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[237]

Chapter 12:

  • Seville.
  • -- Cathedral. -- Spanish School of painting. -- Sir John Downie. -- journey to Lisbon with contrabandists. -- Cintra. -- Portuguese society.


Journal.

on the 8th of October I embarked in the steamboat that plies on the river as far as Seville; and, after rather a pleasant and favorable passage,. . . . arrived in the evening at the ancient capital of Andalusia. It is admirably situated on the banks of the Guadalquivir, in the midst of an extensive and fertile plain, and is surrounded with the ancient Moorish wall, that was so terribly defended against St. Ferdinand. Under the Arabs, it was one of the largest and richest cities in Spain; and, on its surrender, nearly three hundred thousand Moors, it is said, emigrated to Granada, and yet did not depopulate it; so that, in 1426, it had again above three hundred thousand souls within its walls. The circumstance that the American fleets came here, increased its wealth prodigiously, between the end of the fifteenth century and the year 1717, as its churches and convents sufficiently prove; but the expulsion of the Moors by Philip III. gave it a severe shock. The fall of the manufactures, on which its population depended, and which fell from the introduction of other modes of dress,—as those of Lyons afterwards did,—hastened its decay; and finally, the exclusive monopoly given to Cadiz, and the gradual filling up of its river,—which is now no longer navigable for large vessels, though it might again be made so,—completed its ruin, and it lies lifeless and inactive,—jacet ingens litore truncus,—with a population of hardly ninety thousand souls.

Amidst all this decay, however, Seville is one of the interesting cities of Spain, and for the arts and letters perhaps the most so; for the splendid epoch of the Moors, the residence of the early Castilian kings, and the wealth of the newly discovered Americas, have left behind them monuments of no common note; while, at the same time, the circumstance that there are curious Roman ruins in the neighborhood, and that in the sixteenth century it was the capital seat of the genuine


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