Page images
PDF
EPUB

only an exportation of 188 chests of sugar, of 16 arrobas each, and valuing the price of the chest of sugar at forty' piastres. But the importation of Mexico which we calculate on an average at twenty millions of piastres annually, si an object of the very highest importance for the commercial nations of Europe, who want an outlet for their manufactures. We shall call to mind on this occasion, 1st. That the United States of North America, of which the exportation in 1802* amounted to 71,957,144 dollars, exported in 1791 only to the value of 19,000,000 dollars; 2nd. That England 'at the period of the greatest activity of its trade with France in 1790, only imported into that country goods to the value of 5,700,000 piastres; and 3rd. That the exportation from England for Portugal and Germany in 1790 did not exceed, the former 7,600,000 piastres, and the latter 12,400,000 piastrest. These data are sufficient to explain, why towards the end of the last century Great Britain made so many efforts to procure a share of the trade between the Peninsula and Mexico.

In classing the ports of Spanish America according to the importance of their trade, Vera Cruz and the Havanah occupy the first rank.

* See note G. at the end of this volume.
+ Playfair, commercial atlas, 1801. Pl. v. viii. and X.

An enormous mass of business was transacted there during the last war, in the short space of time when the entry of neutral vessels into the colonies was permitted by the court of Madrid. We may range the other ports in the following order: Lima, Carthagena, Buenos-Ayres, la Guayra, Guayaquil, Porto Rico, Cumana, Santa Marta, Panama, and Portobello.

To enable the reader to judge of the relative activity of the trade of the Spanish colonies of America, I shall succinctly specify the value of the exports and imports of several of the above ports. My object is merely to furnish here such general results as may be interesting to political economy and the science of trade. All the minute details are reserved for the notes, which will accompany the historical account of my travels to the equinoctial regions.

Vera Cruz. Importation, 15 millions of piastres. Exportation (not including the precious metals) five millions of piastres.

Havanah. Exportation in native produce, eight millions of piastres, of which 31,600,000 kilogrammes* or 6,320,000 piastres in sugar (valuing the chest of sugar at 40 piastres); 525,000 kilogrammest or 720,000 piastres in wax (the arroba at 18 piastres); 625,000 kilo

wax

* 69,678,000 lb. avoird. Trans.
+ 1,157,625 lb. avoird. Trans.

..

grammes* or 250,000 piastres in coffee, (the arroba at five piastres). The exportation of sugar which was next to nothing before 1760, amounted in 1792 to 14,600,000 kilogrammes; in 1796 to 24 millions of kilogrammes; and from 1799 to 1803 at an average to 33,200,000 kilogrammes annually. In 1802, the harvest of sugar was so abundant, that the exportation rose to 40,880,000 kilogrammest; so that this branch of trade has been almost tripled in ten years. The customs of the Havanah amounted between 1799 and 1803 at an average to 2,047,000 piastres annually; and in 1802 they exceeded 2,400,000 piastres. The total amount of the trade of the Havanah is 20 millions of piastres.

Lima. Importation, five millions of piastresa Exportation, including the precious metals) seven million of piastres.

Carthagena, including the small adjoining ports of Rio Hacha, Santa Marta, and Portobello, connected together by the most intimate commercial relations. Exportation of the produce of native agriculture, without including the precious metals, 1,200,000 piastres, whereof 1,500,000 kilogrammes of cotton, 100,000 kilogrammes of sugar, 10,000 kilogrammes of

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

vince

Odcd

indigo, 400,000 kilogrammes of Brazil wood, 100,000 kilogrammes of quinquina of New Grenada, 1000 kilogrammes of balm of Tolu, and 6000 kilograinmes of ipecacuana*. Importation, four millions of piastres. · La Guayra, the principal port of the province of Caracas. From 1796 to 1800t, the exportation amounted at an average to 1,600,000 piastres annually, of which 2,985,000 kilogrammes of cocoa, 99,000 kilogranımes of indigo, 354,000 kilogramimes of cotton and 192,000 kilogrammes of coffee. But from 1789 to 1796 the importation might have been taken at an average of 2,362,000 piastres annuallyf; and the exportation in native produce at 2,739,000 piastres, of which 4,775,000 kilogrammes of cocoa, 386,000 kilogrammes of indigo, 204,000 kilogrammes of cotton, 166,000 kilogrammes of coffee, and 73,000 hides.

Guayaquil. Exportation in native produce

* La Raicilla or ipecacuana, which comes into Europe through the Spanish ports and through the contraband trade of Jamaica, is the root of the Psychotria emetica, and not of the Calicocca of Brotero, or the Viola emetica of Mutis, as some botanists have advanced. This Psychotria was examined by M. Bonpland and myself, on ascending the river Magdalen near Badillas. We must not confound the Spanish with the Brazilian ipecacuana.

+ Depons, ii. p. 439.

| According to the official papers which I shall publish in the first volume of the historical account of my travels.

550,000 piastres, whereof three millions of kilogrammes of cocoa. Importation, 1,200,000 piastres.

Cumana, (including the small adjoining port of Nueva Barcelona). Importation, one million of piastres. Exportation 1,200,000 piastres, whereof 1,100,000 kilogrammes of cocoa, 500,000 kilogrammes of cotton, 6000 mules, 1,200,000 kilogrammes of Tasajo, or salt meat.

These valuations are founded on information procured by me in the course of my travels in America. The Balances were struck from the declarations at the customs ; and no account is taken of the contraband except in the table of the commerce of Carthagena and Cumana. The whole of these data will enable us to take a general view of the balance of trade of the whole of Spanish America. It is only by comparing the commerce of Mexico with that of the other colonies, that we can be enabled to judge of the political importance of the country which I have endeavoured, to make known in this work. I begin first with collecting into one table what the Spanish custom-house books contain, respecting the balance of trade between the mother country and the colonies before and after the famous regulation of 1778.

Ca

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »