chapter  VIII
26 Pages

AN OFFICIAL REPORT ON THE INDIANS

The Indians were also under the oppressive system of repartimientos, which made the office of corregidor a district commissariat. In organizing this system it was thought that an intelligent European would be able to supply the Indians with those things which they might need, but which they would not be likely to have on hand when needed, on account of their lack of foresight; therefore, "it was ordered that the corregidors might introduce a quantity of such articles as were suited to each district and distribute them among the Indians at moderate prices, in order that, having implements for labor, they might shake off the apathy which is innate in their constitution, and make the exertion requisite for paying their tribute and supporting themselves." 2

"The articles of distribution are chiefly mules, foreign and domestic goods, and produce. The corregidors who are attached to the viceroyalty of Lima must necessarily go to that city to take out a license, and to receive their despatch from the viceroy, in order to be inducted into office; and as Lima is the principal depot of the trade of Peru, it is in that city that an assortment of articles for distribution is to be made, and for this purpose they take the goods required from the shop of some merchant or trader on credit, at an exorbitant price; for, as the traders are aware of the enormous profits the corregidors make in the sale, they raise the prices of the goods, in order to have a share in the speculation. The corregidors have no money before they come into office, and, being unable to purchase for cash, they are obliged to submit to any terms which the creditor may prescribe, since they are under great obligations, on account of the money which the merchant is to lend them for the purchase of the mules required for transportation.