« AnteriorContinuar »
cumstances of his death will prove, to any one not quite ignorant of the rudiments of pathology, to be perfectly groundless.
It is strange that the author of Don Esteban,' who is so fond of striking scenes, and goes so often out of his way in search of the picturesque, should not have favoured us with a description of Clararosa's funeral. We will supply his omission, in order that those who wonder why the people of Spain allowed the French army to cross the whole of the Peninsula without opposition, may explain the fact to themselves.—The man had been allowed to quit the prison when he became alarmingly ill; and consequently his body was,
after his death, in the care of his friends the violent comuneros. These friends of freedom determined to set every feeling of the country at defiance, in order to honour their protegé according to the principles of the association. The body was dressed, not in the monkish frock, which is the established shroud in Spain, but in a coat and cocked-hat. In imitation of the funeral of the despondent lover Chrysostom, described by Cervantes, the body was carried to the burial-ground beyond the city gates, covered with copies of his own tracts, and with flowers. Å band of blind men, who are the regular hawkers of newspapers in Spain, preceded the coftin; an immense mob composed of Clararosa's readers, the lowest of the populace, followed it.
NO clergy attended the procession, though their attendance is an established custom. Instead of the usual psalms, republican songs were vociferated by the crowd; and thus the unfortunate priest, who during his life had attacked the first principles of Christian faith and morality, was made, even after death, an instrument of open insult to every Christian feeling.- We take no pleasure in recording these deeds of shame. But it is necessary that the
. public should know what principles and maxims are prevalent among a party which seems to be even now far from quiescent. For anything we know, the lodge or castle, (we do not care to be very correct in such a nomenclature,) which in London prepared the mutiny of the Isla, may still exist in this capital—we think it extremely likely that it does. These glowing descriptions of Spanish freemasonry-these atrocious libels on the king and his party which have appeared in six volumes, within a short period, may be intended as party engines to prepare the public mind for some embryo plan to increase the miseries of Spain by a fresh convulsion :- we strongly suspect that such is the unhappy truth of the case.
We decidedly condemn the severe system which has been pursued in Spain against the partisans of the Cortes. But must not such works as Don Esteban and Sandoval increase the violence of the king's party against the liberales? Is it not possible
that one object of such publications may be to preclude an amnesty which would separate those who might return to their homes with equal advantage to themselves and their country, from those who have forfeited their liberty, and perhaps their lives, to the real justice of the laws ?
It is a subject of annual declamation in parliament, that Spain is allowed to remain in the military possession of a French army. Let those who are disposed to blame the government for their supposed apathy upon this subject, examine the spirit of the books which we have been considering, and they will not be in want of official papers to obtain a satisfactory answer.
a satisfactory answer. From everything we know of the state of Spain it would be cruel to leave her entirely to herself for the present; nor is it from any excessive tenderness for the bigoted and royalist party that we fear the premature removal of a foreign force from her soil. Our fears and concern have the moderate constitutionalists, both in Spain and among us, for their object. We wish to see the exile and priyations of the latter at an end, and feel sincere anxiety for the safety of the former. But there is no hope for either, unless the great mass of the Spanish population are prevented from giving way to their hatred of all who have, in any degree, supported the constitution. We do not make this assertion upon vague surmise. We have good reasons for asserting that the Duke d’Angoulême intended to have made the establishment of a Political Charter the condition of the restoration of Ferdinand. But such was the almost universal hatred which these anti-Christian and murderous Secret Societies had created against anything like a constitution, that he was soon compelled to perceive that even his military force would not have been sufficient to keep his kinsman on the throne under any charter. The fact, though not the cause, is acknowledged in the tract already quoted, from the Español Constitucional; and in that part of it which the author, a Spaniard of high respectability, has sanctioned with his name.*
There is a very numerous body of Spaniards who would most gladly sacrifice their lives to the improvement of their country, by means of a definite charter of popular liberties. But a sad experience has abundantly taught these that such an improvement cannot originate in the mass of the Spanish people. Any attempt at re-establishing the Spanish Constitution, by a violent overthrow of the present system, must fail, after shedding torrents of blood. No moderation can be expected, either from the constitutionalists or royalists, in their present state of violent exasperation. Both have already tasted and re-tasted blood, and every alternate
* Español Const. No. XLI. p. 45.
superiority superiority over each other must increase that horrible and insatiable thirst. The Liberal soldiers who, in 1814, according to this same Sandoval, were determined to burn an officer alive, for being the bearer of Abisbal's* proclamation in favour of the king, and the general and officers who waited to hear the desuined victim's protestations, before they interposed to save him, —these soldiers, the heroes of our Freemason-novelist, cannot be fit instruments for the restoration of liberty to their country. Nor are we more disposed to expect any improvement from the Soldiers of the Faith, and their leaders. Whatever is to benefit Spain must proceed from the royal authority of that country, under the advice and influence of more enlightened nations. But no moral power can exert itself in favour of a people as yet so fearfully divided; all that humanity can achieve, is to prevent the opposite parties from imbruing their hands in each other's blood. The occupation of Spain by a foreign army is melancholy, is galling to every one who loves that unfortunate country; but, if there be a class of Spaniards who derive any direct personal benefit from it, we must not look for them among the Serviles. The French army has been now four years affording protection to those moderate friends of Spanish liberty, who are still confounded in Spain by a blind and irritated populace with those who are the real cause of their irritation. It
be the interest of some Spaniards to prolong this state of things by means of such books as Don Esteban and Sandoval; but it is also the duty of every true friend of Spain to watch and expose the workings of a political spirit which is the true cause of her present miserable degradation.
**No sooner was the purport of the proclamation discovered by the assembled multitude, than cries of " To the fire with it—to the fire with it—and its infamous owner!"--At these words the speaker suddenly disappeared ; his supporters, alarmed at the doon pronounced by the crowd, dropped their load, and endeavoured to escape the fury of their comrades by mixing with them. The orator, however, was not so fortunate; for, as he fell down, he was collared by some of those who were nearest to liim, and kept fast, to undergo tive summary sentence passed upon him. Meantime, several of the soldiers were seen climbing to the windows of the surrounding houses, and presently chairs and tables were hurled out of them to furnish fuel for the intended political auto-da-fe. In a few minutes the pile was prepared in the middle of the square ; volumes of thick smoke rose on high, performing their vertical evolutions, followed by immense sparkles, and at length by a pyramidical column of flame, which waved its terrific radiance over the heads of the infuriated soldiery. During these fearful preparations, the destined victim was protesting to heaven and all its saints, that he was perfectly innocent of any evil intentions; that he had not read the proclamation previous to his reading it in public and, consequently, could not know its contents; and that, moreover, he was as ready as any of them to lose his blood in support of the Constitution. General Cienfuegos, who heurd his protestations, and various officers of the staff who were then present, interposed in his behalf, and obtained his acquitial, to the no small disappointment of many soldiers, who had been feusting their imaginations with the prospect of seeing a Servile roasted.'-Sandoval, vol. i. p. 78.
Art. IX.-Transactions of the Geological Society of London.
Vol. i. 2d Series. London. 1824. THAT HAT the speculations in geology are peculiarly vague and
unsatisfactory-the observations uncertain-and the deductions inconclusive—these appear to be notions not yet quite out of fashion, although the number of facts and discoveries established by this science during an exceedingly brief period of time, are perhaps unprecedented in the whole history of physical inquiry. Il n'est pas de science plus avide de faits que l'éco.
' nomie politique,' observed Talleyrand;* and geologists have long felt the necessity of applying similar language to their own pursuit. But, in truth, to estimate fairly the value of the results already obtained by geological research, is as yetscarcely possible; so much are we lost in the contemplation of that wide range of subjects, concerning which curiosity has been for the first time awakened, and ignorance made apparent. As we advance, new prospects open to the eye at every step, and the imagination is often so busily engaged in anticipating future conquests, that those already achieved are very apt to be forgotten.
Persons not immediately employed in these investigations hear only of conflicting hypotheses and disputed facts; of the questions, for instance, whether certain rocks are of igneous or aqueous origin--whether contemporaneous with the associated strata, os subsequently intruded—whether certain formations or groups of strata are co-extensive with the surface of the globem-whether the earth's temperature has diminished—and various others equally difficult and hitherto undecided. But however numerous the disputable points may appear, they are insignificant when contrasted with facts and conclusions now universally conceded. That, for example, the strata composing the crust of the globe are not thrown together in inexplicable confusion, but arranged in a regular order of superposition; that this order is never inverted; that the greater part, whatever be their present elevation, were once deposited at the bottom of the sea; that they have been subject, at different, and often distant, epochs, to violent convulsions; that their dislocation and contortions are most remarkable in the neighbourhood of great mountain chains; that certain series of strata are continuous over extensive districts, and often characterized throughout by peculiar assemblages of organic remains; that in the very oldest rocks no impressions of plants or animals have been discovered; that such organized bodies as occur in ancient strata differ most widely from those at present
* Ménoire sur les Relations Commerciales, &c. p. 5. 1797.,
known to enjoy life; that as we ascend in the series, from the lowest towards more recent deposits, an approximation may be traced in the characters of the fossil species to those of the species now in life; that many classes of these fossil remains are so perfect and entire that their nature can be accurately determined by naturalists; that fossil plants and animals abound in high latitudes belonging to families and genera now confined to tropical climates ; -these and a multitude of other discoveries are no longer contested, and are all well worthy of admiration ;-some for their practical utility; others for the refutation of popular errors and ancient theoretical fallacies,--all for the new insight they afford into that grand and boundless scheme of nature, in the midst of which the human race are placed.
The first investigators of the mineral structure of the earth directed their chief attention to the primary rocks, for these are fertile in metallic riches, and may be studied in mountainous districts without the aid of artificial excavation. But the spirit of inquiry kindled by Werner and his scholars in Upper Saxony soon extended to the banks of the Seine, and here at home de scended from the Pentland Hills and the Grampians, where it had engaged the powerful minds of Hutton and Playfair, to the naturalists of our southern plains. Geology, thus transplanted into a new soil, immediately assumed an altered form and aspect, and in the hands of its new cultivators yielded fruit of a different and much more attractive kind. Until within the last twenty years, the secondary strata were regarded with as much indifference as the sand and pebbles of Alpine torrents, or the muddy sediment of lowland rivers. It was never suspected that they contained the records of various and extensive revolutions in the condition of the land and ocean, as well as in the classes of organized beings with which our globe has been successively peopled. Still less was it supposed that evidence could be deduced from the same sources illustrative of the original formation and subsequent disturbances of older rocks. The examination of the volume before us has led us to the consideration of these
comparatively modern strata, and its contents afford a satisfactory answer to the few cui bono philosophers, who may question in what manner geological researches can contribute to the advancement of the useful arts or the enlargement of the human mind. The real importance of geology in promoting the general interests of society certainly does not consist in a direct and immediate tendency to advance the useful arts, although we shall have opportunities of showing that it can lend its aid to these collaterally. Its chief claim to our estimation is founded on the new impulse imparted by its discoveries to minds engaged in prosecuting