Page images

beautiful ruins of the Stamm-Schlosz," and crossing hills, and winding through happy valleys, where chiefly the inhabitants of this little state have built their homesteads and planted their secluded gardens, until, in a few hours more, he reaches the quiet, retired, unceremonious little town of Langen-Schwalbach, where he takes his rest for a few weeks. We have already quoted the account of his dinner at this watering-place, which thoroughly explains the amiable, unostentatious style of society that prevails here. We now give his description of this terra-incognita-this little state, taken as a whole-the upper province of which is 1200 feet above the level of the Rhine, and very cold in winter.

"Yet whatever may be the climate of the upper country of Nassau, the duchy, taken altogether, may fairly be said to contribute more than an average share towards the luxuries and comforts of mankind. Besides fine timber-trees of oak, beech, birch, and fir, there are crops of corn of every sort, as well as potatoes which would not be despised in England; several of the wines (for instance, those on the estates of Hochheim, Eberbach, and Johannisburg) are the finest on the Rhine, while there are fruits, such as apples, pears, cherries, apricots, strawberries, raspberries, (the two latter growing wild,) &c. &c. in the greatest abundance.

"Not only are there mines of the precious metals, and of iron, but there is also coal, which we all know will, when the gigantic powers of steam are developed, become the nucleus of every nation's wealth. In addition to all this, the duchy is celebrated over the whole of Germany for its mineral waters; and certainly, if they be at all equal to the reputation they have acquired, Nassau may be said to contribute to mankind what is infinitely better than all wealth, namely-health.

"From its hills burst mineral streams of various descriptions, and besides the Selters or Seltzer water, which is drunk as a luxury in every quarter of the globe, there are bright sparkling remedies prescribed for almost every disorder under the sun :-for instance, should our reader be consumptive, or, what is much more probable, be dyspeptic, let him hurry to Ems; if he wishes to instil iron into his system, and to brace up his muscles, let him go to LangenSchwalbach; if his brain should require calming, his nerves soothing, and his skin softening, let him glide onwards to Schlangenbad-the serpent's bath; but if he should be rheumatic in his limbs, or if mercury should be running riot in his system, let him hasten, body and bones,' to Wiesbaden, where, they say, by being parboiled in the Kochbrunnen, (boiling spring,) all his troubles will evaporate. "To these different waters of Nassau flock annually thousands and thousands of people from all parts of Germany; and so celebrated are they for the cures which they have effected, that not only do people also come from Russia, Poland, Denmark, &c., but a vast quantity of the waters, in stone bottles, is annually sent to these remote countries; yet it is odd enough that the number of English who have visited the mineral springs of Nassau bears no proportion to that of any other nation of Europe, although Spa, and some other continental watering-places, have been much deserted by foreigners on account of the quantity of the British who have thronged there; but, somehow or other, our country people are like locusts, for they not only fly in myriads to distant countries, but, as they travel, they congregate in clouds, and, therefore, either are they found absolutely eating up a foreign country, or not one of them is to be seen there. How many thousands, and hundreds of thousands of English, with their mouths, eyes, and purses wide open, have followed each other, in mournful succession, up and down the Rhine; and yet, though Nassau has stood absolutely in their path, I believe I may assert, that not twenty families have taken up their abode at LangenSchwalbach or Schlangenbad in the course of the last twenty years; and yet there is no country on earth that could turn out annually more consumptive, rheumatic, and dyspeptic patients than old England! In process of time the little duchy will, no doubt, be as well known as Cheltenham, Malvern, &c.; however, until fashion, that painted direction-post, points her finger towards it, it will continue (so far as we are concerned) to exist, as it really does, in nubibus.

"There are 156,712 human habitations in the duchy of Nassau, and 355,815 human beings to live in them. Of these, 188,244 are Protestants, 161,535 are Catholics; there are 191 Mennonitens or dissenters; and, scattered among

these bleak hills, just as their race is mysteriously scattered over the face of the globe, there are 5845 Jews. The Duke of Nassau is the cacique, king, emperor, or commander-inchief of the province; and people here are everlastingly talking of THE Duke, as in England they talk of the sun, the moon, or any other luminary of which there exists only one in our system. He is certainly the sovereign lord of this lofty country; and, travelling along, I have observed a certain little bough sticking out of every tenth sheaf of corn, the meaning of which is, no doubt, perfectly well understood both by him and the peasant; in short, in all the principal villages there are barns built on purpose for receiving this tribute, with a man, paid by the Duke, for collecting it."-p. 24-28.

After drinking his fill at the "brunnens" of LangenSchwalbach, and amusing himself with all the "bubbles" he can find, whether they be such as the "earth" or such as the "water" hath, our traveller proceeds to bathe himself in the mineral springs of Schlangenbad, or the Serpent's Bath, which are only at a short distance. Here also he finds "a secluded spot"-a mere village, with two immensely large inns, built by the Duke, for the accommodation of the numbers of people who annually resort thither in summer. Among the inmates of the capacious, but very simply furnished hostel in which he takes up his quarters, are the Duke of Saxe Coburg, the Prince of Hesse Homburg, the Princess Royal of Prussia, and other personages of the highest rank. Yet our traveller says, "No part of the building was exclusively occupied by these royal guests; but, paying for their rooms no more than the prices marked upon the doors,* they ascended the same staircase and walked along the same passages with the humblest inmates of the place."

In the other large inn, which is equally resorted to by the rich and great, the village school is kept. The children are taught singing, reading, writing, Scripture history, the grammar of their own language, natural history, geography and accounts, and the system of education is founded on that of Pestalozzi. Our author was much struck with the sweet infantine voices of the little scholars, and with the simply beautiful melody they sung to him.

From Schlangenbad the traveller pursues his quiet way to the brunnen of Neider-Selters, where he gives a lively, picturesque, and most amusing account of the celebrated Selters, or Selzer-waters, and the manner in which they are bottled up, sealed with the Duke's seal, and sent to all parts of the world. From January, 1832, to December of the same year 1,033,662 large, and 261,521 small, bottles were filled at this brunnen for exportation. Having witnessed as much as he desired of the lively fountains of Neider-Selters, our traveller goes on to the romantic old monastery of Eberbach. From the forest gloom of that place he descends again to the little village of Schlangenbad, whence, mounted on an ass, he placidly proceeds to Mainz, and, telling a pleasant story or two on the way, and crossing the Rhine, he safely arrives in the midst of that "sultry dry city and garrison"-to which he soon joyfully bids adieu, and winds his way once more back to Schlangenbad. From this favourite retreat he makes an excursion to Rudesheim and the woodland scenery of the Niederwald, (all at easy distances,) and then, like Prince Eugene, "returns -not, however, to Vienna, but to Schlangenbad. At length he takes a final leave of this "green, happy little valley," and trots on to Wiesbaden, "the capital of the Duchy of Nassau, the present seat of its government, and the spot by far the most numerously frequented as a watering-place."

Our traveller continues-" As I first approached it, it appeared to me to be as hot, as formal, and as uninteresting a place as I ever beheld; however, as soon as I entered it, I very soon found out that its inhabitants, and indeed its visiters, entertain a very different opinion of the place, they pronouncing it to be one of the most fashionable, and consequently most agreeable, watering-places in all Germany." His landlord told him he would find more amusement in an hour at Wiesbaden than in a year at Schlangenbad, but the amusements were not to our traveller's taste: he did not like the close atmosphere-the crowded apartments-the bustle created by twelve thousand fashionables, who are penned up in this place annually-he did not like the hot waters which taste like chicken broth too much salted, nor the indecorous

*The price of each room (on an average from 10d. to 2s. a day) is painted on the door.

manner in which ladies as well as gentlemen take their baths, nor the dull heavy tetotum waltzing on the Sunday evenings, and the eager gambling of both sexes in "little hells" on Sunday nights; and, although he got a capital dinner and a great deal of attention for the small sum of one florin, he soon sighed for "the green, happy little valley of Schlangenbad."

At Wiesbaden our amusing traveller leaves us-and there we leave him, with a great respect for his talents, and a still greater respect for his pure, simple tastes, his freedom from narrow prejudices, and his noble liberality of mind. After what we have said, it is scarcely necessary to recommend his book;-but we recommend such quiet individuals or families who have a little money to spend in a summer tour, to take the course he took, before English fashion points her finger in the direction of Nassau. It is probable, however, that that index will never indicate any other spot than the hot, formal, crowded," most fashionable, and consequently most agreeable" watering-place, Wiesbaden-so there is hope for us!


The Education of the Peasantry in England; what it is, and what it ought to be. With a somewhat detailed Account of the Establishment of M. de Fellenberg, at Hofwyl, in Switzerland. By Baldwin Francis Duppa, Esq., Barrister-at-Law, and Magistrate for the County of Kent. 1s. 6d. 18mo. Knight.

To those critics who judge of a book according to its size and price, the present very small and cheap volume will appear of mean consideration; but to those readers (and now their "name is legion") who look with an anxious eye to the moral and intellectual improvement of the great masses of society, the treatise before us will be considered as of interest and importance.

Mr. Duppa divides the opinions that have obtained garding the education to be given to the poor, and the conduct consequent on those opinions, into four classes.

1st. The opinions of those who are opposed to all and every description of education for the poor.

Of this class he disposes very briefly. "For," says he, "granting the literary instruction of the poor to be as great an evil as they represent it to be, still if it does exist and if it is not in the power of any government, however strong, to repress it, discussion respecting the propriety of its existence becomes futile, the real question being, how can it be directed so as to effect the most good and the least evil?"

ignorance of the objects to which it is to be applied, knowledge such as I should be most fearful of imparting alone; for here you have an individual possessed of the key by which he may unlock and possess himself of the treasures of ideas that past experience has collected; of that vast store of nutrition and of poison that the benevolence and the malignity of ages has accumulated, mixed in one vast and confused heap, the good and the bad, the ennobling and the degrading, virtue and licentiousness, all together. Yes, they have unhesitatingly given the individual an access to this valuable and dangerous treasure, and let him draw his lot for happiness or misery in the ideas that by chance may first most intensely agitate his sentiments or passions, and this without previously cultivating the will to desire, or the judgment to select, what is good. They have sent him to study in the laboratory of a chemist, with all the acids, the gases, the poisons, the medicines around him, but they have neither labelled the phials, nor given him any clue whereby to discover one substance or liquid from another, for fear of his administering poison to himself, or his neighbours, forgetting that he may mistake oxalic acid and arsenic for drugs which would restore health to the sick and give ease to the afflicted."

It is unnecessary to add any remarks of our own to this earnest and convincing representation. We therefore proceed to the

3d class, consisting of those who, without discrimination, or regard to the circumstances or necessities of the individuals, would push instruction to its utmost bounds.

With this class, as may be expected, Mr. Duppa is as little satisfied as with either of the preceding two. He says, truly, that they have discovered the errors of others, but have fallen into errors themselves. Among their deviations from the proper course, he states their considering "that, in order to attain the end, it was only necessary to place the re-wholesome food of knowledge before the guests (the people); they would have partaken of it, forgetting that the palate has either been vitiated with trash, or the stomach weakened by fasting, and, consequently, that what has not an unhealthy pungency will be regarded with indifference by the one, and that everything will be swallowed indiscriminately by the other, without the power of converting it into nourishment." On this statement, we would, however, remark that it is only by a course of plain food a stomach so diseased as to require stimulants, can be cured, or that another, so weakened by long fasting as to have a general craving, can be restored to a healthy tone or natural appetite. Those, therefore, who exhibit and copiously furnish the materials of the plain, wholesome diet, certainly provide the indispensable means of cure. It would be worse than useless-it would be a barbarous mockery-to prescribe South Down mutton and turnips to a corrupted, corroded palate, if there were no such things as mutton and turnips in the market; and the man would run a risk of being devoured himself, who should tell a famishing wretch to cease to gorge himself with the garbage that lies before him and around him, and moderately partake of the restoring soups and nutritious beef which are nowhere to be found. The mutton and the beef have been prepared, and the people are feeding, unmindful of those who, on the side of starving them, cry out, Give them soupe maigre, or of the others, who, on the side of cramming, take a stand upon turtle and whipt-cream.

For ourselves, we should imagine there are few so morally blind, as, on paying a little attention to the subject, not to see the utter impossibility of repressing the progress of information amongst the body of the people. If, when they have seen this impossibility, they persevere in contemptuous neglect or indifference to the subject, their conduct may be compared to that of a man whose estates are exposed to the annually increasing rise of a river or the descent of a mountain torrent, and who, instead of throwing up banks to check the waters, and deepening beds, and digging canals as proper courses for the waters, so as to render them not only harmless but advantageous, sulkily crosses his arms in inactivity, bids the "cataracts and hurricanoes spout," and waits, like the idiot on the bank of the rapid river, till it shall have run by.

2d. The opinions of such as think that the lower classes should be taught reading, writing, and a little arithmetic. It is this class that has placed arms of attack in the hands of the enemies of popular instruction, and yet, fairly speaking, their conduct has not gone to prove that education for the poor is a bad thing, but that the faulty system we have pursued is not a good thing-in fact, is not education.

"The description of instruction given at almost all the parochial schools throughout the country," says our author, "discovers the number of those constituting this second class, viz., of those who would bound it to the first rudiments of reading and writing; who would place, in fact, the weapon of offence and defence in the hand of a child, without either cultivating the disposition, or giving him sufficient knowledge to put it to its legitimate purpose. To read a few chapters of the Testament,' and to write a few copies in a good text hand; to learn the Church Catechism by heart; and to add, subtract, multiply, and divide, form the extent of their education; and this is, indeed, knowledge, knowledge most gigantic and formidable when compared with their

Our author does not, nor shall we, pursue the absurdity of those who would make a general intellectual hot-house for the people of these countries, and so unfit them for their vocations in life. Little danger is to be apprehended in this direction. We pass to the

4th class, which consists of those who, although they would cultivate the intellect of the poor to a very considerable extent, would join to literary instruction something beyond; which should give a steadiness to its influence, and render it applicable to the actual position of the individual in society, when the school-boy has become a man. It is in this class Mr. Duppa takes his stand, regretting that, although there are many persons in England who entertain these opinions, but few experiments worthy of notice have, as yet, been made. He notices, however, two recent_and spirited attempts on a small scale, the one made by Lord Chichester on his estate between Brighton and Lewes, and the other by Mr. Smith, at Southam, in Warwickshire. We quote Mr. Duppa's sketches of these establishments, for they will sufficiently let our readers into his meaning and

views. The first sketch was furnished to him in a letter by a friend, who says:—

"On arriving at the school-room, I found the boys dispersed-it was three o'clock, when they were always employed, either in their own garden or Lord Chichester's grounds. They were then carrying potatoes for him to the places where they were to be kept. I learned the following detail from the master:-There are twenty boys who attend the school on week-days; it opens with prayers at eight o'clock; they then go out and work till eleven; from that hour till one, they learn to read on the National School plan; dine at one; go out again to work till four; return to their tasks till six. Thus they have five hours of work and four of instruction. The schoolmaster says, that when the day is wet, so as to confine them entirely, they feel the want of their work in the garden; but in very hot or very cold weather, they are glad to be in the school-room. A piece of ground, five yards long and two wide, is allotted to each boy out of their small garden (not quite a quarter of an acre), but it is not valued, the master says, from being so small. When the boys work for Lord Chichester, he pays them the same wages as strangers. The elder boys (and there are none older than twelve) have earned eighteen shillings apiece in the last six months. The work is not exclusively agricultural, for the master knows something of carpentry, and other manual employments, which he finds the boys desirous to learn. At first it cost him a great deal of trouble to teach them the use of tools, but during the last year they have been much more handy. The school was formed two years ago; the schoolmaster was a labourer before, and earned twelve shillings a week. Lord Chichester now gives him fifteen shillings. The boys have three weeks' holidays during the harvest time, and the parents have no objection to their attending school at other seasons. There is a school on Sunday likewise; Lord Chichester often visits it on that day, hears the children read, and asks them questions."

Mr. Smith himself gave the account of his agricultural plan for boys:—

"It is not a school,-it is simply three roods and ten poles of land, divided into twelve gardens, occupied by boys from twelve to eighteen years of age, in the cultivation of garden vegetables, peas, carrots, cabbages, kidney-beans, celery, parsnips, &c. I allow only one-fourth to be cultivated with potatoes, and wheat not at all;they pay all prices, from sixpence per month to one shilling per month, according to the size. The rent for the whole amounts to about four pounds seventeen shillings per annum! The seventeen shillings I expend in one rent dinner, and a cup of ale monthly, when they bring their rent, which, I am glad to tell you, my dear little tenants have hitherto done to an hour. If I was rich enough, I should be happier in having five hundred such tenants, thau as many renting two hundred acres each. It is a glorious sight, or rather was a glorious sight in the summer, to see all the gardens so clean and full of stuff-I could have challenged it, for produce and cleanliness, against any acre of ground in the country. The moral advantages, too, have been very great: if it could be copied and extended, in a small degree, all tendencies to sedition and anarchy might be neutralized and suspended. For instance, in this town we have twelve bundred inhabitants, the greater part of whom, being agricultural labourers, have been fully and fairly employed the whole summer. There are about forty boys or young men, who have been at the National School, but who are not yet old enough to go out into service. In the summer evenings, if unemployed, they are very apt to be in mischief; but my boys, since they have had a garden to resort to, have forsaken the streets, and are acquiring that sort of knowledge which is likely to be serviceable to them when they become men. Their fathers and mothers, especially the latter, are made very happy; their cottages have been filled with good vegetables all the summer, at no expense to the father's strength or mother's care; for the boys, whilst they will work hard to procure the rent, are very willing to let the parents have the produce. This they sometimes pay the poor boys for, and sometimes not;-whichever they do, amounts to the same thing. If the boys sell their vegetables to their mother, the money is laid out in clothing, so that saves the father's purse. If four acres of land would be given up and secured for every forty boys (which is about the number for twelve hundred inhabitants), we should have the whole country smiling with health, activity, and content."

From these attempts on a small scale Mr. Duppa proceeds to give a detailed account of the schools on the plan of M. de Fellenberg, which have been established for some years in Switzerland. In these Swiss schools he finds a model to be copied in this country. There are few things to be met with more interesting than Mr. Duppa's description of these schools, which is drawn from his own visits to the establishments, 3

| this, as on so many other subjects, people have wrangled without a clear view of the grounds on which they differed. Making allowance for the bigoted and the morally blind, we cannot but hope that this brief treatise will convince and win the well-informed body of society; and that its author, whose earnestness arises from a profound conviction of the vast importance of the subject, without the judicious management of which the palace and the cottage are alike insecure, will meet, as he has well merited, the praise due to a warm-hearted and enlightened patriot.

[blocks in formation]

Ar the dawn of the middle ages, when a general spirit of war and conquest brought nations into contact, men of the most opposite characters met in Spain. The Moors precipitated themselves upon it-the caliphs Ommiades, expelled from their former seat of power in Syria, established a throne at Cordova-while the cavaliers of the North followed the steps of Roland, who had hewn a passage through the Pyrenees by the edge of the sword. In a country, however, whose arid soil every summer absorbs the waters of its rivers, all things are in extremes; there is no amalgamation, no modification: and the races which cast themselves upon a land fertile, though uncultivated, have either destroyed one anopreserved their distinctive features, their original animosities, ther, or, confining themselves to separate provinces, have their customs, and not unfrequently their language and their laws. Pride and religious prejudice, aversion to all change or amelioration, form the sole bonds of sympathy between men, who, although ruled by the same government for centuries, have not yet been able to understand the power of a domination at once priestly and popular retain the and value of combined action. The thousand ramifications nation in a fatal inactivity, and the affections of the people are all fixed on an order of things which, while it favours idleness, the besetting sin of the Spaniard, gives to every man a share of power; for all is in the hands of the monks, and there is not a family, however poor, which is not attached to some convent by one or more of its members. So that there is, in short, a kind of religious democracy.

There is much contrariety of opinion in regard to Spain; it is very imperfectly known, yet every one writes about it, and each interprets what he sees or hears according to the measure of his affection or dislike.

Few travellers have overleaped the barriers with which nature, the government, the Inquisition, and a police yet more despotic, have surrounded the nation. Smugglers alone cut out for themselves numberless paths, in order to scale the rampart, intersected by deep valleys, or rather breaks between precipices, which bounds the north of Spain. Among the small band of the curious, who are drawn thither by the halls of the Alhambra or the groves of Generalif, the greater part have not penetrated below the surface, and, consequently, could not understand the manners of a people the sauces and the inns, of the olla podridas, and posadas so foreign. Some have given us a detailed description of badly provisioned; others have written in an imaginative vein of their own country, and its exploits; but of the manners of the Spaniards they have not spoken, for they knew them not.

Spain, as it appears in the reviews and magazines, and in the descriptions of those travellers who like swallows skim along the surface and catch but a hasty glimpse of objects as they pass, differs much, as may be supposed, from Spain as it really is. That country, say some of them, thirsts for freedom. But impartial men will ask whether liberty can exist in a country where there is no security for person or property. How is it possible that the daily intercourse between separate provinces, the despatch of the various orders of the state, and the circulation of ideas by books and the public papers, can take place in a country The little book before us, we think, well exhibits the posi-infested with robbers, and without practicable roads and the tion of the disputants about popular education. By dividing means of transport? The road from Madrid to Bayonne, these into four classes, Mr. Duppa has simplified the sub- created by the necessities of diplomacy rather than by those ject and narrowed the ground of debate. At a glance, each of industry or commerce, is certainly one of the finest in may see the bearing and tendency of its own and its oppo- Europe; but the relays of posts, established with so much nent's doctrines-an advantage of no mean value, for on precision in this direction, are not to be met with in any

[ocr errors]

other. From Madrid to Barcelona by Valentia, to Cadiz by | communication between men, the constant circulation of Seville, the only resource is the diligence,-an easy_mode ideas, liberty of thought, of speech, and of the press. This of travelling, and attended with little expense, in France condition of affairs could not subsist for an instant with the and Germany, but very wearisome and very costly in Spain. silent policy of Spain, which is natural to that country, reFrom Cadiz to Grenada, from Grenada to Madrid, there is sulting not only from its history, but from its geographical no communication: the road is indicated, indeed; but will position, its climate, and the very air that is there breathed. it ever be finished? How absurd to dream of political In its institutions, the genius of the East joins with that of emancipation where communication between one point and the middle ages. The sovereign is as absolute as an Asiatic another can only be effected at so great a cost of trouble, time, despot. All greatness not derived from him excites his expense, and danger, and where a mental apathy prevails displeasure; the nobles of pure blood are hateful in his sight which opposes a passive resistance to all those stimuli which he despises and repulses them, and not unfrequently keep the minds of men ever on the alert in countries accus- consigns the reins of state to a favourite valet. He reigns tomed to free institutions. The revolution of the Cortes will in the name of religion; and although the lives of men are be urged as an objection: but who produced that revolution? lightly regarded by him, the people are not astonished, Were the people sincere in the part they took? What because they also hold life cheap, devoting themselves to traces are left of the event? A hecatomb of heroes, victims death for patriotism as they devote others for jealousy. to a love for their country, who mistook the suggestions of Ever since the middle ages, the nobles, so discouraged at their own minds for a veritable political vocation. Besides, court, have possessed three parts of the kingdom, oftentimes does not the ill use which the Spaniards have made of an entire province belonging to a single duke or count. what liberty they possess prove them deficient in political Some one asked the Duchess de B**** if there existed intelligence? The efficiency of the institutions of a country a district throughout Spain in which she did not possess is only secured by the general assent of the nation. Some land? After considering for awhile, she replied, "I think I individuals may dissent, but the mass loves them by in- have none in Galicia." It is well-known, that, in consequence stinct. Numbers govern the world. The majority of of wars, the revenues of these immense domains are much suffrages is the support of public liberty. This majority diminished, and the presence of the grandees at Madrid prethe institutions imported into the Peninsula never obtained. vents all local influence. But entire districts cease not to Two powers there reign predominant, and overwhelm, when belong to them,-cease not, for want of a proper division they agree, all opposition: these powers are the king and application of labour, to remain in a half cultivated state. and the people. All action is subservient to know- If the nobles exercise no influence, neither does any other ledge in a polished nation; and to this the aristocracy and class. The concentration of the larger fiefs in the hands of the middle classes owe their existence as parts of the body the high aristocracy is so much in accordance with the corporate. When policy is founded on reason and common notions of the Spaniard, that it would be almost impossible sense, rather than on passion and excitement, the people, for him to form any conception of a different state of things. strictly speaking, exercise no authority-have no judg- We will relate a recent instance of this. A nobleman, ment-seats of their own; but delegate their powers to greatly in debt, wished to profit by the law granting that individuals furnished by a class superior in station and ac- liberty which had been promulgated, by alienating a part of quirements to themselves. his inheritance; but he found that the legal facility was of no avail. The sale of the whole or part of a family estate was so foreign to the ideas of every body that no purchaser could be found. No one placed faith in a proceeding so utterly unprecedented. The institutions of the middle ages are yet in force in some of the cities and provinces. The shadows of ancient franchise and municipal freedom still exist here and there. Thus Navarre has always remained a privileged state. The Duke of Alba is its governor, chancellor, and constable, by hereditary right. The Variongades provinces have likewise a right to certain custom dues, which are deducted from the taxes on merchandise in other parts of Spain. Local regulations of this kind preclude the possibility of uniformity of system, and prevent the application of any of those principles which obtain in other countries.

In Spain, the old nobility are powerless, and the middle class uninfluential: they know not the sovereignty of industry over the multitude of workmen which it employs. The labourers are superior to the wealthy classes on account of the independence which sobriety and the absence of care induces; they are yet more so because they have chiefs, who know how to speak and to act, to sway their consciences and direct their insurrections. The priests, and the monks more particularly, are at the head of a people who eat their bread and their soup at the gates of the monasteries. They themselves are selected from the same class: the old nobility scarcely ever belonging to the church. The bishops and the archbishops, the chiefs of the order, rise from the lowest trade; so that the poor look upon them as their counsellors, judges and natural defenders. Elsewhere the church is an ally of the aristocracy; in Spain, it is the leader of the common people. The same phenomenon is presented in Ireland. In France, a considerable party among the clergy, and a small fraction of the provincial nobility regard the charter with pain: the rest of the population welcome and support it. In Spain, it is the minority who desire the constitution: the majority repel it; and the power lies with the majority. Who can resist this sign? The strength of the institutions of any country whatever depends on their harmonizing with the feelings of the population.

But they tell us industry is wanting, and having that, all would work well. In some of the provinces there is no lack of industry; but in others, it will never have a footing, for there even agriculture never prospers. The Manchegan, fainting beneath the sun, will never cultivate his fields otherwise than negligently, even should their extent be circumscribed and the soil prove more friendly. Again, it is asserted that toil would bring morality, and that if the Spaniards were less idle we should hear no more of plundered travellers. The Valencian labours with ardour-allows not a There is yet another difference between the Spaniard and corner to remain uncultivated, and compels the ground to his neighbours. The rage for equality which possessed the yield a threefold crop-yet throughout the country, where do French people still more than that of liberty has never robberies and assassinations so frequently occur as in the tormented the Spaniard. An hidalgo of Burgos or Valla- neighbourhood of Valencia? This country then is inexplidolid said one day to his vassals, "The king is nearly as cable: it is, for the present at least, nearly incorrigible. ancient as myself; but all things considered, I rank first, M. Rubichon heartily congratulated himself that it was so: for he is but a French nobleman." What does this sally" For," said he, "the absence of industry and science is prove? Nothing; unless it be the contempt of the Spaniard for every thing foreign. The same hidalgo would think nothing of prostrating himself to kiss hands before the family of his masters, from the sovereign himself, even to the last of the Infants. Bussy with great simplicity asserted, that he yielded to Montmorency in regard to honours, but certainly not in respect to birth; a sentiment truly Spanish. Whole provinces are peopled with nobles of ancient lineage, and no one admits his personal inferiority. A leveller is, above all men, a being essentially vain; but a Spaniard has too much pride to admit of vanity. All Castilians believe themselves descended from the wild courtiers of king Pélage; and the proudest of the nobles cannot go farther back. The existence of a well-constituted nation demands inter

well compensated by an heroic valour, an ardent patriotism, a lively faith, an opposition to all novelty, and an extreme sobriety." In truth, what nation has displayed more patriotism and nobleness of soul? Qualities which are the more admirable, since they belong not peculiarly to a single class, nay, it is perhaps by descending to the lowest that they are to be found in all their purity. Other persons, less biassed, are apt to oppose to these eulogies the defects which have so often displeased strangers, and to accuse the Spaniard of a certain ferocity of disposition, and savage delight in bloodshedding, of a fanatic superstition and of an empty, barren pride, which repels information as an insult. The gay and superficial will likewise complain of an intolerable ennui, of a want of society, and of the pleasures which

it affords; and better constituted minds are shocked by the deep stain of an unbridled voluptuousness, retiring and secret, but gloomy and fierce even in its transports. There is some truth in these opposite pictures. Whatever be the cause, the Spaniards conform not to the manners of others, but impose their own on all who may come to dwell among or reign over them. Is not this to be seen in Philip II. and his race, in the abandonment of Maximilian, in the fatuity of Philip the Fair, in the disposition to travel and the magnificence of Charles V.? See it also in Philip V. Had he not been brought up at Versailles, encircled by the fascinations of the court of Louis XIV.? Had he not visited, some hundred times, Marly and Fontainebleau, followed by a train of youthful courtiers, lovely ladies, and adulatory poets? Had he not passed his youth in nightly feasts, in shows and spectacles, in masked balls, and joyous carousals? How came it, then, that he secluded himself in his chamber for days, and weeks, and months? How happened it that, chased from the throne by morbid feeling, he sought ease in the monotonous life of the cloister? Enter St. Ildefonso. A spectre, coarsely attired, and with uncombed locks, occupies a huge arm-chair: it is Philip V. Six times has the hour been sounded by the clock since Farinelli sung to him four unvarying ariettas. A still more recent example might be cited; but its date is so modern, that we limit ourselves to indicating it. A princess, reared amidst the smiles of a gay court, has astonished the Spaniards by the excess of her austerities. This contagious ennui extends beyond the confines of the courtly circle, and infects the humblest individuals. The artisan established at Madrid labours under its influence; noisy pleasures annoy him; gaiety requires an effort; he becomes heavy, serious, and sad, and takes no interest in passing events. In what way can such an absurd apathy be conquered? If you think the task easy, you have not to a certainty visited Spain, nor gazed upon its chalky and discoloured soil, reflecting and refracting the sun's rays till the eyes become blinded by the glare; nor experienced the effects of that subduing heat against which there is no refuge. Shut the shutters and throw yourself on a couch; the couch is like a bed of live coals-to sleep on it is impossible. Night comes, but heat remains; and you are as restless as by day. Is it surprising, then, that anything which requires thought or labour should be repulsive? The energies of men are weakened; there is a prostration of the physical and moral powers.

Climate will always have a sensible effect on the character of a people, and Montesquieu was far from wrong when he stated it to be one of the sources of the prosperity or adversity of nations. We fear that this cause will always operate as a bar to the complete civilization of the Peninsula; but, be this as it may, we also believe that genius is universal in its nature, and independent of the laws of climate. Heat or cold are alike incapable of cramping the reason of the historian or the imagination of the poet. Evidence of this is written on each page of the literary annals of Spain. In our day, it is true, poetry has produced nothing very remarkable; but history has been cultivated with considerable care. If there is ignorance in Spain, that ignorance does not extend to the national history; and in that, as in some other things, the contrast with its neighbour country, France, is striking. The French peasants most assuredly know nothing whatever concerning the reigns of Louis XII., Francis I., or Louis XIV.; the wars of the League and the Frond are as utterly unknown to them as the Punic and Peloponnesian. It is not thus with a Spaniard. However humble, he knows to a marvel the history of the invasion of the Moors, their power, the splendour of their dominionCordova for a long time flourishing-Granada at length reconquered-Ferdinand and Isabella-Charles V., emperor of Germany-Philip II., founder of the Escurial. The studious of Madrid and the provinces, though paying little attention to foreign events, are exceedingly well read in the affairs of their own country. Aided by such guides, a man of industry and talent may acquire a tolerably correct notion of the history of the Peninsula; but there is one condition without which his toil will be labour in vain, and that is, a thorough understanding of the national idiom, for which a residence of some years in Spain is necessary. One man alone perhaps, Francisco Goja, has been able to give a just idea of his country. In his sharp and biting satires he has strikingly described the vices which cause Spain to blush, and he has painted them after the measure of his detestation of them. He is a Rabelais, but still a Spanish Ra

belais-serious, and of a humour which causes one to groan; laughter is too feeble a sensation for him, and the ridicule which abounds in his magnificent sketches seems graven with the point of a dagger, freezing the blood and making the flesh to crawl.

Some time ago there appeared in the Quarterly Review' a long and interesting article upon Spain, and the domestic manners of its people, with copious extracts from a work entitled A Year in Spain, by a Young American,' *—a traveller who has not swept along the high roads and smooth ways, indulging in the luxury of his berlin, but, like us, has coursed over the country in any conveyance that might offer; and as there are but three diligences in Spain, he has most commonly ridden in company with the muleteer, who, from time immemorial, has been accustomed to escort, singing, his caravan of travellers from one posada to another. Like us also he has ventured into those species of dens, those great lumbering vehicles, topped with a heavy roof, in which the hidalgo and his family, the priest and the beggar, the monk and the citizen, perched upon bales and packages of merchandise of every description, are delightfully jolted and jumbled to the slow and measured pace of the mules, by-ways macadamized long ere MacAdam took to pounding English flints or Scotch granite. Lastly, he has witnessed some domestic scenes, and lived in the casas de pupilos at Madrid and Seville.

Spain is a country well calculated to attract the attention and excite the interest of a lover of the fine arts. Occupied successively by the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Romans, and the Arabs, it yet contains monuments marked by the peculiar genius of these several nations, so different in their origin, language, and manners. The first impres sions of the traveller, however, are generally those of disappointment, for there is nothing answering to the pictures which fancy is apt to paint under the inspiration of the ballads of the olden time-when the Peninsula was peopled with heroes. This is the case even when he enters by the mountainous Catalonia, and beholds, easy of access, the rich Barcelona and its ravishing plains. Disgusting beds, repulsive food, an idle and miserable population issuing in crowds from filthy hovels, muddy villages, towns falling into ruins, and fortresses dismantled, are things which break the spell wherewith the imagination had invested places endeared by romance and the actions of the brave; but how much more will expectation be shocked if the traveller penetrates into Spain by the royal provinces, by those deserts which the Castilian calls despopulados, where the magnificent sun casts his rising beams on an expanse of vigorous, though rank vegetation-the profitless abundance of which proves the fertility of the uncultivated soil, and traverses an immense horizon unbroken by a single object! In a space of six or eight leagues the eye finds scarcely anything to arrest it. A muleteer with his mules, a solitary wayfarer, alone afford relief; while at the sound of their steps is heard the cry of birds of prey, who follow from afar, with noisy wing, devouring all that die in that solitary region, and demanding food from all that live.

How painful the contrast to an Englishman-accustomed in his native land to be whirled hither and thither with an almost winged speed-to be obliged to devour his impatience and ennui in the tardy Spanish stage, drawn by seven mules-the six nearest in couples-and the capitana at the head, rejoicing in the privilege of having reins and being leader of the troop! The hair of each beast is the subject of much care, it is preserved at the end of the tail, and shaven upon the croup, so as to resemble the trappings of a hussar's horse; while their heads are ornamented with feathers, morice-bells, and tassels of rich coloured wool. The athletic zagal (postillion) clothed in the gay costume of his province, talks with his mules, knows each one, reasons with, and encourages the whole. If one of them stumbles, or is refractory, he pronounces its name in a sharp and angry tone, laying great emphasis on the last syllable. All understand him, or appear to do so; and when la Portuguesa takes to herself the remonstrance addressed to la Coronella or la Capitana, the zagal cries "Aquella ostra!" (that is, to the other) and the offender returns to its duty. The activity of the zagal is wonderful; he travels on foot half of the twenty miles of which a stage consists, and the rest of the way nearly always stands on the step of the carriage. The mayoral, more grave and calm, enveloped in his wrap

London, 1831. Murray. 2 vols. 12mo.

« PreviousContinue »