The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898 — Volume 12 of 55 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 307 pages of information about The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898 — Volume 12 of 55.

Further, they declare that the merchandise brought to the kingdom of Peru from China is not the cause of this decline of commerce between the Yndias and Espana, but the inadequate regulation of the war and merchant fleets, and the winter seasons, which are the utter ruin and destruction of the merchants.  This is plainly evident, since before the wars with Ynglatierra, when this matter was properly attended to, the commerce was extensive and profitable—­although there was no need of so much merchandise as there is now, when the population of Peru is so much larger than at that time—­and the merchants not only of Espana but of Peru were amassing wealth.  But now they are not doing so, for the reason that is here named.  All is going to destruction:  payments cannot be met when due; and duties are excessive, for in order to send money to Espana, the shippers pay seven and one-half per cent for the galleons to guard the money, and when goods are shipped from Sevilla, they pay as much as three and one-half per cent.  The principal cause of this loss is the time [required to transact business]; for from the day when the money leaves Callao (the port of Lima) until it returns in merchandise to the same point there is an interval of at least three years, counting the winters; and before they can secure returns from the merchandise another year, or even a year and one-half, must pass, for not all the merchandise can be sold for cash.  Consequently this money can gain its profit only once in four years, when it could, as formerly, be thus handled twice in that time.  And however great the amount of the profit, it cannot approach that of the two profits [in the four years], especially with the loss involved in the aforesaid duties for the fleets, and the new impositions of duty for the armed vessels that carry, in the South Sea, the money from Lima to Panama—­and this is in addition to the duties paid to his Majesty.  Thus it results that the merchants of Lima, who were formerly very rich and had ample credit, have become debtors; and this is the reason why the merchants of Sevilla do not make the same profits as formerly.  Therefore there is a cry against Chinese goods, as they imagine that to be the cause of their loss.  This is evident likewise, because the commerce existing formerly between Peru and Nueva Espana was very slight and now has increased greatly, and the Peruvian merchants prefer to go to Nueva Espana to make their investments rather than to Espana, because they can make the voyage to Nueva Espana in one year; and therefore can make many investments with their money.  And although it is true that they bring Chinese merchandise in their shipments from that which arrives in that kingdom of Nueva Espana, still the greater part of the cloth bought by them is from Espana.  Although this costs them more, the shortness of the time is of so great importance to them that they consider it more profitable than going to Espana, for the reason expressed above regarding the delay in time.  Thus, with suitable arrangements regarding galleons and merchant-vessels, commerce is prosperously carried on.

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The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898 — Volume 12 of 55 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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