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. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 9 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. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 10 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. **** **** Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. The 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 -- The Free Market-Place of Ideas. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 11
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Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship.
The 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 --
The Free Market-Place of Ideas.
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