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vanced in 1775, that the specie of France constituted nearly the half of the coin of Europe, and that the whole of Europe only possessed 4,500 millions of livres tournois*, in specie. The inaccuracy of this assertion has been proved by M. Demeunier, in the Encyclopedic Methodique, and by M. Gerboux and M. Peuchet f. Indeed M. Necker himself has greatly modified it in his work on the administration of the finances.
On the other hand, the estimate of M. Gerboux, who admits that the actual specie of Europe amounts to ten thousand six hundred millions of livres J, appears a great deal too high, when we turn our attention to the population of this part of the world. It is generally believed that the quantity of the precious metals which circulated in antirevolutionary France, is known with considerable certainty; and on account of the losses occasioned by the pecuniary law (loi mone- taire) of 1803, and the destruction of the colonial commerce, the present circulation is
* £183,673,440 Sterling. Tram. f Demeunier, Economic politique. T. ii. p. 325. Gerhoux, p. 75 8i 92. Peuchet, ttatistique de la France, p. 474. Necker de I'administration des Jinances, T. iii. p. 75.
* *432,652,992 Sterling. Tram.
estimated at 1850 millions of livres tournois f. If we estimate for that period, the population at 26,363,000, we find 69 livres for each inhabitant. Now Europe contains according to the recent researches of Mr. Hassel 182,000,000 inhabitants, whereof Russia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and the Sclavonian and Saruaatian nations, constitute more than 62 millions. Allowing for Great Britain and for the West and South of Europe, 55 livres per individual, and for other countries less advanced in civilization f 30 livres, we shall find that the total specie of Europe cannot be carried beyond 8603 millions J (1637 millions of piastres) a sum almost equal to the half of the debt of Great Britain §.
* ^73,469,376 Sterling, tram.
fin 1805 the effective currency of the Austrian monarchy was estimated at 350 Or 900 millions of florins, admitting a population of 25,548,000 inhabitants. (Hassel Statist. Umriss. von Europa, p. 29). How could the Abbe Raynal estimate the specie of Portugal at only 18 millions of livres, and that of Brazil at 20 millions} (Hist, philos., T. ii. p. 43* and 450). Brazil contains at present four millions of inhabitants, among whom there are 1,500,000 Negroes; and how could he suppose that in a country, where even the Indians enjoy more of the benefits of life than in the Spanish Colonies, and where there are very populous cities, only ten livres per free individual, when in the northern part of Europe, we must reckon from 30 to 40.?
t ^351,142,800 Sterling. Tram. '.
§ Playfair, StatiiXkal Breviary. (1801. p. 37.) The debt amounted in 1802 to 562 millions Sterling; in 1810 to 640 millions.
Hence it tne population of France is actually in the proportion of one to five to that of Europe, the quantity of precious metals which it contains is to that which is spread throughout Europe as 1 to 3$.,T
We have already seen that the mines of Asiatic Russia, and Europe, annually furnish a produce of 21 millions of livres or four millions of piastres per annum *. We learn from the Dutch authors that from four to five thousand marcs of gold come annually in dust from Guinea into Europe. We estimate the produce of the mines of Europe and the importation from Northern Asia and Africa, since the discovery of America, at only six millions of livres per annum t; and hence supposing the actual specie of Europe 8603 millions, and according to M. Gerboux that which existed in 1492 at 600 millions, it follows that 22,450 millions of livres have been carried out to the East Indies, converted into plate, and lost by melting. Dividing this sum among 213 years we find at an average, an annual loss in gold and silver of 72 millions of livres t (13,700,000 piastres). It has been already proved that the impor
* £840,000 Sterling, Trans.
tation from America during' the same period, amounted to 92 millions of livres '(17}millions of piastres) per annum.
The time is yet so recent since statistical researches first began to be carried on, that it is impossible to know in detail, the value of the exportations of gold and silver into Asia in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. We shall merely then take a rapid view of the present state of things, and observe the periodical flux and reflux by which the precious metals are conveyed from one continent to the other. If we recollect that since the conclusion of the eighteenth century, Europe receives annually from Europe nearly 80,000 marcs of gold, and nearly four millions of marcs of silver Castille weight, we must be surprised not to observe more sensible effects from the accumulation of the metals in the old world.
The gold and silver of Europe flow into Asia by three principal ways: 1st. By commerce with the Levant, Egypt and the Red Sea; 2nd. By maritime commerce with the East Indies and China; and 3rd. by the commerce of Russia with China and Tartary.
The commerce of the Levant and the Northern coast of Africa requires a considerable quantity of ducats, piastres, and German crowns, the exportation of which diminishes the specie of Europe. We cannot, however, .bring ourselves to estimate this loss at more than four millions of piastres per annum *» because the balance of the trade of the Levant is at present in favour of England f to the amount of from two millions and a half to three millions of piastres. According to the tables published by M. Arnould J, the trade was in 1789 from three to four millions against France. Spain, the nations of the north, and especially Germany, are obliged to pay in specie in the ports of the Ottoman empire and the Barbary coast. The exportation of silver from the Austrian monarchy alone into Turkey and the Levant is estimated at a million and a half of piastres.
The East Indies and China are the countries which absorb the greatest part of the gold and silver, extracted from the mines of America. I cannot admit that before 1760, this absorption was eight millions of piastres per annum§, and that from that period till
* £840,000 Sterling. Trans.
f According to the tables of M. Playfsir, Great Britain gained in 1800, in her trade with the Levant £600,000 Sterling; and «he lost in her trade with Turkey £G0,000 Sterling (Commercial Atlas) 1801. pi. xiii.
\ De la balance du commerce, T. iii. n. ii.
j £1,680,000 Sterling. Tra»s.