d was carried on in armed vessels, well manned, and prepared to fight their way to the coast, and to resist, as they often did with effect, the guarda costas, or coast blockades of Spain. This singular system of warlike commerce was conducted by the Dutch, Portuguese, French, English, and latterly by the North Americans. In this way goods to an immense value were distributed over South America; and although the prices were necessarily high, and the supply precarious, that taste for the comforts and luxuries of European invention was first encouraged, which afterwards operated so powerfully in giving a steady and intelligible motive to the efforts of the Patriots in their struggle with the mother-country. Along with the goods which the contraband trade forced into the colonies, no small portion of knowledge found entrance, in spite of the increased exertions of the Inquisition and church influence, aided by the redoubled vigilance of government, who enforced every penalty with the utmost rigor. Many f
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