Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

bestowed upon them more than ordinary labour, we will just briefly state their substance. His theory, as far as we can compreliend it, seems to be this. "Religion, in every country, is calculated to produce an effect on manners as well as oli morals;' and while in England 'this effect, among those who read little, or not at all, is accomplished by public preaching ;' in Spain it is produced, partly by sensible representations of the Gospel history,' exhibited in the churches at appointed seasons, and partly by auricular confession. He admits, indeed, that, when brought into comparison with this latter practice, the dignity of the pulpit makes reproof more severe, denunciations' more alarming, advice more powerful, and consolation more soothing :' but still would be sorry to see auricular confession abolished, until it was replaced by something better. For, granting that the profligacy of the higher classes is not corrected by it ; the main business of the confessors, in this quarter, being to prevent their genteel penitents from becoming refractory and heretical; yet with the other classes, who are perfectly ortbodox on matters of ceremony, they are at full liberty to attend more immediately to the formation of their moral habits;' and, accordingly, their efforts to enforce the habits of sobriety, honesty, and veracity,' have been crowned with wonderful success; though in chastity,' says Mr. J., "as far as I an able to judge, they have been less successful.' We are a little surprised that, in this statement of the advantages of auricular confession, our author should have paid so little regard to the moral efficacy of abso. lution, both as it relieves the conscience from a sense of past guilt, and renders the indulgence in future sins more. easy and agreeable. He does acknowledge, however, that many of the ceremonial observances are not very intimately connected with religious feeling.'

In the midst of the gaieties, which commence about five,o'clock in the evening, when the Paseo, or publick walk, is crowded with company dressed in their most splendid attire, and indulging in the liveliest conversation, the sound of a bell announces the approaching hour of sunset. At this signal, which is called oracion, every one, as if by magic, seems fixed in his place; every head is uncovered, and the whole company repeats, or is supposed to repeat, a mental prayer : after a few minutes devoted to these formalities, the lively, scene is resumed, and the conversation continued from the point at which it met this pious interruption. This ceremony takes place in every part of Spain ; and where theatres or other public amusements are open, the sound of this bell suspends the entertain. ment till the prayer is over; so great is its effect, that it is even said that assassins, at the moment of executing their horrid desigo, have held their hand at the sound of the oracion, and, after repeating the habitual prayer, have perpetrated their diabolical purpose.' pp. 89, 90.

* However decorous the Spaniards may be in the performance of their public devotions, nothing can be more indecent and slovenly than the man. ner in which their domestic worship is conducted ; a circumstance which I have frequently noticed in the family with whom I lodge. Towards the conclusion of supper, when seated round the table, the master of the house commences with repeating ten Ave Maria's; the wife repeats the Pater Noster and her ten Ave Maria's, others at table repeat in the same man. ner, while one of them with a rosary of beads keeps the account, till they have repeated the Ave Maria fifty times, and the Lord's prayer five times, the number being accurately corrected by the string of beads. They then say a litany, adding to the name of every saint of a long list,' “ ora pro nobis ;" then a prayer for the dead, another for protection during the night, and conclude the whole with a Gloria Patri. The words are utcered with as much rapidity as possible, and if any employment calls away the person who is repeating, he performs the work without interrupting the prayer, or losing any time; in fact, the Spaniards appear to act slowly and deliberately in every thiog they undertake, except it be in this single instance of family worship. pp. 92, 93.

Some sensible remarks follow on the church revenues, particularly those accruing from tythes,--than which nothing can be more oppressive, either as it respects the exorbitance of their amount, or the rigid mode of their collection. In de scanting on national manners, which then come under consideration, our author notices the marked deference paid to the female sex, even by the peasantry,--the universal prevalence of matriinonial infidelity, and a degree of familiarity exending through all relations of society, which, in England, we should deem rudeness, and find troublesome.'

• Servants converse while attending at table with the familiarity of friends. Centini, a valet de place, whom I have hired in this place, makes

scruple of helping himself to a glass of wine, taking snuff from my box, or lighting his segar at my candle.'-'The apartments of a gentleman, or the chamber of a lady, when you have passed the outer door, are always found open, and it is deemed no intrusion to enter without being announced. Even the cabinet of the minister is equally accessible.' • In the first circles the practice of calling people by their Christian names, and even titled ladies, is very common. 106.

The remarks with which Mr. J. has prefaced his letter on Spanish education, we humbly presume to think, are neither creditable to his judgment nor his liberality. Without entering into particulars, it inay be sufficient to observe, that, in hinting his prejudices against a national system of education, he seems unconsciously to forget that the value of the system must entirely depend on two things, what is taught, and the mode of teaching ;-else, after noticing the impracticability of the plan lately framed by' a distinguished member of the house of commons,' he would never have immediately subjoined in Spain, however, such a plan has been adopted, and carried into execution. From Mr. Jacob's own account it appears, that

very few of the grown up peasantry know how to read, though the generality of them are initiated into that dangerous science in their youth. The education of the higher classes he, of course, admits to be intolerably bad. Some of his remarks on this subject are so judicious, that we gladly quote thein.

The early period of life at which the young Spanish gentry are introduced into society, the time they usually spend in that society, the trilling subjects commonly discussed, and the great familiarity with which they are allowed to behave to their elders, all contribute to prevent their acquiring that knowledge which is so necessary to form the character of virtuous and intelligent men. The quiet solitude of domestic life seems unknown in Spain : the idea of a man, his wife, and family, spending a day, or even part of a day, without company, appears to them so unnatural, that they can scarcely believe it to be our practice.' p. 111.

• The education of the females of the best families, is, if possible, still worse. They are early sent to a convent as pensioners, and under the care of some of the aged nuns are instructed in reading, writing, and needlework, but especially in the outward forms of religion. They are usually kept in these houses of seclusion till they arrive at a proper age, and frequently till some matrimonial engagement is formed. From the retirement of a convent, with all its uniformity and dulness, they are suddenly introduced into circles of gaiety and dissipation, and it is not wonderful that from so violent a change, and from the example of the married fe. males, with whom they associate, they become victims to the dissolute habits of their country.' pp. 112.

In setting down his observations on the paintings, for the number and excellence of which Seville is remarkable, his attention does not fail to be attracted by several master-pieces of the admirable Murillo,--of whom, according to custoin, we are treated with a biographical sketch, which is succeeded by ditto of Pedro de Campaña. Previous to his departure, he presents his readers with pretty copious notices of agriculture and commerce; but as there is nothing rery vewin this part of his volume, we shall attend him without delay in his return to Cadiz, which took place in November. He arrired just in time to see a bull-fight at St. Mary's, given in honour of Lord Wellington. There were about 10,000 people present, all profoundly interested in the cruel spectacle. On the whole, however, the exbibition was represented to our author as a very ( inferior 'one-notwithstanding the last bull was killed, as the matador, ' with much dignity, expressed it,' to the health of King George.'

A visit to Admiral Purvis, on board the Atlas, and another to Admiral Alava's flag-ship, the Santa Ana, gives our author occasion to draw a contrast very gratifying to an Englishman ; 'the one affording an example of order, cleanliness, and subordination, the other of confusion, filth, and waut of discipline.' He represents the Spanish officers as a little infected with jealousy towards the British navy, and says it is generally supposed they are not very sincere patriots.

After noticing in a cursory manner the fortifications and commerce of Cadiz, our author takes another turn to Seville, enjoys a cheerful Christmas dinner with Don Antonio Pizano, at Chiclana, and then, on his re-arrival at Cadiz, proceeds to say a word or two on political matters. He bears witness to the universal hatred which pervades the Spanish nation, individually, against the French ; but laments there is no sort of disposition to combine. At this, we confess, we have never been much inclined to wonder. Indeed, where a people have no definite object to fight for, and no men of commanding talent to concentrate their ardour, how can it be otherwise? A mere instinctive patriotism, it is true, may teach them to plunge their daggers,' at every cowardly opportunity, into the breasts of their invaders. But most men, we think, have, by this time, ceased to expect that the whole population should be up in arms to perpetuate a most hateful tyranny, under which they have hitherto dragged on a burdensome existence. The utter worthlessness of the upper orders of society in Spain, indeed, is now admitted by every body; and the only reasonable ground of hope for a successful resistance, on the part of the mass of the people, seems to be, that they may, in the course of the conflict, work themselves into a state of veritable freedom, -a state in which they will spurn the impositions which any despotism may seek to force upon them, in which they will resolve not only to drive the French out of the country, but to emancipate themselves from the vile bondage of the former system of things. If they do this, their success may be confidently reckoned on ; but we confess there appears to us but a remote probability, that they will do it.

The next place to which our author's business or inclination carries him is Gibraltar, from whence he proceeds through Marvella, Malaga, and Velez, to Granada. The sketch of the Moors in Spain, bearing date from this last place, Jan. 1810, was, as Mr. Jacob candidly acknowledges, produced in England. We are not quite convinced, however, of the necessity of the insertion. It enlarges the quarto doubtless; but, in general, we think it is quite as well for the traveller to abstain from intruding into the province of the historian, unless he draws his information from sources not easily accessible, or has reason to suppose that his performance will be blessed with a more than usual portion of longevity. It is not, therefore, without a secret satisfaction that we escape from our author's VOL. VII.

4 Y

Learned dissertation, to follow bim to the Alhambra-of which he gives a minute and interesting description, accompanied with by far the prettiest engraving in his volume.

The population of Granada Mr. J. estimates at about 60 or 70,000, though ihe city is capable of containing many more. He found that the election of the Central Junta had greatly tended to repress the patriotism of the inhabitants, and to lull them into that state of apathy and despondepcy, which is the best préparative for French subjugation. - The remark, (he continues,) I made at Cadiz on the effects of despotism in stilling the strong feelings of the populace, has been confirmed here. Every one knows that the enemy has forced the passes of the Sierra - Morena, and, is rapidly advancing in this direction, but no one speaks of it openly. It is whispered only to confidential friends, and even they affect to treat it as a temporary irruption, which will be checked before it can possibly extend to this place. I shall leave Granada tomorrow,' &c. p. 304. , , Few things, Mr. Jacob. observes, more attracted bis admiration, while in Spain, than the singular situation of Ronda. His description of this place is followed by some instructive remarks on the person, dress, and manners of the Spanish peasantry, wbich we are sorry our limits will not permit us to quote.In several places through which our author pased, in consequence of the miserable accommodations at the inns, he was billetted on private families, and in every ivstance was treated with the greatest hospitality, At Gibraltar he stops to give a biographical sketch of General Castanos. He got back to Cadiz before the end of January, and found the whole city thrown into confusion by the unexpected advance of the French-inone place the people labouring at unfinished fortifications, in another, British sailors blowing up those which were likely to fall into the hands of the enemy-6 while those who have wives and daughters, are imploring front all wlio are connected with shipping the means of removing the objects of their af. fection from the horrid scenes which they anticipate. He then goes on to relate the masterly moveinent of the Duke of Albuquerque, by which (contrary to the orders and wishes of the Junta of Seville), the city was protected, till a garrison of British troops secured its safety. This is followed by an account of the new government. Speaking of the Junta of Cadiz, he cannot help adverting to their narrow jealousy of the authority of the Regency--their intermeddling spirit, and limited views.

They are (says he) as free a representation of the feelings, views, and interests of this city, as could by any means have been collected, but they represent only this city, with its local prejudices, its mercaptile spirit, and its monopolizing propensities. After their own immediate security,

« ElőzőTovább »