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ported abroad to gratify the idle debauchery of a court, and reluctantly to benefit the unshackled industry of neighboring nations. This selfishness appeared in every thing; when the colonies could procure what was barely sufficient to exchange for the commodities which the crown permitted to be furnished them, by those of her subjects, or even the subjects of other nations, to whom she sold the privilege; all farther advancement was deemed unnecessary and therefore checked, lest they might cease to want those articles, mostly of the first necessity, which the crown was desirous of supplying. Agriculture in some districts was permitted to grow to a certain extent; manufactures were every where forbidden, and in some places only tolerated from necessity; commerce was placed under such restrictions, as to enable it merely to wither. This is the reason why countries which have been settled so many hundred years, are still so thinly inhabited. What would have been the condition of South America at this moment, if her growth had not been checked by bonds and chains? Horses, cattle, and sheep, in South America, have increased without number, but with too much truth it might be said,
Not indeed in his mental faculties, but in numbers; for the aggregate population in Spanish America, has notoriously decreased.
The portions of Spanish America that have been cursed, or blessed, just as one may choose to consider it, with mines, is not such as to circumscribe their pursuits. The inhabitants in general, might gain their living by the cultivation of the soil, and the preparation of articles of commerce. But unhappily, they are cultivators without a market; and have fallen back into the shepherd life, the second stage of civilization. To countries on which nature has showered her choicest gifts, it is not surprising that thousands of European Spaniards should be enticed, and it is natural to suppose, that population without some check would rapidly increase. To hold out encouragement to emigration was necessary; Spain, without fear of crippling her colonies, could impose such burthens as would at the same time, retard their progress and procure a present supply. These burthens were to be increased with the growth of the colonies. This might be practised with a foresight of the future strength of the colonies, and the fear of their revolt. Most probably it proceeded from her insatiate avarice.