Page images

submission to her father; disguising or repressing the feeling by which she is ruled, until she has obtained the consent of him who has the right of disposing of her hand; terrified at the obstacles which threaten her happiness; experiencing herself, and impressing the spectator with a feeling of uncertainty as to the result of her love, and the line of conduct she will adopt if her hopes are deceived. Thekla is a being elevated above our common nature, to whom love has become existence, whose destiny it has fixed. She is calm, because her resolution is impregnable; confident, because she cannot be deceived in the heart of her lover; solemn, for she feels that what is done is irrevocable; open, because love is not to her a part of life, but life itself. Thekla, in Schiller's play, is upon a totally different plan from the other personages of the piece. She is a kind of aerial being, floating amidst the crowd of ambitious beings, traitors, and savage warriors, who are impelled against each other by ardent and positive interests."

M. Constant goes on to express his regret, that he had not boldly ventured to transfer the character of Thekla, in all its parts, to the French stage; and seems to say, that if his imitation of Wallenstein were now to be recomposed, it would be on a very different plan from the former.

But we must really come to a close. We did intend at first to exhibit some parallel passages, where M. Liadières has more immediately imitated or translated from Schiller; but in kindness to himself we shall not. For invariably, if there be a Brilliant poetical image or masterly expression in Schiller, it evaporates in his hands. His mind seems to be a sort of filtering-machine; throw into it any given quantity of poetry; let it be stamped with all the strength of a great mind, and warm with all the glow of fancy; and he shall reproduce it in half an hour from his own slender scrannel pipe, "weak as water and cool as a zephyr."

ART. III.—Itinéraire Descriptif de l'Espagne; troisième édition, revue, corrigée, et considérablement augmentée, par M. le Comte de Laborde. 6 tom. 8vo. avec un atlas in 4to. Paris. 1827— 1829.

THIS is an improved and enlarged edition of a valuable work. It is not, however, our intention to enter upon any examination of a publication so well known, or to compare the present edition with those by which it has been preceded. We merely use its title in order to give us an opportunity of laying before our reader some new, and, as we think, instructive details with respect to the present situation of the Spanish people. It is singular, indeed, how little is known in this country of the state of industry, arts, and manufactures in the Peninsula. Most of the works that have appeared of late years on Spanish affairs have been

almost entirely filled with accounts of manners and customs, or with political speculations, that have already ceased to excite the least interest. We have indeed one admirable work on Spain— the Travels of the Rev. Joseph Townsend-a work that will bear an advantageous comparison with any work of a similar description either in the English or any other language. But Mr. Townsend visited Spain so long ago as 1786 and 1787; and, considering the extraordinary events of which she has since been the theatre, it is obvious that many very material changes must have taken place in the industry and condition of the inhabitants. We therefore think we shall be doing an acceptable service to our readers, by laying before them the substance of information that has been communicated to us by an English gentleman, just returned from Spain, who has travelled all over the country, whose pursuits brought him into contact with the best-informed persons, and on whose candour and veracity every reliance may be placed; supplying at the same time a few details derived from official documents, and recent Spanish works not much known in this country. We shall confine our remarks to those subjects which seem to be of the greatest importance, and most clearly indicate the condition of the people. We begin with

I. State of Agriculture-Condition of the Agriculturists.-The greater part of the land of Spain belongs to the nobility, the church, and towns or corporate bodies. The destructive influence of this vast accumulation of property in a few hands, and of the inalienable tenures under which it is principally held, have been forcibly described by Mr. Townsend, (vol. ii. p. 237,) and by Jovellanos in his invaluable Memoir on the Advancement of Agriculture, drawn up in 1795. Throughout the principal part of the country agriculture is in the most wretched state imaginable. None, or next to none, of the lands in Leon, Castile, Estremadura, and Andalusia, are inclosed; a circumstance which may be ascribed partly to the carelessness and ignorance of the proprietors, partly to the poverty of the occupiers, and partly and principally, perhaps, to the destructive privilege enjoyed by the proprietors of the great sheep-flocks, of driving them from the provinces in the north to those in the south for winter pasture. The mesta, or code of laws with respect to the migration of the flocks, is assuredly one of the most oppressive and ruinous that has ever been devised. Inclosures have been prohibited, that the migration of the flocks might not be interrupted; in some provinces it was even forbidden to convert any pasture land into tillage; and it was only so late as 1788 that individuals occupying lands in the track of the flocks, were authorized to inclose kitchen gardens, and grounds appropriated to the culture of vines

and seeds. Scourge.*

Estremadura has suffered particularly from this

Farms throughout Spain are small, with hardly an exception, and the farmers are in a state of unexampled misery. Notwithstanding the lowness of rents, and the cheapness of living,-for they generally live worse than the labourers in the towns,-they are unable to make the smallest advances on account of their farming operations, and are obliged to raise whatever funds they require by mortgaging their crops. This is not only true of tillage farmers, but also of the growers of oil and wine, who frequently cede the anticipated produce of their lands for less than threefourths of its value. Farm-houses are rarely seen, except along the east coast. The farmers live in huts of the meanest construction, crowded together in villages, so that farm buildings, often so expensive in other countries, cost almost nothing. The operations of treading (thrashing) and cleaning the corn, are performed in the open air, and the grain is left in heaps in the field until it can be sold. The corn speculators and proprietors of Castile have caves (silos) dug in the rock or the earth, in which the grain is preserved until a market opens for it; being often kept in this way for five or six years without much loss. The implements used in husbandry are of the rudest description, especially in Old Castile and Leon, where the soil is sandy and easily cultivated. In Andalusia and along the coast of the Mediterranean, where the soil is more tenacious, implements of a better description are in use, but they are still very rude indeed, compared to those employed in Britain. The use of fanners is nowhere known in the country; but they have been imported from England into a few of the sea-port towns, whence corn is occasionally shipped.

Land is not supposed to yield the proprietors more than from 1 to 2 per cent. It is exceedingly difficult to estimate the rent of land by the English acre, from the great uncertainty and irregularity of the measures. The term fanega or fanegada, is used to indicate the extent of arable land on which a fanega, or 90lbs. of wheat may be sown-an extent which varies, not only in every province, but in almost every village. The law, indeed, fixes the fanegada at 576 square estadales, and the estadal at 12 square feet (Spanish,) but the estadal varies from 5 to 15 feet, and the fanega from 100 to 625 square estadales. The aranzada is also a measure used for estimating vine and olive lands. It is fixed at 400 square estadales, but varies from 300 to 600. In some provinces it is estimated by the number of vine or olive plants, but this valuation is not more regular than the others, varying from 60 to 500 plants. The traveller tries in vain to find a

Minano, Diccionario Geografico, &c. tome iv. p. 102.

rule by which he may compare the Spanish measures, practically in use, with the English acre. There are no books capable of guiding him, and the best-informed Spaniards can give no satisfactory information on the subject. In Old Castile three aranzadas of vine lands pay, on an average, a rent of 1 fanega of wheat; and wheat lands pay from 1 to 13 fanegas the fanegada. The average value of a fanega of wheat is 3s. 6d. Three aranzadas yield in good years about 72 gallons (Imperial) of wine, worth

40s. or 50s.

The tenant pays tithe, primicios, frutos-civiles, &c., and when these are deducted, he has little more than half the produce left to pay rent and labour, and support his family. Government, in order to encourage proprietors to cultivate their own lands, relinquish the frutos-civiles, or tax of 6 per cent. of the produce, on such estates as are farmed by the owner. In Biscay estates are more divided, and the provincial government grants a portion of the reserved land to every applicant, on condition of his building a house, and cultivating a certain part of it. The rich irrigated lands round Granada, Murcia, and Valencia, are let in very small portions, seldom exceeding 10 acres, but often not more than one or two. They yield two, three, and even four crops in the year, principally vegetables, maize, and red pepper; and are far more valuable than the corn lands of Andalusia and Castile. The fanegada lets, according to circumstances, at from 12s.

to 24s.

There are very few territorial families in Spain distinguished by their wealth. Even the great land-owners, such as the Dukes of Medina-Celi, Alba, Altamira, Ossuna, Montellano, Frias, Benavente, Del Infantado, San Carlos, &c. whose rentals are said to amount to from 500,000 to a million of dollars, are mostly all embarrassed. The custom of the country compels them not only to keep up numerous establishments, but to support all the domestics of their deceased relations, in addition to an army of their own; at the same time that it prevents them from employing them in the cultivation or improvement of their estates. Thus their revenues are wasted without any public advantage, and contribute only to spread a taste for idleness.

It may readily be supposed, from the preceding statements, that the farmers have neither the means nor the enterprise required to undertake an improved system of husbandry; and though they had both, the want of a market for their produce, or of a motive to attempt improvements, would hinder them from being made. In the greater part of Spain the produce of the soil, even with the slovenly culture applied to it, is more than sufficient for the demands of the people. Canals for irrigation are more wanted than any thing else; but such is the general apathy and poverty,

that no advance is made in the execution of useful projects of this sort planned long ago, and recommended by several successive governments. The only agricultural improvements worthy of notice have taken place in the provinces of Biscay, Navarre and Arragon; each of which has its own separate administration and laws, and where, consequently, the oppressiveness of the government is less felt. The public charges in these provinces are also much lighter; the Arragonese have long refused to pay full tithes, giving only a portion equal to or of the produce. Agriculture has made very great advances in the Biscay provinces during the last six or seven years. Before that period, they drew more than half their supply of corn from Castile; but now (1828) their production very nearly, if not entirely, equals their consumption. With the exception of the plain of Vitoria, there is not perhaps another plain of a league in extent in the whole province; hence their system of husbandry is only fit for a mountainous country. The plough is but little used, the greater part of the work being done by the hoe and spade. Every inch of arable ground in the vicinity of the roads seems to be carefully laboured. The produce is rye, maize, wheat, barley, and oats. In good years Navarre exports a small portion of its produce. In the plains of Leon, Castile, and Andalusia, agriculture is almost entirely confined to the growth of wheat. There is no rotation of crops. The wheat is sown at the commencement of the rains, after a slight ploughing. On the banks of some of the rivers, in low lands and round villages where the wells are good, beans and other vegetables are cultivated, and occasionally maize. The latter, however, requires too much water to succeed well in Castile. It is a rare circumstance to find even a single hovel between the farm villages, which in Castile are from one to two leagues asunder; but in Andalusia the traveller frequently passes over from 10 to 20 miles without seeing either. The most careful cultivation is to be found in the huertas of Granada, Murcia, and Valencia. Their extent is considerable; and the waters of the Xenil, the Segura, and the Xucar, rarely fail of affording a sufficient supply for their irrigation. These are, therefore, justly looked upon as the gardens of Spain and produce not only every variety of fruits, but every kind of vegetable and plant useful either as food, or as material for manufactures. The mild red pepper, cultivated in the huerta of Murcia, is celebrated over all Spain, and forms a very considerable article of trade with the interior. Rice is the chief produce of the huerta of Valencia. Mulberries are extensively cultivated in them both.

There are several societies in Spain, assuming the title of "Friends of the Country," for the encouragement of agriculture

« PreviousContinue »