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EDINBURGH LITERARY MISCELLANY,
FOR JULY 1808.
Sketch of the Military Geography of SPAIN.
As S SPAIN and PORTUGAL at present are, and seem destined for some time to be; the theatre of the most interesting events which can occupy the attention of the civilized world, we have, instead of our usual plate, given a map of those countries, by which our readers may be enabled to follow the steps of the armies which are now engaged in this eventful contest. We have delineated as aucurately as possible, chiefly from the itinerary given by Playfair, the direction of the principal roads by which these kingdoms are intersected.
While every eye is turned towards the Spanish patriots; while every heart glows at their name, no subject can be so interesting as that which tends to throw light on the probable success of this gallant nation in their glorious warfare. Considering Spain in a military point of view, the most important circumstances appear to be,-1. The face of the country.-2. The number of inhabitants.-3. The number and strength of its fortifications. We shall endeavour, therefore, to give a concise
view of these from the best authorities *.
Next to the numbers and enthusi asm of the people, the aspect of the country is certainly one of the most promising circumstances. Spain is Most of her provinces are filled and completely a country of mountains. encircled by them.
thodique, Art. Geographie Moderne, Busching.
of the Pyrenees, which reaches, withThe first and greatest chain is that out interruption, from the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean, dividing France from Spain. These afford ondifficult. The first is from St Jean de ly five passes, and those narrow and Luz, on the French side, to St Sebastian, in the province of Biscay, on the Spanish; it is the nearest from Bayonne, and conducts most directly to Madrid. The second, farther to the The third, which is the grand road, east, leads to Pampeluna, in Navarre. passes to Roncevaux, also in Navarre. The fourth, from the province of Comminge; in France, enters into the king dom of Arragon; and the last, being the nearest to the Mediterranean, pas ses through Languedoc and Roussil
lon into Catalonia.
From the Pyrenees, on the Spanish side, immense chains take their rise, traverse the kingdom in two directions. The first, beginning at Rouncevaux, int Navarre, passes thro'
Playfair's Geography. Encyclopedie Me- Biscay, the Asturias, and Gallicia, almost entirely covering the whole of these provinces, and joins the Atlan
tic, near Cape Ortegal. The highest elevation of these mountains is at the source of the Ebro, on the confines of the provinces of Biscay and Asturias. At Pancorvo, near the source of this river, there is a pass of a mile in length, and only 50 paces wide. From this quarter, another chain extends under different names, along the whole course of the Ebro, till it falls into the Mediterranean.
The second great chain of mountains begins with a group, called Mount Cayo, on the borders of Arragon. It then extends S. S. E. to Molina d'Aragon, and south to Cape Gates, dividing Arragon and Murcia from New Castile and Andalusia: It proceeds along the frontier of the province of Granada, where it receives the name of the Sierra Nevada, from the perpetual snows with which it is covered; and thence along, the whole coast of the Mediterranean, till it terminates with the rock of Gibraltar. From this chain; the Sierra Morena breaks off at the north border of An dalusia, which province it completely encircles. It communicates with the Castiles only by a single narrow pass.
But not only is the kingdom girt round with these two great chains; the centre is no less rugged. The two Castiles are described as complete ly "bristling with mountains" The mountains of Toledo, the Sierras of Cogolio, Bolbanera, &c. traverse them in all directions.
indebted, partly to the bravery of its inhabitants, and partly to the fright ful mountains with which it is covered. Its inhabitants are more distin-guished by their bravery than their numbers, the province containing only 150,000 inhabitants. Oviedo, the capital, is reckoned to contain 7000. It is defended by a castle. Gijon is a small walled maritime town, but with an insecure harbour. St Andero, a sea port, with an excellent and well-fortified harbour, contains 4000 inhabitants.
2. Biscay, equally mountainous, extends 45 miles along the coast, and 10-25 miles from north to south. It has 200,000 inhabitants, who are reekoned the bravest in Spain. Bilboa, the capital, a trading town, contains 800 houses. St Sebastian is fortified, as well as its harbour, and has 8000 inhabitants. It has a distant view of the Pyrenean mountains. Fontarabia is a neat and well-fortified town. Small walled towns are also Castro de Ur-diales, and Vermejo.
3. Gallicia, on the western extremity of Spain, is also very strong by nature. It is 30-35 miles in breadth, 40-45 in length, and contains 240,000 families. Compostella, the capital, has 10,000 inhabitants. Ferrol, Corunria and Vigo, are good and well-fortified sea ports.
4. Leon is 200 miles in length, 90 in breadth, and contains 1,200,000 inhabitants. The capital, of the same name, is an old town, with only 6000 inhabitants. Other towns, are Benavente, Astorga, Salamanca, Ledesma, and Cividad Rodrigo. The two last are fortified.
5. Estremadura is 140 miles in length, 90-140 in breadth, and contains 450,000 inhabitants. Badajoz, the capital, is a small fortified town, containing 8000 inhabitants. This province, being situated on the frontiers of Portugal, has a number of fortified places, as Placentia, Aleantara, AIbuquerque, Truxillo, Xeres. Merida,. the ancient capital, is an open town.
6. Andalusia is 80-320 miles in Length, 70-150 in breadth, containing 1,270,000 inhabitants. This is the finest and richest province in Spain. Seville, the capital, is the second city in the kingdom, and contains 70,000 inhabitants. It is said that 300,000 Moors were expelled from this city. Cordova contains 20,000 inhabitants. Its fortifications are not now formidable, many of the walls being just as the Romans left them. Cordova, in the time of the Saracens, was a royal residence; the seat of arts, learning, and splendour, but retains few traces of its ancient grandeur. Other towns, are Cadiz, Xeres de la Frontera, Ecija, and Andcigar. This province is completely encircled by the mounBains of Sierra Morena.
7. Granada is 75 miles in length, 8-35 in breadth, and contains 600,000 inhabitants. This kingdom possessed great splendour in the time of the Moors, under whom it was governed, first by viceroys from the Caliphs, and then by independent sovereigns. Granada, the capital, contains 50,000 inhabitants. Its fortifications are demolished. Antequera and Malaga are also large towns.
S. Murcia, 100-150 miles from north to south, and 60-90 from east to west, contains 600,000 inhabitants. The capital contains 38,000 inhabitants, and is defended by a castle.Carthagena is more noted from its extensive trade, and historical distinction. It is well fortified, and contains 23,000 inhabitants. Other towns, are Lorca, Villena, Chinchilla, and Al
9. Valencia, 160-200 miles in length, and 20-65 in breadth, vies with Andalusia in populousness and fertility. It contains 716,000 inhabitants, and the capital, Valencia, has 80,000. This city was taken by the Earl of Peterborough in 1705, and lost two years after. Since that time, its lofty walls and towers have been almost demolished Alicant, a cele
brated maritime town, stands on a narrow neck of land running out into the sea. Its harbour is strongly fortified; and its castle was reckoned im-pregnable, till the English took it in 1706: it was retaken by the French and Spaniards after a siege of two years. Elche and Orihuela are also large towns.
10. New Castile, the principal pro-vince of Spain, is 60-80 leagues in length, 50-80 in breadth, and contains. 1,200,000 inhabitants. It is divided into three districts, La Sierra, La Mancha, and Algaria. Madrid, the capital, reckoned to contain 130,000. people, is an open town. Toledo, an ciently a town of great magnitude, is now vastly decayed, and its popula tion reduced from 200,000 to 18,000 inhabitants. Aranjuez and Escurial are royal palaces.
11. Old Castile, a mountainous country, of a triangular form, 70-75 miles in length, 40-50 in breadth, but is thinly inhabited. The chief towns are Burgos, Valladolid, and Segovia, none of which are of any very great magnitude.
12. Navarre. This little mountainous country contains 180,000 inhabitants. Pampeluna is a considerable, well fortified town, containing above 9000 people. Tudela is also a city of considerable magnitude.
13. Arragon, a kingdom of an oval form, extending 180 miles in length, 70-90 in breadth, contains 660,000 inhabitants. Saragossa, the only very large town, has 36,000 inhabitants.
14. Catalonia, a rocky and mountainous territory, contains 860,000 inhabitants. Barcelona, unhappily now in the possession of France, is a place of uncommon strength, particularly the fort of Montjuick, by which it is commanded. Both, however, were storm-、 ed by the Earl of Peterborough in the war of the succession. Lerida and Tortosa are also considerable towns.
The whole population of Spain is computed at about eleven millions.;
that of Portugal, at three; in all fourteen. At the lowest calculation, a tenth of this number could certainly, in an extreme exigence, be brought into the field, and would thus produce nearly a million and a half, certainly far superior to any number which France could bring against them.The only doubt, we therefore conceive, which can exist with regard to their ultimate success, is whether such new levies could be at all able to face in the field those veteran armies which have conquered Europe. The result of such a contest has been various, and it cannot be denied, often unfavourable. The last war, however, has furnished repeated instances of the reverse. Of these, the greatest and most eventful, is that of the French levy-en-masse, at the beginning of the revolution; and the Spaniards seem to be placed very nearly in the same circumstances. Like them, they possess a regular army, from whom they may receive an example, and with whom they may amalgamate; while they have an additional advantage in the rugged and inaccessible nature of their country. The following reflexions, suggested to an intelligent French man, by the event above alluded to, may be interesting at the present mo
passion is a continual source of prödlgies, and converts a whole army into Curtii, burning to sacrifice themselves for the cause they have embraced.— Animated by this irresistible sentiment, combatants dart upon the hostile ranks, rush into the waves, or upon flaming batteries, overturn all obstacles, disconcert all manoeuvres, and annihilate all the combinations of experience.— That passive subordination, that prompt and passive obedience which cements an army, and makes one force of a thousand arms, is also produced by enthusiasm, much more entirely, more devotedly, than it could be by years of the most rigorous discipline.
Smith supports his opinion by the example of the three great revolutions, to which, before his time, the universe had been witness. Had he beheld the fourth, determined, like the three others, by force of arins, he would have admitted that, even against troops of the line, the most accustomed to war, and the best exercised, the impulse given by enthusiasm is always an infallible earnest of victory *"
Proceedings of the WERNERIAN Natural
AT the last meeting of the Wer
nerian Natural History Society, (July 16.), the President laid before the Society three communications from Col. George Montague, F. L. S. of Knowle-House, Devon. Two of these communications were read at this meeting. The first part of the first communication contained an interesting view of the natural habits and more striking external appearances of the Gannet, or Soland Goose, Pelecanus Bassanus. The second part of this communication contained an account of the internal structure of this bird
"Is it indeed true, that soldiers are valuable only in proportion as they are exercised? Is it true, that experience in the profession of arms, the habit of military manœuvres, and of the fatigues of a camp, necessarily secures to troops of the line the advantage over national troops? In this heroic occupation, where contempt of death is the first lesson to be learned, what are not the effects of Enthusiasm.This passion, which cannot be defined, which has no bounds because it has 'no object, which intoxicates itself by its own reveries, which is exalted by the very confusion of its ideas, which fills the prospect of futurity with eve
ry chimera of a glowing fancy; this Wealth of Nations, 3d edition.
*Notes to Garnier's edition of Smith's