Of That Sunny Land, Travellers Tell Us The Strangest
Inconsistencies Of The People And Natural Products.
It is an arid land,
without verdure, nothing but prickly aloes and scattered orange groves,
mere dots in a sunburnt expanse.
Silver and gold abound, and every other
metal, yet none of the mines pay except the quicksilver. A rich soil is
uncultivated, and every natural advantage thrown away. There are
railways, and engines, and telegraphs, and books, but the populace are
still Spaniards, conservative in traditions, and wedded to old customs;
often nominally Republican, but in fact of the ancient creeds and ways.
Like this in lesser degree, everything among our green leaves and golden
wheat is in a confused mixture, at once backwards and forwards,
progressive and retrograde. Here is some of the best soil in the world,
numerous natural advantages, close proximity to immense markets, such as
London. There seem mines of gold and silver in every acre, yet there is a
crushing poverty among the farmers, and exacting poverty among their
dependants the labourers. Every farm may be said to be within reach of
railway communication, yet the producers know nothing of their customers.
The country wishes new land laws to abolish the last vestiges of
feudalism, and is beginning to unite against tithes, and in the same
breath votes Conservative and places a Conservative Government in office.
It would break down the monopoly of the railways, and at the same time
would like a monopoly of protection for itself.
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