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that the means above adopted, would have been insuffi. cient, if nothing strenuous and urgent was added thereto. But there was a dread to offend, and there, besides, ap. peared an apprehension, that a strong interest in the case, would rather impede than promote beneficial consequences. Yet the most powerful motives urged England to run the risk, since it was by her aid and guarantee only, that socialorder could be restored to Spanish America.
Ireland, as the rights of the American provinces will clearly demonstrate, stands exactly on the same relative basis to England, as the ultramarine provinces do to Spain; and had she, as a sister kingdom, been treated as the latter have been, for three hundred years, not only the impartial of our own island, but even those of the whole world, would respect the ally who interfered to better her situation ; who, by energetic stipulations, and warm expostulations, endeavoured to close her wounds, to restore her long invaded rights, and to place her inhabitants on the footing of men; more especially, if the half of the force, thus to be obtained, was essentially necessary to give efficacy to the exertions of the whole alliance. It would be the extreme of delicacy, for one pilot, calmly to behold another, steering a vessel on a hidden rock, without adverting him of his danger, and insisting on a change of course, if blindness made him persist in his obstinacy. Nations interfere for one another, to obtain peace, and why could not we have done the same, in propitious moments, to obtain redress, and to preserve harmony and concord between our mutual allies ? If such exertions had been rendered fruitless, if, however, the voice of reason and of justice had been stifled amidst the cries of monopoly, rancour, and intemperance, it would then be the duty of that ally
to acquaint Ireland, in the strongest and most unequiyocal terms, that such exertions had been made, and had proved abortive. Yet, up to the present moment, the Spanish American provinces are ignorant, that England has ever raised her voice in their favour, that she has ever sighed over their wrongs and misfortunes, or that she has ever wished them an alleviation of those evils, which, from awe to Spain, she no longer dared to acknowledge, as existing. Spain, in rushing into an incon, siderate war with her ultramarine provinces, seems to have forgot how essential they were to her success, but that we should have been equally blind and wavering, is the most unaccountable of all political problems. Spain might have learnt from our own history and fatal experience, that it is first necessary to make a people happy and contented, by the restoration of their rights, before she could count on their allegiance.
But to carry on the simile. When the affairs and situation of Ireland, have been agitated and discussed in the parliaments and councils of England, not only ran.cour, partiality, and party spirit, have been banished from the debate, but the natives of the latter, have felt the most warm and cordial interest in the question, and in the rights and amelioration of the other, and have been actuated by a brotherly feeling, divested of jealousy, animosity, and pique. Had a glaring and open violation of the rights of the one, been ready to take place, the others would have felt the wrong as their own, and would have equally burned with resentment. Very different, are the facts to be deduced, from an impartial examination of what has occurred in the American question, and in the debates of the Cortes, in every stage through which it has gone.
· The Spanish Americans, naturally entertained great hopes, that in the new constitution of Spain, some general ground-work of reform, favourable to them, would be laid ; but, unfortunately, the basis of rights, on which there were to stand, not being properly defined and established, the new code has rather operated as an injury. Indeed, as long as the laws and statutes which are to govern the American provinces, are to be made in an European congress, particularly in one like that of Cadiz, situated amongst a powerful body of monopolizers, whose influence over the acts of government, is both manifest and undue; where such a disparity of votes is found, and where opinions and interests so materially clash, what hopes of strict and impartial justice can the former expect, more particularly now, since resentment is let loose, and the passions are wound up to the highest pitch ?
Confined as I am to the present question, as it relates to Spanish America, it would be foreign to my subject, in this place, to analize the whole of the new constitue tion of Spain; yet I cannot but observe, that from the general remarks I have been able to make, after an attentive perusal, I, by no means, think it is calculated to secure the person of the individual, from the grasp of arbitrary power, since, on the contrary, it leaves him subject to as much violation as before. I can scarcely augur that code to be lasting, which confounds the different and opposite classes, which takes away the dignities of the clergy, grandees, and nobles, which divests them of their national representation, and tends to level them with the other orders of the community. These åre bodies of extreme influence, in a country, that can scarcely be considered in any other light than feudal; where the peasantry depends on them, where no intermediate class of citizens counterpoises their ascendency, and where, besides, they hold the lands and chief riches of the state. Spain is ill prepared for a change so great and so sudden as this; and if so, it cannot be expected to prove a basis of permanent quiet, or tend to produce perfect unanimity. The return of King Ferdinand to Madrid, will, indeed, try the merits of the constitution, and the parties already forming, give rise to serious apprehensions, that it will not long stand its ground. .
The constitution formed by the Cortes of Spain, is the production of theorists, collected in the warm atmosphere of a popular assembly, and by no means prepared for such a task. ' In it, there is no division of powers, and the necessary equilibrium to maintain the whole fabric, is wanting. Under it, a king, master of an armed force, might be a tyrant, and the people would have no remedy. If, by the constitution of a state, is meant, the body of those written and unwritten fundamental laws, which regulate tho most important rights of the higher magistrates, and the most essential privileges of the subjects, such constitution can only be the work of time; for the attempt to change by violence the habits of men, and the established order of society, so as to fit them for an absolute new scheme of government, flows from presumptive ignorance, and must be accompanied with fatal results. How much more so, must not this be the case in Spain, where mental iniprovement is so backward, where innovation is beheld with so much dread, and where prejudices are yet so deeply-rooted. A free constitution, says the great Shipley, is the growth of time and of nature, rather than the work of human invention. Such, also, is the opinion of all our other political writers; the quick and ready manufacture of all kinds of constitutions, was the discovery of the Abbé Sieyes.
One of the chief excellencies of the admirable system of British polity, is, the reciprocity of controul, which thereby subjects every adopted measure of one branch of the legislature, to the investigation and refusal of another. By this means, if one body is actuated by passion, has not been sufficiently deliberate, or not in full possession of the requisite data ; if it should have judged hastily, unwisely, or partially, its resolutions are subject to the review and check of another body, where it is presumable, that the same motives of erroneous judgment, do not exist. In like manner, the Senate acts a check on the actions of the Congress of the United States; and indeed, any other system, is opposed to political expediency and the experience of ages. No check exists over the Cortes of Spain, who have hitherto acted as an executive as well as legislative body, since the ministers trembled to do any thing, without their previous concurrence. Spain may imagine she has received as the basis of her future happiness, a constitution founded on science and experience; but if we attend to the economy of providence, we shall discover, that be. neficial alterations, are not hasty and violent, but gentle and progressive. The sudden and quick (operations of nature, generally produce destruction; while, whatever js salutary, is mild and gradual. Experience shews, that human affairs proceed on a similar analogy ; valuable improvements are slow and gradual, but hasty changes are mischievous, and end in destruction. The present governing system of Spain, has served to introduce highly