17 de julio de 1787 - Barceloneta, el puerto, la fundición, los mercados, el teatro (1602)

View the town, which is large, and to the eye, in every street, remarkably populous: many of them are narrow, which may be expeaed in an old town; but there are also many others broader, with good houses; yet one cannnot on the whole consider it as well built, except as to public edifices, which are erected in a magnificent stile. There are some considerable openings, which, though not regular squares, are ornamental, and have a good effect in setting off the new buildings to the best advantage. One quarter of the city, called Barcelonetta, is entirely new, and perfectly regular; the streets cutting each other at right angles; but the houses are all small and low, being meant for the residence of sailors, little shop keepers, and artizans: one front of this new town faces the quay. The streets are lighted, but the dust so deep in some of them, especially the broader ones, that I know not whether they are all paved. The governor’s house and tha new fountain are on a scale, and in a stile, which shows that there are no mean ideas of embellishment here. The royal foundery for cannon is very great. The building spacious, and every thing seems executed in a manner that proves no expence was spared. The guns cast are chiefly brass: they are solid; and some twenty-four pounders boring; perhaps in all mechanics the most curious operation, and which can never be viewed without paying some homage to the genius that first invented it. In time of war three hundred men are employed here; but at present the number is not considerable.

But the object at Barcelona which is the most striking, and which, according to my knowledge at least, has no where a rival, is the quay. The design and execution are equally good. I guess it about half a mile long. A low platform of stone is built but a few feet above the water, close to which the ships are moored; this is of breadth sufficient for goods and packages of all sorts in loading and unloading the vessels. A row of arched warehouses open on to this platform, and over those is the upper part of the quay on a level with the street; and for the convenience of going up or down from one to the other, there are gently sloping ways for carriages, and also stair-cases. The whole is most solidly erected in hewn stone, and finished in a manner that discovers a true spirit of magnificence in this most useful sort of public works. The road by which we travelled for several miles—-the bridge by which we passed the river—-and this quay, are works that will do lasting honour to the present king of Spain. There are now about 140 ships in the harbour; but the number sometimes much larger.

It is impossible to view such admirable works as the quay of Barcelona, without regretting the enormous sums wasted in war and bloodihed. No quarrel happens between two nations, but it costs twenty such quays; a thousand miles of magnificent road; an hundred bridges; the pavement, lights, fountains, palaces, and public ornaments of fifty cities. To tell a prince or a parliament (the latter wants this lesson to the full as much as the former), that a war is as absurd as it is cruel, for it will cost so much money in figures, makes not the least impression; they never see the money, and the expence is of something ideal; but to tell the king of Spain that it would cost the Escurial, St. Ildefonso, his palace at Madrid, and all the roads in his kingdom, and he would think very seriously before he engaged in it. To reason with a British parliament, when her noisy factious orators are bawling for the honour of the British lion, for the rights of commerce, and freedom of navigation; that is, for a war-—that such a war will cost an hundred millions sterling, and they are deaf to you. But let it cost them those roads on which they roll so luxuriously, the public bridges, and the great edifices that decorate the capital, and our other cities, if the members were willing at such a price to hazard a war, the people would probably pull down their houses. Yet the cases are precisely the same; for if you spend the money that would form and build such things, you in effect spend the things themselves. A very little calculation would shew, that the expence of our three last wars, which had no other effect whatever but to spill blood and fill gazettes, would have made the whole island of Great Britain a garden; her whole coail a quay; and have converted all the houses in her towns into palaces, and her cottages into houses. But to return.

The manufactories at Barcelona are considerable. There is every appearance as you walk the streets of great and active industry; you move no where without hearing the creak of stocking engines. Silk is wrought into handkerchiefs, though not on so great a scale as at Valencia; stockings, laces, and various stuffs. They have also some woollen fabrics, but not considerable. The chief business of the place is that of commission; the amount of the trade transacted is considerable, though not many ships belong to the port.

The industry and trade, however, which have taken root, and prospered in this city, have withstood the continued system of the court to deal severely with the whole province of Catalonia. The famous efforts which the Catalans made to place a prince of the house of Austria on the throne of Spain, were not soon forgotten by the princes of the house of Bourbon, to their dishonour. Heavy taxes have been laid on the people; and the whole province continues to this day disarmed; so that a nobleman cannot wear a sword, unless privileged to do it by grace or office; and this goes so far, that in order to be able to shew this mark of distinction, they are known to get themselves enrolled as familiars of the inquisition, an office which carries with it that licence. I note this correctly according to the information given me; but I hope the person who gave it was mistaken. For the nobility to stoop to such a meanness, and the court to drive men to such unworthy means of distinction, fourscore years after their offence, which was fidelity to the prince whom they esteemed their lawful sovereign, such an act reflects equal dishonour upon the nobility and the crown. The mention of the inquisition made us enquire into the present state of that holy office, and we were informed, that it was now formidable only to persons of very notorious ill fame; and that whenever it does act against offenders, an inquisitor comes from Madrid to conduct the process. From the expressions, however, which were used, and the instances given, it appeared that they take cognizance of cases not at all connected with faith in religion; and tbat if men or women are guilty of vices, which render them offensive, this was the power that interposed; an account, in my opinion, by no means favourable for the circumstance, which was supposed most to limit their power, was the explicit nature of the offence, viz. being against the Catholic faith, and by no means against public morals, to secure which is an object for very different judicatures in every country.

The markets here are now full of ripe figs, peaches, melons, and the more common fruits in great profusion. I bought three large peaches for a penny, and our laquaìs de place said, that I gave too much, and paid like a foreigner; but they have not the flavour of the same fruit in England. In the gardens there are noble orange trees loaded with fruit, and all sorts of garden vegetables in the greatest plenty. The climate here in winter may be conjectured from their having green pease every month in the year.

View the very pretty fort to the south of the town, which is on the fummit of à hill that commands a vast prospect by fea and land. It is exceedingly well built and well kept. Notwithstanding this fort to the south, and a citadel to the north of the town, corsairs in time of war have cut fishing vessels out of the road, and very near the shore.

In the evening to the play; the theatre is very large, and the seats on the two sides of the pit (for the centre is at a lower price) extremely commodious; each seat is separate, so that you fit as in an elbow chair. A Spanish comedy was represented, and an Italian opera after it. We were surprized to find clergymen in every part of the house; a circumstance never seen in France. Twice a week they have an Italian opera, and plays the other evenings. In the centre of the pit on benches the common people seat themselves. I saw a blacksmith, hot from the anvil, with his shirt sleeves tucked above his elbows, who enjoyed the entertainment equally with the best company in the boxes, and probably much mere. Every well dressed person was in the French fashion; but there were many who still retained the Spanish mode of wearing their hair without powder, in a thick black net which hangs down the back; nothing can have a worse effect, or appear more offensive in so hot a climate.

, Travels during the years 1787, 1788, and 1789, undertaken more particularly with a view of ascertaining the cultivation, wealth, resources, and national prosperity of the kingdom of France (1794). Leer más

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  • Arthur Young (1)
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  • Barcelona (1602)
  • Carlos III de España (9) Carlos III de España, llamado «el Político» o «el Mejor Alcalde de Madrid» (Madrid, 20 de enero de 1716-ibídem, 14 de diciembre de 1788), fue duque de Parma y Plasencia —como Carlos I— entre 1731 y 1735, rey de Nápoles —como Carlos VII— y rey de Sicilia —como Carlos V— de 1734 a 1759 y de España desde 1759 hasta su muerte.
  • Casa de Borbón (7) La Casa de Borbón (en francés: Bourbon, en italiano Borbone) es una casa real de origen francés (aunque la primera corona a la que accedió fue la del Reino de Navarra), actual casa reinante en España y en el Gran Ducado de Luxemburgo.
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  • Guerra de Sucesión Española (56) La Guerra de Sucesión Española fue un conflicto internacional que duró desde 1701 hasta la firma del tratado de Utrecht en 1713, que tuvo como causa fundamental la muerte sin descendencia de Carlos II de España, último representante de la Casa de Habsburgo, y que dejó como principal consecuencia la instauración de la Casa de Borbón en el trono de España.
  • Ilustración en España (75) Ilustración en España o Ilustración española es el relato de los orígenes, características específicas y desarrollo del movimiento ilustrado en España y de los obstáculos y apoyos políticos y sociales que encontró a lo largo del siglo XVIII español caracterizado por el reformismo borbónico (1700/1714 - 1808).
  • Inquisición española (15) La Inquisición española o Tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición fue una institución fundada en 1478 por los Reyes Católicos para mantener la ortodoxia católica en sus reinos.
  • La Barceloneta (46)
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  • Reformismo borbónico (76) Reformismo borbónico hace referencia al periodo de la historia de España iniciado en 1700, en que Carlos II, el último rey de la Casa de Austria de la Monarquía Hispánica, nombró en su testamento un mes antes de morir a Felipe V de Borbón como su sucesor —lo que provocó la guerra de Sucesión Española (1701-1714)—, hasta las abdicaciones de Bayona de 1808 en las que Carlos IV y su hijo Fernando VII, que le había obligado a abdicar en su persona dos meses antes (Motín de Aranjuez), cedieron bajo presión a Napoleón Bonaparte sus derechos a la Corona, que este a su vez pasó a su hermano José I Bonaparte, lo que dio inicio a la guerra de la Independencia Española.
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