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manity. But as his views extended far beyond those of Las Casas, he perceived that relieving the Indians from oppression was but one step towards rendering his possessions in the New, World a valuable acquisition, and would be of little avail, unless he could circumscribe the , power and usurpations of his own subjects there. The conquerors of America, however great their merit had been towards their country, were mostly persons of such mean birth, and of such abject rank in society, as gave no distinction in the eye of a monarch. The exorbitant wealth with which some of them returned, gave umbrage to an age not accustomed to see men in inferior condition elevated above their level, and rising to emulate or furpass the ancient nobility in fplendour. The territories which their leaders had appropriated to themselves were of such enormous extent, h) that if the country should ever be improved in. proportion to the fertility of the soil, they must grow too wealthy and too powerful for subjects. It appeared to Charles, that this abuse required a remedy no less than the other, and that the regulations concerning both must be enforced by a mode of government more vigorous than had yet been introduced into America.
New regulation for this purpose. With this view he framed a body of laws, containing many falutary appointments with h) See NOTE XV.
respect to the constitution and powers of the supreme council of the Indies; concerning the station and jurifdiction of the royal audiences in different parts of America; the administration of justice; tủe order of government, both ecclesiastical and civil. These were approved of by all ranks of men. But together with them were iflued the following regulations, which excited universal alarm, and occafioned the most violent conyulsions:,, That as the repartimientos or shares of land seized by several persons appeared to be excessive', the foyal audiences are empowered to reduce them to a moderate extent: that upon the death of any conqueror or planter, the lands and Indians granted to him shall not defcend to his widow or children, but return to the crown: that the Indians shall henceforth be exempted from personal service, and shall not be compelled to carry the baggage of travellers, to, labour in the mines, or to dive in the pearl fisheries : that the fated tribute due by them to their superior shall be ascertained, and they shall be paid as servants for any work they voluntarily perform: that all persons who are or have been in publick offices, ecclesiasticks of every denomination, hospitals and monafteries, shall be deprived of the lands and Indians allotted to them, and these be annexed to the crown: that every person in Peru, who had any criminal concern in the contests between Pizarro and Almagro, should forfeit his lands and Indians. “i)
His ministers remonftrate against them. All the Spanish ministers who had hitherto been entrusted with the direction of American affairs, and who were best acquainted with the state of the country, remonstrated against those regulations as ruinous to their infant colonies. They represented, that the number of Spaniards who had hitherto emigrated to the New World was so extremely small, that nothing could be expected from any effort of theirs towards improving the vast regions over which they were scattered; that the success of every scheme for this purpose must depend upon the ministry and service of the Indians, whose native indolence and aversion to labour, no prospect of benefit or promise of reward could surmount; that the moment the right of imposing a task, and exacting the performance of it, was taken from their masters, every work of industry must cease, and all the source from which wealth begun to pour in upon Spain must be stopt for ever. But Charles, tenacious at all times of his own opinions, and so much impressed at present with the view of the diforders which reigned in America, that he was
i) Herrera, dec, 7. lib. vi, s. 5. Fernandez Hist, lib. 1. C. 1. 2.
willing to hazard the application even of a dangerous remedy, persisted in his resolution of publishing the laws.
That they might be carried into execution with greater vigour and authority, he authorised Francisco Tello de Sandoval to repair to Mexico as Visitador or superintendent of that country, and to co-operate with Antonio 'de Mendoza, the viceroy, in enforcing them. He appointed Blasco Nugnez Vela to be governor of Peru, with the title of Viceroy; and in order to strengthen his administration, he established a court of royal audience in Lima , in which four lawyers of eminence were to preside as judges. k)
Effe&s of the regulation in New Spain. The viceroy and superintendent sailed at the same time; and an account of the laws which they were to enforce reached America before them. The entry of Sandoval into Mexico was viewed as the prelude of general ruin. The unlimited grant of liberty to the Indians affected every Spaniard in America without distinction, and there was hardly one who might not on some pretext be included
k) Zarate, lib. 3.c. 24. Gomara, c. 151. Vega , p. 11. lib.
iii. c. 20.
under the other regulations, and suffer by them. But the colony in New Spain had now been so long accustomed to the restraints of law and authority under the steady and prudent administration of Mendoza, that how much foever the spirit of the new statutes was detested and dreaded, no attempt was made to obstruct the publication of them by any act of violence unbecoming subjects. The magistrates and principal inhabitants, however, presented dutiful addresses to the viceroy and superintendent, representing the fatal consequences of enforcing them. Happily for them, Mendoza, by long residence in the country, was so thoroughly acquainted with its state, that he knew what was for its interest as well as what it could bear; and Sandoval, though new in office, displayed a degree of moderation seldom possessed by persons just entering upon the exercise of power. They engaged to suspend, for some time, the execution of what was offensive in the new laws, and not only consented that a deputation of citizens should be sent to Europe to lay before the emperor the apprehensions of his subjects in New Spain with respect to their tendency and effects, but they concurred with them in supporting their sentiments.. Charles, moved by the opinion of men whose abilities and integrity intitled them to decide concerning what fell immediately under their own view, granted such a