Imatges de pÓgina

and were repelled, and a little later the new regent obtained two signal victories over the Castilians. It was after this that an assembly of the Portuguese notables declared the defender, John of Avis, King of Portugal; but while the ambition of the Spanish king remained unabated, and the disparity in numbers and population between Castile and Portugal was so great, the independence of the smaller kingdom was in constant danger. It was saved by the genius of the bastard king and the spirit and valour of his people. At the little village of Aljubarrota the forces of Castile and Portugal met. With the Portuguese ranks five hundred English archers did great service. The Spaniards were routed, and another Portuguese victory, a little later at Valverde, assured the dominance of Portugal. A year later John of Gaunt arrived in Portugal with five thousand picked troops from England. The Castilians were cowed and sued for peace, and the alliance with England was sealed by the Portuguese king's marriage with Philippa, daughter of John of Gaunt.

The later years of this great ruler were signalised by victories over the Moors in Africa, and by triumphs of another and far more enduring kind. Of the king's three sons, all of them successful captains constant in warfare against the Spaniards, the eldest was that famous prince who has since been surnamed Henry the Navigator. This remarkable man had fought prevailingly against the Moors by sea and land, and was eventually placed by the king in chief command in Algarve, then not long wrested from the Moors. The mountain range that runs east to west in the north of the province separates Algarve militarily and climatically from Portugal and Europe. South of that range Africa has been said to begin : the green luxuriance of Portugal ceases, the land is dry and barren, and the palmetto and aloe with other subtropical shrubs take the place of the deciduous trees and underwoods of the kindlier region to the north. The rocky promontory of Sagres is the Atlantic termination of the dividing mountain range. Here the Portuguese had built a great sea fort, and here Prince Henry was placed by the king, his father, in command of a small army of observation and a fleet. From Sagres he could watch the threatening action of the still powerful fleets and forces of the Moors of the Africa main. Here Prince Henry built an astronomical observatory, studied the then almost unknown art and science of navigation, and despatched exploring expeditions at his own cost into the unknown ocean to the south and to the west. He discovered Madeira and the Azores and explored the eastern coast of Africa as far south as Cape Boiador in the Tropics. Prince Henry's fame presently drew to Sagres, as to a college of the science of navigation, the sons of Portuguese nobles, who caught from him that spirit of maritime enterprise which during the succeeding centuries made Portugal what she still is, one of the great colonising nations of the world. The rare and difficult art of colonisation was not learnt in a day by Portugal,

VoL. LXIII-No. 371


but it has never been forgotten. Other and wealthier nations have lost most of their oversea holdings, or keep them still with a rule so rigorous that it means servitude. The colonial kingdom of Portugal, under a wiser and more tolerant policy, has endured, not intact, indeed, but still a valuable and extensive kingdom beyond the seas.

The splendid example then set by Prince Henry the Navigator was followed up by Portuguese explorers and adventurers for nearly two centuries, and led to achievements and conquests of which the whole world is aware. It led to the great discoveries of Vasco da Gama, Pedro Cabral, Amerigo Vespucci, and Magalhaễs in the East and West Indies respectively, and to the conquests and tenure of part of India by Albuquerque; but these great triumphs must not diminish the fame of the man who first, in an age of comparative darkness, ignorance, and superstition, braved the terrors which the unknown seas then held for learned and simple alike.

Will this small nation of barely three millions of inhabitants ever again play a predominant part in the history of the world ? In the modern race of the nations for wealth Portugal has established no record. It is still a small and agricultural nation, striving, by means of what a Free-trader must consider a vicious system of Protection, after industrial wealth which it has never attained and will never attain. It contains, however, in its most prosperous regions, the district lying immediately north and south of the River Douro, an object-lesson in the prosperity of its yeoman farmers. This is a region where, by a slow struggle of the farmer against all the forces above him, feudal, ecclesiastic, and governmental, the small farmer has gradually won to independence and prosperity as a holder of the land. It would take more pages than this whole number contains to tell the full story of this struggle for existence and freedom which has ended in constituting a body of small yeoman farmers, their country's real strength, the like of whom is hardly to be found elsewhere.

It was mainly from among this yeomanry, from the provinces of Minho, of the two Beiras, and of Tras-os-Montes, that the regiments were recruited who fought side by side with our troops in the Peninsular War, whose hardiness and whose good pluck were the admiration of our men and officers, and of whom Wellington himself said that they were the fighting-cocks of the Peninsula.'

Space does not allow of any account of, or discussion upon, the connexion and alliances that have existed between Great Britain and Portugal, but there is every reason to believe that our ancient ally would look to us once more if ever her independence were threatened, and would not look in vain. The value of a nation as a fighting factor lies far less in its wealth and its numbers than in the spirit and warlike capacity of its people, and, so reckoned, Portugal will always count as high in the future as it has in the past. Apart from personal considerations, apart from the mutual faith and loyalty that has for centuries prevailed between Portugal and Great Britain, it is obvious

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that Portugal, with her long Atlantic seaboard and the finest harbours in western Europe, must ever be in alliance with the nation that holds command of the broad and narrow seas.

So far as tourists and travellers are concerned, Portugal has ever been a Cinderella among European nations. Few foreigners have studied her deeply, and very few have written with any wide knowledge of her history, her literature, her art, the ways and character and manners of her people, or the charms of her wonderful scenery and climate. The occasional tourist, French, German, and English, has indeed written cursory works on his impressions, but the impressions of the passing stranger who is unacquainted with the language of a country are never worth much. The popular idea of Portugal, in my own experience, is that it is a sort of second-class Spain, the people lazy and idle, the language ugly and difficult, the literature poor. This report, absolutely and demonstrably false as it is, would be corroborated by most Spaniards. Neighbour nations seldom love each other. They seldom understand each other, and Spaniards and Portuguese are no exception. This attitude towards each other has been likened to that of two men sitting back to back on a bench who will neither turn nor speak to each other.

It is of course an error to consider either Spaniards or Portuguese as a single race. Galicians, Asturians, Aragonese, Castilians, and Andalusians differ among themselves as much as the man of northern Portugal from the dweller south of the Tagus. The difference in both countries is often as marked as that between Germans and Italians.

Portugal has been less written about than perhaps any country of its size and importance in Europe. The difficult Portuguese language has been a bar to the traveller and travel-writer. It happens, however, that an excellent travel book on Portugal has just appeared. Tourist book would be a better name for Major Hume's Through Portugal. It is only the record of a hasty passage through the country, but the writer is anything but a hasty writer or a superficial observer. He is a close student and accepted authority on the affairs of Spain-cosas d'España—and he came to Portugal, as he confesses, possessed of some of the common prejudices of the Spaniard about Portugal and the Portuguese. These prejudices were quickly dissipated when the author crossed the frontier.

I had been brought up (says Major Hume) in the stiff Castilian tradition that Portugal was altogether an inferior country, and the Portuguese uncouth boors wbo in their separation from their Spanish kinsmen had left to the latter all the virtues whilst they themselves had retained all the vices of the race. But witbal I chose Portugal, and have made this book my Apologia as a selfprescribed penance for my former injustice towards the most beautiful country and the most unspoilt and courteous peasantry in Southern Europe. Portugal and the Portuguese, indeed, have fairly conquered me, and the voyage of which some of the incidents are here set forth was for me a continual and unadulterated delight from beginning to end, bringing to me refreshment and renewed vigour of soul, mind, and body, opening to my eyes, though they had seen much of the world, prospects of beauty unsurpassed in my experience, and revealing objects of antiquarian and artistic interest unsuspected by most of those to whom the attractions of the regular record of European travel have grown flat and familiar. It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of such a verdict coming from such a source. I need only say that it corroborates and entirely coincides with my own opinion of the people, arrived at by living among them during many long years.

It is more than fifteen years since I left Portugal, but the country is one where change comes seldom and comes slowly. In hardly anything has there been movement and alteration, except in accessibility from the outside. Portugal, a little while ago, was hardly to be reached except by sea. Now there is good and direct railway connexion from Calais with Oporto and with Lisbon. It was then a country for the traveller and not for the tourist. Major Hume dwells upon its fitness for tourist travel at the present time. With this difference of geographical accessibility Portugal is, as I have said, nearly the same now as it was ten, twenty, perhaps fifty years ago. It is an agricultural country, and in its most prosperous provinces it is a land of small proprietors, farmed by the holders themselves. I speak chiefly of the region north of the Tagus. In a country where protected commerce has no scope for development there is no reason for progress, and to speak, for a Free-trader, a little boldly, no need. On a twentyacre farm there can be no room for improved agricultural machinery, or for steam ploughs, reapers, or threshers. The land is mainly hilly, the fields are tiny and often built up into terraces by supporting walls, and their surface broken by the leaders and water-channels that, in the growing season, conduct the waters of irrigation to grass, roots, and cereal crops alike. The action of an improved Newcastle plough and a pair of sixteen-hand cart-horses on such cramped ground would resemble the gambols of a mad bull in a china-shop. The Roman colonists in Portugal hit upon the most fitting implement wherewith to work such fields. It is represented on innumerable ancient basreliefs. The Roman plough, in its simpler form, is still the implement employed on the mountain farms of Portugal. It is drawn by the slow and amenable ox who turns, stops, or goes forward at a word or a touch, and treads deliberately, feeling his way amid the gourds and water-melons that encumber every Portuguese stubble-field. This plough is little more than the crooked branch of some hard-wood tree, cut from the nearest wood, of cornel or wild cherry, shod with iron and driven with a single stilt. It is so light that a man can lift it from the ground, and, when the day's work is done, the ploughman slings it between the yokes of his oxen, and thus illustrates that line of Virgil which must have puzzled many an English schoolboy :

Aspice aratra iugo referunt suspensa iuvenci. All the operations of the farm, indeed, are conducted as the Romans conducted them, except that maize has become a cereal crop

in Portugal, ever since it was imported from Brazil by the Portuguese colonists of that country in the seventeenth century, and that the Portuguese have learned from the Moors the use of the eastern waterwheel, the Nora, to draw up the water of wells and low-lying rivers.

The vine is still trained to the poplar or the elm, as in ancient Italy, or run over lofty trellis-work as it still continues to be in some other countries where the Romans have left their farm traditions. The wine is made to-day just as the Roman agricultural writers directed it to be made two thousand years ago. The fermentation is still checked by the fumes of burning sulphur, as it was in Roman times, and the traveller who drinks the common wines of Portugal may be sure that he tastes the selfsame liquor that Horace drank and sang of on his Sabine farm. There is but one difference: it was then preserved in earthen jars (amphoræ), and now in oaken barrels ; but the Roman amphora, unchanged in shape and material, is still to be seen in rural Portugal. It is borne on the women's heads to carry water from every village well.

The tourist who is guided by Major Hume's advice and betakes him to Portugal will, if he possess interest in those ancient ways that are slowly leaving the world, find a great deal to see and study of old-world life that he can hardly find elsewhere.

The political tourist, if such a being exists in these frivolous times, will, I fear, not discover much to interest or instruct him in Portuguese political institutions and Portuguese ways of government. The constitution of Portugal was partly assumed by, partly thrust upon the nation at a time when it may have fondly believed that a representative government was a salve for all political ill-doing. We have taken a thousand years over the making and patching of our form of government, and men of all parties find flaws in it still. The Portuguese constitution, coming piecemeal to the country, is hardly eighty years old, and the best that can be said of it is that it took the place of very miserable methods of government, and that the Portuguese, being on the whole a shrewd and reasonable people, have made a better use of their constitution, under a line of wise and liberal monarchs, than could have been expected.

It cannot, however, be urged by the most friendly critic of the Portuguese people that they have not been deplorably misgoverned. By common assent of the Portuguese themselves who are not active members of a political party, bribery, corruption, bad faith between governors and governed, and consequent maladministration, are rife in every department of State. These facts have indeed become bywords among the people of all classes in the country. They are the topics of everyday talk in street and marketplace. It is a sad confession for a Liberal to have to make that the representative institutions under which one race thrives may work as poison in the body politic of another race, and that a political constitution must emanate from the genius of a people, and not be thrust upon them. Since the

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