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Spanish adventurers, they gave the name of Rio de La Plata, to the river in which it discharges itself. Considering the connexion which no doubt exists between the mountains of Brazil and those of Peru, it is somewhat strange, that this metal has not been met with in greater abundance. Brazil, however, possesses great quantities of iron ore, which is said to be equal to any in the world. To make a rough estimate, I. shonld say that the exports of the whole of Brazil, exceed twenty millions of dollars.
The amount of imports, I presume, is about equal to the exports. They consist chiefly in English manufactured goods of every kind; but the balance is considerably against Portugal, which for a century past has been thrown into the back ground by the advantages which the English have gained in the trade with the colonies. On the opening of the trade with Brazil, the market was immediately glutted, as well as injudiciously supplied with articles not suited to it. The losses experienced by the British merchants, was a subject of serious complaint, but was doubtless ultimately beneficial, from its tendency to increase the demand and consumption. The Brazils afford a 'growing market of vast importance to England. The trade of the United States with this country, is comparatively inconsiderable,* but will gradually increase. We already supply them with heavy articles of manufacture, such as household furniture, carriages, &c. to a considerable amount; but our principal articles of export to this country, are flour, salt provisions, tar,
* The following is the number of vessels which entered Bahia, in 1817. British vessels, sixty-nine; American, thirty; French, twelve; other foreigners, eight. Total one hundred and nineteen.
staves, and naral stores in general. · We possess many advantages for carrying on a kind of circuitous trade with this country, as well as with other parts of South America; first by disposing of our own produce in Europe, purchasing French and German goods, disposing of them in South America, and taking from thence dried beef to the West Indies, or hides and the produce of the south in general, to the United States or Europe. It is not uncommon for American vessels, after disposing of their cargoes at Río, to go down to Rio Grande, lay in a cargo of dried beef, carry it to Havana, and there dispose of it for articles suited to the American market. Of late years, it is not uncommon for the people of the northern statės, to engage in these trading voyages.
With respect to the government of Brazil, it of course retains the leading features of that established over the colony. At the head of each province there is a captain-general, from which circumstance they are sometimes called capitanias. . The camarcas have ouvidores, or judges, for civil affairs. The cities and towns, have camaras, or a senate elected annually; a sort of municipality to which the povasoas and al. deas, are subject for their local concerns; but for their military affairs, each camarca is divided into districts, and bas officers called captain-mohro. In civil mat. ters an appeal lies from the camara or senate, to the ouvidores, and from these to the supreme tribunals at Rio Janeiro, called cassa da souplicaçoes, when the subject matter involves an amount exceeding twelve thousand dollars. Each province has also an ouvidore for criminal matters, whose sentences must be confirmed by the relascoes, excepting in cases of mere
correctional punishment. It is not each province which has a court of relascoa, Rio Janeiro, Bahia, Minas, St. Paul, and Maranham, only, I believe, have these courts, which receive appeals from inferior tribunals of other provinces, according as their jurisdiction respectively are settled by law. The relascoa of Babia for instance, has jurisdiction over the province of Pernambuco. The revenues of the king are derived from the following sources, and considering the amount of the population, it is scarce surpassed by any other country. 1. A fifth upon all gold obtained in any part of Brazil, which amounts to seven or eight hundred thousand dollars, and the produce of the diamond mines about the same. 2. Duty, fifteen per cent. on all merchandise entered at the custom house. 3. A tax on exports. 4. The tythes which the king of Portugal became entitled to, in the same manner as the king of Spain; as also to the proceeds of the sale of indulgences, under the same grant from the pope. 5. A duty on merchandise entering the mining districts, payable to the different barriers or registers. Besides these, there are other taxes on spirituous liquors, on house rents, and paper money peculiar to the mine districts, which has been issued to the amount of an hundred thousand pounds.* The whole amount is probably be. tween five and six millions of dollars, which together with the surplus revenues of Portugal, scarcely suffices to defray the expenses of the government. The royal domains, like our public lands, will one day or other furnish sources of immense revenue. T'he government had long been sensible of the great error committed
* Paper money in the very manufactories of gold and silver, singular enough!
by the extensive grants of land to the nobility, or persons of distinction. These grants must throw great obstacles in the way of improvement of some of the most valuable districts. Should the king, however, pursue a different policy, and select certain tracts of country to be laid off in the same manner as the public lands in the United States, and to be sold to individuals on advantageous terms, it would not be long before he would reap the advantages of such a system.
T'he military force of Brazil, is composed of between twenty and thirty thousand regulars, distributed over an immense extent of country, and the militia not very well armed or disciplined. The regulars are composed of native Brazilians, Indians, and negroes, the two latter forming a considerable proportion. Where men are wanted for an emergency, or when it is necessary to fill up the ranks, impressment is resorted to from among the lower classes of people, in the same manner as the British impress their seamen. Their pay is trifling, and term of service in. definite. :
The navy consists of several ships of the line, eight or ten frigates, and a number of light vessels of war,
The emigrant from almost any country in Europe, in moderate circumstances, would better his fortune by removing to Brazil. But the American, educated in the ideas of a government so different from those wbich fit a man to live under a monarchy, would find himself exposed to many vexations. An American who has been accustomed to a liberty apparently without control, who knows not what it is to be eternally hedged with bayonets, or to meet at every step with the
display of military power, would find his situation ex. tremely irksome. The frowns of haughty lordlings, the abuses and oppressions practised by persons, dressed in a little brief authority," must either keep his mind continually disturbed, or break down his spirit. There are so many restraints on personal liberty, and so many naked swords to enforce them, that he feels a repugnance to take a single step, through fear of hay. ing his pride wounded by some insolent mercenary wretch, who thinks himself privileged to be a tyrant. Those who are minutely acquainted with the ways of the country, may possibly steer clear of the like mortifications, to which the stranger must inevitably be exposed. How different from this is our country, where the coersive power of the government is so studiously concealed, and where the laws and the force of public opinion, are infinitely more powerful than all the bayonets of despotism! The stranger who lands on our happy soil, carries within his own breast the guide of his actions a guide which will enable him with confidence to avoid giving offence, or incur displeasure, by following the golden rule, of doing unto others as he would that others should do unto him.” By simply following this rule, he may go wheresover he pleases, say what he pleases, do what he pleases, without fear of being arrested on malicious suspicions, or of having his property taken from him, by despotic avarice. .
This question has suggested itself to me, what difference would have been made in our character and condition, bad it been our fortune to have been placed in this country, instead of the one which we possess? Would the germs of liberty have taken root in this