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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Also expressive of the national economic shortcomings


also expressive of the national economic shortcomings. Cave houses and adobe huts with roofs of straw abounded in Castile. The houses of Galicia were described as having walls of unpolished stone, often without cement, reaching scarcely higher than a man's head, with great slabs of rock for a roof; the doorway and a hole in the roof served as the only means for the penetration of light and for the escape of smoke; and the domestic animals and the family made common use of the wretched house. In the Basque provinces, Navarre, and Valencia the homes were much better, besides being cleaner, although a lack of glass windows, chimneys, and furniture was quite general in all parts of Spain. Through French influences these defects were beginning to be overcome as the era approached a close. If to this miserable state of the domestic life there is added the ignorance of the people (who resisted innovations designed to benefit them), the economic inequality resulting from the concentration of vast landed estates in a few hands, the difficulty of communications, the burdens of taxation, the mismanagement of the administration (despite the efforts of enlightened ministers), the frequency of wars, and the persistence of a spirit of repugnance to labor (leading to a resort to mendicancy or vagabondage or to a reliance upon a somewhat questionably desirable charity) it becomes clear why the economic situation should have been considered perhaps the most urgent problem which the Spanish ministers had to solve, and their failure to overcome all of the difficulties can be understood. According to Campomanes there was an army of 140,000 beggars and vagabonds in Spain in his day, most of whom were able to work and might have found something to do. He and the other ministers of Charles III endeavored to solve the matter by putting the physically able women in workhouses, the men in the army and navy, and the old and infirm in homes for the aged and in hospitals, but owing to the lack of funds these projects could not be carried out in entirety.

[Sidenote: Constructive attempts of the state and private individuals to overcome economic evils.]

The evils of the economic situation being clear, efforts were made, especially in the reign of Charles III, to correct them at their sources. To combat the ignorance, indifference, and in some cases the laziness and prejudice of the masses with regard to labor technical and primary schools were founded and model shops and factories established; prizes were awarded for debates and papers on various industrial subjects; printed manuals, including many translated from foreign languages, were scattered broadcast; teachers and skilled laborers from foreign lands were induced to come to Spain, and Spaniards were pensioned to go abroad to study; privileges, exemptions, and monopolies were granted to persons distinguishing themselves by their initiative and zeal in industry; and laws were passed to raise the dignity of manual labor. In this campaign the government received substantial aid from private individuals. In 1746 the first of the _Sociedades Econ?micas de los Amigos del Pa?s_ (economic societies of the friends of the country) was founded. In 1766 its statutes were published, serving thenceforth


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