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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

And facilitated the sale of realty already so held


Benevolent legislation affecting gypsies, descendants of Jews, and slaves.]

A spirit of racial tolerance for the despised classes made its appearance in this era. Laws placing prohibitions on the gypsies were repeatedly enacted until the time of Charles III, but in 1783 that monarch declared that the gypsies were not to be considered a tainted race, and ordered that they be admitted to the towns and to occupations on the same basis as other Spaniards, provided they would abandon their dress, language, and special customs. Similarly, in 1782 Charles III endeavored to free the descendants of Jews from the stigma of their ancestry by enacting that they should not be obliged to live in a separate quarter or wear any device indicative of their origin. A law of 1785 permitted them to serve in the army or navy,--a right which had previously been denied them. These generous laws for the gypsies and the descendants of Jews were as little capable as those just mentioned concerning artisans of overcoming social prejudices, wherefore they failed of their objects. In matters of religion the laws affecting the despised classes were more in keeping with general sentiment. In 1712 it was ordered that Moslem slaves who had been set free must leave the country; in 1802 the prohibition against Jews returning to the peninsula was reaffirmed as absolute in the case of those who retained the Jewish faith. Slavery continued to be legal, but laws were passed that slaves

escaping to Spain from other lands, except from the Spanish colonies, became _ipso facto_ free. The treaty of 1779 with Morocco provided that prisoners of war should not henceforth be enslaved. The institution of slavery existed on a great scale in the Americas, though Charles III alleviated the rigors of the situation by his beneficent legislation.

[Sidenote: Tightening of the bonds of family.]

[Sidenote: Influence of the physiocratic school on legislation affecting property.]

Legislation affecting the family aimed to tighten the bonds between parents and children, which had become loosened as a result of the increasing spirit of individualism. Thus a law of 1766 ordered that the prior consent of parents should be obtained before children could marry, although a remedy was provided for an unreasonable withholding of consent; in the preamble it was stated that the law was due to the frequent occurrence of "unequal marriages." Several later laws upheld the same principle. Legislation concerning property was characterized by the ideas of the physiocratic school of thinkers, who referred all social and economic problems to the land as the fundamental basis. Among the Spanish physiocrats (for the physiocratic ideal was widespread in western Europe) were Campomanes, Floridablanca, and Jovellanos, who were among the greatest of Spanish reformers in the reign of Charles III and the early years of Charles IV. In keeping with physiocratic views the laws tended to the release of realty from incumbrances and to the distribution of lands among many persons. The practice of entailing estates in primogeniture was one of the institutions attacked by the physiocrats. It was admitted that it was necessary in the case of the great nobles, in order to maintain the prestige of the family name, but it was held to be desirable to check the extension of the institution in other cases and to facilitate the extinction of entails. Thus a law of 1749 permitted of the sale of entailed estates for an annuity in the case of financially ruined houses; a law of 1789 prohibited the founding of new entails, and facilitated the sale of realty already so held; a law of 1795 imposed heavy taxes on existing entails; and a law of 1798 authorized

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