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republican principles, dangerous where so much igno. rance prevails in the mass of the inhabitants; and it has tended greatly to demoralize, by almost setting religion at naught. Libertinism, and even atheism, were never so general as now in Spain, for, from the extremes of superstitious despotism, what with the war, and a rage to imitate the French, licentiousness has become the order of the day.
Mankind, by the experience of the last twenty years, have at last discovered, that the frame and application of a well-ordered government, must, necessarily, grow out of the labour of years, and be ripened by sober experience. Also, that it must be interwoven with the usages of the people, be engrafted on their habits, customs, and manners, and correspond to the wants of the present times. Spain, though freed from her enemy, has still much to conquer within herself; great debility and confusion yet reign there. She presents to the mind, the idea of a deep and dreary chaos, difficult to reduce to order, unless the plans of the architect be clear and comprehensive, and his powers equal to the object to which he as. pires. To draw order and arrangement from this chaotic confusion, is a work of gigantic nature; and it remains to be proved, whether the king, with this constitution in his hand, one decided in a hasty manner, founded on many principles of the French revolution, at variance with the most powerful orders of the state, and uncongenial to the habits and prejudices of the people, will be able to perform so important task. As before observed, the constitution of Britain, was not the work of a month, or of a year; it was formed out of the experience and wisdom of ages, and matured by unremitting care,
and by-a constant progression of improvement. If any thing proves its excellence, it is, that the French now seek to imitate it, and that, throughout the long and tremendous hurricane, by which we have been threatened, our laws and constitution, have been seen, as seated on a rock, against which the boisterous billows of faction have broke their force, and as a superiour being, shielding us from that storm, which has laid so many other nations in ruins.
· As far as the constitution of Spain relates to Spanish America, many of its clauses are not only opposed to common justice, but are likely to prove the causes of continual discord and dissention. Such are articles. 18 and 22, which exclude from the rights of citizenship, and from even that of being included in a governmental census, all classes of persons, who may, in the remotest manner, be derived, or reputed to be derived, from African blood; so that all the mixtures of whites and Indians , with the former, and many Indians who have passed for mulattoes, in order to be exempt from tribute, as well as many coloured families, who have been free for many generations, constituting the most hardy and industrious of the lower orders, are divested of this most sacred of all rights. And let it again be well considered, that this privation extends to a numerous, rich, and respectable, class of citizens, for they are all artists, artificers, and farmers; so that whilst, in Spain, even the gypsies are granted the full rights of citizens, in Spanish America, soine millions of its most useful population, are stripped of that right, because a drop of African blood circulates in their veins, notwithstanding it may have long ago been absorbed, by successive mixtures with whites and In
dians. Were this clause to be carried into effect, in Spanish. America, it would create more confusion and more animosity, than the most arbitrary imposts forcibly levied by the crown. The public offices, besides, would be filled with nothing but tables of genealogy. Little do the Spaniards of the 18th century recollect, what has been their own origin, particularly those provinces bordering on the Mediterranean. Little do they reflect,
that the best times of Spain, were those when she was in .., the hands of the Moors; and, that if she has yet any
remains of architecture, tillage, civilization, and even courage, it is from them that they are derived.
Such is article 23, by which persons of the above description, by not being citizens, are excluded from the right of voting for members of the municipality. Article 25, which deprives of the rights of citizenship, all labourers receiving wages, by which, not only the casts are excluded, but also the greatest part of the Indians, who, having been deprived of their lands by the conquest, - now cultivate them for their dispossessors. Articles 27,
35, and 75, purporting, that citizens oply, with the exer
cise of certain rights, can be electors, and elected as de· puties for the Cortes. Such is article 92, which besides
requires for each deputy an annual income, proceeding from fixed property, by which the Indians are excluded, · as the laws deprive them of the means of acquiring any.
Article 9i, by which a residence in America of seven years, confers the right of being elected deputy, by which the Americans will be eventually excluded, from the greater influence of the Europeans who may go over and settle there. Article 30, by which it is stated, that the scale of population, which is to regulate the number of representatives for Spain, is to be established by the census list of 1797, the largest ever made; and consequently, not including the ravages of the present war; but with regard to America, the basis is to be a census, hereafter made. Article 222, which stipulates, two ministers for the great continent of America, and six for Spain. Article 231, which says, that out of forty couna sellors of state, twelve only are to be Americans.
“ The experience of Venezuela,” says the editor of El Español, “ practically proves, that this constitution, which the Spaniards seek to establish by force of arms, may be liberty in Spain, but it is a mere slavery in America. With the constitution in his hand, Monteverde has been able to kill, persecute, imprison, and commit all kinds of horrors, which have eventually caused a new revolution in Venezuela ; and with the constitution before his eyes, Venegas has acted in such a manner, as to receive the name of Tiberius, in the loyal city of Mexico. It is consequently evident, that in practice, the constitution, with all its apparent equality, leaves the American provinces in a condition very inferiour to those of Spain; and it thence results, that a war, which has for object to enforce this constitution, without any modification that may constitute it the true support and the defence of the liberty of that country, is a measure, unjust and tyrannical*."
I have gone into these few particulars respecting the constitution of Spain, in order to answer those partizans of the conduct of the Cortes, who conceive, that in nominally admitting the Spanish Americans into a particis
.. El Espanol, No. 43, page 318..
pation of its benefits, ás much has been done for them, as they are entitled to. And is this constitution alone, ca
vinces ? What guarantees have they; that even what little it stipulates in their favour, will be duly executed ? Without a local assembly, or some other check over the acts of despotic viceroys, it is not possible to expect, at such a distance, impartial justice ; for even the constitution, a general indult, and the liberty of the press, have been suspended at the will of the Spanish chiefs, on the most trivial pretexts. And from this, where is the appeal ? At a distance of 2000 leagues, and before a national legislature, filled with rancour and prejudice. A viceroy abroad, even with this constitution in his hand, will be as much a tyrant as before: since the governing system is the same, since he has the command of the military, influences all the inferiour departments, and to no one, is answerable for his conduct. The constitution proclaims, that the nation is the reunion of all the Spaniards of both hemispheres, and that all are equal. Yet in so doing, part of the most interesting population of Spanish America, is excluded from the right of citizenship, and the disproportion in the general legislature, is great. Article 27, states, “ that the Cortes are a reunion of all the deputies representing the nation,” and can any thing be more ridiculous, than that one or two hundred deputies, are to be annually sent over from Spanish America and the Philipine islands, to meet a body of men in Europe, with whom their interests materially clash ? What respectable man, however patriotic, would run the risk of a long voyage, and undergo every inconvenience, to serve his constituents; and then, see, that prejudice and partiality