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ticulars with respect to the interior state of the Spanish colonies, and the various schemes formed for their improvement. As this collection of Memorials formerly belonged to the Colbert Library, I have quoted them by that title.

All those books and manuscripts I have consulted with that attention which the respect due from an Author to the Public required; and by minute references to them, I have endeavoured to authenticate whatever I relate. The longer I reflect on the nature of historical composition, the more I am convinced that this scrupulous accuracy is necessary. The historian who records the events of his own time, is credited in proportion to the opinion which the Public entertains with respect to his means of information and his veracity. He who delineates the transactions of a remote period, has no title to claim assent, unless he produces evidence in proof of his assertions. Without this he may write an amusing tale, but cannot be said to have composed an authentic history. In those sentiments I have been confirmed by the opinion of an Author,* whom his industry, erudition, and discernment, have deservedly placed in a high rank among the most eminent historians of the age. Imboldened by a hint from him, I have published a catalogue of the Spanish books which I have consulted. This practice was frequent in the last century, and was considered as an evidence of laudable industry in an author; in the present, it may, perhaps, be deemed the effect of ostentation; but, as many of these books are unknown in Great Britain, I could not otherwise have referred to them as authorities, without encumbering the page with an insertion of their full titles. To any person who may choose to follow me in this path of inquiry, the catalogue must be very

useful. My readers will observe, that in mentioning sums of money, I have uniformly followed the Spanish method of computing by pesos. In America, the peso fuerte, or duro, is the only one known; and that is always meant when any sum imported from America is mentioned. The peso fuerte, as well as other coins, has varied in its numerary value; but I have been advised, without attending to such minute variations, to consider it as equal to four shillings and six-pence of our money. It is to be remembered, however, that, in the sixteenth century, the effective value of a peso, i, e. the quantity of labour which it represented, or of goods which it would purchase, was five or six times as much as at present.

N. B. Since this edition was put into the press, a History of Mexico, in two volumes in quarto, translated from the Italian of the Abbé D. Francesco Saverio Clavigero, has been published. From a person who is a native of New Spain, who has resided forty years in that country, and who is acquainted with the Mexican language, it was natural to expect much new information. Upon perusing his work, however, I find that it contains hardly any addition to the ancient History of the Mexican empire, as related by Acosta and Herrera, but what is derived from the improbable narratives and fanciful conjectures of Torquemada and Boturini. Having copied their splendid descriptions of the high state of civilization in the Mexican empire, M. Clavigero, in the abundance of his zeal for the honour of his native country, charges me with having mistaken some points, and with having misrepresented others, in the history of it. When an author is conscious of having exerted industry in research, and impartiality in decision, he may, without presumption, claim what praise is due to these qualities, and he cannot be insensible to any accusation that tends to weaken the force of his claim. A feeling of this kind has induced me to examine such strictures of M. Clavigero on my history of America as merited any attention, especially as these are made by one who seemed to possess the means of obtaining accurate information; and to show that the greater part of them is destitute of any just foundation. This I have done in notes upon the passages in my History which gave rise to his criticisms.

College of Edinburgh, March 1, 1788

• My Gibbon



-New war with the Indians

Cruelty of the Spaniards—Fatal

regulations concerning the con-

dition of tho Indians-Diminu.

tion of that people-Discoveries

and settlements—First colony

planted on the Continent-Con-

quest of Cuba-Discovery of

Florida-of the South Sea

Great expectations raised by

this-Causes of disappointment

with respect to these for some

time-Controversy concerning

the treatment of the Indians-

Contrary decisions—Zeal of the

ecclesiastics, particularly of Las

Casas-Singular proceedings of

Ximenes-Negroes imported in-

to America—Las Casas' idea of

a new colony-permitted to at-

tempt it—unsuccessful-Disco-

veries towards the West-Yu-

catan-Campeachy-New Spain

-preparations for invading it . 02


View of America wher first dis.

covered, and of the 'manners
and policy of its most unciril-
ized inhabitants-Vast extent
of America-grandeur of the
objects it presents to view-its
mountains-rivers-- lakes its
form favourable to commerce-
temperature-predominance of
cold causes of this-unculti-




vated-unwholesome-its ani- warlike spirit-View of other

mals—soil--Inquiry how Ameri- dominions of Spain in America

ca was peopled-various theo-

-Cinaloa and Sonora-Califor.

ries—what appears most proba- nia-Yucatan and Honduras-

ble-Condition and character of Chili–Tucuman-Kingdom of

the Americans-All, the Mexi- Tierra Firmé-New Kingdom of

cans and Peruvians excepted, in Granada


the state of savages-Inquiry


confined to the uncivilized tribes

-Difficulty of obtaining infor- View of the interior government,

mation—various causes of this commerce, &c. of the Spanish

-Method observed in the in-

colonies--Depopulation of Ame-

quiry-I. The bodily constitu. rica-first effects of their settle-

tion of the Americans considered ments-not the consequence of

-II. The qualities of their ininds any system of policy--nor to be

- III. Their domestic state—IV. imputed to religion-Number of

Their political state and institu- Indians still remaining-Funda-
tions-V. Their system of war

mental maxims on which the
and public security-VI. The Spanish system of colonization
arts with which they were ac-

is founded-Condition of differ-
quainted—VII. Their religious ent orders of men in their colo-
ideas and institutions - VII. nies--Chapetones--Creoles--Ne.
Such singular and detached cus- groes - Indians— Ecclesiastical
toms as are not reducible to any state and policy-Character of
of the former heads-IX. Gene. secular and regular clergy-Small
ral revicw and estimate of their progress of Christianity among
virtues and defects

122 ihe natives-Mines, chicf object

of their attention-Mode of

working these--their produce-
History of the conquest of New Effects of encouraging this spe-
Spain by Cortes

197 cies of industry-Other com-

modities of Spanish America,

First effects of this new com-
History of the conquest of Peru merce with America on Spain-

by Pizarro—and of the dissen- Why the Spanish colonies have
sions and civil wars of the Spa-

not been as beneficial to the pa-
niards in that country-Origin,

rent state as those of other na-
progress, and effects of these 261 tions— Errors in the Spanish

system of regulating this com-

merce-confined to one port-

View of the institutions and man. carried on by annual fleets-

ners of the Mexicans and Pe-

Contraband trade-Decline of

ruvians-Civilized states in com-

Spain both in population and

parison of other Americans-

wealth-Remedies proposed

Recent origin of the Mexicans View of the wise regulations of

-Facts which prove their pro- the Bourbon princes-A new and

gress in civilization-Vice of their more liberal system introduced

policy in its various branches- -beneficial effects of this-pro-

of their arts-Facts which indi- bable consequences—Trade be-

cate a small progress in civiliza. tween New Spain and the Phi-

tion-What opinion should be lippines--Revenue of Spain from

formed on comparing those con-

America-whence it arises-to

tradictory facts-Genius of their what it amounts


religion-Peruvian monarchy


more ancient-its policy founded

on religion-Singular effects of History of Virginia to the year 1688, 389

this-Peculiar state of property


among the Peruvians-Their

public works and arts-roads- History of New England to the

bridges—buildings-- Their un-

year 1652.


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Collecao dos Brives Pontificos e

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