Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

In the fourth line of the above quotation the reader will observe " share" for l% shards'"1 in the third person singular of the verb. The same fault occurs twice at p. 26; where Coldwell rocks by it are made to reflect their own Jorms, and even to shake then- shadows. Other grammatical inaccuraciesappear, which, we hope, will be corrected in the next edition. Several songs, &c. are interspersed with the narrative, of very moderate merit, and with very indifferent effect. The volume is embellished with a few engravings.

Art. VII. Travels in the South of Spain. In Letters, written A,D. 1809, 1810. By William Jacob, Esq. M.P. F.R.S. 4to. pp. 450. Price 21. 2s. Johnson. 1811.

IT is but a very short time, since we had the pleasure of accompanying a distinguished knightly adventurer, over nearly the same ground that is here trodden by a Member of Parliament, and Fellow of the Royal Society. Sir John, indeed, in consequence of having started a few months earlier, was privileged to indulge his curiosity over a wider extent of country: but, as far as our present conductor takes us, the,variation of route is inconsiderable. We may add, too, that the knight and the parliamentary philbsopher concur, for the most part, in their views of the affairs of the country: so that, jn reality, the chief point of distinction consists in this—that, whereas the former has been careful to lay in a plentiful assortment of smart sayings and amusing anecdotes, the latter has more solicitously turned his attention to commerce, antiquities, and the fine arts. The substance of Mr. Jacob's volume, it appears, was communicated in letters, written to his family and friends,—suitable retrenchments, alterations, and additions, having been made to render the said letters 'fit for public perusal.' Half the letters are dated from Cadiz and Seville: many of those dated from Grenada, (relating to the Mahomedan dominion) have been 'entirely composed' since his return. , rttt , , „ ,

Our author took his leave of England early in September, 1809, in company with Mr. Kidout, General Viruez, Don Ramon, and Don Pedro. 'The. sea was so agitated, that it produced sickness in the General, Don Ramon, and Mr. Rid out:' but the person who had most reason to remember "the voyage, was the ship's surgeon; who, inconsequence of the rolling of the vesstil, was thrown so violently against one of the quarter-deck guns, that *'both the bones of one of his legs were broken a little above 'the Circle.1 "' The young man, however, • bore his sufferings, with great fortitude,—gave the necessary directions with great coolness,'—and, when Mr. Ja. cob sent off his first letter, was ' as well and as likely to recover as if the best surgeon had been employed.

While entering the bay of Cadiz,'"VIr. Jacob sits down to compose a short account of his fellow-voyager, General Viruez, whose amiable and patriotic character appears deserving Gf all his'praise. This done, he turns to lank at the fine assemblage of objects before him: but, when-we.reflect on the immense number of English pens arul pencils, that tb.fy have already employed, we think he is quite right in making his account of them as concise as possible His sensations on landing, he must be permitted to describe in his own words.

* After I had entered the gates, and become a little reconciled to the nauseous effluvia of oil and garlick, I was greatly struck by the extraordinary scsrie around me; and could have imagined I had suddenly been dropped from the clouds into the midst of a large masquerade ;' the variety of dresses and characters, the Swarms of people, the height and externally clean appearance of the houses, with the curtains drawn from one side to another, and the extreme narrowness of the 6treets, rendered still

more so by the projecting balcony of painted or gilt iron grating—all-:

produced—feelings I netfer before experienced, and which no language can describe.'

Our traveller's accommodations, though not exactly calculated for a cloud-descended visitant, were cool, and tolerably neat and comfortable. The bed-furniture, too, was pretty good; and encomiastic notice is taken of the sheets, which were 'made of Calico, with a border of muslin, about a quarter of a yard wide.' In a short time our author has leisure to advert to the houses with their brick floors, stone or marble staircases, and windows generally looking into a retired court; to the narrow, but well paved streets; and to the gallegos, or porters, {the name now implying the occupation as well as the country,) who here perform 'those laborious occupations for which, in other.cities, horses and carts are employed.' He then sets dowtl a few observations on a subject, on \vbich, as an alderman, he must be presumed eminently qualified to decide —the Spanish ' mode of living.' It is, ije-says,' favourable to health and enjoyment.' We wijl not suffer purselves to picture the astonishment with which the worthy author's civic associates will read this last epithet of eulogy, when they find that ' fruits and vegetables form the principal food even at the best tables.' The Spanish frugality, however, does not extend so far as to discard a great number of* useless menials, or to interdict either men or women from fhe greatest extravagance iff personal dress' and ornaments. '1'am' told,' says Mr. J., 'ihdt' the money expanded on a lady's silk stockings and shoes alone, (for they never walk, out twipe. in the same) is enormous.' The principal amusement of bath sexes is described to arise from games of hazard! From the letter containing these and

[ocr errors]

several othr r miscellaneous particulars we copy the following paragraph. In the latter part of the extract, our author contrasts very favourably with the gay and gallant Sir John.

4 The mode of visiting, after a first introduction, is very easy and fa. miliar. You may enter the house at any hour, and, without being announced, proceed to the apartments of the family, where you generally meet agreeable company. On these occasions refreshments are seldom distributed beyond a glass of iced water, or a very cool liquor called' agrace, composed of the juice of unripe grapes, cooled with ice, and sweetened with sugar. The visit is always paid to the lady of the house, who is constantly dressed to receive company. Senora ———, at whose house I most frequently, visit, is a fine woman, has a large family, dresses well, talks a good deal, and is generally surrounded with visitors. Indeed, dress, cards, and occasionally music, form the principal pursuits of the ladies. I must not omit to mention one occupation in which they ass a large portion of their time. They daily frequent the churches. Yet

fear their religious ceremonies are performed rather with a view to amuse than instruct. They kneel, it is true, before the altar, or humble themselves before the image of some saint—lisp a few prayers—count their beads to ascertain the number is correct, but depart with little of that religious feeling so necessary for the regulation of worldly conduct.'

Our author's curiosity was extremely diligent in exploring the churches, which are all, he says, ' superbly fitted up, and adorned with rich ornaments and good paintings.' A more interesting object, however, in Mr. Jacob's pages, is the ruined residence of the late Governor Solano, who was barbarously murdered by the mob for disaffection to the patriotic cause. The particulars of his death are related as follows. .

* The whole city was in a state of tumult. The populace, irritated by the patriots of Seville, indignant at the treachery of France, and clamorous for the death of the governor, surrounded his habitation. Some parties attacked it with musquetry, while others dragged cannon from the ramparts, and assailed his residence. In the midst of the firing-he escaped by the roof of his house, and took refuge in an adjoining one, the lady of which, an intimate friend of the family, hid him in a small closet, which had been secretly built some years before,

'When the insurgents gained possession of Solano's house, and discovered his flight, they pursued him to the house where he was concealed} which was searched with diligence, but without success. After committing some atrocities, and even wounding the lady of the house with a musket ball, they were departing discontented with having missed the object of their vengeance; when the party was joined by an artificer, who had constructed the secret closet, and who conducted them to the hiding place, where Solano was discovered, and delivered, to the fury of the mob. The general cry of the mob was, " To the gallows' 10 the gallows!" whither this veteran was conducted. But such was the indignation of the people, that before he quitted the house where he was discovered, he was lacerated with knives, and his clothes literally torn from h<s body. Naked and streaming with blood) from numberless wounds, he preserved the firm «ep and the manly dignity of. an officer. To the taunts of the multitude he appeared superior, but not insensible; and at every fresh stab that was inflicted, he fixed his eyes on the perpetrator with an expression of contempt: till a soldier, who had been long, under his command, dreading the impending degradation of his old officer, plunged his sword in his heart, and terminated his sufferings.' pp. 29, 30.

Before our author quits Cadiz, he hazards a few remarks on the Junta. We cannot say, however, they are very luminous; and, indeed, must acknowledge we are somewhat at a loss to ascertain his precise opinion of that governing body. Complaints of its inactivity, selfishness, inability, and intriguing spirit, he says, were universal. Whether the ac. cusations were « well founded,' his brief sojourn would not enable him to determine. And yet, in the verv next sentence, he attributes < a very great part of them' to the disappointment of extravagant expectations.' The people, it seems, felicitated themselves on a new sera of prosperity, and fancied that

the exercise of tyranny, the unblushing practice of corruption, and the indolence of priestcraft,' were to be done away with ;—whereas the ' natural' supposition was, that ' the Junta would participate in those Iiabits which the state of society, to which they were accustomed, unavoidably engendered'—that is to say, that tbey would be selfish, incapable, and intriguing. tor aught our legislator knew to the contrary, those who accused the most elevated members of the Junta ' of disaffection to the cause of their country, and a disposition to aid the views or bonaparte,' might do so with the most perfect justice. But then « men in their situation, with large estates in that part of bpain occupied by the French, may very naturally wish to return to their homes and their ease, even though stibmission to the enemy should be the necessary consequence.' Now

natural1 as all this may appear to Mr. Jacob, we are still unable to perceive why people are to be censured as « extravagant, for expecting a very different sort of conduct from these gentry. Is it to be imagined that they would go to set them up as rulers, and that in a most critical posture of affairs, in the lull conviction that they would turn out despotic, profligate, and treacherous? And yet, it seems, because they did not calculate on tins, and expressed some disappointment when'it came to pass, their expectations are to be called ' extravagant;' and the iniquity of the men who deceived them is to be extenuated on the ground of its being « natural.' We confess, we are a little ashamed of such language from a member of a British parliament, and therefore cannot help wishing our author had asked himself what he meant by it, before he sent it forth tor

pubhc perusal.' We are persuaded that, in reality, he does not harbour any such sentiments as his words seem to imply. Vol. VIF. 4 X l

The journey to Seville, through Xeres and Lebrixa, was performed, we are told, in ' a coach solidly constructed,' and 'suspended by large upright pillars before and behind ,' and as our readers will, no doubt, be anxious to know something about the lining, we ale happy in being able to inform them that it was ' yellow plush.' Mr. Ridout, Don Ramon, our M. P., and his servant, it ap

?tears, were the inmates, and three drivers sat on the trunks bebre. They set off in a rattling style from Port St. Mary's, having first to make their way through a mob of importunate beggars, vociferating "Viva los Ingleses ! Murio Napoleon!" and proceeding along a road ' crowded with carts loaded with staves, for wine pipes, going to Xeres; with horses, mules, and asses, bound to St. Mary's, carrying fruits and vegetables for the market of Cadiz; together with considerable flocks of sheep, and droves of oxen, attended by the owners, well mounted on Andalusian horses, and each of them with a gun slung over his shoulder.'

Passing through Lebrixa, our traveller did not fail to visit the convent, built within the ancient Castle. The president was very attentive to the party ;—expressed his gratitude for English assistance, and his confidence in the ultimatesuccessof the allies, because 'the Virgin was on their side ;'—and then proceeded to speak 'with exultation' of the massacre of about eighty Frenchmen, taken prisoners at Baylen, and sent to Lebrixa for security. The inhabitants, who did not amount to more than five or six thousand, pretended to dread an insurrection among these weaponless captives, and therefore, with wonderful heroism, put them all to death in cold blood. To have marched out against the enemy's armed troops, would have been, after this signal effort of bravery, quite superfluous ; and accordingly, Mr. Jacob observed numbers of these courageous conquerors idling in the market place, 'in a state of the most despicable apathy.' A very different sort of valour from this wretched specimen, must actuate the Spanish people, if they mean to rid their country of its invaders.

The sight of some statues of Alonzo Cano, in the parish Church of Lebrixa, gives rise, rather unexpectedly, to a life of that artist, extracted from the work of Don Juan Augustin de Bermudez. And as our author's observations profess to be written ' in the solitude of an obscure posada,' we cannot help being pleased tkat the work of Don Juan was so luckily at hand. Why Mr. J. should think it necessary to preface the extract, by saying, rather apologetically, «I shall frequently have occasion to mention this celebrated artist,' we are not well able to explain. The prediction sure enough ceines to pass: but still we doubt whether it was quite prudent

« ElőzőTovább »