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great Papal preserve. It is certainly one of the most melancholy spectacles which history presents, to see a great nation thus drawing down the curtain upon itself at mid-day when many of the nations around had begun the march of intellectual and social progress, and giving itself up to centuries of slumber. But one advantage at least may be gleaned from it by the world. It presents us with an experiment on a large scale of what Popery, unchecked by Protestant influences, can do for a people. We have seen Popery sowing the seeds of Spain's future in the sixteenth century. She has had ample time and opportunity to watch their growth and bring their fruits to perfection. Let us now see, then, what fruits those seeds are bearing in the nineteenth century.
The last few years have brought within our reach a variety of valuable books, well fitted to assist us in such a survey. Even the letters of Blanco White, usually known as "Doblado's Letters," have not lost their value. Mr Ford's various books on Spain rise far above the gossiping and exaggerating character of tourists' guides, and reflect with vivid accuracy many of the phases of modern society in Spain. The work of the Rev. William Rule, a distinguished Wesleyan missionary, though principally devoted to an account of religion in the British garrison at Gibraltar, describes several adventurous excursions into the peninsula, and is marked by ability, information, and truthfulness. Two works by an eminent Spanish author, Senor Don Adolfo de Castro, make large additions to our knowledge, both of the Spain that was, and of the Spain that is. The former is a "History of Spanish Protestants," written very much on the plan of a series of biographical sketches. It bears gratifying testimony to the ability and learning of our own M'Crie, and considerably diminishes our confidence in Llorente, the historian of the Spanish Inquisition, while it adds a number of new names to the long and shining roll of Spanish Protestant confessors; raises the dark veil, for the first time, from the history of the youthful Don Carlos; and presents a narrative full of romantic interest, and illustrative of the ubi quitous espionage and power of the Inquisition, in the account which it gives of the seizure and imprisonment, because of his Lutheran sympathies, of the Archbishop of Toledo. His later work, "The History of Religious Intolerance in Spain," connects the decline of that country with its ecclesiastical condition, and is a bold work for a living Spaniard. Another book, "The Practical Working of the Church in Spain," is the production of an English clergyman, the Rev. Frederick Meyrick, who was compelled by the state of his health to spend a succession of winters in the south of Spain; and though written in a somewhat desultory style, abounds in valuable details. There is a candid
confession that he and an accomplished female relative, who was his companion at Malaga and Seville, had gone out from England, one with a high respect, the other with a high admiration, for many of the practices and institutions of Romanism. But, as happened with Luther, on his memorable visit to Rome, the mists which imagination had thrown over the system disappeared on a nearer inspection, and revealed something very hollow and revolting in its stead; and Mr Meyrick returned to England a wiser and more contented man, effectually cured of his Romish sympathies and Romeward tendencies. These various writers shall be our authorities and witnesses.
It is impossible to look at the position of Spain, among the nations of Europe, without remarking how singularly it has been favoured with many of those geographical and physical advantages which, faithfully improved, secure great national prosperity. With an extent of territory nearly equal to that of France, and nearly double that of England; with a noble mountain-barrier to guard it against its most formidable neighbour; with a population by nature hardy and brave; with a line of coast abounding in bays and harbours, and standing between the two great seas that bear on their bosom the commerce of the eastern and western worlds, it possesses all the conditions necessary for military strength and commercial greatness. Rich in mineral wealth, abounding in navigable rivers, with a soil in many parts fertile to a proverb, and a climate that brings to maturity the most valuable productions of the temperate and the rarest fruits and flowers of the tropical zones, it seemed to require only the most moderate amount of industry and enterprise, in order to make a country, on which Heaven has lavished its gifts with so bounteous a hand, prosperous in all the elements of material greatness.*
And, now, what are the facts? The population of Spain does not exceed twelve millions, and every year it is becoming less numerous and more wretched. Noble rivers, like the Tagus, which, with a common measure of enterprise, might be made navigable for a hundred miles, are allowed to be choked up with mud, and in some places to wander from their channel, so as to present the ludicrous picture of bridges spanning an old and dry water-course, while the river is flowing unbridged some miles distant. Instruments of culture are in use, which differ little in shape from those in the days of the Georgics; modes of conveyance, which Hannibal and Scipio may have witnessed when they passed over the same scenes; modes of thrashing, the same as in some of the least cultivated oriental nations; roads, connecting large towns, are scarcely passable except for the muleteer; the few manufactories that exist are princi
* Ford's Gatherings, ch. ii.
pally conducted on British capital, and even the mechanical part of them by British hands; and amid all the industrial and material progress that is visible in countries around, Spain is stationary, if not retrograde. While Protestant Holland, which won her territory from the reluctant ocean, filled a large space in the London Exhibition with her manufactures, Spain could only send her crown jewels, themselves the relics of a glory that had departed.
These evils, it may be said, are the effects of bad government, and of the injurious proximity of France to Spain. But what is it that has given bad government to Spain, and made it necessary that she should cower to the influence beyond the Pyrenees? That power which, by withdrawing so large a portion of the population from the productive to the consuming classes, in her swarms of priests and friars, has cursed the land with poverty and laziness; which has discouraged all innovations in the arts, from the dread of their introducing innovations in the church; which condemns the people to ignorance, or, at least, to that kind and measure of stereotyped knowledge which Rome finds it safe to give; which will not allow even a steam-boat to sail without having mass said for its safety; which interdicts railways because they savour of science and progress, and would bring the stagnant soul of Spain into perilous and polluting contact with the living intellects of other lands; which declares it more important, as a qualification for a physician, that he should believe in the immaculate conception of the Virgin, than prove his knowledge of the materia medica; which still seeks to bind the universities, like Galileo of old, to the faith that the earth does not move; which persuaded the poor bigot, Philip III., to prohibit any new system of medicine, and to require the use of Galen and Avicenna as text-books; and, so lately as 1830, induced that craven-spirit, Ferdinand VII., to shut up the schools of medicine, and even to turn them into bull-rings, by assuring him that lectures on medicine produced "materialists, heretics, chartists, citizen-kings, barricadoers, and revolutionists."
Among the various tests of the moral condition of a people, men of reflection would especially mention two, as infallible in themselves and easy of application-the value attached to human life, and the general and unsuspected virtue of woman. Judging by either of these tests, there is scarcely a city in Roman Catholic Spain that would stand far above a pagan city of Hindostan. Mr Meyrick informs us that in the one town of Malaga, whose population, we believe, does not far exceed 80,000, the newspaper reported, as the summary of committals for the month, eight for assassinations and fifteen for wounding without causing death; and this was far below
the facts of the case. In England a single act of murder is blazoned throughout the kingdom, and all the resources of second editions and broad sheets are brought into play, in order to keep alive public horror, and to satiate public curiosity; but in Spain such an event is concealed, where this is possible, and slurred over where it cannot be concealed, and scarcely excites the same degree of moral recoil as would an act of common burglary in England.
A greatly darker phase of this subject presents itself, when we examine into the condition of the Casas de Expósitos, or houses of exposed children, in Spain. The children brought to these receptacles are in general the fruits of crime, and therefore their statistics throughout the kingdom, in addition to the disclosures which they make of something approaching to a systematic infanticide, afford us a measure by which to estimate the general licentiousness. Let us trace the history of the first day of one of these abandoned children:-multitudes of them never see a second. A child of crime is born. Perhaps the birth takes place by day: in this case it is wrapped up in a bundle, and laid aside until nightfall, when it is rudely borne away by some unnatural wretch who cares not whether it lives or dies. At length the door of the Expósito is reached, but even then the infant is not gently transferred from the warm embrace of one kind woman to that of another, but tossed into the cradle of stone prepared for the reception of abandoned infancy. A small bell is rung just once by the muffled bearer of the child, who, apprehending charges for maintenance, dares not wait to see it safely through. Perhaps the drowsy portress is awakened by the tinkling of the bell, in which case the babe is taken in; but if the signal is not heard, the child lies without until the morning, and is probably found dead at the opening of the gates. Even when the child is taken alive out of the stony cradle, the first care within the hospital is to baptize and not to tend. And should it pass alive through this second process, it is committed to one in whom a mother's sympathies are extinct to a woman of the lowest class, who, impatient under the excessive burden of three or four sucklings, frets at the obnoxious charge. No one can believe that under such a barbarous process many children can survive, or doubt that the seeds of death are often sown on that first night, even when life struggles through a few weeks or months of pining and cheerless existence. The governor of the House of Expósitos in Madrid admitted that from nine hundred to one thousand children had been deposited there during the preceding year, of which number only fifty-six were surviving when he wrote, and even of these fifty-six, many, he expected, would yet drop off.
To what polluted fountainhead is a licentiousness so general and a neglect so criminal and heartless to be traced? "It appears," says Mr Rule, "to stand in intimate connection with-1. The celibacy of the clergy; 2. The abominations of the confessional; and, 3. The unscriptural rules and covetous practices of the Church of Rome with regard to marriage. Should any Christian philanthropist devote but a few months to minute investigation in Spain, he will open up to public view a depth of iniquity not less horrible, a few externals excepted, than are the enormities of heathen India, the cry of which has awakened the compassion of British Christians. As Middleton, in his "Letters from Rome," exhibited the paganism of Popery impressed on its religious ceremonial and customs, the author might most successfully point out the transfusion of heathenism into the whole mass of society, unchanged as it is from its original state, under a religion unaccompanied with the influence of the Holy Spirit, and differing only from Antichristian society by a substitution of other names given to the same things. The Spartans are said to have thrown their weakly children into pits; and the illegitimate offspring of priests and other libertines are thrown into troughs in the walls. Where is the difference? In this latter case a national provision is made for encouraging a national crime, so that hypocrisy is conjoined with barbarism. The result of such inquiry would be useful to England, as exhibiting the demoralising and depopu lating influence of Popery wherever it exists; and to Spain, as demonstrating to the legislature, to whom indeed it is no secret, that the mock celibacy imposed on two hundred thousand citizens is in every point of view contrary to the law of God and of nature, and subversive of the morals and wealth of the state; and that the time is fully come for declaring such an obligation to be no longer tolerated.* Who can wonder that, with so much of this licentiousness traceable to the door of Rome, the clergy should every where be thoroughly despised, and proverbs bandied about that satirise their shameless vices! Are you going to be a priest? said a gentleman to Mr Meyrick one day, in a tone which expressed, Can you, an honourable man, so degrade yourself?-not in the scoffing spirit of one who despises the follower of a crucified Lord, but rather with the bitter feeling of a naturally generous breast into which the iron has entered.
Middleton, in those clever "Letters from Rome," whose influence has been injured by their unfortunate sceptical leanings, might, in one instance at least, have carried his analogies much farther than he has done, in tracing the resemblances between Papal and Pagan worship. We refer to the deification of Mary,
*Rule, pp. 240, 241.