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History of Modern Europe 1792-1878 by C. A. Fyffe

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interference of the foreigner provoked the Ultra-Royalists, and failed to
excite energetic action on the part of King Louis, who dreaded the sour
countenance of the Duchess of Angoulême more than he did Wellington's
reproofs. In the end the question of a settlement of the unfunded debt was
allowed to remain open. The Government was unable to carry the sale of the
Church forests, the Chamber did not succeed in its project of confiscation.
The Budget for the year, greatly altered in the interest of the landed
proprietors, was at length brought into shape. A resolution of the Lower
House restoring the unsold forests to the Church was ignored by the Crown;
and the Government, having obtained the means of carrying on the public
services, gladly abstained from further legislation, and on the 29th of
April ended the turmoil which surrounded it by proroguing the Chambers.

[Rising at Grenoble, May 6th. Executions.]

It was hoped that with the close of the Session the system of imprisonment
and surveillance which prevailed in the Departments would be brought to an
end. Vaublanc, the Minister of coercion, was removed from office. But the
troubles of France were not yet over. On the 6th of May, a rising of
peasants took place at Grenoble. According to the report of General
Donnadieu, commander of the garrison, which brought the news to the
Government, the revolt had only been put down after the most desperate
fighting. "The corpses of the King's enemies," said the General in his
despatch, "cover all the roads for a league round Grenoble." [275] It was
soon known that twenty-four prisoners had been condemned to death by
court-martial, and sixteen of these actually executed: the court-martial
recommended the other eight to the clemency of the Government. But the
despatches of Donnadieu had thrown the Cabinet into a panic. Decazes, the
most liberal of the Ministers, himself signed the hasty order requiring the
remaining prisoners to be put to death. They perished; and when it was too
late the Government learnt that Donnadieu's narrative was a mass of the
grossest exaggerations, and that the affair which he had represented as an
insurrection of the whole Department was conducted by about 300 peasants,
half of whom were unarmed. The violence and illegality with which the
General proceeded to establish a régime of military law soon brought him
into collision with the Government. He became the hero of the
Ultra-Royalists; but the Ministry, which was unwilling to make a public
confession that it had needlessly put eight persons to death, had to bear
the odium of an act of cruelty for which Donnadieu was really responsible.
The part into which Decazes had been entrapped probably strengthened the
determination of this Minister, who was now gaining great influence over
the King, to strike with energy against the Ultra-Royalist faction. From
this time he steadily led the King towards the only measure which could
free the country from the rule of the Count of Artois and the
reactionists--the dissolution of Parliament.


[Dissolution of the Chamber, Sept. 5, 1816.]

Louis XVIII. depended much on the society of some personal favourite.
Decazes was young and an agreeable companion; his business as
Police-Minister gave him the opportunity of amusing the King with anecdotes
and gossip much more congenial to the old man's taste than discussions on
finance or constitutional law. Louis came to regard Decazes almost as a
son, and gratified his own studious inclination by teaching him English.
The Minister's enemies said that he won the King's heart by taking private
lessons from some obscure Briton, and attributing his extraordinary
progress to the skill of his royal master. But Decazes had a more effective
retort than witticism. He opened the letters of the Ultra-Royalists and
laid them before the King. Louis found that these loyal subjects jested
upon his infirmities, called him a dupe in the hands of Jacobins, and
grumbled at him for so long delaying the happy hour when Artois should
ascend the throne. Humorous as Louis was, he was not altogether pleased to
read that he "ought either to open his eyes or to close them for ever." At
the same time the reports of Decazes' local agents proved that the
Ultra-Royalist party were in reality weak in numbers and unpopular
throughout the greater part of the country. The project of a dissolution
was laid before the Ministers and some of the King's confidants. Though the
Ambassadors were not consulted on the measure, it was certain that they
would not resist it. No word of the Ministerial plot reached the rival camp
of Artois. The King gained courage, and on the 5th of September signed the
Ordonnance which appealed from the Parliament to the nation, and, to the
anger and consternation of the Ultra-Royalists, made an end of the
intractable Chamber a few weeks before the time which had been fixed for
its re-assembling.

[Electoral law, 1817.]

France was well rid of a body of men who had been elected at a moment of
despair, and who would either have prolonged the occupation of the country
by foreign armies, or have plunged the nation into civil war. The elections
which followed were favourable to the Government. The questions fruitlessly
agitated in the Assembly of 1815 were settled to the satisfaction of the
public in the new Parliament. An electoral law was passed, which, while it
retained the high franchise fixed by the Charta, and the rule of renewing
the Chamber by fifths, gave life and value to the representative system by
making the elections direct. Though the constituent body of all France
scarcely numbered under this arrangement a hundred thousand persons, it was
extensive enough to contain a majority hostile to the reactionary policy of
the Church and the noblesse. The men who had made wealth by banking,
commerce, or manufactures, the so-called higher bourgeoisie, greatly
exceeded in number the larger landed proprietors; and although they were
not usually democratic in their opinions, they were liberal, and keenly
attached to the modern as against the old institutions of France, inasmuch
as their industrial interests and their own personal importance depended
upon the maintenance of the victory won in 1789 against aristocratic
privilege and monopoly. So strong was the hostility between the civic
middle class and the landed noblesse, that the Ultra-Royalists in the
Chamber sought, as they had done in the year before, to extend the
franchise to the peasantry, in the hope of overpowering wealth with
numbers. The electoral law, however, passed both Houses in the form in
which it had been drawn up by the Government. Though deemed narrow and
oligarchical by the next generation, it was considered, and with justice,
as a great victory won by liberalism at the time. The middle class of Great
Britain had to wait for fifteen years before it obtained anything like the
weight in the representation given to the middle class of France by the law
of 1817.

[Establishment of financial credit.]

Not many of the persons who had been imprisoned under the provisional acts
of the last year now remained in confinement. It was considered necessary
to prolong the Laws of Public Security, and they were re-enacted, but under
a much softened form. It remained for the new Chamber to restore the
financial credit of the country by making some equitable arrangement for
securing the capital and paying the interest of the unfunded debt. Projects
of repudiation now gained no hearing. Richelieu consented to make an annual
allowance to the Church, equivalent to the rental of the Church forests;
but the forests themselves were made security for the debt, and the power
of sale was granted to the Government. Pending such repayment of the
capital, the holders of unfunded debt received stock, calculated at its
real, not at its titular, value. The effect of this measure was at once
evident. The Government was enabled to enter into negotiations for a loan,
which promised it the means of paying the indemnities due to the foreign
Powers. On this payment depended the possibility of withdrawing the army of
occupation. Though Wellington at first offered some resistance, thirty
thousand men were removed in the spring of 1817; and the Czar allowed
Richelieu to hope that, if no further difficulties should arise, the
complete evacuation of French territory might take place in the following

[Character of the years 1816-18.]

Thus the dangers with which reactionary passion had threatened France
appeared to be passing away. The partial renovation of the Chamber which
took place in the autumn of 1817 still further strengthened the Ministry of
Richelieu and weakened the Ultra-Royalist opposition. A few more months
passed, and before the third anniversary of Waterloo, the Czar was ready to
advise the entire withdrawal of foreign armies from France. An invitation
was issued to the Powers to meet in Conference at Aix-la-Chapelle. There
was no longer any doubt that the five years' occupation, contemplated when
the second Treaty of Paris was made, would be abandoned. The good will of
Alexander, the friendliness of his Ambassador, Pozzo di Borgo, who, as a
native of Corsica, had himself been a French subject, and who now aspired
to become Minister of France, were powerful influences in favour of Louis
XVIII. and his kingdom; much, however, of the speedy restoration of
confidence was due to the temperate rule of Richelieu. The nation itself,
far from suffering from Napoleon's fall, regained something of the
spontaneous energy so rich in 1789, so wanting at a later period. The cloud
of military disaster lifted; new mental and political life began; and under
the dynasty forced back by foreign arms France awoke to an activity unknown
to it while its chief gave laws to Europe. Parliamentary debate offered the
means of legal opposition to those who bore no friendship to the Court:
conspiracy, though it alarmed at the moment, had become the resort only of
the obscure and the powerless. Groups of able men were gathering around
recognised leaders, or uniting in defence of a common political creed. The
Press, dumb under Napoleon except for purposes of sycophancy, gradually
became a power in the land. Even the dishonest eloquence of Chateaubriand,
enforcing the principles of legal and constitutional liberty on behalf of a
party which would fain have used every weapon of despotism in its own
interest, proved that the leaden weight that had so long crushed thought
and expression existed no more.

[Prussia after 1815.]

[Edict promising a Constitution, May 22, 1815.]

But if the years between 1815 and 1819 were in France years of hope and
progress, it was not so with Europe generally. In England they were years
of almost unparalleled suffering and discontent; in Italy the rule of
Austria grew more and more anti-national; in Prussia, though a vigorous
local and financial administration hastened the recovery of the
impoverished land, the hopes of liberty declined beneath the reviving
energy of the nobles and the resistance of the friends of absolutism. When
Stein had summoned the Prussian people to take up arms for their
Fatherland, he had believed that neither Frederick William nor Alexander
would allow Prussia to remain without free institutions after the battle
was won. The keener spirits in the War of Liberation had scarcely
distinguished between the cause of national independence and that of
internal liberty. They returned from the battlefields of Saxony and France,
knowing that the Prussian nation had unsparingly offered up life and wealth
at the call of patriotism, and believing that a patriot-king would rejoice
to crown his triumph by inaugurating German freedom. For a while the hope
seemed near fulfilment. On the 22nd of May, 1815, Frederick William
published an ordinance, declaring that a Representation of the People
should be established. [276] For this end the King stated that the existing
Provincial Estates should be re-organised, and new ones founded where none
existed, and that out of the Provincial Estates the Assembly of
Representatives of the country should be chosen. It was added that a
commission would be appointed, to organise under Hardenberg's presidency
the system of representation, and to draw up a written Constitution. The
right of discussing all legislative measures affecting person or property
was promised to the Assembly. Though foreign affairs seemed to be directly
excluded from parliamentary debate, and the language of the Edict suggested
that the representative body would only have a consultative voice, without
the power either of originating or of rejecting laws, these reservations
only showed the caution natural on the part of a Government divesting
itself for the first time of absolute power. Guarded as it was, the scheme
laid down by the King would hardly have displeased the men who had done the
most to make constitutional rule in Prussia possible.

[Resistance of feudal and autocratic parties.]

But the promise of Frederick William was destined to remain unfulfilled. It
was no good omen for Prussia that Stein, who had rendered such glorious
services to his country and to all Europe, was suffered to retire from
public life. The old court-party at Berlin, politicians who had been forced
to make way for more popular men, landowners who had never pardoned the
liberation of the serf, all the interests of absolutism and class-privilege
which had disappeared for a moment in the great struggle for national
existence, gradually re-asserted their influence over the King, and
undermined the authority of Hardenberg, himself sinking into old age amid
circumstances of private life that left to old age little of its honour. To
decide even in principle upon the basis to be given to the new Prussian
Constitution would have taxed all the foresight and all the constructive
skill of the most experienced statesman; for by the side of the ancient
dominion of the Hohenzollerns there were now the Rhenish and the Saxon
Provinces, alien in spirit and of doubtful loyalty, in addition to Polish
territory and smaller German districts acquired at intervals between 1792
and 1815. Hardenberg was right in endeavouring to link the Constitution
with something that had come down from the past; but the decision that the
General Assembly should be formed out of the Provincial Estates was
probably an injudicious one; for these Estates, in their present form, were
mainly corporations of nobles, and the spirit which animated them was at
once the spirit of class-privilege and of an intensely strong localism.
Hardenberg had not only occasioned an unnecessary delay by basing the
representative system upon a reform of the Provincial Estates, but had
exposed himself to sharp attacks from these very bodies, to whom nothing
was more odious than the absorption of their own dignity by a General
Assembly. It became evident that the process of forming a Constitution
would be a tedious one; and in the meantime the opponents of the popular
movement opened their attack upon the men and the ideas whose influence in
the war of Liberation appeared to have made so great a break between the
German present and the past.

[Schmalz's pamphlet, 1815.]

The first public utterance of the reaction was a pamphlet issued in July,
1815, by Schmalz, a jurist of some eminence, and brother-in-law of
Scharnhorst, the re-organiser of the army. Schmalz, contradicting a
statement which attributed to him a highly honourable part in the patriotic
movement of 1808, attacked the Tugendbund, and other political associations
dating from that epoch, in language of extreme violence. In the stiff and
peremptory manner of the old Prussian bureaucracy, he denied that popular
enthusiasm had anything whatever to do with the victory of 1813, [277]
attributing the recovery of the nation firstly to its submission to the
French alliance in 1812, and secondly to the quiet sense of duty with
which, when the time came, it took up arms in obedience to the King. Then,
passing on to the present aims of the political societies, he accused them
of intending to overthrow all established governments, and to force unity
upon Germany by means of revolution, murder, and pillage. Stein was not
mentioned by name, but the warning was given to men of eminence who
encouraged Jacobinical societies, that in such combinations the giants end
by serving the dwarfs. Schmalz's pamphlet, which was written with a
strength and terseness of style very unusual in Germany, made a deep
impression, and excited great indignation in Liberal circles. It was
answered, among other writers, by Niebuhr; and the controversy thickened
until King Frederick William, in the interest of public tranquillity,
ordered that no more should be said on either side. It was in accordance
with Prussian feeling that the King should thus interfere to stop the
quarrels of his subjects. There would have been nothing unseemly in an act
of impartial repression. But the King made it impossible to regard his act
as of this character. Without consulting Hardenberg, he conferred a
decoration upon the author of the controversy. Far-sighted men saw the true
bearing of the act. They warned Hardenberg that, if he passed over this
slight, he would soon have to pass over others more serious, and urged him
to insist upon the removal of the counsellors on whose advice the King had
acted. [278] But the Minister disliked painful measures. He probably
believed that no influence could ever supplant his own with the King, and
looked too lightly upon the growth of a body of opponents, who, whether in
open or in concealed hostility to himself, were bent upon hindering the
fulfilment of the constitutional reforms which he had at heart.

[The promised Constitutions delayed in Germany.]

In the Edict of the 22nd of May, 1815, the King had ordered that the work
of framing a Constitution should be begun in the following September.
Delays, however, arose; and when the commission was at length appointed,
its leading members were directed to travel over the country in order to
collect opinions upon the form of representation required. Two years passed
before even this preliminary operation began. In the meantime very little
progress had been made towards the establishment of constitutional
government in Germany at large. One prince alone, the Grand Duke of Weimar,
already eminent in Europe from his connection with Goethe and Schiller,
loyally accepted the idea of a free State, and brought representative
institutions into actual working. In Hesse, the Elector summoned the
Estates, only to dismiss them with contumely when they resisted his
extortions. In most of the minor States contests or negotiations took place
between the Sovereigns and the ancient Orders, which led to little or no
result. The Federal Diet, which ought to have applied itself to the
determination of certain principles of public right common to all Germany,
remained inactive. Though hope had not yet fallen, a sense of discontent
arose, especially among the literary class which had shown such enthusiasm
in the War of Liberation. It was characteristic of Germany that the demand
for free government came not from a group of soldiers, as in Spain, not
from merchants and men of business, as in England, but from professors and
students, and from journalists, who were but professors in another form.
The middle class generally were indifferent: the higher nobility, and the
knights who had lost their semi-independence in 1803, sought for the
restoration of privileges which were really incompatible with any
State-government whatever. The advocacy of constitutional rule and of
German unity was left, in default of Prussian initiative, to the ardent
spirits of the Universities and the Press, who naturally exhibited in the
treatment of political problems more fluency than knowledge, and more zeal
than discretion. Jena, in the dominion of the Duke of Weimar, became, on
account of the freedom of printing which existed there, the centre of the
new Liberal journalism. Its University took the lead in the Teutonising
movement which had been inaugurated by Fichte twelve years before in the
days of Germany's humiliation, and which had now received so vigorous an
impulse from the victory won over the foreigner.

[The Wartburg Festival, Oct., 1817.]

On the 18th of October, 1817, the students of Jena, with deputations from
all the Protestant Universities of Germany, held a festival at Eisenach, to
celebrate the double anniversary of the Reformation and of the battle of
Leipzig. Five hundred young patriots, among them scholars who had been
decorated for bravery at Waterloo, bound their brows with oak-leaves, and
assembled within the venerable hall of Luther's Wartburg Castle; sang,
prayed, preached, and were preached to; dined; drank to German liberty, the
jewel of life, to Dr. Martin Luther, the man of God, and to the Grand Duke
of Saxe-Weimar; then descended to Eisenach, fraternised with the Landsturm
in the market-place, and attended divine service in the parish church
without mishap. In the evening they edified the townspeople with
gymnastics, which were now the recognised symbol of German vigour, and
lighted a great bonfire on the hill opposite the castle. Throughout the
official part of the ceremony a reverential spirit prevailed; a few rash
words were, however, uttered against promise-breaking kings, and some of
the hardier spirits took advantage of the bonfire to consign to the flames,
in imitation of Luther's dealing with the Pope's Bull, a quantity of what
they deemed un-German and illiberal writings. Among these was Schmalz's
pamphlet. They also burnt a soldier's strait-jacket, a pigtail, and a
corporal's cane, emblems of the military brutalism of past times which were
now being revived in Westphalia. [279] Insignificant as the whole affair
was, it excited a singular alarm not only in Germany but at foreign Courts.
Richelieu wrote from Paris to inquire whether revolution was breaking out.
The King of Prussia sent Hardenberg to Weimar to make investigations on the
spot. Metternich, who saw conspiracy and revolution everywhere and in
everything, congratulated himself that his less sagacious neighbours were
at length awakening to their danger. The first result of the Wartburg
scandal was that the Duke of Weimar had to curtail the liberties of his
subjects. Its further effects became only too evident as time went on. It
left behind it throughout Germany the impression that there were forces of
disorder at work in the Press and in the Universities which must be crushed
at all cost by the firm hand of Government; and it deepened the anxiety
with which King Frederick William was already regarding the promises of
liberty which he had made to the Prussian people two years before.

[Alexander in 1818.]

Twelve months passed between the Wartburg festival and the beginning of the
Conferences at Aix-la-Chapelle. In the interval a more important person
than the King of Prussia went over to the side of reaction. Up to the
summer of 1818, the Czar appeared to have abated nothing of his zeal for
constitutional government. In the spring of that year, he summoned the
Polish Diet; addressed them in a speech so enthusiastic as to alarm not
only the Court of Vienna but all his own counsellors; and stated in the
clearest possible language his intention of extending the benefits of a
representative system to the whole Russian Empire. [280] At the close of
the brief session he thanked the Polish Deputies for their boldness in
throwing out a measure proposed by himself. Alexander's popular rhetoric at
Warsaw might perhaps be not incompatible with a settled purpose to permit
no encroachment on authority either there or elsewhere; but the change in
his tone was so great when he appeared at Aix-la-Chapelle a few months
afterwards, that some strange and sudden cause has been thought necessary
to explain it. It is said that during the Czar's residence at Moscow, in
June, 1818, the revelation was made to him of the existence of a mass of
secret societies in the army, whose aim was the overthrow of his own
Government. Alexander's father had died by the hands of murderers: his own
temperament, sanguine and emotional, would make the effects of such a
discovery, in the midst of all his benevolent hopes for Russia, poignant to
the last degree. It is not inconsistent either with his character or with
earlier events in his personal history that the Czar should have yielded to
a single shock of feeling, and have changed in a moment from the liberator
to the despot. But the evidence of what passed in his mind is wanting.
Hearsay, conjecture, gossip, abound; [281] the one man who could have told
all has left no word. This only is certain, that from the close of the year
1818, the future, hitherto bright with dreams of peaceful progress, became
in Alexander's view a battle-field between the forces of order and anarchy.
The task imposed by Providence on himself and other kings was no longer to
spread knowledge and liberty among mankind, but to defend existing
authority, and even authority that was oppressive and un-Christian, against
the madness that was known as popular right.

[Conferences of Aix-la-Chapelle, Oct., 1818.]

[France evacuated.]

[Proposed Quintuple Alliance.]


At the end of September, 1818, the Sovereigns or Ministers of the Great
Powers assembled at Aix-la-Chapelle, and the Conferences began. The first
question to be decided was whether the Allied Army might safely be
withdrawn from France; the second, in what form the concert of Europe
should hereafter be maintained. On the first question there was no
disagreement: the evacuation of France was resolved upon and promptly
executed. The second question was a more difficult one. Richelieu, on
behalf of King Louis XVIII., represented that France now stood on the same
footing as any other European Power, and proposed that the Quadruple
Alliance of 1815 should be converted into a genuine European federation by
adding France to it as a fifth member. The plan had been communicated to
the English Government, and would probably have received its assent but for
the strong opposition raised by Canning within the Cabinet. Canning took a
gloomy but a true view of the proposed concert of the Powers. He foresaw
that it would really amount to a combination of governments against
liberty. Therefore, while recognising the existing engagements of this
country, he urged that England ought to join in no combination except that
to which it had already pledged itself, namely, the combination made with
the definite object of resisting French disturbance. To combine with three
Powers to prevent Napoleon or the Jacobins from again becoming masters of
France was a reasonable act of policy: to combine with all the Great Powers
of Europe against nothing in particular was to place the country on the
side of governments against peoples, and to involve England in any
enterprise of repression which the Courts might think fit to undertake.
Canning's warning opened the eyes of his colleagues to the view which was
likely to be taken of such a general alliance by Parliament and by public
opinion. Lord Castlereagh was forbidden to make this country a party to any
abstract union of Governments. In memorable words the Prime Minister
described the true grounds for the decision: "We must recollect in the
whole of this business, and ought to make our Allies feel, that the general
and European discussion of these questions will be in the British
Parliament." [282] Fear of the rising voice of the nation, no longer forced
by military necessities to sanction every measure of its rulers, compelled
Lords Liverpool and Castlereagh to take account of scruples which were not
their own. On the same grounds, while the Ministry agreed that Continental
difficulties which might hereafter arise ought to be settled by a friendly
discussion among the Great Powers, it declined to elevate this occasional
deliberation into a system, and to assent to the periodical meeting of a
Congress. Peace might or might not be promoted by the frequent gatherings
of Sovereigns and statesmen; but a council so formed, if permanent in its
nature, would necessarily extinguish the independence of every minor State,
and hand over the government of all Europe to the Great Courts, if only
they could agree with one another.

[Declarations and Secret Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.]

It was the refusal of England to enter into a general league that
determined the form in which the results of the Conference of 1818 were
embodied. In the first place the Quadruple Alliance against French
revolution was renewed, and with such seriousness that the military centres
were fixed, at which, in case of any outbreak, the troops of each of the
Great Powers should assemble. [283] This Treaty, however, was kept secret,
in order not to add to the difficulties of Richelieu. The published
documents breathed another spirit. [284] Without announcing an actual
alliance with King Louis XVIII., the Courts, including England, declared
that through the restoration of legitimate and constitutional monarchy
France had regained its place in the councils of Europe, and that it would
hereafter co-operate in maintaining the general peace. For this end
meetings of the sovereigns or their ministers might be necessary; such
meetings would, however, be arranged by the ordinary modes of negotiation,
nor would the affairs of any minor State be discussed by the Great Powers,
except at the direct invitation of that State, whose representatives would
then be admitted to the sittings. In these guarded words the intention of
forming a permanent and organised Court of Control over Europe was
disclaimed. A manifesto, addressed to the world at large, declared that the
sovereigns of the five great States had no other object in their union than
the maintenance of peace on the basis of existing treaties. They had formed
no new political combinations; their rule was the observance of
international law; their object the prosperity and moral welfare of their

[Repressive tone of the Conference.]

[Metternich and Austrian principles henceforth dominant.]

The earnestness with which the statesmen of 1818, while accepting the
conditions laid down by England, persevered in the project of a joint
regulation of European affairs may suggest the question whether the plan
which they had at heart would not in truth have operated to the benefit of
mankind. The answer is, that the value of any International Council depends
firstly on the intelligence which it is likely to possess, and secondly on
the degree in which it is really representative. Experience proved that the
Congresses which followed 1818 possessed but a limited intelligence, and
that they represented nothing at all but authority. The meeting at
Aix-la-Chapelle was itself the turning-point in the constitutional history
of Europe. Though no open declaration was made against constitutional
forms, every Sovereign and every minister who attended the Conference left
it with the resolution to draw the reins of government tighter. A note of
alarm had been sounded. Conspiracies in Belgium, an attempt on the life of
Wellington, rumours of a plot to rescue Napoleon from St. Helena, combined
with the outcry against the German Universities and the whispered tales
from Moscow in filling the minds of statesmen with apprehensions. The
change which had taken place in Alexander himself was of the most serious
moment. Up to this time Metternich, the leader of European Conservatism,
had felt that in the Czar there were sympathies with Liberalism and
enlightenment which made the future of Europe doubtful. [285] To check the
dissolution of existing power, to suppress all tendency to change, was the
habitual object of Austria, and the Czar was the one person who had seemed
likely to prevent the principles of Austria from becoming the law of
Europe. Elsewhere Metternich had little to fear in the way of opposition.
Hardenberg, broken in health and ill-supported by his King, had ceased to
be a power. Yielding to the apprehensions of Frederick William, perhaps
with the hope of dispelling them at some future time, he took his place
among the alarmists of the day, and suffered the German policy of Prussia,
to which so great a future lay open a few years before, to become the mere
reflex of Austrian inaction and repression. [286] England, so long as it
was represented on the Continent by Castlereagh and Wellington, scarcely
counted for anything on the side of liberty. The sudden change in Alexander
removed the one check that stood in Austria's way; and from this time
Metternich exercised an authority in Europe such as few statesmen have ever
possessed. His influence, overborne by that of the Czar during 1814 and
1815, struck root at the Conference of Aix-la-Chapelle, maintained itself
unimpaired during five eventful years, and sank only when the death of Lord
Castlereagh allowed the real voice of England once more to be heard, and
Canning, too late to forbid the work of repression in Italy and in Spain,
inaugurated, after an interval of forced neutrality, that worthier concert
which established the independence of Greece.

[Metternich's advice to Prussia, 1818.]

If it is the mark of a clever statesman to know where to press and where to
give way, Metternich certainly proved himself one in 1818. Before the end
of the Conference he delivered to Hardenberg and to the King of Prussia two
papers containing a complete set of recommendations for the management of
Prussian affairs. The contents of these documents were singular enough: it
is still more singular that they form the history of what actually took
place in Prussia during the succeeding years. Starting with the assumption
that the party of revolution had found its lever in the promise of King
Frederick William to create a Representative System, Metternich
demonstrated in polite language to the very men who had made this promise,
that any central Representation would inevitably overthrow the Prussian
State; pointed out that the King's dominions consisted of seven Provinces;
and recommended Frederick William to fulfil his promise only by giving to
each Province a Diet for the discussion of its own local concerns. Having
thus warned the King against creating a National Parliament, like that
which had thrown France into revolution in 1789, Metternich exhibited the
specific dangers of the moment and the means of overcoming them. These
dangers were Universities, Gymnastic establishments, and the Press. "The
revolutionists," he said, "despairing of effecting their aim themselves,
have formed the settled plan of educating the next generation for
revolution. The Gymnastic establishment is a preparatory school for
University disorders. The University seizes the youth as he leaves boyhood,
and gives him a revolutionary training. This mischief is common to all
Germany, and must be checked by joint action of the Governments. Gymnasia,
on the contrary, were invented at Berlin, and spring from Berlin. For
these, palliative measures are no longer sufficient. It has become a duty
of State for the King of Prussia to destroy the evil. The whole institution
in every shape must be closed and uprooted." With regard to the abuse of
the Press, Metternich contented himself with saying that a difference ought
to be made between substantial books and mere pamphlets or journals; and
that the regulation of the Press throughout Germany at large could only be
effected by an agreement between Austria and Prussia. [287]

[Stourdza's pamphlet.]

With a million men under arms, the Sovereigns who had overthrown Napoleon
trembled because thirty or forty journalists and professors pitched their
rhetoric rather too high, and because wise heads did not grow upon
schoolboys' shoulders. The Emperor Francis, whose imagination had failed to
rise to the glories of the Holy Alliance, alone seems to have had some
suspicion of the absurdity of the present alarms. [288] The Czar
distinguished himself by his zeal against the lecturers who were turning
the world upside down. As if Metternich had not frightened the Congress
enough already, the Czar distributed at Aix-la-Chapelle a pamphlet
published by one Stourdza, a Moldavian, which described Germany as on the
brink of revolution, and enumerated half a score of mortal disorders which
racked that unfortunate country. The chief of all was the vicious system of
the Universities, which instead of duly developing the vessel of the
Christian State from the cradle of Moses, [289] brought up young men to be
despisers of law and instruments of a licentious Press. The ingenious
Moldavian, whose expressions in some places bear a singular resemblance to
those of Alexander, while in others they are actually identical with
reflections of Metternich's not then published, went on to enlighten the
German Governments as to the best means of rescuing their subjects from
their perilous condition. Certain fiscal and administrative changes were
briefly suggested, but the main reform urged was exactly that propounded by
Metternich, the enforcement of a better discipline and of a more
rigidly-prescribed course of study at the Universities, along with the
supervision of all journals and periodical literature.

[The murder of Kotzebue, March 23, 1819.]

Stourdza's pamphlet, in which loose reasoning was accompanied by the
coarsest invective, would have gained little attention if it had depended
on its own merits or on the reputation of its author: it became a different
matter when it was known to represent the views of the Czar. A vehement but
natural outcry arose at the Universities against this interference of the
foreigner with German domestic affairs. National independence, it seemed,
had been won in the deadly struggle against France only in order that
internal liberty, the promised fruit of this independence, should be
sacrificed at the bidding of Russia. The Czar himself was out of reach: the
vengeance of outraged patriotism fell upon an insignificant person who had
the misfortune to be regarded as his principal agent. A dramatic author
then famous, now forgotten, August Kotzebue, held the office of Russian
agent in Central Germany, and conducted a newspaper whose object was to
throw ridicule on the national movement of the day, and especially on those
associations of students where German enthusiasm reached its climax. Many
circumstances embittered popular feeling against this man, and caused him
to be regarded less as a legitimate enemy than as a traitor and an
apostate. Kotzebue had himself been a student at Jena, and at one time had
turned liberal sentiments to practical account in his plays. Literary
jealousies and wounded vanity had subsequently alienated him from his
country, and made him the willing and acrid hireling of a foreign Court.
The reports which, as Russian agent, he sent to St. Petersburg were
doubtless as offensive as the attacks on the Universities which he
published in his journal; but it was an extravagant compliment to the man
to imagine that he was the real author of the Czar's desertion from
Liberalism to reaction. This, however, was the common belief, and it cost
Kotzebue dear. A student from Erlangen, Carl Sand, who had accompanied the
standard at the Wartburg festival, formed the silent resolve of sacrificing
his own life in order to punish the enemy of his country. Sand was a man of
pure and devout, though ill-balanced character. His earlier life marked him
as one whose whole being was absorbed by what he considered a divine call.
He thought of the Greeks who, even in their fallen estate, had so often
died to free their country from Turkish oppression, and formed the
deplorable conclusion that by murdering a decayed dramatist he could strike
some great blow against the powers of evil. [290] He sought the unfortunate
Kotzebue in the midst of his family, stabbed him to the heart, and then
turned his weapon against himself. Recovering from his wounds, he was
condemned to death, and perished, after a year's interval, on the scaffold,
calling God to witness that he died for Germany to be free.

[Action of Metternich.]

The effects of Sand's act were very great, and their real nature was at
once recognised. Hardenberg, the moment that he heard of Kotzebue's death,
exclaimed that a Prussian Constitution had now become impossible.
Metternich, who had thought the Czar mad because he desired to found a
peaceful alliance of Sovereigns on religious principles, was not likely to
make allowance for a kind of piety that sent young rebels over the country
on missions of murder. The Austrian statesman was in Rome when the news of
Kotzebue's assassination reached him. He saw that the time had come for
united action throughout Germany, and, without making any public utterance,
drew up a scheme of repressive measures, and sent out proposals for a
gathering of the Ministers of all the principal German Courts. In the
summer he travelled slowly northwards, met the King of Prussia at Teplitz,
in Bohemia, and shortly afterwards opened the intended Conference of
Ministers in the neighbouring town of Carlsbad. A number of innocent
persons had already, at his instigation, been arrested in Prussia and other
States, under circumstances deeply discreditable to Government. Private
papers were seized, and garbled extracts from them published in official
prints as proof of guilt. [291] "By the help of God," Metternich wrote, "I
hope to defeat the German Revolution, just as I vanquished the conqueror of
the world. The revolutionists thought me far away, because I was five
hundred leagues off. They deceived themselves; I have been in the midst of
them, and now I am striking my blows." [292] Metternich's plan was to
enforce throughout Germany, by means of legislation in the Federal Diet,
the principle which he had already privately commended to the King of
Prussia. There were two distinct objects of policy before him: the first,
to prevent the formation in any German State of an assembly representing
the whole community, like the English House of Commons or the French
Chamber of Deputies; the second, to establish a general system of
censorship over the Press and over the Universities, and to create a
central authority, vested, as the representative of the Diet, with
inquisitorial powers.

[The South-Western States become constitutional as Prussia relapses.]

[Bavarian Constitution, May 26, 1818.]

The first of these objects, the prevention of general assemblies, had been
rendered more difficult by recent acts of the Governments of Bavaria and
Baden. A singular change had taken place in the relation between Prussia
and the Minor States which had formerly constituted the Federation of the
Rhine. When, at the Congress of Vienna, Prussian statesmen had endeavoured
to limit the arbitrary rule of petty sovereigns by charging the Diet with
the protection of constitutional right over all Germany, the Kings of
Bavaria and Würtemberg had stoutly refused to part with sovereign power. To
submit to a law of liberty, as it then seemed, was to lose their own
separate existence, and to reduce themselves to dependence upon the
Jacobins of Berlin. This apprehension governed the policy of the Minor
Courts from 1813 to 1815. But since that time events had taken an
unexpected turn. Prussia, which once threatened to excite popular movement
over all Germany in its own interest, had now accepted Metternich's
guidance, and made its representative in the Diet the mouthpiece of
Austrian interest and policy. It was no longer from Berlin but from Vienna
that the separate existence of the Minor States was threatened. The two
great Courts were uniting against the independence of their weaker
neighbours. The danger of any popular invasion of kingly rights in the name
of German unity had passed away, and the safety of the lesser sovereigns
seemed now to lie not in resisting the spirit of constitutional reform but
in appealing to it. In proportion as Prussia abandoned itself to
Metternich's direction, the Governments of the South-Western States
familiarised themselves with the idea of a popular representation; and at
the very time when the conservative programme was being drawn up for the
Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle, the King of Bavaria published a Constitution.
Baden followed after a short interval, and in each of these States,
although the Legislature was divided into two Chambers, the representation
established was not merely provincial, according to Metternich's plan, or
wholly on the principle of separate Estates or Orders, as before the
Revolution, but to some extent on the type of England and France, where the
Lower Chamber, in theory, represented the public at large. This was enough
to make Metternich condemn the new Constitutions as radically bad and
revolutionary. [293] He was, however, conscious of the difficulty of making
a direct attack upon them. This task he reserved for a later time. His
policy at present was to obtain a declaration from the Diet which should
prevent any other Government within the League from following in the same
path; while, by means of Press-laws, supervision of the Universities, and a
central commission of inquiry, he expected to make the position of
rebellious professors and agitators so desperate that the forces of
disorder, themselves not deeply rooted in German nature, would presently

[Conference of Carlsbad, Aug., 1819.]

The Conference of Ministers at Carlsbad, which in the memory of the German
people is justly associated with the suppression of their liberty for an
entire generation, began and ended in the month of August, 1819. Though
attended by the representatives of eight German Governments, it did little
more than register the conclusions which Metternich had already formed.
[294] The zeal with which the envoy of Prussia supported every repressive
measure made it useless for the Ministers of the Minor Courts to offer an
open opposition. Nothing more was required than that the Diet should
formally sanction the propositions thus privately accepted by all the
leading Ministers. On the 20th of September this sanction was given. The
Diet, which had sat for three years without framing a single useful law,
ratified all Metternich's oppressive enactments in as many hours. It was
ordered that in every State within the Federation the Government should
take measures for preventing the publication of any journal or pamphlet
except after licence given, and each Government was declared responsible to
the Federation at large for any objectionable writing published within its
own territory. The Sovereigns were required to appoint civil commissioners
at the Universities, whose duty it should be to enforce public order and to
give a salutary direction to the teaching of the professors. They were also
required to dismiss all professors who should overstep the bounds of their
duty, and such dismissed persons were prohibited from being employed in any
other State. It was enacted that within fifteen days of the passing of the
decree an extraordinary Commission should assemble at Mainz to investigate
the origin and extent of the secret revolutionary societies which
threatened the safety of the Federation. The Commission was empowered to
examine and, if necessary, to arrest any subject of any German State. All
law-courts and other authorities were required to furnish it with
information and with documents, and to undertake all inquiries which the
Commission might order. The Commission, however, was not a law-court
itself: its duty was to report to the Diet, which would then create such
judicial machinery as might be necessary. [295]

[Supplementary Act of Vienna, June, 1820.]

These measures were of an exceptional, and purported to be of a temporary,
character. There were, however, other articles which Metternich intended to
raise to the rank of organic laws, and to incorporate with the Act of 1815,
which formed the basis of the German Federation. The conferences of
Ministers were accordingly resumed after a short interval, but at Vienna
instead of at Carlsbad. They lasted for several months, a stronger
opposition being now made by the Minor States than before. A second body of
federal law was at length drawn up, and accepted by the Diet on the 8th of
June, 1820. [296] The most important of its provisions was that which
related to the Constitutions admissible within the German League. It was
declared that in every State, with the exception of the four free cities,
supreme power resided in the Sovereign and in him alone, and that no
Constitution might do more than bind the Sovereign to co-operate with the
Estates in certain definite acts of government. [297]

In cases where a Government either appealed for help against rebellious
subjects, or was notoriously unable to exert authority, the Diet charged
itself with the duty of maintaining public order.

[The reaction in Prussia.]

From this time whatever liberty existed in Germany was to be found in the
Minor States, in Bavaria and Baden, and in Würtemberg, which received a
Constitution a few days before the enrolment of the decrees of Carlsbad. In
Prussia the reaction carried everything before it. Humboldt, the best and
most liberal of the Ministers, resigned, protesting in vain against the
ignominious part which the King had determined to play. He was followed by
those of his colleagues whose principles were dearer to them than their
places. Hardenberg remained in office, a dying man, isolated, neglected,
thwarted; clinging to some last hope of redeeming his promises to the
Prussian people, yet jealous of all who could have given him true aid;
dishonouring by tenacity of place a career associated with so much of his
country's glory, and ennobled in earlier days by so much fortitude in time
of evil. There gathered around the King a body of men who could see in the
great patriotic efforts and reforms of the last decade nothing but an
encroachment of demagogues on the rights of power. They were willing that
Prussia should receive its orders from Metternich and serve a foreign Court
in the work of repression, rather than that it should take its place at the
head of all Germany on the condition of becoming a free and constitutional
State. [298] The stigma of disloyalty was attached to all who had kindled
popular enthusiasm in 1808 and 1812. To have served the nation was to have
sinned against the Government. Stein was protected by his great name from
attack, but not from calumny. His friend Arndt, whose songs and addresses
had so powerfully moved the heart of Germany during the War of Liberation,
was subjected to repeated legal process, and, although unconvicted of any
offence, was suspended from the exercise of his professorship for twenty
years. Other persons, whose fault at the most was to have worked for German
unity, were brought before special tribunals, and after long trial either
refused a public acquittal or sentenced to actual imprisonment. Free
teaching, free discussion, ceased. The barrier of authority closed every
avenue of political thought. Everywhere the agent of the State prescribed
an orthodox opinion, and took note of those who raised a dissentient voice.

[The Commission at Mainz.]

The pretext made at Carlsbad for this crusade against liberty, which was
more energetically carried out in Prussia than elsewhere, was the existence
of a conspiracy or agitation for the overthrow of Governments and of the
present constitution of the German League. It was stated that proofs
existed of the intention to establish by force a Republic one and
indivisible, like that of France in 1793. But the very Commission which was
instituted by the Carlsbad Ministers to investigate the origin and nature
of this conspiracy disproved its existence. The Commission assembled at
Mainz, examined several hundred persons and many thousand documents, and
after two years' labour delivered a report to the Diet. The report went
back to the time of Fichte's lectures and the formation of the Tugendbund
in 1808, traced the progress of all the students' associations and other
patriotic societies from that time to 1820; and, while exhibiting in the
worst possible light the aims and conduct of the advocates of German unity,
acknowledged that scarcely a single proof had been discovered of
treasonable practice, and that the loyalty of the mass of the people was
itself a sufficient guarantee against the impulses of the evil-minded.
[299] Such was the impression of triviality and imposture produced at the
Diet by this report, that the representatives of several States proposed
that the Commission should forthwith be dissolved as useless and
unnecessary. This, however, could not be tolerated by Metternich and his
new disciples. The Commission was allowed to continue in existence, and
with it the regime of silence and repression. The measures which had been
accepted at Carlsbad as temporary and provisional became more and more a
part of the habitual system of government. Prosecutions succeeded one
another; letters were opened; spies attended the lectures of professors and
the meetings of students; the newspapers were everywhere prohibited from
discussing German affairs. In a country where there were so many printers
and so many readers journalism could not altogether expire. It was still
permissible to give the news and to offer an opinion about foreign lands:
and for years to come the Germans, like beggars regaling themselves with
the scents from rich men's kitchens, [300] followed every stage of the
political struggles that were agitating France, England, and Spain, while
they were not allowed to express a desire or to formulate a grievance of
their own.

[Prussian Provincial Estates, June, 1823.]

[Redeeming features of Prussian absolutism.]

In the year 1822 Hardenberg died. All hope of a fulfilment of the promises
made in Prussia in 1815 had already become extinct. Not many months after
the Minister's death, King Frederick William established the Provincial
Estates which had been recommended to him by Metternich, and announced that
the creation of a central representative system would be postponed until
such time as the King should think fit to introduce it. This meant that the
project was finally abandoned; and Prussia in consequence remained without
a Parliament until the Revolution of 1848 was at the door. The Provincial
Estates, with which the King affected to temper absolute rule, met only
once in three years. Their function was to express an opinion upon local
matters when consulted by the Government: their enemies said that they were
aristocratic and did harm, their partizans could not pretend that they did
much good. In the bitterness of spirit with which, at a later time, the
friends of liberty denounced the betrayal of the cause of freedom by the
Prussian Court, a darker colour has perhaps been introduced into the
history of this period than really belongs to it. The wrongs sustained by
the Prussian nation have been compared to those inflicted by the despotism
of Spain. But, however contemptible the timidity of King Frederick William,
however odious the ingratitude shown to the truest friends of King and
people, the Government of 1819 is not correctly represented in such a
parallel. To identify the thousand varieties of wrong under the common name
of oppression, is to mistake words for things, and to miss the
characteristic features which distinguish nations from one another. The
greatest evils which a Government can inflict upon its subjects are
probably religious persecution, wasteful taxation, and the denial of
justice in the daily affairs of life. None of these were present in Prussia
during the darkest days of reaction. The hand of oppression fell heavily on
some of the best and some of the most enlightened men; it violated
interests so precious as those of free criticism and free discussion of
public affairs; but the great mass of the action of Government was never on
the side of evil. The ordinary course of justice was still pure, the
administration conscientious and thrifty. The system of popular education,
which for the first time placed Prussia in advance of Saxony and other
German States, dates from these years of warfare against liberty. A
reactionary despotism built the schools and framed the laws whose
reproduction in free England half a century later is justly regarded as the
chief of all the liberal measures of our day. So strong, so lasting, was
that vital tradition which made monarchy in Prussia an instrument for the
execution of great public ends.

[A new Liberalism grows up in Germany after 1820.]

[Interest in France.]

But the old harmony between rulers and subjects in Germany perished in
the system of coercion which Metternich established in 1819. Patient as
the Germans were, loyal as they had proved themselves to Frederick William
and to worse princes through good and evil, the galling disappointment of
noble hopes, the silencing of the Press, the dissolution of societies,--
calumnies, expulsions, prosecutions,--embittered many an honest mind
against authority. The Commission of Mainz did not find conspirators, but
it made them. As years went by, and all the means of legitimately working
for the improvement of German public life were one after another
extinguished, men of ardent character thought of more violent methods.
Secret societies, such as Metternich had imagined, came into actual being.
[301] And among those who neither sank into apathy and despair nor enrolled
themselves against existing power, a new body of ideas supplanted the old
loyal belief in the regeneration of Germany by its princes. The
Parliamentary struggles of France, the revolutionary movements in Italy and
in Spain which began at this epoch, drew the imagination away from that
pictured restoration of a free Teutonic past which had proved so barren of
result, and set in its place the idea of a modern universal or European
Liberalism. The hatred against France, especially among the younger men,
disappeared. A distinction was made between the tyrant Napoleon and the
people who were now giving to the rest of the Continent the example of a
free and animated public life, and illuminating the age with a political
literature so systematic and so ingenious that it seemed almost like a
political philosophy. The debates in the French Assembly, the writings of
French publicists, became the school of the Germans. Paris regained in
foreign eyes something of the interest that it had possessed in 1789. Each
victory or defeat of the French popular cause awoke the joy or the sorrow
of German Liberals, to whom all was blank at home: and when at length the
throne of the Bourbons fell, the signal for deliverance seemed to have
sounded in many a city beyond the Rhine.

[France after 1818.]

[Richelieu resigns, Dec., 1818. Decazes keeps power.]

We have seen that in Central Europe the balance between liberty and
reaction, wavering in 1815, definitely fell to the side of reaction at the
Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle. It remains to trace the course of events which
in France itself suspended the peaceful progress of the nation, and threw
power for some years into the hands of a faction which belonged to the
past. The measures carried by Decazes in 1817, which gave so much
satisfaction to the French, were by no means viewed with the same approval
either at London or at Vienna. The two principal of these were the
Electoral Law, and a plan of military reorganisation which brought back
great numbers of Napoleon's old officers and soldiers to the army.
Richelieu, though responsible as the head of the Ministry, felt very grave
fears as to the results of this legislation. He had already become anxious
and distressed when the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle met; and the events
which took place in France during his absence, as well as the
communications which passed between himself and the foreign Ministers,
convinced him that a change of internal policy was necessary. The busy mind
of Metternich had already been scheming against French Liberalism. Alarmed
at the energy shown by Decazes, the Austrian statesman had formed the
design of reconciling Artois and the Ultra-Royalists to the King's
Government; and he now urged Richelieu, if his old opponents could be
brought to reason, to place himself at the head of a coalition of all the
conservative elements in the State. [302] While the Congress of
Aix-la-Chapelle was sitting, the partial elections for the year 1818, the
second under the new Electoral Law, took place. Among the deputies returned
there were some who passed for determined enemies of the Bourbon
restoration, especially Lafayette, whose name was so closely associated
with the humiliations of the Court in 1789. Richelieu received the news
with dismay, and on his return to Paris took steps which ended in the
dismissal of Decazes, and the offer of a seat in the Cabinet to Villèle,
the Ultra-Royalist leader. But the attempted combination failed. Richelieu
accordingly withdrew from office; and a new Ministry was formed, of which
Decazes, who had proved himself more powerful than his assailants, was the
real though not the nominal chief.

[Election of Grégoire, Sept., 1819.]

The victory of the young and popular statesman was seen with extreme
displeasure by all the foreign Courts, nor was his success an enduring one.
For awhile the current of Liberal opinion in France and the favour of King
Louis XVIII. enabled Decazes to hold his own against the combinations of
his opponents and the ill-will of all the most powerful men in Europe. An
attack made on the Electoral Law by the Upper House was defeated by the
creation of sixty new Peers, among whom there were several who had been
expelled in 1815. But the forces of Liberalism soon passed beyond the
Minister's own control, and his steady dependence upon Louis XVIII. now
raised against him as resolute an opposition among the enemies of the House
of Bourbon as among the Ultra-Royalists. In the elections of 1819 the
candidates of the Ministry were beaten by men of more pronounced opinions.
Among the new members there was one whose victory caused great astonishment
and alarm. The ex-bishop Grégoire, one of the authors of the destruction of
the old French Church in 1790, and mover of the resolution which
established the Republic in 1792, was brought forward from his retirement
and elected Deputy by the town of Grenoble. To understand the panic caused
by this election we must recall, not the events of the Revolution, but the
legends of them which were current in 1819. The history of Grégoire by no
means justifies the outcry which was raised against him; his real actions,
however, formed the smallest part of the things that were alleged or
believed by his enemies. It was said he had applauded the execution of King
Louis XVI., when he had in fact protested against it: [303] his courageous
adherence to the character of a Christian priest throughout the worst days
of the Convention, his labours in organising the Constitutional Church when
the choice lay between that and national atheism, were nothing, or worse
than nothing, in the eyes of men who felt themselves to be the despoiled
heirs of that rich and aristocratic landed society, called the Feudal
Church, which Grégoire had been so active in breaking up. Unluckily for
himself, Grégoire, though humane in action, had not abstained from the
rhodomontades against kings in general which were the fashion in 1793.
Louis XVIII., forgetting that he had himself lately made the regicide
Fouché a Minister, interpreted Grégoire's election by the people of
Grenoble, to which the Ultra-Royalists had cunningly contributed, as a
threat against the Bourbon family. He showed the displeasure usual with him
when any slight was offered to his personal dignity, and drew nearer to his
brother Artois and the Ultra-Royalists, whom he had hitherto shunned as his
favourite Minister's worst enemies. Decazes, true to his character as the
King's friend, now confessed that he had gone too far in the legislation of
1817, and that the Electoral Law, under which such a monster as Grégoire
could gain a seat, required to be altered. A project of law was sketched,
designed to restore the preponderance in the constituencies to the landed
aristocracy. Grégoire's election was itself invalidated; and the Ministers
who refused to follow Decazes in his new policy of compromise were
dismissed from their posts.

[Murder of the Duke of Berry, Feb. 13, 1820.]

[Reaction sets in.]

[Fall of Decazes. Richelieu Minister, Feb., 1820.]

A few months more passed, and an event occurred which might have driven a
stronger Government than that of Louis XVIII. into excesses of reaction.
The heirs to the Crown next in succession to the Count of Artois were his
two sons, the Dukes of Angoulême and Berry. Angoulême was childless; the
Duke of Berry was the sole hope of the elder Bourbon line, which, if he
should die without a son, would, as a reigning house, become extinct, the
Crown of France not descending to a female. [304] The circumstance which
made Berry's life so dear to Royalists made his destruction the
all-absorbing purpose of an obscure fanatic, who abhorred the Bourbon
family as the lasting symbol of the foreigner's victory over France.
Louvel, a working man, had followed Napoleon to exile in Elba. After
returning to his country he had dogged the footsteps of the Bourbon princes
for years together, waiting for the chance of murder. On the night of the
13th of February, 1820, he seized the Duke of Berry as he was leaving the
Opera House, and plunged a knife into his breast. The Duke lingered for
some hours, and expired early the next morning in the presence of King
Louis XVIII., the Princes, and all the Ministers. Terrible as the act was,
it was the act of a single resolute mind: no human being had known of
Louvel's intention. But it was impossible that political passion should
await the quiet investigation of a law-court. No murder ever produced a
stronger outburst of indignation among the governing classes, or was more
skilfully turned to the advantage of party. The Liberals felt that their
cause was lost. While fanatical Ultra-Royalists, abandoning themselves to a
credulity worthy of the Reign of Terror, accused Decazes himself of
complicity with the assassin, their leaders fixed upon the policy which was
to be imposed on the King. It was in vain that Decazes brought forward his
reactionary Electoral Law, and proposed to invest the officers of State
with arbitrary powers of arrest and to re-establish the censorship of the
Press. The Count of Artois insisted upon the dismissal of the Minister, as
the only consolation which could be given to him for the murder of his son
The King yielded; and, as an Ultra-Royalist administration was not yet
possible, Richelieu unwillingly returned to office, assured by Artois that
his friends had no other desire than to support his own firm and temperate

[Progress of the reaction in France.]

[Ultra-Royalist Ministry, Dec., 1821.]

[The Congregation.]

Returning to power under such circumstances, Richelieu became, in spite of
himself, the Minister of reaction. The Press was fettered, the legal
safeguards of personal liberty were suspended, the electoral system was
transformed by a measure which gave a double vote to men of large property.
So violent were the passions which this retrograde march of Government
excited, that for a moment Paris seemed to be on the verge of revolution.
Tumultuous scenes occurred in the streets; but the troops, on whom
everything depended, obeyed the orders given to them, and the danger passed
away. The first elections under the new system reduced the Liberal party to
impotence, and brought back to the Chamber a number of men who had sat in
the reactionary Parliament of 1816. Villèle and other Ultra-Royalists were
invited to join Richelieu's Cabinet. For awhile it seemed as if the
passions of Church and aristocracy might submit to the curb of a practical
statesmanship, friendly, if not devoted, to their own interests. But
restraint was soon cast aside. The Count of Artois saw the road to power
open, and broke his promise of supporting the Minister who had taken office
at his request. Censured and thwarted in the Chamber of Deputies, Richelieu
confessed that he had undertaken a hopeless task, and bade farewell to
public life. King Louis, now nearing the grave, could struggle no longer
against the brother who was waiting to ascend his throne. The next Ministry
was nominated not by the King but by Artois. Around Villèle, the real head
of the Cabinet, there was placed a body of men who represented not the new
France, or even that small portion of it which was called to exercise the
active rights of citizenship, but the social principles of a past age, and
that Catholic or Ultramontane revival which was now freshening the surface
but not stirring the depths of the great mass of French religious
indifference. A religious society known as the Congregation, which had
struck its first roots under the storm of Republican persecution, and grown
up during the Empire, a solitary yet unobserved rallying-place for Catholic
opponents of Napoleon's despotism, now expanded into a great organism of
government. The highest in blood and in office sought membership in it: its
patronage raised ambitious men to the stations they desired, its hostility
made itself felt against the small as well as against the great. The spirit
which now gained the ascendancy in French government was clerical even more
than it was aristocratic. It was monarchical too, but rather from dislike
to the secularist tone of Liberalism and from trust in the orthodoxy of the
Count of Artois than from any fixed belief in absolutist principles. There
might be good reason to oppose King Louis XVIII.; but what priest, what
noble, could doubt the divine right of a prince who was ready to compensate
the impoverished emigrants out of the public funds, and to commit the whole
system of public education to the hands of the clergy?

[Bourbon rule before and after 1821.]

In the middle class of France, which from this time began to feel itself in
opposition to the Bourbon Government, there had been no moral change
corresponding to that which made so great a difference between the
governing authority of 1819 and that of 1822. Public opinion, though
strongly affected, was not converted into something permanently unlike
itself by the murder of the Duke of Berry. The courtiers, the devotees, the
great ladies, who had laid a bold hand upon power, had not the nation on
their side, although for a while the nation bore their sway submissively.
But the fate of the Bourbon monarchy was in fact decided when Artois and
his confidants became its representatives. France might have forgotten that
the Bourbons owed their throne to foreign victories; it could not be
governed in perpetuity by what was called the _Parti Prêtre_. Twenty
years taken from the burden of age borne by Louis XVIII., twenty years of
power given to Decazes, might have prolonged the rule of the restored
family perhaps for some generations. If military pride found small
satisfaction in the contrast between the Napoleonic age and that which
immediately succeeded it, there were enough parents who valued the blood of
their children, there were enough speakers and writers who valued the
liberty of discussion, enough capitalists who valued quiet times, for the
new order to be recognised as no unhopeful one. France has indeed seldom
had a better government than it possessed between 1816 and 1820, nor could
an equal period be readily named during which the French nation, as a
whole, enjoyed greater happiness.

[General causes of the victory of reaction in Europe.]

Political reaction had reached its full tide in Europe generally about five
years after the end of the great war. The phenomena were by no means the
same in all countries, nor were the accidents of personal influence without
a large share in the determination of events: yet, underlying all
differences, we may trace the operation of certain great causes which were
not limited by the boundaries of individual States. The classes in which
any fixed belief in constitutional government existed were nowhere very
large; outside the circle of state officials there was scarcely any one who
had had experience in the conduct of public affairs. In some countries, as
in Russia and Prussia, the conception of progress towards self-government
had belonged in the first instance to the holders of power: it had
exercised the imagination of a Czar, or appealed to the understanding of a
Prussian Minister, eager, in the extremity of ruin, to develop every
element of worth and manliness existing within his nation. The cooling of a
warm fancy, the disappearance of external dangers, the very agitation which
arose when the idea of liberty passed from the rulers to their subjects,
sufficed to check the course of reform. And by the side of the Kings and
Ministers who for a moment had attached themselves to constitutional
theories there stood the old privileged orders, or what remained of them,
the true party of reaction, eager to fan the first misgivings and alarms of
Sovereigns, and to arrest a development more prejudicial to their own power
and importance than to the dignity and security of the Crown. Further,
there existed throughout Europe the fatal and ineradicable tradition of the
convulsions of the first Revolution, and of the horrors of 1793. No votary
of absolutism, no halting and disquieted friend of freedom, could ever be
at a loss for images of woe in presaging the results of popular
sovereignty; and the action of one or two infatuated assassins owed its
wide influence on Europe chiefly to the ancient name and memory of

There was also in the very fact that Europe had been restored to peace by
the united efforts of all the governments something adverse to the success
of a constitutional or a Liberal party in any State. Constitutional systems
had indeed been much praised at the Congress of Vienna; but the group of
men who actually controlled Europe in 1815, and who during the five
succeeding years continued in correspondence and in close personal
intercourse with one another, had, with one exception, passed their lives
in the atmosphere of absolute government, and learnt to regard the conduct
of all great affairs as the business of a small number of very eminent
individuals. Castlereagh, the one Minister of a constitutional State,
belonged to a party which, to a degree almost unequalled in Europe,
identified political duty with the principle of hostility to change. It is
indeed in the correspondence of the English Minister himself, and in
relation to subjects of purely domestic government in England, that the
community of thought which now existed between all the leading statesmen of
Europe finds its most singular exhibition. Both Metternich and Hardenberg
took as much interest in the suppression of Lancashire Radicalism, and in
the measures of coercion which the British Government thought it necessary
to pass in the year 1819, as in the chastisement of rebellious pamphleteers
upon the Rhine, and in the dissolution of the students' clubs at Jena. It
was indeed no very great matter for the English people, who were now close
upon an era of reform, that Castlereagh received the congratulations of
Vienna and Berlin for suspending the Habeas Corpus Act and the right of
public meeting, [305] or that Metternich believed that no one but himself
knew the real import of the shouts with which the London mob greeted Sir
Francis Burdett. [306] Neither the impending reform of the English Criminal
Law nor the emancipation of Irish Catholics resulted from the enlightenment
of foreign Courts, or could be hindered by their indifference. But on the
Continent of Europe the progress towards constitutional freedom was indeed
likely to be a slow and a chequered one when the Ministers of absolutism
formed so close and intimate a band, when the nations contained within them
such small bodies of men in any degree versed in public affairs, and when
the institutions on which it was proposed to base the liberty of the future
were so destitute of that strength which springs from connection with the


Movements in the Mediterranean States beginning in 1820--Spain from 1814 to
1820--The South American Colonies--The Army at Cadiz: Action of Quiroga
and Riego--Movement at Corunna--Ferdinand accepts the Constitution of
1812--Naples from 1815 to 1820--The Court-party, the Muratists, the
Carbonari--The Spanish Constitution proclaimed at Naples--Constitutional
movement in Portugal--Alexander's proposal with regard to Spain--The
Conference and Declaration of Troppau--Protest of England--Conference of
Laibach--The Austrians invade Naples and restore absolute Monarchy--
Insurrection in Piedmont, which fails--Spain from 1820 to 1822--Death of
Castlereagh--The Congress of Verona--Policy of England--The French invade
Spain--Restoration of absolute Monarchy, and violence of the reaction--
England prohibits the conquest of the Spanish Colonies by France, and
subsequently recognises their independence--Affairs in Portugal--Canning
sends troops to Lisbon--The Policy of Canning--Estimate of his place in the
history of Europe.

[The Mediterranean movements, beginning in 1820.]

When the guardians of Europe, at the end of the first three years of peace,
scanned from their council-chamber at Aix-la-Chapelle that goodly heritage
which, under Providence, their own parental care was henceforth to guard
against the assaults of malice and revolution, they had fixed their gaze
chiefly on France, Germany, and the Netherlands, as the regions most
threatened by the spirit of change. The forecast was not an accurate one.
In each of these countries Government proved during the succeeding years to
be much more than a match for its real or imaginary foes: it was in the
Mediterranean States, which had excited comparatively little anxiety, that
the first successful attack was made upon established power. Three
movements arose successively in the three southern peninsulas, at the time
when Metternich was enjoying the silence which he had imposed upon Germany,
and the Ultra-Royalists of France were making good the advantage which the
crime of an individual and the imprudence of a party had thrown into their
hands. In Spain and in Italy a body of soldiers rose on behalf of
constitutional government: in Greece a nation rose against the rule of the
foreigner. In all three countries the issue of these movements was, after a
longer or shorter interval, determined by the Northern Powers. All three
movements were at first treated as identical in their character, and all
alike condemned as the work of Jacobinism. But the course of events, and a
change of persons in the government of one great State, brought about a
truer view of the nature of the struggle in Greece. The ultimate action of
Europe in the affairs of that country was different from its action in the
affairs of Italy and Spain. It is now only remembered as an instance of
political recklessness or stupidity that a conflict of race against race
and of religion against religion should for a while have been confused by
some of the leading Ministers of Europe with the attempt of a party to make
the form of domestic government more liberal. The Hellenic rising had
indeed no feature in common with the revolutions of Naples and Cadiz; and,
although in order of time the opening of the Greek movement long preceded
the close of the Spanish movement, the historian, who has neither the
politician's motive for making a confusion, nor the protection of his
excuse of ignorance, must in this case neglect the accidents of chronology,
and treat the two as altogether apart.

[Spain between 1814 and 1820.]

King Ferdinand of Spain, after overthrowing the Constitution which he found
in existence on his return to his country, had conducted himself as if his
object had been to show to what lengths a legitimate monarch might abuse
the fidelity of his subjects and defy the public opinion of Europe. The
leaders of the Cortes, whom he had arrested in 1814, after being declared
innocent by one tribunal after another were sentenced to long terms of
imprisonment by an arbitrary decree of the King, without even the pretence
of judicial forms. Men who had been conspicuous in the struggle of the
nation against Napoleon were neglected or disgraced; many of the highest
posts were filled by politicians who had played a double part, or had even
served under the invader. Priests and courtiers intrigued for influence
over the King; even when a capable Minister was placed in power through the
pressure of the ambassadors, and the King's name was set to edicts of
administrative reform, these edicts were made a dead letter by the powerful
band who lived upon the corruption of the public service. Nothing was
sacred except the interest of the clergy; this, however, was enough to keep
the rural population on the King's side. The peasant, who knew that his
house would not now be burnt by the French, and who heard that true
religion had at length triumphed over its enemies, understood, and cared to
understand, nothing more. Rumours of kingly misgovernment and oppression
scarcely reached his ears. Ferdinand was still the child of Spain and of
the Church; his return had been the return of peace; his rule was the
victory of the Catholic faith.

[The nation satisfied: the officers discontented.]

But the acquiescence of the mass of the people was not shared by the
officers of the army and the educated classes in the towns. The overthrow
of the Constitution was from the first condemned by soldiers who had won
distinction under the government of the Cortes; and a series of military
rebellion, though isolated and on the smallest scale, showed that the
course on which Ferdinand had entered was not altogether free from danger.
The attempts of General Mina in 1814, and of Porlier and Lacy in succeeding
years, to raise the soldiery on behalf of the Constitution, failed, through
the indifference of the soldiery themselves, and the power which the
priesthood exercised in garrison-towns. Discontent made its way in the army
by slow degrees; and the ultimate declaration of a military party against
the existing Government was due at least as much to Ferdinand's absurd
system of favouritism, and to the wretched condition into which the army
had been thrown, as to an attachment to the memory or the principles of
constitutional rule. Misgovernment made the treasury bankrupt; soldiers and
sailors received no pay for years together; and the hatred with which the
Spanish people had now come to regard military service is curiously shown
by an order of the Government that all the beggars in Madrid and other
great towns should be seized on a certain night (July 23, 1816), and
enrolled in the army. [307] But the very beggars were more than a match for
Ferdinand's administration. They heard of the fate in store for them, and
mysteriously disappeared, so frustrating a measure by which it had been
calculated that Spain would gain sixty thousand warriors.

[Struggle of Spain with its colonies, 1810-1820.]

The military revolution which at length broke out in the year 1820 was
closely connected with the struggle for independence now being made by the
American colonies of Spain; and in its turn it affected the course of this
struggle and its final result. The colonies had refused to accept the rule
either of Joseph Bonaparte or of the Cortes of Cadiz when their legitimate
sovereign was dispossessed by Napoleon. While acting for the most part in
Ferdinand's name, they had engaged in a struggle with the National
Government of Spain. They had tasted independence; and although after the
restoration of Ferdinand they would probably have recognised the rights of
the Spanish Crown if certain concessions had been made, they were not
disposed to return to the condition of inferiority in which they had been
held during the last century, or to submit to rulers who proved themselves
as cruel and vindictive in moments of victory as they were incapable of
understanding the needs of the time. The struggle accordingly continued.
Regiment after regiment was sent from Spain, to perish of fever, of forced
marches, or on the field. The Government of King Ferdinand, despairing of
its own resources, looked around for help among the European Powers.
England would have lent its mediation, and possibly even armed assistance,
if the Court of Madrid would have granted a reasonable amount of freedom to
the colonies, and have opened their ports to British commerce. This,
however, was not in accordance with the views of Ferdinand's advisers.
Strange as it may appear, the Spanish Government demanded that the alliance
of Sovereigns, which had been framed for the purpose of resisting the
principle of rebellion and disorder in Europe, should intervene against its
revolted subjects on the other side of the Atlantic, and it implied that
England, if acting at all, should act as the instrument of the Alliance.
[308] Encouragement was given to the design by the Courts of Paris and St.
Petersburg. Whether a continent claimed its independence, or a German
schoolboy wore a forbidden ribbon in his cap, the chiefs of the Holy
Alliance now assumed the frown of offended Providence, and prepared to
interpose their own superior power and wisdom to save a misguided world
from the consequences of its own folly. Alexander had indeed for a time
hoped that the means of subduing the colonies might be supplied by himself;
and in his zeal to supplant England in the good graces of Ferdinand he sold
the King a fleet of war on very moderate terms. To the scandal of Europe
the ships, when they reached Cadiz, turned out to be thoroughly rotten and
unseaworthy. As it was certain that the Czar's fleet and the Spanish
soldiers, however holy their mission, would all go to the bottom together
as soon as they encountered the waves of the Atlantic, the expedition was
postponed, and the affairs of America were brought before the Conference of
Aix-la-Chapelle. The Envoys of Russia and France submitted a paper, in
which, anticipating the storm-warnings of more recent times, they described
the dangers to which monarchical Europe would be exposed from the growth of
a federation of republics in America; and they suggested that Wellington,
as "the man of Europe," should go to Madrid, to preside over a negotiation
between the Court of Spain and all the ambassadors with reference to the
terms to be offered to the Transatlantic States. [309] England, however, in
spite of Lord Castlereagh's dread of revolutionary contagion, adhered to
the principles which it had already laid down; and as the counsellors of
King Ferdinand declined to change their policy, Spain was left to subdue
its colonies by itself.

[Conspiracy in the Army of Cadiz.]

It was in the army assembled at Cadiz for embarkation in the summer of 1819
that the conspiracy against Ferdinand's Government found its leaders.
Secret societies had now spread themselves over the principal Spanish
towns, and looked to the soldiery on the coast for the signal of revolt.
Abisbal, commander at Cadiz, intending to make himself safe against all
contingencies, encouraged for awhile the plots of the discontented
officers: then, foreseeing the failure of the movement, he arrested the
principal men by a stratagem, and went off to Madrid, to reveal the
conspiracy to the Court and to take credit for saving the King's crown
(July, 1819). [310] If the army could have been immediately despatched to
America, the danger would possibly have passed away. This, however, was
prevented by an outbreak of yellow fever, which made it necessary to send
the troops into cantonments for several months. The conspirators gained
time to renew their plans. The common soldiers, who had hitherto been
faithful to the Government, heard in their own squalor and inaction the
fearful stories of the few sick and wounded who returned from beyond the
seas, and learnt to regard the order of embarkation as a sentence of death.
Several battalions were won over to the cause of constitutional liberty by
their commanders. The leaders imprisoned a few months before were again in
communication with their followers. After the treachery of Abisbal, it was
agreed to carry out the revolt without the assistance of generals or
grandees. The leaders chosen were two colonels, Quiroga and Riego, of whom
the former was in nominal confinement in a monastery near Medina Sidonia,
twenty miles east of Cadiz, while Riego was stationed at Cabezas, a few
marches distant on the great road to Seville. The first day of the year
1820 was fixed for the insurrection. It was determined that Riego should
descend upon the head-quarters, which were at Arcos, and arrest the
generals before they could hear anything of the movement, while Quiroga,
moving from the east, gathered up the battalions stationed on the road, and
threw himself into Cadiz, there to await his colleague's approach.

[Action of Quiroga and Riego, Jan. 1820.]

The first step in the enterprise proved successful. Riego, proclaiming the
Constitution of 1812, surprised the headquarters, seized the generals, and
rallied several companies to his standard. Quiroga, however, though he
gained possession of San Fernando, at the eastern end of the peninsula of
Leon, on which Cadiz is situated, failed to make his entrance into Cadiz.
The commandant, hearing of the capture of the head-quarters, had closed the
city gates, and arrested the principal inhabitants whom he suspected of
being concerned in the plot. The troops within the town showed no sign of
mutiny. Riego, when he arrived at the peninsula of Leon, found that only
five thousand men in all had joined the good cause, while Cadiz, with a
considerable garrison and fortifications of great strength, stood hostile
before him. He accordingly set off with a small force to visit and win over
the other regiments which were lying in the neighbouring towns and
villages. The commanders, however, while not venturing to attack the
mutineers, drew off their troops to a distance, and prevented them from
entering into any communication with Riego. The adventurous soldier,
leaving Quiroga in the peninsula of Leon, then marched into the interior of
Andalusia (January 27), endeavouring to raise the inhabitants of the towns.
But the small numbers of his band, and the knowledge that Cadiz and the
greater part of the army still held by the Government, prevented the
inhabitants from joining the insurrection, even where they received Riego
with kindness and supplied the wants of his soldiers. During week after
week the little column traversed the country, now cut off from retreat,
exhausted by forced marches in drenching rain, and harassed by far stronger
forces sent in pursuit. The last town that Riego entered was Cordova. The
enemy was close behind him. No halt was possible. He led his band, now
numbering only two hundred men, into the mountains, and there bade them
disperse (March 11).

[Corunna proclaims the Constitution Feb. 20.]

[Abisbal's defection March 4.]

With Quiroga lying inactive in the peninsula of Leon and Riego hunted from
village to village, it seemed as if the insurrection which they had begun
could only end in the ruin of its leaders. But the movement had in fact
effected its object. While the courtiers around King Ferdinand, unwarned by
the news from Cadiz, continued their intrigues against one another, the
rumour of rebellion spread over the country. If no great success had been
achieved by the rebels, it was also certain that no great blow had been
struck by the Government. The example of bold action had been set; the
shock given at one end of the peninsula was felt at the other; and a
fortnight before Riego's band dispersed, the garrison and the citizens of
Corunna together declared for the Constitution (February 20). From Corunna
the revolutionary movement spread to Ferrol and to all the other
coast-towns of Galicia. The news reached Madrid, terrifying the Government,
and exciting the spirit of insurrection in the capital itself. The King
summoned a council of the leading men around him. The wisest of them
advised him to publish a moderate Constitution, and, by convoking a
Parliament immediately, to stay the movement, which would otherwise result
in the restoration of the Assembly and the Constitution of 1812. They also
urged the King to abolish the Inquisition forthwith. Ferdinand's brother,
Don Carlos, the head of the clerical party, succeeded in preventing both
measures. Though the generals in all quarters of Spain wrote that they
could not answer for the troops, there were still hopes of keeping down the
country by force of arms. Abisbal, who was at Madrid, was ordered to move
with reinforcements towards the army in the south. He set out, protesting
to the King that he knew the way to deal with rebels. When he reached Ocaña
he proclaimed the Constitution himself (March 4).

[Ferdinand accepts the Constitution 1812, March 9.]

It was now clear that the cause of absolute monarchy was lost. The ferment
in Madrid increased. On the night of the 6th of March all the great bodies
of State assembled for council in the King's palace, and early on the 7th
Ferdinand published a proclamation, stating that he had determined to
summon the Cortes immediately. This declaration satisfied no one, for the
Cortes designed by the King might be the mere revival of a mediæval form,
and the history of 1814 showed how little value was to be attached to
Ferdinand's promises. Crowds gathered in the great squares of Madrid,
crying for the Constitution of 1812. The statement of the Minister of War
that the Guard was on the point of joining the people now overcame even the
resistance of Don Carlos and the confessors; and after a day wasted in
dispute, Ferdinand announced to his people that he was ready to take the
oath to the Constitution which they desired. The next day was given up to
public rejoicings; the book of the Constitution was carried in procession
through the city with the honours paid to the Holy Sacrament, and all
political prisoners were set at liberty. The prison of the Inquisition was
sacked, the instruments of torture broken in pieces. On the 9th the leaders
of the agitation took steps to make the King fulfil his promise. A mob
invaded the court and threshold of the palace. At their demand the
municipal council of 1814 was restored; its members were sent, in company
with six deputies chosen by the populace, to receive the pledges of the
King. Ferdinand, all smiles and bows, while he looked forward to the day
when force or intrigue should make him again absolute master of Spain, and
enable him to take vengeance upon the men who were humiliating, him, took
the oath of fidelity to the Constitution of 1812. [311] New Ministers were
immediately called to office, and a provisional Junta was placed by their
side as the representative of the public until the new Cortes should be
duly elected.

[Condition of Naples, 1815-1820.]

Tidings of the Spanish revolution passed rapidly over Europe, disquieting
the courts and everywhere reviving the hopes of the friends of popular
right. Before four months had passed, the constitutional movement begun in
Cadiz was taken up in Southern Italy. The kingdom of Naples was one of
those States which had profited the most by French conquest. During the
nine years that its crown was held by Joseph Bonaparte and Murat, the laws
and institutions which accompanied Napoleon's supremacy had rudely broken
up the ancient fixity of confusions which passed for government, and had
aroused no insignificant forces of new social life. The feudal tenure of
land, and with it something of the feudal structure of society, had passed
away: the monasteries had been dissolved; the French civil code, and a
criminal code based upon that of France, had taken the place of a thousand
conflicting customs and jurisdictions; taxation had been made, if not
light, yet equitable and simple; justice was regular, and the same for
baron and peasant; brigandage had been extinguished; and, for the first
time in many centuries, the presence of a rational and uniform
administration was felt over all the south of Italy. Nor on the restoration
of King Ferdinand had any reaction been permitted to take place like that
which in a moment destroyed the work of reform in Spain and in Westphalia.
England and Austria insisted that there should be neither vengeance nor
counterrevolution. Queen Marie Caroline, the principal agent in the
cruelties of 1799, was dead; Ferdinand himself was old and indolent, and
willing to leave affairs in the hands of Ministers more intelligent than
himself. Hence the laws and the administrative system of Murat remained on
the whole unchanged. [312] As in France, a Bourbon Sovereign placed himself
at the head of a political order fashioned by Napoleon and the Revolution.
Where changes in the law were made, or acts of State revoked, it was for
the most part in consequence of an understanding with the Holy See. Thus,
while no attempt was made to eject the purchasers of Church-lands, the
lands not actually sold were given back to the Church; a considerable
number of monasteries were restored; education was allowed to fall again
into the hands of the clergy; the Jesuits were recalled, and the Church
regained its jurisdiction in marriage-causes, as well as the right of
suppressing writings at variance with the Catholic faith.

[Hostility between the Court party and the Muratists.]

But the legal and recognised changes which followed Ferdinand's return by
no means expressed the whole change in the operation of government. If
there were not two conflicting systems at work, there were two conflicting
bodies of partisans in the State. Like the emigrants who returned with
Louis XVIII., a multitude of Neapolitans, high and low, who had either
accompanied the King in his exile to Sicily or fought for him on the
mainland in 1799 and 1806, now expected their reward. In their interest the
efficiency of the public service was sacrificed and the course of justice
perverted. Men who had committed notorious crimes escaped punishment if
they had been numbered among the King's friends; the generals and officials
who had served under Murat, though not removed from their posts, were
treated with discourtesy and suspicion. It was in the army most of all that
the antagonism of the two parties was felt. A medal was struck for service
in Sicily, and every year spent there in inaction was reckoned as two in
computing seniority. Thus the younger officers of Murat found their way
blocked by a troop of idlers, and at the same time their prospects suffered
from the honest attempts made by Ministers to reduce the military
expenditure. Discontent existed in every rank. The generals were familiar
with the idea of political change, for during the last years of Murat's
reign they had themselves thought of compelling him to grant a
Constitution: the younger officers and the sergeants were in great part
members of the secret society of the Carbonari, which in the course of the
last few years had grown with the weakness of the Government, and had now
become the principal power in the Neapolitan kingdom.

[The Carbonari.]

The origin of this society, which derived its name and its symbolism from
the trade of the charcoal-burner, as Freemasonry from that of the builder,
is uncertain. Whether its first aim was resistance to Bourbon tyranny after
1799, or the expulsion of the French and Austrians from Italy, in the year
1814 it was actively working for constitutional government in opposition to
Murat, and receiving encouragement from Sicily, where Ferdinand was then
playing the part of constitutional King. The maintenance of absolute
government by the restored Bourbon Court severed the bond which for a time
existed between legitimate monarchy and conspiracy; and the lodges of the
Carbonari, now extending themselves over the country with great rapidity,
became so many centres of agitation against despotic rule. By the year 1819
it was reckoned that one person out of every twenty-five in the kingdom of
Naples had joined the society. Its members were drawn from all classes,
most numerously perhaps from the middle class in the towns; but even
priests had been initiated, and there was no branch of the public service
that had not Carbonari in its ranks. The Government, apprehending danger
from the extension of the sect, tried to counteract it by founding a rival
society of Calderari, or Braziers, in which every miscreant who before 1815
had murdered and robbed in the name of King Ferdinand and the Catholic
faith received a welcome. But though the number of such persons was not
small, the growth of this fraternity remained far behind that of its model;
and the chief result of the competition was that intrigue and mystery
gained a greater charm than ever for the Italians, and that all confidence
in Government perished, under the sense that there was a hidden power in
the land which was only awaiting the due moment to put forth its strength
in revolutionary action.

[Morelli's movement, July 2, 1820.]

After the proclamation of the Spanish Constitution, an outbreak in the
kingdom of Naples had become inevitable. The Carbonari of Salerno, where
the sect had its headquarters, had intended to rise at the beginning of
June; their action, however, was postponed for some months, and it was
anticipated by the daring movement of a few sergeants belonging to a
cavalry regiment stationed at Nola, and of a lieutenant, named Morelli,
whom they had persuaded to place himself at their head. Leading out a
squadron of a hundred and fifty men in the direction of Avellino on the
morning of July 2nd, Morelli proclaimed the Constitution. One of the
soldiers alone left the band; force or persuasion kept others to the
Standard, though they disapproved of the enterprise. The inhabitants of the
populous places that lie between Nola and Avellino welcomed the squadron,
or at least offered it no opposition: the officer commanding at Avellino
came himself to meet Morelli, and promised him assistance. The band
encamped that night in a village; on the next day they entered Avellino,
where the troops and townspeople, headed by the bishop and officers,
declared in their favour. From Avellino the news of the movement spread
quickly over the surrounding country. The Carbonari were everywhere
prepared for revolt; and before the Government had taken a single step in
its own defence, the Constitution had been joyfully and peacefully
accepted, not only by the people but by the militia and the regular troops,
throughout the greater part of the district that lies to the east of

[Affairs at Naples, July 2-7.]

The King was on board ship in the bay, when, in the afternoon of July 2nd,
intelligence came of Morelli's revolt at Nola. Nothing was done by the
Ministry on that day, although Morelli and his band might have been
captured in a few hours if any resolute officer, with a few trustworthy
troops, had been sent against them. On the next morning, when the garrison
of Avellino had already joined the mutineers, and taken up a strong
position commanding the road from Naples, General Carrascosa was sent, not
to reduce the insurgents--for no troops were given to him--but to pardon,
to bribe, and to coax them into submission. [313] Carrascosa failed to
effect any good; other generals, who, during the following days, attempted
to attack the mutineers, found that their troops would not follow them, and
that the feeling of opposition to the Government, though it nowhere broke
into lawlessness, was universal in the army as well as the nation. If the
people generally understood little of politics, they had learnt enough to
dislike arbitrary taxation and the power of arbitrary arrest. Not a single
hand or voice was anywhere raised in defence of absolutism. Escaping from
Naples, where he was watched by the Government, General Pepe, who was at
once the chief man among the Carbonari and military commandant of the
province in which Avellino lies, went to place himself at the head of the
revolution. Naples itself had hitherto remained quiet, but on the night of
July 6th a deputation from the Carbonari informed the King that they could
no longer preserve tranquillity in the city unless a Constitution was
granted. The King, without waiting for morning, published an edict
declaring that a Constitution should be drawn up within eight days;
immediately afterwards he appointed a new Ministry, and, feigning illness,
committed the exercise of royal authority to his son, the Duke of Calabria.

[Ferdinand takes the Oath to the Spanish Constitution, July 13.]

Ferdinand's action was taken by the people as a stratagem. He had employed
the device of a temporary abdication some years before in cajoling the
Sicilians; and the delay of eight days seemed unnecessary to ardent souls
who knew that a Spanish Constitution was in existence and did not know of
its defects in practice. There was also on the side of the Carbonari the
telling argument that Ferdinand, as a possible successor to his nephew, the
childless King of Spain, actually had signed the Spanish Constitution in
order to preserve his own contingent rights to that crown. What Ferdinand
had accepted as Infante of Spain he might well accept as King of Naples.
The cry was therefore for the immediate proclamation of the Spanish
Constitution of 1812. The court yielded, and the Duke of Calabria, as
viceroy, published an edict making this Constitution the law of the kingdom
of the Two Sicilies. But the tumult continued, for deceit was still feared,
until the edict appeared again, signed by the King himself. Then all was
rejoicing. Pepe, at the head of a large body of troops, militia and
Carbonari, made a triumphal entry into the city, and, in company with
Morelli and other leaders of the military rebellion, was hypocritically
thanked by the Viceroy for his services to the nation. On the 13th of July
the King, a hale but venerable-looking man of seventy, took the oath to the
Constitution before the altar in the royal chapel. The form of words had
been written out for him; but Ferdinand was fond of theatrical acts of
religion, and did not content himself with reading certain solemn phrases.
Raising his eyes to the crucifix above the altar, he uttered aloud a prayer
that if the oath was not sincerely taken the vengeance of God might fall
upon his head. Then, after blessing and embracing his sons, the venerable
monarch wrote to the Emperor of Austria, protesting that all that he did
was done under constraint, and that his obligations were null and void.

[Affairs in Portugal, 1807-1820.]

A month more passed, and in a third kingdom absolute government fell before
the combined action of soldiers and people. The Court of Lisbon had
migrated to Brazil in 1807, when the troops of Napoleon first appeared upon
the Tagus, and Portugal had since then been governed by a Regency, acting
in the name of the absent Sovereign. The events of the Peninsular War had
reduced Portugal almost to the condition of a dependency of Great Britain.
Marshal Beresford, the English commander-in-chief of its army, kept his
post when the war was over, and with him there remained a great number of
English officers who had led the Portuguese regiments in Wellington's
campaigns. The presence of these English soldiers was unwelcome, and
commercial rivalry embittered the natural feeling of impatience towards an
ally who remained as master rather than guest. Up to the year 1807 the
entire trade with Brazil had been confined by law to Portuguese merchants;
when, however, the Court had established itself beyond the Atlantic, it had
opened the ports of Brazil to British ships, in return for the assistance
given by our own country against Napoleon. Both England and Brazil profited
by the new commerce, but the Portuguese traders, who had of old had the
monopoly, were ruined. The change in the seat of government was in fact
seen to be nothing less than a reversal of the old relations between the
European country and its colony. Hitherto Brazil had been governed in the
interests of Portugal; but with a Sovereign fixed at Rio Janeiro, it was
almost inevitable that Portugal should be governed in the interests of
Brazil. Declining trade, the misery and impoverishment resulting from a
long war, resentment against a Court which could not be induced to return
to the kingdom and against a foreigner who could not be induced to quit it,
filled the army and all classes in the nation with discontent. Conspiracies
were discovered as early as 1817, and the conspirators punished with all
the barbarous ferocity of the Middle Ages. Beresford, who had not
sufficient tact to prevent the execution of a sentence ordering twelve
persons to be strangled, beheaded, and then burnt in the streets of Lisbon,
found, during the two succeeding years, that the state of the country was
becoming worse and worse. In the spring of 1820, when the Spanish
revolution had made some change in the neighbouring kingdom, either for
good or evil, inevitable, Beresford set out for Rio Janeiro, intending to
acquaint the King with the real condition of affairs, and to use his
personal efforts in hastening the return of the Court to Lisbon. Before he
could recross the Atlantic, the Government which he left behind him at
Lisbon had fallen.

[Revolution at Oporto, August 1820.]

The grievances of the Portuguese army made it the natural centre of
disaffection, but the military conspirators had their friends among all
classes. On the 24th of August, 1820, the signal of revolt was given at
Oporto. Priests and magistrates, as well as the town-population, united
with officers of the army in declaring against the Regency, and in
establishing a provisional Junta, charged with the duty of carrying on the
government in the name of the King until the Cortes should assemble and
frame a Constitution. No resistance was offered by any of the civil or
military authorities at Oporto. The Junta entered upon its functions, and
began by dismissing all English officers, and making up the arrears of pay
due to the soldiers. As soon as the news of the revolt reached Lisbon, the
Regency itself volunteered to summon the Cortes, and attempted to
conciliate the remainder of the army by imitating the measures of the Junta
of Oporto. [315] The troops, however, declined to act against their
comrades, and on the 15th of September the Regency was deposed, and a
provisional Junta installed in the capital. Beresford, who now returned
from Brazil, was forbidden to set foot on Portuguese soil. The two rival
governing-committees of Lisbon and Oporto coalesced; and after an interval
of confusion the elections to the Cortes were held, resulting in the return
of a body of men whose loyalty to the Crown was not impaired by their
hostility to the Regency. The King, when the first tidings of the
constitutional movement reached Brazil, gave a qualified consent to the
summoning of the Cortes which was announced by the Regency, and promised to
return to Europe. Beresford, continuing his voyage to England without
landing at Lisbon, found that the Government of this country had no
disposition to interfere with the domestic affairs of its ally.

[Alexander proposes joint action with regard to Spain, April, 1820.]

It was the boast of the Spanish and Italian Liberals that the revolutions
effected in 1820 were undisgraced by the scenes of outrage which had
followed the capture of the Bastille and the overthrow of French absolutism
thirty years before. [316] The gentler character of these southern
movements proved, however, no extenuation in the eyes of the leading
statesmen of Europe: on the contrary, the declaration of soldiers in favour
of a Constitution seemed in some quarters more ominous of evil than any
excess of popular violence. The alarm was first sounded at St. Petersburg.
As soon as the Czar heard of Riego's proceedings at Cadiz, he began to
meditate intervention; and when it was known that Ferdinand had been forced
to accept the Constitution of 1812, he ordered his ambassadors to propose
that all the Great Powers, acting through their Ministers at Paris, should
address a remonstrance to the representative of Spain, requiring the Cortes
to disavow the crime of the 8th of March, by which they had been called
into being, and to offer a pledge of obedience to their King by enacting
the most rigorous laws against sedition and revolt. [317] In that case, and
in that alone, the Czar desired to add, would the Powers maintain their
relations of confidence and amity with Spain.

[England prevents joint diplomatic intervention.]

This Russian proposal was viewed with some suspicion at Vienna; it was
answered with a direct and energetic negative from London. Canning was
still in the Ministry. The words with which in 1818 he had protested
against a league between England and autocracy were still ringing in the
ears of his colleagues. Lord Liverpool's Government knew itself to be
unpopular in the country; every consideration of policy as well as of
self-interest bade it resist the beginnings of an intervention which, if
confined to words, was certain to be useless, and, if supported by action,
was likely to end in that alliance between France and Russia which had been
the nightmare of English statesmen ever since 1814, and in a second
occupation of Spain by the very generals whom Wellington had spent so many
years in dislodging. Castlereagh replied to the Czar's note in terms which
made it clear that England would never give its sanction to a collective
interference with Spain. [318] Richelieu, the nominal head of the French
Government, felt too little confidence in his position to act without the
concurrence of Great Britain; and the crusade of absolutism against Spanish
liberty was in consequence postponed until the victory of the
Ultra-Royalists at Paris was complete, and the overthrow of Richelieu had
brought to the head of the French State a group of men who felt no scruple
in entering upon an aggressive war.

[Naples and the Great Powers.]


[England admits Austrian but not joint intervention.]

But the shelter of circumstances which for a while protected Spain from the
foreigner did not extend to Italy, when in its turn the Neapolitan
revolution called a northern enemy into the field. Though the kingdom of
the Two Sicilies was in itself much less important than Spain, the
established order of the Continent was more directly threatened by a change
in its government. No European State was exposed to the same danger from a
revolution in Madrid as Austria from a revolution in Naples. The Czar had
invoked the action of the Courts against Spain, not because his own
dominions were in peril, but because the principle of monarchical right was
violated: with Austria the danger pressed nearer home. The establishment of
constitutional liberty in Naples was almost certain to be followed by an
insurrection in the Papal States and a national uprising in the Venetian
provinces; and among all the bad results of Austria's false position in
Italy, one of the worst was that in self-defence it was bound to resist
every step made towards political liberty beyond its own frontier. The
dismay with which Metternich heard of the collapse of absolute government
at Naples [319] was understood and even shared by the English Ministry, who
at this moment were deprived of their best guide by Canning's withdrawal.
Austria, in peace just as much as in war, had uniformly been held to be the
natural ally of England against the two aggressive Courts of Paris and St.
Petersburg. It seemed perfectly right and natural to Lord Castlereagh that
Austria, when its own interests were endangered by the establishment of
popular sovereignty at Naples, should intervene to restore King Ferdinand's
power; the more so as the secret treaty of 1815, by which Metternich had
bound this sovereign to maintain absolute monarchy, had been communicated
to the ambassador of Great Britain, and had received his approval. But the
right to intervene in Italy belonged, according to Lord Castlereagh, to
Austria alone. The Sovereigns of Europe had no more claim, as a body, to
interfere with Naples than they had to interfere with Spain. Therefore,
while the English Government sanctioned and even desired the intervention
of Austria, as a State acting in protection of its own interests against
revolution in a neighbouring country, it refused to sanction any joint
intervention of the European Powers, and declared itself opposed to the
meeting of a Congress where any such intervention might be discussed. [320]

[Conference at Troppau, Oct. 1820.]

Had Metternich been free to follow his own impulses, he would have thrown
an army into Southern Italy as soon as soldiers and stores could be
collected, and have made an end of King Ferdinand's troubles forthwith. It
was, however, impossible for him to disregard the wishes of the Czar, and
to abandon all at once the system of corporate action, which was supposed
to have done such great things for Europe. [321] A meeting of sovereigns
and Ministers was accordingly arranged, and at the end of October the
Emperor of Austria received the Czar and King Frederick William in the
little town of Troppau, in Moravia. France had itself first recommended the
summoning of a Congress to deal with Neapolitan affairs, and it was
believed for a while that England would be isolated in its resistance to a
joint intervention. But before the Congress assembled, the firm language of
the English Ministry had drawn Richelieu over to its side; [322] and
although one of the two French envoys made himself the agent of the
Ultra-Royalist faction, it was not possible for him to unite his country
with the three Eastern Courts. France, through the weakness of its
Government and the dissension between its representatives, counted for
nothing at the Congress. England sent its ambassador from Vienna, but with
instructions to act as an observer and little more; and in consequence the
meeting at Troppau resolved itself into a gathering of the three Eastern
autocrats and their Ministers. As Prussia had ceased to have any
independent foreign policy whatever, Metternich needed only to make certain
of the support of the Czar in order to range on his side the entire force
of eastern and central Europe in the restoration of Neapolitan despotism.

[Contest between Metternich and Capodistrias.]

[Circular of Troppau, Dec. 8, 1820.]

[The principle of intervention laid down by three Courts.]

The plan of the Austrian statesman was not, however, to be realised without
some effort. Alexander had watched with jealousy Metternich's recent
assumption of a dictatorship over the minor German Courts; he had never
admitted Austria's right to dominate in Italy; and even now some vestiges
of his old attachment to liberal theories made him look for a better
solution of the Neapolitan problem than in that restoration of despotism
pure and simple which Austria desired. While condemning every attempt of a
people to establish its own liberties, Alexander still believed that in
some countries sovereigns would do well to make their subjects a grant of
what he called sage and liberal institutions. It would have pleased him
best if the Neapolitans could have been induced by peaceful means to
abandon their Constitution, and to accept in return certain chartered
rights as a gift from their King; and the concurrence of the two Western
Powers might in this case possibly have been regained. This project of a
compromise, by which Ferdinand would have been freed from his secret
engagement with Austria, was exactly what Metternich desired to frustrate.
He found himself matched, and not for the first time, against a statesman
who was even more subtle than himself. This was Count Capodistrias, a Greek
who from a private position had risen to be Foreign Minister of Russia, and
was destined to become the first sovereign, in reality if not in title, of
his native land. Capodistrias, the sympathetic partner of the Czar's
earlier hopes, had not travelled so fast as his master along the
reactionary road. He still represented what had been the Italian policy of
Alexander some years before, and sought to prevent the re-establishment of
absolute rule at Naples, at least by the armed intervention of Austria.
Metternich's first object was to discredit the Minister in the eyes of his
sovereign. It is said that he touched the Czar's keenest fears in a
conversation relating to a mutiny that had just taken place among the
troops at St. Petersburg, and so in one private interview cut the ground
from under Capodistrias' feet; he also humoured the Czar by reviving that
monarch's own favourite scheme for a mutual guarantee of all the Powers
against revolution in any part of Europe. Alexander had proposed in 1818
that the Courts should declare resistance to authority in any country to be
a violation of European peace, entitling the Allied Powers, if they should
think fit, to suppress it by force of arms. This doctrine, which would have
empowered the Czar to throw the armies of a coalition upon London if the
Reform Bill had been carried by force, had hitherto failed to gain
international acceptance owing to the opposition of Great Britain. It was
now formally accepted by Austria and Prussia. Alexander saw the federative
system of European monarchy, with its principle of collective intervention,
recognised as an established fact by at least three of the great Powers;
[323] and in return he permitted Metternich to lay down the lines which, in
the case of Naples, this intervention should follow. It was determined to
invite King Ferdinand to meet his brother-sovereigns at Laibach, in the
Austrian province of Carniola, and through him to address a summons to the
Neapolitan people, requiring them, in the name of the three Powers, and
under threat of invasion, to abandon their Constitution. This determination
was announced, as a settled matter, to the envoys of England and France;
and a circular was issued from Troppau by the three Powers to all the
Courts of Europe (Dec. 8), embodying the doctrine of federative
intervention, and expressing a hope that England and France would approve
its immediate application in the case of Naples. [324]

[Protest of England.]

There was no ground whatever for this hope with regard to England. On the
contrary, in proportion as the three Courts strengthened their union and
insisted on their claim to joint jurisdiction over Europe, they drove
England away from them. Lord Castlereagh had at first promised the moral
support of this country to Austria in its enterprise against Naples; but
when this enterprise ceased to be the affair of Austria alone, and became
part of the police-system of the three despotisms, it was no longer
possible for the English Government to view it with approval or even with
silence. The promise of a moral support was withdrawn: England declared
that it stood strictly neutral with regard to Naples, and protested against
the doctrine contained in the Troppau circular, that a change of government
in any State gave the Allied Powers the right to intervene. [325]

France made no such protest; but it was still hoped at Paris that an
Austrian invasion of Southern Italy, so irritating to French pride, might
be averted. King Louis XVIII. endeavoured, but in vain, to act the part of
mediator, and to reconcile the Neapolitan House of Bourbon at once with its
own subjects and with the Northern Powers.

[Conference at Laibach, Jan., 1821.]

The summons went out from the Congress to King Ferdinand to appear at
Laibach. It found him enjoying all the popularity of a constitutional King,
surrounded by Ministers who had governed under Murat, exchanging
compliments with a democratic Parliament, lavishing distinctions upon the
men who had overthrown his authority, and swearing to everything that was
set before him. As the Constitution prohibited the King from leaving the
country without the consent of the Legislature, it was necessary for
Ferdinand to communicate to Parliament the invitation which he had received
from the Powers, and to take a vote of the Assembly on the subject of his
journey. Ferdinand's Ministers possessed some political experience; they
recognised that it would be impossible to maintain the existing
Constitution against the hostility of three great States, and hoped that
the Parliament would consent to Ferdinand's departure on condition that he
pledged himself to uphold certain specified principles of free government.
A message to the Assembly was accordingly made public, in which the King
expressed his desire to mediate with the Powers on this basis. But the
Ministers had not reckoned with the passions of the people. As soon as it
became known that Ferdinand was about to set out, the leaders of the
Carbonari mustered their bands. A host of violent men streamed into Naples
from the surrounding country. The Parliament was intimidated, and Ferdinand
was prohibited from leaving Naples until he had sworn to maintain the
Constitution actually in force, that, namely, which Naples had borrowed
from Spain. Ferdinand, whose only object was to escape from the country as
quickly as possible, took the oath with his usual effusions of patriotism.
He then set out for Leghorn, intending to cross from thence into Northern
Italy. No sooner had he reached the Tuscan port than he addressed a letter
to each of the five principal sovereigns of Europe, declaring that his last
acts were just as much null and void as all his earlier ones. He made no
attempt to justify, or to excuse, or even to explain his conduct; nor is
there the least reason to suppose that he considered the perjuries of a
prince to require a justification. "These sorry protests," wrote the
secretary of the Congress of Troppau, "will happily remain secret. No
Cabinet will be anxious to draw them from the sepulchre of its archives.
Till then there is not much harm done."

[Ferdinand at Laibach.]

[Demands of the Allies on Naples.]

Ferdinand reached Laibach, where the Czar rewarded him for the fatigues of
his journey by a present of some Russian bears. His arrival was peculiarly
agreeable to Metternich, whose intentions corresponded exactly with his
own; and the fact that he had been compelled to swear to maintain the
Spanish Constitution at Naples acted favourably for the Austrian Minister,
inasmuch as it enabled him to say to all the world that negotiation was now
out of the question. [326] Capodistrias, brought face to face with failure,
twisted about, according to his rival's expression, like a devil in holy
water, but all in vain. It was decided that Ferdinand should be restored as
absolute monarch by an Austrian army, and that, whether the Neapolitans
resisted or submitted, their country should be occupied by Austrian troops
for some years to come. The only difficulty remaining was to vest King
Ferdinand's conduct in some respectable disguise. Capodistrias, when
nothing else was to be gained, offered to invent an entire correspondence,
in which Ferdinand should proudly uphold the Constitution to which he had
sworn, and protest against the determination of the Powers to force the
sceptre of absolutism back into his hand. [327] This device, however, was
thought too transparent. A letter was sent in the King's name to his son,
the Duke of Calabria, stating that he had found the three Powers determined
not to tolerate an order of things sprung from revolution; that submission
alone would avert war; but that even in case of submission certain
securities for order, meaning the occupation of the country by an Austrian
army, would be exacted. The letter concluded with the usual promises of
reform and good government. It reached Naples on the 9th of February, 1821.
No answer was either expected or desired. On the 6th the order had been
given to the Austrian army to cross the Po.

[State of Naples and Sicily.]

[The Austrians enter Naples, March 24, 1821.]

[Third Neapolitan restoration.]

There was little reason to fear any serious resistance on the part of the
Neapolitans. The administration of the State was thoroughly disorganised;
the agitation of the secret societies had destroyed all spirit of obedience
among the soldiers; a great part of the army was absent in Sicily, keeping
guard over a people who, under wiser management, might have doubled the
force which Naples now opposed to the invader. When the despotic government
of Ferdinand was overthrown, the island of Sicily, or that part of it which
was represented by Palermo, had claimed the separate political existence
which it had possessed between 1806 and 1815, offering to remain united to
Naples in the person of the sovereign, but demanding a National Parliament
and a National Constitution of its own. The revolutionary Ministers of
Naples had, however, no more sympathy with the wishes of the Sicilians than
the Spanish Liberals of 1812 had with those of the American Colonists. They
required the islanders to accept the same rights and duties as any other
province of the Neapolitan kingdom, and, on their refusal, sent over a
considerable force and laid siege to Palermo. [328] The contest soon ended
in the submission of the Sicilians, but it was found necessary to keep
twelve thousand troops on the island in order to prevent a new revolt. The
whole regular army of Naples numbered little more than forty thousand; and
although bodies of Carbonari and of the so-called Militia set out to join
the colours of General Pepe and to fight for liberty, they remained for the
most part a disorderly mob, without either arms or discipline. The invading

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