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Spain And Spaniard

Robert Green Ingersoll


                     SPAIN AND THE SPANIARD.

     SPAIN has always been exceedingly religious and exceedingly
cruel. That country had an unfortunate experience. The Spaniards
fought the Moors for about seven hundred or eight hundred years,
and during that time Catholicism and patriotism became synonymous.
They were fighting the Moslems. It was a religions war. For this
reason they became intense in their Catholicism, and they were
fearful that if they should grant the least concession to the Moor,
God would destroy them. Their idea was that the only way to secure
divine aid was to have absolute faith, and this faith was proved by
their hatred of all ideas inconsistent with their own.

     Spain has been and is the victim of superstition. The
Spaniards expelled the Jews, who at that time represented a good
deal of wealth and considerable intelligence. This expulsion was
characterized by infinite brutality and by cruelties that words can
not express. They drove out the Moors at last. Not satisfied with
this, they drove out the Moriscoes. These were Moors who had been
converted to Catholicism.

     The Spaniards, however, had no confidence in the honesty of
the conversion, and for the purpose of gaining the good will of
God, they drove them out. They had succeeded in getting rid of
Jews, Moors and Moriscoes; that is to say, of the intelligence and
industry of Spain. Nothing was left but Spaniards; that is to say,
indolence, pride, cruelty and infinite superstition. So Spain
destroyed all freedom of thought through the Inquisition, and for
many years the sky was livid with the flames of the Auto da fe;
Spain was busy carrying fagots to the feet of philosophy, busy in
burning people for thinking, for investigating, for expressing
honest opinions. The result was that a great darkness settled over
Spain, pierced by no star and shone upon by no rising sun.

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                     SPAIN AND THE SPANIARD.

     At one time Spain was the greatest of powers, owner of half
the world, and now she has only a few islands, the small change of
her great fortune, the few pennies in the almost empty purse,
souvenirs of departed wealth, of vanished greatness. Now Spain is
bankrupt, bankrupt not only in purse, but in the higher faculties
of the mind, a nation without progress, without thought; still
devoted to bull fights and superstition, still trying to affright
contagious diseases by religious processions. Spain is a part of
the medieval ages, belongs to an ancient generation. It really has
no place in the nineteenth century.

     Spain has always been cruel. S.S. Prentice, many years ago,
speaking of Spain said: "On the shore of discovery it leaped an
armed robber, and sought for gold even in the throats of its
victims." The bloodiest pages in the history of this world have
been written by Spain. Spain in Peru, in Mexico, Spain in the low
countries -- all possible cruelties come back to the mind when we
say Philip II., when we say the Duke of Alva, when we pronounce the
names of Ferdinand and Isabella. Spain has inflicted every torture,
has practiced every cruelty, has been guilty of every possible
outrage. There has been no break between Torquemada and Weyler,
between the Inquisition and the infamies committed in Cuba.

     When Columbus found Cuba, the original inhabitants were the
kindest and gentlest of people. They practiced no inhuman rites,
they were good, contented people. The Spaniards enslaved them or
sought to enslave them. The people rising, they were hunted with
dogs, they were tortured, they were murdered, and finally
exterminated. This was the commencement of Spanish rule on the
island of Cuba. The same spirit is in Spain to-day that was in
Spain then. The idea is not to conciliate, but to coerce, not to
treat justly, but to rob and enslave. No Spaniard regards a Cuban
as having equal rights with himself. He looks upon the island as
property, and upon the people as a part of that property, both
equally belonging to Spain.

     Spain has kept no promises made to the Cubans and never will.
At last the Cubans know exactly what Spain is, and they have made
up their minds to be free or to be exterminated. There is nothing
in history to equal the atrocities and outrages that have been
perpetrated by Spain upon Cuba. What Spain does now, all know is
only a repetition of what Spain has done, and this is a prophecy of
what Spain will do if she has the power.

     So far as I am concerned, I have no idea that there is to be
any war between Spain and the United States. A country that can't
conquer Cuba, certainly has no very flattering chance of
overwhelming the United States. A man that cannot whip one of his
own boys is foolish when he threatens to clean out the whole
neighborhood. Of course, there is some wisdom even in Spain, and
the Spaniards who know anything of this country know that it would
be absolute madness and the utmost extreme of folly to attack us.
I believe in treating even Spain with perfect fairness. I feel
about the country as Burns did about the Devil: "O wad ye tak' a
thought an' mend!" I know that nations, like people, do as they
must, and I regard Spain as the victim and result of conditions,
the fruit of a tree that was planted by ignorance and watered by
superstition.

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                     SPAIN AND THE SPANIARD.

     I believe that Cuba is to be free, and I want that island to
give a new flag to the air, whether it ever becomes a part of the
United States or not. My sympathies are all with those who are
struggling for their rights, trying to get the clutch of tyranny
from their throats; for those who are defending their homes, their
firesides, against tyrants and robbers.

     Whether the Maine was blown up by the Spaniards is still a
question. I suppose it will soon be decided. In my own opinion, the
disaster came from the outside, but I do not know, and not knowing,
I am willing to wait for the sake of human nature. I sincerely hope
that it was an accident. I hate to think that there are people base
and cruel enough to commit such an act. Still, I think that all
these matters will be settled without war.

     I am in favor of an international court, the members to be
selected by the ruling nations of the world; and before this court
I think all questions between nations should be decided, and the
only army and the only navy should be under its direction, and used
only for the purpose of enforcing its decrees. Were there such a
court now, before which Cuba could appear and tell the story of her
wrongs, of the murders, the assassinations, the treachery, the
starvings, the cruelty, I think that the decision would instantly
be in her favor and that Spain would be driven from the island.
Until there is such a court there is no need of talking about the
world being civilized.

     I am not a Christian, but I do believe in the religion of
justice, of kindness. I believe in humanity. I do believe that
usefulness is the highest possible form of worship. The useful man
is the good man, the useful man is the real saint. I care nothing
about supernatural myths and mysteries, but I do care for human
beings. I have a little short creed of my own, not very hard to
understand, that has in it no contradictions, and it is this:
Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place
to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.

     I think this creed if adopted, would do away with war. I think
it would destroy superstition, and I think it would civilize even
Spain.

                          ****     ****

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Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship.

Bank of WisdomThe Bank of Wisdom is a collection of the most thoughtful, scholarly and factual books. These computer books are reprints of suppressed books and will cover American and world history; the Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our nations Founding Fathers. They will include philosophy and religion. all these subjects, and more, will be made available to the public in electronic form, easily copied and distributed, so that America can again become what its Founders intended --

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The Historical Library is provided for those doing research into the history of nontheism. It is not intended to be--and should not be used as--a source of modern, up-to-date information regarding atheistic issues. DO NOT CONTACT US ABOUT THESE DOCUMENTS. Please read the full Historical Library Disclaimer
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