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talent and energy to any one who has held the place since Tacon, but far from sharing the liberal and philanthropic views of some of his predecessors, seems rather disposed to imitate the violence and recklessness of that functionary. He is understood to have restored, immediately on his arrival, the system of connivance at the slave trade, and in his proceedings for the suppression of the late conspiracy, has exhibited, in some cases at least, with which we happen to be acquainted, a most unjustifiable disregard for the common principles of humanity and justice. Since the suppression of the conspiracy, he is said to have employed himself with great spirit in the accomplishment of several plans for the improvement of the colony, and, particularly, that of introducing white laborers from abroad. In the meantime, the British government, which regularly assumes a sort of protectorate over the local authorities on this island, has solicited his recall, and it remains to be seen how long he will be able to sustain himself at Madrid, against this powerful foreign influence. In an arbitrary system of government, much depends upon the personal character of the despot, and the appointment of another Aranjo or Las Casas to the place of Captain-General, would put a new face upon the administration : but, after all, a real and permanent remedy for existing evils, can be found only in a total change of the present system.
The government of Cuba is, in fact,-as we have already had occasion to remark,-a naked, unsophisticated military despotism. This system appears the more unnatural, from the contrast which it presents with the liberal forms now established in the mother country. It can be sustained only by keeping up, in connexion with it, a large military establishment, and the whole apparatus of passports, police officers and state prisons, that forms so inviting a feature in the political machinery of the old world. The free expression of opinion through the press,—which, whatever may be its inconveniences,-is, in all civilized countries, one of the necessities of the present age,-must be prevented. The citizens most distinguished for spirit and energy,--for it is hardly possible that men of this character should not make themselves in some way obnoxious to the jealousy of the despot,—are imprisoned or sent into exile. Projects of improvement are discouraged, as tending to innovation, and, finally, revolution. In a new country, which holds out the # widest field for enterprize and activity,—where every blow that is struck tells,-industry is compelled to creep about on all fours, with every limb shackled, and can hardly venture to take a step without soliciting the permission of a grasping protector, who, in most cases, must be paid largely in advance. It is not in this way that the vast territories of our country are subjected, as if by a sort of enchantment, to the empire of civilization, and erected successively into flourishing and powerful States : nor, while this system is maintained, will any bounties on the introduction of white laborers turn the lide of European emigration into this direction.
Independently of the check to enterprize, and the great personal insecurity and inconvenience, that result from this system, the immense expense which it involves, and which niust be covered by imposing intolerable burdens upon industry, would alone render it ruinous to the prosperity of the island. Incredible as it may seem, the revenue annually collected from the inhabitants of Cuba, -not including two or three millions, which do not pass through the public treasury,--exceeds the enormous sum of twenty millions dollars, hard money. This, for the purpose of comparison with the amount collected in countries blessed with a paper currency, may be considered as equivalent to thirty or forty. Estimating the white population at about half a million, the average tax upon each individual is actually forty dollars, and, for the purpose of comparison with the United States, eighty dollars for every man, woman and child in the community. This is equivalent to an average of from three to four hundred dollars upon every family,-assuming, on the usual estimate, that each family consists, on an average, of five persons. Now, the sum of three or four hundred dollars represents the whole average earnings of a family in the most productive communities on the globe. The United States certainly belong to this class, and with us the whole annual product of the labor of the country, is commonly estimated at about fifteen hundred millions, which, divided among four millions families, gives for each about three hundred and seventy dollars. The same system of taxation now enforced in Cuba, applied to the United States, would bring out a revenue of FIFTEEN HUNDRED MILLIONS DOLLARS !!! If, to simplify the calculation, or for any other reason, we leave entirely out of view the difference between hard and paper money, we shall still have, as the result of the Cuba system of taxation, applied to the United States, the enormous sum of EIGHT HUNDRED MILLIONS DOLLARS !
The estimated product of the duties imposed upon the British colonies, now forming the United States, by the stamp act, which may be regarded as having been the immediate cause of the revolution, was a hundred thousand pounds sterling, or about half a million of dollars; and the ministry, while the matter was in agitation, made an offer to the agents of the colonies at London, to relinquish the plan, if they would point out any other way in which this sum could be furnished from America. Half a million of dollars, apportioned among the seven hundred thousand families then composing the colonies, give about seventy-five cents for each family. This was the tax which dismembered the British empire. What would our forefathers have said, if they had been called upon to pay taxes to the mother country at the rate of two hundred dollars for every family, which, on a mere hard money calculation, is the amount now exacted, and paid in bona fide golden doubloons, in Cuba ?
We may remark here, en passant, the singularity of some calculations, introduced by Madame Merlin, in connexion with this subject, in regard to the productiveness of labor in different countries. It appears, according to her, from the “Reports of statistical writers," that a laborer (producteur) creates annually by his industry and commerce, (son industrie et son commerce,) a value equivalent in England to fifty dollars, in Mexico to four, in the United States to twentyseven, in France to thirty-two, and in Cuba to a hundred and twenty. The superior productiveness of labor in Cuba is attributed to the extreme fertility of the soil. No details are given respecting the reports upon which these calculations are founded. Their extraordinary inaccuracy is apparent upon the slightest examination. The lowest wages paid to laborers in England are eight shillings sterling per week,-little more than a shilling per day ; but even this pittance amounts to twenty pounds, or about a hundred dollars a year. In the United States, the average annual reward of the labor of a working-man is, as we have seen, about three hundred and fifty dollars. The laborers on a sugar estate in Mexico, are paid from two and a half to three reals (304 to 371 cents) per day, which, at a medium esti mate of a third of a dollar, gives an annual product of more than a hundred dollars, instead of the four ! supposed by Madame Merlin. With the same curious infelicity, which attends almost all her arithmetical statements,-after having given, in another part of the work, from official data, a correct estimate of the annual revenue of the island, at rather more than twenty millions dollars,—she states it, in connexs ion with the passage we have been considering, at ninety millions. This sum, which is given in cyphers, may, perhaps, be charitably received as an error of the press for twenty; and we regret that we are unable to account so easily for the other mistakes, of a similar kind, that occur so frequently in the pages of this elegant but exceedingly inaccurate writer.
No such extent of taxation, as is now enforced in Cuba, was ever known or heard of before in any part of the world; and no community, relying solely on the products of its own labor, could possibly exist under it. It is only by adding to the results of their own labor those of the labor of another population of equal extent, compensated by a bare subsistence, which, in this luxurious climate, costs almost nothing, that the whites are able to exist, and even to exhibit the appearance of wealth and prosperity. If the immense sums collected by the government were expended upon useful and important objects, some indirect advantage would result from a system, which nothing could justify. Unfortunately, this is so far from being the case, that out of the overflowing and exuberant fullness of the treasury, a comparatively very limited amount is appropriated to improvements of any kind, while most of the objects, that are considered as of paramount importance in every civilized community, are entirely neglected. A good deal has been done, from time to time,-as has been already said, -for the material improvement of the capital, - partly under the impulse of the better policy which has occasionally prevailed in the councils of the island, and partly for the immediate accommodation of the authorities themselves. So far as it goes, this is well. It is well that the city should be paved and lighted : it is well that there should be sufficient prisons, market-houses, theatres, public walks and military roads, for the use of the government and people of the Havana : but it is not quite so well, that, with all this enormous wealth, there should not be a good road, and hardly a good school, in the island. Of the immense sums collected from the people, one-half goes to defray the expenses o the military and civil establishments, and the other is remitted to Spain, where it forms 'a very important item in the “ways and means” of providing for the annual: expenses. One year's income, appropriated to roads and schools, would put a new face upon the island, and give a new character to its inhabitants.
The political relations of Cuba to the mother country, and other powers, upon which we must add a few words in conclusion, although a part of what we might have said under this head has been necessarily anticipated under the preceding one,-are far from being so agreeable a subject of contemplation, as the climate, soil and vegetable productions. On reviewing the condition of the island before and since the opening of the ports, it would seem as if this, the great event, as we have said, in its recent history, was mainly a fortunate accident, attributable to the personal character and influence of Aranjo. Something, however, must be allowed for the liberal spirit which prevailed at this time in the councils of the mother country and the other great European powers. The overwhelming preponderance of the territorial and military influence of Napoleon, had completely broken down all the existing establishments, and made it necessary for the governments to fall back upon the body of the people, as a sort of reserve. For the purpose of doing this with effect, they professed themselves, and encouraged in others, popular and liberal views on all political subjects. In Spain, particularly, the insurrection against the French was effected in the name of independence, liberty and the rights of nations. The circumstances of the time naturally generated a corresponding sentiment in all who took a part in the public affairs. The tone that prevailed in the Cortes which assembled at Cadiz, and afterwards formed the constitution of 1812, was decidedly democratic. It was about this period that the opening of the ports took place, in the first instance, without any formal authority from the mother country. In the year 1808, when the French had possession of Spain, and all communication with the colonies ras, for the time, suspended, Aranjo suggested, at a meeting of the principal merchants of the Havana, held under the authority of the Captain-General, that the ports should be temporarily opened, as they had occasionally been at other times, when the commerce with Spain was interrupted. The proposition was seconded by Don Claudio Martinez de Pinillos, now the Count de Villa-Nueva, then employed in some inferior place