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advantage of the weakness and distress of their monarchs, had seized some parts of the royal demesne, obtained grants of others, and having gradually wrested almost the whole out of the hands of the princes, had annexed them to their own estates. The titles by which most of the grandees held their lands were extremely defective: it was from some successful usurpation, which the crown had been too feeble to dispute, that many derived their only claim to possession. An inquiry carried back to the origin of these encroachments, which were almost coeval with the feudal system, was impracticable; as it would have stripped every nobleman in Spain of great part of his lands, it must have excited a general revolt.


Such a step was too bold, even for the enterprising spirit of Ximenes. He confined himself to the reign of Ferdinand : and beginning with the pensions granted during that time, refused to make any further payment, because all right to them expired with his life. He then called to account such as had acquired crown-lands under the administration of that monarch, and at once resumed whatever he had alienated : the effects of this revocation extended to many persons of high rank, for, though Ferdinand was a prince of little generosity, yet he and Isabella having been raised to the throne of Castile by a powerful faction of the nobles, they were obliged to reward the zeal of their adherents with great liberality, and the royal demesnes were their only fund for that purpose.


Such persons

After his departure everything tended to the wildest anarchy. Faction and discontent had often risen so high among the old settlers that they could hardly be kept within bounds. The spirit of the new-comers was too ungovernable to bear any restraint. Several among them of better rank were such dissipated, hopeless young men as their friends were glad to send out in quest of whatever fortune might betide them in a foreign land. Of the lower order, many were so profligate or desperate, that their country was happy to throw them out as nuisances to society. were little capable of the regular subordination, the strict economy, and persevering industry, which their situation required. The Indians observing their misconduct, and that every precaution for sustenance or safety was neglected, not only withheld the supplies of provisions which they were accustomed to furnish, but also harassed them with continual hostilities. All their subsistence was derived from the stores which they had brought from England: these were soon consumed ; then the domestic animals sent out to breed in the country were devoured ; and by this inconsiderate waste they were reduced to such extremity of famine, as not only to eat the most nauseous and unwholesome roots and berries, but to feed on the bodies of the Indians whom they slew, and even on those of their companions who sank under the oppression of such complicated distresses. In less than six months, of five hundred persons whom Smith left in Virginia, only sixty remained : and they so feeble and dejected that they could not have survived for ten days if succour had not arrived from a quarter whence they did not expect it.


He thought that the people of that country, sick of an efsete government, would be quiescent under such a change ; and although it should prove otherwise, the confidence he reposed in his own fortune, unrivalled talents, and vast power, made him disregard the consequences, while the cravings of his military and political system, the danger to be apprehended from the vicinity of a Bourbon dynasty, and above all the temptations offered by a miraculous folly which outrun even his desires, urged him to a deed that, well accepted by the people of the Peninsula, would have proved beneficial, but being enforced contrary to their wishes was unhallowed either by justice or benevolence.


In an evil hour for his own greatness and the happiness of others, he commenced this fatal project. Founded in violence, and executed with fraud, it spread desolation through the fairest portions of the Peninsula, was calamitous to France, destructive to himself; and the conflict between his hardy veterans and the vindictive race he insulted assumed a character of unmitigated ferocity disgraceful to human nature—for the Spaniards did not fail to defend their just cause with hereditary cruelty, while the French army struck a terrible balance of barbarous actions. Napoleon observed with surprise the unexpected energy of the people, and therefore bent his whole force to the attainment of his object, while England, coming to the assistance of the Peninsula, employed all her resources to frustrate his efforts. Thus the two leading nations of the world were brought into contact at a moment when both were disturbed by angry passions, eager for great events, and possessed of surprising power.


No sooner had he thus won the crown than he endeavoured to consolidate on a fresh basis of law, justice, and morality, a throne which owed its origin to violent and bloody usurpation. Being aware that a state of warfare, with its inevitably brutalising tendencies, was fatal to the assimilation of these better principles, he made it his first object to humanise his subjects by weaning them from the soldier's life, and by familiarising them with peaceful pursuits. After gaining the goodwill of the neighbouring governments by treaties of alliance, he felt that the rude spirits of his nation needed some restraining influence to compensate for the withdrawal of foreign foes and of military discipline. He recognised the necessity of a state religion, as the most effective of all checks that could be brought to bear on masses of men, in the low level of culture and civilisation to which his countrymen had then attained.


It is not the purpose of this work to enter into any minute descriptions of the Roman exercises. We shall only remark that they comprehended whatever could add strength to the body, activity to the limbs, or grace to the motions. The soldiers were diligently instructed to march, to run, to leap, to swim, to carry heavy burdens, to handle every species of arms that was used either for offence or for defence, either in distant engagement or in a closer onset: to form a variety of evolutions; and to move to the sound of flutes, in the Pyrrhic or martial dance. In the midst of peace, the Roman troops familiarised themselves with the practice of war; and it is prettily remarked by an ancient historian who had fought against them, that the effusion of blood was the only circumstance which distinguished a field of battle from a field of exercise.


But the prospect at home was not over-clouded merely; it was the very deepest darkness of misery. It has been well said that long periods of general suffering make far less impression on our minds, than the short sharp struggle in which a few distinguished individuals perish; not that we overestimate the horror and the guilt of times of open

bloodshedding, but we are much too patient of the greater misery and greater sin of periods of quiet legalised oppression; of that most deadly of all evils, when law, and even religion herself, are false to their divine origin and purpose, and their voice is no longer the voice of God, but of his enemy. In such cases the evil derives advantage, in a manner, from the very amount of its own enormity. No pen can record, no volume can contain, the details of the daily and hourly sufferings of a whole people, endured without intermission, through the whole life of man, from the cradle to the grave. The mind itself can scarcely comprehend the wide range of the mischief.

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