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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

In jurisprudence this was a particularly flourishing period



[Sidenote: Jurisprudence.]

[Sidenote: Economics and politics.]

Philosophical studies were influenced by the current ideas of the age. At the outset educational institutions maintained what they termed the traditional doctrine, which was in fact no more than the dry bones of the past, serving only as a hindrance to the entry of anything new, even in the field which the philosophers pretended to represent. Men ambitious of knowledge resorted to the theories which then enjoyed high repute in countries considered as leaders in the world of thought, and even churchmen, who were usually among the more conservative elements, were influenced by such of the philosophic systems as seemed least dangerous to orthodox beliefs,--such as a certain sensationalism and experimentation in philosophy,--and they were even affected by an infiltration of encyclopedic ideas. This roused orthodox thinkers to an active reaction which produced many writings of a polemic character, although there may hardly be said to have been a veritable philosophic renaissance. It is interesting to note, however, that even those who combated the new ideas showed by their works that their own views were modified by them. Only one name stands out from the rest as worthy to be ranked with the great thinkers of other lands, that of the logician Andr?s Piquer. In jurisprudence this was a particularly flourishing

period, for juridical studies were more in keeping with the thought and propaganda in Europe at that time. The writings of Spaniards were directed to propagating or resisting the new juridical ideas, to the jurisdictional struggle between state and church, to the questions arising concerning the government of Spain and the reforms needed, and to the preparation of manuals for the teaching of law which the introduction of fresh materials required. The same activity was displayed in the fields of economics and politics, as has already been pointed out. The greatest names in these branches were those of ministers of state like Campillo, Ward, Ensenada, Campomanes, Floridablanca, and Jovellanos, who distinguished themselves by their writings as well as by their acts in office. In the field of economics Spanish thinkers, while strongly influenced by the current physiocratic ideas, were not so completely given over to them as the economists of other countries; they inclined toward giving an equal consideration to industrial development, thus foreshadowing the ideas which were soon to become supreme.

[Sidenote: Advanced state of historical studies.]

Many factors contributed to make this a brilliant period in Spanish historical literature. Indeed, in this field of studies more than in any other Spaniards attained to renown, even though they fell short of the glorious achievements of the historians of the preceding era. The disputes arising from the various aspects of eighteenth century thought led men to look up precedents and to cite their authorities, while the frequency with which certain writers set forth false documents necessarily sharpened the instinct for criticism. A school of critics sprang up which attacked errors and false statements wherever they found them, although the intensity of religious life and the power of the church caused most of the historians to abstain from overthrowing such legends of a sacred character as had become firmly rooted in the popular mind. Gregorio May?ns and the Jesuit Masdeu were among the leading exponents of this school. Books or articles on historical method were frequent, and most authors of histories were wont to express their views in the preface to their volumes. These writers, in addition to their

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