11 OCTOBER 1873, Page 8


IT is too soon yet to form any clear idea of the State of Spain, for Emilio Castelar has been but a short time in power, has not yet found a revenue, and has everything, from the Central power to the village authorities, to reorganise. But it is certain that recent accounts describe a more hopeful state of affairs than any which has existed in Spain since the departure of King Amadeo. In the first place, there is a government seated in the Capital unfettered by Deputies, and safe enough to form its resolves coolly and carry them out at leisure. This Government, though Republican in tone and form—allowing, for instance, any freedom of writing, meeting, or speech not directly hostile to success in war—has succeeded in releasing the Administration from its fetters in the shape of laws passed only to try impracticable theories. It has restored a standing army in name and in reality. The moment Castelar published his decision to re-establish the articles of war and death for mutiny, and replaced the officers of the Artillery in their posts, the Generals and officers began to flock back, and the Dictator, careless, like Gambetta under similar circumstances, of their political opinions, gave them employment at once, collected all the old soldiers, and called out the Reserves of either two or three years. In nearly three- fourths of Spain they obeyed the call, and the number now with the colours may be estimated from the fact that every great city in Spain, except Barcelona and Cartagena, is garrisoned by them ; that Madrid is known to be safe, that little " Cantonal " outbreaks appear to have nearly ceased, and that General Moriones is hunting the Carlists to a place where the alternatives will be flight or a pitched battle. [We write this, of course, believing the defeat of Moriones to be merely a canard.] Winter is coming on, the Carlist resources in money are fast failing, and unless the accession of the Comte de Chambord renews the hope of aid from France —aid counterbalanced by the weight Italy could throw into the opposite scale, and liable to be quite destructive of Carlist hopes, as making Don Carlos a foreigner—that cause ought to be prostrate in Spain before next Christmas. It is evident that the discipline of its adherents is failing under misfortune, that constant flight is wearying its officers, and that a great victory would at once shatter its organisation, which though undoubtedly religious at base, still requires to be sustained by successes. The Carlists are not Cromwellians, and even Cromwellians had to be shot occasionally, to be drilled constantly, to be paid regularly, and to learn from experience that their leader was one of the greatest Generals in the world. Without aid from Paris the Carlists must die away, and Castelar be left to deal with his four difficulties,— the Army, the Church, the finances, and the spirit of the Intransigente party.

This seems a formidable list, but it is, we will not say pro- bable, but conceivable, that it is less formidable than it looks.

The Army has displayed a somewhat different temper to what was expected. It is certainly not Carlist, by the confession of the Carlists themselves, for it is killing them as fast as it can. It is burning with hatred of the Intran- sigentes, who hate it back again. It has surrendered its notion of its right to disband, and it may, if fairly paid, strictly disciplined, and fairly treated as to length of service, feel as much pride in a Republic as in Isabella, whom, at the first summons of its chiefs, it pushed off the throne. It never disobeyed Prim while he was seeking for a Sovereign, and we see no reason why it should disobey its Generals while Castelar is exercising the central power. Castelar, no doubt, is not a General, but armies all over the world obey men who are merely civilians with the most loyal obedience. This one is obeying now, and we do not see the proof that it will not continue to obey, and if it does, a sufficient revenue can undoubtedly be collected in Spain as well as Italy. The old taxes, supplemented by others, such as a modest but far-reaching land-tax, would produce about 25 millions a year, and the Debt ought, by a compromise with the creditors, not to absorb more than ten of this. That snm, if regularly paid, would give six per cent. on 40 per cent. of the Debt, very nearly Castelar's offer, and leave a margin of three millions for drawings at par, which would amply compensate all bond- holders. Experience has shown that lottery loans do not injure the publics as lotteries do, while they greatly improve the securities of the Governments which employ them. Spain was governed under Isabella for less than this, as shown in the Foreign Office Report of her finances, and her only new expense would be an increase in Army allowances from £4,000,000 to £8,000,000. Indeed, the suggestion of the Intransigentes that all national property should be given to the holders of the national debt in liquidation, though excessively unjust in its naked form, is thus far wise, that national property sufficient to meet the drawings might be slowly sold, the nation possessing, besides the relics of the Church land, enormous uncultivated tracts. These two difficulties directly met—and they are in fact only one, the submission of the Army to its orders—there remain the two Irreconcilables, the Socialists and the Church. The Socialists, we suspect, have had nearly enough of it ; they have been beaten everywhere ; and being, as they are in Spain, not so much the party of revolt for ideas as the party of revolt against misery, can be best kept in order by employment, and the establishment of the English or American labour system with which Castelar is familiar. For the present, of course, while they talk revolt, there is nothing for it bat the sword ; but considering the smallness of their numbers, the real grievances they have to contend against, the nearly total absence of any Poor-law in Spain, and the fact that only one- third of the country is fully cultivated, we cannot believe it beyond the reach of a true ruler so to use the Church budget as to terminate actual hunger in Spain.

But then, the Church ? Well, the Church is the most formidable difficulty with which Castelar has to contend, but we are not certain it is insuperable. We do not believe, never have believed in the supernatural sagacity attributed to the Papacy ; but still leas do we believe that the organisation so called really wants to leave its pro- vinces without spiritual guidance, or to be in incessant conflict with all Powers whatever, or that a nation undividedly Catholic—that is, entirely indisposed to accept any other creed—could not come to terms with Rome. There is plenty of unbelief in Spain, but there is no Protestantism and no wish for it. If the terms of truce the Spectator has defended in Ireland were offered in Spain, they would, we believe, be accepted, at least we can see no reason why they should not. The priests would be maintained by the free offerings of the people, the bishops by a per-tentage from the priests, and education left to the clergy, subject always to inspection in secular things by the Inspectors of the State. If the Voltairians raise an outcry, let them keep their children away. If the Clericals raise an outcry, give them no more grants. Merely to create primary education, as we do in Bengal—to give the ability to read, write, and count—would be an enor- mous gain for Spain ; and as to the Church drilling the people, why they have had fifty years to do it in unchecked, and have utterly failed in making anything but Intransigentes. It may be said that Rome, steeped to the lips in pledges to Carlists, Isabellinos, and we know not whom, is sure to remain the friend of the Absolutists, but that opinion has no foundation whatever. Rome does not care for Legitimacy one snap, but allies herself with the strong, when they will grant her terms, with the happiest impartiality. She supported Napoleon III. very calmly, and would support Castelar or any other President, if only secure of freedom, maintenance, and a control over education, which, bad as it may be, is in Spain infinitely better than the alternative of no education at all. Continental statesmen are too timid on this point. Rome has had for centuries all the power in Rome her most arrogant professors could desire, and who hates Rome, in our English sense, like the Roman born ? Catholics, of course, deny this ; but if it be not true, why trust always to the foreign garrison, to the hired sword, and not to the instinctive loyalty ? Castelar may be incapable by con- scientious conviction of taking this course, or may see that he can quietly pass over the head of the Church, or may desire war with Rome to conciliate the Ultras ; but it is in these two points, a strong army and an endurable compromise with Rome, that the tranquil establishment of the Republic really lies.