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gagged the press, and there is every appearance of absolute rule.
The question of the marriage of the young Queen becomes more and more embarrassing. Until it is settled, the affairs of Spain will always be in a precarious state, and the kingdom liable to convulsions.
I had letters from home a few days since-one from the cottage, from my dear Kate, dated in February last. She had just heard of my having sent my resignation to Government, and now felt persuaded that I would soon return. She gives me until the month of June. I had hoped to be home before that time, but now I see no likelihood of it. My successor was not appointed at the middle of February. When appointed, it will take him some time to prepare for embarkation; then he will probably come by the way of England and France, and loiter by the way-especially at Paris, which is a kind of fitting-out place, to buy furniture, etc., etc. I watch the American papers anxiously for some notice on the subject. To-morrow I shall have news by the steamer of the 1st of March, and I hope it will bring me something definite on the subject. Now that I am in a manner half dismounted from my post, I am anxious to have done entirely with diplomatic business, and to be on my way
April 25th, he writes to Mrs. Paris, shortly after the precipitate banishment of Narvaez:—
You will have heard of the late events in the Spanish Court-the downfall and banishment of Narvaez. It was considered a harsh and ungrateful act on the part of the sovereigns, and has added to the unpopularity of the Queen-mother. The changes and sudden transitions in the Spanish Court are something like those in the courts of the East. It only wants the bowstring to make the resemblance complete. I am getting tired of courts, however, altogether, and shall be right glad to throw off my diplomatic coat for the last time.
In one of his diplomatic despatches to Mr. Webster,
before his retirement from the administration of President Tyler, in the spring of 1843, referring to the unparalleled number of changes that had taken place in the Spanish Cabinet within the preceding eight years, which, in the Department of State, in which the lowest number occurred, amounted "to two and a half ministers per annum," Mr. Irving remarks :
It gives a startling idea of the interruptions to which an extended negotiation with this government must be subject. This consumption of ministers is appalling. .To carry on a negotiation with such transient functionaries, is like bargaining at the window of a railroad car before you can get a reply to a proposition, the other party is out of sight.
HISTORICAL EXTRACT FROM A DIPLOMATIC DESPATCH. HEARS OF THE AP-
WORKS. LETTER TO GOUVERNEUR KEMBLE.
CLOSE the Minister's narrative of the caprices of Spanish politics with the following extract from an official despatch to James Buchanan, Secretary of State, in which there had been allusion to a crisis of many days' continuance in completing the new Cabinet under Isturiz, as head of the State Department. The despatch is dated April 18th, 1846:
While dissension has been prevalent at head-quarters, an insurrection has broken out in Gallicia. Symptoms of this appeared during the last period of Narvaez's administration, and apprehensions were entertained that the Prince Don Enrique, who was at Corunna, would be induced to head it. Narvaez proceeded in the matter with his usual promptness. Military measures were taken to suppress the insurrection, and a royal command was issued to the Prince to leave the kingdom instantly, and choose some place in France for his residence, there to await royal orders, with the understanding that, should he absent himself from the place chosen, 106
he would be stripped of all the honors and consideration of a royal prince of Spain; and, should he return to Spain contrary to the royal command, he would subject himself to prosecution before any tribunal in the kingdom. The Prince obeyed the royal command implicitly, and chose Bayonne as his place of exile. Scarce had he been there a few days, when Narvaez himself arrived there-a banished man! The public papers state that Narvaez, soon after his arrival, paid the Prince a visit of respect, arrayed in full uniform. The interview must have been a curious one. As has been well observed, there is so much of the comic in these sudden and violent changes and transitions in Spanish politics, that we should be disposed to laugh at them, only that they occur so rapidly we have not time to laugh. Accustomed as I have become to all kinds of contradictory moves, I should not be surprised to see Narvaez back here again before long, at the head of affairs. The Government, in Its perplexed condition, with differences of opinion in the Cabinet, with an active and confident opposition gaining strength in the capital, and rumors of conspiracies in the provinces, begins to feel the want of Narvaez's energy, activity and spirit of control. This is especially the case since it is found that, in Gallicia, some of the army have joined the insurgents. Every one of the leading personages in power attempts to shift off the odium of his precipitate banishment, and to hint a wish for his return. In the meantime the arbitrary measures instituted under his ministry continue in force; and an attempt has been made to imitate his military rigor, by issuing a circular to the Gefes Politicos, or heads of municipalities throughout the kingdom, authorizing them to declare martial law in their respective jurisdictions on any appearance of popular disturbance. These rigorous measures, however, are considered as proofs of distrust and alarm on the part of Government, rather than of confidence and decision. A general uneasiness prevails throughout the community, and fearful forebodings of an approaching convulsion.
Soon after the date of the foregoing extract, Mr. Irving was informed, through the public papers, that Romulus
M. Saunders, of North Carolina, had been appointed to the Spanish mission. His resignation had been transmitted in December, and he had been looking impatiently for tidings of the appointment of a successor.
At this time came the news of the breaking out of the war with Mexico-a result of the scheme of the annexation of Texas, which had been brought to a successful issue at the close of Mr. Tyler's administration, while John C. Calhoun was Secretary of State.
On the 24th of June, he writes me from Madrid, where he was still awaiting the uncertain arrival of his successor :
I regret exceedingly that we have got engaged in a war with Mexico. That power has been badly advised; she should have received Mr. Slidell, and the matters between us might have been amicably arranged. She has been induced to believe that certain foreign powers would back her, very probably; if so, she will find that, after all their tampering, they will leave her in the lurch. The situation in which our little army under General Taylor was placed, apparently cut off from his supplies, and surrounded by a superior force, gave me great uneasiness. I feared some humiliating blow, and saw that the English press was preparing to trumpet it forth to Europe with the customary insults and exaggerations. I feared, also, that a blow of the kind would tend to prolong the war, as we could not think of peace until we had completely obliterated the disgrace. When I read, therefore, the account of the gallant manner in which Taylor and his little army had acquitted themselves, and the generous manner in which they had treated their vanquished enemies, the tears absolutely started into my eyes, and a load was taken from my heart. I sincerely hope this brilliant victory will be followed up by magnanimous feeling on the part of our Government, and that the war may be brought to a speedy close on fair and honorable terms.