Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
CHARLES THE THIRD
 NOW we come to a king who surrounded himself with wise counsellors, and who honestly tried to
carry out the work which Alberoni and Carvajal and Ensenada had begun. This was Charles
the Third, who had been King of Naples, and had had twenty-five years apprenticeship to
the business of governing. He knew, when he came to the throne of Spain, that his reign
was to be a fight to the death between him and the Church, and though he was a devout
Catholic, he went into the fight with a firm purpose to win if he could. There could not
be two masters in Spain. He must either put down the Church, or it would put him down.
This fight was going on in Portugal, France, and Italy, as well as in Spain. The strength
of the Church grew out of the general ignorance and superstition of the people, who obeyed
the priests through their terror of hell in another world. How dense the ignorance was you
would not believe if it were not actually proved. There was but one public library in
Spain, and that had recently been started at Madrid. No one bought books, except books of
devotion. A student at the great University of Salamanca was five years there before he
ever heard of mathematics. The priests, who were the only teachers of youth, refused to
admit the discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton, and denied the circulation of the blood. The
doctors refused to let the streets of Madrid be cleaned, because that would be flying in
the face of Providence. There was no one in Spain who could teach botany or astronomy or
physics or public law.
 There was no one who could make a map of Spain, or build a ship, or rig it after it was
built. The peasants did not even know how to build their own houses, or to mend their
A people so ignorant were easily led into superstition, and controlled by priests who
claimed to be able to doom then to eternal perdition, or to secure their admission to
heaven. Spaniards came to obey their priests as if they had been real agents of God, as
they said they were; and when the king went counter to the priests, the people went
counter to the king just as far as the priests chose to lead them.
Foremost among these priests were the brotherhood of Jesuits, which, as you remember, had
been founded by Ignatius Loyola for the loftiest and purest purposes. Its members had long
ago abandoned their original aims, and now openly sought little else besides making
themselves all-powerful. Most people in Spain and Portugal, indeed, thought they were
stronger than the king.
In the year in which Charles came to the throne, a young lady was found in a street in
Lisbon dead, with many wounds on her body, which was wrapped in a sheet; and the same
night the king was shot at and severely wounded. The Prime-Minister of Portugal, whose
name was Pombal, claimed to have traced the crime to a plot set on foot by the Jesuits. He
found passages in their books which justified crime, if the criminal fancied that good
would result from it, and, by a single stroke of his pen, he exiled all the Jesuits from
Portugal and the colonies, including Brazil. This was in September, 1759.
France followed; the prime-minister, Choiseul, ordered all Jesuits to leave France on a
In Spain, Charles hesitated to break with so powerful a body as the Jesuits. But events
forced his hand. His minister ordered the streets of Madrid to be lighted, and forbade the
Spaniards from wearing the large cloak and slouch hat with a flapping brim, which often
 and murderers as a disguise. At this turmoil arose. It is said—I know not how true
or false it may be—that the Jesuits put the notion of rebelling into the minds of
the mob. They were apt to object to measures which they had not inspired. However this may
be, the mob rose in arms, took possession of Madrid, and drove Charles out of the city. He
had to yield to their demands to dismiss his minister, and to let the cloaks and slouched
A SPANISH MONK.
But he bided his time. He found a stalwart Spaniard, the Count Aranda, who had been
abroad, and was a man of intelligence and intrepidity; him he made prime-minister. Aranda
had the king write letters with his own hand
 to the governors of every province in Spain and Spanish America—the letters to be
opened in private on a certain day and at a certain hour, and not before.
After sufficient time had elapsed, at midnight, on March 31st, 1769, every Jesuit college
in Spain was surrounded by soldiers, the doors broken open, and the Jesuits bidden to rise
and dress. When they were gathered in the refectory a royal decree was read to them,
expelling them from the Spanish dominions. Every member was allowed to take with him his
money, his linen, and his breviary; unŽder the escort of dragoons they were all conveyed
in carriages to the sea-coast, where they were shipped in vessels and transported to
Italy. I dare say that on that cruel journey some of them remembered how their order had
insisted on the expulsion of the Moriscoes, less than sixty years before.
They were ferried across to Civita Vecchia, in the dominions of the pope, but his holiness
refused to allow them to land, saying that he could not support all the priests who were
driven out of other countries. For three months they were tempest-tossed on the
Mediterranean, vainly trying to get permission to land somewhere, and being refused
everywhere. At last they were allowed to set foot in Corsica, where they slept in
warehouses and barns and stables, and were fed by charity. Many of them who were old died
of exposure and privation. The end of it was that the King of Spain agreed to pay the pope
so much a head for each of them, and on this condition they were let into Italy.
The King of Naples and the Duke of Parma followed. the example of Spain, and expelled the
Jesuits. But the simple people of Spain stood by them in their afflictions, and when the
king, as the custom was, asked the people what boon he should grant them on his birthday,
the mob replied with one voice:
"Give us back the Jesuits!"
The police discovered that they had been tutored to say
 this by the Archbishop of Toledo, and Aranda very quickly sent hint out of the kingdom to
join his friends.
At last the pope himself became disgusted with the evidence of the Jesuit intrigues, and
by a formal bull he suppressed the order. So for a time there was peace, as far as they
Having got rid of the chief obstacle to reform, Aranda Set to work to improve the
condition of Spain. He abolished the pope's court. Up to his time every church was a
sanctuary where a criminal could defy arrest. He provided that there should not be more
than two sanctuaries in capital cities, and one in smaller cities. In our time, the police
would consider that more than ample In the Morena Mountains, which was a haunt of robbers,
he founded a manufacturing city, which, he called La Carolina; and, as there were no
Spaniards who could be trusted to handle looms or machinery, he imported six thousand
Germans and Swiss to carry on the business.
The misfortune was that most of these new-comers were Protestants, and when Aranda retired
from office the Inquisition swooped down upon them and scattered them. Olavide, Aranda's
friend, tried to protect them; but the Inquisition laid hands on him, confiscated his
property, shut him up in a monastic prison for eight years, and pronounced him incapable
of ever holding any office of power or profit.
Aranda's successor was another gallant Spaniard, named Florida Blanca. It was his sad fate
to engage in more wars than Spain could rightfully afford. He joined the French in war
against England at the time of the American war of Independence, and accomplished no
results. He tried more than once to take Gibraltar from the English; but always without
success. He put down a rising of the native Peruvians in South America, and I am sorry to
say that the Peruvian chief, Tupac-Amara, was inhumanly butchered with all his family. He
took Minorca from the English.
But his chief work was at home. He did his best to
en-  courage manufactures; and though he pursued his object in the wrong way, namely, by
levying high protective duties on foreign goods, he did get some branches of industry on
their feet. He was able to reduce the taxes without impoverishing the treasury. He brought
in foreigners to work the mines. He improved the roads and canals, and reorganized the
police. He compelled the wealthy clergy to make provision for the poor.
With the Inquisition he was always at war. That body accused Charles, who was a man of
devout piety, of being an infidel tainted with French heresies; and, among the people,
many were ignorant enough to believe it. Florida Blanca retaliated by requiring the
Inquisition to submit their sentences to the king before they could be executed. Thus he
held a rod over their head which curbed their blood-thirstiness. In the reign of Philip
the Fifth, the Inquisition burned or sent to the galleys or imprisoned for life the
enormous number of three thousand persons; in Ferdinand the Sixth's reign, only eighty
persons were so punished; in Charles the Third's reign, only sixty. Sixty seems a terrible
number of victims to have been sacrificed to bigotry in twenty-nine years; but the grand
inquisitor was disgusted, and thought the business of the Inquisition was going to the
In the year 1789, Charles's son, Gabriel, whom he loved with a passionate love, caught
smallpox from his wife, and died. The broken-hearted father went back to his palace, and
never concerned himself about anything afterwards. In less than a month he was seized with
inflammation of the lungs, and died.
He was one of the best kings Spain ever had, but he could not raise his people to the
level of his own intelligence. He had but one passion, which was hunting. Shortly before
he died, he wrote to his brother that he had killed with his own hand, in the course of
his life, five hundred and fifty-nine wolves, and fifty-three hundred and twenty-three