The Iberian Peninsula, which, as history testifies, has successively shown itself to be learned, literary, artistic, maritime and warlike, has also had its industrial glory, while the nations which today shine in this way slept the inert sleep of peoples without genius. Portugal, a Spaniard herself, often met her rival sister on the road to the Congo, Daman, Goa, Macao, and the degenerate descendants of Albuquerque still remember the powerful competition they faced from the shipowners of Cadiz on the coasts of Mozambique.
The Spanish manufactures had, before the expedition of Columbus, taken on a development which, though limited by the limits of consumption and the few markets then existing in the world, promised no less a brilliant future to this nation favoured with a fertile soil and a generous climate; but the discovery of the New World came to interrupt abruptly the laborious career of the intelligent pupils of the Moors of Granada: At the sight of the rich mines of Popayan and Peru, Spain crossed her arms in admiration; her agriculture, her weavings, and all that had demanded the double action of thought and labour, of art and industry, were sacrificed to the new god; the whole of Spain dreamed of gold, as if she had to eat and clothe herself with it. This thirst for metal extinguished in her the genius for useful, civilising and lasting productions; while she gleaned in El Dorado, her fields fell fallow, her factories were demolished, and, for having had all the gold of the New World, she was completely ruined.
We shall insist for a moment on this economic phenomenon, the mention of which is not out of place in this publication devoted to the reason for the wealth and illustration of peoples. It is a mistake, still too generally accepted, to place the symbol above the fact, to proclaim gold superior to the product of the workshop.
Spain has long monopolised metallic America. Before circulating in France, England and Germany, the precious metals of the transatlantic continent passed through Spain; in accordance with the vulgar data, Spain was therefore the brilliant, prosperous and rich nation par excellence. But the real meaning of this false situation was this.
While the Spaniards, swimming in finance and able to pay in metal for all the manufactured objects necessary for their consumption, did not deign, or rather no longer deigned, as true millionaires that they were, to put their hands to work, The other nations of Europe took up the work of dressmaking, and brought the products of their manufactures either to Spain or to the countries explored by her, and in this way began to appropriate, by exchange, the principal and henceforth the only wealth of the Peninsula.
Spain, it is generous and just to thank her for this, has been the essential cause of many industrial and artistic foundations in France, England, and Germany; for as long as she had gold, her luxury was maintained on a sumptuous footing: now, as we have said, she no longer worked, but made others work; but, by making others work with gold, she naturally enriched the workers, that is to say, the foreigners; she enriched them in two ways: Firstly, by giving rise to the foundation of their industrial establishments, lasting properties, sources of products, and, consequently, of rents; and, secondly, by transmitting to them its currency in exchange for their manufactured objects; on the other hand, it was moving towards ruin, since, becoming lazy, on the one hand, it was spending, on the other hand, all its money.
In the end, as Spanish gold was amassed in the north of Europe through the exchanges that took place between Spanish currency and French, English and German products, the result was that all the metal wealth of the Peninsula went to France, These nations, moreover, had their industrial establishments and their industrious habits at the very moment when Spain, accustomed to idleness, deprived of manufactures and short of money, fell into the deepest misery.
It is therefore well known that the gold of the New World, by dazzling Spain to the point of making her lose sight of the fact that all true wealth lies in industry, was the first cause of her ruin; it is no less well known that this gold, by fulfilling an opposite role with regard to other nations, that is to say, by pointing out to them industry as the essential lever of solid wealth, positively determined the prosperity which they are enjoying at this moment.
As a result of the disappointment caused by the error into which her economic system had led her, Spain remained for a long time in a state of despondency; countless misfortunes assailed her; civil wars, the fruit of the laziness and discontent she creates, and despotism, the inevitable result of revolutions, bloodied her soil, jeopardised the security of social relations, and suppressed, in this nation, the very possibility of work.
Already, however, the light is coming on in this country as everywhere. After half a century of incessant fighting, of fratricidal struggles, and of upheavals of every kind, Spain is rising again, and we rejoice to find her in the universal contest of the world's illustration; it is with some emotion that we fix our eyes on the place occupied by this old glory of old Europe among the peoples peacefully assembled in the industrial capital of the globe.
She does not bring gifts out of line; but she shows the independence of her pace and the generosity of her resources. Its presence at the Exhibition is already a considerable fact; the efforts which this unfortunate nation has had to make to overcome the many obstacles which constrain its utilitarian instincts are almost inconceivable; the difficulty is not in progress, it lies entirely in the fact of marching on, in spite of the hindrances, and thus rendering the hindrances null and void; this is what the Spanish nation has achieved; with it all hindrance is more or less abolished, and this abolition is not derived from a revolutionary source, but from the powerful principle of public reason.
We propose to devote a few articles to the Spanish exhibition; we shall publish an outline of all that concerns it in the temple of industry. We shall not lack information in this respect, for we are fortunate enough to have been put in direct contact with the learned commissioner whom the Government of Madrid has had the good sense to send to London. Mr. Ramon de la Sagra has already published some valuable notes, which the press, both English and French, has eagerly picked up. We believe that we can count on the kindness of the Spanish commissioner, as far as the insertion in the Crystal Palace of some notes taken from his rich portfolio is concerned.
Before entering into the matter, we shall mention a fact which honours the Spanish government; we are assured that almost all the objects in the Spanish gallery have been collected, sent and placed at the expense of the Treasury. We may add that the encouragement given in the Peninsula to the arts, industry, and public instruction, cannot but favour the impulse of this nation towards useful work, which the increase and improvement of the lines of communication had already helped considerably.
Still poorly housed, poorly clothed, and even poorly fed, though placed in an environment naturally fertile in building materials, ornaments, and food, Spain may be compared to those individuals who, endowed with great physical beauty, lazily rely on their native advantages without concern for that question of elegance or civilisation for the solution of which societies have invented art, or in other words, the cultivation of the elements.
Every day we see men who, under the glitter of great plastic perfection, conceal much awkwardness and coarseness, while we meet others whose defects of conformation are gracefully corrected by the finesse of their mind and the attractiveness of their manners, attractiveness and finesse always due to art, culture, practical education. Now, what is true for individuals is certain for societies; in spite of the external advantages of climate or territory which chance has favoured certain peoples, there are others who have remained poor, vulgar or without illustration; there are others, on the contrary, who, thrown like the Englishman on a geographically unfortunate point, have succeeded in occupying a brilliant rank among the civilised nations.
From this it must be inferred that the beauty of the country they inhabit is no more a condition of civilisation for peoples than the perfection of bodily forms is a condition of elegance for individuals. Let us, however, posit that a people who would base their artificial developments on the benefits of nature, would acquire an unquestionable superiority over one who could base his civilisation only on materially ungrateful elements; France has proved this thesis, America is at present pursuing its demonstration, and we have sufficient documents to establish that Spain could, if it took the fancy to bring her will into harmony with her resources, play a magnificent part on the industrial and artistic scene of the civilised world.
The very terms of this short introduction suggest that the purpose here is not to specify the progress Spain has made, but to surmise what she may do. Rich in elements of all kinds, this nation is still poor in manufactures; nature has done much for her, but she has hitherto relied much on the bounty of her soil and sun, and little or nothing on her own arms or intelligence; hence we see raw materials abounding at the Spanish exhibition, while the products of labour are shown to be extremely scarce; Spain has exhibited objects which do honour to Providence. Its little museum is especially to the glory of God, and from the point of view of traditional self-denial, its modesty is to be applauded; However, as mankind has been given the licence to inform, deform and transform the primary work of the creator, and as it is particularly in the use of this licence that the genius of the peoples is consecrated, it is not out of place to advise the pious populations of the Peninsula that man can, without ceasing to be a Christian, lay an irreverent hand on raw nature and convert the rudimentary materials of mine and vegetation into effects of social accommodation.
This advice is not at all pleasant when one considers that the first factories [ingenias] established by some industrialists in the central provinces as early as 1820, were considered by the Spanish peasants to be works of evil mind. Since all progress is a departure from the routines for which the home-bound people have a fanatical veneration, it follows that the development of industry in Spain can only take place thanks to the tenacity of men of genius and often at the risk of their lives.
Public intelligence has been somewhat enlarged on the coast and in the great centres of population; but inland, in the middle of Estramadura, for example, a steam engine could not be established without bringing with it the idea of witchcraft, and the Estreminos, placed in the vicinity of the infernal gears, would not fail to attribute to this diabolical vicinity all the climatic disasters which might come upon them.
This susceptibility of the Spanish mind is an immediate effect of superstition, which in turn comes from the kind of claustration in which these people live, separated from all communication and all friction with the external populations. Spain still has few roads, and the engineering genius has all the less activity in this country, as it also has to reckon with the spirit of routine. In this connection, we shall quote a fact which will give the measure of the slowness to which progress is subject among the Spanish people; this fact was accomplished not in the Peninsula, where the traditions of intolerance have remained alive, but in a Spanish republic in America, where the metropolitan character should have undergone notable modifications on account of the freedom and mixture of races which the state of the place involves. By the singular scruples of one of her free and advanced children, we may judge of the irresolutions of the mother country.
The capital of the Hispano-American Republic, to which we refer, is separated from the sea port by the Cordilleras, so that, in order to go from one city to the other, it is necessary to climb to the top of the mountain and then descend again to about the level of the starting point; It is a journey of about seven to eight leagues to cover a distance which, as the crow flies, is at most one league; that is to say, by piercing the mountain and forming a tunnel to go from the capital to the sea port, the distance to be covered would be reduced by seven-eighths. About ten years ago an English contractor proposed to the legislature of the country a plan for the execution of this tunnel; the plan was discussed and the proposal rejected by a large majority, on the specious pretext that Providence having, in its wisdom, placed a mountain between the sea and the continental plains, it would be contrary to its inscrutable views to dig a tunnel to link together points which it had pleased God to separate from the beginning.
The notice will appear to be difficult to circulate, but its accuracy has been attested to us on the spot, and we must say that, supposing it to be pure invention, it is no less worthy of mention, since the customs of a people are often revealed by the inventions to which it gives rise.
Having said this, as much to ascertain the state of the public mind in the Peninsula as to relieve the Government of this country of the charge of retrogression, which it does not deserve, since a Government cannot move faster than the people from whom it is derived, we shall proceed with our subject.
We have said that the Spanish Exposition, although not very significant in the matter of manufactured objects, was very rich in raw materials; still, as Mr. Ramon de la Sagra rightly observes in his Notes, the samples sent to London are insufficient and incomplete, not only as regards industrial productions, which are already so small, but also as regards minerals, which, constituting the principal branch of the national resources, form the most important section of the Exposition. Spain could not have put any self-respect into her contribution to the universal bazaar, but she should have put more accuracy into it. It has been proved, for example, that its mercury mines are the most abundant in the world, and that their deposit deserves to attract the attention of geologists to a high degree.
However, says the skilful curator, the series which is at the Exhibition seems rather made for a student's box than to give even an approximate idea of the marvellous galleries of Almaden.
It is no less real, as far as the industrial order is concerned, that Catalonia represents, in buildings and machinery, a capital of 83 millions assigned to the cotton factories, which gravitate on a working capital of 7 millions and pay annually for "29 millions of wages to the 60 thousand workers who maintain 93 steam engines, 800 thousand spindles, and 40 thousand looms consuming 23 million kilograms of coal. These factories appropriate 16 million kilograms of raw cotton and throw into consumption 110 million meters of cloth and 16 million meters of printing; yet Catalonia has not sent a single one of these products to London.
This neglect, which Spain has extended to ceramics, cutlery, locksmithing, woollen and silk weaving, and generally to everything made in her provinces, has made one of our economists suppose that the people of the other side of the Pyrenees, feeling their industrial inferiority, had preferred to abstain rather than face the perils of comparison with the laborious nations of the world; This calculation of vanity, at most admissible as an individual thesis, is not, in our opinion, within the reach of social bodies, and if the proverbial pride of the Spaniards were such as to reveal a collective form in its manifestation, it seems to us that the fact under discussion would have been provoked much more by the desire to prove that Spain does not work, than by the fear of showing that she does not work well; peninsular self-love consists, indeed, not in apprehending that she is doing badly, but in not doing anything at all.
Be that as it may, taking Spain as it has been pleased to show itself at the Crystal Palace, we shall begin by studying it from the point of view of its natural wealth; we shall then examine both what it has done with this wealth, and what it may do with it in the future.
The first and clearest representation of the industrial energy of the peoples is, today, coal; since the action of steam has been substituted for the exercises of human strength and animal traction, mineral coal has become the true symbol of productive power and, consequently, of supremacy, in this time when national importance is a question of production; So much so, for example, that when coal becomes scarce, the most active, intelligent, and ingenious nation must necessarily depend on that which supplies it with fuel, which is the essential reason for the industrial fecundity which sanctions and legitimises modern superiority, In this respect Spain is called upon to be raised by force of circumstances, From this point of view, Spain is destined to be raised by force of circumstance from its long decline, not because its coalfields must outlive those of other countries, nor because they are richer than the mines of the rest of Europe, but because at some future date, that is to say, when the construction of canals and railways has solved the important question of transport, it will be able to supply fuel at an extremely low price.
Already Asturian coal, which leaves nothing to be desired in terms of quality, as the sample on display shows, is delivered, despite the imperfection of the rolling, at 3 reals per quintal, i.e. 75 French centimes, to the port of Gizon; its price is 5 sous per quintal at the mine exit. To put this eloquent figure is to render all argument useless as regards the future of coal mining in the Peninsula; since the fundamental reason for the low price cannot change because it lies entirely in the cheapness of foodstuffs, a benefit of locality which will always enable Spain to maintain wages at a rate unacceptable in other countries, there is only to neutralise the accidental reason for the increase in values: Let Spain make railways and its coals will come to the market with an undoubted advantage.
It goes without saying that the argument to which the absence of flights of communication gives rise in relation to Spanish coal could be reproduced in connection with all the details of the exhibition with which we are concerned; this serves to show that the first cause of the moral as well as the material inferiority of the Iberian provinces is reduced to a simple question of engineering; but this would give rise to a dissertation which would take us too far away from our subject.
It is a question of the moral as well as material superiority of the Iberian provinces: The principal specimens, placed before our eyes, come from Langrio, in Asturias, (J'Esprit and Bejmez, situated in the province of Cordova; Téruel has furnished samples from Ulrilla and Aliaga; Orbo and Reinosa have brought their tribute from the rugged valleys of the old kingdom of Leon; Catalonia, which we have just shown to be so forgetful of its weavings, has remembered the earth coal mines which it is exploiting for the benefit of its furnaces in the valley of the Ter. A particular company, established at Villanueva del Rio, just off the Guadalquivir, extracts two million kilograms of coal a year from deposits recently discovered in the province of Seville; this coal is consumed, almost entirely, in the country by the blast furnaces of Pedroso; the cost of transporting it, as far as Seville alone, raises the price to 4.60 francs a quintal. We note a fine sample of brown coal from Guipuzcoa, the exploitation of which has hardly begun and which has only been used in the mines of the country. About two leagues from the main road to Santander, in the valley of Sanlukan, province of Palencia, there is a coal mine, the products of which are highly sought after; this operation, which has already assumed a certain importance thanks to the proximity of the Castilian canal, will become considerable when the projected railways between Alar and Santander, and from Vabadolid to Madrid, have been built.
Some of the mines just mentioned have been alternately abandoned and resumed, for discouragement is at least as common as enthusiasm in this country, where the wealth of materials is as undeniable as the poverty of the means to make them work. Today the work has been resumed with courage along the whole line, and a few road projects were enough to awaken the energy of the speculators; hope is a great capitalist who always gives credit in his lifetime, but his life holds on to little, and Spain, which has so often killed him industrially, must take measures to spare him this time.
Geologists make much of the coal deposits of Asturias, which are very rich in gas and combustible particles. These deposits belong to the Carboniferous period, and bear strongly inclined tertiary terrains, forming numerous layers of gravel and limestone, between which are coal seams up to nine feet thick; an infinity of other layers appear below the former, and it seems to be proved that the coal they contain is anterior, in the order of creation, to that found in the other regions of Europe.
We still see, adhering to these geological beds, but always below them, several veins of sanguine or hematite, one of which, of pure mineral, extends to a great distance, and measures, on one point of its extent, fifty feet in thickness.
The Spanish coalfields, of which there are about twelve, are exploited by national, foreign and mixed companies, of which the main ones are the Palentina Leonesa, the Leonesa Asturiana, the Anglo-Asturiana and the Investigadora. The cokes that are made in the open air are sold at the prices of 3, 4 and 6 reals per quintal; the most valued are those that come from the mines of the Duke of Rianzarès, husband of Ja reine-mère. All these mines are waiting for the national industry to multiply its factories and for the soil to be criss-crossed by roads or canals, in order to give a large income and to represent a capital in relation to their basic importance. If the Spaniards swallow chimneys like the Europeans of the north, they could cause, for the utility of their flats and for the benefit of the miners, the annual extraction of a few thousand quintals of earth coal; but the generosity of their sun exempts them from having recourse to artificial heat, and if this is so much gained for them, so much the worse for the coal merchants and for the laundresses.
The mineral sulphur, recently humiliated in its most vulgar use by the invasion of the chemical match, abounds in various parts of Spain, where it is found in the earthy or crystallised state; it is in the latter state that it is presented at the Exposition, in fragments extracted from Conil, a mine abandoned on account of the industrial depreciation of its products, and retaining value only for mineralogists and geologists. In the province of Salamanca, at Terruel, there are still large mines of sulphur, the price of which amounts to from 22 to 60 reals per quintal, according to whether it is in rough stone, in balls or in flower.
A valuable material for paving, asphalt, of which we note a fragment in the collection, is found in the mountains of Soria, in the sierra of Picofrentes, where it occupies an extent of seven miles, more than two leagues. This kind of bitumen, which, apart from its usefulness for paving, is still used for tarring ropes and composing varnishes, covers a sandstone deposit of great thickness and is exploited by a particular company.
With regard to salts, of which Spain is so rich, M. Ramon de la Sagra points out that Ramon de la Sagra remarks that mineralogists will regret not finding in the gallery the interesting capillary salt of Calatayud, so rare in collections of saline products; he makes the same remark with regard to the transparent crystals of rock salt, used in experiments of polarisation of light, and, by this very fact, so precious to physicists; But the abundance of these products and the lack of development in the factories which employ them have led to the belief, adds the learned Spanish commissioner, that these objects are not worthy of being exhibited at the Exposition, which is why they were not sent there. The common salts that were exhibited come only from the provinces of Almeria and the saltworks of Anana. We can see some beautiful samples of the famous gem salts of Cordoba, but the series should and could be much richer and above all more varied.
The natural sodas of Alicante, Murcia, Barcelona, Granada and the Canary Islands are available at very low prices, because the introduction into the trade of artificial soda, which has an undeniable advantage for the saponification of oils, has dealt a mortal blow to this natural and spontaneous product of the peninsular coast. The glauberite, or sulphated soda of Burgos, which has recently been exploited on the banks of the Tiron, a tributary of the Ebro, awaits, in order to acquire its true value, the development of the chemical, dyeing and ceramic arts to which it is assigned in Spain; the consumption of sulphate of soda does not exceed at present that of the glassworks of Rozas, in the province of Santander.
After mentioning the saline minerals, the enumeration of which would be too long, we shall deal with metals, and particularly iron, which, as early as 4846, was already producing 650,000 quintals.
Pliny gives a long description of Spanish mines, especially silver mines, which proves that under the Romans Spain already had important metallurgical operations. After Pliny, other writers of the famous empire dealt with the same question, and from the opinion they expressed, it follows that almost all the silver, lead and copper used by Roman society came from the mines of the Peninsula. Moreover, the enormous heaps of vitrified despumations known in Spain under the name of Roman slag, attest the truth of this opinion; only modern industry can highly accuse the ancient processes of imperiety, for the scraps we have just mentioned still contain enough pure metal to pay for the work required for its extraction; Slavish imitators of the political genius of the conquerors under whom they lived, the chemists of antiquity, enlightened by a glory extracted from the debasement of twenty peoples, needed to melt masses of ore to obtain a few ounces of precious material; nowadays, glory and metal are purified at a better price.
The progress of purification processes has been mainly to the advantage of iron, a metal little known to the ancients, and few countries in Europe are richer than Spain in ferruginous elements; it should also be said that there are none that consume less, which gives the reason for the scarcity of the products of the mines in operation.
England, the nation of the world that uses the most iron, since it applies it to everything, making doors, floors, frames, shops, whole houses, fences, bridges, pipes for water and gas pipes, ships, boats, lighthouses, and all sorts of urban and rural machines out of iron, makes great use of Spanish irons, which it uses with those of Sweden and Russia; It even puts the steels of Biscay on a par with the most flaxen iron produced in Sweden, and if it does not supply itself in the Peninsula with all the quantity of iron determined by the difference between its own production and its needs, it is because the means of exploitation and transport are still very imperfect in Spain, and the iron of this country is more expensive than any other; The cost of the goods is equivalent for England to the loss of their quality; it is therefore, once again, a question of roads that must be brought down to the inferiority of Spain on this point.
It is always here that we must return when we wish to find the cause of the stationary character of a people; wherever locomotion is difficult, man does not leave the house, and the man who does not travel can neither learn nor gain anything, for science and wealth are essentially indomiciliary and remain outside like the most vulgar of game.
There are in Spain about thirty iron mines which could become the source of an immense income, producing, however, as we said in our previous article, only 650,000 quintals representing a value of 10 million francs. If one excludes the iron coming from the mines closest to the sea, all that which is produced in the various Spanish forges is consumed in the country, which, moreover, makes only an extremely limited use of it compared with the other nations of northern Europe; it follows that the order weakens quite frequently and that many furnaces are extinguished for whole years, which slows down, even paralyses the exploitation; so that with its thirty mines of unquestionable wealth, Spain has a great deal to offer. This slows down and even paralyses the exploitation; so that with its thirty mines of unquestionable wealth, Spain obtains ten times less results than England in the section of Scotland alone, which supplies 700,000 tons of pig iron, or seven million quintals per year. An infallible means of accelerating mining in the Peninsula is, on the one hand, to increase domestic consumption tenfold, and, on the other hand, to give the metal the advantages of cheapness at the port of export; this double benefit can be obtained by the construction of railways, that is, by the application of iron to the service of iron; Once criss-crossed by rails, Spain will have her mines within reach, and will be able to familiarise the smallest of her villages with the use of iron, which is so rare in all her provinces that, on the most isolated points of each of them, the ploughman has remained at ! It will be able, moreover, after substituting iron for wood in the details of domestic life, to present the surplus of its production on the market at a good price, and in this way to have its holdings sponsored by universal consumption. Until then this nation, forgetful of itself and useless to others, will remain poor in the midst of immense capital, and, Tantalus of civilisation, will suffer the hunger for comfort beside the many elements destined to satisfy it.
These elements are the object of such great neglect, that their possession seems to be partly ignored on the other side of the Pyrenees. We spoke earlier of the excellence of the Biscayan irons, well, it is precisely these that are missing from the Exposition, for we cannot accept as samples the two pieces of artillery forged in Oñate by the Carlists; these objects deserve to be noticed as specimens of the art of foundry in Spain, but not as shows of the superiority of metal. The irons of Vizcaya, come particularly from the mountain of Arbalan, in Alava; they are spathic, that is to say, adhering to laminated ores; the vein in exploitation in the mountain of Arhalan, dates from a few years ago, but it promises considerable results, as it is four metres thick and does not present any difficulty for extraction. The forge of San Pedro de Araya, which is responsible for processing the ore mentioned above, has exhibited a few rough fragments in cast iron and in a malleable state, but these examples only give an incomplete idea of the material, the price of which, no doubt due to the distance of the coal that the factory draws from Asturias, seems to be too high. This price is 10 reals for cast iron and 80 for malleable iron, which brings the superior irons obtained by mixing three parts of the famous Somorrostio ores with ordinary ores, to 108 reals per quintal, a figure obviously hostile to competition.
The irons of Castile, Barcelona and several other provinces did not appear at the Exhibition either. Leon, Asturias, Salamanca, Andalusia, Málaga, Almeria and Seville were more accurate. The series of irons of Leon, exploited by the Leonesa company, which we mentioned in connection with the coals, offers a great variety of ores where the iron is found in various oxidation and carbonate layers, clays and ferrous sandstones; The Asturian deposits are of the same nature as those of Leon, they are composed of oxides, peroxides and hydroxides; only this last series presents olignite iron which is not found in the first; this ore is particular to Mount Arana. The cast iron is obtained in English-style blast furnaces, that is to say, in those colossal apparatuses, rather like towers, by means of which Scotland, which possesses more than any other country, the secret of their utility, obtains nearly a million kilograms of cast iron per month. The refining, in view of the scarcity, or at least the high cost of coal, is unfortunately done with charcoal, which, although very abundant in the country, is however far from being a substitute, both for the price and for the activity of the mineral fuel exclusively employed in other countries.
The layers of the Alamos, from which the Herguizuela veins precede, in the province of Salamanca, are very rich in hydroxidic and carbonated iron ore, since it is calculated that these ores yield 45%, but the series of Andalusia, and especially the magnetic iron mines of Marabella, yield 60% on refining, and are, therefore, nearly a third richer than those of Salamanca. Not far from the mines of Marabella and in the same district of Málaga where they are situated, there is, as a geological accompaniment of the magnetic irons, ferruginous carbide or leadagin, which we commonly call lead mine; it lies in veins of serpentine quite abundant in the bowels of the Sierra Bermeja, which makes up the canton of Benahis.
A mine of another kind, consisting of micaceous iron with hydroxide, is exploited in Bacares, in the province of Almería; the iron that results is excessively malleable and does not leave the country, nor does that of Beires, which can be compared to it.
But all these ores and many others, whose enumeration would be idle and tiresome, are treated, with two or three exceptions, in forges, known as Catalan, in other words, according to the old system of small furnaces, a method which, while requiring the arms of five or six people per furnace, can nevertheless produce in four or five hours of work, only about fifteen kilograms of iron. The Palentina-Leonesa company of Leon, and that of Pedroso of Seville, seem to us to possess, alone, blast furnaces; it is true to say that, however modest they may be, these establishments suffice for the consumption with which they are connected, and even exceed the needs, since one of the blast furnaces of Pedroso is extinguished at the moment, for the reason that its products lack outlets. The genius of production develops in a country only in proportion to the increase of consumption; so that to produce is, contrary to the common opinion, a secondary question; the question of principle is to consume; the appetite for a thing, gives rise industrially to that thing; Inventors, agents of public appetites, bring forth only what the social will, of which they have the intuition, has demanded of them; where the public consumes nothing, nothing is invented, and, as much in the national thesis as in the individual thesis, he alone knows how to produce, who knows how to consume; there is no better cook than a gourmet. When Spain, emerging from her gags and her austere laziness, resolves to enter upon that path of civilising luxury, where man makes an art of what nature calls a need, and where the most imperious needs are addressed to the most superfluous objects, then the genius of production will awaken in her, then her industries will be on a par with the establishments founded by the most advanced peoples.
The factory at Pedroso, moreover, is a happy testimony to the progress which Spain has made in the last few years; this establishment, which possesses five water wheels of 250 horse-power, and, in anticipation of the scarcity of water in summer, a steam engine of 50 horse-power, fourteen furnaces of various classes, seven forges, etc., would be worthy of figuring in countries where industry is more highly developed than in the Peninsula; it is a remarkable milestone planted on the road to the future.
Its production, known for its superior quality, but also for its high price, amounts to 50,000 quintals per year and could lawfully reach 75,000; this result would still be far from the fertility of the Scottish blast furnaces, of which we spoke earlier, but it is already a great advance on the Catalan forges.
So much for iron; let us say, in summary, that this metal is good, abundant, easily extracted, but very expensive, as we know.
Spain, which we have just seen treating, at the Exhibition, its coals, its sulphurs, its asphalt, its salts and its irons with a certain amount of disdain, has put some conceit into showing off its money.
This manner of acting reminds us of the conduct of those ruined hidalgos who, making good use of the solid qualities which constitute education and well-being, believe that they have given an excellent idea of themselves when, after a pedestrian race of several leagues, they arrive at their destination, with their heads held high and their stomachs empty, satisfied to be able to show gold spurs at their heels and a silver-handled riding crop in their hands. Spain has not yet recovered from the golden disease she contracted some three centuries ago in the New World; the memory of the temporary lustre given her by the metallic varnish of her colonies prevents her from seeing that this lustre has turned to her detriment; and the modern fact of California, whose gold, extracted with great difficulty by the miners, is cashed by the merchants of sheets, cloths, and edibles, is not powerful enough to unblind her eyes: As long as she has silver, she believes herself to be the first nation in the world; so come and see the space occupied at the Exhibition by this special element of Castilian pride!
Here are 17 samples of silver ore from Almeria, here are 83 from Murcia, 11 from Guipuzcoa, 7 from Málaga, 2 from Linares, and then again from Guadalaxara, Granada, Lugo, Oviedo, Salamanca, Tarragona, Zamora, Zaragoza, and everywhere; Tenemos plata, that is what the Spaniards were happy to be able to say to the people assembled in the Crystal Palace; to which we may reply that they have had much more and that they are no further ahead for that reason.
The wealth of this mineral is truly astonishing, and there is scarcely a province in Spain that does not have its share of it; Murcia is especially favoured in this respect; this province possesses twenty-two lead mines of various kinds; the silver-bearing galenes in contact with the zinc sulphide of the mines of San José, Josefita, and Mazaron, and those mixed with the iron and copper spirit of Porvenir, yield from 14 to 50 per cent of lead and one to three per cent of copper. The galena of Almeria, the other two mines of the same name, is the most important one in the world. The galena of Almeria, in the famous mountains of Gador and Almagrera, are less numerous but richer in silver than those of Murcia; some contain up to a pound of silver per quintal.
This large piece shown at the Exhibition comes from the rich lode of Jaroso, in the Almagrera sierra; this lode yields an average of 13% lead and 13 ounces of silver. This lode yields an average of 13% lead and 13 ounces of silver per quintal.
The whole coast of Andalusia is full of ores of this kind; the province of Malaga has this substance mixed with piratical iron and hydroxidic iron; lead sulphide abounds in Catalonia; the Basque provinces, in Guipuzcoa, have galena mixed with blende; at Lordiz, canton of Berastegui. This ore is superimposed on spathic iron to a thickness of one metre in a layer of two feet, in considerable blocks; Vizcoch offers a similar ore, not exploited up to the present day, but of which a sample may be seen at the Exhibition.
All these ores," says Mr. Ramon de la Sagra, "are treated in shaft furnaces with forced wind, and in atmospheric bears of great draught. The iron pirites, which are frequently mixed with galena, are useful for the treatment of old slag and carbonate lead too full of iron, by the transformation that the sulphur makes of it into sulphide. These amateurs of mineralogy will see with pleasure a sample of iron of stalactite form with crystals of lead carbonate.
About six years ago, in the province of Guadalaxara, a grey silver mine was discovered. A silver mine was discovered about six years ago in the province of Guadalaxara, which was much talked about in the Peninsula because of the enormous profits it gave to the first shareholders; whole villages, whose inhabitants would perhaps have been better off staying at their ploughs, were established around this mine, known as Hidenelaencina; the processes used for extracting the ore are praised and the cheapness of the operations is marvelled at; the silver from Hiendelaencina is part of the collection on show.
What we have just said in relation to Spanish silver dispenses us from speaking of lead, for it will be remembered that it was in the galena that we found the plata; only this latter metal is the only one we have wished to mention in order to conform to the mood of the people to whom these lines are dedicated. The masses of lead mixed with sulphur, antimony, iron, zinc and silver which Spain possesses are immeasurable; unfortunately the arts to which this material is applied are little developed in the country, which means that the lead is largely converted into ceruse or Spanish white and delivered in this state for export.
The silver extracted annually from the Spanish mines is estimated at 40 million reals, or 10 million francs; it would be easy to prove that if the working population absorbed by this foolish industry were applied to other productions, it would yield infinitely more considerable income. We were saying earlier that the mine recently discovered in the province of Guadalaxara was being praised; do we know what this operation has produced in the six years that it has been in operation? It has produced 20 million reals (five million francs!) and whole villages are applied to this absurd labour, the cash flow of which is less than that of twenty of our craftsmen! The richest people in the world, the American people, were formed from the most destitute individuals in Europe; it was the poor of the old world who populated the United States, but these poor people did not need, in order to become rich, to exploit silver mines, they ploughed the land and founded factories; and as soon as the fact of wealth was created they cared little for the symbol, whether the representation of the product was paper or metal, it did not matter; the essential thing was the product. This is what Spain is still unaware of, although it has, more than any other nation, set up schools to learn it.
Girona, Granada and Leon have exposed quartz and gold-bearing sands. The ore of the first of these three provinces is considered very rich. As for the flaky soils of Leon, they belong to the alluvium formed in the valley of the river Pequeño, in the upper Cabrera: these alluviums cover a large surface, and it goes without saying that great results are expected from their exploitation, which is only just beginning. It results from the statistics published before 1850 that the washings established on various points produced 50 MM of gold of a value of 40,000 francs; this figure gives the measure of the childishness of the peninsular gold seekers.
To complete this rapid examination of metallurgy, it remains for us to speak of copper, mercury, zinc, tin, antimony, nickel and cobalt; but several of these metals having been implicitly treated in connection with lead, with which they are mixed, we need not return to them; If we except, moreover, copper and mercury, these materials, though very abundant in Spanish geology, are produced in such small quantities that it is hardly worth while to deal with them.
The most beautiful coppers seen at the Exhibition come from the provinces of Huelva, Seville and Almeria. The first is a grey copper formed from a mixture of iron and copper pirites, and containing only 5 per cent of the latter metal. % of the latter metal. A second ore, originating in the same province of Huelva, consists of sulpho-arsenio-double antimonide of iron, copper, silver and other materials; it occurs in an irregular band 40 centimetres wide, and contains 22 per cent copper. per cent copper.
The vein that produces the Seville coppers, near the village of Castillo-de-las-Guardas, is 13 metres thick over an area of 336 and a depth of 35; the ore is mixed with ferruginous quartz.
This operation provides more than 200 quintals of copper per month.
As for Almeria's copper, it is extracted from Velez-Rubio, Bayargue and Turre, and stands out for its colours: blue and green.
Zaragoza and Asturias also exhibit silver and carbonate coppers that deserve to be mentioned.
The specimens of mercury supplied by Oviedo and Ciudad-Réal are curious in that they present it in its different geological states, that is to say, with the earthy and fossil substances that accompany its deposits in a higher Silurian formation. The famous mines of Almaden consist of veins of great thickness traced in the rocks of the Channel. In spite of the active workings which have been carried on in these mines for several centuries, their depth does not exceed 150 fathoms; the principal vein is from 30 to 50 feet thick; the mercury is found there in a native state and combined with sulphur. There are at the Exposition specimens of crystallized cinnabar, of sandstone impregnated with cinnabar, of horny mercury, to the number of twenty-six samples very interesting for those who are curious to study the geological region of Spanish mercury.
These mines provide annually more than 20,000 quintals of mercury, which constitutes more than three quarters of the annual production of the world in this material.
A few years ago, we saw a Genoese ship disembark on the quay of Havana, and the beautiful polished marbles that Italy delivered to the rich owners of the island of Cuba excited our admiration to a high degree: there is a long way to go from the Mediterranean to the Gulf of Mexico, and when a stone is judged worthy of being transported from one of these two points to the other, it must be agreed that this stone must be very rare in the country which, in order to possess it, consents to honour it with such a costly journey . so costly a journey. Marble is indeed rare in Havana.
We are talking about squared, sawn, polished marble, which is used to make tables, consoles, pedestal tables and other home ornaments; as for quarried marble, it is found in as great abundance as common stone; a few leagues from Trinidad, in the vicinity of Matanzas, not far from Santiago, almost everywhere the rivers murmur and break into waterfalls on beds of marble; The island of Pinos, a few rifle-shots from Cuba, is, strictly speaking, only a marble nucleus thrown into the middle of the sea; But in countries where the genius of exploitation has not taken up residence, and where the means of transport are imperfect, one possesses nothing of what one has, and, when it is a question of transporting marble, it is farther from Cuba to Cuba than from Genoa to Havana, which is why the colonists of America still buy from Europe a substance of which their country is abundantly provided.
We can say about Cadiz and Barcelona what we have just said about Havana; marble is very scarce in the Spanish cities and the marble seen there has been, for the most part, brought from abroad: does this mean that Spain lacks marble? See rather:
A collecting society in Madrid alone exhibits 87 samples of marble of various kinds, which already testifies to 87 quarries; in addition to this collection, we see those of Almería, Cordoba, Granada, Guipuzcoa, Huelva, Leon, Malaga, Oviedo, Zaragoza and Cuba, forming a total of about sixty additional samples.
Among these specimens there are some extremely remarkable not only because of their quality, but also because of their originality and the exceptional features of their physiognomy. We shall quote, among others, the white marbles with blue veins of Loja in the province of Granada; this marble is quoted at 30 reals, or 8 francs per cubic foot; this price is a little high, but it does not seem to us to be in proportion to the scarcity of the material, if the demands were numerous, which will take place when this marble appears on the market, it will probably become more expensive.
There are still, in the same province, the marbles of Alora with blue and yellow veins, a rocky crystallisation as original and even more beautiful than the first; in spite of the magnificence of this last quarry, it has remained without exploitation or, at least, the work of which it was the object is currently suspended.
The sculptural marbles of Macael in the province of Almería are as finely grained as one could wish for the execution of these works of art; their whiteness is also perfectly irreproachable; however, the absence of roads condemns them to remain unknown and their use does not extend beyond the radius of the quarry. Those of Dallas, in the same province, are exploited with a little more success because they are nearer the port of Adra.
Cabra, situated in the most rocky part of the province of Cordova, is also rich in metamorphic marbles and limestones; nine or ten samples from the quarries of this jurisdiction are on display at the Exhibition; among these we note the marble of Lanchares, which is excessively hard and has no veins; its excellence is reputed to be used for millstones; a fragment of crystallisation, formed almost exclusively of carbonate of lime, is worthy of the attention of scholars; This water stone (piedra de agua), as it is called in the country, is found in the mountain of Nuestra Senora (cerro de Nuestra Senora) a few leagues from Córdoba; various kinds are extracted, sometimes of an extraordinary whiteness, sometimes criss-crossed with veins; the same quarries abound in carbonate crystals of prismo-rectangular shape; The same quarries abound in carbonate crystals of prismo-rectangular shape; the house makes so little use of these precious materials in the region, that the first comer can go and extract them without being obliged to pay anything to the owner, and so that one does not believe that extractions can be carried out by surprise, we shall add that the rule applies even to millstones.
Scale, grey, ashy, red, chestnut, brown, black, plain and veined marbles are still infinitely more abundant in Spain than white marbles; serpentine is common in Málaga, but that of the Sierra Huejar, in the province of Granada, is more elegantly mottled and shaded than the others and is, for this reason, more highly valued; The quarry from which it is obtained is very old, for the columns of the Las Salesas altar in Madrid and those of San Miguel in Granada were extracted from it at a time long past.
Alabaster and other varieties of sulphated lime come from Zaragoza, Santander and Murcia. Hydraulic limes are particularly from Alava.
It can be seen that if the Spaniards do not cover their furniture, do not decorate their rooms, do not tile their flats, do not even build their houses with marble, it is not the fault of nature, which has given them as much and perhaps more than other peoples; it is they themselves, here, who are guilty of having crossed their arms in front of the elemental riches with which they abound.
They have seemed to expect the Creator, after having provided Spain with numerous quarries, to set about exploiting them himself and working out the materials for their benefit; they have not reflected that on this account there would be more advantage in being Spanish than in being Providential, which would be singularly contrary to the fundamental notions of public education.
If, on seeing the deplorable simplicity of a Spanish bourgeois interior, one is forced to conclude that Spain is totally lacking in marble, one must infer from the state of the dishes that the Peninsula is poor in fireclay; however, this material is in great abundance and in very good quality in several provinces; The province of Almeria has exposed the fine earth of Sorbas, which has been used up to now only to make ordinary pottery, but whose virtue could be applied to superior earthenware with more art; Kaolin, this Chinese element, to which we have retained the Levantine name which it owes to its inventors, is found in large beds in the districts of Gradoso, Terjera and Nijar, and that of this last district is used in the factory of Seville.
Kaolin, in view of the Spaniards' disdain for porcelain, has hitherto been used only in the composition of refractory bricks; in a few years, when the Spanish people get into the habit of changing their plates, they will break more of it, and manufacture will increase its products tenfold, so that the various clay elements, of which we have just spoken, will be combined and purified to the benefit of progress.
There are, at the Exposition, three terracotta figures representing Andalusians; these statuettes are an excellent specimen of the plastic clays of Malaga; but these clays, of an uncommon fineness of grain, are still only used for pottery. Some of these substances are beginning, it is true, to give some good results in manufacturing, as we shall show later, but all of them can and will become, without doubt, the basis of great and profitable industries.
We will limit the nomenclature of the magnesian combinations found in the Peninsula to the beautiful pipe clay of Ballécas, near Madrid, and to the phosphate lime of Logrozan, in the province of Caceres, in the picturesque and old Extremadura. This phosphorite, which is unquestionably effective in fertilizing and improving exhausted or naturally poor soils, is found in a stony state, in veins reaching the surface of the soil; it lies in granite rocks and is covered with slate clay; the veins vary from 5 to 6 feet thick by 10 feet deep and contain 81. 45 of phosphate of lime and 14 of fluoride of calcium; resistant to the action of the air, and being, therefore, indestructible, this substance would require a manufacture of appropriation; but nothing has yet been done in this connection, and the wealth in question remains, like so many others, for memory. Let us mention, to finish with this geological section, a kind of mineral soap or silicate of magnesia which is extracted from Nijar, concurrently with kaolin; the weaving factories of Catalonia make considerable use of this unctuous earth, which the town of Puzzol, in Italy, has made known to us under the now vulgar name of Puzzolane.
In default of diamonds Spain has exhibited magnificent crystals of rock, among which we notice red ones with double pyramids, which pass in the trade under the name of Jacinthes of Compostela, and yellow ones, extracted from the mine of Carmen del Jirazil, situated at Majaditas, in the district of Villasbuenas. The latter are cut like topazes and are accepted under the name of Bohemian topazes.
Such is the natural and providential disposition of the peninsular soil, its opulence is notorious, and it remains demonstrated that if the Spaniards would take advantage of it, they would become the most brilliant people on earth. We shall now see, beginning with agriculture, what this nation has been able to do with the elements of comfort in which it finds itself placed.
When, in a country, agriculture has remained a profession governed by routine, everything suffers; or rather the state of agriculture is the last repercussion of the industrial situation of a people; for art does not begin precisely at the plough, it ends there; and, as the true bourgeois that it is, it is only after having irrevocably taken up residence in the towns that it deigns to run the fields and to play, in its own way, games in the countryside. The town, exclusively inhabited by farmers who, during the winter, make their own cloakroom and utensils, always harvests enough food for the tribe; hence the uselessness either of perfecting the instruments or of studying the circumstances favourable to ploughing; There, fertiliser is unknown, the furrow is superficial, the harvest is irregular and full of imperfections; one sows badly, one loses part of what one collects; agriculture is at the rudiments and cannot leave it, for the reason that its product, always sufficient, can only increase in pure loss.
The village with its population of craftsmen, middle-class people and shopkeepers, with its more numerous and more sought-after needs than those of the rural population, comes along, and immediately the farmer, foreseeing the possibility of profiting from the improvement and increase of his products, conceives the thought of cultivating better and harvesting with more care; Already reflection tells him that this land is superior to that of another, for the cultivation of this or that commodity, he thinks of improving his instruments, and, from the birth of the urban art, a principle of art is introduced into agriculture.
As the city is founded, the fields are organised and embellished; and when the merchants of the city have decided to open up wide channels of communication in order to bring themselves industrially into contact with other merchants, both national and foreign, then agriculture, called upon like all other industries to extend its arm over the whole world, is inspired by the common intelligence, assimilates art, and becomes truly flourishing.
Rural Spain is about half-way along the road; her urban industries not yielding enough produce for her merchants to have felt the necessity of creating outlets for themselves by the opening of large and viable arteries, the result is that agriculture is reduced to working for the sole nourishment of its respective districts; and, as the soil is fertile, human genius has no need to come to the aid of nature.
Deprived of any stimulus, the Spanish ploughman has remained routine and traditional. If you take a look at the industrial section of the mechanical and metal
If you look at the industrial section of the mechanics and metal factories of the Peninsula, you will not see any aratory instruments.
What is the use of devising new ploughs and harrows in a country where the fine wheat of Zaragoza, Huesca, Villacastin, Zamora, Medina del Campo, etc., is worth from 7 to 10 francs a hectolitre in the present state of production, and where this same wheat, lacking means of transport and condemned to be consumed in the district of the territory in which it was born, can only multiply in order to suffer depreciation?
Obviously, this state of affairs, which favours the universal status quo, does not allow for agricultural progress.
On the coast, wheat is much more expensive than in the central provinces, but this increase in price is inflicted on it by locomotion, and its value is already too high towards the ports for it to withstand the competition of foreign wheat.
If we add to this seven or eight kinds of maize, remarkable for the prodigious development of their ears, and two samples of a species of couscous, known in the country by the name of panizo, we shall have given an idea of the advantage which, under better conditions, could be derived from the peninsular soil. The flour mills of Seville and Valladolid have sent flour of various qualities to London.
The cultivation of rice is peculiar to the ancient kingdom of Valencia, where it is grown on flooded land; we find four types: common, moscado, largo and hermoso. The original price of this foodstuff is 32 to 37 fr. per 100 kilograms, but the transfer fees, by making it inaccessible to foreigners, fix its consumption within national limits.
Those of our readers who know Spain would be astonished if we did not give special mention here to the cultivation of chickpeas, a floury foodstuff whose use is so widespread on the other side of the Pyrenees that its absence from the home is tantamount to the greatest distress in families. Garbanzos are to Spain what pork is to Rouergue; any Aveyronnais who does not have a pig and any Spaniard who lacks garbanzos, are two men fallen, in equal measure, to the last degree of destitution.
We say of a poor man in France that he has no bread; in Spain we express ourselves differently and proclaim that he has no chickpeas. The chickpea is for our neighbours the regulator of private ease and public prosperity; one might almost say that when the garbanzo harvest has been good, the royal loan is easy to issue, and that the moment it is bad, the 5 per cent. The moment it is bad, the 5 p. % is depreciated and the Buen Retiro celebrations are suspended.
There is no meal in Spain without olla podrida, nor is there olla podrida without garbanzos. The most sumptuous tables of the most third-rate gentlemen in Spain are furnished with this national starch; Ferdinand Vil was very fond of it, and his taste even went as far as fanaticism on this point; everyone knows that, at an official dinner served at the court of this monarch, our ambassador, M. It is well known that, at an official dinner served at the court of this monarch, our ambassador, M. de Rayneval, who had the weakness of preferring woodcock to chickpeas, attracted the coldness of the king for refusing to taste the latter dish; it is said that it was not long before the bad temper of the sovereign went so far as to issue passports, in which case France and Spain would have been on the verge of a declaration of hostilities because of the chickpeas. This fact alone speaks volumes about the importance of the vegetable.
Garbanzos are abundant in Castile and in the southern part of the Peninsula; they are rarer and of poorer quality in the north, which makes great use of them. The most renowned for their strength and the fineness of their paste are those of Valladolid and Malaga: they are worth 140 to 170 reals per fanègue, i.e. 70 to 85 francs per hectolitre.
Ordinary round and square peas, broad beans, and beans of all kinds and colours are supplied by the Spanish soil in great abundance and at a very low price, as are chestnuts, the sweet acorns of Huelva, which are peculiar to the country, and algarroba, or carob, which is used so effectively for feeding and fertilising livestock.
If these various starchy fruits were easy to transport, they could be delivered for export at low prices and become the source of unexpected wealth.
To complete this examination of farinaceous plant products, we shall mention two plants that belong to this category by the composition of their tuberous roots. The first is the ciperus sculentus, whose bulbs, called chufas by the Spaniards, are generally used in the south of France and as far away as Madrid for the manufacture of an extremely refreshing drink known as orgeat de chufas. The second, of the convolvulus family, is none other than the sweet potato of the tropics; this edible tuber, sweeter than the chestnut and finely scented, is specially cultivated between Malaga and Almeria, on the southern coast. Its development does not reach the dimensions of the American potatoes, but its sweetness leaves nothing to be desired: it is frequently used as fruit for the composition of jams.
As for fruit, Spain, which produces almost all of it for itself, could supply half the world with it, because it dries it in quantity while the other countries do not have enough, only to wait until it is ripe. We see some very fine leagues of Zaragoza which sell by the fanègue [half hectolitre] at 12 francs; but we shall take pious care to mention the twelve boxes of candied fruit sent to the Exposition by the nuns of the convent of san Pelayo, as a testimony, no doubt, to the suavity of their occupations. In Jaen, Málaga, Huesca, and other provinces, grapes, plums, and peaches are also dried in the sun, and all these fruits would be very cheap if the mules went as fast as the wagons.
We have just named the grape, and this fruit naturally reminds us of the wines so renowned of Alicante, Malaga, and Xerès; but Spain has been too long in the wine industry to have any need to exhibit this exquisite detail of her productions.
The oleaginous fruits such as the olive, walnut, almond, hazelnut, pistachio, etc., are produced with equal fertility under all
although the non-evacuation of these objects has caused their cultivation to be neglected. The annual harvest of hazelnuts in Reus and Falset alone amounts to 100,000 cuarteras, which is about 25,000 hectolitres.
Spain, thanks to its geographical position and the circumstances of its topography, has the privilege of producing all the vegetable textile materials of temperate climates and a number of those of tropical countries. It yields flax, hemp, colon, sparta, agave, and is recognised as being suitable for the cultivation of Senegalese hemp, New Zealand flax, banana, torrid zone palms and several species of malvaceous plants giving textile fibres, but there has been no great need to develop these various crops up to the present day, from which it follows that, except for flax, these materials are really in very short supply.
Seville has sent a sample of cotton which, in the event of a continental blockade, might be acceptable; but as this event is not likely to recur, we believe that cotton from America will be preferred to that from Spain. The straw from Italy seems to have acclimatised very well in the Peninsula, thanks to the care of Mr. Settier, of Valencia, who makes hats from it, which can be seen at the Exhibition.
As far as dyeing plants are concerned, we find madder, which is found in Andalusia. Valencia, Murcia, Segovia, and Zaragoza have furnished samples of the root, powder, and extract called carmine; gaude, a yellow colouring substance which grows without cultivation - which is very convenient - in Alicante, Seville, Zamore, and Gerona; and saffron, very common in the centre of Spain, in Ciudad-real and Saragossa; the latter province also exhibits woad, a blue colouring paste extracted from Isatis tinctoria; it is said that attempts at indigo have been made in Seville, which have been very successful; the London collection bears no witness to this.
Alongside these vegetable materials we find a display of about 200 samples of medicinal plants which we consider it advisable not to administer to the reader, however powerful his health may be; we shall also pass quickly over the resins and turpentines of Burgos, which do not give off a very pleasant odour, and even over the corks of Girona, Huelva and Seville, because this material, which is fairly light in the hand, is extremely heavy at the end of a pen. We would prefer to stop for a moment, in order to conclude this examination of Spanish plants, at the cultivation of sugar cane, which seems to be developing quite rapidly on the Andalusian coast.
We are told that since 1845, that is, since Mr. Ramon de la Sagra began to introduce new devices and steam engines into the manufacture of sugar in Spain, these processes have become widespread and the plantations of sugar cane have increased in the country. Today the results of this cultivation are very satisfactory. Only one factory, that of Torre del Mar, established in 1846 by the ingenious economist we have just named, has sent a sample of its refined sugar quoted at 60 reals per arrobe or 64 fr. per quintal; this price, which is already not exaggerated, is greatly reduced in comparison with the white sugars, known as the "premier jet".
Sugar cane vegetates perfectly in Spain, and according to the calculations made, the watering grounds where it can be cultivated are likely to give an annual harvest of 25 million kilograms of sugar.
Before turning to the manufacturing section, which is to be the subject of our last article, we shall briefly examine Spain's contribution in animal raw materials. In this respect wools naturally present themselves in principle.
The universal fame of Spanish wools is due to the fine breed of Merino sheep which the Peninsula has possessed for centuries, but unintelligent routine, that acute disease of the people with whom we are concerned, has allowed this wealth to deteriorate, in part, and it requires special and sustained attention to the education of the subjects, their separation, the choice and crossing of breeds, the system of stocking, etc. A distinguished breeder, Mr. Justo Hernandez, has taken some care to raise the wool of his country from its decline; he has devised the idea of dressing the sheep from the month of December to the beginning of June; and, thus treated, the wool of these animals has become much finer, as can be seen at the Exposition, where there are fleeces of dressed sheep and others whose carriers had been exposed to the atmospheric agents.
The series of wools sent from Spain is not numerous; but it testifies to the successful attempts that have been made to improve the material. The absence of any samples of goat hair is noteworthy, especially as it is certain that the Thibetan goat continues to be successfully bred in several localities.
The skins, particularly those of kid and lamb, are of good quality in Spain for the manufacture of gloves; those of Valladolid are the most remarkable. As for hides and skins for footwear, we can see from the series by M. Vignaux, of Barcelona, how much progress Spain has made in this industry: calf hides tanned in white are so well wrought that their average weight does not exceed 20 ounces.
Numerous samples of silks from Alicante, Barcelona, Cáceres, Castillon, Huerca, Málaga, Murcia, Valencia, Valladolid and the Canary Islands occupy a distinguished place in the Palacio de Cristal; these silks are supplied by trevoltine worms, by annual worms, by those of the Kaiko race and of Turkey, and by the product of crosses of these various families.
The cultivation of the cochineal nopal has spread in Spain in recent years. It was recognised that the sandy and almost sterile soils of the Mediterranean coast were admirably suited to it; since then trials and harvests have multiplied in various places. Four provinces have exhibited it. Another red colouring substance is collected from shrubs in the province of Huelva, which is called granakhermes at the Exhibition.
The great variety of aromatic plants of the Labiatae family provide the Spanish bees with rich materials, and the wax and honey are superior in Spain. The honey called azahar, (orange blossom), is renowned in Seville and Cordoba.
We must not forget, in making this long enumeration of the mineral, vegetable and animal raw materials of Spain, that, in spite of the excellence of the pastures and the abundance of milk which this circumstance determines, neither butter nor cheese can be made in the Peninsula. The milkmen of Paris, who possess the remarkable talent of making milk without using cows, goats, sheep, or any other female animal, and who, even more so, must have found the means of making cheese without the aid of milk, are infinitely stronger than the Spanish farmers, and are in a position to give them very useful advice.
One substance of serious importance, which we can deal with here without leaving the bosom of raw materials and without encroaching too much on the manufacturing order which we hold in reserve, is oil.
The oils of Spain are renowned more for their abundance than for their quality; but we must understand the meaning of the word quality as applied to oils: in what does the excellence of this condiment consist? This is very difficult to specify, since opinions are divided on this point. If, travelling in Spain, you stop at a village inn to eat a salad, the innkeeper brings you a green flask containing an even greener oil, but of such a superior quality, according to him, that a single drop is enough to embalm the lettuce; and, indeed, the emanations of this unctuous oil are of such strength as to require only the circulation of the stopper around the bowl to take the place of seasoning; this economical oil, the consumption of which is more particularly devoted to the sense of smell than to the sense of taste, is reputed to be delicious in nineteen-twentieths of the peninsular population. In our country, on the other hand, it would be proclaimed detestable, and the oil we consume would completely escape the intelligence of the Spanish palate by its insipidity, which is accepted as a delicacy. We can see that there are two ways of pronouncing on the excellence of oils; but, as we are in a hurry to choose, we must above all be from our country, we support the French opinion against the strong oils of our neighbours.
Our determination is all the more logical in that the Exhibition offers only samples of fine oils, which proves that Spain itself recognises the defectiveness of the others, a defectiveness which depends, not on the olives, whose quality is perfect, but on the inadequacy of the method of manufacture; a method which, as M. R. de la Sagra tells us, is supported by the French. This method, which is supported by the country's taste for mucilage, is still forced to remain stationary, because the cost of transport does not allow for expenses of pressing or purification that would not be reimbursed by the trade. This opinion is justified by the samples of filtered oils from Malaga, which, although inferior to those from Valencia, are quoted at 20 francs an arrobe (42 1/2 kilograms). Those of Cordoba and Seville, which are worth 40 reals or 40 francs, can be compared to the third quality of our oils from Provence.
There is no country in Europe where the olive tree develops more energetically than in Spain; it grows vilely, lives long, and finds the conditions which nature provides so convenient that it requires no more care than the most common tree; its fruits are of great richness, and olives are frequently seen, from which a delicious oil is obtained without pressure. However, this article of such general consumption, which Spain could produce in very high quality and at a lower cost than Provence, is condemned, still by the absence of roads, to remain unimproved, and, consequently, without renown; this generous source of rural well-being, is lost at the limit of the districts, for want of a road which can produce it on the markets of the world. Let us say, however, that, thanks to the road construction which has taken place in recent years, this branch of industry has received notable improvements. The picking and selection of the olives are done with more care; the introduction of some hydraulic presses in various places allows a rapid elaboration which prevents the fermentation of the piled up fruits; the classification of the qualities is also done in a more intelligent way; there is, in a word, a sensible progress, as well in the harvesting of the material as in its preparation, and one can already foresee that in the near future, the Spanish oils will make a hard competition to those of Marseille.
Apart from olive oil, the Spanish exhibition also offers walnut and flax oil, the former coming from Oviedo and the latter from Murcia, but these products are naturally destined to remain unused outside domestic consumption.
This is the end of our examination of the raw materials of all kinds found in the fertile soil of the Peninsula. The mind becomes anxious and the heart saddened when one thinks of that long series of articles of industry, both agricultural and artistic, the appropriation of which Spain neglects or disdains; the capital, the talents, the acquired practice of other countries comparatively exhausted, would find immense applications on the other side of the Pyrenees.
The difference which exists, both in abundance and in wealth, between the natural resources of Spain and her manufactured products, presents something striking and deplorable at the same time. Seeing so much raw material and so little art, so many elements of industry and so little comfort, one wonders whether it is in obedience to some fatal law that the most splendidly endowed peoples are inclined to simplicity, while the most disinherited pursue relentlessly the attainment of luxury and magnificence. This remark, in explaining the particular fact with which we are concerned, gives the reason for the innumerable contradictions which arise between natural facts and the tendencies of the human mind, and suggests that this antagonism is a providential necessity.
Nevertheless, the memory of the labours in which she engaged at the time when the exploitation of the seas was almost exclusively hers, and the modern example given her by the activity of the nations around her, have not been entirely lost to Spain; and we shall therefore examine what this memory and this example have caused her to produce.
To conform to the method we have previously adopted, we shall begin this review with the metal manufactures; and, on the first plane of the works of this order, we shall politely place the bust of the queen, Isabella II, and that of the king, her husband; the latter bust, cast in first iron, stands out for the delicacy of the reliefs; as for that of the queen, it is in bronze and also reveals great delicacy of execution. They both come from the Royal Manufactory of Trubia, in the province of Oviedo.
The two pieces of wrought iron artillery in the middle of the great gallery, of which we spoke in our penultimate article, were made by the army of Don Carlos during the last partisan war. One, the howitzer, is 16 inches in calibre, and the other, the mortar, is 9 inches.
These two pieces, whose manufacture has been admired by special men, bear the date of Ouate, 25 August 1837, and the number of the pretender, C. V. (Charles V), whom the Christinos called, in derision, Charles IV and a half. The Seville factory also exhibited a 9-inch howitzer, weighing 6,570 pounds, valued at 67,300 reals (about 17,000 francs).
Toledo, the Damascus of Spain, presented itself at the Exposition in the proud attitude that its old fame allowed. In addition to the dagger, a drawing of which was published in this newspaper last month, the Toledo factory exhibited sabre and sword blades, old and new, for cavalry and infantry, inlaid, engraved, gilded, enamelled, coloured and damascened; halberds and hunting knives of all sizes and shapes. SI. Manuel Isasi exhibited a Toledo sword whose snake-like scabbard is as remarkable as the blade. The extreme flexibility of the steel sheet testifies to the exquisite temper of the metal.
Plaisance's contribution consists of a percussion musket with bayonet.
So much for the official metal industry. As long as the ideas of peace make progress, we can see that the above-mentioned factories will only serve as a memory.
At the head of the few private industries that deal with the manufacture of arms, we must place the one that Mr. Zuloaga directs in Eibar, in Guipuzcoa. This exhibitor, who also treats goldsmithing with distinction, as we shall see shortly, has sent to the Crystal Palace two pairs of pistols, two hunting knives, a cavalry sword, a hunting rifle and a carbine, all of which are very remarkable and do him great honour, especially the pistols with chased and damascened barrels on a gold background These elegant weapons, on which one can distinguish fantastic figures, were made with exquisite taste, from the handle to the mouthpiece. The sword and the hunting knives are, like the pistol, decorated with reliefs, inlays and damask. Mr. Zuloaga's factory, established only five years ago, serves to prove how new his art is in his country; for he has no serious competitors. It should be noted that the materials he uses are entirely Spanish, and that his workshops already have thirty workers.
In order not to have to return to the establishment of this industrialist, let us quote at once a small wrought iron box with fine chiselling on gold and silver, in the same style as the pistols; this charming box is indicated, by the catalogue, as having to contain the titles of nobility of a house of Castile; The idea of putting these signs of patricianism in a safe place seems to be new in Spain, which proves that, until now, the free action of the weather has not been hostile, in this country, to the development of family trees.
In the matter of utensils and tools, Spain is really poor; a few cards, weaving combs, copper and iron wires, and files of various sizes, are about all she knows how to make.
It can be said, for example, that its files are of excellent quality, for the double reason that its irons are of a great fineness of grain and that its waters possess a particular virtue for tempering.
This double consideration makes the absence of any cutlery sample inexplicable: would the historical dagger of the Peninsula be a fabulous instrument? One must believe so, since not the slightest trace of it can be found in the national records; however, the denial opposed by the exhibition to prejudice will not have the power to destroy it for long.
We have said elsewhere that agricultural implements are totally lacking; and, in a country where one sees every year whole crops of cereals reduced to ashes to serve as fertiliser for the earth, one understands very well the uselessness of agricultural progress. The bed is not even in Spain an object of first necessity, which is why the iron beds of Messrs. de Miguel and Sanchez Pescador, of Madrid, are veritable luxury articles bearing the arms of Spain, adorned with chased gold and bronze mouldings. Why, or rather for whom, do these manufacturers make beds at 15 and 20 francs? The well-to-do population of the small towns and even of the large ones, sleep on a canvas stretched by wooden legs crossed by folding; and three quarters of the inhabitants of the countryside are still on the Moorish mat, represented most often by a blanket which, before serving as a mattress, serves double duty as a coat and an umbrella. The bed is therefore, in Spain, a superfluity, vulgarly speaking; only those who consider the superfluous as a first necessity, make use of it; and these are still rare in the homeland of the Cid; this is why, in making iron beds, Messrs Pescador and de Miguel could only have had in view princely alcoves. The establishment of the latter manufacturer is very considerable; all sorts of mechanical and ornamental work is done there in relation to local consumption; there are more than 200 workers and the manufacture of ordinary and inferior bedding is beginning, which leads us to suppose that before long the mass of the Spanish population, giving up sleeping like the Africans, will go to bed in the European way.
After the busts of the Queen and the King, with which we thought it appropriate to begin this study, there is a group in gilt bronze by M. Naury, of Madrid, representing a scene of bullfighting, and a spicador, also in bronze, by the same author; these works are not lacking in feeling, but they may be reproached for the imperfection of the drawing, a defect common to nervous and impatient natures, which are more concerned with the idea than with the rule.
There is also a smuggler in terracotta by Mr. Pena and three Andalusians carved in the same material by Mr. Gutrerriez, from Léon, which are not without merit. Then come the details of the arabesques of the Alhambra of Granada, by M. Contreras, and four lithographs by Trubia, representing some architectural sections of the manufacture of this city; then, again, a model of the enclosure where bullfights are held, in Madrid; this piece of art reproduces various incidents of these hazardous and bloody exercises and contains four thousand wooden figures Towards the amphitheatre and on the front of the circus one sees people dressed in the various costumes in use in the provinces of Spain, and one can distinguish outside walkers, children's games, fruit growers, fan sellers, etc. The author of this work of patience is Mr. Mata Aguilera, from Madrid.
Let us add to these rare works of art the table of Mr. Perez of Barcelona and the secretary of Mr. Médina of Madrid; for, besides the fact that these two objects sum up all the cabinet-making that Spain thought it necessary to send to the Exhibition, we find that they deserve to be associated with the conceptions of intelligence.
The table in question is octagonal in shape and consists of marquetry forming designs of various kinds, in the centre of which are the arms of Spain and England combined; it contains three million pieces; the arms of England alone embrace, in a space three inches high and two wide, fifty-three thousand, and this piece of furniture is valued at 30,000 francs. The prodigious application that this work must have required has led some critics to suppose that it had been executed in accordance with the system of mechanical parquets, i.e. in such a way as to be able to obtain numerous copies with saws, we find in the notes of the Spanish commissioner the rectification of this hypothesis. This piece, made by a process which is the particular property of the exhibitors, is unique, in the sense that there is no other of the same design; but the manufacture of Messrs. Peroz is established in such a way as to be able to make, in a short time, as many pieces of furniture of this kind of mosaic as could be asked of them; their prices are even very moderate, if one takes into account the difficulty of the work.
The Queen of Spain has generously encouraged these manufacturers by commissioning them to make a whole cabinet of mosaic wood.
The secretary of M. Médina, decorated with numerous charming arabesques in inlaid wood, is a work which, although of a different order, is nevertheless not inferior to the one we have just been dealing with; the proof is in its valuation, which exceeds 30,000 francs.
Mr. Mitjana, of Malaga, is a man who possesses 10 lithographic presses and who occupies a considerable number of women and children in making fans; this industrialist throws 8,000 of them a day into consumption, which proves that this pocket fan is in great use in his country; everyone knows, moreover, that in the hands of Spanish women, the fan is an extremely coquettish object of art, so that the manufacture of the instrument must have become an art in its turn; that is why the samples sent by Mr. Mitjana deserve to be mentioned. Mitjana deserve to be classified among the articles whose layout requires the intervention of the designer.
In this order should also take their place the superior products of the ceramic art; but if we except a large jar (tinaja) from Toboso exhibited by Mr. Isasi, some refractory bricks from Lugo and Madrid, and numerous samples of square tiles from Segovia and Valencia, - the Spanish Exhibition remains absolutely silent with regard to this industry. However, the ancient pottery, called Majolica, which has been supplied from time immemorial by Talavera, Triana, Nanises and Alcora, and the more recent and more perfected earthenware factories of Moncloa, Valdemorillo, Seville and Sargadellos, are facts which would have deserved to be noted in the industrial solemnity which gives rise to an examination.
We shall make the same observation with regard to glassmaking. Several provinces of Spain, particularly those in the north, have glass factories which supply a large part of the country's consumption. Some of these establishments even produce articles that are quite remarkable, not only for their good quality, but also for their low price; the bottle factory of La Coruña and the glass factory of Gijon; the dishes, glasses, carafes, goblets, and articles of all kinds that come out of Luisiana, Recuenco, Cadalso, and Seville, enjoy a certain reputation.
However, none of these establishments sent their products to the Exhibition; hence, judging Spain by the appearance she gave herself in London, one might say that she eats and drinks out of gourds, which is not quite true.
A flower vase of artificial marble, a baluster and three small busts of the same material, some lenticular glasses for cosmoramas, telescopes, microscopes or spectacles, and a musical instrument recently invented by Mr. Gallegas, under the name of guitar-harpa, are what can be given as a complement to the artistic section of the Spanish exhibition.
What remains for us to say now relates to weavings; but as the mere enunciation of this industry implies the idea of paper, we shall say beforehand, and so as not to have to return to it, that Spain has not exhibited a single sheet of this great confidant of the felicities and miseries of mankind.
Flax and hemp are manufactured in almost every part of the Peninsula; but the industries which process them are not generally in keeping with the progress made in the rest of Europe. However, we should like to mention the Royal Factory of Cartagena, that of the municipality of Castellon and the establishments of Messrs. Castell, in Esparraguera, Ortega y Soler in Ferrol, Escudero and Azara in Cervera, and Martinez in Valencia, whose products have been exhibited. These products are generally made up of ropes and sailcloths and are particularly aimed at marine equipment.
However, there are table linen, drills, quilts and plugastels from Ferrol, which are distinguished by their great consistency and very moderate prices. There are also Manila cloths made from a textile material peculiar to the Philippine Islands; but all these specimens are far from giving an idea of what is made in Spain in this genre. The port of Santa Maria, in Cadiz, has a thousand looms, there are 140 in Burgos for ordinary cloth; the great factory established about four years ago in Malaga according to the new system, employs 1,500 persons and produces nearly four million metres of cloth a year. These facts are, to be sure, of small importance for a great country; but still it is better to point them out than to remain silent about them.
Spanish cloths are rare at the Exhibition; it must be admitted, however, that their quality is good and their price very low. Those made from Saxon wool leave little to be desired in appearance and are irreproachable as regards the strength of the fabric and the colour. There are some made of local wool, from Murcia, for example, which sell for 21, 23 and 24 reals a yard, which brings the price down to 6, 7 and 8 francs. The common sheets of Segovia are quoted at 22 reals and those of first quality do not exceed 34 reals, that is to say 11 francs the meter.
The common draperies widely used in the country, blankets, and the yellow and red bayelas which country women use as petticoats, are not represented; there is only one blanket from Lucena and another luxury one, for horses, from the Morella factory.
The silk and gold fabrics of the famous Talavera factory are too beautiful to serve as samples of the ordinary silks which Spanish society can use. This Gobelin at 40 francs a metre, this gold fabric at 130 francs are too far removed from vulgar consumption for us to take them as types. The widow Alcala et fils, Mr. Castillo of Seville and especially Mr. Orduña, of Valencia, sent a series of more affordable fabrics, consisting of curtain and furniture fabrics at the price of 12 francs a metre; wholesale dress fabrics at about the same price, which does not mean that we find them very cheap; plain velvets at 20 francs and others with checks, for waistcoats, at 10 francs. These various articles do not seem to us to be able to compete with the experienced countries.
But we will not say the same thing about the blondes to which Spain owes a legitimate industrial reputation. Blonde is produced in various provinces of the Peninsula, and particularly in those which, after the conquests of Charles V, have been most in contact with the Flemish population: Catalonia is one of these provinces, and it is this province which has exhibited the best samples. One remarkable thing is that the little town of Almagro, whose reputation is so great and so old in this industry, sent nothing to the Exhibition. Mr. Margarit, Mr. Fiter and Mr. Mir, from Barcelona, were less oblivious.
The first of these manufacturers employs 1,580 workers in his vast establishment; his veils, mantillas, scarves, dresses, etc., have made him well known in France and in England.
The ladies stopped with admiration in front of a muslin ornament made from the fibre of the pine cone and embroidered with threads of the same material by a senora from Manila; we like to acknowledge that the fact is new and original; but to give the event intelligible proportions, the Economic Society of the Philippine Islands has added to the set an apron, three blouses, four cuffs, two collars and four handkerchiefs, one of which was left on the loom with the instruments used to accommodate the filaments.
We shall have, as conscientiously as possible, completed this review of the Spanish Exhibition when we say that M. Belmonte of Salamanca makes felt hats for thirty-five cents, and that alpargatas (sandals) are made at Castellon for one franc, so that for the modest sum of fifty-five cents a man can, under the beautiful sky of Spain, have a new headdress and shoes without ceasing to be a Christian.
Such is Spain. Endowed by nature with numerous riches of which she does not know or cannot take advantage, surrounded by intelligent and active nations already applied to the exercises of art and industry, we believe, while doing justice to the progress she has made in manufacturing, that she must confine herself to the traffic in raw materials and rest on her neighbours for the care of their appropriation.
© Palais de Cristal – Journal Illustré de L’Exposition de 1851