The Civil Guard was created by royal decree of March 28, 1844, being reformed by another dated May 13, in which its military nature was firmly established. According to the latter, it would begin to develop its organization, starting the recruitment, training and deployment of its first troops throughout the national geography. The one who is currently the dean of the Spanish State Security Forces and the one with the largest number of troops and the widest territorial deployment had been born.
However, for its maximum responsible, the field marshal and II Duke of Ahumada, Francisco Javier Giron Ezpeleta, it was a priority and fundamental to provide it with a set of rules that collected the moral principles and values by which it would be governed.
Initially issued some circulars, he proceeded to write the best code of ethics that a public security institution has ever had: the “Cartilla del Guardia Civil”. Model guide, inside and outside of Spain, was approved 175 years ago today, by royal order of the Ministry of War, on December 20, 1845.
As established in article 1 of the aforementioned royal decree of May 13, 1844, the Civil Guard was subject to the “Ministry of War with regard to its organization, personnel, discipline, material and receipt of its assets, and the Ministry of the Interior with regard to its peculiar service and movement”.
By royal decree of the Ministry of the Interior, of the following October 9, its “Service Regulations”
were approved , providing in its 1st article that the Corps had as its object, the preservation of public order; the protection of persons and property, outside and within towns; as well as the help that the execution of the laws demanded.
Just six days later, its “Military Regulations” were also approved by royal decree, this time from the Ministry of War . Although the General Ordinances of the Army, approved in 1768 by Carlos III , were applicable to the Civil Guard, it was necessary to establish some particular rules as a consequence of its singular organization and its peculiar service.
Barely five months had passed since its creation and the new Corps already had an organization, a structure, a staff, service regulations and military regulations. However, the most important thing was missing: a code of ethics that would establish the ethical rules by which its members should abide.
The Duke of Ahumada was fully aware of the importance of this, which is why its drafting was one of his top priorities. For this reason he dedicated himself personally to this task, both in his office in Madrid as inspector general of the worthy Institute and during his stays at the family farm of “El Rosalejo”, located in the Cadiz town of Villamartin.
Several had already been the public security institutions that had preceded the new Corps, but all had disappeared, with greater or lesser glory. The last one was what remained of the General Police of the Kingdom, created by royal decree of January 8, 1824 during the absolutist regime of Fernando VII and abolished by royal decree of November 2, 1840.
Without going into an assessment of the various factors and complex reasons that led to the disappearance of the previous institutions, the truth is that the Duke of Ahumada was perfectly clear that the honesty and morality of each and every one of those who made up the new Corps, constituted a fundamental pillar for prestige and durability of the institution.
That is why on January 16, 1845, he issued a circular whose transcendental content constituted the firm foundation on which the “Cartilla del Guardia Civil” would be elaborated.The obligation of the chain of command should not only be a straight example but also ensure its strictest compliance.
Said circular began by affirming that the main force of the Corps had to consist first of all in the good conduct of all the individuals that made it up. A review of the newspaper library, to consult the press of the time prior to the creation of the Civil Guard, makes it easy to understand the importance of the exemplary conduct of those who had the mission of ensuring law and order.
To do this, he then specified that the general principles that should guide it were discipline and the severe execution of the laws. The “Civil Guard”, and he wrote it in capital letters whenever he referred to it, since with it he encompassed all jobs, he had to know how to temper the rigor of his functions, “with good breeding, always reconcilable with them”, because in that This would earn public esteem and consideration. That is to say, the respect of those whom he had the obligation to ensure that they complied with the laws but whom he also had to protect.
Faced with the possibility that the protégé was more afraid of his supposed protector than of whoever could harm him, the Duke of Ahumada pedagogically recommended that the Civil Guard should only be feared by criminals and the only ones who should fear it were the enemies of order, but never good people.
To this end, and in order to gain public appreciation and respect, the Civil Guard had to be a model of morality , being the first to set an example of compliance with the laws and order, since it was in charge of enforcing them and keep it, respectively. He had to be prudent without weakness, firm without violence and political without baseness.Impossible to define it better with fewer words.
As the Duke of Ahumada pointed out very well, the enemies of order of any kind would fear more a Civil Guard who was serene in danger, was faithful to his duty and always acted in control, that is, with common sense.Whoever carried out his functions with dignity, decency and firmness would obtain much better results than the one who with threats and bad words would only manage to alienate everyone.
Finally, after dealing with other questions that were also of great interest, he faced the transcendental question of the professional preparation that the Civil Guard should have to carry out and effectively carry out the missions entrusted to it.
Approval by Elizabeth II
Once its definitive drafting was concluded, the Duke of Ahumada raised it on December 13, 1845 for its final approval by Isabel II, “if it were to her real pleasure”, which was granted a week later, officially called the “Cartilla del Guardia Civil”. ”.
Its text, structured in three parts, began in the first chapter with the “General precautions for the obligation of the Civil Guard”, made up of 35 articles. From the first of them, the true creed of the Institution was denoted: “Honor must be the main emblem of the Civil Guard; must therefore keep it unblemished. Once lost, it can never be recovered.” Of course imbued with the meritorious character, must be “happy prognosis for the afflicted.”
Today, 175 years later, the ethical principles of the “Cartilla” are still fully valid.