Imatges de pÓgina

Her imports consist of wheat and other sorts of grain, from the adjoining provinces of Lombardy and the Black Sea; olive oil, principally from the Ionian Islands; cotton stuffs and hardware from England; sugar, coffee, and other colonial products from England, the United States, Brazil, &c. ; dried fish, dve stuffs, &c. The exports principally consist of grain, raw and wrought silk, paper, woollen manufactures, fruits, cheese, &c., the products of the adjoining provinces of Italy, and of her own industry; but her manufactures, so famous in the middle ages, are now much decayed.

Port. – The islands on which Venice is built lie within a line of long, low, narrow islands, running N. and S., and enclosing what is termed the lagoon, or shallows, that surround the city, and separate it from the main land. The principal entrance from the sea to the lagoon is at Malamocco, about 1| league S. from the city ; but there are other, though less frequented, entrances, both to the S. and the Ni of this one.

There is a bar outside Malamocco, on which there are not more than 10 feet at high water at spring tides ; but there is a channel between the western point of the bar and the village of San Pietro, which has 16 feet water at springs, and 14 at neaps. Merchant vessels usually moor off the ducal palace; but sometimes they come into the grand canal which intersects the city, and sometimes they moor in the wider channel of the Giudecca. Vessels coming from the south for the most part make Pirano or Rovigno on the coast of Istria, where they take on board pilots, who carry them to the bar opposite to Malamocco. But the employment of Istrian pilots is quite optional with the master, and is not, as is sometimes represented, a compulsory regulation. When one is taken, the usual fee from Pirano or Rovigno to the bar is 20 Austrian dollars, or about 41. On arriving at the bar, ships are conducted across it and into port by pilots, whose duty it is to meet them outside, or on the bar, and of whose services they must avail themselves. - (For the charges on account of pilotage, see post.)

Monty. --- Formerly there were various methods of accounting here but now accounts are kept, as at Genoa, in lire Italiane, divided into centesimi, or 100th parts. The lira is supposed to be of the same weight, fineness, and, consequently, value as the franc. But the coins actually in circulation, denominated lire, are respectively equal in sterling value to about 5d. and 4fd. The latter are coined by the Austrian government.

Weights and Measures. — The commercial weights are here, as at Genoa, of two sorts ; the peso sottile and the peso grosso. The French kilogramme, called the libra Italiana, is also sometimes introduced. 100 lbs. peso grosso = 105:186 lbs. avoirdupois. 100 lbs. peso sottile = 46° 428 lbs. avoirdupois. 127 830 lbs. Troy

80-728 lbs. Troy. 47.698 kilogranimes.

30-123 kilogrammes. 98: 485 lbs. of Hamburg.

62:136 lbs. of Hamburg. 96 569 lbs. of Amsterdam.

60 986 lbs. of Amsterdam. The moggio, or measure for corn, is divided into 4 staje, 16 quarte, or 61 quartaroli. The staja = 2.27 Winch. bushels.

The measure for wine, anfora = 4 bigonzi, or 8 mastelli, or 48 sechii, or 192 bozze, or 768 quartuzzi. It contains 137 English wine gallons.

The botta = 5 bigonzi. Oil is sold hr weight or measure. The botta contains 2 migliaje, or 80 iniri of 25 lbs. peso grosso. The miro = 4:028 English wine gallons.

The braccio, or long measure, for woollen = 26:6 English inches; the braccio for silks = 24.8 do. The foot of Venice = 13 68 English inches. ---(Nelkenbrecher, and Kelly.)

Historical Notice. -- Venice was the earliest, and for a lengthened period the most considerable, commercial city of modern Europe. Her origin dates from the invasion of Italy by Attila in 452. A number of the inhabitants of Aquileia, and the neighbouring territory, flying from the ravages of the barbarians, found a poor but secure asylum in the cluster of small islands opposite the mouth of the Brenta, near the head of the Adriatic Gulph. In this situation they were forced to cultivate commerce and its subsidiary arts, as the only means by which they could maintain themselves. At a very early period they began to trade with Constantinople and the Levant; and notwithstanding the competition of the Genoese and Pisans, they continued to engross the principal trade in Eastern products, till the discovery of a route to India by the Cape of Good Hope turned this traffic into a totally new channel. The crusades contributed to increase the wealth and to extend the commerce and the possessions of Venice. Towards the middle of the 15th century, when the Turkish sultan, Mahomet II., entered Constantinople sword in hand, and placed himself on the throne of Constantine and Justinian, the power of the Venetians had attained its maximum. At that period, besides several extensive, populous, and well cultivated provinces in Lombardy, the republic was mistress of Crete and Cyprus, of the greater part of the Morea, and most of the isles in the Egean Sea. She had secured a chain of forts and factories that extended along the coasts of Greece from the Morea to Dalmatia ; while she monopolised almost the whole foreign trade of Egypt. The preservation of this monopoly, of the absolute dominion she had early usurped over the Adriatic, and of the dependence of her colonies and distant establishments, were amongst the principal objects of the Venetian government; and the measures it adopted in that view were skilfully devised, and prosecuted with inflexible constancy. With the single exception of Rome, Venice, in the 15th century, was by far the richest and most magnificent of European cities; and her singular situation in the midst of the sea, on which she seems to float, contributed to impress those who visited her with still higher notions of her wealth and grandeur. Sannazarius is not the only one who has preferred Venice to the ancient capital of the world; but none have so beautifully expressed their preference.

Viderat Adriacis Venetam Neptunus in undis,

Stare urbem, et toto ponere jura mari.
Nunc mihi Tarpeias quantumvis, Jupiter, arces

Oujice, et illa tua mornia Martis, ait :
Si Tiiverim pelago pirafers, urbem aspice utramque,

Illam homines diseas, hanc posuisse Deus.

Though justly regarded as one of the principal bulwarks of Christendom against the Turks, Venice had to contend, in the early part of the 16th century, against a combination of the European powers. The famous league of Cambray, of which Pope Julius II. was the real author, was formed for the avowed purpose of effecting the entire subjugation of the Venetians, and the partition of their territories. The emperor and the kings of France and Spain joined this powerful confederacy. But, owing les to the valour of the Venetians, than to dissensions amongst their enemies, the league was speedily dissolved without materially weakening the power of the republic. From that period the policy of Venice was comparatively pacific and cautious. But notwithstanding her efforts to keep on good terms with the Turks, the latter invaded Cyprus in 1570; and conquered it, after a gallant resistance, continued for 11 years. The Venetians had the principal share in the decisive victory gained over the Turks at Lepanto in 1571: but owing to the discordant views of the confederates, it was not properly foilowed up, and could not prevent the fall of Cyprus.

The war with the Turks in Candia commeneed in 1645, and continued till 1670. The Venetians exerted all their energies in defence of this valuable island ; and its acquisition cost the Turks above 200,000 men. The loss of Candia, and the rapid decline of the commerce of the republic, now almost wholly turned into other channels, reduced Venice, at the close of the 17th century, to a state of great exhaustion. She may be said, indeed, to have owed the last 100 years of her existence more to the forbearance and jealousies of others than to any strength of her own. Nothing, however, could avert that fate she had seen overwhelm so many once powerful states. In 1797, the " maiden city” submitted to the yoke of the conqueror; and the last surviving witness of antiquity the link that united the ancient to the modern world — stripped of independence, of cominerce, and of wealth, is now slowly sinking into the waves whence she arose.

The foundation of Venice is described by Gibbon, e. 35. ; and in his 60th chapter he has eloquently depicted her prosperity in the year 1200. Mr. Hlallam, in his work on the Middle Ages (vol. i. pp. 470-457.), has given a brief account of the changes of the Venetian government. Her history occupies a considerable space in the voluminous work of M. Sismondi on the Italian Republics ; but his details as to her trade and commercial policy are singularly meagre and uninteresting. All previous histories of Venice have, however, been thrown into the shade by the valuable work of M. Daru (Histoire de la République de Vénise, 2d ed. 8 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1821.) Having had access to genuine sources of information, inaccessible to all his predecessors, M. Daru's work is as superior to theirs in accuracy, as it is in most other qualities required in a history.

Trade, Navigation, and Manufactures of the Venetians in the 15th Century. - The Venetian ships of the largest class were denominated galeasses, and were fitted out for the double purpose of war and commerce. Some of them carried 50 pieces of cannon, and crews of 600 men. These vessels were sometimes, also, called argosers or argosies. They had early an intercourse with England ; and argosies used to be common in our ports. In 1325, Edward II. entered into a commercial treaty with Venice, in which full liberty is given to the Venetians, for 10 years, to sell their merchandise in England, and to return home in safety, without being made answerable, as was the practice in those days, for the crimes or debts of other strangers. ---(Anderson's Chron. Deduction, Anno 1325.) Sir William Monson mentions, that the last argosie that sailed from Venice for England was lost, with a rich cargo and many passengers, on the coast of the Isle of Wight, in 1587.

In the beginning of the 15th century, the annual value of the goods exported from Venice by sea, exclusive of those exported to the states adjoining her provinces in Lombardy, was estimated, by contemporary writers, at 10,000,000 ducats; the profits of the out and home voyage, including freight, being estimated at 4,000,000 ducats. At the period in question, the Venetian shipping consisted of 3,000 vessels of from 100 to 200 tons burden, carrying 17,000 sailors ; 300 ships with 8,000 sailors; and 45 galleys of various size, kept afloat by the republic for the protection of her trade, &c., having 11,000 men on board. In the dock-yard, 16,000 labourers were usually employed.* The trade to Syria and Egypt seems to have been conducted principally by ready money ; for 500,000 ducats are said to have been annually exported to these countries; 100,000 were sent to England. - ( Daru, tome ii. p. 189, &c.) The vessels of Venice visited every port of the Mediterranean, and every coast of Europe; and her maritime commerce was, probably, not much inferior to that of all the rest of Christendom. So late as 1518, 5 Venetian galeasses arrived at Antwerp, laden with spices, drugs, silks, &c. for the fair at that city. The Venetians did not, however, confine themselves to the supply of Europe with the

This is the statement of the native authorities; but there can be no doubt that it is greatly exaggerated ; - 1,600 would be a more reasonable number.

commodities of the East, and to the extension and improvement of navigation. They attempted new arts, and prosecuted them with vigour and success, at a period when they were entirely unknown in other European countries. The glass manufacture of Venice was the first, and for a long time the most celebrated, of any in Europe ; and her manufactures of silk, cloth of gold, leather, refined sugar, &c. were deservedly esteemed. The jealousy of the government, and their intolerance of any thing like free discussion, was unfavourable to the production of great literary works. Every scholar is, however, aware of the fame which Venice early acquired by the perfeetion to which she carried the art of printing. The classics that issued from the Aldine presses are still universally and justly admired for their beauty and correctness. The Bank of Venice was established in the 12th century. It continued throughout a bank of deposit merely, and was skilfully conducted.

But the policy of government, though favourable to the introduction and establishment of manufactures, was fatal to their progressive advancement. The importation of foreign manufactured commodities into the territories of the republic for domestic consumption was forbidden under the severest penalties. The processes to be followed in the manufacture of most articles were regulated by law. — “ Dès l'année 1172, un tribunal avoit été crée pour la police des arts et métiers, la qualité et la quantité des matières furent soigneusement déterminées.” - (Daru, iii. 153.) Having, iu this way, little to fear from foreign competition, and being tied down to a system of routine, there was nothing left to stimulate invention and discovery; and during the last century the manufactures of Venice were chiefly remarkable as evincing the extraordinary perfection to which they had early arrived, and the absence of all recent improvements, An unexceptionable judge, M. Berthollet, employed by the French government to report on the state of the arts of Venice, observed, “ Que l'industrie des Vénitiens, comme celle des Chinois, avoit été précoce, mais étoit restée stationnaire."-(Daru, tome iii. p. 161.)

M. Daru has given the following extract from an article in the statutes of the State Inquisition, which strikingly displays the real character of the Venetian governinent, and their jealousy of foreigners : - “If any workman or artisan carry his art to a foreign country, to the prejudice of the republic, he shall be ordered to return; if he do not obey, his nearest relations shall be imprisoned, that his regard for thein may induce him to come back. If he return, the past shall be forgiven, and employment shall be provided for him in Venice. If, in despite of the imprisonment of his relations, he persevere in his absence, an emissary shall be employed to despatch him; and after his death his relations shall be set at liberty !"- (Tom. iii. p. 150.)

The 19th book of M. Daru's history contains a comprehensive and well-digested account of the commerce, manufactures, and navigation of Venice. But it was not possible, in a work on the general history of the republic, to enter so fully into the details as to these subjects as their importance would have justified. The Storia Civile e Politica del Commercio de' Veneziani, di Carlo Antonio Marin, in 8 vols. 8vo., published at Venice at different periods, from 1798 to 1808, is unworthy of the title. It contains, indeed, a great many curious statements; but it is exceedingly prolix; and while the most unimportant and trivial subjects are frequently discussed at extreme length, many of great interest are either entirely omitted, or are treated in a very brief and unsatisfactory manner. The commercial history of Venice remains to be written; and were it well executed, it would be a most valuable acquisition,

Present Trade and Manufactures of Venice. - From the period when Venice came into the possession of Austria, down to 1830, it seems to have been the policy of the government to encourage Trieste in preference to Venice ; and the circumstance of the former being a free port, gave her a very decided ad. vantage over the latter. Latterly, however, a more equitable policy has prevailed. In 1830, Venice was made a free port, and has since fully participated in every privilege conferred on Trieste. But, notwithstanding this circumstance, the latter still continues to preserve the ascendancy; and the revival of trade that has taken place at Venice has not been so great as might have been anticipated The truth is, that except in so far as she is the entrepót of the adjoining provinces of Lombardy, Venice has no considerable natural advantage as a trading city ; and her extraordinary prosperity during the middle ages is more to be ascribed to the comparative security enjoyed by the inhabitants, and to their success in engrossing the principal share of the commerce of the Levant, than to any other circumstance. Still, however, her trade is far from inconsiderable. But, unfortunately, there are no means by which to ascertain its precise amount. The great articles of import are sugar, coffee, and other colonial products: indigo and other dye stuffs, olive oil, salted fish, various descriptions of cotton, woollen, and other manufactured goods; wheat and other grain, from the Black Sea ; tin plates and hardware, raw cotton, &c.; amounting, in all, to the value probably of 1,500,0001. or 1,600,0001. The exports princi. pally consist of silk and silk goods, wheat and other grain, paper, jewellery, glass, and glass wares, Venetian treacle, books, with a great variety of other articles, including portions of most of those that are imported. It should, however, be observed, that by far the greater part both of the import and export trade of the city is carried on through Trieste by coasting vessels, that are every day passing between the two cities. The smuggling of prohibited and overtaxed articles into Austrian Lombardy is practised to a great extent. It is believed that fully two thirds of the coffee made use of in Lombardy is clandestinely introduced; and sugar, British cottons, and hardware, with a variety of other articles, are supplied through illegitimate channels. The facilities for smuggling, owing to the nature of the frontier, and the ease with which the officers are corrupted, are such, that the articles passing through the hands of the fair trader afford no test of the real extent of the business done. It is to be hoped that the Austrian government may take an enlightened view of this important matter. It cannot but be anxious for the suppression of smuggling; and it may be assured that this is not practicable otherwise than

by a reduction of duties. The regulations as to the payment of the duties on goods destined for the interior, the clearing of ships, &c., are the same at Venice as at Trieste ; which see.

The manufactures of Venice are very various, and more extensive than is generally supposed. The glassworks, which produce magnificent mirrors, with every variety of artificial pevis and geins, coloured beads, &c., situated on the island of Murano, employ, in all, about 4,0") hands, including the women and children employed in arranging the beads. --- (Biroring.) Jewellery, including gold chains, is also exteusively produced ; as are gold and silver stuffs, velvets, silks, laces, and other expensive gonds; and treacle, soap, earthenware, wax-lights, &c., to a greater or less extent Printing is more extensively carried on in this than in any other city of Italy, and books form a considerable article of export. Shipbuilding is also carried on to some extent, both here and at Chiozza. In 1836, the first steam-engine seen in Venice was set up for a sugar retinery

From the circumstance of Venice being situated nearly opposite the months the Brenta, which bring down large quantities of mud, the probability is that the lagoon, by which she is surrounded, will ultimately be filled up. Under the republic this was a subject of great apprehension, and every device was resorted to that seemed likely to avert a result so pregnant with danger to the independence of the city. But now that there is no particular motive for hindering the mud from accumulating in the lazoor, it is probable that, in the course of time, the shallow will be converted into terra firma, and Venice lose her insular position.

Railway to Venice. – But whether the lagoon should, or should not, be filled up, Venice will very speedily be connected with the mainland by artificial means. A railway is now in the course of being constructed, which is to extend from the city to Padua, and thence to Verona, &c. That part of this important work which passes through the lagoon is to be supported on arches, the construction of which is already far advanced. It may be expected that the formation of this new and easy channel of communication with some of the most fertile districts of Lombardy, will be of considerable service to Venice; and will tend, in some degree, to revive her decaying energies.

There belong to the city, exclusive of fishing-boats, about 30,000 tons of shipping, of which a large proportion is employed in the coasting trade. Many of the jahabitants depend for their subsistence on fishing in the lagoon, and the contiguous portion of the Adriatic. - (Fxclusive of the authorities already referred to, see Bowring's Report on the Statistics of Italy, Geog. Dici.; Commercial Circulars, ģc.) A steam-packet has been established between Venice and Trieste. Shipping Charges in the Port of Venice on Ships of different Nations, of the Burden of 300 Tons.

I Austrian, or of a If of a Nation not

Nation having a Treaty having a Treaty of Description of Charge.

of Reciprocity with Reciprocity with









[ocr errors]



£ 4. d.


£ 4. d. From the bar to the place of finally mooring

61 57

61 57 2 1 04 Out of the port of departure

61 37

61 37

2 1 01 Tonnage Duty. One Austrian livre (d. sterling) per ton.


300 0

10 00 (Originally levied on all ships not Austrian.)

Clearing Charger. If to a port out of the Gulph of Venice but if to a port in the Gulph, la. 31d. less in all cases)

0 1 63 16 78

011 21 Quarantine Charges. If performing 7 days, being the usual time for vessels from England - 39 27

6 2 53 38 1 15 7 Total of ordinary charges.

164 71


: If in long quarantine, all ships pay extra

8 101 0 17 2

0 17 2 If departing in ballast, or with less than a cargo, all ships, not

Austrian, or not under treaty to be charged as such, pay extra tonnage duty, 45 cents (about 3/4. sterling) per ton, being, on a 300 ton ship.


4 10 0 Total of extreme charges

190 45 1 6 6 111 693 94 1 21 16 04 Banking Establishments. - The old bank of Venice was founded so far back as 1171, being the most ancient establishment of the kind in Europe. It was a bank of deposit ; and such was the estimation in which it was held, that its paper continued to bear an agio as compared with coin down to 1797, when the bank sell with the government by which it had been guaranteed. At present there are no corporate banking establishments in the city; and no bank notes are in circulation. There are, however, several private banking houses, which buy, sell, and discount bills; and make advances on land and other securities. They are under no legal regulations of any sort, except formally declaring the amount of their capital to the authorities when they commence business. The legal and usual rate of interest and discount is 6 per cent. It is not the practice to allow interest on deposits. Bills on London are usually drawn at 3 months, and on Trieste at 1 month.

Brokers, Commission, &c. – The number of brokers is limited, and they are licensed by government; but the business of commission merchant and factor is open to every one. Before, however, commencing any trade or profession at Venice, a petition must be presented for leave to the authorities: but this is more a matter of form than any thing else; its prayer being rarely, if ever, refused.

The usual rate of commission and factorage on the purchase or sale of colonial produce is 2 per cent., and on manufactured goods 3 per cent., inclusive of broker's commission, 1 per cent. A ship broker's commission on the freight of a whole cargo is 2 per cent., and on a general cargo 4 per cent. By the custom of the place, merchants charge 2 per cent, on the inward and 2 per cent. on the outward freight of all ships consigned to them ; and this, though they had done no more than recommend the master to a broker A bili broker's commission is } per mille. Merchants and bankers charge a commission on internal bills of } per cent., and on foreign do. of l per cent.

Insurances are effected by companies and individuals. The government charges no duty on the policies.

Communications with Lombardy are effected by flat-bottomed vessels, which, passing through the lagoon, enter the canals and rivers, and make their way through most part of the country watered by the Po and its tributaries. The freight of goods from Milan to Venice, distant about 170 miles, is about 11. per ton. The principal products they bring down are grain, silk, hemp, and fax, cheese, rhubarb, &c. The country to the north os Venice affords large quantities of deals, which are shipped for Malta, Sicily, and the Levant.

Quarantine is enforced here the same as at Trieste. Ships coming from without the Straits of Gibraltar, provided there be no infectious disease on board, are admitted to pratique on performing a short quarantine of 7 days in a part of the lagoon, about a mile from the city. Long quarantine is performed a little farther off. The lazaretto, and establishments for passengers, &c. performing quarantine, are among the best in Europe. Ships having foul bills, or coming from suspicious places, are sent thither from Trieste.-- (For the quarantine charges, see antè.). Provisions, Ships' Stores, &c. - These articles may all be had at Venice of excellent quality, but not

cheap, with, perhaps, the excepti n of br ad. Water is conveyed to the city by lighters, and is, consequeutly, pretty dear ; fuel is very car e, . nd very high priced. Tares. -- On gods leaving the free port of Venice for the in

Sugar, Brazil

15 to 18 per erat. terior of the Austrian states, the Custoin-hous' allows no tares;

Jamaica, muscovado but case, casks, and other covering 150 nto the scale with their Bourbon, brown and yellow, and East India of contents, and the duty is levied on the weight. Wine,

all cours

5 spirtis, &c. consume in this city, being liable to an excise ri fired, crushed

12 duty to cover the municipal expenses, have an allowance, if in Brimstone

10 Iron-bound caks, of 18 per cent on the weibt; and if not in It isn hemp iror-bound ca-ks, of 12 per cent. The tares allowed between Madder root merchants are as follow:

Huntry potash

10 Cotton wool, Fernanbuco and Bahia


On other articles, real tares are usually taken. East India, &c.

:per cent.

VERA CRUZ, the principal sea-port on the western coast of Mexico ; lat 1g 11'52 N., lon. 96° 8' 45" W. Population (supposed) 16,000. Opposite the town, at the distance of about 400 fathoms, is a small island on which is built the strong castle of St. Juan d'Ulloa, which commands the town. The harbour lies between the town and the castle, and is exceedingly insecure; the anchorage being so very bad, that no vessel is considered safe unless made fast to rings fixed for the purpose in the castle wall: nor is this always a sufficient protection from the fury of the northerly winds (los nortes), which sometimes blow with tremendous violence. Humboldt mentions, in proof of what is now stated, that a sbip of the line, moored by 9 cables to the castle, tore, during a tempest, the brass rings from the wall, and was dashed to pieces on the opposite shore. - (Nourelle Espagne, ed. 2de, iv. 59.) Its extreme unhealthiness is, however, a more serious drawback upon Vera Cruz, than the badness of its port. It is said to be the original seat of the yellow fever. The city is well built, and the streets clean ; but it is surrounded by sand hills and ponds of stagnant water, which, within the tropies, are quite enough to generate disease. The inhabitants, and those accustomed to the climate, are not subject to this formidable disorder; but all strangers, even those from the Havannah and the West India Islands, are liable to the infection. No precautions can prevent its attack; and many have died at Xalapa, on the road to Mexico, who merely passed through this pestilential spot. During the period that the foreign trade of Mexico was carried on exclusively by the flota, which sailed periodically from Cadiz, Vera Cruz was celebrated for its fair, held at the arrival of the ships. It was then crowded with dealers from Mexico and most parts of Spanish America ; but the abolition of the system of regular fleets in 1778 proved fatal to this fair, as well as to the still more celebrated fair of Portobello.

A light-house has been erected on the N. W. angle of the castle of St. Juan. The light, which is a revolving one of great power and brilliancy, is elevated 79 feet above the level of the sea.

Commerce. -- An individual, looking at a map of the world, would be apt to conclude that Mexico is one of the most favourably situated countries for commerce; and, in some respects, this is true. But her trade labours, notwithstanding, under some serious disadvantages. Though washed by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, neither of her coasts is accessible for several months of the year. On the E. coast, or that bordering the Gulph of Mexico, there is not a single good harbour; and during the season when the coasts are accessible, they are extremely unhealthy. Owing also to the rapid ascent froin the shores to the interior, the construction of roads, and the transport of commodities to and from the inner provinces, is alike difficult and expensive. No doubt, however, an eilicient government and an industrious people would speedily, in a great measure, overcome these obstacles to an extensive intercourse with the foreigner. But Mexico has neither the one nor the other; and, at present, her trade is confined within the narrowest limits. Bown to 1778, when the Spanish government relaxed the old prohibitive system, the foreign goods legally imported into Mexico comprised only a few Chinese and European manufactures ; the former brought annually in me galleon of about 1,400 tons, and the latter sent once in three years exclusively in ships chartered by government from Seville or Cadjz! On the opening of the trade in 1779, private capitalists engaged in it; and after that period, at an average of 12 years before and after, the returns for exports alone rose from 11,000,000 to 19,000,000 of dollars, the difference being chiefly in the quantity of specie. How much greater would the increase have been, if the trade had not been fettered with vexatious duties, first on articles of Spanish produce in the markets of Seville and Cadiz; 2. on shipping for Mexico ; 3. at Vera Cruz; and, 4. with an alcavala, or transfer duty, at every step, from the merchant to the consumer ? On the breaking out of the civil war, the ports of Tampico, Mazatlan, and San Blas were opened by the new government; and soon afterwards foreign vessels were admitted into all the ports on the same terms as Spaniards. The Spanish capitalists retired to Cuba or Spain ; and their places were supplied by British and American merchants, who established themselves in the interior, and supplied the inhabs. in return for dollars with manufactured goods, the superior quality and cheapness of which has, no doubt, bad some influence in depressing native manufactures. The jealousy of the natives, however, and the absurd threats of the

« AnteriorContinua »