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ing the pressing demand for talent and character, in a sphere of which the importance and the difficulty are likely to augment at such a rate as to set all existing official routine at defiance.
Australia is tempting ground to imaginative, as well as practical speculators; and it would have given us pleasure, had Captain Stokes' recent work, named among the others at the head of this article, happened to attract our notice somewhat earlier, to have introduced our readers more in detail to the narratives of adventure, and other important matters, contained in it. A separate article, indeed, might well be devoted to it. But we have
already wandered even further south of the Straits of Singa'pore,' than the Dutch expounders of the treaty of 1824; and must return to the mysterious Continent on some after and fitter opportunity.
ART. VII.—1. A Hand-book for Travellers in Spain, and Readers at Home. With Notices of Spanish History, By RICHARD FORD, Esq. 2 vols. 8vo. London: 1845.
2. Revelations of Spain in 1845. By AN ENGLIsh Resident. (J. M. Hughes, Esq.) 2 vols. 8vo. London: 1845.
T is rare to find two works, both written by clever men well acquainted with their subject, presenting so striking a contrast as these; not merely in selection of materials and arrangement for that was to be expected from their plans-but in tone, spirit, modes of viewing things, taste, feeling, predilections and antipathies. Mr Ford considers Spain as a great nationMr Hughes as a distracted and ill-governed one: Mr Ford descants on the chivalrous character of the people - Mr Hughes on their poverty and pride: Mr Ford discovers germs or relics of grandeur where Mr Hughes can see nothing but waste and ruin in a word, Mr Ford evidently likes the Spaniards with all their faults-Mr Hughes dislikes them with all their virtues Mr Ford would not care how soon he quitted once again the domestic comforts of England for the rambling, scrambling life he formerly led on the Peninsula; while Mr Hughes evidently prefers a beefsteak to an olla podrida, and brown stout in a pewter tankard to the best Xeres that ever smacked of the skin. Yet the cause of the difference lies on the surface, and there is no more solid ground of conflict than existed between the two knights who fought about the colour of the shield. The one is an amateur artist, gifted with a quick eye for natural beauty, a memory stored with the romance as well as with the graver
facts of history, and an imagination that finds food alike in the real and the ideal the fine site of the ruin and the battle-field, or the rich thronging associations connected with them. The other is more of the economist and calculator than the poet; he has evidently got up his history for the occasion; and whenever he exerts himself to be eloquent or grandiloquent, (see pp. 8-9,) we long to remind him of Swift's famous advice to a young writer-Whenever you have written any thing you think particularly fine, strike it out.' But he is a good observer, and a sound thinker; and (so far as we are capable of judging) though his praise may not be invariably well directed, his indignation is always in the right place. To him, however, (except in his last chapter,) Spain is pre-eminently and essentially the land of factions and Camarillas; where patriotism is a name, liberty a byword, corruption all-pervading, and where revolution follows revolution without producing the slightest change of system, or the remotest advantage to the mass. To Mr Ford, on the contrary, it is ever, with all its demerits (and he is blind to none of them), the land of Cervantes and Lope de Vega, of Murillo and Velasquez, of the Alhambra and the Escurial-the land which sent forth Columbus to discover a new world, and Cortez and Pizarro to conquer it -the centre of that vast empire Spain with the Indies,' which first boasted (the boast is now transferred to England) that the sun never set upon its flag; and, according to his mode of thinking, there is ever something, even among the most unerring symptoms of disorder or decay, that redeems or compensates for the degeneracy of the nation, the neglect of the government, and the lost glories of the crown. The very robbers give a zest to a journey; and if rags abound among the peasantry, they are of the exact colours that suit the foreground of a drawing.
Yet there is no attempt to hide the unfavourable side. The scenes are described, the facts set down, with the most scrupulous accuracy. Keep away from Spain, by all means, (is Mr Ford's uniform language,) if you are not up to 'roughing it; and cannot enjoy travelling without the certainty or a fair prospect (for there is nothing certain in this life, in or out of Spain) of a civil landlord, a well-ordered kitchen, and a comfortable bed at your halting-place; or if your nerves are apt to be shaken by the click of a knife in the dark passage of a hostelry, or the sight of a sallow-faced bandit-looking fellow unslinging a long gun on a hill-side some twenty paces from your path. But if you have strong nerves and a good stomach-if you are fond of old pictures and Gothic architecture, fishing, shooting, sketching, love-making, fandangos and fun; above all, if you have a taste for adventure, no invincible distaste for garlic,
and no great objection to be laid flat upon your face in the middle of the road while the Turpins of the South are examining your baggage- come away with me to the orange. groves of Seville and the sierras of Castille; and rest assured that you will come back (if you do come back) at the end of a six months' peregrination, with such a stock of new sensations and impressions as no other country in Europe, nay, no other country in the whole world, could produce within the time.
The author of the Revelations (who would not be thought matter-of-fact or unimaginative in comparison with any other author than Mr Ford) says, that the English traveller might fancy himself thrown back into a state of society such as existed in his own country four or five centuries ago; and it may fairly be doubted, whether, in some of the most essential points of civilization, the Spaniards are much further advanced than the English during the wars of the Roses; whether internal communication, for instance, is much safer or quicker than when Falstaff and company projected the expedition to Gadshill; or whether a merchant setting forth to visit a correspondent in a distant city, might not have an equal chance of finding it in a state of siege on his arrival, or of encountering a party of free lauces on the way. But this makes books about a country so much the pleasanter; and both the books before us will be found very pleasant; though we are aware that, in giving this peculiar praise to a 'Hand-Book,' we subject ourselves to a comparison with that correspondent of Dr Johnson's, who tells him that he had just concluded the second perusal of his Dictionary. But the truth is, Mr Ford's Hand-Book' is unlike all other Hand-Books, and must be criticised on more extended principles. He has executed admirably what (with all due respect to the rest of Mr Murray's capital hands') we must call the less intellectual portions of his undertaking; but nature meant him for something much higher and better than a literary laquais de place; and his mind, filled to bursting with memories, fancies, reflections and observations, that have been accumulating for years, breaks out with a succession of flashes on topic after topic, and compels us to forget the guide and Cicerone in the lettered and accomplished gentleman, who has done us the honour to give us a seat in his Britska, or suffered us to ride alongside of him, and is kind enough to give us the advantage of his taste, observations, reading, and prior acquaintance with the country, as we proceed.
His political conclusions alone must be taken with some grains of allowance; for we see, or fancy we see, one all-per
VOL, LXXXIV. NO. CLXIX.
vading error in his premises. He invariably treats those peculiar results of bad government, which may be traced in national character and popular tendencies, as the pre-existing causes which originated it and render its continuance inevitable.
We utterly despair of conveying any thing like an accurate notion of either of these books by extracts; nor can this be necessary, for both of them have been largely quoted and recommended by our contemporaries; but it has struck us that a few pages might be usefully employed in furnishing such of our readers (no small portion we believe) as have paid only cursory attention to Spanish matters, with a summary account of the existing condition of a nation which once filled so prominent a place in European history, -a nation whose greatest struggle for independence must be recorded in one of the brightest pages of our own.
The higher graver topics-government, constitution, army, church, &c.-naturally come first. A very few pages will suffice to characterise the government, past, present, and (for a long time) to come.
The Spaniards have a story, and are found telling it, that when Ferdinand III., after his death at Seville, which he had conquered from the Infidels, was brought into communion with St Jago, he forthwith proceeded to ask favours for Spain. Fine climate,' says the king. Granted,' says the saint. Fertile soil, corn, wine, oil,' &c. 'Granted.' Brave sons and beautiful daughters.' • Granted.' Good government.' 'No, no, no,-three times, nine times, no.-Give Spain good " government, and every one of the angels would leave heaven to live in it.'
The authenticity of this anecdote is rendered questionable in our opinion, not so much by the somewhat profane familiarity of the dialogue-for this is to be found in most legendary colloquies between sacred and profane personages-as by the difficulty of supposing that the bare notion of good government ever presented itself to a Spanish King in the fourteenth century, or to any considerable number of Spaniards at any time. We are quite sure that nine-tenths of the most enlightened among them during the last twenty years, have been entirely guiltless of wishing to lure angels down' by such means; and it certainly does strike us, that, if the Saint had been ever so ready to grant the prayer, an overwhelming majority of the nation would have begged him to hold his hand, till they had made up their minds whether they would have a well-balanced constitution, or an absolute monarch to rule over them. The lower orders still manifest a stupid unreasoning respect for
despotism; and what they most particularly detested in the French, was their eternal talk about liberty and equality. Nay, it is said to have been a mistake in Ferdinand VII., in as far as his own popularity was concerned, to set about improving the institutions of his nation; in which he had made more progress than he has had credit for, when the French Revolution of 1830 made Kings feel once more (to borrow Lord Auchinleck's expression) that they had a creek in their necks; and, combined with the treatment he met with during the Constitution' of 1820, induced Ferdinand to diseard liberality, moderation, and toleration for the remainder of his life. In the last stage of his career, he was guilty of some most atrocious acts of political persecution and bigotry; but these were estimated in Spain as acts of firmness, and evidences of unshaken attachment to the national faith.
The only abstract Spanish idea,' says Mr Ford, of government or sovereignty, either in church or state, as in the East, is, that it is despotic, (see Durango :) even the Inquisition was not really unpopular, and whenever Ferdinand VII. committed any extra-atrocious act, his subjects exclaimed with rapture, Carajo es mucho Rey; he is indeed a king-ay, every inch a king. There spoke the whole nation; for the Spaniards felt that in his place they would have done exactly the same, and "therefore sympathizingly admired.' At the very moment that the English and French Newspapers were denouncing Ferdinand as the modern Nero or Caligula, he was carelessly walking about the streets of his capital, alone and unguarded, chatting and joking with his oppressed subjects, as familiarly as the King of Bavaria, whose favourite amusement is drinking beer with his.
Yet we are sure Mr Ford would, on reflection, agree with us, that this rather typifies the hitherto unmovable, unimprovable character of the Spanish nation, than any inherent taste for tyranny; and furnishes no argument against any rational plan for gradually liberalising their institutions. The uneducated classes in every country have invariably manifested the same coarse propensities and brute instincts at some period or other. We all remember the story of the French valet, who, when the Englishman was condoling with him on the severe caning he had just received from his master, indignantly replied, that his master was too great a man to be checked in such caprices, and could have a lettre-de-cachet for the asking; and it is a familiar remark, that if Louis the XVI., instead of making concessions to spare the blood of his subjects, had got on horseback, and led on his guards to sabre a few hundreds of them, he might at least have averted the personal part of the catastrophe, and perchance have rallied the best blood of the nation round