Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

step 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 lumi. nous; 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 very next sentence, he attributes' a very great part of them to the disappointment of 'extravagant expectations. The people, it seems, felici. tated themselves on a new æra 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 habits which the state of society, to which they were accustomed, unavoidably engendered'--that is to say, that they would be selfish, incapable, and intriguing. For 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 of Bonaparte,' might do so with the most perfect justice. But then men in their situation, with large estates in that part of Spain occupied by the French, may very naturally wish to return to their homes and their ease, even though submission to the enemy should be the necessary consequence,' Now 'natural as all this may appear to Mr. Jacob, we are still unable to perceive why people are to be censured as 'extrava. gant,' for expecting a very different sort of conduct from these gentry. Is it to be imagined that they would go to set them up äs rulers, and that in a most critical posture of affairs, in the full conviction that they would turn out despotic, profligate, and treacherous ? And yet, it seems, because they did not calculate on this, 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 for • public perusal. We are persuaded that, in reality, he does not barbour any such sentiments as his words seem to imply. Vo.. VII.

4 X

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 are happy in being able to inform them that it was yellow plush. Mr. Ridout, Don Ramon, our M. P., and his servant, it appears, were the inmates, and three drivers sat on the trunks before. 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 ultimate success of 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 Lebrisa 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 that 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 comes to pass: but still we doubt whether it was quite prudent

pering, radiould thif Dom posadas, pro

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

to hazard it,-especially as this letter is not one of those 're lating to the mohammedan dominion..

It must be admitted, however, that our author has the talent of writing biographical sketches with great facility : for the month of September is not yet closed and we find him at Seville, The Junta of this place, we think, do not come off quite so well as that of Cadiz. Their mal-administration is condemned in the most decided terms : though with their behaviour,' as individuals, towards himself, Mr. Jacob has every reason to be satisfied.' Count Altamira, the president, is thus described,

• He has the physiognomy of a baboon, and is said to possess little more intellect than that mimic of man. Hes is escorted to the Alcazar by a party of the horse guards, in a chariol of a most despicable appearance, drawn by two mules, while the populace sneeringly call him the king of Seville.' p. 65.

It is scarcely worth while, as things now stand, to follow Mr. Jacob into the rest of his characters ; but we ought just to mention that he states two of the most worthless (Count Tilli, and Don Vincente Hore,) to have been sent by the provin. cial, as representatives to the central Junta-for the very patriotic purpose of getting rid of them.' As this statesmanlike qualification of a factious troublesome disposition, was, in our author's opinion, exacted in many other instances, it ceases to be a matter of astonishment that such great things should have been effected, in so short a time, by the body total, for the deliverance of their country.

Our Ambassador, the Marquis, meets of course with a warm admirer in the person of our worthy author,who does not fail to notice the fearful sensation excited, on the arrival of this celebrated nobleman at Seville, in those whose narrow souls were apprehensive lest his powerful talents should detect and cxpose their policy and projects ;' to describe the raprurous hilarity with which his triumphal entry was conducted' by all the respectable inhabitants of the city ; and to celebrate, with a surprising nicety of discrimination, 'the sijouts of the people, and the acclamations of the multitude.' (p. 57.) He is apparently not a little overjoyed, also, in being able to set down an instance in which his lordship's sagacity, and address' were exerted with most conspicuous effect. Disgusted with the weak and wavering policy of the central Junta, some of the most enterprizing and patriotic citizens of Seville had formed a plan for its overthrow and removal to Manilla, had got every thing in readiness, and made their arrangements with so much precaution, that success appeared certain. It was suggested, however, by some of the chiefs, in their

secret councils,' that it would be extremely proper, in the first place, to communicate their intentions to the British minister ; since his lordship, his nation, and his master, were too much attached to the liberty of Spain not to aid their patriotic designs,' and 'at any rate, concealment would discover a want of confidence in the justice of their cause, or in the generosity of their ally,' Accordingly the plan was communicated. But what a distressing predicainent for the confidee! His lordships situation,' says Mr. Jacob, 'must have been truly einbarrassing! On the one hand with his conviction of the incapacity, not to say treachery, of the Junta, he must bave wished success to the conspirators.' On the other, it was with this corporate assembly of traitors and incapables, that he was commissioned to communicate;' and certainiy his commission could nerer have included a proviso, empowering him to effect a revolution that would overthrow its power,' At last therefore, summoning the concentrated energies of all his sagacity and all his address,' he resolved upon the following most refined expedient. He told the Junta all about it, and managed the matter so dexterously, that, though the said Junta "affected to pay very little attention to his communication, and scarcely thanked bim' for it, yete they took care, nevertheless, to conmand the different regiments, which bad been gained over by the conspirators, to join the army; (at the same intimatiog that they did this ‘not in consequence of his Lordsbip's inforination, but from arrangements previously made;') and then sat downs in a dignified tranquillity, to await the approach of the French forces. It is really difficult which to marvel at most-the unparallelel address' of the nobleman, or the enviable sagacity with -which the admirer has selected this demonstration of it. We believe men in power bave before now had oc. 'asion to feel, that the "enmity of friendship" is no soleciso.

Probably few of Mr. Jacob's readers will be very sorry when, dismissing his political speculations, be proceeds to describe. Of the public buildings he notices the Fabrica de Tobaco, containing upwards of an hundred mills for grinding the snut, wbile some hundreds of men and boys are employed in rolling leaf tobacco into segars ;'--the naval institution of St. Elmo, founded by Ferdinand Columbus, son of the discoverer, in the year 1526,-a building of great extent and beauty, but having neither books, nor instruments, nor professors possessing any knowledge;' the aqueduct, which supplies the city with water, conveyed from the town of Al. cala, about eight miles distant;-la Lonja, a building display. ing the best arcbitectural taste in Sesille, and the apartments

of which, furnished with bookcases, contain all the corrrespondence with America (not excepting the original letters of Cortes and Pizarro), from its first discovery to the present time, arranged and neatly docketed ;--the Alcazar, a Moorish structure, then ocupied by the Junta ;-and the Royal Cannou Foundery, where 200 men are constantly employed in casting and boring guns of large calibre. Speaking of this last, our author says :

It is, however, the best arranged institution I have hitherto seen in Spain. The principa! manager is Senor Vedal, a native of Catalonia, who politely attended us through the building, and explained every part with great minuteness. He is not only a practical man, but understands che. mistry and mineralogy;is he also well acquainted with the English, French, and Swedish writers on those subjects, and speaks with rapture of the recent discoveries of our countryman Davy, whose account of the new metals reached him only a short time ago. I expressed some surprise at the great number of brass guns, and remarked that the English used iron for battering cannun, which were equally serviceable, and cost no more than one fifth the expence; he admitted the fact, but observed that, as in Spain all the copper mines paid a certain proportion of their produce to the king, that that produce, which thus costs nothing, was used for cannon, and sufficiently supplied the exigencies of the state. How obvious must it appear, to any one of the least reflection, that, if this copper were sold by the government and iron purchased, a considerable saving would accrue! but, as this might require some little combination and arrangement, it is not likely to be adopted under present circumstances.' p. 77.

Several pages of this part of Mr. Jacob's work are devoted to the subject of religion. He went on Sunday to the Cathedral to see the ceremony of high mass, and was a good deal dazzled, 'for a moment, with its pomp and splendour, though he says his' English ideas were not to be seduced by this imposing spectacle. .

. From the climate, it is necessary to exclude the heat, and of course the light; there are consequently but few windows, and those of painted glass, barely sufficient to give light enough to distinguish, on first entering, the various surrounding objects. This produces a solema effect on the high altar, which is brilliantly illuminated with wax tapers of an enormous size. The decorations of this altar are splendid and sumptuous beyond description; the quantity of gilding on the borders of the different compartments, filled with images and pictures, the massy silver and gold ornaments, and the rails of bronze, tastefully designed, compose a most impressive whole. The priests kneeling before the altar, and in silence offering up their devotions, the clouds of ascending incense, and the pious on their knees, in the most striking attitudes, altogether form a scene that at once captivates the imagination, and suspends the reasoning faculties ; it is a scene to be felt but not described ! the sensations it produces may be indulged, but cannot long delude a reflecting mind.' p. 8.3. .

We are not able to put any very high value on our author's further speculations on this subject; but as he seems to have

« ElőzőTovább »