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· quantity of insects (xicaritas, perritos, aradores, agujas, armadillos, cule.
biitas, lizards, rats, and birds, by which they are devoured. Mach care is necessary in cleaning the branches of the nopals. The Indian wo. men make use of a squirrel, or a stag's tail for that purpose; 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; and 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 snialler than the male of the mealy or fine cochipeal, does much injury to the nopals; and accordingly the Indians kill it wherever they find it, though the colour which it yields is very solid and very beautiful. It appears that not only the fruits, but also the green branches of several species of coccus will dye cotton, violet and red, and that the colour of the cochineal is not entirely owing to a process of ani. malization of the vegetable juices in the body of the insect."
. At the period of the harvests the Indians kill the mother-cochineals, which are collected on a wooden plate called chilcalpetl, by throwing them into boiling water, or heaping them up by beds in the sun, or placing them on mats in the game ovens of a circular form ( temaxcalli), which are used for vapour and hot air baths, of which we have already spoken.* The last of these methods, which is least in use, preserves the whitish powder on the body of the insect, which raises its price at Vera Cruz and Cadiz Purchasers prefer the white cochineal, because it is less subject to be fraudulently mixed with parcels of gum, wood, maize, and - red earth. There exist in Mexico very ancient laws (of the years 1592 and 1594) for the prohibition of the falsification of cochineal. Since 1760 they have even been under the necessity of establishing in the town of Oaxaca a jury of veadores, who examine the bags (zurrenes) previous to their being sent out of the province. They appoint the cochineal ex. posed to sale to have the grain 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 tiungueros or zanganos (falcificadore) is inconsiderable in comparison of that which is practised on this commo. dity in the ports of the Peninsula, and in the rest of Europe.'
Towards the conclusion of this chapter, M. Humboldt gives a table of the comparative value of tithes in the dioceses of Mexico, Puebla de los Angeles, Valladolid de Mechoacan, Daxaca, Guadalaxara, and Durango,-taking two series of years, from 1771 to 1780, and from 1780 to 1789. In the former scries the tithes in these six dioceses amounted to upwards of 2,800,000). sterling, in the latter to upwards of 4,015,000). Thus the augmentation in the last ten years is nearly two-fifths of the whole produce: a circumstance which plainly indicates the rapid increase of national wealth, and
* See vol. ii. p. 349. M. Alzate who has given a good plate of the temazcalli Ga. zeta de Literatura de Mexico, t. iji. p. 252) asserts, that the ordinary heat of the vapour in which the Indian bathes himself is 66 deg. centrigade (150 deg. of Fahrenb.)
proves that the working of the mines is gradually giving place to the labours of agricultore. The obstructions which still impede its' progress are nearly the same as those which have operated so perniciously in Spain Iu both countries, the landed property is in the hands of a few powerful fanilies;; and in both, extensive tracts are condemned to the pasturage of cattle and to perpetual sterility'
The subject of the next chapter, which concludes the fourth section of the work, and extends nearly to the termination of the third volume, relates to the mines of New Spain. Commencing his examination with a few historical remarks, our author proceeds to take a general view of the mines as grouped into districts, and to discuss the geological constitution of the country. He adverts to the salubrious elevation at which most of the metalliferous beds are found, when compared with those of South America. A copious description is given of the minerals froin which the silver is extracted; and much information is afforded, relative'to the most consis derable of the mining operations, especially at the district of Guanaxuato, which, though but little celebrated, claims to be considered as the ' Potosi of the Northern hemisphere. One of the greatest inconveniences observable in these works, and indeed in almost every other mining establishment in New Spain, is the want of lateral communications between the various galleries. Each pit is worked separately; and the extracted ore, instead of being accumulated in convenient
places of assemblage,' is carried up the steps on the backs of native Indians (tenateros, as they are called), many thousands of whom are constantly employed in this laborious service.
These tenateros;' it is added, carry the minerals in bags (costalus) made of the thread of the pité. 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 the se porters, among whom there are men above sixty, aod boys of ten or twelve years of age. In ascending the stairs, they throw their body forwards, and rest on a staff, which is generally not mure than three decemetres in length (about à foot).' They walk in a zig-zag direction, because they have found from long experience (as they affirm), that their respiration is less impeded, when they traverse ob. liquely the current of air which enters the pits from without. We cannot sufficiently admire the rouscular strength of the Indian and Mestizoe tenateros of Guanaxuato, especially when we feel ourselves oppressed with fatigue in ascending from the bottom of the mine of Valenciana. The tenateros cost the proprietors of Valenciana more than 15,000 livres tour. pois (6241. sterling) weekly; and they reckon that three men destined to carry the minerals to the places of assemblage, are for one employed workman who blows up the gangue by means of powder. These enormous expences could perhaps be diminished more than two thirds, if the
works communicated with one another by interior pits, or by galleries adapted for conveyance by wheelbarrows or dorg Well contrived ope. rations would facilitate the extraction of minerals and the circulation of air, and would render the great number of tenuteros unnecessary, whose strength might be employed in a manner 'more advantageous to society, and less hurtful to the health of the individual.'
Another practice which our author justly ridicules, is that of drawing up the water, vot by a punap apparatus, but by means of bags attached to a rope, which roils on the drum of a horse buritel.' In consequence of this bad economy, many of the works have been abandoned after reaching a certain depth, although still abounding with mineral produce. In the mine of Valenciana, alieady referred to, the annual expenditure more than doubled itself in the course of fifteen years. It is greatly owing to this circumstance, that the mines of New Spain, while so much richer than those of Europe, yield comparatively so snall a profit; added to which, the intrinsic value of a given quantity of the ore is much less considerable.
It was mentioned; we believe, in our former article, that the labour of the Indians is not compulsory. Indeed, of all miners, our author affirms, the Mexicaó miner is the best paid. Buť no great 'encomium is passed upon his honests. The tricks which he makes use of to appropriate some portion of the 'metal he is employed to unearth, are endless ; some of then too revolting to be described. He works almost naked; but a strict search is instituted before he is allowed to leave the pit,-and a careful register is kept of the value of the minerals which he is detected in concealing.
A very specific account is given of the process of amalgaination, as carried on in the mines of New: Spain, and by which the far greater portion of the metallic produce is extracted from the ore. No fixed principle is adopted in the selection of minerals to undergo this operation; the same substances being smelted in one district, which in another are maváged with mercury. The first part of the process consists in reducing the minerals to an extremely fine powder. ; This, when duly moistened, is carried into à court paved with flags, where it is ranged in small heaps, and exposed to the open air. The ingredients added to the moistened mass are muriále of soda, lime, sulphates of iron and copper, and mercury, of which latter the consumption is enormous; and to promote the chemical action, by bringing these substances into closer contact, horses and moles are driven round the metallic mud, or barefooted workmen turned in to perambulate in it for days together.
It would lead us too far to enter into the various details which take up the remainder of this chapter. We shall, therefore, merely remark, that the annual produce of the Mexican mines, in gold, is - estimated at 4829 lb. troy, in silver, at 1,439,832 lb. ; making nearly a moiety of the precious metals extracted from North and South America ; that the mint of Mexico is slipposed to have furnished, from the discovery of New Spain to the commencement of the nineteenth century, nearly c082 millions of piastres, or nearly two-fifths of the whole gold and silver,- which, during that period, have flowed from the new continent into -the old ; that three districts of mines, Granaxuato, Catorce, aid Zacatecas, yield nearly half the gold and silver extracted from the mines of New Spain; that the yein of Guanaxuato alone, furnishes, at an average, one-sixth of all the silver which America throws into circula. tion; that the produce of the Mexican mines has been tripled in fifty two years, and sextupled in a hundred; and that it admits of a still greater increase, as the country shall become more populous and better informed. I • The progress in manufactures, as might be expected from the jealous and monopolizing policy of the mother country, has been but slow. "Such principles,' says M. H. 'as prescribe the rooting up of the vine and 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 quantity of raw materials, and consumed a number of the comu odities carried there. In spite, however, of all obstacles, the spirit of manufacturing industry has here and -there contrived to exert itself; and M. Humboldt mentions, in particular, that, of late years, increased attention has been paid to the manufacture of hides, hard soap, woollen cloth, and calicoes. There are also extensive manufactories of gunpowder and tobacco, both of which are royal rights.
In considering the commerce of New Spain, M. Humboldt first notices the condition of the principal roads, and then proceeds to dwell at considerable length on the foreign coinmerce of the country. This has, for centuries, been chiefly concentrated at Vera Cruz; the principal objects of exportation from which place are enumerated in the following table. • Gold and silver to the value of . L. 3,590,000 sterling. Cochineal
- 273,000 Flour
63,000 Mexican Indigo
43, 00 Salted provisions, &c.
20,000 Tanned hides .
16,800 . Sarsaparilla . .
Campeachy wood .
. Pimento of tobacco .
. 306,900 The importation of Vera Cruz includes, among other articles, the following. • Linen, woollen, and cotton, cloth, and silks 2,310,000 Paper, 300,000 reams
210,000 Brandy, 30,000 hogsheads
210,000 Cocoa, 80,000 fanegas
210,000 . Mercury, 500,000 kilogrammes
136.000 · Iron, 2,500,000 ditto
126,000 Steel, 600,000 kilogrammes
42,000 Wine, 40,000 hogsheads
147,000 · Wax, 250,000 kilogrammes
63,000. . From this comparison it appears, that the importation exceeds the exportation by 7,770,0001.
While the port of Vera Cruz, notwithstanding its bad anchorage, annually receives between four and five bundred vessels, that of Acapulco, which is one of the finest in the known world, scarcely receives ten. Its commercial activity is almost limited to a Mavilla galleon, to the coasting trade with Guati. mala, Zacatala, and San Blas, and to four or five vessels annually dispatched to Guayaquil and Lima. On the oldest and most important branch of its commerce—the exchange of mer. chandize of the East Indies and China for the precious metals of Mexico-conducted in a single ship, the following particu. lars are afforded.
• The galleon, which is generally from 12 to 1500 tons, and commanded by an officer of the royal navy, sails from Manilla in the middle of July or be; inning of August, when the south-west monsoon is already completely established. Its cargo consists of muslins, printed calicoes, coarse cotton shirts, raw silks, China silk stockings, jewellcries from Can. ton or Manilla by Chinese artists, spices, and aromatics. The voyage is carried on eit),er by the straits of St. Bernardin or Bajadoz, which is the most porthern point of the island of Luccoa. It formerly lasted from five to six months; but since the art of navigation has been improved, the passage from Manilla to Acapulco is only three or four months. The value of the goods of the galleon ought not by law to exceed the sum of half a million of piastres,* but it generally amounts to a million a half or two millions of piastres.t Next to the merchants of Lima, the ecclesiastical corporations have the greatest share in this lucrative commerce, in which the corporation employs nearly two thirds of their capitals, which em; loyment of their money is designated by the improper phrase of dai a corresponder. Whenever the news arrive at Mexico, that the galleon has been seen off the coast, the roads of Chilpansingo and Acapulco are covered with travellers; and every merchant hastens to be the first to treat