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era of torn in excited *reets of atening
liberty. y, once nothing. their analaces, of wellings; and moliving the been the
influence on literature is perhaps greater than ever; for though Spain possesses at the present moment a great number of admirable writers, the press was never so inactive. The despotism exercised over authors* and publishers is so intolerable, that few have courage voluntarily to submit to it. Often after authorizing the publication of a work, they order it to be suppressed, and every copy to be burnt, and never think of reparation to those who are so cruelly injured. Their presumption in condemning whatever they cannot understand, † their domiciliary visits, their arbitrary decrees, against which there is no security and no appeal, make them fearful enemies and faithless friends.
With the difficulty, delay, expense and frequent impossibility of obtaining a licence for the publication of any valuable work, may be well contrasted the ridiculous trash which daily.
for many years. However, that monster in the form of man, Elio, the captain-general of Valencia, has dared to employ it; and when I was in that capital I was in formed, (and the fact has had abundant confirmation,) that it had been applied a few days before to no less than 147 individuals, whose cries and shrieks were heard by all the inhabitants of Murviedro, where they were confined. This tiger might allege, indeed, the example of his royal master, who caused numbers to be tortured in Madrid, after the last conspiracy there.
• Don Gonzalez Carbajal, a poet of no common merit, whose verses have been well compared with those of Fr. Luis de Leon, is now publishing a metrical version of the Psalms. The MS. was sent to the inquisitorial censors, who replied, that, though they saw nothing absolutely objec. tionable in the work, they deemed it very extraordinary and very suspicious that no allusion was made in it to the Sumo Pontifice!
+ I will mention one of a thousand instances of ignorance which I have individually witnessed. As I did not choose to expose myself to be annoyed by inquisitors, I travelled without any English books, except a small collection of hymns. They pounced upon it at Miranda del Ebro, where there is a rigid examination: there was some dispute whether or not it should be condemned, when some word like the name of a Spanish town, caught their eye: “O, 'tis a book of roads,” said our learned scrutineer, and he returned it to me.
issues from the Spanish press. Accounts of miracles wrought by the different virgins, lives of holy friars and sainted nuns, romances of marvellous conversions, libels againt Jewst
Of the "different virgins" who divide the adoration of the devout in Spain, (each individual choosing his favourite,) it would be difficult to say which has the pre-emiour Lady of Montserrat," in Catalonia, nence in general estination. I believe and "our Lady of the Pillar," of Zaragoza, have amassed for their guardian friars the largest piles of wealth.
As an instance of the fraud, the falsehood and the folly of those who sway the minds of the lower classes, I would quote, from among many examples, the "Centinela contra Judios," a book of great popularity, introduced by several pages of inquisitorial praises. It gives the following account of the crimes and punishments of the twelve tribes:
"The tribe of Judah treacherously delivered up our Lord, and thirty of them die by treason every year.
"The tribe of Reuben seized our Lord in the garden, and therefore the curse of barrenness is on all they sow or plant, and no green thing can flourish over their graves.
"The tribe of Gad put on the crown of thorns, and on every 25th of March, their bodies are covered with blood from deep and painful wounds.
"Those of Asher buffeted Jesus, and their right hand is always nearly a palin shorter than the left.
"Those of Naphthali jested with Christ about a herd of swine, since when they are all born with tusks, like wild boars.
"The tribe of Manasseh cried out, 'His blood be on us and on our children,' and at every new moon they are tormented by bloody sores.
"The tribe of Simeon nailed our Lord to the cross, and on the 25th of March, four deep and dreadful wounds are inflicted on their hands and feet.
"Those of Levi spat on the Savionr, and the wind always blows back their saliva in their faces, so that they are babitually covered with filth.
"The tribe of Issachar scourged Christ, and on the 25th of March blood streams forth from their shoulders,
"The tribe of Zebulon cast lots for the garments, and on the same day the roof of their mouth is tortured by deep wounds.
"The tribe of Joseph made the nails for crucifying Jesus, and blunted them to increase his sufferings; and therefore their hands and feet are covered with gashes and blood.
"Those of Benjamin gave vinegar to
and heretics and Freemasons, histories of apparitions, and so forth, are geuerally introduced, not by a mere licence of the inquisitor, but by long and laboured eulogiums.
It is no novel observation, that the most cruel and intolerant persecutors have often been men wholly devoid of religious principle; men, who consider the religion of the state only as a part of its civil policy, and who treat the denial of a national creed with the same severity as the infraction of an established law, or rather as a species of treason against the supreme authority. No plea of modest inquiry, of conscientious doubt, or honest difference of opinion, is allowed to oppose for a moment their sanguinary and despotic sway. There are no terms of safety but those of unresisting, instant, absolute prostration. Such men are generally the prime movers of the gagging engine of religious intole rance; and such men are to be found too abundantly in Spain. Others there are who imagine they see in the pomp and parade of the Romish ritual, a system of delusion admirably adapted to beguile, or even to bless the ignorant. They fancy themselves beings of a higher and nobler order, and that, while they bask in the sunshine of intellect and knowledge, they may be well content that the uninstructed mass should trudge on in darkness below. Why should they throw their pearls to senseless swine; or shower down truth and virtue on those who fatten on vice and error?
But perhaps a larger class, which would include too the majority of the learned clergy of Spain, are they whose honest opinions are made up of heresy and infidelity; but their wordly interests are so inwrought with the existing system, that the thought of sacrificing those interests to the higher claims of right, has never occurred to them; or, if it has occurred, has never
obtained a moment's attention. To them it is a glorious and gold-giving superstition. If they can persuade themselves that, on the whole, it is harmless, they are satisfied. They do more-they say it is beneficial, and they have repeated this so often, that they, perhaps, almost believe it is true. Would they look round them they might see the melancholy effects which superstition and intolerance have produced in their hapless country. What is Seville-the once renowned Seville, with its hundred and twenty-five churches and convents? The very shrine of ignorance. It was there that the Spanish chart of liberty was trampled under foot, amidst ten thousand shouts of “Live the King and the Inquisition!" "Perish the Constitution!" Or Cordoba, so long the cradle of the arts, the favourite seat of retiring wisdom? It is become the chosen abode of vice and barbarism! The press, which was established there in the short era of Spanish liberty, has been torn in pieces by a frantic mob, who, excited by the monks, paraded the streets of this unfortunate capital, threatening death to every individual whose name had been connected with that of liberty. How many a town and city, once illustrious, has sunk into nothing. ness! *
"What remains of their ancient glory? The ruins of palaces, of fabrics, of store-houses and dwellings; and undilapidated churches and monasteries and hospitals, outliving the misery of which they have been the cause."+
Toledo-in a word, all the places where * Seville, Cordoba, Santiago, Burgos, ecclesiastical authority is most active, have been the most strenuous opposers of the progress of civil, to say nothing of religious liberty. And these, too, are universally the most barbarous of the Spanish cities. How the clergy at Santiago frustrated the attempts of the heroic Porlier to establish the Constitution, is notorious.
+ Informe de la Sociedad de Madrid sobre la Ley agraria, § 166.
Jesus; they all squint and are palsied, and have their mouths filled with little nauseous worms, which, in truth, (adds our author,) At every step one finds in Spain enough is the case with all Jewish women after the to excite the most 'melancholy recollecage of 25, because it was a woman who tions. I went to Alcalá de Henares to intreated the tribe of Joseph not to sharpen visit the house in which Cervantes was the nails used for the crucifixion of our born. (If I had undertaken a pilgrimage Lord." I could not have repaid the enjoyment, This a fair specimen of a book of the delight, I have received from the works 220 pages. of this wonderful genius!) It had been
One might surely expect that in a country possessing eight archbishops, more than fifty bishops, and more than a hundred abbacies, with a
jurisdiction almost episcopal; " in which," to use the language of a Spanish writer," there are more churches than houses, more altars than hearths, more priests than peasants;" in which every dwelling has its saint, and every individual his scapulary;-one might expect to see some benefits, some blessings resulting from this gigantic mass of ecclesiastical influence. Let us, then, look upon a picture drawn by the hand of an acknowledged master.
"Our universities are the faithful depositaries of the prejudices of the middle age; our teachers, doctors of the tenth century. Beardless noviciates instruct us in the sublime mysteries of our faith; mendicant friars in the profound secrets of philosophy; while barbarous monks explain the nice distinctions of metaphysics.
"Who goes into our streets without meeting cofradias, † processions or rosaries; without hearing the shrill voice of eunuchs, the braying of sacristans, the confused sound of sacred music, entertaining and instructing the devout with compositions so exalted, and imagery so romantic, that devotion itself is forced into a smile? In the corners of our squares, at the doors of our houses, the mysterious truths of our religion are commented on by blind beggars to the discordant accompaniment of an untuned guitar. Our walls are papered with records of authentic miracles,' compared to
destroyed, that a herd of friars might enlarge their kitchen-garden! I inquired for the MSS. of Ximenes Cisneros: they had been cut up for sky-rockets to celebrate the arrival of some worthless grandee!
Some of the Professors of the Spanish universities, those especially of civil law and medicine, and perhaps even some of theology, are enlightened men and lovers of liberty. This is decidedly the case at Salamanca and Alcalá, and partially so at Valencia. To the rest the text may safely be applied.
† Cofradias — assemblies for religious objects.
Euchs are not now common in Spain. The inbuman practice, once so frequent, is now prohibited by law.
to morrow they will call it impas sable. They have dared to obscure with their artful commentaries the beautiful simplicity of the Word of God. They have darkened the plain est truths of revelation, and on the hallowed charter of Christian liberty, they have even erected the altar of civil despotism!
"In the fictions and falsehoods they have invented to deceive their followers, in their pretended visions and spurious miracles, they have even ventured to compromise the terrible majesty of heaven. They shew as our Saviour lighting one nun to put cakes into an oven; throwing oranges at another from the sagrario; tasting different dishes in the convent-kitchens, and tormenting friars with childish and ridiculous playfulness. They re the fragments of a broken bottle, and present a monk gathering together depositing in it the spilt wine, to
console a child who had let it fall at the door of the wine-shop. Another, repeating the miracle of Cana to sătisfy the brotherhood, and a third restoring a still-born chicken to life that some inmate of the convent migh not be disappointed.
serving his speech many years aller "They represent to us a man predeath, in order to confess his sins another throwing himself from a high balcony without danger, that he might go to mass. A dreadful fire instantly extinguished by a scapulary
of Estamene. They shew us the Virgin feeding a monk from her own bosom; angels habited like friars, chanting the matins of the convent, because the friars were asleep. They paint the meekest and holiest of men torturing and murdering the best and the wisest for professing a different religious creed.
We have indeed much religion, but no Christian charity. We burry with our pecuniary offerings to advance any pious work, but we do not scruple to defraud our fellow nien. We confess every month, but our vices last us our lives. We insist (almost exclusively) on the name of Christians, while our conduct is worse than that of infidels. In one concluding word, we fear the dark dungeon of the inquisition, but not the awful-the tremendous tribunal of God!"
This is the representation of a Spaniard. Though the colouring is high, it is a copy from nature, and the shades might have been heightened had he witnessed the conduct of num bers of the monastic orders during the late convulsions of Spain. There are, indeed, few examples of such infamous want of principle as was exhibited by many of them on the king's return. Those who had gone about preaching the rights of man, proclaiming the wisdom and exalting the blessings of the new constitution; exhorting their hearers, often with a vehemence little becoming their situation, to live and die for its preservation, and hurling their bitterest anathemas against those who dared to question the wisdom of a single article, when the king refused to sign that constitution, became the eulogists of every act of tyranny, the persecutors of the liberales, and the chosen friends of Ferdinand. They have had their
reward: and though a few of them have occupied the vacant sees, and have been caressed and recompensed
las Cortes! Feliz transito de una casi mortal agonia á una vigorosa robustez politica. Mejor de los gobiernos-Cortes! precioso nombre qui despierta en nuestra alma todas las ideas de la antigua libertad y grandeza Española! Solo remedio de nuestros males, suspirados por todo Español, amante de su patria. Constitucion sabia y liberal -excelsa fabrica! ¿Que ofrecen Grecia y Roma comparable á nuestro augusto acabado? Nacion sabia y entendida, que congreso y á su codigo tan completam ente proclama con voz enérgica su libertad, su independencia y soberania! Libre é independiente, y no el patrimonio de ninguna familia ó persona. El Rey no puede. El Rey no puede. Avergüenzense los brutales idolatras del Atila ó Gengis Khan de la Europa-la España tiene una barrera firmisima contra el despotismo. Emancipados Españoles-segunda vez, loor sempiterno, himnos de bendicion á nuestros sabios legisladores! Leyes fundamentales, liberales y sabias-despues del catecismo de la religion estudialas, meditalas, canonizalas á la par del catecismo de la religion pon en las manos de tus hixos y nietos el codigo constitucional. Pronunciad con entusiasmo el juramento inviolable que va á ser rubricado con la sangre del divino cordero, y que los angeles habrán ya escrito en las columnas del empireo. Los corazones Castellanos dicen mucho mas que lo que los labios pronuncian; ardientemente desean que al lado de aquella ara augusta se erija una pirámide, donde sea escrita en letras de oro esta inscripcion sencilla, Juramos ser fieles á la constitucion: por ella vivirémos gloriosos: y por ella, si menester fuére, gloriosamente morirémos." Sermon preached in Valladolid, 13th September, 1812.
Patriarch of the Indies, dated 20th February, 1815, thus writes:
This recreant friar in a letter to the
Of the Cortes: "Hicieron publicar y jurar con la mas escandalosa premura una constitucion ignorada. Su formacion fué viciosa é ilegal; el codigo fué hecho por los amaños y malas artes de una faccion de anarquistas. Cortes-nombre hoy de infausto agüero-Junta de cabalas Gaditanas."
Of the constitution: "Se la publicó casi en la forma qui se publicó el Alcoran todo por sorpresa, todo premura y todo militar. Sus dias de terrorismo! Juré un odio eterno á los principios democra ticos de la llamada constitucion y las ideas anarquicas é irreligiosas del partido liberal."
Of Ferdinand: "Nuestro idolatrado rey.