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with the glorious past. The characteristics of Maura's statesmanship were insight and sincerity. Piercing the ugly show of outer things he peered into the soul of his finely strung countrymen and sought to get the various elements of their life properly adjusted and attuned. A list of the laws he passed, the Bills he drafted, and the abuses he suppressed should entitle him to the lasting gratitude of the nation. One of his measures was to remove civil servants from the vicissitudes of party politics. Not so very long ago even postmen and scavengers in villages and cities lost their employment whenever a Cabinet was defeated in parliament. A further-reaching reform was a law obliging all citizens with a vote-most of whom were accustomed to stay away from the polls—to exercise it. He penalised evasion. He also saw to it that the dawdling Cortes worked for their salary. Under former and subsequent governments they would sit only two or three months a year and spend the rest at home, whereas during the thirty-three months of his tenure of office he kept them legislating for twenty-two. He suppressed the secret service funds employed in remunerating the praise or silence of the Press.
In every conceivable way Maura tried to get the masses interested in the conduct of their affairs. With this object he suppressed caciquismo—the institution of political bosses—which contracts for any number of votes a Cabinet may require, and obtains them by bribery, intimidation, or fraud. One consequence of this reform was the triumphant unification of the Catalan Homerulers, who have been a thorn in the side of the Central Government ever since. But, nothing daunted, Maura advanced still further in the direction of remedial legislation. The corollaries of what he had already accomplished were a radical reform of local administration, the autonomy of municipalities, and the creation of regional organisms out of provincial Councils, and from none of these democratic innovations did he shrink. His legislation against usurers, gambling hells, and low night resorts, and the clean sweep he made of parasites and official drones, proved that here at least was 8 politician who set fearless hands to a thorny task, and bade fair to arouse the masses from their lethargic sleep. It looked as though Spain would indeed soon be herself once more. Others, however, including a member of Maura's government, were not so optimistic. One Minister, when congratulated, shook his head and remarked :
'A prosperous Spain would be an awkward customer for certain Great Powers and international groups who scowl upon Spanish reformers and thwart their schemes for the awakening of the nation. This they can do because they control efficacious
against which we have no counterforce. You have heard of the Internationalists whose headquarters are in Paris, and whose aim is to keep the Iberian Peninsula weak and distracted. They have abettors among members of the left wing of the Liberals who are alternately Constitutionalists and Revolutionists as time and opportunity prompt. They are as capable of creating a wave of humanitarian indignation abroad as were the Yankees during the Cuban insurrection. You are sceptical? Wait and see.'
The fulfilment of this prophecy was brought about by the trial of an obscure anarchist soaked in fanaticism. The son of a Catalan cooper, Francis Ferrer was at that time a middle-aged, clumsy-looking man with a dull round face and awkward gait, who without education or training would fain regenerate the world, by making away with ministers of religion, judges, lawyers, bearers of tradition, and other links with the odious past.' He founded a school the object of which was 'to make children reflect upon the lies of religion, of government, of patriotism, of justice, of politics
.. and to prepare their minds for social revolution. In a word, he was a Spanish Thersites, a forerunner of the Bolshevists. Jurisconsults assert that Ferrer should have been executed long before as an accomplice of Mateo Morales who threw a bomb at the King and Queen on their wedding day, but that the authorities complaisantly gave him the benefit of an imaginary doubt and set him free. However this may have been, he at last * was tried for crimes laid to his charge during the Tragic Week of Barcelona,t when convents were burned, churches gutted,
* Oct. 9, 1909. Vol. 244.-No. 484,
+ The last week in July 1909. 2 D
hundreds of innocent people massacred, and Bolshevism raged for some days. He was found guilty and executed.
The International College of Revolutionary Propeganda, which had been restlessly casting about for a lever wherewith to wrench Maura and his lieutenants from their places, eagerly seized upon Ferrer's condemnation. His trial was denounced as a farce. His treatment in prison was depicted as unworthy. He had once been attired in garments too small for him, it appears, and thus made 'a laughing stock,' whereat an angry world howled. His execution was termed a crime so heinous that it behoved the whole human race to forsake its avocations for a while and bring the iniquitous government to book. Scathing leading articles were written, indignation meetings held, leaflets scattered broadcast, and a tremendous current of sympathy with the noble martyr' was created. Working men in a town near Rome were seen to weep when a memorial tablet was being put up to perpetuate the memory of this lay saint. Spain was discredited, Maura was excommunicated by the church of humanity, and members of the extreme wing of the Liberals were working hand-in-hand with the lay College of Propaganda. Republicanism was boomed. At this many monarchists took alarm, but Maura kept serenely moving forward, paying no heed to the magic phrase : Public opinion abroad.' With a good majority to back him in parliament he refused to sacrifice even a Minister to pressure such as that. Thereupon the King took the initiative, dismissed the Premier, and sent for the leaders of the Opposition, some of whom were known to be Republicans. And the Liberal party which officially covered this action applauded the Monarch's intervention as 'wisely constitutional.'
That, in brief, is the story of the one and only occasion since the Restoration on which a Spanish politician clearly perceived the country's need and made a strenuous attempt to satisfy it. It showed how desperate was the state of the nation so long as its destinies were in the hands of the sham political parties. It was clear that nothing in the way of reform could be expected from parliamentary institutions. It was a generous error, therefore, of Maura to accept office later
-in March 1918-in response to a pathetic appeal of the King.
The parliamentary system will ever remain associated with the lowest ebb of Spain's chequered fortunes. It certainly dragged her to the edge of the abyss. She who had discovered and owned a world on which the sun never set had now nothing left her but a few miles of barren land in Morocco, and for this she still bad to shed the blood and spend the substance of her sons. Of yore she had spread civilisation and diffused knowledge among twenty different nations, and to-day half of her people can neither read nor write. She filled the new world with Christian churches, convents, and monasteries, but is now letting her own clergy perish of hunger.* She reclaimed and cultivated vast tracts of land beyond the seas and allowed her own fair land to run waste. Nearly all the gold of the globe passed through her hands, yet she is become one of the poorest communities in Europe. Once the law-giver of the world, she is reduced to obey the precepts and decrees of rival peoples. Only her soul can she still call her own. That has outlived all her tribulations. In places remote from towns the primitive purer forms of Spanish life have survived in the guise of symbolic usages, antique traditions, and a powerful current of semi-religious sentiment. And the result is a type of family life which for unselfish devotion has never been surpassed.
If, however, the constitutional system of government is worse than useless, what is the alternative? This question was anxiously put at the time, and earnest people whispered : a dictatorship. In the history of most countries there are situations that require a Dictator as an organ and trustee of the nation. And one of them occurred in Spain. But it was not recognised until certain ugly phases and mysterious aspects of the struggle in Morocco forced the country to make its choice between that and anarchy. For four centuries Spain had occupied a foothold in Morocco, which, however unprofitable to the Treasury, was a monument of the heroism of her soldiers and therefore endowed with
priceless value in her eyes. Behind all the difficulties that have confronted her there of late, looms the familiar figure of a Great Power reaping where it had not sown.
This whole story of Spain's vicissitudes in Africa forms one of the strangest chapters of European history, so palpable is the tragic element running through it all, flouting and mocking the fitful efforts of the human will. If written fully and frankly it would ruin the credit of the historian, so amazing are some of its episodes. What Spain craves in Africa is extremely little-merely to keep her Naboth's vineyard intact, and this for motives of the same sentimental order as Naboth's own. From earth-hunger and imperialism the Spanish peoples are free. They have no hankering after expansion. Like the servant in the Gospel who gave back to his lord, laid up in a napkin, the pound he had received, they are barely solicitous to retain the little that they have long called their own. But, simple though it may seem, the task has in some uncanny way been waxing ever tougher and more perilous, until it looks at last as though Morocco were but a masked death-trap for the nation set by some wrathful deity or envious World Power. France in that same field embarked on a much more arduous venture, and with what a different measure of suocess! She is even now speeding gaily forward to her goal, nay, claims already to have reached it, and through the fashionable newspapers is calling upon wealthy tourists to visit her vast model zone, admire the work done there, and contribute to the expenses. Truly the Fates seem inscrutable.
Little by little Morocco has grown to be a mighty spectre overshadowing Spain's present and future. It connotes an epitome of her problems, foreign and domestic. Whether one studies the economic conditions of the Peninsula, the high cost of living there—Madrid is by far the most expensive city in Europe—the financial embarrassments of the Government, the explosive gases pent up in various classes of society and various regions of the realm, the watchful attitude of the Army, or the undesirable place to which Spain has dropped in the European hierarchy-we are no sooner in possession of the elements of the specific question than these fade away, and leave us face to face with the Moorish bogey