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the populace to make common cause with the Prince of Asturias. Charles signed the decree of abdication on the 19th of March, 1808, and
· Ferdinand was proclaimed king by a people intoxicated with joy, and full of the most sanguine hopes. The public enthusiasm was equally great at Madrid, where the inhabitants had plundered the houses of Godoy and his principal dependents. Soon after, it became still more fervent, when it was seen that the young king conferred the highest offices in the government upon the most liberal and enlightened men in Spain, who had been banished and persecuted on account of the severity with which they had censured the measures and abuses of the favourite. p. 34.
It is not necessary to search for any other explanation of Ferdinand's conduct in this instance, than his just hatred of that execrable minion. On the 21st, only two days after his signing the decree of abdication by the unanimous advice of his ministers, Charles signed a solemn protest against that act, under the combined influence, it is conjectured, of Maria Louisa and the Queen of Etruria, “the declared enemy of • Ferdinand, and the intimate friend of Godoy.' At the same time he wrote to Napoleon, throwing himself implicitly upon his protection. In a letter addressed to Murat, this imbecile old man earnestly requests him to interfere to procure the liberation of the Prince of Peace, 'who suffers only because he • is the friend of France. The poor Prince of Peace' is evidently the uppermost thought in the minds both of the virtuous Maria Louisa and her amiable daughter. The style of cringing baseness in which they flatter their dear friend the Grand Duke of Berg, in the letters contained in the Appendix, is truly disgusting. Godoy owed his life to Ferdinand. At the request of his father, he rescued him from the enraged populace. •He told him,' writes the Queen, 'with a tone of • command as if he were the king, “ I grant you your life.” • The Prince of the Peace, in spite of his wounds, thanked • him. The wounds and the tone of command were rernembered by the Queen: the act was forgotten. The following are some of the expressions in which she gives vent to her malignant hatred of that son, in whom she saw only the rival of her paramour: they are addressed to this same Grand Duke of
• His character is false, nothing affects him ; he is void of feeling, little disposed to clemency; he is led by evil counsellors, and ambition, which rules him, will prompt him to do any thing. He makes promises, but he does not always perform them. In my opinion the Grand Duke ought to take measures to prevent the Prince of the Peace from being killed, for the body guards have said that they would kill him, sooner than allow him to be taken out of their hands, even though the Grand Duke and the Emperor should command it. They are enraged, and they inflame the people, every body, and also my son, who is entirely in their favour. They are excited also against the King and me. We are in the hands of the Grand Duke and the Emperor, and we entreat that he will do us the favour to come and see us, and to take all possible steps for insuring the safety of the Prince of the Peace: and also, that he would grant the requests which we have already made. The ambassador is entirely in favour of my son, which makes me tremble for the consequences, for he neither likes the Grand Duke nor the Emperor ; he likes nothing but despotism : it is of my son I speak. I trust the Grand Duke is persuaded, that we do nothing through a desire of vengeance, nor through resentment for the manner in which he has treated us ; for we ask nothing from the Grand Duke and the Emperor, save tranquillity.' p. 291.
In another letter, she thus raves against him.
• My son has a very bad heart; his character is sanguinary; he has never loved his father nor me. His advisers thirst also for blood ; their only pleasure is in making persons unhappy, and at heart they have no feeling for a father or mother. Their wish is to do us all possible injury. But the King and I have more interest in saving the life and honour of our innocent friend, than even our own.' p. 296.
It is said, that while the ex-monarch was residing with his family at Rome, a courtier, who had introduced himself into his good graces, first convinced him that the true origin of Godoy's extraordinary fortune was the intense passion which Maria Louisa entertained for him. It was a cruel disclosure, because it had become a useless one, and the bitter feelings it occasioned are believed to have hastened his death: he died soon after.
It would not be just to receive the evidence of such a woman against the object of her unnatural hatred; and in fact, as re: gards his father, Ferdinand does not appear to have been a bad son. A want of sensibility is one of his most characteristic traits ; but he is unfeeling rather than sanguinary, not altogether unsusceptible of generous emotions, but only incapable of persisting in right principles. His conduct to Godoy was worthy of a prince. On another occasion, when Napoleon stooped to employ a courtezan to entrap Ferdinand at Valencay, (an expedient worthy of the man,) the royal prisoner is said to have resisted her seductions ' with nobleness and dignity.' When the pseudo Baron de Kolli was presented to him by the way, it is stated that the genuine de Kolli was an Irishman -Ferdinand rejected the proposal with horror, and wrote to
his dear friend the Emperor to give him a princess of his dynasty as a wife ; a request which excited some mirth at the Tuileries. The character of Ferdinand's mind is by no meaus imbecility, but a childish instability of purpose, and weakness of judgement, united to heartless selfishness and habits of consummate dissimulation. He is, if possible, more fickle than he is false. It is said of him by the present Writer, that he • is subject to no ruling passion.' He detests the chase, is given to no kind of dissipation, is apt to dispense with all etiquette, and is fond of nothing but smoking and buffoonery. Slight of hand tricks and phantasmagoria were among the ainusements of the royal apartments.
• Ferdinand did not find much pleasure in the demeanour of his courtiers ; but he derived great enjoyment from that of the inferior servants, whom he treated with the greatest familiarity, and to whom he allowed the most extraordinary liberties. Among them was one Chamorro, celebrated as a sort of stupid and vulgar buffoon, who, by his fooleries, afforded infinite diversion to Ferdinand, and obtained a sufficient degree of influence with him to dispose of the first offices in the kingdom. It is incredible what a number of important affairs have been managed in Spain by such obscure means as these. The King listened with delight to all the tales and anecdotes which the servants related to him concerning the most important personages. Frequently have his servants, who were interested in the issue of any -affair, pre-occupied his mind in such a manner, that when the ministers came to transact business, he informed them of the resolution which he bad taken, and which was often the reverse of what they had conatemplated. Woe to the minister who, in such circumstances, shewed the least obstinacy in opposing the suggestions of those secret instru. ments.' p. 251.
• The want of sensibility is one of the most characteristic traits of the present King of Spain. His self-love and pride may be deeply affected, but his heart is never touched. He was affectionately at. tached to his second wife, Maria Isabel of Braganza; but he was playing at ninepins when her funeral left the palace, and the following day there was not the least sign of grief in his countenance. The uncommon fickleness of his imagination prevents any one sentiment from overruling bim, or making any serious impression on his mind. In adversity he was never dejected; when misfortunes of a formidable nature occurred to him, he still knew how to take advantage of all the alleviating circumstances which they produced. It would seem as if he counted with certainty on the combinations of the future, "which have so often extricated him from the most inminent dangers.
'*'Ferdinand is a man of middle starure; his figure is' largé beyond proportion : his complexion is pale, and his health is frequevitly initerrupted by extremely violerit attacks of the goot. To this afflic. tion, and to the infirmities of his youth, he owes a flaccidity of cappearance which does not correspond with his age. His teatures, üre strongly marked and rather deformed, though his look wants not animation. His constant custom of smoking segars, which he scarcely ever suspends, gives a bad odour to his breath. The versatility of his features is so great, that the most eminent artists have failed to give a perfect likeness of him. His gestures are lively, and often violent. He speaks in a hurried manner, and all his actions partake of the precipitate character of his conversation. pp. 264, 5.
• The events of Ferdinand's life have contributed to increase the defects of his character, and to induce him to follow, without any reserve, his favourite inclinations. He has been always cast down through his own fault ; he has himself always created the germ of those evils which have come upon him; but he has always found a foreign hand to rescue him from every misfortune.
• His hatred of enlightened ideas, and the fear which he entertains of well-informed men, are features in his character which have exercised, and will continue to exercise, great influence upon the destinies of Spain. She, unhappily, gives herself up to the most profound ignorance, while all the other communities of Europe nobly emulate each other in improving the useful sciences. Ferdinand abhors those sciences as dangerous enemies; and although public opinion does not set him down as a devotee, nor even supposes him to be sincerely religious, he will always continue to favour fanaticism as the best auxiliary of absolute power, which is the idol of his soul, and the most irresistible of his inclinations.' pp. 266, 7.
The most interesting and important part of the present Me. moirs, is that which discloses the intrigues of Russia. It is affirmed that, during the residence of Tatistcheff, the Russian minister, in the Peninsula, there was not a transaction of the slightest importance in any department of the State, to which he did not give his sanction; and that his influence was
never exerted, except for the purpose of degrading the Spanish 'nation. Our limits will not admit of our entering upon this subject; and we must, therefore, refer our readers to the vo- lume itself, which is in every respect deserving of attention. It
is an inconvenient omission, that it appears without any index for table of contents. The history of Ferdinand is, in what must be termed the First Part of the work, brought down to his restoration in 1814, which is expressively characterised as'' Pan.
dora's box for the unhappy nation. The history of the six years which elapsed from that period, till the re-establishment of the Constitution in 1820, forms the Second Part, which is comprised under five sections: Foreign Relations-Government of the Interior-Ecclesiastical Affairs - Finance, War and Marine. To these are added a chapter of miscellaneous anecdotes and an appendix of documents. The following remarks on the subject of foreign relations', furnish, no one can now doubt, a key to the conduct of the Holy Alliance, although to
have entertained a doubt of their good faith and purity of intention, would, but a short time back, have been stigmatised as folly and radicalism.
• The system of government adopted by Ferdinand upon his return to Spain, was eminently suitable to the views of the Holy Alliance, and particularly agreeable to the high personages of which that body was composed. When the sovereigns were restored to the tranquil enjoyment and secure possession of their thrones, by the energy and virtue of their people, ihey naturally apprehended a reaction on the part of the latter, if, in exchange for the patriotism which they had shewn, and the sacrifices which they had made, their rulers were to give them again absolute and despotic governments. Hence the lan. guage of the monarchs was, in the beginning, mild and conciliatory. Hence they held out the most flattering hopes to their subjects, believing that it was expedient still to speak in that liberal tone, in which Alexander addressed the inhabitants of Poland. The most enlightened diplomatic persons of Trurope were of opinion, that it was necessary to concede advantages to the middling classes of society, which had so efficaciously contributed to the destruction of the common enemy; and he who would then have ventured to propose, in the councils of the sovereigns, those extensions of the royal power which have since taken place throughout Europe, would have been deemed a rash adviser, if not a real enemy of crowned heads. The Holy Alliance was then precisely in the situation of those fortunate men, who, being desirous of accomplishing a great enterprise, and not possessing courage enough to take the first step, from not knowing whether the ground is or is not safe, find another man of less prudence and less fear, who boldly ventures of his own free will to make an experiment of the danger, and teaches them, by his example, the evils or the advantages which they have to expect. Francis, Louis, and Alexander, saw in Spain the caput mortuum of this grand experiment of arbitrary power. They left Ferdinand to work at his ease, in order that they might observe to what extent the patience of nations would go; and when they saw that the people who had fought with so much glory, and during so many years, in defence of their king and their liberties, yielded with such docility to the yoke which was imposed upon them, they calculated that the same thing would be done by their own subjects, who had acquired comparatively inferior titles to the gratitude of their rulers. Europe has witnessed the purposes to which this direful lesson has been applied, and the general imitation of that principle to which the conduct of Ferdinand imparted 80 much consistency and strength. pp. 137–139.
Art. VI. The Annual Biography and Obituary for the Year 1824.
Vol. VIII. 8vo. Price 123. London. 1824. IN the present volume of this convenient work, the analysis I of biographical works and the neglected biography are.