« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
of justice. The intendants find the greatest difficulties in the choice of the subdelegados, from whom, in the actual state of things, the Indians can neither expect support or protection. That support and that protection they seek from the clergy; and hence the constant opposition in which the clergy and subdelegates usually live. However the natives place more confidence in the clergy and magistrates of a superior rank, the intendants and the oidores (members of the audiencia). Now, Sire, what attachment can the Indian have to the government, despised and degraded as he is, and almost without property and without hope of ameliorating his existence? He is merely attached to social life by a tie which affords him no advantage. Let not your majesty believe, that the dread of punishment alone is suf. ficient to preserve tranquillity in this country: there must be other motives, there must be more powerful motives. If the new legislation which Spain expects with impatience do not occupy itself with the situation of the Indians and people of colour, the influence which the clergy possess over the hearts of these unfortunate people, however great it may be, will not be sufficient to contain them in the submission and respect due to their sovereign. “Let the odious personal impost of the tribute be abolished; and let the infamy (infamia de derecho) which unjust laws have attempted to stamp on the people of colour be at an end; let them be declared capable of filling every civil employment which does not require a special title of nobility; let a portion of the demesnes of the crown (tierras realenguas), which are generally" uncultivated, be granted to the Indians and the casts; let an agrarian law be passed for Mexico similar to that of the Asturias and Galicia, by which the poor cultivator is permitted to bring in under certain conditions the land which the great proprietors have left so many ages uncultivated to the detriment of the national industry; let full liberty be granted to the Indians, the casts, and the whites to settle in villages which at present belong only to one of these classes; let salaries be appointed for all judges and all magistrates of districts; these, Sire, are the six principal points on which the felicity of the Mexican people depends. “It appears strange, no doubt, that, in a juncture when the finances of the state are in a deplorable situation, we presume to propose to your majesty the abolition of the tribute. A very simple calculation will prove, however, that the adoption of the measures above indicated, and the conceding to the Indian all the rights of denizens, will increase considerably instead of diminishing the revenues of the state (Real Hacienda).” The bishop supposes 810,000 families of Indians and men of colour in the whole extent of New Spain. Several of these families, especially those of mixed
blood, are clothed and enjoy some degree of comfort. They live nearly in the manner of the lower people of the peninsula; and their number is a , third of the whole mass. The annual consumption of this third part may be estimated at 300 piastres per family". Reckoning for the other thirds only 601 piastres i, and supposing the Indians to pay the alcavala of 14 per cent, like the whites, an annual revenue would be raised of 5,000,000 of piastres S, a much greater revenue than the quadruple of the present value of the tributes. We will not guarantee the accuracy of the numbers on which this calculation is founded ; but a simple sketch may suffice to prove, that on establishing an equality of duties and imposts among the different classes of people, not only the abolition of the capitation would create no deficit in the crown revenues, but that these revenues would necessarily increase with the increase of comfort and prosperity among the natives. We might have hoped that the administrations of three enlightened viceroys, animated with the most noble zeal for the public good, the Marquis de Croix, the Count de Revillagigedo, and the Chevalier d'Asanza, would have produced some happy changes in the political state of the Indians; but these hopes have been frustrated. The power of the viceroys has been singularly diminished of, late: they are fettered in all their measures, not only by the junta of finances (de Real Hacienda), and by the high court of justice (Audiencia), but also by the government in the mother country, which possesses the mania of wishing to govern in the greatest detail provinces at the distance of two thousand leagues, the physical and moral state of which are equally unknown to them. The philanthropists affirm, that it is happy for the Indians that they are neglected in Europe, because sad experience has proved that the most part of the measures adopted for their relief have produced an oppo ite effect. The lawyers, who detest innovations, and the Creol proprietors, who frequently find their interest in keeping the cultivator in degradation and misery, maintain that we must not interfere with the natives, because,on granting them more liberty, the whites would have everything to fear from the vindictive spirit and arrogance of the Indian race. The language is always the same whenever it is proposed to allow the peasant to participate in the rights of a free man and a citizen. I have heard the same arguments repeated in Mexico, Peru, and the kingdom of New Grenada, which, in several parts of Germany, Poland, Livonia, and
* 67l. 12s. 6d. sterling. Trans. # 131.2s. 6d. sterling. Trans.
# It is computed that in the warm region of Mexico, a day labourer requires annually for himself and family, in nourishment and clothes, 72 piastres. The luxury is nearly 20 piastres less in the cold region of the country.
$ 1,093,750l. Sterling.
Russia, are opposed to the abolition of slavery among the peasants. Recent examples ought to teach us how dangerous it is to allow the Indians to form a status in statu, to perpetuate their insulation, barbarity of manners, misery, and consequently motives of hatred against the other cass. These very stupid indolent Indians, who suffer themselves patiently to be lashed at the church-doors, appear cunning, active, impetuous, and cruel, whenever they act in a body in popular disturbances. It may be useful to relate a proof of this assertion. The great revolt in 1781 very nearly deprived the king of Spain of all the mountainous part of Peru, at the period when Great Britain lost nearly all her colonies in the continent of America. Jose Gabriel Condorcanqui, known by the name of the Inca Tupac-Amaru, appeared at the head of an Indian army before the walls of Cusco. He was the son of the cacique of Tongasu.ca, a village of the province of Tinta, or rather the son of the cacique's wife; for it is certain that the pretended Inca was a Mestizoe, and that his true father was a monk. The Condorcanqui family traces its origin up to the Inca Sayri-Tupac, who disappeared in the thick forests to the east of Villcapampa, and to the Inca Tupac-Amaru, who, contrary to the orders of Philip the Second, was decapitated in 1578 under the viceroy Don Francisco de Toledo. .