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which are not always remarkably happy.—In transcribing a page or two, we need not pay any attention to the series of the story.—Of the religious illumination of the Spaniards there are various exhibitions not less satisfactory than the following.
• The influence of superstition, and the power of the priests, so perceptible in the great towns of Spain, become still more ^bvious in places thus removed from the common track. I observed that the inhabitants of Campana and Posadas were particularly fearful of refusing the begging fliars who implored charity for the love of God, or the most holy Virgin, and even seemed to dread lest it should be imputed to them as a sin that they had it not in their power to give. But what particularly interests all feelings, and draws forth the last maravedi, is the supplication for delivering souls out of purgatory. There is a particular rite instituted by the church of Rome for effecting this great purpose, and money is collected for defraying the necessary expences. The sacred mendicant goes round the village, looking in at every door, shaking his box, and calling out in a mournful tone, " Las Animas," for the souls. Who knows but his own father, or brother, or dearest friend, may be at that very moment half emerged from the flames, and only standing in need of a few more pence to be released altogether, and transported immediately to Abraham's bosom! Does any meagre wretch hesitate, thinking perhaps of his wife and children, for whom he with difficulty procures a scanty subsistence? the fat monk rattles the box with holy indignation, and the poor wretch either averts his face through shame and terror, or, to deliver his dead ancestors, draws forth a little remnant, which should have been applied to the infinitely more sacred wants of his half-starved family.' p. 103.
4 Even these feeble remains of this horrible institution' (the inquisition, of which he went through some apartments of the office, at Granada) 'create a sort of secret fear in the soul. One, and only one object of infinite importance, was shewn to us. It was a small crucifix of silver, with an image of Jesus Christ, about the size of a little finger. This, we were informed, with great gravity, had some hundreds of years ago been put into an oven by a most incredulous Jew, to be baked in a pye, out of hatred to, and contempt of Christianity. But, mark how villainy was brought to light—no sooner did this rogue of a Jew shut the door of his oven, than blood began to flow from the image; this it continued to do is such an astonishing quantity, that the oven was presently filled, and the blood came out in spite of all the Jew's efforts, till it fairly ran into the street! This, of course, immediately excited alarm and inquiry, the blood was traced to its source, the most sacred image taken out in triumph, and the villainous Jew put in its place—a punishment by far too mild for a crime so shocking.' p. 158.
The traveller could not but see a good deal of so prominent a feature of the country as the monastic institutions; and he has made some just observations on their effect on what may be called the subjects of them.
* I was carried (at Alcala) to a Franciscan convent, where the curiosity
#f the monks to learn the news, and their eagerness to talk about polities. could only be exceeded by their, extreme ignorance on general points. I could here observe, that the gradations of rank in these institutions, the strict obedience and respect enforced by the superiors, the regular duties to be performed, their allotted hours, separate apartments, the uniform dress, all tended to form merely lazy regiments of men, whose monotonous occupations could tend only to enslave and debase the mind. The obedience of the inferior monks appeared to degenerate into a slavish respect; and the command of those in power partook greatly of superciliousness and worldly pride. In all large bodies of men confined long together, such as regiments in garrison, or sailors on board of ship, petty quarrels, jealousies, and vices, will ever arise; but in these instances, a change of place, or strong incitement to action, removes the evil. Monastic bodies, on the contrary, from the nature of the human mind, must become permanently bad; performing the same routine of duties now that were performed at their first institution; remaining fixed for ever to the same spot, without the hope, or the possibility of change. A dreamer of systems may tell us that virtue will there find a calm retreat, but a very small knowledge of mankind may suffice to shew us, that such institutions can become only the repositories of a thousand vices.' p. 146.
It may be reasonably presumed that so sensible a thinker cannot be absurd on any subject—saving the project of sending 80,000 English into Spain to fight for Ferdinand. Our readers ought therefore to have the benefit of another of the reflections suggested to him by the popish superstitions. The particular instance was in a church at Granada, where 'one woman on entering fell on her knees, and in that manner worked her way to the altar, where having muttered a prayer, and crossed herself repeatedly, she rose, walked backwards to the door, when she knelt again and proceeded as before: the ceremony was thrice repeated.' The traveller very pro. perly exclaiins,against a superstition which can substitute the knees for the feet, in perambulations in which the latter would serve full as well, and thus degrade the form to which the Creator has given the os sublime, &c. &c. He then adds, 4 we need not go to Spain for an example. How vast a sect is tliere among ourselves which denominates itself the only Christian, and thinks to honour God by calling his image a vile worm, and grovelling with it in the dust!' p. 180. We need not, to prove ourselves jidepts in the natural history of sects, write any of the names, distinctive or opprobrious, by Which the sect alluded to is knowu, while we quote this passage as somewhat in the nature of a conclusion to a grand argument^ by induction, which may be supposed to be carried through this work, in proof of the exalted excellence of bumau nature. The argument would have been irresistible if our.author had concisely recapitulated it; as thus: 'In Portugal I have beheld a people so base,as to be utterly lost to all noble purposes, almost collectively ignorant, boastful, dastardly, superstitious, and cr\iej, a company of whom 1 saw, in the broad day-light, dragging and murdering a helpless man, one of my own countrymen, in the streets of their metropolis;—Spain I found covered with proofs of a government inveterately incapable or careless of promoting the public good, of a priesthood lazy, bigoted, and in a certain degree villainous, of a populace enslaved by the vilest delusions, and in a more than half barbarous state as to the ordinary economy of life; and in Spain I should have been instantly dispatched by robbers if I and my fellow travellers had not been prudent enough to forbear resistance:—:going over to the Barbary coast, I witnessed the ignorance, the rapacity, the monstrous form of what was called the administration of justice, the Mahometan fanaticism, and the filth of the Moorish tribes:—of the French I learnt enough as the iniquitous invaders and barbarous ravagers of Spain;—and then as to the English,' (it is Mr. Semple's own representation we are taking in all these instances) * they have been destroying their men by thousands to maintain in Portugal a despotism odious in itself and odious to the nation, at the same time destroying additional thousands in the most foolish expeditions to other quarters:—from all these facts I infer, most decisively, the stupidity of those religionists who assert the depravity of human nature.'. If this superior style of logic is the natural result of travelling in the south and west of Europe, and if each succeeding traveller there might have imported some similar improvements, we shall suffer-from our exclusion from the Peninsula a more serious deprivation, than at the commencement of this article we were at all aware of.'
Mr. Semple's bopk contains many pleasing descriptions of the beautiful, the bold, the cultivated, and the desart scenes through which he travelled. The most amplified and striking, is that ^of the plain and the snowy mountains of Granada. Thf re is a very entertaining account df his nearly successful attempt to gain the highest summit of these mountains, and of the extreme danger to which he unwarily exposed himself. We read with much interest his very clear descriptions of the great cathedral of Seville, and the Alhambra. His concluding observations on this latter enormous mass of building we wiH give in his own words.
« Upon the whole, the Alhambra, like every other Moorish monument that I have.yet seen, greatly disappointed my expectations. It appears to ine an immense collection of littlenesses: the effect produced is sometimes elegant, often beautiful, but nowhere elevated, simple, or sublime. It is certainly pleasing to tread floors once so sacred and concealed; to be in the halts, the baths, the bed-chambers, of a race of monarchs whose very nation has been expelled from Europe: to moralize on their walls falling to decay, on their sepulchres converted into places of abode for the living; but our eyes bscome fatigued with the incessant repetition of points and stars, and intersecting circles, gilt and silvered, and of various hues. We may admire the beauty of the situation and the prospects; we may for a short time be pleased with the infinity of details; but a simple view of the aqueduct of Segcvia, of Pompey's pillar standing solitary at the mouth of the Nile, or a glance upwards at the dome of St. Paul's, to one who has never seen it before, is worth all the beauties of the Alhambra.' p. 176.
*- It is a material deficiency in this performance, that there is no attempt at a comprehensive estimate of the spirit of the Spanish nation, with respect to the present great contest: so that we have no assistance towards finding the average of the element of effective hostility against the invader, in a state of the popular mind, which was exhibited to Mr. S. in all ■the confused diversities of apathy, trifling inquisitiveness, bustle, energy, and fury. Nor is there any explanation of those strange varieties in the national spirit, by which the people have emulated, at Zaragoza and a few other places, their ancient countrymen of Saguntum, and in others have rivalled the Chinese heroes who scamper at the first flash in the pan. Mr. S. is perfectly confident that, in some way or other, they will be finally successful, even though the French obtain, for a time, a complete possession of the country; and this confidence rests on the collective peasantry, whom, when he is on this subject, he extols in lofty strains; but we are all the while left to vain conjecture, how the name of Ferdinand, or of any of the family, is to give a more agreeable flavour to bullets than the name of Joseph can suffer to remain in grapes and olives. In plain terms, we are not told what it is, in their opinions, or their condition, that will render all the miseries of long protracted war preferable, in their esteem, to a government which Mr. S. acknowledges would abolish a great number of popular grievances.—He will yield to nobody in the loudness of his condemnation of the supreme and some of the provincial Juntas; and in his description of a large straggling body of what may be called conscripts, that in one place he met on the road, he has given, in the conduct of the authority which could call out such a party, a striking exemplification of that foolish bustle to do something capital which is so natural in uninstructed men, new to power, eager to verify that they have it, but totally ignorant of its wisest use,—men who, because there must be soldiers, would call out almost all the males in a district not physically incapable of leaving their cradles or their beds, and Vol. VI. S s
this too, most probably, without having once considered what this crowd were to eat, or how they were to obtain arms.
-« We had not proceeded far when we saw a great number of parties approaching towards us, and in a manner covering the plain. 1 at first imagined them to be inhabitants of Castro, who had been spending their Sunday in the country, but on their nearer approach they appeared to be entirely composed of men and youths, and who I was informed had been drafted, for the most part from about Baena, for the army. .This was occasioned by a recent decree of the Junta, calling upon this part of the country for men, and granting very few exemptions to such as were able to carry arms. Nothing could give a more striking picture of the patience and implicit obedience of the Spaniards to their government than was presented by these successive groups, which had just so suddenly relinquished their homes in strict obedience to a single decree of a self-appointed Junta, Some were old men with grey hairs, riding on asses; others, striplings under fourteen years of age, playing with each other as they went along the road. Most were silent; but some laughed and sung; while others, with downcast eyes and melancholy looks appeared with difficulty to refrain from tears. "Hay huejnas notic'ias? Volveremosf Vl-va V Inglatcrra! Fames!" — Have you brought good news ? Are we to return? England for ever! Let us go 'on !— Such were the exclamations that shewed the various feelings of the parties, their hopes and their fears to return, or their willingness if not eagerness, to advance. In this manner above a hundred men and boys passed in review before me ere sunset.'p. 136.
.Art. VI. The Borough,, a Poem, in Twenty Four Letters. By the Rev George Crabbe, LL. B. 8vo. pp. xi. 344. price 10s. 6d. Hatchard. . 1810.
TT is not without surprise and regret, that we see the name of the 'Rev. George Crabbe, LL. B.'appear once more ■upon a title page, unaccompanied by any tokens of noble patronage or insignia of ecclesiastical preferment. Instead of becoming, as it was natural to expect, vicar of A. rector of B. or chaplain to his grace the duke of C, we still find him stationary in the clerical career, and adorned with no new •honours "expept a higher degree in the college of Parnassus. "When it. is considered what patrons'he has had to boast of and celebrate in verse and prose, and what celebrity he has himself acquired to reflect upon the hand that should exalt him, we cannot doubt that the public will share in our surprise. Why they should also share in our regret, may not be quite so obvious. Poetical talents and literary fame, we allow, constitute no title to stations of wealth and dignity in the church; which are properly bestowed only on merit strictly professional,—on learning and sense devoted to the service of religion in the walks of literature, or piety and 2eal employed in promoting its influence among men.