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Full text of "Political essay on the kingdom of New Spain [microform] : containing researches relative to the geography of Mexico, the extent of its surface and its political division into intendancies, the physical aspect of the country, the population, the state of agriculture and manufacturing and commercial industry, the canals projected between the South Sea and Atlantic Ocean, the crown revenues, the quantity of the precious metals which have flowed from Mexico into Europe and Asia, since the discovery of the new continent and the military defence of New Spain"




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14 

ON THE 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



i 



CONTAIN INO 



Researches relatire to the Geo- 
graphy of Mexico, the Extent 
of its Surface and its political 
Division into Intendancies.the 
physical Aspect of the Coun- 
try, the Population, the State 
of Agricultiirc and Manufac- 
turing and Commercial In- 
<lustry, the Canals projected 



between the South Sea and 
Atlantic Ocean, the Crown 
Revenues, theQoantity of the 
precious Metals which have 
flowed from Mexico into Eu- 
rope and Asia, since the Dis- 
covery of the New Continent, 
and the Military Defence of 
Now Spain. 



BY ALEXANDER DE HUMBOLDT. 

WITH 

PHYSICAL SECTIONS AND MAPS, 

FOVNDBD ON ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATIONS, AND 

TRIUONOMBTRICAL AND BAROMETRICAL 

MEASUREMENTS. 



IRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL FRENCH 

BY JOHN BLACK. 



VOL. III. 



LONDON: 



'*.;4- 



C. 



PRINTED FOR LONG: IAN, HURST, REES, ORM£, AND BROWN, 
PATERNOSTfiR-ROW ; AND H. COLBURN, CONDUIT STB|ET. 

' 181L 



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H. Bryer, Printer, Bridgc-Strwt, Blacktriars, Loudon. 



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ADVERTISKMENT. 



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: ii 



>ii«lun. 



rir* 



The conclusion of Humboldt's Political 
Essay on New Spain is now laid before 
the Public. The Translator in these con- 
cluding volumes hhs continued to convert 
the weights, measures, and coins of the 
original, into those used in England, with 
all the accuracy in his power; but he bag 
cautiously and perhaps prudently abstained 
from taking notice of any seemii.if over- 
sight or inconsistency of M. de Humboldt, 
occurring to him in the course of tra..sla- 
t«on. It is hardly possible for a Translator 
of the ,„ost obtuse intellect not oc-ca«ionally 
to perceive a vulnerable point in his original ; 
and what the present Translator perceived 
or imagines he perceives, he is at no time 



^^^956 



ii 



■ I 



ADVERTISEMENT. 

very willing to keep locked up from others; 
but wht;ther from his former notes being 
intrinsically without merit, or from its being 
expected that so humble a being as a Trans- 
lator, should steer at as great a distance 
as possible from the higher parts of author- 
ship, the Translator candidly confesses 
that the reception of these notes so far as 
he has had occasion to learn, was not such 
as to induce him to resumse the office of 
Commentator. . ,. . 

From an idea that the weights used in the 
original, where the contrary was not ex- 
pressly stated, were French, the Translator 
uniformly considered marcs to mean marcs 
of France ; and it was not till near the end 
of the third volume, he discovered that 
the author meant marcs of Castille, which 
are to the French as 541 to 576 : the con- 
versions of marcs therefore as far as page 
394 of the third volume are all in a slight 
degree erroneous, and to be reduced to 
accuracy require to be multiplied by 
.93923. 



Ti others; 
:es being 
its being 
a Trans- 
distance 
f author- 
confesses 
so far as 
not such 
office of 



ADVERTISEMENT. 

The Translator in printing a hst of Errata 
has no doubt that it might be -^ ily in- 
creased by an attentive and in '.jgent 
reader. Those who know the difficulty of 
carrying a work through the press with a 
tolerable degree of correctness will not 
perhaps be the most forward to accuse him 
of inaccuracy. 



2d in the 
not ex- 
ranslator 
in marcs 
the end 
ed that 
e, which 
the con- 
as page 
a slight 
uced to 
ied by 



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ERRATA. 

Vol. Ill, page 131 line 1 for alluvious read ttttwviat. 

122 IS for grammalite, read grctmmatke. 

15 for gyenats, read garnets* 

134 13 for clayei/, read clai/. 

145 — 5 2nd column, for 7500, read ISCl 

153 6 {or viirouSyTe&A vitreous. 

181 — 2d note, for 9842, read 384)2. 
, 261 — 6 dele That, 



\f 



it i 

in 
■I. 



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.1 ■; 



BOOK IV. 



CHAPTER X. 



-=)'J><VI': -fit 

. < f ; i ' 

Plants supplying raiu materials for manufactures and com- 
merce—Rearing of cattle — Fisheries^Agricultural pro- 
duce estimated from the value of the tithes. 

Although the Mexican agriculture, like 
the agriculture of every country which supplies 
the wants of its own population, is principal- 
ly direfted towards alimentary plants, New 
Spain however is not less rich in those com- 
modities exclusively called Colonial ; that is to 
say in the productions which supply raw ma- 
terials for the commerce and manufacturing in- 
dustry of Europe. That vast kingdom unites, 
m this point of view, the advantages of New 
England with those of the West India Islands. 
It is beginning in a particular manner to 
enter into competition with these islands, now 
that the civil war of 8t. Domingo and the 
devastation of the French sugar colonies have 
yeiidered the cultivation of colonial commodi- 
ties more profitable on the continent of Ame- 

VOL. III. n 



2 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

rica. It is even observable that in Mexico 
this species of cultivation has made a much 
more considerable progress than that of corn. 
In these climates, the same extent of g'round, 
for example an acre of -5368 square metres*, 
yields to the cultivator from 80 to 100 francs 
in wheat, 250 francs in cotton, and 450 francs 
in sugar f. The diflference in the value of the 
produce being then so enormous, we ought by 
no means to wonder that the Mexican colo- 
nist gives to colonial commodities a preference 
o\er barley and wheat. But this predilection 
will never disturb the equilibrium which has 
hitherto existetl between the different branches 
of agriculture, because, fortunately a great 
part of New Spain, situated under a climate 
niore cold than temperate, is unfit for the 
production of sugar, coffee, cocoa, iudigo and 
cotton. 

The cultivation of the sugar cane has made 
such rapid progress within these last yeaiis, 
thiio the exportation of sugar at the port of 
Vera Ciiiz actually amounts to more than 



* 57780 square feet. Trans. 

f This estimate is looked upon as the most exact by the 
colonists of Louisiana near New Orleans, They calculate 
on 20 bushels of wheat, 250 pounds of cotton, and 1000 
pounds of sugar per acre. This is the mean produce ; but 
it may be easily conceived that these result* must be 
modified by a number of local circumstances. 



CHAP. X.] KINGDOM OF NE,W SPAIN. 



3 



I 
I 



half a million of arrobas, or 6,250,000 kilo- 
gramines*, whicli at three piastres the arroba, 
i.s equal to seven millions and a half of francsf . 
We have already observed that the ancient 
Mexicans were only acquainted with the sirop 
of honey, that of the metl (agave) and the 
sugar of maize cane. The sugar cane, culti- 
vated from the remotest antiquity in the East 
Indies, in ChinaJ, and in the South Sea Islands, 
was imported by the Spaniards, from the Ca- 
nary Islands into the Island of St. Domingo, 
from whence it was successively introduced into 
the Island of Cuba and New Spain. Peter 
D'Atienza planted the first sugar canes about 
the year 1520§ in the environs of the town of 
Conception de la Vega. Gonzalo de Velosa 
constructed the first cylinders ; and in 1536 
more than 30 sugar works were already esta- 
blished in the Island of St. Domingo, of whicli 
many were served by a hundred Negro slaves, 

* 13,7937501b. avoirtl. Trans. 

t jC 312,525 sterling. Trans. 

J I am even tempted to believe that the process used by 
us in the making of sugar, has been brought from Oriental 
Asia. I recognized at Lima in Chinese paintings repre- 
senting the arts and trades, cylinders placed horizontally 
and put in motion by a mill, cauldrons and purifying appara* 
tus such as are now to be seen in the West Indies. 

§ Not in 1506 as is generally said. — Oviedo, who came 
to America, in 1513, says expressly, that he saw the first 
sugar works established at St. Domingo. (HUtoria naturai 
de IndiaSf Lib. IV. c. 8.) 

B 3 



^\ 



4 POLirrCAL ESSAY ON THE Qbook iv 

and cost tVoiii 10 to 12 thousand ducats in 
expense of erection. It is remarkable enouii^li 
that an»oiiaf the first sugar mills (fra- 
piches) constructed l>y the Spaniards in the 
be^innino- of the 16th century, some of them 
were already put in motion not by horses but by 
hydraulical wheels, ilthonpfh these same water 
mills (irapiches) or molinos de a^na, have been 
introduced in our days into the Island of Cuba, 
as a foreign invention, by refug^ecs from Cjipe 
Francois. 

In \iV)Sthc abundance of suyfar was already 
so g'rcat in Mexico, that it was exported from 
Vera Cru/ and vVcapuIco into Spain and Peru*. 
This last exportation lias long ceased, as Peru 
produces now more sugar than is necessary 



* " Besides gold and silver, Mexico furnisheg also much 
sugar and cochineal, two very precious commodities, fea- 
thers and cotton. — Few Spanish vessels return without a 
cargo, which is not the case in Peru, that has however 
falsely the reputation of being richer than Mexico. This 
last country has also preserved a much greater number 
of its inhabitants. — It is a very fine and very populous 
country, to which nothing is wanting but more frequent 
rains.— -New Spain exports to Peru, horses, beef, and sugar." 
—This remarkable passage of Lopez de Gomara, who 
describes so v/ell the state of the Spanish Colonies to- 
wards the middle of the 16th century, is only to be found 
in the edition de la conquista de Mexico, published at 
Medina del Caropo, 155S, fol. 139. It is wanting in 
the French translation printed at Paris in 1587, p. 191. 



>l^ 



[book IV 

iucats in 
le enouirli 
lis (fra- 
Is in the 
! of them 
ses Init l)v 
me Avater 
have been 
of Cii})a, 
oni Cjipe 

s already 
rted from 
id Pern*, 
as Peru 
necessary 



also much 
>ditie8, fea- 
without a 
s however 
ico. This 
r number 
populous 
frequent 
nd sugar." 
nara, who 
onies to- 
be found 
lished at 
anting in. 
p. 191. 



CHAP. X.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



6 



for its own consumption. As the pojmlation of 
New Spain is concentrated in the interior of 
the country, we find fewer sui^ar works along* 
the coast, where the i*-reat heats and abundant 
rains are favoiu-able to the cidtivation of the 
sugar, than on the ascent of the Cordilleras, and 
in the more elevated parts of the central table 
land. The principal plantations are in the in- 
tendancy of Vera Cruz, near the towns of Ori- 
zaba and Cordova ; in the intendancy of Puebia, 
near Guautla de las Amilpas, at the foot of 
the Volcan de Popocatepetl ; in the intendancy 
of Mexico, to the westward of the Nevado de 
Toluca, and to the south of Cuernavacca, in the 
plains of San Gabriel ; in the intendancy of 
Guanaxuato, near Celaya, Salvatierra and Pen- 
jamo, and in the valley of Santiago; in the 
intendancies of Yalladolid and Guadalaxara, to 
the southwest of Pazcuaro and Tecolotlan. 
Although the mean temperature most suitable 
to the sugar cane is 24° or 25° of the centigrade 
Thermometer*, this plant may however be suc- 
cessfully cultivated in places where the mean an- 
nual heat does not exceed 19° or 20°f . Now 
the decrease of the caloric being nearly a 
degree of the Centigrade Thermometer for ''every 
200 metres J of devation, we find in general, 

* From 75" to 77° of Fahrenheit. Trans, 
t From 66" to 68'» of Fahrenheit. Trans. 
t 200 metres =: 656 English feet Trans. 



I 



'I 



ii I 



1 



fc 



' fii 



; I 



6. POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

under the tropics, on the rapid declivitv of moun- 
tains, this mean temperature of 20° at 1000 
metres of elevation* above the level of the ocean. 
On table land of a great extent, the heat is 
increased to such a degree by the reverbera- 
tion of the earth, that the mean temperature of 
the City of Mexico is 17° instead of 13^ Tf ; 
that of Quito, is 15°. 8 instead of 11°. ^J. The 
result of these data, is, that on the central 
table land of Mexico, the maximum of heat at 
which the sugar cane vegetates vigorously 
without suffering from frost in winter, is not 1000 
but from 1400 to 1500 iretres^. In favourable 
exposures, especially in valleys sheltered by 
mountains from the north winds, the highest 
limit of sugar cultivation reaches as high as 
2000 metres. In fact, if the height of the plains 
of San Gabriel which contain many fine sugar 
plantations, is only 980 metres, on the other 
hand the environs of Celaya, Salvatierra, 
Irapuato and Santiago, are beyond 1800 metres 
of absolute elevation. I have been assured that 
the sugar cane plantations of Rio Verde, situated 
to the north of Guanaxuato under 22° 30' of 
latitude, are at an elevation of 2200 metres ||, 
in a narrow valley surrounded by high Cordil- 

* 3280 feet. Trans. 
t 62° 6 and 5^'' 6 of Fahr. Trans. 
X 60° 4 and 52° 9 of Fahr. Trans. 
§ From 4592 to 4920 feet. Trans. 
Ij 7211 feet. Trans. 



[book IV. 

' of nioun- 
at 1000 
the ocean. 
le heat is 
•everbera- 
eratiire of 

la^ 7t ; 
5t. The 
e central 
f heat at 
igorously 
mot 1000 
ivourable 
tered by 
3 highest 

high as 
he plains 
ne sugar 
he other 

vatierra, 
metres 
ired that 

situated 

°30' of 
metres II, 

Cordii- 



CHAP. X.J 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



leras, and so warm that its inhabitants fi*e- 
qiiently suffer from intermittent fevers. I dis- 
covered on examining the testament of Cortez* 
that in the time of this great man there were 
sugar works near Cuyoacan in the valley of 
Mexico. This curious fact proves what is 
indicated by several other phenomena, that 
this valley is colder in our days than it was at 
the commencement of the conquest, because a 
great number of trees then diminished the 
effect of the north winds which now blow with 
impetuosit3^ Those accustomed to see sugar 
cane plantations in the West India Islands 
will learn with the same astonishment, that in 
the kingdom of New Granada the greatest 
quantity of sugar is not yielded in the plains 
oil the banks of the river de la Madalena, but 
on the ascent of the Cordilleras, in the valley 
of Guaduas, on the road from Honda to Santa 
Fe, in a district which according to my barome- 
trical measurement, is from 1200 to 1700 metresf 
above the level of the sea. 

* " I order an examination to be made whether in my 
estados lands have been taken from the natives to be planted 
with vines ; I wish also an examination to be made as to 
the ground given by me in these last years to my domestic 
Bernardino del Castillo for the establishment of a sugar 
plantation near Cuyoacan." (Manuscript testament of 
Hernan Coriez, executed at SexAUe, the l^th August, 1548, art 
48.) 

t From 3936 to 5576 feet. Trans. 



^ 



, < 



.) 



S POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE Lbook iv. 

Fortunately the introduction of Negroes has 
not augmented in Mexico in the same propor- 
tion as the sugar produce. Although in the 
intendancy of Puebla near Guautla de las 
Amilpas, there are plantations (haciendas de 
can a) which yield annually more than from 
twenty to thirty thousand arrobas* (from 500,000 
to 750,000 kilogrammesf) almost all the Mexican 
sugar is manufactured by Indians and con- 
sequently by free hands. It is easy to foresee 
that the small West India Islands, notwithstand- 
ing their favourable position for trade, will not 
be long able to sustain a competition with the 
continental colonies, if the latter continue to 
give themselves up with the same ardour to 
the cultivation of sugar, coflee and cotton. In 
the physical as well as in the moral world, every 
thing terminates in a return to the order pre- 
scribed by nature ; and if small islands, of which 
the population was exterminated, have hitherto 
carried on a more active trade with their pro- 
ductions than the neighbouring continent, it is 
only because the inhabitants of Cumana, Cara- 

* This produce is very considerable, and it is only to 
be found in a single plantation in the Island of Cuba of the 
name of Rio Blancoy belonging to the Marquis del Arcos, 
between Xaruco and Matanzas, which annually produces 
40,000 arrobas of sugar. There are not eight which yield 
for ten years in succession 35,000. 

t From 1,103,500 to 1,655,250 lib. avoird. Trans, 



CHAP. X.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



1) 



ras, New Granada and Mexico began very late 
to profit by the immense advantages derived by 
them from natnre. But ronsed from a lethargy 
of many ages, freed from the shackles which a 
false poli(;y imposed on the progress of agricul- 
ture, the Spanish colonies of the continent 
will gradually take possession of the different 
branches of the West India trade. This change, 
which has been prepared by the events of St. 
Domingo, will have the most fortunate issue in the 
diminution of the slave trade ; and suffering hu- 
manity will owe to the natural progress of things 
what we had a right to expect from the wisdom 
of the European governments. Thus the colonists 
of the Havannah, well informed as to their true 
interests, have their eyes fixed on the progress 
of sugar cultivation in Mexico, and the coffee of 
the Caracas. They have long dreaded the rival- 
ship of the continent, especially since the want 
of combustibles, and the excessive dearth of pro- 
visions, slaves, metallick utensils, and the neces- 
sary cattle, have considerably diminished the 
net revenue of the plantations. " 

New Spain besides the advantage of its po- 
pulation, has still another very important one 
in the enormous mass of capitals in the pos- 
session of the proprietors of mines, or in the hands 
of merchants who have retired from com- 
merce. In order fully to feel the importance 
of this advantage, we must recollect that in 



(i. 



i 


I : 


t 

'1 


1 


! 


k 


1 


f 




1 



10 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



the island of Ciiha the establishment of a 
great suj^ar plantation, worked hy 300 ne- 
groes, and yieldini»- annunlly 500,000 kilo- 
grammes* of SHf^ar, ref|nires an advance of 
two millions of livres l^onrnoisf, and that it 
brings in from 300,000 to 350,0(K)J livres of 
revenue. The Mexican colonist may choose 
along the coast, and in the valleys of greater 
or less depth, the most suitable climate for the 
sugar cane ; and he has less to fear from frost 
than the colonist of Louisiana. But the ex- 
traordinary configuration of the surface of New 
Spain throws great obstacles in the way of 
transporting sugar to Vera Cruz. The plan- 
tations now in existence are for the most part 
very remote from the coast opposite to Europe. 
The country having yet neither canals nor 
roads fit for carriage, the mule carriage of the 
sugar to Vera Cruz increases its price a pi- 
astre per arroba, or eight sous per kilogramme §. 
These obstacles will be much diminished 
by the roads now making from Mexico to 
Vera Cruz by Orizaba and by Xalapa, along 
the eastern slope of the Cordilleras. It is 
also probable that the progress of colonial 
agriculture will contribute to people the shores 

* 1,103,500 lb. avoird Trans. 

+ jg 83,340 sterling. Trans, 

% From jg 12500 to 14581 Sterling. Trans. 

§ About 3d. per 2 lb. avoird. Trans. 



[book IV. 

(Tient of H 
y 300 ne- 
1,000 kilo- 
advanrn of 
ind that it 
I livres of 
lay choose 
of greater 
late for the 
from frost 
ut the ex- 
ce of New 
le way of 
The plan- 
most part 
to Europe, 
canals nor 
Bige of the 
ice a pi- 
gramme §. 
iiminished 
lexico to 
ipa, along- 
IS. It is 
colonial 
the shores 



CHAP. X.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



n 



of New Spain, which fur ages have remaine<l 
desert and uncultivated. 

It is obser\ ed in Mexico that the vezouy or 
juice expressed from the sugar cane is more or 
less sugary, according as the plant grows in the 
plain, or on an elevated table land. The same 
difference exists in the cane cultivated at 
Malaga, the Canary Islands, and the Havannah. 
The elevation of the soil every where produces 
the same effects on vegetation, as the difference 
i)f geographical latitude. The climate has 
also an influence on the proportion, between 
the (juantities of liquid and crystallizable sugar 
contained in the juice of the cane; for some- 
times the vezou has a very sweet savour, and 
yet crystallizes with great difficulty. The che- 
mical composition of the vezou is not always 
the same, and the excellent experiments of M. 
Proust, have thrown great light on the phe- 
nomena discoverable in the American sugar 
works, many of which are to the sugar refiner 
the cause of great despondency. 

From the most exact calculations that I 
could make at the island of Cuba, I find that 
a given hectare of ground yields for mean 
term 12 cubic metres of vezou, from which is 
drawn by the processes hitherto in use, in which 
much sugary matter is decomposed by fire, at 
most from ten to twelve per cent, or 1500 
kilogrammes* of raw sugar. They reckon at 
* 3310 lb. avoird. Trans, 






12 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



ii 



the Havannah, and in the warm and fertile 
parts of New Spain, that a cahalleria of ground 
which contains 18 square c'orrf*?/<?* (at 24 t?ar«.v), 
or 133,<517 square metres*, yiehls annually 2000 
arrohas, or 25,0(K) kilofiframmes.f The mean 
produce, however, is only 1500 arrobas, which 
is 1400 kilogrammes of sugar per hectare J. 
At St. Domingo, the produce of a cnrreau of 
ground containing 3403 toises,or 12,900§ square 
metres is estimated at 4000 pounds, which is 
equal to 1550 kilogrammes per hectare. Such 
is, in general, the fertility of the soil of 
equinoctial America, that all the sugar consumed 
in France, which I estimate at 20 millions of 
kilogrammes II, might be produced on a sur- 
face of 7 square leagues^, an extent which 

♦ 1,437,163 square feet. Trans. 

f Upwards of 50,000 lb. avoird. Trans. 

X 3089 lb. avoird. p. 107,639 square feet. Tratis. 

§ 138,854 square feet. Trans. 

H 44,140,0001b. avoird. Trans. 

f France drew from her Colonies in 1788, a total of 
872,867 quintals of raw sugar, 768,566 of clayed sugar, 
and 242,074 of sucre tite*. Of this quantity according to 
M. Peuchet, only 434 thousand quintals of refined sugar were 
consumed in the kingdom. We learn from the lists pub- 
lished during i;he ministry of M. Chaptal, that the impor- 
tation of sugar amounted in France in the year 9, to 
515,100 quintals. 

I 

* Sucre lite or sucre de tete is that which is taken from the upper part 
or head of the conical pot or pan {forme) used in the making of clayed 
sugar. (Casaux sur l^art de cidlivez la cnnner, p. ^53.) Trans. 



.BOOK IV. 

1 fertile 

^touikI 

i varas), 

lly 2000 

le mean 

<, which 

jctare |. 

rreau of 

^ square 

I'hich is 

I. Such 

soil of 

nsumed 

lions of 

a siir- 

which 



CHAP. X.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN 



l;i 



total of 
d sugar, 
irding to 
gar were 
ists pub- 

impor- 
r 9, to 



per part 
)f clayed 






is not the thirtieth part of the smallest depart- 
ment of France. 

In i^Tounds capable of beinj^ watered, and 
in which plants with tuberous roots, for ex- 
ample hatales and ignaineSf have preceded the 
cultivation of the sugar cane, the annual pro- 
duce amounts even to three or four thousand 
arrobas per caballeria, or to 2100 and 2800 
kilogrammes of raw sugar per hectare. Now, 
in estimating* an an'oba at three piastres, which 
is the mean price at Vera Crnz, we find from 
these data, that a hectare of irrigated ground, 
will yield to the amount of 2500 or 3400 
livres tournois in sugar*, while the same hec- 
tare would only yield to the value of 260 
livres in wheat, supposing a decuple return, 
and estimating 100 kilogrammes of wheat at 
1600 livres touniois. In drawing a comparison 
between these two species of cultivation, we 
must never I'oi get, that the advantages of the 
sugar cane cultivation are very much diminished, 
by the enorn:ous advances required in the esta- 
blishment of a sugar plantation. 

The greatest part of the sugar produced 
in New Spain, is consumed in the country. 
The consumption probably amounts to more 
than 16 millions of kilogrammesf ; for that of 
the Island of Cuba, undoubtedly amounts to 
from 25 to 30,000 chests (caxas) of 16 ar* 

* Fromj« 104 to * 141 p. 107,639 square feet. Trans. 
t Upwards of 35 millions of pounds avoird. Trans. 



14 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



il 



i ^ 



robas, or 200 kilogrammes. Those who have 
not seen with their own eyes, the enormoa*^ 
quantity of sugar consumed in Spanish Ante- 
rica, even in the poorest families, will be as- 
tonished to hear, that the whole of France 
demands for its own wants only three or four 
times as much sugar as the Island of Cuba, 
of which the free population does not exceed 
the number of 340,000 inhabitants. • 

I have endeavoured to bring* together iit 
one view, the exportation of sugar from New 
Spain, and that from the West India Islands- 
It was impossible for me to reduce all its 
data, to the same period. I could not procure 
certain information, as to the actual [>roduce 
of the English Islands, which has prodigi- 
ously increased. The Island of Cuba expor- 
ted in 1803 from the port of the Havanniih, 
158,000 caxaSj and from the port of the Trinity 
and Santiago de Cuba, including the contra- 
band 3000 caxas ; Hence : 



Total exportation of Sugar from the Island Kilogr. 

of Cuba - - - 37,600,000 

Exportation of Sug«r from New Spain, 500,000 

arrobas, in 1803 - - - 6,250,000 

E*jK>nation from Jamaica, in 1788 - 4-2,000,000 

Exportation from the English Virgin Islands and 

Antigua, in 1788 - - - 4'y,610,00O 

Exportation from St. Domingo, in 1788 - 82>000,00O 

'• in 1799 - 20,400,000 

I believe we may admit, that the whole 
of the American Inlands actually sitj^ply Europe 



SOOK tV. 


• 


10 have 




ormoa<^ 




Ante- 


1 


be as- 




France 




or four 




Cuba, 




exceed 




ther iit 




11 New 




[slands. 




all its 




procure 




iroduee 




>rodi^i- 




expor- 




anniih» 




IViuitv 




contra- 

' t » : 




f 

iiogr. ' 




,600,000 




250,000 


M 


ooo,ooa 


,5-- 


610,000 
000,000 


1 


too,ooo 


ji 


whole 


1 


lurope 


1 



CHAP. X.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



15 



with more than 200 millions of kilogrammes 
of r. ,/ sugar, of which the value even in the 
Colonies is 40 millions of piastres, or more 
than 200 millions of livres tournois*, estima- 
ting the caxa at 40 double piastres. Three 
causes have concurred to prevent the rise of 
this colonial commodity, since the destruction 
of the plantations of St. Domingo; namely 
the introduction of the sugar cane of Otaheite, 
which on the same extent of ground y'v^hU- 
a third more vezou than the conr,iion cane ; 
the progress of agriculture on the coast oi 
Mexico, Louisiana, Caracas, Dutch Guyana and 
Brazil ; and lastly the importation of suga»- 
from the East Indies into Europe. • ' 

This importation especially ought to fix the 
attention of those who reflect on the future 
direction of coinu.erce. Ten years ago, the 
Bengal sugar was as little known in the 
great market of Europe, as the sugar of Nev* 
Spain, and now both of them compete with 
the sugar of the West India Islands. 

The United States have received sugar from 
Asia, as follows 



■ ■ 


In 1800 


In 1801 


In 1802 


From Manilla - 
From China and the' 
East Indies - 


Kilogr. 
216,452 

■ 310,020 


Kilogr. 
403,389 

387,204 


Kilogr. 
646,461 

574,939 


Total 526,472 


790,593 


1,221,400 



* 8 millions Sterling. Trans. 



:V 



1« 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book it, 



!!"'i'i'i 



The great fertility of the soil, and the im- 
mense population, gives such great advantages 
to Bengal over every other country of the globe, 
that the sugar exporte<l from Calcutta, after a 
passage of 5200 leagues, is still lower at New 
York than the Jamaica sugar, which comes 
only from a distance of 860 leagues. This 
phenomenon will not appear so astonishing, to 
whoever casts his eye over the table given by 
me in a former part of the work, of the wages 
of labour* in the different countries of the 
world, and who reflects that the sugar of Hin- 
dostan, which is not however of the greatest 
purity, is manufactured byfree-li nr; -vhile in 
the West India Islands (in the Island of Cuba 
for example) to produce 250,000 kilogrammes 
of raw sugar, requires 200 negroes wnose pur- 
chase amounts to more than 300,000 francs f. 
In the same Island the maintenance of a slave 
costs more than 20 francs per month {. 

According to the curious information given 
by M. Bockford, in his Indian Recreations^ 

* According to Mr. Playfair, (Statistical Breviary i r (.: 
p. 60.) the price of labour in Bengal is as folloi^v^ n 
mere workman gains 12 shillings per month; a porter 
15; a mason 18^; a blacksmith or carpenter 221 ; an Indian 
soldier 20: all in the environs of Calcutta, reckoning the 
English shilling at 25 French sous, and the rupee at two 
•hillings and sixpence. 

t rf 12501 Sterling. Trans. 

% 16s, 8d, Tram. 



P' 



[book ir. 

tid the im- 
ad vantages 
' the globe, 
tta, after a 
31* at New 
lich comes 
lies. This 
tiishing, to 
n given by 
the wages 
es of the 
r of Hin- 
e greatest 
'vhile in 
i of Cuba 
ogrammes 
nose pur- 
[) francs f. 
)f a slave 

ion given 
'.creations^ 

mary J?-^T;:'o;. 

foUoWc it. 

; a porter 
; an Indian 
koning the 
ipee at two 



i 






CHAP. 3C.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



17 



printed at Calcutta, the sugar cane is cuJtJ.vated 
11} Bengal, principally in the districts of Ped- 
dapore, Zemindar, in the Delta of Godavery, 
and on the banks of the river Elyseram. The 
plantations are watered there, as is also cus- 
tomary in several parts of Mexico, and in the 
valley of Guines, to the south east of the Ha- 
vannah. To prevent the soil from being ex- 
hausted, they cultivate alternately leguminous 
plants with the sugar cane, which attains in 
general three metres of elevation, and from 
three to four centimetres in thickness.* In 
Bengal, an acre (of 5368 square metres) yields 
2500 kilogrammes of sugar,f amounting to 
4650 kilogrammes per hectare: consequently 
the produce of the soil is twice as great as 
that <ii the West Indies, while the price of the 
labour of a free Indian, is almost three times 
less than that of a negro slave of the Island 
of Cuba. In Bengal, six pounds of the juice 
of the cane yield a pound of crystallized sugar, 
while in Jamaica eight pounds are requisite 
to produce the same quantity of sugar. Con- 
sidering the vezQU as a liquid charged with 
salt, we find that in Bengal this liquid con- 
tains 16, and in Jamaica 12 per cent, of sac- 
charine matter. Hence the sugar of the East 
Indies is so low priced, that the cultivator 

♦ 9 feet 10 inches, by from 11 to Ijl inches. Tram, 
' t 5517 lb. avoird. Trans, 
VOL. III. C 



■" Mb 



y ^.^. 



1 ht 



'i: ^ 



13 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [b»ok !▼. 



sells it at 4f roiipees the quintal, or at 26 cen- 
times the kilogramme, which is nearly the 
third of the value of that commodity in the 
Havannah market. Although the cultivation 
of the sugar cane is spreading with astonishing 
rapidity in Bengal, the total produce is still 
much less than that of Mexico. Mr. Bockford 
supposes the produce of Jamaica to be the 
quadruple of that of Bengal. 

Cotton is one of those plants of which the 
cultivution, was as antient among the Aztec 
tribes, as that of the pite, the maize, and the 
quinoa. There is some of the -finest quality 
n the western coast, from Acapulco to Colima, 
and at the port of Guautlan, particularly to 
the south of the Volcan de Jorullo, between 
the villages of Petatlan, Teipa, and Atoyaque. 
As they are yet miacquainted with machines 
for separating the cotton from the seed, the 
price of carriage is a great obstacle in the way 
of this branch of Mexican ag^culture. An 
arroba of cotton (Algodon con peppa) which 
sells for 8 francs at Teipa, costs 15 at Tal- 
ladolid, on account of the mule carriage. That 
part of the eastern coast extending from the 
moutlis of the rivers Guasacualco and d'Alva- 
rado, to Panuco, might supply the commerce of 
Vera Cruz, with an enormous quantity of cotton; 
but the coast is ahnost uninhabited, and the 
waat of hands occasions a dearth of provisions, 



ijiW')' 



[B90K IT. 

26 cen- 
arly the 
f in the 
iltivation 
:onishin^ 
e is still 
3ockford 
• be the 

hich the 
e Aztec 
and the 

quality 
Colima, 
ularly to 
between 
toyaque* 
nachin^s 

edy the 
the way 

e. An 
which 
at Val- 
That 
•m the 

d'Alva. 

erce of 

cotton; 

nd the 

(visions, 



CHAF. X.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



19 



unfavourable to every agricultural establishment. 
New Spain supplies Europe annually with 
only 25,000 arrohas, or 312,000 kilogrammes* 
of cotton. This quantity though in itself very 
inconsiderable, is however six times greater 
than that exported by the United States, of 
their own growth in 1791, according to the 
information which I owe to the kindness of 
M. Gallatin, Finance Minister at Washington. 
But the rapidity of the increase of industry, 
among a free people wisely governed is so 
great, that according to a note furnished me 
by the same statesman, the United States ex- 
ported. 



Home Cotton. 
In 1797 - 2,500,000 lib. 
1800 - 3,660,000 • 

1802 - 3,400,000 - 

1803 - 3,4<93,544< - 



Foreign Cotton. 

- 1.200,000 lib. 

- 14.,120,000 

- 24-,100,000 

- 37,712,079 



From these data of M. Gallatin, it follows 
that the produce of cotton has become 377 times 
greater in twelve yeai's. When we consider the 
physical positions of the United States and 
Mexico, we can hardly entertain a doubt that 
these two countries will one day be enabled 
to produce all the cotton employed in the 
manufactures of Europe. The enlightened 
merchants who compose the chamber of com- 
merce of Paris, have asserted in a memoir 



* 68Si,584< lb. avoird. 
c 2 



Trans. 



20 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [hook iv, 



i! ' m 



f .1... 



t '^^ 



■r ■:■} 



printed a few years ago, that the total impor- 
tation of cotton into Europe, amounts to 30 
millions of kilogrammes*. I am inclined to 
believe that this estimate is much below the 
truth; for the United States alone have expor- 
ted annually, more than 22 millions of kilo- 
grammes of cottonf, amounting in value to 
7,920,000 dollars, or nearly 40 millions of livres 
tournois. 

Flax and hemp may be advantag'eously 
cultivated wherever the climate does not admit 
of the cultivation of cotton, as in the provincias 
internas and even in the equinoctial region or 
table land, where the mean temperature is under 
14 degrees of the centigrade thermometerj. 
The Abbe Clavigero advances that flax is to be 
found wild in the intendancy of Valladolid and in 
New Mexico, but I viery much question whether 
the assertion is founded on the accurate obser- 
vation of any botanical traveller. However it 
is certain that neither flax nor hemp have to 
this day been cultivated in Mexico. Spain has 
had a few enlightened ministers who wished to 
favour these two branches of colonial industry ; 
but their favour was nothing more than tem- 
porary. The council of the Indies, whose influ- 
tnce is durable like that of every body in which 

* 62,100,000 lb. avoird. Trans. 
t 48,558,000 lb. avoird: Trans. 
X BT^ofFahrenh. Trans, 



l^flOOK IV. 

tal impor- 
iiits to 30 
iclined to 
below the 
ive expor- 
s of kilo- 
value to 
sof livres 

itag-eously 

not admit 

provincias 

region or 

eis under 

Qometerf. 

X is to be 

lid and in 

I whether 

ite obser- 

)wever it 

have to 

ipain has 

i^ished to 

ndustry ; 

an tem- 

>se influ- 

n which 



<;HAP. X.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



21 



the same principles are perpetuated, have ever 
wished the mother country to oppose the cultiva- 
tion of flax, the vine, the olive, and the mulbeiTy. 
Unenlightened as to its true interests, the govern- 
ment has always preferred seeing the Mexican 
people clothed with cotton purchased at Manilla 
and Canton, or imported at Cadiz by English 
vessels, to the protection of the manufactures of 
New Spain. It is to be hoped that the moun- 
tainous part of Sonora, the intendancy of 
Durango and New Mexico, will one day rival 
Galicia and the AsturiaS in the production of 
-flax. As to hemp, it would be of importance 
not to introduce into Mexico the European 
species, but that which is cultivated in China 
(cannabis indica), of which the stalk grows to 
the height of five or six metres*. We have 
every reason to presume, however, that the 
cultivation of flax and hemp will spread with 
great difficulty in that region of Mexico abound- 
ing with ootton. The steepinr/ requires more 
care and labour than the separation of cotton 
from the seed ; and in a country where there 
are few hands, and much laziness, the preference 
is naturally given to a cultivation of which the 
the produce is nmch more promptly and easily 
managed. - 

The cultivation of eoflee in the island of Cuba 



* 16 or 19 feet. Trans. 



n 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book tv. 



'^-1^^; 






i ■^"H.: 



and the Soanish colonies on the continent, com- 
mcnced only since the destruction of the plan- 
tations of Saint Domingo*. In 1804 the island 
of Cuba produced ah-eady 1 2,000 and the pro- 
vince of Caracas nearly »3000 quintals. New 
Spain possesses sugar plantations i:5 ^i^reater 
number, and more considerable llian Terra Firma 
possesses ; but the production of coffee amounts 
yet to nothing, though it can hardly be doubted 
that this species of cultivation would succeed 
perfectly well in the temperate regions, par- 
ticularly at the elevation of the towns of Xalapa 
and Chilpansingo. The use of coffee is still so 
rare in Mexico, that the whole country does not 
consume annually more than four or five hundred 
quintals; while the consumption of France, 
where the population is scarcely five times 



M 



♦ The French part of St. Domingo produced in 178^ 

only 445,734 quintals of coffee ; but five years afterwards 

it produced 762,865. And yet the price in 1783 was 50 

francs the quintal, and 94 francs in 1788; which proves 

how much the use of coiTee has been spreading in Europe 

notwithstanding the advanced price. Yemen furnishes 

annually according to Raynal 130fOOO, and according to 

Mr. Page 150,000 quintals, which are almost all exported 

to Turkey, Persia, and India. The Isles of France and 

Bourbon yield 45,000 quintals. It appears to me, from what 

information I have been able to procure, that all Europe 

actually consumes annually, nearly 53 millions of kilogrammes 

of cofke ( 1 16,971,000 lbs. avoird. Trans*) The coffee-tree 

yields in a good soil one kilogramme of cofTect and 960 of 

them maybe planted on a hectare of ground. 






BOOK IV« 



«iIAF. X.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



23 



it, com- 
e plan- 
3 island 
the pro- 
New 
:rreater 
a Firma 
imounts 
doubted 
succeed 
IS, par- 
Xalapa 
i still so 
oes not 
lundred 
France, 
times 

in 173^ 
lerwards 

was 50 
h proves 

Europe 
iimishes 
rding to 
xported 
nee and 
)m what 

Europe 
rammes 
Fee-tree 

960 of 



greater than that of New Spain, amounts to 
nearly 230,000 quintals. 

The cultivation of the cocoa-tree (cacari or 
cacava quahuill) had already made considerable 
progress in Mexico in the time of Montezuma ; 
and it was there where the Spaniards obtained 
a knowledge of that precious tree which they 
afterwards transplanted into the Canary and 
Philippine Islands. The Mexicans prepared a 
beverage called by them chocolatl, in which a 
little maize flour, vanilla {tlilxochitl) and the 
fruit of a species of spice (mccaxochitl) were 
mixed with the co oa (cacahimtl)*. They 
could even reduce the chocolate to cakes, 
and this art, the instruments used in grinding 
the cocoa, as well as the word cJiocolatl, have 
been transferred from Mexico to Europe. 
This is so much the more astonishing, as the 
cultivation of the cocoa is now almost totally 

* Hernandez, Lib. II. c. 15; Lib. III. c. 46; Lib. V. 
c. 13. In the time of Hernandez, they distinguished four 
varieties of cocoa, called quauhcahuatlt mecacahuntl, xochi- 
tucahuatl, and tlalcacahuail. Thb last variety had a very 
small seed: the tree which produced it bore an analogy 
undoubtedly to the cocoa, whieh we found growing 
wild on the banks of the Orinoca» to the east of the 
mouth of the Yao. The cocoa tree cultivated for cen- 
turies, has a larger, sweeter, and more oily seed. We 
must not confound with the Theobrama Cacao the T, bicolor, 
of which I have given a drawing in our Places equinox' 
iales (T. I. PI. xxx. a.eti.p, 104hJ and which it peculiar 
to the Province of Choco. 



POLinCAL ESSAY ON THE tsooK tv. 



ir Ml 



u ; •■:i»J 



f,% 



J: '-'^Cf 



neglected. With tlifficnlty we can find a few 
of these trees in the environs of Colima, and 
on the banks of the Giiasaciiah*o. The cocoa 
phintations in the Province of Tabasco are very 
inconsiderable; and Mexico draws all the cocoa 
necessary for its consumption from the Kingdom 
of Guatimala, Maracaybo, Caracas, and Gua- 
yaquil. This consumption appears to amount 
annually to 30,000 fanef/aSf of the weight of 
60 kilogTammes each*. The Abbe Hervas 
maintains that the whole of Spain consumes 
90,000 fanegas-\. The icsult of this estimate, 
which appears to me too low, is that Spain only 
consimies the third part of the coffee annually 
imported into Europe. But according to the 
enquiries made by me on the spot, from 1799 
to 1803, 1 found the annual exportation of 
coffee to be, 

Fanegas. 

In the Provinces of Venezuela and Maracaybo - 145,000 

.In the Province of New Andalusia (Curaana) - 1«,000 

In the Province of New Barcelona - - - 5,000 

In the Kingdom of Quito, from the Port of! cq qqq 

Guayaquil ----- 3 

The value of these eleven millions a.ad a 
half of kilogrammes ot cocoa, amounts in Eu- 
rope in time of peace, estimating the fanega 
at only 40 piastres, to the sum of 4-5,600,000 



* 110 lb. avoird. Trans. 

t Idea del Universo, T. I. p. 174^. 



SOOK IV. 



CHAP. X.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



56 



1 a few 
na, and 
e cocoa 
ire very 
r* cocoa 
ingdom 
[1 Giia- 
amount 
iffht of 
Hervas 
msumes 
ttiinate, 
lin only 
innnaliy 
to the 
inl799 
ition of 

Fanegas. 

145,000 

1«,000 

5,000 

60,000 

&ad a 
In Eii- 
fanega 
>,000 



livres toumois*. In the Spanish Colonies, cho- 
colate is not considered an object of Uixury, 
Imt of prime necessity. It is in fact, a very 
healthy and nntritive aliment, and is of particular 
assistance to travellers. The chocolate prepa- 
red at Mexico is of a superior quality, be- 
cause the commerce of Vera Ciiiz and Aca- 
pulco, brings into New Spain the famous cocoa 
of Soconiisco, (Xoconochco) from the coast of 
Guatimala; the cocoa of Gnalan from the 
gulph of Honduras near Omoa; of UrUiicti 
near St. Sebastian in the province of Caracas; 
of Capiriqual in the province of New Bar- 
celona; and of Esmeralda in the Kingdom of 
Quito. ' '' 

In the time of the Aztec kings, cocoa seeds 
were made use of as money in the great mar- 
ket of Tlatelolco, as shells were in the Mal- 
divian Islands. The cocoa of Soconusco, cul- 
tivated at the eastern extremity of the Mexican 
Empire, was used for chocolate, and the small 
seed called Tlalcacahuath The kinds of infe- 
rior quality were used for money. " Knowing,'' 
says Cortez in his first letter to the Empe- 
ror Charles the V., " that in the province of 
" Malinaltebeque, there was gold in abundance, 
" I engaged the Lord Montezuma to esta- 
" blish there a farm for your Majesty. He 
" went to work with so much zeal, that in 

* :€ 1,900,152 Sterling. Trans. 



I 




l.^{ 



■I: i| 



«S 



f . 



">*)i 






'^'?!^iil 



>! ;i 







« 



« 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv 

" less than two months, sixty fanegas of maize 
" and ten of beans were already sown. Two 
" thousand cacap trees (cocoa) were also plan- 
'* ted, yielding^ a fruit similar to the almond^ 
** which is sold after being ground. This 
" fruit is in such estimation, that throughout 
* all the country it is used as money, and 
employed in purchases in the markets and 
every where else*." The cocoa is still made 
use of as a sort of inferior coin in Mexico; 
and as the smallest coin c>f the Spanish Co- 
lonies is a demi-real (un medio) equal to twelve 
sous, the common people find the emplo3rment 
of cocoa as a circulating medium, extremely 
convenient. A sou is represented by six grains. 
The use of vanilla passed from the Aztecs 
to the Spaniards. The Mexican chr .late, as 
we have already observed, was peri d with 
several aromatics, among which the pod of 
the vanilla occupied the first place. At this 
day the Spaniards deal in thi^ precious pro- 
duction, for the purpose of selling it to the 
other European nations. The Spanish cho- 
colate contains no vanilla; and there is even 
a prejudice at Mexico, that this perfume is 
hurtful to the health, especially to those whose 
nervous system is very irritable. Ihey say 
quite gravely that the vanilla occasions ner- 

* Lorenzana, p. 91. § 26. Clavigero, I. p. 4; II. p. 209; 
IV. p. 207. 



BOOK IV 

if maize 
, Two 
o plan- 
ilinondi 
This 
)ughout 
jy, and 
its and 
11 made 
lexico; 
ish Co- 
twelve 
ioyment 
tremely 
grains. 
Aztecs 
ate, as 
d with 
pod of 
A.t this 
is pro- 
;o the 
cho- 
s even 
ime is 
whose 
y say 
ner- 

p. 209; 



CHAf X.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 27 

voas disorders (la hayniUa da pasmo). A few 
years ag;o the same thing was said of the 
use of coffee, which begins however to spread 
among the natives. 

When we consider the excessive price at 
Avhich the vanilla has constantly been sold in 
Europe, we are astonished at the negligence 
of the inhabitants of Spanish America, who 
neglect the cultivation of a plant, which nature 
spontaneously produces between the tropics, 
almost wherever there is heat, shade, and much 
humidity. All the vanilla consumed in Europe 
comes from Mexico, by the way of Vera Cruz 
alone. It is produced on an extent of ground 
of a few square leagues. There is not a 
doubt, however, that the coast of Caracas, and 
even the Havannah might carry on a very 
considerable trade. We found in the course 
of our herborizations very aromatic pods of 
vanilla, exceedingly aromatic, and of an ex- 
traordinary size in the mountains of Caripe, 
on the coast of Paria; in the fine valley of 
Bordones near Cumana; in the environs of 
Portocabello and Guaiguaza; in the forests of 
Turbaco near Carthagena; in the Province of 
Jaen on the banks of the river Amazons; 
and in Guayana at the foot of the granite 
rocks, which form the great cataracts of the 
Orinoco. The inhabitants of Xalapa, who carry 
on the commerce of the fine Mexican vanilla of 




■si 






.■■■'I '''Ml 










28 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



Misantla, were struck with the exceller:e 
of that brought by M. Boupland from the 
Orinoco, gathereil by n« in the woods which 
surround th'j Raudal de Maypnre, Vanilla 
plants are to be found in the Island of Cuba, 
(Epidendrum Vanilla) on the coast of Bahia, 
Honda, and at Mariel. That of St. Domingo 
has a very long fruit, but is not very odori- 
ferous; for frequently great humidity, while 
it is favourable to the vegetation, is unfar dur- 
able to the deveicpement of the aromatic. 
However botanical travellers must not judge 
of the quality of the vanilla, from the odour 
which it gives out in the forests of America; 
for this odour is in a great measure owing 
to the flower, which in the deep and hu- 
mi€l 'allies of the Andes, is sometimes four 
cr five centimetres in length*. 

The author of the Philosophical History of 
the East and West Indies-\t complains of being 
unable to procure satisfactory information res- 
pecting* the cultivation of the vanilla in Mexico. 
He did not even know the districts where it 
was produced. Having been on the spots, I 
was able to obtain more accurate and c^atailed 

■J . - , U ' 

* From an inch and a iialf, to 2 inches. Trans. 

t Raynal, T. II. p. 68. ^ 16. Thiery de MenomiUe, de 
la Culture du Nopal, p. 14-2. A small quantity of vanilla 
is also cultivated in Jamaica, in the parishes of St Anne 
and St. Mary. J5rown,p. 326. ' < 



[book IV, 



CHAP. X.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



29 



s:celler.:e 




rom the 




Is which 




Vanilla 




of Cuba, 


"ftiS 


P Bahia, 




)omingo 


•\-ii 


•y odori- 


.1 ,-■-_■ 


ff while 


t. 


infaTour- 


1 


iromatic. 


{'■■ 


ot judge 


/ ■' : 


le odour 




Lmerica; 




e owing 




and hu- 


,Jk" 


nes four 


X 


istory of 


1, 


of being* 


t '■ 


ion res- 




Mexico. 




vhere it 




spots, I 




(detailed 


f 


onviUe, de 


•■ 


of vanilla 


■ - 


St. Anne 





information ; and I consulted at Xalapa and 
Vera Cruz persons, who for thirty years 
have carried on the commerce in vanilla of 
Misantla, Colipa and Papantla. The follow- 
ing is the result of my researches as to the 
actual state of this interesting branch of national 
industry. 

All the vanilla supplied by Mexico to Europe 
is produced in the two intendancies of Vera 
Cr?iz and Oaxaci. This plant principally 
abounds on the eastern slope of the Cordillera of 
Anahuac between 19" and 20" of latitude. The 
natives early perceived that notwithstanding 
the abundance, the harvest was very difficult, 
on account of the vast extent of ground neces- 
sary to to be gone over aimually,, and they collect- 
ed a great p.umber of the plants into a narrower 
space. This operation did not demand much 
care; it was merely necessary to clear a little 
the soil, and to plant two slips of epidendrum 
at the foot of a tree, or to fix parts cut from 
the stalk to the trunk of a Liquidambar, an 
Ocotea or an arborescent Piper. 

The slips are in general from four to five 
decimetres in length*. They are tied to the trees 
up which the new stalk must climb. Each slip 
yields fruit in the third year. They calculate 
on fifty pods on each for thirty or forty years, 
especially if the vegetation of the vanilla U 

* About a foot. Trans. 



30 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book if. 



ImU 



^m!$ 



■w*.i. 






i; t 




not checked by the proximity of other clasp- 
ers 'which choke it. The haynilla cimarona 
or wild vanilla, which has not been planted by 
the hand of man, and which grows in a soil 
overgrown with shrubs and climbing plants, 
bears in Mexico fruit of a very dry nature, 
and in exceeding small quantity. 

In the intendancy of Vera Cruz, the districts 

celebrated for the vanilla commerce, are the 

subdekgacion de Mtsantla, with the Indian 

villages Misantla, Colipa, Yacuatla, (near the 

Sierra de Chicunquiato) and Nautla, all for^ 

merly belonging to the AlcaMia mayor de la 

Antigua; the jurisdiccion de PapantlOf and those 

of Santiago and San Andres Tuxtla, Misantla ' 

is thirty leagues distant from Vera Cruz to 

the north west, and twelve leagues from the 

sea coast. It is a charming place, in which 

the torment of the Mosqultos and the Gegen^ 

80 numerous in the port of Nautla, on the banks 

of the Rio de Quilate and at Colipa, is quite 

unknown. If the river of Misantla, the mouth 

of which is near the Barra de Palmas, werft 

rendered navigable, this district would soon 

reach a high degree of prosperity. 

The natives of Misantla, collect the vanilla 
in the mountains and forests of Quilate. The 
plant is in flower in the months of February 
and March. The harvest is bad, if at this 
period the north winds are frequent and ac- 



|book If. 

p clasp- 
marona 
tited by 
[1 a soil 
plants, 
nature, 

iistricts 

ire the 

Indian 

ear the 

dl for^ 

' de la 

d those 

[Lsantla 

!ruz to 

>m the 

which 

Gegetit 

banks 

s quite 

tnouth 

wer« 

soon 

anilla 

The 

ruary 

this 

p ac< 



CHAP. x.j KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



31 



companied with much rain. The flower drops 
without yielding fruit if the humidity is too 
great. An extreme drought is equally hurtful 
to the growth of the plant. However no 
insect attacks the green fruit, on account of 
the milk it contains. They begin to cut it 
in the months of March and April, after the 
sub-delegate has proclaimed that the harvest 
is permitted to the Indians: it continues to 
the end of June. The natives who remain 
eight successive days in the forests of Quilate, 
sell the vanilla fresh and yellow to the gente 
de razoriy i. e. the whites, mestizoes and mu- 
lattos, who alone know the beneficio de la hay^ 
nilla, namely, the manner of drying it with care, 
giving it a silvery lustre, and sorting it for 
transportation into Europe. The yellow fruits 
are spread out on cloths, and kept exposed 
to the sun for several hours. When sufficiently 
heated, they are w >ped up in woollen cloths 
for evaporation, when the vanilla blackens, 
and they conclude with exposing it to be 
dried from the morning to the eveninoc in 
the heat of the sun. 

The method of preparing the vanilla at 
Colipa is much superior to the beneficio em- 
ployed at Misantla. It is asserted nat on 
unpacking the vanilla at Cadiz, not more than 
six per cent, is found to be damaged in that 
of Colipa, while in that of Misantla the quanr 



32 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE Z^ooii iv. 










tity of rotten or damag'ed pods amounts to at 
least the double. This last variety is more 
difficult to dry, because its fruit is larger and 
more aqueous than that of Colipa, which is 
produced in savannahs, and not in the moun- 
tains, and is called haynilla de acaquales. When 
the iuiny season does not permit the inhabi- 
tants of Misantla and Colipa to expose the va- 
nilla to the rays of the sun, they are obliged 
to recur to an artificial heat, till it have ac- 
quired a blackish colour, and is covered with 
silvery spots (manchas plateadas) They form 
by means of small reeds a frame which they 
suspend by cords, and cover with woollen cloth, 
and on which they spread the pods. The fire 
is placed below, but at a considerable distance. 
The pods are dried by agitating slightly the 
frame, and gradually heating the reeds and the 
cloth. Much care and long experience is neces- 
sary to succeed in drying sufficiently the va- 
nilla in this way, which is called beueficio de 
poscoyol. The loss is generally very great 
when artificial heat is employed. 

At Misantla, the fraits of the vanilla are 
collected into packets called mazos: a mazo 
contains 50 pods, consequently a thousand 
(miliar) twenty mazos. Although the whole 
of the vanilla which enters into commerce 
appears to be the produce of a single species 
of epidendrum (Tlihochitly) yet the fruit is 



BOOK IV. 



CMAP. X.3 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



33 



ts to at 

IS more 

rer and 

hich is 

I moun- 

. When 

inhabi- 

the va- 

obliged 

lave ac- 

•ed with 

ey form 

ch they 

;n cloth, 

The fire 

distance. 

htly the 

and the 

is neces- 

the va- 

rficio de 

f great 

lilla are 

a mazo 

lousand 

whole 

mmerce 

species 

ruit IS 



nevertheless divided into four different classes. 
The nature of the soil, the humidity of the air, 
and the heat of the sun, have all a singular 
influence on the size of the pod, and the quantity 
of oily and aromatic parts contained in it. The 
four classes of vanilla are the following, begin- 
ning with those of a superior quality : haynilla 
fina in which the grande fina and the chicajina 
or mancuema are again distinguished; the 
zacate ; the rezacate, and the hasura. Each 
class is easily recognized in Spain from the 
manner in which the pacquets are made up. 
The^ra^ide^ais in general 22 centimetres in 
length*, and each mazo weighs at Misantla ten 
ounces and a half, and at Colipa from nine to 
ten ounces. The chicajina is five centimetres 
shorter than the former, and is purchased one 
half cheaper. The zacate is a very long vanilla, 
extremely slender and very acqueous. The 
hasura, of which a pacquet contains a hundred 
pods, serves only to fill the bottom of the pack- 
ages sent to Cadiz. The worst quality of the 
Misantla vanilla is called haynilla cimarona 
(wild) or haynilla palo ; it is very slender and 
almost destitute of juice. A sixth variety the 
haynilla pompona has a very large and beautiful 
fruit. It has been several times sent to Europe, 
and by means of the Genoese merchants into 



VOL. III. 



* 8| inches. Trans, 



D 



.i; 



il 



:,::m 






>**'"Z 



Ml 



34 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book. ir. 

the Levant ; but as its odour is different from 
the vanilla called grande fina it has never 
hitherto had any sale, y- .1 ..,4. hi.- 

We see from what has been stated respecting 
the vanilla that it is with the g^oodness of this 
commodity as with that of the quinquina, which 
not only depends on the species of cinchona 
from which it prucee.ds, but also on the height 
of the country, the exposure of the tree, the 
period of the harvest, and the care employed 
in drying the bark* The commerce of both the 
vanilla and quinquina is in the hands of a few 
persons called habilUadores because they ad* 
vance money to the cosecheroSf i. e. to the Indians 
employed in the harvest, who are in this way 
under the jdirection of undertakers. The latter 
draw almost the whole profit of this branch of 
Mexican industry. The competition among 
the purchasers is so much less at Misantla 
and Colipa, as a long experience is necessary to 
guard against deception in the purchase of pre- 
pared vanilla. A single stained pod (man- 
chada) may occasion the loss of a whole chest 
in the passage from America to Europe. The 
blemishes which are thus discovered either in 
the pod or the stalk (garganta) are designated 
by particular names (mqjo negro, mqfo bianco, 
^arro,) A prudent purchaser examines over 
and over the pacquets which he sends in the 
same chest. 






i Jl^'lf/»•i 



BOOK* !¥• 

nt frooai 
ts never 

1)1' <>'.»'; 

specting^ 

8 of this 

a, which 

cinchona. 

\ height 

ree, the 

mployed 

both the 

i a few 

hey ad* 

\ Indians 

his way 

he latter 

ranch of 

amon^ 

llisantla 

ssary to 

of pre- 

(man- 

g chest 

. The 

ther in 

gnated 

bianco, 

s over 

in the 



CHAf . &] 



KINGDOM OF N|;W SPAIN* 



35 



The kahiliiadwes have pm^chasiedi foi- tj^e 
ia&t twelve years, the thousand oi vanilla of the 
first class at an average price of 25 oir 35 
piastres ; the thousand of zac^te at ten, and ot 
rezacate at four piastres. In 1803 the price of 
the grande fina was 50, and the zacale 15 
piastres. The purchasers far from paying the 
Indians in ready money, supply them in barter, 
and at a very high price, with brandy r cocoa, 
wine and more especially with cotton, cloth 
manufactured at Puebla. In this barter consists 
part of the profits of these monopolists. 

The district of PapantlUf formerly ah AlcaU 
did mayor, is situated 18 leagues to the north ef 
Misantla; it produces very little vanilla, and 
that little is besides badly <lried, though very 
aromatic. The Indian^' of Papantla as well as 
those of Nautla, are accused of introducing 
themselves ilirtively into the forests of Quilate 
for the sake of collecting the fruit of the epiden- 
drum planted by the natives of Misantla. In 
the intendancy of Oa^aca, the village of Teutila 
is celebrated for the superior quality of tlie 
vanilla produced in the neighbouring forests. 
It appears that this variety was the fii'st which 
was introduced into Spain in the sixteenth cen- 
tury ; for even at this day the haynilla de 
Teutila is considered at Cadiz as preferable to 
every other. It is indeed dried with much care, 
being pricked with pins and suspended by 

» 2 



llkjU^l' 



liii 



36 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book it. 



threads of the Pite ; but it weighs less by nearly 
a ninth than that of Misantla. I know not the 
quantity of vanilla produced in the province of 
Honduras and annually exported from the 
small port of Truxillo, but it appears to be very 
inconsiderable. 

The forests of Quilate yield in very abundant 
years 800 millares of vanilla ; a bad harvest in 
very rainy years amounts only to 200. The 
mean praduce is estimated thus '- f 



V •. iTii.ii 



Misantla and Coli'pa 

Papantia 

Teutila 



Millares. 
700 
100 

no 



The value of these 910 millares is at Vera 
Cruz from 30 to 40,000 piastres. We must 
add the produce of the harvests of Santiago 
and San Andres Tuxtla, for which I am in want 
of sufficiently accurate data. It frequently 
happens that the harvest of one year does not 
pass all at once into Europe, but that a part of 
it is reserved to be added to that of the follow- 
ing year. In 1802, 1793 millares of vanilla 
left the port of Vera Cruz. It i^ astonishing 
that the total consumption of Europe is not 
greater. > « 

The same eastern slope of the Cordillera on 
which the vanilla is produced, produces also the 
sarsaparilla (zarza) of which there was exported 



[book it. 

by nearly 
w not the 
evince of 
from the 
o be very 

abundant 
larvest in 
0. The 



Millares. 
700 
100 

no 

at Vera 
We must 
Santiago 
\i in want 
equently 
does not 
a part of 
e follow- 

vanilla 
;onishing 

is not 

llera on 
also the 
exported 



4 



*f.. 



CSAP. X.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN- 



37 



from Vera Cruz in 1803 nearly 250,000* kilo- 
grammesf and the Jalap {Purya de Xalapa) 
which is the root, not of the mirabilis jalapa, of the 
M. longiflora, or of the M . dichotoma, but of the 
convolvolus jalapa. This convolvolus vegetates 
at an absolute height of from 13 to 14 hundred 
metres^ on the whole chain of mountains extend- 
ing from the Volcan d*Orizaba to the Cofre de 
Perote. We did not meet with it in our herbo- 
rtzations around the town of Xalapa itself; but 
the Indians who inhabit the neighbouring vil- 
lages brought us some excellent Voots of it 
collected near Banderilla to the east of Sail 
Miguel el Soldado. This valuable remedy is 
procured in the Suhdelegacum de Xalapa^ around 
the villages of Santiago, Tlachi, Tihuacan de 
los Reyes, Tlacolula, Xicochimalco, Tatatila, 
Yxhuacan, and Ayahualulco; in i\ie jurisdicci&a 
de San Juan de los Llanos, near San Pedro 
Chilchotla and Quimixtlan ; in the partidos of 
the towns of Cordoba, Orizaba and San Andres 
Tuxtla. The true Purga de Xalapa delights 
only in a temperate climate or rather an almost 

• 551,7501b. avoird. Trans, 

f The sarsaparilla employed in commerce proceeds from 
several species of smilax, very difierent from the S. Sarsa- 
parilla. See the description of the ten new species, 
brought by us in the species of M. WiUdewno, T. iv. P. i. 
p. 773. *' 

:t From 4864 to 4592 feet. Trans. 







■ I' ' ""' ' 






m^ki 



3 



lit II 







:.f' 



III 



38 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE Cbook iv. 



cold climate, in shaded valleys and on the slope 
of mountains. I was so much the more sur- 
prized, therefore on learning after my return to 
Europe that an intelligent traveller who has 
displayed the greatest zeal for the good of his 
country, Thiery de Menonville* had asserted 
that he found the jalap in great abundance in 
the arid and sandy tracts in the neighbourhood 
of the port of V^era Cruz, and consequently 
under a climate excessively warm, and at the 
level of the ocean. 

Raynal assertst that Europe consumes 
annually 7500 quintals of jalap. This esti- 
mate a|>pears too much by one half; for from 
the most accurate information which I was 
able to procure at Vera Cruz, there was only 
exported from that port in 1802, 2921 and in 
1803, 2281 quintals of jalap. The price at 
Xala^a is from 120 to 150 francs the quintal. 

We did not see during our stay in New Spain, 
the plant which it is pretended, yields the 
root of Mechoacan, (the Tactiache of the Ta^ 
rasck Indians, and the TlalantlacuitlapUU of 
the Aztecs.) We never even during the course 

* Thiery^ p. 59. This jalap of Ver» Cruz appears to 
be the ^ame with that foui^d by Mr. Michaux, in Florida. 
See the Memoir of Mr. DesfojQtaines, on the Convolviulus 
Jalapa^ in the Annaijss du Museum d*Hist<nrt NatureUe. 
T.ii.p. 120. 

t Hist.Philos. T.ii.p.68. . ,. ;. 



£book IV. 

[ the slope 
more sur- 
retum to 
who has 
ood of his 
i asserted 
indance in 
[ibourhood 
isequently 
Lnd at the 

consumes 
rhis esti- 

for from 
ch I was 
was only 
21 and in 

price at 
uintal. 
ew Spain, 
yields the 

the Ta^ 
tlapilU of 
;he course 

appears to 
in Florida. 
Convolvulus 
; NatureUe. 



CHAP. XO 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN 



80 



of our travels in the antient kingdom of 
Michoacan, which is part of the intendancy 
of Valladolid, heard any mention made of it. 
The abbe Clavigero* relates that a physician 
of the late king of Tzintzontzan, communica- 
ted the knowledge of this remedy to the re- 
ligious missionaries of the expedition of Cortez. 
Does there really exist a root, which under 
the name of Mechoacan, is exported from 
Vera Cruz, or does this remedy which is the 
same as the jeticucu of Marcgravef, come 
from the coast of Brazil? It appears even 
that antientlythe true Jalap was called itfe- 
choacan, and that by one of those mistakes 
so frequent in the history of medecines, the 
denomination has been afterwards transferred 
to the root of another plant. 

The cultivation of Mexican Tobcicco, might 
become a branch of agriculture of the very 
highest importance, if the trade in it were 
free ; but since the introduction of the mono* 
poly, or since the establishment of the royal 
fyrm, (el estanco real de Tabaco) by the Visitor 
dor Don Joseph de Galvez in 1764, not only 
4 special perniission is necessary to plant tobacco, 
s^d the cultivator obliged to sell it to the farm, 
at a pvipe arbitrarily fixed {Recording to the worth 

♦ $toriq anticq di Mesiico, T. ii. p. 212. 
t Lit^. Mat. Medica, IT49, p. 28. Murray Afparatm 
m«dicami»um, T.i. p. 62. 






I 



'I 






40 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE C»ooK «▼• 



of the produce ; but the cultivation is even 
limited solely to the environs of the towns 
of Orizaba and Cordoba, and the partidos of 
Huatusco and Songolica, situated in the in- 
tendancy of Vera Cruz. Officers with the 
title of guardas de tabaco, travel the country 
for the purpose of pulling up whatever to- 
bacco they And planted beyond those districts 
which we have named, and fining those far- 
mers who think proper to cultivate what is 
necessary for their own consumption. It was 
believed the contraband trade would be di- 
minished, by limiting the cultivation to an 
extent of four or five square leagues. Before 
the establishment of the farm, the intendancy 
of Guadalaxara, and especially the partidos 
of Autlan, Ezatlan and Ahuzcatlan, Tepic, 
Santixpac and Acaponeta, were celebrated for 
the abundance and excellent quality oi tiie 
tobacco which they produced. These formerly 
happy and flourishing countries, have been 
decreasing in population since the plantations 
were transferred to the eastern slope of the 
Cordillera. , ; . , „ , . 

The Spaniards first obtained their knowledge 
of tobacco in the West India Islands. The 
word, adopted by all the nations of Europe, 
belongs to the language of Hayti or St. 
Domingo; for the Mexicans called the plant 
yetlf and the Peruvians sayri*. The Indidns 

* HemtndeZf Lib. v. c. 51. p. 173. Clavigero, T. ii. 



>• 



[book it* 

is even 
be towns 
irtidos of 
1 the in> 
^ith the 

country 
ever to- 

districts 
hose far- 

what is 

It was 

i be di- 

n to an 

Before 
tendancy 
partidos 
f Tepic, 
rated for 
r of iiie 
formerly 
ve been 
mtations 

of the 

owledg-e 
Is. The 
Europe, 
or St. 
le plant 
Indians 

• * 

TO, T. ii. 



CHAP. X.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 41 

in Mexico and Peru smoked tobacco, and 
used it ground into snuff. The gpreat lords 
at the court of Montezuma, used to smoke 
tobacco as a narcotic, not only for the after- 
noon siestOt but to procure sleep in the mor- 
ning immediately after breakfast, as is still tVie 
practice in many parts of equinoctial America. 
The dried leaves of the yetl were rolled up 
into cigareSf and put into tubes of silver, wood, 
4 or reed; and frequently they mixed with it 
:^ the resin of the liquidambar styraciflutty and other 
aromatic matters. The tube was held in one 
hand, and with the other the nose was stopt 
up, so that the smoke of the tobacco might 
be the more easily swallowed. Sevei*al per- 
sons were even contented With drawing in 
the smoke by the nose. Although the picietl 
(nicotiana rustica) was much cultivated in the 
antient Anahuac, it appears however that per- 

p. 227. Garcilasso, Lib. ii. c. 25. The ancient Mexicans 
used to recommend tobacco as an excellent remedy for 
the tooth-ache, colds and colics. The Carubs used mashed 
'tobacco leaves as a counter-pobon. In our journey on 
the Orinoco, we saw mashed tobacco successfully applied 
to the bite of venomoufi serpents. After the famous 
Bejuco del Guaco, the knowledge of which we owe to M. 
Mutis, tobacco is undoubtedly the most active counter- 
poison of America. The cultivation of tobacco has been 
propagated with so great rapidity, that in 1559 it began 
to be sown in Portugal, and in the beginning of the 17th 
< century it was planted in the East Indies. Beekmann*s 

Gachicte der Erfindungen, B. iii. p. S66. 



.i¥' 



■ 



mn 



i 



4% FOUTICAL ESSAY ON THE Cbook !▼• 

ions m easy circumstances used tobacco alone ; 
for we see at this day that the use is 
entirely unknown to the Indians of pure ex- 
traction, because they almost all descend from 
the lowest class of the Aztec nation*. 

At Vera Cruz, the quantity of tobacco pro- 
duced in tbfi districts of Orizaba and Cor- 
dova, is estimated at eight or ten thousand 
tei'tOb\ (at 8 arrobas) equal to 1,600,000 or 
2,000,000 of pounds; but this estimate ap^ 
pears tc be a great deal too low. The king 
pays for the pound of tobacco to the culti^ 
TDjtor 21 reals» that is to say 21 sous for the 
kilo^ao^me. We shall see in the sequel of 
this work, and from data which I extracted 
from o^ial papers, that the farm of Mexico 
of tobacco and snuff, is annually sold in the 
country even lor more than 38 millions of 
irancst, and that it yields to the king a 
net profit of more than 20 millions of livres 
toumois;|;. This consumption of tobacco in 
New $pain must appear enormous, espeeiaUy 
yttfio. vre consider that from a population of> 
4>,8OO,O0O souls, we must deduct two million» 
and a half of Indians who never smoke. In 
Mexico the farm is ai| object of much greater 
impojrt^OCje to the public revenue t^ao ip 

* See Vol. i. ch. vi. p. 155. ' * ' 

t 1»S83,46Q^. sterling. Trans. 
t 823,400^. sterling. Trans. 



CHA9. 1*3 



KINQOOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



43 



Feru^ because in the former the number of 
-whites is greater, and the custom of smoking 
•cegars is much more general, and is even 
practised by women and children. In France, 
where according to the researches of Mr. 
Fabre de TAude, there are eight millions of 
iidiabitants who use tobacco, thd total con- 
sumption is more than forty millions of pounds ; 
but the value of the foreign tobacco impor* 
ted, only amounted in 1787 to 14,142,000 livres 
toumois^. 

New Spain far from exporting its own to- 
bacco, draws annually nearly 56,000 pounds 
from the Havannah. The vexations which 
the planters experience, added to the prefer 
renoe given to the cultivation of coffee, have 
iiowever much diminished the produce of the 
farm at Cuba. At this day that Island scmrcely 
supplies 150,000 mrohas^ whei*eas be£»re 1794, 
in good years, the crop was estimated at 315,000 
arrohas, (7,875,000 poundsf) of which 160,000 
arrofoas were consumed in the IsUuid* and 
128,000 sent to Spain. This branch of co^ 
lonial industry is of the very greatest impor- 
tance, even in its actual state of monopoly 



♦ P«icM, p. 315 snd 409. i :.,;v 

t Raynal, (T. ill. p. 268.) only estimated the produce 
at 4,675,000 pounds. Virginia produced annually before 
1775 more than 55,000 hogsheads, or 35 millions of pounds 
of tobacco. Jefftnon^ p< 928. 



m 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



and constraint. La renta de tabaco of the 
peninsula, yields a net revenue of six millions 
of piastres, a revenue arising in a great mea^- 
sure from the sale of the tobacco of the 
Island of Cuba sent to Seville. The maga- 
zines of this city sometimes contain stores 
of 18 or 19 millions of pounds of snoiF, the 
value of which amounts to the exorbitant 
sum of 200 millions of livres*. » 

The cultivation of Indigo, which is very 
general in the kingdom of Guatimala, and 
in the province of Caracas, is very much 
neglected in Mexico. The plantations along 
the western coast, are not even sufficient for 
the few manufactures of home cotton cloth. 
Indigo is annually imported from the kingdom 
of Guatimala, where the total produce of the 
plantations amounts to the value of 12 mil- 
lions of livres. This substance as to which 
Mr. Beckman has made such learned researches, 
was known to the Greeks and Romans under 
the name of itidicum. The word anil, which 
has passed into the Spanish language, is de- 
rived from the Arabian word niz or nil, Her- 
nandez speaking of the Mexican indigo calls it 
aniz. The Greeks in the time of Dioscorides,drew 
indigo from Gedrozia; and in the 13th cen- 
tury Marco Polo carefully described the mode of 
its preparation in Hindostan. Raynal is wrong 

* 8,334,000/. sterling. Trans. • 



!#;|lir 






CHAP. X.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



45 



when he maintains that the Europeans intro- 
duced the cultivation of that -.aluable plant 
into America. Several species of indigo/era 
are peculiar to the New Continent. Ferdi- 
nand Columbus in the life of his father, men- 
tions indigo, among tl:3 productions of^ the 
Island of Hayti. Hernandez describes the 
process by which the natives of Mexico sepa- 
rated the fecula from the juice of the plant, 
a process different from that now em*^ 
ployed. The small cakes of indigo dried by 
fire were called mohuitli or tleuohuilli. The 
plant was even designated by the name Xiuh- 
quilipitzahuac, Hei*nandez* proposed to the 
court to introduce the cultivation of indigo 
into the aouthern pai*t of Spain. I know not 
if his counsel was followed, but it is certain 
that indigo was vei*y common in Malta, till 
towards the end of the 17th century. The spe- 
cies of indigofera from which indigo is at this 
day procured in the colonies, are ; The indi^ 
gofera tinctoria, I. anil, I. disperma, and I. 
argentea, as is proved by the most antient 
hieroglyphical paintings of the Mexicans ; even 
thirty years after the conquest, the Spaniards 
who had not yet found out the materials for 
making ink^ wrote with indigo, as is proved 

* Hernandez, Lib. iv. c. 12. p. 108. Clavigero, ii. 189. 
Beckmanrit}. c IV, 47i-S32. JBerthoUd, Element de Part 
dela teinture, ii. 37. 



'■■'*'ll 



m 



m 



46 POLITICAL E88AT ON THE {vkm n. 

by the papers preserved in the ^rMres of th« 
Duke de Monteleone, who is the last descendant 
of the family of Cortez. At Santa Fa they 
still write with a juice extracted from the fruitt 
of the Uvilla (Cestrum Tinctorkm), and there 
exists an order of the court, prohibiting the 
viceroys from using in their official papers, 
any other materials than this blue of the Uvilla, 
because it had been found that it was more 
indestractible than the best European ink. < . 

After carefully examining those vegetables 
which are of importance to the agriculture 
and commerce of Mexico, it remains foe us 
to give a rapid view of the productions of 
the tmimal kingdom. Although one of these 
productions in the greatest request, cochineal^ 
hekmgs originally to New Spain, it is certain> 
h(ywever, that the most interesting productions 
for the prosperity of the inhabitants have 
bten introduced there from the antient con- 
tinoDt. The Mexicans had not endeavoured 
to reduce to a domestic state the two species 
<^ wiU osea, (Bos Americtams and Bos Mos* 
duEtus) which wander in h^ds over tiie plains 
in tlie ueighboui^ood of the JRto del Norte, 
They were unacquainted with the lianaa, 
Whkh in the Cordillera of the Andes is not 
found beyond the limits of the Southern He- 
Busphere. ^They made no use of the wild 



I 



--* 



H"j" 



IC'-I 



Mi' 



P'>,**' 



It 



CHAV. Z.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



47 






t 



sheep of California ^ nor of the goats of the 
mountains of Monterey. Among the numerous 
varieties of dogsf peculiar to Mexico, one 
alone, the Techichi served for food to the in- 
habitants. Undoubtedly the want of domestic 
animals was less felt before the conquest, 
when every family cultivated but a small 
extent of ground, and when a great part of 
the inhabitants lived almost exclusively on 
vegetables. However the want of these ani- 
mals compelled a numerous class of the in- 
habitants, the Tlamama, to labour as beasts 
of burden, and to pass their lives on the 
highways. They were loaded with large lea- 
thern chests (in Mexican Pettacalli, in Spa- 
nish petacas) which contained goods to the 
weight of 30 or 40 kilogrammes J. 

Since the middle of the sixteenth century, 
the most useful animals of the old con- 
tinent, oxen, horses, sheep, and hogs, ha7e 

* As to the wild sheep and goats of the mountains of 
Old and New California, see Vol. ii. Chap. viii. p. 327. 

f See my Tableaux de la Nature, T. i. p. 124< — 127. 
The Cumanchisa tribe of the northern provinces employ 
dogs in the carriage of tents like many of the tribes of 
Siberia. See Vol. ii. p. 286. The Peruvians of Sausa 
(Xauxa) and Huanca ate their dogs (runalco) and the 
Aztecs sold in their markets the flesh of the mute dog 
techichi, which was castrated for the purpose of fattening. 
Lorenzana, p. 103. 

fFrom 66 to 88 lb. svoird. Trans, 



48 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book it. 

multiplied surprisingly in all the parts of New 
Spain, and especially in the vast plains of 
the Provindas Internal It would be super- 
fluous to refute here * . the rash assertion of 
M. de BufTon, as to the pretended degeneracy 
of the domestic animals introduced into the 
New Continent. These ideas were easily 
propagated, because, while they flattered the 
vanity of. Europeans, they were also con> 
lected with brilliant hypotheses, relative to the 
ancient state of our planet. When facts are 
carefully examined, naturalists perceive no- 
thing but harmony where this eloquent writer 
announced discordancy. r . /. 

There is a great abundance of horned cattle 
all along the eastern coast of Mexico, es- 
pecially at the mouths of the rivers of Al> 
varado, Guasacualco, and Panuco, where nu- 
merous flocks feed on pastures of perpetual 
green. However, the capital of Mexico, and 
the great cities adjoining, draw their animal 
food from the intendancy of Durango. The 
natives, like the greatest part of the Asiatic 
tribes to the East of the Ganges t» care very 

* This refutation is to be found in the excellent work 
of Mr. Jefferson on Virginia, p. 109, 166. See also C/aw- 
gero, T. iv. p, 105, 160. 

•f For example, in the South Eust of Asia, the Chinese, 
and the inhabitants of Cochinchina. The latter never 
milk their cows, though the milk is excellent under. the 
Tr^ica, and in thp warmest regions of the Earth. Travels 



M' 



ii ^ 



CHAP. X.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



49 



little for milk, butter and cheese. The latter 
is in g^reat request among* the Casts of mixed 
extraction, and forms a very considerable branch 
of exterior commerce. In the statistical table 
drawi) up by the Intendant of Guadalaxara, 
in 1802, which I have frequently had occasion 
to cite, the annual value of dressed hides is 
estimated at 419,000 piastres, and that of 
tallow and soap at 549.000 piastres. The 
town of Puebla alone manufactures annually 
200,000 arrohas of soap, and 82,000 ox hides; 
but the exportation of these articles at the 
Port of Vera Cruz, has hitherto been of 
very little importance. In 1803, it hardly 
amounted to the value of 140,000 piastres. 
It appears that even in the 16th century 
before the interior consumption had been aug- 
mented by the number and the luxury of the 
whites. New Spain supplied Europe with more 
hides than at the present day. Father Acosta*, 
relates that a fleet which entered Seville in 
1587, carried 64,340 Mexican hides. The horses 
of the northern provinces, and particularly 
those of New Mexico, are as celebrated for 
their excellent qualities as the horses of Chili ; 

of Macartney, Vol. ii. p. 153, and Vol. iv. p. 59. The 
Greeks and Romans even only learned to make butter 
from their communication with the Scythians, Thracians, 
and the Germanic nations. Beckmann, 1. c. B. iii. p. 289. 

* Lib. iv. C. 3. 

vol.. III. K 



m 



'^ POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

both descend, as it is pretended, from the 
Arab race; and they wander wild in herds, 
in the Savannahs of the Provincias In" 
ternas. The exportation of these horses to 
Natchez, and New Orleans, becomes every year 
of greater importance. Many Mexican families 
possess in their Hatos de ganado, from thirty 
to forty thousand head of horses and oxen. 
The mules would be still more numerous^ 
if so many of them did not perish on the 
highways from the excessive fatigues of 
journeys of several months. It is reckoned 
that the commerce of Vera Cruz alone, em- 
ploys annually nearly 70,000 mules. More 
than 5000 are employed as an object of luxury 
in the carriages * of the city of Mexico. 

The rearing of sheep has been wonderfully 
neglected in New Spain, as well as in all 
the Spanish Colonies of America. It is pro- 
bable that the first sheep introduced in the 
16th century, were not of the breed of travelling 
Merinos, and particularly that they were 
not of the Leon, Segovian, or Sorian breed. 
Since that time, no care has been employed 
in the amelioration of the breed ; and yet in 
the part of Mexico, beyond the tropics, it 
would be easy to introduce the system of ma- 



I 



'H 



m 



|if 



* Havannah has 2500 Calashes, called Volantes, whicb 
require more than 3000 mules. In 1802, the number 
.«f hones in Paris was calculated at 35,000. 



m 



I 



CHAP. X.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



51 



nagement known in Spain by the name of 
Mesta, by which the sheep change their cli- 
mate with the seasons, and are always in 
harmony with them. Nothing- is to be feared 
for ages from the prejudice which these tra- 
velling flocks might occasion to Mexican 
agriculture. At present the finest wool is 
reckoned to be that of the Intendancy of 
Valladolid. 

It is worthy of remark, that neither the 
common hog, * nor the hens to be found in 
all the islands of the South Sea, were known 
to the Mexicans. The Picari (Sus tajassu) 
to be frequently met with in the cottages of 
the natives of South America, might have 
easily been reduced to a domestic state; but 
this animal is only fit for the region of plains. 
Of the two varieties of hog which are now 



* Pedro de Cie^a, and Garcilasso de la Vega, have 
preserved in their works the names of the Colonists who 
first reared in America, the domestic animals of Europe. 
They relate that in the middle of the 16th century, 
two hogs cost at Peru 8000 livres. a camel 35,000, an 
ass 7700, a cow 1200, and a sheep 200 livres. Ciega* 
Chronica del Peru (Antwerp 1554) p. 65. Garcilasso^ 
T. i. p. 328. These enormous prices besides proving 
the scarcity of the objects sold, prove also the abundance 
of the precious metals. General Belcalazar, who had pur- 
chased at Buza a sow for 4000 francs could not resist the 
temptation of eating her at a feast. Such was the 
luxury which prevailed in the army of the Conquistadores' 

E 2 



52 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



if 



the most common in Mexico, the one was in- 
troduced from Europe, and the oi\er from 
the Philippine Islands. They have multiplied 
amazingly on the Central Table Land, where 
the valley of Toluca carries on a very lucrative 
trade in bacon. 

Before the conquest there were very few 
poultry among the natives of the new continent. 
The maintainance of these birds, require par- 
ticular care in countries recently cleared, 
where the forests abound in carnivorous qua- 
drupeds of every kind. Besides, the inhabitant 
of the Tropics does not feel the want of do- 
mestic animals so much as the inhabitant of 
the temperate zone, because he is freed by 
the fertility of the soil from the necessity of 
labouring a greut extent of ground, and because 
the lakes and rivers are covered with an in- 
numerable quantity of birds, easily caught, and 
yielding an abundant nourishment. A European 
traveller is astonished to see the savages of 
South America bestowing extreme pains in 
taming monkeys, Manaviri (Ursus caudivol- 
vula) or squirrels, while they never endeavour 
to tame a great number of useful animals, 
contained in the neighbouring forests. How- 
ever, the most civilized tribes of the new con- 
tinent, reared in their stable-yards before the 
arrival of the Spaniards, several gallinaceous 
birds, as hoccos, (Crax nigra, C. globicera, 



CHIP. X.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



63 



and C. pauxi) turkies, (mdea^ris gallo-pavo) 
several species of pheasants, ducks, and moor- 
hens, yacoiis, or g^uans, (penelope, pava de 
monte) and aras, (psittacci macrouri) which are 
considered delicate eating when young. At 
this period, the cock, a native of the East 
Indies, and common to the Sandwich Islands, 
was totally unknown hi America. This fact, 
important in its connection with the migration 
of the Malay tribes, has been contested in 
Spain since the end of the 16th century. 
Learned Etymologists proved that the Peruvians 
must have had hens previous to the discovery 
of the New World, because the language of 
the Incas designates the cock by a particular 
word, gualpa. They knew not that gualpa 
or huallpttt is a contraction of Atahuallpa, 
and that the natives of Cuzco gave in derision 
the name of a prince detested on account of 
the cruelties exercised by him against the 
family of Huescar, to the cocks brought by 
the Spaniards, imagining, which appears 
strange enough to the ears of a European, 
they found some resemblance between the 
crowing of that bird, .and the name of Ata- 
huallpa. This anecdote, to be found in the 
work of Garcilasso (T. i. p. 331) was related 
to me in 1802, at Caxamarca, where I saw 
in the family of the AstorpilcOf the descendants 
of the last Inca of Peru. These poor Indians 



54 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book it. 



inhabit the ruins of the palace of Atahuallpa. 
Garcilasso relates that the Indians imitated 
the crowing^ of the cock, by pronouncing in 
cadence words of f<mr syllables. The par- 
tisans of Huescar had composed burlesque 
songs in derision of Atahuallpa, and three 
of his generals, named Quilliscacha, Chalchu- 
china, and Ruminavi. When we consult 
languages as historical monuments, we must 
carefully distinguish what is ancient from 
what has been naturalyzed by custom. The 
Penivian word for a cat micitu, is as modern 
as /mallpa. The Peruvians formed micitu from 
the radical miz, because they observed that 
the Spaniards made use of it in calling the 
Cat, and they believed, therefore, miz to be the 
name of the animal. 

It is a very singular phisiological pheno- 
menon, that on the Table Land of the city 
of Cuzco, more elevated and colder than that 
of Mexico, hens have only begun to season to 
the climate, and to propagate within the last 
thirty years. Till that period, all the chickens 
perished immediately after hatching. At pre- 
sent, the different varieties of hens, especially 
those of Mosanibique, of which the flesh i^ 
black, have become common in both hemi- 
spheres, wherever the people of the old continent 
have penetrated. Several tribes of Savage 
Indians, who live in the vicinity of European 



CHAF. x] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN- 



56 



I 



J 



settlements have procured them. When we 
were at Toniependa, on the banks of the river 
Amazons, we saw several families of Xibaros 
Indians, who had established themselves at Ta" 
tumbero in an almost inaccessible place between 
the cataracts of Yaraqiiisa and Patornmi ; 
and several hens were seen in the huts of these 
savages, when thsy were visited for the first 
time, some years ag-o. 

New Spain has supplied Europe with the 
largest and most useful of domestic gallinaceous 
birds, the turkey (totolin or huexolotl) which 
was formerly found wild on the back of the 
Cordilleras, from the Isthmus of Panama to 
New England. Cortez relates that several 
thousands of these birds which he calls hens 
{gallinas) were fed in the poultry-yards of the 
castles of Montezuma. From Mexico the Spa- 
niards carried them to Peru, to Terra Firma, 
{Castilla del Oro) and the West India Islands, 
where Oviedo described them in 1515. Her- 
nandez even then very well observed that the 
wild turkies of Mexico were much larger 
than the domestic ones. The former are only 
now to be found in the northern provinces. 
They withdraw towards the north in proportion 
as the population increases, and consequently, 
the forests become more rare. An intelligent 
traveller to whom we owe a very interesting 
description of the countries to the west of the 



-^ 



56 



POLIVICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



m 

.4' 



Alleghany mountains*, M. Michaux, informs 
^ us that the wild turkey of Kentucky some- 
times weighs even 40 pounds, an enormous 
weight for a bird which flies so rapidly, es- 
pecially when pursued. When the English, 
in 1584, landed in Virginia, turkies had for 
fifty years been introduced into Spain, Italy, 
and England f. This bird did not then pass 
from the United States into Europe, as has 
been falsely maintained by many naturalists. 
The Pintades (numida melcagris) designated 
so happily by the ancient;* under the name of 
aves guttatae, are very rare in Mexico, while 
they have grown wild in the Island of Cuba. 
As to the musk-duck (anas rnoschata) called 
by the Germans, Turkish duck, which has 
become so common in our poultry-yards, 
Europe is indebted for it also to the New 
Continent. We found it wild on the banks 
of the river Madelena, where the male grows 
to a prodigious size. The ancient Mexicans 
had tame ducks, which they annually plucked, 
as the feathers w^re an important object of 
lommerce. These d cks apj ear to have been 
^'Voimt'A with the species introduced into Europe. 
The goose is the only one of the birds of our 
poultry-yards which is no where to be found 
in the Spanish Colonies of the New Continent. 

* Voj'r'ge de Michaux, p. 190. 

t Beckmann, 1. c. T. iii. p. 238—270. 



% 



CHAP. X.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



5T 



The cultivation of the mulberry, and the 
rearing oi silk worms, were introduced by the 
care of Cortez, a few years after the siege 
of Tenochtitlan. There is a mulberry tree on 
the ridge of the Cordilleras peculiar to the equi- 
noctial regions, the rnorus acuminata, Bonpl. 
which we found wild in the kingdom of Quito, 
near the villages of Piso and Puembo. The 
leaf of this mulberry is not so hard as that 
of the red mulberry, (M. rubra) of the United 
States, and the silk worms eat it like that of 
the white mulberry of China. This last tree, 
which according to Olivier de Serres, was 
only planted in France, in the reign of 
Charles the eighth, about the year 1494, was 
already very common in Mexico, about the 
middle of the 16th century. A considerable 
quantity of silk was then produced in the In- 
tendancy of la Puebla, in the environs of Pa- 
nuco *, and in the Province of Oaxaca, where 
several villages of the Misteca, still bear the 
names of Tepexe de la Seda, (Silk^ and San 
Franrisco de la Seda. The policy of the 
Co'incil of the Indies, constantly unfavourable 
to the manufactures of Mexico, on the one 
hand, and on the other, ihe most active com- 
merce with China, and the interest which the 
Philippine Company har e in selling the Asiatic 
silks to the Mexicans, seem to be the prin- 
cipal causes of the gradual annihilation of this 

*La Florida del Inca (Madrid, 1723) T. i. p.258. 



58 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 







branch of colonial industry. A few years a^o, 
an individual at Queretaro, proposed to the 
government the making of large plantations 
of mulberry, in one of the finest vallies of 
Mexico, la Canada of the baths of San Pedro, 
inhabited by more than three thousand Indians. 
The rearing of silk worms requires less care 
than cochineal, and the character of the natives 
renders them extremely fit for every sort of 
labour, which requires great patience and 
minute care. Tlw* Canada, which is two 
leagues from Queretaro, towards the north east 
constantly enjoys a mild and temperate climate. 
The Lavrus persea is only now cultivated 
there, and the viceroys who dread to infringe 
on what is called in the colonies, the rights 
of the Mother Country, have been unwilling 
to admit the substitution of mulberries to the 
present species of cultivation. 

New Spain has several species of indi- 
genous caterpillars, which spin silk in the 
manner of the Bomhyjo Mori of China, but 
which have neVer yet been suflficiently e\a- 
mined by entomologists. The silk of the 
Misteca derived from these animals, was 
an object of co i merce, even in the time 
of Montezuma. Handkerchiefs are still ma- 
nufactured in the intendancy of Oaxaca 
of this Mexican silk. We purc^hased some 
on the road to Acapulco, at Chilpanzinjj^o. 



«HAP. X.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



59 



The stuff feels rough, like certain Indian 
silks, which are equally the produce of 
very difl'erent silk-worms, from that of the 
mulberry. 

In the provinces of Mechoacan, and in 
the mountains of Santa Rosa, to the north 
of Guanaxuato bag's of an oval form, resem- 
bling the nests of the Orialus, ( Troupiales) and 
the CaciqueSf are seen suspended from different 
kinds of trees, and especially the branches 
of the Arbutus Madrono. These bags call- 
ed capullos de madroTio, are the work of a 
great immber of caterpillars of the Bombyx 
de Fabricius kind, who live in society, and 
spin together. Each capullo is from 18 to 
20 centimetres in length, by 21 in breadth*. 
They are of a brilliant whiteness, and formed 
in beds, which may be separated from one 
another. The interior beds ;ire the most 
slender, and of an extraordinary transpa- 
rency. — The matter of which these large 
bags is formed resembles Chinese paper: 
the tissue is so dense that the threads which 
are pasted transversely over one another, are 
scarcely percciveable. I found a great number 
of these capullos de madroYwt on descending the 
c<jfl"re de Perote towards las Vigas at an ab- 
solute height of 3200 metrehf. It is possible 

* From 7 to 7i Ihlices, by fJi inches. Tr^m. 
f 10,498 feet linglish. Tram. 



60 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book ir. 



to wnte on the interior beds without making* 
them undergo any sort of preparation. It 
is a true natural paper, of which the antient 
Mexicans knew the use, pasting together se- 
veral beds, for the formation of a white 
and glossy pasteboard. We brought by the 
courier, living caterpillars of the bombyx 
madrono from Santa Ros^ to Mexico: they 
are of an olive colour, approaching to black 
and covered with hair, and their length is 
from 25 to 28 millimetres*. We did not 
see their metamorphosis, but we perceived that 
notwithstanding the beauty and extraordinary 
lustre of this madrono silk, it would be al- 
most impossible to employ it to any advan- 
tage on account of the difficulty which 
would be experienced in winding it. As 
several caterpillars work together, their threads 
cross and entangle with one another. I have 
thought proper to enter into these details, 
because persons more zealous than well in- 
formed, have lately turned the attention of 
the French Government towards the indige- 
nou silk of Mexico. 

Wax is an object of the highest importance 
to a country where much magnificence prevails 
in the exterior worship. An ei»ormous quantity 
is consumed in the festivals of the church, both 
in the capital, and in the chapels of the smallest 

* From .98 of an inch, to 1.1 inch. Tranf, 



CHAP. X.] KITTGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 61 

Indian villages. The hives are extremely 
productive in the peninsula of Yucatan, es- 
pecially in the environs of the port of Cam- 
peachy, which, in 1803, exported 582 arrobas 
of wax, for Vera Cruz. They reckon from 
6 to 7 hundred hives in one colmenar. 
This wax of Yucatan is the produce of 
a bee peculiar to the New Continent, which 
is said to be destitute of a sting, no doubt 
because the sting is weak and not very sen- 
sible. From this circumstance in the Spa- 
nish colonies, the name of little angels (an- 
gelitos,) has been given to the bees described 
by M. M. Illiger, Jurine, and Latreille, un- 
der the name of Melipone and Trigone. I 
know not if the bee of Campeachy differs 
from the Melipona Fasciatay found by M. Bon- 
pland on the eastern slope of the Cordille- 
leras.* It is certain that the wax of the 
American bees is more difficult to whiten, 
than the wax of the domestic bees of Europe. 
New Spain draws annually nearly 25,000 or- 
rohas of wax from the Havannah, the value 
of which amounts to more than 2 millions 
of livres Tournoisf. A very small part how- 



* See the insects collected in the covuse of our cxpedi* 
tion, and described by M. Latreille in our Heuieil d* ob- 
servations de Zoologie et d*Anutome Comparee, t. i. 

t iS83,340«terUng. Trans. 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book it. 

ever of this wax of the island of Cuba, ii 
the produce of the wild Trigones which oc- 
cupy the trunks of the Cedrela Odorata ; 
the greatest part is procured from the bee of 
the north of Europe (Apis Mellificay) the 
cultivation of which, has been very much 
on the increase since 1772. The island of 
Cuba exported m 1803, including the contra- 
band, 42,670 arrohas of wax. The price 
of an arroha then, amounted to 20 or 21 
piastres; but the mean price in time of peace, 
is only 15 piastres, or 75 livres Tournois.J 
In America, the neighbourhood of the sugar 
plantations is very prejudicial to the bees. 
These insects are so exceedingly greedy of 
honey, that they drown themselves in the 
juice of the cane, which puts them into a 
state of inaction and intoxication when they 
drink it to excess. 

The rearing of the cochineal, (Grana No- 
chiztlif) is of great antiquity in New Spain ; 
and it is probable that it goes beyond the 
incursions of the Toliec tribes. In the time of 
the dynasty of Aztec kings, the cochineal was 
more general than at present. There were 
nopaleries not only in Mixtecapan (la Misteca,) 
and in the province of Huaxyacac (Oaxaca), 
but also in the intendancy of Puebla, ii)^ 

* £5 2 6 sterling. Trans, 






CHAP. Z.3 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



63 



the environs of Cholula and Huejotzingo. 
The vexations to which the natives were 
exposed in the beginning of the conquest, 
and the low price at which the encomen^ 
deros forced the cultivators to sell the co- 
chineal, occasioned this branch of Indian in- 
dustry to be every where neglected, except- 
ing in the intendancy of Oaxaca. It is 
scarcely 40 years since the peninsula of Yu- 
catan still possessed considerable nopaleries. 
In a single night, all the nopals, on which 
the cochineal lives, were cut down. The 
Indians pretend that the government took 
this violent resolution to raise the value of 
a commodity, of which they wislied to secure 
the exclusive property to the inhabitants 
of Misteca. On the other hand, the whites 
maintain that the natives irritated and discontent- 
ed with the price fixed by the merchants on the 
cochineal, came to a general understanding, 
to destroy at once, both the insect and the 
nopals. 

The quantity of cochineal which the inten- 
dancy of Oaxaca, furnishes to Europe, may 
be estimated communibus aunts including 
the three sorts, cjrana, yraniUa and polvos 
de grantty at 4000 zurrones or 32,000 arrobas, 
which, calculating the arroba at 75 double 
piastres, amounts to 2,400,000 piastres, or 



lili 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book it. 



12 millions of livres Tournois.* The cochi- 
neal exported from Vera Craz, was 

In 1802, 46,964< arrobas or 3,368,557, p. 
1803, 29,610 arrobas or 2,238,673 p. 

But part of one har>^est being frequently 
added to the harvest of the following year, 
we are not to judge of the progress of the 
cultivation, from the exportation alone. It 
appears that in general the nopaleries in- 
crease very slowly in Misteca. In the inten- 
dancy of Guadalaxara, there is scarcely 800 
arrobas of cochineal produced in a year. 
Raynalf estimates the whole exportation of 
New Spain at 4000 quintals, an estimate 
too low by one half. The East Indies have 
only begun to pour their cochineal into com* 
merce, but the quantity is very inconside- 
rable. Captain Nelson carried oft* the insect 
from Rio Janeiro in 1793, and nopaleries 
have been established in the environs of 
Calcutta, Chittagong, and Madras. Much 
difficulty was experienced in procuring 
the species of cactus proper for the nou- 
rishment of the insect. We know not if 
this Brasilian cochineal transported to Asia, 
be the mealy species of Oaxaca, or if it 
be the cotton cochineal (grana silvestre), 

♦ £500,040 sterling. Trant, 
t T.ii.p.78. 



CHAP. X.] 



KINGDOJff OF NEW SPAIN. 



65 



in- 



■■f 



I shall not here repeat what Thiery de Menon- 
ville, and other naturalists after him have 
published on the cultivation of the nopal» 
and the rearing of the valuable insect which 
is maintained on it. M. Thiery has displayed 
as much sagacity in his researches, as cou- 
rage in the execution of his projects. His 
observations on the cochineal introduced into 
St. Domingo, are certainly very accurate; 
but, ignorant of the language of the country, 
and afraid of exciting suspicion by a display 
of too great curiosity, he could only collect 
during his stay in the intendancy of Oaxaca, 
a very imperfect knowledge of the Mexicin 
nopaleries. I had occasion to observe iiie 
wild cochineal in the kingdom of New Gra- 
nada, Quito, Peru, and in Mexico, though I 
was not fortunate enough to see the fine co- 
chineal; but having consulted persons who 
"have lived long in the mountains of Misteea, 
and» having had at command extracts from 
several manuscript memoirs, drawn up by 
order of the Count de Tessa, during my 
stay at Mexico, by alcaides and ecclesiastics 
of the bishoprick of Oaxaca, I flatter my- 
self that I shall be able to communicate some 
useful information, respecting an insect which 
has become of the very first importance 
to European manufactures. 

Is the mmly fine or Mistec cophineal (yra- 

VOL. III. F 



m 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THife [book ir 



na fimi) specifically different from the cotton 
or wild cochineal (ffrana sUvestrc)^ or is tho 
latter the primitive stock of the former, 
which consequently would only be the pro- 
duce of a degeneracy, originating in the care 
of man? This pro])lem is as different to de- 
cide as the question, whether the domestic 
sheep descends from the ovis ammoiif the dog 
from the wolf, and the ox from the civrochs. 
Whatever relates to the origin of species, to 
the hypothesis of a variety become constant, 
or a form which perpetuates itself, belongs 
to problems in zoonomy, on which it is wise 
to avoid pronouncing decisively. 

The fine cochineal differs from the wild one. 
not only in size, but also in being mealy and 
covered with a white powder, while the wild 
one is enveloped in a thick cotton, which 
prevents its rings from being distinguished; 
but the metamorphoses of the two insects are 
the same. Iti those parts of South America 
Ivhere for ag^s the wild cochineal hiui been 
reared, it has never yet lost its down. It is 
true that in the nopaleries established by M. 
Thiery at fet. Domingo, it was thought to be 
observed, that the inseet under the care of 
man ineteased in size, and underwelat a sen- 
sible eha^e in the thickness of its cotton co- 
vering; but Mr. Latreille a learned entomo- 
logist,, who is inclined to look upon the \rild 



cuAr. x.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 67 



cochineal, as a diflferent species from the fine 
one, beheves that this diminution of down is 
merely apparent, and that it mast be attri- 
buted to the thickness of the body of the in- 
sect. The rings on the back of the female 
beings more dilated, the hairs covering this 
part must appear less close and consequently 
clearer. I was informed by several persons 
who had long lived in the environs of the 
town of Oaxaca, that sometimes among the 
small coccus recently brought into the world, 
individuals are observed covered with very 
long hair. One might be tempted to consi- 
der this fact as a proof, that nature when she 
deviates from her primitive type, returns to 
it from time to time. lu this way the seed 
of the fragaria monophylla of M. Duchesne, 
constantly produces some common strawberries 
with parted leaves. But we must not for- 
get that the fine cochineal, on leaving the 
body of the mother is wrinkled in the back, 
and covered with twelve silks frequently very 
long, which disappear when it becomes adult. 
Tho»e who have not attentively compared 
the offspring of the fine . cochineal, with that 
of the wild jcochineal, are naturally struck 
with, the presence of these hairs. The fine 
cochineal appeal's powdery ten days after its 
birth, .when it frees itself from its fringy dress 
of small silks, whereas the wild cochinea) is 

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POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book ir. 



more and more covereil as it gets older, its 
down thickens, and the insert resembles a 
small white flake, at the period which pre- 
cedes the conjunction of the two sexes. ' ' 

It is sometimes observed in the nopalericir 
of Oaxaca that the winged male of the fine 
cochineal conples with the female of the wiM 
cochineal. This fact has been cited as an 
evideiTt proof of the identity of the species; 
but we commonly see in Europe coecinelles 
couple together, essentially different in their 
form, shape, and colour. When two species 
of insects are in the same vicinity, we ought 
not to be astonished at their coupling together. 

Are the fine cochineal and the pltint on 
which it feeds, both to be found in a wild 
state in Mexico ? M. Thiery thought himself 
warranted in answering this question in the 
negative. This naturalist appears to admit 
that the insect and the nopal of the planta- 
tions of Oaxaca, have been insensibly modi- 
fied in their form by means of long culture. 
This supposition however appears to me equally 
gratuitous with that which would pronounce 
grain, maize, and the banana, to be degenerated 
plants, or, to take an example from the animal 
reign, the llama, which is not known in a wild 
state, to be a variety of the Peruvian sheep, 
{vicuna) of the Upper Andes. The coccu» 
cacti has an infinite number of enemies among 



a 



CHAP. X.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



69 



ir. 



an 



1 



the insects and birds. Wherever the cotton 
cochineal propagates of itself, it is not to be 
found in any abundance, from which we may 
easily conceive that the mealy cochineal must 
have been still more rare in its native coun- 
try, because it is nmch more delicate, and 
not being covered with down, is more sensi- 
ble to the cold and humidity of the air. In 
discussing the question^ whether the fine co- 
chineal would propagate without the care of 
man, the subdelegate of the province of Oaxa- 
ca, Ruiz de ,Montaya*, cites a very remark- 
able fact in his memoir, " that at seven 
** leagues distance from the village of Nexapa, 
** there is a place, where, favoured by parti- 
** cular circumstances, the most beautiful yrana 
** fina is to be found, on very high and very 
** prickly wild nopals, without any pjtins ha- 
" ving ever been bestowed in cleaning* the 
" plants, or in renewing the offspring of the 
" cochineal." Besides we are not to be as- 
tonished that even in a country where this 
animal is indigenous, it should seldom be 
£ound in a wild state, from the time that 
it began to be in request among the iit- 
habitants, and to be reared in nopaleries. It 
is probable that the Toultecs, before under- 
taking so troublesome a species of cultiva- 
tion, collected the fine cochineal on the nopals, 



A 



* Gazeta tie literatura de Mmco, 1794, p. 228. 



90 POLITICAL ESSAY OK THE [b'*.* it. 

which grew spontaneously on the sides of Uie 
mountains of Oaxaca. Gathering tiie females 
before laying, the species would soon be de* 
stroyed; and to obviate this progressive de- 
struction, and prevent the mixture of the cotton 
and mealy cochineals on the same cactus, (the 
former depriving the lattei* of all nourishment,) 
nopaleries were establiahed by the natives. 

The plants on which the two species of 
cochineal are propagated, are essentially dif- 
ferent ; and this undoubted fact is one of those 
which indicate a primitive and specific dif- 
ference between the jftana fina, and the yrami 
silvestre» Is it probable if the mealy cochi- 
neal was merely a variety of the cotton cochi- 
neal, that it would perish on the same cactus 
which serves for nourishment to the latter, 
and which botanists designate by the names of 
cactus opuntia, C. tuna, and C. ileus indica ? 
M. Thiery in the work already frequently re- 
ferred to by us*, asserts that in the plain of 
Cul'de Sac in Saint Domingo, the cotton- 
cochiueal does not live on the cactus tuna, 
but on the C. pereskia, which he classes among 
the articalated Indian iigs. I am afraid that 
this naturalist has .confounded a variety of 
i>puntia, with the true pei*eskia, which i^ 9- 
tree with large and thick leaves, and on which 
I never yet iound any cochineal. X look i\pon 

. * P. 275^282. 



'■ 



IT. 



CHAP. X.J 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



it also as extremely doubtful, that the plant called 
by Linneus cactus coccinellifer, cultivated in 
Europe, is the nopal on which the Indians of 
Oaxaca rear the mealy cocliineal. M. Decan- 
dolle^ who has thrown nmch light on this 
subject, appears to be of my opinion ; for he 
cites the wild nopal of Thiery de Menouville, 
as synonimous with the cochineal Indian fig, 
which is entirely different from that of the 
plantations. In fact Linneus gave the name 
of cactus coccinellifer to the Indian fig, with 
which several botanical gardens of Europe had 
received the cotton-cochineal, a species with a 
purple flower, (Ficus Indica vermiculos proferens 
of Plukenet) which grows wild in Jamaica, 
the Island of Cuba, and almost every where 
in the Spanish Colonies of the Continent. I 
have shewn this cactus to welL informed per- 
sons, who had carefully examined the nopale- 
ries of Oaxaca, and they have uniformly told 
me that the 7iop€d of the plantations is essen- 
tiuilly-^ifierent from it, and that the latter, as 
is also afiii'med by M. Thiery, is never to be 
found in a wild state. Moreover the Abbe 
Clavigerot who lived five years in Misteca, 
expressly says, that the fruit of the nopal on 
which the fine qochineal is reared, is siii^ll, in- 
sipid, and white, while the fruit of the caclus 



♦ Plantes grasses de M.M, JRcdoute ei DecandoUefliyrmon 



24. 



fi 



-n' 



t T.i.p. 115. 



72 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



coccinellifer is red. The celebrated Ulloa 
advances in his works that the true nopal i.s 
without prickles; but he appears to have con- 
founded this plant with an Indian fig, which 
we have frequently found in the g^ardens, (conU" 
cos) of the Indians of Mexico and Peiii, and 
which the Creoles on account of its gigantic 
size, the excellence of its fruits, and the beauty 
of its articulations, which are of a blucish green, 
and destitute of prickles, designate by the 
name of tuna de Castilla. This nopal, the 
most elegant of all the opuntia, is in fact fit 
for the nourishment of the mealy cochineal, 
especially after its birth, but it is seldom to 
be found in the nopaleries of Oaxaca. If ac- 
cording to the opinion of several distinguished 
naturalists, the Uiiia or nopal de Castilhty is 
but a variety of the ordinary cactus opuntia, 
originating in cultivation, we must be surprized 
that the Indian figs cultivated for centuries 
in our botanical gardens, and those of the no- 
paleries of New Spain, have never in the same 
manner lost the prickles, with which the joints 
are provided. 

The Indians of the intendancy of Oaxaca, 
do not all follow the same method in rearing 
the cochineal, which M. Thiery de Menonville 
saw practised in his rapid passage through San 
Juan del Re, San Antonio and Quicatlan. The 



4 



CRAP. X.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN- 



73 



Indians of the district of Sola and Zimatlan*, 
es^?.blish their nopaleries ou the slope of moun- 
tains, or in ravins, two or three leaj^ues dis- 
tant from their vilhigfes. Tliey plant the no- 
pals after cutting* and burning the trees which 
covered the ground. If they continue to clean 
the ground twice a year, the young plants are 
in a condition to maintain the cochineal in 
the third year. For this purpose the proprie- 
tor of a nopalery, purchiises in the months of 
April or May, branches or joints of the tuna de 
Castitta, laden with small cochineals, (semilla) 
recently hatched. These branches destitute of 
roots, and separated from the trunks, preserve 
their juice for several months. They are sold 
for about three francs the hundred in the mar- 
ket of Oaxaca. The Indians preserve the 
semilla of the cochineal for twenty days in 
caverns, or in the interior of their huts, and 
after this period they expose the young coccus 
to the open air. The branches to which the 
insect is attached, are suspended under a shed 
covered with a straw roof. The growth 
of the cocliineal is so rapid, that even in the 
months of August and September, we find mo- 
thers already big before the young are yet 
hatched. These mother-cochineals are placed 
in Tiests, made of a species of tillandsia, called 
paxtk. They are carried in these nests two or 



I 



'I 



Informe de Don Francisco Ibanez de Coroera* (M. S ) 



74 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [oook fr. 

three leagues from the village, and diitribii- 
teci in the nopaleries, where the young* plants 
receive the semilla. The hiyinpf of the mo- 
ther-cochineal lasts from thirteen to fifteen 
flays. If the situation of the ))lantation is not 
very elevated, the first harvest may be expected 
in loss than four months. It is observed, that 
in a climate more cold than temperate, the 
colour of the cochineal is equally beautiful, but 
that the harvest is much later. In tiie plain, 
the mother-cochineals grow to a greater size, 
but they meet with more enemies in the innu* 
merable quantity of insects, (xicaritas, perritos, 
aradoreSf agujasf armadillost culebrittts,) lizards, 
rats, and birds, by which they ai*e devoured. 
Much care is necessary in cleaning the branches 
of the nopals. The Indian women make use 
of a squirrel, or stag's tail for that pivpose ; 
they squat down for hours together beside one 
plant; and notwithstanding the excessive price 
of the cochineal, it is to be doubted if this 
cultivation would be profitable, in countries where 
the time and labour of man might be turned 
to account. At Sola, where very cold rains 
occasionally fall, and where it even frequently 
freezes in the month of January, the natives 
preserve the young cochineals, by covering the 
nopals with rush mats. The price of the se- 
mitta of gvana Jina, which generally does not 
amount to more than five francs per pound, fre« 
qaently rises there to 18 and 20. 



CHAP. X.3 KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 75 



In several districts of the province of Oaxaca, 
they 'have three cochineal harvests in the 
year, of which the first (that which gives 
the semilla) is not lucrative, because the mother 
preserves for a very short time the colouring 
juice, if she dies natur.ally after having laid. 
This first harvest furnishes the yrana de pastlt 
or nesi cochineal, so called because the mothers 
after laying are found in the same nests which 
have been suspended to the nopals. Near the 
town of Oaxaca, the cochineal is sown in the 
month of August ; but in the districts of Chon- 
tale this operation does not take place till the 
month of October; and on the coldest table 
lands not even till the months of November and 
December. 

The cotton or wild cochineal which gets into 
the nopaleries, and the male of which according 
to the observation of Mr. Alzate, is not much 
' smaller than the male of the mealy or fine cochi* 
neal, does much injury to the nopals ; and accord- 
ingly the Indians kill it wherever they find it, 
though the colour which it yields is very solid 
and very beautiful. It appears thsit not only 
the fruits, but also the green branches of several 
species of cactus will dye cotton, violet md 
red, and that the colour of the cochineal is not 
entirely owing to a process of <mimaU;saiion of 
the vegetable Juices in the body of the insect. 

They reckon at Nexapa that in good years 



1 



h 






i 



7t» POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [koojc iv. 

one poiiiul of svmiUn of mealy cocliineal placed 
on nopals in the month of Oetoher, in \\\i' 
month of January yiehls a harvest of 12 |)ounils 
of mother (;ocliineals, leavin<;; suilieient seinilla 
on the plant, that is to say l>e^innin«;' the har- 
vest only when the mothers have already pro- 
dured the half of their yonnjjf. This new S(;- 
niilla ag^ain produces till the month of May 3G 
pounds. At Zinuitlan and other villages of 
Misteea and Xieayan they scarcely reap more 
than three or four times the (juantity of cochineal 
sown. If the south wind which is very pernici- 
ous to the growth of the insec*t has not blown 
long, and the cochineal is not mixed with tlasole, 
that is to say with the spoils of the winged 
males, it loses only two thirds of its weight 
when dried in the sun. 

The two kinds of cochineal (the fine and the 
wild) appear to contain niorc! of the colouring 
principU^ in temperate climates, especially in ^ 
regions where the mean temperatun^ of the air 
is 18 or 20 centigrade degrees*. As to the wild 
cochineal we found it in abundance in the most 
opposite climates, in the mountains of Rio- 
bamba, at 2900 metresf of absolute elevation, 
and in the plains of the province of Jaen de 
Bracamoros, under a burning sky, between the 
villages of Tomependa and Chamaya. 

• 64'»and68o ofFahrenh. Trans. 
t 9513feet£ngligh. Trans. 



IV. 



CHAP. X.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



77 



Aroiiiid the town of Oaxarii, nnd cHprrially 
near ()(>(»ilaii tliere are plantations (linciemlan) 
wliirh <'ontain from •'>0 to (KMKK) nopals planted 
in linrs like pites oi mntfnejfs de puitfue. The 
jjfreatest part of the cochineal wliich is eniploye<l 
in commerce is, howt^ver, prodnci'd in small 
nopaleries helonjrinjr to !»» lians of extreme 
poverty. The nopal is seldom allowed to 
grow higher than 12 <lecimetres* in order that 
it may be the more; easily cleared of the inserts 
which devour tln^ <'ochineal. The varieties of 
the cactus which are rouji^hest and most prickly 
are even preferred, because these arms serve to 
protect th(^ cochineal from flying insects ; and 
the flower and fruit are carefully cut to pre- 
vent tliese insects from depositing their eggs in 
them. 

The Indians who cultivate the cochineal and 
who go by the name of nopalerosy especially 
those who live round the town of Oaxaca, fol- 
low a very ancient and a very extraordinary 
practice, that of making the cochineal travel. 
In that part of the torrid zone, it rains in the 
plains and vallies from May to October, while 
in the chain of neighbouring mountains called 
Sierra de Tstepeje, the rains are only frequent 
from December to April. In place of preserv- 
ing the insect in the rainy season in the interioi 
of their huts, the Indians place the mother-co- 



fi * 






V 



M 



* 4-7 inches. Tram, 



7B POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

chinealsy covered with palm-lenves by beils in 
btskels made of very flexible cln.s|>ers. These 
baskets (eoHaaioi/) are carried by the Indians on 
their backs as quickly as possible to the niouiv- 
tains of Istepeje, above the village of Santa 
Catalina, at nine leagues distance from Oaxaca. 
The mother cochineals produce their youngs liy 
the way. On opening the catuistos they are 
found full of young coccuSf which are distributed 
on the nopals of the sierra. They remain there 
till the month of October when the rainti cease 
in the lower regions. The Indians then return 
to the mountains in quest of the cochineal for 
the purpose of replacing it in the nopaleries of 
Oaxaca. The Mexican in this way withdraws 
the insects from the peraicious effects of the 
humidity in the same manner as the Spaniard 
travels with his merinos from the cold. 

At the period of the harvests the Indians kill 
the mother cochineals, which are collected on 
a wooden plate called chilcaipetl by throwing 
them into boiling water, or heaping them up 
by beds in the sun, or placing them on mats in 
the same ovens of a circular form (temazcaUi) 
which are used for vapour and hot air baths of 
which we have already spoken*. The last of 

* See vol. ii. p. 949. M. Alzate who has given a good 
plate of the temazcalli (Gazeta de Literatura de Mexico. 
T.Ui. p. 252.) asserts that the ordinary heat of the vapour ill 
which the Mexican Indian bathes himself i» 66** centigrade* 
(150 ofFahrenh. Trans,) 



riiAP. X.3 



KINGDOM OF NEW RPAIK. 



70 



these methods, which is leant in use, preserves 
the whitish powder on the body of the insect) 
which raises its price at Vera Cruz and i.^.»diz. 
Purchasers prefer the white cochineal, because 
it is less subject to be frauthilently mixed with 
parcels of gum, wood, maize, and red earth. 
There exist in Mexico very ancient laws (of 
the years 1592 and 1591) for the prevention of 
the falsification of cochineal. Since 17C0 they 
have even been under the necessity of establish- 
ing in the town of Oaxaca a jury of veadores 
who examine the bags (zurrones) previous to 
their being sent out of the province. They 
appoint the cochineal exposed to sale to have 
the (/rain separated, that the Indians may not 
introduce extraneous matter in those agglutinated 
masses called bodoques. But all these means 
are insufficient for the prevention of fraud. 
However, that which is practised in Mexico by 
the tiangueros or zanganos (falcificadtyres) is 
inconsiderable in comparison of thut which is 
practised on this commodity in the ports of the 
Peninsula, and in the rest of £urope. 

To complete the view of the animals of New 
Spain we must bestow a rapid glance on the 
pearl and whale fisheries. It is probable that 
these two branches of fishery will one day 
become an object of the very highest import- 
ance to a country possessed of a length of coast pf 
more than 1700 marine leagues. Long before 



1 



80 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



the discovery of America, pearls were in gi'eat 
estimation among the natives. Hernando de 
Soto found an immense quantity in Florida, 
particularly in the provinces of Ichiaca and 
Confachiqui, where the tombs of their princes 
were ornamented with them*. Among the 
presents made by M onte/Aima to Cortez before 
his entry into Mexico, which were sent by 
Cortez to the emperor Charles V., there were 
necklaces set with rubies, emeralds, and pearlsf. 
We know not whether the Aztec kings received 
any part of these pearls by means of trade 
with the barbarous and wandering: tribes who 
frequented the gulf of California. It is better 
ascertained that pearls were fished by their 
orders, on the coast which extends from Colima, 
the northern boundary of their empire, to the 
province of Xoconochco or Soconusco, and 
particularly near Tototepec, between Acapulco 
and the gulf of Tchuantepec and in Cuitlateca- 
pan. The Incas of Peru set a great value on 
pearls ; but the laws of Manco-cap;i prohibited 
the Peruvians from exercising the calling of 
diver, as not very beneficial to the state and 
dangerous to those who follow it j;. 

The situations which since the discovery o£ 

• La Florida del Inca, Madrid, 1723, p. 129, 185 and 140. 
f GomaKi} Conquista de Mexico (Medina del Campo, 
1S33) fbl. 25. 
$ Oarcilasio, lib. viii. c. 23. ^ 



CHAP. X.3 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 81 



the New Continent, have furnished the greatest 
abundance of pearls to the Spaniards, are the 
following: the arm of the sea between the 
islands of Cubagua and Coche, and the coast of 
Cumana ; the mouth of the Rio de la Haclia ; 
the gulf of Panama near the Iglas de las Per las; 
and the eastern coast of California. In 1587, 
316 kilogrammes* of pearls were imported into 
Seville, among which there were 5 kilogram- 
mest of the greatest beauty destined for king 
Philip II. The pearl fishery of Cubaguu 
and Rio de la Hacha have been very pi'oduc- 
live but of short duration. After tlie com* 
mencementof the 17th century, and especially 
after the navigations of Yturbi and Pinadero, 
the pearls of California began to rival in 
trade those of the gulf of Panama. At thai 
period the most able divers were sent to the 
shores of the sea of Cortez. The fishery, however, 
was immediately neglected again ; and though 
at the time of the expedition of Galvez emlea- 
vours were used to restore it, these endeavours 
were rendered fruitless from the causes already 
detailed by us in the description of Californiaf. 
In 1803 only, a Spanish ecclesiastic residing 
at Mexico again turned the attention of goverii- 






M 



m 



* 6971b.avoird. Trans. 

f Acosta,lib. iv.c. 15. 

J See vol. ii. chap, viii, p. 329. 



VOL. III. 



G 



i 



i 



82 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



ment to the pearls of the coast of Ceralvo in 
California. As the divers (buzos) lose much 
of their time in rising to breathe on the sur- 
face of the water, and fatigue themselves to no 
purpose in descending several times to the 
bottom of the sea, this ecclesiastic proposed to 
employ in the pearl fishery a diving bell which 
should serve as a reservoir of atmospheric air, 
and in which the diver might take refuge 
whenever he felt the necessity of respiration. 
Furnished with a mask and a flexible tube he 
would l)e enabled to explore the bottom of the 
ocean breathing the oXygen supplied by this 
bell at which the tube terminates. During my 
residence in New Spain I saw a series of very 
curious experiments made in a small pond near 
the castle of Chopoltepec in the execution of 
this project. It was certainly the first time 
that a diver's bell was ever constructed at a 
height of 2300 metres* equal to that of the 
pass of the Simplon. I know not whether the 
experiments made in the valley of Mexico 
were ever repeated in the gulf of California, 
and whether the pearl fishery has been renewed 
there after an interruption of more than thirty 
years; for hitherto almost all the pearls sup- 
plied by the colonies come from the gulf of 
Panama, 



* 7545 feet. Trans, 



CHAP. X.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



m 



Among the marine shells of New Spahi, I 
ought also to mention here the iimrex of the 
coast of Tehnantepec in the province of Oaxaca, 
of which the cloak exudes a purple colouring 
liquor, and the famous shell of Monterey which 
resembles the most beautiful haliotis of New 
Zealand. This shell is to be found on the coast 
of New California, and particularly between the 
ports of Monterey and San Francisco. It is 
employed, as we have already observed, in the fur 
trade with the inhabitants of Noutka. As to 
the gasteropode of Tehuantepec, the Indian 
women collect the purple liquor, following the 
course of the shore, and rubbing the cloak of 
the murex with cotton stript of its seed. 

The western coast of Mexico, especially that 
part of the great ocean situated between the 
gulph of Bayonna, the three Mary islands, and 
cape Saint Lucas, abound in spermaceti^whales or 
cachalots, of which the fishery is one of the most 
important objects of mercantile speculation on 
account of the extremely high prices given for 
spermateci (adipocire) by the English and the 
inhabitants of the United States. The Spanish 
Mexicans see the cachalot fishers aiTive on their 
coast after a navigation of more than 5000 marine 
leagues, to whom they incorrectly enough give 
the appellation of balleneros {whalers) ; but they 
never endeavour to share in the pursuit of 
these great mammi/erous whales. M. Schneider 

G 2 



M 



III. I 



i 



^4 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE L^ook iv 

who is as good a naturalist as he is a learned 
hclienist, and M. M. dc T^cepedc and 
Fleurieu* have j^iven very accurate information 
as to the whale and cachalot fishery in the 
two hemispheres. I shall here communicate 
the most recent knowledj^e which I could 
collect during^ my residences on the shores of 
the South Sea. 

Were it not for the cachalot fishery and the 
trade in furs of Sea Otters at Noutka, the g-reat 
ocean would almost never be frequented by the 
Anglo-Americans and Europeans. Notwith- 
standing the extreme economy practised in 
these fishing expeditions, those beyond Cape 
Horn are too expensive to admit of the hlach 
whale being the object of them. The cost of 
these distant navigations can only be compen- 
sated by the high price which necessity or 
luxury fixes on their returns. Now of all the 
oily liquids which enter into trade, there are 
few so dear as the spermaceti, or the particular 
substance contained in the enormous caverns 
of the snout of the cachalot. A single individual 
of these cetaceous giants yields as much as 125 
English barrekf (of 321 gallons eachj) of 



* Voycage de Marchand, T. ii. p. 600, 64-1, 

f A barrel contains 1.48 hectolitres or nearly 178|. pints 
of Paris fRecherches sur la Richesse des Nations par Adam 
Smith, traduction de M. Garnier, T. v. p. 451.) 

X This is supposed to be Sl^. Trans, 



CIIAF. X.] 



KINGDOiNI OF NEW SPAIN. 



8:> 



spermaceti. A tun containini^ eight of these 
barrels or 1024 pints of Paris, used to sell in 
Jjondon before the peace of Amiens at ^70 or 
J&80 and during- the war at £95 and ^100 
sterling. 

It was not the third expedition of Cook 
to the north-west coast of the New Continent, 
but the voyage of James CoUnet to the Gallapa- 
gos islands, which made known to the Euro- 
peans and Anglo Americans the abundance ot 
cachalots in the great ocean to the north of the 
equator. Till 1788 the whale fishers only 
frequented the coasts of Chili and Peru. Only 
12 or fifteen vessels then doubled Cape Horn 
annually for the cachalot fishery, while at the 
period when I was in the South Sea, there were 
more than GO under the English flag alone. 

The physeter macroccphalus not only frequents 
the arctic seas between the coast of Greenland 
and Davis Straits, it is not only found in the 
Atlantic Ocean between the banks of New- 
foundland and the Azore Islands, where the 
Anglo Americans sometimes carry on a fishery, 
but it is also to be found to the south of the equator 
on the coasts of Brazil and Guinea. It would 
appear that in its periodical voyages, it ap- 
proaches more to the continent of Africa than to 
that of America ; for in the environs of Rio 
Janeiro and la Bahia whales only are caught. 
However the cachalot fishery has been much 



/III 



% 



|l.| 

ill 



m 



e 



86 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



diminished on the Guinea coast, since naviga- 
tors have become less afraid of doubling Cape 
Horn, and since more attention has been paid 
to the cetaceous fish abounding in the great 
ocean. Physeters are found in very consider- 
able bands in the channel of Mosanibique, and 
to the south of the Cape of Good Hope j but 
the animal there is generally small, and the sea 
rough and agitated, and unfavourable to the 
operations of the harpooners. 

The great ocean unites all the circumstances 
that render the cachalot fishery both easy and 
lucrative. It is richer in moUuscus, fish, por- 
poises, tortoises, and sea calves of every species, 
and offers more nourisb»uent to cetaceous 
animals than the Atlantic ocean. Hence these 
last are there in greater numbers as well as fatter 
and larger. The calm which prevails during 
so great a part of the year in the equinoctial 
region of the South Sea facilitates very much the 
pursuit of cachalots and whales. The for uer 
keep generally near the coasts of Chili, Peru, 
and Mexico, because the shores are steep (acan- 
tiladas) and washed by a sea of great depth. 
It is a general rqle that the cachalot avoids 
shallows, whereas they are sought after by the 
whale. For this reason the whale is very 
frequent on the low coast of Brazil, while the 
other abounds near the coast of Guinea, which 
is higher, and every where accessible to large 



C»AP. X.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



87 



vessels. Such is m g-eneral the geological con- 
stitution of the two continents, that the western 
coast of America and Africa resemble one 
another, while the eastern and western coasts of 
the New Continent exhibit the most remarkable 
contrast in relation to their elevation above 
the level of the neighbouring seas. 

The greatest number of £nglish and Anglo- 
American vessels which enter the great ocean 
ha/e the double object in view of carrying on 
the cachalot fishery and an illicit conmierce 
with the Spanish colonies. They double Cape 
Horn after attempting to leave contraband 
goods at the mouth of the river Plata, or at the 
presidio of the Malouin Islands. They begin 
the cachalot fishing near the small deseil: islands 
of Mocha and Santa Maria, to the south of 
the Conception of Chili. At Mocha there are 
wild horses introduced by the inhabitants 
of the neighbouring coast, which sometimes 
serve for provisions to navigators. The island 
of Santa Maria has very fine and very abundant 
springs. They contain wild hogs, and a species 
of very large and very nutritive turnips, believed 
to be peculiar to those climates. After remain- 
ing in these latitudes for a month, and carry- 
ing on a contraband trade with the island of 
Chiloe, the fishing vessels (halkneros) generally 
coast Chili and Peru to Cape Blanc situated 
in 4'* 18' of south latitude. The cachalot is 



' 



s*\ 



88 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [iooK iv. 



li^'cry where common in these latitudes, to 
lo or 20 leagues distance from the continent. 
Before the expedition of Captain Coilnet, the 
fishery terminated at Cape Blanc or near the 
equator; but within the last 15 or 20 years» 
the balleneros continue it northwards to be- 
yond Cabo Corientes, on the Mexican coast 
of the intendancy of Guadalaxara. Near the 
Archipelago of the Galapagos, where it is 
extremely dangerous to land, on account of 
the strong currents, and round the islands 
de las ires Marias, the fish is most frequent- 
ly to be found, and of a gigantic size. In 
spring the environs of the Galapagos are 
the ren^'ezvous of all the macrocephalous 
cachalots of the coasts of Mexico, Peru, and 
the gulph of Panama, which come there to 
couple. During that period M. Collnet saw 
young individuals of 2 metres in length*. 
Farther to the north of the Marias islands, 
in the gidf of California, no more physeters 
are to be found, but many whales. 

The whale fishers can easily distinguish at 
a distance the cachalots from the whales, by 
the manner in which the foraier spout up the 
brine through their spiracles. The cachalots 
can remain longer under water, than the 
true whale. When they come to the sur- 
face, their respiration is more frequet ly in- 

* 6i feet. Trans, 



CHAP. X.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



89 



terrupted ; they do not allow iio much water 
to remain in the membranous bags placed 
below their nostrils; and the spouts are more 
frequent, more in a forward direction, and 
more elevated than those of the other whales 
The female of the cachalot is four or five 
times smaller than the male ; and its head 
does not yield more than 25 English barrels 
of adipocire, while the head of the male, 
yields from 100 to 125. A great number 
of females (cow wfuiles) go generally together 
ted by two or there males (hull-wliales) which 
are perpetually describing circles round their 
ilock. The very young females which yield 
from 12 to 10 barrels of adipocire matter 
called by the English fishermen school-whales 
swim so close to one another that they fre- 
quently get more than half out of water. It 
is almost superfluous here to observe that the 
adipocire, which is not a part of the brain 
of the animal, is not only to be found in 
all the known species of cachalot (catadon" 
tes lac») but also in all the physales and phy- 
seters. The spermaceti extracted from the 
cavities of the snout of the cachalot, and 
we must not confound these cavities with 
that of the cranium, is only the third pail 
of the thick and adipocirous oil, which is 
furnished by the rest of the body. The 
spermaceti of the head is the best, and 



W )> 



'I II 









i 



90 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



: 



is employed in the making of candles; 
and that of the body and tail is only used 
in England, to give a gloss to cloth. ' 

This fishery, to be profitable, must be 
conducted on the most economical principles. 
Vessels from 180 to f300 tons are employed 
in it, and the crew consists only of 16 or 24 
individuals, including the captain and master, 
who are themselves obliged to throw the 
harpoon, like common sailors. The expences 
of equipment of a vessel of 180 tons, lined 
with copper, and provisioned for a voyage 
of two years, is estimated in London, at 7000/. 
sterling. Each South-Sea fishing vessel is 
provided with two canoes. The fitting of 
each canoe, requires 4 sailors and a boy, a , 
steersman, a cable of 130 fathoms in length, 
3 lances, 5 harpoons, an axe, and a lantern 
to make themselves seen at a distance during 
the night. The fitter out, gives the sailors only 
their food and a very small sum of money under 
the name of advance. Their pay depends on the 
produce of the fishery; for as the whole crew 
contribute to it, every individual has a right 
to the profit. The captain receives a six- 
teenth, the master a twenty-fifth, the second 
master a thirty-fifth, the mate a sixtieth, 
and the sailor an eighty-fifth of the whole 
produce. The season is reckoned good if 
a vessel of 200 tons, returns to port, laden 



CHAP. X.T 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



91 



with 800 barrels of spermaceti. The cacha- 
lot from lieinff so incessantly persecuted has 
become within these ftnv years, more wild 
and difficult to takt^ But to favour the navi- 
gation of tlie South Sea, the British govern- 
ment allows advances to each vessel fitted 
out for tlie chachalot fishery: these advances 
are from 300/. to 800/. sterlin<r, according to 
the tonnage of the vessel. The Anglo-Ame- 
ricans carry on this fishery with still more 
economy than the £nglish. 

The ancient Spanish laws prohibited whale 
vessels as well as all other foreign vessels 
from entering the ports of America, except 
in cases of distress, or want of water and 
provisions. The Galapagos islands on which 
the fishers sometimes land their sick, are 
provided with springs, but these springs are 
very poor and very inconstant. The island 
of Cocos (liat. 5**. 35 north) is very well 
supplied with water; but, in running from 
the Galapagos northwards, this small insulated 
island is difficult to find, on account of the 
force and irregularity of the currents. The 
whalers have more powerful motives for prefer- 
ring to take in water from the coast ; and tliey 
seek pretexts to enter the ports of Coquim- 
bo, Pisco, Tumbez, Payta, Guayaquil, Rea- 
lejo, Sonzanate, and San Bias. A few days, 
and frequently even a few hours, are sufficient 






03 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE C»oo« !▼• 



for the crews of fishing vessels to form con- 
nections with the inhabitants, for the sale of 
English goods, and to take in ladings of 
copi»er, Peruvian sheep, qninquina» sugar, and 
cocoa. This contraband trade, is canned on 
between persons who do not speak the same 
language, frequently by signs, and with a fi- 
delity very uncommon among the most po- 
lished people of Europe. 

It would he superfluous to enumerate the 
advantages the inhabitants of the Spanish colo- 
nies would possess over the English and the 
people of the United States, if they were 
to enter upon the cachalot fishery. From 
Guayaquil and Panama the parallels where 
this fish abounds, is not more than a voyage 
of ten or twelve days. The navigation from 
San Bias to the Marias islands, is hardly 
36 hours. The Spanish Mexicans employ- 
ed in this fishery would have a shorter 
passage by 4000 leagues than the Anglo-Ame- 
ricans ; they could be supplied with provisions 
at a cheaper rate; and they would every 
where find ports where they would be re- 
ceived as friends, and supplied with fresh 
provisions. It is true the spermaceti is not 
yet in great request on the continent of 
of Spanish America. The clergy persist in 
confounding adipocirc with tallow, and the 
American bishops liave declared that the ta- 



I' 



CHAP, x.l 



KINGOOM OP NEW SPAIN. 



03 



pers which burn on tho altars, can only he 
made of bee-wax. At lama, however, they 
have begun to deceive the vigilance of • .0 
bishops, by mixing a little spermaceti «'**4 
the wax. The merchants purchasing Eiig.ir- 1 
l^rizes, had it in great quantities, and the 
adipocire employed in church festivals, is 
become a new branch of very lucrative com- 
merce. 

It is not the want of Iiands which pre- 
vents the inhabitants of Mexico from apply- 
ing to the cachalot fishery. Two hundred 
men are sufficient to man ten fishing ves- 
sels, and to procure annually, more than a 
thousand tons of spermaceti; and this sub* 
stance might in time, become as impor« 
tant an article of exportation, as the cocoa 
of Guayaquil, and the copper of Coquim* 
bo. In the present state of the Spanish 
colonies, the sloth of the inhabitants is ini- 
mical to the execution of similar projects; 
and it would be impossible to procure sai- 
lors willing to embrace so rude a business 
and so miserable a life, as that of a cacha- 
lot fisher. How could they be found in a 
country, where according to the ideas of the 
common people, all that is necessary to 
happiness, is bananas, salted flesh, a ham- 
mock, and a guitar? The hope of gain is 
too weak a stimulus, imder a zone, where 



•id 



1)4 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iV. 



beneficent nature provides to man a thou- 
sand means of procuring an easy and peaceful 
existence without quitting his country, and 
without struggling* with tlie monsters of the 
ocean. 

For a long time, the Spanish go'^ernment 
has looked with an evil eye on the cacha- 
lot fishery, which draws the English and 
Anglo Americans* to the coast of Peru and 
Mexico. Before the establishment of that 
fishery, the inhabitants of the western coast of 
America, had never seen any other flag in 
those seas, tiian the Spanisli. Political rea- 
sons might have engaged the mother coun- 
try to spare nothing for the encouragement 
of the national fisheries, not so much per- 
haps with a view oi* a direct profit, as for 
the sake of excluding strangers, and pre- 
venting their connections with the natives. 
The privileges which they granted to a com- 
pany residing in Europe, and which has 
merely existed by name, could not give the 
first impulse to the Mexicans and Peruvians. 



* According to ofRcial information, which I owe to 
M. Gallatin, Treasurer to the United States, there were 
in tlie South Sea, in ISOO, 1801, and 1802, from 18 to 
20 whalers (from 2800 to 3200 tons) of the United 
States. A third of these vessels arc fitted out annually from 
the port of Nantucket. In 1805, the importation of 
spermaceti into that port, amounted to 1146 barreU. 



CHAP. X.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



95 



The fishing vessels ought to be fitted out 
in America itself, at Guayac|uil, Panama, of 
Sau Bias. There is constantly on that coast 
a certain number of* English sailors, who 
have abandoned the fishing* vessels, either 
through discontent or for the purpose of 
pushing their fortunes in the Spanish colo- 
nies. The first expedition might be made 
by mixing those sailors, who have had long ex- 
perience in the cachalot fishery, with the 
zamhos of America, who are not afraid of 
singly attacking a crocodile. 

We have thus examined in this chapter 
the true national wealth of Mexico; for the 
produce of the earth is in fact the 
sole basis of permanent opulence. It is 
consolatory to see that the labour of man 
for half a century, has been more directed 
towards this fertile and inexhaustible source, 
than towards the working of mines, of 
which the wealth has not so direct an in- 
fluence on the public prosperity, and mere- 
ly changes the nominal value of the annual 
produce of the earth. The territorial im- 
post levied by the clergy, under the name 
of tenth, or tithe, measures the quantity of 
that produce, and indicates with precision, 
the progress of agricultural industry, if we 
compare the periods, in the intervals of 



96 POLItlCAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

which the pr^ce of commodities has under- 
gone no sensible variation. The following 
is a view of the value of these tithes*. 
Taking" for example two series of years, from 
1771 to 1780 and from 1780 to 1789. 



Natsaes of Dioceses. 


Periods. 


Value of 
Tithes in 
Piastres. 


Periods. 


Value of 
Tithes in 
Piastres. 


Mexico - - . 
Pucbia de losAn- ? 

geles - i S 
Valladolid de > 

Mechoacan J 
Oax.ica - - - 
Tiuatialaxara 
Dtifango 


1771—1780 

1770— n-rg 

1770—1779 

1771—1780 
1771—1780 
1770—1779 


4,132,630 
2,965,601 

2,710,200 

71.5,974 

1,889,724 

913,028 


1781—1790 
1780—1789 

1780—1769 

1781—1790 
1781—1790 
1780—1789 


7,082,879 
3,508,884 

3,239,400 

863,237 
2,579,108 
1,080,313 



The result of this view is, that the tithes 
of New Spain, have amounted in these six 
dioceses, 



I h 



' From 1771 to 1779— to 13,357,157t 7 Double Piastres 
1779— 1789 18,353,821^ j or pezzos fuertes. 



• I have extracted this view from a manuscript me- 
moir of M. Maniao, drawn up from official papers, and 
bearing the title of Estado de la Renin de Real Haci- 
enda de Nueva Espam, en un a»o commun del quinquenio 
de ITS* hasta 1789. The numbers in this view differ a 
little from those published by M. Pinkerton (vol. iii. 
p. 234; from the work of Estalla, which I have never 
yet been able to procure. 

f 162,880,141 sterling. Trans, 

t ^£4,015,219 sterling. Tram, 



€HAP. xO KINGDOM OF N^W SPAIN. 97 



Consequently the total augmentation has 
been, in the last ten years^ five imllions «jf 
piastres, or two fifths of the total produce. 
The same data also indicate the rapidity of 
the progress of agriculture, in the intendan- 
cies of Mexico^ Guadalaxara, Puebla, and 
Valladolid, compared with the provinces of 
Oaxaca and New Biscay. The tithes have 
been nearly doubled in the archbishoprick of 
Mexico; for those which were levied during 
the ten years anterior to 1780, were to those 
levied ten years afterwards, in the propor- 
tion of 10 to 17. In the intendancy of 
Durango or New Biscay, this augmentation 
has been only in the proportion of 10 to 11. 

The celebrated author of the Wealth of 
Nations*, estimates the territorial produce of 
Great Britain, from the produce of the land 
tax. In the political view of New Spain, 
which I presented to the court of Madrid 
in 1803, I had hazarded a similar valuation, 
from the value of the tithes payable to ths 
clergy. The result of this operation was, 
that the annual produce of the land amounted 
at least, to 24 millions of piastres. The 
results, which I came to in drawing up my first 
view, have been discussed with mueli sagacity, 

» 

:|: Adam Smithy Traduction de M. Gamier, t. iv. p. 264 
Original vol. iiij. p. 250. 

VOL. ITT. H 



II 



[11 



, >\i 



98 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



in a memoir presented by the municipal body of 
the townof Valladolid de Mechoacan, to the king", 
in the month of October 1805, on the occasion 
of passing an edict, relative to the property of the 
clergy. According to this memoir, a copy of 
which 1 have before me, we must add to these, 
24 millions of piastres, three millions for 
the produce of cochineal, vanilla, jaiap, pi- 
mento of Tabasco, sarsaparilla, which pay no 
tithes; and 2 millions for sugar and indigo, 
which yield only to the clergy a duty of 
4 per cent. If we adopt these data, we 
shall find that the total agricultural produce, 
amounts annually to 29 millions of piastres, 
or to more than 145 millions of francs*, 
which, reducing them to a imtural meastire, 
and taking for basis the actual price of 
wheat in Mexico, 15 francs for 10 myria- 
grammes of wheatf, are equal to 96 millions 
of myriagrammes o/wheat^. The mass of pre- 
cious metals annually extracted from the 
mines of the kingdom of New Spain, scarcely 
represent 74 millions of myriagrammes of 
wheat, which proves the interesting fact, 
that the value of the gold and silver of the 
Mexican mines, is less by almost a fourth, 
than the value of the territorial produce. 

* ^6,042,150 sterling. Trans. 

f See vol. ii. p. 4<81. "^ 

% 2128 millions lb. avoird. Trans. < \ 



CHAP. X.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 09 

The cultivation of the soil, notwithstanding 
the fetters with which it is every where shackled, 
has lately made a more considerable progress, 
on accomit of the immense capitals laid out 
m land, by families enriched either by the 
commerce of Vera Cruz and Acapulco, or by 
the working of the mines. The Mexican 
clergy, scarcely possess land (bienes rakes) to 
the value of two or three millions of j)iastres ; 
but the capitals which convents, chapters, reli- 
gious societies and hospitals have laid out in 
lands, amount to the sum of 441 millions of 
piastres, or more than 222 millions of livres 
toumois. The following is a view of these 
capitals, called capitales de capellanias y ohras 
de lajurisdiccion ordinaria, extracted from an 
official paper* : 

Piastres. 

Archbishoprick of Mexico - ^ . . 9 000 000 

Bishoprickof Puebla - - . . . 6,600 fiOQ 

Bishoprick of Valladolid (very accurate valuation) 4,500,000 

Bishoprick of Guadalaxara - - - - 3 OOO 000 

Bishopricks of Durango, Monterey and Sonora 1 ,000,000 

Bishopricks of Oaxaca and Merida - - 2,000,000 

Ohras Pias of the regular Clergy - - . 2 500 000 
Endowments of Churches and Communities of 7 



Monks and Nuns 



16,000,000 



44,500,000 



♦ Representacion de lot vecinos de Valladolid al Excellen- 
tissimo Senor Virreyen fecha del 24 Octuhre del ano 1805. 
(M.S.) 

H 2 



:il 



I 






% 






:| 



100 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book it. 

This immense smn in the hands of the lane' 
proprietors, (haciendados) and hypotecated on 
real property, was on the point of being with- 
drawn from the Mexican agriculture in 1804. 
The ministry of Spain not knowing how a na- 
tional bankruptcy brought on by the superabun- 
dance of paper money (vales) could possibly 
be avoided, ventured upon a very hazardous 
operation. A royal decree was issued on the 
26th December, 1804, appointing not only the es- 
tates of the Mexican clergy to be sold, but 
also all the capitals belonging to ecclesiastics, 
to be recovered and sent into Spain, to be there 
applied in extinction of the royal paper (coxa 
de consoUdacion de vales reales). The council 
of finance, in which the viceroy presides, and 
which bears the title of Junta Superior de Real 
Hacienda^ instead of opposing this decree, and 
representing to the Sovereign the injury which 
its execution would occasion to the agriculture 
and prosperity of the inhabitants, began boldly 
to levy the money. The resistance however, wai 
so strong on the part of the proprietors, that from 
May 1805, to June 1806, not more than the com- 
paratively small sum of 1,200,000 piastres could 
be recovered. It is to be hoped that Ministers 
well informed as to the true interests of the state 
will have since put an end to an operation, the 
fatal effects of which would have been at last 
severely felt.. 



tHAP. X.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 101 



When we read the excellent work on agra* 
I'ian /«W5, presented to the council of Castille 
in 1795*, we perceive that notwithstanding the 
difference of climate and other local circum- 
stances, Mexican agriculture is fettered by the 
same political causes, which have impeded the 
progress of industry in the Peninsula. All the 
vices of the feudal government have passed 
from the one hemisphere to the other; and 
in Mexico these abuses have been so much the 
more dangerous in their effects, as it has been 
more difficult to the supreme authority to re- 
medy the evil, and display its energy at an 
immense distance. The property of New Spain, 
like that of Old Spain, is in a great measure in 
the hands of a few powerful families, who have 
gradually absorbed the smaller estates. In Ame- 
rica as well as Europe, large commons are 
condemned to the pasturage of cattle, and to 
perpetual sterility. As to the clergy and their 
influence on society, the two continents are not 
in the same circumstances ; for the clergy are 
much less numerous in Spanish America, than 
in the Peninsula. The religious missionaries 
have there contributed to extend the progress 
of agriculture among barbarous tribes. The 



i 



it 






i 



* M. de Laborde has given a translation of this Memoir, 
in the fourth volume of his ItinerairedescnptifdeVEspagne^, 
p. 103—294. 



102 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

introduction of mayorazgos, and the degradation 
and extreme poverty of the Indians are more 
prejudicial to industry than the mortmain of the 
clergy. 

The ancient legislature of Castille prohibited 
convents from possessing real property; and al- 
though this wise law has been frequently in- 
fringed, the clergy could not acquire very con- 
siderable property in a country where devotion 
does not exercise the same empire over the mind 
as in Spain, Portugal, and Italy. Since the 
suppression of the order of the Jesuits, few es- 
tates belong to the Mexican clergy; and their 
real wealth as we have already stated, consists in 
tithes and capitals laid out on the farms of small 
cultivators. These capitals are usefully directed 
and increase the productive power of the national 
labour. 

It is surprizing to see that the greatest num- 
ber of the convents founded since the 16th cen- 
tury in every part of Spanish America, are all 
crowded together in towns. Had they been 
spread throughout the country and placed on 
the ridges of the Cordilleras, they might have 
possessed that salutary influence on cultivation, 
of which the effects have been felt on the North 
of Europe, on the banks of the Rhine, and on the 
mountains of the Alps. Those who have studied 
history, know that in the time of Philip the 



CHAP. X.] KINGDOM or NEW SPAIN. 103 

Second, the monks were no longer like those of 
the 9th century. The luxury of towns, and the 
climate of the Indies are unfavourable to that 
austerity of life, and that spirit of order for which 
the first monastical institutions were charac- 
terized; and when we cross the mountainous 
deserts of Mexico, we regret that those solitary 
asylums in which the traveller receives assist- 
ance from religioas hospitality in Europe, are 
no where to be found. • -' 



Hi 



Mi 



-,'-; .>,;. S-,,,> 






104 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



'' :i.; 



'I J ' /' 



• it '. K- 'lii 



CHAPTER XL 



Siafe qf the Mines nf Nm Spain. — Produce of Gold and 
Silver. — Mean value qf the produce qf the Mines, — 
Annual consumption of Mercury in the process qf Amalga- 
mation. — Qiiantiti/ qf the Precious Metals ivhich have since 
the conquest qf Mexico, jUmed from the one Continent into 
the other, v 1 , : ; 



After a careful examination of the Mexican 
aorviculture as the fii'st source of the natural 
wealth and prosperity of the inhabitants, it re- 
mains for us to exhibit a view of the mineral pro- 
ductions which for two centuries and a half have 
been the object of working the mines of New 
Spain. This view is exceedingly brilliant to 
the eyes of those who calculate merely according 
to the nominal value of things, but is much less 
so to those who consider the intrinsic worth of 
the metalh^ their relative utility, and the influence 
wliich they possess on manufacturing industry. 
The mountains of the New Continent like the 
inouDtains of the old, contain iron, copper, lead, 
and a great number of other mineral substances, 
indispensible to agriculture and the arts. If the 
labour of man has in America been almost ex- 
clusively directed to the extraction of gold and 
silver, it is because the members of a societv 



«iiAt. xfO KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 106 



act from very different considerations from those 
which ought to influence the whole society. 
Whenever the soil can produce both indigo and 
maizcy the former prevails over the latter^ al- 
though the general interest requires a preference 
to be given to those vegetables which supply 
nourishment to man over those which are merely 
objects of exchange with strangers. In the same 
manner, the mines qf iron or lead on the ridge of 
the CordlUeraSy notwithstanding their richness, 
continue to be neglected, because almost the 
whole attention of the colonists is directed to 
veins of gold and silver, even when they exhibit 
on trial, but small indications of abundance. 
Such is the attraction of those precious metals 
which by a general convention have become the 
representatives of labour and subsistence. 

No doubt the Mexican nation can procure 
by means of foreign commerce, all the articles 
which are supplied to them by their own coun- 
try; but in the midst of great wealth in gold 
and silver, want is severely felt whenever the 
commerce with the mother country or other 
parts of Europe or Asia has suffered any inter- 
ruption, whenever ^ war throws obstacles in the 
way of maritime communication. From 25 to 
30 millions of piastres ar^ sometimes heaped up 
in MexicOf while th# manufacturers and miners 
are suffering from th^ want of steel, iron, md 
mercury. A few y^arts b^iiodre ui^^ arrival m. 






It 






ill 






Hi 



106 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

New Spain, the price of iron roHC from 20 francs 
the quintal to 240, and steel from 80 francs to 
VMH). In t'lose times when there is a total 
sts'g'nation of loreign commerce, the Mexican 
inaustr} is awakened for a ti.ae, and they then 
beef I II to manufacture steel, and to make uso of 
the iron and mercury of the mouatams of Ame- 
rica. The nation is then alive to its true inte- 
rest, and feels that true wealth consists in the 
abundance of (objects of consumption, in that 
oi things ^ and not in the accumulation of the 
si^/n by which they are represented. During 
the last war but one between Spain and America, 
they beg-an to work the iron mines of Tecalitan, 
near Colima, inthe intent .ancy of Guadalaxara. 
The tribunul de mineria expended more than 
150,000 francs in extnicting* me rem ^ from 
the veins of San Juan de la Chica; but the 
effects of so praise-worthy a zeal were only of 
short duration; and the peace of Amiens put an 
end to undertakings which promised to give to 
the labours of miners a more useful direction for 
the public prosperity. The maritime communi- 
cation was scarcely well opened, when they 
again preferred to purchase steel, iron, and mer- 
cury in the markets oi' Europe. 

In proportion as the Mexican population 
shall increase, and from being less dependent on 
Europe, shall begin to turn their attention to the 
great variety of useful productions contained in 






•HAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 107 

the bowels of the earth, the system of mining 
will undergo a change. An enlightened admi- 
nistration will give encouragement to those 
labours which are directed to the extraction of 
mineral substances of an intrinsic value; indivi- 
duals will no longer sacrifice their own interests 
and those of the public to inveterate prejudices; 
and they will feel that the working of a mine of 
coal, iron, or lead may become as profitable as 
that of a vein of silver. In the present state of 
Mexico, the precious metals occupy almost ex- 
clusively the industry of the colonists; and when 
in the subsequent part of this chapter, we shall 
employ the word mine (realf real de minas), 
unless the contrary is expressly stated, a gold 
or silver mine is to be uniformly understood. ^ 
Having been engaged from my earliest youth 
in the study of mining, and having myself had 
the direction for several years of subterraneous 
operations, in a part of Germany which contains 
a great variety of minerals, I was doubly inte- 
rested in examining with care the state of the 
mines and their management in New Spain. 
I had occasion to visit the celebrated mines of 
Tasco^ Pachuca.and Guanaxuato, in which last 
place, where the veins exceed in riclmess all that 
has hitherto been discovered in other parts of 
the world, I resided for more than a month; 
and I had it in my power to compare the dif- 
ferent methods of mining practised in Mexico, 



! I J 






108 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv, 

with those which I had observed in the former 
year in Peru; but the immensity of materials 
collected by me relative to these subjects, bein^^ 
only of utility when joined with the geologrical 
description of the country, I must reserve the 
detail of them for the historical account of my 
travels in the interior of the New Continent. 
Thus, without entering into discussions of a 
minute and purely technical nature, I shall con- 
fine myself in this work to the examination of 
what is conducive to general results. 

What is the geographical position of the 
mines which supply this enormous mass of silver 
which flows annually from the commerce of 
Vera Cruz into ilurope? Is this enormous , mass 
of silver the produce of a great number oi, 
sj^attered undertakings, or is it to be considered 
as almost exclusively furnished by three or four 
metallic veins tf extraordinary wealth and 
extent? What is the quantity of precious me- 
tals annually extracted from the mines of Mex- 
ico? And what proportion does this quantity 
bear to the produce of the mines of the whole of 
Spanish America? At how many ounces per 
quintal may we estimate the mean richness of 
the silver ore of Mexico? What proportion is 
there between the quantity of ore which under- 
goes melting, and that in which the gold and 
silyer are extracted by the process of amalgama- 
tion? What influence has the price of mercury 



«HAP. rii.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 109 



on the progress of mining', and what quantity 
of mercury is lost in the process of Mexican 
amalgj" lation? Can we know with precision 
the quantity of precious metals which have 
passed since the conquest of Tenochtitlan from 
New Spain into Europe and Asia? Is it pro- 
bable, considering the present method of work- 
ing, and the geological constitution of the coun- 
try, that the annual produce of the mines of 
Mexico will admit of an augmentation? Or 
shall we admit with several celebrated writers, 
that the exportation of silver from America h"' 
already attained its mcueimumP These are the 
general questions which we propose to discuss 
in this work. They are connected with the 
most important problems of political economy. 

Long before the arrival of the Spaniards, the 
natives of Mexico, as well as those of Peru, 
were acquainted with the use of several metals. 
They did not content themselves with those 
which were found in their native state on the 
surface of the earth, and particularly in the beds 
of rivers, and the ravins formed by the torrents j 
they applied themselves to subterraneous opera- 
tions in the working of veins; they cut galleries 
and dug pits of communication and ventilation ; 
and they had instruments adapted for cutting 
the rock. Cortez informs us in the historical 
account of his expedition, that gold, silver, cop- 
per, lead, and tin, were publicly sold- in the 



M 



I 



110 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv, 

great market of Tenochtitlan. The inhabitants 
of Tzapoteca and Mixtecapan * two provinces 
which now form a part of the intendancy of 
Oaxaca, separated the gold by means of washing 
the alluvions lands. These people paid their 
tribute in two manners, either by collecting in 
leathern sacks or small baskets of very slender 
rushes, the grains of native gold, or by founding 
the metal into bars. These bars like those now 
used in trade, are represented in the antient 
Mexican paintings. In the time of Montezuma, 
the natives had already begun to work the silver 
veins of Tlachco, (Tasco) in the province of 
Cohui SCO, and those which run across the moun- 
tains af Tzumpancof* 

In all the great towns of Anahuac, gold and 
sil\^r vases were manufactured, although the 
latter metal was not held in such estimation by 
the Americans as by the natives of the old con- 
tinent. The Spaniards on their first arrival at 
Tenochtitlan, could never cease admiring the 
ingenuity of the Mexican goldsmiths, among 
whom, the most celebrated were those of Azca- 
pozalco and Cholula. When Montezuma, se- 
duced by an extreme credulity, recognized in 
the arrival of white and bearded men, the ac- 
complishment of the mysterious prophecy of 

* Espeeially the inhabitants of the old towns of Huaxya^ 
•IC (Oaxaca) Cojolapan, and Atlacuechahuayan. 
t CtoTigero, 1.43; IL 125, 165; IV. 204. 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. HI 

Quezalcoatl^, and compelled the Aztec nobility 
to yield homage to the king of Spain, the quan- 
tity of precious metals offered to Cortez was 
estimated at the value of 162,000 pesos de oro, 
" Besides the great mass of gold and silver, says 
the conquistador f in his first letter to the empe- 
ror Charles the dthf, I was presented with 
gold plate and jewels of such precious workman- 
ship, that unwilling to allow them to be melted, 
I set apart more than a hundred thousand 
ducats worth of them to be presented to your 
imperial highness. These objects were of the 
greatest beauty, and I doubt if any other prince 
of earth ever possessed any thing similar to 
them. That your highness may not imagine 
I am advancing fables, I add, that all 
which the earth and ocean produces, of which 
king. Montezuma could have any knowledge, 
he had caused to be imitated in gold and silver, 
in precious stones, and feathers, and the whole 
in such great perfection, that one could not help 
believing he saw the very objects represented. 
Although he gave me a great share of them for 
your highness, I gave orders to the natives to 
execute several other works in gold after designs 



li'j 



* See my work entitled, Vues des CordiUeres des Andes, 
«t Montttnens den peuples indis^enes de I'Amerique, p. 30. 

f Lorenzana, jf. 99. — The booty in gold taken by the 
Spaniards after the taking of Tenochtitlan. was only esti- 
nated at 130,000 casteliams de oro (1. c. p. 301 ). ^ , 



i 



113 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [looK tv. 

which I ftimished them with, such as images dl 
saints, crucifixes, medals, and necklaces. As 
the fifth or eighth on the silver paid to your high- 
ness, amounted to more than a hundred marcs, 
l^ave orders to thd native goldsmiths to convert 
them into plate of various sizes, spoons, cups, 
and other vessels for drinking. All these works 
were imitated with the greatest exactness.*' 
When we read this passage, we cannot help 
believing, that we are reading the account of a 
European ambr^ssador, returned from China or 
Jilpan. Yet we can hardly accuse the Spanish 
gener j' ^f exaggeration, when we consider that 
the em]. )r Charles the 5th, could judge with 
his own eyes of the perfection or imperfection of 
(he objects sent to him. 

The art of founding had also made considera* 
ble progress among the Muyscas in the kingdom 
of New Grenada, among the Peruvians, and the 
inhabitants of Quito. In this last country, very 
precious works of the antient American gold- 
smiths, have been preserved for severa» centuries 
in the royal treasury, (en caxas reales). With- 
in these few years, from a system of economy 
which may be stilcd barbarous, these works 
which proved that several nations of the New 
Continent had reached a degree of civilization, 
very superior to what is generally attributed to 
tliem, have been all melted down. 

The Aztec tribes extracted before the eon- 




CHAP. XL] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 1 1-^ 

qnest, lead and tin^ from the veins of Tlachco 
(Tasco) to the north of Chilpansingo and 
Izmiquilpan ; and they drew {cinnabar), em* 
ployed by the painters as a colour, from the 
mines of Chihvpan. Of all the metals, copper 
was that which was most commonly employed 
in the mechanical arts; it supplied the place of 
iron and steel to a certain extent; and their 
arms, axes, chisels, and all their tools, were 
made of the copper which they extracted from 
the mountains of Zacotollan and Cohuixco. 
In every part of the globe, the use of copper 
seems to have preceded that of iron; and the 
abundance of copper in its natural state in the 
most northern parts of America, may have con- 
tributed to the extraordinary predilection which 
the Mexican tribes, who issued from those re- 
gions, have always shewn for it. Nature exhi- 
bited to the Mexicans enormous masses of iron 
and nickel; and these masses which are scat- 
tered over the surface of the gi'ound, are fibrous, 
malleable, and of so great a tenacity, that it is 
with great difficulty a few fragments can be 
separated from them with steel instruments. 
The true native iron, that to which we cannot 
attribute a meteoric origin, and which is con- 
stantly found mixed with lead and copper, is 
infinitely rare in all parts of the globe; conr 
sequently we are not to be astonished, that in 
the commencement of civilization, the Aineri- 

VOL. Ill, I 



*f«i 



114 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



cans, like most other nations, turned their atten- 
tion to copper in preference to iron. But how 
did it happen, that these same Americans, who 
wrought by means of lire* a great variety of 
minerals, were never led to the discovery of iron 
by the mixture of combustible substances with 
the red and yellow ocres1[, extremely common in 
several parts of Mexico? If on the other hand, 
this metal was known to them, which I am 
inclined to believe, how happened it that they 
never learned to appreciate its just value? 
These considerations seem to indicate that the 
civilization of the Aztec nations was not of a 
very antient date. We know that in the time 
of Homer, the use of copper still prevailed over 
that of iron, although the latter had been long 
known. 

Several men of great learning, but unac- 
quainted with chemical knowledge, have main- 
tained, that the Mexicans and Peruvians pos- 
sessed a particular secret for tempering copper 

* According to the traditions collected by me, near 
Riobamba, among the Indians of the village of Lican, the 
antient inhabitte.:t<i of Quito smelted silver minerals by strati- 
fying them with charcoal, and blowing the fire with long 
bambou reeds. A great number of Indians were placed circu- 
larly around the hole which contained the minerals; so that 
the currents of air proceeded at once from several reeds. 

f Yellow ocre, called tecozahnitl, was employed in paint- 
ing as well as cinnabar. Ocre ^as part of the objects which 
•ompoted the list of tributes of Malinaltepec. 



CHAP. X.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 115 



I 



and converting it into steel. There is no doubt 
that the axes and other Mexican tools were al- 
most as sharp as steel instruments ; but it was 
by a mixture with tin, and not by any tempering 
that they acquired their extreme hardness. 
What the first historians of the conquest call 
hard or shaif copper, resembled the x*^xof of the 
Greeks, and the Aes of the Romans. The 
Mexican and Peruvian sculptors executed large 
^orks in the hardest greenstone (gtiinstein), and 
basaltic porphyry. The jeweller cut and 
pierced the emeralds and other precious stones 
by using at the same time a metal tool and a 
silicious powder. I brought from Lima an 
antient Peruvian chisel, in which M. Vauquelin 
found 0.94 of copper, and 0.06 of tin. This 
mixture was so well forged, that by the close- 
ness of the particles, its specific weight was 
8.815, while, according to the experiments of 
M. Bridie*, the chemists never obtain this 
maximum of density, but by a mixture of 16 
parts of tin, with 100 parts of copper. It ap- 
pears, that the Greeks made use of both tin and 
iron at the same time in the hardening of cop- 
per. Even a Gaulish axe found in France by 
M. Dupont de Nemours, which cuts wood like 
a steel axe, without breaking or yielding, con- 
tains according to the analysis of M. Vauquelin, 
0.87 of copper, 0.03 of iron, and 0.09 of tin, 

* Journal des mnes. An. 5, p* 8S1. 
I 2 



w| 



W 



116 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv- 

Tin being a metal very little spread over 
the globe, it is rather surprising that it should 
have been used in both Continents in the 
hardening" of copper. A single mineral which 
has been no where tliscovered but at Wheal 
Rock, in Cornwall, the mine of sulfuretted 
tin (zinnkies) contains both copper and tin in 
equal parts. We know not whether the Mexi- 
can nations worked veins in which minerals 
of copper and oxydised tin were found united, 
or if this last metal, which we found in the 
alluvious lands in the intendancy of Guanaxuato, 
under the globulous and fibrous form of wood 
tin (holZ'Zinn) was added to pure copper in 
a constant proportion. However the fact be, 
it is certain that the want of iron would be 
much less felt among nations who possessed 
the art of forming alloys of other metals, in 
a manner equally advantageous. The edge- 
tools of the Mexicans, were some of copper 
and others of obsidian (itztli). The last sub- 
stance was even the object of great mining 
undertakings, of which the traces are still to 
be perceived in an innumerable quantity of 
pits dug in the mountain of Knives, near the 
Indian village of Atotonilco e/ Grande *. 

Besides the cocoa bags, each of which con- 
tained three xiquipilli or 24000 grains, besides 
the patolquachtlif or small bales of cotton 

* See Vol. ii. p.6a 




CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. H? 

cloth, several metals were used by the antient 
Mexicans as money, that is to say, as re- 
presentative signs of things. In the great 
market of Tenochtitlan, all sorts of goods 
were purchased with gold dust, contained in 
tubes of the feathers of aquatic birds. It was 
requisite that these tubes should be transparent 
for the sake of discoveruig the size of the 
grains of gold. In several provinces, pieces 
of copper to which the form of a T was given 
where used as a currency. Cortez relates that 
having undertaken to found cannons in Mexico, 
and having dispatched emissaries for the dis- 
covery of mines of tin and copper, he learned 
that in the environs of Tachco (Tlachco or 
Tasco) the natives employed in exchan g, 
pieces of melted tin *, which were as thin as 
the smallest coins in Spain. 

* Cortez complains in his last letter to Charles the 5tli, 
that after the taking of the capital, he was left without 
artillery and without arms. " Nothing," says he, " sharpens 
" the genius of man more {no hay cosa que mas los irif 
*< genios de los hombres avivaj than the idea of danger. 
** Seeing myself on the point of losing what had cost 
** us so much labour in acquiring, I was obliged to fall 
** upon means of making cannons with the materials to 
" be found in the country." I shall transcribe here the 
remarkable passage in which Cortez speaks of tin as 
money : " Top6 entre los naturales de una provincia que 
** se dice Tachco ciertas piecezuelas de estario, a manera 
** da moneda muy delgada y procediendo en mi pesquisa 
(* hall6 que en la dicha provincia y aun en otras, se 
** trataba por mvneda" {Lorenzanot p. 379. § XVII. 



118 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE L»«0'5 >v. 






Such is the imperfect idea which the first 
historians have transmitted to us of the use 
made by the natives of Mexico, of gold, 
silver, copper, tin, lead, and of the mercury 
mines. I thought it necessary to enter into 
these details, not only to throw some light on 
the antient cultivation of these countries, but 
also to show that the European colonists in 
the first years which succeeded the destruction 
of Tenochtitlan, only followed the indications 
of mines given them by the natives. 

The kingdom of New Spair m its actual 
state contains nearly 500 places (reales y reali- 
tos) celebrated for the mines in their environs. 
More than 200 of these places are marked in 
the general map of the country drawn up by 
me. It is probable that these 500 reales com- 
prehend nearly three thousand mines (minas), 
designating by that name the whole of the 
subterraneous works, which communicate with 
one another, by which one or more metallick 
depositories are worked. These mines are di- 
vided into 37 districts, over which are placed 
the same number of Councils of mines called, 
JDiputaciones de Mineria. V/e shall collect 
in one view the names of ther>3 Diputaciones, 
and of the Reales de MinaSy contained in the 
twelve Intendancies of New Spain. The ma- 
terials employed for this purpose are partly taken 
from a manuscript memoir drawn up by the 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NRW SPAIN. 119 

director of the superior council of mines, Don 
Fausto D'Elhiiyar for the Count de Revillagi- 
(vedo, one of the viceroys. 



GENERAL VIEW 



OF THE 



MINES OP NEW SPAIN. 



I. Intendancy of Guanaxuato. 

From the 20* 55' to the 21* 30' of north lati- 
tude, and from the 102* 30' to the lOS**/ 45 of 
West longitude. 

Diputaciones de JUineria, or Districts. 

1. Guanaxuato. 

Realest or Places surrounded with Mines: 

Guanaxuato ; Villalpando ; Monte de San Ni- 
colas ; Santa Rosa ; Santa Ana ; San Antonio 
de las Minas ; Comanja ; Capulin ; Comanjilla ; 
Gigante ; San Luis de la Paz ; San Rafael de 
los Lobos ; Durasno ; San Juan de la Chica ; 
Rincon de Centeno ; San Pedro de los Pozos ; 
Palmas de Vega; San Miguel el Grande; 
San Felipe. 



i 



120 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book i» 

II. Intendauci/ of Zacatecas. 

From the 22" 20' to the 24" 33* north latitude, 
and from the 103" 12' to the 105" 9 of west 
longitude. 

Diputaciones de Mineria, or Districts. 

2. Zacatecas. 

3. Sombrerete. 

4. Fresnillo. 

6. Sierra de Pinos. 

« 

Reales, or Places surrounded hy Mines : 

Zacatecas; Guadalupe de Veta Grande; San 
Juan Bauptista de Panuco ; La Blanca ; Som- 
brerete ; Madrono ; San Pantaleon de la No^ria ; 
Fresnillo ; San Demetrio de los Plateros ; 
Cerro de Santiago ; Sierra de Pinos ; La San- 
ceda ; Cerro de Santiago ; Mazapil. 

III. Intendancy of San Luis Potosi. 

From the 22** 1' to the 27M1' of north lati- 
ude, and from the 100" 35' to the 103" 20' of 
West longitude. 

Dipukuiiones de Mineria, or Districts. 

6. Catorce. 

' 7, San Luis Potosi. 

8. Charcas. 

9. Ojocaliente, 

10. San Nicolas de Croix. 




CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 121 

RealeSf or Places surroumlvd fty D^inm : 

La Purissima Concepcion tie Alamos de Ca- 
torce; Matehnala; Cerro del Potosi ; San 
Martin Bernalejo ; Sierra Nej»Ta ; Tule ; San 
Martin ; Santa Maria de las Charcas ; Ramos j 
Ojocaliente ; Cerro de San Pedro ; Matan- 
zillas ; San Carlos de Vallecillo ; San Antonio 
de la Yguana; Santiago de las Sabinas; 
Monterey; Jesus de Rio Blanco; Las Sa- 
linas; Bocca de Leones ; San Nicolas de 
Croix ; Borbon ; San Joseph Tamaulipan ; 
Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe de Sihue; La 
Purissima Conception de Revillagegido ; El 
Venado; L. Tapona; Guadaleazar. 

IV. Intendancy of Mexico. 

Prom the 18° 10' to the 2V 30' of north lati- 
tude, and from the 100*» 12' to the 103° 25' 
of west longitude. 

Diputaciones de Mineria, or Districts. 

11. Pachuca. 

12. El Doctor. 

13. Zimapan. 

14. Tasco. 

15. Zacualpan. 

16. Sultepec. 

17. Temascaltepec. 

Reales, or places surrounded hy Mines : 
Pachuca ; Real del Monte ; Moran -, Atolonilco 



I 

i 



122 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

el Chico ; Atolonilco el Grande ; Zimapan : 
Lomo del Toro; Las Canas; San Joseph 
del Oro; Verdozas; Capuia; Santa Rosa; 
El Potosi ; Las Plomosas; El Doctor ; Las 
Alpujarras; El Pinal or los Amotes; Huas- 
cazoluya ; San Miguel del Rio Blanco ; Las 
Aguas; Maconi; San Christobal; Cardonal; 
Xacala ; Jutchitlan el Grande ; San Joseph 
del Obraje Viejo; Cerro Blanco; Cerro del 
Sotolar ; San Francisco Xirhu ; Jesus Maria 
de la Targea ; Coronilla or la Purissima Con- 
cepcion de Tetela del Rio ; Tepantitlan ; San 
Vicente ; Tasco ; Tehuilotepec ; Coscallan ; 
Haucingo, Huautla; Sochipala; Tetlilco; San 
Esteban ; Real del Limon ; San Geroni«no ; 
Temas caltepec ; Real de Ariba ; La Albar- 
rada ; Yxtap^r ; Ocotepec ; Chalchitepeque ; 
Zacualpan ; Tecicapan ; Chontalpa ; Santa 
Cruz de Azulaques; Saltepec; Juluapa; Pa- 
paloapa ; Los Ocotes ; Capulatengo ; Alco- 
zauca; Totomixtlahuaca. 

y. Intendancy of Guadalaxara. 

From the lO*' 0' to the 23*12' of north lati- 
tude, and from the 103" 30' to the 108* 0' of 
west longitude. 

Diptitaciones de Mineria or Districts. 

18. Bolanos. 

19. Asientos de lb arra. 

20. Hostotipaqaillo. 






m 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 123 

MealeSf or Places surrounded by Mines : 

Bolanos; Xalpa ; San Joseph de Guichichila; 
Santa Maria de Guadalupe, or de la Yesca ; 
Aiientos de IbaiTa ; San Nicolas de los Angeles ; 
La Ballena; Talpan; Hostotipaquillo ; Copala; 
Guaxacatan; Aniaxac; Linion; Tepanteria; 
locotan ; Tecomatan ; Ahuatacancillo ; Guiloti- 
tan; Platanarito ; Santo Domingo ; luchipila ; 
Mezquital; Xalpa; San Joseph Tepostitlan; 
Guachinango ; San Nicolas del Roxo; Amatlan ; 
NativitWl; San Joaquin; Santissima Trinidad 
de Pozole ; Tule ; Motage ; Frontal , Los Aillo- 
Ezatlannes; Posession; La Serranilla; Aqui- 
tapilco; Eliso; Chimaltitan; Santa Fe; San 
Rafael ; San Pedro Analco ; Santa Cruz de los 
Flores. 

VI. Intendancy of IKrango. 

From the 23** 55' to the 29 **5' of north latitude, 
and from the 104** 40' to the 110° 0' of west lon- 
gitude. 

Diputaciones de Mineria, or Districts. 

21. Chihuahua. 

22. Parral. 

23. Guarisamey. 

24. Cosiguiriachi. 

25. Batopilas. 

RealeSf or Places surrounded by Mines: 
San Pedro de Batopilas ; Uruachi ; Cajurichi 
Nuestra Senora de Loreto ; San Joaquiii de los 



124 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



Arrieros; El Oro do Topag-o; San Juan Nepo- 
muceno; Nuestra Senora del Monscrrate del 
Zapote ; Uriquillo ; San Augustin ; Nuestra Se- 
nora del Monserrate de Urique ; Gnarisaraey ; 
San Vicente; Guadalupe; Gavilanes; San An- 
toino Je las Ventanas ; San Dimas , San Joseph 
de Tayoltita; Cosiguiriachi; Riode San Pedro 
Chihuahua el Viejo ; San Juan de la Cieneguilla 
Maguariclii ; Caxurichi ; San Jose del Parral* 
Indeh^ ; Los Sauces ; Nuestra Seiiora de la Mer- 
ced del Oro ; Real de Todos Santos ; San Fran- 
cisco del Oro ; Santa Barbara ; San Pedro ; Huc- 
joquilla ; Los Penoles ; La Cadena ; Cuencame , 
San Nicolas de Yervabuena ; La Concepcion ; 
Santa Maria de las Nieves; Chalchihuites ; Santa 
Catalina; San Miguel del Mezquital; Nuestra 
Senora de los Dolores del Orito; San Juan del 
Rio; San Lucas; Panuco; Avinito; San Fran- 
cisco de la Silla; Texamen; Nuestra Senora de 
Guadalupe de Texanie; San Miguel de Coneto; 
Sianori; Canelas; Las Mesas; Sabatinipa or 
Matabacas ; Tt>pia ; San Rafael de las Flores ; 
El Alacran ; La Lagartija; San Ramon ; Santi- 
ago de Mapimi. 



i 



* On some proofs of my general map of New Spain 
the name of Parral is confounded with the village of Valle 
San Bartolome. The sign by which the chief sect of a 
provincial council of mines is indicated, points out the true 
position of Parral. 




CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 12.> 

vt?; VII. Intendauqf of Sonora. 

From the 23« 15' to the 31" 20' of north lati- 
tude, and from the 107° 45' to the 1 13« 20' of 
west longitude. 

* Diputacioties de Mineriat or Districts. 

26. Alauios. 

27. Copala. 

28. Cosala. 

29. San Francisco Xavier de la Huerta, 

30. Guadalupe de la Puerta. 

31. Santissima Trinidad de Pena Blanca. 

32. San Francisco Xavier de Alisos. 

RealeSf or Places surrounded Ivy Mines : 

San Joseph de Copala; Real del Rosario; 
Plomosas; Santa Rosa or las Adjuntas; Apomas ; 
San Nicolas de Panuco ; Santa Rita ; Trancito ; 
Charcas ; Limon ; Santa Rosa de las Lagunas : 
Tocusitita; Corpus; ^ ves; CosJila ; PaloBlanc<, ; 
El Caxon; Santiago de lo« Caballeros; San 
Antonio de Alisos ; San Roqne ; Tal ihueto ; 
Norotal ; Los Molinos ; Surutato; Los C:«rca- 
mos; San Juan Neponiuceno; Bacatopa; Lo- 
reto; Tenoriba; Aguacaliente ; Monserrate; Si- 
virijoa; Baroyeca; Yecorato; Zataque; Cerro 
Colorado; Los Alamos; Guadalupe; B - Chico; 
La Concepcion de Hay game; Santissima Tri- 
nidad; La Ventana or Gaudahipe; Saracachi; 
San Antonio de la Huerta; San Francisco Xa- 



Hi 



126 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

vier; Hostimuri; Quisuani; El Aguage; Higane ; 
San Jose de Gracia ; El Gabilan ; El Populo : 
San Antonio ; Todos Santos ; El Carizal ; Naca- 
tabori ; Racuach ; San Ildefonso de Cienegiiilla ; 
San Lorenzo ; Nacumini ; Cupisonora ; Tetua- 
chi; Basor'iuca; Nacosari; BacamUchi; Cu- 
curpe ; Motepore. , « .. 

VIII. Intendancyof ValladoUd. 

From the 18° 25' to the 19'»50' of north lati- 
tude, and from the 102** 15 to the 104" 50' of 
west longitnde. ■ ■ *(. 

Diputaciones de Mineria, or Districts. 

33. Angangueo. 

34. Inguaran. 

35. Zitaquaro. 

36. Tlalpujahua. 

ReakSf or Places surrounded hy Mines : 

Angangueo; El Oro; Tlapaxahua; San Au- 
gustin de Ozumatlan; Zitaquaro; Istapa; Los 
Santos Reyes; Santa Rito de Chirangangeo; El 
Zapote; Chachiltepec ; Sanchiqueo; La Joya; 
Paquaro; Xerecuaro ; Curucupaseo ; Sinda ; In- 
guaran; San Juan Guetamo; Ario; Santa Clara; 
Alvadeliste; San Nicolas Apupato ; Rio del Oro ; 
Axuchitlan ; Santa Maria del Carmen del Som- 
brero ; Favor ; Chichindaro. 






CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 127 

IX. Intendancy of Oaxaca, 

Prom the \&^ 35' to the 17" 55' of north lati- 
tude, and from the 98*' 15' to the 100° 0' of west 
longitude. 

Diputaciones de Mineria, or Districts. 
37. Oaxaca. 

ReakSfOr Places surrmnded by Mines: 
Zologa; Talea; Hueplotitlan; La Aurora de 
Ixtepexi ; Villalta ; Ixtlan ; Betolatia ; Huite- 
peque ; Rio de San Antonio ; Totomistla ; San 
Pedro Nesicho; Santa Catalina; Lachateo; 
San Miguel Amatlan ; Santa Maria lavecia ; 
San Mateo Capulalpa ; San Miguel de las Peras. 

X. Intendancy of Puebla, 

From the IS" 15. to the 20'> 25' of novih lati- 
tude, and from the OQ** 45' to the 100° 50' of 
west longitude. 

Scattered Mines: 
La Canada^ Tulincingo; San Miguel Te- 
nango; Zautla; Barrancas ; Alatlanquetepec ; 
Temetzlaj Ixtacmaztitlan. 

XL Intendancy of Vera Cruz, 

From the 20° C to the 21o 15' of north lati- 
tude, and from the OQ^^O' to the 101« 5' of west 
longitude. 



K 



m 






128 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE 
Scattered Mines: 



[book IV. 



Zomelaluiiiraii; Giliiij)a; Sail Antonio de Xa- 
rala. 

XJl. Old California. 
Mine. Real <lo Santa Ana. 

Those mIio have stiniud the j^eok)«i(!al eon- 
stitutioii of a iTiinini»" eoinitry of great extent, 
know tlie difficnlty of reducing" to general ideas 
the ohservatiouN niadc! on a great variety of 
beds, and metalliferous veins. The naturalist 
may distinguish the relative auti(]uit} of the 
tlifferent formations, and he is enabled to dis- 
cover laws in the stratifi(;ation of rocks, in the 
identity of l)cds, and often evi n in the angles 
which they form, either with the horizon or the 
meridian of the j)lace ; but how can he recog^- 
nize the laws which have determined the dis- 
position of the uu»tals in the bosom of the 
earth, the extent, the direction, and inclination 
of the veins, the nature of their wm«.y, and their 
particular structure? How can he draw ge- 
neral results from the observation of a multitude 
of small phenomena, modified by causes of a 
purely local nature, and appearing to be the 
effects of an action of chemical affinities, cir- 
cumscribed to a very narrow space? These 
difficulties are increased when it happens, as 
in the mountains of Mexico, that the veins. 



CHAP. XI.] 



KINGDOM OF NKVV SPAIN. 129 



the bedsy tiiiil the masses f ( Stock tverke) are scat- 
tered in iiii iiiHiiity of mixed rocks of very 
different formation. If we possessed an accu- 
rate description of the four or five thousand 
veins actually wrought in New Spain, or which 
have l)een wrought within the two last cen- 
turies, we should undoubtedly perceive in the 
mass and structure of these veins, analogies 
indicative of a simultaneous origin; we should 
find that tliese masses {(^anyausfiiUungen) are 
partly the sanve with those which are exhi- 
bited in the veins of Saxony and Hungary, 
and on which M. Werner the first mineralo- 
gist of the age has thrown so much light. But 
we are yet very far from being acquainted with 
the metalliferous mountains of Mexico; and not- 
withstanding the great nundjer of observations 
collected by myself in travelling through the 
country in different directions, for a length of 
more than 400 leagues, 1 shall not venture to 
sketch a general view of the Mexican mines, 
considered under their geological relations. I 
shall content myself merely with indicating 
the ro(;ks, which yield the greatest part of the 
wealth of New Spain. 

In the actual state of the country, the veins 
are the object of the most considerable opera* 
tions ; and the minerals disposed in beds or in 
masses are very rare. The Mexican veins are 
to be found for the most part in primitive and 

VOL. III. K 



':;^ 



i 



I'M 



^'iO POLItlCAL ESSAY ON THE [boo* iv. 

h'ansiiion rocks (nr-\md ubcr^ans^-gebiirge), 
and rarely in tlie rocks of necondary formation 
which only occupy Ji vast extent of ^ound to 
the north of the Tropic of Cancer, to the east 
of the Rio del Norte, in the basin of the Missis- 
sippi, and to the west of New Mexico, in the 
plains watered by the rivers of Zaguananas 
and San Bm-naventnra which abound in 
muriatic salts. Iii the old continent granite, 
ffnciss and micaceous state (giimma'-schiefer) 
constitute the crest of high chains of mountains. 
But these rocks seldom appear outwai^ly on 
the ridge of the Cordilleras of America, par- 
ticularly in the central part contained between 
the 18" and 2^" of north latitude. Beds of 
amphibolic porphyry, greenstone, amygdaloid, 
basalt and othei" trap formations of an enormous 
thickness cover the granite and conceal it from 
the geologist. The coa<it of Acapulco is formed 
of granite rock. Ascending towards the table 
land of Mexico we see the granite pierce through 
the porphyry for the last time between Zum- 
pango and Sopilote. Fsdrther to the east in 
the province of Oaxaca the granite and gneiss 
are visible in table lands of Considerable extent^^ 
traversed by veins of gold. 

Tin which after Tttanium, Scheelin and Mb- 

' lybden^ is the oldest metal of the globe, has never 

yet as far as I know been observed in the ginmites 

of Mexico; lor the ftbrom tin (wood-Hh) oi ih^ 



CHAR «.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 131 



Gigante belongs to alluvions lands, and the veins 
of tin of the Sierra de Guanaxiiato are found in 
mountains of porphyry. In the mines of Co- 
manja, a tifenite apparently of antient formation 
contains a seam of silver; the mine of 6ua- 
naxuato the richest of all America crosses a 
primitive slate {thon'Schiefer) which frequently 
passes into the talk-slate (talksehiefer) : the 
serptntine of Zimapan appears destitute of 
metals. 

The porphyries of Mexico may be considered 
for the most part as rocks eminently rich in 
mines of gdid and silver. One of the problems 
of geology the most difficult to resolve is the 
determination of their relative antiquity. They 
are all characterised by the constant presence 
of amphibole and the absence of quartz, so 
common in the primitive porphyries of Em*ope, 
and especially in those which form beds in 
gneiss. The common felspar is rarely to be 
seen in the Mexican porphyries ; and it belongs 
only to the mosi antient formations, these of 
Pachuca, Real del Monte |Ni4 Moran, where 
the vekis furnish twice ms nuteh silver as all 
Saxony. We freqmently diecover only vitre- 
ous felspar in tke porphyries of Spanish 
America. Tke yock which is intersected by 
the rich gold vein of Yillalpando near 6ua- 
naxuato is a porphyry of which the basis is 
semewliat a kin to kUngstein (phenoiite), and 

K 2 



n 



ml 



\4 



132 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



in which ainphihole is extremely rare. Several 
of these parts of New Spain bear a great 
analogy to the problematical rocks of Hungary, 
designated by M. Born by the very vague 
denomination of mxum metalliferum. The 
veins of Zimapan which are the most instruc- 
tive in respect to the theory of the stratification 
of minerals are intersected by porphyries of 
a greenstone base which appear to belong to 
trap rocks of new formation. These veins 
of Zimapan offer to oryctognostic collections a 
great variety of interesting minerals such as 
the fibrous zeolith, the stilbite, the grammalite, 
thii pycnite, native sulphur, spar fluor, baryte 
suberiform asbestos, green grenats, carbonate 
and chromate of lead, orpiment, chrysoprase, 
and a new species of opal of the rarest beauty, 
which I made known in Europe, and which 
M. M. Karsteii and Klaproth have described 
under the name of (feuer-opal.) 

Among the transition rocks which contain 
silver minerals, we may mention the transition- 
lime-stone (ubergangs-kalkstein) of the Real del 
Cardonal, of Xacala and of Lomo del Toro, to 
the north of Zimapan. In the last of these 
places what is worked is not veins but masses 
of galena, of which some nests have yielded in 
a short space of time according to the observa- 
tion ^fl M^ Sonneschmidt, more than 124,000 
quint^U/of lead. The grauwakke alternating 



' 



CHAP. «.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 133 



with the tfrauwakken slate is equally rich in 
metals in Mexico as in several parts of Germany. 
In this rock the formation of which im- 
mediately preceded that of the secondary 
rocks, several of the veins of Zacatocas appear 
to he found. 

In proportion as the north of Mexico shall 
he examined by intelligent geologists, it will 
be perceived that the metallick wealth of 
Mexico does not exclusively belong to primi- 
tive earths aiid mountains of transition, but 
extend also to those of sevondanj formation. 
I know not whether the lead which is pro- 
cured in the eastern parts of the intendancy 
of San Luis Potosi is found in veins or beds^ 
but it appears certain, that the veins of silver 
of the real de Catorce, as well as those of the 
Doctor and Xaschi near Zimapan, traverse 
the alpine lime-stone (alpenkalkstehi) ; and 
this rock reposes on a poudinc/ue with silicious 
cement which may be considered as the most 
antient of secondary formations. The alpine 
lime-stone and the jura lime-stone (jurakalkstein) 
contain the celebrated silver mines of Tasco 
and Teuilotepec in the intendancy of Mexico ; 
and it is in these calcareous rocks that the 
numerous veins which in this country have been 
very early wrought, display the greatest wealth. 
They are more sterile in the strata of primitive 
slate (ur'thon-schiefer) which as is seen in the 



■:d! 






134 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [booc iv. 

Cerro tie San Ig^acio, serves for base to th« 
^ewondary formations. 

The result of this jfeiieral view of the 
metalliferous depositories (erzfuhrcnde lag'er- 
>tatte) is that the cordillcras of Mexico contain 
veins in a great variety of rocks, and that those 
rocks which at present furnish almost the whole 
silver annually exported from Vera Cruz, are 
the primitive slate, the fjrauwakke, and the 
alpine lime-stone, intersected by the principal 
veins of Guanaxuato, Zacatecas and Catorce. 
Thus it is in a primiitive slate (ur-t/ion scliiefer) on 
which a clayey porphyry containing gi'enats 
reposes, that the wealth of Potosi in the king- 
dom of Buenos-Ay res is contained. On the 
other hand, in Peru the mines of Gualgayoc or 
Chota and that of Yauricocha or Pasco which 
togethe. yield annnally double the quantity of all 
the German mines, are found in an alpine lime' 
stone. The more we study the geological 
constitution of the globe on a lai'ge scale the 
more we perceive that there in scarcely a rock 
which has not in certain countries been found 
eminently metalliferous. The wealth of the 
veins is for the most part totally independent 
of the nature of the beds which they intersect. 

We observe in the most celebrated mines of 
Europe, that the mining operations are either 
directed to a multitude of small veins as in the 
primitive mountains of Saxony, or to a very 



ciiAF. XJ.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. l^J 



small number of depositorm of minerals of an 
extraordinary power, a» at Clausthal, the Harz, 
and near Schemnitz in Hungfary. The Cor- 
dilleras of Mexico ofter frequent examples of 
these two methods of operation ; but the dis- 
tricts of mines of the most constant and con- 
siderable wealth, Guanaxuato, Zacatecas and 
th« Real del Monte, contain only one prin- 
cipal vein each (vela mttdre). The vein called 
haisbriikner spath of which the extent is two 
metres^ and which has been traced for a length 
of 6200 metrcsf is spoken of as a remarkable 
phenomenon at Freiberg. The veta madre of 
Guanaxuato, from which there has been ex- 
tracted during the com'se of the last ten years 
tooi'e Uian six millions of marcs of silver;]:, is of 
the extent of from 40 to 4^ metres§, and it is 
wrought from $anta Isabella and San Bruno to 
Buena- Vista, a length of more than 12700 
metres Ij. 

In the Old Continent, the veins of Freiberg 
and Clausthal which intersect mountains of 
gneiss and {fva/uwakke are visible in table lands 
of which the elevation above the level of the 
sea is only from 3*^0 tp 570 metres ;% and thL<; 

* 6 J feet. Trans. 

f 20,311 feet. Trans, 

i 3,937,899 R) troy. Tram, 

§ From 131 to 147 feet. Trans, 

II 41,665 feet. Trans, 

f From 1148 to l«69fe«t. Trans, 



"11 II 

1 



V46 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iV 

elevation may be regarded as the mean height 
of the most abundant mines in Germany. But 
in the New Continent the metallic wealth is 
deposited by nature on the very ridge of 
the Cordilleras, and sometimes in situations 
within a very small distance from the limit of 
perpe ual snow. The most celebrated mines 
in Mexico are at absolut<i heights of from 1800 
to 3000 metres*. In the Andes the districts 
of mines of Potosi, Oruro Paz, Pasco and 
Gualgayoc are in regions of which the elevation 
surpasses that of the highest summits of the 
Pyrenees. Near the small town of Micui- 
pampa, the great square of which according to 
my measurement is 3618 metresf above the 
level of the sea, a mass of silver mineral known 
by the name of Cerro de Gualgayoc abounds with 
immense wealth at an absolute height of 
4100 metresj. 

We have mentioned in another j)lace§ the 
advantage which in working the Mexican 
mines, is derived from the most important veins 
being in a middle region where the climate 
is not unfavourable to agriculture and vegeta- 
tion The large town of Guanaxuato is placed 
in a ravin, the bottom of which is somewhat 

* From 5904 to 9842 feet. Trans, 

t 11,868 feet. Trans, 

X 13,451 feet. Trans. 

$ See vol i. p. 71, and vol. ii. p. 407. 



"r 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 13^ 

lower tiuiii the level of the lakes of the valley 
of Teiiochtitlan. We are ignorant of the 
absolute heii>hts of Zacatecas and the Real de 
Catorce ; but these two places are situated on 
table lands seeming^ly more elevated than the 
level of Guanaxuato. However the temperate 
climate of these Mexican towns, which are sur- 
rounded with the richest mines in the world, is 
a contrast to the cold and exceedingly dis- 
agreeable climate of Micuipampa, Pasco, 
Huancaavelica and other Peruvian towns. 

When in a district of small extent, for 
instance, in that of Freiberg in Saxony, we 
compare the quantity of silver annually coined, 
with the great number of mines constantly 
worked, we perceive on the slightest examination 
that this produce is derived from a very small part 
of the mining operations, and that nine tenths 
of the mines possess almost no influence on the 
total mass of minerals extracted from the 
bowels of the earth. In the same manner in 
Mexico the 2,500,000 marcs* of silver which are 
annually sent to Europe and Asia, from the 
ports of Vera Cruz and Acapulco, are the pro- 
duce of a very small number of mines. The 
three districts which we have frequently had 
occasion to name, Guanaxuato, Zacatecas and 
Catorce supply more than the half of that sum. 



1,640,791 lb. troy. Trans. 



138 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [aoo* iv. 

The vein of Guanaxuato alone, yields more than 
a fourth part of the whole silver of Mexico and 
a sixth part of the produce of all America. 

In the general view already presented by us, 
the principal mines are confounded with those 
from which a very small quantity of metal is 
extracted. The disproportion between the two 
classes is so great that more than {§ of the 
Mexican mines belong to the latter, of which 
the total produce does not probably amoiuiit 
to the sum of 200,000 marcs*. In Saxony 
also the mines which surround the town of 
Freiberg produce annually nearly 50,000 maros 
of silver, while all the rest of the J^rz^ebirf/e 
does not yield more than from sev^n to eight 
thousand marcs. The following is the order 
in which the richest mines cf New Spain 
foUow one ar»other, arranging them according 
to the quantity of money actually drawn from 
them: 



^ 



Guaiiaxuato, in the Int^dancy of the same 
name. 

Catorce, in the Intendaucy of San Luis Potosi. 

Zacatecas, in the lutendancy of the same 
name. 

Keal del Monte, in the Intendancy of Mexico. 

Bolanosi in the Intendancy of Gn^id^axarA. 



*:i 



* 131,263 lb. troy. Trant. 



CHAP. X1.3 KINGDOM OF NEW SP-UN. 139 



Guarisamey, in the Intendancy of Darango. 
Sombrerete, in the Intendancy of Zacatecas. 
Tasco, in the Intendancy of Mexico. 
Batopilas, in the Intendancy of Duraiigt). 
Zimapan, in the Intendancy of Mexico. 
Fresnillo, in the Intendancy of Zacatecas. 
Ramos, in tlte Intendancy of San Luis Potosi. 
Parral, in the Intendancy ofDurango. 






We are absolutely in want of accurate ma- 
terials for tracing the history of the mining 
o|:)eraAions of New Spain. It appears certain, 
that of all the veins those of Tasco, Zultepeque, 
Tlapujahua and Pachuca, were firet wrought 
by the Spaniiurds. Near Tasco, to the west of 
Tchuilotepec, in the CWro de la Campoaiia, 
Cortez cut a level across the nucaceous slate 
which is as we have already i^ated covered by 
alpine lime-stone. This gallery called el socahtm 
del rey was begun on such a large scale that 
one may go through it on horseback for a 
length of more than 90 metres*; and it haB 
been lately finished by the patriotic zeal of Don 
Vicente de Anza, a miner of Tasco, who wa« 
enabled to cut the principal vein -at the distance 
of 530 nieti'es, from tlie mouth of tiie leveL 
The working of the mines of Zacatecas fol* 
lowed very dosely those of Tasco and Pachuca. 



% 






3 



* sas&et. Xratu. 



140 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book ir. 

The vein of San Barnabe was begun in the year 
1548, twenty-eight years after the death of Mon- 
tezuma, a circumstance whicli must appear so 
much the more remarkable, as the town Zacatecas 
is distant in a straight lino more than 100 
leagues from the valley of Tenorhtitlan. It 
is said that the silver minerals of the district 
of Zacatecas were discovered by the muleteers 
who travelled between Mexico and Zacatecas. 
In this district near the basaltic-hill of Cubilete 
the mine of San Barnabe exhibits the most 
antient mining operations. The principal vein 
of Guanaxuato (la veta marire) was discovered 
somewhat later, on digging tlie pits of Mellado 
and Rayas. The first of these pits was bej»;un 
on the 15th, and the second on the 16th of April 
in the year 1558. The mines of Comanjas are 
undoubtedly still more antient than those of 
Guanaxuato. As the total produce of the mines 
of Mexico till the beginning of the 18th century, 
has never been more than 600,000 marcs of 
gold and silver a year, we may conclude that 
in the 16th century they did not labour with 
very great activity in the extraction of the 
minerals. The veins of Tasco, Tlapujahua, 
Zultepeque, Moran, Pachuca, and Real del 
Monte, and those of Sombrerete, Bolaiios, 
Batopilas and Rosario have afforded from 
time to time immense wealth; but their pro- 
duce has been less uniform than that of the 
mines of Guanaxuato, Zacatecas, and Catorce. 




CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. Ml 

The silver extracted in the 37 districts of 
mines, into which the kingdom of ^iew S|)ain is 
divided, is deposited in the Provincial Trea- 
suries, established in the chief places of the 
Intendancies ; and it is from the receipts of 
these caxas reales that we are to judge of 
the quantity of silver furnished by the different 
parts of the country. The following is an 
account of the receipts of 11 Provincial Trea- 
suries. 

From 1785 to 1789, there was received in the Caxaa 
Reales of 

Marcs of Silvf-r. 

Guanajuato 2,469,000 

San Luis Potosi (Catorce, Charcas, San Luis 

Potosi) 1,515,000 

Zacatecas (Zacatecas, Fresnillo, Sierra de Pinos) 1,205,000 

Mexico (Tasco, Zacualpa, Zultepeque) 1,055,COO 

Durango ( Chihuahua, Parral, Guarisamey, 4 

Cosiguiriachi) - - -. §22,000 

Rosario (Roiario, Cosala, Copala, Alamos') - 668,000 

Guadalaxara (Hostotipaquillo, Asientos de r 

Ybarra) 509,000 

Pachuca (Real del Monte, Moran) - - 455,000 

Bola^os - - 364,000 

Sombrerete - 820,000 

Zimapan (Zimapan, Doctor) ... 248,000 



i Iff I 






I. ■; II;' n 



I : ». i 



Sum for five years, 9,730,000 



That part of the Mexican mquntains which 
at present contains the greatest quantity of 
siiver» is contained between the parallels of 



If 



J' 



142 POLITICAL ESSAT ON THiE [book iv. 

21 and 24| degrees. The celebrated mines 
of Guanaxuato are only distant in a straight 
line from those of San Lu's Potosi 30 leagues^: 
from San Luis Potosi to Zacatecas the distance 
is 34 leagues; from Zacatecas to Catorce 
31, and from Catorce to Durango 74 leagues. 
It is remarkable enough that this metallick 
wealth of Mexico and Peru, should be placed 
at an almost equal distance in the two hemi- 
f, >eres from the equator. 

In the vast extent which separates the 
mines of Potosi and Ja Paz from those of 
Mexico, there are no others, which throw into 
circulation a great mass of the precious metals, 
but Pasco and Chota. Advancing from the 
Cerro de Gualgayoc northwards, we find only 
the gold washed down at Choco, and in the 
province of Antioquia, and the recently dis- 
covered silver veins of Vega do Supia. It 
is the same with the Cordillera of the Andes, 
as with all the mountains of Europe, in which 
metals are very unequally distributed. The 
province of Quito, and the Eastern part of 
tbe kingdom of New Granada, from the 8? of 
South latitude, to the T of Nordi latitude;- 
the Isthmus of Panama, and the mountains of 
Guatimala, contain for a length of 600 leagues, 
mst extents of ground in which no vem has 
hitherto been wrought with any degrfee of 
fuccess It would not, however, be accurate 



CHAP. XI.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 14S 



to advance that these countries which have 
in a degree, been convulsed with volcanos are 
entirely destittite of g^old and silver ore. 
Numerous metalliferous depositories may be 
concealed l)y the super-position of strata of 
basalt, amygdaloid, porphyry with greenstone 
base, and other rocks comprehended by geo- 
logists, under the general name of trapp' 
formation. 

With respect to the Mexican mines in par- 
ticular, they may be considered as forming 
eight groups (Erz-rejiere) which are almost 
all placed either on the ridg'e or on the 
Western slope of the Corlillera of Anahnac. 
The Jirst of these groups is the most considera- 
ble in produce; it includes the contiguous 
districts of Guanaxuato, San Luis Potosi, 
Charcas, Catorce, Zacatecas, Asientos de Ybar- 
ra, Fresnillo, and Sombrerete. The mines si- 
tuated to the West of the town of Durang-o, 
as well as those of the province of Cinaloa, 
belong to' the second; for the mines of Gua- 
risamey, Copala, Cosala, and Rosario are near 
(enough to one another to be classed under 
the same geological division. The third ^rowp, 
the most northern of New Spain, is that 
of Parral, which comprehends the mines of 
Chihuahua and Cosiguiriachi. It extends from 
the 27*''tothe 29° of latitude. To the north- 
north-east of Mexico, the Real del Monte or 



111 
i-fi 






1 !-i 



,.rf<l 



^IV 



i'M 



144 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



Pachiica, and those of Zimapan, or the Doctor, 
may be stiled the fourth and fifth groups. 
Bolafios (in the Intendancy of Guadalaxara) 
Tasco, and Oaxaca are the central points of 
the sixthy seventh, and eighth groiipes of mines 
of New Spain. This general view is sufficient 
to prove that this kingdom, like the antient 
Continent, contains vast extents of country, 
apparently almost totally destitute of metal- 
liferous veins. No considerable operation has 
been hitherto carried on in the Intendancies 
of Puebla and Vera Cruz, or in tlie plains of 
secondary formation, situated on the left bank 
of the Rio del Norte, or in New Mexiro. f ^ 
The following table indicates not the re- 
lative wealth, or unequal distribution of the 
metals considered in a geographical point of 
view, but the quantity of money \v hich in the 
present state of the mines is extracted from 
the different parts of the kingdom of New 
Spain. We have classed the mines according 
to the order already laid down, indicating 
the name of the chief place which is the 
central point of the group, and the surface 
of the country in which the different works 
are to be found. Several groupes are natu- 
rally divided into districts which form so many 
subdivisions or particular systems. , , .,ni«» * 



<-v 



.. ' i 






CHAP. XL] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 14r> 



( 



?x:.B 



j a rt « fci 

Principal miiusof iMexico, (5 ^.5 = 
divided in eight groups |C^ ■= S ^ 

I W w o ~" 

i! s s S 

^ o 2 ~i 
1st. Group (Central\^ ° ^^ 
Group) from21°0'/ 
to 24° 10' north lat.> J 900 
and from 102" 30 tol 
105" 15' of west long. J 
2nd. Group (Group 
ofDurango and So 
nora) from 23" to 24'» \^„^ 
45' of north lat. and^^^^ 
from lOSoSO'tolOg"! 
50' of west long. ' 

^^^'^*'o^P (Groups 
of Chihuahua) from / 
260 50' to 290 10' of L,^ 
»m P^"" 



Places which may 
be considered as 
the central points 
ofthese 8 groups. 



) \ 



{ 



Guanaxuato 

Catorce 

Zacatecas 

Guarisamey 
(Durango) 
Kosario 
(Copala) 



} 

\ 
S 



Annual 
produce 

of eiK-h 
gioui» 
in inarr:< 
of silver, 



1>300,000 



400,000 



25 



north lat. and from 
106" 45' to 108° 50' \ 
of west long. -' 

4th. Group (Group 
of la Biscaina) from 
20« 51 to 20' 15' of 
north lat. and from 
100* 45' to 100» 52' 
of west long. 
^'|j- Group (Group n 
of Zimapan)froni%y> / 
40' to21o30' of north > 7500 Zimaoa 

lat. and from loO- 30' I ^ 

to 102«0'ofwe8tlong. ^ 
6th. Group (Group \ 

ofNttvGa7licia)from / 

21« 5' to 22« 30' of V /.*/^ 

north lat. and from i ^ ^" Bolanos 

lOS-O'to I06°30'of 1 
west long. -' 

7th. GrouA (Group 
ofTasce) from 18'' 10 f 
to 19° 20' of north 
lat. and from lol° 30 
to 102» 45' of west 
long. 

«th Group (Group of 
Oaxaca)fromW40f\ 

to 18° 0' of north lat./ 1400 7 
and from 980 ,5/ to> \ 

99"50, of west long, j 

^>i^ HI. ^-^ 



Cosiquiriachi 1^, . n , 
Parral C Doubtful 

Batopilas ^ 



( Real del Monte I ,«^^ 
i (Pachuca) 5 ^^^»^^ 



60,000 



230,000 



4200 



f Temascaltepec 



i 



Tasco 
Zacualpa 



Oaxaca 
Villalta 



} 



260,000 



J Doubtful 



'I 

"I 



I 
if 

'1' 

I 
li 



.if; 



it 



IIS I 



146 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [iooiciv. 



Marcs of silver 



Mean Produce of the Mines of New 
Spain, including the Mines of the 
northern part of New Biscay, and 
those of Oaxaca, above 2,500,000 

We shall afterwards compare the produce 
of the silver mines of Mexico, with that of the 
different mines of Europe. It will suffice in 
this place to observe, that the two millions and 
a half of marcs of silver annually exported 
from Vera Cruz, are equal to two thirds of the 
silver annually extracted Jrom the whole globe. 
The eight groups into which we have divided 
the mines of New Spain, occupy a surface of 
12,000 square leagues, or a tenth of the whole 
extent of the king jm. When we look at 
the immense wealth of a very small number 
of mines, for example, the mine of Valenciana, 
and that of Rayas at Guanaxuato, or the 
principal veins (vetas madres) of Catorce, 
Zacatecas, and Real del Monte, we easily per- 
ceive that more than 1,400,000 marcs of 
silver are produced in an extent of surface, 
not equal in size to that of the district of the 
mines of Freiberg. 

If the quantity of silver annually extract- 
ed from the mines of Mexico is ten times 
greater than what is furnished by all the 
mines of Europe, on the other hand, gold is 
not much more abundant in New Spain than 
in Hungary and Transylvania. These two last 



CHAP. XJ.] 



KINGDOM UV NEW 8PAIN. 147 



St 



countries annually tlirovv into f.'irculation nearly 
5,200 marcs ; and the gold delivered into the 
mint of Mexico, only amounts in ordinary years 
to 7000 marcs. We may reckon that in timei 
of peace, when the want of mercury does not 
impede the process of amalgamation, the annual 
produce of New Spain is, 

In Silver f 22 millions of Piastres. 
In Gold, 1 

23 

The Mexican (/old is for the most part ex- 
tracted from alluvious grounds, by means of 
washing. These grounds are common in the 
province of Sonora, which as we have already 
observed*, may be considered as the Choco of 
North America. A gi*eat deal of gold has been 
collected among the sands, with which the bottom 
of the valley of the Rio Hiacpii, to the east 
of the missions of Tarahumara, are covered. 
Farther to the north in Pimeria Alta, under 
the 31° of latitude, grains of native gold (pepitas) 
have been found of the weight of from five to 
six pounds. In these desert regions, the incur- 
sions of the savage Indians, the excessive price 
of provisions, and the want of the necessary 
water for working, are all great obstacles to 
the extraction of gold. 

Another part of the Mexican gold is ex- 
tracted from the veins, which intersect the 

• Voliii.p.299, 
L 2 



SI 



m 



lis POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE) [book iv, 

mountains of primitive rock. The veins of 
native p^old are most frequent in the province 
of Oaxara, either in pfneiss or micaceous slate 
((jUmmrrschiefer), This last rock is particu- 
larly rich in gold, in the celebrated mines of 
Rio San Antonio. These veins of which the 
(jangvd is lacteous quartz, are more than half 
a metre in thicknessf , but their richness is 
very unequal. They are frequently strangled j 
and the extraction of gold in the mines of 
Oaxaca, is in general by no means considera- 
ble. The same metal is to be found either 
pure or mixed with silver ore, in the greatest 
number of veins which have been wrought in 
Mexico ; and there is scarcely a single silver 
mine which does not also contain gold. Na- 
tive gold is frequently found crystallized in 
i/€to hedia, lamina, or in a reticulated form, 
in the sliver minerals of the mines of Vil- 
lalpando and' Rayas near Guanaxuato, in 
those of Sombrero (intendancy of Valladolid)^ 
Guarisamey to the west of Durango, and Mez- 
quital in the province of Guadalaxara. The 
gold of Mezquital is looked upon as the pu- 
rest, that is to say, as being least alloyed with 
silver, iron, and copper. The principal vein in 
the mine of Santa Cniz, at Villalpando, which 
I visited in the month of September, 1803, 
is intersected by a great number of small rotten 

. ' ■ ' ■ ■■ ^ \ 

*L6foot. Trans 



i 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 149 



veins, (hilos del dcsposorio) of exceetling rich- 
ness. The argilliceuus slime with which tliese 
small veins are filled, contains so great a 
quantity of gold disseminated in impalpable 
parcels, that the miners are compelled when 
they leave the mine nearly in a state of naked- 
ness, to bathe themselves in large vessels, to 
puvent any of the auriferous clay from being' 
carried oft' by them on their bodies. The 
silver mineral of Villalpando generally con- 
tains only two ounces of gold per load, (carga 
of 12 arrobas); but it frequently contains even 
eigtit or ten ounces per load, or \-h ounces 
per quintal. It may be of use to mention here 
that at the Harz, the pyrites of Rammelsberg 
contain only a 29 millionth part of gold, which 
is however extracted with profit*. 

The District of the mines of Guanaxuato, 
has furnished according to the registers of 
the Provincial Treasury f. 



Periods. 


Marcs 

of 
Gold. 


Marcs 
of 

Silver. 


Gold con» 

tained in 

the silver. 


From 1766 to 1775 
1776 — 1785 
1786—1795 
1796 — 180S 


9,044 
13,254 

7,376 
13,356 


3,422,414 
5,281,214 
5,609,856 
4,410,553 


0.0026 
0.0024 
0.0013 
0. 029 


In 38 years - - 


43,080 


18,723,537 


0.0023 



* Brongniart, Mineralogie, T. ii. p. 345. 
f Estado de la Tresoreria principal de Real Hacienda de 
Guanaxuatot del 21 de Novembre de 1799, (M. S.) 



II 



'H '"ii 



II 

III 



I 



■ti I* 



1 



i 

HI 






150 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book it. 

The result of this table is, that the silver 
extracted from the vein of Guanaxuato, 
contains from one to three thousand parts of its 
weight in gold. 

Platina ?s erroneously stated to be found in 
the auriferous sands of Sonora. This metal 
has never yet been discovered to the north of 
the Isthmus of Panama, on the Continent of 
North America. Platina in grains is only found 
in two places of the known world; in Choco 
one of the provinces of the kingdom of New 
Granada^ and near the shores of the South 
Sea, in the province of Barbacoas, between 
the T and 6° of north latitude. It is peculiar 
to alluvions grounds of a surface of 600 square 
leagues, the extent of which is scarcely equal to 
two of the departments of France. The Lava- 
deroSf which at present yield the greatest quan- 
tity of platina, are those of Condoto, Santa Rita, 
or Viroviro, and Santa Lucia, and the Ravin 
(fjuehrada) of fro, between the villages of Novita 
and Taddo. There ure several lavaderos in 
Choco, (for instance, those of the districts of 
San AiiguMtin, and Giiaicama,) where no trace 
of platina is to be found. The price of this 
metal in grain on the spot is eight piastres, 
or 40 francs th< pound, while at Paris it is gene- 
rally from 130 to loO francs. I shall examine 
in another place the quantity of platina, which 
in the present state of the mines of Choco, Ame- 



CHAP. XL] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 151 



rica can furnish to Europe. It is also an abso- 
lutely false assertion, that platina has ever been 
found near Carthagena or Santa Fe,at the Islands 
of Porto Rico and Barbadoes, and in Peru*, 
althoug^h their different situations are pointed out 
in the most esteemed and popular works. Per- 
haps it will one day be proved by chemical ana- 
lysis, that platina exists in several silver ores 
of Mexico, as it exists in the fahlerz (grey-cop- 
per) of Guadalcanal in Spain. 

The silver supplied by the veins of Mexico, 
is extracted from a great variety of minerals, 
which from the nature of their mixture, bear 
an analogy to those of Saxony, the Harz, and 
Hungary. The traveller must not expect to 
find a complete collection of these ores, in the 
school of mines of Mexico. The mines being 
all in the hands of individuals, and the Mexican 
government possessing but a very feeble influence 
on the administration of the mines, it was not in 






'iri 



'it!* 



Mi 



<:i: 



* Hauy Mineralogies T. iii. p. 370. In a memoir inserted 
in the Annales de Ciencias NaturaleSf published by the Abbe 
CavRiiilles, we read that platina is found in Chopo, (Choco) 
at /tnrbadoSf (Barbacoas) and at C&rthagena a sea port, a 
hundred and thirty leagues diitant from the gold lavaderos 
of Taddo. Yet more than 18 yoarg ago, M. Berthollet com*- 
municated a very accurate accc ant of the places where pla- 
tina is procured f Annales de 'i'himie, Juillet ny2) I brought 
to Europe a pepita of platinv of an ei^traordinary sjze. It 
weighs 1088 to grains ; and itH specific weight is according to 
M. Tralles, 18,947. (Karsien, i^Iin, TakUtn, 1808, p. 96.) 



iJ 



. ■ < I 



152 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

the power of the professors to collect whatever 
had any relation to the structure of veinSy beds, 
and masses of ore. At Mexico as well as Madrid, 
the public collections contain the rarest mine- 
rals of Siberia and Scotland, while we vainly 
seek what mighf throw light on the minera- 
logical geography of the country. We must 
hope that the cabinet of the school of mines 
will become gradually richer, when the scholars 
of this fine establishment shall be sent into 
the most distant provinces from the capital, 
and have proved to the proprietors of mines 
how much it is for their interest, that the means 
of instruction should l>e facilitated. Without 
a knowledge of the localities in detail, and 
without a deep studv of the minerals of which 
the mass of the vein, or the contents of the heaps 
and beds are composed, all the changes which 
may be proposed for the improvement of the 
process of amalgamation, will turn out mere 
chimerical projects. 

In Peru, the greatest part of the silver ex- 
tracted from the bowels of the earth, is fur- 
nished by the pacos, a sort of ores of an earthy 
appearance, which M. Klaproth was so good as 
to analyse at my request*, and which consist 
of a mixture of almost imperceptible parcels 
of native silver, with the brown oxyde of iron. 

* Klaproth, Beitrage zur chemischen KtnrUnisi der Mineral 
-^K'drper, B. iv. § 4. 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 153 



In Mexico on the other hand, the greatest quan- 
tity of silver annually brought into circulation, 
is derived from those ores which the Saxon 
miner calls by the name of durre erze* espe- 
cially from suljuretted silver f (or \ itrous c/laserz) 
from arsenical (jrey -copper (fa/ilerz) and anti- 
moni/f (graa or sckwarzijiltigerz) from muriated 
silver f (hornerz)(ron\ prismatic black silver, {sprod- 
0laserz)t and from red silver {rothgiltiifez). We 
do not name native silver among these ores, 
because it is not found in sufficient abundance 
to admit of any very considerable part of the 
total produce of the mines of New Spain being 
attributed to it. 

Sulfaretted silver, and hlack prismatic silver, 
are very common in the veins of Guanaxuato 
and Zacatecas, as well as in the vcta Biscaina 
of Real del Monte. The silver extracted from 
the ore of Zacatecas, exhibits the remarkable 
particularity of not containing gold. The richest 
fahlore (fahlerz) is that of Sierra de Pinos, and 
the mii«es of Ramos. In the latter, the fahlerz is 
accompanied with (jlaserz, with pyritous hepa- 
tic copper (bunt knpfererz), sulfuretted zinc and 
vitrous copper (kvpferglas,) which is only wrought 

* See the very instructive work of M. Daubuisson, under 
the title of Description ties Mines dc Freiberg. I have followed 
in the course of this chapter, in wliatever reljtes to the 
art of mining, and the stratification of minerals, the termi- 
nology of M. M. Brochafit, paubuisspni and Ikpngniart, 



i 



i 
ill- 

i 



i 



'^■L\ 



'■■i'J 



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^ii 



i'A 






154 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



for the extraction of the silver, without apply- 
ing the copper to any use. The graugiltujerz 
or grey antimoniated copper described by M. 
Karsten, is found at Tasco, and in the mine of 
Rayas, south east from Valenciana. The mu- 
riated silver which is so seldom found in the 
veins of Europe, is very abundant in the mines 
of Catorce, Fresnillo, and the Cerro San Pedro, 
near the town of San Lui*^ Potosi. That of 
Fresnillo is frequently of an olive green, which 
passes into leek-green (vert poireau). Superb 
samples of this colour have been found in the 
mines of Vallorecas, which belong to the dis- 
trict de los Alamos in the intendancy of So- 
nor a. In the veins of Catorce, the muriated 
silver is accompanied with molybdat^d lead, 
(gelh^hlei-erz) and phosphatedlead {griinblei-erz). 
From the last analysis of Mr. Klaproth, it ap- 
pears that the muriated silver of America,* is 
a pure mixture of silver and muriatic acid, 
while the Hornerz of Europe contains oxid 
of iron, alumine, and especially a little sulphuric 
acid. The mineral of red silver constitutes a 



* The Mineralogists at present distinguish four kinds of 
muriated silver, the common, the terrcous, the conchoid, and 
the radiated. The two last species, which are exceedingly 
beautiful, have been described by M. Karsten: they are 
among the minerals brought by me from Peru. Karsten, 
in the Magazine der BeiUner GeHilschq/i Natur/orschender 
Freunde, B. i. § 156. Klaproth' s Beitragej B. iv. § lO. 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 155 



principal part of the wealth of Sombrerete, 
Cosala and Zolaoa, near Villalta, in the province 
cf Ouxaca. From this mineral more than 
700,000 marcs of silver have been extracted, 
in the famous mine of la Veta Net/ra* near Som- 
brerete, in the space of from five to six months. 
It is affirmed that the mine which produced this 
enormous quantity of metal, the greatest which 
was ever yielded by any vein on the same point 
of its fnusSf was not thirty metres in length^. 
The true uiine of 7vhite silver (weissgiltig-erz) 
is very rare in Mexico. Its variety greyish 
white, very rich in lead, is to be found how- 
ever in the intendancy of Sonora, in the veins 
of Cosala, where it is accompanied with ar- 
gentiferous galena, red silver, brown blende, 
quartz and sulfated barytes. This last substance 
which is very unconmion among the gnngues 
of Mexico, is to be also found at the Real 
del Doctor, near Baranca de las Tinijas, 
and at Sombrerete, particularly in the mine 
called Campechana. Spar-fluor has been only 
found hitherto in the veins of Lomo del Toro, 
near Znuapun, at Bolanos and Guadalcazar, 
near Catorce. It is constantly of a grass gre^|\ 
or violet blue. 

In some parts of New Spain, the operations 
of the miner are dir«M tt^l to a mixture of 



II 



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% 









"Mil 



*t^: 



* See Vol i. c. vii. 
t 98fefit. Trans. 



|i 



.' 



156 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv 



oxide of brown iron and native silver, disse- 
minated in molecules imperceptible to the naked 
eye. This ochreous mixture which they call 
paco in Peru, and of which we have already 
had occasion to speak, is the object of consi- 
derable operations at the mines of Angangueo, 
in' the intendancy of Valladolid, as well as at 
Yxtepexi in the province of Oaxaca. The 
minerals of Angangueo, known by the name 
of colorados, have a clayey appearance. Near 
the surface J the oxidated brown iron is mixed 
with native silver, with sulfuretted silver, and 
black prismatic silver {sprodg laser z)y all three 
in a state of decomposition. At great depths* 
the vein of Angangueo contains only galena 
and pyrites of iron, possessing but a small quan- 
tity of silver. Hence the blackish pacos of the 
mine of Aurora d'Yxtepexi, which must not 
be confounded with the negrillos of Peru, owe 
their richness rather to the glaserz, than to 
the imperceptible filaments of native ramular 
silver. The vein is very unequal in its produce, 
sometimes sterile, and sometimes abundant. The 
color ados of Catorce, particularly those of the 
mine of Conception, are of a brick red, and 
mixed with muriate of silver. In general it 
is observed both in Mexico and Peru, that 
those oxidated masses of iron which contain 
silver, are peculiar to that part of the veins? 
nearest to the surface of the earth. The pacos 



CHAP. XI.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 1-57 



of Peru present to the eyes of the geologist, 
a very striking* analogy with the earthy masses 
called by the miners in Europe the iroti hat 
of the veins, (eiserne huth). • • 

Native Silver , which is much less abundant 
in America, than is generally supposed, has 
been found in considerable masses, sometimes 
weighing more than 200 killogrammes*, in 
the seams of Batopilas in New Biscay. These 
mines, which are not very briskly wrought 
at present, are among the most northern of 
New Spain. Nature exhibits the same mine- 
rals there, that are found in the vein of 
Kongsberg in Norway. Those of Batopilas 
contain filiform dendritic and silver, which 
intersects that of carbonated lime. Native 
silver is constantly accompanied by glaserz 
in the seams of Mexico, as well as in those of 
the mountains of Europe. These very minerals 
are frequently found united in the rich mines 
of Sombrerete, Madrono, Ramos, Zacatecas, Ha- 
pujaha and Sierra de Penos. From time to time 
small branches, or cylindrical filaments of native 
silver, are also discovered in the celebrated vein 
of Guanaxuato; but these masses have nevei? 
been so considerable as those which were for- 
merly drawn from the mine del Encino near 
Pachuca and Tasco, where native silver is 



m 






"ir 






in' 



in 



* 4441b. avoird. 






168 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE Lb«ok »v. 






sometimes contained in folia of selenite. At 
Sierra cle Pinos near Zacatecas, this last metal 
is constantly accompanied with blue radiated 
copper (strahlige kupferlazur) crystallized in 
small quadrilateral prisms. 

A great part of the silver annually produced 
in Europe, is derived from the argentiferous 
sulfuretted lead (silherhaltiger bleiylanz) which 
is sometimes found in the veins which inter- 
sect primitive and transition mountains^ and 
sometimes on particular beds (erzfloze) in 
rocks of secondare/ formation. In the king- 
dom of New Spain, the greatest part of the 
veins contain very little argentiferous galena; 
but there are very few mines in which lead 
ore is a particular object of their operations. 
Among the latter, we can only include the 
mines of the districts of Zimapan, Parral, and 
San Nicholas de Croix. I observed that at 
Guanaxuato, as well as several other mines in 
Mexico*, and everywhere in Saxony, the galenas 
contain the more silver, the smaller they are 
in the grain. > 



* We may adduce as galenas extranely rich in silver 
in very small grains, those of the new mine of Talpan, 
in the Cerro de las Vegas, belonging to the district of 
Hostotipaquillo. This galena> which sometimes passes into 
a compact and antimonial sulfuretted lead (hleischiueif) is 
accompanied with miKch coppery pyrites, and carbonRted 
lime. 



CHAP. XI ] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 159 



A very considerable quantity of silver is 
produced from the $meltin<^ of the martial py- 
rites (f/emeine schwefelkiese) of which New 
Spain sometimes exhibits varieties richer than 
the glaserz itself. It has been found in the 
Real del Monte, on the vein of Biscaina, 
near the pit of San Pedro, the quintal of 
which contained even so much as three 
marcs of silver. At Sonibrerete, the great 
abundance of pyrites disseminated in the min« 
of red silver, is a great obstacle to the pro- 
cess of amalgamation. 

We have described the minerals which pro- 
duce the Mexican silver, and it remains for Ui< to 
examine into the mean riches of these minerals, 
considering them as all mixed together, it 
is a very common prejudice in Europe, thai 
great masses of native silver are extremely 
common in Mexico and Peru, and that in 
general, the mines of mineralised silver, des- 
tined to amalgamation, or smelting, contain 
more ounces, or more marcs of silver, to 
the quintal, than the meagre minerals of Sax- 
ony aod Hungary. Full of this prejudice, 1 
was doubly surprised on my arrival in the 
Cordilleras to find that the number of poor 
mines greatly surpasses those of the mines to 
which in Europe we give the name of rich. 
An European traveller who visits the famous 
mine of Valenciana in Mexico after examining 



I i 



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li 

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160 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



^ 



the metallifermis veins of Clausthal, Freiberg-, 
and Scheninitz, can scarcely conceive how a 
vein which, for a great part of its extent 
contains sulfiiretted silver, disseminated in the 
fjantjue in almost imperceptible particles, can 
regularly supply thirty thousand marcs, per 
month, a quantity of silver equal to the half 
of what is annually furnished by all the 
mines of Saxony. It is no doubt true that 
blocks of native silver (papas de plata) of an 
enormous weight, have been extracted from 
the mines of Batopilas in Mexico and Guan- 
tahajo in Peru; but when we study atten- 
tively the history of the principal mines of 
Europe, we find that the veins of Kongsberg 
in Norway, Schneeberg in Saxony, and the 
famous mass of minerals of Schlangenberg in 
Siberia, have produced much more conside- 
rable quantities. We are not in general to 
judge from the size of the blocks, of the wealth 
of the mines of different countries. France 
does not altogether produce more than 8000 
marcs of silver annually ; and yet there are 
veins in that country (those of Sainte Marie aux 
Mines) from which unshapen masses of native 
silver have been extracted, of the weight of 30 
kilogrammes*. 

It appears that at the formation of veins 



* 661b. avoird. Trans. 




\ 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. ^^^ 

in every climate, the di!»tnbntion of silver 
has been very unequal ; sometimes concen- 
trated in one point, and at other times dis- 
seminated in the gancjiie, and allied with 
other metals. Sometimes in the midst of the 
poorest minerals we find very considerable 
masses of native silver; a phenomenon which 
appears to depend on a particular operation of 
chemical aflinities, with the mode of action, 
and laws of which we are completely ignorant. 
The silver in place of being concealed in ga- 
lenae, or in pyrites in a small degree argen- 
tiferous, or of being distributed throughout all 
the mass of the vein over a great extent, is 
collected into a single mass. In that case 
the riches of a point may be considered 
as the principal cause of the poverty of ii c 
neighbouring minerals; and hence we may 
conceive why the richest parts of a vein are 
found separated from one another by portions 
of gaiigue almost altogether destitute of me« 
tals. In Mexico, as well as in Hungary, large 
masses v/*' native silver and f/laserz, appear only 
in a reniform shape (par rogn&ns -,) the com* 
posed rocks exhibit the same phenomena as 
the masses of veins. When we examine with 
care the structure of granites, syenites, and 
porphyries, we discover the effects of a pa?- 
ticular attraction in the chrystals of ?/iica, 
aniphibole and felspar, of which a great num* 

VOL. HI. M 



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1«2 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

ber are accumulated in one point, while 
the neighbouring parts are almost eulirely 
destitute. , , ,., 

Although the New Continent, however, ha» 
not hitherto exhibited native silver in such 
considerable blocks as the Old, this metal i» 
found more abundantly in a state of perfect 
purity in Peru and Mexico, than in any other 
quarter of the globe. In laying down this 
opinion, I am not considering the native silver 
which appears in the form of lamellae, branches, 
or cylindrical filaments in the mines of Guan- 
tahajo, Potosi, and Gualgayoc, or in Bato- 
pilas, Zacatecas, and Ramos. I found my 
opinion rather on the enormous abundance of 
minerals called pacos and cohradosy in which 
silver is not mineralizedf but disseminated in 
such small particles, that they can only be 
perceived by means of a microscope. 

The result of the investigations made by 
Don Fausto d*Elhuyar, the director general 
of the mines of Mexico, and by several 
membei*s of the superior council of mines, 
is, that in uniting together all the silver 
minerals annually extracted, it would be found 
from the mixture, that their mean riches is 
from 0.0018 to 0.0025 of silver, that is to say 
in the common language of miners, that 
a quintal of ore (of one hundred pounds, or 
10,000 ounces) contains from three to four 



CHAP. xi.J KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN- 163 



ounces of silver. This important result is 
confirmed by the testimony of an inhabitant 
of Zacatecas, who had the direction of con- 
siderable metallic operations, in several dis- 
tricts cf mines of New Spain, and who has 
lately published a very interesting work, on 
the American amalgamation. M. Garces*, 
whom we have already had occasion to quote, 
expressly says, " that the great mass of 
" Mexican minerals is so poor, that the three 
" millions of marcs of silver annually produced 
" by the kingdom in good years, are extracted 
** from ten millions of quintals of mineral, 
" partly smelted, and partly amalgamated.** 
According to these numbers, the mean riches 
would only amount to 2j ounces per quintal, 
a result which differs very mnch from the 
assertion of a traveller, very estimable in 
other respectsf, who relates that the veins 
of New Spain are of such extraordinary wealth, 
that the natives never think of working them 
wheu the minerals contain less than a third 
of their weight in silver, or seventy marcs 
per quintal. As the most erroneous ideas 









';:( 



* Nueva Theorica del beneficio de los metales, por Don 
Joseph Garces y Eguia, Perito fucukativo de minas y 
primario de beneficios de hmineria de Zacatecas (Mexico, 
1802,) p. 121 & 125. 

t The Jesuit Och (Murrs Nachrichten vom Spanischeu 
America, t. i.p.236.) 



ill 



M 2 



164 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

have been spread through Europe respecting 
the contents of the minerals of America, I 
shall proceed to give a more minute descrip- 
tion of the districts of mines of Guanaxuato» 
Tasco, and Pachuca, which I had occasion 
to visit. 

At Guanaxnato, the mine of the count de 
la Valenciana produced between the Ist Ja- 
nuary, 1787, and the 11th June, 1791, the 
sum of 1,737,052 marcs of silver, which were 
extracted from 81,368 montones of minerals. 
In the table* containing- the general state of 
the mine, a monton is estimated at 32 quin- 
tals, or at 9i5o cart/as; from whence it follows 
that the mean riches of the minerals, was, 
twenty years ago «>to ounces of silver per 
quintal. Applying the same calculation to the 

* Estudo de la mina Valenciana^ remilido por mono dil 
Excellentm. Senor virey de Nueva Espana al Secretario 
de Estttdo Don Antonio Valdes. (Manuscript.) I have 
followed the numbers contained in the table drawn up 
by Don Joseph Quixano, the administrator of Valenciana. 
A monton (a heap oi minerals reduced to powder) is 
reckoned at 35 quintals at Guanaxuato; at thirty at 
the Real del Monte, Pachuca, Zultepeque, and Tasco ; 
at Zacatecas and Sombrerete, at 20; at Fresnillo at 18; 
and at 15 quintals at Bolanos. The carga is generally 
estink'*ted at Guanaxuato at 14 arrohas; so that 10 cargaa 
Amount there to a mo»<on (Garc«i, p. 92.) /U the wealth 
of the ore is determined from the contents of the monton^ 
the exact knowledge isX the measure is of great import- 
ance in metallurgical calculations. 



CHAP. XI.1 KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN- 166 

produce of the single year 1791, we shall 
find 9^ ounces per quintal. At this period, 
when the mine was in the most flourishing 
condition, in tlie total mass of minerals thece 
were: 

M ir. Oit. 
■r,'^ of rich minerals {polvillos and Xabunet,) 

containing per quintal •• ......223 

toSq of rich minerals (apolviUado) .... 93 

44^9 of rich minerals (bianco hueno) .... 31 

iSai of poor minerals (granzaSy tierras ordind- 

riast 8fc.) -.---.. 3 






The quantity of rich minerals, was con- 
sequently to that of the poor minerals, nearly in 
the proportion of 3 to 14. The minerals which 
only contained 3 ounces per quintal, supplied 
in 1791 (we are always speaking of the 
mine of Yalenciana alone) more than 20,0000 
marcs of silver, ^vhile there was a sufficient 
quantity of rich minerals, to yield a produce 
of more than 400,000 marcs. At present, the 
mean wealth of the whole vein of Guanaxuato 
may be estimated at 4 ounces of silver, per 
quintal of minerals. The South West part 
of the vein, which intersects the mine of 
Rayas, yields, however minerals, of which the 
contents generally amount to more than 3 
marcs. -' 

In the district of the mines of Pachuca, 



' ^'it 



i; 



i 



1^ POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

♦hey divide the produce of the scam of 

Biscainn, into three classes, of which the riches 

varied in 1803, from 4 to 20 marcs per 

monton of 30 quintals. The minerals of the first 

class which are the richest, contain from 18 to 20; 

and those of the second class from seven to ten 

marcs. The poorest mines, which form the third 

class are only computed at four marcs of silver per 

monton. The result is that the good contains from 

^h ^ '^A> the middling f from Its to 2/isi 

and the worst about Is'v ounces of silver per 

quintal. 

In the district of mines of Tasco, the mi- 
nerals of Tehuilotepec contain in a tarea of 
four montones or 100 quintals, 25 marcs of 
silver; those of Guautla yield 45; their mean 
wealth is consequently from 2 to Sts ounces 
of silver per quintal of minerals. 

It is not then, as has been too long be- 
lieved, from the intrinsic wealth of t^e mine- 
rals, but rather from the great abundance in 
which they are to be found in the bowels of 
the earth, and the facility with which they 
can be wrought, that the mines of America 
are to be distinguished from those of Europe^. 

* The silver ore of Peru does not in general appear 
to be richer than that ot Mexico : The contents is esti- 
mated not by the monton^ but by the caxon (chest) 
which contains 24 cargas, reckoning each carga at ten 
arrobas or 2\ quintals. At Potosi, the mean lueaUh o^ 
the minerals is ,Vv; in the mines of Pasco, Ij^^ ounces 
per quintal. 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 167 



The three districts of mines which we have 
just alluded to, furnish alone, more than a 
million of marcs of silver, and from the whole 
of these data we cannot entertain a doubt that 
the mean contents of the Mexican minerals* 
do not amount, as we have already stated, to 
more than from three to four ounces of silver, 
per quintal. Hence these minerals, though 
somewhat richer than those of Preiber)^, con- 
tain much less silver than the minerals of An- 
naberg, Johann-Georgenstadt, Marienberg, and 
other districts of the Ohergehirge in Saxony. 
Prom 1789 to 1799, there have been extracted 
communihus annis from the seams of the dis- 
trict of Freiberg, 156,752 quintals, which have 
yielded 48,952 marcs of silver; so that the 
mean contents were 2\\ ounces per quintal of 
minerals. But in the mines of the Ohergehirge 
the mean riches, have amounted to ten, and 
at very fortunate periods even to fifteen ounces 
per quintal. 

We have taken a general view of the 
rocks in which the principal mines of New 
Spain are to be found; we have examined 
on what points, in what latitudes, and at 
what elevations above the level of the sea, 
nature has collected the greatest quantity of 
metallick wealth; and we have indicated the 
minerals which furnish the immense quantity 
of silver which annually flows from the one 



M 



168 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE 



[book IV 



continent to the other. It remains for m to 
afford some details relative to the most con- 
siderable mining operations. We shall con- 
fine ourselves to three of those grtntpcs of 
mines which we have already described, to 
, the central gro«', e, and those of Tasco and 
Biscaina. 'Iho^j who know the state of 
mining in F'lrope will be stinick with the 
contrast between the great mines of Mexico, 
for example, those of Valenciana, Rayas, 
and Tereros, and the mines which are con- 
sidered as \ery rich in Saxony, the Harz, 
and Hungary. Could the latter be transported 
to the midst of the great works of Guanax- 
uato, Catorce, or the Real del Monte, their 
wealth, and the quantity of their produce, 
would appear as insignificant to the iidiabit- 
ants of America, as the height of the Py- 
renees compared with the Cordilleras. 

The Central group of the mines of New 
Spain, a portion of ground abounding more in 
silver than any other known on the globe, is 
situated in the same parallel with Bengal, 
under a latitude where the equinoctial is con- 
founded with' the temperate zone. This group 
comprehends the three districts of the mines 
of Guanaxuato, Catorce, and Zacatecas, the 
first of which possesses an extent of 220, the 
second of 750, and the third of 730 square 
leagues, calculating the surfaces from the po- 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 1<59 



sition of the iiisulatecl mines (renlitas) at the 
greatest di-stance froni the chief place of the 
district. 

The district of Guanaantato, the most 
southern of this group, is as remarkable for 
its natural wealth as for the git^antic labours 
of man in the bowels of the mountains. To 
form a more exact idea of the position of 
these mines, we invite the reader to call to 
mind what we have already stated * in the 
particular description of the provinces, and 
to cast his eyes over the physical section of 
the central table land, in the atlas to this 
work. 

In the centre of the intendaucy of Guanaxuato 
on the ridge of the cordillera of Anahuac, 
rises a group of porphyritic summits known 
by the name of the Sierra de Santa Rosa. 
This group of mountains partly arid, and partly 
covered with strawberry-trees, and evergreen 
oaks, is surrounded with fertile and well culti- 
vated tields. To the north of the Sierra, the 
Llanos of San Felipe, extend as far as the eye 






* Vol. ii. p. 2(H>. I have drawn up a geographical nap 
of the environs of the towrn of Guanaxuato, which will 
appear in the historical account of my travels in the 
Equinoctial Regions of America. This map is partly taken 
from the perpendicular bases measured barometrically See 
Vol. i. Introduction, p. xiii. and my RecueU d*Observa» 
tions Astronomiques, Vol. i. p. 372. 



no POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [iooic iv. 

can reach; and to the South, the plains of 
Irapuato and Salamanca, exhibit the delightful 
spectacle of a r'lvh and populous country. The 
Cierro de hs LlanitoSt and the Puerto de Santa 
Rosa, are the most elevated summits of this 
group of mountains. Their absolute height is 
from 2,800 to 2,900 metres *, but as the neigh- 
bouring plains which are part of the g^eat 
central table land of Mexico, are more than 
1800 metres f above the level of the sea, 
these porphyritic summits appear but as in- 
considerable hills to the eyes of a traveller 
accustomed to the striking appearance of the 
Cordilleras. The famous vein of Guanaxnato, 
which has alone, since the end of the sixteenth 
century, produced a mass of silver equal to 
fourteen hundred millions of francs |, crosses 
the southern slope of the Sierra de Santa Rosa. 
In going from Salamanca to Bnrras and 
Temascntio, we perceive a chain of mountains, 
bounding the plains which stretch from the 
South-^ast to the North-west. The crest of 
the vein follows this direction. At the foot 
of the Sierra, after passing the farm of 
Xalapita, we discover a narrow ravin dan- 
gerous to pass, at the period of the great 

*From8985 to 9313 feet. Trans, 

15904 feet: Trans, 

t jS57,754,620 Sterl. Trans, 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 171 



swells called the Canada de Marfil, whirli 
leads to the town of Giuiuaxuato. The popu- 
lation of that town, as we have already ob- 
served, is more than 7(),(K)0 souls. One is 
astonished to see in this wihl spot, lar^e and 
beautiful edifiees in the midst of miserable 
Indian huts. Tb*^ house of Colonel Don 
Diego Rul, who is one of the proprietoi's of 
the mine of Valenciana, would be an ornament 
to the finest streets of Paris and Naples. It 
is fronted with columns of the Ionic order, 
and the architecture is simple and remarkable 
for great purity of style. The erection of 
this edifice, which is almost uninhabited, cost 
more than 800,000 francs *, a considerable sum 
in a country where the price of labour and 
materials are very moderate. 

The name of Guanaxuato is scarcely known in 
Europe ; and yet the riches of the mines of this 
district is much superior to that of the metallife- 
rous depository of Potosi. The latter was dis- 
covered in 1545 by Diego Hualca an Indian, 
and has produced according to information * 

* je33,0(X), Sterl. Trans. 
f Extract Jrom a hook of accounts of the Boyal Treasury 
qfPotosif made on the spot, by Mr. Frederic Mothes (Ra%on 
de los reales derechos que se han cobrado en las caxas reales, 
de la plata que ha produeido el Cerro de Potosi), This ma- 
nuscript memoir in my possession gives the produce of 
Potosi every year from 1558 to 1789. The treasury books 
contain no information relative to the years anterior to 
1556, although two miners of Porco, Juan de Villaroel and 
Diego Centeno, began to work this vein in the year ISib. 



in' 



m 



HI 
.^1 



127 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE f^ooK iv. 

never yet made public, in the space of two 
hundred and thirtv-threo years, 788,258,512 
flouble piastres, which, rcckonini^ eight piastres 
and a half to the marc, gives the sum of 
92,7a«,291 marcs of silver*, viz. • * 

PinHti<!ii, Mnrm nf lilvcr. 

From 1556 to 1578— 49,011,285 or 5,766,033 
lS7Qto 1736—611,899,451 —71,929,347 
J737to 1789^-127,847,776 — 15,040,914 

788,259,512 92,736,294 

During' these three periods then there has 
been extracted from the Cerro de Potosi an- 
nually at an average 

Marcs ofailver. Pi«8t«««. 

From lSS6to 1S78 — 262, 092 f or 2,227,782 

1579 to 1736 —458,1481 — 3,994,258 

1737 to 1789 — 289,248 § — 2,458,606 

The produce of the vein of Gtianaxuato, how- 
ever, is almost the double of that of the Cerro 
da Potosi. There is actually drawn from 
this vein, for it alone fiimishes all the silver of 
the mines of the district of Guanaxuato, in 
average years from Jive to six hundred thousand 
marcs of silver, and from fifteen to sixteen 
hundred marcs of gold. 

* 60,864,359 lb. Troy. Trans. 
+ 172,0151b. Troy. Trans. 
X 300,524 lb. Troy. Trans. 
i 189,837 lb, Troy. Trans. 



fWll 



Jt^lt, 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 173 



Gold Produce of the District of Mines of Gua- 

naxunto. 





liiilil exti iu-ted hv Ania 


Iga- 




1 


Prrio(l». C 


mation. 




n.old extracted bv SmelfiiiR. | 


;.tMielluni». 1 


\>iiiiiie». (I 


• .UiU«. (.. 


a!>tillauu<«. T 


tmine*. U.ruum.I 


1766 


702 


» 


9 


35542 


4 





1767 


552 








46325 


4 


10 


IT68 











40130 








176U 











31543 





1770 


5361 


6 


8 


46945 





1771 


7918 


3 


8 


47 ''80 





3 


1772 


7759 


2 


2 


50917 


3 


8 


1773 


M35 


4 





33662 








1774 


1«185 


5 


9 


308;;o 


.") 


1 


1775 


62S5 


4 


8 


50671 


7 





1776 


225,1 


4 





8h'i42 


4 j 4 1 


1777 


21673 


(> 


o 

J 


74181 


3 1 3 ' 


|77» 


23034 


C 


8 


;>oioo 


6 3 ; 


i77> 


fi I 1 1 5 


2 


3 


50686 




5 


1780 


25044 








29 1 23 


4 


I 


1781 


30790 


o 


6 


27781 





1 


1782 


24643 


<> 


10 


15^75 


7 


8 ! 


1783 


32887 


3 


4 


208 "lO 





T ! 


1784 


28332 


4 


10 


25194 


3 1 


1785 


26823 


2 


4 

5 


20012 





5 


1786 


25417 





12275 


5 


4 


1787 


21820 





o 


13124 


5 


4 


1788 


13160 


7 


4 


10374 


2 


if 


1789 


16431 


5 


4 


16927 





\0 


1790 


21219 


2 


2 


13135 


4 


9 


1791 


25654 


6 


7 


23407 


5 





1792 


16S55 


3 


1 


8434 


5 





1793 


28257 


2 


10 


16360 


1 


4 


1794 


23090 


1 





7084 


2 


I 


1795 


31518 


1 




6 


24441 


5 


7 


1796 


43538 


5 


10505 


7 


7 


1797 


34454 








13962 


6 


3 


17 ys 


92074 


6 


9 


34393 


7 


5 


1799 


67332 


1 


4 


31316 


6 


7 


1800 


qi79l 


2 


4 


2 J 83 3 


6 


9 


1801 


49305 





8 


31579 


b 


6 


1802 


46459 





4 


40401 


I 


2 


1803 


59772 


1 


1 


17100 


2 


8 



I 



'ti 



*!., 



W 



174 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv 

Silver Produce of the District of Mines of 

Guanaxuato. 





1 Silver exti< 


ictecl by 


1 






^* 


Periods 


1 Amalgamation. 


1 Silver estracted l>y Sineltiii!;. 




Marcs. 


'Juiicei 


>.| Marcs. Ounces jToniinei 


.. Granos 


i. 


1766 


207412 


5 


86t07 


1 










1767 


185439 


2 


77S47 


3 










1768 


194579 


4 


87y06 





1 


8 




1769 


194628 


2 


106444 


3 


3 


11 




1770 


2332^5 


6 


123782 


(; 


6 







1771 


2990 16 


1 


120845 


2 


5 


11 




1772 


287160 


7 


96412 





7 







1773 


267621 


7 


136799 


4 


4 


1 




1774 


243601 


4 


98957 





3 


2 




1775 


277589 


7 


96727 


7 
I 


5 


5 




J 776 


434175 


7 


164756 


7 


. 1 


1777 


452226 


4 


169991 





1 


1 


! 


1778 


431850 


5 


93152 


5 





5 




1779 


418215 


2 


113200 


5 





9 




1780 


338470 


4 


138821 


I 


1 


2 




1781 


4037/2 


7 


162184 





7 







1782 


309734 




148302 


4 


I 






1783 


430957 


5 


113145 


3 


2 


1 




1784 


386861 


7 


100319 


3 


2 







1785 


365308 


2 


100836 


5 
7 


3 


J 
4 




1786 


316332 


5 


96300 


6 




1787 


365038 


3 


103223 


3 





3 




1788 


403894 


3 


93657 


1 


5 


7 




1789 


487321 


6 


137120 


^ 


4 


7 


1790 


463807 


6 


131318 





4 


8 




1791 


623921 


5 


143683 


5 


7 


3 




1792 


S4I735 


6 


93711 


6 


4 


1 




1793 


440581 


4 


76035 


3 


1 


8 




1794 


443366 


3 


81206 


3 


3 


4 




1795 


462444 


5 


104652 


6 

7 


1 



6 




1796 


404639 


2 


84486 


6 




1797 


5925ia 


1 


114540 


2 


6 


10 




1798 


521888 


4 


104048 


5 


3 


3 




1799 


406286 


5 


93679 


4 


2 


5 




1800 


397119 


4 


109557 





7 


2 




1801 


221590 


1 


118860 


1 


7 







1803 


319719 





177460 


1 


4 





1803 


659992 


7 


84172 


4 


■7 


1 





CHAP. 21.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN- 17^3 



I have specified in these tables year after 
year, the gold and silver extracted from the 
mines of Guanaxuato from 1766 to 1803; and 
I have distinguished the metals procured from 
the minerals by means of amalgamation, from 
those obtained by smelting. A marc of gold 
contains 50 castellanoSf which are equal to 
400 tomines, or 4800 granos. The result of 
these tables, which are framed from official 
papers*, is that the district of mines of Guanax- 
uato has produced in 38 years gold and silver to 
the value of 165 millions of piastres t and 
that from 1786 to 1803, the annual average 
produce has been 556,000 marcs of silver J 
equal to 4,727,000 piastres. All the veins of 
Hungary and Transylvania together, only 
yield 85,000 marcs of silver §. . 

Taking four averages of years, of which 
three are of five and one of eight years, we 
shall have the following results : 

* Razon de los Castettanos de oro de ley 22 quilates, 
y marcos de plata, de 12 dineros de los heneficios de azogue 
y JuegOf mani/estados en la tresoreria principal de Real Ha- 
cienda de Guanaxuato, desd§ 1®. de Enero 1766 hasta SI di 
Decietnbre 1803. (Manuscript.) We have computed the 
marc of silver at 8^ piastres, and the marc of gold at 
\96 piastres (the piastre being equal to 5 livrea 5 sous.) 

t 12,720,061 lb. Troy. Trans, 

t 364,911 lb. Troy. Trans. 

§ 55,686 lb. Troy. Trans, 






i 

'A 






176 POLITICAL ESSAY ON tHE [book iv. 





Value ofthe 








total produce 


Silver 






of gold and 


for an 


Value of gold and 


Periods. 


silver ex- 


average 


silverforan average 




tracted from 


year. 


year. 




the mines of 








Guanaxuato. 








Piastres. 


Marcs. 


I'iastres. 


1766—1775 


30,S20,503 


342,241 


3,032,050 


1776—1785 


46,692,863 


528,121 


4,669,286 


1786—1795 


48,682,662 


560,936 


4,868,266 


1796—1803 


^9,306, 11 7 


551,319 


4,913,265 



What ibt the nature of the rnetalUfenrus de- 
pository, which has furnished these immense 
riches, and which may be considered as the 
Poto.si of the northern hemisphere ? What is the 
position of the rock which crosses the veins of 
Guanaxuato ? These questions are of so great 
importance that I must here give a geological 
view of so remarkable a country. 

The most ancient rock known in the dis- 
trict of Guanoaxuato, is the clay slate (thon 
schiefer) which reposes on the granite rocks 
of Zacatecas and the Peiion Blanco.^ It is 
of an ash-grey or greyish-black frequently 
intersected t hy an infinity of small quartz 
veins, which fi:equ«itly pass into talk-state (talk 
schiefer) and into schistous chlorite, I consider 
this clay slate as a primitive formation, although 



* Sonneschm^** Beschreibung der Birgnoerks'Refiere, 
von Mexico, p. i94 & 292. 

f In the queh-ada of San Roquito, , which communicates 
with the Ravin of Acabuca. 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN- 177 



the beds v>ith verv thin folia which it con* 
tains, and which are surcharged with carbon, 
appear to approximate it to transition clay 
slate. These beds {oja cle libro) are for the 
most part found near the surface * ; but some- 
times they are visible j at considerable depths. 
On digg-ing- the gicat pit (tiro (jcnerai) of 
Valeiiciaiia, they discovered banks of syenite 
of Hornbknd slate (llornblend schitfer) and true 
serpentine, aiterJiating with one another, and 
forming subordinate beds, in the clat/ slate* 
This extraordinary phenomenon of a syenite 
alternating with the serpentine, is also to be 
seen in the island of Cuba, near the villaoe 
of llegla, where the latter rock abounds in 
sckillerspar (svhiUerspath,) The same clinj slate 
of Guanaxuato which is observed at the bottom 
of the mine of Yalenciana, re-appeais at the 
surface, eight hundred metresj, higher up on 
the ridge of the Sierra de Santa x^osa, but 
I doubt whether it has ever been found at 
greater elevations. These strata are very re- 
gularly . directed h. 8 to 9 of the miner's 
compass § ; they are inclined from 4o to 50 

» In the mine of Valcnciana. 

f In the mines of Mellado, Anunasand Rayas. 

X 2624 feet. Trans. 

§ Or from South East to North-West. I have been struck 
ever since 1791, with this great law of the parallelism nf the 
bedsy which are discovered in immense extents of country, and 
which may be regarded a$ one of the most curious phcno- 

VOIi. III. N 



:;1 



A] 

4 



I 

I 



w*' 



178 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv 

degrees to the south west. This is the di- 
rection of the greatest p.art of the very old 
rocks of Mexico. 

.. Two very different formations repose on the 
clay slate : the one of porphyry at considerable 
elevations to the east of the valley of Mar- 
iil, and to the north west of Valenciana ; and the 
other, of old freestone in the ravins, and table 
lands of small elevation. 

Porphi/n/ forms gi^^antic stony masses, which 
appear at a distance, under the strangest as- 
pect, frequently like ruins of walls and bastions. 
These masses are perpendicular, and from three 
to four hundred metres'^, elevated above the 

mena of geology ; and have never ceased in my writings from 
calling the attention of travellers to an object, with regard 
to which it would be easy to collect in a very short 
time, a great number of observations. See my experiments 
on the irritation of the muscular and nervous fbre (In 
German) vol. i. p. 8; my letter to M, de Fourcroift dated 3 
Pluviose an 6 ; my Tableau Geologique de PAmerique Meridi* 
onale (Journal de Physique 1800;) and my Geographie 
des Plantes, p. 117. The direction of high chains c^ 
mountains appears to have the greatest influence on the di- 
rection of the beds, even at considerable distances from the 
central crest. This influence is manifest in the Pyrenees, ' 
Mexico, and especially in the Upper Alps. See the judi- 
cious observations which M. Ebel, a learned mineralogist 
has published on this subject under the title of, On the 
CMstruation of the Chain of the Alps (In German) vol. i. 
p. 220 ; vol. ii. p. 201—215 & p. 357. 
* From 984 to 1314 feet. Trans, 



, I. . 



CHAF. XI.] KINGDOM OP NEW SPAIN. 179 



surrounding plains. In the country they go 
by the name of buffa. Enormous balls with 
concentrical beds, repose on. insulated rocks. 
These porphyries give a sarage character to 
the environs of Guanaxuato, calculated to as- 
tonish the f^uropean traveller, who imagines 
that nature never deposits great metallick wealth 
but in mountains with round tops, and in 
places where the surface has a gentle and 
uniform undulation. This porphyry of which 
the Sierra de Santa Rosa is chiefly composed, 
is generally of a greenish colour; but it varies 
very much according to the nature of its 
l?ase ; and the chrystals w hich it contains. 
The oldest beds appear to be those of which 
the base is homstone* (hornstein) or compact 
felspar. The most recent on the other 
hand, contain vitreous felspar, inchascd 
in a mass, which sometimes passes into the 
petrosilex jadien, and sometimes into the 
pholonite or klhr/stein of Werner. Tht? 



^ 



' 'I 



* Being a scholar of Werner, and of the school of 
Freiberg, I every inhere name in my works Hornstein a mine- 
ral which forms trandttidns into quartz, calcedony, and 
Jisuersttin (pyromaque). The hornsteine of the German 
mineralogists are, the Quartz^agatheSf grossier et xyloides 
of M. Haiiy, the neopetres of Saussure- and the silex 
edtftes of M. Brogniart. This note appeared to me indispen- 
sable, on account of the confused synonomy of the de- 
nominations proidHhx, pierre de come, and roche de come. 

N 2 



?f 



180 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv, 

latter bear the greatest analogy to the por- 
phyry slate (porphyrschiefer) of the mittelge' 
Urge of Bohemia. One would be tempted 
to reckon them among the rocks of trapp- 
formation, if these same beds did not contain 
at Villalpando, the richest mines of gold. 
All the porphyries of the district of Guanax- 
uato possess this in common, that amphibole 
is almost as rare in them as quartz and 
mica. The direction and inclination of these 
beds, are the same as those of the clay 
slate. 

On the southern slope of the sierra, and 
generally at smaller elevations than that at 
which porphyry is found, in the plains of 
Barras, and Cuevas, especially between Mar- 
fil, Guanaxuato, and Valenciana, the clay-slate 
is covered with freestone of very old forma- 
tion. This free-stone (urfelsconghmerat) is a 
brescia with clayey cement, mixed with ox- 
ide of iron, in which are imbedded anguhms 
fragments of quartz, Lydian stone, syenite, 
porphyry, and splintery hornstone. Beds con- 
taining from six to eight centimetres* in 
thickness alternate sometimes (near Cuevas) 
with other beds, in which grains of quartz 
are agglutinated by an ochreous cement. 
At other times (in the ravin of Marfil and 



* From 2 19 9 lAchcff. Tram* 



CMAP. XI ] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 181 



in the road of Salgado) the cement becomes 
so abundant that the imbedded fragments en- 
tirely disappear, and banks of slate-clay of a 
yellowish brown, from ei^ht to nine metres 
in thickness* alternate with brescia, having 
large flints. This formation of old free-stone 
is the same with that which appears at the 
surface in the plains of the river Amazon, in 
South America, and which, in Switzerland, 
rises to more than a thousand metresf of 
absolute height, in the Oltenhorn and the 
Diablerets, has no regularity in the direction 
of its beds. Their inclination is generally 
opposite to that of the strata of clay slate* 
Near Guanaxuato, the formation of freestone 
is at the back of the porphyry of the buifa; 
but near Villalpando, the porphyry itself 
serves for base to the antient brescia, which 
appears at the surface at an absolute height 
of 2600 metres^. 

We must not confound the brescia which 
contains imbedded fragments of primitive and 
transition rock, with another freestone, which 
may be desigpnated by the name of felspar 
agglomeration, and i^hich, at the mountam of 
la Cruz de Serena, is superimposed to th« 



i 






* From 26 to 29 feet, 
t 9842 feet. Trans, 
X 8529 feet. Trans, 



Trans, 



182 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



1'!^ 



antient brescia (urfets conylmnerat) nhut is con- 
sequently of a njoie recent I'ormation. This 
agglomeration (lozero) from which the finest 
hewn stone is manufactured, is composed of grains 
of quartz, small fragments of slate, and fclspai- 
chrystals, partly broken, and partly remaining 
untouched. These substances are connected 
together by an argilo-ferruginous cement. 
Probably the destruction of porphyries has 
had the greatest influence on the formation 
of this felspar freestone. It contrasts with 
the freestone of the Old Continent, in which 
some chrystals of grenats and amphibole have 
been found, but never as far as I know, fel- 
spar in any abundance. The most experienced 
n neralog^st, after examining the position of 
the lozero of Guanaxuato, would be tempted 
to take it at first view, for a porphyry with 
clayey base, or for a porphyritic brescia 
{trummer-porphyr). Near Villalpando, about 
thirty very thin banks of slate clay (schiefer 
ikon) of a blackish brown colour, alternates 
"with the felspar ayyhtneration. 

These formations of old freestone of Gua- 
naxuato, serve as bases to other secondary 
beds, which in their position, that is to say in 
the order of their mperposition, exhibit the 
greatest analogy with the secondary rocks of 
central Europe. In the plains of Temascatio 
(at h de Sierra) there is a compact lime- 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 183 



stone (dichter kuLstcin) frequently full of 
vesicular cavities, wl:ich are coated with cal- 
careous spar, and mineral of manganese, either 
earthy or radiated. This calcareous stone^ 
which from its even and almost conchoidal 
fracture, resembles the formation of jura, is 
covered in some ])oints with banks of fibrous 
gypsum mixed with hardened clay. 

We have thus enumerated the various rocks 
which repose on the clai/ slate of Guanax- 
uato, and which are on the one hand se- 
condary formations of freestone, limestone, 
and gypsum, and on the other formations of 
porphyry, syenite, serpentine and amphibolic 
slate. The ravin of Marfil, which leads 
from the plains of Burras to tht; town of 
Guanaxuato, separates as it were the por- 
phyritic region from that in which syenite 
and greenstone predominate. To the east of 
the ravin, very steep porphyry mountains 
exhibit the most whimsical forms from the manner 
in which they are torn asunder; and to the west- 
ward we discern a district of which the gently 
undulated surface is covered with basaltic cones. 

From the mine of Esperanza, situated to 
the north west of Guanaxuato, to the village 
of Comangillas, celebrated for its hot springs, 
the chi/ ^kUe during an extent of more than 
twenty square leagues serves for a base ' to 
beds of syenite which alternate with transition 



II 



.JI1 



m 






18^ POLITICAL ESSAY ON- THE [book iv. 

f/recnstone. These beds are in general from 
four to five decimetres* in thickness; and 
they are inclined by groups, sometimes to 
the north east, sometimes to the west, and 
always at angles of from 50 to 60 degrees. 
In travelling' from Valencin,na to Ovexeras, 
we see scleral thonsancls of these banks of 
fjreenstonBt alternating- with a syenite, in which 
quartz is sometimes in greater abmidance 
than felspar and amphibole. We find veins 
of greenstone in this syenite, and crevices 
filled with syenite in the beds oi tjreev.stone, 
This identity of the mass of the veins with 
the superimposed rocks, is a curious fact which 
seems to favour the theory of the origin of 
veins, laid down by Mr. Wernerf. Near Chichi- 
mequillo, a columnar porphyry seems to re- 
pose on syenite. It is covered with basalt 
and basaltic brescia, from which the springs of 
which the temperature is 96" 3J of the cen- 
trigrade thermometer, have their source. 

It remains for me to give an account of 
tvfo partial formations v/\\\c\i occupy only a very 
small extent : a compact limestone {el caliche) 
of a blackish grey, belonging perhaps to 



* From 15 to 19 inches. Trans. 

+ Neue Theorie von der Entstehung der Gange^ I791> p. 60. 

t 205" of Fahrenheit. Trans, 



<.*4 .i 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 186 

transition rocks*, and a calcareous brescia 
(friJoUilo). The latter, which I saw in the 
mine of Anin\as, at a depth of more than 
1 50 metres t, is composed of round fragments of 
compact limestone, connected together by a 
calcareous cement. The vlay slate of Valen- 
ciana ser\es for base to tliese two partial 
formations, one of which appears to owe its 
origin to the destruction of the other. 

Such is according to the observations made 
by me on the spot, the geological constitution of 
the country at Guanaxuato. The vein {vela 
mad re) traverses both clay slate and porphyry. 
In both of these rocks, very considerable wealth 
has been found. Its mean direction is h. 8} 
of the miner's compass | ; and is nearly the same 
with that of the veta yrande of Zacatecas, and 
of the veins of Tasco and Moran, which are 
all western veins {spathgdnge). The inclination 
of the vein of Guanaxuato, is 45 or 48 degrees 
to the south west. We have already stated, 
that it has been wrought for a length of more 
than 12,000 metres; and yet the enormous mass 
of silver which it has supplied for the last 
hundred years, sufficient of itself to produce a 



I 



ji 



'• u 



* Between the ravins of Scchd and Acahuca, the banks of 
the caliche, have the same direction, and the same inclina* 
tion as the strata of clatf slate, 

t 492 feet. Trans, - 

X Or N. 52«. W. 



186 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [iook iv. 

etiange in the price of commodities in Europe, 
has been extracted from that part of the vein 
alone contained between the pits of ENperanza 
and Santa Anita» an extent of less than 2600 
metres*. In this part we find the mines of Va- 
lencinna, Tepeyac, Cata, San Lorenzo, Animas, 
Mellado, Fraustros, Ray as, and Santa Anita, 
which at different periods have been very highly 
celebrated. 

The veta madre of Guanaxuato, bears a u^ood 
deal of resemblance to the celebrated vein of 
S^ital of Schemnitz, in Hungary. The Euro- 
pean miners who have had occasion to examine 
both these depositories of minerals, have been 
in doubt whether to consider them as true veins, 
or as metalliferous beds (erzlager). If we exa- 
mine only the veta madre of Guanaxuato, where 
the roof and the wall in the mines of Valenciana 
or Ray as, are of clay slate , we might be tempted 
to acquiesce in the latter opinion ; for far from 
cutting or crossing the strata of the rock {querge- 
«lem^,the veta has exactly the same direction 
and the same inclination as its strata; but can 
a metalliferous bed which has been formed at 
the same period, as the whole mass of the moun- 
tain in which it is to be found, pass from a 
superior to an inferior rock, from porphyry to 
clay slate? If the veta madre wq,s really a bedy 



* 8529 feet. Trans. 



CHAP. ZI.1 KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 187 

we §hould not find angular fragments of its 
roof contained in its mass^ as we generally ob- 
serve on points where the roof is a slat charged 
with carbone, and the wall a talc Mf*.. In a 
vein, the roof and the wall are deemed ante** 
vior to the formation of the crevice, and to the 
minerals which have successfully filled it; but 
a bed has undoubtedly pre-existed to the strata 
of the rock which compose its roof. Hence 
we may discover in a bed fragments of the 
wall, but never pieces detached from the roof* 

The veta madre of Guanaxuato, exhibits the 
extraordinary example of * a crevice formed 
according to the direction and inclination of 
the strata of the rock. Towards the south 
east from the ravin of Serena, or from the 
mines of Belgi*ado and San Bruno, which are 
very fully wrought, to beyond the mines of 
Marisanchez, it runs through porphyritic moun- 
tains; and towards the north east on leaving 
the pits of Guanaxuato, to the Cerro de Buena 
Vista, and the Canada de la Virgen, it tra- 
verses the clay slate (thonscheifer). Its extent 
varies like that of all the veins of Europe. 









* M. Weraer in the Theory of Veins, § 2. expressly says, 
** that the depositories of minerals almost always out the 
*( banks of the rock." This great mineralogist seems to 
have intended to indicate by these words, that there may 
be true veins parallel to th« folia of a clay, or mkaceout 
tlaU, 



188 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book xv. 

When not ramified it is generally from 12 to 
15 metres* in breadth; sometimes it is even 
strangled^ to the extent of half a metre ;( ; and 
it is for the most part found divided into three 
masses, (cverpos) separated either by banks of 
rock, {cahallos) or by parts of the gangue almost 
destitute of metals. In the mine of Valenciana 
the veta madv. has been found without rami- 
fication, and of the breadth of 7 metres§, from 
the surface of the ground to the depth of 
170 metres II . At this point it divides into 
three branches, and its extent, reckoning from 
the wall to the roof of the entire mass /is 50 
and sometimes even 60 metres^f. Of these three 
branches of vein, there is in general but one 
alone which is rich in metals; and sometimes 
when all the three join and drag one ano- 
ther, as at Valenciana near the pit of San 
Antonio, at a depth of 300 metres**, the vein 
contains immense riches on an extent (puissance) 
of more than 25 metresff. li\ the pertinencia 
de Santa Leocadia, four branches are observable. 

* From 38 to 48 feet. Tram. 

\ At the place of assemblage of the pit of Santo Christe 
de Burgos, in the Mine of Valenciana. 
% 19 inches. Tram. 
$ 22 feet. Tram, 

11 557 feet. Trans. . ' 

f 164 and 196 feet. Tram. r ;j;, f/r 

*♦ 984 feet. Tram. . , 
It 81 feet. Trans, 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 189 

A trum of which the inclination is 65* se- 
parates from the inferior branch, (cuerpo hasro) 
and cuts the folia of the rock of the watt. 
This phenomenon, and the great number of 
druses, abounding' with amethyst chrystals, to 
be found in the mines of Rayas, which affect 
the most different directions, are sufficient to 
prove that the veta madre is a vein, and not 
a bed. Other proofs not less convincing might 
be drawn from the existence of a vein, (veta 
del caliche) wrought in the compact limestone 
of Animas, which is parallel to the principal 
vein of Guanaxuato, and has exhibited the 
same silver minerals. Is this identity of for- 
mation ever found between two metalliferous 
hedSf which belong to rocks of very different 
antiquity ? 

The small ravins into which the valley of 
Marfil is divided, appear to have a decided 
influence on the richness of the veta madre of 
Guanaxuato, which has yielded the most metal 
where the direction of ravins, and the slope 
of the mountains, {flaqueza del Cerro) have been 
parallel to the direction and inclination of the 
vein. When we stand on the elevation of Mel- 
lado, near the pit which was dug in 1558, we 
observe that the veta madre is in general most 
abundant in minerals towards the north west, 
towards the mines of Cata and Yalenciana; 
and that to the south east towards Rayas and 



i:;i 



■ > «♦ 



190 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

Santa Anita, the produce has been at once 
richer, rarer, and more inconstant. Besides in 
this celebrated vein, there is a certain middle 
region which may be considered as a depositary 
of great riches; for above and below this re- 
gion, the minerals have contained an inconside- 
rable share of silver. At Valenciana the rich 
minerals have been in the Greatest abundance, 
between 100 and ^340 metres* in depth below 
the mouth of the galery. This abundance ap- 
peared at Rayas at the surface of the earth ; 
but the galery of Valenciana is pierced accord- 
ing to my measurementsf, in a plain which 
is more than 156 metresf aboye the level {ga» 
lerie d^ecoulement) of Rayas ; which might lead 
us to believe that the depository of the great 
wealth of Guanaxuato is found in this part 
of the vein, between 2130 and 1890 metres 
of absolute height above the level of the 
ocean§. The deepest works of the mine of 
Rayas, (los planes) have never yet reached the 
inferior limit of this middle region; while the 
Wtom (das tiefste) of the mine of Valenciana, 
the galery of San Bernardo has unfortunately 
passed this limit more than 70 metres ||. Hence 

* Between 328 and 1115 feet. Tram. 
t See my Recueil d* Observations Aitronomiques, Vol. i. 
p. 32*. No. 33^—357. 
J 511 feet. Trans. 

f Between 6987 and 6199 feet, trant, 
II 229 feet. Trans, 



CHAF. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 191 






the mine of Rayas continues to furnish ex- 
tremely rich minerals, while at Valenciana 
they have endeavoured for some years, to supply 
by the extraction of a greater quantity of mi- 
nerals, the deficiency in their intrinsic value. 

The mineral substances which constitute the 
mass of the vein of Guanaxuato, are common 
quartz, amethyst, carbonate of lime, pearl spar, 
splintery hornstoiie, sulfuretted silver, ramular 
native silver, prismatic black silver, deep red 
silver, native gold, argentiferous galena, brown 
blende, spar iron, and pyrites of copper and iron. 
We observe besides though much more rarely, 
crystalized felspar (the rhomboidal quartz of 
the Mexican mineralogists) calcedony, small 
masses of spar-fluor, capillary quartz {haarfor^ 
miger quartz), grey copper ore (fahlerz) and 
bacillary carbonated lead. The absence of the 
sulfate of barytes and muriated silver, distin- 
guishes the formation of the vein of silver from 
that of Sombrerete, Catorce, Fresnillo, and Za- 
catecas. Those mineralogists who are interested 
in the study of regular forms, find a grrat va- 
riety of crystals in the mines of Gaanixuato, 
and especially in the mines of red and black 
sulfuretted silver, and in the calcareous spars, 
and the brown spar.* 

* On the pearled spar of Guanaxuato, see Klaprotk*s 
Beitrage, B. iv. p. 128. This variety of browri'Spar (brauns- 
path) exhibits microscopic crystals embricked and collected 



'li 



ir\ 



i' 



192 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

The abundance of waters which filtrate throug^h 
the .crevices of the rock and the gangne, vary 
very much in the difterent points of the vein. 
The mines of Animas and Valenciana are en- 
tirely dry, though the works of the latter oc- 
cupy a horizontal extent of 1500, and a per- 
pendicular depth of 500 metres*. Between 
these two mines, in which the miner is incom- 
moded by the dust and extreme heat,t lie the 
mines of Cata and Tepeyac, which remain 
under inundation, because they do not possess 
sufficient mechanical force to draw off the water. 
At Rayas, it is drawn off in a very expensive 
manner by means of haritels a muletSy placed 
in the interior of the traverses, and raising the 
water, not by pumps, but by the action oicha- 
pelets de caissons of a very imperfect construction. 
One is astonished to see mines of such consi- 
derable wealth without any levelj, while the 
neighbouring ravins of Cata and Marfil, and 

in very thin rods. The interlacing of these rods, (parillas) 
is so regular that they constantly form equilateral triangles. 

* 4920 and 1640 feet. Trans. 

t From 22° to 27° centigrade, (TPandSO". Fahr. Trnns,)\ 
the temperature of the exterior air being 17° (62*' Fahr. ) 

X In the district of the mines of Freiberg, which how- 
ever do not yield annually the seventh part of tl»e money 
extracted from the single mine of Valenciana, they have 
executed two levels, of which the one is 63,213 metres* 
and the other 57,310 metres in length (207,390 and 188,023 
feet. Tram.) 



CHAP. XL] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 1^3 

the plains of Tenascatio, which are lower than 
the bottom of Valenciana, appear to invite the 
miners to undertake works which would both 
serve to draw off the water, and to tran8t>ort tl;ie 
minerals to the place where they are smelted 
and amalgathated. .. • : ^^ r 

Valenciana is almost the sol6 example of a 
mine, which for forty years has never yielded 
less to its proprietors than from two to thrcte 
million of francs * of anntial pi-ofit. It afpeafS' 
that the part of the vein Extending from 
Tepeyac to the North- West, had not been 
much wrought towards the end of thfe 16th' 
century. From that period the wholfe coiititi^' 
remaihed a desert, till 1760, when, a Sjiahiaitf' 
who went over very young to AmericSi, begtifi 
to work this vein in otie of the pointiS wliitK 
had till that time been believed destitute of 
metals (emhorascado). M. Obregon f (the name' 
of this Spaniard), was without fottunfi; but ai 
he had the reputation of being a woftfijr man, 
lite fotmd friends who from time to time ad- 
vanced him small sums to carry on his op6- 
rfelioti^. Ih 1766, the works we^e already 
89 metres in dfepth J, and yet the expfetices 
greatly surpassed the value of th6 niettillicK 

J . . . ^ .■>■•• „-'--■ ■-■' -^ ■ 

• From 5^82,506 to j£l 23,759 per annum. Trans, 
t See Vol. i. p. 226. , . 

t 262 feet, trans. 



14] 



VOL. III. 



194 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



I 

i 



produce. With a passion for mining equa'. to 
what ^me display for gaming^, M. Obregon 
preferred submitting to every sort of privation 
to the abandoning his undertaking. In the 
year 1767 he entered into partnership with a 
petty merchant of Rayas, of the name of 
Otero. Could he then hope that in the space 
of a few years, he and his friend, would become 
the richest individuals in Mexico, perhaps in 
the whole world? In 1768 they began to 
extract a very considerable quantity of silver 
minerals from the mine of Yalenciana. In 
proportion as the pit grew deeper, they ap- 
proached that region which we have already 
described as the depository of the great me- 
tallick wealth of Guanaxuato. In 1771 they 
drew from the pertinencia de Dolores enormous 
masses of sulfiiretted silver, mixed with native 
and red silver. From that period till 1804, 
when I quitted New Spain, the mine of 
Yalenciana, has continually yielded an annual 
produce of more than 14 millions of livres 
touraois *. There have been years so productive, 
that the net profit of the two proprietors 
of the mine, has amounted to the sum of 
six millions of francs f. 

M. Obregon better known by the name of 



* £ 533|380 sterling. Trans. 

t About £250,000 sterling. Tram, 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN . 195 

Count de la Valenciana, presented in the 
midst of immense wealth, the same simplicity 
of manners, and the same frankness of cha- 
racter, for which he was distinguished previous 
to his success. When he began to work the 
vein of Guanaxuato, above the Ravin of San 
Xavier, goats were feeding on the very hill 
which ten years afterwards was covered with 
a town of seven or eight thousand inhabitants. 
Since the death of the old Oount, and his 
friend Don Pedro Luciano Otero, the property 
of the mine has been divided among several 
families *. I knew at Guanaxuato two younger 
sons of M. Otero, each of whom possessed in 
ready money, a capital of six millions and a 
halff, without including the actual revenue 
from the mine which amotttfted to more than 
400,000 francs J. '! . y.y .^'i V> ^^ 

The constancy and equality of the produce 
of the mine of Valenciana, is so mucli 
the more surprising, as the abundance of 
the rich mines lias considerably diminished, 
and the expences of working have increased 

. . ;./>[; •>^:i ■ --f. 'l.- . i^(*■^>* J- *'' ' /- < ^ ■ 'I , 

* The property of Valenciana is divided into twenty-eight 
shares, called barres, of which ten belong to the descendants 
of the Count de la Valenciana, twelve to the family of 
Otero, and two to that of Santana. 
t 16271,833 Sterling. Trans, 
t lei 6,600 and upwards. Tra?is. 
o 2! 



'h 



§^ 



196 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

in an ahinning' proportion, when the works 
have reached a perpendicular depth of 500 
metres*. The pierdng and walling of the 
three old draught-pits cost the count de Ya- 
lenciana nearly six millions of francs, viz. 

-y- ' ■■■ _ ■» • , ' ■ ■ 

Piastres 
The square pit of San Antonio or 

tiro viejOf 227 metres of perpendicular 

depth, and four baritels a chevaux 396,000 

The square pit of Santo Christo . 
de Burgos 150 metres in depth and 
two baritels a clievaux 95,000 

The hexagonal pit of Nuestra 
Senora de Guadalupe (tiro nuevo) 
345 metres in perpendicular depth and 
six baritels a chevoux 



Expence of the three pits. 



700,000 
1,191,000 



Within these twelve years they have begun 
to dig in the solid rock, in the roof of the 
vein a new draughUpU (tiro general) which 
will have the enormous perpendicular depth 
of 514 metres f, terminating at the actual 

* 1640 feet. TVanf. i 

t 1686 feet. Trans, , 

T reduce the rtaras tnexicatias on the principle that a vara 
is equal to ©• 839 or a toise = 2. 332 varas mexkanaa 



¥ 
I 



CHAP, XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 197 

bottom of the mine or at the planes of San 
Bernardo. This pit which will be in the 
centre of the works, will considerably diminish 
the number of the 980 miners (tenateros) em- 
ployed as beasts of burden to carry the minerals 
to the upper places of assemblage. The tiro 
general which will cost more than a million 
of piastres * is octagonal and contains 26"°. 8 
of circumference f. Its walling is mpst beau- 
tiful. It is believed that they will reach the 
vein in 1815, although in the month of Sep- 
tember 1803 the depth was not yet more 
than 184 metres |. The piercing of this pit 
is one of the greatest and boldest undertakings 
to be found in the history of mines. It may 
be questioned, however, whether for the sake 
of diminishing the expences of carriage and 
draught, it was expedient to recur to a remedy 
which is at once slow, expensive, and uncer- 
tain. 

(See Vol. ii. p. 165). In that country they consider the 
mines of Valenciana the deepest ever dug by man. At 
the period when I measured the jdanes of San Bernardo, 
the mine of Bcrchert Gluck, at Freiberg in Saxony had 
reached 447 metres of perpendicular depth (1465 feet 
Trans.) It is believed that in the sixteenth century the 
works of the Saxon mines on the vein Alter Thurmhqf 
went as far as 545 feet in depth (1787 feet. Trans.), Author. 

•i:218,767 Sterling. 

f 87 feet. Trans. 

X 603 feet. Trans, 



1 



^ 



n 



198 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [booi^ iv. 

The expences of working the mine of Va- 

lenciana have been on an average annually : 

Piastres 

From 1787 to 1791 - • - - 410,000* 

From 1794 to 1802 . - - - 890,000 f 

Although the expences are doubled, the 

profits of the share-holders have remained 

nearly the same. The following table contains 

an exact state J of the mine for the last nine 

years. , 

• 1^89,694 Sterling. Trans. 

t 1^194,708 Sterling. ^ ? 

X Estado que manifiesta el valor de los Jrutos que ha pro- 
ducido la mina de Valencianot costa de ms memoriae y 
Hquido productOf a Javor dt sus duettos; lo presentb Don 
Joseph Antonio del Maso al Excellentissimo Senor Virey 
de Nueva Espana Don Joseph de llturigarray, el 3 de Julio 
1803. (M. S) 



■ f .'% 



CHAF. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



0) 



o 
5:3 



u 
>» 



C4 



S 



8 



S 



00 









J8 
1^ 



S 
** 



L 






00 

3 



00 
QO 



Oi 
CO 









■* 

00 



00 



04 



O >« U 'S 

<» ai 2J CJ "^ 

W.2 fl « - 



I 



00 

05 



00 



00 
CO 

o> 



»0 
04 

§ 

00 



00 
00 

»^ 

00 



CO 
00 



00 

^^ 
00 







»0 



04 
00 



00 



8 

00 
00 



^ 
$ 
^ 



00 



00 

I— » 



199 



<H§ Sp-S £^ 

« > o g a (u 

^''B S'g S^j 



a 



I 



900 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE >poK iv. 



CHAP. XI.. 



The re8ult of this table is, that the net 
profit of the share-holders, has been latterly at 
an average of 640,000 piastres per annum.* In 
1802 circumstances were extremely unfavour- 
able. The greater part of the minerals were 
\evy poor, and their extra<!tion attended with 
great expence ; and besides this, the produce 
was sold at very low j)rices, because the 
want of mercury impeded the amalgamation, 
and all the mines were incumbered with minerals. 
The. year 1803 promised greater advantages 
to the proprietors, and they reckoned on a 
nett profit of more than half a million of 
piastresf. I saw them sell weekly at Valen- 
ciaiia, silver minerals to the amount of more 
than 27,000 piastres : The expences amounted 
to 17,000. At Ray as, the profit of the proprietor 
was greater, though the produce was less; for 
this mine furnished more than 15,000 piastres 
of minerals weekly, while the expence of 
working only amounted to 4000 piastres. 
This was the effect of the richness of the 
minerals, their concentration in the vein, the 
inconsiderable depth of the mine, ai^d conse- 
quently a less expensive draught. ... 

* Above 3,860,000 livres tournois (iC140,01I sterliiig. 
Tram.) The proHit distributed annuaUif amoog the share-* 
holders of the district Qf Freiberg* only amounts to 
S50,000 livres (ifflO,417 Sterling. Ircau.) 

f 1^109,383 Sterling. Trojy. ; ^. 



To fo 
required 
it is suf 
present 



Total expe 

The 
amounte 
that of 
pointroh 
The nur 
interior 
to 1800 
women, 
bariiels < 
rals to 
shall fin 
viduals i 
of the > 
is entru 
of 60,00 



v . 



t 

§ 



CHAP. XI.3 KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN- 201 

To form an idea of the enormous advances 

required in working the mine of Valencianay 

it is sufficient here to mention, that in its 

present state, there must be laid out annually y 

C In wages of miners, triers, n^sons, 
ivres. I ^^^ other workmen employed in 

8,400,000) »u • 
» '^^f the mme. 

( In powder, tallow, wood, leather, 
],100,000< steel, and other materials neccs- 
/ sary in mining. 

Total expence 4,500,000* 

The consumption of powder alone has 
amounted to 400,000 livres annually f; and 
that of the steel destined to the makiiig of 
pointroles and fimrets to 150,000 livres,J 
The number of workmen who labour io th^ 
interior of the mine of Yaleuciana amounts 
to 1800. Adding 1300 individuals (men, 
women, and children) who labour at the 
baritek a chevawf, in the carriage of mine- 
rals to the places where they are tried, we 
shall find three thousand one hundred indi- 
viduals are employed in the different operations 
of the mine. The direction of the min^ 
is entrusted to an administrator with a salary 
of 60,000§ francs. This administrator, who is 

* iff 1S7,515 Sterling. Tram, 
:■'- t 1^16,668 Sterling. Trans, 
% £6260 Sterling. Trans, 
§ £2300 Sterling. Trans. 






■■•«" 



202 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book ly. 

under the oontroul of no one, has under his 
orders an overseer (obersteiger, minero) the 
under overseers {untersteigeVf sottomineros) and 
and nine master miners (mandones). These 
head people daily visit the subterraneous 
operations, carried by men* who have a sort 
of a saddle fastened on their backs, and 
who go by the name of little horses (caval- 
litos). 

We shall conclude this account of the mine 
of Valenciana, with a comparative table of 
the state of this Mexican work, and of that 
of the celebrated mine of Himmelsfurstf, in 
the district of Freiberg. I flatter myself 
that this table will fix the attention of those 
who consider the study of the management of 
mines as an important object in political eco- 
nomy. 



* For the extraordinary manner of travelling on men's 
backs, see my Vues des Cerdilleres. PI. v. 

t Whatever relates to this mine (in the following ta- 
ble) which I have frequently had occasion to visit in 
in 1791, is taken from the work of ^. Daubumon, t. iii. 
p. 6— 45. 



i.. , 



CMAP. X. ] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



U2 



Comparative table of the mines of America 

and Europe. 



Average year at the 
end of the eighteenth 
century. 



pro- 



} 



America. 

Mine of Valcnciana ; 
the richest of the 
Mexican Mines. 
At the surface, 2320 
metres above the level 
of the sea. 



360000 marcs of 

silver 
5000000 livres 

Tournois 



Europe. 

Mine of Himmelsrurst, 
the richest of the 
Saxon Mines. 

At the suifacc, 410 
metres above the level 
of the sea. 

10000 marcs of sil- 
ver 

24<XXX) livres Tour- 
nois 



Metallidi 

duce 
Total expenccii of? 

the mme - - j 

'^ sh^: hoUe*1 »■««>.««« «"" «»«> «"" 

The quintalof mi- 
nerals contain- }- 4> ounces 
ed in silver 



fFrom « *T 7 






1^ ounces su jr 



3100 Indians and "v 700 miners,of whom 



Mestizoes ISOOoff 
whom are in the i 
interior of the J 
mine 

From 4* to 6 
livres Tournois 
r 400000 livres 
Expenceof powder < Tournois (near 

(.ly 1600 qmntals; 



Number of work- 
men 

Wages of the mi- 
ners 



550 are 

interior 

mine 



m 
of 



the 
the 



} 



18 sous 

27000 livres Tour- 
nois (nearly 270 
quintals) 



Quantity of rni- ") 

nerals smelted C 720,000 quintals 14000 quintals 

and amalga- ) 

mated 



Veins 



/ A vein frequent- "\ 
i ly divides into i Five principal 
1 thin branches (veins, from two 
■/ of from 40 to ^'to three decime- 
i 50 metres of itres of extent (in 
I extent (in c/oy jgnef^ss) 
\ slate) "^ 

C Eight cubic ieet 
) per minute. Two 
"l hydrauliciil 
^ wheels 
Depth cf the mine 514 metres 380 metres 



Water 



No water 



204 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



They reckoned in 1803 in the whole dis- 
trict of mines of Guanaxuato, five thousand 
miners and workmen employed in trying the 
minerals, in smelting, and amalgamating*; 
Eighteen hundred and ninety-six arastrasy or 
machines for reducing the minerals into powder, 
and fourteen thousand six hundred and 
eighteeji mules destined to move the baritels, 
and to tread in the place of amalgamation, 
the flour of the minerals mixed with mercury^ 
The arastras of the town of Guanaxuato hrny, 
when there is an abundance of mercury, 
eleven thousand three hundred and seventy 
quintals of minerals per day. If we recollect 
that the produce in silver is finr;!*?^^ from 
6 to 600,000 marcs, we shall find, by this 
datum, that the mean contents of the mine- 
rals are extremely small. 

The celebrated mine$ of Zacatecas, which 
Robertson*, from what motive I know not, 
calls Sacotecas are, as we have already ob- 
served older than the mines of Guanaxuato. 
They began to he worked immediately after 
the veins of Tasco, Zultepeque, Tlapujah?;! 
a]i4 Paehuca. They are situated on t] ^^ 
central table land of the Cordilleras, which 
lowers rapidly towards New Biscay, and 
towards the basin of the Rio del Norte. Tb« 



c 

t( 



P' 



* Histwy tf America, Vol. ii. p« 389. 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 905 

climate of Zacatecas, as well as that of C^ 
torce is much colder than the climate of 
Guanaxuato and Mexico. Barometrical mea- 
surements will one day determine whether 
this difference is owing" to a more northern 
position, or to the elevation of the mountains. 
The nature of the former has been exa- 
mined by two very intelligent mineralogists^ 
M. M. Sonneschmidtf and Valencia, the one a 
Saxon, and the other a Mexican. Froihthe 
whole of their observations it appears, that 
the distiict of mines of Zacatecas bears great 
resemblance in its geological constitution, to 
that of Guanaxuato. The oldest rocks which 
appear at the surface are syenitic; and cla^ 
slate reposes on them, which from the beds 
of Lydian stone, grauwakke, and greenstone 
which it contains, has a resemblance to 
transition clay slate. The most part of the 
vein» of Zacatecas are found m this clay 
slate. The veta grande, or principal vein, 
has the same direction as the veta madre of 
Guanaxuato; the others are generally in a^ 
direction from east to west.f A porphyry 
destitute of metals, and forming those naked 

■ . .... ■■'■ ■: j' 

* Beschre^ng der Bergwerh^refiere van Mexico, jp. 169 
-^237. Descripcion geognostica del reed de ZaoatesaSf par 
Don Vicente Valencia, (M. S.) 

f Sobre la formactoa de las vetas, pdr Doa A^dfes 
del Rios. (Gageta de Mexico.) T.xK n. 5K '^ 



J' 



*m 









206 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv 

and perpendicular rocks which the nativefi 
call buff as, covers in many places the clay 
slate, especially on the side of the Villu de 
Xeres, where a mountain rises in the midst 
of these porphyritic formations, in the form 
of a bell, the basaltic cone of the Campana 
de Xeres* Among the secoiidary rocks of 
Zacatecas we observe, near the amalgamation 
works oilaSauceda, compact limestone, in -which 
Mr. Son^eschmidt also discovered Lydian stone, 
an o\^ freestone {urf el scoiiglomcr at) containing 
fragm£nts of granite*, and a clayey and 
, >lspar agglomeration which is easily confounded 
Aih the yrauwakke of the German mineralo- 
gists. The presence of the Lydian stone, 
•with limestone, might tempt us to believe- 
that this last rock belongs to transition lime- 
stone (uberganys kalkstein) which appears at 
the surface in the Cerro de la Tinaja, eight 
leagues to the north of Zacatecas; but I 
must observe here, that on the coast of South 
America, near the Morro of New Barcelona, 
I found kiesel slate forming subordinate be<ls 
in a limestone which was undoubtedly secon- 
dary. --'' ■ ■ • . ^rr^ ■ -^:''r ^' ^■:-:?^^^. 
The savage aspect of the metalliferous moun- 
tains of Zacatecas, are a singular contrast to 
the g^eat wealth of the veins which they con- 

* In the Ravin leading from Zacatecas to the con* 
fent of Guadalupe. *'* <•'" 



€MAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 207 

tain, This wealth is displayed, and the fact 
is very remarkable, not in the ravins, and where 
the veins run along the gentle slope of the 
mountains, but most frequently on the most 
elevated summits, on points where the surface 
appears to have been tumultuously torn, in the 
antient revolutions of the globe. The mines 
ot Zacatecas produce yearly at an average, 
from 2500 to 3000 bars of silver, at 134 marcs 
each*. .. .-• -' •■ ■ ■ ■• • ' ••:!:■' 

The mass of the veins of this districtt con • 
tains a great variety of metals, viz : quartz^ 
splintery hornstone, calcareous spar, a little of 
the sulfate of bary te and brown spar ; prismatic 
black silver called in the country azul ace- 
rado ; sulfuretted silver, (azul plomilloso) mixed 
with native silver; fuligenous silver (the silber- 
schwdrtze of the Germans, polvorilla of the 
Mexicans) ; pearl grey, blue, violet, and leek 
green muriated silver, (plata ])arda azul y verde) 
at very inconsiderable depths, a little red silver 
(petlanyue or rosicler) ; and native gold, parti- ' 

* From 219,866 to 263,839 lib. Troy. Trans. 

f Sonneschmidt, p. 185. The minerals called by the in- 
habitants of Zacatecas copalillo, metal cenizo, and metal a%ul 
de pldtUf appear to this mineralogist mixtures of galena, 
sulfuretted silver, and native silver. I have thought proper 
to insert these synonimes of the Mexican minerals, be- 
cause their knowledge is very important to the mineralo- 
gical traveller. See Garces, Nueva Tlieoria del benejcio de 
hs mctakft P< 87, 124, ftad 138. 



It' 






!*U'" 



^08 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE L»ooit ir. 

ciilarly to the south west of the town of Za- 
catecas; argentiferous sulfuretted lead (soroche 
plomosa reluciente y tescatete) 5 carbonated lead; 
black, brown, and yellow sulfuretted zinc, (esto- 
raque and ojo de vivora) ; pyrite of cop]>er and 
iron (bronze nochistley or dorado^ and bronze 
chino) ; magnetical oxydula ted iron; blue and 
green carbonated copper, and sulfuretted anti- 
mony. The most abundant metals of the ce- 
lebrated vein called the veta (frande^ are pris- 
matic black silver {sprodtflaserz), sulfuretted ro 
vitreous silver, mixed with native silver and 
$ilberschwarze, ' '■''■ '^^^ 

The Intendancy of Zacatecas contains ihe 
mines of Fresnillo, and those of Sombret^ete, 
The former are very feebly wrought, and are 
situated in an insulated group of motitttahis^ 
which rise above the plains of the central table 
laiwL These plains are covered with porphy- 
ritic formations; but the metalliferous gfronp 
itself is composed of tfrauwakke. According to 
the observation of M. Sonneschmidt, the rock 
is traversed there by an innumerable quantity 
of veins, rich in grey and green mtiriated silver. 

'liiC mines of Sombrerete have become cele- 
brated, from the immense riches of the vein, 
of the veta negra, which in the space of a few 
months left to the family of Fagoaga, (Mar- 
ques del Apartado) a net profit of more than 



CHAP. XL] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 209 

520 millions of livres touniois*. The most part 
of these veins are found in a compact linie- 
8tone, which contains like that of the Sauceda 
kiesel slate, and lydian stone. The dull 
red silver particularly abounds in this district 
of mines ; and it has been seen to form the 
whole mass of the veins which have Hiore 
than a metre in extentf (puissance). Near 
Sombrerete the mountains of secondary calca- 
reous formation, rise much above the porphy- 
ritic mountains. The Cerro de Papanton ap- 
pears to be more than 3400 metres J, above 
the level of the sea. 

The mineral depository of Catorce, holds at 
present the second or third rank amon|^ the 
mines of New Spain, classing them according 
to the quantity of silver which they produce. 
It was only discovered hi the year 1778. This 
discovery, and that of the veins of Gualgayoc, 
in Peru, vulgarly called the veins of Chota, 
are the most interesting in the history of the 
mines of Spanish America, for the last two 
centuries. The small town of Catorce, the 
true name of which is la Purissima Concept 
cion de Alamos de Catorce; is situated on the 
calcareous table land, which declines towards 
the nuevo reyno de Leon, and towards the 

* je 833,400 Sterling. Trans, 

f More than 3 feet 3 inches. Trans, 

X 11,184 feet. Trans. 
VOL. Ill, P 






210 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book it. 

province of New Santander. From the bosom 
of these tnoiintains * of secondary compact 
limestone, masses of basalt, and porous amygda- 
loid rise up as in the Vicentin, which resemble 
volcanic productions, and which contain oli- 
vine, zeolite, and obsidian. A great number 
of veins of small extent, and very variable in 
their breatlth an<l direction, traverse the lime- 
stone, which itself covers a transition clay state ; 
and the latter perhaps is superimposed to the sye- 
nitic rock of the Buffa del Fraile. The greatest 
number of these veins are western (spathgdnye) ; 
and their inclination is from 25" to 30° towards 
the north east.f The minerals which form 
the fjam/ue are generally found in a state of 
decomposition. They are wrought with the mat- 
lock, the pickaxe, and with the hore,(pointrole.) 
The consumption of powder is much less than at 
Guanaxuato, and at Zacatecas. These mines 
possess also the great advantage of being almost 
entirely dry, so that they have no need of costly 
machines to draw off the water. 

In 1773, Sebastian Coronado, and Antonio 
Oanas, two very poor individuals, discovered 
veins in a situation now called Cerro de Ca- 
torce ViejOf on the western slope of the Pp' 

^ Near the mine del Padre Flores, and on the road 
from San Ramon to Catorce, ( Sonneschmidt, p. 279.) 

f Descripcion del Real de Catorce, pw Don Jose Manuef 
Gonzales Cueto, 1800 (Manuscript). 



'I I 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN- 211 

chaco de la Variga de Plata. Tliey begun to 
work these veins, which were poor and in- 
constant in their produce. In 1778, Don Bar- 
nabe Antonio de Zepeda, a miner of the Ojo 
del Affua de Matchuala, went over during three 
months, this group of arid and calcareous 
mountains. After attentively examining the 
ravins, he was fortunate enough to find the 
crest or surface of the veta grande, on 
which he immediately dug the pit of Guada* 
lupe. He drew from it an immense quantity 
of muriated silver, and colorados mixed with 
native gold; and he gained in a short time 
more than half a million of piastres*. From 
that period, the mines of Catorce were wrought 
with the greatest activity. That of Padre 
F lores alone produced in the first year 1,600,000 
piastresf ; but the vein only displayed great 
riches from 50 to 150 metresf of perpendicular 
depth. The famous mine of Purissima belonging 
. to Colonel Obregon, has scarcely ever ceased 
since 1788, to yield annually a net profit of 
200,000 piastres§; and its produce in 1796 
amounted to 1,200,000 piastres, while the ex- 
pences of working did not amount to more than 
80,000. The vein of Purissima, which is not 



W' 



^ 



S>.iK 



'.I 



m 



i-f I . 



• iff 109,385 sterlings Trans. 
f Upwards of jfi 350,000 sterling. Tram*- 
X From 164- to 328 feet. Trans, 
J it 43,752 sterling. Trans, 
P 2 



iil'i POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

the same with that of Padre Flores, sometime s 
reaches the extraordinary extent of 40 metres* ; 
unci it ^\HH worked in 1802, to the depth of 
180 metresf. Since 1798, the value of the 
minerals of Catorce has singularly diminished ; 
the native silver is now rarely to be seen; 
and the metalcs colorados, which are an inti- 
mate mixture of muriated silver, earthy car- 
bonated lead, and red ocre, begin to g'ive place 
to pyritous and coppery minerals. The actual 
produce of these mines is nearly 400,000 marcs 
of silver annually. J 

The mines of Pachuca, Real del Monte, and 
Moran, are highly celebrated for their antiquity, 
their wealth, dnd their proximity to the capital. 
Since the beginning of the eighteenth century, 
the vein of la Biscaina, or Real del Monte, 
has alone been wrought with activity. The 
working: of the mines of Moran was onlv 
resumed within these few years; and the mi- 
neral depository oi Pachuca, one of the richest 
of all America, has been wholly abandoned 
since the terrible iire which took place in the 
famous mine del Encino, which alone furnished 
more than 30,000 marrs of silver annually §. 
The wooden work whic^i supported the roof 



* 131 feet. Tram, 
f 1574 feet. Trans. . ' '■■ 
j 262,526 lib. Troy. Trans, 
i 19,689 lb. Troy. Trans^ 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 'il-i 



of the galeries was consumed by fire, and the 
greatest number of the miners were suffocated 
before being able to reach the pit. A similar 
conflagration in 1787, put a stop to the work- 
ing of the mines of Bolafios, which were only 
again begun to be cleared out in 1792. , . ., 

The valley of Mexico is separated from the 
basin of Totonilco el Grande, by a chain of por- 
phyritic mountains, of which the highest summit* 
is the peak of the Jacal, elevated according 
to my measurement with the assistance of the 
barometer, 3124 metresf above the level of the 
sea. This porphyry serves for base to the 
porous amygdaloid, which sm*rounds the lakes 
of Tezcuco, Zumpango, and San Christobal. 
It seems to be of the same formation with 
that, which in the road from Mexico to Aca- 
pulco, immediately covers the (granite between 
Sopilote and Chilpansingo, near the village of 
Acaguisotla, and FAito de los Caxones. To 
the north east of the district of Real del 
Monte, the porphyry is at first concealed under 
the columnar basalt of the farm of Regla, and 
farther on in the valley of Totonilco, under 
beds of secondary formation. The Alpine lime^ 
stone of a greyish blue, in which is the famous 
cavern of Danto, called also the pierced mouu- 






i 



' '?■ 



* See my Nivellement Barometrique,^. 40— 42n, 290 — 312. 
t 10,248 feet. Tram. 



m 



U 



21 « POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv, 

tain, or the bridge of the Mother of God*, seems 
to repose immediately on the porphyry of Moran. 
ft contains near the Puerto de la Mesa, veins 
of galena, and we find it covered with three 
other formations of not so old an origin, which 
naming them in the order of their superposition, 
are the Jura limestone, near the baths of Toto- 
nilco, the shte-free-stone of Amojaque, and a 
(jifps of secondnri/ formation mixed with clay. 
The position of these secondary rocks which I 
carefully observed, is so much the more remark- 
able, as it is the same with that which has 
been discovered in the Old Continent, accord- 
ing to the excellent bbsei-vations of M. M. de 
Buch and Freiesleben. > ' > .» - 

The mountains of the district of mines of 
Real del Monte, contain beds of porphyry, 
which with respect to their relative «*' 'Ui7y, 
differ a good deal from one another. 1. - *ock 
which forms the roof and the wall of the ar- 
gentiferous veins, is a decomposed porphyry 
of which the base sometimes appears clayey, 
and sometimes analogous to the splintery horn- 
stone. The presence of hornblend is frequently 
announced, merely by greenish stains inter- 
mingled with common and vitreous felspar. At 
very great elevations, for example, in the beau- 
tiful forest of oak and pine of Oyamel, we 



* Puente de la Madre de Diot. 



CHAP. XL] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN- 215 



find porphyries with a base of p.^arlcd stone , 
containing bedded and reniform obsidian {en 
couches et en ro^nons)* 

What relation exists between these hist beds> 
which several distinguished mineralogists coii' 
sider as volcanic productions, and the porphy- 
ries of Pachuca, Real del Monte, and Moran, 
in which nature has deposited enormous masses 
of sulfuretted silver and argentiferous pyrites? 
This problem which is one of the most diffi- 
cult in geology, will only be resolved when 
a great number of zealous and intelligent tra- 
vellers, shall have gone over the Mexican Cor- 
dilleras, and carefully studied the immense va- 
riety of porphyries which are destitute of quartz, 
and which auound both in hornblend and vi- 
treous felspar. 

The district of mines of Real del Monte, 
does not display as at Freiberg in Saxony, Derby- 
shire in England, or as in the mountains of 
Zimapan and Tasco in New Spain, a great 
number of rich veins of small extent, on a 
fimall tract of ground. It rather resembles 
the mountains of the Hartz, and Schemnitz 
in Europe, or those of Guanaxuato and Potosi, 
in America, of which the riches are contained 
in a few mineral depositions of very consi- 
derable dimensions. The four veins of Bis- 
caina, Rosario, Cabrera, and Encmo, run through 
the districts of Real del IVfonte, from Moran 



it 



'4. " 

w 






■ » ■ 



216 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book m 

and Pachiica, at extraordinary distances, with- 
out changing their direction, and ahnost with- 
out coming- in contact with other vein» which 
trp.' erse or derange them. 

The vela de li Biscaina not so extensive, but 
perhaps still richer than the vein of Guanaxu- 
ato, was successfully wrought from the sixteenth 
to the beginning of the eighteenth century. 
In 1726 and 1727, the two mines of Biscaina 
and Xacal, still produced together 542,700 marcs 
of silver*. The great quantity of water which 
nitrated through the cr^^vices of the porphy- 
ritic rock, joined to the imperfection of the 
means of drawing it off, compelled the miners 
to abandon the works when they were yet 
only 120 metresf in depth. A very enterprising 
individual, Don Joseph Alexandre Bustamente, 
was cour-^geous enough to undertake a level 
near Moran; but he died before completing 
this great work, which is 2352 metresj in 
length from its mouth, to the point where it 
crosses the vein de la Biscaina, The direction 
of this vein is hor. 6; and its inclinaiion is 85" 
to the south: its extent is from four to six 
metres§. The direction of the porphyry of 
this district is generally hor. 7-8, with an incli- 

* 356,1 82 lib. Troy. Trans. ^ 

t 393 feet. Trans. 

i 7715 feet. Trans. 

j From 13 to 19 feet. Trans. 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 217 



nation of 60" to the north east, particularly 
in the road from Pacliuca to Real del Monte, 
the level is at first cut throui>*h the solid rock, 
{quer^cJilagsweise) in a dircrtion of hor. 7, to- 
wards the west; but farther on it takes its 
way over three different veins, hor. 11-12 of 
which one alone the veta de h Soledad*, has 
furnished a sufficiency of silver minerals to 
pay all the expences of the undertaking". The 
level was only finished in 1762, by Don Pedro 
Tereros, the partner of Bustamente. The for- 
i\!e;' known by the title of Count de Rej^la, 
as one of the richest men of his age, had al- 
ready drawn in 1774, a net profit of more than 
25 millions of livres tournoisf , from the mine 
of Biscaina. Besides the two ships of war which 
he presented to King Charles the Third, one of 
them of 120 guns, he lent five millions of francs J 
to the Court of Madrid, which have never yet 
been repaid him. He erected the great amalga- 
mation work of Regla, at an expence of 10 mil- 
lions§ ; and he purchased estates of an immense 

* It is believed that this vein is the same with that which 
M. D*Elhuyar, began to work in the pit of Cambrera, at 
Moran. It appeared to me however that tho vd'o d- Ca- 
brera, is rather the same with that of Santa Brigtda, and 
that its principal w.alth is to be found in following it 
towards the mine * if Jesus. 

t jC 1,04.1,750 Sterling. Trans, 

i jf 208,350 Sterling. Trans. 

5 jg 416,700 Sterling. 2'ratis, 



Vt 



-t. 






218 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

extent, and left a fortune to his cliildren, which 
has only been equalled in Mexico, by that of 
the Count de la Valenciana. 

The level of Moran traverses the vein of la 
Biscaina, in the pit of San Ramon, at a depth 
of 210 metres*, below the level of the surface, 
on which the baritels a chevaux are placed. 
The profit of the proprietor has been annually 
diminishing since 1774. In place of cutting" 
^aleries of investigation, to discover the vein 
on a great extent, they continued their sinking 
operations to a depth of 97 metres below the 
levelf. At that depth, the vein preserved its 
great wealth in sulfuretted silver, mixed with na- 
tive silver, but the abundance of water increased 
to such a degree, that 28 baritels, each of which 
required more than 40 horses, were not suffi-> 
cient to draw it off. In 1783, the weekly ex- 
pence amounted to 45,000 francs J. After the 
death of the old Count de Regla, the works 
were suspended till 1791, when they ventured 
to re-establish all the baritels. The expence 
of these machines which drew up the water, 
not by means oi pumps,hni by bags suspended 
to ropes, then amounted to more than 750,000 
francs per annum §. At length they reached 



* 688 feet. Trans, 

t 317 feet. Trana. 

i rf 1875 Sterling. Trans. 

§ iiS 31,252 Sterling. Trans, 




CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 219 

the deepest point of the mine, which according 
tO'iny measurements* is only 324 metresf above 
the level of the lake of Zumpango; but the 
minerals which they extracted did not com- 
pensate the expence of the process, and the 
mine was again abandoned in 1801. 

It is surprizing that they never thought of 
substituting to this wretched plan of drawing 
off the water by bags, proper pump apparatus, 
put in motion by horse haritelsj by hydraulical 
wheels, or by machines moved by a column of 
water (colonne d'eau), A level begun at Pachuca, 
or lower down towards Gazave in the valley of 
Mexico, would have exhausted the mine of Bis- 
caina at the pit of San Ramon, for a depth of 370 
metres J. The same object could be attained at 
less expence, by following the project of M.D*El- 
huyar, in placing the mouth of a new level near 
Omitlan, in the road which leads from Moran, to 
the place of amalg-amation at Regla. ThidI 



* I found the ui>«*1utc height of the lake of Zumpango, 
2284 metres (74-92 feet. Truus.,\ the pit of Ilaraon 2815 
metres (9233 feet. Trans.) ; now the deepest point of the 
mine of Biscaina is 307 metres ',1006 feet. Trans.; below 
the upper mouth of the pit. I insert these esults here, 
because in the country it is generally believed, that the 
works of the Real del Monte, have already reached the 
.level of the salt lake of Tezcuco. 

t 1062 feet. TranSs 

X 1213 feet. Trans. 



. i'H 



220 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

last level before reaching 3800 metres * in 
length, would cut the vein of Biscaina. 

The very wise plan which the Count de Regla 
at present follows is, to leave off the clearing of 
the old works, and to examine the mineral 
depository, in points where it has never yet 
been worked (in unverfahrenem Jelde). In 
studyii»^' at Real del Monte, the surface and 
undulations of the ground, we observe that the 
vein of Biscaina has furnished for three cen- 
turies its grejitest riches on a single point, 
that is to say, in a natural deepening (etifonce- 
ment) contained between the pits of Dolores, 
Joya, San Cayetano, Santa Teresa, and Gauda- 
lupe. The pit from which the greatest quan- 
tity of silver minerals has been extracted, is that 
of Santa Teresa. To the east and west of 
this central point, the vein is strangle for a 
distance of more than 400 metresf.' It pre- 
serves its primitive direction, but being des- 
titute of metals, it is reduced to an almost 
imperceptible vein. For a long time it was 
believed that the vein of Biscaina was in- 
sensibly lost in the rock ; but they discovered 
in 1798 very rich metals, at a distance of 
more than 500 metresj, to the east and west 
of the centre of the old works. They then 



* 12,466 feet. Trans, 
t 1312 feet. Trans. 
X 1640 feet. Trons. 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 221 



sunk the pits of San Ramon and San Pe- 
dro; and they discovered that the vein re- 
sumed its old power, and that an immense 
field was opened to new undertakings. When 
I visited the mines in the month of May 
1803, the pit of San Ramon was only then 30 
metres in depth*; and it will be nearly 240 
metresf to the bottom of the level of Moran, 
which is itself still distant 45 metresj from 
the point which corresponds to the intersection 
of the new pit, and the roof of the level. In 
its present state, the mine of the Count de 
Regla, annually yields more than from 50 to 
60,000 marcs of silver §. 

The vein of Biscaina contains in the points 
of the principal mines, lacteous quartz, which 
frequently passes into splintery hornstone, ame- 
thyst, carbonate of lime, a little of sulfate of 
barytes, sulfuretted silver mixed with native 
silver, and sometimes prismatic black silver 
(sprod(f laser z), dull red silver, galena and py- 
rites of iron and copper. These same silver 
minerals are found near the surface of the 
ground in a state of decomposition, and mixed 
with oxide of iron, like the pacos of Peru. 
Near the pit of San Pedro, the pyrites are 






♦ 98 feet. Trans, 

t 787 feet. Trans. 

% 147 feet. Trans. 

§ From 32,815 to 39,378 lb. Troy. Trans. 



222 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book m 

sometimes richer in silver than the mine of 
sulfuretted silver. 

The mines of Moran formerly of great ce- 
lebrity, have been abandoned for 40 years, 
on account of the abundance of water which 
they could not draw off. In this district of 
mines, which is in the vicinity of that of Real 
del Monte, near the mouth of the great level 
of Biscaina, there was placed in 1801 a ma- 
chine d colonne d'eau, of which the cylinder 
is 26 centimetres in height, and 16 in dia- 
meter*. This machine the first of the kind 
ever constructed in America, is much superior 
to those of the mines of Hungary. It was 
executed agreeably to the calculations and plans 
of M. del Rio, professor of mineralogy in Mexico, 
who has visited the most celebrated mines of 
Europe, and who possesses at once the most 
solid and various acquisitions. The merit of 
the execution is due to M. Lachaussee a Bra- 
bant artist of great talents, who has also fitted 
up for the school of mines of Mexico, a very 
remarkable collection of models, for the use of 
students of mechanics and hydrodunamicksf . 
.It is to be regretted that this fine machine, in 
which the regulator of the suckers;!: is put in 



* 10.23 by 6.29 inches. Trans. 
t See Vol. i p. 216. 
% DtliuSftUs mines de /ScAemni/^, edition of M. Schreiber, 
f 591. 



CHAP. XL] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 223 

motion by a particular mechanism^ was placed 
in a situation where there is great difficult yn 
procuring a sufficiency of water to keep it going. 
When I was at Moran, the pumps could only 
work three hours a day. The constiniction of 
the machine, and the aqueducts cost 80,000 
piastres*; they did not at first calculate on 
more than half of the expence, and they ima- 
gined the mass of water to be very considera- 
ble ; but the year in which the water w"s mea- 
sured being exceedingly rainy, it was be- 
lieved to be much more abundant than it 
actually was. It is to be hoped that the new 
canal which was going on in 1803, and which 
will be 5000 metresf in length, will remedy 
this want of water, and that the vein of Mo- 
ran (hor. 9^ inclined 84** to the north east), 
will be found as rich at great depths, as the 
shareholders of the mine suppose. M. del Rio, 
on my arrival in New Spain had no other view 
but that of proving to the Mexican miners the 
efiect of machines of this nature, and the pos- 
sibility of constructing them in the country. 
This object has been in part attained; and 
it will be much more evidently attained 
when such a machine shall be placed in the 
mine of Ray as, at Guanaxuato, hi that of the 

* 1^10,937 Sterling. Irant. 
t l^f^Oi feet. Trant. 



mi 



224 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE Lbook iv. 

Count de Regla, at Real del Monte, or in 
those of Bolanos where M. Sonneschmidt*, 
counted nearly 4000 horses and mules employed 
in moving" the baritels. 

The mines of the district of Tasco, situated 
on the western slope of the Cordillera, have 
lost their antient splendour, since the end of the 
last century ; for in their present state, the veins 
of Tehuilotepec, Sochipala, Cerro del Limon, 
San Estevan, and Gautla, do not altogether 
yield more than 60,000 marcs of silver annually f. 
During the year 1752 and the ten following 
years, the mines of Tasco were wrought with 
the greatest activity and success. This acti- 
vity was owing to tlie enterprising mind of 
Joseph Laborde, a Frenchman, who came 
into Mexico very poor, and who in 1743, ac- 
quired immense wealth in the mine of la Ca- 
nada of the Real de Tlapujahua, We have 
already spokenj in another place of the re- 
verses of fortune several times experienced by 
this extraordinary man. After buildmg a church 
at Tasco, which cost him 400,000 piastres,^ 
he was reduced to the lowest poverty, by the 
rapid decline of those very mines, from which 



* Sonneschmid. p. 241. 
t 39,378 lb. troy. Trans. 
% Vol. ii. p. 186. 
§£81,501 Sterling. Trans. 



CHAP. %t.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 225 



he had annually drawn from 2 to 300,000* marcs 
of silver. The archbishop having given him 
permission to sell a golden sun enriched with 
diamonds, with which he had adorned the taber- 
nacle of the church of Tasco, he withdrew to Zaca- 
tecas with the produce of this sale, which amounted 
to 100,000 piastresf. The district of mines of Za- 
catecas was then in such a state of abandonment, 
that it scarcely furnished fifty thousand marcs;j: 
of silver annually to the mint at Mexico. 
Laborde undertook to clear out the famous 
mine of Quebradilla^ in which undertaking he 
lost all his property, without attaining his ob- 
ject. With the small capital which remained 
to him, he began to work on the veta grande, 
and sunk the pit of La Esperanzaf when a 
second time he acquired immense wealth. 
The silver produce of the mine of Zacatecas 
rose then to 500,000 marcs§ per annum; and 
though the abundance of metals did not long 
continue the same, he left at his death, a fortune 
of nearly three millions of livres Tournois||. H« 
compelled his daughter to enter into a convent, 
that he might leave his whole fortune to an only 
son, who afterwards voluntarily embraced th« 






m 






„lr~»l 



I; 



ilM; 



■•'ii 






* From 131,263 to ^96,894lb. troy. Trtim, 
f je21 ,876 sterling. Tram. 
X 32,8151b. troy. Trans, 
' § 328,1531b. troy. 

11 jSI 25*010 sterling. Tram, 

VOL. III. a 



•226 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [boob iy. 

ecclesiastical office. In Mexico, and every 
where else in the Spanish provinces, it is ex- 
tremely rare to see children following* the pro- 
fession of their fathers; and we do not find 
there, as in Sweden, Germany, and Scotland, 
families, in which the business of miner is 
hereditary. ■ * . ; (> t\ . ., • 

The veins of Tasco, and the Real de Te- 
huilotepec, traverse arid mountains, furrowed 
by very deep ravins. The oldest rock which 
appears at the surface in this district of mines, 
is the primitive slate (thonschiefer,) which 
passes into the micaceous slate. Its direction 
is hor. 3 — 4; and its inclination 40° to the 
north*-west, as I observed in the Cerro de San 
Ignacio, and to the west of Tehuilotepec, in 
the Cerro de la Compana, where Cortez began 
his gallery of investigation. Th« micaceous, 
slate probably reposes on the granite of Zum- 
pango, and on that of the valley of Papagallo ; 
and it appears covered near Achichintla, and 
Acamiscla, with a porphyritic formation, which 
contains both common and vitreous felspar, and 
beds of blackish brown pitch stone (pechstein.) 
In the environs of Tasco, Tehuilotepec, and 
Limon, primitive slate serves for base to the 
blui^-grey, and frequently porous compact lime* 
stone belonging to the alpine Jbrmation. Thi» 
limestone contains many subordinate beds, some 
•f lamellar gyps, and others of slate-clay^ 



CHAP. XI.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 227 



(schieferthon) chtirg-ed with carbon. In n«- 
cending from the banks of the lake of Tuspa 
to the Subida de Tosco el ViejOf we found 
petrifactions of trochites, and other univalve 
shells contained in this limestone. The stra- 
tification was very marked, but its banks follow 
by groups different directions and inclinations. 
A grey stone with a calcareous cement reposes 
on this limestone of Tasco, the same with that 
which covers the plains of Sopilote, and the 
fertile table land of Chilpansingo. 

The district of mines of Tasco, and of the 
Real de Tehuilotepec contains a great 
number of veins, which with the exception 
of the Cerro de ia Compana, are all directed 
fvom the north-west to the south-east, hor. 7 
— ^9. These veins, like those of Catorce, tra- 
verse both the limestone and the micaceous 
slate which serves for its base; and they ex- 
hibit the same metals in both rocks. These 
metals have been much more abundant in 
the limestone. The mines have become ex^ 
tremely poor since they were compelled to 
work the veins in the micaceous slate. A 
very intelligent and a very active miner, Don 
Vicente de Anza, wrought the mines of Te- 
huilotepec to the depth of 224 metres^; and 
he cut two excellent levels for a length of 



7^ 



M 



m 



'h 






♦ 734 feet. Trans. 
Q2 



228 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

1200 metres^ ; but unfortunately he found that 
the same veins which had furnished consider- 
able riches at the surface of the earth, were 
at great depths as poor in red silver minerals, 
as abundant in galena, pyrites, and yellow 
blende. 

• An extraordinary event which happened on 
the 16th February, 1802, complv^ted the ruin of 
the miners of this district. The mines of Te- 
huilotepec like those of Guautla, have at all 
times wanted the necessary water to put in 
motion the hocards and other machines, which 
prepare the minerals for the process of amal- 
gamation. The most abundant stream used 
in the works, issued from a cavern in the lime 
rock, called the Cueva de San Felipe* This 
rivulet was lost in the night between the 
i6th and 17th of February, and five days 
afterwards, a new spring was found at five 
leagues distance from the cavern, near the 
village of Flatanillo. It has been proved by 
researches of the greatest interest for geology, 
of which I shall speak in another place, that 
there exists in this country, between the vil- 
lages of Chamacasapa, Platanillo, and Tehui- 
lotepec, in the bosom of calcareous mountains, 
a series of caverns and natural galleries, and 
that subterraneous rivers, like those of the 



* 3936 feet. Trans. 



tHAP. II.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. d'^ 



courty of Derby in England, traverse thoHe 
galleries, which communicate with one another. 
The veins of Tehuilotepec are in general 
western (spatydnge) ) they are from two to 
three metres in extent^, and being separated 
from the rock by a strip of clayey slime, 
they form several lateral branches, which en- 
rich the principal vein where they accompany 
(se trainent) it. Their structure has this par- 
ticularity, that the metallick mineral id rarely 
disseminated throughout all the ganffue, but 
collected in a single band, which is sometimes 
near the roof, and sometimes near the wall of 
the vein. In general, the mineral depositories 
of Tasco and Tehuilotepec are extremely in- 
constant in their produce. As to the nature 
of the mass of which they are constituted, I 
perceived four very different formations Qf 



vemSf VIZ. i 



■f^f 



1. Oxide of brown, red, and yellow iron, iti 
which native and sulfuretted silver are disse- 
minated in impalpable parcels ; mine of brown 
cellular iron, speculary iron, a little galena, 
and magnetic iron, and blue carbonated Gop*> 
per. This formation, analogous to that of the 
p€U}os of Fuentestiana, and Pasco in Pem^ is 
designated at Tehuilotepec, by the name of 
tepostel. It is found at small depths yrom thfi 



f ''4'' 



Wr 



* From 6 tv 9 iett. TrMs. 



230 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [b©ok it. 

surface (in ausgehenden) in the mines of San 
Miguel, San Estevan, and La Compafia, near 
Tasco, as well as at the Cerro de Garganta, 
near Mescala. The tepostel, is generally not 
so rich as the Pasco of Peru ; but is so much 
the richer at Tasco, as the oxide of iron is 
more mixed with azure of copper; but it ge- 
nerally, however, does n'>t contain more than 
four ounces of silver per quintal. 
- 2. Calcareous spar, r, little galena, and trans- 
parent lamellar gyps, containing drops of wate 
with air and filiform native silver. This small 
iand very remarkable formation, which has been 
also observed in the mountains of Saltzbourg, 
is found at the depth of more than 100 metres* 
on the vein of Trinidad, which is the continu- 
ation of the vein of San Miguel, in a point where 
the wall is not gyps, but compact limestone. 

3. Quick red silver, brittle vitreous silver 
(sprodglaserz), much yellow blende, galena, 
very few pyrites of iron, calcareous spar, and 
lacteous quartz. This formation which is the 
richest of all, displays the remarkable pheno- 
menon, that the minerals the most abundant 
in silver, form spheroidal balls, from ten to 
twelve centimetres in diameter,f in which red 
silver, mixed with brittle vitreous silver, and 



♦ 328 feet. Trans, 

t From S.93— to 4.71 inchei. Tram, 



CHAP. XI.1 KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 231 



native silver, alternate with bands of quartz. 
These balls, which have been seldom seen 
but between 15 and 60 metres* of depth, are 
glued in a gangue of calcareous and brownish 
spar. They have been observed in the 
three veins of San Ignacio, Dolores, and 
Perdon, of which the masses are filled with 
druses, lined with beautiful chrystals of car* 
bonate of lime. 

4. Much argentiferous galena, which is 
richest in silver when the separated pieces 
possess the smallest grains ; much yellow 
blende; few pyrites; quartz, and calcareous 
spar, in the mines of Socabon del Re, and 
de la M arquesa. 

All these veins run through a table land of 
from 17 to 1800 metres in elevationf above the 
surface of the sea, which enjoys a temperate 
climate, very favourable to the cultivation of 
the cerealia of the Old Continent. 

When we take a general view of the mining 
operations of New Spain, and compare them with 
those of the mines of Freiberg, the Hartz, and 
Schemnitz, we are surprised at still finding in its 
infancy, an art which has been practised in 
America for these three centuries, and on 
which, according to the vulgar prejudice, the 






-^ 



O 



* Between 48 and 196 feet. Trans, 
t From 5556. to 5910 feet. Tram, 



232 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



prosperity of these ultramarine establishments 
depends. The causes of this phenomenon cannot 
escape those, who after visiting Spain, France, 
and the western parts of Germany, have seen 
that mountainous countries still exist in the 
centre of civilized Europe, in which the mining 
operations partake of all the barbarity of the 
middle ages. The art of mining cannot make 
great progress, where the mines are dispersed 
over a great extent of ground, where the go- 
vernment allows to the proprietors the full 
liberty of directing the operations without 
controul, and of tearing the minerals from the 
bowels of the earth, without any consideration 
of the future. Since the brilliant period of 
the reign of Charles the 5th, Spanish Ameri- 
ca has been separa,ted from Europe, with 
respect to the commutiicatiou of discoveries 
useful to society. The imperfect knowledge 
which was possessed in the 16th century re- 
lative . to mining and smelting, in Germany, 
Biscay, and the Belgic provinces, rapidly pass- 
ed into Mexico and Peru, on the first colo- 
nizatioti of these countries; but since that pe- 
riod, to the reign of Charles the third, the 
American miners have learned hardly any 
thing from the Europeans, but the blowing up 
with powder*, those rocks which resist the 



po 
sh 
th 
El 
th< 



M 



^ This art was only introduced into the mines of 
Europe towards the year 1613 (Daubuissoa, t. i, p. 05.) 



CHAP. X1.3 KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 233 

pointrole. This Kin§^ and his successor have 
she>vn a praiseworthy desire of imparting to 
the colonies all the advantages derived by 
Europe from the improvement in machinery, 
the progress of chemical science, and their 
application to metallurgy. Germai? miners 
have been sent at u.e expence of the court to 
Mexico, Peru, and the kingdom of new Gre- 
nada; but their knowledge has been of no 
utility, because the mines of Mexico are 
considered as the property of the individuals 
who direct the operations, without the go- 
vernment being allowed to exercise the smallest 
influence. - ' -. < '! . - ; 

We shall not here undertake to detail the 
defects which we believe we have observed irt 
the administration of the mines of New Spain, 
but shall confine ourselves to general conside- 
rations, remarking whatever appears to ua 
worthy of fixing the attention of the European 
traveller. In the greatest number of the 
Mexican mines the operations with the point- 
rolCf wiiich requires the greatest address oh 
the part of the workman, are very well exe- 
cuted. It is to be wished that the ma22et was 
somewhat less heavy ; it is the saine indtmment 
which the German .ainers used in the time of 
Charles the 5th. Small moveable forges are 
placed in the interior of the mines, to reforge 
the point of the pointroles, when they are 



■I ; ■. 

'i'i 

n 



:i^i 






w 



234 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

unfit for working. I reckoned 16 of these 
forges in the mine of Valenciana ; and in the 
district of Guanaxuato, the smallest mines have 
at least one or two. This arrangement is very 
useful, particularly in mines whidi employ even 
1500 workmen, and in which there is consequently 
an immense consumption of steel. I could not 
praise the method of blowint/ with powder. 
The holes for the reception of the cartridges, 
are generally too deep, and the miners are 
not sufficiently careful in stripping the part 
of the rock intended to yield to the explosion. 
A great waste of powder is consequently oc- 
casioned by these defects. The mine of Va- 
lenciana consumed* from 1794 to 1802, pow- 
der to the amount of 673,676 piastres j , and the 
ihines of New Spain annually require from 
12 to 14,000 quintals. It is probable that 
two thirds of this quantity is uselessly em- 

* In 179&— 63,375 piastres; in 1800—68,493 piastres: in 
1801—78,243 piastres; in 1802—79,903 piastres. The 
miner is paid at Guanaxuato, for a hole of Im. 5 in 
depth (4 feet 11 inches. Trans.) 12 francs (ten shillings); 
for a hole of Im 9 (75.8 inches) in depth, 9 franci 
(7«. 6d.) without including powder and tools, which 
are furnished to him. In the mine of Valenciana, 
nearly 600 holes by two men each are made every 24 
hours. 

t rfl 47,377 Sterling. 



CHAF. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 235 



ployed. At Chupoltepec, near Mexico, and in 
the mine of Rayas near Guanaxuato, some ex- 
periments have been made of the method of 
blowififff proposed by M. Baden ; a method by 
which a certain volume of air must be left be- 
tween the powder and the wadd. Although 
these experiments have proved the great ad- 
vantage of the new method, the old has still 
continued to prevail, on account of the small 
degree of interest taken by the master miners 
in reforming the abuses, and perfecting the 
art of mining. 

The lining with wood is very carelessly 
performed, though it ought the more to 
engage the consideration of the proprietors, 
as wood is becoming year after year more 
scarce on the table land of Mexico. The mason 
work employed in the pits and galleries*, and 
especially the walling with lime, deserves a great 
deal of praise. The arches are formed with 
great care, and in this respect the mines of 
Guanaxuato may stand a comparison with what- 
ever is most perfect at Freiberg and Schemnitz. 
The pits and still more the galleries of New 
Spain, have generally the defect of being dug 
in too great dimensions, [{artstosshohe) and of 
occasioning, by that means, very exorbitant ex- 



■ ■'4: 



;W\ 









* Especially in the mines of Valenciana, Guanaxuato^ 
and the Real del Moote. 



236 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



pences. We find galleries at Valenciana*, 
executed with the view of investigating a 
sterile vein, of a height of eight or nine metres f. 
They have taken it ini( their heads, that this 
great height facihtates the renovation of the 
air; but the ventilation solely depends on the 
equilibrium and difference of temperature be- 
tween two neighbouring columns of air. They 
believe also, equally without any foundation, 
that, in order to discover the nature of a very 
.^ 3werful vein, very hiv^e galleries of investiga- 
tion are requisite, as if in mineral depositories of 
from twelve to fifteen metres { in extent, it 
were not better to cut from time to time small' 
cross galleries towards the wall and the roofi for 
the purpose of discovering whether the mass of 
the vein begins to grow richer. The absurd 
custom of cutting evei'y gallery in such enormous 
dimensions, prevents the proprietors from mul- 
tiplying the labours of investigation, so indispen- 
sible for the preservation of a mine, and the 
length of dui'ation of the works. At Guanaxuato> 
the breadth of the oblique pits dug stair- 
wise, is from ten to 12 meires §; and the perpen- 
dicular pits are generally six, eight, or ten 
metres || broad. The enormous quantity of 

* Canon de la Soledad. 
f 26 or 29 feet. Trans. 
. J |. From 38 to 48 fea. TrUns. '^ ■■'".■ 
§ From 32 to 36 feet. Transi . *^ 

il 19, 26, or 32 feet. Trans. 



CHAf . w.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 207 

minerals extracted from the mines, and the ne- 
cessity for the cables attached to six or eight 
horse baritels to enter them, necessarily occasion 
the pits of Mexico to be made of greater dimen- 
sions than those in Germany ; but the attempt 
which has been made at Bolanos to separate by 
a beam, the cables of the baritels has sufficiently 
proved that the breadth of the pits may be 
diminished without any danger of the ropes 
entangling in their oscillating motion. It would 
in general be very useful to make use of casktf 
or rectangular parallelopipeds, instead of 
leathern bags suspended to the cables for the 
extraction of the minerals. Several pairs of 
these casks rubbing with their wheels against 
the conducting heam$, might ascend and descend 
in the same pit. 

The greatest fault observable in the mines of 
New Spain, ^nd which renders the working of 
them extremely expensive, is the want of com- 
municatipn between the different works. They 
resemble ill constructed builtlings, when to pass 
from one adjoining room to another, we must go 
round the whole house. TJhis mine of Valenciana 
is very justly admired on account of its wealth, the 
magniticence of its walling, and the facility with 
which it is entered by spacious and commodious 
stairs; but yet it exhibits only a union of small 
works too irregular tp merit the appellation of 
gradual uttdks {ouara^a gradms) they are true 



•■■'4: 



a 



'"Hj' 



rn 



238 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [booi ir. 

sacks, with only one opening' at the top, and 
without any lateral communication. I mention 
this mine, not because it is more faulty than the 
others in the distribution of its labours, but 
because it ought naturally to be believed better 
organized. As subterraneous geometry has 
been entirely neglected in Mexico, till the es- 
tablishment of the school of mines, there is no 
plan in existence of the works already executed. 
Two works in that labyrinth of cross galleries, 
and interior pits may happen to be very near 
one another, without its being possible to per- 
ceive it. Hence the impossibility of introducing" 
in the actual state of the most part of the mines 
of Mexico, the wheeling by means of barrows 
or dogs, and an economical disposition of the 
places of assemblage. A miner brought up in 
the mines of Freiberg, and accustomed to see so 
many ingenious means of conveyance practised, 
can hardly conceive that, in the Spanish colonies, 
where the poverty of the minerals is united 
to a great abundance of them, all the taetal 
which is taken from the vein, should be carried 
on the backs of men. The Indian tenateras 
who may be considered as the beasts of burden 
of the mines of Mexico, remain loaded with a 
weight of from 225 to 350 pounds* for a space 
of six hours. In the galleries of Yalenciana 



* From 242 to 3771b. avoird. Tram. 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 239 



and Rayas, they are exposed as we have al- 
ready observed in speaking of the health of the 
miners* to a temperature of from 22' to 25" f ; 
and during this ^ime they ascend and descend 
several thousand \ of steps in pits of an inclina- 
tion of 45**. Tu3 ft tenateros carry the minerals 
in bags (costales) made of the thread of the 
pite. To prevent their shoulders from being 
hurt, (for the miners are generally naked to the 
middle) they place a woollen covering (frisada) 
under this bag. We meet in the mines with 
files of fifty or sixty of these porters, among 
whom there are men above sixty, and boys of ten 
or twelve years of age. In ascending the stairs 
they throw the body forwards, and rest on a 
staff which is generally not more than three 
decimetres in length J. They walk in a zigzag 
direction, because they have found from long 
experience {as they affirm) that their respiration 
is less impeded, when they traverse obliquely 
the current of air which enters the pits from 
without. 

We cannot sufficiently admire the muscular 
strength of the Indian and Mestizoe tenateros 

* Vol. I. p. 125. At Paris the porters called Fortt de la 
HaUe, are generally loaded with bags of flour, which weigh 
S25 pounds (350 lb. aToird. Trans.) To b* received in 
their corporation, a man must carry for 25 minutes, a weight 
of850 pounds, (916lb avoird. Trans.) 

t From 71" to 77" Fahren. Trant. 

X About a foot. Trans. 






m 





1 




'fi' 


nil 


''/ 


V ll 


Ik 





240 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [*oo|c iv. 

of Guanaxuato, especially when we feel our- 
selves oppressed with fatigue in ascending from 
the bottom of the mine of Valenciana without 
carrying the smallest weight. The tenateros 
cost the proprietors of Valenciana more than 
15,000 livres Tournois weekly*; and they 
reckon that three men destined to carry the 
minerals to the places of assemblage are for one 
employed workman (barenador) who blows up 
the gangue by means of powder. These enor- 
mous expences of transportation would be per- 
haps diminished more than two thirds, if the 
works communicated with one another, by 
interior pits (roUschdcht) or by galleries adapted 
for conv^ance by wheel-barrows and dogs. 
Well contrived operations would facilitate the 
extraction of minf'rals and the circulation of air, 
and would render this great number of tenateros 
unnecessary, whose strength might be employed 
in a manner more advantageous to society, and 
less hurtful to the health of the individual. 
Interior pits communicating from one gallery 
to another and serving for the extraction of 
minerals, might be provided with cranes (haspel) 
to be wrought by men, or baritels, to be moved 
by cattle. For a long time (and this arrange- 
i^efDit undoubtedly deserves the attention of the 
DttEopeaunL miner^ mules have been employed in 



* jSG24 Sterling. Trans, 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. ^H 

the interior of the mines of Mexico. At Rayas 
these animals descend e\ery morning without 
guides and in the dark, the steps of a pit of an 
inclination from 42^* to 46". The m\des dis- 
tribute themselves of their own accord in the 
different places where the machines for drawing 
up the water are placed; and their s*ep is so 
sure, that a lame miner was accustomed several 
years ago, to enter and leave the mine on one 
of their l^cks. In the district of the mines of 
Peregrino, at the Rosa de Castilla, the mules 
sleep in subterraneous stables, like the horses 
which I saw in the famous rock salt mines of 
Wieliczka in Gallicia. 

The smelting and amalgamation works of 
Guanaxuato and Real del Monte, are so placed 
that two navigable yalkries, the mouths of which 
should be near Marfil and Omitlan might serve 
for the carriage of minerals, and render every 
sort of draught above the level of the galleries 
superfluous. Besides the descents from Valen- 
ciana to Guanaxuato, and from Real del Monte 
to Regla are so rapid, that they wculd admit 
of the making of iron roads, on which waggons 
loaded with the minerals destined for amalga- 
mation might be easily rolled along. 

We have already spoken of the truly bar- 
barous custom of drawing off the water from tlie 
deepest mines, not by means of pump apparatus^ 
but by means of bags attached to ropes which 

YOt. III. » 



\:} 






*il2 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv 

roll on the drum of a horse baritel. The 
8aiiie bag's are sometimes used in drawing up 
the water, and sometimes the mineral; they rub 
against the walls of the pit and it is very ex- 
pensive to uphold them. At the Real del Monte 
for example, one of these bags only last seven 
or eight days; and it commonly costs six francs 
and sometimes eight or ten. A bag full of 
water, suspendc^d to the drum of a barritel 
with eight horses (malacate doble) weighs 
1 250 pounds : it is made of two hides sowed 
together. The bags used for the baritels called 
simple, those with four horses (malacates sencil' 
los) are only the half of the size, and are made 
of one hide. In general the construction of the 
baritels i« extremely imperfect, and they have 
besides, the bad custom of forcing the horses, by 
which they are moved to run wuh by far too 
great a speed. I found this speed at the pits 
of San Ramon, at Real del Monte, no less than 
ten feet and a half per second *; at Guanaxuato 
in the mine of Valenciana from thirteen to four- 
teen feet ; and every where else I found it more 



* The water being drawn from a depth of eighty metres, 
(262 feet. Tram. ) The malacate doble had four arms, the 
extremity of each arm has a sh'^t (timon) to which two 
horses are yoked. The diameter of the circle described by 
the horses was seventeen varus and a half (about 47$ feet. 
Trans.) The diameter of the drum was twelve (32 feet. 
Trans. ) The horses are changed every four hours. 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 2^'3 



than eight feet. Don Salvador SeiM, professor 
of Natural Philosophy at Mexico, has proved, 
in a very excellent paper on the giratory mo- 
tion of machines, that notwithstanding the ex- 
treme lightness of the Mexican horses, they pro- 
duce only the maa'imnm of effect on the baritels 
when, exerting a force of 17o pounds, they 
walk at a pace of from five to six feet in the 
second. 

It is to be hoped that they will introduce at 
last, in the mines of New Spain, pump apparatus, 
moved either by horse baritels of a better con- 
struction, or by hydraulical wheels, or by nm- 
chines a colonne (Teau. As wood is very scarce 
on the ridge of the Cordilleras, and coal has 
only yet been discovered in New Mexico, they 
are unfortunately precluded from employing the 
steam engine, the use of which would be of 
such service in the inundated mines of Bolanos 
as well as in those of Rayas and Mellado. 

It is in the drawing off the water that we 
particularly feel the indispensable necessity 
of having plans drawn up by subterraneous 
surveyors (geometres). Instead of stopping the 
course of the water, and bringing it by the 
shortest road to the pit where the machines are 
placed, they frequently precipitate it to the 
bottom of the mine*, to be afterwards drawn off 



',1 
K 



t 



ji 






* At Rayas, for example, where they draw off from 
A depth of 338 varus, water, which might be collected 

R 2 



t 



'■:t\ 



244 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

at a ^Teat expeiice. Moreover, in the district 
of mines of Guanaxuato nearly two hundred 
and fifty workmen perished in the space of a 
few minutes on the 14th June, 1780, because, 
not having" measured the distance between the 
Ivorks of San Ramon and the old works of Santo 
Christo de Burgos, they had imprudently ap- 
proached this last mine while carrying on a 
gallery of investigation in that direction. The 
water with which the works of Santo Christo 
were full, flovved with impetuosity through this 
new gallery of San Ramon into the mine of 
Valf^nciana. Many of the workmen perished 
by the effect of the sudden compression of the 
air, which in taking a vent threw (to immense 
distances) beams, and large pieces of rocks. 
This accident would not have happened, if in 
regulating the operations they could have con- 
(tulted a plan of the mines. 

After the picture which we have just drawn 
of the actual state of the mining operations, and 
of the bad economy which prevails in the admi- 
nistration of the mines of New Spain, we ought 
not to be astonished at seeing works, which for 
a long time have been most productive, aban- 
doned whenever thi^y have reached a considera- 
ble depth, or whenever the vehis have appeared 



towards the .louth east, in a drain at the depth of 780 

varas. 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 21o 

less abundant in metals. We have already ob- 
served, thfit in the famous mine of Valenciana, 
the annual expences rose in the space of fifteen 
years from two millions of francs to four mil- 
lions and a half*. If there were much water in 
this mine, and if it required a number of horse 
baritels to draw it off, the profit which it would 
leave to the proprietors, would be in fact 
nothing". The g-reatest part of the vices of 
manag-emont which I have been pointing out, 
have been long known to a respectable and 
enlightened body, the Tribunal de Mineria of 
Mexico, to the professors of the school of mines, 
and even to several of the native miners, who 
without having ever quitted their country, know 
the imperfection of the old methods; but we 
must repeat here, that changes can only take 
place very slowly among a people who are not 
fond of innovations, and in a country where 
the government possesses so little influence on 
the works which are generally the property of 
individuals, and not of shareholders. It is a 
prejudice to imagine, that the mines of New 
ISpain on account of their wealth, do not recjuire 
in their management the same intelligence and 
the same economy which are necessary to the 
preservation of tht mines of Saxony and the 
Harz. We must not confound the abundance 



r.;/ 



■}\*\ 






••n a 



»(K! 



.,^» 
'.J^' 



u 






* From rf9O,0flO to jei80,000 Sterling. Tran. 



•246 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



\l 



I'' 



m 



of minerals with their intrinsic value. The 
most part of the minerals of Mexico being very 
poor, as we have already proved, and as all 
those who do not allow themselves to be daz- 
zled by false calculations very well know, to 
produce two millions and a half of marcs of 
silver an enormous quantity of gangue impreg- 
nated with metals must be extracted. Now it 
is easy to conceive that in mines of which the 
different works are badly disposed, and without 
any communication with one another, the ex- 
pence of extraction must be increased in an 
alarming manuv'^r, in proportion as the pits 
(pozos) increase in depth, and the galleries 
(canones) become more extended. 

The labour of a miner is entirely free through- 
out the w hole kingdom of Xew Spain ; and no 
Indian or Mestizoe can be forced to dedicate 
themselves to the working of mines. It is ab- 
solutely false, though the assertion has been 
repeated in works of the greatest estimation, 
that the court of Madrid sends out galley slaves 
to America to work in the gold and silver 
mines. The mines of Siberia have been peopled 
by Russian malefactors; but in tht Spanish 
coldiiies this species of punishment has been 
fortiiiiately unknown for centuries. The Mexi- 
I'HM MMliM' is the best paid of all miners; he 
gains at the least from 25 to 30 francs* per 



* From £1 to £1 48. Sterling. Tra?is. 



CHAP, xi.l KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 247 

week of six days, while the wages of labourers 
who work in the open air, husbandmen for 
example, are seven livres, sixteen sous, on the 
central table land, and nine livres, twelve sous * 
near the coast. The miners, tenateros and 
faeneros occupied in transporting the minerals 
to the place of assemblage (despachos) frequently 
gain more than six francs t per day, of six 
hours J. Honesty is by no means so common 
among the Mexican as among the German or 
Swedish miners; and they make use of a thou- 
sand tricks to steal very rich minerals. As 
they are almost naked, and are searched on 
leaving the mine in the most indecent manner, 
they conceal small morsels of native silver, or 
red sulphuretted and muriated silver in their 
hair, under their arm-pits, and in their mouths ; 
and they even lodge in tb ir anus, cylinders of 
clay which contain the metal. These cylinders 
are called hnganas, and they are sometimes 
found of the length of thirteen centimetres, 
(iive inches). It is a most shocking spectacle 
to see in the large mines of Mexico, hundreds 
of workmen, among whom there are a great 
number of very respectable men, all compelled 

* 68. 3d. and 7s. 6d. Trans. 

t 4s. lOd. Trans. 

I At Freiberg in Saxony the miner gains per week of 
five days, from four livres, to four livres ten sous, ( from 36. 3d. 
»e 3s. 8d. Trans.) 






?w'; 



ffil: 



• Ti: 






fift, 






^l 



*-^48 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv 

to allow themselves to be searched on leaving 
the pit or the gallery. A register is kept of the 
minerals found in the hair, in the mouth, or 
other parts of the miners* bodies. In the mine 
of Valenciana at Guanaxuato> the value of 
these stolen minerals, of which a great part was 
composed of the lour/anas y amounted between 
1774 and 1787, to the sum of 900,000 
francs*. 

In the interior of the mines much care is em- 
ployed in controuling the minerals transported 
by the tenateros from the place of operation to- 
wards the pit. At Valenciana, for example, 
they know to within a few pounds the quantity 
of metalliferous gamjue which daily goes out 
of the mine. I say, the gangiie, for the rock 
is never there an object of extraction, and is 
employed to fill up the vacancies formed by the 
extraction of the minerals. At the place of as- 
semhiage of the gicat pits, two chambers are 
dug in the nallf in each of which two persons 
(despachcfi lores) are seated at a table, with a 
book before them containing the names of all 
the miners employed in the carriage. Two 
balances are suspended before them, near the 
counter. Each teimtero loaded with minerals 
presents himself at the count* v; and two per- 
sons stationed near the balances, judge of the 



* i£' 36*000 sterling. Tram, 



€HAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 249 



weight of this load by raising it lightly up. If 
the tenatero, who, during the road has had time 
to estimate his load, believes it lighter than the 
despachador, he says nothing, because the error 
is advantageous to him; but on the other hand, 
if he believes the weight of the mineral which 
he carries in his bag to be greater than it is 
estimated, he then demands that it should be 
weighed in the balance ; and the weight which 
is thus determined is entered in the book of 
the despachador. From whatever part of the 
mine the tenatero comes, he is paid at the rate 
of one real de plata for a load of nine arrobas, 
and one and a half real for a load of thirteen 
arrobas and a haXi i^ex journey . There are some 
tenateros who perform in one day, from eight 
to ten journiest and their pay is regulated from 
the bock of the despachador. This mode of 
reckoning is no doubt highly deserving of 
praise, and we cannot sufficiently admire the 
celerity, the order, and the silence with which 
they thus determine the weight of so mi'iiy 
thousand quintals of minerals, which are fur- 
nished by veins of twelve or tifteen metres* in 
breadth in a single day. 

These minerals, which are separated from the 
sterile rocks in the mine itself, by the master 
miners (qtiehradorea) uudcigo three sorts of 

* 38 or 48 feet Trans. 






N#N 






w 

HW 



*i 



I'l^'tii 



^.-i",' 



250 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book it. 



m 



preparation, viz. at the place of trial, where 
women work, under hocards, and under the 
tahonas or araistras. These tahonas are ma- 
chines in which the metalliferous gangue is 
triturated under very hard stones, which have 
a giratory motion, and which weigh more than 
seven or eight quintals. They are not yet ac- 
quainted with washing with the tub (setz wasche) 
nor washing on sleeping tMes (tables dormantes) 
{liegende heerde) or percussion (stossheerde). 
The preparation under the bocards (mazos) 
or in the tahonas, to which I shall give the name 
oi mills, on account of their resemblance to some 
oil and snuff mills, differs according as the 
mineral is destined to be smelted or amalga- 
mated. The mills properly belong only to this 
last process ; however, very rich metallic grains 
called polvillos, which have passed through the 
tritm*ation of the tahona are also smelted. 

The quantity of silver extracted from the 
minerals by means of mercury, is in the propor- 
tion of 3 i to 1 of that produced by smelting. 
This proportion is taken from the general 
table formed by the provincial treasuries, from 
the different districts of mines of New Spain. 
There are however, some of those districts 
for example, those of Sombrerete and Zimapan 
in which the produce from smelting exceeds 
that of amalgamation. 



CHAP. xi;j 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 251 



m 



Silver (plata quintada) extracted from the 
mines of New Spain, from the 1st January, 
1785, to the 31st December, 1789. 



! 

Provincial treasuries receiving 
the fifth. 


Silver ex- 
tracted by 
amalgama- 
tion, (mar- 


Silver ex- 
tracted by 
smelting. 




cos de azo- 
guej. 


(marcos de 
fuego). 


Mexico 


950,185 


104,835 


Zacatecas 






1,031,360 


173,631 


Guanaxuato . . 






1,937,895 


531,138 


San Luis Potosi . 






1,491,058 


24,465 


Durango .... 






536,272 


386,081 


Guadalaxara 






405,357 


103,615 


Bolanos .... 






336,355 


27,614 


Sombrerete . . 






136,395 


184,205 


Zimapan . . . 






1,215 


247,002 


Pachuca .... 






269,536 


185,500 


Rosario .... 






477,134 


191,368 


Total in n 


lari 


cs 


7,572,762 


2,159,454 



I believe we must augment the quantities 
stated in the preceding table one fifth to come 
at the real state of the mines. In times of 
peace, amalgamation gains a gradual ascendancy 
over smelting, which is generally badly ma- 
naged. As wood is becoming yearly more 
scarce on the ridge of the Cordilleras, which is 



i 






'if 



?»«•;;. 



¥i^ 



■ h':- 



v], 



■■■ ■*'U: 



uisa 



252 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



it I 



the most populous part, the diminution of the 
produce of smelting is very advantageous to the 
manufactories which require a gTeat consump- 
tion of combustibles. In times of war the wuul 
of mercury arrests the progress of amalgamation 
and compels the miner to endeavour to improve 
the process of smelting. M. Velasquez, the 
director general of the mines, supposed even in 
1797, before the discovery of the rich mines of 
Catorce, where there is nearly no smelting, that 
of all the minerals of New Spain f were smelted, 
and the other I amalgamated. 

The limits prescribed by iis in the execution 
of thi.s \\ ork, do not permit us to enter into any 
detail of the processes of amalgamation used in 
Mexico. It may be sufficient to give a general 
idea of them, to examine the chemical phe- 
nomena which are exhibited in the greatest 
part of these processes, and to show the difficul- 
ties which in the New Continent oppose the 
introduction of the method invented in Germany 
in 1786, by Born, Ruprecht, and Gellert. 
Those who may desire to know thoroughly the 
practice of American amalgamation, will find 
the most satisfactory information in a work 
which M. Bonneschmidt proposes to publish. 
This worthy mineralogist resided in New 
Spain for the space of twelve years; he had 
occasion to submit a great number of minerals 
to amalgamation ; and he had it in his power 



OHAk\ XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 253 



to discover by his own experience, the advan- 
tages and disadvantages of the different methods 
which have been followed since the sixteenth 
century in the mines of America. 

The antients knew the property which mer- 
cm'y possessed of combining with gold; and 
they made use of amalgamation in gilding cop- 
per, and collecting the gold contained in their 
worn out dresses, by reducing them to ashes in 
clay vessels *. It appears even certain that, 
before the discovery of America, the German 
miners used mercury not only in washing 
auriferous earths, but also in extracting the 
gold disseminated in veins f , both in its native 
state, and mixed with pyrites of iron, and with 
the ore of grey copper. But the amalgama- 
tion of silver minerals, and the ingenious process 
now used in the New World, to which we 
owe the greater part of the valuable metals 
existing in Europe, or which have flowed from 

* Plin. XXXIII, 6. Vetruv. VII. 8. Beckmann's 
Gesch.der Erfindungen, B. I. p. 44< ; B. III. p. 307 ; B.IV. 
p. 578. 

., f For example, at Goldcronach, in the Fichtelgebirge, 
where they still shew the situation of the old amalgamation 
mills (quickmuhlen) for the braying of the auriferous mine- 
rals. Valuable documents have been found in the archives 
of Plassenbourg, which I had occasion to study during a 
long residence in the mountains of Steeben and Wunsiedel, 
that prove the antiquity of the amalgamation works at 
Goldcronach. 



^ 



i 



'*'«# 



254 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

Europe to Asia, goes no farther back than the 
year 1557. It was invented in Mexico by a 
miner of Pachuca of the name of Bartholome 
de Medina. From the documents preserved in 
the archives of the despacho yeneral de Indias, 
and from the researches of Don Juan Diaz de 
la Calle*, there cannot remain a doubt as to 
the true author of the invention, which has 
sometimes been attributed f to the canon 
Henrique Garces, who in 1566, began to work 
the mercury mines of Huancavelica, and some- 
times to Fernandez de Velasco, who in 1571 
introduced the Mexican amalgamation into Peru. 
It is not so certain however, that Medina, who 
was born in Europe, had not already made 
experiments in amalgamation before coming to 
Pachuca. Berrio de Montalvo, an alcalde de 
corte at Mexico J, and author of a Memoir on 
the metallurgical treatment of silver minerals, 
affirms, ** that Medina had heard in Spain that 
silver might be extracted by means of mercury 
and common salt ;" but this assertioL is sup- 

* Memorial dirigido al Sen or Don Felipe IV, (Madrid 
1646) p. 49. GnrceSf del heneficio delos metales, p. 76 — 82. 

f Solorzano, Politica de las Indias, lib. vi. c. vi, n. 17. 
GarcilassOf P. i. p. 225. Acosta, lib. iv. c. ii. Lumpadius 
Handbuch der Hiittenkunde, B. i. p. 401 . 

\ Infbrme al ExceUentiss Sen or Conde de Sahatierra, 
inrey de Mexicot sohre el beneficio descuUerto por el Capitnn 
Pedro Mendoza Melendezy Pedro Garcia de Tapia (Mexico 
1643) p. 19. 



cHAr. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 255 

ported l)y no convincing proof. Coltl amal- 
giimation was found so profitable in Mexico, 
that in 1562, five years after the first discovery 
of the process of Medina, there were already 
35 works at Zacatecas* in which minerals were 
treated with mercury, notwithstanding Zaca- 
tecas is three times further from Pachuca, 
than the old mines of Tasco, Zultepeque, and 
Tlapujahua. 

The Mexican miners do not appear to follow 
any very fixed principle, in the selection of 
the minerals submitted to smelting or amalga- 
mation; for we see them smelt in one district 
of mines, the same mineral substances which 
in another they believe can only }>e managed 
with mercury. The minerals which contain 
muriate of silver, for example, are siyuietimes 
smelted with carbonate of soda [tequesquite), 
and sometimes destined to the processes of hot 
and cold amalgamation; and it is frequently 
only the abundance of mercury, and the faci- 
lity in procuring it, which determine the miner 
«> the clioice of his method. In general they 
find it necessary to smelt the very rich meagre 
minerals, tho*>e which contain from ten to twelve 
marcs, of silver per quintal, argentiferous sul- 
furetted lead, and the mixed minerals of blende 
and vitreous copper. On the other hand, they 



■i,i; 






■ / 

m 






* Descripcion de la chidad de Zacatecas, por el Conde de 
Santiago d« la Laguna, p. 4'2. 



^ 







IMAGE EVALUATION 
TEST TARGET (MT-3) 












{< 



4(g 



4^ 



1.0 



I.I 



■^ Uii 12.2 
£f U£ 12.0 



1^ illllM m 




Hiotographic 

Sciences 

Corporalion 




23 WBT MAIN STRUT 

WIRSTIR.N.Y. MSM 

(716)«72-4S03 










^ 



256 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

find it profitable to amalgamate the pacos or 
cohrados*, destitute of metalKck lustre; vitreous- 
red black and horned native silver; fahlore 
rich in silvei^; and all the meagre ores which 
are disseminated in very small parcels in the 
gangue. 

The minerals destined for amalgamation must 
be triturated, or reduced to a very fine powder, 
to present the greatest possible contact to the 
mercury. This trituration under the arastras 
or mills, of which we have already spoken, is 
of all the metallurgical operations that which 
is executed in the greatest perfection, in the 
most part of the Mexican works. In no part 
of Europe have I ever seen mineral flour or 
schlich so fine, and of so equal a grain, as in 
the great haciendas de plata of Guanaxuato, 
belonging to Count de la Yalenciana, Colonel 
Rul, and Count Perez Galvez. When the 
minerals are very pyritous, they are burnt (quema) 
in the open air in heaps, on beds of wood, as 
at Sombrerete, or in schlich in reverberating 
furnaces (comalillos). The latter I found at 
Tehuilotepec : they are 12 metres* in lengths 

* Ahtaro AlonxoBarha, el arte de beneficiar metales, 16S9, 
Lib. ii. c iv. Felipe de la Torre Barrio y Limuy miner o de 
San Jnan de Lucanas, tratado de azogueria (Lima 1 738^. 
Juan de Ordonez, CartiUa sabre el benejicvi de azogue ( Mexico 
1758/ Francisco Xavier de Soria, Emayo de metalurgia 
(Mexico 1784;. 

t 38 feet. Trans, 



cftAP. Xt] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. '^ol 



they ar6 without chimneys, but managed by 
two fires of which the fla^ies traverse the labo- 
ratory. The chemical preparation of tlie mi- 
nerals is however very rare in general; the 
greatness of tiie volume of substances lo be 
amalgamated, and the want of combustibles 
on the table land of New Spain, render the 
process equally difficult and expensive. 

The dry braying is done by mazost eight 
of which work together, kept in motion by 
hydraulical wheels or by mules. The braye<l 
mineral (granza) passes through ;i hide pierce<i 
with holes; and it is reduced to a very fine 
flour under the arastras or tafiotms, which are 
called sencillas or de marco, according as they 
are furnished with two or four blocks of ])or- 
phyry or basalt (piedras vol(tdoras)y which re- 
volve in a circle from 9 to 12 metres in cir- 
cumference*. From 12 to 15 of these arastras 
or mills, are generally ranged in a row under 
one shed; and they are moved by water, or 
mules which are relieved every eight hours. 
One of these machines brays in the space of 24 
hours, from three to four hundred kilogrammes j 
of minerals. The humid schlieh (lama) which 
leaves the arastras, is sometimes washed again 
in ditches (estanquesde deslamar), the construction 
of which in the districtof mines of Zacatecas, 



VOL. 111. 



♦ From 29 to 38 feet, trans. 

t From 662 to 882 lb. avoird. Trans. 






■4' 

i 












2i8 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

has been recently carried to perfection by M. 
Garces. When the minerals are very rich, as 
in the mine of Rayas at Guanaxuato, they are 
only reduced under the stones of the mills to 
the size of gravel (xalsonte), and they separate, 
by washing^, the richest metallick griiins(polvilios)t 
which are destined for smelting;. This very 
economical operation is called apartar polvillos. 

I have been assured, that in destining for 
Amalgamation silver minerals which arc very 
poor in gold, they pour mercury into the vessel 
or trough, on the bottom of which the stones 
of the arastms turn ; and the auriferoas amal- 
gamation goes on then in proportion as the 
mineral is reduced to powder, the giratory 
motion of the piedras vohderas being favour- 
able to the combination of the metals. I had 
no opportunity of seeing this operation, which 
is not practised at Guanaxuato. In some great 
amalgamation works of New Spain, the arastras 
are still unknown ; they are contented with the 
braying of the mazos; and the schlich which 
comes from under them is passed through 
sieves (cedazos and tolvas). This preparation 
of the flour is very imperfect; for a powder 
of an unequal and coarse grain amalgamates 
very ill ; and the health of the workmen suffer 
greatly, in a place where a cloud of metallick 
dust is perpetually flying about. - 

The moistened sehlick is carried from the 



ciiAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 259 



mills or arasttas, into the court of amalgama- 
tion, (patio or galera) which id grenerally paved 
with flasrs. The flour is ranged in piles (mon' 
tones) which contain from 15 to 35 quintali. 
Forty or fifty of these montones form a torta, 
by which name they call a heap of humid 
schlich, which they leave exposed to the open 
air, and which is frequently from 20 to 30 
metres in breadth,* by five or six decimetres'l' 
\fk thickness. They use for amalgamation ia 
a paved court, (en patio) which is the most 
generally used process in America, the follow- 
ing materials; muriate of soda, (sal blanca) 
sulphate of iron and copper, (magistral) lime 
and vegetable ashes. 

The salt used in New Spain is of very 
unequal purity, according as it comes from the 
salt marshes which surround the port of Co- 
lima on the shores of the South Sea, or the 
famous laguna del peflon bianco, between San 
Luis Potosi and Zacatecas. This lake was 
visited by M. Sonneschmidt. It is situated at 
the foot of a granite rock, on tfic slope of 
the Cordilleras ; and it dries Up every year in 
the month of December. It furnishes annually 
to the revenue nearly 250 thousand fnnegas 
«f impure or earthy salt, (sal tierra) which u 

• From «5 to 98 feet. Trant. 
f ld| or 23i inche*. Trans, 

82 



■i-i; 



.\ lO .1 u Ml 



f 



i\ 






1 



^60 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book rv. 

all sold to the amalgation works. On the 
spot even the price of a fanejsfa is half a 
piastre. The districts of mines of the inten- 
(lancy of Mexico, receive salt from the coast 
of Vok'n Cruz, and the springs of Chautla ; and 
at Tasco the muriate of soda of Vera Cruz, 
sells for four piastres the quintal. /-^ rf :. i . 

The muffistral is a mixture of pyritous copper, 
{kupferkies) and sulphuretted salt, roasted for 
some hours in a rever))erating oven, and slowly 
cooled. If it is roasted longer, it produces an 
acid sulphate of iron and copper, mixed with iron 
oxidated to the highest degree. Sometimes*, 
though seldom, the azogueros (the name given 
to the persons charged with the amalgamation) 
add to the pyrites, during their roasting muriate 
of soda ; so that there is formed sulphate of soda, 
and muriate of copper and iron. I have also seen 
vitriolic earths, or copperas, (tierras de tinta o de 
alcaparosa), which are ochreous earths containing 
fa*on oxidated to the maximum, and sulphate of 
Iron, mixed with the magistral. In the dis- 
trict of mines of Real de Moran, they employ 
in the preparation of the magistral, pyrites of 
copper of San Juan Sitacora, the carga of 
which is paid for at the rate of ten piastres. 
The lime is obtained by calcinating very pure 
limestone, and extinguishing it with water; 



* GarceSf p. 90. 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 261 



and very rarely alkaline ashes are substituted 
to calcinated liniC. 

By the contact of these different substances, 
namely; nioisieued metallick Hour, mercury, 
muriate of soda, sulphates of iron and copper, 
and lime, that the amalgamation of silver, in 
the process of cold amalgamation, (de patio y 
por cruto) takes place. They begin at first by 
mixing' salt with the metallick flour, and they 
stir (repassa) the paste (torta). According to 
the purity of the salt used, they give each quintal 
of schlich, a quantity which varies from two 
and a half to twenty four pounds. If the 
muriate of soda is of moderate purity, they 
take from three to four per cent. They call 
metales salinerosy those which are believed to 
require a great deal of salt, and in which the 
silver mineral is found in grains of considera- 
ble volume. They leave the mineral mixed 
with salt {metal ensalmorado) to repose for se- 
veral days, in order that the latter may dissolve 
and be equally distributed. If the azoguera 
judges the metals to be warm, (calientes) that 
is to say in a state of oxidation, and naiurally 
charged either with sulphates of iron and copper 
which rapidly decompose in the air, with 
muriate of silver, he adds lime to cool the mass ; 
and this operation is called curtir los metales 
con cal. But they use magistral, if the schlich 
appears too .cold (fnos), for example, if they 






462 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



proceed from minerals which display great mc- 
tallick luiitre ; if they contain sulphate of lead 
(netjrillos offaknadcs), or pyrites difficult to de- 
compose in the humid air; and this operation 
is called eurtir con magistral. They attribute 
to the sulphate of iron and copper, the property 
of heating the mass; and they only consider it 
as well prepared, when, moistened and held in 
the hand, it causes a sensation of heat. In this 
case, the sulphuric acid which is concentrated 
in the acid sulphate, attracts the water and com- 
bines with it in getting free from the caloric. 

We have described two processes of chemi- 
cal preparation of minerals, salting (el ensal- 
morar) and the manner of tanning (eurtir) with 
lime or magistral. After some days of repose, 
they begin to incorporate, (incorporar) that is to 
say to mix the mercury with the metallick flour. 
The quantity of mercury is determined by the 
quantity of silver which they think will be 
drawn from the minerals; and they generally 
employ in the incorporation, (en el incorporo) 
six times the quantity of mercury which the 
paste contains of silver. They allow from three 
to four pounds of mercury for a marc of silver; 
and with the merciiry or shortly afterwards, they 
add to the mass, magistral, according to the 
nature, or rather, to use only the barbarous 
language of the azogueros, according to th^ 
temperature of the minerals, segun los grades 



eiiAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 2615 



n\ 



(fe friaklad. They allow from one to seven 
pounds of inaj^istrul to each pound of mercnry ; 
and if tlie mercury assumes a lead colour {color 
4iplomado)f it is a mark that the paste is work- 
ing, or that the chemical action has hegmi. To 
favour this action, and to augment the contact 
of the substances, they repass (se da rcpasso) 
or stir the mass, either by causing about twenty 
horses or mules to run round for several hours, 
or by setting workmen to tread the schlich, who 
for whole days go about barefooted in this me- 
tallick mud. Every day the azoguero examines 
the state of the flour; and he makes the trial 
{la tentndura) in a small wooden trough {xicartt) 
that is to say, he washes a portion of schlich 
with water, and judges fVom the appearance of 
the mercury and the amalgam, if the mass is too 
cold or too warm. When the mercury takes au 
ash colour {en Us cenicienta) ; when a very fine 
grey powder is separated from it whic^h sticks 
to the fingers, they say the paste is too hot; 
and they cool it by the addition of lime. But 
if on the other hand, the inercury preserves a 
met^llick lustre ; i^f it remainsi white, and covered 
with a reddish or gilt pellicle {telilla roxiza o de 
tornasol morado ot an lis dorado); if it does not 
appear to act upon the mass, the amalgama- 
tion is then considered to be too cold^ and 
they endeavour to heiit it (calentar) by a mix- 
ture of magistral. : •' r ,. 



I 



I'-t; 



4 



Hit: 

li 



»ll 






I 



v,.i. 



20 1 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

III this manner, during the space of two, three, 
and even five months, the paste is balanced 
between the magistral and the lime; for the 
effects are very different according to the tem- 
perature of tlie atvnosphere, the nature of the 
minerals, and the motion given to the schlich. 
Do they imagine that the action is too strong, 
and that the muss is working too much? They 
allow it to repose : and in doing so do they 
* wish to, accelerate the amalgamation, and in- 
crease the heat ? They repeat oftener the 
repassos, sometimes employing men, and some- 
times mules. If the amalgamation is formed 
too quickly, and appears in the form of small 
globules, called pasillas or copos, they feed the 
paste {si ceha la torta), by again adding mercury 
with a little magistral, and sometimes with salt. 
When from the exterior characters, the azoguerc 
judges that the mercury has united with the 
whole silver contained in the minerals, and 
that the paste has yielded {ha rendido), the 
metallick muds are thrown into vats of wood 
or stone. Small mills provided with sails placed 
perpendicularly, turn round in these vats. These 
machines {tinas de cat y canto) which are parti- 
cularly well executed at Guanaxuato, have a 
resemblance to those established at Freiberg, 
to wash the remains of the amalgamation*. 

♦ Fragoso de Segueirat Description de Pamdlgamation de 
Freiberg f 1800, p. 36. 




CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN- 266 



The earthy and oxidated parts are carried away 
by tlie water, while the amalgam and the mer- 
cury remain in the bottom of the vat. Aa 
the force of the current carries away at the 
same time some globules of mercury, in the 
great works, poor Indian w^men are to be 
seen employed in gathering this metal from 
the water used in washing. They separate 
the amalgam collected at the bottom of the 
Unas del lavadero ii'om the mercury, by pressing 
it through sacks ; and they mould it into py- 
ramids which they cover with a reversed cru- 
cible in the shape of a bell. The silver is 
separated from the mercury by means of dis- 
tillation. In the process which I have been 
describing, they lose in general from eleven 
and twelve to fourteen ounces of mercury 
for each marc of silver which they extract^ 
that is to say, from lA) to 17^ kilogrammes of 
mercury, for a kilogramme of silver. In the 
process of amalgamation introduced into Saxony, 
by M. M. Gellert and Charpentier, the consump- 
tion of mercury is ^xf of a kilogramme per 
kilogramme of silver, or eight times less than 
the proportion used in Mexico*. 



* In an ordinary y^ar they amalgamate at the work of 
Halsbriicke, near Freiberg, from 58 to 60 thousand quintals 
of meagre minerals, which contain from seven to eight lots of 
silver per quintal (two lots are equal to one ounce). The 
waste of mercury in amalgamation properly so called (im an' 






266 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

\Vc have descTilicd the cold amalp^amation 
(por cnidoydc patio)^ without roasting the mine- 
ra]8, and hy expoHinp^ thcni in a court to the 
open air. Medina was only acquainted with 
the U8(; of salt, and sulphates of iron and cop* 
per ; but in 1586, fifteen years after his pro- 
cess was introduced into Peru, Carlos Corso de 
Leca, a peruvian miner* discovered the hcnefi- 
cio de hierro. He advised the mixture of small 
plates of iron with the luetallick flour, affirm^ 
ing that by this mixtiu'c mere than nine tenths 
of the mercury would be saved. This process, 
as we shall afterwards see, is founded on the 
decomposition of the muriate of silver by the 
iron, and on the attraction of this metal for 
the sulphur. It is now but very little followed 
by the Mexican azogueros. In 1590, Alonzo 
Barba proposed the hot amalgamation in cop- 
per vats. This process is called the beneficio 
de cazo 1/ cocimiento ; and it is that which was 



quicken J, and in washing the remains, is three quarters of. 
an ounce (or a lot and a quarter) per quintal of mineral. 
In the evaporation of the mercury fausglUhenJ, they waste ' 
a quarter of a lot of mercury, for a quantity of silver cor- 
responding to a quintal of mineral. Hence according to 
M. Heron de Villefosse, for every 60,000 quintals of mine- 
rals, they consume or destroy 25\ quintals of mercury, {Lam- 
j}a</ti»,B. ii. p. 178.) ^ 

* Carta de Don Juan Carbajal y Sandi presidente de la. 
real audiencia de la Plata, al excellentis, SeHor. Conde de 
ChinchoUf virey del Perut 1736, ,,u, i ,,■-;. i 



CHAP, ii.j KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 207 



proposed by M. Born, in 1780. The loss of mer- 
cury is much less by it than in the bent,' Ao 
porpatioy because the copper of the vessels serves 
to decompose the muriate of silver, while at the 
same time the heat favours the ojieration, either 
in rendering the action of the affinities more 
energetic, or in giving motion to the liquid 
ma.?s which enters into ebullition. This hot 
amalgamation is used in several of the mines 
of Mexico, which abound in horn-silver (art/ent- 
corn6) and colorados* Juan de Ordonez, whose 
work has been already quot d, even advised 
amalgamation by means of stoves. In 1076, 
Juan de Corroscgarra, discovered a process 
which is very much in use at present, called 
the benejicio de la pella de plata ; and in which 
silver already formed is added to the mercury 
of the amalgam. It is said, that this amalgam 
(pella) lavours the extraction of the silver, and 
that the loss of mercury is so much less, as 
the amalgam disseminates itself with greater 
difficulty into the mass. A fifth method is the 
beneficio de la colpa, in which instead of an 
artificial maffistral, which contains much more 
of the sulphate of copper, than the sulphat^^ of 
iron, they use colpa which is a natural mixture 
of acid sulphate of iron, and iron oxidated to 
the ift<mmttm. This beneficio de la colpuy ex- 
tolled by Don Lorenzo de la Torre, offers 
p?irt of the advantages whicli we have just 



A 



)'• 






ft f 






268 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



r 



pointed out in speaking of the amalgamation 
byiron. ...:♦ .. , ,s . • .. ,<.... .. ^.. . 

The process invented by the miner of Pa- 
chuca, is one of those chemical operations^ 
which for centuries have been practised with 
a certain degree of success, notwithstanding 
the persons who extract silver from minerals 
by means of mercury, have not the smallest 
acquaintance either of the nature of the sub- 
stances employed, or the particular mode of 
their action. The azogueros speak of a mass 
of minerals as of an organized body, of which 
they augment or diminish the natural heat. 
Like physicians who in ages of barbarism, di- 
vided all aliments and all remedies into two 
classes, hot and cold, the azogueros sor nothing 
in minerals, but substances which must be heated 
by sulphates if they are too cold, or cooled by 
alcalies if too warm. The custom which was 
already introduced in the time of Pliny, of 
rubbing metals with salt, before applying the 
amalgam of gold, has undoubtedly given rise 
to the use of muriate of soda in the process 
of Mexican amalgamation. This salt accord- 
ing to the accounts of the azogueroSy serves 
to clean (Umpiar, castrar) and to unskin (desen" 
zurronar) the silver, which is enveloped with 
sulphur, arsenic, and antimony^ as with a skm 
(telilla or capuz)f whose presence prevents the 
immediate contact of the silver with the mer- 
cury. The action of this last metal is ren- 



CHAP. XL] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 269 



dered more energetic by the sulphates with which 
the mass is heated; and it is even probable 
that Medina only employed simultaneously, 
the sulphate of iron and copper, and the muriate 
of soda, because he discovered in these first 
attempts, that salt was only favourable to the 
process in the minerals which contained de-^ 
composed pyrites. Without having" any clear 
idea of the action of the sulphates on the mu- 
riate of soda, he endeavoured to recompose {re- 
/aire) the minerals, that is to say to add ma- 
gistral to those which the miner considers as 
not vitriolic. 

Since the practice of amalgamation of silver 
minerals was introduced into Europe, and since 
the learned of every nation met at the metallurgic 
congress of Schemnitz*, the confused theory of 
Barba, and the Mexican azogueros, has been suc- 
ceeded by sounder ideas, better adapted to the pre- 
sent state of chemistry. It is supposed that the 
practice of Freiberg, where amass of roasted mi- 
,nerals is amalgamated in a very few hours, will be 
gradually introduced into the Mexican amalga- 
mation, where the minerals are generally not 
roasted, and where they remain exposed in 
the open air to the sun and the rain for se- 
veral months. It is believed that in the moist- 
ened mixture of silver minerals, mercury, salt, 



ttm: 



■il 



• Properly Szkleno or Gleshutte, near Schemnltz. 



270 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [aooic iv. 

lime, and magistral, this last, which is an acid 
sulphate of iron and copper, decomposes the 
muriate of soda; that it is formed of sulphate 
of soda, and muriate of silver, and that the 
muriate of silver is decomposed by the mer- 
cury, which unites to the disoxidated silver. 
It is admitted that the lime or the potash, are 
added to prevent the superabundant sulphuric 
acid from acting on the mercury. According to 
this explanation, the silver which is found in its 
mineral in the metallic state, though uni- 
ted with sulphur, antimony, iron% copper, zincf, 
arsenic;|;, and lead§, passes into the state of 
muriate before combining with the mercury. 

M. Garcesll a Mexican author, whom we have 
frequently had occasion to quote, thinks on the 
other hand, that no mmiate of silver is formed 
in the process of amalgamation. He supposes 
that muriatic acid only combines with metals 
which are found united with silver : that water 
carries off the soluble muriates of iron and 
copper, and that silver freed from these me- 
tallick substances, combines freely with the 



* In prismatic black silver. Klaprath*s Beitrage, T. i. 
p. 166. Bergbaukunde B. i. p. 239. 

f In Jithhre, ftieissgultigerz and graugiihigerx, Klaproth^ 
T. iv. p.61. 

X In fahlore or argentiferous grey copper. 

§ In weisgiiltigerz. 

II Teoricadel Beneficio,^>ll^^ll6» 



CHAP. XI.1 KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 271 



mercury. But this explanation, apparently very 
simple, is contrary to the laws of affinity. If 
muriatic acid disengaged by the action of sul- 
phates on the muriate of soda, were to act on 
any silver mineral whatever, for example, on 
the ore of prismatic black silver, which con- 
tains silver, iron, antimony, sulphur, copper, and 
arsenic, muriate of silver would necessarily be 
formed whenever the acid should have exhausted 
the other metals. The theory of M. Garces 
is equally inapplicable to the amalgamation of 
sulphuretted silver minerals, which are abundantly 
spread throughout the most part of the veins 
of Mexico. 

Without entering in this work into any pro- 
found discussion of the phenomena, presented 
by the contact of so many heterogeneous sub- 
stances; and without resolving the important 
question, whether cold amalgamation can be 
carried on without salt and without magistral, 
I shall confine myself to the mention of se- 
veral experiments made by M. Gay Lussac, 
and myself, which may tend to throw some 
lia^iit on Mexican amaloramation. 

It is not true that the mixture of sulphur, 
entirely prevents the silver from uniting with 
the mercury, and that a sulphur of silver only 
gives cold amalgam, in adding muriate of soda 
and sulfate of iron : we observed on the con- 
trary, that on thiturating mercury and artificial 



I 



.. if 
' .,/ f 



111 



«72 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE Cbook iv. 

sulphur of silver, the mercury is quickly ex- 
tinguished, and that a small quantity of silver 
is obtained by the distillation of the amalgam. 
We mixed mercury with ore of vitreous 
silver reduced to powder; and after a contact 
of 48 hours, there was formed a small quan- 
tity of silver amalgam. In this experiment 
and in the following, we acted on two or three 
grammes* of mineral, the temperature of the 
air being from ten to twelve centigrade degreesf, 
and the mixtures having been slightly moistened. 
On imitating the amalgamation de patio used 
in Mexico, and mixing in a cold state sulphur 
of natural silver, sulphate of iron, muriate of 
soda and lime, we did not find a vestige of 
muriate of silver, although the mixture remain- 
ed in contact for a week; but we obtained 
it when the mass was exposed for some hours 
io an artificial temperature of from 30° to 34® 
centigradej. In the warm regions of New 
Spain, the tort€is exposed to the sun become the 
most heated, and it is observed that the amal- 
gamation takes place a great deal slower on 
the table lands, where the thermometer de- 
scends to the freezing point, than in the deep 
vallies, and in the plains in the vicinity of the 
coast. It is probable that the muriate of silver 

- ♦30 or 45 Englisli grains. Trans* 

\ From 50° to 53° Fahr. Trans. 
X From 86« to 93° Fahr. Trans, 



CHAP. XL] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 27;> 



which is promptly formed at a temperature 
of 34*", would form in a long space of time at 
a much lower temperature. 

By mixing muriate of soda, sulphate of iron, 

and mercury in a cold state we obtain muriate 

of mercury ; and this muriate is also obtained 

when we triturate mercury with muriate of 

artificial silver. We may easily believe that 

in the process of amalgamation on a great 

scale, a part of the mercury is converted into 

muriate by two distinct ways, viz. by the 

decomposition of the muriate of silver, and by 

the immediate action of magistral and salt 

employed in too great abundance. The lime 

which remedies the latter mode of action does 

not carry off in a cold state the sulphur from 

the silver ; for on mixing sulphur of native 

silver with lime, sulphur of lime is not formed, 

though the mixture has been triturated for 

several days. The lime opposes in a very 

remarkable manner, the combination of silver 

with mercury. We observe that the latter is 

extinguished with difficulty, when we triturate 

a mixture of lime, sulphur of silver and mercury. 

In the same manner on forming a paste of silver 

mineral, salt, magistral, and mercury, and tri- 

turating the schlich till the mercury becomes 

invisible, we see this last metal separate from 

the metallick flour, and unite in considerable 

masses whenever lime is added. Globules of 

VOL. III. "^ 






274 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [loox iv. 

mercury, which gradually increase in size, 
appear wherever the molecules of lime have 
touched the mixture ; and it is from this par- 
ticular action of the lime, that the azogneros 
assert it cools the mercury, or prevents the paste 
irovd working, '^ v *> 

The muriatic acid, disengaged from the 
muriate of soda by the sulphate of iron, attacks 
the silver, although the latter is found in its 
mineral in the metallic state. On treating 
vitreous silver with muriatic acid, we obtain 
muriate of silver in abundance ; and on pour- 
ing the same acid on sulphur of natural silver 
it disengages itself from the sulphuretted hy- 
drogen. M; Proust observed whait the piastres 
which fell to the bottom of the sea, at the time 
of the memorable shipwreck of the San Pedro 
Alcantara, were covered in a short space of 
time with a cruett of muriate of silver of half 
a millimetre^ in thickness; and I made the 
same observation during my stay in Peru at 
the time of the shipwreck of the frigate Santa 
Leocadia on the South Sea coast near Cape 
Saint Helen. M^ Pallas affirmsf that on the 
banks of the Jaik in Siberia, old. Tartar coins 
have been found converted into muriate of 
silver by the contact of an earth wliich ift 
impregnated with muriate of soda. All these 

* .0196 of an inch. Trans. 
f Nordische Beitriige, B. ill. p. 64 



criAP. *i.] KIl^toOM or i^EW SI»Am. 275 



facts tend to j!)rove that in many circuittdtances, 
ihurifitic kc'id acts upon metallic silver. ** ' '* 

M. Gay-Iiussac and myself succeeded com- 
pletely in imitating on a small scale the benefirio 
de hieri'Oy a*n ^^^hious p^'ocess known in Pertt 
' since the end of the sixteenth century, and 
introduced by M. Gellert into Saxony. We 
percerred that on mixing in a cold stat^, 
sulphur of natural silver, salt, magistral f lime 
and mercury, the aiA'algam forms in greater 
abundance When we added to the paste filings 
of iron, th this case the iron not only serves 
to decompose the muriate of silver, as in the 
process of amalgamation of Freiberg, but also 
to separate the sulphur from the mineralised 
silver. Leaving iti contact for 24 hours sul» 
phuretted silver and filings of iron, the silver 
was put into such a naked state that we 
obtained in a few niiniites a considierable quan- 
tity of silver amalgam. If we pour muriatic 
abid on the mixture, infinitely more sulphuretted 
hydrogen is disengaged than we obtain on treat- 
ing acid sulphuretted silver alone. It is pro- 
bable thslt the oxide of iron at the maximum t 
which is found in the colcrados or pacos, and in 
mineral mixed with decomposed pyrites, acts 
in a manner analogous to the filings of iron. 

The enoilnoiil^ waste of rtiercury which we 
observe in th^ American process of amalgama- 
tion j^roi^eeds frbnr seVeral causes which act 

T 2 



r.» 






i 






m 



*!( 



m 



27(J POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [■•<>« «▼. 

simultaneously. If in the process por patio all 
the silver extracted was owing to a decomposi- 
tion of muriate of silver by mercury, there 
would be lost a quantity of mercury which 
would be to that of the silver in the muriate 
nearly as 4 : 7. 6 ; for this proportion is that 
of the respective oxidations of the two metals. 
Another and perhaps the most considerable 
part of the mercury is lost, because it remains 
disseminated in an immense mass of moistened 
schlich, and because this division of the metal 
is so great, that the most careful washing is not 
sufficient to unite the molecules concealed in 
the remains. A third cause of the loss of the 
mercmy i.;iust be sought for in its contact with 
the salt water, in its exposure to the open air 
and the rays of the sun for the space of three, 
four and even five months. These masses of 
mercury and schlich which contain a great 
number of heterogeneous metallic substances, 
moistened by saline solutions, are composed of 
an infinite number of small galvanic piles, of 
which the slow but prolonged action is favour- 
able to the oxidation of the mercury, and the 
action of chemical affinities. ui » . ^ 

The result of the whole of these researches 
was, that the use of fire would sensibly improve 
the process of amalgamation. If the minerals 
treated, were only vitreous silver, filings of iron , 
alone would be perhaps sufficient to render the 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 2t7 



silver naked, and separate it fi om the sulphur 
which retards the union of the silver with the 
mercury. But as in all the other silver 
minerals there are besides sulphur different 
metals combined with the silver, the simul- 
taneous employment of muriate of soda and 
sulphates of copper and iron, becomes necessary 
to favour the disengagfement of the muriatic 
acid which combines with the copper, iron, 
antimony, lead, and silver. The muriates of 
iron, copper, zinc, and arsenic, and even that 
of lead remain dissolved; and the muriate of 
silver which is completely insoluble is decom- 
posed by contact with the mercury. 

It has been long proposed to cover the sur- 
face on which the pastes repose with plates 
of iron and copper instead of flags ; and it has 
been endeavoured to stir (repassar) the mass 
by working it with ploughs of which the share 
and coulter should be made of the metals 
which we have been mentioning ; but the mules 
suflered too much from this work, the schlich 
forming a thick and by no means ductile paste. 
The custom of treading the schlich by mules 
instead of men was only introduced into Mexico 
in the year 1783. Don Juan Comejo brought 
from Peru the idea of this process ; and the 
government granted him a privilege for it, 
which he did not long enjoy, and which only 
brought him in the sum of 300,000 livres tour- 



I 



9 



m 



VS P0I4TICAI. ESSiVy QN THE [bck)^ iv. 

nois'fy a very moderate sum when we coniii^er 
that the expences of amalgamation have been 
more than a fourth diminished ^ince it has 
been no longer necessary to emplpy the great 
number of workmen who trod barefooted on 
heaps of metallic flour. 

The amalgamation such as we have described 
it) serves to extract all the silver from the 
minerals which haye been treated by mercury, 
provided ^he qzoifuero b^ experienced* and 
thoroughly know ^h^ aspect or exterior charac- 
ters of the mercury, by wh.ich to judge if the 
paste is in want of lin^e oi^ sulphate of iron. At 
Guanaxuato where this operation is best managed, 
miuei^als are successfully amalgamated which 
contain only tljiree fo\;u;'ths of an ovmce of silver 
per qui;i;ii,tial. M. Sonnesch^idt found only ^V of 
an oui\c,e of silver ini;emai^sof amalgamation 
proceediing from minerals, of which the quij^«- 
talf contained from five to si;x marcs of sili^er« 
In the works of RegUi the, schljtch frequi^ntly 
updergo washing before ijt^ercury ha& exi^racte4 
all the sijiver in the paste ; and it i|S believed at 
Mexico l^hat the father of i)^ presient propri(^t9r 
of thfB %nous ix^iiie of B^scfajlna t^i;e\v. witl^ 
tl^e remaips an. enprmous ma^, of silver ipp^ 
the river. . 



* jei2,6«0 Sterling. Trans. 
t Sonnesckmidt, Miner. Beschreibung der Bergwerkt' 
Reviere, p. 103. 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 279 

The process discovered by Medina possesses 
the great advantage of simplicity : it requires 
no construction of edifices, no combustibles, no 
machines, and almost no impelling force. With 
mercury and a few mules to move the arastraa, 
we may by means of amalgamation por patio 
extract the silver from all the meagre minerals 
near the pit from which they are taken in the 
midst of a desert, provided, the surface be 
sufficiently smooth to admit of the establish- 
ment of the tortas ; but this same process has 
also the great disadvantage of being si w 
and causing an enormous waste of mercury. 
As the mercury is divided in an extreme degree, 
and thousands of quintals of minerals are 
wrought at a time, it is impossible to collect 
the oxide afid muriate of mercury which are 
carried away by the water in washing. In the 
method of amalgamation followed in Europe which 
we owe to the learned researches of M. M. Bom, 
Rupreoht, Gellert, and Charpentier, the silver 
is extracted in the space of 24 hours. They 
employ from sixty to one hundred and fifty 
times less time than in the Spanish colonies, 
and consume as we have already said eight 
times less mercuiy. But how is there a possibi* 
lity of inti<oducing into Mexico or j^eni, the 
pi^oces^ of Freiberg, whidh \i founded on the 
roasting of the minerals, and the giratory motion 
of the tubs ? At Freiberg sixty thousand quintals 



A 






W^ 



m 






wH 



«80 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [aaoic ir. 

of minerals are annually amalgamated ; but in 
New Spain the quantity is nearly ten millons 
of quintals ; and how is it possible to contain 
this enormous mass of minerals in tubs. How 
can we find sufficient power to turn a million 
of these casks or tubs ?* How shall we work 
the minerals of a country which wants com- 
bustibles, and where the mines are on table 
lands destitute of forests ? 
' After treating of the amalgamation in use in 
America, it remains for us to touch upon a very 
important problem, that of the quantity of 
mercury annually required by the mines of 
New Spain. Mexico and Peru depend very 
much upon the abundance and low price 
of the mercury for the quantity of silver 
which they produce. When the mercury 
fails them, which happens often in periods of 
maritime war, the mines are not so briskly 
worked ; and the mineral accumulates in their 
hands without their being able to extract the 
silver from it. Rich proprietors, who possess 
in their magazines minerals to the amount of 
two or three millions of francs, are frequently 
in want of the necessary money to make head 

* It would undoubtedly require a million c|f casks to 
receive at once the 17 quintals of minerals; but supposing 
that we could amalgamate as rapidly as in Saxony, 3330 
tubs would be sufficient to supply the place of the beneficio 
(iff/ jMi<to of all Mexico. 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 281 

ag^ainst the daily expenses of their mines. On 
the other hand the more mercury is wanted in 
Spanish America, either on account of th 
flourishing state of the mines, or the proce.% 
of amalgamation followed there, the more the 
price of this metal rises in Europe. The small 
number of countries which nature has supplied 
with it, Spain, the department of Mont-Ton- 
nerre, Carniola, and Transilvania, gain by this 
rise; but the districts of silver mines in 
which the process of amalgamation is the 
more desirable, as they are in want of the 
necessary combustibles for smelting, feel very 
disadvantageously the effect of the great im- 
portations of mercury into America. 

New Spain consumes annually 16,000 quin- 
tals of mercury*. The court of Madrid having 
reserved to itself the exclusive right of selling 
mercury, both Spanish and foreign, entered in 
1784, into a contract with the Emperor of 
Austria, by which the latter was to furnish 
mercury at a price of 52 piastres. The court 
sends annually in time of peace by vessels 
of the Royal Navy, sometimes 9000, and some- 
times 24,000 quintals. In 1803, a very useful 
project was formed of supplying Mexico for 
several years, in order that in the unforeseen 
case of a war, the amalgamation should not be 



i 



I 






q 
I 




i' 



* 2,100,312 lb. troy. Trans, 



282 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book it. 

impeded by the want of mercury ; but this pro- 
ject (del repuesto) shared the fate of so many 
others which have never been executed. Before 
1770, when the working of mines was far from 
being so considerable as at present, New Spain 
received no other mercury but that of Alma- 
den and Huancavelica. The German mercury 
furnished by the Austrian government, of which 
the greatest part is from Idria, was only intro- 
duced into Mexico after the falling in of the 
subterraneous works of Huancavelica, at a time 
when the mine of Almaden was inundated 
in the greatest part of its works*, and yielded 
only a very inconsiderable produce. But in 
1800 and 1802, this last mine was again in 
such a flourishing state, that it could alone have 
furnished more than 20,000 quintals of mercury 
per annum, and there were sufficient grounds 
to conceive the hope of not having any neces- 
sity of recurring to German mercury, for sup- 
plying Mexico and Peru. There have been 
years, when ten or twelve thousand (|iiintals 
of this last mevcury, have been imported at 
Vera Cruz. Upon the whole, from 1762 to 
1781^ the amalgamation works of New Spain, 
destroyed the enormous sum of 191,405 quin- 



* For these mines, and those of Almadenejos, see the 
interesting researches of M. Coquebert de Montbret, a 
the Journal des Mines, No. 17> p< S96. 



€KAf. yi.] KINGDOM OF NEW £|PAIN. ^83 

tals^y of which the value ui America amounted 
to more than 60 millions of livres tournoisf. 

When the price of mercury has pro^essively 
lowered, the working of the mines has gone 
on increasing. In 1590, under the Viceroy 
Don Luis de Velasco II., a quintal of mercury 
was sold in Mexico for 187 piastres. But in 
the 18th century, the value of this i^et^l had 
diminished to such a degree, that in 1750, the 
court distributed it to the miners at 82 pias- 
tres. Between 1767 and 1776, its price was 
62 piastres the quintal. In 1777, under the 
administration of the Minister Galvez, a royal 
decree l^xed the pi'ice of the mercury of Alma- 
den at 41 piastres, two reals, and that of Ger- 
many at 63, piastres. At Guanaxnato, these 
two sorts of merci^ry are increased by the ex- 
pensive carriage on^ 4e backs of mules, from 
2 to 2\ piastres pei? quintal, ^h^ kiijig gains 
on the. mercury of l^i», on a«ccount of the 
di&rence oi the wei^t used: in Gj^rmany and 
in Mexico, 23 per cent; so that a* wise poll-* 
tioian ought to engage the mother country to 
selL it at a cheaper ra^- Ac<;oFding< to ^n old 
custom, the miners. q£ certain distd'icts of mine«f, 
for example, tJiQse of Guan^xuato and Za^car 
tecas, are allowed tp pufch^ise two thirds oi 



\ -^ik 









'•«l< 



U\ 



Am 



* 25,124,200 lb. Troy. Tram- 
1 «.2ylpO,000 Sterling. 



284 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

Spanish mercury, and only one third of Ger- 
man mercury. Other districts are forced to 
take more of the mercury of Idria, than that 
of Almaden. As the former is the dearest, 
there is a repug;nance to taking it, and the 
miners affect to consider it as impure. * 

The impartial distribution of mercury (el re- 
partimiento del azogue) is of the greatest conse- 
quence for the prosperity of the mines of New 
Spain. So long as this branch of commerce 
shall not be free, the distribution should be en- 
trusted to the Tribunal de Mineria, which is 
alone in a condition to judge of the number 
of quintals, indispensably necessary to the amal- 
gamation works of the different districts. Un- 
fortunately, however, the viceroys and those per- 
sons who are about them, are jealous of the 
right of administering themselves this branch 
of the royal revenue. They know very well 
that to distribute mercury, and especially that 
of Almaden, which is one third cheaper than 
that of Idria, is conceding a favour; and in 
the colonies as every where else, it isprofit- 
able to favour the richest and most powerful 
individuals. From this state of things, the 
poorest miners, those of Tasco, Temascaltepec, 
or Copala, cannot procure mercury, when the 
great works of Guanaxuato and Real del Monte 
have it in abundance. 
The general superintendence of the mines in 



CHAP. XL] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 285 

Spain, is charged with the sale of the mer- 
cury in the colonies of America. The minis- 
ter Don Antonio Valdes, conceived the whim- 
sical and audacious project of regulating him- 
self from Madrid, the distribution of mercury 
among the different mines of Mexico. For 
this purpose, he ordered the viceroy in 1789, to 
draw up statistical tables of all the mines of New 
Spain, and to send to Europe specimens of the 
veins which were worked. The impossibility of 
executing the order of the Minister was felt in 
Mexico; not a single specimen was ever sent 
to Madrid; and the distribution of the mer- 
cury remained as formerly entrusted to the 
viceroy of New Spain. ,^ , . ; , 

The following table* proves the influence 
of the price of mercury on its consumption. 
The diminution of this price, and the free- 
dom of trade with all the ports of Spain, haye 
«ill contributed to the progress of mining. 



"■■a 



Periods. 


Price of a 

quintal of 

mercury. 


Total con- 
sumption of 
mercury. 


1762—1766 
1767—1771 
1772—1777 
1778—1782 


82 nasires 

62 

62 

41 


b5750 quintals 

42000 

53000 ) 

59000 



* Influxo del precio del azogue sobre su consumo, per 
Don Antonio del Campo Marin. (M. S.) 



t86 POLITICAL ESSAY ON tHE [fcod« i*. 

' It was known in Mexico in 1782^ that 
China possesses mercury mines; and it 
was imagined that nearly 15,000 qiAritals 
might be annually drawn from Cantoi^. The 
Viceroy Galvez sent there a cargo of beaver 
fars by Way of exchange foi the mfercuty ; 
but this project howeveif wise in it^df V^as 
very badly executed. The Chinese inercury 
obtaineii from Canton and Manilla was im- 
pure and contained a great d^al of lead; and 
it« price amounted to 80 piastres the quin- 
tdL And yet a very siMll^ quantity could be 
procured at this pfic6. Since 1703, that itt^- 
portsint object has been totally loiit sight of; 
and yet it would be of importance again to 
atteiid to it) e^pedally at a time when the 
M<e^icans experieil«fe gt^ikt difficulty in procu- 
ring mercury frottir the Continent of Europe; 

From all the researches which I could make, 
the whole of Spanish America, naiiiely, Mexico^ 
Peru,. Chili, and the Kingdom of Buenos Ayres, 
(for elsewhere the process of amalgamation i!* 
unknown) annually consume more than 25,000 
quintals of mercury of which the price iii the 
Colonies amounts to more than 6,200,000 li vres*'. 
M. Heron de Villefosse, in an interesting table 
which contains the quantity of each mfetal 
wrought over the whole globe, estimates the 
mercury annually drawn from ike mines of 

♦ ^6240,800 Sterling. Trans. 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 287 

Europe, at 36,000 qnintals. Hence, ^oing" oii 
this dftta, we find that mercury is after cobalt 
the rarest of all metals, and that it is even 
twice as rare as tin. '''•'* ^ '• * •' '-''' 

What is the quantity of gold and silver ac- 
tually produced by the mines of New Spain ? 
And w4iat are the treasures which since the 
discoveiy of America, the commerce of Mexico 
has poured into Europe and Asia. The de* 
tails which I procured during^ my stay in the 
Spanish Colonies, from the re^sters of the 
mints of Mexico, Lima, Santa Fe, and Popayan, 
have enabled me to give more exact infor- 
maition with regard to the produce of the 
mines, than any which- has hitherto been pub- 
lished. Part of the results of the fruit« of 
my researches, have been already published in 
the works* of M. M. Bourgoing, Brongniart, 
Laborde, and Heron de Y illefosse, to whom 1 
waii eager to make such communication im- 
mediately after my return to Europe. 

The quantity of silver anfinually extracted 
from the mines of New Spain, as we have 
already seen^ does not depend so much on the 
abundance and intrinsic riches of the mine- 

* Bour^oingi Tableau de TEspagne moderne, 4° edit* 
T. it. [k 215. Brongniart, Tratke de Mineraiogie, T. ii. 
p. 351. Laborde, Itineraire de I'Espagne, V^ e6.\ T. iv. 
p. 383 & 504. Heron de ViUe/istef de la richesse mincrale. 
T.i. p. 249— 256; 



ii 






■*ki 









L 

""111 

«r1 



I 



f 



288 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE L«ooK w. 

rals, as on the facility with which the miners 
procure the mercury necessary for amalgama- 
tion. We are not therefore to be surprized 
that the number of marcs of silver converted 
into piastres, at the mint of Mexico varies 
very iiTegularly. When from the effect of 
a maritime war or some other accident, the 
mercury has failed for a year, and the follow- 
ing year it has arrived in abundance, in that 
case, a very considerable produce of silver suc- 
ceeds to a very limited fabrication of money. 
In Saxony, where the small quantity of mer- 
cury which is wanted for the process of amal- 
gamation, is procured with sufficient facility, 
the produce of the mine;s of Freiberg is so 
admirably equal, that from 1793 to 1799, it 
was never below 48,300, and never above 
50,700 marcs of silver. In that country, the 
great droughts which prevent the going of 
the hydraulical wheels, and the water from 
being drawn off, have the same influence on 
the quantity of silver delivered into the mint, 
as the scarcity of mercury in America. . ;,,.,'_ 
Prom 1777 to 1803, the quantity of silver 
annually extracted from the Mexican minerals, 
has almost constantly been above two millions 
of marcs of silver*, and from 1796 to 1799, 
it was 2,700,000 marcsfj while from 1800 to 

* 1,312,633 lb. troy. Trans, 
t 1,772,053 lb. troy. Tram, 



«HA». XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 9^ 

1802, it remained below 2,100,000 marts*. It 
would be unjust to conclude fiwn thesei data, 
that the mining operations in Mexico have 
not been so flourishing latterly. In 1801, the 
gold and silver olStained amounted only to 
16,568,000 piastresf ; while in 1803, the coin- 
age again amounted on account of the abundance 
of mercury, to 23,166,906 piastres];. » ' '^^ i"> 

Abstracting the influence of accidental cauies, 
we And that the mines and washing of Kew 
Spain, actually produce on an average 7000 
marcs of gold§, and 2,500,000 marcs of silverf,, 
of which the mean value amounts altogether 
to 22 millions of double piastres^. -S t -• 

About twenty years ago, this produce was 
only from ten to sixteen, and thirty years ago, 
from elevea to twelve millions of piastres. In 
the beginning of the eighteenth century, itte 
quantity of gold and silver coined at Mexico 
was only from Ave to six millions. The enor- 
mous increase in the produce of the min^s 
observaMe in latter years, ouglit to be attri- 
buted to a great number of causes, all acting 
aJt the same time, and among which th% tot 

♦ l,378i264lb. troy. Tram. 
• , t 1^3,479,280 Sterling. Trmr. 
t 1^4,865,050 Sterling. Tram. 
§ 4593 lb. troy. Tram, 
H 1,640,000 Ibrtroy. Trant. 
f . If 4f620,Q00 Stediog. Trmu 

vol.. III. u 



i 



'^i 



It 



ll^llll 



11 






^290 POUTICAL ESSAY ON THE [book it. 

place must be attributed to the increase of 
population on the table land of Mexico, the 
progress of knowledge and national industry, 
the freedom of trade conceded to America in 
.1778, the facility of procuring at a cheaper 
rate the iron and steel necessary for the mines, 
.the fall in the price of mercury, the discovery 
of the mines of Catorce and Valenciana, and 
the establishment of the Tribunal de Mirieria. 

The two years in which the produce of gold 
and silver attained its maximum, were 1796 
and 1797. In the former, there was coined 
at the mint of Mexico, 25,644,000 piastres; 
and in the latter, 25,080,000 piastres. To judge 
of the effect produced by the freedom of trade, 
or rather from the cessation of the monopoly 
of the galleons, we have merely to remember 
>hat the value of the gold and silver coined 
at Mexico, was from 1766 to 1778, 191,589,179 
piastres, and from 1779 to 1791, 252,525,412 
piastres; so that from 1778, the increase has 
.been more than a fourth part of the total produce. 

We find in the archives of the mint of 
Mexico, very accurate accounts of the quan- 
' «ty of gold and silver coined since 1690, from 
which I have framed the two following ta- 
bles: the first indicates the value of the gold 
and silver expressed ip double piastres, and 
the second exhibits the quantity of marcs of 
silver given in to the mint, and converted into 
piastres. , , 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 291 

TABLE I. 



Gold and silver extracted from the mines of 
Mexico, and coined at Mexico, from 1690 to 
1803. 



« 

A 

4690 
\69] 
1692 
1693 
1691 
1695 
l(i96 
1697 

:6?s 

1699 



noi 

1702 
I70.'> 
1704 
1703 
171)6 
1707 
1708 
170915 



Value 

ill 

piettres. 



,285 580 
6,213,709 
5,252,729 
9,802 378 

840,529 
4,001,293 

190,618 
4,459 94 
3,319,765 

504,78 



I 



379, 122 

019,093 

.022 an) 

079,954 

,62" 02 

,747,175 

,172,037 

.735.032 

,73.-),601 

,214.143 



1710 6,710 587 
1711 '5,666 085 

1712 6,(113,425 

1713 6,487,872 

1714 6,220,822 
1715,6,368 918 
!716'6,496,288 
1717 6,750,734 
17I«|7,I73,.590 
ni9'7,'258,706 



1720 
1721 
1722 
1723 
1724 
1725 
1726 
1727 
1728 
1729 



1730 
1731 
1732 
1733 
173; 
17,35 
17.36 
17.37 
1738 
1739 



1740 
1741 
1742 
1743 
1744 
1745 
1746 
1747 
1746 
1749 



Value 

in 

piA'itreR. 



7 874,323 
9,460,734 
8,824,432 
8,107,348 
7.872,822 
7,370,815 
8,466,146 
8,133,088 
9,228,545 
8,814.970 



9,745,870 
8,439,871 
8,726,465 

10,009,795 
8 506,553 
7,922,001 

11,016,000 
8.122,140 
9.490,250 
8,550,785 



9,556,040 
8 663,000 
16,677,000 
9,384,«00 
10,285,000 
10,327,500 
11,509 000 
12,002.000 
11,628,000 
11,823,500 






1 7.iO 
1751 
1752 
17.53 
1754 
1755 
1756 
1757 
1758 
|759 

r760 
1761 
762 
1763 
1764 
1765 
1766 
176 
1768 
1769 

177"0 
1771 

772 
1773 
1774 
1775 
1776 
1777 
1778 

779 



Value 
in 

p'nstrps. 



13,209,000 

12,631,000 

13,627,500 

1 1 ,594,00( 

11,594,000 

12,486.500 

12,999,500 

12,529,000 

12,757,594 

13.022,000 






11,968,000 
11,731,000 
10,114,492 
11,775,041 
9,792.575 
'.1,604,845 
11,210,050 
10,415,116 
12,278,9.57 
1 1 ,938,784 



13,926,320 
13,803,196 
16,971,857 
18 932,766 
12,892,074 
14,245 286 
16,463,28? 
21,6C0,02(' 
16,911,46? 
19,435,457 



1780 
1781 
1782 
1783 
ITM 
1'fB3 
1786 
1787 
1788 
1789 



V aUie 

ill 

piastres. 



.790 
1791 
1792 
1793 
1794 
1795 
1796 



17,514,263 

20,335.812 

17,581,490 

23,716,65 

21,037,37 

18,575,208 

17,957,104 

16,110,340 

20,146,365 

21.229.911 



18,063,688 
21,121,713 
24,195,041 
24,312,942 
22 011.031 
24,593,481 
25,644,.5f)r 
1797i25,0S0,()as 
1798 24,004,589 
1799.22,0.53,125 



1800 18,665,674 

1801 16,563,000 

1802 18,798,600 

1803 23,166,90ii 



Totil oFsroH anH si'vprfrom 1690 to 1803 1 3."»3, 452.020 piastres*. 

■ ■ ■ " I Ml ii r 



ieSSi^SS^yOS^ Sterling. Trans. 



1 'ji.<l'iLij 



I 



'II,:. 



^■\i 



i 

••lit 



li*r' 



111 






»<4 



1, 



V % 



«02 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [iook iv. 

TABLE 11. 

io \ Silver drawn from the mines of Mexico from 

Qt\jQZi rnoA ,o 1690 to 1800. Lat .oniz:.!/* 



^»/*v . 



1690 


Marcs 

of 
silver. 

621,835 


s 


4 


> 

« 

D 




1730 


Marcs 

of 
silver. 


i 

i 

c 




T 

m 
-J 






Mures 
of 

silver. 


i 

u 

a 
s 

O 
5 


6 

6 


1,146,573 


1770 


1,638,391 


1 


7,'U,024 


5 


2 


1 


992,926 








1 


1,506,255 


2 


2 


2 


629,131 


6 


7 


2 


1,0''^6,642 








2 


1,996,689 


1 


1 


3 


329,691 


4 


6 


■ 3 


1,177,623 








3 


2,227,442 


6 


1 


4 


687,121 


1 





4 


1,000,771 








4 


1,516,714 


5 


5 


5 


470,740 


3 


2 


5 


932,001 


1 


6 


5 


1,675,916 





7 


6 


375,366 


7 


3 


6 


1,296,000 








6 


1,936,856 


6 


2 


7 


524,691) 


5 


6 


7 


955,545 


7 


2 


7 


2,428,61:3 


4 


1 


8 


390,560 


5 


4 


8 


1,116,500 








8 


2,334,765 


7 


2 


9 


412,327 


7 


1 


9 
1740 


1,005,963 








9 
1780 


2,199,548 


6 


6 


1700 


397,543 


6 


1,124,240 








1.994,073 


4 


i 


473,834 


4 


5 


1 


1.01 6,96^ 








1 


2,311,06t 


3 





2 


590,900 





1 


2 


962,000 








2 


2,014,545 


1 


1 


3 


715,206 


3 





3 


1,014,000 








3 


2,709,167 





3 


4 


685,532 


5 


1 


4 


1,210^0 








4 


2,402,965 


7 


7 


5 


558,491 


2 


2 


5 


1,215,000 








5 


2,111,263 


7 





6 


726,122 





5 


6 


1,354,000 








6 


1,978,844 


5 


6 


7 


674,709 


2 


5 


7 


1,412,000 








7 


1,819,141 


1 


J 


8 


675,012 


'7 


6 


8 


1,368,000 








8 


2,293,555 


5 


3 


9 


613,428 


4 
T 


7 
3 


9 
1750 


1,391,000 








9 


2,415,821 


2 


1 


I7I0 


789,480 


l..M«,000 








1790 


2,045,951 


6 


6 


1 


666,598 


2 


4 


1 


1,486.000 








I 


2,363,867 


5 


3 


2 


783,932 


3 


2 


3 


1,603,000 








2 


2,724,105 


3 


6 


3 


763,279 





5 


3 


1,364,000 








3 


2,747,746 


4 


3 


4 


731,861 


4 


1 


4 


1,364,000 








4 


2,488,304 


1 





5 


749,284 


4 


1 


5 


1,469,000 








5 


2,808,380 


1 





6 


767.969 


1 


6 


6 


1,447,000 








6 


2,854,072 


6 


4 


7 


794,204 





5 


7 


1,474,000 








7 


2,818.248 


4 


4 


8 


843,951 


6 


3 


8 


1,500,893 


3 


4 


8 


2,697,038 


2 


2 


9 
1720 


853,963 


4 





9 


1,532,000 










9 


2,473.542 


2 


7 

1 


9i36,390 


7 


6 


1760 


1,408,000 





1800 


2,098,712 


5 


1 


1,113,027 


4 


7 


1 


1,386,000 
















2 


1,038,109 


5 


7 


8 


1,189,940 


2 


3 










3 


953,805 


5 


5 


3 


1,385,298 


7 


4 










4 


926,214 


3 


3 


4 


1,152,063 


5 


6 










5 


867,037 


1 


2 


5 


1,365,275 


7 


7 










6 


996.017 


1 


6 


6 


1,318,829 


4 


1 










7 


956,833 


7 


7 


7 


1,225,307 


6 


2 










8 


1,085,711 


1 


7 


8 


1,444,583 


1 


6 










9 


1,037,055 


715 


9 


1,404,564 





41 J 






Total in silvnr alone, from 1690 to 1800 149,350,701 marcs*.| 



* 98,008,212 jb. Troy. Trans. 



1 



CHAP, xi.l KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 5^98 

It appears from these tables that the mines 
of New Spain have produced from 1690 to 
1800, the enormous sum of 149,350,721 marcs 
of silver* ; and from 1690 to 1803, gold and 
silver to the value of 1,353,452,020 double 
piastresf, or 7,105,623,105 livres tournois, 
estimating the piastres at 105 sous, French 
money. " ' • * 

For a hundred and thirteen years, the pro- 
duce of the mines has been constantly on the 
increase, if we except the single period from 
1760 to 1767. This increase becomes mani- 
fest, when we compare every ten years, the 
quantity of the precious metals given in to the 
mint of Mexico, as is done in the fol- 
lowing tables, of which the one indicates 
the value of the gold and silver in Piastres, 
and the other, the quantity of silver in marcs. 

* 98,008,2121b. troy, Trans, 
t jS284»,224,924! Sterling. Trans, 






i, 









1.:' 



\ t 



' J ' 



.. ' !, 



294 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE L»oo« "^ 

Progress of the mining operations of Mexico. 
Table I. Gold and Silver, * . . 



fi> 



I 



ii/' 







Value of Gold 


Periods. 


' 


and Silver in 
Piastres. 


From 1690 to 1699 


43,871,335 


1700 


1709 


51,731,034 


1710 


1719 


65,747,027 


1720 


1729 


84,153,223 


1730 


1739 


90,529,730 


1740 


1749 


111,855,040 


1750 


1759 


125,750,094 


1760 


1769 


112,828,860 


. . ,. 1770 


1779 


165,181,729 


1780 


1789 


193,504,554 


1790 


1799 231,080,214 


Total from 1690 to 1799—1,276,232,840 



Table II. Silver alone. 



Periods. 


Silver. 


Marcs. 


Oz. 


Oc. 


From 1690 to 1699 
1700 1709 
1710 1719 
1720 1729 
1730 1739 
174a 1749 
1750 1759 
1760 1769 
1770 1779 
1780 1789 
1790 1799 


5,173,099 

6,109,781 

7,744,525 

9,900,203 

10,650,546 

12,067,202 

14,793,893 

13,279,863 

19,461,194 

22,050,440 

26,021,257 


2 
5 
2 

7 
1 

3 
4 
6 
6 
6 


7 
2 
6 
7 


4 
1 
1 
7 
3 


Total from 1690 to; 
1799 S 


147,252,008 


6 


6 



CHAr. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 296 

When we distinguish those periods in which 
the progress of mining has been most rapid* 
we find the following results : 



Periods. 



Value of Gold 
and Silver, for 
an average year 
in Piastres 



1690—1720 
1721—1743 
1744—1770 
1771—1782 
1783-1790 



Progressive increase. 



Piastres. 



Jnvesi*"" year, 3,700.000 



11,854,825 
17,223,916 
19,517,081 



1791—1803 22,325,824 



25 
19 
12 
10 



2,000,000 
5,300,000 
2,300,000 
2,800,000 



i 



This table along with the preceding one, 
proves that the periods during ^hich the 
wealth of the mines have most increased, are 
from 1736 to 1745, from 1777 to 1783, and 
from 1788 to 1798 ; but the increase in ge- 
neral has been so little in proportion to the 
space of time, that the total produce of the 

mines was : 

* . ■• < , '.''■' 

' ; 4 millions of Piastres in 1695 , 

;ft - - 1726 

'■ .;W"-'-- ;-■*••., ; '-^^^ » 1747 

' le ' ' '^m '- ' H,« ,• 1776 

. > jW)j;^':if'l.- W'' >•! ^ •■ 1788 '•• 

24 * - ' ' - 1795 

from whence it follows that the produce ha.«: 



A 






a96 POLITICAL ESSAY ON IHE [book it^ 



been tripled in fifty-two years, and sextupled 
in a hundred years. ...,,.,,) 

After the gold and silver, it remains for 
us to speak of the other metals, called com- 
mon metals, the working of which, as we 
have already stated in the beginning of this 
chapter, has been very much neglected. Cop- 
per is found in a native state, and under 
the forms of vitreous and oxidulated copper, in 
the mines of Ingnran, a little to the south of the 
Yolcan de JoruUo, at San Juan Guetamo, in 
the intemlancy of Valladolid, and in the province 
of N^w Mexico. The Mexican tin is extracted 
by means of washing, from the alluvions lands of 
the intendancy of Guanaxuato, near Gigante, 
San Felipe, Robledal and San Miguel el Grande 
as well as in the intendancy of Zacatecas 
between the towns of Xeres and Villa Naeva. 
One of the tin mines most common in Mex- 
ico is the wood tin df the English mineralogists. 
It appears that this mineral is originally found 
in veins which traverse trap-porphyries ; but 
the natives, instead of working these veins, 
prefer the extracting of tin from the earth 
brought down the ravins. The intendancy 
of Guanaxuato in 1802, produced nearly 9200 
arroban of copper, and 400 of tin. ai 

The iron mine^ are moi'e abundant ihan 
is generally believed, in the intendadcies of 
Valladolid, Zacatecas, and GuadaUxara, and 






CHAP. XL] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 297 

especially in the provincias intenuu. We 
have already explained* the reason why these 
mines, th. most important of all, are only 
wrought with any degree of spirit during a 
period of maritime war, when a stop is put 
to the importation of steel and iron from 
Europe; and wc have already named the 
veins of Tecalitan, near C<$lima, which were 
successfully wrought ten years ago, and 
afterwards abandoned. Fibrous magnetic iron 
is found in conjunction with magnetic pyrite 
in veins which traverse gneiss in the kinp'dom 
of Oaxaca. The western slope of the moun- 
tains of Mechoacan abounds in ores of 
compact red iron and hematite brown iron. The 
former have also been observed in the inten- 
dancy of San Luis Potosi near Catorce. I 
saw christalized micaceous^ iron, . near the 
village of Santa Cru?. east from Celaya, on 
the fertile table land extending from Quere- 
taro to Guanaxuato. The Cerro del Mercado, 
situated near the town of Durango, contains 
an enormous mniss of ores of brown mag- 
netic and micaceous iron. I enter into the 
detail of these localities for the sake of 
proving the falsity of the opinion delivered 
by Several modern natural plulosophers, that 
iron almost exclusively belong^ to the most 
jiortliem regions of the temperate tone. To 



, I* u i,>- 



* Seep. 106 of thi« volumo. 



■ '^m 



»#*", 

:i^- 



^i 



J 






III 



.Ill 



■■V 



208 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE * [bookiv , 



CM 



M. Sonneschmidt we owe the know led jy;o of 
the meteoric iron*, which is found in scvertd 
places of New Spain, for example at Zara- 
tecas, Charcas, Durango, and if I am not 
deceived in the environs of the small town 
of Toluca. ^' ' {■ ^ '^tM < . t 

Leadf which is very rare in the north of 
Asia, abounds in the mountains of calcareous 
formation, contained in the north east part of 
New Spain, especially in the district of Zima- 
pan, near the Real del Cardonal and Lomo 
del Toro; in the kingdom of New Leon, 
near Linares; and in the province of New 
Santander, near St. Nicholas de Croix. The 
lead mikies are not wrought with so nmch 
spirit ; s we could wish for in a country 
where the fourth part of all the silver mine- 
rals are smelted. 

Among the metals, of which the use is 
the most limited, we have to name zinc, 
which is found, under the form of brown 
and black blende in the veins of Ramos, 



S 
w 
n 



V 



t 



* Sonneschmidtf p. 188 and 192. The mass of Zacatecas 
still weighed ten years ago, near 2000 lib. See a me- 
moir of M. Chladni in the Journal des Mines, 1809, 
no. 151, p. 79, relative to a meteoric stone, which fell 
between Cicuic and Quivira according to the testimony 
of Cardanus and Mercati. The geographical position of 
Cicuic and Quivira, names which recal to us the fablei 
of the £1 Dorado of South America, remains still un- 
known. 



.'"■f-'i* 



>■< ' 



Mil 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 299 

Sombrerete, Zacatecas, and Tasco ; antimony ^ 
which is common to Catorce and los Pozuelos, 
near Cuencaine ; arsenic, which is found amon^ 
the minerals of Zimapan, combined with 
sulphm'y like orpiment. Cobalt, as far as I 
know, has never yet been discovered among* 
the minerals of New Spain ; and mant/anese*, 
which M. Ramirez recently discovered in 
the Island of Cuba, appears to me in general 
much less abundant in Equinoctial America, 
than in the temperate climates of the Old 
Continent. . 

Mercury , which is very remote from tin, 
with respect to its relative antiquity, or the 
period of its formation, is almost as uncom- 
mon as it, in every part of the globe. The inha- 
bitants of New Spain have procured for centuries, 
the mercury necessary in the process of amal- 
gamation, partly from Peru, and partly from 
Europe; and hence they are accustomed to 
consider their country as destitute of this metal 
However, when we consider the examinations 
carried on under the reign of Charles the 4th, 
we are forced to admit that few countries 
have so many indications of cinnabar, as the 
table land of the Cordilleras from the 19" 
to the 22*" of north latitude. In the inteudancies 



* To the west of the town of Cuenca, in the kingdom 
of Quito, there exists earthy grey manganese, which 
forms a bed in the freestone. 



800 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book v, 



of Guanaxuato and Mexico, ^e find it almost 
wherever pits are dug between San Juan de la 
Chica and the town of San Felipe ; near Rincon 
del Centeno, in the environs of Celaya ; and 
fi'om Dui'asno, and Tierra Nueva to San Loiis 
de la Paz, especially, near Chapin, Real de 
Pozos, San Rafael de los Lobos and la So- 
ledad. Sulphuretted mercury has been also 
discovered at Axuchitlan and Zapote^, near 
Chirangangueo, in th^ intendancy of Yalladolid ; 
at los Pregones near Tasco, in the district of 
mines of the Docior ; and in the valley of Te- 
nochtitla.. the south of Gassaye in the 
road from i»iJxico to Pachuca. The works 
by which these different mineral depositories 
were proposed to be discovered, have been so 
frequently inteniipted, and they have been 
conducted with so little zeal, and generally with 
80 little intelligence, that it would be very im- 
prudent to advance, as has been often done, 
that the mercury mines of New Spai^^ are 
not woilh the working. It appears, on the 
contrary, from the interesting information which 
we owe to the labours of M. Chovel, that 



tl 

tn 



; *In the mines of Sao Ignacio del Zf^ote, where the cin- 
nabar is constantly mixed with blue carbonated copper, 
while at Schemnitz and Poratich in Hungary the anti- 
moniated grey copper (graugultigerz) contains 0*06 
iia^eory. Khtproih, iv p. 65. " 



(. ,.!■ 



€HAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 301 

the veins of San Juan de la Chica, as well as 
those of the Rincon del Centeno, and the 6i- 
gante, are very ^desei-ving of the attention of 
the Mexican miners. Was it to be expected 
that sufierficial "works which were merely be^n, 
should in the very fii^t years, yield a net pro- 
fit to the shareholders? 

The mercury mines of New Spain are of 
very different formations. Some are found in 
beds in secondary earths ; and others in veins 
which traverse trap porphyries. At Durasno, 
between Terra Nueva, and San Luis de la 
Paz, cinnabar mixed with a number of globules 
of native mercury, forms a horizontal bed 
{manta) which reposes on porphyry. This 
Tiianto which has been pierced by pits of five 
or six metres * in depth, is covered with beds 
of slate clay, which contains fossil, wood, and 
coals. On examining the roof of ihe mantOy 
we find from the surface, first a bed oi slate 
clay (schieferthon) impregnated with nitrate of 
potash, and containing fragments of petrified 
vegetables ; then a strata of slate coal (schie' 
ferkohle) of a metre f in thickness ; and lastly 
slate clay which immediately covers the cin- 
nabar mineral. From this mine there was 
drawn, eight years ago, in a very few months 



vi? 



• 16 or 19 feet, 
f S.28 feet 



if.""- 



•.hi 



,'*'n 



1; 



(H)2 POTJ.TICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

nearly 700 quintals of mercury which were 
not sufficient to pay the expences of working, 
although the ore contained a pound of mercury 
for every load of three quintals and a half. 
The carelessness with which the mine .of Durasno 
was wrought, has been so much the more pre- 
judicial, as on account of the small degrees 
pf sol dity of the rock of the roof, and its 
horizontal position, it very frequently fell in. 
The mine is at present drowned, and to resume 
the operations would not be attended with 
profit. It has constantly enjoyed very high 
celebrity in the country, Kot on account of 
its wealth which is inferior to that of the 
veins of San Juan de la Chica, but because 
it admitted of being wrought sub dio, and 
because its produce was very abundant. They 
attempted in vain to discover a second bed 
of mercury ore below that of Durasno. ^''^ 

The cinnabar vein of San Juan de la Chica, 
is two or three and sometimes even six metres 
in extent (puissance). It traverses the mountain 
of hs Calzones, and extends to Chichindara. 
Its ores are rxtremely rich but by no means 
abundant ; I have seen there masses of compact 
and fibrous sulphuretted mercury of a bright 
red, twenty centimetres in length, and three 
in thickness * j and these specimens resembled 

* 7.87 inches by 1.18. Trans. 



!i| 



CHAP, xi] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 303 

iVoiu their purity the richest produce of Al- 
maden and Wolfstein in Europe. The mine 
of Chica has been only yet wrought to the 
depth of fifty metres ; * and it is found, and this 
geological fact is very remarkable, not in free- 
stone or slate, but in a tme porphyritic pitch stone 
{pechstein-porphyr) divided into balls with con- 
centrical beds of which the interior is lined 
with mammelonneous hyalite {muUerisch-glass). 
The cinnabar and a little native mercury, 
are sometimes observed in the middle of the 
porphyritic rock at a very considerable distance 
from the vein. During my stay at Guanaxuato, 
ouly two mines were wrought in all Mexico, 
those of Lomo del Toro, near San Juan de 
Chica, and Nuestra Senora de los Dolores, 
a quarter of a league to the south-east of 
the Gigante. In the first of these mines a 
load of mineral yields from two to three pounds 
of mercury J and the expences of working 
are very moderate. The mine of the Gigante 
from which there is even drawn six pounds 
of mercury per load (cargo) of mineral, fur- 
nished from 70 to 80 pounds weekly ; and it 
is wrought on the account of a rich individual 
Don Jose del Maso, who has the merit of 
having first excited his countrymen during the 
last war to the working df mercury mines, 
and the manufacture of steel. The cinnabar 












' 



% 



*16i feet Tram. 



304 POLITICAL ESSAY ON T»E [book it^^ 






extracted from the veins of the mountain 
del Fraile, near the Villa de San Felipe is 
found in a porphyry with hornstone base which 
is traversed by veins of tin, and is undoubtedly 
more antient than the porphyritic pitchstone 
(pecfistein porphyr) of Chica. 

America in its present state is the tributary 
of Europe with respect to mercury ; but it is 
probable, that this dependance will not be of 
long duration, if the ties which unite the 
Colonies with the mother country remain 
long loosened, and if the civilization of the 
human species in its progfressive motion from 
East to West is concentrated in America^ 
The spirit of enterprize and research will 
increase with the population; the more the 
country shall be inhabited, the more they will 
learn to appretiate the natural wealth whicR 
is contained in the bowels of their mountains. 
If they discover no single mine equal in wealth, 
to Huancavelica, they will work several at 
once, by which the united produce will ren* 
der the importation of mercury from Spain 
and Carniola unnecessary. These changes 
will be so much the more rapidly operated, 
as the Peruvian and Mexican miners shall feel 
themselves impeded by the want of the metal 
necessary for amalgamation. But let us enquire 
what would be the consequence to the silveir 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 305 

ii,[ Kir- 

mines of America, if in the midst of the wars 
by which Europe is oppressed, the mercury 
mines of Almaden and Idria, should no longer 
be wrought. ^r-f ' ^ 

I have mentioned the mineral depositories 
of New Spain, which if examined with care, 
and worked with constancy, may produce one 
day a very considerable quantity of mercury. 
The period approaches when the Spanish Co- 
lonies being more united together, will be 
more attentive to their common interests; and 
it becomes, therefore, of consequence to take 
a general view of the indications of mercury 
observable in South America. Mexico and 
Peru, instead of receiving this metal from 
Europe, will one day perhaps be able to sup- 
ply the old world with it. I shall confine 
myself to the knowledge which I could obtain 
on the spot, and especially during my stay 
at Lima ; and I shall only mention the points 
where cinnabar has been found, either in veins 
or beds. In several places, for example, at 
Portobello, and Santa Fe de Bogota, con-, 
siderable quantities of native mercury have 
been collected at small depths in building 
houses ; and this phenomenon has frequently 
fixed the attention of government. They forget 
that in a country where for three centuries, 
bags filled with mercury have been trans- 
ported on mules from province to province, 

vol.. III. X 






Its 

'n 

Ylt 



i 



306 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book it. 

this mercury must necessarily have been scattered 
in the sheds, under which the beasts of burden, 
are unloaded, and in the mercury magazines es- 
tablished in towns. The mountains in general 
contain mercury in its native state, in very 
small portions only ; and when in an inhabited 
place, or on a great road, we discover in the 
earth several kilogrammes collected together, 
we must believe that these masses originated 
in accidental infiltrations. 

In the kingdom of New Granada, "nlphuretted 
mercury is known in three different places, 
namely, in the province of Antioquia, in the 
Valle de Santa Rosa, east from the Rio Cauca; 
in the mountain of Quindiu, in the pass of 
the central cordillera between Ibague and 
Carthago, at the extremity of the Ravin of 
Vermellon ; and lastly, in the province of Quito, 
between the village of Azogue and Cuenca. 
The discovery of the cinnabar of Quindiu is 
due to the patriotic zeal of the celebrated 
traveller Mutis^ who in the months of August 
and September, 1786, at his ov/n expense, 
caused the miners of Sapo to e^^amine that 
part of the granitic Cordillera wLich extends 
to the South from the Nevada de Tolima 
towards the Rio Saldana. The mineral of 
sulphuretted mercury is not only found in round 
fragments mixed with small grains of gold in 
the alluvious earth with which the IRavia 






CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN' 307 



(qtiebrada) de Vermellon at the foot of the 
table land of Ihague Viejo is filled ; but they 
know the vein also from which the torrent 
appears to have detached these fragments, 
and which traverses the small ravin of Santa 
Ana. Near the village of Azogue to the 
North-west of Cuenca, the mercury is found, 
as in the department of Mont-Tonnerre, in a 
formation of quartz-freestone with argillaceous 
cement. This freestone is nearly 1400 metres * 
in thickness, and contains fossil wood f and 
asphaltos |. In the mountains of Guazun and 
Upar, situated to the North-east of Azogue, 
a vein of cinnabar traverses beds of clay 
filled with calcareous spar, and contained in 
free-stone. We discover there the remains of 
an old gallery of 120 metres in length, § and 
11 pits very close to one another. It is be- 
lieved in the country that this mine was wrought 
before Huancavelica, and that it was the dis- 






j^z 



^; 



""'11 



•^ 






* 4592 feet. Trans. 

f I found beautiful pieces of 14 decimetres (4| feet 
English) in length at Silcai-Yacu between Delec and 
Cuenca. 

$ At Porche and the Western declivity of the mountains 
'Of Coxitambo, I was singularly struck with the geological 
lelations between the freestone formation of Cuenca and 
Azogue and the freestone of the mines of Wol&tein 
and Mijnsterrappel which I visited in 1790, and wh^ch 
contain also cinnabar, fossil wood, and petfole. 

^393 feet Trans. 

X 2 



808 POLITICAL ESSAY OK THE [book it. 

covery of the latter, which was the occasion 
of its abandonment. The learned experiments 
of Don Pedro Garcia, and the works executed 
by M. Vallejos the intendant of Cuenca in 
1792, have not proved that the vein of cin- 
nabar of Guazun, may be successfully wrought. 
At five leagues distance from the town of Po- 
payan, to the North-west near Zeguengue 
there is a ravin which is called the mercury 
ravin (quebrada del azogue) without the origm 
of the name being known. 

In Peru, cinnabar is found near Valdivui 
in the province of Pataz, between the eastern 
bank of the Maranon and the missions of 
Ouailillas ; at the foot of the great Nevada 
de BeUiyatOf in the province of Conchucos, 
to the east of Santa; at the baths of Jesus 
in the province of Guamalies to the South- 
east of Guacarachuco ; near Huancavelica in 
the intendancy of that name; and near Gr.araz 
in the province of Guailas. From the ax^count 
books found in the provincial treasury of the 
town of Chachapoyas (between the Rio Sonche 
and the Rio Utcubamba) it appears that at the 
beginnmg of the conquest, mercury mines 
were wrought in the moderately elevated 
mountains which extend from Pongo de Man- 
seriche to near Caxamarquillo and the Rio 
Huallaga; but from the information which I 
obtained during my stay in the province ojf 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 309 

Jaen, the place where these mines were situa- 
ted is at present totally unknown. The veins 
of cinnabar of Guaraz were worked with some 
degree of success in 1802. There was ex- 
tracted as much as 84 pounds of mercury 
from a mass of minerals of 1500 pounds weight. 
The famous mine of Huancavelica, as to the 
state of which so many false ideas have been 
disseminated, is in the mountain of Santa 
Barbara, to the south of the town of Huan- 
cavelica, at a horizontal distance of 2772 varas 
(or 2319 metres*). The height of the tpwn 
above the level of the sea, is according to Le 
Gentilf 3752 metres (1925 toises)t. If we 
add to this the 802 varas^ which the summit 
of the mountain of Santa Barbara, is higher 
than the level of the streets of Huancavelica, 
we shall find the absolute height of this 

* 7606 feet. Trans. 

f This height is calculated agreeably to the formula 
of M. La Place, supposing a temperature of 10 centigrade 
degrees (50<* Fahr.). According to Le Gentil, (Voyage 
aux Indes, T. i. p. 76.) the mean height of the barometer 
at the town of Huancavelica is IS^**. 1". 5. In the ma- 
nuscript of Mothes, this height is estimated at 18(">. 7''. 
which would give only 1814* toises, or 3535 metres of 
absolute elevation. (11,596 feet. Trans.) The great square 
of the town of Micuipampa, where I found the barometer 
18p». 4>'. 7, would then be 84 metres (275 feet. Trans.) 
higher than the level of the streets of Huancavelica, (Recueil 
^Observations Astronomiguest Vol. i. p. 316.) 

i 12,308 feet. Trans, 



• -.f 






■,u 



^ 



*'■ ■ ' *i 



i>r1 



'Hi 






310 POJJTICAL. EfifSAY ON THE Lbow^ '▼• 

mountain 4422 metres*. The discovery of 
the great mercury mine^ is ^eoderally attributed 
to the Indian Gonsalo Abincopa or ^ayim- 
copa; but it is certain that it goc^ back to 
a period long* before 1367, since the Incas 
made use of cinnabar in painting themselves> 
and procured it from the mountains of I'alcas. 
The working of the mine of the Cerrode Santa 
Barbara on account of the Crown, began how- 
ever only in the month of September, 1570, 
nearly the same year in which I^ernandez de 
Velasco introduced the Mexi^au amalgama^ 
tion into Peru. 

Mercury is found in the environs of the town 
of Huancavelica, in two very different man- 
ners, in beds and in veins. In the great mine 
of Santa Barbara, the cinnabar is contained 
in a bed of quartz freestone of nearly 400 metres 
in thickness, and in a direction of hor. 10 — 11 



* 14,506 feet. Trans. This measurement; agrees rery 
well with the assertion of Ulloa, who relates that he mw 
the barometer remain at the bottom of tiie mine oi 
Hoyo Negro at ITP". 2". 2; from which we may con- 
clude that the bottom of the mine was then 2159 toises, 
pr 4208 metres of elevation above the level of the ocean 
(liJ,805 feet Trans. ). ( Ulloa, NoUcias AmericanaSf p. 279.) 
In this pit then the miners wrought in a point which is 500 
metres (1640 feet), higher than che sum^^it pf the Peak of 
TenerifFe. In the Cerro de Hualgaypc, I have seen g£^.- 
leries of which the absolute height ei^oeeded 4)050 metres 
(13,287 feet. Trans.). 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 311 

of, the Gern^an coiu|)Jiss, with an innlinatioii 
of 64" towards tlie west. This freestone, ana- 
logons to that .of the environs of Paris, and 
the morm tains o^ Aroma and Cascas, in Peru, 
resembl^es pure cjuartz. The most part of the 
speplmens wliich , I exaniined in the geologi- 
cal cabinet of the Baron de Nordenflycht, 
exhibit very little clayey cement. The quartz 
rock which contains tne mercury liiinerals, 
forms a bed in a calcareous brescia, from which 
it is only separated in its wall and its roof, 
by a very, thin stratum of slate clay (schiefer- 
tfion), which has been frequently confounded 
with primitive slate. The brescia is covered 
with a formation of secondary limestone, and 
the fragments of compact limestone contained 
in the brescia, seem to indicate that the whole 
mass of the mountain of Santa Bit^'bara it- 
self reposes on alpine limestome rock. This 
last rock (alpenkalkstein), is in fact discovered 
on the eastern slope of the mountain near 
Acobamba and Sillacasa. It is still found at 
very considerable elevations, and is of a blueish 
grey, and traversed by a great number of small 
veins of calcareous spar. Ulloa observed there 
in 1761 petrified shells*, at a height of more 



I 






;:iS 



* We also found them on the ridge of the Andes, near 
IVIontan and Micuipampa; Geographie des Plantes, p. 127. 
See, as to the Pelas|;ic shells observed at great heights in 
Europe and America, Faujas de Saint-Fond, Essai de^Geo- 
logief T. ii. p. 61 "—69. 



A \'. Cr 



' I ., t • /•,.! 



3J2 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE 



[[book ir. 



than 4300 metres*. M. de Nordenflycht 

cardia in 



also 



ered 



and 



bank of 



liscoverea pectinites 
shells, between the villages of Acoria and Aco- 
bamba, near Huancavelica, at an elevation sur- 
passing by more than 800 metresf* that of the 
bank of nummulites found by M. Ramond on 
the summit of Mont-Perdu. 

The cinnabar by no means fills the whole 
quartz bed of the great mine of Santa Barbara; 
it forms particular strata; and sometimes it is 
found in small veins, which dreig {se trainent) 
and unite in masses (stockwerke)* Hence the 
metalliferous mass is only in general from 60 
to 70 metresj in breadth. Native mercury is 
extremely rare, but the cinnabar is accompa- 
nied with red iron ore, magnetic iron, galena, 
and pyrite; and the crevices are frequently 
variegated with sulphate of lime, calcareous 
i^par, and fibrous alum (Jederalaun), with cur- 
vilinear parallel fibres. The metalliferous bed 
at great depths §, contains a good deal of 
orpiment, or red and yellow sulphuretted arse- 
nic. This mixture formerly occasioned the 



* 14,107 feet. Trans. '" ; " 

+ 2624 feet. Trans, ' - 

% From 196 to 229 feet. Trans. 

§ Particularly below the depth of 230 varas (629 feet. 
Trans.). The galena is found nearer the surface of the 
earth, and even 40 varas lower thiM the gallery of San 
XaVjbr. . . ^ 



CHAF. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 313 






death of many workmen, who wrought at the 
distillation of minerals of cinnabar mixed with 
orpiment, till the government took the resolu- 
tion of prohibiting* the carrying on the works 
of Cochapata, in whit;h arsenic abounds the 
most. I suppose that the vapour called umpef 
of which the alarming effects are described 
by Ulloa, is arsenical hydrogen gas; but it has 
been much more rarely felt than might be be* 
lieved, from the accounts of the Spanish tra- 
vellers. 

The great mine of Santa Barbara ii^ divided 
into three stories, (pertinencias) which bear the 
names of Brocal, Comedio, Cochapata. The 
depth of the mine is 349 varas; and its total 
length from north to south 536 varas. It is 
reckoned that 50 quintals of tolerably rich mi- 
nerals, yield by distillation from 8 to 12 pounds 
of msrcury. The mineral depository is worked 
by three galleries, viz: the Socahon de Ulloa, 
the Socabon de San Frai sco Xavier, and the 
Socahon de Nuestra Senora de Belem, begun 
in 1615, and finished in 1642. The gallery 
cut by the astronomer Don Antonio Ulloa, who 
as governor of Huancavelica directed the works 
for some years, is only 75 varas in length and 
its mouth is almost level with the great square 
of the town. It would require to be still pro . 
longed 2000 vara;^, to travei*se the pertintncia 
de Cochapata. It is the only gallery wkich 



III 



.AV*I 






vi 

m 



,,|5 



3^14f TQW^ipAh ESSAY ON; XHE [apoK ly. 

fplfp\f^ the (Viryection of the metalliferous be4> 
fpy, th^ two ot^hers, were cut in the solid rock- 
TIJhe, Socqbp% t^ Beletifi, the most useful oC all 
tj[|pse dij^repl; WP'^^^s, is 625 varas iii length, 
a})fl ci^^ the mineral depository at thp deptl^ 
q( 17^ yajL'a^,,l?Qlo\^ th^ sui^mjit of the raouu- 
tj^i^ of S^nt^, B^'t^ja. Tl^ galj^iy 9f, Sap 
X»J^yif^i>^^iished ill V^^v ^: 112 varas, al^o're 
thpiSiocajl>p|iof Beleiifi. 4JJ ^jh^ese galleries which 
ha^ye co?)l, imuaeiise s^ms, be<?ause they are naoi;e 
than five varas in breadth*, are merely, foi: 
ifeiit^ila^Qn {^i^d inl^eriop conveyance; foi* the 
nciine is absolutely fr^e from water. ..jt ol" 
'^here has l^,een extractedt from the great 
if^if^^ pf ^i^fincav^lica, between 1570 an,d 178.9, 
tlfe sum oC 1,940,492 quints^ls of merciifiyjj, 

,;!S^vpyp 1570 to 1576 „r,j} J 9,137. qjointals. \„ 

'n^.hu',r.,)57,Q- ,. 1586 ,vr, ,.60,000 ,,,.,,.,,, v, 



\^^.^^ \ •lo.Sf?. 


1589 


31,590 


; y^-'i-^ Hi 


.i\. i 1^90. 


15.98 


59,850 


^;\n'v-;^. '-i*' 


. .>;-.0 .•1^9 


1693 / 


20,000 


^ .-rVv- -y 


/ritr 1«P4 


1610 ; 


19,000 


■ .';. ■" :\i 


.! / 16U 


1615 i 


,,30,000 


'-•' ','''"■•• 


,,.,.,; .,,J616 


1622 


59,463 


, * i » 


i.. h ^6^3 


1645 


96,600 


J ' , ' 



:f ? 



* More than 13 feet. Trans, 

f Noticias sobre la mina de Huancavelica, (M. S. note of 
M Mothes). 
< t 136,573,162 lb. Troy. Trans,,, , . ,\ . 



««Ai\ XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 31%5 



;■* *f 



]b646 1648 20,460 quintals. 



['.-'.<; 



1048 1650 



8,.34a 



:( ' 



1(5.51 1666 109^120 

Accovding to this table, the quantity of mer- 
cury extracted front the great mine of Muan- 
cavelica, amounted in the first 96. yeans, to 
the sum of 523,472 quintals* There has be«a 
obtained in the following peviods, >! < ;.■/'^v^n 
\i^Qm 1667 to 1672 49^026 quintals 

1^73 to 1683 60^000 '^^' 

We tind no mention in the archives of the 
treasury, of the produce of the mine between 
1684 and 1713; but it was i^ '- »• -' 

From 1713 to 1724 ^ .41,283 quintals. > 

-V. :r^i 1725 1736 /I'?' 38,88^ ^J' -'<'«' 

1737 1748 66,426 ' "'*'- 

From, these data, it appears that the mine 
has generally yielded from four to six thousand 
quintals of mercury per annum. In the most 
abundant years between 1586 and 1589, the 
produce amounted to 10^500 quintals. ' ." 

Besides the cinnabar which is contained in 
the bed of quartz freestone, of the €erro de 
Santa Barbara de Huancavelica, there is also 
some in this same part of the Cordilleras, 
especially near Siliacasa, in small veins which 
traverse the alpine limestone (alpenkalkstein); 
but these veins which are frequently full of 
caloadony, do not follow regular directions; 
they cross and drag frequently, and form nests 









yi 



w 



.1 ' T c,l, 






1 



316 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

or metallic masses*. For these fifteen years, 
all the mercury which Huancavelica supplies 
to the miners of Peru, is derived from these 
last mineral depositories, the metalliferous bed 
(erzfloz) of the great mine of Santa Barbara, 
having been completely abandoned, owing to 
the falling in which took place in the perti- 
nencia of the Brocah Avarice and carelessness 
were the cause of this unfortunate accident. 
So early as 1780, the directors of the mine had 
difficulty in furnishing the quantity of mercury 
required, for the continually increasing wants 
of the Peruvian amalgamation. The deeper 
the works became, the cinnabar grew also 
more impure, and mixed with sulphuretted ar- 
senic. As the bed forms a mass of an extra- 
ordinary volume, it could only be worked by 
longitudinal and transversal^ galleries. To 
support the roof, pillars were left from distance 
to distance, as is practised in the coal and 
salt mines. An intendant of Huancavelica, a 
lawyer, and a praise-worthy man in other res- 
pects for his knowledge and integrity, had the 
temerity to remove these pillars to increase r 
the produce of the mine. This operation had 
the effect which every intelligent miner might 
have easily predicted; the rock deprived of 



V. 



* NidoSf holsas y davos {Zusammen-scharende TrihnmerJ, 
t Jn querundj^eHeV'bau, 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 317 



support yielded to the pressure ; the roof tumbled 
in, and as this falling in took place in the 
greater part of the upper pertinencia, that of 
the Brocal, the works in the two inferior per^ 
tinenciaSf Comedio, and Cochapata; were also 
obliged to be given up. The master miners 
accused the intendant, of having removed the 
pillars to ingratiate himself at the Court of 
Madrid, by procuring in a very few years 
a great quantity of mercury. The intendant 
on his part affirmed, that he had acted alto- 
gether with the consent of the master miners, 
who thought the pillars might be replaced by 
heaps of inibbish. In place of taking a de- 
cisive part, and working the metalliferous bed 
in other points, they lost eight years in sending 
from tifme to time commissaries to the spot to in- 
stitute a process, and dispute about vain forma- 
lities. When I left Lima, they were waiting 
for a decision of the Court; the great mine 
was shut up; but they had given free per- 
mission to the Indians from 1795, to work the 
cinnabar veins which traverse the alpine lime 
stbne, between Huancavelica and Sillacasa. 
The anmlal produce of these petty operations, 
amounted to 3200 or 3500 quintals. Af by 
law, all the mercury must be delivered into 
the treasury (caxas reales) of Huancavelica, I 
shall give from the account books the produce 
between 1790 and 1800. 



i 









i 



318 ^LIUCAL ESSAY ON THE L^ook i^- 
III 1790 - - 2021 quintals 37 pounds. 



*f 



1701 - - 1795 

1702 - - 2054 



69 
14 



'i i-i 



1703 


. 


_ 


2032 


68 




1794 


- 


- 


4152 


95 


• •■.Si A-. 


1795 


- 


- 


4725 


47 


. '. . , : 


1796 


- 


- 


4182 


14 




1797 


- 


- 


3927 


32 


■ ' -rrVi 


1798 


- 


- 


3422 


58 




1799 


- 


- 


3355 


92 




1800 


m. 


. 


3232 


83 





It has been asked whether in the present 
state of thing's it would be prudent to clear 
out the old works of the great mine*, or if they 
ought to en gage in new trials. From the 
memoirs drawn up by the Baron de Norden- 
flycht, it appears to be absolutely false that 
the mine of Santa Barbara was exhausted 
when they were so impinident as to remove 
the pillars. In the pertinenca de Cochapata, 
at 228 varas of depth, cinnabar minerals 
have been found, equally rich with those of 
the Brocal; but as for ages, the works have 
been under the direction of ignorant men, 
detitute of all knowledge of subterra- 

♦ Before the year 1795, seven thousand alpacas and 
llamas led and governed by intelligent dogs carried the 
mercury minerals from the Cerro De Santa Barbara, to 
the furnaces supplied with aludel which are situated 
near the Town of Huaucarelica. < : , v ,»* 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM or NEVV SPAIN. 319 

neoiis geometry, they have given the work 
the iform of a cylinder, whose axis is in- 
clined from north to south. Near the sm*- 
face in the Brcal, the metalliferous bed 
has almost never been wrought on the south 
side ; but on the other hand, in the depth at 
Cochapata, the galleries have been for a very 
small way <'arried northwards. This particu- 
lar disposition of the works has given reason 
for believing the cinnabar is lost towards the 
bottom of the mine; but if it has been found 
in less abundance, it is because, in perpetually 
deepening towards the south, they entered in- 
sensibly into the sterile part of the bed of 
qtiartz or freestone. 

Notwithstanding the justness of these con- 
siderations, it seems by no means prudent 
to advise the clearing out of the old mine ; 
for this dperalion would require ' ^n immense 
expense, and the old works were so badly 
disposed that it is impossible to derive any 
advantage from them. The metalliferous bed 
of the Cerro de Santa Barbara, extends 
many leagues beyond Sillac^sa, even as far 
as above the village of Guachiicalpa : and by 
beginning to work on points which have hi- 
therto remained untouched, there would hardly 
be a doubt of the success of the operations ; 
for nothing can be a stronger proof "of 'tfte 
abundance of the mercury in this 'j[i1art"of the 



i 

on 

4 



,.i?'^: 



m 



m 



i 



M 



820 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv, 

Cordilleras, than the produce of the petty 
labours of the Indians. If small veins of 
cinnabar merely uncovered at their surface yield 
, annually, on an average 3,000 quintals, we 
cannot entertain a doubt that works of investiga- 
tion with directed intelligence will one day pro- 
duce more merctiry than is requisite for all 
the amalgamation of Pern. We may also 
hope that in proportion as the inhabitants of 
the new world shall learn to profit from the 
natural wealth of the soil, the improvement of 
chemical knowledge, will also discover pro- 
cesses of amalgamation by which less mercury 
will be consumed. In diminishing the con- 
sumption of this metal, and increasing the 
produce of the indigenous mines, the Ameri- 
can miners will gradually learn to dispense 
with the mercury of Europe and China. 

To complete the view of the mineral sub- 
stances of New Spain it remains for us to 
name coal, salt, and soda. The coal of which 
I saw in the valley of Bogota* beds at 2500 
metres of elevationf above the level of the 
sea, in general appears to be very rare in the 
Cordilleras. In the kingdom of New Spain it 
has only yet been discovered in New Mexico ; 

* Near Tausa, Canoas, and in the Cerro de Suba, in 
die road from Santa F^ de Bogota to the salt mine of 
Zipaquira. 

t 8201 feet. Trans, 



«HAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 321 

but it is however probable that it may be 
found in the secondary lands which extend 
to the north and north-west of the Rio Colo- 
rado, as well as in the plains of San 1m\^ 
Potosi, and Texas. There is already a 
coal mine near the sources of the Rio Sabina. 
In general coal and rock salt abound to the 
west of the Sierra Verde near the lake of 
Timpanogos ; in Upper Louisiana ; and in 
those vast northern regions contained between 
the stonif mountains of Mackenzie, and Hud- 
son's Bay.* ^;-^.,- ,• ,•> .,, 
In the whole inhabited part of New Spain, 
there is no rock salt like that of Zipaquira 
in the kingdom of Santa Fe, or of Wieliczka 
in Poland. The muriate of soda is no where 
found collected in banks or masses of consi- 
derable volume; and is merely disseminated 
in the argillaceous lands which cover the ridge 
of the Cordilleras. The table lands of Mexico 
resemble in this respect those of Thibet and 
Tartary. We have already obsei-ved in our 
description of the valley of Tenochtitlan,< 



III 






III 



; i 

I, 



18 






* There are salt springs on the banks of the Lake 
Dauphin and the Lake of Slaves fdes esclavesj. Coals 
have been found near the river Mackenzie, in the 
latitude of 66" ; ai^d at the foot of the stony mountains, 
in the 52**, and 56° of latitude (Voyag« de Maftk«x«i«, 
▼ol. iii. pp. 332—334.) 

VOL. III. Y 



H 



i^22 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iy. 

that the Indians who inhabit the caverns of 
the porphyritic rock called Peflon de los 
Bafios, wash their jjroiinds which are impreg- 
nated with muriate of soda. It is a received 
opinion in the country that this salt like the 
nitrate of potash is formed by the influence 
of the atmospheric air; and it in fact appears 
that the muriate of soda is merely found in 
the upper bed of earth to the depth of eight 
centimetres.* The Indians pay a small sum 
to the proprietors of the soil for the permission 
of carrying off* the first muriatiferous bed, 
knowing that after a few months they will 
iind a crust of clay full of muriate of soda 
and lime, nitrate of potash and lime, and 
carbonate of soda. M. del Rio, a distinguished 
chemist proposed to make accurate experi- 
ments on these phenomena, by washing 
grounds before they had again been exposed 
to contact with the atmospheric air. The 
most abundant salt mine of Mexico, is the 
lake of the Penon Blanco in the intendancy of 
San Luis Potosi, of which the bottom is a bed of 
argill which contains from 12 to 13 per cent, of 
muriate of soda. We ought also to observe, that 
were it not for the amalgamation of silver mine- 
rals, the consumption of salt would be very in- 
considerable in Mexico, because the Indians who 

"* 3 inches. Trans* ' ' 



m I 



"»■ 



•iiAP. XI.] KINGDOiM OF NEW SPAIN. 3:^3 

constitute a great part of the population, have 
never abandoned their old custom of seasonintf 
meat with cAi/e* or pimento instead of 
salt. 

In taking a general view of the mineral 
wealth of New Spain, far from being struck 
with the value of the actual produce, we are 
astonished that it is not much more consider- 
able. It is easy to foresee that this branch 
of national industry will continue augmenting 
as the country shall become better inhabited, 
as the smaller proprietors shall enjoy more 
fully their natural rights, and as geolo- 
gical and chemical knowledge shall become 
more generally diifused. Several obstacles 
have already been removed since the year 
1777, or since the establishment of the su- 
preme council of mines, which has the title 
of Real Tribunal (general del importante cuerpo 
de Mineria de Nueva EspaTia, and iiolds its 
sittings in the palace of the viceroy at Mexico. 
Till that period the proprietors of mines were 
not united into a corporation, or the court 



■A 



ill 



i 



m 



'^m 






* Chilli or ahi. Seevol. ii. p. 505. If we estimate the annual 
consumption of muriate of soda in Europe at 6 kilo- 
grammes a head (13.2 lib. avoird. Trans.) we dare not 
estimate the consumption of the copper coloured race at 
More than half a kilogramme (about a pound. Trans.) 



T U 



I 



m'l 



ii24 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

of Madrid at least would not recognize them* 
as an established body by a constitutional 
act. 

The legislation of the mines was formerly 
under infinite confusion, because, at the be- 
ginning of the conquest, under the reign of 
Charles the oth, a mixture c»f Sppiish, Bel- 
gic and German laws were introduced into 
Mexico, f»^J these laws from the difference 
of local circumstances were inapplicable to 
those distant regions. The erection of the 
supreme council of mines, of which the chieff 
bears a name of celel)rity in the annals of 
chemical science, was followed by the esta- 
blisl ment of the school of mines, and the com- 
pilation of a new code of laws, published 
under the title of Ordonanzas de la Mineria de 
Nueva Espana. The council or Tribunal 
general is composed of a director, two depu- 
ties from the body of miners, an assessor, 
two consultors, and a judge, who is head of 
the juzgado de alzadas de mineria. On the 
Tribunal general depend the thirty-seven crnm- 
cils of provincial mines or diputaciones de mi- 
nerittf of which the names have been already 



* Representacion gug a nomhre de la Mineria de esta 
Nueva Espana hacen at Rey nuestro Senor los Apoderados 
de die. D. JUan Lucas de Lassaga y D. Joaquin Ve» 
lasquez etc Leon (Mexico 1774) p, 40. 

f Don Fausto de Elhuyar. 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 325 



mentioned. The proprietors of mines (mi- 
iieros) send their representatives to the pro- 
vincial councils, and the two general deputies 
who reside at Mexico, are chosen from among 
the deputies of the districts. The body of 
miners of New Spain has besides, apoderudo9 
or representative proprietofs at Madrid, for 
treating immediately with the ministry, as to 
the interest of the colonies, in whatever res- 
pects the mines. The students of the colegio 
de mineria, instructed at the expence of the 
state, are distributed by the Tribunal among 
the head towns of the different diputaciones. 
It cannot be denied that the representative 
system followed in the new organization of 
the body of Mexican miners, possesses great ad- 
vantages. It preserves public spirit in a coun- 
try where the citizens, scattered over an im^ 
mense surface, do not sufficiently feel thp 
community of their interests; and it gives 
the supreme council a facility of collecting 
considerable sums, whenever any great or 
useful undertaking is proposed. It is to be 
desired, however, that the director of the 
tribunal should possess more influence on th^ prp- 
gress of the operations in the provinces, aiid 
that the proprietors of mines less jealous of 
what they call their liberty, were more en- 
lightened as to their true interests. 
T^jne ^upr$m^ Council po^esfues ^ iAcppqi^ 



m 



i ; 
ill 

i ,, 



m 



I, 



Hi"' 



i 



i 



32(5 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

of more than a million of livres tournois*. 
The kino- granted it on its establishment two 
thirds of the royal right of signiorage which 
amounts to a real de plata, or the eighth part 
of a double piastre per marc of silver deli- 
vered in to the mint. This million of reve- 
nue is destined for the salariesf of the members of 
the tribunal, the support of the school of mines, 
and to a fund for assistance or advances (avios) 
to the proprietors of the mines. These ad- 
vances as we have already observed have been 
given with more liberality than discernment. 
A miner of Pachuca, at one time obtained 
170,000 piastres J ; and the share holders of 
the rnina de agua of Temascaltepec, received 
214,000 piastres; but this assistance i^ ever pro- 
duced any thing§. The tribunal during the 
last years of the war of Spain with France 
and England, was compelled to make a gra- 
tuitous present to the court of Madrid, of two 
millioos and a half of francs, and to lend it 
fifteen millions besides, of which only six 

• 1^40,816 Sterling. 

f These salaries amount to 25,000 piastres ( ^^5250 Ster- 
ling. Trans.) The director general has only 6000 (jei260;; 
and the seminary or school of mines, in which the Creole 
Spaniards and noble Indians are educated, consumes only 
30,000 piastres (jff6300 Sterling. Trans.) per annum. 

% £35,700 Sterling. 7rans. 

§ See the account rendered to the electors, published 
tinder the title ofEstado general que manifiesta a los vocales los 
eaudales del Tribunal de Mineria desde 1777 hasta 1788. 



I 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 327 



millions have ever yet been repaid. To 
support these extraordinary expences they 
were compelled to have recourse to borrowing; 
and at present the half of the revenues of the su- 
preme council of mines is employed in paying 
the interest of that capital. The^^ have increased 
one half the signorial impost^ till the period 
of the liquidation of the debts contracted by the 
tribunal ; and in place of e\g\ii (jrainSt the miners 
are obliged to pay twelve* per marc of silver. 
In this state of things, the tribunal can no longer 
make advances to the miners, who for want of 
funds are frequently unable to carry on useful 
undertakings. Great capitals formerly employed 
in mining, are now destined to agriculture, and 
the proprietors of mines would again require 
those establishments (buncos de plata, compahias 
refaccionarias'f c) de habiliiacion y avios) which 
advanced to the miners considerable sums of 
money at a large interest. 

All the metallic wealth of the Spanish colo- 
nies is in the hands of individuals. The go- 
vernment possesses no other mine than that of 






"'CI 



4. 



J 



•M{ 



\m 



* Ocho granos de Setioreoget y quatro granos temporalmente 
impuestos. At Lima the tribunal receives a real per 
marc. 

f Real cedula sobre la compania refaccionaria propuesta 
por el Genoves Domingo Reborato, del 12 Marzo 1744. — 
Don Josef Bustamente, Informe sobre la htibilitacion de los 
Mineros, 1748. 



i328 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

Huancavelica in Peru, which has been lonsr 
abandoned ; and it is not even proprietor of the 
great levels, as several sovereigns of Germany 
are. The individuals receive from the king 
a grant of a certain number of measures on the 
direction of a vein or bed ; and they are only 
held to pay very moderate duties on the mine- 
rals extracted from the mines, which have been 
valued at an average for all Spanish America, 
at 11 1 per cent of the silver, and 3 per cent of 
the gold*. 

In New Spain the proprietors of mines pay 
the government the half of the Jifth or tenth, 
the duty of one per cent (derecho del iino poir 
ciento) and the duty of coinayef called derecho 
de monedage y seTioreage. Ti'Js last duty es- 
tablished in 1560 by a law of Philip II. 
and increased at the end of the 17th century ■[•, 
now amounts to 3i reals per marc, of silver, 
68 reals being computed in the marc with half 
a real of expences, and the proprietor of the 
silver only receiving back 64 reals. Of this 
3i reals, 2f are accounted derecho de monedage 
and 1 real derecho de seTioreage. 

The revenue which the crown derives from 



* Bourgoing, T. ii. p. 284. 

f Recapilacion de leyes de Castilla, de 1598, Lib, v. I'll, 
xxi. n. 9 — Lei^ 8. Tit. xxiii. Lib. iv. de Indias — Real cedida 
dirlgida al Virey Conde de Moctezuma, y dada en Madrid a 
26deJunio,del698. 



CHAP, xi.j KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. -529 

200,000 marcs of silver equal to 1,700,000 
piastres * is estimated f thus : 

piastres. 

In DerecJio de Diezmo .... 160,000 
Derecho de unopor Ciento . . 16,000 
Derecho de monedage y seTioreage 86,750 



Total 262,7.50 % 



1 



nearly 16| per cent. In discounting the profit 
of government under the title of coinage 
or the totality of the duty, we find that the 
duties paid by the proprietors of mines, only 
amount to 13 per cent. To give a more de- 
tailed explanation of the duties levied by the 
government, we must distinguish agreeably to 
information procured by me during my stay 
at Guanaxuato, the pure silver from that which 
is mixed with gold ; for if the silver contains 
less than thirty grains of gold per marc of silver, 
the mint does not pay the gold to the indi- 
viduals. 

* je 357,000 sterling. Trans. 

f Representacion de la mineria de Nueva £lipaaa, de 
1774., p. 53. §^5, 
X jfi 55,177 sterling. Trans* 






It' 



^^f 



m 



830 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

An ingot of silver unmixed with 
gold, extracted by the pro- 
cess of amalgamation, weigh- 
ing 135 marcs, at 11 deniers 
22 grains .... value 



Expences. 

Duty of one per cent. 

and tenth . . 127p. 6r. 
Duty of assi "ng . 4 
Duty of 6oc«c*o levied 

in the treasury . 1 
Duty of bocado levied 

in the mint . 4 
Duty of signiorage 13 6 



piastres, renls. 

1171 6 



147 



Remain to the proprietor 1024 6 



If the silver is procured by smelting, and be- 
low 11 deniers 19 grains, we must add the ex- 
pences of affinage, which amount to 8 ma^ 
ravedis per marc. 



An ingot of auriferous silver 
at the rate of 12 deniers, 19 
grains of silver, and 50 grains 
of gold, weighing 133 marcs, 
2 ochavas .... value 

In silver 

In gold 



piastres, reals. 

1133 3 
194 



1327 S 



•HAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 331 



Expences. • 

Duty of one per cent 

and tenth . . 123p. 6r. 
Duty on gold at 3 per 



254 S 



cent .... 


•5 


6 


Duty of assaying 


. 6 





Duty of 6oc«c/o . 


1 


4 


Apartado . . . 


91 


7 


Consumo . . . 


. 12 


2 


Senoreage . : . 


. 13 


2 




Remain to the proprietor 1073 

If the ingot is so rich in gold that it contains 
more than a half of its weight of that metal , 
the expence of assay rises to 4 reals per marc. 
It may be seen from these examples that the 
individual who delivers his silver into the 
provincial treasuries of Mexico, in exchange 
for specie, pays in the first case to govern- 
ment 121, and in the second 19 f per cent. 
This impost excites the proprietors of the 
mines to the fraudulent extraction of the 
precious metals. Notwithstanding the expe- 
rience of so many ages, the court of Madrid 
has several times attempted* to increase the 

duty of signioragej without reflecting that this 

* Representadon de la mineria de Nneva Espaha sobrt ia 
doUe txacdon del Sgnoreage, dt 1766. 



in': 



332 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

imprudent step would discourage individuals 
from bringing' in their metals to the mint. 
It is the same with direct imposts on gold 
and silver, as with the profit which the go- 
vernment attempts to derive from the sale of 
mercury. The mining operations will increase 
in proportion as these imposts shall diminish, 
and as the mercury which is indispensable in 
the process of amalgamation, shall be fur- 
nished at a lower price. It is astonishing 
that a justly celebrated author, who had the 
soundest ideas relative to the exchange of 
metals, should have defended the duties of 
signiorage*. 

From the information given by us in this 
chapter, it is almost unnecessary to agitate 
the question if the produce of the silver 
mines of Mexico has attained its maximum, 
or if there is any probability that it will still 
augment in the time to come. We have 
seen that three districts of mines, those of 
Guanaxuato, Catorce, and Zacatecas, alone 
furnish more than the half of the whole silver of 
New Spain. One mine which has only been 
known for forty years, that of Valenciana has 
sometimes f alone furnished in one year as much 



* Adam Smith, Book iv. chap. 6. 
t For example io 179Z. 



CHAP. XI.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW .SPAIN. 3*1^5 



silver as the whole kingdom of Peru. It is but 
thirty years since the veins of the Real de 
Catorce bej>an to be worked, and yet by the 
discovery of these new mines the metallic pro- 
duce of Mexico was increased nearly one sixth. 
If we consider the vast extent of ground oc- 
cupied by the Cordilleras, and the immense 
number of mineral depositories which have 
never ypt been attempted*, we may easily 
conceive that New Spain, under a better ad- 
ministration, and inhabited by an industrious 
people, will alone yield in gold and silver, the 
hundred and sixty three millions of francs, at 
present furnished by the whole of America. In 
the space of a hundred years, the annual pro- 
duce of the Mexican mines, rose from twenty- 
iive, to one hundred and ten millions of 
francs. If Peru does not exhibit an equal 
augmentation of wealth, it is because this un- 
fortunate country has not increased its popu- 
lation, and because being worse governed 
than Mexico, industry found more difficulties to 
overcome. Besides, nature has deposited the 
precious metals in that country at enormous 
elevations, in situations where on account of the 
very high price of provisions, the working be- 
comes extremely expensive. The abundance 






I 



■' If 



* EspecMll/ Ibon Bobnos to the Presidio de Fren- 
teras. 



834 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book it. 



of silver is in general such in the chain of the 
Andes, that when we reflect on the mimhcr of 
mineral depositories which remain untouched, 
or which have been very superficially wroug'ht, 
we are tempted to believe, that the Europeans 
have yet scarcely begun to enjoy the inexhausti- 
ble fund of wealth contained in the New World. 
When we cast our eyes over the district of 
mines of Guanaxuato, which on the small space 
of a few thousand square metres, supplies an- 
nually the seventh or eighth part of all the 
American silver, we shall see that the 550,000 
marcs which are annually extracted from the 
famous veta madre are the produce of only 
two mines, Valenciana and the ii le of the Mar- 
quis de Rayas, and that more than four fifths 
of this vein have never yet been attempted. It 
is very probable, however, that in uniting the 
two mmes of Fraustros and Mellado, and clear- 
ing them out, a mine would be found of equal 
wealth with that of Valenciana. The opinion 
that New Spain produces only perhaps the 
third part of the precious metals which it could 
supply under happier political circumstances, 
has been long entertained by all the intelligent 
persons who inhabit the principal districts of 
mines of that country, and is formally announced 
in a Memoir presented by the deputies of the 
body of miners to the king in 1774, a produc- 
tion drawn up with great wisdom and know^ 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 335 

ledge of local circumstances. Europe would 
be inundated with precious metals, if they were 
to work at the same time, and with all the 
means afforded by the improvements in the art 
of mining-, the mineral depositories of Bohinos, 
Batopilas, Sombre: ete, Rosario, Pachuca, 
Moran, Zultepec, Chihuahua, and so many 
others which have been lon^ and justly cele- 
brated. I am not ignorant, that in thus express- 
ing myself, I am in direct contradiction with 
the authors of a great number of works of Poli 
tical Economy, in which it is iiffirmed that the 
mines of America are partly exhausted, and 
partly too deep ever to be worked with any ad- 
vantage. It is true no doubt, that the expences 
of the mine of Valenciana have doubled in the 
space of ten years, but the profits of the pro- 
prietors have still remained the same ; and this 
increase of expence is much more to be attributed 
to the injudicious direction of the operations than 
to the depth of the pits. They forget that iu 
Peru, the famous mines of Yauricocha or Pasco, 
which annually supply more than 200,000 marcs 
of silver, are yet only from thirty to forty metres 
in depth *. It appears to me superfluous to 
refute opinions which are at variance with the 
numerous facts brought forward by me in this 
chapter; and we are not to be astonished at 



Mi 






Mi 



* From 98 to 131 f est. Tram, 



aaO POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [nooK iv. 

the extreme levity with which we judge in 
Europe of the state of the mines of the New 
World, when we consider how little accuracy is 
displayed by the most celebrated politicians in 
their investigations regarding the state of the 
mines of their own country. 

But what is the proportion between the pro- 
duce of the Mexican mines, and the produce of 
the other Spanish colonies ? We shall succes- 
sively examine the wealth of Peru, Chili, the 
kingdom of Buenos Ayres, and New Grenada. 
It is known that the oUier great political divi- 
sions, namely, the four capitanias generates of 
Guatimala, the Havannah, Portorico, and Ca- 
racas, contain no mines which are wrought. 
I shall not follow the vague and imperfect 
data to be found in several very recent works, 
but shall discuss only what I have been able 
to procure from official papers communicated 
tome. 

I. There has been given into the mint at 
Lima, 

marcs of silver. marcs of goW. 

Prom 1764 to 1 772—6,102,139 and 129,080 
1772 — 1791--8,478,367 — 80,846 

The value of the gold and silver* amounted 
in the first of these periods to 68,944,522 

* Unanue, Guiapolitica del Peru, 1790, p. 45. 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. -337 

piastres*, and in the second to 85,434^40 
piastresf, which on an annual average of 
gold and silver is . , 

Prom 1754 to 1772—3,830,000 piastresj. 
1772 — 1791— 4,496,000§. 

The produce of gold has diminished while 
that of silver has increased. In 1790, the 
produce of the mines of Peru|| amounted to 
534,000 marcs of silver and 6,380 marcs of 
gold. Between 1797 and 1801 there was 
coined at Lima gold and silver to the amoimt 
of 26,032,653 piastresf . The following table 
points out the produce of the mines year 
after year**. 



!>•• 



i.../ 



f':< 



* iS14,478,349 Sterling. Trans, 
t iS17,941,308 Sterling. Trans. 
X 4^804,300 Sterling. Trans, 
' '' $ 18943,026 Sterling. Trans. 
'.;.;ii II Mercurio peruana. Vol. i. p. 59. 
f 1^5,466,000 Sterling. Trans 
** Ttazon de lo que se ha acufiado en la real casa de 
moneda de Lima. (MS.) 



.y» 









i:ik 






VOL. III. 



^'38 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 
Coinage of the Mint at Lima. 



Years. 


Value of 
g^old in 
piastres 


Value of 
silver in 
piastres. 


Value of 

^old and silver 

in piastres. 


1797 
1798 
1799 
1800 
1801 

1 


583,724 
535,810 
496,486 
378,596 
328,051 


4,516,206 
4,758,094 
5,512,345 
4,399,409 
4,5':»3,932 


5,099,930 
5,293,904 
6,008,831 
4,778,005 
4,851,983 


Total in 5 years 


2,322,667 


23,709,986 


26,032,a53 



In the five preceding years the produce 
amounted to 30 millions; so that we may con- 
sider six millions of piastres as the meami term 
for one year, the produce of gold and silver 
haviny: declined in 1800 and 1801 on account 
of the maritime war which impeded the impor- 
tation of mercury as well as iron and steel from 
Karopt'. We shall adopt however a smaller 
sum, viz. 3,150 marcs of gold, and 570,000 
marcs of silver, the value of which amounts 
altogether to 5,300,(^K)0 piastres '^^. 

The places in I'tru most celebrated for their 
metallic wealth, or the magnitude of the works 
are in following the cham of the Andes from 
north to south : in the province of Caxamarcttf 
the C.^rro de Gualgayoc, near Micuipampa, 
Fuentestiana, and Pilancones; in the province 

* j«l,U3,000 Sterling. Trans, 



CHAP. XL] KINGDOM OF NEW J^P^iilN. ii-3i> 

o^ ChachnpoyaSf S. TLomaa, Las Playas tie 
Balzasy and the Pampas lei Sacvanifinto, 
between the Rio Gualla^a and VUcajale; in, 
the Province of Guamachucot the town of 
Guamachuco (with the Reales de San Fi'an- 
cisco, d'Angasmai'ca, and de la Mina Hedi- 
onda), Sogon, Sanagoran, San Jose, and San- 
tiago de Chucu ; in the province of Pataz^ 
the town of Parta^, Vuldivuyo, Tayabaniba, 
Soledad, and Chilia; in the province of Con- 
chucos, the town of Conchncos, Siguas, Tani- 
billo, Pomapamba, Chacas, Guari, Chavni, 
Guanta, and Ruriquinchay ; in tht; province 
of HuamalieSf Gualianca ; in the jMrovince oi 
Caxatamho, Chanca, and the town of Caxa- 
tambo; in the province ot Tarmac the Cerro 
de Yauricocha (two leagues to the north of 
Pasco) Chaupimarca, Areniliupaia, Santa 
CathLilina^ Caya grande, Yanacanclie, Santa 
Rosa , md the Cerro de Cohjuisirca ; in the 
province of Huarochiri* , Conchiipata ; in the 
province of Huancarflica, San .fiian de Luca- 
nas ; and lantly in the confiiitb of the (j^si |t of 
Atacama, Huantajayti. 

I have followed in tliis long < ; inneratiuii tjie 
old divisioii of Pern into provii ces ; but since 

ii j ij ....... ,1 

* Tke moufitftiiM of HuarochiH kna Canta contain 

excellent coal ; but on account of tlie high price of car- 
riage, they cannot be used at Lima. Cobalt and Antiiuony 
have also been discovered at Huarochiri. 

/ '2 



iK'l 



m 






iM 






*<#!' 






>'l 



L 



,.»«r«Mt^MaM 



340 POLITICAL KSSAY ON THE [book iv. 

the frontier of the kingdom of Buenos- Ay res 
has been made to pass to the west of the lake 
of Chnctiito, between the lake and the city of 
Cuzod, and since on the one hand the kingdom 
of Qnito and the provinces of Jaen de Braca- 
moros and Maynas, and on the other tlie govern- 
ments of Paz, Oruro, Plata, and Potosi have 
been separated from Peru, this last kingdom is 
divided into seven intend ancies, TruxillOt 
Tarma, Huancavelicu, Limaf Gvamanya, Are- 
(jmssa, and Cuzco, of which each comprehends 
several departments or partidos*. We can 
only aiTive at false results when, as has been 
done in works of the greatest estimation, we 
compare the produce of the mines of old Peru, 
with that of the present Peru, which since the 
year 1778, includes within its limits neither the 
Cerro del Potosi nor the mines of Oruro and 
Paz. The Peruvian gold partly comes from 
the provinces of Patazf and Huailas, where it 



* The old provinces of Pataz, Guaraachuco, and Chacha- 
puyas are now considered as jiartidos of the intendancy of 
Truxillo ; and those of Caxatambo, Huailas, Conchucos, 
and H uunmlies, belong to the intendancy of Tarma. The 
capitals of the sRven intendancies are : Limn with 52,600 
inhabitants; (hinmanga with 26,000; Arequipa with 
'24,000; TiiixiDo with /J800; Huahcavelica with 5200; 
Tarma with BGOl); nnd (Juzco with 32,000. (Guia poll- 
ticiif e.cchsiastica y rnUitar del Vireynato del Peruy para el 
at(o n9tif par Don Jose HipoHtu UnanucJ. 

t Among the five districts of mines of the partido of 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAINJ 341 



is extracted from veins of quartz which traverse 
primitive rocks, and partly from Lavaderos 
established on the banks of the Alto Maranon, 
in Xhid partido oi Chachapoyas. 

As in Mexico, almost the whole produce is 
derived from the mines of Guanaxuato, Catorce, 
Zacatecas, Real del Monte, and New Biscay, 
so in Peru nearly the whole silver is extracted 
from the g^reat mines of Yauricocha or Lauri- 
cocha (commonly called mines of Pasco and 
the Cerro de Bombon*) and those of Gualgayoc 
or CliotUf and Huantajaya (pronounced Guan- 
ta-ha-ya). 

The mines of Pasco, which are the worst 
wrought in all Spanish America, were dis- 
covered by Huari Capca an Indian in 1630; 
and they annually furnish nearly two millions 
of piastres. To form a just idea of the enor- 
mous mass of silver which nature has deposited 
in the bowels of these calcareous mountains, at 
an elevation of more than four thousand metres 
(13 thousand feet) above the level of the ocean, 

Pataz which we named above, only that of ChiUa furnishes 
silver. 

* The high table land of the Cordilleras on which we 
find the small lake de los Reyes, to the south of the Cerro 
de Yauricocha, is called the Pamha de Bombon. We must 
not seek the position of Pasco on the map of La Cruz, but 
on the map of the Rio Huallagu, drawn up by Father 
Sobieviela, and published in 1791 by the Sociedad de /os 
Amanies del pais de Lima. 









m 



M 

m 

m 






J 

i 



342 POUTICAL ESSAY ON THE [book ir. 



we must bear in mind that the bed of argenti- 
ferous oxide of iron of Yauricocha has been 
wroug-ht without interruption since the begin- 
ning of the seventeenth century, and that within 
the last twenty years more than five millions 
of marcs of silver have been extracted from it, 
while the greatest part of the pits are not more 
than thirty metres in depth, and none oi them 
one hundred and twenty metres. The water 
which is very abundant in these mines is 
drawn off, not by hydraulical wheels or horse 
haritels as in Mexico, but by pumps moved 
by men, so that notwithstanding the small 
depth of these miserable excavations which go 
by the names of pits and galleries, the drawing 
off the water from the mines is excessively 
expensive. In the mine of Lima, the expence 
amounted a few years ago to more than a 
thousand piastres per week. The mines of 
Yauricocha would supply the same quantity of 
silver as Guanaxuato, if they would but con- 
struct hydraulical machines or steam engines, 
for which tliey might make use of the turf of 
the lake of Giluacocha. The metalliferous bed 
(manto de plata) of Yauricocha appears at the 
surface for a length of 4800 metres* and a 
breadth of 2-iOOt. The follow uig table ex- 
tracted from the books of the provincial treasury 



< i; 



I T' 



• 15,747 feet. Trnm. 
t 7217 feet. Tram 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN- 343 



of Pasco, specifics the number and weight of 
the ingots of silver smelted at Pa^co, between 
the years 1792 and 1801. ■ ; 

Mining operations of Yauricocha. 



Periods^ Ingots. 


Marcs of silver. 


1792 


1052 


183,598 


; n 1793 


1325 


234,943 


. 1794 


1621 


291,254 


. 1795 : 


1550 


279,622 


■ 1796 


1561 


227,514 


. 1797 


1340 


242,949 


! 1798 


1478 


271,862 


1799 


1237 


228,356 


1800 


1198 


281,481 


1801 


914 


237,435 


Total of 10 years 


13,276 


2,479,014 



It appears from this table that ^the produce 
of Pasco has almost never been below two hun- 
dred thousand marcs* and that it amounted in 
1794 and 1801 nearly to the sum of three hun- 
dred thousand marcs of silverf. 

The mines of Gualgayoc and Micuipampa, 
commonly called Chota, which I had occasion 
to visit very minutely in 1802, were only dis- 
covered in 1771 by Don Rodriguez de Ocaiio 



t 



I 



* 131,2631b. troy. Trans. 
t 19.6,894 ih. troy. Trans, 



344 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

a European Spaniard. In the time of the 
Incas, the Peruvians wrought veins of silver in 
the Cerro de la Lin near Cutervo, at Chupi- 
quiyacu, to the west of the small town of Micui- 
pampa, where the thermometer descends almost 
every night to the freezing point, and which is 
seven hundred metres* higher than the town 
of Quito. Immense wealth has heen found even 
at the surface both in the mountain of Gualga- 
yoc, which rises like a fortified castle in the 
midst of the plain, and at Fuentestiana, at 
Cormolache, and at la Pampa de Navar. In 
this last plain for an extent of more than 
half a square league wherever the turf has been 
removed, sulphuretted silver has been extracted 
and filaments of native silver adhere to the roots 
of the gramina. Frequently the silver is found in 
masses (clavosy remolinos) as if smelted portions 
of this metal had been poured upon a very soft 
clay. The produce of the mines of Gualgayoc 
or Chota is very unequal in proportion to the 
inconstancy of the veins which traverse at 
Fuentestiana and Cormolache, calcareous lime- 
stone; at Gualgayoc and the Purgatorio as 
well as at the Cerro de San Jose, horn-stone, 
called pmiizo. This horn-stone forms a sub- 
ordinate bed in the calcareous rock as has 
been clearly recognized on digging the pits 
of Chiropampa to the east of the Purgatorio» 

' • 2296 feet. Trans. 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 345 

near the Ravin de Chiguera. All the mines 
comprehended under the name of mines of 
Gualgayoc, on the Partido de Chota, have 
furnished to the provincial treasury of Truxillo 
between the month of April 1774, and the month 
of October 1802, the sum of 1,912,327 marcs 
of silver* or at an average 67,193 marcs an- 
nuallyf. '. , -* ,:- ,^:^r, :<f .'■:■;-{ 

* 1,189,456 lb. troy. Trans, ■ 

n; t 44,095 lb. troy. Trans, 



f\iim 



•ii; 









mi 
T 



■ s 



346 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [^ok iv. 



Produce of the silver mines of Gual^ayoc, 



k 



tuamach 


ucoy and 


i iJoncni 


IC0». 1;- 


il'fl:?.!-.')', 


»itr» 


!. , ./•■> 


. .' . • 


...,., J 






i i 


Period*. 




Weight. 




• ■ • / 


Number 
of ingots 






Duty of 
fifui 


:U\ 






' \ i 




of silver. 


Marcs. 


Ounces. 


XlAlAl* 




' " ' T 








. ".a.*:. I 


% 










Piastres. 


iu 


1774 


182 


34,403 


4 


33,85^ 


/ . 9 


5 


300 


57,894 


5 


56,941 




6 


432 


84,826 


1 


82,985 




7 


302 


60,015 


3 


59,051 




8 


327 


65,062 


3 


64,034 




9 


324 


64,203 


7 


63,214 




1780 


306 


60,981 





60,021 




1 


608 


61,4-35 


4 


60,387 




2 


429 


73,698 


6 


72,462 




3 


329 


58,713 


6 


57,808 




4 


335 


61,564 





60,440 




5 


397 


73,604 


2 


72,373 




6 


398 


73,305 


6 


72,024 




7 


450 


83,633 





82,209 




8 


404 


73,835 


5 


74,371 


\ 


9 


469 


87,484 





83,469 




1790 


645 


119^83 


5 


117,241 




1 


515 


105,383 


2 


103,618 




2 


731 


134,084 


4 


131,939 




3 


406 


72,904 


6 


71,713 




4 


480 


86,876 


1 


85,505 




5 


434 


79,309 


4 


78,047 




6 


428 


77,997 


5 


76,755 




7 


378 


67,789 


3 


66,721 




8 


501 


90,015 


4 


88,600 




9 


607 


108,591 


6 


106,889 




1800 


392 


70,595 


6 


69,471 




1 


255 


45,378 


3 


44,626 




2 


267 


48,198 


6 


47,413 




Total 












in 


11,791 


2,180,470 


3 


2,144,179 




29 years. 








^ 





r. 



CHAP. H.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 347 



This table which was framed at my request 
in the offices of the intendancy exhibits the 
quantity of silver given into the Cayana de 
Truxillo, as well as the .duties of tenth and 
one and a half per cent, paid to the king. Of 
11,791 ingots, nearly an eighth part or 1450 
came from the partidos of Guamachuco and 
Conchuco. I could not procure tlie produce of 
the Cerro de Gualgayoc since the discovery 
of the mines in 1771, to 1774. These years 
were undoubtedly the most abundant of all ; 
but as the money was sent at that period to 
Lima, the archives of Truxillo could furnish 
no information relative to them. It is very 
reasonably believed that under a more en- 
lightened government, the Cerro de Gualgayoc, 
would become another Potosi. In fact its mi- 
nerals are richer than those of Potosi, and they 
are more constant in their produce than those 
of Huantajaya, and easier to work than those 
of Yauricocha. 

The mines of Huantajaya, surrounded with 
beds of rock salt are particularly celebrated 
on account of the great masses of native 
silver which they contain in a decomposed 
gangue ; and they furnish annually between 70 
and 80 thousand marcs of silver*. The mu- 
riate of conchoidal sii^^er, sulphuretted silver, 



m 

n 



■i^' 



%\ 



4H 



m 



* From 45,942 to 52,505 lb. troy. Tram. 



348 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

galena with small grains, quartz, carbonate of 
lime, accompany the native silver. These 
mines are situated in tlir partido of Arica, 
near the small port of Yquique *, in a desert 
entirely destitute of water. A project has long 
been entertained of carrying fresh water to it 
for the use of tlo men and cactle, and water 
from the sea for the amalgamation works. 
In 1758 and 1789 two pepitas oi massive silver 
were discovered in the mines of Coronet and 
Loysa, the one weighing eight and the other 
two quintals. 

The gentle elevation of the mines of Huan- 
tajaya, on the shore of the Pacific Ocean is 
a singular contrast with the masses of vitreous 
silver found on the summit of the Cerro de 
Gualgayoc at a height of 4080 metresf; and 
it proves the vagueness of the systematical ideas 
advanced by celebrated geologists relative to 
the distribution of the metals according to 
the variety of climates and latitudes. UUoa 
after travelling over a great part of the Andes, 
affirms that silver is peculiar to the high table 
lands of the Cordilleras, called Punas or Pa- 
ramoSf and that gold on the other hand abounds 
iu the lowest, and consequently warmest re- 



* Along the coast of Taparaca. 
t 13,385 feet. Trans, 



«HAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 349 

g-ions* ; but this learned traveller appears to 
have forgot that in Peru the richest provinces 
in gold are the particles of Pataz and Hu- 
ailas, which are on the ridge of the Cor- 
dilleras. The Incas drew immense quantities 
of gold from the plains of Curimayo to the 
north-east of the town of Caxamarca, at more 
than 3400 metres f of elevation. It has also 
been extracted from the right bank of the 
Rio de Micuipampa, between the Cerro de 
San Jose, and the plain called by the na- 
tives, Choropampa or plain of shells, on account 
of an enormous quantity of ostracites, cardium 
and other petrifications of sea shells contained 
in the formation of alpine limestone of Gual- 
gayoc. Considerable masses of gold have been 
found there, disseminated in branches and fila 
ments, in veins of red and vitreous silver at more 
than 4000 metres of elevation above the level 
of the ocean J. As to the alluvions grounds 
in which the lavauy »o« of gold of Choco are es- 
tablished, and those of Sonora and Brazil, are 
we to be surprised on finding them rather at 
the bottom than the tops of mountains ? If 
tin § appears an exception to the law of nature, 

• VUoa, Noticias Americanos. 1772, p. 223 and 236. 
+ 11,154 feet. Trans. 
tl3,lS5 feet. Trans. 

f For iisstarice, tlie tin of the Lavaderos (Waschxinn) 
of th« sumiuit of the Fichtelgebirge. 



I 



hS 






:\ m 



m 



mi 



•m 



^■ 



.^^ ^ 

•''»**>. 




IMAGE EVALUATION 
TEST TARGET (MT-3) 




I I.I 
11.25 



■ailM 125 

£ U£ 12.0 



U 1 1.6 



I 




HiDtographic 

Scierices 

Corporation 




^ 





i\ 





<^ 






23 WIST MAIN STRUT 

WnSTIR.N.Y. 14SN 

(716)t72-4S03 







^■ 








^ 



305 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book !▼• 

it is undoubtedly because the granitic becl% 
in which it was primitively contained, have 
been decomposed in their place. - ' v:^ 

The process of amalgamation of silver mi> 
nerals followed in Peru, since 1571, is the 
same as that which is used in Mexico. In 
the two countries the schlich is manufactured 
according to the rules prescribed by Medina, 
Barba Corso, de Leca and Corosegan*a ; but 
generally speaking, amalgamation is practised 
with more care and more intelligence by the 
Mexican miners at Guanaxuato and Zacateoaf;, 
than by the miners of Peru. In New Spain 
the expence of amalgamation is generally es- 
timated at 87 piastres 4 reals for one hundred 
quintals of minerals containing four ounces of 
silver per quintal, of which sum, 25 piastres 
go for waste of mercury. As three hundred 
quintals produce fifty marcs of silver, which 
according to the common price of silver * 
at the mines are worth 362 piastres, it follows 
that the expeuce of amalgamation amounts 
nearly to 24 per cent, of the value of the 
Mlver. Bat in Peru, where the mercury of 

♦ At •» piastres, 2 reals. Garces, p. 144, In the beginning 
of die serenteenth century the expences of amalgamation at 
Potosi, for a caxon of ore weighing 5 quintals, and containing 
20 marcs of silver, were only estimated at 30 piastres. 
or 90 per cent, although the pound of mercury cost a 
piastre. Barba, p. 118. 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



351 



Huancavelica is generally sold for 60 or 70 
piastres the quintal *, the expences unoiint in 
several districts of mines to 30 or 38 per 
cent. At the Ccrro de Gualgayoc for example, 
where the price of labour is from three to 
foitr re'i:ls (from 40 to 50 sous) per day, a 
load of schlieh, containing from two to three 
marcs of silver costs seven piastres in the 
process of amalgamation, viz* ., <m 



f).i-f(i<* 



rt; .'^'fV , ■:/', 



•\-v 



In roasting 



C wood 
\ labour 

Muriate of Soda . . . 

Lime - . - . - 

Labour in treading the schlieh 

Consumption of mercury 






\;\y 



■M 



Reals of Silver. 

8 

- 2 

6 
- • - 12 

• a* 

Total 56 



During my stay in the Cordillera of the 
Andes, there were only two districts of mines 
where the method of M. de Bom of amalr 
gamation in casks, was followed with any degree 
of success, namely the Real de Requay, iu 
the province of Huailas, and Tallenga, in 
the province of Caxatambo f* To judge of 
the considerable loss of silver annually ex- 

^ Campomanea, de la educacion popular, T ii. p. 132. 

t The mines near Requay, where a German amalga- 
mation work has been constructed Is called Ticapamba, 
and bebngs to Don Juan Ignacio Gamio. The work of 
Tallenga was established by Don Juan Baptlsta ArieU. 






m 



.^' 






352 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



perienced in Peru from the ignorance of the 
amalgamators, it is enough to mention the 
simple fact that it daily happens that an nzo- 
guero extracts 15 marcs per caxon, from the 
same mineral, out of ^hich hitherto there has 
never been extracted more than ten or twelve 
marcs. In the years which immediately suc- 
ceeded the discovery of the mines of Yau- 
ricocha, they only wrought the pacos or oxides 
of iron, mixed with native silver, and muriate 
of silver. The prismatic black silver and the 
argentiferous grey copper were thrown among 
the rubbish. In the same manner on building 
the small town of Micuipampa, walls were 
constructed of very rich pieces oi gangue, and 
those minerals only which were of a yellowish 
brown or of an earthy appearance, like the 
pacoSf were considered as containing silver. 
These facts will not appear so surprising when 
we consider that not more than forty years 
agOy in one of the most civilized countries of 
Europe, calamine was employed in the making 
of roadst without its being perceived that this 
substance which was soiled with clay con- 
tained zinc. ^ . .?' f ivrr.*.* ^41 

II. The Prestdencia, or Capitania general 
of Chili produces annually in gold and silver, 
one million seven hundred thousand piastres *, 



j-> .' 



\. 



V I 



• dS57,000 Sterling. Tram. 



.a. 



«HAP. xiO KINGDOM OF KEW SPAIN. 353 



The most considerable mines of gold, are Pe» 
torca, ten leagues to the South of Chuapa ; 
Yapel or Villa de Cuscus, Llaoin, Tiltil and 
Ligua, near Quillota. Mines are also wrought 
in the partidos of Copiapo, Coquimbo and 
Guasco. The silver mining operations of 
Chili are in general by no means productive. 
The Cerro de Uspallata, at eight leagues 
distance to the north-west of Mendoza con- 
tains, however, paces so rich that they yield 
from two to three thousand marcs per chest 
{caxon) of 5000 pounds, or 40 or 60 marcs 
of silver per quintaL The produce of the 
mines of Chili, has considerably increased of 
late years. In 1790 there was coined at San* 
tiago 721,000 piastres in gold and 146,000 
in silver. 

III. The great mass of precious metals, 
supplied by the viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres, 
is entirely derived from the most western 
part, the provincias de la Sierra, which in 
1778, were separated from Peru. We may 
estimate the annual produce, which is almost 
wholly silver, at four millions two hundred 
thousand piastres *. The districts which supply 
the most are Potosi, Chaganta, Porco f, Oruro, 



U:.: 



■i 



n 



I 



• i'882,000 Sterling, Trans. 

t See Alonzo Barba, Arte de los Mdales (ed" 1729J 
p. 48, respecting the silver mines of Porco wrpught b]^ 
the Incas. 

VOL. III. !2 A 



354 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

Chucuito, la Paz, Caylloma, and Carangas. 
In the intendancy of Fiino, the mountains of 
Ananca, near Caravaya and Azangara, to the 
north-east of the lake of Titicaca were ce- 
lebrated in the first years of the conquest on 
account of the wealth of their mines of gold *. 
Thoughts were entertained in 1803 of re- 
suming the old operations of MorocoUo, in 
the Pampa Fungoso de la Rinconada, and on 
the banks of the lake of Communi. They 
sought also to continue the gallery of Vera 
Cniz, in the famous silver mine of Salcedo, 
situated in the mountains of Ycacota and 
Cancharani. 

The mountain of Potosi f has alone furnished, 
including only the silver which has paid 
the royal duties, since its discovery in 1545 to 
our days, a mass of silver equal to 5750 millions 



* Proclamacion del Intendentede Puno, D. Jose Gongalea, 
Platina is ako said to have been discovered near Moroco llo- 
but the fact has never yet been confirmed by persons de- 
serving of credit. 

f Potosi properly Potocchi, Potossi or Potocsi* The old. 
Mtme of Huancavelica is Huanca-yillca.GamiaMOy (7om- 
Reales, lib. viii. c. 25. Pedro de Ciega de Leon, Chronic^ 
del Peru, c, 109. The porphyry bed which crowns [the 
mountain of Potosi, the Hatun-Potocsi, gives it the form 
of a sugar-loaf or basaltic hill ( See p. ) . This mountain 
is 1624 varas, or 697 toises above the neighbouring plain. 
Acotta, lib. iv. c. 6. Hernandez, p. i. lib. xi. c. 2. H^mtp 
p. 65*122. 



V 1 • . 



CHAP. XI.] KIKODOM OF NEW SPAIN. iiS& 

of livres tournois *, Ulloa hat communicated 
some historical information respecting this 
mining operation, M^hich has had the most power- 
ful effect on the commerce and price of com- 
modities of Europe ; but he could only collect 
very incomplete materials, founding his cal* 
culations on the consumption of mercury in th« 
amalgamation works, I am enabled to publish 
from official papers, year after year, between 
1556 and 1789, the value of the A\A\e^ (derechoi 
de reales) paid into the provincial treasury of 
Potosi, on the silver given into the mint. As 
the proportion which has existed at different 
periods between these duties and the value of 
the silver extracted from the mines, is known, 
we may deduce from the three following tables 
the annual produce in piastres. 



i 



iPm 



'fr 1 



« 1^234,693,840 Sterling. Trans. 



2 A 2 



36d. 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



ROYAL DUTIES (Derechos Reales) 

Paid on the sUrer extracted from the Cerro 

de Potosi, 

TABLE L 

First j)tir"u>(l, from 1st January, 15.50, to 31st 
December, lo78, tUuing which the fifth 
alone was paid. 



1 I'ifth. 1 ( K.fili. 




Fiitli. 


Yoars.' Pia'^trfs 


Iloals.l 


Y*^ars. 


Pinstivs 


Rivals 

~4' 


Wars. 

1572 


Pisisfres. 


Renls. 

3 


15o61o()734 


I 


1564 


39(>15s 


216117 


15574(58534 


5 


1565 


5 1994 i 


1 


1573 


234972 


1 


1558387032 





1566 


486014 


3 


1574 


313778 


5 


1559377031 


2 


1567 


417107 


1 


1575 


413487 


4 


1560382428 


3 


1568 


398381 


3 


1576 


544614 


6 


1561 405655 


7 


1569 


379906 


7 


1577 


716087 


6 


1562426782 


1 


1570 


325467 


1 


1578 


825505 


2 


1563,449965 


3 


1171 


26620U 


4 






Total of the 23 years 9,801,906 piastres. 



rilAF. XI.} 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



357 



TABLE II. 

Second period from the 1st January, 1579, to the 10th July, 
1736, during which at first one and a half per cent, de 
cobos was paid, and afterwards the filth of the remaining* 
98 piastres 4 reals. 



Years. 

1579 

1580 

1581 

1582 

158JJ 

1584 

1585 

158(5 

1587 

1588 

1589 

1590 

1591 

1592 

1593 

1594 

1.595 



Uiie iind a halt 
per cent, and fifth. 



Piastres. 



1,091,025 
1,189,323 
1,276,872 
1,362,855 
1,221,428 
1,215,5.58 
1,526,4.55 
1,4.56,958 
1,226,328 
1,441,657 
1,578,823 
1,422,576 
1,562,522 
1,578,449 
1,589,662 
1,403,555 
1,557,221 
159611,468,182 



1597 
1598 
1599 
1600 
1601 
1602 
1603 
1604 
1605 
1606 
1607 
1608 
1609 
1610 
1611 
1612 



1,355,954 
1,310,911 
1,339,685 
1,299,028 
1,477,489 
1,519,152 
1,178,697 
1,326,231 
1,532,646 
1,434,981 
1,414,660 
1,200,488 
1,132,680 
1,139,725 
6,299,052 
1,329,701 



Reals. 

3 

1 

6 

7 

3 

1 

1 







7 

1 

2 

6 

1 

7 

3 

5 

6 

7 

2 

5 

7 

7 

6 

6 



Yiar . 



One and .t half 
per cent. an<l fifth. 



Piastres. 



16131,200,947 
1614 1,269,692 
16151,354,412 

1616 1,257,599 

1617 1,071,932 

1618 1,061,264 
16191,108,744 

1620 1,069,599 

1621 1,099,244 

1622 1,093,201 

1623 1,083,641 

1624 1,086,999 

1625 1,024,794 
1626a,033,868 

1627 1,068,612 

1628 1,172,352 

1629 972,807 

1630 962,250 

1631 1,067,001 

1632 964,370 
1,003,756 

1634 984,414 

1635 946,781 
1636 1,424,758 
1637 1,197,572 
16381,174,393 

1.128,738 



1(539 
1640 
1641 
1642 
1643 
1644 
1645 
1646 



978,483 
940,367 
905,797 
924,659 
871,174 
908,414 
840.982 



Reals. 

6 

7 

3 



4 

2 

6 

3 

I 

4 

7 



3 

7 

3 

3 



4 

6 

6 



6 



6 

4 





2 



6 








One aiul a halt 
per cent, and fitth. 



YrH 



1(J47 

1648 

1649 

1650 

1651 

1652 

1653 

1654 

1655 

16.56 

1657 

1658 

1(>59 

1660 

1661 

1662 

1663 

1664 

1665 

1666 

1667 

1668 

1669, 

1670 

1671 

1672 

1673 

1674 

1675 

1676 

1677 

1678 

1679 

1680 



P ast rc8. 



891,287 
1,123,9.32 
1,067,376 
917,845 
757,418 
796,244 
759,904 
835,109 
754,784 
804,071 
933,441 
877,862 
799,609 
6.52,728 
623,250 
638,167 
579,126 
605,450 
655,557 
675,729 
708,879 
691,169 
624,126 
554,614 
667,992 
624,037 
67(5,811 
673,694 
567,827 
514,-530 
550,099 
653,067 
622,979 
629.270 



Iteal>. 



2 

1 

7 

6 

2 

5 

4 

1 



4 

1 

1 

4 

7 

3 

7 

3 



4 

2 



4 



3 

(5 





si 

1 



-m 

"'^A 



y 






m 







358 



FOLITICAL ESSAY ON THE 



[■OOK IV' 



SEQUEL OP TABLE IL 



Yean. 



1681 
1682 
1683 
1684 
1685 
1686 
1687 
1688 
1689 
1690 
1691 
1692 



•*iie and a hall 
jtrcenr. andtifUi. 



Piastres. Real*. 



686,791 
659,341 
731,599 
719,082 
655,256 
586,835 
645,318 
646,077 
647,189 
673,097 
593,976 
424,761 
1093570,870 
1694546,928 
1695557,145 
1696 500,965 



1697 
1698 
1699 



471,686 
434,772 
434,287 





6 


7 
1 
3 

1 
1 
7 
2 
3 
1 
3 
4 
1 




OiM and a liult 
per cent, and Ufth. 



Years. 



Piastre!!. Reals 



1700405,492 
1701338,572 
1702372,447 
1703 360,114 



1704 
1705 



333,702 
319,264 



1706354,600 



1707 
1708 
1709 
1710 
1711 
1712 
1713 
1714 
1715 



364,415 
374,lHa 
334,(^80 
309,008 
246,147 
204,931 
279,913 
265,087 
228,224 



1717 



1716239,287 



a56,804 



1718J322,251 



5 
4 
1 
6 

7 
1 

6 
4 
1 
1 
6 
1 
1 

«i 
Oi 
1 
1 



Years. 



One and a halt 
per cciit.niid Tifth. 



Piastres. Kuais. 



1719 
1720 
1721 
1722 
1723 
1724 

11 m 

17271 

V2^ 

1729 

1730 

1731 

1732 

1733 

1734 

1735 

1736 



283,593 3 

231,256i 7 

229,002 

228,208 5 

214,740 3 

24;:>>7<>3 4 

2-2.i.o83 3 

2 74,416 I 

28(i,o28' 3 

22(),(i98 1 

>6(>,414| 7i 

303,361j 6i 

293,497' 3 

308,1371 3i 

.104,7681 Si 

273,084 5 J 

271,62ll 6 

149,5671 Of 



Total of the 158 years, 129,417,273 piastres. 



CHAP. XI.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



;>^9 



TABLE III 



Third period between the 20»h July, 1736, and the 
3 1st December, 1789, during which one and a half 
per cent, and the half of the fi^th were paid, or 1 1 
piastres, 3 reals per 100 piastres. 



OiH! and a halt per 
cent, and tliu half 
fifth. 



Years. Piastres. Reals. 



1736 
1737 
1738 
1739 
1740 
1741 
1742 
1743 
1744 
1745 
1746 
1747 
1748 
1749 
1750 
1751 
1752 
1753 



85,410 
183,704 
159,252 
183,295 
170,229 
179,573 
161,976 
166,131 
155,926 
163,140 
178,080 
184,156 
197,022 
215,283 
233,677 
238,502 
227,133 
244,888 



2 
3 
7 

6^ 
4 

6 



li 
3 

Ol 
6 

5i 
7i 
3 
5 

5 
U 



One and a halt fier 
cent, aiid the halt 
fifth. 



Years. Piastres. Real>. 



1754244,148 
1755|221,872 
249,513 
244,760 



1756 
1757 



1758262,835 



1759 
1760 
1761 
1762 
1763 
1764 
1765 
1766 
1767 



263,701 
272,059 
261,580 
257,201 
279,646 
263,092 
281,985 
282,405 
303,650 



1769 
1770 
1771 



1768306,674 



291,075 
292,203 
307,765 



2 
4 
7 
6 

4i 
6 

1 

7 

71 

64 

11 

5 

Oi 
6 

3 
3| 



Years. 



1772 
1773 



One and a hult p< 
cent, and the hal' 
fifth. 



Piastres. lUeals, 



298,983 
306,925 
1774:317,703 
1775332,329 
1776346,319 
1777390,676 



1778351,994 
1779348,035 
1780'400,062 
178l|323,109 
1782350,199 



It 

3 

4 

4i 

5 

51 

6i 

4 

U 
2 

2 



1783400,238 3i 



1784371,362 
1785351,777 
17861332,507 



1787 

1788 
1789 



390,836 
380,600 
335,468 



2 

71 
1 

7i 
6 



Total of the 54 years 14,542,684 piastres. 



m 



u 



SI 



^^*^ POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book i^. 

The result of these three tables as we have 
already observed*, on comparing the actual- 
produce of the mines of Guanaxuato in Mexico, 
with the produce of the mountain of Potosi^ 
is, that during the space of 233 years, from 
1556 to 1789, there has been extracted from 
the mines of Potosi, in silver declared at the. 
Koyal Treasury, the amount of 788 millions 
of piastres. If these piastres were all Mexican, 
piastres, at 8 reals of Plata Mexicana'ft the 
produce of these 233 years would amount to 
92,736,294 marcs J. But we shall shoilly see 
that the mass of silver on which duty has been 
paid is still greater. 

The books of accounts preseiTcd in the ar-, 
chives of the provincial treasury of Potosi, 
do not go farther back than the year 1556. 
It remains therefore to examine what was 
the quantity of silver supplied by the mines. 
of Potosi before that period. This examina- 
tion is the more important, as it is very rea- 
sonably believed that the first years which fol- 

• Seep. 171. 

f We must take care not to confound three species^ 
of reals de plata g viz. the real de plata antigua of 64 ma* 
ravedis de vellon ; the real de plata nueva or provincial of 
68 maravedis ; and the real de plata Mexicana, of 85 ma- 
ravedis. We constantly make use of the latter in thig 
work (Damoreau TraitSdes Bangues, 1727, p. 115. Encyclop^ 
Methodijuet Commerce, T. iii. p. 211.) 

t 60,851,2311b, troy. 



CHAP. XI.3 KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 361 

lowed the discovery of the veins, were the 
most productive in riches. 

Ulioa* quotes a book published in 16.34, by 
Don Sebastiani Sandoval y Guzman, under tho 
title of Pretensiones del Potosi, in which the 
(luthor specifies the iifth paid between 1545 
and 1633, I endeavoured in vain to procure 
this work during my stay in Peru; and not 
knowing the partial data which it contains, 
I can only examine the results stated by the 
Spanish astronomer. This examination becomes 
the more necessary, as the assertions of Ulloa 
have been repeated by Raynalf, and by all 
the other writers who treat of the quantity of 
gold and silver imported from America into 
Europe, during the first yeare of tlie conquest. 
According to Sandoval, the fifth paid into the 
royal treasury of Potosi, was at an average 
from 15,45 to 1564, four millions of piastres 
of 13i rentes de plata ; from 1584 to 1585, 
1,166,000 piastres; from 1585 to 1624,1,333,000 
piastres; and from 1624 to 16.33, 666,000 piastres. 
These numbers between 1564 and 1633, do 
Bot coincide very well with the annual sums 
staged in the foregoing tables ; the differences 
aye sometimes the one way, and sometimes 
the other; but it is in a particular manner respect- 

* Noticias Americari'is, Entretenimiento xiv. § xvii. p. 256. 
t HuU PhUosophiquct (edit, de Geneve, 1780) T. W^ 
p.229. 



« 



1^ 



'^m 






t^, 






Uf 



il 



i 



162 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

ing the fifth of four millions, for the period 
which precedes the year 1564, that we may 
most reasonably entertain well fowided doubts. 

Were this sum accurate, the produce of silver 
extracted from the mine of Potosi, and regis- 
tered in the royal treasury, would have amounted 
in nineteen years, between 1545 and 1564, to 
641,250,000 Mexican piastres*, reducing the 
piastres of 13* reals to piastres of 8 reals. 
On the other hand, it is proved, by official pa- 
pers in my possession, that the produce in 
eight years, from 1556 to 1564, amounted to 
28,250,000 of these same Mexican piastresf. The 
result of these data of Sandoval, would con- 
sequently be, that drring the first eleven years 
between 1545 and 1556, the Cerro del Potosi 
must have yielded in silver, of which the fifth 
was paid, 613 millions of piastres;];, or at an 
yearly average, 55,726,000 piastres§, equal to 
6,556,000 marcs of silver||. This is a very 
extraordinary result, yet it contains however 
nothing which may be considered as impossi*^ 
ble. We may be surprized to see that a single 
mountain of Peru, has yielded from two to 
three times more silver than all the collected 



* £ 134,662,500 Sterling. Trans, 

t £ 5,932,500 Sterling. Trans, 

t iS 128,730,000 Sterling. Trans, 

j jf 11,701,326 Sterling. Trans, 

V 4,802,810 lb. Troy. Trans. 



CHAP, xi.l KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



363 
^ 



mines of Mexico; but our ideas of wealth are 
merely relative. It is possible that we may 
one day discover mountains in ihe centre of 
Africa, which with relation to their abundance 
in the precious metals, may bear the same pro- 
portion to the Cordilleras, which the Cordilleras 
bear to the mountains of Europe. The mine 
of Valenciana supplies annually more silver 
than all Saxony, and the single vein of Gua- 
naxuato, wrought throughout its whole length, 
would be able to produce more than two 
millions of marcs of silver annually*. We 
have already observed that there has been 
extracted from the vein of the veta grande 
of Sombrerete, for an extent of 30 metres in 
five months, more than 700,000 marcs. When 
we reflect on the masses of native red and 
sulfuretted silver, discovered in our days at 
Huantajaya in Peru, as well as at Batopilas 
and the Real del Monte in Mexico, we may 
conceive what a prodigious quantity of silver 
may be supplied, by a mineral depository in the 
Cordilleras of the Andes, when the abundance 
of produce is united to intrinsic wealth. It 
is not then the enormous quantity of silver 
which is supposed to have been extracted during 
the first eleven years, which induces me to 
call in question the testimony of Sandoval; 



1 



.^ 



I 



i>M 



nj 

m* 



• 1,312,633 lb. Troy. Tram* 



W4 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE Cbook iv*, 

but it is the contradiction which exists ben 
tween this testimony, and other well authen- 
ticated facts. ^ 

Ulloa, Robertson, I^aynal, and the writers of 
the Encyclopedic Methodique, have not attended 
to a passage of the Chronicle of Peru, written 
by Pedro Cie^a de Leon. The author who 
writes with that admirable naivete, which cha- 
racterizes all the travellers of the fifteenth and 
and sixteenth century, proposes to give hi& 
countrymen an idea of the prodigious wealth 
of the mountain of Potosi. He was the better 
enabled to do this from being on the spot in 
1549, four years after the first discovery of 
these celebrated mines. i{e relates what he 
saw himself, while Sandoval speaks of a period 
more than 90 years before. If we are to sus- 
pect the numbers of Cie^a of error, we ought 
rather to believe that the error lies on the 
side of excess; for a traveller who aims at 
effect, and who hopes to astonish his readers 
is naturally inclined to exaggeration. Let us 
now examine what the historian of Peru re- 
lates*. " The wealth of the Cerro de Potosi,^* 
says he, ** is so much beyond what was ever 
** seen in former times, that to show the gi-eat- 
*' ness of these inines, I shall describe them 
" as I saw them with my own eyes, when I 



• Cie9a, Chronica del Peru, Cap. criti. (ed?. 155^) p. 26L 



CHA*. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 365 



it 



4t 



passed through Potosi in 1649, at the period 
<* when the Licentiate Polo was Corregidor 
•* of the town. The chests (royal) with three 
" keys are iiv the house of this Corregedor. 

His Majesty received every week from twenty- 
** five to thirty, and sometimes even forty thou* 
** sand piastres. They complained at that time 
** that the mines went on poorly, when the 
*' fifth only amounted to 120,000 castellanos 
** monthly. And yet all this money belonged 
** to the Christians alone ; for the Indians stole 
** a great deal which was not registered; so 
** that no where in the world was there ever 
•* so rich a mountain and no where did any 
** Prince ever draw so great a revenue from 
" a single town; for between 1548 and 1551, 
" the fifth brought into the King more than 
** three millions of ducats." 

To understand this passage which contains 
three distinct valuations, we must recollect that 
the pesos or piastres of that time, and till 1580 
at least*, were an imaginary money of 480 ma- 
ravedis, or nearly V6i Reaks de plata Mexicana, 
A marc of silver contained dij of these piastres. 
Five piastres made a ducat of 111 reals. Ac- 
cording to these data then, reckoning the fifth 
with Cie9a, at 30,000 piastres per week, and 

* Gardlasso, Cement, Reales, T. i. in the second preface 
which bears the title of Advert fticias geerca la Unguagentral 
del Peru ; and T.ii. p. 51. 



1 



<iif>| 



366 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE t«ooK iv. 

120,000 castellanos per month, the total produce 
of the mines of Potosi was (in registered silver), 
in the year 1549, either 1,549,000, or 1,440,000 
marcs. The same produce amounted accord- 
ing to Cie9a, at an average from 1548 to 1551, 
only to 7,031,000 Mexican piastres of eight 
reals of plata, equal to 827,000 marcs of silver. 
This sum forms a singular contrast with the 
account of Sandoval and Ulloa; but it agprees 
very well with the fifth of the years when our 
first table commences. It might remain doubt- 
ful whether Cie9a speaks really of the totality 
of the royal duties, levied between 1548 and 
1551, or whether he affinns that during that 
period, the fifth amounted to three millions of 
ducats per annum. In this last case, the 
annual produce would have amounted to 
21,093,000 Mexican piastres, or 2,481,000 marcs 
of silver, a very considerable sum no doubt, 
but still very much below the calculation of 
Ulloa and Raynal. I am inclined to believe, 
that the historian of Peru estimates only at 
three millions of ducats, the sum total of the 
fifths of the four years, 1st. Because this va- 
luation is more agreeable to the value of the 
fifth of 1556; 2d. Because Cie9a to give the 
highest idea of the wealth of the mines, says, 
that the fifth sometimes amounted to 40,000 
piastres, which would give for the maximvm 
pf annual produce at that time, a sum not 



OHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 307 



above 2,481,000, but hardly equal to 2,065,000 
marcs; 3rd. Because Garcilasso* relates that 
about the same period, from ten to twelve mil- 
lions of piastres in gold and silver of Peru, 
every year entered the Rio Guadalquivir. 

Considering these data of Sandoval as accurate, 
and combining them both with those of Cie9a, 
and the numbers contained in the official papers 
published by me, we shall find the following 
results for the average annual produce of the 
mines of Potosi, on which we can place but 
small reliance : 

From 1545 to 1548 23,284,000 marcs of silver. 
1548 1551 827,000 

1551 1556 621,000 
1556 1564 415,000 

The following is the foundation for this cal- 
culation. Sandoval and UUoa. estimated the 
produce of the Cerro de Potosi, between 1545 
and 1564, at an average 33,750,000 piastres 
per annum, or 3,970,000 marcs of silver. Now, 
we know from the chronicle of Ciepa, what^ 
was the amount of the produce between 1548 
and 1551; the registers of Potosi contain the 
produce from 1556 to 1564; and supposing for 
the intermediate period from 1551 to 1556, 
a decrease in arithmetical progression, it is easy 
to find from the 641,250,000 Mexican piastres, 



^ 






'\»l 



■1 • ii 






@ 



'V^ 



^m 



* CrarctAufo, ii.p. 58. 



368 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

or 75,440,000 marcs of silver, stated by San- 
doval as the total proportion of the first 19 
years, the proportional amount for the small 
interval from 1545 to 1548. 

If we admit ivhat appears equally impro* 
bable, that Cie9a indicated the fiflh of each 
of the four years, contained in the period from 
1548 to 1551, we find by an analogous opei'a- 
tion, that the annual produce of the mines of 
. Potosi amounted. 
From 1545 to 1 548 to 19,146,000 marcs of silver. 

1548 1551 2,481,000 , .. 

1551 1556 1,448,000 

1556 1564 415>000 
Thus whatever interpretation we give to the 
passage of the chronicle of Cie9a, we shall 
find, it is evident in both hypotheses, that the 
produce of the first three years differs so much 
from the following years, that we ought very 
much to suspect the account of Sandoval. We 
ought the more to suspect it, as on examining 
^ythe table of fifths between 1556 and 1789, 
we discover in this long series of numbers, a 
law according to which they uniformly increase 
or decrease. Cie9a visited the mines of Potosi, 
at the period of their greatest splendour ; and 
he expressly says, that he described the moun- 
tain as he found it in 1549, *' because that 
** wealth like every thing human, must vary 
"** in the course of time, either increasing or 



CHAF. XL] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 369 



" diminishing.'* If the produce of 1549, was 
really eight or ten times less than the pro- 
duce of 1546, how should the traveller have 
passed over this enormous diminution of wealth 
in silence. 

We shall conclude from the whole of these 
discussions, that the total produce of silver 
registered during the eleven years which are 
deficient in the preceding tables, far from 
amounting to 72 millions of marcs, as we miglit 
be led to suppose from Ulloa, and the cele- 
brated author of the Recherches Philosophiques, 
has never exceeded the sum of 15 millions of 
marcs. We shall not give great faith to 
Solorzano"*^, who vaguely says that Potosi 
yielded between 1545 and 1628, that is in 83 
years, the sum of 850 millions of pounds of 
silver, which is almost the double of what the 
mountain supplied in two centuries and a half. 
We may be surprized to see a M'riter, who 
was long a member of the audience of Lima, 
so very ill informed; for how can we suppose 
during 83 years an annual produce of 
2,400,000 marcs, when the registers preserved 
in the treasury of Potosi, prove that during this 
period the mean sum of the produce seldom 
amounted to 800,000 marcs. 






y/^' 






'■''m 



* Solorzano Pereira, de IntUarum Jure, T. ii« Lib. v. c. i. 
(edit. Lugd.) 

VOL. III. 2 B 



A 



B70 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 



it 



tt 



i( 



ti 



Moreover Acosta* who went over both Ame- 
ricas, and whose Vork can only be sufhciently 
appretiated by those who have visited the same 
places, confirms the assertions of Cie9a. He 
relates that " in the time of the Licentiate 
" Polo,*' (consequently before the year 1549), 
" the fifth amounted to a million and a half 
" of piastres per annnmf.^* He adds notwith- 
standing the confusion which prevails in the 
hooks of accounts of the first yearsy we know 
" from tradition, and from the investigation 
carried on by orders of the viceroy Don 
Francisco de Toledo, that the quantity of regis- 
" tered j^'Ver from 1545 to 1574, amounted 
" to 76 millions of piastres, and from 1574 
" to 1585, to 35 millions of piastres, (at 13 
** reales and one quartillo), which in forty years 
** amounts to 111 millions." These 111 mil- 
lions of piastres imaginary money (pesos de 
minas), only suppose an annual produce of 
555,000 marcs, which differs very little from 
that of the vein of Guanaxuato. There is 
no doubt that Acosta speaks of the whole 
quantity of silver extracted from the mines, 
and registered at the treasury. He says ex- 
pressly: se ha metido a quintar, monta lo que 



* Historia natural y moral de las /n(/«z«,( Barcelona, 1591) 
p. 138. 

f Which supposes a produce of 1,490,000 mares {Herrera, 
Decada viii. 1. ii. c. xiv.) 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NE\v SPAIN'. 371 



se ha quintado, Solorzano translates this 
passage of the natural history of Acosta, by 
the following words: ex' Potosiensi fodina ex- 
Iracti sunt centum el undecim milliones. 

The authors whose works contain exag- 
gerated valuations of the quantity of the precious 
metals which have inundated Spain since 
the middle of the 16th century, appear to 
have confounded the value of the produce of the 
mines with the fifth paid from it. Although 
they had no knowledge of the official 
papers which I have here published, they 
would never have fallen into this error had 
they only read attentively the works of Acos- 
ta, Cie9a, and Alonzo Barba*. The latter v/ho 
filled the cure of a parish in the town of Po- 
tosi, only values the quantity of silver extracted 
from the Cerro de Potosi between 1545 and 
1636 at 450 millions of piastres of 8 reals, 
a sum which merely supposes an annual 
produce of 4,900,000 piastres, or 576,000 
marcs, which forms a singular contrast with 
the 613 millions gratjuitouijily admitted for the 
first periods from 1545 to 1556. However, 
Alonzo Barba had no motive for .lowering 
the total produce; on the other hai^l, he en- 
deavours to prove Ijbiat a^n extent of ground 
of 60 square leagues migbt be covered with 



*JBaria. Lib, iifC.i. 
2b2 



II 



m 



m 



V-f;' 



372 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

the number of piastres coined from the silver 
of Potosi. 

The following table exhibits the state of 
these mines from the period when the fifths 
were recorded with accuracy. 

* 

Mines of the Cerro de Potosi (Hatun-Po- 

tocsi) 



Periods. 



From 1556 to 1566 2 

1585 1595 

1624 1634 

1670 1690 

1720 1730 

1740 1750 

1779 1789 



Average Years. 



Produce in 
Piastres. 



Marcs of silver extract- 
ed from the mines. 



Supposing 

the piastre 

at 13^ reals. 



,159,216 
7,540,620 
5,232,425 
3,234,580 
1,299,800 
1,850,250 
3,676,330 



428,767 
1,497,380 



Supposing 
the piastre 
at 8 reals. 



887,073 
615,580 
380,538 
152,918 
217,676 
432,510 



As there is some uncertainty respecting 
the period at which they ceased to reckon 
by piastres of 13^ reals, of which 5^^ make 
a marc of silver, I prefer giving both valu- 
ations t)f the piastres till 1595; and we thus 
obtain the maximum of wealth which we are 
at liberty to supple. A passage of the com- 
mentaries of Garcilassf), already quoted by us, 



CHAP, xi.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 373 



would lead one to bt^lieve, however, that a 
few years after 1580, they reckoned at Peru 
by piastres of 8 reals de plata. During- the 
whole period of 233 years, from lo50 to 1789 
the mining of Potosi never attained so high 
a degree of splendour as from 1585 to 1606. 
For several consecutive years the fifth was a 
million and a half of piastres, which sup- 
poses a produce of 1,490,000, or 882,000 marcs 
according as we value the piastre at 131 or 
8 reals. This wealth is the more surprising, 
as according to Acosta, more than a third 
of the silver was never registered. After 
1606 the produce has been gradually dimi- 
nishing, and especially since 1694. From 
1606 to 1688 however, it was never below 
350,000 marcs. During the last half of the 
18th century the mountain generally supplied 
from three to four hundred thousand marcs; 
and this produce is undoubtedly still too con- 
siderable to allow us to advance with a ce- 
lebrated author^ that the mines of Potosi 
are no longer worth the trouble of working. 
These mines in their present state are not the 
first in the known world; but we may rank 
them immediately after the mines of Gua- 
naxuato. 

The contents of the minerals of Potosi 






I 






* Robertson't History of Americat b. iv. p. 339 and 399. 



.^^ 



37 1 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE . [book iv. 

have diminished in proportion to the increase 
of the works in depth. In this point of 
view, and in many others besides, the Cerro 
de Potosi bears a great analogy to the mines 
of Giialgayoc. At the surface of the earth, 
the veins of Rica, Centeno and Mendiata, 
which traverse primitive slate were full, through- 
out their whole extent (puissance) of a mix- 
ture of sulphuretted, red, and native silver. 
These metallic masses rose in the form of 
crests (crestones), the rocks of the wall and 
roof having" been destroyed either by the ac- 
tion of water, or by some other cause which 
has changed the surface of the globe. The 
Veta del Estafio on the other hand, contained 
at its surface only sulphuretted tin, and the 
minerals of muriated silver only began to 
appear at great depths*. This mixture of 
two formations on one vein, exists also in the 
Old Continent, for example, in several mines 
of Freiberg* in Saxony f. In 1545 minerals 
containing from 80 to 90 marcs per quintal 
were very common; but we must not admit 
with Ulloa that the whole volume of mine- 
rals extracted from the mine, amounted to 
this degree of wealth. Acosta says expressly 
that in 1574 the mean contents were from 
8 to 9 marcs, and that the minerals which 



♦ Barba, lib. i. cap. xxxii. p. 56* 
t Werner Gangtheorie, p. 24(8. 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 375 

yielded 60 marrs prr quintal were considered 
extremely rich. Moreover accordinj^ to t' 
report of Don Francisco Texada or. thr 
mines of Gundaleanal in Spain, in 1(307 
the mean wealth of the minerals of Potosi was 
not above an ounce and a half. Since the 
commencement of the 18th century, they 
reckon only from 3 to 4 marcs per caxon 
of 5000 pounds, or from ih to •♦^ per 
quintal. The muierals of Potosi are conse- 
quently extremely poor, and it is on account 
of their abundance alone, that the works are 
still in such a flourishing state. It is sur- 
prising to see that from 1574 to 1789, the 
mean riches of the minerals have diminished 
in the proportion of 170 to 1, while the 
quantity of silver extracted from the mines 
of Potosi, has only diminished in the propor- 
tion of 4 to 1. 

From 1545 till 1571 the silver minerals of Po- 
tosi were all smelted. The knowledge of the con- 
quistadores being confined to military aflairs, they 
were unacquainted with the carrying on of me- 
tallurgical processes. They did not smelt the 
mineral by means of bellows, but they adopted 
the whimsical method employed by the In- 
dians in the neighbouring mines of fotpsi, 
which had been wrought on account of the 
Inca> long before the conquest. They estab- 
lished on the mountains which su^-round the , 



376 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book it, 

town of Potosi, wherever the wind blew with 
impetuosity, portable furnaces, called huayres 
or g-uayaras in the Quichua language!. These 
furnaces were cylindrical tubes of clay, very 
broad, and pierced with a great number of 
holes. The Indians threw in bed by bed 
silver mineral, galena, and coal ; and the 
current of air which entered at the holes 
into the interior of the huayre quickened 
the flame, and gave it a great intensity. When 
they perceived that the wind blew too strong, 
and that too much fuel was consumed, they 
carried their furnaces to a lower situation. 
The first travellers who visited the Cordille- 
ras, all speak with enthusiasm of the impres- 
sion made on them by the first appearance 
of more than 6000 fires, which illuminated the 
summits of the mountains round the town of 
Potosi. The Indians extracted the galena ne- 
cessary for their smelting, from a smaller 
mountain, in the vicinity of the Cerro de 
Hatun-Potocsi called the child, or Huayna 
Potocsi*. The argentiferous masses which 

* Properly the Father mountain and the son«mountain. 
The different summits of the Volcan de Pichincha, bear 
analogous denominations; and it is because the French 
academicians have not distinguished in their works the 
old Rucu' Pichincha from the young, or Guagua-Pichiticha, 
that it is so difficult to find the place of the academical 
station of Bouguer, La Condamii^e, and d*Ulloa. (See 
my Recueit d* Observations Astronomiquts* vol. i. p. 308.) 



CHAP, XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 377 

came out of the huayres established in the 
mountains, were resmelted in the cottages of 
the Indians, by means of the old process of 
blowing- the fire by ten or twelve persons at 
once, through tubes of copper, of one or 
two metres in length, and pierced at the 
lower extremity with a very small hole. It 
is easy to conceive what an enormous quan- 
tity of silver must have remained in the 
scoria without combining with the lead. 

Pedro Fernandez de Velasco, who, it is 
expressly said by the Jesuit Acosta,* " had 
seen in Mexico how the silver was extracted 
from the mineral by means of mercury," pro- 
posed to Francisco de Toledo, viceroy of Peru, 
to introduce amalgamation into Potosi. He 
succeeded in his attempts in 1571 ; and of 
the eight or ten thousand quintals of mercury 
produced by the mine of Huancavelica towards 
the end of the 16th century, more than from six 
to seven thousand were consumed in the works 
of Potosi. The minerals which during the 
first years had been considered too poor to be 
smelted in the ImayreSf were ^w wrought to 
advantage. 

The abundance of rock salt wrought on 
the table land of the Cordilleras near Cuchu- 
ara, Carangas, and Yocalla, facilitates very 



^1 



m 



i 






m 



^ Aeosta, p. 146. 



I 



375 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

much the amalgamation of Potosi. According' 
to the calculation of Alonzo Barba,* there 
was consumed between 1545 and 1637 the 
enormoas quantity of 234,700 quintals of mer- 
cury. From 1759 to 1763, the consumption 
was between sixteen and seventeen thousand 
quintals annually f. Towards the end of the 
16th century, 15,000 Indians were compelled 
to work in the mines and amalgamation works 
of Potosi, and there was- daily brought to the 
town, more than 1500 quintals of salt of 
Yocalla. At present there are not more than 
2,000 miners, who are paid at the rate of 
50 sous J per day. Fifteen thousand llamas, 
and an equal number of asses are employed 
in carrying the ore from the mountain of 
Hatuti'Potocsi to the amalgamation works. 
In 1790 there was coined at the mint of 
Potosi 4,222,000 piastres ||, viz. 299,246 piastres, 
or 2204 marcs in gold, and 3,293,173 
piastres, or 462,609 marcs in silver. 

When we reflect on the history of the precious 
metals, ana the interest taken in them by those 
who engage in investigations of political eco- 
nomy, it will not be deemed surprising that 
we have so minutely explained those facts, 



♦ Barba, p, 12 md 65. 

f UUoa Notidas Ammcanas, p. 242. 

% 2s. per day. Tre/m* 

11 iC886,620 Sterling. 



CHAP. xi,T KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 379 



which may throw some light on the quantity 
of silver extracted dm'ins; two centuries and 
a half from the mines of Potosi. It was ne- 
cessary to compare the testimonies of the first 
Spanish authors who visited America ; to dis- 
ting'uish between the produce of exportation, 
and the fifth payable to the crown; and 
between the piastres, an imaginary coin, used 
in the beginning of the conquest, and the Pe- 
ruvian piastres of eight reals. Had we ne- 
glected these investigations which have never 
been made hitherto, we should have run the 
risk of increasing the mass of silver imported 
into Europe since 1492, more than 57 millions 
of marcs equal to two thousand live hundred 
millions of livres tournois*. 

IV. The Kingdom of New Grenada pro- 
duces on an average, 18,300 marcs of gold 
annually f. The following tables specify the 
coinage in the mint of Santa Fe, between 
the 1st of January, 1789, and the 31st Decem- 
ber, 1795, and in the mint of Popayan, between 
1788 and 1794. 



pi 



m 



■0 



^t 



m 



m 



I' 



* i?102,010,800. Sterling. Trans, 
f 12,04f9 lb. troy. Trans. 



380 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

I. Gold coined at Santa Fe de Bogota. 



p 


M 


m 




Years. Marcs 


Ounces. 
2 


u 
O 




O Tomine 


Value of Gold. 


1789 


10,915 


Piastres 


Reals'Quartos 


1,484,454 








1790 


7,345 





5 





998,658 


5 





1791 


8,318 





1 


4 


1,131,251 


4 


11 


1792 


8,159 


5 


3 


1 


1,109,715 


5 


24 


1793 


8,659 


3 


3 


1 


1,177,681 


5 


28 


1794 


7,327 


4 


3 


4 


993,827 


6 


11 


1795 

Total 


9,310 


6 


4 
5 


4 
2 


1,266,272 


7 



11 


tJ0,013 


6 


8,161,862 






Average year 8,573 (marcs of gold) or 
1,165,980 piastres. 

II. Gold coined at Fopayan. 







1 


Value 


of Gold. 


Years. 


Marcs. 


1 

4 


O 
3 






Piastres. 


Reals. 


1788 


7,210 


980,634 


3 


1789 


5,945 


2 


4 


808,362 


4 


1790 


7,123 


2 


6 


768,745 





1791 


6,437 


2 





875,466 





1792 


7,344 


5 





998,869 





1793 


7,026 


6 


5 


955,648 


5 


1794 


6,725 


1 




2 


914,617 





Total 


47,813 


6,502,542 


4 



Average year 6830 (marcs of gold) or 928,934 
piastres. 



CHAP. XI.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN- 381 



Prom 1782 to 1789 the quantity of gold 
coined at 8anta Fe, was at an average, 
below 7000 marcs annually. During that 
period the most abundant year was that of 
1787, when the produce was 981,655 piastres, 
or 7218 marcs *. In 1778, the coinage amount- 
ed to the value of 693,438 piastres. At Po- 
payan the quantity of coined gold never 
amounted between 1770 and 1783 to more 
than 5800 marcs. In 1778 the gold coinage 
was only 792,838 piastres; but in 1787 it 
amounted to 981,655 piastres. The ingots of 
gold annually exported from the port of 
Carthagena, are estimated at three or four 
hundred thousand piastres. During my stay 
at Santa Fe de Bogota in 1801, the total 
produce of the gold mines of the kingdom 
of New Grenada was computed at 2,500,000 
piastres f , viz. 2,100,000 piastres as the pro- 
duce of the two mints of Santa Fe and Po 



ii 



um 








i 








1 • Jl*1fl 




t 'ffifl 


M 


■•^'M 





u 



I 



It 

•I'i 



r'i] 



* Relacion del goviemo del ExceUentiss. Sefior Don Jose 
de Espeletaf Virrey de el Nuevo reyno de Grenada, para 
entregar el mando al Senor Don Pedro de Mendiniieta, 
electa Virrey. This manuscript acjount in my possession, 
contains the most minute and accurate statistical infor- 
mation. It is the production of a man of distinguished 
talenta* Don jlgnacio Texada, a native of Santa Fe, Se. 
cretary of the Viceroyalty. - • . . 

t £50/7,000 Sterling. Tran$. 



382 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

payan, and 400,000 piastres as the exportation 
of ingots anil wrought gold. 

All the gold furnished by New Grenada, is 
the produce of lavaderos {washings) established 
in the alluvions grounds. Gold veins have 
been found in the mountains of Guamoco and 
Antioquia ; but their working is almost entirely 
neglected. The greatest riches in gold obtained 
by washing are deposited to the west of the 
central Cordillera *, in the provinces of An- 
tioquia and Choco, in the valley of the Rio 
Cauca, and on the coast of the South Sea in 
t'le partido de Barbacoas. Dividing the au- 
riferous grounds into three regions, we may 
reckon for Choco, 10,800 marcs of gold, or 
more than the half of the total produce of 
the viceroy alty of Santa Fe ; for the pro- 
vince of Barbacoas, and the Southern part of 
the valley of Cauca (between Chili and Po- 
payan) 4600 : and for the province of Antio- 
quia and the mountains of Guamaco and 
Simiti, 3400 marcs of gold. We see from this 
valuation that the alluvious grounds, which 
contain the greatest quantity of gold in dust 
and grains disseminated among fragments of 
greenstone and porphyry slate (porphgrschiefer) 
extend. from the western Cordillera almost, to 
the shores of the Great Ocean. 

* See, as to the division of the Andes into several' 
branches my Vties des Cordilleres, PI. V. 



IHAl'. XI.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. -383 



It is very remarkable also that platina is 
seldom found in the valley of Cauca, or to 
the east of the western branch of the Andes, 
but solely in Choco and at Barbacoas to the 
west of the freestone mountains which rise on 
the western bank of the Cauca. These moun- 
tains of which the height is by no means 
considerable, separate the famous gold washing 
places of Novita in Choco, from those of 
Quilichao and Jelima, situated fifteen leagues 
to the north of the town of Popayan ; and 
j'Ct a single grain of platina has never been 
found in these last washing places which I 
examined with the greatest care during my 
journey to Quito. At Choco, we sometimes 
find along with gold and platina, hyacinth- 
zircons, and titanium. This mixture brings us 
in mind of the formation of the sands of Es- 
pailly in Velay. Near the village of Lloro 
some years ago, a pit was dug in an auriferous 
ground, to examine the inferior beds ; and at 
six metres of depth there were discovered 
large trunks of petrified wood surrounded with 
fragments of trap rocks and gold dust and 
platina *. 

The province of Antioquia, into which we 
can only enter a foot or on the shoulders of men, 
contains veins of gold in micaceous slate, at 

* Obieryation of Don Thomas Valencia at Popayan. 



i 



« 



I, !/ 



hi 






If 






384 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book tv. 

Buritoca, San Pedro, and near Armas; but 
these veins are not wrought for want of hands. 
Gold is collected in great abundance in the 
alluvious grounds of Santa Rosa, the Valle dc 
los Orsos, and the Valle de la Trinidad. Th» 
number of negro slaves who collect the gold 
(negros mazamoreros) amounted in 1770 to 
1462; and in 1778 to 4890 individuals. The 
gold of Antiequia of which the town of Mom- 
pox may be considered as the principal market, 
is only of the fineness of from 19 to 20 carats. 
At Barbacoas, it is generally 21^ carats. In 
Choco, the northern washing places^ and those 
of the district of Zitara supply a liner gold 
than the more northern district of Novita. 
The gold of the mines of Indipurdu is the 
only gold which rises to 22 carats; for the 
mean wealth of the gold of Choco is from 
20 to 21 carats. The produce of the different 
washing places, is so constant in its mixture, 
that it is enough for those who carry on the 
trade in gold dust to know the place where 
the liietal was procured to know its fineness. 
The finest gold of New Grenada, and perhaps 
of all America, is that of Giron, which it is 
affirmed rises to 23 carats, and i of a grain. 
At Marmato to the west of the river Cauca, 
and to the south of the rivers of the old 
Villa de Armas, a whitish gold is procured 
which does not exceed 12 or 13 carats and 



•HAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 385 



v'hich is mixed with silver. It is the true 
eketrum of the antients. However, although 
both at Choco and Barbacoas , platina generally 
accompanies gold, they have never yet seen 
there the aurum, pkitaniferum, which perhaps 
has never existed but in our sygtems of Oryc- 
tog^osy. 

At Choco, the richest river in gold is the 
Rio Andageda, which with the rivers of 
Quito and Zitasa, forms near the village of 
Quibdo, the great Rio Atrato. All the ground 
between the Andageda, the Rio de ^an Juan, 
which passes near the village of ^No^nama, 
the Rio Tamana, and the .Rio San Augustin, 
is auriferous. The largest piece of, gold ever 
found in Choco, weighed 25 , pounds. . Th« 
negro who discovered it, fifteen years ago, 
did not even obtain his liberty. His master, 
presented the pepita to the cabinet of the kipg, 
in the hopes that the court in recompense, 
would grant him a title of Castillcr an object 
most ardently desired by the Creole Spaniards ; 
but he hardly succeeded in obtaining payment 
of the value of his gold according to weight. 
It is said that a piece of, gold was found in 
Pera near la Faz in 1730, of the weight of 
45. pounds. 

Under the viceroyship of the Archbishop 

. Gqngora, an enumeration was. made of the 

VOL. III. %C 



m 









386 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [iooiciy. 

negroes employed in procuring" gold at Choco* ; 
and they amounted in 1778 only to 3054. 
In the valley of Cauca there are 8000. The 
province of Choco might alone produce, more 
than twenty thousand marcs of gold from 
washing, if in peopling this region, which is 
one of the most fertile of the New Continent, 
the government would turn its attention to the 
progress of agriculture. The richest country 
in gold is that in which scarcity is continually 
felt. Inhabited by unfortunate African slaves, 
or Indians who groan under the despotism of 
the Corregidors of Zitara, Novita, or Taddo, 
the province of Choco remains what it was 
three centuries ago, a thick forest without trace 
of cultivation, without pasturage, and without 
roads. The price of commodities is so ejcor- 
bitant there, that a barrel of flour of the United 
States sells from 64 to 90 piastres; the main- 
tenance of a muleteer costs a piastre, or a ^iiastre 
and a half per day ; and the price of a quini.£tl 
of iron amounts in time of peace to 4Q piastres. 
This dearth ought not to be attributed, to the 
accumulation of the representative signs, which 
is very inconsiderable, but tothe enormous. diffi- 
culty of carriage, and to that miserable state of 
things, in which the whole population consumes 
without producing. 

* Rehcion del estado del nuew reyno de Grenada jjt^e 
kace el Arzobupo — Obispo de Cordova a su successor el Ex, 
Fray Don Francisco GUyLemos, 17S9, (M. S.) 



•HAP. XI.1 KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. ^8" 



The kingdom of New Grenada possesses veins 
of silver extremely rich in the Vega de Supia*, 
to the north of Quebraloma, between the Cerro 
Tacon, and the Cerro de Marmato. These 
mines which supply both gold and silver, were 
only discovered within these ten years. The 
operations were interrupted, in consequence of 
a law suit between the proprietors, at the 
very time when the most abundant minerals 
were found. The working of the old silver 
mines of Pamplona, and Saint Anne near Ma- 
riquita, was resumed with zeal, at the period 
when the Court of Madrid appointed Don 
Juan Jose D'Elhuyar, director of the mines 
of the viceroyalty of Santa Fe. The depo- 
sitory of argentiferous minerals of Saint Anne, 
forms a bed in the gneiss. I visited the mine 
of M^nta, the produce of which contains on 
an average six ounces to the quintal. M. D'El- 
huyar the brother of the director of the mines 
of Mexico^ had established an amalgamation 
work with fbur barrels like that of Freiberg. 
The works were conducted with great intel- 
ligence; but as the quantity of silver between 
1791 and 1797, only amounted to 8700 marcs, 



4\ 



i 



'i- 



I 



; 



in 



* Mina de los Morenos or Chachafrata. From Carthago 
to la Vega de Supia, it is in a straight line only SO 
leagues. 

C2 



388 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv 

• 

while the cxpences* amounted to 216,000 
piastres, the viceroy ordered the mine to be 
, abandoned. It is to be Hoped that in better times, 
the government will again endeavour to re- 
^sume these works, as well as the works of 
, Santo Christo de las Laxas, and the Real de 
Bocaneme, between the Rio Guali and the 
. Rio Guarino, which formerly furnished consider- 
able quantities of silver. 

Resuming the results we nave obtained, we 
find that the total produce of the gold and 
silver mines of the Spanish Colonies, amounts to 
the sum of 40,600 marcs ingoldf, and 3,206,000 
marcs of silver Castille wei&fhtt. These data 
differ ye^y little from those communicated by 
me to M. Heron Villefosse, which he pub- 
jished in his interesting work on the mineral 
wealth of the principal powers of Europe. 
The following table was drawn up from the 
valuable information which I obtained more 



recently fram ^pain, aiid the kingdom of New 
Grenada. 

f ' 

* Expences of subterraneous works, expences of amak 
gamation, and construction of amalgamation works, 
t 25,026 lb. troy. Trans. 
. . i 1,976,290 lb. troy. Trattt. 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 389 



Annual produce of tlie Gold and Silver on 
. 'which the fifth ha^ been paid. 



Names of ^rout Political S"*' °"''"; 

Divisions. '^!'7„ °f 

Cnstillc. 



Viceroyalty of New 

Spain ... 
Viceroyalty of Peru 
Capitania General of 

Chili - - . 
Viceroyalty of Buenos 

Ayres - - - 
Viceroyalty of New 

Grenada 



Pine Silver, 

Marcs uf 

Castillc. 



7.000 2,250,000 
3,400 513,000 



Total 



10,000 

2,200 

18,000 

40,600 



29,700 
414,000 
Little. 



3,206,700 



Value of Quid 

and Silver in 

Piastres. 



22,170,740 
5,317,988 

1,737,380 

4,212,404 

2,624,760 

36,063,2721 



In this table the gold is valued at 145 iV* 
piastres, and the silver at 9^ piastres per marc 
of Castille. It exhibits the quantity of pre- 
cious metals extracted from the mines, and 
registered in the royal treasury; and it confirms 
tljie assertion of the Count de Campomanes*, 
who in 1775, estimated the importation of 
golc^ and silver into Spain, at fSO millions of 
piastres; but it merely indicates the maximum, 
wljiich we may suppose to have been furnished 
^y the Spanish Colonies. Let us examine what 
ought to be added for the metals which are 
smuggled. Hfitherto very exaggerated ideas 
have been entertained, respecting the quantity 
of gold and silver which does noi pay the fifth, 

■ < • • • •-« -•■•' ' '■ • --t , * '•- till.) )->Vi 

* Educadon PoptUar, T. ii. p. 331. 



,'i 






i 



390 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

and which has sometimes been computed at the 
half, or a third of the total produce, without 
reflecting that contraband trade varies very 
much in its activity, according to the localities 
of different provinces. I shall state here what 
information I could procure on the spot at Mexi- 
co, New Grenada, and Peru. 

New Spain has only two ports, by which 
its productions are exported. The bad state 
of the coasts, renders contraband trade much 
more difHcnlt in that country, than in the pro- 
vinces of Cumana, Caracas, and Guatimala. The 
quantity of unregistered silver embarked at 
Vera Cruz, and Acapulco, either for the Ha- 
vannahand Jamaica, or for the Philippine Islands 
and Canton, does not probably exceed the sum 
of 800,000 piastres; but this illicit trade will 
increase in proportion, as the population of the 
United States shall approach the banks of the 
great Rio del Norte, and when the west coast, 
that of Soiiora and Guadalaxara, shall be 
more frequently visited by English and Anglo 
American vessels. When the commerce with 
China and Japan, shall be freed from the 
fetters of the odious monopoly under which 
it at present labours, an immense quantity of 
silver will flow westwards into Asia. The 
precious metals are commodities, which are 
transported to those places where they are dear- 



..*■■ 



€HAP.xi.l KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



391 



est. In Japan^, which abounds in gold, this 
metal is ♦/> silver as eight or nine to one. 
In China an ounpe of gold may be purchased 
for }2 or 13 ounees of silver. In Mexico, 
the proportion of the two precious metals is 
as 168r to 1 ; from whence it follows, that it 
is much more profitable to carry silver than 
gold to Manilla, Canton, and Nagasaki. I have . 
made no mention yet of the exportation of 
wrought plate (plata lahrada), because accord- 
ing to the registers of Vera Cruz, it never 
exceeds the sum of twenty or thirty thousand 
marcs of silver. 

Iii the kingdom of New Grenada, the frau- 
dulent exportation of the gold of Choco, has 
very much increased since the navigation of 
the Rio Atrato was declared free. Gold dust, 
and even ingots, in place of being conveyed 
by Cali or Mompox, to the mints of Popayan 
and Sant$iFe» take the direct route of Car- 
thagekia ^and Portobello, from whence they flow 
into the > lEngliish Colonies. The mouths of 
the Atrato. and the Rio Sinu, where I renmined 
at anchor in the month of April, 1801, serve 
as stations for smugglers. The laws which 
from time. to time permit the importation of 
negroes from Africa, and flour from Philadel- 



m 



I 









m 



'i 



* Voy^S^ o<< 7a/)o», do Thunberg (edit, de Langles) T. ii. 
p. 26*". 



392 POtlttCAL ESSAY ON TH2 [book if* 

phia in foreign vessels, are favourable to this 
contraband trade. According to what infor- 
mation I could obtain from those who deal 
in gold dust (rescatadores) at Carthagena, Mdm- 
pox, Blig^, and Popayan, it would appear that 
we may estimate the quantity of gold supplied 
by Choco, Barbacoas, Antioquia, and Popayan, 
on which the fifth has not been paid, at 2500 
marcs. 

fh Peru, the exportation of silver on which 
the fifth has not been paid, is not so much 
can'ied on by the South Sfea coast, which is 
frequeried by the spermaceti whale fishers*, 
as to i He east of the Andes, by the river Am^ 
zons. This great river connects two coun- 
tries' where a great disproportion prevails be- 
tween the relative value of gold and silver. 
Brazil is almost as profitable a market for the 
silver of Peru, as China for the silver of Mexico. 
A fifth, and perhaps even a fburth of all the 
silver extracted from the mines of Pasco, 
(Yauricochajfdand Chota (^Gnalgayoc), is exported 
in contraband by Lamas and Chachapoyas, in 
descending the river Amazons. There are 
persons at Lima, who believe that on quick- 
ening thv tvade on that river,- the fraudulent 
exportation of silrer woulfd become still greater. 
This prejudice has been very pernicious for 



* See p. 87 of this Vol. 



I 



csHAP. %t.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 30^^ 

the fine provinces which extend along the 
eii^ern declivity of the Cordilleras, fer- 
tilized by the Guallaga, the Ucayale, the 
Puruz, and the Beni. They forget that the 
wildness and solitude of these countries, faci- 
litate very much the operations of the smug- 
glers. We shall estimate the unregistered 
silver of Pei-u, at 100,000 marcs. 

I«n Ghili the gold which pays the fifth is 
to that which does not, according to Ulloay in 
the proportion of 3 to 2. We shall only 
compute it at a fourth of the total pro- 
duce. Estimating the fraudulent, exportation 
of silver in the kingdom of Buenos Ayres, 
at a sixth, or 67,000 marcs, and adding, with 
M. Gorrea de Serra, for the total produce 
of Brazil, where alluvions mines are only 
yet wrought, nearly 30,000 marcs of gold, we 
shall be able to exhibit in the following tahle, 
the whole produce of all America in gold 
and silver. 



III 

I 

IT I 

I 



1 






394 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book %t. 

Annual produce of the mines of the New 

Continent, at the beginning of the 19th 
century. 



.'it 1' • » < 



Names of Great, 
Political Divi- 
sions 



Viceroyalt^ of 

New Spain - 7>000 
Viceroyalty of 

Peru - - 
Capitania Ge 

neral of ChUi 
Viceroy i^^ of 

Buenos ' 

res - - - 2,200 
Viceroyal^ ofj 

New Grena 

da - - - 20,50r» 
Brasil 



Gold. 



Marcs 

of 
Castille 



Kilogr. 



1,609 2,338,220 537,512 23,000,000 



Total 



3,*00 782 
12,21'J 2,807 

506 



4,714 



2P,900' 6,873 



75,217 



17.291 



silver. 



Marcs of K"08'- 
Cantilie. 



611,090 
29,700 

481,830 



140,478 
6,827 

110,764 



Value of Sli- 
er in Pias-I 
tres. 



6,240,000 
2,060,000 

4,850,000 



2,990,000 
4,360,000 



3,460,840795,581 43,500,000 



The total produce of the mines of the New 
World consequently amounts at this day to 
17,000 kilogrammes of gold,* and bOO,000 
kilogrammes of silver f, reckoning the mark 
of Castille, by which the produce of the ■ 
mines in the Spanish Colonies is estimated, 
to the marc of France^ in the proportion of ^ 
541 ' to 576, and the kilogramme at 4 



* 45,580lb. troy. Trans. 

t 2,145,003 lb. troy. Tram. 

% BomeoUk Traits des Monnoies, 1806. p. 31 



.') 



chap: xiO kingdom of new SPAIN. -395 



marcs f 5 ffrbss, 35.15 grains old French weight. 
The tin furnished by all Europe, weighs only 
three times as much, as the quantity of silver 
annually extracted from the mines of America. 
It may be seen also from the preceding table, 
that it is erroneous to attribute to Brasil 
the greatest part of the gold with which the 
Old Continent is supplied by the New. The 
Spanish Colonies supply nearly 45,000 marcs 
of gold, while only 30,000 are extracted from 
the alluvions grounds of Brasil. If the go- 
vernment of Santa Fe de Bogota begin seri- 
ously to turn their attention to the population 
and agriculture of Choco, the extraction of 
gold in New Grenada, will in a very few years 
rival that of Brasil. The author of the im- 
mortal work on the Wealth of Nations,* values 
the quantity of gold and silver annually im- 
ported into Cadiz and Lisbon, at only six 
millions of pounds sterling, including not only 
the registered gold, but also what may be 
supposed to be smuggled. This estimate is 
too small by two fifths. 

Bringing together the results which we 
have just obtained for the New World, with 



f 

II 



ll 



m\ 



Hi 



4^ 



„•'! 



* According to Meggens (Postscriptum du Negociant Uni" 
wrtdf 1756, p. 15) the importation into Spain and Por- 
tugal was from 1747 to 1753 at an average 5j74!6,000 
pounds Sterling. 



^^ P0J.,ITICA;L ESS^Y on T«E [book IV. 

tl^^, Mrhich axe the fruit of, the laborious re- 
s«9^ch^9 of M. Hjeron d^ Villefosse and M- 
Georgi*, we ^nd the following data : , 

* Geo. phj/s. Beschreibmg des Russischen Reichs, 1797, 
Th. 6. p. 368. M. Georgi's valuation is for the year 
1796. The produce of the mines of Koliwan has doubled, 
and that of the mines of Nertschink has dimmished more 
tl^ a third between 1784 and 1794, 



1 ;i 1 ' 



. I 









i. 






J ■ .1' 



A 



''»;(» f. 



CHAP. XI.] ^KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. ^97 









'^rr'^m^i^'Ut 



o 



2 . I 
« ^ S 



bO 



V 



t*4 X -W 






^00 « 1^ 

QQ CO ;o 

00 CO (O 

MM* 

1-t r-co 

M M M 



00 



us 






, > 









... V d 






7 ;* §4 00 
-* •} i- 

■* 0« t^ 

1^ t* 



> 

CO 



I 



' <5ft>H 

t^o 00 

of i-H to 

«o w.o 



g 8 






11 *" 



IN 

CO 






04 



«5 



CO 



it 
















^ »*H Oi 
"V »"• 00 

"* 1-1 a 



rf 



5 






8^8 ^ 



»oofc5 



6? 



it: 



? < r-.-- », 



•-a 

^5 s 



,;i^J 



v-:Ci 



^ 2 



^ 



I k< 



^ * 



.'I 



'it: 









1 



J a 



i(*'!^ 



898 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [aooit iv. 



In this table the gold is valaed at 3444 
francs 44 centimes, and the silver at 222 
francs 22 centimes per kilogpramme. It in- 
dicates the quantity of the precious metals which 
annually enters into circulation among the ci- 
vilized nations of Europe. It is impossible to 
value the mass of gold and silver at present 
worked on the whole surface of the globe; 
for we are absolutely ignorant of what is 
produced in the interior of Africa, in Cen- 
tral Asia, Tonquin, China, and Japan. The 
trade in gold dust, carried on on the eastern 
and western coasts of Africa, and the infor- 
mation derived by Vs from the antients res- 
pecting the countries with which we have no 
longer any communication, might lead us to 
suppose that the countries to the south of the 
Niger are very rich in precious metals. We 
may make the same supposition respecting 
the high chain of mountains, extending to 
the north-east of the Paropamisus, towards 
the frontiers of China. The quantity of in- 
gots of gold and silver formerly exported by 
the Dutch from Japan, proves, that the 
mines of Sado, Sourouma, Bingo, and Kinsi- 
ma, are equal in wealth, to several of the 
mines of Ameriqa. 

Of the 78,000 marcs of gold, and 3,550,000, 
marcs of silver, French weight, annually ex- 
tracted since the end of the 18th century, 



■ t. 



«iiAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 399 



from all the mines of America, Europe, and 
^Northern Asia, America alone, furnishes 70,000 
marcs of gold, and 3,250,000 marcs of silver, 
and consequently tiv of the total produce of 
gold) and tin of the total produce of silver. 
rThe relative abundance of the tvt^o metals, 
differ therefore very little in the two conti- 
nents. The quantity of gold drawn from the 
mines of America, is to that of silver, as 1 
to 46; and in Europe, including Asiatic Rus- 
sia, th* proportion is as 1 to 40. 

These results may serve to throw some 
light on the great problem of political eco- 
nomy, examined by Mr. Smith, in the ele- 
venth chapter of the first book of his work, 
.where he treats of the causes of the ilup- 
tuation between the relative value of the pre- 
vious metals. This celebrated author supposes, 
that for every ounce of gold, there are more 
than 2^ ounces of silver imported into Europe ; 
and if this supposition was correct, the Old 
Continent ought to receive from the New, only 
1,554,000 marcs of silver, instead of 3,250,000 
which it really receives. However, the greater 
the abundance of gold in proportion to sil- 
ver, the more we must be inclined to admit 
with Mr. Smith, that the proportion between 
^he respective values of the two metals does 
not alone depend on the quantity in the mar- 
ket. Since the discovery of Am,erica, to the 



i 



*400 POLITICAL ESS ^ Y ON THE [book tv. 

present day, the valoe of; silver has fall€fn so 
'tnueh in the western parts of Europe, that 
the proportion^ between that metal and gold, 
•which, at theerid of the 16th century, was as 1 
to 11 or 1 to 12, is now, as 1 to 14i and even as 
1 to 151. This change would'not have taken 
-place if the increase of the i*cspective masses of 
the two metals had been at all times as unifoml'l' 
ms at present. From ^hat has juist been stated, 
it is not accurate to advance, as has frequently 
been done, that the fecundity of the silver 
amines of America, surpasses that of the mines 
of the Old Continent, in much greater pro- 

' portion than the gold mines. It is true that 
of the TOiOOO marcs of gold annually supplied 

"by America, five sixths are derived from wash- 
ing places, ^estslblished in alluviou9 grounds; 

•but these washing places (hvaderos) are sur- 
'jWisingly uniform in their produce; and alll 

= who have ' visited the Spanish or -Portuguese 

* Colonies, * know that the exportatifon of gold 
^fiMm 'America, 'must considerably increase -with 

* "the^ progress • ' tof ' population 'and agriculture. 

* Till 1546, when •'the Oerro de Potosi bt^gan 

* Under Philip-le-Bel a marc of gold was current for 
10 marcs of silver. In Holland, the proportion in 1336, 
was as l0| to 1. In France it was in 1388 as 1(>| to 

"^ i,(RS^hefches htrle CaMmerce, Amsterdam. 1778, t.ii. p. iii^ 
-p.*^l4«.) 

•. . ^^- . - .f'Hine' Tenths* '.V-.. >:'■ ■ ^•.;.- ':,!"* 



CHAP XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN- 401 

to be worked, Europe appears to have re- 
ceived much more gold than silver from the 
New Continent. Five sixths of the booty 
which Cortez acquired at Tenochtitlan, and the 
treasures at Caxamarca and Cuzco consisted 
in gold; and the silver mines of Porco in 
Peru, and Tasco and Tlapujahua in Mexico, 
were very feebly wrought in the times of 
Cortez and Pizarro. It is only since 1545 
that Spain has been inundated with the silver 
of Peru. This accumulation produced the 
greater effect, as the civilization of Europe, 
was then more concentrated; as communica- 
tion was less frequent ; and as a smaller por- 
tion of the precious metals were re-exported 
for Asia. About the middle of the 16th, and 
the beginning of the 17th century, the pro- 
portion between gold and silver rapidly changed, 
especially in the south of Europe. In Hol- 
land it was still in 1589 as llf to 1; 
but under the reign of Louis XIII. in 1641, we 
find it already in Flanders, as 12i to 1 ; in 
France, as 13i to 1 ; and in Spain as 14 to 1, and 
even beyond that. The extraction of gold has 
prodigiously increased in America since the 
end of the 17th century; and although the 
auriferous grounds of Brazil have been partly 
known ever since 1577, the working of the 
alluvions mines however, only commenced in 
the reigrn of Peter II. In the time of Charles Y. 

' VOL. HI. 2d 



4M POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [mok iv. 

a quantity of gold of forty or fifty thousand 
marcs was sufficient to produce a sensible 
change in the proportion between gold and silver 
in Europe. On the other hand, this influence 
was hardly felt in the beginning of the 18th 
century, when commercial relations were very 
much multiplied. The gold of Brazil divided 
over a vast extent of country, could not pro- 
duce the effect which it would have produced 
by a rapid accumulation on a single point 
of the globe. > «. *.» 

We shall now enter upon a very important 
question, which has been very variously treated 
in works of political economy : namely, the quan* 
tity of gold and silver which has flowed from 
the New Continent into the Old, since 1492 to 
this day. Instead of examining the r gresi 
of mining: in America, and estimati the 
produce of the mines of each colony at dif- 
ferent periods, they have laid down a hy- 
pothesis of a certain number of millions of 
piastres, which have been arbitrarily enough, 
supposed to have been introduced annually 
into Portugal and Spain, during three cenr 
turies. It might have been easily foreseen 
that in calculating according to this prin- 
ciple, they would obt3,in results differing from 
one another in several thousands of millions 
of livres tournois, according as the annual im- 
portation was taken at ten or twelve milliQQB 
of livres only, either below or above the tmth 



CMAF. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN- 405 

Besides, the greatest number of the mo«t cele- 
brated authora * instead of investiju^atinjaf for 
themselves, contented themselves with copying 
the valuations of Don Geronimo de Ustariz* 
as if merely to quote the particular opinion of 
a Spanish author was sufficient to inspire con- 
fidence. Before communicating my own results 
let us examine those calculations which have 
been hitherto before the public. ' • 

r Ustariz in his excellent treatise of commerce 
mnd navigation f founds his calculations on 
those of Don Sancho de Moncada and Don 
Pedro Fernandez de Navarete. The former 
who was professor in the Univei'sity of Alcala, 
affirms vaguely, that " according to a repre- 
i* sentation made to the king, there has entered 
^ into Spain between 1402 and 1595, in gold 
*' and silver extracted from the mines of 
** America, two thousand millions of piastres ; 
** that at least the same quantity had Entered 
without being registered; and that of all 
the gold and silver it would be difficult to 
^ find in Spain, two hundred millions, ont 
i* hundred in coin, and another hundred in 
*< hou^hold furnitare." Ustariz adds to thesf 
two thousand millions, the quantity imported 

* Forboniutis, Raynal, Gerboux, and the judicious author 
of the Recherches sur le Commerce (Amst. 1778.) 

f Edition of Paris 175S, p. lU Toze, kkiru schri/ieni 
4791, p. 99.- ' • > . . .. 

2D 2 



« 



M 



1 













W' 



k 



m 



404 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book m 

into Spain, between 1595 and 1724 which he 
estimates at 1536 millions, so that the total 
produce of Spanish America in gold and silver, 
from 1492 to 1724 amounted, according to 
this author, to 5536 millions of piastres.:-:^; 
It is easy to prove that this calculation 
does not rest on very solid foundations. Four^ 
thousand millions divided among one hun* 
dred and three years from 1492 to lS95y 
suppose an average annual produce of more 
than 38 millions. !Ng^v ive learn from the 
history of the mines of America, that tiie 
quantity of gold and silver introduced into 
Spain between 1492 and 1535 was very small,' 
and at most cannot be estimated at more 
than 130 or 140 millions. If however we 
admit 1$^ millions of piastres per annum, for 
this period the sum which Ustariz fixes for the 
period between 1595 and 1724, we shall find 
that the annual produce between . 1535 and. 
1595 ought at least to be 58 millions. 
All the estimates are four or five times too 
high, as we may be convinced of by casting 
our eyes over the registers of Potosi and re- 
collecting that the mines of New Spain till 
the beginning of the eighteenth century, never 
yielded above three millions of piastres per 
annum. Moreover Garcilasso and Herera, ix^ 
speaking of the great wealth of the mii^es^of 
the New Continent, expressly say that towards 



/ 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 



405 



the end of the sixteenth century from ten to 
twelve millions of piastres annually entered 
Spain by the mouth of the Guadalquivir. The 
estimates in round numbers of thousands of 
millions, far from being entitled to be con- 
sidered AS the fruits of accurate research, are 
merely the result of an approximate calcula- 
lation. Hence every author has thought him- 
entitled to fix on difterent quantities, jj^ .s: | 
Solorzano affirms * on the authority of Da- 
-vila that Spain received from America, from 
if:s tdiscovery in 1492 to 1628, fifteen hundred; 
millions of registered piastres, a sum which 
differs nearly by one half from that adopted 
hy Ustariz. On the other hand we fmd iti^ 
the political treatise of Navarete f, that between 
\^19 and 1617 according io registers there 
was imported 1536 millions. According to 
this valuation we attribute to the period of 
9iB years, a smaller sum of piastres than 
what Solorzano and Davila, admit for the period 
of 136 years, which is a contradiction so 
much the greater as the one of these periods 
composes a part of the other. ' vi ?j^'<.i 
L Baynal in the first editions of his celebrated 
work on the settlemonts in the Indies J es- 

• De Indiarum Jure, T. II. p. 846. Hut. magna Ma- 

trUensiSf p. 472, 

^ Dt la conservacion de las Monarquias, Disc. XXI. ' 
^% C<Knpare the changes made in Liv. viii. ^ xlii. •, Tir. 

X. § liv. 



iflil^ 



m 



406 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book it; 

timated the gold and silver imported from 
America into Em*ope, since the discovery of 
the New World at nine thousand millions of 
piastres ; but in 1780 he reduced this sum to 
iive thousand millions. He supposes that the 
annual importation of registered gold and silver 
into Spain on an average of eleven years from 
1754 to 1764 only amounted to 13,984,185 
piastres, while we know from the registers! 
presei*ved in the mint of Mexico, that at that 
yety period. . New Spain alone produced an- 
liualljri liearly twelve millions of piastres.? I 
oaiiriot Qonoeive how an author full of sagacity 
ted gCtteraUy well informed, can have allowed 
himstdbfttof form such erroneous notions re- 
upectikig th(^ commerce in the precious me* 
tak. Raynal gives tables apparently the result 
o£ very extensive labour ; he estimates separate- 
\y the quantities of gold and silver from each 
part of the colonies ; and notwithstanding this 
lipparent accuracy, a great number of these 
calculationH rest on very far from solid foun^ 
dations. He aiiirms * that Spain drew from 
1780, every year from the continent of America, 
89,095,052 iivres in gold and silver, or 
16)970,484 piastres; because from an average 
year taken during the period from 1748 to 1753 
there was imported: 



• Hut, Philosophiquet Geneva Ed". 1780, T. II. p. 3S9« 



9HAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 407 



il I 



Liv.Toumois. 



Piastres. 



Prom New Spain - 
From Cartha^ena or 

New Grenada 
Fi'oih Lima or Peru - 
From Buenos Ayres or 

the kingdom of La 

Plata 
From Caracas 

Total of an average year. 



44,106,047 

14,087,304 
25,267,849 

5,304,705 

239,144 

89,095,049 



e,4 18,294 

2,683,296 
4,812,924 

1,010,420 
45,551 



I 



16,970,435 , 



lit 

'**!l 

liilf 



It is surprisiong to see Raynal confound 
the produce of 1750 with that of 1780 : for 
during that space of thirty years, the export 
tation of silver from Mexico had increased 
more than a fourth, and the mines of South 
America far from being exhausted were become 
more abundant. In 1780 there was coined at 
the mint of Mexico, alone, the sum of 17,514,263 
piastres ; while the Abbe Raynal estimates 
the total prod. of the mines of Spanish 
America, at only eigliteca millions, lie ought 
to have known from tiie tfistimon of a states* 
man, thoroughly informed respecting the com- 
merce of Spain*, that in 1775 the total 
produce had already risen to 30 millions of 
piastres, or to 157,500>000 livres tournois per 

annum. . $ . 

... , .. . . . ■-, '-■■'■ -- ■ . -■■■-•■- 

* Campomanest Discurso sobre la Educacion popular de 
k* artixanos, Vol. ii. p. ftSl. 



408 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

With respect to the quantity of precious 
metals received by Spain from her colonies, 
since the discovery of America, Raynal fixes 
it at 25,570,279,924 liv., or 4,870,529,509 pi- 
astres. This calculation, which \vould inspire 
more confidence if the sums were expressed in 
round nuni03rs, is sufficiently accurate ; and it 
proves that even in setting out from the falsest 
data, we may sometimes by fortunate compu- 
tations, arrive at results very near the truth. 

Adam Smith, in his classical work on the 
causes of the wealth of nations * estimates the 
silver exported from the New Continent into 
Cadiz and Lisbon, at six millions sterling, 
or 26i millions of piastres per annum; but 
this estimate was too small by two fifths 
even in his time, in 1775. The English 
author followed the calculations of Meggens, 
according to whom during 1748 and 1753, 
Spain and Portugal received annually, at 
an average, in registered precious metals 
^5,746,000 sterling, or 25,337,000 piastres. 
Reckoning four millions for the importation 
of gold from Brazil, we find according to 
Meggins, 21 millions of piastres for the Spanish 
Colonies alone, and consequently three millions 
more than Raynal allows for the year 1780. 
Mr. Gamier, the learned commentator on 



* Book I Chap. I. 



CHAF. 3CL] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 409 

Smiths, who has displayed the greatest ac- 
curacy in his researches, estimates the produce 
of the gold and silver mines of Spanish America, 
in 1802 at 159 millions of livres tournois, or 
90,285,000 piastres; a sum which approaches 
nearer to the truth than all the calculations 
to be found in other works of Political Eco- 



1 



I Jv*l b 



nomy. 

Robertson in the History of America, values 
the amount of the precious metals imported 
into Spain, between 1492 and 1775 at the 
enormous sum of two thousand millions sterling, 
or 8800 millions of piastres ; and what is more 
singular, this justly celebrated author considers 
his calculation as founded on very moderate 
suppositions, though he estimates the annual 
produce of the mines during 283 consecutive 
years, at four millions sterling, and the amount 
of the contraband during that period at 
968 millions f- When we compare these 
data with those of the work of Ustariz, we ob- 
serve that the sums of the Spanish author 
are lower by one half. ^ - . *« 
• In the Recherches sur le Commerce, pub- 
lished at Amsterdam in 1778 1 the amount 
of gold and silver exported from Spanish 



Ki 

»<!? 



i«!^ 



f.,i 



'■'% 



*T. V. p. 137. 

f Hiitory of America, Vol. iv. p. 62. 

X Liv. i. chap. x. (T. i. P. ii.p« 124.) 



<10 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE C«ook iv: 

America between 1674 and 1723, is estimated 
at 672 millions of piastres. Reckoning at the 
same rate the 283 years between 1492 
and 177d» and adding^ a third for the con* 
traband| we find the total of all , the metals 
imported into Spain 5072 millions of piaiitres. 
The same author estimates the gold imported 
from Brazil since th« discovery of that country 
at 1350 millions, a sum which appears nearly 
double too much, as we shall prove in the 
sequel of the discussion. . i j w< . - < ' ^iu /u: - > » 

Mr. Neoker * in his researches respecting 
the ea^istiiig specie in France, estimates the 
gold and silver received at Cadiz and Lisbon, 
from 1763 to 1777 at 1600 millions of livres 
tournois, or 304,800^000 piastres. According 
to this hypothesis, the total exportation of 
precious metals from the two Americas would 
have amounted to 21i millions of piastres per 
annum, while that of Spain alone according 
to certain information was more than BO 
millions f. On the other hand, M. Ger- 
boux in his discussions on the effects orf 
melting down the go\d coinage (demonHi2i&iion 
de Vor)X values the importation of gold and 
, •.,..'4 < ,,-:\ f - '7'^ ''. -'^'In' I'f) blo-»-^i"; .1 

* Sur k commerce des grainst Liv. ii. chap. v. De 
^administration des Jinances, T. iii. chap. vjH. p. 71. 

+ Encycl, methqd, Economiepolit, T. M. p. fiSI. ; 

IGerboux, p. 86, 66, ,69^ 70, . , , . 1 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 411 



silver into Europe in livres toumois as follows ^ 






^ From 1724 to 1766-:~4000 millions. 
1766 — 1800—4000 ^ ^ 
1789 — 1803— 1500 'f r- ' 






'io •r'!0':!;r 



'¥ ' 



from wHence it would follow that the annual 
importation from 1724 to 1803 amounted to 
21 millions of piastres. ' > ^ '^ -^^ ■::u...^j.:r'ji 

*" Unitinjr in one point of view the I'esults 
of all these calculations, which are founded 
on nothing more than mere conjectures, we 
find that the mass of registered precious 
metals imported into Europe, is according to : 



>. 


' ' 




Names of Authors. 


Periods. 


iastres. 


Ustariz - - - 


1492—1724 


o536 miliions. 


Solorzano - - 


1492 1628 


1500 


Moncada - - 


1492—1595 


2000 ' '^ 


Navarete - - - 


1519 1617 


1536 


Raynal - - - 


1492—1780 


5154 


Robertson - - 


1492—1775 


8800 . ..; 


Necker - - - 


1763—1777 


304 . 


Gerboux - - 


1724—1800 


1600 


The author of Re- 




T . .;'■.■'' 


cherches sur le 




5072 


Commerce 


1492—1775 



To avoid as much as possible in these re- 
searches the causes of error which are but too 
numerous, I shall follow a different course 



III 



412 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book m 

from what has been followed b^ the writers 
above-mentioned. I shall first state the quan- 
tity of gold and silver, which according to the 
records of the mints and the royal treasury 
we know to have been extracted from the 
mines of Mexico and Potosi ; I shall add from 
the historical knowledge which I acquired 
respecting the state of the Mexican mining 
operations, the amount furnished by each me- 
talliferous region of Peru, Buenos Ayres, and 
New Grenada; and I shall distinguish what 
has been registered from what has been 
smuggled. Instead of estimating, as has hi- 
therto been done, the total produce of this 
contraband trade, at a third or a fourth of the 
whole of the registered metals, I shall make 
partial estimates according to the position of 
each colony, and its relations with the neigh- 
bouring countries. When we wish to judge of 
the greatness of a distance which we cannot 
measure with precision, we are sure of com- 
mitting errors of less consequence, if we divide 
the whole extent into several parts, and if we 
compare each of these with objects of u known 
greatness. - V i v 



^•.•-\ 



A- 



*. C' * "" "> 



CHAP, w.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 413 

1. Quantity of Registered Gold and Silver 
extracted from the mines of America, from the 
year 1492 to 1803. ?-!Vrfw . V i cl 



■ "^ *» ^ ¥ I ,*^.^».'^^*■ 



!*■!• •■•- .'7:_rfii f- 



A. SPANISH COLONIES. 



■.:yS 



aar 



Piastres. 



-i- 



The kingdom of New Spain has 

furnished the mint of Mexico, -^ 

between 1690 and 1803, ac- 

cording to the register al- , .:. i r 

ready given, with - . - - 1,853,452,000 
The mines of Tasco, Zultepec, 

Pachuca, and Tlapujahua, ,^ 

were almost the only ones 

which were worked immedi- . 

ately after the destruction of the ,, 

city of Tenochtitlan in 1521, r 

and from that memorable period . 

till 1548. As the quantity of , . 

gold and silver coined in the .;j- 

beginning of the 18th century, ,., i u v 

did not exceed five millions of 

piastres per annum, I reckon > ,. 

from the conquest by Herman ; , . r 

Cortez, till 1548, for the 

total produce of Mexico - - 40,500,000 



^M 



Carried over 1,393,952,000 



414 POLITICAL ESSAT ON THlfc [Boolt iV 

' ,A^ r • ,: ' ff PiMtret. 

Brought aver ..-•-- 1,393,052,000 

In 148 the mines of Zacatecas . -^v, 

began to be worked, and the • '^ ' 
mines of Guanaxuato in 1558; 

and nearly at the same period - ' ^^- 
amalgamation was invented by 

Medina. We may reckon from '^ 

1548 till 1600, at least two ^ ^-^^ 

millions, and from 1600 till i« ' 

1690, three millions per an- - .^»^si 

' mim 374,000,000 

Themines of Potosi, supplied from ' ••- '*»3 • 

their discovery in 1545, till .;..<.-- 

the year 1803, 1095* millions ♦ : - *r : 

of piastres, or 128,882,000 ^iwV' 

marcs; namely from 1545 to /= v ;. iL 

1556, nearly 127,500,000^ 

From 1559 to 1789, according •^;!^ 

to the registers of the treasury ^ *^ 

already given ----- 788,258,500 

Add on account of the value of 

the peso de minas, from 1550 - - 

to 1600 134,000,000 

Produce of Potosi, from 1789 to - *^ 

1803 46,000,000 

Ov«^ '''--• ''^ - ■-■ .^'''-f '■■} • ■ • ■ 

Carried over 2,863,710,500 

\ '.- i O '.-.;'.">• • ^ .. •• . .w. . - — — i— «— — «»»^ 



6I4AP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW 8?AIN. 4lS 



, T ' i I » * ' I *■ = 



i,»HHiii'J Piaatreg. 

Bronght over %S6S,7\0,&0O 

The mines of Pasco or Yauri- ''••^' " " 

cocha, discovered in 1680, 'iniM.;<( 

yielded up to 180S, nearly I n'^-l'J 

800 millions of piastres, or / »*> m*^^ ^ 

35,300,000 marcs, namely fiom « ^ • . • 

1630 to 1792, at 9Q0,000 marcs 

per annum ----- - 274,400,000 

Prom 1792 to 1801, according 

to the registers - - - - - 
Produce of the CeiTo de Yau- 

ricocha, from 1801 till 1803 
The mines of Gualgayoc, dis- 
covered in 1771, yielded from 

1773, nearly 170,000 marcs of 
' of silver, per annum - - - 
From 1774 till 1802, for the 

mines of Gualgayoc, Guama- 

chuco de Couchucofi - - . 
Add for 1803 .----. 
I estimate the produce of the 

mines of Huantajaya, Porco, 

and other less considerable 

Peruvian mines, from the 16th 

century till 1803, at 150,000 

or 200,000 niarcs of silver per 

annum - - 350,000,000 

Cairied over 3,703,156,000 



21^1,600 
3,400,000 



4,300,000 



185,339,900 
504,000 



li 



r^l 



i t\X 000,1- >'i • 



L-;..' .KK)/>^'?. 



■ 'O Ui^\'il^ 



•*..«•..» .... 



410 l*OLITICAt ESSAY ON THE [book it. 

Brought over 3,703,166,000 

Choco was peopled in 1539; the , luun ^a i 
province of Antioquia, then , ,. *I>0) • 
inhabited by cannibals, was .» i^Uhir 
conquered in 1541. The al- :;i;:{j tK>(; 
luvious mines of Sonora and -hx^ Ul>r>,C.« 
Chili began only very late ;r oM.W ril 
to be worked. If we reckon nH^Kj; ijq 
12,000 marcs of gold for the !;fr; i worl 
total produce of the Spanish o'^i r^tjt f>i 
Colonies, not including the, |o .v^iU/rj, 
. kingdom of New Spain, we, * ,*f1'^fv..ir 
may add - - 332,000,000 



Registered Gold and Silver of") 

the Spanish Colonies, from [ 4,035,156,000 
1492 to 1803 - - . - 3 



B. PORTUGUESE COLONIES. 



Raynal supposes for the first sixty 
years, a produce the double of 
the preser^. He admits, that 
according to the registers of 
the fleets, since the discovery \ 
of the mines of Brazil, till 
1555, there has come into 

r 

^ Europe, in gold, the value 

of ---.--.. - 480,000,000 



9 



Carried over 480,000,000 



iiiAr. xi.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 4l7 



Piastres. 
Brought over 480,000,000 

From 1756 to 1803, reckoning 

only an annual produce of 

32,000 marcs 204,5 1 1,000 



Registered gold of the Portu- 
guese Colonies, from the dis 
covery of Brazil, till 1803 



is- [ 684,544,000 



II. Clold and Silver hot registered, extracted 
from the mines of the New Continent, from 
1492 to 1803. 

A. BPANISH COLONIES. 

i reckon for New Spain, where 

the furtive extraction was very 

considerable till the middle 

of the eighteenth century, A 

seventh - - - ^ - - ^ 260,000,000 
For Potosi, the fouith of this 

total produce, on account of 

the enormous contraband at 

the beginning of working the 

mines - - - 274,000,000 

Pasco, Gualgayoc, and the rest 

of Peru, where the silver flows 

by the river Amazons, towards 

Brazil - - - 200,000,000 



Carried over 



734,000,300 



VOX.. HI. 



2 EV 



■Wl^"^^" 



^^m^i'-^'mmm^mmmK^mmmHm^^i'mmmmam 



W 



•lis POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

Piastres. 
Broiiglit over - - - - - 734,000^000 
For the gold of Chili, New Gre- 
nada, and the kingdom of 
Buenos Ayres 82,000,000 

B. PORTUGUESE COLONIES. 

For the gold of Brazil - - - 171,000,000 



Uia-egistered Gold and Silver, 
from 1492 to 1803 



] 987,000, 



,000 



RECAPITULATION. 

Value of Gold and Silver extracted from the 
mines of America, from 1499 to 1803. 

/"From the Spanish 
Registered^ Colonies - - - 4,035,156,000 
No. I. y From the Portuguese 

v^ Colonies - - - 084,544,000 
/ From the Spa- 

Not Registered 3 ^^'^ ^^^^^^"' 816,000,000 
Not Registered J^ ^^^ ^^^ 

No. IL i ^ - 

\ tuguese Colo- 
nies - - - 171,000,000 



Total 5,706,700,000 



•ifAp. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 419 

This sum, which I believe myself warranted 
in fixmg on, differs more than sixteen 
thousand millions of francs from thr^ sum stated 
by Robertson. It is not surprising that 
It approximates the estimates of several other 
writers; for it is with numbers in political 
economy, as with the positions fixed by as- 
tronomers; when we first observe the longitude 
of a place amid the great number of maps in 
which all the points are placed at random, 
we are sure to find One which indicates the 
true position. 

It appears then that, of the 5,706,700,000 
piastres, or 29,960,175,000 livres tournois 
furnif.hed in gold and silver from 1492 till 
1803, or in the space of 311 years, we owe: 



2 E*i 



fWI-i^^l^wWWP 



■v^^^mmnvM 



Pi^sBMnivaipwi 



^ipWPPHMIIinMllilSI 



426 



Political essaV on the t^oo^ ^^' 



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CHAP.xi.l KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 421 

As the Cerro del Potosi belongs from its 
position to the Cordilleras of Peru, I have 
brought together in this table, the mines situa- 
ted on the ridge of the chain of the Andes, 
from the 6° to the 21° of south latitude, for 
a length of 500 leagues. The metalliferous 
part of Mexico, comprehended between the 
16" and 31° of north latitude, at present sup- 
plies twice as much silver, as the two vice- 
roy allies of Peru and Buenos Ayres; and thia 
part is only 450 leagues in length. The fol- 
lowing table specifies the proportion between 
the gold and silver drawn from the mines of 
the New Continent from their discovery, till 
1803. 



Political Divisions. 



Gold - - - - 
From the Portuguese 

Colonies - - - 
From the Spanish Colo 

nies - - - - 

Silver - T - 



Total. 



Marcs Castille 
weight. 



Piastre?. 



9,915,000 

6,290,000 
3,G25,000 



1,348,500,000 
855,500,000 
493,000,000 



512,700,000 -1,358,200,000 



5,70(),700,000 



According to this estimate which is merely an 
approximate, the mass of silver furaislied by 
the Cordilleras of America for three centuries, 
amounts to 117,864,210 kilagrummes* in weight. 



♦ 316, 023,883 lb. troy. 



mmmmmmmm 



422 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book it. 

It would form a solid sphere of a diameter of 27.8 
metres"^, or 85t(j Paris feet. When we re- 
collect that the iron extracted from the 
mines of France alone, amounts to 22o mil- 
lions of kilogrammes per annum, we see that 
with respect to the relative abundance, or dis- 
tribution of the substances in the exterior crust 
of the globe, silver is to iron merely in the 
relation of magnesia to silice, or baryte to. 
alumine. 

\^^e must not however confound the quan- 
tity of precious metals extracted from the mines 
of the New Continent, with what has realty flow- 
ed into P]urope since the year 1492. To judge of 
this last sum, it in indispensable to estimate, 1st. 
The gold and silver found at the period of 
the conquest among the natives of America, 
and which became the spoil of the conque- 
rors; 2dly. What has remained in circulation 
in the New Continent; and 3dly. What has 
passed directly to the coasts of Africa and 
Asia, without touching Europe. 

The conquerors found gold not only in the 
regions where it is still produced, as in Mexi- 
co, Peru, and New Grenada, but also in coun- 
tries of which the rivers actually appear to us 
very poor in auriferous sands. The natives of 
Florida, Saint Domingo, and the Island of 



91.206 feet English, Trans, 



CHAP. XI.] kingdo:m of new spain. 



42^ 






i 



Cuba, of Darien, and the coast of Paria, had 
bracelets, rinses, and necklaces of e^old ; but it 
is probable that the greatest part of that metal 
was not derived from the countries in which 
these tribes were found, at the end of tl e 
fifteenth century. In South America as wcH 
as in Africa, commercial communications ex- 
isted, even among* the hordes the most remote 
from civilization. Coral and sea shells weie 
frequently found in the possession of men who 
lived at a ffreat distance from the coast. We 
ascertained during our journey on the Orinoco, 
that the famous Mahagua stone, the jado of 
the Amazons, comes by means of an exchange 
establisheil among different tribes of savages, 
from Brazil to the banks of the Carony, inha- 
bited by the Caraib Indians. Besides, it is to 
be remarked, that the people found by the 
Spaniards in Darien, or the Island of Cuba, 
had not always inhabited the same coi.ntries. 
In America, the great migrations have taken 
place fi'om the north west, to the soulli east : 
and frequently whole tribes have been forced 
by wars to quit the mountains, and settle in 
the plains. We can conceive therefore in what 
manner the gold of Sonora, or the valley of 
the Rio Cauca, might have been found among 
the savages of the Darien, or the mouths ox 
the river Madalena. Besides, the smaller the 
population, the more deceitful the appear- 



424 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE' [book ly. 

ance of wealth. The accumulation of gold i^ 
particularly striking, in countries where all the 
metal possessed by the p ople, is converted 
into objects of ornament. We must not then 
judge of this pretended wealth of the mines 
of Cibao, of the coast of Cumana, and the 
isthnuis of Panama, from the recital of the first 
travellers. We must recollect that rivers be- 
come less auriferous, in proportion as during 
th course of ages, their course becomes less 
rapid. A horde of savages who settle in a 
valley, where man had never before penetra- 
ted, iincl grains of gold accumulated there for 
thousands of years ; while in our days, the most 
careful wasliing hardly produces a few scattered 
particles. These considerations, to which I. wish 
to limit myself in this place, may sprve tp 
clear up the problem, so frequently agitated, 
why those regions which immediately after 
the discovery of America, and especially between 
1492 and 1515, were considered as eminently 
rich in precious metals, furnish no longer any 
in our days, although very laborious and well 
directed trials have been made in several of 
them. 

To form some idea of the spoil in gold and 
silver, transmitted by the first conquerors to 
Europe, before the Spaniards began to work 
the mines of Tasco in Mexico, or Porco in 
Peru, let us cast our eyes over the facts re^ 



CHAP.xi.'] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 425 

lated by the historians oi the conquest. I have 
carefully examined these facts, and endeavoured 
to collect all the passages where the wealth 
which fell into the hands of the Europeans, 
is estimated in pesos ensayadoSy or in castellanos 
de oro; for it is from these data, and not 
from the vague, and frequently repeated ex- 
pressions of " enormous quantity of yold or im- 
mense treasiireSf* that we shall be able to 
obtfin satisfactory results. 
. In 1502, Ovando sent to Spain a fleet of 
eighteen vessels, commanded by Bovadilla and 
Rojdan, and laden with a great quantity of 
gold. The greater part of these vessels perished 
in the tempest, in which Christopher Columbus 
nearly lost his life, in his first voyage on the 
shores of St. Domingo. The historians of the 
time consider this fleet as one of the richest; 
and yet they all agree that the freight in 
gold did not exceed 200,<300 pesos*, which 
reckoning them as pesos de minas at 14 reals, 
make the moderate sum of 1,750,000 livres 
tournoisf, or 2560 marcs of gold. The pre* 
sents which Cortez received on his passage 
through Chalco, only amounted to 8000 pesos 
de oroX, or to 38 marcs of weight in gold. 




'^m 



* Herreray Decada i. Lib. i. Cap. i. (T. i. p. 126). 

•)• ag 7 1,427 Sterling. Trans. 

% Cartas de Hernan Cortez, Carta i. § xviii. 



W iM4& 



426 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book ir. 

When Montezuma assembled his vassals to 
take the oath of fidelity to the Emperor Charles 
the Fifth, who as they were made to believe 
descended in a straight line from Qaetzalcoatl*, 
the Bouddha of the Aztecs, Cortez demanded 
a tribute in gold: "I feigned,'* he writes to 
the Emperor, ** that your highness was in great 
" want of this metal, for certain works which 
<* you wished to execute.'* The fifth of the 
tribute, paid into the chest of the army, amounted 
to 32,400 pesosf; from which we are to con- 
clude that the quantity of gold collected by 
the stratagem of the General, amounted to 2080 
marcs. At the taking of Tenochtitlan, 
the spoil which fell into the hands of the 
Spaniards, did not exceed in weight accord- 
ing to the assertion of Cortez, 130,000 castel- 
lanos, or 2600 marcs of goldj ; and accord- 



♦ See my Vues des CordilUres, and Monumens de VAnie^ 
riquCf PI. vii. ,,, 

f Cartas de Hevmn Cortez^ Carta i. § xxix. p. 98, 
\ Carta iii. § li. p. 301. The expression se Jun4io mas 
de 138,0(X> castellanos is doubtful. We are ignorant whe- 
ther Cortez speaks of castellanos as a weight, or as an 
imaginary coin. I follow with the Abbe Clavigero the 
former hypothesis, {Storia de Messicoy T. iii. p. 232). In the 
second case the spoil would only have been 1600 marcs 
of gold; for Herrera expressly says, that " Castellnno y peso 
" es uno,** and according to him a peso de minas is worth 
14 reals; o, peso ensayadOy\\iitieen reals (de plata) andonft 
quartillo. Decada viii. Lib. ii. c.lO. T. v, p. 41. 



tHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF JTEW SPAIN. 427 

ing to Bernal Diaz it amounted to 380,000 
pesos, which are equivalent to 4890 marcs. 

The two periods of the conquest of Peru, 
in which the Spaniards collected the greatest 
quantity of wealth, are those of the proceed- 
ings against Atahualpa, and the pillage of Cuzco, 
The ransom of the Inca which was divided 
in 1531, among 60 cavaliers, and 100 foot, 
amounted according to Garcilasso, to 3,930,000 
ducats in gold, and 672,670 ducats in silver. 
Reducing these sums into marcs, we find 41,987 
marcs of gold, and 115,508 marcs of silver, 
amounting together in value to 3,838,058 pias- 
tres, at 8 reah de plata Mexicana, or 20,149,804* 
livres tournoisf. This treasure which was col- 
lected together in one house, the ruins of which 
I saw during my stay at Caxamarca in 1802, 
had served as ornaments in the temples of 
the sun of Pachacamac, Huailas, Cuzco, Gua- 
machuco, and SicUapampa. GomaraJ, only esti- 
mates the ransom of Atalhualpa at 52,000 
marcs of silver, and at 1,326,500 pesos de oro, 
or to 17,000 marcs of silver. In whatever 
relates to numbers, it seldom happens that the 



M 



* ae 822,438 Sterling. Trans. 

f Garcilasso, P. ii. Lib. i. c. 28 and 38. (T. ii. p. 27 and 51 ) . 
Father Bias Valcra reckons 4,800,000 ducados, 
% Historia delas IndiaSfl55Sf^,67. 



428 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv, 

authors of the 16th century are unauimous. 
The spoil of Cnzco, according' to Herrera*, 
was more than two millions of pesos, or above 
25,700 marcs of gold. 

From these data it appears probable, that 
the conquests of Mexico and Peru, did not 
throw into the hands of the Spaniards more than 
80,000 marcs of gold. The greater part of 
the treasures were buried by the Indians, or 
thrown into the lakesf; and so much of them 
as have been found fron^ time to time in raking 
with Huacas, and paid the fifth to the King, have 
been confounded with the gold extracted from 
the mines. We shall add to these 80,000 
marcs of gold, what was carried off in small 
portions from the Wc < India Islands, the coast 
of Paria and Saint Martha, Darien and Flor 
rida; and we shall have, reckoning two tliou" 
sand marcs per annum, till the mines of Tasco 
and Potosi began to be worked, another sum 
of 106,000 marcs of gold. 

The quantity of specie now in circulation in 

♦ Dec. V. Lib. vi. c. 3. 

•j- Into the lake of Tezeuco in Mexico; into Guatavita 
to the north west of Santa Fe de Bogota; and into the 
lakes of Titicaca, and of the valley of Orcos. This last 
lake is supposed to contain the famous gold chain, which 
the Inca Huayna Capac caused to be made on the birth 
of his son Huescar, and which has so much occupied 
the imagination of the first colonists of Peru, 



( 



tHAP. XI 3 KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 429 



the New World, is much less than is com- 
monly supposed. To judge of this with any 
degree of accuracy, we must recollect that the 
specie of France*, is estimated at 2500 mil- 
lions of livres tournoisf j that of Spain J, at 450 
millions §j and that of Great Britain||, at 920 
millions^ ; and that the mass of gold and silver 
which remains in circulation in a country, far 
from following a proportion to its population, 
depends rather on the prosperity, and civiliza- 
tion of the inhabitants, and the quantity of pro- 
ductions which require to be represented by 
pecuniary signs. Supposing the value of the 
precious metals existing either in specie, or in 
Wrought gold and silver, 



1r 



±f.^ 



mSI('; 



• According to M. Necker in 1784, at 2200 milHont 
of livres; according to M. Arnoakl in 1791, t%vo thousand 
millions of livres ; according to M. Desrotours in 1 801, at 
2290 millions; and according to M. M. Peucliet and Ger- 
boux in 1805, at 2550 millions of livres tournois. 

f Upwards of 102 millions Sterling. Trans, 

■}(. According to Ustariz in 1724, a hundred million ot 
piastres, and according to the assertion of M. Musquiz, 
the minister of finance, cited in the work of M. Boar- 
going, 80 millions of piastres in 1 782. 

$ jg 18,367/34-0 Sterling. Trans, 

II Adam Smith only estimates it at 30 millions sterling 
at most. 

% 16 37.551,000 Sterling. Trans, 



430 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv, 

livres tournois* 
In the United States, including' 

English Canada - - - 180 millions 
In the Spaniih Colonies* of the 

Continent - - - - 480 
In Brazil - - - 120 

In the West India Islands 25 



We find a Total of ^ 805 millionsf 

t)f livres tournois, or 1 53,333,000 piastres. 

A very small part of the gold and silvei* 
extracted from the mines of America, passes 
immediately into Africa and Asia, without 
first touching Europe. We shall estimate the 
quantity of precious metals, which has flowed 
from Acapulco into the Philippine Islands, since 
the conclusion of the 16th century, at 600,000 
piastres J per anmim§. The expeditions from 

* We have followed in these valuations, the principlea 
laid down by Adam Smith and Nccker, taking for basisT 
the num ber of inhabitants, the mass of imposts paid td 
the government, the wealth of the clergy, and the relative 
activity of commerce. These calculations are the more 
uncertain, as a great number of Negroes and Indians aro 
mi)ced with the whites. 

t 1632,858,137 Sterling. Trans, 

% jg 126,000 Sterling. Trans, 

<^ I am aware, that Lord Anson found in the Aca- 
pulco galleon which fell into his hands, the sum of 
1,357,454< piastres. (Anson*s Voyage^ p. 384) ; but we can- 
not estimate the annual importation at more than 600,000 
piastres, when we consider that the galleon has not sailed 
every year siace the end of the 16th century. 



^ ^ 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 431 



Lima to Manilla have been very rare, even 
latterly. The vessels sent from the West India 
Islands, and formerly from the ports of the 
United States to the western coast of Africa, 
in the slave trade, exported not only fire arms, 
brandy, and hardwares, but also silver in specie; 
but this exportation was compensated for by 
the purchase of gold dust on the coast of 
Guinea, and by the lucrative commerce which 
the An o'lo- Americans carry on with several 
parts of Europe. 

Now if we deduct from the 570(5 millions 
of piastres, drawn from the mines of the New 
Continent, since its discovery by Christopher 
Columbus, till the present day, 

153 millions of piastres which exist either 

in specie, or in wrought gold and 

silver in the civilized part of America. 

and, 
133 millions of piastres which have past from 

the western coast of America into Asia, 



Uj 






1 



286 millions of piastres, 
we find that Europe has received from the 
New World in the course of three centuries, 5420 
millions of piastres*. Taking also the 1 86,000 
marcs of gold, which have passed as spoil into 
the hands of the conquerors at 25 millions^ 



* £ 1,138,200,000 Sterling. Trans, 



iZ2 



POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book ly; 



it follows that the quantity of gold and silver 
imported into Europe from America, betweeii 
1492 and 1803> amounts to five thousand Jour 
hundred and forty -five millions of piastres, or 
to twenty eight thousand five hundred and eighty- 
six millions oflivres tournois*. 

This calculation like all those of Forbon- 
nais, Ustariz Necker, and Raynal, is partly 
founded on facts, and partly on mere conjecture. 
It is easy to Csincc\\e that the results are the more 
accurate, as we were enabled to avail ourselves 
of a greater number of tacts, and as the con- 
jectures are founded on a more intimate ac- 
quaintance with the history and present state 
of the mines of the New Continent. It is 
for those of my readers, who are accustomed 
to researches of this nature, to judge whether 
the sums fixed on by me are nearer the truths 
than those which have been hitherto adopted 
in the most esteemed and popular works. 

Dividing the 5445 millions of piastres, among 
rtie 311 years since the discovery of the New 
Worlds till 1803, wt tind that the average annual 
importation auiouiits to seventeen millions and 
a htilf of piastres. From the historical researches 
^hich it has hitherto been in my pow er to make, 
it appears to me that the treasures of America 
bave flowed iuto Europe in the following pro- 
gression* 

* rf 1,166,775,3^2 Sterljn{? 



CHAP, j.i.2 KINGDOxM OF NEW SPAIN. 43ii 



Periods. 



Average an 
nual impo.' 
tationcfgold 
& silver from 
America in 
to Europe. 



1492.1500 



1500— 154-5 



1545—1600 



Piastres. 



Remarks 
'elattve tothe History of the Mines. 



Discovery of the West India Is- 
lands; Gold washing places of 
Cibao ; expedition of Alonzo Nino 
to the coast of Paria; voyage of 
2£0,000 Cabral. The fleets did not arriv« 
levery year in Spain, and that of 
Ovando was considered as immense- 
ly rich, though it was only laden 
wi th 2560 marcs of silver. 

The Mexican mines of Tasco, 
Zultepeque, and Pachuca wrought ; 
Peruvian mines of Porco, Caran- 
gas, Andacava, Oruro, Carabaya, 
and Chaquiapu (or la Paz) ; spoil 
at Tenochtitlan, and at Caxamarca, 
and Cu CO ; conquest of Choco and 
Antioquia. 



3,000,000 



11,000,000 



1600l_170OJ 16,000,000 



1700—1750 



22,500,000 



Mines of Zacatecas and Gua- 
naxuato in New Spain ; Cerro del 
Potosi, in the Cordilleras of Peru ; 
tranquil possession of Chili, and 
the provinciaii internas of Mexico. 

The mines of Potosi begin to 
get exhausted, especially after the 
middle of the 17th century; but 
the mines of Vauricocha are dis- 
covered. The mining produce of 
New Spain, rises from two to five 
millionH of piastres per annum ; the 
gold washing places of Barbacoav 
and Choco. 

The alluvious mines of Brazil 
wro .ight ; Mexican mines of la Bis- 
cairtu, Xacal ; Tiapujahua, Sombre- 
re e, and Hatopilas ; importation 
of gold and silver into Spain, from 
n hH io 1753, at an average 19 
millions of piasti t's annually. • - 



-W 






« 



if 



ttf 



■Id 



7' 



VOL. Ill 



o 



P 



434 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE 



BOOK IV. 



Periods. 



Average an 
nual impor 
tationofffol.d 
8c silver from 
America in- 
to Europe. 

JPiastres. 



1750—1803 35,300,000 



Remarks 
relative to the History of the Mines. 



Last period of the splendour of 
Tasco ;mine of Valenciana wrought; 
discovery of the mines of Catorce, 
and the Cerro de Gualgavoc ; im- 
lortation of gold and silver into 
{pain, towards the comrnencement 
of the 19th century, 4S| millions 
of piastres. 



We have already remarked that the pro- 
portion between gold and silver which was 
before the discovery of America as 10 to .1, 
gradually changed to 16 : 1. It would be of 
importance to know the quantity of gold 
which at different periods has flowed fron^ 
the one continent to the other ; but for this 
we want accurate data. The little which we 
know is reduced to the following facts. 

Till 1525 Europe had received from the 
new world little else than gold; and from 
that period till the discovery of the mines 
of Brazil towards the end of the seventeenth 
centuiy, the silver imported exceeded the im- 
portation of gold in the proportion of 60 or 
65 to 1. In the first half of the eighteenth 
century, the commerce in the precious metals 
uinlerwenl an extraordinary revolution; the 
pioduce of the silver mines experienced fuhiIL 
variation ; but Brazil, Choco, Antioquia, Po- 



CHAP. XI.] 



KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 435 



pay an and Chili, have furnished so considerable 
a quantity of gold, that Europe has not perhaps 
drawn from America 30 marcs of silver for 
one marc of gold. In the last half of the 
past century the silver has again increased in 
the market. The mines of New Spain sup- 
plied Spain at an average with two millions and 
a half of marcs of silver annually, instead of 
the six hundred thousand which they furnished 
between 1700 and 1710. As the produce of 
gold has not continued to increase hi the same 
proportion, the result is that from 1750 to 
>1800, the quantity of gold imported into Europe 
was to the quantity of silver imported * in 
the proportion of 1 to 40. The mines of New 
Spain have as it were counterbalanced the 
effects which the abundance of the gold of 
Brazil would have produced. In general we 
ought not to be astonished that the proportion 
between the respective values of gold and 
silver ^as not always varied in a very sensible 
manner according as one of these may have 
preponderated in the mass of metal imported 
from America into Europe. The accumulation 
of silver appears to have produced its whole effect 






■M 












A 



4 



* Meggenf found the proportion between gold and silver, 
from 1748 to 1753 as 1 to 22^ ; from 1753 to 1764 as 
1 to 26 4,. M. Gerimn mffO^aiU in IS09 ai I to29|. 



? F 2 



436 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book it. 

anterior to the year 1650, when the proportion 
*of g-old and silver was in Spain and Italy as 
I to 15. Since that period the population and 
conimercial relations of Europe have experienced 
such a considerable increase, that the varia- 
tions in the value of the precious metals have 
-depended on a great number of combined 
causes, and especially on the exportation of 
silver to the East Indies and China, and its 
consumptioh in plate. -"' .^»* r ^r ' 

If Europe at present produces according 
to M. Heron de Villefosse, 215,000 marcs 
of silver for 5300 marcs of gold, or 40 marc» 
of silver for one marc of gold, it appears on 
the other hand, that in the fifteenth and six- 
teenth centuries, the proportion was more in 
favour of the silver. The produce of the 
mines and gold washing places diminished 
in Germany and Hungary at the time that 
the silver mines were most successfully wrought. 
The mines of Freiberg alone, which in th« 
sixteenth century yielded only 16,000 marcs 
per annum, yield more than 50,000 at pre- 
sent. I am inclined to believe that even 
without the discovery of America, the value 
of gold would have risen in Europe. 

Let us examine, before concluding this 
chapter, what has become of the treasiucvc 
drawn from the New Continent. Where are 
the twenty oi^ht thousand millions of livrm 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 407 



tournois, which Europe has received for 
three centuries from Spanish and Portu<^uese 
America? Forbonnais supposed that of 21 \ thou- 
sand millions of livres which according to 
him were imported from the one continent 
into the other, between 1492 and 1724, the 
half has been absorbed by the Indian and 
Levant trade j that a fourth was used in plate, 
or lost in melting, or by the minute division 
in trinkets; and that the remainder was con- 
verted into specie. He estimated the precious 
metals circulating in Europe in 1766 at 7500 
millions of livres tournois *, without includingf 
in this sum the produce of the mines of 
Spanish America since 1724, nor the specie 
existing in Europe previous to the discovery 
of the New World. M. Gerboux, in an in- 
teresting memoir on pecuniary legislation, 
has endeavoured to verify and extend the 
calculations of Forbonnais, He believes the 
actual existing specie of Europe amounts to 
10,6(00 millions of livi'es tournois f, or 219 
i^illions of piastreN, and that Ix^fore 1492 
there were only 600 millions or 114 millions 
of piastres. J 

It is surprising that such an enlightened 
financier, as M. Necker should have ad- 



-tM 



u 



T 1 






''■m^' 

ms 



* tf 306,1 22,400 Sterling. Trans. 
f jg4.32,652,992 Sterling. Trans. 
X ie2i,489,792 Sterling. Tr « s. 



438 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

vanced in 1775, that the specie of France 
constituted nearly the half of the coin of 
Europe, and that the whole of Europe only 
possessed 4,500 millions of livres tournois*, 
in specie. The inaccuracy of this assertion 
has been proved by M. Demeunier, in the 
Encychpedie Methodique, and by M. Gerboux 
and M. Peuchet f. Indeed M. Necker himself 
has greatly modified it in his work on the 
administration of the finances. 

On the other hand, the estimate of M. Ger- 
boux, who admits that the actual specie of 
Europe amounts to ten thonsand six hundred 
millions of livres |, appears a great deal too 
high, when we turn our attention to tl>e 
population of this part of the world. It is 
generally believed that the quantity of the 
precious metals which circulated in anti- 
revolutionary France, is known with considera- 
ble certainty ; and on account of the losses 
occasioned by the pecuniary law (loi mone^ 
taire) of 1803, and the destruction of the 
colonial commerce, the present circulation '\% 



* jf 183,673,440 Sterling. Trans, 

\ Demeuniery Economic politique, T. ii. p. 325. Ger' 
houx, p, 75 & 92. Peuchety statisti^e de la France^ 
p. 474. Necker de P administration des Jinances, T. iii* 
p. 75. 

• 15432,652,992 Sterling. Trans. 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 4a9 






estimated nt 1850 millions of livres tournois *. 
If we estimate for that period, the population 
at 20,3(>3,O0O, we find 69 livres for each inha 
bitant. Now Europe contains accordinjB^ to the 
recent researches of Mr. Hassel 182,600,000 in- 
habitants, whereof Russia, Sweden, Norway, 
Denmark, and the Sclavonian and Sarma- 
tian nations, constitute more than 62 millions. 
Allowing for Great Britain and for the West and 
South of Europe, or> livres per individual, and for 
other countries less advanced in civilization f 30 
livres, we shall find that the total specie of Eu- 
rope cannot be carried beyond 8603 millions J 
(16^37 millions of piastres) a sum almost 
equal to the half of the debt of Gi'eat Britain §. 

* je73,1^9,376 Sterling. Trans, 

f In 1805 the effective currency of the Austrian mo- 
narchy was estimated at 250 or 300 miUioDS of florins, 
admitting a population of 25,548,000 inhabitanU. C Hassel 
Statist. Umriss. von Europa, p. 29 J. How could the Abb6 
Raynal estimate the specie of Portugal at only 18 
millions of livres, and that of Brazil at 20 millions? 
CHisi. philos., T. ii. p. 434 and 460). Brazil contains 
at present four millions of inhabitanits, among whom ther6 
are ] ,500,000 Negroes ; and how could he suppose that 
in a country, where even the Indians enjoy more of the 
benefits of life than in the Spanish Colonies, and where 
there are very populous cities, only ten livres per free 
individual, when in the northern part of Europe, we must 
reckon from 30 to 40.? 

X 1^351,142,800 Sterling. Trans. 

§ Playfair, Statistical Breviary. (1801. p. 37.) The 
debt amounted in 1802 to 562 millions Sterling; in 1810 
to 640 millions. 



;«> 



m 



r'fe' 



/'.4 



440 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book it. 

Hence it tne population of France is actually 
in the proportion of one to five to that of Europe, 
the quantity of precious metals which it 
contains is to that which is spread throughout 
Europe as 1 to 3^. 

We have already seen that the mines of 
Asiatic Russia, and Europe, annually fur- 
nish a produce of 21 millions of livres or 
four millions of piastres per annum *. We 
learn from the Dutch authors that from four 
to five thousand marcs of gold come annually 
in dust from Guinea into Europe. We es- 
timate the produce of the mines of Europe 
and the importation from Northern Asia and 
Africa, since the discovery of America, at 
only six millions of livres per annum t ; and 
hence supposing the actual specie of Europe 
8603 millions, and according to M. Gerboux 
that which existed in 1492 at 600 millions, it 
follows that 22,450 millions of livres have 
been carried out to the East Indies, converted 
into plate, and lost by melting. Dividing 
this sum among 213 years we find at an 
average, an annual loss in gold and silver of 
72 millions of livres J (13,700,000 piastres). 
It has been already proved that the impor- 



* iC840,000 SterliHg, Trans. 
+ ie24-4,897 Sterling. Trans. 
% ig2,938,774 Sterling. Trans. 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 411 



tation from America during' the same period, 
amounted to 92 millions of livres (Mk millions 
of piastres) per annum. ^'' 

The time is yet so recent since statistical 
researches first began to be carried on, that 
it is impossible to know in detail, the value 
of the exportatioas of gold and silver into 
Asia in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 
We shall merely then take a rapid view of 
the present state of things, and observe the 
periodical flux and reflux by which the pre- 
cious metals are conveyed from one continent 
to the other. If we recollect that since the 
conclusion of the eighteenth century, Europe 
receives annually from Europe nearly 80,000 
marcs of gold, and nearly four millions of 
marcs of silver Castille weight, we must be 
surprised not to observe more sensible effects 
from the accumulation of the metals in the 
old world. 

The gold and silver of Europe flow into 
Asia by three principal ways : 1st. By com- 
merce with the Levant, Egypt and the Red 
Sea ; 2nd. By maritime commerce with the 
East Indies and China; and 3rd. by the com- 
merce of Russia with China and Tartary. 

The commerce of the Levant and the 
Northern coast of Africa requires a considera- 
ble quantity of ducats, piastres, and German 



H;'./ 



"■rif^- ^ 
■'•*. I 



liiipi 



•lip 



442 POLITICAL £8SAY ON THE t'ooKi^ 

crowns, the exportation of which diminishes the 
specie of Europe. We cannot, however, ^briug 
ourselves to estimate this Iom at more than 
four millions of piastres per annum ^« because 
the balance of the trade of the Levant is at 
present in favour of England f to th^ amount 
of from two millions and a half to three 
millions of piastres. According to the tables 
published by M. ArnouldJ, the trade was in 
1789 from three to four millions against 
France. Spain, the nations of the north, 
and especially Germany, are obliged to pay 
in specie in the ports of the Ottoman empire 
and the Barbary coast. The expoi*tation of 
silver from the Austrian monarchy alone 
into Turkey and the Levant is estimated at 
a million and a half of piastres. ^ ., . 

The East Indies and China are the coun- 
tries which absorb the greatest part of the 
gold and silver, extracted from the mines of 
America. I cannot admit that before 1760, 
this absorption was eight millions of piastres 
per annum§, and that from that period till 

* 1^840,000 Sterling. Trans, 

f According to the tables of M. Play&ir, Great Britain 
gained in 1800, in her trade with the Levant jCGOOiOOO 
Sterling ; and she lost in her trade with Turkey £GOfiOO 
Sterling ( Commema/ Atlas) 1801. pi. xiii. ; 

X De la balance du commerce, T. iii. n. ii. 

J 1^1,680,000 Sterling. Trans, 



tiHAP, jci.] iCmODOM OF NEW SPAIN. 443 

180S, it hail g^rddnally diminished to 5 miU 
lions^. AHbougfh we g-enerally form exag^^e- 
rated ideas^^ of the loss experienced by Eu- 
rope, from the balance of trade with Asia, 
it is not the less certain that the exportation 
of specie, greatly exceeds the sum specified 
by the estimable author whom we have just 
now quoted. .,• 

The luxury of Europe at present, requires 
eleven times more tea than in 1721; but on 
the other hand, the commerce with the 
countries situated on this side the Ganges, 
has experienced a very considerable change, 
since the period when the English formed a 
great empire in India. The manufactor-p' of 
Great Britain actually furnish to the commerce 
with southern Asia, ficoods to the value of 
more than 11,460,000 piastres per annumf. 
According to the valuable information contained 
in the Travels of Lord Macartney J, the En- 



I 



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4u 









f 



* GerbouXf p 36 and 70. Consult also the researches of 
M. Gamier respecting the commerce of India, in hit 
Commentary on Smithy t. v. p. 361 — 375, and Toze^ p. 
124—150. 

•f" Playfair's Chart, iii. 

X Macartney's travels (French Edit.\ vol i.p.47 and 
58. By the table given, page 73, the importation of 
silver by the English East India Company would only 
kave been from 1775 to 1795, jff3,676,000 Sterling (I 
value the poimd sterling at 4i%^ piastres, or 4t3 feouft 



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444 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

glish imported into Canton, in 1725, in the pro- 
duce of their own manufactories and Indian 
goods, to the value of 4,410,000 piastres. They 
received in return Chinese goods and produce 
to the value of 6,614,000 piastres. Suppo- 
sing the balance of ti*ade with China, to 
have been more unfavourable for the other 
nations of Europe, than for the English, we 
might estimate the importation of the preci- 
ous metals into China, by Canton, Macao, 
and Emoui, at an average of 4 or 5 millions 
of piastres per annum*. In 1766 it only 
amounted to 2,688,000 piasiresf. -^ * 

Let us examine more narrowly the state of 
the trade of Canton. Lord Macartney -in 
1795 valued the quantity of tea purchased 
by all the nations of Europe only at 34 mil- 
lions of pounds, of which the English alone 
took 20 millions. But according to the inter- 
esting information communicated by M. de 
Sainte Croix J, there was exported from Canton : 

touraois). Author, 

The author in a note to page 16, estimates the English 
shilling at 25 sous: now 20 shillingSsjClssSOO sous. 
Tram. ;j=' « 

* 1^640,000, or jf 1,050,000 Sterling. Trans, 
f iSoyna/, t. i. p. 674. ■.,....■ 

t Voyage commerdal et politique aux Indes Orientates 
par M, Felix Renouard de Saints Croix, 1810, t. iii. p. 153, 
161, and 170. The price of a pic or pickle of bou 
tea at Canton is from 12 to 15 taels (at 7 francs 41 cent. 



CHAP. XI.] t: KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 445 



mi 



:--'^ 
•:,•?» 


Years. 


By all the Nations 
pf Europe, and by 
the Anglo Ame- 
ricans. 


■ • 

By the English 
alone. 


• 


In 1804 

■ '^' - 1805 

1806 


411,149 pickles 

353,480 

357,506 


279,063 pickles. 

245,021 

258,185 


( 


Average Year. 


374,045 


260,756 




A pickle beingl 
120 pounds, > 
Frenchweight. J 


44,885,000 lib. 


31,290,9001b. 



1 



The cTtportation of tea has then increased 
between 1795 and 1806 more than one fourth. 
Yet we can hardly admit, that the loss of 
ffpecie annually experienced by Europe, in- 
creases in the same proportion : for the im- 
portation of English woollen stuffs alone into 
China, rose from (500,000 piastres to 3 mil- 
lions of piastres, between 1787 and 1796. 

According to M. de Guignes, who had the 
itiugular good fortune of penetrating into the 
interior of China, the quantity of specie im- 
ported into Canton by the English, did not 
amount in 1807, to more than 3 millions of 
piastres. If Great Britain did not possess a 

the tael). Other sorts of tea are much dearer ; the cang- 

fbu costs from 25 to 27 taels ; the saoutchou costs 

from 40 to 50 ; the haysuen from 50 to 60 (Des Guignes^ 

Voyage a Pekint t, iii. p. 248. Ephemerides geogr. de 

M. de Zach, 1798, p. 179—191.) 






^ll 



446 POLITICAL KSSAY ON THE [booic iv. 

considerable part of the £arit Indies, her loss 
in specie would be more than doublet! ; for 
nearly 4 millions of piastres are annually 
paid to the Chinese, by the commerce from 
one part of India to another, that is to say 
by the cotton of Surat and Bombay, by the 
tin (calin) of Malacca, and by the opium 
of Bengal. The Dutch paid their balatice 
with 1,300,000 piastres, the Swedes and the 
Danes together, with a million^w France 
from 1784 to 1808 lost in general, in her 
commerce with the East Indies^ at an averagci 
6,968,000 livres tournois, or 1,327 ,000t pilistres>. 
These partial data agfree very ' well with lh6 
general result which we fixed on above^ for 
the exportation of silver into China. - -^^ 

It is more difficult to estimate the loss ex^ 
perienced by Europe in her relations with 
the whole of Asia, from the commerce by 
the Cape of Grood Hope. That part of the 
loss applicable to the commerce of the En- 
glish was in 1800, according to the researches 
of M. Playfairt, 2,200,000 Sterling, or 
9,701,000 piastres. It is true that the same 
author estimates the value of the exports from 
all lliiidostan, at 30 millions of piastres; but 



♦ De Guignes, iii. p. 206, 207, 210, 215. 

f Arnould de la Balance du Cotnmerce, t. iii. N". 13. 

X Trade to and from the East Indies (Atlas pi. iii. p. 1^). 



CHAP, xi.j KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 447 

this vast country not only gains in its com- 
merce with Europe, but also in its commerce 
with the other parts of Western Asia, and 
the islands in its vicinity. While we ac- 
knowledge the great uncertainty of these cal- 
culations of balance, smd national accounts, 
we Mre forced to recur to them to obtain re- 
sults which approach the truth. It appears 
from the information just given, that the ex- 
portation of gold and silver from Europe, by 
the way of the Cape of Good Hope amounts 
to more than 17 millions of piastres. In this 
calculation we have attended to the present 
state of the trade of Madagascar, Mokka, 
and Banora, as well as the auriferous cop- 
per of Japan, supplied by the Dutch trade 
to Nagasaki^, and the treasures which the 
servants of the East India Company bring 
from Bengal into England. These treasures 
were valued by M. Dundas at more than 
4 millions of piastres per annum. 

If a part of China should have the mis- 
foi*tune of being subjugated by some warlike 
nation, which was at once mistress of Mexico, 
Peru, and the Philippine islands, this conquest 
would occasion a smaller reflux of the pre- 
cious metals into America or Europe, than 
we are generally inclined to believe. We 






i'M 



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I'fi**'" 



k: 



ru: 



III 



s 



S 






* Thunberg, Voyage au Japon, t. il p. 8. 



448 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book ir. 

see from the accounts of Macartney, Barrow, 
De Guignes and other intelligent travellers, 
that gold and silver are not more common 
in China, than in the greatest part of the 
countries of Europe. The annual revenue 
of the state, is no doubt estimated at 1584 
millions of francs* (301,714,000 piastres)!; hut 
the greater part of this sum is paid in the 
produce of the soil and Chinese industry; 
and according to M. BarrowJ, the quantity 
which enters Pckin in specie annually, only 
amounts to 36 millions of ounces of silver, 
which arc estimated at o2,91 4,000 piastres. 
The Chinese believe that large sums are an- 
nually sent to Moukden, the capital of the 
country of tlie Mantchoux Tartars; but this 
opinion is not founded on facts. Several 
mandarins are in the. possession of im- 
mense wealth. The prime minister of the 
Emperor Tchienlong, was stript of 10 mil- 
lions of taels, or 74,500,000 livres tournois§ 
in specie, which he had accumulated by ex- 
tortion ||; but the emperor is very frequently 



* rf64.,653,000 Sterling. Trans. 
f According to Lord Macartney ; 710 millions according 
to M. De Guisnes. t. ill. p. 102. 

X Barrow's Travels (French Edit.) t. ii. p. 198. 
§ 163,040.815 Sterling. Trans. 
Ij BarroWf U ii. p. l7S. 



•* , , 



CHAP. n.l Kl^DOM OF NEW SPAIN. 449 

in want of money. What Europe loses in 
the balance of trade with China, is spread 
over a g^eat population ; a considerable quan- 
tity of gold and silver is converted into 
wire and leaf^; the accumulation of specie 
is very slow, and has scarcely begun to be 
felt within these twenty years, in an increase 
of the price of commoditiesf . 

There remains to be considered a third, 
way for the exportation of the precious me- 
tals from Europe into Asia, that which is car- 
ried by the Russian trade. We learn by the 
tables published by the Count de Romanzof» 
that the importation from China, into the 
government of Irkoutsk, was, from 1802 to 
1805, at an average, to the amount of 
2,035,900 roubles in tea, and 2,434,400 in 
cotton. In general^ the balance of trade of 
Russia with China, Bucharia, the country 
Khiva, and the banks of the Rirghiskaisaks, 
was in favour of the Russian Empire, during 
the same period, more than 4,216,000 roubles 
per annum];. We see from these data, that 
in estimating the contraband at a sixth, the 
exportation of specie, by means of the Cas- 

* Macartney^ vol. iv. p. 286. 

t Arocortaey, vol. iM. p. 1Q5 ; vol iv. p^ 9Sl. 

X TahUoM, du Cmttmncf th fJ^nyirf tk Ruttk, tnm» 
latedbyM. Pfeiffer, 1808, ikm. 9sqA.10. Olnam^k 
Nord Litteraire, 1799, ae. 7, p 909. 
VOL. III. 2 O 



I 



fiiit 



{\ 






''■ '" ' i 



i\ 



i. 



III 




wm 



460 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE C»Ook iv. 

pian sea, Caucasus, Orenburg, Tobolsk, 
Tomsk, Irkoutsk, and Kiachta, cannot amount 
to more than 4 millions of piastres. 

We have ascertained then*, from sources 
which must be considered as the best, that 
of the 
43,500,000 piastres which Europe at present 

receives annually from America, 

there flows nearly 

'4,000,000, into Asia, by means of 
the Levant trade 

, 17,500,000, into Asia, by the Cape 
•25^,000 j „f Good Hope 

4,000,000 into Asia, by the way 
of Kiachta and Tobolsk 



18,000,000 gold and silver of America, which 
remain in Europe 
We must discount from these eighteen 
millions of piastres, or 94,500,000 livrei tour- 
noisf , what is lost by melting down and dis- 
sipated in a number of small jewels and 
trinkets, as well as what is used in plate* 
lace, and gilding. It was ascertained at the 
mirJt of Paris, that from 1709 to 1759, the 
increase of plate was in the proportion of 1 



* See the sketch of a map, exhibiting the flux and 
reflux of the precious metals from one continent to the 
other, in the atlas to this work. 

t rf3,780,00O Sterling. Trans, 



CHAP. XI.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 451 



to 7. M. Necker thought himself warranted 
in estimating* previous to 1789, ut i millions 
of piastres*, the amount annually consumed 
in jewels, lace, and embroidered stuffs manu- 
factured in Francef. Part of these metals 
was evidently derived from melting down the 
old plate and lace ; however the annual con- 
sumption by the goldsmiths of ingots of silver, 
is very considerable! ; and when we add 
what disappears, from transportation, and the 
friction of daily circulation, we may estimate 
with Forbonnais, and other writers on poli- 
tical economy, that the quantity of precious 
metals which disappear in Europe, or which 
are converted into ,plate and lace, amounts to 
a third of the total mass which is consumed 
by the commerce with Asia, that is at six 
or seven millions of piastres per annum. On 
the other hand, the mines of Europe and 
Siberia furnish annually nearly 4 millions of 
piastres. According to these calculations, which 
from their nature can only be approximate, the 
increase of the gold and silver currency of 
Europe appears only to be fifteen millions of 
piastres, or 78,700,000 livres tournois§. Xhos« 



m 






i 






i\§ 



* jS840,000 Sterling. Trans. 

f Necker, t. iii. p. 74, Peuchet,ip, 4>S9. 

X Smith, t. ii. p. 60 and 79. 

$ iS 3,2 i 2,243 Sterling. Trans, 

2 G a 



462 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [booi v. 

per5icii5 >vho hare longf inhabited the north 
and east of Europe, and attentively followed 
the progrress of civilization among the lowest 
classes of the people in Poland, Norway, and 
Russia, will enteilain no doubt of the reality 
of this accumulation of specie. Its effects 
must be scarcely perceptible, because the 
capital of all Europe is only increased at the 
rate of one per cent, per annum. 

The view which we have exhibited in this 
chapter, of the present state of the mines of 
the New World, and of those of Mexico in 
paiticular, ought to lead us to entertain a 
dread of the rapid increase of the sum of 
representative signs, when the Highlanders 
of North and South America, shall gradually 
rouse from their profound lethargy, in which 
they have so long been plunged. It would 
be remote from the principal object of this 
work, to discuss whether the interests of so- 
ciety would really suffer from this accumu- 
lation of specie. It is sufficient in this place 
ia observe, that the danger is not so great 
£^ it appears on a first view, because tha 
quantity of comnM)dities which enter into 
commerce, and which require to be repre- 
sented, increases with the number of repre- 
sentative signs. The price of grain it is true, 
has tripled since the treasures of the New 
Continent were poured into the old. Thiv 



CHAP. H.1 KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 459 

rise, which was not felt till the middle of 
the 16th century, took place suddenly be- 
tween 1570 and 1595, when the silver of 
Potosi, Porco, Tasco, Zacatecas, and Pachu- 
ca, began to flow throughout all parts of 
Europe. But betwei^a that memorable period 
in the history of commerce, till 1636, the 
<liscovery of the mines of America, produced 
its whole efT'ect on the value of money. The 
price of grain has not in reality risen to the 
present day ; and if the contrary has been 
advanced by several authors, it is from their 
having confounded the nominal value of coin, 
with the true proportion between money and 
commodities. 

Whatever opinion may be adopted as to the 
future effects of the accumulation of the re- 
presentative signs, if we consider the people 
of New Spain under the relation of their com- 
mercial connections with Europe, icannot be 
denied that in the present state of things, the 
abundance of the precious metals, has a power- 
r. ' miluence on the national prosperity. It 
is from this abundance, that America is en> 
abled to pay in specie, the produce of foreign 
industry, and to share in the enjoyments of 
the most civilized nations of the Old Conti- 
nent. Notwithstanding this real advantage, it 
is to be sincerely wished, that the Mexicans, 
enlightened as to their true interest, may re- 



H 



VI 



11 






m 



454 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book iv. 

collect that the only capital of which the value 
increases with time, consists in the produce 
of agriculture, and that nominal wealth be- 
comes illusory, whenever a nation does not 
possess those raw materials, which serve for 
the subsistence of man, or as employment for 
his industry. 



jt>--,' tit/'yAK.' 



BOOK V. 

8TATE OF THE MANUFACTURES AND COM' 
MERCE OF NEW SPAIN. 



...,^f 



CHAPTER XU. 



jt 



Manufacturing Industry — Cotton Cloth— 'Woollen — Cegars — 
Soda and Soap— 'Powder- -^Coin— Exchange of Productions 
'"•Internal Commerce'— Roads— Foreign Commerce by Vera 
Cruz and Acapulco— -Obstacles to that Commerce-''YeU(m 
Fever, 

If we consider the small progress of ma- 
nufactures in Spain, notwithstanding the nu- 
merous encouragements which they have re- 
ceived, since the ministry of the Marquis de 
la Ensenada, we shall not be surprised that 
whatever relates to manufactures and manu- 
facturing industry is still less advanced in 
Mexico. The restless and suspicious policy 
of the nations of Europe, the legislation and 
colonial policy of the modems, which bear 
very little resemblance to those of the Phe- 
nicians and Greeks, have thrown insurmount* 
able obstacles in the way of such settlements 



m 



••'; 



si' 

m 



456 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book v; 

as might secure to these distant possessions, 
a great degree of prosperity, and an exis- 
tence independent of the mother country. 
Such principles as prescribe the rooting up 
the vine and the olive, are not calculated to 
favour manufactures. A colony has for ages, 
been only considered as useful to the parent 
state, in so far as it supplied a great numi' 
ber of raw materials, and consumed a number 
of the commodities carried there by the 
ships of the mother country. 

It was easy for different commercial na- 
tions to adapt their colonial system to is- 
lands of small extent, or factories established 
on the coast of a continent. The inhabitants 
of fiarbadoes, St. Thomas, or Jamaica, are 
not sufficiently numerous to possess a great 
number of hands ^Dr the manufacture of cot- 
ton cloth; and the position of these islands, 
at all times facilitates the exchange of their 
agricultural produce, for the manufactures of 
Europe. 

It is not so with the continental possessions of 
Spain in the two Americas. Mexico beyond 
the 28° of north latitude cont^ns a breadth 
of 350 leagues. The table land of New Gre- 
nada communicates with the port of Car* 
thagena by means of a great river difficult 
to ascend* Industry is awakened when towns 



CHAP. XII.J KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 457 



of fifty and sixty thousand inhabitants are si- 
tuated on the ridge of mountains at a g^reat 
distance from the coast; when a population 
of several millions can only receive European 
goods, by transporting them on the backs of 
mules, for the space of five or six months 
through forests and deserts. The new colonies 
were not established among people altogether 
barbarians. Before the arrival of the Spa- 
niards, the Indians were already clothed, in 
the Cordilleras of Mexico, Peru, and Quito. 
Men who knew the process of weaving cotton 
or spinning the wool of the Llamas and Vi- 
cunas were easily taught to manufacture cloth ; 
and this manufacture was established at Cuzco 
in Peru, and Tezcuco in Mexico, a few years 
after the conquest of those countries on the 
introduction of European sheep into America. 
The kings of Spain by taking the title of 
kings of the Indies, have considered these dis- 
tant possessions rather as integral parts of 
their monarchy, as provinces dependent ojx 
the crown of Castille, than as colonies in the 
sense attached to this word since the sixteenth 
century, by the commercial nations of Europe. 
They early perceived that these vast countries, 
of wuich the coast is less inhabited than the 
interior, could not be governed like islands 
scattered in the Atlantic Ocean; and froth 
these ^ircttmstances the coart of Madrid was 






I 



■i 









r 



Ml 






iFr:;- 



1,^ 






458 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book v. 

compelled to have recourse to a less prohibitory 
i^ystem, and to tolerate what it was unable to 
prevent. Hence a more equitable legislation 
has been adopted in that country than that 
by which the greatest part of the other colonies 
of the New Continent is governed. In the 
latter for example, it is not permitted to 
refine raw sugar; and the proprietor of a 
plantation is obliged to purchase the produce 
of his own soil from the manufacturer of the 
mother country. No law prohibits the refining 
of sugar in the possessions of Spanish America. 
If the government does not encourage ma- 
nufactures, and if it even employs indirect 
means to prevent the establishment of those 
of silk, paper, and crystal; on the other 
hand, no decree of the audience, no royal 
cedula, declares that these manufactures ought 
not to exist beyond sea. In the Colonies, as 
well as every where else, we must not con- 
found the spirit of the laws with the policy 
of those by whom they are administered. 

Only half a century ago, two citizens, ani- 
mated with the purest patriotic zeal, the 
Count de Gijon, and the Marquis de Maenza. 
conceived the project of bringing over to 
Quito, a colony of workmen and artizans 
from Europe. The Spanish ministry affected 
to applaud their zeal, and did not think proper 
to refuse them the piivilege of establishing 



CHAP. X11.1 KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 459 



manufiictories ; but they so contrived to fetter 
the proceedings of these two enterprizina 
men, that they at last perceived that secret 
orders had been given to the viceroy and the 
audience to ruin their undertaking, which they 
voluntarily renounced. I could wish to believe 
that such an event tvould not have taken place at 
the period when I resided in these countries; 
for it is not to be denied that within these 
twenty years, the Spanish Colonies have been 
governed on more enlightened principles. 
Virtuous men have from time to time raised 
their voice to enlighten the government as to 
its true interest ; and they have endeavoured 
to impress the Mother Country with the 
idea that it would be more useful to encourage 
the manufacturing industry of the Colonies, 
than to allow the treasures of Peru and Mexico, 
to be spent in the purchase of fceign com- 
modities. These counsels would have been 
attended to, if the ministry had not too fre- 
quently sacrificed the interests of the nations 
of a great continent, to the interest of a few 
maritime towns of Spain ; for the progress of 
manufactures in the Colonies has not been 
impeded by the manufacturers of the peninsula, 
a quiet and laborious class of men, but by 
trading monopolists, whose political influence 
is favoured by great wealth, and kept up by 






[ 



; . ft -, 



■■U\ 

ill 

m 



'^1 



^mu 



460 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE 



£boor v. 



a thorough knowledge of intrigue, and the 
piomentary wants of the court. 

Notwithstanding all these obstacles the ma- 
nufactures have not been prevented from 
making some progress in three centunes, during 
which time, Biscayans, Catalonians, Asturians 
and Valencians have settled in the New World, 
and carried there the industry of their native 
provinces. The manufactures of coarse stufis 
can every where be carried on at a low rate, 
when raw materials are found in abundance, 
and when the price of the goods of Europe 
and Oriental Asia is so much increased by 
carriage. In time of war, the want of com- 
munication with the Mother Country, and the 
reg^ations prohibiting commerce with neutrals, 
have favoured the establishment of manufactures 
of calicoes, fine cloth, and whatever is connected 
with the refinements of luxury. 

The value of the produce of the manu- 
facturinjg industry of New Spain is estimated 
at seven or eight millions of piastres per 
annum '*^. In the Intendaney of Guadalaxara 
cotton and wool were exported till 1765, to 
maintain the activity of the manufactures of 
Puebla, Queretaro, and San Miguel el Grande. 
Smce that period, manufactories have been 
established at Guadalaxara, Lagos, and the 



* ifl,470,000, or if 1,680,000 Sterling. Trans. 



CHAP, xii.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 401 

neighbouring towns. The whole intendancy 
which contains more than 630,000 inhabitants, 
and of which the coast is washed by the 
South Sea, supplied in 1802 * cotton and 
woolen manufactures to the value of 1,601,200 
piastres ; tanned hides to the value of 418,900 
piastres; and soap to the amount of 268,400 
piastres. 

We have already proved, speaking of the 
different varieties of gossypiumy cultivated in 
tlie warm and temperate regions, the impor- 
tance of native manufactures of cotton for 
Mexico. Those of the intendancy of Puebia 
furnish annually in time of peace, for the in- 
terior commerce, a produce to the value of 
1,500,000 piastres. However this produce is 
not derived from considerable manufactures, 
but from a great number of looms, (telares de 
algodon) dispersed throughout the towns of 
Puebia de los Angeles, Cholula, Huexocingo, 
and Tlascala. At Queretaro, a considerable 
town situated on the road from Mexico to Gua- 
naxuato, there is annually consumed 200,000 
pounds of cotton, in the manufacture of man- 
ias and rehozos. The manulacture of mantaSf 
or cotton amounts annually to 20,000 pieces 
of 32 varas each. The weavers of cottons of 



t 



ill 



III 



»' 



•"r j 



B 



4\ 









* Estado de la intendenda de Guadalaxara, communicad^ 
tn 1809 par d Sehw intendlnite eA Comtikdo 4b Vera 
Cmx (offidal manutcript paper.) 



462 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book r. 

all sorts in Puebla were computed in 1802 
at more than 1200 *. In this town as well 
as in Mexico, the printing of calicoes, both 
those imported from Manilla, and those ma- 
nufactured in New Spain, has made consi- 
derable progress within these few years. At 
the port of Tehuantepec in the province 
of Oaxaca, the Indians dye the unwrought 
cotton by rubbing it against the cloak of a 
murex, which is found attached to the granite 
rocks. From an old custom, they wash the 
cotton in sea water, which in their parallels 
is very rich in muriate of soda, to give it a 
bright colour. 

The oldest cloth manufactories of Mexicc 
are those of Tezcuco. They were in great 
part established in 1592 by the viceroy Don 
Louis de Yelasco II. the son of the celebrated 
constable of Castille, who was second viceroy 
of New Spain. By degrees this branch of 
national industry passed entirely into the 
hands of the Indians and Mestizoes of Que- 
retaro and Puebla. I visited the manufactories 
of Qaeretaro in the month of August 1803. 
They distinguish there the great manufactories 
which they c^ohrajes from the small, which 
go by the name of trapiches. There were 



* Infimne del intendente Don Manuel de Flon conde d$ 
la Cadena (M. S.) . 



CHAP. X1.3 KINGDOJM OF NEW SPAIN. 1(53 

20 obrajest and more than 300 trapicfies at 
that time, who altogether wrought up 63,900 
arrobas of Mexican sheep-wool. According to 
accurate lists drawn up in 1793, there were 
at that period at Queretaro in the ohrajes 
alone, 215 looms and 1500 workmen who 
manufactured 6042 pieces, or 226,522 varas 
of cloth {panos)'. 287 pieces or 39,718 varas 
of ordinary woollens {xerguatillas) ; 207 pieces 
or 15,369 varas of baize (hayetas) ; and 161 
pieces or 17,960 varas of serge (xergas). 
In this manufacture they consumed 46,270 arro- 
bas of wool, the price of which only amounted 
to 161,945 piastres. They reckon in general 
seven arrobas of wool to one piece of cloth 
and bayeta ; six arrobas to one piece of xer- 
yuatilla, and five arrobas to one piece of xerga. 
The value of the cloths and woollen stuffs of 
the ohrajes and trapiches of Queretaro at pre- 
sent amounts to more than 600,000 piastres, or 
three millions of francs per annum. * 

On visiting these workshops, a traveller is 
disagreeably struck, not only with the great im- 
perfection of the technical process in the pre* 
paration for dyeing, but in a particular manner 
also with the unhealthiness of the situation, 
and the bad treatment to which the workmen 
are exposed. Free men, Indians, and people 
of colour, are confounded with the criminals 



i 



1^ 



H 












A 






*>■• 



;;';!• 



'ms 



4122,448 Sterling. Tram. 



464 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book v. 

distributed by justice among^ the manufactories, 
in order to be compelled to work. AH ap- 
pear half naked, covered with ragi» meagre, 
and deformed. Every workshop resembles a 
dark prison. The doors which are double 
remain constantly shut, and the workmen are 
not permitted to quit the house. Those who 
are married are only ulloWed to see their 
families on Sundays. All are unmercifully flog- 
ged if they commit the smallest trespass, on 
the order established in the manufactory. 

We have difficulty in conceiving how the 
proprietors of the obrajes, can act in this manner 
with free men, as well as how the Indian work- 
man can submit to the same treatment with 
the galley slaves. These pretended rights are 
in reality acquired by stratagem. The manu- 
facturers of Queretaro employ the same trick, 
which is made use of in several of the cloth 
manufactoria* of Quito, and in the plantations, 
where from a want of slaves, labourers are 
•jLtremely vare. They chooie from among the 
Indians the most miserable, but such as show 
aik aptitude for the work, and they advance 
them a smtll sum of money. The Indi^ who 
lov«s to get intoxicated, spends it in » few 
dskysy «nd hftving become the debtor of the 
]iMNiter»he is shut up in the workshop, under 
the pretence of paying off the debt by the 
work of his hands. They allow him only a 



•% 



CHAP, xii.l KINGDOiM OF NEW SPAIN. 'i^o 

i*eal and a half, or 20 sous tournois per day 
of wag^es; but in place of payiii<j it in ready 
money, they take care to supply him with 
meat, brandy, and clothes, on which the manu- 
facturer gains from fifty to sixty per cent; 
and in this way the most industrious work- 
man remains for ever in debt, and the same 
rights are exercised on him, which are believed 
to be acquired over a purchased slave. I knew 
many persons at Queretaro, who lamented with 
me the existence of these enormous abuses. 
Let us hope that a government friendly to 
the people, will turn their attention to a spe- 
cies of oppression so contrary to humanity, 
the laws of the counti'v, and the progress of 
Mexican industry. 

With the exception of a few stuffs of cotton 
mixed with silk, the manufacture of silks is 
at present next to nothing in Mexico. In 
the time of Acosta, towards the conclusion of 
the sixteenth century, silk worms brought from 
Europe were cultivated near Panuco, and in 
laMisteca, and excellent taffeta* was there ma- 
nufactured with Mexican silk. We have al- 
ready observed that it was not the homhyx- 
mori, but an indigenous caterpillar which sup- 
plied the raw materials, for the silk handker- 



l^^f 



iiii 



u 






M f 



\n 



i<p* 



* Acosta,L\h. iv, c. 32. p. 179.— See also Chap. x. p. 57. 
•f this volume. 



VOL. Ul. 



2 H 



466 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book y. 

chiefs manufactured by the Indians of Mis- 
teca, and the village of Tistla near Chilpan- 
sing'o. 

New Spain has no flax or hemp manufac- 
tories; and the manufacture of paper is also 
unknown in it. The manufacture of tobacco 
is a royal right. The expence of the manu- 
facture of cegars an<l snuff, annually amounts 
to more than 6,200,000 livres tournois*. The 
manufactures of Mexico and Queretaro are the 
most considerable. The following is an account 
of the whole manufacture during the yearf 
1801 and 1802. 



Tobacco manufactured in New 
Spain. 



Value of Tobacco manu- 
factured agreeably to 
sales ------ 

Expence of manufacture 

Salaries of Officers - - 

Price of Tobacco purcha- 
sed from the Mexican 
husbandmen - - - 

Net Revenue (liguido) of 
the Crown, on the sale of) 
Tobacco , - - - |3,993,834|4,092i629 



In 1801. 
Piastres. 



7,825,913 
1,299,411 
798,452 



626,319 



In 1802. 
Piastres. 



7,686,834 
1,285,199 
794,586 



594^29 



On my passage through Queretaro, I visited 
the great manufactory of cegars (fabrica de 



• i£ 253,060 Sterlinif. Trans. . 



OHAK xit.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 46? 

puros y cigarros), in which 3000 people, inchi- 
dingf 1900 women are employed. The halls 
are very noat, but badly aired, very small, and 
consequently excessively warm. They consume 
daily in this manufacture 130 reams (resmas) 
of paper, and 2770 pounds of tobacco leaf. 
In the course of the month of July, 1803, 
there was manufactured to the amount of 
185,288 piastres; viz. 2,654,820 small chests 
{caxillas) of cegars, which sell for 165,926 
piastres, and 289,799 chests of pU,ros or cegars, 
which are not enveloped in paper. The ex- 
p6nce of manufacture of the month of July 
alori^, afnounted to 3 1,7S9 piastres. It appears 
that the royal manufactory of Queretaro, an- 
nually produces more than 2,200,000 piastres, 
in piitos and cigarros. 

The hidnufacttfre of hard soap, is a consi* 
derabl* dbject of commerce ait Puebla, Mexico, 
and G'uadalaxara. The first 6f thesie towns 
produces nearly 200,000 arrobas per ^nnlim; 
and in th6 intendancy of Gruadklaxara, tlid 
^uacntity mafiuikctured is computed at 1,300,000 
lirre^ tbtimois. Thfe abundance of sodk w^hrch 
We fhid almost every wher6 at elevatibhd ot 
JJ^O of 2900 miBtres*, in the interior table 
land of Mexlito, is highly feCvouf abl^ to thi^ 
manufacture. The tequesquite of which we 



* At 6561 or 8201 feet. Trans. 
2 H 2 



468 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book v. 

have several limes had occasion to speak*, 
covers the surface of the soil, especially in the 
month of October, in the valley of Mexico, 
on the banks of tiie lakes of Tezcuco, Zuni- 
pango, and 8an Christobal ; in the plains which 
surround the city of Pucbla ; in those which 
extend from Zelaya to Guadalaxara; in the 
valley of San Francisco, near San Luis Potosi, 
between Durang-o and Chihuagua, and in the 
nine lakes which are scattered over the inten- 
dancy of Zacatecas. We know not whether 
it derives its origin from the decomposition 
of volcanic rocks in which it is contained, or 
to the slow action of lime on the muriate of 
soda. At Mexico, 1600 arrobas of tierra te- 
quesquitosa, that is to say an earth impreg- 
nated with much carbonate, and a little of 
the muriate of soda, may be purchased for 
62 piastres. These 1600 arrobas purified in 
the soap manufactories, furnish 500 arrobas 
of carbonate of pure soda. Hence the quin- 
tal, in the present state of the manufacture, 
comes to 50 sous tournois. M. Garces, who 
successfully employs carbonate of soda, in the 
smelting of muriates of silver, has proved in 
a particular memoir, that in improving the 
technical process, they could supply in the soda 



* See Vol. 11. p. 170; and Del Riot Elenumtos de Orycto- 
gnosiat]^, 154. 



CHAP. XII.] KINGDOM or NEW SPAIN. 



460 



manufactorii^s of ^Nlfxiro rnllod tco> vfnUrras, 
the carbonate of sodi at less tlia. sous 
toiirnois the quintal. The price oi' ihe car- 
Inmates of soda of Spain, being j^^rnerally in 
France durinq^ peace at 20 and 25 livres the 
quintal, it is iuiag'ined that notwithstanding the 
difficulties of carriage, Kurope will one day 
draw soda from Mexico, as she has long drawn 
potash from the United States of North Ame- 
rica. 

The town of Pu(;])la was formerly celebra- 
ted for its fine manufactories of dclf ware, 
(loza) and hats. We have already observed 
that till the conmiencement of the eighteenth 
century, these two branches of industry, enli- 
vened the commerce between Acapulco and 
Peru. At present there is little or no com- 
munication between Puebla and Lima, and 
the delf manufactories have fallen so much 
off, on account of the low price of the stone 
ware and porcelain of Europe imported at 
Vera Cruz, that of 46 manufactories which 
were still existing in 1793, there were in 1802, 
only sixteen remaining of delf ware, and two 
of glass. 

In New Spain, as well as in the greatest 
number of countries in Europe, the manufac- 
ture of powder is a royal monopoly. To form 
an idea of the enormous quantity of powder 
manufactured and sold in contraband, we have 



470 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book v. 

only to bear in mind, that notwithstanding the 
flourishing state of the Mexican mines, the 
king* has never sold to the miners more than 
three or four thousand quintals of powder 
per annum*; while a single mine, that of 
Valenciana, requires from 15 t'* 16 hundred. 
It appears from the researches made by me , 
that the quantity of powder manufactured at 
the expence of the king, is to that sold frau- 
dulently in the proportion of 1 to 4. As in 
the interior of New Spain, the nitrate of pot- 
ash and sulphur are every where to be had 
in abundance, and the contraband manufac- 
turer can afford to sell powder to the miner 
at 18 sous toumois the pound, the government 
ought either to diminish the price of the 
prod.uce of the manufactory, or throw the 
trade in powder entirely open. How is it 
possible to prevent fraud in a country of an 
immense extent, in mines at a distance from 
towns, and dispersed on the ridge of the Cor- 
dilleras, in the midst of the wildest and most 
solitary situations ? 

The royal manufactory of powder, the only 
one in Mexico, is situated near Santa Fe, in 
the valley of Mexico, about three leagues from 
the capital, surrounded with hiMs of argillous 
brescia, which contain fragments of trap por- 

* In 1801, only 255,455 lb.; in 1802, 339,921 lb — See 
p. 201 and 234' of this Volum^. 



€HAP. xii] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN- 471 



phyry. The building's, which are very beau- 
tiful, were constructed in 1780 from the plans 
of M. CostanzOy the head of the corps of en- 
gineers, in a narrow valley which supplies iu 
abundance the necessary water for settings hy- 
draulical wheels in motion, and through which 
the aqueduct of Santa Fe passes. All the 
parts of the machines, and chiefly the wheels 
are disposed with great intelligence. It is to 
be wished however that the sieves necessary 
to make the grairif were either moved by water 
or by horses. Eighty mestizo boys, paid at the 
rate of 26 sous per day, are employed in this 
work. The buildings of the old powder ma- 
nufactory, established near the castle of Cha- 
pul tepee, are only used at present to refine 
nitrate of potash. Sulphur which abounds in 
the volcanoes of Orizaba and Puebla, in the 
province of San Luis near Colima, and 
especially in the intendancy of Guadalaxara, 
where the rivers bring down considerable 
masses of it, mixed with fragments of pumice 
stone, comes quite purified from the town of 
San Luis Potosi. There was made in the 
royal powder manufactory of Santa Fe in 1801, 
more than 786,000 pounds, of which part is 
exported for the Havannah. It is to be re- 
gretted that this fine edifice, where in general 
more than half a million of pounds of powder 
is preserved, is not provided with an diectrical 



r, 



m 
Pi 

I,. 



ifc 

k 



m 



472 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE 



[book v. 



conductor During* my stay in New Spain 
there were only two conductors in that vast 
country, which were constructed at La Puebla 
by orders of an enlightened administrator, the 
Count de la Cadena, notwithstanding the im- 
precations of the Indians, and a parcel of 
ijynorant monks. ' 

While mentioning the powder manufactory 
of Santa Fe, I ought not to pass under silence 
a historical fact which is repeated in several 
works, although it rests on no very solid foun- 
dation. It is said that the valiant Diego Ordaz, 
penetrated the crater of the volcano of Popo- 
Ctatepetl, for the purpose of procuring sulphur, 
and by that means enabled the Spaniards to 
manufacture the powder which was required 
for the siege of the city of Mexico. The 
falsity of this assertion is proved by the very 
letters, which the general in chief addressed 
to the Emperor Charles the Fifth. When the 
united army of Spaniards and Tlascaltecs, in 
the month of October, 1519, marched from 
Cholula to Tenochtitlan, it crossed the Cor- 
dillera of Ahualco, which unites the Sierra 
Nevada, or the Iztaccihuatl, to the volcanic 
summit of Popocatipetl. The Spaniards fol- 
lowed nearly the same track, which the courier 
of Mexico takes in his way to Puebla, by Me- 
cameca, which is traced on the map of the 
valley of Tenochtitlan. The army suffered 



(( 



(( 



a 



CHAP, xii.] KINGDOM (JF NEW SPAIN. 473 

both from the cold, and the extreme impetuosity 
of the winds, which constantly prevail on this table 
land. Cortez speaking* of this march to the Em- 
peror, expresses himself in the following man- 
ner* : " Seeing smoke issue from a very elevated 
mountain, and wishing to make to your royal 
excellency a minute report of whatever this 
country contains of wonderful, I chose from 
" among my companions in arms, ten of the 
" most courageous, and I ordered them to as- 
" cend the summit, and to discover the secret 
" of the smoke (el secreto de aquel humo), and 
" to tell me how and whence it issued." 

Bernal Diaz affirms that Diego Ordaz was 
of that expedition, and that that captain at- 
tained the very brink of the crater. He may 
have happened to boast of it afterwards, for 
it is related by other historians, that the Em- 
peror gave him permission to place a volcano 
in his arms. Lopez de Gomaraf, who com- 
posed his history from the accounts of the 
conquistadores and religious missionaries, does 
not name Ordaz as the chief of the expedi- 
tion ; but he vaguely asserts that two Sp iniards 
measured with the eye, the size of the crater. 
However Cortez expressly says, " that his people 
*' ascended very high; that they saw much smoke 

* LorenzanUf p. 70. Clavigerot T. iii. p. 68. 
f Gomara. Conquista de Mexico f (Medina del Campo, 
553) f ol. 38. 



m 






^'^^i 



474 POUTICAL ESSTAY ON THE [book v. 

*< i^snc out; but that none of them could reach 
*♦ the summit of the volcano, on account of 
** ^he enormous quantity of snow with which 
" it wa» covered, the rigour of the cold, and 
* the clouds of ashes which enveloped the 
*< travellers.** A hon'ible noise which they 
he^fd on approaching the summit, determined 
them immediately to turn back. We see from 
the account of Cortez, that the expedition of 
Ordas had no view of extracting sulphur from 
the volcano, and that neither he nor ITis com- 
panions saw the crater in 1519. " They brought 
" back," says Cortez, " only snow and pieces of 
** ice, the appearance of which astonished us very 
" mneh, because this country is under the 20** 
" of latitude, in the parallel of the island jEs- 
" panohi (Saint Domingo), and consequently 
" aecording to the opinion of the pilots ought 
" to be very warm." 

We see from the third and fourth letter of 
Corte? to the Emperor, that that general after 
1^ taking of Mexico, ordered other attempts 
to be mftde for the discovery of the summit 
of the volcano, which appeared the more to 
f)X his altention, as the natives assured him 
^m^ no. me)M was permUM to approach that 
siUmtiovk of had spiritsi. After two unsucces- 
ful attempts, the Spaniards at length succeeded 
in 1522, in seeing the crater of the Popoca- 
tepetl. It appeared to them three fourths ©f 



CHAP, xii.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 476 






a league in circumference, and they found on 
the brink of the precipice, a small quantity 
of sulphur, which had been deposited there by 
the vapours. Speakings of the tin of Tasco, 
which was used in founding the first cannon, 
Cortez* relates, " that he is in no want of 
" sulphur for the manufacture of powder, be- 
" cause a Spaniard drew some from a moun- 
" tain which perpetually smokes by descending", 
" tied to a rope, to the depth of from 70 to 
" 80 fathoms." He adds, that this manner 
of procuring sulphur was very dangerous, and 
on that account it would be better to procure 
it from Seville. 

A document preserved in the family of the 
Montauos, and which Cardinal Lorenzana afHrmai 
he once had in his hands, proves that the 
Spaniard of whom Cortez speaks, was named 
Francisco Montano. Did that intrepid man 
really enter into the crater itself of the Popor 
catepetl, or did he extract the sulphur as seve- 
ral persons in Mexico suppose, from a lateral 
crevice of the volcano ? We shall discuss this 
cpiestion in another work, when giving the 
geological description of New Spain. M.Alzatef 

• 

* De alii (de la sierra que da humo), entrando tin Espanol 
setenta y ochenta brazas,atado a la bocca abajo, se ha sa- 
cado (el azufrej^ que hasta ahora nos hanas susieuidOf 
fLoran%ana,Tp. 3S0.) 

f Gazeta de Literatura c?c Mw/co, 1789, p. 52. 






'h\ 



••ill 



mi 






m 






h. 



i 



476 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE 



[book V, 



with very little foundation affirms that Die^o 
Ordaz, extracted sulphur from tiie crater of the 
old volcano of Tuctli, to the east of the lake of 
Chalco, near the Indian village of Tuliahualco. 
The makers of contraband powder no doubt 
procure sulphur there; but Cortez expressly 
designates the Popocatepetl by the phrase " the 
** mountain which constantly smokes." How- 
ever this matter be, it is certain that after the 
rebuilding of the city of Tenochtitlan, and not 
during the siege as Solis affirms*, thf soldiers 
of the army of Cortez ascended the summit 
of the Popocatepetlf, where nobody has since 
been. Had Condaminef known the absolute 
elevation of this volcano, which I found to be 
5400 metres§, he would not have believed 
himself the first who ascended the ridge of 
the Cordilleras, to the height of 4800 metres|| 
above the level of the ocean. The expeditions 
of Ordaz and Montano, naturally lead us to 
mention the intrepidity of Bias de Ifiena 
a Dominican monk, who in an osier basket 
provided with a spoon and an iron bucket, was 
let down by a chain to the depth of 140 fa- 



^tii- 



'* Solis, Conquista de Mexico^ p. 142. 
f ZiOrenrana, p. 318. 

X Bouguer, mesure de la terrcj p. 167. La Condamine^ 
Voyage^ p. 58. 
§ 17,716 feet. Trans, 
H 15,747 feet. Trans 



P*W( 



< HAP. XII.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 477 

thonis, in the crater of the volcano of Grenada, 
called the Cerro de Messaya, situated near the 
lake of Nicaragua, for the purpose of extract- 
ing- the lava which he believed to be gold. 
He lost his iron bucket, which was melted with 
the excessive heat, and he had no small diffi- 
culty in savinjv himself. In 1551, Juan Alva- 
rez, dean of the chapter of the town of Leon, 
obtained formal permission* from the court 
of Madi'id ** to open the volcano, and collect 
" the g'old which it contains." It must be 
allowed that no physical traveller from a zeal 
for science has engaged m our days in such 
hazardous enterprizes as those which were 
attempted in the beginning of the sixteenth 
century for the purpose of extracting sulphur 
or gold from the mouth of flaming volcanoes. 
We shall conclude the article of the ma- 
nufactures of New Spain with mentiotiing the 
working of gold and the coining of money M^hich 
considered merely in the relation of industry, 
and mechanical improvement, are objects every 
way worthy of attention. There are few 
countries in which a more considerable number 
of large pieces of wrought plate, vases and 
church ornaments are annually executed than 
in Mexico. The smallest towns have gold 
and silver smiths in whose shops workmen of 



M 




"iiij 

4 
■'"It' 



" it' 



ft 






4'' 

m 






ill 



*' Gomara, Histom de las Indias, fol. 112. 






478 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book v. 

all casts, whites, mestizoes and Indians are 
employed. The academy of fine arts, and 
the schools for drawing in Mexico and Xalapa 
have very much contributed to diffuse a taste 
for beautiful antique forms. Services of plate 
to the value of a hundred and fifty, or two 
hundred thousand francs, have been lately 
manufactured at Mexico, which for elegance 
and fine workmanship may rival the finest 
work of the kind ever executed in the most 
civilized parts of Europe. The quantity of 
precious metals which between 1798 and 
1802 was converted into plate at Mexico, 
amounted at an average to 385 marcs of 
gold and 26,80'^ marcs of silver per annum *. 
The wrought ]^late of which the fifth ^s ex- 
itdted, Was declared at the mint as follows: 



Years. 


Gold 
Marcs. 


Silver 
Marcs. 


1798 
' 1799 
1800 
1801 
1802 


402 
484 
412 
379 
249 


19,823 
26,762 
30,887 
30,860 
25,692 


Total 


1926 


134,024 



* Castille weight. It may be useful to obser^ie, tha^ 
wherever the' contrtury is not expressly indicated the 
word mars ia this work meang the marc of Castille, 



CHAP. XII.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 470 

The mint of Mexico, which is the larf dit 
and richest in the whole world, is a building 
of a very simple architecture belong^in^ to 
the palace of the viceroys. This establishment, 
mider the direction of the Marquis de Snn 
Roman* an enlightened administrator, and a 
friend to the arts, contains little or nothing 
remarkable with respect to the improvement 
of the machinery or chemical processes j but 
it well deserves to engage the attention of 
travellers from the order, activity and economy 
which prevail in all the operations of coining. 
This interest is enhanced by other considera- 
tions which are even obvious to those who do 
not turn their attention to speculations of 
political administration. In fact it is impos'- 
sible to go over this small building without 
recollecting that more than ten thousand 
millions of livres tournois f has issued from it 
in less than three hundred years, and without 
reflecting on the powerful influence of these 
treasures on the destinies of the nations of 
Europe. 

The mint of Mexico was established fourteen 
years after the destruction of old Tenochtitlan, 
under the fii-st viceroy of New Spain, An- 
tonio de Mendoza, by a royal cedula of the 

4 

* Vez S'uperintendente de la real casa de niontda. 
t Upwards of jS408,000»000 Stevliog, Trans^ 



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480 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book v. 

11th May 1535. The coinage "was at first 
carried on by contract by several individuals, 
to whom the p^overnnient had farmed it 
out. Their lease was not renewed in 17.'JJ3. 
Since that period all the works are under the 
direction of government officers, on the go- 
vernment account. The nundjer of workmen 
employed in this mint amounts to 350 or 400 ; 
and the number of machines is so great, that 
it is possible to coin, in the space of a year, 
without displaying an extraordinary activity, 
more than thirty millions of piastres, that is 
to say, nearly three times as much as is ge- 
nerally performed in the sixteen mints which 
exist in Prance. At Mexico there was coined 
in the month of April alone, in the year 1796 the 
sum of 2,922,185 piastres ; and in tlie month 
of December, 1793, more than 3,065,000 piastres. 
At Paris in the year 1810, the strongest 
month of coinage was the month of March, 
when there was coined in pieces of five francs, 
the value of 1,27 1,000 piastres. Between 1726 
and 1780, the coinage of gold and silver 
amounted to 



In the sixteen 

Mints of France *. 


In the Mint 
of Mexico. 


2,446,000,700 liv. 


3,364,138,060 liv. 



♦ Necker, de Vadmin, des Finances^ T. iii. p. 5?>. 



CHAP. XII.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. '*81 

To give an idea of the activity of the 
mint of Mexico, we shall insert here one of 
the tables which the government orders every 
year to be printed for the information of the 
public respecting the state of the mines, that 
are considered as the reg^ilator of the public 
prosperity. I shall select the year 1796 when 
the coinage amounted to 25,644,000 piastres * 
although it had been 24,593,000 in 1795, and 
was 25,080,000 piastres in 1797. 






in 






Months 

of the 

year 1796. 


Gold 
Piastres. 


Silver 


Gold and Silver. 


Piastres. 


Reals. 

. . 
71 
Oi 
1 

3 
6 
2 

34 
3 

01 


Piastres. 


Reals. 

7 

01 
1 

H 

3 
6 
2 

3f 
3 

0| 

9«" 


January - 
February - 
March - - 
April - - - 
May - - 
June - • 
July - • 
August - - 
September 
October - 
November 
December 


m m 

246,578 
252,240 
117,008 

m m 

161,312 

m m 

110,112 
410,544 


2,078,958 
2,071,001 
2,922,185 
2,538.847 
1,907,980 
2,028,327 
1,551,143 
2,257.900 
2,455,057 
2,685,903 
1,849,467 


2,078,958 
2,317,579 
2,922,185 
2,791,087 
1,907,980 
2,145,335 
1,551,143 
2,419,212 
2,455,057 
2,796,015 
2,260,011 


Total 


1,297,794124,346,772 


25,644,566 



The works of the mint of Mexico contain 
ten rollers (laminoirs) moved by sixty mu es, 
fifty-two cutters, (coupoirs) nine adjusting tables 
(bancs (Tajustaf/e) twenty machines for marking 



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1 1^5,385,200 Sterling. Trans, 
VOL. III. 2 I 



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482 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book v. 

the edges (^ creneler) twenty stampin^^ presses, 
(balancters) and five mills for amalgamating 
the washings and filings called mermas. As 
one stamping press can strike in ten hours 
more than 15,000 piastres, we are not to be 
astonished that with so great a number of 
machines they are able to manufacture daily 
from fourteen to fifteen thousand marcs of 
silver. The ordinary work however does not 
exceed from eleven to twelve thousand marcs. 
From these data which are founded on official 
papers, it appears that the silver produced in 
all the mines of Europe together would not 
suffice to employ the mint of Mexico more 
than fifteen days. 

The expence of carriage, including the sa- 
laries of the officers, and the loss occasioned 
by the mermas, amount to a real de plata or 
13 sous per Aiiarc. This loss from the mermas 
which was formerly computed at one third 
per cent, is now reduced to the half; for 
instead of three marcs they do not lose more 
than one marc and three ounces in each 
thousand marcs coined. With respect to the 
profit derived by the king from coinage, it is 
estimated in the following manner: if the 
coinage does not exceed fifteen millions of 
piastres per annum, the profit is only six per 
cent, of the quantity of gold and silver coined ; 
when it amounts to eighteen millions of 



CHAP. XII.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 483 

■ 

piastres, the profit is 6i per cent ; aiul it rises 
to seven per cent, when the produce of the 
mines is still greater, as was the case during 
the last twenty years. We shall afterwards 
see that the mint of Mexico, and the house 
of separation (maison du depart) uiake an 
annual profit of nearly eight millions of 
francs *. . 

The house of separation (casa del apartado) 
in which is carried on the separation of the 
gold and the silver, proceeding from the ingots 
of auriferous silver, formerly belonged to the 
family of the Marquis de Fagoaga. This 
important establishment was only annexed to 
the crown in 1779. The building is very 
small and very old; and it has latterly been 
rebuilt in part at a greater expence to the 
government than if its place had been supplied 
by a new house, not situated in the middle 
of the town, and in which the acid vapours 
would have been better directed. Several persons 
interested in the works of the apartado re- 
maining in their present situation, maintain 
that the vapours of nitrous acid which are 
diffused through the most populous quarters 
of the town, serve to decompose the miasmata 
of the suiTOunding lakes and marshes. These 



i\ 



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* je326,830 Sterling. Trans. 
1 I 2 



m 



484 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [book v. 

ideas met with a favourable reception after 
acid fumigations were used in the hospitals 
of the Havanah and Vera Cruz. 

The casa del apartado contains three sorts 
of works which are destined. 1st. to the ma- 
nufacture of glass ; 2d. to the preparation of 
nitrous acid; and 3d. to th^ . separation of the 
gold and the silver. The processes used in 
these different works, are as imperfect as the 
construction of the glass-work furnaces, used 
for the manufacture of retorts, and the distil- 
lation of aqua fortis. The substance of the 
glass (pasteladura) is composed of 0.46 of 
quartz, taken from the veins of Tlapujahua, 
and 0.54 of soda, which the Indians of Xalto- 
can and the Penol procure from the inciner- 
ation of the Sesuvium portulacastrum of se- 
veral new species of Chenopodium, Atriplex, 
and Gratiola, which will be described in the 
Flora Mexicana of M. M. Sesse and Cen^an- 
tes, and of the Salsola soda of Europe, which 
is cultivated in the valley of Mexico, both to 
be eaten as a root, and to be reduced to 
ashes. This soda of Xaltocan is mixed with 
a good deal of sulphate of potash and lime; 
so that the carbonate of soda, which is every 
where found in efflorescence in clay grounds, 
would be much better adapted tor the manu" 
facture of glass. This pasteladura is not melted 
in earthen pots as in Europe, but in crucibles 



CHAP. XII.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 485 

of a very refractive porphyritic rock, procu- 
red in a quarry, in the vicinity of Pachaca. 
{ore than 15,000 francs are annually consumed 
in the glass house furnaces for wood. A re- 
tort costs nearly 14 sous at the manufactory, 
and more than 50,000 are annually broken. 

The nitrous acid used for the separation, is 
manulfactured by decomposing raw saltpetre> 
by means of a vitriolic earth (colpa) which 
contains a mixture of alumine, sulphate of 
iron, and oxide of red iron. Th^*' colpa 
comes from the environs of Tula, viiere a 
mine is worked at the expence of the Farm 
of Colours*. The saltpetre is furnished to 
the House of Separation, by the royal manu- 
factory of powder. Each retort is charged 
with eight pounds of colpa, and the same 
number of pounds of nitrate of impure pot- 
ash; the distillation lasts from thirty-six to 
forty hours. The furnaces are round, and un- 
provided with grates. The nitrous acid which 
is derived from the decomposition of a salt- 
petre surcharged with muriate, necessarily con- 
tains much muriatic acid, which is carried off 
by adding nitrate of silver. We may judge of the 
€normous quantity of muriate of silver obtained 
in this establishment, if we reflect that there 
is purified, a quantity of nitrous acid, sufficient 

* Estanco red dt tinUs y cokret. 



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486 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE Cbook v 

to separate seven thousand marcs of gold per 
annum. They decompose the muriate of sil- 
ver by fire, melting it with small lead drops. 
It would be more profitable undoubtedly, to 
make use in the distillation of aqua fortis, of 
refined, instead of raw saltpetre. They have 
hitherto followed the slow and laborious me- 
thod of purifying the acid by nitrate of silver, 
because the royal establishment of the apar- 
tado, is under the necessity of buying the 
saltpetre from the roi/al manufactory of pow^ 
der and saltpetre, which will not give out 
refined saltpetre, under 126 francs the quin- 
tal. '" 

The separation of gold and of silver re- 
duced to grains, for the sake of multiplying 
the points of contact, takes place in glass re- 
torts arranged in long files on hoops, in gale- 
ries from five to six metres in length.* These 
galeries are not heated by the same fire, but 
two or three matrasses form as it were a se- 
parate furnace. The gold which remains at 
the bottom of the matrass, is cast into ingots 
of fifty marcs, while the nitrate of silver is 
decomposed by fire during the distillation in 
the retorts. This distillation, by which they 
regain the nitre and acid, is also practised 
in a galery, and lasts from 84 to 90 hours. 



* From 16 to 19 feet. Tram. ' 



CHAP. XII.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 487 

They are obliged to break the retorts to ob- 
tain the reduced and chrystallized sUver. They 
might no doubt be preserved, by precipitating 
the silver by copper, but it would require 
another operation to decompose the nitrate 
of copper, which would succeed to the nitrate 
of silver. At Mexico, the expence of sepa- 
ration, is reckoned at from two to three reals 
de plata (from 26 to 39 sous tournois) pe*' 
marc of gold. 

It is surprising that none of the pupils of 
the school of mines are employed either in 
the mint, or in the casa del apartado ; and yet 
these great establishments ought to expect useful 
reforms, from availing themselves of mechanical 
and chemical knowledge. The mint is also si- 
tuated in a quarter of the town, where run- 
ning water might be easily procured to put 
in motion hydraulical wheels. All the ma- 
chines are yet very far from the perfection which 
they have recently attained in England and 
in France. The ameliorations will be the 
more advantageous, as the manufacture embraces 
a prodigious quantity of gold and silver; 
for the piastres coined at Mexico, may be con- 
sidered as the materials which maintain the 
activity of the greatest number of the mints 
of Europe, 

Not only working gold and silver, of which 
we have already spoken, has been improved 



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488 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE 



[book v. 



in Mexico; but very considerable progress 
has also been made in other branches of in- 
dustry dependent on luxury and wealth. 
Chandeliers, and other ornaments of great 
value, were recently executed in gilt bronze, 
for the new cathedral of Puebla, of which 
the bishop possesses more than 550,000 livres 
of revenue*. Although the most elegant Ck>r- 
riages driven through the streets of Mexico 
and Santa Fe de Bogota, at 2300 and 2700 
metresf of elevation above the surface of the 
ocean, come from London, very handsome 
Qiii s T also made in New Spain. The cabinet 
makti execute articles of furniture, remarkable 
for their form and the colour and polish of the 
wood, which is procured from the equinoctial 
region, adjoining the coast, especially from the 
forests of Orizaba, San Bias, and Colima. It 
is impossible to read without interest in the 
gazette of Mexico J, that even in the proviti' 
cias internas, for example at Durango, two 
hundred leagues north of the capital, harp- 
sicords and piano-fortes are manufactured^ 
The Indians display an indefatigable patience 
in the manufacture of small toys, in wood, 
bone, and wax. In a country where the ve- 



f 9,387 and 11,020 feet. Trans, 
% Gazeta de Mexico, t. t. p. 369. 



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CHAP. XII.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 489 

gelation affords the most precious productions*, 
and where the workman may choose at will 
the accidents of colour and form among; the 
roots, the medullary prolongations of the 
wood, and the kernels of fruits, these 
toys of the Indians, may one day become an 
important article of exportation for Europe. 
We know what large sums of money this 
species of industry brings in to the inhabit- 
ants of Nuremberg, and the mountaineers of 
Berchtolsgaden, and the Tyrol, who, however, 
can only use in the manufacture of boxes, 
spoons, and children's toys, pine, cherry, and 
walnut-tree wood. The Americans of the 
United States, send to the island of Cuba, 
and the other West India Islands, large car- 
gos of furniture, for which they get the 
wood chiefly from the Spanish colonies. This 
branch of industry will pass into the hands 
of the Mexicans, when, excited by a noble 
emulation, they shall begin to derive advan- 
tage from the productions of their own soil. 
We have hitherto spoken of the agricul- 
ture, the mines, and the manufactures, as the 
three principal sources of the commerce of New 
Spain. It remains for us to exhibit a view 
of the exchansfes which are carried on with 



'} 1 •; 



* Swietenia Cedrela and Caesalpinia wood; trunks of 
Desmaathus and Mimosa, of which the heart is a red, 
approaching to black. 



i)H' 



liii 



! "! 



4 



490 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE 



[book v. 



the interior, the mother country, and with 
other parts of the New Continent. Thus we 
shall successively treat of the interior com- 
merce, which transmits the superfluous produce 
of one Mexican province to another ; of the 
foreign commerce with America, Europe, 
and Asia, and the influence of these three 
branches of commerce on the public prospe- 
rity, and the augmentation of the national 
wealth. We shall not repeat the just com- 
plaints respecting the restriction of commerce, 
and the prohibitory system, which serve for 
basis to the colonial legislation of Europe. 
It would be difficult to add to what has been 
already said on that subject, at a time when 
the great problems of political economy oc- 
cupy the mind of every man. Instead of at- 
tacking principles, whose falsity and injustice are 
universally acknowledged, we shall confine 
ourselves to the collection of facts, and to 
the proving of what importance the commer- 
cial relations of Mexico with Europe may 
become, when they shall be freed from the 
fetters of an odious monopoly, disadvantage- 
ous even to the mother country. 

The interior commerce comprehends both the 
carriage of produce and goods into tha inte- 
rior of the country, and the coasting along 
the shore of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. 
This commerce is not enlivened by an iu« 



CHAP. XII.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN- 491 

terior navigation on rivers or artificial canals; 
for like Persia, the greatest part of New 
Spain is in want of navigable rivers. The 
Rio del Norte, which from its breadth hardly 
yields to the Mississipi, flows through regions 
susceptible of the highest cultivation, but 
which in their present state, exhibit nothing 
but a vast desert. This great river has no 
greater influence on the activity of the in- 
land trade, than the Missouri, the Cassiquiare 
and the Ucayale, which run through the Sa- 
vannahs, and uninhabited forests of North 
America. In Mexico, between the 16" and 
23** of latitude, the part of the country 
where the population is most concentra- 
ted, the Rio de Santiago alone, can be ren- 
dered navigable at a moderate expence. The 
length of its course,* equals that of the Elbe 
and the Rhone. It fertilizes the table lands 
of Lerma, Salamanca, and Selaya, and might 
serve for the conveyance of flour from the 
intendancies of Mexico and Guanaxuato, 
towards the western coast. We have already 
provedt, that if on the one hand, we must re- 
nounce the project of establishing an inland 
navigation between the capital and the port 
of Tampico, on the other, it would be very 
easy to cut canals in the valley of Mexico, 

« The Rio Santiago, the old Rio Tololotlan, is more.than 
170 leagues in length, 
t Chap. iii. and viii. 



i 



) li 



I 



'5f 



492 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE 



[book V; 



from the most northern point, the village of 
Huehuetoca, to the southern extremity, the 
small town of Chalco. 

The communications with Europe and Asia* 
being only carried on, from the two ports of 
Vera Cruz and Acapulco, all the object? of 
exportation and importation necessarily pass 
through the capital, which has become through 
that means the central point of the interior 
commerce. Mexico, situated on the ridge of 
the Cordilleras, commanding as it were the 
two seas, is distant in a straight line from 
Vera Cruz 69 leagues, 66 from Acapulco, 
79 from Oaxaca, and 440 leagues from Santa 
Fe of New Mexico. From this position of 
the capital, the most frequented roads, and 
the most important for commerce, are, 1st. 
the road from Mexico to Vera Cruz, by Puebla 
and Xalapa; 2d, the road from Mexico to 
Acapulco by Chilpanzingo ; 3d, the road from 
Mexico to Guatimala, by Oaxaca; 4th, the 
road from Mexico to Durango and Santa Fe 
of New Mexico, vulgarly called el camino de 
iierra dentro. We may consider the roads 
which lead from Mexico, either to San Luis 
Potosi and Monterey, or to Valladolid and 
Guadalaxara, as ramifications of the great 
road of the provincias internas. "When we 
examine the physical constitution of the coun- 
try, we see, that whatever may oiie day bft 



'" H'"^' 



CHAi.. XII.J KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 49a 

the progress of civilization, these roaiJs will 
never be succeeded by natural or artificial 
nav^ations, such as we find in Russia, from 
fet. Petersbursfh to the centre of Siberia 



T.- 



KND OP VOL. III. 



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Bridge-gtreet, Blaukfriars, London. 



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