Page:Guatimala or the United Provinces of Central America in 1827-8.pdf/174

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revolution, it should rather excite surprise that so much has been accomplished.

It is difficult to form a correct idea of the state of Guatimula as a colony of Spain. From the period of the conquest until it declared its independence, the most profound tranquillity had reigned within its borders. The Indian and coloured population submitted themselves entirely to the will of the whites, who were occupied in amassing fortunes with ease and quietness. A slavish superstition sealed the eyes and bound in chains the very thoughts of all parties, and the country peacefully enjoyed the lethargic calm which such opiates invariably produce.

At this period, (including up to the close of the last century) the country under the appellation of the Kingdom of Guatimala, was governed by a Captain-General, appointed by the court of Spain, and a Royal Audiencia or Prætorial Court, whose jurisdiction extended from 8° to 17° north latitude, and from 82° to 95° west longitude, comprising an extent of surface computed at 26,152 square leagues, with a population of about 1,200,000 souls, giving about forty-six inhabitants to the square league.[1] The kingdom was again subdivided into fifteen provinces; five situated on

  1. Humboldt's Political Essay, vol. iv. p. 322.