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CHA P. neutrality for their islands. The intercourse between the
sexes, before marriage, is much restrained. Hence their
love is romantic, and their matches are disinterested. Yet Marriages. they form more unhappy ones than in countries where the
parties are better acquainted, previous to their union.
Their ideas of religion are so narrow, that it is extremely Religion. uncomfortable for any but catholics to live among them,
except in Tenerife, where there are indeed a few protestant merchants; but the trade with protestant countries is chiefly carried on by Irish merchants of the catholic commu
nion. The bishop resides in Gran Canaria, and has an anInquifition. nual income of about £6000 sterling. In each island is an of
fice of the inquisition who, till very lately, exercised their power, and sometimes very much abused it, independently on the civil magistrates.
265. The most prevalent diseases are the spotted fever, the palsy, and the flatos, a windy disorder, affecting the ftomach, bowels and head. There are also a few lepers. All the Canarians are very much subject to the itch: "The cause of which,” says Mr. Glas, p. 204,
* I know not. But it is certain, that people who dwell in countries remarkable for the purity of the air, are more subject to the itch than those who live in places where the air is moist and
damp." Commerce. 266. The Canary Islands import from Great Britain,
woollens of various kinds, hats, hard-ware, pilchards, herrings, wheat, when scarce, &c.—From Ireland, beef, pork, butter, candles and herrings. From North America, boards, staves, beef, pork; hams, rice and wheat, in times of fcarcity.–From Biscay, bar-iron.—From Holland and Hamburgh, linen of all sorts, cordage, gun-powder, flax, &c.-From Malta, cotton manufactures; but from every
other place, cottons are subject to a duty amounting to a C HA P. prohibition.
The Maltese are excepted, because they maintain a perpetual war with the Turks and Moors.--The exports have been already mentioned.--The manufactures Manufacof these islands are taffeties, knit filk hose, filk garters, quilts and bed covers.-In Gran Canaria and Tenerife, they make coarse linens and gauze of Dutch flax. White blankets and coarse cloths are fabricated in Gran Canaria, from the wool of that INand. A very coarse cloth is also made, from native wool, in the other islands. In order to encourage
the silk manufacture in the Canaries, the exportation of their own raw silk is prohibited.
267. The king's revenue consists of (1) The royal third of Revenue.. the church tithes.—(2) The monopoly of tobacco and snuff. -(3) Annual acknowledgement of the nobility for their titles.—(4) A duty of seven per cent. on imports and exports.(5) Duty on the Weft Indian commerce of the Canaries. The annual revenue of all the Isands, after paying the expences of collection and of the internal government, brings into the treasury of Madrid about £ 50,000 sterling.
268. It may be remarked that this sum exceeds the clear revenue which ever came into the treasury of Great Britain, from all her American and Weft Indian colonies, in the infinite ratio of fomething to nothing. For I do not know that Great Britain ever received any revenue from either of them, except the 41 per cent. duty on sugar, and some other enumerated articles, granted by Barbadoes and the Leeward Iands to King Charles II. a tax which now very much oppresses those poor, old colonies, while the Ceded Islands and the opulent colony of Jamaica, pay no such tax. I need not tell the intelligent reader, that all the British taxes on sugar, &c. like those on wine, tea and other fo
C HA P. reign articles, are ultimately paid by the British consumers;
not to mention the monopoly-price, often exorbitant, which West Indian produce costs them. For it is well known that fugar, &c. is generally much dearer in Great Britain than in France, or any other country in Europe, even in those that have no sugar colonies. And all this, exclusive of the enormous and endless expenseof defending her colonies, by which Great Britain has incurred a very great part of her national debt.—Lord Sheffield, indeed, in his. Observations, affirms, that the expense of defending the sugar islands, by sea alone, during the American war, cost Great Britain more than the fee simple of those INands is worth. The only advantage which she ever derived, from her expense of blood and treasure, was the comparatively insignificant monopoly of the trade of her colonies. But the only effect of monopolies, even when reciprocal and apparently equal, is to enrich speculating individuals, at the expense of the nations and colonies which stand in this unnatural and impolitic connećtion. Of the truth of this observation, the Canary islands, as well as those of Madeira and Cape Verd, appear to afford examples, which ought to be viewed as beacons to warn the undertakers of new colonies in Africa, of the dan, gers to be dreaded from what a great author calls, “ the mean and malignant expedients of the mercantile system." Read Smith's Wealth of Nations, B. IV. C. VII.
269. The Ise de Bourbon, called originally Mascarenha, after it’s Portuguese discoverer, lies about 120 leagues to the
* From Geographie naturelle, &c. de M. Robert, 1777. Tableau de Commerce, 1787, and Walter's Neuste Erdkunde, &c. New Account of Asia, Africa, &c. 1785.
east of Madagascar, in the 21st and 22d degrees of South C H A P.
270. The air of Bourbon is falubrious, and the soil very
271. But of all it's productions, the most valuable is it's Bourbon and cotton, which of late, since the spinning Machines, and par- cotton com
pared. ticularly those called mules, were invented and improved; has been spun at Manchester as far as to 300 hanks, (each 840 yards) and even more, in the pound, when common Surat cotton was only brought to 20 hanks. This striking disproportion arises chiefly from a difference in quality; but is also much owing to the Bourbon cotton being very clean, and that of Surat so full of motes and dirt, (sometimes to half the weight) that it's staple is broken in the violent operations necessary to clean it t. In short, I
* Colonel Bolts, who revised this sketch of the Isle de Bourbon, and the Isle de France, says that at the former there is only a road-stead; but that the Isle de France contains two good harbours.
+ This prodigious difference, as far as it depends on the first preparation, might
COLONIES IN AFRICA, ON
lings per pound, when that of Surat was selling at 9 pence.
272. This island, called also the Mauritius, is considerably
be avoided, if the cotton were cleaned by the producer, before the hard packing has
I have not mentioned health, that being a matter of little consideration among
* The garrisons in some of the West Indian INands might find similar employment. But premiums are there given for killing rats and monkies, both which are very destructive to the sugar-cancs. In Barbadoes, they give 2d. a piece for rats'