The History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella The Catholic, V3
by William H. Prescott
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A pragmatic was passed, in 1491, at the petition of the inhabitants of the northern provinces, requiring English and other foreign traders to take their returns in the fruits or merchandise of the country, and not in gold or silver. This law seems to have been designed less to benefit the manufacturer, than to preserve the precious metals in the country. [66] It was the same in purport with other laws prohibiting the exportation of these metals, whether in coin or bullion. They were not new in Spain, nor indeed peculiar to her. [67] They proceeded on the principle that gold and silver, independently of their value as a commercial medium, constituted, in a peculiar sense, the wealth of a country. This error, common, as I have said, to other European nations, was eminently fatal to Spain, since the produce of its native mines before the discovery of America, [68] and of those in that quarter afterwards, formed its great staple. As such, these metals should have enjoyed every facility for transportation to other countries, where their higher value would afford a corresponding profit to the exporter.

The sumptuary laws of Ferdinand and Isabella are open, for the most part, to the same objections with those just noticed. Such laws, prompted in a great degree, no doubt, by the declamations of the clergy against the pomp and vanities of the world, were familiar, in early times, to most European states. There was ample scope for them in Spain, where the example of their Moslem neighbors had done much to infect all classes with a fondness for sumptuous apparel, and a showy magnificence of living. Ferdinand and Isabella fell nothing short of the most zealous of their predecessors, in their efforts to restrain this improvident luxury. They did, however, what few princes on the like occasions have done—enforced the precept by their own example. Some idea of their habitual economy, or rather frugality, may be formed from a remonstrance presented by the commons to Charles the Fifth, soon after his accession, which represents his daily household expenses as amounting to one hundred and fifty thousand maravedies; while those of the Catholic sovereigns were rarely fifteen thousand, or one- tenth of that sum. [69]

They passed several salutary laws for restraining the ambitious expenditure at weddings and funerals, as usual, most affected by those who could least afford it. [70] In 1494, they issued a pragmatic, prohibiting the importation or manufacture of brocades, or of gold or silver embroidery, and also plating with these metals. The avowed object was to check the growth of luxury and the waste of the precious metals. [71]

These provisions had the usual fate of laws of this kind. They gave an artificial and still higher value to the prohibited article. Some evaded them. Others indemnified themselves for the privation, by some other, and scarcely less expensive variety of luxury. Such, for example, were the costly silks, which came into more general use after the conquest of Granada. But here the government, on remonstrance of the cortes, again interposed its prohibition, restricting the privilege of wearing them to certain specified classes. [72] Nothing, obviously, could be more impolitic than these various provisions directed against manufactures, which, under proper encouragement, or indeed without any, from the peculiar advantages afforded by the country, might have formed an important branch of industry, whether for the supply of foreign markets, or for home consumption.

Notwithstanding these ordinances, we find one, in 1500, at the petition of the silk-growers in Granada, against the introduction of silk thread from the kingdom of Naples; [73] thus encouraging the production of the raw material, while they interdicted the uses to which it could be applied. Such are the inconsistencies into which a government is betrayed by an over-zealous and impertinent spirit of legislation!

The chief exports of the country in this reign were the fruits and natural products of the soil, the minerals, of which a great variety was deposited in its bosom, and the simpler manufactures, as sugar, dressed skins, oil, wine, steel, etc. [74] The breed of Spanish horses, celebrated in ancient times, had been greatly improved by the cross with the Arabian. It had, however, of late years fallen into neglect; until the government, by a number of judicious laws, succeeded in restoring it to such repute, that this noble animal became an extensive article of foreign trade. [75] But the chief staple of the country was wool; which, since the introduction of English sheep at the close of the fourteenth century, had reached a degree of fineness and beauty that enabled it, under the present reign, to compete with any other in Europe. [76]

To what extent the finer manufactures were carried, or made an article of export, is uncertain. The vagueness of. statistical information in these early times has given rise to much crude speculation and to extravagant estimates of their resources, which have been met by a corresponding skepticism in later and more scrutinizing critics. Capmany, the most acute of these, has advanced the opinion, that these coarser cloths only were manufactured in Castile, and those exclusively for home consumption. [77] The royal ordinances, however, imply, in the character and minuteness of their regulations, a very considerable proficiency in many of the mechanic arts. [78] Similar testimony is borne by intelligent foreigners, visiting or residing in the country at the beginning of the sixteenth century; who notice the fine cloths and manufacture of arms in Segovia, [79] the silks and velvets of Granada and Valencia, [80] the woollen and silk fabrics of Toledo, which gave employment to ten thousand artisans, [81] and curiously wrought plate of Valladolid, [82] and the fine cutlery and glass manufactures of Barcelona, rivalling those of Venice. [83]

The recurrence of seasons of scarcity, and the fluctuation of prices, might suggest a reasonable distrust of the excellence of the husbandry under this reign. [84] The turbulent condition of the country may account for this pretty fairly during the early part of it. Indeed, a neglect of agriculture, to the extent implied by these circumstances, is wholly irreconcilable with the general tenor of Ferdinand and Isabella's legislation, which evidently relies on this as the main spring of national prosperity. It is equally repugnant, moreover, to the reports of foreigners, who could best compare the state of the country with that of others at the same period. They extol the fruitfulness of a soil, which yielded the products of the most opposite climes; the hills clothed with vineyards and plantations of fruit trees, much more abundant, it would seem, in the northern regions, than at the present day; the valleys and delicious vegas, glowing with the ripe exuberance of southern vegetation; extensive districts, now smitten with the curse of barrenness, where the traveller scarce discerns the vestige of a road or of a human habitation, but which then teemed with all that was requisite to the sustenance of the populous cities in their neighborhood. [85]

The inhabitant of modern Spain or Italy, who wanders amid the ruins of their stately cities, their grass-grown streets, their palaces and temples crumbling into dust, their massive bridges choking up the streams they once proudly traversed, the very streams themselves, which bore navies on their bosoms, shrunk into too shallow a channel for the meanest craft to navigate,—the modern Spaniard who surveys these vestiges of a giant race, the tokens of his nation's present degeneracy, must turn for relief to the prouder and earlier period of her history, when only such great works could have been achieved; and it is no wonder that he should be led, in his enthusiasm, to invest it with a romantic and exaggerated coloring. [86] Such a period in Spain cannot be looked for in the last, still less in the seventeenth century, for the nation had then reached the lowest ebb of its fortunes; [87] nor in the close of the sixteenth, for the desponding language of cortes shows that the work of decay and depopulation had then already begun. [88] It can only be found in the first half of that century, in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, and that of their successor, Charles the Fifth; in which last, the state, under the strong impulse it had received, was carried onward in the career of prosperity, in spite of the ignorance and mismanagement of those who guided it.

There is no country which has been guilty of such wild experiments, or has showed, on the whole, such profound ignorance of the true principles of economical science, as Spain under the sceptre of the family of Austria. And, as it is not always easy to discriminate between their acts and those of Ferdinand and Isabella, under whom the germs of much of the subsequent legislation may be said to have been planted, this circumstance has brought undeserved discredit on the government of the latter. Undeserved, because laws, mischievous in their eventual operation, were not always so at the time for which they were originally devised; not to add, that what was intrinsically bad, has been aggravated ten fold under the blind legislation of their successors. [89] It is also true, that many of the most exceptionable laws sanctioned by their names, are to be charged on their predecessors, who had ingrafted their principles into the system long before; [90] and many others are to be vindicated by the general practice of other nations, which authorized retaliation on the score of self-defence. [91]

Nothing is easier than to parade abstract theorems,—true in the abstract,—in political economy; nothing harder than to reduce them to practice. That an individual will understand his own interests better than the government can, or, what is the same thing, that trade, if let alone, will find its way into the channels on the whole most advantageous to the community, few will deny. But what is true of all together is not true of any one singly; and no one nation can safely act on these principles, if others do not. In point of fact, no nation has acted on them since the formation of the present political communities of Europe.

All that a new state, or a new government in an old one, can now propose to itself is, not to sacrifice its interests to a speculative abstraction, but to accommodate its institutions to the great political system, of which it is a member. On these principles, and on the higher obligation of providing the means of national independence in its most extended sense, much that was bad in the economical policy of Spain, at the period under review, may be vindicated.

It would be unfair to direct our view to the restrictive measures of Ferdinand and Isabella, without noticing also the liberal tenor of their legislation in regard to a great variety of objects. Such, for example, are the laws encouraging foreigners to settle in the country; [92] those for facilitating communication by internal improvements, roads, bridges, canals, on a scale of unprecedented magnitude; [93] for a similar attention to the wants of navigation, by constructing moles, quays, lighthouses along the coast, and deepening and extending the harbors, "to accommodate," as the acts set forth, "the great increase of trade;" for embellishing and adding in various ways to the accommodations of the cities; [94] for relieving the subject from onerous tolls and oppressive monopolies; [95] for establishing a uniform currency and standard of weights and measures throughout the kingdom, [96] objects of unwearied solicitude through this whole reign; for maintaining a police, which, from the most disorderly and dangerous, raised Spain, in the language of Martyr, to be the safest country in Christendom [97] for such equal justice, as secured to every man the fruits of his own industry, inducing him to embark his capital in useful enterprises; and, finally, for enforcing fidelity to contracts, [98] of which the sovereigns gave such a glorious example in their own administration, as effectually restored that public credit, which is the true basis of public prosperity.

While these important reforms were going on in the interior of the monarchy, it experienced a greater change in its external condition by the immense augmentation of its territory. The most important of its foreign acquisitions were those nearest home, Granada and Navarre; at least, they were the ones most capable, from their position, of being brought under control, and thoroughly and permanently identified with the Spanish monarchy. Granada, as we have seen, was placed under the sceptre of Castile, governed by the same laws, and represented in its cortes, being, in the strictest sense, part and parcel of the kingdom. Navarre was also united to the same crown. But its constitution, which bore considerable analogy to that of Aragon, remained substantially the same as before. The government, indeed, was administered by a viceroy; but Ferdinand made as few changes as possible, permitting it to retain its own legislature, its ancient courts of law, and its laws themselves. So the forms, if not the spirit of independence, continued to survive its union with the victorious state. [99]

The other possessions of Spain were scattered over the various quarters of Europe, Africa, and America. Naples was the conquest of Aragon; or, at least, made on behalf of that crown. The queen appears to have taken no part in the conduct of that war, whether distrusting its equity, or its expediency, in the belief that a distant possession in the heart of Europe would probably cost more to maintain than it was worth. In fact, Spain is the only nation, in modern times, which has been able to keep its hold on such possessions for any very considerable period; a circumstance implying more wisdom in her policy than is commonly conceded to her. The fate of the acquisitions alluded to forms no exception to the remark; and Naples, like Sicily, continued permanently ingrafted on the kingdom of Aragon.

A fundamental change in the institutions of Naples became requisite to accommodate them to its new relations. Its great offices of state and its legal tribunals were reorganized. Its jurisprudence, which, under the Angevin race, and even the first Aragonese, had been adapted to French usages, was now modelled on the Spanish. The various innovations were conducted by the Catholic king with his usual prudence; and the reform in the legislation is commended by a learned and impartial Italian civilian, as breathing a spirit of moderation and wisdom. [100] He conceded many privileges to the people, and to the capital especially, whose venerable university he resuscitated from the decayed state into which it had fallen, making liberal appropriations from the treasury for its endowment. The support of a mercenary army, and the burdens incident to the war, pressed heavily on the people during the first years of his reign. But the Neapolitans, who, as already noticed, had been transferred too often from one victor to another to be keenly sensible to the loss of political independence, were gradually reconciled to his administration, and testified their sense of its beneficent character by celebrating the anniversary of his death, for more than two centuries, with public solemnities, as a day of mourning throughout the kingdom. [101]

But far the most important of the distant acquisitions of Spain were those secured to her by the genius of Columbus and the enlightened patronage of Isabella. Imagination had ample range in the boundless perspective of these unknown regions; but the results actually realized from the discoveries, during the queen's life, were comparatively insignificant. In a mere financial view, they had been a considerable charge on the crown. This was, indeed, partly owing to the humanity of Isabella, who interfered, as we have seen, to prevent the compulsory exaction of Indian labor. This was subsequently, and immediately after her death indeed, carried to such an extent, that nearly half a million of ounces of gold were yearly drawn from the mines of Hispaniola alone. [102] The pearl fisheries, [103] and the culture of the sugar-cane, introduced from the Canaries, [104] yielded large returns under the same inhuman system.

Ferdinand, who enjoyed, by the queen's testament, half the amount of the Indian revenues, was now fully awakened to their importance. It would be unjust, however, to suppose his views limited to immediate pecuniary profits; for the measures he pursued were, in many respects, well contrived to promote the nobler ends of discovery and colonization. He invited the persons most eminent for nautical science and enterprise, as Pinzon, Solis, Vespucci, to his court, where they constituted a sort of board of navigation, constructing charts, and tracing out new routes for projected voyages. [105] The conduct of this department was intrusted to the last-mentioned navigator, who had the glory, the greatest which accident and caprice ever granted to man, of giving his name to the new hemisphere.

Fleets were now fitted out on a more extended scale, which might vie, indeed, with the splendid equipments of the Portuguese, whose brilliant successes in the east excited the envy of their Castilian rivals. The king occasionally took a share in the voyage, independently of the interest which of right belonged to the crown. [106.]

The government, however, realized less from these expensive enterprises than individuals, many of whom, enriched by their official stations, or by accidentally falling in with some hoard of treasure among the savages, returned home to excite the envy and cupidity of their countrymen. [107] But the spirit of adventure was too high among the Castilians to require such incentive, especially when excluded from its usual field in Africa and Europe. A striking proof of the facility, with which the romantic cavaliers of that day could be directed to this new career of danger on the ocean, was given at the time of the last-meditated expedition into Italy under the Great Captain. A squadron of fifteen vessels, bound for the New World, was then riding in the Guadalquivir. Its complement was limited to one thousand two hundred men; but, on Ferdinand's countermanding Gonsalvo's enterprise, more than three thousand volunteers, many of them of noble family, equipped with unusual magnificence for the Italian service, hastened to Seville, and pressed to be admitted into the Indian armada. [108] Seville itself was in a manner depopulated by the general fever of emigration, so that it actually seemed, says a contemporary, to be tenanted only by women. [109]

In this universal excitement, the progress of discovery was pushed forward with a success, inferior, indeed, to what might have been effected in the present state of nautical skill and science, but extraordinary for the times. The winding depths of the Gulf of Mexico were penetrated, as well as the borders of the rich but rugged isthmus, which connects the American continents. In 1512, Florida was discovered by a romantic old knight, Ponce de Leon, who, instead of the magical fountain of health, found his grave there. [110] Solis, another navigator, who had charge of an expedition, projected by Ferdinand, [111] to reach the South Sea by the circumnavigation of the continent, ran down the coast as far as the great Rio de la Plata, where he also was cut off by the savages. In 1513, Vasco Nunez de Balboa penetrated, with a handful of men, across the narrow part of the Isthmus of Darien, and from the summit of the Cordilleras, the first of Europeans, was greeted with the long-promised vision of the southern ocean. [112] The intelligence of this event excited a sensation in Spain, inferior only to that caused by the discovery of America. The great object which had so long occupied the imagination of the nautical men of Europe, and formed the purpose of Columbus's last voyage, the discovery of a communication with these far western waters, was accomplished. The famous spice islands, from which the Portuguese had drawn such countless sums of wealth, were scattered over this sea; and the Castilians, after a journey of a few leagues, might launch their barks on its quiet bosom, and reach, and perhaps claim, the coveted possessions of their rivals, as falling west of the papal line of demarkation. Such were the dreams, and such the actual progress of discovery, at the close of Ferdinand's reign.

Our admiration of the dauntless heroism displayed by the early Spanish navigators, in their extraordinary career, is much qualified by a consideration of the cruelties with which it was tarnished; too great to be either palliated or passed over in silence by the historian. As long as Isabella lived, the Indians found an efficient friend and protector; but "her death," says the venerable Las Casas, "was the signal for their destruction." [113] Immediately on that event, the system of repartimientos, originally authorized, as we have seen, by Columbus, who seems to have had no doubt, from the first, of the crown's absolute right of property over the natives, [114] was carried to its full extent in the colonies. [115] Every Spaniard, however humble, had his proportion of slaves; and men, many of them not only incapable of estimating the awful responsibility of the situation, but without the least touch of humanity in their natures, were individually intrusted with the unlimited disposal of the lives and destinies of their fellow-creatures. They abused this trust in the grossest manner; tasking the unfortunate Indian far beyond his strength, inflicting the most refined punishments on the indolent, and hunting down those who resisted or escaped, like so many beasts of chase, with ferocious bloodhounds. Every step of the white man's progress in the New World, may be said to have been on the corpse of a native. Faith is staggered by the recital of the number of victims immolated in these fair regions within a very few years after the discovery; and the heart sickens at the loathsome details of barbarities, recorded by one, who, if his sympathies have led him sometimes to over-color, can never be suspected of wilfully misstating facts, of which he was an eye-witness. [116] A selfish indifference to the rights of the original occupants of the soil, is a sin which lies at the door of most of the primitive European settlers, whether papist or puritan, of the New World. But it is light, in comparison with the fearful amount of crimes to be charged on the early Spanish colonists; crimes that have, perhaps, in this world, brought down the retribution of Heaven, which has seen fit to turn this fountain of inexhaustible wealth and prosperity to the nation into the waters of bitterness.

It may seem strange, that no relief was afforded by the government to these oppressed subjects. But Ferdinand, if we may credit Las Casas, was never permitted to know the extent of the injuries done to them. [117] He was surrounded by men in the management of the Indian department, whose interest it was to keep him in ignorance. [118] The remonstrances of some zealous missionaries led him, [119] in 1501, to refer the subject of the repartimientos to a council of jurists and theologians. This body yielded to the representations of the advocates of the system, that it was indispensable for maintaining the colonies, since the European was altogether unequal to labor in this tropical climate; and that it, moreover, afforded the only chance for the conversion of the Indian, who, unless compelled, could never be brought in contact with the white man. [120]

On these grounds, Ferdinand openly assumed for himself and his ministers the responsibility of maintaining this vicious institution; and subsequently issued an ordinance to that effect, accompanied, however, by a variety of humane and equitable regulations for restraining its abuse. [121] The license was embraced in its full extent; the regulations were openly disregarded. [122] Several years after, in 1515, Las Casas, moved by the spectacle of human suffering, returned to Spain, and pleaded the cause of the injured native, in tones which made the dying monarch tremble on his throne. It was too late, however, for the king to execute the remedial measures he contemplated. [123] The efficient interference of Ximenes, who sent a commission for the purpose to Hispaniola, was attended with no permanent results. And the indefatigable "protector of the Indians" was left to sue for redress at the court of Charles, and to furnish a splendid, if not a solitary example there, of a bosom penetrated with the true spirit of Christian philanthropy. [124]

I have elsewhere examined the policy pursued by the Catholic sovereigns in the government of their colonies. The supply of precious metals yielded by them eventually proved far greater than had ever entered into the conception of the most sanguine of the early discoverers. Their prolific soil and genial climate, moreover, afforded an infinite variety of vegetable products, which might have furnished an unlimited commerce with the mother country. Under a judicious protection, their population and productions, steadily increasing, would have enlarged to an incalculable extent the general resources of the empire. Such, indeed, might have been the result of a wise system of legislation.

But the true principles of colonial policy were sadly misunderstood in the sixteenth century. The discovery of a world was estimated, like that of a rich mine, by the value of its returns in gold and silver. Much of Isabella's legislation, it is true, is of that comprehensive character, which shows that she looked to higher and far nobler objects. But with much that is good, there was mingled, as in most of her institutions, one germ of evil, of little moment at the time, indeed, but which, under the vicious culture of her successors, shot up to a height that overshadowed and blighted all the rest. This was the spirit of restriction and monopoly, aggravated by the subsequent laws of Ferdinand, and carried to an extent under the Austrian dynasty, that paralyzed colonial trade.

Under their most ingeniously perverse system of laws, the interests of both the parent country and the colonies were sacrificed. The latter, condemned to look for supplies to an incompetent source, were miserably dwarfed in their growth; while the former contrived to convert the nutriment which she extorted from the colonies into a fatal poison. The streams of wealth which flowed in from the silver quarries of Zacatecas and Potosi, were jealously locked up within the limits of the Peninsula. The great problem, proposed by the Spanish legislation of the sixteenth century, was the reduction of prices in the kingdom to the same level as in other European nations. Every law that was passed, however, tended, by its restrictive character, to augment the evil. The golden tide, which, permitted a free vent, would have fertilized the region through which it poured, now buried the land under a deluge which blighted every green and living thing. Agriculture, commerce, manufactures, every branch of national industry and improvement, languished and fell to decay; and the nation, like the Phrygian monarch, who turned all that he touched to gold, cursed by the very consummation of its wishes, was poor in the midst of its treasures.

From this sad picture, let us turn to that presented by the period of our History, when, the clouds and darkness having passed away, a new morn seemed to break upon the nation. Under the firm but temperate sway of Ferdinand and Isabella, the great changes we have noticed were effected without convulsion in the state. On the contrary, the elements of the social system, which before jarred so discordantly, were brought into harmonious action. The restless spirit of the nobles was turned from civil faction to the honorable career of public service, whether in arms or letters. The people at large, assured of the security of private rights, were occupied with the different branches of productive labor. Trade, as is abundantly shown by the legislation of the period, had not yet fallen into the discredit which attached to it in later times. [125] The precious metals, instead of flowing in so abundantly as to palsy the arm of industry, served only to stimulate it. [126]

The foreign intercourse of the country was every day more widely extended. Her agents and consuls were to be found in all the principal ports of the Mediterranean and the Baltic. [127] The Spanish mariner, instead of creeping along the beaten track of inland navigation, now struck boldly across the great western ocean. The new discoveries had converted the land trade with India into a sea trade; and the nations of the Peninsula, who had hitherto lain remote from the great highways of commerce, now became the factors and carriers of Europe.

The flourishing condition of the nation was seen in the wealth and population of its cities, the revenues of which, augmented in all to a surprising extent, had increased, in some, forty and even fifty fold beyond what they were at the commencement of the reign; [128] the ancient and lordly Toledo; Burgos, with its bustling, industrious traders; [129] Valladolid, sending forth its thirty thousand warriors from its gates, where the whole population now scarcely reaches two-thirds of that number; [130] Cordova, in the south, and the magnificent Granada, naturalizing in Europe the arts and luxuries of the east; Saragossa, "the abundant," as she was called from her fruitful territory; Valencia, "the beautiful;" Barcelona, rivalling in independence and maritime enterprise the proudest of the Italian republics; [131] Medina del Campo, whose fairs were already the great mart for the commercial exchanges of the Peninsula; [132] and Seville, [133] the golden gate of the Indies, whose quays began to be thronged with merchants from the most distant countries of Europe.

The resources of the inhabitants were displayed in the palaces and public edifices, fountains, aqueducts, gardens, and other works of utility and ornament. This lavish expenditure was directed by an improved taste. Architecture was studied on purer principles than before, and, with the sister arts of design, showed the influence of the new connection with Italy in the first gleams of that excellence, which shed such lustre over the Spanish school at the close of the century. [134] A still more decided impulse was given to letters. More printing presses were probably at work in Spain in the infancy of the art, than at the present day. [135] Ancient seminaries were remodelled; new ones were created. Barcelona, Salamanca, and Alcala, whose cloistered solitudes are now the grave, rather than the nursery of science, then swarmed with thousands of disciples, who, under the generous patronage of the government, found letters the surest path to preferment. [136] Even the lighter branches of literature felt the revolutionary spirit of the times, and, after yielding the last fruits of the ancient system, displayed new and more beautiful varieties, under the influence of Italian culture. [137]

With this moral development of the nation, the public revenues, the sure index, when unforced, of public prosperity, went on augmenting with astonishing rapidity. In 1474, the year of Isabella's accession, the ordinary rents of the Castilian crown amounted to 885,000 reals; [138] in 1477, to 2,390,078; in 1482, after the resumption of the royal grants, to 12,711,591; and finally in 1504, when the acquisition of Granada [139] and the domestic tranquillity of the kingdom had encouraged the free expansion of all its resources, to 26,283,334; or thirty times the amount received at her accession. [140] All this, it will be remembered, was derived from the customary established taxes, without the imposition of a single new one. Indeed, the improvements in the mode of collection tended materially to lighten the burdens on the people.

The accounts of the population at this early period are, for the most part, vague and unsatisfactory. Spain, in particular, has been the subject of the most absurd, though, as it seems, not incredible estimates, sufficiently evincing the paucity of authentic data. [141] Fortunately, however, we labor under no such embarrassment as regards Castile in Isabella's reign. By an official report to the crown on the organization of the militia, in 1492, it appears that the population of the kingdom amounted to 1,500,000 vecinos or householders; or, allowing four and a half to a family (a moderate estimate), to 6,750,000 souls. [142] This census, it will be observed, was limited to the provinces immediately composing the crown of Castile, to the exclusion of Granada, Navarre, and the Aragonese dominions. [143] It was taken, moreover, before the nation had time to recruit from the long and exhausting struggle of the Moorish war, and twenty-five years before the close of the reign, when the population, under circumstances peculiarly favorable, must have swelled to a much larger amount. Thus circumscribed, however, it was probably considerably in advance of that of England at the same period. [144] How have the destinies of the two countries since been reversed?

The territorial limits of the monarchy, in the mean time, went on expanding beyond example;—Castile and Leon, brought under the same sceptre with Aragon and its foreign dependencies, Sicily and Sardinia; with the kingdoms of Granada, Navarre, and Naples; with the Canaries, Oran, and the other settlements in Africa; and with the islands and vast continents of America. To these broad domains, the comprehensive schemes of the sovereigns would have added Portugal; and their arrangements for this, although defeated for the present, opened the way to its eventual completion under Philip the Second. [145]

The petty states, which had before swarmed over the Peninsula, neutralizing each other's operations, and preventing any effective movement abroad, were now amalgamated into one whole. Sectional jealousies and antipathies, indeed, were too sturdily rooted to be wholly extinguished; but they gradually subsided, under the influence of a common government, and community of interests. A more enlarged sentiment was infused into the people, who, in their foreign relations, at least, assumed the attitude of one great nation. The names of Castilian and Aragonese were merged in the comprehensive one of Spaniard; and Spain, with an empire which stretched over three-quarters of the globe, and which almost realized the proud boast that the sun never set within her borders, now rose, not to the first class only, but to the first place, in the scale of European powers.

The extraordinary circumstances of the country tended naturally to nourish the lofty, romantic qualities, and the somewhat exaggerated tone of sentiment, which always pervaded the national character. The age of chivalry had not faded away in Spain, as in most other lands. [146] It was fostered, in time of peace, by the tourneys, jousts, and other warlike pageants, which graced the court of Isabella. [147] It gleamed out, as we have seen, in the Italian campaigns under Gonsalvo de Cordova, and shone forth in all its splendors in the war of Granada. "This was a right gentle war," says Navagiero, in a passage too pertinent to be omitted, "in which, as firearms were comparatively little used, each knight had the opportunity of showing his personal prowess; and rare was it, that a day passed without some feat of arms and valorous exploit. The nobility and chivalry of the land all thronged there to gather renown. Queen Isabel, who attended with her whole court, breathed courage into every heart. There was scarce a cavalier, who was not enamoured of some one or other of her ladies, the witness of his achievements, and who, as she presented him his weapons, or some token of her favor, admonished him to bear himself like a true knight, and show the strength of his passion by his valiant deeds. [148] What knight so craven then," exclaims the chivalrous Venetian, "that he would not have been more than a match for the stoutest adversary; or who would not sooner have lost his life a thousand times, than return dishonored to the lady of his love. In truth," he concludes, "this conquest may be said to have been achieved by love, rather than by arms." [149]

The Spaniard was a knight-errant, in its literal sense, [150] roving over seas on which no bark had ever ventured, among islands and continents where no civilized man had ever trodden, and which fancy peopled with all the marvels and drear enchantments of romance; courting danger in every form, combating everywhere, and everywhere victorious. The very odds presented by the defenceless natives among whom he was cast, "a thousand of whom," to quote the words of Columbus, "were not equal to three Spaniards," was in itself typical of his profession; [151] and the brilliant destinies to which the meanest adventurer was often called, now carving out with his good sword some "El Dorado" more splendid than fancy had dreamed of, and now overturning some old barbaric dynasty, were full as extraordinary as the wildest chimeras which Ariosto ever sang, or Cervantes satirized.

His countrymen who remained at home, feeding greedily on the reports of his adventures, lived almost equally in an atmosphere of romance. A spirit of chivalrous enthusiasm penetrated the very depths of the nation, swelling the humblest individual with lofty aspirations, and a proud consciousness of the dignity of his nature. "The princely disposition of the Spaniards," says a foreigner of the time, "delighteth me much, as well as the gentle nurture and noble conversation, not merely of those of high degree, but of the citizen, peasant, and common laborer." [152] What wonder that such sentiments should be found incompatible with sober, methodical habits of business, or that the nation indulging them should be seduced from the humble paths of domestic industry to a brilliant and bolder career of adventure. Such consequences became too apparent in the following reign. [153]

In noticing the circumstances that conspired to form the national character, it would be unpardonable to omit the establishment of the Inquisition, which contributed so largely to counterbalance the benefits resulting from Isabella's government; an institution which has done more than any other to stay the proud march of human reason; which, by imposing uniformity of creed, has proved the fruitful parent of hypocrisy and superstition; which has soured the sweet charities of human life, [154] and, settling like a foul mist on the goodly promise of the land, closed up the fair buds of science and civilization ere they were fully opened. Alas, that such a blight should have fallen on so gallant and generous a people! That it should have been brought on it too by one of such unblemished patriotism and purity of motive, as Isabella! How must her virtuous spirit, if it be permitted the departed good to look down on the scene of their earthly labors, mourn over the misery and moral degradation, entailed on her country by this one act! So true is it, that the measures of this great queen have had a permanent influence, whether for good or evil, on the destinies of her country.

The immediate injury inflicted on the nation by the spirit of bigotry in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, although greatly exaggerated, [155] was doubtless serious enough. Under the otherwise beneficent operation of their government, however, the healthful and expansive energies of the state were sufficient to heal up these and deeper wounds, and still carry it onward in the career of prosperity. With this impulse, indeed, the nation continued to advance higher and higher, in spite of the system of almost unmingled evil pursued in the following reigns. The glories of this later period, of the age of Charles the Fifth, as it is called, must find their true source in the measures of his illustrious predecessors. It was in their court that Boscan, Garcilasso, Mendoza, and the other master- spirits were trained, who moulded Castilian literature into the new and more classical forms of later times. [156] It was under Gonsalvo de Cordova, that Leyva, Pescara, and those great captains with their invincible legions were formed, who enabled Charles the Fifth to dictate laws to Europe for half a century. And it was Columbus, who not only led the way, but animated the Spanish navigator with the spirit of discovery. Scarcely was Ferdinand's reign brought to a close, before Magellan completed, what that monarch had projected, the circumnavigation of the southern continent; the victorious banners of Cortes had already penetrated into the golden realms of Montezuma; and Pizarro, a very few years later, following up the lead of Balboa, embarked on the enterprise which ended in the downfall of the splendid dynasty of the Incas.

Thus it is, that the seed sown under a good system continues to yield fruit in a bad one. The season of the most brilliant results, however, is not always that of the greatest national prosperity. The splendors of foreign conquest in the boasted reign of Charles the Fifth were dearly purchased by the decline of industry at home, and the loss of liberty. The patriot will see little to cheer him in this "golden age" of the national history, whose outward show of glory will seem to his penetrating eye only the hectic brilliancy of decay. He will turn to an earlier period, when the nation, emerging from the sloth and license of a barbarous age, seemed to renew its ancient energies, and to prepare like a giant to run its course; and glancing over the long interval since elapsed, during the first half of which the nation wasted itself on schemes of mad ambition, and in the latter has sunk into a state of paralytic torpor, he will fix his eye on the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, as the most glorious epoch in the annals of his country.


[1] Ante, Part I., Chapter 6.

[2] Among the minor means for diminishing the consequence of the nobility, may be mentioned the regulation respecting the "privilegios rodados"; instruments formerly requiring to be countersigned by the great lords and prelates, but which, from the time of Ferdinand and Isabella, were submitted for signature only, to officers especially appointed for the purpose. Salazar de Mendoza, Dignidades, lib. 2, cap. 12.

[3] Ante, Introd. Sect. 1.

[4]A pertinent example of this policy of the sovereigns occurred in the cortes of Madrigal, 1476; where, notwithstanding the important subjects of legislation, none but the third estate were present. (Pulgar Reyes Catolicos, p. 94.) An equally apposite illustration is afforded by the care to summon the great vassals to the cortes of Toledo, in 1480, when matters nearly touching them, as the revocation of their honors and estates, were under discussion, but not till then. Ibid., p. 165.

[5] The same principle made them equally vigilant in maintaining the purity of those in office. Oviedo mentions, that in 1497 they removed a number of jurists, on the charge of bribery and other malversation, from their seats in the royal council. Quincuagenas, MS., dial. de Grizio.

[6] See a letter of the council to Charles V., commending the course adopted by his grandparents in their promotions to office, apud Carbajal, Anales, MS., ano 1517, cap. 4.

[7] Yet strange instances of promotion are not wanting in Spanish history; witness the adventurer Ripperda, in Philip V.'s time, and the Prince of the Peace, in our own; men, who, owing their success less to their own powers, than the imbecility of others, could lay no claim to the bold and independent sway exercised by Ximenes.

[8] Ante, Part I., Chapter 19.—"No os parece a vos," says Oviedo, in one of his Dialogues, "que es mejor ganado eso, que les da su principe por sus servicios, e lo que llevan justamente de sus oficios, que lo que se adquiere robando capas agenas, e matando e vertiendo sangre de Cristianos?" (Quincuagenas, MS., bat. 1, quinc. 3, dial. 9.) The sentiment would have been too enlightened for a Spanish cavalier of the fifteenth century.

[9] In the cortes of Calatayud, in 1515, the Aragonese nobles withheld the supplies, with the design of compelling the crown to relinquish certain rights of jurisdiction, which it assumed over their vassals. "Les parecio," said the archbishop of Saragossa, in a speech on the occasion, "que auian perdido mucho, en que el ceptro real cobrasse lo suyo, por su industria. ***** Esto los otros estados del reyno lo atribuyeron a gran virtud: y lo estimauan por beneficio inmortal." (Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 10, cap. 93.) The other estates, in fact, saw their interests too clearly, not to concur with the crown in this assertion of its ancient prerogative. Blancas, Modo de Proceder, fol. 100.

[10] Such, for example, were those of great chancellor, of admiral, and of constable of Castile. The first of these ancient offices was permanently united by Isabella with that of archbishop of Toledo. The office of admiral became hereditary, after Henry III., in the noble family of Enriquez, and that of constable in the house of Velasco. Although of great authority and importance in their origin, and, indeed, in the time of the Catholic sovereigns, these posts gradually, after becoming hereditary, declined into mere titular dignities. Salazar de Mendoza, Dignidades, lib. 2, cap. 8, 10; lib. 3, cap. 21.—L. Marineo, Cosas Memorables, fol. 24.

[11] The duke of Infantado, head of the ancient house of Mendoza, whose estates lay in Castile, and, indeed, in most of the provinces of the kingdom, is described by Navagiero as living in great magnificence. He maintained a body guard of 200 foot, besides men-at-arms; and could muster more than 30,000 vassals. (Viaggio, fol. 6, 33.) Oviedo makes the same statement. (Quincuagenas, MS., bat. 1, quinc. 1, dial. 8.) Lucio Marineo, among other things in his curious farrago, has given an estimate of the rents, "poco mas 6 menos," of the great nobility of Castile and Aragon, whose whole amount he computes at one-third of those of the whole kingdom. I will select a few of the names familiar to us in the present narrative.

Enriquez, admiral of Castile, 50,000 ducats income, equal to $440,000. Velasco, constable of Castile, 60,000 ducats income, estates in Old Castile. Toledo, duke of Alva, 50,000 ducats income, estates in Castile and Navarre. Mendoza, duke of Infantado, 50,000 ducats income, estates in Castile and other provinces. Guzman, duke of Medina Sidonia, 55,000 ducats income, estates in Andalusia. Cerda, duke of Medina Celi, 30,000 ducats income, estates in Castile and Andalusia. Ponce de Leon, duke of Arcos, 25,000 ducats income, estates in Andalusia. Pacheco, duke of Escalona (marquis of Villena), 60,000 ducats income, estates in Castile. Cordova, duke of Sessa, 60,000 ducats income, estates in Naples and Andalusia. Aguilar, marquis of Priego, 40,000 ducats income, estates in Andalusia and Estremadura. Mendoza, count of Tendilla, 15,000 ducats income, estates in Castile. Pimentel, count of Benavente, 60,000 ducats income, estates in Castile. Giron, count of Urena, 20,000 ducats income, estates in Andalusia. Silva, count of Cifuentes, 10,000 ducats income, estates in Andalusia.

(Cosas Memorables, fol. 24, 25.) The estimate is confirmed, with some slight discrepancies, by Navagiero, Viaggio, fol. 18, 33, et alibi. See also Salazar de Mendoza, Dignidades, discurso 2.

[12] "En casa de aquellos Principes estaban las hijas de los principales senores 6 cavalleros por damas de la Reyna 6 de las Infantas sus hijas, y en la corte andaban todos los mayorazgos y hijos de grandes 4 los mas heredados de sus reynos." Oviedo, Quincuagenas, MS., bat. 1, quinc. 4, dial 44.

[13] "Como quier que oia el parecer de personal religiosas e de los otros letrados que cerca della eran, pero la mayor parte seguia las cosas por su arbitrio." Pulgar, Reyes Catolicos, part 1, cap. 4.

[14] Lucio Marineo has collected many particulars respecting the great wealth of the Spanish clergy in his time. There were four metropolitan sees in Castile.

Toledo, income 80,000 ducats. St. James, " 24,000 " Seville, " 20,000 " Granada, " 10,000 "

There were twenty-nine bishoprics, whose aggregate revenues, very unequally apportioned, amounted to 251,000 ducats. The church livings in Aragon were much fewer and leaner than in Castile. (Cosas Memorables, fol. 23.) The Venetian Navagiero, speaks of the metropolitan church of Toledo, as "the wealthiest in Christendom;" its canons lived in stately palaces, and its revenues, with those of the archbishopric, equalled those of the whole city of Toledo. (Viaggio, fol. 9.) He notices also the great opulence of the churches of Seville, Guadalupe, etc., fol. 11, 13.

[15] See Pragmaticas del Reyno, fol. 11, 140, 141, 171, et loc. al.—From one of these ordinances, it appears the clergy were not backward in remonstrating against what they deemed an infringement of their rights. (Fol. 172.) The queen, however, while she guarded against their usurpations, interfered more than once, with her usual sense of justice, on their application, to shield them from the encroachments of the civil tribunals. Riol, Informe, apud Semanario Erudito, tom. iii. pp. 98, 99.

[16] See Part I., Chapter 6, of this History.

[17] See examples of this in Riol, Informe, apud Semanario Erudito, tom. iii. pp. 95-102.—Pragmaticas del Reyno, fol. 14.

[18] Riol, Informe, apud Semanario Erudite, tom. iii. p. 94.—L. Marineo, Cosas Memorables, fol. 182.

[19] Oviedo bears emphatic testimony to this. "En nuestros tiempos ha habido en Espana de nuestra Nacion grandes varones Letrados, excelentes Perlados y Religiosos y personas que por suos habilidades y sciencias han subido a las mas altas dignidades de Capelos e de Arzobispados y todo lo que mas se puede alcanzar, en la Iglesia de Dios." Quincuagenas, MS., dial. de Talavera.—Col. de Cedulas, tom. i. p. 400.

[20] "Lo qne debe admirar es, que en el tiempo mismo que se contendia con tanto ardor, obtuvieron los Reyes de la Santa Sede mas gracias y privilegios que ninguno de sus sucesores; prueba de su felicidad y de su prudentisima conducta." Riol, Informe, apud Semanario Erudito, tom. in. p. 95.

[21] "Porque la igualidad de la justicia que los bienauenturados Principes hazian era tal, que todos los hombres de qualquier condicion que fuessen: aora nobles, y caualleros: aora plebeyos, y labradores, y riejos, o pobres, flacos, o fuertes, senores, o sieruos en lo que a la justicia tocaua todos fuessen iguales." Cosas Memorables, fol. 180.

[22] These beneficial changes were made with the advice, and through the agency of Ximenes. (Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 24.—Quintanilla, Archetypo, p. 181.) The alcavala, a tax of one-tenth on all transfers of property, produced more than any other branch of the revenue. As it was originally designed, more than a century before, to furnish funds for the Moorish war, Isabella, as we have seen in her testament, entertained great scruples as to the right to continue it, without the confirmation of the people, after that was terminated. Ximenes recommended its abolition, without any qualification, to Charles V., but in vain. (Idem auct., ubi supra.) Whatever be thought of its legality, there can be no doubt it was one of the most successful means ever devised by a government for shackling the industry and enterprise of its subjects.

[23] A pragmatic was issued, September 18th, 1495, prescribing the weapons and the seasons for a regular training of the militia. The preamble declares, that it was made at the instance of the representatives of the cities and the nobles, who complained, that, in consequence of the tranquillity, which the kingdom, through the divine mercy had for some years enjoyed, the people were very generally unprovided with arms, offensive or defensive, having sold or suffered them to fall into decay, insomuch that, in their present condition, they would be found wholly unprepared to meet either domestic disturbance, or foreign invasion. (Pragmaticas del Reyno, fol. 83.) What a tribute does this afford, in this age of violence, to the mild, paternal character of the administration?

[24] The most important were those of Madrigal, in 1476, and of Toledo, in 1480, to which I have often had occasion to refer. "Las mas notables," say Asso and Mannel, in reference to the latter, "y famosas de este Reynado, en el qual podemos asegurar, que tuvo principio el mayor aumento, y arreglo de nuestra Jurisprudencia." (Instituciones, Introd., p. 91.) Marina notices this cortes with equal panegyric. (Teoria, tom. i. p. 75.) See also Sempere, Hist. des Cortes, p. 197.

[25] See Part I. Chapters 10, 11, et alibi.

[26] At Valladolid, in 1506. The number of cities having right of representation, "que acostumbran continuamente embiar procuradores a cortes," according to Pulgar, was seventeen. (Reyes Catolicos, cap. 95.) This was before Granada was added. Martyr, writing some years after that event, enumerates only sixteen, as enjoying the privilege. (Opus Epist., epist. 460.) Pulgar's estimate, however, is corroborated by the petition of the cortes of Valladolid, which, with more than usual effrontery, would limit the representation to eighteen cities, as prescribed "por algunas leyes e inmemorial uso." Marina, Teoria, tom. i. p. 161.

[27] Many of these pragmaticas purport, in their preambles, to be made at the demand of cortes; many more at the petition of corporations or individuals; and many from the good pleasure of the sovereigns, bound to "remedy all grievances, and provide for the exigencies of the state." These ordinances very frequently are stated to have been made with the advice of the royal council. They were proclaimed in the public squares of the city, in which they were executed, and afterwards in those of the principal towns in the kingdom. The doctors Asso and Manuel divide pragmaticas into two classes; those made at the instance of cortes, and those emanating from the "sovereign, as supreme legislator of the kingdom, moved by his anxiety for the common weal." "Muchos de este genero," they add, "contiene el libro raro intitulado Pragmaticas del Reyno, que se imprimio la primera vez en Alcala en 1528." (Instituciones, Introd., p. 110.) This is an error;—see note 43, infra.

[28] "Por la presente prematicasencion," said John II., in one of his ordinances, "lo cual todo e cada cosa dello e parte dello quiero e mando e ordeno que se guarde e compla daqui adelante para siempre jamas en todas las cibdades e villas e logares non embargante cualesquier leyes e fueros e derechos e ordenamientos, constituciones e posesiones e prematicas- senciones, e usos e costumbres, ca en cuanto a est oatane yo los abrogo e derogo." (Marina, Teoria, tom. ii. p. 216.) This was the very essence of despotism, and John found it expedient to retract these expressions, on the subsequent remonstrance of cortes.

[29] Indeed, it is worthy of remark, as evincing the progress of civilization under this reign, that most of the criminal legislation is to be referred to its commencement, while the laws of the subsequent period chiefly concern the new relations which grow out of an increased domestic industry. It is in the "Ordenancas Reales," and "Leyes de la Hermandad," both published by 1485, that we must look for the measures against violence and rapine.

[30] Thus, for example, the important criminal laws of the Hermandad, and the civil code called the "Laws of Toro," were made under the express sanction of the commons. (Leyes de la Hermandad, fol. l.—Quaderno de las Leyes y Nuevas Decisiones hechas y ordenadas en la Ciudad de Toro, (Medina del Campo, 1555,) fol. 49.) Nearly all, if not all, the acts of the Catholic sovereigns introduced into the famous code of the "Ordenancas Reales," were passed in the cortes of Madrigal, in 1476, or Toledo, in 1480.

[31] It should be stated, however, that the cortes of Valladolid, in 1506, two years after the queen's death, enjoined Philip and Joanna to make no laws without the consent of cortes; remonstrating, at the same time, against the existence of many royal pragmaticas, as an evil to be redressed. "Y por esto se establecio lei que no hiciesen ni renovasen leyes sino en cortes. ***** Y porque fuera de esta orden se han hecho muchas prematicas de que estos vuestros reynos se tienen por agraviados, manden que aquellas se revean y provean y remedien los agravios que las tales prematicas tienen." (Marina, Teoria, tom. ii. p. 218.) Whether this is to be understood of the ordinances of the reigning sovereigns, or their predecessors, may be doubted. It is certain, that the nation, however it may have acquiesced in the exercise of this power by the late queen, would not have been content to resign it to such incompetent hands, as those of Philip and his crazy wife.

[32] "Liberi patriis legibus, nil imperio Regis gubernantur." Opus Epist., epist. 438.

[33] Capmany, however, understates the number, when he limits it to four sessions only during this whole reign. Practica y Estilo, p. 62.

[34] See Part II., Chapter 12, note 7, of this History.—"Si quis aliquid," says Martyr, speaking of a cortes general held at Monzon, by Queen Germaine, "sibi contra jus illatum putat, aut a regia corona quaequam deberi existimat, nunquam dissolvuntur conventus, donec conquerenti satisfiat, neque Regibus parere in exigendis pecuniis, solent aliter. Regina quotidie scribit, se vexari eorum petitionibus, nec exsolvere se quire, quod se maxime optare ostendit. Rex imminentis necessitatis bellicae vim proponit, ut in aliud tempus querelas differant, per literas, per nuntios, per ministros, conventum praesidentesque hortatur monetque, et summissis fere verbis rogare videtur." 1512. (Opus Epist., epist. 493.) Blancas notices Ferdinand's astuteness, who, instead of money granted by the Aragonese with difficulty and reservations, usually applied for troops at once, which were furnished and paid by the state. (Modo de Proceder, fol. 100, 101.) Zurita tells us, that both the king and queen were averse to meetings of cortes in Castile oftener than absolutely necessary, and both took care, on such occasions, to have their own agents near the deputies, to influence their proceedings. "Todas las vezes que en lo passado el Rey, y la Reyna dona Isabel llamauan a cortes en Castilla, temian de las llamar: y despues de llamodos, y ayuntados los procuradores, ponian tales personas de su parte, que continuamente se juntassen con ellos; por escusar lo que podria resultar de aquellos ayuntamientos: y tambien por darles a entender, que no tenian tanto poder, quanto ellos se imaginauan." (Anales, tom. vi. fol. 96.) This course is as repugnant to Isabella's character as it is in keeping with her husband's. Under their joint administration, it is not always easy to discriminate the part which belongs to each. Their respective characters, and political conduct in affairs where they were separately concerned, furnish us a pretty safe clue to our judgment in others.

[35] As, for example, both when he resigned, and resumed the regency. See Part II., Chapters 17, 20.

[36] In the first cortes after Isabella's death, at Toro, in 1505, Ferdinand introduced the practice, which has since obtained, of administering an oath of secrecy to the deputies, as to the proceedings of the session; a serious wound to popular representation. (Marina, Teoria, tom. i. p. 273.) Capmany (Practica y Estilo, p. 232.) errs in describing this as "un arteficio Maquiavelico inventado por la politica Alemana." The German Machiavelism has quite sins enough in this way to answer for.

[37] The introductory law to the "Leyes de Toro" holds this strange language; "Y porque al rey pertenesce y ha poder de hazer fueros y leyes, y de las interpretar y emendar donde vieren que cumple," etc. (Leyes de Toro, fol. 2.) What could John II., or any despot of the Austrian line, claim more?

[38] See the address of the cortes, in Marina, Teoria, tom. p. 282.

[39] Among the writers repeatedly cited by me, it is enough to point out the citizen Marina, who has derived more illustrations of his liberal theory of the constitution from the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella than from any other; and who loses no opportunity of panegyric on their "paternal government," and of contrasting it with the tyrannical policy of later times.

[40] Marina enumerates no less than nine separate codes of civil and municipal law in Castile, by which the legal decisions were to be regulated, in Ferdinand and Isabella's time. Ensayo Historico-Critico, sobre la Antigua Legislacion de Castilla, (Madrid, 1808,) pp. 383-386.— Asso y Manuel, Instituciones, Introd.

[41] See Part I., Chapter 6, of this History.

[42] "A collection," says senor Clemencin, "of the last importance, and indispensable to a right understanding of the spirit of Isabella's government, but, nevertheless, little known to Castilian writers, not excepting the most learned of them." (Mem. de la Acad. de Hist., tom. vi. Ilust. 9.) No edition of the Pragmaticas has appeared since the publication of Philip II.'s "Nueva Recopilacion," in 1567, in which a large portion of them are embodied. The remainder having no further authority, the work has gradually fallen into oblivion. But, whatever be the cause, the fact is not very creditable to professional science in Spain.

[43] The earliest edition was at Alcala de Henares, printed by Lanzalao Polono, in 1503. It was revised and prepared for the press by Johan Ramirez, secretary of the royal council, from whom the work is often called "Pragmaticas de Ramirez." It passed through several editions by 1550. Clemencin (ubi supra) enumerates five, but his list is incomplete, as the one in my possession, probably the second, has escaped his notice. It is a fine old folio, in black letter, containing in addition some ordinances of Joanna, and the "Laws of Toro," in 192 folios. On the last is this notice by the printer. "Fue ympressa la presente obra en la muy noble y muy leal cibdad de Senilla, por Juan Varela ympressor de libros. Acabose a dos dias del mes de otubre de mill y quinientos y veynte anos." The first leaf after the table of contents exhibits the motives of its publication. "E porque como algunas de ellas (pragmaticas sanciones e cartas) ha mucho tiempo que se dieron, e otras se hicieron en diversos tiempos, estan derramadas por muchas partes, no se saben por todos, e aun muchas de las dichas justicias no tienen comlida noticia de todas ellas, paresciendo ser necesario e provechoso; mandamos fi los del nuestro consejo que las hiciesen juntar e corregir e impremir," etc.

[44] "Leyes de Toro," say Asso and Manuel, "veneradas tanto desde entonces, que se les dio el primer lugar de valimiento sobre todas las del Reyno." Instituciones, Introd. p. 95.

[45] See the sensible memorial of Jovellanos, "Informe al Real y Supremo Consejo en el Expediente de Ley Agraria." Madrid, 1795.

There have been several editions of this code, since the first of 1505. (Marina, Ensayo, No. 450.) I have copies of two editions, in black letter, neither of them known to Marina; one, above noticed, printed at Seville, in 1520; and the other at Medina del Campo, in 1555, probably the latest. The laws were subsequently incorporated in the "Nueva Recopilacion."

[46] "Esta ley," says Jovellanos, "que los jurisconsultos llaman a boca llena injusta y barbara, lo es mucho mas por la extension quelos pragmaticas le dieron en sus comentarios." (Informe, p. 76, nota.) The edition of Medina del Campo, in 1555, is swelled by the commentaries of Miguel de Cifuentes, till the text, in the language of bibliographers, looks like "cymba in oceano."

[47] Ante, Part I., Chapter 6.

[48] Leyes del Quaderno Nuevo de las Rentas de las Alcavalas y Franquezas, hecho en la Vega de Granada, (Salamanca, 1550); a little code of 37 folios, containing 147 laws for the regulation of the crown rents. It was made in the Vega of Granada, December 10th, 1491. The greater part of these laws, like so many others of this reign, have been admitted into the "Nueva Recopilacion."

[49] the head of these, undoubtedly, must be placed Dr. Alfonso Diaz de Montalvo, noticed more than once in the course of this History. He illustrated three successive reigns by his labors, which he continued to the close of a long life, and after he had become blind. The Catholic sovereigns highly appreciated his services, and settled a pension on him of 30,000 maravedies. Besides his celebrated compilation of the "Ordenancas Reales," he wrote commentaries on the ancient code of the "Fuero Real," and on the "Siete Partidas," printed for the first time under his own eye, in 1491. (Mendez, Typographia Espanola, p. 183.) Marina (Ensayo, p. 405) has bestowed a beautiful eulogium on this venerable lawyer, who first gave to light the principal Spanish codes, and introduced a spirit of criticism into the national jurisprudence.

[50] This gigantic work was committed, wholly or in part, to Dr. Lorenzo Galindez de Carbajal. He labored many years on it, but the results of his labors, as elsewhere noticed, have never been communicated to the public. See Asso y Manuel, Instituciones, pp. 50, 99.—Marina, Ensayo, pp. 392, 406, and Clemencin, whose Ilust. 9 exhibits a most clear and satisfactory view of the legal compilations under this reign.

[51] Lord Bacon's comment on Henry VII.'s laws, might apply with equal force to these of Ferdinand and Isabella. "Certainly his times for good commonwealth's laws did excel. ***** For his laws, whoso marks them well, are deep, and not vulgar; not made upon the spur of a particular occasion for the present, but out of providence of the future, to make the estate of his people still more and more happy; after the manner of the legislators in ancient and heroical times." Hist. of Henry VII., Works, (ed. 1819,) vol. v. p. 60.

[52] Ante, Part I., Chapter 6.

[53] Pragmaticas del Reyno, fol. 24, 30, 39.—Recop. de las Leyes, (ed. 1640,) tom. i. lib. 2, tit. 5, leyes 1, 2, 3, 11, 12, 20; tit. 7, ley 1.— Ordenancas Reales, lib. 2. tit. 4. The southern chancery, first opened at Ciudad Real, in 1494, was subsequently transferred by the sovereigns to Granada.

[54] Ante, Part I., Chapter 7, note 39.

[55] Ante, Part I., Chapter 6, note 34.

[56] Riol, Informe, apud Seminario Erudito, tom. iii. p. 149.—It consisted of a vice chancellor, as president, and six ministers, two from each of the three provinces of the crown. It was consulted by the king on all appointments and matters of government. The Italian department was committed to a separate tribunal, called the council of Italy, in 1556. Capmany (Mem. de Barcelona, tom. iv. Apend. 17) has explained at length the functions and authority of this institution.

[57] See the nature and broad extent of these powers, in Recop. de Leyes de las Indias, tom. i. lib. 2, tit. 2, leyes 1, 2.—Also Solorzano, Politica Indiana, tom. ii. lib. 5, cap. 15; who goes no further back than the remodelling of this tribunal under Charles V.—Riol, Informe, apud Semanario Erudito, tom. iii. pp. 159, 160.

The third volume of the Semanario Erudito, pp. 73-233, contains a report, drawn up, by command of Philip V., in 1726, by Don Santiago Augustin Riol, on the organization and state of the various tribunals, civil and ecclesiastical, under Ferdinand and Isabella; together with an account of the papers contained in their archives. It is an able memorial, replete with curious information. It is singular that this interesting and authentic document should have been so little consulted, considering the popular character of the collection in which it is preserved. I do not recollect ever to have met with a reference to it in any author. It was by mere accident, in the absence of a general index, that I stumbled on it in the mare magnum in which it is engulfed.

[58] "Pusieron los Reyes Catolicos," says the penetrating Mendoza, "el govierno de la justicia, i cosas publicas en manos de Letrados, gente media entre los grandes i pequenos, sin ofensa de los linos ni de los otros. Cuya profesion eran letras legales, comedimiento, secreto, verdad, vida liana, i sin corrupcion de costumbres." Guerre de Granada, p. 15.

[59] Granada, September 3d, Pragmaticas del Reyno, fol. 135.—A pragmatic of similar import was issued by Henry III. Navarrete, Coleccion de Viages, tom, i., Introd. p. 46.

[60] Granada, August 11th, 1501. Pragmaticas del Reyno, fol. 137.

[61] Alfaro, November 10th, 1495. Ibid., fol. 136.

[62] See a number of these, collected by Navarrete, Coleccion de Viages, Introd. pp. 43, 44.

[63] Cited by Robertson, History of America, vol. iii. p. 305.

[64] The fleet fitted out against the Turks, in 1482, consisted of seventy sail, and that under Gonsalvo, in 1500, of sixty, large and small. (Ante, Part I., Chapter 6: Part II., Chapter 10.) See other expeditions, enumerated by Navarrete, Coleccion de Viages, tom. i. p. 50.

[65] Cura de los Palacios, MS., cap. 153; who, indeed, estimates the complement of this fleet at 25,000 men; a round number, which must certainly include persons of every description. The Invincible Armada consisted, according to Dunham, of about 130 vessels, large and small, 20,000 soldiers, and 8,000 seamen. (History of Spain and Portugal, vol. v. p. 59.) The estimate falls below that of most writers.

[66] En el real de la vega de Granada, December 20th. (Pragmaticas del Reyno, fol. 133.) "Y les apercibays," enjoins the ordinance, "que los marauedis porque los vendieren los ban de sacar de nuestros reynos en mercadurias: y ni en oro ni en plata ni en moneda amonedada de manera que no pueden pretender ygnorancia: y den fiancas lianas y abonadas de lo fazer y cumplir assi: y si fallaredes que sacan o lieuan oro o plata o moneda contra el tenor y forma de las dichas leyes y desta nuestra carta mandamos vos que gelo torneys: y sea perdido como las dichas leyes mandan, y demas cayan y incurran en las penas en las leyes de nuestros reynos contenidas contra los que sacan oro o plata o moneda fuera dellos sin nuestra licencia y mandado: las quales executad en ellosy en sus fiadores."

[67] Pragmaticas del Reyno, fol. 92, 134.—These laws were as old as the fourteenth century in Castile, and had been renewed by every succeeding monarch, from the time of John I. (Ordenancas Reales, lib. 6, tit. 9, leyes 17-22.) Similar ones were passed under the contemporary princes, Henry VII. and Henry VIII. of England, James IV. of Scotland, etc.

[68]—"Balucis malleator Hispanae," says Martial, noticing the noise made by the gold-beaters, hammering out the Spanish ore, as one of the chief annoyances which drove him from the capital, (lib. 12, ep. 57.) See also the precise statement of Pliny, cited Part I., Chapter 8, of this History.

[69] "Porque haciendose ansi al modo e costumbre de los dichos senores Reyes pasados, cesaran los inmensos gastos y sin provecho que la mesa e casa de S. M. se hacen; pues el dano desto notoriamente paresce porque se halla en el plato real y en los platos que se hacen a los privados e criados de su casa gastarse cada mio dia ciento y cincuenta mil maravedis; y los Catolicos Reyes D. Hernando e Dona Isabel, seyendo tan excelentes y tan poderosos, en su plato y en el plato del principe D. Joan que haya gloria, e de las senoras infantas con gran numero y multitud de damas no se gastar cada un dia, seyetido mui abastados como de tales Reyes, mas de doce a quince mil maravedis." Peticion de la Junta de Tordesillas, October 20, 1520, apud Sandoval, Hist. del Emp. Carlos V., tom. i. p. 230.

[70] In 1493; repeated in 1501. Recop. de las Leyes, tom. ii. fol. 3.—In 1502. Pragmaticas del Reyno, fol. 139.

[71] At Segovia, September 2d; also in 1496 and 1498. Pragmaticas del Reyno, fol. 123, 125, 126.

[72] At Granada, in 1499.—This on petition of cortes, in the year preceding. Sempere, in his sensible "Historia del Luxo," has exhibited the series of the manifold sumptuary laws in Castile. It is a history of the impotent struggle of authority, against the indulgence of the innocent propensities implanted in our nature, and naturally increasing with increasing wealth and civilization.

[73] En la nombrada y gran ciudad de Granada, Agosto 20. Pragmaticas del Reyno, fol. 135.

[74] Pragmaticas del Reyno, passim.—Diccionario Geografico-Hist. de Espana, tom. i. p. 333—Capmany, Mem. de Barcelona, tom. iii. part 3, cap. 2.—Mines of lead, copper, and silver were wrought extensively in Guipuzcoa and Biscay.—Col. de Ced., tom. i. no. 25.

[75] Pragmaticas del Reyno, fol. 127, 128.—Ante, Part II., Chapter 3, note 12.—The cortes of Toledo, in 1525, complained, "que habia tantos caballos Espanoles en Francia como en Castilla." (Mem. de la Acad. de Hist., tom. vi. p. 285.) The trade, however, was contraband; the laws against the exportation of horses being as ancient as the time of Alfonso XI. (See also Ordenancas Reales, fol. 85, 86.)

Laws can never permanently avail against national prejudices. Those in favor of mules have been so strong in the Peninsula, and such the consequent decay of the fine breed of horses, that the Spaniards have been compelled to supply themselves with the latter from abroad. Bourgoanne reckons that 20,000 were annually imported into the country from France, at the close of the last century. Travels in Spain, tom. i. chap. 4.

[76] Hist. del Luxo, tom. i. p. 170.—"Tiene muchas ouejas," says Marineo, "cuya lana estan singular, que no solamente se aprouechan della en Espana, mas tambien se lleua en abundancia a otras partes." (Cosas Memorables, fol. 3.) He notices especially the fine wool of Molina, in whose territory 400,000 sheep pastured, fol. 19.

[77] Mem. de Barcelona, tom. iii. pp. 338, 339.—"Or if ever exported," he adds, "it was at some period long posterior to the discovery of America."

[78] Pragmaticas del Reyno, passim.—Many of them were designed to check impositions, too often practised in the manufacture and sale of goods, and to keep them up to a fair standard.

[79] L. Marineo, Cosas Memorables, fol. 11.

[80] Ibid., fol. 19.—Navagiero, Viaggio, fol. 26.—The Venetian minister, however, pronounces them inferior to the silks of his own country.

[81] "Proueyda," says Marineo, "de todos officios, y artes mecanicas que en ella se exercitan mucho: y principalmente en lanor, y exercicio de lanas, y sedas. Por las quales dos cosas biuen en esta ciudad mas de diez mil personas. Es de mas desto la ciudad muy rica, por los grandes tratos de mercadurias." Cosas Memorables, fol. 12.

[82] Ibid., fol. 15.—Navagiero, a more parsimonious eulogist, remarks, nevertheless, "Sono in Valladolid assai artefici di ogni sorte, e se vi lavora benessimo de tutte le arti, e sopra tutto d'Argenti, e vi son tanti argenteri quanti non sono in due altre terre." Viaggio, fol. 35.

[83] Geron. Paulo, a writer at the close of the fifteenth century, cited by Capmany, Mem. de Barcelona, tom. i. part. 3, p. 23.

[84] The twentieth Ilustracion of Senor Clemencin's invaluable compilation contains a table of prices of grain, in different parts of the kingdom, under Ferdinand and Isabella. Take, for example, those of Andalusia. In 1488, a. year of great abundance, the fanega of wheat sold in Andalusia for 50 maravedies; in 1489 it rose to 100; in 1505, a season of great scarcity, to 375, and even 600; in 1508, it was at 306; and in 1509, it had fallen to 85 maravedies. Mem. de la Acad. de Hist., tom. vi. pp. 551, 552.

[85] Compare, for example, the accounts of the environs of Toledo and Madrid, the two most considerable cities in Castile, by ancient and modern travellers. One of the most intelligent and recent of the latter, in his journey between these two capitals, remarks, "There is sometimes a visible track, and sometimes none; most commonly we passed over wide sands. The country between Madrid and Toledo, I need scarcely say, is ill peopled and ill cultivated; for it is all a part of the same arid plain, that stretches on every side around the capital; and which is bounded on this side by the Tagus. The whole of the way to Toledo, I passed through only four inconsiderable villages; and saw two others at a distance. A great part of the land is uncultivated, covered with furze and aromatic plants; but here and there some corn land is to be seen." (Inglis, Spain in 1830, vol. i. p. 366.) What a contrast does all this present to the language of the Italians, Navagiero and Marineo, in whose time the country around Toledo "surpassed all other districts of Spain, in the excellence and fruitfulness of the soil;" which, "skilfully irrigated by the waters of the Tagus, and minutely cultivated, furnished every variety of fruit and vegetable produce to the neighboring city." While, instead of the sunburnt plains around Madrid, it is described as situated "in the bosom of a fair country, with an ample territory, yielding rich harvests of corn and wine, and all the other aliments of life." Cosas Memorables, fol. 12, 13.— Viaggio, fol. 7, 8.

[86] Capmany has well exposed some of these extravagances. (Mem. de Barcelona, tom. in. part. 3, cap. 2.) The boldest of them, however, may find a warrant in the declarations of the legislature itself. "En los lugares de obrages de lanas," asserts the cortes of 1594, "donde se solian labrar veinte y treinta mil arrobas, no se labran hoi seis, y donde habia senores de ganado de grandisima cantidad, han disminuido en la misma y mayor proporcion, acaeciendo lo mismo en todas las otras cosas del comercio universal y particular. Lo cual hace que no haya ciudad de las principales destos reinos ni lugar ninguno, de donde no falte notable vecindad, como se echa bien de ver en la muchedumbre de casas que estan cerradas y despobladas, y en la baja que han dado los arrendamientos de las pocas que se arriendan y habitan." Apud Mem. de la Acad. de Hist, tom. vi. p. 304.

[87] A point which most writers would probably agree in fixing at 1700, the year of Charles II.'s death, the last and most imbecile of the Austrian dynasty. The population of the kingdom at this time, had dwindled to 6,000,000. See Laborde, (Itineraire, tom. vi. pp. 125, 143, ed. 1830), who seems to have better foundation for this census than for most of those in his table.

[88] See the unequivocal language of cortes, under Philip II. (supra.) With every allowance, it infers an alarming decline in the prosperity of the nation.

[89] One has only to read, for an evidence of this, the lib. 6, tit. 18, of the "Nueva Recopilacion," on "cosas prohibidas;" the laws on gilding and plating, lib. 5, tit. 24; on apparel and luxury, lib. 7, tit. 12; on woollen manufactures, lib. 7, tit. 14-17, et legas al. Perhaps no stronger proof of the degeneracy of the subsequent legislation can be given, than by contrasting it with that of Ferdinand and Isabella in two important laws. 1. The sovereigns, in 1492, required foreign traders to take their returns in the products and manufactures of the country. By a law of Charles V., 1552, the exportation of numerous domestic manufactures was prohibited, and the foreign trader, in exchange for domestic wool, was required to import into the country a certain amount of linen and woollen fabrics. 2. By an ordinance, in 1500, Ferdinand and Isabella prohibited the importation of silk thread from Naples, to encourage its production at home. This appears from the tenor of subsequent laws to have perfectly succeeded. In 1552, however, a law was passed, interdicting the export of manufactured silk, and admitting the importation of the raw material. By this sagacious provision, both the culture of silk, and the manufacture were speedily crushed in Castile.

[90] See examples of these, in the reigns of Henry III., and John II, (Recop. de las Leyes, tom. ii. fol. 180, 181.) Such also were the numerous tariffs fixing the prices of grain, the vexatious class of sumptuary laws, those for the regulation of the various crafts, and, above, all, on the exportation of the precious metals.

[91] The English Statute Book alone will furnish abundant proof of this, in the exclusive regulations of trade and navigation existing at the close of the fifteenth century. Mr. Sharon Turner has enumerated many, under Henry VIII., of similar import with, and, indeed, more partial in their operation than, those of Ferdinand and Isabella. History of England, vol. iv. pp. 170 et seq.

[92] Ordenancas Reales, lib. 6, tit. 4, ley 6.

[93] Archivo de Simancas; in which most of these ordinances appear to be registered. Mem. de la Acad. de Hist., tom. vi. Ilust. 11.

[94] "Ennoblescense los cibdades e villas en tener casas grandes e bien fechas en que fragan sus ayuntamientos e concejos," etc. (Ordenancas Reales, lib. 7, tit. 1, ley 1.) Senor Clemencin has specified the nature and great variety of these improvements, as collected from the archives of the different cities of the kingdom. Mem. de la Acad. de Hist., tom. vi. Ilustracion ll.—Col. de Cedulas, tom. iv. no. 9.

[95] Pragmaticas del Reyno, fol. 63. 91, 93.—Recop. de las Leyes, lib. 5, tit. 11, ley 12.—Among the acts for restricting monopolies may be mentioned one, which prohibited the nobility and great landholders from preventing their tenants' opening inns and houses of entertainment without their especial license. (Pragmaticas del Reyno, 1492, fol. 96.) The same abuse, however, is noticed by Mad. d'Aulnoy, in her "Voyage d'Espagne," as still existing, to the great prejudice of travellers, in the seventeenth century. Dunlop, Memoirs of Philip IV. and Charles II., vol. ii. chap. 11.

[96] Pragmaticas del Reyno, fol. 93-112.—Recop. de las Leyes, lib. 5, tit. 21, 22.

[97] "Ut nulla unquam per se tuta regio, tutiorem se fuisse jactare possit." Opus Epist., epist. 31.

[98] For various laws tending to secure this, and prevent frauds in trade, see Ordenancas Reales, lib. 3, tit. 8, ley 5.—Pragmaticas del Reyno, fol. 45, 66, 67, et alibi.—Col. de Cedulas, tom. i. no. 63.

[99] The fullest, though a sufficiently meagre, account of the Navarrese constitution, is to be found in Capmany's collection, "Practica y Estilo," (pp. 250-258,) and in the "Diccionario Geografico Hist, de Espana," (tom. ii. pp. 140-143.) The historical and economical details in the latter are more copious.

[100] "Queste furono," says Giannone, "le prime leggi che ci diedero gli Spagnuoli: leggi tutte provvide e savie, nello stabilir delle quali furono veramente gli Spagnuoli piu d' ogni altra nazione avveduti, e piu esatti imitatori de' Romani." Istoria di Napoli, lib. 30, cap. 5.

[101] Giannone, Istoria di Napoli, lib. 29, cap. 4; lib. 30, cap. 1, 2, 5.—Signorelli, Coltura nelle Sicilie, tom. iv. p. 84.—Every one knows the persecutions, the exile, and long imprisonment, which Giannone suffered for the freedom with which he treated the clergy, in his philosophical history. The generous conduct of Charles of Bourbon to his heirs is not so well known. Soon after his accession to the throne of Naples, that prince settled a liberal pension on the son of the historian, declaring, that "it did not comport with the honor and dignity of the government, to permit an individual to languish in indigence, whose parent had been the greatest man, the most useful to the state, and the most unjustly persecuted, that the age had produced." Noble sentiments, giving additional grace to the act which they accompanied. See the decree, cited by Corniani, Secoli della Letteratura Italiana, (Brescia, 1804-1813,) tom. ix. art. 15.

[102] Herrera, Indias Occidentales, dec. 1, lib. 6, cap. 18.—According to Martyr, the two mints of Hispaniola yielded 300,000 lbs. of gold annually. De Rebus Oceanicis, dec. 1, lib. 10.

[103] The pearl fisheries of Cuhagua were worth 75,000 ducats a year. Herrera, Indian Occidentales, dec 1, lib 7, cap. 9.

[104] Oviedo, Historia Natural de las Indias, lib. 4, cap. 8.—Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 165.

[105] Navarrete, Coleccion de Viages, tom. iii. documentos 1-13.—Herrera, Indias Occidentales, dec. 1. lib. 7, cap. 1.

[106] Navarrete, Coleccion de Viages, tom. iii. pp. 48, 134.

[107] Bernardin de Santa Clara, treasurer of Hispaniola, amassed, during a few years' residence there, 96,000 ounces of gold. This same nouveau riche used to serve gold dust, says Herrera, instead of salt, at his entertainments. (Indias Occidentales, dec. 1, lib. 7, cap. 3.) Many believed, according to the same author, that gold was so abundant, as to be dragged up in nets from the beds of the rivers! Lib. 10, cap. 14.

[108] Ante, Part II., Chapter 24.—Herrera, Indias Occidentales, dec. 1, lib. 10, cap. 6, 7.

[109] "Per esser Sevilla nel loco che e, vi vanno tanti di loro alle Indie, che la citta resta mal popolata, e quasi in man di donne." (Navagiero, Viaggio, fol. 15.) Horace said, fifteen centuries before,

"Impiger extremes curris mercator ad Indos, Per mare pauperiem fugieus, per saxa, per ignes." Epist. i. 1.

[110] Herrera, Indias Occidentales, dec. 1, lib. 9, cap. 10.—Almost all the Spanish expeditions in the New World, whether on the northern or southern continent, have a tinge of romance, beyond what is found in those of other European nations. One of the most striking and least familiar of them is that of Ferdinand de Soto, the ill-fated discoverer of the Mississippi, whose bones bleach beneath its waters. His adventures are told with uncommon spirit by Mr. Bancroft, vol. i. chap. 2, of his History of the United States.

[111] Herrera, Indias Occidentales, dec. 2, lib. 1, cap. 7.

[112] The life of this daring cavalier forms one in the elegant series of national biographies by Quintana, "Vidas de Espanoles Celebres," (tom. ii. pp. 1-82), and is familiar to the English reader in Irving's "Companions of Columbus." The third volume of Navarrete's laborious compilation is devoted to the illustration of the minor Spanish voyagers, who followed up the bold track of discovery, between Columbus and Cortes. Coleccion de Viages.

[113] Las Casas, Memoires, Oeuvres, ed. de Llorente, tom. i. p. 189.

[114] "Y crean (Vuestras Altezas) questa isla y todas las otras son asi suyas corao Castilla, que aqui no falta salvo asiento y mandarles hacer lo que quisieren." Primera Carta de Colon, apud Navarrete, Coleccion de Viages, tom. i. p. 93.

[115] Herrera, Indias Occidentales, dec. 1, lib. 8, cap. 9.—Las Casas, Oeuvres, ed. de Llorente, tom. i. pp. 228, 229.

[116] See the various Memorials of Las Casas, some of them expressly prepared for the council of the Indies. He affirms, that more than 12,000,000 lives were wantonly destroyed in the New World, within thirty- eight years after the discovery, and this in addition to those exterminated in the conquest of the country. (Oeuvres, ed. de Llorente, tom. i. p. 187.) Herrera admits that Hispaniola was reduced, in less than twenty-five years, from 1,000,000 to 14,000 souls. (Indias Occidentales, dec. 1. lib. 10, cap. 12.) The numerical estimates of a large savage population, must, of course, be in a great degree hypothetical. That it was large, however, in these fair regions, may readily be inferred from the facilities of subsistence, and the temperate habits of the natives. The minimum sum in the calculation, when the number had dwindled to a few thousand, might be more easily ascertained.

[117] Oeuvres, ed. de Llorente, tom. i. p. 228.

[118] One resident at the court, says the bishop of Chiapa, was proprietor of 800, and another of 1100 Indians. (Oeuvres, ed. de Llorente, tom. i. p. 238.) We learn their names from Herrera. The first was Bishop Fonseca, the latter the comendador Conchillos, both prominent men in the Indian department. (Indias Occidentales, dec. 1, lib. 9, cap. 14.) The last-named person was the same individual sent by Ferdinand to his daughter in Flanders, and imprisoned there by the archduke Philip. After that prince's death, he experienced signal favors from the Catholic king, and amassed great wealth as secretary of the Indian board. Oviedo has devoted one of his dialogues to him. Quincuagenas, MS., bat. 1, quinc. 3, dial. 9.

[119]The Dominican and other missionaries, to their credit be it told, labored with unwearied zeal and courage for the conversion of the natives, and the vindication of their natural rights. Yet these were the men, who lighted the fires of the Inquisition in their own land. To such opposite results may the same principle lead, under different circumstances!

[120] Las Casas concludes an elaborate memorial, prepared for the government, in 1542, on the best means of arresting the destruction of the aborigines, with two propositions. 1. That the Spaniards would still continue to settle in America, though slavery were abolished, from the superior advantages for acquiring riches it offered over the Old World. 2. That if they would not, this would not justify slavery, since "God forbids us to do evil that good may come of it." Rare maxim, from a Spanish churchman of the sixteenth century! The whole argument, which comprehends the sum of what has been since said more diffusely in defence of abolition, is singularly acute and cogent. In its abstract principles it is unanswerable, while it exposes and denounces the misconduct of his countrymen, with a freedom which shows the good bishop knew no other fear than that of his Maker.

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