4to. [20.5 x 14 cm], 158 pp., (1) f. index. With woodcut head- and tail-pieces, blazon of Charles III, and two Spanish galleons. Bound in mottled calf over boards, spine gilt in six decorative compartments. MS note opposite title page: "Pertenece al Maiorago (?) Casa Real." Somewhat worn at extremities. Generally very good.
First enlarged edition of an illustrated merchant’s guide to the duties and tariffs levied by the Spanish crown on exports from the Americas, chiefly gold and silver, but also concerning timber, textiles, furs, coffee, spices and foodstuffs.
After first offering a general overview of Spanish colonial commerce with Western Europe, Garcia de Prado provides a wide range of practical instructions for traders negotiating the hazardous waters of colonial finance, giving sample calculations for the volume of shipping containers, converting currency, and—crucially—providing a comprehensive alphabetical list of the royal tariffs on exports from America and the West Indies, printed as a table for quick reference, in terms of maravedis de plata (silver coins of account) and quintales (approx. 46 kg). The second half of the work is concerned with trade in gold and silver, explaining the six classes of government tariffs and their application to quintales of the metals in their various states (acuñada, labrada, grana fina etc.).
Printed at the Royal Navy Office in Cadiz, where Spanish shipping vessels would have arrived from the Americas, the present work anticipates later efforts by the Spanish Bourbons—particularly Charles III and the Marquis de Esquilache—to reform the fiscal administration of its colonial properties. Garcia de Prado remarks in his introduction that a much smaller work (un Quaderno) with the same title was printed in 1745, and that the present work aims to augment and update the information contained therein.
* JCB.III.1320; Medina 3999; Palau 58415; Sabin 15037.