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had chosen for its commencement the year 1772, wlien the great increase first took place in the mines of New Spain. Of this, we may be convinced by the mere inspection of his own tables; * from which it appears, that the average of the annual produce of the mines of New Spain, from 1750 to 1799, was 16,566,909 dollars; while the average produce of the same, from 1771 to 1803, was 19,688,940. Mr Humboldt starts the question, + whether, in consequence of the great introduction of the precious metals into Europe during the last forty years, there has been any fall in their value ? and decides it in the negative. We confess, we incline to the opposite opinion. The rise of price in articles of the first necessity, which we believe is general throughout Europe, seems to us to argue a general depreciation in the value of the precious metals, similar to what took place in the middle of the sixteenth century, and, as we apprehend, arising from the same canse.

This depreciation, however, if it exists, is quite distinct from the peculiar depreciation of this country, arising from the local excess of a paper currency, not convertible into specie, nor exchangeable at its true value.

In his fifth book, Mr Humboldt treats of the Manufactures and Commerce of New Spain.

Spain has been less rigorous than other states of modern Europe in the prohibition of manufacturing industry in her colonies. The great extent and populousness of her foreign possessions, the remoteness of her principal settlements from the coast, the difficulty of transporting bulky commodities in the interior of America, the want of industry and commercial enterprise in her subjects at home, the exclusive attention of her government to the acquisition of the precious metals, and its indifference and ignorant contempt for other sources of opuJence, have all contributed to produce this difference in her coIonial policy.' It may be thought, that as she was the only power in Europe which derived a direct revenue from her colonies, that consideration determined her to relax from the usual strictness of colonial discipline. For it seems but fair, that where a colony is taxed for the benefit of the mother country, its commerce and internal industry should at least be free. But no such views of justice or liberal policy actuated the Court of Madrid in this instance. In all that related to the commerce or navigation of her foreign possessions, Spain was equally jealous with other nations: anel though her laws

recogprised the existence of many branches of manufacturing industry in her colonies, her governinent was ever ready to sacrifice those to the rend or supposed interests of the mother country. About sixty years ago, an extensive plan for the establishiment of European manufactures at Quito was proposed to the Spanish ministry, and undertaken with their consent and apparent approbation, but was defeated by secret instructions given to their agents in America ; and very lately a flourishing manufacture of Indian chintz, in Mexico, was prohibited by an order from Madrid, lest it should interfere with the cotton mar nufactures of the peninsula.


* P. 580 & 581,

Pi 662.

The chief manufactures of New Spain are woollens, cottons, gold and silver.lace, hats, leather, .soap and earthenwares but the total value of the goods which they produced, when Mr Humboldt, did not exceed seven or eight millions of dollars annually. Some.manufactures of silk bave. been introduced since that time, and in.general all the manufactures, the.finer sorts.especially, have increased .considerably in consequence of the war with England and interruption of foreign commerce. Tabacco.and.gunpowder..are royal manifactures and monopolies; and the farmer brings in to the crown a clear revenue of four millions of dollars annually. The Mexican tradesmen are remarkably skilful in works of plate and jewellery'; and, like some of the Eastern nations, they have a singular turn for imitation. Very good carriages are made at Mexico, though the best coaches come from England.

There are carriage roads from Mexico to most of the principal towns of the kingdom. But the transport of commodities is chiefly effected, as in the mother country, on the backs of mules. The new road from Perate to. Vera Cruz. is .compared by Hunboldt .to .the roads of Simplon and Mont Cenis and appears from his description to be equally solid, useful and magnificent.

In tiine of war.,. the indign of Goatemala, the cacao.of Guayaquil, and even the .copper of Chili, pass through. New Spain in their way to Europe. But during peace, there is little commercial intercourse between the coasts of Mexico and Goatemala and those of South America, on account of the slowness and uncertainty of the navigation to the southwards. From A: capulco to Lima, the passage is sometimes longer than from Lima to Cadiz. Mexico and Perugrthough at no great distance, are therefore incapable of maintaining any considerable commerce with each other. The cãief trade of Acapulco continues still to be its commerce with Manilla. The Manilla ship arrives once a year at Acapulco, with a cargo of Indian' goods valued at 12 or 1300,000 dollars, and carries back silver in exchange, with a very small quantity of American produce, and some European goods. YOL. XIX. NO. 376




The commerce of New Spain 'with the mother country is carried on almost entirely through Vera Cruz. In time of peace, Mr Humboldt estimates the annual value of the exports, in that commerce, at twenty-two millions of dollars, and the annual value of the imports at fifteen millions. The following is his statement of the chief particulars. EXPORTS.

Dollars. Gold and silver, .in .coin, bullion and plate........... 17,000,000 Cochineal ...

2,400,000 Sugar......

1,300,000 Flour...

300,000 Indigo, being the produce of New Spain.

280,000 Salt meat and other provisions.....,

100,000 Tanned hides........

80,000 Sarsaparilla.

90,000 Vanilla...

60,000 Jalap....

60,000 Soap....

50,000 Logwood..

40,000 Pimiento...





IMPORTS. Bale goods, including woollens, cottons, linens & silks 9,200,000 Paper..

1,000,000 Brandy

1,000,000 Cacao.....

1,000,000 Quicksilver.........

650,000 Iron, manufactured and unmanufactured...

600,000 Steel.

200,000 Wine

700,000 Bees wax.


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14,600,000 This statement, however, must be considered as a mere approximation by Mr Humboldt, founded on the average of several years of peace,--and, therefore, more applicable to the period antecedent to 1796, when the war with England broke out, than to the present times. Whoever wish for more exact details must look to his work, p. 699-708, where they will find the accounts of the commerce of Vera Cruz, in 1802 and 1803, published by the Consulado of that place. It is necessary further to observe, that Mr Humboldt does not include, in this estimate, the contraband trade on the coast of New Spain ; and that he has alse omitted the indigo of Goatemala, and cacao of Guay aquil, though exported at Vera Cruz; because these articles are not the produce of that kingdom.

The beneficial effects of the system of free trade, to which we have so frequently alluded, * have been experienced to a greater extent in Mexico than in any other part of Spanish America Cuba, perhaps, excepted. This will appear evident, from a comparison of the .export of produce from New Spain at different periods. The last flota, under the old system, sailed fromı Vera Cruz in 1778, and exported the produce of the Dollars. four preceding years, which amounted in value to 2,470,022 The exports of produce in 1787-90, the four first

years after the new system was completely established, were valued at......

11,394,664 Difference of the four years.......


9,183,212 Export of produce in


5,128,283 The export of 1802 is not, perhaps, a fair subject of comparison, as that was the first year of peace after the termination of a long war, in which the direct commerce with the mother country had been in a great measure suspended. But the same objection does not apply to 1803, the export of which was more than double that of four years under the old system, and nearly equal to the exports of two years immediately after the introduction of the free trade..

After considering the commerce of New Spain in all its branches, contraband included, Mr Humboldt gives the following estimate of its total amount.

Dollars. Annual importation of foreign goods.....

20,000,000 exportation of produce


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pero We shall conclude our extracts from this Mr Hum

boldt's book with the following simmary of and population of the Spanish colonies in America, taking the former without alteration from his work, but making such changes in the latter as appcar to us advisable. Colonies. Population.

Imports. Exports.

Produce. Specie. Doltars. Dollars. Dollars.

Cuba ...


432,000 in 1804 *

11,000,000 9,000,000 Porto Ricol 136,000 in 1794+5 New Spain

} 7,800,000 in 1808 *

7,800,000 in 1808 * 122,000,000 9,000,000 22,500,000 Goatemala N.Grenada 1,800,000 in 1808 5,700,000 2,000,000 3,000,000 Caracas .. 900,000 in 1808 5,500,000 4,000,000 Peru 1,445,000 in 1796}11,500,000 4,000,000 8,000,000 Chili 720,000 in 1806 111 Bu.Ayres 972,000 in 1803 3,500,000 2,000,000 5,000,000

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Total ... 14,205,000

59,200,000 30,000,000 38,500,000

Total exports

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68,500,000 imports

59,200,000 Remitted to Europe in révente to the crown, 'or in rents to individuals

9,300,000 According to this estimate, the effective demand of Spanish America for foreign merchandize exceeds 15 millions Sterling annually; and that of New Spain and Goatemala alone falls little short of seven millions. The progress of domestic manufactures in those countries, so far from having a tendency to lessen this demand, will increase it by enriching the people, and enabling them to consume foreign luxuries to a greater amount.

When coarse manufactures from abroad are no longer wanted in a country, because the growing industry of its inhabitants supplies it with such articles, the finer sorts and more costly commodities become the objects of request. It is not the want of desire to enjoy, but the want of ability to acquire, that limits the consumption of nations. The richer our customers become, the greater will be their demand for our merchandize. It is their poverty and sloth, not their opulence and industry, that we ought to deprecate.

In * From Humboldt.

From Le Dru.
I From the Viagero Universal and Alvear y Ponce.
# No. 31. p. 75.

From Azara and Alvear y Ponce.

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