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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

And the Roman law of the Partidas


Kings. The new collection,

which was for Castile only, filled nine volumes, and amounted to little more than an elaboration of the _Ordenanzas_ of Montalvo, with the addition of laws enacted since 1484. It contained the same defects, omitting many royal orders or petitions of the _Cortes_ which had been granted, neglecting to eliminate obsolete laws, and failing to correct others whose text contained errors. Furthermore, in perpetuating the hierarchy of legal sources which had been established in the _Leyes de Toro_ it failed to distinguish between laws in the so-called supplementary codes (such as the _Partidas_) which were indeed supplementary or obsolete and those which had in fact come to be in force as the principal law. As a result the _Nueva Recopilaci?n_ was generally discredited, and the Roman law of the _Partidas_, or even of the code of Justinian, was cited in preference. The force of government maintained the new code, however, and it ran through four more editions,--1581, 1592, 1598, and 1640,--and in each case added legislation since the preceding publication. The zeal for codification found expression also in Aragon, Catalonia, Vizcaya, and Guip?zcoa, while the laws with regard to the Americas were gathered together, after various lesser publications had been made in earlier times, in the _Recopilaci?n de las Leyes de Indias_, first issued in 1680. The tendency toward the legal unity of the peninsula was not systematically striven for by the kings, since the variety in private law did not
greatly affect their political sovereignty. Nevertheless, something was accomplished along these lines, and within each separate unit a great deal was effected. Thus, in Castile many of the former privileges which made for a division into classes and for consequent differences in the law were done away with, and the same process, though on a smaller scale, made itself felt in the other kingdoms of the peninsula.

[Sidenote: Underlying discontent of the people over the Spanish political system.]

The submissiveness of the Spanish peoples under absolute rule has often been greatly exaggerated. In fact, neither then nor ever since were they loth to criticise the "_mal gobierno_" (bad government). Evidences are to be found on every hand of complaints against the bureaucratic organization which was absorbing a great part of the national wealth and of dissatisfaction with the system of government by favorites, the evils of which were only too apparent. Not a few went so far as to desire a republic. Nevertheless, as a general rule, people favored the principle of monarchy, and did not object to the reigning house, but they did desire a reform of the existing r?gime. The ideal of limited monarchy found strong support among political thinkers, due in a measure to the resentment of Catholics over the enforced apostasy of the subjects of Protestant princes. On this account the _Cortes_ had numerous defenders, some of whom urged its participation in legislation. Many treatises also pronounced against such practices as the sale of public offices or the grant of posts in perpetuity, and against others which have been described as current in this era. In fine, Spaniards were well aware of the evils of their political system and, though patient, were keenly desirous of reform,--despite which, little attention was paid to their wishes.

CHAPTER XXVII

RELIGION AND THE CHURCH, 1516-1700

[Sidenote: Outstanding facts in the religious and ecclesiastical history of the era.]

Prior to the era of the House of Austria it is possible


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