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Present State of the Towns of Spain.
bay of Cadiz, with that city at a distance; still nearer, the cities of Medina, Puerto Real, Santa Maria, St. Lucar, and Pota, rise in succession, whilst just beneath, Xeres, with its lofty towers, and magnificent edifices, completes the attractions of this enchanting spot.
There is a bridge over the Guadaleta at Xeres. This river, though small, is very celebrated in Spanish history, on account of the great battle fought on its banks, between the Gothic Christians in Spain, and the Moors of Africa, in the year 711, which decided the fate of Spain, during several successive centuries, and established the power of the Moors, who conquered nearly the whole peninsula, and whose empire continued till the year 1493, when it was extinguished by the conquest of Granada.
We left Xeres very early on the following morning, in continuation of our journey, proposing to reach Lebrixa, pur next principal resting place, at an early hour. The road lay through corn fields. The country, immediately on leaving Xeres, was very pleasant and beautiful, abounding in gardens and vineyards, and enclosed within hedges of aloes and flowering shrubs. The face of the country is rendered still :nore agreeable by the intermixture of olive trees, whose dark green bue forms a pleasing variety, as contrasted with the lighter shade of the hedges. We passed a number of farmers with their wives, mounted on horses, mules, and asses, going to a fair about thirty miles distant, near Medina. This fair continues three days, and is the niost considerable cattle fair in all Andalusia, being particularly fanious for its horses. We passed over some extensive plains, leaving the high mountains of Borno on the right hand, and the Guadalquiver, at a considerable distance on the left. We had a distant view of the city of St. Lucar, and though we did not approach within eight miles of it, the clearness of the atinosphere was such, that the objects were more distinct than they would have appeared in England, at the short distance of a mile.
Our first view of Lebrixa was very impressive. Near the town is a Roman camp, situated on an eminence, over-looking the surrounding country, from the centre of which rises a once magnificent castle, built in very remote times, and improved by the Moors; which now lies partly in ruins, and partly converted into a convent, adding great solemnity to the scene.' The town is by no means well built, though some of the public edifices bave the appearance of magnificence. The brilliancy of the atmosphere gives an unusual air of liveliness to the town and scenery. We went to view the castle. The lower part of the walls is very thick, and built with Roman bricks: the upper part is evidently of Moorish construction. The Romans built as they wrote-for ever.
At the side of an archway, which leads to the castle, there is a marble statue of a female, as large as life; it is undoubtedly a Roman work; the drapery is admirably executed. During the wars between Julius Cæsar and Pompey, this town was the head quarters of the army of the latter, and is remarkable from having been the place where three Roman knights, Bebius, Present State of the Tourns of Spain.
Flavius, and Trebellius, deserted to join the standard of Cæsar. All the cavalry in the place, had resolved to revolt from the party of Pompey, but the secret was discovered by a slave, and thereby frustraied. This was a short time before the decisive battle of Munda, whicb terminated the civil wars of the Romans in Spain.
Having taken a short rest at Lebrixa, we continued on for Seville, proposing to reach it the same evening.
The country in the immediate vicinity of Lebrixa is very rich, abounding in olives, wine, and corn, and for several miles we experienced a pleasing variety of gently swelling hills, till we entered on the extensive marshes called the Maresma, which are only passable in dry weather. The Maresma is the most extensive tract of rich pasture I ever beheld; it extends from. Lebrixa to Seville, a distance of vearly forty miles. The river Guadalquiver, runs through the plain, and in winter overflows its banks, so as to inundate the whole country, to the very foot of the mountains.
On this plain, between Lebrixa and the neighbourhood of Seville, we found only one venta, or small hedge ale-house. The’accommodations were as miserable as the situation was solitary; the house was too filthy within to be endured, and we therefore ate our provisions under sbade, sub dio. In this way we made a dinner, after wbich we continued forwards for Seville, which we reached about sun-set. The appearance of cultivation increased as we approached this city; and several extensive melon gardens at once gave a variety to the prospect, and afforded us a most grateful repast, after the dusty roads, and excessive heat we had endured.
We remained at Seville several days, and as the reputation of this city had excited vur warınest curiosity, we employed almost every minute of this time in walking, visiting, and inquiring.
The appearance of the city was very different from any that I have yet seea. Each house occupies a large space of ground, and all have an open court in them, called the patio. In the centre of this space there is usually a fountain of cool water, occasionally surrounded with orange trees, and other evergreens. The streets are extremely narrow; very few are wide enough to allow two carriages to pass. Several of them, indeed, are literally nothing but alleys, and you touch their opposite sides, as you walk along. The houses being lofty, the sun never penetrates to the bottom of these streets, and they have tlitrefore on the very bottest days, the coolness of our cellars. There is no footpath for passengers, and very few carts and coaches. There are not many squares nor Jpen places in the city, but the environs have some beautiful public walks. One of thein by the side of the banks of the Guadalquiver.
It is alınost unnecessary to say, that Seville is one of the most ancient cities in Spain, being the Hispalis of the Romans, wbich name is now corrupted into that of Seville. Its present state does not disgrace its former Present Stute of the Towns of Spain. reputation; its situation, its walls, its cathedral, its alcazar, its numerous churches and convents, render it still an object of great attention to the traveller.
Its situation is on the south bank of the Guadalquiver, which river circles round it, so as to form its chief boundary on the north-west, whilst on every side extends a most lovely plain, glistening in brightness, variety, and fertility, bounded only by the horizon, the hills which rise towards Casmona, or the southern skirts of the Serra Morena.
Seville is surrounded by a wall evidently of Moorish fabric, although built in many parts on Roman foundations, and of the materials of the ancient Roman works. The whole exterior circuit of the wall is about four miles, or such as a man might easily walk in an hour. At every fifty yards of the wall, throughout its extent, is a square tower, and which, therefore, in the whole, amount to about a hundred and thirty. After the recovery of the city from the Moors, the Spaniards, knowing do better system of fortification, preserved and beautified what they found existing. In the fair times of peace they seem to have adorned even the exterior of the wall, towards the Guadalquiver, with paintings, on a species of stucco; and on one of the towers in that direction, is still to be seen the representation of a turbaned head, transfixed by a Spanish lance.
In the circuit of these walls are at present fifteen gates, to each of which the Spaniards attach some bistory. Through the Royal gate, the conquerot of Seville, Ferdinand the Third, made his triumphal entry. The gate of the Sun is the most eastern of the city, and which, in very ancient times, was consecrated to that lumivary. The gate of Ossario, or the Charnel-house, opened formerly towards the cemetery of the Moors, without the walls. The gate of Carmona, near to which is the reservoir of the aqueduct of that Dame, is on the eastern side. Between the gate of Triana and the river, and close upon the latter, stands an ancient eight-sided tower, called the tower of gold, apparently of Roman construction, and destined for the defence of the river. The Moors, when they possessed Seville, had an iron chain stretched across the Guadalquiver at this part, and iu breaking which, une of the Spanish admirals gained great honour. Opposite to this tower, and at no great distance from it, is another, called the Silver tower.
In Seville, besides the narrowness of the streets, there are innumerable other traces of the Moors, viz. in the different coloured tiles and bricks with which some of the buildings are adorned; in the square courts within the houses, where cool fountains throw up a small stream of water, which falls down into a basin in the centre of the marble pavement, surrounded with flowers, to which are added, statues and paintings; in the remains of bezars or markets, where tradesmen of the same calling live together in rows, in the principal streets; and even in the form of their convents and monasteries, which exactly resemble that of the inner court of a mosque.
Present State of the Towns of Spain.
The three principal ornaments of Seville, are the cathedral, the alcazar, and the river Guadalquiver, which is lovely beyond all possible of description.
It is impossible to enter the cathedral without immediately experiencing those sensations which great objects always excile in the mind. The loftiness of the arched roof, the height and elegance of the clustered shafts which form the pillars, and the length and proportions of the aisles, at once arrest the attention. It is not till after some time that we stop to consider its minor ornaments, the numerous and elegant chapels ranged along its side walls; the beautiful choir in the centre of the principal aisle, and the number and variety of the admirable paigtings, many of them by Murillo. In this cathedral, a simple tablet records the birth and death of the great Columbus. Spain, however, cannot claim the honour of possessing his remains, inasmuch, as they were conveyed across the Atlantic, and buried in the New World which bis genius and courage had discovered.
The courts of the cathedral are no less worthy of the observation of the tra. veller. Of these, the first and most remarkable is the court of orange trees, on the western side. In the corner of this court is a very ancient pulpit of stone. In another part, are three iron grates, which cover the entrances of some subterraneous passages, where the Moors had their baths. Another small court is before the gate of the lizard, so called from the figure of a crocodile suspended there in memory of a present from the Sultan of Egypt, to Alphonso the Will.
The tower of Geralda, however, is the boast of Seville. It is a tower of about two hundred and sixty feet in height, each of the sides of fifty feet in breadth, and surmounted by a female figure in bronze, holding in one hand a palm branch, and in the other, what appears to be a shield or standard. It was built by Geber the Moor, a native of Seville. The ascent to its summit is by the inside, and remarkably gradual, being from side to side on a slope, and without steps, so that a person may easily ascend on borse back.
There is a noble view from the top it. To the south lies the alcazar, whilst the whole course of the Guadalquiver, through the plain, is seen from another part. To the west, on the opposite side of the river, the view is soon bounded by a ridge of no great height, adorned with houses and plantations; at the farther skirt of which is Santi Poncie, the ancient Italica. Beneath the feet of the spectator lies the court of orange trees; and a little farther on the same side of the river, the amphitheatre, where the bull-fights were formerly celebrated. To the north, are the skirts of the Serra Morena. To the north-east, extends a boundless plain, gradually rising into gentle elevations as we approach towards the east, in which direction, immediately beneath the eye, is the gate, the road, and the aqueduct of Carmona.
Next to the cathedral the alcazar is chiefly worthy of notice. It was built by the Moorish king, Abdalasis. Its courts, its halls, its Arabic colums, recesses, and galleries, are admirable specimens of Moorish magnificence. Amongst these the Syrian hall, formerly called the half orange, from VOL. IV. NO. 22.
Circular Notice.-Pension to Disabled Officers. its figure, is most richly gilt, and has a beautiful marble pavement. Here also gre various inscriptions illustrative of the former state of Andalusia, From these halls are entrances into the gardens, which are still in the Moore ish style, with fountains, terraces, labyrinths, &c.
The Guadalquiver, however, is what gives the main charm to Seville, and is justly the favourite stream of the Spanish and Moorish poets. It was known to the Romans under the name of Bastis; but when the Moors got possession of Andalusia, they changed the name to Guadalquiver, which signifies in Arabic, the Great River. It rises near the eastern borders of Andalusia, traverses the greater part of the province, passing by Bueza, Anduxar, and Cordova; soon after which it turns to the south, and running with considerable rapidity past Seville, falls into the sea at San Lucar. Its distance from its source to San Lucar, is about 250 miles.
The only bridge over the river at Seville is a floating one of wood, placed upon ten large flat barks, firmly moored to great anchors in the bed of the stream, and connected with one another by strong beams; the flooring of this bridge is purposely laid uneven in order to prevent the horses from slipping. The Sevillians have likewise taken considerable pains to adorn the banks of the river with trees, and have thus created several very delightful walks. The principal alameda, or public walk, is planted with upwards of a thousand trees. At one end are two lofty pillars, on which are placed the statues of Hercules and Julius Cæsar; the one, the reported founder; the other, the restorer of the city; and the walk is further beautified by five or six fountains.
To say all in a word, the cathedral, the alcazar, the public buildings and public walks, the beautiful river Guadalquiver, the ancient walls, and the plain around the town, render Seville one of the most magnificent cities in Spain, and no traveller will leave it without some regret, or reniember it with. out much pleasure.
ADDRESSED TO COLONELS OF REGIMENTS OF THE LINE.
War-office, June 20, 1812. SIR--His Royal Highness the Prince Regent having taken into his consideration the cases of those officers of the army who have sustained serious and permanent injury in action with the enemy, and being desirous of marking his sense of their services, by extending to them a permanent provision in addition to those allowances which are given under the existing regulations, has been graciously pleased to order, in the name and on the behalf of his Majesty, that pensions shall be granted to such officers, according to the regulation and scale herewith transmitted : and I have the satisfaction to add, that parliament having, by their vote, given effect to His Royal Higbness's liberal and beneficent views, these pensions will commence