Father Felix Varela: Constitution and citizenship

On 15 November, the process of popular consultation of the draft Constitution of the Republic was concluded. After the stage in which Cubans were able to express our criteria about the Magna Carta that will govern the fate of the nation, it is advisable to approach Father Félix Varela and his teaching as professor of the Chair of Constitution of the Seminary of Havana. In his classes, this holy man wanted to promote the exchange of ideas, free debate… so that their students would model their conscience as citizens.

Padre Félix Varela

The word Constitution has been one of the most repeated by Cubans in recent months. The constitutional reform that is currently being developed has motivated comments from people from a wide variety of political positions, on and off the island. If we were to say that this is not the first time that in Cuban history a Magna Carta becomes a major event, surely many would go back to April 1869 when guáimaro’s Constitution was forged, or to the moved debates during the drafting of the first Republican Law on Laws in 1901 and, even more, to the developments that brought to island public life the 1940s , although its full application was a pending subject in our public life. However, constitutionalism in Cuba is well before the Assembly of Guáimaro,1 so, among several possible examples, we will stop at the Spanish Constitution of 1812 and in a distinguished figure, Father Félix Varela, who first studied, commented and taught it during the Liberal Triennium and then, as a deputy to Cortes, participated in the debates for its readjustment and application in Spanish territory. These experiences would decisively mark the rest of its existence and there is no risk in asserting that the most radical independenceist would be born from the liberal and constitutionalist Varela.
The Constitution of 1812 had emerged at a critical time for Spain, that of the Napoleonic invasion. Ferdinand VII was imprisoned in France until the French defeat and on the Peninsula ruled on his behalf a Regency Council. With the year of this, in Cadiz, the Courts promulgated on March 19 of that year, in the feast of St. Joseph, a Constitution, which would therefore take the popular name of “La Pepa”.
The document consisted of ten titles and 384 articles and was of moderate liberal political orientation. It stated that sovereignty resided essentially in the nation and was responsible for separating legislative, executive and judicial powers, in the manner of Montesquieu. The power to legislate resided in the Courts with the approval of the King, the executive, the monarch with his ministers and the judiciary, in the civil courts. A unicameral system was established, fearing that, if there was an upper and lower house as in England, the King and nobility imposed an assembly of notables that with their conservative positions would hold the faculties of the other. In no way was it a Jacobin Constitution, in fact, it was not even lay, because it did not separate church of state, but even maintained Spain as a confessional state, with the Catholic religion as an official and did not intend to abolish the monarchical regime, but established a “hereditary moderate monarchy”.
Although the constituents modeled for the magna letters of France in 1791 and the United States, they also assumed a large number of elements of the Spanish legal tradition. They did not establish a list of human rights, but throughout their text some appear as the right to freedom and the right to property.
Its validity was very brief, when Ferdinand VII managed to return after the defeat of the French invaders, in the spring of 1814, he refused to swear the Constitution and made it repeal, with the support of the nobility, much of the clergy and even the masses of people, who saw in the constitutionalists a dangerous and ungodly intellectual elite and demanded in voices the restoration of the Inquisition.
“La Pepa” would come back to light after six years of ruthless absolutism, thanks to the movement triggered by General Rafael Riego, who the 1st. from January 1820 he revolted in Cabezas de San Juan, Seville, supported by the Regiment of Asturias, denied boarding America to combat independence uprisings. In the days that followed, other military corps, united under the claim to restore the Constitution, joined the rebellion. Ferdinand VII feared ending up as his relative Louis XVI and, with more fear than conviction, swore on 9 March fidelity to Magna Carta before the Courts established in Madrid and established the cabinet of ministers that with him would govern. This new order would be sustained only until the end of 1823 and would become known as the Liberal Triennium.
News of these events was only known in Havana on April 15, 1820 and functioned as a chain chemical reaction. The next day the Catalan Battalion was subjuged, its members violently stormed Governor Cajigal’s palace, threatened him with a dagger and forced him to declare himself faithful to the Constitution in the Plaza de Armas. The matter was legalized on the 17th when the elder chief swore in the Cathedral, before a crucifix and with the presence of Bishop Juan José Díaz de Espada, to be faithful to the document that seemed to put an end to monarchical absolutism. It is said that during the ceremony they both trembled.
Such fears seemed more than justified. On the military ground there were confrontations, inside and outside Havana, between Fernando loyalies and irrigation followers. If possible, this was still more insidious on the civil level, the great Creole farmers, including their ideological spokesman Francisco de Arango and Parreño, were in favour of absolutism, as they had strong agreements with the Throne, beneficial to their economy, however, many peninsular merchants, allied with their colleagues from Spain, sought to break the monopoly of the sucrocrats and personally benefit from certain privileges of the new situation , were called “the party of dirty nails” and took as their head a Spanish priest, scandalous and rude, Tomás Gutiérrez de Piñeres, who led real street lizards and tumultuous quarrels, and was opened enemy of Arango and Varela.
According to article 368 of the Charter, it was necessary to establish chairs of Constitution “in all universities and literary establishments, where ecclesiastical and political sciences are taught”2 and so provided for by a Royal Decree of April 24, 1820. On September 11, the Patriotic Society took up letters in the matter, The Mayor of Hacienda Alejandro Ramírez, fearful that the initiative would be taken away by the University, known that the Dominicans who governed it were contrary to the constitutional regime, entrusted the matter to Bishop Espada, who was asked to draft the rules of procedure of the chair and establish it in the seminary. The Company would be at expense.
On 18 October, the Rules of Procedure had already been approved at a board of the Society and oppositions were called to appoint the professor. It is the moment when the bishop instructs the young priest Varela to aspire to such a position. With his authority he overcame his reluctance, who did not feel prepared in legal matters and forced him to run for the exercises, along with other candidates who, on the eve of them, were retracted so that the Master would enter the post without difficulty. I take possession of it on January 7th and the classes began on the 18th of that month, in the Magna Classroom of the Seminary which was then a long and narrow piece with windows to the port, located where the main entrance of the building is today. A tuition of 193 people could be admitted, of which, by the way, only 41 had previously been students of Varela in Philosophy. As José Ignacio Rodríguez says in his biography of the Master:

“In addition to the students, the village contest that was attending these policy lessons, as they were often called, was so great that although the place chosen to give them was the School’s Magna Classroom, the seats all on the benches were occupied, and ‘a large audience was grouped to the door and windows, standing there for an hour , to be happy to listen to you.'”3

It amazes how the novel professor was able to prepare such a course in such a short time. It is clear that not only was the constitutional text studied, but revised the Journal of Sessions of the Courts between 1812 and 1814 to learn about the particular criteria of legislators and the debates generated in various fundamental aspects. In addition, his experience as a professor of Philosophy had allowed him to accumulate extensive readings ranging from the Leviathan of Hobbes to the Treaties on the Civil Government of Locke, the Spirit of the Laws of Montesquieu, classics already in the field of politics, but it is also clear that he was so up-to-date as to quote his contemporary Benjamin Constant, author of works that at the time were novelties in the world such as the Principles of Politics applicable to all representative governments , published in 1815, and the Constitutional Policy Course that had seen the light between 1818 and 1820, which was absolutely astonishing for someone who had not left a Spanish colony.
In the speech or prima lectio with which he inaugurated the course he highlighted the reasons for the existence of the chair:

“I would call this chair, the chair of freedom, the rights of man, the national guarantees, the regeneration of illustrious Spain, the source of civic virtues, the basis of the great building of our happiness, which for the first time has reconciled among us the laws with Philosophy, which is, the laws have made them; the one that contains the fanatic and despot, establishing and preserving the Holy Religion and the wise Government; which opposes the attacks of foreign nations, presenting the Spanish people not as a tribe of savages with views of civilization, but as it is in itself, generous, magnanimous, just and enlightened.”4

Note, first of all, that it does not refer to the birth of the chair by Royal Order, not even to the conjunctural circumstance of Cuba, but to something more general, the fact of the existence of a Constitution as a source of civic virtues, which has opposed to despotism a government that does not violate religion or imitate the example of revolutionary France during terror established by the Jacobin Convention , corrected and anti-Christian. Note that politician Varela remains the philosophy teacher who cares about forming values in his students. The lessons he will teach, without literal commentary of the Charter are actually civic classes, the first to be offered systematically in colonial Cuba and do not respond to a partisan spirit: Varela has not joined the scandalous constitutionalists of Piñeres, nor the absolutist side of the ranchers. He is a moderate liberal, an advanced reformer, someone who combines religion and civility to prevent the violence of extremists on both sides.
We know firsthand the program of the course because he details it in another passage of his peroration:

“We will accurately explain what is meant by the political Constitution, and its difference from the Civil Code and the General Policy, its fundamentals, what actually belongs to it, and what is strange to its nature, the origin and constitutive of sovereignty, its various forms in the social pact, the division and balance of powers, the nature of representative government , and the various systems of elections, the initiative and sanctioning of laws, the difference between absolute and temporal veto, and the effects of both, the true nature of national and individual freedom, and what are the limits of each of them, the distinction between rights and guarantees, as well as between political and civil rights, the harmony between the protective physical force of the law , and moral strength.”5

He then warned his students of the absence of a textbook, which is explainable when you consider the very short time she had to prepare her course. But even from this lack makes a virtue, instead of imparting a conventional subject that disciples learn mechanically to examine, it will replace memory with debate: “in the future it will not be the memory, which is the weakest of the operations of the soul, but the senses with repeated impressions, the body of our intelligence.”6 What the educator intended was not that the enrolled could repeat a prontuary of political categories and legal principles. , but through exchange they model their conscience as citizens.
Although Varela was unable to write in detail the lessons of his course as he had done with those of Philosophy, he gave birth in the same year 1821 a pamphlet entitled Observations on the Political Constitution of the Spanish Monarchy,7 composed of a brief Introduction and ten observations illustrating us about the contents and ideas he transmitted to his students. The novelty of these opinions in the Cuban forum, their boldness and scope, deserve to be stopped in some of them.
The First Observation focuses on the issue of sovereignty. It supports article 3 of the Constitution that it deposits in the nation and, by the way, from the first paragraph questions the authority of kings, who obtain their power by force or by “voluntary renunciation of individuals of a part of their liberty”,8 that is, it refers to the “social contract”, as defended by European contractualists , but associates this not with an alleged state of initial savagery, in Rousseau’s way, but with Genesis, the authority of the patriarchs, and the rise of the tribes.
It defines very clearly:

“Nothing more reasonable and just; for if the people are to renounce a part of their freedom voluntarily, and not by tyrannical violence, against all justice and reason, it is up to them exclusively to establish their fundamental laws, which include these renounced rights, this part of freedom that each individual loses in favor of society, and in it resides essentially sovereignty , which is nothing but the first power and origin of others.”9

Varela refutes the doctrine of the divine right of kings supported by Sacred Scripture, even in the most quoted passage in favor of this one which is Letter to the Romans (13, 1-2).10 He follows a path similar to that of the Spanish theologian and jurist Francisco Suarez (1548-1617) in his Treaty of Laws (1612) which adheres to the contractualist principle and considers that the character of the State is human and not divine. It differs radically from the French Bishop Jacques Bossuet (1652–1704) who in his “Discourse on Universal History” (1681) tendentiously interprets The City of God of St Augustine to affirm that history is directed by Providence, who places kings on their thrones from which they must be counseled by bishops. So Varela, without saying so, rejects the first title of absolute monarchies: “By the grace of God”.
Perhaps without being very clear he has joined the most liberal wing of the constituents of 1812: the canon Diego Muñoz Torrero, Agustín Argoelles, the Count of Toreno, Antonio Alcalá Galiano and the poet Manuel José Quintana, when he states:

“Let us therefore give Caesar what is Caesar’s, which is reduced to a temporal power conferred by the peoples, and which no individual should disobey. Let us give God what is of God, observing his holy law and the essential duties of righteousness in any form of society; but never be said that a righteous and pious God has wanted to deprive men of rights, that he himself gave them by nature, and that, erecting a tyrant, he has made them slaves. The language of flattery will be very different; but this is that of true religion.”11

The second Observation deals with freedom and equality. It welcomes the limits that the Constitution places on royal authority (Title IV, Chapter I, article 172) and relies on its readings of Constant and Montesquieu to define freedom:
“The famous Benjamin Constant presents us with an exact definition of it, saying that it is to practice what society has no right to prevent. Montesquieu had defined it: the right to do what the laws allow; but as the aforementioned Constant observes, this definition expresses what the citizen cannot do, but not what the laws cannot command; and if they, by the influence of the rulers, multiply and attack the rights of citizens, national and individual freedom is destroyed in a most sensitive way; because the people, as sovereign, are forced to exercise their tyranny over it.”12

This leads to the difference between the exercise of sovereignty by the Government and its exclusive possession:

“The Government exercises sovereignty functions; he doesn’t own them, nor can he say he owns them. The free man who lives in a just society obeys only the law; to command him by invoking another name, is to use one of the many prestiges of tyranny, which only produce its effect on weak souls. Man does not send another man; the law sends them all.”13

Thus, the pedagoguus goes to the very core of equality by defining it as “the right [of each] to appreciate their perfections and merits in the same way as other equals found in any individual”.14 All this prepares us for the final lines of the caption, which with their synthetic brilliance are of such eloquence that they should be engraved in all those places where it is legislating :

“A society in which individual rights are respected is a society of free men, and this, of whom can it be enslaved, having in itself an irresistible moral force, by unity of opinion, and a physical force, no less formidable, by the disrespect with which each of its members lends to the defense of the homeland? Can you be afraid of suffering the chains of tyranny? Independence and national freedom are daughters of individual freedom, and consist of one nation not recognizing itself as a subject of any other nation, that it can give itself its laws, without giving influence to a foreign power, and that in all its acts it only consults its will, fixing it only to the principles of justice, so as not to infringe on other people’s rights.”

In the third of the Remarks he defines a political Constitution as “a set of wise rules that consistently present social duties, always remembering the solemn covenant that society has made with his government”16 and in the light of others he knows, highlights the properness of the Constitution that occupies them for the characteristics of Spain because it “presents the true form or public character of the Spanish nation and details , briefly and clearly, imprescriptible national freedoms, the king’s duties to the people and those of him to him.”17 For him, he can ward off the two great social dangers, tyranny and anarchy.
It is not possible to follow in detail each of the substantial considerations contained in the prospectus, another course of Constitution should be organized for this purpose. The teacher favors the division of powers: legislative, executive and judicial and the King’s intermediary role among them; for these same reasons he supports the constitutional monarchy even though he does not follow the Count of Toreno in the notion of limiting the monarch’s powers to the maximum because it seems to him that the Courts may become an “exalted congress”18 perhaps thinking of the extreme powers that the French Convention came to be attributed between 1792 and 1795, including the abolition of the monarchy and the process followed by the king. It also differs from some radicals in that it accepts the possibility of real veto to laws. Let us not forget that the thinker writes from Cuba, does not yet know the moral condition of Ferdinand VII, nor could he guess how the Liberal Triennium would end, with serious consequences for himself.
It also agrees with the good reasons for setting a unicameral parliament and the main conditions and powers of Members, as well as their inviolability, except when it conflicts with the Constitution, including the religious theme:

“When the Constitution says that the Catholic religion is the only true one, it does not declare it such, but assumes it already declared and admitted throughout the kingdom, and that it is the national will that is perpetually preserved, for the declaration of dogmatic points belongs only to the Church. Then, when an MP established such an argument, he would have crossed the boundaries that prefhades the very nature of the Courts, and the perversity of his intention is already clear.”19

This seems like a warning to the attitudes that the most exalted liberals can have in the Courts, usually those who militate in Freemasonry and are in favour of radical measures such as those taken in revolutionary France.

There is a very interesting detail in The Seventh Observation. The constituents sought to vitalize the functioning of the Spanish courts, proverbial because of their slowness. To this end, some went so far as to state that two judgments on a case should already constitute an enactment, including the priest, poet and legislator Juan Nicasio Gallego, who drew up some tables of probabilities to try to prove in the Courts that over four instances there is no greater chance of truth than in two. The interesting thing is that Varela does not refute it from the field of law but from Logic and Mathematics, from pierre Simon Laplace’s “theory of probabilities” (1749-1827) that he had studied with his students in the sixth of his Lessons in Philosophy (1818-1820). We must clarify that Laplace published in 1812 his Analytical Theory of Probabilities and in 1814 the Philosophical Essay on Probability. Varela already knew the formula called “Laplace succession rule” to determine the probabilities of occurrence of an event, which Gallego evidently ignored. It is also curious that he quoted it because the scientist did not include God within his World System, even as hypotheses, and made public ostentation of his agnosticism. But, in any case, the updated erudition of the Cuban priest is admirable.
Just three months the eminent teacher was able to maintain his chair, because Bishop Espada invited him and practically forced him to apply as an MP for Cortes. He was elected to it on March 13 and departed for the Peninsula on April 28. I would never go back to Cuba. In the Lessons of Constitution he was replaced by Nicolás Escovedo y Rivero (1795–1840), a former seminary student and professor at the University, a brilliant intellectual, despite his grave visual weakness, who remained in the chair until the restoration of absolutism, in late 1823, forced it to close.
Despite its short existence, the Chair of Constitution was a true source of civic education for those privileged who were able to attend it. Those who came to their banks as subjects came out of there with the formation of citizens. Such teachings coveted some intellectuals such as Luz y Caballero, Saco, Domingo del Monte and motivated publications such as El Americano Libre (1822-1823) and his continued The Literary Political Reviewer (1823). The long absolutist decade that would continue satisfied the interests of the ranchers who agreed with the traitor monarch very at ease, but did not extinguish the existence of a liberal reformist wing and, on the other hand, a separatist sentiment that would manifest itself in various conspiracies or in the thought of émigrés such as the poet José María Heredia. The effort had not been futile.
Varela remained very active during his Spanish stay, although the elections for deputies of Cuba in 1821 were annulled and, again elected in 1822, in the absence of credentials he was not admitted to the Courts along with his colleagues Tomás Gener and Leonardo Santos Suárez until October 2, so they were legislators for only a year. During this period he presented to the Director of Studies, the poet Manuel José Quintana, a memoir written at the request of Bishop Espada, to become a university the Seminary of San Carlos.
In parliament, he took particular care not to ally himself with fanatical clerics, militarists, or extremist liberals. With energy and prudence he intervened when he deemed it necessary in the sessions. He defended the rights of the diocesan clergy not to be instrumentalized by the Government or in its selection for office or in the allocation or deprivation of resources; advocated for the banished of the Peninsula and for the rehabilitation of the inmates through work; demanded that the properties and property of the convents closed in Cuba be used for education; he was alert to avoid the excessive powers some wanted to grant the army.
Perhaps the saddest thing for him was to contemplate how, even among the most liberal legislators, Cuba’s affairs should be left as they were, or were of little importance. The autonomy project in which he worked in committee with other Cuban deputies, a Filipino and several Spaniards, was sent to print by the Courts, but never found room for discussion; his proposal for the recognition of the independence of those nations of America that were already free, stumbled upon the prejudices of the majority, and even the liberal Argoelles refuted him with clumsy arguments, such as americans’ lack of preparation for freedom. He was never able to present his project to abolish slavery. To top it all off, he had to attend long sessions in which he had to be disappointed with names that had seemed venerable to him in the distance and by that chaotic panorama where all human defects were represented: hypocrisy, venality, violence, selfishness and even the indignities of various members of the clergy. Despite some elegant oratory pieces, that parliament was a battlefield, divided into sides, while the King conspired with the powers of the Holy Covenant and especially with his relative Louis XVIII.
Father Varela’s stay on the Peninsula was not very productive from a pragmatic point of view, but we can state that, between 1821 and 1823, the educator was educated with observing the political circumstances of the Metropolis and appreciating human behavior in it. The one who arrived in Cadiz on 7 June 1821 was not the same one who fled that city around 3 October 1823 to Morocco and Gibraltar, and from there to the United States. He had come as a liberal reformer, aspiring to achieve Cuba’s autonomy and departed, absolu-deeply disappointed in the Spanish monarchy and even a large section of liberals, who did not want to know about freedoms for the colonies. The land was paid for independence. Upon his arrival in the United States, outlawed, seized his assets and sentenced to death, like the rest of the deputies – some ninety – who had voted on 11 July earlier for the disqualification of the monarch,20 could subscribe to the Heredian statement: “That not in vain between Cuba and Spain / It makes its waves immense the sea”.
From Havana he had come out with honors and applause, at least from the elite who supported him. From Cadiz he sneaked out, after contemplating the disbandment of the deputies, the advance of the troops of the Hundred Thousand Sons of St. Louis commanded by the Duke of Angouleme21 and the traitor monarch cheered by the mobs who claimed the absolute monarchy and until the immediate restoration of the Inquisition.
The end of 1823 must have been for Varela, already in cold and foreign land, something like The Night of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was far from his bishop who seemed to have abandoned him, for, bound by circumstance, he held a Te Deum in the Haban cathedral for the restoration of absolutism and wrote a pastoral letter praising the French invasion of the Peninsula. His disciples had disbanded and the Creole oligarchs were plácemes with Arango and Parreño. Apparently everything was consummated.

But, in 1824, Varela has remade heed. He begins editing The Habanero, first in Philadelphia and then in New York, he is no longer a legislator, he is a politician who attacks the masks of double standards; the hypocrisy of those who prefer sugar boxes and coffee bags to freedom; is strongly opposed to Cuba’s nation-to-nation annexation projects. And when he understands that on the island there are no conditions for the immediate separation of Spain, he writes his Letters to Elpidio between 1835 and 1838, to educate young people in virtue and love of the homeland. The man of law has proven himself in pain, has known evil closely, and now seems to be resurrected, again as an educator and in the pastoral work of his priesthood. He is no longer an MP, but a father and as such instructs children to be free and pious. In the nearly thirty years he resided in the United States he proved that he was both patriotic and holy.
In the summer of 1892, José Martí became a pilgrim to St. Augustine of Florida and later published a short chronicle in Patria on August 6 where there is a wise and strong characterization of the priest:

“There they are, in the chapel halfway down, the remains of that entire patriot, who when he saw incompatible the government of Spain with the character and needs of Creole, said without fear what he saw and came to die near Cuba, as close to Cuba as he could, without getting crazy or hasty, nor confuse the just respect for a people of free institutions with the unjustifiable need to add to the strange and distinct people who possess only the same that with our effort and proven quality we can come to possess: the remains of Father Varela.”22

A few lines later, after founding there in San Agustin, the revolutionary club Padre Varela, says: “here we are on guard, watching over the bones of the Cuban saint, and we must not dishonor his name.”23
Today these venerable bones rest in the Magna Classroom of the University, before them prayed on January 23, 1998 St John Paul II. It is up to us to watch over his works before his eyes and hearts, so that this Constitution, which is made today, may carry the imronta of the “Cuban saint”, for the good of Christians and all the people of Cuba.24 Ω

1 The draft autonomic Constitution of José Agustín Caballero (1811) and the separatist Constitution of Joaquín Infante in the same year could be cited. Cf. Beatriz Bernal Gómez: “Proposals and constitutional projects in Cuba of the nineteenth century”, In memory of Francisco Tomás y Valiente, Salamanca, Ed. University of Salamanca, 2004, pp. 861-872.
2 Constitution of Cadiz of 1812, Title IX, Single Chapter, article 368.
3 José Ignacio Rodríguez: Life of the priest Don Félix Varela, New York, Press of O Novo Mundo, 1878, pp. 165-166.
4 Félix Varela: “Speech given by the priest Don Félix Varela, at the opening of the Constitution class that he is professor”, Félix Varela y Morales, Obras, Havana, Library of Cuban Classics, Editorial Cultura Popular and Ediciones Imagen Contemporánea, 2001, t. 2, p. 4. All quotes from Varela are made for this edition, unless otherwise noted.
5 Ibid., pp. 5-6.
6 Ibid., p. 6.
7 Félix Varela: Observations on the Political Constitution of the Spanish Monarchy, Havana, Printing by Mr. Pedro Nolasco Palmer and Jr., 1821.
8 Felix Varela: “Remarks”. Works, t. 2, p. 11.
9 Ibid., p. 12.
10 “Let all the constituted authorities be someathed: for there is no authority that does not come from God, and those that exist, by God have been constituted. So whoever opposes authority rebels against the divine order, and the rebels will attract condemnation upon themselves” (Rom 13:1-2).
11 Felix Varela: “Remarks”, Works, t. 2, pp. 15-16.
12 Ibid., p. 16.
13 Ibid., p. 17.
14 Adem.
15 Ibid., p. 18.
16 Ibid., p. 19.
17 Adem.
18 Ibid., p. 25.
19 Ibid., p. 42.

20 On 11 July 1823, on a proposal from Alcalá Galiano, deputies of Cortes voted for the disqualification of Ferdinand VII, citing his “temporary dementia”, when he refused to move with the Legislative from Seville to Cadiz. It was feared that, as it happened, he would take refuge with the invading French troops and from there face parliament and restore absolutism. Both the monarch and the chief of the invaders saw in such disqualification an attitude similar to that of the Gala Convention when he stripped Louis XVI in November 1792 of his immunity, which preceded his process and death sentence. Such references explain Fernando’s ensentment with which they supported his alleged madness.
21 Louis Antony of Bourbon was the son of Charles of Bourbon, Count of Artois, and nephew of Louis XVI who gave him at birth the title of Duke of Angouleme. He married Maria Theresa, the daughter of the guillotined monarch, after she was released from Temple Prison and sent into exile. All this explains the absolute enmity of the nobleman with any vestige of liberalism. It represented the grudge of reaction against revolutionaries. After the death of his father who reigned as Charles X he was supposed to have accessed the throne of France under the name Louis XIX, but the political circumstances of this country prevented him.
22 José Martí: “Before the Tomb of Father Varela”, Complete Works, Havana, Center for Martyrdom Studies, Digital Collection, 2007, t. 2, p. 96.
23 Ibid., p. 97.
24 In drawing up this text I should have used a wide variety of materials, but I would particularly like to highlight my debt to two texts, the biography Passion for Cuba and by the Church of Archbishop Carlos Manuel de Céspedes and the study For Life and Honor. Priest Felix Varela in the Courts of Spain. 1822-1823 by Father Manuel Maza Miquel SJ.

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