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[191] —the remains of the house where Columbus lived, that where Francis I. was confined, two or three of the famous palaces faithfully described in Gil Bias, the convent which Lewis has made the scene of his monk, etc., etc., all of which might very likely interest few persons besides. On the whole, both for the past and the present,—both as a collection of buildings and as a collection of monuments,—Madrid is the least interesting capital I have visited.

It has, however, the great merit of being clean. I do not know whether I should attribute this altogether to the character of the people, for they are not very neat, and it is apparent the keen fresh air, which reigns of course at this height, dries up all decaying bodies immediately, and prevents the accumulation of filth; so that, though certainly dead animals are not uncommon in the streets, they give little or no disagreeable odor. Still, Madrid is not healthy. . . . .

Of the government there is very little good to say. The king personally is a vulgar blackguard. I will not repeat the instances of rudeness, vulgarity, and insolence towards his servants and ministers, which are just as well known at Madrid as that he drives in the Prado, for they would take up my room and time to no purpose. This, then, is the centre of the government; and of what a government! Certainly such a confusion of abuses never existed before since society was organized, and never, I should hope, can exist again. In the first place, its very principle—I mean in practice—is that the king's decree, which in theory is the highest power in the land, may be resisted and disobeyed, and that the only remedy is to make more decrees. The ministers desire to procure a certain amount of money, and issue a decree for it; that on the face and in any other country ought to produce it, but here it will not produce the third of it. The ministers desire to procure a certain degree of obedience, and the king decrees it; but the obedience may or may not follow, as in a case I knew at Barcelona, where an oppressed individual demanded simply a hearing of his case. The king ordered it by a formal decree to be had forthwith, but the tribunal neglected it; he made a new decree, and so on to a third and fourth, each more peremptory than the preceding, and each followed by a similar gross disobedience, until at last the tribunal, wearied out with being thus teazed, quashed the process they were ordered to examine, and told the injured individual to go about his business. Garay, the Minister of Finance, when he came into office announced his system, and it was supported by all sorts of decrees,—decrees to give a new principle of excise, decrees to remove the custom-house officers to the

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