« AnteriorContinuar »
BOOK clothes, fhoes, and inftruments of agriculture. The few artificers among them are said to have been all maintained by the fovereign, the nobles, and the priests, and were probably their fervants or flaves. All the ancient arts of Mexico and Peru have never furnished one fingle manufacture to Europe. The Spanish armies, though they fcarce ever exceeded five hundred men, and frequently did not amount to half that number, found almost every-where great difficulty in procuring fubfiftence. The famines which they are faid to have occafioned almoft wherever they went, in countries too, which at the fame time are represented as very populous and well cultivated, fufficiently demonftrate that the ftory of this populoufnefs and high cultivation is in a great measure fabulous. The Spanish colonies are under a government in many refpects lefs favourable to agriculture, improvement, and population, than that of the English colonies. They feem, however, to be advancing in all these much more rapidly than any country in Europe. In a fertile foil and happy climate, the great abundance and cheapnefs of land, a circumstance common to all new colonies, is, it seems, so great an advantage, as to compenfate many defects in civil government. Frezier, who vifited Peru in 1713, reprefents Lima as containing between twenty-five and twenty-eight thousand inhabitants. Ulloa, who refided in the fame country between 1740 and 1746, reprefents it as containing more than fifty thousand. The difference in their accounts of the populouf
nefs of feveral other principal towns in Chili and CHAP. Peru is nearly the fame; and as there feems to be no reason to doubt of the good information of either, it marks an increase which is fcarce inferior to that of the English colonies. America, therefore, is a new market for the produce of its own filver mines, of which the demand must inreafe much more rapidly than that of the most thriving country in Europe.
Thirdly, The Eaft Indies is another market for the produce of the filver mines of America, and a market which, from the time of the first discovery of those mines, has been continually taking off a greater and a greater quantity of filver. Since that time, the direct trade between America and the Eaft Indies, which is carried on by means of the Acapulco fhips, has been continually augmenting, and the indirect intercourfe by the way of Europe has been augmenting in a ftill greater proportion. During the fixteenth century, the Portuguese were the only European nation who carried on any regular trade to the East Indies. In the last years of that century the Dutch began to encroach upon this monopoly, and in a few years expelled them from their principal fettlements in India. During the greater part of the last century those two nations divided the most confiderable part of the East India trade between them; the trade of the Dutch continually augmenting in a ftill greater proportion than that of the Portuguefe declined. The English and French carried on fome trade
BOOK with India in the laft century, but it has been greatly augmented in the courfe of the prefent. The Eaft India trade of the Swedes and Danes began in the courfe of the prefent century. Even the Muscovites now trade regularly with China by a fort of caravans which go over land through Siberia and Tartary to Pekin. The Eaft India trade of all thefe nations, if we except that of the French, which the last war had well nigh annihilated, has been almoft continually augmenting. The increafing confumption of Eaft India goods in Europe is, it feems, fo great, as to afford a gradual increase of employment to them all. Teà, for example, was a drug very little
used in Europe before the middle of the last century. At present the value of the tea annually imported by the English Eaft India Company, for the use of their own countrymen, amounts to more than a million and a half a year; and even this is not enough; a great deal more be ing constantly smuggled into the country from the ports of Holland, from Gottenburg in Sweden, and from the coaft of France too, as long as the French Eaft India Company was in profperity. The confumption of the porcelain of China, of the spiceries of the Moluccas, of the piece goods of Bengal, and of the innumerable other articles, has increased very nearly in a like proportion. The tonnage accordingly of all the European fhipping employed in the Eaft India trade, at any one time during the last century, was not, perhaps, much greater than that
that of the English Eaft India Company before CHA P. the late reduction of their shipping.
But in the East Indies, particularly in China and Indoftan, the value of the precious metals, when the Europeans first began to trade to thofe countries, was much higher than in Europe; and it ftill continues to be fo. In rice countries, which generally yield two, fometimes three crops in the year, each of them more plentiful than any common crop of corn, the abundance of food must be much greater than in any corn country of equal extent. Such countries are accordingly much more populous. In them too the rich, having a greater fuper-abundance of food to difpofe of beyond what they themselves can confume, have the means of purchafing a much greater quantity of the labour of other people. The retinue of a grandee in China or Indoftan accordingly is, by all accounts, much more numerous and fplendid than that of the richeft fubjects in Europe. The fame fuperabundance of food, of which they have the dif pofal, enables them to give a greater quantity of it for all thofe fingular and rare productions which nature furnishes but in very fmall quantities; fuch as the precious metals and the precious ftones, the great objects of the competition of the rich. Though the mines, therefore, which fupplied the Indian market had been as abundant as thofe which fupplied the European, fuch commodities would naturally exchange for a greater quantity of food in India than in Europe. But the mines which fupplied the Indian
BOOK market with the precious metals feem to have been a good deal lefs abundant, and those which supplied it with the precious ftones a good deal more fo, than the mines which fupplied the European. The precious metals, therefore, would naturally exchange in India for fomewhat a greater quantity of the precious ftones, and for a much greater quantity of food than in Europe. The money price of diamonds, the greatest of all fuperfluities, would be fomewhat lower, and that of food, the first of all neceffaries, a great deal lower in the one country than in the other. But the real price of labour, the real quantity of the neceffaries of life which is given to the labourer, it has already been obferved, is lower both in China and Indoftan, the two great markets of India, than it is through the greater part of Europe. The wages of the labourer will there purchase a smaller quantity of food; and as the money price of food is much lower in India than in Europe, the money price of labour is there lower upon a double account; upon account both of the small quantity of food which it will purchase, and of the low price of that food. But in countries of equal art and industry, the money price of the greater part of manufactures will be in proportion to the money price of labour; and in manufacturing art and industry, China and Indoftan, though inferior, seem not to be much inferior to any part of Europe. The money price of the greater part of manufactures, therefore, will naturally be much lower in thofe great empires than it is any-where in Europe. Through