Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

some

the latter, who are idlers by profes- much pleased to find our own theories sion, and exactly correspond to Cap- and opinions on the subject confirmed tain Widdrington's description. These by an eyewitness, and by so shrewd gentry have nothing particular to lose an observer as Captain Widdrington. by any political rumpus, and they He traces the share that each party flatter themselves they may gain; and class in Spain took in the recent besides, they cannot be always play, changes; and proves satisfactorily ing monté or taking the siesta ; and enough, what every one who is aceven if they could, a change is some- quainted with Spanish character and times agreeable. Now and then, too, feelings must have already been they get tired of hearing Aristides pretty certain of, that the revolution called the Just—that is a very com- in question was not a national one, mon thing with Spaniards - but the result of intrigue, bribery, and mischievous political agent comes delusion—the work of a faction, aided amongst them, they are soon excited, by foreign gold. The ill-judged selecget hold of an old musket or rusty tion of Lopez for minister, and the fowling-piece, chuck up their sombre- still more injudicious act of agreeing ros, cry viva la Libertad! and rush

to a programme which he was afterabout the town uttering gritos; and wards compelled to repudiate, were in a few hours, and before they have the fatal mistakes made by Espartero, any clear idea of what they have been who was placed in a situation of exdoing, they are told that they are treme difficulty by his wish to govern heroes and patriots, that “ Spaniards constitutionally. " It is impossible never shall be slaves,” and all the not to respect and admire the firmrest of the humbug and claptrap that ness with which, to the very last, he revolutionary agitators always have carried through the principle, sacrifivpon their tongue's tip. The poor cing his station and rank to it; but, as idiots, fizzing and boiling over with far as the interests of his country their fire-new enthusiasm, aimless were concerned, no greater mistake and causeless as it is, are in ecstasies was ever made in government than for about a week, or until they disco- the selection of Lopez.” It is cusver, what is pretty often the case, tomary in Spain for a new minister to that instead of being better off, they make public his programme, or plan have exchanged King Log for King of campaign—but this is considered Stork. The fact is, Spaniards are not a mere matter of form. In that of at present fit for a mild and constitu- Lopez, however, amidst the usual tional government. Espartero, who commonplaces, one article of vital imhad got the country into something portance had insinuated itself; it was like a state of respectability, fell into that of the amnesty, “which was so the error of imagining that they were; speciously made out as completely to and such was in great measure the answer the purpose for which it was cause of his overthrow. The iron intended, that of paving the way for and remorseless rule of a Narvaez will bringing back the afrancesado leaders perhaps suit them better, and of a who were engaged in the attempt to certainty it is what a large portion of carry off the Queen, in October them richly deserve.

1841.” It was not deemed sufficient To those persons who wish to under- to recall the regent's mortal enemies; stand what many have doubtless found an attempt was made to isolate him, rather incomprehensible; namely, the by dismissing his most faithful friends, causes, immediate and remote, that even to the distinguished officer who led to the deposition of the Duque de la acted as his private secretary, and Victoria and the triumph of the Mo- who now bears him company in his derado party--we recommend the at- exile. Espartero naturally kicked at tentive perusal of Captain Widdring this—as who would not in his place ? ton's book, especially the chapter en- -dismissed Lopez, and dissolved the titled, “On the Pronunciamentos Chamber. But the people, especially and Fall of the Regency.” That those troublesome fellows the Andachapter is a very complete manual of lusians and Valencians, had got the the Spanish politics of the day, in a fraternizing fit strong upon them, and lucid and simple form ; and we were were mad after the

programme.

Juntas were formed-pronunciamen- soldiery, a credulous and ignorant tos made--and misrule was again the class in Spain. The men, there is no order of the day.

question, were disposed to stand by As to the conduct of the army to- the regent, and some even held out wards Espartero, it was unquestion against their officers till compelled to ably most disgraceful; but it must be give in ; but at last all followed in borne in mind that a large proportion the stream, led away partly by habits of the officers were his personal ene- of obedience, partly by the hopes held mies, especially those of the regiments out to them of more regular pay and of guards, which had been broken up better rations, and still more by the after the war, when many of the offi- prospect of obtaining their discharge cers passed into line regiments. previous to the legal expiration of Others were partisans of Leon, of their term of service—the latter beNarvaez, or Christina ; and another ing the strongest argument that can large section were won over by the be urged to Spanish soldiers. profuse promotion given by the juntas, The peasantry, with the exception, who, as soon as the pronunciamentos perhaps, of those around certain towns, began, assumed the functions of go- had neither voice nor part in the vernment, and scattered epaulets in change; the nobility, sunk in sloth absurd profusion. Truly, as Captain and smothered by incapacity, looked Widdrington observes, one has heard on as idle spectators; and a vast many of bloody wars and sickly seasons, of the restless and excitable spirits and rapid advancement consequent who got up the revolution, were mere thereon, but nothing ever equalled instruments in the hands of a faction, the promotion that was now given ; and knew not what they did. Hear and this system Espartero was also Captain Widdringtonobliged to adopt, in order not to be 6. The parties who began the prodeserted by the lukewarm among his nunciamentos had neither the intenadherents, or by those whom the tion nor the slightest idea, that the prospect of a step of rank might have result of their proceedings would be influenced to leave him. There can the fall of the regency. This I can be little doubt, too, that bribery was most positively assert to be fact.” largely employed by the Moderados. The Spaniards, especially those of Witness the instance of Colonel the south, had got a sort of Utopian Echalecu, which is no case of suspi- notion into their very ill-furnished cion, but an official and publicly heads, that all parties were to “ kiss known fact. He was offered four and be friends.” The projected amnesty millions of reals (forty thousand which Espartero so unfortunately pounds sterling) to surrender the agreed to, was the cause of this idea getfort of Montjuich, and a French ting ground. It took them upon their steamer was put at his disposal to weak side, carried them entirely off convey him away. To the immortal their legs ; and, acting under the inhonour of this gallant Basque soldier fluence of this frothy enthusiasm, they be it said, he was proof against the ran a-muck, as the saying is, and only temptation ; true to his colours, to his awakened from their day-dream to general, and to the established con- curse the changes that their own folly stitution of his country, he held out had so largely contributed to bring the fort to the very last, and only about. gave it up when every hope was lost, As to any body attempting to divine and the new order of things com- what will be the next move upon the pletely victorious. The Moderados Spanish chessboard, it is out of the had the good sense to continue so question, and nobody who knows the faithful an officer in his command ; character of the people will attempt to but, at the time of Amettler’s revolt, do it. Unquestionably there is no he refused to bombard Barcelona, and such country in the world for anomaof course resigned. His, however, lies of all kinds. Cosas de Espana ! was a solitary instance of virtue ; far as Captain Widdrington amusingly less brilliant baits were found irre enough says, when he meets with sistible by the mass of officers, who some huge piece of inconsistency that used their influence to bring over the astonishes even him, accustomed

are

though he be to the most contradic- Spanish character ; that he is led away tory vagaries on the part of his Iberian by his love for the nation. The followfriends. And it is exactly what in- ing passages are rather remarkabletelligent Spaniards themselves say, "No people in existence," he says, when similar absurdities on the part so little anarchical in their of their countrymen are pointed out habits, or live, unless under immeor reproached to them. “ Que quiere diate excitement, in a more orderly vel hombre," cry they with a shrug, and peaceable manner, or are so easily

son cosas de Espana.” What can governed. The presiding genius of we say to you? They are Spanish the country is tranquillity, and quiet, doings.

inoffensive demeanour, in every class At Almaden the Captain finds a of society, and in every part of the magnificent road leading to the town, kingdom ; nor is there any necessity, which had been commenced at great unless where domination, or unpopuexpense by a former governor. For lar and false principles are the object, some distance it is fit for an approach for the application of force to coerce to the largest capital, but on a sudden them at any time. What they want, it terminates—in a mule-track! Cosas by their universal consent, is a steady, de Espana. " I entered Corunna just progressive, and intelligent governbefore nightfall, and although a regu- ment, that will lead the way in the lar fortress, seaport, and chief place of changes and improvements which the province—Cosas de Espana-not every class, at least the far greater a sentinel was mounted on the works!" majority, are desirous of seeing carGuards desert their post-witness the ried out, but which their indolence attack on the palace, when seventeen and easy habits prevent originating men were present out of sixty-five; a with themselves alone." governor is absent from his province Aide toi, et Dieu t'aidera," 'says the at the very time when he is most French proverb. It is really a pity wanted there ; an official is sent for by that a proper dry-nurse cannot be one of his superiors, and returns for procured for these quiet and inoffen answer that he can certainly come if sive people, who have been slaughternecessary, but hopes he shall be ex- ing each other, with small intermiscused, as it would occasion him the sion, for the last ten years, to say trouble of dressing himself—this in the nothing of previous instances of manmiddle of the day. The creature was suetude. Unfortunately, however, no doubt lying on a mattress, half they are as jealous of being helped as, naked, with a cigar in his mouth. according to Captain Widdrington's These are instances of “ Cosas de own admission, they are incompetent Espana,” always odd and sometimes to help themselves." Es una lastima," unintelligible, but usually to be ex- as they would say; but really at this plained by the system of laxity and rate there seems no chance of their inattention to the duties of their re- ever getting their country into a prosspective posts and stations that seems perous, or even a decent, state. We to extend to nearly all classes in Spain. fully agree with Captain Widdrington

Captain Widdrington professes the in liking the Spanish character as a strictest impartiality in the accounts whole, in appreciating its fine qualiand opinions he gives; and if we ven- ties, in rendering ample justice to that ture to point out an instance where courtesy of feeling and manner so we think he has deviated a little from agreeable to those who have interthe straight line he drew for himself course with Spaniards, and that may at starting, it is only because his truly be called national, seeing that having done so in the particular we it is found as commonly under the refer to, is rather creditable to him than coarse manta of the muleteer as beotherwise, and is exactly the error neath the velvet-lined capa of the that most warm-hearted men who high-born hidalgo ; but we have some passed any length of time in the very small experience of Spain, and a more agreeable society of Spaniards, would considerable one of Spaniards, and we be apt to fall into. But we cannot cannot for the life of us think them so help thinking, that in some respects he tractable and easy to guide into the takes too favourable a view of the right path, or so exceedingly averse to bloodshed. “ The truth is, that, before being expected to depart from excepting in cases of deadly feud, the faith that has been universal in it which sometimes bappen, in no coun- since the expulsion of the Saracen, try in the world is life inore secure.” was deemed sufficiently distant and -(Vol. ii. p. 358.) We will not dangerous to be interesting, and “the contradict the Captain, but it has great London Caloro" girded up his always appeared to us that buman loins and departed thither. Of the life is rated at a much lower value in perils he encountered, the acquaintSpain than in any other civilized ances he made, of how he galloped country we are acquainted with, and through the country on silver-grey that the natural consequence of that burras Anglicé, female donkeys – low valuation is the cool indifference and dropped tracts in public walks with which blood is there so fre- and concealed Testaments in ruins and quently and abundantly poured out other queer places, where robbers upon the most trifling and insufficient might go, might find them, and might grounds:

be improved by their perusal, has he At the end of a chapter on the not written a most marvellous and church in Spain, we find a notice of amusing account for the benefit of Mr Borrow's proceedings for the pro- generations present and to come ? pagation of the Scriptures in the Pe- Notwithstanding, however, his misninsula-proceedings which seem to sionary avocations and Munchausenhave resulted in perfect failure. “As ish tendencies, we have a sneaking to the object of the undertaking, it kindness for friend Borrow, having was not only a most complete and collected from his writings that he is entire failure, but of such a nature as a fellow of considerable pluck and entirely to defeat any future attempt energy, of adventurous spirit, with a of the same kind." The meaning of sharp eye for a good horse, and who this is clear, although the sentence is would, no doubt, have made an exof a curious turn. Further on, the cellent dragoon, had it pleased God to Captain says-" It is impossible not call him to that way of life. But we to regret, that the very large sums must say, that his manner of spreadannually sent out of the country, from ing the Scriptures in Spain, puts ns the most pure and really religious and considerably in mind of those periconscientious motives, on this and patetic advertisers, whose handbills, other undertakings, producing equally thrust nolens volens into the fist of the little result, were not devoted to the passer-by, are for the most part cast building or endowing of churches and unread into the gutter. It would be chapels in our own manufacturing curious to calculate the proportion districts, where they are so very much borne by those Testaments that Mr needed.”

Borrow succeeded in getting really How can Captain Widdrington circulated and read in Spain, to the make such an observation as this very large number which he acknowlatter one? Surely he must be aware ledges to have been confiscated, burnt, how much more interesting it is to stolen on the road, or otherwise lost. provide for the spiritual wants of The expense of the mission must have people at a distance than for those of been very considerable, and the same people in our own country. What funds might have been employed in missionary society, worthy of the this country with tenfold advantage name, would undertake a church- both to humanity and the Christian building crusade into Lancashire or religion. Yorkshire? It is too near home, too There is a certain class of writers, commonplace. But let them discover some of whom ought to know better, some region at the antipodes, inha- who have lately taken up the cudgels bited by copper coloured gentry with upon the pseudo-philanthropic side of feathers upon their heads and curtain the question, and have expended a rings through their noses, and there vast deal of uncalled-for indignation is a worthy field for the labours of the and maudlin sympathy upon the rich pious. In like manner, poor Spain, and poor of this country the former which really might be allowed to set of whom they would make out to be its temporal house a little in order, the most sellish and hard-hearted of created beings, and the latter the tality-details, the data of which, if most amiable and ill-treated. AC- investigated, would be found, in most cording to these writers, it would ap- instances, to be absurd and ridicupear as if no man, with less than seven lously insufficient.

Some travelling children to provide for, and more than bagman, or half-fledged subaltern ten shillings a-week to do it with, on his way to the Mediterranean, could be possessed of any one of the gets ashore at Cadiz ar Gibraltar, Christian virtues. Charity and kind- takes a run through three or four of ness of eart exist, they would have the principal Andalusian cities, perus to believe, in an inverse ratio to haps has a letter of introduction, or income, and the warmest men, in city else meets at a fonda with some parlance, are invariably those of the good-natured Spaniard, who compascoldest feelings. The sickly cant of sionates his “goose look” and evithis style of writing in a country where dent helplessness, invites him to his charity, both public and private, is so house, and introduces him at a terextensive and practical ; and its pro- tulia or two. The gosling picks up bable ill effects in rendering the poorer a few Spanish sentences, hears a few classes discontented, are too evident anecdotes from some lying valet-defor it to be necessary to dwell upon place, who has attached himself to them. It would be far better if the the Senior Ingles, and leaves the counwriters who go to such large expense try after a few weeks', perhaps days', of sympathetic ink, would change the residence, considerably bewildered by direction of their virtuous indignation, all the novelties he has seen, but and try if they have sufficient influ- without the slightest real addition to ence to put an end to this foreign his previous knowledge of Spanish tract and testament mongering, whe- character and customs. Six months ther its scene be in Spain or at a afterwards, the new work on Spain greater distance.

by Ensign Epaulet or Tedious TwadBefore concluding, Captain Wid- dle, Esquire, issues forth, borne on drington alludes to a growing shyness a mighty blast of puffery, from the towards English travellers in some laboratory of some fashionable pubof the large southern towns, owing lisher. to the indiscretions, exaggerations, “ Nothing can be more harmless," and absurdities of certain tour-writers. says Captain Widdrington, “than It is a lamentable fact that, now-a- this mode of making a livelihood, prodays, every booby who gets on board vided their effusions are kept within a steamer, and leaves England for a the bounds of moderation and charity, few weeks or months, thinks himself as well as confined to such views as entitled to perpetrate a book about a rapid transit enables any one unwhat he sees and hears. We would acquainted with the language and the fain wþisper to such persons, that people to make during a few hours' mere locomotion never qualified any sojourn in the place. This rule, howbody to write a book, even of travels; ever, has been broken in upon; and as that some powers of observation, and it unluckily happens that the females a certain correctness of judgment, and are generally a favourite subject for even some previous acquaintance with the tirades of that class of writers, the history and character of the nation their random assertions on subjects they visit, are also necessary; and if they had no means of investigating, after that, they still persisted in their and most assuredly did not speak of designs, we would beg of them to re- from their own knowledge and exmember that light words are apt to perience, have made both the Gaditravel both far and fast; that some tanas and Malaguanas, and their repart of their lucubrations may pos- lations and countrymen, extremely sibly reach the countries they refer to irate." - perhaps through the instrumentality And with good reason, too, say we. of the trunkmakers; and that in any It is not the first time we have heard case they should avoid giving unfa- this sort of thing complained of. The vourable details, even if true, of the practice is one that cannot be too seprivate life and habits of people who verely reprehended, and we shall look have shown them kindness and hospi- out for such offenders in future.

« EdellinenJatka »