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opinion; but though at present there appears an unanimous feeling in favour of the constitution, it should be recollected, that there are scattered over the surface of the Spanish monarchy eighty-six thousand regular clergy, besides an enormous number of parish priests, most of whom identify the cause of Don Carlos with their own; and who, ruling with almost sovereign power over the minds of an ignorant and prejudiced majority, would be inclined to use their influence on the first occasion on which it could be employed with advantage, for the purpose of producing opposition to the Queen's government.'--p. 256-63.
In these observations, generally, we concur—though we must add that we estimate the chances of success of the legitimate party much more highly than our author does. During the last year it appears to us that the war in the Basque provinces has materially changed its character. When our tourist was in Spain, the Carlists acted chiefly on the defensive ; and if they attempted bolder measures, were indebted for their happy issue either to their surprising, or overwhelming by numbers, isolated portions of the constitutional army. Since that time—and the fact is remarkable, as arguing an important improvement in the morale and discipline of their troops--they have gradually assumed a more forward attitude, and meeting their opponents face to face, in open ground, and on equal terms, have repeatedly engaged and beaten the largest force which the queen's party could bring against them.
It will be recollected, too, that these victories have been obtained over the best officers in Spain. Rodil, the defender of Callao, was opposed to them, and" failed; Mina, who, associated as he was in the minds of the Basquese with the recollection of former triumphs, was perhaps the most formidable opponent of Don Carlos, has shared the same fate; and Valdez, their successor, with a higher character than any of his countrymen for professional knowledge, has become distinguished above his predecessors only by the superior amount of his losses, and has, it is said, shut himself up in Vittoria, and resigned to his opponent that which has hitherto been the battle-field of the combatants. If to these successes be added the capture of some of the towns garrisoned by the Christinos--the abandonment of others—the recent daring operations of the Carlist forces in the plains of Catalonia and Old Castile, where till lately they only ventured to show themselves in small and scattered bands-and, above all, the demand made by the government of Isabella for that foreign aid which it is notorious was, but a few months ago, equally unpopular with her ministry and her people—we can entertain little doubt that the legitimate party is rapidly increasing in strength and popularity ; and that its Chief, were he opposed only by the arms of his countrymen, and those means of resistance at present within the limits
of the Peninsula, would succeed in establishing himself upon the Spanish throne. Nor do we apprehend that even such an occurrence as the death of his gallant general will now materially affect these prospects. At the commencement of the struggle, indeed, such a loss would have been irreparable. Then, mere zeal, or courage, or military skill, however great, would have been insufficient to have raised with success the standard of a fugitive priuce, in opposition to a powerful army and an established government, with no other support than that afforded by peasants, without money, without discipline, and almost without weapons. Peculiar talents were necessary.
A man was required who was intimate with the defiles of the wild district in which the combat was to be carried on, and the language of its inhabitants; one who, uniting in his own person the activity and local knowledge of the mountaineer, to military science and acquaintance with the tactics of a regular army, could, as occasion might demand, oppose to a superior enemy either the rapid and isolated movements of the guerilla, or the more extensive and combined operations of civilized warfare. Such was Zumalacarreguy—who, in the early part of his career, superintended the details at once of the civil, of the military, and of the financial departments; and who, if he had then fallen, would have probably carried with him to the ground the cause which was upheld mainly by his energies. But the interests of legitimacy no longer stand on quite so precarious a footing. The presence of Don Carlos in Navarre has naturally tended to gratify the pride of the inhabitants and confirm their loyalty. The machinery of a central government, so necessary to the success of measures by its power
of combination, has been set in motion. A commissariat, with ample funds (from whatever quarter they may arise) for its maintenance, has been established; and the army, that main source of success in civil broils, no longer consisting of mere predatory bands, is large, well disciplined, and flushed with victory; and may be increased to an indefinite extent, as the Christinos, by concentrating themselves in Pampeluna and St. Sebastian, have abandoned to the Carlists Elgoybar, Bergara, Palencia, and the other gun manufactories in the north of Spain; and have, consequently, enabled them to strengthen themselves in that arm in which, of all others, they have hitherto been confessedly most weak.
These circumstances, and the military talents displayed by Eraso in his late victory at Descarga, incline us to doubt very much whether, in case the Spaniards were left to decide their own quarrel, the loss of any one officer, however distinguished, could exercise an important influence on the fortunes of Don Carlos, or prevent his triumphant progress to Madrid. The levies now raising in England, under the auspices of an officer who, though not high in rank, enjoys certainly a high professional reputationthose levies, under such guidance, may, it is true, change the character of the contest and its result; but whatever be its termination, and whether such aids do or do not secure a victory to the Queen's cause, they afford most unequivocal evidence how little that cause is at heart with the Spanish nation and they must stamp indelible disgrace on the English party which sanctions their employment--a party which has invariably in language asserted the right of every nation to choose its own sovereign-but which, as invariably in practice, has contradicted its theory by its acts, and now, as heretofore, seeks to impose new systems and a strange form of government on a people who neither covet their possession nor are at all fit to profit by them.
We received, after this article had been prepared for the press, a volume entitled “Recollections of a Visit to the Monasteries of Alcobaça and Batalba, by the Author of Vathek,' from which, had it reached us sooner, we should have given some extracts, strikingly illustrative of what we have said as to the progress of social and mental deterioration in the Peninsula. In fact, such is the perhaps unconscious capacity of Mr. Beckford's genius, that he has in this little volume, professing merely to record the trivial incidents of a fortnight's ramble, presented us with a complete picture of the whole life of Portugal as it was fifty years ago. Ten volumes would not have made the impression more perfect. From the feeble prince, the profligate princess, the jealous minister, the enervate lord, and the more than lordly abbot, down to the coarse but cunning friar, and the careless, credulous, contented peasant -every class and order of society is placed vividly before usquite as satisfactorily, and assuredly quite as amusingly, as they could have been within the scope of a novel of manners.
This varrative, we should observe, was not written at the time to which it refers, but has been recently drawn up from recollection, assisted only by a few short notes. This circumstance has in no respect weakened the freshness and liveliness of its descriptions--but it has cast over the reflections interspersed a tone of sobriety and depth which, to our feeling, much improves the general effect.
If, five years
Art. X.-1, First Report of the Commissioners appointed to i inquire into the Municipal Corporations of England and Wales.
1835. 2. Protest of Sir Francis Palgrave against the First Report of
the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the Municipal
Corporations of England and Wales. 1833. 3. Observations on the Principles to be adopted in the Establish
ment of New Municipalities, the Reform of Ancient Corporations, and the Cheap Administration of Justice. By Sir
Francis Palgrave, K.H. London, 1833. IF any additional proof were necessary that the Reform Bill
was—and by some, at least, of its framers was intended to be -a revolution, or overthrow of all the ancient institutions of England, it would be afforded by the plan of Municipal Reform with which the present Cabinet has found itself obliged to follow up that primary measure: nor has anything given us a more melancholy conviction of the certain ultimate success of the revolutionists than the blind eagerness with which the majority of the House of Commons and the despairing apathy with which the country at large has received this measure. ago, any one had predicted that our whole system of municipal policy-all those various Corporations which had been originally the chief agents, and subsequently the safest depositaries, of the private rights and public líberties of Englishmen - which had for, we may say, ages presented an elastic but most effectual resistance to the encroachments of the populace on the one hand, or of the Crown on the other—which had repelled and destroyed the despotism of James II., and were the bulwarks and the safeguards of the Protestant interests in the state-if, we say, five years ago any one should have foretold that they were to be ALL SWEPT AWAY almost without opposition or complaint, and with no public. expression of indignation or alarm, he would have been thought as mad as Cassandra.
Yet it has come to pass. The bill was introduced without opposition. Its principle—the principle of annihilating a system which many believe to have been a main cause, and which all admit to bave been at least a concomitant of all the civilization and all the prosperity of England—the principle was admitted by the second reading of the bill, without division-almost without discussion. The efforts of Sir Robert Peel, Lord Stanley, and Sir William Follett to correct two or three of the most enormously unjust of its details--the small impression that their unanswerable, at all events their unanswered, objections made upon the majority, or their dumb but desperate leaders-and, above all, the stupor into which the proposition seems to have thrown the Corporations and the country, leave us no hope that any observations of ours can influence, in the slightest degree, the fate of this portentous measure. But the more isolated and hopeless our opposition, the more imperative seems to us the duty of recording that dissentif with no present prospect of advantage, at least for future consideration, when the country shall awake from the frenzy which has intoxicated one-half of the population, and the despair that paralyzes the other. That day will come—as similar recoveries from similar insanities did in 1660 and 1688—and that awakening may and niust be accelerated by keeping alive in the public mind the true history of transactions so monstrous as, if not vouched by eyewitnesses, and placed by contemporaneous evidence beyond contradiction or doubt, must appear incredible.
The first step in this extraordinary affair was in itself most extraordinary. A commission was issued under the Great Seal of England with powers and for purposes now confessed to have been illegal! The Corporations in general, a few perhaps from intimidation, and others with the spontaneous promptness of conscious integrity, submitted to the commission-but five or six thought it due to themselves, the law, and the constitution, to resist such an illegal assumption of power; and one or two cases were as effective in trying the legality of the commission as a hundred would bave been. They were successful. The town-clerk of a petty borough discomfited the Lord High Chancellor of England on a point of law of his lordship’s own raising, within his own special jurisdiction; and for the very first time, we believe, since the days of James and Jeffries, a commission under the Great Seal of England was convicted of illegality. This fact is so singular, so astonishing (if anything in these times could astonish), that we think it worth while to preserve one clause of the commission:
* And for the better discovering of truth in the premises (the existing state of the Corporations), we do by these presents gire and grant to you [the Commissioners] FULL POWER and AUTHORITY TO CALL before you such and so many officers of the said Corporations as you shall judge necessary, and to inquire into the premises by all OTHER lawful ways and means whatsoever. And we do hereby give and grant lo you FULL POWER and AUTHORITY to administer an oath or oaths to any persons whatsoever, &c. And we do further give and grant to you FULL Power and authority to cause all and singular the officers of the said Corporations to bring and produce on oath before you all and singular charters, rolls, records, deeds, papers, &c.'First Report, p. 4.
Would it not be in an extreme degree ridiculous—if it were not for other reasons so lamentable and alarming-to see that all these pompous 'gifts and grants ' -- these “ FULL AUTHORITIES'