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distributed by justice among the manufactories, in order to be compelled to work. All appear half naked, covered with rags, meagre, and deformed. Every workshop resembles a dark prison. The doors, which are double, remain constantly shut, and the workmen are not permitted to quit the house. Those who are married, are only allowed to see their families on Sundays. All are unmercifully flogged, if they commit the smallest trespass on the order established in the manufactory.
We have difficulty in conceiving how the proprietors of the obrajes can act in this manner with free men, as well as how the Indian workman can submit to the same treatment with the galley slaves. These pretended rights are in reality acquired by stratagem. The manufacturers of Queretaro employ the same trick, which is made use of in several of the cloth manufactories of Quito, and in the plantations, where from a want of slaves, labourers are extremely rare. They choose from among the Indians the most miserable, but such as show an aptitude for the work, and they advance them a small sum of money. The Indian, who loves to get intoxicated, spends it in a few days, and having become the debtor of the master, he is shut up in the workshop, under the pretence of paying off the debt by the work of his hands. They allow him only a
real and a half, or 20 sous tournois per day of wages; but in place of paying it in ready money, they take care to supply him with meat, brandy, and clothes, on which the manufacturer gains from fifty to sixty per cent.; and in this way the most industrious workman remains for ever'in debt, and the same rights are exercised on him, which are believed to be acquired over a purchased slave. I knew many persons at Queretaro, who lamented with me the existence of these enormous abuses. Let us hope that a government friendly to the people, will turn their attention to a species of oppression so contrary to humanity, the laws of the country, and the progress
of Mexican industry.
With the exception of a few stuffs of cotton at present next to nothing in Mexico. In the time of Acosta, towards the conclusion of the sixteenth century, silk worms brought from Europe where cultivated near Panuco, and in la Misteca, and excellent taffeta * was there manufactured with Mexican silk. We have already observed that it was not the bombyxmori, but an indigenous caterpillar which supplied the raw materials, for the silk landker
* Acosta, lib. iv. c. 32, p. 179. See also Chap.x. p. 57. of this volume.
chiefs manufactured by the Indians of Misteca, and the village of Tistlą near Chilpansingo.
New Spain has no flax or hemp manufactories; and the manufacture of paper is also unknown in it. The manufacture of tobacco is a royal right. The expence of the manu. facture of cegars and snuff, annually amounts to more than 6,200,000 livres tournois *. The manufactures of Mexico and Queretaro are the most considerable. The following is an account of the whole manufacture during the years 1801 and 1802.
Tobacco manufactured in New
Value of Tobacco manufactured agreeably to sales
7,825,913 7,686,834 Expence of manufacture
1,299,411 1,285,199 Salaries of Officers
798,452 794,586 Price of Tobacco purchased from
the Mexican husbandmen 626,319 594,229 Net Revenue (liquido) of the
Crown, on the sale of Tobacco 3,993,834 4,092,629
On my passage through Queretaro, I visited the great manufactory of cegars (fabrica de
* 253,0601, sterling. Trans.
puros y cigarros), in which 3000 people, including 1900 women, are employed. The halls are very neat, but badly aired, very small, and consequently excessively warm. They consume daily in this manufacture 180' reams (resmas) of paper, and 2770 pounds of tobacco leaf. In the course of the month of July, 1803, there was manufactured to the amount of 185,288 piastres ; viz. 2,654,820 small chests (caxillas) of cegars, which sell for 165,926 piastres, and 289,799 chests of puros or cegars, which are not enveloped in paper. The expence of manufacture of the month of July alone, amounted to 31,789 piastres. It appears that the royal manufactory of Queretaro annually produces more than 2,200,000 piastres, in puros and cigarros.
The manufacture of hard soap is a considerable object of commerce at Puebla, Mexico, and Guadalaxara. The first of these towns produces nearly 200,000 arrobas per annum ; and in the intendancy of Guadalaxara, the quantity manufactured is computed at 1,300,000 livres tournois. The abundance of soda which we find almost every where at elevations of 2000 or 2500 metres *; in the interior table land of Mexico, is highly favourable to this manufacture. The tequesquite of which we
* At 6561 or 8201 feet. Trans.
have several times had occasion to speak*, covers the surface of the soil, especially in the month of October, in the valley of Mexico, on the banks of the lakes of Tezcuco, Zumpango, and San Christobal ; in the plains which surround the city of Puebla ; in those which extend from Zelaya to Guadalaxara; in the valley of San Francisco, near San Luis Potosi, between Durango and Chihuagua, and in the nine lakes which are scattered over the intendancy of Zacatecas. We know not whether it derives its origin from the decomposition of volcanic rocks in which it is contained, or to the slow action of lime on the muriate of soda. At Mexico, 1500 arrobas of tierra tequesquitosa, that is to say an earth impregnated with much carbonate, and a little of the muriate of soda, may be purchased for 62 piastres. These 1500 arrobas purified in the soap manufactories, furnish 500 arrobas of carbonate of pure soda. Hence the quintal, in the present state of the manufacture, comes to 50 sous tournois. M. Garces, who successfully employs carbonate of soda, in the smelting of muriates of silver, has proved in a particular memoir, that in improving the technical process, they could supply in the soda
* See vol. ii. p. 170; and Del Rio, Elementos de Oryctagnosia, p. 154.