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very time when the exhausted state of the kingdom required some extraordinary exertions of political wisdom to augment its members, and to revive its strength. Spain felt that her manufactures were fallen into decay ; that her fleets, which had been the terror of Europe, were ruined ; and that her commerce was lost. Even agriculture, the primary object of industry in every prosperous state, was neglected, and one of the most fertile countries in Europe hardly raised what was sufficient for the support of its own inhabitants. The Spaniards, intoxicated with the wealth which pour. ed in upon them, deserted the paths of industry to which they had been accustomed, and repaired with eagerness to those regions from which this opulence issued; till at length Spain was unable to supply the growing demand of the colonies. She had recourse to her neighbours. The manufactures of the Low-Countries, of England, of France, and of Italy, furnished in abundance whatever she required. In a short time not above a twentieth part of the commodities exported to America was of Spanish growth or fabric. The treasure of the New World may be said hence. forward not to have belonged to Spain. That wealth, which by, an internal circulation would have spread through each vein of industry, and have conveyed life and motion to every branch of manufacture, flowed out of the kingdom with such a rapid course as neither enriched nor animated it. On the other hand, the artisans of rival nations, encouraged by the quick sale of their commodities, improved so much in industry as to be able to afford them at a rate so low that the manufactures of Spain were still farther depressed. This destructive commerce drained off the riches
of the nation, and the Spaniards, in fact, became only the carriers of foreign merchandize, and the channel through which the precious metals flowed from America to the other European states. Spain was so much astonished and distressed at beholding her American treasures vanish almost as soon as they were imported, that Philip III. issued an edict, by which he endeavoured to raise copper money to a value in currency nearly equal to that of silver; and the lord of the Peruvian and Mexican mines was reduced to a wretched expedient, which is the last resource of petty impoverished states.
Thus the possessions of Spain in America have not proved a source of population and of wealth to her, in the same manner as those of other nations. In those countries of Europe where industry is in full vigour, every person settled in such colonies as are similar in their situation to those of Spain, is supposed to give employment to three or four at home in supplying his wants. But wherever the mother country cannot afford this supply, every emigrant may be considered as a citizen lost to the community; and strangers must reap all the benefit of answering his demands.
We have already noticed the trade carried on by the galleons: these were frequently retarded by various accidents, and on such occasions the scarcity of European goods in the Spanish settlements frequently became excessive; their price rose to an enormous height. The vigilant eye of mercantile attention did not fail to observe this favourable opportunity : an ample supply was poured in from the English, French, and Dutch islands; and when the galleons at length arrived they found the markets so glutted by this illicit
commerce, that there was no demand for the com. modities with which they were loaded. To remedy this, Spain permitted a considerable part of her commerce with America to be carried on in register-ships. These were fitted out during the intervals between the stated seasons when the galleons sailed, by merchants of Seville or Cadiz, upon obtaining a licence from the council of the Indies, for which they paid a high premium.
In proportion as experience manifested the advantages of carrying on trade in this mode, the number of register ships increased; and at length in the year 1748, the galleons, after having been employed upwards of two centuries, were finally laid aside. From that period there has been no intercourse with Chili and Peru, but by single ships, dispatched from time to time as occasion requires. These sail round Cape Horn, and convey directly to the ports in the South Sea the productions and manufactures of Europe, for which the people settled in those countries were before obliged to repair to Porto Bello or Panama.
It remains only to give some account of the trade carried on between New Spain and the Phi. lippine islands. Soon after the accession of Phi. lip II. a scheme was formed of planting a colony in these islands, which had been neglected since the time of their discovery. Manilla, in the island of Luconia, was the station chosen for the capital of this new establishment. From it an active commercial intercourse began with the Chinese ; and a considerable number of that industrious people, allured by the prospect of gain, settled in the Philippine islands, under Spanish protection. They supplied the colony so amply with all the valuable productions and manufactures of the East, as
enabled it to open a trade with America, by a course of navigation the longest from land to land on our globe. In the infancy of this trade, it was carried on with Callao on the coast of Peru, but afterwards was removed to Acapulco on the coast of New Spain.
After various arrangements it has been brought into a regular form. One or two ships depart annually from Acapulco, which are permitted to carry out silver to the amount of more than one hundred thousand pounds sterling; in return for which, they bring back spices, drugs, china, and japan wares; callicoes, chintz, muslins, silks, and every precious article with which the East can supply the rest of the world. For some time the merchants of Peru were permitted to participate in this traffic, but now it is confined solely to New Spain. In consequence of this indulgence, the inhabitants of that country enjoy advantages unknown to the other Spanish colonies. The manufactures of the East are not only more suited to a warm climate, and are more showy than those of Europe, but can be sold at a lower price ; while, at the same time, the profits upon them are so considerable as to enrich all those who are employed either in bringing them from Manilla, or vending them in New Spain. As the interest both of the buyer and seller concurs in favouring this branch of commerce, it has continued in spite of regulations, concerted with the most anxious jealousy, to circuinscribe it. Under cover of what the laws permit to be imported, great quantities of India goods are poured into the markets of New Spain; and when the European ships arrive at Vera Cruz, they frequently find the wants of the peoVOL. XXIV.
ple supplied by cheaper and more acceptable commodities.
Notwithstanding these frauds, the Spanish mo. narchs receive a very considerable revenue from the American dominions. Th arises from taxes of various kinds, which may be divided into, !. What is paid to the sovereign as lord of the New World : to this class belong the duty on the produce of the mines, and the tribute exacted from the Indians : the former is termed by the Spaniards the right of signory, the latter is the duty of vassalage. 2. Into the numerous duties on commerce, which accompany and oppress it in every step:. and, 3. What accrues to the king as head of the church. In consequence of this, he receives the spiritual revenues levied by the apostolic chamber in Europe, and is entitled likewise to the profit arising from the sale of the bull of Cruzado. This bull, which is published every two years, contains an absolution from past offences, and a permission to eat several kinds of prohibited food during Lent. Every person in the Spanish colonies of European, Creolian, or mixed race, purchases a bull which is deemed essential to his salvation, at the rate set upon it by government. It is not easy to get at the amount of those various funds; but it is probable that the net 'public revenue raised in America does not exceed a million and a half sterling per annum. Spain and Portugal are, however, the only European powers who derive a direct revenue from their colonies. All the advantage that accrues to other nations from their American dominions arises from the exclusive enjoyment of their trade.
But if the revenue which Spain draws from