The Rumours about Mazzini's Arrest. The Austrian Compulsory Loan. Spain.

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 12 September 1854


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First published in the New York Daily Tribune, No. 4197, September 30;
reprinted in the New York Semi-Weekly Tribune, No. 976, October 3, 1854
Reproduced from the New York Daily Tribune
Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 13 (pp.455-460), Progress Publishers, Moscow 1980
Collection(s): New York Tribune

This article was entered in the Notebook as "Dienstag. 12. September. Spain. [illegible]".

London, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 1854

The papers contain diverse rumors about Mazzini's arrest at Bale. I have received the following information from a friend: Mazzini was really arrested by two gendarmes at Zurich, but only for a few hours, after which he escaped. This escape was facilitated by another Italian causing himself to be arrested simultaneously at another place by pretending to be Mazzini. By this coup the authorities were misled, and M. Druey himself telegraphed from Berne to Geneva, that no further investigations would be required, as Mazzini was in prison. It is supposed that the person arrested in Mazzini's stead is Saffi, while some say it is a Hungarian officer of the name of Türr.

The Milan Gazette[1] of the 31st August takes pleasure in announcing that the municipal council of Pavia have resolved in their sitting of the 28th August, to participate in the national loan by subscribing for 200,000 florins. In contrast to this statement a non-official paper publishes the following as the real resolution of the Council in question:

"The Municipality of Pavia subscribes for the quota imposed on and fixed for the town of Pavia; but it does so neither as Representative of the Commune, nor in their quality as contributors, but only as an organ of Government, and as dependent on the executive power to which it is bound by the circular of 1830 to absolute obedience, as well as in execution of the orders transmitted to it by the Lieutenant-General[2] on Aug. 7."

At Treviso also the voluntary loan has only been subscribed to in consequence of direct menace. From the statement of the Trieste Council, it appears that even in that arch-Austrian loyal city the loan is neither voluntary nor so very generally taken as represented by the Austrian journals:

"Our commune has subscribed for another million of the national loan. The Magistrates hereby announce that this sum will be distributed among the contributors who have taken no part hitherto in the loan or not in proportion to their fortune. The 6th of September is, at the same time, fixed as the last term for voluntary subscriptions. The Council hope that everybody will hasten to profit by the advantages held out by the loan, the more so as, after the above term, the Council will be under the grievous necessity of proceeding by force."

The reactionary press is not yet satisfied with the late measures of the Spanish Government; they grumble at the fact that a new compromise had been entered into with the revolution. Thus we read in the Journal des Débats:

"It was only on the 7th August when Espartero declared 'that in conformity with the wishes of the people of Madrid, the Duchess of Riánsares[3] should not leave the capital, either by day or night, or in any furtive manner.' It is only on the 28th August that Queen Cristina, after a detention of twenty-one days, is allowed to depart in broad day, with a sort of ostentation. But the Government has been weak enough to order, simultaneously, the confiscation of her estates."[4]

The Débats now hopes that this order will be cancelled. But the hopes of the Débats are, perhaps, in this instance, even more doomed to disappointment than when it uttered faint hopes that confiscation of the Orleans estates[5] would not be carried out by Bonaparte. The Jefe Politico of Oviedo has already proceeded to sequestrate the coal mines possessed by Cristina in the Province of Asturias. The directors of the mines of Siero, Langreo, and Piero Corril have received orders to make a statement and to place their administration under the Government.

With regard to the "broad day" in which the Débats effects the departure of Cristina, they are very wrongly informed. Queen Cristina on leaving her apartments, crossed the corridors in dead silence everybody being studiously kept out of the way. The National Guard occupying the barracks in the court of the Palace were not aware of her departure. So secretly was the whole plan arranged that even Garrigó, who was to have charge of her escort, only received his orders on the moment of starting. The escort only learned the mission with which they were intrusted at a distance of twelve miles from Madrid, when Garrigó had all sorts of difficulties in preventing his men from either insulting Cristina or returning direct to Madrid. The chiefs of the National Guard did not learn anything of the affair until two hours after the departure of Mme. Muñoz. According to the statement of the España she reached the Portuguese frontier on the morning of the 3d September. She is said to have been in very good spirits on the journey, but her Duke was somewhat triste[6]. The relations of Cristina and this same Muñoz can only be understood from the answer given by Don Quixote to Sancho Panza's question why he was in love with such a low country wench as his Dulcinea, when he could have princesses at his feet:

"A lady," answered the worthy knight, "surrounded by a host of high-bred, rich, and witty followers, was asked why she took for her lover a simple peasant. You must know,' said the lady, 'that for the office I use him he possesses more philosophy than Aristotle himself.'"[7]

The view taken by the reactionary press in general on Spanish affairs may be judged of by some extracts from the Kölnische Zeitung and the Indépendance beige:

"According to a well-informed and trustworthy correspondent, himself an adherent of O'Donnell and the Moderado party,—says the former,—the position of affairs is grievous, a deep conflict continuing to exist among parties. The working classes are in a state of permanent excitement, being worked upon by the agitators."

"The future of the Spanish monarchy," says the Indépendance, "is exposed to great dangers. All true Spanish patriots are unanimous on the necessity of putting down the revolutionary orgies. The rage of the libelers and of the constructors of barricades is let loose against Espartero and his Government with the same vehemence as against San Luis and the banker Salamanca. But, in truth, this chivalrous nation cannot be held responsible for such excesses. The people of Madrid must not be confounded with the mob that vociferated 'Death to Cristina,' nor for the infamous libels launched among the population, under the title of 'Robberies of San Luis, Cristina and the Acolytes.' The 1,800 barricades of Madrid and the ultra Communist manifestations of Barcelona bespeak the intermeddling of foreign Democracy with the Spanish Saturnalia. So much is certain, that a great number of the refugees of France, Germany and Italy have participated in the deplorable events now agitating the Peninsula. So much is certain, that Spain is on the brink of a social conflagration; the more immediate consequences will be the loss of the Pearl of the Antilles, the rich Island of Cuba, because it places Spain in the impossibility to combat American ambition, or the patriotism of a Soulé or Saunders. It is time that Spain should open her eyes, and that all honest men of civilized Europe should combine in giving the alarm."

[8]

It certainly requires no intervention of foreign democracy to stir up the population of Madrid when they see their Government break on the 28th the word given on the 7th; suspend the right of freely assembling, and restore the press-law of 1837, requiring a cautionnement[9] of 40,000 reals and 300 reals of direct taxes on the part of every editor[10]. If the provinces remain agitated by uncertain and undecided movements, what other reason are we to find for this fact, but the absence of a center for revolutionary action? Not a single decree beneficent to the provinces has appeared since the so-called revolutionary government fell into the hands of Espartero. The provinces behold it surrounded by the same sycophancy, intrigues, and place hunting that had subsisted under San Luis. The same swarm hangs about the Government the plague which has infested Spain since the age of the Philips.[11]

Let us just cast a glance at the last number of the Madrid Gaceta of the 6th September[12]. There is a report of O'Donnell announcing a superabundance of military places and honors to such a degree that out of every three generals only one can be employed on active service. It is the very evil which has cursed Spain since 1823 this superincumbrance of generals. One would fancy that a decree was to follow abating the nuisance. Nothing of the sort. The decree following the report convokes a consultative junta of war, composed of a certain number of generals, appointed by the Government from generals holding at present no commission in the army. Besides their ordinary pay these men are to receive: each Lieutenant-General 5,000 reals, and each Maréchal-de-Camp 6,000 reals. General Manuel de la Concha has been named President of this military sinecurist junta. The same number of the Gaceta presents another harvest of decorations, appointments, etc., as if the first great distribution had failed to do its work. San Miguel and Dulce have received the grand-cross of the order of Charles III; all the recompenses and provisional honors decreed by the junta of Saragossa are confirmed and enlarged. But the most remarkable portion of this number of the Gaceta is the announcement that the payment of the public creditors will be resumed on the 11th inst. Incredible folly of the Spanish people not to be satisfied with these achievements of their revolutionary government!

Travellers who have recently arrived from Wallachia give a very distressing account of the state of that Principality. It is known that Russia saddled the Principalities with a debt of 14,000,000 francs, on account of the occupation in 1848-49. This sum has been raised - by the Russian generals during the late occupation. The Russians retreat after having emptied all the chests—the vestry chests, the central chests of the monasteries, the municipal chests—and it is with the contents of these that they have paid the supplies contracted for with the Wallachian proprietors and peasants. But the transports, which make a very important item in an agricultural country, wood, coals, straw, etc., were not paid at all, but simply foraged. The treasury of the Principalities accordingly is so much exhausted that the vestries are expected to become bankrupt. All this without taking into account the use of the houses transformed into hospitals, and the thousands of property intrusted to Russian hands from the fear of the boyards of Turkish robbery.

We read in a letter from Athens, dated 29th August:

"The King continues to refuse any indemnity to Turkey. The hatred against the Occidental troops increases, and already several French soldiers have been ill-treated by the people."

It would be a curious history to expose to your readers how the Greek communities have been dissolved by British influence—how Capo d'Istria was imposed upon them, and how the whole of this people has been demoralized by the agency of Lord Palmerston. The honest intentions of the British Government even at this moment of their intervention in Greece, are sufficiently betrayed by the support it gives to General Kalergis, a man, like Capo d'Istria, born, bred and domiciliated in Russia.

Lord Stratford de Redcliffe and the British Government have at length obtained what they have labored to bring about—a revolution in Turkey, if not in Europe, at least in Anatolia. We knew already by reports from Rhodes, that on the coast opposite this island, the Zeybeks, a warlike Ottoman mountain-tribe, had revolted. The Journal de Constantinople of 20th Aug. now announces that anarchy in those parts is daily increasing. The rebels, in the absence of the regular army, constantly descend from the mountains, invade the villages, raise the tithes, plunder the inhabitants and caravans, violate the women, and murder every one that resists. Their excesses are gravest in the province of Mestescak. From Aiden the Governor has been obliged to flee to Thira. Denissli is in their hands, and the mufti Sahib Effendi, who went to inform the Governor-General, has been seized and beheaded with his followers. Their strength amounts to thousands. The source of these disturbances are the Bashi-Bazouks returning from Kars and Bayazid, who denounce the Porte for its oppression toward the Turks and its submission toward Russia.

If we cast a look at Europe, we meet with symptoms of revolution in Spain, Italy, Denmark, the Danubian Principalities, Greece, Asiatic Turkey; and even in the ranks of the French army at Varna, the cry has resounded, "À bas les singes!"[13]

  1. Gazzetta Ufficiale di Milano.—Ed.
  2. Radetzky.—Ed.
  3. Maria Cristina.—Ed.
  4. Journal des Débuts, September 12, 1854.—Ed.
  5. The confiscation of the estates of the House of Orleans was decreed by Louis Bonaparte on January 22, 1852.
  6. Sad.—Ed.
  7. Cervantes, Don Quixote, T. I, Ch. 25.—Ed.
  8. Report of the Paris correspondent of September 3. L'Indépendance belge, No. 247, September 4, 1854.—Ed.
  9. Caution money.—Ed.
  10. The press law promulgated in Spain on March 22, 1837 abolished preliminary censorship, but imposed high caution money and stipulated strict responsibility of authors and editors for the material published. Later several supplementary laws were passed making the prescriptions of the 1837 law more rigid; the most severe of them was the law of 1852, which reintroduced preliminary censorship. The reference is presumably to this law and not that of 1842.
  11. By the age of the Philips, Marx means the reign of the Spanish kings Philip II (1556-98), Philip III (1598-1621) and Philip IV (1621-65).
  12. The review of the Madrid Gaceta for September 6 is given according to a reprint in Le Moniteur universel, No. 255, September 12, 1854.—Ed.
  13. Here a derogatory nickname for generals who supported Napoleon III. Marx informed Engels about this evidence of the growth of anti-Bonapartist sentiment in the French army on September 13, 1854. He wrote in greater detail about this on September 25 of the same year in his article for the New York Daily Tribune (see The Attack on Sevastopol).