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“ The second night of our journey was passed at Carmona, which is situated upon the pinacle of a mountain, overlooking a rich and varied view of the valley of the Guadalquiver. This city was quite famous under the Romans, and was for a short time the capitol of one of those petty kingdoms which sprung up in the decline of the Arabian domination. Beside Ecija and Carmona, we met but a few villages, between Cordova and Seville, and no solitary farms, nor houses, other than the public ventas. Though the soil was every where fertile and capable of nourishing a numerous population, yet it was in general very imperfectly cultivated, and often abandoned to the caprice of nature. Nothing can be more painful than to behold this couniry which rose to such a high degree of prosperity under the Romans and Arabs, now so fallen, so impoverished. The principal source of this depopulation may be found in the division of property; nearly the whole country being owned by large proprietors, to whose ancestors, it was granted at the time of the conquest. Hence the soil has to support, not only the labourer who cultivates it, but likewise the idle landlord, who lives at court, and contributes nothing towards the business of production. They who preach the preservation of families and estates, and deprecate the unlimited subdivision of property, should make a journey to Andalusia. Other causes are found in the odious privileges of the mesta, in the exorbitance of the taxes, and in the vexatious system in raising them; in the imperfect state of internal communications, and in the thousand restrictions which check circulation at every step. Not to mention the clergy, the convents, and the robbers, have we not already causes enough of ruin and desolation ?” vol. ij. pp. 139, 140.
We have, no doubt, that the observation as to the division of property is perfectly correct, and that all the evils that some late writers have found in a minute division of landed property, are in fact to be traced to other causes. Leave industry untrammeled by governmental restrictions, and all difficulties on the subject will vanish. He who cannot make his bread on a small farm, will turn his attention to something else, or will emigrate.
In our extracts, we have had the moral condition of Spain principally in view, and we could have added many more to finish the picture of national misery and degradation. In every province it is but the repetition of the melancholy story; impassable roads, unskilful and unscientific agriculture, manufactures destroyed, commerce expiring, education neglected, robberies committed in midday, justice apathetic or corrupt, and bigotry and malaria spreading wider and wider over the moral and physical waste. Yet under a favourable system of police, Spain ought to be one of the wealthiest countries in Europe ; possessing numerous ports on two seas, inter sected by large rivers, with a fine climate, a great extent of rich soil and varied valuable product. The Province of Valencia alone comprising an area of eight thousand square miles, that is, one-third of the size of South-Carolina, has produced as far back as 1782, nine millions a year in silk, hemp, flax, wool, rice, oil, wine and fruits, without counting corn, soda, salt and the fisheries.* To what then is the peverty of the nation to be attributed ? According to Mr. Clay, in his great tariff-speech, Spain exhibits a striking proof of the calamities which attend a State that abandons the care of its domestic industry. Happy, indeed, would it be for that country did she abandon the care of domestic industry to those who live by it, and have the greatest interest in its success! A Spanish writer, Jorebanos, who, for his good sense, clearness and apt illustration, deserves to be more generally known, has taken for the title of his work “ Identity of the general interest with individual interest," and shows most clearly that the desolation and misery of his native land, have entirely arisen from the government's officiously thwarting individual exertion. The exportation of various articles was forbidden. To a country owning the mines of America the lucrative trade of China was cut off because silver could not leave the country. Did the farmer make an abundant crop of wheat, it often remained valueless from the same cause. There were, besides, monopolies of salt, tobacco, gunpowder, &c. To encourage the growth of wool, the tyrannical regulation of the mesta, by which thousands of sheep had, on their route, the privilege of pasturing on every man's land, from the south to the north of the kingdom. In short, the history of Spain is one incessant history of governmental intermeddling, and although something may be attributed to high and injudicious taxation, yet the principal cause is to be found in the vexatious and ever changing restrictions and regulations of monopolies. Catalonia was exempted from the restrictions which pressed on the rest of Spain,t and exhibited in her comparative prosperity, the blessing of simply being “ let alone.” The Spanish American colonies also furnished striking illustrations of the effects of the restrictive and free trade systems as alternately adopted by the mother country. The colonists were forbidden, under severe restrictions, from raising flax, hemp and saffron, from cultivating the vine, the mulberry-tree and the olive, in the climates destined for them by nature. They were not permitted to distil. Their looms were burnt. Commerce was interdicted with foreigners under pain
of death. For more than a century all vessels intending to sail for America were examined at Seville, and were obliged to return to the same port. The consequence of this was, not less than two or three hundred per cent. on goods until lowered by contraband trade. The court of Madrid, to put an end to this trade, after many ineffectual attempts, gave the whole monopoly of these provinces to what was called the Guiapuscoa Company, which furnished goods at moderate prices, and took colonial produce in return. The effects of this company on Carracas, of which it obtained the exclusive trade in 1742, will exemplify its general operation. Numerous villages sprung up, places before covered with immense forests and unhealthy marshes, teemed with the riches of agriculture, the quantity of exports doubled, and new articles of export were added. In short, every thing prospered until the integrity of the company was diminished.
In 1778, Galvez, the Indian minister at Madrid, established what was called the free trade,' for as Humboldt observes in affairs of coin merce as well politics freedom expresses merely a relative idea-an observation of which the Southern States feel the full force. By royal edict, thirteen of the principal sea-ports of Spain were permitted to trade with the American colonies. The comierce between the two countries immediately became more extensive; the exports from America in the course of a year nearly doubled, and those from Spain amounted to five times the usual quantity, the contraband trade was destroyed, for no one will smuggle when the profit is little, and the risk of detection considerable ;-wine and fruits were sent more abundantly to the colonies, and the mother country received in return productions unknown to her before ; coffee, tobacco, sugar, &c. which were formerly received in small quantities, became plentiful and common. Not only wealth flowed into the provinces from the free trade,' but civilization and a love of literature, science and the fine arts sprung up in the principle towns.*
Some miner influences might be cited. The power of a bigoted clergy, that by the sword and faggot diminishes the number of christians while it multiplies that of hypocrites, not only effectually banishes foreign enterprise, but checks every effort at mental developement that exceeds the narrow measure of monkish capacity.
In 1827, to give a late specimen of the existence of the middle ages, in spite of the march of intellect, we give the follow..
* See Bonnycastle's South-America ; Humboldt's New-Spain, &o.
ing: "The archbishop of Toledo has published an ordinance • which forbids (met a l'index) nearly all kinds of books, except
prayer books. Every writing in a foreign language, every 'translation of a foreign work, all the French and English jour'nals are rutblessly prohibited in a body, by his eminence, who, 'as to the journals, is not contented with this in his ordinance; ‘for he moreover forbids, under pain of excommunication, their • introduction into the reading-room established sometime • since, and, besides, the perusal of the works of Llorente,
of Sampere on the revenues of the Spanish church, and even • the translation of David's psalms, published last year, and
dedicated to the king. Our ministers of foreign affairs, • at the request of the archbishop of Toledo, has desired the • members of diplomatic corps not to lend the journals they re'ceive from their own country."*
What must be expected of a country closed to the works of Malthus, Bentham, Say, Sismondi and Tracy, even to the poetry of Byron, and novels of Scott ! and what has been the effect but a constant increase of vice and crime. Among the causes tried in 1826, were 1233 homicides, 13 infanticides, 5 poisonings, 16 suicides, 4 duels, 1773 serious wounds, 52 rapes, 144 public incontinences, 369 insults, 2763 blasphemies, 56 conflagrations, 16:20 thefts, 10 counterfeitings of money, 45 forgeries, 640 abuses of confidence and malversations, 10 prevarications, 2782 different outrages.--167 accused were condemned to death, 55 to flogging and the pillory (exposition,) 4960 to public labour, 479 to serve in the army or navy, 40 to loss of their places, 7038 to fines and reprimands. To conclude, 194 were pardoned, and 1552 acquitted, or their cases discharged. In adding up the number of those condemned to the punishments mentioned, comprising the pardoned who are to be numbered with the guilty, we have a total of 12,933 in a population somewhat above eleven millions !t Hard must it have been to reduce to this degree of depravity a nation still exhibiting extensively dignified and urbane manners, sterling probity, courteous gallantry to the fair sex, gallant daring and noble independence among the men, and tenderness amiability and truth among the women.
The immense incomes of the king, nobility and clergy have a most injurious effect on the distribution of wealth, which is retained, or is scattered abroad in a manner that never benefits the labouring classes entirely at the whim of its possessor-one
Ibid. vol. xxxvii. p. 263,
* Rev. Encyclop. vol. xxxv. p. 235. VOL. VIII.NO. 15.
moment lying inactive in the coffer, the next squandered on cooks, singers and strumpets. It is not one of the least advantages of our republican institutions, that few have incomes beyond their wants, and that there is a constant and natural flow of wealth through the community. Even when the priviledged orders attempt to encourage industry, it is more according to their varying notions than to rcal and enduring wants of the people, and are thus frequently temporary benefits followed by substantial evils. When, for instance, a band of architects, sculptors, painters and masons have finished such a work as the Escorial, or a few palaces of nobility, they are turned forth without occupation. When, on the contrary, certain trades and professions arise from the tastes or wants of a people at large, a steady employment is given or the decrease of employment is gradual.
Still the causes of decay just mentioned, are nothing in comparison with the restrictions on commerce. With open ports, commerce would soon awaken agriculture and manufactures, and with these, wealth would necessarily increase. Wealth would spread abroad a degree of civilization and education among the people, that would shake the despotism of an absolute monarch, the oppressive privileges of the nobility, and the withering sway of a benighted priesthood.
Many are the delightful and lofty images that glitter before the imagination at the very mention of the name of Spain. We remember the by-gone glories of the Moors who covered every hill and valley with fertility, and amid a gothic age, showered abroad an elegance in arts, and polish in literature, that is still seen in the majestic ruins of the Alhambra, and in the pathetic ballads that celebrate the charms, or bid an eternal adieu to Grenada. We remember it as a land of sunshine and flowers, peopled by knights and troubadours. Nor less do we call to mind the brilliant period after Columbus had given a new world to the kingdoms of Castile and Leon, the wealth, the power, the magnificence attached to the Spanish name, when her armies, bade defiance to Europe, and her sails were seen on every sea, when St. Ildefonso, the Escorial and Aranjuez seemed but the meet abodes of the mighty monarchs of a mighty people. We cannot remember what Spain has been, without sorrow for her present condition and ardent hopes for the future. Our hopes will not be frustrated, for she yet contains elements of greatness easily developed. Her fertile soil and
* We have often thought that M'Cullocb's notion of absenteeism might be an. swered by one question. Suppose the landlord were to bury his rents as soon as received what would be the effect?