صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

might have suggested doubts as to the solidity of the basis on which its former greatness, such as it was, had been founded.

Countries, where agriculture and manufactures have been once firmly rooted, soon recover from the losses they sustain in war, and even struggle with success against the vices and defects of a bad government. How quickly did France recruit het strength after the long and sanguinary contests of the League, and how speedily have Flanders and Lombardy recovered from the devastations of war, to which they have been so often victims? Nothing short of Eastern despotism or feudal anarchy will utterly extinguish arts and industry in a country where they have been thoroughly established, and long cultivated by the people. But the causes to which the decline of Spain has been attributed, though capable of retarding the advancement, or even of arresto ing the progress of a nation, are insufficient to communicate to it a retrograde movement, or to eradicate staple and established mañufacturés, which have formed the occupation of the great body of the people, and served them for ages as a source of wealth and happiness. The system of taxation in Spain is injudicious, oppressive, and full of vexation to the people; but the most ex ceptionable parts of it have long since been modified and corrected; and the total amount of the taxes is inconsiderable, even when compared with the limited means and faculties of the country. There are many hurtful monopolies in Spain, and many ill advised restraints and impediments to commerce; but they are not more numerous 'nor prejudicial than they were in Prussia under the great Frederick. The administration of justice is not to be praised in Spain; but it is not a great deal worse than it was in France under the Bourbons. A mistaken charity lavishes vast sums of money in Spain on the idle and the pros fligáté; but the total amount of this misplaced bounty is in finitely less than that of the poor-rates in England. Religious bigotry and intolerance have never been stronger not more universal in Spain, than they were in this island in the time of Elizabeth, or under the princes of the house of Stuart. The expulsion of the Jews and Moriscoes was no doubt a éruel and in human act; but, as both the court and people were obstinately determined to, exclude them for ever from the rank and consideration of old Christians, we are by no means convinced, that it was not better policy to banish thein at once from the kingdom, than to allow so many secret enemies, in possession of thë inost yulnerable part of the country, to increase and multiply, till they should become too strong for their oppressors. Had the ministets of Philip III. delayed the expulsion of the Moriscoes, so frugal in their diet, so industrious in their habits, and so simple in VOL. X. NO. 20.



countri advised the nume

[ocr errors]

Elizabeth, the Jews both the contever

their manners were these descendants of the Saracens, that, excluded as they were from participating in the honours and dangers of war, and exclusively addicted to the laborious but healthful occupations of agriculture, in less than half a century they must have outnumbered the old Christians in all the southern provinces of Spain; and thereby increased at once the danger of slighting or offending them, and added force to the popular and royal prejudices against admitting them to the civil honours of the state. And, with respect to the effects of that expulsion, (the subject of such reproach against the Spanish nation on the . part of the French and English, as if the one had not revoked the edict of Nantz, and the other broken the articles of Limerick), it should be recollected, that authors have been far mistaken who have supposed that with the Moriscoes the Spaniards lost their manufacturers and artizans. It is true, that in the south of Spain many of the ordinary and most necessary trades are still reputed infamous, because in very old times they were exercised by Moors and Jews. But, at the period of their expulsion, the greater part of the Moriscoes were small farmers and gardeners, who lived in penury and misery, and contrived, by hard labour and rigid economy, to pay exarbitant rents to their landlords, in return for security and protection against the bigotry of the priests. .

Don Antonio Capmany is, we believe, the first Spanish author who has combated the general prejudice of his countrymen in favour of the ancient opulence and prosperity of Spain. At the end of the third volume of his valuable work, entituled, Memoria as históricas sobre la Marina, comercio y artes de la antigua ciudad de Barcelona, he has dedicated an entire chapter to an examination of the question, Whether the arts and manufactures of Spain were at any time equal to those of other nations? A republication of that chapter, with several additional facts, and observations on the same subject, forms the first essay of the volume which lies before us. As the subject of the inquiry, is curious, and the. view which Capmany has taken of it will, to most of our readers, have the recommendation of novelty at least, we shall give a short outline of his arguments. i - We must, in the first place, remark, that when we cast our eyes over the Spanish economists, from Ward and Campomanes, who wrote under Charles III. and Ferdinand VI., to Alonso de Herrera, who flourished under Ferdinand the Catholic, we are struck with the observation, that none of these authors ever represents his country, as flourishing or populous at the period when he is writing ; but, on the contrary, every one of them Jaments the decay of trade and industry in his own times, and

is complains

short outline or mendation taken of it willi'o is curiosi che lies be

ver the sun, the first ones. Y at least, of our readeshe

5 wrote und nourishe.ion, thathing or pop, every one times laing

complains of the laziness and profligacy of the present tace of his countrymen, while he refers us back to some remote period, when Spain was rich, industrious, and full of inhabitants. This reminds us forcibly of what happens daily to a traveller in Spain. At every town where he stops, he is told of banditti who infest the roads, and warned of the dangers that await him near some distant town, or at some remote pass in the mountains. But, as he advances, the danger continually recedes ;-till, at length, he discovers that the stories which had at first alarmed him, have no other foundation than the folly and credulity of his informers.

We shall follow the plan of Capmany's essay, by examining, first, what was the state of commerce and manufactures ; and, secondly, what was the state of agriculture and population in Spain, at those periods when it is supposed to have been most flourishing.

Commerce and Manufactures. It would be idle to inquire into the state of commerce and manufactures in Spain before the conquest of Seville in 1248.

The Catalans and Guipuzcoans had indeed applied to commerce and navigation at an earlier period, and some woollen and cotton manufactures were already established in Catalonia ; but these attempts were still in their infancy, and were greatly surpassed by the subsequent exertions of the same provinces. It would be equally unnecessary to extend our inquiry beyond the reign of Philip III., since it is admitted, that, before the death of that Prince, Spain was reduced to the most deplorable poverty and wretchedness. In the intermediate time, a great event, the disa covery and conquest of America, had occurred, which is supposed by almost all writers to have had the niost fatal influence on the industry and population of Spain. Was it before or after that event, that Spain is supposed to have been eminent as a commercial and manufacturing country? We shall inquire, first, what documents remain of the state of commerce and industry in Spain, in the interval between the recovery of Seville from the Moors, and the acquisition of colonies in America; and, secondly, we shall trace the effects of those colonies on, the commerce and manufactures of the mother country, during the reigns of Charles V. and Philip II.

With regard to the first period, we are referred by Capmany to the works of two Florentine merchants, Balducci and Uzano, who published, the former in 1339, the latter in 1440, ! commercial guides,' for the use of merchants, under the title of Prattica della Mercatura. * These books give prolix and circum

:: Ee 2 i mir istantial * Republished at Lucca, in 2 vol. 4to. 1776.

stantial accounts of the different branches of trade carried on at that time by the cities of Italy; and as they were intended, not for speculative or philosophical inquirers, but for the use of practical merchants ; they abound in minute and exact details on every subject of which they treat. They describe the exports and imports of every town or harbour frequented by the merchants of Pisa and Florence, and explain their weights and measures, and customhouse regulations, and contain a variety of other particu. lars interesting to merchants and navigators. From these books we may form an idea of the state of commerce and manufactures in Spain, during the 14th, and in the early part of the 15th centuTy. But, when we look into these authorities, we find that Spain, instead of being a great manufacturing country, received manufactured goods of every description from Italy and Flanders, and that her own exports consisted chiefly of the rude produce of her soil, or other raw materials used in manufactures. Her chief article of export was wool; the next was iron; the others were honey, wax, hides and tallow, sheep skins and goat skins, gold and silver in bullion, quicksilver, kermes, fruits, sugar, wine, wheat, rice, oil, soap, saffron, raw silk and salt. It appears from this catalogue of exports, that Spain was at that time, not only destitute of manufactures for foreign commerce, but that a great part of the country was then, as it is still, in a state of pasturage. It is worth remarking that, though Spanish wool was sent to Italy in the time of Balducci, it was not yet exported to Flanders ; for does it seem to have been held in estimation for its superior qualities, till the latter part of the 14th century, when it was improved by crossing the breed of native sheep with English sheep from Gloucestershire. These sheep are said to have been sent from England, as part of the marriage portion of the Princess Catherine, daughter of John of Gaunt, who was betrothed to Henry III. of Castille, in 1389, and married to him some years afterwards. This operation of crossing the Spanish with English sheep succeeded so well, that it was repeated during the reign of Edward IV. of England ; but it was not for more than a century afterwards, that Spanish wool acquired that decided superiority over the wool of other nations, which it still maintains. In 1440, when Uzano wrote, the exportation of Spanish wool to Flanders had become a considerable branch of commerce, and it probably had been at first introduced by the difficulty which the Flemings found of obtaining wool from England.

But, though we find no mention of manufactures for the supply of foreign commerce in the dominions of Castille, there is no doubt that there existed manufactures of that description in the provinces of Arragon. Woollen manufacturers had been


long established in Roussillon, Catalonia, Valencia, and Majorca, and cloths of various colours and qualities were exported from these countries to Italy and other foreign parts. Paper from Valencia, cordovan and chamois leather from the same city, and earthen ware from Majorca, are also mentioned among the exports from those countries; but, notwithstanding the vulgar opi. nion, that the Moors were a manufacturing people, red Morocco leather seems to have been the only manufactured article exported from Granada, unless we include raw sugar in that description of goods. There is not the slightest allusion in Balducci and Uzano, to the woollen manufactures of Toledo, Segovia or Burgos, or to the fairs of Medina del Campo, of which such incredible stor ries are related by subsequent authors; an incontestible proof, in our opinion, that these manufactures, if they existed at all, were confined to the fabrication of coarse cloths for home consumption.

Barcelona is mentioned, by the Florentine mercharts, as a commercial city of the first importance; and it seems to have been the great emporium by which the interior of Spain was supplied with merchandize from the Mediterranean. Neither the Moors of Granada, nor the Christians of Andalucia, appear to have been actively engaged in commerce or navigation. The Guipuzcoans and Gallicians, who have been at all times more addicted to a seafaring life than the other inhabitants of Castille, are not mentioned by these authors, though the Guipuzcoans were at that time celebrated for their fisheries, and had commercial face tories established in Flanders and at Rochelle. *

A politico-commercial poem, called the Libell of English Policie, which is referred to by Mr MacPherson in his Annals of Commerce, + confirms the account of the trade of Spain, which Capmanyhas collected from the works of the Florentine merchants, According to this book, written about the middle of the 15th century, Spain imported fine cloth and linen from Flanders, and sent in return, figs, raisins, bastard wine, dates, liquorice, seville oil, grain, $ castille soap, wax, iron, wool, wadmole, skins of goats and kids, saffron, and quicksilver ; of these, wool was the chief article.

These conclusions Capmany further confirms by an appeal to the acts and proceedings of the Cortes of Castille, in the 15th, and the beginning of the 16th century, from which it appears, that the woollen manufactures of Castille were at that time of Ee 3


* Diccionario Hift. Geograf. de Espana, 18c2, art. Guipuzcoa, + MacPherson's Annals of Commerce, vol. 1. p. 651, I Can this be grana ?i e. kermes,

« السابقةمتابعة »