By W. Flint, Old Bailey.





DURING the Campaign in Spain, the attentien
Of the public was so exclusively directed to the
military events in that country, that they had
scarcely leisure to attend-to the political trans-
actions of its government, much less to investi-
gate the principles upon which it was formed,
or to examine the tendency of the measures it

,The Provincial Juntas, struck out at the
.heat of the moment, were sufficient to inflame

11 • the


the enthusiasm of the _people, and to produce
the explosion to WhiCh-the'p6p-ular wishes had
previously given the proper direction ; but
they soon became assemblies of intrigue, cabal,
and corruption; 'and -

even where the embers of
public spirit remained in them, they were not
perceptible i,beyOnd,

the FI3Mitsf of 'their respec-
tive provinces. Disunion, if not civil war, was
apprehended; and the necessity of some me-
tropolitan government was generally felt, and
early acknowledged. Nearly all , Spaniards
joined in the propriety of establishing some
general government; though they differed as to

-the' persons'ho


'15rineiPles;jthe ' biasjOf
their professions,:' or the accidents of their'.local
interests arid -jaffeetilani. • ' `'Nfilitary' then 'Were
ienera' 1 averse;-to 'Juntas- and'Agseniblies;' ;an' d
would willingly - baVeVritrUstd Ac ii i,Able go-
vernment to a Regent. The gentlemen"011he
robe were all for leaving it in the hands of the
COuncirOf :Juntas,


reluctant to -part with their new-acquired autho-
rity, and still more with the patronage they had
veryi generally, assumed r and, used very lavishly,

were nevertheless inclined to acquiesce.. in any
expedient rather than submit to the Council of,
Castile, fromwhOln they could expect no favours,
and whose conduct in.the critical moments of tho
revolution, if susceptible of apology, was nei-
ther entitled to gratitude. nor reward.

After a, variety of intrigues and jealousies,
and one instance of considerable violence,*
the Deputies from, the , various Provincial. Juntas
met at A4ap.j-uqz on the 19th of September.;
and, with as much, pomp as the occasion re.:
quired, were invested with the authority of
the Supreme Government of the Kingdom, un-
der the title of Central or Supreme junta. The
tranquillity of their inauguration was, in .a
great measure, due to the forbearance and mo-


deration of General Castanos i
for it is univr7

* Qeneral Cuesta's imprisonment of VAL D ES, Deputy from Leon,



sally supposed in Spain, that nothing but his
. ,

concurrence was wanting for'he completion of
a Plan of provisional government, which
would have been purely and exclusively mili-
tary. In' 'that plan, General Cuesta was the
prime mover. The subsequent conduct of the
Central Junta, in acknowledging his real me-
rits, at a moment when his defeat would have
enabled them to ruin him in the estimation of
the 'public, is a rare instance of magnanimity
and justice, which deserves to be recorded ;
while, on the other hand, if report says true,
that gallant and popular veteran both feels and
shows his gratitude for such distinctions, in a
manner equally honourable to his -

head and

The Central Junta consists only of thirty-six
Deputies; a number too small for a popular as,-
sernbly, and yet too large (even if entirely com-
posed of able statesmen) for an Executive Go,
vernment or Council . of State. But there are
not greater defects in the constitution, than in,

the composition 'of that Assembly. it is true;
that, with the' exception of Don FRANCISC.d.
SAAVEDRA, who declined being a Deputy, and
has been since nominated Minister of Finance,
the persons most remarkable for their political
reputation and talents are to be found in the
list. But there is too • much reason to believe,
that, in most instances, the choice fell on in-
dividuals of no experience, and little capacity;
and, in some, on such as from their character
should have been excluded from any share of
authority in a well regulated state. Of the

• latter, however, the examples are very few;
and the Junta has been so well aware of them,
that, in the most flagrant instance, it has very
prudently sought a pretext for removing the
Deputy from the Seat of Government, by ap-
pointing him to a commission of no great im-
portance ; . but which, in all probability, the
culiar turn of his talents will convert into a pro-
fitable job for himself.

The most remarkable persons in the Junta,
at the time of its first formation, were Count

- 19

FLORIDA J3LANC.A. ;,Don Gaspar Melchor de Jo;

VELLAN.O • ; Don Antonio„.VA.Lns,, Knight of,
Malta; Prince.Pw;, Don •Martini Don,
LOreDZO, CALVO; and,: in.point . of rank,_ wealth,
and probity;, the Count of ALTAMIRA,. better.
known in England,. by the title of Afarquis,of

Prince PI°, who was an, accomplished man„
with considerable talents,, died soon after the
battle of Tudela; and was succeeded by the
Marquis of ROMANA, who has never quitted his
army to take his seat in the Junta.

Count FLORIDA BLANCA, though of a great age,
lived till the month of January, and died Pre!
sident . of the Central Junta in Seville,, 'where he
was interred with great pomp. He had been
named President for six months, from a know-
ledge of his unimpeachable integrity, from a
well-grounded confidence in his zeal for the
cause, from deference to 'his great experience,
from the popularity of his name, and an extra-
vagant admiration of his long ministry; which,

`Compared' with what followed<it, -seemed,to be
-the epoch of Spanish glory. and< prosperity. But
his Ialents;' mt : all times those of, an, adroit -poll-
tician -rather' thaa an : able: statesman, ;had not

-improved <by f rethtment ; land if:age , had • <not
, impaired•his factilties; :lnerther had it, abated his
love-Of-Tower, 's'we'etened his , temper, nor soft-

-ened'his prejudices:' wwas mit; only 'unfit' for
the ma.nagemenrof)a , machine2 so )•totallyldissi-

'thilar from' that which: he' had ionce been ,accus-
tomed tot.ivieldObtit; innred:hy l system' and ha-

‘ . bitto the stibstanee •asforms of arbitrary
monarchy, ; he(was on . `•*ery)oecasion as:ifearful

< :,the o people Whonfrhe tgoVerned, :as of.' the
`enemy•againsiZwhom -: he hoped! to-direct 'their
exertions. lExtremely <jealoust-01 his ;personal

-ilignity'andi.atithority; he clungt to the hetero-
geneous zform , < of ;Government <from uwhich • he

Chad i iderived, :lit; • and ihis, prejudices,iihis ..impa-
b tience'of contradiction, ...and his art in checking
Nu6stions %-ivilich, he could not-meet, mar:be
- 'Considered ••, as 5 the , - chief • causes of • The :,long
;=negle'ct' measures, -which it:Lwasl.'the
•Ifirst duty of the Central Junta to have adopted.

r-r. 17 Gs II'


They were, however., early called upon to
consider those measures by Don Gaspar
Chor de JOVELLANOS. That philosophical minis-

-ter, so justly celebrated for the variety and ex-
cellence of his literary productions, had been

:released from his long and unjust confinement,
by one of the first orders of the short-lived
power of Ferdinand the Seventh. He conse-
quently espoused the cause of his country and

-King, from motives of patriotism mixed with
personal gratitude. The same feelings induced
him to leave the retirement which he had sought

'to repair his shattered health, and, at the nomi-
nation of his native province of Asturias, to
:take his seat in the Junta. He immediately
called the attention of his colleagues to the
nature of their authority, and urged the neces-
sity of concentrating the executive government
without delay, and of placing the legislative
power on its .

only true basis, by fixing a period
for the convocation of the General Cortes of .the
kingdom. His motion was delivered in writ-
ing.; and as great apprehension was entertained


Of its publicity, the subject was promised to be
resumed . at a future period, and all discussion
upon it deprecated in the interval.

The same influence in the Junta procured a
decree, declaring the laws of Spain, with re-
spect to the Press, in full force ; and no opposi-
tion to this inexcusable measure has ever reached
us, but a protest of • CALvo, the Deputy from.
Saragossa. Let it not, however, be inferred,
that such a declaration excited neither disgust
nor disappointment in Spain. - The authors at
Madrid who had most distinguished themselves
in the :popular. cause; -and particularly that so-
ciety of literary men who conducted the . Sema-
nario Patriotico, (a work not less remarkable for
the liberality and boldness of its principles,
than : for ithe excellence of its style,) received
the intelligence with mixed emotions of concern
and -indignation. If, on -the subsequent re-
-verses -of fortune, every other feeling had not -

• been sacrificed to the cause of national 'inde-
pendence, there is no doubt but the friends • of

C a free

a free press would have formed a party, which,
would ultimately have proved fatal to the au...,
thority of the Junta. But the irruption of the.-
French made all good Spaniards suspend all
secondary considerations ; and those who had
been the objects of the ill-directed jealousy of..
the Government, were found in the hour of its,
adversity to be its steadiest and ablest sup-

On the arrival of the Junta at Seville, Don Pe.,
dro CEVALLOS, who had ingratiated himself with
Count FLORIDA BLANCA, was sent, according to
the dying request of the latter, on a special,
embassy to England; and the business of the
Foreign Office was transferred to Don Martin,
GARAY, Member and Secretary of the Junta;,
who, to high principle, and great talents for the
dispatch of business, adds the advantages of
very popular manners and the activity of a matt
in the vigour of life. One of his first measures
was the appointment, to what we should call the.
‘inder Secretaryship of State, of Don Manuel,


.QUI1s1-TANA, well known to the literary world for
his political compositions and other works, and
still more valued in Spain for the general libe-
rality of his principles, his inflexible indepen-
dence of character during the influence of the
Prince of the Peace, and his steady and disin-
terested attachment to the cause of his country ;
when he was exposed to the harder trial of resist'--
ing temptations offered him by General O'Farril,
and rejected with scorn the advances of per-
sons, whom till then. -he had been accustomed
to regard with esteem and affection.

• 'The first month of the residence of the Go-
vernment at Seville was a period of uncertainty
and consternation; in which botlythe public and
the Junta were chiefly occupied with projects of
defence, equipment of troops, ,and organiza.;
tion of armies. -Indeed, defective as the Central
Junta is, both in constitution and composition;
the disinterested spirit evinced in its appoint-
ment of civil and military officers. must be ac-,'
knowledged to be a phenomenon by those most

conversant -

I(: .17

conversant with tine character and' historystit

- and the enlistment, clothing, and
equipment of full 90,000- infantrY and 9000 ca.

the course of four months, ' in Anda4.

lusia,- Will hardly be considered as less miracn;
loos bryy persons who 'are acquainted with the

:nature, resources, and' habits of 'the

Provinces of Spain.'

• These merit's; undbubtedly,14ititle the present,
Government . of Spain to more praise than they
have met with ; but they 'do not render the ge,,,
neral narrowness of their system less unjusti-
fiable, or the or;igi nal defects of- their

lion less glaring 'Or dangerous. Indeed, the
doubtful nature of the' ..right :ThOn which their.
authority has "been founded, 'has :occurred more.
than 'once to persons, whom, in the discharge.
of their duties, " they have been compelled-to.
dis .place ; ..and. 'reflections . 'on 'the Ronsequences.
of a 'victory -or -a-defeat of their "armies, "which.
the approach of 'the enemy towards Andalusia,
must have .

forced upon the minds . of the-Mem-.

hers, have .no'•doubt 'convinced- them of the
-precarious tenure of their . -authority; and the
justice' of that prediction,. which told-them that
the only. eutkanasia. of so anomalous a body
was to be found: in.. the arms of . the. General
Cortes of the Kingdom.

The' principles originally laid down, with his
usual perspicuity and eloquence, by JovEL-
ii4N05, have gradually gained Proselytes among
his colleagues- ; and the dignity of his character
has given authority to .opinions which he was too
scrupulous to'urge by intrigue, and too mild
to enforce .with , yebernence or intimidation,
This worthy and truly philosophical . man, with
large and enlightened ..views, and eloquence
both' .. pathetic and convincing, feels so .much
disdain fo.r the_arts usually resorted to for ob-
taining political , power and importance, • that
he is perhaps justly suspected of neglecting
.even Abe legitimate and practical means • of
givihg.effect . to the notions. - which he espouses
and recommends. _ If, therefore, the Spanish,



people owe . the first mention 'of their rights to
his disinterested and inflexible patriotism, they
will not beless indebted to the activity and zeal.
of his younger associates, if any part' of his
designs is carried into execution;

Among these, CALVO and GARAY are the
most conspicuous in the Junta. The former,
a merchant of Madrid, took an early part in

. .

the revolution, had great influence with Gene=
ral Palafox, and on more occasions than one
distinguished himself, even among the defendL
ers . of Saragossa, for personal intrepidity, in
the course of the first memorable siege of that
city. His decision of character, and energy in
council, are said to be equal to his constitu-
tional bravery; and when convinced of the
necessity of a measure, 'he is not likely to' over-
look the favourable moment, or to omit the
most effectual means, of accomplishing it. - He
is supposed, within these . few weeks; to have
brought the question of the Government of
Spain to a crisis, by boldly avowing his deter«



- mination of publishing his opinion and the
grounds of it, if the measure of announcing a
convocation of the Cortes be not adopted.

In consequence of the instances of CALVO,
-the original motion of JOVELLANOS has been re
ferred to the various sections into which the
junta is divided ; and the substance of. it has
been approved of by all of them. It is gene-

• rally supposed, that a day-is actually fixed for
determining at what period the convocation of
the Cortes is to be fixed, and in what form and
language the resolution,' announcing that event'
to- the •publie, is' to be couched. There is too
much .reason to apprehend, that the period.
fixed for the Cortes will be remote ; for though
the perverse and prejudiced opposition, which-
is said to be fomented by RIQUELME, the
pity rfrom Grenada, may not be able to resist
the unquestionable rights of their countrymen;
they will probably be successful in withholding
the enjoyment of them from the people for a
.very considerable time.



If, indeed, there were any means of appti
sing the body of the people of the nature of the
measure in agitation, there is little doubt but
the general voice of the country would over-
whelm every impediment to its progress. But
the Provincial Juntas, too much disposed to
consider the exclusive interests of their own
body, are not likely to recommend a scheme,'
which, they would very reasonably infer, must
impair their influence, if not destroy.,their ex-
istence: and, exclusive of the severity- of the
laws respecting publications, the actual dearth
of printing presses, and persons capable of
working them, presents no small obstacle to
the diffusion of necessary knowledge upon such
topics throughout the country. The printing
presses at Seville, and in every town out of the
possession of the French, with the exception
perhaps of Valencia, are barely sufficient 'to
publish the edicts of the Government and the
news of the day. Don Pedro. CEVALLOS was
commissioned by the Government to procure a
press in London ; but, on frivolous pretences


of difficulties which might 'easily have been
overcome, it has not yet .,been furnished. These
circumstances are the more to be regretted,
because the preponderance of a liberal party in
the administration of the Government of Spain,
though unable to accomplish the total repeal of
the restrictive laws, might so far prevent the.
execution of them, that, with a proper degree
of circumspection and prudence, the purposes
of a free press at this moment might in a great
measure be accomplished.

Even under these disadvantages, the pub-
lication of the Semanario Patriotico has been
resumed; and as all the authors of it have
found their way to Seville, there is little doubt
but such a publication will be productive of the
most beneficial consequences to the 'cause of
Spanish Liberty and'Independence.

London, May, 1509,


Printcd by W. Flint, Old Bailey, London.