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V418 rourrcar. ESSAY on ran [BOOK IV.
Piastres. Brought over 734,000,000 For the gold of Chili, New Grenada, and the kingdom of ~ lB‘uen0s Ayres - - - - - 82,000,000
B. PORTUGUESE COLONIES.
Value of Gold and Silver extracted from the mines of America, from 1492 to 1808.
1 From the" Spanish
From the Po_r- '7
(N°' H’) . tuguese Colo- - .
nies - -A - 171,000,000
mini’; "xi.] KINGDOM OF ‘NEW SPAIN. 419
This sum, which I believe myself warranted in fixing on, differs more than sixteen thousand millions of francs fromjthe sum stated by Robertson. It is not surprising that it approximates the estimates of several other writers; for it is with numbers in political economy,’ as with the positions fixed by astronomers : Zwhen we. have first observed the longitude of a place, we are sure to find, amid the great number of maps in which all the points are placed at random, one which indicates the true position. .
It appears, then, that of the 5,706,700,000 piastres, or 29,960,175,000 livres tournois, furnished in gold and silver from 149? till 1803,
As the Cerro del Potosi belongs, from its position, to the Cordilleras 0f_ Peru, I have brought together in this table the mines situated on the ridge of the chain of the Andes, from the 6° to the 21° of south latitude, for a length of 500 leagues. The mining districts of Mexico, comprehended between the 16° and 31° of north latitude, at present supply twice as much silver as the two viceroyalties of Peru and Buenos Ayres; and this tract is only 4,50 leagues in length. The following table specifies the proportion between the gold and silver drawn from the mines of the New Continent, from their discovery till 1808._ ___
Total ,706,700 000
422 POLITICAL ESSAY; ON THE [noon 1v
It "would form a solid sphere of a diameter of 27.8 metres *, or 85.}; Paris feet. * When we re‘ collect that the iron extracted from the mines of France alone amounts to 225 millions of kilogrammes per annum, we see, that with respect to the relative abundance, or_ distribution of the substances in the exterior crust of the globe, silver stands to iron, nearly in the relation of magnesia to silica, or baryta to alumina.
We must not, however, confoundthe quantity of precious metals extracted from the mines of the New Continent with what has really flowed into Europe since the year 1492. To judge of this last sum, it is indespensable to estimate, 1st, The gold and silver found at the period of the conquest among the natives of America, and which became the spoil of the conquerors; 2dly, What has remained in circulation in the New Continent; and 3dly, What has passed directly to the coasts of Africa and Asia, without touching Europe.
The conquerors found gold not only in the regions where it is still produced, as in Mexico, Peru, and New Grenada, but also in countries of which the rivers actually appear to us very poor in auriferous. sands. The natives of Florida, Saint Domingo, and the island of