Imatges de pàgina

the cloudy Weather ; from the Shortness of the Days, which are never more than twelve Hours long; and from the brisk Easterly Wind, that blows frequently from the Atlantic Ocean quite through the Country, so strong that the Vessels are enabled thereby to fail against the Stream, and perform the Voyage almost as soon up the great River Amazon, as down it; which I perceive is a Voyage of eight or ten Months, where no ill Accidents interrupt the Passage. Travellers also observe, that they have most terrible Thunder and Lightning great Part of the Year, but this is no more, than what is usual in other Countries, that lie under the Equinoctial : And it may properly be said, they have two Winters and two Summers every Year ; that is, fair Weather when the Sụn is at its greatest Distance from them in either Tropic; and foul Weather when it is vertical, as it is at the

Vernal and Autumnal Equinox. In Cuba there is Bar a Ridge of Mountains, which runs almost through the Illand from East to West, well replenished with Timber; but the Land near the Shore is generally a plain Champain Country. They have no Winters here, but great Rains and Tempests usually when the Sun is vertical in July and Auguft; which cools the Air, however, and fenders the Climato tolerable. The fairest Season is, when the Sun is fartheft from them; and then the Morning is much the hottest Part of the Day; for, towards Noon, the Sea-breeze begins to blow pretty briskly, and continues to do so till the Evening. From October to April they have brisk North or North-west Winds in these Seas at the Full and Change of the Moon; and, in December and January, they frequently increase in Ştorms, though this be their fair Season. The Trade-wind,

in these Seas, blows from the North-east, As to Hispaniola.

old the Face of the Country in Hispaniola, there are Mountains in the middle of it well planted with Forest-trees :: and other Mountains more barren, in which formerly were Gold Mines, that seem to be entirely exhausted at this Day. On the North and South Şides of the Iand are fine fruitful Plains well watered with abundance of pleasant Rivers, which fall from the Mountains. The Air and Seasons are

fire much the same in this as in the Illand of Cuba.

*** The Inand of Porto-Rico is pleasantly diversified with Woods, Hills, and Valleys, but there are few large Plains. As to the Gold Mines that Travellers relate there gre in this Isand, there are none wrought at this Day; nor were there ever any that were considerable. The Soil is very. fich, producing Variety of Fruits, and all tirings necessary

Plains. Our

Hills, and Parto-Rico is


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for Lise. As to the Air, &c. of Spanish Florida,
see Carolina. I have omitted the particular Pro-
duce of the Spanish Empire in Americu, in order to treat of
them more fully under the Head of Trade in this Chapter.

TRADE.] The Value of the Merchandize in the City of Mexico is not to be computed; this City being the Mart for all Goods brought from the Eajl-Indies, of Europe : Those of the East-Indies they receive from Aca. pulco, a Sea-port in Mexico, on the South-Sca; and those of Europe from La Vera-Cruz, situated in the Bay of Mexicon ör the North-Sea And their own native Treasures, Gold, Silver, Precious Stones, &c. added to the former, make thë Shops and Markets of Mexico the richest that are to be found in any Town upon the Face of the Earth. It seems the Spaniards employ but two Ships annually in the rich Trade between Acapulco and the Philippine Islands near the Coast of China ; they do not go together in Company, but make the Voyage alternately : One of them sets out from

Acapulco the latter end of March, or the Beginning of April's and arrives at Manila, in the Philippine Iħands, some timế in June, when the other is ready to fail from Manila Acapulco. It is reckoned about 8000 Miles from Acapulco to Manila; and these the Spaniards fail in ten Wecks, or three Months, in going froní Mexico to Manila, having a constant

Trade-wind from the North-east, and serene Weather in 10 or 12 Degrees of North Latitude, which they get into as foot as they can, and have scarce any Occasion to alter their Sails till they arrive at the Ladrone Islands, about 400 Leagues fhort of the Philippines, where they touch, and take in freshi Provisions and Water. And, in this Latitude, the South-Seå may well be stiled Pacific; for they scarce ever meet with Storms, or bad Weather, all the way. The Cargo of this Ship consists chiefly of Silver. The Voyage from Manila ta Acapulco is performed with incredible Hazards and Hardfhips, which no Gain would induce a wise Mân to under= take twice ; for, when they leave Manlla, they are forced ta abandon the Pacific Part of the Ocean, and stand away to the North, till they come in about 35, or perhaps 40 Degrees; before they can meet with Westerly, or even variable Winds! And here they are tossed by the mountainous Waves, ähd their Patience tried by unconstant Weather. This Voyage, may be looked upon as the longest and most dreadful of any in the World; as well because of the vast Ocean to be crcfied; the Wind always a-head, as for the terrible Tempests, which happen one upon the back of another, in the Course they


mbardo ects is about 3 Cargo of this and otheves, Macey

are obliged to take, and for the desperate Difeases that feize People, and many other shocking Calamities. The Spaniards, in failing from the Philippine Isands to America, always take Advantage of the Southerly Monsoon, which sets-in about May or Yune, on the Coast of China, and blows till Septembir or October; this carrying them as high as Latitude 30 Deg. North, where they begin to meet with variable Winds, it being very difficult for them to fail East : And, it seems, they usually arrive at the desired Port of Acupulco about Christmas. The Merchants, 'tis faid, usually get 150, or 200 per cent. by this Voyage; the Pilot may make about 20,000 Pieces of Eight ( 45. 6d. each.) his' Mates 9000 each ; the Captain of the Galleon 40,000; the Boatswain, who has the Privilege of taking several Bales of Goods on board, gets an Estate in one Voyage ; and the Wages of every Sailor is about 370 Pieces of Eight, amounting to about 841. Sterling. The Cargo of this Ship from Manila consists of Diamonds, Rubies, Sapphires, and other precious Stones, found in the East-Indies; Cinnamon, Cloves, Mace, Nutmegs, and Pepper; rich Carpets of Persia, the Camphire of Borneo, the Benjamin and Ivory of Pegu and Cambodia; Silks, Muslins, and Calicoes of the East-Indies; the Golddust, Tea, China-ware, Silk, Cabinets, &c. of China and

Japan : All which amount to a prodigious Sum; this one Ship having more Riches in it than some whole Fleets. These Ships, employed to carry on this rich Trade, are usually Ships of good Force, and commonly 800, or roco Tons

Burden. At the time this Ship arrives at Acapulco from Manila, there come in two or three Ships from Lima in

Peru, very little inferior to the former in Value, being laden with Silver, Quicksilver, Cocoa-nuts, and other rich Merchandize of South America, with which they purchase the Merchandize of Europe, and the Eafl-Indies: For, in the Months of January and February, a great Fair is held at Acapulco; and a vast Concourse of Merchants come from Mexico to vend the Goods of Europe, and buy those of China, the East-Indies, and Peru. There is very little Trade carried on by the Coast of Mexico; all Goods are carried from Acapulco to the City of Mexico, by Mules and Pack-horses; and from thence to Vera-Cruz in like manner, in order to be shipp'd for Europe. This last Town is of great Importance, on account of the Flotilla reforting thither, to receive the Gold and Silver found in the Mines of Mexico; and its being a Mart of all manner of rich Merchandize, that are brought hither from China, the East-Indies, Peru, and Europe ; which brings me to speak of the Trade between Mexico and Old-Spain. Thirty or forty large Ships carry on the Trade between Spain and their Dominions in America; and these are almost all of them their own Veffels, no Trade being fuffer, ed to be carried on in foreign Bottoms, or any Foreigner to visit their Coasts, unless the South-Sea Company in England, who furnish them with Slaves, and that under several Restrictions: and his Catholick Majesty, on condition that the Company shall not carry on any clandestine Trade, grants them the Privilege of sending out a Ship annually to trade to the Indies. The Vesiels used by the - Spaniards in transporting Merchandize from Spain to America, are generally large, and of rood Force, and called Galleons : They fail in Fleets annually from Cadiz, laden with Goods of many different Nations; but the English, French, Dutch, and Italians, are Proprietors of the greatest Part of their Cargoes, and the Spaniards are, in a great measure, their Factors; for, when the Galleons return from America, with the Treasure for which the Goods have been sold, it is, most of it, distributed amongst the Merchants and Factors belonging to those four Nations. The Spaniards, employed in this Affair, are Men of such strict Honour, that those, in whose Names these Effects are sent over, and the Returns inade, scarce ever abuse the Confidence that is placed in them, or betray their Principals ; for, by the Laws of Spain, no Stranger can, directly or indirectly, trade to the Spanish WestIndies, but he forfeits his Goods. However, it cannot be supposed but the Government of Spain is very well apprised, that this Trade is, in a manner, carried on by Foreigners, and, for very good Reasons, connive at it: They know their own People are not able to freight there Fleets; and, if they were not enabled to do it by Foreigners, their Americani Dominions must want all manner of Necessaries almoft for Cloathing and Furniture. It must be confessed, that it would be much more for the Advantage of the Kingdom of Spain, to encourage Manufactures at Home, and trade more with the Product of their own Country: but, since they are not to be brought to this, the next best thing they can do is, to turn Factors and Carriers for their Neighbours ; for, besides the Advantages of these Effects passing through their Hands, the Revenues of the Spanish Crown must be vastly increased, by the Importation and Exportation of them. The greatest Part of the Galleons fail to Porto-Bello, and are called the Flota ; the other Part, called the Flotilla, or little Fleet;


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fail to Vera-Cruz in Mexico. The Flota fell their Merchándize chiefly at the Fair of Porto-Bello, where they take on board Gold, and Silver, aud other rich Treasures of Peru and Chili, in Return for their Effects. The Flotilla sell their Cargoes at the Fair of Vera-Cruz; to which place is brought the Gold and Silver of Mexico, with the Gold-duft, Precious Stones, and other Treasures of China, and the East-Indies ; and with these the Flotilla is freighted on its Return to Europe: The Galleons, when they go from Spain, fail to the Southwest, and get into the Way of the Trade-wind as soon as they can, which carries them into it or 12 Degrees of North Latitude; then, bending their Course directly West, they leave the Caribbee Ihands on the Right, or Star-board quarter, and continue their Course to the Westward, till they arrive at Rio de la Hacha, where they come to an Anchor, and Expresses are immediately sent to Carthagena, Panama, Porto-Bello, Vera-Cruz, &c, to prepare the King's Treasure for the Galleons, to take on board at their Return: At which the greatest Part of the Fleet fails to Carthagena, and Porto-Bello, and the rest to Vera Cruz. All the Galleons usually join together, on their Return, at the Havanna, in the Illand of Cuba; and failing from thence to Spain in Company, take a very different Course from that by which they came from Europe; for, in their Return, they fail North through the Gulph of Florida ; and, continuing their Course to the North-east, till they come into the Latitude 36 or 401 where they meet with variable Winds, they then shape it as near to the East as the Winds will permit' them, till they come upon the Coast of Spain ; and are usually fix or eight Weeks in their Passage. These Fleets have sometimes, 'tis said, brought Home near the Value of 15,000,0001. Sterl. in Gold and Silver only; of which the King has a Fifth. There is also a Trade carried on between Mexico, and Cuba, Hispaniola and Porto-Rico, as likewise between Mexica and Terra-Firma, by the Barlavento Fleet, or Guarda Costas, consisting of fix or seven Sail of Ships, of good Burdens and Force, that serve both as Men of War, and Merchant-men; for they are ordered to visit all the Spanish Sea-ports in the North-Sea every Year, as well to supply one place with what another produces, or can furnish, as to prevent Foreigners trading in their Ports, and to clear the Seas of Pirates. This Fleet goes to Vera-Cruz in October, or November, and remains there till March; from thence they sail to the Havanna; where they dispose of the Merchandize they bring from Mexico;


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