He took office under Marshal Serrano during 1874, after the pronunciamiento of General Pavia had done away with the Cortes and the Federal Republic. He vainly attempted to crush the Carlists in 1874, and to check the Alphonsist military conspiracy that overthrew the government of Marshal Serrano at the end of December 1874.
In 1876 a vigorous campaign against the Carlists, in which the young king took part, resulted in the defeat of Don Carlos and his abandonment of the struggle.
The government sent him to the front, directly the Carlist War broke out, as commandant of the province of Biscay, where he severely defeated the Carlists in many encounters.
At times he showed qualities as a guerillero quite equal to those of the Carlists, like Zumalacarregui and Cabrera, by his daring marches and surprises.
Twice he obliged the Carlists to raise the siege of Bilbao before he was appointed commander-in-chief of the northern army on the r7th of September 1836, when the tide of war seemed to be setting in favour of the pretender in the Basque provinces and Navarre, though Don Carlos had lost his ablest lieutenant, the Basque Zumalacarregui.
In November 1836 he again forced the Carlists to raise the siege of Bilbao.
Spaniards of all shades, except Carlists and Ultramontanes, paid homage to his memory when he passed away at his Logrono residence on the 8th of January 1879.
He saw some service against the Carlists; was elected deputy to the Cortes of 1836; took part for Espartero, and then against him; was imprisoned in 1843; went into exile and returned; was governor of Barcelona in 1854, and minister of finance in 1855; had a large share in secularizing the Church lands; and after the revolution of 1868 was governor of Madrid.
Returned to Spain in 1873 as brigadier-general, and took an active part against the Carlists in the eastern provinces of the Peninsula in 1875 and 1876, for which he was raised to the rank of general of division.
Rise had not been fulfilled; the failure of the Carlists in Spain.
This force, though aided by considerable bodies of local militia and volunteers in the northern and western provinces, was insufficient to cope with the 60,000 Carlists in arms, and with the still formidable nucleus of cantonalists around Alcoy and Cartagena.
Louis Philippe was accused of secretly favouring the Carlists, and he positively refused to be a party to direct interference in Spain.
The regent soon found that this was not enough to enable her to resist the active hostility of the Carlists and the intrigues of their clerical allies.
At first the Carlists were feeble, but they gathered h ~ strength during the disputes among the Cristinos.
He held office till 1843, during an agitated period, in which the Carlists reappeared in the north, mutinies were common, and a barbarous attempt was made to kidnap the young queen in her palace on the night of the 7th of October 1841.
The Carlists began to collect in the mountains.
The Carlists increased rapidly in numbers, and were joined by many Royalists, who looked upon them as the last resource.
Thus Canovas meant to keep up the appearance of a constitutional and parliamentary government with what most Spaniards considered a fair proportional representation of existing parties, except the Carlists and the most advanced Republicans, who only crept into the House of Deputies in some later parliaments.
Outside, the Republicans and Carlists were getting troublesome, and the tone of their press vied with that of the Liberals in their attacks on the Conservative cabinet.
The Dynastic, Liberal and Independent press, the illustrated papers and the satirical weeklies fared no better than the Republicans, Socialists and Carlists, and in 60 days 1260 prosecutions were ordered against Madrid and provincial papers.
The Carlists showed equal activity in propaganda and intrigues.
With such followers he made the constitution of 1876 and all the laws of the monarchy, putting a limited franchise in the place of universal suffrage, curtailing liberty of conscience, rights of association and of meeting, liberty of the press, checking democracy, obliging the military to abstain from politics, conciliating the Carlists and Catholics by his advances to the Vatican, the Church and the religious orders, pandering to the protectionists by his tariff policy, and courting abroad the friendship of Germany and Austria after contributing to the marriage of his king to an Austrian princess.
Ministerialists, 103; Conservatives, 42; Regionalists, 5; Republicans, 4;~ Carlists, 3; miscellaneous groups, Ii.
Lower House: M mister,alists, 227; Conservatives, 105; Republicans, 42; Carlists, 9; Catalans, 7; Integrists, 2; Independents, ~ unattached, 3.
The Spanish foreign office received every assurance that friendly governments would watch the Carlists and Republicans, to prevent them from using their territories as a basis for conspiracies against the peace of Spain.
In both houses, though Sagasta had allowed a larger share than Canovas was wont to do to the minorities, so much so that on the opposition benches the Republicans of various shades were represented by their most eminent leaders, the Carlists had a respectable group, and the Conservatives a strong muster, flanked by a group of dissentients.
The Republicans, on tlIe other hand, split into sections; in Barcelona, Tarragona and Gerona they were Separatists, while a new party appeared under the name of Sohdarists, consisting of Separatists, Carlists and Socialists.