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every part of the Indies, that even the direct rays of his influence scarcely shone so far; still less could they operate effectually by reflection. The viceroys, as a matter of course, assumed all the real power, and being, beyond competition, the highest colonial authorities, all the world imitated them. seen that, whether to increase their own importance, to fill It being their coffers, or to serve their friends, they invariably made it a rule to disregard all orders sent out from Spain, the whole train of government servants, down to the very lowest officer, took upon themselves, in like manner, to put that interpretation upon their instructions which suited their own particular purposes at the moment.-(p. 452.) In this cavalier style even the Audiencias, or courts of justice, disposed not only of the royal mandates, but of those emanating from the viceroy. The only difference appears to have consisted in the degree of politeness with which the disobedience was announced. When the order bore the sign-manual, a sort of Eastern etiquette was observedthe despatch being first pressed to the lips, and then raised over the head, was accompanied by these words :-(p. 445)
I obey, but shall certainly not execute, it being my intention to protest against these commands.'
Various minute regulations were laid down with respect to the nomination to vacant offices, which were as uniformly disreg arded, and each situation given to the person who was willing to pay best: the following anecdote shows the levity with which this sort of profligacy was treated ;
A suit came before the Audiencia, in which one of the parties well knew he had not the smallest title to success. He, therefore, cast about for the means of disposing the head of the government in his favour, and nothing, he found, could be easier than bribing the viceroy. When the day of trial came, instruct the judges, who accordingly gave their votes for the guilty care was taken to person, with the exception of one, who voted the other way, as his conscience was not so pliable. After the business was over, this judge waited upon the viceroy, to beg pardon for having presumed to differ from such high authority:-" But really the case," he said, very clear, he could not bring himself to be guilty of such flagrant injustice." The viceroy listened attentively, and after assuring him there was nothing in all this to interrupt the good understanding subsisting between them, begged, in a friendly way, to ask whether or not any one had sought to influence his vote by the offer of bribes? other admitted that some attempts had been made to corrupt him. The The viceroy, upon learning the particulars, highly commended such purity and disinterestedness; and presently leading him to another room, in the middle of which stood a large golden fountain heaped up with coins, caskets of gold-dust, and bags of doubloons, told the judge he was not
66 was so
in the least surprised that his integrity had stood fast, since it had been assailed only by such petty temptations as a gold snuff-box, and a few candlesticks.'-p. 454.
During the residence of Ulloa and Juan at Panama, they had an opportunity of personally witnessing the extraordinary manner in which justice was thus bought and sold.- Matters (say they) were here brought to such a pass, that the judges of the Audiencia, or chief court of justice, selected one of their number, a dexterous person, and gave him authority to negotiate with the contending parties as to what amount of bribes they were respectively disposed to give on the occasion. Nothing can be conceived more scandalous; for the decisions, pro and con, were thus fairly put up to auction, and knocked down to the highest bidder. The details of the business were settled in this way: the managing judge alluded to, first made a bargain with one of the parties, without, however, actually closing the cause; and having now ascertained the extent to which one suitor was inclined to go, proceeded to sound the other in like manner, all the while pretending to be personally interested in favour of the side he happened to be addressing-as a proof of which concern, he betrayed the confidence reposed in him by the other, urging strenuously the offer of a little more, that the voices of the other judges might be secured. When the bidding stopped, the court was assembled, and the decision, as à matter of course, given in favour of the person whose ultimatum had proved the most handsome.'-p. 464. The adroitness of this judicial auctioneer speedily recommended him to the notice of his superiors; he was promoted, in the course of three or four years afterwards, to a higher situation, and of course to more extensive opportunities of peculating.-p. 465.
In most of these anecdotes the men in office are, as might be supposed, the successful tricksters, it being the general custom to pay beforehand; yet sometimes they were outwitted. For example:
In the Audiencia of Quito an appeal cause came to be tried, in which the judges had already given their opinions so decidedly in favour of one party, that the other, who had no fortune, was driven to despair. In this extremity a device suggested itself, which he im mediately adopted, as a sort of forlorn hope. Being slightly acquainted with the niece of one of the judges, he waited upon the uncle, and said that his sole object in pursuing this cause being the satisfaction of dispossessing his rival of the property so unjustly obtained, he had determined, in the event of a favourable decision, to make over the estate in dispute, unconditionally, to the young lady, his lordship's relative. The worthy judge, who up to this moment had been deaf to all solicitations, now began to listen to reason; and having soon discovered the true merits of the case, hastened to impart a portion of this new light to his brethren on the bench (á desimpresionar á los demas). The cause was in consequence examined, re-examined, and at length
fully decided in favour of the party who had no sort of right to succeed. As soon as he was fairly in possession of the property by the final judgment of the court, he called once more on his friend, and said he came to beg pardon for breaking his word, but really his circumstances were in such confusion, they did not admit of his paying compliments to young ladies at the expense of funds were required for himself, and which were now his by legal title. The idle things he had promised, he avowed, were a mere manoeuvre to gain his point; assuredly he would, as in duty bound, be most happy, by-and-by, if the estate turned out profitably, to show his gratitude to the judge by some present; but, in the mean time, was extremely sorry to say he had no spare money.'-p. 466.
These anecdotes show the operation of the system, in the quarter where it is most mischievous that corruption should exist; but the same laxity appears to have extended to every department of the government. Our authors enter minutely Our authors enter minutely into many branches of the subject, and, with much good sense, always justify their opinions by incidents which occurred in their presence, or came to them unquestionably authenticated. Everything connected with the custom-house was in a strange state of disorganization—or, to speak more correctly, of organization-since the tarifs and other orders of the state were put aside, and a perfectly regular system of smuggling substituted. The whole of the chapter which treats of this system, called the Contrabanda,' is in the highest degree curious, as showing the irrepressible desire of man to possess the good things of this earth, when once he has become acquainted with their use. It is remarkable enough, however, that it never seems for a moment to have occurred to our liberal-minded authors, that the countries through which they were travelling, and where this forced trade was carried on to such an enormous extent, had any right to the benefits of legitimate commerce. They invariably consider this matter, solely as it may or may not affect the revenues of his Catholic Majesty's custom-house; and, without the least remorse, consider all parties who contravene its paramount interests as traitors to their country. The wants and wishes of the population they think nothing of; and instead of rejoicing, as one would imagine it difficult for generous minds like theirs not to do, on seeing the roads lined with droves of mules, transporting the produce of foreign countries to the interior, by whatever means introduced, they only sigh bitterly over the profusion of bales and boxes which could thus find their way into the very heart even of those districts where the prohibitory regulations were the most rigid. It is, indeed, very curious to think how such men, who must have known by experience that the traffic in question was every way beneficial to the 'abettors, buyers, and receivers,' should never have thought of suggesting some relaxation in those enor
mous duties and impolitic restrictions on lawful foreign intercourse, which they could not but see were the real causes of that extraordinary extent of contraband trade. But there is nothing more remarkable in the character of the old Spaniard, than this total absence of all feeling for the rights and wishes of his country's colonists it seems more a part of his nature than an acquired prejudice, for it extends to the most generous individuals. So deeply engrained indeed is this selfishness on the part of the Madre Patria, that we are convinced there are scarcely half-a-dozen Spaniards alive, to whose souls the thought of the free commercial intercourse now enjoyed by the South Americans is not more deeply saturated with gall and wormwood, than even that of the political degradation of being dragooned by foreign troops at home.
The next subject which comes to be discussed, is the conduct of the ecclesiastical establishments; and here we feel, with our authors, that the ground is a very delicate one; but, however disagreeable it may be, it is much too important to be passed over : for the influence exerted by the Church of Rome over the manners of South America seems to have been immense; and, indeed, it is more than questionable whether a state of society, so destitute of all right principle of cohesion, could have held together, for any length of time at least, had it not been for the example and support of so large a body of highly disciplined, wealthy, and unprincipled ecclesiastics, armed with the two-edged sword of civil and religious authority. It is not possible, we fear, by extracts, to give an adequate conception of this singular chapter; but we strongly recommend its perusal to any person who is curious to learn to what extent the profligacy of the Roman Catholic priesthood, in a perfectly unrestricted state, is capable of reaching. The following passage, near the commencement of the chapter, is pretty well for Spaniards, who, it must be recollected, are speaking, not of heretics nor aliens, but of their own church establishment, all the priests of which were their own countrymen :—
'The ecclesiastics of Peru consist of two sets, Seculars and Regulars, or Clergy and Monks; both of which lead such licentious and scandalous lives, that, although human nature is everywhere found to be weakand in Peru, perhaps, feebler than elsewhere-yet it would seem that even there the priests are determined not to be outdone, but strive to excel every other class of the community in the infamy of their habits (el sobresalir á todos los demas en las pervertidas costumbres de su desarreglada vida); as if incontinence and every other vice ought to be most prominent and effective, in those upon whom the obligations of moral restraint might be expected to be the most binding. Accordingly, the members of all the different religious orders, whose most sacred duty it
is to correct or prevent the backslidings of human frailty, are, on the contrary, the very worst sinners themselves; doing mischief, not only by the example which they set of every vicious indulgence, but by striving as much as they can to encourage similar wickedness in others.'
Of all the vices which fatten and flourish in Peru,' say our greatlyshocked authors, the most scandalous and extensive is that of concubinage. No class, or even individual person, is exempt from this crying sin. Europeans, Creoles, bachelors, married men, clergymen, and friars
-all alike. In short, though a little afraid of being accused of exaggeration, we make no exception to the rule, of which we shall bring forward some examples.'-p. 490.
Before leaving Cuenca for Quito, upon one occasion, we called at a convent, to take leave of some friars of our acquaintance. On reaching one of the priests' cells, we found there three remarkably pretty girls and one reverend father, while in a bed on one side lay our friend whom we came to visit, senseless in a fit. All the young women, but particularly one of them, were busily employed in fumigating the monk, and using other approved remedies, to bring him to life. On begging to know the cause of all this commotion, we were told, that the girl whom we might observe to be most active in her attentions to the sufferer, was neither more nor less than his mistress. The day before it appeared that this couple had quarrelled, and while the priest was still out of humour with his fair friend, she indiscreetly placed herself before him, when preaching in a neighbouring church. The unexpected sight of the damsel had such an effect in reviving his anger, that he cut short his sermon, fell back in the pulpit, and had not yet recovered the use of his faculties. During our stay, the other friar entertained us with a detailed account of the laborious nature of his various duties, and concluded by telling us, that the second of these young ladies lived under his protection, and the third be longed to the Superior of his order.'-p. 495.
It happened that a French gentleman of our party, having passed the evening at a fandango in the neighbourhood, fell into conversation with one of the ladies, and about midnight, when the dancing was over, offered his services to see her home. She cheerfully accepted his attentions, and, without any further remark, bent her steps straight to a convent of friars, and rapped at the gate. Her companion was quite thrown out and astounded, but waited to see the end of so strange a proceeding. In a few moments, the porter opened the door, and the lady stepping in, bade him good night, observing, that this was her house. The Frenchman's amazement may be easily conceived, for he had never before witnessed such an adventure; but, ere long, both he and all of us became suffi, ciently familiar with such things.'-p. 496.
An anecdote is given of an old priest who performed mass in a most patriarchal style, with his fifth mistress seated in the church at the head of a swarm of his children most of them her seniors, while another of his sons assisted at the altar. (p. 503).
At first sight it seems surprising that the bishops and other high authorities