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Spanish Colonies, little or no money remains in the treasury, after the accounts of the year have been closed. Those who govern, are aware that the surest means of supporting their credit at court, and preserving their places, is to send as much money as possible to the royal treasury at Madrid.
As the greater part of the population of New Spain, is concentrated in the five intendancies of Mexico, Guanaxuato, Puebla, Valladolid, and Guadalaxara, these provinces bear the greatest rart of the burdens of the state. The provincias internas may be considered as Colonies of Mexico, properly so called; but these colonies far from supplying funds to the treasury of the capital, are a drawback on that treasury. The receipts of the provincial treasury (caxa real) of Guanaxuato, were on an average, of the five years preceding 1793.
Piastres. Duty* on gold and silver, and , alcavala - - - 850,000
Produce of tobacco, powder, and stamps - -
312,000 Total 1,162,000
* Nothing more is meant here than the duty itself; for the quantity of silver which passes through the provincial treasury of Guanaxuato, is more than from six to seven millions of piastres, the whole produce of the mines flowing through that channel to the mint at Mexico.
.. . The annual expences are shot...?
:: Piastres. Salary of the intendant
6000 Expence of administration of the treasury 7800
Assay of gold and silver ' - '. 5600 Expence of collection of the alcavala and duty on pulque ...
8000 Salaries of guards (Risguardo) - 10,700
From the table' of the expences of Guanaxuato, we may form some idea of the situation of the finances in the twelve other intendancies of which the kingdom of New Spain is composed. At Valladolid the revennes at present amount to 773,000 piastres, and this account is probably more accurate than that of the revenue of the intendancy of Guanaxuato, which appears somewhat too low.
The profit derived by the government of Spain from Mexico, amounts to more than two thirds of the net produce of the Spanish Colonies, in America and Asia. The greatest part of the authors on political economy, who have treated of the finances of the peninsula, the liquidation of the vales, and of the bank of Saint Charles, found their calculations on the falsest data, by exaggerating the treasures which the court of Spain annually derives from its American possessions. These trea
sures, in the most abundant years, never exceeded the sum of nine millions of piastres. When we consider that the ordinary expences of state in European Spain, since 1784, have been from thirty-five, to forty millions of piastres, we find that the money sent by the colonies to the treasury of Madrid, does not amount to more than a fifth part of the total revenue. It might be easy to prove that if Mexico enjoyed a wise administration; if it opened its ports to every friendly nation; if it received Chinese and Malay colonists to people its western coast, from Acapulco to Colima; if it increased, the plantations of cotton, coffee, and sugar; and finally if it established a just balance, between its agriculture, its mines, and its manufacturing industry, it might alone, in a very few years afford the crown of Spain a net profit, double the amount of what is at present furnished by the whole of Spanish America.
The following is a general table of the finances of the colonies, with respect to the net revenue immediately derived from them by the Mother Country:
The royal treasury receives from the viceroyalty of New Spain, from five to six millions of piastres* per annum. '
From the viceroyalty of Peru, more than a million of piastres ;
From the viceroyalty of Buenos Ayrés, from six to seven hundred thousand piastres ;
From the Viceroyalty of New Grenada, from four to five hundred thousand piastres;
In the Capitanias generales of Caracas, Chili, Guatimala, the island of Cuba, and Portorico, the receipts are consumed by, the expences of administration; and it is the same with the Philippine and Canary Islands.
Hence, all the colonies, only produce to the treasury of Spain, eight millions, two hundred thousand piastres per annum, at an average. Considering the colonies merely as distant provinces, we find that the reve. nue of the European part of the Spanish monarchy, hardly equals that of the American part.
Finances of the Spanish Monarchy, in 1804. EUROPE.Peninsula: gross revenue, thirty
five millions of piastres. The total receipt in 1784, was 685,000,000 reals de Vellon; in 1788 it was 616,295,000 reals, according to the account rendered by Lerena. Population 10,400,000 inhabitants. Surface
25,000 square leagues. AMERICA.-- From the researches made by
me, respecting the state of the finances of
the colonies, it appears to me, that we may estimate the gross revenue of all Spanish America, at 36,000,000 of piastres. The population of Spanish America, is nearly 15,000,000 inhabitants; its surface 468,000 square leagues. The colonies of which we can' specify the gross revenue with any
degree of certainty, are the following: Viceroyalty of New Spain, twenty millions of
piastres; Viceroyalty of Peru, four millions of piastres ; Viceroyalty of New Grenada, three millions
eight hundred thousand piastres; Capitania general de Caracas, one million
eight hundred thousand piastres ; Capitania general of Havanah, the island of
Cuba, without the Floridas, two millions
three hundred thousand piastres. The an. 'nual situado from Mexico, is not included
in this calculation. ASIA.-Phillippine islands: gross revenue with
out including the situado from Acapulco, one million seven hundred thousand piastres. Population, including only the subjected Indians in the island of Luçon and the Bisayes, 1,900,000 inhabitants; surface, 14,640 square
leagues. AFRICA.-Canary islands, annexed to Anda
lusia ; gross revenue, including the produce VOL, IV.