Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/392

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


Complutum). By a diligent reform of the mendicant orders, he purified and strengthened the Church. In 1482 Ferdinand and Isabel wrested from the Pope the right of supplication in favour of their nominees to bishoprics. This right at a later date, Adrian VI, urged by Charles V, converted into one of presentation. In the kingdom of Granada and in the Indies, ecclesiastical patronage, together with part of the tithes, was reserved by the Crown. In 1493 a decree forbade the publication of bulls without the royal exequatur. In general, it may be noted that after the death of Isabel, the attitude of the Spanish Kings towards the papacy became more and more independent. Ferdinand and Charles, when opposed, openly threatened to break with Rome; and the latter obtained large assignments of ecclesiastical revenues. The Inquisition was an ecclesiastical instrument in the hands of the civil power; and when, in 1497, the Pope abandoned the right of hearing appeals, this power became supreme. Thus religious was added to civil despotism; indeed, the majority of Spanish clergy were always found to side with the King against the Pope.

The natural products of Spain are as varied as her climates, but her chief riches have always been cattle, corn, wine, and minerals. Cattle breeding was specially favoured by legislators, because of the ease with which its stock could be put beyond reach of invaders. Climate made a change of pasturage necessary in spring and autumn. So long as the land was thinly populated this was an easy matter. When agriculture became general, the rich owners of the migratory flocks formed a guild for the protection of their traditional rights, and obtained many privileges injurious to cultivators. The enclosure of waste lands was forbidden, and broad tracks were reserved, even through the richest valleys, to provide pasturage for the travelling flocks. In spring and after harvest they ranged at will through corn-lands and vineyards. Nevertheless, at the end of the fifteenth century Castile still exported com, while Aragon, and even Valencia, in spite of the fabulous richness of its irrigated fields, were forced to import from the Balearic Islands and Sicily. In 1480 the export duty on food passing from Castile to Aragon was abolished. The result was a revival of agriculture, particularly in Murcia; but the flocks diminished, and the policy of protecting them was resumed. For many years the Spaniards in America, intent upon nothing but the finding of gold, imported the necessaries of life from the mother-country. Until 1529 the trade with the Indies was reserved exclusively to Seville, and the result was a great development of corn and wine growing in parts of Andalucia. But agriculture was ruined by the alcabcda, a tax of one-tenth on all sales. Bread paid three times over, as corn, as meal, and as manufactured. To remedy this the alcabala was assessed at a fixed sum levied by districts (1494); but now a larger horizon was beginning to dawn, brilliant actions took place in the New World and in Italy, and agriculture still remained neglected. Gold began to be