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Italy. Lope sailed in the Armada; Cervantes was wounded at Lepanto.
It is curious to consider with how much awe our ancestors in those times regarded a Spaniard. He was, in their apprehension, a kind of demon, horribly malevolent, but withal most sagacious and powerful. "They be verye wyse and politicke," says an honest Englishman, in a memorial addressed to Mary, "and can, thorowe ther wysdome, reform and brydell theyr owne natures for a tyme, and applye their conditions to the maners of those men with whom they meddell gladlye by friend shippe; whose mischievous maners a man shall never knowe untyll he come under ther subjection: but then shall he parfectlye parceyve and fele them: which thynge I praye God England never do; for in dissimulations untyll they have ther purposes, and afterwards in oppression and tyrannye, when they can obtayne them, they do exceed all other nations upon the earthe." This is just such language as Arminius would have used about the Romans, or as an Indian statesman of our times would use about the English. It is the language of a man burning with hatred, but cowed by those whom he hates; and painfully sensible of their superiority, not only in power, but in intelligence.
But how art thou fallen from heaven, oh Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, that didst weaken the nations! If we overleap a hundred years, and look at Spain towards the close of the seventeenth century, what a change do we find! The contrast is as great as that which the Rome of Gallienus and Honorius presents to the Rome of Marius and Cæsar. Foreign conquests had begun to eat into every part of that gigantic monarchy on which the sun never set. Holland was gone, and Portugal, and Artois, and Roussillon, and Franche Comté. In the East, the empire founded by the Dutch far surpassed in wealth and splendour that which their old tyrants still retained. In the West, England had seized, and still held, settletlements in the midst of the Mexican sea. The mere loss of territory was, however, of little moment. The reluctant obedience of distant provinces generally costs more than it is worth.
Empires which branch out widely are often more flourishing for a little timely pruning. Adrian acted judiciously when he abandoned the conquests of Trajan. England was never so rich, so great, so formidable to foreign princes, so absolutely mistress of the sea, as after the loss of her American colonies. The Spanish empire was still, in outward appearance, great and magnificent. The European dominions subject to the last feeble prince of the house of Austria were far more extensive than those of Louis the Fourteenth. The American dependencies of the Castilian crown still extended to the north of Cancer and to the south of Capricorn. But within this immense body there was an incurable decay, an utter want of tone, an utter prostration of strength. An ingenious and diligent population, eminently skilled in arts and manufactures had been driven into exile by stupid and remorse
less bigots. The glory of the Spanish penci had departed with Velasquez and Murillo The splendid age of Spanish erature had closed with Solis and Calderon. During the seventeenth century many states had formed great military establishments. But the Spanish army, so formidable under the command of Alva and Farnese, had dwindled away to a few thousand men, ill paid and ill disciplined. England, Holland, and France had great navics. But the Spanish navy was scarcely equal to the tenth part of that mighty force which, in the time of Philip the Second, had been the terror of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. The arsenals were deserted. The magazines were unprovided. The frontier fortresses were un garrisoned. The police was utterly inefficient for the protection of the people. Murders were committed in the face of day with perfect im punity. Bravoes and discarded serving-men, with swords at their sides, swaggered every day through the most public street and squares of the capital, disturbing the public peace, and setting at defiance the ministers of justice. The finances were in frightful disorder. The people paid much. The government received little. The American viceroys and the farmers of the revenue became rich, while the mer chants broke, while the peasantry starved, while the body-servants of the sovereign re mained unpaid, while the soldiers of the royal guard repaired daily to the doors of convents, and battled there with the crowd of beggars for a porringer of broth and a morsel of bread. Every remedy which was tried aggravated the disease. The currency was altered; and this frantic measure produced its never-failing effects. It destroyed all credit, and increased the misery which it was intended to relieve. The American gold, to use the words of Ortiz, was to the necessities of the state but as a drop of water to the lips of a man raging with thirst. Heaps of unopened despatches accu mulated in the offices, while the ministers were concerting with the bedchamber-women and Jesuits the means of tripping up each other. Every foreign power could plunder and insult with impunity the heir of Charles the Fifth Into such a state had the mighty kingdom of Spain fallen, while one of its smallest dependencies a country not so large as the pro vince of Estremadura or Andalusia, situated under an inclement sky, and preserved only by artificial means from the inroads of the ccean
had become a power of the first class, and treated on terms of equality with the courts of London and Versailles.
The manner in which Lord Mahon explains the financial situation of Spain by no means satisfies us. "It will be found," says he, "that those individuals deriving their chief income from mines whose yearly produce is uncertain and varying, and seems to spring rather from fortune than to follow industry, are usually careless, unthrifty, and irregular in their ex penditure. The example of Spain might tempt us to apply the same remark to states." Lord Mahon would find it difficult, we suspect, to make out his analogy. Nothing could be more uncertain and varying than the gains and losses of those who were in the habit of putting into
the state lotteries. But no part of the public income was more certain than that which was derived from the lotteries. We believe that this case is very similar to that of the American mines. Some veins of ore exceeded expectation, some fell below it. Some of the private speculators drew blanks, and others gained prizes. But the revenue of the state depended not on any particular vein, but on the whole annual produce of two great continents. This annual produce seems to have been almost constantly on the increase during the seventeenth century. The Mexican mines were, through the reigns of Philip the Fourth and Charles the Second, in a steady course of improvement; and in South America, though the district of Potosi was not so productive as formerly, other places more than made up for the defciency. We very much doubt whether Lord Mahon can prove that the income which the Spanish government derived from the mines of America fluctuated more than the income derived from the internal taxes of Spain itself. All the causes of the decay of Spain resolve themselves into one cause-bad government. The valour, the intelligence, the energy, which at the close of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth century made the Spaniards the first nation in the world, were the fruits of the old institutions of Castile and Arragoninstitutions which were eminently favourable to public liberty. Those institutions the first princes of the house of Austria attacked and almost wholly destroyed. Their successors expiated the crime. The effects of a change from good government to bad government is not fully felt for some time after the change has taken place. The talents and the virtues which a good constitution generates may for a time survive that constitution. Thus the reigns of princes who have established absolute monarchy on the ruins of popular forms of government often shine in history with a peculiar brilliancy. But when a generation or two has passed away, then comes signally to pass that which was written by Montesquieu, that despotic governments resemble those savages who cut down the tree in order to get at the fruit. During the first years of tyranny is reaped the harvest sown during the last years of liberty. Thus the Augustan age was rich in great minds formed in the generation of Cicero and Cæsar. The fruits of the policy of Augustus were reserved for posterity. Philip the Second was the heir of the Cortes and of the Justiza Mayor, and they left him a nation which seemed able to conquer all the world. What Philip left to his successors is well known.
The shock which the great religious schism of the sixteenth century gave to Europe was scarcely felt in Spain. In England, Germany, Holland, France, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, that shock had produced, with some temporary evil, much durable good. The principles of the Reformation had triumphed in some of those countries. The Catholic Church had maintained its ascendency in others. But though the event had not been the same in all, all had been agitated by the conflict. Even in France, in Southern Germany, and in the Catholic cantons of Switzerland, the public mind
had been stirred to its inmost depths. The hold of ancient prejudice had been somewhat loosened. The Church of Rome, warned by the danger which she had narrowly escaped, had, in those parts of her dominion, assumed a milder and more liberal character. She sometimes condescended to submit her high pretensions to the scrutiny of reason, and availed herself more sparingly than in former times of the aid of the secular arm. Even when persecution was employed, it was not persecution in the worst and most frightful shape. The severities of Louis the Fourteenth, odious as they were, connot be compared with those which, at the first dawn of the Reformation, had been inflicted on the heretics in many parts of Europe.
The only effect which the Reformation had produced in Spain had been to make the Inquisition more vigilant and the commonalty more bigoted. The times of refreshing came to all neighbouring countries. One people remained, like the fleece of the Hebrew warrior, dry in the midst of that benignant and fertilizing dew. While other nations were putting away childish things, the Spaniard still thought as a child and understood as a child. Among the men of the seventeenth century he was the man of the fifteenth century, or of a still darker period-delighted to behold an auto da-fe, and ready to volunteer on a crusade.
The evils produced by a bad governme and a bad religion seemed to have attain. their greatest height during the last years o the seventeenth century. While the kingdom was in this deplorable state, the king was hastening to an early grave. His days had been few and evil. He had been unfortunate in all his wars, in every part of his internal administration, and in all his domestic rela tions. His first wife, whom he tenderly loved, died very young. His second wife exercised great influence over him, but seems to have been regarded by him rather with fear than with love. He was childless; and his constitution was so completely shattered, that at little more than thirty years of age he had given up all hopes of posterity. His mind was even more distempered than his body. He was sometimes sunk in listless melancholy, and sometimes harassed by the wildest and most extravagant fancies. He was not, however, wholly destitute of the feelings which became his station. His sufferings were aggravated by the thought that his own dissolution might not improbably be followed by the dissolution of his empire.
Several princes laid claim to the succession. The king's eldest sister had married Louis the Fourteenth. The Dauphin would, therefore, in the common course of inheritance, have succeeded to the crown. But the Infanta had, at the time of her espousals, solemnly renounced, in her own name and in that of her posterity, all claim to the succession. This renunciation had been confirmed in due form by the Cortes. A younger sister of the king had been the first wife of Leopold, Emperor of Germany. She, too, had at her marriage renounced her claims to the Spanish crown, at the Cortes had not sanctioned the renunciation, and it was there
parcelled and allotted; insulting to the pride of Spain, and tending to strip that country of its hard-won conquests." The most serious part of this charge would apply to half the treaties which have been concluded in Europe quite as strongly as to the Partition Treaty. What regard was shown in the treaty of the Pyrenees to the welfare of the people of Dunkirk and Roussillon; in the treaty of Nimeguen to the welfare of the people of Franche Comté; in the treaty of Utrecht to the welfare of the people of Flanders; in the treaty of 1735 to the welfare of the people of Tuscany! All Europe remembers, and our latest posterity will, we fear, have reason to remember, how coolly, at the last great pacification of Christendom, the people of Poland, of Norway, of Belgium,
The question was certainly very complicated. That claim which, according to the ordinary rules of inheritance, was the strongest, had been barred by a contract executed in the most binding form. The claim of the Electoral Prince of Bavaria was weaker. But so also was the contract which bound him not to prosecute his claim. The only party against whom no instrument of renunciation could be pro-and of Lombardy, were allotted to masters whom they abhorred. The statesmen who ne gotiated the Partition Treaty were not so far As it was clear that great alarm would be beyond their age and hours in wisdom and vir excited throughout Europe if either the Em-tue, as to trouble themselves much about the peror or the Dauphin should become King of happiness of the people whom they were apSpain, each of those princes offered to waive portioning among foreign masters. But it will his pretensions in favour of his second son; be difficult to prove that the stipulations which the Emperor in favour of the Archduke Charles, Lord Mahon condemns, were in any respect the Dauphin in favour of Philip, Duke of An- unfavourable to the happiness of those who jou. were to be transferred to new rulers. The Neapolitans would certainly have lost nothing by being given to the Dauphin, or to the Great Turk. Addison, who visited Naples about the. time at which the Partition Treaty was signed, has left us a frightful description of the misgovernment under which that part of the Spanish empire groaned. As to the people of Lorraine, a union with France would have been the happiest event which could have be fallen them. Louis was already their sovereign for all purposes of cruelty and exaction. He had kept the province during many years
The great object of the King of Spain, and of all his counsellors, was to avert the dis-in his own hands. At the peace of Ryswick, memberment of the monarchy. In the hope indeed, the duke had been allowed to return. of attaining this end, Charles determined to But the conditions which had been imposed on name a successor. A will was accordingly him made him a mere vassal of France. framed, by which the crown was bequeathed to the Bavarian prince. Unhappily, this will had scarcely been signed when the prince died. The question was again unsettled, and presented greater difficulties than before.
A new Treaty of Partition was concluded between France, England, and Holland. It was agreed that Spain, the Indies, and the Netherlands should descend to the Archduke Charles. In return for this great concession made by the Bourbons to a rival house, it was agreed that France should have the Milanese, or an equivalent in a more commodious situation; if possible, the province of Lorraine.
Arbuthnot, some years later, ridiculed the Partition Treaty with exquisite humour and ingenuity. Everybody must remember his description of the paroxysm of rage into which poor old Lord Strutt fell, on hearing that his runaway servant, Nick Frog, his clothier, John Bull, and his old enemy, Lewis Baboon, had come with quadrants, poles, and inkhorns, survey his estate, and to draw his will for him. Lord Mahon speaks of the arrangement with grave severity. He calls it "an iniquitous compact, concluded without the slightest reierence to the welfare of the states so readily
fore considered as invalid by the Spanish jurists. The fruit of this marriage was a daughter, who had espoused the Elector of Bavaria. The Electoral Prince of Bavaria inherited her claim to the throne of Spain. The Emperor Leopold was son of a daughter of Philip the Third, and was therefore first cousin to Charles. No renunciation whatever had been exacted from his mother at the time of her marriage.
duced was the party who, in respect of blood, had the weakest claim of all.
Soon after the peace of Ryswick, William the Third and Louis the Fourteenth determined to settle the question of the succession without consulting either Charles or the Emperor. France, England, and Holland became parties to a treaty by which it was stipulated that the Electoral Prince of Bavaria should succeed to Spain, the Indies, and the Netherlands. The imperial family were to be bought off with the Milanese, and the Dauphin was to have the two Sicilies.
We cannot admit that the Treaty of Partition was objectionable because it "tended to strip Spain of hard-won conquests." The inheritance was so vast, and the claimants so mighty, that without some dismemberment, it was scarcely possible to make a peaceable arrangement. If any dismemberment was to take place, the best way of effecting it surely, was to separate from the monarchy those nations which were at a great distance from Spain; which were not Spanish in manners, in language, or in feelings; which were both worse governed and less valuable than the old provinces of Castile and Arragon; and which, having always been governed by foreigners, would not be likely to feel acutely the humili ation of being turned over from one master to another.
That England and Holland had a right to interfere, is plain. The question of the Spanish succession was not an internal question, but a European question. And this Lord Mahon would admit. He thinks, that when the evil had been done, and a French prince was reigning at the Escurial, England and Holland would be justified in attempting, not merely to strip Spain of its remote dependencies, but tc
conquer Spain itself; that they would be justi- the grandees. He caressed the clergy. He fied in attempting to put, not merely the passive Flemings and Italians, but the reluctant Castilians and Asturians, under the dominion of a stranger. The danger against which the Partition Treaty was intended to guard was precisely the same danger which afterwards was made the ground of war. It will be difficult to prove, that a danger which was sufficient to justify the war, was insufficient to justify the provisions of the treaty. If, as Lord Mahon contends, it was better that Spain should be subjugated by main force than that she should be governed by a Bourbon, it was surely better that she should be deprived of Lombardy and the Milanese than that she should be governed by a Bourbon.
dazzled the multitude by his magnificent style of living. The prejudices which the people of Madrid had conceived against the French cha racter, the vindictive feelings generated during centuries of national rivalry, gradually yielded to his arts; while the Austrian ambassador, a surly, pompous, niggardly German, made himself and his country more and more unpopular every day.
Whether the treaty was judiciously framed, is quite another question. We disapprove of the stipulations. But we disapprove of them, not because we think them bad, but because we think that there was no chance of their being executed. Louis was the most faithless of politicians. He hated the Dutch. He hated the government which the Revolution had established in England. He had every disposition to quarrel with his new allies. It was quite certain that he would not observe his engagements, if it should be for his interest to violate them. Even it should be for his interest to observe them, it might well be doubted whether the strongest and clearest interest would induce a man so haughty and self-willed to co-operate heartily with two governments which had always been the objects of his scorn and aversion.
When intelligence of the second Partition Treaty arrived at Madrid, it roused to momentary energy the languishing ruler of a languishing state. The Spanish ambassador at the court of London was directed to remonstrate with the government of William; and his remonstrances were so insolent that he was commanded to leave England. Charles retaliated by dismissing the English and Dutch ambassadors. The French king, though the chief author of the Partition Treaty, succeeded in turning the whole wrath of Charles and of the Spanish people from himself, and in directing it against the maritime powers. Those powers had now no agent at Madrid. Their perfidious ally was at liberty to carry on his intrigues unchecked: and he fully availed himself of this advantage.
A long contest was maintained with varying success by the factions which surrounded the miserable king. On the side of the imperial family was the queen, herself a princess of that family; with her were allied the confessor of the king, and most of the ministers. On the other side, were two of the most dexterous politicians of that age, Cardinal Porto Carrero, Archbishop of Toledo, and Harcourt, the ambassador of Louis.
Harcourt was a noble specimen of the French aristocracy in the days of its highest splendour a finished gentleman, a brave soldier, and a skilful diplomatist. His courteous and insinuating manners, his Parisian vivacity tempered with Castilian gravity, made him the favourite of the whole court. He became intimate with
Harcourt won over the court and city: Porto Carrero managed the king. Never were knave and dupe better suited to each other. Charles was sick, nervous, and extravagantly supersti tious. Porto Carrero had learned in the exercise of his profession the art of exciting and soothing such minds, and he employed that art with the calm and demure cruelty which is the characteristic of wicked and ambitious priests.
He first supplanted the confessor. The state of the poor king, during the conflict between his two spiritual advisers, was horrible. At one time he was induced to believe that his malady was the same with that of the wretches described in the New Testament, who dwelt among the tombs; whom no chains could bind, and whom no man dared to approach. At another time, a sorceress who lived in the mountains of the Asturias was consulted about his malady. Several persons were accused of having bewitched him. Porto Carrero recommended the appalling rite of exorcism, which was actually performed. The ceremony made the poor king more nervous and miserable than ever. But it served the turn of the Cardinal, who, after much secret trickery, succeeded in casting out, not the devil, but the confessor.
The next object was to get rid of the minis ters. Madrid was supplied with provisions by a monopoly. The government looked after this most delicate concern, as it looked after every thing else. The partisans of the house of Bourbon took advantage of the negligence of the administration. On a sudden the supply of food failed. Exorbitant prices were de manded. The people rose. The royal resi dence was surrounded by an immense multitude. The queen harangued them. The priests exhibited the host. All was in vain. It was necessary to awaken the king from his uneasy sleep, and to carry him to the balcony. There a solemn promise 'was given that the unpopular advisers of the crown should be forthwith dismissed. The mob left the palace, and proceeded to pull down the houses of the ministers. The adherents of the Austrian line were thus driven from power, and the gover. ment was intrusted to the creatures of Porto Carrero. The king left the city in which he had suffered so cruel an insult, for the magni. ficent retreat of the Escurial. Here his hypochondriac fancy took a new turn. Like his ancestor, Charles the Fifth, he was haunted by a strange curiosity to pry into the secrets of that grave to which he was hastening In the cemetery which Philip the Second had formed beneath the pavement of the church of St. Lawrence, reposed three generations of Castilian princes. Into these dark vaults the unhappy monarch descended by torchlight, and penetrated to that superb and gloomy chamber
where, round the great black crucifix, are ranged the coffins of the kings and queens of Spain. There he commanded his attendants to open the massy chests of bronze in which the relics of his predecessors decayed. He looked on the ghastly spectacle with little emotion till he coffin of his first wife was unclosed, and she appeared before him-such was the skill of the embalmer-in all her well-remembered beauty. He cast one glance on those beloved features unseen for eighteen years, those features over which corruption seemed to have no power, and rushed from the vault, exclaiming, "She is with God, and I shall soon be with her." The awful sight completed the ruin of his body and mind. The Escurial became hateful to him, and he hastened to Aranjuez. But the shades and waters of that delicious islandgarden, so fondly celebrated in the sparkling verse of Calderon, brought no solace to their unfortunate master. Having tried medicine, exercise, and amusement in vain, he returned to Madrid to die.
He was now beset on every side by the bold and skilful agents of the house of Bourbon. The leading politicians of his court assured him, that Louis, and Louis alone, was sufficiently powerful to preserve the Spanish monarchy undivided; and that Austria would be utterly unable to prevent the Treaty of Partition from being carried into effect. Some celebrated lawyers gave it as their opinion, that the act of renunciation executed by the late Queen of France ought to be construed according to the spirit, and not according to the letter. The letter undoubtedly excluded the French prince. The spirit was merely this; that ample security should be taken against the union of the French and Spanish crowns on one head.
In all probability, neither political nor legal reasonings would have sufficed to overcome the partiality which Charles felt for the house of Austria. There had always been a close connection between the two great royal lines which sprung from the marriage of Philip and Juana. Both had always regarded the French as their natural enemies. It was necessary to have recourse to religious terrors; and Porto Carrero employed those terrors with true professional skill. The king's life was drawing to a close. Would the most Catholic prince commit a great sin on the brink of the grave? And what would be a greater sin than, from an unreasonable attachment to a family name, from an unchristian antipathy to a rival house, to set aside the rightful heir of an immense heritage? The tender conscience and the feeble intellect of Charles were strongly wrought upon by these appeals. At length Porto Carrero ventured on a master-stroke. He advised Charles to apply for counsel to the Pope. The king, who, in the simplicity of his heart, considered the successor of St. Peter as an infalible guide in spiritual matters, adopted the suggestion; and Porto Carrero, who knew that his holiness was a mere tool of France, awaited with perfect confidence the result of the applisation. In the answer which arrived from Roine, the king was solemnly reminded of the grea account which he was soon to render,
and cautioned against the flagrant injustice which he was tempted to commit. He was assured that the right was with the house of Bourbon; and reminded that his own salvation ought to be dearer to him than the house of Austria. Yet he still continued irresolute. His attachment to his family, his aversion to France, were not to be overcome even by papal authority. At length he tho him. self actually dying, when the cardinal redou bled his efforts. Divine after divine, well-tutored for the occasion, was brought to the bed of the trembling penitent. He was dying in the commission of known sin. He was defrauding his relatives. He was bequeathing civil war to his people. He yielded, and signed that memorable testament, the cause of many calamities to Europe. As he affixed his name to the instrument, he burst into tears. "God," he said, "gives kingdoms and takes them away. I am already as good as dead.”
The will was kept secret during the short remainder of his life. On the 3d of November, 1700, he expired. All Madrid crowded to the palace. The gates were thronged. The antechamber was filled with ambassadors and grandees, eager to learn what dispositions the deceased sovereign had made. At length folding doors were flung open. The Duke of Abrantes came forth, and announced that the whole Spanish monarchy was bequeathed to Philip, Duke of Anjou. Charles had directed that, during the interval which might elapse between his death and the arrival of his successor, the government should be administered by a council, of which Porto Carrero was the chief member.
Louis acted as the English ministers might have guessed that he would act. With scarcely the show of hesitation, he broke through all the obligations of the Partition Treaty, and accepted for his grandson the splendid legacy of Charles. The new sovereign hastened to take possession of his dominions. The whole court of France accompanied him to Sceaux. His brothers escorted him to that frontier, which, as they weakly imagined, was to be a frontier no longer. "The Pyrenees," said Louis, "have ceased to exist." Those very Pyrenees, a few years later, were the theatre of a war between the heir of Louis and the prince whom France was now sending to govern Spain.
If Charles had ransacked Europe to find a successor whose moral and intellectual character resembled his own, he could not have chosen better. Philip was not so sickly as his predecessor; but he was quite as weak, as indolent, and as superstitious; he very soon be came quite as hypochondriacal and eccentric; and he was even more uxorious. He was indeed a husband of ten thousand. His first object, when he became King of Spain, was to procure a wife. From the day of his marriage to the day of her death, his first object was to have her near him, and to do what she wished. As soon as his wife died, his first object was to procure another. Another was found, as unlike the former as possible. But she was a wife, and Philip was content. Neither by day nor by night, neither in sickness nor in health, neither in time of business nor in time of re