Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

TOtor, either by secret intelligence prevented the seizure, or afterwards shuffled off both book and prosecution, pretending the same appertained to his immediate care, and so no more was heard of it.

Ralph. But all the loyal world commends his Observatorsas witty, and highly serviceable to the government.

Nobbs. As to the wit (no great praise in a blade of threescore and twelve). It is the observation of judicious Raleigh, Nihil est sapi. entiw odiosins acumine nimio: ' Nothing is more an enemy to wisdom, than drollery and over-sharpness of conceit.' Hot-headed youths, unthinking shallow people, are easily taken, as larks are by low-bells, with a gingle of words; and, perhaps, some she-politicians may admire him: but the graver and more considerate loyalists judge no papers have really been more prejudicial to his majesty's interest. His design therein is evident; the act, that formerly gave him bread, being expired, something must be done for a livelihood; his acquaintance, his interest, lay on the red-lettered side, who quickly engage him to ridicule that plot which his majesty and four several parliaments, after strictest inquisition, had declared horrid and damnable: hence started up the brass screws, the Salamanca certificate, and twenty other crotchets, which neither secretary Castlemain, nor Sing, nor any of their St. Omer's pupils, had the luck to think of, and yet altogether as empty, incoherent, and nonsensical as their oaths and allegations. But his feeders, still not thinking this enough, have, of late, put him upon another jobb; to expose not only fanaticks and whigs, but all sober churchmen and moderate loyal Protestant subjects, under the foolish, but odious, name of Trimmers. Ralph.—But still he avows he writes for the government. Nobbs. Nothing more false; he writes only for his belly: it is the crust, not the cause, he leaps at. As long as he scribbles with such provocations, it is impossible to stop the other pamphleteers: nay, he has done the faction the greatest service of any man living, being the general publisher of their clandestine pamphlets, and sets people agog to inquire after, and buy them. That lewd, impudent, and traiterous libel, ' The second part of the growth of popery and arbitrary government,' scarce saw the light, before he proclaimedand repeated it; and, if Hunt's saucy book have sold ten-thousand, he is beholden, at least, for the putting off eight-thousand of them, to the Observator.' Some affirm, that for this (secret) service, he has a pension from the whigs, equal to his presents from the tories: but it is certain, when any body prints an obnoxious pamphlet, they first send it to him by the penny-post, to save ten shillings charge of putting it in the gazette.

Ralph.—I could not before guess at the reason why he has of late expressed so much malice against the honest messenger of the press, that, according to his duty, faithfully and impartially dis. charged his office towards suppressing all pamphlets, both fanatical and popish. But, if this gentleman gets friends by the one, and money by the other, it is no wonder, if he have a spight at every* body that would dam up both his mills at once.—But it grows late, and I am to meet a friend at Sam's, so farewel till I see you next.

IMPARTIAL AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

or

THE PLAZA, Or sumptuous Market Place of Madrid,

AND

THE BULL-BAITING THERE;

Together with the History of the famous and much admired Placidus; as also a large scheme, being the lively representation of the Order and Ornament of this Solemnity. By James Salgado, a Spaniard. London, printed by Francis Clark, for the Author, Anno Domini 1683. Quarto, containing forty-six pages.

To the most Serene and Mighty Charles the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, Sfc.

May it please your most Excellent Majesty,

X OUR royal name was prefixed to this other manual of mine the last year, but I had not the confidence to present your sacred majesty with the same. It was not that I judged the subject-matter altogether despicable and unworthy of acceptation, but because my timorous and bashful disposition induced me to believe, that it was every way sufficient to be honoured with the name of such an inestimable and noble patron; but yet, for all that, my pinching want has now at length prevailed with me to shake off these thoughts, in regard that so great an honour, attended with something else (your majesty conceives my meaning) would, beyond all peradventure, contribute the more to my present straitened condition. Wherefore I prostrate myself and labours at your royal feet, looking upon it as my greatest happiness, if your majesty may be pleased to spend some few minutes, for a recreation, in the perusal of this short description of the bull-baiting at Madrid; but, if good fortune deny me this honour, I must patiently share in the lot of my countrymen

[graphic]

who now-a-days are generally unfortunate. However, your majesty's long life, prosperous reign, and eternal happiness shall, in all cir. cumstauces, be the most earnest prayer of

Your Majesty's most devoted Supplicant,

JAMES SALGADO, a Spaniard.

To the Reader.
Reader,

I have taken a view of Spain, France, Italy, and the United Netherlands, but, I must confess, I did never see (except here in England) such a crowd of authors, printers, book-binders, stationers, gazettes, observators, pacquets, mercuries, intelligences, and bills of surgeons, calling themselves doctors, forsooth, whereas, in very deed, they ought to be stiled mountebanks: in a word, I do not remember to have seen a people so much busied with, and fond of novelties. While, therefore, I stood amazed, behold, pinching Wantand simple Bashfulness (by way of dialogue) made their address unto me; the former, in these following words: 'I see you are a stranger, and ought to be encouraged by, and sheltered under the protection of the generous English nation: for that cause, I judge it your near concernment to come with a full hand, if you look for any gracious acceptance.' On the other side, Shame replied: 'Mr. Salgado, believe my undissembled simplicity, the English are most ingenuous, and of a pregnant wit; what then can you expect, by publishing any thing, but scorn and contempt? For many will be apt to say, what meaneth this ugly, pale Spaniard, who, with his whimsies and trifles, busies our printers, and creates us much trouble? What ?' answered Necessity :'hunger constrains him to take such a course; for Mr. Salgado, I am confident, by all laudable means endeavoureth to eschew hard straits, not hunting after airy praise and a great name:' which the one saying stopped the mouth of blush. ing Shame.

Thus, being past shame, I do set this treatise on the pillory, i. e. I stick not to expose it to the censures of carping criticks. But, me. thinks, I hear a great many entertaining a discourse to this purpose: 'It is not worth our while to take strict notice of a poor distressed man past shame, seeing necessity has no law.'

Wherefore, most noble, puissant, ancient, and generous English, or rather angelical nation (for you are my tutelar angels, in regard that, these five years, and above, I have enjoyed life and sanctuary by your protection and benign generosity) I present you with this solemnity of the bulls at Madrid, my native soil. If any thing therein be amiss, I claim an interest in the clemency of your promise; but, if otherwise, look upon it as a testimony of my un. dissembled gratitude. Farewel.

Sir, I am certified by your letter, that a commendable curiosity has induced you to travel through France, Italy, and Germany; adding further, that, had you not been persuaded to the contrary by a cer. tain person (one, who, I am apt to believe, has no good-will to my country) the pleasures and rarities of Spain had not escaped your impartial and diligent consideration. Assure yourself, none could be more concerned to enjoy your fellowship there, nor readier to do you good offices, than I, upon consideration of the manifold and signal obligations laid upon me by a person of your worth. But, seeing it is to no purpose to repent what is past, I shall forbear to enlarge on this subject: yet, because you seem to be not a little dissatisfied that you had not the good fortune of seeing Spain, and more especially the Escurial, and the yearly festival of Madrid, I shall endeavour, according to my bounden duty, to satisfy your curiosity in this point; insomuch that, from your closet, you may receive a full view of the Spanish court, and its magnificence, as also the goodly and large fields of Madrid, without expending much, or exposing your person to danger, after the manner of most travellers who repair thither; and, for your greater clearness in the matter, I send you this large scheme.

In describing the matter in hand, my stile shall be plain, and the relation impartial; in regard that I bear no liking to disingenuity, or the forging of romantick novelties and fictions.

As for the Escurial, we shall have a fairer opportunity to treat on it at another occasion: this, in the general, you may know, that (according to the unanimous consent of all who have travelled thither) it is a thing very well worth the while. Our present discourse then shall be wholly confined to the bull-baiting (as it is called) at Madrid.

It has been the fate of Spain, as that of other puissant nations, not to have escaped scot-free of the frequent and noisome inroads of many cruel adversaries of different languages, laws, and constitutions; so that some vestigia of the one must be supposed to remain, as well as the other. Those who did bear chief sway there, were the Romans, Vandals, Goths, and Saracens; insomuch that the Spanish tongue appears to be an aggregate of the Latin, German, and Arabick. The Saracens obtaining the latest conquest, their laws and language leave the deeper impression. Among other their constitutions, this festival, which we are about to describe, was one.

You may easily object, that it is a cruel and barbarous recrea■tion; which I am ready to grant, and so much the rather, in that its original is derived from such a barbarous rabble as the Turks were, and are to this day. Nevertheless, an uncontrouled custom, of long continuance, has given it the force and validity of a law, and the most honourable designation of a royal festival, which, if any person, of what quality soever, once endeavoured to rectify, he should inevitably incur the risque of reproach and shame, if not a more sad fate. It being therefore altogether extrinsick to any purpose and concernment, as a private man, to determine any thing against the lawfulness and unlawfulness of this solemnity, I shall content myself, by making a clear discovery thereof, for your greater satisfaction.

Lincoln's-Inn-Fields are neither so large, nor spacious, as this place of publick resort at Madrid, which is exactly square, being surrounded with houses, uniform all along in their dimensions, erected to the altitude of five pair of stairs, with a great many most curious windows, and balconies overlaid with the purest gold. MoreOver, the square is level, to the end that the foaming bulls, and prancing horses, may run their courses with the greater easiness and celerity. From the ground to the first pair of stairs, are reared up theatres made of timber for the people. The thirty balconies, set a-part for the king and court, are sumptuously furnished with the richest tapestry, and choicest velvet, that money or art can pur. Chase. Here, it is observable, that all noblemen, whose lot it is not to attend the court for that present quarter, are denied the privilege of these balconies; wherefore such persons may possess whatever other places they judge most convenient. In Spain there are divers kinds of councils, as the King's Council, that of the inquisi. tion, war, India, Italy, the Low Countries, and Arragon, and consequently counsellors of different degrees and qualities; for which cause it is appointed, that each of those have their balconies a-part, beautified with silks and tapestry of colours differing, according to the diversity of those offices and officers.

All ambassadors from foreign kings and potentates are treated after the same fashion, except the pope's legate, whose modesty and piety, forsooth, lays such a restraint upon him, that that prophane festival, not being of the church's appointment, must not be honoured with his presence. All other ranks of persons, assembled thither, may possess what seats they are able to purchase: this, I say, because the general confluence to this common play, from all corners, makes such a crowd, that, notwithstanding the great number of theatres, balconies, and windows, mentioned elsewhere, none can purchase a room in the first pair of stairs, at a lower rate than two-hundred crowns; yea, and those places which are not exposed to the scorching heat of the sun, after four o'clock, must be sup. posed to amount to a greater sum of money. Above the first row of windows, places may be got more easily. Seeing this festival falls out yearly in the months of June and July, any person may imagine, that a refreshing shadow cannot be enjoyed without much money, and great moyan, because of the then extraordinary heat of this place, which ordinarily isknown to be a most hot climate. In the cool of the evening (a most dangerous season, I confess) all persons, promiscuously, throng thither; but chiefly about ten of the clock at night, when the affections are much delighted with a most sweet melody and concert of instrumental and vocal musick, and, on all occasions of that nature, the guitar and harp are most frequently used; because generally the Spaniards can dexterously play on those instruments. Where it is observable, that all musicians are had in great account at such a time, not respecting what persons they be, which is hardly discernible, in regard that all are disguised by most gorgeous apparel. It is further to be observed, that, if the jealous Spaniard can espy any man complimenting his

« AnteriorContinuar »