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fore five years had come and gone the Holy Allies were hard at work pulling down and stamping out popular government wherever and whenever it appeared in Europe.
The centre of this reactionary movement was Austria, then ruled by Metternich, the very personification of resistance to progress, a man who described his policy as not to
backward, not to go forward, but to keep things just as they were. To do this in Austria was easy. To do it in countries which had been stirred and awakened by the French Revolution was not so easy. But Metternich went bravely to work and began with Naples. In 1813 Great Britain had forced Ferdinand, King of Sicily, to grant a constitution to Sicily and to promise one to Naples; but no sooner had the allies restored him to the throne so long occupied by Murat than Metternich persuaded him to sign a treaty pledging him to keep the kingdom just as it had been, and to bring in none of the products of liberal ideas. Ferdinand kept the agreement, and constitutional government in Sicily and Naples perished.
In Spain the reaction was a popular one. Scarcely had Ferdinand Seventh crossed the Pyrenees in 1814 and entered his native land than a wild, savage, unreasoning outburst of loyalty swept the country. The courtiers, the churchmen, the military leaders, every one who gathered about the restored King, urged him to destroy the present and bring back the past; to pull down the Constitution and set up the old monarchy as it was when Napoleon drove him from his throne seven years before. He needed little urging, and on May eleventh, 1814, the work of destruction began. First, he sent forth a manifesto from Valencia which destroyed the Constitution of 1812, and declared every decree of the Cortes null and void. Next, he restored the censorship of the press. Then, growing bold, he arrested thirty of the most distinguished of the Liberal leaders; and at this point the people began to lend a hand. Excited and aroused by the priests, mobs appeared all over the country. The writings of Liberalists were burned in the market places. The tablets erected to commemorate the Constitution were pulled down. Men whose sole crime was a firm belief in constitutional government were
fung into prison. Great Britain protested and urged the King to stop; but priests, confessors, and palace favorites ruled him, and the work went steadily on. May twentythird he re-established the monasteries and gave them their old lands; June twenty-fourth he exempted the clergy from taxation; July twenty-first he once more put in operation the most diabolical of all the inventions of man-the Spanish Inquisition. But it mattered little, for of what consequence is it how people are governed in Spain?
That France must sooner or later have experienced a like reaction was inevitable. Signs of the coming storm were already apparent when, on March first, 1815, Napoleon landed with his guards in the bay of Juan, and the Hundred Days commenced. When they had ended, when the news of Waterloo spread over France, the storm broke with fury. A Royalist mob at Marseilles sacked the quarters of the Mamelukes, drove out the garrison, and murdered the citizens. Nismes was pillaged. Avignon disgraced herself by the foul murder of Marshal Brune, and Toulouse by the assassination and savage mutilation of General Ramel. When the Chamber of Deputies, chosen in the midst of this excitement, assembled, a new proscription, a new emigration, a new reign of terror began. Labédoyère was executed. Ney was shot. Royalist committees, in imitation of the Jacobin clubs, sprang up in every department, overawed the officials, and forced them to drive thousands of Liberalists from the army, from the navy, from the courts of law, and from the schools and colleges.
In Germany, in 1815, it seemed as if Liberalism would win. At the very moment when Ferdinand of Spain was about to issue his manifesto establishing the monasteries, Frederick William (May twenty-second, 1815) sent forth his promise that Germany should have a constitution and representative assembly, and that the work of framing the Constitution should begin in September. But delays arose, and two years sped by before even the first step was taken. Then it was too late. The middle classes cared not. The nobility were eager for a restoration of their old privileges. The sole defenders of the Constitution were the professors in the uni
versities, the students, and the journalists, who conducted their cause with so much more zeal than wisdom that after the famous Warburg Festival took place in 1817 Frederick William justly and seriously doubted the expediency of granting the promised liberty.
Amid all this reaction, one ruler, and one alone, stood out as the earnest friend of liberal ideas. Alexander of Russia, too, had made promises. But, unlike Frederick William, he had kept them, had restored the Duchy of Warsaw to independence as the Kingdom of Poland, had given it a constitution and representative assembly, and in the spring of 1818 summoned the Diet. The speech which he addressed to it marked him out as one of the most advanced of Liberals. Yet before the Diet ended its session a great change came over him. What caused it no man knows; but when, in October, 1818, he met the sovereigns and ministers at the Conference of the Powers, Alexander was the despot he ever after lived and died.
By the Quadruple Treaty, signed at Paris in 1815, England, Prussia, Russia, and Austria bound themselves to maintain the government they had just set up in France, and to hold a Congress of the Powers in 1818. They met, accordingly, in September, at Aix-la-Chapelle, and with that conference a new era opens in the constitutional history of Europe. Then and there was formed the real “ Conspiracy of Kings.” The reactionary movement of three years had extinguished in the hearts of the best of them the last trace of liberalism, and they all stood together on a common ground of hatred of popular liberty. It was the conference at Aixla-Chapelle, not the Holy Alliance, that united the sovereigns in the project of a joint regulation of European affairs, and turned the Holy Allies into a mutual association for the insurance of monarchy.
Scarcely had this new purpose been formed when the alliance was called upon to act. For ten years past the Spanish colonies in America had been in a state of revolt, first against the rule of Joseph Bonaparte, and then against the tyranny of Ferdinand Seventh. Every resource of the restored King was used against them and used in vain. The struggle went
on till, the last fleet having been fitted out, the last regiment having been sent to perish of yellow fever, and the last dollar having been drawn from the treasury, Ferdinand turned to the sovereigns of Europe for aid. They had restored to him his throne. It is not surprising, therefore, that he should ask them to restore his colonies; but it is amusing to note the impudence with which he intimated that the work of subjugation should be done by Great Britain. She might have acted as mediator. More she would not do, and as subjugation, not mediation, was wanted, Alexander came to the relief of Ferdinand and sold him a fleet of war. When it reached Cadiz it was found that this Emperor, who in 1815 was so eager to see all Europe ruled in accordance with the teachings of Christ, had sold his friend ships so rotten and unseaworthy that not one of them was fit to cross the Atlantic.
The expedition was put off, and the condition of Spanish America was laid before the sovereigns when they met at Aix-la-Chapelle. The dangers which threatened Europe if a federation of republics was allowed to grow up in America were discussed; a proposition was made that a conference between Spain and the powers should be held at Madrid, and that Wellington should preside; but Spain wanted troops, not advice, and the proposition was not accepted.
That our countrymen could look on with indifference while so gallant a struggle for liberty was at their very doors was impossible. They were deeply concerned, and, as time passed, the belief gained ground among them that something more than the independence of a few colonies was at stake; that Spain was less eager to put down rebellion than to stamp out liberal ideas; that rather than see her fail, all European nations would aid her; and that, if they succeeded, it was just possible that the United States, whose example was the cause of so much political unrest, might be the next to feel their vengeance. Monroe therefore said no more than many of his countrymen were thinking when he told them in his first inaugural speech that dangers from abroad were threatening, and that the day might come when, in spite of the
wide ocean and our policy of non-intervention, we might be attacked and the attempt made to demolish us as a nation.*
Till that day came, however, our policy was to be strict neutrality, and year after year in his annual messages Monroe insisted on it.t Even when it was known that the powers were to meet at Aix-la-Chapelle and that Spain would surely ask the Holy Allies to help her, the President, unwilling to believe that force would be used, still held to non-intervention.
The failure of the Holy Allies to interfere left Spain to deal with her colonies in her own way. Her way was to gather a rabble at Cadiz in the summer of 1819, call it an
* Dangers from abroad are not less deserving of attention. Experiencing the fortune of other nations, the United States may again be involved in war, and it may, in that event, be the object of the adverse party to overset our government, to break our union, and demolish us as a nation. Our distance from Europe, and the just, moderate, and pacific policy of our Government, may form some security against these dangers, but they ought to be anticipated and guarded against.Monroe's Inaugural Speech, March 4, 1817.
| Monroe's First Annual Message, December 2, 1817.-It was anticipated, at an early stage, that the contest between Spain and the colonies would become highly interesting to the United States. It was natural that our citizens should sympathize in events which affected their neighbors. It seemed probable, also, that the prosecution of the conflict, along our coasts and in contiguous countries, would occasionally interrupt our commerce and otherwise affect the persons and property of our citizens. These anticipations have been realized. Such injuries have been received from persons acting under the authority of both the parties, and for which redress has in most instances been withheld. Through every stage of the conflict, the United States have maintained an impartial neutrality, giving aid to neither of the parties in men, money, ships, or munitions of war. They have regarded the contest not in the light of an ordinary insurrection or rebellion, but as a civil war between parties nearly equal, having, as to neutral powers, equal rights.
It appears that the allies have undertaken to mediate between Spain and the South American provinces, and that the manner and extent of their interposition would be settled by a congress which was to have met at Aix-la-Chapelle in September last. From the general policy and course of proceedings observed by the allied powers in regard to this contest, it is inferred that they will confine their interposition to the expression of their sentiments, abstaining from the application of force. . . . From the view taken of this subject, founded on all the information that we have been able to obtain, there is good cause to be satisfied with the course heretofore pursued by the United States with regard to this contest, and to conclude that it is proper to adhere to it, especially in the present state of affairs.--Monroe's Annual Message, November 17, 1818.