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ponderous tomb-stone in the whole country. To talk of the deliverance, the liberty, the glory, and so forth, of such a nation, as things to be the result" of a yr-ar or two of anarchy and fighting, does reaily seem to be transgressing the utmost licence allowable even in the language of a lampoon or an eastern fiction. And to expend, to a prodigious amount, the means, animate and inanimate, of; a nation itself heavily pressed with burdens, in aiding the deliverance, as it is called, of such a people, without conveying the remotest hint of any measures corrective of barbarism, and tending to assuage the fury of fanaticism, would be quite worthy of a country, where bigots and infidels should be contending for the political power. The ,mind seems sufficiently dead in Spain, to insure a protracted period of moral and intellectual sameness, — a monotony of ignorance and superstition; and therefore, whatever may be the despot's name whose slaves the population are ultimately to become, we need not be greatly distressed under the apprehension, while making a few extracts from Mr. Semple's book, that it will be in vain to expect, for several years to come, so inland a view of the state of manners in, that country, as he has afforded us.
The Spaniards appear to have gained Mr. Semple's favour in no small degree, and indeed did no little, in some places, to earn it by attentions, compliments, and huzzaing him and his country: but of the Portuguese, among whom he first landed, and to whose capital he deemed a week too liberal a sacrifice of his time, no man can entertain a more degraded and desponding estimate.
'I cast upon Lisbon a last look. I beheld a people armed; but' without chiefs possessed of any science; sufficiently enthusiastic while the enemy is at a distance, but affording no grounds to a cool ob.erwr to expect a brave resistance when he approaches The tumult and the f rocity of a mob against unarmed individuals can only leri! to cowardice in the field against a disciplined fne. 1 beheld a government hate-.!, yet implicitly obeyed; and this was to me a kind of cJue to the nn:onal character, where the hereditary rights of tyrannising in the gum, and long habits of servitude in the multitude, compose the principal traits. «« But •the people are awakened; they are appealed to; they are .irrh°d' and habits of. freedom will by degrees arise among them."—Never. This nation, with all its old rites, its superstitions, and its prejudices of three centuries, is in its decrepitude. To produce . i.y good tie- whole race must be renewed. Their present enthusiasm,, piodur.'d by Hi pressure and concurrence of wonderful circumstances, prnv. s to me iiJtb-ng. When the day is warm in spring, wh--n the le.'V^o bud <m j t\e birds sing, we wonder not to see a smile on the cheek of ok.' <ige nut from tn.it smile to draw a thousand fond inferences, to dream of future activity and exertion exceeding the past, "would be childish in the extreme. Let us not deceive ourselves; should the Portuguese nation perform in Europe deeds even equal to any recorded in its history since the days of Viriatus, these deeds would not equal the romantic ideas which England is forming of them." p. 16.
It may be clearly comprehended, that this passage expresses the utmost contempt of the Portuguese; it is a perplexed paragraph notwithstanding. What freedom is it that the present race will never be brave enough to fight for, and that there must be a complete renewal of the nation in order to obtain? Is this term, which has kindled so many poetic and heroic feeling?, come at last to mean the exalted privilege of being taxed and imprisoned by a home-bred instead of a foreign tyrant? It would really seem not worth while to have the 'whole race renewed' for the attainment of that object, if it were within the laws of nature that the present race could remain. The Portuguese, taken as they are, are quite good enough for any thing the * royal house of Braganza' would have been likely to produce to govern them. To be good enough for the purpose of being held and used by such a proprietor, it is not necessary they should be eagar to rush on danger and death to vindicate his tight of ownership. It would be quite too much to require of nocks and herds, whose pasture was confined to a tract in the neighbourhood of a den of wolves, that they should embattle themselves, goat, ram, bull, and all, to butt off the leopard and thetyger, just in order to preserve themselves, the said flocks and herds, for the festival use of the lupine house. Let the house of Bra-, ganza solicit friends, hire mercenaries, set on priests, summon conjurers, invoke silver, wooden, or waxen saints,—do, in short, whatever it pleases, or whatever it can, to take and keep possession of the people; but in the name of common decency and common sense, let the people themselves be excused pouring out their blood in torrents in the martial litigation of proprietorship between two branches of the ancient family of Pharaoh.—The royal house of Portugal has indeed obtained a friend of no common order, an auxiliary Ko far from the character of a mercenary, as to be willing actually to pay a very high price for the acceptance of assistance; and so wise withal, as to marvel greatly that the people should not be all pining orraging under the insupportable calamity of the absence of their lately real, and still nominal master. Every expedient has been tried by this auxiliary, to produce the loyal paroxysm, which should impel the people on the enemy's lines to die for, or to avenge and recover the royal house. This brave and generous, but most simple ally, however, has had the msrti
cation to find, that the Portuguese people, though mortally hating the French, are not disposed to stir hand or foot, to prevent the awful calamity of the final loss of a dynasty to their country and to Europe: nay, according to Mr. Semple, they like this very ally much the worse for his faithful adherence to the interests of this dynasty. The paragraph which conveys this last information, is an excellent descrip-. tion of the judicious and philanthropic kind of plan, which this country lias been very busy upon for many years past.
'The English have supported a Regency odious to the people, and have lost more by that, and the convention of Cintra, than they gained at Vimeira. The French are attacking, in all directions, old and corrupted establishments ready to fall by their own weight. We fly to prop them up with the whole of England's strength. The natural consequence is, that the people of most countries execrate the French, but find it hard to condemn many of their measures; while, on the contrary, the English are very generally beloved, and their measures execrated. The former Government of Portugal, of which the present Regency is a representative, .was a very bad one. Its oppressions and its ignorance were alike notorious. Yet we have linked ourselves to this government, and not to the people. We make no appeals as it were directly from nation to nation. All that we say .comes to the people through the medium of magistrates, not beloved, nor respected farther than that they hold an arbitrary power in their hands.' p. 12.
The historians who shaW flourish, as the phrase is, in the latter part of the present century, and at remoter periods, will have to do the best they can to explain the policy on which the English nation has been acting during the last twelve or twenty years. And it would be worth while for a person, who, though yet in the somewh.it earlier part of life, has been, we will suppose, an intelligent observer of the transactions of the last few years, to consider, if he were to live to be asked for information, or for his opiniou concerning them, forty or fifty years hence, bysome one then preparing in the seriousness of history to state them, and comment on them, how he would answer such questions as these—Did the English nation at that time, in spite of all their vaunted illumination, and pretended spirit of liberty, entertain a real partiality for despots as such, for superstitious and intolerant church establishments, aod in short for that state of the whole social economy, which is at once the result and preserver of ignorance and desperate corruption? Or, in their terrified haste to secure themselves against the ultimate ascendency of a great rival power, were they eager to ally themselves with any sort of government possessing the semblance of a ready organized military force, however such a government might be hated by its subjects, rather than wait to assist any nation to acquire the knowledge and freedom which would create a truly noble and powerful ally? *—as a person startled with the apprehension of an attack, will catch a loose rotten stick from a hedge, instead of taking time, when there is really time enough, to cut out and pre
}>are a sound and elastic one: but in doing so, were the Engish nation besotted enough to believe that such allies could render them any effectual assistance? And did that nation, in allying itself at so many points with the vilest despotism, entertain no apprehension that its own government might contract some similarity? Or is the truth of the whole matter no other than this,—that there was but little connexion but that of power, aided by delusion, between the English government and the English people?
Reverting to the passage before quoted, we cannot help wondering why, when Mr. Semple is so hopeless of any good among the Portuguese, he is so sanguine with respect to the Spaniards;—as if the latter, according to his own descriptions, were not as deep in contented ignorance,—as if they had not a!.co, in the same plenty, 'its old rites, its superstions, its prejudices of three centuries,' and all the signs of 'decrepitude,'— as if the Spanish legislators and military commanders were not nearly as incapable, their ecclesiastics, as stupid and intolerant, their adored sixpennyworths of wax as numerous, their mobs as ferocious, and their accumulations of dirt as noisome, as those of Portugal. With respect indeed to any supposed analogy, in point of decline and decrepitude, between a nation and an aged individual, we cannot learn that the most sober class of philosophers esteem the notion any thing more than a fancy; but these matters of fact need no aid and aggravation from ingenious analogies to prove, that the nation have not mind enough for an enlightened system of co-operation against their enemy, and that they could not become a flourishing and happy people within vast lengths of time, if all the French on the peninsula were in one night, like the Egyptian locusts, carried into the sea. As to their being a free nation, after the expulsion of the French, it is but justice to Mr. S. to say that, towards the end of his book, he acknowledges such a thing to be impossible. He confesses they have not a guess at the meaning of the word. And in saying this, he betrays not the slightest consciousness that he is assigning any reason, why the wretched population should not be kept in the cauldron of war as long as fuel to keep/it hot can be gathered from their own ravaged country, or supplied by the oppressive taxation of ours. No; his affliction is, that the fighting has as yet been in too small a way; and he proposes that the English army shall be augmented to 80,000 men, in a country where he knows that half of such a devouring number would soon perish from famine and want of shelter, should they even not once indulge in the deleterious luxury of meeting the French artillery. The Spanish people, thus aided, and, through favour of such an adventitious multitude, and the still greater multitude that would crowd in from France to oppose them, partaking very largely of the comforts of famine, are to fight on and gloriously perish for thename of Ferdinand VII; which name Mr. Semple thinks will be an inexhaustible source of inspiration, and a substitute for subsistence. The wearer of this name, however, will be destroyed, he says, by his savage captor, when it is seen how much ardour it keeps alive; but the triumph will, notwithstanding, be secured; and then some other ignorant and feeble branch of the family may be had up, to be crowned the despot of Spain, (for Mr. S. is absolute that the government must be a despotic monarchy) and thus the whole affair is to be finished, to the huge satisfaction, we will allow, of no small number of persons in Spain, who will (provided the new monarch so pleases,) have the good luck of obtaining possession of numerous houses and farms which will have been left without owners, as one part of this book mentions to have been the case there after a dreadful plague, several centuries since.—There are some persons of stout constitutions who can stand but little strong liquor; and it is very curious to observe how many men of good heads, in the mental sense, cannot indulge five minutes in a speculation on Spain without'reeling most woefully.
The making of these dull remarks, which we honestly began the article without' intending to make, would have given our readers just cause of complaint on account of the scanty proportion of extracts to be admitted from this entertaining volume, if it were in the usual sumptuous form of books of travels. But Mr. Semple has deserved much praise for declining the privileges of his order; especially in making a number of well-finished and characteristic plates the decoration, and indeed something better than the mere decoration, of so modest a volume. It is, besides, a book abounding with good descriptions and sensible observations, despatched with such brevity, that, unlike what is felt in journeying through many travellers' narratives, it is the reader's frequent wish that they had been more dilated. The narrative is carried on with a general animation, which did not in the least need to be inspirited by those turns and hits of humour and salirej