obedience to them performed

Lima is the metropolitan, and the richest city of South America. Under
the Spanish regime it has been the residence of forty-three Viceroys,
counting from Don Francisco Pizarro to the present Don Jose de la Serna,
who abandoned the capital in 1821, when the patriot army entered. It
also enumerates nineteen archbishops, from Don Fray Geronimo de Loaisa,
who arrived in 1540, to Don Bartolome Maria de las Heras, who was
compelled by General San Martin to retire in 1821.

In the list of Viceroys we find four grandees of Spain, two titled
princes, one archbishop, one bishop, and three licentiates; the rest
were military officers, but none of them Americans. Among the
archbishops is Saint Thoribio de Mogroviejo, who was presented in 1578,
and in the exercise of his ecclesiastical duties was so unremitting,
that he visited his extensive diocese three times, and confirmed upwards
of a million of persons, one of whom was Saint Rose of Lima. He died in
1606, and was canonized by Benedict XIII. in 1727.

The Viceroyalty of Peru formerly extended from the south confines of
Mexico to those of Chile, including all the Spanish possessions in South
America, and what the Spaniards call meridional America. The Viceroyalty
of Santa Fe de Bogotá was separated from Peru, and established in 1718;
that of Buenos Ayres in 1777.

The titles of the Viceroy of Peru were His Excellency Don —-, Viceroy
and Captain-general of Peru, President of the Royal Audience,
Superintendent Subdelegate of the Royal Finances, Posts and
Temporalities, Director-general of the Mining Tribunal, Governor of
Callao, Royal Vice-patron, &c.

As Viceroy he was the immediate representative of the King, and
answerable to him alone as President of the Council of Indies, _Consejo
de Indias_: to which tribunal all complaints and appeals were directed,
as well as the residential reports. Petitions of every description were
presented directed or addressed to him, for the despatch of which he was
assisted by a legal adviser, called _asesor general_, whose written
report was generally confirmed by the sub-signature of the Viceroy, but
from these there was an appeal to the Royal Audience. It has been the
custom of the Viceroys to appoint an hour in the morning, and another in
the afternoon, for receiving personally from the hands of the
petitioners papers addressed to them; but the secretary’s office was
always open for such documents.

In his quality of Captain-general he was charged with all political
affairs, those relating to fortification, and the defence of the country
by land and sea, for which purpose the whole of the military and naval
departments were subject to his immediate orders; but in cases of
emergency he usually called a _junta de guerra_, council of war. All
courts martial were held by his orders, and their sentences required his
confirmation before they were put in execution, but if he chose he could
refer the whole to the revision of the _consejo de guerra permanente_,
in Spain.

In the capacity of President of the Royal Audience the Viceroy assisted
at the sittings whenever he pleased, and entered at any hour which he
thought proper during a session. When he proposed to assist in state, he
announced his intention, and a deputation of the judges attended him
from his palace to the hall; on his arrival at the door the porter
called aloud, the president! when all the attorneys, advocates and
others met and conducted him to his chair; the judges continued standing
until he was seated and nodded permission for them to resume their
seats. The session being finished, all the members of the audience,
regent, judges, _oidores_, and fiscal, accompanied him to the door of
his apartment in the palace, the regent walking on his left, and the
other members preceding him two and two. The presidency of the audience
was merely honorary, as the president had neither a deliberative nor a
consulting voice, but all sentences of the tribunal must have had his
signature, which may be called the _veto_, before they could be put in
execution. On the arrival of any new laws, royal ordinances, or
schedules, the Viceroy was summoned by the tribunal to the hall of
accords, _sala de acuerda_, where they were presented to him, and the
ceremony of obedience to them performed by his kissing the King’s
signature and then laying the paper on his head, which act was recorded
by the _escribano de camara_.

The Viceroy, as President of the Royal Audience made a private report
annually to the King, through the Council of Indies, of the public and
even of the private characters of the members of the tribunal. He could
also direct secret inquiries respecting any member whose conduct might
have excited suspicion.

All presidents of audiences, as well as the members, were forbidden to
marry within the boundaries of their jurisdiction without the express
permission of the King; they were likewise prohibited all commercial
concerns, possession of personal property, becoming godfathers to
infants, and even visiting any private family. The Marquis of Aviles,
Viceroy of Lima, was, before his appointment, married to a native of
Lima, but he was never known to visit any of her relatives; however,
Abascal, Marquis de la Concordia, judging it to be a prudent and
conciliatory measure to break through this restriction during the
unquiet times of his government, visited different families, and
attended at several public feasts, giving others in return.

At the expiration of five years, the term for which viceroys, governors,
&c. were appointed, and on the arrival of a successor, a commissioner,
generally a judge, was nominated by the King, to take what was termed
_la residencia_. Six months were allowed for all persons who considered
themselves aggrieved to lay before this commissioner a full statement of
their case, and at the termination of the six months the whole of the
papers which had been presented were forwarded to the Council of Indies
for the inspection of that tribunal.

As Superintendent Subdelegate merely placed the Viceroy above all the
tribunals, he had no other authority over them, except, indeed, the
nomination of the higher officers, who had afterwards to obtain a
confirmation from the King; or of confirming the lower officers
nominated by their superior ones. It may be considered an honorary
distinction, except that of royal financier, as such he presided
quarterly at the general passing of accounts and inspection of

As Royal Vice-patron all collated benefices required his confirmation.
The Archbishop proposed to him three individuals, and it generally
happened that the first on the list received the confirmation; but this
was optional in the Vice-patron, who could confirm any one of those whom
he chose. This prerogative was often the cause of serious disputes
between the Viceroy and the Archbishop. As Governor-general of Callao,
he visited its fortifications twice a year, for which he had an
additional sum of five hundred dollars for each visit. His whole salary
amounted to sixty-one thousand dollars.

The Royal Audience of Lima was established in 1541, and composed of a
President, Regent, eight Oidores or Members, two Fiscals, (one civil,
the other criminal) _Relatores_, Reporters, _Escribanos_, Scriveners or
Recorders, Porters, and an _Alguacil Mayor_, also two _Alcaldes de
Corte_. The official costume of the regent and members was a black under
dress with white laced cuffs over those of the coat, a black robe or
cloak with a cape about three quarters of a yard square, generally of
velvet, called the toga; and a collar or ruff having two corners in
front; this was black and covered with white lace or cambric: a small
trencher cap, carried in their hands, completed their costume. When
divested of their robes they bore a gold-headed cane or walking-stick
with large black silk tassels and cord, which was the insignia of a
magistrate, or of any one in command, and called the _baton_.

The sessions of the audience were held every day, excepting holidays,
from nine o’clock in the morning till twelve; and here all cases both
civil and criminal were tried, either by the whole of the members or by
committees, and there was no appeal, except in some few cases, to the
Consejo de Indias. The audience was a court of appeal from any other
authority, even from the ecclesiastical courts, by a _recurso de
fuersa_; but all its sentences required the signature of the Viceroy or
President; for the obtaining of which, an escribano de camara waited on
his excellency every day with all those papers that had received the
signatures of the audience and required to be signed by him. Papers
addressed to the audience were headed with _mui poderoso señor_, most
potent lord; and the title of the members in session was highness,
_altesa_, individually that of lordship, _senoria_.

The Cabildo of Lima had two _Alcaldes Ordinarios_, twelve _Regidores_, a
_Sindico Procurador_, a Secretary, an _Alguacil Mayor_ and a legal
Advisor called the _Asesor_. The Cabildo appointed out of its own
members a Justice of Police, _Jues de Policia_; a _Jues de Aguas_, who
decided in all questions respecting the water-works belonging to the
city and suburbs; also a _Fiel Egecutor_, for examining weights and
measures. The Royal Ensign, _Alferes Real_ was another member _de
oficio_, appointed by the King, who held in his possession the royal
standard, (the same that was brought by Pizarro) which was carried by
the alferes real, accompanied by the Viceroy, a deputation from the
audience, another from the Cabildo, including the two alcaldes, and
others from the different corporate bodies, in solemn procession
through some of the principal streets of the city, on the 8th of
January, being the anniversary of the foundation of Lima. The title of
alferes real was hereditary in the family of the Count of Monte Mar, y
Monte Blanco.

The Viceroy was President of the Cabildo. The alcaldes had cognizance in
all causes cognizable by governors; their sentences had the same force,
and were carried by appeal to the audience.

The forms of law in the Spanish tribunals were very complicated, tedious
and expensive. The escribano wrote down all declarations, accusations,
and confessions, and the courts decided on the merits of the case
according to what was read to them by the _relator_ from the writings
presented; the client, if in prison, not being admitted to hear his own
cause. The tribunals, or judges very reluctantly deprived a man of his
life, but they had no regard to his personal liberty; even a supposition
of criminality was sufficient to incarcerate an individual, perhaps for
years, during which he had not the power to prove himself innocent. From
the facility of imprisonment it was not considered a disgrace, and a
prisoner often received visits from his friends in a jail, which he
returned as a matter of politeness when liberated. I saw prisoners here
who had been incarcerated for twenty years, some for murder; their
causes were not then and probably never would be finished till death
stepped in.

The Viceroy visited all the prisons on the Friday before Easter, and two
days before Christmas, when he discharged some persons who were confined
for petty crimes. A surgeon and one of the _alcaldes_ visited the
prisons every day, which visits produced much good; the alcalde _de
corte_ examined their food two or three times a week, and attended to
any complaints respecting the internal arrangements made by the
_alcaide_, jailor.

Of the military, not only those who were in actual service, but the
militia, and persons who had held military rank, and had retired, were
tried by their particular laws, or court martials. This exemption was
called _fuero_, but its enjoyment was not equally extended. The private,
the corporal, and the serjeant might be tried, condemned and executed,
but the sentence of an officer required the confirmation of the
Captain-general, and in some cases the approbation of the King.

The Roman Catholic religion was established here in the same manner as
in all the Spanish dominions, all sectaries being excluded. The
inexorable tribunal for the protection of the former, and for the
persecution of the latter, held its sessions in Lima, and was one of the
three instituted in South America, the other two being at Mexico and

Much has been written at different times respecting this _Tribunal de la
Fe_, tribunal of faith, and much more has been said about it, in
opposition to the old Spanish adage, _de Rey e Inquisicion–chiton_, of
the King and the Inquisition–not a word. The primitive institution was
entirely confined to adjudge matters strictly heretical, but it soon
assumed cognizance of civil and political affairs, becoming at the same
time the stay of the altar, and the prop of the throne.

All the sessions of the Inquisition being inaccessible, and the persons
tried, consulted, or called in as evidence having been sworn to keep
secret every thing which they should hear, see, or say, has, in a great
measure, deprived the public of any knowledge respecting what transpired
in its mysterious proceedings.

This tribunal could condemn to fine, confiscation, banishment, or the
flames. Since its erection in 1570, not fewer than forty individuals
have been sentenced to the latter punishment, from which one hundred and
twenty have escaped by recantation. The last who suffered was a female
of the name of Castro, a native of Toledo, in Spain. She was burnt in
the year 1761. Formerly the portraits of those unfortunate individuals
who had been burnt were hung up, with the names annexed, in the passage
leading from the cathedral to the Sagrario, where also the names of
those who had recanted were exposed, having a large red cross on the
pannel, but no portrait. In the year 1812, as one of the results of the
promulgation of the constitution, this revolting exhibition was removed.

The tribunal was composed of three Inquisitors and two secretaries,
called of despatch and of secret, _del despacho y del secreto_;
_alguasiles_, or bailiffs, porters, brothers of punishment, being lay
brothers of the order of Dominicans, whose duty it was to attend when
requested, and to inflict corporal punishment on the unhappy victims of
persecution. There were also brothers of charity, of the Hospitallery
order of Saint Juan de Dios, to whom the care of the sick was confided;
and both were sworn not to divulge what they had done or seen. Besides
these, a great number of commissaries were appointed by the inquisitors,
in the principal towns within their jurisdiction, for the purpose of
furnishing them with information on every matter denounced; also of
forwarding accusations, processes, and persons accused, to the
tribunal. Qualifiers were elected, whose duty it was to spy out whatever
might appear to them offensive to religion, in books, prints or images;
they likewise reported to the tribunal their opinion of new
publications. These were wretches worse than slander, for not even the
secrets of the grave could escape them!

All books, before they were offered for sale, must have had a permit
from the Inquisition; and if they were contained in the published list
of prohibited works, the possessor was obliged to go to a _calificador_,
qualifier, and deliver them to him; and should a person have known that
another had such books in his possession, it was his duty to denounce
the individual, whose house, through this circumstance, was subject to a
visit from those holy men. When such books were found, the owner became
amenable to any punishment which these arbitrary priests might think
proper to inflict. The punishment was generally a fine, which was of the
greatest utility to the judges, because all the salaries were paid out
of fines and confiscations, and a stipend arising from a canonry in each
cathedral within their jurisdiction. It was often said by the people,
that some books were prohibited because they were bad; others were bad,
because they were prohibited.

The inquisitors were secular priests, and distinguished from the others
by wearing a pale blue silk cuff, buttoned over that of the coat. They
were addressed as lords spiritual, and when speaking, although
individually, used the plural pronoun _we_.

The inquisitorial power was never exercised over the Indians or negroes,
who were considered in the class of neophytes; but every other
individual, including the viceroy, archbishop, judges, prebends, &c. was
subject to its almost omnipotent authority.

Lima was the see of a bishop from 1539 to 1541, when it was created an
archbishopric by Paul IV., being a suffragan to the mitre of Seville
till the year 1571. It was afterwards erected into a metropolitan, and
has for suffragans the bishops of

Panamá erected in 1533
Cuzco ” 1534
Quito ” 1545
Santiago de Chile ” 1561
Conception de Chile ” 1564
Truxillo ” 1577
Guamanga ” 1611
Arequipa ” 1611
Cuenca ” 1786
Maynas ” 1806

The two bulls of Alexander VI. of 1493 and 1501 gave to Ferdinand and
Isabella the entire possession of those countries discovered, and that
might from time to time be discovered by them and their successors, in
America; and the pope, being _infallible_ in his decrees, these bulls
deprived the see of Rome of all direct influence in the Spanish
colonies, and gave to the Kings of Spain the right of repulsing any
jurisdiction which the popes might attempt to exercise there. Thus any
decree, mandate, bull, or commission from the pope required the sanction
of royal approbation before it was valid in this country; and even for
the prevention of what were termed reserved cases, the Kings took care
to obtain extensive privileges for the archbishops and bishops. All
briefs, bulls, dispensations, indulgences, and other pontifical acts
were sent from Rome to the King; and the Council of Indies had the
exclusive examination, admission or rejection of them, as they might
consider them advantageous or injurious to the royal prerogative in the

The right of patronage belonged exclusively to the King; he had the
presentation to all archbishoprics and bishoprics, and every other
office even to the lowest was filled by the royal will. The presentation
to vicarages, curacies, chaplainries, &c. was delegated to the Viceroy,
as Vice-patron; and if any dispute should arise respecting the due
exercise of this delegated authority, it was carried before the Council
of Indies, which was authorized to regulate any such controversies. This
entirely deprived the pope of all interfering power; indeed he enjoyed
no other right than that of granting bulls, briefs, &c. when they were
requested, and of deciding in cases of conscience, when they were
submitted to him by the Council of Indies.

All bishops and other beneficed priests rendered to the King, as patron,
the entire rent of their benefice for one year; it was called the
_annata_, and was paid in six annual instalments. The revenue of the
mitres was derived from the tithes; two ninths of which belonged to the
King, one fourth to the mitre and the remainder was applied to the other
ministers of the gospel, both of the choir and collated benefices. For
the security of the royal privileges, every bishop made oath, before he
took possession of his see, that he would respect the royal patronage,
and never oppose the exercise of its rights.

The archbishop had his ecclesiastical tribunal, and so had all bishops
in the Spanish colonies. It was composed of himself, as president, the
fiscal, and provisor vicar general. All ordinary sentences were given by
the provisor, the president’s signature being subjoined; but all
important cases were judged by the archbishop.

The jurisdiction of this tribunal embraced all causes spiritual, such
as orders, marriages, divorces, legitimations, pious legacies,
monastical portions or dowries, with the defence and preservation of the
immunities of the church, and contentious disputes between the members
of the church, as well as those preferred by laymen against priests. All
who had received holy orders enjoyed the _fuero ecclesiastico_, and all
criminal complaints against the clergy must be laid before the
ecclesiastical tribunal, but there was an appeal to the royal audience,
as has been mentioned, by a _recurso de fuersa_.

Suits instituted in an ecclesiastical court were equally as tedious and
expensive as those of a secular one.

Five provincial councils have been held here for the regulation of
church discipline. The two first were held in 1551 and 1567 by Don Fray
Geronimo de Loaisa, and the other three in 1582, 1591, and 1601, by
Saint Thoribio de Mogroviejo.

The provincial of each monastic order was the prelate, or head of the
order; he judged, in the first instance, of any misdemeanour committed
by the individuals wearing the habit; he also inflicted corporal as well
as spiritual punishments; besides ordering temporal privations, on
which account monasteries were not subject to the ordinary.

The chapter, or _cabildo ecclesiastico_, of Lima had a dean, a subdean,
a magisterial canon, a doctoral, a penitentiary and a treasurer; six
prebendaries, four canons, six demi-proporcionaries, _medio racioneros_,
and for the service of the choir four royal chaplains, two choral
chaplains, a master of ceremonies, besides chaunters, musicians,
_monacillos_, who served at the altar; porters, beadles, &c. The
prebendaries and canons were distinguished from other clergymen by
wearing white lace or cambric cuffs.

In the Spanish colonies the care of souls was confided to rectoral
curates, who officiated in parishes where the population was principally
Spanish or white creoles; they received a stipend out of the tithes, and
from their parishioners they were entitled to the firstlings,
_primicias_, which consisted of one bushel of grain of each description,
harvested by each separate individual, if the quantity harvested
exceeded seven bushels; but no more than one was exacted, however great
the quantity of grain might be. For animals and fruits they generally
compounded with their parishioners. They were also paid for baptisms,
marriages and funerals; besides which they had perquisites arising from
church feasts, masses, &c.

The doctrinal curates were those destined to towns or parishes the
population of which was composed chiefly of indians; they had fewer
perquisites, and received nothing for baptisms, marriages, or funerals,
but a sum established by the synod, which was very small. They had
however a stipend assigned them by the King, which they got from the
treasury: it seldom exceeded 500 dollars.

The missionaries enjoyed curial and apostolical privileges in their
villages, or reductions; they were of the order of Franciscans, who at
the extinction of the Jesuits filled all the missions vacated by this
death-blow to the advancement of Christianity among the unchristianized
tribes of indians in South America.

The election of curates took place about every four years, and was
called the _concurso_, at which time all those possessed of benefices,
and who wished to be removed, presented themselves; having first
obtained permission from the archbishop, and left another clergyman in
charge of their parish. The archbishop and four _examinadores_ examined
them in Latin and theological points, and either approved or reproved
them. If the former, an allegation of merits and services was presented,
without any expression of inclination to any particular parish, and
after all the examinations were ended the archbishop nominated three
individuals to each of the third class or richest livings. These
nominations were forwarded to the Vice-patron, who confirmed one of each
three, and presented him with the benefice, returning immediately the
two remaining ones. Out of these, other nominations were made for the
second class, and then sent for confirmation. The returns furnished
names for the first or lowest class. The archbishop could appoint, on
the death of a curate, any priest to fill the vacancy pro tempore
without the confirmation of the Vice-patron.

All persons who received holy orders must possess a sufficient _congrua_
to support them decently, if not, they were ordained by a title of
adscription, by which the archbishop could attach them to any curacy as
assistants or coadjutors.

No curate or priest could enjoy two livings or benefices, nor absent
himself under any pretence from the one he held without an express
permission from the vicar-general; none could appear as evidence in
cases where there was a possibility of the culprits being sentenced to
death, and they were expressly prohibited from interfering, either
directly or indirectly, as magistrates. It is certainly to be regretted,
that in all parts of the world, I mean the Christian world, the same
laws are not established; for what ought to be more dear to a shepherd
than his flock; but alas! many take charge of it for the sake of the
fleece, and for that only.

Some of the popes, imagining in their ardour of usurpation, that they
should increase the sanctity of the Church by elevating it above the
reach of the law, barred its doors against the civil magistracy, and
made it the refuge of outlaws; thus mistaking pity for piety, Christian
forgiveness for religious protection: hence the temple was opened to the
murderer, his hands still reeking with the blood of his fellow citizen,
and closed against the minister of justice, whose duty it was to avenge
the crime; as if God had established his church for the protection of
vices in this world, which he has threatened with eternal punishment in
the next.

Spain, either through fear or as the bigot of ancient customs, maintains
her asylums on the plan to which Charlemagne reduced them in France in
the eighth century. By the request of the King a bull was issued, dated
12th Sept. 1772, limiting the place of immunity throughout the Spanish
dominions to one church in each smaller town, and to two in large
cities; the Sagrario and San Larazo enjoyed this privilege in Lima.

The immunity of the church protected a man who had killed another by
chance or in his own defence; but if he had been guilty of murder, or
had maliciously wounded a person so as to cause his death, it delivered
him over to the civil authorities at their request. The commission of a
crime in the church or its dependencies precluded immunity, which was
also withheld from persons convicted of high treason, although they
might take refuge in a privileged church; from those suspected of
heresy; heretics; jews; forgers of royal or apostolic letters or
patents; the defrauders of any bank or public treasury; false coiners of
coin current in the country; violaters of churches, or destroyers of
church property; persons who escaped from prison, from the officers of
justice, from exile, public labours or the galleys; blasphemers;
sorcerers; the excommunicated; debtors and thieves.

Thus it appears, that immunity was available only in cases of
manslaughter; but if the person accused had been guilty of murder,
before it could be proved against him, he generally took care to make
his escape and elude the punishment. The same may be said of the greater
number of the instances to which immunity was denied; for few suffered,
like Joab, after having taken hold of the horns of the altar.

The other tribunals in Lima were _el Consulado_, or the Board of
Commerce, founded in 1613. It had a prior and two consuls, who decided
in all mercantile affairs; they had an _asesor_ or legal adviser,
secretary, notary and porters; the Tribunal of the Holy Crusade, founded
in 1574, for the promulgation of the pope’s bulls, and collection of
this part of the royal revenue; the Royal Treasury, established in 1607,
for the receipt of all treasure appertaining to the crown, and the
payment of all persons in the employ of the government; the Tribunal of
General Accompts; that of Temporalities, for recovering the value or
rents of the possessions and property of the ex Jesuits; and, lastly,
the Tribunal of the _Protomedicato_, for the examination of students in
medicine and surgery: it was composed of a president, a fiscal and two

The system of taxation in the Spanish colonies was as complicated as
their law suits in the courts of justice, and the ingenuity of the
theory practised in the exchequer can only be equalled by the
resignation of the people to the practice. The _alcavala_ was the most
ancient and most productive tax in the colonies; it was granted by the
Cortes to the King of Spain, in 1342, to defray the expenses of the war
against the Moors. At that time it was rated at five per cent., but in
the year 1366 it was increased to ten per cent. The order for the
collection of this tax in Peru was issued in 1591; it was first fixed
here at two per cent., and afterwards increased, according to the
exigences of the state, and the submission of the people, to six and a
half per cent.

This tax was levied on every sale and resale of moveable and immoveable
property; all merchandize, manufactured produce, animals, buildings, in
fine, all kinds of property were liable to this impost the moment they
were brought into the market, and all contracts specified its payment.
Retail dealers generally compounded according to their stock and
presumed sale, and were compelled to abide by the composition.

Those indians who became subject to the law of conquest, that is, all
whose forefathers did not voluntarily resign themselves to the Spanish
authorities, and solicit a curate, without causing any expense to be
incurred in their discovery or subjection, paid an annual tribute from
the age of eighteen to fifty. This tribute varied very much in different
provinces; some paying seven dollars and a half a year, others only two
and a half. An indian might redeem his tribute by advancing a certain
sum, proportionate to his age and the annual tribute. The tax was
collected by the _subdelegados_, governors of districts, who were
allowed six per cent. on the sum gathered, according to the tribute
roll, which was renewed every five years by a commissioner called the
_visitador_. This direct tax was more irksome to the people than any
other, and caused much general discontent, although those who paid it
enjoyed privileges more than equal to the impost.

All metals paid to the King a fifth, for the collection of which proper
officers and offices were established. Gold in its native state was
carried to the royal foundry, _casa real de fundicion_, where it was
reduced to ingots, each of which was assayed and marked, its quality and
weight being specified; after which the fifth was paid, and then it was
offered for sale. Silver was also taken in its pure state, called
_piña_, and it was contraband to sell it until it had been melted, and
each bar marked in the same manner as the gold. Base metals were subject
to a similar impost, but reduced to bars by the miners, who afterwards
paid the fifth.

Titles paid an annual fine of five hundred dollars each to the King,
unless the person in possession redeemed it by paying ten thousand
dollars. This tax, although unproductive in some parts, was worthy of
attention in Lima, where there were sixty-three titled personages,
marquises, counts and viscounts.

All judicial proceedings in the different courts of justice, civil,
criminal, military and ecclesiastical; all agreements, testimonies, and
public acts, were required to be on stamped paper, according to a royal
order dated in 1638. It was stamped in Spain, bearing the date of the
two years for which it was to serve, or was considered to be in force;
after which term it was of no use. The surplus, if any, was cut through
the stamp, and sold as waste paper, and the court took care to supply
another stock for the two succeeding years. If the court neglected to do
this, the old paper was restamped by order of the Viceroy, bearing a fac
simile of his signature. There were four sorts of this paper, or rather
paper of four prices. That on which deeds and titles were written, or
permissions and pardons granted, cost six dollars the sheet; that used
for contracts, wills, conveyances and other deeds drawn up before a
notary, one dollar and a half; that on which every thing concerning a
course of law before the Viceroy or Audience was conducted, half a
dollar; and for writings presented by soldiers, slaves, paupers and
indians, the fourth class was used, and cost the sixteenth of a dollar
each sheet. The first sheet of the class required in any memorial or
document, according to the foregoing rules, was of that price, but the
remainder, if more were wanted, might be of the fourth class or lowest
price, or even of common writing paper.

Tobacco was a royal monopoly, a price being fixed by the government on
the different qualities of this article, according to the province in
which it was grown; at such price the whole was paid for; after which it
was brought to Lima, where it was sold at an established rate at the
_estanco_, or general depôt. If any person either bought or sold tobacco
without a license, confiscation of the article and a heavy fine were the
result, and frequently the whole property of the offender became a
forfeit. On an average, the King purchased it at three reals, three
eighths of a dollar, per pound, and sold it again at two dollars; but
such was the number of officers employed to prevent smuggling, collect
the tobacco, and attend the estanco, that, on the whole, the revenue
suffered very considerably, although the profit was so great. Snuff was
not allowed to be manufactured in Peru; one kind called _polvillo_ was
brought from Seville, and rappee from the Havanna; but both were
included in the royal monopoly. To secure the tax imposed on tobacco, no
one could cultivate it without express permission from the Director;
and, on delivery, the planter was obliged to make oath as to the number
of plants which he had harvested; also that he had not reserved one leaf
for his own use, nor for any other purpose. This tyrannical monopoly
produced more hatred to the Spanish government than all the other
taxes. Not only every tobacco planter, but every consumer joined in
execrating so disagreeable an impost.

The _media anata_, or moiety of the yearly product of all places or
employments under government, was paid into the treasury, or rather
reserved out of the stipend when the payment was made by the treasury.
This moiety was deducted for the first year only, and if the individual
were promoted to a more lucrative situation, he again paid the surplus
of his appointment for one year.

_Aprovechamientos_, or profits, were, in seized goods, the excess of
their valuation over their sale, which excess was paid into the treasury
so that the King took the goods as they were appraised by _his
officers_, and appropriated to himself the profit of the public sale.

Composition and confirmation of lands were the produce arising from the
sale of lands belonging to the crown, and the duty paid by the purchaser
for the original title deeds.

The royal ninths, _novenos reales_, were the one ninth of all the tithes
collected: the amount was paid into the treasury. Tithes were
established in America by an edict of Charles V. dated the 5th of
October, 1501. They were at first applied wholly to the support of the
church; but in 1541 it was ordained that they should be divided into
four parts; one to be given to the bishop of the diocese, one to the
chapter, and out of the remainder two ninths should belong to the crown,
three for the foundation of churches and hospitals, and four ninths for
the support of curates and other officiating ecclesiastics. This
distribution was afterwards altered, and the seven ninths of the moiety
were applied to the latter purpose. The tithe on sugar, cocoa, coffee
and other agricultural productions which required an expensive process
before they were considered as articles of commerce paid only five per
cent.; but ten per cent. was rigorously exacted on all produce and
fruits which did not require such a process. Tobacco, being a royal
monopoly, paid no tithes.

All offices in the _cabildos_, excepting those of the two _alcaldes_;
those of notaries, _escribanos_, receivers and recorders of the
audience, paid a fine to the King on his appointment, in proportion to
the value of the office, but the incumbent was allowed to sell his
appointment, on certain conditions established by law, which conditions,
however, almost debarred any person from being a purchaser.

All property found was to be delivered to the solicitor of the treasury;
and if it remained one year unclaimed it was declared to belong to the
crown. All contraband or confiscated property paid to the King the
duties which would have been paid had the commodity been regularly
imported or exported; after which the value produced by sale, the
_aprovechamiento_ being deducted, was divided among the informer, the
captors, the intendant, the Council of Indies and the King. Fines
imposed as penalties in the different courts of justice belonged to the
crown, and were paid into the treasury. The property of any person dying
intestate appertained to the King. The revenue arising from commerce was
exacted under a great many heads, and was as complicated a system as the
rest of the Spanish proceedings, which appeared to be directed to the
employment of a number of officers and the diminution of finance.

The _almoxarifasgo_ was paid on whatever was either shipped or landed;
on entering any Spanish port five per cent. was paid, on going out, two
per cent.

The _corso_ was levied on entry as well as departure, being in both
cases two per cent. The duty called _armada_ was a tax established for
defraying the expenses incurred in the protection of vessels against
pirates; that of _corso_ against enemies in time of war; but although
the former might not exist, and the latter have ceased, the tax was
still levied, in contradiction to the old rule, that the effect ceases
with the cause. The armada was four per cent. on entry, and two on
departure. The duty of the consulate was received at the maritime custom
houses, and the product accounted for to the tribunal; it was one per
cent. on entry, and one on departure.

Besides the foregoing taxes, the tariff taxes were paid, the list of
which would be too long for insertion. In 1810 the Viceroy Abascal
issued a decree, by which British manufactured goods were permitted to
be brought across the Isthmus of Panama, and thence to Callao, on
condition of their paying a duty of thirty-seven and a half per cent.,
called _el derecho de cirquito_, circuit duty, in addition to all the
other taxes. A merchant in Lima assured me, that having remitted thirty
thousand dollars to Jamaica, to be employed in the purchase of cotton
goods, the expenses of freight, the porterage, and the duties together
amounted to forty-two thousand three hundred and seventy-five dollars by
the time the goods were warehoused in Lima.

Among the ecclesiastical contributions to the state were major and minor
vacancies, which were the rents of vacant bishoprics, prebendaries and
canonries; these rents were paid into the treasury until the new
dignitary was appointed, and took possession of his benefice.

The _mesada ecclesiastica_ was the amount of the first month, or the
twelfth part of the annual income of each rector after his presentation
to a new benefice. This was estimated by the solicitor of the treasury,
and religiously exacted.

The _media anata ecclesiastica_ was the proceeds of the first six months
which the dignitaries and canons of the chapters paid out of the income
of their benefices. Restitution was the money which penitents delivered
to their confessors, being the amount of what they believed they had
defrauded the crown, by smuggling, or other unlawful practices. The name
of the restitutionist was kept a profound secret; all that the confessor
had to do was, to deliver the money he might receive to the collector at
the treasury. This was giving to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s.

The greatest amount of revenue which the King received from the church
arose from the sale of bulls; and of these there was a great variety.
Jovellanos says, in his description of the pope’s bulls, “that they are
a periodical publication of the highest price, least value, meanest
type, and worst paper; all buy them, few read them, and none understand

The bulls were first granted by the popes as a kind of passport to
heaven to all those who died in the wars against infidels; they
contained most extraordinary dispensations, both with respect to
Christian duties in this world and to the punishment due to crimes in
the next; and although the crusades, and other wars that drove men to
heaven, or to some other place, at the point of the lance, or sword, had
ceased, yet the influence of the bulls in increasing the revenue was of
too great importance to the king for him to allow them to die with the
cause that gave them birth: their effects were too useful to be

According to the original terms of the bulls, no person could reap the
benefit unless he were actually serving in the war; afterwards he might
procure a substitute and remain secure at home; but now he can enjoy the
blessings of peace at a much cheaper rate. The bulls sold in South
America were, the general bull for the living, or of the holy crusade;
the bull of _lacticinios_, milk food; of _composicion_, accommodation;
and the bull for the dead.

The general bull for the living retained its virtue in the hands of its
possessor for two years, at which period it expired, but the benefit
might be renewed by purchasing another. The advantages derived from the
possession of this bull included generally all those of the other three
though not in so direct a manner; having this, no cases were reserved
for papal absolution; all kinds of vows might be released, excepting
those which would contribute more to the church by their fulfilment;
blasphemy was forgiven; any thing except flesh meat might be eaten on
fast days; and one day of fasting, one prayer repeated, or one good deed
done, was equal to fifteen times fifteen forties of fast days, prayers,
or good deeds done by the unlucky being who had not purchased this bull.
Nay more–the buying of two bulls conveyed to the purchaser a double
portion of privileges. The price of this precious paper varied according
to the rank of the sinful purchaser: a viceroy, captain-general of a
province, lieutenant-general of the army and their wives paid fifteen
dollars for each bull; archbishops, bishops, inquisitors, canons, dukes,
marquises, and all noblemen, also magistrates and many others, five
dollars each; every individual who was in possession of property to the
amount of 6000 dollars, paid one dollar and a half for his bull; and all
persons under this class enjoyed all the privileges conceded to the rich
and powerful, for two and a half reals, or five sixteenths, of a dollar

The bull of _lacticinios_, or milk food, was issued for the benefit of
the clergy, they not being allowed by the general bull to eat such
dainties on fast days; but as the result did not answer the expectations
of the crown the commissary-general recommended the laity to purchase it
for the prevention of conscientious scruples. Archbishops, bishops, and
conventual prelates paid six; canons, dignitaries and inquisitors, paid
three; rectors and curates one and a half, and all other secular priests
one dollar for each bull. A celebrated Spanish writer, speaking of this
bull, says, “the holy father has only allowed them these dainties when
they can be procured, another bull is wanting to eat them at all events,
but for this purpose the bull of _composicion_ may be made to answer.”

This bull of composition, or accommodation, is monstrous; for it gives
to the possessor of stolen property a quiet conscience and absolute
possession, on condition that he has stolen it evading the punishment
applicable by law; that he knows not the person whom he has robbed or
defrauded, and that the knowledge of this accommodating bull did not
induce him to commit the theft. Thus this papal pardon by accommodation
or agreement insures to a lawless villain a quiet possession of
property, the means of acquiring which ought to have been rewarded by
the hangman! The possessor of the unlawfully acquired property fixed a
value on it, and purchased bulls to the amount of six per cent. on the
principal. Only fifty bulls could be purchased in one year by one
individual, but if he required more, he applied to the
commissary-general, whose indulgence might be purchased.

The bull for the dead was a kind of safe conduct to paradise–the
masonic sign to Saint Peter for admission there, or a discharge from
purgatory, if the soul of the deceased had reached this place before the
bull was purchased, or if by some mishap the name of the individual had
not been written on it, or had been wrongly spelled. How unfortunate
must those pious Christians have been who lived, or rather who died at a
great distance from the bull vender, or who had not the means of
purchasing this pontifical passport; for every person must have one, the
article not being transferable, because this would injure the market;
but any person was allowed to purchase more than one and at any period
after the death of the person he wished to befriend, as its powerful
influence might be extended to the general benefit and alleviation of
souls in purgatory. Thus it is that piety when accompanied with money
has wonderful powers! All persons included among the first class of
purchasers of the general bull paid six eighths of a dollar, six reals,
for one for the dead, if he belonged to this class, but if he were of
the fourth it only cost two reals, two eighths of a dollar.

I shall not pretend to give an estimate of the sum produced by the
taxes, the jealousy of the Spaniards towards a foreigner being so great
that it would have been dangerous for me even to have inquired. The two
following items I obtained by chance:


The Custom House of Lima received in 1805 1592837-2½
Ditto in 1810 1640324-4
Produce of bulls in the Commissary’s }
office for the Viceroyalty of Peru } in 1805 91021
Ditto in 1810 97340-2