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Its towns are populous and flourishing. Industry is encouraged, and a considerable trade is carried on with Carthagena.
Having traced the progress of the Spaniards in their discoveries and conquests, to that period when their authority was established over all the vast regions in the New World still subject to their dominion; it remains only to consider the effect of their settlements upon the countries, which they took possession of as well as upon their own.
The first visible consequence of the establishments made by the Spaniards in America, was the diminution of the ancient inhabitants to a degree equally astonishing and deplorable. But notwithstanding the rapid depopulation of America, a very considerable number ofthe native race still remains both in Mexico and Peru. Their settlements in some places are so populous as to merit the name of cities. In Peru, several districts, particularly in the kingdom of Quito, are occupied almost entirely by Indians; and in some provinces they are mingled with the Spaniards, and are almost the only persons who practise the mechanic arts, and fill most of the inferior stations in society. In the districts adjacent to Carthagena, to Panama, and Buenos-Ayres, the desolation is more general than even in those parts of Mexico and Peru of which the Spaniards have taken most full possession.
When the con quests of the Spaniards in America were completed, their monarchs, in forming the plan of internal policy for their new dominions, divided them into two immense governments; one subject to the viceroy of New Spain, the other to the viceroy of Peru. The jurisdiction of the for. mer extended over all the provinces belonging to Spain in the northern division of the American
continent. Under that of the latter was comprehended whatever she possessed in South America. The authority of the viceroy over districts so far removed from his own eye and observation, was unavoidably both feeble and ill-directed. A third viceroyalty has therefore been established at Santa Fé de Bojeta, the capital of the new kingdom of Granada, the jurisdiction of which extends over the whole kingdom of Terra Firma, and the province of Quito. In subjection to the viceroys are other officers of different ranks and degrees. The various duties assigned to each, and the several power's which they exercise, cannot be discussed in this volume. We shall therefore proceed to explain by what means the colonies enrich the mother country.
Of all the methods by which riches may be acquired, that of searching for the precious metals is one ofthe most inviting to men unaccustomed to the regular assiduity with which the culture of the carth and the operations of commerce must be carried on, or who are so rapacious as not to be satisfied with the gradual returns of profit which they yield. Accordingly, as soon as the several countries in America were subjected to the dominion of Spain, this was almost the only method of acquiring wealth which occurred to the adventure ers by whom they were conquered. All crowded to Mexico and Peru, where the quantities of gold and silver found among the natives promised an unexhausted store. During several years the ar- . dour of their researches was kept up ly hope rather than success. At length the rich mines of Potosi, in Peru, were accidentally discovered in the year 1545, by an Indian as he was clambering up the mountain in pursuit of a llama which had
strayed from his flock. Soon after the mines of Sacotecas, in New Spain, little inferior to the other in value, were opened. From that time the working of mines has become the capital occuration of the Spaniards, and is reduced into a system no less complicated than interesting.
The exuberant profusion with which the moun tains of the New World poured forth their treasures astonished mankind, who had been accustomed hitherto to receive a penurious supply of the precious metals from the more scanty stores contained in the mines of the ancient hemisphere. According to principles of computation, which appear to be extremely moderate, the quantity of gold and silver that has been regularly entered in the ports of Spain is equal in value to four millions sterling annually, reckoning from the year 1492, in which America was discovered, to the present time. This in 311 years amounts to twelve hun. dred and forty-four millions. Immense as this sum is, the Spanish writer's contend that as much more ought to be added to it, in consideration of treasure which has been extracted from the mines, and imported fraudulently into Spain without paying duty to the king. By this account Spain has drawn from the New World a supply of wealth amounting to nearly two thousand five hundred millions of pounds sterling.
Though the mines are the chief object of the Spaniards, yet the fertile countries which they possess in America abound with other commodi. ties of such value or scarcity as to attract a considerable degree of attention. Cochineal is a production almost peculiar to New Spain : the Jesuits bark, the most salutary, simple, perhaps, and of most restorative virtue, that Providence has made
known to man, is found only in Peru: the indigo of Guatimala is superior in quality to that of any province in America ; cocoa attains to its highest perfection in the Spanish colonies, and, from the great consumption of chocolate in Europe, as well as in America, is a valuable conimodity: the tobacco of Cuba is of more exquisite flavour than any brought from the New World: the sugar raised in that island, in Hispaniola, and in New Spain, together with drugs of various kinds may be mentioned among the natural productions of America which enrich the Spanish commerce. To these must be added the exportation of hides. The cattle from which these are taken range over the vast plains which extend from Buenos-Ayres towards the Andes, in herds of thirty or forty thousand; and the unlucky traveller who once falls in among them, may proceed for several days before he can disentangle himself from among the crowd that covers the face of the earth, and seems to have no end. They are scarcely less numerous in New. Spain, and in several other provinces, where they are killed merely for the sake of their hides; and the slaughter at certain seasons is so great, that the stench of the carcases which are left in the field would infect the air, if large packs of wild dogs, and vast flocks of American vultures, the most voracious of all the feathered kind, did not instantly devour them. The numberof those hides exported in every fleet to Europe is very great, and is a lucrative branch of commerce.
When the importation into Spain of those various articles from her colonies first became active and considerable, her interior industry and manu factures were in so prosperous a state, that with the product of these she was able both to purchase
the commodities of the New World and to answer its growing demands. Nor was the state of the Spanish marine at this period less flourishing than that of its manufactures. In the beginning of the sixteenth century, Spain is said to have possessed above a thousand merchant ships, a number far superior to that of any nation in Europe in that age. By the aid which foreign trade and domestic industry give reciprocally to each other in their progress, the augmentation of both must have been rapid and extensive ; and Spain might have received the same accession of opulence and vigour from her acquisitions in the New World, that other powers have derived froin their colonies. But various causes prevented this.
The same thing happens to nations as to indi. viduals. Wealth which flows in gradually, and with moderate increase, nourishes that activity which is friendly to commerce, and calls it forth into vigorous exertions; but when opulence pours in suddenly and with too full a stream, it overturns all sober plans of industry, and brings along with it a taste for what is wild and extravagant. Such was the great and sudden augmentation of power and revenue that the possessions of America brought into Spain, and symptoms of its pernicious influence soon began to appear. When Phi. lip II. ascended the Spanish throne, remittances from the colonies became a regular and consider. able branch of revenue. The fatal operation of this change in the state of the kingdom was at once conspicuous. And under the weak adminje stration of Philip III. the vigour of the nation sunk into the lowest decline. The inconsiderate bigotry of that monarch expelled at once nearly a million of his most industrious subjects, at the