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brute force, unsupported by the least shadow of opinion, or of good will."*
The trade carried on by foreign interlopers grew to such alarming proportions that before the middle of the eighteenth century Spain found it necessary to relax the restrictions upon the private trade of her own subjects. This led, about 1748, to the discontinuance of the annual fleets or galleon trade.
The political administration of the country was absolutely in the hands of Spaniards, who as a rule were not allowed to marry, acquire property, or form any permanent ties in America. In the summary of charges against Spain appearing in the Argentine Manifesto of 1817, one of the specifications is, that of one hundred and sixty viceroys who had governed in America, four natives of the country alone were numbered; and of six hundred and two captains-general, all but fourteen had been Spaniards.
The monopoly of Spanish trade in South America was partially surrendered by the treaty of Utrecht, signed in 1713, at the close of the War of the Spanish Succession. By this treaty England agreed to recognize Philip V as king of Spain and the Indies, and in turn was granted the assiento, or contract for supplying the Spanish colonies with African slaves.13 The importation of negroes into the Spanish possessions had been carried on under contract from the very first. The assiento, which had been previously granted to Spanish subjects, was, in 1696, granted to the Portuguese Company of Guinea, and in 1702 to the Royal
12 Hall's "Journal," Vol. I. pp. 253-254.
1 The Assiento; or Contract for Allowing to the Subjects of Great Britain the Liberty of Importing Negroes into the Spanish America." Printed by John Baskett, London, 1713.
Guinea Company of France; but in 1713 England secured this lucrative monopoly and became the great slave-trading power of the world.
The assiento of 1713, which was very carefully drawn up in 42 articles, granted to an English company the sole right of supplying slaves to the Spanish West Indies and to South America for the period of thirty years from May 1, 1713. By it the Queen of England undertook to see that the company chartered by her should introduce into the Spanish West Indies, including South America, 144,000 negroes of both sexes and all ages within thirty years, at the rate of 4,800 a year. The company was to pay a duty of 33% pieces of eight (dollars) for each negro imported. In addition to the 4,800 a year, other negroes might be imported at a duty of 16% dollars each, thus encouraging larger importations. The negroes could be brought in either Spanish or English vessels, manned with English or Spanish sailors, provided only no cause of offense be given to the Catholic religion. The majority of the negroes were to be taken to Cuba and Porto Rico, and to the ports on the Main; but of the 4,800, the company had the right to take 1,200 to Buenos Aires, 800 to be sold there and 400 to be carried to the provinces up the Plata and to the kingdom of Chile. They were also allowed to carry negroes across the isthmus from Porto Bello to Panama, and there re-ship them to Peru. Either Englishmen or Spaniards could be employed in the business, provided that there were not more than four or six Englishmen in any port, and that these should be amenable to the laws in all respects as Spanish subjects. By no means the least remarkable provision
of this treaty was that their British and Catholic majesties were each to receive one-fourth of the profits of this traffic.
Ships engaged in this trade were to be searched on arrival at port, and all merchandise found on board was to be confiscated and heavy penalties inflicted. On condition, however, that the company should not attempt any unlawful trade, his Catholic Majesty granted them the privilege, during thirty years, of sending annually a ship of 500 tons to the fair at Porto Bello. The Spanish king was to be concerned onefourth in the profits." It seems that the company stretched this privilege to the utmost. The ship always stopped at Jamaica, took on all the goods she could, and carried along with her five or six smaller vessels laden with goods. When she got near Porto Bello, all her provisions were put in the tenders and the goods these bore taken aboard. She then entered the harbor laden down to the water's edge. Thus this single ship was made to carry more than five or six of the largest galleons.15
Thirty years before the Spanish colonies began their war of independence, the British government had entertained the idea of revolutionizing and separating them from Spain. This idea seems to have arisen in 1779, during the administration of Lord North, when Spain joined France in the alliance with the American colonies against Great Britain. It was suggested at
14" The Assiento; or Contract for Allowing to the Subjects of Great Britain the Liberty of Importing Negroes into the Spanish America.” London, 1713 18 Ulloa, Voyage to South America." English translation, London, 1806, Vol. I, p. 105.
10" Letters and Despatches of Castlereagh," Vol. VII, p. 266 ff. This volume is rich in information in regard to England's Spanish-American policy.
first, no doubt, as a measure of retaliation, but was frequently agitated in later years with the avowed object of opening up South America to British commerce. The same idea was the basis of Miranda's scheme for the liberation of his native land.
Francisco de Miranda " (1754-1816), a native of Caracas, Venezuela, was the first Spanish-American patriot. He was with the American army for a time during the Revolutionary War, but in what capacity is not quite settled. It is stated by some writers that he held a commission under LaFayette. The success of our war inspired him with the hope of freeing his own country from Spanish control. He confided his views to his friends in the United States, particularly to Alexander Hamilton, "upon whom he fixed his eyes as a coadjutor in the great purpose of his life." Shortly after Miranda had returned to his native land✓ his schemes were discovered. He fled to the United States, and later to England, where he had repeated conferences with Pitt. Finding no help for his revolutionary schemes in England, he went to the continent and traveled through France, Germany, Turkey, and Russia. At the Russian court he was warmly received, but was soon dismissed at the demand of the Spanish minister. At news of the dispute between England and Spain about Nootka Sound in 1790, he hastened to England and communicated his scheme to the British ministry. Pitt lent a ready ear to his views as long as the dispute lasted, with the intention of making use of him in the event of a rupture with Spain. But when the dispute was peaceably settled,
1 W. S. Robertson, "Francisco de Miranda and the Revolutionizing of Spanish America (1909).
Miranda's hopes fell to the ground and he left England. His scheme was only temporarily abandoned, however. He considered himself to have been ill-used by Pitt on this occasion, as he subsequently stated to Rufus King, the American minister to England.
The French Revolution was now well under way, and the wars upon which the republic was entering offered an attractive field for a soldier of republican ideas. In April, 1792, Miranda went to Paris with introductions to Pétion and the leading Girondists, hoping that the revolutionary party might help him in his plans. He was given a commission as brigadiergeneral in the French army, and served in responsible posts under Dumouriez on the eastern frontier. He conducted the siege of Maestricht and commanded the left wing of the French army at the disastrous battle of Neerwinden, March, 1793, in which Belgium was reconquered by the Austrians. Dumouriez now declared against the Convention, but his troops having refused to follow him, he went over to the Austrians in company with the Duke of Chartres, Louis Philippe. Miranda fell under suspicion of treason and was forced to undergo a court-martial, but was acquitted. For some unexplained reason he was shortly after thrown into prison. He soon secured his release, but for several years disappears from public view. His services in behalf of the republic received in time due recognition. His name appears on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris in the list of the heroes of the Revolution.
In January, 1798. Miranda returned to England. As Spain was now the close ally of France, he hoped to secure the coöperation of Great Britain in his