صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

the coarsest and most ordinary quality, and fit only for inferior uses. The finest cloth of Valladolid and Segovia was sold at 40 maravedis the yard, and that of Palencia, Cuença, and Cordoba, at only 34 ; while fine cloth of Florence was sold at 167, and that of Burgos at 140.

In addition to this conclusive and incontestable evidence, Capmany next refers us to the account book of Ferdinand the Catholic, which is still preserved in the archives of Barcelona, and extends from the year 1496, to the death of that prince in 1516. This curious and authentic record is perhaps the surest and most unequivocal evidence of the inferiority of the woollen manufactures of Spain to those of other countries, at the very time when they are supposed by later writers to have been the most flourish, ing. We find, that, in the court of that severe and parsimonious monarch, none but his domestic servants were clothed in the manufactures of Spain ; while Italy, Flanders, and England, furs nished cloth for the use of himself and the royal family.

Lastly, It appears from the book of customs belonging to the city of Burgos, as it was settled in 1514, that the chief export from Spain, at that time, was wool, which was sent to Flanders, France and Italy, to be made there into cloth, for the supply of Spain as well as of other countries. The remaining articles of export, as enumerated in the same book, are iron, oil, figs, and raisins, from Xeres, Valencia, and Malaga ; cordovan leather, rabbit skins, saffron, raw silk, wax, kermes, liquorice, cumin seed, almonds, rice; sugar from Valencia ; and wine from Alicant. The same account of the Spanish exports is given in a book of ordonnances passed in 1511, which regulate the trade of the north coast of Spain, from Fuontarabia to Corunna.

With regard to the second period of our inquiry, it is true that, for some time after the conquest and settlement of America, the manufactures of the mother country flourished more than they had done at any former period. We have the testimony of Guicciardini, * that in 1560 the export of wool from Spain to Flanders, was reduced from 40,000 to 25,000 packs a year, in consequence of the increase of the woollen manufactures in Spain, and in 1552, we know from the acts of the Cortes, that Spain actually exported cloth to foreign countries, particularly to Italy, where the black and blue cloths of Spain were in high request for the use of ecclesiastics and magistrates, on account of the softness of the texture, and stability of the colours. This was also the period when the silk manufactures of Spain were most flourishing. Naviger, the ambassador of the Venetian re


MacPherson’s Annals of Commerce, vol. 2. p. 126.

public at the court of Charles V, mentions the silk manufactures of Granada, and adds, that silk stuffs of that city had great sale in Spain; but, with the exception of velvets, serges and taffeties, he gives a decided preference to those of Italy. He adds, however, that the silk stuffs made at Valencia were better than those of Granada. . . But, even at this period, when the manufactures of Spain were in a more flourishing condition than at any fornier time, that kingdom was supplied by foreign countries with almost all articles of luxury and accommodation, and even with many articles of the first necessity. In 1545, Spain received from Flanders, in return for wool and other raw materials, cloth, linen, cotton goods, silks, and a vast variety of other manufactures. The manufacture of linen was unknown in that kingdom. In 1555, the Cortes complain of the vast quantity of money sent out of the kingdom to purchase linen in France and Flanders, and recommend premiums for the cultivation of flax at home, in order to establish linen manufactures within the kingdom. Hardware and glass were imported from Germany, and even arms and ammunition came from abroad. Milan and Flanders supplied Spain with these articles; and it is an extraordinary fact, that the first cannon foundery in Spain was established at Barcelona in 1719. Lastly, in a solemn petition of the Cortes to Charles V. in 1542, itwas stated, though probably with great exaggeration, that the whole commerce of the kingdom was in the hands of strangers ; and:in 1548 and 1593, the same complaints were repeated by the Cortes with great bitterness. · But the strongest proof, that, even at that time, arts and manufactures had made no solid progress in Spain, is afforded by the views of the Spanish character and the pictures of Spanish manners, left us by contemporary authors; and the force of this evidence'is strengthened, by the universal contempt and disrepute in which tradesmen and manufacturers continued to be held in Spain, for many ages afterwards. According to Naviger, Venegas, Medina, and a number of other persons who wrote under Charles V. and Philip II., the Spaniards of that age were proud and lazy, prodigal and ostentatious, and willing to derive a precarious and disgraceful subsistence from alms, or to practise the most dishonest arts for a livelihood, rather than follow a mechanical trade, which they thought a degradation to practise. Perez de Herrera, who lived in the latter part of the reign of Philip II. paints in the liveliest colours those features in the character of his countrymen, and describes at great length, the artifices and impostures of the Spanish beggars. He probably exaggerates their numbers, when he reckons 150,000 beggars and vagabonds in Eę 4

Spain, Spain, at the accession of Philip III. ; but, besides the testimony of political writers, the royal proclamation of Charles V. in 1540, and innumerable petitions of the Cortes in his reign, and that of his successor, prove incontestably, that the number of beggars and disorderly persons, who had no settled occupation or place of resi dence, was on the increase in Spain, during the whole time of its supposed prosperity; The aversion of the Spaniards to mechanica! trades was not the effect of laziness alone, but had its origin in ancient prejudices, strengthened and confirmed by the authority of the laws and municipal įnstitutions of the kingdom, Clean, ness of blood was necessary for admission into corporations ; but the lineage of a candidate was tainted by his descent from an, cestors who bad followed certain grades, as well as by a Jewish or Moorish origin. The trades of tanner, curțier, shoemaker, tailor, smith and carpenter, are stigmatized in the laws of Philip II. as low and vile; and as late as the year 1783, it was necessary to declare, by a royal cedula, that these and other trades were not to be held disgraceful, and should not disqualify those who followed them, from offices in corporations. But, is it conceiva able that such prejudices should have existed in a manufacturing country, or that manufactures could have flourished in a country where such prejudices prevailed? Catalonia has been always the most industrious and manufacturing country in Spain ; but in Catalonia tradesmen enjoy a certain rank and consideration, and derive importance from the incorporated trade to which they be long. Soy menestral honrado would be the retort of a Catalapian tradesman to a gentleman who insulted or offended him. 'Yo qui soy, Christiano viejo would, in the same circumstances, be the no Jess indignant exclamation of a Castillian.

Our limits will not permit us to follow Çapmany in his examination of the fabulous, or at least highly exaggerated accounts transmitted to us by authors, of the ancient manufactures of Seville, Toledo, Segovia, and other cities of Castille. He shows, to our perfect conviction, that the statements which they have handed down to us, are, in most particulars, extremely improbable, and in many points positively false. These incredible re: lations, it must be observed, to which such implicit faith has been given by travellers and historians, rest on no contemporary evi, dence whatever, are confirmed by no public or private documents of any sort ; and are grossly and palpably inconsistent with the description of those cities left us by the most respectable authors of that age. Nayiger gives a minute description of Seville and Toledo, without even mentioning those wonderful majufactures of silk, which, in Seville alone, are supposed to have giyen occupation to 130,000 souls, and, in Toledo, to nearly as


many, At the time when the woollen manufactures of Segovia are said to have been most prosperous, Colmenores describes that city as full of beggars and vagabonds.

The result of our inquiry is, that Spain has possessed, at all times, domestic manufactures for common and ordinary uses; but that at no period of its history which we have examined, could it be ranked among the great manufacturing nations; that, on the contrary, its inhabitants have been always supplied with the finer manufactures from abroad, and even with many articles of accommodation, which in other countries are reckoned of indispensable necessity. It has further appeared, that the only interval during which manufacturing industry made any progress in Spain, was for about a century after the discovery of America, when the new demand created by the colonies excited some faint efforts in the mother country to supply their wants. But these efforts were feeble, spiritless, and of short duration. The genius and prejudices of the people were averse to manufacturing industry, and the bad policy and oppression of the government were able, in these circumstances, first, to depress, and, finally, ko extinguish their exertions.

Agriculture and Population, Of the flourishing state of agriculture, and immense population of Spain in ancient times, we have the same vague and exaggerated accounts which have been left us of its commerce and manufactures. Osorio, who wrote in the time of Charles II., discusses, with the utmost gravity, whether the peninsula of Spain contained fifty or seventy-five millions of souls in the time of Julius Cæsar; and the most moderate calculator reckons at least eighteen millions of inhabitants in Spain, exclusive of Portugal, in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. But was Spain better adapted for agriculture, in former times, than it is at present? Was it less liable to droughts and consequent famines? Was it better provided with canals for irrigation, or with roads. for conveying over its mountains the surplus of one province to feed the starving inhabitants of another? Was its code of rural and municipal laws less pernicious to agriculture, than it became afterwards ?. Was it less liable to epidemic diseases, which oppose at present such formidable obstacles to the increase of its population ? On the contrary, between 1483 and 1506, there were no less than eleven years marked by the prevalence of epidemic maladies, called plagues in some part or other of Spain; and the number of chapels and processions, founded in those times to St Roque and St Sebastian, show at once how common


** Osorio, wli gravity, whetlige lof souls in this at least

inlius Cæsary or seventy-Fivity, whethe time of Charles and ma

perniciouse? Was provinc

· Was

pestilential diseases must have been, and how inadequate were the means taken against them.'

The institution of the holy brotherhood, for the security of travellers in desert and uncultivated places, revived by Ferdinand and Isabella, is far from being any proof of a dense and great population in the reign of these princes. The laws and privi. leges of the Mesta, confirmed and extended by Charles V, show, that a great part of Spain was then, as it is at present, in a state of pasturage. The innumerable laws for securing and regulating property in bees, which are to be found in all the Spanish codes, from the time of the Visigoths to Philip II., afford another proof of the quantity of wild and uncultivated land in Spain. And, while the exports of that kingdom, in the 15th and 16th centuries, show the preference given to pasturage over agriculture by its inhabitants, their exportation of wheat and rice proves, that the quantity of corn which they raised, was more than sufhcient to supply their wants. If we extend our inquiries to a more remote antiquity, we find that, in the time of Alonso XI., *, all the provinces of Castille were full of wild boars and bears; and the kingdom, as then described to us, resembles more a wild and savage country, than a civilized and cultivated land.

But let us look into the agricultural and economical writers of Spain, in the times of Charles V. and Ferdinand the Catholic. Alonso de Herrera was employed by Cardinal Ximenes to compile a book on husbandry for the use of his countrymen. But, does the curious and useful work which he composed, warkant us in concluding, that the agriculture of Spain was at that time conducted with intelligence, or pursued with industry? On the contrary, he begins his book, by lamenting the frequency of scarcities in Castille, which he imputes to the laziness of the people, and to their total: neglect of agriculture. Laguna, physician to Charles V., in a botanical work, entituled, Dioscorides illustrated, written about 1555, observes, that gooseberries were very common in France, Italy and Flanders, but that he had never seen any in Castille, where indeed the people are very indifferent about gratifications of the palate ; or, to say the truth, where they are so much more indolent than in other countries, that they extract nothing from the earth but what it spontaneously affords them, and leave many parts of their country in a state of nature, which, if properly watered and cultivated, would be highly productive.' Arrieta, in his book called the Despertador, or awakener, published in 1578, boasts, as usual, of the ancient riches and fertility, and laments the present poverty and sterility

* He reigned from 1312 to 1350.

« السابقةمتابعة »