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was not yet introduced, and the metallic produce instead of 23 millions only 10 millions of piastres. Robertson in the edition of the History of America, published in 1788, only values the revenue of Mexico at four millions of piastres, while it actually amounted at that period to more than eighteen millions. Such was the state of ignorance in Europe at that time re
specting the colonies of Spain, that that learned
and illustrious historian when treating of" the finances of Peru, was compelled to derive his information from a manuscript drawn up in 1614. M. Necker f calculated in 1784 the contributions at 23 livres 18 sous, or 4; piastres per head of all sexes and ages in France. Reckoning the number of inhabitants in New Spain at 5,837,000, and the revenue at twenty millions of piastres, we shall have 3.4 per head of all sexes and ages. Peru, which at present contains only a million of inhabitants, and yields a revenue of three millions and a half of piastres, gives nearly the same result. As the Indians subject to the capitation tax pay no alcavala, and make no use of tobacco, calculations of this sort, which are not very instructive even for Europe, are by no means applicable to America. Besides, it is not so much the mass
* Robertson, vol. iv. p. 352, note xxxiii. f Necker, de l'Administration des finances, t. i. p. 22.I.
of imposts as their distribution, and the mode of their recovery, which occasion the distress of the inhabitants. To attain a certain degree of accuracy in calculations so vague in their nature, we ought not wholly to reckon among the burdens supported by the inhabitants of
| New Spain, the duties on gold and silver, and
the profits of the mint, which together come in for more than a fourth part of the total revenue of the country. We will not enter here into discussions capable of affording so very little satisfaction; and we shall rather hasten to complete the view of the Mexican finances, by treating in the following chapter of the expences of collection and the expences of government.
Erpences of Collection — Public Expenditure — Situados — Net produce which flows into the Royal Treasury of Madrid — Military State—Defence of the Country— Recapitulation.
IN examining the different branches of the revenue of the state, we have indicated the expence of collection occasioned by the partial receipts. In all countries these expences vary according to the nature of impost or duty levied. We know from the researches of M. Necker", that in France, before the year 1784, the expence of collection amounted to 10; per cent. of the whole imposts laid upon the people, while it cost more than 15 per cent. to collect the duties on consumption alone. From these proportions we may judge to a certain extent of the economy which prevails in the administration of the finances. The following table, drawn up from official papers, exhibits an af. flicting result: it proves that the inhabitants of New Spain support burdens which surpass the net revenue of the state by more than a seventh. We shall first give this table, such as it was sent by the Count de Revillagigedo the viceroy, to the ministry at Madrid; and we shall afterwards discuss the results which may be drawn from it.
* Necker, t. i. p. 93 and 188.
Expence of collection and ad- Classification of the Receipts. (Ramos de real hacienda.) o ministration, in so 1n piastres. 1st. Class, called masa commun : *} - Indian tribute, duties on gold and silver 10,747,878 1,395,862 9,352,016 2d. Class, called masa remisible a España: produce of the tobacco farm, of the sale 6,899,830 3,080,303 3,819,527 of cards, and of mercury - - - |3d. Class, called destinos particulares: Cruzada, tithes, medias anatas, mesadas, and 530,425 13,806 516,621 other duties on the clergy - - - |Agenos, revenue of the goods of corporations and pious foundations under r) 1,897,128 1,700,956 196,172 inspection of government - - - - Total - - - - - - 20,075,261 6,190,927 | 13,884,836