Readings in Modern European History, Vol. 2

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Author: Ferdinand VII

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British and Foreign State Papers, VII, 280 sq. World History

Section 53.

The Spanish-American Colonies and the Revolution of 1820

197.

Manifesto of Ferdinand VII Restoring the Constitution of 1812 (March, 1820)

When, by your heroic exertions, an end was put to the captivity in which I had been detained by the most unheard-of perfidy, I had scarcely set my foot on my native soil before all that I saw and learned tended to convince me that the nation wished to see its ancient form of government restored; and this conviction led me to comply with that which appeared to be the almost unanimous wish of a generous people, who, after having triumphantly contended against a foreign enemy, dreaded the still more horrible results of internal discord.

I did not fail to perceive, however, that the rapid progress of European civilization, the general diffusion of knowledge, even among the less enlightened classes, the more frequent intercourse between the different countries of the globe, and the wonderful events which had been reserved for the present generation, had inspired ideas and wishes unknown to out ancestors, and had created new and imperious wants; nor was it less obvious to me that it was indispensable to mold our political institutions conformably to those elements, in order to establish between the people and the laws that harmony upon which depend the stability and repose of society.

Ferdinand is made to say that he had been meditating reforms before the revolution

But whilst I was maturely deliberating, with the solicitude peculiar to my paternal heart, upon the changes to be introduced into our fundamental system of government, as most suitable to the national character and to the present state of the different parts of the Spanish monarchy, and at the same time the best adapted to the organization of an enlightened people, you expressed to me your anxious desire for the reëstablishment of that constitution which, amidst the clash of hostile arms, was promulgated at Cadiz in the year 1812, at a period when, to the admiration of the world, you were fighting for the liberty of your country. I have listened to your wishes, and, as a tender father, have consented to that which my children think conducive to their happiness. I have sworn to that constitution for which you were sighing, and I will ever be its firmest supporter. I have already taken the necessary measures for the early convocation of the Cortes. Coöperating with your representatives, I shall then rejoice in promoting the great work of building up national prosperity.

Spaniards, your glory is the only ambition of my heart. My soul desires only to see you united around the throne in peace and harmony. Trust to your king, then, who addresses you with the sincere feelings inspired by the circumstances in which you are placed at this moment, and with a deep sense of the exalted duties imposed upon him by Providence. . . . Avoid the effervescence of the passions which too often transform into enemies those who ought to live as brothers, united by affection, as they are by religion, language, and habits. . . . Let us follow openly, myself the first, the path of the constitution, and, holding out to Europe an example of wisdom, order, and perfect moderation, at a crisis which, in other nations, has been attended with tears and misfortunes, let us excite admiration and reverence for the Spanish name at the same time that we establish for ages to come out own happiness and glory.

FERDINAND

PALACE OF MADRID, 10th March, 1820

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Chicago: Ferdinand, "The Spanish-American Colonies and the Revolution of 1820," Readings in Modern European History, Vol. 2 in Readings in Modern European History: A Collection of Extracts from the Sources Chosen With the Purpose of Illustrating Some of the Chief Phases of the Development of Europe During the Last Two Hundred Years, ed. James Harvey Robinson (1863-1936) and Charles A. Beard (Boston: Ginn and Company, 1908), 30–32. Original Sources, accessed September 22, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CMYKCV3VTQ7H64L.

MLA: Ferdinand. "The Spanish-American Colonies and the Revolution of 1820." Readings in Modern European History, Vol. 2, in Readings in Modern European History: A Collection of Extracts from the Sources Chosen With the Purpose of Illustrating Some of the Chief Phases of the Development of Europe During the Last Two Hundred Years, edited by James Harvey Robinson (1863-1936) and Charles A. Beard, Vol. 2, Boston, Ginn and Company, 1908, pp. 30–32. Original Sources. 22 Sep. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CMYKCV3VTQ7H64L.

Harvard: Ferdinand, 'The Spanish-American Colonies and the Revolution of 1820' in Readings in Modern European History, Vol. 2. cited in 1908, Readings in Modern European History: A Collection of Extracts from the Sources Chosen With the Purpose of Illustrating Some of the Chief Phases of the Development of Europe During the Last Two Hundred Years, ed. , Ginn and Company, Boston, pp.30–32. Original Sources, retrieved 22 September 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CMYKCV3VTQ7H64L.