« 上一頁繼續 »
possession of the property of whole villages, by means of oppressive and vexatious suits against the inhabitants, and the seizure of their estates on the charge of having violated the revenue laws. This has been the natural result of employing in this department, those who had shown their shrewdness, only by their uncommon villany, just on the same principle, that the boldest and most notorious robbers and smugglers, ever receive from the Spanish government the greatest encouragement, as commanders of vessels for the protection of the revenue, and as guards for diligences, and for the security of public roads. These men of violence and blood have little regard for human life, provided it be not their own, and hence, in more than one case during the last summer, were poor peasants coolly shot down by them when entering the gates of Madrid, and that too, without so much as having been hailed, or ordered to stop and pay their taxes, on what they carried. Recently, however, there have been partial changes as to internal taxation. The revolution in Barcelona last summer, resulted in effecting the overthrow of the system there; and in Malaga, but half the former duties are now paid. There is reason to hope, that still greater changes will soon be effected.
On leaving the gates of the city, we passed through a number of streets and public squares, to the Puerta del Sol, or Gate of the Sun. This is an open place in the heart of the city, from which the principal streets diverge like radii from a common centre, and as the postoffice and other public buildings are there, it is a favorite noonday resort. There, the politician and the merchant go to talk of business and of news, and the fashionable to show off their own dear selves, and the finery with which the tailor, the hatter, and the shoemaker have decked them. My first movement was to fix myself in a Cassa de huespide, or boarding-house, where I could talk as much Spanish as I might choose, and hear not a word of any thing else. For
my rooms, lodging, breakfast, and brassero, I bargained for seventy cents a day, and, as the common custom in such cases is, took my dinner and supper abroad.
History of Madrid. — Its Gates. - Public Squares. - Fountains.-- Gallegos.
- Population. – Public Buildings. - Streets. - Lights. - Paseos.- I'he Prado. - Public Gardens. — Convents. - Royal Palace. - Library. - Armory. — Military Museum. - Cabinet of Natural Sciences. - Museum of the Fine Arts. - Royal Museum of Paintings.- Prisons. – Holydays. – Beggars. - Confession. - General Hospital. - Foundling Hospital. – Mrs. Mendoza. - School for Female Orphans. - Private Charity. - Mount of Piety. – The Deaf and Dumb. – The Blind. - Modes of Burial. - Friar's Robes. — The Escurial ; its History, Form, and Size. - Tomb of Spanish Kings. — Paintinge. – Cambiaso. Relics. – Dangerous Adventures. The Cortes. — The Pope. — The Clergy. - Nunneries. - Feelings of the People. - Sermons. — Idolatry. - Catholics in the United States. — Public Speaking; — The Spanish Language. — Don Quixote. — Party Strife. - Exiles. — Houses. — Insurance.
Many Spanish historians have labored to prove that Ma drid, under the name of Mantua, was founded by the Greeks more than 4,000 years ago, and maintain that it owed its origin to Prince Ocno Bianor, son of Tiberius, king of Tuscany, who gave it the title of Carpetana, the name of the province which it was, to distinguish it from Mantua in Italy. Others hold that Mantua was six leagues west of Madrid, where the town of Villamanta now stands. But, be this
may, we learn from authentic history, that 220 years after the irruption of the Moors into Spain, – that is, in the year 939, Ramiro the Second, king of Leon, attacked Madrid, and, entering on the Sabbath, overthrew the walls, committed a great slaughter of the Moors, and then returned to his capital to enjoy his victory in peace. At that period Madrid seems to have been a strongly fortified outpost, with walls, gates, towers, and an alcazar or castle, and was relied upon as a defence to Toledo, the Moorish capital, against the invasions of the armies of Castile and Leon, who used to rush down from their strongholds in the north, through the mountain passes of Guadarama and Fuenfria, and, spreading havoc and desolation around, hastily retreat again, before the enemy had time to rally their forces. After the attack on the city by Ramiro, the walls were repaired, and the Moors held it 110 years longer, until Ferdinand the First, of Leon, extended his conquests to the Tagus, took Madrid, slaughtered a great number of the Moors, and made them his tributaries. During the dominion of the Saracens, Madrid was large and rich, with extensive suburbs, distinguished schools, and numerous mosques and churches, while her Alcayde or Governor, held the first rank among those of the kingdom of Toledo, and her fame was spread far abroad by the songs of her native bards.
After the expulsion of the Moors from the central parts of Spain, the favorable position of Madrid, its fortifications and the pure air and water found there, led Ferdinand the Fourth, in 1309, and his son Alfonso the Eleventh, in 1327, to collect the Cortes there, and fix upon it as their capital. Henry the Third was the first king of Castile who was crowned in Madrid. This took place in 1394, and from that time until the year 1560 when Philip the Second ascended the throne, the king and court resided sometimes at Valladolid, and then again at Madrid. Since that date Madrid has been the sole capital, except for five years, during the reign of Philip the Third. This monarch thought of fixing upon Seville, as his capital, enjoying as she does the advantages of commerce, and supplied with every luxury which nature produces. In order to dissuade him from this step the inhabitants of Madrid offered him the sixth part of the rent of all the houses in the city for ten years, which was afterwards commuted for the sum of 250,000 ducats. Successive monarchs have enriched the city by erecting palaces, convents, and other public buildings, until it has become in many respects.one of the most interesting capitals in Europe. It is situated on a number of sand-hills of unequal heights, in the inidst of a large tract of open country, bounded on the northeast and north by the mountains of Somosierra, and on the northwest by those of the Guadarrama. Its height above the level of the sea is 2,412 feet, thus making its elevation twice as great as that of any other European capital. Its circumference is little less than eight miles, while its diameter from east to west is about a mile and two thirds, and from north to south it is two miles. Madrid has five large or “royal gates," and twelve smaller ones. At the former the duties are collected, and they are open until ten o'clock at night in winter, and till eleven in summer, while the small gates are shut at dark, and not opened until morning. The Gate of Alcala is a magnificent triumphal arch, constructed in the reign of
Charles the Third, to perpetuate the memory of his entrance to the capital, when he came from Naples to Spain. It is built of granite, has five entrances, and, exclusive of the royal arms with which it is surmounted, is seventy feet high. The capitals of the columns were made after models designed by Michael Angelo, and the whole structure has a beautiful and imposing appearance. The Gate of Toledo was commenced in 1813 and completed in 1827. Exclusive of its pedestal its height is sixty-five feet, and it is adorned with columns and pilasters, of the lonic order. It was erected by the Ayuntiamento of Madrid, to commemorate the expulsion of the French from Spain, and the return of Ferdinand the Seventh to the Capital. The Gate of St. Vincent, which is the lowest of all, is only 41 feet above the level of the river Manzanares, near which it is situated. The Gate of the Sun is 210 feet above the same level, the Gate of Alcala 239 feet, that of the Recoletas 215, and St. Barbara 300 feet, which last is the highest point of the city. This variety of elevation, while it is favorable for cleansing, ventilating, and draining the city, at the same time gives to it, when viewed from different points without the walls, a peculiarly beautiful, varied, and imposing appearance.
There are in Madrid seventy-four public squares, most of which are small and without any ornament, except perhaps a single fountain, while in a few of them a number of trees have been planted. The Plaza Mayor is one of the largest of these squares, being 434 feet long, 334 broad, and 1,536 in circumference. It is enclosed on all sides with houses five and six stories high, and reaching an elevation of 80 or 90 feet. Of these houses there are 136, besides the Royal Bakery. There are near 500 windows, with balconies of iron, and, besides habitations for 4,000 people, 500,000 spectators could be accommodated within the square, during the bull-fights and other royal games, which used to be celebrated there. Perhaps no modern nation has made a nearer approach to the splendor and magnificence of the ancient Roman games, than the Spaniards. During the reign of Philip the Fourth, in 1637, forty-two successive days were devoted to splendid plays, masquerades, bull-fights, and other diversions, at an expense of $ 600,000. The Royal Palace, and the spacious and beautiful gardens of the Retiro, were the central point of many of these amusements. The extent, and the rich and varied natural scenerv of the place, enabled him
to bring large numbers, both of men and of animals, upon the stage, and at the same time, in a great degree, to dispense with the illusions of artificial scenery. Many of the plazas, or public squares in Madrid, are occupied during the day as market-places, where every variety of articles for food, and of the cheaper kinds of merchandise, are exposed for sale in the open air. Thus, instead of being, as they should be, adorned with trees, and plants, and flowers, which, while they purified the atmosphere, would give an air of taste and beauty to the city, they are now little better than public nuisances, and Babel itself could scarce have surpassed them in jargon and noisy confusion of tongues.
There are in Madrid fifty public fountains, supplied from mountain springs at a distance of thirty miles from the city ; still, during the summer months, there is a scarcity of water, and various projects have been proposed to remedy the evil
, none of which have yet been carried into execution. Few of the fountains in the city have either beauty or grandeur ; but those which adorn the Prado, or great public promenade, compare well, in richness of design and execution, with the finest to be met with in Rome, or other parts of Italy. One of these, which is wholly of marble, represents a rough island rising from the water, in the midst of a large basin, and on it is a Sibyl, seated in a chariot drawn by lions. Another fountain has for its subject the four seasons, with Apollo rising above them. But the most splendid of all, is one where Neptune is riding through the midst of the sea in a conchshell, drawn by two wild and fierce-looking sea-horses, and surrounded by dolphins. The figures and attitudes, and the grouping and execution of the whole, are full of nature, boldness, and beauty. Water is carried from the fountains, and delivered to families throughout the city, by Aguadores, or water-carriers, who are mostly natives of the mountains of Gallicia and Asturia, and are known by the common name of Gallegos. Each one carries on his back a firkin of wood or earthen ware, holding eight or ten gallons, with a large iron handle near the upper end. There is another class of them, who carry about water in jars strapped to their shoulders, and a basket containing three or four tumblers in their hands, from which they supply those who are passing in the streets. They are constantly crying out, — Agua, agua, quien quiere agua; (“ water, water, who wishes water.") These Gallegos are the water-carriers, and the lowest class