27 JANUARY 1900, Page 32


A CENTURY OF SPANISH HISTORY.* Tins is an excellent manual and one that was much needed. The ordinary idea of romantic Spain, the land of the bull- fight and of the mantilla, of the Moors and the Inquisition, still so possesses the minds of visitors and tourists, that they go through the country as it were blindfolded, incapable of correct observation, or of understanding in the least the people among whom they travel. A considerable help towards a better comprehension would be a previous perusal of this volume of " The Story of the Nations." Excellent as it is, the best which has yet been written in English on Spain of the nineteenth century, it is not faultless, and at the out- set one irritating little blemish annoys the reader,—the father is called by an English name, the son by his Spanish name; we have Charles IV. and Fernando! There is a certain want of pro- Portion in its parte. Too much space is given to a half-apology for Godoy. A more serious defect is this, that the writer does not bring out with sufficient distinctness the fact that Spain is a land of contradictions, and half its misfortunes come from this. You cannot say anything that is true of one part which is not untrue of another. Administrative corruption has been the bane of the government for centuries, and not least in the present century ; yet there are provinces where the administration has been as admirable and honest as any in Europe. The undue influence of the Church in politics and the excessive number of the clergy have been ruinous for Spain ; yet there are provinces in which no priest was allowed to interfere in politics, or to enter a town where a Junta was sitting ; and if a Member was seen speak- ing to a priest he lost his vote for that day. In the province of which Loyola was a native nearly the whole Church patronage was in the hands of the laity, and was mostly elective. And not less are the physical contradictions, and the separations occasioned by difference of language. The capital is almost of necessity placed in the centre of Spain, and was thus of necessity removed from the proper influence of the richer and more civilised territories of the Northern frontier and of the coast. Railways are now changing this ; but it is a, fact to be noted in every history of Spain.

With regard to Godoy, to a careful reader Mr. Hume's pages bear a sufficient refutation of his own thesis. There is not the slightest trace of anything like true patriotism, or even

• 31(Orrn gpain, 17S8 1S9S. By ]Lattin A. S. Hume. London: T. Fisher rwsal. Lbs.] of regard for the interests of his infatuated patrons, in the political conduct of Godoy. The fact would be incredible if it were not true ; but in all the treaties and conventions between France and Spain made by Godoy there is no stipulation of any advantage to be obtained for Spain or for the King, while in every one there is some distinct addition to the titles and wealth of Godoy. Napoleon dangled before him the promise of an independent principality, first the sovereignty of Malta, then of part of Portugal, and when he was arrested in his flight with the Royal family to America he believed that he was going to take possession of one there. It was almost like Sancho Panza, and his island, in real life. The greedy fool, the dme de boue. as Napoleon called him, at last surrendered his master and his master's family, and, as far as he could, the land and people of Spain, into the hands of Napoleon at Bayonne for absolutely nothing in return. It is irony to set off as any compensation for this the works of the painter Goya, and a school of literature imitated from the French. Godoy's selfish policy necessarily made him favour the afrancesados, the French party, and these were the most cultivated People in Spain. The chief

plea of the defenders of the Inquisition is that the master- pieces of Spanish literature and art were produced under its sway. In neither case will this apology stand. In his dealing with the Constitution of 1812 and the many subsequent Con- stitutions, Mr. Hume rightly remarks that they were nearly all vitiated by being modelled after French or doctrinaire ideals, but he does not see that this was also the reason why the reforms of Charles III. took no root in the land, but remained only as a plantation of sickly exotics. Yet there were then materials in Spain on which good government might have been engrafted. How much has been lost since then?

There is not space to review the remainder of the book in this detail. The chapters on the Peninsular War are rightly abbreviated. The traits of character which, with all his mili- tary genius and devotion to duty, made it almost im possible for Wellington to get on with Spaniards are clearly hinted at. His subordinates copied and exaggerated these, till at last the hostile French soldiery were more popular than the Allies who fought on the aide of Spain. In the history of the Carlist Wars it is not sufficiently shown that the Basques were really liberal; but for the excesses of the French soldiery in 1794 a Republic of all the Basques, French and Spanish, seemed feasible. Even after that the towns remained Liberal ; it was not until after the suicidal neglect of the Government to confirm the /items that the smaller towns fell away. This blindness of the Liberals to see where their true interests lay, their intoxicating themselves with eloquence and foreign doc- trinaire ideals, instead of looking for the good at home, has cost Spain two civil wars, fought on impossible issues, and has deluged the country with blood. If the note on p. 334 be correct, that one of the reasons why Gomez was imprisoned by Don Carlos was that he was "too merciful with his prisoners," it casts a most lurid light on the character of the Pretender. He was, indeed, surpassed in cruelty by Cabrera, but we should place him third in diabolical cruelty among the partisan leaders of that war. Treating of Narvaez, stern and bigoted as he was, it should not have been omitted that to him Spain owes the establishment of the Guardias civiles.—the one police force that has been steadily honest and on the side of order in all the subsequent revolu- tions of the government. One great difficulty of almost all Spanish governments has been this,—after each victory they have been obliged to acknowledge and reward some of the worst of their opponents. After the last Carlist War Alfonso XII. had to recognise the nominal rank, and thus to pension, some of the worst adventurers who had gathered round Don Carlos; so there is ever something to be gained by those who fish in troubled waters, and find their prey in the calamities of their country. The remarks on the curse of bureaucracy, and of dependence on Government offices instead of honest labour, and industrial and commercial enterprise in Spain are most just. However it may appear on paper, only the smallest fraction of the produce of the sale of Church and municipal property has really found its way into the Treasury. C4novas del Castillo has stated that since 1845 no Ministry has been able to get into contact with the real electorate of Spain, except in a few of the large towns ; they are obliged to work through the local and provin- cial caciques (vide p. 553). This is the real bar to reform ; neither the returns of the population, nor the sur- veys of the land for the territorial tax, are to be trusted. Both are manipulated for the benefit of these caciques and their dependants. Perhaps our author underestimates the forces of reaction still present. It is difficult to know what they are in France, and they are certainly stronger in Spain. At the centenary of the death of Philip IL preachers boldly put him forward as the model of good government, and ascribed all the misfortunes of Spain to neglect of his laws; and the Union of Burgos has followed on the same lines. On the other hand, there is little doubt that the bulk of the Spanish people are in favour of some kind of federal autonomy, whether tinder nominal Monarchy or Republic. The future is still too uncertain for so hopeful a forecast as that with which our author closes a book which should be read by all who desire any trustworthy knowledge of "modern Spain."