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America be great, the expense of administration in her colonies bears full proportion to it. The salaries allotted to every person in public office are very high. The viceroys maintain all the state and dignity of royalty. Their courts display such pomp as hardly retains the appearance of a delegated authority. All this expense is defrayed by the crown.
The salaries constitute but a small part of the revenue enjoyed by the viceroys. From the sin. gle article of presents made to him on the anniversary of his name-day, a viceroy has been known to receive fifteen thousand pounds sterling. According to a Spanish proverb, the legal revenues of a viceroy are known: his real profits depend upon his opportunities and conscience. Hence their commission is granted only for a very short term of years; which renders them often more rapacious, in order quickly to repair a shattered fortune, or to create a new one.
But even in situations so trying to human frailty, there are instances of virtue that remain unseduced. In the year 1772, the marquis de Croiz finished the term of his viceroyalty in New Spain with unsuspected integrity; and, instead of bringing home exorbitant wealth, returped with the admiration and applause of a grateful people, whom his government had rendered happy.
History of the Portuguese Settlements in America.
Discovery of Brazil. Extent of the Portuguese
THE discovery of America by Columbus was,
as we have seen, owing originally to just reasoning on the figure of the earth, though the particular land that he discovered was far from that which he sought. Here was evidently a mixture of wise design and fortunate accident; but the Portuguese discovery of Brazil may be regarded as merely accidental. For, sailing with a considerable armament to India, by the way of the Cape of Good Hope, but standing out to sea to avoid the calms upon the coast of Africa, the Portuguese fieet fell in with the continent of South America. Upon their return they made so favourable a report of the land which they had discovered, that the court resolved to send a colony thither. This was at first opposed by the Spaniards, who considered the country as within iheir dominions. Matters were, however, at length accommodated by a treaty, in which it was agreed that the Portuguese should possess all that tract of land that lies between the River of Amazons and that of La Plata.
When their right was thus confirmed,
A. D. the Portuguese pursued the settlement 1549.
. with such vigour, that in a little time more than two thousand miles of sea-coast was colonized; which was infinitely to the benefit of the niother country. Their settlements on the coast of Africa forwarded this establishment, by the number of negroes which they afforded them for their works. Hence the introduction of negroes into this part of America, and the foundation of a traffic, disgraceful to all concerned in it.
In the very meridian of their prosperity, when the Portuguese were in possession of so extensive an empire, and so flourishing a trade in Africa, in Arabia, in India, in the Asiatic isles, and in the most valuable part of America, they were crushed by one of those incidents which decides the fates of kingdoms. Don Sebastian, one of their greatest princes, in an expedition he had A. D.
1530. undertaken against the Moors, was slain ; by which accident the Portuguese lost their liberty, and were absorbed into the Spanish dominions.
Soon after this misfortune, the same yoke that galled the Portuguese grew so intolerable to the inhabitants of the Netherlands, that they threw it off with great fury and indignation. Not satisfied with erecting themselves into an independent state, they fell upon the possessions of the Portuguese ; took almost all their fortresses in the East. Indies; and then turned their arms upon Brazil, which was unprotected by Europe, and betrayed by the cowardice of the governor
1623. of their principal city. They would have over-run the whole, had not the archbishop Don Michael de Texeira believed, that in such an emergency the danger of his country superseded the
common obligations of his profession. He took arms, and at the head of his monks, and a few scattered forces, put a stop to the torrent of the Dutch conquest. He made a gallant stand until succours arrived, and then resigned the commission with which the public necessity and his own valour had armed him, into the hands of a person appointed by authority. By this noble conduct the archbishop saved seven of the fourteen provinces into which Brazil was divided : the rest fell
into the hands of the Dutch, from whom A. D.
they were again partly re-conquered by 1661.
the Portuguese, but not without a consi. derable struggle, and after much loss on both sides. The Portuguese agreed to pay the Dutch eight tons of gold, to relinquish their interest in this country: which was accepted ; and they have remained in peaceable possession of all Brazil till about 1962, when the Spaniards took the fortress of St. Sacrament; but by treaty of peace it was restored.
This vast territory is but little known, partly from the want of science and curiosity, and partly on account of the thick forests which cover the extensive plains of La Plata. Though in strict alliance with Portugal, we have little precise knowledge of Brazil, and still less of the interior country of Amazonia. The chief city of Brazil was formerly Saint Salvador, which has since yielded to Rio de Janeiro.
Brazil is now divided into eight independent governments, besides that of Rio de Janeiro, of which alone the governor retains the style of viceroy of the Brazils. The discovery and improvement of the gold and diamond mines, about one hundred leagues to the N. W. have secured to Janeiro a decided preponderance. But all the
provinces are growing fast into opulence and importance; and we are informed by Sir George Staunton, that they manufactured of late years several of the most necessary articles for their own consumption, and their produce was so con. siderable that the balance of trade began to be al. ready in their favour; and remittances of bullion were made to them from Europe, in return for the overplus of their exports beyond their imports. The diamond mines belong exclusively to the crown; and one-fifth of the gold is exacted. There are also numerous taxes and impositions, which, instead of enlarging the revenue, are the great causes of its diminution.
The European settlers in Brazil are fond of pleasure, but extremely observant of the ceremo. nies of religion. Labour is chiefly performed by slaves, about twenty thousand negroes being annually imported. The natives are said to be irreclaimable savages, who chiefly subsist apart on the coast between Janeiro and San Salvador. The harbour of Rio Janeiro is capacious and excellent; surrounded by a fertile country, and protected by the castle of Santa Cruz. On the west is the city of St. Sebastian, commonly called Rio de Janeiro, built on a tongue of land, the hills and rocks be. hind being crowned with woods, convents, houses, and churches. The streets are generally straight and well paved. Water is supplied by an aqueduct after the Roman plan ; for, notwithstanding the name, there is no river of any note.
The trade of Brazil is very great, and increases every year. Of the diamonds there are supposed to be returned to Europe to the amount of 130,0001. annually. This, with the sugar, the tobacco, the hides, and the valuable drugs for medicine and manufactures, may give some idea of the import