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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Ensenada and the other reformers did a great deal


this era, carrying from sixty

to a hundred cannon, while the faster sailing frigate had from thirty to fifty cannon. Many auxiliary vessels--transports and smaller fighting ships, such as brigs and sloops of war--were used. The galley went out of service, although one was built as late as 1794. The Spanish navy suffered from a number of defects, however, which made it distinctly inferior to the English, or even to the French. The wood for the masts was fragile and the material for the sails was of bad quality, while boats were so poorly taken care of, that they deteriorated rapidly. The provision of food supplies and effects for the men was faulty, and the men on board, especially the artillerymen and the infantry, were of very poor calibre. Ensenada remarked that the Spanish navy of his day was all appearances, without substance, but set about to the best of his ability to rectify the situation. He improved shipyards, sent officers of talent abroad to study the methods employed elsewhere, gave inducements to English shipbuilders to come to Spain, built shops for the making of rigging and other equipment needed on ships of war, endeavored to improve the personnel of Spanish crews, and surrounded himself with the most competent naval men he could find. Ensenada and the other reformers did a great deal, but they could not overcome the never-ending difficulties in the way of obtaining men in sufficient numbers and of suitable quality for the requirements of the navy. The fishermen of the Spanish coasts continued
to be drafted as sailors, and became less unwilling to serve than formerly when efforts were made to be punctual in payments of wages and to protect the families of the mariners. The recruiting of marine infantry and artillerymen, however, suffered from the same evil as the raising of the land forces, with one important result, which was that Spanish cannon were badly served.

[Sidenote: Legislation of the era and the _Nov?sima recopilaci?n_.]

Naturally, a period so rich in reforms as this was bound to have a great body of legislation. In Castile this was almost exclusively in the various forms of royal orders, recording the directions given by the king and his ministers, and the decisions of the _Consejos_. Thus the work of the _Nueva Recopilaci?n_ of 1567 got to be out of date, although five new editions were published in the eighteenth century, with the addition of some of the recent laws. Finally, a proposal for another codification was approved, and the compilation was made by Juan de la Reguera, who brought it out in twelve books, under the title of the _Nov?sima recopilaci?n de las leyes de Espa?a_ (Newest, or Latest, Compilation of the Laws of Spain). Reguera claimed to have solved the problem of the concentration of legal material, but in fact his work suffered from the same defects as the earlier codes of Montalvo and Arrieta. His distribution of the laws was faulty, and he failed to indicate many important acts which were still in force. Furthermore, he reproduced the ordinance of Alcal? (1348), repeated in the laws of Toro and the _Nueva Recopilaci?n_, according to which the laws of various earlier codes, such as the _Fuero Real_, remained in effect in so far as they had not been repealed by later legislation, and the _Partidas_ was valid as supplementary law. Thus the old evils of the lack of unity of the law and lack of clearness subsisted. Nobody could be certain whether a law was still in effect or not, and it remained the practice to cite textbooks and the ancient codes of Justinian on the ground that they might have a bearing as supplementary law, unless there was something clearly stated to the contrary in the _Nov?sima Recopilaci?n_. In Catalonia there was a new codification in 1704, and in Navarre in 1735. In most of the formerly separate legal jurisdictions, however, the laws of Castile applied, henceforth, as a result of the changes brought about, as already mentioned, at the close of the War of the Spanish Succession.


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