NEWS OF THE WEEK.
WHEN orators or writers wish to attach vast importance to the acts or deliberations of any individual or body of persons, it is very usual to say, " the eyes of all Europe are upon them." This expression is often applied to persons and things about which " all Europe" knows little and cares less. But it may really be used in reference to the proceedings of the Spanish Cortes with- out being considered exaggerated language. For not only in London, Paris, and Lisbon, but in Amsterdam, Brussels, Vienna,- Berlin, and Naples, nay, even at St. Petersburg, a good deal of anxiety prevails in regard to the financial and other measures of that body. It is believed (as was stated in a late impression of the Spectator last week), that the Finance Committee are unanimous in their determination to recognize fully the whole of the Cortes Debt ; but that a majority of five to four are opposed to the recognition of the loans contracted by FERDINAND with the French capitalists during the supremacy of the Cortes. There really seems to be some ground, as a matter of justice, for demurring to the recognition of this por- tion of the Debt. The obligations of a Government de facto are always held a national debt ; but it seems a long stretch of this principle to affirm, that debts contracted by a rebellious party, after the defeat of that party, should be considered equally binding upon the nation as those which were made on the authority of the existing Government. Should Don CARLOS succeed in obtaining any funds on the loan now proposed for him in Paris,—should he by the aid of this money gain a temporary ascendancy, for a few months or a few years, and then be again driven into exile,—is the Spanish nation to be held liable to the payment of money supplied for the purpose of overturning their established Govern- ment ? It would be dangerous to maintain such a principle ; unless it is wise to hold forth inducements to rebellion, and make nations chargeable with the debts both of their own Governments and of those who strive to overthrow them—to subsidize both friends and foes.
It is exceedingly doubtful in which way the Cortes may decide this point; for, however strong their inclination may be, and undoubtedly is, to throw overboard the GUEDHARD and AGUADO Loans, yet such a decision at the present time might be impolitic, and involve the nation in a difficulty with the French Government, which cannot venture upon disregarding even the clamours of the Bourse.
In the meanwhile, the Finance Committee are subjecting Count TORENO'S statement to a rigid investigation. They call upon him to prove the correctness of every item; and, it is said, have detected numerous errors, tending to underrate the resources of the revenue, and exaggerate the cost of the various departments of the Govern- ment. The probability is, that they will report strongly against
TORENO'S budget. But, on the other hand, the Minister is to.be firm in his adherence to it, and ready to fight for every
incieo g mind in the Chamber. TORENO is himself liable to the suspicion of stockjobbing : it is quite certain that the scope of his plan was known at Paris before it was disclosed• publicly in Madrid. The agents of Aisuano are busy with money and intrigues; and a number of the. Parisian creditors have selected the celebrated MiudueetiS their agent, or mandatory as they call him, to proceed at once to the Spanish capital to take care of their interests. Altogether, the monied world is in a precious ferment at this juccture.
But little business has been transacted in the Chambers. The entire exclusion of Don CARLOS and his direct descendants from the throne will be one of the earliest measures. The Procuradores have resolved to revise the Reglamento or code of rules for the conduct of Parliamentary business, prescribed by the Queen. The regulation by which no measure can be originated in the Chamber until permission has been granted by the Government to that ef- leet, is felt to be an absurd restriction on a public body which Claims to represent the nation. This rule, therefore, it is supposed, Will be rescinded by the Chamber. The Ministers are of course extremely annoyed at these proceedings ; but the Opposition is , 848 too strong for them. On another question, MARTINEZ DE LA ROSA and the Chamber are agreed. The latter have petitioned to . be allowed to vote the abolition of a tax paid to the Clergy in certain districts, called the voto de St. Jago. It is exacted from " cultivators having one or two pairs of oxen ; " and its origin is thus described by a writer in the Times- " The alleged origin of this impost is the gratitude of Don Ramiro, King of: Castile, for the assistance given him by St. James the Apostle, in defeating the Moors at Clavijo iu the beginning of the ninth century. Mariana, iu his Into. via General de Espana, tells us that St. James appeared to King Ramiro in a vision, and promised him his assistance in the field, and a victory ; and he adds, that the Apostle, in fulfilment of his promise, appeared on a white horse, bear- . ing in his hand a white flag, with a red cross in the centre.' Of course the Saint made short work with the Infidels: they were routed, and 60,000 of them killed on the spot. The conquerors immediately made a vow that all Spain, though the greater part of the country was then in the possession of the Moors, .
should thenceforth pay a tribute to Santiago. According to Mariana, the tribute resolved on was a measure of corn or wine for each portion of land which might be ploughed by a pair or yoke of oxen."
MARTINEZ DE LA ROSA, poet though he is or has been, told the Chamber that he disbelieved the legend, and doubted even whether a battle had ever been fought at all at Clavijo. Therefore he saw no religious ground for the continued payment of an irksome impo- sition; although he was for preserving the vested interests of the' priests entire.
There is no intelligence to be depended upon from the seat of war. RODIL and ZUMALACARREGUY are prowling about the val- lies and mountains, just as usual.