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amounted to 600 maravedis,* or at most to 1200, those of the queen to 800, and of the prince to 600.+ In the year 1368, John I. under the advice of all the great men and nobles of the kingdom, issued an edict, fixing the price of provisions and other articles at rates so low, as to shew, that a great want of specie must have been experienced before the discovery of America. This edict may also be seen in Mariana and Bordazar, and in the Memorial of the imperial city of Toledo, upon the equalisation of weights and measures, lately printed. I
* A mara vedi de plata is d. 0, 143 British ; a maravedi vellon is d. 0,076 British. Kelly's Cambist, vol, 1, p. 318. It is presumed the former are meant.- Trans.
| Laws 1 and 2, tit. 12, book 6, Collection of Castile.
# P. Mariana, de ponderic et mensur. cap. 23. “Ex ea pecuniæ varietate, sed et minori copia argenti, factum est ut superioribus temporibus pretia rerum multo minora quam notro fuisse videantur, quod in historiis nostratibus maxime observavimus rerum gestarum in Hispania ante ducentos circiter annos, fanecam hordei, hoc est modios sex, duobus tantum marave. dinis emi consuevisse, at vero in summa caritale annonæ ad maravedinos triginta crevisse ; cuprelio aliarum rerum pretia respondebant proportione quadam." And he proceeds to insert the decree in Latin, verbatim. Antonio Bordazar de Artaza, Proporcion de monedas pesos, y modidas, trat. 1. de monedas, pag. 96, n. 258, recites the decree and says :-"I shall make a short digression in order to shew, in the varying condition of mankind, how great the value of gold and silver was in former times, compared with the present, if measured by the amount of goods given in exchange for them, which change of value may be explained, either upon the ground of the scarcity of the precious metals in former times, before the discovery of America, or by taking into view the calamities of the present times, the price of provisions having been increased by war and famine, or by reference to both these considerations. Father Mariana, in his work de ponder. et mensur. cap. 23, sets forth a law issued by John I. of Castile, in the year of our Lord, 1368, whereby, under the advice of the nobles and other great men, he fixed the price of provisions and other articles of trade, as follows ;-The bushel of wheat to be sold at 15 maravedis ; of farrago at 4 ; of barley at 10 ; of oats at 8 ; 4 half gallons of old wine at 3 mara vedis ; of new wine at 2}; and when sold by the cask, a fourteenth part to be taken off, French cloth at 60 maravedis a yard ; that of Flanders or England at 50. The purple cloth of Flanders at 100 maravedis ; that of Ypres at 110 maravedis. And none but ladies were to dress in London, Brussels, Montpellier or Valencia cloth, without permission from the king. A day labourer was to have, from November to March, 3 maravedis per day; and a female 10 dineros, working from sunrisc to sunset; from March to November, 4 ; and a female 2. For ploughing a whole day, each team, 10 maravedis. For getting in the vintage, a man and ass, 7. A domestic servant, 100 maravedis per annum ; a female domestic servant, 50; and a housekeeper, 40. Shoes of goat hide, 6 maravedis. A horse's saddle, 100 maravedis ; a mule's saddle, 20 ; a bit, I maravedi. To a silver-smith, for working plate, 15 maravedis per marc, or if very neat workmanship, 20. A shield or double target, 20 maravedis ; if painted, 25 ; if gilt, 30. For grinding wheat, 2 maravedis per bushel, 1000 tiles, 60 Maravedis; 1000 bricks, 55. A bushel of plaster of Paris, 6 ; of lime, 5 maravedis. An ox, 200 marayedis, and a yearling calf, 180. A pound of good matton, 2 maravedis. Hucksters were to sell a sucking pig at 8 maravedis, a hare at 3, a rabit at 2, a hen at 4, a goose at 6, a pigeon at 3, and a partridge at 5 ; but journeymen mechanics, and even master workmen, were not permitted to purchase them, except on the occasion of a wedding, or at Easter.” The report of the imperial cny of Toledo, on the equalization of weights and measures, page 109, sets forth the same decree, and mentions that Father Mariana must have been mistaken either in the date or in the name of the king, or in both ; for that this edict or ordinance is one of Henry II. ; and ir gives, at page 118, a precise description of the king's banquets.
9. There can be no doubt that at the time of issuing our ordinances, very few mines were worked, many of them being kept concealed, as is set forth in the law itself.* And at a period subsequent to this, Don Bernardo Perez de Vargas, in the dedication of his famous treatise, De re metallica, inscribed to Philip II., laments deeply, that through the want of good master-workmen among our countrymen, we should be put to the expense of engaging foreigners, notwithstanding the great number of mines which had been discovered, both on account of the crown and its subjects,f which he considers a proof of the inferior industry of the natives of the peninsula.
10. In confirmation of this opinion it is known, that a lease was granted by Phillip II. to the Counts de Fakares (natives of Germany), of the celebrated mines of Gaudalcanal, Rio Tinto, Cazalla, Aracena and Galaroza, which were crown property, and within a certain distance of each of which, under the new and old ordinances, now under consideration, no other mines were permitted to be opened or worked. By this contract, these foreigners became the richest subjects in Europe ; but afterwards, under a suspicion that the government meditated the resumption of the mines, they allowed the water to overflow them. An iniquitous piece of revenge, even had their suspicions rested on the most solid grounds. Don Joseph de Veitia Linage assures us, that in the space of five years, from 1557, there passed through the Casa de Contratacion of the Indies, 497,246,204 maravedis de plata,|| raised from the mines of Gaudalcanal.
22. Considering it therefore, to be established, by the ordinances under consideration, and as an inference from the payment of the eighth, fifth and fourth respectively, to the crown, that the quality of the ores of Spain was high we also infer from the same ordinances that the crown being entitled
* Law 4, tit. 13, book 6. “ The mines that have been discovered and worked are few in number. The rich and profitable mines are kept concealed, and they will not discover or point them out."
† Bernardo Perez de Vargas, de re metallica. Madrid, published in duodecimo, by Pierres Cosin, 1569. I Ordinance 15.
§ Savary, Dictionnare universel de commerce, tom. 2, Let. Mines, fol. 1374. “L'experience a fait voir qui'i'l n'y a point en Europe de mines d'or, d'argent, ou autre metal qui surpassent celles qui out eté trouvees dans la presqu' isle d'Espagne, tant par rapport a l'abondance qu'a la richesse de la matiere, surtout celles de Gaudalcanal, Rio Tinto, Cazalla, Aracena et Galaroza, dans les provinces d'Andalousie, et Estremadure. Les Comtes Alemans de Fakares aiant passé un contrat avec Filipe II. touchant ces cinq mines, ils firent de profit si considerable par l'or et l'argent qu'ils tirerent de celles de Gaudalcanal, la seule qui ait elé ouverte qu'ils y etoient devenus les plus riches sujets e l'Europe : mais aiant ensuité soupçonné que le dessein du gouvernement etoit de reprendre ces mines, ils les mirent sous l'eau, et priverent par la le roy et ses sujets, du profit qu'on en auroit peu tirer,
|| About $1,433,971.- Trans.
to the produce of the mines, has made them common, subject to the liabilities above-mentioned."
23. Our sovereigns first commanded, that a fifth should be levied on the gold, silver and other metals of the Indies, without deducting expences, leav. ing the other four parts free, as a return for the costs and expences of work. ing.† At first, according to Solorzano, the privilege was granted, in some mining districts, of paying a tenth, more or less, or even a twentieth only ; in consideration of certain of the mining districts being recently discovered, or being poorer, I a privilege which ought still to be maintained, being especially sanctioned by the law. Afterwards, by orders issued respectively from Valladolid, the 17th of September, 1548, from Aranjuez, the 25th of May, 1569, and from Madrid, the 26th of October, 1572, directed to the kingdom of Mexico, a tenth was ordered to be levied on the silver raised from the mines, instead of a fifth ; but these abatements would appear to have been temporary, for besides that the first of the aforesaid orders expressly limits the privilege to the term of six years, the very repetition of the order at different periods, shews that it must have been temporary in its operation. || But, as we have already observed in Chap. II., n. 71, it appears, from the report of the meeting, consisting of the viceroy and ministers of Mexico, that by an order of the 30th of December, 1716, a tenth was or. dered to be levied on the miners of New Spain generally ; and it is stated by Don Francisco Ramiro de Valenzuela, in his additions to the Politica of Don Juan de Solorzano, s that a like abatement was afterwards made, in 1735, with respect to the mines of Peru.
24. The purchasers of ores, however, still continued liable to pay the fifth, until by an order dated at Balsain, the 19th of June, 1723, it was ordered, that a tenth should be levied generally upon gold and silver, throughout the government of New Spain, whether reduced by smelting or amalgamation ; and that not only the miners, but also the suppliers, the purchasers by auction or contract, and others, should be liable to the same reduced duty; the object being, by this reduction of duty, to prevent the fraudulent and clandestine embezzlement of the precious metals.
• Vide sup. cap. 2, n. 16 to 23. Lagunez, de fruct. 1. p. cap. 10, n. 63 and 64. Solorzano. de jur. Indiar. tom. 2, lib. 5, cap. unic, n. 22 et 25. And in the Polit. lib. 6, cap. 1, n. 21. * Antunez de Portugal, de donat. lib. 3, cap. 12 throughout, particularly n. 10. Escalona, in his Gazoph. lib. 2, p. 2, cap. 1, n. 2 and 5.
+ Law 1, tit. 10, book 8, Collection of the Indies. # Solorz. lib. 6, Polit. cap. 1, n. 21.
Law 53, tit. 10, book 8, Collection of the Indies. || These orders are at pp. 34, 91 and 98 of a book in the city of Mexico, under the care of the secretary, Don Gabriel Mendieta Rebollo, who certified that it was perserved from the con. flagration and tumult of that city, on the night of the 16th of August, 1692, together with another book of the ordinances of the city, an index to which we possess, in our MS. orders, vol. 1. p, 219.
I Solorzan, lib. 6, Polit. cap. 18. n. 125, and lib. 6, cap. 1, n. 81. .
25. And by another order, dated at San Ildefonso, the 10th of August, 1738, the unexampled privilege was conceded to the kingdom of Guatemala, for the term of ten years, of paying only five per cent. duty on gold (as is now done in Peru), the object of which concession was, to encourage the working of the mines of that kingdom, as we have observed in the proper place."
26. It is evident from these laws and orders, and from those of Castile, that it had been found to be for the advantage of the treasury to make these considerate abatements, the expences of the subject being very great, and the standard of the ores too low to admit of reduction. If then, these and other motives operated in regard to the kingdom of Castile, in causing the reduction of duties observed to be sanctioned by the later ordinances, where the depth of the mines and the scantiness of the produce of the heaps of rubbish and slag are noticed as circumstances entitling the proprietors to a relief of duty, a privilege extended also, as appears by the 76th ordinance, to the owners of mines much flooded with water, and requiring works of drainage ; how much more strongly ought similar motives to be afforded, by the circumstances which so notoriously prevail in the Indies, where the depth of many of the mines is incredible, the heaps of refuse ore of low standard immense, and the price of quicksilver, iron, steel, salt, magistral, † and other stores, and of utensils, and the rate of wages, twice or thrice as high as in Spain ; circumstances which ought all of them, unquestionably to be taken into the account, and which are therefore much relied on by Solorbano, as giving a just claim to relief. $ And in New Spain in particular, the price of quicksilver is still bigher than in other parts of the Indies, from its being supplied from Europe or Peru. Besides all this, the water is, in many mines, too abundant to be overcome by the efforts of an individual ; as for instance in Zacatecas, Pachuca and Real del Monte, where the most substantial men have broken down, and the largest fortunes have been absorbed.
27. Returning to the subject of the tenth, the same amount of duty is also to be paid on gold and precious stones captured in war,ll on the produce of ores purchased, T and on what is set apart for the churches and monasteries.** The duty is also to be levied on what is paid by the Indians by way of tribute,tt which cannot be conveyed from one province to another, nor to Spain, without paying the duty, ff under the penalty of forfeiting four times the value of the silver, together with the mules and beasts of burthen or slaves.II Nor is it lawful to be possessed of gold or silver, pearls, precious
* Cap. 2, n. fin.
+ Roasted sulphuret of copper : a re-agent employed in the reduction of the ore by amalga mation.- Trans. I Solorz, dict. lib. 1, n. 29.
Villa-Senor, Theatr. Americano, page 25, cap. 3, edition printed at Mexico in 1746.
** Law 5, ditto. tt Laws 6 and 7, ditto.
1 Laws 8, 9, 10, ditto. 86 Law 11, ditto.
stones or pieces of plate, which have not paid the duty, under the penalty of the forfeiture of these articles, and of the goods of the silversmith who shall have made them.* Besides these, there are various other precautionary regulations, for preventing fraud as far as possible ; thus, if there be no refining establishment in the mining district, the bars or pieces, after being registered before the justice and royal officers, are to be conveyed direct to the nearest establishment of the kind ;t and the silver which ought to be taken in to pay the duty at one particular office, is not to be allowed to pay the duty at any other. The duty is to be levied upon the real value of the gold or silver,§ and the one and a half per cent. ought to be first deducted, for the principal assayer, melter and stamper, and then the fifth, which is to be of gold or silver of the same quality as the piece stamped. || Various other economical arrangements are also established by the laws of the Indies for the advancement of this important department. I
28. Here we must notice three laws, two of which are the 16th and 18th laws of title 10, book 8, and relate to the gold and silver seized for not having paid the duty, at Cabit or any other port where there is no refining establishment; such gold or silver is, by these laws, declared forfeited, because it is here evident that the object can only have been to export it clandestinely to foreign countries, to the great prejudice of the crown. But it is never theless conceded by the 25th law of the same title and book, with respect to the port of Vera Cruz, that gold or silver seized there for non-payment of the duty, shall be returned without further delay or impediment, upon payment of the proper duties. But the rule is not altered as to the other ports,** for this regulation being made for a special case, is merely a subordinate one, and has no repealing force ; and it was in fact made upon consideration of the great number of bars, both large and small, clandestinely sent to foreign countries. And here we may observe an exercise of the greatest benignity, in that this very extreme of irregularity, instead of calling forth a more severe and rigorous punishment, is met by free pardon and forgiveness, upon payment of the usual duties alone. And the injury to the revenue arising from this practice, has in great measure been remedied, by the establishment of the markets held at Xalapa on the arrival of the convoys, and by the Flotistas (as the agents and traders from Spain are called), being prevented, by the facilities afforded for purchasing the metals in the mining districts, * Laws 47, 48, 49, book 8, Collection of the Indies. Law 11, ditto.
Law 12, ditto. § Laws 22, 23, and 24, ditto, and Laws 1 and 2, title 22, book 4, of Collection of the Indies.
Il Laws 19 and 21, title 10, book 8, Law 13, title 22, book 4, Collection of the Indies:
T Book 8, title 10, of the Collection of the Indies, on the royal duty of the fifth, and book 4, title 22, on the assaying and smelling of gold and silver.
** Argument, cap. si. Papa, 10 de privil. in 6," et quia jam per alias leges provisum erat, quæ pon sunt superflua nec abrogatæ,” cap. si Romanorum, dist. 19.
# measure barrival of thelled), being