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different ports of America in colonial produce and precious metals the value of 409,000,000 livres tournois " a sum equal to the total importation of Englandt in 1790. The tables which go by the deceitful denomination of balance of trade, convey no useful information, except when they contain averages of a great number of years. In this point of view the first result in the preceding table appears preferable to the rest; and this result would even be of great importance for the history of American trade, if we were sure of the accuracy of an operation executed in the customhouse of Cadiz from the registers of six years between 1748 and 1753. The produce of the mines which annually flows into Europe, and which is included in the objects of exportation from the colonies, may be divided into three portions; the first, which is extremely small, belongs to American colonists settled in Spain; the second from eight to nine millions of piastres, enters the royal treasury, as the net revenue of all the American colonies; and the third, which is the most considerable, serves to pay the excess of the importations from Europe into the Spanish colonies. When we are informed that in 1785, America sent into Spain precious metals and agricultural produce (en plata y frutos), to the amount of 63 millions of piastres, and that she only received goods in return to the value of 38 millions of piastres, we might be tempted to conclude that the net revenue of the king and the revenues of Spanish families possessing estates in the New Continent amount to 25 millions of piastres per annum. Nothing, however, would be more false than such a conclusion; for the metallic wealth of the colonies not only serves to pay the debt contracted in Spain for the importation of European and Asiatic goods, which have been registered in that country, but it serves also to pay either at Cadiz or Barcelona English draughts for the balance of goods smuggled from Jamaica and Trinidad into the coasts of Mexico, Caracas, and New Grenada.
silver both coined and in ingots, and colonial produce to the value of 27,096,814 piastres. * 16,693,874l. sterling. Trans. + Commerce of England with all parts of the world, according to accounts laid before Parliament; Importation in 1790, 18 millions sterling; in 1800, 28 millions: exportation in 1790, 22 millions sterling; in 1800, 34 millions.
In general the registers of Spanish customs throw very little light on the great problem: what is the value of the goods and commodities of Europe and Asia, annually wanted by the Spanish colonies in the present state of civilization 2 To throw light on this discussion, it is more important to know the extent of the wants of America than to know accurately what active share the mother country has hitherto had in supplying the colonies. Besides the denomination of national goods, which we find used in all the commercial tables of Spain, merely indicates that the merchants have succeeded in passing such or such a quantity of goods at the custom-house for the produce of the agriculture or manufactures of the Peninsula. The Spanish industry has made considerable progress in late years; but it would be a gross error to judge of the rapidity of that progress from the custom-house books. To know as nearly as possible the value of the importations of Spanish America, I endeavoured to inform myself on the spot in each province, of the state of commerce of the principal ports; I procured information relative to the goods registered, and those which were smuggled; and I turned in a particular manner my attention to those years, when, either from a free trade with neutrals, or from the sale of prizes, a province was glutted with European and East India commodities. After discussing with many intelligent merchants the tables of commerce which I have given above, and of which the most were formed under the care of the consulados, I deemed myself warranted in fixing on the following numbers, which seem to me to approach the nearest to the truth.
POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE
128 [Book v Importati Exportation from the mportation Colonies. Political from Europe . onles *** and Asia in. Value of the Remarks on the condivisions. cluding con- }. of l produce of sumption. . traband. o * the gold and P* | silver mines. Brought over - || 38,700,000/20,000,000|25,500,000 Total population of the seven provinCapitani ces of Caracas, Maapitania - racaybo Varinas general de } 5,500,000. 4,000,000 " " " |Coro, New Andalusia, Caracas. -- New Barcelona, and Guayana,900,000, of - whom 54,000 slaves. s Population 1,800,000. In Peru alone the enumeration gave in 1791, - l 130,000 whites and o: n | 240,000 mestizoes, or rer, who consume a great || and Capi- }now 4,000,000 8,000,0004 |. they enjoy. tania gene- | a certain degree of ease ral of Chili. J of circumstances. In Chili there are many whites, but they live in a stilé of great simUplicity. . I have never yet been able to procure any satisfactory inViceroyal formation respecting - the population of this ty of Bue- } 3,500,000] 2,000,000 5,000,000 viceroyalty, which is nos-Ayres. - very considerable in the western provinces, called, the Provincias de la Sierra. Total of exportaTotal i tion in agricultural otal in duce and gold and - 38,500,000 | Produc g plastres. }59200,000 30,000,00038,500, silver, 69 millions of piastres.