SPAIN UNDER THE BOURBONS
THE DEFENSE OF SARAGOSSA.
 WE now approach the reign of the first Bourbon in Spain. The founder of the historical family
of that name, which came in time to possess several European thrones, was Adhemar, at the
beginning of the tenth century. The name itself comes from the castle and seignory of
Bourbon, in the ancient province of Bourbonnais, in the central part of France. This is
not the place to follow the ramifications of the many collateral branches, which were
identified with numerous sovereignties, but rather to show how the Bourbons came into the
possession of the Spanish throne.
As has been stated, Philip IV. died in 1665. He left three children—Charles, who now
became Charles II. of Spain; Maria Teresa, who married Louis XIV. of France, and Margaret,
Queen of Hungary. Under Charles the Spanish kingdom rapidly declined, but such was the
mighty prestige she had gained during the preceding two centuries that even in her decay
she held the respect of other nations. Before his death in 1700, Charles, who was
childless, promised the Spanish throne to both Charles of Hapsburg, Archduke of Austria,
and Philip of Bourbon, the grandson of Louis XIV. and Maria Theresa.
THE LAST OF THE MOORS EXPELLED BY PHILIP III.
The question of the succession was of the highest importance to other nations, especially
to England, Germany, and Holland; for the Spanish crown carried with it the sovereignty of
the Netherlands, the Milanese, Naples, Sicily, and the enormous possessions in the New
World. If all these went to the French Philip, there was good ground for alarm, since
Philip was a mere boy,
 and it was his ambitious and shrewd grandfather, Louis XIV., who would be the real ruler.
Louis was already the mightiest king in Europe, and such an accession to his power might
make him irresistible. So most of the Powers of Europe supported Charles of Hapsburg, who
was a younger son of the German Emperor Leopold.
You might have supposed that the Spaniards themselves would be allowed some voice in the
matter, and, indeed, their Cortes met and offered the throne to the French aspirant,
Philip. He was duly crowned as Philip V.; but that did not discourage the allies, who sent
Charles into the land with an army of Austrians and English to assert his claim to the
crown; while they all together turned against Louis XIV. and attacked him in the "War of
the Spanish Succession."
This was the war of Marlborough's victories. Gibraltar was wrenched forever from Spain and
became English. At Vigo the French fleets were destroyed, and Toulon was besieged both by
sea and land. The French forces in Italy were sent in headlong flight by Prince Eugene,
who scared France by his approach to its boundaries. In the midst of these crushing
calamities Louis was sorely afflicted by the death of his only son and two of his
grandsons, so that the lonely old monarch found that the only one left in the direct line
of succession was his infant great-grandson.
An extraordinary complication secured to Philip his doubtful hold upon the throne of
Spain. When the war had gone on for more than twelve years, Charles of Hapsburg, through a
series of deaths, became Emperor of Germany. Now, if he should become King of Spain also,
the "balance of power" would be more endangered than by the choice of Philip of Bourbon.
So what did England and Holland do but turn round and ratify the nomination of Philip for
the Spanish crown Louis was astonished indeed, and another forceful illustration was given
of the criminal foolishness of war. That for the Spanish Succession was concluded by the
treaty of Utrecht (1713) and of Rastadt (1714). Louis XIV. died the next year, and that is
how Philip V. became the first Bourbon King of Spain.
Philip was born at Versailles in 1683, and married Maria Louisa, daughter of Victor
Amadeus. She died in 1714, and he espoused Elizabeth Farnese of Parma, who had no trouble
in persuading her husband to commit the government to Alberoni, who was successively made
grandee, cardinal, and prime minister. Of Philip, the historian says he was noted for good
nature, had few faults and as few virtues, with just and honorable sentiments, but was
wholly deficient in energy, with no taste for anything beyond devotional exercises and the
chase. He was made to be governed, and was wholly under the control of his talented wife,
to whom he could refuse nothing.
 The career of Alberoni was remarkable. It was he who destroyed the last liberties and
rights of the Spanish people. In his insatiate ambition he knew no such thing as scruple
or honor. To please his mistress, he violated the treaty of Utrecht by invading Sardinia,
hoping to re-establish the monarchy of Charles V. and Philip II. This audacious act caused
the regent of France to break off his alliance with Spain and to unite with England and
Germany. Undismayed, Alberoni pressed the war, even after the Spanish fleet in the
Mediterranean had been destroyed by an English one (1719). He angered the French King by
patronizing the French Protestants, and stirred the resentment of England by his open
friendship for the Pretender; he did his utmost to make Peter of Russia and Charles XII.
of Sweden his allies, to drive Austria into a war with the Turks and to incite a revolt in
Hungary. Through his intrigues with the French court he actually secured the arrest of the
Duke of Orleans, the regent.
DESTRUCTION OF THE SPANISH FLEET IN THE MEDITERRANEAN, 1719.
By this time, however, the complaints against the firebrand frightened Philip, and he
concluded a treaty of peace, one of whose conditions was that Alberoni should be
dismissed. It may be doubted, however, whether Philip would have taken this decisive
action but for the urging of his wife, Elizabeth, who could no longer stand the arrogance
of her late favorite. In December, 1720, the prime minister was notified that he must
leave Madrid within twenty-four hours and Spain within five days.
What a striking commentary on human greatness that this man, who had kept all Europe in a
turmoil, now did not know whither to turn! He was in that dreadful position of not having
a living friend, for every Power hated him, and none more bitterly than the Pope of Rome.
Alberoni disguised himself and took a fictitious name, but was arrested in Genoese
territory, and on the urgency of the Pope and the Spanish monarch, was imprisoned. He soon
recovered his liberty, however, and Innocent XIII. coming to the papacy, all the rights
and dignities of a cardinal were restored to Alberoni, who lived to be nearly ninety years
Philip's dislike of the vexations of royalty became so intense in 1724 that he abdicated
in favor of his son, who died a few months later, and, therefore, does not figure among
the Kings of Spain, for the father was obliged to reassume the detested crown, which he
held until his death, in 1746. He was succeeded by his son, Ferdinand VI., who proved to
be a just and humane ruler. His intelligent energy developed the internal welfare of his
country, strengthened the navy, and greatly increased the manufactures. His wise political
course placed his brother on the throne of Naples. Since his death occurred in 1759, his
reign saw the destruction of Lisbon, Lima, and Quito by earthquakes.
 Charles, the brother of Ferdinand, now came to the throne. He was King of Naples, which he
surrendered for the crown of Spain at the death of his brother, Ferdinand. Under him there
was a considerable revival of commerce and different industries, and could the
regenerating process have been kept up Spain might have won something of her former power
and prestige. But Charles was called upon to go the way of all flesh in 1788, and was
succeeded by his son of the same name, who was forty years old, and one of the most
abominable examples of the Bourbon family that has cursed so many nations and peoples.
Manuel de Godoy, Duke of Alcudia, was a handsome youth, who at the age of twenty entered
the King's bodyguard at Madrid and became a favorite of the weak King as well as the
vicious Queen. She had been the Princess Maria Louisa of Parma. Godoy had honors heaped
upon him, and was afterward known as the Duke of Alcudia and the Prince of Peace. In the
brief space of four years, he moved up from the rank of a private in the Life Guard to
that of prime minister of Spain and Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece.
This wretch became the power behind the throne and the real ruler of Spain. Everybody
except the King knew that he was the lover of the Queen, who was shamelessly infatuated
with him. In all the trouble that followed, the "poor Prince" was first in her thought,
and all her efforts were for his welfare. He was the most unpopular man in the kingdom,
and never could have sustained himself for a day but for the shocking passion of his royal
mistress, who taught him the art of intrigue, which was the highest of all arts in that
wretched country, and showed him how to control the King.
There was one person, however, who did not conceal his detestation of Godoy: that was
Ferdinand, the eldest son of the King and the heir to the throne. As a consequence, his
parents turned against Ferdinand, who was as tricky and fond of double dealing as they.
When the Terror came to France, Godoy found himself in a situation to which he was
unequal. Naturally the sympathies of the Madrid court were with Louis XVI., for he was a
Bourbon sovereign; but if this sympathy took active form, France was likely to pour her
armies over the frontier, and then "the deluge" would come. An alliance with that country
would encourage Spanish revolutionists and offend England, who would close communication
with the Spanish-American provinces. A policy of neutrality was tried. Godoy attempted the
role of peacemaker, and offered immense bribes to members of the Convention to vote
against taking the life of Louis. When Louis was guillotined, the Spanish court went into
mourning and moved several regiments to the northern border. France replied by declaring
war against Spain, in March, 1793, whereupon Spain made an alliance with England, whom she
hated. But the French arms were victorious, and
 Godoy gladly made peace, stipulating that the French rulers should be lenient with the
children of the dead King and Queen. No attention was paid to this condition, and the
treaty was signed at Basle, in July, 1795. It was in recognition of these "splendid
services" that Godoy was made Knight of the Golden Fleece, Grandee of Spain of the First
Class and Prince of Peace, with an enormous sum of money thrown in to enable him to
maintain himself in a style befitting his exalted rank.
RECEPTION AT THE COURT OF CHARLES IV, 1804.
In the following year Spain made an alliance with Holland, which so offended England that
she declared war, captured the Island of Trinidad, and destroyed the Spanish commerce with
the West Indies. Godoy neglected so grossly to defend his country that a cabal compelled
the Queen to dismiss him from his office as prime minister; but no power on earth could
dismiss him from her adoration, and it was not long before he came back to the Council
Board. By this time the mailed hand of Napoleon Bonaparte made itself felt at Madrid. It
would be hard to decide which he despised the most—the weak, vacillating King
Charles, the intriguing, shameless Queen Maria Louisa, the incompetent, unscrupulous
Godoy, or the truculent Ferdinand, son of the royal couple. He played them one against the
other for several years, violating promises, betraying friends, and obeying his own
ambitious impulses in a style peculiarly his own. All these people feared the terrible
conqueror and did everything to gain his good-will. They allied Spain to France, and at
Trafalgar, in October, 1805, the naval power of both countries was annihilated by the
English. An alliance on the part of England, Russia, Prussia, and Saxony against France
was signed in 1806, and secret treaties were made with Spain and Portugal, by which, when
called upon, they were to join the alliance.
Bonaparte came so to detest the Spanish character, and especially the puppets who in turn
had control of affairs, that against the advice of his best friends he determined to
secure Spain by placing one of his own family on the throne. Prince Ferdinand had every
reason to believe that the mighty autocrat would make him king after depriving his parents
of power, but in 1808 Joseph Bonaparte, who was ruling in Naples, was brought much against
his will to Spain, to assume the crown.
Joseph Bonaparte was about a year and a half older than his famous brother, with whose
character his had little similarity. Joseph had no liking for war, was not inordinately
ambitious, and strove, so far as he could, to benefit those over whom he was placed, and
to make their happiness his chief aim. But like all who came in contact with his
resistless brother, he bowed to his imperious will. After the coronation of Napoleon,
Joseph was made commander-in-chief of the army of Naples; ruler of the two Sicilies in
1805, and King of Naples in 1806. Many beneficial changes were there brought about by him,
 the abolition of feudality, the suppression of convents, the building of roads, the
extinction of banditti, and the establishment of good laws. In consenting to accept the
throne of Spain he had stipulated that his reforms should be carried out in Italy, but the
promise was forgotten when Murat took his place as King of Naples.
In July, 1808, England made a treaty with Spain, recognizing Ferdinand VII. as King, and
sent an army to aid the Spanish uprising. Joseph Bonaparte reached Spain on July 9, and
his army defeating the Spaniards at Rio Seco, he entered Madrid on the 20th. Joseph,
however, suffered defeat at Baylen, and after a ten days' residence at the capital, was
obliged to retire north to Vittoria. The patriots were also encouraged by the Spaniards in
Saragossa, which did not surrender until the French stormed the city, street by street,
house by house, even church by church, and slew some sixty thousand of the populace.
Joseph possessed only a moderate amount of military ability, and speedily found himself
unable to cope with the Spanish insurgents, who seemed to be springing up everywhere. His
great brother continually reproved, advised, and commanded him, and it is to be assumed
that the elder did the best he knew how, which was not much. He begged his brother to
relieve him of his distressing situation, but Napoleon refused.
Sir Arthur Wellesley, afterward the Duke of Wellington, landed on the 5th of August with
an auxiliary force at Mondego Bay. Immediately he opened the Peninsula War and defeated
the French at Roliza and Vimiero, but he was recalled to England. In November, Napoleon
entered Spain and assumed command of the one hundred thousand men Ney had marched thither.
He was repeatedly successful, and early in December recaptured Madrid. Then he departed to
guide his followers in the war with Austria.
Sir John Moore at this time commanded the English forces in Spain, which were much
inferior in numbers to those of the French. Moore was driven backward until he reached
Corunna, on the 11th of January, 1809, and his troops withdrew from Spain. The native
Spanish troops were quite unequal to meeting the French in open battle, and the struggle
for independence sank to a mere guerrilla warfare. In the latter part of the following
April, General Wellesley arrived once more in Portugal and at once began vigorous
operations. The French were soon driven from Oporto, and Portugal fell into the possession
of the British.
AN EPISODE OF THE SIEGE OF SARAGOSSA.
A number of causes united to aid the English. The several French armies holding Spain
worked disjointedly, Napoleon was compelled to withdraw large levies to assist him in his
other continental wars, he himself could not remain in Spain to direct operations, and the
Spanish and Portuguese guerrillas fought viciously against their oppressors, the French.
By the display of masterly
gen-  eralship, Wellesley succeeded after four admirably conducted campaigns in driving the
French from the Peninsula, the most important battles being the storming of the French
strongholds at Badajoz and Ciudad Rodrigo, and the battle of Salamanca (1812). Salamanca
was fortified by the French, who turned its many churches and convents into batteries.
Sometimes fighting and church services went on together, for the brave Spanish priests
refused to abandon their altars. Napoleon sent his brilliant and trusted Soult to stop the
British from entering France; but he failed, and, early in 1814, the long contest ended in
the complete success of the English arms.
When Napoleon was a prisoner at St. Helena, he was fond of philosophizing over the amazing
events of his career and explaining the policy which controlled him at certain crises.
Referring to the incidents that culminated in the Spanish war, he said:
"It was that unhappy war in Spain that ruined me. The results have irrevocably proved that
I was in the wrong. But there were serious faults in the execution of my plans. One of the
greatest was that of having attached so much importance to the dethronement of the
Bourbons. Charles IV. was worn out. I might have given a liberal constitution to the
Spanish nation, and charged Ferdinand with its execution. If he had put it in force in
good faith Spain would have prospered, and put itself in harmony with our new
institutions. If he failed in the performance of his engagements, he would have met with
his dismissal from the Spaniards themselves. The unfortunate war in Spain proved a real
wound,—the first cause of the misfortune of France. If I could have foreseen that
that affair would cause me so much vexation and chagrin, I would never have engaged in it.
But after the first steps taken in the affair, it was impossible for me to recede. When I
saw those imbeciles quarrelling and trying to dethrone each other, I thought I might as
well take advantage of it to dispossess an inimical family, but I was not the contriver of
their disputes. Had I known at the first that the transaction would have given me so much
trouble, I never would have engaged in it."
After his Russian disaster Napoleon saw that it was impossible to hold the Peninsula, and
he recalled Joseph and offered to reinstate Ferdinand VII. on the throne. The latter
returned to Spain on the 14th of March, 1814, and was received with every expression of
affection and loyalty. The fact that he had been the unrelenting enemy of Godoy, and had
suffered at his hands, was sufficient to make all like him, and great things were hoped
from his rule. But unfortunately for Spain the character of Ferdinand had undergone a
complete change, or rather his true character had developed. Ingratitude, "the basest of
all crimes," controlled him, and caring nothing for the sacrifices his people had endured
in his cause, he became an uncompromising absolutist. Before
 he reached Madrid, he refused to swear to the liberal constitution adopted by the Cortes
in 1812, though he promised to grant a good one in its place.
The perfidy of Ferdinand disgusted Europe. He began a furious persecution of all who were
suspected of holding liberal opinions, and imprisonments, executions, and confiscations of
property turned the kingdom upside down. Liberty of speech was denied; the fearful
Inquisition with the hideous rack was restored. The tyrant exiled those whom he did not
choose to torture to death, and, in short, became a modern Nero. In 1820 the worm turned,
and a formidable uprising forced Ferdinand to restore the constitution of 1812. The French
Government, however, interfered, and absolutism was re-established, in 1823.
It was during this period of turmoil in Spain that her American colonies seized the
opportunity to free themselves from her long oppression. Paraguay, which revolted in 1810,
was the first to secure its independence, a fact due to its isolated position. Mexico
rebelled in the same year under the leadership of two priests, Hidalgo and Morelos; and
the first national congress which assembled in 1813 declared the independence of the
country, which was not gained, however, until after years of fighting, civil war, anarchy,
and no end of bloodshed. Ecuador declared itself independent in 1820, and two years later
united with New Granada and Venezuela to form the republic of Colombia, under Simon
Bolivar. So it went to the end, until Spain at last was left with only the islands of Cuba
and Porto Rico on the American continent, and those were to be wrested from her before the
close of the century.
Ferdinand VII. was married four times. His first wife was a princess of Naples, alert,
intriguing, and a bitter enemy of Godoy; his second, a Portuguese princess and a cousin,
was mild, kind, and loving; the third was much the same. None of the three bore him any
children. The third wife died in May, 1829, and four months later a marriage contract was
signed with Christina, a sister of his third wife, and niece of Queen Marie Amelie, wife
of the French King, Louis Philippe. You cannot forget what sort of woman the mother of
Ferdinand was. Well, Queen Christina was just as bad. I would say worse, but that seems
hardly possible, for both sank to the lowest depth of degradation.
THE STORMING OF BADAJOZ.
We are told that after his fourth marriage there came a noticeable change in the character
of Ferdinand. He was fitful in his impulses, continually indulging in whimsical acts, and,
after alarming those about him, would switch off and frighten those whom he had just
pleased by his conduct. Once he had shown a fondness for public business, but now he felt
an aversion for it. He hated to show himself in public, and became more and more subject
to the strong-willed Queen. He weakened physically as well as mentally. His
 hands trembled, he was languid, sighed a great deal, became listless, and sank into
When it became known that she was soon to become a mother, the Queen set to work to induce
King Ferdinand to sign an abrogation of the law of succession. This law declared that so
long as there was a male heir to the throne, no matter how remote, no female should
succeed to it. When Ferdinand was asked to sign the abrogation, he flared up and swore he
would never consent; but the wily Christina persevered and gave him no rest until his
signature was attached to the important decree. The law that had prevailed for a hundred
and twenty years became of no effect.
The promulgation of this decree caused profound excitement throughout the kingdom. Note
what it did. Under the old law, if Ferdinand died without male issue, the crown would pass
to his brother, Don Carlos, and to his male descendants. Naturally Don Carlos vigorously
protested against a change, and all the male members of the family did the same, prominent
among them being the father of Queen Christina, who was King of Naples. The protest was
joined by the Bourbons of France, and even by Louis Philippe, at that time Duke of
Of course, if the child when born should prove to be a boy, all this made little
difference; but lo! it was a girl, as was the second and only remaining child born to the
royal couple. The former was Isabella, who first saw the light on October 10, 1830, and at
once crowded Don Carlos out of his right as heir to the throne. Now, to show the
vacillation of Ferdinand. In September, 1832, he abrogated his law permitting females to
inherit the crown, and restored the old law of 1713. About two months later, he alleged
that he had been taken by surprise and deceived into doing this in order to prevent civil
war, and on the last day of 1832 he reversed his abrogation. The miserable creature was in
such a bodily and mental state, and so completely under the influence of his wife, that it
is hard to censure him for playing the weather cock. He died September 29, 1833.
Queen Christina had now to maintain the position of her infant daughter, Isabella. You can
readily bear in mind the distinction between the most prominent parties of Spain. The
repeal of the ancient law caused all the trouble. But for that repeal, Don Carlos would
have become the successor to Ferdinand, and the crown would have passed to his male
descendants. Those descendants still to-day claim the crown, and their adherents are
Carlists. Their representative at present is the grandson of this Don Carlos, who was the
disinherited brother of Ferdinand VII.
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