« PreviousContinue »
royalists in Don Esteban' and Sandoval, Spain, to use a phrase well known to Spaniards, would appear the ante-room of hell. Proud, and constantly boasting of national courage as the author appears, his spite alone could have betrayed him into charging the greatest part of the Spanish army with cowardice. We say the greatest part; but indeed, by his own admission, almost the whole of that army joined the king's party. The reader of Sandoval, when he is told that one of Riego's soldiers alone arrested the progress of an advanced party of ten horsemen of the Royal Carabineers, who were reputed the most formidable corps of the army, may be pardoned for asking, was not this individual originally a Castilian herdsman? But to be serious--were the Liberals really so much better soldiers than the Royalists? Even under the truly brave Mina, the Spanish general who in our times has shown himself most worthy of the renown which his countrymen enjoyed in former days for military talents-even under the man whose honesty and consistency were tried much above the point where those qualities have generally been found to fail among those of his rank and profession ;-even under Mina, the Liberal soldiery offered a decided resistance when he wished to seize Pamplona, and from that point oblige the king to restore the Cortes. An account of that transaction is given at the conclusion of the first volume of Sandoval. It has probably been compiled from Mina's own notes; and what a melancholy state of things it betrays! Even if the desperate step intended had been fully justifiablewhich we can never admit—what ultimate or permanent good could have been accomplished with troops capable of answering a speech of their own favourite general, when he was leading them to Pamplona, in the following manner?
« « Halt!” was the cry, “not a soul stirs from hence-give us our licenses-the war is now over--we go to our bomes only-expect no more obedience from us.” Amidst these and other deafening cries, (proceeds our Historical Author) those of the officers, who, nad with rage, endeavoured by oaths and threats to bring the soldiers back to their duty, were not even heard. One deep shout was immediately followed by another deeper still, and oaths and imprecations were fulminated from the mouths of all. Amidst this horrid confusion, the intrepid Mina rushed towards the soldiers, eager to quell the mutiny, and, fired with rage and despair, thundered out his words above those drowning cries, and for a moment silenced the uproar; but it was for a moment only; for no sooner his mighty voice was heard alone, than the soldiery, as if ashamed to have been borne down by a single tongue, again burst out" Away, General, away, or you are a dead man.
-“ Fire,” cried a voice among them, and an irregular dis* Sandoval, vol. iii. p. 112
charge suddenly commenced. The confusion and disorder that ensued are indescribable.' &c. &c.
We are well aware that we shall be met with the usual Spanish answer, . These soldiers were demoralized, they had been tampered with.' It may be true; but this is no solitary incident: could the soldiers care for a constitution from the defence of which they were so easily, so frequently drawn away? It is the mad determination of working the mass of the Spanish people, soldiers and peasantry alike-into a political fever, that has demoralized that country, and blasted the scanty seeds of genuine liberty which existed at the time when the Cortes assembled. We know (and if we were ignorant of the late transactions in Spain, Sandoval alone would furnish us with abundant proofs) that the most desperate measures have been employed to engage the lower classes in favour of the Constitutional system. We will only allude to the public dinner given to the troops of Riego at Vejer, where, to use the words of our Freemason, the inhabitants gave a magnificent banquet to the soldiers of the column, in which they waited on them at table--AS DID ALSO THEIR OFFICERS.”— But all that such disorganizing methods could effect was, what every sincere Spaniard whom we have lately met laments most bitterly. The quiet and orderly habits of the Spanish peasantry have been sadly disturbed, where they are not quite destroyed; bribery has made the lower classes of Spain to overcome that feeling of shame at being paid, even for their labour, money, which was a characteristic of the nation but twenty years ago. In the large towns, where the negative good qualities of the lower orders were, as usual, greatly impaired by poverty combined with low debauchery, the consequences of the means systematically employed by the Secret Societies, which Sandoval has the assurance to introduce to the admiration of the British public, have been most lamentable.
In the Article on Don Esteban,* we alluded to the lodges of the Comuneros. The author of the pamphlet to which we have already alluded, believing us hardly acquainted by name with the Spanish Secret Societies, exclaims, ' A lodge of Comuneros! Ha, ha, ha!' How shall we meet this pot-house answer? Does the writer of the letter flatter himself that we are as ignorant of the transactions which have--we were going to say for ever-ruined the hopes of the true Spanish Patriots, as he supposed us to be of Spanish orthography and grammar? Those who have not had access to better sources of information may learn from the historical parts of Sandoval that the mutiny of the army of the Isla which restored
Quarterly Review, No. LXV.
the Cortes in 1820, was contrived by the influence of Masovic lodges established, with revolutionary views, in and out of the Spanish peninsula. At that time the most honourable and enlightened authors and supporters of the Constitution were lingering in prison and exile, through the blind and cruel policy of the absolute government. Their liberation was greeted by the reasonable men of all parties; and, as it might be expected, the public voice proclaimed them the leaders of the new system. Such patriotism, however, as works by means of Secret Societies, cannot be of the purest and most refined kind. Hence sprung the jealousy of the men of eighteen hundred and twenty, against those of eighteen hundred and twelve ; and from thať jealousy. arose the schism among the Freemasons, in which the association of the Comuneros began. Soon after the establishment of the new political brotherhood, we perused a printed pamphlet which contained the organic rules of that society; but as we have it not at present in our power to consult it, we shall mention what we recollect of it. The Comuneros called their lodges, Castillo3 (Castles:) the districts comprehending several castles Merindades, or counties; the grand master, Gran Castellano-(grand warden.) Of the fooleries which solemnized the admission of members, and their meetings, we have not a clear recollection. We know, however, that there was abundance of swords, oaths, and imprecations. Instead of the old insignia of the Freemasons, the Comuneros wore a full armour, either real or imitated. In their castles were plauned all the popular commotions, which during the last year of the Cortes brought shame upon the Spanish revolution, and drew a French army to Cadiz. By means of those popular tumults, called Asonadas, they opposed whatever measures of the government did not suit either their views, or their passions; and even procured the murder of those whom they doomed to death. We believe that instances of such concerted murders have been proved upon unquestionable legal evidence, and we find some of them indirectly acknowledged in a most melancholy, but ably drawn picture of the state of Spain, which, in a fit of anger against some of the exiled Freemasons, was some time ago published in the Español Constitucional, the organ, we believe, of the Comuneros in London. The letter is signed by a person of rank among the Spanish Patriots.
• From what other source but this (leniency towards the enemies of the Constitutional system) did, that flood of iniquity spring up which inundated the Peninsula, till repeated causes of resentinent and successive acts of injustice were linked into a chain which left no alternative of seeing the system (of the Constitution) perish before the time when it was actually destroyed, or causing the horrible murders of the priest
Vinuesa, of Father Osuna, with his companions, of the Bishop of Vich, and of the prisoners in the castle of Corunna, thrown alive into the
• Without the illegal impunity of the Persas, (members of the Cortes, we believe sixty in number, who presented to the king a petition against the Constitution ;) without the premature pardon granted to the Factious; and without the constant acquittal which the enemies of the new system were sure to receive from the mouth of our judges; would this hideous blot have fallen on our holy cause ? though it is probably the only one with which the party who sincerely supported the new system can be reproached.'*
But why should we go elsewhere for proofs that the principle of assassination was supported by some, at least, of the Spanish secret societies, when, notwithstanding a disclaimer at the beginning of the account which' the author of Don Esteban' gives of them, he himself affords the clearest instances of that murderous spirit? Do we not find Vidal, one of the greatest heroes of the Spanish Freemasons, represented by the Don himself as engaging to murder Elio the captain-general of Valencia? Is not that determination extolled as an act of patriotic devotion ? Had not several plans been formed to make away with that brave man,for such we must in justice call him, though we have not sufficient information to judge of his other moral qualities? Did not the Freemasons attend the execution of Vidal in disguise to murder the general, who was expected to be present? Let any man of common sense, and undepraved moral feeling, read in this Sandoval, the whole account of the horrible transaction to which we allude,t and judge what must have been the state of Spain, governed, as it was during the last year before the arrival of the Duke d’Angoulême, by secret societies, in which those principles prevailed. Even the ministers were appointed or ousted through their influence, and the monthly presidency of the Cortes was not independent of their controul. No set of men, however, were so fatally exposed to the insulting interference of the Comunero Castles as the Spanish judges. Our readers may perhaps remember that a kind of jury was established in Spain, exclusively for cases of libel. But how were the trials managed by the secret societies? The courts were crowded with the mob which they kept in their pay; and we have documents in our possession which prove, that no honest man could sit as one of the jury without danger.
But nothing shows so thoroughly the spirit of those societies as the character of the writers whom they employed. We regret that we must give some parts of the history of one of the most eminent
Español Const. No. XL. p. 451.
† Sandoval, vol. iii. p. 87. & seq.
of those apostles of profligacy and atheism from memory, for want of a copy of the life of him published at Madrid. The facts, however, which we are about to mention are notorious. A native of the province of Biscay, whose real name we have not the means to give, resided as a friar of the order of St. Francis at Cadiz, about the year 1809. Having, as it not unfrequently happens among the Spanish priesthood, become an infidel, and being of too bold a temper to continue in that kind of passive dissimulation which is the common resource in such cases, he left Cadiz for Mexico, where he expected to enjoy more liberty. But he could not escape the eye of the Inquisition, and he was soon lodged in one of its prisons. Thence he contrived to escape, and in the dress of a layman, lived for several years in Portugal. The surname which he assumed, was Clararosa, a compound, as he unblushingly used to declare at Cadiz, of the names of his two favourite mistresses, Clara and Rosa. Supported by the Comuneros, this man ventured back to Cadiz, though there were still many individuals who could identify his person.
Clararosa soon became the oracle of the lower classes, and his
tracts of impiety and immorality, their Bible. The mischief which he did among the uneducated part of the town was terrible, and is, we fear, enduring. Husbands were heard openly retailing to their wives the doctrines which declared all restraint of the passions to be a human contrivance, an encroachment of religious tyranny; and quoting the authority of Clararosa for the truth of their statement. A prosecution of the wretch was undertaken by some spirited inhabitants of Cadiz; but Clararosa was in favour with the Comuneros, and he laughed at his prosecutors.
Unfortunately for the apostle of immorality, there ensued by and by a schism among these Comuneros, in which he adhered to the most violent, though then the weakest party. Some of the more sensible among them had perceived, that the Constitutional system could not subsist, if the secret war, which had been so long carried on between the Freemasons and Comuneros, was not discontinued. A declaration signed by about fifty Comuneros was published, in which these men declared their adherence to the original institution of Freemasons, and renounced the violent revolutionary principles of the Castles. Among the subscriptions to this document were found the names of not a few members of the last Cortes; and Clararosa, being too violent a Liberal to join some of his old patrons in this secession, was given up to the regular course of the law. Being sent to prison, he was there seized with a paroxysm of a disease which his irregularities had probably brought on him; and he died in a few days, not without the usual suspicions of poison---suspicions, however, which the cir