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which the price of commodities has undergone no sensible variation. The following is a view of the value of these tithes". Taking for example two series of years, from 1771 to 1780 and from 1780 to 1789.
The result of this view is, that the tithes of New Spain, have amounted in these six dioceses,
* I have extracted this view from a manuscript memoir of M. Maniao, drawn up from official papers, and bearing the title of Estado de la Renta de Real Hacienda de Nueva España, en un also common del quinquenio de 1784 hasta 1789. The numbers in this view differ a little from those published by M. Pinkerton (vol. iii. p. 234) from the work of Estalla, which I have never yet been able to procure.
+ £2,880,441 sterling. Trans.
f £4,015,219 sterling. Trans.
Consequently the total augmentation has been, in the last ten years, five millions of piastres, or two fifths of the total produce. The same data also indicate the rapidity of the progress of agriculture, in the intendancies of Mexico, Guadalaxara, Puebla, and Walladolid, compared with the provinces of Oaxaca and New Biscay. The tithes have been nearly doubled in the archbishoprick of Mexico; for those which were levied during the ten years anterior to 1780, were to those levied ten years afterwards, in the proportion of 10 to 17. In the intendancy of Durango or New Biscay, this augmentation has been only in the proportion of 10 to 11.
The celebrated author of the Wealth of Nations”, estimates the territorial produce of Great Britain, from the produce of the land tax. In the political view of New Spain, which I presented to the court of Madrid in 1803, I had hazarded a similar valuation, from the value of the tithes payable to the clergy. The result of this operation was, that the annual produce of the land amounted at least, to 24 millions of piastres. The results, which I came to in drawing up my first view, have been discussed with much sagacity,
# Adam Smith, Traduction de M. Garnier, t. iv. p. 264. Original vol. iiij. p. 250. WOL. III. H
in a memoir presented by the municipal body of the town of Walladolid de Mechoacan, to the king, in the month of October 1805, on the occasion of passing an edict, relative to the property of the clergy. According to this memoir, a copy of which I have before me, we must add to these, 24 millions of piastres, three millions for the produce of cochineal, vanilla, jalap, pimento of Tabasco, sarsaparilla, which pay no tithes; and 2 millions for sugar and indigo, which yield only to the clergy a duty of 4 per cent. If we adopt these data, we shall find that the total agricultural produce, amounts annually to 29 millions of piastres, or to more than 145 millions of francs”, which, reducing them to a natural measure, and taking for basis the actual price of wheat in Mexico, 15 francs for 10 myriagrammes of wheatf, are equal to 96 millions of myriagrammes of wheats. The mass of precious metals annually extracted from the mines of the kingdom of New Spain, scarcely represent 74 millions of myriagrammes of wheat, which proves the interesting fact, that the value of the gold and silver of the Mexican mines, is less by almost a fourth, than the value of the territorial produce.
* 66,042,150 sterling. Trans. + See vol. ii. p. 481. it 2128 millions lb. avoird. Trans,
The cultivation of the soil, notwithstanding the fetters with which it is every where shackled, has lately made a more considerable progress, on account of the immense capitals laid out in land, by families enriched either by the commerce of Vera Cruz and Acapulco, or by the working of the mines. The Mexican clergy, scarcely possess land (bienes raices) to the value of two or three millions of piastres; but the capitals which convents, chapters, religious societies and hospitals have laid out in lands, amount to the sum of 44 millions of piastres, or more than 222 millions of livres tournois. The following is a view of these capitals, called capitales de capellanias y obras de la jurisdiccion ordinaria, extracted from an
Piastres. Archbishoprick of Mexico - - - - 9,000,000 Bishoprick of Puebla - - - - - 6,500,000 Bishoprick of Valladolid (very accurate valuation) 4,500,000 Bishoprick of Guadalaxara - - - - 3,000,000 Bishopricks of Durango, Monterey and Sonora 1,000,000 Bishopricks of Oaxaca and Merida - - 2,000,000 Obras Pias of the regular Clergy - - - 2,500,000
Endowments of Churches and Communities of
Monks and Nuns } 16,000,000
* Representacion de los vecinos de Valladolid al Ercellentissimo Señor Virrey en fecha del 24 Octubre del asso 1805. (M.S.)
This immense sum in the hands of the land proprietors, (haciendados) and hypotecated on real property, was on the point of being withdrawn from the Mexican agriculture in 1804. The ministry of Spain not knowing how a national bankruptcy brought on by the superabundance of paper money (vales) could possibly be avoided, ventured upon a very hazardous operation. A royal decree was issued on the 26th December, 1804, appointing not only the estates of the Mexican clergy to be sold, but also all the capitals belonging to ecclesiastics, to be recovered and sent into Spain, to be there applied in extinction of the royal paper (cara de consolidacion de vales reales). The council of finance, in which the viceroy presides, and which bears the title of Junta Superior de Real Hacienda, instead of opposing this decree, and representing to the Sovereign the injury which its execution would occasion to the agriculture and prosperity of the inhabitants, began boldly to levy the money. The resistance however, was so strong on the part of the proprietors, that from May 1805, to June 1806, not more than the comparatively small sum of 1,200,000 piastres could be recovered. It is to be hoped that Ministers well informed as to the true interests of the state will have since put an end to an operation, the fatal effects of which would have been at last severely felt.