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The foreign commerce of South America, exclusive of the Brazil, is estimated by Torres, at one hundred millions of dollars; and as in every prosperous independent country, this forms but a small proportion of the whole, the internal trade will in time surpass that of, any country on the globe.
The view of Spanish America which I have given in this introduction, may serve in some measure, in solving the question that so naturally presents itself, how Spain has been enabled to establish and maintain this wonderful empire, and why the South Americans have been apparently so tardy and unsuccessful in the accomplishment of their liberties?
Something is to be attributed to the situation of the first settlers and conquerors, who stood in need of the . countenance of some European nation; because they themselves held millions of men in a state of subjection. They had not ceased to be Spaniards; though removed from Spain, they carried with them Spanish opinions, customs, and prejudices. They willingly submitted to a yoke, which their descendants have found so galling; and who in the course of time, having forgotten the parent state, in many respects became identified in feeling with the aborigines of America. They were bound down and enchained, by the system which Spain had been enabled to establish. The dominion of Spain therefore rested partly on the high notions of loyalty transmitted by the first conquerors, but still more by the influence of a priesthood under the immediate control of the sovereign. Partly also, to the apathy prevailing in the mass of the population; to the ease and indolence of the inhabitants of the new world, to which their situation in
vited; and to the uninterrupted calm of ages, by which the human mind came to be deprived of its energy. One part of America could be turned against another; and from the vast extent of the Spanish possessions, and their separation by almost impassable boundaries, their was little likelihood of their making a common cause. Perhaps the most powerful auxiliary was the great number of European Spaniards, independently of those in office, distributed throughout the Indies. Another cause may be mentioned; which is, that they required the protection of Spain from foreign aggression; but they did not see that they were exposed to this, chiefly on account of their connexion with her, that whenever they have been molested, it has been on account of quarrels between Spain and some European power.
It is most truly observed by Mr. Rodney, that this state of things would long have continued but for events in this country and changes in Europe.” The failure of the revolution in Cạraccas in 1797, proves that the great body of the people were not then prepared for independence. They required the powerful excitement of some event, whose shock would produce an effect similar to that of galvanism to the apparently dead, in order to awaken in them political life; or as they express it themselves, to cause a regeneration. Such a one was presented in the captivity of Ferdinand, and the acts of that singular political drama, when the Spanish monarchy seemed to be threatened with dissolution. It was now seen that there was no want of susceptibility, and that all that was requisite in the first instance, was some event of transcendant interest. Their enthusiasm, even exceeded that of the Spaniards of Europe; one would have thought that the legions of Napoleon had planted their standards on their shores. They assembled—they spoke—they thought, and acted. Loyalty gave the impulse, and they flew to arms; but this loyalty was not agreeable to the Europeans, who were alarmed at this sudden transition from the calm of despotism, to the most terrific energy. Not so with the enlightened native Americans, in whose breasts the desire of independence, had long burned, and who conceived new hopes, from the political regeneration of their countrymen. All that was now wanting, was to give a direction to the torrent which had begun to flow; this was the work of genius and intelligence, aided by circumstances which carried with them the justification of necessity. To the cry of long live our king Ferdinand, it was not long before that of viva la patria succeeded; and South America became the theatre of one of the most bloody civil wars ever recorded by history. In some places it has been thought necessary by the Spaniards to put to death all the intelligent and intrepid, so that the revolution may have no leaders; in others, shocking to relate, the only remaining hope of regaining these countries, is by indiscriminate extermination of the inhabitants. Can any mind human or divine, wish success to such a cause?
VOYAGE FROM NORFOLK TO RIO JANEIRO-DESCRIPTION OF RIO
CORONATION-GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF BRAZIL.
The civil war which continues to rage between Spain and the different provinces of South America, had long attracted the attention of the people of the United States. Whatever our wishes might be, it became us to maintain a perfect neutrality between the contending parties. The ability manifested by the South Americans to maintain the contest, the im- . portant successes obtained by them, the declining state of the Spanish resources, and the probable termination of the contest, in the independence of South America, rendered it necessary that preparations should be made for the establishment of peace and amity with the new states, in case their struggle