Hopes of a Spanish Republic

MADRID, January, 1870.

THE Revolution of September has not made the progress that its sanguine friends had hoped. The victory was so prompt and perfect, from the moment that Admiral Topete ordered his band to strike up the hymn of Riego on the deck of the Zaragoza, in the bay of Cadiz, to the time when the special train from San Sebastian to Bayonne crossed the French frontier with Madame de Bourbon and other light baggage, that the world looked naturally for very rapid and sweeping work in the open path of reform. The world ought to have known better. There were too many generals at the bridge of Alcolea to warrant any one in expecting the political millennium to follow immediately upon the flight of the dishonored dynasty. We must do the generals the justice to say that they left no one long in doubt as to their intentions. Prim had not been a week in Madrid, when he wrote to the editor of the “ Gaulois,” announcing the purpose of himself and his companions to establish in Spain a constitutional monarchy. The fulfilment of this promise has been thus far pursued with reasonable activity and steadiness. The Provisional Government elected monarchical Cortes and framed a monarchical Constitution. They duly crushed the Republican risings in Cadiz and Catalonia, and promptly judged and shot such impatient patriots as they could find. They have unofficially offered the crown of the Spains to all the unemployed princes within reach of their diplomacy. It is hard to say what more they could have done to establish their monarchy.

Yet the monarchy is no more consolidated than it was when the triumvirs laid their bald heads together at Alcolea and agreed to find another king for Spain. The reforms they have incorporated into the Constitution have not been enough to conciliate the popular spirit, naturally distrustful of half-measures. The government has been forced, partly by its own fault and partly by the fatality of events, into an attitude of tyranny and repression which recalls the worst days of the banished race. The fine words of the Revolution have proved too fine for daily use.

The fullest individual rights are guaranteed by the Constitution. But at the first civil uproar the servile Cortes gave them up to the discretion of the government. Law was to be established as the sole rule and criterion of action. But the most arbitrary and cruel sentences are written on drum-heads still vibrating with the roll of battle. The death-penalty was to be abolished. But the shadow of the gallows and the smoke of the fusillade are spread over half of Spain. The army was to be reduced, and the government has just asked the Cortes for eighty thousand men. The colonics were to be emancipated ; and Porto Rico stands in the Cortes vainly begging for reforms, while Cuba seems bent upon destroying with her own hands the hateful wealth and beauty which so long have lured and rewarded her tyrants.

Among the plans and promises of the Revolution was the abolition of slavery; a few rounded periods in condemnation of the system, from the ready pen of the Minister of Ultramar, have recently appeared in the Gazette, and a consultative committee has been appointed, but nothing reported. Liberty of thought and speech was to be guaranteed; but fourteen journals were suppressed during the autumn months, and all the clubs in Spain closed for several weeks. The freedom of the municipality was a favorite and most attractive idea, universally accepted, — an automonic state within the state. But great numbers of ayuntamientos, elected by universal suffrage, have been turned out of their town halls, and their places filled by swift servitors of the captain-general of the district.

There was pressing need and much talk of financial reform. But the taxes are greater than ever ; the debt is increased, and the deficit wider day by day. If a nation can ever be bankrupt, Spain is rapidly approaching bankruptcy.

Unless the situation changes for the better, the Revolution of September will pass into history merely as a mutiny.

The state of things which now exists is intolerable in its uncertainty, and in the possibility which it offers of sudden and unforeseen solutions. With the tardy restoration of individual guaranties, the political life of the people has begun anew. The Republicans, as usual, form the only party which appeals to a frank and public propaganda. The other factions, having little or no support in the body of the people, resort to their traditional tactics of ruse and combination. The reaction has never been so busy as to-day. Emissaries of the Bourbons are flitting constantly from Paris to Madrid. The old partisans of Isabel II., who have failed to receive the rewards of treason from the new government, are returning to their first allegiance. A leading journal of Madrid supports the Prince of Asturias for the throne, with a Montpensier regency. This is a bait thrown out to the Union Liberals, who are gradually drifting away from the late coalition. Don Carlos is watching on the border for another demonstration in his favor, his young wife’s diamonds bartered for powder and lead. All the ravening birds of the reaction are hovering over the agonizing quarry of the commonwealth, waiting for the hour to strike.

Of course, it is not reasonable to expect that evils bred of centuries of misrule can be extirpated at once. But there is a very serious question whether, under the system adopted by the leading men of Spain, they can ever be reformed.

In all nations, the engine which is most dangerous to liberty, most destructive of national prosperity, is the standing army. If it were composed of men and officers exempt from human faults and vices, inaccessible to temptation, and incapable of wrong, it would be at best a collection of stingless drones, consumers that produce nothing, men in the vigor of youth condemned to barren idleness. But the army spirit of Spain is probably the worst in the world. In other countries the army is not much worse than useless. It is distinguished by its mechanical, automatic obedience to the law. It is the boast of the army of France, for instance, that it never makes nor prevents revolutions. It carried out the coup d'état of December, but it was not in the conspiracy that planned it. The army received orders regularly issued by the Minister of War, and executed them. In 1848 the army exchanged fraternal salutes with the victorious volunteers ; but took no part in or against the émeute, except when bidden. But the Spanish army, from general to corporal, is penetrated with the poison of conspiracy. With the exception of the engineers, who still preserve some spirit of discipline, and who call themselves with proud humility “ The Lambs,” there is not a regiment in the service that cannot be bought if properly approached by the proper men. The common soldiers are honest enough. If turned loose to-morrow, they would go joyfully to their homes and to profitable work. There are many officers who are the soul of honor. There are many who would willingly die rather than betray their commands. There are many who have died in recent years, because they would not be delivered after they had been sold. But they were considered mad.

This corruption of the army is not confined to any special grade. Of course, it is easier to buy one man than many, so that colonels are oftener approached than their regiments. But in one of General Prim’s unsuccessful insurrections, it was the sergeants of the artillery barracks who pronounced, and cut the throats of their officers.

It is from causes such as this that the Spanish army has grown to be the most anomalous military establishment in the world. Every successive minister has used it for the purposes of his own personal ambition, and has left in it a swarm of superfluous officers, who owe their grades to personal or political services, more or less illegal. Last year the Spanish army contained eight soldiers to one officer. Now, with the enormous number of promotions the present liberal government has squandered among the supporters of General Prim, the officers have risen to the proportion of one to seven. Some two dozen promotions to the grade of general were gazetted after the suppression of the late Republican insurrection.

This is an evil which goes on continually increasing. Every officer who is passed over becomes a beggar or a conspirator. The fortunate ones may feel a slight impulse of gratitude while their crosses are new and their epaulettes untarnished. But not to advance is to decline, is the soldier’s motto everywhere ; and if advancement lags, they listen to the voice of the opposition charmer, charm he never so grossly. The government cannot complain. The line of precedents is unbroken.

There is scarcely a genera! in Spain but owes his successive grades to successive treasons.

The government finds it impossible to keep its promises of the reduction of the army and the abolition of the conscription. The policy of repression it has so unfortunately adopted renders necessary the maintenance of considerable garrisons in the principal towns, as long as the question of the monarchy is undecided. The re-enforcement of thirty-five thousand men sent to sustain the barbarous and useless conflict in Cuba has so weakened the regular regiments ot the Peninsula, that the sparse recruits obtained by volunteering are utterly inadequate to the demand. So that there hangs now over every peasant family in Spain that shadow of blind terror,—the conscription ; and every father is learning to curse the government that promised him peace and liberty, and threatens to steal his boy.

When the government has obtained its army of two hundred thousand men, — for, counting the Gendarmerie, the Carabineers, and the Cuban army, it will amount to that, — it can be used for nothing but diplomatic wars or internal oppression, and the people of Spain have had quite enough of both.

With the provision of union between Church and State which has been incorporated in the new Constitution, the government has loaded itself with needless embarrassments, Instead of following the plain indication of popular sentiment, which demanded a free church in a free state, the coalition, anxious to conciliate the reaction, established the Catholic Church as the religion of the state, assuming the expenses and the government of that complex and cumbrous system. In vain were all the arguments of the best jurists and most sensible men in the Cortes; in vain the living thunders of an oratory such as the world has not known elsewhere in modern times. With the exception of the wild harangue of Suñer y Capdevila, who blindly took God to task for the errors of his pretended ministers, the liberal speakers who opposed the unhallowed union of Church and State treated the question with the greatest decency and discretion. Not only did they refrain from attacking religion, they respected also the Church. After the Jesuit Manterola had concluded an elaborate argument, which might have been made by Torquemada, so bitter and wicked and relentless was it in its bigotry, Castelar rose, and in that marvellous improvisation which held the Cortes enchained for three hours, and renewed the bright ideals of antique oratory which our times had come to treat as fables, he did not utter a word which could have wounded the susceptibilities of any liberal-minded Catholic.

The embarrassments and troubles resulting from this anomalous marriage of an absolute church with a democratic government have become evident sooner even than any one anticipated. A large number of bishops, and among these the most prominent, are in open contumacy. They treat the orders of the Minister of Grace and Justice with loud and obstreperous contempt. They fomented and assisted as far as possible the Carlist risings of last summer. A considerable number have left the kingdom, in defiance of the order of the Ministry. The engagement which the government assumed to pay them their salaries is the cause of much of this insolence. The treasury is empty, and the clergy think they should at least have the privilege of despising the government while waiting for their pay.

It is easy to sec what the state has lost, it is hard to see what it has gained, by this ill-considered league with the church.

The centralized administration of the government, which took its rise in the early days ot the Bourbon domination, and has baen growing steadily worse ever since, is fatal to the development of a healthy political life. A vast horde of office-holders is scattered over the kingdom, whose only object is to please their patrons at Madrid. The capital is necessarily filled with a time-serving population. Madrid, like Washington, is a capital and nothing else. It is not to be expected that any vigorous vitality of principle should exist in such a town. But the serious evil is, that all Spain is made tributary to the petty policy of personal interests which rules, for the time being, at the capital. The government being omnipresent in the provinces, public works of the plainest utility are made subordinate to the demands of party. When a leading man in a distant region grows clamorous as to the wants of his province, he is quietly brought to Madrid and provided for. The elections, so far, have been mere mockeries of universal suffrage. The numbers of Republican deputies and town councils is truly wonderful, in view of the constant government interference.

The ill effects of this corrupt and centralized administration is seen in nothing more clearly than in the bad state of the finances. Enormous taxes are yearly imposed ; with great inequality and injustice of distribution, it is true, but sufficient in quantity to answer all the demands of the state. But, instead of collecting them, the revenue officers seem to consider them legitimate capital for investment and speculation. The people, knowing this, are worse than indifferent, they are absolutely hostile, to the collection of the imposts. There is a continual selfish strife between them and the tax-gatherers, — the one to avoid paying, the other to fill their own pockets. Hence results the constant deficit, the chronic marasmus, of the treasury. The nation is in a financial phthisis. It is not nourished by its revenues.

These evils, and the bad traditions of centuries of misgovernment, have brought the masses of the Spanish people to the condition of political indifferentism, which Buckle doubtless referred to when he called Spain a “ torpid mass.” This is a condition most favorable to the easy operation of those schemes of cabinet intrigue and garrison conspiracy which have been for so many years the favorite machinery of Spanish politicians. But it is a state of things incompatible with that robust public activity to which the spirit of the age now invites all civilized peoples. In the opinion of all those who believe, as we do, in the political progress of the world, it is a situation which should not and cannot endure. It is, therefore, the pressing duty of the hour for the statesmen of Spain to decide upon the best means of reforming it.

Most Americans will agree with those thoughtful liberals of the Peninsula, who hold that this reformation is impossible through the monarchy.

A king, brought in by the existing coalition, would be worse than powerless to abolish these old abuses. He would need them all to consolidate his rule on the old iniquitous foundations of force and selfishness. He would not dare dismiss the army nor alienate its officers. He would flatter and buy as of old. He would fall into the hands of the greedy and imperious priesthood, in spite of all possible good intentions. He could not deprive himself of the support these logical partisans of divine right could give him in every city and hamlet of the kingdom. There would be under his reign no chance for decentralization. How could he be expected to strip himself, in the newness and uncertainty of his tenure of power, of this enormous influence and patronage ?

There is not enough virtue or integrity of purpose in any of the old parties of Spain to take charge of the monarch and lead him on in the path of patriotic reform. They would be chiefly busied, as they are now, in fighting for the spoils and watching each other. The Moderados are worn out and superannuated. The Union Liberal is a tattered harlequin’s coat, — nothing left of the original stuff. The Progresistas have done good and glorious work in the past; their leader, Prim, has often deserved well of the commonwealth ; but the party has fallen into complete decadence, under the baleful personality of its captain. He has absorbed, not only his own party, but also the so-called Democratic, fusing the two into one, which, in these last weeks, has begun to be called the Radical party. The Duke of Seville, wittiest of the Bourbons since Henry IV., and an ardent Republican, by the way, said the other day: “The point where all these parties agree is, ‘ the people is an ass ; let us jump on and ride’: the point where they differ is the color of the saddle.”

So powerful has this mutual jealousy already become, that the members of the Liberal Union have withdrawn from the Cabinet, at the first mention of the name of the Duke of Genoa; unwilling to remain in the government to assist in the enthronement of a king not brought forward by themselves. It needs little sagacity to foresee the swarm of secret intrigues and cabals that would spring into life from the moment when the new and strange monarch took up his abode in that marble fortress of Philip V. The old story would be at once renewed, with daily variations, of barrack-plots, scandals of the back stairs, and treasons of the Camarilla. The questions of national policy would at once sink into the background, and ministers of state would again be seen waiting in the antechambers of grooms and confessors.

That these abuses and this apathetic condition of the public conscience could not coexist with the republic is undeniable. The very name is a declaration of war against the permanent army, the state church, the centralized system of administration. It is for this very reason that so many doubt if it be possible to found the republic in Spain. The system in possession is so formidable, that to most observers it has seemed impregnable. The only question asked in Spain and in the world is, not whether the republic is needed there, but whether it is possible. All liberal people agree that, if it could be attained, it would be a great and beneficent thing.

Some eighty deputies and several hundred thousand voting men in Spain want the republic to-day. They are willing to work and suffer for it, and many have shown that they counted it a light matter to die for it. A large number of journals preach the republic every day to a vast and constantly widening circle of readers. The Republicans, recently freed from the crushing pressure of the temporary dictatorship, have gone so actively to work, that they seem the only men in Spain who are interested in the situation. The Republican minority in the Cortes is so far superior to any equal number of the majority, in earnestness and energy, that when they retired for a few weeks from the Chamber, on the suspension of individual guaranties, the Chamber seemed struck suddenly by the hand of death. The benches of the government deputies were deserted, the galleries were empty. It was impossible to find a quorum present on any day for the voting of necessary laws. But on the day the Republicans returned every member was in his seat, and the listless Madrileños waited for hours in the street to get standing-room in the galleries. Their bitterest enemies seemed glad to see them back. There was an irresistible attraction in their warm and frank enthusiasm.

To this eager and earnest propaganda the Monarchists seem ready to oppose nothing but the old-school politics of enigma and cabal. They content themselves with saying the republic is impossible. They never combat its principles. After a masterly exposition of the advantages of the republic and the defects of the monarchy to supply the pressing needs of Spain, a minister of the government rises and says the people of Spain do not want a republic, it will be years before a republic can be established in Spain. If driven into an argument, they usually say no more than that, if the republic came, it would not stay, and then they point to Greece and Rome and other transitory republics. It is this feebleness of response which is more convincing than the vigor of the attack. They say a majority of Spaniards are not Republicans. This is probably true. A majority of Spaniards are indifferent, and vote with the government for the time being. But the republic is making a most energetic and serious propaganda. It appears, after wild and useless revolt and bloodshed, to have settled down to a quiet and legal contest in the field of polemic discussion. It is making converts every day, and, by the dynamic power that lies in a live principle, every man is worth as much again as a tepid advocate of the monarchy.

One reason of the enormous advantage which the Republican orators possess in debate is, that the partisans of the monarchy are placed in a false position. They dare not say in public what they say in private, — that Spaniards are too ignorant and too violent for a republic. They shrink instinctively from thus libelling their country and indirectly glorifying the institution they oppose. This is a disadvantage which weighs heavily upon the reactionists all over the world. In the old days, when the dumb people was taxed and worked at pleasure, the supporters of tyranny could afford to argue. Even the wise Quesnay and the virtuous Turgot, sustaining the social hierarchy of the days before 1789, could call the laboring classes non-producers, and say that a bare subsistence was ail a workingman had any right to expect. But it is an unconscious admission of the general growth of intelligence in the proletariat, that no man dares say such things to-day. Gracefully or awkwardly, the working classes are always Hattered by politicians. And if a statesman says civil things to the people, logic will carry him into the republic.

It is hard to deny that, if the chronic evils which have so long afflicted the life of Spain were once thoroughly eradicated, there are special aptitudes in the Peninsula for a federal republic. The federation is ready made. There is a collection of states, with sufficiently distinct traditions and circumstances to justify a full internal autonomy, and enough common interests to unite them under a federal administration. The Spaniards are not unfitted by character for the republican system. They have a certain natural personal dignity which assimilates them to the strongly individualized Northern races, and they possess in a remarkable degree the Latin instinct of association. They are the result of three great immigrations, — the Celtic, the Roman, and the Gothic. The republic would utilize the best traits of all these races.

They ought to be an easy people to govern. They are sober, frugal, industrious, and placable. They can make their dinner of a crust of bread and a bunch of grapes. Their favorite luxuries are fresh air and sunshine ; their commonest dissipation is a glass of sweetened water and a guitar. It is not reasonable to say that, if the power was given them, they would use it worse than the epauletted bandits who have held it for a century past.

Comparisons drawn from the republics that have flourished and fallen are not altogether just. The condition of the world has greatly changed. We are nearing the close of the nineteenth century. The whole world, bound together in the solidarity of aspiration and interests by a vast publicity, by telegraphs and railways, is moving forward along all the line of nations to larger and ampler liberty. No junta of prominent gentlemen can come together and amiably arrange a programme for a nation, in opposition to this universal tendency. It is too much for any one to prophesy what will be the final result of this great movement. But it cannot well be checked. The people have the right to govern themselves, even if they do it ill. If the republics of the present and future are to be transient, it is sure that monarchies can make no claim to permanence ; and the republics of the past have always been marked by prodigious developments of genius and activity.

It would be idle to ignore the great and serious difficulties in the way of the establishment of the republic in

Spain. First and gravest is the opposition of all the men who have so long made merchandise of the government the hysterical denunciators of the alarmed church, the sullen hostility of the leading army officers, the selfish fears of the legion of office-holders. Then there is the apprehension of feuds and dissensions in the Republican ranks. The people who have come so newly into possession of a political existence are not as steady and wise as those who have been voting a century or so. Always impatient and often suspicious, they are too apt to turn to-day on the idols of yesterday and rend them. They are most fortunate in the possession of such leaders as the inspired Castelar, the able and blameless Figueras, Pi y Margall, Garcia Lopez, and others. But there is already a secret and smouldering hostility against these irreproachable statesmen, because they did not take their muskets and go out in the mad and fatal insurrection of October. There is an absurd and fantastic point of honor prevalent in Spain, which seems to influence the government and the opposition in an almost equal degree. It compels an aggrieved party to respond to a real or imagined injury by some means outside of the law. Thus, when the Secretary of Tarragona was trampled to death by a mob, the government, instead of punishing the perpetrators, disarmed the militia of that and several adjacent towns. The militia of Barcelona illegally protested. They were, for this offence, illegally disarmed. They flew to the barricades, refused to parley, and the insurrection burst out over half of Spain. There was not a step taken by either side that was not glaringly in conflict with the law of the land. Yet all tins seems perfectly natural to the average Spaniard ; and we suppose it the government had availed itself, in the circumstances, of the ample provisions of the law, it would have fallen into contempt among its partisans, much as a gentleman in Arkansas would suffer among his high - toned friends, if he should prosecute a trespasser instead of shooting him. This destructive fantasy the best Republicans are laboring to eradicate from their party, while they inculcate the most religious obedience to the law. The Republican deputies say, in their manifesto of the 24th of November, a paper full of the purest and most faultless democracy: —

“ Let us continue in the committees, at the polls, in the clubs, and everywhere, the education of the people. Let us show them that they have no right to be oppressors, because they have been oppressed ; that they have no right to be tyrants, because they have been slaves ; that their advent is the ruin of kings and executioners; that the terror preached in the name of the people can only serve the people’s enemies; that a drop of blood blots the immortal splendor of our ideas ; and that the triumph of the people is the triumph of justice, of equal right for all.”

If, as we admit, the establishment of the republic will be attended with very serious embarrassments, it seems, on the other hand, that the foundation of any permanent dynasty in the present situation is little short of impossible. The year and a half that has elapsed since the cry of “España con Honra” resounded in the harbor of Cadiz has been wellnigh fatal to monarchy in Spain. The people have been long accustomed to revolutions ; it is dangerous to let them learn they can do without kings. If the Duke of Montpensier had been at Alcolea, the army would have acclaimed him king within an hour after the fall of Novaliches. Even later, with moderate haste, he could have joined the army and made his terms with Prim, Serrano, and Topete, parting the vestments of the state among them, and entering Madrid in the blaze of enthusiasm that surrounded the liberating triumvirs. But soon the conflict of interests began. The Republican party was born struggling, and received its double baptism of blood. The sorely perplexed Provisional Government took refuge in procrastination, and the interregnum came in officially. For a year the proudest nation on earth has been begging a king in half the royal antechambers and nurseries of Europe. A Spanish satirist has drawn a caricature of a circle of princely youths standing before a vacant throne over which hangs the sword of Damocles. His Excellency Mr. Olozaga begs them to be seated. But the shy strangers excuse themselves. “ It is very pretty, but we don’t like the upholstery.” The citizen Benito Juarez has taught even the unteachable.

If it were simply the coyness of princes that was to be overcome, the matter would not be so grave. There is no doubt that General Prim’s government can at any time command a formal majority in the present Cortes for any one whom he may designate ; and princes can always be found who would not require much violence to seat them on the throne of St. Ferdinand. There is always Montpensier, infinitely better than any one else yet named. But the truth is, that a profound impression is becoming manifest in Spain that a king is not needed ; that, in fact, there is something grotesque in the idea of a great nation deliberately making itself a king, as a girl makes herself a baby of a rag and a ribbon. A dynasty is a thing of mystery and tradition, glorious and venerable, not for itself, but for its associations and its final connection with a shadowy and worshipful past. It requires a robust faith to accept it in our levelling days with all these adjuncts ; but it is too absurd to think of two or three middle-aged gentlemen concocting in cold blood this thing of myth and glamour, under the cruel eyes of the nineteenth century !

Monarchy is dying in Spain,—which is as if one should say that Islamism was dying in Mecca. Nowhere in the world has monarchy sustained so great a rôle, and nowhere has it played out its part so completely to the falling of the curtain. The old race of kings,

Gothic, Asturian, and Castilian, made a great nation, in the slow accretion of centuries, out of strange and wavering provinces. In those ages of the conquerors it was natural that full worship and authority should be concentrated upon the person of the king and leader. It was a hard, sterile, and destructive policy that formed the modern kingdom of Spain. Its fierce religious bigotry drove out the Moors, and thus annihilated all scientific and progressive agriculture. The banks of the Guadalquiver avenge every year with fever and pestilence the wrongs of that industrious race who could turn those marshy flats into an Oriental garden. The same spirit expelled the Jews, and deprived the Spanish nation of the glory of the names of Disraeli, Spinoza, and Manin, descendants of those quickwitted exiles.

A worse spirit entered the monarchy with Charles V. and his family. He brought into the Spains the shadow of the Germanic tyranny, where the temporal and spiritual powers were more firmly welded together into an absolute despotism over body and soul. The mind of Spain was paralyzed by the steady contemplation of two awful and unquestionable divinities, — the god of this world, the king for the time being, and the God of the priests, as like the earthly one as possible.

Then came the princes of that family whose mission seems to be to carry to their uttermost result the inherent faults of kingship, and so destroy the prestige of thrones. Philip V., first of the Spanish Bourbons, came down from the Court of Louis XIV. with all the pride and luxury and meanness of le Roi Soleil, fully permeated with that absurd maxim of royal fatuity, “ En France, la nation ne fait pas corps. L' État,— c'est le Roi !” This was the family that finished monarchy in Spain, by making everything subsidiary to the vulgar splendor of the court. It made way with the wealth of the Indies in vast palaces and pleasure-grounds. It corrupted and ruined half the aristocracy in the senseless follies and orgies of the capital. Yet it was not a cheerful or jolly court. The kings were rickety, hypochondriac, epileptic, subject to frightful attacks of gloom and bilious piety. The Church naturally profited by this to extend its material and spiritual domains. It revelled in mortmains and inquisitions.

We must do the Bourbons the justice to say that, when they go seriously to work to destroy a throne, they do it very thoroughly and with reasonable promptness. The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Louis managed in their two reigns to overturn the monarchy of Clovis. The Spanish Bourbons, in a century, besides the small thrones they have ruined in Italy, have utterly destroyed the prestige of the crown in Spain. That the phantom of divine right has utterly vanished from this country, where it was once a living reality, seems too evident for discussion. This appears in the daily utterances of the press, in the common speech of men, in the open debates of the Cortes. In the land where once the king’s name was not mentioned but with uncovered head and a reverent Que Dios guarde ! where liberty and property only existed by his gracious sufferance, the Minister of Finance talks of prosecuting the queen for overdrawing her bank account and stealing the jewels of the Crown. The loyal faith and worship, which from the Visigoths to the Bourbons was twelve centuries in growing, has disappeared in a lifetime, driven away by the analytical spirit of the age, aided by the journalism of the period and the eccentricities of Doña Isabel.

The absolute monarchy is clearly impossible ; the constitutional monarchy is a compromise with tradition unworthy of the time, and useless in the attitude of free choice where Spain now stands. No decision will bring immediate peace and prosperity to a country so long and systematically misruled. But the only logical solution, and the one which offers most possibilities of safety and permanence, is the Republic.