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4-4-8 A POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [BOOK rv.
see from the accounts of Macartney, Barrow, De Guignes, and other intelligent travellers, that ‘gold and silver are not more common in China, than in the greatest part of the countries of Europe. The annual revenue of the state, is no doubt estimated at 1584< millions of francs * ($301,714,000 piastrest; but the greater part of this sum is paid in the produce of the soil and Chinese industry; and according to M. Barrow i, the quantity which enters Pekin in specie annually,.only amounts to 36 millions of ounces of silver, which are estimated at 5Q,91<L,000‘ piastres. The Chinese believe that large sums are annually sent to Moukden, the capital of the country of the Mantchou Tartars ; but this opinion is not founded on facts. Several mandarins are in the possession of immense wealth. The prime minister of the~ Emperor Tchienlong, was. stript of 10 millions of taels, or 74,500,000 livres tournois§ in specie, which he had accumulated by extortion ll; but the emperor is very frequently
* £641,653,000 Sterling. Trans.
1 Barrow’s Travels (French Edit.) t. ii. p. 198.
§ £3,040,815 Sterling. Trans.
ll Barrow, t. ii. p. 173
in want of money. What Europe loses in
There remains to be considered a third
* Jvlacartney, vol. iv. p. 286.
-1' Macartney, vol. iii. p. 105.; vol. iv. p. 231.
i Tableau du Commerce de l’Empire dc Russia, translated by M. Pfeilfer, 1808, Nos. Qand 10. Olivarius Ie Nord Litteraire, 1799, N0. 7. p. 202. .
. ‘W means of the Caucasus, Orenburg,
. We have ascertained then ', from sources
receives annually from America,
4,000,000, into Asia, by means of
of Good Hope;
i 1 portion of 1 to 7. M. Necker thought him
"* See the sketch of a map, exhibiting the flux and reflux W1
, of the precious metals from one continent to the other, in ‘ the atlas to this work. -. 1/ ,_,,..,. 1- £3,780,000 Sterling. Trans. ‘
cn.u'x1.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 4-51 self warranted in estimating previous to 1789,
7! at 4 millions of piastres *, the amount annually
consumed in jewels, lace, and embroidered stuifs manufactured in France. ’r Part of these metals was evidently derived from melting down the old plate and lace; however the annual
silver, is very considerable 1; and when we add ‘what clisT:3.iip;ears,‘FIi70:rn:i°'ti'ia:nsportation, and the friction of daily circulation, we may estimate, with Forbonnais, and other writers on poli
tical economy, that the quantity of precious‘
metals which disappear in Europe, or which are converted into plate and lace, amounts to a third of the total mass which is not consumed; by the commerce with Asia, that is at sixor seven millions of piastres per annum. On the other hand, the mines of Europe and Siberia’ furnish annually nearly 4 millions of piastres. According to these calculations, which from their nature can only be approximate, the increase of the gold and silver currency of Europe appears only to be fifteen millions of piastres, or 78,700,000 livres tournois. § Those
4.52 .P0Li_'PIo».1,'1zssAY on Tun ;-smmv. persons who have long inhabited the north and east of Europe, and attentively followed the progress of civilization among the lowest classes of the people in Poland, Norway, and Russia, will entertain 110 doubt of the reality of this accumulation of specie.’ Its effects must be scarcely perceptible, because the capital of all Europe is only increased at the rate of one per cent. per annum.
The view which we have exhibited in this chapter, of the present state of the mines of the New World, and of those of Mexico in particular, ought to lead us to entertain a
dread of the rapid increase of the sum of____
representative si ms,“ when the Highlanders
rouse from their profound lethargy, in which they have so long been plunged. It would be remote from the principal object of this work,"to discuss whether the interests of society would really suffer from this accumulation of specie. It is sulficient in this place to observe, that the danger is not so great as it appears on a first’ view, because the . quantity of commodities which enter into
lias tripled since, the treasures of’ the New Continent were poured into the Old. -This