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COMPOSITE  GOVERNMENTS.               -         l6l
other motives for their foundation. Making a distinction be-
tween the motives of the governments sending out the colo-
nies and of the colonists themselves, we may say that the
governments were desirous of establishing relations of a com-
mercial nature between the old countries and the settlers
abroad for the benefit of the former. The colonists, on the
other hand, had a diversity of motives. Among the Spaniards
it was lust for gold which chiefly directed colonists to the
Spanish conquests in the new world. Of the English, many
sought homes in the wilds to carry out their religious convic-
tions undisturbed. Others desired to benefit their condition
by obtaining lands at a small price. A very few convicts
were sent to the colonies by way of penalty. But the rela-
tions of the colonists to the soil and the natives, together with
the plan of government, are the two important points where
a mistake might be very serious, and where very serious mis-
takes were made. The Spanish colonies from a very early
time were managed on a somewhat feudal plan of dividing
up the land to settlers together with the Indians in the way
of the old feudal commendation. (§169.) Thzencomiendas,
considered as grants from the king of Spain, of soil and of the
native inhabitants, and called also repartimientos or reparti-
tions, were at first instituted without law ; then in 1503 the
laws of Spain made labor compulsory on the Indians and
their caciques, and yet regarded them as free persons. A
distinction may be made between simple commendation and
the repartitions, but they came, as Mr. Helps remarks, much
to the same result, and the natives regarded the condition to
which they were reduced as a deprivation of freedom. This
relation to the soil and the natives, beginning in Hispaniola,
spread through the colonies. The natives perished under the
system ; and its cruelties, denounced by enlightened priests
and monks, were thought necessary by the colonists. To
save the remnant of the natives from extinction Africans were
imported, the beginning of the woes from this source to the
new continent. All the colonies of North and South America,
without exception, we believe, received this system of encom-
VOL. II.—ii