The Other Dynasty
José Maria de Montells y Galán
James J. Algrant y Cañete
A certain manner of understanding Spain
The temptation to reduce Carlism to a mere dynastic question never fails to cross the mind of anyone who pretends to explain this political phenomenon as a confluence of factors determined by popular ignorance, the perfidy of Ferdinand VII and the breaking of the semi-Salic law established by Philip V, which removed women from the order of succession.
The return to the old system was sought as early as the 1789 session of the Cortes of that year and it appears that Carlos IV agreed to the publication of a pragmatic sanction (Note 1) revoking Salic Law which would confirm that which had been a medieval custom in Spain according to Title 2 of the Second Law, of Alfonso X the Wise, which stated: " and therefore established that if there were no son the eldest daughter would inherit the Kingdom."
However, the promised pragmatic was not published upon the death of Carlos IV. It was Ferdinand VII, his son, through the influence of Freemasonry, which had many proponents at court, and the sympathy of his fourth wife, Queen Doña Maria Cristina, who dusted off this document and gave it legal validity.
The hypothetical membership of the King in the Masonic Order, which shouldnt be discarded out of hand, has been covered by my friend Juan van Halen in a novel (Note 2)which I consider to be of brilliant historical intuition but without the least documentary proof.
It is clear that the royal decision took into account the character of Infante don Carlos Maria Isidro, the kings brother who was devoted to the ancient traditions and defended absolutism as an ideal formula for monarchial government.
Charles Maurras(Note 3) affirms that the statement "absolutism is synonymous to despotism, to capricious and unlimited power " is absolutely false. He asserts that "Absolute power really means independent power; the French monarchy (and with it the Spanish) was absolute so long as it depended from no other authority, whether imperial, parliamentary or popular. It was not for all that any the less limited, being moderated by countless institutions, social and political, hereditary or corporative, whose own powers prevented it from going out beyond its authority and function . Its own right was confined by a multitude of obligations and privileges which sustained and kept it on an even keel."
That the King suffered doubts about his decision is demonstrated by his revoking the Pragmatic Sanction on 18 September 1832 from his sickbed , thus reestablishing the law of 1713 for ten days. Then, he changed his mind again and deprived his brother of the rights which were his by birth and favored instead those of his daughter Doña Isabel, who had been converted by the intrigues of her mother and aunt and was presented as champion of the new ideas.
At the death of Ferdinand VII, the Infante Don Carlos would have, in keeping with the law, become His Catholic Majesty King Don Carlos V of Spain.
This event is acknowledged by hundreds of writers to be at the root of Carlism. I maintain, however, that it was born much earlier than that. Rafael Gambra affirms that the first Carlist rising took place in 1821 when the Royal Division of Navarra took arms against the constitutional system. An heroic deed which had it not been suppressed by historians would have shown the real sense of our national life. I believe that the first genuinely Carlist feat of arms, for its religious and political character, was the war of Spain against the Convention in 1793. This was a real religious war in the style of the wars of religion which bloodied Europe during the XVIth century. Due to its extreme popularity the war of 1793 had the character of what later was to become Carlism, a formidable popular rally around the Faith, Tradition and the Throne. The War of Independence was further evidence of this character. The government, fatally seduced by the revolutionary ideas of the French invader found themselves in a civil war facing an epic, wild and popular resistance defending the motto "God,Country and King" which Napoleon was trying to eradicate in favor of his empire.
" Popular historians try to present these wars as being totally separate from each other. That of 1793 as a requirement of our foreign policy; that of Independence as a national reaction against the foreign invader; the Carlist ones as a result of the dynastic dispute. All of this is true, but in addition to and most important there is a political and religious element here which permeates them all and which makes them all a part of a popular sentiment to defend the supreme traditional and social values which have impregnated our XIXth and even our XXth century. "
It is in this political-religious character, far from those interpretations which constrain it to a successorial discrepancy, that Carlism finds its best historical raison dêtre.
For the country folk (the entire Spanish population at the time) the stripping of the Infantes rights by his brother was an attack on the natural order of things imposed by God. A wave of genuine religious mysticism shook the Peninsula and Spain rose for the legitimate monarch, head of a dynasty which would never reign and which would extend itself until 1975, a key year in the modern history of Spain because it resulted, after the long rule of General Franco, in the transcendental recuperation of our traditional system of government.
Incomprehensibly the majority of those historians who focus on Carlism as well as the Traditionalist Communion itself have kept quiet about the dynastic problem following the death of Don Alfonso Carlos and the later reigns of Carlos VIII and his brothers. The political convenience of some and the lack of curiosity of others have managed to hide the dynastic succession without which it is practically impossible to explain the self-dissolution of Traditionalism in the present political panorama and its savage retreat into the most irreductible Catholic ultra-conservatism.
All of this could be the subject of another book. Here I shall try to present a brief history of the legitimate dynasty through its Kings. The necessary genealogical information as well as a succinct biography of each monarch will be found in order to bring part II into context which I consider more valuable because it is unfamiliar to most readers and remains the subject of little research. The reigns of Carlos VIII, Carlos IX and Francisco José have been maliciously ignored by historians. My aim has been to make known this page of recent history. Writing it has enabled me to regain the fresh air represented by the traditionalism of my youth. As in many families I am of those Spaniards who have ancestors among the progressive liberals who fought Carlism as well as among the militant traditionalists. I dedicate this work to the memory of each.
Readers who may not be particularly well-versed in the history of Spain are likely to become confused when references to "the King", or Don Carlos VIII, Don Carlos IX, etc., are made in the text. These were Kings according to the Carlist Tradition and NOT Kings who actually sat on the Throne of Spain. In fact, the reader should keep in mind that the entire book is written from a controversial but justifiable Carlist perspective. To make it easier to understand, the reader should substitute in his own mind "legitimist" where "legitimate" is written.
(Note 1.) A pragmatic sanction as defined by Webster: Any of various royal decrees that had the force of fundamental law specifically in this case the instrument by which a king being without male issue endeavored to secure the succession to his female descendants.
(Note 2.) Memoria secreta de Hermano Leviatan, Juan van Halen, Plaza y Janés, Editores, Barcelona, 1988.
(Note 3.) Mis ideas políticas. Charles Maurras, Editorial Huemul, S.A. Buenos Aires, 1962.
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