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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

The strange thing about the Catalonian manifestations


of hostile public opinion in

Spain, which in Catalonia resulted in serious riots. The strange thing about the Catalonian manifestations, which were most pronounced in Barcelona, was that they developed into what seemed to be an organized assault, not on the government or on capitalists, but on the Catholic Church. Churches, monasteries, convents, and shrines were attacked--and nothing else. The government soon had the situation in hand, and a number of arrests were made, followed in some cases by sentences of death or imprisonment. Public attention focused itself on the case of one Ferrer. Francisco Ferrer was born in 1859, the son of a poor Catalan farmer. As a youth he was an anarchist, pronouncing bitterly against the ideal of patriotism and against the church. Having participated in a Catalonian rebellion of 1885, he fled to Paris, where he entered into relations with a Parisian spinster, who soon died and left him a fortune. Later, he returned to Barcelona, and increased his possessions as the result of successful stock speculation. He founded a number of schools, which represented his ideas,--still uncompromisingly against the church. Ferrer was also a high official of the Freemasons and other secret societies. It is not to be wondered at, either, in view of his rebellious attitude toward society, that his regard for the marriage bond and for sexual morality was clearly not in accord with prevailing views. At the time of the Catalonian outbreak of 1909 he was charged with being one of the ring-leaders.
A military court-martial was held, at which he was confronted with scores of witnesses, and it would seem that the prosecution established its case. Ferrer was convicted, and on October 13, 1909, was shot.[68] The case of Ferrer has been taken up internationally by various secret societies, but it has had a special significance in Spain. There, opinion has divided, not about Ferrer or the merits of his case, but with regard to the Conservative chieftain, Maura, whose government was responsible for his death. Maura is taken as the personification of the existing r?gime. "Maura, s?!" and "Maura, no!" ("Maura, yes!" and "Maura, no!") have come to be popular watchwords, indicating whether one approves of things as they are, or whether one stands for a new and liberalized, truly democratic Spain.

[Sidenote: Foreign policy of Spain since 1898 and attitude toward the Great War.]

Spain's foreign policy since 1898 has very nearly reduced itself to three factors. First of these is the policing of a small strip of the Moroccan coast, where Ceuta and other posts are still held by Spain. This has involved the country in wars of a minor character with the traditional enemy in Moslem Northwest Africa. Of greater interest is the conscious policy of cultivating the friendship of the American countries which were once colonies of Spain, based largely on a wish to develop a market for Spanish goods, but not devoid of a sentiment which makes Spain desire to associate herself with the growing lands to which she gave the first impulse to civilization. Finally, Spain's relations with the two groups of European powers which entered upon the Great War in 1914 have occupied the attention of the country


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