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lights at the discretion of her monarchs. But the< heirs of the Spanish crown would have cursed the narrow views of their ancestors had they been sufficiently enlightened to trace up to that measure the rapid decay of their once noble inheritance. The aspiring and bold genius which had directed Spain during her political growth was deprived of its wings in the act of springing up after mental improvement. From that time it pined and sickened. Even the laurels it had gained in the field, the crown of valour which none had ever plucked from its brows, began to fade away. When Spain had become the champion of bigotry and ignorance, heaven, in mercy, palsied her sword-hand: her courage, strained to. the last, and desperately exerted in a bad cause, degenerated into fierceness; and she retired from the contest covered alike with her enemies' blood and with shame. Thus degraded and exhausted, she became the inheritance of Charles II., the last of her Austrian monarchs, a feeble prince, who, having lost ail hope of an heir of his body, allowed the agents of the families which claimed the succession to divide the Spaniards by their intrigues, and debauch the remnants of national honour by corruption and bribery.
. The accession of Philip D'Anjou, it must be confessed, raised Spain- somewhat above the state into which she had sunk under the Austrian kings. The taste and splendour of the court of Lewis XIV-. was not without its influence on Spanish literature. Something was done to dispel the thick mist which had settled upon the minds of the natives; and the Inquisition itself, though preserved in the fulness of its appalling powers, as a reward for services done during the War of Succession, was alarmed to find that the king declined an invitation to an Auto da Ft, which had been prepared at'Madrid to welcome his arrival. - '" U'i/j
''it'was on the accession of the House of Bourbon to the throne of Spain that the elements of such opinions and views as characterize the liberals of the present day were first introduced into that country. Few, if any, traces either of the classical learning or of the Italian taste which existed among the Spaniards in the reigns of Charles V. and Philip II. could be found among the degraded subjects of the last Austrian monarch. Even the beautiful language which had luxuriated in the national drama under Philip IV. was now defaced by the absurd and perverted taste of the few who employed it in writing, and the many who gained the applause of an ignorant public by the ludicrous extravagance of their sermons.
Under the patronage of a truly enlightened sovereign, Spain, awakening from her torpor, might have created a literature of her own, and stamped it with the character of her vigorous genius. But Philip was a bigot of the French school; he loved literature
:: R 4 a» as an ornaraeirt which became a court, and wished, if possible, to make Madrid a miniature of Paris. The few men of talent who still preserved a taste for real knowledge, and deplored the obstacles which stood in the way of national improvement, were embodied in two academies, one for the cultivation of the Spanish language; the other for the advancement of national history- Facilities were offered for a literary intercourse between the" eminent men of letters in France, and these eager votaries of learning. But still that national enemy of mental improvement, the Inquisition, was supported by the king, who mindful, to the last, of the advice which Lewis XIV. had given him, resisted the repeated endeavours of his ministers to suppress, or reform it. The Inquisition, infact, raged with uncommon fury during the forty-six years ihat Philip held the crown. The descendants o( the baptized Jews were found to have been secretly attached to the religion of their fathers, which, by the gradual spread of the families, had multiplied to a surprising degree the secret followers of Moses. The number of general Autos da Ft during the reign of Philip V. amounted to seven hundred and eighty-two. The reports of fifty-four of these Autos, consulted by Llorente, give the following number of sufferers. Seventy-nine persons committed to the flames; sixty-three, burnt in effigy; eight hundred and twenty-nine punished by tine, imprisonment and infamy. The same historian makes the average of persons burnt alive, every year, during that period, about twenty-four. This horrid persecution fell almost exclusively upo» Jews and enthusiasts. The race of protestants was utterly extinct. While the blood-hounds of Rome were in pursuit of this smaller game, the sceptical notions which had sprung up together wiii the philosophical taste of the court of Lewis XV. penetrated intoi Spain with French literature, and became as inseparable from the knowledge acquired out of the Spanish universities, as it was from that which was called philosophy at Paris. This event was inevitable. The almost lifeless trunk of Spanish literature had been engrafted with a shoot from beyond the Pyrenees, which was now fast draining whatever sap remained in the withered roots. The works which appeared in the reign of Ferdinand VI. were written in a style that could not conceal their source. It was quite different from the Italianized prose of the sixteenth century, and partook greatly of the abrupt and pointed phraseology of the neighbouring nation. The establishment of the Spanish academy could only preserve the words of the language in a dictionary; but could not prevent an absolute change in the style. The works of Feyjoo, the man who had the greatest influence in the amelioration, as far as it went, of the popular mind, might be translated almost word for word into pure French, the language through which he had heterodoxy was suddenly converted into the standard gold of the purest Roman Catholic faith. Such unreal, vanishing enemies were not made to strengthen the orthodoxy of the Spaniards, by affording exhibitions at the stake. Their cautiousness and circumspection was extreme; andj though' a taste for studies which were neglected at the universities, a certain generalizing and analytical tone of reasoning was soon construed by the inquisitors and their friends into a strong indication of vhilmonhhm, we know but one instance, in which the new sect presented an opportunity to inflict punishment by the mark of infamy; and none where the life of the accused wasin danger.*'' '•'• f i'«,-iiniii J>ij '.■ -•.«■ •.■■ ,»
The accession of Charles IV. seemed most favourable to the propagation of the French taste and principles. His unconquerable aversion to the cares of government, his passionate fondness for the chase, which employed his whole existence, and the unprincipled dissipation of his wife, into whose hands the whole power of the crown had devolved, promised but little encouragement to the bigots. But they were still too strong in the prejudices and inherited feelings of the nation. The libera I ministers of Charles III. had continued in place under his son; and Floridablanca, now raised to the rank of premier, was not unwilling to support some cautious attempts at a change in the public opinion, which, without shaking the foundations, should diminish the exorbitant influence of the church. The first periodical work in Spanish had been published in the reign of Philip V.; it seems, with little success. It was entitled Diario deios IMerntos; and confined, accordingly, to literary subjects. One of a more popular nature, El Censor, was now established with a view to attack popular prejudices with the weapons of
* Don Pablo de Olavide, a knight of the Order of Saint James, one of the most enlightened Spaniards of our days, was made civil governor of Andalusia in 1767. During his administration, he conceived and executed the plan of establishing colonies of Germans in the portion of Sierra Morena which separates Andalusia from La Mancha, on the road to Madrid. By his activity the bands of robbers which infested the mountains were destroyed, several towns built, and the colonists settled under the most liberal arrangements of temporal exemption from taxes, grants of land, and a gratuitous supply of agricultural stock. Olavide was imprudent enough to have some theological disputes with a German friar, who had the spiritual charge of the colonies, and to disclose his opinions to a favourite niece, who betrayed him on her death bed. The evidence against him was too clear to be evaded by the usual professions of Catholic faith. In 1778, after two years imprisonment, he was exhibited in a private auto da fe wearing the coat of infamy. The principal inhabitants of the town were invited, to see their former governor in that degraded condition. The power and inveteracy of the prejudices, which associate every thing base and odious with the idea of heresy, were strongly exhibited in Olavide. The unprejudiced philosopher had endured the whole act of degradation with perfect composure. But, when the abstract of the trial and sentence was read and the secretary came to the charge of heresy, of which the judges had declared him strongly suspected, he exclaimed in a loud voice,,'God forbid !' and burst into a flood of tears.
raillery raiUery,,and wit. The odds ofi such a» attach were fearful* The assailants were soon obliged to desist; not, however, without a long confinement in the Inquisition. In spite of this obstinate resistance, the bats and owls of the;Spanish ichuTch saw with alarm some feeble rays of light whidr, through the crevices of that massive, but old structure, began to make its darkness visible. The universities had undergone a reform, which, without substituting a good and efficient system of instruction, had, nevertheless-, abolished that scholastic, course of education, which, by utterly perverting the intellect, made it iucupable of all future improvement. Indeed, the bias of the minister's mind had been stronger than his fears,; and professorships' for;explaining the work of Heineccius, tit Jure Naiurult et.Gentium, curtailed of a few passages in a Spanish edition, were established at all the seats of learning.- ■ Young men of natural abilities, either from accidental hints, or by reading French books handed about, among sets of trus,ty friends, who,.for the love of knowledge, submitted to the dail$,fears of a call from the Inquisition, became their own instruptprs^juidilooked with contempt on the dull teachers appointed byi authority,,,, -|.,i,'n- •.■>■:!.» <n l.'.iifiMnm Li.* .ill . • :•,. i
j^f these me ,ns, and almost with the connivance of the government, were the elements of.a party brought into existence, which, thpijgh,averse, from principle, to many parts of the civil, and the whpleof the ecclesiastical system of the countfjtj.yet.appeaned, in the. original thinness of its ranks, and the cautious timidity of its movements, a manageable and useful auxiliary of the crown agajpsf .the church. But events were, at hand which showed.to the Spanish government what sort of spirit they had raised, and wlpat^ apjuousi work it would be to lay it. .: The French revo<lution broke out; the declaration.of the rights of man re-echoed through the Peninsula, and numbers were instantaneously initiated in the deepest mysteries of revolutionary philosophy; . The Spanish liberals had hitherto been exceedingly moderate in their views • and wishes. - Though sceptics upon religious subjects, they would have been contented with the just liberty of thinking for themselves, and being allowed the free use of their books. Far from being the enemies, they had been, till that period, the staunch supporters of the throne. The Spanish liberals of the original school had all the characteristics of an aristocracy—an intellectual peerage, who, by the assertion of their own mental rights, seemed likely to diffuse the benefits of a gradual, but general,' emancipation. But when a philosophical mob began to gather about them; when the republican catechisms of France had found their way to the hands of those whose only chance of figuring in the world was a complete overturn of the.social system;