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manufactories; but they so contrived to fetter the proceedings of these two enterprising men, that they at last perceived that secret' orders had been given to the viceroy and the audience to ruin their undertaking, which they voluntarily renounced. I could wish to believe that such an event would not have taken place at the period when I resided in these countries ; for it is not to be denied that, within these twenty years, the Spanish Colonies have been governed on more enlightened principles. Virtuous men have from time to time raised their voice to enlighten the government as to its true interest ; and they have endeavoured to impress the mother country with the idea, that it would be more useful to encourage the manufacturing industry of the Colonies, than to allow the treasures of Peru and Mexico to be spent in the purchase of foreign commodities. These counsels would have been attended to, if the ministry had not too frequently sacrificed the interests of the nations of a great continent, to the interest of a few maritime towns of Spain; for the progress of manufactures in the Colonies has not been impeded by the manufacturers of the peninsula, a quiet and laborious class of men, but by trading monopolists, whose political influence is favoured by great wealth, and kept up by.
a' thorough knowledge of intrigue, and the momentary wants of the court.
Notwithstanding all these obstacles the manufactures have not been prevented from making some progress in three centuries, during which time, Biscayans, Catalonians, Asturians, and Valencians have settled in the New World, and carried there the industry of their native provinces. The manufactures of coarse stuffs can every where be carried on at a low rate, when raw materials are found in abundance, and when the price of the goods of Europe and Oriental Asia is so much increased by carriage. In time of war, the want of communication with the mother country, and the regulations prohibiting commerce with neutrals, have favoured the establishment of manufactures of calicoes, fine cloth, and whatever is connected with the refinements of luxury.
The value of the produce of the manufacturing industry of New Spain is estimated
or eight millions of piastres per
In the Intendancy of Guadalaxara, cotton and wool were exported till 1765, to maintain the activity of the manufactures of Puebla, Queretaro, and San Miguel el Grande. Since that period, manufactories have been established at Guadalaxara, Lagos, and the
£1,470,000, or £1,680,000 Sterling. Trans.
neighbouring towns. The whole intendancy, which contains more than 650,000 inhabitants, and of which the coast is washed by the South Sea, supplied in 1802", cotton and woollen manufactures to the value of 1,601,200 piastres ; tanned hides to the value of 418,900 piastres ; and soap to the amount of 268,400 piastres.
We have already proved, speaking of the different varieties of gossypium, cultivated in the warm and temperate regions, the importance of native manufactures of cotton for Mexico. Those of the intendancy of Puebla furnish annually in time of peace, for the interior commerce, a produce to the value of 1,500,000 piastres. However, this produce is not derived from considerable manufactures, but from a great number of looms, (telares de algodon) dispersed throughout the towns of Puebla de los Angeles, Cholula, Huexocingo, and Tlascala. At Queretaro, a considerable town situated on the road from Mexico to Guanaxuato, there is annually consumed 200,000 pounds of cotton, in the manufacture of mantas and rebozos. The manufacture of mantas, or cotton, amounts annually to 20,000 pieces of 32 varas each. The weavers of cottons of
* Estado de la intendencia de Guadalaxara, communicado en 1802 por el Senor intendente al Consulado de Vera Cruz. (Official manuscript paper.)
all sorts in Puebla were computed in 1802 at more than 1200.* In this town, as well as in Mexico, the printing of calicoes, both those imported from Manilla, and those manufactured in New Spain, has made considerable progress within these few years. At the port of Tehuantepec, in the province of Oaxaca, the Indians dye the unwrought cotton by rubbing it against the cloak of a murex, which is found attached to the granite rocks. From an old custom, they wash the cotton in sea water, which in their parallels is very rich in muriate of soda, to give it a bright colour.
The oldest cloth manufactories of Mexico are those of Tezcuco. They were in great part established in 1592 by the viceroy Don Louis de Velasco II., the son of the celebrated constable of Castille, who was second viceroy of New Spain. By degrees, this branch of national industry passed entirely into the hands of the Indians and Mestizoes of Queretaro and Puebla. I visited the manufactories of Queretaro in the month of August 1803. They distinguish there the great manufactories, which they call obrajes, from the small, which ·go by the name of trapiches.
* Informe del intendente Don Manuel de Flon conde de la Cadena. (M.S.)
20 obrajes, and more than 300 trapiches at that time, who altogether wrought up 63,900 arrobas of Mexican sheep-wool. According to accurate lists, drawn up in 1793, there were at that period at Queretaro, in the obrajes alone, 215 looms, and 1500 workmen who manufactured 6042 pieces, or 226,522 varas of cloth (paños): 287 pieces, or 39,718 varas of ordinary woollens (verguatillas); 207 pieces, or 15,369 varas of baize (bayetas); and 161 pieces, or 17,960 varas of serge (xergas). In this manufacture they consumed 46,270 arro. bas of wool, the price of which only amounted to 161,945 piastres. They reckon in general seven arrobas of wool to one piece of cloth and bayeta; six arrobas to one piece of xerguatilla, and five arrobas to one piece of xerga. The value of the cloths and woollen stuffs of the obrajes and trapiches of Queretaro at present amounts to more than 600,000 piastres, or three millions of francs per annum.
On visiting these workshops, a traveller is disagreeably struck, not only with the great imperfection of the technical process in the pre. paration for dyeing, but in a particular manner also with the unhealthiness of the situation, and the bad treatment to which the workmen are exposed. Free men, Indians, and people of colour, are confounded with the criminals
* £122,448 Sterling. Trans.