\YILH I<LM ROSCHKR
ION EDITED UN
KHWARD (1AYLORD HOl'RNK
t'roft ss,- of Histo* v in \\ile Univey^i'y
IIRNRV HOLT AND COMPANY'
TRANSLATION EDITED BY
EDWARD GAYLORD BOURNE
Professor of History in Yale University
HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY
HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY
ROBERT DRUMMOND, PRINTER, NBW YORK
THE secular rivalry and conflict between the colonial inter-
ests of England and Spain which the United States inherited,
the many points at which our history touches that of the former
Spanish colonies, and the earlier and later absorption of Spanish
possessions within our national boundaries make an intelligent
appreciation of the work of Spain as a colonizing power an impor-
tant object in the study of American history. Such a knowledge
of the aims and work of Spain is no less necessary an adjunct to
the understanding of the political problems of to-day in the West
Indies and in the Philippines. The treatments of the subject
in our ordinary text-books and in the popular narrative histories
are at best inadequate and too often misleading through the
prejudices or lack of knowledge of their authors. What is needed
is a broad historical and comparative treatment of the subject
such as will be found in the chapter here presented in English
from Roscher's Kolonien^ Kolonialpolitik und Auswanderung
(Third Edition, Leipzig, 1885).
The great profit I have derived from the study of this admir-
able work has long made me wish it were available for class use
and for collateral reading, and it is in the hope of making a useful
addition to the materials for the study of our colonial history or
the history of colonization in general that I have undertaken an
English edition of this chapter which is complete in itself.
The translation is principally the work of Dr. Ernest H.
Baldwin, but I have carefully revised it and am alone respon-
sible for it in its present shape. To facilitate the consultation of
Roscher's authorities for further reading or investigation short
bibliographical notes have been added where they seemed likely
to be useful.
In this connection it may not be out of place to remark that
there is much that is still valuable in Robertson's account of the
Spanish Colonial System as given in the eighth book of his His-
tory of America, especially in the notes; that the rich materials
in H. H. Bancroft's Central America and Mexico are too often
overlooked; and that Konrad Habler's admirable chapters on
the "Spanish Colonial Empire," in the first volume of Helmolt's
History of the World, as the work of a scholar who has'critically
investigated the economic history of Spain, will amply reward
E. G. B.
NEW HAVEN, November, 1903
THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
THE sixteenth century saw the accomplishment of two great
historical events of world- wide importance: the exploration of
the globe, and the reformation of the church. The latter task,
belonging particularly to the spiritual realm, devolved chiefly on
the Germanic peoples; the former, of a more material nature,
on the Romance nations.
Italy's Share in Spain's Achievements. During this entire
century Spain was, undoubtedly, the foremost power of Europe;
yet in all of her splendid achievements she had to rely upon Italy.
For example, in the sphere of religion, the foundation of the Order
of Jesuits and the Council of Trent took their origin from Spain
and Italy, equally; upon the whole it would be difficult to say
whether the restoration of the Catholic Church at that time
that violent recoil of the Reformation is owing more to the
Spaniards or to the Italians. How often the Spanish armies, in
that age the leading troops of the world, were led by Italian
generals! Recall only Spinola and Alexander of Parma, not to
mention Pescara. I And do not Spanish literature and art, which
from the time of Philip II to that of Louis XIV unquestionably
led those of all Europe, constitute in many respects a beautiful
silver age of the art and literature of Italy? Similarly the
discovery of the New World was effected not less by Italians
(Columbus, Amerigo, Cabot) than by Spaniards. The former,'
as a rule, made the beginning on the sea; the latter, the actual
Under the Hapsburgs. He who would study the Spanish
colonial system in its peculiar completeness must keep in view
the century and a half from the accession of Philip II to the end
2 THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
of the Hapsburg male line. 1 During the conquest the govern-
ment could do little more than gradually to develop its system, and,
in contest with the unrestrained assertions of independence on the
part of the conquistadores, to put it into effect step by step. On
the other hand the Bourbon dynasty, in the administration of their
colonies as in almost every other respect, disturbed the old Spanish
order by imitating foreigners. We cannot properly explain the
/-later colonial policy of the Spaniards as a natural development;
/ it is rather partly derived from the old Spanish, and partly from
the French and English policies of the eighteenth century. 2
Agriculture not the Chief Aim of Spanish Colonization. How
little. -attention, on the whole, the conquistadores directed to agri-
cultural colonies, considering their various services in the trans-
plantation of domestic animals, cereals, and vegetables from the
Old Fo the New World, is very clearly shown by Peter Martyr,
who condemns the expedition to Florida with the words : " For
what purpose do we need such products as are identical with those
of southern Europe ? " It is true that Columbus' s second voyage
of discovery had a settlement in view, and for that reason was
provided with dnmestic__animalsj seeds, etc. It was a failure,
however, owing to the mutinous spirit of the Spaniards. The
third^expedition was directed in accordance with a very definite
plan, wifE a stipulated number of laborers, peasants, and women;
it was particularly unfortunate, however, that so many criminals
were transported with it. 4 The regions which were best adapted
1 More exactly from 1542, when Charles V proclaimed the celebrated "New
Laws." [On these "New Laws" see Lea, Yale Review, Aug., 1899, "The
Indian Policy of Spain." B.]
2 As the chief source for this whole section, I have used the excellent official
codification: Recopilacion de Leyes de los Reynos de las Indias, 4 vols., fol., 3d
3 Peter Martyr, Ocean. Dec., VIII, cap. 10. Cortes is an honorable exception
to this. He introduced into Mexico the cultivation of sugar-cane, wool, and
silk -growing, and devoted no excessive consideration to the production of precious
metals. Compare Prescott, Conquest of Mexico, III, 294. [Peter Martyr's
Decades are accessible in English in Lok's translation in vol. V of Hakluyt's
Voyages, London, 1809-1812. B.]
4 Herrera I, 3, 2. [Herrera's Historia General de los Hechos de los Castel-
lanos en las Islas y Tierra-Firme de el Mar Oceano is accessible in English in
a somewhat abridged and inaccurate translation by John Stevens under the
SPANISH CHARACTER 3
to agricultural colonies, as-, for example, Caracas, Guiana, Buenos
Ayres, were neglected by the Spaniards for centuries. As they
saw no advantage in the conquest of these countries, they seized
the inhabitants to sell them as slaves. 1 In this way, the Span-
iards, although they were always ashamed to engage in the negro
slave trade themselves, by their traffic in Caribs exemplified all
its horrors. 2
Spanish Character. The character of the Spanish people has,
from the beginning, been prone to indolence ttd_jmd. All
thrifty activity was regarded as despicable. No trader had a seat
in the Cortes of Aragon. As late as 1781 the Academy of Madrid
was obliged to offer as the subject for a prize essay the proposi-
tion that there was nothing derogatory in the useful arts. Every
tradesman and manufacturer sought only to make enough money
to enable him to live on the interest of it or to establish a trust
fund for his family. If he was successful he either entered a
cloister or went to another province in order to pass for a noble.
In Cervantes we find the maxim: "Whoever wishes to make his
fortune seeks the church, the sea (i.e.j service in _Amenca), or
theL Jdrig~V loouse." The highest ambition of the nation in its
golden age was to be to Europe just what the nobility, the
clergy, and the army were to single nations. Consequently
there was an enormous preponderance of personal service in the
industrial organism, and much of this was purely for ostentation.
title General History of the Continent and Islands of America, London, 1725 and
1 In Caracas, especially, this was extremely difficult because of the number
and bravery of the natives; compare Depons, Voyage a la Partie Orientale de
la Terre-Ferme, I, 96 ff. [Depons's Voyage was translated by Washington Irving
under the title of Voyage to the Eastern Part of Terra Firma or the Spanish Main,
3 vols., New York, 1806. Later editions have varying titles. B.]
2 Benzoni, Hist, del Hondo Nuevo, 4, 7 ff. Humboldt, R. H., I, 324. [Ben-
zoni's Historia del Nuevo Hondo is accessible in English in the version by W. H.
Smyth for the Hakluyt Society, London, 1857. On Benzoni as an authority
see the note under his name in Larned's Literature of American History. Hum-
boldt, R. I?., refers to Humboldt's Relation Historique, originally published in
Humboldt and Bonpland, Voyage aux regions Equinoxiales du Nouveau Continent,
1720-1804, Paris, 1814. It is accessible in English as the Personal Narrative of
Travels, etc., translated first by Helen Maria Williams, 7 vols., London, 1818-
1829, and again by Thomasina Ross, 3 vols., London, 1852-1853, Bohn's Scien-
tific Library. B.]
4 THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
Nowhere in the world were there so many nobles, so many officers,
civil and military, so many lawyers and clerks, priests and
monks, so many students and school-boys, with their servants.
But as truly, nowhere in the world were there so many beggars
Policy of the Crown in Behalf of the Natives. The Spanish
colonies were, originally, pure conquest colonies. Very early,
however, the crown sought to interpose between the conquerors
and the conquered, and to place the exploitation of the natives
under restrictions that would be humane and lasting. 1 The
frequent very violent conflicts of the government with the con-
quistadores in behalf of the natives may be compared with those
of England against the planters in favor of the negroes, Hot-
tentots, etc. 2 Charles V had such a scientific interest in the
characteristics of his new subjects that he even established pro-
fessorships of the Mexican language and antiquities. 3
The Koyal Encomenderos. According to the constitutional
law of the Indies the land and the soil in all colonies were the
domain of the king; therefore the encomiendas, which were
granted only to discoverers, jind ..other men of conspicuous merit,
were to be considered not so much as landed estates as public
offices. 4 The encomendero was jLrjrjpj.nte^^nd_sworn (law of
1532) for.,the express purpose of .giving his Indians military pro-
tection (law of 1552) and of promoting politically and religiously
their conversion to civilization (laws of 1509, 1554, i58o). 5 Who-
ever neglected to do this lost his encomienda (laws of 1536, 1551).
It is characteristic that the Spaniards so readily combined the
functions of discoverers, pacificators, and founders of settlements ; 8
1 As early as the time of the Catholic Queen Isabella; cf. her will, Recopilacion,
VI, 10, i. Columbus's ruin was principally occasioned by his exportation of
Indian slaves to Seville (Ausland, 1856, No. 40).
2 Compare Humboldt, Kriiische Untersuchung, II, 201 ff. Cortes is again
an honorable exception; cf. his will in Prescott, III, 306.
3 Wappaus, Mittel- und Sudamerika, 37 ff.
4 Compare Recopilacion, VI, 8, 9, n.
5 The king also had the right to attach pensions up to a certain amount,
as a charge upon the encomiendas.
6 Philip II had already forbidden the word "conquest' 5 in his law concerning
the Poblaciones. Recop., IV, i, 6.
COMPULSORY SERVICES; THE MITA 5
as a matter of fact most of the Indian races were led to a civil life,
in our sense of the word, by them. 1 In order to prevent extor-
tion no encomendero could own a house in his village or stay
there more than one night (law of 1609, 1618). Not even his
nearest relatives or his slaves could enter the encomienda (law of
1574, 1550, and often). He was forbidden to maintain any indus-
trial establishment in the encomienda (law of 1621), or to take
into his house any of the inhabitants (law of 1528). That the
Indians were free men, that they could not be sold by an encomen-
dero, was recognized in many laws. 2 After the legislation of 1542
some of the Indians were the immediate subjects of the king, and
the rest dependents attached to the encomiendas. The former
paid three-fourths of their taxes to the treasury, and the latter
the same proportion to their landlords. The right of holding
an encomienda was granted, regularly, for two generations, except
in New Spain, where, on account of the very unusual services
rendered by the conquerors, it was granted for three and even
four generations. 3 During the eighteenth century many of the
families of the landlords died out and their possessions were not
again granted. The authorities always interested themselves
in the cause of the Indians, until at length Charles III abolished I
the encomiendas. 4
Compulsory Services^, the Mita. From the beginning an effort
was made to moderate the military power by means of jurists
(so-called licenciados) and Philip II made the attorneys (fiscales)
of the royal courts the official protectors of the Indians. 5
To insure impartiality, none of the higher civil officers who had
1 In regard to Mexico, I will mention only two points: first that the number
of yearly human sacrifices there before the conquest has been estimated at 20,000
(Prescott, I, 72); also that Cortes, at least, made an earnest effort not to impose
more taxes on the conquered than they had paid to their former lords (ibid.,
* Recopilacion, VI, 2, i, n.
'Ibid., VI, ii, 14.
4 Humboldt, Neuspanien, I, 144 ft. [Humboldt's Essai Politique sur le Roy-
aume de la Nouvelle Espagne, first published as Part III of Humboldt and Bon-
pland, Voyage, etc., 1811. Four of the six livres of the original were translated
into English by John Black, 2 vols., London, 1811. B.]
6 Recopilacion II, 18, 34; compare VI, 6.
6 THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
to do with the administration of American affairs could have an
encomienda, or even profit by the cwmoulsorj __service of the
t Indians^ (law of 1542, 1609, and often). The compulsory labor
of the Indians was devoted to mining, road-making, maize cul-
ture, cattle- raising, and similar necessities; never to wine, sugar-
cane or like luxuries. In Peru not more than one-seventh, in
Mexico not over four per cent, of the Indians could be summoned
to service; for mining only such were drafted as lived within a
certain distance of the mines. 2 Moreover, how far from oppres-
sive the latter service, the so-called mita, was, is best seen in the
fact that many, when it was not their turn, applied for it, and
those bound to it (mitayos) often worked longer hours to gain
the high wages promised for so doing. 3
Treatment of Indians. On the whole the treatment of the
Indians was as humane, perhaps, as was practicable, consider-
ing^Ehat they were regarded as minors and in view of what was
\ necessary to secure the Spanish sovereignty. 4 No Indian was to
carry arms or learn the manufacture of them (law of 1501 and
often) ; the possession of horses was also forbidden them (law of
1568); however, all such provisions were 'soon without force. If
they were obliged to live in villages (law of 1551 and often) and
forbidden to change their dwelling-place without the permission
of the authorities (law of 1560, 1604, 1618), yet we can find in this
only a salutary police regulation by which a relapse to the bar-
barism of a hunter's life might be prevented. As a matter of fact,
the Indian is extraordinarily inclined to such relapses. The
prohibition of the whites, mulattoes, etc., from settling among
the Indians (law of 1536), and of the merchants from remaining
longer than three days among them (law of 1600), was designed
to protect them from ruthless exploitation by those of superior
abilities. Every Indian village had a native cazique, whose office
was often hereditary. 5 The government restricted his authority
1 Recopilacion, VI, 12, 42; II, 3, 15.
2 Ibid., VI, 12.
8 Ulloa, Noticias Americanas, cap. 14 (1772).
4 Recopilacion, VI, 10: "Del Buen Tratamiento de los Irtdios."
5 Mestizos were not eligible for it (law of 1526); also a very wise precautionary
TREATMENT OF INDIANS 7
only to the extent of preventing him from abusing his sub-
jects by means of white corregidores, or protectors, who were
entrusted at the same time with the collection of the revenue. 1
Offences against an Indian were to be avenged more severely
than if they affected a Spaniard (law of 1593). The Indians
did not pay the oppressive tax of the alcavala; they were easily
released from their direct tribute also.
The church treated the Indians with very exceptional mild-
ness. The Inquisition never had to do with the Indians. Any
heresies were to be tried before the bishops' courts (law of 1575),
but there were never really any prosecutions. Because the Indians
thought a great deal of their long hair, contrary to the Pauline
injunction, they were not compelled to cut it off before baptism
(law of 1581). As for confession, church penances, feast-days,
the hearing of mass and fasts, in short almost every church require-
ment, they were treated with an indulgence which would have been
quite impossible towards the Spaniards themselves. All this was
"on account of their ignorance and their weak minds." An.
Indian could marry his godmother notwithstanding the parentela
spiritualise when necessary even the eating of human flesh by
him was overlooked. 2 As late as Humboldt's time the laws of
Isabella and Charles V were still in existence laws which declared
the Indians minors for life, so that, for example, they might not,
on their own responsibility, contract debts of over five dollars.
"No pueden tratar y contratar." Neither their real estate nor
their personal effects could be sold except in due legal form (law
of 1571), and the law gave its consent then only when it found the
trade advantageous to the Indian. 3
The Spanish. Policy in Theory and in Practice. The humane-
ness of this policy no one will fail to appreciate. 4 While the
1 Recopilacion, VI, 7.
2 Montenegro, Itinerario de Parochos de Indios, IV, 5, 9, No. 8; compare
Depons, I, 330 ff. Cortes with a shrewd tolerance availed himself of the legend
of King Quitzalcoatl, who had gone off to the East, and of the Aztec eagle which
was identified with the dove of the Holy Ghost.
3 But on the other hand it was required that in criminal cases guilt could be
pronounced only on the agreeing testimony of six Indians because of their great
and universally prevailing lack of truthfulness.
4 Compare Depons, I, 321 ff. Even Merivale, Lectures on Colonization and
THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
colonies of other European peoples regularly caused the extirpa-
tion of the barbarous natives wherever they encountered them, 1
the Spaniards succeeded not merely in preserving them but also
in converting and civilizing them, besides fusing with them into
strong mixed races. It is true the Spaniards in America com-
mitted outrages, like those of unrestrained soldiers in every war, 2
but only so long as the conquistadores remained independent
of the power of the state which had contributed little to the con-
quest. A certain restraint over the colonists as well as over natives
was essential to that beneficent purpose a firm interposition,
and separation of the two antagonistic elements by the state.
Every colonizing nation that desires to treat the aborigines
humanely may learn a great deal here from the Spanish policy;
for example, the English in regard to their policy in New Zealand
and towards the Kaffirs. To be sure humanity was perhaps not
the only motive of the Spanish government. The principle of
Divide et impera came into play, and in the Spanish colonial
administration, especially, played an important part. Colonists
and aborigines were to check each other. Therefore the whole
system of treating the Indians as wards was designed manifestly
Colonies, London, 1842 (II, Lect. 18), is obliged to demand the appointment of
protectors for the natives, who thus stand immediately under the authority of
the motherland, as an essential obligation in every colony. Conversion to Chris-
tianity also seems to him the indispensable previous condition of all civilization;
and for very barbarous primitive people he considers the Spanish system of hold-
ing them as minors as appropriate in order to prevent a contract for service be-
coming a form of slavery. On the other hand he condemns the separation of
the natives from the colonists; the highest aim should be the amalgamation of
the two races. For agricultural colonies I agree with this fully. In Spanish
America, however, circumstances made such amalgamation impossible. The
temperate tablelands were at first too thickly populated; the hot lowlands were
much too unhealthy for hard-working Europeans to permit of a very considerable
emigration from the motherland. Really in that case a mingling would have
consisted only in a degeneration of the Europeans.
1 Hence such distinguished authorities as Poppig (article on Indians in the
Encyclopaedia of Ersch and Gruber) and Darwin speak of an inexplicable neces-
sity of nature which caused the barbarous races to succumb before the settlements
of highly civilized men in their neighborhood. That the fact to which they refer
is to be otherwise explained has been shown by Merivale, II, 206 ff.
2 Compare the famous work of Las Casas, Relation de la Destruycion de las
Indias, 1552. [In English in many forms; cf. Winsor, Narr. and Crit. Hist,
of Am., II, 333-342. B.]
THE SPANISH POLICY IN THEORY AND IN PRACTICE 9
for permanence. Had the wards ever sought to attain maturity
and real independence, for which it is very doubtful whether they
were fitted, the Spanish system would have obstructed them at
every step. And yet it is the chief object of education to make
itself finally no longer necessary. How difficult the legal inca- (
pacity of the Indians in regard to borrowing must have rendered
every industry! Their own caziques, more than anything else,
contributed to keep them in dependence and ignorance. Laws v
were necessary to prevent caziquesTrom treatmglESFsubjects as
slaves. 1 In short, whoever considers the enormous extent and
the thin population of all the Spanish colonies, the rapid succession
of viceroys, their great distance from the superior administrative
authorities in Europe, etc., cannot doubt but that in practice the
treatment of the Indians was by no means always in accord with
the beneficent purpose of the laws. For example, it was repeatedly
forbidden to convert the Indians to Christianity by force (law /
of 1523, 1618), and yet as a matter of fact it was quite customary /
for missionaries, whenever slaves (foitos] seemed necessary, at
the head of their soldiers and converted Indians (Indios reducidos)
to make inroads upon the territory of the heathen in order to
seize young people there (entrada, conquista de almas).' 2 ' Hum-
boldt also asserts that, among other things, the undoubted improve-
ment of introducing camels to take the place of men as freight-
carriers was hindered by the encomenderos, who feared it would
endanger their feudal rights. 3 Just think of the enormous size
of so many ecomiendas ! When in Peru the kingdom was rudely
overthrown by Gasca, single officers received as reward estates
which paid a yearly income of 150,000 or 200,000 pesos. 4 The
1 Recopilacion, VI, 2, 3. Compare especially the remarkable memorial of
the bishop of Mechoacan in 1799, in Humboldt, Neuspanien, I, 149 ff.
2 Compare Humboldt, Relation Historique, II, 274, 400, 471.
3 Humboldt, Relation Historique, II, 93; compare Recopilacion, VI, 12, 9 ff.
The principal work, for an understanding of these dark sides of the Spanish colonial
system, is- that by Antonio de Ulloa and Jorge Juan, Noticias Secretas de America,
a secret report of these well-known travellers, to Ferdinand VI, which was printed
in London in 1826.
4 Gomara, Hist. General de las Indias, cap. 164; Vega, II, 6, 3. According to
Herrera (Decad., VII, 6, 3) the estates of Gonzalo Pizarro were more lucrative
than those of the bishop of Toledo.
lo THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
mayorazgo [entailed estate] of the Oaxaca valley (Cortes) in
Humboldt's time consisted of four cities, forty-nine villages, and
17,700 inhabitants; its income, in Cortes' s time, 1 was valued at
sixty thousand ducats annually. 2
Support given the Crown by the Church. What supported the
crown in its policy toward the Indians more than anything else
was the influence of the church, which in Spanish America was
not less important than in the motherland. 3 Hence in the Recopil
1 Humboldt, Neuspanien, II, 166; Prescott, III, 286.
2 The Spaniards have always had the reputation of treating their negroes
very mildly, and Adam Smith suggested as the explanation of this phenomenon
the despotic authority of their rulers. But there were still other grounds.
Because of the slight interest which Spaniards had in plantation colonies, their
need of negro slaves was small; so all the severe measures of security were omitted
measures which were ordered elsewhere because of the great number of blacks.
Humboldt estimates the whole number of negroes in the Spanish-American main-
land for 1822 as 387,000, that is, a little more than a fifth of those in Brazil and
not nearly so many as there were in the single state of Virginia (R. H., Ill, 338)
In the province of Caracas alone there were at the beginning of the nineteenth
century 218,400 negroes (Depons, I, 241), so that there were very few in the chief
colonies. Because of the great repulsion between negroes and Indians, the in-
troduction of the former could serve as a means of safety for the Spanish rule.
In general the slaves were not overworked for the same reasons that kept their
masters from overwork. In some respects, on the contrary, the English or even
the French slaves were much better off, for as to dress, food, and care in sickness
the Spaniard took very little care of his slaves. On the other hand, however
he used extraordinary care for their instruction in Christianity, and their public
worship, etc. Unmarried negresses were usually shut up at night (Depons, op-
cit.}. While most of the other systems of legislation made emancipation as dif-
ficult as possible, it was very easy in Spain, and, especially by means of a will, quite
customary (Humboldt, Cuba, I, 147). For the slightest abuse blows from
which any blood flowed were absolutely forbidden the master could be forced
to sell his slaves and even at the cost price, which, moreover, was never reckoned
higher than 300 pesos, or in case the slave was already worn out the price was
fixed by one of the judges at a very low figure. For this reason among others
travellers were often begged by blacks on the street to buy them (Humboldt,
ibid., I, 326 ff.). The slave could acquire property, moreover, and if he wished
to buy his own freedom with it, or that of his wife and child under stated con-
ditions, then the master had to allow it. In every province there was a special
officer appointed, who was to protect the slaves in their rights. To what extent
this mildness was consonant with the old Spanish system and its former weakness
one may see from the fact that in later times, since the economic improvement
of Cuba has begun, the slaves there have been treated with the greatest harsh-
ness. Compare R. R. Madden, The Island of Cuba, London, 1849.
8 In the colonies, as well as at home, for example, it was customary to measure
LAS CASAS'S PLAN OF COLONIZATION II
acton, I, 7, where the rights and duties of the bishops are treated,
almost a third relates to their protection of the Indians. The
cross was again to heal the wounds made by the sword.
We must remember the close union which existed in the mother-
land between the throne and the altar. Because no monarch of
the world was esteemed so Catholic as the Spanish, so none had
such a power over his country's church with the permission of the
pope. Absolutism in Spain rested preferably upon spiritual
foundations ; upon the right of patronage of the king over bishops ;
upon his grand-mastership of the religious orders of knights ; and
finally upon the Inquisition. This influence was even much greater
in America, a papal donation. No priest could go to AmericaV,
without the express permission of the king (law of 1522 and later)uJ/
The ecclesiastical patronage of the whole of the Indies belonged^
eJEchisrvely to the crown ; ^Ey it ail bishops^were nominated to the
pope, and all canons to Hie prelates (law of iSoS). 1 Again, no
papal bull could extend to America except by permission of the
council of the Indies. 2 One of the most important prerogatives
was the royal sale of indulgences", similarly the annates flowecJ
not into the papal but into the royal treasury. 3 _. X
Las Casas's Plan of Colonization. The plan of colonization of
the celebrated Las Casas at Cumana is especially noteworthy; to be
sure, it was a failure, on the whole, but it is an instructive example
of later missions, such as that of the Jesuits in Paraguay (1520).
Las Casas would take with him only farmers, laborers, and priests.
No soldier, particularly no Spanish soldier, was to go without his
permission. The settlers themselves were to wear a peculiar
uniform, and the whole enterprise was aimed at the conversion of
the natives. Las Casas promised to convert ten thousand Indians
in two years, and to pay the king fifteen thousand ducats annu-
ally, and after the expiration of ten years sixty thousand. 4
Missions. With few and insignificant exceptions, missionary
the importance of a town, not by the number of its inhabitants, but according
to the number of its cloisters and churches: Depons, II, 148.
^ l Recopilacion, I, 6.
2 Ibid., I, 9; Herrera, I, 6, 19 ff.
* s Recopilacion, I, 17, 20.
4 Herrera, II, 4, i-
12 THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
enterprises did not really succeed until after the end of the period
of conquest, that is, until the middle of the seventeenth century. 1
Many missions were founded in the last quarter of the eighteenth
century, even; for example,. the fine series which embraced upper
California, between 1772 and 1784. Soon after their first estab-
lishment, they usually cost the state nothing. The interior of such
a mission has been very graphically "described by Humboldt and
Duflot de Mofras. 2 The cabins were quite uniform and the
streets straight and at right angles, all reminding one of the
colonies of the Moravian Brethren. In addition to the labor
performed on his own land, every adult Indian was required to
work on the common land one hour every morning and evening
(conuco de la comunidad) ; the produce of this labor was devoted,
first, under the direction of the priest, to the church and service
of God, and then a proportion was also applied to the needs of
the Indians themselves. Near the coast the principal products
were sugar, indigo, and hemp. In an open space in the centre of
the mission was situated the church, school, the house of the
missionaries, and the so-called Casa del Rey, a convenient inn for
the free shelter of travellers. Scattered about the surrounding
region for thirty or forty square leagues were perhaps fifteen or
twenty isolated leased haciendas, generally devoted to cattle-
raising; here and there, too, were solitary branch chapels.
Military Defence of Missions. The so-called presidios were
intended to serve as the military defence for a whole series of
missions; these were small forts with an armament of perhaps
eight guns and some seventy men who rode excellently (each one
having seven horses) and were dressed in leather (companias de
la cuera). From four to six of these soldiers were assigned to
each mission, as well for its protection as for the purpose of for-
warding despatches. The support which had to be provided
1 A distinction should be made between the curas who labored in Spanish
places, the doctrineros who lived with the converted Indians, and the misioneros
sent to the barbarians. For the actual work of conversion they have always
used monks only, who, Cortes, for example, declared, were alone useful for such
work. Relac., IV, in Lorenzana, 391.
2 Humboldt, Relation Historique, I, 373. Duflot de Mofras, Exploration
du Territoire de I'Or/gon, des Californies et de la Mer Vermeille (1844), I, ch. 7.
MISSIONARY ENTERPRISE 13
for the presidios by the missions was afterwards made good to
the latter by the government.
Missionary Enterprise. The life of the Indians was regulated
by the missionaries in every respect. For instance, on the Orinoco
the inexhaustible stores of turtles' eggs were earlier exploited very
irregularly, and perhaps, occasionally, most of them trampled
upon. The Indians were greatly indebted to the missionaries
in this matter and especially to the Jesuits, who always left remain-
ing a nucleus of eggs, while their successors, the Franciscans,
gave less attention to such permanent exploitation. 1 The num-
ber of inhabitants of a mission near the sea amounted to perhaps
eight hundred to two thousand souls; farther inland, often to only
a little over two hundred. The finest mission of New California,
St. Gabriel the Archangel, numbered almost three thousand
Indians in 1834, and possessed one hundred and five thousand
head of horned cattle, twenty thousand horses, and over forty
thousand sheep ; they harvested annually twenty thousand fane-
gas 2 of corn, five hundred barrels of wine, and as much brandy. 3
Humboldt calls these settlements "etats intermediaires " between
the real colony and the wilderness (I, 461). They were always
somewhat like camps; I recall only the circumstance that they
could be broken up and moved at every whim of the missionary
who, perhaps, found the region unhealthful. 4 Of the forcible
"entradas" I have already spoken above; they were especially
favored by the Jesuits, less so by the Franciscans. 5 "El ecco de
la polvora," says a Jesuit in the Lettres Edifiantes, must first
sound if the knowledge of the cross is to find entrance.
Missionary Seclusion. One chief aim of the monks was always
directed towards the keeping of their true flocks from all inter-
course with strangers and enlightened people, the so-called gente
de razon. This was a point where the above-mentioned pro-
hibitory laws, sharply separating the Indians and whites, were
1 Humboldt, Relation Historique, II, 245.
2 A Spanish dry measure varying from one to two bushels. TR.
3 Humboldt, Relation Historique, II, 393. Duflot de Mofras, I, 350.
4 Humboldt, Relation Historique, I, 403. In spite of the legal prohibition,
Recopilacion, VI, 3, 13.
6 Humboldt, Relation Historique, II, 274.
14 THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
really observed. Even children of soldiers were forbidden in
the settlements. 1 The famous hospitality of the missionaries
was intimately connected with their aim to superintend the inter-
course of travellers and compel them to go on as soon as possible.
Usually one was allowed but a single night's lodging. Peddlers
thought they noticed an intention to discourage them from coming
again by the use of every sort of chicanery. 2 The missionary,
who did not disdain to trade himself, was to fo'rm the only con-
nection between his mission and the outside world. That this
must have led to much friction with the secular authorities is self-
evident; the Spanish government followed a pretty variable
course in the matter, now on one side and now on the other. 3
Indeed the great remoteness of so many missions, perhaps, occa-
sionally invited a good deal of insubordination against their
spiritual lords, of which Humboldt relates a remarkable instance. 4
Character of the Missionaries. The missionaries were strictly
forbidden to accept from their spiritual children any perquisites
whatever beyond their pretty niggardly salary. Unfortunately
they got around this prohibition quite frequently, since they sold
pictures of the saints, rosaries, and the like, and in so doing only
too often increased their sales by misusing their spiritual power. 5
That Humboldt 6 praises the administration of missions in general
is not absolutely a denial of such abuses. A man like Poppig,
wholly removed from every hierarchical or Catholic bias, but
possessing clear insight and a strong love of truth, praises "that
remarkable spirit which, far removed from fanaticism, made the
priests ready to endure the greatest hardships with almost inde-
scribable resignation; that silent and pious enthusiasm, the work
of which the traveller of to-day sees only in ruins, but in ruins
which fill the beholder with respect for the exiled builders."
1 Humboldt, Neuspanien, II, 239.
2 Humboldt, Relation Historique, II, 327.
8 Ibid., especially II, 623 ff.
*Ibid., II, 544-
8 Depons, II, 136 ff. The dark side of the Spanish mission system is most
glaringly pictured in Forbes, A History of Upper and Lower California, London,
1831; Beechey, Narrative o} a Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, London, 1831.
c Walton %istorique, 1, 413.
THE JESUIT MISSIONS IN PARAGUAY 15
Experience teaches that barbarous peoples who are unable to
maintain their complete independence are most gently subjected
by a strong church. Hence the popes, for instance, repeatedly
demanded that the converted Prussians be treated humanely,
at all events not wojrse than they were accustomed to in their
pagan condition. What shepherd would not interest himself
for his flock which is obedient to him with body and soul for this
life and for that to come ? Similar phenomena repeat themselves
continually. Thus, for example, on the Cape, the Boers con-
ceived the greatest hatred for the missionaries who tried to pro-
tect the natives. 1 It is very well known that in the English
Antilles the cause of the negroes against the planters is strongly
supported by the Baptist missionaries.
The Jesuit Missions in Paraguay. The conquest by the sword
and the cross which established the Spanish colonial system was
continued on a small scale by the missions and presidios for
centuries after the end of the period of the conquista properly
so called. The most noteworthy example of this is, undoubtedly,
the Jesuit mission in Paraguay (after 1609), where the above-
described principles had the most extensive and intensive develop-
ment. 2 In every mission the Indians chose their own gobernador,
although, naturally, subject to the veto of the priest, to whom,
likewise, all judicial punishments of the gobernador had to be
submitted for sanction. These punishments had altogether the
character of church penances. Usually the affairs of the mission
were divided between two monks; the elder had the spiritual
oversight, the younger the secular economic control. With great
shrewdness the Indians were formed into military companies
and, by the means of splendid uniforms and titles and such like,
became a well-organized machine. All foreign necessities were
^prengel's Barrow, p. 345 ff. [The German trans, by M. C. Sprengel
of Sir John Barrow's Travels into the Interior of Southern Africa, London, 1801.
2 Compare Ulloa, Viage a la America Meridional (2 vols., 4to, 1748), II,
T, 15. Charlevoix, Histoire du Paraguay, II (Paris, 1757). [Ulloa's Voyage
is accessible in English both by itself in various editions and in vol. 14 of
Pinkerton's Voyages. Charlevoix's Paraguay has also been translated, London,
1 6 THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
paid for by the sale of Paraguay Jeas which the order managed
" because the Indians are too timid." Then, too, the laborers
and such people worked under the direction of the priest, and
even the public slaughter-house was managed by him. Work
on the conuco l claimed two days of every week. The beginning
and ending of a day's work were regulated by church ceremonies;
likewise the hour and manner of meals, dress, and so on were
arranged once for all by the mission. "The missionaries," says
Duflot de Mofras, "had solved the great problem of making work
attractive. They had brought the Indians to the realization
that, grouped about the mission, they were safer from the attacks
of hostile tribes, and that they could maintain themselves more
comfortably and plentifully from the light and varying work of
the mission than from the insecure and dangerous spoil of the
chase and of robbery." In every mission there was a specia)
house, called beaterio, where women of bad repute were kept
under control; here also resorted childless married women during
the absence of their husbands. In similar cloistered seclusion
young maidens (monjas] were kept until marriageable age.
The missionaries, too, had charge of the diversions, combining
with them instruction in all kinds of vocal and instrumental
music. One may see how ably the community of property which
obtains among almost all barbarous peoples was retained here,
and was freed from its natural defects by an admirably well-
directed "organization of labor." In many missions, for example,
in California, the arrangement of the mission house immediately
reminds one of the phalansteries of Fourier. 2 The strict exclu-
siveness of the whole mission was designed to safeguard the
innocent and not sufficiently established moral habits of the
Indians from contagion. 3
1 [See above, p. 12. B.]
2 Compare Duflot de Mofras, I, 126 ff.
3 The melancholy decline of missions, after the republican governments (in
Mexico, 1832) robbed them of their estates, is depicted by Duflot de Mofras
in impressive terms. The majority of the converted Indians have been scattered
again, their laboriously acquired property plundered, and they themselves become
more and more savage. The wild Indians have again commenced their raids
upon the Spanish communities, as the powerful ecclesiastico-military frontier
which formerly withstood them has been done away with. At first they rob
DIFFERENT POLICIES OF DIFFERENT ORDERS 17
Different Policies of Different Orders. The different orders
adhered to very different principles regarding the missions.
The Dominicans sought to make proselytes by fire and sword
and purposely destroyed the monuments of earlier culture. The
Franciscans attached little importance to science, but preached
Christianity with fervent love. The Jesuits, according to cir-
cumstances, pursued sometimes this course, sometimes that, and v >
did much for philology, geography, etc. To take one example,
surrounded by a vast variety of Indian languages, they contrib-
uted a great deal toward making the language of the Incas the
common language for South America. 1
Population of Spanish America Emigration Laws. As for
the population of Spanish America, it is in accordance with the
nature of conquest colonies that immigration from the mother
country, which in the sixteenth century was anything but over-
populated, could never be numerous. About 1546 there were in
Peru upwards of 6,000 Spaniards; 2 four years later there are
said to have been in all the New World only i5,ooo. 3 From the
time of Charles V no Spaniard was permitted to go to America
without the express permission of the crown, and this was usually ^
given for only a stated time, perhaps two years/j Whoever sought
this permission had not merely to furnish a sufficient reason,
but present in addition satisfactory proofs regarding his morals
and especially that neither he nor his ancestors for two generations
had been punished by the Inquisition (law of 1518). The per-
mission was also usually limited to a certain province, and the
journey thence had to be very direct (law of 1566 and often).
Even Creoles who had been in Europe, perhaps for their educa- \f
tion, required the same official permission to return (law of 1589).
Every shipmaster had to make declaration on oath that he had
the Creoles of their horses, as a result of which they are unable to pursue them,
then of their remaining cattle, and, at last, of their women.
1 Wappaus, Mittel- und Sudamerika, 37 ff. Compare Tschudi, Peru, II, 352.
[English trans, by Thomasina Ross, London, 1847. B.]
2 Herrera, VIII, 3, i.
8 Benzoni, III, 21. Yet in his Historia General de las Indias, C. 162, Gomara
speaks of there being 20,000 Spanish families in Mexico a few years after its con-
quest by Cortes.
4 Recopilacion, IX, 26.
1 8 THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
no unlicensed person on board. 1 Depons (I, p. 185) actually
estimates the number of those who annually emigrated from
Spain to the Captaincy-General of Caracas, as 100 at the most.
The majority remained a lifetime, because a similar license was
required for the return from America (law of 1570, 1612); only
the restless Catalonians and Basques felt homesick.
4- Composition and Distribution. When Humboldt was in
America there were in general for every 100 inhabitants: in the
United States, 83 whites; in New Spain (excluding the so-called
interior provinces), 16; in Peru, 12; in Jamaica, 10; and in the
city of Mexico, 51. In New Spain, where, proportionately,
there was the largest European element, there were 1,200,000
whites, of whom, at the highest estimate, 70,000 or 80,000 were
native-born Spaniards, almost 2,500,000 Indians, and probably
as many mestizos and some negroes. 2 Later the same writer
tabulates the population of Spanish America as follows : 3
Indians. Whites. Negroes. Mestizos.
In Mexico 3,700,000 1,230,000
In Guatemala 880,000 280,000
In Colombia 720,000 642,000
In Peru and Chile 1,030,000 465,000
In Buenos Ayres 1,200,000 320,000
In Cuba and Porto Rico 339,000 389,000 197,000
7,530,000 3,276,000 776,000 5,328,000
The thorough investigations of Wappaus, which comprised
r"the years 1860 to 1870, give for Mexico at least three-fifths pure
L Indians and about an eighth pure whites. In Central America?
according to Squier and Scherzer, there are perhaps about 5 per
cent, whites, i per cent, negroes, almost 38 per cent, mixed, and
fully 56 per cent. Indians. In Panama, according to M. Wag-
ner, there are 5.5 per cent, whites, 12.7 per cent, negroes, mulat-
toes, and zambos, 7.2 per cent, pure Indians, and the remain-
der mestizos. In New Granada there are probably 16.6 per cent,
whites; in Venezuela 27.5 per cent, pure whites, 23.3 per cent,
pure Indians, 5.2 per cent, pure blacks, the remainder mixed
races ; in Ecuador, at the most, 8 per cent, of whites and at least
1 First ordered by Chas. V; Recopilacion, IX, 35, 20.
2 Humboldt, Neuspanien, I, 165.
3 Humboldt, Relation Historique, III, 339.
50 per cent, of pure Indians. In Peru, according to Miller,
there are 14 per cent, whites, 57 per cent. Indians, 22 per cent,
mestizos, 7 per cent, negroes and mixtures of negro blood. 1 Just
like the Spaniards, the Spanish Creoles have an extraordinary
love for city life ; a landlord, there, thinks he does very well if he
makes one journey of recreation in a year to his possessions,
without the least business motive. 2 Hence the white population';
is to be found only in the cities for the most part, and hardly at all i\
in the country. In Lima, one hundred and forty years ago, there
were from 16,000 to 18,000 whites; in Mexico, in 1790, some-
thing like 50,000 Creoles and 2,300 peninsular Spaniards. 3 The
government seems to have especially feared the rise of a Creole
peasantry. For this reason it held the more firmly to great
entailed estates the more distant the province. In Chile the
only exception allowed was on the frontier. Here Poppig found
the sturdiest and at the same time the most warlike population, 4
as was strikingly illustrated during the recent war with Peru and
Bolivia. 5 This unmistakable superiority of Chile over all the
rest of the Spanish-American world, which appears also in other
fields, as, for example, statistics, public education, road-building,
and particularly political freedom and order, may be due partly
to the temperate climate of the country. The basis of it, how-
ever, is undoubtedly the ethnological preponderance of the whites
themselves, who, according to Wappaus, 6 apparently form the
majority, besides the fact that the white race already predomi-
nates among the mestizos and always will do so to an increasing
Class Distinctions. That conquest colonies naturally tend to
divide the people into castes has been observed elsewhere. 7
In Spanish America this caste distinction on account of race and
color was necessarily much sharper. The names chapetons
1 Wappaus, op. cit., especially 30, 243, 379, 407, 547> 6 3> 6 95-
2 Depons, II, 313.
3 Ulloa, Viage, II, i, 55 Humboldt Relation Historique, I, 573.
4 Poppig, Reise, I, 108 ff.
5 Compare Diego Barros Arana, Histoire de la Guerre du Pwfique, 1879-
1880, II, 1881.
6 Op. cit n 774 ff.
7 Roscher's Kolonien, etc., 6.
20 THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
(gachupins), Creoles, mestizos, mulattoes, tercerons, quadroons,
zamboSj. and so on are quite well known. Marriage between
the different degrees of color is considered a mesalliance and
parents may prohibit it without further formality. It was the
A Spanish policy to encourage these class distinctions as much
as possible, - because it was rightly recognized as a chief means
of making the dependence of the colonies on the mother country
lasting. Each caste was extremely envious of the higher and
correspondingly disdainful of the lower ones. This prevented
any general union to shake off the common yoke; for the lowest
class, which, to be sure, by a general uprising could only have
gained, was extremely apathetic and at bottom revered the Spanish
^ state and the church as protectors from the oppressors who
were nearest and of whom they were most sensible. 1 Legally the
Creole was on complete equality with the chapeton; but, as a
matter of fact, until 1637 only twelve of the three hundred and
sixty-nine bishops had been Creoles, and until 1808 only one of
fifty viceroys of New Spain had been a Creole. 2 Wappaus knew
of only four Creoles among one hundred and sixty viceroys, and
only fourteen among six hundred and two captains-general or
governors. 3 To the excluded this must have been all the more
irritating, since they had in their midst a numerous and brilliant
nobility 4 and since the preference of those born in the mother
country was frequently due to the opinion that the whites quickly
degenerated in the tropics. How often must the Creole blood
have boiled at that! Yet to accomplish their plans they had first
\ of all to arm the mestizos, Indians, etc., and in a measure incor-
porate them with themselves; but the latter they disdained even
1 Hence even to-day in most of those countries the aristocratic and priestly
party is allied with the colored people.
2 Robertson, History of America, II, 500. Humboldt, Neuspanien, II, 82.
3 Wappaus, Republiken von Sudamerika, I, 1 1
4 In Lima from one-quarter to one-third of the whites were of noble blood, and
among them were forty-five families of marquises and counts; one of these sprung,
on the female side, from the old Incas (Ulloa, Viage, II, i, 15). Moreover, there
were in every colony two kinds of nobility: families whose ancestors at first for
a short time had held high office and whose prominence was derived rather from
old Spain; and those who descended from the conquistadores (Humboldt, R. H n
NATURAL ANTIPATHIES 21
more than they hated the gachupins. Likewise the aversion
between mulattoes and negroes was as great as that between
whites and negroes. 1 The civil position of every class depended
mainly and naturally upon the greater or less whiteness of their
complexion. " To do bianco es caballero" Sometimes even
now a traveller will give the most grievous offence if he does not
recognize as perfectly white and noble a dark-brown half-naked
woodsman, who, for want of a hut, can only fasten a hammock in
the trees. Humboldt relates some amusing instances of this.
It was therefore a successful device of Spanish policy to furnish
men from the mixed castes, who, owing to their capacity and
energy, might be dangerous, with a patent declaring them white.
By this means the mestizos were deprived, in advance, of their
natural leaders in any revolt. Of the same effect was the cir-
cumstance that the Indian caziques were regarded as equal to
the Spaniards; the Tlascalans had great privileges, for example. 2
, Natural Antipathies. There were also a great many apples
of discord between the subject population which must have facili-
tated the government greatly in its policy of Divide. Every-
where in Spanish America there existed the most violent antipathy
between the inhabitants of the coast and those of the mountains,
as, for example, Vera Cruz and Mexico ; the former were accused
of being frivolous, the latter of being slow. 3 Few countries con-
tain in themselves such numerous differences in climate and
mode of living as the tierra caliente and tierra fria in Spanish
America, the inhabitants of which despise each other heartily. 4
In addition there were the same great provincial distinctions
which mark the Catalonians, the Andalusians, the Basques, and
the mountaineers in old Spain, and which they stubbornly pre-
served even in America. 5 How very different, too, the individual
colonies were from each other! Not merely because of their
immense size and sparse population, but also because almost all
the means of connection were naturally very bad. For example,
1 Poussin, Richesse Ame'ricaine, II, 412. [For Richesse read Puissance. B.]
2 Recopilacion, VI, i. 39.
8 Humboldt, Neuspanien, IV, 319.
4 Humboldt, Relation Historique, III, 30.
6 Ibid., especially I, 568.
22 THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
the voyage between Peru and Mexico is so difficult, on account
of the winds and currents, that it is considered the most tedious
and irksome of the whole world. 1 We are told that while the
Spaniards, in order to impede the intercourse by land between
the provinces, had left isolated Indian races on the intervening
frontiers intentionally unconquered, Indians speaking a different
language intruded between the old settled places. 2 The excellent
postal communication which Count Florida Blanca established
from Buenos Ayres to California was considered by many men
of the good old stamp as a highly dangerous innovation. 3 Dis-
cord was disseminated within every social circle. The tremen-
dous pride and stiff ceremonialism which characterize the Spaniards
in Spain had developed here incomparably more, so that all cor-
diality was smothered beneath it, and, more than that, numberless
family quarrels, denunciations, etc., resulted from it. 4
Aristocratic Ideas in Spanish America, I have shown in
another place that the principle of Divide et impera is the lead-
ing idea of every aristocratic system. 5 Aristocracy rules its sub-
jects particularly by separating the people into a multitude of
small and very exclusive cliques, every clique with special privi-
leges. Its chief aid in accomplishing this object is a close union
with the church, and in material affairs a very mild treatment of
the lowest classes. It might seem strange that, in a perfectly
unlimited monarchy such as that of Spanish America, so many
aristocratic principles are met with. But in every state based on
caste, be the form of government what it may, the basis of all
political life is always aristocratic. Moreover, the government
itself, if the king resides on the other side of the ocean and never
1 Compare Humboldt, Neuspanien, IV, 330 ff. Ulloa relates a popular anec-
dote of a ship-captain who married a wife in Payta, but before he arrived in Callao
had a son who was able to read; and the distance covered amounted only to 140
leagues (Viage, II, 2, i).
2 Ausland, 1844, No. 243. Reise der Novara, III, 372. [Eng. tr. London,
3 Humboldt, Relation Historique, I, 573.
4 Depons, I, 189, 216.
6 In my Umrissen zur Naturlehre der drei Staatsformen (second essay: "Aris-
tokratie") which was published in the Berliner allgemeine Zeitschrift fur Ge-
schichte in 1847.
ARISTOCRATIC IDEAS IN SPANISH AMERICA 23
makes even the most hasty pleasure-trip to the country, must
inevitably assume a strong aristocratic color. Spanish America""^
is classic ground for the so-called official aristocracy. I mean
by that that independent bureaucracy which existed in almost
all the absolute monarchies from the middle of the sixteenth to
the middle of the eighteenth century, and which was really the
only bulwark against arbitrary despotism for a long time after
the decline of the old provincial representative institutions. The
French Parlements furnish the best-known example. It was
the period oj office-buying .and fee-paying ; which generally pro-
moted incapacity, indolence, and avarice among officials, but
which also maintained their independence of superiors. At
that time the collegiate * system still prevailed with its imperfect
division of labor and gradations of jurisdiction and appeals, its
slowness, pedantry, and weakness, but also with its consideration
and paternal clemency. The often very absurd red-tape con-
nected with that system ought always to be regarded as a measure
of safety against arbitrary power, and the class exclusiveness and
arrogance of the numerous officials as a help to independence
against temptation. This official system, with its good and bad
features, had taken very early and deep root in Spain. It was
closely connected with the temper of the people as depicted
above. Many of the political elements of weakness from which
we Germans have suffered so much the large number of pedants
and the excessive number of legal documents, secretiveness in
public service, mania for rank and title, etiquette, 2 slow old ways,
litigiousness all that sort of thing is even more widely developed
among the Spaniards, and especially in America.
The Viceroys. At first the viceroys possessed the entire royal
authority. 3 In course of time their authority was by degrees
restricted so that districts lying at a distance were raised, one
after another, to a separate and independent captaincy-general.
The ceremonial maintained by the viceroys was pompous in
1 [Collegiate in the sense in which College is used in Electoral College. B.]
2 One may compare the long section " de las precedences, ceremonias y cor-
tesias ": Recopilacion, III, 15.
3 Recopilacion, III, 3.
24 THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
the extreme. They were served by pages, and every time they
went out they were attended by their own guard on horseback. 1
In their palace they could eat only with their families, so they
could enjoy the pleasures of good-fellowship only when travelling
through the country. However, like every ceremonial, this one
was also an important restraint. It prevented the viceroy from
becoming too firmly established in his province, an event which,
in the case of very distantly situated officials, is always a chief
danger to the government. For that reason they never permitted
them to remain in their offices very long not over seven years at
the most; and seldom were persons of very distinguished rank
selected. An important check was also imposed by the so-called
visit as which were instituted from time to time in the colonies, 2
but which seldom resulted in the immediate relief of the subjects.
In addition every high official in the colonies, especially the vice-
roy, was subject, after retirement from his office, to a process
known as the residential The* Council of the Indies appointed
for this a particularly prominent jurist, who had to be ready for
months to receive charges of every kind against the outgoing
official. The justice of these charges was decided in Spain, and
no viceroy or other officer could receive the slightest new appoint-
ment without first successfully meeting this test. The well-nigh
proverbial ingratitude of the Spanish court towards its great
discoverers and conquerors is at bottom nothing more than the
painful introduction of the later colonial policy of permitting no
one to become too powerful. 4
Audiencias. Associated with the governors were the audien-
1 One may find a brilliant description of the reception which was accorded
the new viceroy of Peru in Ulloa, Viage, II, i, 4. Something like it, only in less
degree, was repeated every time the viceroy was to preside in person at the audien-
cia. Also in the case of captains-general. See Depons, II, 20.
2 Recopilacion, II, 34.
3 Ibid., V, 15. Even Cortes had to put up with such a juez de residencia.
4 The personal un worthiness of the first minister of the Indies, Fonseca, does
not admit of question; compare Washington Irving, Life and Voyages o] Colum-
bus, append., 32.
5 Recopilacion, II, 15 ff. An audiencia was associated with Cortes first in
1527, as the court recognized the impossibility of controlling so great a hero by
THE COUNCIL OF THE INDIES 25
Properly speaking these were courts of appeal, but at the same
time they were also to constitute a sort of council of state for all
the more important and extraordinary affairs with a great restrain-
ing power over the governor. The audiencia could correspond
with the king directly and without the knowledge of the governor
(law of 1620); to it the Spanish government turned when special
information was needed regarding the conduct of the governor.
The commands of the audiencia were regarded as if they emanated
from the king himself (law of 1530). But this circumstance was
not to lessen the respect due the governor from the subjects nor
affect the necessary unity of the supreme authority ; for this reason
the viceroys or captains-general formally presided over the audien-
cias, and the latter, like the old French Parlements, could oppose
a definite command of its president only by representations,
reports, and the like to Spain. In case of vacancies, the audiencia
acted in place of the governor (law of 1600). Generally the
members, because of their high rank and good salary, were placed
in an independent position. To preserve their impartiality they
had to lead a life withdrawn from the world; they could neither
borrow nor loan on interest ; they could acquire no landed property,
or keep more than four slaves; they could make no marriage
alliance in their jurisdiction, nor serve as godparent or act in any
similar capacity. 1
The Council of the Indies. The supreme authority for all
American affairs was vested in the celebrated Council of the In-
dies, founded in 1511 and finally organized in 1542. 2 This board
originally embodied all financial, police, military, ecclesiastical,
and commercial authority, and at the same time served as the
high court of appeal in all civil actions of over 6,000 piastres.
Endowed with the entire royal prerogative, it had, at all times,
to remain in the neighborhood of the court. New laws could
be passed only by a majority of at least two-thirds. For a cen-
tury the Council of the Indies was universally and deservedly
held in the greatest esteem. Its members were chosen prefer-
means of a single, and perhaps insignificant, man. Compare Herrera, Decad., IV,
21, 3, 8; Prescott, Conquest of Mexico, III, 234.
1 Recopilacion, II, 16, 38 ff.
3 Ibid., II, 2-15.
26 THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
ably from those who had held high offices in America with distinc-
tion. 1 Only by means of such a body was made possible that
firm adherence to proved principle, that uninterrupted and at
the same time mild activity, " without haste but also without
rest," upon which the Spanish dominion preferably depended. 2
Fondness for Titles and Rank. I have before described the
litigiousness and the multiplicity of legal documents, which are
unfortunately the usual accompaniments of the conditions
described. Depons (II, 63 ff.) was able to make the paradoxical
statement that the whole population of Spanish America was
divided into two classes; those who ruined themselves by law-
1 Depons, II, 13 ff.
2 This well organized and truly Spanish system of Indian administration was
undermined much more by the ideas of centralization of the eighteenth century
which mounted the throne of Spain with the Bourbon dynasty than by foreign
enemies. Of how little advantage centralization could be when the centre was
over five thousand miles distant across the sea and every naval war completely
broke the connection, the reader may judge for himself. For example, the crown
insisted over against the viceroy on always exercising its right of appointment to
all offices. On the other hand the audiencias were degraded; in case the office
of governor fell vacant they were not to supply his place any more, but the officer
of next lower grade (law of 1800). At the same time the influence of the gov-
ernor as presiding officer was considerably increased by requiring from him an
official report each year of all cases that had been tried or postponed under the
pretext of expediting business (law of 1802). Compare Depons, II, 32, 37. The
municipal liberties also of the so-called Cabildos, which in the time of Philip II
had been granted so willingly, were always more jealously restricted rather than
granted to new districts (Humboldt, Relation Historiqite, II, 52). In Spain,
even, the Council of the Indies had to put up with the bureaucratic authority
of the department ministers. First came the creation of a Ministry of the Indies,
which naturally was in everlasting conflict with the Council of the Indies. For
that reason, in the time of Charles III, the presidency of the latter was entrusted to
the minister and so the importance of the council as an independent body was prac-
tically destroyed. Charles IV, to be sure, re-established this venerable collegiate
body outwardly, and the Indian ministry was divided among five department min-
isters of war, navy, finance, foreign affairs, justice and pardons. (Bourgoing, Ta-
bleau de I'Espagne, I, 186 [Eng. trans., London, 1789].) But this only aggravated
the evil, since the good results of the bureaucratic system were lost without re-
gaining those of the collegiate system. No special officer in America could
execute a command which had not reached him from his special minister. Cases
occurred where the war minister ordered certain fortifications most urgently,
but where nothing was done because the finance minister neglected to allot the
sums for payment of the same (Depons, II, 16). How long could such a condition
of affairs last?
SECRECY IN STATE AFFAIRS 27
suits and those who enriched themselves by the same means, or
at least made their living by those means. In the single city of
Caracas there were 600 judges, lawyers, and clerks in a population
of 31,000 in all. Closely associated with this is the inordinate
fondness for titles and rank which characterized the Creoles.
" There is no person of distinction who does not pretend to be a
military officer, yet without having any of the preliminary and
indispensable training for that noble occupation. There is no one,
white or almost white, who does not intend to be a lawyer, priest,
or monk ; those who are unable to give such wing to their preten-
sions aim, at least, at being notaries, secretaries, clerks of church
sacristans, or attaches of some religious community, such as lay
brothers, pupils, or foundlings. Thus the fields lie deserted and
their fertility is proof of our inactivity. Cultivation of the soil is
despised. Every one wants to be a gentleman or live in idleness."
Very frequently militia colonels in uniform and decorated with
orders could be seen behind the shop-counter. 2 Every man of
rank was accustomed to maintain an agent in Madrid authorized
to seek titles, orders, etc., for his employer at every opportunity
that offered itself. Such an apoderado, naturally, took no step
without being paid for it, and besides the authorities had to see
ready money for every mark of favor. Innumerable persons fell
deeply in debt in this way. 3 One may see in this a device of the
Spanish court for keeping the Creoles under their thumbs, as
efficacious as it was cheap.
Secrecy in State Affairs. A consequence in part of this
overweening estimation of the green table, and in part, too, of
the aristocratic, despotic methods of the government in general,
was the profound secrecy with which all state affairs were veiled.
The excellent Robertson, in 1777, had to derive his knowledge
of Peruvian finances from a manuscript of 1614. The revenues
*Dr. Sanz, in Depons, I, 186.
2 Humboldt, Neuspanien, V, 39.
3 Depons, II, 314 ff. Much more salutary was the idea of Charles IV, who
established at Madrid a company of his body guard out of Creole nobles in order
to bring together and fuse the two halves of his empire and to have hostages in
the event of a colonial uprising. Unfortunately Ferdinand VII did away with
this organization. Duflot de Mofras, I, 4.
28 THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
of Mexico he estimates at only 4,000,000 piastres, although at
that time they amounted to over 15, 000,000. * Thus it was made
a matter of serious reproach to Count Revillagigedo, and espe-
cially in America, that he made public the census of the popu-
lation in New Spain and so brought to every one's knowledge
the small number of peninsular Spaniards there. 2
Restriction of Foreign Intercourse. A state which conceals
within itself numerous and important conflicting elements, and
can remain master of them only by means of a very skilful govern-
mental machinery, will always be inclined to restrict as much
as pbssible the intercourse of its own people with foreigners.
This is especially so with all despotic and aristocratic states,
as soon as they have passed beyond the stage of merely natural
development. I call to mind, for example, ancient Egypt and
Lacedemonia, in modern times China and Japan, and to a cer-
tain extent Russia and Austria before 1848. Spanish America,
for reasons easy to understand, especially developed this system of
isolation. It was, at the beginning, an exceedingly natural feel-
ing which sought to keep all non- Spaniards away from America.
All Europe, at that time, looked upon America as a sort of Castle
of Indolence, the enjoyment of which by the Spaniards every-
body envied. The Spanish possessions were much too exten-
sive, much too thinly populated, and much too distant from
the mother country to be easily defended at all points by mere
physical means. Therefore they fell back upon immaterial
means of defence. All intercourse with foreigners, without ex-
press permission, was forbidden on penalty of death and confis-
cation. 3 Until the middle of the seventeenth century the Spaniards
1 Compare Humboldt, Neuspanien, V, 9.
2 Humboldt, Relation Historique, I, 573. In the colonies people were very
much more concerned about such matters than in the mother country. Thus,
for example, Humboldt, when he neared the frontiers of Brazil, ran the greatest
danger of being arrested by the authorities there as a person dangerous to the
state and sent to Europe, which the Portuguese government itself would only
have regretted. Ibid., II, 476.
3 Recopilacion, IX, 27, i, 4, 7 ff. These laws date back to Philip II. Earlier
English traders were not uncommonly met with in the Canary Islands. Hack-
luyt, Voyages, III, 447, 454.
RESTRICTION "FAVORED BY NATURE 29
treated the entry of any foreign ship into American waters as
a crime. Shipmasters who were stranded on their shores were
frequently executed or sent to the Mexican mines for life. Even
as late as the end of the seventeenth century the so-called coast-
guards were not ashamed of similar outrages. 1 When the French
tried to make a settlement in Florida between 1564 and 1567
they were nearly all killed by the Spaniards. 2 It ought not to
be forgotten that, until the loss of the Invincible Armada, Spain
was generally considered the first sea-power and, until the Thirty
Years' War, even more generally as the first land power of the
world. Even the valor of individual Spaniards was very greatly
feared. Foreigners could really never hope to obtain permis-
sion to make an actual settlement during the period when the
Spanish colonial power was in its prime. It was not until
toward the end that the unconditional prohibition was replaced
by a high tax. But even then the earlier policy of the govern-
ment was only too firmly fixed in the habits of the people. Every
foreigner was looked upon as a heretic, and, unless he disarmed
the national prejudice by an extraordinary friendliness, had to
fear daily charges of blasphemy, etc., witnesses of which were
never wanting. 3
Such Restriction Favored by Nature. Moreover, in the
Spanish colonies nature herself remarkably favored such an
almost Chinese exclusiveness. Besides Vera Cruz and Cam-
peche, the immense eastern coast of New Spain contains prac-
tically no harbors. Even these are only moderately good, and
in addition they are completely commanded strategically from
Havana. The kingdom of New Granada was connected with
the sea only by the harbors of S. Marta and Cartagena and
by a rushing stream. The Gulf of Mexico is difficult to navi-
gate throughout the year because of the prevailing winds. 4 In all
the provinces which formerly were of particular importance the
coast regions are almost uninhabited, in Peru because of the
1 Examples are given in B. Edwards, History of the British West Indies, I, 140 ff.
2 Anderson, Origin of Commerce, II, under the year 1565.
8 Depons, I, 184.
4 Humboldt, Relation Historique, I, 569.
30 THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
lack of rain, 1 in New Spain and New Granada because of
their heat and unhealthfulness. The population is concen-
trated inland on the tablelands, and is accessible from the coast
only by means of very steep and tiresome mountain roads. The
yellow fever, too, which threatens every foreigner on the coast,
is an especially formidable means of defence, and perhaps more
efficacious than the Chinese wall. 2 The government sought to
develop these natural conditions to the utmost, or at least to
preserve them. For example, the chief city of Guiana was not
allowed to be founded at the mouth of the magnificent river
Orinoco, but eighty-five leagues back from the sea, for the sake of
better defence ; and the region between was to contain no impor-
tant place. 3 For the same reason the very bad road from Caracas
to the harbor of Laguayra was never improved. 4 Thus is ex-
plained the indifference with which Charles III scorned every
plan for cutting through the Isthmus of Panama. 5 But the
best bulwark for the whole west coast was its remote situation
in the Antipodes of Europe. "As a matter of fact, as soon as
the Spanish colonies became known foreigners began to intrigue
to make them revolt against the mother country. " 6 Those
Spanish provinces which by their situation were more accessible
to intercourse with the outside world, like Caracas and the regions
of the Orinoco and of the Rio de la Plata, were always very much
1 According to Tschudi, the Peruvian sand deserts are 440 leagues long (3
35' to 21 48' S. B.), but only three to twenty leagues wide.
2 Compare Humboldt, Relation Historique, I, 550; also Neuspanien, IV,
8 Humboldt, Relation Historique, II, 643.
4 Depons, II, 72.
5 Bourgoing, II. 256 ff. The Spanish Cortes ordered the cutting through of
the isthmus in 1814. In this connection the difference between the enthusiastic
enterprise of Charles V's time, when the Spanish colonial empire was won, and
the conservative constructive period of Philip II, is very remarkable. Charles V in
1523 had ordered Cortes to search the coasts of New Spain for the "discovery
of the secret" for which in 1524 Cortes fitted out five expeditions at the same
time. Pizarro wanted a Panama canal for political reasons. On the other hand
Philip II, who at the beginning cherished similar ideas, later forbade even the
mere mention of such a canal (v. Scherzer, Oesterreich. Zeitschr. /. d. Orient^
1883, No. 9).
6 Duflot de Mofras.
ECCLESIASTICAL CENSORSHIP 31
neglected by the mother country. Another important reason
for this was the circumstance that Spanish colonization aimed
at conquest, but that here the natives had previously not been
used to work. Caracas with its splendid coast was in many re-
spects an exception to the Spanish rule. There towards the end
of the eighteenth century the cultured youth studied French
and English, and the old Castilian costume gave place more
and more to the new French styles. 1 It was there and in Buenos
Ayres that the revolt from the mother country began.
Ecclesiastical Censorship. In the ecclesiastical realm the
Spanish system of isolation expressed itself particularly by a
rigorous censorship. The great roles which Philip II and Alba
played in the general history of censorship is known. In America
this tendency developed more freely. The entire control of the
press was given into the hands of the Inquisition, and the pre-
scriptions for its exercise as they are collected in the Recopilacion, I,
24, and Depons, II, 95 ff., are a real masterpiece in the bad
sense of the word. A few lines will suffice for its characterization.
For example, every bookseller had to have always on hand in
his shop a catalogue of all prohibited books, under penalty of
forty ducats. He had to hand in, annually, a catalogue of his
stock with the declaration upon oath that he had nothing else.
Whoever, even for the first time, sold a prohibited book was
suspended from his business for two years, banished for the same
length of time from his place of residence, and sentenced to pay
a fine of 200 ducats. A traveller who, in crossing the frontier
even, concealed a book brought with him suffered a fine of 200
ducats. The commissaries of the Inquisition might enter private
houses even, at any hour of the day or night, for prohibited books
or other similar articles.
Spanish Commercial Policy. The Spanish commercial policy
had the same end in view. Humboldt calls attention to the
remarkable phenomenon that Mexican trade often flourished
more in time of war than in time of peace, when the Spanish
revenue ships could operate unhindered. Even in the years
1820-1822 Basil Hall was able to show the most surprising con-
1 Depons, I, 196 ff.
32 THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
trast between Lima, which still remained Spanish, and Valparaiso,
which had thrown off Spanish rule. Here the harbor was full
of ships, the warehouses full of goods; there was a large number
of bookstores and travellers; no pass was necessary; nothing
but modern European costumes were worn. In Lima the con-
tiary was the case in everything; the custom house was empty
and closed, the streets were deserted; the ships at Callao were in
a corner of the harbor, close under the fort, surrounded by gun-
boats and closed in with a boom. 1 Wherever, subsequently,
Spaniards reconquered, they threw all foreign merchants, Ameri-
cans, Englishmen, and all, into the most horrible dungeons, such
as the Morillo in Cartagena. 2
Management of American Trade. For the management of
the American trade, the Casa de Contratacior 3 was established
at Seville in 1503; a body at once administrative and judicial
which soon became subordinated to the Council of the Indies.
Charles V associated with this Casa lectures and instruction in
nautical subjects; and the whole institution was, in his time, con-
sidered so excellent that, among others, Henry VIII speedily pat-
terned one after it as closely as possible for his own realm. 4 No
ship was permitted to sail from Spain to America, or land from
there, until it had been inspected by the officers of the Casa and
had received a license. Of everything a most careful register was
kept. 5 Charles V had ordered, on pain of death and confiscation,
that every Spaniard, embark where he would, must direct his jour-
ney back from America only to Seville ; and soon the journey out
was only permissible from Seville. In particular all gold and silver,
all pearls and precious stones could be brought only to Seville. 8
This preference for Seville came r from the fact that it was the only
large place in the kingdom of Castile which could carry on ocean
1 B. Hall, Journal Written on the Coasts of Chili, etc., I, 87 ff.
2 Ibid., I, 239 ff. Compare Robertson,. Letters on South America II, 73 ff.
3 Recopilacion, IX, i ff.
4 Anderson, II, under the year 1512.
6 Recopilacion, IX, 33-35. The officers of the ship had to swear that they
would take no unregistered goods with them: IX, 15, 8.
6 Recopilacion, IX, i, 56.
MANAGEMENT OF AMERICAN TRADE 33
commerce and at the same time had a considerable river trade.
Then, again, since the kingdom of Castile alone had borne the
expense and dangers of the discovery of America, it wanted to
have all the profit of it. 1 After 1720 Cadiz took the place of
Seville, because the Guadalquivir had grown so shallow that large
ships could no longer navigate so far. 2
In order to facilitate the control and, in times of danger, the
convoy of ships, all trade was limited to two regular fleets. The
galleons, consisting generally of twenty-seven ships destined for
South America, went annually to Porto Bello, landing first in Car-
tagena; the fleets for Central America went to Vera Cruz every
three years and usually numbered twenty-three ships. 3 The
route of both fleets was determined with the greatest exactness
and only for very pressing necessity could this be changed or a
ship leave the convoy. 4 This was the case to some degree as
early as 1526. All trade with Peru and Chile passed through
Porto Bello. Their exports were brought by water in a similar
fleet to Panama and then carried by mules over the Isthmus.
The exchange took place at Porto Bello during a forty days' fair,
on which occasion this otherwise quite desolate and unhealthy
place was for a time enlivened to an extraordinary degree. Very
1 The independence of the provinces of Spain was so great in this respect
that, for example, the Portuguese, when their country was united with Spain,
might not trade with the Philippines even from their own Moluccas (Recopila-
cion, IX, 27, 29; compare IX, 37, 12).
2 Cadiz had always had some connection with American trade. Compare
Recopilacion, IX, 4.
3 [This statement that the flotas for New Spain sailed only once in three years
is derived from J. Townsend's Journey through Spain in the Years 1786 and 1787,
London, 1791, 2d ed., enlarged, 1792, II, 397, and is an error. The fleet went
annually as a regular thing. The law of 1561 as given in the Recopilacion, lib.
IX, tit. XXXVI, ley XIII, says: "La flota que hubiere de salir para Nueva Espana
este aprestada a primero de abril de cada un ano en la barra de Sanlucar/'etc.
The annual service became irregular in the later eighteenth century, and there
were only eleven fleets in the years 1781-1800. (Bancroft's Mexico, II, 752.) B.]
* Recopilacion, IX, 30 ff.: " Instruccion de Generates," 1597. Most of the
ships were of 800 to 1,000 tons burden; the smallest about 550 (J. Townsend
Journey through Spain, II, 371). When Peter Hein seized the galleons in 1618,
the booty is said to have been worth twenty million pounds. (Anderson, sub
anno.) Exact specifications of a cargo of a Spanish silver fleet and a corresponding
Portuguese one are given in Anderson, under the years 1734 and 1737.
34 THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
small booths were rented for 1,000 pesos or more, and single
houses for 4,000 to 6,000 pesos. The remaining larger portion
of the year was characteristically enough called the dead time of
year. 1 The Spanish and Peruvian merchants appeared at the
fair as two regular companies; the former under the admiral of
the galleons, the latter under the president of Panama. The
authorized agents of both companies meet together at the admiral's
ship and fixed the price at which every one could buy wares. As
soon as the ships arrived at Cartagena, the news had to be sent
to the viceroy of Peru at once, and also on the return to the higher
Spanish authorities. The same was true of the so-called silver
fleet to Vera Cruz. Here, on account of the unhealthy climate,
the actual sales took place in the nearest healthy city, Jalapa.
On the return to Europe both fleets united at Havana.
Monopolies of Shipping. It is easy to understand that the
utilizing of this very limited opportunity of shipping soon became,
necessarily, practically a monoply of some favored commercial
houses. Especially so when the merchants of Seville from the
time of Charles V, and those of Mexico and Lima from the time
of Philip II, became privileged corporations with an elected
prior and consuls at their head. 2
For example, the trade with the silver fleet was in the sole
possession of eight or ten large Mexican houses. 3 The Spaniards,
in their trade with America, often made 100 to 300 per cent.
profit. 4 Actually, towards the end of the eighteenth century
Varinas tobacco cost, in Spain, four times, and in the rest of Europe
seven times, as much as in America. 5 " The .supplying of a great
kingdom," exclaims Humboldt, "was carried on like the pro-
visioning of a blockaded fortress! " We see here in many respects
a prototype of the great commercial companies which, in England
and Holland in particular, played such an important role from
1 Compare Ulloa, Viage, I, i, 9, and 2, 6.
2 Recopilacion, IX, 6, 46. These consulados corresponded in many ways upon
a small scale to the Casa de Contratacion.
3 Humboidt, Neuspanien, IV, 352.
4 Ulloa, Re'tdblissement des Manufactures et du Commerce de VEspagne r II,
* Brougham, Colonial Policy, I, 421.
EFFECT ON DEVELOPMENT OF NATIONAL WEALTH 35
the beginning of the seventeenth century. The similarity appears
still greater when one remembers that the English East India
Company first in 1612 formed a real stock company. Previously
the members had traded "by several separate stocks." How-
ever,* those Spanish consulados did not really receive an inde-
pendent political power; that would have been altogether incom-
patible with the spirit of absolute monarchy and official aristoc-
racy. 1 Moreover, the government avoided all communication
with America outside the regular channels so much that the
court sometimes first learned of the most important occurrences
from foreigners. 2
Staples, caravans, trading companies, are exactly the insti- ,
tutions which serve admirably for the beginnings of trade and (
for the lower stages of civilization; but Spain tried to per-
petuate them in her colonies. But where not only the state,
but society as a whole is established upon the basis of medieval
ideas and institutions the caste system, the impossibility of a
separate nationality, the great power of the church it is prac-
tically impossible to break away from them even in trade. Highly
artificial governments, which are at the same time conscious of
their weakness, have ever felt the need of limiting to as small an
amount as possible trade which brings peoples together and which
might bring, with foreign wares, foreign ideas and influences.
Effect on Development of National Wealth. What effect such
an artificial adherence to the lower stages of culture must have
upon the development of national wealth is self-evident. In
Spanish America this was aggravated by the fact -that the mother
country, to which the colonies were chained in all economic
1 Compare Ustariz, Teoria y Pratica del Commercio, chs. 38, 39.
2 Trade with the Philippines was restricted to a single galley which sailed '
annually from Manila to Acapulco. Ordinarily this was said to export only
half a million piastres; but there were generally one and one-half to two mil-
lions. As soon as the ship was seen approaching along the coast, everybody
hastened to Acapulco, where, however, again individual large houses bought
up most of the cargo. In Manila, besides the 'merchants, the monastic houses
especially took a share of it. Compare Recopilacion, IX, 45; Humboldt, Neu-
spanien, IV, 331 ff . The great ship occasionally had 1,200 men aboard. (Anson's
Voyage, 330.) The booty, when one was taken in 1762, according to Anderson,
amounted to three million piastres.
36 THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
matters, was, after the middle of the sixteenth century, really
retrograding. For example, Caracas could not dispose of its
enormous excess of hides in Spain, because she already received
from Buenos Ayres and Montevideo more hides than were needed
and those of Buenos Ayres were superior to those of Caracas
in every respect. 1 When the trade of Seville was at the height
of its prosperity both fleets did not carry more than 27,500 tons,
while, for example, in 1836 the little island of Mauritius sent
17,690 tons to England and received 18,576 tons from her. 2
The last silver fleet arrived in 1778; previously, the annual expor-
tation from Vera Cruz reached, on an average, 617,000 piastres;
after 1787, 2,840,000 piastres annually. 3 The total exports to
and imports from Spanish America in 1778 amounted to
148,500,0x30 reals; the number of ships was about 300, and duties
amounted to about 6,500,000 reals. Ten years later the amount
had risen to 1,104,500,000 reals and to about 55,000,000 in
duties. 4 The trade with Cuba, which in 1765 required scarcely
six ships, required over two hundred in 1778, after all Spaniards
were allowed to share in it by paying a duty of six per cent. From
1765 to 1770 the income from duties at Havana trebled, while
the exportation from the whole island increased fivefold. Before
1765 this magnificent island, which was able to provide all Europe
with sugar, did not have even enough for the consumption of
the mother country. 5
Smuggling. Naturally, those colonies which were situated
at the greatest distance from the three large staple ports suffered
most; for example, Chile, which had to have its whole trade
conducted not merely through Porto Bello, but even through
Peru. For New Spain and New Granada the restriction was
not so great as appears at first glance, because the nature of
their coast-line made the harbors of Vera Cruz and Cartagena
1 Depons, II, 391.
2 Campomanes, Educ. Popul., I, 435; II, no; Porter, Progress of the Nation,
II, 177 ff. About 1849 the trade between Mauritius and Great Britain em-
ployed more than 65,000 tonnage.
3 Humboldt, Neuspanien, IV, 352 ff.
4 Bourgoing, II, 180 ff. Brougham, I, 445.
6 Brougham, I, 438.
the chief ports. In the river regions of the La Plata and Orinoco
the case was just the opposite: everywhere the finest oppor-
tunities to land, but nevertheless a thin population and neglect
on the part of the Spaniards. It was therefore in these places that
the Spanish revenue system received its most grievous wounds from
smuggling. 1 The West Indian possessions of Holland, as well as
those of England and France, were smuggling stations on a very
large scale. 2 Shortly before 1740 the English alone are said to
have had as much share in the Spanish colonial trade in ways pro-
hibited as the Spaniards themselves had in the authorized ways. 3
If one can speak of honor among smugglers, it existed here in
the highest degree. Although scarcely five per cent, of American
necessities were furnished by Spanish manufacturers themselves,
it is most remarkable that actually at no time did a Spanish
agent ever betray his foreign business friend. 4 The trade of
Caracas was surrendered to the company organized at Guipuscoa
in 1728, because the government could no longer overcome smug-
gling; they now for the first time tried to appeal to the private'
interest of the merchants Caracas produced the greatest amount
of cocoa in the world and Spain consumed the most, but thej
cocoa trade was almost exclusively hi the hands of Dutch smug-
glers. 5 The company, by arming its ships, really succeeded in
exterminating a large part of this smuggling. Trade thus man-
aged by a company is always very restricted; in this case it was,
besides, on the Spanish side, limited to the harbors of San Sebas-
tian and Cadiz. But in comparison with the earlier Spanish
system, it could almost be considered free trade. Caracas,
apart from the company, had connections with the Canary Islands
by a registered ship and with Vera Cruz enjoyed free trade. 6
Within a short time the cattle business of the colony was trebled,
1 Compare Robertson, II, 337.
2 Depons, II, 336.
3 Brougham, I, 423.
4 Zavala, Representation al Rey D. Felipe V., 226. Compare Depons, II,
5 In the sixteen years before 1728 not a single ship sailed from Caracas to
Spain, and in twenty years only five from Spain to Caracas!
6 Robertson, II, 413-
38 THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
the cocoa trade doubled, and the price of cocoa in the mother
country fell to one-half its former price. 1
Increasing Difficulty of Maintaining the Spanish Commercial
Policy. The maintenance of the Spanish commercial policy
necessarily became more difficult the more the colonial popula-
tion, progressing in numbers and culture, learned to need
European wares; the more foreign nations through the increase
of internal competition were forced to seek new markets; and
the less, in later years, the Spanish laws were supported by the
old terror of the Spanish arms?) The English war of 1739 against ^
the Bourbon poweiiPperhaps decided for all time the question
whether, in the colonial world, the Germanic or Latin races
should rule. In fact almost nothing was to be gained by indiv-
idual concessions; rather was it true that every stone which
was removed from the highly artificial structure had the inevitable
result of bringing down another stone. This happened in the
course of the eighteenth century, when the new ruling house
which came from France departed from the old Spanish ways
in so many particulars. Even during the war of the succession,
because of the want of Spanish ships, the ports of Peru and Chile
were opened to the merchants of St. Malo, but only until the
beginning of the peace. Much more dangerous still than this
deviation from the old rule was the so-called Assiento Treaty
which was made with England in 1713; this provided that the
English South Sea Company might not only import into the
Spanish colonies 4,800 negro slaves annually, but also send a
ship of 500 tons to the fair at Porto Bello. It was not enough
that this number of tons was very soon exceeded in manifold
ways, 2 but in addition the English established factories in the
most important places. Through these they obtained an exact
knowledge of the tastes and needs of the colonists, which had
1 Brougham, I, 442 ff.; Depons, II, 343 ff.; Townsend, II, 376.
2 This one ship could import from five to six times as much as one of the Spanish
fleet (Townsend, II, 372). It was accompanied by several other ships which
lay at anchor at some distance and renewed the cargo of the first as soon as it
was discharged. More than that, single vessels, and occasionally whole squad-
rons, entered Spanish harbors under the pretext of provisioning, but in fact to
smuggle in English goods. Compare Coxe, Bourbon Kings of Spain, III, 300.
BREAKDOWN OF THE SPANISH COMMERCIAL POLICY 39
previously been lacking, and, after that time, could extend their
smuggling from Jamaica over an extraordinarily wide range.
The galleons fell pretty rapidly from 15,000 to 2,000 tons l (about
1737). After 1740 permission was granted to fit out so-called
"register ships" in the intervals from one fleet to another,
especially to such as had a share in no fleet. About 1748 the
galleons were entirely given up. Now one could sail directly
to Chile and Peru around Cape Horn. Panama and Porto Bello
declined. But on the other side trade was still fettered by the
monopoly of Cadiz and paid high royal licenses. 2 Charles III,
in 1764, established monthly mail packet-boats between Corunna
and Havana, and these were permitted to transport goods to
the extent of half their cargo. Every two months a similar
packet-boat went to Buenos Ayres, and there were American
post-routes connected with it. In 1765 came the great advance
that intercourse with the West Indies was opened to all Spaniards
and to a number of different ports under a duty of six per cent.
In 1768 this was extended to Louisiana, in 1770 to Campeche
and Yucatan, in 1778 to Peru, Chile, Buenos Ayres, New Granada
and Guatemala, and at last in 1788 to New Spain. The more
important a colony was for the motherland, the later was it re-
solved to open it to free trade. Furthermore, the duty on many
classes of goods was lowered and in 1774 the previously existing
prohibition of internal trade between Peru, Guatemala, New
Spain, and New Granada was removed. Indeed, just as if
all earlier maxims were to be exactly reversed, the American
ports were now classified as may ores and menores; the former,
naturally the more important and better situated, were burdened
with higher duties, in order to equalize by such means the natural
disadvantages of the latter. 3
Profit of Spain from the Administration of her Colonies.
Finally there remains the question, what immediate profit did
Spain get out of the administration of her colonial possessions?
1 Campomanes, I, 436.
2 In the year 1748 for a brief time trade was made free to all Spanish harbors.
As numerous bankruptcies occurred as a result at Cadiz, the government soon
after recalled its permission.
3 Depons, II, 357.
40 THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
I shall pass over, here, the advantages of a purely Jdeal nature,
\ t such as the political satisfaction which comes from the control
of such an immense territory, the historic fame which results from
the conversion, civilizing, and assimilation of so many peoples.
o Also the general advantages from every great colonization I must
here presuppose to be understood. In distinction from these
I will designate what economic net profit the government, the
officials, priests, and knights, and finally the mercantile and pro-
fessional classes of Spain obtained from America.
Advantage to the State. The actual surplus which, in Hum-
boldt's time, 1 flowed into the treasury at Madrid from the colonial
administration was estimated at the following amounts: from
New Spain, from 5,000,000 to 6,000,000 piastres annually; from
Peru, 1,000,000 at the highest; from Buenos Ayres, from 600,000
to 700,000; and from New Granada, from 400,000 to 500,000.
In the remaining provinces the expenditure was at least equal
to the receipts ; in fact, regular appropriations (situados) of prob-
ably 3,500,000 had to be sent annually to the Spanish West Indies,
Florida, Louisiana, the Philippines, and Chile to help out their
domestic administration. From Lima a contribution of 100,000
pesos went to Santiago and Concepcion every year, half in silver
and half in supplies for the garrison there. Valdivia received
annually 70,000 pesos likewise from Lima. 2 The supplementary
contribution for San Domingo is said to have amounted to 200,000
silver piastres annually, or from the beginning of the eighteenth
century to 1784, inclusive, to about i7,ooo,ooo. 3 Before the
establishment of the Guipuscoa company two-thirds of the
expenditure of Caracas, Maracaibo, and Cumand had to be sup-
plied from Mexico. 4 Taken all together the exports from Spanish
America towards the end of the eighteenth century amounted
to 9,800,000 piastres more than the imports. Whatever portion
of this is not to be reckoned in the above-mentioned government
surplus must have flowed into the hands of private individuals in
1 Humboldt, Neuspanien, V, 20 ff. 3 Bourgoing, II, 215.
2 Ulloa, Viage, II, 2, 8. 4 Depons, III, 3.
5 Humboldt, Neuspanien, IV, 375.
ADVANTAGES TO INDIVIDUALS 41
Advantages to Individuals. The numerous civil and ecclesi-
astical officers in America were, for the most part, very well paid,
so that the government of the mother country thus had a great
many opportunities to enrich distinguished men or favorites.
The viceroys of New Spain and Peru received fixed salaries of
60,000 piastres and those of New Granada and Buenos Ayres
40,000. l The captain-general of Caracas received 9,000 piastres
and almost as much more in perquisites. 2 Individual viceroys,
to be sure, extorted millions in a few years, as they demanded
money for filling offices, conferring titles, privileges of trade,
and concessions in connection with quicksilver royalties. But
such abuses were possible only in so far as they had a strong
party on their side at Madrid. The intendant of Caracas had
an annual salary of 9,000 silver piastres and almost as much more
from confiscations of smuggled goods, etc. The regent of the
audiencia at Caracas received 5,300 piastres annually, each of
the three Oidores and the two attorneys, 3,300 piastres. 3
These advantages to the state as well as to private individuals
were naturally most important in the first century of colonization.
In everything, and especially in political affairs, the period of
development is fuller of spontaneous activity than maturity and
the standing still that follows. The streams of gold and silver
which flowed from America to Spain had in the sixteenth cen-
tury a greater effect, because the value of the precious metals
had not then fallen so low as was the case later. What an impres-
sion it must have made, for example, when Pizarro paid, out of
the ransom of the Inca Atahualpa, to every knight of his army
8,000 pesos, and to every foot-soldier 4,000! 4 The more lasting
sources of wealth, trade, and industry in which England and
France so greatly outstripped Spain in the seventeenth century
were, in the sixteenth century, not strong enough to counter-
balance Potosi and Zacatecas. Hence I do not doubt for a
1 Humboldt, Neuspanien, V, 18 ff.
2 Depons, II, 23. One viceroy alone received some 60,000 pesos as a birth-
day gift: Robertson, II, 433.
3 Depons, III, 6; II, 30.
4 Robertson, II, 179.
42 THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
m^i. ?nt that the treasures of America essentially promoted the
world-wir^ tremendous power of Philip II not only in an imma-
terial bu. ilso in a material way, although the fact may hardly
allow of an exact estimate. 1
Industry in Spain. That Spain, under the Hapsburg dynasty,
adhered to the scientific mercantile system only lukewarmly and
in an illogical way is sufficiently well-known. To be sure, the
exportation of the precious metals was hindered as much as
possible. But on the other hand they strove to lessen the expor-
tation of commodities as much as possible and to increase their
importation, especially that of manufactured goods. The Cortes 3
and the crown agreed that the prevailing rise in the price of all
commodities resulted from the malice of the merchants, who
wished to limit the quantity of wares by a heavy exportation.
So, for example, the exportation of cattle, leather, and grain was
forbidden. In 1552 Charles V ordered that every foreigner
who exported raw wool should import a certain quantity of woolen
stuffs. Similarly the importation of silk was allowed, the expor-
tation prohibited. Spanish industry at that time was very unim-
portant. Philip II and with him the majority of his people
valued industry so little that his laws regularly designated the
work of tanners, shoemakers, and blacksmiths as "officios viles
y baxos" (low and debasing occupations). To take up kitchen
service did not disgrace a noble, if it was only temporary, but the
exercise of a manual trade was an ineradicable stain. 3 Under such
circumstances is it any wonder that the design of exploiting the
colonies for the benefit of Spanish industry did not particularly
interest the government?
Industry in the Colonies. In 1545 Charles V expressly ordered
that the governors should encourage the cultivation of hemp
and flax and also spinning and weaving on the part of the natives.
1 This was doubted by no one at that time. Compare W. Raleigh, The Dis-
covery of Guiane, preface.
2 Compare the resolutions of the Cortes between 1550 and 1560. L. v. Ranke,
Fursten und Volker, I, 400 ff. [In English as The Ottoman and Spanish Empires
in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, tr. by W. K. Kelly, London, 1843. B.]
3 Prescott, History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, II, ch. 26.
INDUSTRY IN THE COLONIES 43
In 1548 the exportation of raw hides to Spain was- much ;.*', red
by the same prince, and in 1572 the production of raw wool
was considerably encouraged by his successor. 1 G . the other
hand the cultivation of the vine by the colonists was strictly
forbidden; only those vineyards previously existing in Peru were
allowed under a pretty high tax (law of 1595), but no Peruvian
wine was permitted to be sold outside of South America. 2 In
the year 1628 the law was enacted that every new manufacturing
enterprise required the consent of not only the viceroy, but of
the king himself; chiefly, as it appears, with the intention of
protecting the Indians from new claims to service by their en-
comenderos. 3 But one may easily understand how effectually
this law could be used to fetter every industrial activity, partic-
ularly during the eighteenth century. Such was the result, for
example, in Humboldt's time, less in consequence of general
measures than because of a mass of particular obstacles which
were imposed upon industry by the authorities. 4 What indus-
trial products the Indians required were supplied in great part
by themselves by labor at home. This was the case in Quito, in
Peru, and especially in Mexico. 5
But a short time ago Mexico consumed scarcely four times
as much of European commodities as Caracas, although its
population was eight times as large a natural result of the fact
that a much larger proportion of tne population were Indians. 6
The European stuffs which were wanted by the white people
all had to come from Spain and for this reason were known as
1 Recopilacion, IV, 18, 20, 23, 2. However, in 1621 Philip IV wished those
skilled in manufacturing to know that they were excepted from the general prohi-
bition that no foreigners should be found in America (IX, 27, 10). Moreover,
that the minister Galvez, towards the end of the eighteenth century, established
powder-factories in America was a violation of all earlier governmental maxims.
(Bourgoing, II, 97.)
2 Recopilacion, IV, 17, 18; IV, 18, 15, 18. Cortes, on the contrary, had en-
couraged vine-growing in New Spain as much as possible; in every repartimiento
there was planted a certain number of vines (Prescott, Conquest of Mexico, III,
3 Recopilacion, IV, 26.
4 Humboldt, Neuspanien, IV, 258.
5 Ulloa, Viage, I, 6, i; II, i, n.
6 Humboldt, R. H., Ill, 113.
44 THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
Castilian goods. 1 It was chiefly in Seville that Spanish industry
made use of American raw materials, and there most of the
establishments were in the possession of the crown. For example,
the manufacture of tobacco and of bronze ordnance and the coinage
of the precious metals flourished at Seville. 2 Of the manufactures
exported to America, the greater part (it is said nineteen-twen-
tieths) was made in England, Holland, France, etc., and the
Spaniards themselves, apart from their own illicit trade, had
only two kinds of profit from it. In the first place the national
treasury secured the considerable customs which had to be paid
in transit through Spain. Second, the merchants, shipowners, etc.,
gained from the many charges which were added to the price of
the goods and were paid again by the Americans. In order
to avoid, at least, the customs an immense partial smuggling
was carried on at Cadiz. The silk, stocking, calico, and wax
manufactories there were apparently of only small capacity,
but at the same time had an enormous output. In fact they
served chiefly merely as a mask, under which their managers
were able to send great quantities of foreign goods to America
without incurring too great suspicion. 3 Moreover, the colonists
had become so thoroughly accustomed to having the foreign
commerce in the hands of the peninsular Spaniards that the
internal trade of America, the retail shopkeeping, was carried
on in great part by chapetons or Canary-Islanders. As is the
case in many countries which possess little real productive and
commercial enterprise, the shopkeeping class was decidedly
As an important connecting link between the fiscal and the
mercantile advantage derived by Spain from the colonies, the
quicksilver royalty deserves to be mentioned. Nowhere in the
world was so much quicksilver needed as in Spanish America,
where the precious metal was separated from the ore almost solely
by amalgamation. On the other hand, Spain of all countries of
1 Ulloa, Viage, II, i, 10.
2 Bourgoing, III, 99 ff .
4 Ulloa, Viage, I, 27, 251. Depons, II, 425. For the information of the
reader I present the following from the official list of exports and imports at
CAUSES OF SPANISH COLONIAL DECLINE 45
the Old World is by far the richest in quicksilver. 1 In America
itself, until a short Jime ago, quicksilver was supplied only from
the mines at Guancavelica. This, therefore, was a case of an
important economic need where the mother country and colony
were appointed for each other by nature itself. 2
Causes of Spanish Colonial Decline, -v- The Spanish colonial
empire did not die a natural death. The terrible shock given
the mother country by Napoleon was, as is well-known, the
principal cause for the revolt of the colonies: the captivity of
the old royal house, the elevation of the Bonapartist dynasty,
the frightful war with France, and finally the rapid alteration of
Vera Cruz for the year 1803, which Humboldt published in Neuspanien, IV, 305,
318. There came from Spain:
Spanish raw products worth 2,010,423
(More than 1,546,000 piastres of this was wine, brandy, vinegar, etc.)
Spanish manufactured products 8,604,380
(About 7,335,000 piastres of this was for cloths, in which the above-
mentioned smuggling was especially extensive.)
Foreign goods 7,878,486
(Of which again more than 7,500,000 were cloths.)
Imports from other Spanish colonies 1,373,428
(The imports of wax alone were almost 462,000 piastres and for
cocoa more than 700,000.)
The exports to Spain were worth 12,017,062
(More than 2,238,000 of this was cochineal, 263,729 indigo, sugar
almost 1,500,000, gold 142,229, and silver 7,356,530.)
Exports to other Spanish colonies 2,465,846
(Of which again 21,730 was gold and 1,834,146 silver.)
What was imported and exported on the government account was not in-
cluded. The most important was an exportation of 6,200,000 piastres of gold,
and an importation of 2,500 tons of quicksilver and 280,000 reams of paper for
the use of royal tobacco manufacture.
1 The total European production is estimated at about 1,460,000 kilograms
annually, of which Almaden alone yields 1,100,000 (Duflot de Mofras, I, 50 ff.).
[Later these amounts have been much changed by the increased production in
Austria-Hungary, as well as in Spain. In 1895 the amount mined in Spain was
1,506,000 kilograms, and in 1898 California produced 1,058,000 kilograms. B.]
2 Compare Ulloa, Noticias Americanas, cap. 12-15. Spain lately derived
from Mexico, through the rise in the price of quicksilver, almost as much as
formerly from the right of coining. Why has Mexico not made the attempt to
secure the lease of the mines of Almaden for herself instead of allowing it to be
acquired by the Rothschilds?
4& THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
absolutist and constitutional rule through revolution in Spain
herself. As a result the old carefully transmitted structure of
colonial institutions, ideas, and policy was completely thrown
out of joint./ The keystone was removed, as it were; this was
particularly the case when many of the highest colonial officials
vacillated between the legitimate kings and the usurper. When
at the same time the mother country was in such pressing need
of the political help of England, it was really impossible to pre-
vent her invading the colonial markets. One hundred years
earlier (during the war of the Spanish Succession) the old system
of the Philips had successfully withstood similar dangers; the
new Bourbon system, however, completely honeycombed from
within, was no longer strong enough to do so. In addition, after
the restoration of general peace in Europe, the English both pri-
vately (Lord Cochran) and as a part of public policy (Canning)
favored according to their means the separation of the Spanish
colonies from the mother country. The results have shown,
unfortunately, that these colonies were by no means all ripe for
freedom. It is much easier to win independence than worthily
to maintain it. If I except the colonies of Caracas and Chile,
which were neglected by the mother country, the condition of
the remainder of Spanish America for sixty years has been such
that one could only wish ,that they had remained for a longer
*/ time dependent. There was an immense decline in economic
prosperity; 1 for example, the German linen trade suffered from
this most keenly; insurrections of the troops have been unending,
yet without high motives and even without any real bravery, as,
for instance, in Buenos Ayres once, where fifteen presidents were
overthrown within nine months, although every one of them was
chosen for three years; 2 a perfect venality of justice has prevailed,
and consequently such a contempt for law that the traveller often
found more protection with the leaders of robber bands than
with the authorities; 3 finally there has been an oppression of the
1 Mexico had, for a long time, even in time of peace, an annual deficit of
almost 3,000,000 piastres, while as a colony it was able to send an immense
surplus to the mother country and other colonies (Duflot de Mofras, I, 62).
2 Ch. Darwin, Journal of Researches^ I, 141, 295.
3 When the Swiss consul was robbed and murdered in Mexico in 1835, an
adjutant of President Santa Anna was at the head of the band of robbers (Duflot
de Mofras, I, 16).
CAUSES OF SPANISH COLONIAL DECLINE 47
natives, harder to endure, as it has been less systematic, which, some
day, may lead to a war of extermination against the whole Span-
ish raceTJ The sad picture which Duflot de Mofras, Ferry, 1 and
otherFnave presented of Mexico, Stephens of Central America, and
Tschudi of Peru was fully justified during the war between Mexico
and the United States. The Americans would find no stronger
resistance, even as far as the southern boundary of the Spanish
colonial empire, except possibly in Caracas and Chile and among
the wild nomads of Buenos Ayres. Alexander von Humboldt,
shortly before his death, said to Wappaus, 2 "The United States
will absorb the whole of Mexico and then fall to pieces herself. "
But I do not once think that, without the shock to the mother
country, the mere logical adherence to the old Spanish system
could have guaranteed the prosperity of the colonial empire.
A state which discourages and must discourage every internal
development will surely succumb, in the end, to some more highly
developed foreign power. About 1792 the Spanish navy num-
bered 80 ships of the line, 48 frigates, and 79 corvettes, etc. ; 3 how
insignificant it is to-day! How little would it be in a position
now to defend the old colonial dominions against peaceful or
warlike attacks of the European sea powers! And how much
more irresistibly still would her neighbor in North America,
with, her energy, activity, and recklessness, know how to put
an end to the Spanish system of isolation! In 1803 the Vice-
President of the United States, Aaron Burr, announced, openly,
his intention to revolutionize and conquer New Spain. 4
1 [Gabriel Ferry, author of Les Revolutions du Mexique, Paris, 1864, Souvenirs
de Mexique et de Calif ornie, Paris, 1884, and other works in the same field. B.]
2 Op. eiL, 133.
3 Bourgoing, II, 106-144.
4 The most important survival of the old Spanish colonial system is to be found
to-day in the Philippines, where especially the native Tagals are even now sub-
ject to a sort of life-long guardianship under the special care of the clergy. Com-
pare Jurien de la Graviere, Voyage en Chine, etc., II, 1853. [On the great changes
that have taken place in Mexico see C. F. Lummis, The Awakening of a Nation:
Mexico of To-day \ 1898; on Aaron Burr's project, W. F. McCaleb, The Aaron
Burr Conspiracy, 1903; and on the Spanish Colonial System as exemplified in
the Philippines, besides the works of Foreman and Jagor, the Historical Intro-
duction by the writer to the great documentary publication The Philippine Islands,
Cleveland, 1903, and the historical section of the article "Philippines" (also by
the writer) in The New International Encyclopedia. In regard to Burr it should
be remarked that it was in 1805, after he had ceased to be Vice-President, that
he announced his intentions, and not strictly "openly " at- that time. B.]
48 THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
How slight was the natural bond between old Spain and
most of Her colonies is to be seen most plainly in the present
trade relations with Peru. In 1854 the exports of this country
to Spain were worth only about 20,000 francs annually, but those
to England fully 30,000,000. The importations from Spain were
over 2,000,000, those from France 5,000,000, and those from
England 18,000,000. The number of tons of Spanish shipping
in the trade with Peru amounted to only 3,200, that of England
151,000 tons. 1 In the shipping reports for 1876 (incoming
338,547 tons, outgoing 404,462 tons) Spain is considerably
behind Sweden and is included under "various," her shipping
amounting in all to 8,154 tons. The same is true in Chile and
Argentina. 2 In general one can say that if the Spanish colonies
have developed so much more poorly than the English, it is due
in great part to the fact that since the restoration of peace the
former have remained almost wholly separated from Spain,
while the latter very soon resumed their connection with England
in every sphere except the political, and a connection highly
advantageous for both. 3 But whence was this difference itself?
Chiefly because Spain for a long time and in every respect had
been a fallen nation, whose nationality, as such, no longer pos-
sessed power enough to hold together a hemisphere under the
conditions of freedom.
1 Journal des Economistes, May, 1854.
2 Leroy-Beaulieu, De la Colonisation, 40 ff.
3 Compare Wappaus, Mittel- und Sudamerica, 117 ff.
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