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THE

QUARTERLY REVIEW.

Art. I.–1. Noticias Secretas de América, sobre el Estado

Naval, Militar, y Politico de los Reyno del Perú, y Provincias de Quito, Costas de Nueva Granada y Chile : Gobierno y Regimen particular de los Pueblos de Indios : Cruel Oprésion y Éctorsiones de sus Corregidores y Curas : Abusos escandalosos introducidos entre estos Habitantes por los Misioneros : Causas de su Origen y Motivos de su Continuacion por el espacio de tres Siglos; Escritas fielmente segun las Instrucciones del Excelentisimo Señor Marques de la Ensenada, Primer Secretario de Estado, y presentadas en informe secreto á Su Majestad Catolica, El Señor Don Fernando VI.: por Don Jorge Juan, y Don Antonio de Ulloa, Tenientes Generales de la Real Armada, Miembros de la Real Sociedad de Londres, y de las Reales Academias de Paris, Berlin, y Estockolmo. Sacadas á luz para el verdadero conocimiento del gobierno de los Españoles en la America Meridional, por Don David Barry. Londres,

1826. 4to. 2. Coleccion de los Viages y Descubrimientos que hicieron por Mar

los Españoles desde fines del siglo XV. De Orden de su Majestad : Madrid, en la Imprenta Real: año de 1825. 2 tom.

4to, WE

E conceive we shall be doing our readers some service in

laying before them a tolerably full account of the extraordinary historical document, entitled · Noticias Secretas de América;' since the language in which it is written, and the inconvenient size of the volume, must, for the present at least, confine its circulation to a small portion of those by whom its contents would be most valued. *

Every one who has read Ulloa’s Voyage—and who is here that has not ?—will be glad to see another work from his pen -a work too, as we think, of far superior interest, as well as importance, in every point of view. It had long been suspected by literary men, that the authors of the voyage in question had, on their return to Spain, given in a confidential account of the South American administration, but that the ministry of the day had sup

We are happy to know that the same gentleman, to whose exertions, personal and pecuniary, we owe the present volume, is now preparing an English version of it. tp Ulloa wrote the narrative parts of the Voyage, and the whole of these Noticias. VOL. XXXV. NO. LXX.

pressed

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pressed it as discreditable to their country, and dangerous to the colonies. The Secret Report now before us appears, accordingly, to have lain in the archives of Madrid for more than half a century, till brought to light by the industry of Mr. Barry, who assures us he has printed it verbatim from the official manuscript.

The value of every book of travels depends essentially upon the character of the writer, and this is particularly the case where the work contains, besides matters of fact and mere narration, general reflections suggested on the spot, opinions springing out of incidents, which may not, perhaps, be described, or even alluded to. On this account, we think it of consequence to recal distinctly who the authors of this Report were, and what peculiar opportunities they enjoyed for observing the countries through which they travelled. About the year 1735, various scientific expeditions were undertaken for the purpose of measuring degrees of the meridian in different parts of the globe; and while Maupertuis and others went to the North, Bouguer, Godin, and Condamine employed themselves in Quito, and Ulloa and Juan, the authors of this work, were associated with them. Their geodesical operations were grievously interrupted by the political events of that period; for both the Spanish philosophers were called away from their scientific pursuits by the urgent requisitions of the local authorities in Peru, alarmed to the last degree by the descent of Lord Anson upon their coast. These interruptions, however, had the important effect of enabling them to see the country to much better purpose than they could otherwise have done. The energetic operations of our countrymen, in 1741, kept the whole shores of the Pacific in a state of agitation; and these two officers, apparently the only efficient public men in Spanish America, were hurried about from place 'to place, as the danger shifted its ground. They were everywhere intrusted with high powers; and, by their knowledge and decision of character, gained a great ascendancy over the minds of the inhabitants. By repeatedly crossing the country at all seasons, and under a great variety of circumstances, they had infinitely better opportunities of seeing the real state of affairs, than if they had merely gone round as Commissioners of Inquiry in a pompous, official style, professedly to investigate abuses, and report upon delinquencies. Their advantages in this respect are well described by themselves, when treating of the Indians.

“The persons who have been commissioned to inquire into these matters, heretofore, have done their business in a very superficial manner; some from want of adequate leisure, or the means in other respects,—too many turned aside from their object by the all-engrossing: occupation of making money. These causes did not influence us; the only gain we had in view was information, and the end of

end

all our investigations, the truth; and we assert with confidence, that we succeeded as completely as we could have wished. As our travelling party was always small, its appearance never alarmed the Indians, who soon learned that our real wish was to be cordial with them. We always treated them like rational beings, and as members of the same species with ourselves ; so that they soon gained confidence in our presence, and communicated their feelings and wishes without reserve. Our payments, also, we took care should always be made with exactness and punctuality, and this being quite unusual, naturally led them to describe the very different manner in which they had generally been treated by others. These, and many other advantages, we enjoyed for a space of more than nine years of almost continual moving about from one proyince to another; during which, we had ample opportunities of verifying by actual observation whatever had been reported to us before.'-p. 295.

It is quite evident, then, that these distinguished travellers come before us with very different pretensions from any others, of whose works we had, up to this time, been in possession. There is no other account of South America, with which we are acquainted, that is not more or less open to the suspicion of bias, or to that of having been written without adequate personal knowledge. Such a dark picture, indeed, was generally given in books, not Spanish, of the practices of the Spaniards, that the more reasonable part of European readers were inclined to set down a considerable portion of these shadows to the influence of national prejudice, commercial disappointment, especially the overflowings of passion caused by the imprisonments, confiscations, and banishments, to which all foreigners were liable, if they presumed to intrude upon the golden markets of the New World. From the slightest suspicion of such, or of any other undue influences, the writers of this work appear to stand entirely free. They were connected with no department of the colonial government; they were no desperate smugglers, engaged in the contraband trade of those coasts; they were no wily traders, stealing into the interior of the country at the imminent risk of their liberty and property; they held high official rank, without being mixed up in any local interests whatever ;they were, besides, men of honourable minds and virtuous habits possessing great intellectual powers and well versed in all the European knowledge of their day. It is difficult to imagine, that, employed as they were by the Spanish ministry to examine into, and report upon the state of South America, they could have any motive whatever to make things appear worse than they really were. They must have been aware that any unfavourable statements would be liable to a rigid examination—and would inevitably raise up a host of bitter enemies on both sides of the Atlantic : for any exposition of the abuses in South America, directly calculated to

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