Page images

280. General View. The feudal evils exist in Spain in all their magnitude. All the lands are possessed by the princes, nobility and clergy, who live in palaces of marble, while the poor laborer, whoso toils serve only to pamper his master's luxury and vices, is glad to shelter himself from the tempest in a mud cottage, scarcely equal to the stables occupied by horses in the United States. Hence the peasant, not having the proper motives to labor, seeks only food and clothing enough to preserve life in poverty and wretchedness. Hence Spain is covered with villages of mud cottages, interspersed with a rich church or palace here and there scattered thinly over the country. The cities are enriched by the rents of lands which are drawn thither to be expended by the wealthy ; but so poor are the people in the country, that no tolerable accommodations can be found for travellers. For this reason, men who travel in Spain usually carry with them their bedding and necessary refreshments.

281. Islands of Spain. Majorea. In the Mediteranean, about 150 miles east of Spain, lie three islands, Majorca, Minorca and Iviza, anciently called Balearcs, which is said to signify the country of slingers. Majorca, the largest, is 55 miles in length by 45 in bredth. The north western part is hilly, but in general the land is rich and well cultivated, producing corn, oil, wine, and fruits in abundance. It abounds in cattle and sheep, but is remarkable for the number of rabbits which it produces, and its honey is much esteemed. Majorca, the capital, contains 10,000 inhabitants.

282. Minorca. To the north east of Majorca lies Minorca, which is 30 miles in length, by 12 in medial bredth. This is less fertile than Majorca, but produces some wheat, barley and vines, though not corn sufficient for the inhabitants. Port Mahon, founded by Mago the Carthaginian General, has an excellent harbor, is a strong fortress, and the capital of the island. The inhabitants of the island are computed at 27,000. This island was taken by the English in 1708, and retained by them for half a century ; but was restored to them in 1763 ; then

taken by the Spaniards in 1782 ; taken again by the English in 1798, but restored to Spain in 1801.

283. Iviza. Iviza, or Ibiza, improperly written Yvica, is the smallest of the Balearic isles. It lies south west of Majorca, and is about 15 miles in length by 12 inbredth, It is hilly, but produces great quantities of corn, wine and fruits, and an abundance of salt is made there, as well as in the larger islands. The Balearic islands were originally possessed by the Carthaginians ; but about the year 122 before the Christian era, they were subdued by the Romans. They afterwards were possessed by the Goths ; then by the Moors; from whom they were taken by the king of Arragon, in the year 1229. Since which, they have belonged to Spain, except Minorca, which was in possession of the English about 50 years.

284. Canaries. Between the 27th and 30th degrees of north latitude, and between 12 and 21 of west longitude, lie the Canaries, a cluster anciently called the Fortunate Islands. They are 12 in number, and all belong to Spain except Madeira, which is seldom included among the Canaries. These islands produce wine and fruits in abundance, as also wheat, barley and the sugar cane. The two chief islands are Canary and Teneriff; Canary is about 100 miles in circumference, and its chief town contains 12,000 inhabitants. Teneriff is of a triangular form, about 45 miles in length by 20 in bredth. The chief town, Santa Cruze, contains 7000 inhabitants, and the whole island, 95,000. In the center is a noted volcanic mountain called the Peak, which rises about 11,500 feet above the sea.

PORTUGAL. 285. Name and History. This country was called by the Romans, Lusitania, and was a province of Spain. Its original inhabitants were of the same race, and the country suffered the same revolutions, till, in the 11th centutury, it was bestowed upon Henry of Burgundy by the King of Leon and Castile. After severe contests with the Spanish kings, and the expulsion of the Moors, Don Alonso, count of Portugal, in 1139, assumed the title of King, which was confirmed to him by the Pope. In the year 1577, Sebastian, king of Portugal, having lost his life, and most of his troops, in an expedition against the Moors, Philip II. of Spain, invaded and took possession of Portugal; and his successors held it till 1640, when the Portuguese, headed by the Duke of Braganza, threw off the yoke of Spain; since which the kingdom has been independent. Its name is said to be a compound of Port and Calle, the harbor of Calle, a town near the mouth of the Douro. · 286. Situation and extent. Portugal, which is a narrow tract of the peninsula, and the most western kingdom of Europe, extends from 37 to 42 degrees of north latitude, in the eighth, ninth and tenth degrees of west longitude from London. Its length is 150 miles, and its bredth 120. Its boundaries are the Atlantic on the west and south; the river Minho on the north, and Spain on the cast. Portugal is estimated to contain 27,000 square miles, and nearly two millions of inhabitants.

287. Mountains and Rivers. The chief mountains are those in the south, which separate the province of Algarva from Alentejo, and the Tralos or Estrella, a chain which runs from the center of Spain, and penetrates Portugal, north of the Tajo. The country is considered as mountainous or rather rocky, but many parts of it are fertile. Portugal is penetrated by the great rivers of Spain, the Douro and Tajo. It has for a boundary on the north the Minho, and the Guadiana on the south east. It has also three smaller streams, the Mondego, the Soro, and the Cadaon, the latter of which forms the harbor of Situval.

288. Climate and productions. The climate of Portugal is very temperate and salubrious. The soil is light and inferior to that of Spain; the kingdom not producing corn sufficient for its own consumption. But this deficiency is attributable to the indolence of the people, rather than to the barrenness of the soil. The country produces considerable quantities of wine, and the same fruits as Spain. It also furnishes great quantities of salt for exportation.

289. Minerals. In the northern provinces, are vast cavities, which were mines wrought by the Romans.

One of them cut through solid rock, is a mile and a half in circumference, and 500 feet deep. But gold and silver are no longer sought in Portugal, since the discovery of the richer mines of America. Portugal however furnishes lead, copper, iron, coal, marble, talck, amianthus, felspar, antimony, bismuth, arsenic, quicksilver, rubies, jacinths and beryl. But fuel is scarce, and mineralogy is neglected. Portugal also contains mineral waters of considerable celebrity.

290. Religion. The religion of Portugal is the Roman Catholic, which is observed with great strictness. There are several courts of inquisition to enforce conformity to the established religion ; and even the Jews, who are numerous, conform to its external rites. The clergy consist of i patriarch, three archbishops, and fif. teen bishops. The whole number of ecclesiastical persons is about 200,000, of which 30,000 are monks and nuns. There are also in Portugal three spiritual orders of knighthood. In ecclesiastical concerns, the canon law is the rule of proceeding, and the Pope maintains great authority in Portugal.

-291. Government. The government of Portugal is a monarchy, absolute and hereditary. The states or representatives of the orders formerly had a share in the government; but they were discontinued near the close of the 17th century, and their place supplied by a council of state appointed by the king. There is also a council of war, the Aulic Council, or supreme court of justice, a council of finance, and a royal board of censure. The laws consist of the fundamental statutes of Alphonso I. and the royal edicts. The courts, whose judges are appointed by the king, are slow in their proceedings, and the lawyers numerous. When the laws are defective, the courts resort to the Roman laws.

292. Revenue, Army and Navy. The revenue of Portugal is about eight millions of dollars ; arising from duties on goods, a tax on the rent of lands, and the mines of Brasil, of which one fifth of the produce belongs to the king. The army consists of 25,000 men ; the navy of 13 ships of the line, and about 15 frigates, Five ships of the line are stationed at Brasil, for the des fense of that country. Portugal being a small kingdom, has little influence in the affairs of Europe. Commerce has a long time kept that power in alliance with Eng. land ; but during the late convulsions in Europe, it is said Portugal has been obliged to pay tribute to France for the enjoyment of peace.

293. Chief Towns. Lisbon, Lisbon, whose name is said to have been formerly Ulyssippo, from an opinion that it was founded by Ulysses, is situated on the north side of the Tajo, near its mouth, with a spacious har. bor in front, and a ridge of hills in the rear, on which it rises in the form of a crescent, which gives it a splendid appearance. It consists of two jurisdictions, the western under the patriarch, and the eastern under the archbishop. It is surrounded with a wall which has 77 towers and 36 gates, and contains from 200,000 to 250,000 inhabitants, with 40 parish churches and 50 convents. On the first of November, 1755, this city was laid in ruins by an earthquake, with the loss of 50,000 inhabitants. But it has been rebuilt, with wide and regular streets, and more elegant houses.

294. Oporto. The next town in consideration is Oporto, situated on the north bank of the Douro, five miles from the sea, upon the declivity of a hill. It is the chief town in the province, between the Minho and Douro, and contains nearly 40,000 inhabitants, with 12 convents, and several churches and hospitals, but none of them distinguished by their architecture. It is the see of a bishop; and has an active commerce, especially in wines and fruits. From this town, we have the red wine, called Port, of which 20,000 hogsheads are annually shipped for foreign markets.

295. Universities and Learning. The institutions for education are the university of Coimbra and Evora ; a college at Massa; and one at Lisbon, for the education of young noblemen. In general, education is neglect?, and Portugal can boast of few literary names of dis

(0,7). Among these, Camoens, the author of the ., holds an eminent rank. The Portuguese lanis a dialect of the Spanish, and mostly compo

tin words, altered in orthography and inflec

« PreviousContinue »