The Federal Republic in Spain: Pi Y Margall and the Federal Republican Movement, 1868-74

By C. A. M. Hennessy | Go to book overview

9
Pi in Power, June-July 1873

THERE was little excitement in Madrid on 1 June, which had been declared a public holiday to mark the official opening of the Cortes of the Republic. The occasion was celebrated by a military parade at which the enthusiasm of the volunteers was in marked contrast to the apathy of the regulars. The mood of the Federal press was one of optimism tinged with relief. It was felt that with a genuine republican assembly, unhampered by impostors, nothing could retard the establishment of the Federal Republic under a duly voted Constitution. This optimism was reflected in Figueras's inaugural address in the Cortes on the same day--an optimism justified neither by the events of the previous week nor by developments after 1 June. His claim that military discipline had been restored was in complete defiance of the facts and was refuted almost immediately by the mutiny at Igualada and the shooting of the colonel of an infantry regiment. Nor could Federals find any consolation in the volunteers who, aping the conscripts, revolted in their barracks at Vicalvaro, outside Madrid, on the 6th. Figueras's optimism over finance was no more justifiable. Now, he claimed, the Government could borrow at 12 per cent. compared with the 25 per cent. under the monarchy, but the failure of Tutau's finance scheme on the 8th, the financial panic caused by the rumour of an issue of paper money, and the deliberate postponement of budgetary proposals until the new Constitution had been voted again showed a baseless optimism. But most noticeable in this address was the glossing over of the Federals' differences.

At the end of May various Federal factions were beginning to organize themselves into groups. Three of these may be distinguished--the Right, Left, and Centre. The Right were moderates who shared the disillusion of Castelar, comprised the bulk of the

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