THE REPUBLIC IN SPAIN.
THE origin of the Spanish Republic and its dangers are alike becoming more clear. King Amadeo did not leave Spain absolutely without arrangements for her future government. His mind once resolved on abdication, he con- sidered, it is stated, apparently on his own authority, to whom power should be entrusted, and decided in favour of the Republican chiefs. With Don Carlos, the chief of the Parti Pretre, and representative by blood of the Italian Bourbons, he could of course have no relations ; Queen Isabella was hopeless, and he was exasperated against Montpensier, to whose influence he attributed most of the insults, and it is hinted some of the menaces to which he had been exposed. He besides, like his father and Cavour, had no hatred of Repub- licanism as such, having seen in Italy how moderate Garibaldians can be, and he decided that the Republicans should have their chance of one fair trial. He gave them three days' warning of his intention, and they alone among the
parties were therefore fully prepared. Their army, the populace of Madrid, was ready to move, the Conservative chiefs were taken by surprise, and there was, as we shall explain presently, a deep uncertainty as to the temper of the Army. Congress therefore had, when the letter of abdica- tion was handed in, no alternatives except the Republic and Civil War, and it was not so deeply prejudiced against the former as to risk civil war for its defeat. The members had always recognised Figueras, Castelar, and Pi y Margall as leaders in debate, and were, moreover, influenced in a way seldom noticed in Great Britain. Everybody in England assumes that an average Spaniard is always and essentially a Catholic and a Monarchist, but the truth is that indifferentism spreads wider in Spain than in any Catholic country,—as witness the total failure of the Church under Catholic administrations, and a Queen specially honoured by the Pope with the Golden Rose, to protect its property—and that they are specially familiar with the abstract idea of Republicanism. They may not desire it, but they know it, for the reflex
influence of the majority of their race and tongue, their children across the Atlantic, is as strong in Spain as that of America is in England. We, of course, look on those States as types of disorder, but that is not the notion of Spaniards, who regard them with extreme pride, emigrate to them in considerable numbers, and observe the wealth of Spanish Americans with considerable envy. There is scarcely a family in Spain without Spanish-American connections. They know what Republics are, and they know that bad as they are, un- less attacked from without they do not die ; and they accepted the Republic, if with misgiving, still without shame or horror. The populace approved, and as now seems certain, the Army did not wholly disapprove. Generals were found to take the Ministry at War. Leaders like Serrano, as brave a man as ever stepped, but weak, "ducked under" for the moment, and the Republican Ministry proceeded at once to paralyse the hostile officers of the Army. They first of all carried out Zorrilla's vote, authorising Government to accept the resigna- tion of all officers in the Artillery and replace them by non- commissioned officers. This tremendous step, rendered almost inevitable if Zorrilla was to continue Minister by the blunder about General Hidalgo, seems to have been endorsed by his successors in the hope of attracting the non-commissioned officers to their side, and was followed by declarations in- tended for the privates. The conscription, hated and obeyed in Spain, as in all Southern countries, was abolished, it was announced that the future standing army would consist of Volunteers, and it was decreed, apparently by an Act passed in a sitting, that every Spaniard should serve for one year round the colours. The natural conclusion to these energetic and dangerous measures would have been to grant unlimited furlough to all soldiers, to enrol the Volunteers, to land the sailors, and with the Guardia Civile-30,000 very good men-10,000 sailors and marines, and 20,000 Volunteers, endeavour to re-establish secure order. A just but liberal agrarian law would then have paralysed agitation among the peasantry, and as a Republic cannot be assassinated, its rulers would have had time for organisation. The Ministry, how- ever, shrunk from courses so logical, but so extreme. They had no General to employ of any advanced type, Cordova being a mere Liberal—he is the brother of the absolutist, not that Generalhimself—and his successor, Acosta, a Conatitutionalist; Pi y Margall fell sick ; Castelar is, as his writings show, no administrator; and Figueras, as we described him at the time, is rather a critic than a statesman. He has just described himself to a correspondent of the Daily Yews as a man who could be of great service in drawing up a constitution, but "without iron enough in my blood to govern in troublous times," and he probably measures his own powers exactly. The rest of the Ministers were scarcely Republicans at all, and the Government, falling back on the Army for protection, declined the furloughs, and thereby disappointed the soldiers, who at Bar- celona expressed their feelings in a manner totally subversive of true discipline. Nevertheless, the soldiers, as we understand all accounts, remain in hope, and so far Republican that Mon- archical intrigues are baffled, and the Alfonsist feeling among superior officers is rendered useless to the Pretender. If his cause had not been for the moment hopeless, or most doubt- ful, Serrano would not have placed his family beyond the frontier. Volunteers have been despatched against the Carlists, who in three provinces are in the ascendant, but who have no influence in the cities, even Barcelona, in the heart of their power, being intensely hostile to them and friendly to the Republic ; and there is " tranquillity " of a kind, all men feeling strained, apprehensive, aud expectant, but all appa- rently awaiting the elections, fixed for the 31st March. The lull may be broken at any moment, especially if the Fleet should, as may be the case, entertain strong and unanimous feeling in favour of any party, for the fleet is beyond the imme- diate control of Government ; but the signs are that it will last the month, and that the parties will not act without one appeal to the electors. The dangerous movement of Monday in Madrid, deplorable as it was, seems to confirm this view. The armed populace there became distrustful, signified to the Ministry that it must reconstitute itself more clearly Republican, and was obeyed, the Cortes acting under a candid assurance from Castelar—who ought to be ashamed of himself for such a concession—that the alternative was a rising that night, which could hardly have ended without a massacre of the representatives. Still, discreditable as the incident was, it was followed by quiet, and serves to show that the armed populace is Republican.
Unfortunately it is also Federalist. We never pretend, when writing upon Spain, to do more than indicate pro- ' babilities ; but as far as we understand the accounts, while the cultivated Republicans are willing to wait, or even to modify their Federalist views, the uncultivated Republicans, including the private soldiers, are determined Federalists, some of them with a strong proclivity towards Socialist ideas. They hold their views as passionately as Southerners often do, and will undoubtedly fight, or try to fight, before they admit them to be hopeless. Should the Cortes returned be Federalist, they will be content, will carry a Federal law, and will wait quietly till they find out that State government does not mean redistribution of property. Should the Cortes, on the other hand, prove Unitarian, which is probable—the crypto-Monarchists all voting for unity—they will undoubtedly try whether they or the propertied classes are the stronger, and a most dangerous outbreak may occur, accompanied by excessive bloodshed. With the Army so diminished and the peasants so un- certain, that outbreak is the grand object of dread, especially to foreign Governments, which have in consequence withheld re- cognition, but the assumption that it must succeed is certainly a little too hasty. The Moderate Republicans may prove stronger than Englishmen suspect. They possess the Govern- ment, which is, as against insurrection for Socialist purposes, an immense source of strength—for the rich can rally to a Govemment—they dispose as against Socialists of the Fleet, they have at least part of the Army, and they may if they .ehoose, or if they are driven to despair, bind the peasantry to their cause. If the Government can hold Madrid, they can defeat the other cities one by one, and the evidence about Madrid is still not unsatisfactory. The city is held by a powerful garrison, the Remingtons served out cannot be used with improvised cartridges, and the assumption that the artillery is untrustworthy rests upon little proof. One victory, one little bit of evidence that Republicanism is not anarchy, and force of all kinds will accrete to the men in possession of the Government. It always does in a country where there is any property at all, and there is plenty of wealth in Spain, although, owing to the wretchedness of a class in the cities, and to the deep discontent of the peasantry outside the Carlist provinces—within them they are fairly well off—the conger- Tative strength of property is seriously impaired. While, therefore, we expect and greatly dread an attack on the Republic by the Have-nots, an attack which will be dangerous and bloody, we see no reason for assuming that it must be inevitably fatal, or that the Republic must necessarily give way to a King. It would do so if the armed force were monarchical, but as we reckon, that will not in the ultimate struggle prove to be the case.
It is a melancholy prospect at best, and in many minds it is complicated by a dread of foreign intervention. We do not see, however, whence intervention is to come. M. Thiers, -even if Europe in its horror of Communism sanctioned his movement, could not intervene for a Monarch, and if he intervened for a Republic would merely add to the Commune all the strength derivable from the furious detestation of the foreigner now rampant in Spain. No other Power, except Great Britain and Portugal, can reach her readily, and it is most improbable that either would act ; Great Britain, because her only obligation in the matter is to observe her Portuguese guarantees, and Portugal because she is too weak. A great Braganza, if he existed and disposed of 30,000 good soldiers, might, no doubt, seat himself on the throne of the Peninsula, being tolerated by Europe as a monarch, by Spain as a safe- guard of order, and by Portugal as a victor ; but there is no such man, and no such force, and no visible probability of either of them coming to the front. The Braganzas have quite enough to do to keep where they are, and their army is in no condition for foreign conquests. The fear or the hope of intervention may, we think, be dismissed, and the whole problem resolves itself into this. Can the Republic find, either in the populace of the cities, or in the relics of the national forces, or in the ranks of the peasantry, force enough to maintain external order, however imperfect it may be? That question, so far as we can perceive, is not yet answered in the negative,