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EFFECTS WHICH THE SUPPRESSION OF THE REFORMATION PRODUCED ON SPAIN.
TYRANNY, while it subjects those against whom it is immediately directed to great sufferings, entails still greater misery on the willing instruments of its vengeance. Spain boasts of having extirpated the reformed opinions from her territory; but she has little reason to congratulate herself on the consequences of her blind and infatuated policy. She has paid, and is still paying, the forfeit of her folly and crimes, by the loss of civil and religious liberty, and by the degradation into which she has sunk among the nations.
Other causes, no doubt, contributed to produce this melancholy issue; but that it is to be traced chiefly to a corrupt religion, will appear from a general comparison of the condition of Spain with other European nations, and from an examination of her internal state.
It is a fact now admitted on all hands, that the Reformation has ameliorated the state of government and society in all the countries into which it was received. By exciting inquiry and diffusing knowledge, it led to the discovery and correction of abuses; imposed a check, by public opinion, if not by statute, on the arbitrary will of princes; generated a spirit of liberty among the people; gave a higher tone to morals; and imparted a strong impulse to the human mind in the career of invention and improvement.
These benefits have been felt to a certain degree in countries into which the reformed religion was only partially introduced, or whose inhabitants, from local situation and other causes, were brought into close contact with protestants. But while these nations were advancing with different degrees of rapidity in improvement,—acquiring free governments, cultivating literature and science, or extending their commerce and increasing their resources,—Spain, though possessed of equal or greater advantages, became stationary, and soon began to retrograde. It is impossible to account for this phenomenon from any peculiarity in her political condition at the middle of the sixteenth century. Italy was in very different circumstances in this respect, and yet we find the two countries nearly in the same condition, owing to their having pursued the same measures in regard to religion. On the other hand, the political state of France, at the era referred to, was very similar to that of Spain. The nobles had been stripped of their feudal power in both countries; the French parliaments had become as passive instruments in the hands of the sovereign as the Spanish cortes; and both kingdoms were equally exhausted by the wars which for more than half a century they had waged against one another. But the bulls of the Vatican had not the same free course in France as in the Peninsula.
The Reformation deposited a seed in that country which all the violence and craft of Louis XIV., a despot as powerful as Philip II., could not eradicate; and though persecution drove from its soil thousands of its most industrious citizens, yet, as there was no Inquisition there, literature and the arts survived the shock. The consequence has been, that, after coming out of the storms of a revolution which long raged with most destructive fury, and being subjected to a military government of unparalleled strength, France still holds a place among the great powers of Europe, nor has she been entirely stripped of her liberties, though she has received back that family which formerly reigned over her with unlimited authority; while Spain, after being long subject to a branch of the same family, and participating of all the effects of the revolutionary period, is now lying prostrate and in chains at the feet of a despot and his ghostly ministers.
The unsuccessful attempt to reform religion in Spain led to the perpetuation of the tribunal of the Inquisition, not only by affording a pretext for arming it with new powers, but by increasing the influence which it already exerted over the public mind. It became the boast of that tribunal that it had extirpated the northern heresy, and henceforth all true Spaniards were taught to regard it as the palladium of their religion. This, if it did not entail the miseries of tyranny and ignorance in Spain, at least sealed the entail. To the superficial and egotistical philosophy, which is too often to be met with in the present day, we owe the discovery, that the Inquisition was no cause of the decline of the Spanish nation, inasmuch as it was merely the organ of the government. That the Spanish monarchs employed it as an engine of state, we have seen, and that it could not have tortured the bodies, or invaded the property of the subjects, without power conveyed to it by the state, is self-evident; but it is equally true that it was in itself a moral power, and exerted its authority over the minds of both princes and subjects. When Macanaz persuaded Philip V. to lay restraints on the transmission of money to Rome, his Holiness, by means of the Inquisition, not only drove the minister into exile, but forced his master to retract the law which he had passed, and, in a letter addressed to the council of the Supreme, to confess, that, led astray by evil counsel, he had rashly put his hand into the sanctuary. And to complete its triumph, the enlightened Macanaz, while in France, was induced to write a defence of the Holy Office, which is appealed to by its apologists in Spain to this day. When at a recent period the cortes wished to abolish that tribunal, they were made to feel that it had an existence independently of their authority, and a foundation deeper than that which mere laws had given it.
But civil and religious despotism are natural allies. Though the Inquisition exalted the power of the pope above that of the king, and its advocates have sometimes had recourse to the principles of civil liberty to vindicate the restraint and dethronement of princes who proved refractory to the church, yet it all along yielded the most effective support to the arbitrary measures of the government, and exerted its influence in crushing every proposal to correct abuses in the state, and stifling the voice of complaint.
Under other forms of despotism, actions, or the external manifestation of liberal opinions, have been visited with punishment; but in Spain every reflection on politics was denounced by the monks as damnable heresy, and proscribed in the sanctuary of conscience.
Ever since the suppression of the Reformation it has been the great object of the inquisitors and ruling clergy to arrest the progress of knowledge.
With this view they have exercised the most rigid and vigilant inspection of the press and the seminaries of education. Lists of prohibited books have been published from time to time, including vernacular translations of the Bible, and the writings not only of the reformers, but also of Roman catholics who discovered the slightest degree of liberality in their sentiments, or who treated their subjects in such a way as to encourage a spirit of inquiry. A commentary on the Pentateuch by Oleaster, a member of the council of Trent, and a Portuguese inquisitor, which had been several years in circulation, was ordered to be called in and corrected, because the author had ventured to depart from the Vulgate and the interpretations of the fathers. The commentaries of Jean Ferus, a French monk, who had availed himself of the learning of the protestants, were censured as containing “the heretical sentiments of Luther;” and for reprinting them in Spain, Michael de Medina, guardian of the Franciscans at Toledo, was thrown into the secret prisons of the Inquisition, and was saved from the disgrace of making a public recantation, only by a premature death. Arias Montanus was under the necessity of defending himself against the charges which the inquisitorial censors brought against his polyglot Bible, published under the patronage of Philip II. Luis de Leon, professor of divinity at Salamanca, having written a translation of the Song of Solomon in Spanish, to which he added short explanatory notes, was confined for five years in the dungeons of the Inquisition; and his poetical paraphrases of the book of Job and other parts of scripture, distinguished for their elegance and purity, were long suppressed. f595 The taste for theological studies, which had been produced by the revival of letters in Spain, survived for some time the suppression of the Reformation. It was cherished in secret by individuals, who, convinced that the protestants excelled in the interpretation of scripture, appropriated their writings in whole or in part, and published them as their own. The Latin Bible, with notes, by Leo Juda, and other Swiss divines, after undergoing certain corrections, was printed at Salamanca with the approbation of the censors of the press; but the real authors being discovered, it was subsequently put into the index of prohibited books. Hyperius, a reformed divine, was the author of an excellent book on the method of interpreting the scriptures. Having removed from it every thing which appeared to contradict the tenets of the church of Rome, Lorenzo de Villavicencio, an Augustinian monk of Xeres in Andalusia, published that work as his own, not even excepting the preface; and in consequence of the little intercourse which subsisted between Spain and the north of Europe, nearly half a century elapsed before the plagiarism was detected. Martini Martinez was less fortunate; for publishing a similar work, in which he exalted the originals above the Vulgate, he was subjected to penance, and prohibited from writing for the future. Precluded from every field of inquiry or discussion, the divines of Spain addicted themselves exclusively to the study of scholastic and casuistic theology.
The same tyranny was extended to other branches of science, even those which are most remotely connected with religion. All books on general subjects composed by protestants, or translated by them, or containing notes written by them, were strictly interdicted. A papal bull, dated August 1627, took from metropolitans, patriarchs, and all but the inquisitor general, the privilege of reading prohibited books. Nicolas Antonio, the literary historian of Spain, was obliged to remain five years in Rome before he obtained this privilege, with the view of finding materials for his national work. The Pontifical History of Illescas was repeatedly suppressed, and the author constrained at last to put his name to a work containing sentiments and opinions dictated to him by others, and diametrically opposite to those which he had formerly given to the world. While the native historians of Spain were prevented from speaking the truth, histories written by foreigners were forbidden under the severest pains as satires on the policy and religion of the Peninsula. The consequence has been, that the Spaniards entertain the most erroneous conceptions of their own history, and are profoundly ignorant of the affairs of other countries. f601 Not satisfied with exerting a rigid censorship over the press, the inquisitors intruded into private houses, ransacked the libraries of the learned and curious, and carried off and retained at their pleasure such books as they, in their ignorance, suspected to be of a dangerous character. So late as the beginning of the eighteenth century, we find Manuel Martini, dean of Alicant, and one of the most enlightened of his countrymen in that age, complaining bitterly, in his confidential correspondence, of what he suffered from such proceedings. f602 Universities and other seminaries of education were watched with the most scrupulous jealousy. The professors in the university of Salamanca, who appear to have shown a stronger predilection for liberal science than their brethren, were forbidden to deliver lectures to their students; and similar orders were issued by Philip II. to those of the Escurial, who were instructed to confine themselves to reading from a printed book. Moral philosophy is too intimately allied both to religion and politics not to have excited the dread of the defenders of superstition and despotism; and, in fact, the feeble attempts made in Spain to throw off the degrading yoke have chiefly proceeded from the teachers of that science. This accordingly gave occasion to repeated interdicts, besides processes carried on against individuals. During the reign of Don Carlos IV., the prime minister, Caballero, sent a circular to all the universities, forbidding the study of moral philosophy, “because what his majesty wanted was, not philosophers, but loyal subjects.” Even natural philosophy, in its various branches, was placed under the same trammels, and the Copernican system is still taught in that country as an hypothesis.
Medical science is neglected; and surgeons, before entering on practice, are obliged to swear, not that they will exercise the healing art with fidelity, but that they will defend the immaculate conception of the blessed Virgin. f605 The great events which distinguished the reign of the emperor Charles V., by awakening the enthusiasm, contributed to develop the genius of the Spanish nation; and the impulse thus given to intellect continued to operate long after the cause which had produced it was removed. But the character of the degenerate age in which they lived was impressed even on the towering talents of Cervantes, Lope de Vega, and Calderon, and can be easily traced in the false ideas, childish prejudices, and gross ignorance of facts which disfigure their writings. With these master spirits of literature the genius of Spain sunk; and when it began to recover from the lethargy by which it was long oppressed, it assumed the most unnatural form.
Imagination being the only field left open to them, Spanish writers, as if they wished to compensate for the restraints under which they were laid, set aside the rules of good taste, and abandoned themselves to all the extravagancies of fancy, which they embodied in the most inflated and pedantic language. Although the natural talents of the inhabitants are excellent, there is at present no taste for literature in Spain. The lectures on experimental philosophy which Solano began to deliver gratis in the capital towards the close of the last century, though distinguished by their simplicity and elegance, were discontinued for want of an audience.
Reading is unknown except among a very limited class. Every attempt to establish a literary magazine has failed, through the listlessness of the public mind and the control of the censorship. And the spies of the police and the Inquisition have long ago banished every thing like rational conversation from those places in which the people assemble to spend their leisure hours. f607 In Italy the same causes produced the same effects. Genius, taste, and learning were crushed under the iron hand of the inquisitorial despotism.
The imprisonment of Galileo in the seventeenth, and the burning of the works of Giannone in the eighteenth century, are sufficient indications of the deplorable state of the Italians, during a period in which knowledge was advancing with such rapidity in countries long regarded by them as barbarous. When their intellectual energies began to recover, they were directed to a species of composition in which sentiment and poetry are mere accessories to sensual harmony, and the national love of pleasure could be gratified without endangering the authority of the rulers. To ennoble pleasure and render it in some degree sacred; to screen the prince from the shame of his own indolence and effeminacy; to blind the people to every consideration but that of the passing moment; and to give the author an opportunity to exert his talents without incurring the vengeance of the Inquisition—is the scope and spirit of the Italian opera. Later writers in Italy, whose productions breathe a fiery spirit of liberty, were of the French, or rather revolutionary school, and afford no criterion for judging of the national feelings and taste.
In Spain the increase of superstition, and of the numbers and opulence of the clergy, has kept pace with the growth of ignorance. The country is overrun with clergy, secular and regular. Towards the close of the last century it contained nearly nine thousand convents; and the number of persons who had taken the vow of celibacy approached to two hundred thousand. The wealth of the church was equally disproportionate to that of the nation, as the numbers of the clergy were to its population. The cathedral of Toledo, for example, besides other valuable ornaments, contained four large silver images, standing on globes of the same metal; a grand massive throne of silver, on which was placed an image of the Virgin, wearing a crown valued at upwards of a thousand pounds; and a statue of the infant Jesus, adorned with eight hundred precious stones. Six hundred priests, richly endowed, were attached to it; and the revenues of the archbishop were estimated at nearly a hundred thousand pounds. f611 The sums which are extorted by the mendicant friars, and which are paid for masses and indulgences, cannot be calculated; but the bulls of crusade alone yield a neat yearly income of two hundred thousand pounds to his Catholic Majesty, who purchases them from the pope, and retails them to his loving subjects. Equally great are the encroachments which superstition has made on the time of the inhabitants. Benedict XIV. reduced the number of holydays in the states of the church, and recommended a similar reduction in other kingdoms. But in Spain there are still ninety-three general festivals, besides those of particular provinces, parishes, and convents; to which we must add the bull-feasts, and the Mondays claimed by apprentices and journeymen. f614 Commerce and all the sources of national wealth are obstructed by persecution and intolerance. But the evil is unspeakably aggravated, when the greater part of the property of a nation is locked up, and a large proportion of its inhabitants, and of their time, is withdrawn from useful labor. Holland, with no soil but what she recovered from the ocean, waxed rich and independent, while Spain, with a third part of the world in her possession, has become poor. The city of Toledo is reduced to an eighth part of its former population; the monks remain, but the citizens have fled.
Every street in Salamanca swarms with sturdy beggars and vagabonds able to work; and this is the case wherever the clergy, convents, and hospicios are numerous. With a soil which, by its extent and fertility, is capable of supporting an equal number of inhabitants, the population of Spain is not half that of France.
The effects produced on the national character and morals are still more deplorable. Possessing naturally some of the finest qualities by which a people can be distinguished—generous, feeling, devoted, constant—the Spaniards became cruel, proud, reserved and jealous. The revolting spectacles of the auto-de-fe, continued for so long a period, could not fail to have the most hardening influence on their feelings. In Spain, as in Italy, religion is associated with crime, and protected by its sanctions.
Thieves and prostitutes have their images of the Virgin, their prayers, their holy water, and their confessors. Murderers find a sanctuary in the churches and convents. Crimes of the blackest character are left unpunished in consequence of the immunities granted to the clergy. f616 Adultery is common, and those who live habitually in this vice find no difficulty in obtaining absolution. The cortejos , or male paramours, like the cicisbei in Italy, appear regularly in the family circle. In great cities the canons of cathedrals act in this character, and the monks in villages. The parish priests live almost universally in concubinage, and all that the more correct bishops require of them is, that they do not keep their children in their own houses. Until they begin to look towards a mitre, few of the clergy think of preserving decorum in this matter. f617 The dramatical pieces composed by their most celebrated writers, and acted on the stage with the greatest applause, demonstrate the extent to which the principles of morality have been injured by fanaticism and bigotry. In one of them, after the hero has plotted the death of his wife, and accomplished that of his parents, Jesus Christ is represented as descending from heaven to effect his salvation by means of a miracle. In another, an incestuous brigand and professed assassin preserves, in the midst of his crimes, his devotion for the cross, at the foot of which he was born, and the impress of which he bears on his breast. He erects a cross over each of his victims; and being at last slain, God restores him to life in order that a saint might receive his confession, and thus secure his admission into heaven. In another piece, Alfonso VI. receives the capitulation of the Moors of Toledo, and, in the midst of his court and knights, swears to maintain their religious liberties, and to leave for their worship the largest mosque in the city. During his absence, Constance his queen violates the treaty, and places the miraculous image of the Virgin in the mosque. Alfonso is highly indignant at this breach of faith, but the Virgin surrounds Constance with a crown of glory, and convinces the king, to the great delight of the spectators, that it is an unpardonable sin to keep faith with heretics. To give one instance more; in another piece, the hero, while leading the most abandoned life, is represented as adhering to the true faith, and thus meriting the protection of St. Patrick, who follows him as his good genius to inspire him with repentance. When about to commit a murder, in addition to numbers which he had already perpetrated, he is converted by an apparition of himself, who exclaims, “What atonement can be made for a life spent in crime?” to which a voice of celestial music replies, “Purgatory.” He is then directed into St. Patrick’s Purgatory, and at the end of a few days comes out pardoned and purified.
Still more precious specimens of religious absurdity and fanaticism might have been given from the autos sacramentales, a species of composition which continued to be popular till a late period, and has employed the pens of the most celebrated writers in Spain.
The Italians are bound to religion chiefly by the ties of interest and pleasure. The Spaniards are naturally a grave people; their devotional feelings are strong; and had they lived under a free government, they would have welcomed a purer worship, when, after a long period of ignorance, it was unveiled to their eyes, and might have proved its most enthusiastic and constant admirers. But their minds have been subjugated and their feelings perverted by a long course of debasing slavery. As to religion, the inhabitants of Spain are now divided into two classes, bigots and dissemblers. There is no intermediate class. Under such an encroaching system of faith as that of the church of Rome, which claims a right of interference with almost every operation of the human mind, the prohibition of all dissent from the established religion is a restraint sufficiently painful. But this is the least evil. Every Spaniard who disbelieves the public creed is constrained to profess himself to be what he is not, under the pain of losing all that he holds dear on earth. What with masses, and confessions, and festivals, and processions, and bowing to crosses and images, and purchasing pardons, and contributing to deliver souls from purgatory, he is every day, and every hour of the day, under the necessity of giving his countenance to what he detests as a Christian, or loathes as the cause of his country’s degradation. It is not enough that he contrives to avoid going to church or chapel: the idol presents itself to him abroad and at home, in the tavern and in the theater. He cannot turn a corner without being in danger of hearing the sound of a hand-bell which summons him to kneel in the mud, till a priest, who is carrying the consecrated host to some dying person, has moved slowly in his sedan chair from one end of the street to the other. If he dine with a friend, the passing bell is no sooner heard than the whole party rise from the table and worship. If he go to the theater, the military guard at the door, by a wellknown sound of his drum, announces the approach of a procession, upon which “Su Magestad! Dios, Dios!” resounds through the house; the play is instantly suspended, and the whole assembly, actors and spectators, fall on their knees, in which attitude they remain until the sound of the bell has died away, when the amusement is resumed with fresh spirit. He has scarcely returned to his inn, when a friar enters, bearing a large lanthorn with painted glass, representing two persons enveloped with flames, and addresses him, “The holy souls, brother! Remember the holy souls.” f623 Religion in its purity is calculated to soothe and support the mind under the unavoidable calamities of life; but when perverted by superstition, it aggravates every evil to which men are exposed, by fostering delusive confidence, and leading to the neglect of those natural means which tend to avert danger, or alleviate distress. In Spain every city, every profession, and every company of artisans, has its tutelary saint, on whose miraculous interposition the utmost reliance is placed. The merchant, when he embarks his goods for a foreign country, instead of insuring them against the dangers of the sea in the ordinary way, seeks for security by paying his devotions to the shrine of the saint under whose protection the vessel sails.
There is scarcely a disease affecting the human body which is not submitted to the healing power of some member of the calendar. So late as 1801, when the yellow fever prevailed in Seville, the civil authorities, instead of adopting precautionary measures for abating the violence of that pestilential malady, applied to the archbishop for the solemn prayers called Rogativas; and not trusting to these, they resolved to carry in procession a fragment of the true cross, preserved in the cathedral of Seville, which had formerly chased away an army of locusts, together with a large wooden crucifix, which, in 1649, had arrested the progress of the plague. The inhabitants flocked to the church; and the consequence was, that the heat, fatigue, and anxiety of a whole day spent in this ridiculous ceremony, increased the disease in a tenfold proportion. f624 Popery, by the false light and repulsive form in which it represents Christianity, tends naturally to produce deism and irreligion. In France, where a certain degree of liberty was enjoyed, it led at first to the covert dissemination and afterwards to the bold avowal of infidel opinions, by those who had the greatest influence over the public mind. In countries where a rigid system of police, civil and ecclesiastical, has been kept up, its operation has been different, but not less destructive to national character and the real interests of religion. The great body of the unbelievers, anxious only for present enjoyment, and regarding religion in no other light than as an engine of state, have made no scruple of fostering the popular credulity, that they might share its fruits; while those of more generous and independent spirit, writhing under the degrading yoke, have given way to irritation of feeling, and, confounding Christianity with an intolerant superstition, cherish the desperate hope that religion, in all its forms, will one day be swept from the earth, as the support of tyranny and the bane of human happiness. It is well known that the Italian clergy have for a long time given the most unequivocal proofs that they disbelieve those doctrines, and feel indifferent to those rites, from which they derive their maintenance and wealth. We were formerly aware that the principles of irreligion were widely diffused among the reading classes in Spain; but more ample information, furnished by recent events, has disclosed the fact, that this evil is not confined to the laity, and that infidelity is as common among the educated Spanish clergy as vice is among the vulgar crowd of priests. There is a lightness attached to the character of the Italians, which, together with the recollection that they have been the chief instruments of enslaving the Christian world, disposes us to turn away from the manifestations of their irreligion with feelings of contempt. But such is the native dignity of the Spanish character, and its depth of feeling, that we dwell with a mixed emotion of pity and awe on the ravages which infidelity is making on so noble a structure. Who can read the following description by a Spaniard without the strongest sympathy for such of his countrymen as are still in that “gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity” from which he was so happily rescued! “Where there is no liberty, there can be no discrimination. The ravenous appetite, raised by a forced abstinence, makes the mind gorge itself with all sorts of food. I suspect I have thus imbibed some false and many crude notions from my French masters. But my circumstances preclude the calm and dispassionate examination which the subject deserves. Exasperated by the daily necessity of external submission to doctrines and persons I detest and despise, my soul overflows with bitterness. Though I acknowledge the advantages of moderation, none being used towards me, I practice none, and in spite of my better judgment learn to be a fanatic on my own side. Pretending studious retirement, I have fitted up a small room to which none by confidential friends find admission. There lie my prohibited books in perfect concealment, in a wellcontrived nook under a staircase. The Breviary alone, in its black binding, clasps, and gilt leaves, is kept upon the table, to check the doubts of any chance intruder.” The same person writes at a subsequent period: “The confession is painful indeed, yet due to religion itself—I was bordering on atheism. If my case were singular, if my knowledge of the most enlightened classes of Spain did not furnish me with a multitude of sudden transitions from sincere faith and piety to the most outrageous infidelity, I would submit to the humbling conviction that either weakness of judgment or fickleness of character had been the only source of my errors. But though I am not at liberty to mention individual cases, I do attest, from the most certain knowledge, that the history of my own mind is, with little variation, that of a great portion of the Spanish clergy. The fact is certain; I make no individual charge; every one who comes within the description may still wear the mask, which no Spaniard can throw off without bidding an eternal farewell to his country.” f627 It is evident from this slight sketch that there are many and powerful obstacles to the regeneration of Spain. Superstition is interwoven with her national habits and feeling; and civil and spiritual despotism are bound together by an indissoluble league, while they find a powerful auxiliary in the depraved morals of the people; for liberty has not a greater enemy than licentiousness, and an immoral people can neither preserve their freedom when they have it, nor regain it after it has been lost. But what augurs worse than perhaps any thing else for Spain is, that it does not possess a class of persons animated by the spirit of that reformation to which the free states of Europe chiefly owe their political privileges. Infidelity and skepticism, besides weakening the moral energies of the human mind, have a tendency to break up the natural alliance which subsists between civil and religious liberty. Those who are inimical or indifferent to religion cannot be expected to prove the firm and uncompromising friends of that liberty which has religion for its object. They love it not for itself, and cannot be prepared to make all sacrifices for its sake. Thus, when tyranny takes the field, brandishing its two swords, the right arm of liberty is found to be palsied. The irreligious or skeptical principles of those who have been called liberals must always excite a strong and well-grounded prejudice against their schemes. If they demand a reform in the state, the defenders of abuse have only to raise against them the cry of impiety. Bigots and hypocrites are furnished with a plausible pretext for putting them down.
And good men, who may be convinced of the corruptions which adhere to both church and state, and might be willing to co-operate in removing them, are deterred from joining in the attempt, by the apprehension that it may lead to the overthrow of all religion. It is not difficult to trace the operation of all these causes in defeating the struggles for liberty which have been made within these few years in Italy and the Peninsula.
But may we not cherish better hopes, as the result of those events which have recently induced the more enlightened portion of the Spanish nation to turn their eyes to Britain instead of France, from which they formerly looked for instruction and relief? Let us hope that those individuals who have taken refuge in this country, and whose conduct has shown that they are not unworthy of the reception they have met with, will profit by their residence among us; that any of them who, from the unpropitious circumstances in which they were placed, may have formed an unfavourable opinion of Christianity, will find their prejudices dissipated in the free air which they now breathe; that what is excellent in our religion, as well as our policy, will recommend itself to their esteem; and that, when providence shall open an honorable way for their returning to their native country, they will assist in securing to it a constitution, founded on the basis of rational liberty, in connection with a religion purified from those errors and corruptions which have wrought so much woe to Spain—which have dried up its resources, cramped and debased its genius, lowered its native dignity of character, and poisoned the fountains of its domestic and social happiness.