He behaved constantly like a wary and cautious trimmer, avoiding all extreme measures, shaking off compromising allies like the Ultramontanes and the Regionalists, elbowing out of the cabinet General Polavieja when he asked for too large credits for the army, taking charge of the ministry of marine to carry out reforms that no admiral would have ventured to make for fear of his own comrades, and at last dispensing with the services of the ablest man in the cabinet, the finance minister, Seor Villaverde, when the sweeping reforms and measures of taxation which he introduced raised a troublesome agitation among the taxpayers of all classes.
He had to proclaim not only such important provinces as Barcelona, Valencia and Bilbao, but even the capital of Spain itself, in order to check a widespread agitation which had assumed formidable proportions under the direction of the chambers of commerce, industry, navigation and agriculture, combined with, about 300 middle-class corporations and associations, and supported by the majority of the gilds and syndicates of taxpayers in Madrid and the large towns.
The drastic measures taken by the government against the National Union of Taxpayers, and against the newspapers which assisted it in advocating resistance to taxation until sweeping and proper retrenchment had been effected in the national expenditure, checked this campaign in favor of reform and retrenchment for a while.
After the feudal vassals, decimated Struggle by the wars of religion and the executioners hand, with the and after the recalcitrant taxpayers, the Protestants, Protest- in their turn, and by their own fault, experienced this.
The taxpayers, with the clergy at their head, adopted the same idea, and every day contrived fresh methods of evasion.