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vantage in condensed and powerful reasoning, and in a bold and vigorous assault upon the intellect, or in arousing those deep-hidden feelings, which are the main spring of fearless and decided action.
The lines of party division in Spain, — from the fact, that they have almost uniformly been drawn during periods of civil commotion and bloodshed, when unwonted fierceness and cruelty have been given to the dark and malignant passions of the soul, — have always been strongly and deeply marked. A system of savage, and despotic religious bigotry, has also lent its untold horrors, and its hellish orgies, as if, in bold and daring defiance of the God of heaven, with proud and solemn mockery, to cast the veil of sanctity and forgiveness, alike over the deeds of the midnight assassin, and the more cold, reckless, and deliberate murders, of those whom the poet calls,
“ Cowled demons of the Inquisitorial cell,
Far worse than common fiends from Heaven that fell,
The baser, ranker sprung, the vilest-born of Hell.” Too often has it been true in Spain, that what has been misnamed “the religion of the Prince of Peace,” of Him, who said, “My kingdom is not of this world,” and that “ They who take the sword shall perish by the sword,” – has been found not merely forgiving, but even in open alliance, both with
“ Murder masked, and cloaked, with hidden knife,
Whose owner owes the gallows life for life;
By all the culprits Justice ever hung." Thus the Catholic religion, uniting its power and its political influence with other causes of civil excitement, has often, in accordance with the prediction of Christ, caused “the brother to deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child ; and the children to rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.” Thus too have the tender and endearing charities of social and domestic life been sacrificed on the blood-stained altar of political strife, until a man's deadliest and most bitter foes were those of his own household; and thus, also, in the savage malignity of these family feuds, has been sadly exemplified the truth of Solomon's remark, that “ A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city; and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.”
We cannot fully estimate the vast amount of influence which, for many successive centuries, has been exerted by the Catholic clergy in Spain, in favor of civil and religious despotism, by means of confessions alone. The rule has been, that any one who did not present to his or her parish priest a certificate of having confessed, and received absolution as often as once a year, could not partake of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper; and those who persisted in this neglect, first had their names posted up in the church as infamous contemners of religion, and then, if they did not yield, they were excommunicated. This last act not only deprived them of all their civil rights and privileges as citizens, and dates for office and preferment, but they were also taught to believe, that it brought down upon them the vindictive wrath and blighting curse of Heaven, cutting them off from all blessings, and all hopes of favor, alike in this world and in that which is to come. Indeed, so tenacious are the clergy even now of this power, that when in company with two Catholic gentlemen at Gibraltar, a few weeks since, one of them informed me, that three of the priests connected with the church there, whenever a person came to them to confess, uniformly asked, as the first question, whether the penitent was a liberal or a Carlist, and if he admitted that he was a liberal, he was freely told that so long as he continued so, he could receive no absolution. Thus, though on British soil, and under British protection, these Catholics are told that the favor of Heaven depends on their political creed, as to the affairs of a foreign land.
The statements above account for the fact, that at the present time there is so much party and political bickering in the Cortes, and elsewhere throughout Spain, when all the friends of liberty and of human rights should unite their
in rooting out, as they easily might do, the last vestige of civil and religious despotism from the land. Hence, too, the bitter and disgraceful contests between the Ins and the Outs, the attempts to imprison and otherwise punish the opponents of an existing ministry, and the frequent banishments which there are, merely for opinion's sake; so that at Mahon, and elsewhere, one meets not only with distinguished Carlists, but also with officers of high rank in the army, sent into exile, and placed under the watchful care of the police,
for the crime of being "Exaltados," that is, strong liberals or radicals. Owing to the weakness caused by these unwise divisions, for more than a month, during the last summer, Madrid was under martial law, citizens were repeatedly shot down in the streets, and, as a member of the Cortes recently remarked, the influence of the Queen's government did not then extend further than one could see from the tower of one of the churches of the capital. On one occasion, too, 500 soldiers from the country, headed by a sergeant, took possession of the postoffice, at the Puerta del Sol, in the heart of the city; and, having kept it for a whole day, and shooting, if I remember right, the Captain-General of the Province and other individuals, they capitulated by special treaty in the evening, and were permitted to march out with the honors
I have often thought that there are certain peculiarities in the construction of houses on the continent of Europe, which a regard alike to the safety of human life, and the happiness which arises from the conscious security against the loss of property, the frightful alarms, and other more serious evils connected with the frequent and destructive fires which occur in our large cities, might make it well for us to initate. Without entering into minute details, however, suffice it to say, that the walls of the houses, which are commonly of stone, covered with lime mortar, and painted, or more often whitewashed, are much thicker than ours, while the roofs are of earthen tile, or rarely slate, resting on a covering of thin slabs of stone, supported by wooden rafters, which are placed near each other. The flat tiles, or thin, large bricks, of which the floors are composed, rest on a support of wood and stone, like that of the roof; while the stairs, connecting the different stories, are of hewn stone, with a balustrade of iron. Thus, the only wood used in building a house is that already mentioned, together with the doors and window frames. To burn such houses, is, of course, almost impossible; and the security of life and property connected with them, presents a striking contrast to the condition, and the frequent fate of those huge tinder-boxes, which line the streets of large cities in the United States, and so often disturb, with appalling fear or serious danger, the midnight slumbers of thousands of their inbabitants, by the wide-spread and destructive bonfires for which they furnish such choice materials. In Europe, on the other hand, though the streets are much narrower, and the cities are far more compactly built, than with us, yet such a thing as a destructive fire is scarcely known. As an evidence of this, and also as an example of the utility and great security there is in the plan of mutual insurance, we may refer to the case of Madrid. By mutual insurance, I mean the placing in pledge, all the property which each one has insured, as liable to be levied upon, in order to make up losses by fire, sustained by any others of the same association. A society of this kind was organized in Madrid, in 1822, with two directors, a book-keeper or clerk, a treasurer, a secretary, and one who has charge of the books and papers. All these are elected annually by the society, and receive no compensation. Of the 8,000 houses in the city, 5,037 are insured, including various royal establishments, churches, the houses of the nobility, convents, and corporations of all classes. The society has its engineers, pumps, assistants, &c., for extinguishing fires. The amount of property entered, which stands pledged as security against losses, is $39,616,997. Each man, when his property is entered, pays two and a half cents on every hundred dollars of the amount for which it is insured; which tax goes to the fund kept on hand for the immediate payment of any losses sustained, as well as for the current expenses of the society. In ten years there have been four instalments paid, which have amounted, in all, to six cents and one fourth on each one hundred dollars of the capital; or little more than half a cent each year on every hundred dollars insured. Thus, by paying five or six cents a year, on every thousand dollars' worth of property insured, a man may have full and certain security against all losses by fire. I have been thus minute on this subject, on account of the losses recently sustained in New York, by the insolvency of the Fire Insurance companies; and also because one of our largest cities has been maturing a plan for making the city corporation itself responsible for all losses by fire, which might occur there ; and at the same time securing, as city funds, such profits as might arise on a fair rate of general insurance. The plan of mutual insurance in the United States, as far as my own knowledge extends, has been mostly confined to towns or counties in the country, and hence it may be both interesting and useful to know, as in the case above, what have been its results as applied to a large and populous city.
ARANJUEZ, TOLEDO, AND CORDOVA.
Leave Madrid. -- Diligences. — Aranjuez. – The Palace. - Gardens. The
Town. — Grist-Mill. - Ride to Toledo. — Reflections. – History. — Jews. - Moors. - The Inquisition. — Foundling Hospital. - Celibacy of the Clergy. - Clerical Friends. - Toledo Blades. -- Serving two Masters. Watch of the Passion. — Cathedral.- Treasures. - Mozarabic Liturgy. Priests and Churches.
Walk to Ocania.- Travelling Companions. Robbery. – Our Loss. - Relics. — Appearance of our Party. – Pocket Testament. - Posada. - Affidavits. — 'Robbers and Magistrates. - Poverty. - Pity from Beggars. – Change of Climate. - Mountains. – Poetry. - Baylen.- Horses. - Pelistes. - Cordova. — Mahometanism. – Jews. Fanaticism. - Martyrs.- Mosque of Cordova. – Carmona. — Its Capture.
Had previous engagements admitted, many months might have been spent in Madrid, with both pleasure and profit to myself; not so much in visiting the curiosities of the city, for those I had mostly seen, as in studying the character and habits of a people, to me by far the most interesting of any in Europe. There is, perhaps, no pation on earth which has so many and so strongly marked provincial peculiarities of dress, language, manners, and personal appearance, as the Spanish ; and no capital, where all the varied traits of national character and customs are so fully and strikingly represented, as in Madrid. When the time of departure came, however, bidding my friends a hurried farewell, and chasing my passport through the various offices, where a jealous and warlike government required that it should be examined and signed, I took a seat in the diligence, early one morning, for the town and palace of Aranjuez. The carriages on this, and most of the large roads in Spain, are far different from the crazy, amphibious old vehicle in which I travelled from Badajoz to Madrid. They are exact copies of the French diligences, with three distinct compartments, besides the seat for the driver, in front. Directly in the rear of the driver, is a seat for three, who face forwards, and have sliding windows of glass in front and on each side of them. As those who occupy this place have a better view of the country than those further aft, and in dry weather are less exposed to dust, a higher price is charged for their seats. Next to this comes