METRIC SYSTEM IN THE SPANISH-CONTROLLED PHILIPPINES A RARE MANILA IMPRINT

El Contador ó tablas de reducción de las pesas y medidas legales de Castilla y demás que están en uso en las Islas Filipinas a las del nuevo sistema métrico decimal y recíprocamente, como también del sistema monetario.

Manila, Amigos del País, 1865.

Small 4to, pp. [6], 7-167, [1]; includes half-title, some fold-out tables; very occasional and minor spotting; a very good copy bound in contemporary half black morocco, gilt title and decoration on the spine, patterned endpapers, pebble-grained cloth boards, faded with corners slightly scuffed; first few leaves blind-stamped and ink-stamped by the Filipino Intendencia Militar, MS corrections in ink to text (p. 13) and to one of the tables (p.47), MS conversion table (p. 158).

£350

Approximately:
US $458€387

Make an enquiry

Added to your basket:
El Contador ó tablas de reducción de las pesas y medidas legales de Castilla y demás que están en uso en las Islas Filipinas a las del nuevo sistema métrico decimal y recíprocamente, como también del sistema monetario.

Checkout now

Presumably first edition of this colonial government-endorsed Filipino handbook for converting Castilian weights and measures into the new metric system, which had been introduced into law across all Spanish dominions in 1849 by Queen Isabella II. It includes the text of the law, as of an administrative decree of the Philippines of 1863, along with currency conversion rates and instructions for the reader with notes indicative of trade practice.

The decree of the Gobierno Superior Civíl de Filipinas of 1863 required the circulation of conversion tables (omitting any Castilian measures not known in the Philippines), the teaching of the new metric system in primary schools, and the creation of a commission, made up of professors of maths and physics, to facilitate the introduction of the new system. Cavada, authorised to produce this volume by the Gobierno Superior, includes an explanation of the new weights and measures, in the form of anticipated questions. These emphasise that the new weights and measures are to be used for all ordinary, commercial, and scientific purposes, and that both old and new units used in the Philippines are the same as those in Spain, although ‘se conoce la yarda, medida inglesa á que se refieren los tejidos que se importan en las Islas’. Such incidental details of international trade enrich an already fascinating documentation of the practicalities of late Spanish colonial administration in the Philippines.

The preliminaries are followed by 43 tables, converting the old Spanish units into the new metric system, and also giving the value of the units of currency. An additional manuscript table converts cuartos into céntimos de peso, a unit introduced into the Philippines by permission of Isabella II and first produced in the islands’ inaugural mint, the Casa de Moneda de Manila, in 1861.

Rare: not listed on COPAC. OCLC notes only two copies, in the Biblioteca Nacional de España and the National Library of Australia.

You may also be interested in...

PELLISSERY, Roch-Antoine de.

Eloge politique de Colbert: qui n’a point été présenté à l’Academie Française pour le prix de la St. Louis 1773.

First edition. This work provides a detailed examination of Colbert’s financial and economic work, with detailed information about the situation in France since his ministry. Colbert was the contrôleur général under Louis XIV and a firm believer in the mercantilist doctrine that the expansion of commerce was essential for the wealth of the state. He was less interested in internal trade and maintained restrictions and tariffs which in effect left the internal economy stagnant. The Physiocrats were to oppose this approach in favour of strengthening and liberalising the internal economy; Turgot tried to dismantle many elements of Colbert’s system.

Read more

COQUEREL, Nicolas de.

Discours de la perte que les François reçoiuent en la permission d’exposer les monnoyes estrangeres. Et l’unique moyen pour empescher que les bonnes & fortes monnoyes, à fabriquer aux coins & Armes du Roy, ne piussent estre à jamais falsifiées rognées, surhaussées de prix, ny transportées hors le Royaume …

First edition, scarce, of this work on monetary policy and coinage by Nicolas de Coquerel, general de monnaies at the court of Henri IV. Coquerel begins his work with a history of human society, in order to show the centrality of money and monetary policy to the State. Arthur E. Monroe describes his plans as similar in nature to those of Bodin and Scaruffi, in this case to make all French coinage based on divisions of the ‘Henrique d’or’ (Monetary theory before Adam Smith, p. 93).

Read more