supposed to be smuggled) amounts, according 
to the best accounts, to about six millions 
sterling a-year
According to Mr Meggens[20], the annual 
importation of the precious metals into Spain
at an average of six years, viz. from 1748 to 
1753, both inclusive, and into Portugal, at an 
average of seven years, viz. from 1747 to 
1753, both inclusive, amounted in silver to 
1,101,107 pounds weight, and in gold to 
49,940 pounds weight. The silver, at sixty-two 
shillings the pound troy, amounts to 
L.3,413,431 : 10s. sterling. The gold, at 
forty-four guineas and a half the pound troy
amounts to L.2,333,446 : 14s. sterling. Both 
together amount to L.5,746,878 : 4s. sterling
The account of what was imported under register
he assures us, is exact. He gives us the 
detail of the particular places from which the 
gold and silver were brought, and of the particular 
quantity of each metal, which, according 
to the register, each of them afforded
He makes an allowance, too, for the quantity 
of each metal which, he supposes, may have 
been smuggled. The great experience of this 
judicious merchant renders his opinion of 
considerable weight
According to the eloquent, and sometimes 
well-informed, author of the Philosophical 
and Political History of the Establishment of 
the Europeans in the two Indies, the annual 
importation of registered gold and silver into 
Spain, at an average of eleven years, viz. from 
1754 to 1764, both inclusive, amounted to 
13,984,1853⁄5 piastres of ten reals. On account 
of what may have been smuggled, however, 
the whole annual importation, he supposes
may have amounted to seventeen millions of 
piastres, which, at 4s. 6d. the piastre, is equal 
to L.3,825,000 sterling. He gives the detail
too, of the particular places from which 
the gold and silver were brought, and of the 
particular quantities of each metal, which according 
to the register, each of them afforded
He informs us, too, that if we were to judge 
of the quantity of gold annually imported 
from the Brazils to Lisbon, by the amount of 
the tax paid to the king of Portugal, which it 
seems, is one-fifth of the standard metal, we 
might value it at eighteen millions of cruzadoes
or forty-five millions of French livres
equal to about twenty millions sterling. On 
account of what may have been smuggled, 
however, we may safely, he says, add to this 
sum an eighth more, or L.250,000 sterling, so 
that the whole will amount to L.2,250,000 
sterling. According to this account, therefore, 
the whole annual importation of the 
precious metals into both Spain and Portugal, 
amounts to about L.6,075,000 sterling
Several other very well authenticated, though 
manuscript accounts, I have been assured, 
agree in making this whole annual importation 
amount, at an average, to about six millions 
sterling; sometimes a little more, sometimes 
a little less. 
The annual importation of the precious 
metals into Cadiz and Lisbon, indeed, is not 
equal to the whole annual produce of the 
mines of America. Some part is sent annually 
by the Acapulco ships to Manilla; some 
part is employed in a contraband trade, which 
the Spanish colonies carry on with those of 
other European nations; and some part, no 
doubt, remains in the country. The mines 
of America, besides, are by no means the only 
gold and silver mines in the world. They, 
are, however, by far the most abundant. The 
produce of all the other mines which are known 
is insignificant, it is acknowledged, in comparison 
with their's; and the far greater part of 
their produce, it is likewise acknowledged, is 
annually imported into Cadiz and Lisbon. 
But the consumption of Birmingham alone, 
at the rate of fifty thousand pounds a-year, is 
equal to the hundred-and-twentieth part of 
this annual importation, at the rate of six millions 
a-year. The whole annual consumption 
of gold and silver, therefore, in all the 
different countries of the world where those 
metals are used, may, perhaps, be nearly equal 
to the whole annual produce. The remainder 
may be no more than sufficient to supply 
the increasing demand of all thriving countries. 
It may even have fallen so far short 
of this demand, as somewhat to raise the price 
of those metals in the European market
The quantity of brass and iron annually 
brought from the mine to the market, is out 
of all proportion greater than that of gold and 
silver. We do not, however, upon this account
imagine that those coarse metals are 
likely to multiply beyond the demand, or to 
become gradually cheaper and cheaper. Why 
should we imagine that the precious metals 
are likely to do so? The course metals, indeed, 
though harder, are put to much harder 
uses, and, as they are of less value, less care 
is employed in their preservation. The precious 
metals, however, are not necessarily immortal 
any more than they, but are liable, too, 
to be lost, wasted, and consumed, in a great 
variety of ways. 
The price of all metals, though liable to 
slow and gradual variations, varies less from 
year to year than that of almost any other 
part of the rude produce of land: and the 
price of the precious metals is even less liable 
to sudden variations than that of the coarse 
ones. The durableness of metals is the foundation 
of this extraordinary steadiness of price
The corn which was brought to market last 
year will be all, or almost all, consumed, long 
before the end of this year. But some part 
of the iron which was brought from the mine