Imágenes de páginas

3,100,000 dollars, and the whole public revenue count, however brief, is necessary: the princi
of the city and the jurisdiction of Havana, has pal topic of these is slavery, the horrors of
varied between the years 1820 and 1825, from which are depicted in very glowing terms, and
3,200,000 to 3,400,000 dollars: if to this be perhaps the facilities of ending them at once
added, the revenues collected in other jurisdic may be overrated. But M. Humboldt has dont
tions, the estimate will not be found to be example justice to the lenient spirit of the Spa-
aggerated. In pursuing this subject some cu nish laws, and to the liberal spirit displayed by
rious comparisons are made, showing that this individuals as well as corporate bodies in Cuba
revenue is considerable, relatively to the state on various occasions. He cites a passage il-
of the colony. The revenue is equal to that of lustrative of this, so very remarkable, from a
Colombia, and superior to that of the United representation made by the Municipality, Con.
States prior to 1795, when their population was sulado, and Patriotic Society, on 21st July,
4,500,000; that of Cuba, as we have already 1811, that we cannot refrain from following his
seen, is about 715,000. The expenses have of example.
late years largely increased, exceeding four "In all that relates to changes to be intro-
millions of dollars owing to the obstinate con duced into the condition of the sercile dass,
test maintained between Spain and her former our fears are less excited as to the diminution
colonies on the continent, iwo millions of dol- of agricultural wealth than for the safety of
lars have been employed annually in the pay- the whites, so easily compromised by impro-
ment of the troops and marine, rendered neces dent measures. Those who elsewhere accuse
sary even for self defence : a most useless and the Municipality and Consulado of an obstinate
wanton misapplication of the colonial funds. resistance, forget that from the year 1799 these
From the tables in the work before


ap same authorities have in vain proposed that the pears that the custom-house of Havana yielded state of the blacks in the island of Cuba should on an average, from 1789 to 1797, less than be taken into consideration. Still more: we 700,000 dollars; from 1797 to 1800 the mean are far from adopting maxims which the nawas 1,908,000 dollars; from 1815 to 1819 it tions of Europe, that pride themselves most on was 3,657,000 dollars; and in 1825 the produce their civilization, have regarded as irrefragawas 3,350,300. Thus, from 1789 to 1825 the ble; for instance, that without slaves there income had increased five fold. This in can be no colonies. We declare, on the coucrease is still more remarkable in the subordi-trary, that without slaves, and even without nate districts. M. Barrutin, as cited by Hum- blacks, colonies can exist; and that all the dif. boldt, gives the produce of these for eighty- ference would be in the amount of profit, in the three years successively, from 1735 to 1818. more or less rapid increase of produce. But The total produce has gradually risen from if such be our firm persuasion, we ought also 900 dollars to 600,000.

to remind your Majesty, that a social organizaThe unfortunate application of the revenue tion, into which slavery has been once introto unproductive military and naval establish duced as a constituent, cannot be changed acillo ments, powerfully retards the improvements inconsiderate precipitation. We are far from that in all probability would rapidly be made denying that it was an evil contrary to moral were it directed to its more natural objects. principles, lo drag slaves from one continent to

It is curious to contrast the application and another; that it was an error in politics not to produce of the revenue of Cuba at present listen to the complaints which Ovando, the Gowith what it was according to the archives of vernor of Hispaniola, made against the introMexico, which are detailed by M. Humboldt. duction of so many slaves among a small num. At the beginning of the nineteenth century ber of freemen; but since these evils and these New Spain sent annually to Havana the fol. abuses are already inveterate, we ought to lowing sums :

avoid rendering our situation, and that of our

slaves, worse by the employment of violent For the squadron, the dock.

measures. That which we ask, Sire, is confor. yards, and all the neces

mable to the wish expressed by one of the Marine sary service of the navy $700,000 most ardent protectors of the rights of humaniFor the naval establishment

ty, by the most decided enemy of slavery; we of the Musquito coasts 40,000

wish with him, that civil laws should deliver For the land service at the

us at once from the abuses and the dangers." Havana Army

290,000 - vol. i. p. 329–331. For the land service at St.

The abuses and the dangers form, in point Jago de Cuba

146,000 of fact, the real matter at issue ; and M. Hoc Fortifications

150,000 boldt very truly says, that nothing short of the Tobacco. The purchase, &c. for Se.

concurrence of the local authorities (whatever ville


may be their designation) with the proprietors

resident in Europe and the entire body of freeTotal $1,826,000

men in the colonies, can effect these desirable To this may be added upwards of a million objects. But there are infinite difficulties in that now devolves on the public charges of effecting this union, and we believe with him Cuba, though formerly furnished by Mexico. that civilization alone will prepare the minds We have already noticed the causes of this in of men for future events; but ihat to produce crease of revenue; it is only necessary to add, great changes in the social condition, certain that the free trade was conceded in 1809. coincidences must concur, the period of which

With this topic Humboldt concludes the sta cannot be calculated beforehand. tistical part of his work; but he makes a se We must not, however, trust too much to ries of general observations, of which some ac the chance of favourable events; for as cer


[ocr errors]

tainly as we do so in such matters, so certainly | the Orinoco. Gratifying as this ceremonial shall we be involved in irremediable disappoint was intended to be, it yielded in interest to a ment. The "quantillâ sapientiâ regitur mun. sight that attracted their notice on the road. dus" of Oxenstiern is no doubt quite true The plants and foliage were covered with wherever the frame of government has been phosphorescent insects, the intensity of whose once arranged; but when revolutionary im- light varied at their pleasure. In a hut of the pulses are given, a complete change takes poorest inhabitants, a dozen of these insects, place, and the difficulty arises, not merely of in a perforated calabash, serves as a night-light. selecting the best course in urgent and pressing - It is only necessary to shake the vessel vio. circumstances, but of guarding against the ex lently to insure a strong light. Death alone plosion of the fiery elements which are then in destroys the luminous quality, and a small combustion. We think that too much caution quantity of sugar-cane affords abundant nutricannot be used in the management of slave ment to the insect. colonies, nor too much circumspection in the A favourable breeze carried our travellers adoption of measures which are unsanctioned from the coasts of Cuba, and our author's reby the resident proprietors, however promising flections on the occasion, are at once just and they may be made to appear by their theoreti- agreeably stated, though we cannot follow him cal advocates.

in all his alleged facts. To complete this very interesting Essay, We have now concluded a very imperfect some details were necessary of the circum- sketch of the “Essai Politique sur l'Isle de stances under which M. Humboldt and his dis Cuba," and before touching on the remaining tinguished associate, M. Bonpland, obtained or contents of the work, we shall discuss some rather collected their information. These are collateral topics that present abundant mate. given in a sort of personal narrative, which by rials for reflection, though they do not fall blending a variety of objects, is rendered amus within the scope of our author's plan. And ing as well as instructive. Disappointed in the first of these topics is naturally the probajoining Capt. Baudin, as had been originally ble future fate of this noble island. arranged, by some erroneous intelligence, It is not to be wondered at, that various speHumboldt, it appears, had resolved on settling culations should be hazarded on the subject. in Cuba, but that determination was subse Some suppose that independence as a separate quently altered:yet during his residence he state must take place; others that it must pass made some excursions, the details of which he into the hands of some other European power, has consigned to this portion of his work. On than that of Spain: and a third set of politi. no occasion, perhaps, was M. Humboldt's zeal cians assert that it must become a member of in the pursuit of science more conspicuous than one of the American confederations. Although in his first voyage from Cuba. He embarked these schemes appear abundantiy futile to one at Batabano, with his distinguished associate, conversant with facts, yet they are worthy of in one of the smallest class of schooners, with a examination for the sake of those who in such cabin as hot as human nature could well sus matters are naturally swayed by the authority tain; yet he calmly observes, that they had of great names. been prepared for it by previous abominations. The independence of Cuba as a distinct The voyagers visited many of the keys, some state, is a question that we think may be easily of which were found to be interesting from set at rest. The extent and consequent expotheir productions; among others, the Jardinil sure of coast, the smallness of the population los, celebrated in Columbus's time as the scene compared with the area, the difficulty, or raof a remarkable kind of fishing. The Indian ther the impolicy of drawing the attention of fishermen were accustomed to tie a sort of fish the inhabitants from the soil to the formation called, by them, revés, (a species of remora) by 1 of military forces for self defence, and lastly, the tail, and let him down among the largest the certainty that this independence would turtles, to which he attached himself so firmly give birth to civil warfare, and afford a plausiby his tenacula, that on being drawn up, he ble pretext for foreign interference, presents brought the turtle with him. It seems that obstacles that cannot be overlooked. But these this was considered a traveller's tale, when first are not the only impediments: Cuba, as has told in Europe; nor can we wonder at it, when been already shown, owes the prosperity of its we read the inarvellous narration of Anghierra, finances to a free trade, which would inevitawho gravely states, “ Non aliter ac nos canibus bly be destroyed in the event of the destrucgallicis per æquora campi lepores insectamur, tion of public confidence; which again would incolæ (Cubæ insulæ) venatorio pisce pisces be the sure consequence of a state of waralios capiebant.”-A good specimen of a free fare. narrative! Our traveller, in the course of this The only two great powers of Europe that short voyage has collected many valuable phy- could pretend to the occupation of Cuba, are sical facts, for which we cannot do better inan Great Britain and France; there is no proba. refer to the work itself; for were we to do bility that either will concede the possession to more, we might transcribe the whole of the the other, even were Spain content to surrennarrative, with satisfaction to ourselves, and der this most valuable of her remaining Ameamusement to our readers. After visiting the rican territories: and we are not aware that city of Trinidad, the travellers were conducted any one has been so absurd as to suggest a by the municipality to the mouth of the river joint tenancy. But were the diplomatic poGuaurabo in a handsome carriage, and to in- ! liteness of the day to induce either of these crease their embarrassment, the clerical poet powers to wave any objection in favour of her of the place, clothed in velvet, notwithstanding rival, we apprehend that the cabinet of Washthe heat, celebrated in a sonnet their return to 1 ington would enter a most formidable protest


against the establishment of any new European Cuba, it would cost at least six times what it power, almost within her bounds, and in a situ. can be produced for on the spot. ation that would, in the event of a war, impose The objection to supplies of sugar applies a most irresistible check on her.

with even greater force to those of flour, and The difficulties that oppose the change in the practical illustration of the absurdity of the European masters of Cuba, equally present such a notion is, that on the coast of Mexico, themselves to any transfer to the United States, flour can be brought from the United States and may at present be deemed insurmounta and sold at eight dollars per barrel of 2001bs., ble. They also apply, to a certain extent, to while the same quantity of Mexican flour costs the union with any of its continental neigh more than ten dollars at the capital, to which, bours, though in a more limited degree, owing in order to complete the comparison, must be to the common origin, common language, and added the carriage to the coast, and of course institutions of the people. But these fade freight and other charges would still further away, when compared with those that offer enhance the cost in Cuba. themselves from a consideration of the actual

As to the consumption of Cuban produce on state of the newly established governments, as the continent, a very simple statement will set well as the internal interests of Cuba itself. this at rest. During twenty-five years, when The fact is, that it would lose every thing and Mexico belonged, as well as Cuba, to Spain, gain nothing by such an association. Supposing the entire value of all the exports from Cuba that every general difficulty were smoothed only amounted to 51,008,190 dollars, or a trifte away, let us inquire in the first place, what are above 2,000,000 a year, (about 400,0001. sterthe advantages and disadvantages of a political ling) of which about 1,700,000 dollars were connexion with Mexico; and, secondly, with vested in European manufactures and products, Colombia.

and only about 300,000 dollars, or about 60,90%. Now what are the benefits held out by the a year of indigenous Cuban articles, chiedy first to Cuba ? Independence (a word by the But if even this trade were as valuable way that has been more perverted in its appli as it has been represented, can there be a re3cation than most words); supply of sugar on sonable doubt on the mind of any man conver the cessation of the slave trade; that of flour sant with the affairs of America, that in the and grain; the consumption of the insular pro face of all the decrees of the Mexican Conductions on the continent; and protection from gress, wax will be sent from Cuba to Yucatan the confederating states. These we take in suc and Vera Cruz, whenever it may be wanted cession. The independence would only be nomi We know that notwithstanding the apparent nal, for what could the small number of Cuban interruption of intercourse between the two deputies do in opposition to those of the conti- countries, the communications between Yuca. nent, whose united interests would naturally tan and Cuba are as regular and open as ever. bend those of the minority to suit the purposes Last of all, let us examine the value of the of the majority. This is human nature, and a protection that can be afforded by Mexico very strong case of community of interests There are some persons who appear to estimate must be made out before we can concede the the power of protection merely by the extent point. Besides, there is much truth in the of surface over which they have been poring maxim, that unequal alliances are injurious to on the map, and to disregard with sovereign all parties, but most especially to the weakest. contempt or indifference passing events. BeThe supply of sugar, flour, and grain, is an fore Mexico can aid any of her neighbours

, she equally untenable ground of alliance. Mexico must be enabled to protect herself

. She bu is well known to be divided into two great dis- declared her own insolvency, by the non-failtricts, the Tierra Caliente, or the low hot re ment of a single engagement with her public gions, and the elevated plains which, as it creditors. The moment the funds retained were, cluster around the great central plateau out of the original loans for the payment of the of Anahuac. In the former of these, tropical | earlier dividends were exhausted, she literally productions are cultivated, and in the latter, stopped payment. Money she has not, and 23 the Cerealia, and other fruits of the temperate she cannot borrow, any union with Cuba woul zone. Although sugar was formerly produced be most disastrous for the latter. It is quite to a considerable extent in the state of Vera clear that were this brilliant scheme to be Cruz, the manufacture has nearly ceased, and realized, all the produce of the prudent and the few canes that are cultivated are employed wise measures of the insular governmest in the manufacture of an inferior rum, called would be appropriated to Mexican purpose Chingirito. Sugar is only produced, to any Nor would this be the only danger; for frora extent, in the neighbourhood of Cuernavaca, what is universally known of the talents and about twenty leagues to the south-west of the acquirements of the practical statesmen (if the city of Mexico. At this last place, notwith term may be so profaned) of New Spain, there standing all the reputed advantages, the price cannot be a doubt that on finding Cuba prodeeis more than 6d. per lb. Now to bring it to tive, their inordinate itch for legislation would the coast would augment the charges very entail on her (in addition to her own) all! much, as mules afford the only means of trans- horrors of Mexican mal.administration of rest port; wagons not having been generally intro The fable of the golden egg would be duced, and canals being, in our opinion, im realized, and the consequences would be joy practicable, from the nature of the country. rious to all. The military and naval prolet After this additional and unavoidable charge, tion so much talked of is as little to he depelu there would be freight, and all the mercantile ed on as the rest of the imaginary beneste charges superadded; so that before Mexican Recent occurrences show that Mexico is resy sugar could be furnished to the consumer at far from being perfectly tranquil, and the sa!.


military force that she can keep up must be we have already seen, three years ago the fully employed in mere police duties; inde slave population amounted to about 260,000. pendently of which, we very much question | Their value at 300 dollars a head is 78 millions the fitness of the Mexican soldiery for service of dollars, which at 4s. per dollar, is equal to beyond the limits of their continent. They 15,600,0001., a sum not likely to be thrown are, in fact, merely nominal soldiers, with away by men deriving actual wealth from its scarcely an officer,-even including the very employment, for a doubtful advantage. It few renegade Europeans and North Ameri. may be urged in opposition to this view of the cans,-capable of commanding a single batta: question, that the newly-emancipated negroes lion. Protection from such an undisciplined would, in the event of such a change, be ready rabble is not to be thought of with any degree to labour for wages. We candidly avow, that of seriousness. The dilapidated state of the however desirable and however pleasing such Mexican marine (now, we believe, laid up in expectations may be, we consider them under ordinary) is also à powerful antagonist to the the peculiar circumstances of tropical cultivapaternal scheme to which we refer; for we find tion, quite out of the question. Our opinion is that even the vaunting Porter has been obliged not formed on speculative foundations, but on to abandon the service. In truth, the want of facts. Haiti presents an admirable exemplifimoney has been followed by a very natural cation of the chimerical nature of any hope of want of men, and all the munitions of war. voluntary labour among a scanty and barbarian

The whole of what we have already said may population, where the climate makes exertion be urged with even greater force against Copainful, where the soil is almost spontaneously lombia. She has been proclaimed bankrupt by productive, and where artificial wants, either her dictator, and her internal commotions are inoral or physical, have not yet been excited. likely, for a very long time, to afford her abun The entire destruction of industry, properly so dant occupation at home.

called, in that once flourishing island, is a In addition to the total absence of all advan speaking lesson that must command conviction, tage to Cuba from any connexion with either except to those who are deaf to the suggestions of her continental neighbours, there are cer. of experience, and blinded by delusive specutain matters connected with the constitution of lations. the island, that are little calculated to further

Such being the most prominent obstacles to any revolutionary project. These are the pre any of the current schemes of regenerating ponderance of the Spanish party, whether Cuba, it may be well to look at her actual cuncomposed of old Spaniards, or Creoles; and dition. We have already seen what her unrithe existence of slavery.

valled advantages are in point of commercial The proscription of the Spaniards, both in situation, and that great advantage has been Mexico and Colombia, is fully as impolitic as taken of it for the welfare of the colony. It is that of the Moors was in old Spain, for in a natural inference that a change of political their hands nearly the whole capital, and, we relations could only be productive of evil, while may add, nearly the whole of the integrity of a quiet adherence to the parent state is decided. the country, were concentered. The loss of ly the wisest, safest, and best course to be pur. the countries that have acted so harshly and sued. unwisely, is irremediable to themselves, not Notwithstanding the persecutions in Spain, only in its immediate etfects, but also in ren there has long been a practical tolerance in po. dering them suspected of a readiness to extend litical matters in Cuba, such as may be deemtheir oppression whenever they may have the ed almost without parallel in any country. power. We know that an apprehension of this | The governors appear to have learned that perkind established the republican government in secution uniformly fails to produce the intendthe Spanish portion of St. Domingo. In 1821, | ed effect, whether in religion or politics; and a demagogue of the name of Nunez effected in as their existence, comfort, and independence the city of that name, a revolution in favour of in point of fortune, depend on the maintenance Colombia, and nominated himself president of of their authority, they have guarded the gethe new confederating state. But such was neral interests of the community while enthe dread of the Colombian government, enter gaged in the pursuit of their own, and have tained by most of the old Spaniards and white avoided all harsh measures; so that even the Creoles, that notwithstanding their natural expatriated constitutionalist, who fled from Euhorror of the alternative, they invited the rope with all the horrors of Ceuta staring him black government to take military possession in the face, may, if very moderately prudent, of, and to annex this beautiful portion of that take up his abode here in peace and quietness, splendid island to the new republic, which was and enjoy his property in perfect security. In accordingly done. The same feeling prevails truth, it may be considered the resting place in Cuba, and would undoubtedly raise a most for the unfortunate Spaniard. Similar causes formidable opposition to any similar schemes have operated even in the council of the Inamong the wealthiest and most influential dics, in producing a relaxation in all matters of members of the community,-an opposition financial arrangement. Were the exclusive that would be more effective, as the body of the system of old Spain to be restored, commerce people have few or no wrongs to complain of, would be ruined, the revenue reduced so much as we shall presently see.

as to be unequal to the payment of the funcThe abolition of slavery, as a necessary con. tionaries, and the colony sink into its former sequence of annexation to states which have condition of being literally a drag on the abolished that condition throughout their terri. mother country; instead of which we have altories, would obviously present a difficulty of ready seen, that a free trade has been followno ordinary kind. According to Humboldt, as led by results beyond the hopes of the most

sanguine theorist. We know that after meet- displayed by our navy, and the consequent ing all the ordinary and extraordinary disburse- | failure of many of the enterprises, reduced the ments, including the maintenance of very large number in the following year to fifteen, of military and naval forces, which have been suc which, up to the 1st of January, 1827, only cessively equipped since 1810, there has been five had returned in safety. In 1827, there a large surplus of revenue applicable to local seems to have been a revived activity, for by purposes, or to the more general objects of the report of the British Commissioners, it apSpain; and it is to be regretted that this fund pears, that no less than seven vessels sailed should have been applied by Ferdinand to his from the port of Havana alone, on slaving voy. European wants, instead of the establishment ages, in the month of September. of some beneficial institutions which were con. The grounds of complaint against the ae. templated in the island.

thorities in Cuba on this subject, are very disThus, as far as the enjoyment of practical tinct; and although, at one period, the ill sucliberty of opinion, freedom of action, and ex cess of the adventures disheartened the sordid emption from oppressive taxation, can render speculators, yet it does not appear, that the life valuable, the resident in Cuba may be con. views of the British government were ever sidered as peculiarly favoured: so much so, heartily seconded by the Spanish government, that he would be litile less than mad, were he or, at all events, by its insular representatives. to forego bis present positive enjoyments, for Vessels, notoriously slavers, sail from the Haothers of a more specious, but less practical vana without notice. If the British Commisdescription. The advantages now possessed sioners receive intimation, that a vessel of that are of too high an order to be rashly thrown description has entered the port, and repreaway, and we do not believe that they are sent the same to the governor, he refers the likely to be hazarded, but that Spain is likely matter to the admiral, who in his turn refers to retain her possession, both of Cuba and to some other officer, and in the end every Porto Rico, in spite of all the scheming of her thing is reported as having been perfectiy as enemies; thus realizing, in despite of herself, it ought to have been. This system of waiting the advice of the Conde d'Aranda, in 1783, to responsibility is very naturally complained of which we alluded in our last number. This by the British officers, and forms, in our opidistinguished diplomatist, it will be recollect- nion, a well grounded charge against the good ed, advised the establishment of tributary so faith of the cabinet of Madrid, or its officers; vereigns in Mexico, Peru and Terra Firma, | all the orders of that court are disregarded, and and the retention of Cuba and Porto Rico as there is too much reason to fear, that even the colonies. Had that advice been adopted, it is clergy are not honest in their exhortations more than probable, that we should never have The British Commissioners are quite explicit on had an opportunity of speculating on the va these grounds, and say without reservationrious contingencies that may emanate from Unfortunately, the information which we the successive revolutions that have been are enabled to communicate reaches us toe enacted on the vast continent of South Ame- late to be of much avail for the detection rica.

delinquents; for it is not until the suspected The blot in the colonial administration of vessel actually enters the port, after unloadiaz Cuba, which must be pointed out, equally with her cargo of slaves, that we are in possessiva the favourable topics, is unquestionably the of any ostensible fact upon which to found s continued traffic in slaves: there is too much representation !" and they add, (what was f. reason to fear that it meets with encourage terwards verified,)“ we are convinced that a ment, where it ought to receive very different cargo of slaves might be landed on the pab treatment. Humboldt adverts generally to the lic wharf, and marched through this city, at mischievous consequences of this most unhal the most public hours, without any one per lowed trade; but we derive our principal in son consenting, from disinterested motives to formation respecting it from the correspondbear the odium, and incur the personal danger ence of the British Commissioners at the Ha to which he would certainly be liable, ty vana with the Secretary of State, in which coming forward as a witness to the transmost important disclosures have been made. tion." From this source, we shall give what is neces The correspondence of those very active and sary to illustrate our subject, and point out intelligent officers, Mr. Kilbee and Mr. Macsome of the evils to the colony itself, arising leay, teems with statements of unavailing re from the continuance of a traffic, at once re monstrances; and it seems that their zeal bag pugnant to the general principles of morality operated unfavourably against them; for the and productive of the worst consequences to Spanish minister (Conde de Alcudia) actra those engaged in it.

preferred charges against them to the British The reports made by the gentlemen to whom Secretary of State, which however proved to we refer, (of whose zeal, integrity and exer be most ineffectual, and they had tho gratites tions, it is impossible to speak in too high tion of finding their zealous conduct falls ay praise,) are full of most damnatory matter on proved of by his Majesty; while the compa. the indirect protection afforded to the slave ant, to speak in the mildest terms, shuffled .. trade in Cuba. The eagerness with which it of his charges in no very equivocal way. The has been pursued and upheld has been most complaints of malversation, or at least, of com scandalously active. In 1825, it was known perately hard winking, continued to the chos that thirty-two vessels had sailed for the coast of 1827 of Africa, notoriously on slaving voyages; of As an instance of the means by which the these, fortunately, only fourteen are positively representations of the British members of the known to have returned in safety. The zeal | mixed commission were rendered nogatory *


« AnteriorContinuar »