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The Spanish Revolution.—
Greece and Turkey[223]

Karl Marx

London, Friday, July 21, 1854

"Ne touchez pas à la Reine" (Touch not the Queen) is an old Castilian maxim, but the adventurous Madame Muñoz[a] and her daughter Isabella have too long overstepped the rights of even Castilian Queens not to have outworn the loyal prejudices of the Spanish people.

The pronunciamentos of 1843[224] lasted three months; those of 1854 have scarcely lasted as many weeks. The Ministry is dissolved, Count San Luis has fled, Queen Cristina is trying to reach the French frontier, and at Madrid both troops and citizens have declared against the Government.

The revolutionary movements of Spain since the commencement of the century offer a remarkably uniform aspect, with the exception of the movements in favor of provincial and local privileges which periodically agitate the northern provinces, every palace-plot being attended by military insurrections, and these invariably dragging municipal pronunciamentos in their train. There are two causes for this phenomenon. In the first place, we find that what we call the State in a modern sense has, from the exclusively provincial life of the people, no national embodiment in opposition to the Court, except in the army. In the second place, the peculiar position of Spain and the Peninsular war[225] created conditions under which it was only in the army that everything vital in the Spanish nationality was permitted to concentrate. Thus it happens that the only national demonstrations (those of 1812 and of 1822[226]) proceeded from the army; and thus the movable part of the nation has been accustomed to regard the army as the natural instrument of every national rising. During the troublesome epoch from 1830 to 1854, however, the cities of Spain came to know. that the army, instead of continuing to uphold the cause of the nation, was changed into an instrument for the rivalries of the ambitious pretenders to the military guardianship of the Court. Consequently, we find the movement of 1854 very different even from that of 1843. The émeute of General O'Donnell was looked upon by the peoples as anything but a conspiracy against the leading influence at the Court, especially as it was supported by the ex-favorite Serrano. The towns and country accordingly demurred to giving any response to the appeal made by the cavalry of Madrid. It was thus that General O'Donnell was. forced to alter entirely the character of his operations, in order not to remain isolated and exposed to failure. He was forced to insert in his proclamation three points[b] equally opposed to the supremacy of the army: the convocation of the Cortes, an economical Government, and the formation of a national militia the last demand originating in the desire of the towns to recover their independence of the army. It is a fact, then, that the military insurrection has obtained the support of a popular insurrection only by submitting to the conditions of the latter. It remains to be seen whether it will be constrained to adhere to them and to execute these promises.

With the exception of the Carlists[227], all parties have raised their cry Progresistas, partisans of the Constitution of 1837[228], partisans of the Constitution of 1812, Unionists (demanding the annexation of Portugal), and Republicans. The news concerning the latter party is to be received with caution, since it has to pass the censure of the Paris police. Beside these party struggles, the rival pretensions of the military leaders are in full development. Espartero had no sooner heard of the success of O'Donnell than he left his retreat at Leganes and declared himself the chief of the movement. But as soon as Caesar Narvaez learned of the appearance of his old Pompey in the field, he forthwith offered his services to the Queen, which were accepted, and he is to form a new Ministry. From the details I am about to give you, it will be seen that the military has by no means taken the initiative in all places, but that in some they have had to yield to the overpowering pressure of the population.

Besides the pronunciamentos in Valencia, reported in my last[c], there has been one at Alicante. In Andalusia, pronunciamentos have taken place at Granada, Seville and Jaen. In Old Castile, there has been a pronunciamento at Burgos; in Leon, at Valladolid; in Biscay, at San Sebastian and Vitoria; in Navarre, at Tolosa, Pamplona and Guipuzcoa; in Aragon, at Saragossa; in Catalonia, at Barcelona, Tarragona, Lerida and Gerona; there is said, also, to have been a pronunciamento in the Islas Baleares. In Murcia, pronunciamentos were expected to take place, according to a letter from Cartagena, dated July 12, which says:

"In consequence of a bando[d] published by the Military Governor of the place, all the inhabitants of Cartagena possessed of muskets and other arms, have been ordered to depose them with the civil authorities within twenty-four hours. On the demand of the Consul of France[e], the Government has allowed the French residents to depose their arms, as in 1848, at the Consulate."[f]

Of all these pronunciamentos, four only deserve particular mention, viz.: those of San Sebastian in Biscay, Barcelona the capital of Catalonia, Saragossa the capital of Aragon, and Madrid.

In Biscay the pronunciamentos originated with the Municipalities, in Aragon with the military. The Municipality of San Sebastian was pronouncing in favor of the insurrection, when the demand for the armament of the people was raised. The city was immediately covered with arms. Not till the 17th could the two battalions garrisoning the town be induced to join. The fusion between the citizens and the military having been completed, 1,000 armed citizens accompanied by some troops set out for Pamplona, and organized the insurrection in Navarre. It was only the appearance of the armed citizens from San Sebastian which facilitated the rising of the Navarrese capital. General Zabala joined the movement afterward and went to Bayonne, inviting the soldiers and officers of the Cordova regiment, who had fled there upon their late defeat at Saragossa, immediately to return to their country and to meet him at San Sebastian. According to some reports he subsequently marched upon Madrid to place himself under the orders of Espartero, while other reports state that he was on the march to Saragossa to join the Aragonese insurgents.[g] General Mazarredo, the commander of the Basque provinces, refusing to take part in the pronunciamento of Vitoria, was obliged to retire to France. The troops under orders of General Zabala are two battalions of the regiment of Bourbon, a battalion of carabiniers, and a detachment of cavalry. Before dismissing the subject of the Basque provinces I may state as something characteristic, that the Brigadier Barrastegui, who has been named Governor of Guipuzcoa, is one ,of Espartero's former aides-de-camp.

At Barcelona the initiative was apparently taken by the military, but the spontaneity of their act becomes very doubtful from the additional information we have received. On the 13th of July, at 7 o'clock P.M., the soldiers occupying the barracks of San Pablo, and of the Buen Suceso, yielded to the demonstrations of the populace and declared their pronunciamento, under the cry of Vive la Reine; Vive la Constitution; death to the Ministers; away with Cristina! After having fraternized with the mass, and marched along with them over the Rambla, they halted at the Plaza of the Constitution. The cavalry, kept indoors at the Barceloneta[h] for the previous six days, because of the distrust it inspired to the Captain-General, made a pronunciamento in its turn. From this moment the whole garrison passed over to the people, and all resistance on the part of the authorities became impossible. At 10 o'clock General Marchesi, the Military Governor, yielded to the general pressure, and at midnight the Captain-General of Catalonia[i] announced his resolution to side with the movement. He went to the place of the Ayuntamiento where he harangued the people, filling the place. On the 18th, a junta was formed composed of the Captain-General and other eminent persons, with the cry of the Constitution, the Queen and Morality. Further news from Barcelona states that some workmen had been shot on the order of the new authorities, because they had destroyed machinery and violated property; also, that a Republican Commit-tee convened in a neighboring town, had been arrested[j]; but it should be recollected that this news passes through the hands of the Second of December[229] whose special vocation it is to calumniate republicans and workmen.

At Saragossa it is said that the initiative proceeded from the military —a statement which becomes invalidated, however, by the additional remark that the formation of a militia corps was immediately resolved upon. So much is certain, and is confirmed by the Madrid Gaceta itself[k], that before the pronunciamento of Saragossa 150 soldiers of the Montesa regiment (cavalry) on the march to Madrid and quartered at Torrejon (five leagues[l] from Madrid) revolted and abandoned their chiefs, who arrived at Madrid on the evening of the 13th with the regimental chest. The soldiers, under command of Captain Baraiban, mounted horse and took the road to Huete, being supposed to intend joining the force under Colonel Buceta at Cuenca. As for Madrid, against which Espartero is said to be marching with the "army of the center," and General Zabala, with the army of the north, it was natural that a town which subsists upon the Court should be the last to join in the insurrectionary movement. The Gaceta of the 15th inst. still published a bulletin from the Minister of War[m] asserting the factions to be in flight, and the enthusiastic loyalty of the troops increasing. Count San Luis, who seems to have very correctly judged of the situation at Madrid, announced to the workmen that General O'Donnell and the anarchists would deprive them of all employment, while if the Government succeeded, it would employ all workingmen on the public works for six reals (75 cents) a day. By this stratagem San Luis hoped to enroll the most excitable portion of the Madrileños under his banner. His success, however, was like that of the party of the National at Paris in 1848[230]. The allies he had thus gained soon became his most dangerous enemies the funds for their support being exhausted on the sixth day. How much the Government dreaded a pronunciamento in the capital is evident from General Lara's (the Governor's) proclamation forbidding the circulation of any news respecting the progress of the insurrection[n]. It appears, further, that the tactics of General Blaser were restricted to the care of avoiding any contact with the insurgents, Jest his troops should catch the infection. It is said that the first plan of General O'Donnell was to meet the Ministerial troops on the plains of La Mancha, so favorable to cavalry operations. This plan, however, was abandoned in consequence of the arrival of ex-favorite Serrano, who was in connection with several of the principal towns of Andalusia. The Constitutional army thereupon determined, instead of remaining in La Mancha, to march upon Jaen and Seville.

It may be observed, en passant, that the boletines[o] of General Blaser bear a wonderful resemblance to the orders of the day of the Spanish generals of the sixteenth century, which gave such occasion for hilarity to Francis I, and of the eighteenth century, which Frederick the Great turned into ridicule.

It is plain that this Spanish insurrection must become a source of dissension between the Governments of France and England, and the report given by a French paper that General O'Donnell was concealed previous to the outbreak, in the palace of the British Embassador[p], is not likely to lessen the misgivings of Bonaparte on its account. There exists already some commencement of irritation between Bonaparte and Victoria; Bonaparte expected to meet the Queen at the embarkation of his troops from Calais, but Her Majesty answered his desire by a visit to the ex-Queen Amélie on the same day. Again, the English Ministers when interpellated about the non-blockade of the White Sea, the Black Sea, and the sea of Azov, alleged as their excuse the alliance with France. Bonaparte retorted by an announcement of those very blockades in the Moniteur, without waiting for the formal consent of England[q]. Lastly, a bad effect having been produced in France by the embarkation of French troops in British vessels only, Bonaparte published a list of French vessels destined for the same use and applied to it.

The Porte has communicated to the representatives of the four allied powers a note[r] concerning the authority given to the Greek merchant ships again to enter Turkish ports. This authorization is to be valid for two months, on condition that the Greek Government does not render itself guilty of any act justifying its suspension. If, at the expiration of this term, the Greek Government shall have failed to give satisfactory reparation to the Porte, the latter reserves to itself the right of reestablishing the actual status quo. Greek ships in the Turkish ports will be subject to the local authorities, and deprived of any appeal to other protection. Within the two months the basis of an arrangement and of a commercial treaty will be negotiated. The indemnity claimed by the Porte for the immense damage done by the Greek insurrection is to be regulated by arbitration, on the report of a committee of inquiry, to be sent to the proper places, and composed of Frenchmen, Englishmen, Turks and Greeks.

Shamyl has been officially invested by the Porte with the title of Generalissimo of the army of Circassia and Georgia.

Three dragomans in the service of the French army have been shot at Varna, all of them having been found to correspond with the Russians. Two of them were Greeks and one Armenian. At the moment of his execution, one of them swallowed a paper of a compromising character.

We are informed from Hermannstadt, on the 16th inst., that no engagement has yet taken place in the vicinity of Frateshti.[s]

The arrival of the allied forces at Rustchuk was, of course, a lie[t], and their whole aim, in the present instance, will be to keep under restraint as The Times calls it the barbarous fury of the victorious Turks. [u]

Written on July 21, 1854
First published in the New-York Daily Tribune, No. 4148, August 4;
reprinted in the New-York Semi-Weekly Tribune, No. 960, August 8
and the New-York Weekly Tribune, No. 674, August 12, 1854
Reproduced from the New-York Daily Tribune
Signed: Karl Marx


[a] Maria Cristina.—Ed.

[b] See this volume, p. 305—Ed.

[c] See this volume, p. 306.—Ed.

[d] Order.—Ed.

[e] Ligier.—Ed.

[f] Le Moniteur universel, No. 201, July 20, 1854.—Ed.

[g] Telegraphic dispatch from Paris of July 21, 1854. The Times, No. 21799, July 21, 1854.—Ed.

[h] A suburb of Barcelona situated on the peninsula (partly artificial) which separates the port of Barcelona from the open sea.—Ed.

[i] La Rocha.—Ed.

[j] This information is given according to the official French Bonapartist newspapers Le Moniteur universel, Nos. 200 and 201, July 19 and 20 and the Journal des Débats, July 21, 1854.—Ed.

[k] The data from the Madrid Gaceta given here and below have been taken from the reprint in Le Moniteur universel, Nos. 200 and 201, July 19 and 20, 1854.—Ed.

[l] A league is equal to 4.83 kilometres.—Ed.

[m] Blaser y San Martin. Bulletin of July 15, 1854, Le Moniteur universel, No a 201, July 20, 1854.—Ed.

[n] General Lara's proclamation of June 28, 1854. Le Moniteur universel, No. 185, July 4, 1854.—Ed.

[o] Bulletins.—Ed.

[p] Sir John Caradoc.—Ed.

[q] This information is taken from Le Moniteur universel, No. 196, July 15, 1854.—Ed.

[r] Marx, apparently, got this information through the Polish or Hungarian refugees in London. The text of the note was published later in the Journal des Débats on July 28, 1854.—Ed.

[s] Le Moniteur universel, No. 202, July 21, 1854.—Ed.

[t] See this volume, p. 303.—Ed.

[u] The Times, No. 21799, July 21, 1854, leader.—Ed.

[223] This article is entered in the Notebook as "Freitag 21 July. Spain: Presumably, part of the material of this article was included by the editors of the Tribune in the preceding one (see Note 218↓).

[224] The pronunciamentos of 1843—a counter-revolutionary military mutiny organised in May by generals Narváez, Concha and others against the dictatorship of Espartero, leader of the Progresistas (see Note 210↓). Some of the Progresistas, dissatisfied with the dictator's policy, supported the mutiny. On July 30, 1843, Espartero fled from the country, General Narváez, a leader of the Moderados, who found support among the big landowners, became the dictator. Thus the third Spanish revolution (1834-43) came to an end and reaction set in till the fourth revolution (1854-56).

[225] The Peninsular war or Spanish war (1808-14)—a war fought by Britain against France on Spanish and Portuguese territory. Simultaneously with it, the Spanish and Portuguese peoples waged a war of independence against France (see this volume, pp. 400-23).

[226] Marx has in mind the 1812 Cadiz Constitution adopted during the first Spanish bourgeois revolution (see this volume, pp. 424-33) and events of the second Spanish bourgeois revolution (1820-23) which reached its peak in 1822. After the defeat of the monarchist conspiracy in the summer of 1822, representatives of the Left wing of the revolutionary movement—the exaltados, with Riego as one of their leaders, came to power. They were supported by democratic officers, urban middle and petty bourgeoisie, artisans and workers.

[227] The Carlists—a reactionary clerico-absolutist group in Spain consisting of adherents of the pretender to the Spanish throne Don Carlos, the brother of Ferdinand VII. Relying on the military and the Catholic clergy, and also making use of the support of the backward peasants in some regions of Spain, the Carlists launched in 1833 a civil war which in fact turned into a struggle between the feudal-Catholic and liberal-bourgeois elements and led to the third bourgeois revolution (1834-43).

[228] On the Progresistas, see Note 210↓. On the Constitution of 1837, see Note 213↓.

[229] On December 2, 1851 Louis Bonaparte made a coup d'état by dissolving the Legislative Assembly; "the hands of the Second of December" means Napoleon III's Government.

[230] In March 1848 the Provisional Government of the French Republic, in which the party of moderate bourgeois republicans grouped around the newspaper Le National played the leading part, organised national workshops in Paris in the hope of using those employed there in their own struggle against the revolutionary proletariat. This attempt to split the working class was a failure; the workers of these workshops formed the core of the June 1848 insurrection.

[210] The liberal-bourgeois Progresista party was formed in the 1830s. The Progresistas found support among the urban middle and petty bourgeoisie, intellectuals and some officers. Their principal demand was restriction of the power of the monarchy (see also Note 193↓).

[213] There are inaccuracies in the appraisal of the proclamations of O'Donnell (the so-called Manzanares Manifesto adopted in Manzanares, La Mancha, on July 7, 1854) and of Dulce. This is presumably because Marx did not have the texts of the proclamations when he wrote the article. The proclamations were published in the Journal des Débats only on July 17, 1854 (see this volume, p. 305).

[218] This article is entered in the Notebook as "Dienstag 18. Juli. Österreich. Türkei. Spanien. Ministerkrisis. Peithman". The analysis of the sources used in the article allows us to assume that it was heavily edited by the Tribune editors who presumably arbitrarily combined the material of this article and of the subsequent one: "The Spanish Revolution. —Greece and Turkey". Both articles, dispatched to America by the steamships Alps and Canada on July 19 and 22 respectively, arrived in New York almost at the same time and were published on August 3 and 4, 1854. The article "A Congress at Vienna" was included by Eleanor Marx in The Eastern Question.

[193] This refers to a military coup (pronunciamento) in Madrid on June 28, 1854. Since the spring of 1854 the Spanish people's dissatisfaction with their great economic hardships and with their reactionary government had been growing stronger; it intensified especially after the dissolution of the Cortes which tried to oppose the government decree that taxes must be paid six months in advance. The leaders of the pronunciamento, generals O'Donnell and Dulce, who pursued personal aims in the overthrow of the Sartorius dictatorship in Spain, were compelled to promise certain bourgeois tax reforms. They also promised to do away with the camarilla, to convene the Cortes, form a national militia and introduce other changes. Participation of the popular masses in the struggle led to the bourgeois revolution of 1854-56, which in 1854 again brought to power the Progresista Party headed by Espartero (see Note 210↑). Frightened by the activity of the broad masses, however, the bourgeoisie sided with the counter-revolution, and in 1856 extreme reactionaries returned to power.

Source: Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 13 (pp.309-315), Progress Publishers, Moscow 1980
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