the Liberals. The success of the French arms, to be sure, gave the government an overwhelming majority at the elections. The voice of the Liberals was heard, however, in the first debate over the Spanish war. Manuel, a Liberal deputy, denounced foreign intervention in Spain. He said: "Can any one be ignorant that the misfortunes of the Stuarts in England were caused by nothing so much as the assistance granted them by France--an assistance foreign to the Parliament and to the people. The Stuarts would have avoided the fate that overtook them had they sought their support within the nation." For this alleged defence of regicide Manuel was excluded from the Chambers. On his refusal to give up his constitutional rights, he was forcibly ejected by the National Guards. "It is an insult to the National Guard," exclaimed the venerable Lafayette. In spite of the momentary triumph of the Royalists, Guizot's final verdict on French intervention in Spain expresses the true attitude of France:

[Sidenote: Guizot's verdict]

"The war was not popular in France; in fact, it was unjust, because unnecessary. The Spanish revolution, in spite of its excesses, exposed France and the Restoration to no serious risk; and the intervention was an attack upon the principle of the legitimate independence of States. It really produced neither to Spain nor France any good result. It restored Spain to the incurable and incapable despotism of Ferdinand VII., without putting a stop to the revolutions; it substituted the ferocities of the absolutist populace for that of the anarchical populace. Instead of confirming the influence of France beyond the Pyrenees, it threw the King of Spain into the arms of the absolutist powers, and delivered up the Spanish Liberals to the protection of England."


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