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there is a perpetual spring, is more than twenty leagues distant from the sea. If Vera Cruz is destroyed, and a fair established at Xalapa, the trade will of new fall into the hands of a few Mexican families, who will gain immense wealth; and the inferior merchant will be unable to make head against the expence of frequent journies from Xalapa to Vera Cruz, and the double establishment on the mountains and on the coast. The inconveniences which would be occasioned by the destruction of Vera Cruz have been stated to the viceroy by persons of intelligence; but it has at the same time been proposed to shut up the port during the months of the great heats, and to limit the entry of vessels to winter, when Europeans run no risk of contracting the yellow fever. This appears a very wise measure, when we merely consider the danger incurred by the sea-faring people already in the port, but we must not forget that the same north winds by which the atmosphere is cooled, and by which the germ of infection is extinguished, are also very dangerous to navigation in the gulph of Mexico. If the vessels which annually arrive in the port of Vera Cruz were all to arrive during winter, shipwrecks would be extremely common both on the coast of America and the coast of Europe. Hence, before having re
course to such extraordinary measures, all the means calculated to diminish the insalubrity of a town, the preservation of which is not only connected with the individual prosperity of its inhabitants, but also with the public prosperity of New Spain, should be resorted to.
REVENUE OF THE STATE — MILITARY
Actual revenue of the kingdom of New Spain. — Its progressive augmentation since the beginning of the eighteenth century. — Sources of the public revenue.
The object of our researches has hitherto been to explain the principal sources of the public prosperity. It now remains for us, at the end of this work, to examine into the revenue of the state, destined to provide for the expences of administration, the maintenance of magistrates, and the military defence of the country. According to old Spanish laws, each viceroyalty is not governed as a domain of the crown, but as an insulated province, separated from the mother country. All the institutions that together form a European government, are to be found in the Spanish colonies, which we might compare to a system of confederated states, were the colonists not deprived of several important rights in their commercial relations with the old world. Hence, we may draw up a table of the public revenues of New Spain in the same manner as we may draw up a state of the revenues of Ireland and Norway, which are governed in the name of the kings of England and Denmark. The greatest part of those provinces which go in the Peninsula, not by the name of colonies, but by that of kingdoms (reynos), contribute no net revenue to the king of Spain. Every where, with the exception of Peru and Mexico, the duties and imposts levied are absorbed by the expences of interior administration. I shall not here discuss at length the vices of that administration; they are the same which are observable in European Spain, and against which writers on political economy, both national and foreign, have raised their voice since the commencement of the eighteenth century. The revenue of New Spain * may be esti