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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

In Barcelona the average was eight reales $


a firm foundation, intervening,

also, to regulate the work on its technical side. In the second half of the century, especially in the reign of Charles III, the liberal ideas of the physiocratic school, hostile to all forms of government regulation, brought about the employment of a new system, leaving matters to the decision of the individuals concerned. Laws were now passed removing the prohibitions of earlier years. Joined with the educative measures already referred to, such as the establishment of model factories and the importation of foreign workmen, the new methods brought about a revived intensity of industrial life. Much the same things as formerly were made; the textile factories of Catalonia and Andalusia were the most prosperous. The chemical industries and those having to do with the preparation of foods did not develop equally with others. The Americas continued to be one of the principal supports of Spanish manufacturing, as a purchaser of the goods made in the peninsula. After centuries of scant productivity in mining, Spain began again to yield more nearly in accord with her natural wealth. A great variety of mineral products was mined, although very little of precious metals. On the other hand the formerly prosperous fishing industry was in a state of decline. In 1803 it was estimated that the total industrial yield for that year was 1,152,660,707 _reales_ (about $72,000,000). The revival, however, was of an ephemeral character, for the social factors affecting labor were too grave a handicap.
Thoroughgoing popular instruction was necessary before there could be any permanent advance; the Spanish laborer was able enough, but needed to be rescued from his abysmal ignorance. Wages were low. In 1786 the ordinary laborer of Seville earned four and a half _reales_ (about $.28) a day; in Barcelona the average was eight _reales_ ($.50). Agricultural laborers in Andalusia made from three and a half to five _reales_ ($.22 to $.33) a day; shepherds got two pounds of bread daily and 160 _reales_ ($10) a year. To be sure, money was worth more than now. Work was not always steady, with the result that famine and beggary were frequent. There was no such thing as organized labor; to go on strike was a crime. The only remedy of the laborer against his employer was an appeal to the _corregidor_, but this was so ineffectual that it was rarely tried.

[Sidenote: Obstacles to Spanish commerce and efforts to overcome them.]

Attempts were made to combat the obstacles which hindered Spanish commerce. Unable to compete with other European countries in the export trade, except as concerned small quantities of certain raw materials, Spain was hard pressed to maintain an advantage in her own domestic and American field. At the beginning of the century many of the laws tended in fact to discriminate against Spaniards, as witness the heavy export duties, which were collected according to bulk, thus operating against the type of products which Spain most frequently sent abroad. Charles III changed this system, collecting duties according to the nature of the goods as well as paying regard to weight, and charging a higher rate against


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