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rectories, and Audit Offices, left ample room for the introduction of the desired Reforms.
The Decrees of the Congress, Nos. 70 and 80, and the Law, No. 106, confirm these facts : all that had previously existed, was swept away : the Minister found himself invested with the charge of Director General; a charge which required both mental and bodily activity, and assiduity. The Ministry was a perfect chaos : order was to be substituted for confusion,-method for irregularity; inferior Agents of every kind were wanting; the Secretary's Office was ignorant of almost all that it ought to have known, and, even in the Capital, efficient Persons were not to be procured ;--the whole weight of the undertaking fell upon the Minister alone, upon whose plans, well or ill formed, and upon whose activity, the organization of the new System depended.
Such was the condition of the Department when first confided to my care. I have thought it my duty to state it without disguise, in the hope that the changes which have been effected, will be received, at least, as a proof of the earnestness with which I have devoted myself to the task of accomplishing them.
In order to convey a just idea of what has been done, it is absolutely necessary to institute a comparison between the present state of the Publick Revenue, and that of the Years 1822, 1823, and the beginning of 1824, as developed by my Predecessors in the Finance Department, who were taught by experience the difficulties of their situation, and of whose zeal, and abilities, the Country must always retain a grateful recollection.
« On the 28th of October, 1822, not only was the pay of the Troops in arrear, in the Capital, but on the point of being suspended altogether; and in the States, (then Provinces) it was about to be reduced, from the total want of resources.” Such were the expressions used by Don Antonio Medina, then Minister, in his Introduction to his Plan for a new System of Contributions, for the year 1823.
The confusion was, at that time, so great, that, in order to form an estimate of the Receipt and Expenditure of the Provinces, the Minister was forced to make all his calculations upon the basis of those of the Capital alone, as he himself admits in his Report to Congress, of the 3d September, 1823. He therein stated, “ that his orders for the collection of the necessary data had not been complied with, and that he found it very difficult to enforce obedience to them, as their execution depended upon Men, some of whom were too ignorant to give the information required, whilst others were interested in suppressing it, in order to perpetuate abuses; the whole of them being influ. enced by the langour, to which they had been accustomed under the old system."
This confession, on the part of so distinguished a Publick Functionary, proves that, in the year 1822, at least, disorder was at its
height throughout the Department, the Receipts trifling, and the want of resources great.
In 1823, Don Francisco Arrillaga was placed at the head of the Finance Department. He characterized as frightful, the abuses which prevailed in the Administration of the Revenue, and declared that plunder and corruption prevailed in all its branches. In April, he was only able, with the help of a Loan from the Consulade, to pay half what was due for the month, upon the Civil List. On the 31st of May, the Receipts were not sufficient to pay the Troops alone. He described their clamours, and those of the Pensioners, and Government Officers; the impossibility of satisfying them; the ab sence of all assistance from the States; the want of the necessary elements to enable him to form an idea of the resources of the Coun. try. In short, the picture which he laid before the Congress was truly lamentable, and warranted the most serious apprehensions. . On the 12th of November, 1823" (by which time some little improvement might have been hoped for,) Senor Arrillaga stated, in his Report, “ that no ordinary measures, or threats, were sufficient to awaken the Government Employés from their culpable indolence; that others of a more serious nature must be resorted to; that the Directors and Ac: comptants, as expensive as useless, had dared to present him with Returns of the produce of the Country, founded upon those only of two Towns and of three Provinces.” He then described the state of the Customs at the end of March, 1823, and drew a wretched picture indeed, of the state of the Finances :"the administration, in com plete disorder; the Revenues themselves exhausted; deposits, both ordinary and judicial, embargoed; Forced Loans, carried to their utmost extent; the produce of the Tithes, Media anata, &c. pledged for many Hundred Thousands of Dollars; Credit destroyed, by the fatal seizure of the Conducta, and by the issue of Paper Money which only obtained a partial currency at a loss of three-fourths of its - nominal value: the removal of Capitalists, with their Capitals, which had followed this destruction of confidence, and trans quillity, and left us without resources, and even without hope of remedy."
2. No malversation in the application of the Publick Revenues, is to be inferred from the above description, beyond the effect of an irresistible necessity; but it presents a true picture of the state of afd fairs at the time when I took possession of the Ministry. During the short interval of 9 months, which elapsed, between the last Report and the period of my entering Office, little improvement had taken place; although the sale of the stock of Tobacco on ihand, the Loan of Richards, and that contracted for with the house of Goldschmidt, the strictest economy, the partial receipts of the Customs and some binge. branches of the Revenue, enabled my Predecessor to meet the most
urgent demands of the moment, and held out some hope of improve ment.
I found, however, both the Army and the Civil Employés clamourous for the arrears due to them: those who had advanced money demanded the interest; the Tobacco Planters the settlement of their accounts; the Merchants, the restitution of the Conducta ; the Contractors for Saltpetre, 'the value of the quantities delivered upon account; the garrison of Vera Cruz their well earned allowances : in short, thc antichambers of the President and of the Ministry were crowded with Claimants, whilst, with the exception of the small remains of the first Loan, there was nothing in the Treasury to meet their just demands.
The Law, which, by a new classification of the Revenue, and by confiding to the Minister, in person, the direction of all its branches, prepared the way for the establishment of the present system, first opened to me the field, upon which it was my duty to enter.
With regard to what it may have been in my power to effect, the statement, which your Excellency has directed me to draw up, will contain an epitome of all that has been done; I shall pass in review, succinctly, all the different branches of the Revenue, adverting to what has been said of each previously, and comparing its present produce, with that of former epochs, and I shall conclude, with a concise state. ment of the present state of the Finances. 11 Throughout the different Offices connected with the Finance De. partment, viz. the Audit Office; the Commissariat General for War, and Marine; the Treasury of the Federation; the General Storekeeper's Department; the Lottery Office; and others which have been created during my administration, great activity has prevailed, and
many improvements have been effected.
One must be filled with absolute indifference, not to lament the contrast between the once Aourishing state of this Establishment and the situation of that which existed under the same name, when I took possession of the Ministry. Its riches, and its funds for the purchase of Silver, had always been a resource to the Government, during its greatest embarrassments.' In 1821, the Treasury received from it; besides the share of the profits which lawfully belonged to it, 663,650 dollars, and, between the 27th September of the same year and the 31st March, 1823, the Government obtained the enormous sum of 1,099,392 dollars.
10 The Mint was ruined by these advances, for the exhausted state of its funds no longer enabled it to purchase, at once, the bars brought in, and the Miners carried their Silver elsewhere, in order to convert start by new 9C, 8531 v3 K 15,56
it, more readily, into dollars. An establishment once the post opulent in the World, thus fell rapidly into discredit, and distress. In. the first 6 months of 1823, it was in arrear to the amount of 21,835 dollars, and in the first half Year of 1824, the deficiency was 38,215 dollars, besides 30,080 dollars due, for salaries, to the Employés of the establishment. Such was the shadow of the former Mint of Mexico, which was made over to me, upon my appointment to Office.
The following comparative Statement will shew what 2 Years have enabled me to effect. Deficit to 31st of December, 1823..........
37,233 dols. ......... to 31st of July,
Total, Dollars... 75,448
Profits of the Establishment, from August, 1824, to
from 1st September, 1825, to 30th June, 1826...
Total, Dollars... 100,099
Thus, fortune favouring my wishes, I have the satisfaction of being able to prove, that the Mint has not only covered the arrears of the Years 1823 and 1824, but has remained with a surplus of 24,651 dollars, during the 2 Years of my Administration. It has, besides, funds for the purchase of Silver, amounting to 59,210 dollars, which, as they will enable the Director to give ready money for the silver in a brute state, will, I trust, have the effect of increasing materially the works of the Establishment. Post Office. -- Powder Mills.-Department for Examination of Accounts
of old monopoly of Tobacco. The latter Department has been recently established; and improrements have been effected in the two other Establishments.
Manufactories established by Government, for Clothing the Army, and
for furnishing ever kind of Military Stores. Your Excellency, being convinced that the activity of the Members of the Government might supply advantageously the place of Contractors, a Provisional Establishment was formed, for providing the Troops with the articles which had been previously contracted for by Colonel Barrera.
This undertaking was placed under my superintendence, assisted by an Officer of distinction, appointed as Inspector, by the Minister of War; and has been confided to the special direction of the Commissary General for this State: The necessary materials were contracted for publickly, and the accompanying Statement will give your Excellency some idea of the result of our labours. By this it will
that cloth, ing has been delivered to the Troops to the amount of 469,201 dols. Which, by the Contract, would have cost......... 545,481
Difference in favour of the Treasury.............. Dollars
In the value of the clothing, I include the materials, salaries, expences of the tools, freight, and other charges of the Establishment. The other Supplies, prepared under my inspection for
the Infantry and Cavalry Regiments, amount to.... 92,447 dols. The value of which by the Contract with Barrera would have been.......
Saving to the Country........
Salt. Five new Salt Lakes, or Deposits, (Chamela, Ixtlan, Zeta, Chametla, and Higueras) have been discovered during the last 2 years.
The produce of the whole branch of this Revenue is, however, small; but, on the 9th August, 1824, when my duties as Minister commenced, it was nothing: the Inhabitants of the Neighbourhood considered the Salt Lakes as their property; the estates around used to send Mules to the nearest point to load salt, without any further expence than that of removing it. At present the Commissaries General are ordered to let the Salt Lakes for the Year to the highest Bidder; and, although many are still undisposed of, some are producing from 4 to 500 dollars annually, and Penon Blanco alone 14,000.
Tithes. The portion of the Tenths which formerly belonged to the Royal Treasury is now assigned to the States, (by the Decree of Congress, No. 70,) which are accountable only to the Federation for the sums due at the time of the Establishment of the present system. The Ministry has no controul over the Offices in which these Accounts are kept, nor has it interfered with them, except in order to effect a liquidation of the balance due to the Federation. It has succeeded in ascertaining that the debt of the Bishoprick of
Valladolid, for the Years 1821 to 1824, is.... 524,223 dols.
137,147 Oajacà ...
Total, Dollars 793,370
without including other Bishopricks, whose Accounts, from the con.
, fusion of past times, it has not yet been possible to balance. . ;