4 MARCH 1871, Page 9


THE recent elections to the Provincial Deputations of Spain have greatly alarmed the new Government, and seem to indicate that the leading hope of the friends of Spain after the

death of Prim—the hope that parties would regard him as the scapegoat for all that occurred during the interregnum—will be disappointed. His death apparently has diminished the ascendancy of the King over the Army, without in any degree ameliorating the hatreds of the great parties to the new form of Government. That Government is still weak, still protected mainly by the dread of the anarchy which might supervene upon any very great change, still unable to attract to itself the support of the body of the people. The new King is not yet master of the situation, if he ever will be, and pos- sibly from no fault of his own, is far from generally popular, while his Ministers are almost as much dis- liked as Prim was. On every side the new Govern- ment of Spain sees itself unable to form a union with a single one of the opposing forces. Does it attempt to disarm the Church by inditing handsome phrases about the Papacy in cir- culars from the Foreign Office, by proffering to the clergy payment of all arrears of stipends, by subscribing to the re-

pair or the erection of religious edifices, by patronizing pious lotteries ? The utility of the condescension is seen in the nomination of Senor Monescillo, the distinguished Bishop of Jaen, as the Carlist candidate for Cuidad-Real, in opposition to the Ministerial candidate, Don Moret y Prendergast, a mem- ber of the Government, and indeed a Cabinet Minister. Does "the Savoyard," as with malicious pleasantry an opponent nick- names Amadeo, look to the nobility of Spain to give his Court that prestige of aristocracy which is of the very essence of kingship? He must content himself with such nobility as was to be found in the salons of the Man of December, or among the tradespeople who profit by his custom, and ape the incongruous graces of a citizen-king in a country where Royalty must be either sacred or despised. Meantime, the equipages of the haughtiest grandees keep rolling with rebellious osten- tation to the prison of San Francisco, where a number of young officers who have refused the oath of allegiance are confined by the Government, and as a consequence have won the enthusiastic sympathies of all the sangre azul for a hundred miles around. When Amadeo comes to the theatre, he is either received with the chilling inatten- tion of the best circles, or finds that count, and marquis, and duke have left at his approach. Some Ministerial prints had indulged the pleasing anticipation that the Duke de Montpensier would acknowledge the nominee of Prim. Within the past few days, however, the question has been decided, as all but the editors and readers of Ministerial prints might have told, and the Orleanist candidate for the Crown of the Catholic Sovereigns is now a source of torturing perplexity as a prisoner on parole in the hands of the son of Victor Emmanuel. It was to be expected that Carlists, Alfonsists, and Republicans would remain irreconcilable with the new Monarchy. It was thought that they would remain irrecon-

cilable with themselves. It certainly did not enter the apprehension of many that so strange a coalition would be formed, and would be found to work, as that which is now beyond a doubt,—the coalition, namely, of Republicans and Carlists. Acting on the instruction of their three great

leaders, Pi y Marge% Figneras, and gifted Castellar, the Republican voters, during the recent elections to the Pro- vincial Deputations, the Spanish Landtags, have, everywhere that the Carlists were in the majority compared to them, given their votes to aid the success of the Carlist candi- dates, and have everywhere in corresponding circumstances received a corresponding support from Carlist minorities. The journals of Carlist and Republican alike are filled with addresses in this sense, and both unite in proclaiming that the expulsion of the foreigner is a duty of patriotism which overrides every other consideration. The danger to the Government from so portentous a combination may be already measured by the depressing fact that at the general election of Provincial Deputies to which we have referred, the Ministerial list shows no more than 913 returns to 528 in support of the opposition. Remembering the advantages that are always on the side of the Government in power—ad- vantages concerning the use of which sufficiently strange stories are going the rounds,—remembering how many en- lightened waiters on Providence, certainly not less numerous , in Spain than elsewhere, go to make up the majority, there is something strikingly ominous in this result. The Iberia openly acknowledges the gravity of the situation, and the Government by postponing the meeting of the Cortes, or whose temper the Provincial Deputations may serve as a too. probable index, to the very last day permitted by the Consti- tution, not less significantly admits the necessity of anxious. preparation. Certainly the new King, with such political difficulties around him, with the young wife of his love trembling in the balance between life and death in distant Italy, must be of sterner stuff than usually enters into the com- position of men or princes, if he does not sometimes feel tempted to regret having exchanged the honoured repose of his former station for the crown of thorns which awaited him at Madrid. Indeed, we have it from a respectable authority that the burthen of the State is often as insupportable to him as Prince Karl von Hohenzollern has found the dominion of Roumania. We wish we could add to our notice of Spanish affairs that there was any perceptible improvement in the tone of Spanish party conflicts. Men can be enemies without being dishonourable ones. The recent dastardly attempt, however, against the life of the able minister Don Manuel Ruiz Zorrill;. is a dreadful warning that the most fatal and cowardly means are still favourite weapons with the extreme parties ; nor- when we see, as we constantly do in the most respectable. journals, such phrases and epithets as " scourings of the gutter," and "dolt," and " blockhead " currently applied to characterize the persons or the style of political opponents, can we feel aught but the heaviest forebodings as to the future of unhappy Spain. We trust we may be mistaken, we earnestly desire that a miracle may happen, but we cannot resist the impressions which flow from a candid survey of the situation of affairs.