Imatges de pÓgina

and finally, the dark shades brooding over the plain, and filling the valleys, were unwillingly driven away before the full brilliance of daylight. The whole island of Sicily lay stretched at our feet. In the foreground, on the right, is Monte Rosso, itself a large volcano, which arose from the side of Etna in a great eruption two centuries since; a little farther is Catania and its plain, bounded by dwarfed hills, which elsewhere would be mountains; on the left, bounded by the range of Calabrian heights, are the sparkling Straits of Messina, apparently within a stone's throw, but really fourteen or fifteen miles distant, and two miles in per. pendicular depth beneath; so completely all idea of distance is lost in gazing round from this solitary, majestic summit.

Meanwhile, a few streaks of morning cloud above the sun, and some lighter ones here and there, acquired the most brilliant hues, perpetually changing : deepest purple, carmine, crimson, orange, and yellow, successively obtained the mastery.

Being by this time rather tired of standing on the steep slope of the crater, and not venturing to take a seat on account of the sulphuric vapour which rises from the soil to the destruction of habiliments, we now made a descent to the Casa, visiting the “Fumara,” or smoke-holes, on the

way. The next step was to collect a little snow from the hollows, the last snow of winter, to mingle with our wine ; but we need not have taken the tronble, for the wine had previously cooled down to a little below drinking-point. Then mounting, and bearing to the left, we visited the Torre del Filosofo, which is nothing but a few stones placed in a circle upon a prominence, and farther on looked down a valley paved with the lava-stream of 1835, not yet cool. The tremendous heat of Auid lava, and the enormous mass that escapes from the mountain during an eruption, may be imagined from the fact that vapour still ascends from this part, and a stick may yet be ignited in the cracks, after the lapse of twenty-four years.

Turning to the left, we reached our old track, and by a rapid descent arrived at Nicolosi in four hours from the Casa, to the astonishment of the public. I had then but to breakfast and to pay a visit to Dr. Gemellaro—a “ return thanks” and “P. P. C.” amalgamated—and, changing mules, started for Jaci, or Aci Reale, where ended my twentyfour hours on Mount Etna.



TRIPPING gently, tripping lightly,

Little foot that wakes no sound;
Glancing keenly, glancing brightly,

On each dear-loved object round.
Figure slender, jetty tresses,

Fillets might be proud to bind;
Eye that sparkles, and expresses

All the active, joyous mind.
Pleased with life, and ever smiling,

Cheerful star 'mid sorrow's night,
From her bosom care exiling,

Mere existence a delight.
With no deep thoughts spirit-laden,

Yet most rich in fancy's fire;
Such is Gallia's light-souled Maiden ;

Stint not praises-love, admire.

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Saxon Beauty! on my dreaming,

Pensive, radiant vision, rise!
Moving proudly, yet still seeming

Mild of mien, with love-soft eyes.
There she leans—faint-blushing roses,

Softest hues from morning caught,
Tint her cheek, where calm reposes;

Smoothe that brow—the throne of thought.
Plainly classic, richly shining,

Back is drawn the dark-brown hair ;
As the moon, with silver lining,

Makes at eve fair clouds more fair;
So the soul doth fling more brightness

On the form already bright;
Beauty graceful in its lightness,

Winning, growing on the sight.
With the statue's fine ideal,

Carved by matchless Grecian skill,
She doth mingle all the real,

Warmer, but as perfect still.
Blue as azure heaven above her,

Looking virtue, shine her eyes,
Spirit's home; who would not love her,

And that English Beauty prize ?
Truth, affection, and deep feeling,

Nestle, dove-like, in her breast;
Guardian angels, round her stealing,

Watch her, guide her, make her blest!





In a country like Spain, it is not easy to obtain reliable information concerning political affairs, the working of the government, the state of the finances, the progress of trade, and the social condition of the people. After some research,

however, we were fortunate enough to lay our hands on the “ Descriptive and Statistical Manual of Spain,” recently published at Madrid by Don Antonio Ramirez Arcas, brigadier of cavalry, and exdeputy of the Cortes, besides a sort of almanack by the same author, called the “ Economical and Statistical Annual of Spain for 1859,” which is intended to be continued annually; and these Spanish works, imperfect as they are in several respects, contain much useful information not easily to be procured elsewhere.

Politically, the Spanish monarchy is treated under two great divisionscontinental Spain with its dependencies, and the colonies. Continental Spain with its dependencies, since November, 1833, has been divided into 49 provinces, which include not merely the peninsula and the adjacent Balearic Isles, but also the Canary Islands and the penal settlements in the north of Africa. All the other colonies of Spain, comprehending Cuba and Puerto Rico, the Philippine Isles, and the small islands of Fernando Po and Annobon, in the Gulf of Guinea, are called “Ultramar," and placed under a separate system of administration.

Population. According to the census taken in 1797, and made public, with some alterations, in 1803, the population of Spain was 10,268,150; in 1833, at the accession of the present queen, it was 12,101,952; by the last official census, in May, 1857, it was 15,464,340.

The population, however, is now estimated by Ramirez Arcas at 16,190,720. Great uncertainty prevails as to the inhabitants of the colonies, Mellado stating their number at about 4,000,000, and Arcas at upwards of 6,000,000. According to Arcas, the population of the whole Spanish dominions now amounts to 22,365,866; but, in the absence of official returns, this estimate must be received with considerable reserve.

The superficial extent of continental Spain, including its dependencies, is 15,777 Spanish square leagues, each of which is equal to 3.379 English miles. Taking the total population of the continent at 15,684,022, the mean number of inhabitants per square league is 994.10. As might be expected, the central table-land is the least populous part of Spain. The population is most dense in Galicia, where there are 2019 inhabitants for each square league ; it is least dense in the basin of the Tagus, in which Madrid is situated, where there are only 657 inhabitants to the square league.

Gorernment. Under the constitution, as modified in 1845, the Spanish Cortes is composed of two legislative bodies, each having equal powersthe Senate and the Congress of Deputies. To the sovereign belongs the power of naming senators for life, without any limit as to their number; but they must be chosen from persons who hold, or have held, high offices in the state, or from the class of hereditary grandees possessing an annual


income of not less than 30,000 reals, which, taking the real at 2 d., is equivalent to 3121. 10s. There are now 245 senators, besides 8 not sworn, and 35 nominated, but not yet admitted.

The Congress of Deputies is elected by the people, formed into electoral districts, in the proportion of one deputy for every 35,000 inhabitants. Deputies are chosen for 5 years, and may be re-elected ; their office is gratuitous. Every citizen who pays 400 reals, or 4l. 35. 4d. of direct taxes, is entitled to vote. While the initiative of laws belongs to the crown as well as to each of the legislative bodies, all measures of finance are submitted in the first instance to the popular chamber. Till lately, the number of deputies was 349 ; but as the official census, which fixed the population at 15,464,340, came into operation in January, 1859, the effect of this will be to vary the electoral districts and increase the number of deputies. Every year the Cortes is assembled at Madrid on the summons of the

Both the legislative bodies must meet at the same time; their sittings are public; but they cannot deliberate together, or in the presence of the sovereign.

The crown has power to dissolve the Congress of Deputies; but in that case a new Cortes must be called together within three months. While the person of the sovereign is sacred and inviolable, ministers are responsible, and no royal decree can be enforced unless it is countersigned by one of them.

Besides the national Cortes, there is a provincial assembly in each province, chosen by the people for local government. There are also in the towns municipal corporations, which have existed since the time of the Romans, and have been preserved with more or less liberty down to the present day. Town councils to the number of 9355 act as administrators within their respective municipalities, and the patriotism of these local authorities is highly prized, as tending to correct the abuses which spring from too great centralisation.

The cabinet council, or central administration, which has its public offices in Madrid, consists of seven ministers appoiuted by the crown, one for each of the following departments : Foreign affairs, grace and justice, home department, finance, war, marine, and public works. The president of the council of ministers is premier. To him belongs the general direction of colonial affairs; and he sometimes takes the charge of one of the seven public departments, as in the case of Marshal Leopold O'Donnell, the present premier, who is also minister of war.

Prime ministers seem to enjoy a very fleeting tenure of office in Spain. Ramirez Arcas asserts that, from January, 1834, when Martinez de la Rosa became premier, down to 1858, no less than 47 presidents of the council were appointed, including Marshal O'Donnell, who now holds that office, that is, - upon an average extending over 24 years at the rate of one premier every six months. Strange as this may appear, the changes in the other cabinet offices are still more extraordinary. The department of public works was only created in 1847; but since that date 34 ministers have successively held the office. During the reign of the present queen, embracing a period of 26 years, there have been appointed, in succession to each other, 62 miņisters of grace and justice, 63 ministers of foreign affairs, 76 ministers of finance, 80 ministers of the home department, 86 ministers of marine, and 104 ministers of war ! We take these facts as they are recorded by the Spanish statician, who

gives them without any comment; but they tell their own tale, revealing a system of intrigue, corruption, and misrule, which is not creditable to the Spanish nation. In no other country in Europe has the government been in such a state of continual fluctuation.

One of the baneful effects of this system is a vast multiplication of useless offices in every department of the state. Among a population constitutionally averse to labour, and disposed to seek for subsistence by any means rather than by honest industry, there is always a great scramble for places under government, and when political power is constantly shifting from one set of men to another, there are strong temptations to jobbery. Taking the whole persons employed under the central government and in the local administration, the number amounts to 173,248, without including the army and navy, or the clergy, who consist of about 43,000. This army of public functionaries has gone on in. creasing chiefly since 1840, and, considering the financial difficulties of the country, and the urgent uecessity of restoring the national credit, prompt measures are required to correct these abuses and establish economy and efficiency in all departments of the public service.

Unfortunately, the periodical press in Spain is not free. Whatever is intended for publication must be submitted to the agents of government, and no news or comments on public affairs


without their permission. Under such a system personal liberty is not well guaranteed, and the country is deprived of the beneficial power of public opinion embodied in a free press, in controlling the conduct of public men and checking the abuses of government.

Revenue and Expenditure. Within the last ten years Spain has made astonishing progress in trade, and the revenue has largely increased, though not in the same ratio. The revenue of the kingdom, including returns from the colonies, amounted, in the year 1858, to upwards of 18,000,0001, sterling.

In the Anuario of Spain for 1859, Ramirez Arcas gives the following statement of the budget for the year


Direct taxes

Indirect taxes and eventual resources

419,145,000 Government monopolies and stamp duties

631,273,393 State properties

98,377,000 Colonial returns .




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1,775,155,393 Or

*£18,491,202 Ös. 27d.

General state obligations

Presidency of the council of ministers

6,828,480 Ministry of foreign affairs

14,370,926 of grace and justice


342,399,815 of marine.

102,672,341 of home department

83,333,647 of public works

75,613,135 of finance


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of war



. 1,775,155,393 £15,491,202 os. 21d.

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