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I shall not stop to notice, particularly, the arrangements which have been made respecting the Ports and Custom-Houses, nor the improvements in the Commercial Tariffs, which, by enlarging the provisions of the latter, will tend to suppress smuggling, and to present every excitement to our industry.
It is impossible, however, to refrain from referring, with special eulogium, to two important measures which have been undertaken, viz: the territorial division of Spain, and the Penal Code, the last of which was most difficult and important;—the completion of which, at this period, is solely owing to the wisdom and zeal of the Cortes. To name them is alone sufficient to make known the value of those distinguished works, of which the necessity was evident, and the advantages of which will be handed down to future times, and cannot fail to be always manifest.
I congratulate myself at having to record these monuments of the Spanish character, which, firm in its purpose, always eventually succeeds in accomplishing the most arduous and glorious designs.
In returning, Gentlemen Deputies, to your Provinces, you will be accompanied by the national gratitude and by mine. I trust that, by your patriotic virtues and wise counsels, you will contribute to maintain in the Provinces, publick order and respect for the legitimate Authorities, as the best means of consolidating the Constitutional System, on the punctual observance of which depends the prosperity of this magnanimous Nation.
SPEECH of the King of Spain, on the Opening of the Cortes. 1st March, 1822. (Translation.)
THE solemn act of opening the Session of the New Legislative Body, is in the highest degree gratifying to me, and I trust that it will prove so to the Nation which you so worthily represent. It affords a new proof of the stability of the Constitutional System, as well as of the steadiness and confidence with which we continue to pursue the path
we at first selected.
In every great political change there are many circumstances which render the first steps very difficult, owing to the alterations which the fortunes, hopes, and opinions of all usually undergo. In the course of the 2 Years which have now elapsed since the restoration of the Constitution, occasions have not been wanting in which the publick order and tranquillity have been threatened by the desperate efforts of some rash Men, who do not feel the force of circumstances, and of the age in which we live; but the Spanish Nation, always so distinguished for its prudence and constancy, may justly boast of having frustrated their
vain attempts, and of having offered an example hitherto but seldom met with in the history of Nations.
Our relations with Foreign Powers present the prospect of a lasting Peace, without any fear of its being disturbed; and I have the satisfaction of assuring the Cortes, that all the reports which have been circulated of a contrary character, were absolutely unfounded; they were propagated with the malignant intention of entrapping the unwary, and intimidating the weak, and of thereby opening a door to distrust and anarchy.
The internal state of the Country does not yet present any remarkable improvements, because, on the one hand, a short space of time only has elapsed since the new Epoch began, and on the other, the serious obstacles which, as is well known, we have had to surmount, could not but considerably retard the progress of those improvements which the Nation had a right to expect: in as far, however, as time and the means at the disposal of the Government have permitted it, every thing has been done to encourage agriculture and industry, to free the commerce of the Country from obstruction, and to allow all the great sources of publick prosperity to pour forth their streams in full abundance.
The Reports which my Secretaries of State will immediately present to the Cortes, will give a just idea of the existing state of the different branches of the Administration; and will at the same time inform the Cortes of all that has been done towards carrying into execution the beneficent Laws and Decrees which were enacted during the preceding Sessions.
It now only remains for me to express to the Cortes my confident expectation that, by their wisdom and zeal they will consolidate the great work of publick prosperity, draw still closer the ties which unite. the different classes of the State, and insure by every possible means the preservation of tranquillity and confidence. In order to obtain. these important results, my Government will aid with all its efforts, to the full extent of the powers granted to it by the Constitution; and, by the decided co-operation of the Cortes, together with the firmness and prudence which have ever characterized the Spanish People, we shall at length succeed in obtaining the reward of our constant exertions, by consolidating for ever the liberty and glory of the Country.
SPEECH of the King of Spain, on the Closing of the Cortes. 30th June, 1822. (Translation.)
ON meeting you this day, in order to perform the solemn act of closing the Session of the Cortes for this Year, I cannot do less than
thank you for your efforts to establish a proper economy in the different branches of the Publick Revenue, and at the same time to enable the Government to meet the exigencies of the Country.
The advantages which the Administration of the System of Finance must derive from the New Territorial Division, the vigour with which the late Decrees will enable Collectors to enforce the payment of the Contributions, the simplicity and uniformity with which the Publick Accounts will henceforward be kept, in order to satisfy the People respecting the object of the sacrifices demanded of them, all offer me hopes of great improvement in a branch of such consequence to the prosperity of the Nation, and so necessary, in order to give my Gover. ment its proper force and energy.
The consolidation of the credit of a Country depends upon the combination of so many causes, that is impossible to ascertain beforehand the different degrees of its rise or decay; but there are two most important Decrees of the Cortes, which cannot but inspire both security and confidence, amongst Natives, and amongst Foreigners, preserving uncontaminated that reputation for probity and good faith, which has always been the characteristick of the Nation, and committing to the care of the Publick Creditors themselves the inspection of those Funds which are destined to pay off and extinguish the National Debt.
The Cortes have ordered the Permanent Army to be recruited, and have, at my request, authorized the Government to employ, out of their respective Provinces, a certain number of Corps of National Militia. Considering this measure beneficial in every possible point of view, both politically and economically, and desiring to diminish, as much as possible, the burdens of the People, circumstances will determine the use I shall make of the power thus placed in my hands, according as necessity may render indispensable, or prudence advisable.
It will be the object of my Government to exercise, with the same moderation and regard to economy, the other powers with which the Cortes have been pleased, for the present, to enlarge the sphere of its action; thus presenting a memorable example, on the one hand, of the confidence which the Deputies of the Nation have reposed in the Government, and, on the other, of the worthy use which the Government has made of this confidence, employing it only in the most prudent and moderate manner. If this be my firm intention with respect to the powers which admit of a certain latitude from the undefined nature of them, it is unnecessary to assure the Cortes, that, in the exercise of its natural powers, my Government will ever be most scrupulously careful not to exceed, in any case, the bounds prescribed by the
But, determined as I am to sustain my authority, and not to allow the Laws to be violated with impunity, under any pretext whatsoever, I will, at the same time, exercise to its full extent my Constitutional
Power, in order to consolidate the publick tranquillity, and to secure to all Spaniards the peaceful enjoyment of their Rights.
The insurrectionary flame which has spread through the Provinces which composed Ancient Catalonia, is a subject of the deepest concern to me; but, notwithstanding that the extreme poverty of some Districts, and the simplicity of the Peasantry, have made them become the instruments and victims of the most perfidious intrigues, the excellent spirit which prevails in all the principal and manufacturing Towns, the intrepid courage of the regular Army, the enthusiasm of the Militia, and the excellent measures adopted in many of the Villages, on seeing their liberties and property menaced with the same dangers, all combine to inspire me with the best hope of seeing the designs of the malevolent frustrated, the deluded People undeceived, and the stability of the Constitutional System increased by this new proof of its strength.
Desiring, as we all do, to contribute our share to so important a work, I trust, Gentlemen, that, on returning to your homes, after having fulfilled the sacred objects of your late charge, you will continue to promote the welfare of the Country, by enlightening and guiding publick opinion in the Provinces, by inspiring all with sentiments of peace and concord, and by confirming, by means of your example and personal influence, that confidence which ought to subsist between the Government and the People; the effect of which is to inculcate respect for the Laws, to give vigour to the Constituted Authorities, and, under their protecting shade, to maintain the rights and privileges of the Subject.
SPEECH of the King of Spain, on the Opening of the Extraordinary Cortes.-7th October, 1822. (Translation.)
CIRCUMSTANCES of the highest importance have induced me to summon around me the Representatives of the Nation, so worthy, in every respect, of the confidence which it reposes in them; my own is also revived, by seeing them assembled in this sanctuary of the Laws, because the pressing wants of the Country will now be speedily relieved.
The Enemies of the Constitution, employing every means which the passions, as barbarous as infatuated, can suggest, have succeeded in plunging into the career of crime a considerable number of Spaniards. The misfortunes which these excesses have produced in Catalonia, Arragon, and other Frontier Provinces, weigh heavily on my heart, and must weigh as heavily on yours. It is your duty to apply the most efficacious remedies to such a lamentable state of things. The Country
requires the aid of a fresh supply of Men, in order to curb the insolence of its rebellious Sons; and the brave and loyal Soldiers, now serving in the field of honour, demand a large reinforcement, to insure a happy result to the enterprizes in which they are employed.
Nations mutually respect each other, in proportion to their internal resources, and to the energy which they display under certain trying circumstances. Spain, by its position, the extent of its Territory, its productions, and the moral qualities of its Inhabitants, claims a distinguished place in the political scale of Europe. Every thing invites her to assume an imposing attitude, and to secure, by her vigour, the consideration which is due to her from other Nations: every thing teaches us the necessity of forming new relations with those States which know how to estimate our real wealth.
I need not recall to your recollection the glory and the services of the Spanish Army-a model of disinterestedness and patriotism. The heroick sacrifices which it made for the Independence of the Country are well known, and all Europe must acknowledge the services which it is now rendering to the cause of Liberty and of the Country. Those Citizen Warriors call for a new Military Code, which should be consistent with the Fundamental Laws of the Land, and with the improvements which have been effected in the art of War. The Ordinary Cortes, in their preceding Session, undertook this interesting task, the continuance of which is one of the objects which I now recommend to your attention.
Now that we possess a Criminal Code, and that the promulgation of so necessary a work, relieves those who administer justice from the fatigue of seeking it, in the innumerable Volumes in which it has hitherto been concealed, it is absolutely necessary that a Code for regulating all Judicial Proceedings, drawn up in the same spirit, should at once remove all the obstacles which oppose its prompt execution.
Such are, Gentlemen, Deputies of the Nation, the weighty matters for which you have been summoned. Others of equal importance and interest will be submitted to your decision in the course of the present Extraordinary Session. Many are of a delicate nature and of difficult solution, but not superior either to your penetration, your knowledge, or your patriotism. The harmony which will prevail amongst all the Friends of Liberty, will shed a new lustre upon all those eminent qualities, which are the best pledge for Spain and for myself of your arriving at a prudent decision. All good Men will rejoice in seeing you again occupied in promoting their happiness, and Traitors will ever find in the National Congress an insurmountable obstacle to their criminal projects.