Page images


compelled to have recourse to a less prohibitory. system, and to tolerate what it was unable to prevent. _ Hence a more equitable legislation has been adopted in that country than that by which the greatest part of the other colonies of the New; Continent is governed. In the latter, for example, it is not permitted to refine raw sugar; and the proprietor of a plantation is obliged to purchase the produce of his. own soil from the manufacturer of the mother country. No law prohibits the refining of sugar in the possessions of Spanish America. If the government does not encourage manufactures,» and if it even employs indirect means to prevent the establishment of those of silk, paper, and crystal; on the other hand, no decree of the audience, no royal cedula, declares that these manufactures ought not to exist beyond sea. In the colonies, as well as every where else, we must not confound the spirit of the laws with the policy of those by whom they are administered. '

Only half a century ago, two citizens, animated with the purest patriotic zeal, the Count de Gijon, and the Marquis de Maenza, conceived the project of bringing over to Quito, a colony of workmen and artizans from Europe. The Spanish ministry affected to applaud their zeal, and did not think proper to refuse them the privilege of establishing

[graphic][ocr errors]

cnar. xn.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 459

manufactories; but they so contrived to fetter the proceedings of these two enterprising men, that they at last perceived that secret orders had been given to the viceroy and the audience to ruin their undertaking, which they voluntarily renounced. I could wish to believe that such an event would not have taken place at the period when I resided, in these countries; for it is not to be denied that, within these twenty years, the Spanish Colonies have been governed on more’ enlightened principles. Virtuous men have from time to time raised their voice to enlighten the government as to iits true interest; and they have endeavoured to impress the mother country with the idea, that it would be more useful to encourage the manufacturing industry of the Colonies, than to allow the treasures of Peru and Mexico to be spent in the purchase of foreign commodities. These counsels would have been attended to, if the ministry had not too frequently sacrificed the interests of the nations of aigreat continent, to the interest of a few maritime towns of Spain; for the progress of manufactures in the Colonies has not been impeded by the manufacturers of the peninsula, aiquiet and laborious class of men, but by trading monopolists, whose political influence is favoured by great wealth, and kept up by

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

+60 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [mm v. a thorough knowledge of intrigue, and the

momentary wants of the court. A

Notwithstanding all these obstacles the manufactures have not been prevented from making some progress in three centuries, during which time, Biscayans, Catalonians, Asturians, and Valenciana have settled in the New World, and carried there the industry of their native provinces. The manufactures of coarse stuffs can every where be carried on at a low rate, when raw materials are found in abundance, and when the price of the goods of Europe and Oriental Asia is so much increased by carriage.. In time of war, the want of communication with the mother country, and the regulations prohibiting commerce with neutrals, have favoured the establishment of manufactures of calicoes, fine cloth, and whatever is connected with the refinements of luxury.

The value of the produce of the manufacturing industry of New Spain is estimated at seven or eight millions of piastres per annum.‘ In the Intendancy of Guadalaxara, cotton and wool were exported till 1765, to maintain the activity of the manufactures of Puebla, Queretaro, and San Miguel el Grande. Since that period, manufactories have been established at Guadalaxara, Lagos, and the

[merged small][ocr errors][graphic][graphic][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

neighbouring towns. The whole intendancy,
which contains more than 680,000 inhabitants,
and of which the coast is washed by the
South Sea, supplied in 1802 ', cotton and
woollen manufactures to the value of 1,601,Q00
piastres; tanned hides to the value of 4-18,900
piastres; and soap to the amount of 268,400

We have already proved, speaking of the
different varieties of gossypium, cultivated in
the warm and temperate regions, the impor-
tance of native manufactures of cotton for
Mexico. Those of the intendancy of Puebla
furnish annually in time of peace, for the in-
terior commerce, _a produce to the value of
1,500,000 piastres. However, this produce is
not derived from considerable manufactures,
but from a great number of looms, (telares de
algodon) dispersed throughout the towns of
Puebla de los Angeles, Cholula, Huexocingo,
and Tlascala. At Queretaro, a considerable
town situated on the road from Mexico to Gua-
naxuato, there is annually consumed 200,000
pounds of cotton, in the manufacture of man-
tas and rebozos. The manufacture of mantas,
or cotton, amounts annually to 20,000 pieces
of 8'2 varas each. The weavers of cottons of-

* Estado dc la intendencia de Guadalazara, communicado

en 1802 par el Senor intendente al Consulado rle Vera
Cruz. (Official manuscript paper.) I ~

[ocr errors][merged small]

all sorts in Puebla were computed in 180% at more than 1200.‘ In this town, as well as in Mexico, the printing of calicoes, both those imported from Manilla, and those manufactured in New Spain, has made considerable progress within these few years. At the port of Tehuantepec, in the province of Oaxaca, the Indians dye the unwrought cotton by rubbing it against the cloak of a murez, which is found attached to the granite rocks. From an old custom, they wash the cotton in sea water, which in their parallels is very rich in muriate of soda, to give it a bright colour.

The oldest cloth manufactories of Mexico are those of Tezcuco. They were in great part established in 159‘2 by the viceroy Don Louis de Velasco II., the son of the celebrated constable of Castille, who was second viceroy of New Spain. By degrees, this branch of national industry passed entirely into the hands of the Indians and Mestizoes of Queretaro and Puebla. I visited the manufactories of Queretaro in the month of August 1803. They distinguish there the great manufactories, which they call obrzyes, from the small, which go by the name of trapiches. There were

* Irgfin-nae del intendenle Don lilanuel (le Flon conde dc la Carlena.

[ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »