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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

The frequency of lawsuits between guilds


the continuance of the exclusive

spirit of the past, making entry into the guild a difficult matter; the accentuation of social differences within the guilds, such that certain elements had special privileges based on rank in the guild,--for example, a right that their sons might enter the institution without serving as apprentices; the failure of the guilds to observe their own ordinances; the frequency of lawsuits between guilds, or even between a guild and its own members; and especially the continued intervention of the state, taking over the former municipal control of the guilds and unifying the ordinances of each trade throughout the country. The relation of the state to the guilds facilitated the application of the new economic ideas which were favorable to the freedom of labor and hostile to the guilds. Thus in 1772 foreign artisans were permitted to establish themselves, without paying a special tax and without having to undergo examinations; in 1782 a general law introduced reforms facilitating apprenticeship, freeing applicants for entry into a guild from the necessity of proving the Christian faith of their ancestry (_limpieza de sangre_), permitting of the sale of masterships, and abolishing the distinction between the sons of masters and those of the other members; in another law of the same year painters, sculptors, and architects were authorized to work independently of guilds; in 1783 the _cofrad?as_ attached to the guilds were suppressed, and their place was taken by benefit societies (_montep?os_);
in 1784 women were given a general permission to engage in any trade they wished; in 1790 it was enacted that any artisan of recognized ability could work at his trade without the need of an examination; and in 1793 a law dissolving the guilds of the silk manufacturers announced that it was neither necessary nor fitting that persons should be grouped together in guilds for carrying on such an industry. From this point it was only a step to the death of the institution. The great name in the legislation against the guilds was that of Campomanes.

[Sidenote: Dull routine of daily life.]

If the social customs of the two preceding eras may be said to have represented the virile youth of the Spanish peoples, followed by a seemingly mortal sickness resulting from a too great indulgence in "wild oats," this period stands for the recovery of the race (just as occurred in other aspects of peninsula life) in a conventional, outwardly respectable, and on the whole fairly wholesome, if also somewhat monotonous, middle age. Simplicity, regularity, and subordination to principles of authority (as represented by king, church, and parents, checking initiative and making long-established custom the guiding rule in daily life) were the dominating social characteristics. Both in the city and in the country, people arose early; the _Consejo de Castilla_ met at seven in the morning from April to September, and at eight from October to March. It was the custom also to go to bed early, to perform one's daily tasks in precisely the same way each day, to hear mass daily, to have family prayers each day, to salute one's parents respectfully on the same daily recurring occasions, and to display a like respect in the presence of official personages or of clergymen. If people now and then indulged in gossip about their neighbors, they gave little thought to persons or events beyond their immediate circle; they were in no hurry to learn the news of the world, waiting tranquilly for the arrival of the mails, which were usually infrequent and meagre.


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