Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

CHAP. V.

Arrival off Cadiz-Sketch of its Ancient and Modern History-View of the City and its Vicinity-Decrease in its PopulationCauses thereofPleasing IntercourseAbundant Supplies-Departure for Lisbon -Arrival at Gibraltar.

A FEW days brought us safely into the bay of Cadiz, and amidst a British fleet, when I was removed to a temporary abode, on board the Admiral's ship. During my stay, though at war with Spain, the communication with Cadiz,, was pleasingly open, especially during the period when negociations for a general peace were on foot; at which my heart beat high in expectation, and desire of its accomplishment.

Cadiz is a place of great antiquity, its commodious harbour and situation for commerce, attracted the notice and attention of those early, and indefatigable navigators

known by the name of Phoenicians; who founded a colony here. It was afterwards incorporated with the Empire of Rome; till the decline and fall of that colossus; when those dreadful wars between the Saracens and native Spaniards, in a measure terminated in the subjugation of the latter. The Saracens held it, till with other parts of Spain, it was reconquered by the natives; and the intruders were expelled the country. It has ever since been a place of note, especially as to commercial affairs; indeed its spacious and secure harbour, and approximity to the Atlantic Ocean, and Mediterranean Sea, may always be said to secure it a degree of notice.

Its trade is considerable in time of peace. The author visited it the latter end of the year 1789, at which period its spacious harbour was well filled with shipping of almost every nation.-A pleasing sight! Since that time its commerce has been rapidly on the decrease, together with the power and prosperity of the whole of this kingdom. Indeed, long before that period,

Spain appears to have passed its zenith. Various causes may be assigned for this revolution. The first, and principal cause, appears to be, its extensive and unjust conquests in America, which drew vast numbers from Old Spain, a large proportion of which have found untimely deaths. The indolence and pride of its inhabitants may be also considered another cause of its decline. The vast influx of wealth from the gold and silver mines, and riches torn from the native inhabitants, have been the bane, instead of the real wealth of Spain. Indeed, when the conquest, subjugation, and extermination of the innocent inhabitants of many parts of Peru, Mexico, &c. is considered; it must appear a just retribution that so many of their tyrannical, and cruel conquerors and of their later persecutors, and oppressors, have been so untimely cut off. The inundations and earthquakes which have happened in those devoted countries, call loudly on the nations to consider, the equity of Divine Providence, in punishing nations in this world; Mexico was so dreadfully inundated, that forty thousand per

sons perished at one time. Lima, &c. are often convulsed by earthquakes, and about the middle of the last century, 3000 perished in the Port Town only, which is small, compared with the whole of Lima, which suffered by it; and several other parts are proofs of the fact.

Other causes may be assigned for the decrease in the population, and consequently in the prosperity of Spain, such as the Popish Inquisition; the expulsion of the Moors and Jews; the celibacy of the clergy, and the numerous convents, where so many female inhabitants are (not unfrequently) involuntarily immured in the splendid captivity of specious superstition; though blessed be God, several of these cease to predominate as they did formerly.

The inhabitants of Cadiz, have been calculated at upwards of one hundred thousand, which is, at present, far above the real number, probably sixty thousand is now their utmost extent. The Roman Catholic, as may be easily concluded from

[ocr errors]

what is said above, is the prevailing and almost only religion of Spain. They are still enveloped with the night of ignorance, and superstition; but they have lately made advances to loosen some of its fetters. As a proof of this, I with pleasure adduce the fact of the decrease of the power of that cruel, and terrible court, the Inquisition. May the Lord, May the Lord, in mercy, soon exterminate it from the face of the earth! It appears that no ecclesiastic, can now carry any sentence into execution without the royal authority, which has lately been exerted to curb the haughty spirits of ignorant and licentious priests, and to encourage agriculture, and other arts, intimately connected with the prospe rity of nations.

The Spaniards, in general, are swarthy; but often of a pleasing aspect, and there is an expression of dignity, even about the lower orders, which is rarely discovered in other countries; this dignity, or conscious integrity, when real, raises them above many of those mean and base actions, which

F

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »